New York, New York…

…it’s a hell of a town! I just got home from the Big Apple last night and I can’t wait another second to write about how much fun I had! New York City at Christmas is the most magical place (sorry, Disney!) and I took plenty of pictures to prove it.

Day One

We set out for the airport at about 8:30 AM with six suitcases (we don’t travel lightly) and a desire for Starbucks. …okay, the desire for Starbucks was just mine, and it was fulfilled right after we got through security – iced coffee makes me a happy traveler! Our flight was on time, and we set off at about 11:00 AM for NYC.

About two and half hours later, we landed at LaGuardia Airport (the least-favorite airport of our dear President Elect, thus making it my new favorite airport). We took an Uber from the airport to our hotel in Midtown, and driving through the city was as terrifyingly thrilling as always. After settling in and unpacking the bare necessities, we set off for some holiday cheer at Saks Fifth Avenue. If you weren’t aware, Saks has an incredible holiday light show and themed windows every year. The theme this year was “A Land of 1000 Delights,” a retelling of the story of the Nutcracker.

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After marveling at Saks for about a half hour, we made our way to Rockefeller Center to see the famous Christmas Tree! It was huge. I couldn’t stop wondering where all the giant pine needles were – I expected to see them littering the ground. It was absolutely packed with people, so getting good pictures was a struggle, but I persevered:

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On our way back to the hotel, we came across Lord & Taylor and their holiday windows. I’m so glad I got to see them, because they ended up being my favorite! The theme was “Enchanted Forest,” and the displays were the cutest!

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We finally headed back to the hotel, completely exhausted from our long day of flying and window-watching and ready for a good night’s sleep; too bad our hotel had the least comfortable pillows ever created.

Day Two

First stop: more holiday windows! We set out to see a few more stores and their displays, and we were definitely not disappointed. Bloomingdales themed their windows on the concept of “light,” so each display had chandeliers created by different artists. This one was my favorite:

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Next stop, Barneys! Their theme was “Love, Peace and Joy” (no oxford comma???) I didn’t find it to be particularly holly jolly, or even very wintery, but it was cool nonetheless! For every photo shared with the hashtag #LovePeaceJoyProject, Barneys donates $5 to charity, so that’s pretty awesome.

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After Barneys, we stopped at Tiffany’s on Fifth Avenue. The crowds were insane. The entire area was closed to traffic due to everyone’s favorite tangerine taking up residence in his personal skyscraper. There were more NYPD officers than I’ve ever seen in one place at one time, and I couldn’t help but wonder exactly how much it was costing the city to protect the living Cheeto… Anyway, of course I had to take a picture in front of a Tiffany’s window and channel my inner Holly Golightly!

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Across the street, I was lucky enough to see one of my favorite CNN reporters on the scene outside of Trump Tower: Phil Mattingly! We listened to him talk to Wolf Blitzer for a few minutes, and I was struck by just how much waiting around television reporters do. Eventually, the cops made the crowd that had gathered by the cameras disperse, so we headed for a good pasta dinner before the event of the evening: the Christmas Spectacular starring the Radio City Rockettes!

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I didn’t take many photos during the show, and the ones I did take were depressingly low-quality, so I’ll just leave you with this: the level of precision that the Rockettes achieve in every dance is stunning. Some amazing special effects (SNOWFLAKE DRONES) and surprisingly touching stories made for an incredible show that I would recommend to anyone looking for the full NYC Christmas experience.

Day Three

Most of our time on Thursday was spent killing time before the main event: the Book of Mormon on Broadway! First, we stopped by Macy’s at Herald Square to see their decorations and get out of the cold for a little while. I love Herald Square, but the place is kind of a wind tunnel, so I was pretty desperate to get inside as soon as possible.

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After a hearty meal of wings and mozzarella sticks, we made our way to the Eugene O’Neill theater. It’s a beautiful, classic theater with comfortable seats and universally great views. I’ve seen Book of Mormon once prior when it came to Orlando on tour, and I found that the actor who played Elder Cunningham took him just a little too far for my taste – he was almost too annoying to be sympathetic. Conversely, Christopher John O’Neill was incredible as Elder Cunningham on Broadway. He was funny, likable, weird, and completely perfect. Five stars from me!

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Day Four

Our penultimate day in the city was spent at holiday markets! Holiday markets are the greatest things ever, and the churro pretzel I had at the Union Square market was one of the most delicious meals I had on the entire trip. Every holiday market we went to was eclectic and unique, and you simply cant miss them if you’re in the city at Christmastime.

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After a day of eating and ornament shopping, we took the subway to my favorite place in the world: the Metropolitan Museum of Art. If you know me, you know I’m a total art history nerd. I could spend hours wandering around the Met and I probably still wouldn’t see everything there is to see. I’ll spare you guys the gory details and just share a couple photos:

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Day Five

It SNOWED overnight! I could hardly believe my eyes when I looked outside of our hotel window in the morning. I’d never seen snow before, and I feel so lucky that my first time really seeing it was in NYC at Christmastime! We hurried out of the room and took the train to Central Park, where I took some of my favorite photos of all time:

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I got to throw my first snowball and only slipped on ice twice! Some thoughts on snow from a newbie: it’s cold and it’s also the best stuff ever. I wish we got it in Florida, but I guess I’ll just have to settle for traveling to see it (for now). It was cold and humid outside, which isn’t the best combination, so we hurried through the Columbus Circle holiday market and into a nearby Whole Foods to eat some seasonally-appropriate sushi. Our last day in the city flew by and before I knew it, we were back in the hotel room and packing again.

Day Six

Our flight home was a breeze (although finding Starbucks in the airport was not – thanks LaGuardia). I got the window seat and some airplane pretzels, which is basically all it takes to make me happy. Heading home from a trip is always a bummer, but at least I got to finish my latest book on the journey: “#GIRLBOSS” by Sophia Amoruso! I highly recommend it for any girls looking for some super inspiring life and career advice.

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2016 sucked royally, but I’m so happy that I got to end it in one of my favorite places. Now that I’m back home, I’m mentally preparing for Christmas – only six more days! If you read this doozy of a post, thanks for your dedication! In the future, I’ll probably split up long posts into several parts. In other unrelated news, I’m probably going to buy my own domain soon and visually upgrade this blog with my hard-earned HTML skills. Look out for big things ahead!