The Christmas Tag: Let The Festivities Begin!

Hello and happy Sunday everyone!

Another end to another weekend…as bittersweet as it may be, I hope you guys enjoyed it and rested up for the start of the new week tomorrow!

I’m super excited because today I’m going to be officially starting my first day of Blogmas!!

I am, however, just going to be doing my own version of it, MEANING, although most bloggers and/or YouTubers tend to try and post every single day/night for the month of December, I’m going to just do it twice or three times a week. Nonetheless, I will be making sure that they’re as fun, creative and holiday-related (to some extent) as possible! 🙂

So, for today’s post (and technically first day of Blogmas for me), I thought it would be fun to do none other than the Christmas tag! Mentioning a few of my personal holiday favorites along with past experiences, traditions, etc.

So, without further adieu, let’s get started!

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  1. What is your favorite Christmas film?

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There are SO many (which I’m going to be doing a completely separate post about later on), but if I had to choose out of them all, I would have to probably say The Santa Claus movie(s), starring Tim Allen. I literally never get tired of those movies and think they are SO cute.

2. Have you ever had a White Christmas?

None that I remember on the day of, but there’s been some a few days before and/or after.

3. Where do you usually spend your holiday?

At home with family (my parents and brother) and Diego.

4. What is your favorite Christmas song?

The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You) by Nat “King” Cole.

5. Do you open any presents on Christmas Eve?

Amongst my family, the only thing(s) we open on Christmas Eve are our stockings, but aside from that, Diego and I usually tend to exchange gifts with each other and open them that day.

6. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?

Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen…..(and Rudolph). And to be honest the only reason I really know them and can recite them so fast if you asked me in person is because of that one scene in Jingle All The Way starring Arnold Schwarzenegger (which, if you haven’t watched it before you totally should 😂).

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7. What holiday traditions are you looking forward to most this year?

I guess I would have to say the Advent calendar my dad always gets my brother and I every year (no matter how old we are), watching the 25 days of Christmas on FreeForm, and also watching A Christmas Story all day on AMC  on the actual day of Christmas with my family.

8. Is your Christmas tree real or fake?

Fake!

9. What is your all-time favorite holiday food/sweet treat?

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I LOVE the holiday pillsbury sugar cookies. UGHH they’re pre-baked already, but god do they never get old 😍  (which fun fact: they have ones as E.L.F. themed now that I am SO excited to make!!!)

10. Be honest: do you like giving gifts or receiving gifts better?

Honestly, if you know me you know that I LOVE giving gifts to others, especially the people I care about most, and even if I don’t get anything back from them in return. I’m just that type of person. I go all out every year for the people I care about. I love and would much rather know that I’m making other people happy in that sense then get anything else. To me, that makes me the most happy.

11. Most memorable Holiday moment?

Last year in general, although it was really hard, was also really memorable, because it was the first Christmas in YEARS that we had spent it without our cat Spencer. And everyone in my family knew how difficult it was for me personally, so they all (in their own separate ways/gifts) got me a lot of great things to help me not only cope, but also to just remember him.

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Like my mom got me this picture of me and Spencer blown up and put on a canvas, which actually hangs on the wall in my room now, and Diego got me a bracelet that was engraved with “For my love, From D & S,” which was pretty special and actually made me cry (both of them).

12. When did you realize the truth about Santa?

This is terrible, but I must’ve been like 9-10 and to this day I really don’t remember what was up my ass that one Christmas morning, or who pissed me off or why it happened, but I just remember being really upset and yelling at the top of my lungs to my parents “AND THAT’S WHY SANTA ISN’T EVEN REAL!!” and so from then on, my parents stopped all of the ‘Santa is real’ charade with me and just got me gifts like a grown-up (so to speak) 😂.

13. What makes the Holidays special for you?

Honestly, I just love the general feeling and giddiness that comes along with it all. The music, decorations, events, etc., it’s just all really fun and exciting and never gets old for me. I’m 23 years-old and to this day, I look forward to it and all of the cheesy little things that come along with it every year.

14. Have you ever made a snowman?

Not on or for Christmas, but yes my brother and I have tried (and failed) several times before.

15. How do you decorate your house for Christmas?

I/we (my family) love the holidays and always do our best to go all out. And personally,  more so now that I’m older, working and making my own money, I tend to go all out even if it’s just for my room (which I’ll be showing you guys in a separate post soon).

16. When do you start getting excited about Christmas?

Anyone who knows me knows that November 1st is when I start getting excited, decorating and listening to Christmas music lol.

17. You have been granted one Christmas wish….what would it be?

To have one big Christmas party/event with my entire family (from both my parents’ sides), because it’s been a LONG time since we’ve all gotten together in that way sadly, and I know it would be a great and memorable time for all of us if it were to happen.

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I hope you guys enjoyed this Christmas Tag post. Please like, share, follow and comment, and stay tuned for my next Blogmas post in a few days! 😀

-Xoxo, LeoGirl ❤

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On The Menu Today: P.J. Clarke’s

What’s up everybody?! Happy Sunday! 😀 Hope you guys had a great weekend and are getting yourselves ready to kickass this coming week!

Today’s post is (finally) another food/restaurant one! 🙂 I know it’s been a while, but we haven’t really been able to go out and try different places as often the way that we used to, for a variety of different reasons. BUUUUT nonetheless, we finally did and so here we are today! 😉

The place I’m talking about is called P.J. Clarke’s, which I know they actually apparently have quite a few different locations around New York, but I’m specifically going to be speaking about the one in Brookfield Place, near the Freedom Tower.

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Background Story:

I find that whenever I do one of these posts, I always end up giving you guys a little bit of background information for how we came across the restaurants that we do, so I figure why not continue on with that mini tradition lol.

Ultimately, this is the restaurant that Diego and I had went to when we celebrated our 4-year anniversary.

If I remember correctly, we were just kind of walking around the Brookfield Place mall (which is humongous and absolutely STUNNING, if you haven’t been there before, you HAVE to make the trip over!!), and we went in because Diego wanted to walk around the Saks Fifth Avenue Men’s Store, so while he was walking around, I just kind of looked out the window, looked down, and saw that there was a ton of like large “fairy” lights strung all around the trees. So, I told Diego about it and we figure we go check it out, and when we did, we obviously saw that it was a restaurant, and just decided to try it.

Being that it was like in the middle of the summer, we did get to sit outside, which was absolutely beautiful because it was right next to the water. The scenery was beautiful, the food was amazing, and the service was just as great; so of course we decided we wanted to go back again, which we did last Saturday, but this time we went with my best friend Michelle as well.

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It’s obviously no longer summer, and it was actually really chilly last weekend when we went, so we opted for sitting indoors, which wasn’t bad at all because it was actually pretty cozy.

The general decor of the restaurant (although I really liked it) gave me major Italian vibes for some reason, even though they’re predominantly known for their burgers and ‘raw bar’.

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Food & Service:

One thing to keep in mind with us (all 3 of us specifically whenever we get together), is that we always like to incorporate at LEAST a little bit of alcohol, and a whole lot of food….we can EAT.

So with that being said, of course we started off by ordering a bottle of rosé wine, which Diego picked out for us, and it was SO good. Personally, I’m a white wine type of girl and I know Michelle is too so that was right up our alley.

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Next, of course came the appetizer, which is anyone at all surprised that we ordered wings for that? Because you really shouldn’t be at this point….we’re major wing lovers haha.

I never used to be one to care for spiciness in any of my foods/meats, but I guess dating Diego for as long as I have has actually made me grow really fond of it because now whenever we go out I’m usually the one to order hot/spicy wings (although my tolerance for it really isn’t anything crazy yet). That being said, we ordered wings that had a bit of a kick to it, but were still REALLY good.

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Next up for us came the entrées.

I guess I was the only one being fake boujee this day, because everyone else just got burgers while I got a steak lol.

Diego got the Smoky Poblano burger (shown below), which pretty much has Roasted Poblano, Sharp Cheddar and Green Herb Sauce, and he said it was pretty good.

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Michelle got a burger as well, but she actually got the The “Cadillac” which has Double Smoked Country Bacon, Onion, and American Cheese (we forgot to ask her to take a picture of her burger). Although she did tell us it was really good and a decent sized burger as well.

For me, I was REALLY craving the steak again that I had gotten the first time we came here for some reason, so that’s what I ended up getting (see below). I got the Prime Skirt Steak Frites, and that was absolutely delicious to me.

*All of our orders came with fries btw*

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Anddddddddd then all of our class went out the window….

Jk, we did decide to end up taking a shot though which was fun, and something we don’t do all that often altogether haha. It was just a regular shot of Patron…no real relevance to the post other than that it was a really funny experience for all of us including the server we had.

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And FINALLY, dessert….I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m a huge dessert person. If I’m at a restaurant and I know they have good desserts, 100% I am going to get something.

The first time Diego and I came here, we got this huge piece of chocolate cake and OH-MY-GOD. It was SO freakin’ good, seriously. Personally, I’m a chocolate-lover so this was everything to me lol, and the piece they gave us was HUGE, I’m not really sure if it was intentional or not, but regardless we really liked it (see below).

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The second time we went, I fully intended on getting the chocolate cake for all of us to split again, until I saw the dessert menu and saw that they had a seasonal PUMPKIN PIE CHEESECAKE!!!! You guys KNOW I had to get that as soon as I saw it, and Diego 100% agreed because he loves that as much as I do lol.

I also just generally think that they tend to give big portion sizes of their foods/desserts (which I’m totally not complaining about), because we got 2 slices for all of us to share thinking it wasn’t going to be enough, but both slices were HUGE, and we were just feeling extra fat and craving ice cream so we got the vanilla ice cream on the side as well ❤ _ ❤ (see below).

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Final Thoughts:

Overall, we all really liked this restaurant, the first time Diego and I came here for our anniversary in July, and the second time we came last weekend with Michelle. The food was just as great this time around as it was the first time. Our servers the first and second time were super friendly and helpful with any and all indecisiveness that we may have had in picking certain things. And the general ambiance of the restaurant was really nice as well as it’s surroundings with the waterfront and mall.

I will say that this restaurant is more on the pricier side as opposed to some of the other ones I’ve mentioned/recommended before, but I also think it was very much worth it, so I do 100% recommend you guys come and try this place if you haven’t already and are in the New York area.

Let me know if there are any other particular restaurants or food spots (predominantly in the New York area) that you would recommend for us to try and review, and we’ll definitely try it!

I hope you guys enjoyed this post, please like, share and follow if you haven’t already, and I’ll see you guys in my next one! 🙂

-Xoxo, LeoGirl ❤

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Meeting My Favorite Author For The First Time!!

If you happen to follow me on social media (which if you don’t, you totally should…all my info for that is always left at the end of my posts), you would have seen that this past Tuesday, October 16th, was SUCH an exciting day for me.

I got to meet my favorite author and pretty much the person who is responsible for inspiring me to want to write as more than just a hobby.

The author I’m referring to is Nicholas Sparks, who I’m sure a lot of you are familiar with his work. He is the author who wrote best-sellers like The Notebook, A Walk To Remember, Dear John, The Last Song and SO many others…many of which were later turned into films.

Since it’s still so fresh, and I’m still really excited about it, I thought it would be fun (like most other things that I try to do) and share my entire experience of it with you guys!

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The Waiting Process

I had literally been planning for that day for about 2-3 months in advance since I first heard about the event happening.

It was a big deal, I was SO excited.

I had actually taken off from work to be able to go to it, because I didn’t want to risk missing anything from the event.

So, I made sure to wake up extra early (at about 5-6 am I believe), get ready as fast as I could (doing my hair, makeup in about half hour which I’m PRETTY sure is record breaking time) and rushing out the door. I managed to get to the 14th Street (Union Square) Barnes & Noble store by 8 o’clock. The doors didn’t open until 9 though, so I had (along with many others) to wait outside for an hour.

Personally, although it was REALLY cold that morning, it didn’t feel like all that long of a wait (thank god for social media and YouTube).

Once the doors opened at 9 you were directed to the main cashiers to be able to purchase the book and receive your wristband for the event. After getting both, you had the option of either coming back later when the event started at 12:30 OR just hanging out in the store until it was time.

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I was still freezing from being outside AND starving, so once I got my book and wristband, I quickly made my way upstairs to the Starbucks to get my coffee and something to eat. After getting those, I thought I was being “smart” by running upstairs to get to the floor that the event was going to be at so that I could secure my good seat…I quickly realized once I got up there that a TON of other people had the same idea as me 😂. It was all good though because I still managed to be pretty close up, in like the 3rd row.

By the time I actually got myself settled with my seat and other things, it was only about 10am, so I still had about 2 and a half hours to kill before the event started. Again, the waiting really wasn’t so bad for me honestly. In that time I was able to watch YouTube videos, read the synopsis of the book and author’s note, and even walked around the entire store and managed to come out with 4 extra books then what was originally intended. Needless to say I was very entertained lol.

While I was clearly having the best time EVER wandering around my favorite store and finding more and more books for me to buy by the second, before I knew it it was 12:30 and the event was about to start.

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The Event

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The event itself was pretty cool and fun. The events coordinator for the store introduced Nicholas Sparks a little bit, then had him come up on stage to say a few words before the meet and greet/book signing actually started.

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When he finally came up, he spoke a little bit about his previous books and what led him to write this one specifically (the name of his book is Every Breath if I didn’t already mention that). He spoke about a few key points in this specific book like the characters, their backgrounds, what inspired certain details in the book and a ton of other things that I don’t want to get TOO detailed about because I don’t want to spoil anything. He also took a few questions from the audience which I thought was really nice because a lot of people don’t do that.

I even got to ask and have him answer a question!

I’m one of those people that gets SO nervous about things like that and second guesses whether or not I actually want to and/or should, even if I really DO want to. Anxiety freakin’ sucks man. BUT, I literally had to tell myself to get over myself and just ask my question because how often am I ever going to get an opportunity like this again, ESPECIALLY with my favorite author?

So that’s what I did, I got up the courage to raise my hand to ask a question, and sure enough…he picked me! 😄 My question was, “What advice would you give to aspiring writers like myself who can only hope to be half as successful of an author that you are one day?”

He answered by saying “Speaking for myself, I love to read, so you of course have to read a lot. But you know what else I think helps me? TV and movies, and you know why? Because they’re stories. And if you’re talking about TV, every 8 minutes they kind of have to end on a cliff hanger when a commercial is coming because they have to keep you tuned in. Well that’s very handy in writing as well whenever you end another chapter, because you have to end in a way to make them, your readers, want to turn that next page. So there’s lessons to be learned from any form of good story. So you have to read, learn to value stories, and to see how stories tick and wind, and practice honing reasons why one book is better than another.”

I paraphrased a lot of what he said obviously, otherwise I could’ve gone on forever with his response, but that was pretty much the gist of it.

After he answered my question was when the meet and greets and book signing actually started.

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Meeting Nicholas Sparks Officially

As if simply asking him a question from afar wasn’t nerve-wrecking enough, I was about to finally meet him officially too!!

The whole process went relatively quick, I mean obviously right? There were over a hundred + people there waiting to meet him and get their book signed so of course he had to keep the line moving.

But regardless of the fact that they (his people?) were trying to keep the line moving smoothly and relatively quick, I thought it was really cool and interesting to see the interaction he had with each of his fans. He was really friendly and managed to go out of his way to speak to his fans individually as much as he could, and was even willing to sign as many copies of his book as you bought.

At one point I even saw that there was this girl who had brought every single book she had of his in hopes of getting them all signed by him, and he actually did it. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I just think little things like that says a lot about a person/celebrity (in a good way), because he could’ve easily said no since there were so many people waiting, but he still made the time to do it in between signing his recent book for others.

Anyway, once my time came up, I was SO nervous. I didn’t actually know what to say to him, I wanted to make sure the picture(s) came out nice and a million other things were going through my mind too.

Ultimately, I actually got a couple of good shots of our interaction (see some of them below) and as for what I said to him, although it came out all jumbled up and I’m sure he didn’t understand half of it, I told him that he was my absolute favorite author and one of the main reasons that I decided to take my writing more seriously and hopefully become a successful author one day like he is. He said thank you so much, encouraged me to always keep trying and writing, gave me my signed book and I was on my way.

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Overall, although it wasn’t the ‘longest encounter’ ever, generally, it was a really great,  and very much worth it experience.

I don’t typically tend to do things like go to events like this, ESPECIALLY by myself because of my anxiety, so that alone was a BIG deal for me. Being able to step out of my comfort-zone to meet my favorite author, get to ask him a REALLY important question (to me anyway), get my book signed by him AND get a few pictures with him…what better?! He was also really nice about it all which made it even better.

I can’t even tell you guys how inspired and motivated I felt leaving the event that day, like I had so many different ideas for the blog going through my mind, so many things I wanted to start working on with my writing, etc. It made me really excited for not only my future, but my WRITING in the future. I’ve got some really exciting things coming soon for you guys and I can’t wait for you to see them.

I really hope you guys enjoyed this post. Thanks so much for reading, please like, share and follow if you aren’t already, and I’ll see you guys in the next one! 😊

-Xoxo, Leo Girl ❤

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