Hoboken to the Hamptons

On October 15, 2020 I unpacked my boxes and unlocked the door to my Hoboken apartment. It symbolized change, opportunity, and, above all, freedom. A place entirely to myself. Well, one year later and that 750 square foot apartment has become much more than where I live— it’s become home, in every sense of the word. It’s where I feel safe and comfortable, a place that I miss when I’m gone. But it’s also where I built myself, something I didn’t anticipate when I initially signed the lease.

October 15, 2020

I arrived amid the pandemic, when the price was right but social distancing made crafting a social life from scratch near impossible. For my first six months as a Jersey resident, I felt isolated, despite my newfound sense of independence. I envisioned Hoboken as my future while simultaneously refusing to accept the Hamptons as my past. So, I attempted to sustain my Hamptons community while building a Hoboken one. Selfishly, I wanted to straddle the line of realities and make both places my own. And I did.

Today, as I walk the cobblestones of Court Street holding the latest issue of James Lane Post in hand, I’m reminded of all that I have built for myself since my move exactly one year ago. I’ve kayaked countless miles across the Hudson River with the Hoboken Cove Community Boathouse, celebrated City of Water Day with Fund for a Better Waterfront, went back to the 80s with the Hoboken Shelter, and tested my limits at the Hoboken City Challenge Race. Throughout that same duration, I wrote for and held a Weekly Wellness column with James Lane Post and AFLOAT USA, moderated a nutrition panel in East Hampton, and co-organized the inaugural Southampton Shop and Stroll to benefit the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation. Somehow, someway, I kept the Hamptons close to my heart as I rooted myself in Hoboken’s mile-square city. 

Hoboken City Challenge Race

All the while, I transitioned out of a career as a traditional journalist and began my own business as a contract brand storyteller, working with clients from Hudson County to the Hamptons and everywhere in between (even down south to Virginia!). This has been my greatest achievement because it allowed me to connect communities through conversation, and it continues to fuel my passion for people every day.

with Thuyen Nguyen in East Hampton

When we look back on our lives it’s usually through rose colored glasses (psychologists refer to this as rosy retrospection). I’m not saying that this year didn’t come with its fair share of problems, or that I’m impervious to the realities of starting my own business. On the contrary, the initial struggles of my move propelled me forward and forced me to step out of my comfort zone, and I have grown in ways I may not even realize for months or years to come. 

So, cheers to me and my Hoboken-versary. May the next year bring even more memories and friendships, clients and community, from Hudson County to the Hamptons and everywhere in between. 

The Perfect 5 Hour Apple Picking Itinerary: For Adults

The time is ripe for apple picking, and there’s no better place to plan an East Coast orchard trip than New York State– the second largest apple producing state in the US! But with hundreds of apple orchards to choose from, each with its own personality, it’s hard to know where to start.

While a visit to one of New York’s orchards is great for all ages, if you are sans child you probably prefer to forego the frenzy of families and theme park style. Adults only trips typically calls for laid-back vibes, casual drinks, and plenty of food.

So whether you’re from upstate, downstate, or the Tri-State area, it’s time to grab your car keys and your apple-tite for adventure. Here is your perfect 5 hour apple picking itinerary– for adults!

Pennings Orchard

Approximately 1.5hrs north west of NYC is pick-your-own Pennings Farm and Orchard, not to be confused with Pennings Farm Cidery next door (run by the same family, better for those with kids or large groups). It’s $30 per bag (cash only) but will fill with enough apples to satisfy four persons, or several apple pies worth. The orchard trees here seem to go on endlessly with ample options to choose from. It’s quiet, picturesque, and even comes with a few friendly farm animals hanging around.

Plan to spend approximately an hour of time here.

BONUS: Love drive-in movies? The Warwick Drive-In is less than half a mile away!

Pennings Orchard
The Drowned Lands Brewery

All that apple picking at Pennings is bound to work up a thirst. Drive approximately 7miles north east to Drowned Lands Brewery, a pandemic born brewery that encourages visitors to slow down and stay awhile. The dog-and-family friendly location has food trucks on premise Friday through Sunday, which can be enjoyed inside the 15,000 square food modernized industrial-style building or outdoors on the patio/grass area with picnic tables, fire pits, and sweeping views.

Plan to spend 1.5-2 hours of time here.

BONUS: If you’re a fan of the unusual, be sure to drive around and explore the grounds of this former medium-security state prison site (prior to being a prison, the buildings date back to 1914 as a recovery facility and reform school).

Drowned Lands Brewery
The Helm

No day trip is complete without regional hospitality. Only a 15 minute drive south from Drowned Lands, and through the quaint town of Greenwood Lake, is The Helm. Craft beer, cocktails, and comfort food anchor this lakeside restaurant as a local favorite in Hudson Valley. #TakeTheHelm.

Plan to spent 2 hours of time here.

BONUS: Be sure to walk across the street to The Helm’s dock and take some photos with Greenwood Lake in the backdrop.

Screenshot of exterior courtesy of @The_Helm649 Instagram

If you have suggestions of places to explore in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut or beyond be sure to tag me @NikkiOnTheDaily!

Visit Apples From New York or I Love NY websites to help round out your New York State visit this fall!

Empower Women

Millennials, and those born after us, associate Afghanistan with war. We know it as a distant place where our American soldiers have been fighting/protecting since the attack on September 11, 2001 and little else. Because of this timeline, most of us have only known the protections awarded to the Afghani people, and the progress made for women’s rights. But now the people, once again, face an uncertain future as Taliban rule grips the country, and fears mount over the restrictions imposed on Afghanistan’s women.

It’s hard to fathom what these women face. We live in a democratic society, at a time when females have been breaking the glass ceiling for decades, and continue to do so with each passing day. But imagine if it were all taken away. No more education, pursuit of career, or even the ability to walk alone. Imagine being an 15-year-old girl forced into marriage. Now, imagine this were your daughter, your niece, your sister. Those who have only known freedoms, happiness, to have it engulfed in flames, a wildfire of despair.

This weeks Weekly Wellness has a somber tone because woman all over the world ache over what Afghanistan is going through. In a flash flood of headlines, we’re suddenly made acutely aware of what little liberties our fellow females have, and the brutalities they face, in other parts of the globe.

While I won’t presume to give advice over what can be done abroad, I’d like to touch upon the ways we can further empower women in our backyards to achieve a healthy mindset.

Continue The Conversation

Surround yourself with a group of women that empowers one another. This can be a support group, network, or even your own family and friends. Together, tap into resources that provide accurate information on what goes on in other parts of the world. Typically, a .gov or .org site will have the most reliable data and facts. Through global awareness comes local accountability. When we continue the conversation on what occurs in other parts of the world it helps us appreciate what we have in our own backyards. Further, it encourages us to take action for ourselves that could, someday, help change the future for someone else and builds trusting relationships.


Education is a powerful tool that empowers women to achieve their goals— at all ages. When we take advantage of the tools available to us— schools, libraries, museums, etc.— we begin to think about the world in possibilities. It shapes our future and is a step towards gaining independence. It also builds confidence and promotes higher self-esteem.

Promote Body Positivity

As part of continuing the conversation and furthering education, women are empowered through body positivity— form to functionality. Learn all about your body and how beautiful it is, through every age and stage of life. Accept every piece of who you are and know that you are more than enough. When we take down the walls of negativity— the “should be” sizes, weights, images, status, career etc.— we build a positive mindset that leads to healthier habits.

It’s okay to feel helpless right now and need time away from the headlines. Unfortunately, not all of us are in a position to change what occurs on foreign ground. But know that you are not helpless. You have tremendous strength and ability to change the future and empower women right where you are. Think global, act local, and help create an informed community of support.

The Dimensions of Wellness

I participated in, and trained for, my first City Challenge Race (a 5k plus 20+ obstacles). I sought out new social connections, caught up on sleep, reunited with nature, hyper focused on business. All of these things individually should be fairly simple to balance. But collectively, when life got in the way, felt more like obligations than self-care.

Personal wellness takes on different meanings to different people. However, there are considered to be eight interdependent dimensions of wellness. Each one contributes to our ability to live a fulfilling and happy life. So, what are they? And better yet, how we do care for them? Let’s take a look.

Physical Dimension

Our physical dimension of wellness is what first comes to mind whenever the word “health” is thrown around. It’s our physical body. We watch our numbers (weight, heart rate, cholesterol levels, intake etc) and workout.

To care for it, incorporate a regular fitness routine and eat healthy. Listen to your body and any physical symptoms of stress or injury.

Emotional Dimension

As the Delta variant makes headlines our emotional dimension of wellness is perhaps taking the biggest hit right now: that’s our feelings. We’re unsure about the future, stressed, sad, maybe even confrontational in our beliefs with others. The emotional dimension of wellness is points to the relationship we have with ourselves and those around us.

A way to keep our emotions healthy is by understanding them. Be in tune in with yourself and those around you– positivity goes a long way. Seek out close relationships and carry regular conversations. On the other end, know that it’s okay to be alone at times too.

Intellectual Dimension

Knowledge is a superpower. When we educate ourselves we’re able to have diverse conversations, expand our interests, help others, and contribute to our personal growth and confidence. This is the intellectual dimension of wellness.

To dive deeper into this dimension, read a book or take a free online course. You can also look into museums, panel discussions, or workshops to tap into new interests.

Spiritual Dimension

Whether you belong to an organized religion or not, the spiritual dimension of wellness applies to everyone. It’s about being in tune with our personal beliefs and finding meaning in our every day lives. That could be the physical act of showing up to a house of worship or simply denying people/situations that aren’t aligned with your values.

Listen to podcasts, read books, or join groups that contribute to your spiritual wellbeing. Basically, trust your instincts and let your heart guide you.

Financial Dimension

This dimension of wellness is straightforward. Live within your means and plan for a financially sound future. Each transaction, from your savings account to the morning coffee, is either a deposit or withdrawal from your life. Beyond just ourselves, the financial dimension addresses the awareness of others and acknowledging that everyones economic situation is unique.

Care for this dimension by making a financial plan or chart. Where could you do better? How can you achieve your financial goals? When it comes to money sometimes seeing a plan laid out is better than just imagining it.

Occupational Dimension

We care for, or ignore, the occupational dimension of wellness on almost a daily basis. The work we get paid to do, whether it’s a job or a career, should contribute to our life’s satisfaction. This isn’t to say that we should all be actively pursuing our dream job in order to care for this dimension. It does mean, however, that our skills and talents should be put to good use and feel personally rewarding, emotionally and/or financially. When we do any act that contradicts our values or goals it directly impacts the rest of our life.

Take pride in your work by listing all of the things you enjoy about it. Don’t love what you do? Dedicate some time to a side job that you’re passionate about to balance it out.

Social Dimension

The World Health Organization defines health as the balance of physical, mental, and social wellbeing. When we socialize we feel connected to those around us and it provides a sense of purpose. The social dimension of wellness speaks to our involvement with our community, friends, family, and romantic relationships (and let’s throw in our pets, too). It’s caring for others and allowing them in turn, to care for us.

Plan quality time with others or partake in community activities. Set aside a day/time and stick to it– virtually or in person. Avoid checking your phone and minimize outside distractions. By being fully present those around you will feel connected and truly valued.

Environmental Dimension

The environmental dimension of wellness is a little trickier. It’s your physical surroundings and the way the environment impacts your life. Those in urban areas might find this dimension to be the hardest to care for as pollution (air, noise, light, litter) becomes so commonplace that it’s second ‘nature,’ so to speak. In actuality, Earth’s health directly correlates with our health and taking the right steps to protect Mother Nature only benefits us as well.

Clean your home, recycle, plan rural outings/trips, filter your water, or even take part in clean-up days. Learn more about your direct environment and the ways you can contribute to making it a better place.

It’s important not to feel overwhelmed by all of the wellness dimensions. They don’t need to be perfectly balanced to have a healthy, happy life! Take some time to focus on each dimension and evaluate which ones are running low. How can you incorporate a lifestyle change to ensure these dimensions are cared for? What habits can you incorporate? Every now and then carve out time to check in with yourself. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed and focus energy into pressing situations. But when we prioritize personal wellness we open ourselves up to a better world.

The weekly wellness series is in partnership with James Lane Post, an East End experience

Community DARE

When it comes to our health, community can help us go the distance. Being surrounded by others with the same intentions and aspirations encourages us to stick to our goals and even set new ones. Many of us find these fitness communities in group classes— think Barry’s, SoulCycle, FOWARD__Space, DanceBody. Others find through local organizations like the Hoboken Boathouse or JackRabbit Run Club. However, some are still searching for a group that resonates with them.

It’s time for a community DARE: Discover new things, hold yourself Accountable, build new Relationships, create a positive Environment. Are you ready to find your perfect fit?


When seeking out a new fitness community half of the fun lies in the discovery— of oneself and what’s out there. 

Sites like Meetup and Facebook Groups are an easy place to type in what you’re looking for and search for a group or class that’s of interest. Don’t know where to start? Class Pass is a great option to help get a sense for what’s right for you. It allows you to explore different workout classes at a discount without the long-term commitment.

Another way to discover what’s around is to search local chamber websites or community based organizations. You’ll find events, business directories, happenings and more. Take the time to discover new things and enjoy the process. If it takes a while that’s fine. You’re one step closer to finding what fits.


Once you discover what fits your personality and aligns with your wellness goals things start to become, dare I say it, fun. Suddenly, a workout is the highlight of your day and part of a routine. The more you show up the more familiarized you become with those around you. A sense of belonging will start to set in, and along with it the sense of accountability— a primary reason why many join a fitness community.

We hold ourselves accountable because not only do we not want to disappoint ourselves but we feel as though others are watching. Have you ever seen a group stop mid-workout? No, because no one wants to be the person that quit. We’re competitive by nature and as such strive to be as good as, or better, than the person next to us. We show up for others as much as, if not more at times, ourselves.


The more you’re surrounded by your fitness community the closer you’ll naturally become. Of course, not everyone within the same group will have all of the same interests but likeminded individuals tend to have other commonalities. Soon, you’ll start to make plans outside of the group and form new relationships. 


Discovering new things, holding ourselves accountable, and forming new relationships are all steps towards creating a positive environment. As the law of attraction states, like attracts like. So, a strong fitness community can be the building block towards a better life for ourselves both physically and mentally. 

The weekly wellness series is in partnership with James Lane Post, an East End experience