Tag Archives: Barnes & Noble

Alone Time in NYC

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So, I spent this past weekend alone in New York City (well, as alone as one can be in New York City). I cleared the weekend with KJ a while ago when sleep was very much missing from our lives and I thought I was going to lose my shit if I heard “I’m done sweeping!” one more time between the hours of midnight and 4:00am. I didn’t care where I went or what I did; I just knew I wanted to get away.

At the very last minute (like 3:00pm on Friday), I picked New York City partly because it’s convenient and partly because there is so much to do. (NOT that I was worried about being bored. I don’t get bored. Ever. I love reading and watching TV too much to ever get bored. And if I can stay in bed while do so, BONUS.)

So, it’s possible that my brother and city friends are right now saying, “You spent a whole weekend in the city and didn’t call me?” The answer is yes. And I felt a little bit bad about it while I was there, but not bad enough to call because

IT. WAS. AWESOME.

Here are some of the things I did during my 40 hours alone in New York City:

  • I spent way too much money on a TEENY TINY hotel room in my old neighborhood. The room had a small desk, one flat screen TV on the wall and a BIG BED. Perfect for my needs. (Minus the desk. Turns out, I didn’t need the desk.)
  • I walked. And walked. And walked.
  • I went to the Union Square farmers’ market and bought an apple. (That was the only healthy thing I ate all weekend.)
  • I went to three different Barnes and Noble stores and the Union Square branch twice.
  • I had four Starbucks drinks.
  • I read. And read and read and read. I finished one book and started another. I read Real Simple and all about Oprah’s Favorite Things and people.com and a billion blog posts I’ve been saving and even the fancy magazine that came in the tiny hotel room.
  • I got some Christmas shopping done. It wasn’t even part of my plan, but it just started happening, so I went with it. (Guess what you’re getting… BOOKS.)
  • I ate pizza.
  • I slept. I didn’t actually sleep as much as you would think because those damn kids have trained me to wake up early, but you know what’s better than sleeping? Waking up, and realizing that you do not have to get out of bed. Like, for the whole day if you don’t want to. I’m sorry, but there is NOTHING better than that feeling. (Except maybe that feeling plus knowing that you have Cadbury Mini Eggs in your bag.)
  • I watched CBS News Sunday Morning from start to finish! Usually the kid noise drowns out Charles Osgood entirely, so we give up. This was a real treat.
  • I walked some more and ate a bagel.
  • I shopped some more. (I went to ABC Home, which really should be listed as a tourist destination in the guidebooks because that store is crazytown amazing.)

Equally important, here are some of the things I did NOT do:

  • I didn’t talk to anybody!! With the exception of ordering food and drinks and a tiny bit of chit-chat with register people at various retail outlets (“Yes, I found the Cadbury Mini Eggs I was looking for with no problem, thank you very much”), I didn’t have one single conversation.
  • I did NOT go to the Strand. Given my love for bookstores, several people have asked me if I visited the famous independent bookstore. The Strand is very hip, but you can’t find shit and there are no big comfortable chairs. I have no desire to be hip or cool, so I go to B&N where I enjoy the huge, organized shelves of books and toys and the comfortable seating areas and the huge selection of beautiful blank journals that I buy and never use and yes, the SBs. Plus, I did not love this story.
  • I didn’t visit any museums. Or do anything cultural at all. Oh, I did watch a guy play the piano in Washington Square Park for about 30 minutes.
I call park concerts count as culture!

I call park concerts count as culture!

  • I didn’t make any decisions. I didn’t make any meals. I didn’t help anybody with anything! No one asked me tie their shoes, fix their underwear or put on their jackets. No one asked me to locate or explain or pour or reach or decide anything. No one complained that they didn’t like the things I was doing or the words I was saying or the food I was cooking (I didn’t cook!). No one whined. No one tattled. No one invaded my personal space. WINNING. (–> are we still saying that?)

It really was special. I came home feeling very calm. Of course the craziness commenced as soon as I walked in the door, but it turns out, when you recharge for two days, your tolerance for chaos goes way up. (I was going to make an alcohol analogy here, but I realized that it’s actually the opposite of drinking, where if you take a break, your tolerance goes down. Oh well.)

Anyway, I highly recommend doing a weekend alone. Beach weekends with the spouse or girls’ weekends in Vegas are equally awesome, of course, but there was something really nice about being alone. Just be sure to go to a big city… with lots of Barnes and Nobles.

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PS. The whole time I was in the city, I kept an eye out for Brandon Stanton (the photographer behind Humans of New York) and envisioned exactly how our encounter would go should we cross paths. I would confess to him that I’m actually a Former Human of New York. And he would ask me why I left. I would say oh, because I had a bunch of kids and moved to the suburbs. And he would say, how many is ‘a bunch?’ And I would say just three, but it usually sounds like a lot more. We would laugh. And then he would ask what are you doing in the city today? And I would say escaping the kids! And then hundreds of thousands of his mom followers would comment saying things like, I’m so jealous! and I hope she knows how lucky she is! And I’d be all… I do, trust me, I do.

Is that really weird?

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I’m Thankful for YOU, Howard Schultz

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I mentioned in a previous post that there’s a trend on Facebook right now to post an update every day about one thing for which you’re thankful. (I’m not sure if that’s proper grammar, but I am thankful that since this is my blog, it doesn’t really matter. Suck it Elements of Style.)

I’ve been working on my own Gratitude List. I’m going to be honest with you – Starbucks was super high. Like higher than some humans. And then, when I kept writing Starbucks sub-posts, I realized that I love SBs so much, it really deserves its own list. So, without further ado, I present to you:

My Gratitude List: Starbucks Edition

The top ten eleven things I love and appreciate most about Starbucks. (I thought it would just be ten. But the love just kept coming.)

1. The Ubiquity – Oooooh, big word, kmac. I know. (I’m not entirely sure I used it correctly… did I?) I mean that it’s awesome that there are four SBs accessible to me. Sometimes, I’m embarrassed to go into the same one for the third time in one day, so it’s good to have a back-up. And a back-up for the back-up.

2. The DRIVE-THRU – Yup, that fourth branch has a drive-thru. BEST. INVENTION. EVER. Because who needs caffeine more than a sleep-deprived new parent? Nobody. And what does a sleep-deprived new parent always have in the backseat? Yup, a sleeping baby. Or maybe you have three kids ages 2, almost 4 and 6 and you do not want to subject the good customers of your regular SBs to their… volume. (That’s actually really kind of you… you must be a good person.)

3. Flat lids – OK, confession: this one is really just my way of saying that I HATE the bubble lids. Unless you’ve ordered a Frappuccino with whipped cream (and if you have, I must ask… why not just go for the Blizzard at Dairy Queen?), than you should not be subjected to the bubble lid. Every once in a while my SBs runs out of flat lids and the bubble lid RUINS MY DAY. #IsSheKiddingMeWithThat?NoIAmNot.

I’m all for reusable cups but a permanent bubble top? NO. (I mean no, thank you.)

4. The holiday cups – does this one even need an explanation? If you don’t feel happy when those red holiday cups appear, then I feel confident in saying that you have a heart made of stone. Or just a stone where your heart should be. Or whatever. We can’t be friends.

Those mittens? The winking snowman? COME ON.

 

5. The Starbucks inside the Barnes & Noble – Now I know this one may be a bit controversial, because it’s not a real SBs and the Grande Skinny Vanilla No Foam Latte you get there doesn’t taste exactly like the Grande Skinny Vanilla No Foam Latte you get from your three other local branches, BUT bookstores are my second favorite retail destination ever so combining the two is like heaven in a strip mall.

Side note: for years I’ve told KJ that I’m jealous that he likes to play golf and is a huge Yankees and Jets fan because playing a round or going to games are multiple-hour-outings. It’s not nearly as acceptable to say, “Hey, can you take the kids for the day on Sunday? My laptop and I want to go sit at B&N and drink pseudo-SBs for five hours.”  

6. Skinny Vanilla Lattes – It just makes me feel virtuous to order it. “That’s right, I’m drinking the SKINNY version… I’m kind of a health nut.” (For those of you asking, “What makes it ‘skinny?’” the answer is, “I’m not telling you.”)

7. The logo – Admit it. You get psyched when you see the familiar green, long-haired goddess on the sign that says, “Rest Stop: 22 miles ahead.” That’s right road trip buddies… 22 miles until euphoria!

I’m on my way!

 

8. The Horizons chocolate milk boxes – OF COURSE I’d rather go to SBs without my kids. Obvious duh. But if they HAVE to come, it’s good to know that I can keep them quiet enjoy their company because SBs has a little something for everybody.

9. The scones. At only 1,687 calories and 243 grams of fat, I try not to have one every day. Or twice a day. But the pumpkin variety is worth the splurge every so often (how are we defining “every so often” these days anyway?).

10. The variety of seating options. Look, if I need to work (omg, calling writing for EW.com or NickMom “work” will NEVER get old), I like the standard table and chairs. But if I’m meeting a friend to catch up and we can score the two plush comfy arm chairs? Oh my, that is a Good Day. We’re drinking our skinny lattes (OK fine lazypants, here you go), curled up in the comfy chairs, gossiping about everyone else we know (<— I don’t really do that), it’s like Christmas morning. Maybe even better because I wasn’t jumped on at 4:30am.

11. Saying Grande & Venti (see #4 and #5) – Yeah, yeah… I know it’s cooler to act like you think saying “grande” or “venti” is dumb and “why can’t they just use medium or large?” Whatever. You say dumb. I say BILINGUAL.

Look. If you prefer Dunkin’ Donuts, I get it. I mean I don’t GET IT, but I’ll accept it. I’ll secretly laugh at you inside my brain, but we can still hang out.

At Starbucks.

No, no, no SBs… THANK YOU!