Celebrating 13 in New York City!

Oh my gosh, thank you so much for the love on yesterday’s post!! Your comments and messages always mean so much, and I was thrilled you heaped love on Mama Sugarplum! Hopefully we can get her to make more appearances around here, and I loved your post ideas!

Today we’re continuing the Mother/Daughter love with a recap of our recent trip to New York City! You may recall, we surprised Little Miss with a whirlwind trip (her first to the Big Apple) for her 13th birthday! Well, attempted to surprise.

Our plan was to pick her up early from school Friday and whisk her to the airport. But alas, teens these days are too tech savvy, and she spotted the reservation on my phone. We still kept the events of the weekend a surprise each day, and she said she much preferred it that way so she could pack for herself! Ha…she didn’t trust me to pack her beloved pullovers and high-tops! I believe her exact words were, ‘You’d pack all this colorful, mismatched stuff.’ #shesright

We were there less than 60 hours, but squeezed A LOT in our short trip. Both Mama Sugarplum and I have been to New York several times, so this visit was all about Little Miss, and the things we thought she’d love to see and do.

On Little Miss: Pullover | Leggings | High-Tops | High-Tops
On Me: Jean Jacket | Fleece Pullover | Camo Jogger Pants | Roller Bag | Layered Necklace | Hoop Earrings


Friday Night

We arrived around 7pm and headed straight to the hotel (more about that at the end of the post). She had her nose pressed to the window every time we were in a car…it was so fun to see the wonder and excitement on her face!

After a delicious dinner at the trendy Parker & Quinn (attached to our hotel), we walked the few short blocks to the Empire State Building. It was a great introduction to the city, and good way for her to get a feel for the size and scale of Manhattan.

Sugarplum Travel Tip: Did you know the Empire State Building is open until 2am?! And after dark, there are literally no lines! We walked straight to the elevator and directly to the top without waiting. There’s also fewer people at the top, giving you the opportunity to really take it all in from every side.



We started early, with pastries, macaroons, and cappuccinos at the Parisian-style tearoom, La Duree. The brunch crowd starts rolling in around 10, so we easily grabbed a table for three at 9:30.

After breakfast, I surprised them with a shopping trip at the gorgeous Kendra Scott store around the corner! They have a stunning 2-story space in the middle of Soho, and the employees treated us like royalty!

Little Miss chose a necklace and bracelet combination, and Mama Sugarplum designed a fun charm bracelet and necklace.

Fleece Jacket | Jeans | High-Tops

Then it was over to Greenwich Village for our walking food tour. For three hours we wandered the neighborhood, learning about the history and buildings, while stuffing our faces with the best foods that area has to offer.

I’ve done almost every tour on the Food Tours of NYC roster, and have loved every single one. It’s definitely one of my favorite things to do in the city!

It was a beautiful day with perfect Spring weather, and we all dressed in layers and comfortable walking shoes. Since Mama Sugarplum and I are always shopping Nordstrom together, we definitely had to plan our outfits so we didn’t end up twinning every day!

On Me: Pullover Crewneck | White Jeans | Jean Jacket | Sunglasses
On Mama Sugarplum: V-Neck Pullover | Jeans | Loafers | Earrings
On Little Miss: Fleece Jacket | Jeans | High-Tops | Necklace

Fleece Jacket | Jeans | High-Tops | Necklace

Pullover Crewneck | White Jeans | Jean Jacket | Sunglasses

Once the tour wrapped, we sat in Washington Square Park, watching the street performers, then it was over to Chinatown for foot massages and boba teas. She loved the sidewalk vendors in Chinatown, and picked up a few kitchy souvenirs. We wrapped the afternoon strolling through Little Italy.

Fleece Jacket | Jeans | High-Tops | Necklace

Saturday Night

Still full from our food tour, we skipped dinner and headed straight to Broadway. I knew Little Miss would love the theatre, so I chose the biggest, loudest production for her first experience.

The Prom did not disappoint, and we laughed and cheered the entire time. It also has a great message of acceptance and diversity, but would definitely consider it PG-13.

Mama Sugarplum wore black trousers and a pretty blouse, with low pumps easy for walking. Little Miss was appropriately dressed in knee boots and a fun top.

On Mama SP: Blush Peacoat | Black Trousers | Pumps
On Little Miss: Striped Top | Jeggings | Knee Boots

I opted for a comfy and chic jumpsuit and comfortable heels.

Drapey Jumpsuit | Pumps | Similar Bag | Earrings

After the show, we made a late-night stop at Serendipity 3 for grilled cheese sandwiches and a shared frozen hot chocolate.




Her actual birthday, we started 13 off with a beautiful brunch at the newly-reopened Tavern on the Green. Like New York tends to do, the temperature plummeted so we were bundled up this day.

Blush Peacoat | Jeans | Slip-On Sneakers | Fleece Jacket | Jeans | High-Tops

It was a chilly, drizzly day, but this darling girl was all sunshine! #thisis13 #myheart

We showered her with cards and gifts, and sang ‘Happy Birthday’ over a huge slice of cake. The rest of the family had sent video messages, so we watched those together, too.

Jean Jacket | Striped Top

Then it was out to Central Park for a carriage ride! Each event came as a surprise to her (we’d planned it all in advance), so it was so fun to see her reaction with each new experience.

Sugarplum Travel Tip: Carriage rides are a great way to see much of the Park, especially on bad-weather days! There was no line for the carriages, and we stayed warm and dry under a cover and blankets.

Blush Peacoat | Pink Gingham Shirt | Black Crewneck Sweater | Striped Raincoat | Fleece Jacket

Fleece Jacket | Jeans | High-Tops

Little Miss decided she wanted to shop, so we sought refuge from the weather at the new Hudson Yards shopping complex. It’s a huge multi-level mall with stunning stores and displays.

Striped Top | Jeans | Slip-On Sneakers

The Vessel is next door, so we stopped to gawk at the incredible structure. The line to explore it was long, so we skipped it and headed back to the hotel for a quick change into dry clothes.

Striped Raincoat | Jeans | Sneakers


Saturday Night

No first trip to New York would be complete without seeing Times Square up close at least once. We started the night with a huge family-style dinner at Carmines, then walked around the corner for our show.

They repeated their pants and shoes from the night before, but swapped out new tops.

Jeggings | Knee Boots | Black Trousers | Pumps | Blush Peacoat

I went a little extra with leopard pants…because why not!? I love these pants so much!

Leopard Pants | Pumps | Similar Crossbody | Earrings

Waitress was a perfect birthday night show…full of girl power, sweet friendships, amazing music…and pie served in little mason jars!

We ended the night with a nightcap on our hotel’s rooftop bar (open to minors on Sunday nights), before collapsing into bed! Monday morning was a little room service, then back to the airport!


The Refinery Hotel

Turns out finding a room to comfortably sleep three is a little tricky in New York, so I hit the jackpot with the Refinery! The rooms are spacious by any standards, not just NYC! We had two queen beds, a small sitting area, and a view of the Empire State Building.

It’s a great mid-town location, so we could quickly and easily head north for shows, or south for exploring. Coffee service is included in the lobby, and there is a fantastic restaurant and two bars on-site. I would 100% stay here again (we found a discounted weekend rate on hotels.com), and rank it in my top 3 NYC hotels we’ve stayed. (Find all our trips here.)

Jean Jacket | Layered Necklace | Hoop Earrings| Fleece JoggersRoller Bag

We had the absolute best time…lots of laughs and special memories made. I know we’ll all always remember this precious girl’s 13th birthday! You are forever adored, darling Sloan!

I saved the videos of our weekend to my Instagram Profile, so you can still catch it there if you want to see more! And shop all our looks from Nordstrom below. You know I’m teaching Little Miss that carry-on life!

[Shop Our NYC Styles]

*All photos taken on an iPhone, and edited with ColorStory app. This post was created in collaboration with Nordstrom, but all product selections, styling, and Big Apple Mania is our own. Than you for supporting Hi Sugarplum sponsors!*



Leave a Comment


  1. What a wonderful trip with all the Sugarplum ladies!!!!

    Posted 5.8.19 Reply
  2. Sandy wrote:

    What a post ! Those photos! That hotel, wow. And it’s all about/for the Little Miss! Luv this!

    Posted 5.8.19 Reply
  3. Susan wrote:

    Love this post of three generations – can you please share Mama Sugarplums makeup routine for all the women ‘of a certain age’ who follow you? She looks so fresh and glowing in these photos, would love to see what she does beyond the cc cream. Thank you.

    Posted 5.8.19 Reply
  4. This is so great! I took my son for his 11th birthday, and have since decided to make it a tradition for each of my kids (except taking them on their 10th). My next one turns 10 in August 2020 and I can’t wait. Then my girl, which I can’t WAIT to do NYC with, will turn 10 in May 2025. I want them all to experience the wonderful city and it’s such a sweet mother/child time (my husband doesn’t go, he stays behind with the other two each time).

    Posted 5.8.19 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      That’s amazing!! such great memories, and a beautiful way to celebrate a birthday milestone!

      Posted 5.8.19 Reply
  5. Linda wrote:

    Loved this post! We’re planning to take our oldest granddaughter who is 9 to NYC later this summer. I will by using your fun to help plan ours! We’ll be going to museums plus all the other usual spots too. Thanks for sharing! Linda

    Posted 5.8.19 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      I’m so happy to hear that, Linda!! We def want to go back and add museums and so much more to the mix…2 days is just not enough!!

      Posted 5.8.19 Reply
  6. Patti Carroll wrote:

    Where can I get the leopard scarf you wore
    on this trip to NYC. I love it. Its kind of
    small. Do you have a better pic?

    Posted 5.8.19 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      Hi Patti! That’s a leopard scarf/bandana from J.Crew last year, but here’s a similar one: https://shopstyle.it/l/24f5
      I love the little pop of pattern it adds!

      Posted 5.8.19 Reply
  7. Kathy L wrote:

    Looks like a great, fun weekend to celebrate your sweet 13 yr old! You never linked your cute sneakers you wore on both airport days. Please let me know where you purchased them! Thanks!

    Posted 5.8.19 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      Hi Kathy!! those were an Amazon find. They’re sold out right now, but here’s the link for checking in! https://shopstyle.it/l/24eY

      Posted 5.8.19 Reply
      • April wrote:

        What color were your sneakers, Rosegold or Gold

        Posted 6.1.19 Reply
  8. Rachel Steck wrote:

    How fun!

    Posted 5.8.19 Reply
  9. Sevahn wrote:

    Little Miss is Adorable! Loving all the smiles and miles of fun in New York City:) You are raising a fantastic young teenager, and I’m wishing you a very happy Mother’s Day this Sunday!

    Posted 5.8.19 Reply
  10. Lenora wrote:

    FYI, The link for the camo jogger pants takes me to another pant!🥰

    Posted 5.8.19 Reply
  11. Shelly wrote:

    Love this sooooo much! My bestie and I take our girls on an experience each year for their birthdays and they already requested NYC for their 16th! Cannot wait for that trip!

    Posted 5.8.19 Reply
  12. Addison wrote:

    Such a fun trip! My grandmother took me to NYC when I was 13 during Christmastime and it was a trip I’ll never forget. Loved this post!

    Posted 5.8.19 Reply
  13. Kate wrote:

    Ah sounds like such a sweet and fun trip! Glad you guys had such a good time. Thanks for sharing!! And Happy Birthday to your little miss!


    Posted 5.8.19 Reply
  14. Adrienne wrote:

    This came at the perfect time! I’m planning a trip to NYC with my 13 year old daughter! What roller bag is your daughter using?

    Posted 5.8.19 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      Yay, so happy to hear that! I linked both our bags under the photos! xo

      Posted 5.8.19 Reply
      • Adrienne wrote:

        I am only seeing a link to your rolling bag, but her outfit lists two links for her high tops. Maybe her bag was meant to be linked there?

        Posted 5.9.19 Reply
  15. Jane Flynn wrote:

    Such fun! I took my daughter when she was about the same age.
    Ended up with a selfie with Derek Hough as he was staring in the Radio City Show at the time. Such great memories!!

    Posted 5.8.19 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      How fun!!! We saw some of the actors from the musical come out of the stage door, and thought that was pretty cool!

      Posted 5.9.19 Reply
  16. JENN wrote:

    It’s so fun to see you guys touring my home city! Looks like you’re having a blast (how can you not, right?). Enjoy! Beautiful pictures!

    Posted 5.8.19 Reply
  17. Caroline wrote:

    Oh man I’m sure she had the best 13th birthday (I remember mine spent at home with my new friends as we had just moved to a new city where we knew no one about 7 months prior and my mom’s gift which I thought was the best, a custom made, solid wood bookshelf which still sits in my bedroom to this day (I’m 32)). I also went to New York city for my birthday when I turned 23. It was so amazing even if it was in January. In fact this post is inspiring me to organize a birthday trip to the big apple for my spouse’s 41st birthday in October. Will have to check out the refinery!

    Posted 5.9.19 Reply
  18. Love it!!! Permanent memory bank !!!! Way to go!

    Posted 5.9.19 Reply
  19. Keisha Dawson wrote:

    My parents are taking me and my 14 year old in June for his 8th grade graduation, and I am so pumped. My husband is bummed that our first trip up there will be without him, but I told him I would figure it all out and we would go back soon. Don’t feel sorry for him, he’ll be on a golfing trip in South Carolina. Love all of these great ideas!

    Posted 5.9.19 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      How much fun!!! You guys will have a blast! and you’ll just have to go again with hubby! 😉

      Posted 5.9.19 Reply
  20. Dina wrote:

    Did you use public transportation, cabs, or Uber to get around the city? Wanting to know your thoughts on the best way to get around.

    Posted 5.9.19 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      We used a combo of walking, taxis, and Uber for this trip. Definitely adds to the cost, but the convenience and time saved was worth it for such a short trip. xo. C

      Posted 5.10.19 Reply
  21. Sandy Maples-Long wrote:

    Hi, Sugarplum! Wow…a great 13th bday & such wonderful memories you all made! My girlfriends & I just returned from a NYC trip & did many of the same things you did: Serendipity 3 (aaahh so good!!), Tavern on the Green, ESB, Central Park carriage ride…no place like NYC! We did a Gangsters tour & got a tip from the guide about a legit Chinese restaurant where the locals eat. So good and so cheap. Like $7 lunch cheap & the 3 of us shared it! You have inspired me to do a food tour now though. Always enjoy your fashion tips and travel blogs! You’re a bright ray of sunshine to so many!! 🙂 Have a blessed day!

    Posted 5.15.19 Reply
    • Sandy Maples-Long wrote:

      P.S. Have you shopped at Century 21 while in NYC? If not, you must. We found some truly excellent sales. It reminds me of a cross between Macy’s and Nordstrom. Also, if you have not made it to Chelsea Market, that’s another to add to your next trip. You will love it! Food tip: LOS TACOS.

      Posted 5.15.19 Reply
  22. What an incredible way to celebrate 13!!! I’m just in shock she is 13. She was such a little thing when I first started reading all those years ago! Happy Birthday Little Miss!

    Posted 5.25.19 Reply