Fashion // Maybe this year

Every year, I look forward to what I’m going to wear for Christmas Day. All my life, I’ve loved to dress up on special occasions, and even on occasions that aren’t that special for obvious reasons, but that feel special to me. I like to dress up just for the sake of it.

So this year, I put together this outfit culled from the presents I received on the day and some affordable pieces from Marshalls and other stores like that. I love how this outfit is sparkly, cute, and chic, but also comfy and affordable. Hope you like it! It would also be a perfect choice for New Year’s Eve!

I also did my eye makeup in a very fun way鈥攚ith rhinestones on my lids. I got the idea from my favorite beauty vlogger Chloe Morello, who got it from Kylie Jenner’s Halloween costume this year. It was not so easy gluing jewels to my eyes, but hey, the end result was totally worth it. 馃檪

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sweater from Marshalls (Abercrombie & Fitch), shoes, necklace, and shorts from Easy Pickins

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Christmas presents haul…

Oh hey. Christmas was beautiful, spending the whole day with the people I love the most. Here are some of the presents I got!


my favorite shampoo and conditioner, books I can’t wait to read, some gorgeous clothes from my sisters and cousins, some jewelry, a sleek black coat and a fun fur-lined vest, a coloring storybook and color pencils, Betsey Johnson bag, a Kate Spade passport holder, and possibly my favorite present: the original, unedited, pre-Special Edition Star Wars trilogy on VHS! Lucky I still have a VCR in my house!

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Fashion // Christmas dreaming

I took these photos when it was raining outside, so here are some rare indoor photos in front of my gorgeous tree.

It has been a v. long time since my last outfit post because this season has been so, so busy. Not complaining in the least, but blogging unfortunately falls by the wayside sometimes. Anyway, this is a fun, festive outfit I may wear for my Christmas Eve/Day festivities. Soft dress, nice and comfy stockings (I’m one of those people who think stockings are comfortable), and shoes I will probably kick off the moment dinner starts!

Also adore this blazer. Goes with almost every blouse/dress in my closet, and makes everything look super cute.

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dress, necklace, tights from boohoo.com, blazer from Wholesale Buying

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A merry New York Christmas!

As I am SURE you know by now, Christmas/holiday season is my favorite time of year. I spent yesterday wandering around New York with my family doing Christmassy things, and here are some snapshots of the day.

We started at Union Square Park, where they set up a little winter village this time of year with food kiosks and gift booths, usually by local craft artisans and shops in New York. I did some gift shopping, but mostly just ate some stellar mac and cheese and drank gl眉hwein, mulled non-alcoholic wine that tasted like Christmas (I imagine…).

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From there, we walked uptown to a couple of rooftop bars. We first went to Eataly’s birreria, and the whole place was decked out in Christmas decorations. And since it was an extremely hot (for December) 65 degrees out, the rooftop was open! It was so nice. We sipped cocktails and relaxed.

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From there, we went to the rooftop of 230 5th, a hotel on Fifth Ave. The view was amazing.

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Finally, we went to dinner at Virgil’s an amazing barbecue place just off Times Square, and then we got to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, a yearly tradition I can never pass up. This year, the warm weather meant that the crowds were twice as thick and aggressive as usual, so after some gazing and a quick picture or two, we had to leave to retain our sanity. Still, braving the crowds was worth it to see that amazing tree, and watch the light show on the facade of Saks.

I didn’t take too many pictures because I’ve seen it so many times before, but here are some very poor photos of the decorations around Rockefeller Center:

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Nothing like seeing that tree all lit up!

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Charles Dickens’ ‘Christmas Festivities’

For me, Charles Dickens perfectly sums up the Christmas spirit: hope, love, good cheer, optimism, and charity.

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This year, I’m reading all of Charles Dickens’ Christmas stories in addition to聽A Christmas Carol, which is my annual tradition. I’d like to share a passage here of the first paragraphs of the first story in that clothbound Penguin edition, “Christmas Festivities,” because it speaks volumes about the way Christmas should be appreciated and celebrated:

鈥淐hristmas time! That man must be a misanthrope indeed, in whose breast something like a jovial feeling is not roused鈥攊n whose mind some pleasant associations are not awakened鈥攂y the recurrence of Christmas. There are people who will tell you that Christmas is not to them what it used to be鈥攖hat each succeeding Christmas has found some cherished hope or happy prospect of the year before, dimmed or passed away鈥攁nd that the present only serves to remind them of reduced circumstances and straitened incomes鈥攐f the feasts they once bestowed on hollow friends, and of the cold looks that meet them now, in adversity and misfortune. Never heed such dismal reminiscences. There are few men who have lived long enough in the world who cannot call up such thoughts any day in the year. Then do not select the merriest of the three hundred and sixty-five for your doleful recollections, but draw your chair nearer the fire鈥攆ill the glass, and send round the song鈥攁nd, if your room be smaller than it was a dozen years ago, or if your glass is filled with reeking punch instead of sparkling wine, put a good face on the matter, and empty it off-hand, and fill another, and troll off the old ditty you used to sing, and thank God it’s no worse.”

I love this quote, because it reminds me that Christmas isn’t about stuff, but about family and love. It’s one time of year we can all choose to be happy, cheerful, kind, and loving. And I hope that wherever you are, and whatever holiday you’re celebrating this season, that it’s happy and cheerful and full of love.

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Things I want to do this Christmas…

I’m making a list (and checking it twice?) of all the things I want to do now that Christmas has arrived! This is my absolute favorite time of year, and I really try hard to make every day just a little bit special, even if it’s taking thirty minutes to sit with a Christmassy book/story or sip some hot chocolate. I always spend a lot of time with my family this time of year, and I also want to take a few extra days to do these things, too:

see The NutcrackeIMG_0016r

I’ve been meaning to buy tickets to the ballet forever, and Christmas is the best season, in my opinion. NYCB puts on The Nutcracker every season, so this year I have to make sure to catch a performance.

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Bryant Park in the city is beautiful this time of year when they open up the merchant stalls and set up their Winter Village. It’s becoming a tradition to visit before Christmas Day, and go ice skating. Which brings me to:

go ice skating

I’m not a skilled skater by any means, but after an hour of hanging onto the barrier, I get the hang of it and I always have a blast (I think I’ve fallen every time, though).

read Dickens鈥 Christmas stories

Every year I read聽A Christmas Carol, but the book I have featured seven or eight other Christmas stories by Dickens, so this year I read them ALL.

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Of course: this is a must-do tradition. A lot of the time I visit the tree after Christmas because I’ve had no time, and while that’s not a bad thing (it’s less crowded, after all), seeing the tree before Christmas is definitely more special.

I get all warm and happy this time of year, and I hope that whatever holiday you’re celebrating this season, that it’s happy and cheerful and spent with the people you love.

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Haul

Because it wouldn’t be Christmas without some new books to while away the winter with. Here’s what my loving family and friends showered me with this Christmas:Photo Dec 28, 2 39 05 PM

This Philosophy “Falling In Love” perfume is my favorite scent: not too sweet, light and airy, and a little romantic. I heard whispers that they’re being discontinued, so I think I’m going to stock up on this fragrance before the new year.

Photo Dec 28, 2 39 43 PMPhoto Dec 28, 2 40 48 PMThe Too-Faced Natural Eyes palette is my new obsession, with nine shades that are perfect for every day and every night. I’m kind of obsessed with the texture and richness of these shades and find them superior to my Mac shadows. I’m going to review it in full soon, but for now it’s fun to play with new eyeshadow looks. I wore the “Silk Teddy” and the “Chocolate Martini” on Christmas Day.

Photo Dec 28, 2 45 15 PMMy cousins bought me these romantic pieces that are perfect for date nights and girls’ nights, in my favorite color, burgundy, and some beautiful romantic patterns.

Photo Dec 28, 2 51 04 PMFrom Kohl’s, a fitted plaid coat from my mother! I’m in love with a good cozy coat that also happens to be stylish. Thanks, Mom. 馃檪

Photo Dec 28, 2 43 05 PMA bright new leather bag to store books, notebooks, chargers, and all the random accoutrements of working and writing from home, from London Fog. It’s sturdy and beautiful, and it’s got a compartment on the side for my new iPhone, a gold 5S to replace my old 4S that lasted me over three years! I think it’s time for an upgrade.

Photo Dec 28, 2 43 49 PMA travel-size DevaCurl collection! I used to use these products until I decided I couldn’t afford the $18 price for each of them, but I’m excited to see if the products are as good as I remember!

And, of course, the books:

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I’m so excited to add these to my 2015聽reading list. January means lying on my couch with chocolate and books, for days at a time. Can’t wait.

The 12 Days of Christmas

Every year I look forward to Christmas and for the whole of December I am a whirling dervish of shopping, Christmas music, obnoxious cheer, happy celebrations and festive decorations. All of that joyous energy comes to a rather abrupt end on the 25th in America, something that is atypical to my parents, who grew up in Italy and were used to spending their Christmas season after the 25th: namely, the 12 days of Christmas. From the celebration of the birth of Jesus on the 25th to the arrival of the Magi on the January 6th (The Epiphany), these 12 days of Christmas are the Italian Christmas season, or it was when my parents were growing up. I love both the religious and the secular aspects of Christmas: I think both are worthy of celebration and commemoration. But I don鈥檛 think Christmas鈥攁s a season, a state of mind, and a celebration鈥攕hould end on the 25th. I hereby call for an elongation of Christmas! (I鈥檓 really just a sap for the season, but hear me out.)

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Secular Christmas has its major pitfalls, the commercialization of the season and the shift away from its religious meaning for example, so my adherence to the 12 days of Christmas is partly to learn more about what the season is truly about, both the religious, the moral, and the secular. I love Christmas because it鈥檚 an amalgamation of religion, spirituality, and pagan tradition that goes back centuries, and is in part a winter festival and a celebration of love and family. And as a Catholic, I can ruminate on my religion and what part it plays in my life, and can be thankful for what I have.

Every year I read A Christmas Carol and fall in love with the message of the novella. There鈥檚 one line in particular that always strikes me as true:

鈥淚 have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.鈥

And the thing is, I don鈥檛 see much of that at Christmas. I see crowds of people in malls and on the streets, pushing and shoving and beeping at each other in their haste to get deals, sales, stuff for other people and then go home to avoid all the chaos. I don鈥檛 see people treating each other with kindness and generosity. And while I love shopping for my loved ones and giving them things I know they鈥檒l love and enjoy, I will never understand the logic of solely using material things to show affection. The act of giving has turned into the act of buying.

But on the 25th, that ends. Most people think Christmas is over but for my parents, and for other cultures around the world, it鈥檚 only just begun. So today, the 27th, is only the third day of Christmas, folks. Here are some things I鈥檇 like to do and to keep in mind on these twelve days:

I鈥檇 like to volunteer somewhere. I鈥檇 like to change my attitude toward strangers; living in New York, even in the suburbs, is an isolating experience. On Christmas Eve I was in a good mood and said 鈥淢erry Christmas鈥 to everyone I came in contact with, and every time I received a smile and the same wish in response, my heart lifted a little. I鈥檇 like to start treating everyone as if they are, to use Dickens鈥檚 rather morbid words, 鈥渇ellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures鈥︹ We tend to label people and regard them as Other, but I鈥檇 like to change that. I鈥檇 also like to take more time to mend relationships or appreciate those people in my life more, through small acts of kindness. I鈥檇 like to celebrate love. Because, in the immortal words of whatever genius wrote the score of The Muppet Christmas Carol, 鈥渨herever you find love, it feels like Christmas.鈥 Christmas should last the whole year.

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Christmas in New York

Every year at Christmas I turn into Kevin McCallister in Home Alone 2 and see the city with new eyes. New York sparkles at Christmas. It’s concentrated in Midtown where the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree holds court and the Saks Fifth Avenue windows glitter beyond the crowds. But it’s also the small things: the trees wrapped in twinkle lights, lampposts adorned with wreaths and bows, storefronts decorated with garland and those Starbucks red cups. I’ve been able to spend a couple evenings doing some quintessential New York at Christmas things this season and it’s been great, especially since I usually don’t get around to doing these things until Christmas is over: like visiting Bryant Park and of course, seeing the tree.

Here are some photos of why I love New York at Christmas:

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I also got the chance to see a new show on Broadway, Side Show, which I absolutely adored. I got tickets for free in exchange for a review on this blog聽(gotta love the perks) and I’m excited to share the story of the Hilton sisters with you guys. It was a moving musical with an amazing book and even better music. See more on that tomorrow! And follow along on my Instagram to see what other awesome Christmassy things I’m doing this season. And of course, whatever holiday you celebrate this season, I hope it’s happy and full of love.

Jewelry by Mondaynoon

Recently I got the opportunity to sample some jewelry from a company called Mondaynoon. I chose some blue pieces for review, with a leaf detail and glittering sky blue stones. Here’s what I picked:

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I think these pieces of jewelry are of such good quality, especially the Swarovski Elements crystals. I love the design and the boldness, especially of the necklace. While I don’t wear jewelry like this every day (I’m more a fan of costume jewelry) I think I’ll wear these pieces for special occasions, especially since it’s Christmas and there are a lot of events to go to now. I’ll also probably wear the earrings every day, since they’re just big enough to catch your eye but not so big that they’re uncomfortable. I’m not a huge jewelry lover, but I’m in love with this jewelry.

What do you guys think?

jewelry c/o Mondaynoon