Wednesday, July 12, 2017

{Travel} An Eco-Friendly Trip to Miami

Miami isn’t just a bachelorette party hot spot where you can hit the beach all day and dance all night. It’s also a city with a rich ecosystem that provides a chance to reconnect with nature. Here’s how to how to make the most out of a green trip to Miami and come back fresh and renewed.

Where to Stay

To crank up the luxury level several notches, check in at the Epic Hotel located right where the Miami River meets Biscayne Bay. You’ll have a room with a stunning view of downtown Miami, full service marina at your disposal, spa and fitness center and outdoor swimming pools located on the 16th floor deck. The hotel brand features environmentally responsible initiatives, including the use of eco-friendly cleaning supplies and toiletries, low-flow faucets, showers and toilets and in-room recycling bins among other measures. Its restaurant’s name, Area 31, refers to the ecologically sound fishing region where much of the Mediterranean menu’s seafood is caught.

Where to Eat

Sushisamba’s menu features a veritable fusion of Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian cuisine. Traditional dishes are served alongside more imaginative fare and the sushi and ceviche are unbelievably fresh. The restaurant has also been committed to sustainability, doing its part to protect at-risk fish – such as the endangered Bluefin Tuna – and raising awareness among its customers.

Jaguar Restaurant, a ceviche spoon bar and Latin American grill, offers signature dishes from Mexico, Peru, Argentina and Chile with a broad selection of flavors and salsas like its Peruvian Ahi Amarillo. You’ll also get a chance to taste some of the South American wines. And while you’re there, check out Dionisio Ceballos’ original paintings decking the walls. The Mexican artist was once invited to reproduce several of Frida Kahlo’s works for the 2002 film Frida.

What to Do

Not only does the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden focus on conserving and growing an incredible tropical plant collection, but it also serves as a backdrop for the works of artists from around the globe. Among the permanent installations are Dale Chihuly's colorful glass sculptures.

Miami EcoAdventures offers up a menu of excursions – such as the Sea Kayak and Snorkel Adventure – all led by Miami-Dade Parks’ naturalists. Kayak along Key Biscayne, jump into its shallow waters to snorkel and discover cool facts about the diverse environment that surrounds you.

Now what’s an eco-trip to Miami without exploring the Everglades? For a memorable experience that’ll zap any creepy images of murky, dirty swampland, sign up for Dragonfly Expeditions’ Everglades Backwater Tour. Field biologists will guide you through the cool waters while pointing out the history, plants and wildlife that make this ecosystem so incredible. Alligators may make an appearance.

Afterwards, stop by The Pit Bar-B-Q for a chance to taste gator meat and a sweet slice of key lime pie while you sit outside and take in the beauty of the Everglades.

Image: Asper

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

{Obsessed With} Mint/Teal Everything

I recently realized that I've slowly been amassing items that fall within the mint/teal color palette. From my iPhone case to clothing, backpack and other desk accessories, most of my current favorite things are in this same tropical hue. Looks like over time I've gone from being obsessed with purple to constantly gravitating towards blue and now on to this summery hue. Below, a few of the mint/teal items in my collection and links to where you can find these goodies.

1. Spigen iPhone Case Wallet | 2. Linda & Harriet Day Journal | 3. H&M Cardigan | 4. LifeFactory Glass Water Bottle | 5. Poppin Aqua Double Tray | 6. Herschel City Backpack | 7. Yoobi Document Organizer | 8. IKEA TJENA Box | 9. Essie Nail Polish in Mint Candy Apple*

*I don't have this nail polish shade just yet, but after seeing this pretty collection, I might have to grab it just to keep the trend going!

What colors do you find yourself gravitating towards these days? Do you find they change with the seasons?

Images: Saxena,,,,,,,,, and

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

MoMA PS1's Lumen Transforms from Breezy to Otherworldly

Last week, I spent a few hours at MoMA PS1 for a preview of its newest outdoor installation Lumen, an interactive canopy that responds to light and proximity. During the day, the hanging tubular structures float in the breeze, spray mists of water whenever someone walks near, and collect solar energy. Come nighttime, the fibers glow and the courtyard makes an otherworldly transformation that will make an amazing setting for the museum's Warm Up summer concert series, which kicked off July 1.

Lumen will be on view at MoMA PS1’s courtyard from June 29 though August 27. To read more about my visit and see the transformation via photos, click here.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy Independence Day, America

Here's to keeping this country the Home of the Free and the Land of the Brave. Even if we have to fight our own government for it.

Image: Yarnell

Monday, July 3, 2017

How to Fall in Love with Your Hometown Again

When you’re settled in a city for too long, let’s say your entire life, everything about the place could start to wear on you. The pace, the sights, the things to do…to you it all seems so “been there, done that.” But if you can’t pack up and move somewhere new just yet, there are ways to soothe that jaded side of you and fall in love with home again. Below are nine things you can do to rediscover all the little things that make your town great.

1. Invite out-of-towners into your home for a visit. The whole city will be completely new to them and you'll be able to feed off of their excitement. You’ll be forced to show and tell them about the cool spots in your town and, in turn, start appreciating your town so much more because you'll see it through someone else’s eyes.

2. Take a walking tour of your own city. Learn about its history, architecture, and its key figures as you actually pay attention to the sights. You can either find free tours you can print and follow online, borrow guides from your library, or sign up for a walking tour through town.

3. Explore a neighborhood you've never visited before. Find cool places to see, eat, and do while you're there. You might fall in love with a different part of town that could someday become your next zip code.

4. Watch movies set in your city and squeal when you recognize a landmark on the screen. Great cinematography can really make a place come alive.

5. Leave town for a while. There's nothing like being out on the road for a couple weeks or even days to make you feel grateful to be reunited with family, friends, and your own bed.

6. Write a list of all the things you haven't done in your hometown whether it's something you've always felt was too "touristy" for a local like you or are more obscure, and then make plans to tackle each item on your list.

7. Join local Meetup groups based on your interests. Finding awesome people to do the things you love instantly makes a place feel much more inviting.

8. Ask your parents or older family members about the places where they hung out when they were younger. Have them drive you around pointing out how things have changed since then and try to see your town through their eyes. Bring along old photographs for comparisons and lots of reminiscing.

9. People watch. So much of life zooms right past us when we fail to take a moment to actually look. Humanize your town again by paying attention to the people who inhabit it.

What do you do to keep that spark between you and your hometown alive?

Image: Unsplash/Wojtek Witkowski

Monday, June 26, 2017

IKEA's "Cook This Page" Recipe Series Is a Coloring Page for Food!

Remember how much I loved Ikea’s minimalist cookbook way back in 2010? (Side note: can you believe that was 7 years ago? Yipers...) Well now everybody's favorite build-it-yourself-because-you're-too-broke-to-buy-pre-built-furniture furniture store is injecting a little more fun and play into cooking with parchment recipe sheets that resemble its assembly instructions. In order to get people comfortable with cooking—and buy its kitchen gear, obviously—ad agency Leo Burnett Toronto designed “The Cook This Page Parchment Paper Recipe Series.” Various recipes, each of which could be made with IKEA items, are illustrated and printed on parchment paper with food-safe inks. All you have to do is fill in the illustrations with the necessary ingredients and amounts, wrap it all up and pop it into the oven, recipe sheet and all. It’s like a coloring page for food!

Though I can't lie, am I really going to lay out each shrimpy one by one like that? And I might have to stack that ravioli recipe about four high just make a dent on this hunger...but I'd totally do it for an Instagram post.

The “Cook This Page” campaign launched in October 2016 at 18 IKEA locations around Canada and all 12,500 parchment recipe posters were gone within hours. And just last week, the campaign won a Gold Lion in the Outdoor category at the 64th annual Cannes Lion International Festival of Creativity. It’s such a simple concept—that still had to overcome lots of challenges to execute properly and safely—and completely on brand. Hopefully, they decide to test that idea out over here!


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

All the #DessertGoals Met at Spot Dessert Bar

A couple months ago, my friend invited me and a few others to Spot Dessert Bar down in the West Village and holy yum! I'd never heard of it before, but I was certainly glad we went with a group so that we could each order—and taste—a few things on the menu. In fact, Spot encourages this by offering these dessert tapas in sets so you can share or indulge your taste buds. I loved that the Asia-inspired seasonal desserts were really satisfying and delicious without being over-the-top sweet. In clockwise order from the top left:

Yuzu Eskimo: frozen Japanese citrus cream bars with chocolate ganache, strawberries, and Oreo crumbs.

Golden Toast: crispy honey buttered toast with fresh strawberries, whipped cream, and condensed milk ice cream.

The Harvest: layers of berries, soft cheesecake, meringue kisses, raspberry sorbet, and black rose milk tea.

Milky Puff: warm flaky puff pastry served with milk ice cream, corn flakes, brûlée bananas, and white chocolate honey comb.

And yes, they all tasted as delicious as they look. Not pictured are my Nutella hot chocolate, which tasted so much better and less sweet than one I'd ordered days earlier, and my friends' bubble teas served in plastic light bulbs! A+ for cuteness and presentation, no?

By the way, I've been on such a dessert kick lately thanks to work. I've been writing so much about sweets, including safe-to-eat raw cookie dough, an all-you-can-eat ice cream festival, fancy banana pudding, kids' birthday cakes, and the best rainbow foods around NYC, that I've been wondering if I shouldn't just say goodbye to my teeth and hello to becoming the resident dessert expert.