Hello! Where does the time go? I cannot believe it is December, and just two short weeks away from Christmas at that. In some ways, I feel like we were just beginning 2022 last week. I am taking two weeks off over the Christmas holiday, and so excited for a true reset ahead of the new year — while this year was not as busy at work as 2021, it was still demanding in its own way. We are staying here in Virginia for Christmas, and then I am heading up to NYC to spend NYE with Emma. I love the city at the holidays, and we’re going to cross some restaurants off my New York City bucket list. I am really looking forward to it!
While I wasn’t originally going to get a Christmas tree for my apartment this year, over the Thanksgiving holiday, my mom convinced me I should get one, and I am so glad that I did! It makes my apartment feel so festive, and I have been really enjoying having the lights on — especially during the workday or at night while I am watching cheesy Christmas movies.
Given I prioritized creating holiday gift guides in November, I haven’t done a life lately post in a while, and I have a lot of fun things I am excited to talk about today. You can also read other recent life lately posts here: July, August, September, October.
NYC AT CHRISTMASTIME —
Last week, I was in New York City for work, and one night I was able to sneak away and enjoy a festive + fun night in the city with Emma! My hotel was in Times Square — and if I stay there ever again, it will be too soon — but one of the perks of that location was that I was just a few blocks away from Rockefeller Center. Though I’d seen it before, while I was in town, I wanted to see the Rockefeller Christmas Tree. So before meeting Emma for dinner, I walked over to Rockefeller Center. En route, I walked by Radio City Music Hall, which is also always fun to see. And then a quick walk away was the tree — and turning the corner to get a first glimpse was such a breathtaking moment! I walked around Rockefeller Center for a little while, enjoying the sights of the tree, the ice skaters at Rockefeller Center, and the great holiday music that was playing throughout.
Afterwards, Emma and I met up in the Times Square Subway Station and then took the Shuttle over to Grand Central Station. Grand Central Oyster Bar had been on my list for a while, and Emma was kind enough to indulge me! We had a great meal — I did a great mahi mahi with mashed potatoes and some steamed vegetables — however, if I were to do it again, I probably would have skipped this spot for a sit-down meal and just done a drink at the bar. The restaurant was huge and because it is so cavernous, was very loud. The service was also somewhat slow. But, you have to try new places to find the great ones!
Following dinner, we went to The Campbell, a really great bar tucked away in Grand Central Station that was the former office of a Jazz Age financier. It had beautiful millwork and it felt like we were having a glass of champagne in a Gilded Age mansion. I loved it! Next time you’re passing through Grand Central Station, I highly, highly recommend checking it out.
This work trip to NYC was a nice teaser of my upcoming trip to the city for NYE — I can’t wait!
I WILL TEACH YOU TO BE RICH —
For those of you unfamiliar like I was, Ramit is a personal finance expert and his recommendations are informed by his psychology background. What I liked about him on U Up is that he provides really practical, approachable money advice that is fiscally sound and focused on a mindset of abundance, versus scarcity. He is not the type of expert that is going to tell you to skip the avocado toast — to him, that’s a $3 question when you should be focused on $30,000 questions that are actually going to make a difference in your financial life.
After listening to his U Up episode, I purchased his best selling book, I Will Teach You to Be Rich, and also listened to every episode of his podcast of the same name. On the podcast, each week, he interviews a real couple and talks to them about their money challenges. Some of the guests are millionaires who are fighting over the cost of fruit at the grocery store, while other guests are hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. Regardless of the guests, I get so much out of each episode, and by listening to Ramit, I’ve learned so much about the basics of personal finance — and also how to think about my money life.
As a complement to all that Podcast listening, I have been working my way through his book, which is an amazing resource and I think should be mandatory reading for any adult. While I do understand the basics of personal finance, this book has really taken my knowledge up a level — Ramit dives deep into tackling debt, credit, saving, investing, retirement plans, making a large purchase, and how to set up a conscious spending plan so that your finances are automated and your money flows exactly where it should. Throughout his work, he points out that personal finances is a skill — so even if you are just a beginner, it’s something that you can learn and get better at over time.
Since discovering Ramit’s philosophy, I feel like I have upped my personal finance game so much — and I’ve taken many actionable steps to set myself up for financial success in the long term. I want to live a long life, and I don’t want to be worried about running out of money. I seriously can’t recommend listening to Ramit’s podcast or picking up his book enough.
A WEEK WITHOUT MY KINDLE —
When I went to Edenton, North Carolina back in October, I accidentally left my Kindle Paperwhite at the bed + breakfast where we were staying. They went above and beyond and mailed it back for me, but while I was waiting for it to arrive, I was without a Kindle for about a week. It was during this time that I realized just how much I love my Kindle — and it confirmed to me that I would replace it in a heartbeat if I ever lost it for good. (As an aside, my Kindle is seven years old and still works as good as the day I purchased it. The battery lasts forever and the software still runs super smoothly. It’s seriously one of my best buys of all time! If I was going to buy a new one, I would get this one.)
I read every night before bed, and what I love most about my Kindle is that it allows me to read in the dark without being on my phone or exposing myself to blue light. The week without my Kindle, I read on my phone before bed, and I swear that I didn’t sleep as well — it was also extremely distracting to be receiving texts + notifications while I was trying to read!
I share more about why I love my Kindle in this post that I wrote earlier this year — where I also share some tips + tricks to how I read so much. (90+ books and counting this year!) Without my Kindle, I know for a fact that I would definitely be reading less.
TICKET TO PARADISE SCREENING —
This is a small update, but one I wanted to commemorate as it was my first movie pre-screening! Back in October, I was invited to see Ticket to Paradise before it premiered in theaters, and had a great time. My friend Jackie came along with me, and we both agreed it was such a cute film. I feel like very few rom coms like this one hit the big screen anymore, and I wish there were more of them. The plot is super cute, the scenery is stunning, and George + Julia deliver, as always. If you’re looking for a fun movie to watch with the family over the holidays, I think this would be a great one. (My parents + sister also really enjoyed it!)
In terms of other movies + television I’ve been watching lately, I started rewatching Suits a few months ago and am so glad I did. I watched the show when it came on in real time, but it had been years since I’d seen it. If you’ve never watched it, it is such a good show — a good mix of legal drama and romance, with really interesting plot lines. It’s nine seasons and they are all streaming on Peacock. On Netflix, I tore through the second season of My Unorthodox Life — it’s a great reality TV show to binge if you’re looking for one — and the Harry & Meghan documentary. I’ve also been enjoying rewatching my favorite Christmas classics and, of course, an array of cheesy Christmas movies.