Planning a Trip To New York

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

It all started with an idea that was originally brought up by another one of our friends, suggesting that we should take a trip to NY. Sadly it didn't end up working out fir our friend to join us, but we decided to continue with the planning and take a trip together in January, since it worked out great for me having just graduated college and right before my best friend started nursing school. We have always wanted to take a trip together, and always planned to do so, but in the past our idea was to travel to England, however, we realized that something within the country might be a better first choice and thus New York it was! 

Both of us love traveling and visiting new places, and New York definitely has a LOT to offer for fashion, shopping, food, and tourism. However, since it is both of our first times visiting NY we decided to do more of a tourist trip mixed in with a bit of food, fashion, and shopping. However, for us, while we are definitely set on a NY trip that is blog and Instagram worthy (lets face it....who doesn't have that as a factor for a NY trip) planning our trip also definitely had a lot to do with budget (we are talking about two college students here) while also considering what kind of experience we wanted to have. When it comes to planning any trip I am BIG on the DETAILS! So for this trip I my best friend and I did a lot of research, looked at other tips, saw what I we were interested in doing, looked for deals, and created an idea for what we want our trip to be so that we can plan accordingly. So our first steps for planning were taking our ideas and figuring out how to make them work which is where we got all the details below:

I mentioned that I am a DETAILS person when it comes to planning trips, so something that helped me figure out our budget and keep track of our spending as well as what each of us had to owe, was keeping a file detailing all costs and purchases for the trip. I organized it by flights, lodging, tourism, and transportation, and broke sections down showing total cost and cost per person so that we knew exactly what we were spending. 

Did I mention this will be my first time on a plane.....yep....this is a big step! Okay, so obviously we are flying to NY so we had to first start planning our trip, days, and dates around our flight. Originally we were wanting to leave on a Friday but we soon learned that if we left mid week we would be able to save nearly $200 on flights so we opted to leave on a Thursday since we found an amazing deal with United Airlines. 
As for transportation once we get to NY, that is still up in the air depending on our schedule and where we need to go. However, as of now we know we will be taking a bus from the airport  into Penn Station (which is in Midtown) and then taking an Uber from there to our Air bnb. We were originally thinking of taking a bus to the subway station and then taking a subway to a station near our air bnb, but that seemed like to much of a stressful hasel with luggage, especially since neither one of us has every been to NY and knows anything about subway travel (better leave that up to a day without luggage). 
While in NY we will definitely be walking a lot, but one of our days we will be using the Hop on Hop Off bus with out NY pass to get around for the day since it stops near all of the museums and attractions we want to visit. Apart from that, we might use the local bus, subway, or uber to get around. 

After pricing different lodging options we settled on using Air bnb. We knew up front that we would be splitting our lodging costs which definitely gave us a bit more room for options, but at the end of the day Air bnb seemed like our best choice. Neither one of us has used Air bnb before, but considering the significant cost difference between a bnb and a hotel as well as the amenities an air bnb has to offer (kitchen, living room, etc.) we knew that was our best option. Plus, with an air bnb you get the experience of being a true "Newyorker" by staying in an apartment (and ours is so chic and modern) in a city neighborhood and experiencing all that has to offer (ours is in the upper East Side). 

Since both of us LOVE museums we knew we definitely wanted to visit most of the museums in NY as well as many of the local tourist spots such as the empire state building, statue of liberty, and top of the rock. Due to this, we were able to find a GREAT deal with a New York pass that allows you to get into a long list of attractions, museums, and tours free with an all inclusive cost that saves you a TON of money! Since our trip is 7 days we opted for the 5 day pass so that we could easily visit any of the museums or tourist attractions without the hasel and we definitely thought it was worth the money. While the pass itself was $250, once you factor in how much every tourist spot and museum would cost for the length of time we are there, plus being able to skip lines, it is totally worth it! Plus, we have options of taking bus tours, boat tours, and specialty walking tours with out pass to get an even better experience in the city. 

Like I mentioned above, we love museums and with our NY pass we get into Guggenheim, Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Natural History, and more. However, we also recently discovered that NY has a temporary "Downton Abbey" exhibit and as HUGE fans of the show we knew that we couldn't pass up the opportunity to step into the scenes of Downton Abbey and experience it firsthand. 

My best friend is a HUGE theater and musical fan and it just seems wrong to visit NY without going to see a broadway show! While there are definitely a lot of options when it comes to Broadway shows, and there were many we would have loved to see, we settled on a classic (and one that fit better in our budget) and chose to go see Wicked which we are very excited about! 

What is a NY trip without shopping! So since we are in NY we decided we have to do the "steryotypical" shopping experience and stop into big name stores like Bloomingdales and Barney's. However, we will also stop into the NY versions of some of our favorite stores like Sephora (my bestie is a silver platinum member), H&M, and much more. Oh.....and I just realized the other day (while watching Say Yes To The Dress) that we have to stop into Kleinfeld to take a picture in the lobby! 

I think another thing NY is known for be it with bloggers or tourists, or the general NY dweller is the food and beverages it has to offer. I pretty much stalk all my favorite NY bloggers to see where they like to eat and to find the "picture perfect" spots. Lets just say I have found a number of places that are totally "instagram worthy" and brunch heaven + coffee lovers paradise and can't wait to try them out! However, while we do plan to try our fair share of NY pizza, pasta, pastries, and coffee, we do plan to stop at the local supermarket in the neighborhood that our air bnb is in to grab some groceries for breakfast and dinner. 

Have you ever been to New York?

- Madison 

Christmas Party Wear

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Dress: Vintage | Belt: Vintage | Shoes: Thrifted (Michael Kors) | Earrings: c/o Happiness Boutique 

Christmas is just around the corner, and with it comes a slew of Christmas parties, family gathering, holiday celebrations, and New Year parties. When it comes to parties, especially around this festive time of year I am always thinking about the perfect ensemble to wear to any holiday gathering. If you remember this post, I talked about finding happiness in the little details of outfits, and this festive Christmas look takes all of that into consideration. 
I always love pulling in shades of the season into my looks, so this green vintage dress seemed like the perfect piece to pull out for a holiday party! Since the dress is green, it was only fitting that I paired a red belt with it to give it a more "christmasy" pop:) With all the colors of the look, I chose to play it simple, yet classic for my shoes and opted for this FABULOUS pair of Michael Kors nude block heels that I found for $8 at Goodwill......seriously my best steal ever! 
However, nothing quite pulls a look together better than jewelry, and I am completely obsessed with these gold double ball drop earrings from Happiness Boutique......absolutely so classic and they give me so much retro inspiration I could seriously wear them with everything, but party wear is their true calling! 
From classic heel and gold ball drop earring, to green dresses and plaid bows, this look has everything I need for a Holiday party, or Christmas Tea, or really whatever fancy "christmasy" thing I feel up to trying:)

Oh, and did I mention Happiness Boutique is offering all of you lovely readers 10% off with the code minniemuseblog until January 20th, so if you need some fabulous earrings for a special occasion you should browse their vast array of styles. 

- Madison

12 Christmas Movies You Need To Watch

Monday, December 18, 2017

It's officially a WEEK until Christmas so I am all about getting into the Christmas spirit and packing in as many Christmas traditions and bucket list items as possible....especially when it comes to movies! Many of these Christmas movies I don't get to watch every year because time gets away from me and life gets busy, but all of them hold a special place in my heart because I remember watching them when I was growing up, settled in with a cozy blanket, cup of hot cocoa, and a crackling fire nearby. I thought it would be fun to share my favorite Christmas movies (that are not Hallmark....shocker, I know) with you all in case you need something to watch this week:) 

  • It's A Wonderful Life - Nothing gets more traditional than this classic black and white movie about the story of George Bailey and his journey to realizing the impact his life has on everyone around him (I actually got to see this as a play at Silver Dollar City a couple of years ago and it was amazing!) 
  • Elf - I didn't watch this until two years ago and I was laughing so hard the entire time! It's not only a classic, but the perfect Christmas comedy about a Christmas obsessed Elf, and you can't help loving Christmas and Santa after watching it. 
  • White Christmas - This might be one of my favorite movies of all time and probably my favorite Christmas movie (WHAT....not a HAllmark....LOL...I know) but you can't help falling in love with the songs, dances, clothes and noteworthy cast in this classic Christmas film. 
  • Polar Express - (I am actually watching this right now as I write this) But I love this movie because of the Christmas MAGIC! The songs, the hot cocoa, the train, the golden tickets, EVERYTHING! It makes you BELIEVE in Santa, and Christmas Magic, and Elves, and Magic trains. 
  • A Christmas Carol (1984) - It took me so many years to watch this movie (our parents thought it would scare us) but the story is so symbolic and makes you think about life....the past, present, and future and the choices you make. Charles Dickens was a brilliant author and this classic and popular story brings the importance of Christmas giving and thankfulness to life on screen. 
  • The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017) - If you love A Christmas Carol, this is the movie about how Charles Dickens created his most popular book and changed the spirit of Christmas in peoples hearts FOREVER! Dan Stevens plays Charles Dickens and the movie is seriously BRILLIANT! 
  • The Holiday - So this might not be the most traditional Christmas movie, and it really isn't even that much of a Christmas movie, but Christmas time always seems like the perfect time to watch this movie. This move centers around the lives of two women who decide to swap houses for the "holiday" and meet people they never expected to meet that change their lives forever....and can we all agree that the scene where Jude Law puts on his glasses is like the BEST MOVIE SCENE EVER! 
  • A Christmas Story - This is truly a classic! "You'll Shoot Your Eye Out!" is such a popular phrase from this movie. I remember my parents showing this to us as kids and finally understanding why everyone quoted it so much. (WARNING: there is a bit of language in this movie, so if that isn't your thing you might want to look it up or skip it)  
  • Christmas Vacation - This movie is a classic Christmas comedy that has everyone laughing at the over abundance of lights, the surprise in laws, the cat in the box, cat food in the jello, fried Christmas tree and so much more! (WARNING: This movie does has some language and a few suggestive scenes
  • Dr. Seuss's The Grinch Who Stole Christmas - I didn't watch this movie all the way through until this year and it is actually a really good movie.....I understand now why it is so popular. The story of changed hearts, and Cindy Lou who believes that there is good in everyone is a heartwarming tale. 
  • Miracle on 34th Street (1994) - This was my favorite Christmas movie growing up (before I discovered Hallmark Christmas movies). I love Susan and her relationship with St. Nicholas and his impact on all the characters, and on the entire city of New York and the best part of the movie when the judge profoundly states: "Now, if the government of the United States can issue it's currency bearing a declaration of trust in God without demanding physical evidence of the existence or the nonexistence of a greater being, then the state of New York by a similar demonstration of the collective faith of its people, can accept and acknowledge that Santa Claus does exist, and he exists in the person of Kriss Kringle!"
  • The Nativity Story - a very POWERFUL movie that brings to life the Christmas Story of Luke 2 and takes us into the chapter that holds the true meaning of Christmas in Jesus Christ's birth and his simple, yet divine entrance into the world!  
What is your favorite Christmas movie?


Snow Day

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Coat: Thrifted (Forever 21) | Pants: Thrifted (Nine West) | Boots: Thrifted | Socks: Old Navy
Scarf: a gift | Hat: Target | Gloves: a gift (Faded Glory) 

For those of you who might be wondering "This isn't even a lot of snow....why is she sooooo excited about it?" I know.....this really isn't even that much, but I live in Texas so for me and other Texans this was a pretty BIG DEAL! According to my Canadian friend what I consider to be a "light dusting" of snow, to Canadians is 3 inches, so by that measure this "light dusting" of snow we got last week isn't all that impressive. However, being the Texan that I am it was a "Christmas Miracle" to wake up and see the world covered in a layer of pure white, magical powder.

And to be honest, the only reason I was able to even enjoy this magical occurrence was because my cat woke me up early in the morning, and considering that I had stepped outside at 10pm the night before to see the BIGGEST snowflakes in my life falling from the sky, I was curious to see if it had stuck and the sight before my eyes was breathtaking! Of course I decided to make the most of it and spent a good hour or more taking pictures and driving around to bask in the white glory of our town. I felt like I had awaken into a scene of a Hallmark movie.....not one of the movies where the snow falling is puffy bubbles from a "bubble snow" machine (because it was filmed in the summer to fit it into their schedule for filming 32 original Christmas movies), or where the cover of snow on bushes and the sidewalk is actually white poly-fill covering to make an attempt at "appearing" to be was rather a scene where the small town (that hardly ever got snow) awoke in a winter wonderland because St. Nicholas took it upon himself to add to the magic of the season and make the Christmas OBSESSED town's "Winter Festival" all the more "wintery" with a blanket of white.....and everyone lives Happily Ever After, THE END!

Okay, so maybe that is overdoing it a bit, but that is seriously the best way to describe our Snow Day. Of course, with snow for me meant dressing for the occasion and I took to it like marshmallows to hot chocolate in grabbing my most "wintery" outfit and getting ready in 30 minutes to capture the snowy scenery before it melted in the sun. What says SNOW DAY or WHITE CHRISTMAS more than an outfit of red, white, and Christmas sweater print? NOTHING! So with my winter gear on and my Christmas spirit on full power I went outside to capture the miracle and enjoy the beauty while it lasted.....throwing snow, twirling, and breathing in the crisp air "I Smell Snow" (get the reference)!

Do you live in a place that gets snow?
Do you get excited about snow or is it a nuisance?

- Madison 

Cozy Christmas Wear

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Sweater: Faded Glory
Leggings: Target
Socks: Target

I LOVE anything cozy, especially to wear around the house this time of the year. It is no secret that I LOVE Christmas, and as is such, I make the most of every opportunity to wear anything remotely having to do with Christmas:)
At home I dearly love to wear the coziest and comfiest clothes I can find, so this time of year my go to is usually leggings in a Christmas print paired with a Christmas sweatshirt, sweater, or Christmas shirt along with a pair of fuzzy socks.....nothing gets more festively cozy than that!
Something about December and the cold weather makes me want to cozy up with a mug of cocoa or coffee and a warm blanket to enjoy a book or watch a show on Netflix, or work my way through my LONG list of Christmas movies. 

What is your favorite cozy wear?


I GRADUATED!!!!! Now What

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Is this real or is this a dream? I seriously can't believe this day is here! I feel like the last 3 years of my life have both crept by and flown furiously. (Oh, and if you are wondering why I say 3 years, it is because I went into college with a LOT of hours so I got to graduate early) But seriously, if you have kept up with my other posts about college or happen to have been following along with the adventures of Minnie Muse for 2-3 years you have probably heard a good bit about my college experience. 
It has been both the hardest and most rewarding 3 years but the payoff is worth it because today I am GRADUATING COLLEGE! That is still crazy to say:) 3 years ago I wouldn't have been able to comprehend that yet another chapter of my life would be ending as another awaits beyond the horizon, but yet here I stand, looking out over the valley that is my future! what? What is next for me? Well.....I majored in Family and Consumer Science (which is what most people know as Home Economics or as some jokingly call the true the "Mrs. Degree"). Apart from my major, I minored in Secondary Education which means (after I complete all my certification tests) I can teach Family and Consumer Science (which is what I did this semester during student teaching). While my degree is broad and there is definitely I LOT I could do with it, and much I am interested, my plan right now is to become a Family and Consumer Science teacher at the High School Level. However, I don't want to jump into getting a teaching job right away.
You see, the thing I have come to realize over this last semester is that everyone (mostly) always seems to be pushing you to dive right into a job or career or to get an actual teaching gig right away.....but you just spent the last 4 (or 3) years of your life in classes, studying and taking tests to get a need a moment to just be. To just be a person, not a college I need a moment to just be Madison. Now, I am not saying this in a negative way. Many of the people I went through Methods and Student Teaching with have gotten jobs or plan to in the next month, and I am so happy for them, but I knew for me I needed time before I dive into teaching full time. With that being said, this doesn't mean I am going to sit around all day watching Netflix (only on Friday nights) but it does mean I can pursue the things I didn't have time to in college and also work a part time job. I get a moment to breathe and see what the world has to offer for a few months without the looming expanse of GRADUATION. 
Thus, my plan for the spring is to study and take my tests to get certified as a Family and Consumer Science teacher. Sub at various schools in the school district I eventually want to get a job at next fall, and also pick up my old part time job working at a local tea room. So I am not completely without a plan, and honestly no plan would probably stress me out, but there awaits a future of unknowns, possibilities, and infinite opportunities and I cannot wait to see what God has in store!


Christmas Bucket List

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Ahh.....Christmas Time! This is definitely my FAVORITE time of the year/holiday. Sure, I love fall as a season, but Christmas has so many characteristics that make me LOVE it the most! There are decorations, music specifically for Christmas and winter, crackling fires, Christmas lights, books, movies, treats made only once a year, traditions, and an overall magic that hangs in the air. I LOVE CHRISTMAS! With my undying love for Christmas and the winter season I put together my ultimate Christmas bucket list composed of my favorite childhood traditions and activities that I like to do every year at this time. Hope you enjoy!

What are your Christmas traditions?
Do you LOVE Christmas?


Dressing For Work & The Weather

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

When the weather cools off and the temperature drops significantly, the biggest challenge is dressing to stay warm! However, for those of us who are not only dressing for the weather, but also for work, figuring out what to wear to transition from outside --> Inside --> outside can be a challenge. 

In today's post I am sharing all of my tips for picking out a look that works both indoors (where it is warm) and outdoors (where it is cold). When it comes to dressing for work and the weather, I always go back to the art of layers. Now, when I say layers, I mean that there are multiple components to my look that keep me both comfortable and warm. The base of any one of my outfits this time of the year is always a light sweater, wool skirt, close toed shoes or boots, and a pair of tights or socks (like above). Tights for me really are the key!!! You wouldn't believe how much of a difference wearing a light pair of tights with a skirt can make to your personal warmth:) With all of these components, this base keeps me cool and comfortable inside as well as covered and fairly cozy outside. 

Inside of course I do not wear a coat :), but being the "cold natured" person that I am I always bring a chunky and cozy cardigan with me to throw on if it somehow decides to get frigid indoors. When I step outside into the crisp air however, I always make sure to grab a scarf and a trench coat! Depending on how cold it really is outside I might opt for a wool coat, but here in Texas a trench coat and a sweater always does the trick. 

The great part about this layering technique is that you can always put on or take off layers depending on your personal comfort. I always take a sweater to work with me and a jacket if I am going outside, so if I get cold all I have to do is put on a layer. The same thing is said for if I get warm, all I have to do is take off my jacket or cardigan and I am comfortable. Keeping the base layers light yet covering your arms and legs helps to keep you entire body insulated and helps you expertly dress for both work and the weather. 

I decided to put together some layered outfit ideas to show you the pieces that I gravitate towards when getting ready in the colder months. While the base of any outfit is important, the extra outer pieces are the KEY components that keep me warm when I step outside and I never leave the house without them. I also decided that it would be fun to show you the guy version of my method, so I put together two looks that would keep any guy both comfortable at work and warm outside (and I have to say that I am so in love with these two looks below). 


While a light pair of tights with a skirt can add to your personal warmth as a lady, I don't want to forget about the guys, because layering is also extremely important for the men out there too. Wearing flannel lines pants or dress slacks will keep them warm outside, while still looking professional for work. Pair those with a knit sweater, dress shirt, or flannel underneath and you have quite the cozy look. I would recommend checking out these shirts to complete the layering look. With all of these components, this base will keep them cool and comfortable inside as well as covered and fairly cozy outside:)  

BONOBOSShirt 1, Shirt 2, Sweater | Brown Belt, Tan Belt | Slacks, Jeans | Brown Boots, Leather Lace Ups | Cardigan | Scarf | Socks | Bomber Jacket | Coat 


Do you use these layering tips to stay warm in the winter?
What are your go to work and weather pieces?