Lens on April 2019

It’s finally May, and thank goodness! I’ve been working on some big projects that finally wrapped, and with a few weekly activities (choir rehearsal, running in preparation for my first-ever 5k in May, and also taking very fun salsa classes with my husband), I felt like I’m back in graduate school! Honestly, the month was quite the blur and I hope to have some time to clear my head in May.

Central Park is fully in bloom!

I am in the fortunate position to have some vacation time saved up, so I’ve booked a ticket to France for a summer trip! I’ll be writing a post on how I’m planning for the trip soon so stay tuned.

Restaurants

A few favorites and new-to-me restaurants in East Harlem, and a few outside the neighborhood.

La Chula Tacos (East Harlem) – still my favorite place for burritos in the neighborhood!

A sampler platter with tasty sauces at the Temple Canteen.

Temple Canteen (Flushing, Queens) – a delicious treat during a day in Flushing! Tucked away in the basement of a Hindu Temple, the canteen offers vegetarian cuisine

Brother’s Trattoria (Beacon, NY) – classic, tasty Beacon Italian food served in large portions and with plenty of fresh bread on the table.

Oscar Wilde Bar (Flatiron) – a beautifully decorated and themed bar. Great for a special occasion or fans of the writer (or turn of the century).

Makana (East Harlem) – had takeout from here twice this month, and ordered the salmon teriyaki both times. Does not disappoint!!!

Shrimp, fish and veggie tacos at La Cantina.

La Cantina Taqueria and Tequila Bar (Central Harlem) – Nothing to write home about and I’m so used to cheap, good Mexican food in East Harlem that this felt overpriced. It’s definitely on par for the specific foodie area but I wouldn’t go back.

Polash (East Harlem) – We’ve walked past here so many times and it always looks empty, but the reviews online were good so my husband and I checked out their lunch buffet which was good for the price! It’s the best in the neighborhood, as far as I can tell, but I wouldn’t go out of my way for it. I would go back with family as it’s conveniently located and decently priced.

Pastry at Super Nice Coffee.

Super Nice Coffee Shop and Bakery (East Harlem) – a new coffee shop close to the subway, but either their pastries are SUPER expensive or we were overcharged for a coffee and the above pictured delicious raspberry cheesecake cinnamon roll? They definitely have captured the hipster crowd, as there aren’t many competing coffee shops with matcha or beet lattes, so I think they might be around for a bit.

Indo Pak Halal (East Harlem) – Another place we’ve walked past a number of times and finally stopped by. Flavorful and well priced, but nothing special. Great if you need halal food and quick!

Events

A quiet month but still fun nonetheless.

The study at the Madam Brett house.

We spent a day in Beacon with family and took a tour of the Madam Brett Homestead followed by a feast at Brother’s. The history of homestead and its mastermind was fascinating – Madam Brett was a smart, strong woman who developed important relationships in the area and knew not to remarry after her husband’s death so she wouldn’t have to give up control of her land or money.

A bench plaque dedicated to John Lennon.

I also spent some time in Jackson Square Park, where a number of artists dedicated benches as part of a larger art project. The most notable bench plaque is for John Lennon!

Books

A small variety of reads for April.

Versailles, Colin Jones – a somewhat dry history of Versailles from the palace’s inception through modern day. Would not recommend, and I’ll probably look for more material about this place.

The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde – a great lens into the 1890s. I didn’t love this book but I was glad to have the opportunity to read a classic. I wonder what it would be like if it were written now…

You are a Badass, Jen Sincero (Audio) – I was recommended this book by some friends and it was a nice ‘self help’ book to inspire positive thinking and change. I recommend it to you if you’re in a rut and need encouragement and a kick in the pants to get going.

Watching/Listening

Quiet on the home front this month!

I found a fun podcast geared for English speakers planning a trip to France called “Join us in France“, and have been listening to relevant episodes. I also took out a few movies set in Paris from the library, and watched Amélie and The Da Vinci Code (oh, Audrey Tautou…). Also on the list: Paris, Je T’aime and Midnight in Paris.

Low-Buy Update

I used up four products this month, but three were full sized! I was glad to finish them off as I’d had them all for a while.

Although I didn’t spend much this month, I somehow accumulated a ton of new products (thanks friends!). One of my goals for my Low Buy year was to reduce my stash, so I can’t say it’s been a complete success. I have been tracking the value of everything I’ve used up (samples don’t count towards this number) and I’ve hit $200! At 1/3 of the year, this is a great milestone, especially as so many of my products are drugstore brands!

Upcoming…

Spending more time outside as the weather warms up, and necessary shoe shopping!

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