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.

gimme a break!

I had this post written in my head at least twenty times. Now that I finally have the time to sit and get it all down, I have no idea what to say or how to start. I guess I should jump right in.

If you couldn’t tell, I’ve been kind of absent this month. I know I’m not a daily poster nor do I strive to be. Although, having my shit together enough to be able to write fun and engaging posts everyday is a goal of mine. Anyway, I haven’t been around lately. I mentioned in my last post that life had been kicking me in the crotch. It’s gotten a little bit better, then a little bit worse. It’s like a roller coaster and I hate rides. Without getting in to too much detail, my father has been in the hospital for the past two weeks. He went in on a Thursday and for two days he was, for all intents and purposes, fine. On Saturday, he woke up in a totally different mental state. By Monday he was confined to a bed, unable to speak clearly, not really knowing what was going on or where he was. He’s gotten a little better since then but still no where near the dad that I know.


Scary words like stroke, brain bleed, and aneurysm have floated around. They’ve run tests for all of them and more but each one comes out cleaner than the next.  It gets to a point where, and if you’ve ever been in a situation like this you’ll understand exactly what I mean, you hope that something comes back negative. Like when I found myself wishing they’d tell us it was meningitis. I know how horrible that sounds. But when no one can give you an answer and all you want is your loved one back to normal, your mind goes a million different ways.

The nurses and aides have been great. The doctors on the other hand leave much to be desired. Basically, for the first six days not one doctor spoke to me or my mom except to ask a question or two. My mom was finally able to speak to one of the doctors but as of now, we’re on day four of no new information. Almost like when my spirit animal, Dorothy Zbornak, was sick and couldn’t get an answer out of anyone.

Being at the hospital is exhausting. Worrying is exhausting. Twice last week I fell asleep with the light next to my bed on and didn’t know until I woke up the next morning. Real life has been pushed off to the side and nothing feels normal anymore. All of my nightly rituals, like blogging and painting my nails, have become a memory. For right now, staying up past 10pm is an accomplishment. Luckily, my mom and I have an excellent support system. Words cannot express how much we appreciate them and their phone calls, texts and promises of prayer.

So that explains where I’ve been but that’s not the point of this post. The point is that in the midst of all this, I found out about Chobani’s #breakyoumake campaign. They want to know who in your life needs a break. Do my twenty minute bathroom breaks at work count? There’s a lot to be said for sitting on a toilet, scrolling through Facebook.

Obviously, I didn’t have to think long or hard about who in my life needs a breather. Ryan Seacrest. That guy is everywherei kid, i kid. but seriously, he’s everywhere.

Throughout this whole ordeal, my mom has been not just a rock, but a diamond. She has been at the hospital every single day, waited for doctors who never came, makes sure my father eats. She is his advocate and mouthpiece. She makes sure she’s on top of everything since the doctors are not giving her any kind of peace of mind. She helps the nurses feed my father because he’s stubborn and won’t eat. She comes home and makes sure the bills are paid and the house is neat. She also makes sure there’s something for me to take to work for lunch, is there for me when I feel overwhelmed by all of this. I don’t know how she does it. She needs a break. And a cocktail.

Even when life is normal, my mother keeps the machine that is our lives well oiled. She does it all, as if it’s second nature. I guess it sort of is. She’s always there when I have a bad day at work, when I forget to wash something I need for the next day, to give advice about any and everything. She’s my biggest supporter and number one fan. Before all of this happened, I was sitting with my father in our living room and my mom was making dinner. My father looked at me and said “She does a lot for us. She does everything for us. Appreciate her.” I looked at him like he was nuts because why is he telling me something I already know?


I’ve tried many times to express my appreciation to her for everything that she does. I have yet to figure out how. Sending her on a nice vacation sounds good. Especially since she’d probably want someone to go with her and I could easily make myself very available. So whoever wants to send us her somewhere to relax, I’m open for discussions. My mom is a simple person, though so maybe a nice, relaxing day spent on the couch with some snacks and our favorite television shows. What, you thought I wasn’t going to get in on the relaxing in front of the television action also? Pshh. Not when there’s snacks involved.

Who needs a break in your life?

Let’s discuss!


real women WCW!

Here we are at the last week of Women’s History Month WCW. I hope you enjoyed it. I mean, I know it’s not my best work, but I thought it was a good idea and I’m sure better things are on the horizon. (no i’m not, but it sounded good, didn’t it?)

This week’s WHMWCW will feature women who aren’t celebrities. They won’t look familiar to you unless you’ve been keeping up with this blog for a while or you’ve been stalking me (in that case, please stop. thanks). I can’t call them women crushes because that would be weird. So, without further ado, my non-crush WCW.

My mom is hands down my best friend. I don’t know what I’d do or where I’d be without her. She’s the Sophia to my Dorothy, the Kris to my Kim. I might not know where I’d be or what I’d do without her, but I can say this, my clothes would be filthy and I’d probably starve. I’d have no one to watch my “stories” with. No one to go on adventures with. No one to come home and tell all of my secrets to. She’s my biggest cheerleader and is always there when I need a shoulder to cry on. I hope that when my time comes I could manage to be half the mother she is. She knows that she has to stay in line, though. Since I’m an only child I get to pick her nursing home.

shady pines

WCW collage

My mom isn’t the only woman in my family who I am lucky to have. I have a set of the best aunts in the world. They have taught me how to fluff pillows, they’ve patiently and painstakingly helped me choose a Communion dress and calmed me down when I looked like an idiot at my Confirmation. And most importantly, they didn’t kill me when I cried howled through the night because everyone underestimated my hatred of sleepovers and just wanted to go home.

I’ve said before that I’m an only child. Luckily, the cousin branches on my family tree grow very close together. We’ve kept each other company in the bathroom, they’ve tried to teach me important life skills – like the “I Want It That Way” airport dance (which i still can’t do). We’ve fought with each other, got in trouble together, laughed and cried together. They’re my constants. My definites. They’re probably going to read this and immediately call a priest because I never get this sentimental; I must be possessed.


I am so lucky to call these women mine.


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