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An Insider’s Guide to 5 Breathtaking Manhattan Destinations

New York City, you are too good. You are endlessly beautiful, grand, and dare I say it, holy. I bow down to your immense, towering buildings. I walk your sacrosanct streets with a smile as I breathe in the passing halal cart, as I make eye contact with a fashionista parading down the street. I smile because you are too, too good.

Having lived here for over eight months, I have done some serious Manhattan venturing. If I were to think back to all my adventures and pinpoint the moments and excursions that left me most astounded and awed, then these five destinations below would be at the top of the list. If you find yourself on this glorious island, these should be your go-to’s.

#1. The Oculus
This is something you need to see in person. The Oculus structure at the World Trade Center has taken a standard transportation hub to another level. This is a first-class architecture masterpiece. As you walk through the Oculus, you are engulfed by immense whiteness. It’s magnificent.  As you walk around, awestruck by the brilliant construction, you can stop at any of the endless shops and food spots.

#2. Central Park
It goes without saying that Central Park is beautiful. Spend a day here. Get lost within its seemingly never-ending paths. You can rent a paddleboat, picnic in Sheep Meadow, or stop by the zoo. Watch the clouds or watch a game of community volleyball. Central Park is breathtaking in the way it brings everyone, from all different backgrounds, together in its incredible green space.

#3. The Brooklyn Bridge
Get ready to brave masses of tourists, but trust me, it’ll be worth it. Start in downtown New York and cross over the bridge. The journey will be beautiful. The intricate cables hanging above you make for the perfect photo shoot. Grab a friend and make it to the other end, where you can watch as the Manhattan skyline glows as you venture throughout the quaint, picturesque Brooklyn hotspot, Dumbo.

#4. The Whitney Museum
The Whitney Museum is a piece of art in itself. Its asymmetrical design stands out from the industrial buildings of the surrounding Meatpacking District. This multi-floor, expansive art center features incredible exhibits and outdoor spaces that overlook the High Line. Make it a day trip and walk the High Line after your enriching art adventure.

#5. Chinatown
Come hungry. Walking through Chinatown is like stepping into another country without even leaving the borough of Manhattan. You’re teleported to a foreign land filled with street vendors, amazing food, and cool people. Dine your way through the tiny streets while making quick pit stops to shop the markets or the tiny trinket stores.

New York City will never stop taking my breath away. I wish every person can experience this feeling of constant amazement and inspiration. Add these five must-sees to your list and be truly dazzled by Manhattan.

By Tatiana Gallardo | Featured Photo: Ferdinand Stohr/Unsplash; Central Park: Roberto Nickson/Unsplash

I Booked a One-Way Ticket and You Should Too

I did it. I am going. I have purchased my one-way ticket to Colombia and I’m not turning back—for now. In May, I leave for a two-month solo backpacking trip throughout South America. I’m nineteen years young and I’m doing it. I’m taking off and going on the trip of my fantasies. I’m excited, terrified, electrified, and hopeful. More than anything, I’m ready.

After I first tasted the thrill of travel, I was hooked. When my parents first took me abroad to Mexico, they did not expect that I would fall in love. His name was the World and I was undeniably enamored. I was unleashed into the colorful layers of culture and people and exploration. It was a place so different than my New Jersey suburban standard. I didn’t want to go back. The World invited me on the best date of my life.

Come travel, said the World, as he bestowed upon me the most glorious of gifts: wanderlust.

Since then I have buried my face in gooey cheese in Paris, France bathed in thermal springs in the Ecuadorian mountains, danced with the locals under the stars on Greek beaches. Each moment abroad has been a blessing.

Traveling has revitalized a spirit in me I did not even know existed. When I’m exploring a foreign land, my happiness becomes radiant. It becomes palpable. To chase that joy, I continue to travel.

I’m not alone in this journey to discover as much of the globe as possible. Within the internet lies a wonderfully immense travel community. It has become so easy to hook up with fellow-travel obsessed people on forums like Lonely Planet, for instance. You can meet new friends and find out the best local spots in a small village before even arriving to the new territory.  There are so many tips and travel guides at our disposal. The blossoming travel community is incredible and inspiring. When I peruse Instagram travel accounts, I can’t help but feel that nagging itch to hop on a plane and explore.

In the words of one my favorite female travel bloggers, Gloria Atanmo of The Blog Abroad, “If you get one chance to live on this big, amazing planet your entire life, however long that may be, wouldn’t you want to spend time exploring it? Learning about it? Challenging it? Loving it? Yeah, me too.”

Count me in.

This summer, I am going. I am doing it. That wondrous wanderlust glows within us all. Unleash it. Make that dream trip you have always been thinking about a reality and fall in love with the World. Be bold, book the ticket, and go.

Seriously; what’s stopping you? Check out my recent trip to Miami here. And of course who can forget last year’s #YHMTravels adventures? Share your spring and summer trips with us using the hashtag #yhmtravels on Instagram and Facebook. 

By Tatiana Gallardo | Photos: Unsplash/

Limor Ben Yosef: The Bridal Couture Designer Every Bride-To-Be Needs to Know

Limor Ben Yosef, an Israeli bridal couture designer constructs stunning custom-made wedding dresses. Embellished with hand sewn gems and draped with a touch of power, she designs from the heart. She is self-taught and spent many years crafting her skills in beauty and fashion. Her 2017 collection, “Goddess,” is a true testament of “practice makes perfect.” The collection exemplifies how her adolescent years as a budding designer can produce not only a work of art, but a designer who is inspired by other women more than fashion trends.

The “Goddess” collection began with the careful selection of high-quality laces and fabrics. The gowns are adorned with an array of hand-stitched pearls and crystals on chiffon and silk fabrics. Limor sketched each dress by pulling from late night imaginations to early morning motivations. “Goddess” deserves much applause for its pitch-perfect fairytale designs. Her dresses are made for strong and sexy women who have an affection for power and beautification; hence the name “Goddess.” “I took the name from [Greek] mythology. Many of them are women; strong women.”

Limor explains her work is a specialty in bridal couture. One look at the intrinsic details of beads, lace, and patterns of her gowns, there is no denying that. “All my life I thought of bridal couture. It’s unique; I’m thinking outside of the box. I was tired of seeing all the same looks. All my life I thought of doing something else.”

Limor Ben Yosef

Strong and independent women are the motifs for Limor’s designs. She dishes that she is inspired by the female body to create the delicately detailed gowns she is known for. “We are women, we always have a little belly or butt. When I design, I’m always thinking of how to see the waist or to hide the little body that we have.” Limor also looks to her dreams and the fabrics she designs with for inspiration. “I like elegant and sexy.” The women purchasing Limor’s pieces, she explains, are chic. “They are special; unique. They are looking for something else that’s not by the books. Something that is more than fashion.”

So where did this phenomenal designer get her start? Limor explains that she connected with fashion at an early age. “I was 14-years-old when I started drawing in my notebook; everything was in the form of a dress.” Her entrepreneurial spirit kicked off at age 15 when she opened a beauty parlor on her parent’s rooftop. During her humble beginnings, Limor styled family members, her mother’s friends, and neighbors at her beauty parlor. While you might think an at-home beauty salon would rub her parents the wrong way, Limor explains that wasn’t the case. “They saw that it was really in my blood.” She also mentions that her father pushed her to move forward and to work hard. And that’s exactly what she did. Before she knew it, Limor was branching out to new clients. She had a unique perspective on beauty and fashion to offer her clients at a young age. “It came from the inside; I climbed very far and worked hard.

2017 Collection “Goddess”

Limor’s early development as a business owner helped her effortlessly navigate into the fashion industry. She opened a full-fledged showroom and studio for blushing bride-to-be’s and their bridesmaids to model off her dresses and create the perfect look. She explains that her youthful experience shaped her to be the well-rounded businesswoman she is today. “It prepared me to go outside of my country.” The designer has traveled from Milan, Italy to Utah, USA.

2017 marks the second year Limor’s gowns strutted the runway of an Israeli beauty pageant. She dresses all the women of the competition. She was blessed to send her dresses off as one young woman went on to compete in the Miss Universe pageant and another in Miss World. “It was really exciting. It’s people from all over the world seeing my designs.”

Limor’s next design adventure awaits her on the red carpets of Hollywood, styling some of the most sought after celebrities. “I want to dress women for the Oscars and other red carpet events; Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, and Beyoncé. It would be an honor for me to dress them. Beyoncé is a sexy and powerful woman.”

While Limor gets most of the face time for her brand, her husband, Gil Ben Yosef plays a vital role in making the company run smoothly. “He’s the one behind the scenes.” Their teamwork makes for the perfect duo. Weddings are a big deal and one of the most important days of a couple’s lifelong journey. Limor admits that she never feels nervous about her work because it comes from the heart. “[The brides] know I’m there for them.” Her gowns are limited editions and custom-made, which makes every bride-to-be feel even that more special when Limor shows them the final gown. “Every day you have a special moment where your heart burst into tears. Everyone who is in the bridal salon is blown away. We make people so happy,” explains Gil.

2017 Collection “Goddess”

Once all the toasts have been made and the dance floor is cleared, Limor receives the most warming touch of sentiments and praise from the women she dresses. “When I finish a dress—the hugs and kisses I get—it keeps me going.” She dishes that her favorite thing about weddings is a classic—“when the groom sees the bride for the first time.” Referrals never fall short in Limor’s studio and while she focuses on bridal couture, she branches out to pageants, galas, cocktails and hopefully red carpet events.

By Yegide Matthews | Photos: Courtesy of Limor Ben Yosef

Why Brownies Are an Essential Part of Life

When it comes to dessert, there is no shortage of sweets to grant us pure bliss. However, it is the brownie and the brownie alone that is not only capable of bringing us joy but is an essential part of being happy.

While other desserts are concerned with serving a purpose—ice cream to get over heartbreak, chocolate chip cookies to leave out for Santa Claus, you get me—the brownie is the only sweet that exists for no other reason than to satisfy the consumer.  It’s impossible to be upset with a mouthful of brownie.  At the same time, a brownie isn’t a food that is used only when someone is having a bad day.  A brownie can be used in a celebration, a day off, or even to complement another dessert. Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen whips a delicious brownie and ice cream combo.

Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches from Smitten Kitchen

Brownies are subtle, even a little shy.  They don’t demand to be the center of attention.  They don’t need to be linked with big events like birthday cakes or breakfast muffins; they just need to be brownies. Speaking of muffins, another editor made a case for why we need to make space on our Instagram feed for muffins. Now back to talks of chocolatey goodness. Brownies can even be a little healthy for you—just check out Minimalist Baker’s recipe for vegan brownies with chocolate ganache.

No Bake Vegan Brownies with Chocolate Ganache from Minimalist Baker

Brownies are there for us.  They are easy to bake and even easier to dole out.  They leave the dividing to us: a different sized brownie for a different day of the week.  Brownies want us to devour them on our own time, as we please.  Brownies just want to live contentedly in our bellies, making our mouths full of gooey wonder and our hearts forever warm.

Eager to try a great brownie recipe? Allow YouTuber and TV personality Laura Vitale to show you how.

By Taylor Engle | Photos: Courtesy of Brands

Daughters of Artemis: Stylishly Claiming Our Crown

Ane Amour’s “Daughters of Artemis” collection for autumn/winter 2017 sent us on a hunt for power with its bold and rustic forest colors and prints. Designer Lyala Anne captured the true essence of women on the hunt in this season’s pieces. The A/W 2017 collection inspires us to feel as if we’ve slipped into the clothing of a goddess, while its bold cuts keep us modern yet conservative.

Allowing women to feel inspired to conquer, Anne made sure to create pieces that would suit all body types. Her tonal prints allow outfits to vary from day to night and from business to evening wear. Some of the floral prints that canvas white fabrics can even transition into the warmer spring and summer months.

Floral prints danced on ruffled fabrics in a fierce yet subtle way. The designer’s play with nature was exciting and the floaty fabric’s mimicked wispy hair in the wind. Conservative yet sexy, Anne’s garments hug and swing in all the right places.

Any woman wearing a piece from the “Daughters of Artemis” collection is sure to feel like a conqueror by the end of the day. Anne’s collection was crafted to make every woman feel like a conservative goddess on the hunt for her crown. Even if the battle is just to get through the day, Anne will make sure we do it in style while keeping our confidence intact.

By Serée Joseph | Photos: Courtesy of Ane Amour

5 Ways to Spring into Total Happiness This Season

Smell the flowers? Hear the birds? Feel the glorious sunshine? Spring has arrived, and with it, joy should be blossoming. There is a beautiful freshness in the air during this season of rejuvenation. Take advantage of this time and amp up your mood with these easy spring-oriented steps:

#1. Embrace Positivity

Happiness starts with attitude. Adopt a disposition as bright and cheery as the blue spring sky. Look at the beauty around you and remember how lucky you are to be alive, enjoying the warmth and splendor of the springtime. An optimistic outlook is essential. It allows you to persevere in the face of challenges. Be hopeful this spring; start smiling.

#2. Add Color to Your Wardrobe

Say goodbye to those dark hue outfits you were obsessed with in winter. It’s time to add some brighter color to your wardrobe. This isn’t only a fashion decision, but a decisive mood changer. According to Constance Hart, a color therapy expert, “color has an effect on our psyche,” where our mood is directly influenced by the clothes we choose to wear. Black and other dark colors “can have a depressive quality to it,” which is not what we want. The colors we choose to wear are “always affecting us whether we are aware of it or not.” Choose wisely. Our recommendation for this spring: primrose yellow.

#3. Put Flowers in Your Room or Office

Wake up to a vase of pretty pink tulips and you will definitely be smiling. A study on the emotional effect of flowers has concluded that they “are a natural and healthful moderator of moods,” and “have an immediate impact on happiness.” During spring we see flowers popping up all around us. Incorporate some of your favorite flowers—our springtime favorites are peonies and dahlias—indoors and feel the content flower effect.

#4. Spend Some Relaxing Time Outdoors

Now that the harsh, frigid arctic chill of winter is behind us, it’s time to get outdoors. Take a walk around your neighborhood, or spend some time in your local park. Get to know your backyard more. With the sun radiating above you and the coolness of air protecting you from the looming summer humidity, there is no excuse to not be outdoors. It will even make you “substantially happier,” according to a UK study done on the effects of time spent outdoors. Explore the nature around you. Have a picnic outside with some good friends, delicious food, and cool drinks.

#5. Exercise Outside

As you explore the outdoors, add in some workout time. Not only do endorphins give you a rush of joy, but being outside will make exercise more enjoyable and fun. While you’re at the local park, go for a jog along the running trail. Take a hike with your best friends. Remember that bike you have stored away? Yeah; pull it out and go for a ride. Your heart will be pumping, sweat will be running, and your face will be grinning.

This spring, be healthy, be hopeful, be colorful. Most importantly, be happy! Sound off in the comments below and tell us about your springtime activities and vibes.

By Tatiana Gallardo | Photos: Jeremy Bishop