Big Birthdays Call For the Big Apple

When one of your dearest friends turns 50, you must celebrate!  This months challenge was to plan an amazing trip for one of my favorite girls as she was turning 50.  With the help of a couple other friends, we quickly put together a weekend that will be hard to beat.

Little did we know when planning that there would be confetti dropping on us…TWICE, perfect sunshine weather for walking 12 miles a day to hit all our stops, and a ticket to the LIVE with Kelly show.

We got to our hotel on Times Square around lunchtime on Friday and were anxious to get out and walk around the city.  We also had a mission to get broadway tickets for Saturday night or Sunday afternoon.



We started off with lunch at Ellen’s Stardust Theatre where our waiter sang to our birthday girl!


This was a great place to start the trip.  The food was average, but the waiters were also aspiring broadway stars and were so entertaining to watch.  One waitress sang Annie Lennox’s song Broken Glass as she was ringing up a customer on the computer at the same time…pretty impressive!

The rest of the day we shopped around Times Square and were excited to see that the Macy’s store windows were opening that evening.  Macys in New York Times square has nine floors of shopping, with one floor dedicated to about 100 different themed Christmas Tree’s.


Winter Wonderland on Macy’s 9th floor!

We had an hour to kill before the 5:30 window reveal, so we found a happy hour and got down to the front just in time to see this……



So the confetti was super amazing…especially with the festive Christmas Trans-Siberian orchestra music playing in the background.  I had no idea a department store Christmas window reveal would be so dramatic!


And we had to find the dancing snowflakes and Christmas trees for a picture after!


For dinner, we walked to The Smith at Lincolin.

A fun Photo Booth at the Smith restaurant. EXCELLENT american food. The chefs are so creative!  (side note: the last duck face/peace sign photo was a shout out to our teenagers.  We normally don’t duck face.)




And we ended the night with the pajamas Jill made for us! She is the BEST!



Day 2

We decided to walk again because of the beautiful weather.  We headed toward the Flatiron building and Madison Square Park so we could hit a couple of the stores we were wanting to see; Eataly, Flying Tiger Copenhagen, ABC Home and Carpet, and were hoping to get into Black Tap for lunch.


Our first stop was Eataly; an Italian fancy grocery and restaurant that reminded me of our Dean and Deluca on steroids.  Anything you could ever want was here.  Chocolate, cheese, wine, bread, vegetable or fruit (with a vegetable butcher so you can take it home cut however you want),  a meat butcher (with any type of meat you could ever want), crepe/nutella and pastry station, home-made pasta station…and more.  You name it..they had it.

Need mushrooms? There is a whole wall to choose from.



Crepe and nutella station



Beautiful citrus
Handmade mozzarella was one of hundreds of cheeses to choose from



Raisin anyone?

I would recommend any foodies to visit Eataly!  I was beyond impressed and it made me want to whip up a fancy 5 coarse meal.  You could find any ingredient here!


ABC Home and Carpet is a store I have heard about for years and always wanted to see.  I remember reading articles in People magazine of stars shopping for their NYC apartment at ABC so I was excited to finally see what all the buzz was about.  It is a whimsical place that sells everything from Christmas ornaments, to clothing (that looks like it was hand-made and one of a kind) to $20,000 contemporary dining room tables.  They had table linens, plates and just about anything you would want to decorate your home.    There was even a room for meditation and a yoga class going on.

Of course , we found some mugs we liked…..but they were $60.00 each so we had to pass.


Just a few blocks from ABC was our next stop Madison Square Park.  The park had a market set up with over 100 vendors called Union Square Holiday Market.    To have a booth the vendor must have a handmade item that was made in New York and if it was a food item, it would have to be organic and fair trade.  The selection was amazing!  You could purchase anything from crack cookies from Momofuku to handmade signs or hats and gloves made from thick wool socks to jewelry, gingerbread men or local art.

We did see a Trump protest going on at the market. It was quite strange for this Kansas girl and honestly I was a little scared to get close, so you don’t get to see much in the picture.


After hitting the market for a while we decided to get in line for Black Tap for a late lunch.  We had heard about the enormously beautiful milkshakes and knew we had to give it a try.  The shakes and burgers were extravagant and delicious and the 2 hour line proved that many others had heard the same thing.


Cookies and Cream Shake



Sour Cherry Shake





Because it was nice outside, we wanted to keep walking.  The next day was our Broadway show and was supposed to be about 30 degrees cooler.  Canal and Broadway street was a short walk away and we ended up meeting a nice Asian woman who asked us if we needed some ‘Gucci, Prada or Michael Kors’ literally the minute we stepped foot on Canal.  “YES”, we answered in unison and  she led us a couple blocks away to a spot to purchase.  It felt like we were on a crime show because along the two block walk, she spoke to several people passing by that she had ‘customers’.  🙂  hmmmmmm    Kathleen bragged that at least she had made it to 50 years old.


I wish I could’ve taken some pictures of where she took us and video of our bargaining skills, but I was afraid I would get my phone confinsicated.  In fact, I saw a man get knocked on the head because he was trying to sell his loot on our sales girls corner.  All I can say is, Canal street did not disappoint.


On our way home, we got our pictures taken at the Stache Styling station.


Pop up shop to style your mustache.


We were so exhausted from walking all day that we found a pizza place about a block away from our hotel, got a slice and took it to our hotel to eat and then found a bakery to get something sweet.  We ended up walking over 12 miles that day!  We ate amazing food, shopped at unique places and saw a protest…not bad for a Saturday in New York.


The weather was dramatically cooler and the wind was blowing like crazy.  Our 60 degree days were now 30 degrees and COLD.  When we woke up we got this on our door.

Cold weather and cold showers!!!! BOOOOOO!!!!!

So we all showered knowing it would be our last one since we had to leave to get in line for Live with Kelly at 6 AM the next morning.

Chelea Market is indoors so we thought that would be a great way to start our morning.

We bought beautiful sugar cookies for our families at Eleni’s.





After checking out a few more stores at Chelsea Market we decided to get a New York bagel for breakfast/lunch.  We stopped in Chelsea Bagel where we got fresh made bagels with cream cheese.  (there were around 20 different cream cheeses to choose from).  A warm, toasted bagel from New York tastes so much better than any place in Kansas… they were SOOO good!

We had to get a New York bagel. We stopped at Chelsea Bagel and they were amazing!

We went back to the hotel to get ready for Broadway!


Off to the broadway show.

After the show, we wanted to make a quick stop to get our birthday girl some cupcakes and had heard Magnolia was one of the best!  I can honestly say, it was the best red velvet cake and frosting I have ever had…and I feel that I am pretty much an expert since it has been my favorite since I was little.


We had reservations on the roof top of the Standard Hotel on the High Line for appetizers and drinks.  It was absolutely beautiful and the drinks were over the top creative and delicious.  (does it sound like we planned our trip around food and drink…because we did! )

The Bar at the Standard
The best bar bathroom I have ever been in. Clean, tall ceilings and a view from the toilet like you wouldn’t believe!  I am not sitting on the toilet in this picture, but it is the view in the bathroom.  Hello New York!)



Cheers to Kathleen! Happy 50th! Look at the view!!!



Coleen, Kathleen’s sister from Connecticut got to join us for the show and a cocktail! We were so glad to meet her!


My friend Joanne went with a risqué drink….


This is how it was served…..hmmm what do we do with that piece of fruit?


Bottoms up!

Monday:  Last day!  We knew we had to be in line for Live with Kelly around 6:30 to get a good spot.  What we didn’t know, is that we would be outside waiting for 2 hours in the freezing cold.  By the time we got to the studio, we felt frozen…..but we did thaw and had a great time.

Getting excited to go in to the studio!


Say cheese, Jill!
Finally in the studio!



A selfie at my seat!


One of the segments was on Thanksgiving place settings.



Part of the set


Kelly was so cute, funny and enjoyable. She would talk to the audience during commercial breaks.



After the show, we saw her film some small segments for commercials.


Getting ready to leave the studio. One last picture on the set.


We ended our trip with one last good meal from a nearby restaurant called, Jacob’s Pickles.  It was southern comfort food, and of course, pickles.  I ordered the buffalo chicken mac and cheese with blue cheese and it was incredible!



AMAZING buffalo chicken mac and cheese!

After full stomachs, we went back to our hotel, got our suitcases (that were much heavier than we started from all the shopping) and headed back to Kansas (and Kathleen to Tennessee).  It was an incredible trip and although I missed my family back home, I came home feeling relaxed and ready for the holiday.


Good thing we brought our big suitcases!

I would say that this challenge was a big success!  Cheers to good friends and making memories and deeper connections with them.  The older I get, the more I realize how important good girlfriends are.  Families are busy.  Husbands need us for holding down the fort, buying the groceries and keeping the house in order.  Our kids need us to be their taxi and to teach them right from wrong and how to be a good person, but we must make time for ourselves and our friends.  I feel so blessed to have many good girls in my life and it’s fun to celebrate daily and big occasions like this one with them.


Until next time!





Coming soon:  Decembers challenge is decorating my new house for Christmas and taking my family to do a community service project….







5 thoughts on “Big Birthdays Call For the Big Apple

  1. Lori, I so enjoyed seeing the review of Kathleen’ s Birthday girls’ trip! What a special memory for all of you! I miss her so… and btw– I love your blog– I always look forward to reading it! Happy Holidays, Lori…. Laurie Dack

  2. Y’all certainly hit the best spots in the city! What did you think of the show?? I haven’t seen it yet … I heard it is sooo bad but sooo good 😉

    1. Leslie the show was hilarious and it def pushed the boundaries. The actors were so talented. I didn’t stop laughing the entire time. Can’t wait to see you next week!!

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