Birthday Weekend in NYC

26 Jan
I feel like this was the best birthday of my life.  Not only did I turn a quarter-century old (does this mean I’m actually grown up now?!), but I had a surprise party, two birthday dinners, a silly office prank, a birthday lunch, and then a weekend in NYC.  
Needless to say, I’m very blessed, and I’m so thankful for all my friends and their loveeeee.
Okay, so a little background on me and New York City.
When I was in high school, I was convinced that would be my dream city to live in.  I wanted to go to fashion school, and live on the UES, and have a doorman and ride cabs everywhere.
This was all my vision despite having NEVER been there.
As I got older, I got a little more practical, and realized that staying where I currently lived was a much wiser decision.  Still…my love for a city I had never visited was abundant.
A few years ago, I went with some family friends to see an opera at the Met.  We were only there for a weekend, but it was one of the most fun weekends ever.  We stayed in Midtown, and I was obsessed with how the city felt.  I remember standing in the very middle of Times Square late one night, and just….feeling.  Maybe this is weird, but the energy of the city is unlike any other feeling I’ve had.  It’s almost tangible.
Oh man.  I’m so lame.  ANYWAY, a good friend of mine works for Marriott, and she got us the hookup with an amazing room at the Marquis in Times Square.  We were directly across from the ball drop–I mean, if it was New Year’s Eve, we would have had the best seats in the city.
Looking down from our room.
We got in Friday night, stayed Saturday, and left Sunday afternoon.  It was a quick trip, but we were able to do ALOT.   
It snowed Saturday morning, and the result was just beautiful.  Walking through Central Park in the snow was amazing.
I had SO many cute outfits planned for the trip, but I forgot to take into account the fact that I would be freezing.  It was so cold sometimes, my eyes would water.
Underneath my awesome Urban Outfitters Lumberjack coat (picked especially because it had a hood, although I kept getting called Little Red Riding Hood), I had layered a Northface fleece, a black dress from H&M, and two pairs of leggings.  And, my trusty Kensington Uggs, which saved my life on account of being super warm and leather (and not soggy, like original Uggs).   
PS:  Like how my awesome leopard scarf looks against the lumberjack plaid?!  Haha.  Not intentional, but I went with it.
Oh, and my lipstick is 24-Hour Super Stay by Maybelline in Top Tomato.  (It literally lasts ALL day.  I had three people stop me and ask what shade it was.)

Not only did I go with a super fun group of girls (no drama ever, which I love!) but we did a lot over the course of a weekend.
Friday, we ate at Junior’s, which is known for their amazing cheesecakes.  (I was super classy and got a giant grilled cheese, which I promptly dipped in ranch.  BALLER status right there.)   We were going to go back to the room and get a movie, but then within ten minutes of being in bed, everyone fell asleep.  (Being old yeaaaaaah!)
Saturday, we woke up to a city covered in snow.  After bundling up, we started up Broadway, ducking in every Starbucks we passed.  (No joke, I had three coffees from Starbucks that day.)  We saw the Hotel Empire (HI CHUCK BASS!) and ate at Whole Foods because it was too cold to walk anymore.  After emerging from lunch, the biting wind and swirling snowstorm had lifted, and it was a beautiful day.
We explored Central Park, which was surprisingly devoid of people.  (At least, until we got to a hill, which was COVERED in kids sledding.  I felt kind of bad for them because, compared to our hills here in VA, those hills were more like speedbumps.)   At one point, we were approaching the Bethesda Fountain, and we heard the most beautiful singing coming from inside the Terrace.  There was a family singing acapella songs, and the way the acoustics were inside the arches was pretty otherworldly.  We stopped and listened, and I had goosebumps the entire time.  
We continued on and visited the Met.  Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been fascinated by ancient Egypt, so I loved seeing all the statues and tombs.  There’s something so amazing about seeing (and touching, but don’t tell the guards) history from thousands of years ago.  I used to want to be an archaeologist and discover all these ancient civilizations, so seeing all the amazing finds was very cool.  I wish we could have spent more time inside, but by this point, we’d walked from the middle of Times Square to the Met in the middle of a snowstorm, and everyone was exhausted.  I have a feeling I could have spent HOURS looking at everything though.  
We have some pretty incredible museums here in DC, and THANK YOU SMITHSONIAN for making them all free.  (The thought of paying to get inside a museum was SO foreign to me.)  But, as much as I love all my hometown museums, the Met was amazing.  I can’t wait to go back and take my time, and then look through MoMa too.
We caught a cab back to Times Square, and stood in line to get tickets for a show.  We all agreed on Mamma Mia, which made me happy since I have a secret love of Abba.  (Real talk:  My first concert ever was in Disney World.  I saw the A*Teens.  They were basically a Disney Abba cover band.  Do yourself a favor and Youtube “Dancing Queen” by the A*Teens.  Also “Can’t Help Falling in Love”.  PUPPIES!)
We ate at the hotel for dinner since we had discounts.  The Broadway Lounge at the Marquis has the most amazing views, and they built mirrors into the ceilings so that you can look out on Times Square, but also see down on the sidewalks at the same time.  Very cool.
After the show (which, okay, was good, but I didn’t love the actress who played the daughter), we went up to the top floor of our hotel to the rotating lounge (why helloooo Empire State Building!) and ate the dessert and cheese buffet.  (I ate like 50 bucks of cheese, I’m convinced.  BRIE ON A STRAWBERRY!?  DONT MIND IF I DO!)
Sunday, we slept in so late, we almost missed check in.  (I haven’t slept in that late on vacation since….never.)  A few of our friends headed back early, so those of us who remained walked up and down Fifth Avenue.  I can’t wait to show you pictures of all the things I bought.
We visited my favorite store in the world:  Henri Bendel.  (Yes, I love that store MORE than Nordstrom.)  Maybe because it was Blair’s favorite store, or maybe because I liked how the outside looked, but my first trip to New York, I wandered inside and spent like two hours perusing everything.  What I love about Bendel’s is all the unique merchandise they carry.  It’s a lot of smaller designers who make the most beautiful accessories, so you know you’re not buying the same thing everyone else has.  My favorite part?  There is a whole room dedicated to HEADBANDS.  (Seriously.  I have an obsession with headbands.  I think I own at least twenty.)
Anyway, it was an amazing trip, and I’m so thankful to have been able to go.  It’s only a three hour train ride from DC, so I might have to go more often and explore the city more.  
If anyone has any great shopping advice for NYC, please let me know!  I can’t wait to go back!

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