Sunday, September 4, 2016

NYC: 3 Day Itinerary

Hello friends! I was lucky enough to visit New York (my favorite place in the world) for three days a few weeks ago. The city can be quite overwhelming because there are so many places to go and things to do but with some careful planning, you'll be able to make it everywhere you want to. I'm not a New York expert, but hopefully you'll gain some inspiration from how I organized my trip.

Day 1
Morning: Central Park



Afternoon: Upper East Side

Take some time to stroll through the Upper East Side and channel your inner Gossip Girl (click for my Gossip Girl Guide to New York). Visit Laduree for afternoon tea and macarons, browse the luxurious shops (don't miss Tiffany's on Fifth, my personal favorite!).

Evening: Dinner and Times Square
Dress up for dinner and enjoy Times Square in all its glory!

Day 2

Morning: West Village and Soho
These are two lovely neighbourhoods no one should miss. Visit Carrie Bradshaw's apartment and the building featured in friends in the West Village. You'll also find Magnolia here, try their famous banana pudding. I know it sounds weird but it's SO good. Enjoy the shops and art of Soho and don't forget to explore the side streets!



Afternoon: Wall Street and Brooklyn Bridge

Take a stroll over to Wall Street, enjoy it's glory and don't forget to go inside Trinity Church, the architecture is stunning. Take a photo with the Bull before walking to Brooklyn Bridge. It can take a while to cross but the views are stunning.



Evening: Quick dinner and a Broadway show

On the way back from Brooklyn Bridge we got a quick dinner at Champion Pizza (some of the best pizza I've ever had). We were a bit tight for time but we got back to the hotel and got ready to see Finding Neverland. If you get the chance, I highly recommend seeing a show while you're there, it'll be like anything you've ever seen!

Day 3
Morning: Breakfast at Tiffany's and Photos at Pulitzer Fountain

Breakfast at Tiffany's is one of my all-time favorite movies so having a croissant and coffee outside the store was a must for me. After we headed to Pulitzer Fountain to take some Gossip Girl inspired photos. We also had a late brunch before checking out of the hotel room.




Afternoon: Classic New York Attractions
We had a couple more things to see before we left so we headed to the Empire State Building, the New York Public Library, Flat Iron Building, Dylan's Candy Bar and Grand Central before heading home.









Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Gossip Girl guide to NYC



Spotted: S at the Palace, B at Laduree, Lonely Boy Grand Central and Chuck at the Empire. Want to live like your favorite characters in NYC? Read on for the most popular locations on Gossip Girl so you can visit and create a scandal of your own.

1. Lotte New York Palace - 455 Madison Ave

The Palace is where Serena's family lives temporarily in season one and is also the site of many gatherings of our favorite people. Can you even count the number of times you've heard "drinks at the Palace" on Gossip Girl? I doubt it. The Palace is also where the debutante ball took place. Look out for the golden interior and the gorgeous courtyard that are both featured quite frequently in the show.



Spotted: S&B gazing out the window at the Palace. Who are they waiting for?

If you get the chance to stay at the Palace, look for Maurice. He works there and knows all the spots in the Palace that were used for Gossip Girl, if you're nice, he'll even give you a tour.

2. Constance Billard (Museum of the City of New York) - 1220 5th Ave

Constance Billard is the prep school the girls of the show attended, but you already knew that. While the building is not actually a private school, it is a museum and you are free to take photos of as many re-enactments as you like. If you can't make it there, Google Maps has a great 360 view of the front of it.

3. Pulitzer Fountain - 746 5th Ave, New York

You'll find Pulitzer Fountain at the south-east corner of Central Park, in front of the Plaza hotel. It was used in season one as Serena and Blair's backdrop as they photographed their way through Central Park in Eleanor's stolen dresses.




4. Met Steps - 1000 5th Ave

This is a must-see for any Gossip Girl fanatic. The steps of the Met are the centre of the mean girl drama at Constance Billard. I don't think any further explanation is needed, grab your besties and snap and pic.

5. Grand Central Station - 89 E 42nd St

Ah, Grand Central, where it all began. You'll see this at the start of the very first episode, Serena looking longingly over the side of the gorgeous balcony and Lonely Boy down at the bottom, as usual.



6. Sunday Brunch 

Life on the Upper East Side wouldn't be complete without brunch. There are lots of cute cafes you can go to for a good mimosa and frittata. 


Spotted: S&B brunching. Wonder what they were up to last night.

7. Empire Hotel - 44 W 63rd St

Chuck's hotel exists in real life, glowing red sign and all. It was established in 1889. Calling all Blair wannabes, that iconic sign is waiting for you.


xoxo, 

gossip girl







Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Camping tips for first timers! - Photo diary

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Hello and welcome to HALECTRONA.

Killbear Provincial Park, near Parry Sound, Ontario, is the one of the most beautiful places scenic places to go camping. My family has gone every year since I was a little kid and for good reason.

My first tip for you is to come prepared for ANY weather. We were caught in a crazy bout of rain and had little idea how to handle it without our parents. 
  • When you first set up your campsite, set up a few tarps (bring lots of extra rope!) over a picnic table and over the fire so that even if it rains, you can sit outside instead of in a stuffy tent. 
  • Put your clothes in the car. We left ours in our tent, which leaked in the corners and all over clothes were left soaked or damp at the least. We were lucky to be able to dry our clothes at the facilities in the campground, otherwise I have no idea what we would have done
  • Bring lots of warm clothes to wear at night, you'll want to stay cozy after dark and keep bugs away
Secondly, organize your food well. Try to keep one cooler for meats only, one for drinks and for produce. It saves you from having to throw out anything thats contaminated by meat that has melted (make sure you pre-freeze anything you won't eat on the first night!).
  • Freeze plastic waterbottles instead of buying ice, they'll last longer
  • Bring lots of snacks. Include fresh fruit to bring to the beach, trail mix and protein bars
  • Bring potatoes and wrap them in tin foil. Throw them in the fire for some delicious baked potatoes (trust me, you'll thank me)

Find a nice place to watch the sunset. At Killbear, the cliffs at Harolds Point (pictured above) have the perfect view. Be prepared for a crowd, but don't worry, it'll be beautiful nonetheless. Also, if you do go to Killbear, Harolds Point has cliff jumping that you can during the day, definitely drop by!


Bring good company! This way even if it rains and it feels like everything you own is wet, you'll enjoy every second ;)

Do you have a go-to camping spot? Comment below where yours is!

Thanks for reading,

Hillary







Friday, August 12, 2016

HIDDEN GEM: SORELLE AND CO. COFFEE, TEA AND CLASS


Hello and welcome to HALECTRONA.

It's so easy to fall into a trap of thinking that you can only find cool places, whether scenic or just cool to hang out at, far from home. I know I do quite often, and I am so wrong.

I have a friend who really enjoys trying new places to grab a bite to eat or a drink. So when a new cafe opened in a plaza near her house she insisted that we had to try it. Of course I went with her because I love tea and treats and her company. In a community that thrives entirely on Tim Hortons and Starbucks, I wasn't expecting much.



Sorelle and Co. is a beautiful cafe built inside an old heritage home. They did an amazing job creating a classy, elegant, shiny and beautiful place. Everything inside felt glamorous. From the sparkling chandeliers to the regal chairs and tables, it was gorgeous. 

The best part about Sorelle and Co.: it's completely gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, preservative-free and vegan. It's unbelievable. They are able to create gorgeous and delicious treats while staying inside some of the most common dietary restrictions.


My friend got the coconut cupcake and cappuccino while I got a blueberry scone and tea. My scone was perfect. It was just the right texture with the right flavour. My friend's cupcake had a mountain of icing that tasted just like buttercream. For a while, I forgot that everything was vegan, it was so hard to tell!

Overall, this cafe has a 5/5 rating. It's only opened a few weeks ago but I can tell it'll be a winner.

If you're interested in visiting Sorelle and Co., the address is 1050 Rutherford Road, Vaughan, Ontario.
Check out their website here: http://sorelleandco.com/

Hillary