Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Our Annapolis Shoot & A BIG GIVEAWAY!!

Our Beautiful Annapolis Shoot
A Giveaway!!!

We went to Annapolis last week for a phototshoot with my friend Tia, we spent most of the day schmying around and exploring all the little shops and restaurants, walking the piers and side streets. I had no idea how interesting the capital is. Yup that’s right...Annapolis is the capital of Maryland, a lot of people think it’s D.C. which is a common mistake that I must admit even I made at one time. It was originally called Providence by the Puritans, then later it took on the name of Anne Arundel’s Town, after the wife of Lord Baltimore, the owner of the proprietary colony. Then finally Sir Frances decided to honor Princess Anne, heir to the throne. In 1708 the Queen chartered her colonial namesake as her city. Her crown badge over the entwined thistle of Scotland and Tudor Rose of England are proudly displayed on the Annapolis flag. For over 300 years this beautiful little town has brought in millions of visitors from all over the world. The many small winding streets of Annapolis are home to some pretty amazing shops, restaurants, and bars. 

Of all the great stores there's such a variety of different items, if you want clothes there's a White House Black Market, Hats in the Belfry, Black dog, Chico’s, The Pink Crab, and Diva. Then there are plenty of jewelry and accessory stores, then there's art galleries, craft stores, and even furniture and decor shops. A girl can get lost in all the fabulousness Annapolis offers. Then not far outside of downtown there's Annapolis Mall, another jackpot of amazing shop spots. It’s a great area to spend the day exploring, and just amercing yourself in all that is Annapolis. We met Tia our doll of a photographer at the top of Main Street by the Starbucks, then we (myself, Piper, Rob and Tia) made our way down Main Street towards the docks. We stopped into Kilwin’s Chocolate & Ice Cream…definitely one of my favorite spots. You guys know about my crazy sweet tooth, plus they always have fresh made chocolate, ice cream and everything else you can think of. We got a cone and some chocolate to help us enjoy the 75 degree February day even more. As you can see in the pictures Piper enjoyed that rainbow ice-cream as much as I did, if not more..lol! 

(Just chilling' on Easy Street!)

     (Fun Fact: Did you guys know that Pip is my little nickname for Piper?)

We walked all the way down to the docks as we strolled down the cozy little brick sidewalks and streets. There is such a charm in Annapolis that it puts you in the coolest mood, not to mention all of the history that it encumbers. All within a few blocks of one another you have the State House, the District Court House, and City Hall. This kinda gives you an idea of how small downtown Annapolis is, but what she lacks in size she sure makes up for in charm. If you’ve never visited the Capitol of Maryland you should plan a day trip, you’ll more than love it. It's amazing how overtime I go I enjoy myself to the point that the whole day passes before I know it, giving me the feeling that I didn't see enough, and leaving me wanting to come back for more. One of my favorite spots was the mural below that we found on one of the little backstreets, isn't it the cutest street art you've ever seen? 

    (I'm on a mission now to find more great walls like this in Baltimore MD. If you guys know any plz let me know!)
(Outfit Deets: Top byTorrid, Jeans by American Eagle Outfitters, Shoes by Coach, Handbag by Michael Kors, Sunglasses by Tory Burch)

(Left to Right: Myself, Piper & Rob)

Annapolis has all kinds of museums and fun activities, especially during the summer months. They just had a huge St.Patty's Day Parade this past weekend, I'm really bummed I missed it. I'm hoping I can find something fun to attend here in Baltimore, there's usually a really fun event in Little Italy. Quick heads up...if you go to Annapolis, stop by the Annapolis Visitor’s Center on West Street and get all the good info, along with a map of the area. That way you won't miss any of the good stuff...but then again it's all good stuff. Trust me the day will seem to fly bye in a second, and like me you'll already be looking forward to the return trip. I hope you all had a fab weekend, all of the outfit deets are listed above. All of the pictures were taken by: Tia Bustanoby a great photographer friend of mine, check her out on Instagram! @tjulietephotography
Before I go I want to show you guys a new sweater I got from Chicwish, and tell you all about a HUGE GIVEAWAY i'm running!!

(Outfit Deets: Heart Sweater by Chicwish, Destroyed Denim by American Eagle Outfitters, Handbag by Michaels Kors, Sunglasses by Red Label Eyewear)

Take note to the cute minty green box in the above picture, that's my StatusBox and inside is the cutest smart watch ever. I can wait to charge it up and start wearing it on my am runs to see how well I do each day. I have a feeling it will help me to run harder and smarter and get more benefit out of my exercise. It has so many neat options and abilities, I can't wait to give it a good run and share my thoughts with you guys, in the meantime check out Misfit and StatusBox. 
I ordered the above oh-so-cute pink heart sweater from Chicwish 2 weeks ago, it's a great spot to order clothes, they have really cute stuff at great prices. The only thing that drives me crazy is the shipping takes forever. Either way I'm so over-the-moon about this new sweater, that the long shipping issue has fallen by the waist side. It's so soft, cuddly and thick, plus it looks great with my AEO TomGirl, destroyed denim jeans, and the pink shade matches my nude leather MK bag to perfection. I plan to wear a cotton white top under it...either a spaghetti strap tank or scoop neck long sleeve top, depending on weather it's really chilly or not. I'm always the one saying I'm hot, and as annoying as it is I'm never comfortable. Good thing is the way the sweater is made there is a bit of air that will flow through it due to the tiny holes from the crochet. The only thing that annoys me is there is no closures in the front. Maybe I'll sew on some cute buttons, or clasp hooks? Hey it's an idea, in the meantime I'm absolutely in love with this sweater. Cool thing is they make it in a couple different styles, so I can definitely see myself getting one or two more come fall. So what'cha think..is it as amazing as I think it is?..lol!! 

Last but not least the GIVEAWAY HEY HEY!!!!........

~Yes it’s time for another out of this world 🌎 giveaway!~ 
I have teamed up with 12 other amazing bloggers to give one person the choice of 1 out of 3 amazing prizes. 
1. A MacBook Air
2. A $900 Nordstrom or Amazon Gift Card 
3. Or a $800 PayPal Cash Option
The giveaway will run from 3/13/18 12 noon est to 4/16/18 at midnight est. 
To enter just click on the below rafflecopter form and complete the many different tasks to double and triple your chances of winning many times over. 
You must be 18+ years of age and reside in the USA, UK, or CANADA to win. 
The winner will be announced on the below rafflecopter form within 24hrs of the giveaway closing.
Thanks so much for following and Good Luck 🍀 Luvs!
Have a Wonderful Week!!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

I Love New York!!

This blog post is sponsored, all experiences and opinions are 100% mine and mine alone.
Enjoy the post and please comment with your thoughts!

The Other Side of Fashion Week!

I spent half of my 7 days in New York exploring the city to find fun things to do, along with trying all the local restaurants. I put this post together of my favorite places to eat and places to go during my trips to NYC for Fashion Week. Check them out for yourselves, I'm certain you'll love them as much as I do!! Thursday the 8th started off a little bit crazy to say the least. Rob and I got up pretty early to get to Penn Station with plenty of time. The night before I packed everything up in my new Calpak suitcase, and set it all bye the front door with my handbag, shoes and jacket. 

I'm happy to say because my suitcase is the 28" size, that it fit most of both Rob and I's clothes, shoes, and then some. There was just a suite bag that Rob puts his two suites and a pair of dress shoes in. so it would not be folded and wrinkle the jackets he left it hanging in the closet ....that decision would be the cause of some serious stress...lol! Long story short while we where preparing to board the train, I realized that Rob didn't grab that bag on our way out the door, so we had to call a Lyft to take him back to the house to get the bag. Then I had to pay Amtrak to move the tickets ahead an hour and a half. Once that set back was averted we boarded our train and started off for New York. The train ride was cozy and calm as usual, I always enjoy taking the Amtrak train. We rode in the business section so we could sit at the tables and get some work done on the 2.5 hour trip. They have wifi and two plugs at each seat, and that's all I need to be a happy camper. Plus I made sure that I dressed comfy in sneakers, jeans, and a comfy MK tunic sweater. 

Once we got there I called a Lyft to the hotel so we could settle in to meet up with Lei and Mike, then get something to eat. We were starving since we hadn't had a minute to grab anything to eat all morning, aside from a small bag of pizza goldfish I had stashed in my bag. Thank Goodness I always make sure to pack something to snack on with a couple of drinks. Once we made it to the The Double Tree by Hilton on Stone Street, we unpacked a few things, ate some food that Lei picked up from Jollibee ..thank goodness. Then we headed right back out the door to do some exploring. It was around 2pm, the first place we headed was the World Trade Center because it was a 10 minute walk from our hotel. We stopped at the memorial and then moved on to walk through the Westfield/World Trade Center Mall, wow was that a wild looking structure. The whole inner core of the mall was underground, and what was above ground looked like a huge white bird.

 The interior mirrored the outside because it looked like a inner rib cage. The whole interior of the mall was white, with white marble floors, glass and chrome elevators and escalators that went to all different floors, exits, and entrances that led up to the street to get a cab or the bus, or down to the subway. It's definitely a huge thorough-fare for thousands of people every day, boy was it packed. Not it it had all the best stores....UGG, Kate Spade, Coach, Gap, Banana Republic, Godiva, Apple, ALDO, Cole Hann, Dior Beauty, The Rack, and many more! Then if you went down a level and followed the walkway underground, it took you to another section called Westfield Mall. There were a ton of other stores such as Victoria's Secret, Tory Burch, Philosophy, under Armour, and so on. This was one of the nicest malls I've seen in a while, though I have to admit the prices were twice what they are in Maryland at my local mall, so it's safe to say I didn't do any real shopping. Once we finished wandering the mall we took the escalator up to the street and headed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. On the way we stopped into the National Museum of the American Indian, and interestingly enough it was full of so many neat items.

The center of the entire museum was so grand and beautiful, it had all sorts of stunning New York images painted on the ceilings. Then in the center it was a huge circle and the exhibits where off to the four corners. The best one was The Infinity Of Nations Exhibit, it is full of all sorts of different items of clothing, which seemed perfect for fashion week. They had so may different tribes and styles that no two where anything alike, it's so amazing how detailed everything is, it's all so in depth it makes you wonder how they did everything by hand. They didn't have any machines to make it for them. there where thousands of beads and shells all sewn individually together to form a pattern. One of my favorite items was a small doll that I noticed right off the bat, OMGoodness it's so cute and it even had a pair of little moccasins, with a matching head piece and necklace. This let's us know that from day one we have always accessorized...lol!!

Now let's get down to detail, this next shot is what I was talking about when I said individual beads were sewn together to form a pattern.  
Look closely and you'll see how amazing this workmanship is, not to mention I'm loving all the color, especially the pink and baby blue together.
If you guys could have seen how super tiny they were, now that I think about it all of the wemon's stuff was super tiny. I think some of it may have been to tiny for even Lei to wear. 


 Then there was the wedding dress and again it was so tiny, the person that wore it couldn't have been more than 5 foot tall and 95lbs. Then they had the coolest fur lined coat, it reminds me of the style we're all wearing now, just a little less modern. That's one thing about us humans, we recycle styles from generation to generation. My mother is constantly telling me that I'm wearing things now that where popular when she was a kid. Hence ripped or destroyed denim jeans, I'll never hear the end of that one...lol! I always tell her.. "Ma you should start a clothing line, because it seems you know what will be in style next before it even happens". Does this mean I'll see people starting to wear Skidz and Jynco jeans again? I hope not because that was a horrible trend, one that I look back on and think OMG what was I thinking. 

After we finished exploring the museum we headed back to the hotel to get dressed and head out to dinner. We want to a great little Philipeno restaurant called Maharlika at 111 1st Avenue. As you know Lei is Philipeno, she's always telling me about authentic Philipeno food and how amazing it is, so you know I had to try it. Maharlika is the cutest little spot with the nicest staff. Lei and I started off with a drink called the Baguio Breeze, and wow was is delish. The only way I can describe how it tastes is like pineapple hard candy, let's just say I had more than one. For the food portion we ordered something called the Kamayan Feast, wow you guys this was an amazing meal and huge as you can see, definitely more than enough for the four of us. There was a little bit of everything all laid out on banana leaves and rice....chicken, fish, pork, veggies...and then some. The whole idea of the meal is to eat with your hands, no forks and knives, just dig in with your fingers. I have to say it was such a great experience, everyone was full and licking their fingers by the end of the evening.

For dessert we had the coconut flan, which is really good. I had never had flaun before, it's a warm coconut flavored type of custard. I loved the light syrup that it sat in, along with the strawberry to cut the sweetness. It was the perfect end to a delicious evening. I really loved the mellow and cool feel of Maharlika.
Note...they played the best music all night, it's just a great atmosphere, you guys will absolutely love it, I know I did!!

After dinner we headed back to the hotel to get some rest, after a day of travels I would say we were all pretty exhausted. The next morning we got up kinda early to start out and find a great breakfast spot. On the way we stopped by the Fearless Girl Statue to take a fun shot, I absolutely love the way it turned out. It's fun shots like these that made me fall in love with photography and blogging in the first place. If I can make one person smile through my photography and writing, than I feel like it was all worth it, plus it's always so much fun.

For breakfast we settled on a spot called Zucker's Bagels & Smoked Fish, located on Chambers Street. Coincidentally it was National Bagel day so I got my favorite.. a huge bagel and egg sandwich with american cheese, raw purple onion and tomato. Everyone at the table agreed that the bagels where super fresh, we all enjoyed what we ordered. With full bellies we called a Lyft to start heading over to Central Park.

 Rob wanted to see the Dakota and make a stop at Strawberry Fields, as he has a huge admiration for John Lennon. We really enjoyed the Imagine tiles, it made for a great picture as well as a reminder of how many amazing artists we lost this past year. They all will be greatly missed, but their gift of music will remain with us forever to help us through both the good times and the bad. We walked around in Central Park for hours, and we got so many great shots due to all the neat little bridges and nooks all throughout.

This last shot just above is from the lookout tower, it's part of a cool little castle tucked within the Park. As you can see it provides a beautiful city line view. We all really enjoyed spending the day in Central park, and believe it or not we only covered a small section in all the time we were there.
I can't wait to go back in September so I can see what it all looks like when it's nice and green. We wanted to go to Washington Park where the huge archway is, but because we assumed it was an entrance to or part of Central Park. We had no idea it was a whole different park, so I guess we'll cover that one next time. It was around 2pm when we left, because Lei and I had another event to attend in Manhattan at 4pm so we started heading back to the hotel to get ready. On the way we stopped into the neatest little spot called Eggloo located at 60 Mulberry Street, in Chinatown. I have been seeing the pictures of these waffle cones for some time now, and you guys know I have a killer sweet tooth, so I just couldn't help stopping in. They were so massive fun and colorful, not to mention delicious. 

We told them to give us the cutest ones and they sure obliged, the staff was super nice and accommodating because they made the order super fast and just how we asked. Then on top of all that there where tons of people in the store so I know they were super busy. The cones really hit the spot, I tell yah I sure wish we had a Eggloo in Baltimore. That's one thing about New York, there's always a HUGE array of amazing sweet treat spots to choose from. After we gobbled up our waffle cones Lei and I headed off to the Fashion Week Couture Event. Afterwards we met the guys for dinner at a spot called Fig & Olive, it's located at 420 West 13th Street, in the Meat Packing District. 
i was really impressed by the great feel of this restaurant, it has a modern chic vibe and their menu is created around local seasonal foods, which means it's constantly changing and that I love.

I ordered the Fig & Olive Tajine, it was a brothy dark meat chicken dish, and the meat was cooked perfectly and falling off the bone. The broth was full of delicious veggies and sided with couscous, sliced almonds, and some yummy sauces. Rob and Mike ordered the Province Roasted Amish Chicken platter and Lei got the Grass Fed Filet Mignon. 
Again everyone at the table was super happy with their meal. The place was packed with the best music playing via DJ in the front dinning room. 
We had an Apple Tart for dessert, it was so big that it was more than enough for all four of us. Before this trip I had never heard of Fig & Olive, so I'm delighted that I found a new restaurant that I like, and even more delighted that there's one in my area. 

Especially with desserts like this, you know I'll fo'sho be there...lol..and the drinks OMGoodness they were amazing too. They also have a huge wine and drinks list, they can make ust about anything you want. Happy Hour is from 4pm -7pm every day,  the specialty cocktails are only $9. Try the raspberry Mojito or the Cucumber Cosmo, or one of their housemade cocktails for only $8, and pair it with one of their cheeseboards. It's the perfect way to get a meal off to a fabulous start!  I can't wait to go and try some more of their cocktails and delish dishes at the D.C. location near me. 

As the day started to come to ad end I can tell you this, I was so tired that the second my head hit the pillow I was out and I slept very very well. The next morning was a Saturday, we had a early morning event to attend so we left the guys at the hotel and went to hang out backstage at a show. We got our hair done and schmyed around with all the stylists, who were so amazing and down to earth by the way. Lei and I grabbed a sandwich from a little deli while we waited for the show to start. After the show ended we headed to Mamo to meet up with Rob and Mike for lunch at 1pm, it's located at: 323 W. Broadway. I ordered a little pasta and marinara sauce with fresh parmesan cheese, wow was it  good.

They started us off with some crusty bread and olive oil, which ended up being perfect to dip in the sauce and eat while twirling my pasta. It was a cute little spot with a classy style. While we were eating we got a pleasant surprise, another blogger friend of ours Allison walked in the door. Of all the places in New York she walks into the one we we're eating, it was good to see her and say hello. 
This is one of the things I love most about Fashion Week, so many ladies from all over the world come to New York, it's great that we can all meet up for lunch or dinner. I also love running into them at the shows, this year I saw so many other influencers. 

(Keep an eye out for the Fashion side of my trip, the post is coming up soon!!)

For dessert I had a slice of cheesecake and WOW was it good. Definitely my favorite bite of the day, that's for sure. What can I say I love me some sweets....and cheesecake is high on my list of faves. It just wouldn't be me without some good dessert porn..lol! That evening after the Simply Event Lei and Mike started home, they have two little ones they had to get back to. I admit I too was anxious and missing Piper like crazy. So much that I called the puppy spa she was staying at to ask how she was doing and what she was up to like 5 times. I also wrote out a full review on Instagram if you guys are looking for a place to take care of your fur babies while you're on vacation or just out of town. It's called Debendale Kennel & Spa, all the info is on Piper's Instagram page @piperthepin. The rest of the evening we took to relax and enjoy the downtime, especially since the past couple days had been go, go, go!! I sat down with a glass on champagne and enjoyed the beautiful view from my room.
Check this out!!

That's Freedom Tower just in the back, this is how close the hotel was. I really like when it got dark because the whole window lit up with the skyline and it looked quite magnificent. 
The Double Tree was an excellent choice, the beds where super soft, the rooms where clean, and the staff was more than helpful! Next time though we have to get a room right in the middle of Manhattan, perhaps around or bye Time Square. That way we won't have to spend so much money on Lyft cars back and forth. It's much cheaper than a taxi but it adds up quickly, so I definitely plan to keep it at walking distance this coming September. I'm excited to say that I'm already planning for my return trip, and this year I have Paris Fashion Week in my sights. The next morning started out much like the one before, only this time we went to a place called Pick A Bagel for breakfast, it too had amazing fresh bagels but they were more moderately priced, which is always good. 

After breakfast we headed off to Century21 Department Store to do a little shopping. The thing I love about Century21is they have the best brands for the best prices. I was able to get a full outfit for under $100 bucks. It consisted of a Tommy Hilfiger v-neck pink sweater, a pair of Pistola star jeans, and a MK reversible belt. I'm so  proud of myself because I only had a gift card for $100, and I still have $9 left. I scooped the MK belt for $29, come on now you just can't beat that.

After our shopping excursion Rob and I retreated to the hotel room until my last event at the Mercedes Benz Dealership, then we headed off to our final dinner in New York at a restaurant called  TheP, it's located at: 1439 2nd Avenue. I can't wait to share this final one with you guys, as it's the best Thai food in New York for sure. It has the coolest vibe with a fun eclectic style. They have a menu that includes pictures of each dish, that way you get a better idea of what you're ordering.
I got the pineapple fried rice with chicken, and Rob got the steamed striped bass. Not only was the food delicious they also take the time to make sure it looks as good as it tastes. They served it in a hollowed pineapple, topped with fresh tomatoes, cilantro, and lemon slices. As I ate I got the best bites of fresh pineapple and chicken. 

Rob's dish looked equally spectacular, it came in 
the cutest fish shaped bowl sided with brown rice and I mean the real deal. The service was on point, our waitress was so helpful in explaining the menu, and that's very important when it's your first time in a restaurant. I always ask the waitress when it's my first time what it is that he or she likes. That gives me a better idea of what's good from an insiders perspective. Nine time out of ten it's usually spot on, only because they're there all day every day, which means most likely they are eating the food. They also had a list of amazing drinks along with a full bar, I regret not seeing some of the images for the drinks or I definitely would have ordered one. Eating at Thep sure makes me wish we had a good Thai food restaurant in Baltimore, something authentic, I had no idea it was so darn good. I guess I have to start doing some research, even if it's a bit further out I'll drive there for really good food. By the time we where done eating, and I didn't have room for one more bite they brought dessert out. It was an amazing mango sorbet that I oh so suddenly had room for...lol! 

They also have a lot of outdoor seating in the summertime, so I'm certain we'll enjoy the return trip in September. Bye the time we left I was more than ready for bed. On the last day we made our way to the Statue of Liberty, well across from it that is. We stopped at Battery Park to take some pictures and check out the shoreline, they really made it quite beautiful. Again another park I can't wait to come back and see when it's green and lush. If you look hard in the picture below you can just make out Lady Liberty....barely.

There are so many great parks in New York that we can't wait explore!
Then their's the buildings and monuments, as well as the statues. We'll never run out of things to do and see. In a way I'm proud of myself, i even got Rob in on the action. Now he really enjoys taking pictures with and of all different people we run into. I think I've converted him, 
he looks forward to fashion week now...lol!! All in all it was an amazing trip to New York!

Let's hope I do get to go to Paris this coming September in conjunction with New York, wow will I more than enjoy exploring that city, and then sharing it with you guys. Also because it has been on my list of MUST GO PLACES forever now. I hope you all enjoyed the post, the fashion side of my trip will be up in the next couple days, I also posted a ton of content on my Instagram account (@DanaStargazerTruitt) just look for the story highlights named #NYFW. 
Thanks for following and reading, and don't forget to follow us on Instagram and Twitter!

Until Next Time New York....