'Tis the Season . . .

I have been so neglectful of my blog this past week. And shamefully I don't even have a proper excuse, other than 'tis the season, which I'm not sure really counts. I've been really caught up in the holiday hustle, but who isn't this time of year?

Image via PrettyStuff
In Santa Barbara now, but before I left I got to pack in my final December days in the city with a last bit of New York Christmas cheer ... from a festive dinner at Park Avenue Winter to a seasonal snow storm, a holiday housewarming party and creative cocktails at Little Branch, to a cozy evening at The Lion and a Love Actually viewing with the girls, even a snowy sendoff flying out. 

It is lovely to be home though. It's been four years since the last time I was home for Christmas, and just because the sun is shining and the temps are in the 70s does not mean that the festive fury is any less than in the East. 'Tis the Season is California as well. Not even here two full days and I've already had a night of tree trimming, Champagne by the fireplace, a holiday pizza party, and shopping galore. 

I will do my best to fit in some posts here and there with holiday updates from SB and keep up my Instagram (which I've also neglected) with pretty pics of all the festivities. Hope all your holidays are happy and merry! 


On Location: Holiday Lights & Movie Sights . . .

Remember when I went on the On Location TMZ Tour
I had mentioned that I'd love to try the Holiday Lights Tour, and lucky me! I got to go on it last weekend. It was fun and festive and a wonderful way to dive into the holiday season. 

This tour was quite different from the TMZ Tour. It had four stops where we actually got to hop off the bus - Lincoln Center, Bloomingdales, Barneys, and Macy's. Great for taking photos and getting an up close look at the holiday sights. 

Our guide, Lou, was an actress in the city and the perfect person to be leading the tour. She was fantastic - always keeping the bus engaged and super knowledgeable on New York film facts. She played corresponding clips with each holiday movie sight we passed and gave us the back story (with some behind-the-scenes secrets) to go along. We hit everything from locations where Elf and Home Alone 2 were filmed to scenes from Serendipity and Family Man

I have to say, apart for a few traffic issues, I really enjoyed this tour! I would recommend it to any Christmas movie buff or visiting tourist - it's the perfect way to see all the holiday buzz around the city, tying it in with the films we've all come to know and love. Get your tickets HERE before the season ends. 

For the ultimate tour experience, try some of these Resident Tourist Tips: 

* The bus picks up is right by the Columbus Circle Holiday Market, 
get there a few minutes early to load up on gingersnap cookies and hot cider for the ride. 

*Bring a camera, you'll want to take some pics at the stops along the way. 

*Grab a seat in the front, easier when getting on and off the bus. 

*Take a weekday tour, Saturday crosstown traffic is no fun. 

*Finally, sit back, relax, and enjoy. 

A giant thanks to On Location Tours for letting me ride along! 

PS. Ladies, I heard that our fab tour guide also leads 
the SATC Tour - which I bet would be worth checking out! 


Home Remedies for a Cold . . .

Hi there! Sorry for the slow posts, I've been stuck in bed with a bad cold for the past few days and am just now getting back to it. Ever since I've had heart issues, it's been really tricky when I get sick. I'm not allowed to take any cold medicines, which makes managing symptoms extra tough. As a result I've put in my fair share of research on the best at-home remedies. Thought I'd share, just in case you find yourself picking up a little sniffle during this chilly season.  

Here are some easy ways to soothe,
sometimes even stop a cold without visiting the doctor or pharmacy.

Drinking plenty of fluids and keeping hydrated is super important when fighting a cold. 

Squeeze some in your water or tea for an easy detox and a boost of Vitamin C. 

Peppermint Tea
Sipping warm peppermint tea helps soothe your throat, calm headaches, and relieve congestion. 

Apart from soothing a sore throat, this sweet syrup also has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. 

Another tasty anti-viral and anti-bacterial. 
RT Tip: For two in one, check out my recipe for Cinnamon Honey. 

Warm Salt Water
Gargle a teaspoon of salt in warm water to bring down pain from a sore throat. 

Chicken Soup
Proven to be one of the most beneficial hot fluids to consume when you have a cold, chicken soup clears nasal congestion and acts as an anti-inflammatory. 

Eucalyptus Bath
A few drops of Eucalyptus oil in your bath will ease congestion and open up your bronchial tubes. 
Plus it smells wonderful. 

Extra Pillow
Using one more pillow under your head will make it easier to breath through a stuffy nose, 
it also helps with nasal draining. 

I know I've been guilty of not adhering to this one, but the most important thing you can do when sick is rest up - it gives your body a much needed break and helps direct all its energy toward fighting off the cold. 


To Tao or Not to Tao . . .

I may have written about this before, but my mom and I have a little tradition after my doctors appointments: we go to Tao on 58th for Lychee Martinis and Spicy Tuna on Crispy Rice. We've been doing it for almost three years now. I don't remember how it started (and I realize how weird and random the restaurant choice is), but it's become the perfect little ritual - the drinks and food are tasty and at the hour that we go (6pm on a week night, hah) the place is quite and pleasant, nothing like the crazy club scene it turns into after hours and on weekends. Last night after my doctor's visit, we did as we always do. And as usual, I thought it was a great. 

Image via NYTimes
This morning on my way to work I was reading through the latest restaurant reviews and came across this terrible review of the new Tao Downtown. I actually laughed out loud on the subway a few times it was so bad. From what I read, it seems that the downtown location is even more over the top and overpriced than the uptown one. But still, I couldn't help questioning my choice in post-doc dining. I've thought about it though, and traditions become traditions for a reason. I like Tao, and I like the way I do Tao - I know what to eat, I know what to drink, I know when to go, I know where to sit.

I never really considered going to the new Tao Downtown, didn't think it'd be any different than the first one. But now I'm curious. Could it really be as bad as the review says? According to Sutton (who I trust) I'd be wasting my time, money, and taste buds. Naturally, I want to check it out for myself. Only because I'm a fan of the original. So with that said, we'll see if I find the right night to throw away money on a meal that I will supposedly mostly hate. If and when I do - I'll be sure to tell you all about it here, from my perspective as an unabashed Tao (Uptown) devotee. 

Until then if you've already been, please, do share!


Brew York City . . .

Last time I was in Dallas we went beer tasting at this really neat spot called Craft and Growler. If the name doesn't already give it away, it's a craft beer bar that also acts as a filling station.  After sampling a slew of unique beers, you can buy or bring your own growler to fill up to bring some of those unusual brews back home with you. I was totally into it and determined to find a similar concept in NYC.

Image via Jeff Raulie
Fast forward to a week later... I was picking up some toothpaste at Duane Reade and you won't believe what I saw: Brew York City. Maybe I'm a bit behind the times on this one, but did you know that Duane Reade has its own growler station? I was shocked and intrigued to see a beer bar in a pharmacy. I would have never thought that my search for a New York growler bar would end right there at Duane Reade.

So here's the deal: There are four DR locations in the city with Brew York City bars (two on the Upper West, one in Union Square, and one in Brooklyn). You can take your own growler for filling (I love these West Elm ones) or purchase one on-site. If you're curious what beers each location is featuring, check out an updated list on BeerMenus. Also, stop by your nearest location to find out when they have complimentary beer samplings.

Talk about two birds with one stone.
Craft beer and toothpaste all in one trip, I was instantly sold.



Hello December . . .

Image via InspirationStation
Hello! I hope you all had wonderful Thanksgivings filled with food, fun, family and friends. December is here and the holiday season is already in full swing. 

Last night my family and I got into the spirit at the Radio City Music Christmas Spectacular. We go to it every year, and every year it's equally cheesy as it is festive, and I couldn't imagine a better way to bring in the the first day of December. If you love New York and Christmas, you should try to catch a show one day this month. In fact, if you get tickets today and use code EMMONDAY - you can get 50% off which is a pretty good deal. 

And from one celebration to the next, tonight is Winter's Eve in Lincoln Square (featuring holiday food, shopping and entertainment - it's really fun!), tomorrow is the Bryant Park Tree Lighting (which will have live music and skating performances alongside the Holiday Market), Wednesday is the lighting at Rockefeller Center, and the list goes on. Visit HERE for a full New York Holiday calendar. 

Enjoy & happy December!


Thankful . . .

Images via Pinterest
Since Thursday is Thanksgiving, I thought it'd be nice to start the week off with a little note of thanks. Sunday night on my flight back from Dallas I started skimming through old posts and was reminded that this blog started because I wasn't allowed to travel. To think that I now bounce back and forth between New York, California, and Texas makes me feel like the luckiest girl in the world! 

Last weekend I spent an early turkey day in College Station, this week I'll be in New York for Thanksgiving, and in a few weeks I'm heading to Santa Barbara for Christmas. What more could anybody ask for? It's hard to believe how fast the past two years have flown by, and I couldn't be more grateful for everything that has come of them.  A giant Thank You to you all for following and reading along. 

What are you thankful for this year? 


Weekend Wardrobe . . .

I'll be in Texas this weekend, and while I thought I'd be getting a two day reprieve from the cold, turns out it's going to be chilly in Texas too. Which is actually fine by me. The low temps are festive and seasonal, and I'm always up for coziness. So this weekend I plan to laze around in chunky knits, plaid flannels, smoking slippers, and a good pair of jeans. And in case I need to glam anything up, a fur scarf always does the trick. 
Jil Sander Asiatic Racoon Scarf 

Paige Jimmy Jimmy Skinny Boyfriend Jeans

Ray Ban Aviator Full Color 55 Sunglasses 

November Long Sleeve Shirt

Zara Cable Knit Sweater

Stubbs and Wootton Smoking Slippers


Park Avenue Garage Sale . . .

Image via Pinterest

Today is the start of the Park Avenue Garage Sale, the ultimate in "garage sales." Really more of a  luxury pop-up, this has to be a must on your holiday shopping list. Held in a 56th Street townhouse (that once belonged to Elizabeth Taylor, nonetheless) you'll find everything from fashion and beauty products to art and home goods, even jewelry, both costume and real.

All items are either new or gently used, many of which have come from the closets of famous faces and names. And the prices are totally wallet friendly - think a $2,700 coat for $400 or a $150 pajama set for $20. The coolest part, a portion of all proceeds will be donated to this season's featured charity - Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center - which only makes your purchases all the more meaningful.

Stop by, check it out, shop away!

Park Avenue Garage Sale
10 West 56th Street
November 20th - 23rd
11AM to 6PM


Waking Up & Working Out . . .

Every fall when the clocks turn back and the hours of sunlight start to drop, I get disappointed all over again at how quickly the day turns into night. This year I'm changing the cycle. Instead of lamenting the loss of light in the evening, I've decided to take advantage of the extra hours of sunshine in the morning - switching out my afternoon gym sessions for a bright and early workout

Image via Discover Good

This time of year gets crazy with festive outings and holiday parties, a trip to the gym is usually the first thing to fall off of a to-do list. But for me, skipping out is not an option - a good workout is one of the most important parts in maintaining my cardiac health. In an effort to do it all, I usually end up fitting in a quick run after work, then rushing to get ready for a party, showing up with still-wet-hair and barely-there-makeup. Not ideal. 

So even though I am anything but a morning person, deciding to run before work (and sticking with it) has been one of the best moves I've made. It lengthens my day and serves as the ultimate time saver in the afternoon. If you find yourself struggling to fit in gym-time after leaving the office, you should give AM workouts a try. 
For my fellow late sleepers, 
here are some tips I've stuck by to keep from hitting snooze: 

* Keep your alarm away from the nightstand, so you have to get out of the sheets to turn it off.

* Keep your running shoes and workout gear right next to it, as an instant reminder.

*Keep a glass of water by your bed, so you can start hydrating as soon as you're up.

*Keep your curtains open, to let the natural light act as a  pre-alarm.

*Keep your workout goals (both start time and routine) realistic, so you don't wimp out.

Any tips of your own?
Share below! 

PS. For extra encouragement, check out these added benefits to working out first thing in the morning. 


Happy Weekend . . .

Who's ready for it? I know I sure am. Last night we went to Daniel for dinner for my mom's pre-birthday celebration, which was a spectacular kick-start to the weekend. 

Image via Mimosa Lane
No major plans for the next few days, which I'm perfectly happy with. Today is my mom's actual birthday (yay!), so we'll be having a festive group din at Graydon Carter's latest hotspot Bill's Food & Drink. Prior to dinner, a trip to the Frick has been tossed around as well as cocktails at the St. Regis. We'll see where we end up. Tomorrow I'm hoping to enjoy what will most likely be one of the last warmish days of the season uptown, then heading downtown for the evening for dinner and drinks. I'll keep you posted on any RT adventures on Instagram and Twitter, so follow along.

Have a great weekend friends!


Hill Country Live . . .

Since dating Scott I've gained a new appreciation for karaoke and Texas BBQ (some of his favorite "pastimes"). So in an effort to kill two birds with one stone, a group of us gathered at Hill Country Barbecue Market for a night of messy meat and live band karaoke. 

Every Tuesday night Hill Country invites its diners to jump up on stage for karaoke backed up by a full band. It's entertaining, intimidating, and over all a great time! We ate and sang and drank and danced, cheering each other on, snapping pics and taking videos. We had so much fun, we vowed to return and work our way into the group of regulars, which there were so many of.

And food-wise, I have to say the BBQ was fantastic. Well up to par with what I've had in Texas, definitely the best I've tried in NYC, and even the real Texan approved. They don't spare an inch of authenticity, which I loved. Our food was wrapped in paper, our beer poured in mason jars, our fingers serving as the best form of utensils. 
Can't wait to go back! 


Sale Mail . . .

Ladies (and gentlemen, gift giving time is quickly approaching), mark your calendars for this season's Manolo Blahnik Sample Sale this week, open to the public on Thursday, November 14th.

Image via The Window
 As always, it will be held at the Warwick Hotel and is not to be missed. The truth is, nothing is quite as classic as a Manolo pump and for $100 a pair, it's too much of a steal to not brave the crowds. Which there will be, that's just part of the deal. But trust me, it'll be worth it. And if you're still feeling leery, get this - all Alligator styles will be going for $300 a pair - that is $4,000 off the retail price. Now I've got your attention, right? Here are the details...

Monola Blahnik Sample Sale
Thursday, November 14th
Warwick Hotel, 2nd Floor
54th & 6th Ave
Doors open at 9AM

Just don't forget the sale is CASH ONLY so swing by the ATM on your way there. 
See you Thursday! 


Pumpkin Season . . .

I love pumpkins. I know, it's weird. I'm fully aware of the hilarity of my obsession, but they're just so perfect and cute. Maybe it's because I'm an October baby, but pumpkins make me happy. I love the way they look, I love they way they taste, I love what they represent. So the other day when Scott asked if he should toss the baby pumpkins now that Halloween was over, you can imagine my horror. No way
Pumpkin season is still in full swing. 

I'm still drinking Pumpkin Spice Lattes (lately I've been making my own with this Pumpkin Pie Spice from Trader Joe's), I'm still eating anything that's pumpkin flavored (the Pumpkin Macarons from Payard are my new favorite, like a pumpkin bread/macaron hybrid), I'm still displaying miniature pumpkins in my living room - and will be until Thanksgiving, the official end to the season in my mind. 

Happy weekend, happy pumpkin season!

PS. Is it bad that I eat macarons for breakfast?


Cold Weather Essentials . . .

Okay, it is officially getting cold. And as much as I love the seasons changing, there are always those little things that remind me what winter really feels like. It's not all cashmere coats and hot cocoa. Along with rosy cheeks and winter white, comes the dread of runny noses, frozen fingers, unstoppable static, and cracked lips. Here are a few cold weather essentials I love to keep on hand to help battle my winter worries. 

J.Crew Italian Cashmere Wrap for extra bundling.

Laura Mercier Mineral Pressed Powder to cover up a red nose.

L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream for dry palms.

Fekkai Sheer Hair Spray (travel size) to tame static hair.
RT Tip: A small spritz can also help when your clothes start to cling. 

Ricola Mixed Berry Throat Drops with Vitamin C for immune defense and a sore throat.

Echo Touch Gloves that you won't have to take off when using your iPhone.

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment for chapped lips.

Kleenix Pocket Pack for a runny nose.

Stay warm!


Little Black Dress . . .

Tomorrow night is the World of Children Award Gala, an event I look forward to every year. World of Children is an organization that provides funding and recognition to exemplary programs serving children worldwide. It's an incredibly moving charity that I hold very near and dear to my heart.

For me, the World of Children event always marks the beginning of party season. Since the dress code is cocktail attire, I've decided to go easy and simple this year - with an LBD. I plan to wear this Zara Lace Back Dress with a Tuxedo Jacket from The Row, a sleek envelope clutch, and these pointed toe booties for an edgy update to a classic look. 

No plans tomorrow night? Grab a friend and join me for cocktails, dinner, and an evening of utter inspiration. Check out event details HERE and get your tickets (with my ambassador discount!) now. Hope to see you there.

If you can't make it, follow me on Instagram where I'll be posting live from the party. And make sure you check out WOC online to see how you can get involved.


Pre-Marathon Carbo Loading . . .

This Sunday is the New York City Marathon, and since last year's was cancelled due to Sandy, this year's is sure to be a big deal. While I wish I could give all you inspiring runners tips for Sunday's race, I think it's best if I just stick to what I know: food. More specifically, pasta. Those of you who know me, know that I love pasta. Seriously though. I usually eat it at least once a day, if not twice. It's an addiction of sorts. 

So naturally, when it comes to marathon tips, the first thing that came to mind was where to get the best pasta for your Saturday night carbo load. New York has so many amazing Italian restaurants, so this is an edited list, but here are my top five pastas around the city. 

Images via Pinterest
Spaghetti Pomodoro

Linguine Vongole

Parppadelle Bolognese

Cacio e Pepe

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Good luck runners, see you at the finish line! 


Decode Your Starbucks Order . . .

Came across this funny article and had to share. Embarrassingly enough I found it pretty accurate in a hilarious sort of way. Check out your Starbucks "horoscope" HERE

Image via Falsely Yours
What's your usual order? Does it ring true to your personality? 
I go for Pumpkin Spice Lattes in the fall and Skinny Vanillas the rest of the year. 

Ps. This is more of a decoder for the ladies, but guys can check out THIS diagram about what your beer choice says about you.


Top Halloween Parties in NYC . . .

Okay kids, Halloween is just a few days away and if you don't have any plans yet to celebrate it's time to get cracking. There's always so much to do in NYC, it can be pretty overwhelming trying to decide what parties are actually worth stopping by. I've put in some of the leg-work for you and rounded up what I think are the top three parties to be at this Halloween. 

Image via Refinery29
Halloween Open Bar at Mister H
Soho, $15 per person

Halloween at Hudson Hostel
Columbus Circle, $88 for two

The NoMad Masquerade Ball
Flatiron, $225 per person

If you're not in NYC and still trying to plan your Thursday night - why not throw a little impromptu party of your own? Check out some quick tips HERE

Enjoy, and happy haunting!


Fall Movie Marathon . . .

The temperatures are finally starting to drop and when the nights get chilly it can feel a bit harder to leave the house. Not much of a TV watcher, I try to take advantage of this time to indulge in a full blown movie marathon. I'm talking the whole nine yards. Spiced popcorn, red wine, wool socks and cashmere blankets. Candles or a blazing fire (if available) tend to help too. I'm always up to go out, but sometimes the best nights are the ones you stay in. Here's my list of favorite fall flicks for your next movie marathon on a cool, windy night. There's something on there for everyone, so if you're ever stuck trying to decide on what to watch, try one of these...  

Images via Pinterest
You've Got Mail
Good Will Hunting
Annie Hall
Meet the Parents
Garden State
When Harry Met Sally
Dead Poet's Society
Hocus Pocus
Remember the Titans 

What are your top autumn movie picks?
Happy, cozy weekend!


TMZ Tour . . .

Last week I got to be the ultimate Resident Tourist and ride along with On Location Tours for their newly launched TMZ Tour. If you are a TMZ addict visiting New York, you have to check this out - during the tour we got the inside scoop on all the celebrity hotspots including restaurants, clubs, and even residences. There was plenty of TMZ humor throughout the ride, and Ricky, our energetic tour guide, had the bus riled up - giving away TMZ t-shirts to the extra enthused. My favorite part was seeing all the hot restaurants frequented by the Hollywood elite - Da Silvano, Nobu Tribeca, and Bar Pitti have officially moved to the top of my list for downtown dinner options. 

New Yorkers, I understand why you wouldn't want to go on this tour (unless you want to play Resident Tourist like me. Try it out sometime, it's fun!). But do you ever find that you have a guest in town that's never been to the city? Sometimes it gets overwhelming trying to plan how and where to take them around. An On Location Tour is the perfect starting point!

The TMZ tour is ideal for your pop culture junkie best friend. But there are so many other tours to choose from: Sex and The City Hotspots, Sopranos Sites, the TMC Classic Film Tour... Be sure to check out all available tours HERE. Personally, I think the Holiday Lights and Movie Sites tour will be a must for the winter season. What better way to see NYC all lit up than from the warmth of a luxury tour bus? RT Tip: Bring some hot chocolate and cookies for extra coziness and cheer. 

A huge thanks to On Location Tours for inviting me along for the ride!


Banksy New York . . .

Have you heard of Banksy? He's a British graffitist that has mastered the concept of street art, to the tune that his pieces have become worth millions. The craziest part is that he gives them to the world for free. 

For the entire month of October, Banksy has been gracing New York City streets with a new piece of art each day, some on the walls, some on the roads, one even included a vendor stand in Central Park where he hired a man to sell originals for $60 (!) a piece. 

It is just too cool. Creatively elusive, nobody really knows when/where he creates the pieces, but if you visit the Banksy site titled Better Out Than In you can see each day's artwork and what part of the city it's in. Then it's up to you to visit the neighborhood and find it. 

The sad part is that many times when you finally find the piece, it's already been defaced. Or in the case of yesterday's work, stolen. Luckily, many New Yorkers have started to take a stand, protecting the precious artwork from vandalism. Security guards have been hired, plexiglass walls have been put up. 

Images via Banksyny
If you're in New York, you may want to go look for some of Banksy's pieces. This is a really cool moment in the city's art scene. It's not often that creativity like this comes for free and with so much mystery involved.
I'm so into it. 

Good luck finding Banksy, have fun! 


Eleven Madison Park . . .

Lucky me...birthday weekend essentially turned into birthday week and somehow the days flew by before I had time to blink. So a week (plus) later, here's a visual taste of Eleven Madison Park. 

I have to say, this is definitely considered the best restaurant in the country (and #5 in the world!) for a reason. Wow. What an experience dining here is. There were so many highlights I don't even know where to start. To begin, I should explain the basics... Dining here is a 15-course meal without a choice in menu. Of course, any dietary restrictions are easily (and deliciously) accommodated.

Every dish is an experience in it of itself, yet somehow in the end the entire meal is incredibly cohesive and expertly rounded out. For instance, our very first bite was a NY-style black and white cookie, with a twist. It was savory rather than sweet and tasted of cheddar cheese and apple. It was delicious, I could have eaten five more of them. Our last bite perfectly book-ended the dinner. It was another black and white cookie that looked exactly like the first one, but this time tasted sweet, like chocolate and vanilla.

It was inventive touches like this that made the meal so memorable. I could go on for pages (the dinner was 6 hours after all) but instead I think I'll give you my three highlights/standouts.

One. Thanks to a dear friend, we were invited into the kitchen for pre-dinner cocktails and a view - which was super cool! It's amazing to see what goes on behind the scenes, you'd never imagine what an operation a kitchen of this caliber is.

Two. The whole dinner was very interactive, entertaining almost. Many dishes were placed in the center of the table with instructions on how to eat them. One of the neatest courses was a carrot tartare, which was made at our table with a meat grinder. Then we were all given a serving on a plate with tiny bowls of spices, condiments, etc. We were told what each bowl held and then given the reigns to flavor our tartare to our liking. It was really fun mixing in the different spices and seeing what sort of combos we could come up with. Another dish came entirely in a picnic basket, while another included a magic trick with playing cards.

Three. Many of the courses on the menu were New York inspired. You can only imagine how happy that made me... black and white cookies, Everything Bagel crumbs, a picnic basket (filled with local goodies), a mini-grill (the kind all New Yorkers illegally sneak onto their balconies), pretzels, egg cream soda... It was a NY themed feast! And I loved it.

Sorry for the late post!