January 24, 2019
Wow, Thursday already?!?! At least we are moving quickly through what I consider to be the worst time of the year. It's January. It's cold. It's January. It's ugly out. It's cold.
You get my drift.
Oh, did I mention COLD; I mean, the temperature in Baltimore has been COLD AF this week, although the past 2 days we are experiencing a warm-up and today, well, IT's RAINING.
Ugh. Okay, moving on.
In honor of Thursday, I am throwing this back to last weekends trip to NYC. While I kept you in the loop while I was there, of course, I had to give you all the nitty gritty, HERE. You know what is interesting (and I am deviating), all the people watching when traveling. Beyond day to day, I mean "traveling" as in sitting on a plane, train, or any type of public transportation. Don't even get me started about the New York Subway system. From their eating habits, to the clothes they are wearing, it just "baffles" me. I am not judging by any means; people may look at me and wonder WTF but it is just fascinating. Take for instance the girl who sat across the aisle way from me on the train home with PINK hair. Yes, PINK hair, and I am pretty sure it was a pink wig. It had the glossy, shiny, "wig-like" look. Nope, not staring at all. Sure, "pink" is my signature color but for a lovely pair of pumps, or a handbag, or even a fabulous blouse or jacket. Not my hair. But, hey, if that is your thing, then go for it.
Back to New York! Have I mentioned before that I LOVE the city? There is something about it that is just FUN; expensive but FUN. I know if I lived there it would not be what I would fantasize it being - at least, not yet - but I love the hustle, bustle, shopping, places to eat, cute bars, etc. Yes, it is the "city that never sleeps." And you just never know who you are going to meet or even run into! More on this in a moment.
Yeah, I could, definitely, see myself living here too.
I arrived in the city a little after 9:00 am last Friday morning. You know me, I am an early riser so there was no issues with me getting on a 6:13 am train out of Baltimore. My reason for heading up was for an event geared towards bloggers, influencers, and photographers in the field of fashion on Saturday afternoon, so I wanted as much time as I could, possibly, fit in. Funny enough, I did not shop at all!
Crazy, right? Who am I?!?!
Yeah, go me...I can show some restraint. Ha!
When I reached my hotel - Park Central New York - I was lucky enough to snag my room EARLY, get settled, unpack, and do a little work before I headed out for lunch. I will be honest, I did NOT to a great job capturing pictures of the hotel. This was my workspace from the lobby lounge which, I must say, for a lobby lounge, it was pretty nice! I mean, I sat in a circular booth with a beautiful marble tabletop & great lighting, and more coffee! LOL. What more could you ask for?
If my memory serves correct, I stayed at this hotel 10+ years ago but there have been MAJOR renovations since then! Right in the heart of Midtown, I was blocks from Central Park, Rockefeller Center, Times Square, 5th Avenue and all the glitz and glamour of the city. Honestly, though, as much it was the perfect spot for what I needed, there is a part of me that wants to stay in Soho in the next time I am there. This was the 2nd time I visited and I think it is just so unique and, dare I say it, bougie baby!
And, totally, Fit4Janine!
After I got a little computer work complete, I bundled up and headed out for my day! I walked to the 300 block of Madison Avenue, where I had lunch at the AMAZING Pera Mediterranean Brasserie. AND, I did not dine alone. You ready for this? I met up with "Janine Serio."
Yes, Janine Serio! Here we are in all our glory!
P.S. Janine has a fabulous stationary and invitation company you should check out called Sweet Jane Paperie. So unique and just gorgeous! I was gifted a set of stationary and I cannot wait to use! I, already, have my Fit4Janine print picked our to order! :)
I am telling you, I think we are soul sisters! After a reach out from Janine - so funny to even write - a few months ago (when we googled our names, we kept coming up on each others feeds), we decided to meet up when I was there last weekend. From the food and conversation, to the total ambience of the restaurant and the city, it was an incredible lunch! Already planning our next outing when I am back in a few weeks!
Let me revisit the food though. Omgosh, there are not many places where every item on the menu looked fantastic. I really cannot wait to go back! We started with the warm hummus which was da bomb! I am not used to hummus being warm, and this was incredible! It probably didn't help that I was hungry too; an early 4:00 am wake up call, and a breakfast of a banana and a protein bar, only go so far.
Lunch was followed by - you guessed it - a SALAD. But this was not just any salad. It was mind-blowing, and the presentation was gorgeous! We both had the "Roasted Beet Salad" which came with roasted yellow beets, ricotta cheese that was beautifully arranged in the shape of flowers, poached pear, frisée, baby arugula, toasted almonds and a beyond delicious honey lavender and citrus vinaigrette. I SO want to recreate THIS.
After we parted ways, I did a little more sightseeing. Believe it or not, I had never been to Grand Central Station and this was the perfect opportunity since I was down the street. I mean, gorgeous! If I could get a train to go there vs. Penn Station, I would be all over it. The architecture, the cool restaurants/bars, I mean, chic & iconic!
Afterwards, I popped in to the New York Palace - I have/had a little bit of a Gossip Girl "thing" - did a quick little peek and then I made my way over to the Essex House. Again, another spot I had never been but, in true NYC fashion, and overlooking Central Park, it could not have been more hip and trendy. I grabbed a drink at their restaurant Southgate, checked in with my family & social media, people watched, and then made my way back to the hotel.
I will say this much; it would have been so easy to just get in my pajamas, put on the TV and order in BUT, come on, I was in NYC - I was not going to do that, right? I showered, got dressed, put on makeup, and headed out to a cute spot called Sarabeth's. I had seen so many people go in and out of this place cute little establishment that I figured it must be good! They have many spots in New York for which to visit but I dined at their Central Park South location since it was a few blocks from my hotel.
I started out not being able to make up my mind what wine to pair with my dinner. I know - such decisions. The waitress was kind enough to let me try the Bordeaux on the menu which looked intriguing. While very good, in hindsight, I should have stuck with the Cabernet. This was true after I heard another waiter say the Cabernet they have by the glass was much more fuller bodied than the Bordeaux! Oh well!
Then came the decision for DINNA! For my appetizer, I started with the Roasted Brussel Sprouts with shaved parmesan (ridiculously tasty), and then had the Short Ribs with a Butternut Squash Puree. I am a total sucker for short ribs, and when I see them on the menu, I, usually, get because I am that OBSESSED. The presentation was beautiful, and the beef was out of this world! I was hoping for a little more pizazz with the squash, since it can be dull on its own, but all in all, it was what I needed.
That was a Friday wrap! After a long day of traveling and walking, I was ready to hit the sheets. Oddly, though, I thought it would be a good idea to grab another glass of wine at the hotel, alongside a bajillion bottles of water. I fell asleep and woke up close to midnight with 1/2 a glass still sitting there. I mean, come on, it's just money.
Seriously, I kid.
I have been pretty fortunate that all of the places where I have stayed recently have had super comfortable beds. I don't know what it is (maybe a pillow top mattress) but I sleep so well! I woke up around 7:30 am realizing that there was no room service AND I did not bring my flip flops or slippers. I threw my workout clothes on & shoes, although I never worked out except walked for miles - I have the swollen ankles to prove it - and went down to the lobby. When I noticed the line seemed like FOREVER, I headed out to one of the local coffee shops and got my instant caffeine fix. I came back to my room and proceeded to work for a lot longer than I had intended/anticipated. Before I knew it, it was 9:30 am and I had to be ready, checked out, and packed by 11:00 am so I could make my 11:30 am hair appointment at the "Dry Bar."
Yes, one of my favorite guilty pleasures - the Dry Bar! Really, you will be "blown away." Side Note: The DryBar at the Bloomingdales in Soho is my "go-to!" They always do an AMAZING job!
My breakfast consisted of another coffee, hardboiled eggs which were, UGH, and a fruit cup that after one or two bites I noticed had mold on the blueberries. Throw away and moving on. Again, just money. Grr....
I managed to make it out a little after 11, and then waited forever for a cab. Oh, good old New York! Although a little late for my hair coif, I made it, was able to chill, and then headed over to the event I was attending which was happening at the Soho Grand Hotel. This place was GORGEOUS but the BUMMER was that they did not allow for pictures inside. I don't get it but, hey, it is their policy! The rich golds, coupled with pops of lavender and teal, were so aesthetically pleasing that I had to take notes for future decorating ideas. I am sure this is an interior decorator's dream! Make sure to check out the pictures on the hotel's site!
It was great to connect with like-minded individuals in the industry, and we really were such a diverse group! While I thought there was going to be a little more structure to the day - geez, I fretted over what I was going to wear (especially with the possibility of snow) - it was pretty much just 1 1/2 hours of mingling, talking, and connecting with each others social media handles. Live and learn, and, you never know how one of these connections could be a door opener later!
Upon leaving, I was in desperate need of food - had a few pieces of cheese and veggies there - BUT my contacts had, definitely, failed me and I was in need of grabbing contact solution ASAP! Luckily, I pulled in to a dive pharmacy in Tribeca to get some relief. Yikes!
From there, I hopped in what I felt was my 10th cab ride in my 24 hour visit and made my way to the beautiful Plaza Hotel! I just LOVE it, and the Fairmont properties feel like home to me. The staff even seems to be getting to know me now too.
I sat at the "Champagne Bar" and ordered a glass of "Veuve" and a Mezze platter, then grabbed a Grey Goose martini, a Greek Salad with Chicken, and watched a bride and groom get their picture taken in the lobby bar area. Talk about your quintessential, high society New York City wedding. The women in gorgeous gowns, men in black tie, and WOW. My only "reservation -" as BEAUTIFUL of a hotel as it is, it is still a tourist attraction/destination and you are front and center among hotel guests, people drinking/eating, luggage galore, kids running around, cameras flashing, tours happening, etc. I mean, it is still "The Plaza" so, on an invitation, I am sure that still looks impressive.
As much as I wanted to stay and "chill" it was time for me to grab my things and head to Penn Station. Luckily, as I mentioned before, the city was spared the snow that had, originally, been forecasted. Everything was on time, and I could get home at a reasonable hour...and, really, any reasonable hour is way past my bedtime anyway. It ended up being 12:30 am before I crawled into bed, with an early morning work schedule in the morning.
New York, until next time my love! While a trip is planned in February, there may be a day trip in the next couple weeks. Some stuff is starting to happen for Fit4Janine but that "news" (should it come to fruition) will have to wait just a little longer!
Because "in a New York minute, everything can change..."
P.S.S. If you have ever been to "Existing Conditions" in Greenwich Village, or know anyone that has been, I would love to get your feedback! I just heard about it on the news this past week and they say it is a well known establishment for some of the best cocktails in the city! A, definite, must they next time I am in town!