A “Beautiful” Weekend in NYC

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This past weekend my mom, our friend Delmy, and myself spent the weekend in NYC to see Beautiful, The Carole King Musical

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It was a weekend to remember with beautiful autumn weather and an inspiring show. 

We stayed in Delmy’s childhood home on the lower east side with her family and it was so fun to see the city through a native New Yorker’s eyes. Every other time I visit NY I go back to Jersey or PA at night, so this was my first actually spending the whole weekend in the city.

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We kicked off the weekend shopping in SOHO, window shopping and people watching. We enjoyed a quick lunch at the new Maman, a cute French inspired cafe. 

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After shopping a bit we headed up to Central Park and enjoyed the gorgeous weather.

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We then grabbed a drink at the Boathouse. It was crowded with everyone enjoying the warmer than usual temps, but well worth it.

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We then had an early pre show dinner at Isabella’s before hopping in a cab down to the theatre district. While sitting in heavy traffic on 5th Ave we glanced over and saw Geraldo Rivera sitting in traffic next to us in his Bently.

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We snapped a few pictures and when the cab driver got a hint at our excitement he tooted his horn and Geraldo looked over at us. Oh heeeyyy!

Once we arrived at the Stephen Sondheim theatre we grabbed some pre show drinks across the street and then took the obligatory group shot under the marquee.

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So let me tell you a little bit about Beautiful, The Carole King Musical. We’ve been looking forward to this since we got our tickets this summer. It’s a musical about the life of composer and lyricist and singer. Carole King music filled my childhood. I listen to Tapestry almost weekly. My mom’s favorite song of all time is, “You’ve Got a Friend” she has sung it during any friend or family sentimental moment for as long as I can remember. If I had to pick 5 albums to make up the soundtrack of my life, Tapestry would be in the top 3. 

Seeing this show together was very special.

It was truly amazing. The music and the history of Carole King jumped off the stage and I was entranced. Jessie Mueller, who played Carole King, was awe-inspiring.

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I feel repetitive here. But truly, she was out of this world. she took on the role of King perfectly but also added her own style of singing. Can you imagine how hard it must be to play a living legend? She does it effortlessly and I’m so happy I was able to see this show while she was still the star. 

Everytime she played the opening chords to “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” tears fell down my face. Most of the show I had a tightness stuck in my throat, there was so much emotion. I’ll never forget all three of us holding hands and crying during “You’ve Got A Friend”. 

There are few places that I’m as happy as I am while watching live theatre. Especially musicals.

We excited the show feeling high and full of energy. While waiting around outside sharing the happiness with strangers, we spotted Michael Bolton exiting the theatre! Weekend of random celebrity spottings. (We also heard that Martha Stewart was at the show but did not see her)

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Like true fans we waited by the stage door for 45 minutes hoping to meet Jessie Mueller. At first there were around 50 other people waiting with us. As time went by the crowd of 50 dwindled down to 15, then 10 and then there were only the three of us and three others. A misfit band of groupies.

Yet, we waited. The male lead who played Gerry Goffin came out and we got his autograph and picture. When it was 11:45 we decided we best get on home. Jessie Mueller was probably down there carving pumpkins with Martha Stewart…oh well we tried.

After a good night’s sleep we got up and enjoyed a filling brunch at Cafe Petisco (great french toast) and walked around. Sunday was a brisk and windy day yet we decided to take a Circle Line cruise around the island. It’s a great way to see Manhattan. 

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Circle Line does a variety of tours on nice large boats with good history and up to date information. I’ve done other NYC cruise tours before but highly recommend the Circle Line company.

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The cruise was nice until it started to get cloudier and colder. By the end I could barely feel my fingertips. Here is Delmy re enacting coming to America…bundled up like an anxious yet excited immigrant.

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New York, there’s just something about you. Until we meet again.

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Celebrating in NYC

Sometimes life has a way of throwing you subtle reminders of what is important in our little lives. This weekend that reminder was given to me by a screaming mentally ill street person in the East Village. But let me regress…

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I spent the weekend in NYC celebrating the 30th birthday of one of my best friends, Jeanette. Being in NYC at Christmastime, you find yourself surrounded by all the glamorized Christmas cheer – the tree, the ice skating, the window displays, the pop up Christmas tree vendors, the chestnuts roasting on an open fire. The thousands upon thousands of people. I was so excited to get off the train, find my friend a few blocks away and start celebrating. And then I stepped foot into Penn Station and wanted to escape the swarms of stressed out and angry people.

Walking the three blocks to the subway station to meet Jeanette took longer than my commute to work. People were just standing in the streets looking around and NOT moving. The idea of staying in this midtown crowd and attempting to walk to Rockefeller Plaza was dismissed as easily as the idea of eating sauerkraut for the rest of my life. Once we finally made it onto the Subway, we felt like smushed cattle and were sweating like pigs. Not exaggerating. I was literally counting the seconds in my head until we reached our stop. I don’t know how anyone could live in Midtown NY and brave doing any errands during the month of December. All the things that could be enjoyable were not.

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No, This picture does not document the crowds that were around Macy’s and Penn Station.

We literally jumped out of the subway and ran up the stairs and were greeted with the much more friendly and livable NY that I love, the East Village. Although I couldn’t live here now, the village always fills me with romantic thoughts of what life could have been like had I chosen to go to school in the city and lived the bohemian life as a poet. (everyone had a crazy dream like that, right?!). I love the vast array of cafes, bars, boutiques, and pop up street shops, and the fact that there are zero crowds anywhere. Jeanette also asked for perfect weather, and mother nature did not disappoint. We were greeted with beautiful 70 degree weather on the weekend before Christmas.

We and two other girl friends rented out an apartment from AirBnB. With a refrigerator, bathroom, and two beds it suited our needs. We were ready for a night of roaming the streets and bar hopping. Girls’ weekends are like a little retreat. A time to recharge your girly batteries and laugh about silly things. I got a serious workout this weekend by laughing alone. I hardly took any photos – the night flew by.

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After we shared two bottles of the finest champagne (ie J Rogets at $7.99 a bottle – still on a tight budget at 30!) we hit up a Cuban place for dinner. Other highlights included a few champagne cocktails at the French inspired Bougioues Pig, bourban drinks at the highly pretentious speak easy themed Death and Co. and finishing the night as the oldest people in the bar at The Library (but thank god for cheap drinks!).

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As I end my 30th year, I am definitly starting to feel older. My hangovers are more intense, I get tired very easily, food sticks to my hips like superglue, I choose staying home over going out and yoga pants over tight dresses and I managed to go out in NY without going broke or feeling like death the next morning. It was pretty fantastic! I’m all about being a thirty-something. Aging is something to be proud about. Twenties were a confusing and fun mess, thirties feels like a new life is starting.

No, I didn’t forget about that subtle reminder life threw my way this weekend:

As we were walking out to get provisionals for the evening (cheese and Champagne), life handed me my subtle reminder. While crossing Houston St we crossed paths with a man who could barely stand up straight and looked like he just drank his weight in grain alcohol screaming “I’M AWAKE! I’M WALKING!”

How true dear man. How true.

Yes, this is the gift we should be most happy for. To have the ability to wake up every day, to go out into this world and make the most of it. We are given the gift of living – the rest is up to us. We are blessed with the power of freedom and choice. As long as you are awake and walking you have the power to choose how you want to live your life. Go out and be and that person. Don’t waste another minute.

I’m going to embrace my life.

xoxo katie

 

A Tribute to Sex and the City – Five Favorite Episodes

Wednesday evening I attended a special Sex and the City night at a local independent theatre, Zoetropolis, with my friend Ashley. It was a fun girls’ night out where they showed the very first episode and the very last episode with trivia and a best shoe contest (complete with prizes!) in between. We snacked on cheese and cookies, drank cosmos,  and met new friends.

The theatre is adorable, you get to sit in comfy couches or armchairs that make you feel right at home. I got most excited about the trivia – I know way too much about this show. As soon as we walked in the door I started eyeing up the competition like a hungry predator. I knew I had it in the bag – we totally won the most trivia questions AND best shoes. Score!

Did you know it’s been 15 years since the show debuted in 1998? Kind of crazy. I was a freshman in high school when Sex and the City first came out – I didn’t start watching until I was a senior. I remember renting the VHS tapes (yes VHS!) from the public library and it felt pretty scandalous to my innocent 18-year-old self. I started buying the DVD’s when I was a sophomore in college. Since then I’ll estimate that I’ve seen the entire series more than two dozen times. And I don’t mean just catching an episode here and there on E!, I mean going through all 94 episodes in a row. Sex and the City I’ve watched the series time and time again while running on my treadmill. The adventures of Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha kept me going – I could usually reach 4.5 – 5 miles while watching 2 episodes. All my DVD cases are broken – why were they made so cheaply?! It got me through the countless break ups and boy confusion of my twenties. Remember all those quizzes trying to tell you if you’re a Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, or a Charlotte? In truth we’re all a little piece of each of these women. (I still find myself a Carrie with bits of Charlotte that shine through as I get older). I was so glad I was not the only one dating freaks and non committal boys and over analyzing all of my relationships!

For all your non-SATC lovers out there, at the heart of it, the show isn’t truly about sex. Us fans are often labeled as artless, misguided, materialistic, and extremely naïve girls. I take offense to that. While the show has materialistic and yes shallow moments, Sex and the City truly shines in the moments highlighting female friendships, self love, and adoration for New York City. Like me, Carrie was simply a woman naively searching for love but ended up finding herself instead. Love was only an added bonus. And that, my friends, is beautiful, no matter how you package it.

So I dedicate today’s Five Friday Favorites to my top Five Sex and the City episodes. This was hard to narrow down – there are so many I love, even if it’s for one emotional scene or good laugh. My top five favorites all involve Carrie and the girls discovering their true selves. Two of my favorites also serve as a beautiful tribute to New York City.  So without further delay:

 5. 

 The Post it Always Sticks Twice 

Season 6 Episode 7

post it After initially telling Carrie that he can’t be in a relationship, Jack Berger briefly returns, only to break up with her on a post-it note the following morning. Charlotte is ecstatic about her engagement to Harry while Samantha refused to be labeled as Smith’s “girlfriend”. An excited Miranda can fit back into her skinny jeans and they all head out to the new club “Bed”. Carrie is so devastated from her break up and declares this won’t be “the day that I got broken up with on a post it note”. After buying pot from strangers on the street, Carrie’s gets her wish – the day turns into “the day I got arrested for smokin’ a doobie”.

4.

A Woman’s Right to Shoes

Season 6, Episode 9

Manolo Carrie is forced to remove her shoes at an old friends baby-shower – which leads to her Manolos getting lost. When she asks her friend to reimburse her, she is told that $484 is a waste to spend on shoes and gives her $200. Carrie points out that singles don’t get any gifts after graduation, totally not fair! Samantha learns even her bravado is helpless when it comes to children and Miranda meets and instantly falls for rich new upstairs neighbor Dr. Robert Leeds. Meanwhile, Harry moves in and Charlotte freaks out over his bachelor habits, leaving dripping teabags around and walking around and sitting nude on her white (gasp!) couch! In the end, Carrie registers herself at Manolo Blahnik, in recognition of her just-announced marriage to herself. The only item that she registers for is a single pair of the missing $485 shoes, and Kyra finally comes around and replaces the missing Manolos.

3.

Anchors Away

Season 5 Episode 1  

anchors away Notable Quote: “Maybe the past is like an anchor holding us back. Maybe, you have to let go of who you were to become who you will be.” Carrie

This episode is a favorite as it highlights the most important relationship in the series, that of Carrie Bradshaw and NYC. This was the first episode filmed after the events of 9/11 and was filled with New York symbolism. Carrie is still reeling from her loss of Big and Aiden and wonders if she has met her quota of great loves. Charlotte is ready to say goodbye to her life as Mrs. MacDougal and can’t wait to meet new men. Samantha is giving Richard hell after he cheated on her and broke her heart. It’s Fleet Week and the girls (minus Miranda who is at home adjusting to motherhood) are determined to live it up in the city. At the end of the night, Carrie turns down a charming Southern sailor and decides she is happy enough to go home alone and be single for the time being.

2.

I Heart NY

Season 4 Episode 18


 Notable quotes: “If you’re tired you take a nap-a, you don’t move to Napa.” Carrie

“I got to thinking about fate. That crazy concept that we’re not really responsible for the course our lives take. That it’s all predestined, written in the stars. Maybe that explains why, if you live in a city, where you can’t even see the stars, your love life tends to feel a little more random. And even if our every man, every kiss, every heartache, is pre-ordered from some cosmic catalogue, can we still take a wrong step and wander off our own personal milky way? I couldn’t help but wonder, can you make a mistake and miss your fate?” Carrie

Big shocks Carrie with the news that he is moving to Napa. While still gathering her thoughts on Big leaving, they share a romantic moment dancing to “Moon River” and Carrie declares that they are going on one last big “New York” date. Samantha suspects that Richard is cheating and follows him in disguise, she got a wig from the Raquel Welch wig line. Carrie takes Big out for his New York send off, complete with a carriage ride through Central Park. However, the night is quickly interrupted when Miranda calls to say she is in labor. Carrie arrives in time to see Miranda give birth to baby Brady. Samantha’s suspicions are proven true when she walks in on Richard and another woman and she is heartbroken. After the birth, Carrie attempts to rush back to catch Big but fails. Upon arriving at his apartment she finds the “Moon River” record and a ticket to Napa.

1. 

An American Girl in Paris Part Duex

Season 6, Episode 20

An American Girl in Paris part duex

An American Girl in Paris Part Duex Notable Quote:

“Later that day I got to thinking about relationships. There are those that open you up to something new and exotic, those that are old and familiar, those that bring up lots of questions, those that bring you somewhere unexpected, those that bring you far from where you started, and those that bring you back. But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that’s just fabulous.”  – Carrie

A desperately lonely Carrie continues her stint in Paris with Petrovsky. After lunch with Petrovsky’s ex-wife she learns that Juliet and Petrovsky split because she was tired of always coming in second place to his art. Meanwhile, Mr. Big has finally realized that he cannot live without Carrie and sets out to Paris to bring her back to NY. Back at home, Charlotte and Harry’s wish comes true when they find out that they are getting a baby girl from China. Samantha finally admits that Smith means more to her than any other man. Miranda suggests that she and Steve take in his mom who just suffered a stroke. In a touching moment, Magda tells Mirada “this is love”. Back in Paris, a depressed Carrie realizes that she does not belong here and after a horrible fight with Petrosky she runs into Big in the hotel lobby and they understand they are truly meant to be. Carrie heads back to NY with Big to start the next phase of her life.

The perfect ending to all the women’s character arcs. I cry every time:

What are some of your favorite memories and characters from the show?

xoxo katie