Lessons of 2017

If last year was one of the worst years of my life, this year definitely has to be one of the best. It wasn’t just chance or good luck, it was an active decision to change my self-talk, change my attitude, and embrace ALL of life’s moments instead of constantly wishing for a future where I believed everything would magically be alright. It wasn’t easy, but I can honestly tell you it was one of the most important things I have ever done. I’m still doing it because it’s a constant journey and some days are better than others. Some days the negative self-image creeps back in, I become angry, and all I can do is lay in bed. But then I make the change. I get out of bed even though it’s the last thing I want to do, I get dressed, and I get out into the world. I’ve learned a lot over the past year and if you’ve been struggling this year, I just wanted to share with you some of the things that completely changed my life. I hope you enjoy!

1. No one else can save you- It makes it so easy to project all of your self-doubt and hope for change on someone else. It takes all of the hard pressure off of you and places the blame on someone else. But trust me, this not only gets you nowhere but it also places a gigantic strain on that relationship. It’s scary to realize that change has to start with yourself, but I promise that it’s a journey that you need. That doesn’t mean pushing people away, believe me, you need a solid support system, but make sure you take the steps to helping yourself first.

2. Give into the lazy days (just make sure it’s not all the time)- On those really bad days when all you can truly do is stay in bed, warm up some hot chocolate, wrap up in some blankets and relax. On those days, it does more harm than good to force yourself out of bed. Take this day to get all of the bad funk out and start tomorrow fresh!

3. Give the love you want to receive without the expectation of receiving it back- I cannot explain the joy of giving love and encouragement without the expectations of receiving the same. Expectations ruin everything and disappointments are part of life. So give love as freely as possible! That means giving it to yourself as well.

4. Therapy isn’t stupid- When I found out that I needed to go to therapy, I literally thought it was the end of the world. The thought of telling all of my thoughts and feelings to a complete stranger who I’m paying to listen sounded like a nightmare. But I sucked it up and I went. And I actually gave it my all. You only get as much out of therapy as you give. So give it a complete chance and I promise it will change things. I realized that there is no shame in admitting that you cannot balance the entire world on your fingertips because no one can. Everyone needs someone sometimes and therapy is truly wonderful if it is something that can benefit your healing journey.

5. Being alone doesn’t mean you have to be lonely- Last year, something changed and before I knew it, being alone was my biggest nightmare. Everyone needs alone time sometimes and it’s a fact of life that you are going to be alone at times. That’s why self-love is so important because if you truly love and respect yourself, being in your own company will be comforting. It will be hard at first, being alone, but it’s one of the most important skills you can learn because you never need to rely on anyone else.

6. Ice cream is totally an unofficial form of medicine- enough said.

7. And finally… Embrace all aspects of love in your life- You don’t need a significant other to embrace the love in your life. Your family, your friends, your pets, etc. So much love surrounds you!! So breathe and embrace the love that you have rather than wishing for something else.

Disclaimer: I am not a health professional, these are just my personal tips for how I helped change my own life and rediscover myself.

I hope you all enjoyed these tips and are able to embrace all of the love and joy around you as 2017 draws to a close. Happy Holidays, everyone!!

“You don’t have to be blooming in order to be growing.”

Love,

The Traveling Brunette

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“The Flight Home”

I am so beyond excited for how much you all loved my last poetry excerpt! It is always a little terrifying to share your innermost thoughts and feelings, but everyone was so wonderful and supportive! I cannot thank you enough. Since my last post was so popular, I thought I might share another one of the poems I wrote this year. This poem came to me when I was traveling in Europe in the spring and I was missing the heart that I had left behind at home. I hope you enjoy!

“The Flight Home”

Starbursts of joy,

trumpets of ecstasy,

sunbeams of unparalleled passion

are racing from the tips of my fingers and the ends of my toes.

 

My stomach is a fresh garden.

Home to butterflies of broken dreams now conquered.

 

Long I have been separated from you;

Longer have I been a stranger to me.

My heart took the long flight back to you

Crossing oceans of time.

 

I shredded your past while away

and nothing but our future embraces me now

Shredded like wisps from the edges of burnt love letters.

 

Warmth flows through me like the sweetly bitter coffee that long I have missed

Your passion sweet, like French vanilla cream,

trickles through my veins giving me renewed life.

 

The taste of you electrifies me;

burning away our struggles

 

Until finally, you are the home I have been searching for.

 

-GT

Poetry Saves

Writing is absolute medicine for me. Writing literally helped me stay alive during some of my darkest times last year. It was a way for me to express my feelings without fear of judgment or the fear of not being understood. During my worst seasons of depression I surprisingly turned to poetry as my favorite emotional outlet. Some of the poems I wrote talked about the darkness I was feeling, but some of it celebrated the tiny rays of light that shone through. Now, I am by no means a talented poet but it always takes a level of bravery to share the words that are traced upon your heart. So here is one of the poems I wrote last year. Maybe one day I’ll find the courage to share some of the more personal pieces of my poetry story, but for now, this poem is about the strength that can be found in love.

 

“I Glow Near In Tenor Exalted”

You hold the sun in your smile

Stardust sparkles in your eyes.

I see the entire expanse of the galaxy

Within their murky depths.

Your eyes captivate me like the soft whisper of a burning candle.

Your smile caresses me like silk set aflame.

There are hummingbirds gently tapping at the door of my heart.

My heart vibrates with the rhythm of your being

like the drumbeat of a song that I do not remember but never could have forgotten:

A jazz song with lyrics written on the ocean waves.

I dance with the melody.

Our souls dance under the open sky

Painted with the wisps of the Northern lights.

The colors twinkle

and whisper across your face like the fireflies born from my dreams,

Until my soul is exploding with the colors of you.

My love rains down on us like confetti until

We are untouchable.

Owning the world, being the world.

I handcraft my hope with the designs of your heart.

Your arms are a strongly blockaded fortress around me.

My resting ground is quivering with your radiance.

Capture me.

Shatter me.

Ignite me, my love

For I long to be set ablaze.

 

-GT

 

Holiday Self- Care Tips

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Dear Friends,

As November draws to a close and the holidays begin rushing upon is, it is really easy to become bogged down with the stresses and pressures that the holidays bring. The holidays are my absolute favorite time of the year because giving gifts to friends and loved ones is one of my favorite things to do. Does anyone else get super giddy when you are watching a loved one open up the perfect gift?!

However, over the holidays a lot of us unknowingly give so much of ourselves without taking time to take care of ourselves and our mental health. Last year, by the time Christmas rolled around I was so run down and depressed that I was not able to fully enjoy the love and joy that surrounded me. So this year, I have been implementing some changes and I already feel so much happier and healthier. So if you are not sure how to relax and take care of yourself this holiday season or even if you would just like to gather a few new ideas on self-care, stay tuned for my favorite ways to relax over the holidays!

  1. Taking quality time to do things you love on your own– One of the best parts about the holidays is spending time with loved ones, however, everyone needs to take some time on their own to refuel and rejuvenate. One of my favorite ways of doing this is by curling up with a warm drink and a fantasy book(:
  2. Get active– Even if you aren’t a huge gym rat, spending time moving your body is an instant mood changer. For me, working out is my “me time”. It allows me to actually think while also getting an instant mood booster from the surge of endorphins. Even something as simple as taking a walk around the neighborhood or sitting down for some relaxing stretches instantly improves my mood.
  3. Take a bath– Grab a bath bomb, a luxurious smelling bath oil, and sink down into a nice, long bath. It will help ease the tightness in your muscles and calm your heart rate for a better night’s sleep.
  4. Drive around and look at the Christmas lights– Nothing makes my heart happier than driving around and looking at the wonderful Christmas lights around my neighborhood. Grab some friends and family members and see who can find the most decorated house!
  5. Watch some corny, romantic Hallmark holiday movies– No matter how much we complain about how predictable they are, there is something that always pulls us in with Hallmark movies. Maybe it’s the predictability that we find so appealing. It is nice to know that no matter what, love is always going to prevail.
  6. Do an art project- It doesn’t matter how un-artistic you believe that you are, everyone can find a project that they will enjoy. Even if it does not turn out perfectly, it is nice to lose yourself in the joy of creating something all on your own. Try painting, or writing poetry, or making a holiday wreath; the possibilities are endless.
  7. Bake some holiday treats– You and your friends and family will love this one. If you love baking, try a new recipe that you have always wanted to conquer. If you are new to baking, try something simple that reminds you of your childhood. Plus, the yummy treats will warm you from the inside out.

These are just a few of my favorite ways to practice self-care over the holidays. Even if none of these interest you, the important thing is finding what kind of activities relax and revitalize you. Holidays are all about giving, but don’t forgot to take some time to take care of yourself too!

Wishing you a wonderful start to the holiday season!

The Traveling Brunette

Be Your Own Greatest Adventure

One of the hardest things I have ever learned to do (and am still learning every day) is how to love myself exactly as I am. It is so sad to see in our society today how hard it is for everyone to accept themselves. We are constantly bombarded by images and messages telling us how to change ourselves, how to be sexier, skinnier, more successful, etc. The whole point is a constant demand for MORE. And it is exhausting and discouraging if you listen to these messages because you start seeing yourself as unworthy and not enough. There is nothing wrong with wanting to change things about yourself, but the important thing is still loving yourself exactly as you are in this moment because you are fighting.

For a long time all of the relationships in my life were poisonous because I was relying on everyone else to give me the love that I wasn’t giving myself. And when you constantly tell yourself that you don’t deserve love, you will always push it away and you will lose people who truly do love you. Even if you think you don’t deserve the love someone is giving you, they think you do! So stop trying to deny it and just accept the abundance of love that surrounds you!

The journey to loving yourself may be the longest and hardest journey you will ever take but it is certainly the most important. Until you truly respect yourself, you won’t be able to confidently accept the love that others want to give you. I went so many years truly hating the girl that I was. In my head I wasn’t pretty enough, skinny enough, strong enough, etc. I was just never enough. So I buried deep inside myself, which didn’t work because I didn’t like who I was. I exhausted myself trying to please everyone because I couldn’t handle the fact that I wasn’t happy with who I was. And let me tell you, if you have a powerful negative self-image, it WILL start poisoning you. I started losing weight rapidly, I stopped sleeping, my relationships suffered, I developed debilitating anxiety and depression, and I just truly stopped possessing any joy in my life at all. The most important relationship in my life suffered because I believed I was unworthy of love and my insecurities led to jealousy and a desire for constant reassurance. One of the reasons I know I have met the love of my life is because he stuck by me through my absolute darkest times, despite how hard it was on him.

At the end of the day, loving yourself is the most important journey you will ever take. My journey started with the absolute hardest year of my life. I will always be on this journey but I am finally at a point where I have started accepting who I truly am and am actually being proud of being myself. I’ve stopped wishing to be someone else. I’ve started loving my body, encouraging myself, finding acceptance through genuine friendships, and taking all the steps to recovery. You are your own biggest adventure. No one else can be your everything. I’ve learned that. It was up to me to find the change and joy that I had been desperately searching for. You are never alone by any means, but you can never place the sole weight of your happiness on someone else.

So, find adventures. Travel to somewhere that scares you. Create memories. Take a bubble bath. Enjoy the brownie. Enjoy the salads, too. Wear what makes you happy. Dance to your favorite song. Blast the music in your car. Find your support system. Find your tribe and love them ferociously. And most importantly, be your own biggest adventure.

 

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Always and forever,

The Traveling Brunette

As You Wish…..

Halloween (October 31, 2017)- Kentucky

Although this blog has been primarily about travel, I also designed it to be about life and love as well. This Halloween, I was blessed with one of the biggest events in my life: my best friend and the love of my life asked me to marry him! The last couple of weeks since our engagement have been a whirlwind, but they have been the absolute best weeks of my life. Derek found the perfect way to propose that completely took my breath away and this Halloween will be completely unforgettable.

If you were not aware, this year is the 30th anniversary of the official release of The Princess Bride. And, if you are part of the majority of the population, you know that you can’t help but absolutely adore this movie. To celebrate, Derek and I decided to dress up as Westley and Princess Buttercup for Halloween and to hand out candy to children at his house. I was beyond excited because I was going to be a real-life princess for the night and there was lots of candy, so win-win. I had to buy my dress, but Derek absolutely blew my mind by putting together his costume all by himself! He looked amazing!

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On Halloween, I rushed over to his house after my last class of the day and quickly changed into my costume before the kids started ringing the doorbell. His family had set up amazing decorations the night before so we set up some chairs and the giant bowl of candy and waited for kids to arrive. It was a really cold night but I was having so much fun handing out candy in our costumes. A little after we had started, my sweet Derek asked his parents and his younger brother to take pictures of us in our costumes in front of the house. Silly me was smiling super wide for the pictures, but little did I know that Derek’s parents were recording us. In the middle of the pictures, Derek knelt down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I of course said yes and turned incredibly red because everyone was watching us. It was so amazing to see the video of the proposal afterwards and it is something I will always cherish.

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(Look at that sneaky ring box(: )

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Looking back at the photos, I can see where Derek was hiding the ring box in his hand during the first photos (sneaky boy haha). It was an absolute fairytale and I cannot wait to share our future adventures and travels with you as husband and wife!

 

Lots of love,

The Traveling Brunette

All You Need is Love

Townsend, TN- Fall 2017

And we are back! Derek and I spent my college fall break celebrating our one year anniversary by returning to one of our favorite places: Townsend, TN! We rented a cabin and spent the next few days hiking, exploring, laughing, EATING…. needless to say it was the best vacation of my life. A few of the places we went to I wrote about in my last post, but we also did a lot of new exploring. As I’ve said before, there truly isn’t a more peaceful and beautiful place for a quiet vacation than Townsend, TN.

We started our first day by returning to one of Derek’s family’s favorites: Spruce Flatt Falls. This is great for new or experienced hikers (and it is extremely family friendly). As you can see, it has some of the most beautiful sites.

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After that, we researched some cool new places around our cabin in Townsend and we discovered this little gem: Tuckaleechee Caverns. If you love cave exploring or even if you are new, you will love coming here! It is a very spacious cavern, so I never felt claustrophobic or anxious and it has some of the most diverse underground scenery I have ever experienced. They have a beach, a wishing well, a waterfall, and, of course, plenty of amazing natural sculptures! But check out the photos for yourself.

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(Derek making a wish at the wishing well)
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(Touching the water on the shore of the beach)

We spent our second day doing more “touristy” activities in Pigeon Forge. We returned to one of our favorite places: the Island and then I took Derek to the Hollywood Wax Museum and my favorite, the Titanic exhibit! We had such a blast and we ended the evening by returning to the Apple Barn for dinner. If you haven’t eaten down here, I highly recommend it. It has something for everyone here, plus it is so cute!

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(side excursion to a cute swinging bridge)

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(How precious is this church?!)IMG-3985

(This was a recreation of a picture from our first trip outside of a store at the Island)

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(Real props/ costumes from the Titanic movie!)

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(At the very top of the Hollywood Wax Museum with King Kong photobombing)

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(Dinner at the Apple Barn)

Before heading back home, we did one final (and new) hike at Abram Falls and let me just tell you, this hike is absolutely breathtaking! I have done a lot of hiking in my life but this was by far the most beautiful. Now I must warn you, this is also labeled one of the top 10 most dangerous hikes in America due to the steep edges and rocky terrain but if you are up for the challenge, it is certainly worth it. Plus afterwards we rewarded ourselves with the best sweet potato fries ever, so win-win, right? I don’t have too many pictures because we were too busy living in the moment and soaking up the gorgeous views.

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I could seriously spend forever talking about how amazing this trip was, but I hope these highlights inspire you to check it out yourself. This is perfect for a family trip, or as Derek and I recommend, a romantic getaway or anniversary celebration. Not only did we fall in love all over again with the beautiful surroundings, but we also fell in love with each other all over again too. Townsend, Tennessee truly revitalizes my soul and I hope everyone is able to find somewhere that gives them that exact same feeling.

Lots of love,

The Traveling Brunette

Country Roads, Take Me Home

Townsend, Tennessee (visited in 2016)

Hey friends! When you think about Tennessee I am guessing that the two big places that pop up in your mind are Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. Up until this fall, those were the two places that I thought of first too. I have been to some amazing places in Tennessee including the lively Nashville and the iconic Memphis, but there is just something about the beautiful Gatlinburg area that has kept me and my family coming back again and again. If you don’t know, I am a HUGE hiker! I love hiking in areas around where I live in Kentucky (and I have even hiked the Swiss Alps) but my favorite hikes almost always happen in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.

This past October several of my friends and college coworkers invited me and my boyfriend, Derek, to rent a cabin with them in Tennessee for fall break. Both of us love hiking and so we jumped at the opportunity. Ironically, he and his family have always loved visiting a place called Townsend, TN (yes, like my last name) so when we were planning for this trip, he asked if I would like to drive and spend some days in Townsend which is really close to the Pigeon Forge area and where we were staying. I had already seen some of the gorgeous and breathtaking pictures from the area that he had shown me so I esctatically agreed! Let me tell you now, the pictures did not do the place justice. The hiking in Townsend is unrivaled with breathtaking waterfalls and mountainous rock formations and little pathways lined with trees and to top it all off, we saw it during fall when the landscape is painted in the reds, oranges, and yellows of the falling leaves. One day there and I instantly fell in love!

P.S. The difficulty of the hiking trails vary, so even if hiking really isn’t your thing, there are easy trails that consist of mostly flat walking but still present stunning views of the scenery. There are trails that suit all types of fitness levels and interests. Plus, you are only a short drive away from the bustling life of Pigeon Forge!

We started out our first few hours in Tennessee by having dinner together at this quaint and adorable restaurant. I love eating at places like this because the food is great and the clientele are even more amazing. We got dozens of compliments from older couples about our “young love” and our waitress even asked if we were newly weds because we just looked so happy and in love.

I am not quite sure of the location because we found it on the edge of a pretty beaten path, but Tennessee is full of restaurants like this that offer local food and are owned and run by families. The food was amazing and it put us both in an extremely happy mood so we couldn’t wait for the rest of our adventures.

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(A well deserved dinner for two after hours of driving)

The next day, our hiking adventures began. Derek was excited because he got to return to some of the places he loves and I was thrilled to see these breathtaking places with my own eyes for the first time! I had never seen a waterfall in person before, even a small one, so I was practically jumping out of childish excitement! There were two waterfalls we saw. This one was the first one and it is the one most frequented by tourists because it is relatively easy to get to and kids love it.

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(Look at this cutie making funny faces)

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Next came the second waterfall, which we had to climb to reach but, man, was it worth it! SOOO beautiful and it holds a very special place in my heart because Derek dubbed it “Our Waterfall” and that is how we always refer to it now. It is secluded and the nature that surrounded us was truly magnificent. To this day, this waterfall holds some of my most cherished memories. Plus, it helps that I got to experience it for the first time with the love of my life :).

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(Sorry for the cute pic overload)

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( I felt like such an adventurer posing by our waterfall)

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(One of the paths further along on our hike)

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(I felt like I was in that scene from Dirty Dancing. Channeling my inner Baby!)

img_1307(Then, my Johnny joined me up here :)! )

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(Look at that handsome navigator!)

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(So many incredibly fun climbs)

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(One of my favorite pictures from the trip)

After a full day day of hiking, Derek and I both agreed that we deserved a romantic and delicious dinner! I suggested taking us to one of my family’s favorite restaurants in Tennessee, the Apple Barn. I was amazed that he had never been there before because whenever I talk to someone about Tennessee, the Apple Barn is almost always brought up. The restaurant decor is beautiful and they offer food for everyone. I have food allergies so it can be difficult to find foods that I can eat, but this place has several options for everyone. Some of their seats are actual porch swings on either side of a table so you can literally sit on a porch swing while you eat lunch or dinner! How cute! Check this place out! Ever since we went there, Derek has been begging me to take a weekend trip back to hike and eat at the Apple Barn again. I’m sure not complaining!

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(Dinner at the Apple Barn)

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(Look at this DELICIOUS food! I got chicken salad and fruit and Derek got chicken Fettuccine Alfredo)- his fave!

The exterior of the Apple Barn is beautiful, as well, with several gazebos and lights hanging across porches and lining the pathways.

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(Hanging out in a gazebo outside of the restaurant)

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(Look how adorable these fall decorations are!)

On our last day in Tennessee, we decided to drive over to the Gatlinburg area and do some window shopping and sight seeing. We found a beautiful little shopping center that offered all kinds of shops and we had a blast! Down below you can see me nerding out to a Wizard of Oz display outside of one of the shops!

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(My childhood dream!)

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(And of course, I had to enjoy lots of coffee and I was dying over the cuteness of this cup. I felt like Marilyn Monroe with those lips :)! )

I couldn’t fit everything from our trip on here, but I tried to include some of my absolute favorites. Tennessee has something to offer for everyone, so even if you aren’t that into hiking, there is PLENTY for you to do! It is perfect for a trip with friends, family, really anyone. But, no matter where you go or what you do, the experience is always made by the people you get to share your memories with. I know for me, this trip was made perfect because I got to spend it with Derek and some of our close friends. With that being said, there is nothing wrong with traveling by yourself either because I have done that too! It is all up to you because both experiences can be incredible!

I hope you all enjoyed this post and didn’t mind the overload of our pictures. Adventure on, my friends!

Lots of love,

The Traveling Brunette

 

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

New York City at Christmas (visited in 2015)

I don’t know about you but when I think about Christmas time I cannot help but turn back into that giddy little four year old girl who was jumping on my parents’ bed at 2 a.m. in the morning screaming, “WAKE UP! IT’S CHRISTMAS!” (P.S. I may or may not still do that (: ). One of my biggest dreams was to see NYC at Christmas time because deep down in our hearts, I think we all want to live out those Hallmark Holiday Movies and in my opinion, New York City is the perfect place to do so. Around the winter holidays, NYC transforms into this entirely new world filled with gigantic Christmas decorations, lights hanging from every street corner, store windows filled to the top with winter displays and moving animations, and the always classic Rockefeller Christmas tree to bring it all together.

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(Me and my mom in front of the Rockefeller Tree)

If you know me, you know that I usually like to spend a quiet Christmas at home with my family and loved ones (and my dogs), but last year my mom and I stepped out of our comfort zones and did something I have always wanted to do: take a trip to NYC during the holiday season. Even though I am usually the kind of girl that resists change, I loved every single second of this trip. I had been to New York City twice before this trip, once in the summer and once in the spring, but this trip was an all new experience. Not only does the city look incredibly different with all of the decorations, but the feel of the city changes too to fit the growing holiday cheer. There are so many fun and amazing things to do in NYC at Christmas, it can get a bit overwhelming if you are thinking about planning a trip. So, since the holiday season is growing closer and closer, in this post I have compiled a list of my top recommendations of things to do and see in NYC at Christmas time. Keep in mind I am not a native to NYC so my list might look different from someone who lives there, but as an outsider these are my top picks for things to see!

Top 10 Things to Do/See in NYC at Christmas Time:

  • Rockefeller Christmas Tree- Of course, nothing says “holiday cheer” like a gigantic Christmas tree! Plus, right beside the tree you can rent a pair of skates and go iceskating on the outdoor rink.

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(The outdoor iceskating rink beside the Rockefeller Tree)

  • Shopping on 5th avenue- 5th avenue is amazing at anytime of the year, but the decorations and light shows that happen around the holidays are like something out of a fairytale.

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  • Seeing the Empire State Building lit up with green and red- It is so fun to see the lights on the Empire State Building change to red and green around Christmas.

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  • Go see a Broadway Play- Again, this is something I recommend doing regardless of the season, but there is something extra magical about seeing one of these spectacular masterpieces during the holidays.

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  • Check out Top of the Rock at night time- The Top of the Rock has one of the best skyline views of NYC (including a great view of the Empire State Building) and it is a completely different experience to come back and see the view at night.

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(Featured in the center is the Empire State Building before the lights were switched to red and green)

  • Check out some amazing seasonal food!- NYC is known for some great food and the holidays are no exception, but for me, my favorite was the seasonal veggies and smoothies!

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(Featured here is some healthy seasonal veggies with chicken and rice and a chocolate peanut butter banana smoothie- yum!)

  • Spend some time in Times Square to see the holiday ads (and because it is a must!)

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  • Go see the famous Macy’s department store that is featured in Miracle on 34th Street.- It is one of the most fantastic places in NYC and you instantly become a little kid again when you see all of the magic that the store has to offer!

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(The giant mailbox for letters written to Santa)

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  • Look at some of the incredible winter and holiday store window decorations.- Nothing can beat the window decorations for a NYC Christmas. I think the pictures speak for themselves here.

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(Anthropologie store beside the Rockefeller Tree)

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(Henri Bendel window)

  • And last but not least, spend some time with the people you love- NYC at Christmas time is amazing, but it would not have been nearly as special if I had not been able to share the experience with someone I love. So whether that is your family, your special someone, or some of your best friends, I encourage you to share the joy of Christmas and the experiences that NYC has to share with your loved ones!

Merry Christmas and happy holidays, everyone!

Love,

The Traveling Brunette

*All pictures taken by me

Empire State of Mind

New York City, New York (visited in 2015)

Welcome to the “City That Never Sleeps”! New York City is one of the most iconic cities in the world. From “Sleepless in Seattle” to “Home Alone” to “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” this city is booming with life, love, and adventure! Whether you are looking down on the city from one of its many skyscrapers, or strolling the streets of Brooklyn, or grabbing a bite to eat from a local street vendor, this city will always keep you entertained. NYC has much to offer so I have decided to break it up into several different posts so you can see just how much adventure can be found here. For my first post on NYC, I am going to focus on one of its most famous structures: the Empire State Building. The Empire State Building is one of the most popular tourist spots and for good reason because it gives you the best view of the city. First, let’s get a look at some of the origins of the Empire State Building.

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(The lower level of the inside of the Empire State Building)

From the Beginning: *

  • The building was originally constructed during a race to create the world’s tallest building! During the economic boom during the late 1920’s, builders were restless to try to build the world’s largest skyscraper.
  • The building has a total of 103 floors.
  • It was finished in record time. It took only 410 days to build from start to finish!
  • At first, it was considered a financial fail, mostly because of the start of the Great Depression. The building only became profitable during World War II.

*Checked by: http://www.history.com/news/history-lists/10-surprising-facts-about-the-empire-state-building

Fun Facts: **

  • Shocking kisses: Static electricity gathers at high heights, and under the right atmospheric conditions, couples can experience a slight electric shock when they kiss.
  • As far as the eye can see: On a clear day, you can see five different states from the top of the building: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
  • Zipping: The Empire State Building is home to so many businesses it has its own zip code: 10118.
  • Lightning Show: The building is struck by lightning on average of 100 times per year.
  • True love: Every year, the building holds a Valentine’s Day Weddings contest in which 14 couples are selected to get married on the observation deck.
  • A True Wonder:  The building was named the eighth Wonder of the World (the only one built in the 20th century).

**Checked by: https://www.walksofnewyork.com/blog/empire-state-building-facts

The View:

I could write about the spectacular view all day long but I think it would be wiser to let the pictures speak for themselves. So, without further ado…

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From this high up, you can truly tell that NYC is surrounded by water. The view is honestly breathtaking. Words cannot describe it.

Literary Recommendations:

For books set in New York City, you have to check out the classics! Some of the best literature based in New York City are The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote, and The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath to name a few.

For this post, I would be crazy not to offer some movie recommendations too. Some of the most popular movies featuring the Empire State Building are “King Kong”, “Sleepless in Seattle”, “An Affair to Remember”, “The Amazing Spiderman”, “Annie Hall”, and the holiday favorite, “Elf”. There is a plethora of pop culture that features the Empire State Building, but if you take my advice, I would plan a trip so you can see it for yourself! NYC can be an easy and inexpensive trip if you do your research and plan ahead of time. (Tip for students: many popular sights give student discounts for tickets!) Stay tuned for more posts featuring NYC!

P.S. If you’re lucky you might just meet your own Tom Hanks at the top of the Empire State Building!

-The Traveling Brunette

***All pictures taken by me!