My birthday isn’t officially until October 1; but I wanted to go to NY in September, which is the most gorgeous month in the city. I used to go on buying trips mid Septmber and I have such amazing memories of the city that time of year. I also was going to try to get into fashion week, but between coordinating 20 friends meeting up in NY, dinner reservations, my outfits, and care for my children for 5 days I just didn’t have the time to be reaching out to PR companies to get into a show. Maybe another time; but this trip was all about the fun. Shopping, Eating and Drinking on repeat!

We stayed at the Ludlow Hotel which is a little gem on the Lower East Side. I had two friends whose opinions I respect recommend it, so I knew it would be good. Overall the hotel  feels very european. Super hip. Gorgeous rooms and the bathrooms are amazing! We had a skybox suite that gave us a little extra room to spread out. The rooms aren’t huge, but it doesn’t matter you aren’t in there much anyways! My only complaint was a teeny tiny closet, so we couldn’t really hang much, but we made do. The views out our window were incredible.

image via Tripadvisor

image via Jetsetter

The restaurant “Dirty French” within the hotel is incredible. We had appetizers there one night and breakfast each morning. It is a super lively, fun, french restaurant that is a total hot spot. They have beautiful craft cocktails; the “belmonde” being our drink of choice all weekend.

We flew in Wednesday so we could see my brother one night and to hang before everyone arrived on Friday. He took us to some great spots in Brooklyn. Maison Premiere is like being sent back in time. It is a charming Oyster House + Craft Cocktails with small plates and entrees. The outdoor garden is quite romantic. It was raining that night, but we were still able to sit outside because they have coverage over the tables. Beware of their cocktails though, they are strong!

Thanks to Shane for showing us a great time!

Thursday morning; despite feeling AWFUL (note to self, don’t mix strange craft cocktails) we made it to our 9AM reservation at Le Coucou. It is impossible to get a reservation; it is definitely a hot spot right now. Make sure to plan in advance and make a reso!  It is French, and they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The decor is spot on. Definitely one of the prettiest restaurants I have been in. It was sophisticated and warm. I loved it for breakfast but I imagine it would be amazing for dinner as well.

After breakfast (and a few advil and water) I forced myself to push forward. There was shopping to be done! the Ludlow is about a 10 minute walk from (in my opinion) some of the best shopping in NY. Nolita is technically the neighborhood. I started walking Houston and weaved in through Mott, Elizabeth and Mulberry streets. A lot of my favorite brands, as well as some new discoveries were tucked into these side streets. It is charming and fun, and less crazy than Soho.

I happened to stumble upon Sezane which had just opened their doors that day! It is their first store in the US. I felt so lucky, the owner of the store was even there. They gave us fun first day “swag” and a rose when we left. It was probably my favorite boutique of the weekend. And it’s not terribly expensive!


I have started a collection of Tai bracelets, so it was fun to see their NY store…

After walking for hours, we needed to grab lunch. I always feel like the best places you eat at in the city are the little hole in the walls or hidden gems on a side street. We found Ed’s Lobster Bar, a tiny restaurant that was about the size of a hallway and a sitting room, and it was delish! Definitely the best lobster roll I have ever had + sea salt fries + a coke?! The best hangover cure 🙂 It is located on Lafayette St. in Soho.

Jon found some arm candy for himself at Miansai in Soho. We also decided that the men’s shopping in NY is the best. Women can find stuff everywhere but for men it is much harder. They have a couple great Rag + Bone stores, Saturdays, Suit Supply, Bonobos all within a few blocks of each other.

Thursday night was our only night just the two of us! My hot date 🙂 Head to toe Suit Supply; Gucci slides from Halls

The Polo Bar has been on my list for years, but again it is hard to get into! I tried a month ahead of time and all I could get was a 5:30 reservation. It was great though, we enjoyed an amazing meal in the quintessential Ralph Lauren setting. It did not dissapoint! It was also by far the best service we had all weekend. A lot of celebs eat there too, so you may have a great celebrity sighting when you are there! It is located at 57th & 5th in midtown.

The Peninsula Hotel Bar is also one of our favorite spots in midtown. Specifically their rooftop bar that overlooks 5th avenue, it is stunning! They were also cranking out 80’s tunes that night, which made it super fun. We had a great night, and were excited for our Chicago and KC crew to arrive the next day.

Friday we wanted to meet my brother for lunch, and the first of our friends who were joining us for the weekend were arriving. We had heard about the notorious “Black Label Burger” at Minetta Tavern. It is a $30 burger, apparently the best in NYC. I am going to tell you, it was out of this world good. It is hard to describe, but it is crunchy on the outside, but buttery and delicious on the inside. I would say it was worth every penny! It is an old school spot, great cocktails, and good for lunch or dinner in Greenwich Village.

We had a fun lunch and afternoon of shopping and drinks with friends in the Village

Friday night was our first group dinner. It is not easy to find a place to seat anything over 10 people. So, it took some time calling around to finally secure a reservation at one of our favorite spots, Barbuto. We were recommended to the restaurant by some friends when we visited NYC in December, and we loved it! So we were excited to take our friends there.

Barbuto is renowned Chef Jonathan Waxman’s restaurant in the meatpacking district. It is not fancy, by any means. But the food (Italian/American) really is out of this world. We had the chef’s table which was lively and exciting being right in the heart of the action. It was also a little smelly (we knew we would be leaving smelling like we worked in the kitchen) But they did a great job taking care of our table of 14. We had a family style Italian dinner, with 5 courses. Needless to say we were stuffed after! Barbuto is great for brunch, lunch or dinner and it is right by a lot of great shopping and the Standard Hotel.

Outside of being in one of my favorite city with my favorite people; the best part of the trip was bring both parts of my world together and having all my friends meet. They have all heard about each other for many years. So, that part of the weekend was very special to me! 

After dinner we tried to get into the Standard Hotel rooftop. Don’t attempt to do this in a large group without a reservation! After a failed attempt (and a nasty run in with a too cool for school “door lady”, we hit up a bar in Meatpacking and then later headed back to our hotel bar. I learned on this trip that it takes 20-30 minutes to get almost anywhere. The traffic was insane, and the amount of cars on the street makes it hard to get anywhere! I learned you definitely have to plan accordingly when making dinner reservations.

Saturday my Chicago girls and I went for Brunch at Maman; another little place that was highly recommended. It is French, very simple but good food. And super cozy and cute atmosphere. Definitely a girls brunch spot! They also had outdoor seating, which is a bonus.

We walked to some stores on Centre street next to the restaurant.  I had been dying to try on Outdoor Voices workout gear. It really is great and well priced!

I got this top and pants, and a green crop top. I will definitely be ordering more ( I wear a size small for reference; both top and bottom) 

Clic might be one of the coolest home stores I have been in to. It was mostly filled with books, pillows and artwork (photography mostly) but it was spectacular!

I dragged my girls to Glossier. I was totally underwhelmed by their products! I think the cloud paint is just ok. And I did not like their lip colors. I was hoping for more, but that’s ok!

Love Adorned is a fantastic jewelry store in Nolita; I wanted EVERYTHING in the store. They sell a mix of vintage and new.

I left the girls and met Jon and our friends Courtney and Matt for lunch in Soho. Again, we just walked and they settled on Seamore’s in Little Italy. It is a casual seafood spot, with great big windows, sidewalk tables and great people watching in Soho. The fish tacos were SO good!

Random Amy stumbled upon us too 🙂 

Saturday night was the big night out! After talking to some NY friends and getting recommendations we decided on for our group dinner. The group was otiginally 20; we lost 2 to Hurricane Irma and 2 to a mix up on dates. So, our group ended up being 16. Cafe Medi did a great job helping me pull together the dinner. The decor is great, it is a super cool space.  But, I was frustrated because the service ended up being very slow, so slow that we had to skip the dessert to make our “after party” reservation at Catch which was at 11:00. Even though it wasn’t the best meal of the weekend, it was wonderful to be surrounded by the people I love the most!

As a joke for my friend Emily’s birthday, I got her these tiny doll hands. She brought them to NYC. We laughed SO HARD…they came everywhere with us.

You can find them on Amazon HERE. Best $11 ever spent!

After dinner we jetted off to Catch! We have dined at their LA restaurant and it is amazing (the NY one is fab too, for brunch, lunch or dinner!). I read on their website that the 3rd floor turns into “nightlife” after 10:30. I never could have imagined what we walked into that night…

We had reserved a table with bottle service (because of our large group) When we arrived We got whisked into an elevator by two guys in jogging suits, tatoos, with flashlights. I was like what the…where in the…I had no clue what was happening! We walked out onto their top floor and it was bumping. Like the hottest most legit night club you have been to. I told Jon jokingly I wanted sparklers coming out of a champagne bottle for my birthday; well you better believe that happened! And a dragon with sparklers too…

And the night got better and better. Hip Hop Music and dancing for hours!

It was about 100 degrees in there, I think we sweat out what we drank!

Miami Mel is a nickname from my husband, so thanks to Personalized For You in KC for making these cute cups!

and…2AM still standing! We finished the night off with .99 cent pizza on the street by our hotel and it was so so good!

THANK YOU a million times to my friends for all making the trip to help me celebrate! And to my incredible husband for making the weekend possible. So many laughs, memories, fun times to always look back on. It was one for the books and the perfect way to kick off the next decade!!!






  1. Happy early birthday Melanie – I’m so glad you had a wonderful trip! Every outfit you wore was killer.
    I can’t believe we crossed paths at Outdoor Voices and I didn’t even know it!

    1. that makes me so mad I didn’t stop you! I just wasn’t positive it was you, and I didn’t want to seem creepy 🙂 lol! Thank you, we had a blast!

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