Thursday, July 28, 2016

5 Things No One Ever Tells You About Living With Your Significant Other

I can't believe it's been almost year since I've moved to New York. What is even crazier to me is that I have lived with my fiance, Joe, for over nearly nine months now. Prior to living with Joe, I had lived with male house mates for two years in college but I knew this experience would be a lot different. Especially in a one bedroom apartment in Manhattan. And I was right. To be honest, it has been even more incredible than I ever could have imagined. And I'm not exaggerating. We have gotten so much closer and have started our life journey together. 

I was raised to believe that you should never live with someone until you are married. Honestly, there were some uncomfortable conversations in my family when Joe and I decided to move to New York together. I was planning to wait until marriage but I didn't want to rush getting married for that one reason. I do believe that you should wait until you are in a very committed relationship before living with someone [we were/are engaged] but everyone is different and I don't judge anyone for their decisions. I will say that when you are in a committed relationship, you feel more committed to making things work [or at least that is the case for us]. I want to share some of my tips for making a living arrangement with your significant other work. 

1. Open Communication: Communication is key in any relationship, especially when you live together. One of the most beneficial things Joe and I do is talk as soon as an issue arises. Somethings we need a moment to calm down but we always address problems quickly and don't let tensions rise. 

2. Praise: Positive reinforcement doesn't only work on dogs. Men respond well to being told they do something well and they are likely to repeat the behavior. When Joe does dishes or takes the trash out, I always make sure to thank him right away. I know it'll encourage him to repeat the action, even if it seems like a trivial task. 

3. Things don't have to be equal: 50/50 isn't always a thing. Sometimes we do more for the one we love. Especially when the other person is having a rough day. As long as one person isn't doing everything in the relationship and both parties are happy, you don't need to divide all tasks up equally.

4. Finances: This definitely varies from couple to couple but keeping our finances separate has made a huge difference in our relationship. As we aren't married yet, we don't feel the need to merge our funds. We split our bills, rent, and groceries. Yes, Joe takes me out to dinner sometimes and we treat each other here and there. We have just found that we can learn about managing our finances better when we aren't combining all of our funds right off the bat. 

5. Surprises: Surprises are crucial to any relationship. Keeping the mystery alive allows any relationship to thrive. Whether it be picking up flowers on the way home from work or a spontaneous day trip, surprises make relationships fun and great.

I hope these tips are helpful! Please leave your advice in the comments. If you'd like to see Joe share his tips, please leave a comment or tweet me!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale: Home Decor Picks

The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is finally here & open to all. Prices go back up August 8th & items are selling out quickly. The sale is not only a good time to pick up your coveted clothing picks & shoes--the home decor selection is incredible. I recently found some cute home decor pieces I needed to share. 

This feather stripe throw blanket is right up my alley. As is this monogrammed throw, which would be perfect to toss on the couch along with this pillow or this home state pillow

We utilize rugs in our apartment & this rug would perfectly match our style. I am also obsessed with this lamp--which is a steal right now. This is also great time to stock up on candles--a must in our apartment. 

I love picking up home decor pieces during big sales!

You can also get 6% cash back by signing up for Ebates.

What are you planning to pick up from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale?


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Lemon Gardens on the Amalfi Coast

One of my favorite activities in Italy was visiting lemon gardens on the Amalfi Coast. My group visited La Valle dei Mulini, which opened for business in 1825. This family business not only grows lemons but also lives on the property; they were the first family to buy land on the Amalfi Coast. They make everything from limoncello to gelato to lemonade. 

We had the opportunity to tour the gardens, learn the history, and sample some insanely amazing lemon treats. 

Their adorable dog, Poncho, came along for the tour as well. 

They harvest lemons from February through September every year. Back in the day, they carried lemons down in baskets but now they are transported by cables. 

At the end of the tour, we tried a variety of limoncello flavors. Limoncello is used as a digestive after meals in Italy. It should be stored in the fridge (at 68F). Limoncello is meant for sipping, never shots.

I purchased a dark chocolate limoncello [almost like a syrup] and it's the perfect compliment for gelato. 

The Amalfi Coast was my favorite place we visited in Italy. I highly recommend incorporating a stop into your future Italian adventures!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Summer Favorites in New York City

While we're in the midst of summer, I thought I'd share of the things I'm loving so far in New York City. I promise I'm just skimming the surface with my current favorites!

via Google Images

ClassPass: Joe and I signed up for ClassPass this month during their third anniversary sale--$30 for 10 days in 30 days [ridiculous steal]. From what I can tell, the deal still exists [no guarantees how long this will last]. Joe and I have already done half of our classes and have liked every single one of them. If you haven't heard of this company, they allow you to try classes all over major cities--literally thousands of class options in New York City. We've done rowing, cycling, yoga/pilates, boxing, and circuit training so far. We look forward to our TRX class on Wednesday! 

via Google Images

Beer Gardens: We've only visited one so I don't know if I'm fully qualified to say I love beer gardens but I had a great experience this past weekend at the Bohemian Beer Hall in Astoria. It was cheap and there were tons of tables outside to sit with your friends for hours. For the best beer gardens in NYC, I'm including this Timeout article. Perfect for a summer afternoon in the city.

via Google Images

Yoga in Bryant Park: Bryant Park offers free yoga on Tuesdays from 10-11 AM & Thursdays from 6-7 PM. Athleta sponsored this series. They provide the instructor, mats, and prizes for frequent yogis [you need at least 6 classes to get a prize]. They are offering these classes through the end of September. 

Ice Cream: The perfect summer treat. There are so many good options in New York City. My current favorite is Emack & Bolio's with multiple locations across the city. They offer unique flavors & fun dipped cones [like the marshmallow & fruit loops cone pictured above]. You really can't go wrong with their choices!

I will most likely do a part two to this post later in the summer, as I have more summer-related activity goals in the city. Let me know if that's something you'd like to see!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Must Haves

I can't believe we are far along enough in summer for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale to be here! Early access starts today [for those with Nordstrom credit cards]. General access begins on 7/22 and prices go back up on 8/8.  Get your shopping lists ready because everything goes quickly!

Here are my picks:

I obsessed with off the shoulder pieces this summer. This floral top is too cute to pass up [pair it with these sunglasses]! 

Stripes are my go-to. This dress is right up my alley [try pairing it with these nude sandals and this purse]. This dress would be so comfy for those lazy summer days. 

Sam Eldman is my current favorite brand for shoes. These sandals will perfectly compliment an array of outfits this summer! 

I will be using Ebates to be getting cash back on my purchases [sign up so you can start savings as well!]

What are your picks?

Saturday, July 9, 2016

San Francisco Travel Diary [Video]

Last week Joe and I went to California to plan our wedding! We spent a couple days in San Francisco so naturally I wanted to make a travel diary.

I hope you enjoy it & have a nice weekend :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Best Gelato in Italy

During my time in Italy, I experienced a number of different gelato shops. I sampled all sorts of flavors and came across a few must visit shops in Italy! My picks were [obviously] in the areas I visited but I'm sure other popular tourist destinations have fabulous gelaterias as well! 

Grom: This spot was recommended to my friends and I through a Timeout article, featuring the best gelato in Florence. Their gelato was sensational. I recommend their "cookies and cream" [or rather biscotti and cream] flavor. 

Giolitti: Someone recommended this shop to me in Rome and I cannot thank her enough. I highly recommend the nutella flavor. It basically tastes like whipped nutella! 

Venchi's: Venchi's was another favorite that I initially discovered in Bologna. Fortunately they also have a location in Florence [round two!] and their chocolates are carried at Eataly in New York [must visit spot in NYC!]. I got some chocolate mess with hot fudge poured into the cone and a huge scoop of nougatine--essentially chocolate gelato with a gooey nougat layer on top. I also discovered a location in Verona but no nougatine so I had to pass on Venchi's that day. 

Edoardo's: This spot always has a massive line so I waited until the end of my time in Florence to visit it. I completely understand why it is so popular. They handmade my waffle cone just before serving me and they use organic cream and eggs in their products [yes, it made a difference in the flavor]. It's located right by the Duomo--you can't miss it. 

For all you gelato lovers out there, where is your favorite spot [in or outside of Italy]? 

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