All Hallows’ Eve.

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In the past few years, my best friend Sean and I have traveled to New York City to attend ‘Sleep No More’ and some of it’s linked parties/productions at their McKittrick Hotel no less than a dozen times- each time vastly different and unique than the last. New Years Eve, Springtime celebrations, dinners, masquerades, etc. We’ve done it all and have always enjoyed ourselves immensely. The only party we had yet to check out was their yearly Halloween celebration. Working full-time has made Halloween a tad difficult to celebrate at maximum party potential- especially with it falling during weekdays in recent years- so to be able to take this past Friday off at the office and head into NYC for the ‘INFERNO: A Celebration of Sin’ party was exciting.

The dress code was simple- all black attire or costumes that adhered to one of the seven deadly sins. I’m not 100% sure everyone in attendance followed that dress code by the book, but I, myself, made an effort with a classic little black dress from ModCloth and my Edgar Allan Poe pendant from Fable & Fury.

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Shortly after our arrival at the McKittrick, we were served an incredible dinner that included lamb, fresh salad, raisin wine, some strong punch, and an assortment of rich desserts before we were ushered into the play to collect our masks and explore. Try as we might, Sean and I did end up getting separated- again (it ALWAYS happens-) but we each got to see some new scenes we’d missed during previous visits. When we found each other again later on in one of the bigger rooms, we managed to catch the end of the show together before it was time for the post-performance party to begin.

Now, a party that boasts a “seven deadly sins” theme is bound to have a fair share of surprises- and the staff at McKittirick didn’t fail to deliver. There was plenty of alcohol (I maybe, maaaaaybe drank a little too much champagne as the evening wore on,) nudity, simulated sex, and so on. I’m fortunate enough to be desensitized by most of it at this point- but it was pretty great to see some people who were seemingly in attendance for the first time looking on in shock. At one point in the evening, a card I had been given during dinner by one of the performers gained me entry into a private auction room where I was served more champagne and some grapes by a nude gentleman who was painted gold from head to toe. The item being auctioned off was another patron who had been picked out at random, blindfolded, and presented to us (I’m fairly sure there was a similar scene in the last ‘Purge’ movie?) 

Afterwards, when I had stopped by the ladies room to freshen up my lipstick and fix my hair- a woman dressed as Amy Winehouse was performing on a karaoke machine in the corner by the sinks. You seriously just NEVER know what’s going to happen or who/what you’re going to see.

Sean and I stayed and danced around the different rooms for most of the night, eventually losing steam around 2:30 a.m. when we grabbed what would prove to be regrettable White Castle sliders en route back to our hotel, The Muse on West 46th- which was beautiful, by the way.

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Yesterday proved to be rainy and cold in the city, but Sean and I weren’t content with just staying indoors all day until it came time to catch our train back home. We bundled up, grabbed some coffee, and headed out to walk through Central Park- which wasn’t crowded at all due to the weather. We were able to actually stop and take pictures of certain landmarks without having to duck and dodge other people attempting to get the perfect photograph, too. Sure, we were more than damp and chilly by the end of our hike- but it was worth it. It felt like for the most part, we had the park to ourselves.

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When it came time to grab lunch and warm up, we ended up at the Museum of Natural History. Growing up, Sean and I were big fans of the PlayStation game “Parasite Eve,” which involved fighting off monsters in various locations around New York City. One of those levels included battling the T-Rex in the museum that had been brought back to life by out of control cells (it’s one of those things you should probably Google since I’m absolutely terrible at describing the premise of the game. It’s basically about mutated mitochondria running amok in the city. It sounds insane but it’s actually a really great game- and so was it’s follow-up!)

Anyway, I haven’t been to the museum since I was about 16, so it was pretty fun to go and re-visit all the exhibits. The T-Rex unfortunately didn’t come back to life while we were there, but we took a few shameless selfies in front of it for good measure anyway. Also, while we were in the Central America display, Sean took a photo of me, bundled up in multiple layers and with my backpack in tow, in an attempt to re-create a picture my dad had snapped of me when I was still a kid in the exact same spot. My hair is a lot longer than my teenage bob and I’m not wearing my glasses- but the pose and cheesy grin is the same!

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By the time we left the museum, it had stopped raining, which was a blessing- but it was getting late and we (reluctantly) had to head back to Boston. Despite the post-White Castle nausea and the dropping temperatures, we had a phenomenal time in New York and I’d really like to come back before the holidays makes it impossible to get around the city.

Speaking of. On Halloween, we had passed by Radio City Music Hall en route to our hotel to drop off our stuff and get changed pre-McKittrick party. It was lit up as usual- but then yesterday, on our way back to Grand Central, we happened to walk by it again only to find the Christmas trees on each corner had been set up and illuminated. Not only that- but Starbucks red cups and holiday drinks are back already!

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We are not wasting ANY time this year! I mean, sure, that’s a photo of my hand holding a peppermint mocha latte in the back of a New York City cab the day after Halloween- but I mean, come on. They’re delicious. How could I not order one?

Hello, 2014…

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The view from our hotel room!

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Happy New Year, everyone! I’ve arrived home from a wonderful night (and day) in New York City and I’m only a little tired. Just a little. I hope everyone had an incredible time counting down the seconds to 2014 wherever you were last night. For the second year in a row, I welcomed a new year within the McKittrick Hotel with good friends and very fun strangers- dancing, singing, checking out some live jazz acts and lounge singers, wandering the hotel, and drinking champagne well after midnight and into the early, early hours of the morning until my feet were sore and my eyes were starting to droop.

I didn’t want to carry around my purse and my camera all night, since it can get pretty heavy after a while, so the photos of the party I’ve posted above were taken at random intervals during the night with my phone. Sorry if they’re a little blurry- everyone was moving around so fast- including me!

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Via ModCloth.com

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This year’s party theme was “The King’s Winter Masquerade,” and required black & white attire- as well as a mask. For my dress, I turned to trusty ModCloth. I found, and fell in love with, the black dress shown above, which had a comfortable, flattering cut, white lace trim along the bottom hem, and strategically placed cut-outs that showed just the right amount of skin to be flirtatious without going overboard. I paired the dress with black thermal tights since it was pretty cold out last night, and black & white Oxford-styled pumps by Poetic License. The shoes gave me a little bit of height without hindering my ability to dance for hours, and held up well when I went searching for a cab after I’d left the party.

The mask came from Pier 1 Imports, and was the piece that pulled my whole ensemble together. It was beautiful, elaborate, fancy- and I received a ton of compliments on it throughout the night. It didn’t fall off or fall apart- and I look forward to using it for a future Halloween party (or any occasion that pops up.) It’s gorgeous.

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Just to give you all an idea of how massive the windows in the room were! My knees made an appearance.

Just to give you all an idea of how massive the windows in the room were! My knees made an appearance.

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When it came time to rest and recharge after the festivities, I retreated to my room at the ink48 Hotel, which is hands down one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever stayed at while in NYC. My friends and I were given a corner room on the top floor which provided two breathtaking views from the floor-to-ceiling windows. On one side, we had a brilliant view of The Empire State Building and Times Square (perfect for New Years Eve!) and the other was a crystal clear overlook of the docks down by the Hudson River. See that aircraft carrier in the last photo? That’s the Intrepid- where Sean and I participated in “The Walking Dead: Escape” last October! I hadn’t realized it was right there until this morning when I was looking outside and spotted it in the sunlight.

The hotel’s toiletries were also provided by C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries, which was a huge hit for me- and the staff were so unbelievably friendly and helpful (they brought me a bottle of contact lens solution directly to the room at 4 a.m. when I’d realized I forgot to pack some in my bag and asked the front desk where the closest drug store was so I could go purchase one!) If you’re looking for a great place to stay while in NYC- this is it. Definitely my new favorite.

Before we headed back to Boston, we grabbed breakfast at Market Diner down the block from the hotel on 11th Ave, which was probably the best meal to start a new year with. The food was delicious (as always, I stuffed my face with a Greek omelette), filling, and reasonably priced- which was a lot better than the meal we’d had at Ristorante Amarone on 9th Ave last night before heading over to the McKittrick. That’s not to say the food wasn’t good- it was okay– but it wasn’t anything extraordinary- and it was kind if overpriced for the quality. Oh well.

Overall, last night was the perfect, fun way to bid adieu to 2013, and today was a beautiful, relaxing day to usher in 2014. I had such a lovely time.

The Green Man Cometh.

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On Saturday, Sean and I headed out to Manhattan to attend  “Green Man”, a dinner and rooftop party hosted by the Sleep No More crew at the McKittrick Hotel to welcome Spring properly. The dress code called for white, so I donned a fitted white lace dress and a white floral crown, and was promptly greeted upon my arrival in the city by an alarmingly sudden (and very loud!) thunderstorm when it crept up on us after I parked my car near the venue. We ended up having to duck under some scaffolding when the downpour started.

Regardless, when the skies cleared and the sun emerged, we still had some time to dry off and roam the streets for a couple of hours before the show- and what a show it was.

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“Green Man” was the first production I can remember in recent years where we didn’t have to wear masks, and where photography was allowed. After a delicious and diverse meal and a couple of glasses of wine with strangers who quickly became new friends, we were led up to the rooftop for more drinks, dancing, penis-shaped cookies (seriously), and to watch and/or participate in a couple of rituals to welcome the “season of rebirth”. The whole night and it’s theme reminded me of “The Wicker Man”, with cast members prancing around in animal masks and frilly frocks, but there was no Nicolas Cage punching women dressed in bear suits- and also no human sacrifices.

The view from the roof was breathtaking, but if it got to be too much, you could go downstairs, back into the hotel, for an incredible live performance from a house band followed by plenty of dancing and posing in a photo booth area. As was the case for New Years Eve, you were also free to roam certain areas of the hotel, and if you were in a certain place at a certain time, you could find a surprise or two. Sean and I actually ended up stumbling upon a puppet show in one of the rooms while we were exploring.

The drive home was excruciating, but overall, the night was worth it. I had such an incredible, memorable time and I’m anxiously looking forward to the next event. I highly recommend anyone interested in participating in these types of parties add themselves to the McKittrick’s e-mail list so you’ll get the notifications when they have things like this. I never would have known about it otherwise!

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xx