12 Best Instagram Cafes in NYC For Perfect Photos

Instagram Cafes in NYC are always a MUST.

12 Most Instagram Worthy Cafes in NYC

PHOTO: EFFORTLYSS

New York City is one of the most beautiful places to take photos for Instagram in general. One of the best parts about this magical city is that there are hundreds of gorgeous cafes sprawling on every corner, and the photo opportunities are endless. There are tons of cute spots to help you unwind during a work lunch break, answer emails, eat a croissant, or most importantly, grab those photogenic lattes and snap some photos for your Instagram feed. Let’s just say I’ve been to almost…all of them. 😉

Here are some of my favorite aesthetically pleasing spots that are worth the visit.

 

CHA CHA MATCHA

PHOTO: CHA CHA MATCHA

This place is always packed with city-goers, so make sure you get here to grab some photos early if that’s on your agenda. This awesome cafe serves bright green matcha lattes, with pretty matcha powder palm trees sprinkled on top. The cafe decor is neon pink and green to match your perfect drink, so it’s one of my favorite instagram-worthy spots in Manhattan. There’s also tons of matcha filled pastries, cool retro paintings, and tropical couches to make every photo pop! My go-to order: the Almond Milk Matcha Latte.

 

LA PECORA BIANCA

PHOTO: LA PECORA BIANCA

La Pecora Bianca is a cafe / restaurant with some of the best coffee around. This cafe is decked out in stunning white marble, pastel greens, and classic gold tones to make any Instagram photo stand out. The cafe has an airy, European vibe to it that I’ve fallen madly in love with and it’s been a go-to brunch spot for me ever since.

 

PIETRO NOLITA

PHOTO: ANA JOHNSON

This cute Italian restaurant has the most adorable pink aesthetic ever. Decked out in graphic pink and white tones, this is the perfect place to snap a shot of your pink fashion statement, pink nails, pink coffee cup, whatever it is that screams pink to you. There’s also a heart graffiti wall outside of this place. ALL the good vibes.

 

TOBY’S ESTATE COFFEE

PHOTO: TOBY’S ESTATE

This bright, airy cafe is perfect for you if you’re looking for that dreamy white-tone shot. Toby’s Estate is super cozy, and serves everything from coffee to vegan chocolate chip cookies. There’s usually a crowd of people here during the day time, but it’s always exciting to see the rush. The 5th ave location in New York is attached to a library with some cozy sofas to read and relax. Perfection.

 

LUDLOW COFFEE SUPPLY

PHOTO: ORBITZ

This is one of the coolest coffee hang out spots I’ve ever been to. Tucked away inside the Ludlow Hotel, this coffee “garden” per-say, is decked out in beautiful vines and rustic vibes. I recently discovered this place and was blown away by how private and cozy it was. Since it is a part of the hotel, this place is more low-key and perfect to kick back and work for several hours at a time. Or you know, take some epic photos for your feed, as usual! 😉

 

WHILE WE WERE YOUNG

PHOTO: WHILE WE WERE YOUNG

This cafe’s marble tables, plush pastel sofas and floral vibes is all you need to grab the perfect IG shot. This cafe is super tiny, but if you grab a seat early and are lucky enough to catch it empty, it’s totally worth the visit. This popular brunch spot serves some amazing avocado toast and lots of drinks, in case you need a pick me up after your photoshoot.

 

CITIZENS OF CHELSEA

PHOTO: CITIZENS OF CHELSEA

This Australian-inspired restaurant is one of the most beautiful brunch spots I’ve ever been to. Tucked away on 9th ave, it boasts a very modern, clean and “instagrammable” opportunity. If you do visit, be sure to order brunch as everything on the menu is absolutely divine.

 

JACK’S WIFE FREDA 

PHOTO: TARAMILKTEA

This restaurant is not only the ideal brunch spot on the weekends, but it’s one of the cutest places to go with a bunch of your closest friends. The cafe has this dreamy, pastel vibe that makes any photo look bomb. Plus, the flatlays of the food are always a must. Try the avocado toast.

 

BREAD NOLITA

PHOTO: YELP

This restaurant / cafe is one of the most popular cafes in Nolita to grab some coffee, and more importantly, Nutella toast. The cafe is decked out in cool red and white tones for an epic photoshoot. It’s also attached to a hotel with a cool modern vibe for some extra photos if necessary.

 

NOMO KITCHEN

PHOTO: NOMO SOHO

This restaurant is located inside the NOMO Hotel in Soho, and features the most beautiful graffiti art, rustic tables, and all around gorgeous modern vibes. Grab a quick bite with friends here, snap some photos, and take a stroll through the vine-enclosed entrance of the hotel once you’re done! 🙂

 

TACOMBI

PHOTO: TACOMBI

This cute Mexican-style restaurant is known for it’s amazing drinks, but more importantly, it’s bold and colorful vibes. The big letters, the blue floors, and the vibrant atmosphere makes this place an instagram dream. Stop by for drinks with your friends, take some pics with your drinks, and soak in the fun of NYC.

 

THE BUTCHER’S DAUGHTER SOHO

 

PHOTO: THE ADVENTUROUS MAZ

This amazing little spot is usually always packed, and for a good reason. The warm and rustic atmosphere engulfs the vibe of Soho, and has tons of delicious food to brunch with your friends. This cafe is definitely one of the most beautiful in the Soho area.

 

 

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DUBAI

Hey everyone!

It’s 9 PM on a Friday night and I’m sitting down to write this blog post about my trip to Dubai. We actually arrived home a bit earlier than expected due to the fact we (my boyfriend and I) caught some sort of virus. Pretty sure it’s the flu. I’m still recovering from it, and half-asleep right now, so excuse any typos. 😉

We chose to visit Dubai for a few reasons, but mostly because I’ve heard amazing things from multiple friends of mine. For the last 7 days, we have been exploring this exciting and bustling city. From the insane plane ride we took to get there, to swimming at sunrise on top of our hotel, to the crazy skyscrapers that towered over us, to meeting the locals in the middle of the desert…there were SO many new experiences that I’d never had before. Some of these experiences were incredible and eye-opening, and others were not exactly my favorite. In every blog post and instagram caption, I always aim to be as honest as possible–so I’m here to tell you all the good and not so good parts about our personal trip in Dubai.

The Flight…

The flight to Dubai was INSANE. I’ve never flown Emirates before and as soon as I boarded, my mouth dropped open. A week before our trip, I received a special “promo” from the airline offering to bump us up to business class, and I was ecstatic! However, I had no idea what I was actually in for.

The Emirates business class is out of a dream. There is a separate deck and check-in for Emirates business class/first class, and a separate deck of the 2-story airplane. Right after we stored away our carry-on luggage, we were greeted with champagne and fresh orange juice from the stewardess. The seats have so much extra leg room, and recline into a bed so you can sleep for the entire duration of the flight (which we both did, very comfortably).

The business class lounge features a bar that serves drinks and small snacks for the duration of the flight as well, and a separate seating area near the bar if you’d like to relax. Before our flight, I put in a special request for a vegan option–and they provided us with bread, fruits, and vegetable-based options which was really nice.

The overall experience was truly amazing and made the flight to Dubai such a breeze.

Arriving in Dubai…

Arriving in Dubai gave me such a rush of energy considering I’d never been before and have only heard such great things about this big city. The airport is huge, and really strict with security, so we had to go through a security check upon arrival to the airport. After going through customs and claiming our bags, we found our driver to our first stop — Shangri-La Dubai, which is located downtown.

The Shangri-La is the perfect spot if you are looking for a real city-life feel. The location reminded me of New York in a way, except everything is more spread out. There were a lot of business men and groups running in and out of the hotel at all times, and night-life seemed prominent there. Our hotel room was a superior king room overlooking the city skyline, with a pretty decent view of the Burj Khalifa (the tallest building in the world!)

My favorite part about the Shangri-La was the observation deck and swimming pool area, which had the most insane views of the Burj Khalifa up close. It was incredibly breathtaking to arrive at the hotel, drop our luggage off in our room, and start taking photos on the deck right away! The next day, we woke up for sunrise and swam in the pool overlooking the city and the amazing views of the Burj. The hotel was kind enough to also set up a private breakfast on the deck for us, consisting of fruit platters, chia pudding bowls, avocado toast, and juices!

I would say that this hotel in particular did have the most nightlife vibe to it–which is an amazing thing if you love to stay up late. We grabbed dinner one night super late at their Japanese restaurant located inside the hotel and the place felt like a nightclub — loud bass music and lots of people, but really AMAZING food. Meir and I both ordered the mushroom tofu rice bowls and chili edamame and loved it. Personally — we are not huge party people and we like to be very lowkey, so the vibe was a bit out of my comfort zone but I did still enjoy it.

 

Our First Night…

The first real night we spent exploring in Dubai was at the Burj Khalifa light show and the Dubai Mall.

The light show was so magical. Hundreds of people crowd outside the tallest building in the world to see an array of lights and pictures appear on the Burj, while romanticized music blasts in the air. There were so many people from all around the world taking photos and videos as we watched.

After the show, we headed into the mall which was right next door. The Dubai Mall is the biggest mall in the world! I don’t even think we were able to cover a quarter of it. There were hundreds of designer shops, big and small, everywhere we turned. There was an enormous food court, stacked with dozens of fast food joints and dessert shops. There’s a hotel inside of the mall and a hospital, as well as an ice skating rink, a full-sized aquarium, and probably a million other things I didn’t even get to see in time.

The Safari…

We ended up doing a safari tour the second night we were in Dubai. The safari was not what I was expecting to say the least, just because we didn’t really get to see much even though we were out the entire day. We drove through the desert, which was definitely a cool experience–but since we were with a large group of people, it was hard to experience everything the way we had wanted to. If you do decide to go on a safari tour, I recommend doing a private one so you can relax and take your time experiencing everything.

The coolest part I would say about the safari tour was towards the end. We visited a site in the middle of the desert surrounded by palm trees and these cozy bedrooms that you can actually stay in overnight. There were a bunch of locals, also known as “Emiratis”, who were making food for everyone, herbal teas and coffees, and playing Arab music. It was nice to immerse ourselves in that “authentic” type of experience for a night. The best part about the night though by far was meeting one of my followers–who happened to be in the middle of the Dubai desert at the same exact time! So random and SO amazing!

The Palm…

The next hotel we stayed at was on the Palm, which is a man-made palm tree shaped island consisting of dozens of hotels. This area has much more of a beachy feel because all of the hotels have their own beachside area. I love the ocean and laying out in the sun, so this was definitely right up my alley.

For the next few nights, we stayed at the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray property–which is seriously out of a movie. The hotel replicated an Arabian palace. Everything was so lush and ornate, from the entrance to the pools, to the spa, to the rooms–all of it was so over the top and luxurious. When you walk in, you are greeted by a huge sparkling fountain and golden plush sofas in the seating area. Once we arrived to our room, we were greeted by a HUGE over the top marble bath tub, a giant king sized fluffy bed, and Arabian palace decor.

My favorite part about this hotel was by far the spa–voted one of the best in the world. The women’s pool is a dream–featuring galaxy star ceilings, that make you feel like you’re in outer space while you are swimming through the warm water.

 

The Rooftops, Spice Markets and Miracle Garden…

The rooftops in Dubai are inaccessible to the public unless you have a connection. We met with another content creator who lives in Dubai and was fortunately able to give us access to this amazing rooftop with direct views of the Burj. The photos we took there were so stunning. Although it was totally worth it for the photos, getting to these rooftops is never an easy task and required lots of climbing. 😉 This night was actually the night I started feeling a bit under the weather, and the flu symptoms started to hit us both.

The Spice Markets were super interesting to go to, and nonetheless very far from where we were staying on the Palm. They were about an hour drive from where we were, and unless you are closer I don’t highly recommend going here as a top destination spot. We only spent about 20 minutes here, and all of the shop owners kept grabbing our clothes and our wrists, telling us to stop and buy things. I’m used to this type of hustle in NYC, but I personally didn’t feel comfortable being there for too long. It was 99% male populated, with nearly no women other than a couple of tourists, in site. If I wasn’t with Meir, I would have felt unsafe.

The Miracle Garden was also pretty far from where we were–but it was worth the trip to see its beauty and to get some amazing photos. The entire garden smells like all different types of flowers, and everything is so colorful and vibrant. The music in the garden was honestly a bit trippy, kind of like Alice in Wonderland, luring you into the different alleys and making you feel like you’re on some sort of spring fever high. I liked it, but I also felt a bit overwhelmed with the hundreds of tourists scurrying everywhere.

The End…

Our last part of the trip was experienced at the One & Only Royal Mirage, alongside the beach. This hotel was one of my absolute favorites. We felt super welcomed right as we arrived and were greeted with the biggest smiles at check-in. Our room was super roomy and beautiful, with a stunning balcony view overlooking the property and the ocean.

Because Meir and I both had a virus, we opted to stay on property for the rest of our stay and relax. The Royal Mirage made this simple for us–and set us up with amazing spa treatments and meals. I enjoyed my first traditional Hammam experience, which is essentially a type of cleansing treatment and body scrub. I wish I could have captured this but it was super private and such an intimate, cool experience. It was actually nice to take a break from my phone and just enjoy the hour spent at the spa for the day.

At night, we decided to go to the night restaurant and lounge called DRIFT to get some more photos at sunset. It was so gorgeous and modern, and they had a huge swing overlooking the city skyline. Unfortunately, we were both pretty sick by this point in the night and after a quick dinner, we went to bed and had to wake up at midnight to catch our flight back to NYC at 2:30 AM.

Overall…

Overall my experience in Dubai was awesome. I had so much fun exploring this city and there were a lot of cool opportunities I’ve never had before — including riding through the desert, shopping in the biggest mall in the WORLD, seeing the tallest buildings I’ve ever seen in my life, and meeting local people who’s families have been there for hundreds of years before all the crazy architecture and nightlife. That being said, I don’t think I would ever live in a place like Dubai. Yes, the city life is something I truly love, but it was a bit too overwhelming for me in terms of the attractions. Everything is so extremely over the top, luxurious and surrounds this idea of wealth and fortune. It’s amazing to visit, but to live in a fantasy world 24/7, I would have to pass.

Have you ever been to Dubai? If so, would you want to visit? I would love to hear your experience or opinion of it!

-Lyss <3

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Buying Followers, Likes, And Comments

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been seeing a ton of people posting about a new wave of influencers and social media creators that are buying their followers and also their engagement (likes, comments, etc.) on instagram. You may have also seen tons of instagram influencers and celebrities promoting “giveaways” and creating these loops on instagram to gain followers.

I’m going to address the whole “buying” followers thing first, simply because I think it’s one of the most painful things to watch as a creator who has been on the instagram platform for nearly 8 years. I started instagram as a way to document my lifestyle and it was my outlet to genuinely express myself and my thoughts. Over the years, it has become not only a great outlet to connect with millions of people from all over the world, but it has also become a full-time business and job for thousands of people including myself.

For the last 8 years, I have invested my entire life into producing content, interacting with my followers, marketing myself, shooting new projects, working with brands, building business relationships, and most importantly, turning my brand into a full-time career that has allowed me to do what I do. To see other people who just started their brands trying to cheat their way through the system is not only disheartening, but it’s also dishonest and morally just wrong. I don’t think anyone who buys their followers could be proud of something like that. That’s not hard work and dedication day in and day out – that’s just laziness and ultimately, a short-term plan that will get them nowhere in the long-term.

There’s no feeling of great success and achievement that comes with faking your audience. I wake up everyday with a feeling of such gratitude and pride to have come so far and to have been so patient through the process of so many years. While I believe that brands are becoming much smarter and educated when it comes to marketing using influencers, there are still a lot of brands that are learning how to work with influencers on instagram and many of them are scouting out influencers that have fake followers, likes, and comments. This ultimately will lead to a zero return on investment for those brands, which loses them hundreds or thousands of dollars. It’s downright scamming people if you are buying your engagement and then charging brands money to promote their products.

The other scam I would like to address are the current giveaway loops happening on instagram. When I initially saw them happening, I thought “what a cool idea – a great way to give back to my followers, and also expand my audience”. It turns out that this “cool idea” is actually just another way of essentially scamming people to follow you, and really has nothing to do with giving gifts to them. I made the mistake of joining a few of these a while ago, and I will never participate again. Sure, there may be a winner who receives some awesome prizes, but the truth is, in the long-run this is extremely damaging to your brand. People are smarter now and know that for the most part, these things are tricks to boost engagement, growth, and much less about the benefit of the audience. If you’ve participated in the giveaway loops before, you’ll notice that 50% the people who followed you will unfollow you because they didn’t win – and chances are, they won’t participate in the next one. Things I also noticed after participating in a few giveaways and experiencing this firsthand, is that my followers would get greatly discouraged and many of them would lose interest in me and my content. They also would find it as a great reason to unfollow my page because I was disrupting my professional content with tacky, unattractive “GIVEAWAY” images. For about a month after I stopped doing these giveaway loops, my engagement had cut in half and I had lost the value of my brand in not only my eyes, but in many of my followers eyes too.

One thing that HAS seemed to work in my favor is to just be genuine and stop caring so much about growing your brand, and start putting more into the people that already do follow you. Investing in my content daily, focusing on interacting with my audience daily, replying to comments and direct messages, liking and commenting on my follower’s own instagram pages just to put a smile on their faces…THOSE are the steps you can take to ensure you will grow your brand into something that’s long-term. If your content is superb and you’re a good, hard-working person, you will grow your brand, I can guarantee you that. You can NOT fake the grind. There are no “shortcuts” to real success. Remember that.

-Lyss

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All Of Your Questions Answered

Hey everyone!

So I decided it would be easiest to have a permanent blog post thoroughly answering all of the repetitive questions I get asked. That way, you can bookmark this and come back whenever you have a question that someone may have asked me before 🙂 I try to respond to as many of you as my fingers will allow me to over instagram but it gets super overwhelming, messy, and often glitchy within the app itself.

I hope you enjoy this and feel free to ask any additional questions in the comments if you have any!

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED

  1. What filter and applications do you use for your pictures on instagram?

I use Lightroom to edit all of my photos, and then I add small touches with the in-app instagram photo editing tools. I use my own custom filter I created with Lightroom for my photos. When I first began posting on instagram, I used apps like AfterLight and VSCO, which are amazing apps to start out with. VSCO is free and you can purchase all of their filters in the app, and AfterLight is $1.99. If you are on a tight budget and just starting out, I recommend using one of these apps to gain experience working with editing tools and filters. If you are looking for a more advanced way of editing to match my exact type of feed aesthetic, Lightroom would be the best choice for you. It costs about $120 to purchase for your computer so it’s definitely an investment if you want to become a blogger, photographer, content creator or just to improve your work significantly. You can learn how to use it through Youtube, which is probably the quickest way to pick up on it and start editing with it.

2. What camera do you use to take your pictures?

My first camera was a Canon 70D. I know a lot of you are just starting out, and so I always tell people I use this camera because I still do! It’s my backup, but it’s still an amazing camera and it’s fairly lighter than the one we shoot with now. A year ago I upgraded to the Canon 1DX which is quite large, heavy and intense. I love it, but it’s best if you’re a pro looking to do more video content. I think the Canon 70D is perfect for starting out!

3. How do you grow your instagram following?

My 10 best tips to grow your instagram following can be found here on this blog post.

4. How do I reach out to brands?

Reaching out to brands has become easier than ever nowadays, especially because most brands have their own instagram pages. I simply send them a direct message and ask for their email so we can discuss collaborating. A lot of pages feature a contact button that you can directly email the brands as well. If you are writing an introductory email to a brand, be sure to link your page in the email you are sending and always offer them something of value. For example, if you are just starting your page and would love to try a product for free, offer them an instagram post in exchange.

5. How many followers do I need to work with brands and get paid?

This all depends on who you are, what your content is like, your engagement, and your type of audience. The amazing thing is, brands want to work with influencers of all sizes, big and small. Some brands actually prefer smaller influencers (5,000 followers-50k followers) because they often have a higher engagement and connection to their audience, and they also charge less for a post! Don’t be afraid to reach out and make an effort to work with brands just because you are not as “big” as other people are.

Also – I would focus on creating good content before reaching out to brands. Brands like to see that you are putting in a little effort into your page to make it look pretty and to make your audience active. Once you have built up a solid foundation of content, start reaching out to brands for free products. The key is to give a little before you get paid for anything. I didn’t get paid for the first 2 years I was working on my instagram.

6. Where do you live?

I live in New York City. I was born on Long Island which is about an hour train ride outside of the city.

7. Is it expensive to live in New York? Why did you choose to live there?

It is very expensive to live here, but it helps if you have roommates of course. You are paying for the location and the experience. It is amazing to have restaurants and little bodegas on every corner open 24 hours. There are hundreds of coffee shops, cute boutiques, markets, and parks to hang on every few blocks you walk. The city just feels so vibrant and energetic at all times and I feel like it has helped shape who I am a lot. You have to get used to it for sure, but I love it!

8. Where are your favorite places to take pictures in NYC?

Some of my favorite places to take photos are:

  1. St. Cloud Rooftop in the Knickerbocker hotel
  2. The Press Lounge at ink48 hotel
  3. The Roof at Public Hotel
  4. FlatIron and Madison Square Park area
  5. Times Square at night (the lights are amazing)
  6. Grand Central
  7. Jimmy at the James hotel rooftop
  8. Nomo Soho and surrounding area
  9. Top of the Rock and Bar 365
  10. Bryant Park

9. What are you passionate about other than being an influencer?

I love to sing. It’s been something I’ve doing since I’m 5 years old. I love performing and even though I get nervous in front of crowds, I’ve gotten a lot better at speaking and showing who I am in front of people as I’ve gotten older. I also love to write. I think writing and expressing yourself is such a powerful, beautiful thing.

10. What is your job? What do you do, how do you make money, etc.?

You can read all about my job and what I do on this blog post here.

11. Did you go to college? What did you study?

I graduated from Binghamton University in 2015 with an English degree and minor in Global Studies.

12. Did you know you were going to become an influencer?

I honestly had no idea what was in store for me when I began my social media career. I used instagram as an outlet during college. I didn’t go out too much, and I liked to do my own thing. I was always low key and simple, so when I started my account, the only people who knew about it were a few of my closest friends. Then, as it grew, my college wrote an article about me in their newspaper and suddenly everyone knew me on campus as the instagram girl. It was pretty crazy, and strange because people started to make fun of me. Back then, instagram wasn’t as popular yet and everyone was just like, what is this girl all about?

13. How do you stay on track to achieve your goals without giving up?

I wouldn’t want to look back in 30 years and regret not pursuing my dreams. I know in order to be happy with my life, I need to at least try to pursue what I love. Failure isn’t an option anymore in my head. Anything is possible with the right skills, mindset and attitude. If you remind this to yourself daily, you’ll realize that it’s the truth! This is the truth I live by and it helps me push forward even when I fail.

14. What’s the worst failure you’ve ever experienced and how did you learn from it?

I lost a lot of money at a time in my life when I was careless. I felt like a failure. I had gotten scammed essentially, from someone that I don’t know online, and I felt so pathetic in that moment. I cried a lot that day to say the least. It’s okay to feel upset or disappointed, but don’t let those feelings stop you from bouncing back and starting over. Take a lesson learned out of your failures and use those failures to teach you how to succeed. I see everything as an important lesson, whether it’s a big or small mistake, it always helps to view it from that perspective.

15. What are the best places to eat in New York?

Some of my favorite spots include:

  1. Joe’s Pizza for pizza
  2. Cafeteria for lunch and American eats
  3. The Smith for continental food
  4. Momoya for sushi
  5. La Pecora Bianca for coffee and small breakfast bites
  6. Two Hands for brunch
  7. By Chloe for vegan eats

16. Where is your favorite destination spot?

My top favorite is Greece (Mykonos and Santorini)! I went this year for the first time and it was so insanely beautiful. I can’t wait to go back.

17. What advice would you give to someone who wants to become an influencer?

The top 3 tips I always give to people who want to become an influencer is:

  1. Understand what you want to be known for. This was something I had a lot of trouble figuring out throughout my career as a social media personality. I started out with fitness, and then transitioned over time into more travel, lifestyle and just being myself. I think if you stick to what you’re good at, you’ll succeed.
  2. Invest your time into your content. Content is key to growing a fan base and making people want to keep following your journey. I used to wonder why my engagement was so “low” and no one would comment on my photos. It was honestly because they sucked and I had no idea, hahaha. I had to dig through people’s accounts and research what worked for them. I had to research how to improve my photography skills and how to edit properly. It takes time.
  3. Be active and engaged with other influencers. There’s no better way to start than by being active in the community you want to be a part of. Instagram makes this easy. Leave unique and supportive comments on your favorite influencer’s photos. Send a hundred DM’s until you get a reply. Some influencers will read, respond, and even message you back. I know that I do! 😉

18. How old are you?

I am 24 years old, and my birthday is in less than a month! I always thought 25 was SO old, and now I’m like, wait…I’m just getting started with my life! It’s okay to set your own timing and path. A few of my friends are getting married already, and my brother’s both have kids! I know those things will come for me at a later time, but for now, I just want to feel free, and pursue my dreams. I’m much more career focused than relationship & “settling down” focused right now, which is not a bad thing. I think 25 is YOUNG. With social media, I can relate to the younger generation, and I can be a role model for them. It’s all about perspective 🙂

19. What are your goals for the future?

My future goals is to be an even more successful influencer by reaching more people and connecting with them, and showing people that it’s possible to achieve any dream you set your mind to. I also want to be a successful singer and go to the Grammys. I have a feeling 2019 will be the year. 19 is truly my lucky number! <3

I’m going to end this post on number 19. If you have any other questions for me, feel free to write them in the comments!

Xo,

Alyssa

 

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When I Was Bullied…

If this story can resonate with at least one person today, I know it was worth writing. I’ve had a lot on my mind lately and I’ve been reflecting on the past year and how drastically my life has changed. I have never felt more loved and connected to you, my audience, the people that follow along on my adventures and make everything possible for me day by day. If you knew how thankful I was that you’re even taking the time to read this right now…just seriously. It means so much to me.

This blog post is going to be about my story growing up and how I was never the “cool kid”. I was never in a clique, I never was the “popular” girl, or had tons of “cool” friends to hang out with. I was never invited to the cool parties, either. In my heart, even at a young age, I knew I was going to be someone special. I remember telling my mom at 10 years old that I was going to be someone extraordinary. Looking back, I realize I had a ton of confidence for a girl who wasn’t accepted by the popular crowd. But…needless to say, it wasn’t a smooth and easy ride through my school years. It was freaking HARD. I’ll never forget how it made me feel.

In high school…

I was bullied a lot through my teenage years. Some comments were about me being too skinny, some were about my nose and how big it was because it didn’t fit my face, other comments were about the way I dressed because I wasn’t the most stylish, and others were just people finding a reason to bully. It was the little things people would say to you as a kid that hurt the most even though now I can laugh about it…those little things seemed so big at the time. If I could go back in time, I would tell my younger self to just keep shining bright and keep doing exactly what I’m doing–being myself and owning it.

There were times when I would come home in tears because everyone got invited to a party and I didn’t. Or there was the time when I hosted a birthday party and 70 people RSVP’ed, and then not one single person showed up. I had set up an entire floor of my house filled with snacks, drinks, decorations, everything. And I waited for 2 hours…not one person came. I later found out someone who was considered cooler than me decided to throw a party over mine, and everyone chose theirs. I know these instances may sound ridiculously silly to some of you reading this right now (I’m smiling and laughing as I’m writing this), but trust me – when you’re 14 years old, these things hurt man.

In college…

College was a bit intimidating for me, but going into it, I was still super excited to start an entirely new chapter of my life. My university heavily focused on Greek life, and if you weren’t in a sorority as a girl, I thought it would be impossible to make friends. My heart was telling me not to join one, even though I had a ton of pressure to do so. I have nothing against Greek life and I believe for some girls it’s such a great way to connect and make friendships! But for me, I just felt it wasn’t my thing. It was hard for me to really dive into that world, and I ended up choosing to join a singing group instead. That group was the best decision I could have made for myself because I loved to sing, and the people were such amazing friends that I’ll always love for the rest of my life.

Needless to say, not joining a sorority came with a bit of a price. I was friends with a lot of the guys in fraternities (I’ve always gotten along better with guys. I grew up with two older brothers and it’s just my nature). Some of these girls in sororities at my college would talk so badly about me behind my back, and their words would always somehow find a way back to me through my guy friends. I knew about it, but I ignored it because I never liked to get involved in drama. I’m not a confrontational person. But the worst part was when these girls made a thread in Yik Yak about me. Yik Yak is a mobile app that connects people in a close area (it’s popular on college campuses), and it allows anyone to write in a forum anonymously. They would write things about me, blasting it to everyone on my campus, about how ugly and pathetic I was. They would also write the harshest things about my instagram. I immediately deleted the app after reading some of it, and I never downloaded it again.

A photo of me from college, and one of the first instagram “mirror selfies” I’d ever posted. Hahaha my leggings were awesome.

I think the way I’ve learned to get over bullying is to just tune it out and tell myself that I am making a positive and important difference in the world by being true to myself. It doesn’t matter if other people accept me, it matters if I accept me. Kindness will always overpower everything, and I know that by being loving, open-hearted and forgiving, I will ultimately have a better and more successful (and happier!!) life. I refused to let the words and actions of other people tear apart my worth, because I knew my worth and that was all that mattered to me. It’s still all that matters to me – and at the core of my foundation, there lies indestructible confidence and strength that I’ll always carry with me.

Over these past holidays, I was sitting with my parents at dinner and we were talking about my childhood. My mom looked up at me from her plate and said, “Alyssa, you were always very different, from as early as I can remember. You always did your own thing and beat to your own drum.” What she said made me smile because it suddenly reminded me of how I got to where I am today in the first place. I had overcome all of the bullying, the days where I felt lost, confused and like I’d never have friends or fit in with anyone. I pushed past the days where I felt alone, because deep in my heart, I guess I knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel. That I’d find my peace, and the right people to walk into my life, at some point and time. It was just a matter of patience and staying strong, but more importantly, staying TRUE to myself…however “nerdy” that may be 🙂

Xo,

Lyss

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Getting Over My Ex and Finding Love Again

As personal as this topic may be to a lot of people, I actually love opening up about my relationships because they helped shape me into the person I am today. Throughout middle school and high school, I was that friend who always loved giving advice about anything relationship-related and I felt it was liberating for me to share my love life.

What most of you probably don’t know about me is that I was in an on-and-off 8-year relationship before I met my current boyfriend. I never mentioned this previous relationship publicly because I’ve moved so forward past it, but it had definitely played such an important role in shaping my teenage years and helping me figure out what I wanted in my future relationships. I hope sharing this story will connect with some of your own stories and feel relatable to some of you.

I’m not going to mention his name out of respect for him and his privacy. I met my ex-boyfriend when I was 14. I was a freshman in high school and I had went through a ton of middle school “crushes”, but I had never dated anyone seriously before him. I met him at a birthday dinner for one of my friend’s, and we sat across from each other. We immediately clicked and ended up spending the entire duration of dinner talking and getting to know each other. I remember feeling like we were instantly best friends. I think that’s always been a key factor in my relationships — feeling like your significant other is also your best friend is so important. I wasn’t nervous or closed off to be my true self from the beginning, and that’s something truly special.

To make a very long 8 years short, we dated all throughout high school and broke up quite a few times, but always ended up getting back together. At that time of my life, I was super emotionally attached to him because he was my first love. We did everything together. I spent almost every day at his house after school, we had a core group of best friends that would all hang out, and we could spend hours upon hours together just doing nothing and still having the best time. This relationship taught me that I could be loved by someone with all of my flaws, my crazy mood swings, my weird sense of humor, etc.

 Although I can remember so many amazing times with him, our relationship also taught me how to pick myself up off the ground and piece myself back together after my heart was broken. There is no feeling worse than a broken heart and although I wouldn’t wish this gut-wrenching feeling upon anyone, I think it was so important for me to experience it. I spent nearly a month crying in my bed the summer that we broke up for the first time, and it felt like half of me was completely missing. I felt so hurt and so lost, and I struggled to find the good in this feeling—all I could see or feel was pain. I had a job at Carvel at the time, and I would take breaks in between customers to cry in the bathroom and eat ice cream (totally kidding about the ice cream part, but now that I think about it, that was probably the best job to have for a broken-hearted teenage girl). Now every time I pass by a Carvel, it brings me back to those memories of my broken heart, and I smile because it’s so bittersweet. I remember my mom hugging me so tightly and telling me that “time heals everything”, and although it didn’t feel that way at the time, she was right. Time does heal everything—including a broken heart.

My ex and I ended up going to the same college, but we had established our separate lives there so our relationship was super on-and-off, but mostly off. Being away at college had given my mind such a different perspective that I had never experienced before. I found a new group of friends that supported me, I was always busy with reading for classes, writing papers, and studying for exams, that those things started becoming more of a priority than my love life. I was growing and changing so much during my college years, and truly took that time to figure myself out. I had started my instagram account, and I was working so often on that as well, that I barely had time for a relationship. I dated a few different guys in non-serious relationships, and some of the stories are so funny thinking about it now.

Some of the past guys I dated in college:

  1. The Player — had a girlfriend who went to the same college as us, and I had no idea whatsoever. I didn’t know her personally (there are over 20,000 students who went to my university) but she knew who I was. Once I found out about her, I confronted the guy and he lied and said he had no idea what I was talking about. As you can guess, this relationship fizzled out quite rapidly.
  2. The Manipulator — made me feel super special for about a week until I found out he was talking to a bunch of other girls the same exact way. It was basically like he copied and pasted his cute texts and sent them out to any girl he found attractive.
  3. The Narcissist — a guy that was super good-looking and that every girl was obsessed with at my school, but he was also so into himself that it was a bit extreme. He only saw his point of view and if anyone challenged him, he would freak out. It was very unattractive to me, but a shame because he was hot.

And now I’m going to tell you one of my favorite stories now leading up to my current relationship and how I met my amazing boyfriend Meir.

Flash Forward to my Senior Year of College:

This guy was apparently in love with me since my freshman year of college but never had the courage to really do anything about it. All of his friends told me he was super interested in me, and would do anything to take me to his senior formal. I was not by any means interested in dating this guy. He wasn’t my type at all, but I was open-minded and after a lot of convincing from my friends and his, I decided to take a chance and hang out with him. After a few weeks of hanging around this guy, he seemed super genuine, so sweet, really funny, and just an all-around nice guy. My roommates and I would joke about how he was too nice and that there had to be a catch. So I was like, “hmmm, maybe I do like him after all”. Usually, I know right away when I like someone, but since this was a gradual feeling, it was enticing me to pursue it and see what could happen.

Well, there was a catch. So this guy’s formal comes around and he invites me to go with him, and then out of nowhere he stops answering my texts. In my gut I immediately knew something was off, but I didn’t say anything. I quickly found out he was getting back together with his ex-girlfriend and then he uninvited me to his formal. Ouch.

I was upset for about 20 minutes, and then I decided to make it my ultimate mission to never look at another guy again (LOL).

Over the remaining couple of weeks of college, I chose not to be sad. I chose to be positive, strong, and happy to finish off the last year of university right. I knew I would never get that year back, and I wasn’t about to let a frat boy ruin it for me. I spent the remaining time working on myself, going to the gym, creating content for my instagram, finishing the last of my schoolwork, and just surrounding myself with good friends. 

The last few days of school were a whirlwind. I ended up going out to this day party that my university was hosting on campus, and I was the designated driver. I pulled up my car, parked, and my friends and I got out and were walking towards the party when all of a sudden, I heard a group of guys calling us over. I looked to my left and there were a bunch of guys that looked unfamiliar. I knew right away they didn’t go to our university. We ended up walking over to them and that’s when I locked eyes with this tall Swedish-looking guy with the most insane blue eyes I’ve ever seen. I thought he was going to have a European accent before he spoke. He, to my disappointment, did not have an accent, and wasn’t European at all. But…I guess the look was enough 🙂 He told me his name was Meir and that he was visiting a friend at our college for the weekend. We exchanged numbers for some odd reason. I remember clearly thinking in my head, “Do not talk to another guy.”

I ended up going home from the day party and passing out because I had been up since 5 AM that day and was exhausted. At midnight, I woke up to a thread of texts from Meir, asking me where I was. I didn’t respond for 2 reasons: one of them being that I really wasn’t interested in meeting another guy to potentially hurt me, and two was that it was already midnight and I had slept through the first half of the night. All of my roommates were out and had left me sleeping in my apartment. On any other night, I usually would have just stayed home, but for some reason I got a burst of energy to go and find my friends. I quickly got dressed and walked over to the strip of bars that was next to my apartment building.

I ended up bumping into Meir, who was flirting with another girl when I saw him. Needless to say, I was super jealous and I ended up talking to him for the rest of the night. We kept in touch after that night, and continued to see each other back in New York City when I graduated a week later. We spent the entire summer together, and although it was definitely a long process until we started seriously dating, here we are. We didn’t establish a stable, healthy relationship for about 6 months. There was a lot of work to be done and trust to be built throughout our relationship, and that’s what I want people to know the most.

People see us as this “perfect” couple on instagram, but that is so far from it. We are definitely happy together and we love each other, but we have our ups and downs as a couple just like any others do. We still fight (although not as much as we used to), and we continue to work towards our goals together on a daily basis. There are times when we definitely need space from each other, but for the most part, I see it as a blessing to be able to work with my boyfriend everyday. It’s so much fun. We help each other grow and become better people, and that’s what the key to a successful and strong relationship is. There have been times when we’ve almost given up on each other, but we’ve always managed to fight through those struggles in order to stay together and continue to be a team.

I hope this post can show you that relationships are never perfect and that there is always work involved to keep it going. And that some relationships that don’t work out will always lead to something better for you in the long run. When my first relationship ended, I thought there would be no one else better for me than him. But life doesn’t work that way. When you are ready for it, the right person will come into your path and you will learn to love again, if you’ve been broken before. Just focus on yourself and being true to who you are, and you will not only succeed in love, but in life! 

Xo,

Lyss

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20 Fun Facts About Me

Where Do I Start…

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Hi! My name is Alyssa and I am a lifestyle and travel creator based in New York City. I’m 24 years old and started creating content about 2 1/2 years ago. I am so excited to hit the refresh button and start a new blog, filled with my travel adventures, my daily style, beauty and wellness tips, and all of my personality in one place. For most of my life, I felt a bit lost, in the sense that I really felt like I had no direction of what I wanted to do and where I wanted to take myself into the future. I was often pulled in different directions – one minute I would want to pursue one thing, and before I knew it, I’d lose interest in it and try something new.

It took so much time for me personally to figure myself out, but I always had a passion for writing, taking photos, and just sharing my advice with my friends and family. So, a blog wouldn’t be too bad of an idea to allow you all to know me a little better.

20 Fun Facts About Me

1. I love public speaking (I am not shy by any means!) but I am also introverted at the same time, meaning I like my space, m time to be alone, and I get a little intimidated to approach people first. People often say I look super intimidating and they don’t have the courage to approach me but I feel the same way!! Never be afraid to say hi if you see me around 🙂 I love meeting you all.

2. I played every sport as a kid and did so many activities: everything from soccer to the chess club – because I had so much curiosity. Some of my favorite sports were basketball, volleyball, tennis, and horse back riding. I also grew up surrounded by musical theater and often performed in plays, and took singing lessons for over 10 years!

3. I still sing, and I tend to keep quiet about it but it’s something that I would love to keep doing and pursue more, aside from blogging and creating content 🙂

4. I have two older brothers who taught me a lot more than they probably know. I feel like I was always independent because I had two older brothers who helped me be a confident girl and even how to handle relationships with guys.

5. I have a hormone imbalance disorder called PCOS – poly cystic ovarian syndrome. It affects a lot of women who are in their menstrual years and it’s not really spoken about as often as I believe it should. It causes very irregular menstrual cycles, fatigue, depression, anxiety, acne, and weight gain. I have learned to control it immensely through diet and exercise and I was able to stop taking medication for it, which I am grateful for.

6. I went to college and studied English, with a minor concentration in global studies and cultures. I was always super interested in writing and reading, and I always had so much to say on paper so that’s where the idea of an English major stemmed from.  I honestly was super confused if it was the right path for me and I questioned myself a lot as a student because I wanted to do something different and I wanted to stand out. I didn’t want to be a teacher, I wanted to be a creator and an entrepreneur.

7. On that note, that entrepreneur mentality has always run through my blood. I wanted to work independently since I was 5 years old. I used to collect hundreds of plastic bottles and caps and cash them in, and sell all the things my parents would buy me on eBay. I would get gifts and just sell them and put all of the money in my savings. I would also have my own little garage sales and lemonade stands every weekend in front of my house. It’s so funny to think about now. When I was 10 years old I told my mom, I’m going to be someone different. And I think she really believed in me even from that age when I had no idea what I was really saying.

8. I’ve only had two very serious boyfriends, and one of them is the guy I’m currently dating and working with. You may have seen him featured in a lot of my content already on instagram 🙂 I want to make a separate post about this topic, but my first relationship was very different from my current one and I have learned so much through these relationships.

9. My favorite foods are penne vodka, pizza, avocado / sweet potato sushi, and okay, I’ll throw in a healthy one – sautéed veggies and brown rice in a wrap is my go to clean dinner most nights. I really have an undying love for Italian food but I gave up meat completely, I don’t eat fish, and I try to avoid dairy as much as possible. I would say my diet is mainly vegan but occasionally I still have dairy based products. I’m working on just cutting it out completely because it makes me feel super bloated.

10. My favorite desserts are endless, I have such a strong sweet tooth! I really don’t like candy, I’m more of a cake and cookies type of girl. My sweet tooth diet consists of chocolate lava cake (that warm kind with the exploding chocolate sauce), red velvet cupcakes, and chocolate chip cookies. I also have recently been hooked on this new vegan cookie dough I found at Whole Foods. So so good.

11. All of the places I’ve traveled to so far will be talked about throughout this blog, but my favorite place so far has to be Greece! Santorini and Mykonos were both so individually magical and I can’t wait to go back next summer. I found that September was the perfect time to go, the weather was gorgeous and it wasn’t as crowded!

12. I have two dogs that are my heart and soul, MAC and Tosh. I don’t have them at my New York apartment with me; they live with my parents on Long Island now. They are brother and sister and were named after Macintosh, the computer model. My brother thought of their names because he works at Apple, and he’s a computer nerd hahaha.

13. I love makeup, and I am a total makeup junkie even though I don’t post much about it on Instagram. I love experimenting with all different skincare as well. I’m going to make a different post about this with all of my current must have products! I can’t live without mascara and bronzer!

14. I have an obsession with coconut oil. I use it for literally everything: conditioning my hair, moisturizing my skin, and cooking with it in my foods. I truly believe it heals everything.

15. The number one thing I can’t stand is when someone is the opposite of who they portray themselves to be on social media. I find that being myself is such an amazing way to connect with people and I’m not afraid to be genuine. And show my true self in good and bad times. I find a lot of people put on a show .. but that doesn’t really last.

16. My favorite place to shop right now is Free People, Forever 21, H&M and Zara. I am not a huge fashionista and I never was super into luxury fashion! Although I think dressing well is important for my content and it just makes me feel great when I do. But I like to keep it as affordable as possible when I’m shopping.

17. I get really bad anxiety when I fly. My job consists of traveling everywhere and I know this may surprise some of you but I get the worst nerves in the air and I’m terrified of turbulence!! I feel safest when I have both feet on the ground.

18. If I had to pick one place to live for the rest of my life it would 100% be New York City. People always ask me why I love New York so much and it’s simply because of how much is always happening here and the amount of entertainment and vibrance it offers at literally any time of year. It’s really just amazing. Christmas and summertime are the best times of year!!!

19. My lucky number is 19 and here’s why: my birthday, my moms birthday and my brothers birthday all fall on the 19th. If that’s not crazy enough for you, my grandpa passed away on the 19th, the morning of my birthday. I would say 9 Times out of 10 I am assigned hotel rooms “19”, numbers in line that are 19, and I’ll be in the most random places and just see “19” on the wall, or written in the bathroom stall, or someone’s tattoo walking by, or a neon sign in a diner, etc. My entire existence has been linked to this number and it’s kind of scary but amazing.

20. My YouTube channel is YouTube.com/Effortlyss. If you didn’t know I had a YouTube channel, now you do!

I hope you got to know me a little bit better from this question and answer post. I’d love to answer even more of your questions, so feel free to comment some more below if you’d like! 😉

Xoxo,

Lyss <3

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