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Thursday, March 28, 2019

52 Hours in New York City Travel Diary

52 Hours in New York City Travel Diary
Thursday, March 28, 2019
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I'm back from my whirlwind weekend in New York City! While my body is still recovering from all of the miles, food, and cocktails, I really could not have asked for a better weekend away. This trip came at the perfect time for me as March was a very hectic month. It was an amazing way to finish out my birthday month and, in typical New York fashion, has me back home feeling better and ready to tackle the coming weeks.

My best friend, Chaneya, and I booked this trip on a total whim after our friend, Rachel, called us in the first couple of days in March and invited us to come to New York to help ring in her 30th birthday. We were so excited about the opportunity to go to New York and, after discussing the financial and work aspects of the trip, we decided to go for it! This was another moment where that saving challenge I've talked about here and here really came in handy because I've been saving money every week for the past several months. Without further due, here is how we spent 52 hours in New York City!







GETTING TO NEW YORK

Chaneya and I were really lucky to both find really affordable flights out of Atlanta and Greensboro Friday morning that arrived at LaGuardia Airport in New York within 15 minutes of each other. We book our flights straight from the American Airlines app, which we wouldn't normally do, but the prices were too good to pass up.

WHERE WE STAYED

Chaneya and I knew we wanted to stay in an Airbnb. We've used this website to book on a couple of other trips and really like being able to experience the neighborhood we're staying in, which doesn't always happen in a hotel. Plus, a room for the two of us on Airbnb is much more cost-effective than booking a hotel because we really only planned to be in our room to sleep and get ready. We found a room in an apartment in Brooklyn for about $50 per night. We did both say that next time we go we will stay in Manhattan because the commute across the bridge won't be as long, but for our first time it was a good way to learn how to use the subway and know how to get around more easily that we might have otherwise.

WHAT WE DID

After arriving Friday morning we spent most of the day getting from the airport to the apartment where we were staying. We took the Q70 bus from the airport to the subway, then the F and A trains to Brooklyn to the apartment. It was about an hour or so ride from start to finish, but it gave us some time to finalize our plans for Saturday before we went to Rachel's birthday dinner. When we got to Brooklyn we relaxed for, what ended up being, a very short amount of time before getting ready for dinner. Rachel had her birthday dinner party at Red Rooster in Harlem, which was delicious. We had so many o'dourves and each platter was better than the previous one. We were really happy to have been a part of Rachel's 30th Birthday celebration. Rachel, Chaneya, Krislyn, and I became close friends by chance after blindly rooming together our senior year of college. We had the greatest dynamic in our "household" and everyday was like a family reunion. There was never a short of people walking through our always unlocked door, always good food to be eaten (thanks Rach!), and always, always tons of laughs and foolery taking place! And you'd never know time has passed since we've seen each other; it was literally like we just been together last week when we reunited and picked up where we left off!

Saturday morning we hit the ground running! We were in Manhattan by 9:15 for breakfast at NoMo Kitchen in Soho. The breakfast was sooo good and the aesthetic of the restaurant was so pretty I can even put it into words so here are a couple of photos instead:
 
After breakfast we did a little bit of shopping at H&M and Zara in Soho before walking to Lower Manhattan to visit the 911 Memorial. This was highly recommended to us by a friend and since Chaneya and I are both old enough to remember that day we really wanted to see the memorial. It was a gorgeous memorial, but also a very surreal experience to think about all of the tragedy that had taken place on the very ground we were standing on.

Next, we hoped on the subway and headed uptown to go to the Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center. The observatory deck has some of the best view of the entire city and you might remember from my trip to Skyspace LA last year how much I love being up so high and being able to see everything. The Top of the Rock did not disappoint either. The views were breathtaking and one of the coolest parts is that the Top of the Rock has 3 levels to its observatory deck so if you go to the highest one you are literally standing on top of Rockefeller Center! I highly recommend going to the observatory deck when you're in New York.

After a little more shopping and a trip to the Nike House of Innovation, we headed back to Soho to go to the Color Factory, which is a 16 room, interactive art installation. I'll have a whole post about that experience because it was so much fun and Chaneya and I took so many photos that this post would go on forever! Look out for that one next week. We capped off Saturday night with, what turned out to be, a surprise birthday dinner for Rachel in Brooklyn. Her family rented a space and hired a chef who made New Orleans style shrimp and grits and gumbo along with king's cake and creme brulee. The foodie inside me was living her best life this weekend!

On our last day in New York Chaneya and I got up early, once again, and took the subway from our apartment to the Brooklyn Bridge and DUMBO. We walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and took lots of pictures. This was such an amazing weekend getaway and finishing the trip with the Brooklyn Bridge was a great was to cap it off! I can't tell you enough how much fun Chaneya and I had and how memories we came home with! This trip was also exactly what I needed to close out the month of March. We've been bitten by the New York bug for sure, and are already planning our next adventure for the summer!


 

  


Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Stepping Into Spring With Dress Up

Stepping Into Spring With Dress Up
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
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 Happy first day of Spring! I'm so excited that winter has officially come to a close, at least according to the calendar, and that it is finally time to break back into my spring wardrobe. Speaking of which, today I'm really excited to share this super cute and fun dress from Dress Up! I've partnered with Dress Up to share some of my favorite pieces to transition into spring. When I saw this dress on their website I had to have it.
What I love most about this dress is its versatility. I could easily wear this to work with some sandals or a block heel and then wear it again on the weekend with sneakers like I have here. The material is also super light and breathable AND, most importantly of all, it has pockets! What girl does not love a dress that has some pockets. Dress Up has so many great pieces in their online store and their retail stores, which are constantly updated throughout the week, so there is a never a shortage of piece to shop from. They also do a fantastic job of curating their pieces to compliment several types of personal style. I personally appreciate this as many boutiques' clothing aesthetic don't always mesh with what I might wear on a daily basis. I'm already excited to grab a couple of more items from my wish list for spring and the warmer weather! Check out Dress Up's website and sign up to receive their e-mails for this dress, more great styles, and exclusive discounts that will meet any occasion on your calendar this spring!

Outfit Details
Dress: Dress Up // Sneakers: Old Navy

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Chapter 27

Chapter 27
Wednesday, March 6, 2019
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Before I started to write today's ode to my 27th year of life, I wanted to go back to the post I wrote exactly 365 days ago today, Chapter 26. It's funny because I remember so clearly how relieved I was to have made it through 25 because that was a LONG year, and how excited I was for 26. If you read last year's post on my birthday you might remember that I set six affirmations for myself:

1. Be more present
2. Worry less about the things I can't control
3. Spend less on things and more on experiences
4. Travel more
5. Be less afraid
6. Focus more on myself
 
Thinking through this list and all of the things I accomplished in year 26, I think I did a pretty bang up job of sticking to the affirmations I set for myself. 

1. I have some of the best memories from this year with all of the things I did with family and friends- graduations, concerts, traveling, birthdays, dinner dates, and so much time spent just being with the people I love.

2. Worrying less will always be a constant battle, but I did learn this year that the people in my life now are planning to stick it out with me, no matter how many dramatic episodes transpire. That's such a calming feeling at this point in my life.

3. I have completed some form of my savings challenge I talked about here every month since June, which has allowed me to do more and live more comfortably.

4. I went to Los Angeles 3 times, Atlanta 5 times, and couple of other places in between so I think I easily met that goal.

5. I asked God last to take me out of the kiddie pool and throw me into the deep end. I didn't know exactly what that would look like at the time, but we're here just dog paddling away!

6. I've worked really hard over the past 365 to become more unapologetically myself, which might sound cliche, but whatevs. 

Now that we've reflected a little bit on 26, let's talk about 27. If I learned anything about myself from 365 days ago it's that she and I are very different people. I've learned firsthand how incredibly short life is and that, as much I want to believe I'm in control of what happens, no amount of planning or analyzing can stop what God has planned. And y'all know I am the Penelope Garcia of change- I don't care for it in any sense of the word. As a result of the changes that have transpired this past year, I have leaned on God's guidance and my faith more than ever before. Because I've learned how short life is, my belief in doing what is going to make me happy is more prevalent than ever. I want to continue to live my life doing what is going to make ME happy and focus less on opinions because, at the end of the day, everyone is going to have one. I have to do what is best for Molly; whatever that may look like.

So if that gives y'all any indication at how fun I plan to make Chapter 27, I would definitely recommend sticking around! Thank you in advance for all of the birthday wishes!
Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Why College Friends Are the Family You Choose

Why College Friends Are the Family You Choose
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
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Hi y'all! As I am sitting down to write, the title of this post could not ring more true. Today is a very exciting day for our family as one of my best friends, Jeremiah, and his wife Tisa are bringing my godson into the world. And as we speak Jeremiah is sending our group chat pre-delivery room photos and video that serve as a constant reminder how much I love each one of these fools and how we became a family.

I really believe it's true that your college friends are the family you choose. We make fun of each other like family, we celebrate holidays and special moments like family. We've studied and barely passed classes together, shared more meals and naps than I can count, we've helped each other make it to the front door after many late nights, we know each other's favorite things like the back of our hand. Most importantly, we love each other just like a family. On days like today I remember not only why we all became friends, but how we've also remained friends after 9 years.
   
Under any other circumstances in life, none of us never would have met. We all came from different high schools in different cities. We all studied different things and got our degrees from different programs. We all have different interests. Hell, we could have not chosen West Georgia and I would not even be sitting here waiting for Jeremiah to tell me Ashton is FINALLY here. However, that is what I find to be the best part of college and often the beauty of living in a traditional college dorm- you are constantly meeting new people. It happened by chance that Erin and I lived down the hall and then somehow met James and Jeremiah through mutual friends, who knew Swiss from playing basketball in the rec. And then throw Chaneya in the mix when I pledged Sigma Kappa later that year. Then two years down the road let Pierce and Swiss be roommates so he can join the party too. Do y'all see what I'm saying? Friendships like this don't just happen by chance! Haha!

  
Most of my favorite memories are with one or all of these people. And when I'm asked about my own college experience they are 1000% the reasons why I never have anything, but wonderful things to say. I couldn't imagine what those 4 years of my life would have been like if I had not experienced it with them. I also couldn't imagine having half a much courage to have taken some of the risks I have if it hadn't been for their support, encouragement, and complete belief that I can do anything I want to do.


I'm thankful to have a family like this one everyday. The more things change the more we remain the same. We've been through a lot together, most especially as many of you know, in the past year. In August our dynamic encountered a permanent shift. While something of this magnitude can often cause family to drift apart, we held onto each other for dear life. We, once again, remembered why we've been friends for almost a decade. I have leaned on them more in the past 6 months than I ever have. And just like a family does, they held me up. They've given me so much strength during the weakest moments of my adult life. And they've helped me laugh at the end of a meltdown. They have really realigned my focus and helped me to remember that the people I love are most important and what makes me the most happy in this life. 

As we all anxiously await Ashton's arrival and the start of our next generation (dear God that sounds way scarier when I read it), I am excited to have them in my life and know they'll be by my side for the next batch of wonderful memories. I know Erin will continue to welcome all of our future family members in with a shot of hard liquor and Jeremiah will make some kind of corny joke at every family function. I know that Swiss and my ability to read each's minds will only get better. I know Chaneya will always answer my call, no matter how theatrical that call is destined to be. And I know Pierce is always with me, even if I can't see him. There are few things certain in life, but these people and our family-ship is one of the things I can always count on. And they are the best kind of family I could've chosen.


Happy Birthday Ashton! We all love you already!



Thursday, February 14, 2019

Best Friends Make the Best Valentines

Best Friends Make the Best Valentines
Thursday, February 14, 2019
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Good morning my beautiful people. Happy Valentine's Day! Today is one of those days of the year that you either love or you absolutely loathe. Valentine's Day means something different for everyone based on how you personally choose to celebrate the day, or not celebrate the day. This year I choose to embrace all of the Reese's hearts and the love I am surrounded by from my family and my friends.

I can remember being in grade school and loving Valentine's Day because I got to decorate a card box at school, pick out cards for all of my friends and whichever boy I was crushing on, and indulge in all of the chocolate to my heart's content. However, my perception of Valentine's Day changed when I got to high school, where Valentine's Day simply became a day that those of us who were single prayed to just be over already; how wonderful being sixteen with a full set of braces was. Honestly, it wasn't until I met my best friends, Chaneya and Erin, that I truly started to enjoy Valentine's Day. For the three of us, Valentine's Day celebrates our friendship with 3 of our favorite things- brunch, mimosas, and chocolate.
Erin, Chaneya, and my celebration of Valentine's Day has always allowed me to see the sunshine in a day that celebrates love, no matter the actual status of my love life. These two treat me better than all of my exes combined and we show our appreciation for each other with small gifts that are perfect for the individual. I can never say enough about how blessed I am to have these two people as my best friends. They know me better than almost anyone and love me regardless of any dumb decision I've made...they just make sure I know it and encourage me to try to make things better. And let me tell y'all, they are LITERALLY the best hype team known to man. My best friends have always been my best valentines and I'm happy knowing that this day will always mean something special to the three of us.

Now for a little added treat on today's post. As Express Ambassadors, Chaneya and I were excited to style a couple of pieces from Express's Valentine's Day collection for our brunch this past weekend. There are two things I'm really loving about how we chose to incorporate their collection into our looks:

1. Our styles are a little reversed and we're dressed a lot like how each other would normally.
2. Our choices in graphic tee's from the collection are in total contrast of each other!

If you're looking for a last minute outfit for your Valentine's Day date with your boo or with your girls, check out Express for some festive pieces for men and women. Oh! And everything is 40% off today!  

Chaneya's Outfit:
Jacket: Express (sold out, similar style here) // Graphic T-shirt: Express One Eleven // Jeans: Express // Hiker Booties: Shoe Dazzle

Molly's Outfit:
Graphic T-shirt: Express One Eleven // Leather Jacket: Old Navy (sold out, similar style here) // Wide Leg Pants: Express // Shoes: A New Day by Target
Wednesday, February 6, 2019

4 Oatmeal Recipes Too Good Not To Try

4 Oatmeal Recipes Too Good Not To Try
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
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 Anyone who knows me or has shared a meal with me know that breakfast has a special place in my heart. I think I've mentioned before that, if I had things my way, breakfast would be available for all 3 meals of the day. I don't know if it's the ingredients that go into breakfast dishes or the endless possibilities when it comes to breakfast...but if you say breakfast I'll say, "where and what time?" I love even more when I'm able to try out recipes I love at home so that every time I'm in the mood for my new favorite dish I can stay in my PJ's as opposed to having to get up and go to a restaurant! Which brings me to my latest obsession- homemade oatmeal.

Now the recipe I'm sharing is not earth shattering, but I was still really excited to have found a few recipes for oatmeal that I could make from the comfort of my own kitchen. I'm not as much of a fan of microwavable oatmeal because it has so much sugar that it almost takes the health benefits out of having it. Instead, I've been experimenting with different combinations of ingredients to make my own oatmeal. The one I decided to share today is blueberry and banana oatmeal. This recipe is incredibly easy to make at home on the weekends doing things around the house (I'm the queen of multitasking) or in the morning before work or school when you're trying to get out the door and have a decent breakfast. The aspect of this recipe that I enjoy the most was actually knowing what ingredients are in it, which is not always the case with microwavable versions. Like y'all, those are real blueberries in there! This oatmeal was so delicious and incredibly filling; I didn't even think about needed a snack later in the morning. Just writing about it has me wanting to make a bowl for breakfast tomorrow! I digress y'all have got to try this out for yourselves. I've included this recipe and links to 3 others I like below! Enjoy!

Ingredients
1 cup of milk (I use almond milk)
2/3 cup of rolled oats
1/2 cup blueberries
1 banana
1 TBSP of cinnamon
Drizzle of honey

Direction
1. Combine milk, rolled, oats, and cinnamon into a pot.
2. Cook ingredients on the stove on medium heat for 5-7 minutes.
3. After 5-7 minutes add blueberries and stir throughout.
4. Continue stirring occasionally as mixture begins to thicken and the blueberries pop.
5. Add half of the banana to the mixture for the final 5 minutes.
6. Remove from the stove when the oatmeal has reached your desired consistency.
7. Add the other half of the banana,
drizzle with honey, and enjoy!


Additional Homemade Oatmeal Recipes




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