Corianna’s City Guide: A Perfect Day in Park Slope

I don’t remember the last time I’ve had a three day weekend that didn’t come attached to an itinerary. This past weekend was one of those unique times. I have the advantage of living in a city with many neighborhoods and boroughs, so it was really just a matter of choosing which one to explore for a staycation. The choice: Park Slope.

Park Slope is located in Brooklyn, and is a suburb of Manhattan. The neighborhood is nestled into neatly packed streets where brownstones line avenues, growing more ornate as they reach up the slope towards Prospect Park. Prospect Park is Brooklyn’s Central Park, though way more manageable in size. There are large fields where families play frisbee, dogs are off-leash and guitar chords echo under limestone bridges.

Corianna Goes XC’s Itinerary for a day in Park Slope: 

You can get to Park Slope by taking the B, Q, 2, 3, F, or G.

Make your way to Union Street and walk through a maze of high value brownstones.

IMG_8786.JPG

IMG_8791.JPG

Head over to grab some fuel for the day and brunch at Rose Water . A prix-fixe brunch menu includes a house made beverage and delectable entree. Below are the bosc pear crepes filled with ricotta cheese. The homemade bread basket was an unexpected treat from the host, too!

IMG_8793.JPGIMG_8789.JPGIMG_8792.JPG

After brunch, it’s time for a Bloody Mary. Before leaving Rose Water, look across the street and marvel at the community grocery co-op then walk towards Union Hall, where you will be cozy in the dimly lit bar warmed by two fireplaces. Enjoy a game of bocce ball while listening to good tunes and sipping your drink.

IMG_8790.JPGIMG_8787.JPGIMG_8788.JPG

After a close game of bocce ball, it’s time to get some fresh air in Prospect Park. On Saturday’s there is a Farmer’s Market towards the entrance. I recommend fresh cheese from Cato Corner Farm.

IMG_8785.JPG

After a walk through the park, you will have a nice dose of suburban living before heading back to Manhattan, or whichever area you hail from. The best part? No waiting in an airport/train station/etc., cause that’s the beauty of a staycation – discovering your own city and its surroundings.

Corianna’s City Guide: Los Angeles

Ah, Los Angeles. The city of angels. Where old cinema glamour meet lights, camera, action. My first trip to LA was spent in heart-shaped sunglasses, marveling at the Hollywood sign, eating amazing food and bathing by the Pacific Ocean.

11391560_3074349228985_3745232032434609244_n

11401223_3074351789049_3349960377672172136_n

11391343_3074356389164_3265660455288725444_n

EAT

So many restaurants, so little time. In a locale where who you know is key, I suggest making reservations. Of course, there’s always In N’ Out.

1238039_3074354789124_84774983885903433_n

Cleo | small Mediterranean plates & fizzy, fruity cocktails. Need I say more?

Joan’s on Third | an artisan market on 3rd, this is a one-stop-shop for tomato mozerella salads, gourmet gummy bears, and Asian chopped chicken salad.

Kettle Glazed | the donut craze on the west coast is a real thing. The cuteness factor, mouthwatering ice coffee, and cakey donuts are worth the trip to this small strip right off of Hollywood Blvd.

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 10.17.44 PM

Gracias Madre | enjoy vegetarian Mexican dishes on an celebrity-strewn outdoor patio, adorned by olive trees.

MILK | by all means, go to MILK. Yes, there will be a line wrapping around the corner. Wait in it. Ice cream sandwich macarons. Cough, my birthday is in November. Can someone ship me one? Indulge in fruity pebbles or grasshopper (mint chocolate chip).

10377068_3074355669146_4686015483862522675_n-1

Sugarfish | Does it get better than salmon nigiri? YES. Well, at least it does at Sugarfish. Order a Trust Me Plate and prepare to be delighted by the feast that you are about to indulge in. Semi-warmed rice with a delicious tangy sauce, seaweed wrapped crab rolls, and specialties served directly from the sushi kitchen will grace your evening, keeping you dreaming of this sushi restaurant and holding it on the highest pedestal.

11393220_3074355189134_1797751078061461596_n

DRINK

No Vacancy | This speakeasy finds home in Charlie Chaplin’s old Hollywood mansion. Enter through the Madame of the House’s bedroom, and after being granted access, find yourself in an atmosphere reminiscent of a party Jay Gatsby himself would host.

11401049_3074353229085_7726850259757956832_n

Bar Marmont | If you can beat em’, join em’. Feel like royalty with a table at Bar Marmont, a glass of bubbly and a slice of olive oil + honey cake.

11407200_3074353749098_7604082912870827839_n

DO

Runyon Canyon | While there are plenty of other hikes in LA, nothing beats the workout that you get at this hot spot. If you are going on a weekend, get there early as parking fills up fast!

11393268_3074354109107_4032330280676424689_n

Hollywood Boulevard |  Classic LA destination. Be sure to take a picture with your favorite star. My faves? Lassie, the Rugrats, and Bing Crosby. While you’re over this way, find the “HOLLYWOOD” sign and the infamous Hollywood Tower of Terror (my favorite Disney ride).

10433103_3074348108957_5054029037700219922_n

The Grove/Farmer’s Market | While I wouldn’t make a special trip to the Grove (it is a glorified mall), the Farmer’s Market in itself is worth the trip.

10325274_3074348948978_4776795378414898220_n

Abbot Kinney | spend a day in Venice and the shops at Abbot Kinney. Grab a lemonade, visit a food truck and get yourself a new record at vinyl.

11392842_3074351589044_6813721894492640162_n

11425094_3074353029080_693511694043268195_n

And of course, don’t forget to blast this song driving down the streets – whether Melrose, Sunset, Hollywood or Mullholland Drive.

XC

Corianna’s City Guide: Paris

For those of you lucky enough to have an upcoming trip to Paris, or for those of you would like an excuse to daydream about time spent in Paris – I invite you to take a trip with me down the grand boulevards, the boat-lined Seine river, the quiet parks, the marble bridges and the noisy street café lined sidewalks, I’d like you take a trip with me to Paris.

13230_2091953069695_1916561573_n

I spent five short months living in Paris during the spring of my junior year in college, and those months continue to fill me with some of the most warming thoughts and memories. Memories of petite children riding scooters to school, speaking French in high pitched voices; memories of quiet, dewy mornings in the park; memories of my bookshelf-lined attic apartment; smells of toasty baguettes and fresh flowers from a nearby stand, of dazzling lights and historical relics from a time of exuberance. If you’ve been to Paris, you love it. It’s impossible not to be infatuated with its metropolitan beauty. Paris is a place you go to fall in love, with a person, with yourself, with a rue, with a café, with a piece of art, with a city.

EAT

Let’s just say I wasn’t living like Marie Antoinette during my time in Paris. My money that would normally be reserved for eating out in the states was reserved for traveling throughout Europe on weekends (though there is no reason to leave Paris). It’s overwhelming to know that although you are in a city with some of the world’s greatest chefs, you won’t be able to make it to to even half of the great restaurants, or even a handful. Do not fret. You’ll be able to get a good meal anywhere in Paris. However, my recommendations for what to not miss are below.

Corianna recommends not missing the following in Paris:

Moules Mariniere
Mousse au chocolat
Pain aux raisins
Emmental cheese crepe
Steak Frites
Cheese, cheese and more cheese
Salted caramel from Normandy
Omelette au fromage
A baguette, fresh from the oven
Kinder Bars
Croque Madame

The list goes on and on…

58444_2091952629684_1582634577_n

L’As du Fallafel | If you find yourself in the Marais, do not miss out on this falafel shop. Chewy pita, crispy falafel and all the fixings bring the lines to this joint. Stand in line or take a seat inside.

Au Rêve | …or a dream. If you are enjoying the historic Montmartre district, be sure to eat at this hilltop café. Serving up delicious specialties such as canard (duck) and homemade glace au chocolat (chocolate ice cream) there is nothing better than sitting outside and watching the day pass by.

575276_2119892048152_673327724_n

Berthillon | The line is worth it – the ice cream doesn’t get better than this. If you can’t wait in the line, go to any of the cafes on Île de-la-Cité, they all serve it. My favorite flavor was fig.

Ladurée tea salon | Ladurée is worth the fuss. They serve macarons so delicate that they melt in your mouth and keep the people lining up. My favorite flavor? Rose.

45710_2119918968825_516581474_n

Have access to a kitchen? Nothing will make you feel more like an American in Paris than buying summer vegetables at a local market and pulling together ratatouille. Julia Child would be proud.

DRINK

Get used to saying “une caraffe de vin (rouge/blanc), s’il vous plait,” to this, you will be given a carafe of the house white or red wine – and trust me…I was never disappointed.

Le Baron Rouge | A small neighborhood wine bar, that is seemingly always packed and serves up delicious wine for 3 euro a glass. There isn’t much room to sit, so people often stand, often overflowing into the street – it’s really one big party.

Les Closeries des Lilas | Ernest Hemmingway’s haunt is nestled in the neighborhood I resided in during my time in Paris. Come here to dance as you scarf down olives, listening to live piano jazz in the background, while drinking an American cocktail with a French twist.

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” – Ernest Hemingway

DO

Museums

Musée de l’Orangerie | My favorite art museum in Paris. There is just the right amount of art from the impressionist period that makes you feel as if you’ve seen a good amount, yet doesn’t overwhelm you. This is where Monet’s water lilies or nymphs are.

602158_2119914768720_1182237276_n

Musée D’Orsay | Another wonderful collection of art. You could easily spend the entire day here.

Catacombs | The Catacombs ran underneath the house I lived in during my time in Paris. They are one-of-a-kind & not for the faint of heart.

Parks

Jardin des Tuileries | Walk from the east to the west of the garden to end your walk with wonderful views of the Tour Eiffel and Place de la Concorde. If it’s nice, bring a picnic (including wine!)

Luxembourg Gardens | Perfect place to get lost. Take your time soaking in the wonderful gardens, moss covered fountains and bronze statues. If it’s warm out, watch children sail their homemade boats in the fountain. If it’s cold, sit at one of several cafes and enjoy a latte.

Parc Montsouris | My neighborhood park. Come here to snack on cheese, get an ice cream cone, read a book or people watch.

942093_2170663797414_123552918_n

See

La Tour Eiffel | I don’t care who you are, when the Eiffel Tower glitters and sparkles on the hour mark, everything is right in the world.

400710_2170614996194_1189996174_n

Louvre | Though not my favorite art collections, the Louvre is not to be missed. Look for the Mona Lisa, and Venus de Milo among many other famous pieces.

Montmartre | Make your way to the north of Paris for spectacular views, and old-Parisian charm. If you get a chance, sneak to the cabaret… I recommend Au Lappin.

577591_2119895008226_1033640519_n

Notre Dame | Enjoy scenic views of the marvelous cathedral from the banks of the Seine.

482334_2119923608941_2090955184_n

The Marais | Touted as the hip neighborhood of Paris, the Marais has a lot to offer – from fun nightlife, to fabulous shops, and Musse Carnavalet. If you find yourself in the Marais, make a stop at L’as du Falafel mentioned above.

Saint-Germain-des-Prés | My favorite neighborhood in Paris. I’m definitely a left bank kind of girl. This is where Paris feels the most like Paris to me. With open air markets, famous cafes, and beaucoup de charm, the 6th arrondissement is not to be missed.

946235_2170630716587_225964335_n

Markets | Do not leave Paris without stopping by a market, if only to inhale the blue cheeses or get a glimpse of fresh rabbit. I urge you to pick up one thing you haven’t had before.

261431_2119922968925_2117889593_n

This list is really just a beginning. On one of my first nights in Paris, my French cousin urged me to “get lost and enter,” and that is what I urge all of you to do as you find your own way through Paris.


I enlisted the help of my Parisian girlfriends that I studied abroad with to lend me their one favorite thing about Paris…the thing is, their one favorite thing turned into a bit more, because no one can decipher that one thing that made them fall in love in the City of Light.

10358571_2922681197379_3095998884596192808_n

Brigitte | Eating bread and drinking wine.

Kate | My dear! You ask me my one favorite thing to do in Paris? Ce n’est pas possible! All things to do, eat, smell and see in Paris are my favorite. And since I hear you already stole away my hidden gem restaurant, Au Rêve, with the best canard in the city, I’ll have to say walking through Montmartre of course. While many tourists say “oh of course,” I don’t mean just sitting with great Nutella ice cream on the steps of the Sacre Coeur. I mean the elegant “other side” of the hill itself. While of course I’m bias, strolls passing famous artists’ such as Piacasso hot spots, seeing young French children play soccer in the street, and the Normandy style homes…It’s my oasis. Just that stroll. On my peaceful walk I would stop in my favorite crêperie in the city, Brocéliande. I don’t mean any crepe, one for those gluten free readers, traveling is hard enough eh? And forget those crêpes on the street , step inside this treasure in the corner of Montmarte and discover wonderful crêpes. Not just the sweet ones, but with eggs, fresh veggies and a cider to top it off. The buckwheat gluten free crêpes were my go to. All in all, taking a stroll is my favorite thing, in Montmartre or getting lost in the rest of the city. That was my favorite thing and still is my favorite thing to do in the whole world.

Kathryn | Waking up early & walking the empty streets as the sun rises from the rive droite to the rive gauche, stopping to get pain au chocolat & taking a bite out of a fresh/hot pastry. Admiring cute, drunken boys on my way to the Marché Raspail just returning home from a night of clubbing. Really taking time to notice people’s expressions & “Je ne sais quoi” — let’s be honest – drinking wine at 11am, drawing & journaling at cafe tables, being leisurely, still, quiet & sexy, wearing cashmere & pretending to be french, smirking at boys from across the café …


392328_2170660077321_2078358609_n

Be sure to check out my Paris tab for more of my favorite things & feel free to ask questions in the comments section below!

Corianna’s City Guide: Charleston

Happy 2015! A new year means change, and for CoriannaGoesXC, this nouveau touch will come in the form of a city guide. Of course, it is only appropriate to start with the first city I fell truly, madly and deeply in love with – Charleston. There were obviously other loves, namely Paris, but, Charleston was the first love that was my own. Like all loves, it started as a crush, as I admired her from afar. Then I visited, and voila! I was hooked. I lived there for four glorious years and have firm plans of returning one day.

So whether you’re just driving through or are spending your honeymoon in Charleston, below are some places where I find myself when in Charleston. Be sure to click the “Charleston” tab on the side bar for further recommendations.

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 3.36.05 PM

EAT

If there is one meal that is quintessentially Charleston, it is brunch. Brunch was made for Charleston. There is something about the smell of the salty air in the morning that says Shrimp n’ Grits.

Hominy Grill | It’s the classic CHS restaurant. Get here early (there will be a line), but be sure to get drinks while you wait on the porch. (I recommend the Planter’s Punch) You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu here, but they are known for the Charleston Nasty (formerly known as the Big Nasty), a piece of fried chicken sandwiched between a southern biscuit and smothered in gravy.

Fat Hen | Located off the peninsula, you won’t regret a drive that transports you to the set of Gone with the Wind. Chef Neuville nods his hat to the French Hugenots that settled the area with a French-fusion menu.

Old Village Post House | An old post house sets the stage for this brunch location. OVPH boasts the classics – omelettes, French toast, oh, and of course fried green tomatoes. If you’re in the area, be sure to stop by Pitt Street Pharmacy for an old fashioned milkshake.

tumblr_mbjcetkx6q1r6ncpn

Lunch & Dinner

When in Charleston, eat seafood. After all, it wouldn’t be a real trip to the Holy City without oysters.

Fleet Landing | Can’t beat the location. Fleet Landing is the one of the only restaurants located on the water, therefore practically guaranteeing some sunset dolphin views, if you sit on the patio. You can’t go wrong with the seafood here.

Obstinate Daughter | My favorite restaurant happens to be on Sullivan’s Island. Everything is delicious. If octopus is on the menu, I dare your to order it, followed by an affogato for dessert.

The Ordinary | This restaurant is touted as the hottest in Charleston, and the hype is legit. Whether you’re ordering their Hawaiian rolls or lobster roll, you won’t be disappointed.

tumblr_inline_msu0275zww1qz4rgp

DRINK

Rarebit | If Moscow Mules, alt music, and good conversation are your thing – you must go here.

The Belmont | Hands down, my favorite 5 o’clock somewhere spot. I dream about bartender/owner Mickey’s Cielo. Juices are hand pressed (with pulp <3) and bitters are homemade. Oh, and film noir projects above you in the candlelit room. Talk about a date night.

Black Tap | But first, coffee. Nothing better than this coffee shop & the almond latte’s that come out of here. Take a window seat for your new favorite Sunday morning spot.

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 3.36.44 PM

Bin 152 | Wanna feel like you’re in France? Easy. Just stop by this rustic wine bar for a bottle of your favorite French wine and a board of cheese.

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 3.36.59 PM

Prohibition | My go to spot. Located a block from my old apartment, you can’t go wrong with the happy hour special here. $4 well drinks, wine and bubbles. Located on King Street, comes with a side of great people watching.

DO

Charleston Farmers Market | The Farmers Market is everything good about this city tucked into one quaint park on seasonal Saturday mornings. Tasty food vendors, artisan craftsmen, lowcountry farmers and artists alike bring out the best of the best to share with locals and visitors.

Charleston City Market | If you’re visiting Charleston, you can’t miss this novelty. Read further here for a post I wrote for the Charleston Place Hotel (which btw, is a magnificent place to stay while visiting) Pick up a carriage ride here, my favorite way to see the city. Not only do you learn something different from each guide, but you get to see the city at a slower, more leisurely pace.

Beaches | There are three defined beaches in Charleston. They each have their own flavor.

Sullivan’s Island – my absolute favorite beach in Charleston. Walk to the beach through grassy backyards and houses that make you feel like you’re in the Hamptons, to a beach where you will normally end up bumping into a few friends.

Folly Beach – The “college” beach. Come here if you’re looking for a good time, especially around the 4th of July.

Isle of Palms – A bit more residential, this beach is a vacationer’s paradise.

King Street | Shop along King Street for your favorite retail stores, but also for some one-of-a-kind boutiques and antique shops. The second Sunday of every month, “Second Sunday” is where all vendors bring their shops to the street! The street becomes pedestrian-friendly while you casually stroll to your favorite shops.

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 3.36.21 PM

The Battery | And lastly, my absolute favorite thing to do in Charleston – walk. Charleston is one of the most walkable cities, and there is always something amazing that will catch your eye; it could be a fountain in a hidden garden or a Carolopolis award denoting the historical importance of an antebellum mansion. See here for a blog post I wrote for Charleston Place.

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 3.37.28 PM

#ForTheInsta: The most photographed area in Charleston? It’s a toss up between picturesque rainbow row and the pineapple fountain, but my pick is below for obvious reasons #ProudAlumni

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 10.14.38 PM

You can’t go wrong in Charleston. I could go on for days about all parts of this city that made me fall in love, but I will leave some work up to your own heart.