City Spotlight: New York City!

New York City is the best place to visit during the holiday season! The entire city is decked out in lights, ornaments, trees, menorahs, bows, and festive colors. It is truly magical experiencing Christmas in New York, and it should definitely be on everyone’s bucket list. While I am from outside the city, I love being a tourist this time of year and taking the train in to see some of the famous sights and sounds! New York City is easy to reach throughout all of New England, NJ, Pennsylvania, and Washington DC by train, so it makes for a perfect day or overnight trip, and it totally worth it! Here are some of my favorite things to do in New York City during the most magical time of year!

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Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center needs to be at the top of everyone’s to do list when they come to NYC, especially around the holidays! This is the world’s largest Christmas tree that they light each year in a televised special complete with famous musicians and bands. It is truly a sight to see with all its colors and blinking lights and ice skating on the Rockefeller Center rink in the shadow of the tree, complete with Christmas music, is so quintissential New York City! Rockefeller Center is also filled with fun stores including J.Crew, Anthropologie, Nine West, Banana Republic, H&M, Magnolia Bakery and Dean and Deluca to finish that holiday shopping or grab a fun treat. This is by far my favorite section of the city, especially during this time of year!

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Enjoy a Holiday Show

NYC is of course famous for its Broadway shows! This year, they have a multitude of holiday themed Broadway and Off-Broadway productions to offer! Two years ago, I saw Elf on Broadway and it was just as funny, if not more, than its movie counterpart! Plus, its always such a blast to get dressed up and attend a Broadway show, especially at this festive time of year. The Theater at Madison Square Garden is also showcasing How The Grinch Stole Christmas, and seeing the Radio City Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes is a holiday tradition!

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Take in a (free) Late Night Show!

Just yesterday, I had the privilege of attending a taping of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon! This was always a dream of mine, since I think Jimmy Fallon is the funniest man in the world, and what made it all the more better was a favorite band of mine, Florida Georgia Line, was the musical guest! Getting the tickets was extremely easy: I simply entered my name online and a day later, was contacted by the show saying I had 2 tickets to the date I requested! Most late night and/or talk shows filmed in NYC have this same process, including Saturday Night Live, which was also such a fun thing to attend. So why not give it a shot! You will definitely be in for a ton of laughs and an eye-opening experience in the television world!

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The Christmas Shopping and Windows!

Famous department stores such as Macys, Bloomingdales, Lord and Taylor, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue and Barneys are renowned for their Christmas windows! Definitely take the time to walk Fifth Avenue and explore the deparment stores and their windows to see what this is really all about. Each one tells a story and since the stores are so big, the windows are tremendous and go on for an entire block or two. They usually have a different theme every year so they are always individual and unique. Macy’s Herald Square, the largest department store in the world, is a spectacle in itself around the holidays! Its 8 stories are filled with tourists and locals alike, speaking in a buzz of thousands of different languages, each trying to find Santa Claus or the perfect gift or simply to experience NYC at Christmas time!

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Hannukah in NYC!

Central Park, near the Plaza Hotel, features the world’s largest Menorah! They light it each and every night of Hannukah and begin the 8 nights with a huge ceremony! NYC is home to a very large Jewish population so this occasion is taken very seriously and is celebrated widely! Each night, this area of Manhattan is a buzz with activity as it is right in the center of all the Holiday shopping and activities, so check it out if you are around!

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Ice Skating in Bryant Park

While there is ice skating at Rockefeller Center and Central Park, the huge and beautiful ice rink at Bryant Park behind the NY Public Library is FREE! All you have to do is pay a cheap skate rental and you are set to go! Here, they play Christmas music as you skate around in the shadow of the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building. The skyline around the park is magnificent and beautiful. There is also a beautifully lit Christmas tree here, as well as so many holiday pop up shops which offer gifts to give for the holidays from handbags to ornaments to pet clothes to chocolate! Also, definitely check out the terrace restaurant here, where you can enjoy a hot cocoa or a full blown meal while overlooking the skaters and the skyline!

NYC is definitely the place to be around the holidays and everyone should experience it once! Check it out if you can! I am so happy I get to call this place home!

XOXO,

Caroline

Theater Appreciation!

One thing I love to do (especially during the holiday season) is get out to the theater. Ever since taking an American Musical Theater class at my school, I’ve been hooked on the art! Getting dressed up to go a show, ballet, or musical is so exciting and fun, there is so much talent out there just waiting to be seen. Plus, going to a play makes for a great date night!

After I discovered my new found appreciation and love for theater, I’ve made an effort to see quite a few shows this past season—

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Pippin. I saw Diane Paulus’ musical production of Pippin at the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.)  in Cambridge a couple days ago. Some major stars like Andrea Martin, Patina Miller, Terrence Mann, and other acrobats from all over the world came together to perform in such a fantastic specical. This show was absolutely incredible and I highly recommend it. Plus, the A.R.T. has student tickets that are really cheap!

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A Christmas Carol & Winterdance. While its not possible for me to always get out to Boston to see a show, right at my own school I’ve been able to see two procutions very recently—Charles Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol, and Winterdance, a dance production put on by Bridgewater State University’s Dance Company. Check out what performances your University’s theater department is working on, grab some friends and take advantage of them–tickets are probably really cheap or even free for students!

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The Nutcracker. Whats up next for me is hopefully The Nutcracker! I absolutely love this ballet around Christmas time and the Boston Ballet does a fantastic job performing it every year. I have seen The Nutcracker before– every other year or so one of my best friends from home, Samantha, and I go and see it as a Christmas tradition, it never gets old!

Have you been to any theater performances recently? Leave it in the comments!

XO, Christine

Study Playlist

Hey everyone!

I know the semester is winding down and finals will soon be upon us all! While finals are often a time of stress and pressure, music can help make everything better! Whether you listen to music to study or need music as an escape, I have made a playlist on Spotify of my favorite study/relaxing jams. With this music, I can tune out the world and focus on my studies or just close my eyes for a minute and take a quick break from all the work. Enjoy!

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Divergent: The Next Hunger Games?

For those of you who have finished The Hunger Games and now don’t know what to do with yourselves until the next movie (ahem me), I have found your solution! I recently finished the book Divergent by Veronica Roth and it also focuses on a dystopian future like The Hunger Games but instead of a yearly reaping, sixteen year olds are forced to choose a faction in which to live. They are assessed by a stimulation and then are told whether they should stay in their faction that they were born into with their family, or move on. However, the main character, Tris, is faced with an even more difficult decision about which faction to choose. I’m not going to give anymore away but it is REALLY good and I definitely recommend it! It is similar to The Hunger Games but also very different. It has the same suspense that keeps you reading and turning the pages. The good news is that like The Hunger Games, it is a trilogy so when you get addicted, there are two more to read. The second one is coming out May 1 and hopefully will be just as good! Check it out and let me know what you think!

xoxo

kBp

Channeling Blair Waldorf

Who’s ridiculously excited that Gossip Girl is back?  I can’t speak for anyone else, but I know I’ve been going crazy without my weekly dose of the Upper East Side for the past month or so…I’ll refrain from posting spoilers from last night’s episode (mostly because I don’t have a TV and I haven’t gotten around to watching it online yet), but I’m beyond thrilled that it’s returned.  And as any good preppy girl knows, Blair Waldorf’s style is always impeccable and worthy of replicating.  In terms of Blair Waldorf, here’s the essential items you need to feel like you’ve just stepped out of the Upper East Side.

  1. Overstated headbands.  It’s easier to find crazy headbands for little girls, like this organza flower headband from crewcuts.  But you can make your own by taking a plain headband and attaching something like a flower pin or hairclip to it.
  2. Bright colored heels.  Blair is never spotted without cute shoes, of course.  Bright colors such as turquoise and bright floral patterns are a great way to channel Blair through your footwear this spring.
  3. Basic blazers.  In her Constance Prep days, blazers were a staple of Blair’s wardrobe on the show.  Blazers are a great “in between” piece for spring weather.  A bright pink blazer would perk up any outfit, or keep it classic with a more understated piece.
  4. Cool sundresses.  The summer episodes of Gossip Girl are filled with great styles that aren’t often seen throughout the rest of the season, and Blair is often wearing floral sundresses.  Now that the weather is getting warmer, it’s the perfect opportunity to break out looser sundresses in fun patterns.

You know you love me, xoxo.

Writing A Book Review While Still Reading The Book

Hello!! After seeing the movie trailer for The Lucky One, I was like, well, I want to see this movie, so this is my chance to finally read a Nicholas Sparks book before I see the movie. A while back, my amazing friend, a Sparks’ fan, told me about his book that would star Zac Efron in the movie version. I was like “Good…I finally can read a NS book and then watch the movie”. Mind you, I love Zfron with my heart. I find him to be a total stud muffin, as with any “pretty boy”. I am not the kind of person to not read, but I always “forget” to read the book before the movie comes out. After seeing quite a ton of tear jerking Sparks’ films, I decided I would read this one. Now, this book would have not really sparked (get it, the author’s last name is Sparks!) my interest at all if the actor was not Zac. I am more of a star crossed lover tale in South Carolina, not about people who work in such heroic career (Dear John/The Lucky One), because it is too sad and I am still clueless about rankings/military terms/countries we are at war with. I like sappy, not tragic! But somehow I enjoy Apocalypse Now. But any who, The Lucky One. I love romantic movies, but I have actually never read a true romantic book. Gossip Girl not included. Until now. A brief fact about me: When I start a book, I cannot do anything until I finish it, in that day. I loved to read with a passion. However, I was shocked that since I could read the back of a cereal box and be intrigued that reading only the first 20 pages of this book made me what to cover my head with said box. I have read amazing works of literature, seeing as my favorite books are all “banned”. Now why cannot I get through this book, or have to put it down?! I will finish this book, in time. It is well written, and it is very good, so what is holding me back? I think I have the answer. I keep waiting for that twist to come at the end, even though I am at page 40. If I have never seen a movie based off a Sparks’s book, I would have been done and given a real review of this. Do not you worry; I will give a real one sooner or later.

Now, what is this about? That is a great question! I will boil it down to a few sentences; my terms…then I will post the real one. Chadsey version: There is a young man in the military (tour?) who finds a beautiful young woman’s picture in the sand. He is pretty awful at poker, but after finding the photo… (I do not want to be the one who ruins it for you, so I will let the author do it for me).

“After U.S. Marine Logan Thibault finds a photograph of a smiling young woman buried in the dirt during his tour of duty in Iraq he experiences a sudden streak of luck — winning poker games and even surviving deadly combat. Only his best friend, Victor, seems to have an explanation for his good fortune: the photograph — his lucky charm.

Back home in Colorado, Thibault can’t seem to get the woman in the photograph out of his mind and he sets out on a journey across the country to find her. But Thibault is caught off guard by the strong attraction he feels for the woman he encounters in North Carolina – Elizabeth, a divorced mother — and he keeps the story of the photo, and his luck, a secret. As he and Elizabeth embark upon a passionate love affair, his secret soon threatens to tear them apart — destroying not only their love, but also their lives.

Filled with tender romance and terrific suspense, THE LUCKY ONE is an unforgettable story about the surprising paths our lives often take and the power of fate to guide us to true and everlasting love.” Back of the book, The Lucky One, by Nicholas Sparks.

Do not feel like you will hate the book just because I am only at page 40 and bought it last week, it is very good, this is my first reading of a Nicholas Sparks’s book after watching all of the films based on them and felt like I can share what I am feeling towards them! This does not seem like a book review, but this is like a background to the real review! Stay tuned! 🙂

Winter break reading

One of my favorite parts of Christmas vacation is being able to take a break from reading textbooks to read books for fun!  I really enjoying reading and I find quite a bit of my required reading for my classes really interesting…but there’s so much of it that I barely have a chance to read anything of my choosing during the semester.  Here’s a look into what’s on my reading this holiday break.

  1. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.  If you haven’t read the first two books in Stieg Larsson’s trilogy already, I highly recommend them!  I read the first one over my Christmas break last year and the second during my summer vacation.  They take awhile to get through, but they’re great books.  The first book, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, has an American version of the movie coming out very soon as well.
  2. A Freewheelin’ Time.  Most people who know me know that I find Bob Dylan fascinating and this memoir by Suze Rotolo, Bob Dylan’s girlfriend during the start of his career, is the latest facet of that interest.  I’ve started reading this book and find her story of her life before meeting Bob & her descriptions of Greenwich Village in the 1960s so interesting!
  3. The Catcher in the Rye.  It’s been about a year since the last time I read this classic and I thoroughly believe everyone needs to reread it regularly.  Seriously, it’s one of my favorite books ever.  If you haven’t read the Catcher in the Rye already, I’m not sure what you’re doing on the Internet right now…you need to be reading it.
  4. Slaughterhouse-Five.  I read The Sirens of Titan this past summer and since I finished it, reading more Kurt Vonnegut has stayed on my list of things to do.  I usually don’t find science fiction books of any interest at all, but I loved Vonnegut’s dark sense of humor.

What’s on your reading list this winter?

Holiday Pops!

Last night, I had the wonderful opportunity to join my friend Andy to see the opening night of the Boston Pops’ annual “Holiday Pops” show. It was amazing!! The songs were beautiful. Both the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Tanglewood Chorus put on an outstanding show, and if you’re in the Boston area, I definitely recommend it!

Andy and Me!

Andy and I went representing our hometown radio station, 980 WCAP, so we could get an interview with the Pop’s Conductor, Keith Lockhart. Keith is a world-famous conductor who’s led the Pops since 1995 and has maestro’ed everywhere from the Super Bowl to the Olympics. We had to get a promotional interview because the Pops are taking the holiday show to the Lowell Memorial Auditorium on December 18th.

Andy interviewing Keith Lockhart!

Yesterday morning, I asked my roommate to help me think up some questions for him. We thought of a bunch of silly ones like “do your arms get tired when you’re up there conducting, and so you have to do any special arm exercises?”; to “have you ever made a mistake and led the whole orchestra to play the wrong thing?”; and “did you always know that you wanted to be a conductor?”.  Unfortunately, Andy didn’t really ask any of my silly questions, but it was still fun to think them up!

Santa hats on the basses! How cute!

As for the show, it was spectacular. I had a few favorite numbers, like “The 12 Days of Christmas”. Normally, I’m not a huge fan of that song but they do it in a way you’ve NEVER heard it before! You can listen to a sample of it here. Another favorite was the classic instrumental, “Sleigh Ride”. Fun fact: that song was actually written specifically for the Pops in 1948!

I had an amazing time, and it was a great way to kick off my Christmas season!

How are you celebrating as it gets closer to the holidays?

xoxo,

Karoline

The best Christmas movie of them all!

At our Thanksgiving table this year, a few of us got into a bit of a debate about when it’s appropriate to start listening to Christmas music and start watching Christmas movies.  Well, we pretty much decided that a reasonable time for both was after Thanksgiving dinner.  One of my cousins said December 1st, and he has a good point, but I’m with the after-Thanksgiving crew.

Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby get in on the sister act...(image from lmaoss.blogspot.com)

After coming to a consensus about the right time to start feeling holly-jolly and merry and bright, we talked about what the best Christmas movie of them all is.  And in my mind, there really is no debate.  One Christmas movie stands alone.  White Christmas.  It’s classic, it’s got great music, even better dancing, and–yes!–it’s preppy!

Check out that houndstooth skirt! Love! (image via Fanpop.com)

Basically all the women at the table agreed that White Christmas was the best, which immediately made all the guys groan.  They don’t like it nearly as much as we do.  I’ve been watching it since I was little, my mom had it on VHS tape.  Now, we’ve got it on DVD, and it’s basically on repeat throughout the holiday season.

White Christmas is definitely a must-watch for all of the preppy readers out there who haven’t seen it.  And for all of you who have, I definitely recommend a re-watch! 🙂

What’s your favorite Christmas movie?

xoxo, Karoline

Christmas music

The mall I work in has been in Christmas mode for about two weeks now and I’ve been going crazy from the Christmas music since the day it started.  I usually like Christmas music after Thanksgiving, but this year it started so early and I’ll hear the same songs 5 times over while I’m working!  So, I’ve come up with a playlist of Christmas songs that aren’t the ones you’ll usually hear in December.  These are the songs I’ll be playing to get in the Christmas spirit this year – the classic Christmas songs drive me to insanity now!

Enjoy the beginning of the Christmas season!

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