I’ve lived in this city for so long that truly nothing phases me anymore, and that’s a personal achievement of which I’m very proud. However, there is one exception to my inability to experience awe, and that is when Gingerbread Lane comes to town, when Bloomingdale’s is decked in twinkly lights and, of course, when drinking spiked eggnog and hot chocolate is not only acceptable, but encouraged. I’m talking about the most wonderful time of the year, people! The motherf*ckin’ holidays! Am I getting too excited? Whatever. One more thing this New Yorker loves about the holidays in this godforsaken city is the festive decor that takes over my favorite watering holes, hotels, and restaurants. If you, too, have no shame in your game and want to sip spiked eggnog under mistletoe, but don’t know where to go, I got you. These are the most festive holiday spots that you don’t already know about.
This is the type of place I usually avoid because lots of people and staying out past 10pm aren’t really my vibe, but I think I may just move in here between the months of December and March for the holiday themed pop-up. The Lobby Bar will be transforming into what the Dream is calling The Winter Rose Garden and what I call What Dreams Are Made Of. This particular pop-up is exciting because it’s the downtown hotel’s first foray into holiday festivities, and rest assured, they’re pulling out all the damn stops. I’m talking oversized rose walls (made with 15,000 red roses), red furniture, and more candles than Anthropologie. And obviously, they have a special menu of holiday-inspired cocktails. The Primrose Cider is my personal fave because it’s made with classics like sparkling rosé, Barking Irons Applejack, cinnamon syrup, lemon juice, and a rose ice cube. I mean, yum?
This is the only place in Midtown I’ll go without complaining about all the finance bros Juuling everywhere I look. For this holiday pop-up, which they’re calling Midwinter Nights’ Dream, they are seriously going all out, and I’m not mad about it. As much as I love holiday-themed alcohol, the actual reason I love this time of year is because of the genuinely cheerful atmosphere, and this place understands that. Obviously, they’re doing the red and gold ribbons, the hanging lights, and the gorgeous garland, but most importantly, they’re having a tunnel of light, because if you go to a holiday pop-up and didn’t post an Instagram of it, did you even go? As for the holiday menu, def opt for a Peppermint Mojito, which is a normal mojito, but served in an ornament! Is that festive af or what?
If you don’t remember from my last article where Magic Hour got a mention re: where to drink enormous drinks, let me just say that I love this place. For the holidays this year, it will turn into what I can only imagine is Nicki Minaj’s wet dream. It’s called Pink Holiday Playground and will boast ceilings covered in hot pink twinkly lights, oversized disco balls, and human-sized festive bears. Oh, and there’s also a carousel, because why not? Not that it’s a competition, but Magic Hour is playing to win and they got my vote. Also, my general policy at bars is to not eat the food, but I’ll make an exception for the Pink Dough Pie, which is not only meant for 12 people, but it’s also a delish boozy apple cider doughnut-pie hybrid (sold) filled with Honeycrisp apples and drizzled with a maple bourbon glaze, topped with pink sprinkles and pink chocolate balls. My love language is officially sweet pizza that will get me drunk. How do people even come up with this stuff?
Though technically neither a bar nor a restaurant, Club Wyndham earned its spot on this list because it is committed to spreading holiday cheer, like, for real. Don’t believe me? Check out the aggressively Instagrammable holiday suite inspired by, you guessed it, Buddy the f*ckin’ Elf. By the way, that movie was released in 2003, so if you don’t already feel old af, how about now? Just from looking at the photos of this suite, I can say with confidence that there were no cotton-headed ninny-muggins on this hotel’s design team, and that I am blown away. Because you are absolutely playing yourself if you think you aren’t already dead-set on booking this suite, I’ll let you know what’s included, starting with the full kitchen that’s stocked with the ingredients to recreate Buddy’s famous spaghetti and syrup dish. Honestly, I don’t really know if that’s a selling point, but I do love a hotel suite with a full kitchen. My personal favorite element of this suite, though, is the enormous living room that’s fully decked out in holiday garb (including an oversized Christmas tree). If that’s not festive, tell me what is. I’ll wait.
I am a Manhattan snob and generally don’t acknowledge the other boroughs, but Sunday in Brooklyn is the one exception. Running through the end of December, this beautiful restaurant that makes a case for minimalist design is doing SNOWday in Brooklyn. Yes, their holiday pop-up has arrived and I’m already on the L. I’ll get to the menu in a minute, but first I want to talk about the vibe of the place during this magical time. Some of these pop-ups go a little overboard (do a bar crawl one weekend and lmk which ones you think those are), but Sunday in Brooklyn is classy af. It’s how I imagine Aidan and Carrie would decorate his Suffern house for the holidays if they had stayed together. The place generally has kind of a rustic feel, but with the garlands hanging from the wooden beams on the ceiling and the wreaths in every window, it’s hard to stay away. I ordered the Scroogin’ For A Bruisin’ because I love a good Grease reference, but also because it’s delicious with scotch, baijiu, China-China Amer, pineapple, cinnamon, sesame oil, and brown rice. Those last two ingredients threw me too, but they’re only there to give the drink a little bit of texture, not to give it a salad dressing flavor.
Before this past Sunday, the only time I’ve ever been to The NoMad Bar was on a horrible date that ended with him telling me how much he misses his ex girlfriend. Awesome. Anyway, after hearing about this place’s new Holiday Spectacular cocktail popup, I decided to start positively associating it with two things I love: Christmas and alcohol. Honestly, they didn’t have to do much beyond the bar’s typical decor because it’s already pretty festive in a very chic way. Dark leather tufted booths, glossy wooden tables, the kind of lighting that only seems to exist in Woody Allen movies…etc. The one thing they’re doing differently for their Holiday Spectacular is the charming cocktail menu that’s separated by Naughty and Nice cocktails. Lol. I had one from each column and let my reaction determine which I am and, to everyone’s surprise, I’m nice! The Winter Wonderland, which is a milky punch—that tastes like pumpkin pie in cocktail form—is served in a snow globe. I can’t resist a snow globe. This is also a fun bar to hit up because the NoMad Hotel is a cool place to walk around afterwards, especially when you’re a little tipsy.
Images: Winter Rose photo by Edward Menashy; Midwinter Nights’ Dream photo Courtesy of Michael Kleinberg; Magic Hour photo by Sarah Kelley; Club Wyndham photo courtesy of Club Wyndham; Sunday in Brooklyn photo by Eric Medsker; The NoMad Bar photo courtesy of The NoMad Bar
You know when you didn’t even realize you wanted something until you see that it’s on sale, then you must have it or you will burst into flames? Well, if you can relate, then you probably already know that aside from it being Ryan Gosling’s birthday, today is also the first day of the Shopbop annual fall sale. Will I have 802 different Shopbop tabs open for three weeks straight? Probably, but you know what, when more than 5,000 just-added styles (I’m talkin’ dresses for holiday parties, I’m talkin’ boots of every heel height, I’m talkin’ jewelry you can actually afford now) are finally up to 50% off, you better believe I’m spending the money I normally spend on rent on Shopbop.
The best thing about the Shopbop annual fall sale, aside from the fact that it’s happening at all, is that everything will stay on sale until it’s gone. So, if those “The one thing you’ve always wanted in your closet, but could never afford is 50% off for exactly 31 hours!” kind of sales stress you the f*ck out, you should be experiencing some semblance of relief right now. But if you’re feeling overwhelmed on the site because 50,000 pieces is 30,000 more than the amount of seats in Madison Square Garden, then allow me to guide you through the best of the best of the items on sale. You’re welcome.
Jeffrey Campbell Atone Bow Sandals,
You might think it’s too early to start thinking about sandals, especially because the temperatures outside hit below freezing today, but if you think about it, there’s actually no better time than the dead of winter to start stocking up on your summer essentials. These Jeffrey Campbell sandals have cute bows and they come in two colors. Plus they are literally FIFTEEN DOLLARS! Hurry and put these in your cart ASAP.
Sam Edelman “Winona” Rain Booties,
I have never owned a pair of rain boots, and my ruined Frye cowboy boots hate me for it. Look, hate on me all you want, but I think rain boots are cute on toddlers and toddlers only. They’re also heavy af, so they’re gonna be a no from me, dawg. However, I got these Sam Edelman rain booties and have to retract my earlier statement, because these are amazing. Unless you’re looking at them up close, they just look like patent leather Western-inspired boots that happen to be waterproof. I’ve worn these with 501 jeans and an oversized sweater and have never been cozier.
Schutz “Ionara Ankle Strap” Pumps,
I am rarely wearing flat shoes, but there is a limit to how high my heels can go without me breaking an ankle. To me, three inches is the perfect height because they aren’t kitten or CFM heels. They’re the perfect balance between the two. They’re also simple and can be worn with a pair of jeans and a white tee shirt or with a sparkly mini dress. They’re also almost impossible to fall down in because the heel is pretty sturdy. Highly recommend for a betch seeking height.
Diane von Furstenberg “Rhonda” Booties,
At least one DVF item should be in every fashion-loving gal’s closet because her stuff is amazing, and also because she herself is an icon. I mean, the woman basically invented wrap dresses and her hair is its own solar system. Anyway, as much as I love DVF, I simply do not have the kind of lifestyle that lets me blow $400 on shoes, but for $200, I can make some small sacrifices. These are great because they’re high enough (three inches) to give you some some serious height, but not so high that you can’t make it on your feet until the end of the day in them. Don’t even get me started on the perfection of the color.
DANNIJO “Fiji” Scrunchie,
If I got a dollar for every hair tie I’ve lost, I’d have at least $2,000 to my name by now. The idea that someone would pay $45 for a f*cking scrunchie is truly insane to me, but to each her own, right? Scrunchies are making a comeback and I’m definitely down for it, so I would happily pay $9 for this cute metallic one that looks like it’s tied in a bow. TBH if I wore it at the end of a long braid, I would look more like a founding father than this beautiful model does, but she’s def selling it and I may actually buy it.
Kate Spade New York “Small Sunflower Stud” Earrings,
Statement earrings are definitely having a moment right now. But just in case the moment eventually passes, you can get these cute earrings for only $33. Contrary to how massive they are, they aren’t heavy at all. I wore them to an offsite meeting with a light wash chambray top tucked into dark wash skinny jeans and black heels and, I have to say, I felt like a J.Crew model… minus the part where I’m 5’10 or taller. Bottom line: they make enough of a statement without overpowering the rest of the outfit. You’ll definitely get a “OMG I love your earrings!” at least twice.
For Love & Lemons “Roxy Inset Stone” Clips,
Is it just me, or is everyone with hair wearing those oversized barrettes with pearls on them? Just me? Cool. Cool cool cool cool. Do I love the look? Yes, obviously, but I truly hate buying into a trend that I feel like literally everyone participates in. That’s why I love these barrettes. They’re the same idea as the pearl ones, just, you know, not pearls. The colors also have a sort of vintage feel to them, which is always a fun look to try. If I could get these in every color, you know I would!
Lizzie Fortunato “Gala” Wristlet,
Another reason that I love perusing giant sales like these is because I discovered designers I never would have found otherwise. Sorry, Instagram, I know that’s like, your bread and butter, but y’all dropped the ball on this one. This is obviously not an everyday bag, but it is a personal belief of mine that, much like metallics, animal print is a neutral and should be worn as such. I would wear this bag with a black-dress-cool-coat combo on a Saturday night or to Sunday brunch with that pale pink J.Crew peacoat that literally three out of five women own. It’s just big enough to fit the new iPhone 11 Pro, which, I’m sorry, is an iPad, but small enough to work as a microbag. Ya love to see it.
re:named “Aurora” Mini Dress,
I’m a sucker for a fit-and-flare dress and floral prints, so obviously this dress ended up in my cart the second I saw it and ended up on my credit card the second I read the price. This shape is flattering on pretty much every body type, so you may as well just get it and be damn happy that you did. It’s not aggressively pink, so if color scares you (hi, neighbor), you can mute the pink even more than the black does by pairing it with a pair of sheer tights and booties. Loving this already.
alice + olivia “Coley Crew Neck” Dress,
Call me crazy, but the ‘60s are making a comeback, and shift dresses with colorful, bold prints are on my radar. Because it’s freezing and will only get colder, I’d probably wear this dress over a black or white fitted sweater—maybe even a turtleneck, who knows? If you don’t want to go full-on mod vibes, you could always wear the dress with a pair of sneakers or flats—as opposed to a pair of patent white platform knee-high boots and a pair of chandelier earrings. The bottom line is that this is giving me major Edie Sedgwick vibes, and I need it in my life now. This is definitely a special occasion dress that you probably couldn’t get away with wearing every few weeks because people will definitely Kate Sanders you and publicly accuse you of being an outfit repeater. Honestly, whatever. At least the outfits I’m repeating are cute.
Rhode “Ryan” Dress,
Annnnnd I found my holiday party dress that I will shamelessly wear to more than one holiday party. Even though it looks a little shapeless, it’s actually really flattering because it’s so short. There’s also a very subtle belt action happening at the waist if you want a little more definition. Lastly, generally a dress that’s covered in the brand’s logo isn’t really my go-to look because #modestyiskey, but I will make an exception in this case because Rhode isn’t a super recognizable logo. If it was, like, Chanel, that’d be a different story, but I think this is still a classic and elegant dress. I’d wear this with a pair of very simple pumps (because the dress is obviously a little loud) and a black clutch.
LOVESHACKFANCY “Violet” Dress,
This dress, which is mostly ruched save for the shoulders and hem, has a very retro feel to it. This is such a good look and can be dressed up or down. I’d wear it with flat black leather knee-high boots during the day and then change into a pair of silver heels at night. I mean, who doesn’t love a multipurpose outfit, right? I also love this little number because you can wear it in the winter and in the summer, which, if you live in a city like New York, is saying a lot. Next!
Z Supply “The Stripe” Shoulder Tee,
If you work for a cool company that doesn’t have a strict dress code, definitely get this top. It’s the kind of thing you could wear on a date and say, “Oh, I just came from work” when your date says you look nice. I mean, technically, it’s true. Also, this is the kind of thing someone who likes “dolled-up basics,” as my grandmother calls them, because it’s something you can wear different ways without looking like you’re wearing the exact same outfit. Personally, I’d tuck this one into a pair of high-waisted cropped boyfriend jeans and wear it out with ballet flats. Then the next day, I’d rock it again but with a black flowy midi-length skirt and booties. Should I quit my writing job and become a stylist? LMK, but I feel like yes.
Eberjey “Sadie Stripe Varsity” Top,
Normally, I am personally offended when a T-shirt is more than $15, but this Eberjey one is the one exception because it’s the softest thing I’ve ever felt. It literally feels like a kitten’s ear. Yes, it’s just a T-shirt, but it’s also so much more than that. It’s also cute, so you can also wear it in the company of your Netflix & Chill or whatever the youths are calling it these days. As the photo indicates, they come with a matching shorts, but if you don’t care to look like you’re about to saunter around Cape Cod while you binge Netflix alone, you could obviously just wear your college sweatpants or whatever else is conveniently already on the foot of your bed. These are the kinds of pajamas that I’d want to buy at Anthropologie, but would rather spend money on candles instead. So, all in all, I’m happy to buy it on sale here.
ONE by DONNI “Tri Fleece” Pullover,
This reminds me of that fuzzy Patagonia pullover that every single 16-year-old owned in 2010, except this one is way more of-the-moment, meaning it’s not offensive to people’s eyes. As you can see, two of the three colors are neutrals, so you can wear it with anything and, to be perfectly frank, I love it with the white jeans. Can we also talk about this insane deal? It’s basically free! Thanks for the free pullover, ShopBop! For real, though, it’s almost $200 off, so you know I’m adding it to my cart as I type these words. I also like that it’s not aggressively bulky and can be worn as a sweater.
WAYF “Vincent Intarsia” Sweater,
Animal print is very in right now, and I’m not mad about it…unless it’s, like, actual animal print. This sweater is cool because it’s almost a turtleneck, but not quite. I also really appreciate a chunky sweater that’s slightly cinched at the waist because, even though it’s a big sweater, it’s still flattering. Because this guy is a little looser, pair it with a pair of skinny jeans. That’s all I’ve got to say about that!
Not to freak you out, but I had to replace at least one of these items on my list because I went back after writing it and realized it had already sold out. So if you like something, don’t hesitate! You have my official permission to impulse buy.
Images: Brooke Cagle / Unsplash; ShopBop
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