Interview: Katie Cassidy on NYFW #Hot2Adopt Feline Fashion Show & The Modern Cat Lady

This past week I was lucky enough to catch Katie Cassidy, star of CW’s Arrow and The Flash, between shows and speak to her about her NYFW Hot to Adopt Feline Fashion Show and Lounge with Fresh Step. In addition to a feline-inspired fashion show, complete with cats on the runway, the Hot to Adopt lounge also offered attendees an exclusive opportunity to adopt their very own feline right there!

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More information about the exclusive Hot to Adopt tee (as seen on Katie) after the interview:

The NYC Talon: Can you tell me a little bit about your Hot to Adopt Feline Fashion Lounge with Fresh Step, what can we expect?

Katie Cassidy: Yes, so you can expect feline inspired looks which I think is fun. I’ll be hosting the Hot to Adopt Feline Fashion event and fashion show with Fresh Step and I think it’ll be fun, I think it’ll be interesting. Obviously it’s for a good cause and you can actually purchase this shirt [pictured above, more details below] at freshsteps.com and part of it will go toward helping cat shelters all over the country, which is such a great cause and I’m excited to do it. I’m excited to see what people will wear, and actually we’ll be having cats walking down the runway which will be fun, yeah it’ll be very cute.

TNT: So I saw your post on TKC [Katie’s blog, post seen here], are cat ears something we’re going to see on the runway?

KC: Yeah, I certainly think so, I probably will wear some. I know there’ll be cat accessories that are very feline inspired, and it’ll be fun to bring that sort of awareness to people and get rid of that sort of crazy cat lady stigma. So we’ll be taking fashion and felines and sort of turning that stigma around. I actually just bought this clutch will a little cat face, it’s very cute.

TNT: Yes – I just saw that Kate Spade’s fall accessories have this adorable cat icon!

KC: Yeah and I just got this jacket from Stella McCartney that has this cat print all over it!

TNT: That sounds awesome. So, I know you have a cat…

KC: I do

TNT: And I think you have a dog, I’ve seen tweets with Felicia –

KC: [Laughs] To be honest with you I just love animals, and Felicia is my dog that I actually co-own with our stylist we have on Arrow, our hairstylist. Because when I travel, it’s hard when you have a dog or a cat, but a cat, obviously they can take care of themselves – but not for too long! But you can’t really leave a dog at home. Yeah, she’s been really fun.

TNT: I know you mentioned earlier about the cat lady stigma, what would you define as the ‘modern cat lady’?

KC: Hmm, the modern cat woman. Well, that’s what I think is so cool about this kind of thing because it’s bringing fashion and felines together and you have these, like as we saw on the cover of Porter magazine recently that there is a cat on the cover and I think adopting cats is more than just on trend, and we’re seeing them more on like cute clutches and shoes and it’s a sign of strong independent women. It’s something that’s cool, and again I love cats – actually [laughs] I want to get another one!

TNT: I’m a massive fan of your blog, are we going to see some What Katie Wore posts for Fashion Week?

KC: Yes! You certainly will, I have a photoshoot happening at some point tomorrow, I don’t know what time but yes you will.

TNT: Cats are kind of classified as lounging animals, if you have one day to absolutely lounge about and devote to rest & relaxation, what would you do?

KC: Everybody loves the spa, I feel like. Probably…I don’t know if I would just like have a relaxation day… I would probably go get a facial, or go to the gym, or not talk on the phone, or go on social media. I would probably just want to be by myself, you know? And order lots of pizza.

TNT: A girl after my own heart!

KC: Yeah – girl, pizza is my jam!

And that concludes my interview with Katie! She was so sweet, and I was very excited to interview her. She was in a rush, which was lucky otherwise I very well might have bombarded her with my embarrassing Arrow/The Flash Black Canary/Black Siren questions.

To purchase Katie’s exclusive Hot to Adopt t-shirt, check out FreshStep.com here.

I love Fresh Step’s commitment to encouraging and celebrating cat ownership, and this tee is honestly adorable. But there’s more! All through the month of October Fresh Step wants you to step out and declare your love of modern cat ladies (and gentlemen too!) by declaring “Feline Fashion Fridays” – cat owners cat show their love of cats by posting a picture of themselves with their cat to Fresh Step’s Instagram using the #freshstepcontest hashtag each Friday for a chance to win free Fresh Step litter, a $250 VISA Gift Card, and the limited edition #hot2adopt T-shirt!

Check out FreshStep.com for more info.

Why You Do Not Want to Miss the 2016 Food Network & Cooking Channel NYC Wine & Food Festival

Every year NYC eagerly awaits the hottest food event of the year – the Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival. The NYCWFF is a four-day long festival featuring a variety of food related activities and as many food celebrities as you could ever want to see. You can rub elbows with Rachel Ray at her annual Blue Moon Burger Bash, or hang with the entire cast of Chopped at their rooftop event at Pier 92. Why stop there? With a plethora of food events, tastings, and seminars and panels, you really have a multitude of options – here are some of our favorites:

The Grand Tasting presented by ShopRite

If you only do one event, go to the Grand Tasting. Not only do you get a swag bag, but you also get to spend hours wandering around a 130,000-square-foot culinary wonderland. You’ll get to sample food from some of NYC’s finest establishments, sip wine & spirits from the Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of New York portfolio, and collect cooking techniques and tips at the Samsung Culinary Demonstrations. Bring a friend, you’ll both have an amazing time. Tickets start at $185, get yours here.

Brunch

While the coveted Lobster Place Oyster Bash is sold out (we’re still crying over our lack of tickets), there are three other brunch events to choose from – Josh Capon will be hosting the New York Yankees Pinstripe Brunch presented by Delta Airlines, if you have a Mastercard then you’ll definitely want to check out Broadway Tastes presented by Variety, and if you’re on a budget A Brunch with Craftsman and Wolves hosted by James Beard Award-nominated Chef William Werner is only $85! Act fast, tickets sell out quickly!

Bank of America Dinner Series Curated by Chefs Club

So you’ve missed out on A Dinner with Ghetto Gastro hosted by Martha Stewart, but don’t despair there are plenty of other great dinners to attend. Explore Israeli and Middle Eastern culinary traditions at A Kosher Dinner with Elior Balbul, Eden Grinshpan, Amitzur More, and Yehuda Sichel, who are bringing kosher cuisine to the forefront of the NYC dining scene.

Other options include:

  • A Dinner with Melissa Clark, Marco Canora, Sara Jenkins and Marc Murphy – Thursday, Oct. 13th at 7:30pm, $250.
  • A Dinner with Floyd Cardoz and Anita Lo – Thursday, Oct. 13th at 7pm, $250.
  • A Dinner with Mourad Lahlou and Alex Stupak – Thursday, Oct. 13th at 7pm, $250.
  • A Dinner with Deuki Hong and Edward Lee – Friday, Oct. 14th at 7pm, $250.

Full listing here.

Hands-on Classes

nycwff-hands-on-classes

If you’re looking to get your hands dirty, NYCWFF offers some excellent hands-on events. You can learn how to add spice to your kitchen with Lior Lev Sercarz’ A Guide to the World of Spices, where you’ll not only create your own custom blends but you’ll also head out with an early release of Lior’s upcoming cookbook!

You can also learn how to bake bread with Zach Golper of Bien Cuit, roast like a pro with The New York Times’ Melissa Clark, and decorate cakes with none other than Sylvia Weinstock! Classes will take place in state-of-the-art professional culinary kitchens at the Institute of Culinary Education. For a full listing of hands-on classes, and to buy tickets click here.

There really are so many awesome events to choose from, and if you’re on a budget then definitely check out the $100 and under options as you’ll certainly find something to your taste there! Are you planning on going to the 2016 Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival? What event sounds the most exciting to you? Let me know in the comments, or feel free to send me a tweet with the #NYCWFF hashtag!

*Photos courtesy of NYCWFF, from NYCWFF 2015*

Get Out & About: NYC Events this September

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In my opinion fall is New York’s best season, it’s the perfect time to wander around and enjoy the city. You could also head up to the Hudson River Valley and go apple picking or on a wine tasting tour – basically, it’s the most ideal time to enjoy the best of New York, it’s when I consider myself the luckiest to live here. This month, the season of social activities kicks off with some great events, so if you’re not too busy during New York Fashion Week or too exhausted after it you’ll definitely want to check these out*:

Weekend Getaways with the MTA LIRR -

Montauk Tour

Getting away has never been easier thanks to the MTA! My family usually goes on an MTA getaway every fall. Heading upstate for apple picking, and wine & cheese tasting adventures while surrouned by the beauty of the Hudon Valley region is the highlight of my autumn. This year Long Island is looking like a great destination too! Right now Gilt City is offering discounted tickets for a Montauk Tour, Wine Country Tour, and Oyster Festival – don’t miss out. Kick off cooler weather with a perfect day adventure (prices $3-67, more info here).

Gilt City Warehouse Sale: Brooklyn Edition -

Gilt City Warehouse Sale

Sip on SOTO Super Premium Junmai Daiginjo Japanese Sake and snack on Twinkies (um, how ideal does that sound?) as you shop through Gilt City’s warehouse sale. Merchandise waits for you to snap up at up to 80% off retail, featuring designer brands like Valentino, Tibi, Sandro, Derek Lam, Helmut Lang, Tom Ford, John Varvatos, and more! The sale takes place from Friday September 9th to Saturday with morning, afternoon, and evening sessions available. Get your ticket here!

Pig Island -

Pig Island

Pig out at the annual Pig Island celebration! On September 10th join fellow foodies at the Erie Basin Park in Red Hook for this porky celebration featuring all things pig. Dine on decadent beer and pork samples from New York’s best chefs, brewers, hard-cider makers and vinters. General admission for one is just $75, and $150 for two. Take a pal and go hog wild! Details here.

US Open 2016 -

The US Open 2016

This Tuesday, September 6th, go where all the cool kids go – to the US Open! The final Grand Slam event of the season takes place at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing NY, where you might catch a glimpse of tennis royalty like Serena or Venus Williams, Novak Djokovic, or Rafael Nadal. Score 40% off upper promenade admission on Gilt City here.

LUCKYRICE Moon Festival Cocktail Feast -

LUCKYRICE Event NYC

Hit the town on September 16th at the LUCKYRICE Moon Festival Cocktail Feast. Held at the Bowery Hotel, this raved about event offers a delicious way for event-goers to enjoy Asian inspired Bombay Sapphire East Gin cocktails from top New York mixologists. Make it a girls night out with VIP admission and enjoy an additional hour of sipping and tasting. Tickets on sale here.

The New York Coffee Festival -

The New York Coffee Festival

This is my kind of event. NYC has a passionate coffee culture, as evidenced by The New York Coffee Festival. Featuring over 70 artisanal coffee purveyors and gourmet food stalls, this will be the NYCF’s second year – it’s a perfect event for any coffee fan! Score 40% off VIP admission – that means all day access and priority access at the entrance (because nothing should keep you from a good brew) as well as other perks – on Gilt City here.

The Great Big Bacon Picnic -

The Great Big Bacon Picnic

Because one pig event wasn’t enough, The Great Big Bacon Picnic in Williamsburg is another chance for you (and a friend or two) to celebrate all things bacon! Top-shelf spirits and craft beer will be served alongside bacon delicacies from over 100 local chefs, brewmasters, and distillers. Saturday, September 24-25th | 3 sessions | tickets on sale here!

Refinery Rooftop’s Beach House Party -

Refinery's Rooftop Party

On Saturday, September 10th join Refinery for their Rooftop Beach House Party in midtown. Toast to the end of summer with specialty cocktails while snacking on tasty treats like sliders, ceviche, grilled steak, scrambled eggs, and more. Tickets here!

*While all of these events feature Gilt City links, this post is not sponsored by Gilt City, I just find Gilt an excellent way to find and save money on NYC experiences. Speaking of saving money, use my link to get 25% off your first purchase!

NYC’s Breads Bakery

I am ridiculously late to the Breads Bakery bandwagon. Still, I’m sure there’s room for one more, which is great seeing as how I am officially addicted to whatever Breads is selling. Just yesterday after what feels like years of planning on going, I finally went. Breads, if you don’t know, is NYC royalty thanks to their famous Chocolate Babka. While there was plenty of babka to be had, I did not actually try it (it has Nutella, so yes get it, it’s probably fantastic), but I did end up with some amazing pastry.

Breads Bakery1Breads Bakery10
Breads on-premises baking facility means this New York institution is serving up fresh joy on a daily basis. I went to the flagship location by Union Square, but they also have a spot over in Bryant Park, as well as near Lincoln Center.

Breads Bakery2
Whenever I try a new spot I like to stick to the “five item rule” – it’s my personal completely bendable and terribly breakable rule. I try to limit myself to just five items – that way if I turn out to not like a place at all I won’t feel like I broke the bank pointlessly, it’s also a good way for me to tell whether or not a bakery is popular because it has an item that makes a good instagram photo or because they actually are offering up amazing goods. By the way, Breads Bakery is both. For my maiden voyage, I picked out two raspberry marzipan cookies, two apricot marzipan cookies, their creme brulee type pastry, spinach and cheese pastry, chocolate croissant, fruit tart, and lemon meringue tart.

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Yes, I completely broke the five item rule. But that’s the good thing about self-set rules, you can break them and feel absolutely guilt-free.

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I shared my haul with my mom and sister, and while we’re normally people generous in spirit we were kind of reduced to horrible greedy humans as a result of these sweets. Someone may or may not have been threatened over half of a chocolate croissant. Which is pretty much the identifying sign of great food – when you’re willing to eliminate a family member over it.

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I definitely recommend that you try as many pastries as you like when you go to Breads, but absolutely do not walk out without their marzipan cookies and at least one croissant.

For store locations, times, and more information, check out Breads Bakery here.

Breads Bakery
18 E 16th St
New York, NY 10003

LG Supports Share Our Strength’s “No Kid Hungry” at Taste of the Nation Charity Fundraiser Event in NYC

Did you know that more than 16 million American children are affected by childhood hunger? It’s a staggering number, and the reason why Share Our Strength’s “No Kid Hungry” Taste of the Nation culinary series exists – to help raise awareness and support in tackling this imperative issue. The Taste of the Nation series takes place in various cities across that nation, and last week, many of NYC’s top chef’s and mixologists came together for NYC’s Taste of the Nation fundraiser. As one of Share Our Strength’s premier national partners, LG had an exciting presence at the event – if you didn’t know, earlier this month LG Electronics USA announced their unique partnership with Share Our Strength, which is committed to help end childhood hunger with No Kid Hungry.

LG Taste of the NationLG No Kid Hungry Event

Thanks to LG, I was able to attend Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Taste of the Nation Charity Fundraiser. LG had setup what looked like a small restaurant in the space, complete with a menu, and a preview of LG’s line of Black Stainless Steel kitchen appliances. In between bites, we were able to put LG’s Virtual Kitchen Design tool to work – the design tool helps visualize how LG’s Black Stainless Steel works in every kitchen environment and design. I also had their 100 Mile NY Filet Mignon which was served with Yukon gold gnocchi, upstate NY spring onion relish, Catskill asparagus, and red pepper coulis.

LG Farm to Table Filet Mignon

It was so good – the filet mignon was perfectly tender and so delicious, I would have kept ordering it if I didn’t have over 30 other restaurants to sample from! Here’s what else I ate:

Sexy Taco Dirty Cash Taste of the NationPublic Restaurant Taste of the Nation

Sexy Taco/Dirty Cash’s Chef Brian Washington-Palmer treated guests to Chile Braised Pork Tostadas with Jicama-Cumin Slaw – I’m adding this spot to my need-to-eat-at list, these tostadas were ridiculously good. I am not a big fan of vegan desserts, my experience with them has been unexciting. However, Public Restaurant’s Chef Brad Farmerie served up a Vegan Dark Chocolate Oat Tart that was shockingly decadent – I was certainly a fan. One hot spot at the event was Chef Jessica Weiss’ (Marta & Maialino) assorted biscotti buffet. Guests were loading up on a variety of her cookies – and I definitely appreciated her salted chocolate cookies the next day!

Marta & Maialino Taste of the Nation NYCUnderwest Donuts Taste of the Nation

Underwest Donuts’ Chef Scott Levine was turning out extremely popular Halva Donuts next door to Root & Bone’s Chef Romina Peixoto’s Kentucky Donuts with Bourbon Cream – they were both the stuff of dreams. The Kentucky Donuts were served warm, which only heightened the experience for me.

OddFellows at Taste of the NationSherry B Dessert Studio Taste of the Nation

OddFellows Ice Cream Co. had an amazing Neopolitan Sundae – I’ve actually never been to OddFellows so this was a real treat for me. It was so good, now I know that I HAVE to go! Sherry B Dessert Studio had an all-star lineup featuring Fluffernutter on Banana Bread (classic peanut butter and marshmallow fluff reimagined as an ice cream, sandwiched between layers of banana bread), Suzy Q (an ice cream sandwich take on the infamous snack cake with Sweet Cream Ice Cream and Devil’s Food Cake), and The Tipsy Lux (Luxardo Maraschino Cherries soaked in maraschino liquor and blended with swirls of Amaretto fudge and Amaretto Candies Almonds, all piled high on a Maraschino Cake).

I went back for seconds thirds of Sessanta’s (Chef Paul DiBari) Spiedini of Marinated Octopus with Chermoula. I even snapped up their last serving. ICE also served up an insane pasta that I unfortunately cannot remember the name of.

Sessanta Taste of the Nation NYC

I almost had to roll myself out of there, haha! There was so much great food, and it was so nice seeing the nation’s top chefs and restaurants get together for a great cause. LG’s partnership with Share Our Strength is a perfect fit, seeing as how LG is a brand that is really dedicated to bringing families together in the kitchen, they hold family mealtime at the core of its values so dedicating themselves to helping make sure that more kids across the country are getting access to the healthy meals that they need makes perfect sense!

To learn more about LG Electronics and No Kid Hungry’s partnership, click here.

6 Ways to Welcome Spring in NYC

One second it’s pouring rain, and the next it’s gorgeous and sunny out – weather like this can only mean one thing – spring has finally come ‘round! It’s time to call up your bestie, emerge from winter hibernation, pop on your sunglasses and get brunching. We’ve pulled together some of our favorite ways to welcome in warmer weather here in NYC! What are your favorite spring spots?

Take a stroll around Central Park…

 

: @marysitz

A photo posted by Central Park Conservancy (@centralparknyc) on


I know, it’s the most overused recommendation ever. But it’s overused for a reason, we’ve lived here our entire lives and make time to stop by every season, it’s just that gorgeous. Pack up a picnic basket or a light snack and meander on one of the park’s many paths. Feeling a little more adventurous? Head up to 105th street and Broadway to the Conservatory Garden for a real spring treat. The six-acre formal garden opens at 8am and shutters at dusk.

Get cooking!

Cooking School

I love cooking during the spring. The weather is still friendly for baking, and there is an abundance of ingredients available at the farmer’s market to experiment with. Right now Gilt City has two excellent offers for the culinary inclined – learn to make doughnuts, buttery risotto, or Malaysian curry (among other dishes) at Chanterelle Cooking School in the Lower East Side.

Or, if you’ve already mastered the doughnut, you can also head over to Bhagavat Life, a center for holistic living where you’ll learn how to prepare vegetarian cuisine as well as the ancient principles of healthy living. Learn more here.

For the blushing bride…

Brides

I hear spring is the busiest season when it comes to walking down the aisle. On March 31st Brides Magazine is hosting a wedding photography workshop with expert wedding photographer, Brian Marcus. The workshop with teach you all of the insider secrets to the perfect poses – that way you can get your big day pose down pat. Hosted at Condé Nast’s One World Trade Center Photo Studio, the workshop will also feature mini hair trials by Eva Scrivo Salon and mini makeovers by Rouge New York.

Better with brunch!

Ristorante Morini

Sometimes I prefer to let someone else do the cooking for me. Luckily, NYC is chock full of amazing brunch spots. I recommend Bar Primi, Dominique Bistro, Catch, and Ristorante Morini. I love to look to Instagram for brunch/lunch recommendations, so tag me (@nyctalon) if you find a great spot too! My advice, keep an eye out for local deals, it’s a great way to try a new place. Right now you can score a three-course lunch for two for only $50 at Ristorante Morini, I just ate there and it was amazing, check it out here.

And a dash of entertainment…

Gwyneth

Hang out with Gwyneth Paltrow at the Baruch Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, April 12th. The award-winning actress and author will be sharing her new book “It’s All Easy: Delicious Weekday Recipes for the Super-Busy Home Cook”. When you go through this link, you can also score a one-year membership with the Hudson Union, as well as preferred seating, with your ticket purchase.

Do something eventful!

From street fairs to festivals, NYC turns out for the spring. My favorite events are cultural and food events (naturally). The Village Voice is hosting their first annual Brunch Eats Breakfast-For-Dinner Food Event, tickets just started going on sale today – pick them up here and enjoy mouthwatering brunch dishes all aboard the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum’s Flight Deck! Sounds like an event that is not to be missed!

You could also catch MasterVoice’s Dido and Aeneas on April 28th and 29th, featuring Kelli O’hara, Victoria Clark, Elliot Madore, Anna Christy, and Sarah Mesko – I also hear that the gowns for this performance were designed by Christian Siriano, I bet they’re gorgeous! Tickets on sale here.

You can also pop in to any one of NYC’s amazing museums – I’ve been planning to go to The Frick Collection for ages and I’ve decided this is the year that I go, so I might just see you there!

What are you favorite places to stop by during springtime?

Best for Brunch: Dominique Bistro in the West Village

Brunch is pretty much a NYC staple. It seems like we’ve altogether abandoned the idea of “lunch” for a menu featuring both breakfast and dinner hybrids, and I’m sure not complaining. Brunch is my new favorite meal (followed shortly by dessert), and finding great brunch spots is sort of a personal mission of mine. A couple of weeks ago, with fork in hand, my friend and I were invited to stop by Dominique Bistro over in the West Village. Located on the cutest corner, you can’t help but feel like you’ve stepped away from the bustle of everyday busyness when you arrive at Dominique Bistro.

DOms NYC

 

That relaxed kind of energy is maintained throughout. The inside of Dominique is modern, but relaxed and the service is attentive, but not overwhelming. You won’t be bothered by persistent servers here. In the mornings quite a few people stop by just for the coffee, and when we arrived there were already a few couples brunching. Dominique Bistro does sport an open kitchen set-up, but it’s all very well done and you definitely don’t hear the clatter of plates or pans coming from that corner. In keeping with that elegant Parisian feel, the actual restaurant is pretty small, but tall ceilings and large open windows open the space up in such a way as you don’t feel crowded at all.

Dominique Bistro in the West Village, NYC | read more at nyctalon.comDominique Bistro in the West Village, NYC | read more at nyctalon.com

The brunch menu is ideal – you have savory options like Truffle Eggs, Eggs Provencal, and the classic brunch stand-bys Eggs Benedict and Avocado Toast, as well as a sweeter option in the Belgian Waffles served with fresh berries and chocolate mousse. I opted for the Duck Hash, boasting duck confit, potato, poached eggs, lardons, and arugula, while my friend had Eggs Benedict with prosciutto cotto.

Dominique Bistro in the West Village, NYC | read more at nyctalon.comDominique Bistro in the West Village, NYC | read more at nyctalon.com

I’m not going to lie, I should have stopped half-way through the Duck Hash. It was insanely filling, but the flavors were so on point that I had to restrain myself from licking the plate. The Duck Confit was perfectly tender, and the lardons were crisp, a perfect accompaniment to the poached eggs (also done perfectly). There was no part of that dish that I didn’t love. My friend loved her Eggs Benedict. “This is exactly how brunch should be” she said, sipping her expertly made cappuccino “great food, done well enough that it almost feels too decadent for breakfast”.

Dominique Bistro in the West Village, NYC | read more at nyctalon.com

Since then I’ve been poring over their menu, making plans to eventually head back to dinner. With entree options like Bouillabaisse, Duck Confit, and my personal favorite – Beef Bourguignon, Dominique Bistro is perfect for brunch, but definitely sounds like a sound option for dinner too! I can’t wait to head back!

Dominique Bistro
14 Christopher St
New York, NY 10014
(646) 756-4145

http://www.dominiquebistro.nyc/

Birchbox SoHo

My sister and I picked a blisteringly cold day to stop by Birchbox SoHo. We had been planning to drop by since they opened, but bizarrely enough I haven’t really spent much time in SoHo this past year. Anyways, as one of the first customers in the store we could see the entire layout minus the crowds and it was probably one of the most inventive ways of using NYC’s notoriously limited space that I’ve seen. Even though the store itself was really narrow, the set up was so clean that I felt like the place was a massive beauty hideout. I could probably browse in here for hours and not even notice. I don’t know why I thought that was worth mentioning, but I feel like inventive use of space should equal New York City brownie points or something, haha! That or I’ve been watching too much Fixer Upper.

Birchbox SoHo Location NYCBirchbox NYC SoHo

My younger sister has become something of a beauty addict, and we’ve actually been debating adding her own series on here for curly haired gals. Seriously, she will give you the low down in a minute on which curly hair products are even worth looking at. I’m so proud of her (*cries a beauty blogging tear). She’s been dying to build her own Birchbox, which we heard through the blogosphere is one of the highlights of the Birchbox store. The BYOB section is located in the back of the top main floor, there is a lower floor as well where you’ll find more products as well as Birchbox Man. I’ve read that you’re meant to choose one product from each sort of beauty section but we spoke to two sales associates and they said that if you really can’t find something you like in one section then they’ll let you get two of another, no big deal.

Birchbox Soho Building a BoxBirchbox Makeup

A BYOB costs $15, or $16.33 after tax. The entire BYOB section was loaded up with great products, the sample sizes were huge so I felt like the $15 was well worth it (yes, I know that a monthly subscription comes in at only $10 a box, but you get to pick what you want here). They also featured a free item – that week it was travel sized Illume candles, my sister and I love Illume so we were thrilled about that addition! The customer service was also great too, the staff there can help you find any sort of product that you’re looking for, but they don’t hover, aren’t pushy at all, and just leave you to do your own thing if you like.

Build Your Own Birchbox NYC Talon

She picked out Wilma Schumann Skin Care Hydrating Collagen Eye Pads, DevaCurl Super Cream, Briogeo Curl Charisma Leave-in Cream, Ayres Body Polish – Pampas Sunrise, Marcelle Waterproof Eyeliner in Indigo, and the Illume Gardenia tin candle.

Birchbox Soho Services

Birchbox SoHo also offers a menu of beauty services including makeup, nails, and hair – which you can book online here. They also offer beauty classes, which are free for subscribers, and $30 for non-subscribers – however, you get that amount of money in store credit when you take the course, so it’s basically like getting it free with a $30 purchase.

Are you a Birchbox subscriber? Have you ever been to their SoHo flagship store?

Last Minute NYC Valentine’s Day Gifts with Gilt City

Looking for a great last minute Valentine’s Day gift? Or are you spectacularly single and looking for the best way to celebrate Galentine’s Day? Personally, I’m spending my Valentine’s Day weekend adventuring in the city with my sister. While I don’t have my own romance to celebrate, I do have people in my life that I love to shower with cheesey gifts all in the name of love. As usual Gilt City has pulled through with some excellent offers perfect for a romantic duo or ideal for going solo! Check them out below:

Valentines Day Gilt City

Valentine’s Day at Wave Hill

Before this sells out, snack a spot at the Valentine’s Day Chocolate & Wine Tasting at Wave Hill! Spend an afternoon tasting delicious chocolates and sipping on wine. Your purchase also includes a year-long individual membership at Wave Hill – complete with serious perks like discounts, parking vouchers, unlimited admission, and access to exclusive sales! Reserve your spot here.

Wave Hill Valentines Day

The Paint Place

Unwind as you sip and swirl your brush at this cozy Upper West Side, take the two-hour class with your bae or bestie! More info on The Paint Place here.

The Paint Place Gilt City

Hampton Luxury Liner

Chill out and turn up on this Valentine’s Day three hour tour for two. Visit three Long Island vineyards and enjoy a live rock, blues or jazz performance – this tour definitely makes for the perfect weekend excursion. For more info, click here.

Hamptons Liner Gilt City

Boqueria

Is food your love language? I know it’s one of mine! Share a delicious paella feast for two at one of this famed restaurants three locations. Boqueria has definitely been on my “must try” list for some time! For all locations click here.

Paella Gilt City

Anti-Valentine’s Day at Royalton

Celebrate the single life at Royalton’s anti-Valentine’s Day singles party. On Saturday, February 14th head to this iconic spot to enjoy cocktails and attend this unique party. Click here for more info.

Singles Party at Royalton

The Spa at Trump SoHo

Have no one to spoil this Valentine’s Day? Spoil yourself! Enjoy a spa treatment at this luxurious oasis, choose from a pedicure, facial, bath treatment, or massage! Click here for more info.

The Spa at Trump SoHo Gilt City

I hope you all have a lovely Valentine’s Day!

New York City Valentine’s Day Chocolate Guide

New York City Valentines Day Chocolate Guide

New York City is home to some of the world’s best chocolate shops, from bonbons to bars, truffles and filled treats, whatever you’re looking for chances are you’ll find it. I’ve been on a mission to find the best chocolates in the city, and now that Valentine’s Day is almost here I thought I would share my shortlist of the best places to buy chocolate in New York City for Valentine’s Day:

L.A. Burdick

L.A. Burdick is perfect for easy Valentine’s Day gifting. The chocolates are very intense, which makes them great for dark chocolate fans! Their signature assortments are packed with bonbons and L.A. Burdick’s signature chocolate mice, packaged in an adorable wood box and sealed with wax and a ribbon. The petite wood assortment contains approximately 10 bonbons and 1 small mouse and clocks in at just $16. Located at 5 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003 and online here.

LA Burdick NYC

Xocolatti

For the adventurous palette, Xocolatti chocolates toy with exciting flavors that are definitely worth tasting. With flavors like Olive Oil Basil, Sake, Rye Whisky, and Pineapple Habanero, it’s no wonder that Xocolatti’s chocolates made it onto Oprah’s Favorite Thing’s list of 2015. A 9 piece truffle collection will cost you around $28. Decorated in bright, beautiful colors, the truffles taste as eye catching as they look. At 172 Prince St, New York, NY 10012 or online here.

 

A photo posted by Krista (@nyctalon) on

Chocolat Moderne

Chocolat Moderne is hands down my favorite chocolate place right now. If you like your chocolates to have that great snap, to be perfectly balanced, and not overly sweet, this is the chocolate shop for you. Although Chocolat Moderne favors more intense dark chocolate flavors, even milk chocolate lovers will fall in love with Moderne’s offerings.  I stumbled upon this hidden shop before the holiday season and have already been by at least four times since. The quality of chocolate and perfect use of flavor keeps me coming back again and again, a selection of these is sure to win the heart of your Valentine! The friendly team at Chocolat Moderne will gladly tie up your chocolates with a bow. Pick up your chocolates at 27 W 20th St #904, New York, NY 10011 or online here.

Chcolat Moderne NYC

Stick With Me Sweets

Former Per Se Chocolatier, Susanna Yoon’s Stick with Me sweets shop is a great place to stop by for Valentine’s Day gifting. Her bonbons are works of art, and the flavors she offers are sure to score you points with a loved one. I recommend the Caramelized Banana, Liquid Salted Caramel, Raspberry Rose, and Wild Strawberry, but whatever you get them, they’re sure to love. Located at 202 Mott St, New York, NY 10012 and online here.

Stick with Me NYC Susanna Yoon

Jacques Torres

Jacques Torres was one of my first forays into artisan chocolates. In my house, we consider his chocolates the old faithful of sweet treats – they never fail to please. A box a champagne truffles is my Valentine’s Day pick, but don’t forget to pick up some Love Bugs (a passion fruit white chocolate) and a few of his insanely delicious chocolate chip cookies. At 285 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10023, for a full listing of locations or to order online click here.

For more great Valentine’s Day related content, be sure to check out these awesome posts written by my fellow Chosen Chix bloggers: