Rooftop at the Met + Shake Shack Lunch in Central Park.

Ah, the Met. It's wondrous. Famous. Timeless. The Metropolitan Museum is one of the grandest in the world. It's so unbelievably huge, it would take weeks to get through all the wings and exhibits. My favorite spot in the museum is The Sackler Wing, where you can walk through the Egyptian Temple of Dendur. It's not even the exhibit itself that is alluring to me - it's actually just the room. I love the quiet waters that run the length of the hall, echoing up into the high ceilings. I love the slanted glass windows that usher in the willowy sunlight. I love this quiet space, centered within a city of maddening sound. And I also happen to be a sucker for Egyptian history. So on all fronts, this is the spot for me. But I also really love the impressionists located in the Lehman Collection - VanGogh or Monet, anyone?

For all those who were devout "Gossip Girl" watchers - these are the Met steps where Blair reigns as Queen B. For all those who weren't devout watchers - DON'T JUDGE.

For all those who were devout "Gossip Girl" watchers - these are the Met steps where Blair reigns as Queen B. For all those who weren't devout watchers - DON'T JUDGE.

His arm is fine. He just really, really likes bandaids.

His arm is fine. He just really, really likes bandaids.

I could have stared at this one all day.

I could have stared at this one all day.

Okay, so this is really fun. Every summer, the Met opens up an exhibit on the rooftop. It's cool because there are obviously gorgeous views of Central Park and Manhattan all around - and because there's a bar, so you can enjoy your wine and watch the sun go down over the city. This has been on my NYC bucket list for a long time, and I'm so glad we finally found our way up there on this particular visit. We enjoyed some mocktail/cocktails and marveled at the strange exhibit this year - a full-scale sculpture installation based on the Bates barn from the classic horror film, Psycho. Art is such a funny, subjective kind of thing. To us, the views of the city far outweighed the impact of this particular exhibit. We were all like, can we go back and see some more of Monet's waterlilies? Cheers.

And this little guy is getting way too theatrical these days when Stevie tosses him in the air. I'm pretty sure he was striking a pose in this one :)

And then it was time for lunch! We walked clear across the park, from the east to the westside, and grabbed lunch at Shake Shack on 77th, then took it into the park for a delicious, shady picnic. We might have overindulged in Shake Shack during this stint in the city. We ate it every Saturday for a month. But you guys - it's just so good. I know they have it in Atlanta now, but still. I rarely venture into my own city these days. When we are at home, we kind of hibernate. But when we're goofing off in New York, I love a regular old shack burger, fries, and of course a milkshake. And the concretes! Oh, and actually the lemonade is really, really good too :)

How cute are these two? I'm so grateful that these sweethearts came to visit and play in the city with me :) Friends forever.

How cute are these two? I'm so grateful that these sweethearts came to visit and play in the city with me :) Friends forever.

If a few of these photos look familiar to you, it's because I shared some from this particular day here. OXO Tot was kind enough to send me some travel toddler products to try out while we were on the road so much in New York, and having the right tools really makes a difference when you're on the go with a kiddo! I'm really grateful for this blog, because it allows me to collaborate with brands that we love and actually use in real life, and share them! I love the OXO brand not just for baby gear, but also for kitchen utensils. But Everett loves them for the snack cups.

Here's the Shake Shack lemonade I was telling you about! He downed it. I have to watch his lemonade intake because he lovvvvves it.

And there you have it, friends. A breezy, fun day exploring the museum and eating our body weight in french fries and milk shakes. The Upper West and Upper East sides of the city are so fun to explore, although I'm extremely biased and think the Upper West is the Upper Best, always.

A few other delicious spots to try in the Upper West Side, if you're visiting and looking for something: Juice Generation (for a seriously delicious and pricey nutritious juice), Alice's Tea Cup (totally girly teatime lunch spot!), Cafe Lalo (the cafe from You Got Mail, and yes, it's magical), Jacob's Pickles (omg the southern BLT will make you lose your mind, and the bloody mary, too), Pio Pio Salon (Peruvian food that is insane, come in a group and get the Matador combo and a pitcher of sangria to share), Levain (Jewish bakery with killer coffee and I-want-to-cry-they're-so-good cookies), Machiavelli (its a little fancy, but if you can sit outside and order any of the pizzas, you will be living your New York moment), and also, if you're here on the weekend, almost every restaurant does an amazing brunch with bottomless mimosas that lasts until like 2pm. There is a brunch culture in this city that I really, really love. So just walk south on Amsterdam or Columbus in the 70s and you will find limitless amazing options for omelets, french toast, the works. Whew. On that note, friends, I am hungry again!

Leave me a comment if you decide to visit any of these places and let me know what you think! Have an awesome day. XOX

11/50 NYC Adventures: Opera at the Lincoln Center

Opera at the Lincoln Center.

Have you ever seen the movie Moonstruck? It’s this fantastic little film centering around an Italian family in Brooklyn, starring Cher (yes, CHER) and Nicolas Cage. Way back in the day. It’s this hilarious, overly-dramatic story and just happens to be one of my family’s favorite movies. In the film, Cher gets asked to go on a special date to the Met Opera House, and she gets all done up – hair, nails, clothes, the works. And then she gets to the Opera and just cries and cries because the experience is so beautiful and meaningful to her.

That, my friends, was my grid for what the Met Opera would be like. So when Stevie and I were offered FREE tickets from our sweet friend Ina, there wasn’t even a question about whether or not we would go. Yes, yes! A thousand times yes! So off we went. We went to the Opera!

// Lincoln Center Fountain //

// Walking to The Lincoln Center. Check out my epic photobomber. //

// Just warming up my chords. In case, ya know, they need some back up. //

// Inside The Met //

// Our view from the top. //

// That famous gold-leaf ceiling. //

The Show.

This particular opera was Arabella, and it was entirely in German. Now listen, I’m going to be honest with you. I can be honest with you, right? No judgment here? I was really excited to go to the Opera. I was really excited outside, taking all sorts of fanciful pictures by the fountain. I was really excited when we were ushered to our fabulous seats and got to stare up at the epic gold-leaf ceiling. And I was really excited when the curtain went up and the room darkened, signaling the beginning the show. However, my excitement came to a crashing HALT when the performance started. The Opera is… well, operatic. And it’s not ignorant to say that most operas consist of large women screaming singing at each other throughout the performance. Because that’s pretty much all that happened during the first act. I might have fallen asleep. By might I mean that I definitely fell asleep. For about thirty minutes. Don’t judge me. You said you wouldn’t judge me! I didn’t understand what was going on! I DON’T SPEAK GERMAN.

Let’s Get a Disclaimer Going Here.

I am almost seven months pregnant. I have to eat, drink and pee around the clock. It’s obnoxious to anyone who doesn’t love me (and still grating to those who do, lets be real.) I didn’t know that the opera would be FOUR HOURS LONG. I didn’t know that I should have packed snacks and drinks and prepared for a day-long event. I just didn’t know. So my low blood sugar and parched throat (and measly 5 hours of sleep the night before) could have had a LOT to do with my annoyance/lack of considerate understanding during the first act. However, something changed. Something wonderful happened.

When Stevie started laughing.

It may or may not have woken me up. I look over, and he’s laughing (along with members of the audience), at whatever is happening on stage. There he is, giggling knowingly, as if he’s in on some sort of cheeky joke with the cast. I hissed at him,

“How do you know to be laughing right now?! YOU DON’T SPEAK GERMAN!!”

He just smiled and pointed down, down past the row in front of us, where someone had turned on a monitor with subtitles.

Subtitles!

Eureka! I didn’t know we had those!

He helped me find the dark button for a secret screen right in front of my face, and suddenly things got interesting. Suddenly, there was a story to follow. Suddenly I was excited again. Thank goodness, right? Because I was starting to feel guilty. You know, for my attitude, my appalling ignorance, and my lack of enthusiasm for this incredibly exclusive privilege. And also - we had two more intermissions and two more acts to follow. It was time to get on board this train. It was time to get into the opera.

The second act had a gorrrrrrrgeous set depicting a ball in 18th-century Vienna. There was dancing and pretty costumes, too. Thankfully, Stevie ran across the street during the intermission to get me fuel. He sneaked in an iced coffee and a Starbucks protein box, and for this I will be forever thankful. He revived me. Woke me from my low blood-sugary stupor. Which completely prepped us for the third act, which showcased a little bit of scandal thrown in for good measure. Wild stuff. We were pretty shocked by the story’s turn of events. And the voices, well, they remained operatic. But they were incredible. So strong, so incredibly disciplined and trained. These people are renowned, some of the world’s greatest voices in their craft. How can someone sing full-out for 4 hours straight? It’s honestly athletic what those people can do.

// This guy.

He deserves an A+ in husbandry. And also... here he is reflecting on what we just saw. BAHAHA. //

All in All?

I think the opera is a distinctive kind of experience. I don’t think you can expect to naturally love it the first time. It an acquired taste, like when you first drink coffee or try snails or something. It’s just not an automatic LOVE. Which I hate to admit, because I fancy myself a theater person, so I thought this kind of performance would be right up my ally. But I don’t think we (we, being the broader American people) should be too hard on ourselves. It’s not totally our fault that there is practically zero exposure to the opera in our education system – I mean, we are ignorant to this art form, but should we really be punished for not knowing how to appreciate it? I can’t say that I loved it. But at the end, I liked it an awful lot and I can say with complete honesty that the show was a masterpiece. The kind of masterpiece that you KNOW took a really long, tedious time to create, even though you don’t totally understand all that went into it. Like trying to understand… a really hard math problem? That’s a bad example. But that’s all I’ve got for ya.

Thankfully, my beautiful, cultured friend Ina was totally on the same page. She admitted to feeling similarly about the 1st act. Which made me feel better about my audacious and idiotic lack of initial appreciation. What can I say? We can’t all be Cher, welling up with tears at the creative masterpiece that is the opera. Some of us, well, we’ve got to feel bad for not being in on the joke. We’ve got to be shown how to use the subtitles. And we have to fumble our way through attempting to understand something loftier than ourselves. But that’s just a metaphor for life, right? Mmm see how I turned this around? Now you’re not judging me so harshly, are you?

No. I bet you’re still judging me.

Yeah, I’m gonna have to live with that.