Friday, May 17, 2019

Have You Heard? // A Fine Frenzy - "What I Wouldn't Do"

Happy Friday Friends! I'm so glad that this week is over, and that we have some fun things but also some downtime planned! :)


This song is from yearrrrsss ago but it's still one of my favorites. It's so so so so so sweet. So I thought I'd share it today. After the shitty political week we're having (I can't even go there right now) I just wanted to be happy.



So, I hope that this sends you off into a happy Friday.

What are you up to this weekend?!


We are seeing The Sun Is Also A Star tonight. It was the cutest book ever, and I am not sure I can handle the screen adaptation. Both of the actors are so beautiful and it seems like they are going to have great on-screen chemistry. We'll see, Everything, Everything was not very good... even though I liked seeing it anyway. Then we have a bit of downtime before graduation for my cousins and their parties. My grandma is in town so I am excited to see her. My sister is off on a cruise (WOOHOO!) so we will try to hang out with my family and my nephew here. He's hanging out with my mom for the week. :) 

Other Posts This Week: Keep it Together // May 2019.

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!

XO,

Alexandra

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Keep It Together // May 2019

I'm going to be honest and say I am not sure where the last 4 weeks went! April and May have been so busy. Craving June and July and the downtime we will have!!

I am excited to post today with Lauren at Shooting Stars Mag for our Keep It Together!

If you are new here, this is our linkup for all things planners, memory keeping, and journaling. Please feel free to join us on the third Thursday of the month with any posts that fall into those categories! :)




Planning:




Nothing too new here, still LOVING being back in the EC planner.

Documenting:

2018 Goal Documenting:

Here are a few more photos of my most recent pages! I AM OFFICIALLY DONE WITH MY 2018 GOALS ALBUM! WOOOHOO! :) I got a pretty traveler's notebook for it too (ON SALE!) and I couldn't be more pleased with it! Here are a few photos, and the video is linked below!




2017 Travel Album:

I also (GASP) finished my 2017 travel album! I had my NYC documenting yet to finish, and I had one random empty page that I was able to pull together and I am SO HAPPY with it! :)








What's Next?!


I think it is finally time to work on documenting 2019. Right now I am leaning toward a Traveler's notebook style art/goal journal again. Mostly because I think it is fun to capture the goal piece, but we'll see what I end up doing! I also need to document my 2018 travels... I am torn on whether to do individual albums or one 2018 album (like all the past years)... what do you think? The main reason I am torn is because of the lack of Cuba photos. (SOBS FOREVER).

The How-To Fair:

My library is holding another "How To Fair" and this time around you get a booth that people can stop by rather than a presentation slot. I got a spot at the fair, so I will be there on June 15th if you live in the area and want to come say hi! I will have a little giveaway drawing as well! I'd love to see you there if you live nearby! :)

What do you think, should I document 2018 travel in one big album, or several little ones?! Poor Cuba. :( 

Please feel free to linkup with us below! We'd love to see what you are up to!

Make sure to hop on over and see Lauren's post! :)

XO,

Alexandra


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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

April 2019 Reads // Netgalley Backlog

HAPPY BOOK DAY FRIENDS! I checked off a lot of Netgalley picks this month. Woohoo, blowing through that queue! 



The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren* ARC, ebook

4 Stars - I highly recommend if you enjoy contemporary romance, especially with a lot of humor.

When Olive's twin sister contracts food poisioning during her wedding, she has to take her place on her (free) honeymoon. The only catch? It's nontransferable, so Olive will have to pretend to be her sister, and that she is married to the groom's brother. Who just happens to be the rudest man on the planet. Ethan and Olive expect to give each other space in Hawaii, but when they run into Olive's new boss and Ethan's ex things become more complicated. Where does pretending begin and end?

This book was SO. FUNNY. I loved Olive and Ethan, they were so funny and bantery. I also liked that the both had more fleshed out personalities than the characters in the last CL book. It cracked me up that they kept calling each other by the wrong names, and all of their hate-to-love sparring was so funny. I thought all of the situations that they ended up in throughout the book were incredibly comical and/or cringe worthy as well. Plus, a fake honeymoon and a vacation-centered romance novel is just pretty darn fun. I could have dealt with it being a bit more of a slow burn, and I felt like the dramatic turning point was a little drawn out, but overall I really liked this book. I think it was probably my second favorite CL book so far after Josh and Hazel. Highly recommend if you enjoy contemporary romance and humorous women's fiction.

Fight or Flight by Samantha Young library, physical book

4 Stars - I definitely recommend if you enjoy contemporary romance, and are looking for a fun read!

When Ava and Caleb meet in the airport, they instantly hate each other. Caleb is rude, pushy, and arrogant. Ava is spoiled, entitled, and recovering from a bad week. When they are seated next to each other on a flight things only get worse. However, when they land for an overnight layover, hate quickly becomes attraction. After a no-strings attached night together, they are dismayed to find out that not only are they on ANOTHER flight together, he's stuck in her city for a week, or two.

This book was a lot of fun to read. I like that it picked up right away and the string of annoying interactions the two of them end up in. It was really funny, and it gave the characters great chemistry right off the bat. There were some heavier parts related to the character's pasts, but it mostly worked and helped to explain their hesitance to start a relationship. For a little while in the middle I thought I might end up disliking it, but it turned back around. While they both made me want to pull my hair out from time to time... the chemistry was great and their relationship ended up being really very sweet. The Scottishness turned me to goo.Wee Yin. I die. Overall really enjoyed this one.

Geekerella by Ashley Poston library, physical book

4 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy contemporary YA, and nerd culture.

Ella grew up with her parents who met at a Starfield convention, even after their deaths, she carries the love of the show in her heart. When the movie-rooboot of Starfield is announced, Ella has a lot to say about it on her blog, namely how disappointed she is with the pick for the lead... a teen heart throb pretty boy. Darien is a fan of Starfield too, and it is his dream to be cast as the lead. However, his father/manager doesn't want the world to know that he's a nerd. It isn't "on brand". When Darien texts Elle by mistake they form an instant connection over all things Starfield that will help them navigate their various trials. Hers: an evil stepmother and catty stepsisters, His: an over-controlling dad/manager and all of the publicity stunts that come with being a star.

At first this book was just a little slow for me, but very quickly I became wrapped up in the plot and in the made up fandom of Starfield. It reminded me a bit of Fangirl in that way, but it didn't include fan fiction... just as an FYI for people who were not into that. :) I think the thing that I appreciated the most was how many points of the original tale were woven into this re-telling. It wasn't just Cinderella themed with the right family structure, Poston pulled in the pumpkin, the stroke of midnight, the shoe, etc. which was unusual and I really enjoyed it. I liked the teenage mindset, and I thought that the way they talked about the show and the importance of fiction was so important. Overall it was very cute! I am excited to read the companion book that came out recently.

A Matrimonial Advertisement (Parish Orphans of Devon #1) by Mimi Matthews library, physical book

4 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy proper, historical romance.

Captain Justin Thornton was an orphan who joined the military and worked his way up the ranks. After a particularly gruesome battle in India, and being captured by the enemy, he returns back to England to purchase land. His solicitor insists that life would be easier and more comfortable with a wife, so he places an matrimonial advertisement in the paper for Thornton. Thornton isn't too pleased with the idea but figures marrying an old maid would be easiest. However, when he meets Helena, the woman chosen shows up to meet him she's both young and beautiful. She's seeking his protection and he is immediately suspicious of her motives. However, he marries her anyway. What is she hiding? Can he exist in a marriage where he's actually invested?

Gah, I really enjoyed this book. It was so so cute. I think proper romance can be such a nice change from typical romance. I would definitely say that this is one of the steamier proper romances I've read, which was about perfect. There's nothing graphic, but things are kicked up a notch. Think heated glances vs. shy ones, skirts brushing pant legs vs. being helped into a carriage, the fellows wondering how a woman's hair looks unbound, more than one kiss, etc. I loved Thornton and Helena, I thought that their story was complicated and that their chemistry was good. I didn't feel like either of them was particularly horrible at communicating which was nice. I very much enjoyed this book and feel like I am becoming a big Mimi Matthews fan!

A Modest Independence (Parish Orphans of Devon #2) by Mimi Matthews* ARC, ebook

4 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy proper, historical romance. I recommend reading book one first, but it isn't strictly necessary.

Jenny Holloway has been given a living allowance by her dear friend Helena Thornton, and she's having trouble living with Helena and Justin Thornton as newlyweds. Jenny is determined not to fall victim to marriage, and therefore losing her independence. When she arrives in London at Tom Finchley's office to get her money and set out on an adventure, he's not so keen on letting her go. She'd like to travel to India to find Helena's brother who was presumed dead after a brutal battle. Tom doesn't think it safe for her to travel alone on such a journey, and moreover doesn't want her to leave him. When he jumps on the ship with her, posing as her half-brother she is outraged, but as the journey continues she finds she's very glad that he came along indeed.

I loved the first book in this series, and ended up enjoying this one just as much! I liked that both Jenny and Tom were no-nonsense characters, that gave them really good if not awkwardly frank conversations. No groaning over the lack of communication, and a lot of laughs along the way as a reader. I thought that their chemistry was great. I again, loved that this was a proper romance but it felt steamy. There were so many little moments in train compartments and on moonlit walks on the decks of steamer ships that were super swoony. I like that ultimately the characters stayed true to themselves, honest with each other, and were able to grow along the way. The travel aspect of this book was quite fun. I liked reading the research that the author did as far as the route, historical details, and guide books from the time period. I also feel that the author very accurately depicts how uncomfortable travel can be, but that some of us still feel the need to do it! I'm excited to see where the next book in the series will go!

Aurora Rising by Amy Kauffman and Jay KristoffARC, ebook

4.5 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy YA and Sci-fi. This one had major Guardians of the Galaxy and The Breakfast Club vibes to me!

On the day that Tyler is meant to choose his squad of elite teammates to share in interstellar missions, he gets caught in a space storm and saves the only living girl on a ship full of thousands of dead people. He consequently gets stuck with a team of misfits, and as they head out on their first mission, it is clear that they were not instructed for the task at hand. Something is very very wrong in the galaxy. As the girl he rescued becomes a part of the squad they must search the galaxy for answers and understand how to defeat the looming threat upon it.

As soon as I started this I knew it would be a LOT of fun! It very much reminded me of The Guardians of the Galaxy, The Breakfast Club, and Stranger Things. I also loved the addition of a heist and a space elf. I most enjoyed that this book starts out action packed, and there are not a lot of  moments of downtime. The squad moves from one piece of the puzzle to the next and there isn't time to be bored. I found this book funny, mysterious, sad, relevant to today's issues, and a little bit romantic. I liked that the chapters switched perspective, and the quirky crew that was brought together. Overall I really loved this book and am very excited to see where the series goes.

Pride & Prejudice & Other Flavors by Sonali DevARC, ebook

3.5 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy contemporary fiction with a bit of romance. I thought this was a solid P&P retelling!

Dr. Trisha Raje, a brilliant surgeon, has a new case: a female artist with a brain tumor that will kill her if it stays, and blind her if it goes. When she decides to forfeit her life for a few more weeks of sight, Trisha teams up with the patient's brother to try to change her mind. DJ has left a very prestigious job in Paris to be here for his sister, and is running his own catering company. DJ finds Dr. Raje to be blunt, rude, and arrogant. Trisha finds DJ infuriating, aimless, and very attractive. The two have nothing in common except for his sister's future. Can they get her to choose the surgery and extend her life?

This book started out slowly for me, and I wasn't loving it quite as much as I expected at first. I loved the cooking aspect of the story, but I had a hard time connecting with the ultra-rich family at the forefront of the novel. The more time that DJ and Trisha spent together, however, the more I enjoyed it! I appreciated the modern day take on the classic story, and enjoyed seeing it through the lens of Indian American culture. I thought Dev approached modern day racial issues in a very thoughtful and powerful way. I'm so glad that she included this in this novel, as these topics are incredibly important. I thought that DJ and Trisha's moment where they really have it out was SO true to P&P! As the big conflict came to the forefront of the story I became very invested in what would happen. Overall I wish it would have been a bit more of a romance, because I wanted a little more tension between the characters. I liked the family parts, but I also wanted more of those relationships. It wasn't completely a family drama either. Because it doesn't fit a mold super well I'm having trouble rating it. I think I just wanted more cooking, more romantic tension, more charming family moments. I do think that this will all get more fleshed out as the series goes along. I'd be interested to read her other novels which I can only assume will be about Trisha's siblings. :)

Here are a few good quotes from this book:

"This is our home. This country is yours. Take everything you need. Give everything you have. From the beginning of time, humans have migrated. We've claimed the land and let it claim us. Don't ever fulfill anybody else's definition of your relationship with your country. How many generations ago their forefathers got here may be how some people stake their claim, but I stake min with how much I give. How wholly I love. This place called to me, I'm here, it's mine. And now, it's yours."

"The entire "what goes around comes around" thing was a backward view of karma. Karma was simply Sansrit for action, and the theory was that your actions are the only thing under your control, as opposed to the fruits of your actions, which are not. And since actions always bear fruit, you were better off focusing your energy on your own actions, rather than worrying about the results you wanted them to produce."

Romanov by Nadine Brandes* ARC, ebook

3.5 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy YA historical fiction or alternate histories. This does have a bit of a fantasy element.

When the Romanov family steps down from the Russian throne they are put into exile. When former Tsar is taken to St. Petersberg for trial the family's fate is unknown. Soon they are all shipped further away into a house and are kept as prisoners. There was never going to be a trial, and they do not know how long they will survive. Nastya holds and hides a family heirloom with the magic to save them all, but she doesn't know when and how to use it. Will she be able to save her family before the Bolshevik kill them?

If you know me, you know that I adore Anastasia the 1997 animated film, and it's Broadway counterpart. Because of that I've always been fascinated by the lives and mystery behind the Romanov family. I had to request this book, and I really wanted to love it. While the story was compelling and written in a fast-paced way it felt a little young for me at first. I thought all of the pranking was very middle-school and it didn't make the book feel very serious, despite the struggle. Mid-way through the book the tone was very serious and the instances that occurred were very much more what I would have expected historically. It was incredibly violent and sad. It took me a while to figure out the magic system, because the main character doesn't know it either. I think the tonal shifts combined with a magic that you didn't understand made it a little disjointed for me. In the end it was a quick read and I enjoyed it overall. I appreciate how much research the author did on the family and their history. There were a lot of good quotes that I wanted to remember ...

"That was how sisters worked. When one was weak, another picked up the strength."

"The bond of our hearts spans miles, memory, and time."

"Papa says they are only trying to serve their country. The problem is, their country  has branded us as enemies. That's not our fault. that's not the Bolshevik soldier's fault."

"... Papa leading us in prayer. More tears came from our eyes than words from our mouths. Papa always said that tears were the most fervent prayers. So I let them flow."

Escape to Everly Manor by Chalon Linton* ARC, ebook

3 Stars - I might recommend if you enjoy proper romance. This doesn't make the top of my list, but passes the time ok.

After their parents die in an accident, Lizzy and her younger brother Thomas are at the Mercy of their cruel uncle. He has indentured Thomas to work on a ship and has agreed to marry Lizzy to a man more than twenty years her age. Lizzy knows that they must run away to stay together and to have a chance at happiness. During their escape they end up in a few harrowing situations and feel that their uncle is close behind. When they meet Barton, he makes it his mission to help the siblings, without letting them know that he is the Lord of Everly Manor.

At first this felt a little hurried for me. Each piece of the action was quickly strung together, without a lot of explanation of the past. I didn't get a good feel for why their uncle was so horrible, and that definitely came back to bite later in the book. However once the story picked up a little bit it flowed a little more naturally. I liked Lizzy's relationship with her brother Thomas, and her naive tenacity to get away from their uncle. I thought that once Barton joined the story and the perspectives switched back and forth it was more fun to read. I enjoyed their chemistry and Thomas's interactions with the Everly family. I did feel that without the villain being well set up in the beginning the climactic parts were not as meaningful to me. In the end the solution felt a bit convenient, but I did like how things wrapped up. Overall this was enjoyable, but not quite what I look for in a proper romance.

Monthly totals:

Read - 9
Owned - 0
Ebook - 6
Physical book - 3
ARC - 6
Library/Borrowed - 3
Bought - 13 (10 physical, 3 ebook)
To Let Go - 6

Yearly Totals:

Read - 31
Owned - 11
Ebook - 19
Physical book - 13
ARC - 14
Library/Borrowed - 7
Bought - 39 (31 physical books, 8 ebooks) -- this does include a boxed set of The Chronicles of Narnia books for $40! SCORE!
To Let Go - 12


Linking up with Jana and Steph for Show Us Your Books today. :) 


What have you been reading? What do you hope to read this month?! 


Let's be friends on Goodreads!


XO,


Alexandra

* Asterisks denote titles that I was given advance access to by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. These reviews are my own opinion, and based on the edition of the book I was given at the time. Thank you Netgalley

**Double asterisks denote books won via a goodreads giveaway! 

***Triple asterisks denote titles that I was given advance access to by Penguin First to Read in exchange for an honest review. These reviews are my own opinion, and based on the edition of the book I was given at the time. Thank you Penguin First to Read!


****Quadruple asterisks denote titles that I was given advance access to by the author of the book in exchange for an honest review. These reviews are my own opinion and based on the edition of the book I was given at the time! 

Friday, May 3, 2019

Have You Heard? // Ellie Goulding - "Sixteen"

HAPPY FRIDAY FRIENDS! It has been the longest feeling week after two three day work weeks. I know, it's not a bad problem to have, but it *feels* long!


Ellie Goulding has released another new single, and it is much more catchy and lots of fun. I REALLY HOPE SHE HAS A NEW ALBUM SOON! :) Though I will say, flux has very much grown on me. I really really like it now!



What do you think of this single?! (trying not to think too much about what these supposed 16 year olds are doing in this video! THIS WAS NOT MY EXPERIENCE --- lol!)

What are you guys doing this weekend?!

We have the busiest weekend!! It's my sister's birthdayyyyy!! We are going to the Kansas Food Truck Festival, to another birthday party, and a goodbye party for my friend Rachel. I'm going to try not to be sad that they are leaving us!! Also Game of Thrones. I just don't even know what's going to happen post Battle of Winterfell. 

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!

XO,

Alexandra

Monday, April 29, 2019

Snapshots of NYC // Day 5 // LOTS OF BOOKSTORES! // October 2017

In the fall of 2017 we took a trip to NYC. We had never been, and honestly had more fun than we were expecting to! I'm finally getting my act together and getting these posted! :) If you missed my posts with Days 1 & 2Day 3, and Day 4 check them out.

Day 5 was our last day in the city. We spent a lot of it rounding up things that we wanted to check off of our list. It ended up being a bit of a bookstore day! Not complaining!























Eat: We tended to eat several partial meals from time to time... It was a little sporadic! We only had one meal on this day, because the other was at the airport... and I'm betting we picked up a pastry for breakfast at Starbucks. :) 
  • The Meatball Shop (West Village) -  I swear this place was just called Balls. Maybe they changed it...? Googling Balls NYC probably isn't going to get you great search results... I loved the atmosphere at this place, they also have 3 other locations in the city. KC tried the buffalo chicken meatballs and I tried something a bit more classic. This was a fun place, and nearby a bookstore that I needed to see. :) 
See: More of Central Park, Different Parts of the City, and lotsssss of bookstores!


Shop: I made it my personal mission to explore tons of book shops while in NYC. I'm sure you are shocked. Here are the ones we saw on day 3. I'll have to do a round up post in the end when I finish. 

  • Books of Wonder (Uptown) - This is a children's and young adult used and new bookstore. It is a hot spot where a lot of authors do readings, and they have a lot of signed books as well. If you love children's or YA books. This is a super fun bookstore to visit! They do have another location Downtown.
  • Idlewild Books (West Village) - this was probably my favorite bookstore that we visited because it was all based around travel, language, and culture books. I love to read travel fiction and memoirs! They even have fun cookbooks, etc. The person working on the day we went didn't say two words to us... but the book selection was awesome! They also teach language classes! They have another location in Brooklyn.
  • Three Lives & Co. (Greenwich Village) - This was a really fun, manageable sized bookstore. It was in a fun area, and had a really well curated selection of popular and literary fiction and nonfiction.
  • Housing Works Bookstore and Cafe (??) - This place was interesting, the layout was really cool... but it definitely wasn't my favorite of the stores we visited. I liked that they had a big social justice agenda, were very welcoming to all, and that the had used books for sale. It didn't feel very cozy to me, and it was a little hard to get around the upper balcony when there were other people there. It was ok but not our favorite. If you lived there, I could see it being a go-to.
  • Book Culture (Columbus Ave. Location) - This small store is packed to the gills with both books and people. I wanted to love it, it had a very clean but not stark vibe... but it ended up being one of my least favorites...but that might be because it was hard to move around!
  • Pink Olive (West Village) - This stationery store is cute as a button. I loved their selection of stationery, gifts, and prints. I found a few things to add to my paper collection. They have several locations across the city.
Do: while walking around the city itself is PLENTY to do, we did see some other great places as well! We enjoyed seeing more of the city, especially the village on this day. :) 

Stay: We stayed at Pod 51 hotel. It was very economical!!! It's bare bones, but very clean and in a safe area. Just make sure to check what type of room they are reserving. They do have shared rooms and shared bathroom situations.

Favorites: The Meatball Shop, Idlewild Books, and Pink Olive.

New Experiences: A travel themed bookstore, a children's books bookstore, and a meatball restaurant.

Have you been to NYC? 
What were some of your favorite things to do? 

Have you been to any of these places? 


Do you like to visit everyday spots like bookstores when you travel?!

Do you have any fun trips coming up?! We are heading to Memphis soon, and then somewhere really exciting in December! Any guesses?!


Other NYC Posts: Days 1 & 2Day 3, Day 4, and Anastasia on Broadway.

More NYC travel day posts coming soon!

Happy Travels!

XO,


Alexandra

More NYC travel day posts coming soon!

Happy Travels!

XO,

Alexandra

Friday, April 26, 2019

Have You Heard? // Taylor Swift - "Me!"

Alright, Taylor Swift dropped her new single last night. Have you heard it yet? I was up reading, but we honestly probably would have stayed up anyhow. It was only 11 PM here. :)

image via google.

Honestly, I was surprised to see this single being a collab, and with Brendon Urie from Panic! At the Disco. I really like it though. It's so catchy.



I was a little skeptical of the branding, but honestly I really like it now. It's so fun and bright. The music video is bonkers but I really actually like that as well. Cats and Whimsy forever. I thought this was going to be another song where she talks about how great she is, but at least she's acknowledging that there isn't another guy like him too. LOL.

image via google.


I do think this will be on her new album, especially because of the snake at the beginning of the video. She's changing her brand again, and I think commissioning an (AWESOME) mural, all of the thought gone into her social media, and this song... it's got to be the lead-in for an all around (happier) Taylor Swift album. Someone online mentioned that she hasn't really released a "song of the summer" before, and that feels like just what this is going to be... to me. Who knows though, we'll see.

image via google.


I will be honest... if only our vacation had been a wee bit later we could have impulsively driven to Nashville to take a photo by the mural! LOL (Not with the reveal, but just in general). Someday!

What do you think of this single?!

I hope that the album comes soon!

What are you guys up to this weekend?!

We need to run to the burbs to make some returns, have Olivia's last volleyball game (we missed the others. :( ), I have my Alumni Tea at my house I lived in, and then Endgame, and THEN Game of Thrones. Sunday is going to be a sad sad day. LOL

HAPPY WEEKEND! At least you have your catchy tune for the weekend!

XO,

Alexandra

Monday, April 22, 2019

Snapshots of NYC // Day 4 // Times Square, Wicked, and Top of the Rock // October 2017

In the fall of 2017 we took a trip to NYC. We had never been, and honestly had more fun than we were expecting to! I'm finally getting my act together and getting these posted! :) If you missed my posts with Days 1 & 2, and Day 3 check them out.

On day 4 we spent a lot of time in the Times Square area, not because we wanted to particularly see it... .but because we saw Wicked there and planned to visit Top of the Rock. So... we ended up hanging out there for most of the day.






The elevator at the Times Square Disney Store. I love it!!














She doesn't look happy about the crowd either.

ugh













Eat: We tended to eat several partial meals from time to time... It was a little sporadic!
  • Bagels (Midtown) - I'm going to be real and say... I don't remember where we got these bagels. It was a chain near our hotel... and they were just ok for me. But hey, we tried NYC bagels. *shrugs*
  • Hot Dog (from a stand) - Apparently this was a day for trying foods you really think of in New York. It did the trick.
  • Magnolia Bakery - I got the German Chocolate Cake, which was SO GOOD. It was the bday cake that my mom made for my dad every year, and this is the best version I've had anywhere but at home. KC got the Banana Pudding -- which apparently is what you are supposed to get there. And he said it was really good. I can't eat bananas so I didn't try it. 1.5 years later we are thinking we got ANOTHER thing to split... since we ate so randomly on this day... but we don't know what it was. Bottom line: this place is super busy, but the food is good!!!
  • Shake Shack (Times Square) - So, we've established that KC and I are Shake Shack fans. We went to the one in Times Square fairly late and split some food. It wasn't NEARLY as good as the one in Vegas or the one we had earlier in the trip. LOL
See: Times Square, and Top of the Rock.

Shop: 

  • The Disney Store (Times Square) - A massive Disney Store?! Yes please! I loved that the escalator ride was accompanied by the lanterns from Tangled! 
  • Toys R Us (Times Square) - We did go into a Toys R Us, because my sister Olivia said she wanted a New York Barbie. :) 
Do: while walking around the city itself is PLENTY to do, we did see some other great places as well!
  • Wicked on Broadway (Times Square) - We decided to see a more typical musical while we were there as well. We landed on Wicked. Neither of us had seen it or really listened to the music. I am a hit-or-miss musical fan... sometimes they are A LOT for me. This was about as far on the "a lot" spectrum as I could go. The sets, costumes, etc. etc. were fabulous. The actors were talented too! Not sure I'd put this in my favorites though. Also, why do all musicals have to be at least a little depressing?! LOL
  • Top of the Rock - We decided to go to Top of the Rock after hearing about the good reviews. I love to see a city from high up. As you can see from the photos it was PACKED up there. We bought tickets so we could be there around golden hour, just like everyone else did. If you don't like crowds I wouldn't recommend this. Here are some tips to make it easier:
    • If you get motion sick or dizzy, I would not recommend looking up at the countdown video on the ceiling of the elevator on the way up. Just say no.
    • Expect the crowd and wait your turn to get a good view/photos. Don't be too hesitant though, or you'll never get up to the glass.
    • Go VERY early and stay if you are really concerned about the view photos. The ENTIRE upper deck was completely full the whole time.
    • Have fun with whoever you're with and enjoy the view, ignore the people. If you see someone struggling to get to the front, offer to help. We kept seeing older folks up there who just looked dazed and overwhelmed. They eventually settled for other areas. That made me SO SAD.
    • If you go up in the late afternoon or anytime close to sunset there is really no need to buy the "sun and stars pass" we went up somewhere near 4 pm and thought we'd eat and go back up later. But we ended up staying instead. It was a waste of money, so think carefully about whether you want it or not. 
    • The staff inside the building were kind of rude to us, we tried to take a photo inside at the top, and they wouldn't let us even look out the windows there. I have no idea why. But later some teenagers did and no one said anything to them. Not sure if it is a rule, or if we just had grumpy people.

Stay: We stayed at Pod 51 hotel. It was very economical!!! It's bare bones, but very clean and in a safe area. Just make sure to check what type of room they are reserving. They do have shared rooms and shared bathroom situations.

Favorites: The Disney Store at Times Square, The German Chocolate Cake at Magnolia Bakery, and the VIEWS at Top of the Rock.

New Experiences: Wicked, Being Quite So High Up, Magnolia Bakery, and NYC Bagels and Hot dogs.

Have you been to NYC? 
What were some of your favorite things to do? 

Have you been to any of these places? 

Do you have any fun trips coming up?! We are heading to Memphis soon, and then somewhere really exciting in December! Any guesses?!

Other NYC Posts: Days 1 & 2, Day 3, and Anastasia on Broadway.

More NYC travel day posts coming soon!

Happy Travels!

XO,


Alexandra