SATURDAY PT 1 – NYC

D A Y • T H R E E

Saturday started off different than Thursday or Friday. I met my sisters at Madison Avenue’s Ladurée. There is a significant history behind this company and their macaroons, directly relating to my name and its unique French spelling, “Madeleine“. Its original location, opened by Louis Ernest Ladurée and located at 16 rue Royale, is in the Madeleine neighborhood of Paris. From its creation in 1862, to the fire that burnt the bakery down in 1871, to Ladurée’s grandson, Pierre Desfontaines, creating the macaroon, to the company’s new growth since 1993, Ladurée has always been in the business of macaroons.

After we ate macaroons to our hearts content, we walked a few blocks over towards Central Park. Yes, I know we were there yesterday, but keep in mind, Central Park is huge. It covers over 840 acres of land. The day was beautiful and it was definitely worth walking around a little bit. Though it was hot, so we had to make several stops at hot dog stands for water.

On the way, we stopped at 5th Avenue. My sisters had even this on the agenda, not particularly because we could afford much of anything on 5th, but definitely for the experience. My youngest sister actually did purchase a pair of Quay sunglasses from Bloomingdales, as she had just broken her previous pair. It was definitely hard to pull me away from Tiffany & Co., Chanel, and Lonchamp without purchasing anything. I wouldn’t say I’m a “materialistic” person, because I usually go for the best deal when I’m shopping, but I do have a few favorites. To be honest, in the photos above, I’m wearing a few of them, such as Chance Eau Tendre by Chanel, a Tiffany & Co. infinity pendant from my grandmother, and my Longchamp Le Pliage backpack which was the most wonderful thing to happen to me on this NYC trip. What was in my backpack that made it so wonderful? Well, I actually wrote a post about it.

After our 5th Ave. window-shopping spree, we made our way to Greenwich to meet up with our sister for dinner and a walk around Washington Square Park.

to be continued

XO – MC

FRIDAY PT 2 – NYC

D A Y • T W O • C O N T I N U E D

Click to read FRIDAY PT 1.

Where do you think we went after our tour of Central Park?

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, also known as The Met, was founded in 1870 for the purposes of bringing art and art education to the American people. It lies at the edge of Central Park, and is the largest art museum in the United States. It is also well-known for being the location for The Met Gala, formally called the Costume Institute Gala and also known as The Met Ball. The Met Gala is an invitation-only, annual fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art‘s Costume Institute in New York City. This gala signifies the grand opening of the Costume Institute’s annual fashion exhibit. Each year’s event celebrates the theme of that year’s Costume Institute exhibition, setting the tone for the formal attire for the evening.

In a previous post, I mentioned that I was raised Catholic. The Costume Institute’s Spring 2018 Exhibition actually touched on Catholic traditions, so for my family and I, it was really cool to experience. The exhibit lasted from May through October, and was titled, Heavenly Bodies – Fashion and the Catholic Imagination. On The Met’s website, they describe the exhibit as a “dialogue between fashion and medieval art from The Met collection to examine fashion’s ongoing engagement with the devotional practices and traditions of Catholicism. Serving as the cornerstone of the exhibition, papal robes and accessories from the Sistine Chapel sacristy, many of which have never been seen outside The Vatican, are on view in the Anna Wintour Costume Center. Fashions from the early twentieth century to the present are shown in the Byzantine and medieval galleries, part of the Robert Lehman Wing, and at The Met Cloisters.”

My sisters and I decided to walk around the museum a little more. There was a lot to see. I don’t know how much of an “art appreciator” I am, however. I can appreciate that someone worked very hard to create a piece of art, like an extravagantly detailed watercolor for example. It’s the simpler paintings of just a few lines that seem so simple, that I don’t know how to “appreciate it”.

Sculptures on the other hand, are something incredible. I feel that there is immense talent in creating a realistic statue of a human – creating every wrinkle, every crevice, every detail. The rooms that features the sculptures and statues were the ones where I spent the most time.

My favorite piece of art in the museum was not a part of any exhibit. There was a gentleman sitting on his own stool, sketching an image of the sculpture in the center of the room. It was the most beautiful and precise sketch I’d ever seen. He was so excited for us to photograph him and encouraged my sister to pose with him. That is undeniable talent.

Our last photography moment at The Met was the iconic “Gossip Girl” photo. In the show, the main characters, Blair and Serena, frequent the steps of The Met. The higher the step, the more status you had. Of course, we had to take our own picture.

(P.S. It means nothing that my sisters are both on a higher step than I am.)

XO – MC

FRIDAY PT 1 – NYC

One thing I learned from day one in New York City, is that you walk – A LOT. But with everything there is to see, you don’t notice how much you’re walking until you fall into your bed at the end of the night.

D A Y • T W O

Have you ever of Eloise? If you haven’t, let me explain. She is one of New York City’s most mischievous (and fictitious) residents. Eloise is a young girl who lives in the “room of the tippy-top floor”, with her pug dog Weenie and her turtle Skiperdee, in the Plaza Hotel of New York City. I read this book when I was younger with my mom, as did my sisters. So it made sense that a visit to The Plaza Hotel was part of our trip.

Unfortunately, The Plaza Hotel was roped off for actual guests (not us measly tourists) once you entered the front doors. The hospitality-nerd in myself was a little disappointed that I couldn’t explore a beautiful, historic hotel. However, I do understand the concern for their guests’ privacy and to maintain the chaos of nosy tourists bothering their experience. Maybe one day in the future, I’ll stay at The Plaza Hotel in New York City, walk past the rope, and explore the building as a guest.

My dad takes food very seriously – especially street food. After we went on the shortest self-guided Plaza tour, we met him outside the hotel next to a hot dog cart, before entering Central Park. It was a beautiful day, but it was SO HOT. And I made the mistake of wearing all black. Thankfully, Central Park has several benches and shady spots where we could relax and cool off for a few moments. The views from wherever we stopped were so incredible – we couldn’t stop taking pictures.

We made our way through the park to New York’s very own Central Park Zoo. The Central Park Zoo is a part of a system of four zoos, and the New York Aquarium. It actually began as a menagerie, which is defined as a collection of exotic animals kept for display, later becoming the second publicly owned zoo in the United States, behind the Philadelphia Zoo. There are three main areas – tropic, temperate, and polar. The only area outside this predetermined division is the pool for sea lions, which we were able to see as soon as we walked through the gates.

I’m originally from St. Louis. Why is this relevant? Well, I had a lot of expectations walking into the Central Park Zoo. I am used to a free zoo, located on 90 acres of land, in comparison to the 6 acres that the Central Park Zoo is located. There are about three-million visitors each year for the over 18,000 animals in the St. Louis Zoo, and I think the Central Park Zoo had maybe 100 animals. Some of my favorite memories are from the St. Louis Zoo, from Discovery Corner to the unique Railroad. I guess you could say that I expected a place like New York City to blow me away with their zoo, but I was a little underwhelmed. I will say however, that it was worth being able to say that I went to the Central Park Zoo and getting to spend that time with my family.

After our walk through the Central Park Zoo, we stopped by the memorial to John Lennon in Central Park, called Strawberry Fields. My dad is huge Beatles fan, so this tribute to John Lennon and his work with Strawberry Fields Forever, was a must-see for him. As we approached the memorial, it became very quiet. Almost silent. We found out shortly that Strawberry Fields was a designated Quiet Zone in the park. It was beautiful, even more so because almost everyone was respectful to the quiet. The mosaic was larger than I thought it would be and this part of the park was incredibly shaded, so the serenity was easily kept. As we walked away from the memorial, we decided on our next stop, which was at the opposite end of Central Park. How were we going to get there quickly?  Pedicab. It was really fun. But long story short, I’m very grateful for a dad who knows how to bargain with Pedicab drivers.

to be continued

XO – MC

THURSDAY PT 3 – NYC

D A Y  •  O N E  •  C O N T I N U E D

Click to read THURSDAY PT 1 or to read THURSDAY PT 2.

After we toured the Rockefeller Center and Top of the Rock, we made our way to pick up our other sister from work and meet her for dinner. We made our way from a Subway stop at Radio City Music Hall towards the boutique she worked at in SoHo and walked towards Little Italy.

One of my favorite parts about NYC so far is how much there is to see walking from one neighborhood to the next, and how different everything is along the way. As we walked from SoHo to Little Italy, I saw how much changed just in a few blocks. SoHo is a beautiful, artsy area in Lower Manhattan, filled with well-known shops and boutiques. It’s name was coined in the 1960s, standing for “South of Houston Street.” On the other side of Houston, lies a neighborhood like Little Italy where you can order traditional Italian pizza and pasta.

We were all so hungry, that we went to the first restaurant that could seat all six of us. I had caprese and wine, which was a great end to the long day. After dinner, we parted ways with my sister, and took the Subway back to our hotel.

XO- MC

THURSDAY PT 2 – NYC

New York City is… wait where were we?

D A Y  •  O N E  •  C O N T I N U E D

Click to read THURSDAY PT 1.

In my last post, I paused at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. I felt that the next landmark we visited had to almost have a post all to itself.

The Top of the Rock. Rockefeller Center. This “city within a city” is the home to the Christmas Tree tradition, Radio City Music Hall, and years of New York and American history stemming from the Great Depression.

When we reached the “Top of the Rock“, as many do, we may have turned it into an opportunity for some cute photos. How could we not do that – with the beautiful, unobstructed views of Manhattan surrounding us? New York City seems huge, of course. But when you get to the top of one of the tallest buildings, and begin to think about the hundreds, of people that work on every floor of the other skyscrapers around you – it’s amazing. So many people, in one city, each living a different story, on a different timeline, with a different dream.

The most memorable part of the day, was when we were on our way towards the ground floor. Have you ever heard of flossing? I’m not referring to kind of flossing that the dentist is always telling patients to keep up with better. A dance move from a kid on Instagram went viral when Katy Perry featured him on Saturday Night Live. After said dance move was brought up in conversation, while we were standing in line to get on the elevator, my sisters took it upon themselves to teach our dad how to floss. (Yes, I’m referring to the man that is in the above picture, posing with a sculpture of wings.)

Oh boy.

There was a group of kids (maybe freshmen or sophomores in high school) standing in front of us in line. As soon as my sisters began teaching our dad “how to floss”, they joined in and started doing it too. Soon enough, my dad was flossing at the Top of the Rock with a bunch of high school kids. And right before we stepped into the elevator to ride to the ground floor, my dad received a round of applause from the quite large crowd that had gathered behind us. It was only slightly mortifying – but also a really fun moment to remember.

Some of these moments with family are annoying, and yes – embarrassing, but ultimately it’s family. I can’t wait to look back on this day, and this moment, and remember how cool it was to share this with my parents and two of my younger sisters. And the 30+ additional tourists at the Top of the Rockefeller Center.

to be continued

XO – MC

THURSDAY PT 1 – NYC

New York City is a magical place. It has many names, from the “Big Apple” to the “Melting Pot,” but my favorite one is “The City that Never Sleeps.” NYC is a place where people have worked hard at 3 jobs, while they pursue their dream; where people have tasted new food; where people have grown an appreciation for art; where people have started successful careers; where people have fallen in love. Nothing ever stops moving. It doesn’t matter if someone is there as a visitor or a resident, the city never sleeps.

My sister was offered an internship in New York City for the summer. Her time off from her internship (and the job she also had) was limited, so what better excuse to take a family vacation to NYC? I had been to New York City once before, in 2011, following my senior year of high school. Because our trip also included New Jersey and Canada, our time in “The City that Never Sleeps” was limited to just a few days, but it was still memorable. This trip was more – it was incredible. I’m not sure if that is because I am now old enough to appreciate more of the beauty of NYC, or if it was because I saw more of NYC than I thought was possible in one week.

My family drove in from North Carolina, where they were living at the time, while I flew in from Northwest Arkansas. We settled into our Chelsea hotel pretty late, but were ready to begin our week early the next day.

D A Y  •  O N E

But first, coffee. To any of my closest friends, they know that I am a dedicated Starbucks drinker. And while there are Starbucks locations at almost every other corner of Manhattan, we settled on a place near our hotel, Luna Coffee Shop, to grab our caffeine  fix and breakfast.

My sisters did their research. They planned an efficient way for us to see the most out of New York City and its beauty, all within the week that we had. We started at the Empire State Building. We had been here on our first trip, so we didn’t spend much time there – we had the rest of New York to see. But it was a lot of fun standing where Will Ferrel had stood as his character, Buddy the Elf, once again. Our next stop was the New York Public Library. If I would have been in NYC for college at any point, I would have loved to spend time studying at this library. The detail in the entry, the ceilings, the architecture, and the beauty of the books – it was so peaceful. One of my favorite spots in the library was a little corner that said, “What are you reading now?” Sharing favorite books with each other via a sticky note – how unique and old fashioned. Perfect for New York’s Public Library.

A Midtown Manhattan landmark was the next stop on our itinerary – Grand Central Terminal. In the 1800s, railroads were not only a response to NYC’s growth, but also a catalyst to its growth. Standing in the middle of Grand Central, I couldn’t even imagine how much New York City had grown since that time. There were hundreds of people in that terminal – and a few moments later, there were hundreds more. The constant movement, people passing by other people without a word between strangers, was very unique to watch.

Our next stop was a place very close to our hearts – St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Growing up Catholic, there are so many religious traditions that I have carried with me into my adulthood. One of the most memorable Catholic moments that I’ve had goes back several years, when I took some time off school, and was working for a hotel back home. Cardinal Dolan, a St. Louis native, came back to town to celebrate his brother’s birthday with his extended family at the hotel where I worked. By the end of the weekend, I received a thank you letter from Cardinal Dolan, which means a lot to me being in the hospitality field. Fast forward to this trip, and getting to visit his parish – St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It was a cool little “Catholic-nerd” moment.

Oh if only you could have been there…

to be continued

XO – MC

EVERYTHING IS RELATIVE

People are constantly saying that your 20s are for “finding yourself”. We typically start our 20s while in college, have our first legal drinks at 21, fall in and out of friendships and relationships, pick up and quit hobbies, and soon enough we’re a quarter of a century old.

In the first 3 and a half years of my 20s, I was in a serious, long-distance relationship with someone who I believed to be the love of my life. He was younger than me, though not by much. As I watched my classmates get engaged, married, and start to have kids, I knew that I was ready for the serious decisions in life. He was not. As time progressed and he made less-than-serious decisions, we went our separate ways.  Maybe one day I’ll tell my story in another post, but today is not that day.

I realized soon enough that time is relative. Healing is relative. It may take 1 week, 3 months, or 1 year for someone to tell you that they love you. And it may take 1 week, 3 months, or 1 year for a broken heart to heal. A broken heart may never completely heal, because we’re human and we’re flawed. But it’s how we strengthen ourselves after the broken heart that really matters and eventually that defines who we are.

I’m not completely sure what this blog will be about yet. I’ve heard sometimes it just comes to you as you go. I don’t want it to be “just another blog” that blends in with others and is eventually neglected. It will be about confidence, growth, and discovery. For now, I’m going to use it as an outlet. I might talk about my job, traveling, my family, falling in and out of more friendships and relationships, and those hobbies that I decide to pick up. I can’t wait to share how I figure out life with you, and look back on this one day as a time-capsule of memories that I want to treasure forever.

XO – MC