I hope everyone had a fantastic New Years! I was lucky enough to spend it in New York with my really good friend Tessa. We had both had a tough year and sadly she got poorly just before the trip so instead of bracing the cold at Times Square we spent the night dolled up getting tipsy and flirting with American barmen (and got a few free shots out of it!!) It was so lovely to chat and catch up and really open up about girly stuff like heartbreak and new starts and I had one of the best New Years ever!!
I had no idea what to expect about New York and was overwhelmed at first!! You see so much of it in the movies and I was just shocked at how small it is (well for me being from London it seemed really small). Everything is really within walking distance but if you can’t be bothered with all that (or your heels don’t allow it) you can get a cab from any street corner. Seriously every other car is a yellow cab!! Having said that when we arrived at JFK we got in a yellow cab and were all excited about our first cab ride…until the cab driver left us stranded in Queens nowhere near where we were going and left us there for nearly an hour! We arrived safe albeit shaken!!
We stayed at the Affinia Shelburne Hotel which is on Lexington Avenue. I picked it based on the thousands of reviews on TripAdvisor. I was lucky enough to have an open budget as it was a graduation present so I completely based my choice on the excellent reviews the hotel got. I can say we made the right choice! Literally a 5 minute walk to Grand Central the hotel is one of the most spacious in the the city.Our room was a studio deluxe and had 2 double beds, a bathroom with a bath and shower (rare in NYC) and a separate kitchen with a microwave oven and coffee maker and a fridge with an ice machine. It was fantastic!! Just 2 minutes away was Duane Reade an amazing shop selling everything from sweets, food and magazines to every type of makeup you can think of! As you can imagine I went in about a gazillion times!!
I visited just about every site I could and have posted some photos below for you to have a look at! I was really happy to go to Sephora, they have these make-up shops all over New York like Starbucks! They stock loads of different brands and their own ‘OPI for Sephora’ polishes and have amazing staff. I got to look around and really picked up on some new trends such as pastel colours and the use of cream and gel tints over powders for the cheeks. I noticed that brushes are really popular in New York. They obviously take makeup application seriously and just about any type of brush was available from huge displays in Sephora. I got a face blender sponge which I had heard gives amazing ‘flawless’ coverage. I also loved the perfume roller ball pens. They slip in your bag and you can just add a touch of perfume whenever you need to without spraying your whole office/the whole train!! I got the Viktor and Rolf Flower Bomb and also Jennifer Aniston’s perfume. I haven’t seen this in Canterbury but it has a beautiful Jasmine base note and smells so elegant…completely like her!
New York is amazing and I really suggest you visit if you haven’t already. I know people say that New Yorkers are rude but I can honestly say they are the nicest most friendly people I have ever met. We had loads of occasions from choosing food to being given late admission into Ellis Island that showed how proud they are of their city.
Visiting the 9/11 memorial brought all of this home (link below). I wasn’t aware they weren’t building on the actual site of the attacks..they have kept the shape of the buildings with a border engraved with every name of the people who lost their lives and the 2 foundations of the buildings are now filled with waterfalls. The new buildings are being built around the site (there are some pics of the new ones and the memorial below). Most touchingly of all the names were put in areas the people worked or with the people they were mostly with so it was an amazing tribute for them. The main 9/11 museum hasn’t been completed yet but there were 2 other areas to visit. If you visit the memorial centre before the site itself you can have an actual survivor take you to the site and talk about their personal experience. I couldn’t do this as for me it was all a bit raw after living in Edgware Road during the 7/7 bombings, I did however visit the memorial centre. I can honestly say nothing has moved me as much as this experience. I won’t say everything they display there as I think it is something you have to experience for yourself. To say it utterly broke my heart would be an understatement.
I can say that the whole experience has complete shifted my perceptions of life. It was something I am so glad I saw in the beginning of 2012 as it has really hit home how important it is not to get too caught up in the drama of little things. Not to be too cheesy but life is just too short, I think as a way of honouring the lives of all those who tragically had theirs taken from them on that day I will live each day so it counts. For me that has meant opening up to my parents about how much I love them, treating people with kindness and compassion and given every experience 100% regardless of the worries we have about what people think and how things look. I hope in some way this will make any victim or family members victim smile and know someone has learnt something from this awful tragedy. I want to take a moment to remind people of the braveness of every single volunteer who saw the attack and stepped into the buildings and the ruins and tried desperately to help. Their courage and bravery in the face of this horrific act of terror shows that through the most evil crimes of humanity our ability to show bravery, compassion and love can overcome hate.
I hope this post inspires people to reach for their dreams, to ask that guy out, to stand up for something they believe in or even just to try out that new red lipstick you haven’t been brave enough to! It might sound silly to you but every minute we waste on fear is a minute of life not lived!
For me I am going to be starting a make-up course (my taster session is on Sunday!!) and I also have a work experience placement at More Magazine which I am really excited about. Am I nervous? HELL YES!! But am I going to do it anyway..of course!!
What are you all planning for 2012?
Happy new year to all of my wonderful followers on here, writing for you is always a pleasure 🙂
The link for the 9/11 Memorial Site: click here
The link for the Affinia Shelburne Hotel: click here
The link for the Session School (where I will be completing my Makeup taster session!!): click here
The link for Sephora: click here
The link for Duane Reade: click here