16 Things I’ll Be Repurchasing In The New Year

16 Things I’ll Be Repurchasing In The New Year

If you ask me, 2019 flew by! This year alone, I’ll have spent 250 days in hotels living in-and-out of a carry-on. After a heavy travel schedule this year, I focused on stripping my apartment, and life, of all non-essential things. If it doesn’t bring me value…its gotta go. Moving into the new year, I fully intend on keeping up with this trend. So these are the things that I loved so much that I plan on buying again in 2020. My goal is to always add value to your life too so without further adieu these are the 16 things coming with me into the new year…

 

Travel

 

Allianz Travel Insurance – Hands down one of the best investments you can make if you go on more than one trip a year! When I first started traveling, I traveled without insurance and, shocking, there were plenty of hiccups. While traveling through Spain, “I took a pill in Ibiza,” pain killers…I broke my toe. The doctor’s visit cost me 300 euros. I currently have the Allianz AllTrips Prime annual plan and for about the same price all my trips are covered including benefits for trip cancellation and trip interruption, medical emergency, lost/stolen or delayed baggage, and more. I can’t say enough how much I recommend everyone purchase an annual plan in 2020. Hopefully, you’ll never have to use it but on that rare occasion you do…you’ll thank me.

 

Mobile Passport – It’s FREE! So technically not a re-purchase, although you can do a yearly subscription for $14.99, but this app has saved me so much time traveling through airports. Recently, I was interviewed for an article on Forbes about my best travel hacks and this is always my go-to tip. Essentially, on the free version, you input your passport information and customs form on the app while you taxi on the runway. Then once you go through customs you go on the mobile passport lane, usually with global entry, and you get to by-pass those long annoying lines. The paid version stores your passport information etc for future reference so it’s even faster.

 

Herschel backpack – Not a repurchase for myself but for a gift! This is my ride or die travel bag. I’m not gonna lie, I stuff this bag so much I feel like Reese Witherspoon in Wild hiking the PCT. BUT, that’s also the reason why I love it so much. As a blogger, I travel with a lot of gear and this holds my laptop, DSLR camera bag, drone, and occasionally a makeup bag or another miscaleanieous object when I can’t squeeze it into my carry-on. It’s durable, flexible, and not too heavy on my back, a win in all the essentials.

 

Toiletry Bags –  If you’ve ever traveled with me through airport security, you KNOW I will fight tooth and nail to keep my liquids, sorry I’m not sorry. Not trying to take down a plane I would just like glowing skin, okay TSA?! Anyways, I put this on the list because I left my toiletries bag in the Philippines so technically this one’s a repurchase! I have two bags, one I partnered with Boarding Pass and gave away two of their shaving kit bags, which I use for my toiletries. It’s great for short weekend trips and is basically indestructible! My second is a foldable waterproof bag that hangs. I actually traveled with another travel writer who had this and I’ve never used anything else since —loyal AF.

 

Beauty

 

Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting TreatmentTo be honest, this is a fairly more recent purchase but oh my god…do I plan on repurchasing this holy grail product. Come winter, my skin gets really irritated and red from the cold weather. I tested this product a few times before purchasing and now that I finally own it, I don’t see how I’ve ever lived without it. When I’m traveling or just running errands I hate to wear makeup. I wouldn’t consider this makeup per se but it’s the perfect cream to calm redness and even skin tone without wearing foundation or concealer. Plus I just realized it has SPF 30 in it. Another win!

 

Grapeseed Oil – I’ve talked about how much I love grapeseed oil a million times. I just featured it in my most recent article for Hello Giggles and I don’t think I’ll ever stop talking about it. I have extremely oily skin and I always thought oil was enemy until the oil cleansing trend came to a head in the beauty world a few years ago. Since I started oil cleansing, I’ve never looked back. Grapeseed is great for oily or extremely dry and sensitive skin, plus you’re not likely to breakout from it. I use this on my skin, my hair, my nails, you name it. Ride or die product.

 

Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation – What can I say about this product other than it’s the best foundation I’ve ever used in my life. Seriously, I’ve been wearing it since I was 16. One bottle usually lasts me a year and whenever I decide to be bold and switch it up, I always come back to this foundation. There’s no comparison or anything like it. I lather my skin in a layer of grapeseed oil before applying, then primer, and it glides over my skin like butter. PLUS, I’ve ultimately stopped buying concealer and will use the foundation of the edge of the bottle, that’s a bit thicker, to use as a concealer. Can’t live without.

 

D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops – One of the first articles on my blog was about my foundation hack! Back then, I was wearing the Estee Lauder double wear foundation in desert beige, that matches my skin perfectly, however, once I get a few hours of sun my then perfectly matched foundation now made me look ghostly pale. Recently I bought the D-Bronzi drops on a whim and have never looked back. Clean products, no harsh chemicals, and is actually beneficial to your skin. Just add a few drops to your foundation or moisturizer and you have an instant bronze glow. It’s been a staple in my skin routine since and I’ll definitely be repurchasing in 2020.

 

Home

 

Swedish Dishcloths – This product goes by many names but Swedish dishcloth is one of the earliest names for reasons I’m not quite sure of other than it was invented in Sweden. Regardless, this product changed my life! I’m always doing my best to go plastic-free so when I heard of this product, from things I bought and liked, I was ecstatic. The cloth is essentially an absorbent sponge that cleans up dirt and rinses clean. I use it for virtually everything and haven’t bought paper towels in over five months now. You can still keep paper towels as a crutch until you’re ready to fully commit but I promise once you run out you’ll find yourself not loving the idea of running to the store to buy more.

 

Wool Dryer Balls – I wrote about this for my ways six easy ways to go eco-friendly article and I still can’t stop talking about them! Apparently, dryer sheets are the most toxic household products on the market. I haven’t done much research into the science behind it, however, I do know that throwing away these sheets regularly is no friend to the environment. On a whim, I bought these dryer balls to test them out and have never looked back. I keep them in my dryer 24/7 and they actually help dry my clothes faster. The smell is probably the only thing I miss about the dryer sheets but I do rub essential oils on mine for added scent. Since they last for so long, I always buy them as gifts and encourage all my non-crunchy/granola friends to try it. Some people push drugs, I push dryer balls. Stay in school kids.

 

S’well Water Bottles – Speaking of eco-friendly, plastic water bottles are actually so bad for the environment it’s not even funny. The stainless steel keeps my water cold for hours and, to me, there’s nothing more refreshing than an ice-cold water, in my honest opinion. I also bought an iced coffee cup as well and again, it’s a dream. I’m that lady at Starbucks who brings a reusable cup —I have no shame. It’s a game-changer.

 

Baggu – I constantly get these in swag bags and I still find myself buying more. I have them tucked away in virtually every bag I own. Once you realize how useless plastic bags really are, you’ll never go back to using one. If you have a car it’s even easier because you can just throw it in a compartment, grab and go. Single-use plastic? Just say no kids.

 

Fashion

 

Wedge Lace-Up Espadrille Sandal – Call me crazy but I pack in three’s. Three outfits, three shoes, three accessories. I aim for one of each from these categories: athletic, casual, and fancy. Shoes especially. I go through sneakers like water and I usually switch it up between a black evening shoe for fancy attire. So for my casual shoe, I always pack the same espadrilles for every trip. I ordered these wedges about three years ago and it’s the best investment I’ve ever made. They dress an outfit up or down and fit for any occasion. They’re the most comfortable shoes in the world and extremely durable. Unfortunately, I’ve stained them one too many times and I plan on repurchasing the same pair for the new year. C’est la vie.

 

ASOS Premier Delivery – Essentially Amazon Prime for fashion. I discovered this chain in London and I love ASOS so much. It’s a lot of merchandise to comb through on the web but the gems you find make it all worthwhile. I’ve done the yearly 2-Day shipping subscription for the last two years and it’s worth every penny, read $19.00. With the exception of the holidays, all my orders come within two days after ordering without an extra charge. Not to mention, they now offer a home section, beauty, vintage marketplace, etc. I’m about to renew my subscription again as one satisfied customer.

 

Madewell Chunky Small Hoop Earrings – This was also a fairly recent purchase and I’m already in love! Durable affordable jewelry that’s, ahem, made well is hard to come by. I have desperately been on the hunt for an amazing jewelry bag and unfortunately have been unsuccessful. Most are just way too bulky and I end up throwing everything in a small pouch, aka my jewelry receives a lot of wear and tear. These have definitely made it through a few trips and I plan to purchase them in other sizes in 2020.

 

Choosy – Got it from the gram! Choosy is definitely an up and coming indy brand that completely took off this year. I felt like every influencer was wearing them this season and for obvious reasons. In fact, you’ve probably seen their famous Crosby St dress on Instagram. I recently bought it in black, along with a few other items, and I have no complaints. Their clothes are on-trend, affordable, and a great blend of fashion-forward yet functional. Excited to see them grow in 2020.

The Ritz-Carlton, Shanghai, China
The Ritz-Carlton, Shanghai, China

Happy Holidays,

Riss

 

Disclaimer: I was provided with a free service in return for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I only support companies I would actually use in real life and like. 

The Best Destinations for Fall

The Best Destinations for Fall

As we experience our first snowfall here in New York City, I’m reflecting back on all the wonderful trips I took this Fall! Of course, I wrote a few articles for CBS Local with all my recommendations, that I’ll list below, but have to say that Fall is quickly becoming my new favorite season, although I can’t quite part with Summer as it’s always been my favorite! When it comes to traveling, however, fall really is the best time to jet set. The shoulder season of tourism means no crowds, ideal temperatures, and cheaper rates! If you’ve been saving up those vacation days add a day or two onto a long weekend and enjoy yourself!

The 6 Best Holiday Getaways From New York City

 

The Best U.S. Cities For a Halloween Getaway

 

The 6 Best Family Resorts For Fall

 

Happy Traveling!

Riss

 

Easy 4th of July Set and Forget Hors d’oeuvres

It’s almost the fourth of July! I’m currently in Aruba vacationing with family this year but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a few suggestions for your backyard barbecue. I wrote these recipes for CBS Local a few years ago and still use them for parties to this day! They’re so simple to make, standout in the crowd amongst a sea of store-bought potato chips and underwhelming salsa and will subside your guests till the big cookout. Hope everyone has a happy Fourth of July back home! Will definitely be missing my fill of burgers, ice pops, and fireworks. You can read my recipe article for CBS Local, here. Let me know if you have any questions or if you’ve tried one of the recipes by dropping a comment below!

 

Fourth Of July Recipes: Set And Forget Hors d’oeuvres

 

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Happy Fourth of July,

Riss

 

 

5 Easy Brunch Recipes for Sunday

Happy Mother’s Day! Hope everyone is enjoying their Mother’s Day with their mama’s this Sunday, mine is currently jetting around the world at the moment. Ironically, I’m home in New York City this Sunday and was thinking of going out with a friend to brunch until I woke up and saw the rainy day that was awaiting me outside, yuck. So as I sit, nice and dry, in my apartment, I decided to make my own brunch. Admittedly, it’s not as fancy as this recipe article I wrote for CBS a while back but the best part of brunch at home is that you are guaranteed food cooked to your preference, no lines, and no outrageously priced bill at the end.

 

You can find my five easy recipes for brunch on CBS Local, here. This menu was inspired by my love for margaritas and south of the border. Simple ingredients and easy to make jalapeno guacamole, churro french toast, chorizo frittata, chimichurri skirt steak, and mango margaritas, that arevfamily tested and approved! Did I also mention delicious? Yum!

 

Mother’s Day Brunch Recipes

 

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Happy holidays,

Riss

6 Easy Ways to get Eco-Friendly this Earth Day

Happy (belated) Earth Day to all my fellow crunchy granola friends out there. All kidding aside, as most of you know I’m a big environmentalist, however, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to help save the planet. Enacting these few simple changes not only helped me reduce my single-use plastic consumption but it’s also saved me a nice sum of money. The money I save goes right to my travel fund so for all those wondering how I save money to travel the globe? Start here…

 

Reusable Bags

This little change makes a HUGE difference! When grocery shopping BYOB, Bring Your Own Bag, (but obviously won’t judge if you bring booze too). When I lived in Germany, you had to bring your own bag to the grocery store and if you forgot you had to buy a reusable bag for a dollar. I still bring my own bag because of this! Obviously, I’m not perfect, but any little bit helps. If you have a car? It’s even easier, leave them in your trunk! It actually makes carrying groceries easier because you fit more in one bag and carry it on your shoulder. For smaller CVS runs, I carry a BAGGU in my purse or you can leave one in your car. Just bust it out next time you hit up the convenient store and give the cashier a smug smile even though they low key might be judging you.

 

Reusable Coffee Mugs

Whether you like it hot or cold, bring your own mug! Most coffee shops will offer you a slight discount and you’ll save the environment. I’d say I’m about 60/40 on this but I do carry an aluminum straw in my work bag so I can use that instead of plastic. Personally, I drink two to three coffees a day. I mean, I’m a writer who lives in New York City, what is sleep? My point is, every little bit helps.

 

Dryer Balls

Living in New York City, I’ve had many roommates in my lifetime. If you’re wondering what kind of roommate I am…yes, I’m THAT roommate who makes everyone recycle and use weird organic products, etc. One thing I’ve managed to turn everyone onto is dryer balls! Dryer sheets are actually the most toxic household product for you. You constantly have to buy them, all they do is make your clothes smell like synthetic fragrance, and they fill up our landfills. Dryer balls are made from wool, cut drying time in half, naturally soften your clothes, are a one-time purchase, and are chemical and allergy free! You can add essential or fragrance oil for smell if you really miss it. Honestly, I leave them in the dryer and never take them out. It’s really that easy and it’s probably the best eight dollars I’ve ever spent.

 

Reusable Water Bottles

This one is obvious! Reusable plastic is okay…reusable stainless steel is better. Once I made the switch to steel I never looked back on plastic. My water is cold for hours and I drink so much more water because of it. I keep one in my work bag and refill as I go. I even bring it with me when I travel. I think all hotels should have them, (don’t worry I’m working on it.)

 

Mindful Eating

This isn’t a product per se and yet it’s probably the most important topic. Mindful eating is something I always try to practice. I’ve read tons of articles on this and to sum it up, buy organic produce and protein, eat seasonal fruits and veggies, and limit your red meat consumption to once every week or two weeks. Once you start there you can start going one or two days meat-free. You don’t need to go full vegetarian or vegan but limiting your meat consumption is not only good for your health but it’s also good for the environment.

 

The follow-up question people always ask me is…but how do I afford organic produce? There’s no easy way to answer this question but the best tips I found are to avoid buying pre-packaged foods, meal prepping, buying from stores like Trader Joe’s, and by visiting your local farmers market. All these suggestions have not only helped me save money but have also helped me eat healthier. I’m a firm believer that you don’t need to diet to lose weight or eat healthier.

 

Recycle

Another obvious one and yet it’s worth mentioning because you’d be surprised at just how much you CAN recycle. When I lived in Germany, it was the law to recycle. Literally, you would get a fine if you didn’t do it right. I had five garbage cans in my apartment. Yes, you read that right, FIVE. One for waste, one for plastic, one for cardboard and paper, one for cans, and one for glass.

 

Guess which one fills up the quickest? If you guessed plastic…you’d be right. We had a normal sized trash can for plastic and we had to take this trash out every three days. That’s how much single-use plastic we ruse on a daily basis. So what can you recycle? A quick google search of your counties recycling laws should do it, you can find the NYC guidelines here. Essentially, plastic (rigid plastic like bottles, food containers, plastic housewares, etc), glass, and cans with a separate container for cardboards and newspapers.

 

Yes, I mentioned how this helped me save money but in reality, it really does make a difference. In Bali, I went freediving with Manta Rays and swam in a ton of garbage. It rained on a nearby island and the run-off from the river ended up in the ocean. To say it was disgusting was an understatement so imagine how the Mantas felt? These simple changes are not only helping you but it’s also helping wildlife.

 

What are the same of the things you do to limit your use of single-use plastics? Any more environmental tips? Let me know in the comments below!

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Happy Earth Day,

City Girl Riss

The Best Warm Weather Destinations for Spring Break

Spring is finally here! We’re just starting to feel a change in the weather here in New York City but if you know me, you know I’ve been escaping to warm destinations non-stop for the last few weeks. Five countries in five weeks to be exact. My birthday is in March so for the last decade or so, I’ve been vacationing for spring break and can say with full confidence I’ve been to every destination I mentioned in my most recent article for CBS, the best warm weather destinations for spring break. There’s plenty of great places to go for spring break, but in my opinion, these destinations have so much more to offer than just a nice beach. From jungles to mountains to beautiful reefs, you can’t go wrong with any of these six destinations! You can read the full article on any CBS Local, here.

 

The Best Warm Weather Destinations For Spring Break

 

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Happy Spring,

Riss

A Weekend Guide to Baltimore, Maryland

If you ask me, charm city is READY for its close-up. In recent years, Baltimore has been working hard to build up what was once dubbed the “greatest city in America.” My long weekend to Baltimore was nothing short of delightful! There’s so much to do there and the locals are some of the friendliest people I’ve met in a big city in quite some time. If you have a few days to spare, especially if you’re on the east coast, check out my weekend guide to Baltimore, Maryland, for CBS Local, here.

 

A Weekend Guide to Baltimore Maryland

 

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Happy traveling,

Riss

The Best Romantic Destinations in America

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! I’m headed to the beaches of sunny Jamaica this morning but not without giving your my favorite romantic recommendations first. Europe typically tends to get all the attention when you think of romance, however, the U.S. is home to some amazing cities that rival the best of them. From sunny Miami beaches to the romantic streets of New Orleans, I’ve rounded up some of my favorites in my most recent article for CBS Local, which you can find here. Check it out, let me know what you think, and send me your recommendations!

 

The Best Romantic Destinations in America

 

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Xoxo,

Riss

Everything You Need for Your Best Valentine’s Day Yet

This week’s post is dedicated to helping you prep for your best Valentine’s Day yet. I’ve linked every article I’ve ever written about Valentine’s Day below. From travel recommendations to DIY dinners/gifts to beauty tips, I’ve covered almost every topic. I personally think Valentine’s Day is an overrated holiday but there’s nothing overrated about showing someone you care. Tried and tested by yours truly, enjoy!

Romantic Valentine’s Day Destinations

Valentine’s Day Dinner for Two

Valentine’s Day Activities for Singles

DIY Valentine’s Day Gifts to Make for Your Loved Ones

The Best Free Valentine’s Date Idea in NYC

Three Tips for Better Breath

How to Heal Chapped Lips

 

Have you tried any of my recommendations before? Leave a comment and let me know!

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Happy Valentine’s Day,

Riss

 

How to Heal Chapped Lips

Valentine’s Day is less than a month away! Meaning it’s almost time to pucker up for your special someone. The Winters are brutal here in New York and my lips are always asking for a little TLC. After a bad cold, my lips were left completely chapped, I took to the internet and hit up every beauty blogger I know for the best tips and tricks. I mentioned a few of these lip products in my last post but here are my top recommendations for treating chapped lips.

 

Step 1

Exfoliate! This step is widely debated in the skincare community, however, in my opinion, this works almost instantaneously to renew your lips. Some people believe that the outer layer of skin on your lips protects the other layers and should not be removed. After some research, I can say that there’s truth to this, however, once your lips are chapped it’s time to start new. I’ll use a scrub when I notice my lips are pale in color, rough in texture, or showing signs or red cracks on the outer edges. I scrub them maybe once a month but never more. My favorite product for exfoliation is the Fresh, sugar lip polish exfoliator, which I mentioned in My 7 Holy Grail Beauty Products that will Up Your Skincare Game article. It’s a little pricey but it’s lasted me years since I only use a little! Apply a small “rice-grain” sized amount onto lips and massage on with a washcloth. After you’ve rubbed the product in, rinse and immediately apply lip balm. If you’re on a budget you can use brown/turbinado sugar and coconut oil in lieu of the Fresh product.

 

Step 2

Apply Lip Balm! A good lip balm is key. If you’re a friend of mine you know that I am a ride or die for the Burt’s Bees Pomegranate Lip Balm. It’s all natural, leaves a little bit of color, and is extra moisturizing. I could honestly, write a full essay on how this chapstick has changed my life but just open any bag I’ve ever owned and you’ll see why! Plus, I’m a long time fan of Burt and his passion for all natural products.

 

Step 3

Moisturize while you sleep! In recent years, I’ve found that by applying certain products before bed my skin has changed drastically for the better. Those extra 8 hours dedicated to hydration are key for softer skin. Naturally, your lips are no exception. The Laneige lip sleeping mask is everything you could ever ask for in a moisturizing lip mask. It’s ultra thick and has a light tint yet doesn’t leave a mess while you sleep.

 

If you follow all three steps, your lips will be ready to take on even the harshest of winters. After these three steps, I noticed an immediate change after just two days! Have you used any of these products before? Any other tips? Let me know in the comments below.

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Xoxo,

Riss