Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

HappyMemorialDay

Happy Memorial Day Weekend everybody! Are you out traveling, or staying in and bbq’ing it-up this weekend? My good friend is getting married in 3 weeks, so we treated her to a Los Angeles staycation bachelorette weekend. It all began at Glen Ivy, the Disneyland of Spas!

SpaDay1 (Me and the future-bride, Brenda)

Given that it is a holiday weekend, we arrived at 10am and the admission cost was $65. I’m not one to do any spa treatments… I don’t even get my nails painted (Im a DIY-er, you know), but this $65 fee is worth it. This place has thought of everything. It’s a great women’s retreat full of amenities, natural pools, floating pools, pool aerobics, jacuzzis, steam rooms, saunas etc. And for those with more money to spend, they offer massages and other spa packages at an additional price. This was a great bachelorette party activity, and even a great girl’s weekend getaway. At an hour outside of LA, you feel removed from the city and yet it’s easy to get to.

AceHotel (The view from the Ace Hotel rooftop at night)

We drove back to LA from Glen Ivy and ended up at our home for the night, the new Ace Hotel. I’ll admit, this new hotel was hipster heaven but they are still figuring out the logistics of running a hotel. Our room was supposed to be ready at 3pm, and when we arrived at 5pm it still wasn’t ready. With no real lobby to wait in, we went to their rooftop bar with all our luggage where there was also very little room to wait. We were also dressed for a spa and not for a rooftop bar which left me feeling a little embarrassed and out of place. After an hour of waiting our loft room was ready.

They did give us a complementary bottle of wine for our hassle, but I’ll admit the room had a not great smell to it. Alas, we didn’t let that get in the way of our spa-zen spirit. We got ready (rushed, as we had dinner reservations to make). We booked a 4 person room (and paid for 4), which had 1 bed and a couch that opens out into a big bed, and they assured us this was a 4 person room. But getting them to come assemble that couch-bed took multiple attempts, and when they did provide sheets, they just left them sitting there on the couch. Really? You can’t assemble the couch-bed that you’re insisting is meant for guests to sleep on? Ace Hotel fail. I don’t mean to complain, but this was not a cheap room considering the amount of issues that came up.

At this time more LA friends joined us in the room as we got ready. Since it’s a stay-cation it was great that friends could come and go for different events/meals throughout the weekend. Once ready, we walked down to the Wooden Spoon for dinner where we met up with even more friends of the bride-to-be. We had a delicious meal with yummy sangria and complementary rose champagne. Considering it’s a small place, they were great to host all  8 of us in the party, as some other local restaurants panicked at the idea of 8 guests. I highly recommend this spot for dinner if you’re downtown (I had the shrimp balls and beets salad).

FriendsAtAceHotel (Eva, Me, Grace, Tamar)

From there we walked back to the Ace Hotel to hit-up their rooftop bar now that we were properly dressed for the occasion. Of course we had to rock the bachelorette party-crown attire. So much fun.

Bar107 (Dancing at Bar 107, view of the ceiling in the dancing room)

We decided that dancing was in order, as the bride-to-be loves to dance. We walked from the hotel over to Bar 107 where lots of dancing commenced. Lots and lots of dancing.  Around 1:30a we were pooped and Uber‘ed back to the Ace. Slumber party fun began and then was followed by crashing.

TheMorningAfter

The morning after: a hearty meal at Nickel Diner (an LA institution). What a fun half of Memorial Day weekend, to spend it with good friends relaxing at the spa, eating great meals and then dancing the night away. Now what to do for the second half of this long weekend? I’m sure I’ll come up with something 😉

NYC Dec. 26 + Dec. 27

After Christmas was behind us, my sister and I went into NYC to spend 2 days exploring the city and catching up with old friends. My sister had shows to see and even booked a room at The Larchmont Hotel in the West Village (aka, it’s a fancy hostel, with a good price in an amazing location). My good friend Lily was kind enough to let me crash on her couch, but not before I exhausted myself and NYC. But let me begin at the begining…

When coming in to Grand Central I HIGHLY recommend skipping the public restrooms and instead heading over to to the Grand Hyatt that is adjacent to the train station. They have a key pad on their bathrooms, but don’t be fooled because they aren’t locked and even non-patrons can use these stalls. They are extremely clean and since they’ve been remodeled, each stall is it’s own little room. Trust me, never use the Grand Central stalls… head straight to the Hyatt. The lobby was also redone and now has a modern Japanese esthetic. You can see from my photo above they have a lovely sculpture and waterfall.

From there my sister and I seperated. I was waiting for my old college roommate and good friend Lily to come back into the city and decided to do some post-holiday shopping on fifth avenue… big mistake. I forgot how much I hated crowds. I was elbow to elbow, check to check (if you get my drift) with TONS of people. Thankfully it wasn’t too long before I had my fill and Lily was back in the city. This picture above is of the Rockafeller Center Tree.

I met up with Lily, her boyfriend Joe and bother Dave at their apartment in Brooklyn. We went out to a delicious lunch nearby (Mexican food) and once sundown came, we lit the menorah with birthday candles (fun fun!). As I am not Jewish, it was fun to partake in the lighting which was a treat for me.

After the candles were lit, Joe Lily and Dave had to get ready for a concert and I had to head back into Manhattan for my biannual RISD interior Architecture reunion. Dot, Diana, and Sally all met me in the meatpacking district for a lovely diner at Fig + Olive. I’ve eaten there for restaurant week in the past with Lily and it was equally as tasty now. It was so great seeing the girls, if only for a meal.

From there I took the subway back to Brooklyn to visit The Bell House, which was where Lily’s concert was. Thankfully it ended just before I arrived and we got to chill on the bar side of the venue for a little while and chat. Seeing as they never really got dinner, we moved on to another bar in Brooklyn, closer to their apartment, where they could get some warm food.

The next morning, after a breakfast prepared by Lily and Joe, Lily and I headed on a walk to Prospect Park. It was a really nice walk and good to be able to chat with Lily. Girl talk is very important.

We stopped in this cute cafe, Joyce Bakeshop, where we sipped coffee and chatted some more. Unfortunately, the rain began to start while we were in there and dashed back to their apartment with our scarves wrapped around our heads. It was a sight.

After coffee, I packed up my gear and headed into the city with Lily to meet up with one of my childhood friends (and friend of the blog) Carrie. She, and a RISD friend Marsha, met me and Lily at the New Museum in the Bowery. I’ve been to this museum before and I love it. It was especially crowded because of the holidays, which meant lots of lines… specifically for the many wavers we needed to sign to partake in the exhibits. We began by signing over our credit cards incase anything happened to the goggles we needed to wear to experience the show ($1500 per pair!). EEk. You can bet we were EXTREMELY careful with them. They were fun to wear in the mushroom-room. The museum was transformed to mess with your senses.

There was a slide that went from the fourth floor to the second. Unfortunately, it was a long wait to ride the slide and we also couldn’t wear the goggles. I had some logistical trouble with the exhibit as a whole, but really enjoyed experiencing the museum. I recommend the current exhibit, although I would get there early to avoid lines.

A smaller part of the exhibit had a fish tank that you can put your head into, without getting wet of course. Here is Carrie testing it out. They also had large white pills falling from the ceiling next to a water cooler. A sign read “Please take only one pill”, how Alice and Wonderland of them.

As we left the museum and rain was falling steadily, I said my goodbyes to Marsha and Lily. Carrie and I continued uptown to Times Square area to meet my sister for dinner. Times Square on the day after Christmas is a nightmare. In the rain, it was murder. I’m learning I’m not as patient as once was. After elbowing many people, as well as taking a nasty spill in the subway, we met up with my sister and jumped into the closest dry place we could find: The Delta Grill. This cajun style restaurant is where I had my first fired oyster po’boy (it didn’t sit well, as you can imagine).

After dinner my sister went to see another show and Carrie and I hopped into The Gaf West, which was a cute little pub bar across the street from where we had dinner. We really needed anything to get us out of the rain. I tried a new beer, a Blue Point Toasted Lager, and we chatted until around 9:30p. My sisters play let out and we stopped at Shake Shack for a custard for the train ride home. When I say custard, I mean a super-creamy ice cream. It was delicious (and also a bad choice, given the fried oysters I tried early in the night. Hind sight is 20/20). We made it to the train on time, and ended our NYC adventure.