It’s The Little Things

cropped-a-girls-dream-tree.jpgThere are those of us who believe that Christmas is all about giving. There are also those who believe that Christmas is all about receiving. However, to many of us including me, Christmas is all about the experience. It’s the spirit, the music, the lights, and of course spending time with those you love is what truly matters. Although, it’s the little things that make each holiday season special.

This year I was fortunate enough to be able to provide my family with thoughtful gifts and I myself received great presents. Although I am ever so grateful, that was not what made this Christmas season unforgettable. This was my first holiday season living in Manhattan, where the spirit surrounds you. Everywhere you go there are shining lights, music playing, and smiling faces… well at least from children and tourists. Though the city is known for the shopping, sightseeing, ice skating, and music around Christmas; once again, it’s those little things that fill our hearts with spirit. There is nothing like spending an evening in with friends, having a few drinks, telling stories, and of course, admiring the city’s view. This is what the feeling of Christmas is all about. Being surrounded by those that you not only love, but those you love being with. Though I cannot go into specifics, these kinds of nights are what make our friendships closer. They give us more memories, more stories to tell someday. Now that is a Christmas gift too valuable to put a price on.

Though spending the Christmas season in Manhattan is quite the experience, going back home is truly where you will find the greatest gift of all. Your old memories and the opportunity for new ones to be made. When you spend a lot of time away from home, it is important to revisit the people or places that mean a lot to you when you come back. There is no better feeling than reuniting with the ones you’ve missed. Sometimes it feels as if you missed out on a whole world; and other times it feels as if nothing had ever changed. Perhaps the moment when I felt this the most was when I went back to my old high school just days before Christmas for the winter chorus concert. As a choir alumni, it meant a lot to me to go back and see my old friends both in the choir, other alumni, and of course our wonderful choir teacher. At the end of the concert, we did our annual tradition. Both the choir and former members sing the Hallelujah Chorus and this is where once again, those little things come into play. None of us cared that we were all on stage and had a massive audience, we all hugged, laughed, and said stuff like “omg bae I missed you” to our long lost friends. Though we try to squeeze in as much social time as possible on stage, the real bonding happens after the show. One thing I always feared is being forgotten or ignored. I was afraid that my old friends would forget me for some reason or not be as interested in talking to me anymore. Thankfully my fears were not a reality. Everyone was so happy to see one another whether they haven’t seen each other for months or minutes. One of my friends invited me to come out to dinner with him and a large group of our friends afterwards; that night was hands down the highlight of my Christmas season. Forget the nights you don’t remember at the clubs, or insane parties, there is nothing like being able to sit down and talk with friends you have not seen in ages. The stories told are stories I will never forget and the laughter, love, and memories from that night were definitely my greatest Christmas gifts of all.

It’s the little things that make us smile, that we love, or brighten our days, that are the most valuable Christmas gifts anyone can ask for. Laughter, friendship, and memories are too valuable even for the highest of price tags. Therefore, it’s those little things that will always be at the top of my Christmas list from now on.

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The Makeup Contest

This year I decided to film a Christmas series on my YouTube Channel. One of my most recent videos is something quite different compared to what I usually upload. This is a makeup contest, but not just any makeup contest. Two of my best guy friends, George and Pat, competed to see who could give me the best holiday party look. Whilst filming George made up the right half of my face while Pat did the left. The comparison, let alone the makeup jobs themselves were quite hilarious. Never in my life had I worn such an “interesting” liquid eyeliner “trend”. Though I wound up looking quite scary, it was the most fun I have ever had whilst filming. If you would like to see how the contest went, I suggest watching the video.

Christmas Shopping in Manhattan

If you want to get the perfect presents for your friends and family members, New York City offers the best variety of gifts for even the pickiest of siblings. You can find everything from Louboutin’s to plastic shot glasses. However, for those who are willing to spend the money Saks Fifth Avenue is perhaps the jackpot of Christmas shopping.

I know I know, you probably thinking how on earth can a poor starving college student afford to shop at Saks? Well, for the most part I can’t. However, the holidays open doors to many options. On the ninth floor, Saks currently has a holiday gift section where they sell toys and Christmas themed suveniers at affordable prices. There you will find a stunning array of ornaments, stars, over priced yet precious stuffed animals, and of course decor. On this floor, I found the perfect gift for my father. Unfortunately shopping for him is never easy. However, he is bound to like something that I pick for him…hopefully. Anyway, I got him a snow globe of Manhattan that plays Christmas music.

We all know that it’s impossible to Christmas shop without choosing something for yourself right? The truth is, I did enter Saks with the intentions of buying myself a perfume. Naturally, I purchased that perfume. I mean come on how could I not? I chose the Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet and it has been one of my favorite scents for a while. No matter how many of you deny, we all tend to choose something nice for ourselves around the holiday season.

Of course, there are many other places to purchase gifts in the city. Another great place to go during Christmas time is Gracious Home located on the Upper East Side. This is where I chose my mother’s present. Both of us have an obsession with bunnies and my house is literally filled with bunny decor. Most of my moms bunnies tend to be simple and country-like since most of them were either purchased in Connecticut or Vermont. I figured since I am currently living on the Upper East Side, why not give her a glamorous UES bunny? The rabbit itself is silver, sparkly, has a while fluffy tail and scarf with a snowflake pin. Knowing her, she will love it.

All I can say right now is thankfully my parents do not read this blog so no surprises will be spilt.

It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (things to do in Manhattan during Christmas time)

Everyone knows that warm, uplifting feeling that comes along with each holiday season. Perhaps it is best to take advantage of every moment during the most wonderful time of the year. As Christmas approaches, there are so many fun things to do. Especially if you live in Manhattan like me.

Number One: Shopping

I know this is very cliche, however it’s a habit many of us are guilty of. In New York the variety is endless. You can find a range between street vendors to a designer’s showroom. There is something for everyone. Whether we can afford it or not, many of us love to visit Saks Fifth Avenue around the holidays. The set up is over the top and their window displays are mind blowing. Just stepping foot into Saks can instantly put anyone into the Christmas spirit. If you take a walk along Fifth Avenue, you will also come across a few affordable shops as well. My two favorites are Topshop and Sephora. Topshop is a British retailer and their merchandise is always trendy and decent quality. Sephora is any makeup enthusiast dream land, especially the Sephora on Fifth. This shop is the largest and most luxurious Sephora throughout New York. They carry the largest selection of brands and products along with having a unique ornate design. Perhaps, this is one of the best places to buy gifts for your beauty addicted friends. Around the holiday season, Sephora carries a large assortment of gift sets. These range from small lip sets, to massive beauty collections. We all know the most important part of holiday shopping is finding the best presents for others; although it’s perfectly acceptable to treat yourself too.

Number Two: Sightseeing

For those of us who live in the city or are lucky enough to visit during the Christmas season, you all know that there is a bit of magic around every corner. All over Manhattan, white lights glisten from trees to brighten the spirits of those around. Every few blocks there is always something exiting to see or do. Whether you like to admire the tree at Rockefeller Center, enjoy the winter village at Bryant Park, or skate at Wollman Rink, you will 100% find something to put you right at ease. If you just want to absorb the atmosphere, put on a warm peacoat and take a stroll around Central Park, Madison Avenue, Battery Park, or whatever pleases you. Personally I would avoid Time Square or Canal Street if I wanted a peaceful experience, but that’s just my opinion.

Number Three: Parties

There is always a party in the city whether it is just amongst you and your close friends or at a nightclub. The Manhattan nightlife is one of a kind. Christmas time is the perfect opportunity to dress your best, overdo the highlighter on your cheekbones, wear those stilettos, and have a night on the town. When the city glistens, the parties glisten too. That’s one of the most exiting parts of Christmas in the city. If you prefer to party amongst a small crowd, like a group of friends, Secret Santa is probably something you would want to participate in. That way the parties are geared towards the holidays and not similar to any other party thrown throughout the year. My honest opinion is to do whatever makes you happy and feel at ease whether that may be clubbing or hitting a bar downtown with a few friends, just do what you and your friends like.

Number Four: Leave

Take a trip to Connecticut, Long Island, or something. The city gets really crowed at this time of year and sometimes a break is very necessary. Believe me, take it from someone who lives in both Manhattan and Connecticut.

 

Chloe Fleur de Parfum

This holiday season I intend on purchasing a new fragrance. After testing many scents I fell in love with the Chloe Fleur de Parfum. I would describe the aroma as floral yet fresh. Unlike many other scents, this one does not fade to quickly. Therefore that shows good quality and justifies the price.

Perhaps the best place to purchase this product is Saks Fifth Avenue. Unlike many other stores, they are always in stock. When I went into Bergdorf Goodman multiple employees weren’t sure if they even carried it and the Chloe boutique on Madison Avenue only sells the original scent along with one other. Also going to Saks is always quite the experience. If I am paying a significant amount of money for a product, I would like to have a top notch experience. I am sure many of you can agree.

Here are all of Chloe’s fragrances. There is a very nice variety of scent types so whether you prefer something floral or clean, you are sure to find it.

 

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Where did the Superstars go?

As the holiday season approaches my excitement rises. Many of us look forward to the  spirit, the music, the parties, and of course, the shopping! Don’t all of us beauty addicts love to check out Sephora’s holiday collections? Every year Sephora has a superstars set where they sell a collection of popular beauty products throughout the year. These sets usually include a variety of makeup products, an application tool, and often a mini fragrance. This year however, Sephora went a different route and to tell you the honest truth I am slightly disappointed.

This year Sephora is selling the Trending: Beauty’s Most Coveted gift set. This set is priced the same as the Superstars sets have always been but the contents do not meet the same standards. Though each product is great individually, many of them are not suitable for a gift set. The Superstars sets contained products that were mostly suitable for everyone. Most of the products were colors that could suit many skin tones. However in the Trending: Beauty’s Most Coveted set, many of these products are only suitable for just a few skinniness. In this set, they included a Nars: Creamy Concealer. I love this product, but having a concealer in a gift set is unfair because it won’t suit many skin tones. The color they included is the shade Custard which is light but is still to dark for me. They also included a Becca: Shimmering Skin Perfecter Pressed in the shade Moonstone. For many people including me it is the perfect color however, it is too light for many others. This set also includes a Benefit: Ka-Brow in the shade 3 which is a medium brown. Once again, this product would not suit many costumers including me. Not everyone has medium toned brown hair. A huge percentage of products in this set don’t suit many customers and it is unfair. Although there are a few products that do. This set also includes a Beauty Blender, a Kat Von D: Tattoo Liner, and a few other products that can suit many people. Still, the Trending: Beauty’s Most Coveted gift set does not meet the standards of the previous Sephora The Superstars sets. Though not every color is those sets were perfect for everyone, the majority of them were versatile.

Here are some images of previous Superstars sets and the Trending: Beauty’s Most Coveted gift set. I’m sure you will notice a difference.