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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.

photo dump: better late than never!

How has Christmas come and gone already? I hope everyone’s holiday was great. Filled with lots of love, food and presents. I just wanted to share two things. One is a really quick “aww” moment and the other is a collection of pictures I took before the holiday that I hadn’t gotten a chance to post until now. Better late than never, right?

So, the aww moment happened on Christmas morning. My mom’s aunt, who is either in her late 80’s or early 90’s called to wish my family a Merry Christmas. After my mom filled her in a bit on her siblings and asked for her cousin, Aunt Margie asked about me and my cousins. Being the cute, little old school Italian lady that she is, she wanted to know if I had a boyfriend. Normally I’d have to roll my eyes at this question. Except when it’s from an adorable aunt. She didn’t ask my mom outright if I had a boyfriend or if I was seeing somebody, the way she put it was “Is Martina keeping company with anybody?” Is she not the cutest? First of all, I love older phrases like that. Like pillbox hats and ballgowns with gloves; very vintage. Second, it’s so to the point. It’s not like the term “hooking up”, which means 100 different things depending on who you ask. Anyway, I just thought it was cute and thought I’d share.

Next are some pictures I took last week when I was in the city (yes, again). Basic stuff. Bryant Park, the tree, candles at Saint Patrick’s (i have to go back. i got kicked out because a mass was starting), a Christmas Village in the basement of an ornament store. Good stuff. sidenote: what better place for a Christmas village than an ornament store? this year was the first year and i really think they should keep it going. until it gets mobbed and noone could breathe or move down there.

The village was really cute. I got tickets on Groupon for $15. Totally worth it. They were originally $30. I probably wouldn’t go that high. Or if I paid full price I would have been a little disappointed. I mean, it was cute but it was literally in the basement of an ornament store. It wasn’t a show or anything, just a quick (or slow) walk-through.

How was your Christmas? Did Santa treat you well?

Let’s discuss!

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last leg of the tour!

Here is, as promised, the final installment of the 5th Avenue tour. I wouldn’t leave you wandering around and since you paid for it, you should get it. If you haven’t paid, let me know and I’ll give you my PayPal email.

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Anyway, this last part will be a collection of things. We have to backtrack to the tree but, like I said before, we’re saving the best for last. By now we’ve watched the light show at Saks and have somehow have been carried by the crowd and are now standing across the street from Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. She’s a beauty.

They’re holding a mass, so we can’t go in for picture taking. It’s totally worth a return trip though. It’s time to turn around and get swept up in the tree crowd again. Ready? Hold on tight.

TA-DA!

It’s a real beaut, Clark. All SPRUCE(d) up and looking good!

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That concludes this tour of 5th Ave at Christmas.Please remember all of your belongings and to tip your driver. As a bonus, here’s a picture of the stars at the Shops at Columbus Circle. They aren’t on 5th but I love them and wanted to share.

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FESTIVE.

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It’s Christmas Time Again!

With mere minutes left until Christmas (21 to be exact!), and the fact that I have been totally deficient in posting on here, I figured I should kill two birds with one stone and write something festive.

SOMETHING FESTIVE.

Ha! You had to see that one coming.

Anyway, in the spirit of the season I thought I would write about some of my favorite things. Without further ado here are

Martina’s Favorite Things : Christmas Edition

1. Miracle on 34th Street (1994)- How perfect is this movie? First of all, it’s a John Hughes production. I know, I should stop right there- but there’s more! Second, it’s set in New York (where else?) AT CHRISTMAS TIME. Third, two words – DYLAN MCDERMOTT. And finally, well two things actually, there are old fashioned taxis all over the place. Where did they come from? And can we have them back? Also, can we talk about Mrs. Walker’s ring at the end? Way to go Mr. Bedford.  One last thing (I promise!), the head of makeup for this wonderful Christmas gem was Ben Nye Jr. Perfect.

2. Rockefeller Center- Ok I know, the crowds suck. They really, really do. But that’s all the more reason to practice your New York strut. Getting through the crowds like a New Yorker doesn’t mean to push or get crazy. You have to be agile and take every open opportunity. Basically, don’t be an animal. Also keep in mind that in this case the ends will certainly justify the means.

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BAM!

3. Chocolate Chip Cookies – I try to make them every year. Then I try not to eat them all.

4. My Christmas tree – A few years ago I challenged my mom to decorate our tree with only lights and bows and those sparkly stick things. To no surprise of my own, she totally skilled it. So now, we only decorate with lights and bows and sparkly stick things. Sometimes I miss our ornaments since they all had meaning but then I turn on my tree and see the whole living room light up and sparkle and it makes me happy. I could always visit the other ornaments in the basement.

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LOOK AT MY TREE!

4.5 Speaking of trees,

5. Like I could really limit myself to 5 things. The food, the friends and family.My aunt’s cookie tray, the meatballs, the manicotti, and antipasta. The sparkle, the magic. The gifts, the traditions. The movies, the songs. The Christmas specials of my favorite TV shows. The Hallmark Channel and Lifetime movies. The surprises, the wrapping paper. The good cheer and the warm fuzzies.  You get the idea.

It is now officially Christmas! I guess I should get to bed or else Santa won’t come. 😉

On an unrelated note before I go, does anyone know how to personalize these posts? I just learned how to download fonts and would love to use them on here but I don’t know how to do that. If nothing else, is there a way to change the color of the letters? Let me know!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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