4 Days Exploring NYC With The City's Newest Resident

A couple months ago, my younger sister Adrian moved to Brooklyn, NY! She’s been in the theater world for her entire life, so she decided to give it a go in the best city to become a play actress. We’ve always lived in the same state, but now that she seems so far away, I immediately planned a visit. I wanted to go before it got too cold (I can’t do the snow…) and October was the perfect time of year. Keep reading for photos from my trip and a mini travel guide of the cutest spots in the city!

xo Carm

brooklyn nyc
brooklyn nyc
brooklyn nyc
brooklyn nyc

Day 1

I flew into NYC and took a cab to Adrian’s townhouse in Bed-Stuy Brooklyn. She lives on the 3rd floor and her apartment has so much charm and character. It’s got the tiniest kitchen ever, but two of the most beautiful marble fireplaces!

We headed into Manhattan and stopped by the Free People in SoHo where Adrian works before walking to By Chloe, a vegan fast-casual restaurant with the cutest branding. I got the Guac Burger which consisted of a black bean / quinoa / sweet potato patty, guacamole, corn salsa, lettuce, tomato, tortilla strips, and chipotle aioli on a whole grain bun. YUM — I’m craving it again just thinking about it!

After dinner, we walked around the corner to the Glossier showroom. It’s located in the penthouse of a nondescript building and was an explosion of millennial pink. Adrian, who is a self-proclaimed “no makeup” girl, got really into it and ended up trying almost every product and buying two of their new eyeshadows! I stocked up on some Boy Brow and bought a peachy shade of Cloud Paint blush.

glossier nyc
by chloe nyc
glossier nyc

Day 2

We started the day with brunch at the cutest little spot called Egg Shop. I got a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich and a morning mule to drink. Adrian got an open-faced sandwich with eggs and ricotta and a negroni to drink. Yummm.

egg shop nyc
egg shop nyc
egg shop nyc
egg shop nyc
egg shop nyc

After brunch, we walked around the shopping area in Williamsburg. I’ve been dying to visit this shop that I follow on Instagram called Leif Shop, so we popped in there and it was so much fun getting to see it in person. From there, we stopped by Aesop — where Adrian bought the best smelling hand lotion — and the Mast chocolate shop where they were literally making chocolate behind the counter! We also stumbled upon the cutest independent book store called McNally Jackson and the coolest ceramics shop called Mociun.

leif shop nyc
aesop nyc
mast chocolate nyc
mcnally jackson books nyc
mociun nyc
mociun nyc

We took a water taxi to the intersection of Washington St and Water St in DUMBO to take photos in front of the quintessential Brooklyn backdrop. I guess word spreads fast because there were about 50 other people there taking photos as well! Afterwards, we stopped by Milk Bar and got a scoop of cereal milk soft serve ice cream. To be honest, it wasn’t quite as delicious as I was expecting, but I am a notoriously picky eater! I will say though, that the dessert itself was as cute as ever.

Adrian got us tickets to see an off Broadway show that evening called “School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play,” and it was SO good! It was a super small, all-female cast and they had us laughing and crying the entire time. After the show, we walked to a hot pink-themed, Italian restaurant called Pietro Nolita. It ended up being one of the best meals we had on my entire trip! Adrian got the Violetta to drink — lavender vodka, elderflower, lemon, honey — and I tried the Nolitarita — tequila, mezcal, hibiscus red chili, lime, orange — and the Rosa — vodka, aperol, lemon, orange, prosecco. For dinner, Adrian had the homemade gnocchi with lamb ragu and parmesan and it was AMAZING. I had the spaghetto al pomodoro and we split the grilled brussels sprouts because we couldn’t resist!

dumbo nyc
milk bar nyc
dumbo nyc
milk bar nyc
pietro nolita nyc
pietro nolita nyc

Day 3

We went to one of my favorite places Jack’s Wife Freda for breakfast. I got the eggs benedict that had a hot pink, beet hollandaise sauce and Adrian got a grilled chicken sandwich and french fries. After breakfast, we spent the afternoon in SoHo stopping by different shops. We checked out Artists & Fleas, which is like a marketplace-style shop for local makers and artists in NYC, and stumbled upon the cutest dog store called Wild One. Our treat of the day was grabbing a scoop of edible cookie dough in a cone from Cookie Do. It was SO good, but get a small when you order — I love cookies / cookie dough more than the average girl and even I couldn’t finish it!

jack's wife freda nyc
jack's wife freda nyc

Later that day, I met up with Hillary and we went to Color Factory. She moved to NYC after we graduated college and I haven’t seen her in about two years so we had so much fun catching up. Color Factory is like this experiential museum with little activities, photo opps, and yummy snacks all throughout the way. It was so much fun to explore.

color factory nyc
color factory nyc
color factory nyc
color factory nyc
color factory nyc
color factory nyc
color factory nyc
color factory nyc
color factory nyc

Day 4

Before flying out on my last day in NYC, Adrian and I spent the afternoon walking around the MoMA. My favorite pieces were definitely the Matisse paintings — I especially loved this one called “Goldfish and Sculpture” — but there was also this super cool exhibit of town mockups made out of paper. After lots of walking, we grabbed some fresh pasta before I headed out. It was the perfect way to wrap up my trip to NYC.

moma nyc
moma nyc
moma nyc
moma nyc
moma nyc
moma nyc
moma nyc
moma nyc
moma nyc
moma nyc

5 Days In Paradise: Our Trip To Tulum!

This spring has been crazy packed with activities and work, and after a few months of go, go, going, a girl needs a break! So a couple weeks ago, Bryce and I took a few days off and headed south of the border to Tulum, Mexico. We spent five days in the jungle and on the beach of Quintana Roo and it was sooo relaxing. Keep reading for photos from our trip and details of what we did!

xo Carm

papaya playa project // tulum, mexico
papaya playa project // tulum, mexico
papaya playa project // tulum, mexico
papaya playa project // tulum, mexico

Day 1

We got lucky with a nonstop flight from Austin to Cancun. A couple hours later and we met up with our driver at the airport. Tulum is about a 2 hour drive south of Cancun and our hotel arranged for their staff to pick us up. We stayed at Papaya Playa Project and it was such a dream! After checking in, we were led through the property to our room. The paths throughout the property are carved right into the jungle landscape! Our room was a little adobe hut tucked into the trees with it's own ocean-front patio. It was the perfect size for two people with a comfy bed, small closet, and rainwater shower in the bathroom.

After unpacking and changing clothes, we walked over to the hotel restaurant for drinks and dinner. All of the hotel amenities (lobby, restaurant, bar) are all outside, so we were definitely one with nature. We got two delicious cocktails that we ended up drinking practically the entire trip. Mine was called the Map Tulum and was a combination of mezcal, pineapple juice, and a few other things, and Bryce got the Oh My Margarita which was pretty much just a margarita with mezcal instead of tequila. We became OBSESSED with mezcal by the end of this trip. I've had a few mezcal cocktails here in Austin, but they just don't make 'em like they do in Mexico. For dinner we had black bean crab cakes, deconstructed elotes (one of our favorite dishes of the entire trip), and chips and salsa. It was sooo refreshing and sooo good.

papaya playa project // tulum, mexico
papaya playa project // tulum, mexico
papaya playa project // tulum, mexico
papaya playa project // tulum, mexico

Day 2

It stormed hard allll night, but by the time we got going the next morning, the rain had cleared. We walked over to the restaurant for our daily "jungle breakfast"! Every morning we had the same thing and it was sooo delicious -- a bagel with cream cheese and avocado or salmon, a plantain flour pancake with strawberry jam, and scrambled eggs with black beans, onions, and peppers. Honestly, I could eat this meal for breakfast every single day for the rest of my life and be happy.

After looking at the weather radar, we were expecting storms and rainy weather for the majority of our stay, but once we finished our breakfast, the sun started to come out! We made our way down to the beach club and staked out a spot with a puffy bed, two bean bag chairs, and a coffee table. We spent the rest of the day basking in the sun. For lunch, we had tacos from the hotel and I ate a grilled octopus taco and actually liked it!!! Can you believe that?!

For dinner, we decided to venture out from our hotel and go to a restaurant down the road called Posada Margherita for Italian food in Mexico, ha! Our meal was soooo good. We had handmade pasta, fresh bread, and a bottle of chilled rosé. Simple and delicious.

papaya playa project // tulum, mexico
papaya playa project // tulum, mexico
papaya playa project // tulum, mexico
papaya playa project // tulum, mexico
posada margherita // tulum, mexico
posada margherita // tulum, mexico

Day 3

It rained hard all night again but by noon it was sunny! The storm brought in a LOT of seaweed on the beach but the hotel did a great job of getting it cleaned up. The water was still a little rough, but we swam for a while because you can't go to Mexico and not swim in the ocean!

Later, we headed out for a late lunch at a hotel down the street called Mi Amor. All the hotels in Tulum are on the same street and super close to each other, so we had fun popping around to different spots. It was so cool getting to check out the other hotels because they all had such different vibes. Unlike our jungle/treehouse-style hotel, Mi Amor was sleek and modern with bright decor and an infinity pool. We sat by the pool and had cocktails and another one of the best meals EVER! We got grilled shrimp, beef tacos, roasted chicken, and parmesan fries (because I couldn't resist!).

papaya playa project // tulum, mexico
papaya playa project // tulum, mexico
papaya playa project // tulum, mexico
papaya playa project // tulum, mexico
mi amor // tulum, mexico
mi amor // tulum, mexico

Day 4

Our last full day in Tulum! Once a month, Papaya Playa has a big party called the Full Moon Party and tonight was the night! The staff was setting up for the party all day and you could tell they were sooo excited. Apparently it's one of the biggest parties in Tulum and they were expecting about 200 people to come out!

We got another beach day in and then headed out to grab cocktails at a hotel called Casa Malca. It used to be Pablo Escobar's house! The owner of the hotel is an art collector and had amazing art and sculptures scattered throughout the property. Right at the entrance, there's a spiral staircase that leads to a rooftop deck where you can see the ocean on your right and the jungle on your left for miles! The sunset up there was beautiful. Bryce is obsessed with the artist Keith Haring and Casa Malca is home to the infamous Keith Haring bar so we had to stop in for a drink. When it started to get dark, we headed back to Papaya Playa and had a late dinner at the restaurant overlooking the beach. People were starting to arrive for the party (which went from 9 PM to 4 AM!) and the DJ was playing some very Tulum tunes (think tropical house music). We hung out at the bar and restaurant as the party got started and then headed to bed before things got too crazy!

Day 5

We woke up and had one last jungle breakfast before heading to the airport. We honestly were expecting to be stuck inside all day every day because of the gloomy weather, so we were so glad that we actually got a few sunny days in paradise! And to be honest, the clouds brought in a strong breeze that made the humidity that people often talk about in Tulum feel nonexistent. We can't wait to go back again someday. Tulum was the perfect escape for a little adventure and a lot of relaxation.

casa malca // tulum, mexico
papaya playa project // tulum, mexico
casa malca // tulum, mexico
papaya playa project // tulum, mexico