Saturday, December 27, 2014

Saturday Thoughts: NYC Edition + SoHo Birchbox Store

I'm in New York City right now until tomorrow (my boyfriend and I have been here since early yesterday) and I'm having a ton of fun exploring.  I've been once before, but it was in 8th grade for a school trip so of course I couldn't really do much other than what was on our itinerary.  I've wanted to come back for a long time, and I'm finally here!

Our hotel is in Midtown right near Times Square.  Our plane landed at 7:30 in the morning and we got to the hotel around 8:00, but we couldn't check in until at least noon.  It's true what they say about Times Square: it's the worst.  It was nice to have all of the stores so close in this instance, since it gave us something to do while we waited to check in, but otherwise it is just too crowded and hectic.  We went to the M&Ms and Hershey's stores, Toys 'R Us, and a few other random places.  Shake Shack was high on my list of restaurants to try, so we went there for lunch.  Above is a picture of the line.  We actually didn't have to wait long at all, it just looked like there were more people because the line section inside of the restaurant is really short.

We ordered two Smoke Shacks and cheese fries to go.  It was packed inside, and even if we had wanted to eat there we would have had to stand.  I did not want to do that.  Our hotel was only a few blocks away, so we took it back and ate it in the little lounge/bar area.  I thought it was really good, but not phenomenal.  I'm glad I tried it after hearing so many things about it, but overall I wouldn't say it blew me away.

Here's another picture of my burger: bacon, cheese, and cherry peppers.  The peppers provided just enough spice!

We finished eating around 12:30 pm but the room still wasn't ready.  The people at the desk had said that they might have something ready for us, but it turned out that people weren't checking out so they hadn't been able to clean many of the rooms yet.  We had been sitting and relaxing in the lounge area for a bit, so we decided to walk around some more.  We finally were able to get into the room at 2:00.

One of the other places I knew I had to go to was the Birchbox shop in SoHo.  It was just a quick 10-12 minute ride on the C train from our hotel.  I'm glad we went to SoHo; the shopping is so much better than what's in Times Square (and it's less crowded).  They had a ton of high-end shops, most of which I couldn't even afford, but it was fun to look around.  We could also see the new World Trade Center building all lit up (the sun had since set) and it looked beautiful.

The Birchbox store is amazing!  If you ever have the chance to go, I highly recommend that you do so.  They have tons of full-sized products plus a "Build Your Own Birchbox" section and a salon downstairs.  I loved the interior--it was super bright and colorful, and all of the displays were beautifully arranged.

I was with my boyfriend and I told him I wouldn't make him stay in the store for too long, but he didn't mind because he knew that I really wanted to shop there.  They also have a men's section in the store, so there were some things he could look at.  I didn't really need much from the full-sized products, but it was fun to look around.

I definitely wanted to build my own box.  They had men's and women's options, both cost $15 for five samples.  I assumed I'd be able to pick from a wide variety of samples, and while that was kind of true, it was more set up so that you chose one sample from a few available in each category: hair, skincare, makeup, fragrance, and body.  Since I've been a subscriber for so long (about two and a half years) I had gotten a lot of the options already, but they still had items I either hadn't tried or wanted more of.

I ended up picking up the following: Juice Beauty Blemsing Clearing Cleanser, Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine, stila lip glaze in Raspberry Sorbet (full-sized!), Whish Shave Cream, and a tinted Klorane dry shampoo.  They also gave me the option of getting a Chuao Chocolate or one other sample (I think it was a skincare item?  I can't quite remember), but obviously I chose the chocolate!  The other sample in the photo above is a Skin Transformer Face Spotlight, which I was able to get because I purchased a full-sized item.

The blue box is what my build your own box was packaged in.  My boyfriend picked out the Sasquatch Pine Tar soap for himself, which smells so wonderful (just like a pine tree), and I got a full-sized bottle of the amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo for myself.  I actually got a sample of the amika in either my most recent Birchbox or the month before, and I liked it so much that I wanted a full-sized bottle.  I could have gotten all of these items from their online shop as well, but purchasing them in-person meant no shipping costs.  I also got points on my account like I would if I had purchased them online, plus I got 70 extra for spending more than $30!

We ended the night by going to dinner at Mercato, a little Italian restaurant a block away from the hotel that I found using the Flavour app.  I'm so glad I had that app; it came in really handy because the place we had originally planned on eating at was booked solid.  We went to Mercato at around 7:00 pm and didn't even have to wait for a table!  I can't believe that it wasn't busier, because the food was to die for.  We got the Polpette Con Crostini (meatballs) for an appetizer and I ordered the Spaghetti Fatti in Casa al Pomodoro Fresco (spaghetti with fresh tomatoes, basil, and garlic).  It was so good!  It reminded me of the Tag Pic Pac at Carrabba's, except authentic.  My boyfriend got the Lasagna Tradizionale and it was probably the best lasagna I've ever had in my life.  It was made with bechamel and a traditional meat ragu and it was just so creamy and delicious!  I don't have any photos to share of the dinner because I didn't bring my phone, but you can find some on their yelp page.  I 100% recommend Mercato!

I know this post was kind of photo-heavy, but I took a bunch of pictures in the Birchbox shop that I wanted to share.  Here are the rest of them:

I hope you're all enjoying your weekends!  I'd love to hear what you're up to, feel free to leave a comment.  Also, let me know if you've ever shopped at the Birchbox shop and what you thought of it!


  1. Looks like you're having lots of fun! I still haven't been to the Birchbox shop... they host events there occasionally, but from what I've heard from other bloggers they get INSANE. Like way, way too many people. It looks like a very cute and cheerful place to visit on a normal day though!

    1. Ooh and event would be fun, but yeah, I bet it would just be way too crowded. The store was really hot inside already when I went and there were only like 5 other people in it, I can't imagine how it would feel if it was packed!


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