Podcast Season

Lately I have been overly obsessed with Podcasts. Mostly because I spend a lot of time on the subway – commuting, underground with no cell service. So like – what else am I going to do aside from listen to Bieber and Halsey and repeat?

Easy! Listen to podcasts…

Yeah, that’s right. Podcasts! That small purple app that comes automatically loaded on your iPhone that you’ve gone ahead and stored in that weird folder you never open – along with Wallet, Tips, Compass, Voice Memos, Calculator (I use this often actually). Yeah, that one – Podcasts. Just make sure to download them ahead of time so you can listen freely whenever you want (or when you don’t have cell service while you’re on the subway).

This morning I began listening to a new one by The New York Times and wbur called Modern Love. Modern Love is a section of The New York Times where New Yorker’s write essays about their interesting experiences with love. The podcast is essentially the essays being read aloud by famous actors and actresses and followed by conversation and feedback from the original authors. Jason Alexander (George Costanza of Seinfeld) recited Episode 2. Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story & many others) narrates this week’s episode, which I’ll be listening to on my way home from work tonight.

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If you’ve never listened to Podcasts before, I totally understand your hesitance. It took me months and months to take the listening suggestions and actually start listening. We are programmed as human beings to have hyperactive senses and want all of them to be receptive at all times. AKA utter chaos, always. With that being said, it’s somehow really nice to just open up and listen to something instead of watching something, checking your phone, getting distracted so easily… Feel free to close your eyes while listening, I do sometimes. Except I’m sort of lying because closing your eyes on the subway is not the safest thing to do; use caution.

Below are some of my other favorites with quick reviews:

CYG – Call Your Girlfriend – “A podcast for long distance besties everywhere” by Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow. If you’re a chick, you can and will completely relate to this podcast. It feels exactly like chatting with your friends on the phone about current events, controversial topics, health & wellness, real life everyday struggles. Both of the chicks are very feminist, aka super empowering and really just fab to listen to. They interview their friends and colleagues and empowering women every few weeks, which I LOVE. Brings even more personality to the table. There’s also a million of these so you can listen to them for what feels like forever.

SerialCreated by This American Life and hosted by Sarah Koenig where a real life true story is unfolded week by week (now Season 2 is bi-weekly) throughout the season. Very interesting, and if you watched Netflix’s Making a Murderer recently, then you’ll really like this, promise. Season 1 is still my favorite, even midway through Season 2. Keeps you at the edge of your seat, I listened to the first season in like 24 hours last year on vacay in Aruba. Just highly recommend this on many levels – especially to like, keep up with social norms…

Monocycle with Leandra Medine – Very real, very smart, very quick, approx. 10 minute podcast about – Leandra’s life. She’s the cool-girl fashion chick who created the website Man Repeller. Mostly I love that she’s breaking down and talking about things that many women are not comfortable talking about.

Another one I listen to randomly is called “Oh Boy” also brought to you by Man Repeller. ❤ Episode 19 featuring Alexa Chung just came out and I’m a fan! Interviews with lots of celebs / fashion people / writers & bloggers / cool people in general, worth a listen if you see a person you know of. 

Women Of The Hour – Lena Dunham & Buzzfeed collabo podcast “about friendship, love, work, bodies, and more.” There were many excerpts from this podcast that strongly resonated with me and I bet would resonate with you as well. Lena is life, and another recent venture she’s on is Lenny, also worth checking out – very female forward and progressive.

Podcast on, my friends!

Xx

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Diva Cup, OH. My. God.

Dear All Betches Everywhere:

An open letter about menstruation. Read further if you dare. If you don’t want to read about a potentially uncomfortable topic I would suggest you stop reading now. Men especially. But women, you’re welcome…maybe? Whatever. Here we go…

A few years ago, one of my BFF’s informed me of a product called “Diva Cup.” Basically, that she started using it and that it is life-changing, once you get used to it. She uses it, has been for quite a while and apparently loves it.

Click the Diva Cup link above or just Google it if you want to learn more about specific details.  Basically, Diva Cup is made for females as an alternative to using tampons or pads during menstruation.

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It’s a silicone “cup” that you virtually insert inside of yourself and it captures the blood. Benefits are that you can leave it in for up to 12 hours, it’s a 1-time cost of under $30 and lasts for a few years apparently (instead of spending a lot of $ on tampons/pads) and sort of saves the environment (less waste) and your septic systems! Score! Win! Great, I’m interested… let me find out more! Headed straight over to Amazon.com to order this puppy and give it a try… and by heading straight over, I mean I contemplated doing that for approximately 2 years and finally did when I had an Amazon gift card over the summer and was bored because I didn’t have a real job. Whatever…

I tried this product, not one time, not two times, not three times, but FOUR freakin’ times. I think that should suffice as me giving it an actual try… and certainly not just “giving up.” Even though, that is essentially what I did…. every. single. time.

Maybe for some women, Diva Cup is the end-all, be-all solution to menstruation. It does offer some great benefits. The problem with those benefits, are that I don’t exactly give a shit about them. I mean – I tend to be on the eco-conscious side of things in life – however, I don’t really 100% care. Do you? Do you really think that not using tampons is going to save the world? OK, fine if you do. Next, I want my body to be 100% healthy and try not to willingly induce tons of toxins inside of it, but I mean – I’m not 100% convinced that TSS (toxic shock syndrome – from keeping tampons in for too long) would ever even happen to me. I have to switch my tampon far too frequently for that ever to be a problem… so in reality, there is not a specific cause that’s leading me to really want to use this product. So I’m having no or low expectations and just giving it a whirl.

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Photo found in Google images so whoever deserves credit for it, thanks!

All of my viewpoints are speaking from a “first time user” perspective…. and after the 4th month of trying Diva Cup, I still feel like a “first time user”…. which is already saying something. Yeah, things may get easier and you can get used to it after time passes. But this was not easy to “get used to.”

Inserting Diva Cup is not easy in my opinion, AT ALL. On the instructions paper (yes…) there are 2 diagrams of 2 different techniques to “fold” the cup so that it inserts into your vagina in an easier way. I tried both. Several times. And failed. Several times. It’s also worked. Several times. But then later failed. Several times. (I’ll get into that later…) It’s also bigger than a tampon… when folded. So like, enjoy shoving that up into your vagina. I was considering using lube, but then….what? no, Ashley – bad idea. What? UGH. Didn’t. 

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Photo from Google Images

If you’re lucky enough to get the insertion correct, GREAT JOB! Woohoo! You got it in and this silicone cup is now up inside of your vagina – score. Basically your vagina eats this thing up and good the fuck luck trying to get that puppy out again…. (those were my first thoughts). But then the instructions go on further… saying, now you must ROTATE this cup 360 degress! UM….. WHAT?!?!

So there’s a little tube looking piece (you can see it in the diagram above) that would compare to a tampon string and would essentially help you remove your cup when you’re ready to do so. But it specifically states on the directions, do not use this to do your 360 degree spin. I tried, they’re right… basically that thing is not going to spin. So you have to reach your fingers inside and squeeze them up against the sides of your vagina to hopefully grab the cup and do a full “spin” of 360 degrees on the cup. On separate occasions I’ve either done the spin, or I’ve avoided the spin. Avoiding is a poor choice. Basically, you have to do the spin so that the cup “unfolds” and slides into the shape of your vagina and so that it can open fully to catch the blood. If you do not spin it could potentially stay sort of folded inside of you and either not open at all to catch or just sort of open and either way you’re going to get MAJOR LEAKAGE. Which IMO is a MAJOR PROBLEM.

Ok, so say if you complete this step (DOUBLE SCORE!) and you have your Diva Cup inserted. You’re a fucking all star if you’ve made it this far. Now starts my rant about the biggest product flaw that I see with this product. I wish I would show you what I mean by this ,so I think I’m going to draw it. So you can see exactly what I’m talking about. Otherwise, it’s confusing. Please hold….

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Dude – This is my SOOOOO not technical and obviously NOT TO SCALE diagram. Hand drawn. LMAO — I actually can’t with this one, and I think I’ve truly out-done myself. I can’t believe this is what I think a vagina looks like. I’m probably way wrong, I don’t care though. This is what I want to tell you!!!

The part of the wall of your vagina still has blood on it that is never going to get caught by the Diva Cup because it just will never have the opportunity to. It’s below the Diva Cup opening. Gravity says that this blood will come out of you… so virtually every single time you remove / re-insert your Diva Cup, you’re going to still bleed out that amount of blood.

I would always recommend using a light panty-liner or thin pad each and every time you’re using this product. Which sucks and is a total fucking bummer and completely defeats the purpose of the whole process at all… am I right?

The purpose of a tampon is to avoid wearing a pad / diaper. Keep it all inside so there’s less chance of a mess on the outside. Diva Cup in theory should keep it all inside and let you go for much longer extended periods of time without having to change tampon or have it pushed out if you use the bathroom in any other way…. so that’s cool. Except it does not.

Further, using this product is fucking gross because it gets you DIRTY. For example, when you do use Diva Cup successfully (me, every time). Or say even if you somewhat use it successfully. You eventually finally have to remove it. Removal will be 100% messy and gross. Aside from that, it sort of will sound like suction cup or plunger when you’re removing it. Think about making that noise with a product that’s coming out of your vagina. And immediately you’re going to want to die / vomit. You pull it out of yourself and try not to get blood all over yourself – your hands, your toilet seat, your floor? WTF, not okay. Then it’s going to be a total fucking murder scene. This thing is going to be full of blood, so you then…. dump it out into the toilet. Great. Now there’s excess blood / tissue, whatever the F is left on it. VOM DOT COM. So what are you instructed to do? Clean it out. So yes, you have to physically go to your sink and rinse this out. Aka more touching with your hands. And you should use a mild soap obviously nothing that will irritate the inside of your vagina because then… other problems when you put it back in there. Worst.

My biggest fear / concern is what if you’re out of your own fucking home? Are you going to change this thing in a public restroom? The noise factor is already a problem here for me. Not okay. Next, when you’re finished removing.. oh let me just flush and go out to the sink and clean out my bloody Diva Cup… which takes a minute or so… and oh, now let me get back in that bathroom stall there and re-insert my Diva Cup.. in whatever awkward position I decided to get into to actually figure out how to get this cup inside of myself. Hopefully on the first try, sometimes on the third try, though. And if there’s a line in this restroom, I’m sure all of those other women waiting in line will totally understand what you’re doing… NOT! They’re gonna be like wtf does this weird girl think they’re doing?! Playing with her period? What is she like a 3 year old toddler playing with finger paint? UGH. Ew. I rest my case. Except, unfortunately for you, I’m going to keep writing.

Diva Cup failed me. Every time I tried it. And I always got it in wrong. Which is painful. I always felt it. Tampons I never, ever feel. Maybe because I shove it far enough up there or just a normal amount because I’m normal? … and I never feel it. This thing I feel when I’m sitting on the couch, I feel when I’m working out or walking around even. Not 100% feel it but most of the time I did. Maybe I was hypersensitive to knowing it was there. But with a tampon, I don’t forget that I have my period. Like I know in about 2.5 hours I’m going to have to change that thing. Just inherent knowledge… and I never felt it.  So Diva Cup, I’m just NOT A FAN.

I don’t want to ever have that feeling where I’m like OMG I’m sitting in the middle of a meeting or somewhere that I’m not close to a bathroom or worse, where I won’t be able to access a bathroom for an extended period of time and feel a leak. Like any girl that has ever felt that…. which is EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU!! KNOWS! That it is THE WORST FEELING EVERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! If you think it’s not, you’re a fucking liar and I don’t think you have actually ever menstruated.

Further, I have no reason to ever try to use this product ever again. I do not recommend it if you have no particular reason (environmentally friendly chick, allergic to tampons chick, TSS aware chick). Those girls, I think maybe you’d like to try it out and this could potentially be a better solution for you… that is, if you’re willing to deal with all the downsides of it. But maybe those aren’t that bad of downsides since you’re usually downsides are WAY worse than these anyway… so I guess, Good luck!

One way I think this product may be super helpful is in this scenario: Say you know you’re going to get your period tomorrow. Like you’re a very regular period betch and you know exactly which day you’re going to get it. Unlike myself, when I go to the bathroom some random day and I’m like, “Oh nice! Got my period, sickkkk!!” Ruined another Cosabella thong, but hey at least I got it… better start heavily medicating with Advil to subside the pain. Also, that must definitely have been why I have been such a bitch the past 2 days. Now it all makes sense. Random tangent – sorry. So yeah, if you do know yourself very well, it could be great for you to insert the morning that you know you’re going to get your period to avoid the potential underwear stain if you’re super against a pantyliner or pad or maybe you ran out of them. IDK?

Disclaimer: If you do want to try this product for yourself, YOU MUST WEAR A PANTYLINER OR PAD. I repeat, you MUST. Otherwise, you will 100% leak / stain / ruin beautiful / expensive underwear and I’m not about that life for you, me or anybody!

Disclaimer: If and when you do want to try Diva Cup for yourself, think back to my blog post that you read about it and remember that I FUCKING TOLD YOU SO.

If you have any tips or great success stories that you want to share with me… please, please be my guest. I’d love to hear about your fantastic experiences. Maybe I’m doing something totally wrong and you can change my life and I can try doing Diva Cup your way and I’ll love it and live happily ever after.

Until then, I’m team tampon. Signing off as I live out the rest of my menstrual cycle. Until next month, betches…

#KylieLipKit

So, psychos like me who got their hands on Kylie Jenner’s lip kit…what do you think?

Kylie surprise-launched the lip liner and lip gloss combo on Cyber Monday. Even with only alluding to the launch of the website a few days before, the products sold out within seconds. The 3 shades she launched are all within a nude palette and go by: Candy K, Dolce K, and True Brown K. The photos on their IG make all the shades look beautiful on many different skin tones and people.

When the product restocked a few weeks later on Monday, December 14th, I knew I had to give it my best shot. I failed at ordering on Cyber Monday -sold out too quickly! With my credit card ready to be entered and 3 browsers open on my side-by-side computer screens at work, I waited for for the clock to strike 12:00PM (EST).

Amped up and excited, I somehow, thank god (again, psycho) got this product in my cart and was able to checkout. Best. Day. Ever!!! I purchased the “Candy K” which is the lightest / pinkest of all the nude shades currently offered. That I NEEDED.

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Photo from lipkitbykylie.com

Then I waited… and waited… for what felt like an eternity. I finally received the USPS package about 1.5 weeks later. It actually took me awhile to decide if I was going to try it or sell it since the kits were selling on eBay and other sites for upwards of $100. I obvi kept it, because I was too obsessed to NOT.

Here are my thoughts on the Candy K as of today:

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Packaging is good, cute (yet controversial) graphics and overall aesthetically pleasing.

Shipping is a #shitshow.

The lip liner: the pencil is medium length and looks like it’s a good quality. It has a pointed tip right out of the package and is actually a perfect texture/consistency. Soft on application but stays firm so that you can easily draw your line or shade in. The lines apply very easily and the color is great and allows for being able to easily fix your mess-ups.

The lip gloss: surprised me. It is matte – I LOVE this. It’s my first time experiencing any type of matte lip gloss on myself. Keep that in mind that I have literally nothing to really hold it up to or compare it to. The scent is absolutely atrocious. It’s not a bad smell specifically, but definitely smells of something some females would refer to as “baby prostitutes.” It’s like a really strong vanilla or candy store smelling scent.

The makeup wand applies the product well with a few swipes across the lips. It goes on wet and begins to instantly “dry” or “matte-ify” upon adhering to the lips. It leaves a dry, almost powdery looking finish. It feels dry, but when you rub your lips together, it’s sort of more “rough” or it will stick a bit? Stick… isn’t the right word. It’s obviously not glossy or sticky or wet, it’s not like sandpaper and does not crumble off your lips by any means either. It’s kind of a sensation to get used to, but I imagine it is how all matte lip glosses feel on the lips. I’m into it.

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#NOFILTER…so you can see the shade better

Wearing this is an instant confidence booster – I received several compliments on the Candy K lip kit within the first week of wearing. (I wore it every day for a little while). It’s priced at $29 plus tax and shipping (still not in stock though!). I really like it and I’m excited to see all the new colors that are coming out this year. Kylie teased a palette on her Snapchat using the black & white filter (obvi to not give it away) and later featured a bright pretty pink that will be coming out for Valentine’s Day apparently. Which means it MUST be launching soon… stay tuned! 

Disclosure: I’m legit obsessed with Kylie Jenner so my opinions are likely, somehow biased ❤

Glossier Milky Jelly

Glossier’s blog post basically says it all, but….I obviously had to weigh in. My ultimate favorite beauty brand has just launched its newest product – a milky, jelly face cleanser! I tried it this weekend about 5 times and it’s….amazing!! 

Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser is $18, available for 20% off if you use my link for your first purchase. 

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One very cool fact about this cleanser is that it was crowd-sourced…aka it was created by and for the people – Into the Gloss posted January 2015 to their readers, “What’s Your Dream Face Wash?” All of the comments left and feedback was used by Glossier’s team to develop the best product ever. It’s gel-like and can be applied to wet (in the morning) or dry skin (to dissolve makeup after a long day). I love that it washes away makeup and takes a step out of the day for me. I no longer have to use a eye makeup remover!  It applies like a luxurious serum and my skin felt insanely fresher and softer after each use. Milky Jelly truly is a skin conditioner. It’s soft and it’s also totally OK if you don’t wash it completely off  and it soaks into your skin – since its free of parabens, soap, and sulfates.

Milky Jelly is a pH-balanced formula and ingredients like Poloxamer (used in contact lens solution), rosewater, comfrey root extract (which contains soothing properties), glyceryl cocoate to dissolve dirt & reduce friction, and moisturizing Aquaxyl and Pro-Vitamin B5, the Milky Jelly Cleanser is both gentle and conditioning enough to use twice a day and effective enough to remove any non-waterproof eye makeup. No tears or irritation if it gets in your eyes. Although it’s announced as fragrance-free, I do notice a very mild scent that’s actually super pleasant and reminds me of Avene Cold Cream Lip Balm.

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Emily Weiss, founder of Glossier describes the cleanser as gel-ified micellar water. Obsessed with micellar water aka Bioderma (one of my favorite Parisian products) and Milky Jelly is similar in theory but so much better!

Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser is $18, available for 20% off if you use my link for your first purchase. 

Photos from Glossier.com.

Things I’m Into

Easy view from the window on a cloudy, rainy day… take a break from work and look outside every now and then. Better – get outside! Even in bitter cold temps…

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Sample sale on sample sale on sample sale. Holiday and employee sales in December can be quite advantageous and also exceptionally expensive. ❤ Photo below of beautiful Celine’s.

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Next up is something that’s been on everybody’s lips, literally. Kylie Lip Kit. #LipKitbyKylie – I’ve been obsessed since its been announced and I finally got my hands on one! This purchase was actually one of the most stressful things I’ve gone through in the past few weeks. I’m kidding, that makes me sound far more ridiculous than I really am. The kits sold out twice, but I was able to purchase the Candy K color when the website restocked. Obsessed, I’m going to blog more about it, so check back.

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Candy K

adidas Superstars with really pretty packaging. I’m really into chic white sneakers right now. As is every other fashion girl in NYC…

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Bullying is Real

I don’t really think about being bullied on a regular basis – or ever, really. Until recently, when I’ve literally been assaulted several times by several men on the subway or in other public places.

Before you start assuming anything insane, let it be known that I’m completely OK, I’m totally safe and I am not suffering any mental or emotional damage, aside from the regular. 😉

But really, I’ve been violated on the subway by ultimate creepers twice this month – both on the same action – weird butt grabbers. Let it also be known that I am NOT one of those happy-go-lucky subway riders… I don’t smile at people – not children, not grandparents, and especially not disgustingly gross men, OK? AKA, there’s no “flirting” coming from my end. Further, I am so not a fan of this type of harassment that I make it so absolutely known that the person is wrong and try to vocally shame them and make them look like pieces of shit in front of as many people as I possibly can. (Takes long, deep breath…) I feel as if it’s a duty of mine to shame people who deserve to be shamed. The following simple, yet loud statement will suffice: “Don’t you ever F*ing touch me again you dirty, disgusting PERVERT. I’ll cut your fingers right off your hand!” Maybe aggressive, but maybe necessary. Then he has to sit there while myself and others on the crowded subway give him dirty looks until he gets off the subway.

Two weeks ago I was assaulted (I think that is the proper word to use) by a complete stranger while I was walking through a rather empty Chipotle Mexican Restaurant. I was violently swung at and hit in the arm by a man that was much larger than me, for no apparent reason at all. He later screamed in my face, after I questioned this barbaric human that, “You was textin'” OH! ok, psycho. I forgot that texting warrants abuse to strangers. Understood. NOT. I maybe should have called the police, but like – what? To sit around and waste an hour of my life to report the crime after the guy had already ran away because he’s clearly a child, or deranged or something just so I can have a report written up? I mean, maybe. Maybe it would have stopped him from hitting another random humans due to his unhappiness or psychotic behavior. Who knows.

Point is that specifically women, but people in general are abused, assaulted, sexually or not in public places in NYC and all over, all the time. It’s one of those things where you may think, “Oh, that won’t happen to me…,” but it just may. It happened to me! Don’t stand for it. Speak up, tell somebody. I told a bunch of people and at the least, it strikes awareness. My awesome co-workers got me flowers, a teddy & chocolate to cheer me up after the Chipotle lunchtime incident. At the ultimate, very least a cheer-up is in order!

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Even better, your boyfriend may buy you pepper spray as a Christmas gift to ensure protection while in sketchy situations. Obviously an ass grab on the subway is maybe not reason enough to engage in pepper spraying, but your chops are! AKA – cause a scene.

Update, 1/19/2016: FYI, after reading this article from Gothamist, I learned that NYPD SVU is now investigating all subway-related sexual abuse and you can file any complaints via this link! 

Parties and Events

Getting dressed up for holiday parties is fun yet stressful. This year my holiday party at work was themed “Andy Warhol Factory,” which led to freak-out mode for me…what do I wear?! It ended up being a mixed crowd, with some people in mini dresses and neon colored wigs, some dressed as themselves, some in character and some pretty standard. My admittedly poor contribution to the theme were super old-school suede platform Jeffrey Campbell booties, sort of 1960s? maybe not, but I went with it.

3e621ae0-5448-4d7a-9e08-256c95798e00 The props at this venue were sick and all of the waiters and bartenders wore banana suits. The photo booth theme was very banana-esque as well and filled with trash can sized Campbell’s Soup or rather, “Marc Jacobs Soup.”

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Parties are never complete without some feel-good element. Over the holiday I attended a family party that’s pajama themed, our now 3rd annual “Pajama Christmas Eve.” To play up the fact that I would be wearing pajamas and pictures wouldn’t possibly be that cute – I decided getting my hair blown out was necessary – plus gift cards were involved. 😉

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drybar is my favorite place to get my hair blown out! They always do a fabulous job with my hair + (plus) they give you complementary champagne. Win.

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Pajama Christmas Eve ❤ Photo was originally from Snapchat, hence the blurriness.

Time Out New York Tastemaker

So, this is kind of cool news – have you heard of a website called TimeOut New York? Likely. They keep you updated on what’s going on in cities all over the world everyday, every week… they provide news, give reviews, provide lists of “the BEST ____________ in NYC.” And I’m about that life.

Anyway, I was accepted into a group of 40 New Yorker’s who write reviews for places, events, restaurants, venues, museums, cultural experiences, etc. all over New York City.  We’re called Time Out Tastemakers and we have to wear a badge that says it everywhere we go! I’m kidding about that, obviously.

But it’s really legit, I write verified reviews, provide info, updates & photos on the Time Out website for places I’ve visited in NYC. It allows me to go to places I would maybe have not visited and share my wealth of information to the public about my favorite and least favorite places. #TOTastemaker

The founders started giving out a weekly award for “Tastemaker of the Week” and I won the first week ever!! I don’t usually win things so I felt pretty stoked with that small honor. If you get their newsletters, take a look for places I may have reviewed. If you don’t, you can sign up by entering your email on the website here.

Lastly, if you have a place you’d like me to review in New York City (or anywhere), send me an e-mail here.
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