2017 whizzed by at the speed of light, but we’re SO ready for what 2018 has to bring. Until then, we’ll savor the last few days of the year with some of our favorite things to see and do in two amazing cities: Paris and New York.
PARIS, Antonia Opiah
Food is my favorite part of the Holidays. Actually, it’s one of my favorite things in general. I just learned how to learn macarons. (I was inspired by a Buzzfeed article). So I’m planning on making some macarons for the holidays.
I still have Hamilton on repeat right now and that’ll probably be the case through the first half of next year . But at the holiday dinners I usually go to in France, Axelle Red’s Sensualité usually comes on.
My favorite place to do holiday shopping was always Duane Reade (in NYC). I can spend hours there LOL. And I really like getting people practical gifts. But in France, I usually gift food and beverages. I usually stop by the Maison du Whisky in Saint Germain. They have a really extensive selection of Whisky (from all over the world) and you can usually get other liquors and bitters that are hard to find else where in Paris (but you could get anywhere in the States). https://www.whisky.fr/ boutiques/odeon
If I have friends visiting Paris for the Holidays, I’ll go with them to the Christmas markets. I don’t love going there, but I also don’t hate it. I’m just not a big fan of crowds. Going, however, does remind me of the very first few days I arrived in Paris and my family was with me for the first week. We strolled through the market and I bought vin chaud (mulled wine), something I LOVE doing during this time of year.
Food and Drink
I’m very much into one of the new ‘it’ spots. It’s actually just outside of Paris, in a suburb called Saint Ouen. It’s called MOB Hotel (MOB standing for Mermaids of Brooklyn). It’s so many things wrapped in one… a hotel, restaurant, bar, fashion school. It also just feels very neighborhoody and the staff is really warm and friendly.
This year, I’ve been saving the second season of Stranger Things, and the third season of Mr. Robot for the holidays. I might also rewatch all the Star Wars movies. If you’re looking for a good series to binge, I strongly recommend Mindhunter which is available on Netflix. Oh and Versailles (which is on Netflix too). I plan on re-watching it in French.
Just partying with the family!
I love reading international and economic news on the New York Times and Le Monde.
NEW YORK, Abigail Opiah
I’d have to say that “This Christmas” by Donny Hathaway always gets me in the Christmas spirit and is always playing throughout my apartment this time of year: https://www.youtube.com/
My favorite things about NYC around this time of year are the festive Holiday markets that pop up around town! One of my favorites is at Union Square. There I find everything from exotic spices to candles and yummy treats. Things that make the perfect stuffing stuffer. https://www.
One of my most absolute favorite things to do in NYC (not just during the Holidays) is to discover new restaurants. You can live in New York your entire life and never eat at the same place twice. Some of my favorite restaurants include, Buddakan, Red Farm and Mr. Chow (I have a thing for Asian cuisine). I also love discovering chef tasting menus as well. Such a fun thing to do with friends.
Food and Drink
I love the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn. They have a great rooftop, bar menu and friendly staff. Oh, and the hipsters are fun too.
I mostly watch Netflix and catch movies that are finally available on demand.
I’d have to agree with my sister…House parties with the family are the best!
I love reading biographies of great business minds! Steve Jobs, Gene Simmons, Richard Branson have amazing come-up stories that everyone, not just entrepreneurs can apply to their everyday lives.
NEW YORK, Chadette Maragh
Three words, one drink – Ponche de Crema. It’s a traditional West Indian brew of rum, evaporated and condensed milks with a sprinkle of aromatic spices/essences: nutmeg, star anise, vanilla, etc. Essentially it’s a Caribbean spin on Egg Nog however with punch de creme there is a heavy emphasis on balancing out the freshness of eggs with lime peels and juice creating a base before mixing in the remaining ingredients. For instance in a typical Trinidadian household if eggs aren’t appropriately masked, the host suffers the consequence of guests, family and friends believing they’re unfit to make ponche de crema thus unfit to host any holiday get together of any kind for years… maybe decades. At least until there’s a passing of generations.
Holiday music of various genres. Typically I start off with the R&B classics that I admittedly listen to all year round anyway. The feel goods, I call them. At the top of the list is Luther Vandross’ The Classic Christmas album. His voice feels like velvet warming your soul (Every Year, Every Christmas is a favorite). Followed by Mariah Carey’s rendition of O’ Holy Night. I’ve heard it a million times and yet her falsettos still give me a chills. Finally rounding out with Whitney’s (no last name necessary) The Preacher’s Wife Soundtrack. The album doesn’t list many traditional Christmas tracks but offers the same swoon worthy quality with heart lifting memories of the movie. Great holiday movie, great holiday soundtrack. As the season flourishes I mix in jazz favorites from Eartha Kitt (Santa Baby), Ella Fitzgerald (Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas) and contemporaries like John Lennon’s This is Xmas. There’s also Parang, which is a kind of folk music originated in Venezuela and Trinidad & Tobago that’s heavily influenced by the nations’ Amerindian, Afrikaans and Spanish ancestry. It’s similar to Christmas carols as it’s generally played throughout the holiday season. Check out a sample here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GT-CHskNJFU
I’m typically not a big fan of shopping, especially during the holidays as I am not fond of crowds or long lines. With this in mind, I’m a devoted online shopper. I may decide to opt for a pick up rather than delivery if the appointed store has an in store attraction I can mooch off on. For instance, Harrod’s hosted a festive filled Dolce and Gabbana fashion show and Selfridges lures customers with in-store pm, holiday party parades. Complete with DJs and live music. May have to move to the UK.
While I could never dedicate a full day to Christmas window siting (the cold and I do not get along) I can appreciate the holiday lights, sights and spectacle the city has to offer. The parks host winter villages for shopping unique finds, Park Ave’s trees are lit in the prettiest periwinkle white and the department store windows (Lord and Taylor, Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Ave, Bergdorf’s) are a whole other animal in itself. Even for the local passerby.
Although if a warmer than usual day creeps in ice skating at Bryant Park is usually a safe bet. It’s not as crowded as Rockefeller and boasts a comfy outdoor restaurant with heating spaces: http://bryantpark.org/
Food and Drink
Palma is an amazing choice. The ambience satisfies even the most Scrooge like of customers with warm, intimate surroundings fragranced with the culinary delights of the season. For the exceptionally holiday enthused the restaurant’s garden is transformed with heat insulated tents into a whimsical winter wonderland perfect for dining. A great alternative to the sights overload at Rolf’s.
The Holiday and Home Alone. As basic as it gets but I’m a sucker for Cameron D. and kid heroes.
Unfortunately I’m a big web reader due to the convenience of it. I love the NYT, The Economist and Business of Fashion.