travel diary: new york, new york

i have wanted to go to New York ever since i can remember. when i sat down and made my year 23 list (can’t recommend this enough — totally holds me accountable!), i made visiting NYC a priority to me and in my budget. it makes me even more excited to share this weekend with you!

****this may be a long post, but i know you’re used to that.;)

because i do a lot of research and ask for recs everytime i travel, i rarely end up doing, eating or seeing something sub par. it’s the only way to go. i use other blogs, friends/family, Instagram hashtags/accounts, Yelp and Pinterest to find the best of the best. this girl isn’t about to spend a couple hundred dollars on a flight only to have a decent weekend.;) also, i have food allergies (soy, most nuts, wheat and egg whites) that can really stress me out while i travel if i don’t do research beforehand to make sure i’ll have options of yummy foods to eat.

i’ll try to incorporate as many travel tips in italics as i can throughout the tale! i am not an expert but i have traveled my fair share, especially while living abroad for a year, so i have learned some tricks along the way to save money and sanity. 😉 sharing is caring! if you can learn from my mistakes or successes, that’s a huge win in my book!

also, if you have any tips, PLEASE comment! i love when the blog creates a community that helps each other.

let’s get started!


f r i d a yyyy

i woke up Friday at 5:30 am, threw on the clothes i laid out the night before, didn’t put on make up (i always put on any make up i want wear when i land at the final destination – so much more comfortable and better for your face), ate a big breakfast (key for surviving a day of travel) and Ubered to the airport.

the flight was smooth as can be and i still landed on time around 12 pm despite being delayed. cha ching.

in my head, i thought la guardia would be a nice airport and i’d change in the bathroom when i landed before enjoying a great airport lunch since i had some time to kill before my friend landed. (try not to wear an outfit you want to wear during your trip on the plane. the chance of you spilling or just feeling gross in those clothes is VERY high so wear travel clothes that you can throw on for the way back as well.)

unfortunately, la guardia is an awful, small, dirty airport. to be blunt. hehe. it made me a little flustered but i checked myself before i became a whiny, priveleged mess and changed in a very tiny bathroom stall while trying to not touch too many surfaces.;) i actually ended up randomly chatting with a airport attendant while i did my make up and gave her advice on how to do her hair. i am never not making friends.

i headed outside, asked where to find the shuttle to where Ubers can pick up which is a little outside the airport terminal and got on said shuttle. i requested an UberXL by accident (yes, i have taken many Ubers before and no, i don’t know why i couldn’t figure out in that moment where the Uber Pool request was. fatigue? hunger? cloudy weather?). so that was a fun $48 to spend right off the bat. ughhhhhh aniaaaaa whyyyyyyy.

one thing you have to learn when you travel is to just suck it up when it comes to spending money, especially in unexpected ways. that sounds blunt but it’s the way i see my friends get so frustrated time and time again. you’re traveling. if you accidentally spend too much on a cab, there’s nothing you can do about it in the moment and the last thing you want to do is ruin the rest of your trip. (this is a great life lesson i learned as well! just gotta go with the flow!) if you budgeted for the trip, you have the money. even though i always incorporate ways to be thrifty, i try not to get so so obsessed with every penny i spend or it’ll ruin my experience. i chose in that moment to not beat myself up and just laughed when the guy asked where the rest of my group was. nope, just me in this large lincoln suv, sir!

my friend’s flights got delayed as she was coming back from spring break. again, this could have deterred my excited attitude but i chose to push those bad vibes aside and see the glass half full. i had already asked her for a coffeeshop recommendation near her apartment where i could sit while i waited and it was actually a blessing in disguise because the previous week was really heavy in new projects at work so i had been feeling a little tapped out. i was able to have some “i” time (introvert time — my phrase i use with close friends/family to designate recharging time) at Manhattanville Coffee and cozy up with my computer at the cafe. i face timed my parents who are traveling in Europe, perused Pinterest, and caught up with my sister.

i met up with my friend at 5 outside her apartment and we dropped off our bags, freshened up and headed out to have a night in the city. i had researched a couple of things to do that were close together for that evening, knowing that i would probably hit a wall around 8/9 pm. traveling on the weekend is a great way to just getaway and have an adventure, but i have learned to allow give myself early nights/moments of rest since it can be difficult to jet off after and before long weeks of work.

i bought a 7-day pass for unlimited metro rides for $32 which was totally worth it even though that sounds like a lot of money. it gave me peace of mind (important while traveling and being overwhelmed by so much new) and i ended up using the metro even more because of that pass which was cool to feel like i lived there. also i really miss public transport so i enjoyed that part of the weekend immensely.

we hit all the spots in the exact order i had planned in my head because it was all so convenient.  i will literally map out food spots in relation to where we want to go so it always ends up being a walk in the park. research pays off every single time!

first stop was Milk Bar where we both got milkshakes. i could only eat a little of mine because of the wheat (i thought it was gf because of the cornflakes but that is not the case!) but i really wanted to experience the cereal milk. it totally tasted like cereal milk and feeling a bit nauseas after was totally worth it.;) if you go, i’d recommend the crack pie milkshake instead. that’s what my friend got and it was sugary goodness. i am also an ice cream snob so my expectations are very high always and forever.

we walked around manhattan and headed to the MOMA. someone gave me a rec to go there Friday night since they have free admission from 4-8 pm and i am so happy to share that thrifty tidbit with you all. we got there at 7 which was actually accidentally great because there wasn’t a line and most people were starting to head out. i got to see starry night and lots of other work by some of my artists which made me EXTREMELY happy. we caught up as we walked around the MOMA which yes, i am totally aware sounds almost surreal.

from there, we headed to Cafeteria, a restaurant that serves 24/7 and had been recommended to me by a couple of friends. IT WAS SOOOOO GOOD. we sat at the bar and had drinks and apps. i ordered a blackberry mojito which i will definitely be recreating this summer and we ordered sweet potato fries, sautéed cauliflower in this amazing garlic butter sauce and truffle fries to share. can i get a freaking amen?!?! the garlic butter on the cauliflower was so good that we dipped/slathered our fries in the leftover goodness. oh my.

i have been trying to see the worth of every person i encounter and ask for names as often as possible as a rule of thumb. so, out of habit, i asked the bartender what his name was and he beamed as he said “ian.” well, then ian was a complete sweetheart and waived our food costs so we just paid for our drinks. i don’t think you should make people feel special to get free food but i do think there’s something to be said about treating people like people and not like they’re there to serve you. he probably never gets asked his name! how sad is that?!

we decided to head back to harlem where she lived because i was hitting a wall even though it was only 8:30 and stopped on the way back for some yogurt and breakfast items. i was so happy to be back with her since we hadn’t seen each other since she graduated two years earlier. we crashed early and naturally i laid awake for most of the night, so giddy about the weekend.

s a t u r d a yyyy

i am an early riser but luckily so is she so we got up early Saturday morning and spent a lazy morning sipping coffee on her couch and getting ready, still out the door by 9. just the way i like it!

we took the metro back into Manhattan and spent the next hour exploring Central Park which was honestly surreal for me. i have seen that exact landscape in so many movies and tv shows so it almost felt familiar. it’s going to be stunning in a couple of weeks when the flowers bloom, but it was a lovely overcast morning and didn’t rain (thank you God) so we were able to do a quick loop before heading to our next destination.

which was Chelsea Market, another heavily recommended place to see in NY. and now i know why! it’s this really cool urban, indoor marketplace with some chain shops like Anthropologie (of course we went inside).

but more frequently, lots of little shops and restaurants/food truck style options. i really, really loved it!! there’s TONS of options for food and browsing so two of my favorite things to do in one place. one of the shops, Artists and Fleas, was particularly cool. my friend described it as Etsy in store form and that was a perfect description. it had lots of little local vendors and artisans selling their goods. i love, love, love supporting small companies (partly because it’s my dream to one day have my own shop of some sort!) and loved looking around there.

we had made plans to meet up with another mutual friend who is getting her Masters at NYU so she met up with us for lunch. i splurged on a $9 juice while we waited and it was oddly a thousand percent worth it because it was amazing. #wheninNY

we bought tacos at one of the small food vendors called Los Tacos No 1. you can’t miss it: they’re cooking the food inside a tin booth and it will mostly likely have a line in front of it. SO WORTH IT. i got guac + chips and a chicken taco. mexican food is easy for me with my allergies since so much of it is corn based so i was in foodie heaven AND didn’t feel sick. #winwin

there’s also a doughnut place called Doughnuttery where they make tiny doughnuts that are fried right there in front of you and although i couldn’t eat them, my friend was obsessing over them. i’ll take her word for it and recommend it to you! you can get them in all sorts of flavors and i was droooooooling. so naturally i walked down the way and got myself gelato. it only made sense!;)

we left the market and walked the Highline at the perfect timing because it started to rain just as we headed back to the metro. I LOVED WALKING THE HIGHLINE. for those of you who’ve never been, imagine a walking path that is about three stories off the ground and is surrounded on both sides by really beautiful apartment buildings. there’s art, little gardens and great views of NY. my friend told me about their instagram account where you can learn more about what you’re looking at! (also: everything in NY has an instagram. EVERYTHING.)

the Chelsea area in general is just so gorgeous. it’s where DVF, Milk, boutique art galleries and lots of other designers have their offices/studios. i felt like Whitney from The City except i was just gawking from outside.

from there i headed back to Harlem to grab my bags and spent the rest of the day with my gal pal who lives in West Manhattan. she showed me the dreamy streets of SoHo, Nolita and West Village. we stopped at the store of one of my favorite designers, Ulla Johnson, and i just about fell over from love. i mean, look at this store. allllllll the heart eyes.

we just bopped around the little boutiques, chatted about our big dreams, ate ice cream in west village as we watched glam couples on their way out on the town and ate our weight in mexican. it was just the best. it felt like i lived there for those hours and that was a wonderful feeling.

the mexican restaurant is tacombi — i would recommend getting the chips + guac (the amount of guac they give is gold medal worthy) for an appetizer with a paloma followed by pollo quesadillas. oh myyyy, drooling just thinking about it! probably the best quesadilla i’ve had…maybe ever?

the ice cream shop in west village was absurdly expensive but uuuuuuhmazing. van leeuwen is artisan ice cream and they had this seriously good vegan ice cream. the prices are v high, but the quality is right on point.

we decided to end the night early because i was dropping fast. one of the best things i have come to realize while traveling is that you don’t need to do things just because of the expectations. yes, nyc has an amazing nightlife and i would love to one night have a glam night out on the town. but that weekend i was also thinking of the busy work week i was going into and was tired from finishing up work before i left. so really all i wanted was to take the metro home to a cup of tea and wash my face. so that’s what we did! there’s no reason to become something you’re not when you travel — stick to what you love and it’ll make the trip better all around!

s u n d a yyyy

i woke up sunday morning, packed my things up and walked down the street to a nearby catholic church for mass. if you need/want to go to a service when you’re visiting friends, just let them know ahead of time! i have never had a friend deter me from attending mass when they are hosting me.

i spent the rest of the day with my friend that i had met while studying abroad. she had recently moved to nyc so it was fun for her to still be a bit of a tourist in her new home. before we chat about the day, i haaaave to show you photos of her apartment. brace yourself. it looked like something out of an urban outfitters catalog. she found it through a friend of a friend and lives in one of the many bedrooms scattered throughout. this is exactly what i picture when someone says “artist loft.” what. a. dream. my eyes didn’t know what to land on.

she lives in Bushwhick so we started the day by walking around her neighborhood, which is famous for all the street art. i am not usually the biggest fan of graffiti but this was unbelievable. she says it changes all the time which we saw as artists were working on new pieces as we walked down the streets. it has this kind of hipster, oregon, authentic vibe to it and it was fun to see where she lives. we stopped in a local vintage shop that was one of the best i’ve been in and just stopped when we wanted, strolled when we wanted. you know, those sunday vibes.

she suggested we get a mani to start our sunday fun day off right and oh myyyyy, this place Local Honey. can you deal? let me know.

i haven’t gotten a manicure since my sister got married — here’s a post where i chat about mastering an at-home mani/pedi! but it was really fun to be pampered after a crazy last couple of days and slow down.

we headed to williamsburg from there and it was darling. i reaaaally liked that area! there were tons of people on the street and it felt alive. all the restaurants were full and looked amazing. the street vibe was just spot on, ya know? when you feel like anyone you talk to will be super cool and really nice? love that feeling.

we headed into the SoHo area again, dropped in for lunch at this place i had staaaaalked on Instagram called The Butcher’s Daughter (so yummy! a little pricey, but hey, that’s NY for ya! it’s also smaller than i imagined so be prepared for a wait!), and just bopped around that area some more. i was snapping photos left and right so it’s easier to tell the story of the afternoon that way by sharing it through my eyes with you!

^^ that adorable pink restaurant is called pietro nolita! it’s literally all pink inside. it looks like something out of a movie! we just stopped inside and snapped some photos because it was so darn cute.

we stopped at an ice cream shop, because….well, no particular reason other than the fact i wanted ice cream and OHHH MYYYYY i can’t believe we stumbled upon one of the best in new york – Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream. and fine it was. my friend got salted caramel and it was the best caramel ice cream i have ever had which might sound absurd, like what – does this ania girl eat ice cream for a living? but you need to know that i have an expertise in ice cream that is unparalleled since it’s one of few desserts i am not allergic to. so trust me on that one. i got the black ice cream because i was so curious – it was coconut and not super flavorful but when else will i eat black ice cream!?! if you go, get salted caramel.

they mix it all in front of you until you’re practically begging for them to hand it over. #cryingfaceemoji #hearteyesemoji

we then walked from soho to the Highline because why take a cab when you could walk and walked along the Highline again (no complaints here) to our evening spot, Gallow Green, which is on top of the McKittrick Hotel. oh my goodness. y’all if i could have my wedding reception be like this place, i would. there were twinkly lights, tiny banners, views of the city, rose properly labeled at “summer water” and just everything was right. everything. i cannot recommend making a reservation here enough!!!! the hotel is so old and cool. you take an old-fashioned elevator up to the roof and there’s all these attendants guiding you to the roof. i felt so legit and all just for a glass of wine? i can ball on a budget like that.;)

after the dreamiest glass of rose, we walked back to the metro (stopping for shake shack on the way — why are their fries so good??!) and headed back for the night! such a full, fun day. it’s so good to be refreshed on how much i can do in a day when i travel and to bring that mindset back home with me!

m o n d a yyyy

monday was chill! i headed to a coffeeshop, AP Cafe, in the morning when my pal headed to work…

and spent the morning there, editing photos and trying to wrap my brain around the busy week ahead back in Missouri.

then i met up with the amazing katherine harris, whom i interned for when i worked for The Refined Woman my senior year in college. i was her editorial assistant but since i went to school in st. louis and she lived in new york, we had never actually met! she is even more amazing in person, which i didn’t think was possible, and we had the most meaningful 1.5 hour conversation which i really didn’t want to end!

but alas, it was time to be whisked away in my chariot (**Uber) to the airport (**grungy terminal) to head back home.

overall, the trip was incredible. i am so grateful to have friends who are so willing to host and adventure with me all over the globe. spending that weekend in New York was so magical but also let me see His finger prints all over my move back to St. Louis. it is so much more expensive to live there and right now, as i explore photography and blogging and pay off loans, it’s really nice to be able to spend money on trips and shoots since the cost of living is a slice of New York’s. God knows my heart like no one else — He nails it every time. 🙂

i hope you use and share this as you visit New York! i love making travel diaries because since i travel based so much off recommendations, it feels so nice to give some right back to ya! enjoy and hurry over to the big apple soon. 🙂




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