Feb
9

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Good Morning, Good Night, NYC

I love my fellow bloggers something fierce.  Sometimes if feels like I go through the week and know more about my online friends rather than those residing in the same city as me.  Scary, huh?  So when I read about A Beautiful Mess’s Capturing Real Life in 52 Weeks Photo Challenge, I was all in.  I felt it leant to the mantra of our blog so perfectly: use your city and find inspiration in the little things every single day, wherever you may be!  (Not to mention it gives a bunch of fun ways to curate your photo collections which will be so fun to look at years from now.)

The first challenge for week 1 is Good Morning, Good Night.  These are the little ways we begin our days, and then put them to sleep.  I’m pretty routine when it comes to rise-and-shines (chug a lemon water, coffee with my fam, and blog updates) and bed-times (snacks, netflix, a bit of reading), so wasn’t expecting anything too exciting to play out…but you know what? Having these simple moments captured on film makes me very happy, indeed.  Plus, what a fun way to share moments with family and friends who live far, far away and miss out on all the seemingly insignificant, day to day stuff.  I hope you guys will all jump in and share your photos, too!  Who’s with me?!

Good Morning, NYC

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Good Night, NYC

L1010928 L1010937 L1010941 L1010945 L1010956Every Monday for the rest of the year, we will be sharing behind the scenes shots of Used York City, keeping with the weekly theme set up by the folks at ABM.  Some of the challenges will be super city orientated, others a bit more personal…a fun mix, for sure!  Next week’s theme: guilty pleasures.  So whip out those camera phones and begin snapping photos of all your favorite guilty pleasures in NYC, and beyond!  We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

We would love to see what your Good Morning, Good Night routine looks like, too!  Please link up below and share, using the hashtag #UseYourCity!

Feb
6

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Hey NYC…Write A Love Letter

Have I mentioned before that Valentine’s Day is the ultimate holiday in my book?  A day filled with pink…filled with blooms…filled with chocolates…a day just pouring out sentiment galore.  Ahh, how I do love me some sentiment.

For this Valentine’s Day, instead of getting all crazy on the flowers and balloons front, I brought it back down to the level that sweet Romeo whispered sonnets to his darling Juliet many upteen years ago: the level of sentiment.  Using some old craft paper cards and envelopes and finger paints, I crafted some DIY Valentine Cards and filled them with happy memories I have of the recipients.  

unnamed-7Like I’m sure many fellow New Yorkers face, it’s hard having family spread all over the country, and even oversees.  Skype and texts and phone calls are nice, but there’s something that will never quite take the thrill out of receiving a letter in the mailbox, written with your loved one at the heart of the matter.  And remember, these letters don’t need to be exclusively to your significant other!  Mine are being sent to my grandparents, siblings, parents, in-laws, and my outer borough bestie who I don’t see nearly as often as I’d like.  So there you have it…letters can look however your little heart desires them to look.

FullSizeRenderClearly handwriting does not count so much, either…nor do pen scribbles.  Keep the sentiment at the heart of it all and you’ll be just fine;-)

p.s. if you need a bit of help getting started, here’s a step-by-step guide to the art of love writing.

p.s.s if you need some inspiration for adorable stationary that’s not DIY, but comes across just as lovely, check out everlane’s crisp and minimalistic new line:

imgresWill you be writing any love letters this Valentine’s Day?

Feb
5

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5 Sweet Breakfasts To Wow Your NYC Sweetie

I’ve mentioned before how breakfast is a big, big deal in our house.  With crazy NYC schedules, it’s often one of the only times during the day the hubs and I have to sit down together, so we try to make the most of it.  Most mornings, our breakfast routine looks something like coffee and yogurt, but when a special occasion roles around (i.e. Valentine’s Day, yay!), I set the alarm a bit earlier to make breakfast a little more memorable.

Here’s a few easy Valentine’s Day inspired breakfasts that are sure to make your favorite New Yorkers, (roommates, significant others, kids, parents, siblings, or yourself!), start the day feeling ridiculously loved.

1. Mini Pancake Kebabs

Everything tastes better on a stick, no?  These heart shaped pancake cuties only get better with layered whipped cream and fresh berries nestled between. (via Design Loves Detail)

pancake-kabobs1-645x7462. Greek Yogurt Dipped Strawberries

Only thing better than chocolate covered strawberries?  (Umm, nothing?)  False!  These greek yogurt dipped babies are super delicious, and the best part is, they can be made the night before!  No early setting of the alarm needed! (via She Knows)

greek-yogurt-dipped-berries-645x4253. Nutella Hot Chocolate

It’s true, anything with the chocolate hazlenutty goodness included needs no introduction!  This super rich version of hot chocolate makes for a perfect coffee substitute on Valentine’s Day.  p.s. we recently tried Nocciolata, which tastes just like Nutella, only is GMO free and doesn’t use Palm Oil, making it a healthier alternative!  (via A Beautiful Mess)

6a00d8358081ff69e201b8d089caf6970c-800wi4. Red Velvet + Cream Cheese Crepes

Say the world crepe and I come running!  Seriously, I’ve never met a crepe I don’t like, and these remind me of the sweet ones my grandma and I always ordered from IHOP…with a darling little Valentine’s twist, that is. (via Taste and Tell)

Red-Velvet-Crepes-recipe-Taste-and-Tell-1-645x42915. Muffins-In-A-Mug

This recipe feels super decadent, but seriously takes no time at all.  Can I get a hell yes, NYC?!  (via Heather’s French Press)

12909431294_cc2df6c763_bA few other ways to make your Valentine’s Day breakfast extra special are:

-You know all that fine china and silver you have hiding away in the back of your cabinets?  Yes, the stuff you got on your wedding registry and have used, oh, twice?  Now’s the time to whip it out.  Nothing says “I’ve gone the extra mile” quite like your best stuff.  (If you don’t have “best stuff” yet, fret not!  Another way to really make the breakfast special is to set a theme: stock up on red napkins and heart shaped plates from the dollar store and your effort will be just as evident.)

-Add a Valentine’s Day soundtrack to the breakfast background, complete with your boo’s favorite songs.  Or, go to Spotify and find a pre-made “Vday Mix” that is sure to have some staples.

-Write a love letter and have it sitting on their plate.  Because Valentine’s Day doesn’t get much more perfect that that.

Do you cook a Valentine’s Day themed breakfast?  Share all your tips below!

Feb
4

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UsedYorkCity Inspiration #19

unnamed^^The last act of Mamma Mia…truly the highlight of our night, BRAVO!^^

1. Love these sweet NYC couples who chose elopement…including our own elopement on the rooftop of the Surry Hoel (#23!) (via BuzzFeed)

2. Tips for creatives and freelancers on how to be uber productive with email (i.e. admin Mondays). (via Jessica Hische)

3. Random and rad things to celebrate Valentine’s Day in NYC with this year–no dinner and a movie found here! (via Time Out New York)

4. A winter highlight is back: the City Bakery Hot Chocolate Factory! Which flavor are you most stoked to try this year? (via The City Bakery)

5.Good News for Cookbook lovers…their downtown store is not closing, just moving. More delicious literature to gobble up, my friends. (via The Paris Review)

Share what’s been keeping you inspired this week below, too!

xo,

Jess

Feb
3

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$25 Massage In Manhattan? Yes, please!

Massage-Oil

Let’s talk guilty pleasures for a minute, shall we?  You tell me yours, I’ll tell you mine.

And….go!

Mine?  Massages, hands down.

And yet…even in NYC, where there’s certainly no shortage of Chinatown-esque massage parlors offering a 60 minute massage for $45, by the time you add in a generous tip, it’s not exactly a luxury to be afforded on a super regular basis.  So when I heard about a place in the city that offers $25 massages, I was all “sign me up!!!”

Aroma TherapyThe New York College of Health Professionals has teaching clinics located at 244 East 32nd Street, which is the magical place where you can get a 50 minute Swedish or Asian massage for $25.  Granted, you will be rubbed down by student interns under the supervision of licensed therapists, but this was certainly no determent for me (literally, the teacher stepped into the room for probably 15 seconds to ask how I was feeling and how the therapist was doing…I was feeling fantastic and she was doing an amazing job).  And side note: since these students are technically getting class credit for being there, you are NOT allowed to tip them–trust me, I asked.  So it turns out being super affordable!  Also, no crazy waiting lists or lottery systems for this place, it was actually no problem at all calling on a Thursday evening and getting an appointment for Friday afternoon.

Along with massages, they also offer reduced price acupuncture treatments and herbal consultations to the public.  To make an appointment for, dare I say?, the best massage deal in Manhattan, call 212-213-8800.

Don’t forget to share your guilty pleasure in the comment section below!

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