February 22, 2019

Alexa's Adventures #14 | Book Events, Dessert Dates & Other Outings

It's been months since the last time I talked about my life adventures (and it makes me sad that I missed out on sharing my holiday outings, but hey, December is busy in real life and there's always this year for that)! I thought it was high time I did a little catch-up on these personal posts, so I'll be talking about what I've been up to so far this 2019 in today's trip down memory lane.

The Gilded Wolves event at Barnes and Noble on 86th St
I was so excited that my first official book event for the year was to celebrate a book I'd already read and loved - The Gilded Wolves. Rachel & I made the trek up to the Upper East Side, hanging out a bit with Emma and DJ prior to the start of the event. Kristin was actually the moderator for the panel featuring Roshani Chokshi, Melissa Albert and Shannon Chakraborty, and she did an amazing job! The ladies all had such thoughtful answers to all of the questions, and it made me an even bigger fan of each author. It was lovely to see Roshani after so many years - she's still as wonderful as ever!

The Wicked King event at The Strand 
January's next book event was for yet another book I'd already read and loved - The Wicked King, sequel to last year's The Cruel Prince. Rachel was away for a work trip and couldn't join us, but Lili, Kristin and I met up at Saigon Market to have dinner prior to arriving just at the start of the event. Holly was a delightful speaker, as always, and she constantly entertains and inspires me whenever I hear her talk at events. It was a real treat to see her again!

King of Scars event at The Strand
I got to close out the month by celebrating the release of King of Scars. Kristin, DJ, Rachel and I all met up to have dinner together at Saigon Market before heading on over to the Strand to join the huge crowd in attendance for this event. Though we wound up standing through the Q&A portion and as we waited for our group number to be called, we had a really good time. Leigh has always been an author I look forward to seeing, because she's eloquent, funny and so encouraging! 

Maggie Stiefvater's Portraits & Dreams Seminar + Books of Wonder Signing
On the first Saturday of February, DJ & I attended a five-hour writing workshop hosted by Maggie Stiefvater. It was a really cool experience, and I definitely walked away with a fresh perspective on writing and inspired to really dig down deep and start working on things again. After her seminar, Maggie had arranged to do an event at Books of Wonder, which I attended with Kristin (and we dragged Macky and Andrew with us too).

The Art of Losing event at McNally Jackson
It's always surreal to me to be able to say that I'm friends with an author, but in this case, it's totally true! I was happy to be able to turn up and support Lizzy Mason on the release day of her debut novel, The Art of Losing. It was really cool to hear more about Lizzy's mindset and inspiration for the story, as well as her writing journey, and I was so excited to be able to hold a finished copy of her book. I also got to hang out with Lili, DJ and Rachel at MacBar beforehand and while we were waiting in line, which is always a good time.

One of the things I enjoy most about living in New York City is my proximity to all sorts of restaurants and dessert spots. Even though I didn't venture out into the cold nearly as often as I'd venture out in warmer weather, I still managed to hit up a few spots in the last two(ish) months. Here's a quick rundown:
  • Bluebell Cafe: Rachel picked this one out for January's Table for Two dinner. I'd been here a few times for breakfast, but never for dinner, so that was new! They offer good comfort food and a cozy ambiance, but I will say that I still prefer visiting in the mornings for breakfast versus a late dinner.
  • Kaylee's Creamery: I've been to this ice cream spot a couple of times, but I really wanted to feature it for January's Table for Two dessert pick. They have a small shop that's not too far from where I work, and their ice cream flavors are incredibly tasty (I've tried four of them and really liked them all)!
  • Saigon Market: This is a favorite spot for Rachel, DJ, Kristin and I, particularly before events at the Strand. The food is great, the location is perfect and we always have a good time when we go to eat here.
  • Cool Mess: Rachel & I usually make it a point to have two food-related sister dates every month, and this was our pick for dessert. It's a cute concept for an ice cream shop, where you can opt to pick a base and toppings and then make your own ice cream (which we totally did). It's definitely geared towards younger visitors, but it didn't stop us from having a good time!
  • Natura Cafe: On the coldest day of January, Kristin, Rachel and I were determined to brave the cold to grab some frozen hot chocolate before it disappeared off of their menu - and we succeeded! It was a delicious treat (not too sweet too), and the cafe itself has a cute ambiance.
  • FIKA NYC: Rachel & I had a quick breakfast at FIKA, which we stumbled across entirely on accident while we were out. It's a nice little cafe spot with a well-designed space that encourages visitors to hang out and relax for a little bit. They offer the usual array of sandwiches, pastries and cafe drinks, but they also have handmade truffles (which were delicious)!
  • The Stackery: Rachel helped Rachel redesign her blog, so Rachel wanted to treat Rachel to a dessert... and that's how I ended up at The Lodge in Bryant Park with both Rachels and Kristin in tow to try out The Stackery. This place serves chimney cakes topped with all sorts of things, and Rachel & I shared a delicious s'mores version while the other two tried the red velvet special. It was so good! (Bonus: We found out that the owner is actually Filipino!)
  • Seamore's: I haven't been to this restaurant in ages, and never for dinner. But I was craving seafood, so I ended up picking it out for our February Table for Two dinner spot -- and it was delicious, unsurprisingly. I do love good seafood!
  • Ample Hills Creamery: On a whim, we ended up visiting the shop near Seamore's for our February Table for Two dessert pick -- and I'm glad we did. We've both actually had Ample Hills before, but since it was within a market, the flavor selection was limited. It was nice being in a shop dedicated to this ice cream brand, and to have so many flavors to pick from! (The ice cream was delicious, by the way.)
  • Big Daddy's: I've been to this place a few times, but Rachel wanted to celebrate her birthday dinner there, so off we went. I've always enjoyed the comfort food this diner has to offer, as well as their shakes! We indulged in a shared s'mores waffle on top of our individual meals (I got my usual grilled cheese and tater tots combination) and a birthday cake shake. Can you say yum?
  • Buvette, Stax Ice Cream, Remi Flower and Coffee, Duck Season: I already mentioned all these spots in my recap of my Galentine's Day out with Rachel and Kristin. Everything was tasty and filling in just the right amount, and I'd go back to the first three for sure (still iffy on the latter, to be honest).
  • MacBar: I haven't been to this spot in forever, but they have quite a few varieties of mac and cheese on offer! It's a perfect comfort food spot, at least for yours truly.
  • World's Best Cookie Dough: Our sister dessert date this month was something new - cookie dough! We visited this spot on a whim and were seriously surprised by the amount of flavors on offer. I liked the cookie dough a lot, though I definitely should have ordered a smaller size! We also tried their cookies, which were delicious too.
  • Bee Cafe: A cafe opened up near our apartment recently, and Rachel and I have gone to grab some coffee there a few times before work. I really like their lattes; I also really like how they've gone and designed the place too.

There were a couple of other fun things that happened in the last couple of weeks, including:
  • We went bowling for the first time in ages at Bowlero on a random Tuesday, and it was so. much. fun. I think we've finally found the one sport that all of us in the family all really enjoy and that we're all decent at too! I'm expecting more bowling in our future.
  • As a pre-birthday celebration for Rachel, we went upstate to stay overnight at a Tiny House over at the Think Big! A Tiny House Resort. It was everything we could have wanted - excellent views, beautiful tiny home, a quiet weekend off of social media filled with good food, good company and hilarious games. But more on that in a post that's coming up soon!
  • Rachel celebrated her birthday! This is the second year in a row that I've been able to ring it in with her, and it's truly wonderful to be able to celebrate such a wonderful, positive sister like mine with a midnight salubong.
  • On our Galentine's Day outing, we visited a few cute spots (the Be Mine mural, the Gucci Wooster Bookstore) and did a little shopping (Modcloth FitShop, & Other Stories and Kinokuniya Books), which seriously made for a delightful day out.
  • Video games took over my life... again. I started playing Kingdom Hearts III, which is beautifully animated and features some of my favorite Disney characters ever. My sisters and I also started playing Super Mario Party, which is a lot of fun whether we're playing cooperatively or competitively. And our entire household got swept up in Overcooked! again, which is always fun.


  1. I've never heard of frozen hot chocolate! sounds utterly delicious though. You have some amazing places to eat where you live.

  2. I am so jealous you have gotten to meet all of my favorite authors! Very cool! Holly Black and Leigh Bardugo didn't tour near me this time. I also now just really want some ice cream lol


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