Coming Soon to Instagram

Capitalizing on our society's need for constant change - not to mention cute things to Instagram - Starbucks is coming out with spring pastel cups this week.

Sign me up! Each fall, I count the days until the release of the latest "red cup" designs for the holidays. As someone who sets up the Christmas tree really early, I love that they get on board fairly early in the season.

Sure - it's all marketing. I freely confess that it works on me. I'm gonna buy my coffee somewhere, so why not sip it from a cute cup?

I am looking forward to picking up my venti black decaf in a mint green or turquoise cup - which will show up nicely against the snow that piles up from the blizzard that is forecast to hit New York City this week.

Does anyone else admit to getting on board with the hype of these seasonal cups? Does it make you buy more coffee or influence where you buy it?

* All photos from Starbucks.

Sunday Stories: Grammy Night, Broadway Toilets, and the Most Relaxing Song in the World

Welcome to the day of the year that I feel most uncool: Grammy Sunday.  Just my use of the word "uncool" proves my point, right?  Although a media and celebrity news junkie, when watching the show, I always realize how clueless I am about so many of the nominated songs and artists.

We went to a Broadway show last night.  And it's about time someone started thinking about how hard it is to go at a Broadway show.

Who knew? Wearing superhero costumes can be beneficial for a child's development. 

Snow days in New York City are the best days.

I can spend hours dreaming over the New York Times Travel section's "36 Hours" column.  But this week's tour of Brooklyn?  We can make that happen.

Major Vogue cover photoshop fail. How could you miss this

As a public service - and continuing justification for my coffee habit (black decaf only, please) - I share yet another study about the health benefits of drinking coffee.

And back to the topic of music:  Is this really the most relaxing song in the world?  If you listen, let me know what you think.  I haven't actually heard the entire thing.  I played it when we went to bed the other night - and was asleep before it ended.

Have a lovely - and relaxing -  week! 

Sunday Stories

Whew!  What a news week.  I don't know about you, but I'm kind of exhausted.

Not surprisingly, I am a media junkie, consuming news from TV, print and online.  Wherever you are on the political spectrum, you've probably had your fill this week.  So, in keeping with my Sunday theme of keeping everything positive, here are a few stories of interest from the last week.

A look at Michelle Obama's fashion legacy.

Photo from Associated Press.

Photo from Associated Press.

And in the interest of equal time from the same reporter - a look at Friday's Inaugural fashions.

So apparently, many couples (excluding yours truly) battle over bookshelf space in their homes.  Seriously?

None of these tips on getting sleep on airplanes works for me - but maybe they will for you.

I continue to believe all studies that demonstrate health benefits of drinking coffee.

Have a lovely week!


Brunch at the Museum

Mother's Day is not a day we typically dine out, since restaurants and cafes are even more crowded than usual.  But since we had a mid-afternoon event on the Upper West Side yesterday, we decided to have brunch after church at Caffè Storico, a charming Italian restaurant housed in the New-York Historical Society.

While people around us treated their moms and grandmas to brunch, we celebrated our moms in this gorgeous setting.  (Those chandeliers!  The mile-high ceilings!)

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 Photo from  Caffè Storico

Photo from Caffè Storico

I ate (every bite of) this (perfectly) crisp potato and horseradish cake topped with yogurt, a small mountain of smoked salmon and thinly-sliced cucumbers.  Scott's pasta with slow-cooked pork and sage had a light dusting of lemon zest that made all of the flavors explode.

We capped off our meal by trying two desserts.  Scott got a thick slice of banana bread, covered with a creamy layer of walnut and espresso mascarpone.  My Nutella crepe of chocolate and hazelnut was topped with orange syrup and preserved oranges.  While Scott gave a thumbs up to the banana bread (I am allergic to bananas, so rely on his review), the crepe was the definitely winner.  Each was big enough to share, especially if you want just a little something sweet with your coffee after a meal.

And speaking of coffee, from our table, I could see the busy baristas constantly grinding coffee beans, making some of the best coffee I have ever had.  Strong, dark and flavorful - and that was the decaf. 

Whether you are visiting the Historical Society - or seeing the dinosaurs at the Museum of Natural History across the street - this place is worth the stop just for the coffee and crepe.

Caffè Storico, 170 Central Park West (at 77th Street)

Upper East Guide: Yorkafe

Scott and I frequently walk by Yorkafe, which sits just off York Avenue on 83rd Street, but had never popped in until recently.  On a chilly but sunny weekend, we stopped to warm up during an afternoon stroll. 

One step inside, and it was clear this place could become a habit.   A varied menu, colorful brick walls, vintage mirrors, and an eclectic soundtrack ranging from Spanish music to jazz tunes straight out of a Woody Allen movie. 

While the café is tiny, on a warm day you can linger over your coffee on the bright red bench out front, or snag a spot on the bench that wraps around this tree on the sidewalk.  These are also great spots for your dog to wait while you grab your coffee and food.  Scott snapped this photo while I was dreaming away in one of only six seats in the café. 

Adding to the afternoon's charm was an (adorable!) three year old in a princess dress who, accompanied by her mom, pulled up on her pink and purple scooter.  She gave an enthusiastic review of her chocolate cheesecake brownie - "that's a lot of chocolate!" she announced repeatedly.

To accompany your afternoon coffee, if you prefer a small sweet treat or pastry - instead of a muffin the size of a softball - this is the place.  From the aforementioned brownie to the cranberry or butter scones (my choice), several were perfectly sized for a snack.  Since the pastries are from Balthazar - from small sweets to the meal-sized muffins and flaky croissants - every option seems like a good one.

After perusing the small but varied menu, I stopped by a few days later for lunch.  An adorable café with amazing pastries and savory panini, Yorkafe is a great stop any time of day. 

Yorkafe, 501 East 83rd Street (between York Avenue and East End Avenue)