Monday, December 11, 2017

The Palace Hotel at Christmas

The Lotte Palace Hotel is one of my favorite spots at Christmastime. In my New York City christmas guide, I mentioned that hotel lobbies are the equivalent of house lights for New Yorkers. Their huge tree is stunning--Joe and I even took our holiday card photo there last year. 

Located just a few blocks away from the typical tourist spots, the Palace Hotel comes out of nowhere on Madison Avenue. The stunning tree and festive decorations make the Palace Hotel the most underrated destination for getting you in the Christmas spirit.

My absolute favorite view is on the stairs, behind the Christmas tree. The Palace Hotel is located across the street from the St. Patrick's Cathedral--there is a great view of the stained glass. I love to look at the Christmas trees framing the stained glass windows.

Every detail of the Palace Hotel is elegant. I'll continue to visit, at least once, each December. I highly recommend visiting this holiday season. 


Friday, December 8, 2017

Stocking Stuffer Gift Guide

The first week of December has come to an end. I still haven't done any Christmas shopping. I always tell myself I'll start earlier next year & it never happens. The easiest place to start is stocking stuffers

Here are my picks:

ONE // These little guys make all the difference in not dropping your phone and also, acting as a stand. I don't know what I did before I got a pop socket!

TWO // Nail polish is always the perfect little item to pop in a stocking

THREE // Literally the softest & coziest socks you'll ever own!

FOUR // Everyone loves gift cards.

FIVE // This is a great everyday winter essential to include.

SIX // These gummies are my absolute favorite. They are the perfect adult twist on candy.

SEVEN // The handy gift everyone will appreciate.

EIGHT // A little something to freshen up your car.

NINE // A classic stocking stuffer that everyone can use.

TEN // These little candles are so cute & would fit perfectly in a stocking!

What are your go-to stocking stuffers to pick up?

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Holiday Bucket List

    With the holidays upon us, it's time to maximize the fun and festive activities. I don't want to risk missing out so I've created a holiday bucket list.

    Take a peak at my holiday goals:
    • Decorate the tree
    • Bake Christmas cookies
    • Watch Hallmark Christmas Movies while sipping hot chocolate
    • Decorate my home with festive decor
    • Watch my favorite holiday movies
    • Bake cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning
    • Light winter inspired candles
    • Kiss under the mistletoe
    • Wrap presents
    • Cuddle by the fire
    • Stay in pajamas all day long
    • Send holiday cards to friends and family
    • Donate a gift to a holiday toy drive
    • Start a new tradition as a married couple
    • Make a Christmas craft
    • Drive around looking for Christmas lights
    • Check out all the festive window displays
    • Enjoy some time in the snow
    What's on your holiday bucket list?

    Monday, December 4, 2017

    The Ultimate New York City Christmas Guide

    There is no place like New York City during the holidays. 2017 marks my third Christmas season in New York. After exploring all the festive activities this city has to offer, I want to share some noteworthy spots to make your holiday season the best it can be.

    ALSO, I did a Christmas guide on YouTube last year with some of my favorites!

    Visit a winter market.

    Similar to German-style holiday markets, these are a fun way to get in the Christmas spirit in New York City. My favorite holiday market is in Union Square. They offer local goods and selections from the best eateries in town. If you visit on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, or Saturday, you can also hit up the farmer's market. 

    Some other great winter markets are:
    ● Columbus Circle
    ● Bryant Park 
    ● Oculus 

    Watch a holiday show.

    Nothing is better than a Christmas show in the city. When my parents were visiting last weekend, we made it to all three of these delightful shows.

    My top recommendations are:
    ● The Nutcracker
    ● Sak's Fifth Avenue Light Show [free & spectacular!]

    Visit all of the trees. 

    All of the tree lightings have happened this season [they are usually within the week after Thanksgiving]. They are all stunning and worth visiting.

    The most notable trees:
    ● New York Stock Exchange

    Enjoy some lights.

    As a New York transplant, I've learned that hotel lobbies and window displays are the equivalent of driving around looking at Christmas lights. There are some incredible displays this year. 

    My favorite window displays:
    ● Bergdorf Goodman [windows representing different New York City organizations]
    ● Lord & Taylor 
    ● Sak's Fifth Avenue [Disney themed this year]
    ● Tiffany & Co.
    ● Cartier
     ● Macy's

    The best hotel lobbies/trees:
    ● Lotte Palace [their tree is fashion blogger's paradise for Instagram photos]
    ● The Peninsula 
    ● Waldorf Astoria
    ● The Plaza

    Indulge in holiday activities. 

    New York City has a number of different holiday-related exhibitions and activities--perfect for getting you in the Christmas spirit.

    My favorite activities:
    ● NYBG Holiday Train Show
    ● Rockefeller Center Ice Skating
    ● Bryant Park Ice Rink [free admission]
    ● Christmas display at The Met

    Feast on festive food.

    Festive restaurants are always up my alley. Take a peak at some of my favorite options.

    My favorites are:
    -Park Avenue Winter [they change up their menu each season]
    -Baita [Eataly's rooftop restaurant]

    Have a wonderful holiday season!

    What are your favorite things to do during the holidays in New York City?

    Wednesday, November 29, 2017

    Dear Santa...

    I'm getting my holiday gift guides started with my personal Christmas wish list. I'm sharing some of the gifts high on my list [and yes, I know I'm not getting a Louis Vuitton Neverfull this year--a girl can dream!]. 

    Over the next couple weeks, I'll be sharing more gift guides--from stocking stuffers to home products.  Any specific gift guide requests? Please leave a comment down below! 

    Now let's take a peak at my wish list:

    ONE // For a luxurious pamper experience, I'm been eyeing the Laura Mercier Creme Brûlée Honey Bath. I love that this product even comes with a honey stir--too cute. 

    TWO // Although I know I'm not getting a Neverfull GM for Christmas, it is my dream bag and high on my fantasy wish list.

    THREE // These slippers have been on my list for years. I love my UGG boots for cozy nights or running errands. I know these slippers would make my winter mornings much more bearable. 

    FOUR // Joe and I really want a GoPro for our honeymoon! We even had one on our wedding registry. We're hopefully going on our honeymoon in the spring/summer and want to document our trip.

    FIVE // I am obsessed with this rose gold holiday set from MAC. The highlight looks stunning and the packaging is everything. This would be such a fun gift to receive. 

    SIX // Morganite + rose gold are my weaknesses. This pendant is stunning!

    SEVEN // I've been dying to try these cooling eye patches for a while. With the lack of sleep from work and house guests, these would be perfect to have on hand.

    EIGHT // This product may look ridiculous and sounds gimmicky but I'm itching to try it. Supposedly the Nurse Jamie Instant Uplift Facial Firming Beauty Tool helps relieve puffiness and firm skin. Earlier this fall, I was on medication that made my face puffier than ever and I still feel the effects. I've heard great reviews and I'd love to try out this product to see if it helps my skin. 

    NINE // This may seem random but I'm incredibly sensitive to light, which makes a sleep mask necessary. My current eye mask is wearing out and it's time for a new one. I'm hoping for a luxe silk sleep mask to replace it!

    TEN // The best gift I received last year was [by far] packing cubes. I really wanted some and my mother-in-law got them for me. It seems silly but they make such a big difference if you travel a lot. 

    Saturday, November 25, 2017

    Spreading Holiday Cheer with Basic Invite

    The holidays are upon us once again. Thanksgiving has come and gone. It is time to spread holiday cheer with season's greetings in the mailboxes of family & friends.

    Living on the East Coast makes me very conscious of being far away from family during the holidays [most of my family lives in California]. Old fashioned mail is a special way to show my loved ones that I'm thinking of them--everyone appreciates a festive card at this time of year.

    Since moving in together, Joe and I have sent out Christmas cards each year. As newlyweds, we opted to use a wedding photo on our holiday card this year, which means we don't need to make time to take a photo for our cards! When selecting my holiday cards, I went with an elegant script with the phrase: merrily ever after--a play on our wedding phrase/theme [happily ever after]. It only took me a few minutes to design our perfect holiday cards

    When selecting holiday cards, I appreciate having control over design elements. Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows almost unlimited color options--there are over 180 color options for cards and 40 different colors of envelopes. Basic Invite offers over 400 holiday card designs and several include foil options, with gold, silver or rose gold foil. They even offer complimentary recipient addressing to make the process seamless. 

    Right now, Basic Invite is offering 30% off your happy holiday cards with the code: holi30

    Have you taken your holiday card photo yet? When do you send out your holiday cards?

    Big thank you to Basic Invite for sponsoring this post!

    Wednesday, November 15, 2017

    4 Tips for Balancing a Full-time Job and a Blog

    This is a sponsored guest post by Alex from The Berger Bungalow. Thank you to Mollie for letting me take over your blog today!

    As most of you know, a full time job takes up a lot of time, energy, and effort. For most people, they are at work from at least 9-5 each day, sometimes more than that. Let’s look at teachers, for an example. I know that not all teachers have the same schedule, but most of my teacher friends work from 7am-3pm and then go home (or stay at school) to grade, fill out reports, and more. One of my good friends does not get finished with her work until 8pm. So, how are these people that work so much supposed to clean their homes and eat dinner, much less run a blog?! It almost seems impossible!

    Most bloggers are not making enough money to support themselves or their families and have to work a full time job on top of blogging. If this is you, then I give you all my props!! Congratulations for rocking it! This used to be me - I would nanny (yes, it’s a real job!) for 10+ hours a day, babysit at night, and then I would have to find some kind of time to write my blog posts. This was especially hard when they were sponsored blog posts because I needed good lighting and I was rarely home when it was light outside. While I still nanny part time for extra money, now, I spend most of my time writing - freelance work and blog work #SoThankful but I remember the days of working and blogging very clearly and I wanted to give you some of my best tips for balancing a job while being a blogger. I really hope this helps all of you out!

    Stay organized
    Organization is everything. I think this is hands down the only way I got through my time as a full time worker and blogger. Organization looks different to each individual person, but for me, this meant that I was keeping a monthly calendar, a daily calendar, and a to do list.

    My monthly calendar would have all of my jobs, meetings, and events on it and I would color code them to make it easy to glance at. I made all of my blog jobs (including non-sponsored posts) purple, all of my nanny jobs yellow, and all of my social events pink. My husband Ian was included in my calendar - I would put any dates I needed to know about him in blue. This would just give me an idea of how full my month was at a glance. I tried to schedule my blog jobs out over the month so that I wasn’t overwhelmed all in one week.

    For my daily calendar, I would have all of the times that I needed to be at my jobs. So, if I was working 7-7 and then coming home to write a blog post, I would have that all jotted down. I would also include my top 3 things that I wanted to get done that day, to make sure that I was somewhat productive each day.

    My to do list was my life. I have no idea what I would have done without it. I would star the tasks that were most important and I made sure to cross things off as I got them done. I highly recommend creating a to do list, if you have not started one yet. I remember forgetting so many blog post ideas before I created this list!

    Don’t take on too many obligations
    Don’t take on too much. I know this is easier said than done, but 1 or 2 quality posts each week is better than 4 or 5 posts that were just thrown together to try and get content up. Really focus on quality and if you can’t post one week, don’t stress about it - it really is okay! This goes for sponsored posts, as well. Only accept what you truly think you can do, without getting stressed out about it.

    Don’t do it alone
    I have two ways to ensure that you won’t be ‘doing it’ (aka. writing and working full time) alone and they are both equally as helpful. First of all, find your tribe. Find friends that are doing the same thing as you. When you start to feel overwhelmed, they will help you see the light at the end of the tunnel because they have been there before! There are so many people in the blogging world that work full-time and write - my best recommendation would be joining Facebook groups for bloggers. Secondly, you cannot do it all alone because you only have so many hours in a day. My advice for this would be to hire out what you need help with - there are so many people willing to help! For example, if you need help with your search engine optimization, you could check out SEO New Jersey. They are the #1 Marketing Agency in the New Jersey area and provide digital marketing solutions to increase your organic search score drastically, to improve your rankings on search engines. Over the past 10+ years, NJ SEO has helped hundreds of clients achieve great results across many key areas, including, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Marketing, Email Marketing and Digital Marketing. The Georgia branch is run by Dan Anton, while the New Jersey branch is run by Matt Anton, who was cited as an SEO expert and is listed in the top 62 Local SEO marketers. They have many reviews and testimonials on their website and Google, so you can know that you are choosing a company that will provide you the best service out there.

    Matt Anton and daughter

    Practice makes perfect
    Nobody is going to succeed 100% of the time. If you are human, then you will fail (or at least feel like a failure) at some point. I have been there! But, don’t quit when you feel that way. Push past all of the hard times and I promise you - in the end, you will be so thankful you did! As you are balancing full time work and blogging, it will be hard, but you will get better at it as time. Practice really does make perfect, especially in the blogging world!

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