Goodbye Summer, Hate To See You Go

I decided to soak up some Florida sunshine this past weekend and spend Sunday afternoon at the Don CeSar Hotel on St. Pete Beach. Some friends from college were staying at the hotel for the weekend so I joined them and we spent our afternoon laying on beach chairs, sipping frozen drinks, going for a dip in the pool at their villa, and watching a summer thunderstorm roll in. I forgot how gorgeous St. Pete Beach is. I felt like I was a million miles away on a tropical vacation. What a nice little weekend escape!

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week has always been one of my favorite times of the year. I love seeing what the designers put on the runway for each season. Fashion’s Night Out is the official kick-off to the most fashionable week of the year. Every September, over 500 cities nationwide participate in this event. I met up with some girlfriends at International Plaza in Tampa for a night of dressing up, posing on the red carpet, and of course, shopping.

I took a weekend trip up to Gainesville to visit one of my best friends, Jamie. We had planned this trip over a month ago but in the meantime, her boyfriend Paul popped the question and she is now engaged! It was a wonderful weekend being able to celebrate with the happy couple.

We spent an afternoon at the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens which was full of colorful flowers, bamboo gardens, hundreds of fresh herbs, and a lakefront view. We continued our relaxing weekend with Gator football, dinner at my favorite tapas spot Emiliano’s, a stop at the mall for some fall shopping, lattes at Starbucks, and a whole lot of home cooked food.

I’m looking forward to heading to my mom’s hometown in Ohio for the weekend. I’ll be spending the first day of autumn with temperatures in the 40’s and if I’m lucky, some leaves changing colors. It really is the little things that make me the happiest.

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City of Blinding Lights {Part 5}

As I conclude Part 5 of my NYC favorite things series, I have taken the time to look back and realize what an amazing two years it has been. For my final entry, I’ve put together my five best memories of living in The Big Apple.

 Five Best NYC Moments

1. Lady Gaga MTV Interview / Central Park Concert – I’m a huge Lady Gaga fan so living in NYC was the perfect opportunity to experience everything Gaga related. I was selected by MTV (twice) to take part in special on-air features about Gaga’s “Little Monsters.” The first interview, I dressed up in Gaga’s red lace VMA’s dress and was interviewed by her close friend and famed producer Davi Russo. Immediately after this interview, I ran over to Central Park and stood in line for 8 hours to see Gaga perform for the Good Morning America Summer Concert Series. The second interview I participated in was in the old TRL studio over Times Square. I was a part of the video release for “You & I” and Gaga herself was there for this one! I feel so lucky to have been included in these events.

2. The Hamptons – Although I adore the city, there is nothing quite like escaping to the Hamptons. Christen took me to East Hampton to stay at her family’s house for the weekend. Everything from the picturesque vineyards to the beautiful pool in the backyard to celebrities’ mansions lining the beaches was just surreal. I have never felt more glamorous and this is one of my best memories of living up north.

3. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade / Fourth of July Fireworks – Ever since I was a kid, I would wake up early on Thanksgiving morning to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with my brother. I never imagined that one day I would be front row for the action. With the massive floats passing us on the street, it felt almost as if we were in a dream. This past Fourth of July, I was lucky to be a part of the Macy’s “Ignite the Night” fireworks spectacular. Not only did we see four sets of fireworks blast off over the water but we also got to be a part of the NBC live telecast with Regis Philbin.

4. Jay-Z’s 40/40 Club Opening – I was invited to attend this exclusive celebrity-filled party. From the amazing hor d’oeuvres to the open champagne bar, everything about this party made me feel a part of the A-List. We were rubbing shoulders with Jay-Z, Russel Simmons, and Ashanti. I had such an great time dressing up and getting the red carpet treatment with my girlfriends.

5. Fashion’s Night Out – Every September, to kick off Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, NYC hosts Fashion’s Night Out. Over 250 stores from Fifth Avenue to Soho all extend their store hours and kick off the fashion filled week with goodie bags for their guests, open bars, DJ’s spinning, and in-store celebrity appearances. At my first Fashion’s Night Out, I was able to catch a glimpse of Rachel Zoe at Piperlime in Soho. I also ran into Chanel Creative Director and Style Icon Karl Lagerfeld. Last year, Leighton Meester was putting on a small concert inside of Tiffany & Co. on Fifth Ave. We spent the evening indulging in chocolates, champagne, and diamond-encrusted desserts. This event is hosted in many cities worldwide so even if you don’t live in NYC, you can still be a part of the action!

As I depart NYC today, I am so incredibly thankful to every single person I have met over the last two years. Without each and every one of you, my experience would not have been the same. I will never forget the time I spent in this unbelievable city and I look forward to what’s ahead for me.

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

Farewell New York City, see you again very soon.

So Long Sweet Summer

I’ve officially survived every season in NYC. Went through the brutal winter, watched the spring flowers blossom, soaked up the sun in the summertime and am welcoming my second autumn with open arms. The air has turned crisp and leaves are in their first stage of changing colors.

Back in August, my mom came up for a visit. She flew up on a Friday night but little did she know that a hurricane was approaching the north. We spent the stormy weekend indoors baking, playing Scrabble, and taking long walks on the Hudson in between the wind and rain. I thought moving out of Florida would keep me from having to deal with hurricanes but I sure was wrong!

During my mom’s visit to the Big Apple, we spent time enjoying the last few weeks of summer. Since we both love Frank Sinatra, I surprised her with tickets to a Sinatra show. We walked the High Line, wandered Chelsea Market, visited Mario Batali’s new Italian market, Eataly, and did plenty of shopping.

Going to Broadway shows had become one of my favorite things to do since moving here. We went to see Catch Me If You Can right before the show closed. Since it’s always been one of my favorite movies, I figured the show would be great, and I was right!

We ended off a fantastic week with a sky ride to Roosevelt Island, cupcakes at Sprinkles, and a bike ride through Central Park. What a great way to end the summer and I loved having my mom here to share the memories with me.

One of my favorite nights of the year is Fashion’s Night Out. All of the stores in the city stay open extra late, offer free champagne and desserts, give out gift bags, and host celebrity appearances. This year, I spent the first part of my night at Tiffany & Co. on Fifth Ave indulging on “diamond encrusted” desserts and watching a performance by Leighton Meester (Blair from Gossip Girl). The city had such an amazing vibe that night- people flooding the streets and music blaring from every store. This will always be one of my favorite nights of the year!

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week took place in September only steps away from my apartment at Lincoln Center. The whole area is full of fabulous fashion, celebrities, paparazzi, and designers. I decided to celebrate Fashion Week by going to visit Nicola Formichetti’s pop-up shop. He is Lady Gaga’s creative director, stylist, and close friend. He is the one responsible for all of her crazy outfits. The shop was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced- I felt like I was walking into a disco ball complete with feathers, leather, and loud music. It was completely brilliant.

I’ve been spending a lot of time with my friends from back home that also live in NYC. I feel so lucky to have so many of them with me in the big city. I’ve loved all of the great memories I’ve made with them this summer. I’m so grateful for all of my old friends but also for all of the new friends I’ve met too!

I started off the month of October by spending Columbus Day weekend in New Jersey with Alyssa. I went to visit her at her college and we spent a day at Six Flags riding rollercoasters and at their annual Halloween festival Fright Fest. On Sunday afternoon, we went out to a farm to pick apples and pumpkins. Since going to upstate New York last year to pick pumpkins, this has become one of my favorite yearly traditions.

One of the things I love most about living in New York City is finding out about random activities happening right down the street. My favorite band, Jack’s Mannequin, released a new album a few weeks ago. I found out they were doing an interview at the Apple Store in Soho to celebrate the album release. The front man, Andrew McMahon, is one of my musical heroes. The first concert I ever worked as a freshman in college was Jack’s Mannequin so they have a special place in my heart.

As most of you know, I landed my dream job in September. After five long years of being the intern, countless part time jobs and hundreds of resumes sent out, Sony Music came knocking at my door. I was offered a job in the marketing department at RCA Records. I feel so lucky to be working at one of the largest record labels in the world.

I got to go to my first concert last week as a “label employee.” I helped present the band Hot Chelle Rae with a platinum sales plaque. I had the opportunity to watch them perform on stage along with The Script- even got to bring some of my friends along to the show! I’m so excited to be a part of an amazing company and I look forward to what’s to come.