All That Glitters: The Classy NYE Look Book

One of my favorite nights is coming up and I’m figuratively biting my nails because I still haven’t decided on an outfit. A night of laughs, champagne, reminiscing and glitter sounds like a truly divine way to leave 2016 in the dust and ring in the shiny new year. Okay okay, 2016 was actually a pretty great year for me. I traveled to 9 countries (and then back to the U.S.), lived in London for 5 months, had an incredible internship, shared some wonderful moments with family and friends and hit some big milestones with this site.

As always, there is some bad that attempts to overshadow the good. I haven’t been able to workout for the last month due to some health issues – but I’m hoping to be back on my yoga mat at the start of 2017!  But with every setback comes the challenge of overcoming, and this makes my resolution this year pretty simple to decide on. I’m excited to get stronger this year, physically and mentally. I’ll be graduating college in a few months meaning I’ll be a “real adult” trying to exist in crazy busy NYC. But wait, I’m already doing that. Hmmm… Anyway, I KNOW 2017 will be a pretty great year. Let me know your goals, maybe we can work on some together!

Now back to the big question, what are we going to wear for the big occasion? I’ve pulled a few awesome dresses and accessories for every type of NYE – whether your plan involves a night in, out, at a friend’s house or at the bar, this little look book should have you covered! x

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1. Kate Spade Small Square Glitter Earrings, $32

For those who like to sparkle from your ears to your toes, these festive studs are the perfect addition to any celebratory outfit! Flecks of silver and gold make them a great match for every wardrobe.

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2. Alice + Olivia One-Shoulder Mini Dress, $39 (on sale!) 

I can promise that you’ll get more use out of this LBD than just one night’s worth! A classic (and classy) dress that will flatter any body type, it’s hard to not start dreaming about what glitzy accessories to pair it with right now!

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3. Essie Hors D’Oeuvres Special Effects Nail Polish, $9

For a sparkle that will last days after the big night, prep your nails with this glitzy polish!

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4. BCBG Contrast-Back Sleeveless Shift Dress, $49 (on sale!)

I’m loving the subtle hues of midnight blue in this lush dress. Rock it with a fun pair of heels and some sparkly accessories to ring in the new year!

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5. BP Rhinestone Crossover Ring, $9 (on sale!)

I’ve been obsessing over the crossover ring trend and actually indulged in a similar style ring. I got a sterling silver crossover ring from Contessa di Capri and wear it just about every day. It’s so versatile and also *~shiny~*.

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6. Free People Marigold Glitter Heel Sandals, $148

A good pair of heels is always worth the splurge! These adorable heels are perfect to dress up any casual outfit, wear for NYE and even wear to work. I’m wearing similar sparkly heels from Donald J. Pliner this NYE!

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7. Kate Spade New York Gala Glitter Mules, $278

Heels not your thing? Trust me, you’re not alone! I’ve got my eye on these adorable mules, I know their a little pricier than my last selection but just think of the places you can wear them. Honestly, I wouldn’t put it past me to wear them around the house as dressy slippers too 😉 The perfect shoe for hosting, right?!

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8. ABS by Allen Schwartz Pave Choker Necklace, $55

Chokers have indeed been one of the biggest jewelry trends of 2016 and I’m sure this will continue into the new year! Step up your accessory game with this gorgeous necklace.

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9. J.O.A. Sleeveless Glitter Top, $69

This top is probably the most similar to what I’ll be wearing this NYE! I’m having a more casual night in upstate New York (there’s an apple drop at midnight – I’m not too sure myself what that is either!) My top has a big more glitter but I’ll be pairing it with high waisted black jeans and awesome sparkly earrings from J.Crew!

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10. Neiman Marcus Ombre Glitter Box Clutch Bag, $57 (on sale!)

This sparkly little accessory is a STEAL for just $57 (originally over $100!) Especially if you’re opting for the LBD above or another solid color classic, this bag will dress up your outfit in an instant!

Stay Classy & Happy New Year! xx

I hope you all have a wonderful New Year’s! Thanks so much for following along with Class and the City in 2016 ~ I’m so blessed and excited to continue creating content for you guys in the new year! xo

 

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Candy Cane Sugar Cookies

One of the best parts about the holiday season is that it gives you an excuse to bake treats that you’d otherwise try to avoid. Yup, even during finals! I made the biggest batch of cookies in the history of my solo baking career (a very short span of a year from the time I had my first kitchen away from home). After trying out a few different tricks playing around with the dough I finally perfected it. These cookies are the perfect balance of sweet and minty!

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I had never used this kind of cookie cutter before – you push it onto the dough and press down on the knob on top and when you want to release the shape onto the tray you pull it up again. Yeah, it’s not as easy as that. I definitely still prefer the traditional cookie cutters but love the little details that you get with these. The snowmen and the trees came out the best, the candy canes had so many different little details that the dough kept getting stuck in the cookie cutters, and I was only able to manage getting a few semi-decent looking reindeer (which my family politely laughed at and called buffalos…)

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But all in all, these cookies were so easy to make (and even easier to devour) that they didn’t even make it until Christmas. Yup, over 100 cookies have already been eaten between me, my friends and family… Oops!

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Do yourself a favor and make this recipe. All you need is a box of candy canes and ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry!

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Just be sure to share, because this recipe does yield literally 100 cookies (if you make them as small as I did.) Of course, this would vary based on the size of your cookie cutters!

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Candy Cane Sugar Cookies

Prep Time: 20 Minutes        Cook Time: 1 hour + 7-8 Minutes per batch        Total Time: 2 hours

Let’s Get Started:

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
10 candy canes, crushed

Let’s Get Cookin:

In a large bowl cream butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt. Cover and chill dough for at least an hour (or overnight).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Roll out dough with a rolling pin on a floured surgace 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookies sheets. Bake about 7 minutes in oven. Cool and enjoy.

Let’s Get Creative:

White chocolate chips would be delicious in this recipe! As would other colorful sprinkles, of course. 🙂

Stay Classy & Happy Holidays! xx

POTW: Splendid Spoon

Don’t you just love how your cravings change with the weather? Although what we’ve been dealing with in NYC is 60 degrees one day and 20 degrees the next (what is happening?!) I’ve realized that you can’t go wrong with a bowl of warm and hearty soup. Of course, the best soups are homemade (as are most things!) for a number of reasons. First, you know exactly what your body is consuming. There are no tricky crazy long indecipherable words on the ingredient list because you’re physically putting them into the pot. Second, your result will taste and be so much more fresh – meaning that it will taste SO much better. And third, why bother with soup out of a can that’s been sitting on the shelf for months when you can slurp down a yummy creation that’s been made and tailored just for you?

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For all of these reasons, I enjoy making my own soups. You might remember last winter when I made a coconut carrot soup creation. It was so yummy and easy to make (besides peeling the carrots, but maybe next time I’ll just wash them and eat them as-is… there’s more fiber in them that way anyway!

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This gorgeous bowl of purple soup you see however, was not made by me. I know, I know. Why have I been preaching about homemade this and that when I’m not even eating it myself? But as much as I’d love to say I have enough time to make everything on my own (ha, I’m a full time student who works 40-hour weeks between two jobs) there are sometimes where you have to let yourself go… and indulge in a cuppa something homemade by someone else! 😉

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Splendid Spoon was a lifesaver and I consumed their delicious soups over the course of a souper cold week (see what I did there??) 🙂 Through their company you can do a Soup Cleanse (new food trend, believe me) with either hot or cold soups (some soups come in to-go bottles and you can drink them on-the-go… again, believe me.) You can also just order different soups for purchase and eat them as you please! I HIGHLY recommend this “Red Beet Buddha Bowl” which has beets, sweet potatoes and quinoa as its’ shining stars ehhem, S(O)UPERFOODS. (Sorry, I’m having too much fun with this.) 😉 PLUS, as an added bonus each soup comes wrapped up in one of these inspirational quotes. x

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Stay Classy! xx

Blooming Endive Appetizer with Goat Cheese, Cranberries & Pistachios

When it comes to planning for the holidays, getting the menu together is one of the most important parts. You want your family and friends to enjoy a delicious, warm and hearty meal that sparks happiness, fullness and inspires good conversation. You also want to create a welcoming ambiance that encourages your guests to relax and be spoiled (by your amazing and creative cooking, of course!) 😉

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This is exactly what my mom (aka master holiday entertainer, chef and decorator) does each Christmas. This recipe is fully credited to her – Josephine Czochanski – and the above images are just my recreation of it! I know for a fact that when guests walk into my house for a holiday gathering, where there’s light music playing in the background (preferably Michael Buble) and they start to nibble on this simple yet decadent appetizer in between sips of Chardonnay, that all is right in the world and we’ve kicked off the holiday on an inarguably wonderful note.

So if you’re hosting a holiday this year, have been chosen to bring an appetizer to a relative’s house or simply want to spoil your friends, family (and yourself), whip up this incredible dish. In just a few minutes with a handful of ingredients, you can create this fancy platter as well!

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Blooming Endives with Goat Cheese, Cranberries and Pistachios

Prep Time: 10 minutes        Cook Time: 0 minutes        Total Time: 10 minutes

Let’s Get Started:

About 20 endive leaves
Handful of cranberries
Handful of pistachios
1/2 cup of goat cheese
Balsamic Glaze

Let’s Get Cookin’:

Arrange endive leaves in a floral shape, leaving space in the middle. Scoop goat cheese into the center of the arrangement. Toss pistachios and cranberries across endive leaves and goat cheese. Drizzle with balsamic glaze. Enjoy!

Let’s Get Creative:

This pretty recipe could of course be revamped with some additional ingredients! Toss on a handful of walnuts and a drizzle of honey for additional flavors.

Stay Classy! xx

P.S. How cute is the snow on my site right now!? 🙂

NYE

Let’s talk about New Year’s Resolutions. I know, I know, it’s way too early for this, you’re still trying to get through the next few crazy busy weeks of long lines and holiday shopping, menus, an occasional workout and to-do lists galore. You’ve got your hands over your ears – well eyes – and don’t want to read another word on this page. I get it. But let me implore you to keep going, since this isn’t going to be one of those cheesy “make 2017 your best year ever” how-to guides.

I hadn’t fully accepted that it was already December when I went for a walk on my lunch break last week. Instead of staying in the direct area I decided to treat myself to a nice long walk – yes, treat yourself! – since I’d finished the majority of my work for the day and could totally use some me time that didn’t include sitting at a desk… or just sitting in general. Going away from my usual direction, I forced myself to go to the center of it all, Times Square. Among crazy slow-walking tourists tripping over their feet and their neighbor’s selfie sticks I came across a little booth full of what at first glance looked like sticky notes.

As I got closer I realized that the little square were colorful pieces of confetti pinned up on a board. People were lined up to write down their New Year’s wishes, which would be put into the big crystal ball and released to the crowd when the ball drops in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. I’ve wished for the same thing on my birthday and other wishy occasions for the last few years. This year, it finally came true. So I was at a loss for what to write when it came to my turn. World peace? That a certain president-elect doesn’t ruin our country? Maybe that I’ll graduate college with a job offer? All sounded pretty sweet to me and I’ll be frank, I filled out a few little pieces of confetti. Because if someone offers you the spontaneous chance to dig deep and think about what you really want, you should probably make the most out of it.

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I won’t tell you what I wished for, but I’ll say that I know it won’t come true unless I work towards it. As with anything, I’m a strong believer in doing things myself. I like being independent and know that I can reach my goals if I put in the effort. Whatever they may be this season, I know that I’ll be trying my best to make them happen.

One of the most common New Year’s Resolutions every year is to “be healthier.” Unfortunately, this is such a vague and misguided goal that it usually hinders the person’s success. Pick apart that resolution into a few different sections, such as: eat healthier, exercise more, write in a gratitude journal, meditate, eat out less. All of these elements will give you more guidance on how to reach your ultimate goal and they’ll also give you guidance along the way! Start setting you own goals now and slowly begin incorporating them into your daily routine. If you kick off 2017 with some of the hard stuff already out of the way, you’ll for sure have a successful year!

Stay Classy! xx

Brunch Spots We Love: ZUMA NYC

Zuma NYC   *   261 Madison Avenue New York, New York 10016   *   $$$

If you’re lucky, brunch reservations are the plans that get you through the week. There’s nothing like waking up on a Sunday morning feeling the motivation you may have been lacking towards the end of the week to head into the city and brunch so hard, because let’s face it, you had a rough few days and need to #TreatYoself! Now if only we could brunch just about every day of the week… 🙂

This particular Sunday morning my wonderful date and I hopped on the Metro North and walked down Madison Ave. You can tell that ZUMA NYC is a classy restaurant from its appearance on the outside. The external decor is subtle, dark hued and makes it difficult for pedestrians to take a peak in and see what they are missing out on. Once you’ve stepped inside, it is hard to escape the feeling that you’ve just walked in on an incredible meal and a warm, creative atmosphere.

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The brunch menu comes with a fresh and delicious variety of options. There is the special menu that for a fixed price of $59, you can order a drink, an appetizer platter, an entree and dessert. And of course, you can take on the extra charge ($55) for unlimited drinks if you’re really looking to let loose.

To start, we tried the edamame, watercress and avocado salad with wasabi and cucumber, seasonal oysters, salmon sake, rock shrimp with lime and tofu, yaki and chicken skewers with baby leek. Oh yeah – we tried EVERYTHING. And instantly fell in love with the place.

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We had a tough time deciding what we wanted for our main entrees. Eventually, I decided on the “tori no munaniku teriyaki” aka chicken breast teriyaki with shiitake and shiso – this is actually meant to be a sharing dish, but I was already starting to get full from the incredible appetizers (and I knew I’d dig into some of the sushi)! Ben decided on an option off the regular entree menu, the premium sushi “chef’s selection.” Which was just as pretty as it was delicious (see below.)

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The platter above was hands down the best and most beautiful sushi I’ve ever eaten!

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Chicken terayaki skewers were actually to-die-for. Juicy meat cooked to perfection and marinated in terayaki sauce made for the perfect dish. It was extremely hard for me to be nice and share this with Ben!
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For dessert, we ordered the Zuma dessert platter (yes, to share). And were presented with this dreamy bowl above! Everything from fruit to macaroons to ice cream to cheesecake was included in this dream-come-true dessert. It’s a good thing I didn’t take an after picture, because there really wasn’t much left! x

Stay Classy! xx

POTW: Nounos Creamery

With holiday parties, snacking and hot chocolate binging just a few weeks away – well maybe the hot chocolate binging has started a bit early for some of us 😉 – it’s going to be more and more important to balance out our diets with fresh and natural ingredients. Keeping this in mind, let me introduce you to your new favorite yogurt!

Nounos yogurt comes in glass jars (which I’ve since put in the dishwasher and use as measuring and drinking cups… they’re adorably sized!) and is homemade on Long Island using only the best and freshest ingredients. When I had my first bite of the plain vanilla (I know, the plainest flavor of them all- but still my favorite!) it gave my taste buds such a shock. Instantly I was able to taste that the vanilla actually came from vanilla bean pods and had been ground up for the recipe. This mixed with the freshly strained yogurt was SO DAMN GOOD (and I don’t curse, so you know it’s real) that I had to tell everyone about it.

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I made my boyfriend try the blueberry and my roomie try the fig. Each flavor was better than the next and I never heard a complaint from either of them… not once! BTW, these are some of the pickiest eaters I know.

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It’s the little things that make a difference. Whether we’re talking about gifting, relationships or taste buds, putting in a little extra effort always goes a long way. From their packaging to their ingredients, this is exactly what Nounos does with their homemade yogurt products. We should probably follow their lead this New Year and vow to pay more attention to detail. We will sure be more productive when we’re able to split bigger goals into pieces, just like these homemade yogurts are SO much better because of the natural ingredients used to make them. I’ll be talking about New Year’s goals and wishes in another post later this week, but in the meantime be sure to order yourself some fresh Nounos yogurt!

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Stay Classy! x