Checking your e-mail in the morning is not always the most exciting task. Checking it when you have an e-mail telling you that you and a girlfriend are being sent to New York City really changes that. Receiving an e-mail from Pantene and Bloglovin’ telling me that they were covering mine and a girlfriend’s airfare, ground transportation, and hotels for a weekend in one of my favorite cities was something I had to read three times to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. I screamed “Oh my gosh!” so loudly in the the room I was working in that a coworker came in to ask what was going on. I shared the news of the trip for a girlfriend and I to NYC. Plus, they would be sending a glam squad to our hotel to get us ready and sending us to dinner one night. A dream, right? The Big Apple for any reason is amazing, but this was even more exciting! I called my best friend and asked if she wanted to be my +1, which of course without question, she did. Her and I immediately began plotting where to eat, what to do, and what to wear. Once the weekend was secured, we asked if we could extend it by an evening and come in on Thursday, which they said was no problem.
When the weekend finally arrived, we flew out of Dallas on Thursday afternoon and upon landing and getting our bags, were greeted by our driver and taken to our hotel. On Thursday night, we had arranged to stay at Hotel Giraffe courtesy of the amazing Library Hotel Collection. We were a little delayed on arriving and didn’t get in to our hotel until after midnight, so we decided we wanted a night in relaxing so we were rested for the rest of the weekend we had planned. We utilized Seamless delivery service to have Joe’s Pizza (duh..I told you during my last recap its my favorite) delivered to our hotel. It worked out perfectly that our delivery person arrived right when we pulled up and met us in the lobby. The staff at the hotel was so kind upon greeting us and were really impressed with our dedication to getting our favorite pizza to help greet us upon arriving. They had never tried Joe’s, so we left them a few slices to try. This was an ultimate act of kindness. Sharing food? Ya. Sharing pizza? Joe’s pizza? With strangers? I know, we couldn’t believe ourselves either. They gave us a bottle of wine to go with our pizza and helped us with our bags up to our room.
Hotel Giraffe is currently one of the top five rated hotels in NYC on Trip Advisor and was also named as one of the Top 25 hotels in the US on Trip Advisor. Every evening they have a complimentary breakfast and a wine and cheese reception from 5-8pm, with live piano music on weeknights. Plus, for a huge Sex and the City fan like myself, the Penthouse suite was transformed into Mr. Big’s apartment in the first SATC movie. (Scroll down to see pics here. It totally looks like the hotel after seeing it!) The room we stayed in was spacious, comfortable, and had an amazing balcony view of the surrounding buildings.
While our room did not come with Mr. Big cooking dinner, it was the perfect setting for a relaxing night in! We watched some episodes of Million Dollar Listing New York to get us extra excited about being in the city, scarfed some pizza, and drank our wine until we finally were ready for bed. It was a great start to our time in the city.
The next morning, we woke up and wanted to work out a little knowing all of the food we had mapped out to eat (and that we had finished basically an entire pizza the night before). The staff at Hotel Giraffe helped us to passes at a gym around the corner. Following a workout, we got ready for the day and spent some time up on the amazing terrace of the hotel. They have cocktail hour up on it each evening and it is a perfect location for that. I love terraces in New York, because even though you’re surrounded by the city, it’s often provides such a perfect, tranquil space for relaxing with friends (and cocktails). I absolutely loved the hotel, staff, and room at Hotel Giraffe and will definitely stay there in the future. I can’t recommend it enough! Especially if you’re going to be bouncing around between neighborhoods in the city, as it’s a perfect central location. Next time I’ll for sure be trying their on site restaurant, Bread & Tulips, as I’ve heard its wonderful.
After a little rooftop time, we headed out to lunch. We met my girlfriend’s friend in Soho at Jack’s Wife Frieda. Y’aaaaall. Not only is this the cutest little space ever, but the food is so on point. The menu is full of healthy options and everything we ordered was amazing. We split some house cured duck bacon (whatever) and then I had the avocado toast. It came with carrots and pickled tomatoes on top and was served with french fries, ketchup, and a hot green sauce. I ate every last bite and each one was absolutely delicious. This is the kind of restaurant that I would go to weekly if I lived nearby.After lunch, we walked around Soho and Nolita for awhile. We stopped along Mulberry Street where I spotted this wall that was on my list of places to shoot at anyways. How perfect. (See more from the outfit here). It started raining on us a bit, so we popped our heads into the endless shops around us. We even stumbled on an awesome Yumi Kim sample sale where I scored the cutest, bright colored necklace. I loved it so much I threw it on for the rest of the day as seen in the photo above. While walking around, we had talked to one of my best guy friends from high school who also happened to be in town that weekend with his family for a wedding. They were staying at The Bowery Hotel and were just getting back from lunch, so we decided to meet them for a drink. There are a few good spots for drinking in the Bowery, but we went out to the back patio, which was the perfect afternoon spot to hang for awhile. After a few cocktails, we headed back to Hotel to our next hotel for the rest of the weekend that Pantene & Bloglovin’ had reserved for us.
We had a room reserved at the W Hotel in Downtown. We checked in and were greeted with a note and a gift card for our dinner that evening. Our room view was of the Freedom Tower and the two 9/11 Memorial Fountains. I loved having this view so much. Going to the 9/11 museum during my last trip to NYC was so powerful and this was a beautiful reminder.
After getting settled, we opened some wine and showered. Shortly after, we got a call that our glam squad was headed up. FOUR wonderful women greeted us and were there to do both of our hair and makeup. I’ll be honest, I’ve never felt more high maintenance, and I basically loved it. haha! If I could have a glam squad come and get me ready every night that would be a dream. My girlfriend and I almost never like when other people do our makeup, but this was an absolute exception. We both loved our hair and makeup, and loved even more that it was effortless for us. Having so many blowdryers, a music player, and some curling irons going made our fuse blow, which was a little pause in the process, but it gave us a chance to interact more with our glam squad, who were all so fun! It was fun getting to hear some of their stories from celebs they’ve worked with, too. (Always be kind!) If you have any plans to go to NYC soon– I’d highly recommend any of them. After getting ready (and taking some outfit pictures) we called our car and headed to Frank in the East Village between 2nd and 3rd. This is said to be one of Chrissy Teigein’s favorite restaurants. It’s no secret that I love her and fully trust her opinion when it comes to food, plus this restaurant had been recommended to me multiple times before. I never pass up a chance for good homestyle Italian! It did not disappoint. The restaurant was quaint and had such a good, homey vibe. The food was all phenomenal from the bruschetta we started with, to the bread and olive oil, to the entrees. We tried two of their specials including the pappardelle ragu and butternut squash ravioli. Two of my favorites, always. They were the perfect combination of savory and sweet/rich. I love people who will just split food with me at dinner so we can try multiple things. This is how my boyfriend and I often order and my girlfriend and I do the same. It’s the best– especially for a foodie! During our dinner, the restaurant was playing upbeat music which made me so happy, not only to keep our momentum up for the night, but as a fun contrast to the romantic and rustic vibe of the restaurant. Just as we were finishing the last few bites, we were commenting on how perfectly satisfied and not too full we were. While finishing our wine, a waiter brought over a tiramisu for dessert and said it was on him. Well, crap. We obviously ate all of that and went from satisfied to stuffed. Oops!
After dinner, we met up with her friend and his fiancé from earlier, then walked a few blocks to meet back up with my friend and his family + more friends for drinks at Cafe Select on Lafayette. Several cocktails later, we decided we wanted to go “out out.” Soo around 1:00 AM we called some users and headed off to Brass Monkey in the East Village. It’s right next to The Standard (another favorite spot of mine for going out, with several good spots within) and is a few levels and rooms, all with their own vibes. It was oh so much fun we stayed until about 4:00 AM. Not in any hurry to make it home (and on a mission to cross off more of our ‘to eats’ off the list) we headed to Cafeteria. This restaurant is a chic take on a diner that attracts people all through the day and night, as it’s open 24/7. We couldn’t decide, so we ordered a little of everything. 3 different kinds of mac and cheese (I know, seriously?), mac & cheese spring rolls with a smoked gouda dipping sauce (because, how could we not. Plus, clearly different flavors from regular mac & cheese), meatballs, and truffle-parmesan fries. The food was good, the people watching was even better! Stuffed and happy, we called uber and went home around the time the sun was coming up. All in all, a perfect NYC night.
The next morning we woke up desperate for more sleep. But, the city doesn’t sleep so neither could we. Or some sort of twisted justification like that. We got ready for the day and headed to the Meatpacking district for brunch. Another of Chrissy’s reported favorites, a friend who used to live in NYC recommended to my friend that we eat at Catch. Catch is a gorgeous two-level space with a gorgeous terrace. It features “Top Chef” winner Hung Huynh’s globally inspirited seafood dishes. After a slow start to getting served, our meal was otherwise perfect. The sun was out, the people watching was perfect, and a revitalizer juice and THE best almond milk coffee ever were the perfect starts to our brunch. We shared a roasted beet salad and broccolini and then my friend had an egg white omelette and I had a lobster roll. We saw so many dishes that those around us ordered that looked so good, too. I need to go back just for the iced almond coffee and to try the sushi and the crispy shrimp.
From here we went to Rockefeller Center to the Top of the Rock to take in the views of the city. Neither of us had been up here before, so it was fun to do. Plus, you really can’t beat it. Central Park on one side and the Empire State Building on another. You can buy tickets online ahead of time (and even VIP exists to skip a line or two) so you don’t get stuck there all day. Luckily, lines weren’t bad when we went though and one nice attendant even let us skip the line for the elevators on the way down and take a separate one. Score! I definitely want to go back to watch the sunset here on another visit.We walked towards Central Park and then over to the Upper West Side, as I had to take my friend to get the best chocolate chip cookies ever at Levain Bakery. This is probably a stop I’ll be making forever in NYC. They are THAT good. Of course, we were welcomed with a line and as before, it was worth it. (Side note, I just realized in browsing their website when writing this that they actually deliver cookies nationwide. If you ever need to send me ANYthing, whether its a ‘just because,’ to ‘say sorry’ or to just completely derail any attempt at healthy eating– this is your answer. Really. Throw in some Joe’s and you’re my new hero!)
We ate cookies all the way back to our hotel to chill out for a little while before getting ready for the evening. I really missed the glam squad when getting ready that night! We went out for a few pre-dinner drinks, including stopping by The Spotted Pig. It’s such cute place for a drink and although we didn’t eat anything, it smelled delicious! We ate dinner that night at yet another Italian restaurant that had been recommended to my friend. Can you ever have enough Italian, especially when eating to your heart’s content on vacation? I vote no, never. We ate at Maialino, which is in the Gramercy Park Hotel. It’s a beautiful restaurant serving classic Roman style Italian. This is why I can eat Italian so many nights in a row. Roman and Family style are completely different to me! We shared carbonara (which I always have my eye on, but the waiter recommended it as well) and the pappardelle with braised duck. I loved the unique flavors in the pappardelle and while the carbonara was good, it was not was out-of-this-world as the carbonara I get at an Italian restaurant right around the corner at home. (Dallasites or anyone visiting, add Sprezza to your list and see what I’m talking about. Best carbonara I’ve had to date outside of Rome, Italy). All together a great dining experience though and I absolutely loved the atmosphere! We walked into the bar at the Gramercy Park Hotel for a bit, then got an uber to the Jane Hotel.
Ahh the Jane. If you’ve never been, imagine fun two-story club with an atmosphere so lively that everyone is dancing and by the end of the night, everyone ends up dancing on tables. The music was killer and it was again, fantastic people watching. After a few cocktails, we headed home as we were exhausted and it was somehow already 2:00 AM.
The next morning, we got up reluctantly packed our bags. It was a mix between misting and raining outside, so some of the idea we had for exploring in the morning were no longer ideal. We put our bags downstairs with the concierge and headed out for brunch as we had an afternoon flight. We ate at Butcher’s Daughter in Nolita, where my friend’s girlfriend from college met us. I adored this restaurant. Cutest little outside eating area and inside, plus such a good, healthy brunch menu. We shared a vegan and gluten-free baker’s basket with zucchini bread, then two of us had the avocado eggs benedict and my friend had some lettuce wrapped tacos.
The perfect way to end our eating in NYC. Although, I seriously considered getting a JG Melon burger just to try it before heading out. I mean, if it’s good enough that Gigi Hadid eats it, it’s gotta be good, right? Next time, next time. So much self-restraint I showed. Ha! We walked around a little more instead and stumbled on some more fun street art.
Once again I didn’t want to leave and recapping yet another perfect visit to the city makes me want to go back soon. Until then, I’ll be dreaming of all of my favorite foods, ones I want to try in the future, places I want to go, and things I want to do. New York, you never, ever disappoint!
Special thank you to my bestie, Kalize for accompanying me and to Pantene & Bloglovin’ for the amazing opportunity and trip. Also, thank you so much to Hotel Giraffe!