Above the Plum Tree

New York

This section is all about rediscovering the things that make NYC great. Yes, I’ve been living in this great metropolis for three years, yet I haven’t fully explored everywhere! That’s why I’m going to cover hidden gems, restaurants, coffee shops, everything that makes NYC awesome and makes you want to live here.

Stylish Commuting Shoes – Shoes to Wear on Your Commute

We have been looking for stylish commuting shoes to wear from home to the office for spring.  Our boots that we wore all winter are in the process of being packed away and we’re in the market for replacement commuting shoes.  Surely one of the thousands of fashion bloggers out there has done a post on fashionable shoes to wear while commuting, right?  Wrong.  We could not find anything.  We were really looking for some inspiration, too.  So we figured we would write a post ourselves.  

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1.Jack Rogers Adeline Sandal – Jack Rogers really has me hooked right now, as you’ll see with a few other shoe options on this page.  These navy and gold sandals will be great as the weather warms up.  Although sandals are against the dress code where we work, the dress code does not apply to commuting.  I like to think I can get away with my crocs, havianas, and reefs, but they just aren’t as work appropriate as I like to think they are.  There’s always that moment when I’m walking from the door of my office building through the lobby to the elevators, and I run in to someone important while wearing the most comfortable but the most ridiculous pair of commuting shoes.  Every time this happens (and it happens a lot, ahem) I swear I will find a good pair of stylish commuting shoes.  These Adeline sandals will not make you cringe if you see someone important in the elevator while still technically “commuting.”  I think the gold trim and addition of a sleek bow, with a slight raised heel makes makes these classier.  I also think navy helps make them more work appropriate, but these come in a few other colors, including a white and gold that would be perfect for pairing with white maxi dresses come summer.  At least if you’re wearing a pair of flip flops, they can be a polished pair that you won’t be embarrassed to be seen in.

2.  Sam Edelman Ruby Flat.  These are even more appropriate for commuting to a corporate office because of the closed toe.  (Also helps hide icky feet, or a need for a pedicure or polish removal.)  We like that these have a dainty keyhole that enhances the charming Parisian appeal of these flats.  They are modern, pointy-toe ballet flats in pink suede.  Need we say more?  The only thing we’re not too sure about is whether these really will be comfortable to walk in.  The pointy toe doesn’t look like it will pinch thee toes, but for us they would need a try-on sash.  Luckily if you’re ordering online Nordstrom’s return policy is excellent.

3.  Jack Rogers Maya Bootie.  We wanted to throw in something with a heel for those of you who (a) commute in pants and (b) do not want your pants to drag on the ground.  Every pair of Jack Rogers shoes we’ve ever owned have been comfortable to walk around in, and we have no reason to think these would be any different.  The stacked heels means you’re not likely to twist an angle, and we love the angular cut v.  If you check out the picture of the model on the website, it is cut at a very flattering angle.  Plus pinholes for, ahem, airing out . . . and a peep toe to let your toes breathe.  We have seen quite a few peep toe aerated booties, including these that we bought last summer, but we like that these are lower cut.  We think the dove gray is most versatile and looks dressier for work, but they also come in black and “cognac” (brown).

4.  Sallie Rain Boot.  Not every commuting day is a sunshiny day.  In NYC and Chicago there is a good chance of rain.  We would love a pair of Hunter rain boots but (a) they are expensive, and (b) the calf sizing is tricky.  Historically I have not loved spending my hard-earned pennies on a pair of workhorse rainboots.  I did buy a pair of short hunter boots once with a wedge so my pants wouldn’t drag on the ground, but they were super uncomfortable and I just donated them to Goodwill.  I also had a pair of bright yellow rain boots from J.Crew years ago, which I loved because they had a hot pink fleur-de-lis on them.  (One of my bosses complimented them, which pleased me greatly until she said she’d like a pair so she could be sure to be seen from a mile away while she tromped through the muddy swamp near her house for exercise.  I don’t think it was a compliment.)  My most recent rain boot purchase was a pair at Kohl’s because, again, I don’t like spend a lot on rain boots.  These were the worst of all because they were super cheap, the rubber came apart and started leaking, and the insole became detached and kept crumbling in my boot.

These Sallie Rain Boots look like they check all the boxes.  They are short, so no calf issues.   They do not have a wedge – which cuts both ways, may have to wear only with skirts, but also won’t squeeze the arch.  Again, we’ve known Jack Rogers to be excellent quality so we don’t anticipate the insole would rip out.  Best of all, they have scallop trim!!!  We are debating between the blush pink (of course) and the navy, for the aforementioned reasons.  Perhaps we’ll forgo the yellow this time.

5.  Ellen DeGeneres Langston Ballet Flat.  For commuting with some character, we think these Ellen DeGeneres ballet flats would be fun.  We love a stripe, particularly in the spring (but really any time of year), and they say “Love” in cursive across the front. We think if Ellen made them, they have to be comfortable.  This would be a great way to look intentional with respect to the stylish commuting shoes you choose to sport. These would look great with a black and white ensemble, as well as with pinks, reds, and florals.  It just might not work with a brown or navy outfit of the day.

6.  Sam Edelman Felicia.  The last shoe we’ve been eyeing is the Sam Edelman Felicia Flat.  We’ve had Sam Edelman shoes before and find them to be quite comfortable.  If the Ruby flats mentioned above are too pointy for you, we wanted to provide a round toe option.  We like that these are a great neutral, and also that they are breathable while evoking that Chanel ballet flat appeal.  (Chanel ballet flats would be another option of course, but more than we choose to spend on commuting shoes.)  They have the chic bow and also a small charm at the front.  These come in a ton of colors.  We like that they aren’t completely flat and there is a little heel.  This helps because (1) we’re short, and need every millimeter we can get, and (2) it helps make them look a little more polished for commuting to work.

This is the start to our Stylish Commuting investigation, but something tells us it is far from over.  Let us know what shoes you commute to work in, and your thoughts on the options above.

Being A Tourist In My Own City

I always hear of people going on ‘staycations’ in their home city, but today I decided to be a tourist in my city of New York.  I decided to go to the “Top of the Rock” at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.  The best thing to do is buy your ticket online.  Then you don’t have to wait outside in a giant line.  As of this writing, the cost to go up to the top is $34, and it’s worth it.  Of course there are a ton of people up there with you, so that makes it slightly difficult to take pictures. In speaking with one of the pages that kept the line moving, I learned the best time to go is not during the holidays.  Hey, I like a challenge.  This post is just pictures from that trip.  I think they’re so pretty and I wanted to show them to you all!  Hope you enjoy!


Day Trip from New York

I’ve been living in New York for about four years now.  Other than going to Connecticut to visit my Aunt and Uncle, or visiting my cousins at the Jersey Shore during the summer, I haven’t gotten out of the metro area.  That changed today! I decided to take a day trip to Old Westbury Gardens, in Long Island.

I got the Long Island Rail Road at Pennsylvania Station. The trains run every hour from Penn Station to the Westbury Station.  Once you arrive at the Westbury Station, don’t fret.  Just walk down the stairs, there’s an underpass that takes you to a line-up of waiting taxi’s.  I was surprised that they’ll take two people (or more) in one car if the destinations are near each other.  The cab fare was not terribly expensive, $9 plus tip, and took me right to the car park entrance.

There’s a small hut where an employee waits to collect the $12 fee.  It’s surprising that they take the fee there and not by the house entrance, but then when I saw people with picnics to have on the grounds it all made sense.

The House

Walking up from the car park area, the house emerges on the hill, looking  majestic.  According to the house tour, it took about 3 years for the Phipps family to take up residence after the construction began in 1094.  I’m not entirely sure it took 3 years of construction, but it seemed like it was worth the wait!


I mean look at that!  It’s gorgeous.  As I walked toward the entrance, I started to imagine what it must have been like to have lived there all those years ago.  The parties must have been epic!  Once inside the house, a volunteer tells me that a tour has just started in Mrs. Phipps Study, so I join them.

Mrs. Phipps Study

The books.  Oh my goodness the books.  I would love to have a study like this and fill all the bookcases with books and not be worried that I’d have to give them to charity when I moved. I’d fill the shelves with some first editions and then all the fiction novels my little heart desires.

Next was west porch, but I wasn’t too impressed by that area.  If it was my real house, I’d probably love sitting there and reading a book, but as for taking photos, not so much.  I saw a few more rooms before this green one.  It was the family dining room, but became Mr. Phipps’s study.  I loved the green everywhere.


The real dining room followed with the gorgeous chandelier.


This piano was in the ballroom.  Exactly where it should be, no?  Just waiting for someone to play it.


Upstairs were the bedrooms, which were nice, but not particularly noteworthy.  I did decide to take a picture of myself in the hallway.  Hi!


On to Outside

The house was lovely, but I think this place is more known for the gardens.  They are so large that you’re given a map of the grounds when you arrive, and there are also arrows on posts to point out the landmarks.

Upon leaving the house, as you walk past the West Porch, you pass this giant tree, which can actually be seen from the porch.


The stairs are to the right of the above picture and they lead down to this.  Yes, the water was green, not entirely sure why either.  Maybe algae.  A cute little raft floats on the water and you can see another pool in the far distance with a sort of Romanesque structure behind that.


If you went to the left by the big tree, it would take you to the back of the house.  One view is the back of the house, while the other is a long view of grass toward an iron gate.



As you continue past the yard, there’s a path that leads to this pool.  It looked so enticing that day.  I wanted to jump in and swim!  It also has Roman qualities to it in the back.


I just thought this statue nearby was pretty, especially with the way the sun hit it.  statues

As I meandered back toward the large lawn-like area and past that there were a bunch of little wooden huts.  I have no idea what they’re there for, but I thought they were very cute.


To the right of this was a thatched cottage.  As my eyes took it in, the first thing I thought was, this is the cottage from the book Mandy, by Julie Andrews Edwards.  Yes, THE Julie Andrews.  It’s a great book about an orphan who creates her own place from an abandoned cottage she finds in the woods.  Even the picture on the cover of the book reminds me of this house!

Mandy - Book Cover


This wasn’t the only area that reminded me of a book.  There was also a walled garden!  That, of course, reminded me of the book, The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  Another one of my favorite books.



This was a great day trip from New York.  I would budget half a day for it and make sure to get an uber back to the train station.  The cabs are plentiful on arriving at the train station, but getting one back is much more difficult.  Uber is the way to go.

In my opinion, this would only be a full day excursion if you’re planning on having a picnic, or are attending one of their events.  It’s more of something to see when you’ve lived here a while.  It’s a great way to spend a day away from the city; even though it’s barely an hour from Manhattan, it feels like you’re in a different world.

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