I feel like there are two kinds of single people on Valentine’s Day: those who embrace their solo status by having fun with other single friends, and those who wallow in sadness or self-pity about being alone. I have zero shame in admitting that I’ve been both (especially in this period of time I like to call “the tumultuous twenties”). You may or not not be single, and you may or may not fall into one of the two above categories, but I am a BIG supporter of a Valentine’s Day weekend—or just regular weekend—day trip.
It disappoints me that society has placed so much judgment and shame on people who spend time alone. I know this could be debated in a million directions, but I want to focus on just one angle today: the angle that all of us, single or taken, guy or girl, should learn how to be comfortable on our own and be our own best friend.
While it does take some practice and can feel a little awkward at first to hit up places alone, after some time you realize how nice it is to have your own agenda and not worry about accommodating another person’s preferences. In fact, I think it teaches you more about what your own preferences are!
So without further ado, I present to you my solo adventure to Hoboken, New Jersey!
In case you’re not familiar, Hoboken is on the west side of the Hudson River, right across from Manhattan. Coming from Queens (specifically Forest Hills), it took about an hour and 15 minutes via the subway and PATH trains to get there. The best part about Hoboken is it’s very walkable and there’s a gorgeous waterfront path with incredible views of the New York City skyline.
But first, coffee.
My first stop was bwé kafe, a cute coffee shop uptown with an airy, earthy vibe inside. It clearly rules the neighborhood as java king, because every single seat in the joint was taken! There were families with kids, young couples, college students hunched over their laptops, yogis with a post-class glow, you name it, you saw it. I also liked how the baristas didn’t let the hustle and bustle stop them from smiling and being cheerful with each customer. With my drip coffee and chocolate espresso doughnut in tow, I walked a couple blocks to sit on a bench along the waterfront.
After that, I ventured downtown to Fleet Feet, which is pretty much the biggest reason why I went to Hoboken in the first place. Fleet Feet is my family’s go-to store for athletic shoes (you can see all of their locations here), especially because of their fit id technology. In just five seconds you receive a (free!) 3D scan of your feet, with stats about your size, arch, heel and more—so cool, right? I like how they make the experience so much more personalized than some salesperson at Foot Locker or DSW grabbing a bunch of shoeboxes for you and turning you loose. I ordered a pair of Mizunos, so as soon as they come in, I’ll pop them up on the ‘gram.
This is a cute boutique store that happens to be one of my favorite places to get jewelry from. There’s almost always some kind of sale or deal going on, so I couldn’t resist stopping in… and walking out with some new bling.
I immediately thought of my friend Alicia and her blog Stylishly Good Vibes when I walked in, because she rocks a lot of their clothes (and she used to work there)! I made a beeline straight for the candles and kitchen decor. If you want to know the way to my heart, the picture below is a big hint 😉
This will now be my go-to store for thrifty, oversized shirts. They have racks of clothes for guys and girls, plus some accessories, a few jerseys and other odds and ends. I bought a shirt that has “MU” for Monster’s University on it. Alexa, play “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore.
This tiny Cuban restaurant had its Papa Rellena appetizer featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, so I had try it. Papa Rellena is basically a softball-sized mashed potato ball stuffed with ground beef and fried in salsa ranchera.
I also tried a side of the Tostones con Mojo (twice fried green plantains) that came with a garlic “sauce” that looked and tasted like finely minced garlic in a puddle of flavorless unsalted butter. I wasn’t really into it, but luckily neither item was that pricey. The Papa Rellena was good too, just not outstanding. I give the food at La Isla about a 7 out of 10.
Last but not least, Carlo’s Bakery!
You’ve seen the show Cake Boss. You’ve seen the bubbly Buddy Valastro and his boisterous crew on TV. I didn’t see any of them (except for the cardboard cutout of Buddy at the entrance), but all you need to know are two things. One, the Vanilla Confetti Cake. Two, the Cannoli. I usually don’t go for the classic or basic stuff, but these are worth it. Best slice of vanilla cake and best cannoli I have. Ever had. In my. Whole life. Period.
If you’re wondering how many calories I consumed, let’s not talk about it, k? Besides, I spent two hours of the following afternoon in a Banana Skirt dance workshop learning part of the J Lo and Shakira Super Bowl Halftime Show choreography. And then earlier this week, our video from that workshop was posted on J. Lo’s Instagram story for all 113 million of her followers. Allow me to embody the Fit by the Fork mantra: have your cake and burn it off too!
Happy Valentine’s Day and happy weekend, everyone!