Let me start with a recommendation of what NOT to do when you are in New York. Don’t go to Vu Hair at the Peninsula Hotel. DON’T!!!!  Do. Fucking. Not!!! Getting my hair cut in New York has always been a treat for me. I try to go somewhere special. It’s a little way I like to spoil myself. This time I was trying a lovely sounding salon on the 22nd floor of a grand hotel. It got great Yelp reviews. I was excited. Well… Moi was in for a nasty surprise. ScissorHands did not listen to me when I told him what I wanted: three to four inches off the bottom and layering on the side.  Instead, my almost waist long hair (when straightened) was hacked to little more than shoulder length (a good 8 inches off). I was devastated. Into the lobby bathroom I went, where I cried for about twenty minutes — well, if you are going to cry like a big baby, it might as well be in some fancy bathroom. It heightens the drama. Am I right?

I always thought my hair was the most special part of me, the thing that made me pretty. My hair has always been long. From childhood, I have associated long hair with beauty. So to have it chopped so significantly… it was both shocking and somewhat devastating. It’s just hair, I know, but somehow the end result felt so brutal. Yeah, yeah, “it will grow back,” they tell me, like this is going to make things better. IN A FUCKING YEAR!!!! I now feel as attractive as a sack of potatoes.  Maybe I shouldn’t be so vain. I am more than what I look like. I know that. But even now as I write, I’m still upset about it. Traumatic.

Fuck that though. I’m still gonna roll like a gangsta. Shitty hair be damned. I shall move from the worst part of my vacation to the best. I saw my first ever concert. Going to see Florence + The Machine was the main reason for my trip. I didn’t know what to expect. Yeah, I could have seen her closer to home, but why would I do that when I could see her in Brooklyn? Makes no sense. Was it weird that I was going alone? Maybe a little, huh? I was nervous. Dealing with the unknown is always a little scary for me, but at the same time, I try to be brave. I don’t want life to pass me by. Was I going to stick out like a sore thumb? Was it going to be just completely and utterly awkward? 

Actually my dears, it was awesome. Ah Florence… could I possibly be more in love? Words don’t describe it. Her angelic aura, her super powerful voice, the way she danced in her diaphanous gown and bare feet, her beautiful bright spirit that lit up the Barclay Center. She is just so utterly lovely. Mostly she sang songs from her newest release, “High as Hope,” but there were some of her beloved classics too. Magical my lovelies, magical. I sang (yes, me!) … I even danced (if you could call it that). It was so special, a memory I will cherish forever.

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Of course there was plenty of eating. You know how I do, dollies. But I mostly stuck with my old favorites, so I am not going to bore you with stuff I’ve already written about previously. Suffice it to say, weight was surely gained. Need a fat ass to balance my awkward coiffure, methinks. And then there was the street art.

I found five Invader pieces to add to Moi collection. That always thrills me to bits.

And then I have some other beauties to share…

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Random fabulous
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Gumshoe Art, aka Angela China
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Public art installation by Derek Fordjour
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Vandal Gummy
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Piece by Buff Monster, Brooklyn
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Not Bad For a Girl, Indie184
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D*Face — somewhere of off Lafayette and Broome Street

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Slightly ominous, no?

Rather than discussing all about what I got up to in NYC and recount everything I stuffed into my belly (I’ve done that before), I thought I’d write about a very cool excursion I made into Bushwick (Brooklyn). It ain’t Manhattan, that’s for sure. But what it is, is a street art hotspot. I booked a tour, and I was super excited to see what artists I would find there. It was so worth the trek! I also learned quite a bit in the process. And yeah, there was a little somethin’ for da belly too … you know how I roll.

Here’s an interesting fact I learned: did you know that street art all started because a guy was trying to get a girl’s attention? He went by Cornbread (though his real name was Darryl McCray). Sometime in the 60’s he started “tagging” the words “Cornbread loves Cynthia” all over Philadelphia. This started a trend that would spread far and wide. Others followed his example, and by the 70s, graffiti became a big deal in New York. By the 80s, it was a global phenomenon (not to mention a public nuisance). And yeah, Cornbread did win the heart of his beloved Cynthia. Graffiti was born.
In my eyes, street art is just as high an art as anything you would find at the Louvre. To prove it, I give you Exhibit A.
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It’s so fantastic, I almost die looking at it.
I went a couple hours early to scope the place out. I’m so glad I did, because otherwise I would not have seen what is undoubtedly the most beautiful piece of street art that I have ever personally encountered. It is a mash up of Rafael’s Madonna dell Granduca and Kieth Haring’s Radiant Baby. While Rafael did his work on a canvas with oils and paint brushes, Owen Dippie created a work on a much grander scale using spray cans. In my opinion, “stunning” doesn’t even come close to describing the results. So I ask you, who has the greater skill? The renaissance master painter, or the street artist? Food for thought my lovelies.
Nothing I saw wowed me in this same way, but I did get so see plenty of other cool pieces, including a couple by my beloved Invader…
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Isn’t this the coolest? I love this Joey Ramone invader!
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… but there was plenty of other stuff too. Eye candy galore! Mostly the tour concentrated on what is called the “Bushwick Collective.” This is basically sanctioned street art, where the neighborhood business owners allow the artists to beautify the space, simply for art’s sake. There is no money exchanging hands. In return, Bushwick gets to look freaking awesome. I love that. Some really famous street artists from far and wide have come to help decorate the space.

Here are a few of my favorites:

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D*Face, from the UK

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The notorious Vandal Gummy Bear by Whisbie.

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A mural of my best girl, my beloved Frida.
I took loads of pictures, but I think you are ready to eat. Non, mon amours? I think if there is one special place to eat in Bushwick, it’s the legendary Roberta’s. In fact, Bushwick and Roberta’s are quite synonymous. This uber hipster hangout is not just a place for guys with pretty beards and well manicured mustachios! Oh no! This place makes some fine and  fatty pizzas. Moi had the “white guy pizza” (though I have to say, I think I am partial to Cubans *wink*).

No my dears, I’m not going to waste my time convincing you. A picture will tell you all you need to know.

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Yeah, that hunting in the Bush(wick) is no easy task, but someone’s got to do it *burp.*

I don’t remember if I mentioned it on my blog, but I keep a gratitude journal. It’s not a journal per se, it’s an app. Every day I try to write at least three things I’m thankful for. On a good day, I can have loads of entries. On a bad day, it can be hard to think of even one. Why do I keep a gratitude journal? Well, I once read that if you do something for 28 days it becomes a habit. I wanted to make it a habit to see the good in life. We are so trained to detail all the negative aspects of our day while taking the good things for granted. I don’t want to do that. I wanted to train my brain to do the opposite. I’ve been doing this more than 28 days, I think it’s closer to a year now, and I know that this practice has helped me greatly. I’d recommend this to anyone and everyone.

I think my gratitude journal really sums up my experience in Paris, so I thought I would share my entries with you.

Day 1

  • The Universe most definitely has my back. I am so blessed to have such an amazing friend to share this adventure with.
  • Our apartment is completely lovely. Crazy Kat and I are staying in such a perfect location in Saint-Germain-des-Prés , my favorite part of Paris. We each have our own bathroom, and a tiny little kitchen that has everything we need. I love the details: the little cubby holes, the little Hobbit door on the ground floor near the entryway, the wood beamed ceilings, and the little pillow on the couch with the gentleman wolf smoking a cigarette (note: we later found the pillow at a store, and each took one home a souvenir).

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  • We had a delicious dinner at a place that has always been on my radar, but I had completely forgotten about: Le Relais de l’Entrecôte. They only serve one dinner item, steak frites, and they do it so right. I love the secret sauce!
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Le Relais de l’Entrecôte, steak frites. Photo is from the website. In my pictures, the special sauce was terribly unphotogenic, but this picture does it justice, so voilà.

Day 2

  • Waking up in Paris on my birthday. How lucky am I?
  • Pierre Herme‘s Ispahan croissants. This is what I want to be the last thing I eat before I die. They are that amazing, truly unsurpassed.

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Breakfast is served. Are you feeling the love???
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The money shot.

  • My mother called to wish me a happy birthday.
  • I found a few space invaders.
  • I had my birthday dinner at my favorite restaurant in the world: Benoit. This was truly special for me. There was a time when I thought I’d never get to go again, well here I am, and it was truly as fabulous as I remembered.
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As you look at this pictures, imagine angels singing. That is how glorious this meal was.
  • Walking through the Maris after dinner and stumbling into a gay pride celebration. There was so much good energy. You could feel it.

Day 3

  • Starting my day off with another Ispahan Croissant … okay, two croissants. I’m on vacation so whatevaaaa.
  • Browsing Le Bon Marche and its adjacent foodie super store, La Grande Epicerie
  • The Palais Garnier, the stunning opera house in the center of Paris. It has always been a dream of mine to see a performance there. Today I saw La Cenerentola, an Italian version of Cinderella. It was certainly the most fun and cheeky opera I’ve been to thus far. The music was great, thoroughly entertaining.

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  • Grom gelato and their otherworldly whipped cream.

Day 4

  • Today I was the first customer to walk inside the sliding glass doors of Pierre Herme for my croissants. It’s true love.
  • Buly – an amazing little shop selling beautiful bath and body products and little treats for the home. The store itself is so beautiful, it’s like going back in time — an absolute gem with loads of special treats.

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  • Eating the same chocolates Marie Antoinette ate at Debauve & Gallais, the oldest chocolate shop in Paris.

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  • Tonight Crazy Kat and I had another wonderful meal. This time it was at Cafe Constant. I had the beef stew, which was so tender you could cut the meat with a spoon … and then there were the profiteroles …

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Day 5

  • Breakfast at Angelina and their infamous hot chocolate. There is nothing else like it. It is so thick and rich, but surprisingly not overly sweet. It is like drinking melted chocolate bars.
  • Tracking down more space invaders and catching Invader’s “Hello My Name Is” exhibit at the Musee en Herbe.

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  • Dinner at Laduree on the Champs Elyesee. Nobody does omelettes like the French. It was pure perfection, and the restaurant itself is like sitting in an old fashioned jewelry box.

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  • Seeing the Eiffel Tower glitter. Magic. Pure magic.

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Day 6

  • Scarfing down Ispahan croissants like a boss!
  • Finding some very cool space invader pieces. This one is my favorite of the trip:

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  • Sitting at a cafe at the Place de Vosges waiting for the rain to subside.
  • The famous falafel at L’As du Fallafel.

Day 7

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Le Parc by Gustav Klimt
  • The anticipation of seeing Birdy again when he offered to pick me up from MIA.
  • Having an awesome friend to share this special time with.

Thank you so much Crazy Kat, for everything. You are the best! I had the most wonderful time in Paris. I will never forget it.

Yeah, so you see, the Universe does have my back. For more pictures of this trip, please visit my Instagram page, and do follow me if you are so inclined. 

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I’m back from NYC. Somebody please remind me to stop booking holidays in the dead of winter. I freaking hate the cold! If you are going to brave the tundra,  a word of advice: $3 gloves from Target are NOT going to cut it. Why must I learn everything the hard way? Damn it!

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On day one, my first stop was to get one of my favorite NYC treats, something I’ve talked about on my blog time and time again: the divine morsel known as the chocolate chip and walnut cookie from Levain. I walked 20 min in the snow for this thing. It was worth it.

Following that, I had a browse around the Met Breuer, and I walked up and down Madison Avenue where all the luxury boutiques are. I can’t really afford to buy anything there, but I do enjoy a bit of window shopping. This penniless extravaganza culminated at Barney’s — just another in the line of many stores I went to where normal people can’t buy stuff. This is where I treated myself to a delicious robiola and truffle “pizza” and met a very unusual woman who started a random conversation with me. To say she was odd, would be an understatement. She had a giant feather in her fluffy white/blonde hair. She claimed to be Danish royalty (not like I asked LOL). For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out if she was on crack or she really was some brain addled royal–only in New York! I love it!

Day two was all about hunting Invader’s Space Invaders in downtown NYC- it’s street art of a very interactive sort. I’m sure most of you won’t be familiar with it, but it’s kind of like Pokemon Go, except these pixelated mosaics scattered through the city really do exist. When you find them, you snap a picture, and you get points. So, not to intimidate you guys, but I am the 3,169th best Invader hunter in the world according to the app. I have the frost bitten fingers to show for it.  During this trip I found a total of 10. And guess what my lovelies?!?! I just read that Invader is going to be doing an exhibit in Paris soon. I am so tempted to book a ticket. I happen to have 36 vacation hours stored away at the moment, and I desperately want to revisit what I think is one of the most amazing cities in the world, so watch this space. Adventure calls! Anyone up for it?

Aside from the above beauties (you can click on the image for a larger version), I also found some other cool street art. Here are some of my favorite pictures:

All the walking I did that day was fueled by the most gloriously ginormous wedge of French toast at the Landmarc. At $26 for tea and toast, it’s not exactly a cheap eat, but this is a Caroline must! And trust me, when it comes to food, I’ll never steer you wrong. Don’t come to NYC without putting one of these in your belly. And that leads me to my next cold weather tip: don’t be afraid to blubber up.
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So day two was spent downtown. I explored Soho a bit, snapped street art, ate some good food, and I totally wore myself out. By the end of the day I was absolutely exhausted.

Day three, however, was all about pampering myself. Really, that is the main reason I wanted to go to New York in the first place. Life had been wearing me down. I was nursing my wounds about Birdy ending things with me. Actually, I’m still sad about.  Not a day goes by that I don’t think about him and miss his company. Instead of time making things better, it actually feels worse now. NYC was supposed to be a “pick me up.” I had my yearly hair cut, this time at Oscar Blandi — and I have to say, my stylist (her name was Ingrid) did a really awesome job.  A week later and I’m still admiring it. I had a gorgeous meal at Benoit, and then I went on to browse my favorite 5th Avenue shops: Henri Bendel and Bergdorf Goodman. I made a nuisance of myself  at the cosmetics counter and sampled all the fab new perfumes. That’s always fun for me.

The most special part of that day, however, was my visit to Tiffnay & Co. You see, there was this necklace

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And while I didn’t get breakfast at Tiffany’s, I was served some lovely green tea on a bitterly cold day. 

I planned to buy it for by birthday, but then I decided why wait? Wouldn’t it be more special to buy it at Audrey Hepburn’s Tiffany? Um … yes. It would. This necklace has a significance to me. It’s a gift from me to me. It’s a reminder that even if no one else recognizes my worth, I do. It is a reminder that I am deserving and good, no matter anyone’s opinion.  I am tired of waiting for a man to treat me well. I’m going to do it myself where and when I can. Life is too fucking short for anything else.

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Henri Rousseau’s The Dream at the MoMA. It almost made me cry.

Day four was spent in my favorite NYC museum: the MoMA, where I got to feast on eyes on the most beautiful treasures from Rousseau to Van Gogh, and there were plenty of Andy Warhols thrown in for good measure. I don’t know about you guys,  but for me, food feeds my belly and art feeds my soul. This is the kind of stuff I live for.

My final day was a quiet one. I went to my favorite NYC happy place: Murray’s bagels, and filled my belly with my quintessential NYC eat:

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This was followed by a peaceful morning at  the Strand bookstore, before making my way to the airport (where I was practically molested as I was going through security by the way).
… and that’s it dollies. There’s so much more to show you. If you want to check it out, come visit me over on Instagram. I took plenty of pictures.

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As you read this, I am in New York City, hopefully having an awesome time hunting Space Invaders in the freezing cold while eating my weights worth of Levain cookies and Murray’s Bagels. A girl needs to insulate herself with a smidge of blubber when she is exploring the frozen tundra after all. There are museums to visit, department stores to browse, and cakes to eat (yep, cakes with an “s”). This requires plenty of fuel dontcha know. Horrific posts of gluttony are soon to follow, I’m sure. For the next few days, I want to ignore the fact that I am unemployed. I will do my upmost not to let it ruin my time here. I prefer to think about that later. I’ve got plenty of time for that.

I do actually have some news, so here goes….

Valentine’s Day is not my favorite day of the year. While I do love limited edition pink and red boxes of shockingly overpriced chocolates, not to mention flowers, I kind of hate this holiday. I don’t need some glaringly obviously reminder that I am alone. But… I’m not so alone this year. I’ve actually met someone, and I am kind of excited about it. Part of me is really freaked about by even writing about him. Part of me thinks that as soon as I put it in black and white, he is going to be gone in a puff of deliciously scented smoke, but I am ready to air my dirty laundry. I wouldn’t go so far as to call him my boyfriend, I think it would be more accurate to say that we are “seeing each other.” While nobody is perfect, he is pretty freaking close.

I shall state my case:

  • He wears Bond No 9’s Sandalwood … it is dead sexy.
  • He is very handsome. He has the most awesome smile, and I love his dark hair and dark eyes.
  • He is smart – I will never fall for a stupid man. What’s the point of beautiful eyes if there is nothing worthwhile in between them? I have to be able to have an intelligent conversation with a person.
  • He is successful in what he does, but unlike a lot of men, he doesn’t define himself by his profession. I love that. Most doctors define themselves by their title, and they tend to have huge egos. He doesn’t.
  • He is very passionate about certain political issues. He has something of a man crush on Bernie Sanders actually LOL. What I think is great is he doesn’t just talk a lot of s*it, he actually is very politically involved and has even taken part in protests where he risked being arrested for speaking out about his beliefs.
  • We share the same birthday, and his first name is the same as my dad’s name. I don’t know why exactly, but that is significant to me… almost as if someone is trying to give me a sign.
  • What I like best about him is that he has never made me feel as anything less than special. Let’s face facts, I am a 4o year old woman who is living with her mother (text book “old maid” material). I don’t have a car. As of Thursday, we can add the fact that I’m unemployed now too.  Though I think I have some wonderful qualities, sadly, I don’t think any man describe me as a catch. Never once, however, did he ever make me feel  shitty or embarrassed about my situation. He has only treated me with kindness and respect … and that my dears, is priceless.

For the sake of this blog, I shall call him Birdy. Why? Because of he reminds me of this poem.

How much does he like me? Honestly I don’t know. He likes me I’m sure, but I have the feeling that I probably have stronger feelings for him than he has for me. I have pre written this post, and I honestly don’t know if he will even be around when this entry gets published. Why? Because I’m afraid I’m a bit of a train wreck. I don’t have the best track record when it comes to men, and I no longer have the confidence in myself to believe that he will stick around (or why he is there in first place). All I can tell you is that since I’ve been living in America, nobody man has come close to this one. He is something rare and wonderful. I kind of know that I am not the only woman who has thought the same of him. What makes me any better than them? Is it possible that some kind of late Christmas miracle is going to happen where he will be able to see the real me that lives behind all this tarnish? What makes me think I have a snowball’s chance in hell? Hope.

Happy Valentine’s day dollies. I love you.

 

So I went back to Wynwood. I can’t stay away. This time it was for Wynwood Walk, which happens the second Saturday of every month. On that day, there are lots of food trucks, the art galleries stay open extra late… and dare I say, some have free treats! Yes, fooooooooood! Oh my god you guys, it’s like trick or treating for adults. It is freaking awesome!

Here are some more pictures I took during my last trip:

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My first introduction to street art came in the form of Invader. He is quite popular in Paris. Here in Miami, his works have mostly been removed and/or defaced. They are incredibly rare to find in Florida.
My first introduction to street art came in the form of Invader. He is quite popular in Paris. Here in Miami, his works have mostly been removed and/or defaced. They are incredibly rare to find in Florida.

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Works by Atomik are absolutely prolific. You see them all around Miami. He is such a cool guy. If you Instagram is work, he gives you a shout out :D!
Works by Atomik are absolutely prolific. You see them all around Miami. He is such a cool guy. If you Instagram is work, he gives you a shout out! All his works are characterized by his signature smiling orange.
In the world of street art, everyone knows Shepard Fairey. He is one of the rock stars. He has a very signature style.
In the world of street art, everyone knows Shepard Fairey. He is one of the rock stars. He has a very signature style.

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A modern interpretation of a triptych?
A modern interpretation of a triptych?

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The iconic boom box by Chor Boogie and Trek6, visible from I-95, painted on and abandoned two story building.
The iconic boom box by Chor Boogie and Trek6, visible from I-95, painted on the facade of an abandoned two story building.
This one was my favorite. It was stunning, so detailed. Check out the hands! It was an absolutely gigantic mural, a real show stopper.
This one was my favorite. It was stunning, so detailed. Check out the hands! It was an absolutely gigantic mural, a real show stopper. This is only a small segment of the entire piece by German artist, Herakut.
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Pretty good. I’d say its an 8.5/10.

And I have more pictures too, but I think that’s probably enough for now. I will stop on a high note with that last one. It was breathtaking in person. I think it’s time to eat something, no? This time I tried Kush, a very trendy but tiny burger place that is so popular in Wynwood. I tried the LoKal burger (not to be mistaken with low cal LOL). It was a really good quality burger with excellent locally sourced ingredients, but I have to say nothing comes close to the mouth watering Emperor at Charm City!  If you are looking for a burger fix, I totally recommend it though. Fries were really good too (at Charm City they are kind of meh, so I go for the tater tots).

Art, sunshine, and calorific burgers: does it get any better?

I wrote this ahead of time, so as you are reading, Moi has just gotten into NYC. I plan to be posting a lot of photos on my Instagram account. I hope you will check them out.

Love and kisses from the Big Apple!