I love surprises, a lot. Back in April I surprised Geoff with a trip to New York City for his birthday. This was our first getaway together in years and our first vacation without Brooks, ever. Praise hands for parents’ getaway! Because of my high levels of enjoyment in surprising the people I love, coordinating this surprise took some planning and research months in advance.
After making sure Geoff (unknowingly) had the time off from work and Brooks was set up at Grandpa and Mema’s, I went straight to the finer details of planning our New York City trip; where are we staying and where are we eating. I was like ‘Kristen Wiig on SNL’ level 1000 excited about this whole trip. You know the skit where she is ‘SO FRIGGIN EXCITED’ bc ‘SHE LOVES SURPRISES’. Hi, it me. I was so excited to surprise this loving, supportive, hard working man of mine, and keeping this from him for months was a sweat-inducing nerve-racking secret.
So, the actual reveal of the surprise could’ve been a little better executed. #noonesperfect I’d planned to make a little stop motion video of a plane flying over a map from Nashville to NYC (didn’t happen). Next idea was to put a goodie gift bag together with ‘NYC themed’ items inside – one of them being hardcopies to seeing The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. Well, this also fell under the ‘underwhelming’ outcome category. 😂 Turns out the tickets, upon further inspection, didn’t specify the location of the show (AKA New York CITY), so I just told him we were leaving the following day to drop Brooks off and head to NYC. Haha. The main event is what really counts anyway.
New York Magic
If you’ve never been to New York I firmly stand behind the fact that you are missing out. Love it or hate it, there is just something different about the energy there in the city. It feels alive, magical and like anything could happen… Could I run into Sarah Jessica Parker at the restaurant tonight? Maybe?! Will I meet a lifelong connection I never knew I needed. Who knows?! Did a rodent just run over my foot? Probably. But I’m here for it.
Seriously though, it’s equal parts inspiring and fills my cup in ways no other city does. I get the appeal of living there, but love the ability to visit more. 😉 I love walking the city streets seeing women of all ages in ALL kinds of stages of life and styles. Some are in the cutest casual athleisure wear. I aspire to be at their level of comfort. While others are in couture blouses on a Tuesday headed to grab a coffee and rule the world. And the food…don’t get me started.
Geoff and I stayed at The Dominick hotel in SoHo and really loved it. It has a perfect blend of cozy, modern warmth with boutique amenities (4th meal room service our first night was sa’good). The staff members were so kind and helpful and even gave us a few local restaurant recommendations we used our first night before heading to Broadway. There’s also a pretty rooftop pool, bar and spa, but we were so content with our room and city plans we never explored that area. I REALLY loved staying in the SoHo area. It’s such a pretty nook in Manhattan with tons of things to do and see in walking distance from our hotel.
Ok, can we just get to the good stuff already – THE FOOD. Ugh. I genuinely loved every single place we ate and everything I tried. There are a few I wouldn’t repeat but I enjoyed my time there nonetheless. Our first meal was, Balthazar, based on a rec from my cousin, which also happened to be where she had her first date with her, now, husband – CUTE! As soon as you walk in you feel transported to a quaint cafe in France. It has a welcoming comfort that feels romantic either day or night. We started our menu tasting off with the Smoked Salmon and things just went up from there.
Our first night there was The Phantom of the Opera night. Based on a rec from the concierge at our hotel, we walked a few blocks down to a (VERY unassuming) sushi restaurant in SOHO called Blue Ribbon and holy crap y’all it was SO DANG GOOD. 😫 I know there are so.many.good restaurants in New York City, but this one will be a repeat for me. It’s a shot-gun style restaurant with limited seating, and thankfully we got there early. We were seated in a booth right next to the sweet men running the sushi bar.
The restaurant felt so authentic and aged to perfection with wooden booths aged with love and original hardwood floors. It felt like a space perfectly set for a quiet, romantic night for two. The staff spoke Japanese to each other and were so helpful in a way that made you feel like they had invited you into their home. It felt like we were in the perfect place for what we were needing that night, intimate and authentic. *heart eye emoji*
More Food Please!
A few food runner-ups over the weekend was Saturday’s lunch at Vin Sur Vingt at the Plaza Food Hall, located right under the Plaza Hotel. This place was so cute and our server ah-mazing. Bonus: English was his second language and he had undertones of a French accent #authentic 🥖 #oui This place was a notable second runner-up only because I loved Balthazar so much.
Saturday night for dinner we had reservations at Nobu downtown. I mean listen, there’s nothing BAD you can say about Nobu. It has a great reputation for a reason. The atmosphere, the service, the food…it’s all great! I loved everything I ate, I just think our date night at Blue Ribbon won me over for first place sushi.
One of the more memorable moments during our time in New York was visiting the 9/11 Memorial. As we walked up to Memorial, there was a quietness that laid over the block dedicated to those who lost their life. I remember I was a freshman at Auburn when the news broke. It was awful, and devastating. I remember thinking of all those poor people and their families who were trapped, the rescuers risking their lives, and the aftermath of it all. I don’t think anyone will ever forget that day or how it affected our country. The 9/11 Memorial was a beautiful homage to a tragic day in U.S. history.
A few more highlights from the trip that can’t go unmentioned: visiting Grand Central Station and *light shopping on 5th Ave. 💁🏼 I always love popping into Grand Central. It’s such a cool place to SEE! The people watching is uncanny and I love how (literally) grand the train station is. And as for shopping on 5th Ave, this was a first for me and I WAS HERE FOR IT! Ugh. #sogood
Two full days in New York City just aren’t enough, plain and simple. There’s so much to do, see, visit, soak in you can hardly check off half a list of places in a matter of 48 hours. But we gave it our best college try and it was the perfect way to kick start our travel for 2019. To make the memory last, I’ve even added some of my photography from the weekend to the Print Shop! Head there by clicking HERE to see some of my photos of the weekend, now live in the Shop.
We’ve had a few more adventures in 2019 I can’t wait to share with you! Hopefully I’ll get to writing and sharing them here on the blog before 2020 is here! Haha
Thanks so much for reading, following along or stopping by! I love sharing my little corner of our world here with you. ❤️
Lemons to Love,
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