the BLVD

We're seeking and discovering the best of food, fun, style, and beauty on the streets of cities around the globe. We're just starting out, but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy ourselves. We're mixing high and low, vintage and new, gourmet 5 courses and hole in the wall joints. We're living the good life now. 

Monday Moodboosters {Bleachers and Boxes}

Booo, it’s Monday.  But we wouldn’t let a little ole thing like a day of the week get us down so this week’s moodboosters feature an 80s rom-com-worthy album (top down, cruising to the beach with your sweetheart), and artistic flourishes to personalize your space (endless scrolling and pinning awaits).   Mhhmmmm is all we can say. 

Gloria’s Picks

Numero Uno:

This week, I’m hooked on Bleachers’ debut album.  The band, a side project of Fun’s Jack Antonoff (also know as one-half of the cutest NYC couple being Lena Dunham’s boyfriend and designer Rachel Antonoff’s brother.  His life is just dripping in creativity) was a secret up until the release its first single earlier this year.  Last week the full album dropped and I’ve been listening non-stop.  The album has an 80s feel with atmospheric touches for a full soundscape of danceable beats (Like a River Runs, Rollercoaster, You’re Still A Mystery) and cinematic moments (Take Me Away, feat. Grimes, Wake Me, Who I Want You to Love).  In general, the album makes me feel like this:



Check out the album on Stopify and let us know what you think.  And look out for an appearance by Yoko Ono (yeah, she’s on here).



Numba Two:

As a creative, I love finding out ways I can help support artists.  Enter, DENY Designs.  This Denver based home furnishings companies partners with artists to create statement pieces that add color to the everyday space.  Artists create the images and you can purchase items with their artwork on a variety of pieces, from coasters to throw pillows, duvet covers to jewelry boxes, and more.  Find an artist who gets you?  You can check out their collection to see all the other pieces you can decorate your home with.  I’m enjoying perusing their jewelry boxes made of eco-friendly amber bamboo and loving the designs of artist Catherine Mcdonald, muted photographs that I could definitely see adorning my space.


The Lust List {Summer Bras for the #IBTC}

Come summertime, there are two things you will not see me wearing – a wool turtleneck and, unless I absolutely have to, a bra.  

Why?  Because it is blazing Hip Hop and R&B outside and when I enter a bathroom for my thrice-daily mini-shower (paper towel meet cold water, cold water meet ENTIRE BODY), the feeling of that thick band clinging to my skin is not delicious.  Luckily, baby girl is not super well-endowed and I can get away with it. 

Alas, sometimes bras are necessary and I have to sport one of those binding, man-made contraptions.   When this happens, I opt for thin, barely there bras – no padding, no inserts, sometimes no wire.  Hey, every now and then pushing up the girls to a lovely chin-rest position can be a fun experiment but, more often than not, rolling with how your body naturally looks is a whole lot easier than adding uncomfortable devices to change it.   Thus, if you’re a member of the Itty Bitty Titty Club (#IBTC) like me and are looking for light, summertime undergarment options, then this Lust List is for you.  It’s all little pretty things that will keep you decent when support/coverage is necessary and keep you gorgeous when coverage isn’t (*tehehe*).  Also, lingerie is not typically the most affordable thing in the world so I made sure all of these pieces are budget-friendly (two are even on sale and total steals).   Enjoy!

Summer Bras

Summer Bras by glojocav featuring a lace lingerie

Madewell lingerie bra / Topshop white bra / Free People underwire shelf bra / Free People underwire bra / Hanky Panky lace lingerie

Is It Worth It? Let Me Work It. {Jergen’s Body BB Cream}

image

While the rest of the world has been slathering BB creams on their visages for a few years now, the idea of a BB cream for the body is a more recent trend. A few months ago I heard a buzz on other beauty blogs about Jergen’s new(ish) Body BB Skin Perfecting Cream. It sounded like magic. Give Jergen’s a few days (5 to be exact) and you’d see a increase in hydration, illumination, and firmness of your skin, as well as a more even skin tone. Jergen’s even claimed that it would help to correct skin imperfections, like scarring and nicks. While all this sounded great, what wasn’t so great is that it was sold out everywhere - even online! But, after some sleuthing, my trusty Harlem CVS came through with one tube left on the shelves. 

I’m a big fan of Jergen’s Natural Glow line of products. Their Natural Glow moisturizer with SPF 20 helps me have a little more color during the summer without the worry of looking like a cast member of the Jersey Shore or (even more worrisome) looking like I’m 10 years older than I actually am. But this BB creme business was new to me. So I took it to task to see if it could do what it promised.

During the first use I was a little creeped out by the color of the cream. It’s a nude-pink hue that made me think I was applying some sort of faux-skin to my body via a cream application. I tried not to think about that too much. The formula was thicker, but it absorbed pretty quickly, even after my shower. The first and second day passed without much change. By the third day I was getting compliments about my skin looking brighter and healthier. Could this actually be working?!  I also noticed that my skin tone was evening out on my legs (the trouble zone), and my arms were looking more supple. By day four, I visited my boyfriend in Boston and he commented that my skin looks more luminous - without any prompting at all. I’m was convinced. I accidentally skipped day 5 of my trial run, but my skin was still yearning for the sweet nectar that was the BB cream. 

For someone with super sensitive combo skin, this worked well as a daily moisturizer. It did most of what it promised, though I didn’t see any firming, and I don’t really believe a cream can do that much for most in that area, anyway. It comes in two formulas, one for lighter skin tones and one for medium to darker skin tones. Depending on where you’re purchasing it, Jergen’s BB cream falls in the $10-$13 range, making it a solid drug store buy with some pretty major results. You better believe this is going to be a staple in my skin care routine. BB cream ain’t just for your face anymore. 

Monday Moodboosters {Lundi Edition mais, oui}


Bonjour, mon petit chox! Today is Bastille Day. Time to celebrate all things French. Wine! Cheese! Those adorable French Bulldogs you want so badly!  I have a well documented, ongoing love affair with France - specifically Paris. So, in the spirit of Bastille Day today’s Monday Moodboosters are an all French extravaganza. My fellow francophiles who are upset that they can’t stay home today, drinking vin and drowning their sorrows in an obscene amount of foie gras(or is that just me…?) will hopefully enjoy the links after the jump. 



What’s this little green owl have to do with France? He’s the mascot of Duo Lingo, the super easy app that my boyfriend recently introduced me to to help me practice my French whenever/wherever. Case in point: I was introduced to the app in the backseat of our cab to dinner.

But here’s the best part : it’s free! Duo Lingo also has Spanish, German, Italian, and Portuguese courses and they’re adding more everyday. You complete small tasks with translation, listening, and writing exercises all from your phone or computer. I’ll be putting my duo lingo skills to the test when my French-speaking cousins arrive this week. We’ll see if I’ll be limited to only speaking in the present tense about my love of food (the words I obviously haven’t forgotten, “Yes, I like quiche..”) or if I’ll be able to carry on a full conversation. Or maybe I’ll just have a conversation about quiche. We’ll see. 

 And just in case you’re not sure if your Bastille Day is French enough you can compare notes with The Man Repeller team here: http://www.manrepeller.com/2014/07/were-trying-the-bastille-day-diet.html.

Bisous!

Top photo from my abroad archives, Duo Lingo logo from their website.  

Around the World in 64 Matches {Brazil}


Gooooaaaaaaaaallllllllll! You can score the best recipes here for your World Cup 2014 celebrations. Just search “Around the World in 64 Matches” or visit our Food & Drink section for all recipes. 

Are you watching the Brazil vs. Germany game right now? If not, why NOT? Stream it, turn it on, get it in front of you somehow! Germany is getting goals like there’s no tomorrow! Got it on? Okay. Next question - are you imbibing a beautifully crafted Brazilian cocktail (or some seriously delicious German food)? Oh no? Well then, read ahead because this installment of Around the World in 64 Matches is all about the cachaça.  

Cachaça 



Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Whitney Brown-Cross, brand manager for the Brazillian cachaça (ka-cha-sah) brand Leblon to talk all things soccer, celebrating, and of course - caipirinhas. 

First things first, we got to the bottom of what Leblon really was. Originally branded as a ‘Brazilian Rum,’ the liquor is made from distilled sugarcane juice pressed from only the heart of the sugarcane stalk. Thanks to Leblon’s finagling with the US government, all cachaça is now recognized as it’s own specific type of liquor in the US. This isn’t the first time something like this has taken place. Whitney let me know that when tequila was first introduced to the US it was labeled as “Mexican Whiskey.” Leblon is a relatively young company, only founded 8 years ago, but this means it’s a brand with vibrancy and it’s been building a fan base ever since.

Fun fact: Cachaça is third most consumed liquor in the world! Coming in behind Soju (Korea) and Vodka (Russia, and every college campus everywhere). So it’s no surprise that it’s catching on quickly in the US. I’m sure you’ve seen it popping up on menus, in liquor stores, and you’ve probably had a few caipirinhas (kai-pee-reen-has) yourself (the national cocktail of Brazil and the cocktail of choice when it comes to cachaça). 

Being a Brazilian liquor company, with their sugar cane fields and distillery in Brazil, it’s no wonder the brand is pumped for the World Cup. Not only are they excited to be a part of the World Cup 2014 history, Leblon is eager and excited to share the Brazillian lifestyle with us Americans. As one of the only top shelf cachaça bands worldwide, Leblon is hosting events around the city throughout the entire World Cup and they want you to join them. Click here to see a list of all the upcoming Leblon events in New York City. 

The Caipirinha



In case you’re watching from home (crying from home?), or you just want a tasty beverage to help pass the time, I ask you to consider the caipirinha. 

The perfect summer beverage for those who like the twang of citrus while enjoying the flavor clean, robust flavors of the cachaça. You think this is like your mojito you were sippin’ on last weekend? Nope. This is less about the syrupy sweetness of rum, and more of a kick in the pants from the almost-tequlia-like-but-not-quite cachaça.



According to Leblon, the perfect caipirinha is all about balance. Follow the recipe below from their cookbook/lifestyle guide “How to Be Brazilian” and find out that perfect balance may mean a caipirinha in each hand. 



Ingredients 

1 Lime

2 tablespoons of sugar

2 ounces of Leblon Cachaça

Crushed ice

Directions

  1. Cut lime into 8 sections 
  2. Fill a rocks glass with 4 sections of lime, sugar, and muddle. (You can get a free muddler on the Leblon website here!)
  3. Fill glass with ice and top with Leblon. 
  4. Find the nearest beach, large body of water, or rooftop. Wear your best summer duds. Practice purring the word “caiiipirinnnhaaa” in your best Brazilian accent. Sip. Repeat. 

Around the World in 64 Matches {Brazil}


Gooooaaaaaaaaallllllllll! You can score the best recipes here for your World Cup 2014 celebrations. Just search “Around the World in 64 Matches” or visit our Food & Drink section for all recipes. 

Are you watching the Brazil vs. Germany game right now? If not, why NOT? Stream it, turn it on, get it in front of you somehow! Germany is getting goals like there’s no tomorrow! Got it on? Okay. Next question - are you imbibing a beautifully crafted Brazilian cocktail (or some seriously delicious German food)? Oh no? Well then, read ahead because this installment of Around the World in 64 Matches is all about the cachaça.  

Cachaça 



Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Whitney Brown-Cross, brand manager for the Brazillian cachaça (ka-cha-sah) brand Leblon to talk all things soccer, celebrating, and of course - caipirinhas. 

First things first, we got to the bottom of what Leblon really was. Originally branded as a ‘Brazilian Rum,’ the liquor is made from distilled sugarcane juice pressed from only the heart of the sugarcane stalk. Thanks to Leblon’s finagling with the US government, all cachaça is now recognized as it’s own specific type of liquor in the US. This isn’t the first time something like this has taken place. Whitney let me know that when tequila was first introduced to the US it was labeled as “Mexican Whiskey.” Leblon is a relatively young company, only founded 8 years ago, but this means it’s a brand with vibrancy and it’s been building a fan base ever since.

Fun fact: Cachaça is third most consumed liquor in the world! Coming in behind Soju (Korea) and Vodka (Russia, and every college campus everywhere). So it’s no surprise that it’s catching on quickly in the US. I’m sure you’ve seen it popping up on menus, in liquor stores, and you’ve probably had a few caipirinhas (kai-pee-reen-has) yourself (the national cocktail of Brazil and the cocktail of choice when it comes to cachaça). 

Being a Brazilian liquor company, with their sugar cane fields and distillery in Brazil, it’s no wonder the brand is pumped for the World Cup. Not only are they excited to be a part of the World Cup 2014 history, Leblon is eager and excited to share the Brazillian lifestyle with us Americans. As one of the only top shelf cachaça bands worldwide, Leblon is hosting events around the city throughout the entire World Cup and they want you to join them. Click here to see a list of all the upcoming Leblon events in New York City. 

The Caipirinha



In case you’re watching from home (crying from home?), or you just want a tasty beverage to help pass the time, I ask you to consider the caipirinha. 

The perfect summer beverage for those who like the twang of citrus while enjoying the flavor clean, robust flavors of the cachaça. You think this is like your mojito you were sippin’ on last weekend? Nope. This is less about the syrupy sweetness of rum, and more of a kick in the pants from the almost-tequlia-like-but-not-quite cachaça.



According to Leblon, the perfect caipirinha is all about balance. Follow the recipe below from their cookbook/lifestyle guide “How to Be Brazilian” and find out that perfect balance may mean a caipirinha in each hand. 



Ingredients 

1 Lime

2 tablespoons of sugar

2 ounces of Leblon Cachaça

Crushed ice

Directions

  1. Cut lime into 8 sections 
  2. Fill a rocks glass with 4 sections of lime, sugar, and muddle. (You can get a free muddler on the Leblon website here!)
  3. Fill glass with ice and top with Leblon. 
  4. Find the nearest beach, large body of water, or rooftop. Wear your best summer duds. Practice purring the word “caiiipirinnnhaaa” in your best Brazilian accent. Sip. Repeat. 

Holding on for dear life. |Lobstering on this rainy 4th of July. 🇺🇸 (at Portland, Maine)

Holding on for dear life. |Lobstering on this rainy 4th of July. 🇺🇸 (at Portland, Maine)

Toot Toot for the BLVD’s 1st Tutorial

It’s finally here.  What we’ve all been waiting for.  YouTube tutorials from us to you.  The first video up on The BLVD’s Youtube channel is a beauty tutorial.  Summer is all about taking advantage of gorgeous days and embarking on adventure after adventure.  For the busy summer months, when the work day turns in after-work drinks and a day-date turns into dinner and dancing, a wearable look that is great for day may not always be just right for night.  That’s why this video is a 2-for-1; pretty, daytime-appropriate makeup that, with just three extra products you likely already have with you, turns into a sultry, evening look.  Check out the video below and if there are any looks you’d like to see or beauty questions you may have, let us know in the comments!  Don’t forget to watch in HD and subscribe so you never miss a video!  Thanks for watching. :)


Food Fight! {Roasted Pork Buns: Midtown}


Food showdowns in you favorite cities. Who has the best soup dumplings? The best deep dish?Where can I find the tastiest empanadas? Let them fight to the death here, or rather, in our stomachs. 

Every now and then I’ll get a craving for something and nothing will stratify me completely until I’ve had it. Today, it was Chinese roasted BBQ pork buns. Unfortunately, I had only a half hour for lunch and I work in Midtown NYC - an area notorious for it’s slow moving tourists, ubiquitous salad bars, and a notable lack of cheap, delicious Chinese food (or much good food altogether, really). While I’m a short ride away from Chinatown, I wouldn’t be able to make it there and back within the 30 minuet time frame, so I set out on a Google-fueled search for BBQ pork buns within walking distance of my office. 

And, miracles of miracles, they exist! There were two shops within feet of each other on the 35th street block between 7th and 8th. Sure, both looked a little dingy, but if they had delicious pork buns, I was there. 

The Contenders: 



First up, 35th Street Bakery. A sliver of a bakery, tucked into the corner of 35th and 8th under a maroon awning, you duck inside and are greeted with a glass case of baked goods. I skipped over the egg tarts and raisin twists and asked for one BBQ pork bun. The bun itself was soft, chewy, thick and sweet - certainly not dry or over baked. However, the pork inside was a bit dryer than what I’ve had before. The bun certainly shines over the roasted BBQ pork in this version. 



Up next was Fuji Bakery Store #4. It was much busier inside of this restaurant - perhaps the larger size and bigger windows attracted more passers-by. The counter stretched out in front of me with the register in the middle. On the left were endless choices of Chinese and American-faux-Chinese favorites that you can order up with rice for $5.00 during lunch. The the right were the baked goods. I ordered steamed rice noodles with dried shrimp and, of course, a BBQ pork bun. 

This bun was less sweet and a bit too thin. The pork was was sweet, with just the right amount of sauciness. It was, however, lacking in the quantity of pork. This bun as a whole packed more flavor than the first, but the bread itself let me down. 

And the winner is…

Today, the better bun was had at 35th street bakery. The bun was chewy and soft and the pork, although it was drier than the Fuji Bakery bun, was flavorful. I’ll be heading back to 35th Street Bakery to get my fix when I can’t make it down to Chinatown for the best of the best. 

Have you tried either of these BBQ pork buns? Where is your favorite in the city? Any other spots we and our readers should know about in Midtown? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

 

Around the World in 64 Matches {Germany}


Gooooaaaaaaaaallllllllll! You can score the best recipes and food related info here for your World Cup 2014 celebrations. Just search “Around the World in 64 Matches” or visit our Food & Drink section for all recipes. 

The Fever

In case you haven’t noticed, World Cup fever has the entire globe in it’s grips. While the US isn’t exactly known for it’s love of all things footy, it’s hard to deny the excitement we feel when we’re all rooting for one team as one nation. Even though my beloved Spanish players (can I get a helloooo, Torres & Ramos?? Haircuts have done you both verrry well) haven’t been quite as up to snuff as their last World Cup, I can get behind this US team doing well through all of the broken nose antics. 

Today the Germans take to the pitch to play against the Algerian national team for the chance to kick it in the quarter finals. While I’m sure we’re all excited about the game, there are those of you out there who feel just like me - that the place you watch the game is just as important as the game itself. 

While living in Berlin for a summer with my sister, I learned a love for beer that I hadn’t had before (yes, I went through most of my college years not loving a cold one). To this day I still love a large hefeweizen and a good currywurst and even though we’re not in Prenzlauer Berg anymore my sister and I can get our Berliner Dinner on over on this side of the pond. Check out the NYC locations below this afternoon for a beer, some soccer, and a whole lot of German pride while not spending too much of your hard earned cash. Click on the names of each spot to learn a little more about them. 


1. Hallo Berlin - This makes the list due in most part to the handy location. Set right in Midtown in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen, Hallo Berlin is a easy option for those of us who are trying to catch early afternoon games near the office. Leave the office a little early, forget about order the food here, and just grab a beer. 

2. Lorelye - The firsthand fun of watching the US play Portugal here has hooked me - I’ll be coming back to this spot! But beware, this place gets packed early and the bouncers are strict about the number of people allowed inside. Be sure to get there before the game starts to get a seat and your order in before the mad rush of soccer fans. They multiple viewing areas - the upstairs and downstairs bars as well as a garden out back. Reservations are needed for the garden. Order up gouda infused pretzels ($10) and some Kranz Kölsch served in 11 0.2L glasses on a traditional tray. 

3. Paulaner Brauhaus & Restaurant - Under new management with a new look and menu, the Paulaner Brauhaus and Restaurant is worth a look. Lots of Paulaner brew to choose from and a huge screen in the oh-so-cool LES make this an easy choice if you’re in the neighborhood. 

4. Wechler’s  This place is teenytiny but it’s got a good sized projector, cheap currywurst ($7) and big beers. Squeeze into a table with a group of friends, or share a table and make new ones. 

5. Biergarten at the Standard - For a little more swank with your sauerkraut check out the  beirgarten at the Standard Hotel in Meatpacking. A go-to for summer happy hours and the start to many a great night, this beirgarten has the location, location, location bit down pat. Grab a few tickets from the booth at the front if you want beer or brats, and lock down a spot a table quickly - this place fills up fast!  

6. Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden - This place is the O.G. of beer gardens in New York City. It’s the oldest and one of the largest, sprawling through Astoria, Queens. While the menu is more Czech and Slovak with some confusing choices thrown in (nachos?) the beer menu is spot on. Pitchers are only $16 bucks too - perfect for sharing with a group of friends while watching the game. 

Sunny 70s Canadian Tuxedo



I’m convinced high-waisted bell bottoms look good on everyone.  These I stumbled upon at a Lord & Taylor end-of-season sale (which is a total insult to the jeans because in what season are perfect bell bottoms like these NOT appropriate? Come on now, L&T.)  The contrast seams and dark wash render these daytime chic and nighttime cool so they are a versatile option for anyone.  Add some wood wedge heels under those flare jeans and you’ve created the appearance of legs for days (petite girls take note). 

With an all blue, denim on denim look, I added some interest with the bright berry hued sunglasses which are DVF via, of course, TJ Maxx (If you aren’t shopping there yet, what chu doin’ girl!).  The lips and eyes I kept understated with neutral shadow and a pinkish, brown-toned lipstick.  Considering I was clearly inspired by Brittany and Justin’s denim-on-denim evening look, I think it’s a bit more wearable take on their iconic moment of couple style (never forget).   



Monday Moodboosters {Art & Dance}

Everyday we need a little pick-me-up but especially so on Mondays. Here are our favorite tips, bits, and clicks to boost yo’ Monday. 

Lauren’s Picks: 

On my to-do lists this week I’ve got to repaint, redecorate, and frame tons of things in my apartment and all this DIY-ing has gotten me into an artsy state of mind. I’ve always been interested in art history, and anyone can tell you I spend way too long at museums, but recently I’ve been feeling a little distant from my art studies. Classes are hard to take with a 9-5 job, visiting museums can get pricey (unless you’re in DC! FREE for the win!), and I’ve been looking for a way to research and learn more. What’s usually a good first step to trying to learn something for free? The internet, of course. 

Recently I’ve found two sites that have helped me delve a little deeper into my art obsessions, some serious and others not-so-serious…

The first is Artsy, an online source where you can “discover, research, learn about, and buy art” from artists, art movements, and shows spanning a vast timeline. In one click you can find out that you’ll probably never be able to own a Rothko (currently the ones I’m lusting after are going for a cool $3.5 million), but that maybe, one day you could save up to purchase some pretty reasonable art in their under $1000 section. Even more valuable than the ability to purchase all of this amazing art is the ability to learn about it. They have a browse button where you can learn about different art movements and within their artist profiles you can find information on the artists, a listing of their work, shows that are featuring them right now, and related artists. The most handy space on the site for learning more about the art world is found in their Education section. Browse museum collections, art shows, and read articles about the art world of the past present, and future. And there you go! Suddenly you’re learning about contemporary figurative painting on your morning commute. 



The second art click that I’m loving is Little Collector by ArtStar. The idea behind ArtStar is that everyone should be able to own high quality pieces of art, without paying gallery prices. All prints come signed by the artist and are accompanied by a card of authenticity with a serial number. You can purchase just the print, or you can have ArtStar frame your piece for a bit more depending on your frame choice. Little Collector is the kid-skewed version of ArtStar, but I’ve fallen hard for a few of their pieces myself. They’ve got originals and prints from your favorite childhood illustrators and authors (the Very Hungry Caterpillar seriously speaks to my food loving soul…) as well as contemporary artists that have a kid appeal, like Darcel. The site has more than just prints, too! Sculptural works by big name artist Yayoi Kusama and skateboard decks are just the tip of the iceberg. You can really get in touch with your inner kid and inner art lover on this site - and usually you don’t have to spend more than $100 bucks to do it! Check out some of my current favorites below. 


Gloria’s Picks

For those who love live music, can cut a rug like no one’s business, or just enjoy watching those who can, have I got exciting news for you.  This week Lincoln Center’s  annual Midsummer Night Swing kicks off on Tuesday, June 24th, in Damrosch Park.  If you’ve never attended, this is a three week long series of events that can be enjoyed with some extra bells and whistles with the purchase of a ticket or, with a walk to Lincoln Center, totally for free.   With an impressive bandstand, disco lights, enclosed dance floor, and even a swanky VIP section, one can buy a pass for two to several dances or even the whole season starting at $60 and receive access to the dance floor, a free dance class per evening, bag check, and, depending on the type of pass you purchase, the VIP area.  But what’s the wallet-friendly way to take advantage of this outdoor party?  Head on over to Damrosch Park and sit on the sidelines to enjoy the music or bring a partner and join the couples swinging, salsa-ing, and more just steps away from the dance floor on the no-ticket-necessary concrete.  There are even those who come to find a partner there so don’t be shy and speak those five romantic words, “Would you like to dance?”  Musicians span the genres of swing, latin, disco, and rock ‘n’ roll, so there’s a little something for everyone.  Check out the calendar here and make a date for the dance floor now.



To continue the art theme, this weekend I had a lovely getaway on the east end of Long Island, one of the highlights being playing with a baby goat (which I highly recommend everyone to do before they kick the bucket).  At La Maisonette, a antique and furniture store/gallery in the seaside town of Sag Harbor, I discovered the beautiful underwater photography of Tanya Malott.  Her photographs were on display around the shop and I could not look away from the otherworldly images of anonymous figures (as the models faces are not seen) draped in flowing garments languidly moving in the water.  Underwater: A Series About Weightlessness, Freedom, And Rebirth can be viewed on her site along with her other photography work.  Take a look at this gorgeous collection of images for a trip into artful inspiration.


Is Worth It? Let Me Work It {Oil Pulling}


I been pullin’, I been pullin’ – oil pulling that is.

The ancient Ayurvedic practice of oil pulling had quite the viral explosion about two months ago when site after site started posting articles about it and its claims of providing numerous health benefits. When the pulling wave hit I was already looking to get into more natural beauty so I headed on over to my local organic market and picked up a bottle sesame oil and a jar of coconut oil to try it out. Practically every morning I swished, and if not in the morning, during the day, and now two months in, I feel like I can give a thorough review.

THE GIST

According to practitioners of this ancient ritual, swishing oil around in your mouth every day will essentially draw out the toxins in your mouth (and purportedly body), gather the gross stuff that lives in your dirty, dirty mouth into the oil, and remove the toxins from your body when you spit it out.  Make sense?  Improving oral health is its most well-known use; such as whitening teeth, curing bad breath, and strengthening teeth and gums.  There are those, however, that say the practice has many other benefits as well, including clearing acne, relieving skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, lessening jaw pain from TMJ, helping with infections, asthma, and chronic headaches, and curing hangovers.



WHAT YOU’LL NEED

- organic, unrefined, cold or expeller pressed (they mean the same thing) sesame or coconut oil.
- 1 teaspoon
- 10-15 min in the morning
- a trash bag or toilet
 

HOW TO

-  Wake up, wash yo’ face, look at yourself in your mirror and say “well, this is as good as it’s going to get,” then whip out that measuring spoon.
-  Pour two 1 teaspoons of oil into your mouth (I found putting one tablespoon was too much to handle).
-  Set a timer for 10 - 20 min. 10 if you’re just starting out, you kind of have to work up to 15 min or more.
-  Start swishing.  Just swish and swish and swish.  Front to back, side to side, through your teeth.  ALSO, make sure not to swallow.  You’re trying to get rid of the toxins, not deliver them further into your body.  If you feel like you’re going to swallow, spit it out and try again for a shorter period of time.
-  When your alarm goes off, it’s time to stop. If you only set your timer for 10 min and you think you can swish a little longer, keep going. It’s recommended to do 10 - 20 min a day. I do something in the middle, like 12 - 15 because anything longer than that is difficult.
-  Spit it out.  This is pretty self-explanatory, just spit the oil out into either the trash can or your toilet.  Do not spit the oil into your sink because it can solidify afterwards and clog your pipes.

IS IT WORTH IT?

I’ve been working it for 2 months and I have to give a resounding affirmative.  I have seen huge improvement in the whiteness of my teeth, as white or whiter than what I have achieved with whitening agents in the past, in addition to reduced teeth and gum sensitivity.  The last time I used whitening strips, my teeth and gums were so sensitive (i.e. in pain) afterwards I realized I would no longer be able to use them.  My teeth always feel so smooth afterwards, even without yet brushing.  This has effectively replaced my need for mouth wash and teeth whiteners, which saves me time and money.  I have seen an improvement in my skin, but I can’t tell if that’s due to the oil pulling or my simplified skincare routine and facial massages, all which kind of started at the same time.  I will post on both of those things soon as I’ve seen a marked improvement in my skin and want to share the love.  

TIPS

1.  Swish in the morning.  Technically you can oil pull at night but it’s best to do it when food hasn’t yet touched your teeth.

2. Sesame oil is the most recommended oil to pull with although there are those who prefer coconut oil as it has natural antiseptic properties.  Personally, I tried both and greatly favor the sesame oil to the coconut oil.  I felt I got better results with it and found it easier to swish than the coconut oil for 10 - 15 min.  The jar has not gone to waste, though, as I now use the solid oil regularly as a body moisturizer.

3.  DO SOMETHING WHILE YOU SWISH.  I cannot stress this enough.  So many people have stopped the practice because the task seemed too tedious.  Sitting there and just swishing oil so your mouth can be healthier?  Torture!  And granted, in the beginning I too found the oil pulling to seem like it lasted forever because I was just sitting there focusing on the swishing.  But, then, in a time crunch and wanting to get in the pulling that morning before I left for work, I started getting ready while I swished which was easy enough because swishing is pretty mindless.  Because I had already washed my face pre-oil intake, I was able to do my skincare routine, fix my hair, and do my makeup all while swishing.  It made the time fly by like that and I was even able to go well past my previous 10min-I-can’t-do-this-anymore record.  Now, I swish while I get ready and kill several birds with one stone.  I just massacre the birds.  All of them.

ADDENDUM

The other day, something CRAZY happened.  My bottom teeth have a lovely habit of accruing plaque, no matter how much I brush and floss.  Every time I visit the dentist it’s like she’s one of the seven dwarves mining for diamonds in my mouth (HI HOOO) she’s scraping my teeth so hard with her little scraper tool.  Around the 6 month mark, or right before my bi-yearly cleaning, I can even SEE the plaque on the edges of gums.  I talk to it, try to reason with it, ask it to please leave me alone, but it will not budge.  The other night as I was leisurely flossing, mentally perusing my closet and trying to put together the next day’s outfit, something small broke off my tooth.  That sounds really bad but it was a good thing.  The plaque that my dentist usually has to violently scrape off actually FELL OFF my teeth with some light flossing.  Feel free to disagree, but I’m convinced it’s the result of my daily morning oil pulling that has made my teeth less plaque prone.

Did we mention how much we love farmer’s markets? These chive blossoms are amazing.   (at Union Square Greenmarket)

Did we mention how much we love farmer’s markets? These chive blossoms are amazing. (at Union Square Greenmarket)

The Lust List {Agate and Quartz at Home}

Blame it on the fact that I list “sparkly” along with white as one of my favorite colors. I mean, didn’t Jenna Lyons say that leopard print is essentially a neutral? Why can’t glitter count as a favorite color? Either way, I’ve long loved embellished everything. So, when I saw these rose gold quartz coasters from Bliss Home & Design there was an immediate swoon-moment. That light pink! That gold edge!! Thus, this Lust List is dedicated to quartz and agate items you can buy on a budget to make your home wonderfully sparkly. 

The Lust:



The List:

Check out the more affordable options below. Click on each item to find out the details and to purchase some sparkle for your pad!