Sunday, 17 November 2013

NYC: Speakeasy | Shhh! Please Don't Tell!

The Shark and the Mezcal Mule at PDT, NYC
Please Don't Tell, or PDT to those in the 'know' is one of New York City's most infamous speakeasies. So infamous that reservations are practically non-existent.  In fact my roommate tried relentlessly for months, to no avail.  I somehow miraculously managed to bag myself a table for two on my first try and so here's an account as to how you can succeed too, why you should succeed and just what you should drink during your success. #Winning.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Thinking about lately | Stowe, VT - A snowy sanctuary

I've been keeping myself incredibly busy these last few months because as soon as I slow I become agitated. A quality I'm sure I've picked up from my year in New York. But yesterday I woke up craving the sweet snowy silence of Vermont. A long winding drive through Stowe Hollow. A maple iced coffee from the Black Cap Cafe. A leisurely and picturesque ski down the Toll Road. And an afternoon daydreaming by the cosy stove staring out at Mt Mansfield. I'm craving Stowe. Perhaps it's all the Christmas adverts that have suddenly begun, perhaps it's the promise of winter just around the corner. Or maybe it's the sudden influx of snowy pictures that Vermont are posting as the first flakes are beginning to fall. Whatever the reason, I wouldn't mind slowing if I was there right now.

*Image taken from Stowe Mountain Resorts facebook, view from the top of the Quad.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Thinking about lately | Getting all my ducks in a row

The last couple of years 'I need to get all my ducks in a row' has been a frequent phrase escaping my mouth.

I found it poignant and quite symbolic last Thursday that I took this photo...

I'm the most happy I've been for...well I can't even remember.  I have a sense of contentment and I am embracing life.

I really feel that indeed, my ducks are all very much in a row.  And I even have the picture to prove it.

Happy Monday Y'all!

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Love | 40 Days of Dating

Thanks to the people at HelloGiggles I've been exposed to 40 Days of Dating.

Meet Tim and Jessie. 

These two designer friends are dating for 40 days to try and break their bad dating habits and they've invited us to join them on the ride.

Jessie falls in love too quickly and expects too much too soon...sound familiar?

Tim is a commitment-phobe.

New Yorkers by choice, this project is brimming with NYC uniqueness.  There's something about the city that instills this kind of crazy 'I can do anything' mentality.  And seeing it in typeface on their site makes me realise how I need to try my hardest everyday to keep this mentality with me, even though I am so far away.

I've been sat here for the last hour catching up on their 40 days.  I'm on day 11 so far and have discovered the following...

1. I'm loving the insight into their daily lives not just because of their interesting journey they've embarked on but also because of references to a not-so-average NYC daily life with pit stops at familiar places to me along the way.  Just seeing 39th street or the Village referenced makes my heart skip a beat.

2. Tim's video he sent Jessie on day 8 made me grin as much as I'm sure she did.  It felt a little like I was in my very own rom-com and I suddenly had to remind myself that: TIM DID NOT SEND THIS VIDEO TO ME!

3. Apparently he's ended up dating a fair few girls he's met in Whole Foods in the last six years.  This made me a, wonder why I never met anyone in the Union Square Whole Foods in the last year and b, I should probably try and shop in the Piccadilly Circus one more often.

*Image taken from 40 Days of Dating

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

LDN: Star Spangled Banners | Independence Day Events

If you're craving a slice of home or you just love all things stars and stripes, just because we're not in the USA doesn't mean that there aren't a host of Independence Day events taking place this Thursday.  If you're going to be in NYC this week then head on over to yesterday's post, in which I outline my party picks for July 4th.  If you'll be LDN based then read on...

It's not Nathan's and it's not Coney Island but in true New Yorker style you could partake in this Dog eating contest at the Blues Kitchen, Camden.

Or maybe ribs are more your thing?

Liquid connoisseur?  The White Horse at Parsons Green should be frequented for their American Beer Festival....Brooklyn Brewery anyone??

Speaking of Brooklyn, Brooklyn Bowl is closed in NYC but Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes are very much open this 4th of July for LDNers.  Okay, okay, not an event per se but hark back to your Brooklyn roots nonetheless.

Speaking of non-events...this isn't one either BUT if you're looking for an American way to spend your Independence Day in LDN then look no further.  Bubble Dogs is quite frankly the most unique LDN eating digs there are.  They are soooo New York.  So clink your glass of champagne in celebration and chow down on their Fourth of July dog.

Finally, promising a Coney Island-esque event, Dime Bar & Diner in Clapham are offering "Coney Island Dawgs", themed cocktails and American craft beers.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

NYC: Star Spangled Banners | Independence Day Events

If you're a New Yorker then this week means there's some public holiday lovin' right around abouts Wednesday afternoon, through 9am Friday.  It is of course the USA's famous holiday of independence on Thursday!

Last year we laid low and chilled in Hoboken, NJ where we lived, dipping in and out of bars such as Scotland Yard, a British themed establishment but we made sure we did it US stylee with numerous games of beer pong.  We completed our day's independence from work with the Macy's 4th July fireworks, which are synonymous with the holiday in NYC.  The perfect view could be had from Pier A Park in Hoboken, albeit no musical display could be heard, with the big lights and obtrusive but beautiful structures of Manhattan outlining our backdrop to the sparkling bursts of themed lights above.  It was also decidedly more successful than when I saw these same fireworks back in July 2004, in which both myself and my friend ended up with ash in our eye.  Yay - result 2012!

I wish I'd done more but there's nothing I can change about that now, so instead I've compiled a list of what I consider to be some of the most rockin' events for this Thursday's Independence day in NYC!  So, whether you're a native New Yorker or a tourist for the day, see my selection by borough.

It wouldn't be Independence Day if there wasn't a bunch of fast-foodies in one of New York's famous beach resorts chortling down as many hot dogs as they can mustar-d! Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island is a holiday ritual that's been shocking and amazing onlookers since 1972. 68 dogs were scoffed by last years winner Joey Chestnut, so if you've qualified for the contest then you've got your work cut out for you...

...And if you're planning on hitting up Coney Island but still want to see some fireworks then get yourself down to Coney Island's MCU park.  There'll be a "beers of New York" beer gardem, entertainment, activities and more, with 4th of July fireworks to complete!

Quirky movie theater, Nitehawk, is famed for it's comfortable viewing style, offbeat film choices and it's fun spin on it's food and drink accompaniments. I'm still distraught that I didn't make their Halloween session, thanks Sandy, but they've got an American classic this week with a matinee showing of much loved Jaws (1975) on July 4th. Settle down for this USA oldie but goodie with their Shark Bite cocktail and an Amity hot dog (with homemade beer mustard - wowee!)


If you're too lazy to leave Manhattan then the Iron Horse, in the Financial District, is holding their annual block party.  Grab a picnic table, play some games and stuff your face with some all-American goodness, hot dogs, burgers and pig-roast are all free but you're encouraged to leave a donation to support the Wounded Warrior Project.


Not made it to Brooklyn's finest pizza palace, Roberta's?  Take your chance now as they're hosting a USA themed event in honor of 4th July at the Knockdown Center, Queens.  They'll be joined by fellow American taste-makers and NYC based bands to celebrate everything America! 

Staten Island
Historic Richmond Town could not be further removed from the contemporary skyscrapers of Manhattan.  Join them for a colonial-esque afternoon, with quirky activities such as pie-baking contests, to churning old fashioned ice cream.

The Bronx
Yo people of the Bronx!  Where it at?  If you know some awesome happenings in the area please comment below...I came up with zilch!

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Housekeeping | To ELLE and Back... Google Reader's bye bye so come find me on Bloglovin

Just a small matter of housekeeping guys.  If you happen to get updates from me via Google Reader and would still like to hear from me from time to time then, as you may already know as the blogosphere is alive with these posts, Google Reader goes bye bye tomorrow, 1st July.  Bloglovin seems to be the replacement of choice so I'm going to let these guys explain it better to you.

I look forward to reaching you via bloglovin, thanks for reading and your continued support.  Some exciting posts coming up this week so I hope not to lose you to this switch over.

Big love!
Louisa xx

NYC Room Anthems | Lana Del Rey's Radio

View from Starbucks, Newport, Jersey City, NJ

With the sun shining in the UK this morning, already proving it to be a superb day, I couldn't help but be reminded of Lana Del Rey's atmospheric tune, Radio.  This song is synonymous, for me, with sunny mornings waking up in Newport, Jersey City.  Sun streaming through mine and my cool chick Molo's, window.  The water from the Hudson is reflected in the windows in the building opposite, she's sat on my laptop because she still hasn't bought her Mac yet, her ipod blaring the tune whilst I'm forced to go in the bathroom first because that's just how it always is.  A cloud of pink sheets befall both our beds and brightens a pretty sad and tired room.  Throwing on my Victoria's Secret black and white tank top with PINK emblazoned on the front and my Hoboken map ring, Molo dresses herself in that peach pleated skirt and 80's earrings, long small bag draping by her side juxtaposing my huge suitcase of a bag draping by mine.  We make our way out of our building, down the street, the humidity already clasping at our throats.  We enter the icy conditions of the Starbucks by the harbour and with iced caramel macchiato's in hand we're set outside on those metal table and chairs, glancing across at the Financial District, Freedom Tower gradually growing.  Adorned in our ray ban-esque black shades we're now joined by Ang, then Marina (she's always late) chatting animatedly as we are greeted and left by numerous others that we know, stopping by for their caffeine fix or on their way to the PATH.  

And then we're on the L train, disembarking at Bedford Ave, queuing to move through those two cage-like gate contraptions.  And we're single file up the stairs, back out into that glorious sun, hovering by the flower stall next to Bedford Ave station, eyes set on our destination, the Williamsburg Flea.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Luxury Investment | 7 Reasons I HEART Our Hot Tub

1.  It's the only sleep drug you'll ever need.  Forget ambien all you New Yorkers.

2.  Saying that, it's also the best way to start your day.  Invigorating.

3.  When we've had the sunny weather like we have had in the UK recently, it kind of resembles having your own pool.  Without the swimming.

4.  But throw in a dusting of snow and your christmas lights and you're in your ski-in ski-out chalet hot tub in St Moritz.

5.  It's the most effortless entertainment EVER.  Future Channel 4 Come Dine With Me contestants take note.

6.  A daily free massage without having to find a boyfriend.  Sign me up!

7.  It's the perfect accompaniment to a grapefruit margherita.  Tried and tested.

Happy Friday Y'all - You'll be able to find me, as above!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Show Your Support | A Chef's Life

A Chef's Life, a foodie documentary soon to be aired on PBS USA, follows North Carolina chef, Vivian Howard, as she meets with locals, friends, farmers and more to discover and educate the PBS viewers on North Carolina regional delicacies and traditions.  Vivian and her husband Ben have both worked in NYC as chefs previously as well, which in itself is a substantial accolade for their talents.  Now sourcing and supporting local artisan's in their hometown Kinston, NC, with their restaurant, they are helping to regenerate a local economy whilst creating jobs and demand for their communities produce and they want to highlight the importance of this to you.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

LDN: Rooftop Bar | Golden Bee

Rooftop bars are something of the norm in NYC.  Barring Kensington Roof Gardens, I'm not sure I'd been to one previously in London but since my return to the UK I was psyched to check out Shoreditch based, Golden Bee.  Whilst there isn't much of  a skyline view, no Empire State staring back at us with pride, it still ticked a lot of boxes for me and struck me as a "poor-yorker's" version of the NYC rooftop.

With white lights twisting around trees and luxury outdoor furniture it had a cool, fun vibe that is synonymous with it's surroundings.  The atmosphere was buzzing and rumour has it that reservations are required in order to gain entry.  We had a space booked for a friend's birthday downstairs and whilst it was nice to have a base to prop our belongings, if you can get an area on the main rooftop I'd highly advise it.  That's where most of our party headed and camped out for the evening.  The weather was beautiful, which always helps and the entire venue, both inside and out, was packed with Friday night post-work drinkers.  The view that we did have, had a lower east side ambience and with a wall of graffiti art staring back at us, we could be fooled into thinking we were hanging out near 5 Pointz, Long Island City.

Whilst Golden Bee had quite an interesting cocktail menu, for some reason nothing particularly wowed me and prices were pretty standard.  I spent the evening drinking the cool cucumber martini and mimosa's.

Check it out for summer fun with a party vibe but don't expect an awe-inducing view or jaw-dropping cocktails.  It claims to be the "ultimate in cool" and that's what it delivers.  You're here for the ambience not the mixologists.

*Main Picture from Golden Bee Website

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

NYC: Mack's Back | Macaulay Culkin's iPod Party June

Fear not my friends Mack is back!  Younger bro Rory Culkin has been holding the fort at LPR NYC on their once Thursday a month party but the real deal will be plugging his ipod in this week, on the 13th June, for what's set to be one of his most outrageous parties yet.

Monday, 10 June 2013

LDN: Monday Monday Monday | Tegan & Sara

Tegan and Sara are in town tomorrow for their gig at the Troxy, Shoreditch, so it seemed only apt that we begin the week with their track Monday, Monday, Monday.

I've been a fan of these two indie rock chicks since I went to college in Massachusetts.  They're very rarely in the UK and for very little time and so I managed to finally get to a gig of theirs back in February, in NYC at the Beacon Theater, fearing they'd never make it to UK shores again.  A couple of months down the line and they're bringing that gig to LDN.

Great set and humourous banter from the girls.  Tickets are £25.50 and you can purchase them from Tegan and Sara's site.

So from Tegan, Sara and I, good luck with the rest of your monday, monday, monday. 

Saturday, 8 June 2013

NYC: Cocktail Crushin' | The Wayland

The Wayland, a quirky bar in Alphabet City actually has a very Brooklyn vibe to me and I'm sure it wouldn't be out of place on Bedford Ave in Williamsburg.  But, down on the corner of East 9th and Ave C, sitting silently and unobtrusively is this watering hole.  The simple exterior, with little indication as to what's inside apart from a paper sign letting you know it's cash only, is the perfect cover for what is actually a rustic, candlelit, cosy and atmospheric drinking haven.  You'll often see co-owner Jason Mendenhall behind the bar and if he's the one making your drink, all the better!

Friday, 7 June 2013

Happy Friday Y'all | Girls Just Gotta Have Fun

At just 10 years old, Essex born Sophia Grace has more swag in her little finger than I have in the entire of myself, 18 years her senior.  This girls tune, Girls Just Gotta Have Fun, to coin a phrase, is "Dope.  Mega Dope."  And it's the perfect fun feature for a Friday on To ELLE and Back.  Plus she smashes a cream pie in some boys face around 3:22, and who doesn't have a list of guys they'd like to do that to?!

Props to our girl, Sophie Grace, for this smile inducing, sick video and beat that's sure to get us all ready for a sunny weekend in both LDN and NYC.

Now excuse me, I've got my shades and a pink tutu to find, Sophia style.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Lavender Lullabies | Castle Farm, Kent and Other Purple Stories

Sat outside, awaiting our table at french restaurant, Buvette in NYC 2012, fellow blogger and North Carolina'n friend, Hayley of Tiptoes in the Kitchen, began to regale me with her dream of discovering an endless sea of purple in the form of lavender fields.  She had embarked on a European adventure with her mother the year prior and was adamant that she would be able to cast her eye wistfully on these fields in Provence.  Her search became difficult, I forget the specific reason, but nonetheless, just as she had given up they stumbled upon some purely by accident.  These Provence fragrant fields were everything she had hoped for and more and were made all the sweeter by the fact she was so certain her dream would have to be postponed for another year.  I, in hand, told her about Castle Farm in Eynsford, Kent, England.  This lavender farm is only a half hour journey from my family's home and is an annual visit for us in July amongst peak lavender season!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013


London in comparison to NYC falls fairly short on the pizza front.  So I decided to create a pizza, at home in the UK, that incorporated some of my favourite food experiences of NYC.  Enter my pizza blanco with pulled pork!

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

LDN: Hermes Festival des Metiers | Saatchi Gallery

Run your hand across the luxurious leather of the birkin bag, watch as a glimmer of a diamond is set amongst a heavy gold stud, dust your fingers delicately along a rail of printed silk scarfs.  Hermes Festival des Metiers, recently showing at the Saatchi Gallery for just one week, transported you to their work space in Lyons and gave you the opportunity to learn first hand just how magnificently everything is made. 

Monday, 22 April 2013

Love that Dirty Water

You never fall as hard or fast as you do for your first love and for me that was Boston.  I've been visiting the city since I was 11 years old and lived just outside it for a short time in 2005 and yet my heart still has butterflies every time my plane lands at Logan, or my Greyhound drops me at South Station.  It has a special place in my history and as much as I've grown to love the incredible city that is NYC this last year, New York somehow still never stirs the same feeling inside of me as Beantown does.  There's nothing quite like the warmth I feel as I wander it's streets, as the sun hits the Common and as my hands freeze whilst clutching my french vanilla iced coffee from Dunks in sub zero temperatures.

When I heard the news on monday, via twitter, my initial reaction was shock.  Shock that anybody would want to hurt this city in particular "it's the friendliest city in the World", I thought.  Not that any city in the US deserves this kind of act of terror but the fact that it was Boston seemed to really confuse me.  After reading A Boston Food Diary's post, Boston: My Town, My Love, My Community, I realised why I was regarding this city as if it were a human being, because as this fellow blogger explained, "Boston...It's a personality."  And what a personality it is!

A lot has happened this week and as we all begin to rest our heads on our pillows in preparation for yet another monday morning in which the daily grind shall begin all over again, I just wanted to reflect on how much bigger and stronger my feelings have grown for my first love and it's people, some of whom I am  so lucky to call my friends.  Your spirit has been unfailing and your personality unfaltered.

Here's to meandering down Charles Street weaving in and out of boutiques and cafes, to Beacon Hill as you silently make your way through the elegant passages of brownstones, to the beauty of Boston Public Garden as it stands in unison with the more understated common, to the italian sausage stands parked as usual outside old Filene's Basement, to that golden dome that watches over us in confidence, to the Prudential tower as it smiles back at us whilst taking the red line across the Charles to Cambridge, to the twinkly lights, sparkling like magic at dusk on Newbury, to the hustle and bustle that is never angry or selfish on Boylston.  To Boston.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Return Journey

View from the walk home from Newport PATH Station
Newport Town Square, Newport, Jersey City, NJ

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Secrets and Lies

Speakeasy, Little Branch
7th Ave, Leroy and St Luke's Place, NYC

Friday, 25 January 2013

I keep dancing on my own...

Only in Brooklyn, home of hit show GIRLS, would the advert for series 2 be painted on a wall. 
Berry Street, Williamsburg, NYC

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

The Homecoming

Amtrak from Vermont to NYC, Waterbury Station, VT

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Friday, 18 January 2013

Molo says Yolo!

Outside the Harvest Market, Mountain Rd, Stowe, VT

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Melting Pot

Financial District, NYC, taken from the Hudson walkway between Hoboken and Newport, Jersey City, NJ

Tuesday, 15 January 2013


The Manhattan Skyline, usually so prominent from my living room window, is instead buried amongst the mist this morning, Newport, Jersey City, NJ

Monday, 14 January 2013

Sunday, 13 January 2013


Cowgirl, Hudson Street, West Village, NYC aka the one where Carrie and Miranda bumps into Steve and Aiden with their new girlfriends.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Nine Weeks

I started this project back in March 2012. It was going to be a photo a day of my New York/US experience but right before I made the trip from Vermont with my parents to New York City, my camera memory card went kaput. Of course I could have purchased a new one from a multitude of places but it took my dad visiting me back in November and organising it for me to be taking snapshot memories again.

Today marks nine weeks until my job in New York is over, so I thought it would be rather poignant to capture my last moments in the USA daily.

The New York Public Library aka where Carrie got jilted, taken from 5th ave and 42nd

Thursday, 10 January 2013

What Do You Desire?

Somebody shared this on Facebook this evening and the first thing I did when I got in from work was watch it.  It really moved me and when I say moved, I mean I sat alone in my living room and cried a bit.  Which would be the second time I've done that today.  The first was quietly in the kitchen at work.  Sudden realisation of how much I adore living in New York City and how much I don't want life to be dull when I go back to the UK, hit me somewhere in between grabbing a cup and pouring the milk in my tea.

What do I desire?

This question is in the forefront of my mind and so many others, that like me, have been living and working in NYC for a year, soon to be propelled back into our former lives.  What do we want this experience to create for us in our next?

But this question is not only on our minds, it's probably on yours too.  After all, it is January. 

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

2013: In Pursuit of Magic

A year ago I posted about my inspiration, motto's and motivation for 2012.  I don't really believe in New Years resolutions so it was more of a broad example of how I hoped to lead my life last year and I think I succeeded.  I've really let the blog go since March of this year just due to the fact that I have been overwhelmingly busy with my new but shortlived life in NYC.  I am only here for a year so I have really wanted to make the most of it.  But even this is drawing to a close now and I am beginning to think about life post-NYC and as much as I will be sad to say goodbye to this epic city, I'm also intrigued with what is to come next, excited to make a home for myself and absolutely overjoyed to be back amongst the familiar faces of my much missed family and friends.

2013 is set to be another powerful year for me and so I found it incredibly apt that I stumbled across this little phrase on the streets of Brooklyn, right outside the apartment in Dumbo that I was visiting on Christmas Day.  For me it was a sign for what I should aspire 2013 to be like and it is also so incredibly New York to have something like this on a random paving stone, on a random street.

I knew who I was long before I embarked on this experience so this year wasn't so much about self-discovery.  The year was about making the most out of myself and my life and being able to take a massive leap in my career.  I had goals and that's why I'm here in Manhattan right now.  I have however been able to get all my ducks in a row and figure out exactly how I'd like to shape my life, career and also personal life.  I wanted to remind myself and all of you of some of my motivation for this past year from Beyonce's I Was Here.  Which is back on repeat as it was this time last year.  I'll be carrying these two pieces of 2012 with me into 2013 and beyond.  For my readers that still tune in when I very infrequently post, thanks so much for doing so and I hope to be tuning in more often this year.  Here's to a magical 2013 all!

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