Monthly Archives: May 2017


my daily make-up routine

May 25, 2017

first of all, i need to give credit where credit is due. even though i love reading reviews and trying products i find on my own, i have begun to rely more and more on the suggestions of people whose make-up style i love. the four i look at the most for recommendations are Katy of The Beyouty Bureau, Emily of Cupcakes and Cashmere and Kristin Lauria! Katy is SOOO real about struggling with acne and is hella honest. even though she is sometimes more glam than i am, i learn so much from watching her IG stories and everything i try that she recommends is freaking great. Emily has consistently weaned off make-up into a more and more simple routine which i admire and am trying myself as i work on my skin. and Kristin just nails that sweet, natural make-up look every time!

here’s the thing: this make-up line-up isn’t perfect. even though i really want to get to a point where everything i own, both in clothing and make-up but also in most other areas as well, is bought with the “quality over quantity” and “only natural” mindsets, i can’t just toss everything out the window and start from scratch because i don’t have that kind of budget currently. a couple of months ago, i did throw away all old make up brushes and foundation, breaking up with bareMinerals and trying tarte’s foundation which has helped my skin and has a much more natural, long-lasting finish. it’s like a thicker, fuller coverage bb cream and i am obsessed. it’s the reason i ever get a compliment on my skin, i am sure.

with all that being said, i do use e.l.f. brushes because they’re amazing and amazingly cheap, even though i’d love some big, fluffy, all natural brushes. so don’t get discouraged if you are replacing one product every couple of weeks — that’s essentially what i have doing since last november! you have to start somewhere.


my routine is simple and the purpose is to look as natural as possible, weaning off make-up as my skin clears more and more. i really struggled with girls being so forceful about “no make-up Mondays” and such because i would have/would still love to wear no face make-up/foundation. there is so much negativity about make-up but i just don’t think there’s a direct correlation for me between wearing some foundation and my strong belief in developing what’s on the inside first. so if it gives you a boost to wear something that evens out your skin tone or hides some scarring, don’t let anyone tell you that that makes you less self-confident.

so here’s what i do:

i take my foundation and dab a few dots on the top of my elf ultimate blending brush. less is more with this foundation which makes it last longer and look more natural. starting with the bottom of my face (always apply foundation first to your problem areas because you have the most foundation ready on your brush), i rub the product in circular motions, moving up my face but stopping before my cheekbones so i can still have a natural blush/flush throughout the day. i may apply a little to my t-zone (in-between my eyebrows and my lower forehead) if i need it but try not to.

then i take my concealer and apply it under my eyes in about four stripe movements, moving from the eye out to the cheek. i let it stay there and get a little tacky while i use the brow mascara on my brows, combing them into place and giving them a little more color. then i go back with the elf ultimate blending brush and tap it into place, being gentle with my under eye skin because it is so soft and pliable. i would like to try a different, lighter concealer because i don’t really have dark under-eye circles and this one doesn’t do much for me. i honesty use it more out of routine. i do love the bareMinerals Stroke of Light Eye Brightener so i may buy that next!

using the elf complexion brush, i apply a TINY bit of the bare minerals warmth powders to my face, trying not to focus on my cheeks but using it a bit below and on my t-zone. then i take the well people brightener stick and apply one stripe high on each cheekbone, using my fingertips to spread and tap it into my skin, giving myself a dewy glow. i read a ton of reviews on this product and i think i like it about 80% of the time. it sometimes makes my skin look oily but i also love that i can wear it without any make-up for a natural highlight.

using the Albeit all over face brush, i apply blush to right above where some would apply contour color. i don’t contour because that is way too much work for me, but ideally you would layer your blush right above that, so not to mimic jolly cheeks of Santa Claus super high on your face but just below to make it look natural. does that make sense? i tend to apply a little more blush than i deem necessary because it is my go-to trick for making my eyes look brighter and bluer. it also looks feminine and adds a natural flush which is a look i’ve always liked! this tarte blush is unbelievable. truly. i love it.

after curling my lashes (i had heard SO much about this curler and i do like it! it fits my eye shape better!), i apply the benefit mascara, top with a couple of coats of the lancome mascara and sometimes add a little bit of eyeliner to my top lid to make my eyes look bigger and brighter aka when i am tired. 🙂 i never go all the way across my lid, starting from the outer corners and work in about 60% across my lid. i don’t have many secrets with mascara and honestly, would love extensions because mine are so pitiful. could be worse.;)

as for lips, i usually just use Smith’s Rosebud Salve that i will get you hooked on if i talk to you for more than 30 seconds about it. it’s this perfect lightly tinted, rose-scented lip product that’s $6 and make you feel truly impeccable. the l’oreal nude lipstick is killer for a light color and looks good truly on anyone (also v cheap). one swipe of the buxom lippie is my go to now that i have a little bit of a tan! it’s such a cute color and so pigmented so i only have to use a little!

the point of this routine is to merely accentuate my features. i am not trying to recreate my face everyday. i just want to add some color, even out my skin and help with my super light eyelashes. i have ALWAYS loved that girls with thick, dark lashes and brows look amazing without any mascara but i truly look like i haven’t slept in a couple of days. i use to take it really personally when girls were like oh i never wear eye make-up but everyone is different! cheers to them and their luscious lashes. mine are short and light and need some tender loving care.


i put a star next to the products i would definitely buy again! the others i will compare others to  see if there’s something better.

*NYX Professional Makeup Tinted Brow Mascara in Chocolate

bareMinerals BARESKIN Complete Coverage Serum Concealer in Medium

Benefit Cosmetics Roller Lash Curling & Lifting Mascara in Black

*tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Full Coverage Foundation SPF 15 in Medium Sand

*Buxom Full-On Lip Cream in Creamsicle

Lancome Hypnose Drama Instant Full Body Volume Mascara in Excessive Black

*L’Oreal Paris Colour Riche Collection Lipstick in Jennifer’s Nude

W3LL People Bio Brightener Stick 

*Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler

bareMinerals All-Over Face Color in Warmth

*tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Captivation (bright peach)

Maybelline Unstoppable Eyeliner in Onyx

*e.l.f. Ultimate Blending Brush

*e.l.f. Complexion Brush

Albeit All Over Face Brush


a skin routine that works

May 23, 2017


today i am sharing my struggle with acne (yes, even as a 23 year old) because i am honestly just super frustrated with reading loads of blogs and either no one has acne or no one wants to talk about it. which confuses me but that’s the harsh side of social media for ya: we all complain that no one is real but then never talk about real things. #bahhumbug

for some reason on lifestyle blogs, i find everything except chatting about the following: Aunt Flo/Mother Nature/that time of month i feel like i might shave my head and eat my weight in ice cream and acne. why? i don’t know! we all experience both as women so it’s just very bizarre to me that we pretend they don’t happen?

so i am going to talk about them. 😉

**period chat will come at another time. i have cramps that have sent me to the hospital before and i have been working on getting them more under control because honestly, i am terrified to get them anywhere other than my bedroom because they cripple me and my hormones rage so freaking hard that i have written down on my calendar exactly when i start to feel loony so i can remind myself it’s just that time of month. BUT ANYWAYS! that post will come in a couple months because i am currently working through some solutions but i don’t want to say things that don’t work — so stay tuned! let’s chat Aunt Flo soon.

today i will go through my skin care routine which consists of two products i use everyday and a couple of lifestyle changes.

S K I N C A R E //

wanna play never have i ever?

i’ll go first.

never have i ever had someone tell me my skin looks good.

until about two months ago and i just about passed out.

i have struggled with acne prone skin since the first days of puberty in middle school. and you know when people are like, oh it’ll go away in your 20s? yeah, no. mine didn’t. it was so sensitive for me this fall. i felt so awful about my skin and the winter didn’t help. here in st. louis, it gets so dry and bitter cold, making your skin wonder why you’re trying to sabotage it.

i was SO frustrated and bitter with girls who had grown out of their acne and mine had came back on my jawline in these cystic pimples that just lay there for freaking ever, hurting and sometimes itching, and then leaving behind small scars. i literally couldn’t even pop them if i tried so i felt like i was losing the battle but not even doing anything wrong!!!

my mom and i did loads of research and found out that this is very common for girls in their 20s as your hormones continue to shift and settle (although do they ever?). this is part of the reason i continue to cut it out sugar more and more (more on that later!) and limit my dairy. i started drinking loads of water and really paying attention to what i put in my body, knowing that it would show on the outside soon enough.

but even though that helped, it didn’t cure it. and it was painful and embarrassing. so i finally just sucked it up and went to the dermatologist, who ended up being the sweetest lady who also shared that she’ll probably have acne for forever too. it was such a cool moment of her just chatting vulnerable woman to vulnerable woman.

i know many girls take birth control and other oral medicines to help with acne but i try to do things more naturally and only use medicine as a last resort (which is why i have been trying essential oils through my friend ashley!). at this point though, i needed something more than the creams and potions my mom gave me.

so here’s my routine!


i use two products every day. one is the Cetaphil cleanser and lotion combo. Cetaphil is great for acne prone skin and it’s very inexpensive. it’s recommended by like every dermatologist ever. i would love to invest in something more natural when it runs out but at the moment, it’s getting the job done.

i have used Cetaphil products for years and what i love is how gentle the cleanser is. i chatted with my dermatologist about scrubs and those little electric brushes you can use and all those fancy tools and she was literally like “just use this gentle cleanser, be consistent with the topical cream and be patient.” she was totally right! as tempting as it is to get these cool scented, beaded, exfoliating, glow-in-seconds cleansers, your skin is sensitive! treat it gently!!!

i am not the world’s biggest fan of the lotion because it’s a bit oily so i am currently hunting for a new one i like so stay tuned on that — i am sure i’ll share about what i find on my Instagram stories per usual. but it’s good for now! i used to love this Aveeno one so maybe i’ll go back to that? i am trying to buy products that rate low on the Think Dirty app though so i’ll have to see how that one rates!

although many people say to wash your face in the morning, i don’t unless i have worked out! my skin does way better if i don’t and i just wash it at night before i go to sleep after taking off all my make-up. ALL THE MAKE-UP. GONE-ZO. EVERY NIGHT. CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH.

the second product is a prescription topical cream called Epiduo. it. has. worked. wonders. i first used Epiduo Forte because it’s a big stronger (and my derm could tell how self-conscious i was). it did get worse before it got better but now my skin is the best it has been in a REALLY long time. seriously. and it was nowhere near that 6 months ago. the oral pill has some cray side effects so i chose the slower route via the topical cream but it truly only took me about 6-8 weeks to start seeing really great results. that might sound like a long time but when it’s already been bad, waiting  is relative.;)

T H E  R U N D O W NNNN //

  • pull back hair with a scrunchie
  • remove all make-up (going to start using coconut oil because my friend jenna said it’s been helping her eyelashes so YA COUNT ME IN. also #cheap #natural.)
  • splash face with lukewarm water
  • gently rub one pump of cetaphil cleanser all over my face and a little down my neck. GENTLY. no pulling or scrubbing. ain’t nobody want wrinkles.
  • rinse face.
  • PAT FACE DRY. my mom screeches at my when i pull at my face with a towel v aggressively and she has amazing skin. so i take a leaf out of her book and i pat pat pat and leave it a little moist!
  • let dry completely and then cover problem areas (for me — my jawline and lower face) with a thing layer/one pump of Epiduo.
  • the end. 🙂

if i do wash my face in the am, i just use the cleanser and a moisturizer! make sure to (again) be gentle and pat the lotion in. don’t pull and rub. pat. pat pat pat. GENTLE LADIEZ.

O T H E R  T I P SSSS //

i begged my derm to let me use fancy masks and she was like fiiiiiine every couple weeks you can. haha! she really swears by being consistent and simple and the freaking routine works. but i do use this #1 best seller $10 mask every 3ish weeks because it makes me feel like i low key got botox. it is unbelievable. and so natural and so cheap! BUY IT AND THANK ME LATER.

i guzzle water. i use the my water app to track it and just flush everything through my system.

i stay low-sugar, choosing when to eat sugar instead of it hiding in everything, and eat as many raw foods as possible.

minimal caffeine — i only drink caffeinated tea.

minimal dairy.

i tryyyy to keep sodium low.

i read through all ingredients of everything i buy to make sure i can recognize and understand what i am putting in my body. what you put in WILL reflect on the outside!

BE GENTLE. SEE A DERM. my two biggest tips. your face doesn’t need every scrub under the sun. it needs a personalized, consistent routine. make the investment to see a recommended dermatologist because you deserve to feel confident in your own skin.

i know how hard it can be when girls are screaming left and right to wear less make-up when you aren’t comfortable with your skin without any to help cover. but keep trying until you find the sweet spot. it took me from november til now to confidently write this post and even now, i am trying new products. the more natural the better. i think i’ll even try essential oils!

my goal was to get it to a manageable place and then reevaluate at my follow-up appointment with her this summer. so stay tuned! 🙂


remember that what works for many might not work for you! keep trying new ways and combos until your skin starts reacting positively. also, remember that the make-up you use will also have an impact on your skin — since it sits there ALL day. thursday i will be going through my whole routine and products! see you then.





travel tips: budget, style & research

May 16, 2017

traveling can be expensive and stressful. however, the more i travel, the less often i feel either! i have learned some tips and tricks to make the most out of every trip, decreasing the stress of making it perfect. i hope these tips help you for your next trip and i will continue to share them in my travel diaries like i did in my new york post!

  • set yourself up for success for when you come back. leave a couple of groceries in the fridge, have a plan for getting home from the airport, make your bed, do some laundry, clean your room, etc. there’s nothing worse than coming home to a messy room when you’re already overwhelmed with reality after a trip.
  • if you like to ‘gram photos, especially with your hands in them (holding an ice cream cone, holding a donut, holding a puppy — opportunities are endless!), paint your nails. hey, i said i was going to share all my tips!;) i knew my friend had made an appointment for us to get our nails done on Sunday, so i didn’t. #chipsfordays
  • have $20+ of cash just in case you need to tip anyone in-between home and your destination: airport shuttle drivers, cab drivers, airport personnel. also, it’s always smart to have cash on you when you travel! you never know when you’ll want street food or have a little emergency.
  • check with your calendar to make sure you know when your period is going to come and prepare as necessary. this is something i am hyper aware of because mine can/usually are painfully awful. i actually currently plan travel around my cycle because they’re so terrible. also when you’re clouded by hormones, a trip can seem way more daunting than it really is! it might be worth it to take note of when you’re due for aunt flow the next time you plan a getaway.
  • make a snack bag/lunch for the airport/plane ride. my favorite travel snacks/meals are bananas, cashews, sweet potatoes fries with a baked chicken breast, butternut squash, rice/beans/guac, and berries. why spend start your trip spending a lot of money on sub par airport food when you can pack and eat exactly what you like?
  • pack a water bottle and fill it up at Starbucks at the airport! ask them for a venti iced water and you’re set. hydration is key to beating jet lag.
  • pack or buy groceries for breakfast. two perks of this: you can get your day started instead of waiting in line for brunch and you will save money. i often pack some bananas, granola bars and grab some yogurts from the store once i am at my destination.
  • stay hydrated. for some reason, people throw health out the window when they travel and with that, water! stay hydrated and buy water bottles throughout your day. even if it is a couple more dollars per day, you’ll feel better and therefore have a better trip!
  • pack clothes that can be repurposed. a necklace becomes the accessory to jazz a day dress up for a night out. that one piece swim suit becomes the top to a pair of shorts or skirt. the high waisted black jeans are paired with converse for lunch and booties for happy hour. pack clothes you can mix and match! add some layers and stick to neutral colors, and you might find yourself being able to just carry on.
  • don’t pack something you won’t wear. okay this is the world’s most obvious tip but the hardest to learn: just because you’re traveling, doesn’t mean you are going to feel comfortable wearing an outfit you would never wear on your home turf. pack your favorites and that way you’ll feel confidant in anything you pull out of your bag instead of packing a lot of items that make you feel stiff and annoyed. i used to do this all the time! i would pack all these reaaaaaally trendy outfits but they were uncomfortable and i usually wore my other options. now that i have tailored my closet to the clothes i truly love, i don’t have this problem as often but it is the hardest habit to break! you don’t need to become someone you’re not when you travel — stay authentic to your style so you can pay attention to what really matters: where you are!
  • plan trips according to the weather. go see the Aspens in Colorado in the fall, jet to Ireland in August, head to New York in the spring, spend a weekend in London at Christmastime. try to think about how the weather can/will effect your trip and the activities you want to do, and plan accordingly! do keep in mind what the heavy travel seasons are for the places you have your list as well to avoid high tourist influxes and hefty flight prices.
  • space out trips, taking into account high-spending seasons. planning trips for before/after christmas takes a lot more effort because of the extra costs that you’ll experience as you buy gifts and save for your vacation. i like to travel in the late fall and early spring right now while i rock the cheap flights but i have to pay attention to birthdays and holidays, including buying flights to go home. i also think about the time of the year in relation to where i live. for example, i traveled a ton in April because i know the weather is unpredictable in st. louis and i love all the fun, free events in the summer so i’d rather spend money on settling here in the warm months. early spring and late fall are good to crank out some trips while there’s not much to do at home (if you live somewhere cold — if you don’t, we’re all jealous).
  • research, research, research. use hashtags like #travelnewyork and #newforkcity or instagram accounts to optimize social media to find the best restaurants, streets and airbnb’s. use sites like The Every Girl to look up guides to cities. stalk bloggers who have traveled or live(d) there. ask for recommendations from friends. google the city, the neighborhood, the best ice cream shops. use Yelp. and then map it all out. i spend hours before a trip making lists of things i want to do grouped by area for easy access once i am out and about. this way every opportunity for good food or sights is maximized without me trying to google something in the middle of the street with no data.
  • sort, delete and edit photos every night or else be overwhelmed by hundreds at the end of your trip. i’ll go through, one-by-one, deleting the ones i don’t want and editing in VSCO the ones i do! this makes it easier at the end of my trip to post to my blog and share with family + friends.

i will continue to share as i learn, as always! i hope this was helpful. do you have any tips + tricks to help with traveling?! do share below!


travel diary: new york, new york

May 10, 2017

i have wanted to go to New York ever since i can remember. when i sat down and made my year 23 list (can’t recommend this enough — totally holds me accountable!), i made visiting NYC a priority to me and in my budget. it makes me even more excited to share this weekend with you!

****this may be a long post, but i know you’re used to that.;)

because i do a lot of research and ask for recs everytime i travel, i rarely end up doing, eating or seeing something sub par. it’s the only way to go. i use other blogs, friends/family, Instagram hashtags/accounts, Yelp and Pinterest to find the best of the best. this girl isn’t about to spend a couple hundred dollars on a flight only to have a decent weekend.;) also, i have food allergies (soy, most nuts, wheat and egg whites) that can really stress me out while i travel if i don’t do research beforehand to make sure i’ll have options of yummy foods to eat.

i’ll try to incorporate as many travel tips in italics as i can throughout the tale! i am not an expert but i have traveled my fair share, especially while living abroad for a year, so i have learned some tricks along the way to save money and sanity. 😉 sharing is caring! if you can learn from my mistakes or successes, that’s a huge win in my book!

also, if you have any tips, PLEASE comment! i love when the blog creates a community that helps each other.

let’s get started!


f r i d a yyyy

i woke up Friday at 5:30 am, threw on the clothes i laid out the night before, didn’t put on make up (i always put on any make up i want wear when i land at the final destination – so much more comfortable and better for your face), ate a big breakfast (key for surviving a day of travel) and Ubered to the airport.

the flight was smooth as can be and i still landed on time around 12 pm despite being delayed. cha ching.

in my head, i thought la guardia would be a nice airport and i’d change in the bathroom when i landed before enjoying a great airport lunch since i had some time to kill before my friend landed. (try not to wear an outfit you want to wear during your trip on the plane. the chance of you spilling or just feeling gross in those clothes is VERY high so wear travel clothes that you can throw on for the way back as well.)

unfortunately, la guardia is an awful, small, dirty airport. to be blunt. hehe. it made me a little flustered but i checked myself before i became a whiny, priveleged mess and changed in a very tiny bathroom stall while trying to not touch too many surfaces.;) i actually ended up randomly chatting with a airport attendant while i did my make up and gave her advice on how to do her hair. i am never not making friends.

i headed outside, asked where to find the shuttle to where Ubers can pick up which is a little outside the airport terminal and got on said shuttle. i requested an UberXL by accident (yes, i have taken many Ubers before and no, i don’t know why i couldn’t figure out in that moment where the Uber Pool request was. fatigue? hunger? cloudy weather?). so that was a fun $48 to spend right off the bat. ughhhhhh aniaaaaa whyyyyyyy.

one thing you have to learn when you travel is to just suck it up when it comes to spending money, especially in unexpected ways. that sounds blunt but it’s the way i see my friends get so frustrated time and time again. you’re traveling. if you accidentally spend too much on a cab, there’s nothing you can do about it in the moment and the last thing you want to do is ruin the rest of your trip. (this is a great life lesson i learned as well! just gotta go with the flow!) if you budgeted for the trip, you have the money. even though i always incorporate ways to be thrifty, i try not to get so so obsessed with every penny i spend or it’ll ruin my experience. i chose in that moment to not beat myself up and just laughed when the guy asked where the rest of my group was. nope, just me in this large lincoln suv, sir!

my friend’s flights got delayed as she was coming back from spring break. again, this could have deterred my excited attitude but i chose to push those bad vibes aside and see the glass half full. i had already asked her for a coffeeshop recommendation near her apartment where i could sit while i waited and it was actually a blessing in disguise because the previous week was really heavy in new projects at work so i had been feeling a little tapped out. i was able to have some “i” time (introvert time — my phrase i use with close friends/family to designate recharging time) at Manhattanville Coffee and cozy up with my computer at the cafe. i face timed my parents who are traveling in Europe, perused Pinterest, and caught up with my sister.

i met up with my friend at 5 outside her apartment and we dropped off our bags, freshened up and headed out to have a night in the city. i had researched a couple of things to do that were close together for that evening, knowing that i would probably hit a wall around 8/9 pm. traveling on the weekend is a great way to just getaway and have an adventure, but i have learned to allow give myself early nights/moments of rest since it can be difficult to jet off after and before long weeks of work.

i bought a 7-day pass for unlimited metro rides for $32 which was totally worth it even though that sounds like a lot of money. it gave me peace of mind (important while traveling and being overwhelmed by so much new) and i ended up using the metro even more because of that pass which was cool to feel like i lived there. also i really miss public transport so i enjoyed that part of the weekend immensely.

we hit all the spots in the exact order i had planned in my head because it was all so convenient.  i will literally map out food spots in relation to where we want to go so it always ends up being a walk in the park. research pays off every single time!

first stop was Milk Bar where we both got milkshakes. i could only eat a little of mine because of the wheat (i thought it was gf because of the cornflakes but that is not the case!) but i really wanted to experience the cereal milk. it totally tasted like cereal milk and feeling a bit nauseas after was totally worth it.;) if you go, i’d recommend the crack pie milkshake instead. that’s what my friend got and it was sugary goodness. i am also an ice cream snob so my expectations are very high always and forever.

we walked around manhattan and headed to the MOMA. someone gave me a rec to go there Friday night since they have free admission from 4-8 pm and i am so happy to share that thrifty tidbit with you all. we got there at 7 which was actually accidentally great because there wasn’t a line and most people were starting to head out. i got to see starry night and lots of other work by some of my artists which made me EXTREMELY happy. we caught up as we walked around the MOMA which yes, i am totally aware sounds almost surreal.

from there, we headed to Cafeteria, a restaurant that serves 24/7 and had been recommended to me by a couple of friends. IT WAS SOOOOO GOOD. we sat at the bar and had drinks and apps. i ordered a blackberry mojito which i will definitely be recreating this summer and we ordered sweet potato fries, sautéed cauliflower in this amazing garlic butter sauce and truffle fries to share. can i get a freaking amen?!?! the garlic butter on the cauliflower was so good that we dipped/slathered our fries in the leftover goodness. oh my.

i have been trying to see the worth of every person i encounter and ask for names as often as possible as a rule of thumb. so, out of habit, i asked the bartender what his name was and he beamed as he said “ian.” well, then ian was a complete sweetheart and waived our food costs so we just paid for our drinks. i don’t think you should make people feel special to get free food but i do think there’s something to be said about treating people like people and not like they’re there to serve you. he probably never gets asked his name! how sad is that?!

we decided to head back to harlem where she lived because i was hitting a wall even though it was only 8:30 and stopped on the way back for some yogurt and breakfast items. i was so happy to be back with her since we hadn’t seen each other since she graduated two years earlier. we crashed early and naturally i laid awake for most of the night, so giddy about the weekend.

s a t u r d a yyyy

i am an early riser but luckily so is she so we got up early Saturday morning and spent a lazy morning sipping coffee on her couch and getting ready, still out the door by 9. just the way i like it!

we took the metro back into Manhattan and spent the next hour exploring Central Park which was honestly surreal for me. i have seen that exact landscape in so many movies and tv shows so it almost felt familiar. it’s going to be stunning in a couple of weeks when the flowers bloom, but it was a lovely overcast morning and didn’t rain (thank you God) so we were able to do a quick loop before heading to our next destination.

which was Chelsea Market, another heavily recommended place to see in NY. and now i know why! it’s this really cool urban, indoor marketplace with some chain shops like Anthropologie (of course we went inside).

but more frequently, lots of little shops and restaurants/food truck style options. i really, really loved it!! there’s TONS of options for food and browsing so two of my favorite things to do in one place. one of the shops, Artists and Fleas, was particularly cool. my friend described it as Etsy in store form and that was a perfect description. it had lots of little local vendors and artisans selling their goods. i love, love, love supporting small companies (partly because it’s my dream to one day have my own shop of some sort!) and loved looking around there.

we had made plans to meet up with another mutual friend who is getting her Masters at NYU so she met up with us for lunch. i splurged on a $9 juice while we waited and it was oddly a thousand percent worth it because it was amazing. #wheninNY

we bought tacos at one of the small food vendors called Los Tacos No 1. you can’t miss it: they’re cooking the food inside a tin booth and it will mostly likely have a line in front of it. SO WORTH IT. i got guac + chips and a chicken taco. mexican food is easy for me with my allergies since so much of it is corn based so i was in foodie heaven AND didn’t feel sick. #winwin

there’s also a doughnut place called Doughnuttery where they make tiny doughnuts that are fried right there in front of you and although i couldn’t eat them, my friend was obsessing over them. i’ll take her word for it and recommend it to you! you can get them in all sorts of flavors and i was droooooooling. so naturally i walked down the way and got myself gelato. it only made sense!;)

we left the market and walked the Highline at the perfect timing because it started to rain just as we headed back to the metro. I LOVED WALKING THE HIGHLINE. for those of you who’ve never been, imagine a walking path that is about three stories off the ground and is surrounded on both sides by really beautiful apartment buildings. there’s art, little gardens and great views of NY. my friend told me about their instagram account where you can learn more about what you’re looking at! (also: everything in NY has an instagram. EVERYTHING.)

the Chelsea area in general is just so gorgeous. it’s where DVF, Milk, boutique art galleries and lots of other designers have their offices/studios. i felt like Whitney from The City except i was just gawking from outside.

from there i headed back to Harlem to grab my bags and spent the rest of the day with my gal pal who lives in West Manhattan. she showed me the dreamy streets of SoHo, Nolita and West Village. we stopped at the store of one of my favorite designers, Ulla Johnson, and i just about fell over from love. i mean, look at this store. allllllll the heart eyes.

we just bopped around the little boutiques, chatted about our big dreams, ate ice cream in west village as we watched glam couples on their way out on the town and ate our weight in mexican. it was just the best. it felt like i lived there for those hours and that was a wonderful feeling.

the mexican restaurant is tacombi — i would recommend getting the chips + guac (the amount of guac they give is gold medal worthy) for an appetizer with a paloma followed by pollo quesadillas. oh myyyy, drooling just thinking about it! probably the best quesadilla i’ve had…maybe ever?

the ice cream shop in west village was absurdly expensive but uuuuuuhmazing. van leeuwen is artisan ice cream and they had this seriously good vegan ice cream. the prices are v high, but the quality is right on point.

we decided to end the night early because i was dropping fast. one of the best things i have come to realize while traveling is that you don’t need to do things just because of the expectations. yes, nyc has an amazing nightlife and i would love to one night have a glam night out on the town. but that weekend i was also thinking of the busy work week i was going into and was tired from finishing up work before i left. so really all i wanted was to take the metro home to a cup of tea and wash my face. so that’s what we did! there’s no reason to become something you’re not when you travel — stick to what you love and it’ll make the trip better all around!

s u n d a yyyy

i woke up sunday morning, packed my things up and walked down the street to a nearby catholic church for mass. if you need/want to go to a service when you’re visiting friends, just let them know ahead of time! i have never had a friend deter me from attending mass when they are hosting me.

i spent the rest of the day with my friend that i had met while studying abroad. she had recently moved to nyc so it was fun for her to still be a bit of a tourist in her new home. before we chat about the day, i haaaave to show you photos of her apartment. brace yourself. it looked like something out of an urban outfitters catalog. she found it through a friend of a friend and lives in one of the many bedrooms scattered throughout. this is exactly what i picture when someone says “artist loft.” what. a. dream. my eyes didn’t know what to land on.

she lives in Bushwhick so we started the day by walking around her neighborhood, which is famous for all the street art. i am not usually the biggest fan of graffiti but this was unbelievable. she says it changes all the time which we saw as artists were working on new pieces as we walked down the streets. it has this kind of hipster, oregon, authentic vibe to it and it was fun to see where she lives. we stopped in a local vintage shop that was one of the best i’ve been in and just stopped when we wanted, strolled when we wanted. you know, those sunday vibes.

she suggested we get a mani to start our sunday fun day off right and oh myyyyy, this place Local Honey. can you deal? let me know.

i haven’t gotten a manicure since my sister got married — here’s a post where i chat about mastering an at-home mani/pedi! but it was really fun to be pampered after a crazy last couple of days and slow down.

we headed to williamsburg from there and it was darling. i reaaaally liked that area! there were tons of people on the street and it felt alive. all the restaurants were full and looked amazing. the street vibe was just spot on, ya know? when you feel like anyone you talk to will be super cool and really nice? love that feeling.

we headed into the SoHo area again, dropped in for lunch at this place i had staaaaalked on Instagram called The Butcher’s Daughter (so yummy! a little pricey, but hey, that’s NY for ya! it’s also smaller than i imagined so be prepared for a wait!), and just bopped around that area some more. i was snapping photos left and right so it’s easier to tell the story of the afternoon that way by sharing it through my eyes with you!

^^ that adorable pink restaurant is called pietro nolita! it’s literally all pink inside. it looks like something out of a movie! we just stopped inside and snapped some photos because it was so darn cute.

we stopped at an ice cream shop, because….well, no particular reason other than the fact i wanted ice cream and OHHH MYYYYY i can’t believe we stumbled upon one of the best in new york – Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream. and fine it was. my friend got salted caramel and it was the best caramel ice cream i have ever had which might sound absurd, like what – does this ania girl eat ice cream for a living? but you need to know that i have an expertise in ice cream that is unparalleled since it’s one of few desserts i am not allergic to. so trust me on that one. i got the black ice cream because i was so curious – it was coconut and not super flavorful but when else will i eat black ice cream!?! if you go, get salted caramel.

they mix it all in front of you until you’re practically begging for them to hand it over. #cryingfaceemoji #hearteyesemoji

we then walked from soho to the Highline because why take a cab when you could walk and walked along the Highline again (no complaints here) to our evening spot, Gallow Green, which is on top of the McKittrick Hotel. oh my goodness. y’all if i could have my wedding reception be like this place, i would. there were twinkly lights, tiny banners, views of the city, rose properly labeled at “summer water” and just everything was right. everything. i cannot recommend making a reservation here enough!!!! the hotel is so old and cool. you take an old-fashioned elevator up to the roof and there’s all these attendants guiding you to the roof. i felt so legit and all just for a glass of wine? i can ball on a budget like that.;)

after the dreamiest glass of rose, we walked back to the metro (stopping for shake shack on the way — why are their fries so good??!) and headed back for the night! such a full, fun day. it’s so good to be refreshed on how much i can do in a day when i travel and to bring that mindset back home with me!

m o n d a yyyy

monday was chill! i headed to a coffeeshop, AP Cafe, in the morning when my pal headed to work…

and spent the morning there, editing photos and trying to wrap my brain around the busy week ahead back in Missouri.

then i met up with the amazing katherine harris, whom i interned for when i worked for The Refined Woman my senior year in college. i was her editorial assistant but since i went to school in st. louis and she lived in new york, we had never actually met! she is even more amazing in person, which i didn’t think was possible, and we had the most meaningful 1.5 hour conversation which i really didn’t want to end!

but alas, it was time to be whisked away in my chariot (**Uber) to the airport (**grungy terminal) to head back home.

overall, the trip was incredible. i am so grateful to have friends who are so willing to host and adventure with me all over the globe. spending that weekend in New York was so magical but also let me see His finger prints all over my move back to St. Louis. it is so much more expensive to live there and right now, as i explore photography and blogging and pay off loans, it’s really nice to be able to spend money on trips and shoots since the cost of living is a slice of New York’s. God knows my heart like no one else — He nails it every time. 🙂

i hope you use and share this as you visit New York! i love making travel diaries because since i travel based so much off recommendations, it feels so nice to give some right back to ya! enjoy and hurry over to the big apple soon. 🙂