Bachelorette Party: Fire Island New York

Fire Island New York is low maintenance fun.  It’s perfect for my tri-state compadres seeking a beach vacay without forcing all guests to jump on a plane.  It’s unique, because it’s only accessible by boat – no cars allowed.  You’re encouraged to wander the island in your flip flops and just unwind.  Plus, they are not strict about props.

Kudos and gracias to the bride’s future sister-in-law for planning this one.

Fire Island Bachelorette

Ultimate Fire Island Bachelorette Party

Getting There: We took the ferry from Bayshore Long Island to Ocean Beach.  It was an enjoyable 45 minute ride soaking in the sun.

Hotel:  The Palms

I heard the hotel rooms were tiny… luckily we didn’t even see them because we got UPGRADED.  Woot woot!  We stayed in “The Cottage” which was basically like renting a house in the most convenient location ever.  It was much nicer to celebrate in a common area or the back patio vs. cramming into a hotel room.  Plus, we had a full size fridge to store all of the alcohol in.

There are some additional perks to staying here.  They provide hotel guests with beach chairs, wagons to lug everything around, towels, umbrellas and even bikes.  They also include a free continental breakfast.

If you plan on staying here, make sure to book well in advance as they fill up quickly and jack up the prices.  The biggest downside is that there is no pool.  Plus, we saw a little Peppino running around.  (That’s a mouse, in case you were wondering).

The Day:

We spent the days at the beach.  On the first day, we went to Ocean Beach which was a few minutes from the hotel.  This beach was super strict about having food or beverages.  While I saw a few people munching on sandwiches, I wouldn’t recommend it.  No one wants a ticket for something that dumb.

The next day, we hauled our booties to Ocean Bay Park.  It was a decent walk – at least a half hour.  This beach had more of a party scene and we stopped at a store nearby to grab some beer.  Make sure to keep it covered though when entering the beach, because technically it’s not allowed.

The bride also brought a giant swan float and pump.  It made for the biggest bachelorette prop to date and served as a great conversation starter.  Though, I can’t believe they took it in the ocean and managed not to drown!  I wasn’t having any part of that.

On our departure date, we strolled the town to check out the shops.  There weren’t any noteworthy stores but they’re all kind of charming and cute in their own way.

Dinner:

On Friday night, we ate at Island Mermaid.  We had planned to do a prix-fix menu, but it wasn’t worth it since we didn’t have a full crew.  We did however purchase a wristband for a $5 Rocket Fuel.  The drink normally costs $14 and is deadly with the Bacardi 151.  However, these are big on the island and you should try one while you’re there.  The food was meh.  I think it’s more of a seafood place so I didn’t care for the menu.  Then, we stayed after dinner expecting it to turn into the island’s best dance party.  However, it too was mediocre at best and we swiftly left.  Plus the owner/manager was totally creeping us out.

Another night, we wanted to stay late at the beach so we just ordered in pizza.  This was clutch and I highly advise a casual pregame pizza party with silly bachelorette games.

Nightlife:

Ocean Beach in Fire Island is made for bar hopping.  However, many of the places charged covers but this appeared to be waived for bachelorette parties.

We particularly gravitated to Sand Bar.  On the first night, they had a countdown to midnight as if it was New Years Eve.  It was hysterical and complete with confetti and napkin throwing.  We also liked the music, there was a stage to dance on, and it was big enough.  I’m told that this place can be super young.  However, we went at the end of summer when most of the college kids were back in school so we got to avoid that.

Albatross was a tiny bar but worth the stop.   Randomly, they had a luau theme complete with leis and limbos.  On another note, you’re encouraged to spin the lamps above the bar.

Then there was some late night bar next to Albatross.  I am already blanking on the name.  But don’t even bother trying to go there before 1AM because you’ll be the only people in the place.  Afterwards though, it’s so much fun!

Botch and Learn – Avoid a Botch-lorette in Fire Island:

  • Parking was confusing and limited at the ferry.  The front lot by the actual Ocean Beach Ferry was for season ticket holders.  We had to park across the street.
  • When travelling between towns, utilize the water taxis vs. hoofing it.  There’s no cars on the island, so there’s really no other way to get around with your beach load.
  • I would have liked to check out Flynn’s in Ocean Bay Park.  They supposedly have a killer happy hour.
  • The bars are open until 4 AM … danger.
  • No need to dress up.  The dress code is fairly lenient.  Save yourself the pain and ditch the heels as this is beach vibes all the way.

10 Tips for Decorating a Glamorous Bedroom

The best part about moving is decorating.  But wait… don’t run to the store right away!

Prior to going on a shopping rampage, I made the below vision board for my bedroom.  Believe it or not, this took HOURS.  I constantly put things I loved in the collage… then removed them for not fitting with the vision. If I ran to the store immediately, it would have looked like this – buy, realize it doesn’t match, return.  Buy, realize it doesn’t match, return.

I learned a lot about my design taste from this exercise.  Ultimately, it helped me develop some guidelines for what I would purchase for my room and the overall theme –  subtle glam is what I’m calling it!

glamorous girly bedroom

10 TIPS FOR DECORATING A GLAMOROUS BEDROOM

  1. Stick to neutral colors like light gray, ivory, white and beige
  2. Choose 2 soft accent colors – in my case peach and turquoise
  3. Find items that have some shape to it – notice the curves on the headboard and chair
  4. Decorate with flowers and silver/gold accents
  5. Find an oversized mirror with a metallic frame
  6. Incorporate texture
  7. Mix in clear furniture
  8. Decorate walls with the accent colors
  9. The glam is in the details and it’s okay to play matchy matchy with some things  There are silver studs in the headboard that repeat itself in the dresser, clear tables that match the clear knobs, etc.
  10. The bedspread can (and should) tie the whole look together

Coming soon… the final results

Tools for Flawless Makeup

I spend a lot of money at Sephora on “designer” makeup.  However, I’m learning the magic is in the tools, not the makeup.  This is what you should invest in, you won’t regret it.

tools for makeup application

Here’s the basics of what you’ll need for a flawless application.

1. Beauty Blender This is essential.  Don’t let the imitations deceive you. They’re a lot denser, don’t blend the same way, and get dirty quickly.  You must get the Beauty Blender brand.  A few tips for using the Beauty Bledner

  • Wet the sponge to reduce the amount of makeup needed per application (you’ll save money!)
  • Roll the Beauty Blender right into the hairline to blend
  • Use the pointy end for under your eyes

2. Bdellium Kabuki Airbrushed Effect 957 When I don’t have my Beauty Blender handy, I use this.  It’s affordable and cleans easily.  It’s best used for blending in foundation.  I like to use it to really blend in the neckline.  It also works great for powder foundation like Bare Esentuals.  Because it is more compact, you’ll get heavier coverage.

3.  Sephora Pro Bronzer Brush Highly compact, this brush deposits the color exactly where you want it for a flawless application.  I use it with my Too Faced Poreless Bronzer.

4.  Tarte Eyelash Curler  This is one of my favorite brands of makeup, but they also make fabulous tools.  I went into Sephora looking for the Shu Ueumura eyelash curler, but tried this instead based on the employee’s recommendations.  I love it.  The results are immediately obvious. It grips the eyelashes perfectly and results in a natural curl.

 

Maximize Space For City Living

My new bedroom is big enough to fit like 60 gorillas in.  Prior to that, I was living in a NYC 1 bedroom converted.  Translation – it’s tiny.  As I packed up all my stuff, I thought, “damn, where’d I keep all this?”  Then I realized, I was super amazing at fitting a lot of stuff, into tiny spaces.  Here’s my tips to maximize your space in a tiny bedroom or apartment.

maximize space city living

1.  Put things inside of things.  This sounds as dumb as “I pick things up and put them down” but it’s so true.  Put things inside of things!  For example, I put my carryon suitcase inside of my regular suitcase.  And inside of my carry-on suitcase I kept all of my totes and purses.  Inside of those totes were even more things.  It was like a perfectly kept matryoshka doll (yes I had to google “dolls inside of dolls” to figure out what the name was for those little wooden nesting dolls)

2. Buy versatile furniture.

  • We got a tiny couch, and even had to remove an arm to make it fit!  It folded out into a king-sized bed.  The final benefit… the couch lifted up to reveal storage underneath!! We kept all of our spare pillows, blankets, and large pots under that bad boy.
  • There are coffee tables that expand.  If you don’t have enough room for a coffee table plus a dining room table, just buy this.  It pulls up to the perfect height to sit on your couch and eat over the table.

3.  Utilize the space under your bed.  I bought dozens of the same sized plastic storage containers  and kept them under my bed.  I had one for desk supplies, headbands, stationary, small electronics, belts, etc.   I kept them stacked, around the perimeter (for easy access),  behind a bed skirt.

4.  Utilize your walls as storage space.  We hung our TV on the living room wall – bye bye tv stand hello ottoman.  Also, I had the cutest shelf with tchotchkes on it.  However, if you looked closer, most of the decorative items on my shelf served several purposes.  My vase with fake flowers held my spare change, decorative canisters housed jewelry, and my notebooks served as decor too!

5.  Closet organization is a must.  Cram like everything in there but in an organized manner.

  • Do yourself a favor, if you don’t have ultra thin velvety hangers buy them.  Like now.  I’m serious. That’ll help you squeeze more into your closet.
  • I encourage you to put a shelf at the top of your closet if there isn’t one already.  Leave enough height to fit containers 😉
  • Add a rod below the rod that is there already.  Use that for shirts and skirts that won’t drag on the ground.
  • Use that floor!  I had a deep closet, so I kept my suitcases in there, bosu ball, and a bunch of other things.
  • Get an over the door shoe rack.  You need your floor space for stuff so naturally your shoes belong on the door.  I’m talking maximizing every inch here!

10 Tips for Bridesmaids

I’ve been in my fair share of weddings.  The first and the last one were polar opposites because I’ve learned so much along the way about being a perfect bridesmaid.  Here are my tips for you:

tips to be the best bridesmaid and maid of honor

  • Bachelorette parties do not require strippers. For my first bachelorette party, we went to a Hunk-o-mania copycat show.  We paid $40 to get in and it was the most unpleasant, disgusting experience for all of us.  Haven’t included one of them since, and they’ve been 10x better.
  • It’s not about you.  I missed my sisters first wedding dress appointment.  She’s super spontaneous – booked the appointment without consulting my availability and ended up buying a dress that day!  I was so pissed at first that I wasn’t a part of it.  Then I realized, it’s not about me.
  • It’s okay to say no.  Being a bridesmaid = spending a whole lot of money.  You need to buy a dress, pay for alterations, gifts up the wazoo, contribute to the bridal shower, and shell out cash to ensure a kickass bachelorette party.  It isn’t a cheap commitment.  If you’re not the best of family/friends or can’t afford it you can graciously decline.
  • You can’t research a Maid of Honor speech.  Well you can, but it’s not going to get you very far.  I spent countless HOURS watching speech after speech on You Tube.  I was inspired by the wedding parodies, funny one liners, etc.  However, the speech needs to come from the heart.  You won’t know what to write by researching those who have come before.
  • You are responsible for starting the party! If that dance floor is not started, it is your duty, to shake that booty.
  • You’re about to get a whole lot closer to your BFF.  That’s right, you’ll be taking field trips to the bathroom together, holding up her 40 pound dress and listening to her tinkle (if you’re lucky).
  • There’s a proper way to hold the bouquet.  Man, I am on a rhyming kick today.  In all seriousness though, if you don’t want to f’ up the pictures then hold your bouquet right in front of your lower belly with the pretty flowers pointed outwards not in towards you.  Oh, and be careful of drips! Ruined a few pictures with water stains from the flowers.  My bad.
  • Props are necessary at a bachelorette party. I don’t care if the bride to be doesn’t want a penis straw.  You should always have them.  It marks your group as a bachelorette party and people are a lot nicer, outgoing, and forgiving when you act a fool.  Just make sure you’re not whipping them out at family friendly restaurants.
  • Get those alterations done ASAP.  It gives the bride one less thing to worry about.
  • Divide and conquer – You can’t do it all, nor should you have to.  The bride picked a lovely team of people who would do anything for her – so let them.  Everyone can contribute to ideas, party stuff, and fun!

what not to do as a bridesmaid

 

Botch: Scammed By Craigslist Movers

Avoid a Craigslist scam when moving

Let me cut to the chase.  I got scammed by Craigslist movers.

I crossed some river and moved from NYC to the good ole garden state.  It was a mere 16 miles, so I was shocked when moving quotes flowed in for $800.  I barely had any furniture – a bed, small couch, and 2 lamps.

This really pissed me off.  $800 for 4 hours of work seemed ridiculous to me.  So, I resorted to Craigslist.  The ad seemed reputable calling out “no hidden fees” and spelling out rates by hour and # of movers.  When I called, the man had a thick russian accent.  He didn’t force the sale and just told me to call him back, the date was open.

At this point – there was only 1 red flag.  He didn’t ask me for inventory like the rest of the moving companies.  He basically just said 2 men or 3?    I took it as he wasn’t a professional, just a decent man looking for some work.

The night before the move, I called to confirm.  He knew right away it was me and confirmed tomorrow’s move.  He did attempt to switch the time to 8AM because that Saturday was “super busy” but texted me that we would stick to the original time of 9:30 AM.

Okay, I felt relieved.  I had confirmed my movers and wouldn’t be stuck moving myself.  Or so I thought…

Next morning, they’re late.  I give it a half hour before I give him a call.  Straight to voicemail.  So I text him and he responds “Can’t talk – busy. The guys are on their way.”  That right there should have been a red flag.  I was tempted to call him back and say forget it – you’re late, unprofessional, and rude.  But the thought of moving myself seemed overwhelming.

So after another half hour of waiting I asked for the movers number. Minutes later, a different number called me back.  He said he was on his way and babbled on about which tunnel he should take.

Alrighty- so he finally arrives.  He gives me an invoice, explains the charges, and collects a $150 cash deposit.  He took some inventory and went as far to say “no mattress pad, I’ll give you one for free.”  He grabs my suitcase, props open my door and leaves.

He never came back…

Boy was I pissed.  They wasted my time, stole my money, and left me moverless.  Those idioTs!!!  My 30 year old self cried an ugly cry, cursed this stupid city, and let out a few screams.  Luckily dad came to the rescue.  He got a Uhaul and we moved ourselves (the exact thing I was trying to avoid).

How to Avoid a Craigslist Scam (Or at least protect yourself after)

  • Take a picture of the mover.
  • Take a picture of their license plate.
  • Do not pay any fees up front.  Ask in advance if a deposit is required.
  • If something seems too good to be true, then it probably is.
  • Make sure they take inventory of what you have in advance.  Can’t provide a proper quote without that!
  • Scan Craigslist for similar ads with the same phone number, this SCREAMS scam.  I went back and looked at Craigslist ads and there were quite a few featuring the same phone number but with different company names.
  • If they’re rude and unprofessional, cancel right away.
  • File an internet fraud complaint here.  No one has followed up with me yet, but if enough people complain about the same scam, perhaps it will get resolved.

There you have it.  A mega botch and learn.  Ugh. I am NEVER using Craigslist again!

The Best Girly YouTube Stars

I am obsessed with You Tube and Instagram celebrities. So, I figured I’d share my top 5 YouTube stars with you.  I’ve also picked my favorite videos from each of them.  I swear these videos will change your life … or at least the way you do your makeup.    So without further adieu… my idols…

Carli Bybel – This Jersey girl has perfected the makeup tutorial and throws in douses of motivation and fashion.  Can I please be her?!

Lauren Curtis – She was just your average, unpopular Australian.  Now, she’s garnered over 3 million followers, raises her voice against bullies, makes money talking about fake tanners, and has the hottest boyfriend.  Her makeup tutorials are easy to follow, like this one!

Amber Fillerup – She is a braid guru with the cutest family!  Explaining how to braid is no easy task, but she takes you step by step and makes intricate styles seem so easy you’ll actually try them.

Kandee Johnson – She’s got spunk and talent.  In some of her videos, she completely transforms herself with costume makeup.  In others, she’s taking you through the basics.

Desi Perkins – Like me, she has an obsession with sunglasses.  Unlike me, her hair, makeup, and style are always on point.

Lichtenstein Comic Book Woman Costume

I was too cheap to buy a Halloween costume this year, so I relied solely on makeup to transform myself into a comic book woman.

Out of curiosity (and questioning my ability to actually do it) I did a trial run the night before.  I ended up looking like a clown as opposed to a super hero.  Actually I grabbed a slice of pizza looking like that, and the guy behind the counter stared at me awkwardly before he finally said “I’m trying to figure out who you are”. He then asked if I was some creepy woman from a scary movie.  Hopefully the below doesn’t give you nightmares…

Here’s what I botched and learned:

Do’s and Don’ts for Lichtenstein Comic Book Makeup:

botchUsing eye shadow for white dots.  This lightened up and was virtually non-existent after an hour. What a waste.

Drawing in eyelashes.  These came out atrocious.  Unless you’re an artist, just don’t.

Using liquid eyeliner for black lines.  It just doesn’t have the stamina to create thick long lines… umm that sounds a little dirty (or is that just me)

Draw in the face you wish you had.  I wish my face was a little narrower so I drew it that way.  While it looked fine head on, any tilt of the head looked ridiculous.

learnUse face paint.  Don’t apply with a Qtip either.  Use something hard so it doesn’t absorb all the paint.

Apply false eyelashes.  They’ll make you look more attractive and comic book like.

Use wet eyeshadow and an eyeliner brush to draw lines.  The lines come out bolder and crisper.

Outline the face as close to the hairline as possible.  This will help you avoid any gaps.

Spray paint your hair with colored hair spray.  I only bought one can and it was not enough, get 2.  Also – you can curl it!!! woo

PS – sorry for the boings in the video.

lichtenstein makeup

Bachelorette Party: New Orleans

New Orleans is a fun place to have a bachelorette party!  The city definitely has that “I don’t give a f***” attitude.  We took advantage of the numerous bars, live music, and good old cajun restaurants.  This is a strange city.  I’m not sure why Austin gets the tagline “keep Austin weird” because I think New Orleans’ weird factor is astronomical.  Either way though, it’s super fun and you don’t really need to have a plan before you go.  Just walk outside and you’ll stumble upon fun.

new orleans bachelorette party guide

Hotel:  We stayed at Harrah’s it was far enough from the chaos of Bourbon Street (a 15-20 minute walk) and close enough to delicious restaurants.  The rooms and bathrooms were big, always necessary for a bachelorette party.  The casino was actually quite large and seemed to wrap around endlessly.  I put in $20 into the slots while I waited for everyone to arrive and walked out nearly $300 richer.  Safe to say, I like this place :)

Must Try Drinks: There are a few drinks you must have in New Orleans.  Brace yourself for the high state of intoxication these induce and the headache to follow.  Drink plenty of water since these are ridiculously sweet.

  • Hand Grenade – a melon like drink served in a grenade shaped cup served at Tropical Isle
  • Hurricane – Pat O’Briens made these famous.  I’m not a fan since they taste like medicine… but when in NOLA you can’t leave without one
  • Jester – This frozen drink also packs a mean punch.  I’d liken it to Miami’s Call a Cab at Wet Willie’s.

Bourbon Street:  Over the course of 4 days, we checked out most of Bourbon’s streets bars.  They all blur into one another but these ones were noteworthy enough to remember the name.

  • The Beach – This was my favorite bar on Bourbon.  It’s on one end of the strip.  I liked this bar because it was quiet enough in the front to have a conversation.  Then the back had quite the club scene with fabulous music and a huge stage flocked with other bachelorettes.
  • The Swamp – We ended up here one night.  The crowd wasn’t really my scene but the music was great and the VJs were highly entertaining.  Avoid the bathrooms here.  They’re worse than Port Authority by a landslide.
  • Bourbon Cowboy – Go here to ride the bull.

Restaurant: We went out to eat quite a bit this bachelorette party.

  • Emeril’s – this was close to our hotel.  There was a lot of fish on the menu and cajun/creole food.  I ended up sharing the truffle fried chicken with my cousin.  It came with 4 sides and literally a whole chicken for $60.  Too bad I was too full for dessert because the menu made me salivate.
  • GW Fins – So cute, they printed out a custom menu for the table with the bride’s name and date.  The menu changes daily, so you never know what you’re going to get.  They served mainly seafood.  Everyone seemed to love their dishes.  I had the potato gnocchi with grilled chicken.

Other Stuff to Do:

We also went on a swamp tour.  We’re probably the only bachelorette party in history to arrive to this thing without a cooler of booze.  What on earth were we thinking?  I think that would have made it way more fun because touring through dirty water with alligators just isn’t my thing.  However, the driver was entertaining and I learned a little.

We also checked out the Real Drag Queens of New Orleans.  We went to a day show so we were in the front venue area.  It was just funny and some of the ladies truly looked like the celebrties they were impersonating.  And damn do those ladies have sass and confidence.  I could take a tip or two from them.

You must go to Frenchmen Street to listen to live jazz.  Just a warning, don’t try to walk around from bar to bar with drinks in hand.  It doesn’t fly on Frenchman Street. I’m so pissed at myself because for the life of me I can’t remember what bar we ended up or the name of the band that played.  They weren’t a jazz band, but they were ridiculously talented and all I could think was… I need this group at my wedding someday.

As my parting NOLA story, I will tell you how my mouth got me into trouble.  We were all donned in our matching bachelorette t-shrits.  A couple of guys came up, they were friendly.  They asked if we went to the strip clubs.  My response – “no, we heard the men were nasty.”  Their response, “well do you think I’m nasty, because I’m a stripper…”  #embarassing

 

 

PS – we still didn’t go to the strip club :)

Must Have Tools for Braids

Lately, I have been braid obsessed… french braids, dutch braids, fishtails, waterfall braids, etc.  Oh the possibilities are endless if you combine different types.  Man, I love braids. Okay #endrant #braidobsessed

I’ve learned that certain tools and products are necessary for braiding.  As my lovely face below displays, if you don’t have these products and you love braids, you cray.  Here’s the arsenal of goods that you must have to perfect the braided look.

tools and products for braids

Bobby Pins:  Make sure they match your hair.  My hair is ombre, so I have blonde and brunette bobby pins to camouflage them.  I recommend placing the bobby-pins in the form of an “X” for a more secure hold.  Also the curved end should always face down.  I didn’t know these tricks until like a year ago.  No wonder I left a trail of bobby pins everywhere I went.

Clear Elastics: I bought a 500 pack at Target for less than $5.  They’re like the size of your pinky but stretch enough to secure a whole head of hair if necessary.  Use these instead of ponytail holders to blend more naturally in your hair.  Hey, they’re not just for 5 year olds!

Clip-In Extensions:  We’re all not blessed with luxurious, long, thick hair.  Braids shorten your hair.  When you see those Elsa-like braids, chances are there’s some extensions hidden up in there. The extensions will help the braid look fuller and longer.  I’d use at least 2 wefts for most braided styles.

Teasing Comb:  Use the pointy end to section off hair or even pull the braid apart.  Use the comb part to backcomb your hair and tease it.  You can do this along a section to secure extensions or at the top of the head to add volume.

Volumizing Powder:  My favorite is Smart Solutions Volumizing Styling Dust.  Sprinkle a little on your roots to add weightless texture, volume, and hold.  It’s perfect for most braids.  I swear, this stuff really did come from a fairy because it is a miracle worker.

Aerosol Hair Spray:  I finish off a braid with a healthy dose of Tresseme Aerosol Hair Spray.  I also spritz my teasing comb and then smooth along flyaways etc for a sleeker look.

braids