Dyker Heights Lights

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Before skipping town for the holidays, we made our way to Dyker Heights, Brooklyn to check out their stunning Christmas Lights display.  We found a spot to park and had a fantastic night walking around the blocks to check out the all festive houses.  They were completely decked out with strings of lights, humongous wreaths, multiple blow up characters, reindeer, and toy soldiers.  We saw nativity scenes, dancing ballerinas, a giant Santa Claus, and even two carousels!  One house was selling hot chocolate for charity, and that ended our night with a sweet twist.  Dyker Heights has the most stunning display of lights I have ever seen in one neighborhood.  I definitely plan on returning for future holiday seasons, and I would love to bring some out-of-town visitors here to check out the scene.

We had a lovely time on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my family and the day after Christmas with my husband’s family.  It was so much fun to see Nico get excited about opening his gifts this year.  He was very much into the wrapping paper, and wanted to play with every single toy or book he opened right away.  Simply magical!

We are spending another week in Maryland catching up with more family and friends.  Last night we went out to celebrate a friend’s 30th Birthday, and we are planning on spending New Year’s Eve in Baltimore.  It’s kind of nice to have free babysitting! 😉  Not to mention, we love that Nico is getting so much quality time with his grandparents and family.

Hope you all had a great holiday, and wishing you the best for the new year!

XO,

Gina

Santa Success

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I consider seeing Santa without crying this year a “GREAT SUCCESS!”  (in a Borat voice).  I was anticipating some possible tears due to the sheer fact of toddlerhood, but we tried to prep him with little Santa videos, talks about what we were going to do and just acting straight up excited about the experience.  Of course, the toddler right in front of us started screaming bloody murder as soon as he got anywhere close to Santa, so I sensed Nico getting a little scared/nervous about what was going to happen.  We ended up just easing our way up toward Santa slowly, chatting with him and giving him high fives, before we actually did the lap sitting.  Luckily, the staff at Bloomingdale’s was incredibly patient.  They did not rush us at all, and I love that you can also take your own photos there.  Nico gave Santa a few sideways glances and seemed a little unsure about the whole thing, but eventually he cracked a slight smile…enough to capture on camera.  And like I said previously, no tears this year equals success in my book!

We are now down in Maryland with family preparing for the holidays.  I went shopping with the mama last night and braved the crazy crowds.  I have also spent most of this week wrapping presents for family and friends.  We are getting excited for our Seven Fishes Christmas Eve dinner tomorrow night!

Happy Holidays to you all!

XO,

Gina

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