Last year on my birthday, I was living in an apartment with three of my sorority sisters. When I woke up that morning and opened my bedroom door, I saw a big basket of gifts and balloons awaiting me. That night we went to my favorite restaurant for dinner and then proceeded to my sorority’s winter formal. Now that I live with my parents, most of my home friends have moved away, and I am sorority alumni, I didn’t expect such royal treatment this year. When I began planning the day back in November, I wasn’t including anyone else, because there was no one to include.What I really wanted to do was go to New York City. I had been itching for a good shopping trip, and I had never seen the Rockefeller Tree. I started looked at hotels that I could afford on my own, and planning what I could do. I wasn’t all that afraid of going by myself, but something didn’t feel all that right about spending my 24th birthday alone. Aren’t I too young for that?
Cut to November 27th, when I am suddenly in a text convo with my friend Kate. This girl wandered into my life this past summer, as the friend of mutual friends who would come to our beach parties and not drink. I remember wondering what was wrong with her and if something had happened that made her not want to drink. Turns out she just straight up didn’t want to and everyone respected it. Then one day, she just had a drink, no rhyme or reason. After that, Kate became way more active in our friend group (go alcohol!). Following our text convo, we met for lunch and shopping. We had a fun day and suddenly we were more than just acquaintances that party together, but real friends.
Later that week, I mentioned wanting an NYC birthday to Kate. Next thing I know, she had booked a hotel and we had two weeks to plan our get away.
Kate and I headed to NYC on the metro north railroad at 11a.m on a Saturday. We had spent the night before on the pleather futons at the boy’s house, and the jerking of the train was not helping the hangovers. The train fumbled it’s way into the city by 1230pm. From Grand Central we took our first of eight Ubers (we didn’t feel like figuring out the subway yolo) to The Manhattan at Times Square Hotel, where we would be spending one night. After dropping of our bags, we hopped into our second Uber, down to Union Square. Lunch at
Lunch at Vapiano was the kick off of our trip. This restaurant is cafeteria style but in the most modern and chic way. Upon arrival, you receive a meal card that you swipe at each station to log what you get. When you’re ready to leave, you show your card to pay! The first station we hit was salads, where we got epic caesars with huge pieces of some of the freshest parmesan I have ever tasted. Even the croutons in it were crunchy and satisfying. After devouring those, we stook our metal trays over to the pasta station where we were able to pick our own type of pasta and sauce. I chose talliagete noodles and bolognese sauce. It was seriously divine, and so good I could barely stop eating.
With our tummies all too full, we hit the christmas markets, in the heart of union square. As a huge fan of local vendors and supporting small businesses, this was right up my alley. However, it was super crowded and hard to really look at what people had to offer. What we shoved through the crowds for was of course chocolate and wine. From there, we walked our way back up Manhattan, stopping to see the Flatiron Buidling, Rockefeller Tree, and light show on Saks Fifth Avenue.
After five hours walking and bumping through crowds, we went back to the hotel to relax. We debated going to dinner but found ourselves STILL FULL of pasta, and ended the night early.
Waking up the next morning in New York City with a great friend and a great day ahead of us, I was ecstatic. I couldn’t believe that when I was originally planning my birthday, I had planned to be alone. We headed for brunch at The Cupping Room in Soho where I got my favorite dish, eggs benedict and a mimosa. After that, we headed out to shop, wallets ready. Our first stop was Splendid, one of my favorite brands. When we walked in, the saleswoman informed us of a sale going on in their basement, to which I said “Where are the stairs?” Kate and I were lead into the literal dungeon, as we ascended the stairs, I wondered if we would get killed down there. Lucky for us, we came upon an EPIC sale with endless rows or racks and bins of clothes. I got a pair of jogger sweats with a crocodile print (which I am currently wearing) for $60 instead of $160!
From there, we went to the Aerie Pop Up Shop on Spring Street. Although I am not the biggest fan of chain brands, and really prefer to shop from high end or local brands, I am obsessed with Aerie. Their stuff is the pretty and girly style that I adore and everything is great quality. I have underwear from there that last me years, whereas Victoria’s Secret ones usually last about one year, if that. The pop up shop was huge, adorable, and they were having a great grand opening sale, I got 6 pairs of underwear for $20! Plus, I love that Aerie promotes positive body images among women and encourages women to be themselves.
After that, we came across Laduree, my favorite macaroon place. These perfectly puffed sweet treats are flown in from Paris daily, and the taste shows.
When we ran out of stores to go into in Soho, we walked our way all the way back up to times square, which is about 4 miles. When you’re walking in New York, you barely notice you’re walking. We people watched and talk, noticed different things, and suddenly we were back at our hotel, picking up our bags and headed in our final Uber to Grand Central.
At Grand Central I had one more, very important stop. The birthday cupcake from Magnolia Bakery. These cupakes are my favorite in the world, and were the perfect way to end my trip.