Miss NY

Six years in the Big Apple. Wow. Straight out of college with a suitcase in hand and a new degree in your back pocket, you channeled our grandma’s courageousness & trailblazing wherewithal and moved to New York City all on your own. You had a vision and a direction and you answered that calling, never second-guessing you were meant for a grand adventure in one of the grandest cities of them all. Throughout these six years, New York would test you. You have channeled bravery in the face of adversity, and I have seen you grow and evolve and become an even wiser, remarkable woman who has proven her worth and ability to stand strongly on her own two feet time and time again.

There are so many wonderful memories I will always cherish sharing with you…New York became a part of me too. There’s just something about New York that gets inside of you. The sight of Lady Liberty from the sky will always be one of my favorite views. It’s fitting it is she who welcomes every newcomer, first, with all her glory. You have mentioned you felt the crowds and sirens and loud noises were both shocking and thrilling. I, too, surprisingly immediately found a sense of calm amongst the frenzied. I felt at peace walking through the crowded city streets with the masses moving quickly around us and I could suddenly breath deeper than I could before I arrived. I always, always felt renewed having visited you for a long weekend. I let all the stress and worry go and my soul was replenished with new promise and my mind with new energy and optimism. It was a getaway for me, and the very best of kind: one that involved time with my bestest of friend in the City that never sleeps. ❤

From mocha & hot chocolates out of hug mugs @ Max Brenners and exploring Greenwich Village, Rockefeller Center, 5th Ave and all the many other city streets decorated for Christmas and aligned with roasted chestnuts, your first winter in NYC was special to experience together as a family. We enjoyed seeing the Broadway Memphis and taking taxi rides which unveiled all the Christmas magnificence the city has to offer- this time, though, we were not on our way to FAO Schwarz to pick out the largest stuffed animal we could find like the last time we were all together in NYC as a family. 🙂 We were instead now exploring your new home!! I quickly made plans to return a few months later and in the spring of 2012 we found ourselves one evening in the Upper East Side enjoying manhattans at 21 Club. We would find out later that the bar was featured in an actual episode of Mad Men-our favorite show. Watching Mad Men together Sunday night on your couch with an expertly arranged charcuterie board would become a tradition and was always the perfect way to end our weekends together before my flight out Monday. I could never get myself to book a flight for Sunday night because I enjoyed lapping up every possible second with you and thoroughly enjoyed our Sunday evening traditions together which later would come to always include Upstairs at the Kimberly. 🙂

A few weeks later I came back out to celebrate my 25th birthday and upon opening your door was greeted with surprise streamers & balloons, yellow roses, and the biggest sprinkle giant cupcake I have ever seen! The evening spent in the flat iron district was perfect enjoying birthday dinner & drinks at Pipa while eating under dazzling chandeliers. Later that night at ABC kitchen while enjoying cocktails you spotted chef Jean-Georges only a few feet away from us. Cheers! The tulips were in bloom then and a walk through Central Park was glorious with the weather warming. I was first introduced to mixology this visit and the made-to-order blackberry, strawberry, plum puree gin drinks we sampled made me a believer. 😉 The Chelsea highline quickly became a highlight and a tradition. This visit would mark the start of me celebrating my birthdays with you in the City –you truly made every birthday so incredibly special and thoughtful and exciting and when I look back at my 20’s I am so grateful my birthday memories will always involve our New York time together.

That July I returned and the city was hot. Dinner and cocktails on the rooftop of the Hotel Chantel and later drinking gin from teacups at The Back Room speakeasy made for one of the best summer nights. The heat didn’t hold us back. We still explored all over. We also attended the closing night of the American Ballet Theatre’s spring season and saw Le Corsaire at the Lincoln Center. We would be part of the bravado that encompassed ballerina Ethan Stiefel’s final performance and retirement farewell. Dinner after the ballet at Staton Social was incredible. This trip would also be notable for our first Sunday visit to the Upstairs at the Kimberly Hotel-another tradition that developed and became hands down one of my all time favorite activities with you in New York. With the best view of the Chrysler Building, it was there I fell in love with the Empire State of Mind…when can we go back? 😉

Thanksgiving Day that year we spent as a family in your apartment and Kit even made the trip! On my fourth year rotations at the time, I flew in from Omaha and we took in the splendor of Grand Central Station and the holiday market in Bryant Park (another one of my favorite traditions) which got us quickly in to the Christmas spirit. I enjoyed the only Black Friday shopping I will ever enjoy-and that is because it involved NYC street shopping. ☺ The New York Public Library’s Christmas tree was already up and we had tickets to Mom’s all time fave, the Rockettes at Radio City. Drinks after Broadway at Gramercy Tavern, taking in the lights & the décor of the 5th Ave storefronts and warming up with martinis…when at the Waldorf 😉 before enjoying a carriage ride through Central Park after dark… it really was beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

I graduated optometry school that spring and began a huge new adventure by moving to Nashville in December and starting my career as a doctor thereafter. By Labor Day Weekend I would be settled enough to return to the City though and upon opening your door, this time, I would be surprised with cupcakes decorated like redheaded girls. ☺ A very fitting welcome- you really are too good. Dinner on the rooftop at Gallow Green with the city skyline in the distance really felt like we were dining in a secret fairytale garden and I was being drawn back after too much time away. It truly felt like Peter Pan land and I considered it a magical weekend. This trip was good for my soul-it re-energized my optimism and spirit and I was full of hope and promise again- it reminded me why I was booking such frequent flights the previous year. ☺ Spending Saturday evening in the Meat Packing district and wine at the Nomad Bar at the Nomad Hotel was a great way to end the night amongst the ornate library and plush seating. Sunday shopping and then dinner at the Standard plus drinks with friends at the Beer Garden and other surrounding bars in East Village really made for a summertime evening and the living is easy. The next morning we explored a peaceful day in Brooklyn (we spent hours shopping while also searching for a banana but settled on our other reliable: a glass of wine instead…haha) and enjoyed another sunny beautiful rooftop on the water with Manhattan in the distance at the Wythe Hotel. A ferryboat ride back to Manhattan was the perfect, relaxing Labor Day.

After getting a taste of New York again I became all consumed and all committed to returning as soon as possible. In November I managed to come back despite my demanding work hours and we enjoyed seeing Idina Menzel star in If/Then-an incredibly relatable and touching Broadway story line that made us both walk away very moved and thought provoked. “Trace every turn and twist. The dreams we might have missed.” We both at that moment, and still are actually, very acutely aware how every choice we make right now is incredibly meaningful and impacting and has the possibility to determine and alter the path our lives follow. Dinner at Lantern’s Keep that night and drinks at the Refinery Rooftop accompanied our sparkling night on Broadway. With lattes in hand we braved both the Bryan Park holiday market and Chelsea holiday market the next morning despite the cold that weekend-because those are always a must. We even returned to the ice-our passion and great shared love- and after years since our competitive figure skating days we laced up ice skates and skated on the rink at Rockefeller Center together!! Bucket-list: check.

I celebrated a lot returning in April 2015. Not only was I celebrating my 28th birthday, but days earlier the offer I made for my future business was accepted!! After months of tense negotiation, I could now vocalize and officially announce I would be opening Shannon Eye Care this summer, my forever dream about to come true! I literally made my down payment the same day as my flight out to the city-perfect timing! My life was about to drastically change and there was no better place to celebrate with no better people than those who surrounded me that weekend. UofM college friends in the city went out of their way to reunite with us and even bff Tasha flew in for a surprise! You two coordinating such a sweet and shocking surprise will go down in history. At one of the most important and vulnerable times in my life, on the edge of a life changing adventure about to begin, I will forever be so touched and moved remembering all the love and attention and kindness that was shown to me then. Nashville at the time was still so new that New York then in that moment really did feel like my home too-my home away from home.  This weekend full of family and friendship & celebratory well wishes and birthday candles was truly wonderful and a moment in time I will cherish always. It also reminded me how important it is to value and recognize people’s actions over words. So many went above and beyond to show how much they cared about me and I’ll always be grateful.

When I arrived from the airport and pulled open the elevator doors, this time I was greeted to a birthday balloon attached to the outside of your door depicting me & you: the blonde & redhead sisters from Frozen! You gave me the cutest matching sister emoji ring which I make sure to wear whenever one of us needs good luck. Between the pink roses and mini cupcakes by Melissa you had again attended to every detail. Tapas and drinks with friends at Toro and later wine back at one of my favorite places-the Beer Garden at the Standard, you made every plan with me in mind and I couldn’t have had more fun. Saturday sitting in a little open-air cafe in Soho again surrounded by friends and coffee and prosecco amongst a string band playing- it felt like we jumped back in time. That night’s dinner at Bobo with Amy and then later drinks in West Village with the whole large crew really made for an incredible birthday night. The next day was absolutely glorious- New York seems to always recognize my birthday weekend each year and blesses us with the first of the warm weather. A lovely walk through Central Park, an exciting and much anticipated big Louis purchase together (since sisters don’t let sisters purchase new LV’s without one another): “it’s tradition!”, with gin martinis Upstairs at the Kimberly Hotel Sunday to finish the day was absolutely perfect. Every once in a while, a girl has to indulge herself. 🙂 Speaking of which…Let’s go back…!

Well it became that time of year again…my 29th birthday and I was headed back out to see you. The cutest birthday balloon outside of your apartment door again welcomed me from the airport. As I opened your door I found champagne and pink roses and yellow balloons and adorable mini birthday rice krispies of all sorts of innate flavors-yum! I was so excited to wear my new, beautiful pastel jumpsuit embroidered with pink spring flowers and we enjoyed dinner and cocktails at The Heath in Chelsea as a jazz band played on stage. That night we’d attend a party hosted by one of my French frame companies in Soho since it was Vision Expo East in NYC that same weekend and we enjoyed champagne amongst an interesting crowd to say the least. 😉 Saturday as luck would have it, the Museum at FIT was showcasing a Fairy Tale Fashion exhibit-right up our alley. We observed beautiful crystal shoes created by Christian Louboutin that embodied the magic of princesses as well as a stunning red cape for Red Riding Hood. New York-the city of dreams. That night’s dinner was of course nothing short of amazing at a new, recently opened restaurant in Soho with drinks after at Lure and meeting up with friends again at NoHo to cap off the night. Sunday I had one of the best lattes I’ve ever had-and that is truly saying a lot- at what of course looked like a whole in the wall café, NoLita, as we made our way to the flagship stores of the frame lines I carry at Shannon Eye Care. To see the beautiful Anne et Valentin and Dita storefronts in Soho made me incredibly proud that I too was an authorized dealer of such intricately crafted, world renowned glasses. To see the frames I brought to Franklin, TN represented in the fashion capital of the world was hugely gratifying and encouraging. Dusk approaching on another beautiful spring Sunday met we were headed straight to one place: Upstairs at the Kimberly.

Shannon Eye Care, my pride and joy, turned one year old that August and a couple of weeks later I flew out to enjoy a summer weekend with you. I had survived the first year of small business ownership. We saw my all time favorite Broadway performance, Les Mis. Dinner and drinks beforehand at Downstairs at the Andaz Hotel set the mood-even though I wound up with a drink that looked something awfully close to a snow cone…oops?J Walking through Times Square after the performance and enjoying a glass of wine before heading home to midtown began another weekend that was full of fun and lightheartedness. The next day was a scorcher but luckily there were peach-jasmine popsicles up on the Chelsea High Line that helped temporarily. An amazing Italian dinner in our stylish summer rompers and returning to Saxon and Parole in East Village for mixed drinks was the best Saturday night. The next morning as we raced through the streets and subway to board the ferry headed for Governor’s Island we did a fabulous job of remaining as put together as possible despite some of the hottest sun I have ever felt. In our long pearls and feathers and headpieces and flapper dresses we roared the 20’s at the Jazz Age Lawn Party: an event I had wanted to attend for years ever since you first moved to New York. With the St. germain pouring we decided a little party never killed nobody…

Christmas time arrived and I hosted my annual holiday party trunk show at Shannon Eye Care. The very next morning as a family we flew out to enjoy Christmas in the City together and saw Matilda on Broadway. We toured the World Trade Center Memorial, a very moving and intense and important tribute that honored our country and heroes. We toasted the season with wine and great dinners and enjoyed the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and all the elaborate holiday window displays. Sunday we strolled through the Grand Central Holiday Fair and Bryant Park Christmas market. Mom & Dad flew home but I had to stay-it was Sunday, and I so love Sundays in the city… You and I enjoyed sister time and as we sat at the bar at The National with our glass of wine, we watched the first snow of the season unexpectedly begin to fall. I would return to Nashville the next morning and a few days later would have someone enter my life and become suddenly and quickly very special and significant. This time of year, this energy- for me it will always represent the promise of renewal.

I’ve worn some of my favorite dresses in New York and taken advantage of every opportunity to wear rompers and jumpers to channel my inner Carrie Bradshaw. We saw your long platinum blonde hair transform into a shorter chic and edgy new style that continues to be stunning on you.

We’ve had so many laughs (I learned my blue Cinderella coat belongs ANYWHERE other than on the streets of New York) and also tears (…it wouldn’t be New York without a Mr. Big I guess)…we’ve eaten some of the most incredible meals I’ve ever tasted and toasted cheers of celebration and beloved times together over some of the most intricately mixed cocktails I’ve ever savored. Sip sip yay! May you always remember the time I was so excited to unpack and begin my birthday weekend I almost cut my finger off-remember merely due to the fact it shows truly how much confidence I have in you and always will. I was completely convinced you’d be more than capable of sewing my finger back together, if need be, so as to still arrive to our dinner reservations on time. ☺

We’ve taken planes, trains and automobiles…literally…and while we’re at it let’s not forget the ferryboats. ☺ We’ve persevered through all the elements; we’ve stayed warm at Christmas by burying ourselves together under blankets in a horse drawn carriage through chilly but picturesque Central Park, we’ve remained standing through the wind gusts that surged down the streets of Soho (…anything for a little shopping) and we managed to pull off incredible Gatsby characters despite battling extreme heat and weather advisory warnings on Governor’s Island at the Jazz Age Lawn Party (I believe our scorcher CMAfest experiences may have helped us with that one). ☺

You taught me champagne pairs best with cappuccino on a weekend morning, the best time for rose is well…all the time, and the way to ensure a cab stops when you hail one is to merely accept nothing less than brake lights…

New York will always be a good idea. I look forward to continuing weekends in the City with you-only from now on we’ll have each other as a travel companion! I have to say the chance of having a partner in crime with me in the crazy taxi drive from LGA in to Manhattan, and along every step of the way now is a really nice thought. 🙂

From driving home to Michigan from Bloomington after my finals and jumping on a plane with Dad out of DTW to meet you & Mom in New York shortly after you first moved in to your apartment, December 2011-to traveling from BNA to celebrate a white Christmas all together in NYC in December 2016 and watching the first snow fall of the year with you over a glass of wine -which would unbeknownst at the time become my last visit to the city in which we would stay together at your Lex studio…it’s only suiting. Snowflake to snowflake. Full circle. ☺

It all couldn’t have happened anywhere…but in little Old New York.

NYcake1jpgWhile I, too, feel like a chapter is now closing…a new one is now beginning. There will always be discomfort and apprehension and a lot of heightened emotions surrounding times of great change despite how ready and certain you are to make such a change. But there will also be a return of new excitement and enjoyment to be found coupled with relief that our prayers have been answered. ❤ This next adventure will involve magic and growth and new opportunities too and a whole lot more use of your cute cowboy boots! And those city lights: they’re still there but are turning from bright to neon. The saying goes if you can make it in NYC, you can make it anywhere. You’ve taken on New York, the most competitive and demanding city in the world, and proved to yourself exactly who you are. You know the very essence of your core and strength. Now you can discover the depth of your faith and spirit. If you have a dream inside your heart-it is here where it can come to life. And if you need a helping hand from time to time…there is always one ready to be extended. A beautiful new story is about to unfold. I am thrilled to welcome you home. ❤

I can’t wait to have sissy- the white to my red…the gin to my tonic- nearby again. We’re each other’s home team. And we are more than overdue to be reunited. Let new adventures begin.

See you in a prosecco boo! xoxo





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