Tuesday, February 22, 2011

NYC: Day Five & Six

Day 5 of my trip was another fun day of shopping! This time Ashley and I went to Union Square, which is one of my favorite places in New York. I wanted to check out the Forever 21 because it is one of my all-time favorite stores! Another place I wanted to check out in Union Square was Nordstrom Rack. It sells items from Nordstrom and Nordstrom.com at reduced prices! I was still on the hunt for dresses, but I had not luck in that department. But I did find some cute tops for a great price.

{Pink Cropped Top. $14.99}
I love this top. The soft pink color, detailing on the sleeve, and loose fit gives it a romantic feel. It falls right to the top of my jeans, while the back is a bit longer. I really like tops like that.

{White Sheer top, $4.87- originally $19.99}
This top looks pink in this picture, but it actually white. You can see the color a bit better in the picture below. I haven't quite figured out how I would wear this. Maybe with an off white tank top underneath tucked into jeans with an breaded brown belt and flats? I will have to experiment for sure. This top also has the sleeve detail, which I love because lace is very in, but it is subtle. I think lace is great, but in small doses and definitely paired with other fabrics.

Here is the close up of the sleeve. I love this part of the shirt. And the sleeves are a tad puffy, which is just plain fun and flirty. And did I mention I got a great deal on this top! It was 75% off! I love a good deal!

{Black dress, $19.80}
I also did great at Forever 21! They had a bunch of cute dresses that I tried on, but none of them wowed me. I was looking for a dress with more color to it for Spring, but when I saw this dress I feel in love with the beading. And then I tried it on... and I had to have it. Plus, it has pockets and I love a dress with pockets, especially when they are not noticeable. I didn't even see the pockets until I had the dress on.

Here is a close up of the beading. Love! I was thinking this would look great with the blazer I picked up from H&M with sheer tights and my favorite black boots! I love planning out outfits! :)

{Mesopotamia Shirt, $10.80}
I am in love with this skirt. I wore it home on the plane and at least twice since being home. I get so many compliments on it because of the great pattern and vibrant colors. It is so comfortable and looks great with a coral top or a black top. I picked up one of each while at Forever 21 for $3.50 a piece! I wore this with tights and my black boots. Chic would be the perfect word to sum up this look, if I do say so myself.

After a long day of shopping Ashley and I were pooped and very hungry. We got home just in time for the start of our favorite show, Gossip Girl. We ordered pizza from my favorite pizza place in NYC called Dreamer's Pizza. (What a name, right?!) We cozzied up in Ashley's big bed, devoured pizza and watched Blair and Serena. This is going to sound cheesy, but watching GG in the city made it more exciting! We watched TV until about 4am before finally going to sleep.
The next day Ashley had class and I had a plane to catch. Saying goodbye was rough. I hate goodbyes. Luckily, Ashley was on here way home for Spring Break in just a few short weeks so it wasn't too horrible of a goodbye, but it stung nonetheless. I packed up my clothes and off I went to the LaGuardia airport.
Although, I was very sad to leave and watching NYC get smaller in the distance as the plane took off broke my heart a little bit, I know I will be back to visit Ashley and that wonderful city very soon! I had an incredible 5 days in the city with one of my best friends and I cannot wait to go back! Hopefully, when the weather is a bit nicer. I would love to wonder the streets and the glorious paths of Central Park in the summer.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

NYC: Day Four

After getting plenty of rest from the day before, I was finally feeling energized to do the one thing everyone looks forward to when in New York City... going SHOPPING!!!
The one place Ashley really wanted to take me was H&M because there isn't one where I am from. I was in shopping heaven when I entered H&M. The store was huge and there were three levels! We were probably in H&M for at least an hour, but most likely longer than that. I lapped the store a good 3 times. There was so much to chose from that every time I passed through an area I had already looked in, I saw something new.
With all the cute clothes and accessories, I could have gone broke in that store. Luckily, I had in mind what I wanted to purchase and I was very good about staying on track. The only things I really wanted was a sharp blazer and a cute dress or two. I have been wanting a blazer for months. They are the perfect piece to pull together and complete an outfit. Plus, with Spring right around the corner its great for throwing over an outfit to stay warm without having to wear a heavy winter coat.

{H&M Blazer, $34.95}
After searching high and low and trying on about 6 different sizes and styles, I found the perfect blazer. It fits perfectly, the shoulders are structured but not too boxy, and my favorite part about this blazer is the mauve/peachy satin liner. Unfortunately, I was not able to find any dresses that I liked enough to buy, but I love my blazer so much I wasn't too upset about it.

After leaving H&M, we headed to Dylan's Candy Bar. It's one of the brightest, more cheerful place I have ever been. There was color everywhere- the walls, the ceiling, the floor, and of course, the candy! I am shocked to report I did not actually buy anything. It was probably around 8 o'clock at night and I hadn't eaten anything all day, so I clearly wasn't thinking properly because I never pass up candy, especially chocolate. Luckily, we were on our way to meet up with one of Ashley's girlfriends for dinner at the best BBQ joint in the world!

Thank you Socially Superlative for the picture!

When I say the best BBQ joint in the world, I am not exaggerating. Brother Jimmy's BBQ is amazing! Their pulled pork is to die for! I ordered the pulled pork dinner platter and it was huge! It came with a heaping amount of pulled pork, two sides, and cornbread. All of the sides are homemade and delicious. I ordered mac and cheese and mashed potatoes. Carb overload? Yes, but I didn't eat anything all day so I figured it was much needed and deserved. As as appetizer, Ashley's roommate and I split an order of Onion Straws. They are very finely sliced onions that are breaded and deep fried. Basically, onions rings that are just very thin. Ashley and her girlfriend split an order of Frickles- fried pickles. Delicious! Brother Jimmy's was hands down the best meal I had in NYC. I cannot wait to go there again the next time I visit. It was the perfect meal to end another great day in the city!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

NYC: Day Three

Day three activities started as soon as day two ended. When Ashley and I got back to the apartment after having dinner at the Shake Shack, we relaxed for a bit before getting ready to go out. Around midnight we ventured over a bar called The Turtle Bay. It was a really fun place. There was great music playing and everyone was dancing and having a great time. We meet up with one of Ashley's friends form school, had a drink, and then headed out to another bar.
After, what seemed like a very long taxi ride, we finally made it to Lair, and that's when the fun really began. Ashley and her girlfriend have become good friends with Keith Collins, an up and coming actor, and he invited us all out. When we got to Lair, we had to check in with the bouncer because Keith was in the VIP area. Pretty snazzy stuff. Once inside, we made out way over to where Keith was, introductions were made, and drinks were served. Keith was incredibly nice and down to earth. The girls and I didn't pay for a thing the entire night and our glasses were never empty. The whole evening was pretty surreal. Besides meeting Keith, I was also introduced to his good friend Ibe (pronounced Abe), who may or may not be in the NBA. I never got the full story, but he definitely plays basketball. He and I hit it off very well, and after talking for a bit I found out he is from Depew, NY! What a small world.
The girls and I danced, mingled, and sang along to all the great songs that were played all night, with a few breaks hear and there to catch our breath. By 3am, the evening was starting to wind down. Everyone was getting pretty tired and people started going their separate ways. The girls and I headed home as well.
After getting about 8 hours of beauty sleep, I was still very out of it. We all were for that matter. So instead of going out and wandering the city, we decided to stay in and relax for the day. We blew up Emily's guest mattress and turned their living room into a home theater room. There were blankets and pillows everywhere. It was fantastic. We lounged around, ordered in the best pizza I have ever had in my life, and watched movies all day.
One of mine and Ashley's favorite movies of all time is Avatar, so, of course, we had to watch that. I think I have seen that movie about ten times, and every time I watch it, I love it even more. After Avatar was over, we decided to to pop in Going the Distance with Drew Barrymore and Justin Long. It was a really cute movie. And I just love Justin Long, so any movie he is in I know I am going to love. By the time that movie was over it was probably one in the morning, which is prime time for Ashley. She is a night owl like no one I have ever meet before. I was wide awake too, which is rare for me at that late hour, but the combination of sleeping in late and not doing anything all day, I just wasn't ready for bed. So the two of us just stayed up and chatted until about 4am before finally calling it a night.
Although we never even left Ashley's apartment, that was one of my favorite days in NYC. Before Ashley left to go back to school in NY, we were always hanging out in her room at our apartment watching our favorite TV shows and movies. It was nice to be able to do that again. One thing about myself that I hope never changes, is that I don't have to be doing something extravagant to have a good time. A majority of the time, the best memories and activities are the ones where you are just spending time with the people you care about. So even though day three in the big city will probably be the most uninteresting to read about, it is definitely one of my fondest memories of visiting Ashley. :)

Friday, February 18, 2011

NYC: Day Two

Friday was my first full day in the city, and Ashley and I were out and about all day. A major bonus was the great weather! It was 64 and sunny. I walked all around the city is a light cardigan. It was an incredible start to my visit. Our first stop was The Bagel Mill for another delicious turkey sandwich. I love that place. After lunch we headed to LIM, Laboratory Institute of Merchandising, where Ashley goes to school and where I hope to transfer in the Fall. In order to get to LIM, we had to walk through Grand Central Terminal. The pictures in no way do justice to the elegant and breathtaking features. I was completely blown away. I could not take my eyes off the giant windows and gorgeous ceiling. The ceiling is called Gateway to a Million Lives, by John Belle and Maxine R. Leighton, W.W. Norton and Co., and I think everyone should see it at least once in their life.

After stopping at LIM, we headed to Greenwich Village to shop at the Marc Jacobs store and grab some cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery. Magnolia's is a little bakery that makes delicious and adorable cupcakes, as you can see from the picture. Ash and I went to a near by park and enjoyed out cupcakes sitting on a bench while people watching.
I loved Grand Central, Marc Jacobs and Magnolia, but by far my favorite part of the day was going to the Museum of Modern Art. On Fridays from 4-8pm the MoMA is free! It was so exciting to see original pieces from artists such as Monet, Van Gogh, and Jackson Pollock. I took endless pictures, but these are my favorites.
Andy Warhol. Campbell's Soup Cans. 1962

Vincent Van Gogh. Starry Night. 1889

Lee Kranser. Gaea. 1966

Sam Francis. Big Red. 1953

Claude Monet. Agapanthus. 1914-26

Claude Monet. Reflections of Clouds on the Water-Lily Pond. 1920

Vasily Kandinsky. Panel for Edwin R. Campbell No. 4, No. 2, No. 3. 1914

Jackson Pollock. Number 31. 1950

Pablo Picasso. Girl Before a Mirror. 1932

By the time we left the MoMa is was about 7:30 and I was so hungry. Ashley and I were going to just head to her apartment and order a pizza, but on the way home we walked by The Shake Shack and it was game over. Ashley was ranting and raving about how good their burgers were so we stopped in for dinner. And Ashley was not wrong at all, the Shack Burger was hands down the best burger I have ever had. The beef is 100% natural and all of the ingredients are fresh. Talking about it now makes me want to go there again. It was delicious. We even got to eat outside because it was still so warm. It was a great way to end a day full of adventures before heading back to the apartment to rest up for going out on the town! :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

NYC: Day One

The wait is over! I'm finally here! I am in New York City! Everything went smoothly from boarding to landing to taking the shuttle to Ashley's apartment. I landed at 10:34am, right on time, and even before I was landing I couldn't stop smiling, but the grin on my face as I walked up the stairs to Ash's apartment would outdo that of any child on Christmas morning.
Unfortunately, Ashley was not home when I arrived because she was working Robert Verdi's show for Fashion Week (Amazing, I know!), but her roommate, Emily, was home to welcome me. We chatted for a bit and I got settled in. After an hour or so, I realized I hadn't eaten all day so Emily and I headed down a few blocks to this little deli where I got the most amazing turkey on plain bagel sandwich I have honestly ever had. Just walking those few blocks in the city made me so happy. The sun was shining, the sky was so blue and it was so warm I only had to wear a light jacket. After devouring my delicious sandwich, I laid down for a bit with Ollie, Ashley's adorable puppy, until Ash got home.

When Ash got home around 5 o'clock there was hugging, laughing, chatting. It was like I had seen her jut a few hours ago. We talked about what we are gonna do for the next few days and I am beyond excited! I wanted to take Ash out to dinner to kick off this great adventure. We decided on Mexican and Ash knew this great placed called Blockheads. What a name, right? Too funny. This restaurant was tiny and people were packed in. That's always a good sign! It was so crowded the girls and I shared a table with another party. The atmosphere was so upbeat and there were tons of colorful decorations hanging from the ceiling. The margaritas were strong and delicious, the guac was incredible, and my tacos were spicy. All in all, great choice. By the end of the meal, I was so full I couldn't even finish all of my second taco, plus I had to save room for dessert at Pinkberry. :)

A few doors down was Pinkberry and it was decided even before we walked into Blockheads we were going there for dessert. I have never been to Pinkberry because we only have Yogen Fruz back in Buffalo, so I was pretty excited. I love frozen yogurt, maybe even more than ice cream.

The atmosphere was so fun and cute. The people were very friendly. The floor was pebbled and the chairs were more like fun pieces of art. I love everything about Pinkberry, and I'm positive I will be going there at least one (or three) more times during my stay. Once we polished off every last bit of our dessert we headed back to the apartment to figure out our game plan for the next few days and watch The Vampire Diaries. Ashley and I are obsessed with that show and we have not been able to watch it together since last season, so it needed to happen. :)
It goes without saying that my first day in NYC was perfect, just like I knew it would be. I am so excited for tomorrow. It is going to be another great day!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Books for a Bargain

There is something about a bookstore that gets me every time. I have gone into Barnes and Noble countless times with the intention of getting the one book, but I end up browsing the shelves for at least an hour, if not longer. Over my winter break, I ventured in Barnes and Nobles a few times and left with some great finds. I have recently decided to start adding to my book collection. But aside from the few novels I have and some books I needed for English and Philosophy that I decided to keep, my book collection is pretty small.

{Audrey Hepburn: A Life in Pictures by Yann-Brice Dherbier}
I have always loved Audrey Hepburn. She is graceful and elegant and a wonderful role model. I have seen every movie of her multiple times and Breakfast At Tiffany's will always be my all time favorite movie. When I stumbled across this book I had to have it. Plus, I got it for a great deal! I think I only paid $8, and its hardcover. It is sitting on a side table in my living room and I glance at it every so often for inspiration.

{Paris: A City Revealed by Mike Gerrard and Donna Dailey}
I have never been to Paris, or anywhere in Europe for that matter, but when I saw this book with all the beautiful pictures in it, I couldn't put it down. Paris is one of the many places I plan to visit someday, and until I am there, I will day dream about Le Paris will flipping through the gorgeous pages of this book. Not only was this book a great find, but just like my Audrey Hepburn book, it was a great price. I paid under $5 for this book. What a steal!

{Style By Lauren Conrad}
I have never been a huge Hills fan, but when it was on I would watch it every so often. But I have always loved Lauren's classy and casual style. I recently created my own boutique, and the first step to creating your boutique is answering a few questions so the site can get an idea of what your style is. After choosing a variety of looks I prefer, my style result was casual chic, romantic. At first, I thought that was so boring. But the more I thought about the items in my closet, I began to realized I do have a casual chic style. I have quite a few solid sweaters, shirts and dresses. I prefer stripes over polka dots and love a sharp, clean look. Lauren and I share that in our style, and when I saw her book and started flipping through it, I knew I had to have it for some style inspiration and little tips and tricks. Even if you have a very different style from Lauren Conrad, her book is great for tips on everything from how to pack your suitcase to maximize space, to the best sites to shop on, and the essential pieces every woman needs in her wardrobe. I really have learned some fun and helpful tidbits from this book. And the price is fair too. I ended up buying it from Target because it was about 7 dollars cheaper than Barnes & Noble. I paid about $14 and in my opinion it was money well spent.