Rainy Day Ideas: Jersey City

rainy_day

ART GALLERIES! Almost every hot spot on the block in Jersey City is featuring works of local artists on their walls. Or on their buildings, or had a wall made in their shop, or hosted shows in historic buildings. But there is more in art homes: Mana Contemporary, Art House Productions, Panepinto Galleries, Jersey City Art School, Hewes Art Center, etc. Add yours in the comments section.

PAGE-TURNER READS! Finish a book in a day!  Kill me Janet Evanovich or—the owner of my childhood homeHarlan Coben. And Lawrence Sanders. All my summer reads. Even sitting at…

COFFEE & TEA LOCALES! Is it just me or is people-watching at Vogue CafeDames Coffee Espresso Bar, Dulce de LecheMod Cup Coffee, Sam a.m., Beechwood CafeTea NJBWE, Lackawanna, The CliffShort GrainChoc-O-Pain (who is opening yet another location on Palisade Ave.), Congress Station, Ground Connectionand a plethora of other places in this city just so fun? I mentally write a story about each person that passes by.

MAKE OUT IN THE RAIN! I am guilty guilty guilty of this. No lover? Just being caught in thunderstorms with friends can brew creativity. Staying dry tactics, protecting clothes or electronics, what now? It’s an opportunity to learn. Dance in the rain, run in the rain (if it’s not a thunderstorm; safety first), puddle hop. Rain can be refreshing and freeing. Added bonus for allergies: it cleans the air.

PAINT IT OUT, OR COLOR! If Cork & Canvas is booked, you have adults and kids coloring books. (My faves for this occasion are Four Seasons by Aiko Fukawa & Barbie’s Spring Into Style). Just get the right pencils for the former and the gel metallic crayons for the latter. Materials make a difference! Or make a vision board out of magazine pictures. Or make something, anything! You have everything you need in your house to create. Look around and get creative.

HOME SPA: Scrubs, facemasks, manis, pedis and massages. My fave products:
Arbonne Awaken Sea Salt Scrub. This has changed my life (or really, that of my hands and feet)
Freeman’s Avocado & Oatmeal Face Mask
Rid Redness & Acne
Hair treatments
Homemade body scrub for skin

ORGANIZE: Cleaning out a drawer or a closet can be a relaxing ritual. Start with a small space so you don’t get overwhelmed, and then either be motivated to tackle bigger spaces or be inspired to do something else by something you find. If you have a creative mind, the act of it and the finding of something you forgot about will trigger some greats ideas. I promise!

MAD LIBS: Hey, you can play by yourself!

CARDS: Again, you can always play solitaire. If you need competition, I will beat you at spit any day. Try me.

SPEAKING OF CARDS: Buy some nice stationery and bring the handwritten note back! Who doesn’t love mail? Put some real effort and thought into those you love. Or get real with Hold Fast Industries (read my article in the Jersey City Independent this summer).

LISTEN TO MUSIC: Create a new playlist if you like anything for your next outdoor workout in sunnier skies. I’m all about Beyonce’s Lemonade right now, as if I wasn’t about everything Bey anyway for all of time. But now that Google Music has bought Songza, you have no excuse to hear an extreme variety of unsolicited music around the world and in your own backyard. They just #catertoyou.

HELLO! SPORTS: Put that new playlist to use while lifting weights at BLINK or stairclimbing at BASE. Then there’s indoor swimming at Pershing Field, the Local Barre and HipFit classes with Laura in the Brunswick Center.

BUY LOCAL, BE UNIQUE: Vintage: How Very or Another Man’s Treasure. For boutique, Vivi Girl Shop and Tia’s, of course.

MOVIES & SHOPPING: I not a huge fan of either, but I’ve found in my most stressed-out times, escaping to the Newport Mall just to walk around, (and maybe buy pretty, frilly things & specialty items at Sephora, Vicky’s and Lush) or—more recently—going to its newly renovated Loews AMC has actually helped me rejuvenate.

MOVIES AGAIN! OnDemand, Netflix and Redbox.

 

YAAAAS, I did. Enjoy,
JCG

 

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We Heart Coffee

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Resident Renee Lucas asked me about my favorite coffee shops, and I thought this required a post rather than a simple response.

While I have yet to try every spot (most independent shops are far from my house), I asked my trusted friend and 20-year resident of JC to help me create the list.

Here are is our collective answer:

Beechwood Cafe: Nothing, nothing beats their inviting ambiance on a cold winter day. Lots of bright light, very friendly servers if you sit on the restaurant side, which I recommend you do, and that very special feeling when your hot chocolate or latte arrives in an oversize mug with beautiful designs on top. I was here on one of the saddest days of my life last year, but I couldn’t help but smile.

Gia Gelato: This neighborhood spot has a variety of different coffees (as well as food and gelato). I’ve had regular over ice and a cafe mocha. Both were standard. While I haven’t tried the food, I hear it’s good, and the two gelatos I had here were lovely. GG also has “punch cards,” so your 10th coffee (or gelato) is free.

Mod Cup Coffee: While MC has a brick-and-mortar location on Palisade Ave., still has its wheels (follow them @modcupcoffee on twitter for locations), I think we all died over Travas’ British accent and his explanation of the importance of fresh coffee beans (imported from the source and brewed within 18 days) at the farmer’s market. Truly unique and very, very good.

Choc-O-Pain: The latte, pastries made on site and the quiche are winners according to the several who voted this French bakery and Cafe with various locations in Hudson County. The cozy atmosphere and nice art only add to the appeal. One commenter said: Their chocolate pastry “soothes the soul.”

Vogue Cafe

Dames Coffee Espresso Bar

Dulce de Leche: Whether a weekday or weekend, Dulce de Leche always has a good crowd. Beyond excellent coffee, a wide pastry selection, grab-and-go items and did we say delectable desserts??, the bakery’s lunch menu allows those who want to take advantage of wi-fi and ample seating to work through the hour sustained.

Lackawanna: The super bright ambiance and friendly baristas help you begin your morning and carry out your day. With ample seating and a beautiful backyard, many of Jersey City’s self-employed residence use thier as their office for the day.

The Cliff: The newest addition to the Heights, The Cliff offers a variety of drinks that are extremely customizable due to a plethora of dairy and non-dairy products and range of sweeteners. Also, for what they lack in indoor space, they have a cozy back deck – no other place in the area has a backyard.

Short Grain

Congress Station: The first coffee shop to open in the Heights in years (sparking others to open locations here), Congress offers a neat variety of coffee and espresso drinks. Good for on-the-go, as there are a few seats inside and out.

Ground Connection: Bringing back old school styles of brewing, GC expertly weighs and measures every single shot and cup to get a blend perfectly balanced for your personal preferences.

Sam A.M.: This place gets a lot of buzz, but since I don’t know anyone personally who’s been here, I’d just say enter at your own risk. Update: Read about my great visit here!

What are your suggestions, Jersey City? Let me know in the comments section.

Let’s get caffeinated,
JCG

 

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Comfort Food for Cloudy Days

cozystormOh the overcast sky, the chilly nip in the air, the fear of imminent Hurricane Joaquin…

All reminds us that Fall is well under way in Jersey City, which means that right now, your body craves snuggly comfort foods.

Thank goodness Jersey City has an endless supply of places to satisfy that need.

Click on the below links for my reviews of restaurants/cafes that cater to comfort on every level.

Sam A.M. Cafe

More Cafes

Skinner’s Loft

Park & Sixth

Laico’s

Union Republic

9th and Coles

Pizza Masters

Iron Monkey

Jersey Girls Village Food Tour Spots

GP’s

Abbey’s Pub

Rizzo’s Pizza and Bakery

There are so many awesome restaurants in Jersey City. I’ve covered plenty more than these on my (this) site, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Foursquare/Swarm and for the Jersey City Independent’s magazine and website.

These are just picks for our impending weather.

And, if disaster strikes you and not me, do stop by and do refuel here as many did during Sandy.

Be well and warm on,
JCG

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