Plaid + (Faux) Fur

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(Faux) Chinchilla Fur Jacket: Express (a couple years old, but similar here) / Plaid Button Up: Target (on sale!) / Denim: Rag & Bone / Booties: Target (on sale!) / Sunglasses: ModCloth / Bracelets: Tory Burch (similar), Stella & Sparkle / Watch: Michael Kors / Lip: Lancome Luxe

Call me crazy, but I absolutely adore the mix of plaid & fur right now!  To me, it’s a perfect fall or winter look.  I was gifted this amazing jacket for Christmas a couple years ago, and I recently scored this bright button up at Target.  Mixed the two together, and boom.  I all the sudden look a lot more put together than I really am. ;-)

I wore this on a little trip to downtown Annapolis when we were visiting family and friends for the holidays.  We started at Miss Shirley’s for breakfast.  Let me tell you, if you are a Maryland local, and you have not yet been to Miss Shirley’s, you need to go there…like immediately.  They have the best southern comfort food you could ever imagine.  Proof here.  From there, we headed down to walk around the gorgeous harbor, the historical homes, and popped into the amazing consignment shop, Navette.  I found this shop through Instagram, ordered from them over the phone, and even met one of their amazing owners for coffee in NYC, yet I still hadn’t visited their store front until this day!  I was very excited and delighted to see a bustling shop full of fantastic treasures and happy customers.  Unfortunately, due to a toddler naptime meltdown, I had to cut my trip there short, but I didn’t leave without scoring this fabulous Jonathan Adler clutch.

I’m looking forward to returning to Maryland again for Christmas, but until then, I am enjoying the holiday spirit up here in NYC.  Our tree is up, and we took Nico to see Santa last weekend.  Much to my surprise, there were no tears!  Yay!  I love New York City at Christmastime.  If you missed yesterday’s post about things to do in December, check it out here.

This week I have been working on my holiday cards (which is pretty difficult with a bum thumb), online shopping for gifts, and listening to Christmas music non-stop.  Tonight, I am getting out of the house to go to a holiday party with a friend, and I’m really looking forward to it.

Hope you are all enjoying the season!

XO,

Gina

 

December in the City

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Since I moved to New York City in the summer of 2007, I am constantly asked for advice from hometown visitors on places to go and eat, things to do and see, and of course, where to shop. Since December is one of the busiest tourist seasons here due to the holidays, I decided to put together a little list of “non-obvious” (obvious being Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes) things to do on your New York City visit this year. Maybe, I will even surprise some of you locals with and idea or two as well.

 

New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show

Located in the Bronx from November 15 – January 19, the Holiday Train Show has been around for 23 years.  The twinkling Haught Conservatory has been transformed into a miniature version of the city with recreations of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, and Rockefeller Center all made out of tree bark, leaves, and other natural materials.  The model trains zip past as you walk through this tiny wonderland.

 

Holiday Market Shopping

There is nothing more exciting scoring adorable handmade gifts at the outdoor holiday markets during Christmastime.  Vendors boast hand knit hats, stunning jewelry, tree ornaments, clever tee shirts, artwork, soaps, and so much more.  Not to mention, who doesn’t love an apple cider donut or a hot chocolate while walking around from booth to booth?  My favorite market remains the one at Union Square, but you can also find fabulous goodies at Bryant Park, Columbus Circle, Grand Central (indoors), and Brooklyn Winter Flea (also indoors).

 

Ice Skating

Of course, we all know about the famous ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center.  While it’s completely iconic, it’s also completely overrun, small, and a bit stressful for my liking.  I prefer Wollman Rink in Central Park for it’s quintessential view and also because it doesn’t get much better than Central Park for me in New York City.  Bryant Park also has a skating rink that is less crowded.  If you don’t particularly care about views or shopping, you can also skate at the Lasker Rink in the northern part of Central Park or the brand new Lakeside in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.  There are a few other indoor rinks as well, but I tend to lean toward the outdoor rinks during the holidays (and always actually).

 

Dyker Heights Christmas Lights

If you have some time to spend in NYC, consider making the trek out to Dyker Heights, Brooklyn to see their stunning Christmas Lights display.  These lights are like nothing you have ever seen before.  Houses are decked out and over the top.  Some are even decorated by professionals and neighbors are constantly trying to “out-do” each other, so it gets crazier and crazier each year.  The lights will be on display from Thanksgiving – the New  Year starting from around dusk and staying on late, maybe even past midnight.  It’s best to drive and street park to walk around, or take the bus in (subway is a bit of a hike).  This is totally worth seeing!

 

Winter Solstice Celebration

If music and performance is your thing, check out this concert at the gorgeous Cathedral of St. John the Divine on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.  The event features Paul Winter’s ensemble complete with dancers, drummers, and a contemporary take on ancient solstice rituals.  Puerto Rican singer, Danny Rivera will also bring a new twist to the event this year.  If you’ve done Radio City and the Nutcracker, this is a fantastic holiday alternative to add to your list of shows.

 

Gingerbread Lane

Head to the New York Hall of Science in Queens from November 14 – January 11 to check out the stunning display of handmade gingerbread houses.  Created by chef Jon Lovitch, all the houses are made of edible ingredients, and last year’s display was named the largest gingerbread village in the world by the 2014 Guinness Book of World Records.  There are also certain dates set aside where visitors can create their own gingerbread houses under the guidance of Lovitch.

 

Bronx Zoo

If you have children, the Bronx Zoo could be a fun trip during the holiday season.  Children can meet the reindeer herd or take a ride on the horse-drawn wagon.  You can also watch the ice sculptors create beautiful animals in front of your eyes.  The zoo’s theatre will be playing A Mammoth Christmas in 4-D throughout the holiday season, and from December 26 – 31 there will also be a Tropics on Ice playground complete with an ice slide, treehouse, and ice throne.

 

MOMA

This last place on the list isn’t holiday specific, but if you enjoy art, you should definitely visit the MOMA to check out the Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibit that will be on display from October 12, 2014 – February 8, 2015.  The exhibition consists of over 100 cut-outs composed of painted paper cut and pieced together in a most unique way.  It has gotten rave reviews, and I cannot wait to make it over there myself to check it out.

 

I had a lot of fun putting this list of things to do in NYC this December.  Since I am so often asked my opinion on what to do in this big, bad city, I may incorporate a few more NYC-based posts in the upcoming year.  Would love to hear your thoughts, dear readers!  Would this be something of interest to you?  Places to eat, shop, visit, things to do in different months of the year, etc?  Let me know if this is something you think I should continue for the new year.

I have been busy recovering from my thumb surgery that I had last week, so I’m sorry for the lack of posting, but it’s been a bit difficult to type, text, write, and basically use my right hand in general.  Try changing a diaper with one hand people!  It’s not easy!  I will hopefully be getting my stitches out on Friday and see how things are healing.  Looking forward to getting back to normal soon!

Hope you are all having a great week!

XO,

Gina

Dusting of Snow

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Aztec Blanket Wrap: c/o Moon Cats / Denim: Paige / Top: Express / Boots: Steve Madden / Earrings: Stella & Dot (on sale!) / Bracelets: Guilty Jean / Watch: Michael Kors / Lip: MAC Rebel

We had a lovely holiday weekend in Maryland with family and friends.  We also experienced our first dusting of snow for the season.  If this winter ends up anything like last year’s, I am going to be in serious need of some cozy, comfy clothing.  I received this Aztec Blanket Wrap courtesy of Moon Cats, and it is so snuggly and warm.  Not to mention the fantastic print and fringe it has going on.  I plan on rockin’ this wrap all season long.

This scarf company has a killer sale going now ($20 off all orders of $50 and above) with the code BLACK20POPCORN.  I wish I could fill my closet with their amazing scarves, but if I have to choose my favorites I would include this Snowy Day fair isle infinity scarf, this fabulous Polka Dance scarf, and call me old fashioned, but I love this oversized Grandma’s Favorite piece as well.  If I don’t end up buying out the store for myself, I will at least pick up some gifts here this season.

On another note, I am finally taking care of this trigger thumb problem I have going on, and I have decided to get surgery tomorrow.  Apparently, it shouldn’t be too difficult or long, and hopefully recovery will only be a couple weeks.  The pain and popping/sticking of my thumb was getting too unbearable, and the cortisone shots worked well, but only temporarily.  I’m not exactly sure how I will take care of a toddler with one hand, but thank goodness for my mother-in-law who is coming to town Wednesday night.

Hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving, and hope you are enjoying the week so far.  Our Christmas tree is already up in full-force, so ’tis the season!

XO,

Gina

A Very Vintage Holiday

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 Dress: Vintage (1970’s) / Shoes: Kimchi Blue via Poshmark / Polka Dot Tights: Madewell / Necklace: Guilty Jean / Lips: Lancome Fearless

I stumbled upon this dress at a vintage clothing shop in Tucson, Arizona, and I just had to make it mine.  It’s absolutely sweet and perfect for the holiday season, and I am looking forward to all the upcoming parties and occasions that I can possibly wear it.  People will probably get sick of looking at this dress before the holiday season is over, but I don’t care.  I’m all about it.  And let’s talk about these shoes for a minute.  They originally came from Urban Outfitters, but I scored them through an amazing seller on the Poshmark app.  A marketplace to both buy and sell, you can find some really great items through Posh.  I will definitely be wearing these shoes all holiday season as well.

Speaking of the holidays, we arrived in Maryland late last night with no traffic (hooray!).  We are getting ready for another annual get-together tonight with friends, and we are looking forward to celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday with lots of family.  We have much to be thankful for this year, and I want to also thank you all for continuing to come back here time and time again to support this little here blog of mine.

Happy (early) Thanksgiving!

XO,

Gina

{29} Lately…

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Lately I’ve been…

reading  Just started The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, and so far it has my attention.  

writing  I have been writing a ton lately.  A few opportunities have arisen lately in the writing world, and it’s all very exciting!  I’m not quite ready to share yet, but keep a look out in the next month!

listening  Love this song, Stay, by tyDi featuring Dia Frampton (Frank Pole Remix)

thinking  We had a lovely Friendsgiving dinner at our house the other night.  We decided to do a sit down and all write things we are thankful for about each other.  We also had a new addition to the crew this year as my friend brought her newborn baby.  I am very thankful for my NYC Upper East side loves.

smelling  (and eating) lots of pumpkin pie!  Mmmm.

watching  The hubby and I watched 12 Years A Slave over the weekend.  It was an incredible film, and also extremely heartbreaking.  I was pretty much in tears the entire time.

wishing  Everyone safe travels and a Happy Thanksgiving!

hoping  That all my little soccer students enjoyed our session!  We had our last class of the season yesterday.  It was a lot of fun, and it was definitely a learning experience coaching such young children (ages 2-5) !

wearing  Lots of plaid and aztec prints this fall.  

loving  At how quickly Nico is picking up new words.  He is like a little parrot right now just copying everything we say.  It’s super adorable, but I realize I also need to start watching my potty mouth!

laughing  At Weird Things All BFFs do.

wanting  To find some time to edit my personal photos.  I am super back-logged!  Maybe I will get a chance over the break, although that is probably wishful thinking.

needing  To get packing.  We are heading back to Maryland for the holiday, and excited to see family and friends.

feeling  Motivated.

craving  What else?  Thankgiving food.  Turkey, stuffing, corn, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie.  All the essentials.

clicking  Through family photos to try and pick one for the holiday card this year.

*

What have you been up to lately?

Hope you all enjoy the holiday week!

XO,

Gina

***I was inspired by Tina of Like Ordinary Life to create this post, and she was inspired by Lauren of siddathornton, who started The Sunday Currently.

Southwest Chic

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Dress: ModCloth (now on sale!) / Shoes: Sole Society (similar) / Sunnies: ModCloth / Earrings: Gifted / Clutch: Old (can’t remember!) / Bracelets: Gifted and Baublebar / Lip: MAC Rebel mixed Up the Amp / Eyes: Urban Decay 24/7 Liquid Liner in Radium, Sonia Kashuk Eye on Neutral Limited Edition Palette (I cannot find this anymore, but you can buy the matte and the shimmer separately, which is basically the same thing!)

I had been dying for an opportunity to wear this fancy dress, and I figured a wedding in sunny Arizona was the perfect place!  Oh how I am missing that warmth right now.  We are freezing over here in New York.  Tucson is just such a beautiful place, and this backdrop was so gorgeous, we had to stop along the side of the road for some snaps before the wedding.  The wedding photos are gorgeous as well, and I’m excited to share those at a later date.  Although it was a quick trip, we had an amazing time eating delicious authentic Mexican tacos, celebrating a wonderful couple, and soaking in the sunshine.

Hope you are all having a great week!

XO,

Gina

Only in Fairytales

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Woweee!  I am so excited to finally share these photos from my cousin’s wedding!  I can’t believe they have already been married for over a month.  This couple couldn’t be more perfect for each other.  Melissa and John are two of the sweetest, kindest people I know, and they would do anything for anybody.  I am so happy they found each other and that we were lucky enough to be included in their celebration.  Their ceremony was held at their local parish in the Bronx, where my cousin Melissa is a teacher.  All of her students were in attendance which was adorable.  The reception took place at The Venetian in New Jersey, and it was the most breathtaking venue I have ever seen.  Melissa and John really thought of everything, and every detail was planned out right down to the personalized champagne glasses for Grandma and Grandpa.  This wedding was certainly the kind that you only dream of in fairytales.

Not only was it a dream-like wedding, it was also a party!  The music was pumping all night long, the guests were given light sabers, and the venue boasted the largest dance floor I have ever laid eyes on.  The Viennese dessert table was introduced with a fire show, and the bridal party made their entrance down a long flight of elegant stairs.  The WOW factor was through the roof, and the night just kept getting better and better as it went along.

Congratulations Melissa & John!  I wish you and wonderful life together full of happiness and love!

XO,

Gina

Neutrals in November

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 Trench: H&M / Sweater: Forever 21 – similar / Tank: GAP / Denim: Paige / Booties: Target / Sunnies: Vintage Kenneth Cole / Drop Earrings: Gifted

Happy Hump Day!  These photos were taken on a slow weekend in the city.  We meandered over to the neighborhood of Red Hook in Brooklyn for a delicious brunch at my favorite place, Home Made.  Let me tell you their french toast is to die for.  Also, if you are a scrambled egg person, the truffle scramble is sensational.  We settled in this comfy little spot on the cozy couches and had a lovely meal with just the three of us.  We then followed up brunch with a grocery trip to Fairway Market.  Just a typical little Saturday for ya.  Complete with the wind whipping around, a taste of winter lurking just around the corner.

Off to warmer weather tomorrow in sunny Arizona!  Feel free to follow along on Instagram for updates while we are away.

XO,

Gina

Creative Ideas for Engagement Gifts

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Photo Credit: Misa Me Photography

Since becoming a mom, I sometimes feel that I have neglected to be a very good friend.  I have always been the person who remembered every single birthday of friends and family members.  I remembered to call.  I remembered to go out of my way to do something nice on an important day for them.  Nowadays, I am lucky if I even know what day it is, let alone that there is something special going on that day.  I love my friends and want them to know that I still love them.  I know being a mommy is not an excuse to forget about my friends, and I hope they know that I do still think about them often, even if I don’t always remember to call.

One particular instance of me being a bad friend…my bestie from high school called me up one night when I was particularly exhausted from lack of sleep.  I felt bad for not answering, but I just didn’t have the energy to have the catch up session that we needed.  The next day, she called again when I was in the middle of watching both my son and another child at the same time for the first day.  I figured since she called again, that it was important, but again it was just a bad time.  I answered, but immediately said, “Hey, can I call you back.  I’m watching two babies and it’s a little insane.”  She said “ok” but sounded like she really wanted to talk, so I said, “What’s up?” and she follows with “I’M ENGAGED!!!”

Oh. Em. Gee!!!  No wonder she was calling so much!  And here I am blowing her off, because I’m too crazy and tired on one of the most important days of her life!  What a jerk!  I said, “Congratulations, and I will definitely call you back later to hear the story.”  To which I did follow through.  Upon calling her back, she says, “Did you remember today is also my birthday?” F@#$!!!!!!  Ok, I am officially the worst. friend. EVER.  I knew her birthday was coming up, but when the actual day arrived, I didn’t even know the date.  I felt AWFUL.

Luckily, she is an amazing person and has forgiven me.  And I know gift giving totally doesn’t erase the fact that I am a nincompoop.  HOWEVER!  It’s cannot hurt, and I totally owe her one.  So I have spent a lot of time trying to come up with some creative engagement gifts to send her way, and here are some of the ideas that have crossed my mind:

Wedding Planning Basket:  As a new bride-to-be, it can be really exciting to think about planning your wedding, but it can also be a bit overwhelming.  A wedding planning basket will give them a little boost to get started and fill them with ideas and organization tips.  Include bridal magazines, a planner, pen, thank you card, ideas for local vendors, to-do list with typical budgets, wedding-themed movies to put them in the wedding planning mood, and more.

Personalized Champagne Glasses:  Nothing says celebrate like champagne!  I love the idea of personalized champagne glasses with the names of the couple and the date of their wedding.  They can use them for the big toast on their wedding day, and toast again with them year after year on their anniversary.  Include a nice bottle of champagne for the win.

Take Them Out/Send them Out:  Take them out for a night on the town, a nice dinner, or a fun activity you know they will enjoy to celebrate the new journey they will take together.  You could also get them a gift certificate to send them on their own adventure together.  A couples massage to relax before their big day would be one of my favorites to suggest!

Create a Slide Show:  Gather photos from friends and family members to compile an adorable slide show for the future bride and groom.  The thought and effort put into the project will mean the world to the engaged couple.  You can include photos from their childhood  with family and friend or include photos of solely the couple themselves on their many adventures together.  The slide show can be used at an engagement party, bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, etc.

Photography Session:  Speaking of photos, a professional engagement photography session could be an amazing gift for a couple.  With all the insane amount of expenses that come along with planning a wedding, a couple might not have it in their budget to include an engagement session as well.  The photos could be used for their future “save the dates,” thank you cards, at the wedding, or framed and hung in their home.

Personalized Art Work:  My husband and I received a piece of art work for our wedding, and we still have it hanging in our home.  Something sweet to hang as a reminder of their special day will always be appreciated.  I really enjoy this simple Happily Ever After piece from Etsy.  Artwork is also not limited to the wall!  A personalized platter, ring holder, pillow, or anything else for the home could be a great gift and beautiful  reminder of their special day.

Wine Box:  If the engaged couple is into wine, a wine box could be a really fun idea.  Choose about 6 bottles of wine or so and label them with tags for different milestones that they will reach in their lives (First Anniversary, 10th Anniversary, First Home, First Christmas, etc.)  Make sure to ask someone at the wine store for advice as they may be able to suggest wines that age well.  You could also include a bottle of sparkling cider to toast their First Child.  If they have a different drink of choice, you could do a similar box filled with beer, mini liquor bottles, or something else that would interest them.

Personalized Greeting Card:  Sometimes it’s the simple things that mean the most.  A personalized greeting card is an inexpensive, yet thoughtful way to let someone know you are happy for them.  I absolutely love the greeting card options available at Treat.  They have lovely designs, deliver right to the recipient’s door, and they can also include photos or a gift card inside if you wish.

I cannot divulge what option I ultimately decided on because said friend might be reading this post, and I haven’t presented her with my gift yet.  ;-)  Hopefully one of these ideas will speak to you.  I know I will definitely be returning to this list for future friend’s engagements.

Hope you all had a great weekend.  I have a short week here in New York, before I head off to my longtime friend and pen-pal’s wedding in Arizona!  I haven’t seen her since our Tucson reunion last year, so I am very much excited to see her and her awesome fiancé tie the knot!

XO,

Gina

Happy Halloween

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We are all ready for Halloween at the Notes/Gonzalez household!  I will admit, aside from the pumpkins, most of this decor was done by my fabulous neighbors.  We are excited for a neighborhood celebration complete with a parade, and I can’t wait to take Nico trick-or-treating for the first time in his Mickey Mouse costume.

In celebration of Halloween, I have decided to share some of my holiday favorites this year…

*A combo including two of my favorite things…white pumpkins and glitter.

*This may be a Christmas movie, but it includes my favorite Halloween song.

*One of my most favorite Halloween costumes to date.

*And I had to, of course, include an old school throwback with the little sis.

*This movie is one of those that you have to watch at least once a year.

*Love these adorable Halloween Frankenstein treats.

*Speaking of yummy things, you must try this pumpkin fluff dip.  They serve it with graham crackers which is great, but I also like it served with apples and nilla wafers.  Amazing.

*This scarily sweet martini is right up my alley.

*My favorite children’s Halloween costume.

*Who remember’s these awesome books from when they were a kids?

Hoping you all stay safe this Halloween night.  Have a fun time and hope there are less tricks and more treats!

Happy Weekend!

XO,

Gina