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Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Knickerbocker: Do Not Disturb

Who would have thought that one of my favorites in the city would be in the heart of Times Square, the area that most New Yorkers really try to avoid most days. But it's different here, it's quiet, cozy, relaxing, and the perfect solo staycation for me.

This is my second visit to The Knickerbocker, my first being a year ago to celebrate my 26th birthday with my friends. This time around, I was here to get out of the house for a little bit and it was nice to enjoy some quiet time, surprisingly in one of the busiest parts of Manhattan.
I checked in and greeted with smiles once more, got my key and made my way up to the room. This room was larger than what I had last, spacious but cozy and comforting at the same time. While Marco normally stays with me for the full length of these NYC hotel stays, one night was just me and I was really looking forward to it, some peace and quiet in a room that I had all to myself. There's something so exciting about getting that king sized bed all to yourself. I could focus, I could relax, I could detach from the world. That's why I love checking into a hotel every once in a while. 
So this is my routine when I'm arriving into my hotel rooms. I take it all in because one of my favorite things about hotel stays is seeing the decor, the design. I love it all. Because I have my degree in Interior Design, it's just something I always take notice of. This space had high ceilings, something I'm for sure a sucker for.

After allowing myself to appreciate my surroundings, that's when I begin to settle in and make the space mine. I open my suitcase, I lay out my make-up and beauty products, I hang up my coat, etc. Then of course, it's time to check out the bed. How comfy are you? Will I sleep well tonight? I hope you're okay that I will be sleeping in any which way direction because I have this king sized bed all to myself tonight.
After that's all done, it's back to work and e-mails until I've somewhat cleaned up the inbox and sent what I needed to send. Although I have my own room at home, and I love it, there's something about putting myself in a different space that allows me to be so much more productive. I was able to get a lot of work done at this desk and I got a lot of rest done at that bed.

This was a much needed staycation from a busy past couple of months. If you're interested in a centrally located hotel, Times Square is a great start. I love The Knick because although it's hectic and can get a big crazy outside in the Square, I'm transported once I make my way into the lobby to a peaceful (and wonderfully smelling) hotel.
This hotel is near all the theaters for Broadway shows, you can walk to Bryant Park or The New York Public Library. Their rooftop has a beautiful view of Times Square and it's got a major subway station just footsteps away.

When it comes to my schedule, convenience is a great bonus when it comes to these hotel stays. At The Knickerbocker Hotel, everything was so close that I walked to most of my meetings. When the day was done, I was so thrilled to collapse onto that king size bed with the softest pillows I've ever slept on.
If you are looking for something in the middle of all the action, beautiful contemporary rooms, an awesome rooftop with the view to match, then The Knickerbocker needs to be on your list. I've checked out but I'm already ready to go back.

A special thank you to The Knickerbocker Hotel for having me.

6 Times Square, New York, NY 10036

Monday, February 12, 2018

When Are You Getting Married?

It's a question we've been asked a few times, it's a question we've wondered ourselves. Marco and I have been together for about seven years now, but we've known each other for even longer since we met when we were just little kids in the third grade. I'd say it's a fair question to ask. But if there's anything we've both learned from our relationship, patience is key and that good things do happen in time. The only answer we can give is 'one day,' because we do have a plan for our future and it's just a matter of certain things falling into place, reaching certain goals we've set for our relationship, etc.

Of course, I've thought about the ring. What girl wouldn't after being in a relationship this long? I've bounced between styles, cuts, sizes, talked with friends, etc. I've browsed around Pinterest, I've looked through the glass displays with hearts in my eyes, but as much as I gushed over it in the moment, nothing ever truly felt right until I was introduced to VOW by Vrai & Oro. 
I first found out about Vrai & Oro early last year with their jewelry collection that seemed to have the perfect selection of dainty jewelry. Then they launched VOW, their wedding collection full of stunning engagement rings and wedding bands. Not only was the style everything I had ever wanted, but I found out that their diamonds are from the Diamond Foundry

This diamond that you wear on your finger symbolizes something so beautiful, and to me, it's more than just something to flash around and post all over social media. It symbolizes that person asking you to share a life together, a promise, that after the time you've spent dating and getting to know each other, learning from each other, that you're ready to take that next step and make that commitment to each other.

I was never the type that wanted the big flashy ring with a lot of diamonds. From the beginning, I've wanted something simple and classic, etc. Of course, I also never wanted anything too expensive either, and that's why when I found out about VOW, it was pretty much everything I wanted and more. I had already been in touch with Vrai & Oro for their "Essentials" collection, wearing some of their other dainty rings on a daily basis, one was even a Christmas gift from Marco.

When they reached out about learning more about VOW, I was so thrilled because they were already on the top of my list when it came to rings. The more I learned, the more they stood out as the only option I would want for that special piece.
VOW's diamonds are from the Diamond Foundry. They're cartel and conflict free diamonds that are sustainably grown in California. Traditionally mined diamonds change hands too many times that sometimes you just never know where it's from. I had recently watched Blood Diamond with Marco and it was an eye-opening film for us, seeing how some diamonds are obtained and can be mixed into the market as "legitimate." Leonardo DiCaprio actually invested in the Diamond Foundry because he wanted to stand behind something that could help reduce the human and environmental toll of the diamond industry.

For more information on the Diamond Foundry and the process, please read more here
I am definitely someone who likes to make a proper decision and take my time. I like to think things over and really make sure that's the right choice for me. Another reason why I love VOW is their home try-on service, which is what you're seeing in the images. I selected three styles that I love and they were sent to me to try on for a week. Of course, these are mocks of the real rings, made of brass and cubic zirconia, but they're perfect to try on and really get a feel for what ring may be right for you. It's a $50 refundable deposit when your try-on box gets shipped back to V&O.
Communication has always been such an important part of our relationship, and although this is not something that may happen right now, that's okay. When the time is right for us, Marco knows where to go. Why not let your partner know directly rather than texting your friends or family to hint it back to them? We've always been very upfront with each other and I think that is such an important aspect in any relationship.

If you think you're at this stage in your relationship where you can have this conversation, I definitely recommend checking out VOW for several reasons. They have a beautiful selection of different styles and the diamonds from the Diamond Foundry are beautiful, sustainable, and guaranteed to be conflict free.

For more information on V&O, you can read more about it on their site here or check out my latest YouTube video with Marco down below. Thank you so much to everyone who have been with us from the beginning, those who have watched our relationship grow as freshmen college kids to where we are now. We're both very excited for the future ahead of us and don't worry guys, when it happens, you'll know.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Rifle Paper Co. for L’Occitane

I’m a sucker for beautiful packaging and I can’t get enough of the recent collaboration of Rifle Paper Co. and L’Occitane. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, it’s the perfect gift for pretty much anyone in your life. 

They continued their Limited Edition Shea Butter Collection with Rifle Paper Co. with beautiful floral designs, really bringing such a romantic feel to the packaging. I love how fun and charming everything looks, the cherry on top to some incredible products. 
The Shea Butter Hand Cream is a must have for anyone. With the winter season being pretty harsh on my skin, it’s always good to have this within my reach. 

The Nourishing Hand Cream and Petite Shea Butter Trio have been great to take with me on the go, loving how easy it is to carry these around and always have ready when I need it. It’s perfect for anyone who is constantly on the go and so glad it fits in even the smallest bag in my collection. 
And who doesn’t love a little at home manicure pampering? The Manicure set includes their Shea Butter Hand Cream with a one minute hand scrub and Shea Butter Nail and Cuticle Nourishing Oil. I’m definitely guilty of not giving my nails a little TLC outside of the salon but this is perfect to make sure my nails are looking their best.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018 New York, NY, USA

Faux Real

It was hard to believe this day would come, but I finally hit my 100K mark on Instagram. It's been several years in the making and over those years, I have learned so much about the world and myself. I've become smarter through fashion and business. When it all started, it was just an app that I thought I would post photos on every now and then, using those Instagram filters with the borders, grainy images shot on my iPhone 4S because 2011 is the year I left my Blackberry behind and switched over to Apple.

My journey on Instagram has been nothing short of incredible, and I've been able to work with the most amazing brands and meet some truly wonderful people. I've made lifelong friends that have truly made a positive impact on my life and to all of you, I am so thankful. This year is already off to an incredible start and as I continue on this journey, I hope you'll stick around to see what's next. As I shot out in the show with this thrift shop faux find from 2016, I'm also linking some great faux pieces below!

Aritzia Sweater | Thrifted Faux Jacket | Aritzia Leggings
Captured by: Marco Panlilio

Friday, January 5, 2018

Happy New Year

The past year was full of lessons, as is every passing year. And as much as I hope and pray for less drama, smooth sailing, there is no growth unless you go through difficulties. It's hard to believe that the year is over, but I'm really glad that it is. I'm ready for that feeling of a "fresh start," despite it really just being a continuation of time. In this post, I'll be sharing lessons learned as well as some plans and goals for myself for the new year.

Twenty-Seventeen was filled with a lot of amazing memories, but there have been moments of weakness, tears, lost tempers. It feels as though each year, I am constantly filtering out people in my life, realizing who is there for the right reasons, and which friendships had to end. But through those difficult times, I always find a way to come out stronger. Here's to the lessons that I've learned in 2017.

Not spreading myself out too thin has been an important part of this year. Being my own boss, it's easy to get carried away and feel invincible. But I can't do it all on my own and it was important for me to learn how to pace myself. I'm constantly reminding myself to focus more on the quality of my work rather than the quantity. In this new year, I will definitely always be keeping this in mind.

You learn who your real friends are by seeing who can handle that open communication, who can be receptive of it, who will respect you enough to listen. A true friend actually listens to you when you speak, rather than just waiting for their turn to talk. If there is poor communication in any relationship, it's doomed to fail unless you fix it. 

Anyone that doesn't give you an explanation and just shuts you out was never a real friend of yours and I've learned not to waste my time on people that were never open to fixing a situation like actual adults. Immaturity is something I have no room for in my life and part of adulthood is learning to be honest about your feelings and trusting that you can express those feelings to the important people in your life.

I have made my mistakes and when I do, I don't have too much pride. I can admit fault and I appreciate when I can get that back too. I am so thankful for the friends that have been honest with me, that have allowed me to feel that it's okay to pour your heart out and know that they're going to listen. I'm thankful for the friendships that have not always been easy but to know that we are willing to work on it to have a stronger relationship, those are the friendships that are worth keeping.

I learned how to better stop comparing myself to others in my line of work, which is hard to do considering how much noise there is. Who has more followers, who is copying who, who got it first, etc. I know what content I find inspiring and the community of Instagram that I want to be a part of. It's important to not get caught up with the numbers and remind myself why I started in the first place, it was fun and I loved it. That's what will keep me going and that's what I want driving my success.

I am so thankful for everyone that has been supportive, especially those that have been there since the beginning. As my brand continues to grow, I'm so appreciative for those that recognize that growth as well. I want to stay true to who I am, to always have your trust and continue to learn and grow.

This industry has taught me how to grow some balls. I'm my own boss, there's no one that is going to fix things for me and I have learned how to stick up for myself. My business mentality has strengthened so much this past year because I no longer sell myself short. I will not allow brands to bully me, push me down, or get away with treating me disrespectfully.

Thank you to all the brands that are respectful of the content creators, those that don't try to corner someone into feeling like their time isn't worth any money. It's important to know your worth and not allow anyone to take advantage of you, and that goes for all aspects of life.

Almost seven years together and Marco and I are still learning from each other. Patience is always key and we're constantly reminding ourselves of how important communication is in our relationship. The past year was filled with adventure and I love seeing how far we've come since we started dating. This new year will be a very exciting one for us and patience will be a key role in our upcoming adventures. But it will be all worth it.

I'm trying to make sure the 2017 will be the last year of impulsive spending for a while. We're about a week into 2018 and so far so good! I was able to pay off a good amount of my debt and student loans but this year it's extremely important for me to stick with my game plan so I can be debt free by the end of this new year.

In this new year, I could be typical and say I'm going to work out more, eat better, etc. But those are all a given. Below are a few plans and goals that I've set for myself and I am very excited to set it all in motion.

I want to spend more time with my family, see more friends, stop being so plugged in. I want to take a weekend away in a cabin, play board games with family and bond. My family doesn't spend as much time together as they used to but I'm hoping it's not too late to bring that back.

My circle of friends are very small and I like that it is. I know who my real friends are and I'm just hoping we are able to find more time to spend together. As we get older, everyone is busy and can get caught up with what's going on with their own lives, but like any relationship, it's important to take care of it. I am so thankful for all the friendships that have been strengthened in the past year.

I'm taking what I learned last year and applying it to the new year. I want to create a wider variety of content, continue to build on that YouTube channel. I want to create content that people will actually look forward to reading and continue to have a distinct style that people can tell who it is. I'm really excited to hit my 100K mark, something that I have been waiting for a while now. So many people have written to me ideas and responded to the polls on the kind of content that they want to see, and I promise that it's all being kept in mind.

I have forgiven the people that have wronged me, even those that never said sorry. It was just too much weight to carry and there's far too much to look forward to. I need to be more patient and more understanding. I will take the steps I need to better manage my anxieties or hypochondria. I will be open about my emotions but also be rational in how I express them.

I won't overthink situations, I will stop stirring up ideas and negative thoughts out of paranoia. I want to stay positive and spread positivity.

This year, it's absolutely crucial for me to pay off my student loans, save more money for my future. Rather than shopping so much, I'd rather travel to more places. I want to better manage my finances and I'm prepared to really work on that this year.

Thank you for all the lessons and memories, 2017. I'm ready for what's to come.