The NYC Chocolate Project: Cocoa Store

Located at 15 E 18th Street the Cocoa Store is easily the smallest chocolate shop that I’ve been in. What they lack in space, they make up in creative use of that space. The walls are lined with some of the priciest chocolate I’ve had, and the jewelry-style display case makes their limited selection of truffles feel extra special.

The Cocoa Store in NYCNYC Chocolate Shops

Cocoa Store is a “retailer of prestigious chocolate brands from around the world”, and carries primarily five chocolate brands: Amedei, Domori, Castronovo, Dick and Taylor, and Harper Macaw.

You can buy single truffles from the display case, or chocolate bars and collections from behind. I definitely recommend the miniatures collection in front of the register, in this case your best bet is to acquaint yourself with the flavors of the chocolate offered before committing to a whole bar or collection.

Cocoa Store NYC register

Out of all the chocolate shops that I’ve been to, the Cocoa Store offers the most intense (and expensive) chocolate. If you, or someone you know, are hardcore chocolate connoisseurs – the kind that know the bean location and cocoa concentration of their chocolate – then you and they will love this place. Especially dark chocolate fans.

Initially I was sort of skeptical of the prices I saw at the Cocoa Store, however a little digging proved that the chocolates offered here are the real deal – they’re boutique chocolates with a world-wide following. Amedei’s single plantation chocolate, Chuao, is considered by some very influential chocolatiers to be possibly the greatest chocolate in the world. Food & Wine’s Pete Wells wrote an excellent article on the chocolatiers here, it’s well worth reading whether or not you’re a chocolate fan.

Cocoa Store NYC display case

Domori, another specialty chocolate, was founded in 1997 and are credited with restoring the cultivation of Criollo beans. In 2002, Gianluca Franzoni opened a plantation in Venezuela where he is cultivating varieties of Criollo that are on the verge of extinction.

Castronovo, owned by one of few female chocolate makers in America, Denise Castronovo, offers sustainable American craft chocolate. “Castronovo sources the cacao beans and contributes to providing an income for indigenous people who live off of the rainforest.  The prestigious awards she has received, including 7 World Final International Chocolate Awards, and 8 Academy of Chocolate Awards from London are just the result of her lifelong commitment.” – Cocoa Store

Amedei Chocolates NYC Cocoa Store

Dick and Taylor source their cocoa from around the world, using only organic cocao and organic cane sugar. With options like Black Fig, 72% Maple Coconut, and a limited release Vietnam Tien Giang with tasting notes of spice cake, apricot, and almond butter, you really can’t go wrong trying at least one. Each 2oz bar runs about $8.50, and ranks as a small, affordable luxury. Plus, the packaging is absolutely beautiful.

Harper Macaw chocolates are sourced from two of Earth’s most threatened biomes – Brazil’s Atlantic and Amazon rainforests. Their mission? Turning chocolate into a force for tropical reforestation. You clearly see their inspiration in the creative and eye-catching design of their chocolates.

Harper Macaw Chocolates Cocoa Store NYC

On my first visit I ended up spending roughly $80 on chocolates – I had a few pralines and truffles, an Amedei Toscano Red Chocolate Bar, Domori Napolitains D-Fusion Sleeve, a Single Origins Sleeve, a Domori Pret a Porter Chocolate Gift Bag, and a Criollo sleeve.

The sleeves are the best way to familiarize yourself with the varying degrees of cocoa content, bean sources and flavors, while the chocolate gift bag is great for gifting and easing yourself into the serious and intense flavors offered. The bag itself seems to be themed around hazelnuts with exception of the Rum and Chestnut ‘Cuneesi’ Pralines – which utilize chestnut cream and Agrimontana chestnuts liquor instead.

Amedei Chocolates in NYC

My favorite was the Amedei Toscano Red Chocolate Bar, which features a minimum of 70% cocoa content, and dried red fruit (strawberry, cherry, and raspberry). I always love the marriage of tart and sweet, and while the dark chocolate here isn’t exacting teeming with sugar, it’s still beautifully done.

Amedei Toscano Red

After doing my little bit of googling research into the brands sold at the Cocoa Store, I really feel much more enthusiastic about this little shop. You’d be hardpressed to find brands like Amedei elsewhere and I only know of one other place – 2beans – that carries Domori. In terms of access, the Cocoa Store is part of what makes the city so great – that we have the ability to hop on the train or bus and are able to access luxury chocolates, possibly the greatest chocolates, quite easily.

Cocoa Store
15 E 18th Street
New York, NY 10003
(212) 982-8005

https://cocoastore.nyc/

Everyday Art: Luxury Spanish Porcelain Brand, LLadro, Brings Creative Pedigree to Lifestyle Products

As a self-confessed homebody, having nice things at home means a lot to me. A gorgeous piece of art makes the home look more inviting, a boutique candle makes the home smell more inviting – you know what I mean. It’s the little things that create a space that’s expressive of who we are. So naturally I was excited when Lladro invited me to swing by their boutique on Madison Avenue. Lladro is a Spanish luxury porcelain brand that are widely known for their creative, classic, and completely collectible creations. Lladro porcelain pieces are painstakingly handcrafted, and are collected around the world for their beauty and craftsmanship. As much as I loved looking at Lladro’s ceramic artwork, I was there to check out their Home Fragrances Collection.

Iladro detail1detail3

The Lladro Home Fragrances Collection consists of a core Heavenly Dreams candle and diffuser selection, a signature nose candle, and a signature Volutes candle.

Iladro Home Fragrances

Each of Lladro’s Heavenly Dreams candles feature a ceramic angel figurine on the lid, they come in three poses: Thinking of You, Dreaming of You, and Missing You – which translates into the angel folding its arms, leaning on its arms, or waiting expectantly. I love this detail so much, it really ties the candles into the mother brand. You’re basically buying a small Lladro creation.

Iladro Candle1

The Heavenly Dreams candles are all inspired by the Mediterranean and the brand’s creative universe, and the scents include: Gardens of Valencia, Mediterranean Beach, A Secret Orient, Tropical Blossoms, and last but not least, I love You, Mom.

Lladro Banner 728 x 90

I couldn’t actually pick a favorite, but if I had too I’d choose Tropical Blossoms and Mediterranean Beach which are both so lovely. Mediterranean Beach has an orange blossom and woody tone, but it’s very fresh and transformative as a home scent. Tropical Blossoms, which is the scent I ended up picking, is a floral perfume of Italian mandarin and frangipani, with the tropical fragrance of benjoin. I didn’t even know what benjoin was until I burned this candle, then I was all obsessed by finding other fragrances with it. It’s basically a balsamic resin taken from the bark of specific trees, it has quite a distinctive smell.

Iladro Candle2

All of the Heavenly Dreams candles burn for up to 45 hours, the diffusers have a duration of up to three months, and the Nose and Volutes candles last up to 35 hours.  Once you’re done burning them, you can absolutely reuse these for cotton balls or to hold your makeup brushes on your vanity.

I’m not going to lie, the boutique kind of feels like an art museum. I learned so much about their process – like how pieces like this equestrian number can take a number of artists to create. Each layer – from color to accessories to glaze – will require it to be re-fired in the kiln. Another cool fact? When Lladro releases a limited edition item, they will make the set number of that item and then actually break the mold. Yep, breaking the mold ensures that no other replica can be made – it really asserts that collectors are indeed investing in a unique piece.

Lladro Ceramic HorseIladro NYC Boutique

Speaking of unique, the lighting! I could not get over how gorgeous they were. Lladro lighting definitely falls into the realm of luxury, with prices ranging into the tens of thousands of dollars. But a girl can dream, and this girl is dreaming of their Niagara Chandelier’s. They use optic fibers to suspend painstakingly crafted porcelain fairies or foliage. The light travels down the fiber and illumiates the ceramic creations, creating a breathtaking sort of Midsummer’s Eve-type effect. You can also bend the fibers yourself, cracking them and creating fissures for the light to catch along the fiber. Boy, if I had a spare 50k!

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Between the gorgeous lighting, contemporary and charming Animal Heroes collection, their work with artists, and their amazing Home Fragrances Collection, Lladro is not just your grandmother’s ceramic brand! It’s an innovative lifestyle one too!

To find out more about Lladro’s Home Fragrances Collection or their other products watch the video above, then click here!

*This post is sponsored, product or services were provided. For more information please click here.*

The Ultimate Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com on behalf of Single Edition Media.

Are you ready for Valentine’s Day? Probably not. I feel like Valentine’s Day is the holiday that most people shop last-minute for. In life, you have people who start shopping for the holidays the second post-holiday clearance gets tucked into the back shelves. They’re a whole year ahead of the rest of us. Then you have last-minute Larry’s who descend upon the mall on Christmas Eve, their panic-fueled purchases creating a true hit or miss situation in the realm of gift-giving. But Valentine’s Day is a last-minute shopper’s paradise. And just because we’re all out here shopping a week or two before the “big day”, doesn’t mean our gifts have to be the standard crappy card and drugstore chocolates (though they have their place in the gifting hierarchy too). If you really want to show someone you care (whether it’s your single bestie or your spouse or – hey girl – yourself), I definitely recommend you check out this line-up of potential gift-giving gold:

Ultimate Valentines Day Gift Guide

I first discovered Edible Arrangements back when I was much younger, and I’ve loved them since. They make gifting – especially last minute gifting – an utter breeze. There’s no misinterpreting an Edible Arrangements new Edible Signature Chocolate Box. In my opinion, gorgeous fresh fruit and chocolates from master chocolatier Jacque Torres is the best way to say “I love you”.

Edible Arrangements

I honestly was blown away with this collection. This would be my dream Valentine’s (or Galentine’s) Day gift. Chocolate and a fruit bouquet? Yes, please! The fruit in my bouquet were all perfectly ripe, I loved how you can literally smell them. Good fruit give off the most sweet and intoxicating smell, and Edible Bouquet features great pieces of fruit. Did I mention the chocolate dipped strawberries? So, so good. By the way, procrastinators rejoice – Edible Arrangements do same day delivery! So what are you waiting for? Order here!

*Right now Edible Arrangements are offering The NYC Talon readers $10 off when you spend $39+ through 2/11/17! Click here and use code: ‘SAVE3966′.

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Another excellent gift idea? A gorgeous new perfume! Fragrances are an excellent and personal way to say that you care. Get her/him their favorite scent or get them a Perfumania gift card so they can choose one of their own. Perfumania is your fragrance destination, they have the best selection – I ordered my Valentine’s gift from there three days ago and it arrived yesterday, so the shipping is amazingly quick. My pick is the Dolce by Dolce & Gabbana, which has gorgeous Neroli, Water Lily, Narcissus, Papaya Flower, and White Amaryllis notes. It’s addictive.

Perfumania Coupon CodeDolce1

Score 25% off your order AND get free shipping at perfumania.com from 2/1/17 – 2/14/17 with code ‘NYCTAL25’!

Really impress them with a new watch! The Casio G-Shock S Series GMA-S110CM-2A watch is an amazing addition to anyone’s accessory collection. This tough watch is a part of the G-Shock for Her collection, created for the woman that seeks a sportswear-inspired toughness to add to her modern style. Check out the entire collection here!

Casio Watch valentines day

As someone who comes from a family of artists, I’m no stranger to the Faber-Castell brand. They are the number one product to reach for among creatives, and it’s no wonder with 256 years of experience creating high-quality products underneath their belt. Give that person you love the gift of creativity. Host your own sketch and wine night or paint and wine night with these tools. My picks? The Faber-Castell CASTELL 9000® Graphite Design set, PITT® Artist Pen 8 count Wallet in Black, PITT® Artist Pen Studio Gift Box of 24 and Gelatos® Dolce 2 Gift Set. Check out more from Faber-Castell here.

The Gelatos are super exciting – not only are they available in 68 colors, but they work and blend beautifully with or without water. They even can be used on porous surfaces. Very cool.

Valentines Day Gift Guide

Last, but certainly not least, is the latest snack that I have found myself absolutely obsessed with – Sunsweet PlumSweets. Now I know studies have shown that eating prunes supports bone health, especially in postmenopausal women, but I honestly just snack on them for the flavor. PlumSweets feature diced prunes coated in premium dark chocolate. And before you ask – they are made with real fruit and absolutely no high fructose corn syrup. Sunsweet for the win! Bring this over for a romantic movie night, toast with champagne and enjoy!

Score your $1 Sunsweet PlumSweets coupon here and find out more info about this tasty treat here!

Coffee-Mate Natural Bliss Debut New Coconut & Almond Milk Creamers at Tasting Table Event

This past week I was invited to join Coffee-Mate & Natural Bliss at Tasting Table in Soho to get a closer look at their new plant-based creamers in action. If you don’t know, Tasting Table is basically a test kitchen and dining room – it’s where all the cool culinary action takes place, from video shoots to invite-only dinner parties. I’ve heard so much about it, that I was so glad that it lived my expectations. It is such a dreamy space and their team is amazing.

Tasting Table CocktailTasting Table NYC

Tasting Table & Natural Bliss put together a ‘Breakfast for Dinner’ menu that blew my socks off. There was a fun Acai Berry Bowl station, where Coffee-Mate’s Natural Bliss Coconut Milk Creamer was put to the test. I’d never actually had an acai bowl before and if they’re anything like the one I had at Tasting Table, then I can see why they’re so popular.

Acai bowl station at Tasting Table

We also had Citrus and Beet Salad, Mushroom and Soba Salad, Vanilla Almond Chia Pudding with Fresh Fruit, and my all-time favorite item of the evening – Almond French Toast.

French ToastChia Cups

Because I was in a breakfast sort of mood, coffee was a must. Made with no GMO ingredients, natural bliss Almond Milk and Coconut Milk plant-based, non-dairy, creamers are deliciously smooth and creamy. My pick? Caramel Almond Milk Creamer. I’m a sucker for caramel anything, so this with my standard coffee is pure gold. There’s also Hazelnut Almond Milk Creamer, Vanilla Almond Milk Creamer, and Sweet Crème Coconut Milk Creamer (which made my acai bowl extra special).

Natural Bliss Almond Milk CreamerCoffee Mate Creamer

Avacado toasts, Carrot Apple Kombu Shooters, and Chickpea Panisse rounded out my evening of fun. And I can’t forget the Caramel Tres Leches Cake as dessert, which was perfectly done.

Tasting Table Avocado ToastAvocado Toast

Coffee-Mate Natural Bliss Almond Milk and Coconut Milk Creamers are now available at retailers nationwide – with the Hazelnut flavored Almond Milk creamer being sold exclusively at Target stores. For recipes and more information on the new natural bliss products, click here.

On Our Radar – Events in & Around NYC this Winter & Spring

This list will be updated continuously throughout the Spring of 2017. Keep coming back – or follow The NYC Talon on twitter (@KristaK2) for updates!

My Little Pony and Milk & Cookies Kids Spa and Salon Offer “My Little Pony Pamper-Me” Pop-Up Spa | February 9-17

The NYFW Pamper Me Pony Pop Up Spa

Little fashion fans and their parents are invited to get ready for the runway by stopping by the My Little Pony Pamper-Me Pop-up Spa at Milk & Cookies Kids Spa and Salon.  This unique My Little Pony experience will allow kids (and parents) to rest their hooves between runway shows, play with all new My Little Pony fashion-themed products and enjoy an exclusive menu of My Little Pony-inspired spa treatments, named after the Mane 6!  Services include:

Spa Services

1196 First Avenue (btw. 64th & 65th St.), more info here.

French Wink is opening the first pop-up concept Store dedicated to French lifestyle products | February 10-14

Valentines Day Pop Up Store NYC

French Wink is opening the first pop-up concept Store dedicated to French lifestyle products.

We selected the very best of France from the internationally renowned French brands to the new designers and creators not yet seen in the US. 
We will welcome you in our little Paris where you’ll be tempted by our unique selection of clothes, fashion and home accessories, kids products and gourmet food.

A lovely way to say it in French to your Valentine. 

Opening hours: Friday 10th at noon – rest of the days from 11am to 8pm, at 230 Mulberry Street, NYC.

More info here.

Meatpacking District Announces ARTech: Adventures in Art + Technology, A Pop Up Activity Center for Children | For the entire months of March & April

Art Tech NYC Meatpacking District

The Meatpacking Business Improvement District (BID) is proud to invite you to experience ARTech: Adventures in Art + Technology!

What Is ARTech?
ARTech is a two-month long pop-up activity center
comprised of STEAM-based experiential workshops, installations, and interactive moments for school age children + their accompanying adults.

What Is STEAM?
STEAM (Acronym, Adjective) – Of, or used to describe the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics.

Who is involved?
ARTech is hosted by the Meatpacking BID and programmed by Children’s Museum of the Arts and the New York Hall of Science.

How Much Does It Cost?
ARTech is FREE and open to the public! RSVP is required for a timed entry slot.

When Is It Open?
ARTech will be open March 1 – April 30, Wed +Thurs from 3pm-7pm and, Sat + Sun from 10am-5pm, hours may vary.

What’s The Goal?
ARTech is designed to inspire young minds to explore and consider how these principles impact their daily lives and the world in which they live.

ARTech will enable exploration around problem-solving and creativity and seeks to facilitate experiential learning.

RSVP and more info can be found here.

10 Books to Look Forward to This Year!

10 Books to Read this Year | read more at nyctalon.com

Far off places, daring swordfights, magic spells, a prince in disguise! We’re well into the first month of 2017, and you might be looking to escape into a new book. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. These new releases, or continuing series, will be sure to get you on your reading game. Fair warning, most of these are YA, as is my preference. For other genres, follow me on Goodreads for some other exciting reads!

The Book Jumper by Mechthild Gläser – January 3rd

The Book Jumper

This fantastical YA fiction story features Amy Lennox who, after moving to Scotland with her mom to stay at the family’s home on Stormsay Island, finds out she is a book jumper. Able to leap into a story and interact with it, Amy’s powers are as dangerous as they are thrilling. When someone starts stealing from the books that Amy visits, she must team up with fellow book jumper Will in order to solve the mystery of the thefts. Available now!

Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly – January 31st

When I found out one of my favorite authors, Jennifer Donnelly, was writing this book I was so excited. Then when I saw the cover – well, just look at it! It’s gorgeous. You all know that we loved the Beast not for his baroque-style castle, but for his envy-inducing library. Talk about happily ever after. Here’s that cover:

Beauty and the Beast Lost in a Book

An original addition to the beloved Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, Lost in a Book follows the lonely, bookish Belle as she finds an enchanted book in the Beast’s library called Nevermore that carries her into a glittering new world. There, Belle is befriended by a mysterious countess who offers her the life she’s always dreamed of.

But Nevermore is not what it seems, and the more time Belle spends there, the harder it is to leave. Good stories take hold of us and never let us go, and once Belle becomes lost in this book, she may never find her way out again.

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones – February 7th

Wintersong

Liesl is the innkeeper’s daughter, the secret composer, the girl with magic in her soul. She abandoned fantastic tales of the Goblin King long ago in favor of taking care of her family and helping her brother in his musical studies. But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. I give this book a solid rating – see my review here.

Miranda and Caliban by Jacqueline Carey – February 14th

Miranda and Caliban

Miranda and Caliban is bestselling fantasy author Jacqueline Carey’s exciting retelling of The Tempest. Carey explores the themes of twisted love and unchecked power that lie at the heart of Shakespeare’s masterpiece, while serving up a fresh take on the play’s iconic characters.

Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge by Lisa Jensen – March 7th

They say that Château Beaumont is cursed, but servant-girl Lucie doesn’t believe it—how could anyone as handsome as Jean-Loup Christian Henri LeNoir, Chevalier de Beaumont and master of the estate, be cursed? She cannot imagine the monster that lurks behind his handsome façade, and after the chevalier reveals his brutal cruelty, Lucie clings to the hope of revenge. She wishes to see Jean-Loup suffer, and a wise woman grants her wish, turning Jean-Loup into a hideous beast and Lucie into a candlestick, sleek and silver and impervious to harm. For months, Lucie casts her enchanted light on Beast and illuminates his grotesqueness…until the night an intruder shows up on their doorstep and changes everything. Filled with magic and fierce emotion, Lisa Jensen’s imaginative retelling transforms a classic into a lyrically written, psychologically complex exploration of good, evil, innocence, and truth that defies expectations.

This story offers a unique twist on the classic Beauty and the Beast story, keep an eye out for reviews!

Hunted by Meagan Spooner – March 17th

Hunted

Beauty and the Beast retellings always have a special place in my heart (see my Uprooted review here), and this year is especially friendly for this type of tale in light of Disney’s much anticipated live-action film. Check out what Goodreads has to say about this promising book:

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas – May 2nd

A Court of Wings and Ruin

This NA (that’s New Adult, for you young’uns) series has captured the hearts of Maas fans everywhere. The third installment of this riveting series picks up with Feyre back in the spring court with Tamlin, and the entire world on the brink of war. Expect to feel all of the feels. All. Of. Them. Also expect to wish for a time machine (a little blue box, perhaps?) that will bring you closer to the release date of this book, because May 2nd is too far away.

The Crown’s Fate by Evelyn Skye – May 16th

The Crown's Fate

If you liked the first installment of this series, The Crown’s Game, then you’re bound to love the second. If not, now’s the time to dive into this historical fantasy. Pick up on May 16th, or pre-order here.

Dark Breaks the Dawn by Sara B. Larson – May 30th

Dark Breaks the Dawn

A princess, magic, a corrupt king, romance, the battle between light and dark. What are you waiting for? Oh yeah, that May 30th release date. Preorder here.

Sparks of Life by Janet B. Taylor – August 1st

Sparks of Life

For the first time in her life, Hope Walton has friends . . . and a (maybe) boyfriend. She’s a Viator, a member of a long line of time-traveling ancestors. When the Viators learn of a plan to steal a dangerous device from the inventor Nikola Tesla, only a race into the past can save the natural timeline from utter destruction. Navigating the glitterati of The Gilded Age in 1895 New York City, Hope and her crew will discover that high society can be as deadly as it is beautiful.

The second addition to this exciting time-traveling series is sure to be a hit! Pre-order here.

What books are you reading this year? Leave your comments (and recommendations!) below.

Care Bears 35th Anniversary Celebration Collaboration with Sprinkles!

Care Bears will always have a special place in my heart, because – like most people my age – I used to watch the show when I was a kid. I distinctly remember my sister informing me that I was Grumpy Bear and that she was Cheer Bear, a comment which of course incited an all-out war. Ah, siblings. Actually now that I’m older I much prefer to be associated with Bedtime Bear, for obvious reasons. Last week Care Bears announced a partnership with Sprinkles, the first cupcake bakery, as a part of their 35th anniversary celebration. From January 5th-25th, Sprinkles will offer limited-edition Care Bears cupcakes and sweet surprises at all bakery locations!

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First of all, can you believe Care Bears is 35 years old?! What?! Second of all, what could possibly be sweeter than a cupcake with a Care Bear on it? Nothing. Nothing could be sweeter or cuter.

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I was invited to decorate a cupcake of my own, but after a clumsy attempt (alas, I am no cupcake froster) at it I mostly stood around texting pictures of the cupcakes to my sister. Sweet revenge. Also, if you’re looking for a real treat, try enjoying your Care Bear cupcake with some nice champagne. So, so good.

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In addition to limited-edition Care Bears cupcakes, whisper words will be revealed weekly on the Care Bears and Sprinkles Instagram pages with instructions for fans to redeem freebies and special goodies at check out. On January 21st, aka National Hug Day, big celebrations will take place at select stores where fans of all ages can partake in product giveaways and cheerful activities.

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Stick around for lots of sharing and caring and hugs from Care Bears with Sprinkles and other great partners in 2017!

The Sweetest Treat from the Heart of Brussels: Planète Chocolat

I can’t believe it’s almost the end of the year! 2016 has been a crazy ride to say the least, so it’s only fitting that we end it on a sweet note. Every year my family has a fun little New Year’s Eve party where we screen Poseidon (the Kurt Russel one) and King Kong (the Jack Black one) and go all out on hors d’oeuvres and sweets. There is nothing so magical as ringing in the new year with decadent chocolates and sparkling bubbly on the tongue. This year will be extra special as we’ll be adding Planète Chocolat chocolates – straight from Brussels – into the mix.

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Planète Chocolat is one of the few artisan chocolateries to be found in the heart of Brussels. Made from 100% pure cocoa butter, without artificial flavors, or genetically modified foods, Planète Chocolat is dedicated to creating delicious chocolates that just as much a treat for the eyes as for the palate.

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Although Planète Chocolat is not in NYC, and couldn’t be a part of our NYC Chocolate Project, they do offer 24-hour express delivery via DHL. So if you’re looking for a super last minute gift, or some excellent chocolates to share with family and friends at your New Year’s Eve party, Planète Chocolat have got you covered.

chocolate-collection

Planète Chocolat were kind enough to send me a box of one of their Christmas collections. There are about 18 different kinds of chocolates included in the Christmas Box of Chocolates: Orange Ganache, Caramel Chocolate, Praline & Honey, Amands Au Café, Praline Citron, Ganache Truffle, Noix de Muscade (nutmeg), Belgian Cookie (speculoos), Cocoa Ganache, Coffee, Cinnamon, Honey & Chestnuts, Pralines Honey, Praline, Praline Coffee, Praline Rice, Pralines Coconut, and Pralines Mint.

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The chocolates themselves are all very good, my favorite being the Cocoa Ganache which is much more intense then the Praline – which will be a hit with Nutella lovers – another favorite of mine. This chocolate is perfect for gifting or keeping on hand, you simply can’t go wrong with this crowd-pleasing collection.

planete-chocolate-review

To find out more about Planète Chocolat and their amazing shipping times click here – and definitely take a peek at the Christmas Box of Chocolates for your holiday entertaining!

#StayPeculiar – Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children out on DVD & Blu-ray! {GIVEAWAY}

For my entire life I have abhorred carrot cake. I’ve always had weird taste buds, I liked grapefruit juice when I was a toddler (that horrid, bitter stuff that I can’t even touch now), adored salty pickles and olives since childhood, and have always shown a preference for extremely tart sweets. But carrot cake, carrot cake was my sworn enemy after someone gave me a piece at a birthday party when I was a kid. There I was, prepared for birthday cake when I ended up with some vegetable infused, nutty, monstrosity. Traumatizing. Then last year I was desperate for something sweet and somehow ended up with a slice of carrot cake. Now, in a, let’s say peculiar twist of fate, I am totally obsessed with it.

While I used to hate carrot cake like some kids hate brussel sprouts and spinach (which I’ve always loved, as if I wasn’t a weird enough child), I am a devoted hard core fan. Line up your carrot cakes because at this point I’ve eaten so much carrot cake that I can tell what nuts you used, what frostings you frosted with, and the quality of your carrot shredding skills. My immediate thought when I saw that scene in Miss Peregrine’s, when I saw Fiona grow that massive carrot was “omg! They could make so much carrot cake out of that!”. My sister, who was with me at the theater and is also a massive carrot cake fan, leaned over and whispered “carrot cake”. Ah, great minds.

As you’ve probably guessed by the title of this post, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is now out on DVD and Blu-ray and digital – basically available for purchase in the medium of your choosing! I am obsessed with this movie and am currently almost done with the first book. I love this story, and the Peculiar children, and Jake, and Emma, and am determined to figure out how to copy Eva Green’s makeup for Miss Peregrine! Haha! The movie was so much fun, when I saw the trailer I knew I was going to break my rule about reading the book before seeing the movie. It’s one of those films that you just have to own.

miss-peregrine

If you haven’t finished up your holiday shopping, I definitely recommend you pick this up for your favorite Peculiar! It would make a great stocking stuffer – you could even bundle it with the books and some movie theater candy and make it a gift bag or basket.

You can also enter to win the Blu-ray here! Just comment below with your peculiarity, and retweet this tweet to enter!

*Ends Friday, December 23rd. Giveaway is open to US only, 18+.*

Everything You Need to Prep for all of Your Holiday Parties

This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com on behalf of Single Edition Media.

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There is nothing I like better than a good holiday party. I’ll snap up any opportunity to get all dolled up, and I feel like we’re all granted a little leeway to get ridiculously glittery and glamorous during the holidays. There’s nothing more festive than velvet heels, glitter eyeshadow, cat eyes, and a flute of champagne in hand. Thanks to BabbleBoxx, I’m sharing with you my favorite picks for getting party perfect in a pinch!

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I’ve mentioned my super-dry lips before. Nothing ruins an expensive lipstick (of which I may have placed many on my wishlist), like dried out and flaky lips. Taking care of your lips should be right up there with the amount of time we spend worrying about the state of our eyebrows. The Chapstick Total Hydration Lip Scrub is effective at sloughing away any rough patches, and leaving your lips soft and perfectly kissable – cue the mistletoe! Another bonus? This scrub is perfectly affordable, which I love, and make for a perfect stocking stuffer.

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Another Chapstick product I can’t live without this season? Their new Total Hydration Moisture & Tint Lip Balm. In three gorgeous shades – Merlot, Coral Blush, Rose Petal – these lip balms use ingredients that are naturally sourced like Rosehip Seed Oil and Argan Oil. The formulation is really gorgeous and doesn’t feel oily or sticky, and the colors themselves lend a really pretty tint to your lips.

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Masks have ruled the beauty marketplace for a few years now and with good reason. There’s nothing like being able to apply a mask and forget it, letting them work their magic as you dance around your apartment to Carey, Buble, and Crosby. Or is that just me? The Dr. Brandt 3-D Filler Mask is a leave-on mask that works to counteract the effects of aging. It’s basically a gentle push-up for the lower half of your face. Among is benefits is the ability to visually add volume to plump the skin and visually smooth laugh lines. I’ve loved all the Dr. Brandt products that I’ve owned and this one is no exception. This mask is sure to get you feeling ready for a night on the town or that amazing New Year’s Eve party you’re planning on attending! Sore 20% off your mask by using the code BABBLE3D and going through this link.

marulaoil-hairsprayflexible-hairspray

If you’ve been around here before, you know I’m always on the hunt for the ‘perfect’ hairspray. I probably won’t be satisfied until they come out with a hairspray that reaches out and does my hair for me while serving me champagne and a giving me a manicure. A girl can dream. Until then I’ve got MarulaOil Rare Oil Protecting Hair Spray. It’s a flexible, layerable hairspray that works to replenish your hair while holding it. I know what you’re thinking, “layerable?!” While visions of helmet hair float through your head, let me assure you that this is not the case. This hairspray leaves your hair perfectly touchable and shiny, even after multiple applications. Definitely worth finishing off your party ‘do with. This Protecting Hair Spray retails at around $26, find out more here.

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Katy Perry’s advice for applying perfume? “I never spritz on my skin. I always spritz and walk into it and I like to spray on my hair.” Take it from Katy, whose new Katy Perry Mad Love Fragrance is already social media famous. The fragrance itself is really fun with top notes of Lady Apple Sorbet, Mara Strawberry, and Pink Grapefruit, a heart of Peony Petals, Sun-kissed Jasmine, and Bleeding Heart flower, as well as a base of Sandalwood, Skin Mush, and Coconut Wood. The bottle itself features a trendy marble top, with pink glass and black labeling. I’m fairly certain this fragrance found its way on many a wishlist this year, and it would make a great scent to spritz before you head out  for your end of the year bash! To find more deets and purchase, click here!

So what parties do you have planned for the end of 2016?