Day 1: New York City

Day 1: January 10, 2015

My first visit to New York City was March of 2013 as part of my parents’ college graduation gift for me. I recall taking my very last final by myself at UCLA inside my Geography professor’s office on Friday and jetted off immediately the following Saturday morning. New York City instantly stole my heart, and I remember promising myself that I will return as soon as I can.

Little did I know it will take nearly two years to do so. Last month, I spent ten amazing days in my favorite city with my favorite people as part of my 24th birthday celebration. It was my first time traveling with a big group of friends instead of family, and it was indeed a trip of a lifetime.

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We took an early flight out of LAX, arriving late-afternoon at JFK International Airport. We were a group of seven, so we split between two hotels which were two blocks apart in Manhattan’s Midtown area. The place I stayed at with a few of my girlfriends was an apartment-style hotel located on 38th Street and 6th Avenue called Ten15NYC.

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Ten15NYC is not your typical hotel. It’s apartment-style, so we had our own full-functioning kitchen, dining and living room. We stayed at a one-bedroom, which consisted of one queen size bed and a pull-out sofa bed. The building  is literally tucked in between a mini supermarket and a dumpling house, totally obscured from the street. There are only four floors, the second of which is a nail salon. There are no lobbies, so “checking in” was super informal as it was nothing more than our friendly hotel manager welcoming us in our room, handing us three sets of keys and giving us a tour.

Ten15NYC became our home away from home. Our apartment had hardwood floors and brick walls, which totally exuded the New York City apartment vibe, completely making us feel like true New Yorkers. The place was very clean when we arrived and all the furniture and finishings were modern and updated. The only downsides are:

a) There were no elevators!

Apparently, it is not required by law in New York for buildings less than six stories high to have an elevator. We learned that lesson the hard way as all of us girls each brought 50-lbs carry-on luggages (on top of our carry-ons), all of which we had to carry four. flights. of stairs. It was a total team effort, and we were beyond out of breath at the end of it. I’m sure we gained 5 lbs of muscle after that ordeal alone.

b) The overhead shower was bipolar.

It literally took us fifteen minutes every morning just to find the perfect water temperature. Just a little tweak, the water became either too hot or too cold. We wasted so much water and time trying to make the shower function properly.

All my girlfriends and I agreed that we wanted to spend our first night dining at a fancy restaurant to celebrate ourselves for making the trip happen as well as to commemorate my 24th birthday. Lucky for us, we were able to make reservations at a Michelin-star Italian restaurant merely two blocks away from our hotel, Ai Fiori.

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We all dressed up for the occasion, and I couldn’t be more proud to be in the company of such an amazing group of friends.

Ai Fiori was elegant and refined, which was exactly the ambiance we were looking for. Since it was my birthday dinner, I spared no expense spoiling myself. Life is too short to not eat well after all.

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Torchon: foie gras au naturel, seckel pear, pecans, 25 yr. balsamic
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Astice: butter poached nova scotia butter, carrots, rutabaga, chateau chalon sauce
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Tagliata: prime dry aged strip loin, endive, potato terrine, “cacio e pepe, ” balsamico, bordelaise
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Tartaletta: Loma Sotavento 72% ganache, chocolate chibust, tiramisu gelato
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Mille Feuille: dark chocolate, hazelnut praline, fior di latte gelato

After dinner, we took a cab to Times Square! Cue Taylor Swift’s “Welcome to New York.”

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Man, it was F R E E Z I N G. I am pretty sure the temperature was in the single-digits that night. It was so cold I don’t believe I’ve ever seen Times Square that bare and empty before.

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Watch our selfie video below! We were all so happy and excited to finally be in New York City, after months and months of planning and waiting!

Thanks for reading and watching! Stay tuned for more!

Love,
Anicka Nadine

 

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Empire State of Mind

Last month, I went on a trip of a lifetime with my closest girlfriends to the best city in the world, New York City! Below are some of the pictures we took at the observation deck of the Empire State Building!

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Location: Empire State Building Observatory Deck, 8th Floor
Hat: H&M
Coat: H&M
Sunglasses: Ray Ban
Sweater: Old Navy
Scarf: Zara
Boots: Nordstrom

Thanks to my very patient friend, Dianne, for willingly taking pictures of me in 2-digit weather!

Love,
Anicka Nadine

That One Time I Bought a Banana Republic Sweater for $0.79

In Southern California, “cold weather” is defined when temperatures drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Yesterday happen to fall into the said category, allowing me to finally pull out my sweaters out of the back corners of my closet.

This cowl-neck oversized sweater from Banana Republic is one of my absolute favorites. It’s thick, it’s warm, it’s oversized. Sweaters have a tendency to make the wearer look “lazy” but this one does the opposite. If anything, I feel more polished and put-together!

Fun Fact: I own a Banana Republic credit card, which I get rewards on for purchases I make. I receive a $10 reward card for every $200 I spend elsewhere. This sweater was on final sale for $30.00, and after using with my rewards, I paid merely $0.79! Even the associates’ minds were blown. W I N N E R. I love scoring a good bargain!

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Sunglasses:  Ray Ban Round Metal RB3447
Watch: Michael Kors ‘Bradshaw’
Sweater:
Banana Republic
Pants: Banana Republic

Thanks for reading!

Love,
Anicka Nadine

If I Knew Then What I Know Now

If I Knew Then What I Know Now

I think most of us are guilty of constantly being terrified of what comes next. We never really know what’s right around the corner. The unknown is perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of life to embrace, and as Chuck Palahniuk phrased it best,” our mistrust of the future makes it hard to give up the past.” As humans, we have a tendency to hold on so tightly to our past because it’s familiar, because we recognize it, because there are no surprises.

The future possesses a much greater likelihood that the rug will be unexpectedly pulled under our feet. When talking about the future, anything can happen. The unknown makes 100% of the pie. We can get sick. We can lose our jobs. The plane we’re in can crash. Our significant others can reject us. We can have our loved ones taken away from us, temporarily or otherwise. Every thing is fair game when we deal with the future. No one is exempt, and nobody likes that. I don’t know about you, but I’m not Zen enough to live in the present. My mind either functions by reminiscing on the past or worrying/getting excited about the future.

But you know something? The Future never really comes. One way or another, it becomes disguised as Today. And what’s even remarkable is that we have more resilience and strength than we often give ourselves credit for. The fact that you’re reading this is proof of that. So far, you’ve survived all the blows and curve balls this life has thrown at you, no matter how long or how brief you may have been living on this Earth.

And honestly, I think we need to start shifting our focus on that. Let’s forget about what can happen tomorrow, or a week, or a year, or a decade from now. Let’s give ourselves a break from overthinking everything, because more often that not, this never leads to anything good. Let’s stop resisting and learn accepting. We must remember the fact that no matter how difficult life may be, we’re still standing. We’re still here.

At the end of the day, no one is exempt from pain and suffering, and at times, this can get downright overwhelming. Yet despite this reality, we find a way to cope, push through, and persevere. We’ve all experienced one form of tragedy or another, but we made it through. No matter how rattled we get, we somehow find our feet again. I don’t know about you, but I find that quite spectacular.

My present self is pretty damn well proud of my past selves for not giving up, and I’m sure I’ll make my future self feel the same.

You should be, too.

Love,

Anicka Nadine