So, I am back in the UK and finally clean and unpacked, and I've had time to sit back and have a period of reflection on what was a truly fabulous birthday weekend.
After a bit of a crappy last few months of not being able to shake off some health issues, it was the tonic I needed. Now, even if the rest of 2013 is complete dogshit, I'll be able to look back on this year and say YES. That was the year I had that awesome trip to NY.
After a pretty stressful few hours before the flight out to JFK -- flying standby does have it's disadvantages - we finally got on the flight and I only had to take one Valium! I think I'm actually cured of my fear of flying now, but I still take one anyway, cos, you know, holiday.
We'd arranged to stay in an apartment through Airbnb and it was actually a bit of a shithole but in a great location on Central Park West so we managed to look past the fact that there wasn't actually a bed. NO BED. Or curtains. Or blankets.
But whatever! It was opposite The Dakota! Where John Lennon was shot! Also, we were close to Columbus Circle and seeing as I'm fully obsessed with Whole Foods, this was great. Who needs a bed anyway?
On Friday, Chris and I came and met the lovely xoJane staff and they were all as delightful in the flesh (even more-so) than through the means of Instagram. And they all smell SO GOOD. Like, seriously good. I think it's all the positivity in there. Can you smell positivity? If you can, it smells like Emily's hair.
They made Chris and I feel so welcome and I got to bounce around on Madeline's Pilates ball and wang about in Jane's office and got taught all about Kombucha. It sounds fucking weird if I'm honest but hey, if it makes you high, who am I to argue?
There were of course two main reasons I wanted to go to New York City (other than to pop in on the xoJaners). These were shopping, and the food. We had SO MANY great suggestions on places to go and eat during our trip, and we tried to fit in as many as our bellies would allow. Some highlights:
Juicy Lucys and fried pickles at Whitmans, as recommended by Felicia, the beautiful xoJane intern with the most bodacious brows in town. I think if Chris could have actually had sex with his burger, he would have. He took a photo of it and it is now his background on his phone, and he's trying to put a business plan in place so that he can open a burger joint that sells exclusively these burgers. Not even joking.
Brunch in Greenwich Village. So many people mentioned brunch, and we wanted to find all the great places you recommended but due to me having no phone with Internet, we just ended up stumbling into a place and hoping for the best. What I didn't realise was that your brunches include unlimited booze! That's incredible. They'd never in a million years let you do that in the UK, no-one would ever get anything done, ever. We'd all be brunching, all the time.
We had avocado omelettes (not that bothered) with unlimited Bloody Mary's and Mimosas (very bothered). We necked about 5 in an hour and then went straight to an ice hockey game at the Prudential Centre and got absolutely steaming. I don't really remember much of the game except that I LOVED IT. YEAH SPORT!
4am Cheese Pie at Big Nick's. When we left the ice hockey game, we ended up out with a couple of guys we met and went for a few beers with them. We were seriously flagging by 4 am and they took us to Big Nick's diner, where they ordered a cheese pizza (they called it pie? Is that a thing?) and we devoured the lot in about 45 seconds. One of the guys actually managed to get a great action shot of when the pie was delivered to our table. The next day Chris threw it all up all over the street, but we'll gloss over that.
As for the beauty shopping -- MAN ALIVE I went cray. I got a ton of stuff you guys recommended in the post the other week, but I haven't got round to trying it all yet. I'll make sure I update you on how I get on! My favourite top buys thus far are as follows (I would list everything but you'd get SO bored):
Clinique Chubby Sticks & Chubby Stick Shadow Tints: These are the same price in £ as they are in $ here so obviously I bought three because COST SAVINGS etc. I bought Mighty Mimosa and Two Ton Tomato for my lips, and they are sheer and moisturising, and took care of the chapped flaky bits I got from being dehydrated on the flight over. The shadow sticks are great too, a couple of swipes over the lid, no faffing with brushes, and the colour stays crease-free all day. Fabulous.
Queen Helene Mint Julep Face Scrub: SO MANY people recommended the original face mask, but as my face isn't that oily I decided that it probably wasn't worth it for me. The scrub however, is right up my street. I don't know why, but I love the action of sloughing off all my dead skin, and my face genuinely felt like a piece of silky underwear after I'd used it. And it was completely bargainous, retailing at about $3 something in a chemist.
Flower About Face Foundation with Primer: Firstly, I am so blown away by the luxe packaging of the Flower cosmetics range -- the bottle of this feels really high end and the product inside doesn't disappoint either. Considering it retails at just over $13, the product is fantastic. I wore this all day walking the streets of Manhattan and I still looked photo-fresh by the end of the day, even after jet lag and a hangover to rival a nervous breakdown tried to drag me down. I also picked up some of the Color Play Creme Eyeshadow, which I'm also loving.
Tom Ford Black Orchid Perfume: This was my big splurge, as I've wanted it for ages and I knew that I'd never justify buying it at home. It's on the pricier end of the scent market (for me anyway) so this was a BIG DEAL for me. Anyway, it is -- pure and simple -- a masterpiece. It's a heady mix of ylang, bergamot, patchouli-incense and vetiver, with the creaminess of a touch of vanilla and some sandlewood. When I put it on, I feel like a rich, sexy widow who manages to always wear matching underwear when in fact I have about 2 bras and I've accidentally worn my knickers inside out two days in a row.
So anyway, those are the products that I've actually had time to try so far and am completely enamoured with. You'll be pleased to know that I bought some Dr Boner's! I am going to brush my teeth with it and everything. I'M bringing it to the UK, you guys!
What products are you getting excited over? Got a new perfume? Ever eaten a cheese pizza at Big Nick's? God I wish I could remember more of it. I think it was really good.
Eating and Tweeting: @Natalie_KateM