City of Blinding Lights {Part 2}

I’m excited to share this post with you since it has to do with two of my favorite things! There’s nothing like a really great dessert and a brand new pair of shoes. And if you were wondering where to find these two things in the city, you’re in luck.

Five Favorite NYC Desserts

1. Vanilla Cupcakes at Magnolia’s Bakery – Although I prefer chocolate over vanilla any day, these vanilla cupcakes are unlike any other. You can watch the cupcakes being iced right behind the counter. They taste like they were baked in your grandma’s kitchen and there is just something so wonderful about them.

2. Frozen Yogurt at Pinkberry – Pinkberry is located in various states around the country but it was in NYC that I first fell in love. There are several flavors close to my heart- the original tart, mango, and salted caramel. I love the various toppings they put on the frozen yogurt. Here’s a little inside tip- they have cheesecake bites hidden in the back so don’t be afraid to ask for them when ordering.

3. Chocolate Cannolis at Ferrara Bakery – As if I didn’t love regular cannolis enough, they decided to dip these in a chocolate hard shell. If you’ve never been to this bakery in Little Italy, I suggest you stop by as soon as possible. I love ordering the mini pastries so I can try out a bunch of different ones. My other recommendations are the fresh fruit tartlets and cream puffs.

4. Salted Caramel Gelato at Il Laboratorio del Gelato – This is the best gelato I’ve had outside of Italy. There’s something so amazing about this savory sweet flavor. The best part about this spot is that they have over 250 flavors to choose from and they’re all created in the laboratory right behind the counter. This Lower East Side spot is perfect for an after dinner treat. They have all of the classic gelato flavors as well as my other favorites- root beer, cream cheese, and lavender.

5. Vanilla Soft Serve Cone with Chocolate Sprinkles at Mister Softee – I understand that this is a simple ice cream truck that serves basic ice cream cones but Mister Softee and I have a special relationship. Being a huge ice cream lover, it’s great that Mister Softee has about 100 trucks that can be found all over Manhattan. Let me warn you though, make sure you only purchase from the REAL Mister Softee because there are knock-off trucks trying to fool people all over the city.

Five Favorite NYC Shopping Spots

1. Forever 21 in Times Square – I’m a huge Forever 21 fan and what could be more amazing than a five story location in the heart of Manhattan? Despite the tourists and hundreds of preteen girls flocking to the store, it’s still one of my favorite places to shop.

2. Henri Bendel Flagship Store on Fifth Avenue – Every time I walk into Bendel’s, I like to pretend I’m Blair Waldorf stepping into a shopping mecca. I have purchased some of my favorite jewelry inside of this gorgeous store. Every girl needs something that sparkles and this is the place to find it.

3. Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market – Before moving to NYC, I never appreciated a good flea market. I thought they were full of junk and never took the time to notice they were full of treasures. They sell everything from jewelry to antiques to vintage clothing. This weekend market is open year round and is the perfect way to spend an afternoon.

4. Topshop – If I was forced to spend all of my money in one store, it would definitely be Topshop. They have the most unique selection of clothing, shoes, and accessories. Although the prices don’t allow for frequent shopping sprees, I can be caught perusing the racks and drooling over the shoes quite often.

5. Century 21 – This Financial District shopping staple is a great place to spot a good deal. I recommend hitting the store during the week when the tourists are at a minimum. My favorite part of this location is the massive warehouse-type room filled with every kind of purse imaginable. Although you’ll spend at least 30 minutes in line for the fitting room, you’ll always walk out with a great purchase.

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Farewell Winter Nights

Going to concerts has all been one of my most memorable activities growing up. Seeing your favorite bands play live is one of the most thrilling experiences I can think of. I was lucky to see two of my favorite bands play this month. I saw my all time favorite band Jack’s Mannequin play at Irving Plaza with my roommate Laura. Although I’ve seen them play about ten times now, I was as excited as if I were seeing them for the first time. Then last Friday, my friend Chris and I went to see Sleigh Bells at Terminal 5. They played their noisy, electronic, dance tracks and it was one of the craziest live shows I’ve ever seen!

My friend Emily who I worked with at the UCF Arena came up to NYC to play at Rockwood Music Hall. She’s an extremely talented musician and it was so cool seeing her perform live. She’s on her way to stardom!

Since her show was on the Lower East Side, my friend Flo and I decided to explore that side of town afterwards. I created a “NYC Bucket List” with things I want to do while I’m here. I always hear of great places to eat and visit yet always seem to forget about them when the moment arises. One place I’ve wanted to visit was Il Laboratorio del Gelato. It’s a gelato factory and shop that has over 250 flavors. After spending 15 minutes taste testing and deciding, I chose cream cheese and salted caramel gelato. It was one of those life changing desserts, the gelato was so rich and creamy. I’m already looking forward to going back and trying out new flavors!

This past weekend, Courtney and I decided to cross some things off my bucket list. I had heard of this pie place in Dumbo, Brooklyn called Bubby’s. We ventured down there on Saturday afternoon. The weather has been so beautiful. It’s been chilly but the sun has been shining and there has hardly been a cloud in the sky. We walked around the Brooklyn waterfront, discovered Jane’s Carousel near the harbor, and finished the afternoon at Bubby’s indulging in some peanut butter and key lime pie. What a perfect Saturday!

On Saturday night, Lauren and I went on a snow tubing adventure in New Jersey. We bought a deal through Living Social and took a bus from the city out to the snowy slopes. We spent the evening snow tubing, drinking hot chocolate, and playing in the snow. Our fun night ended with a midnight buffet at a nearby pub.

To top off the holiday weekend, we took the ferry over to Staten Island for the afternoon. The tourism video in the ferry station made it look much more appealing than it really was. We ate lunch at a little pub called Steiny’s and walked around the town of St. George. After about two hours on the island, we decided to take the ferry back to Manhattan. We stopped in the financial district to see the new Freedom Tower and do some shopping at Century 21. Courtney and I finished off the day with something sweet- Toasted Marshmallow Milkshakes at Stand4 in Union Square!

I have so much to look forward to in the next month! I’m off to Florida next week to begin my 24th birthday celebrations. Cannot wait to see my family, spend time on the beach, BBQ in the backyard, and celebrate turning another year older.