Sunday, December 28, 2014

NYC | Part 2

WEDNESDAY was rainy, cold and dreary. We spent the day meandering since we didn't really have plans {shocking, I know!} One thing I had wanted to do since the first time I read about it online was to watch the Macys Thanksgiving Parade balloons inflate the day before the parade. We made our way to the Upper West Side and after a quick stop at Momofuku milk bar, we walked along the route as we watched the balloons inflate. To me, Snoopy is one of the most iconic balloons just because I remember him from when I was a kid watching the parade. My mom worked at Macys for many many years so this parade has always had a special place in my heart. 

Seeing the balloons up close was very cool. I would highly recommend doing this if you ever find yourself in NYC the night before the parade.  

After seeing the balloons inflate for a few hours in the *pouring* rain, we headed to East Village to check into our second hotel of the trip -- The Standard East Village. Last time we stayed at The Standard at the Highline and it was amazing. This time I requested a west facing room but we ended up with a room facing another direction, that's okay though cause the view was still pretty cool.  The lips pillow in each room is my favorite. 

We took it easy that night, walked to a yummy dinner at the Smith and then turned in early since the next day we planned to wake up early to catch the parade.

on THURSDAY {Thanksgiving}, we rode the subway -- got off at Columbus Square stop and walked to the parade route. We settled in near the beginning of the route because it's usually less crowded and we managed to get a decent spot. We stayed for a couple hours and left when it got too cold to have lunch at Starbucks. We actually spent a lot of our day at Starbucks because a lot of places weren't open.

Jake's favorite balloon was Spiderman!

After the parade, we walked along Central Park West towards 5th Avenue.

<3 strolling through Central Park...

Somehow{!?!} we ended up at Sprinkles Cupcake ATM in the Upper East Side. Calories don't count when you're on vacation, right?

We definitely need more Cupcake ATM's in the world! I got Red Velvet and it was delish.

I would say our parade watching was a success. It definitely was VERY cold but I was proud of us for sticking it out that long. A couple hours later, we had Thanksgiving dinner at the Boathouse in Central Park which was very nice, but definitely not the same as a home cooked meal.

Monday, December 22, 2014

NYC | Part 1

Jake and I headed to NYC a day earlier than planned due to a "weather event" that was supposed to occur the day before Thanksgiving. I'm so glad that all worked out because the day we were supposed to arrive turned out to be rainy and cold and just miserable all together, so it was nice not to have to travel that day.

TUESDAY: After an impromptu lighter dinner at Toloache, we went to Times Square. Now, this is something we skipped over last trip because we ran out of time, but for some reason we really really liked T.S. We probably spent 2-3 hours there, just taking it all in. I had heard a few days before on NPR that the largest interactive billboard had just launched, and you can see it in a few photos below {to the right}. The billboard covers an entire city block!

We found a stranger to take our picture, and managed to avoid the Elmo's, Superman's and various other super heroes that try to take photos with you and then make you pay them. I am curious though, how much money do those people make doing that? Just curious. 

I loved all the pretzel carts all over Times Square.

We took a little walk from Times Square over to Rockefeller Center because Jake wanted to go ice skating. Let me be clear: I was terrified to do this. But Jake really really wanted to try it. Background: Once, in 6th grade I went to Ice Palace which is an indoor skating rink {in Hawaii} I hobbled around the skating rink and was basically a mess. That's the last time I tried ice skating. I told Jake I couldn't even roller blade. 

We laid our eyes on the infamous rink and it looked smaller and more intimate than it seemed on TV. We ended up skating for about 45 minutes until it closed at midnight. Let's just say I made it around 3x without holding the edge and I almost fell 546776 times. But the important thing is that I looked up and enjoyed the scenery exactly four times when Jake reminded me. It's the little things. 

This photo is so romantic, right? Well actually, I had to hold onto Jake at all times so I wouldn't fall. So there's that.

Stay tuned for more NYC photos!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Up, Up & Away!

Last year Jake and I attended our very first Hot Air Balloon Festival {read my post here}. As we were leaving the Carolina Balloon Fest, we decided that this would become an annual tradition for us. 

This year, we debated whether to go on Saturday or Sunday and eventually decided on Sunday since the winds were supposed to be less strong - what a good call that ended up to be since the balloons didn't fly on Saturday due to the strong winds! 

My friend Megan was in town so she joined us and we had a blast. It's so fun to see the balloons inflate up close and then fly far away, to wherever the wind takes them.

As you can see, it was an amazing, bright day without a cloud in the sky. There was about 50 hot air balloons that participated in the festival.  We watched them all launch and then fly up, up and away.   I am still debating if I want to actually take a balloon ride. Maybe next year...

Have you ever been to a Hot Air Balloon Festival or ridden in a hot air balloon? Is ridden a real word? 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Rodan + Fields Soothe System

I mentioned in my last post that I recently got a facial. It was my first one and I didn't really know what to expect. I guess I thought I would leave there with beautiful glowing skin but that's not exactly what happened. I had also heard that they hurt so I was prepared for it to be a pampering experience but also that it might be a little painful. What I got was a mix between the two. The hot steam on my face was an interesting experience and once I got used to it, I really liked it! It felt really nice to open my pores. One of the most important takeaways I got from that appointment is that I have sensitive skin. My facialist had mentioned that would be one of the things she would figure out based on how my skin reacted to different stimuli. The crazy thing is that I never knew I had sensitive skin. I would exfoliate and use my Clarisonic like it was going out of style. So, fast forward 29 years and all of a sudden everything makes sense. I did notice that my skin was sensitive to certain things, but I never thought to call it "sensitive skin". I guess I didn't want to admit that my skin wasn't normal. I thought, oh great, does this mean for the rest of my life I have to buy special products catering to "sensitive skin"? But, I actually am really glad that I found that out because I think it's good to cater to your skin type and really know how to take care of it.

Enter Rodan + Fields.

I discovered them this summer and decided to give their SOOTHE system a try.  This system is specifically designed for sensitive skin, which is perfect for me. My skin isn't normally red but it does get irritated and dry. In the past, if I had a breakout, I would use retinol and my skin does not like that! It gets rid of the pimples but is very drying to my skin. You can see in my before photo below, that my skin is looking dry and a little red around the jawline. And now, for all the internet to see, here are my no makeup photos {eek, but also liberating!}. Especially given that I had terrible acne in high school and now my skin isn't too shabby, if I do say so myself...

Before starting the R + F System: 

I've been using the system for over a month now, and I am really happy with the results. I had taken a few progress photos below because that really helps me to tell the difference between each week of use. My skin also feels so much smoother and healthier. I think I am hooked!

Immediately after my first week of using the system, my skin felt less dry, irritated and red. In the photos below, my face looks a little white, it's because I took the photos after applying steps 2-4. The mineral sunscreen does make you face a tad white, so just be sure to use a cc cream or foundation after applying. Voila!

After 2 Weeks:

Technically, you are supposed to use the system 2 times a day but due to my busy schedule, I only wash my face at night and use the regimen then, right before bed. I asked my consultant if that is OK and she said I would get better results it I used it twice a day, but that I don't have to change my lifestyle to wash my face. Hah. So, they get it. It's real life. Realistically, I'm not going to wash my face in the morning. It would add at least 10 minutes to my morning routine and I need my beauty sleep. So, nights it is. And that's been working perfectly for me! 

After 4 weeks: 

I also asked my consultant about using my Clarisonic brush. She recommended I take a break from it and I mostly have. I maybe have used it once every other week. Also, my skin is on the drier side and she also mentioned that you can use the system without water if you have dryness issues. I didn't end up experimenting with that, but it's possible I might in the future as it gets colder here and my skin starts feeling the effects of that.
After 6 weeks: 

I guess the moral of the story is that sometimes less is more. You don't have to spend tons of money and have 27 different products and special things in your skin care line up. You just need real products that work that have good ingredients and that make your skin feel good. It's as simple as that.

If you are interested in trying their products, click here to visit their website or you can contact my  R + F consultant at 

Note: All opinions and photos are my own. I received a complimentary SOOTHE Regimen kit from Rodan + Fields to review. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The. Big. 3-0.

So ... On Monday, I turned 30. 

Whoa, that was weird to type. I have a feeling that the first time someone asks me my age I'm going to have a real hard time answering them. Maybe I'll just be in denial. Check out this if you haven't seen it. It's pretty funny. Also: I didn't get carded buying wine last week. Very interesting. 

Jake was asking me what the big deal is about turning 30? For some reason, I always had an irrational fear that I would be crying on the bathroom floor. Well, the good news is that didn't happen. It still seems very surreal though. I definitely don't feel 30.  When I first thought seriously about turning 30 {which was probably two years ago when I turned 28}, I started asking myself the important questions:

{photo below is from the Carolina Balloonfest, post coming soon}

Does this mean I have to stop shopping at Forever 21? 

Does this mean I have to start having kids right. this. minute?

Does this mean I have to have my whole life figured out?

Does this mean I have to get rid of that tube top in my closet? {I mean, I don't live in Hawaii, anymore... so... yes, I do} 

...and the list goes on and on. 

Somehow I think I'll survive. I've had a running list of things in my head that I wanted to do before turning 30. I am proud of myself for what I've accomplished in my 30 years so far. 

Some highlights:

Go on an amazing foreign adventure -- Iceland. Check

Pay off our wedding loan. Check. 

Get my first facial. Check.

Pass the CPA Exam. Check. {well I did that a long time ago, but it is still one of my biggest accomplishments}

Pay off my credit card. Check {it might have a small balance again... That's life, right?}

Visit NYC for the first time. Check.

Get my first gel manicure. Check.

For me, I think the prospect of turning 30 made me want to reflect. Just on where I've been and where I'm headed. Maybe I don't have to have my whole life figured out, but at least have a rough draft in mind. Jake and I joke about me going to law school. We joke about what city we will live in next. Well, maybe not joke, but we try to visualize living in certain places and just figuring it all out. In the end, it's the journey and not the destination. So, thirty is just another journey. 

Here goes!

P.S. I filed this under "Beauty" because I didn't know how else to categorize it. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

High Point Highlights

My friend Megan came to visit from Seattle {!!!} a few weekends ago and we headed to High Point Market in High Point, NC! It was my second time and her first. I wrote a recap about my first time here, in case you feel like checking that out. As I mentioned last time, High Point happens twice a year and it's basically Fashion Week for the Furniture industry. It's not open to the public, but its mainly for industry and buyers and press {me!}. I still can't get over how big it is - 0ver 180 buildings! Over 10 million square feet of showroom space! Maybe we saw 2% of that in 4 hours? Below are some of the highlights from my latest trip to the Market!

Kalalou - love this sign and styling!

Go Home Ltd - This was my fave showroom both times! This wall of books would be perfect in my apartment. And you can actually buy every single book. How cool is that?!?

This pink chair is everything. Don't remember which showroom this was at, but isn't she a beauty?

Vintage Textiles which were super cool! I like the middle one in the bottom row.

Loved these gold and silver fingerprints. See what I did there? I think these would be kinda fun to try and DIY. Not that I'm really a DIY person, but you know? It could be cool. Or it could turn out terrible. Can someone try it and let me know how it goes?

Sugarboo Designs had a ton of cute stuff in their showroom, again:

Overall - it was another great trip checking out High Point Market! Thanks for joining me this time, Megan!


P.S. Can you believe it's November 1st? And so begins the 16 day countdown to my 30th birthday. Eek!