New York

Over this Christmas break, I was able to visit my sister in New York; we went to hot yoga classes, restaurants, a movie theater (I, Tonya is a great movie, by the way), bookstores, shops, and many many coffee shops. (We are coffee people.) The trip lasted for a little less than a week, and then we flew home on Christmas day. While in New York, we stayed in Brooklyn most of the time, but we also went to Soho, Herald Square, Flatiron, etc. And for any of you 30 Rock fans out there (I know there aren't many): we saw Jenna Maroney (aka Jane Krakowski) hailing a taxi, a mere feet from us! Weirdly enough, I didn't take as many pictures as I thought I would; I got caught up just sightseeing and exploring that I forgot to take more pictures than I knew what to do with. Thankfully, I took enough to make a blog post out of it - I hope you enjoy.


First, let's all marvel at the fact that the Brooklyn Public Library looks like this - my camera didn't alter the swoop of the roof... Heck, let's just marvel at both the BPL and New York Public Library. 

Brooklyn Public Library

Brooklyn Public Library

With the NYPL in particular, I was amazed at the solid marble floors, the walkway leading up to the inside, the walls, and the intricate ceilings. 

New York Public Library

New York Public Library

The inside of the New York Public Library

The inside of the New York Public Library


Any bookstore that has a spiral staircase wins me over. (Housing Works Bookstore Café)


One day, we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. Was there a designated bike path for bikers and another for people walking? Yes. Did the walkers still walk in the bike lane and get yelled at by said bikers? Yes. Other than jumping out of my skin every time a biker whizzed past us, yelling at rule-breaking pedestrians, the walk across the bridge was chilly and beautiful - the sky even looked like velvet. 

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While Taylor was working one morning, I took to exploring the city by myself. It was raining pretty heavily at the start of my day, so I took a book with me, wore a beanie, grabbed an umbrella, and set off. I found refuge in a little shop called Goods for the Study and browsed. Then, I went to Stumptown Coffee Roasters and got a nice, hot latte while I read my current read at the time, Big Little Lies. We met up a few hours later and shopped, then saw I, Tonya at a dine-in theatre.

(Perfect rainy day activities)


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View of One World Trade Center

View of One World Trade Center


To say we walked a lot is an understatement. We walked miles upon miles, and I was smart and decided to break in my Doc Martens on one of these days (please sense my sarcasm - it was brutal). We took the subway, sure, but my family really loves to walk wherever we go and take the more scenic route when we can. So, at the beginning of one of our mornings to prepare us for a lot of walking, we bought donuts from Dough Donuts and enjoyed them with coffee at Bedford Hill Coffee Bar. Apparently during really busy hours, they prohibit the use of laptops, urging customers to talk to one another - props to you, café. When my mom visited my sister in NY a year or so ago, she tried a latte at this cute café and loved it; she's very picky with her lattes, so I had to try it to see if it lived up to all the hype - it did. 

In the picture below, I'm pretty sure I was contemplating how I was going to go about eating the ginormous dulce de leche donut sitting in its box, on my lap.

Bedford Hill Coffee Bar

Bedford Hill Coffee Bar

DUMBO, Brooklyn

DUMBO, Brooklyn

This spot in DUMBO is supposedly one of the most photographed places for weddings, engagement photos, and just photos in general, so I thought, "What the hey?" Yet, I wish I got the memo to do a fun pose like the girl to the left of the picture. She gets it.


Overall, I really enjoyed the hustle and bustle that is life in New York. I was only there for a short period of time, but immediately after getting off the plane in Queens, I could tell that everything was different in NY. So, thanks, Taylor for the perfect post-fall semester trip.

Taylor & I

Taylor & I

As Michael Scott once said, "New York, New York. The city so nice, they named it twice. Manhattan is the other name."

Reagan Fleming

Venice, Italy

After a few days in Berlin, we took a plane to Italy. We had a connecting flight in Belgium which I loved, because I could actually understand a portion of what people were saying: In Belgium, they speak a mixture of Dutch, German, and French. In high school, I took Spanish for 3 years, but my first two years in college, I decided to take French and I absolutely loved it. Although I am not fluent, I was able to keep a conversation going with a few of the flight attendants. No, the conversation never exceeded the proper: "Hi, how are you?" question that I understood as they greeted me on the plane, and my response of: "I am well, thank you," but I was happy to be practicing my French. 

On the left: my view as we were leaving Belgium. On the right: my view en route to Venice, Italy. 


After we arrived in Venice, Italy, we were absolutely exhausted. So after an extremely long nap, we finally got to explore Italy. Venice, also known as the "City of Water," is obviously, surrounded by water. In order to get around, we had to walk across bridges, like the one that I was standing on while I took the picture below.


Basilica San Marco

Basilica San Marco


A love lock in Venice.

A love lock in Venice.


The Biennale

My sister loves architecture and interior design (the latter is what she got her degree in), so we obviously had to go to the Biennale while we were in Venice. Every year, the Biennale switches between showing art and architecture, and we just so happened to be in Venice when architecture was being displayed.

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Every country exhibits their own work, which is separated into their respective buildings. 

In this part of the exhibition (I forget which country this belonged to), everything was blue - blue walls, blue floors, blue ceilings. So, #nofilterneeded.

In this part of the exhibition (I forget which country this belonged to), everything was blue - blue walls, blue floors, blue ceilings. So, #nofilterneeded.


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France's exhibit. Like I said, I love speaking French as well as learning about their culture, so this was one of my favorite stops. 

France's exhibit. Like I said, I love speaking French as well as learning about their culture, so this was one of my favorite stops. 


All in all, walking in and through The Biennale in Venice was beautiful. It brought together many countries for one purpose, and that was to display art. 

Reagan Fleming

Hemingway's Humble Abode

Last week, my family and I went to Chicago, IL. More specifically, we were in Oak Park, IL, which just so happens to be Ernest Hemingway's birthplace. This trip reminded me of one that I took almost 3 years ago, on my 18th birthday: I visited my sister in Chicago where she was co-oping at the time for school, and we shopped all around the city, drank many many cups of coffee, and visited Hemingway's birth home and museum. 

You're probably thinking, "When I turned 18, I went out to get some cigarettes and lottery tickets. My 18th birthday was crazy!" Well, in my mind, I did have a crazy 18th birthday, but I was nowhere near cigarettes or lottery tickets. Instead, I went on a tour inside the late Hemingway's home, and visited the Hemingway Museum.


Ernest Hemingway's birth home.

Ernest Hemingway's birth home.

Home part 2.

Home part 2.

Hemingway's study.

Hemingway's study.

Study part 2.      Let's just take a moment and enjoy the fact that Hemingway loved owls... Probably as much as I do.

Study part 2. 

Let's just take a moment and enjoy the fact that Hemingway loved owls... Probably as much as I do.

Study part 3. 

Study part 3. 

The entrance to the Hemingway Museum.

The entrance to the Hemingway Museum.

A typewriter on display in the museum.     Hemingway's typewriter was sold in an auction, so I'm not sure if this was his or simply a duplicate. 

A typewriter on display in the museum.

Hemingway's typewriter was sold in an auction, so I'm not sure if this was his or simply a duplicate. 


Much to my surprise, the tour was held in his birth home, not at the museum. Obviously, we went on said tour AND wandered around the museum, and I got to learn a lot more about him. One fact that stood out to me, was that Hemingway's mother used to dress him and his sister up as girls when they were younger, because she wanted another daughter so badly. 

In the museum, we simply walked around and examined various posters, artifacts, pictures, and typewriters like the one above. 


Oak Park, IL is a place where interesting and beautiful homes are the norm - everywhere I looked, I thought: "This is where a writer would live." But once I laid eyes on and stepped foot inside Ernest Hemingway's home, it sunk in that this literally was a writer's home. And not just any writer; Ernest Hemingway, the brilliant yet troubled author who wrote with such frankness. 

I'm really grateful that I was able to visit these places, to learn more about such a talented writer. I really hope that I get to go back soon and take some more pictures with my new phone that has a better camera than my trusty old iPhone 4. But until then, these pictures will be here to remind me of what a wonderful 18th birthday I had.

Reagan Fleming