Is this an Illusion? Free Ongoing Photo Sessions and Events with Samsung (NYC)

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One of my goals this year was to learn how to take better photos. Taking good photos takes practice, and I have been constantly searching online for photo walks. I enjoy going to photo events because they are social and you get to learn tips from other photographers.

We are really flexible. Everything is ok right?

Luckily, a friend of mine found the Samsung Photo Session at the Museum of Illusions and we were able to get tickets.  Museums of Illusions is located at 15 cities across the globe, and I went to the New York location.

You can RSVP to free Samsung events on their website, and they are based on a first come, first served basis. RSVP does not guarantee admission, and it is highly recommended to come to the event at least 1 hour prior to try to get a seat. Samsung also has free WiFi, so you can use it while waiting in line to check in for the event.

At Samsung events you learn about the product in the presentation, and you also borrow the product to use for the event. For this event, we got a brief tutorial on the Galaxy S10+, and we received instructions on how to auto upload photos to Google Photos. In exchange for borrowing the Galaxy S10+ you also need to bring in a form of identification, such as a driver license, state ID, or passport. Once the event ends, you exchange the Samsung device to get your identification back.

This event was great because it was my first time trying a Samsung device and I was able to go the Museum of Illusions for free. Tickets for the museum are usually $19 for adults, $15 for children (ages 6-13), and kids under 6 are free. I wanted to go to the museum for awhile, and I was happy that I went to the museum for free with a friend.

Where did the rest of my body go?

My friend and I were able to take a bunch of photos and the museum definitely did play with our vision, perception, and brain. For adults over 21 years, I would not recommend drinking alcohol prior to this event because some of the rooms are slanted and can make you dizzy. It was a unique experience because each of the rooms had different exhibits. We spent an hour at this event, and I would say that was sufficient time to explore the museum. People were lining up outside when we left the museum, so I would recommend to factor in buffer time for waiting in line to visit the museum.

The key things about visiting museums are checking for free days and looking for events that offer free admission. Be sure to check the Samsung website frequently for free events, my 5 main resources for finding free/cheap events, and to hear about other NYC weekend free/cheap activities you can see my post here.

3 Upcoming Free Samsung Events (NYC)

  1. Galaxy Fitness Session with Swerve Fitness (Wednesday, April 17, 2019 6:30pm-8:15pm)
  2. Galaxy Wellness Session with Dr. Jessica Clemons and Swizz Beatz (Friday April 19, 2019 7pm)
  3. #withGalaxy Photo Session at Snark Park (Saturday, April 20, 2019 2:30pm-4:15pm)

Wellness Happy Hour: Where to Find Free Skin Face Treatments

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Nothing beats happy hour after work. Discounted drinks and meeting up with friends are always nice. However, going to a free face skin care event is better. Especially if there is free wine.

Free wellness events are a big score for me. I love trying new skincare products and getting free mini face treatments.

Keep in mind, most face treatments do not have extractions for blackheads. However, they are free and leave your skin feeling refreshed afterwards.

Caudalie free face treatment products
Caudalie launched their new SOS Intense Moisturizing Cream product by having free face treatments in their stores.

Even though, I recently attended the Dermalogica Pop-Up , my skin still felt dry from the season change from winter to spring.

Thus, I checked my five main resources for finding free events, and luckily found the Caudalie #SaveYourSkin Hydration Happy Hour on Eventbrite.

Luckily, Caudalie was offering free mini treatments because they launched their new SOS Intense Moisturizing Cream product. Along with New York, this event was offered in Washington D.C, Miami, and Los Angeles.

Products Used in My Face Treatment

  1. Caudalie Gentle Buffing Cream
  2. Caudalie Micellar Water
  3. Caudalie Grape Water
  4. Caudalie Beauty Elixir Eau De Beaute
  5. Caudalie Premier Cru Serum
  6. Caudalie Premier Cru Eye Cream
  7. Caudalie Moisturizing Mask
  8. Caudalie Vinosource Overnight Recovery Oil
  9. Caudalie VinoSource S.O.S. Intense Moisturizing Cream

Not long after waiting 5 minutes, I was next in line for the 20 minutes face treatment. Furthermore, there were 3 aestheticians working at different stations. Thus, my friend and I managed to get our face treatments done at the same time.

Overall, this was a great event because of the low wait time. In addition, my skin really enjoyed the extra moisture from the products.

Caudalie face treatment free
The Caudalie face treatment was refreshing and left me feeling glowy.

3 Upcoming Free Wellness Events (NYC)

  1. SoHo! Learn All About a Skincare Routine with Georgette Klinger at Birchbox Walgreens (Friday, April 12, 2019 3pm-7pm)
  2. Wellness Weekend NYC: Herbivore Masterclass (Sunday, April 14, 2019 10am- 12pm)
  3. Fresh’s Rose Masterclass: the refreshing Deep Hydration your skin needs (Tuesday, April 16, 2019 6:30pm-7:30pm)

2 Websites For Finding Free Fitness Classes in NYC

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Staying fit, eating healthy, and having an active lifestyle are very important to me. Luckily, I have a discount fitness membership though my employer, and I use my gym membership almost every single day.

Find free fitness classes on Evenbrite and Sassy Fit Girl. Image by shushipu from Pixabay

Since not all of my friends have gym membership, I found it helpful to meet up at free fitness classes. New York City is also a popular travel destination, and it is nice to meet up with friends that visit to a free workout class, instead of dining at a restaurant. It is very beneficial because both my friends and I do not miss our workouts, and our bank accounts thank us as well.

Please see below for the top 2 resources I use to find free fitness classes.

1)Sassy Fit Girl

Sassy Fit Girl usually posts a weekly schedule for free fitness classes and free group runs by Monday/Sunday 3pm EST. Be sure to subscribe to her newsletter and to check her website daily in case additional listings get added.


I wrote about using Eventbrite recently to find free and cheap events, and one of my favorite searches to use is fitness.  I type in fitness and I use the “free” filter to narrow down my search for free fitness classes.

Last Sunday I went to the Sweaty Sundays X Brooklyn Boulders NYC lululemon event, and I was able to go to rock climbing for free. Just for some perspective, a day pass at Brooklyn Boulders is $36, so finding this event was definitely a steal.

free fitness classes nyc
I saved $36 by attending a free rocking climbing event on Eventbrite.

3 Upcoming Free Fitness Classes (NYC)

  1. Wellness Weekend NYC: Yoga Classes (Saturday, April 13, 2019 12pm-1pm, 1pm-2pm)
  2. Fit Club Run Club (various dates, weekly run club every Tuesday 6:30pm-7:30pm)
  3. Fitbit Local Bodyweight Bootcamp & Cardio Boxing (Saturday, April 27, 2019 3:30pm-4:30pm)

Saving HerMoney for Travel on the Today Show

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Goals can be difficult to achieve, but if we are in the right mindset, we can achieve them. To stay motivated, I found it helpful to listen to podcasts, read newsletters, be around like-minded friends, and join Facebook groups.

I consistently make it a goal of mine to save money on everyday things in order to have a bigger travel budget. Some of the ways I save money are attending clothing swaps, meal planning, and finding free events. I have been to 34 countries to date, and I will be visiting Antarctica and Argentina in November 2019.

Save for Travel Spending Value
I talked on the Today Show about how I value and save money for travel.

One of the best resources I use for learning personal finance is HerMoney Media. HerMoney Media has written content, video, and a podcast on budgeting, investing, and financial planning topics that are specifically geared towards women.

Last year, I joined the HerMoney Facebook group because I was a fan of the podcast and newsletter. In addition, to listening to personal finance topics on the podcast and reading the weekly newsletter, I also wanted to get more advice and to help out others online.

A weekly thread in the HerMoney Facebook group is the #HumbleBrag Friday, where you can say something you are proud of, and it can either be financial or non-financial. The March 1, 2019 #HumbleBrag mentioned that HerMoney would be filming a Happy Hour in the NYC area, and that they were looking for community members. After seeing this post, I reached out to Kelly Hultgren (co-founder and head of partnerships for HerMoney, and the producer of the HerMoney podcast) and was luckily one of the members selected to be in the Happy Hour that would be filmed for the Today Show on NBC.

HerMoney members and host Jean Chatzky.
From Left to Right: Pat Moran, Narda Chin, Jean Chatzky (host), Kathryn Farwell, Larissa Pai, and Angel Trinh.

Filming the Happy Hour was a great experience because I received financial advice and met other HerMoney members in person. I learned that not everyone has the same goals, such as saving for education, mortgage, and travel, but in the end we still have the same goal to save money. It was also helpful to learn how others split their bank accounts with their significant others, and how important it was to not rely on someone else to be entirely in charge of the finances.

To see the Today Show clip, please click here. The women featured in the segment are Pat Moran, Angel Trinh, Narda Chin, Kathryn Farwell, and Larissa Pai.

Jean Chatzky is the financial editor of NBC’s Today Show, an award-winning personal finance journalist, AARP’s personal finance ambassador, and host of the podcast HerMoney with Jean Chatzky on iTunes. Her newest book, Women with Money: The Judgment-Free Guide to Creating the Joyful, Less Stressed, Purposeful (and, Yes, Rich) Life You Deserve can be purchased here.

Jean's Chatzky's book Women with Money available now.
Jean Chatzky’s book Women with Money: The Judgment-Free Guide to Creating the Joyful, Less Stressed, Purposeful (and, Yes, Rich) Life You Deserve is available now.

HerMoney will also be hosting Happy Hours in other cities, which is currently being finalized. To stay updated about personal finance and upcoming Happy Hours, please subscribe to their newsletter, podcast, and join the HerMoney Facebook group.

How to Find a Clothing Swap & Recycle Fashionably

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Clothing swaps are one of my favorite activities to do by myself and with friends. They allow you to donate clothing items you no longer need, and in return you can get other items that people donate. Free clothing swap events are essentially a free thrift shop.

Why Attend Clothing Swaps?

Clothing swaps are beneficial to both your wallet and the environment because you are essentially recycling clothes. Unfortunately, the fashion industry is known to destroy unsold clothes, and pump out more carbon dioxide than international flights and shipping combined.

Event Details (Costs, Things to Bring, Laundromat)

It varies from event to event, but some require you to donate a specific number of items, and some do not require you to donate any items at all. At times, there are also clothing swaps tailored towards women, baby, or men. Some clothing swaps also charge entrance fees, and I usually attend the free ones. Most unclaimed items at clothing swaps are usually donated to charity. I would recommend double-checking the description and contacting the event organizer if you have any questions.

clothing swap
I managed to stuff a bag full of clothes, and paid less than $5 to wash and dry them.

Please note, for safety reasons I would recommend washing and drying your clothes in hot water and high heat. No one ever wants to leave with dirty clothes and to risk getting bedbugs. The laundromat near my house costs $1.75 to wash, and $0.25 to dry for 8 minutes. I usually dry for 56 minutes ($1.75 = $0.25 * 7). I can also buy laundry soap for $1 at the laundromat. Paying $4.50 for laundry to get clothes for my wardrobe is quite the bargain for me.

How to Find Clothing Swaps

To find clothing swaps, I follow my usual routine of checking Instagram, Newsletters, Goldstar, Eventbrite, and Facebook.

For demonstration purposes, please see my screenshot below of how I find clothing swaps on Facebook. I use the search bar to look up “Clothing Swap New York” and I use the Events tab to find a list of events.

In Facebook use the search bar for “Clothing Swap + your city” and the Events Tab

Luckily I made it to the clothing swap that was hosted by Daya Yoga Studio on Friday, March 29, 2019.  Clothing swaps are also known to be social gatherings, since people seek feedback on items and people even look for items together. At this event, I left with a nice big bag of items.

Upcoming NYC Clothing Swaps

If you are in New York City, the 3 upcoming clothing swaps (from my screenshot) are listed below. Please note, the second and third clothing swaps below are at the same location, but were made by 2 different event organizers.

  1. Clothing Swap! (Saturday, April 27, 2019 at 1pm -4pm)
  2. Sara and the Sea at Moto Distillery (Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 3pm-6pm)
  3. Bushwick Clothing Swap (Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 3pm-6pm)
clothing swap social
Clothing swaps can be social and fun to look for items.

Daya Yoga Studio Information

  • Train: L Train to Jefferson Street
  • Address: 360 Jefferson St, Brooklyn, NY 11237
  • Phone: (718) 406-7912
  • Hours: Monday – Sunday 7am-10pm
  • Class Sign up: MINDBODY / ClassPass

Daya Yoga Studio is also currently offering New Student Specials for $50 for 4 weeks of unlimited classes, and they have 6 classes for $40. A normal price per yoga class is $18. In addition, they have a list of upcoming retreats on their website. The next retreat will be on Friday, May 17, 2019 – Sunday, May 19, 2019 in upstate New York, with price ranges from $150-300.

To learn how I was able to find a free wellness day retreat in NYC please go here.

How to Attend a Free Wellness Day Retreat (NYC)

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We often hear about going elsewhere to wellness retreats, but are we aware that it might be easier to go than we think? It is always great to explore places, but when money and time may be issues, the wellness retreat might be even around the corner.

I wrote recently about how I use different resources to find events, and I was lucky enough to find the Dermalogica Pop-Up event on Facebook. The #ExperienceDermalogica pop-up had interactive art installations, free master classes, facelift skin treatments, and swag bags.

Free Facelift Skin Treatment

I was very intrigued by the “Build your Brand with Cyndi Ramirez: Chillhouse Founder” master class.  Ramirez went over the fundamentals of building a brand visually, and how everything, such as the name, logo, typefaces, colorways, patterns, tagline, and slogan sets a brand apart from the rest. Ramirez also spent time answering individual questions and provided feedback, which is helpful because consultations and attending branding workshops can be expensive.

Branding Class led by Chillhouse Founder Cyndi Ramirez

After attending the branding workshop I was lucky enough to get a free 10 minutes facelift skin treatment. The skincare facelift left me feeling refreshed and glowy and allowed me to try the latest Dermalogica products for free. The normal price for this treatment is valued at $10, and you can schedule an appointment at a Dermalogica location on their website.

I also attended the Skin Health 101 master class, which was about identifying and treating different skin types. One key thing I learned was the difference between sensitive skin and sensitized (reactive) skin.  Sensitized skin is caused by your environment, which can include stress, friction, incorrect product usage, medication, sun, and pollution. On the other hand, sensitive skin is something that you are born with, and symptoms include lower pigment, redness and being prone to asthma and allergies.

List of Free Master Classes at the Pop-Up

Overall this event was great because not only was this event was free, but the speakers were also very knowledgeable. If timed correctly, anyone could have made this a free wellness day retreat, with the branding (motivation) class, (facelift) skin treatment, Skin Health 101 master class (workshop), restorative skin class (yoga), and swag (free gift) bags.

One of the free swag bags I received at the pop-up. I got a total of 3 different gift bags at the event.


5 Ways to Find Free Pop-Ups & Events (NYC)

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free event nyc
Free Olivia Burton Dream Bus Pop-Up I found from Facebook. I also got a free pink hot chocolate at the event.

Pop-ups are short term retail stores and temporary art installations and are very popular in New York City.  Some of my favorite pop-ups that I go to are workouts, wellness panels, and photography walks/sessions. Please see below for my recommendations on Instagram accounts, newsletter subscriptions, and websites to use for finding cheap and free events in NYC.

  1. Instagram

My top favorite Instagram accounts to follow for pop-ups and events, include queenoffreeba, fomofeed, artworldnyc, and popupgirlsnyc. Queenoffreeba has daily morning Instagram stories about free events. Both fomofeed and artworldnyc have eye catching posts about pop ups and often feature pop ups on their feed prior to the public event launch. Popupgirlsnyc may even feature your post if you tag them on Instagram.

Free Canon Pop-Up where I learned photography tips and shot photos with a DSLR for free.

2. Newsletters

My favorite newsletters to find events include the Skint (daily), and the Joy List (weekly). The Skint is a daily newsletter about fun and free cheap things to do in New York, which include ongoing events, such as poetry readings, outdoor movies, and comedy shows.The Joy List features events that you can go alone and meet new friends, which include potlucks, game nights, and dance clubs.

Free Weekly Summer Kayaking I found from the Skint.

3. Goldstar

Goldstar is great for finding complimentary tickets, concert tickets, theater tickets, and under $10 tickets, and can be also used in 26 cities across the United States. I have found great discounts on tickets that I would normally pay full price from the venue and Ticketmaster.

4. Eventbrite

My favorite part about Eventbrite is that I can use the “free” filter and that I can search by keywords. My favorite keywords to use are pop-up, clothing swap, panel, and wellness.

Monthly free 1st Thursday cookie and baking class at Michel et Augustin I found on Eventbrite.

5. Facebook

On Facebook I use the events section, and I filter results by New York, New York or I can choose a city to see events in the area. In addition, I can also put the city in the search keyword as well, such as Pop-up New York, Clothing Swap New York, Panel New York, and Wellness New York. Some of my favorite Facebook Event pages are FOMO New York – Free Events, Epic Events NYC, Awesome Events – NYC, The NYC Daily Event List, and Free Events in New York City.

NYC: 3 Day Weekend Budget Itinerary & Meal Plan

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Image by Jo Wiggijo from Pixabay

New York is known as one of the world’s most expensive cities, but it does not mean that you cannot be on a fun budget here. One of the amazing things about New York is that there are free events and discounted museum days. Please see below for my itinerary I would follow for a fun budget weekend.

My 3 Day Weekend Itinerary Guide


Morning: Financial District

  • Cost: Free
  • Highlights: Charging Bull, Fearless Girl, New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)
  • Train: 2/3/4/5 train to Wall Street
  • Address: (NYSE) 1 Wall St, New York, NY 10005
Wall Street is the financial center of the United States. Image by Predrag Kezic from Pixabay

Afternoon: Chelsea & High Line

  • Cost: Free
  • Highlights: Walk around Chelsea and the High Line (elevated park)
  • Train: Take the 1 or C train to 23rd Street
  • Address: The park runs from Gansevoort Street – three blocks below 14th Street, in the Meatpacking District – through Chelsea to the northern edge of the West Side Yard on 34th Street

Evening: Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

  • Cost: Free Friday only from 4-8pm
  • Highlights: Vincent Van Gogh – “The Starry Night”, Pablo Picasso – “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon,” Monet – Water Lilies
  • Train: E/M train to 5th Avenue/ 53rd St
  • Address: 11 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019
Vincent Van Gogh – “The Starry Night.” Image by Eric Perlin from Pixabay


Morning: Statue of Liberty (via Staten Island Ferry)

  • Cost: Free
  • Highlights: The Staten Island Ferry takes you right past the statue for free
  • Train: 4/5 train to Bowling Green

Afternoon: Central Park

  • Cost: Free
  • Highlights: Take a stroll walking throughout the park, the pond and Gapstow Bridge, and Sheep’s Meadow
  • Train: N/R/W train to 5th/59th St
Central Park is one of the most famous parks in the world. Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Evening: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

  • Cost: Pay only what you wish Saturday from 5:45pm-7:45pm
  • Highlights: Édouard Manet –“Before the Mirror,” Pablo Picasso –  “Woman with Yellow Hair”, Pierre Bonnard – “Dining Room on the Garden”
  • Train: 4/5/6 train to 86th St
  • Address: 1071 5th ˀAve, New York, NY 10128


Morning: Brooklyn Bridge

  • Cost: Free
  • Highlights: Take photos of the iconic bridge and get spectacular views of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Brooklyn Heights, and DUMBO
  • Train: 2/3 train to Clark Street
  • Address: Take the Henry Street exit. Walk left on Henry Street. Go left on Cadman Plaza West/Old Fulton Street and walk downhill to the entrance to Brooklyn Bridge Park, located at the bottom of the hill, at the waterfront
Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. Image by Foundry Co from Pixabay

Afternoon: The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met)

  • Cost: $25 (pay what you wish for New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut residents)
  • Highlights: Jacques Louis David – “The Death of Socrates” , Raphael – Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints, Marble statue of Aphrodite
  • Train: 4/5/6 train to 86th St
  • Address: 1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028

Evening: Times Square

  • Cost: Free
  • Highlights: Shopping, people watching and being amazed by the billboards
  • Train: 1/2/3/7/S to Times Square – 42 Street Station 
Times Square and the lights. Image by Foundry Co from Pixabay

Meal Plan


Parmesan Garlic Cauliflower

Image by Couleur from Pixabay


Aspargus Carbonara


Sweet Potato Skillet

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay


Chicken Enchilada Skillet


Sweet Potato Chicken Kale Skillet

Image by LEEROY Agency from Pixabay


Chicken with White Wine, Leek, Spinach and Arugula Pan Sauce


Creamy Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Mozzarella

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay
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