decorations

mar & dar’s christmas train

Last week, my mom and I played my favorite game of tourist and took a ride into the big city to see the tree and the lights of midtown. It wouldn’t be Christmas around these parts if I didn’t have at least one post with pictures of crowds of people, lights, over the top decorations and probably a taxi or two. This time you aren’t getting any taxis, but I think I got everything else covered.

We wanted to hit Macy’s first and work our way up to Rockefeller, but for whatever reason we decided to forego 34th Street and go straight to the epicenter of Christmas. the tree, if you didn’t know.

Saks was the first stop on the Mar and Dar Christmas train and, without being too dramatic, I was in awe. Maybe it’s the kid in me, maybe I get distracted too easily by bright colors and sparkly things (true and true), whatever it is, Saks made me smile immediately.

No trip to 5th Avenue would be complete without a stop at Saint Pat’s so that’s where we headed next. They weren’t all Christmassed out yet but SPC is a beaut with or without poinsettias and greenery.

By the time we lit some candles and doused ourselves in holy water it was time to get a move on. The sky was a bit ominous and we weren’t prepared for rain. The tree was our next stop. Tourist central. We felt right at home.

The best thing about going so early in the season is that even though there are crowds, they’re not unbearable. Last year I was walking down 5th Ave with my mom, my aunt and my cousins. We got sucked into the crush between 47th and 50th Street. Behind me, in the throng, a woman say, to no one in particular, “This must thin out near the tree”. this poor tourist, I thought. I turned as much as the crowd would allow, chuckled and said, “um. try 52nd Street.” She gasped. I smiled. And another Christmas memory was made.

Our final stop was Bryant Park. I love Christmas in Bryant Park. There’s so much going on but it’s not crazy. The shopping, the eating, the skating- you can’t go wrong. Even if you’re like me and only eat and shop. I wanted to get to Bryant Park because I saw on Instagram that Melsy’s Illustrations was going to be there and I wanted to check out her stuff in person.

My mom and I walked around, checking out the other booths, trying to get some giftsipration and because try as we might, it’s been tough getting into the Christmas spirit this year. For me, it’s no other reason except it’s all going too fast. There’s only 16 days until Christmas, guys. 16 days. i can’t.

Finally, we found the Melsy’s Illustrations booth. I love her Instagram, but I loooove her stuff in person. It’s all so me. Anyway, her booth was busy and space is at a premium so my mom and I waited outside until it calmed down a bit. While we were waiting a woman came over to tell us that all of the available illustrations were in the binder near the door, if we wanted to look while we wait. We started talking and it turns out that nice lady was Jamel’s mom. She told us that this was her passion and she finally took the plunge, quit her 9-5 job and starting doing this full time. #goals. 

I seriously loved everything in her shop, but I finally decided on this one. I’m going to hang it over my computer for inspiration. blogspiration, if you will. follow my passionspiration, if you also will. 

Mine is a brunette, because after I eventually get my grays covered and highlights toned, so am I.

I also fell in love with this one because a bun is my go-to “I want to feel like a Kardashian” look. And my “get this mop off of my neck” look. It’s so versatile.

 

Her mom was so nice and had the best Boston accent. My mom mentioned my love of photography and, in true mom fashion, they started talking about us and how it’s great that we have things that we love to do and do well at.

click this photo to go over to the Melsy’s Illustrations Etsy page! she didn’t ask me to link it or anything, i just really like her stuff and wanted to share!

The booth traffic finally let up enough for me and my mom to go in and meet Jamel. She couldn’t have been nicer, seriously. I told her I follow her on Instagram and she was so appreciative. As we were leaving, they mentioned getting the truffle fries from the homefrite booth. Naturally, the Mar and Dar Christmas train had to make a pitstop. 

I told my mom I needed to incorporate these and the lemon garlic aioli into my everyday diet. She gave me THE LOOK, I rolled my eyes and another Christmas memory was made.

Our last stop was Lord and Taylor’s windows. These are usually my favorites but this year, I’m not gonna lie, I wasn’t impressed. It was an enchanted forest theme (yass!), which when done right, could be amazing. I’m not sure if the windows weren’t totally done or what, but there were some things that were lacking. Mainly, they had “The Enchanted Forest” written on the bottom of each window, but on at least one of the windows, it looked like it was either coming off or it wasn’t put on correctly. Either way, they were really cute and Lord and Taylor still wins in my book. I’m sure they were super concerned about my opinion and couldn’t wait to get my verdict.

As much as I wanted to push my mom to either Uber down to Macy’s or up to Bergdorfs, I was ready to go home, get in my pajamas and finish the Gilmore Girls revival – which is exactly what we did.

merry new york christmas!

Last week I ventured in to the big ol’ city to see the Rockettes at Radio City. I haven’t seen the show in quite some time and honestly, I couldn’t remember it at all. That’s the beauty of getting old – old things become new again.

We took the express bus in to the city and from the minute we disembarked from the bus and on the the sidewalks of 6th Avenue, my mother grabbed my arm as if her life depended on it. One thing about my mom is, she is not a particularly nervous person so I have no idea where this came from. We got to the corner right in front of Radio City and we got separated (read: I wriggled out from her grasp). There was a huge group of out of towners on the corner being very out of town like* and I had to maneuver around them to cross the street. When I finally got across, I found my mother and the look on her face was a mix of sheer panic and relief that we were reunited. Needless to say, this will be the last time for a long time that we make a trip to the city together.

*I have to make this announcement right here, right now. If you are not from any of the five boroughs and decide to make a trip to New York City with either your whole family or the entire congregation of your church, please heed my advice. The city is an extremely busy place, where people just GO. If you are lost, or if people are missing from your group, please move to the side and wait for them. DO NOT wait en masse on the corner of any intersection. DO NOT wait en masse in the middle of any sidewalk. You all have cellphones, move over or duck into a store and make a phone call. They will find you. Also, I’m all for taking pictures and I totally understand and appreciate the beauty that is New York City, however there is an art to doing it. Do it fast and, if you can, do it on the move. hustle, hustle, hustle! Practice taking pictures while walking before you get here. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy tourists. I really do think you guys are a big part of the appeal of the city. Especially when you point to the Chrysler building excitedly and exclaim how beautiful the Empire State Building is. Warms my heart.

Anyway, we make it to the entrance for ticket holders and we try to find somewhere to wait for my aunt that was coming from the other direction (read: Staten Island). It started to snow pretty hard by this point so we hugged the building and hoped she’d get there soon.

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After my aunt arrived, we headed through security and into the warmth of Radio City. It’s beautiful. It’s old and ornate and just ugh. lovely.

The chandelier was all crystal snowflakes. Each one different from the next, as snowflakes are. It sparkled like you wouldn’t believe. Honestly, I would have stood there for the hour and a half and just watched it twirl. Which I hope was on purpose because if not, someone better look in to that.

The recording that was playing outside and all through the lobby was pretty emphatic about no flash photography or video during the performance. So like the good little girl I am, I tucked my phone and my camera in my bag and waited for the show to begin. The man in front of me, however, did not. He took pictures without flash AND VIDEO of the whole show. And he had a nice, big DSLR camera so his photos were quality. I was highly annoyed. (Had this been a Disney on Broadway show, his ass would have been on the street before Santa could say HO HO HO) Finally, towards the end I noticed cellphones popping up and no wardens ushers telling anyone to put them away. I took this as my cue to whip my phone out and take some shots. don’t mind if i do.

I know they’re blurry, but had I known I wouldn’t get thrown in Radio City jail for bringing my big DSLR camera, they would have been better.

After the show ended we had some time before our reservation so we went to see the tree. I’m noticing as I write this that I’m using terms that only people from the area would use. THE city, THE tree. It almost diminishes the magnitude of what they are. (I know I must be coming off as highly ego centric or hometown centric and I apologize.) What’s so great about a tree?

THIS. this is what is so great about a tree.

She’s a real beaut, Clarke. – National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

While we were at the tree my mom did the whole vice grip on my arm thing again and kept asking me if I was OK.

Mom: Are you OK?

Me: Yep

two minutes later…

Mom: Are you OK?

Me: I just tripped over a small child because you’re insisting that we literally stick together, but yea I’m fine.

two minutes later…

Mom: Are you OK?

Me: Yes, Mom. Are YOU ok?

We all ducked into the NBC Experience store because back in the day, it used to be a really cool place. They used to give tours, let you do the weather, sit at Leno’s (?) desk. Not anymore, but we made the best of it.

On our way to dinner we passed one of my favorite light displays in the city (after the windows and the tree)

The BAWLS, the LIGHTS, and those majestic looking REINDEER!

After dinner we headed back to the bus to go home. I looked up at one of the buildings across from us and saw that the Empire State Building was reflected on to the building. All of a sudden my inner Annie Liebovitz came out and I needed a picture. More regret that I was without my nice DSLR.

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The bus came and we got on, therefore essentially ending our adventure. It was a great time and can’t wait to do the same in the spring because the Rockettes are doing a new show all about New York City. Minus the tree, the lights and the other holiday goodness, of course.

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