Friday, December 30, 2016

Friday Favorites #14

Can you believe tomorrow is New Year's Eve? Do you have any exciting plans? I will be working from 9-5 and then heading into the city to grab dinner with my best friend and the next day we will be going to brunch!

Last night as I was leaving work the sky was absolutely beautiful! I had to grab a few shots and regret not having my camera on me. This is from my iPhone.



As always I hope you will join me and mention what you are enjoying this week in the comment section!

OMG, these 10 food trends of 2017 are seriously giving me all the feelings! The defeat of food waste and High Tech cocktails caught my attention!

Washington Square Park is filled with thousands of dead bodies buried underground. Why are taxi cabs yellow? 19 Things Even New Yorkers Don't Know about NYC!

'Tis the season of Skiing! My family owned a vacation home in Sugarbush, Vermont for many years and I have fond memories of skiing, creating S'mores by the fire, and tubing with friends and family. I would love to visit some of "The Best Ski Areas in North America" by Liftopia!

Nordstrom is currently having their Half Yearly Sale while Victoria Secret is having their Semi-Annual Sale. Goodbye paycheck hello new clothing!

When it comes to giving gifts, I am all about the experience over the materialistic items. Both Hallie and Danielle touched about it here and here. For Hanukkah & my 30th Birthday combined my Aunt is taking me on a trip to Spain! I am so excited I already started a countdown for April 29th!

Wishing you a Happy & Healthy New Year!

XoXo,
Tracy 


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

2016

Can you believe we are 3 days away from 2017? Do you have any exciting New Year's Eve plans? I am headed into NYC to have dinner with my best friend and then Sunday we are going for brunch, hopefully to Penelope. They don't take reservations and they open at 9am on New Years Day for brunch so our plan is arrive right around 9.

2017 Kate Spade Planner


With that said, 2016 has been a year with some highs and lows.

At the beginning of 2016 I was preparing to close my first retail store as a manager and wasn't sure what would be next. It was then I decided to start this blog. It was my outlet as I navigated my way through unemployment, finding my happiness, and finding who I wanted to be. Today that is still a work in progress but I am much happier today then I was a year ago.

As a child I remember my parents would take us to the Bronx Zoo; however I never remember going to the circus. This past February as a family with my cousins we went to the Big Apple Circus, which happened to also be the coldest day of the year. Seeing the smiling faces on my little cousins was priceless and spending time with the family is something I very much cherish.

One of my favorite series from other bloggers was "Friday Favorites" and I loved writing my own! It's interesting to see what inspires others, what they are reading, buying, or doing. I look forward to many more in 2017!

As I mentioned the year had some lows and I wrote a little about it here. Today I can say that I am totally worth fighting for. Back in August I started seeing a Life Coach rather then a therapist who really helped and guided me to find my way. Through a lot of writing and talking I have been able to open up and communicate better. I find the positive more then the negative and most of all I believe in myself a little more each day.

It is no secret that I love to travel, I am such a foodie, and I love all things Food, Travel, & Hospitality that I even have a Bachelors Degree in Hospitality Management. Another great series I have enjoyed writing on this little blog of mine, is restaurant reviews!

This past year I was a receptionist at a local yoga studio in New Jersey and let me tell you, I am so glad I took the position. Yoga has taught me a few things I look forward to more classes in 2017!

I worked for B&H Photo for close to three years and loved learning all about photography. I learned from co-workers, industry professionals, and even my own father! Only recently have I started taking photos again. I shot this photo shoot for my best friend and her husband a week after they adopted their cute puppy!

Fundraising has always been a huge part of my life. I worked for the American Cancer Society, The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation and volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House. My mother would gather the troops to walk in the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Walk in NYC every year. Giving Tuesday is very important and I am a huge advocate in giving back!

As the year comes to a close I look forward to celebrating Hanukkah with my family on Friday. This past weekend we celebrated Chrismukkah! My sister gives the greatest gifts as she listens throughout the year and doesn't ask what we would want!

Hanukkah Gifts 

#YouAreBeautiful


What is your favorite memory from 2016?

XoXo,
Tracy 



Monday, December 26, 2016

Chrismukkah

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend! As I mentioned last week I was looking forward to our Christmas Eve/Hanukkah family dinner. On Friday I left work at 4pm and made 5 different stops on my way home and still managed to walk through the door at 6:10pm! I knew what I needed from every store and was on a mission to not be out all night! I poured myself a glass of wine, made dinner and then for the 1st time I baked Chocolate Chip Cookies all alone. (The house is still standing!!!)

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Both my sister and I worked on Saturday while her boyfriend prepared dinner complete with Seafood Pasta, Latkes, and plenty of desserts! 9 family members and friends gathered around the table to laugh, share stories, and spread love! I said it here and I say it every year, love is the best gift to give to others. No one should be alone on the holidays and we are always happy to set an extra plate!

Chrismukkah Dinner 

Shrimp, Scallops, Crab Meat, Mussels, Clams over Pasta

Latkes
Everyone enjoyed the meal and when it was time for dessert we were too full that I didn't even get any photos of the Chocolate Cream Pie, Italian Pastries, Fruit Basket, Italian Cookies, and Gelt. Spending the night with everyone was wonderful.

We woke up on Christmas morning to brunch. The menu included Bacon, Pancakes, and Eggs. Once brunch was finished my sister, her boyfriend and I shared our stockings! This was the first year I had a stocking as well as buying stocking stuffers. Thank you Target for a great selection of candy and other foodie treats such as Grilling Sauces, Spices and Beer Bread Mix!

Mini Moscato, Candy, Eye Makeup Remover and Shower Gel for the win! 
After that we took a break. My sister had to take care of some stuff and then we opened Christmas & Hanukkah Gifts for each of the three of us. We will celebrate Hanukkah with the entire family this coming Friday. In the afternoon my sister and her boyfriend headed to his family to celebrate Christmas! I stayed in my PJ's watching Christmas Movies and relaxing on the couch!

My sister got my this planner and I am so looking forward to 2017! I also received so many other great gifts, from scarves to wine glass/electric opener and Cards Against Humanity!

To end the night I took this photo as the sun was setting!

Christmas Sunset


How were your holidays? Did you celebrate yet?

XoXo,
Tracy

Friday, December 23, 2016

Friday Favorites #14

Happy Friday, friends!!

I can't believe tomorrow night is the 1st night of Hanukkah & Christmas Eve. The month of December flew by. Last weekend was filled with holiday parties with family and friends while this weekend will be low key. Christmas Eve, we are having a few people over as my sister's boyfriend is making dinner and Christmas Day I will spend in my PJ's watching Christmas movies and ordering Chinese Food. ( I know what your thinking)

Dyker Heights, Brooklyn - Source

What's on tap this week with some of my favorite articles, gifts, and all things happening in the world.

On Saturday New Jersey had its first taste of snow for the winter! It only lasted a few hours before we were hit with freezing rain and it washed away. The sight of snow actually made me excited this season to hopefully hit the slopes! I haven't been skis in a few years and am way over due to hit the slopes!

Maybe this fully stocked bar will make traveling out of Newark International Airport more enjoyable? I often fly United out of Terminal C and therefore this would be great to hit up pre-flight! Speaking of travel I am looking to do more #SoloTravel in 2017 and 2018!

Travel & Leisure is my go-to lately and my family jokes with me that I stalk the website more then my dad watches the stock market. 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge is set to open in 2017 and I couldn't be more excited to check it out! Other hotels as well will also open in 2017!

How many people have you met through Social Media that you have also met in person? Stephanie Be wrote a wonderful post "Solo Travel: How to Meet People via Social Media" and let me tell you this has inspired to me step out of my comfort zone in 2017!

First Lady, Michelle Obama sat down with Oprah Winfrey and dropped some great advice. If you haven't already seen clips or read about it, you really need to.

What are you plans for the Holiday weekend? 

XoXo,
Tracy 


Monday, December 19, 2016

What a Wonderful Weekend

This past weekend was seriously wonderful! Between holiday parties and spending time with friends and family this weekend is exactly what I needed to recharge my batteries. 

Friday night I was in bed by 8pm and I am not embarrassed to admit that. My body and mind needed the rest. It was also nice to get into bed early and wake up the next morning to a white wonderland. 

New Jersey got the first snow of the season. I decided to take the camera out and do some shooting! 

Walkway


Winter Wonderland

Once the roads cleared up I headed out for a manicure and eyebrow waxing and to pick up some last minute gifts for the parties. 

After coming home I had some fun with a tripod I borrowed from my dad. I also looked through the beginning of 2017 and did some reflection on 2016.

2016 Reflection & 2017 Planning

My best friend, Kristen's family throws a huge holiday bash every year the week before Christmas. Guests are asked to bring presents for the local Children's Hospital or local charity. This year I picked up Connect 4 at Target! 

Best Friends

Kelli, her younger sister every year starts us off with some amazing songs that usually brings guests to tears and full of goosebumps. 

video

Sunday, I was up late and had breakfast with my sister and her boyfriend. After Bacon, Eggs, and Pancakes we decided to make Chocolate Chip Cookies for our Family/Friends Holiday Bash in Watchung, NJ. We were all very excited as the next generation first baby would be joining the festivities! 

Meeting Baby Max
Every year "Ziti & Ham" as we call it, four families get together to celebrate the holidays. My mom and her three best friends started this tradition over 30 years ago. Some are no longer with us; however they are there in spirit. The oldest, Brian and his wife had a baby last month and it was such a pleasure meeting him. 

The other tradition that has changed over the years is we went from a Ping Pong tournament to a Beer Pong Tournament. There are a few college kids/grads and then the adults. It is always quite interesting and the Matt, the son of the hosts almost always wins! 

Everyone had a great time and I have to say back to back parties definitely tired me out. This week in retail will be crazy busy as there a only 6 days of shopping left before Hanukkah and Christmas!

What did you do this weekend?

XoXo,
Tracy 



Friday, December 16, 2016

Friday Favorites #13

Happy Friday, friends!

Love 


Hope you all had a wonderful weekend! I am off this weekend and have two holiday parties as well as I am hoping to take a day trip to Peddlers Village in PA. I am looking forward to spending time with friends and family this weekend!

Now, lets jump into some of my favorite things from this week around the web! As always, be sure to join in the conversation and leave a message in the comments section with what you like this week!

Jessie Tenyani is what I would call a true hero. As a hospital cafeteria worker she puts part of her paycheck away and around the holiday season she purchases gifts for the sick children in the hospital. Talk about being generous during the holiday season and bringing a smile to the faces of those who are sick.

"The grew up together, Became Police Officers together, This week, in the line of duty, they died together." Grab your tissues as you read this article.

It's no secret that I love to travel. I have been lucky enough to travel solo as well as with friends and family. Jessica, from Bows & Sequins posted a great Jet Setter Gift Guide. I am looking forward to sharing these items with my family for my 30th birthday next year as I am taking a big trip!

Planning a "Girl's Night" anytime soon? Hallie shared The Four Best Wine & Popcorn Pairings. I am looking forward to the S'mores Popcorn with Cupcake Prosecco! Hoping for a friends night in January and this would be so great!

What are you loving today? Do you have any fun plans for the weekend?

XoXo,
Tracy 



Thursday, December 15, 2016

Travel Gift Guide

There are so many travel gift guides out there this holiday season. I have thoroughly enjoyed viewing all of them and sending ideas to my friends and family for what to gift me this holiday season.

I decided I would put together my own gift guide and then share some of my favorites. I am looking forward to more travel in 2017 and writing about it! My dream is to become a travel writer in the future!



Here are my top picks this holiday season!

1)  GoPro Hero5 Black. This "action camera can be taken to the skies, over rough terrain, and even underwater without flinching, recording 4K videos and 12MP photos along the way." This would capture every special moment along the trip!


2) The Cocktail Kit. Perfect for the long flight. Perfect to drown out the screaming children. 


3) Travel Writer? Travel Blogger? Find inspiration and need to jot down notes? This perfect travel journal is right for you! I am obsessed!


4) As a female traveler I would love to receive this Travel Case Set for my upcoming trip to Spain in 2017! 

5) Going on a hike? Long road-trip? Looking to stay hydrated? I am in love with my S'Well bottle in Pink Diamond! 




Now for some of my favorite gift guides from others. 

Frequent Flyer Gift Guide from Bows & Sequins







Do you like to travel? What would you add to the lists above?

XoXo,
Tracy 




Monday, December 12, 2016

Weekend Happenings

Hi friends!

We are a little less then two weeks away from Christmas and let me tell you, working in retail can be a little crazy. I love interacting with customers, helping them pick out their holiday gifts, and the giving back aspect through corporate. I worked this weekend and as well as finalized my holiday shopping.

Are you done holiday shopping?

My all time favorite jewelry brand, BaubleBar is 30% today and tomorrow. The code for checkout is Love30. Here are some items on my wishlist. 1) Bold Beaded Strands. 2) Engraved Coordinates Bar Pendant. 3) Slim Tortoise Cuff.

This weekend besides work I hit the mall to finalize my Hanukkah shopping for my family.

After reading Kayla's post about creating vision boards I stopped into Michael's to pick up some items needed to make one as well as rummaged through all my old magazines. Two big things I am looking forward to in 2017 are travel more and write more.

I also visited with my grandmother who is in an assisted living out close by. With her dementia getting worse I am trying to stop over as often as I can.

Last night I watched CNN Heroes. If you have a few minutes you should check out the winner, Jeison Aristizabal's story as well as the other honorees. Anderson Cooper and Kelly Ripa hosted while Idina Menzel performed, "I See You."

The next few weeks are filled with work, holiday parties, volunteering and spending time with friends and family throughout the holiday season!

What did you do this weekend?

XoXo,
Tracy  

Friday, December 9, 2016

Friday Favorites #12

Happy Friday, friends!




Well this week just flew by as I am sure the entire month of December will. Holiday parties, family gatherings, and spending time with friends plus working will consume the month. All good things and no complaints here.

Have you finished your holiday shopping? Most of mine is done; however I have a few gifts I still need to purchase.

Let's jump into some of my favorite things from around the web this week, and as always jump in and leave a comment what you are loving!

When it comes to travel my aunt is hands down the globetrotter of our family and now my dad and his fiance are not far behind. Next year I turn 30 and I wanted to travel to Australia; however after much negotiating and talking my aunt decided on a trip to Spain! Check out this 11 day trip through Gate 1 Travel. I am so excited!!

We have been going through one or two bottles of wine every few nights in my house, and these gift ideas from The Everygirl are perfect! I have a few people in mind these gifts will be given too!

Stephanie Craig travels the world full-time with a goal to visit all 325 countries on the Travelers' Century Club list. Can we talk about what an amazing goal this is and how she is living a dream I one day want to go after! Seeing the world through so many travel bloggers keeps inspiring me.

If you haven't been I would add Christmas in New York to your bucket-list or whatever life list you are keeping. The city is pure magic. It is so special.

I love listening to podcast especially now that I commute around 45 min to and from work each day. I have been following Jenna for a while and she recently started this inspiring Goal Digger podcast!

What are you loving lately?

XoXo,
Tracy 


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Life Lately

Hi friends!



Hope your kicking off December with a bang! I started with the Flu and finally was well enough last Sunday to venture out with the family for a day of holiday shopping as well as more decorations for the tree! I am looking for a travel menorah, so if you see any, please send me a note (tracy_schwartz@ymail.com) and thank you!

Whats new, you ask?

1. Retail- Working through the holidays and let me tell you, I love it. Meeting new people, helping them to choose gifts, and seeing the smile on the faces of many is everything during the holiday season! I even met a "Santa" who purchases gifts for families in his area. He is actually a retired postal service worker.....That my friends will make you smile!

2. Yoga- I plan to hit the mat more this month in hopes of working on my balance and strength. I fell in love with some of the instructors at the studio where I was working and I am looking forward to actually taking their classes!

3. Friends- Reconnecting with some friends who I haven't spoken with has been great and I am making more of an attempt to continue to grow the relationships as well as make new adult friends. The hope is that I can join some local meetup groups, or charities and get involved.

4. Giving Back- Speaking of charities and giving back I am looking to join some organizations here in Central New Jersey. I have found a Junior League I may try to join as well as a young professionals nonprofit group. I enjoy fundraising, helping others and especially during the holiday season I believe it is important to give back.

5. With everything I am trying to do, you can also add dating to the list. It's been a while since I have been comfortable and happy with how my life has been playing out. What I didn't realize was that I was making it worse rather then better. Now that I am on the right path I would love to put myself out there. I signed up for one month of online dating. I shared with friends I am open to being setup and we will take it from there. I am absolutely not putting any pressure on myself. One day at a time. A wise friend always told me, "There is a lid to every pot."

Now that I caught you up, what is up with you guys? 

XoXo,
Tracy 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Growing up I had many Non-Jewish friends who would put up real Christmas Trees and decorate them with lights and ornaments. I would visit the Tree at Rockafeller Center. Watch kids line up to sit on Santa's lap at the mall and ask him for presents. Never did I think I would ever have a real tree in my house, however this year that all changed. My sister, her boyfriend and I are roommates and since he is Catholic they decided to decorate and we got a real Christmas Tree for the living room! To say I was excited was an understatement! 

Hot Cocoa 


Adding my ornament to the tree...All the smiles!

Adding presents




Finished 

Happy Hanukkah

Since we had decorated the house for the Hanukkah and Christmas it was only right to include Stella and Shlomo in on the festivities as well.

Best Friends- Stella the Elf & Shlomo the Mensch

This year I was also given a stocking with my initial on it. In true Tracy fashion the following came out of my mouth before realizing what I was saying "This looks like an over-sized sock" and with that came bursts of laughter from my sister and her boyfriend.

My stocking

My sister decided that in her room she would have a "Santa" tree with all different kinds of Santa ornaments. 

Santa Tree
Our house is festive and our hearts are filled with love. This season I am planning to give back in a few ways and many that I will share with you and some that I will keep to myself and not share all over Social Media. May you have a wonderful holiday season! 

Did you decorate yet? Share your favorite holiday tradition?

XoXo,
Tracy 


Friday, December 2, 2016

Friday Favorites #11

Happy Friday, friends.

I am writing this from bed where I have spent the last two days with the flu. Plenty of rest and fluids and I hope to be back to my old self by Sunday! I've had plenty of time to browse the web, check out so many gift guide posts, and catch up on Netflix. With that said I will be sharing some of my favorites and would love for you to join me and share in the comments what you are loving lately!

Before I got sick I ordered my first and most likely last hot drink of the season, as I drink Ice Coffee all winter long. Did you know this year's red cups from Starbucks were designed from everyday day customers? What a great concept!

My cup was created by a NYC Artist. (@Marialauren.art)
On November 9th many Americans were shocked with the outcome of our election, including myself. People vowed to get involved moving forward, some unsure of how. This piece on The Cut is a great read if you are thinking about getting involved in politics.

Growing up I watched Gilmore Girls religiously every week with my mom. When I heard "Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life" would be coming out on November 25th I had mixed emotions. First, I would be watching without my mother as she passed away. Second, could it live up to all of the hype? Well let me tell you, those last four words.....

Seriously, the Davis family is adorable. Their family videos and blog are just filled with love, laughter, and inspiration.

Brie Bella posted this short video on her Instagram and talk about giving back. What a great reminder from Karis Heros Challenge.

Finally, I have been finding new travel bloggers to follow that are filled with inspiration. Ask Concierge. Ashley Colburn. Jennifer O'Brien founder of The Travel Women. Suzanne of PhilaTravelGirl.

What are you loving this week?

XoXo,
Tracy