December 4, 2018
How does the rest of the song go? "Everything can change?" Why yes, yes it can! Currently, I am sitting on Amtrak, making my way to New York City. I am, sure, but the time I am finished, I will have shared ALL of the places where I intend to sit down and get some writing and research accomplished!
I feel like the first band-aid has been ripped off. The last time I was headed to NYC I was on my way to see my, then, boyfriend. It's funny, they just made an announcement that our next stop would be "Metro Park, NJ." I will always remember that because that was the landmark for which I would tell him that I was approaching so he would know to start heading towards Penn Station. Somehow, I always missed that stop and would forget to say something, which is so not like me.
In any event, I made a promise to myself that I would not view NYC with sad eyes or a broken heart. There is so much potential for me and my brand in the city that I am viewing it with hope, potential, and a new beginning.
Hence, why I am headed here today.
Yes, while I had credit for a trip I was supposed to take here in November, I thought this would be an ideal time to go. While I have always had a love affair with the city, and enjoy coming here during the Christmas season, my marketing team and I have a HUGE push to take the Fit4Janine brand to some of the major cities on the East Coast in 2019 and, of course, NYC is at the top of the list!
This trip is about leveling up. It's the start of my next chapter. It's about healing my soul and looking ahead for what the next year is going to bring for, not only myself, but my business(es) as well. And who doesn't love New York around the Holiday's? The actual "New Yorkers?" ;)
With Fit4Janine being about Food, Fashion, Decor, Travel (oh, and coffee/wine), this is the research I intend on doing today. Yes, there will be window shopping and "actual" shopping along the way to, BUT, with NYC being so huge, this is going to take me some time to really delve into all the places that are on my list. Insert many more trips here!
After making my way through an always bustling (and, ugh, germy) Penn Station, I got on the subway (again, more ick) and made my way to Central Park/Fifth Avenue. I know, so touristy BUT I wanted to start at one of my FAVORITE places - The "Plaza Hotel," now referred to as "The Plaza, A Fairmont Managed Hotel." Side Note: They must be renovating because the entire hotel is surrounded by scaffolding. Not very picture worthy if I say so myself! But, look at this stunner of a tree!
Although it was around 10:00 am when I arrived at Penn Station, and closer to 11:00 am by the time I arrived, I had already had multiple coffees and, well, frankly, it was time for something bubbly. Maybe a mimosa without the orange juice? Plus, it reminds me so much of what my Mom and I do when we are here that I just felt it was customary. In fact, she even asked me - "will you be getting champagne upon your arrival?"
Cheers Mom! Muah! I could not disappoint without 2 glasses of the fabulous Veuve Clicquot!
And, according to Coco Chanel - "I only drink champagne on two occasions - when I am in love and when I am not!" So fucking true. Here is a lovely glass of bubbly from the famous "Champagne Bar" which has views of Fifth Avenue and the Pulitzer Fountain. It's exquisite design, and spectacular location make it a destination and guests for locals alike. And, the character and integrity have been kept up to par since opening its doors in 1907.
I have to say, the fashion here is SO DIFFERENT than what I am used to seeing. Baltimore aside, my fashion focus has been more California - Santa Monica, San Francisco, Monterey, etc. as of late. You really do SEE IT ALL and, I guess, to be fair, the weather is a whole lot different here then in Southern (and even Northern) California.
Now to research some of the best places to eat on 5th Avenue...because a banana, protein bar, coffee, and champagne are, definitely, starting to wear off and set in - ha! I have eaten at "Goodmans Cafe at Bergdorf Goodman with my Mom a couple years ago, and it was FABULOUS! What an experience! Great ambiance, fantastic food, and we even saw some celebrities! The various places for cocktails and food in The Plaza Food Hall is yummy too, including The Todd English Food Hall.
Nothing seemed to be eye catching from what I googled online. So, in true tourist and blogger fashion, I decided to hit the streets and, hopefully, stumble upon something really great! And, as I was stumbling - just kidding - I found THIS beauty!
And, from there, I saw this cute wine bar and cafe out of the corner of my eye. I remember reading about it and hearing how good it was! As always, my instincts/gut (okay, not always) never disappoint! The Morrell Wine Bar & Cafe was simply fantastic! Fun Fact: It has been a New York institution since 1947. While I was a little bummed there were no tables available it, actually, worked out perfect sitting at the bar. I had a great view of Rockefeller Center/Plaza and the beautiful tree.
I started with a sampling of cheese & charcuterie, followed by my staple - a yummy Cobb salad with grilled chicken, greens, avocado, bacon, feta, egg, tomatoes, and a champagne vinaigrette on the side. Delicious and satisfying and I paired it with a glass of Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc. Funny thing - they poured it in a wine glass. I guess because it is a "sparkling wine?" Regardless, it was fabulous!
Afterwards, I walked, checked out the beautiful window displays (see below), and made my way into Saks Fifth Avenue. I pursued the latest fashion finds - honestly, my research was more of what I was seeing people wear on the streets - and then I ended up getting a little pick me up from one of my favorite makeup lines - Trish McEvoy. A few of the items I use on a consistent basis were out so in my quest to grab some replacements, I had great conversation with one of the Trish representatives, and she gave me a whole new look. Plus, she told me that I made her so comfortable, was easy to talk to, and, definitely, was not a hard read. Okay, I am getting over that.
More walking and sightseeing and I ended up detouring into the Trump Hotel. This was a first - it felt like I was going through airport security! After a quick little tour through the gift shops, I decided to pull up a seat at The Trump Bar, pull out my laptop, and continue my writing, check email, etc. I have a busy rest of my week, so I am trying to keep my finger on the pulse!
More lights, more sightseeing/shopping, and the post-work hustle started! I thought it would be wise to head back towards Penn Station/Madison Square Garden area just in case! So, that is what I did! I took the Subway to 34th Street/Herald Square and, of course, got a glimpse of Macy's windows, and even walked around for a hot second! Ha! Talk about BUSY!
Next up, it was time to find a bite to eat, which was a little bit harder than I anticipated. I walked back and forth between 35th-30th, then 30th-35th, down 35th, back up 35th, lol. I found this one cute spot which has a FUN, trendy menu BUT, as my luck has it, TOTALLY booked. Even for a "table for 1." Something I am all too familiar with YET doesn't bother me as much anymore.
Two hotels were across the street from Penn - "The Hotel Pennsylvania" and "The Stewart Hotel." I figured this may be my only bet at this point, especially since it was after 6:00 pm and my train was to depart at 7:40 pm. While waiting at the train station sucks, I would rather be early than fighting the crowds in a rush!
So, I headed to The Stewart Hotel, and pulled myself into what was a trendy, hopping bar in the front, to a subdued, dim lighted, restaurant in the back called "Niles New York City." It was just what I needed, and, honestly, I was ready to sit down again! LOL! Almost 15,000 steps yesterday AND, in case you did not know, I sprained both my ankles in June and, well, they were, totally acting up! What's funny is I walk ALL THE TIME but, this was different...and all done in Uggs!
Back to my meal! I ordered a glass of Cabernet; the first swig was not bad, and then I was a little bummed as the red "went down" but it did the trick. I started with a yummy orange and beet salad, followed by a grilled piece of salmon, roasted and "charred" sweet potatoes (they were fabulous), and grilled asparagus. Not on the menu but they were TOTALLY accommodating!
Satisfied, content, and ready to make my way to the train! Upon arriving, I grabbed a LARGE bottle of water - because hydration - tried to find an outlet (surprised I was even able to get pictures of dinner) - and waited to board. Although a little later than expected, the train took off around 7:45 am and, from Baltimore Penn Station, to my "Lyft" ride, and home, it was around 10:45 am.
What a fabulous day, and so happy I did this for myself, even though there were times of mixed emotions. I have my eyes set on how I want NYC to be part of the Fit4Janine brand, and I cannot WAIT to share it with you in 2019! Remember, "19" is my number...I hope that will be a sign!
Here's to another busy week...and another video session coming to you soon! This one, though, will need to be kept under wraps until January! :)