Valentine’s Day was comprised of my boyfriend doing his National Guard duty up in Massachusetts, clearing roads and debris after the blizzard, and me, stuck in a cramped conference room for 14 hours working on yet another audit. To make up for missing the opportunity to be romantic, I drove up to Boston for the weekend to spend some time with my man.
This was our third Valentine’s “together.” To give you a brief history… Our first Valentine’s Day I was still in school and living in the Bronx and he came to visit. I had class for most of the day, but anticipated returning to my apartment to find my boyfriend looking clean and sharp with a bouquet of flowers and ready for a dinner date. Instead he was in boxers, hanging out on the couch with nothing planned. Epic fail. I ended up booking us a dinner reservation at the Capital Grille and we made the best of it. Valentine’s Day #2 was spent home alone while my boyfriend served his country in Afghanistan. It was a tough day to be alone and I missed him terrilbly, but from afar we managed an ,”I love you” and carried on.
This time around my expectations were minimal. I imagined a repeat of V-Day 1. I sent a reminder text to let him know that I wanted flowers and that I was looking forward to seeing him. I figured it would be a normal weekend, nothing too spectacular. Though I did not receive any flowers, the Army Ranger had something even better up his sleeve.
Making up for two lost Valentine’s, he planned an extravagant weekend in Boston with wonderful food, drink and cheer.
We began our date night at this beautifully decorated hookah and tapas lounge located in Charlestown. It was perfect. I imagine everyone in the restaurant was gagging as we spent the entire time sitting pressed against each other, laughing, sharing drinks and food and the occasional kiss.
We ordered the Merguez (Tangierino spiced ground lamb wrapped in phyllo dough, smoked eggplant, kalamata olives). Heavenly. I adore lamb, it is one of my favorite meats and this was perfectly seasoned.
The other highlight of this restaurant is the Moroccan Mojito made with Blackberry Bacardi, Moroccan mint tea, muddled lime and mint. Heavenly. This was hands down the best spin on a mojito I have ever had.
Probably the best restaurant in the North End, Mamma Maria is the only Italian restaurant in Boston to earn the Four Diamond Rating by AAA Travel Guide. It it well worth it.
This was a night for a new experience. I tried the Rabbit Pasta (classic slow-cooked Vermont-raised rabbit, in the Tuscan-style, with homemade pappardelle, crispy pancetta, and fresh rosemary). It was outstanding! The flavor was incredible! The meat was tender and succulent without tasting like strong game. Probably one of the best meals I have ever had.
The place is perfect for dates. Comfortable tables, excellent service and very romantic. I loved it!
After dinner we headed to a midnight show at the Improv Asylum. This was my second time at the asylum and it was as hilarious as the first. The show is run by posing questions to the audience and running wild with the themes and ideas provided. The cast is hilarious and do a wonderful job on taking commonplace topics and giving them a unique and ridiculous twist. I highly recommend this place.
My man surpassed expectations. He planned a wonderful evening for us, full of good food, drink and romance. I had a truly fantastic time.
Never too old to explore meadows barefoot and fill your hair with daisies.
Following picture and text courtesy of Etsy. See full article here.
How to Make a Floral Crown
Photo by Amanda Thomsen
Brittany Watson Jepsen is an American designer and crafter living in Copenhagen, Denmark. Her motto is “a creative mess is better than tidy idleness.” Find her on her blog, The House That Lars Built, and her Etsy shop, where she designs and sells kitchen accessories and all things floral.
Floral crowns are sure having their moment of glory these days. The trend pops into fashion every now and again, but some of the most inspiring versions are those from the Pre-Raphaelites.
I spotted Spring by Lawrence Alma-Tadema (look closely!) last year while at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and ever since I’ve been wanting to make my own version. I finally sat down and experimented with some lovely flowers and wish I had an excuse to wear it around town. Thankfully, a wedding is the perfect excuse to don a floral crown. The beauty of working with real flowers is that you don’t need any materials other than the flowers.
So, let’s go!
Flowers of your choice and clippers. The pliable flowers are best to work with for the base of the crown. Try bending the stem first to make sure it doesn’t crack. If it does, consider trying something else. For this floral crown, I used black dahlias, tidsel (the greenery for the base), astilbe (the pink), craspedia (the yellow balls), and virburnum berries (the turquoise and purple).
Cut and line up the first round of flowers for the base of your crown. Ideally, the stems should be 5-9″ long each. You can cut them down but it’s harder to work with shorter stems. I suggest using greenery first and then adding the colors into it.
Lay one stem perpendicular on top of another.
Bend the stem under.
Bring the stem up to the top and then press it down so it lies next to the first.
While holding the two stems in place with your left hand, place another stem on top and bend it under.
Bring the stem up again and then place it parallel with the others.
Repeat the process until it’s the size of the circumference of the head. I added some different greenery into the middle to create more of a focal point when it’s worn.
When you get to the end, wrap the last stem tightly around the others to secure them in place, making sure that it doesn’t break.
To finish off the circle, weave the last stems into the beginning of the crown by tucking them in.
Now you can start adding in other flowers. I added longer pieces first so that the shorter flowers can be seen at the end.
Place your show-stopper flowers evenly around the crown. I used black dahlias as my main piece.
Continue adding in your flowers evenly around the crown. I added in berries at the end for some exclamation marks.
There are several different versions to a floral crown. You can switch off flowers for the base of the crown instead of adding the flowers in at the end, or you can keep it simple and just use one variety.
After completing one, you’ll want to turn every flower you see into a crown.
The following pictures and text are courtesy of Etsy and the full article can be viewed here.
Eatsy: Salted Caramel Lava Cakes
Sure, Valentine’s Day is all about love, Cupid and romantic gestures, but if we’re being honest with ourselves, this holiday’s real lure is the sweets. While I’ll gladly pass on stale conversation hearts, a-bit-too-rich truffles or drugstore chocolates, my world stops for salted caramels. I’ll forever be a sucker for the flavor contrast of salty and sweet.
Many of you might find yourselves needing a quick and easy dessert recipe post work-day. This recipe will make two delicious, gooey salted caramel lava cakes with minimal ingredients, and a speedy assembly and bake time. And if you’re a single lady (or dude) on this Valentine’s Day, please make this —the recipe is easily halved!
Salted Caramel Lava Cakes
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature and divided
6 ounces dark chocolate
2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon large sea salt flakes (such as Maldon), plus more for sprinkling
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 1-inch square good quality sea salt caramels
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line the bottoms of two 6-ounce ramekins with parchment paper. Next, butter the ramekins’ sides with 1 tablespoon of butter and set aside.
In a double boiler (or a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water), melt the chocolate and the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter; stir until smooth. Allow the chocolate mixture to cool until it’s warm to the touch, and then mix in the sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt. Fold in the flour and combine until the batter is smooth.
Equally divide the batter between the two ramekins. Next, gently nuzzle two caramels into the center of each ramekin, until the batter covers the caramels. Transfer the ramekins to a baking sheet and place in the oven to bake for 12-13 minutes. Invert the cakes onto plates and top with a sprinkling of sea salt and a dollop of whipped cream. Or serve with ice cream; that’d be good, too!
All photos by Adrianna Adarme.
My new favorite YouTube star, JennaMarbles is taking center stage for this blog post. This chick is ridiculous! Check out these videos:
Warning: Inappropriate language and sexual references are used in abundance.
What Caffeine Does
What a Girl’s Hair Means
Weird, bizarre, disturbing, fanatical… Yet considered by some to be the best television show ever written. While it only lasted two seasons, Twin Peaks quickly became a cult classic.
While watching an episode of Psych entitled “Duel Spires,” based off of Twin Peaks, I became intrigued by the strange characters and weird scenarios and Netflix just so happened to have the complete first and second season. The first season began beautifully. It truly was an incredibly well done show. Attention is drawn to this small town when a high school girl is found dead. Investigations are underway and the FBI end up coming on the scene. However, this is not a crime drama. Techniques used by the prime investigator factor in bizarre dreams and visions as well as entering alternative worlds and entertaining a strange theory about owls.
Then things began to get very bizarre in the second season with alternate dimensions, some strange theory about the owls I still don’t fully understand, a twisted concept of good and evil and funny little man with the strangest voice.
I really can’t even begin to explain it. I can just say that it is well worth every moment. Plus these gorgeous women are in it. Can’t miss that.
Those of you who have been following me for a while may remember a post I did on my Top Ten women of all time. You can view it here.
Dolce & Gabbana recently came out with a lipstick in honor of my #1 sexiest woman alive, Monica Bellucci.
What it is:
A highly pigmented lipstick that gives medium to full coverage in a radiant, satin finish.
What it does:
Thanks to an intense skin-conditioning formula, this lipstick leaves lips looking plump, feeling soft, and appearing voluptuous. The colors are rich and luminous, with a smooth and creamy texture that glides easily on the lips for buildable coverage. Inspired by Monica Bellucci, Dolce & Gabbana’s main muse, the Monica Lipstick embodies the sensuality of the Italian woman.
What else you need to know:
“Apply lip color then blot with a tissue after application to help set the color. Then, reapply lipstick. The result is a significantly more intense color effect. It’s a great method to use when you want to draw attention to the lips.” —Pat McGrath, Global Creative Advisor
I will be making my way to Sephora at a full sprint to purchase this.
By far the greatest thing about New York is the diversity and quality of the restaurants. I recently tried two new places after very strong recommendations from friends. Tried and true, these two are incredible!
Located in the East Village, Prune serves very simplistic American fare. Ingredients are basic and pure and the menu is constantly changing and evolving. The flavors are out of this world. If Anthony Bourdain could only eat at one restaurant for the rest of his life, he would eat here. From a cynic like him, that’s saying something.
I enjoyed the baked mussels with parsley shallot butter and the grilled lamb blade chop with Turkish piyaz. Everything was perfectly seasoned and placed the core elements of the meal on a pedestal of deliciousness.
Also in the East Village, Mono Mono serves the best Korean fried chicken in all of New York City. What makes this chicken so special is it takes 30 minutes to specially prepare for you and it is double fried adding an insane amount of crispiness to the outside, leaving the inside super juicy and apparently burning off excess fat. It was amazing! Best fried chicken I have ever had and that includes the incredible chicken I ate in Atlanta. That’s saying something.
The interior is very intriguing. The ceiling is very high and thousands of records are stored in built in shelving running all along the walls. An electric system pulls the records from the shelves and transports it over to the DJ. You can also eat your fried chicken on a piano converted into a table.
Another interesting note, all their drinks are made with soju, almost like vodka. They infuse their own soju there and the drinks are heavenly.
Thank you, Time Out New York, for yet another inspiring article. All of you ladies out there searching for a Valentine’s Day treat for your man, look no further. TONY has suggested a few super masculine spas to satisfy all many needs.
Following text and pictures courtesy of Time Out New York. See article in full here.
New York Spas For Men: Four spots that focus on guys
Most New York spas are guy-friendly, but certain places specialize in services for the male persuasion. Here are four of the best spas for men around town.
By Time Out editors
Guys sometimes get slighted at New York’s pampering spots. But there are a few barbershops, salons and spas that devote a solid chunk of their menu (if not all of it) to massages, facial andoffbeat treatments designed for just men. Four of our male editors test out some spas for men.
The barber area of the steampunkish space is clearly for the boys, with its pair of black-leather-and-chrome chairs and Sailor Jerry aesthetic. My master barber, Justin Virgil, slathered my face with Close Shavers Shaving Formula 31–O preshave oil, followed by White Eagle shave cream and, finally, hot foam. A steamy eucalyptus-scented towel was applied between each potion for maximum whisker softening. Once the straight-razor shave itself started, Justin meticulously dispatched my 5 o’clock shadow. A postshave toner followed by a soothing mask and Facial Fuel moisturizer wrapped up the experience, and I walked away with none of the blotches or bloody spots typical of my own handiwork. Most products used in the service are available in the shop, so you can easily upgrade your at-home routine. 888-772-1851,kiehls.com/spa1851. $55.—Ethan LaCroix
157 E 64th St, second floor, (between Lexington and Third Aves)
It’s easy to forget that you’re just a few blocks from Times Square when lounging in the glass-covered atrium of the spa at the OUT NYC, a gay-oriented (but “straight-friendly”) hotel. I opted for a facial, and felt completely comfortable as manager Christopher Drummond guided me through its many stages: a wash of OSEA Ocean cleanser, a gentle microdermabrasion scrub, an oxygen serum, an aloe mask and an antiaging balm (with brief intermissions of warm towels). Bonus: Booking any service gives you free access to the spa’s facilities, including the gym and deck. 646-527-7940, theoutnycspa.com. 60mins regularly $140, 90mins regularly $185. Mention TONY when booking or at check-in for 15 percent off this service through Jan 31.—Adam Feldman
510 W 42nd St, (between Tenth and Eleventh Aves)
The reception area of this guy-oriented salon—with its flatscreen TVs tuned to football games and open bar stocked with Sixpoint lager and Scotch—says it all: This is a man’s world. After I helped myself to a drink, my hairstylist, Miriam Vargas, conducted a thorough assessment of my preferences, dispelling the quiet desperation that accompanies most of my haircuts. Next, I was seated at a sink, my head shampooed with Redken Color Extend, then kneaded. The staff escorted me to one of several red leather barber chairs and Vargas set to nipping and cutting with scissors. My shoes were soon removed to be shined, and a manicurist scooted up to my side to clean, sand, moisturize and rub my digits into hand-model-worthy appearance. While savoring the novel sensation of having one’s hair and nails cut simultaneously, I eavesdropped on my fellow customers, who traded tales about high-end Mexican hotels. After a rinse, Vargas applied Mop Orange Peel molding cream to my hair before sending me off to a dinner date, feeling like a spiffier, shinier man.212-683-9400, trumans-nyc.com. $88.—Christopher Ross
121 Madison Ave between 30th and 31st Sts
John Allan’s: Sports pedicure
With a muted color scheme of browns and grays, the midtown location of this men’s club mirrors the professional, mostly middle-aged clientele I joined on a Tuesday morning. To start, I was offered coffee, iced tea or a beer (Sam Adams or Coors Light), then led to a private room off the main open-plan floor. The treatment itself began with each nail being cut, filed and buffed efore the manicurist used a succession of scrapers and pliers to clean the cuticles and remove the gunk from under the nail. Then came a sanding—vigorous and firm—of the heels, toes and balls of my feet. At this point, I expected comments on the amount of sloughed skin gathering on my technician’s lap, but I was mercifully spared a lecture. The service ended with the application of a CND Spapedicure scrub and mask, a hot towel wrap and a quick massage. The difference between my pre- and post-treatment feet was incredible—I’ll be back so that I don’t need to hide my trotters under a towel the next time I’m poolside. Visit johnallans.com. 45–60min; $49.—Jonathan Shannon
Locations throughout the city