Travel

Weekend In My Life: Philadelphia, PA

Over this past weekend, I went on a little weekend trip to Philadelphia with my boyfriend and I thought I would document it to show you guys! I honestly I did not document as well as I would have liked because I truly get caught up in the moment too often to remember to take photos. I did what I could with my posts from snapchat, so bare with me! Either way, I had such a great weekend relaxing in Philadelphia and I am looking forward to going back soon!

We got to the city around 11 am on Saturday so we had a full day ahead of us! We stayed at the Le Meridien Philadelphia which is a beautiful, French decor inspired hotel. It’s a part of Marriott also, so you can still get the perks of being a Marriott rewards member which is nice! It was also really close to everything we wanted to do which made it easy for us to just walk around! We actually did not take a single Uber which was a good way for us to save a few dollars.

When we first arrived, we walked a few blocks and found 2 different little Christmas markets in the city. One was a German themed one and the other was near the ice rink and both were super cute and crowded. It was a nice introduction for our trip! After that, we walked a few more blocks over to Rittenhouse Square and took a break to people watch on a park bench. It was pretty chilly, but it was nice to just sit and relax and chat.

For lunch, we headed over to the Iron Hill Brewery which was honestly the best lunch I’ve had in a while! We both got the holiday beer flights which were good. We both liked 2 out of the 4 beers, so it was just okay but we also have decided we really don’t like beer that much. I got a BLT sandwich with a balsamic glaze and pesto and it was TO DIE FOR. Literally the best sandwich I think I’ve ever had. Andrew got a grilled chicken sandwich which was also really yummy and perfectly portioned. After lunch, we stopped by the Reading Terminal Market to grab some doughnuts! They were delicious, but we got way more than we could handle so we didn’t end up finishing those.

After the doughnuts, we went back to the hotel to relax and rest until dinner time. For dinner, we went to a restaurant called James which was about 5 blocks from our hotel. It had really yummy drinks! We also got the most delicious meatball and burrata appetizer. For dinner, I had some steak with chimichurri and french fries and Andrew got the most delicious, savory gnocchi. Then we headed out to do some bar hopping and get a feel for the city at night. We stopped by City Tap House, then Bru and finally ended the night at Time which was our favorite by far. The drinks there were good and cheap and it wasn’t too crowded for a Saturday night.

We had such a wonderful weekend and I’m so happy we went! Weekend trips are really easy for us to do and we’re hoping to do plenty more in 2020. I can’t wait to share some more trips with you all next year!

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

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Lifestyle

Things I Loved This Month: September 2019

September has been a good month, I think. Very busy and lots of travel going on so I’m excited to share this month’s favorites with you. Keep on reading to see what some of my favorite things were!

Punta Cana, DR

Earlier this month, I went on vacation to Punta Cana and stayed at Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana. It’s an all inclusive resort in Bavaro Beach and it was a really nice trip. I was so happy to relax and lay on a beach for 5 days without a care in the world. We spent a good amount of time relaxing by the pool/beach, eating good food, and drinking yummy drinks. It was an exciting, and romantic trip and I was so happy that we got to go!

Toronto, Canada

I also took a little trip to Toronto for work, which was also a great time. Though it was busy during the day, I was able to get out and explore one night. I took a stroll down Yonge St. and treated myself to some of the best sushi I’ve had in a while! Toronto is such a young, happening city so I’m looking forward to going back to explore some more!

Pumpkin Cream Nitro Cold Brew

Say what you want but Starbucks and all things pumpkin got the best of me this month. I’ve been drinking the pumpkin cream cold brews non-stop all month long and I see no end in sight honestly. I will usually get a nitro because of the caffeine but when I’m not so sleepy, I’ll stick with a regular cold brew. It’s just sweet enough that you don’t need to add any other creamer or sweetner to it. Definitely try this if you’re into pumpkin drinks!

Pumpkin Beer

I tried my fair share of pumpkin beers this month also and I have to say it’s hard to choose a favorite! I’m really into local beers, so I’ve tried mostly the ones at breweries around Long Island. My favorites so far are the Montauk Brewing Company Pumpkin Ale and the North Fork Brewing Co. Butternut the Hutt, but an honorable mention to the Blue Point Brewery for their Pumpkin Ale also!

Target

I’ve been all over Target this month because they’re getting in all their new fall fashion. Target has really stepped their game up in recent years as far as fashion goes by adding in all new brands. My favorites are the Who What Wear brand and the A New Day brand. They have really pretty pieces for work, but also some of the best quality basics for under $20 (think: tees for $10 and leggings for $14). Plus they often have dupes for other brands, like Madewell which has such cute pieces but the price point is not necessarily affordable. Definitely check out some of the new styles there!

Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation

I put up a question sticker on my Instagram Stories recently asking for suggestions for drugstore foundations and this is one that was recommended to me by a friend. I decided to try it out because I liked the $5.99 price tag and I fell in love. It’s got a medium coverage, but it’s definitely buildable (just make sure it dries in between layers). Plus the shade range is insane! I found my exact match and only needed to try out 2 shades. Love this and highly recommend for a drugstore alternative foundation.

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

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Travel

My Exciting, Romantic Weekend Getaway in Punta Cana

About a week (and a half) ago, I went on a really nice, romantic vacation with my sweet boyfriend to Punta Cana and I’m finally getting around to writing about it. Keep on reading to hear all about our first real baecation!

To start, we stayed at the Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana which is a 4 star all inclusive resort. It was really nice and we were pleasantly surprised by how good it was. The service was top notch, and we felt like we were always treated well! We were also pleasantly surprised by how big the rooms were too which was a nice extra surprise. The resort in general was small, and didn’t have a lot of guestrooms so it was very cozy and intimate. We spent a lot of time seeing the same people, which was comforting, though a little weird at first!

The only thing we were really not that thrilled about was the food. We felt that there was only 2 good restaurants for dinner and we were really underwhelmed by the breakfast and lunch options. The resort also always had tons of activities going on throughout the day. You could relax at the beach or by the pool or you could participate in yoga on the beach, water aerobics, a foam party or so many other activities. Plus every night, they had a themed show! Our first night was a rock and roll themed show and another night was belly dancing. It was really cool actually and the performers did an excellent job!

We also did an excursion where we went snorkeling/diving, parasailing, and swam in a natural pool. That was a lot of fun! Andrew did the diving but I was too scared to. He got some great pictures down there which was really exciting for him. Parasailing was also a lot of fun, it just felt like floating up in the air and was not scary at all. Plus swimming in the natural pool was relaxing and a great way to end the excursion.

I think overall, we had a great trip and it was a really nice and relaxing way to spend time together. It was our first big vacation together and it could not have gone better! We would love to head back there with friends again one day, but we’re already thinking about where our next trip should be! Any ideas?

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

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Lifestyle

Things I Loved This Month: August Favorites 2019

August has flown by and I can’t believe it’s over. Although I keep saying I’m ready for fall, it’s always sad to see summer go. For my favorites this month, I don’t have your typical favorites honestly. I’ve had a lot of big changes this month, which has forced me to rearrange a few parts of my life. Below I’m taking about a few things that have really helped me get through this month!

1 . Suave Rosemary + Mint Shampoo & Keratin Conditioner

Okay, this one is kind of funny to add in but I really am excited about these products. Recently, I decided that it’s silly to spend $30+ on conditioner or treatment masks when my hair is super healthy right now. So, I decided to switch to something more affordable. Originally, I only wanted conditioner but I figured why not test out a new shampoo also since I’m not partial to any particular kind. I was not only shocked by the $2.99 price tag (!!!) but also shocked at the quality. My hair was soft, frizz free (!!!), but still felt clean. If you want drug store hair products, I recommend looking into Suave!

2. Starbucks Coffee

Recently, I started commuting by train/subway to work so I’ve had to switch up my morning routine quite a bit. One thing I’ve noticed is that I hate carrying around a crazy heavy bag while on the train and walking the streets of Manhattan. It’s just inconvenient with the crowds which means I’ve had to eliminate some things from my purse. One thing I’ve decide to nix is carrying around my giant coffee mug. It’s just way easier for me to buy it in the morning. I’ve always been a huge fan of Starbucks, but it’s really become my lifeline over the last month because I’m sleepy majority of the time. My go-to order has always been a Venti Starbucks Doubleshot on ice with half & half and vanilla, but now I’m really loving the grande Nitro Cold Brew. It’s so smooth! So I add some half & half because I can’t drink it black (yet), and it’s all I need during the day. It literally lasts me until 3:00 pm sometimes. Highly recommend!

3. A Planner

With my new busy schedule, I rely heavily on a planner. So much so, that I have 2! I have one for work that I use to mark down deadlines, travel dates, and any meetings/calls. I also have one for personal use that I mark down any plans I have for the week/weekend and when I plan to post blogs. It’s color coded and comes with me everywhere. If you’re struggling to get organized, I HIGHLY recommend starting with a planner. I use a Lily Pulitzer Large Planner one for personal (been using this brand since college!) and a Kelly Ventura for Blue Sky one for work.

4. Instagram Stories

I’ve been really into using Instagram stories lately! I like them because it’s a chance to experiment and try out new content without messing around with my grid posts. I think there are so many apps available for you to customize your Instagram stories that make it so easy to work on. It’s also a great way to show your day by day activities and interact with your followers. I’m not comfortable talking on them yet (because the thought of listening to my own voice makes me cringe) but I’m practicing and experimenting and will get there one day! My Instagram is linked here for you to check out!

5. Pinterest

I’ve put Pinterest in my favorites before, but I’ve been REALLY into it this month. I just recently figured out how to maximize my Pinterest usage to promote my blog and my Instagram posts and it’s been a game changer. Not only can I use it to find outfit inspiration (or inspiration for anything else) but I can share my blog posts and Instagram photos there too and direct traffic to those sites that I didn’t have access to before. It’s HUGE. It’s such an underrated platform but it offers excellent results!

6. Punta Cana

I’m currently on vacation in Punta Cana so I’ll have some more details about it in a post next week, but of course, it’s part of my August Favorites!

What are some of your favorites this month? Let me know in the comments below!

This blog post includes affiliate links from Amazon.com.

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

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Travel

My Easy Vacation Packing Guide: Punta Cana

Hello, everyone! Welcome back! Next week I have an exciting trip coming up so just like I do for all my travels, I wanted to share some things I’m planning to pack. This would include clothes, accessories, toiletries, and anything else I think will come in handy on this fun trip I’ve got planned. Keep on reading to see what I’ve got packed for my trip to Punta Cana!

Clothing

Obviously clothing is super important for a vacation because you can’t walk around naked. We’re only staying 4 nights/5 days so I don’t need TOO much, but I will most definitely over pack because of who I am as a person. Some of the things that I’m really focusing on purchasing for this trip are evening outfits. The resort we’re staying at is pretty high end, so I feel like I can get away with looking extra nice for dinners. Plus it’s a baecation, so I want it to be extra special. I decided that rompers and dresses are the way to go for dinners because they are super easy to throw on, while still looking put together. Plus it’s going to be hot and humid so I want to wear something easy to keep me cool too. Below are a few things I’ve had my eye on for a fancy dinner!

Swimsuits

This is like a no brainer, honestly. Going to an island means that I’ll need some cutie swimsuits! I plan on spending my days in swimsuits and my nights in the dresses above, because I plan on baking in the sun for 5 days (with spf on don’t you worry). I got a few swim suits before going to Greece earlier this summer and I shared those in my swimsuit collection blog post, linked here. I don’t need too many, but I do want to share a few that I saw on ASOS for less than $30 per piece. I’m loving a neon swimsuit and of course, you can’t go wrong with classic black!

Toiletries

Other than my usual skin care, I don’t plan on wearing TOO much make up or anything but I figured I’d share some of my favorites that I definitely will bring. Currently, Sephora is having 20% off for Rouge members which ends today, August 27! I get my FAVORITE mascara there so I wanted to share. It’s the Dior Diorshow Mascara and the Dior Diorshow Volumizing Lash Primer. I have also been thinking I’d pick up the Nudestix Nudies Matte Blush and Bronzer in Sunkissed because it’s been sold out every time I try to buy it. It’s perfect for a vacation where you don’t want to wear a ton of makeup but you still want to look bronze and glowy.

Some Other Necessities…

Some other things I will definitely be bringing with me is a few different cameras. I love to bring my Polaroid camera on vacation with me because it’s a fun way to capture the memories, plus you get to see the photo right away! Here’s the one I use, it’s the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera. Along with that I always get a multipack of the film because I find it the most cost effective. It’s the matching Fujifilm Instax Mini Film. And last but not least, you know I LOVE to use a disposable camera so of course, I got the Fujifilm QuickSnap Flash 400 Disposable 35mm Camera. I usually buy these in a 3 pack also for cost effectiveness.

This blog post contains affiliate links from the following retailers:

  • Nordstrom.com
  • ASOS.com
  • Amazon.com

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

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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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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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