One of my favorite perks of the job is that it allows me to travel. I’ve been able to visit  some amazing cities over the past few years for work – Portland, Santa Barbara, Colorado Springs, and even some places for personal adventures – Barcelona, Florence, etc… but still – New York City was at the top of my list of places I had never been. So when my California based clients Mil + Kris asked me to meet them there for a photo shoot, YES was the only word that came to mind. One of my good friends that I travel with a lot, Krista, had never been either – so I dragged her along with me for a little girls weekend getaway 🙂

Despite being under the weather, we definitely made the most of our jam packed weekend. Here’s what we did during our 3 1/2 days in the Big Apple:

Friday // We arrived super early on Friday morning, and the first thing we did was drop off our bags at our TINY, and I meant tiny Air BnB. It was supposed to be a one bedroom, but really it was the smallest studio I’ve ever seen. It made my studio in Chicago seem like a mansion (which was kind of nice to come home to!). It was definitely our first confirmation of rumors that we’d heard about New York apartments being small. It didn’t bother us too much though, as we knew we’d be spending most of our time out and about the city. We spent the afternoon wandering around different neighborhoods, making a stop along the way at Ess-A Bagel for lunch. I got the Lox on an Everything Bagel with Scallion Cream Cheese. It was delicious (see photo below). After that, we went to the 9/11 Museum and spent over 3+ hours there, reliving the horrifying moments from our memories, and hearing some heart wrenching stories/voicemails from people that were in the towers and/or on the flights. It was such an emotional couple hours… my thoughts and prayers go out to everyone that was involved. After spending hours in the museum, we were exhausted from our long day, so we ended our first night at a little Italian restaurant in our Murray Hill neighborhood…



Saturday // Our second day in Manhattan started bright at early with an 8am shoot on the Highline and Grand Central Station with Mil + Kris. It is so beautiful up on the Highline, I definitely recommend it for anyone visiting the city for the first time and looking for a great place to run/walk take in some views. After the shoot, we brunched at this adorable place down the street from our apartment called Penlope. I had an amazing bacon and egg sandwich, which kept me fueled for our long walk through Central Park. It truly was massive. Krista and I spent the afternoon exploring the park, watching some Rec League Softball Games, as well some Little League Games. After a nice relaxing afternoon – the weather was perfect by the way – Krista and I made our way to Madison Square Park to get a Shake Shack snack… only to find out that it was closed for renovations 🙁 Don’t worry though, we got our fix at another one and Krista got to try her first Shack Burger! So good – if you haven’t been, head over to the one in Chicago (get there right at 11am to avoid out-the-door lines)… in my opinion (and I know I’ll get a lot of flack for this…) Shake Shack holds the #1 spot in my heart, yes… over In-N-Out Burger! A quick regroup at our apartment and we were back out the door to check out Times Square, where it was super crowded and gave me anxiety. We followed that quick stop at Times Square with dinner at Barbetta. The food wasn’t the greatest, but it was near the theater where we were seeing the Lion King – and I will say that the people watching at this establishment was some of the BEST I’ve ever experienced. I would probably go back just for that 🙂 After dinner we saw the Lion King – which as expected – was fantastic. The costumes, performers, and production was incredible… and of course you already know the music is great!


Sunday // As you can tell, we pretty much jammed everything we could into each day. So being that I was pretty sick (and still am recovering actually), when Sunday morning came… I could barely peel my eyes open. But we knew we had to make the most of it – so we went to the Brooklyn Bridge, watched some street performers, walked across it, saw Lady Liberty from a distance, and got some NY style pizza at Grimaldi’s before heading to see the Mets Game in Queens. Our seats at the game were right behind home plate and the weather was pretty much perfect – so it was a great afternoon 🙂 That night, we went to dinner at Blue Smoke BBQ (SO GOOD!), went to the deck of the Empire State Building, had drinks at a speakeasy above Five Guys (super cool spot), and ended the night at a midnight comedy show at Comedy Corner. Let’s just say it was a 3am night and by the end of the show – everyone in the room knew I was Filipino, from Chicago, had a boyfriend at home, and was in NY with my “white friend, Krista.” Our seats were directly next to the stage, so needless to say – we got called out A LOT. My face hurt after the show from laughing so hard. Definitely recommend checking that place out!


Monday // By the time Monday came, we had pretty much checked everything off our list of things to do. It was the first and only day that it rained while we were there, so we took advantage of the weather and gave ourselves a nice, chill morning breakfast at a place called Mud, and sat at a Starbucks and read until we caught our flight back home.

In the end, it was an AMAZING trip. I got to see and do everything I would’ve wanted to do – thanks to the awesome planning of my girl, Krista. The weather was great for the most part, I got to experience New York City… but I will say that it definitely made me LOVE Chicago a little bit more 🙂