Another Year.

Well, I’m another year older and probably at least a little wiser πŸ˜‰ Saturday was my 26th birthday and while it poured rain all weekend, I got to spend the weekend with my mom and my mom’s boyfriends daughter Amanda. I picked them up at Port Authority late Friday night and we went to grab food at Ellen’s Stardust Diner. I have always wanted to go to this place and if you aren’t familiar with it it’s a diner where all the staff are aspiring actors/actresses/performers, so they sing and dance on the tables! It was way cooler than I expected! photo 3(2)

We tried to ignore the rain as we walked around all day on Saturday and shopped our butts off! My poor John was so, so sick all weekend and his birthday was yesterday. He couldn’t even get out of bed let alone walk around in the rain all day. I was supposed to meet Brenda around 6:30 AM for a long run but I was actually scared to leave him alone he was coughing so terribly and in so much pain, so I stayed in bed with him until later in the morning. My heart rate monitor at least made me a cake!Β  photo 5(1)

Around noon we headed to brunch with Brenda and Eddie to the place we went to after the NYC half a few weekends ago, Philip Marie. I was so obsessed with our service and the atmosphere that I wanted to celebrate my birthday here! The food is also amazing but I think even if it weren’t I would still go there! I got eggs with toast and potatoes, super basic but delicious. That butter was NOT eaten.photo 1(1)Β  After brunch my mom, Amanda and I headed downtown to check out the 9/11 memorial. I was so glad they wanted to go because of course I’ve wanted to but it’s one of those things that when you live here you just keep putting it off because you take all of the things to do for granted. It was so beautiful and also sad to be there.Β  photo 3(1)Β  photo 2Β  We made our way back up to Times Square to hit up the gigantic Forever 21 and H&M. Let’s just say they have no idea how much I love them for me going to Times Square on a Saturday πŸ˜‰ It actually was really fun to be a tourist for the day and we ended up getting some great things. I treated myself way too much this whole month, always telling myself it was a birthday present. I have more birthday presents from myself this year than ever in my life combined, haha! shop

Shopping was followed by a ton of pizza at Patsy’s and froyo afterwards. My perfect birthday dinner!

Amanda, mom, and me!
Amanda, mom, and me!

Once we got back to my apartment, we had our own karaoke session of singing old school Backstreet Boys and NSYNC, which was inspiration for this week’s spin playlist. I had one of the most amazing classes ever yesterday morning! Everyone was feelin’ every song and a woman came up to me after class and told me my classes and music gets her higher than heroin! haha Flattered yet also concerned πŸ˜‰ Sorry I haven’t shared a playlist in awhile, but this one is too good to pass up.Β  photoΒ  After I taught my Sunday morning class, I came back home with bagels and donuts for John and we napped and watched Arrested Development all day and night. Not the worst way to spend a birthday, but certainly not fun when you are super sick! We are going to have a re-do on our birthdays sometime this week.

How was your last birthday spent?

Treat. Yo. Self.

I am officially declaring today the last day of this winter. GOODBYE. I can’t with you anymore. I am so sick of wearing layers and a huge puffy jacket and feeling just generally gross and unkempt. I am literally losing my mind so I really needed to give myself some TLC. How did I do this? Yesterday I online shopped (a little toooo much) for birthday presents for myself and today I received my yearly bonus at work and guess what? I BOOKED ME AND JOHN’S FIRST TRIP TO MEXICO!! More on that later because I’m so excited I want to be put to sleep until November 1st. (and have someone do all my marathon training for me)

Let me show you a few things I got and although I’ll probably end up returning some of it since things don’t always look the same in person, I’m so excited to see all of them! I’m all about super easy pieces, something that you can just throw on that’s always comfortable and easy to accessorize.

First up: I got an email from Francesca’s today and I was obsessed with the outfit right on the email! I think it will be a great birthday outfit so I ordered the top and skirt but not the necklace.

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Francesca’s is a little boutique I found out about last summer in Syracuse while shopping for a dress for my friend’s wedding. I had no idea it was a chain store and they finally opened a couple in the city. They have SUCH great accessories and clothes. Here is the link to the top and skirt, in case you’re interested. (I get no credit for any of these links, FYI) I did use the code FEBRUARY14 to save some money! If that doesn’t work, try MARCH14.

I also ordered these loafers that are finally on sale! I have been eyeing them for a couple of months and I snagged them for $20, originally $70.

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Too cute, right? They have other colors and designs here.

I then went a little nuts on Forever 21. Twice a year I get the big urge to shop here and ONLY online. I absolutely cannot handle the madness of the Times Square, Herald Square or Union Square locations any longer. I actually hate shopping in stores these days. It’s sad what working in retail does to you! Anyways, I could shop on their website all damn day. Here’s what I snagged:

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Super basic sandal, pretty much essential. $12.80! Get them here.

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I have been searching for an inexpensive pair of these for months. I believe Steve Madden had them and they were close to $100 if not more. Forever has them for $26. Yup. If you haven’t noticed, I’m a huge loafer/oxford fan and the crazier the pattern the better.

jumper (2)This jumper is hopefully going to be another birthday outing outfit, most likely with a leather jacket over it since I’m sure it won’t be in the 70’s in just a few weeks πŸ˜‰ It’s going to be a great summer night dinner outfit, too!

I’m a tad obsessed with coats and need one (okay, many) for each season. I’m going to see how this one is but I just need a light-weight coat for the first few months of spring since it stays chilly at night here until June.

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shortsThese shorts. I can’t even with how cute they are. Really hoping they fit! I also got some accessories like scarves and jewelry.Β Once they come in I’ll let you know what I keep! When I first order things I want them all to fit and then once they come like almost 2 weeks later I want to return things to get money back, haha. Anyone else feel like that? But anyways, sometimes you just really need to indulge yourself with nice things! After all, we can’t take money with us on the other side. (I don’t think anyways πŸ˜‰ )

So, Mexico. After the last 2 years of my life that have been downright awful and I still often wonder how I’ve come out on the other side, I knew that this year I wanted to do something big and extravagant and just LIVE. I have truly felt dead for 2 years now, just going through the motions of life and being miserable. No more. What is the PURPOSE of doing that? Of course it’s easy to say that when you are starting to feel alive again, but please know that there were more bad days than good over the course of the last 2 years for me and I had absolutely given up 99% of hope that things would get better. But you see that 1% I held onto of faith and optimism? It was the only thing that got me up in the morning. I forced myself to start doing things that I at least once loved, hoping that the repetition and routine would eventually make me feel whole again. And it did. I’m not sure where along the way that something turned for me, but it did. I went into teaching my spin classes last November with next to no enthusiasm on the inside, but I had to be present and act during each class. Eventually teaching became my savior. It was finally something to look forward to, and to give me something to work towards. Making playlists each week, visualizing the choreography, and imagining my classes working their butts off and making them feel great about themselves.Β THAT’S WHAT IT WAS AND IS. When you are feeling down, I swear the key is making others feel good. Think about it: when you’re down you probably spend a pretty good amount of time trying to make yourself feel good and sometimes to no avail. What if you channeled that energy into making other people feel good which basically always works? It DOES work. Teaching spin has given me a sense of self again because I’m doing something I love that really means something. Sure, working 7 days a week is a little exhausting but it’s not forever and my classes don’t feel like work at all. Well, they feel like physical work but not exhausting mental work!

One of the best parts of this trip is when we’re going. First of all, we’re going to Costa Rica in the beginning of August for John’s sister wedding but all we have to pay for is the plane ticket. Obviously super stoked to go! I’ve been waiting for years to be able to afford to travel and it’s what I want to save my money for. I’M LITERALLY SO EXCITED I CAN’T STOP DANCING. But we are going on November 4th which is just 2 days after I run the NYC Marathon! What an amazing treat, right? It will give me something to think about during those terrible miles at the end of the marathon when I will be wishing I was dead. And I won’t have to worry about fitting in workouts or anything on vacation because I’ll be taking the week off from exercising other than walking! SO MUCH SLEEP, CANNOT WAIT.

After weeks of shopping and comparing, the resort I kept coming back to was The Westin. Take a deep breath and take a look at these pics. PS- I’ve never been on a tropical vacation, so my excitement level is through the roof.

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Okay I’m literally drooling.

Only 241 days until we leave! Expect a daily countdown and I am NOT sorry. πŸ˜‰

If you’ve been to Cancun, please tell me all about it!!

How often do you treat yourself with clothes, shoes, etc? What makes you feel good?Β 

Those Things I Love.

Following your dreams is sometimes really, really hard to do. There are a lot of setbacks and it can really get you down, not to mention can take a long time to really get to. So sometimes you have to focus on what else makes you happy. Even if it’s superficial things. For me those superficial things are coffee and shopping. Coffee makes me happy in a HUGE way and I realize that may be kind of weird but I am more than just an addict. It makes me happy so I spend money on it that I figure into my budget, and only go to places that have rewards for what you buy. I justify it that way so I am at least getting a free drink every now and then πŸ˜‰ Β I don’t have much money to shop because I prefer to save what I can these days, but sometimes you just have to #treatyoself. A little. Right?!

My favorite mug, great quote and filled with the good stuff
My favorite mug, great quote and filled with the good stuff

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My new favorite drink you MUST try, especially if you like bubble tea. This tastes just like it but about 1/10th of the calories and totally customizable. I saw this all over Instagram this week. Order a 1/2 black iced coffee and 1/2 black iced tea (unsweetened) plus whatever milk you want. Add your own splenda or stevia on the side, gulp down. I’m so happy about this discovery because not only is bubble tea too caloric, they never have soy or almond milk so the dairy murders me. Wooooop!

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THE comfiest and softest shirt ever from the Gap, their Gapfit line. I got it in a large so it would be loose fitting even though it’s meant to be a bottom layer workout shirt. I wasn’t intending to run in it, but today was so cold I needed more than just a tank top under my Lululemon running jacket. Got this baby on sale for $12.99 a few weekends ago. I also got it in navy blue and gray stripes. Available here!

And these were an impulse purchase on my lunch break today. Well, technically I have been shopping around for a good pair of dressy yet casual booties like these.

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They miraculously had one pair left at the store and in my size. For the minute I walked around in them, they were comfortable. Let’s see how they do at my work holiday party Friday night. I’m definitely returning the watch I wrote about yesterday so this is also how I try to be mindful about shopping. I wouldn’t have bought these if I was keeping the watch, but technically now I spent less money. Mind tricks?

And the one place in the world that can always cheer me up and shower me with inspiration and thankfulness is Central Park. 4.25 glorious sunrise miles around this beauty this morning.

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What superficial things make you happy?

Are you a shopper or a saver? What things do you indulge in when shopping? I am much more a shoes/accessories gal than clothes.