Monday, June 27, 2016

Hotel Giraffe Review

My stay at the Hotel Giraffe during Memorial Day weekend was a pretty cool one. This hotel is part of the Library Collection of hotels, and was designed from scratch by owner Harry Kallan. The outside was quite lovely, so I knew I was in for a treat once inside! Located in the NoMad district, on Park Avenue, easy to walk to the Flatiron and Union Square areas. A very lovely neighborhood, with even my favorite Paris Baguette down the street! Carrie and the gang in "Sex and the City: The Movie," which prominently featured this lovely hotel. (One of its top suites was the setting for Mr. Big's apartment.) Love when a little SATC comes into my stay! 

Oh, and those are balconies you see in this photo.  

The room was a decent size, designed in Art Moderne decor, felt very homey.  

This was pretty cool as well. Yep, a balcony!  
Made you jump up and down a few times!  
Bathroom was small, but nice decor and loved the bow on the toilet paper! 

The lobby is lovely, with a wine and cheese hour every evening. I even had a bottle of prosecco waiting for me when I arrived at 10:15am, and my room was ready as well. 
Breakfast was very nice, lots of choices from fresh fruit, cereal, muffins, bagels, hard boiled eggs, toast, oatmeal, juice, tea, coffee. 

  • Free High Speed WiFi 
  • Complimentary continental breakfast
  • Complimentary refreshments in lobby
  • Wine & cheese receptions evenings from 5pm-8pm
  • Free bottled water, turn down service
  • Fabulous roof garden 
  • Fantastic location 
  • Comfy bed 
  • Refrigerator in the room 
  • High end customer service 
  • no gym on premise but New York Health Club passes available 
  • no Business Center but a laptop in the lobby  
  • no coffee or tea maker in the room but can request one 
  • no in-house kitchen, food served from restaurant next door 

Hotel Giraffe 
365 Park Ave South at 26thStreet
New York, NY 10036

4 star hotel
Boutique Style hotel; A member of the Library Hotel Collection 
Location: Gramercy and Murray Hill 

72 smoke free guestrooms 
Valet parking 
Pets are not allowed unless service animals  
2016 winner for luxury hotels 
Free WiFi in public areas and hotel rooms
Trip Advisor Ranking 5 of 475 (as of 06/18/16)
Trivago Rating 92 out of 100 (as of 06/18/16)
Price Range $364 - $582 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)

Hotel prices are at their lowest in the months of January and February; their highest September and October. Sunday nights are the lowest prices for hotel rooms, in most cases. My go to places for checking prices for hotels are TrivagoTrip and Travelzoo. Always remember to check the hotel's website itself, they are really trying to have you book direct and sometimes offer specials or a discount with AAA that is cheaper than the websites I mentioned above. I am also finding that if you book on your mobile device, you can save some money as well. I actually got a better rate via my mobile phone than using my AAA discount online direct at the hotel. You should really do some research on your price for hotel a few different ways, and ALWAYS book a room that you can cancel, you never know what may happen in the future. 

Remember to take into account for your total cost the NYC Hotel tax of 14.75% plus Daily $2.00 per room occupancy fee.

Would I reserve a night at the Hotel Giraffe again? In a heartbeat! This hotel was just oh so lovely, and the location is top notch. You are within walking distance of so many great shops and areas of the city. Staying here makes you feel like a "New Yorker", and not a tourist. I would highly recommend this hotel to just about anyone, and I look forward to staying again in the future! The balcony and roof top garden are just pure New York! 
The amazing roof top garden!  A great place to sit and chill on Memorial Day! 

My rating for this hotel, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being perfect in every way, is a 9. 

Disclosure: This stay was paid for by me. I will always state at the end of each review whether my stay was paid for by myself or if I was hosted by the hotel. I will honestly tell you about my experience at this hotel, not being swayed in any way by complimentary services. I know you value my opinion, and it is important to me to be as honest as possible. All opinions are my own. Thank you so much.

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Real Housewives of New York City Tour Review

I will admit, I do watch a few of the Real Housewives shows on Bravo. Bravo is probably one of my most favorite channels, and when I downgraded my cable this year, because I use Netflix daily, I had to be sure Bravo was still on my channel list. The only 2 housewives shows I watch are NYC and Beverly Hills. The New York City Housewives I have watched from the beginning, probably because I love the city so much and want to see the best places to eat and shop! When I was invited by On Location Tours to review this tour, I couldn't pass it up. So myself and a lovely friend spent a good 4 hours through many parts of the city where all the drama took place from various seasons. The first episode aired January 22, 2008, can you believe it's been that long? Let's take the tour !!
We meet the bus at Tipsy Parson, where Bethenny and Jules had their lunch, in the Chelsea area.  
One of our first stops was at the jeweler Helen Ficalora where Kelly had some jewelry made. 

She is famous for her alphabet charms, which I own in my initial "R" and just adore. We kind of felt however this stop could have been skipped because you didn't have much time to shop, this is not the kind of jewelry you would purchase quickly. Everything is really gorgeous that is made here. 

It was nice seeing different areas of the city, and our guide, Melissa, was very informative of not only the show, but the wonderful city. We watched scenes from the show as we rode around, and went past places were various dramas occurred.  

We visited "Spin" the ping pong social club,  owned by Susan Sarandon. in the Flatiron district  

Very cool, don't you think? Thanks to Sue, my guest for the day on the trip, for these great photos

Georgetown Cupcake is where Bethenny took the girls for cupcake classes. I am a pretty big fan of their cuppies, I think they are pretty darn tasty. I even tried their GF flavor and it was quite tasty!  
We choose the Oreo and chocolate flavors, they were both oh so good. The cupcakes are not included on the tour, but you do receive a discount for your purchase, which is nice.  
The classic Russian Tea Room was our last stop, for a peek into the gorgeous decor and a drink at the bar. The tea room is celebrating their 87th birthday this year, and was founded by members of the Russian Imperial Ballet in 1927. 
I wasn't into getting a drink at the bar, but enjoyed all the gorgeous items on display. 

Russian nesting dolls are just oh so special and these were no exception 
The Russian Tea Room Egg 

Petrossian was another place we walked past, such a glorious building and best spot for caviar. 

We really enjoyed the tour, it was a very fun experience. Aside from the jewelry stop, the rest were neat, wished we had more time in the places. The tour lasts about 3.5 hours, so they need to keep you moving. We passed by so many places, and the tour guide was quick to point things out to us. I also like being able to see the episodes where they filmed the places you are just seeing in person. These tours are great for groups as well, a really fun time in the city.

Have you ever enjoyed an On Location Tour? If not, I highly recommend one! 

Disclosure: I was provided 2 tickets from On Location Tours for this review. There has been no monetary compensation for this post. I only recommend products that I feel will be of interest to my readers, and that I am truly impressed by. All opinions are my own. Thank you!! 

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Missing Deceased Parents by Susan Reimer

Since we have now celebrated both Father's and Mother's Day, I thought this would be a lovely article to share with you. My Mom actually cut this out of the newspaper for me, back in 2008, and I recently found it again in my desk drawer. It is such a lovely tribute to those we have lost, the folks we grew up with, and miss terribly. As I have said before, my parents had me later in life, I never knew my grandparents, but I had pretty awesome Aunts and Uncles. They were all superb people, I was very lucky to have had a fabulous childhood, and wonderful memories which I cherish.

Missing Deceased Parents
by Susan Reimer
The Baltimore Sun
Sunday June 8, 2008

My father died in 1991 and my mother in 1996.

I remember their last moments and the funerals that followed more clearly than seems possible.

These were events so long ago, in this high-speed world, that my memories of them should be as faded as funeral flowers, as overgrown as grave markers.

But I think of my parents every day, many times every day, and those thoughts can wash over me like melancholia.

Suddenly, I am sad and tired. Other times, those same thoughts are piercing, and they sting in my eyes like ammonia.

Perhaps it is because I have recently been among my sisters.

Each of us displays a different set of our mother's idiosyncrasies.

Each resurrects a different set of memories, making my mother fuller, brighter, deeper than she was when she was alive.

Perhaps I am thinking so painfully hard about my parents because their grandchildren are passing through all sorts of milestones these days - graduations and marriages - and I am wishing Bob and Jean could be here to witness it all, although these events would exhaust them, confound them, make them ask quietly for a ride home.

But mostly, when I think of my parents, I think of wanting them around. I want their company, I want to talk to them about things, about nothing.

I want to sit near my father and doze while watching golf on television on a hot Saturday afternoon. I want to go out to lunch with my mom and buy us a second round of drinks and laugh.

My own children, and the rest of the 20-something grandchildren who are passing through life's gates this spring, are decent to us, their parents. They pause when passing through the room where we are talking and pick up on a sentence or two of conversation, but you can see that they are on their way to somewhere else. They might hang out with us for a few minutes, but you can feel their itch to go. Their cell phones ring, they answer, and they walk away. We are already forgotten.

I understand. In my own 20's - a "Me Decade" if ever there was one - I don't think I called my parents once a month, and I certainly never went to see them without irritation or dread. I considered it a waste of a perfectly good day off.

They wanted to visit with the girl I had been, and she was long gone. The one who took her place was carefully hidden.

Years later, that girl has so much she wants to tell, to share, and there is no one left to share it with. I don't want their praise and approval for a grandson in uniform or a granddaughter who is a marvel in the kitchen. I just want them to answer their phone when I call.

So, this Spring, I have felt an echoing ache, a dull emptiness that throws itself both forward and back in time.

I am missing the grown-ups I once ignored.

I am feeling the loss my leaving will someday create in those who barley have time for me now.

I want to tell these children they will miss us - their parents and their goofy Aunts and Uncles - when we are gone, and indeed I have, making jokes around thinly veiled warnings of funeral home regrets.

We will be dead, I tell them; we won't care.

But you will have to live the rest of your life knowing that you wasted a chance to be with us.

And you will spend years just missing us.

Susan Reimer is now retired from The Baltimore Sun newspaper, but you can follow her on twitter.
Such a lovely article, Thanks Mom, and I hope you enjoyed it.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Bergdorf Goodman Tribute to Manus x Machina Window Art

Bergdorf Goodman did a lovely tribute to the new Manus x Machina exhibit at the Met Museum. They usually do this each year, and it never disappoints! 
Lovely necklace, don't you think? If I owned this, I would never take it off! So beautiful. Diamonds and pearls are just classic! 

A really gorgeous Alexander McQueen design 

I really loved this one as well. I seem to be fond of these type of designs! 

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