Tapa Lounge and Hookah Bar Murray Hill NYC 

 

The newest addition to an area that is filled with Indian eateries is Tapa. Led by restaurateur Abishek Sharma (Swagat, Surya, and Badshah), this colorful cocktail and hookah lounge serves Indian Tapas and cocktails in a relaxed laid back environment. 

 

Setting Tapa apart is the menu focused on an extensive bread bar with eight varieties of the classic Indian naan bread. Our favorite was the Prime Time, sliced prime cut rib-eye steak, cheddar, monterey jack and mozzarella, served with a smoky chipotle dipping sauce. A nice vegetarian option is the Eat Your Veggies lay with mushrooms, olives, and truffle oil, topped with marinara or mint sauce.

Our favorites from the Tapas menu include the Badass Chicken Tikka marinated in a houseblend of spices, yogurt and jalapeños, Agni “Fire Wings” prepared spicy or “want to cry” extra spicy, or for none spice enthusiasts, butter-chicken style, and the Masala Calamari tossed in Indian Masala sauce.

Mixologist Warren Bayami (Summit Bar, Badshah) created signature cocktails like the Sari Not Sari (tequila, lime, cucumber, mint, with a salted rim), Flight to Mumbai (gin, lime juice, cardamom), and Sassy Lassi, our favorite, made with housemate mango lassi and rum.

Over 40 flavors of Hookah are available to enjoy divided into three sections in different price ranges from the House Hookah, Exotic Hookah, and the Exclusive Hookah.

Tapa is located at 102 Lexington Ave. New York, NY 10016. (646) 657- 0512. tapaloungenyc.com

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Murrells Inlet & Pawley’s Island South Carolina: Vacation Destination on the Hammock Coast

South Carolina offers hundreds of miles of coastline with beautiful beaches and waterfront communities that make for a great vacation destination and also a popular retirement destination from the north with favorable real estate prices and warmer weather year round.

The Hammock Coast comprises of of several areas with Georgetown being the city center and Murrells Inlet, Pawley’s Island, Garden City and Litchfield Beach dotting the coastline. 

We flew into Myrtle Beach about a 20 minute drive from Murrells Inlet. Spirit offer nonstop service and both Delta and American offers convenient flights from the Northeast.

 

The newest and most comfortable property in Murrells Inlet is The Inlet Sports Lodge.  A boutique property with luxurious touches and a real homey feel. Located only a mile north of Murrells Inlet Marshwalk and Marina, the dining and entertainment capital of the area as well as a starting point for boat rides, fishing expeditions as well as water sports rentals. Rooms range from deluxe studios to luxury suites. All rooms feature kitchenettes with full size refrigerators, cooking utensils, and a sleeper sofa. These rooms are perfect for families or a group of friends sleeping 4 comfortably. Luxury suites are identical to studio suites with an adjoining room. 

Coming from New York City and often writing about food we are pretty jaded when we travel about what to expect. We were very pleasantly surprised with the burgeoning foodie scene with many top notch eateries offering everything from local seafood, which is fresh and delicious, to Italian cuisine and beyond. Here is a list of our favorite restaurants:

The Wicked Tuna: A massive multi-floor waterfront restaurant overlooking the marsh walk. The menu is seafood based with the freshest sushi in the area. Specialties include just caught “Catch of the Day”, varies nightly, a raw bar, fresh crab and for meat lovers there are various Steak and Ribs options. The must have dessert is the S’more’s Baked Alaska, Layers of chocolate cake and chocolate marshmallow gelato, covered in toasted Italian meringue. Served with chocolate ganache and graham cracker crumble. On many evenings there is live music played in front on the marsh walk. Thewickeduna.com 4123 Highway Business Murrells Inlet, SC 29576 (843) 651-9987

Inlet Crab house and RawBar: Family owned and operated in Murrells Inlet since 1992. The Crab House is the only Captain and family owned eatery in the area. As the name suggests the menu is seafood based with crab being the obvious specialty. The She Crab Soup is world famous. The crab cakes are huge filled with fresh crabmeat and the Crabhouse Steam Pots let you try a bunch of items including clams, mussels, spicy shrimp, oysters, crab legs, sausage, corn and potatoes. Servings are plentiful and most definitely can be shared. Cocktails offered are frozen creations with locally themed names like “Inlet Freeze”: Pina Colada, Raspberry, and Rum. Inletcrabhouseandrawbar.com 3572 Highway 17 Murrells Inlet, SC (843) 651- 8452

Costa Coastal Kitchen & Bar: Located Adjacent to the Inlet Sports Lodge. A real find with excellent fare. Classic Italian favorites created by Chef Jimmy. Shrimp Olivia and Crab Stuffed mushrooms are a must for appetizers and The Zuppa de Pesce and the Chicken Marsala are delicious main courses. A wonderful wine list is available to pair with the meal. Costamyrtlebeach.com 46-06 US 17 Business Murrells Inlet, SC 29576 (843) 299- 1970 

Bistro 217 in Pawley’s Island offers a refined American Menu with lots of seafood and meat dishes. Co- owned by Anne Hardee and Chef Adam Kirby both with over 20 years in the restaurant business. Painted brick walls, wrought iron tables and cozy booths and banquets. Bistro 217 is perfect for date night or a business lunch/dinner. Bistro217.com 10707 Ocean Highway Pawley’s Island, SC 29585 (843) 235-8217

 

Things to do In Murrells Inlet: 

Huntington Beach State Park offers sandy pet friendly beaches, picnic tables, bird watching and alligator viewing.  

Brookgreen Gardens 9100 acres of manicured landscaped gardens, exquisite sculpture gardens, a zoo with many species local to the region. Offers several tour daily, workshops, classes. Weekly passes available.

Black River Outdoors offers guided eco-tours through the salt marsh, on the Waccamaw River, swamp tours, and bird watching tours. Extremely experienced, family friendly and knowledgeable guides will teach guests about the area, look for wildlife, and will provide both adults and kids an authentic nature filled kayaking experience. Blackriveroutdoors.com

 

Imli: Urban Indian Food Restaurant on the Upper East Side, NYC @ImliRestaurant

Indian Food is very common in NYC so it’s nice to see a restaurant that tries to set it’s self apart from the masses. If anyone has ever travelled to India one thing they will notice is how good the street food is. There are so many flavors and spices fused together to create dishes that are tasty and very inexpensive. 

Chef Manuel Butler created a menu that comprises of classic Indian cuisine mixed with street food from all over India with many options offered in the form of Tapas, meant to be shared so guests can try a greater variety of dishes.

We started our meal with a selection of tapas the chef prepared. The crispy okra topped with fennel and herbs was crunchy and flavorful. The tandoori wings were moist and not too spicy but yet had a nice texture and flavor. 

For the main courses we opted for a couple the seafood dishes with the lamb chops thrown in the mix. The ginger salmon was flaky sauted with ginger and garlic in a turmeric sauce. Not having eaten salmon very often at an Indian restaurant we were pleasantly surprised by the dish. The coconut shrimp was a favorite prepared with coconut milk, turmeric, spices and garam masala. The lamb chops were tender and cooked just right.

We paired the dishes with two sides of lemon and coconut rice along with delicious garlic naan, so good we ordered a second round.

My cocktail choice for the evening was the Mumbai Mule, me being a rum drinker was a no brainer. Dark rum, pomegranate juice, ginger mint and beer. It’s not to sweet and pretty strong, perfect for a saturday night. A very nice wine menu is available with a master wine expert curating the list to highlight the various flavors of the dishes when paired together.

Imli Restaurant 1136 First Avenue New York, NY 10065 (212) 256-0073 contact@imlirestaurant.com website: ImliRestaurant.com

AmorePacific Vintage Single Extract Essence: Must Try Skincare Product for Fall @amorepacific_us

 

 

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Korean Skincare brands are really gaining steam and becoming leaders in innovation and  research using the latest technology in skincare.

 AmorePacific’s latest product is the Vintage Single Extract Essence. Using green tea cultivated from the Dolsongi Green Tea Garden, a garden that AMOREPACIFIC owns on Jeju island of the coast of Korea.

The single extract formula promotes prebiotics for pre-tox which are preventive anti-aging measures. The hero ingredient is Catechin, found naturally in the Vintage Tea Leaf. The skin is brighter and more youthful looking with increased elasticity. It is good on all skin types including sensitive skin.

It takes 100 days to get this single extract ready for production. 50 days for fermentation and another 50 placed and buried in the earth in “onggi’s” . The actual extraction process takes another 24 hours to be perfected. $145 us.amorepacific.com #ad

Alice’s Arbor- Farm to Table Eats in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn 

 

Located between Clinton Hill and Bed- Stuy in Brooklyn this richly wooded rustic eatery with a homey feel features farm to table fare sourced by local purveyors with the menu rotating seasonally.

The crafted cocktail menu features cocktails like the “Bad Hombre”, our favorite: Hornitos tequila, Jalapeño & Cilantro infused syrup and fresh lime juice. The beer menu is plentiful with rotating IPA’s on tap.

During our dinner we were encouraged to try the specials. The red snapper was light and flaky while the Sullivan country farms trout was full of flavor in a rich brown butter sauce served with fingerling potatoes and green beens. The Pork Chop was a thick cut served with roasted carrots and apricot chutney. The baby back ribs are a must try and can be shared as the serving is plentiful. The meat is tender and practically falls off the bone. Also highly recommended are the brussels sprouts with bacon and maple syrup. For dessert Chef Mike’s favorite grandmother cheesecake is a perfect way to end the meal.

Alice’s Arbor is equally perfect for a romantic date night, weekend brunch with the kids, or a night out with friends.

Alice’s Arbor is open 7 days a week. Breakfast is served all day from 9am until 4:30pm on weekdays and brunch on the weekends. Dinner is served nightly 5:30pm – 11pm Mon-Thur. 5:30 to Midnight on fridays and saturdays and 5:30 to 10pm on sunday evenings.

Location: 549 Classon Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11238 alicesarbor@gmail.com (718) 399-3003  Alicesarborbk.com

Craven- Midtown’s latest Restaurant and Lounge makes a splash at New York Fashion Week

New York Fashion Week ended a couple weeks ago and as much as we all enjoy it, the craziness can get to the best of us. We are always on the lookout for the newest gathering spot for fashionistas and model types to unwind and munch in-between shows, presentations and after parties. 

Craven NYC located on the border of Hudson Yards and Hell’s Kitchen upped the ante and actually held fashion shows at the venue itself. Designed by Gene Kaufman Architect the 6000 square foot space is decorated in white brick, rich wood and polished brass. An outdoor patio is open during summer months for outdoor dining and cocktails.

The menu is mostly American Classic with a couple Asian delicacies thrown in like Big Eye Tuna Poke and Korean Beef Bulgogi Kebab Kebabs. Our favorite was the Backyard BBQ Spareribs, made southern style with Kentucky Style BBQ Sauce served with corn on the cob.

A long list of cocktails and wines are available to enjoy. We foresee Craven to be a hotspot in the future, considering Fashion Week is rumored to be working on locking down a permanent home at Hudson Yards once the space is ready to open.

Craven 346 west 40th street New York, NY 10018 (212) 956-7020 CravenNYC.com

Jamaica: An island with luxury resorts, reggae music, and beaches @VisitJamaicaNow

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Traveling to Jamaica is always exciting but never more than when the nation was celebrating its 55th independence with a week’s worth of emancipation activities islandwide and the London 2017 IAAF World Championships taking place with hometown hero Usain Bolt ,the frontrunner competing in what inevitably became his last race.

Jamaica has many luxury resorts and fantastic tourist activities, but what sets this island nation apart from other caribbean islands is the people. The Jamaicans intelligence and pride of it’s people and heritage make it uniquely special. On a particular sunday when Usain Bolt was about to race his final race, the island practically froze to a standstill, young and old glued to their televisions and phones nervously cheering and expressing pride in their man.

The perfect trip to Jamaica should explore all the wonderful things the island has to offer and should ideally include a few cities starting with Kingston, the capital. 

Devon House built in 1881 was the home of Jamaica’s first black millionaire. Lovingly restored the house offers tours to the public. Filled with antique furniture, ornate ceilings and grand staircases, this great house offers an insight into the lifestyles of the wealthy during the 1800’s. Within the Devon House Estate there is hugely popular ice cream parlor, voted third best ice cream in the world. Devon House Ice Cream offers huge servings of the freshest tastiest dessert in a multitude of flavors. Devon Stout is the house favorite, with a guinness taste, if that’s your thing. The property also houses a very modern chic recently opened Greek restaurant Opa, and The Reggae Mill Bar, playing reggae music exclusively.

The Bob Marley Museum, the former home of Bob Marley is one of the most popular attractions in Kingston, showcasing his personal and professional memorabilia and treasures. Considered to be one of the preeminent fathers of reggae, instrumental in developing the music culture of Jamaica and spreading Reggae love around the world. The outside is filled with photos and murals of the music legend. 

Opened last year is the Peter Tosh museum paying tribute to another music icon. The museum holds his memorabilia including his custom built M16 guitar and the blood splattered on the book he was reading the night he was gunned down.

The majestic blue mountains surrounding Kingston produce some of the world’s best coffee. Authentic Blue Mountain coffee is grown exclusively in this region. A visit to the Craighton plantation is a must to learn how Blue Mountain coffee is grown and what makes it so special. Visitors can purchase coffee by the pound at the end of the tour.

Strawberry Hill, a luxury boutique property in the Blue Mountains owned by legendary music producer Chris Blackwell is a great weekend escape with 13 rooms, an infinity pool, spa, and a highly touted restaurant overlooking Kingston, famous for it’s Sunday brunch by visitors and locals.

Our visit to Kingston during emancipation week concluded with the World Reggae Dance Championships. Taking place in the Emancipation Village, filled with local food, drinks, and wares for sale. Reggae Dance groups from around the world travel from as far as Australia and Poland to try and win this title.

Heading towards Montego Bay by way of Ocho Rios, a popular resort destination and cruise port we stopped at Mystic Mountain. Built and run by the Rainforest Adventure Foundation, they have locations in other locals as well, these tourist parks are built with respect for nature and surroundings in mind. Start with an aerial lift 700 feet to get a panoramic view of Ocho Rios, Once on top activities offered include ziplining, the infamous bobsled through the rainforest, waterslide, an eatery offering local cuisine, and a gift shop selling souvenirs and local rums.

One of the most important aspects of organizing a trip around the island is finding a responsible and knowledgable driver and tour operator. We were driven by Mike ,owner of Burtontoursjamaica.com  His group of drivers are experienced in planning an authentic Jamaican experience according to budget, length of stay, and interests. During our week long island tour Mike shared tons of insight, dining recommendations, and even the best local bar for a rum punch to watch Usain Bolt compete. (more…)

Must Have Bag for Fall: The Elektronista by Knomo London 

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Fashion and Tech have joined forces and created the perfect bag for style and function. The Elektronista is a clutch and a crossbody bag in one made of soft buttery leather with a detachable strap and a built in battery and cable for charging on the go. The 5000mAh battery can charge a phone or a tablet. 

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Every girl knows that a purse can become a messy nightmare but this clutch has multiple compartments that can fit a 10 inch tablet, credit cards, wires, makeup, and whole lot more. Everything is neat and organized and your tech gear is safe.

The elegant exterior with zippered sides, quality hardware and an edgy design make this clutch seasonless  and worth the investment for years of wear. Priced at $269 it can seem a little pricey but the quality and design make it totally worth it as a staple in your wardrobe. It can seamlessly transform from a work bag to an evening clutch.

Knomo  of London was founded in 2004 with a mission to create accessories that are beautiful and stylish yet functional. Knomo bags are available on knomobags.com, Amazon, Macys, Zappos.com. Nordstrom and more. #Ad

Giannillo Salon: Upper East Side Retreat for Precision Color & Cuts 

The Giannillo Salon is located on a picturesque block on the Upper East Side filled with cafes and high-end shops. Celebrity Stylist Gregg Giannillo, a veteran in the beauty industry with over 20 years experience, even though his youthful appearance can fool you, has styled countless celebrities like Vanessa Williams, Lara Spencer, Beyonce and many more. He works with Good Morning America and has developed almost a cult-like following for his precision haircuts and long lasting blowouts.

His staff is equally talented specializing in Color, Highlights, Corrective Color and a variety of Conditioning Treatments. Maricela did my color and highlights. She matched and softened my roots then added highlights for a softer updated look. 

Gregg believes in cutting hair dry for greater precision. He chopped off a few inches of my ends, much needed and added long layers. He left my hair long, but healthier and more on trend.

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Recently Gregg debuted a new haircare styling collection “Boudoir Hair by Giannillo”. Six key products designed for different hair types to make styling hair simpler and more effective. Products include my favorite, Silk Stocking, a super lightweight spray infused with vitamins C & E, bringing out bounce and shine without weighing hair down. $20. Other products in the line are the Satin Slip Styling Gel Serum $25, Bustier, a Volumizer for lift and body $20, Sheer Glamour a shine enhancing polish $20, Crushed Velvet, a texturizing cream  $20 and Fishnets, a hairspray that holds but is barely there and can be brushed through. $20

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Giannillo Salon is located at 217 East 60th Street New York, NY 10022 (between 2nd & 3rd avenues). Phone: 1-917-470-9695 Email: info@giannillo.com  Web: www.giannillo.com

Valmont launches “Essence of Bees” from their prestigious skincare “l’Elixir des Glaciers collection on September 1st. 

 

Valmont is a luxury skincare company from Switzerland that for over 30 years has used the latest scientific findings and the unspoiled natural resources that Switzerland possesses to help men and women battle visible signs of aging.

The latest collaboration involves a partnership with Pollinator with the “Essence of Bees” collection ,and to raise the awareness of the importance of preservation of Bees to our ecosystem.

The collection is comprised of 3 products. Cure Majestueuse (face nourishing oil) $350, Masque Majestueux (nourishing face mask) $425, and Serum Majestueux (eye lifting serum) $390 Available now on boutiquevalmont.com , Saks.com and SPA Valmont at Hotel Plaza Athenee (212) 606-4675

 

 1.) Cure Majestueuse Votre Visage Nourishing Beauty Oil The High Sensory Nectar absorbed in record time to merge with the skin, releasing powerful omegas and precious ingredients from the hive. Bathed in these extraordinary compounds, skin appears transformed, suppler, softer and visibly more radiant. 15ml $350

2.) Masque Majestueuse Votre Visage Universal Nourishing Massage Mask infuses the skin with precious ingredients from the hive. Used once or twice a week leaves skin plumper and more radiant. 50ml $425

Serum Majestueux Vos Yeux High Potency Eye Serum  firms the eyelids for younger looking eyes. Used morning and night daily lifts the upper eyelids. Wrinkles are smoothed visibly. Eyes appear more rested and brighter. 15ml $390

The Black Derby: New Bistro in The Heart of the West Village NYC

The Black Derby is the kind of eatery that reminds of why the west village restaurant scene is so important to New York. Set in a 130 year old landmarked building on a quaint block, the name derived from one of the founder’s fathers, Jack Brady. a long time west village resident, who wore his black derby daily, his original black derby still sits in the bar next to his favorite whiskey.

The cuisine is “New York at Heart” ,a blend of American and French fare using the highest quality ingredients. Recommended dishes include the The Black Derby Goat Cheese Sliders, a Pat LaFRieda Hanger Steak Frites, Max’s Famous burger new for 2017 and our favorite The Daily Market Fish. The must have dessert is The Black Derby made with homemade molasses and grapefruit zest doughnut, creamy bourbon ice cream, dark chocolate ganache and branded cherries. 

The bar scene is an important part of The Black Derby experience. An extensive wine and beer menu is available with many classic specialty cocktails like The Mermaid Avenue, made with Brooklyn Gin, Lime, and St. Germain liqueur.

A neighborhood draw for regulars who gather for after work drinks, a cozy meal, or date night along with visitors from other neighborhoods and tourists alike the Black Derby offers a much needed respite with a relaxed yet sophisticated vibe. 

The Black Derby is located at 310 west 4th street New York, NY 10014. (212) 912-9061 theblackderby.com

Badshah The “Inauthentic Indian Restaurant” in Hell’s Kitchen NYC

Hell’s Kitchen newest Indian restaurant owned by Abishek Sharma is Badshah. Abishek also owns Swagat on the Upper West Side and Surya on Bleeker street. Executive chef Charles Mani describes his cuisine as inauthentic Indian playing with textures and infusing unusual spices to classic Indian dishes.  

The Hell’s Kitchen space is lively with murals adorning the walls and a retractable front window that opens up to bustling ninth avenue.

Our dinner was a an assortment of Badshah favorites along with the most popular Chef’s Tasting Menu. Favorites included the butter chicken which is a different take on the traditional Chicken “Tikka” Masala made with no butter, ghee, or yogurt for a lighter creamier texture that won’t weigh you down. The Badshah cauliflower is a vegetarian version of chinese general tso’s chicken and Chef Charles is the true originator of this dish. The salmon was cooked just right complemented with a delicious coconut curry.

The Chef’s Tasting Menu ($49) is the most popular item on the menu with a variety of favorite appetizers, curries, rice, naan bread and dessert.

The cocktail menu was very creative with a slew of craft cocktails focusing on rum, which is our team’s alcohol of choice.

Badshah 788 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019 (646) 649-2407   Badshahny.com

 

Hamptons Weekend Roundup 8/10  #OCRFASuperSaturday #ChefsandChampagne #HamptonsHappening

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 20 years of our favorite Hamptons event, and yes we have attended every one, but this year marked The 20th Anniversary of Super Saturday supporting (OCRFA) Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance. On a not so warm summer day at Nova’s Project in Water Mill, NY Hamptons celebs and regulars came out in droves to shop the designer garage sale, enjoy the carnival, catered lunch and desserts by Sant Ambroeus, manicures by Kendra Scott and Hair touchups by Conair.

The event on July 29th raised over $3 million dollars for OCRFA. 

 

On July 29th The James Beard Foundation held at it’s annual event, Chefs & Champagne at the spectacular Wolffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack New York. This year the JBF honored multiple James Beard Foundation award winning chef Marcus Samuelsson. Over 35 chefs and 1000 guests feasted on special dishes created for this event while enjoying wines and ciders from the Wolffer vineyard as well as champagne from Barons de Rothschild. 

The silent auction raised over $100,000 to support the James Beard Foundation which focuses on education, research and advancement of Culinary Arts in the United States.

Marcus Samuellson was this year’s honoree. He sets an unprecedented example for young up and coming chefs with his great talents along with his energy and passion for philanthropic endeavors. 

Last weekend The 13th Annual A Hamptons Happening celebrated culinary excellence, philanthropy and science in the name of finding a cure for cancer. The benefit raised money for The Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation (SWCRF)

Set on the beautiful Bridgehampton Estate of Maria and Kenneth Fishel, the fundraiser featured tastings from leading chefs from NYC and the Hamptons, a performance by Grammy artist Rufus Wainwright and Sophie Beem, and most importantly the announcement of two separate grants created by the SWCRF in collaboration with the Kate McGarrigle Foundation and the Anne Liguori Foundation for research in sarcoma and ovarian cancer, respectively. Ms. Liguori presented a $15,000 check to Dr. Samuel Waxman during the presentation.  

This year’s benefit was chaired by event Co-Founder Marion Waxman and co-chairs Karen Amster-YoungChris ArlottaJake Croman,Erica Linden-FinebergJacob Frisch, Jessica Mackin-CiproJennifer Saraf Myles and Jake Taub.

 Notable attendees included: Lori Stokes, Sharon Wilkes Kinberg and Robert Kinberg, Sybil and David Yurman, Elin and Michael Nierenberg, Maria and Kenneth Fishel, Sandy and Marc Taub, Pamela Morgan, Norena Barbella, Laurie Schaffran, James Frankel, Lewis A. Rubin, Gary Jacob, Bettina and Spencer Waxman, Julie and Scott Waxman, Ann Liguori, Scott ValleryBobbie Lloyd, Mark Petracca, Shep Gordon, Margaret Hayes, Gabriel Kreuther, Marion Waxman, Samuel Waxman, M.D., William T. Sullivan, Cesar Ricci, Karen Amster-YoungChris ArlottaJake CromanErica Linden-FinebergJacob Frisch, Jessica Mackin-CiproJennifer Saraf Myles, Glenn Myles, Sarah and Chris Wragge, Elle Winter and Jake Taub.

Costa Rica: Land of Natural Beauty, Eco- Tourism, and Luxury Resorts

Costa Rica is a Central American country bordered by Nicaragua to the North and Panama to the Southeast. One of only a handful of nations that can claim the Pacific Ocean on the west coast and The Caribbean Sea on the east. A rugged and rich interior with the Arenal Volcano and large rainforests, Costa Rica is a prime eco- tourism destination with hundreds of animal, plant, and flower species, many exclusive to the area. The climate is diverse with the coastlines offering sunny beach days, while the interiors are cooler located within the rainforests.

We toured a few properties in Guanacaste on the west coast and these are our recommendations of where to stay for a family, friends, or solo vacation or to plan a destination wedding and honeymoon.

 The Riu Palace in Guanacaste is a 5 star all-inclusive located on the edge of Matapalo Beach. A family friendly resort with 4 pools, beachfront location, multiple dining options, Renova Spa, and quality nightly entertainment for kids and adults. 

Room categories range from Jr. Suites with garden views to Jacuzzi Suites, perfect for honeymooners to 2 bedroom family suites big enough to accommodate a larger family. 

The hotels offers beach activities like snorkeling, diving, fishing, volleyball, kayaks, windsurfing and sailing. The very friendly staff was very eager to make guests happy and encouraged participation in daily and nightly activities.

The hotel offers a varied amount of excursions to eco-parks, volcanoes, rainforests, and golf near by. 

For more info and to book click here: Reserve your stay

The Occidental Papagayo is an Adults-Only 5 star all inclusive also located on the Guanacaste Coast that caters to adults who want a more relaxing experience with a focus on romance and honeymooners. Set on the dramatic Gulf Of Papagayo the views are magical and the lush natural surroundings are true to Costa Rica.  

The all inclusive program allows guests to choose from 2 a la carte restaurants as well as an international buffet and snack bar.

Rooms vary from deluxe modern standard rooms with all needed amenities to Premium level luxury concierge rooms, where specialized customer service will make the most discerning customers feel special.

Activities offered include diving, cycling, kayaks, outside excursions or just lounging poolside with a cocktail in hand. A relaxing spa and fitness are available for guests to enjoy.

The dedicated hotel Wedding department can help prepare the special day from A to Z so that guests can start their honeymoon early and leave all the worries behind.

For more info and to book your stay click here: Occidental Papagayo

One of the most highly recommended activities when visiting the Guanacaste coast is a visit to Diamante Eco- Adventure Park.

Located about 10 minutes away from The Riu Palace this park offers the longest dual zipline in the country, horseback riding on the beach, and ATV Rentals. The “Superman” zipline is a mile long course over looking the ocean ending with with a free fall and the Tarzan swing. The guides are highly trained with quality equipment and top safety standards to make this a safe enjoyable experience for guests with any amount of experience.

The Diamante Animal Sanctuary is the largest on the Guanacaste coast. Conservation is very important to the park and the region. There are species of sloths, monkeys, jaguars, pumas, crocodiles, and toucans along with a wild cat habitat. The animals are rescued and brought to Diamante by MINAE, The Costa Rica Ministry of Wildlife.

Getting to Costa Rica:

AeroMexico 737-800 air to air

AeroMexico 737-800 

While many think that only US airlines offer convenient daily service to Costa Rica, we were pleasantly surprised that Aeromexico offers daily service from JFK and other US cities to San Jose, Costa Rica through its Mexico City Hub. We always prefer the gracious service and staff of international airlines, like Aeromexico with full meal service and complimentary alcoholic beverages even in Economy. Class Premier offers an enhanced flight experience with top notch cuisine and on board entertainment.

The recently renovated Salon Premier in Mexico City Airport provides passengers a comfortable VIP experience while waiting for their connecting flights. Offering a variety of food, drinks, WIFI, satellite TV and reading options the enhanced space now has greater capacity, private relaxation spaces, spa, and showers in the international salon. An experienced staff caters to guests who expect the best from their airline when they travel either for business or leisure. Aeromexico premier lounges are located in 10 airports within Mexico.

Cosmoprof North America 2017 @Cosmoproflv #Cosmoprof @MandalayBay

 

Cosmoprof North America is the largest B2B trade show in the United States where beauty professionals, media, buyers, retailers and influencers congregate at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Convention center for a whirlwind 3 days of product exhibitions, business forums, award dinners and press previews.

This year over 1200 exhibitors from around the world showcased the latest and greatest offerings in skincare, haircare, cosmetics, nails, and professional beauty products and tools. The show was divided into multiple categories like Discover Green, which focused on organic and natural products and Discover Beauty where the newest beauty companies from around the world promoted their skincare and beauty collections.

In the next few months we will test and review many of the products received and will have follow up posts and inclusions in gift guides. Stay tuned!

4th of July aboard Classic Harbor Line Schooner America 2.0 @ClassicHarbor

The Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks display over the East River is the largest and most extravagant celebration in the country and nothing beats being on a opulent sailboat champagne in one hand with a delicious treat in the other saluting our nation’s birthday.

Classic Harbor Line operates 5 unique vessels ranging from sleek motor yachts to smaller intimate mini-yachts who travel NYC waterways offering a variety of tours including special full day trips up the Hudson River. These boats can be chartered for private events, weddings, or corporate functions.

The 4th of July cruise was aboard the newest addition to the fleet The Schooner America 2.0. Built in 2011, this 105 foot sailing yacht is a tribute to the original Schooner America who won the first ever America’s Cup in 1851. A wide open deck with seating for 75, bar service, a full galley, and restrooms that would rival a motor yacht’s. 2.0 stands for how modern and eco-friendly the Schooner is ,and with a powerful engine can efficiently travel along our waterways with minimal environmental impact.

To book a cruise please visit: Classic Harbor Line

 

 

 

 

 

 

Health and Beauty Summer Product Must Haves for Healthy Skin, Hair, and Body #SummerSkin #BeachLife

1.) Oscar Blandi At Home Glaze. Brightens Natural and Color treated hair. Prevents color fading from chlorine & adds moisture. $27 Buy Here: nordstrom.com

2.) Jane Iredale Skin Accumax Supplements. Synergistic combination of vitamins & plant nutrients which address the underlying causes o cystic acne. Available in single, double, or triple pack. $65.80- $157 Buy Here: janeiredale.com

3.) YBF Beauty Gelus Eyes 5 Piece Collection. 5 eyeliner shades in great summer colors. $28.80 Buy Here: ybfbeauty.com

4.) NatureThin Healthy Weight Loss Supplements with Essential Vitamins, Botanical Based Ingredients, & Water 16 Day Free Trial Available Here: Alternascript.com 

5.) Heliocare Daily Antioxidant supplements with Fernblock Polypodium leucotomos extract (PLE). Active ingredient helps maintain skin ability to protect itself against the aging effects of free radicals. $29.99 Buy Here: walgreens.com

6.) Frownies Gel Neck Mask. Softens, Smoothes, and Firms the neck area with a bio-metric membrane carrier patch. $15 Buy Here: frownies.com

 

Urban Tech Gala 2017 Gustavinos NYC @UrbanTechCenter

 

Last week the 22nd annual Urban Tech Gala was held at Gustavinos in NYC. The Urban Tech Center is a non-profit organization started by Pat Bransford over two decades ago. It’s primary focus is to build social and life skills, improve academic skills, financial, and digital literacy skills for the underserved youth in urban areas in New York City. It has since expanded to other urban areas nationwide. The Youth Leadership Academy(YLA) courses develop students fundamental skills for life effectiveness. Urban Tech’s “Adopt A School” program focuses on Financial Network Program, Dignity for All, STEM, and Social Justice & Community Leadership.

The Gala was co-hosted by actor, director, and screenwriter Ted Lange and TV Host, reporter and humanitarian Alicia Quarles

This year’s honorees were Vicky Fuller, Chief Investment officer at New York’s State Common Retirement Fund, Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama’s Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs and Don Lowery, Senior Vice President Community Engagement at Nielsen.

The Gala also honored special guest Hannah Bronfman. Hannah is a DJ, health and wellness enthusiast and founder of HBFIT.com, a unique online community for people who are passionate about health, beauty, fitness, wellness, travel, music, and travel. Hannah is also a fashionista and an “It Girl”. The award was presented to her by her mother Sherry Bronfman, a long time supporter of The Urban Tech Center.

To learn more about the center or to donate please visit: www.urbantechnyc.com

Restaurant Review: Almayass NYC Lebanese and Armenian Cuisine @AlmayassNYC

 

Almayass NYC  is a a blend of modern Lebanese & Armenian cuisine owned and operated by the Alexandrian family. Rooted in Lebanon with locations in Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait City, Doha at The Pearl and Dubai. Almayass first arrived on the New York restaurant scene in 2012 and immediately was a hit and gained a loyal following for it’s upscale food and wines, yet fun casual family vibe with terrific service. In 2017 it continues to impress with new menu options focusing on sharing of small plates, authentic Armenian dishes and Armenian artwork displayed through the entire restaurant.

Our meal began with a variety of salads and their famous hummus dishes including our highly recommended favorite Hummus with cauliflower. Followed by the freshly made hot feta with oven baked feta cheese, vine tomato, oregano & spicy red peppers. The spicy potatoes were seasons with fresh garlic & cilantro. Another house favorite and a must try was the Mantee Traditional with meat, spinach option available. The Chef’s special is marinated diced filet mignon with the chef’s special sauce, and is a tasty option for any meat lover.

For the main course we recommend the Bronzini fillet with a sesame based sauce cooked with onion, cilantro and garnished with Almond. The Alaskan Sablefish (Black Cod) is tender and flaky served with baby spinach. The lamb chops were cooked just right served with brussel sprouts and cauliflower puree.

Our meal was accompanied wines, specialty cocktails, and authentic Armenian Cognac.

Almayass NYC is open 7 days a days for lunch & dinner. 24 East 21st New York, NY 10010 (212) 473-3100 

 

Capital Grille’s 9th Annual “The Generous Pour” Wine Event is back from July 10th through September 3rd @CapitalGrille

 

Wine pairing with delicious cuisine is a truly enjoyable experience for foodies and wine lovers alike. However, this can be a costly venture. For the 9th straight year The Capital Grille  is rolling out it’s summer time “The Generous Pour” wine event with a tasting experience of seven acclaimed wines from California and Oregon.

The wines are selected to pair with the restaurant’s signature menu items. The Generous Pour wine experience is available for $28, for 7 wine tastings, yes that’s $4 a glass, an unheard of price for a fine dining establishment. Price is $38 in the Pennsylvania market.

At the helm of The Generous Pour event is Advanced Sommelier Brian Philipps. With over 15 years experience in the hospitality industry Brian joined The Capital Grille in 2013 through another luxury restaurant Eddie V’s Prime Seafood.

As Advanced Sommelier with The Court of Master Sommeliers and a Certified Wine Educator from The Society of Wine Educators, he is currently pursuing the final Master Sommelier certification.

The theme of this year’s event – The Critics’ Darlings: 90+ Point Finds- brings together wines that have been rated 90 points or higher by respected wine critics.  The lineup this year includes wines from California’s Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and Santa Barbara regions, as well as Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

The wines offered are: Mt. Brave Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012 (92 Points), Arrowood “Sonoma Estates” Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014 (90 Points), Siduri Pinot Noir, 2015 (90 Points), Edmeades Zinfandel, 2013 (91 Points), Matanzes Creek Winery Sauvignon Blanc, 2016 (92 Points). Cambria Clone 4 Chardonnay, 2015 (91 Points) and The Willakenzie Pinot Gris, 2016 (90 Points). 

For more info and locations please visit: www.thecapitalgrille.com

 

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