Girls in the City

Kayla was eleven the first time I took her on a girl trip to NYC–and this mother of sons spent a LOT of time in the American Girl Doll store.

First trip. Photo by LMR
Second trip. Photo by LMR

My own American Girl is now on the cusp of 16, and we spent considerable time in Sephora.  And the new and amazing makeup cathedral on the second floor of Saks. And the eighth floor (shoe sale!!)–plus Lululemon (two locations) and various other venues where girls just wanna have fun.

And fun we certainly had.

Laura and Kat drove up separately–Laura to visit some family first, and Kat as the limo trip brings on car sickness. So Kayla and I had the big-ass limo to ourselves, chatting away a good part of the trip.

Just finished sophomore year. Photo by NR

Selfie as they set out. Photo by NR

We arrive at the hotel on a pretty afternoon with Laura already in and Kat only minutes behind us.

Made it to NY! Photo by LMRTime to unpack, hang a bit, then take a nice walk around to stretch out the legs, do some quick shopping, form our plan of attack for the next day. A trip over to B&N for cards and jigsaw puzzles. Plenty of time left for hanging out on the roof terrace, a spin in the hot tub. And at Kayla’s request–and no argument after a travel day–room service. Some work on a 1000 piece puzzle–one that looked simpler from the cover than in reality.

But Kat has a genius eye for shapes and tiny variations in color. Much progress before we turn in for the night.

Finished first puzzle.

In the morning, Kayla and Laura head to the gym, and I do my workout in the suite. Time for breakfast, pulling it together. Kayla and I walk over to a Lens Crafters–my girl recently got glasses, and as she also has her learner’s permit (!), I decree she needs prescription sunglasses as an early birthday present. We discover we’ll need the doctor’s prescription, which we’ll get faxed, so back we walk to meet Laura and Kat at one of Kayla’s nirvanas–Sephora.

I appreciate her love of makeup, and more her excellent–and age-appropriate hand–with it. I’ve a good hand with makeup myself, but I learn things from the girl. Onto Free People then Anthropology. Good hauls, and pregnant Kat finds some fun stuff, too. Nobody walks out empty handed as we take a nice lunch break.

Yes, we’ll have champagne–or Laura and I will.

Lunch on Wednesday. Photo by NRTime for a little lie-me-down for mama-to-be, and the rest of us hit more shops. Since Kayla’s a runner and I work out daily, Lululemon works just fine for us. Kayla’s issue is a mile of leg on a size 0, maybe a 2. But she does pretty well. I do, I believe, some better.

We walked miles, literally, before calling it for the day.

More puzzle time, more hang out time. Laura has a dinner out with her daughter Clare and some of Clare’s friends. The rest of us, again, opt happily for room service. And I’m drawn into a new card game for me. Nertz. I win–which Kayla insists is beginner’s luck.

Maybe, but hey. I win!

Kayla has given Laura a curfew <g>, and fortunately Laura makes it back with a couple minutes to spare. 

Made it by curfew. Photo by LMR

In the morning, Kayla has her first Shaun T experience with me–and does quite well. Then she and Laura need to get ready for the day while I do the rest of my workout. They head to one of Kayla’s goals, the top of the Empire State Building. * I’m grateful Laura took this on as I have no need to subject myself to that height again, and Kat isn’t up for it either. But Kat is up for fancy braiding Kayla’s hair on their return, a skill I don’t possess as a mother of sons.

Hair by Kat. Photo by NR
My fabulous editor joins us for some hanging out and a terrific and oh-so-pretty lunch at Rockefeller Center’s summer cafe on the ice rink. My poor Leslie broke a bone in her foot a few week ago, so she’s in a boot, and Kat’s carrying my sweet baby. But we stroll into a couple of shops before Leslie heads out, and Kat heads back to put her feet up.
Lunch spot. photo by LMR

More shopping for the rest of us. Kayla knows how to shop, knows what she likes, what suits her. The shoe floor of Saks suits her, and me for her as SALE. I’m an indulgent Nana, no doubt, but a 16-year-old only gets Pradas at 50% off. And she does, and they’re adorable. As she’s most always in running shoes, I enjoy seeing her try on stacked heels, pretty flats. And I find the red shoes I was after.


I’ll add the girl hauls all the bags without complaint. She is designated Sherpa. I also notice how her confidence in the city grows every day. At first she sticks to me or Laura or Kat basically hip-to-hip. But as time goes on, and I explain every day the grid that’s midtown, she eases up, remembers which direction to go.

I also notice, proudly, how polite and engaging she is with hotel staff, with store clerks, waitstaff. Never fails to thank them, to make eye contact, to smile. To make a little conversation.

Good girl.

It’s room service again, and that’s fine. We’ve walked our feet off. And as the puzzle’s complete, Kat decides we need another, and takes herself off to get one–and finds more happy mama clothes on the way.

I love the way pregnant Kat looks, how she dresses that gorgeous bump!

Time to eat–do a little puzzle, and Kayla wants to play Hearts. Kat is a novice, so we walk her through it. I win, again. Ha ha. Then we drag ourselves off to bed.

Second puzzle under way. Photo by LMR

Kayla opts to sleep in on Friday while Laura and I do our workouts. Then, after breakfast (the size 0 can eat!) Kayla and I head over to pick out sunglasses. I approve her pick, and really didn’t intend to get another pair for myself. But fun and cute, and since I pop on sunglasses every time I step outside, justified.

She’s made an appointment for a facial at Saks, so we head over there to meet up with Laura. Lots of scent on the second floor, and since it doesn’t hit pregnant Kat well she takes a day of rest.

Did you know Lancome does customized foundation? Neither did I. I’d decided it was time to switch up my makeup and skincare–it gets tired after a few years. So the Lancome ladies hit me at a good time. Laura, the makeup queen, gets her own custom foundation. It’s so cool to watch the science of it and the little machine that mixes it.

Kayla loves the facial, gets her makeup done. We now, between the two of us, own enough new makeup for a dance troupe.

The girl wants a wallet, and I promised Colt an Ugg blanket like his siblings have. So it’s uptown for the two of us where Kayla–who admired my Ugg sneakers (they weigh nothing and are super comfortable) finds then in light pink. I find some great sandals, also really comfortable, she gets some short boots, some slippers. No wallet, but there’s a Coach right there.

Sale!!! 1/2 price sale! She finds a pretty and practical wallet, a couple of the little cross-body purses (all she’ll use) and I end up buying a pink purse. I don’t have a pink purse, so now I do.

Haul it all back.

Clare’s going with us to the theater, staying the night with us. We’ve decided on an early dinner–pizza delivery–as we have an eight o’clock curtain for Mean Girls. Really good pizza, and after Kayla gives Kat some makeup advice as Kat plays with some of her new girl toys. Kat pays her back with another adorable braid.

We leave in plenty of time to walk across town to the theater and settle into our seats.

Nearly showtime. Photo by LMR

I’ve been fortunate enough to have seen many shows on Broadway, and happy enough to have taken my girl to several. Mean Girls ranks really, really high. It’s such fun, it’s so bright, so pretty. The voices are amazing, the choreography just freaking fabulous.

Tiny Fey is a genius, a comedy-writing genius. She’s translated her terrific screenplay (just love the movie) into an equally terrific book for the stage.

We’re all completely happy during and after. Just a great show if you have the opportunity to see it.

After, Kat heads back, and Laura, Clare and I fulfill our promise to face Times Square on a Friday night so Kayla can hit her very favorite store in the universe of stores: American Eagle.

She simply won’t consider non-AE jeans. And they do fit her perfectly. So I’m shopping in Times Square at eleven at night–a new experience for me. AE has three, count them three, floors. We do them all, and she hauls back the bags. It’s an absolutely gorgeous night in the city, and the walk–once through the madness of Times Square–just a delight.

Spires of St. Pats on Friday night. Photo by LMR

Kat’s still up, so we hang and talk until nearly one in the morning.

A little later start, understandably, on Saturday. I squeeze in a workout, clean up, find a few puzzle pieces.  Since we’re heading downtown, and separating, Kat draws Kayla and me a little map. I’m not as familiar with the downtown streets and stores. We cab down, Kayla and I get out to hit the downtown Lululemon first, and Kat and Laura cab on to the yarn store.

We strike gold for the tiny size in the downtown store, and she stocks up on running shorts, sports bras, leggings. I cave and get some leggings and capris myself.

Saturday, downtown. Photo by NR

Using Kat’s clever map, we find Alex and Ani–another wish. The girl loves to stack little bracelets, and we find one with a K charm. Text our yarn-seeking companions to let them know we’re heading toward Lombardi’s, our lunch destination.

Pizza, fun girls, a glass of wine. Ah.

Uber back, organize a little, and Kat heads off to buy a sketch book. She’s designing the baby blanket she’s going to make out of the pretty pale blue, dark blue yarn she scored. Did you catch that? She’s designing the blanket.

Clare’s coming back for dinner, which is room service again.

We hang out, Kat sketches, we play puzzle and finish number two. Eat, talk poor Clare into learning Hearts. Kayla won this time (beat me by two points!)

Then everybody but mama-to-be, who isn’t allowed, heads up to the hot tub. Gorgeous night, fun, relaxing interlude. Time to hug Clare goodbye.

I take a look at Kat’s sketch, and OMG! She’s done a dragon with Celtic knots around it, and it’s gorgeous. At the corners she has circles and is going to pick animals that represent the grandparents. Her mom, her dad, BW and me. So clever, so unique. It’s going to be an heirloom.

Tumble into bed.

Up to pack, squeeze in a workout, shower, dress, pack more, organize and condense shopping bags. Start a Mom check on the suite. Say goodbye to Laura–drive safe! Another Mom check, bag count–remind Kayla to look under her bed, just in case. A final Mom check (I’m obsessive here).

Call for bellmen (plural!) say goodbye to Kat as she’ll be heading to the garage. Check out. Brent and his limo arrive exactly on time, so it’s load it up, and time to say goodbye to New York. The city treated us very, very well.

And it’s been wonderful, all that female energy for a few days with girls you love.

Kayla talks running on the way home. Training, meets, coaches, meets, her teammates, meets, her goals. It’s so rewarding to see her passion and her determination for something she’s so good at, something she loves.

Then I have to say goodbye to my best girl, and hope she’s as loaded with fun and happy memories as shopping bags. I know I am.

She really makes me proud.


Note from Laura

* Our Empire State Building trip was perfect.  We walked 16 blocks at a face pace around 9 am. took the elevator to the 86th floor, then another elevator to the 102 floor.

View from Empire State building. Photo by LMR

After souvenirs for her mom and brothers, Kayla and I decided to set the stopwatch and see how fast it took to get back.  We did agree with a pause in the stopwatch to take a photo in front of the NY Public Library.

A girl and a lion. Photo by LMR
We made it back to the hotel in 16:24 for Kayla, 16:30 for me.  Nora and Kat were highly impressed by how short and efficient our trip went.

34 thoughts on “Girls in the City”

  1. Thanks for sharing! Sounds like fun! Love New York City and hope to take my twin granddaughters there when they get older, only 5 now.?

  2. Wow, busy trip! And Kayla is getting tall. Looks taller than Nora! It looks like you all had a blast!

  3. Love love love seeing Kayla grow into the wonderful young lady she is! Wonderful to see you on Saturday. xxx

  4. She is taller! I’m 5’4″ and she’s right at the edge of 5’7″.

  5. Sounds like a lovely time was had by all! But I really, really want to see the yarn and blanket!

  6. Thank you for sharing your trip, Nora. I’ve never been to NYC, but hope to go soon as my son will be assigned to Fordham in August. You make it sound wonderful especially when you can share it with those who are special to you.
    What awesome memories you created for Kayla, these times will always be “heart” memories for her as I am sure they are for you.
    Love the description of the design Kat came up for the baby’s blanket! Hope we can see a picture once it is finished.

  7. Love girl trips and oh what great memories with your granddaughter. Looks like all had lots of fun.

  8. Wow! A perfect trip to NYC! Isn’t it wonderful for sons to have daughters so their mothers can enjoy granddaughters? Shop, shop, shop – just reading all you did tires me out! The photos are, as usual, fabulous. Such fun had by all. I look forward to seeing pictures of Kat’s baby blanket when it is completed – she is so talented. And how priceless for you to have such a beautiful granddaughter in Kayla and to be able to spend so much time with her. So very special. Thank you for sharing.

  9. I live in NYC, so all the delights you speak of are familiar to me, except the customized Lancome makep. I didn’t know they did that, but I will be making a stop in the next two weeks!
    My granddaughter is only 10yrs old, so except for her annual dance recitals, makeup is not part of our trips to Midtown. Her preference is to always see a play, a musical of course. Her favorite since she was 5yrs old is “The Lion King”, but we have attended numerous others. But between school trips, fundraisers, etc., she has seen “The Lion King” 4 or 5 times! I told her NO MORE! Too many other plays to see. I think “FROZEN” will be her reward for making her schools HONOR ROLL all 3 semesters! Next September she starts Middle School and her 9th yr of dance classes (she’s been studying since she was 2yrs old). I can’t believe the time has flown so fast.
    Enjoy your granddaughter. Before you know it, she’ll be off to college. I enjoy being Nona to my only grandchild. Yes, I buy her a bit of things, but she’s loving, polite, eager to learn. She enjoys the books ? subscription from Amazon and the books I also bring every few weeks. I love that she still likes to be read to sleep at night. She says I make great voices for the different characters. No one has a Nona like her Nona! That’s what she said when I was her “Special Person” at school. Then I helped her group win Math Jeopardy (a pizza lunch). This time only comes around once!

  10. What a lovely young woman Kayla is becoming, both inside and out. A lot of the credit must go to you – and her parents, of course. It sounds like you all had a wonderful time. I echo the requests to see the blanket Kat is making for the baby. It sounds delightful.

  11. As I live in Eve & Roarke’s town, i was hoping to catch a glimpse of you. It sounds like you all had a terrific time. And the shoe floor of Saks? My idea of heaven. Did you know the floor has it’s own zip code? As for customized foundation, for me it’s a waste of money, as they are companies w/50 different shades.
    Your Kayla looks lovely- it’s so gratifying that there are still wholesome girls like her, w/o tats & tons of makeup, but classy and with their heads on straight.
    You took a shot of the two of you, in front of the NY public library. If you find the time, next time you are here, you should go inside- the architecture is magnificent. And next year, depending on the exhibit, you should check out the Metropolitan Museum of Art. You will need a few hours.

  12. So much fun! Shopping is my favorite sport. And spoiling my granddaughter my favorite pass time. It sounds like both Nana and Kayla collected quite haul! I do hope you will share a photo of the remarkable blanket Kat has planned- it sounds so amazing. It’s so much fun reading about your adventures. Thank you so much for sharing them with your readers. As a quick side note- thank you SO much for Shelter In Place- I loved every single page! Blessed Be.

  13. I was in NYC in April. Also hit Times Square, also at night. It’s crazy there night or day–crazier with four teenage girls. Couldn’t help but remember the heart-wrenching scene from ‘Apprentice’.

  14. Wow, double wow! I can only imagine the leg muscles you all have, so much walking, but it sounds like that’s the way to travel. Seeing Kayla in front of the library, my goodness, as long as her legs are, I bet she runs like the wind. Such a close realationship the two of you have. Of course Kat is designing the blanket. . .I bet it will be an amazing heirloom. Thank all of you for sharing your time, I always enjoy “the trips.”

  15. Oh, so much joy in your post! Girl joy! So much to be said for the “X” chrome, right? Your relationship with Kayla (and Kat; and Laura; and Clare!) – oh, such love in your writing. Thank you for sharing this window into your world. As the mother of one son, I look forward to having a granddaughter one day, to spoil, to pamper, to enjoy, and befriend. Any tips would be helpful.

    Enjoy your week. Right now – since I’m out of NRs – I’m sticking my nose back into the newest John Sanford. And again, thanks for sharing your joy.

  16. How wonderful that you do such fun things with your loved ones. Kat looks amazing. That blanket will be a treasure as she is SO artistic! Kayla has become more woman than girl. You are such a fun grandma to take her on trips like this one.
    Thanks for sharing, as usual.

  17. What a fun Girls trip! I always loved shopping with Grandma. And Kat’s baby blanket design sounds wonderful and full of blue ???? That blanket will definitely become a treasure.

    Much love and enjoy a rest from the trip!!

  18. How fun to read your adventures… Enjoy these precious times!!

  19. Thank you for sharing your adventures. Sounds like a lovely trip that built great memories for you & your granddaughter. I echo some others in wanting to see the blanket Kat designed.

  20. Lululemon! My grandson loves that store….I’ve dropped some bucks there! Thanks for sharing your trip!

  21. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful trip. I remember the first time my niece told me about size 0!! I think I had to retrieve my jaw from where it had dropped to the floor. I had the long, long legs, too, and for me to have a pair of jeans then, my mom bought for the length then took in multiple inches on her trusty Singer. Kayla’s turned into a lovely young woman and that smile! Thanks again.

  22. Okay NYC is the destination in 2019 for RWA Nationals. I’ve never been to NYC but I want to drive so far, park and find an alternate mode into the city so I don’t wind up lost. I have no sense of direction. My poor aunt tries to tell you go north. Um sorry I don’t see the sun for me the time of day and general direction of the sun help. Other than that forget it.
    Loved reading about all the fun. It’s so much fun that you’re sharing with us.

  23. Your trip sounds amazing. Kat is amazing. I just started knitting a couple years ago. And designing a blanket that complex seems daunting. Go Kat!

  24. Everything will fade, everything will be outgrowed of, but the LOVE I can read in your words and see in your faces and bodies will last through times.
    She’s is so beautiful and elegant. She doesn’t remind me of Nora, in any stage of your public phases, because one can see her own person and power emerging and binding. Inspiring ❤️
    Now I need a nap 😉 after reading about your trip 😀
    Thank you so much for sharing! (days are always better after reading such happy and fun filled post)

  25. Wow, that is quite a bit of shopping! It’s a good thing you guys had the limo to yourselves, how would all that fit in the trunk?!

    I would love love love if you’d share a picture of the blanket when she finishes it. It sounds absolutely gorgeous!

  26. Love hearing about your girl time adventures. Sounds like a wonderful, busy time. Hope Kat is feeling good. Memories to last!

  27. Really enjoy reading/seeing all the articles on your travels, spa days, shopping in N.Y.C. excursions. Never had those experiences. Sounds like loads of fun. Thanks.

  28. Sounds like a great time…..I do LOVE NYC. Now, after reading this, I need a nap.

  29. I am always SO very happy when Nora and Laura write about all the adventures the Roberts family, Clan have during the year but especially the summer months. I feel like I’m right there for all of it. It’s just such great fun! Thank you so much for taking us along for the fun, laughs and the adventures! A great time was had by the readers as well. Thank you again and have a great week.

  30. I love hearing about your trips and daily activities. You take us along with you. It’s like a phone call from a dear friend telling you all about her day. Please never stop.

  31. What Fun!! Also fun watching Kayla grow up through your blog over the years…. time flies. Very interested in what animals the amazing Kat chooses for you and BW (that would be fun!). Dieing to see sketch – and blanket when it’s done.

  32. Wow, Kat is pregnant? How did I miss that? So exciting!!! She’s going to make the most awesome mom. And Nora will have another grandbaby to spoil. So happy for you all.

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