Lifestyle

Weekend In My Life: NYC

Hi Everyone! I hope you had a great weekend and a great start to your week so far. I, for one, had an excellent weekend so I wanted to share what I did with you. Now, because it was a special weekend, I have to admit I got caught up in the moment most of the time and forgot to take any photos (bad blogger, I know). So, there’s not any photos, but I still wanted to share it in case you’re ever in NYC for the weekend!

To start things off, this weekend I was out celebrating my boyfriend’s birthday with his friends and family. Friday night, we started out going to dinner out on long island at Bahama Breeze which is like a caribbean themed restaurant. The food here was great, but the drinks were amazing. We drank pain killers at dinner which is one of my favorite mixed drinks now (because it’s one of Andrew’s favorites hehe). They are made with dark rum, pineapple juice, cream of coconut, a splash of orange juice, and topped with a sprinkle of nutmeg. They are absolutely delicious and I HIGHLY recommend them!

Saturday was the real celebration, though. Andrew and I went into NYC to celebrate with his friends. We stayed at the Sheraton Tribeca Hotel because we didn’t want to have to worry about taking the train home late at night. We were pleasantly surprised by the hotel and how nice it was. I’m super picky about hotels after working in the events industry, but this one was very clean and modern and the service was great. I’d probably stay here again if we ever needed a place to stay in Tribeca!

For dinner, we stopped at Beauty & Essex which is like a speakeasy restaurant on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. On the outside, it’s a pawn shop where you can purchase jewelry and other items if you’d like! Inside, behind a back door, is a beautiful restaurant. The service was excellent, I must admit. However, the food is served as small shared plates which we were surprised to discovered upon sitting down. Although the food was good, if we had known it was supposed to be served as small plates, we would have gone somewhere else. The prices weren’t justified by the serving size, unfortunately.

After dinner, we took a quick pit stop at Hair of the Dog a few blocks away because it’s the only bar I know that has happy hour on Saturdays until 8:00 PM! After that, our original plan was to stop by the Public Hotel rooftop for more drinks, but the line was so long when we got there, that we turned around and decided to head somewhere else. We ended up settling on the Delancey which was not crowded at all when we go there. We hungout on the roof, got drinks and enjoyed the very humid evening with friends. My Romper is from Revolve and is linked here for you if you want to check it out. I got it in a medium to get a looser, comfy fit.

Overall, we had a great night and a wonderful weekend! Let me know in the comments what you did this past weekend!

P.S. Keep up with me on instagram: @karenmauritzenn

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Lifestyle

Ballin’ on a Budget: No Shopping Summer

Today, I wanted to share a little journey I went on this summer and my thoughts on the whole process. Starting about back in April, I stopped shopping (except for a few things) and not necessarily by choice (which I’ll get into another time). It was definitely necessary, but it’s been an interesting journey for me.

First things first, I definitely shopped a little in May to refresh my work wardrobe and get some things for my vacation to Greece in June. I also treated myself to a two items in July and August for special occasions. It wasn’t exactly a no shopping summer, but it was definitely a summer with very little shopping.

I have to be honest, because it was not necessarily a choice, I think it was a little bit easier to do this successfully. The desire wasn’t really there because I knew I had other priorities. However, my love for shopping didn’t disappear. It just went to the bottom of my priority list. I spent a lot of time scrolling through Instagram, Pinterest, blogs, etc and just not feeling like I wanted to shop which was definitely a key factor to going 3+ months without shopping in bulk like I normally do.

Now that it’s half way through August and getting into fall, the itch to shop is definitely back in full force. I also started a new job recently so all I want to do is treat myself because I think I deserve it. So far, I haven’t bought anything new yet, but it’s probably coming soon! It’s very interesting to me that I spent the whole summer not really caring about getting new things, but now that I feel like I can or I deserve it or I need it cause it’s going to be ~fall~, it’s getting more difficult.

Some things I learned from this experience is that:

  • I can still work with what I have and look good (biased?)
  • Other things are way more important, but it feels good to get the things that you want sometimes
  • My creativity does not depend on buying new things every week (but buying things once in a while helps keep those juices flowing)
  • I can actually go 3+ months without buying things which is a huge first for me
  • The money I saved from shopping, could be put to use on more experiences which last way longer than trendy clothes

This experience was a little bit of a wake up call from a financial aspect, but it also shed some light on just how creative I can get when I need to. I’m hoping that moving forward I can remember this experience and find a healthy balance between the two! Cutting it out completely was tough and not sustainable for me, but it was definitely good to give myself that break.

I want to know in the comments: have you ever challenged yourself to give up something you love for more than a month?

P.S. Keep up with me on instagram: @karenmauritzenn

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Fashion

OOTD: Casual Weekend

Happy Tuesday! I hope you’re doing great today. I wanted to share a quick little weekend OOTD for you. Recently, I’ve been really into wearing simple, quick, easy outfits and this one is exactly that. So here she is!

Bodysuit: Urban Outfitters / Shorts: Levi’s / Shoes: Superga

I put this outfit together with the intention of exploring a new town, having a nice lunch outside and eating an ice cream cone. However, I did end up doing any of those things because it was really hot and I was not feeling my best. But next time I decide to do those things, this is what I’d wear.

Bodysuit: Urban Outfitters / Shorts: Levi’s / Shoes: Superga

I got this bodysuit at Urban Outfitters a little over a year ago and these shorts are vintage Levi’s that I got from Etsy about 3 years ago. They were custom made by the seller to fit my waist and hips. They are still a little bit loose, but they are definitely my favorite pair of shorts that I own. And then for my shoes, I just put on my white platform Superga sneakers to be comfy.

Bodysuit: Urban Outfitters / Shorts: Levi’s / Shoes: Superga
Bodysuit: Urban Outfitters / Shorts: Levi’s / Shoes: Superga
Bodysuit: Urban Outfitters / Shorts: Levi’s / Shoes: Superga
Bodysuit: Urban Outfitters / Shorts: Levi’s / Shoes: Superga

I hope you enjoyed this casual weekend OOTD! xx

P.S. Keep up with me on instagram: @karenmauritzenn

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Fashion

My Hair Journey: How I Repaired My Damaged Hair!

Today, I wanted to share a little bit of my hair journey so far. I’ve had my fair share of of hair troubles and bad haircuts just like anyone else, but now I’m feeling like I have a better understanding of what my hair needs after 24 years. I’m still figuring out some things, like what products work best for my curly hair, but I think we’ve come a REALLY long way!

To start, I’ve had super curly hair my whole life and I’ve always had it pretty short. I’ve dyed it a bunch of times and spent most of my life straightening it because I really had no idea what to do with it. Growing up and being mixed race, I didn’t really have anyone to look up to for that sort of thing. No one I knew had hair like mine. It wasn’t quite kinky curly enough to resonate with the black girls, but it definitely wasn’t straight to identify with the white girls. It was something I struggled to figure out for a very long time and because of that I spent a lot of time experimenting with it.

2010: Summer after freshman year of high school
2010: Spring of freshman year of high school

Just before starting my freshman year of high school, I got probably the worst hair cut and dye job ever. It looked actually horrible and I was so frustrated with what to do with it, so I spent my whole freshman year straightening my hair. Just before my sophomore year, I finally found a new hair salon and worked with a woman who really knew what she was doing. At that point I started getting keratin treatments every 6 months and that was truly what changed my life as far as my hair goes. It took a few years, but eventually, it completely tamed my curls to a point where I could manage them. I still didn’t know what products to use on my hair, but at least I was okay with just braiding it and letting it air dry. After that, It was uphill for a while! By my senior year, my hair was finally healthy and long(ish) and I felt way better about it.

Fall 2013: Freshman Year of College
Fall 2013: Freshman Year of College (Sorry this was from snapchat when it had the absolute worst quality ever)
Spring 2014: End of my freshman year of college

After starting college, my hair was still really happy and healthy and the longest it’s ever been. That, of course, is when I made the BIGGEST mistake of my life. Literally ever. During my sophomore year of college I decided to bleach my hair because I wanted to have blonde hair so badly. At first, it was okay and my hair survived and was pretty healthy. But when I went for my 2nd touch up, was where things went really left. My hair was completely fried and broken. I didn’t realize how bad it was for a little while, so I continued to bleach it for about a year until my hair had broken off and was completely dead. It was the worst experience ever seeing huge clumps of my hair fall out in the shower because it was so weak and brittle.

Spring 2015: My first full head of blonde highlights! It looked so healthy still but just wait.
Summer 2015: Still not too bad, but definitely had a lot of fall out and shedding at this point
December 2015: When I finally realized I had to do SOMETHING

Finally, I dyed it back to brown and did my best to let it recuperate but about 8 months later, I tried it again and got another set of balayage highlights. But unfortunately, my hair just wasn’t strong enough to handle it and it was the same thing. Lots of hair falling out all the time! Finally, after another few months, I decided enough was enough and I dyed my hair back to brown and vowed to never bleach my hair ever again. This was my senior year of college. After that, I did my best to keep from putting heat on my hair by braiding it or putting it up into buns most of the time. My hair was so damaged that it never stayed straight anyway. Now once I graduated, I moved back home and had to find a new hair salon because my old lady’s shop closed down and I was honestly terrified of working with someone new. Now I went to a new salon and got a few hair cuts there, and they were not great but eventually we got into a good routine and I trust her!

2016: After dyeing my hair back to brown, attempting to start the healing process
Summer 2016: Went back to blonde cause I wanted to try it again and made the second biggest mistake of my life (aside from trying to contour my nose???)!
Fall 2017: Back to brown and finally actually trying to help my hair (like a smart girl)

In March 2018, I decided to finally chop most of my hair off and start over. I had horrible damage in the back of my hair from the bleach still so I decided to get back into getting keratin treatments and I cut my hair up to about my collar bone. After that I also started taking the Hum Nutrition Hair Sweet Hair gummy vitamins and held off on heat for just about 6 months. I think I only straightened or curled my hair twice in the whole 6 months. After that I got another very small trim and a keratin treatment that lasted me another 6 months and that leads us to where we are today. In June 2019 was my last hair cut and I’m proud to say this is the healthiest my hair has been since my horrible bleaching fiasco and it grew about 6 inches in the last year which is amazing. I gotta say it took A LOT of patience and a lot trial and error but I’m proud that I was able to do this.

April 2018: One month after my big chop and arguably the best photo I’ve ever taken
August 2018: Still figuring out how to have curly hair
August 2018

To be honest, I can attribute majority of my hair success thus far to my big chop in March 2018, keratin treatments, very little heat, and the Hum Nutrition Hair Sweet Hair gummies. Without these things, I honestly don’t know where my hair would be right now. Patience was a major key as well and I’m happy that we got here! I also have a code for for $10 off your first order of Hum Nutrition vitamins if you’d like to try! Just add in the code 15DDAD at check out!

February 2019: After getting my second hair cut for the year in October 2018
April 2019
June 2019: About week after my most recent haircut and keratin treatment
June 2019: 6 inches of growth in one year!

I hope you enjoyed this post and if you’d like to see more of these posts, let me know in the comments! xx

P.S. Keep up with me on instagram: @karenmauritzenn

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Fashion

How to Style: Casual LBD 3 Ways

For this month, I wanted to do a how to style with a little black dress, LBD for short that can easily be transitioned from summer to fall. Now that it’s August, fall is quickly approaching and with all the back to school sales, now is a great time to start preparing. I chose this bodycon midi dress from Forever 21 from a few years ago because it’s a great piece, good quality, and super versatile. Let me know how you would style this dress in the comments!

Outfit #1

To start, I just threw this cute oversize jacket from Free People on top and added some yellow sandals. Very easy, and simple. The key to this outfit is that if it gets chilly, you add the jacket and if it’s a little warmer then you can take the jacket off. It’s probably the easiest outfit in the world but still makes you look put together.

Dress: Forever 21 / Jacket: Free People / Sandals: Forever 21
Dress: Forever 21 / Jacket: Free People / Sandals: Forever 21
Dress: Forever 21 / Jacket: Free People / Sandals: Forever 21

Outfit #2

For this second one, I had a similar idea to the first in that adding a layer you can remove is a good idea, so that’s what I did! I took this striped button down shirt from American Eagle and just tied it up in the front. Adding some sneakers makes it really easy and casual also. This top happens to be short sleeve, but if it were long sleeve, you could even tie the shirt around your waist and get a little more of a grungey look too!

Dress: Forever 21 / Shirt: American Eagle / Shoes: Superga
Dress: Forever 21 / Shirt: American Eagle / Shoes: Superga
Dress: Forever 21 / Shirt: American Eagle / Shoes: Superga

Outfit #3

Similar to outfit #2, I went with a tie detail, but this time I used a graphic t-shirt to get the look. This look is super popular these days so you’ll be right on trend, yet still comfortable. Adding sneakers keeps it casual, but you can always switch them out for sandals or wedges!

Dress: Forever 21 / Shirt: Gucci / Shoes: Steve Madden
Dress: Forever 21 / Shirt: Gucci / Shoes: Steve Madden
Dress: Forever 21 / Shirt: Gucci / Shoes: Steve Madden

P.S. Keep up with me on instagram: @karenmauritzenn

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Travel

July Favorites 2019

The month of July was all about day trips and eating lots and lots of food. So, for my July Favorites, I figured I’d share some of the places I went (mostly around Long Island) to give you all a few last minute ideas for what to do this summer too! Let me know in the comments, what some of your favorite things were from this past month?

1. Greenport

A few weeks ago, I took a trip out to Greenport (on one of the hottest days of the year mind you) and it was such a nice easy experience. Greenport is all the way on the eastern end of long island, on the north fork. There’s all kind of great vineyards over there also! This day we went to visit the famous lavender fields, called Lavender By The Bay where the lavender is only in bloom for about 6 weeks in the summer! It’s a little pricey to get in at about $9 per person, but the field is one of the most instagrammable places around there, so it’s worth it (if that’s what you’re into). After that we stopped by the Greenport Harbor Brewing Company, which is cute and has a bunch of great beers. If you do a tasting there, you can even keep the glass! Finally, we stopped by Lucharitos for some tacos and margs and I had the BEST jalapeno margarita, probably ever. The duck breast tacos were also delicious!

2. Fire Island

For fourth of July weekend, we took a little trip out to Fire Island for a little R&R and lots and lots of drinks. We relaxed on the beach all day long, drank some beers out of red solo cups, and soaked up as much sun as possible. After a nice long beach day, we headed over to the bar there for rocket fuels which are frozen, rum, amaretto, and pineapple drinks. They were good, but I’m not big on frozen drinks so I only had one but it’s basically like a rite of passage. After that, we spent the night watching the fireworks, across the bay all across Long Island. If you ever get the chance to do this, take it! It’s an amazing view, that sort of makes you realize how small you are compared to the rest of the world.

3. White Plains

Also during fourth of July weekend, we took a trip up to White Plains and had ourselves a night. We spent the day and night drinking all kinds of margaritas, eating even more tacos and nachos and guacamole. We ended the night with some much needed Domino’s Pizza and some good old quality time. Th next morning, we treated ourselves to some bagels and coffee (and some Advil), which is not quite the same as the kind from Long Island but you know, it did the trick.

4. Montauk

Ahhh, Montauk. Honestly, one of my favorite places on Long Island. It’s the literally end of the island. It’s so far east that you could drive 2-3 hours to get there, and not even leave the island yet. It’s also got a little bit of everything. There’s tons of cute vineyards on the way there when driving through the Hamptons, lots of cute shops for food, coffee, and clothing on the way and even in town. There’s the Montauk Brewing Company, with the most aesthetically pleasing packaging for a beer you’ve ever seen. And of course, we can’t forget the beach. On my trip out there, we stopped for tacos (duh) at Tacombi, which is my favorite taco place in all of Long Island and Manhattan. Then we took a little walk around town to get some iconic Montauk apparel. They had sweatshirts 2 for $35! After that, we went to Kirk Beach which is the public beach in that town and finally our last stop was the Montauk Brewing Company for my favorite, the Watermelon Session Ale.

5. Michael Anthony’s Food Bar

THIS PLACE IS AMAZING. Truly and honestly, the most amazing culinary experience of my LIFE. Our host for the evening, Cassandra, is truly a sight to see. She has such a knack for what she does, you’d have to think she’s reading your mind. This restaurant in Wading River, NY is one where the host, basically reads the energy and the feel of the group and chooses your entire menu for you along with wine pairings for each course. It’s really a game of trust, and she hit the nail right on the head every single time. Some of our favorite dishes from that night included Spanish Octopus, Calamari, Wild Boar Ribs, Escargot, Duck Breast, Monkfish, and Lambchops. It was really the best experience and if you are adventurous and interested in trying new foods, I would highly recommend this place. However, save it for a special occasion, because the price tag is not fit for every day eating!

6. Core Life Eatery

This place is not as exciting as Michael Anthony’s Food Bar, but I love it just the same. There are a bunch of these restaurants all over, actually, but I’ve only just discovered it this month! This place is basically Chipotle, but for super healthy food. They have a variety of pre-selected grain or rice bowls, green bowls, and broth bowls or you can build your own. Everything is made with fresh produce and meats. The portions are a pretty good size, where you might not finish everything but if you did, you won’t feel horrible about it after. It’s really delicious and I highly recommend trying it out if you can!

P.S. Keep up with me on instagram: @karenmauritzenn

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Fashion

How to Style: Colorful Heels

In the last few months, I’ve been in a little bit of a funk style wise because I haven’t been shopping and needless to say, it took a little toll on my creativity! I’ve had to continuously restyle my old pieces, and it left me feeling bored to be honest. Today, I thought I would try styling some of my more colorful shoes, because they aren’t things I wear every single day so I’m not bored of them yet but it would be a fun way to make the clothes I do wear every day more interesting. So, without further ado, here’s how I would style a few of my favorite colorful heels. I’ll link anything that is still available!

Outfit #1

I’ve shown a similar outfit in the past, because I love matching my shoes to my top. I think it’s a fun way to put everything together, plus you know it’s always going to look good! I took this bright green button down from Zara and paired it with my favorite pair of mom jeans from Topshop. Then I added my heels in a similar shade of green from Sam Edelman and some gold hoops and voilà, an easy, casual, and colorful outfit!

Top: Zara / Jeans: Topshop / Shoes: Sam Edelman
Top: Zara / Jeans: Topshop / Shoes: Sam Edelman
Top: Zara / Jeans: Topshop / Shoes: Sam Edelman

Outfit #2

This one is styled with a similar idea in mind as the first one. However, I didn’t want to wear red shoes, because it felt too basic. I decided to go with orange to keep it a little bit more interesting. Again, these are paired with a favorite pair of jeans of mine (Straight Leg Jeans from Topshop) and a basic graphic tee from Urban and gold hoops. Super simple, and very easy!

Top: Urban Outfitters / Jeans: Topshop / Shoes: Charles by Charles David
Top: Urban Outfitters / Jeans: Topshop / Shoes: Charles by Charles David
Top: Urban Outfitters / Jeans: Topshop / Shoes: Charles by Charles David

Outfit #3

This one is fun because it’s an ode to when I loved color blocking and monochromatic styles. I paired my pinkish purple heels from Botkier with these bright pink trousers that I’ve worn a bunch of times on here. This color is no longer available, but it comes in black and yellow also, linked here! To keep it simple and wearable, I added just a plain white t-shirt. This one is great to go from work to drinks or dinner with friends!

Top: Something Navy / Pants: Topshop / Shoes: Botkier
Top: Something Navy / Pants: Topshop / Shoes: Botkier
Top: Something Navy / Pants: Topshop / Shoes: Botkier

Outfit #4

One of my favorite combinations is navy and leopard print. It really truly is the perfect balance of neutrals and color. Plus both are pretty trendy right now, but they will also never go out of style. I kept this one simple too. It’s just jeans and a t-shirt which I allowed the leopard to really shine in this outfit. These jeans are from a few years ago, but here’s a similar pair and the shoes are linked here.

Top: Something Navy / Jeans: American Eagle / Shoes: Steve Madden
Top: Something Navy / Jeans: American Eagle / Shoes: Steve Madden
Top: Something Navy / Jeans: American Eagle / Shoes: Steve Madden

P.S. Keep up with me on instagram: @karenmauritzenn

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