Friday, July 4, 2014

What I Did In: New York City and Atlantic City

Hi there! As promised, here is the post about everything that I did while I was away on my trip roughly two weeks ago. We left on a Sunday and got back on the Saturday afterwards. It was a crazy, jam-packed couple of days, but it was so much fun. I don't remember having that much fun on a vacation and feeling like I'd learned so much in a really long time.

Anyway, enough of me rambling - let's get started. Just a warning though, this is going to be a long one.

The night before, I basically packed and packed and didn't sleep until I got in the car at 1 am to drive to the States. On the trip there, I just slept like a baby, then woke up at around 5, had oatmeal, and drove some more until we got to our hotel in New Jersey at around 11. From there, we dropped off our stuff and bused to NYC which took until around 12 and we were all starving by then. Plus, my family has a tendency to be rather, err, hangry (hungry + angry), so it that was an interesting experience.

We were trying to find this one restaurant from this list that I'd made of all the cool restaurants that we should check out during our time in the city. I pretty much just planned the New York leg of our trip while my parents took care of the actual tickets and the Atlantic City stuff.

After walking around the Theater District for a while, we decided to just forget about it and head into Shake Shack because there was a crazy line going out of the store when we first walked by it and when we returned, it was a bit better. I'd heard Fleur on YouTube talk about how great it was, so I figured, why not? 

Let me tell you, it was the best freaking vegetarian-ised meal I've ever had. It was just heaven. Honestly, if you're even in Shake Shack, order their "Shroom" burger which is a portabello mushroom fried with some breadcrumbs and loads of cheese as a replacement for the meat patty with your basic tomato and lettuce. Unless you absolutely hate mushrooms or cheese, this is something you've just got to try.

Clockwise from top: caramel cupcake, strawberry cheesecake, cannoli

Of course we needed dessert after that, so we headed to the Cake Boss Cafe near Port Authority (because we didn't have time to visit Carlos's Bakery, unfortunately). While I don't watch the show that much, I really do love it and Buddy's a really cool guy, so I got my dad to take a picture of me with his bobblehead, which is the next best thing to the man himself.

The line was absolutely crazy, well, I really shouldn't say "line" because there really wasn't one, but metaphorically speaking, it was nuts. We went in and by the door, there's a machine that dispenses a number and you just take one and when they call your number, you go and order. Once you order, you have to go line up at the cash which takes a while as well. 

When we got in, they were at #2... and we had #34 (or something like that in the mid-thirties).

After Cake Boss, we went to the Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum which was packed with all sorts of weird stuff. The photo above was taken in this weird light tunnel that was supposed to be some kind of an optical illusion-type thing where you felt as if you were moving and spinning around, but you weren't.

My point-and-shoot camera is a bit... simple, let's say, so the shutter was open for quite a while without me meaning to do so, but it ended up capturing this, which I thought was pretty cool.

We then proceeded to spend a couple hours atop a double decker tourism bus just touring the city and learning about its history. It sounds really boring, trust me, I know, but it was really, really fun because I felt like I knew the city and how to get around so much better after the tour.

Flat Iron Building
I'm not sure what it's called, but it's pretty. :)

After the tour we took in the afternoon and a lovely dinner at Olive Garden (we basically just tried out a bunch of the US chains), we went on the night tour which gave us an amazing view of downtown New York and Brooklyn at night.

This 24-hour clock is actually on a building that I can't remember in NYC where the two digits on the left represent the hour and the two on the right represent the minutes. In the middle is basically the time that's left of the day, which I thought was ridiculously cool.

The next day after breakfast, we were off to the MET, but first, we went on an Uptown tour that brought us there. Let me just say this - the Upper East Side has some really pretty buildings. The architecture is a bit older and I was just in awe the whole way there. 

St John Cathedral 

In the MET, my brother was basically like, "Let's check out the Greek and Roman art!" because we were both into that, but when I saw the entrance to the Costume Institute's Charles James exhibition, I was just like, "Well, if you need me..."

It was truly one of the most inspirational things that I'd encountered on this trip. If you're not familiar with his work (go Google it), his dresses are very... intellectual, in a sense and are very, very complex. Through the exhibition, you could definitely see all the genius and construction behind what might simply be thought as just a pretty dress.

Just a chicken gyro form one of the food stands in front of the MET steps. We sat there eating our lunches and I just felt very much like Blair Waldorf. 

There was an organic gelato truck right by the MET and lots and lots of people were buying some, and while it was rather pricey for just two tiny little scoops of gelato, it was just heavenly. The pistachio one had little crispy pieces of something in it that made it that much better. And that other creme one, well, it was just good.

That night, we got to go to one of the restaurants on my list - IchiUmi. It's a sushi buffet and there was so, so much sushi. Like this photo only shows a fraction of it. There were some pretty cool and inventive rolls there, as well.

Round 1...

Round 2...

The sushi was pretty good, but like a lot of buffets, especially with the sushi, it had been sitting out for a bit, so it got a bit cold, but it was still pretty great food.

I just thought I'd add this in because it's a pretty candid shot of my brother and I in the bus station waiting for our bus pretty late at night. We were both exhausted and stuffed, but it was a fun time.

On the last day, I just had a spontaneous visit to FIT (we were originally only going to go to the museum) which was so eye-opening and absolutely amazing. I've been dreaming of going to this school for a while now and it was pretty crazy for me to be able to finally see it up close and personal. We even got a tour of the campus, which I think is a bit crazy because I'm only a freshman and there were tons of seniors as well as older college students wanting to transfer.

But we can just ignore how I'm only 14 and I'm already checking out post-secondary schools.

Then, after walking from Chelsea (27th and 7th) all the way to Times Square, we met up with my dad and brother (because they really couldn't be bothered to spend the day in a fashion school with my mom and I), we headed off to Broadway - our first ever Broadway show.

My parents really wanted to see The Phantom of the Opera, but my brother and I really weren't that interested, and due to The Book of Mormon's crazy prices, we ended up picking Once, a musical that I actually had my eye on ever since I'd found out about the trip. You can check out what it's about here, but it's basically known as the most romantic show on Broadway, but surprisingly enough, we both enjoyed it. Heck, I'm just surprised that my brother didn't fall asleep thirty minutes in.

We actually left the theatre quoting scenes from the show and it was just a great brother/sister bonding experience. We even got a huge Kit-Kat bar at intermission and scarfed that down like nobody's business. It was just the perfect ending to an amazing three days in New York.

We were then off to Atlantic City which, to be completely honest, was significantly less exciting.

This was the beach that we were at for a couple hours and since it was only the beginning of summer, it was pretty chilly and the beach itself isn't that beautiful, but I did manage to tan and read a bit out of the water, which was really relaxing and nice.

After not having Viet food for a while (but it really wasn't even that long), we were having withdrawal symptoms, so we went off of a friend's word and check out this Vietnamese restaurant called Com Tam Ninh Kieu and it was pretty great and just homey, which was what we needed after eating at glitzier NYC restaurants.

And this was the view from our hotel room at Harrah's. Unfortunately, the Wi-Fi wasn't free, which was annoying, but I guess if rich gamblers manage to make their way into a resort like this one (we got a significant discount), they wouldn't have minded paying a bit extra for that luxury.

On the second day, we basically just shopped. We were originally going to go to the beach again, but there was a tornado warning and the water was bound to freeze our butts off anyway, so we decided to head straight to the Tanger Outlets. 

After having breakfast (did you know that I managed to have oatmeal every single day we had breakfast? Yeah, I was pretty happy about that), we just shopped and shopped and shopped until we basically dropped. I learned the true meaning of that phrase on this trip. We went for a solid 10 hours or so, give or take, and it was just exhausting. The haul will be up on Monday if you're interested in what I got.

We finished at around 8:30, so it's not like we would've had time to go to the beach anyway.

The next day was our last day and we left our hotel room pretty early, but we didn't get to try the beautiful gelato from this little place in our hotel, so early morning gelato it was! We must've looked like freaks with the iced treat that early in the morning, but hey, the strawberry cheesecake gelato was good and beautiful, so it was worth it.

Before leaving the city, we stopped by that same Viet restaurant again before heading home. Overall, it was an amazing trip and I know that my parents aren't reading this right now, but thank you, thank you, thank you. I learned so much and it was so thought-provoking and eye-opening and downright inspirational. I'd never thought that I would've learned so much about myself and what I want to do and what kind of a person I want to become in such a short amount of time. It's pretty mind-blowing to me. 

Have I been anywhere that you've already been? If not, are there any places you'd like to add to your list? Which photos were your favourite? Share your stories and leave your thoughts below!

Thank you so much for reading!
- J


  1. Oh My Gosh that looks so fun! I especially like the picture with your brother, you guys looks so cute ;)
    I was wondering where the pants you were wearing in the picture with Buddy's bobble head were from? They're gorgeous :D

    1. Haha, thank you! I was debating for a bit on whether or not to include that photo or not, but I'm glad I did.
      I actually got those gorgeous pants as you like to call them in Vietnam last summer. When I saw it, I knew that I just had to get my hands on it (and it helped that it was only $6). I don't think that's what you were hoping to hear, but yeah... - J

  2. *mind blown*
    First, I want to point out that many of those photos made me feel hungry in the middle of the night :P!
    Both cities look nice, but I like NYC better ( but hey, who knows, I only saw the photos you shared). The photo of you and your brother at the bus station made me go "awwww" for a moment because I see family love and cute people! Also, I'm glad you learned a lot from this trip, although I have never been to NYC, I believe that place is truly amazing for fashion lovers!
    Anyway, thanks for sharing this whole trip with us, I enjoy reading this post a lot! :D

    1. Awh, thanks Melody! The food was pretty amazing, but I strategically pigged out on it so I didn't feel sick of food by the end of the week. :P
      Psst, I like NYC better, too. We didn't do that much in Atlantic City besides shop, honestly, so you didn't miss much from what I couldn't capture.
      You should definitely go to NYC because it's such a vivid and cultural city and you'll definitely leave with some new knowledge in your arsenal. And it's pretty great for any fashion lovers out there.
      Thank YOU for reading the post and I'm really glad that you enjoyed it so much! I'll be sure to keep that in mind the next time I go on any trips so I'll remember to capture the moments. - J