We want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happiest New Year! I’ll be taking a week off to spend quality time making rounds with all the family members, but will be checking in on Instagram, so you can find me there in the meantime!
Here’s a few of my favorite photos from Christmas and New Years last year, which were spent on our honeymoon exploring Southeast Asia, soaking up sun, and sipping Singapore Slings (bliss!) Eighty degrees and coconut trees for the win!
I’ll see you in 2015…here’s to another epic year, celebrating the little things, always.
^^My tiny little minimalist ode to the holidays!^^
1. Positively DROOLING over all these ideas of things to make with your leftover eggnog! I’ll take 5 eggnog whoopie pies, please. (via Huffington Post)
2. A roundup of things to do on Christmas day in NYC after all the presents are opened. Spa Castle sounds good to me;-) (via Mommy Poppins)
3. I guest posted on one of my favorite travel blogs about popular Christmas traditions in the States. (via Ever Changing Scenery)
4. My favorite Parisian/New York fashion guru Garance posts things she learned in 2014. #LifePhilosophy = on track. (via Garance Dore)
5. The reasons we fell in love all over again with NYC in 2014. (via New York Magazine)
What’s been inspiring you this week?
Hi guys! Welcome to the third installment of “Ask Jess”, in which I publicly answer questions that I’ve received through the site!
Q: Hey Jess! I normally bombard you with questions on Twitter, but since I have two I figured that I would post them here. Must hit spots for a Bachelorette Party? Also great places to get some post wedding photos with a large group traveling on a party bus from CT. Thank you for all the info you are always so happy to provide!
A: Hi Heather!
Lips is a super fun drag/cabaret joint in Midtown that is classy, and the performers there will make sure the bride has the best night of her life! Or if your bride is into being a karaoke star diva, you could rent a private room for your party, complete with champers and all-you-can-sing tunes! The Duet locations are my favorite. The Awesome 80’s Prom is a great way to celebrate too, for the theatrical bride who loves her 80’s tunes! I’ve seen quite a few bachelorettes happening here, and it’s very much the “girl’s just want to have fun” scene! And for after hours festivities, I’d suggest hitting up either the Meatpacking District or East Village/Lower East Side (depending on your scene!) for bars/clubs!
Wedding photos: Long Island City waterside (you’ll get the whole NYC skyline!), Crosby Street for cobblestone shots, and pond in Central Park!
Q: Where is the best Mexican food in Manhattan? (we will be staying near Times Square)
Thank you. -Jim
A: Hi Jim!
Mmm, we’re HUGE fans of Mexican food here at UsedYorkCity! Rosa Mexicana has the BEST guac I’ve ever tasted, along with killer margaritas, and there’s a location not too far from the Times Square area…62nd Street at 61 Columbus Avenue. You could take a nice stroll up (about a mile walking from where you are, but you’ll get to see a lot of great stuff, or take about a 5 minute cab ride!)
Another favorite that’s a bit more downtown, near Union Square, is El Cantinero. Tacos are out of this world, prices can’t be beat, authenticity reigns, and there’s a beautiful rooftop garden to dine on!
@usedyorkcity Do you have anything on your blog with your top hotels in NYC that you would recommend to family & friends visiting?
A: Hi @FaerieMistress! I would first pose two questions: what area of town/borough does your family and friends want to be close to and what is the budget? For the purpose of the question I’ll assume they would like to be somewhere central in Manhattan that is within walking distance to a lot of the major tourist attractions, as well as close to subways, and a mid-range price. I have a few that I really like: The Hilton on 54th and 6th Avenue (great location and price!), Park Lane Hotel (it’s located on Central Park South, one of the prettiest streets in Manhattan, and you can score shockingly great prices for a beautiful location), and The Paramount (in the heart of Times Square with a gorgeous fireplace filled lobby and great restaurant/lounge area). If they’re looking for a more downtown experience The Mondrain in SoHo is a beauty (chic rooms, open rooftop areas, and walking distance to all the great SoHo shopping.) Finally, if they’re searching for a more boutique experience on the quiet Upper West Side, NYLO is a gem (modern rooms and open rooftop decks, and a block away from Central Park on the West Side.)
My very first visit to NYC was at Christmastime when I was in high school, oh, circa 1997. My mom brought me and my siblings into the city to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. For a dancer/theater lover like myself, it was truly the most magical experience, and it was then and there that I decided that someday, I too, was going to be a New Yorker.
Fast forward many, many years to my grad school graduation. Guess what? It was held at Radio City! I practically skipped across the stage, making sure to pause right in the middle to blow mom a kiss (she was somewhere in that huge audience of 6,000 seats!) So needless to say, this classic venue holds quite a bit of sentiment to me.
When I heard about the Radio City Stage Door Tour, I was pretty stoked. The tours leave every half hour, so we jumped on an afternoon tour (that coincided with the Christmas Spectacular, so extra festive excitement!) The tour lasts an hour, and takes you into the private Rockefeller viewing suite, through the back corridors of the theater, past the Rockettes’ warm-up and audition rooms, and get this…even a meet and greet with a Rockette!
And of course all along the way we were fed tidbits of info about the history of Radio City (opened on December 27, 1932!), the Rockettes (in peak season they perform 6 shows a day…the girls are split into morning and afternoon shows to take some of the pressure off!) and the theater’s memorable moments (Bette Midler shattered a record at Radio City in 1993 by selling out 30 shows!)
Whether you’re a theater lover, have littles that love dance, or just want a fun and festive and WARM tour of a piece of NYC history, this tour is definitely one to keep in mind! Reservations aren’t needed, but you can score a bit of a discount for booking tickets online (unless you have a Student ID, in which case the cost is $17 and it’s cheaper to buy onsite;-)
By: Jessica Tiare Bowen
Transitioning to a new town is difficult enough with the logistics of moving, the heavy lifting, the clean up, and the feeling of being out of place, but when you also have to significantly downsize your life to fit in your new home, it’s easy to become overwhelmed.
Nonetheless, if you’re smart about it and take things step by step, you’ll be settled into your new, smaller digs and feeling cozy in no time.
Room by room, take stock of what you’ve got. Really look into the back of all those closets to see what you have that will need to be stored at your new place. Holiday decorations, art and craft supplies, or your collection of snow globes. Make lists (you’ll be making a lot of lists, so get that legal-pad ready) of all large furniture you have and the dimensions of each piece.
2. Consider your new home
When you do a walkthrough at your new place, get the measurements of each room. Check on how many square feet of storage space you have (if you’re lucky enough to have storage space) and what the closet situation is. Compare the floor space in each room to the square footage your furniture will need; it will help you get a better feel for what everything will look like once inside, as opposed to just imagining it.
This is the mother of all moving tips: get rid of stuff! Is it fun? No. Will it make a gigantic difference on the day you’re trying to unpack everything into your smaller space? Absolutely. Follow the maxim of “toss, donate, keep” as you go through each item. Make donation and trash piles, and start sorting. Really take a hard look at what you need to keep, and try to offload as much as possible.
Once you know what you won’t be taking, consider holding a garage sale before you donate, to help make some extra cash to fund your move. If you don’t have the time or energy to do a full-blown shindig, post a few items for sale on Craigslist, or try a local Facebook buy, sell and trade group. Things like furniture, seasonal items, and clothing tend to sell quickly, making an easy buck or two.
5. Plan your space
Planning where things go ahead of time will save you much time and annoyance when the big day comes. Know which room each piece of furniture will go in, and label them so there is no confusion. Get creative with your storage options; if you have an extra shelf in the pantry, don’t hesitate to use it for something non-food related like those snow globes! As long as it’s organized, there is no hard-and-fast rule that says things have to go in a certain room.
6. Think up!
Your new place may be small, but it still has walls, so use them. Look into vertical storage solutions like pot and pan racks for the kitchen, shelving for the living areas, and shoe, scarf and hat racks for the back of doors. Get things up and off the floor so you have more living space.
7. Get your storage on, ahead of time
Before you move anything else in, put your storage solutions in place. Put up your shelves, hang your racks, and get any big, plastic containers (very helpful for stackable storage in closets) ready to be put to use.
8. Rent a storage unit
If you have big items you absolutely cannot bear to part with that just won’t fit in your new space, rent the minimum square footage storage unit and keep them safe there. Storage units are also a great place to keep seasonal items like holiday decorations or sports equipment when they’re not going to be in use.
9. Plan your move
If you’re moving into a significantly smaller space, chances are good that you’ll be heading into a building with either lots of stairs or an elevator. Check dimensions here ahead of time too (how handy is that list of furniture dimensions now?) to make sure everything will fit into stairwells, in elevators, and through doors.
Don’t let things sit around for longer than a couple weeks; get everything put away as quickly as possible to free that much needed floor space of boxes and packing materials.
Once you’ve settled into your new place, make it a priority to keep things clean, orderly and maybe even a little bit Zen-like. Small spaces can become cluttered more easily. Organization, along with a minimalist lifestyle, is key. Gone are the days you’ll be able indulge your desire to shop till you drop, regardless of whether you really need that fabulous pair of pumps or not. Take heart, though, and think of all the money you’ll save!