Well, at this point my trip to New York (NYC) for the National Stationery Show (NSS) was two weeks ago. It honestly does feel like yesterday, aside from the fact that I can walk again, but I’ll fill you in on that later. At the moment we, my intern Andrew – I’ll have to have him introduce himself another time – and I are buried in codes. Not just easy things like NYC, but coming up with new internal codes for all of the exciting new products I selected for all of you loyal Lovelies.
I know the new goodies are what you’re really interested in, but they won’t begin arriving until Friday, so in the meantime let me bore you with brief tales from my trip. I was super lucky to have a semi-partner in crime. While I attended the show on my own, my friend, and Lovely Something’s #1 fan, Hillary was also there on business so we were able to room together, and more importantly check restaurants off my “Super-Type-A Travel Guide”, as Hillary likes to call it.
DAY ONE : May 18th
Preface – Hillary and her boyfriend, Mike (Derby Grand Marshall) hosted a Preakness Party the day before (noticing how we are somehow into horse racing?!) so we kindly left poor Mike with a mess as we scooted of to the airport in the darkness of the morning. This may have not been the most planned out trip, mid-air there was discussion about what to do upon arrival. It turned out the hotel wasn’t available for early check in, but gratefully we could ditch our bags and set out on the town. I’ve only every stayed on the Lower East Side (LES) with friends or in Greenwich Village, so the Court, being in midtown, was a new experience for me, just around the corner from Grand Central Station.
We quickly hit our first stop on our culinary journey, Taim in the West Village. I had been once before but Hillary was excited to go to this amazing fallafel shop as she, like I, saw it on Throwdown with Bobby Flay, years prior and she beat Bobby! After that we headed over to one of my favorite shops, Greenwich Letterpress – I love their setup and humor for their own cards. Still tossing around the idea of doing a storefront for Lovely Somethings?!
From there, Hillary did get a taste of the Stationery Show, at the Javits Center, gratefully having the forethought to register her ahead of time. I registered her as “buyer” so the vendors were all over her trying to push their products. I clued her in to a few tricks of the trade: try to judge a booth before you arrive so you know whether to avoid eye contact or not, don’t accept all of the freebies or your bag will soon weight 50 pounds, etc. I also didn’t want to tire myself out as I had the next day devoted to the show. I think at this point we hoofed it across town to finally check in, spent some time relaxing in the surprisingly nice beds, and mentally preparing ourselves for dinner.
Dinner! It was with great effort that we finally arrived at WD-50 that evening. I have literally been trying to go there for years, and for whatever reason it never worked out. Gratefully we both marked our calendars for April 18th as reservations are only available 1 month prior and disappear almost instantly. Oh! That’s what else we did Sunday, we hit up Bellissimo in the East Village on our way to dinner. Haley introduced it to me years ago, I know Hillary will agree and my mom (that I took a couple of years back) that this is the best mani/pedi experience – even if you’re recovering from poison ivy like I was – a little scary! Anyhow, of course we were running late to the restaurant, wet nails and all, but gratefully they didn’t give up our reservation as Hillary’s friend Thomas beat us there and warned them. He turned out to be a wonderful dinner companion on multiple occasions. So WD-50, so excited!!! Wylie Dufresne is known for molecular gastronomy. It was a twelve-course tasting menu. The stand out was probably the shrimp that was chopped so fine, it was Shrimp grits – delicious! Oh, if only I could show you the photos – blow your mind kind of plating, but Hillary is holding them hostage, feel free to beg her for them in the comments section below.
DAY TWO: May 19th – Stationery Show Day
Yes, as in singular. Last year I spent 2 plus days at the show, and it was simply too much, my body couldn’t take anymore. You will never know until you go, and stand on the cement floor all day and walk miles upon miles upon miles…your feet simply hate you. Last year I was given the guidance to sit every chance you get, and if they have a soft floor, stay there to rest. I’m aware how dramatic this sounds but you need to hear it in case I ever take one of you. You would think knowing all of this that people would wear tennis shoes/sneakers/whatever you call them, but no, it’s who can out do whom style wise. While I was pretty boring in my attire (librarian anyone?), I couldn’t brave the sneaker and opted for my trusty leopard print patent leather ballet flats, but at least they has a miniscule arch in them = progress.
Anyhow, this year I said ONE DAY ONLY, well half way through the day I knew this wasn’t a smart idea. I made it through the entire show in record time (something like 2,000 booths), collecting only the line sheets/catalogs I wanted then headed to the main lobby for a mediocre lunch that is more expensive than any airport or ballpark, just part of the charm. And oh to be alone, I felt like I was back at Kent State, stalking people to try to find a parking spot in the commuter lot. Gratefully my stealthy maneuvers landed me a tiny table on the balcony. There was no where near enough room to pull out catalogs so I ate my lunch while messaging with Mindy and Mary about some possible purchases…”would you pay XXX for X?,” “how ridiculous is X”. Ironically enough, Mary an avid instagrammer follows a few of the people that we showing there. As I’m an instagram newbie, she also gave me a brief tutorial, remotely. And gratefully for all of you, because of Mary, I have 2 new awesome collections to add to my shop, Gingiber and Rifle Paper Co. – and can’t wait to get my hands on all of the pretty things!!!!
So back to the show to find a big empty table, which was possible inside because the food isn’t so great in that cafe. Pouring through catalogs I narrowed down my list and pretend budget and set back out to do ordering, lots and lots of ordering. As always I made a point to seek out people with like minded design talents, but this time around I put on my business hat too, needing more wedding cards, and baby cards ands childrens pillows, apparently, I was like a rat running the maze, only to be forced out onto the street at 6pm. It was a storm of paper people without a cab to be seen so I just kept walking until I could ditch them. All of that and you still don’t know what I bought, well that’s the best part, you can wait with me in anticipation for the goods to arrive!
That night, celebrating Hillary’s meeting success and my survival, we went with her colleague/friend, Sarah, and again Thomas to the Grand Central Oyster Bar.
A pretty cool experience, very Austin Powers in the decor (the round stools very very short, perfect for this girl) and check out this type:
Also worth noting is that we made it over to Beer Culture in Hell’s kitchen, and walked all the way back with my dead feet and Hillary’s new shoes – a long day for sure.
DAY THREE : May 20th
As usual I’m getting bored with my own writing and I’m sure you’re getting bored with me too. Hillary and I blocked off a day to simply have fun. Well, we were both a little exhausted, but ended up making it to Harlem for our lunch reservation at Marcus Samuelson’s Red Rooster. While I was super-pumped to go to WD-50, this is my biggest recommendation for the trip! It wasn’t as far away as people say, we even walked a bit further to check out the exterior of the Apollo Theater.
Rushing with our miserable feet, we did make it back to the restaurant for our reservation and it was such a cool space. Known for comfort food, the decor was very surprising to me, a gorgeous multi-wood bar in the front with bright white walls adorned with amazing artwork in a variety of media, proudly reflecting the culture of Harlem. The service was excellent and their prix fixe menu was great for lunch. Of course we also had to add cornbread to start (amazing) and as a tribute to Blair & my first date, the deviled eggs, on top of Chicken Skin Mayonnaise – amazingly good. C’mon Hillary give us some photos!
Trying to get back to midtown via cab to go to a radio show with Hillary’s colleagues, hosted by Jane Williams (Brian Williams’ wife), proved fruitless as we were too late so jumped out and went shopping. Have I mentioned our feet? Well we didn’t last long, so what else could we do, walk more! We cut over to Central Park and spent the afternoon making new friends at the Boathouse bar. We miraculously made it back to the hotel, then the airport then home around 11pm. Lesson again learned: having fun, with work and friends is really hard work!
Since you made it through my ramblings, here’s some teasers from the show, further proving I should probably carry a camera not just my cellphone, what kind of ex-photojournalist am I?!
Get excited for new Lovely goodness!