I'm back!

Author: Ali

There's no other way to say this but... I'm tremendously sorry for being M.I.A. for so long. I could sit here and list the numerous reasons why I haven't been posting, but that would take up a good majority of this post, and let's face it - if you're reading this, you don't really care. With that being said, I'll cut to the chase here: I got a job (yay!) and at a company that is not only relative to my field, but it's also continuing to grow - great time to jump aboard. However, I'm still not writing - I'm working in the HR department.

I am a writer - it’s what I do. I’ll admit my skills are a bit rusty at the moment, but it’s nothing that can’t be fixed. Anyway, I’m working for an awesome company that has provided me with the opportunity to join their wonderful HR team. I am a loyal, tell-it-like-it-is, sassy, friendly, all-or-nothing, type of woman who will do her best to make sure that the outcome of whatever situation is thrown at her, produces results that are good for everyone in the end.

With that being said, the same rules apply to this site. I’m back and fully recharged. I will try to post as much as possible, but bare with me and don’t give up on me just yet! I’ve got a lot of good articles drafted for you guys this year, and I can’t wait to see what 2016 holds for From NY, with Love.

Stay tuned...

The Land of the Free

Author: Ali

Every 4th of July, I've done something different. But no matter where I am, there is always a BBQ, fresh fruit salad, and a pool. Last year, I spent my 4th of July in Delray Beach with my parents. The fireworks were great, the energy was electric, and it was one of the highlights of my summer.

This year, however, while my friends and family were sitting poolside or at the beach sipping margaritas in the Hampton's, I was stuck in the city working. That's ok though! I had an entertaining - although random - afternoon that consisted of french fries, kale salads, and watching fireworks on the East River with a friend.

Once the show began, the fireworks left everyone exclaiming "ohh" and "ahh." The show was impressive, but the amount of people in red, white and blue, waving their American flags was actually one of the highlights for me - not to mention refreshing.

After a year of increased racial tensions, terrorism threats, scandals, and every other thing that seeks to divide and destroy a country, it was nice to see everyone united as a whole - standing proudly, waving their flags. People of all colors, races and ages, stood together to celebrate what a great nation we are.

The following day, we watched the U.S. claim their title as "World Cup Champions," for the first time since 1999. I jumped, I screamed, I cheered and finally, I cried. There is something about seeing women not only work together as a team, but working together as a team to represent a country that has been seen as a joke in the soccer realm. With that being said, I think our patriotism will continue throughout the week.

All in all, I'd say this weekend turned out just fine for us Americans. Now, if only the job sector could improve...

Greatest Gifts for the Greatest Dad

Author: Ali

Every year I ask my mother, “What should I get dad for Father’s Day?” and every year she gives me the same answer, “I have no idea.” Helpful. The truth is, the man has everything. So when it comes to Christmas, his birthday and Father’s Day, it’s nearly impossible to shop for him.

There’s no way I’m the only daughter out there who has trouble figuring out what to get her dad for his special day. With that being said, I’ve kept my eye out over the last couple of months, and have gathered a few gift ideas that I think the father figure in your life would like as well. 

For the fit dad: Gym bags by Fred Perry are great for the dad who likes to stay young by running, lifting or benching a few at the gym. All guys want in a gym bag is something that is durable, small, and a bit masculine. For a decent sized bag that can hold their shoes, workout clothes, water bottle, and fit their work clothes after their workout, Fred Perry gym bags are an excellent choice.

For the traveling dad: Even men have small fashion and hygiene emergencies from time to time. Pinch’s Minimergency Kit for Him contains 13 grooming and personal care essentials for men. If your dad is constantly on the go, traveling from here to there for work or pleasure, then this inexpensive kit is the perfect gift for him! Contents include: mending kit, extra buttons, safety pin, deodorant towelette, nail clipper,  stain remover, hand cleansing towelette, adhesive bandage, lip balm, breath freshener, pain reliever, dental floss, and a shoe shine towelette.

For the bearded dad: I don’t know what it is about The Art of Shaving, but every man I know loves it. If your dad is old school or simply loves the art of shaving, then you can’t go wrong with purchasing him the 4 Elements of The Perfect Shave Starter Kit. Complete with pre-shave oil, shaving cream, after-shave balm, and a travel-size genuine badger shaving brush, this kit is for sensitive skin and is hypoallergenic so you can’t go wrong. Also, at $25, it’d be silly to pass this up. On another note, if he ends up really enjoying this gift, then you can follow up with other The Art of Shaving gifts for future holidays and birthdays.

For the tech-savvy dad: Whether your dad is constantly on his phone at work or at home for business, he is going to need to charge it at some point during the day. Be it at the office, in the car, or at home, Mophie has made it easy to charge your phone anywhere and go. Mophie’s Power Reserve is a small, “fast charge battery with an integrated lightning cable and convenient key ring.” Now, this one is just for iPhones and iPods, but they make power reserves for other phone versions here

For the foodie dad: If your dad is anything like mine, he loves popcorn. Not just any popcorn either, but flavored popcorn. Luckily, good ole’ Poptions has so many varieties of popcorn, you’ll find yourself reeling over the fact that you have to choose just three for your Father’s Day Tin! From sweet to spicy to traditional, you really can’t go wrong with this easy option for Father’s day. Unless, of course, if he hates popcorn. In which case check out Pat LaFrieda and Carolynn Carreno's cookbook: "MEAT: Everything You Need to Know."

If your dad has all of these gifts or none of these are for him, then you can always opt for a gift card to his favorite restaurant, retail or hardware store. Just make sure you put it inside a funny Father’s Day card, like those by Emily McDowell – trust me, I know my dad will enjoy his.

The Athletic Movement

Author: Ali

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed since graduating from college last May, it’s that wearing sweatpants is no longer an acceptable act, with the exception of wearing them in the confines of your apartment. Another seemingly strange thing I’ve noticed? Your freebie tees from college and sorority tanks you once loved are not considered “normal” workout attire.

I wouldn’t normally care about this sort of thing, but there’s that self-doubt nagging me saying “you’re 23 years old and need to ditch the shirts for Athleta or lululemon." Don’t get me wrong, I have a couple of workout tops that were solely designed for working out. However, Athleta is a bit too old for my taste, and as great as Lulu is, sometimes I struggle with the fit of their tops. So, what’s a girl to do?

Fabletics co-founder, Kate Hudson has made a big splash in the athletica world with a line of workout clothes that have both good quality and value. They have a wide variety of fashionable workout clothes that come in different styles, so it works for people of different shapes and sizes. Fabletics even displays Kate’s favorite pieces each month, with a description of the fit, feel and features of the item. The coolest part of Fabletics has to be their “new member exclusive.” You simply go to the Fabletics website, take their quiz, and then they’ll ship you your first outfit for only $25! Don’t even get me started on their discounts.

Another celebrity that’s made her athletica footprint is Carrie Underwood, with her line CALIA. Their website states that they want to “make sure you never have to sacrifice fashion for function, or your lifestyle for your workout.” With a mission statement like that and a tagline of: “Stay the path,” I think CALIA is heading in a successful direction in terms of growth. With high-quality fabrics, variety in choices and a wide range of accessories, I think CALIA has the potential to do really well, especially with it’s main retail hub being at Dick’s Sporting Goods. 

In the end, it’s all about comfort, style and quality – arenas in which I believe both Fabletics and CALIA have done quite well. Move over Lululemon and Athleta, celebrities are making their move in the athletic wear department, and they’re doing a damn good job at it too.

What's in the Bag?

Author: Ali 

Imagine you found a nondescript backpack that was left on the subway. How would you tell the gender of the owner? Besides the obvious fact that 9 times out of 10 a lost knapsack or purse is going to have some sort of photo identification inside, it’s the contents that really hint as to whether the owner is male or female. 

When I was little, I remember having a clear, plastic purse that had glitter all over it and a snap in the front. The notion of something like that now is terrifying, mainly because the inside of a woman’s purse says a lot about who she is on the inside as well. I ditched the clear purse long ago and now prefer something a bit more private. Not only that, but the contents have most certainly changed over the years. Here are my essentials that I carry in my bag at all times: 

  • Planner. The planner shown above is my portable planner (a.k.a. the one I never leave home without). When running a blog while working another job on the side, things can get a little hectic. On top of that, I still have a social life that I need to pencil in. Between my work schedule and making time for friends, I couldn’t picture going through a day without my planner. In order to do all of this without going crazy, planning is key.
  • Mint gum/breath mints. Spearmint or peppermint gum is something I try to always have lying around, because quite frankly, it’s better to expect the unexpected. You never know when you might need a burst of minty freshness. Maybe you just had luck with a few coworkers, went to a family dinner, or simply are in need of a refresher.
  • Notebook & pen/iPad. Before the iPad, I always carried around a little notebook and pen so I could write down things that I saw in my day-to-day life that inspired me. From story concepts to wardrobe sketches, having these items allows me to capture those ideas the minute they develop. I still opt for a notebook and pen at times, but with my iPad I have the Internet, current novel I’m reading, and notebook all in one.
  • Band-Aids. Much like hair ties and bobby pins, Band-Aids are always floating around in my bag. When you live in a city that has you walking to and from pretty much everywhere, it can be painful. Even when I’m wearing comfortable flats, there’s no stopping the inevitable blister or two after a long day on your feet. (Bonus tip: Band-Aid advanced healing blister cushions are highly recommended).
  • Concealer. If there’s one thing I never forget to bring with me wherever I go, it’s my bareMinerals concealer. Whether fighting bad under eye circles or a blemish, I keep it with me 24/7 and always have it on hand just in case I need a touch up during the day or while going out at night.
  • Lip Balm. At this point, I think it’s safe to assume I’m obsessed with lip balm. However, I won’t even consider purchasing a lip balm if it lacks SPF. Soft Lips in Pearl not only has SPF, but it’s a great product that does its job year-round. I also like the fact that the color is subtle enough that you can give yourself a little something for your lips without it being too over the top.

**Bonus Essentials**

  • Hairbands & bobby pins. Need I really explain myself ladies? Whenever it’s hot, humid or a rainy day that I didn’t plan for, there’s a 95% chance my hair is going up in a ponytail and these reinforcements always come in handy.
  • Hand sanitizer. When you take the same mode of transportation as another million or so people in this city, hand sanitizer is an absolute must. With me taking the subway every day, I couldn’t see myself not having this during cold and flu season, much less before going out to eat.

No matter day or night, you can count on me to always have the majority of these items on-hand. It doesn't matter if the size of the bag is big or small - safety, hygiene, and tools for touch-ups are things I can't go through my day without. So now that I've shared my handbag must-haves with you, what essentials do you carry in your bag?