This Beautiful Photo Collage Blanket Made an Awesome Gift!


photo collage blanket

For a while now, I’ve really enjoyed taking advantage of my Nikon DSLR to take some great pictures of NYC. I used to be a broadcast journalism major in college and got to get my hands dirty a little bit with DSLR cameras for some of my projects, and I’ve loved it ever since. I also love to sit and edit, whether it’s film or photos, so it was natural for me to keep up this hobby post-college. I’ve been lucky enough to do some portraits and freelance on the side, but it’s my NYC photos that I take just for myself.

In one of my previous posts, I talked about my ongoing photography project. One day — maybe it’s when I’m long-gone from this beautiful, crazy city of lights — I’d like to put together a coffee table book of sorts with my photos of the city. I don’t take out my camera as much as I’d like to (just seems like I forget half the time), but I have been having fun with my snaps in the meantime. Every now and then, I’ll choose a print and get it blown up on canvas for my apartment (Groupon and LivingSocial always have great deals!).

Recently, I thought to try out the website Collage.com to try a new project. I had seen a deal (LivingSocial to the rescue again!) for a photo collage blanket and instantly thought of those beautiful blankets that Susan Sarandon’s character in Stepmom makes for her kids. I LOVED those and wondered if maybe my NYC pictures might look good on a blanket.

Oh.My.Gosh.

I can’t even EXPLAIN how impressed I was when I got my my blanket in the mail. Not only did the pictures print absolutely BEAUTIFULLY and so crisp, the quality of the blanket was also wonderful. It was a super light fleece blanket that is just the right amount of weight for a comforter alternative or a couch throw.

I gifted this blanket, but I’ve seriously considered taking it back because I love it so much. 😉 Seriously, it’s one of the best projects I’ve worked on and definitely one of the best purchases I’ve made.

Also — when I was on the site putting together the blanket, they had another promotion going on to upgrade the blanket size with a coupon code, so I was able to use my LivingSocial voucher and the coupon code! (The blanket covers a full-sized bed.)

Here are some other pictures of the project:

photo collage blanket photo collage blanket

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4 Random Acts of Kindness I’ve Experienced in New York So Far


acts of kindness in new york

If you’re new to my blog, then you should know that I’m from Texas and recently just uprooted myself to The Big Apple (just past my two-month yesterday). However, I’ve been fighting the “All New Yorkers are rude” stereotype ever since I returned to Texas from my Marie Claire internship two years ago.

While I have never had to deal with so much repetitive, outright rudeness to give this stereotype even somewhat truth to its claim, it seems that people everywhere are insistent on believing that (or asking me if) New Yorkers are just a rude breed of people. C’mon, people — listen to yourselves — you sound downright silly! (They’re angsty, maybe, but not rude…)

But today, I’m here to set the record straight — once, and for all: it’s simply not true. Since I’ve been here, I’ve had plenty of personal accounts that show me that there are genuinely kind people in this city — and I’ve been blessed enough to already have encountered them! Some are way more dramatic than others, but nonetheless — they have stood out in some way  or another.

Here are 4 random acts of kindness I’ve kindness I’ve experienced in New York, so far:

1.  The Late-Night Lock-Out

The night I moved in was a complete nightmare from the get-go; I was moving with two huge suitcases (maxed out in weight), a carry-on suitcase (that was probably close to 40 lbs, itself), a massive tote bag, and way too many clothes for a warm day. After an extremely long journey, a delayed flight and a shuttle that took way too long to get me home, I finally arrived at my apartment at about 10:30 pm — having left Texas at 9 am…

When I was dropped off, I looked up at my Upper East Side walk-up and breathed a huge sigh a relief — I was finally here! And lucky for me, my apartment was on the first floor, so I was ecstatic to get inside and unwind. I had secured a sublet before my move, and my roommate had sent me my set of keys in advance because she knew she was going to be out-of-town that weekend.

I made it through the first set of doors inside my building, lugging my gargantuan pieces of baggage every step of the way. Only one more door to go until complete solace…!

And, of course — I couldn’t get the door open…

My roommate had warned me in advance that the lock on the old, pre-war New York City apartment doors were tricky to open, but no matter how many times I jiggled or shoved, it wouldn’t budge. Just as I went to pull out my phone to call her in complete panic, I saw an ominous, red, empty battery bar on my phone — it’s dead. God, help me. What, now?!

I looked around in complete hopelessness, until I heard a baby crying from an apartment down the hall. Knowing nothing else to do, I went and knocked. To my utmost joy, an Indian man answered, and I told him my tear-jerker saga. He invited me in and allowed me to charge my phone, while I called my roommate from his and his wife’s phone and left a desperate voicemail. Meanwhile, he offered to come down the hall and try his luck at my door.

For the next 45 minutes, the Indian man tried his hardest to open my door — but to no avail — only for us to find yet another neighbor, who offered to come try his luck at  The World’s Most Difficult Door to Open. An hour and half later — voila! It finally opened! I was so overjoyed, I threw myself into the second neighbor’s arms and nearly cried.

The kindness didn’t end there, folks. The Indian man and his wife were so kind as to insist I shower and come back over for some dinner, when it was midnight because they knew I hadn’t had anything to eat for hours.

An unforgettable first night in New York City I will never forget and will always cherish!

2. The Parsley Person

Coming home one night after a long, stressful day of work, I was really ready just to get home and relax. But of course, I had to make a pit stop to the grocery store — which I absolutely hate doing, no matter what kind of day I’m having!

On this particular day, all I needed to get was one bunch of parsley, and there was a supermarket right outside of the subway station where I exited going home. When I went to check out, the total came out to be about $1.00, and I realized I didn’t have any cash on me, but I hunted through my wallet to see if I could scrounge for enough change; I didn’t want to charge my credit card for such a small amount, and I told the cashier just that.

Because I couldn’t find enough, I exited the line and told the cashier I would try to find something else to buy. Even so, I was intending on buying something cheap — only worth a couple of bucks, nothing worth an entire grocery shopping trip. I looked around and couldn’t find anything I needed and resigned to using the credit card, so back I went…

As I got up to the front to pay, the cashier decided to tell me at that point that there was a $5.00 minimum to use a credit card, and I looked at him in complete exasperation…Seriously? You couldn’t have told me that before?

I told him I couldn’t buy the parsley then, and he said, “Okay…?” Gee, thanks a lot.

And then, just as I was walking away, a man behind me asked, “How much is it?” I told him it was $1.00, assuming he was just curious to know why I couldn’t pay with the credit card, but when I looked up, he was already pulling out a $1.00 bill and handing it over to the cashier!

I was so taken aback — I couldn’t believe the generosity of this complete stranger — especially when you consider how annoyed people in grocery store situations like these! (You know what I’m talking about.)

I couldn’t thank the man enough; I must have said it about 10 times before walking out — I just couldn’t believe some complete stranger had paid for my parsley for no reason. I was truly touched!

3. The Door-Stopper

Five times a week, I take the subway train at least twice: once to work and once back. And there isn’t a day that I don’t worry that those doors are going to close on me and either sever a limb or squish my insides into an anatomical smoothie. (I’ve come close many times, let me tell you — it hurts!) Anyone who has ridden the subway — especially at rush hours like these understands how chaotic it can get.

One day on my way to work, I was rushing down the steps (as usual, of course) to catch the train before it left the station; I hate when it’s sitting at the station like the way it was that day — like a tease: a cobra that strikes in reverse. I always expect the doors to close on me like a Venus Flytrap, which make the sitting trains that much more ominous.

On this particular day, I came zooming down the steps and ran inside only to see a woman standing at edge of the train with her hand held firmly against the corridor of the door — stopping the doors from closing. Not that they had starting closing yet, anyway, but this woman was taking full precaution to make sure they didn’t just so people like me could get on the train.

Now, there was absolutely no reason she needed to be doing this; the train (for once) had plenty of room for her to be in the air-conditioned galley — not putting her hands in harm’s way for other people. Trust me, my hands have gotten stuck in there before — it hurts!

I was really appreciative of this woman — what a lady!

4. The Pest Control Guy

I have to say, I haven’t seen as many disgusting bugs anywhere else as I have in New York. Just the other day, I saw a huge cockroach just walking along the street like the rest of us — guess he’s a New Yorker, too!

With that said, I was on an outing with my co-workers in SoHo the other day to get some cupcakes from our favorite place, Georgetown Cupcakes. While crossing the street — out of nowhere — huge June bug beetle lands itself right on my chest! And when I say huge, I mean half-dollar size. So, imagine a packed New York City street and a group of women, one of whom is now having a near anxiety attack because a beetle is sitting on her chest, is just standing in the middle of a street (granted, it was our turn to cross).

Then, a true miracle: a stranger walking the opposite direction stops, suddenly grabs the beetle off my chest, throws it up in the air and continues to walk along his way. Just like that.

This entire incident happened in a matter of seconds, and truth be told — this guy could have copped a feel on me considering this beetle was sitting inches within the vicinity of my bosom. So, for the fact that he appeared like magic, grabbed a beetle off a panicky woman’s chest in the middle of a crowded Manhattan city street and didn’t molest her? I’d say this was a true act of kindness (and magic!), indeed. Seriously, did that just happen?

So, there you go — there were just four random acts of kindness that I’ve experienced while I’ve been here, but there will be so many more to come, I’m sure. So, just please stop with the “New Yorkers are rude” business because obviously they’re all not.

New York City Macy’s “Ignite The Night” Fireworks Show


So, this was my first July 4th in NYC, and I was lucky enough to get to see the amazing Macy’s fireworks show from a friend’s rooftop in Midtown, right next to the Empire State Building. I also happened to have my Flip camera on me that night (luckily!) and captured this memorable first Independence Day on video.

Watch about the first five minutes of the the spectacular fireworks display presented by Macy’s this July 4th in New York City. It was recorded from the 33rd floor — enjoy! And God Bless America!