I was lucky enough to go to NY to celebrate my best friend’s birthday. I packed up and left the fam at home (sorry, loves!) from Thursday thru Monday. Yes, it was Rosh HaShana, but they say G-d doesn’t care where you pray from, even Bergdorf’s, so stop judging.
And speaking of shopping, I may have done a little. I didn’t buy that much (no, seriously husband, I didn’t) but I did spend an entire day in SoHo weaving in and out of some of the most glorious boutiques in NYC.
However before shopping, we made a quick, relaxing stop by White Tea Med Spa for rejuvenating facials. Because when you’re about to do a day of couture-ial damage, you have to either have a full face of professionally applied make-up so you can get the complete vision or be able to say, “I know, I look awful. I just had a facial,” so that the salespeople can tell you that you’re crazy and that you look amazing without a stitch of anything on your face.
To set the record straight, I only fished for those compliments in the stores with obnoxious, florescent lighting. Honestly, if they’re going to install elementary school lighting in a dressing room, they need to be prepared for sad shoppers who need ego boosts, even if it’s coming from a 40-year-old hipster sales dude with a mohawk, wearing skinny pedal pushers and a flannel shirt that would fit my kindergartener.
Hey, I’ll take sweet talk where I can get it, right ladies?
I really hit the jackpot at Proenza Schouler. Unfortunately I didn’t purchase anything there (yet, I didn’t buy anything yet…they can always ship to Chicago), but the adorable salesperson had these awesome designs on her nails that matched this season’s dress pattern. I freaked over them as she told me where to go–some random market in the Village–I feel cool just saying it–called Akiko Nails.
Ok, I have to say, they did such a stunning job on my nails, that I’m struggling with giving out the name, just in case the next time I’m in NY I am unable to get an appointment. Yeah, it was that amazing.
The nail tech did the whole thing freehand. I know. Your mind has been blown.
Back to shopping. Staying away from all of the stores we have in Chicago, I always limit my shopping experience to stuff we can’t get here–or that I can only see online but never try on aka. Kirna Zabete where I found an uber-fab Veronica Beard blazer that I will be making a statement in all fall, winter and spring as soon as it arrives at my home.
I’m too cheap to pay United for overweight luggage, so I had everything shipped. Shockingly, or embarrassing–however United wants to view it–it was still cheaper to ship from a bunch of different stores than try to sneak them aboard, so I’m just saying…
The topper on the weekend of “mommy NEVER gets to do this at home” came on Sunday night, when my friend and I attended a taping of Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live. I’ve heard the urban legends that you have to come to studio blindfolded or that they pick you up from one location and drive you to the studio so that you don’t really know where it, or you, are. However, I can assure you, Andy Cohen doesn’t give a boo-ha if people know where the studio is because you are NOT getting through security if you are not specifically invited to be there. That being said, I’m not telling you where it is. I will in no way jeopardize my new best friendship with Andy. Not for you. Not for no one.
Once we stepped into the office that leads to the studio where the show is shot, we were greeted by a handsome and energetic bartender. Immediately. You could tell that they were very pro-alcohol at this taping. And I was happy to do my part to be the best audience member I could be by sipping a Mazel (something, something and vodka-check the menu) Anything for my Andy:
Like other tapings I had been to, we were ushered in by “party,” as in the Beth party and let me tell you, if you are going to make an appearance at WWHL, you want to be a part of the Beth party. Um, we were seated in the first two seats smack dab in the front of what would soon be Rita Wilson and Jacqueline Laurita’s guest seats.
Oh, did I forget to say that Andy was about 8 feet away from me? And he talked to me? They might as well have walked me out of the studio and onto the airplane to go home after that. My trip was complete.
Of course, after coming down from my WWHL high, I did manage to do some unselfish shopping following two days of SoHo and almost 3-hours in Bergdorf’s (which, by the way, has a delish cafe on the basement level when you finally remember that you’ve been running in and out of stores for 48-hours and probably should put something in your system that doesn’t have a Starbucks logo on it) for my kids.
We hit up Economy Candy on the Lower East Side which was any kid’s dream come true. Just a fantastic wholesale candy store with everything. I even found vintage Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle trading cards for my son who is a TMNT freak! Yes, the gum was stale and yes, I’m calling them vintage because to admit that they are from my elementary school years just makes me feel crazy old. Actually, calling myself vintage, which sounds nicer, actually makes me want to hightail it back to White Tea Med Spa to see what those geniuses can do about turning back time on my face without getting doctors and needles involved, you know?
Check out some of my favorite NYC spots:
Chelsea Flower Market. Ever go down there? If you like flowers, actually, if you like anything pretty, just get up early and take a walk around there even if you’re not in the market for a bouquet of your own. The whole street (28th) smells amazing–ok, you can still smell NYC gutter–but step foot into one wholesale flower shop and you’re instantly swallowed up by gorgeous scents from all over the globe. It’s not to be missed but the early bird gets the worm, so don’t sleep in because the good stuff’s pretty much gone and some shops even close by 11AM on Saturdays. You would too if you started getting shipments in at 1AM.
Kirna Zabete. Sure, I was spending money which is the best kind of customer to have, but this store is one incredibly curated mix of high-end and up-and-coming designer clothing, shoes and accessories that actually makes you feel welcome. As far as they concerned, acting like customers aren’t good enough to browse their goods might work for fancy-smancy stores in the neighborhood, but it’s just not their bag. And baby, they have good bags! Ask for Everest. He’s super excellent and will style you up like a Hollywood starlet even if you’re just a plain Jane mom like me.
Toys-R-Us-Time Square. But Jo, it’s just a Toys-R-Us. Oh, you’re wrong. You’re so wrong. I mean, unless your local TRU has a 60-foot Ferris wheel in the middle of the store, a million floors of almost any toy your kids could possibly want, and so much more. I’m just saying. It’s not the same.
Eloise at the Plaza. Ok, she doesn’t really live there. The 6-year-old me finally got over that. But the Plaza certainly figured out how to make it seem like she does. With a fabulous all-Eloise, all-the-time shop on the lower level, complete with a party room if you feeling like spoiling your child and her friends with a Rawther Fancy Tea. For super fans, they even sell the Eloise costume. I have a feeling my daughter is going to force that one on me next week when I take her to the Big Apple for the first time, but it’s so cute, she won’t have to twist my arm.
Balthazar Restaurant. I always eat there. Always. The food is delicious, the atmosphere is romantic yet energetic, and I love checking out the street art while I wait for a table because you always have to wait–no matter how important you think you are. I went there on my first business trip to NY from LA in my 20’s and I still go back almost every time I’m in town.
More pics from the trip…you might see a famous face or two: