Hello all! Hope everyone is off to a great week. Things around here are feeling a bit unorganized and chaotic. Usually when this happens, I get a bit overwhelmed and tend to get very little done. I’d rather just block it all off and procrastinate on the internet until the chaos subsides. Do you know what I mean?

Though, I’m making an effort to plow through the craziness this week and attempt to get at much done as possible. Let’s hope this goes as well as my mind is planning.

As I mentioned on Sunday (Thanks again for the additional birthday wishes), I’m headed to New York City soon for a Blogger Social hosted by Better Homes & Gardens! I’m so ridiculously excited! This all happened somewhat last minute so it’s been a little crazy making all the arrangements, but totally worth it.

Inspired By Charm

The event is for a couple hours one evening during the week so I decided to make a little trip out of this opportunity and make stay in the city for two nights. My Mom and I usually take an overnight trip around my birthday so I thought this would be perfect opportunity, so we are going together. The city is only about a 5.5 hour drive for here, so it will be a fun little road trip. Thankfully though a fantastic friend and colleague in the hospitality industry I was able to snag two nights at a beautiful hotel for a ridiculous rate. Yay!

I also went ahead and bought some tickets to the new broadway musical Once. This may not come as a surprise, but I’m a huge musical fan with Wicked being my absolute favorite. I almost considered getting tickets to see that again, but thought seeing a new show was a better idea. I can’t wait!

Inspired By Charm

via // Once

Back to the blogger event, I also had to order some seriously last minute business cards. I have business cards, but they are for my little inn. Since, I’m going to a blogger social, I figured I needed some new cards. I used moo.com and one of their standard design templates.

Inspired By Charm

I bought the luxe cards. I’m super happy with the quality and their presentation/shipping is top notch. Though, I’m now regretting the luxe cards as they are super thick and I’m not quite sure how I’m going to carry them around.

Inspired By Charm

I suppose carrying some sort of messenger bag in the city is a must. Especially if I have my camera. So much to think about! I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

Lastly, realizing I’ve had no need to be somewhat fashionable lately, ,y Mom and also went shopping yesterday to find so new clothes to wear for the trip and the event. I wasn’t in the shopping mood, but found two perfect combinations at the most unexpected place. More on that later.

And when I say ‘went shopping’ I mean it takes an entire day as the mall is about two hours from my house. So, thankfully I found something or I would be going again this weekend.


Now, this is where I need your help. We are going to have some time in the city basically two afternoons, one dinner, two breakfasts, two lunches. The hotel is near 60th and Park Ave. I need some suggestions. Places to eat, places to shop, things to do. I’ve spent a few nights in the city and my Mom was there for one afternoon. We seen most of the ‘tourist’ attractions, so we are looking for more unique and interesting places. Because of the hotel and theater tickets, the budget isn’t huge. Any advice or suggestions would be greatly aprpecaited. I’m also going to do a little research through various social medias. I promise to report back on the plan or the results of that plan. Sound good?

Feel free to leave any suggestions or idea in the comments below. Thank you! Enjoy your week!

Oh, and if there any other bloggers reading this that are going to the same event, please shoot me an email. I’d love to say an internet ‘hello’ and have an idea who else is going. Thanks!

Inspired By Charm

Inspired By Charm Inspired By Charm Inspired By Charm Inspired By Charm Inspired By Charm Inspired By Charm Inspired By Charm Inspired By Charm Inspired By Charm

Disclosure: This blog post may contain affiliate links as part of the Amazon Services LLC Associate Programs and other affiliate services. This means that inspiredbycharm.com receives a small commission by linking to Amazon.com and other sites at no cost to the readers.

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  • Wendy Manganaro at

    My favorite place to eat is Carmine’s near Broadway. It’s family style, and one dish can feed a small village!

  • Angelica at

    Go down to Canal Street…LOTS of cheap souvenirs for the folks back home, Chinatown and cheap backrubs (not the pervy kind…you can go with your mom!) A bit ‘dirtier’ than your average tourist spot, but lots to see and nice places to grab a quick lunch. (note: It WILL be crowded down there)Take the train down.

    Nearer to your hotel: Carnegie Deli http://www.carnegiedeli.com/home.php
    near Times Square- you can get a giant pastrami (i mean…GI-ANT) and live on it for a week if you want. Walk around Times Square-not to be missed!

    Walk through Central Park (naturally!), horse and buggy ride, CP Zoo..

    Little Italy for lunch…hundreds of really good restaurants…walk around and choose one that strikes your fancy…my fave: Da Nico http://danicoristorante.com/

    Have fun on your trip!

  • Anonymous at

    I’ve never been, but most people I know who have rave about Carmine’s. It’s supposed to be really good, and relatively reasonably priced (it IS New York, after all).

    It’s been a long time since I’ve had one, but the best milkshake I can ever remember having was at Tom’s Diner on Broadway and 112th or so. The outside of it is the facade for the Seinfeld restaurant (but inside is way different). It’s otherwise typical diner food. On the way back to the hotel, though, if you wanted, you could take the bus right to the Museum of the City of New York: http://www.mcny.org/ The bus (I forget which one, but you can take it from either Broadway or Amsterdam, which is one block over from Broadway) drops you off pretty much right in front of the museum. Not sure of the exhibits right now, but when I went many years ago, they had an exhibit of toys from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

    Where you are staying on the east side is mostly residential and shopping (not too far from Bloomingdale’s, for example). There are probably some great bistros, cafes, and little restaurants, but I don’t know that area too well.

    Did you like the movie You’ve Got Mail? Then check out Cafe Lalo, where one of the scenes was filmed. http://cafelalo.com/cafe/ I’ve never eaten the actual food there (only a piece of their kosher cake, though the cafe itself is not kosher), but if you are into being where a piece of New York is captured on film forever, this is one place to check out.

    If you can, go to Sara Beth’s. There are numerous locations throughout the city. http://www.sarabeth.com/Restaurants_ep_40.html On weekends especially, the wait for brunch can get quite long. Don’t leave without checking out the jam selection!! It’s not cheap, but if your budget can handle it, it’s a must.

    I’m sure others can give you much better suggestions than I could (especially since I haven’t lived in New York for 10 years), but at least it’s a starting point!

    –Amy, former coordinator of McElwain 🙂

  • Lauren V. at

    First time commenter, but had to chime in because I love New York so much!

    For things to do, I would check out the High Line, which is a public park built on an historic freight rail line. http://www.thehighline.org/ Chelsea is a great area to wander the galleries and look at all kinds of cool art for free!

    In terms of restaurants, Eataly, Mario Batali’s gourmet market with six restaurants inside is a great place to eat your way through.

    Soho is a great neighborhood to spend the afternoon. There are lots of little shops and all of the chain stores as well. A restaurant I went to there recently and liked was Hundred Acres http://hundredacresnyc.com/

    Stop by Magnolia Bakery for cupcakes.

  • K kay_can at

    Hi Michael
    I was in NY about 2 weeks ago, and we ate at Ellens Stardust Diner, they sing and dance on the tables. The food was good and we had a lot of fun, a neat place. http://www.ellensstardustdiner.com/ Chinatown is a must, lots of neat stuff and cheappppppppp. Have fun and enjoy yourself. Love your blog!!!!

  • Joleen Brann at

    Ellens Stardust is what I was going to recommend since you love musicals. It’s reasonably priced, and you get entertainment. I can send you a video if you like! They have fantastic ice cream desserts, and it’s kind of soda shoppe -y. Super cute place.

    When you go to the show, it is really chi-chi to go to Sardis. Sit at the bar downstairs, have a cocktail. It’s not too expensive, and it is always entertaining. The bartender has been there FOR-EVER! Last time I was there, Kathleen Turner came in, spoke to him in FLUENT spanish for about 5 minutes, and left. I’ll never forget it. You DO NOT need reservations for that.

    Skip the chain places.

    HAVE a GREAT time!

    Oh, it just occurred to me, you might not have a Whole Foods where you live, or a Trader Joes. If you haven’t been to either of those, they are both grocery stores, and are FULL of fantastic ingredients that you don’t see every day. I DARE you NOT to buy something new to try. And they are chains. But still, something that you would likely enjoy!

    Oh, and Lauren is right about Magnolia, but get the banana pudding. For cupcakes, I like Crumb. There used to be just one Crumb, but now, there are several. They have a cupcake that LOOKS like a hostess cupcake, but is about 10million times better. They are huge, you can share with your mom.


  • mels at

    Hi Michael, I know you have met Jim Lahey. If you haven’t been to his bakery you need to go! The topped Strecci was amazing. I could go back just for that. He has a pizza place now too. I have his Pizza book, yum!

    230 Ninth Avenue
    New York, NY 10001

    Sullivan St Bakery Chelsea
    236 Ninth Avenue
    (bet. 24th & 25th St.)
    Current hours: 9AM-6PM

    Have fun!


  • Mary Richmond at

    This trip sounds incredible! My all time favorite Broadway show is Wicked too! LOVE it! Could see it a million times.

    I’m sure you already have Purl Soho on your list of things to do. It is in Soho @ 459 Broome Street. So many beautiful hard to find fabrics. Definitely take a walk through Central Park. You can also go to the top of the Empire State Building and get a view of the whole city. It is hot waiting in line though. Outdoor flea markets are always fun too. The Antiques Garage is only open on Saturday and Sundays (112 West 25th Street (between 6th and 7th Avenues)and open 9AM – 5PM).

    I LOVE NY! Have a great time!

    Mary @ At Home on the Bay

  • Will @ Bright.Bazaar at

    You are in for such a fun few days, M! Wish I could come to NYC to hang and shop with you – so fun!

  • Tonya Diehl at

    I’ve never been to New York, so I am absolutely no help!! However, I am very excited for you!! What an amazing opportunity!!

    Oh…and I totally know what you mean about being overwhelmed! Instead of tackling the million things I need to get done, I just completely shut down! I always do that if I have too much on my plate!!

  • Jan at

    I’m all for free or inexpensive. I go to NYC one a year for the BEA. A great free thing to do is walk the High Line – http://www.thehighline.org/. Talk about great photo ops. Governors Island is free, as is the ferry to bet there – http://www.govisland.com/html/home/home.shtml. The Cooper Hewitt Design Museum is currently on Governors Island. Be sure to get your Metro pass, no free, but riding the bus and subway is way less expensive than taxis. For quilting fabric I love City Quilter at 133 W. 25th Street.

  • Round Rock Gal at

    If you’d like to combine food and NYC sites, consider one of the many food walking tours that are offered there. There are dozens to choose from and it will take care of “lunch” for sure. (Just Google food walking tours NY and you will see your options.) We went to Greenwich village and it was one of the highlights of the trip. Also – check out the half price theater tickets (I think the kiosk opens at noon) and you can get great prices the day of the event if you are not opposed to going with the flow. Have fun!

  • Susan and Mark at

    I am a native NYer making my way across the country, LOL ( Ny-TX-OR; next stop, San Diego!)

    There are many, many great places to aet in NYC.
    You pretty much cannot go wrong-BUT- make sure you:

    Have a black and white cookie from Ferrara’s bakery;
    Have an egg cream-it’s chocolate milk with seltzer! Any soda fountain place will have it.
    The Gracie Mews diner has fab breakfasts;
    Eat at Gobo ( http://www.goborestaurant.com/ )It is amazing-fresh, local food, vegetarian yet filling, with gorgeous prenetation-ah.
    Frozen Hot Chocolate at Serendipity’s is wonderful as well.

    We were there last year in August and it was fabulous. Except for Hurrricane Irene!
    We missed Book of Mormon because of her. GRRRRR. Next time…

    Enjoy “Once.” One warning-the music is gonna make you cry. Bring Kleenex!
    Enjoy your trip 🙂

  • Camden ME Mom at

    When are you seeing Once? I’m going Friday night…we leave from Maine on Thursday. We decided to use homeaway.com for a much more affordable vacation….there are 8 of us….Hope you have a great time….After the theater, try John’s pizza on 44th street for some fun atmosphere (a converted church) and good pizza.

  • Anonymous at

    I second the visit to Sarabeth’s!!!!! The lemon/ricotta pancakes are the BEST!!! I promise you won’t be disappointed. We never miss it when we are in the city. Have fun and Happy Birthday!!

  • DRTVrMoi at

    Early birthday regards, Michael. Here are my tips for fun (& free) NYC. Be sure to visit Henri Bendel, 712 Fifth Ave. to see the Lalique windows. They are priceless originals that you can see from the street, but go upstairs and you can get close enough to touch them. A piece of history, indeed. Close by is the St Regis Hotel. Stop by the King Cole Bar (2 E. 55th St)) to view the Maxfield Parrish mural of the same name. The drinks are pricey but the viewing is free. Don’t miss the High Line. I’ve only missed it because the last few visits were in January.

    For good but reasonable breakfasts, find a ‘Europa Cafe’. There are many located around the city. Great food, reasonably priced. Same can be said for ‘Hale & Hardy’. A wide selection of soups; most good, all filling.

    Enjoy the city!

  • Becky J at

    Love love love NYC!!! I am pea green with envy!! I also love Cafe Napoli in Little Italy! Their sangria is the best and I will not eat gnocchi anywhere else! Enjoy your time in NYC!!!!

  • Grace @ Sense and Simplicity at

    One of the things my son and I enjoyed in NYC was to go and eat some knishes and pickles. Have you ever had them? We went to Yonah Schimmel’s Knish Bakery (http://www.yelp.ca/biz/yonah-schimmels-knish-bakery-new-york). It is over 100 years old and the layers of white paint on the walls and hardware are incredible. It was lots of fun. We loved the knishes and the dill pickles were to die for.

  • Funky Junk Interiors at

    This is a place I’ve always wanted to go! Never been yet so I can’t recommend a thing! But I know I’d be wandering around, eating at little diners and taking a ton of pics at the very least. Have a blast!!


  • Ashley at

    Hi – so I have to chime in since I live directly across the park from where you are staying & used to live over there as well. Right near you is Lavo, which is like an Italian version of TAO – really energetic & great crowd. Huge portions so you can most likely share with mom. And even just stopping in for the fried oreos for dessert might be fun. I don’t know what time your show is, but the theater district is a little tricky as far as avoiding touristy type places. If you feel up for the hike downtown, you should really try Beauty & Essex or stanton social (not the cheapest, but not crazy either) and so fun and delicious.

    Be sure to grab coffee/pastry at Bottega del vino (59th & 5th ave) – it’s an institution. And a great brunch option nearby is fig & olive (62nd & lex). Oh, there are just too many great places – you will have to plan another trip! 🙂 Have a fantastic time!!

  • Kim @ NewlyWoodwards at

    I’m so excited for you! Your trip will be a blast. Have lots of fun. And I’m totally jealous of you going to see Once. I’ve heard it’s amazing.

  • Neisa at

    Giordano’s Pizza in Little Italy, the pizza is so good it is a religious experience. Cash only place. I dream of this pizza. I grew up in NYC and this truly is the best pizza I have ever had.

  • Jamielyn@iheartnaptime at

    ooo fun!! so jealous! my favorite places are serendipity (frozen hot chocolate), the brooklyn flea market, M&J trim (so many fun craft supplies). Enjoy your trip!

  • Donna S at

    serendipty, lauren’s candy bar, MOOD for the experience of all that fabric, the view (revolving bar) at top of marriott in times square, live with kelly if taping in nyc….have fun

  • The Redhead Riter at

    Thanks for the info about the “thickness” of the luxe cards. Now I know I won’t be getting them! LOL

  • anjo at

    serendipty! The word not the place 😉 First day on your blog and I’m pleased as punch already! I hope you have a great time in NY! I’m hoping to visit NY and States for the first time next year and have written all the suggestions down!

  • men watches at

    Stopping by from Welcome Thursday . Looking forward to following you!

  • Carra at

    I worked on Park and 61st Street for 7 years. Marielas Pizza at 151 East 60th Street is delicious. Lilli and Loo is great Chinese Food at 792 Lexington Avenue (between 61st and 62nd.) Also the frozen yogurt inside of Bloomies is AMAZING and so is the David Burke restaurant which si good for lunch and a good price for the food you get. Enjoy yourself!!

  • Cyberpudding at

    You must go to MoMA! The shop is fab too – I was there last year. I’m a British South African, living in the UK, jsut in case you were wondering about my credentials…

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