2015 favorites

2015 was not a year of big spending for me in the slightest. While I made no major purchases, I did invest in some smaller items that made the transition into adult life in New York City much easier and more comfortable!

I decided to make a little guide of some tried-and-true fixtures in my life that I use every day! If you are moving to a new city/place, starting college or a new chapter of your life soon, or are just looking for some cool products that make life simpler, read on!

disclaimer: none of these companies have sponsored me, I purchased everything and believe in every product I mention!

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FASHION

big girl scarf // If there's any way to look instantly polished, I have learned that it is accomplished by throwing on signature sunglasses, red lipstick, and a big girl scarf. This is my trick, anyway. I've learned this because people wearing this ensemble are generally the ones I squint really hard at on the street, thinking that they are a celebrity undercover. "Big girl scarves" are high quality, heavy duty, larger-than-you-are scarves, that simultaneously cover up your neck and face for warmth, and, if you're a celebrity, privacy reasons. You can find these essentially anywhere. My big girl scarf of choice (pictured above) is from Anthropologie. It sheds like mad but we're in a committed relationship so I don't mind.

Native Apollo Mocs // A comfy city shoe that goes with everything is hard to find. You want something that you can walk EVERYWHERE in without the soles of your feet crying for mercy, so even your "most comfortable" cute booties don't cut it. I found these over the summer at Urban Outfitters and I have never gotten more compliments on a shoe! and these are SNEAKERS! I can wear them with jeans, dresses, sweats, and even pajamas (no shame, sometimes $1 pizza is not worth changing for). They come in even more colors on Native's website, I cannot recommend this shoe enough! I got these at a discount, but even at the full price of $70 they beat out Nike's prices. Plus you will look different from everyone else!

s'well bottle // Jordan bought me this as a treat and I have used it every day since. S'well bottles are a bit more expensive than your average bottle, but they are so durable that I find them well worth it. S'wells claim to keep cold drinks cold for 24 hours and hot drinks hot for 12. I have yet to test the hot drink statistic, but my water is cold through an 8 hour shift at work, a brisk walk from shop to shop downtown, and in my room overnight. I've dropped this accidentally a few times and it remains barely scratched! The bottle is slim enough that I can slide it into any bag. Mine is from the store STORY on W 19th St and 10th Ave from their Donald Robertson collaboration, but you can get other styles at swellbottle.com!

FOOD

 a tasty Graze snack featuring my meal plan

a tasty Graze snack featuring my meal plan

Graze box // My awesome family subscribed me to two food box subscriptions when I started college (thank you, Aunt Lisa and Aunt Cheryl!!) but I had already subscribed to Graze just previously. I'm going to have to unsubscribe from Graze because no one needs that many snacks, but I thought I'd talk about the service a little because it was a great experience! Graze delivers vegetarian and vegan snacks to your door each week/biweekly/monthly, depending on your preference. All of their snacks are fairly healthy and creative, and each week after you try all the snacks you have the opportunity to rate each snack based on how much you liked it. Through this process, Graze is able to get a great read on your taste preferences, this way the longer you use the service, the more accurate the snacks are to your flavor preferences! The snacks are pretty delicious and I highly recommend this service. I receive an Urthbox and Love Your Food box each month so I've had less experience with them, but I will be able to post a comparison at the end of the school year if you guys want!

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May Designs meal planner // This has completely saved my life! I have been a huge fan of May Designs for a year now, frequently giving Maybooks as gifts to friends and using them in my own life. When the time to go to school rolled around, I didn't even look anywhere else for a meal planner. May Designs gives you one page for writing out each meal per day and one page for writing a grocery list for each week, which has been a great system for me. I even use color-coded highlighters based on where each item is in the aisles at Trader Joe's so I can get in and out of the grocery store even quicker (I know, I'm crazy). If you are looking for a way to eat healthier or get more organized in 2016, this is your solution!

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reusable totes // I have no photos of mine for some reason, but reusable totes are a life saver to have on hand! I prefer the foldable ones so I can keep one in my purse at all times, just in case I decide to stop at the grocery store or buy something when I'm out. These are beyond convenient, are inexpensive, and they help to decrease waste! The one pictured above is by Baggu and is $9 on Nordstrom's website.

FICTION

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Modern Romance // Aziz Ansari's new book was a fun read this past year! Jordan and I both picked up a copy and read it in the month leading up to his first visit as a way to pass the time. I could truly not relate to it very much, I have never been very conventional when it comes to love. I've been in two long term relationships in my short life and neither of them I really had to go "looking" for. Nonetheless, I found this book about how love and our pursuit of it has changed over the past 50 years to be fascinating. It also makes you laugh uncontrollably (thanks Aziz). 

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 Kindle Paperwhite // Truthfully I keep forgetting to bring my Kindle on the train, but every time I see someone with theirs, I think, "ugh, MAN I SHOULD'VE BROUGHT MINE". I spend a fair amount of time on the train now, and I always have major respect for those people on the subway who are reading a book or their Kindle vs the ones playing games on their iPhone. It is a certain skill to be able to focus in on a plot line while on a chaotic, moving train. I'm going to pick up this habit this year to help me maintain better focus and to expand on my regular reading time!

Moleskine // My best friend Morgan gave me a black Moleskine for my high school graduation after remembering my comment that I felt like all successful adults had one. There's something nice about having a high quality notebook to jot your ideas and lists in that feels more permanent than typing something rushed on your iPhone. I now carry mine in my bag everywhere with me and write down all of my brain clutter in it, whether it be future apartment planning, travel itineraries, a week in outfits, ideas for this blog, and spontaneous reminders. It's nice to know that if I forget something, my second brain stowed away in my handbag still has it on lock.

FUNCTION

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Beats Studio Wireless headphones // I debated for the longest time whether or not these were a frivolous purchase. I now use them every single day. Living somewhere that can be so inescapably loud, it is nice being able to tune everything out and FaceTime a friend or watch a show without hearing sirens. So far I have had no issues with mine and they are great quality! 

Anker portable charger // My mom sent me this during my first month of school and it has been such a lifesaver. Once I was lost in the West Village on the way to meet a friend and my phone died at 20%. I never would've made it there without my Anker nicely charged in my bag! It is compact, fits anywhere, and holds an entire charge. I use my phone when I'm out and about mostly for subway directions, walking directions, and food recommendations, so it is nice to know that even if my phone dies, I will be able to get home without a worry!

iPhone mini-wallet // I just purchased one of these after Christmas. When I'm walking around, I usually have my debit card, my Metrocard, and my phone within arm's reach. It makes you a target for robbery when you have to dig through your bag to find these things, which is what I have been doing. This holds all three things in one durable case so I never have to dig through my bag again!

FACE/FINGERS

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EO lavender hand sanitizer // This is a permanent fixture on my desk that I use right after any length of time out and about. The subway poles, rats, and 8 million companions make NYC a cesspool of germs. This hand sanitizer is non-drying and smells like soothing lavender, not alcohol. It is available at Whole Body if you have one near you!

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Glossier rose water facial spray // I received this for free during a promotion on Glossier's website. This product is so nice to spritz on whenever you're feeling grimy or like you need to redo your makeup. It is hydrating and smells fantastic!

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MAC Ruby Woo matte lipstick // This is the most flattering red lipstick out there. The blue undertone instantly makes your teeth look whiter. I swipe this on and it elevates my look to another level. It is my favorite red, perfect to pair with a chunky scarf or a classic dress!

Thanks for reading, ladies and gents!

I will be traveling all next week and next weekend, so expect some fun posts about that! I'm also thinking of starting an advice section of this blog. If you have any topic you need advice on, feel free to drop a line in the "CHAT" section of the blog! You will be anonymous if you would like to be.

Thank you for the endless support! Subscribe for updates if you so wish!

love,

em