Ditch Food Prep Woes with Healthy Choice Power Bowls

This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com on behalf of Healthy Choice.

When it comes to healthy eating, I have the best intentions. I have an excel sheet dedicated to meal planning, a Pinterest board for healthy recipes, and a brand new 32oz plastic water bottle in the prettiest blue and pink so I can drink those recommended 8 glasses a day. See? The best intentions. But then life gets in the way, and when something has to give, it’s usually those good intentions. Healthy Choice has just released their new Power Bowls, tasty meals that feed my body with exactly what I needs to keep going. With flavors inspired by Cuban, Korean, and Latin cuisines, I’m newly obsessed with these easy meal options.

Healthy Choice Power Bowls Review

All the planning in the world can’t save me from hectic days and last minute demands, and since we’re being honest, if I must choose between an extra hour of sleep or making lunch for the next day? I’ll usually pick sleep. Healthy Choice’s Power Bowls are perfect for anyone with an active lifestyle, who is short on time (or maybe not thrilled with the prospect of daily meal prep *ahem*), and a craving for good food. I tried the Adobo Chicken Bowl, which featured all natural chicken breast, vegetables served on top of brown & red rice, red quinoa, and black barley with a guajillo chili sauce and roasted pepitas. I loved that the chicken used in the bowl was raised without antibiotics, and that the lunch not only featured lean protein, but also whole grains, and plenty of veggies. If you’re still clinging to your new year’s resolution to eat better – this will definitely help.

Healthy Choice Adobo Chicken Power BowlHealthy Choice Adobo Chicken BowlHealthy Choice Meal review

If you like a little heat (who doesn’t), the Korean-Inspired Beef Bowl will be right up your block. This bowl featured all natural beef, shitake mushrooms, and vegetables served on top of brown rice, red rice, red quinoa, and black barley with a spicy gochujang and soy sauce topped with black and white sesame seeds. The other day I was running around the city all morning, and barely had time for a quick lunch before I had to head back downtown for an evening event. Usually I would be tempted by fast food options that promised little nutrition, but a fast meal. Instead I popped this in the microwave for around 4 minutes and had a delicious and balanced meal that I did not feel guilty about.

Healthy Choice Korean Review

That’s what I love most about these frozen meals – they taste like something that I would actually cook for myself at home. The flavors are present and they taste real. It’s so easy to fall off the wagon when you’re pursuing a healthy, active lifestyle because there are so many factors that go into how your day turns out. I know from my experience that having a stressful morning will often mean that I look for ways to “cheat” for lunch, I’ll negotiate myself into treats especially if they are easy to obtain. Stocking my freezer with Healthy Choice Power Bowls means that making the right decision for myself is so much easier.

Healthy Choice Bowl review

In case you aren’t yet tantalized with the appealing option of Adobo Chicken Power Bowl or a Korean-Inspired Beef Bowl, Healthy Choice also offers a Cuban-Inspired Pork Bowl and a Chicken Sausage & Barley Bowl. I know I can’t wait to try them! Because every bowl contains over 16g of protein and 6-8g of fiber, it really is easy to make a Healthy Choice for lunch (see what I did there? ;)).

Happy Women’s Health month! How do you stay health & stick to your health goals?

Review: Amélie on Broadway

*I received complimentary tickets in order to facilitate this review. Photos seen here all belong to the show. Opinions, as always, belong to me. Thank you!

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be able to attend an evening performance of Amélie. The play, based off of the film of the same name stars Hamilton’s Phillipa Soo as the title character. Amélie is about a young Parisian waitress who undergoes her own personal transformation after she decides to become a do-gooder. Amélie’s attempts to anonymously change peoples lives are as cute and quirky as she is, of course things go awry when her bout with altruism leads her into the path of equally as charming Nino, played by Adam Chanler-Berat. Amélie must wrestle with what has kept her away from making connections with others and decide whether or not she’s ready to take the ultimate risk, and truly live.

Amelie on Broadway Review | The NYC TalonAmélie, A New Musical WALTER KERR THEATRE

I absolutely loved this show. It is everything that I hoped it would be. Amélie is whimsical and, to my relief, not at all presumptuous. While the play is meant to take place in Paris, it doesn’t feel Parisian in the sense that you are an outsider looking in. In fact, you could easily imagine Amélie taking place in the village. The set design was lovely, and the theater – the Walter Kerr Theater – was small enough to feel intimate. It was as if the cast were speaking and singing right to you. Which is lovely considering that Amélie has a wonderful cast, Phillipa Soo brings Amélie alive in the most perfect way.

Amélie, A New Musical WALTER KERR THEATREAmélie, A New MusicalWALTER KERR THEATRE219 W. 48TH ST.

My favorite scenes involve both the younger and the older Amélie, and Savvy Crawford does an outstanding job as young Amélie. I don’t consider myself a theater snob at all, but if I were one I’d definitely say (in the most posh tone I could muster) that we can expect great things of Savvy Crawford. Honestly, I wish I had as much talent in my right pinky at her age as she does now.

Amélie, A New Musical WALTER KERR THEATRE

There is so much to be said for Amélie, but at the risk of including any spoilers I will leave off with letting you know I’d give this a 5/5 and all the gold stars. Amélie only has a limited number of shows left, so snatch up a ticket if you get the chance. Additionally, they’ve revealed on the shows twitter page that they will be releasing the cast recording on iTunes and if you pre-order it now you get an immediate download of my favorite song from the show – “Stay”.

Amelie on Broadway Entertainment Weekly Review

More information, and details on how to get tickets here.

My Cousin Rachel – New International Trailer & Movie Poster!

I was just a teen when I saw the 1940’s Rebecca starring Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier. It was my first foray into Gothic thrillers, and I loved it so much that I knew it wouldn’t be my last. I eventually got around to reading the book that inspired the film, which was written by Daphne du Maurier in 1938. Daphne du Maurier’s work was also the inspiration behind two of my other Hitchcock favorites – Jamaica Inn and The Birds, and now her writing is also the inspiration for the much anticipated film My Cousin Rachel based on her novel of the same name.

My Cousin Rachel Movie Official Poster

Starring Rachel Weisz and Sam Claflin, My Cousin Rachel is a dark romance that tells the story of a young Englishman who plots revenge against his mysterious, beautiful cousin, believing that she murdered his guardian. But his feelings become complicated as he finds himself falling under the beguiling spell of her charms.

My Cousin Rachel 2017

Watch the trailer here:

My Cousin Rachel hits theaters June 9th! Catch all the latest updates by following the movie on twitter, facebook, Instagram, online, or by using the hashtag #MyCousinRachel.

Catch the Eagles, Steely Dan, Fleetwood Mac, Journey & More at The Classic Concerts!

*This is a sponsored post*

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There is nothing like heading to a summer concert. But a summer concert featuring nothing but legendary bands? Pretty epic, and definitely a bucket list item. This July you can catch the Eagles; Steely Dan; the Doobie Brothers; Journey; Fleetwood Mac; and Earth, Wind, and Fire at one of two 2-day The Classic concerts to hit both the East and West coast.

The ultimate for any classic rock fan, the first two concerts will be held at Citi Field on July 29th and 30th. Ballpark concessions will be open for service during the concert, which is great since Citi Field has some amazing food options (Shake Shack and Pat LaFrieda, anyone?). Check out more details here.

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Then the concert heads over to the west coast, in Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium on July 15th and 16th. With such an amazing line-up, here’s a sneak peek of what to expect:

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Tickets go on sale tomorrow April 7th, 2017 – so mark your calendars and be sure to visit The Classic website here! Follow The Classic on facebook for more updates and further details!

The Zookeeper’s Wife: Jessica Chastain and Niki Caro Discuss War, Film, and Femininity

A few months ago I came across a great blog post on Messy Nessy Chic by Inge Oosterhoff about a zoo in Warsaw that gave shelter to Jews during World War II. The zoo’s operators, Jan Żabiński and his wife Antonina, faced a variety of hardships during the early years of the war. But Jan and Antonina had been involved with subversive activism even before the war and continued their efforts of resistance even after Germany had entered Poland. The empty cages of the zoo were used as a shelter for the Jewish families and individuals that Jan managed to sneak out of the Warsaw ghettos, where they stayed until they could be moved using false documents that the Żabińskis procured. It really is an excellent post, and I highly recommend that you read it when you have a chance. The post mentioned that the book The Zookeeper’s Wife, written by Diane Ackerman, inspired by Antonina’s diaries, was being made into a movie – which is in theaters now!

The Zookeeper's Wife

The story, of course, stuck with me though I had no idea at the time that I read the Oosterhoff’s post that I would be invited to an advanced screening and press junket for the very same film! The Zookeeper’s Wife, starring Jessica Chastain as Antonina Żabińska and directed by Niki Caro, illustrates Antonina’s experiences at the Warsaw Zoo.

Here’s a spoiler-free synopsis, after which follows a somewhat spoiler-y Q&A:

The Zookeeper’s Wife is the real-life story of one working wife and mother who became a hero to hundreds during World War II. In 1939 Poland, Antonina Żabińska (portrayed by two-time Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain) and her husband, Dr. Jan Żabiński (Johan Heldenbergh of “The Broken Circle Breakdown”), have the Warsaw Zoo flourishing under his stewardship and her care. When their country is invaded by the Germans, Jan and Antonina are stunned – and forced to report to the Reich’s newly appointed chief zoologist, Lutz Heck (Daniel Brühl of “Captain America: Civil War”). To fight back on their own terms, Antonina and Jan covertly begin working with the Resistance – and put into action plans to save lives out of what has become the Warsaw Ghetto, with Antonina putting herself and even her children at great risk.

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After seeing the film, I was completely taken in by not only Jessica Chastain’s performance, and Director Niki Caro’s beautiful film, but especially by the performance of Israeli actress Shira Haas who plays Ursula, a young Jewish girl who Jan helps remove from the Warsaw ghettos after she is raped by two Nazi soldiers. Ursula is not included in the book, but it was shot and acted in such a way that it became such a central part of the entire movie.

I asked Niki and Jessica if they could speak about filming those scenes, as well as what it was like to act them out with Shira Haas.

NIKI CARO: The character of Ursula is emblematic of all children who are hurt by war. And so as the director of this movie, I had to think very hard about what I could bring to this genre. And I recognized that it was femininity; that I could take my inspiration from Antonina, and be very soft, and very strong with this material. And so Ursula was a very, very important character, because her experience had made her animal – it’s an incredible performance, obviously; young Israeli actress called Shira Haas. And the scenes between her and Antonina are wonderful, because we see Antonina dealing with Ursula as she would with an animal – which is to say, very instinctively; not coming too close, but reassuring her that she’s there. It’s Antonina’s connection to animals that – her humanity with animals that she brings to – that she brought to her human refugees, you know. And I think that sort of unspoken trust and compassion between those two characters, and those two actresses, is a very, very special part of the movie, for me.

JESSICA CHASTAIN: I have to say I was very happy to – sorry, this is a little bit about this. But I was happy to be in a film that, for me when I watch the movie, I’m distraught about the rape of this young girl. But there’s no salacious scene that we’re forced to watch.

NIKI CARO: Um-hmm.

JESSICA CHASTAIN: And I find that in a lot of films in our industry, it’s directed in a way that it becomes this salacious thing. And it was wonderful to work with a woman who had more delicacy with that. And then, what was your question for me?

PRESS: About what was it like to work with the young actress?

JESSICA CHASTAIN: Well, Shira’s an incredible actress. And you know, I just kind of – I instinctively knew to not try to distract her in any way. You know, when we were filming that stuff, she was so in it, that I didn’t want to be like, “Hey, how was dinner tonight?” you know, and talking about things that didn’t connect to what the scene was. So I always held back. I, you know, I was there in case she needed me, or I, you know, was watching her in between takes. But I never tried to do anything that would pull her out of it.

NIKI CARO: You know, it was incredibly organic, actually, the whole – the whole movie was. But in that scene, in particular, there was a bunny. And the bunny is – really shows us the healing power of animals – that it’s a little bunny that can break through for this girl. And that’s Antonina’s gift, really, to know, you know, without words, without overt action, just what to do in that moment. And Jessica absolutely has that gift herself, as a human being. So – which really made my job very, very easy.

Murder is horrific, and it’s important to note that there is a massive industry surrounding horror films that capitalize on murder as entertainment. With that in mind, I think that that there is a great danger in that portrayal of rape can be turned into something entertaining – because movie making is still an industry motivated at some point by profit. So I was grateful to hear Jessica, who works within the film and entertainment industry herself, point out the amazing job that Niki Caro does as a director, and how she deals with such complex and sensitive material in a way that is not salacious but still illustrates the extreme horror of rape, especially because Ursula is a child.

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The film, which naturally revolves around Antonina’s diaries and her life at the zoo, does not ignore the intense personal problems that Antonina would have had to deal with herself. Questions like what would happen to her children if they were found out, or what happens within a marriage in extremely stressful situations, are not ignored. I think instead of moving away from the horrors of the Holocaust and of the Second World War, The Zookeeper’s Wife broadens the scope of our understanding within the platform of film. For instance, I was never taught about the Żabińskis in school. I was never taught about people like Antonina, Jan, Irena Sendler and others recognized at Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations. I wish it had been a part of my elementary or middle school curriculum, which is part of what drew Jessica to the film.

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“I was really inspired by her. And also, I want to celebrate women in the past who have made great sacrifices to help others. We don’t really – I don’t think we acknowledge women in history as often as we should. And so I’m excited to be part of this story that gets to – gets to share it with a larger audience” Jessica also added.

The Zookeeper's Wife Press Junket NYC

The zoo still stands to this day. The film opens in theaters on March 31st! Check out these behind the scenes clips:

Jamie Greenberg’s Allergy Face Tips & Looks Available on the beGlammed App!

Most of my mornings start way too early, with packed trains, elbows, coffee, and loads of foot traffic. So it was a much more than a welcome reprieve when I was invited to spend my Wednesday morning with Jordana Brewster and celebrity makeup artist, Jamie Greenberg, at the Gramercy Park Hotel’s Gramercy Terrace.

Gramery Park Hotel Zyrtec Event Juice BarGramery Park Hotel Terrace Lightbulbs

I’ve met Jamie before, and she is so sweet and clearly so passionate about what she does. I wish I had half the energy she did that morning! Seriously though, there really isn’t enough caffeine in a cup of coffee anymore, is there?

Allergy Face Event NYCJamie Greenberg and Jordana Brewster Zyrtec Event

Jamie, who has been working with Zyrtec for about 4 years now, knows all about the struggles brought on by allergy season – “As a makeup artist, I know that looking your best can be a challenge, especially during allergy season. I am so excited to work with the makers of Zyrtec to develop new tips to help women solve their Allergy Face beauty challenges – watery eyes, red nose and puffiness.”

Here are some of Jamie’s Beauty Tips:

  • Make sure makeup removing wipes are marked as gentle for sensitive skin or you’ll run the risk of worsening redness from Allergy Face.
  • Use a hydrating mask and a light moisturizer to even out skin texture and color.
  • Make your eyes appear more open by curling your lashes, and applying black mascara to upper and lower lashes when dealing with watery eyes.

Allergy Face Zyrtec EventAllergy Face Tip from Jamie Greenberg

I was also treated to an Allergy Face, customized, makeover by the beGlammed app team! My makeup artist, Darlene, was incredibly nice and didn’t mind the fact that I awkwardly blinked-smudged the mascara she was applying, and tried talking while she was applying my lipstick. Thanks Darlene! ;)

NYC Makeup Artist Darlene beGlammed AppbeGlammed App Allergy Face MakeoversbeGlammed App Makeovers

Right now, until June 7th, the beGlammed app is offering Allergy Face makeovers as a part of their services provided. Allergy Face makeovers are designed to tackle your biggest Allergy Face concerns – itchy, watery eyes, and red noses too! The app also lists many of Jamie’s best tips, so you can try them out on your own as well. To find out more, click here.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.