Girls in New York

This year Kayla turns 14 and starts high school. So we’re celebrating in New York, just us girls.

Friday morning Laura, Kayla and I piled in a limo for the drive up, while Kat would follow later in the day. Much excitement, many plans. First on Kayla’s list? Sephora. Two years ago, the first on her list? The American Girl Doll Store. A couple years makes a difference in a girl’s life.

After a pretty drive on a pretty day, we arrive–a few hours from country quiet to urban bustle. I’ve stayed in this hotel for years, find a comfort in that continuity, being able to exchange greetings and how are yous with the desk staff, the housekeepers, the bellmen. And I appreciate so much they’ve taken extra and personal steps to make this special for the girl of the week. In our suite the dining table holds a display of fruits, cheeses, breads AND two cakes, the gorgeous chocolate one with birthday greetings for Kayla.

After we unpack, we hit the streets–and hit Sephora hard. We are girls, after all, and makeup equates to girl toys. One of the staff comes over, assumes with Kayla’s hair bun and long, long legs, she’s a dancer. He becomes our valued consultant, suggesting products, brands, gathering them up. I think the kid talked me into three eyeshadow palettes. I had a list myself, and checked that off.

Clothes, clothes, clothes are next, and we have some suggestions on venues from my editor’s daughter. Off we go. Tops appear to be Kayla’s target.


But we have to get back to the hotel, get a little dinner and get ready for Broadway.

And here’s Kat! Shortly after, here’s Clare (Laura’s lovely daughter who lives and works in NY). Since the weather’s so pretty, we opt to walk to the theater. We’re seeing Matilda, and I bought the tickets last winter after Kayla made her choice and our dates were set. We’re front row, and in this case, that means all but on stage. We could literally touch the stage (though discouraged from doing so).


I expected to enjoy the play–there’s nothing like live theater, and there’s really nothing like Broadway. I hadn’t expected to be blown away, and we were. It’s marvelous on every level, and the girl in the lead roll is simply amazing. We’re a very happy group walking home after a fabulous performance in balmy weather.

My two favorite Friday night photos — Laura


Saturday’s shop till you drop day, so we start it off with a good breakfast, and are out of the door by around ten. The next recommended shop is a hit for all five of us. Shopping with girls is its own entertainment. What do you think of this? Does this color work? You NEED that!20160611_113130 I explain to Kayla I’m happy to be her bank, but won’t be her sherpa, so she’s going to schlep her own bags. And by the time we leave, we’re all so loaded down, Kat and Clare volunteer to walk everything back to the hotel and meet us at the next stop. We need to eat! Must have fuel. And it’s a perfect day to eat outside, right across from the skating rink in Rock Center. Also a fine day for the adults to have some bubbly with lunch.

More shopping–that’s what we’re here for–and more success for all. Shoes! How can we resist shoes?

Saks for makeovers and makeup–and wow, my girl looks so beautiful and grown up.

Finally, we’ve pillaged midtown enough, back to the hotel, time to play with all our goodies, think about dinner–my girl wants room service and I’m with her. We’re fortunate to have a terrific rooftop terrace here, and after dinner, head up, hang out, and under the moon indulge in the hot tub. It feels like a movie, sitting in a hot top on a rooftop in NY looking out on the city lights.

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I sleep like a rock.

Sunday is for downtown, a walk along the High Line. Subway rides, lots of walking. A worn-out girl is ready to come home, have a lie down. Once she’s settled, with Kat here, Laura and I head up Madison for a couple of things on my list. Back for food–and Laura’s sister Margaret joins us–bringing snacks for our little Tony party.

Not only is it wonderful fun to watch the Tonys with girls in NY, but it had to be one of the best shows, the most uplifting and fun. We did lose the TV for about ten minutes early on (a wind thing) which caused panic, but got it back. I’ve had a crush on James Cordon for awhile, but now I think it’s true love.

Monday, and another fine day it is, starts with another trip downtown and a visit to my new publisher for a tour of the Flatiron Building. This has been one of my favorite buildings for a very long time, and now we get to go in, go through, and are treated to stories by the clever and knowledgeable Sunny. He’s worked there for 28 years, met his wife when he replaced a ceiling tile in her office–and admits he took about five hours for a ten minute job. Sweet.

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My long-time and awesome editor has also moved to St, Martin’s. We get to see her new office, hang out, then are taken up to the roof. Oh my, the views of the city! I’m so pleased to see how much Kayla enjoys this, how engaged she is. We see the unique and incredible offices in the front point of the building–I don’t know if I’d get any work done as I’d be too busy basking in my space and the views.

I love when Kayla says, as we walk through the halls, that it smells like Nana’s house. It smells like books.

Leslie joins us as Kat leaves us—-she has to drive home for a meeting that evening. Big hugs on the street, and text when you get home.

We hit Lombardi’s for pizza. Ummm, yumm.

More walking, a bit more shopping as Kayla new makeup obsession (I think she now has enough to last her through college) includes a stop at Makeup Forever. We’re the only ones in the store, and it just adds to the fun.

A couple more stops, a few more purchases—and finally a bathing suit for the girl, something she seriously needs considering she’s now taller than I am, so about two inches taller since the last bathing suit. I’m also pleased to say she’s got not only a sense of her own style, but of appropriate for her age. No string bikinis–too much skin showing she says. Nana agrees.

Once more back to the hotel, with Leslie joining us. Hang out, have a drink. My agent and my new publisher come to visit. Up to the roof! A lovely time, and just one more bright sign for me that I’ve found exactly the right home for me and for my work.

Clare comes from work as the others leave—and Kayla’s starving. Dinner time, and bed time not long after.

Today is what we’re calling Fill In Shopping day. The kid could use another bathing suit if we can find one. We all want a trip back to Uniqlo, and may wander more uptown on our last day.

And look what we found!!! ~Laura

I’m so lucky to be able to have this time out of time with Kayla, to experience her experiencing the city as a teenager, to observe her learning the things girls learn–how to have fun with girls, how special that is, how to blend eye shadow and pick the right lip color, how to have conversations with adults and strangers–and NOT roll eyes when adults comment on how much she’s grown. I love how she’ll reach out to hold my hand when we’re walking, or put her arm around my waist, and love how she always has something to say.

We’ll make the most of our last day in the city, bank much for the memory book, and head home to country quiet tomorrow.


20 thoughts on “Girls in New York”

    1. I remember taking care of Kayla the day she was born. Wow can’t believe it has been 14 yrs!

  1. This was an awesome girls trip with just the right amount of everything thrown in. Thanks for sharing. I enjoy seeing Kayla grow as my own Cait has stretched into young adulthood. It’s a fun ride. Thanks!

  2. What a wonderful girls trip! Shopping, ( how many shoes bought? ?) make up, friends, family and beautiful NY weather. Today was perfect! Thanks for sharing!

  3. There is absolutely nothing as rewarding, as spending alone time with grown grandkids. You are lucky when they want to spend time with you, as many of them don’t. I’m so impressed at the way Kayla looks- so appropriate for a girl her age. Many of them feel the need for heavy makeup- and look so overdone and artificial.
    I was laughing at the excitement of a trip to Sephora. I can’t believe that they don’t have a branch in Baltimore. I make all my Sephora & Uniqlo purchases online- it’s so much easier, & there are returns if you are not happy with your purchase. But there’s nothing like your first trip to a Sephora- and as for Broadway, you are lucky that you didn’t try to score tickets to Hamilton. You’d really need connections for that.

  4. Memories… Love girl time! It is wonderful how you and Kayla have such a close relationship. Glad you all had such a great time. See you in July!

  5. I am so jealous! My mother and I visited NYC years ago right before Christmas. There is nothing quite like NYC during the holidays. If you take your Kayle back and The Lion King is still on Broadway, take her! Even as adults, my mother and I loved it, the majesty, the music, and the articulated costumes that managed to portray the animals without covering the actors.

    1. Sorry – fumble fingers did me in while trying to do too many things at once. I hate when people spell my name wrong, and I did just that to your Kayla.

  6. Happy Birthday Kayla. Bank of Grandma is the best! Looks like you had a great weekend.

  7. It was SO terrific to be a part of this weekend. So much fun watching the Tony’s with you. Kayla is a delightful young lady and I’m amazed at how much she’s grown in two years. Safe travels home. Hope to see you soon. xxx M

  8. What a wonderful trip you all had! Thanks so much for sharing! Happy Birthday Kayla!

  9. What a perfect way to spend quality time with your granddaughter and it will be a trip that she will never forget. I love the fact of how respectful she is of you. Today in our world we don’t have a lot of that, so it is so refreshing to hear and see it when it happens. My granddaughters are still quiet small, Cathy is just 7 and Celeste is 15 months old. I hope that they will have as fond of memories of me as Kayla will have of you. Hugs! Beth Reed

  10. How wonderful!!! Beautiful young lady-happy birthday. My grandmother was also a treasure. Enjoyed every minute I spent with her.

  11. Sounds like a wonderful time in NYC and such wonderful memories being made. My oldest grandson turned 13 in May, he’s taller than me, size 13 shoe, voice changing, etc., etc. Wish we could hold back the clock a bit, but there is something special to see our grandkids become young adults with different conversations…different perspectives on the world as they see it. Makes for such interesting times ahead.
    One question though: Has Kayla read any of your books? Does she have a favourite, so far? She must be proud of you, as you are of her.
    Enjoy your vacation.

  12. I envy you, my granddaughter moved with her family half way across county just as she became a young adult . I raised 2 boys and was looking forward to having girl time with an amazing young person. I do not get to spend enough time with her since she works and we have so little time together when I visit. Enjoy the time you have together.

  13. You’re good with boys 😉 and great with girls. So happy that it was a wonderful time for all of you and the growing-up-too-fast Birthday Girl. I’m with the Sephora guy in thinking that she should be a dancer. A red haired one 🙂
    Happy Birthday to Kayla and “Wherever you go and whatever you do, May the luck of the Irish be there with you.”

  14. We got these cards with all of the different areas of New York City on them for various walking trips. They certainly come in handy if you want to focus in on specific things. NY is greatest place in the world. Been a reader of yours for a long time. TY.

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