My New York Minute

First, I wanted to thank everyone who shared, messaged and left encouraging words regarding my last post. Especially living in the South, topics like race, discrimination and the like are SUPER touchy, but I’m thankful for working and living amongst a community of hearts that willingly lean into the discomfort of these conversations. Real life and real change happens when real talk takes place.

In the spirit of the recent New York Fashion Week, I wanted to share some of our favorites in a “Masanotti’s NYC Guide” of sorts. This year, we ventured up north for two glorious weeks of beautiful 80-degree weather.


I’m just going to put it out there, New York is expensive. But with a little forethought, research and budgeting, you can really DO New York and experience the greatest things the City has to offer.

For a well-planned and relatively stress-free trip, I recommend making a killer LIST about 2-3 months prior. I usually break up my travel lists into 3 major categories. For NYC, I’ve included my top go-to resources for each category.

Confession: I've watched and re-watched Gossip Girl more times than I would like to admit. XOXO Empire Hotel:)
Confession: I’ve watched and re-watched Gossip Girl more times than I would like to admit. XOXO Empire Hotel:)

For this post, I wanted to share the madness behind what my friends know as the infamous “New York” Google Doc. It’s best to set a budget and reasonable expectations well before you leave. For our trip this summer, we budgeted approximately $100/day for food, entertainment, etc. Some days we were well under and some days we just needed to splurge!

Food is MY top priority when planning a trip because, well, that’s just me. When I travel and experience new places, new cities or new countries, food is a major part of the adventure. Jay likes the food too, but he likes to focus on the entertainment, so he plans that part:).

New York is wonderfully HUGE and is jam-packed with thousands of food options. It can be super overwhelming, but to help relieve that stress from the beginning, I break our food list into categories: neighborhood, $$$, cuisine and time of day (i.e., breakfast, lunch, dinner, happy hour).

I don’t plan specific restaurants for each meal though because keeping the spontaneity factor provides the freedom to do what makes sense for the moment…and we all know that no matter how good our “plans” may seem, the best experiences are UNPLANNED. We like to freely wander around New York, so with this list, we have multiple options in each neighborhood, for each craving and during any time of the day or night!

Luckily Jay and I love ALL THE FOOD, so we try to seek out the greatest “food experiences” you can’t find anywhere else. We plan 1-2 extraordinary food adventures per trip which usually means multiple dollar signs for those particular meals (& require reservations a month or so out), and the rest are within that 1-2 dollar-sign/casual walk-in range.

Such a great gem of a coffee shop right in the middle of Little Italy.

Here’s a snippet of our favorite food places from this summer’s trip:



The man loves his pizza.
The man loves his pizza.


Happy Hours/Bars

  • Amelie’s Wine Bar ($10 Wine Flight w/3 FULL glasses)
  • McCoy American Bistro (When Mermaid Inn has a line out the door at 6:45pm for a 5-7 Oyster Happy Hour, you go to their neighbor for some huge oysters and great drink specials)
  • Hotel Delmano (Hands-down best cocktails with a pretty great bartender!)
Our Evening Piqniq with Lovely Friends

Rooftop Bars


  • Gramercy Tavern ($$$)
  • ABC Kitchen ($$$)
  • Grab your friends, some cheese, fruit & wine and have a picnic in the park
  • Vinnie’s Pizza (BK – when those fancy expensive restaurants don’t quite fill you up, there’s always pizza)

Hopefully this list helps for those of you who may be traveling in the near future. Let me know if you need or want help planning your next trip…to New York or anywhere for that matter, I LOVE making lists. And too, feel free to share some of your favorite NYC food stops in the comments.

My next post will cover some of the entertainment and activities that make the City so fun to experience. Now I’m really hungry and craving another trip to New York (surprises no one, I know).

It all started with a Google Doc.

It was 2007 and my best friend from college made the move.

She packed her bags, left South Carolina with all its southern graces behind, and moved to New York. Her life changed in the most drastic of ways, and it seems funny to say this, but when she moved, MY life changed forevermore too.

I technically had been to New York once before when my dad was in the Navy in New York, but I was like 2, and who remembers that?! The second time was when I was a senior in high school with the marching band. (NERD ALERT) All I really remember from that trip was waking up at an ungodly hour to march in the Thanksgiving parade and then falling asleep during the Rockettes performance later that evening. Sorry ladies.

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But when Marie moved to New York to live and work, it changed me. In 2007, Jay and I visited and fell absolutely in love with New York City. The streets, the smells (yes, I mean it), the food, the people, the life. Our love affair began in 2007 and every year since, Jay and I find our way back to the City to really LIVE…for a few days, at least. For now, that is. Wink wink.

I don’t really think Google Docs were even a thing in 2007 but I started a list of places we wanted to visit, food adventures we wanted to take, and journeys to be had in New York. Each year we visit, I add to and edit that same list before we leave and when we return. What started as a very touristy collection of experiences like “walk the Brooklyn Bridge” and “see Wall Street,” and eat at places like Grimaldi’s (stood in LINE for an hour to eat here) and Pastis (Sex & the City, duh!), has evolved into a list of places to just happen upon as we walk the streets with no real place to be.

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Something inside of me comes alive when we go to New York. I tell people all the time that it’s my heart city. Sure I love the mountains, the beach and the still quiet of nature, but for me, something magical happens when we step foot off the plane in JFK or LGA. I get this goofy smile that doesn’t seem to leave my face until we board for Charlotte.

I thought for the next few posts, I might share a bit of why I love this City so much and share some of those items on my Google Doc of NYC LOVE.

In the meantime, here’s a photo-montage of what I call the evolution of said love affair with my heart city with the friend who started it all (and is to blame for my obsession):

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IMG_6764 We love you, New York, and I love you, Marie.


New York State of Mind

Seriously…It’s all I can think about this week! Tomorrow morning I will be en route, with my Kristin, to NYC to visit Marie!!

sweet (and gorgeous!) marie, our host:)

Like I mentioned yesterday, I have managed to make this trip to New York an annual tradition and Lord willing, I can keep it up for years and years to come. Each time I go to NY, I meet Marie with a laundry list of things to do, places to visit and must-eat restaurant spots. This time will be a little different, I’ve seen all the touristy stuff…this time, I really just want to go and enjoy the city for the not-so-touristy things it has to offer!

shepard fairey on Houston

I really am leaving a lot of the trip up to what my friends want to do and see and I know Marie has a couple placees she wants us to eat at, so I am looking forward to relaxing and really taking in some sweet time with my old friends. Girl time really is one of my favorite things in this entire world and these two ladies are super special to me. These are those kind of friends that you don’t see or talk to “too” often but when you do get together, it’s like you just saw them yesterday – ya know?!

love babycakes cupcake tops!

SIDE NOTE/shoutout: These ladies and I have traveled together before…to LONDON and PARIS back in college. My cousin, Allison, and he wonderful husband, Lee, hosted us…and by hosted I mean, rented a car and drove us all over the country…booked our hotels and so much more…they were PERFECT hosts and it was an amazing trip. We will HAVE to do that again one day:)

fully expect to have NY feet again...

Okay…back to NYC and my non-list of things to do, etc…well if you know me, you know that I CAN’T go without some kind of list…I know, I’m ridiculous…but come on…so I am off to make my list and get ready for the trip – if you have any suggestions to add to my list – leave a comment…

Until then, I leave you until Monday:) Have a great weekend and if you’re in NYC, maybe I’ll bump into you!! Cross your fingers I can find a way to get to NSS 2011 before I head back home!