New York, New York!

Campers, I'm fully aware I've been a hideous delinquent when it comes to writing anything much lengthier than a tweet or text these days. Stanford goes on winter holiday at the end of this week, and I'm headed home Thursday morning for Christmas, then a ski trip to Tahoe with the Schwegfam. Suffice it to say everyone in the universe is trying to cram everything that needs to be done in before we all go our separate ways, which means all I've been doing lately is working. I legit JUST did my Christmas shopping yesterday - a move that is incredibly out-of-character for OCD, present-loving me. 

In honor of the fact that I'm off to reunite with my Schwegfam shortly, I thought I'd throw it back for a couple days to the last few times we were together, the first being our epic trip to New York in October! 

I broke the trip up with a night at home for my Papa Bear's birthday, and I've gotta say, flying over a Minnesota fall made me more than a little bit homesick. 

...as did my mama's gorgeous fall flowers. She always outdoes herself, and it was so pretty with the fall leaves! 

We kicked off Dad's birthday with a gift that we couldn't travel with...a little Crown Royal XR for the bar cart. He was, clearly, tickled. 

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Jodester had another surprise up her sleeve - when we got to the airport obscenely early on Friday morning, my dad was shocked to find that she'd upgraded the two of them to first class! I think he did fine with it, in the end...not like I could tell, from my seat in economy class ;) 

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We landed and rendezvoused with Jonny D on a bluebird day in NYC - temps in the low 70s, and not a cloud in the sky! 

I had never really been to New York, apart from a trip with the Band of the Fighting Irish in college which was so football-centric I barely saw anything. Needless to say, the goal of this trip, at least for me, was to SEE ALL OF THE THINGS. Starting with stunning St. Patrick's Cathedral...

...Radio City Music Hall...

...and, among others, Times Square and Rockefeller Plaza. We spent the day sprinting all over town, seeing sights and touristing out, before heading to the bar for a time-honored Schwegfam tradition...cocktail hour, duh. 

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Being incredibly basic, I decided that I was on a Manhattan kick all weekend, and it was delicious. Dick and Jodes, meanwhile, took many functional photos. My parents are nothing if not photogenic. 

In advance of our evening at "Dear Evan Hansen," we grabbed another martini and dinner at Sardi's. 

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Celebrating Papa Bear in style the whole way, of course. 

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After "Dear Evan Hansen" rocked my world and changed my life (legit not kidding), we went out for midnight drinks and cheesecake to ring out my dad's actual birthday in style. 

Saturday was up bright and early for a morning adventure to the Met...

...followed by a lengthy stroll through Central Park...

...en route to Madison Avenue, where Dad and Jonny ogled Ralph Lauren's vintage sports car...

...while Mom and I filled up on something a little sweeter at Ladurée!

All that window-shopping left us thoroughly parched, so it was off to the Plaza for us - cocktail hour can never come too soon if you're a Schweg. 

From the Plaza, it's only a hop skip and jump to Carnegie Hall, which was a spot I absolutely had to see. One of my only regrets from college is that because I was abroad in London in the spring of 2010, I missed out on performing with the concert band at Carnegie. From all accounts, it was incredible, and I'll always be a tiny bit sad that I didn't get to participate! 

Equally sad to me: my GIRL Renée Fleming was performing there the Monday after we left! Break my heart! 

Prior to seeing "A Bronx Tale," we headed to Lincoln Center for dinner at Bar Boulud. Daniel Boulud, the proprietor, is Gavin Kaysen of Spoon and Stable's mentor...and Bar Boulud definitely shared the excellent service, food, and experience that makes us love Spoon and Stable so much!

It being me, I couldn't be that close to Lincoln Center without poking my head in the Met. Jodes walked over with me, and didn't mock me at all for my gawking. Can't wait for my first opera there in February...Michael and I are going for our birthdays and will be seeing Wagner's "Parsifal!"

On Sunday, we got up really early, grabbed bagels, and made our way to the Empire State Building to live out all our "Sleepless in Seattle" dreams. We had another perfect day in the city - clear skies and sunny, warm temperatures - so it was an amazing day to sightsee from the top!

More than a little windblown, we hopped in a cab to head down to the Financial District. Seeing the Freedom Tower and 9/11 Memorial was on my list, and it was as moving and powerful to see in person as I had hoped. 

My dad's total favorite stop of the day? Trinity Church, to see Alexander Hamilton's grave (plus, of course, Angelica and ELIIIIIZA!). I had a total history nerd blast checking it all out...it was incredible to see how far back the cemetery dated (and to recognize so many names!). 

We also made a de rigeur stop at the Bull...

...where I found a fellow fearless girl to hang out with for a hot minute. 

All tuckered out, we worked our way way back uptown for lethal Manhattans at the King Cole Bar, and one last nibble at the Plaza, before heading to the airport and homeward. All in all, an excellent weekend celebrating the greatest man in the world in the greatest city in the world!