Plan a Trip to Budapest

Budapest is beautiful, fun, and affordable.  It has a great mixture of nightlife, food, sightseeing, and relaxation.  This city should be on everyone’s bucket list.

Where to Stay:

I guess it depends on what experience you’re looking for.  The Danube River divides Budapest into “Buda” and “Pest”. 

The Buda side of town is more laid back and probably better for families and older people. Attractions there include the Royal Palace and Fisherman’s Bastion.

The Pest side of town is probably better for most people who want to be close to all of the action.  This area is the heart of shopping and night life.  I stayed in an Air BNB in District VI.  It was perfect, because most attractions, restaurants, and nightlife were within walking distance.  District V and District VII are also good options.  District VII is where most of the bars are.

What to See:

Fisherman’s Bastion: This is on Castle Hill on the Buda side of town. It’s a viewing terrace that overlooks the Danube River. The architecture is absolutely breathtaking but the views are equally as stunning.  There’s also a little cafe up there next to the arches.  I had a Palinka cocktail at a cafe there, and it was one of my favorite moments of the trip.  [As a side note, Palinka is a Hungarian liquor. The menu made it sound like a sangria, but it most certainly is not that.  It’s more like a fruity brandy.] 

Thermal Baths:  There are a few baths Széchenyi, Rudas, and Gellert.  I only made it to Széchenyi, the largest spa complex in Europe.  I thought it was lovely but my friends thought it was dirty. It was less than $20 to enter.  It’s some fine architectural work and the medicinal springs are filled with water from deep within the earth filled with all these minerals. Couldn’t tell you what minerals these are, but I know they’re great for you and I left feeling relaxed and refreshed. I was so sore from walking 10-13 miles a day around the city and it felt like miracle water to me.

Danube River: There are tons of cruises that line the river but also lot of boat restaurants.  We opted for a night cruise that was included with our hop on hop off ticket. It was lovely to see the city lit up at night. They served alcohol on board too.

Heroe’s Square: Right near the famous Szechenyi baths is Heroe’s Square.  It’s a large plaza with a center column and statues throughout.  

Funicular – You can take a tram car up the mountain. It’s a super quick trip and lets you off right by Buda Castle and other beautiful scenary. You can see the whole Pest side of town – bridges, Parliament, etc.

Other things to Consider: Opera House, Parliament, Museum of Terror (if that’s your thing), Synagogue, St Stephan’s Basilica, Buda Castle, Budapest eye (ferris wheel).

Night Life:

I will preface this by saying I was in Budapest mid-week.  But the night life was still booming.  It seems to be acceptable to go out every night of the week. However, the majority of late night party goers were definitely college aged students and tourists.  I’m sure it’s entirely different on the weekend.  But either way, it’s fun!

Budapest is famous for its Ruinous pubs. These are concentrated in District VII and are bars in run down buildings that each have their own unique flair to them.  It kind of reminded me of Rainey Street in Austin Texas.  The main night life streets are Kiraly Street and Kazinczy Street.

  • Szimpla Kent – probably the most famous ruin pub and a must see. It’s the first one created.  It’s located in a run down building with a court yard and some weird decor from a hanging gnome to a Barbie straddling a keg.

  • Gozdu Uvar – This is more like a “mall” of bars and restaurants. There are a lot of choices here of places to eat and drink. We just happened to stumble across it when walking home from dinner. We went to Vicky Barcelona there which was tiny but had a great DJ.  I entered with my leftover pizza box from dinner which I wouldn’t recommend LOL.
  • There is a party complex. I can’t tell you the name of it because it’s composed of over a dozen different bars/clubs. I believe the famous bars within are Instant and Fogas.  We ended up here every night in Budapest. It’s perfect because you can roam from bar to bar each with it’s own feel and music. Our favorite room was under a giant parachute.

Our Air BNB host also recommended these places, although I didn’t have the opportunity to check them out.

  • Wine Bars: Doblo Wine and Bar, DiVino Wine Bar, Kadarka Bar
  • More Ruin Pubs: Corvinteto is a rooftop above an old supermarket, Ellato Kert, Ellato Haz

I also grabbed a drink at this place called 360 bar. It was 1,000 forints to get in and it did have views of most of the city. Definitely over priced compared to the rest of the city, but it’s got nothing on New York.

What to Eat:

I’m a picky eater, so not the best to recommend food.  However, I know these items are fairly unique / popular in Hungary

  • Chimney Cake – Pull apart bread rolled in topping cooked rotisserie style. I didn’t have one while there (biggest regret) but I have had one before covered with cinnamon sugar and filled with a little nutella.
  • Stews & goulash 
  • Anything with paprika
  • Kifli – Shaped like a crescent, but bread. I had this once there – wasn’t impressed.
  • Langos – Hungarian deep fried dough made with mashed potatoes and flower.  I had a chicken burger on this bread from a food truck at this food truck lot called Karavan and it was A-mazing.  But it looks like they also turn this into their own unique pizza-type thing.

Know Before You Go:

  • You can get a lot for your money there.  When I was there $1 USD = 280 Hungarian Forints.  To put that into perspective a cocktail was 1,000 forints.  It equated to like $3.  I was able to get a fancy meal out with drinks for $20.
  • Do bring money with you or grab some from an ATM, many places were cash only.
  • We were warned about the taxis from several different people. Seems they take advantage of clueless tourists that don’t understand the currency.  We experienced it ourselves when the taxi driver claimed to have a broken credit card machine after picking us up from the airport. When she discovered we had no cash and there were no ATMs on the block her machine magically worked.

Apartment Tour 2018: Glam, Edgy, Babe Cave

babe cave feminine glam apartment

One of the perks of being single and living on my own is that I have complete creative freedom to decorate.  I mean, when else in my life can I sprinkle a home with pops of pink (aside from like a baby girl’s nursery).  I dub this apartment, my babe cave.   I predominantly aimed for feminine glam, but added pops of edge and rusticness. 

Check out the gallery below to get a glimpse of my gray toned living quarters and bedroom which transitions to more champagne tones.  Wondering where I purchased the items seen in these pictures?  Come back later this week for a video tour!

 

2017 Year in Review

2017 has been the most challenging year of my life.  However, with change and challenges comes lessons and growth.  Here’s what I’ve been botching and learning this year and signs of what’s to come in 2018.

I moved into my own apartment. Decorating with free reign was the best part about living solely on my own.  I discovered my love for interior design.  I had a lot of shopping to do!  Homegoods, Wayfair, West Elm, and Gilt became my new best friends.  I racked up those credit card bills and quickly paid them down. (Be on the lookout for future posts on interior design tips, a home tour, and tips for how to pay down your credit card).

I’ll show you my bathroom, because this year was pretty “poopy”.  Also, I think it perfectly showcases what you can do to a home if you’re a single girl living in her own babe cave.

Babe Cave Bathroom

While I enjoyed decorating, I also experienced a new sense of loneliness that came with living alone.  I can truly say, I never felt lonely before this year. I always surrounded myself with people.  I lived in New York city for the bulk of my adult life, and there was always something to do and someone to do it with. In Jersey, and as I get older… not so much.  Plus, I came home to an empty house every single day after a long commute.  The only thing I wanted to do was plop on my expensive couch and stream free cable.  I tried to stay busy by making plans in the city after work.  But even when I was busy, I never felt present.  It’s hard for me to describe how loneliness feels.  I guess I felt lost like everyone’s life was evolving and mine had to adjust too, but I just didn’t know where I fit.

Then, in April, my grandpa Henry passed away after being on life support.  I knew it was coming, but it didn’t make it any easier when my father broke the bad news to me while I was still at work.  I could barely speak and tried to pass something off to my co-worker between total sobs.  I had to come to terms that I would no longer see him.  That’s kind of a hard notion to grasp, that you’re never going to see someone again.  And just like that, my own life had changed in the blink of an eye.  When my nana was ready, there was a service for him in June. Surprisingly, it was fun…  believe me, I know it’s an odd word for me to use in this scenario.  But there was a great slideshow capturing all the happy memories of a life well lived and the whole family toasted him with his favorite, Heineken!  My heart also felt so big for my family and I learned just how important it is to cherish every moment with them.  As an aside – I’ve always said something is going on behind the curtains. You don’t know why things happen, but it sets the stage for the acts to follow.  My grandfather passed away soon after the birth of his first great grandchild who arrived months premature.   She’s now living a beautiful healthy life.  This taught me to hold onto hope and believe that everything happens for a reason that we don’t need to understand right this moment.

The best family celebrating a life well lived.

Unfortunately, my older brother was also taken from me this year.  He passed away in a sober home after trying to get better.  While I knew he gambled with his life, I never thought this would happen to him or our family. We had a complicated relationship, but we loved each other.  I was so proud of him for getting serious about getting clean.  I’ve been struggling for months with grief, guilt, and trying to rationalize what exactly I’m feeling.  Still can’t really describe that either.  A few days after he passed though, I found out I was his legacy contact for Facebook. It was such an honor that my brother trusted me with this responsibility, and below is the cover photo I made him filled with all of his favorite things.  What his death taught me is that life is precious. It can be taken from you or altered at any moment. So I’m going to start living more, quit feeling sorry for myself, give everyone the benefit of the doubt, judge less, forgive more easily, go after challenges, and spend more time with the people I love. I see life through a different lense now.

This is the Facebook Cover Photo I made to honor my brother, it’s filled with his favorite things.  Note the wings above the house, I know he’s watching over me.

One of the things I admired about my brother was how disciplined he was when it came to health and fitness.  He’d eat extremely healthy and exercise daily. He knew everything about every supplement and every body part. After being hospitalized for a month, through grit and determination he returned to hitting the gym hard. I couldn’t comprehend how he could be so disciplined and determined to be fit, but couldn’t have that same willpower when it came to drugs. When he was getting clean, I tried to give up chocolate just as my own form of solidarity.  I couldn’t do it, I had no willpower!  I also joined and quit 2 gyms this year, and got a personal trainer hoping it would give me the motivation I needed to get fit but that also ended after 2 months. That worked for a little, but man they’re expensive and I should really be motivating myself!  So now I tried to channel some of his healthy determination and joined Weight Watchers again. I’ve lost 10 pounds so far, and probably gained it back this holiday season LOL.  But I’m jumping back on the bandwagon in 2018 and am determined to finally stick to something in honor of him.

2017 was also filled with some shining moments. I celebrated 3 weddings and 6 births.  I got a financial advisor and am getting smart about saving for the future.  I went on vacation to Austin and a bunch of small trips too. I ate a lot of brunches, attended a ton of happy hours, made it to an outdoor winery in February, went for a few rides in my parent’s new boat, saw a couple of plays, and kept myself relatively busy.

Austin I Love You So Much

By Jos Coffee in Austin Texas, gotta love those flips…

Work had its ups and downs too. I earned a spot bonus for doing a great job. I passionately executed a scratch off ticket incentive along with millions of dollars of other incentives.  I went to Nashville and the Atlantis in the Bahamas.  My direct report got a well deserved promotion.  I also feel like I’ve developed leaps and bounds navigating never ending changes and doing things that have never been done before.  My offices moved from midtown to downtown by the World Trade Center.  While the commute completely blows, I’m enjoying discovering a whole new area.

2017 definitely tested me.  As I reflect back on this year I’ve really learned and grown so much.  I hope to carry these lessons in 2018 and revive Botch and Learn with the candidness and vulnerability that it deserves.

selfie

How To Live Healthier

For 10 days in a row, I had fevers up to 104 degrees.  I’d take Tylenol, sweat it out, feel  fine, then get sick again.  It was a perpetual cycle.  One morning, I woke up with my clothing and sheets beyond drenched.  I thought perhaps an elephant snuck in my room and poured its body weight in water all over me.  Just kidding, I didn’t think that.  I thought I was dying – like frantically calling my doctors’ emergency hotline and questioning if I should call an ambulance or draft a will.   So what was this mystery illness?  At age 31, I got mono.  Yes “the kissing disease”.  For the record, I was only kissing one person and I wasn’t sharing beverages so I have no idea how I got it but ugh was it embarassing to admit LOL

Now I’ve skirted by life barely catching a cold, despite the fact that I eat zero nutrients, work out minimally, and don’t take care of myself.  I’m just that lucky.  However, I vowed that I would start to live a healthier life, because boy oh boy did I not want to get sick again.  I thought of all the things I would do to accomplish this, which by the way… I’m not doing.  But for giggles, here’s what I told myself I would do, and what I know I need to do in order to lead a healthier lifestyle

  1.  Take a multivitamin daily.  Okay, this I’m actually doing.  Yes, it’s a gummy vitamin.  Yes, I’m an adult.  No, I don’t care.
  2. Drink green juice daily. I took this when I was on the mend and I did feel better.  I don’t know if it was mind over matter, but it certainly gave me energy and made me feel healthier.  I told myself this would replace my addiction to caffeine and daily Coke Zero which leads me to my next point…
  3. Skip the soda.  It’s terrible for you.  I know it, you know it (But it’s sooooo good, and there’s zero calories)
  4. Wear a winter jacket if it’s cold out, and zipper it like a big girl.  This seems so obvious.  But I consistently went out with just a sweatshirt on in frigid weather or an unzipped jacket.  Sometimes, I’d go out with a wet head too 😡
  5. Exercise.  That’s it! I was supposed to go to the gym 4 days a week again.  But then my social life and 12 hour workdays got in the way.  Plus, I was walking to and from Penn Station daily and that was my “workout”.
  6. Cut back on booze. You might not know this, but mono effects your liver enzymes.  It lingers in your body for a super long time too.  So you’re definitely not allowed to drink.  I didn’t even have a glass of wine for 30 days straight!
  7. Eat 5 servings of veggies daily.  Ummm, I legit can go days without eating a vegetable.  However, when I have my salads for lunch I know it makes me feel better.
  8. Drink lots of water. I kind of do this.  I definitely get in my 64 ounces a day.  Where I fail miserably though is making up for the intake of dehydrators like alcohol and caffeine.
  9. Shower daily.  Hahaha, I swear I pretty much do this one.
  10. Meditate. Ohmmmmm… okay I’m bored.  But I do plan on taking this up one day.  Can someone please teach me how to tell my mind to pipe down?
  11. Take Vitamin B.  This goes hand in hand with #2 and #3.  This was supposed to be my new source of energy vs. caffeine.
  12. Sing in the shower. Yes, I thought this would lead to a healthier lifestyle.  Pretty sure it uplifts the spirits.
  13. Have more “me” time. This I’m getting a lot better at.  I kept myself so busy with dinners, drinks, celebrations, and activities.  I over extended myself so much I felt myself getting run down and knew a sickness was lingering around the corner.  I never had time to rest up.  Well I’ve taken this to a whole new level and pretty much have too much time to lay around and watch television…
  14. Limit TV to one hour a day.  Some days can go by where I watch no TV. But most night I have it on in the background as I lie in bed and pin things on my computer for 3 hours.
  15. Laugh more. You know this is the best medicine.  Hopefully this post made you giggle a little bit.  If it didn’t, I’ll leave you with this story…

Apparently, some people with mono get a swollen face.  Of course, I had to be a part of the 1% (why can’t that be my stat financially?)  My face became so distorted. I went to a wedding and people I actually KNEW came up and said “you must be Katie’s twin sister, I’m so-and-so, nice to meet you”!

is this me

Hangover Beauty Helpers

I don’t know about you, but after a night of drinking and dancing I look like a tiger attacked me.  My skin is duller than a matte nail polish and you could easily mistake me for the female version of Mr. Fester… pretty much the opposite of pretty … which I definitely looked the night before 😉

Now, I know many of you will be out celebrating this weekend.  Here are some tips to look presentable come Sunday sans Snapchat filter.

Hangover Helpers

DULL SKIN

Cause: Alcohol is a notorious dehydrator.

Fix:

  • Moisturize the face – Before going to bed, try Anew Clinical Overnight Hydration Mask.  This will deeply replenish the lost moisture as you sleep.
  • Use a face scrub – it will remove the dry, dead skin cells and bring blood to the surface for better circulation.
  • Drink a TON of water to rehydrate the body and skin.
  • Try a Vitamin C Serum.  It reduces inflammation and brightens your complexion.  Plus it’s filled with antioxidants which is the body’s damage fighter.

DARK CIRCLES & PUFFY EYES

Cause: For starters, you’ve probably gotten minimal sleep.

Fix:

  • Get some caffeine under those eyes, it constricts blood vessels and reduces fluid!  For a natural remedy, steep 2 tea bags, let them cool, then place directly under closed eyes.  Or, try Garnier Fructis Renew Anti-Puff eye roller.
  • There’s another tried and true tip – place 2 spoons in the freezer and put over eyes.  Not only is it completely refreshing, the delightful chill will also constrict under eye blood vessells.
  • Put on sunless tanner.  I don’t have a good reason other than the fact that when I drink, I end up looking super pale.  So if I tan myself up, dark circles don’t seem as prevalent.
  • And the most obvious solution.  Concealer is a girl’s best friend.  Make sure to moisturize properly then pat on and set with powder.

KNOTTY HAIR

Cause:  Too much product, teasing and quite possibly head banging.

Fix:  

  • Use a detangler BEFORE going in the shower.
  • When in the shower condition first!  The conditioner will act like a clarifying shampoo, breaking down all of the product in your hair.  Follow it  up with shampoo, and another round of conditioner.  No joke, this works and doesn’t leave your hair knotty or greasy.

PS – If you’re feeling really blah try MegaHydrate this was a miracle saver in Vegas

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

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!