Big Apple Escape

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Oh fair readers... I just returned from two-ish days in New York.  I needed it.  Beyond Charlotte being a handful lately, it's been two long years since I last visited and I've been itching to get back for a long time. It's an easy four hour drive from here to New York by train, car, or bus, and pre-kid was on the regular rotation of weekend getaways.  But I haven't made it back since Charlotte was born.  #firstworldproblems

 
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So my friend Jess and I planned a quick trip up, leaving Saturday morning on the train and returning Sunday evening- giving us two full days to fill up with goodies.  I was conflicted-- I typically try to do new things each visit, but since I hadn't been in so long, I really wanted to visit my old favorites.  So we ended blending the two agendas and here's what we did...
 
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A matinee showing of A Gentlemen's Guide to Love and Murder {this year's Tony winner for best new musical} allowed us to get in a show and still get in a great dinner.  Our train arrived at noon, we dropped our bags at the hotel, and cabbed up to 48th St. for the show, grabbing a bite of pizza in between.
 
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I was already tired from our busy morning but the show quickly snapped me out of it.  GGLAM was very funny and clever. A must see- Jefferson Mays steals the show!
 
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Confession: I always get teary during standing ovations.  People are just so talented and they're living their dreams and...!! I can't.
 
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{Of Mice & Men was across the street—the crowd of people waiting to see James Franco and Chris O’Dowd was insane.}
 
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{We strolled by my home away from home—the show is closing August 24th—I was seriously tempted to take in a fourth show…}
 
We hit Joe Fresh after the show.  I LOVE Joe Fresh.  They're style is very clean and preppy—lots of stripes and navy and good basics. Great prices. I discovered them on a trip to NYC two years ago and their only US stores are in Manhattan, save for a small line at JC Penney, so it's always a must on my list.  I feel like they’re still somewhat of a hidden gem, so I hesitate to share my treasure lest they turn into messy, overrun megastores.  But I love their stuff!  Unfortunately this trip was lackluster but I grabbed a few tissue T's for $2.50 and some workout gear.  I always feel less guilty buying workout clothes.
 
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Also, post-show: Sour cream apple walnut pie at the Little Pie Co. on 43rd and 9th.  No crowd, not a tourist spot, easily found a table outside and devoured this delicious pie.  I would've been satisfied by the giant crumble topping alone.  The crust is always the best part, am I right?
 
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The weather on the East Coast was out of control this weekend-- we enjoyed a breezy evening walking around the pedestrian friendly Little Italy.  We sat outside, drank wine, and pasta with porcini mushrooms and pancetta... I was in heaven.  Regulars might tell you differently, but you can't go wrong in Little Italy.  I've never had a bad meal there.
 
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Gelato followed and a cab ride back to the hotel.  In bed by 11 and slept like a log without the light of a baby monitor.  I was very, very in need of this trip.
 
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{Tasted better than it looks…porcini mushrooms and wide ribbon pasta.  I died with every bite.}
 
Saturday morning we grabbed coffee and took the subway up to the Upper East Side to visit our friend Jen.  She and her husband Chris recently moved up from DC and we're all living vicariously through their new adventure.
 
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{#subwayprobs}
 
Confession #2: the spring before I got pregnant with Charlotte I was lobbying Tyler VERY hard for a move to New York.  I found our church, our apartment, my job... I just never convinced Tyler. Oh well.
 
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{I almost always order eggs benedict…I just can’t branch out.  This time I at least ordered smoked salmon!}
 
It was so fun to see their little apartment {I broke all etiquette and asked how much their rent is—I just had to know} and hear about their transition.  We brunched at Cafe d'Alsace and gossiped about Real Housewives of New York like we knew them.  We also hit a Goodwill across the street after hearing Jen's tales of Michael Kors raincoats and $12 designer handbags. We left treasure-less, however.
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{Jess and Jen, quickly snapped as we were hopping in a cab.}
 
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{I don’t have any pictures of the good stuff because I was too busy shopping…}
 
The rest of the afternoon was walking and shopping!  There are wholesale jewelry stores around 31st and Broadway, close to Herald Square.  I think I've shared this secret with you before, dear readers—I never skip a trip here.  Enamel bracelets for $3.50, bib necklaces for $6.  I always buy a sheet of fake pearl studs and just keep them in a jar on my dresser.  New this trip: they sell a ton of adorable infinity carves.  The thought occurred to me too late, but next time I'm doing an NYC goodies giveaway!  You would love these stores for fun, inexpensive accessories.  All of those $40 necklaces in boutiques?  These are them, for $5.
 
 
New this trip: Uniqlo!  I keep a note on my phone for NYC finds so whenever I see a cool restaurant or store in a magazine or something, I write it down and consult The Note before each trip.  I had Uniqlo written down with two stars buy it.  A great basics store-- mostly solids, few patterns. Great blazers and buttons ups, blouses, tees, jackets... Three stories, free alterations, I saw nothing over $70.  I left with an LBD, striped tunic shirt, and a down vest.
 
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Last stop: M & J Trim on 37th.  I'd been there once awhile back but didn’t have a reason to buy.  With the dabbling I do in baby accessories now, I knew I had to make a trip.  This place was crawling with ribbon and trim and buttons and clasps out the wazoo.  Floor to ceiling.  Our day was dwindling quickly but I managed to grab a few yards of some cute embroidered ribbon—coming to a paci clip near you!
 
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After retrieving our luggage from the hotel, we grabbed hot dogs and gelato and sadly, were on our way.  I can't speak highly enough of our experience on Amtrack all weekend.  Friendly, helpful redcaps, clean, efficient trains, left and arrived on time... I rarely take the train but always love it when I do!  Jess and I shared some wine and cheese on the trip home to liven up our sad trip home.
 
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I desperately needed some time away from home and this was just what I needed {have I mentioned my nearly 18 mo old is kicking my butt?}.  And though I was sad my little retreat was over, I was more than happy to find Charlotte and Tyler waiting for me at Union Station.  I was only gone for 36 hours and she grew THIS much while I was away-- how does that happen??
image_50{Seriously people.}

I returned home to a clean house with a fully stocked fridge and pantry, and clean laundry—apparently I need to leave home more often!  I feel so thankful to have a capable husband, fun friends, and the means to escape for a few days… Until next time, I’ll be dreaming of Hill Country Chicken, Fish’s Eddy, and banana pudding from Magnolia Bakery. Smile

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