Thursday, August 25, 2011

SWEET SPOT: Max Brenner - Chocolate by the Bald Man

Chocolate, hence the name of my blog, is clearly one of my favorite things. Therefore when I stumbled up on Max Brenner's Chocolate by the Bald Man in Union Square, I knew that I had reached my paradise. Merely walking into the restaurant, I was engulfed by the smell of freshly baked chocolate treats. At the storefront is a little chocolate shop which sells everything ranging from s'mores kits and chocolate waffle cone gifts to T-shirts with quirky phrases such as "Chocolate is good for you" (which I actually purchased... maybe in hopes that it would be true).
{"Chocolate is good for you" T-shirt}

{Chocolate Shop goodies}
Max Brenner, known as the bald man is attempting to create his own "chocolate culture" in which chocolate is not only meant to be taste, it is supposed to be experienced, causing a flow of emotions and sensations. Steering away from some of the more traditional uses of chocolate on his menu, he incorporates a chocolate ranch to complement the onion rings. Onion rings and chocolate are my weaknesses so therefore quickly ordered this unique combo to test it out.
{Black & Tan Beer Battered Vidalia Rings w/ Dark Chocolate Ranch Dressing}

The inspiration behind this unusual pairing was that Max believed chocolate is too often sold in it's conventional way, he wanted to "free" it and let people experience the sweetness in an entirely new way.

For our main courses, we ordered the grilled asparagus crepe, as well as the rosen deli smoked turkey crepe. As for dessert, the most important part of this meal, I had an incredibly hard time choosing which of the chocolate specialities I wanted. After browsing the menu again for about 20 minutes I I finally concluded that I wanted to try the chocolate pizza because it looked so incredibly delicious when I passed by it walking in. I was definitely not let down when I tried "the works" pizza, buried under a mountain of toppings including Max's double chocolate melting chunks, crunchy hazelnut bits, bananas, peanut butter, and roasted marshmallows. Experimentation is one of his main guidelines, there are no rules when it come to cooking with chocolate, anything goes.
{"The Works" Chocolate Pizza}

Max Brenner wants to ensure that leaving the restaurant all 5 of your senses have been filled with by chocolate. Seeing, touching, tasting, smelling, and even hearing chocolate he feels is the only way embrace yourself in the full chocolate experience he is hoping to accomplish. Simply writing this blog takes me back into that "chocolate mood", craving for something sweet.
{Inside of Max Brenner's Chocolate Bar"}

Starting out as once a small chocolate shop in France that was said once looked "more like top fashion designer's boutique than a chocolate shop",  he has widely expanded over the years into the American market. Of course he couldn't have achieved this much success without the expose to leading fashion designers including Thierry Mugler and Jean Paul G. while in Paris.

Have you ever been to Max Brenner before? What did you order? Everything on the menu looks amazing!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

PARKED. NYC's best food trucks come together

Do you like NYC's food trucks? Or do you prefer sitting down at restaurants? For a tasty, quick, and reasonably priced meal on the go food trucks are the perfect option. Originally when I used to hear the word "food truck"I would think of the grungy taco truck that used to hang out near the park by my high school. However, after moving to NY I have seen the most gourmet food coming out of those mobile vehicles cruising around the city streets. Hearing many great reviews about the fabulous finds you can eat on the street, I couldn't believe I still had yet to try a place until this past Saturday. Therefore, when I read online that over 30 of the best food trucks in NYC were all coming together at the South Seaport I jumped on the opportunity to try all these delicious treats.
{Crowd of people at "PARKED"}

Though when I first arrived I was overwhelmed by the increasingly large number of people and the lines that looped around to what seemed to be almost back uptown. After perusing around all the different trucks to see which ones were worth the wait, my family and I decided to all split up so we would be able to sample multiple different eats. My mom waited at the infamous Wafels & Dings for the BBQ chicken wafel while my dad waited at it's bumper truck, Rickshaw Dumping Bar that sold the most delicious vegetarian edamame dumplings. I went back up toward the front where I had seen many other great trucks that I wanted to try.
{Wafels & Dings Truck}

{Rickshaw Dumpling Truck}

On my way back, I couldn't help but sample all the delicious desserts being passed out by the Treats Truck; the mexican brownies, almond & crandberry rice krispies, and the oatmeal raison cookies were among my favorite. Stopping at the Cinnamon Snail for a minute, I almost purchased a tempeh sandwich from this vegan truck, however just a few inches away I saw someone carrying a mouthwatering mountain of shaved ice with an assortment of yummy toppings. I immediately asked them to point me in the right direction and I found myself at a small booth. Although this event was primarily food trucks, 10 temporary booths joined the party to serve from their mini traveling shops. I ordered some very unconventional toppings (peanuts, wasabi peas, almonds, rosemary, granola, and strawberries) which actually complemented the shaved ice and the dollop of mango sorbet perfectly in an interesting way.
{Shaved Ice Menu}

Even though I was only able to try 3 different trucks this time, I am hoping to try some of the ones I missed in the near future: Gorilla Cheese, Frying Dutchman, Cool Haus Ice Cream, and Red Hook Lobster.
{The Frying Dutchmen}

{Red Hook Lobster Pound}

Following trucks on twitter is the best way to instantly know their locations! What are your favorite NYC food trucks?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Chanel "Graphite"

Right when I saw this glittery metallic silver color in one of my magazines and on the news, I knew this was going to be the next color I needed to add to my nail polish collection. The actual gold glitter specs really shimmer in the sunlight, I would almost refer to this polish as liquified glitter. Yesterday I brought Chanel "graphite" with me when I went to my all-time favorite nail salon, Dashing Diva. Decked out in all pink and sparkles, this highly recommended nail salon is the perfect place to bring your girls for a real great nail salon experience. I am extremely picky when it comes to nail salons but this place never fails. Their girly warm atmosphere, highly-trained friendly staff, and wonderful massages are worth the price. With locations all across the city, this is definitely my first choice. Chanel "graphite" is a limited edition shade so definitely get it before it's gone! Here is another one of my favorite Chanel limited edition nail polishes.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Rachel Zoe Event @ Saks

"Be honest, but be kind and loyal" - this was the advice given to me yesterday by the glamorous Rachel Zoe. At an event yesterday held at Saks, debuting Rachel Zoe's new clothing line, I had the opportunity to meet and take a picture with this legendary stylist. In a leather jacket with a complimentary blue scarf dress and rocking the beachy wavy hair look, she was definitely dressed to impress.
{Rachel Zoe & I}
After the event, I browsed around looking at her fall collection, falling in love with almost everything I saw. Some of her pieces are reflections of her favorite decade: the 70's and her love for vintage. Her outerwear is definitely a strong suit as well as her draping dresses and silk blouses. Her faux fur numbers were classy with an edge and could see myself wearing just about everything I touched. Without forgetting to mention her fantastic shoe collection, the studded black over the knee boots were just about to die for. Here are my "must haves":

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Feather Me Up

Seen on A-list celebrities including Blake Lively, Vanessa Hudgens, Megan Fox, Jessica Biel, and many others, Hollywood just can't seem to get enough of this trend. Feathers are showing up in hair pieces and headbands, to accessories on dresses and shoes, they can definitely be a hit or miss look. There is the good, the bad, the ugly, and the just plain extreme. Not entirely sure how I first felt about this trend when it first originated, I finally gave in and went down to a local boutique and bought a feather extension to be installed in my hair. I chose a neutral brown color that blended nicely underneath the bottom layer of my brunette hair, only noticeable occasionally and peeking out when I put my hair up in a high ponytail. When I first looked in the mirror however, I had a serious case of buying remorse. To make matters worse, when I got home, I had a boy offer to get my so-called "rattail" out of my hair for me, clearly he was not up to date on this new trend. Over time it grew on me and it lasted almost 2 months; it could easily be brushes, blow-dried, straightened, and even curled just like natural hair. Moving on from feathers in my hair, my new favorite way to wear them is for earrings. There are a plentiful amount of different options in every color/length/style you can imagine at the street fairs here in NYC!

The GOOD - Bright colored earrings are a perfect way to counterbalance a simple ensemble. Pairing hot pink earring with a simple jumpsuit, similar to what Gwenyth Paltrow has done in the past, is a perfect way to sport this look. A simple one feather necklace is just the right extra touch to any outfit, over a plain tee during the day or with a cocktail dress for a night out. You need to be careful when wearing clothes with feathers however, because you don't want to become a repeat of Bjork's infamous swan suit.

The BAD - No one wants to look like a peacock flew straight into their hair so steer clear of long feathered hats and extravagant hairbands. Unless you want your necklace to look like a feather trophy from your last hunting trip, keep it simple. As for feather clutches, you have to be careful to make sure it doesn't look like your carrying a dead bird in your hand everywhere you go. Feathers on your face and around your eyes, lets keep that for masquerade balls. For the pictured orange jacket, well there's no need to even explain that one.

What's your take on the feather trend?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Meet Me at the Top of the Standard

On Friday, I went to Le Bain @ The Standard... easily the best rooftop I have been to since being in New York. With a gorgeous view of the Hudson River, this ultra trendy rooftop bar is a favorite among celebrities and an ideal spot to come relax for a few hours during the afternoon. Making our way up what seemed like a service elevator to the penthouse of the hotel, we were greeted by a unique ambiance consisting of AstroTurf lawn and giant pink circular waterbeds. Along with the bar, there was a creperie serving delicious looking french crepes ranging from savory to sweet. The waitresses came around attentively in mesh tennis skirts, serving us the most refreshing grapefruit cocktails, which were especially nice on a hot summer day.With the reputation of being an extremely hard place to get into, walking up around 4 o'clock was fairly easy. This scenic view is definitely not something to be missed. Next time I want to check out the pool and hot tub!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Party @ John Varvatos

{Party Invitation}
Last night, I attended the lively John Varvatos Party on the Bowery. Upon entering this "store turned concert party" that is hosted the 1st Thursday of every month, the first thing I noticed was the plasma screen TV inviting guests to check in on Foursquare to receive gear from Moonshine (the clear corn whiskey that was being promoted at the event). I had never heard of Moonshine before that but right then and there I whipped out my phone and checked into the venue on Foursquare hoping to get some free loot. The first 20 people who checked in received a free T-shirt and I was number 15, yes!
{My free Moonshine T-Shirt!}
{Walls decorated with framed past concert posters}
We then made our way through the store and couldn't help but notice the interesting artwork on the walls. All the images on the walls were a collection of promotional posters for some of the past shows. In the Fall of 2008, John Varvatos started a Thursday Night Live Concert Series where he hosts new or rediscovered artists and bands to perform in his store on 315 Bowery which had previously been the space that hosted the seminal underground music club CBGB. According to their poster CBGB was "originally meant to be a small club to house Country, Bluegrass, and Blues music, CBGB grew into one of the most influential venues in the world, and a sanctuary for rock musicians everywhere. Most notably remembered as the birthplace of Punk Rock. CBGB opened their doors to any band that came through, offering them all they truly wanted, a chance to play. Some of the bands that called CBGB home were the Ramones, The Heartbreakers, Blondie..." After CBGB officially closed in 2006, John Varvatos took the initiative himself to pay homage to the club by hosting a monthly concert that replicated CBGB's true spirit at his own store.
After about half an hour of mingling, Julia Haltigan took center stage. This New York native's amazing voice instantly attract attention as she sang about everything from heartache and lust to motorcycles and tattoos. Her songs have an American pop feel to them which I loved right away. After the concert ended at 10, which they were very prompt at making sure everyone would be out by 10:05, we headed over to Phebes, another fun NYC hotspot where we spend many of our nights.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Last night, another intern and I went to an event at Saks for StyleOwner. We had no idea what it was when we first got there, but after listening to a presentation and learning more about it I can't wait to sign up! After we entered the raffle and recieved our free ice cream sundae's complimentary of SnAKS, we were greeted by a StyleOwner representative who sat us down at a table and through an interactive presentation on her MacBook Air guided us through this ingenius new website launching in August.The idea behind StyleOwner is that anyone can create their own online boutique feauturing their favorite items from top name retailers. Combining the power of e-commerce and social networking, shoppers are able to open a customized online store, fill it with items, and earn money selling their favorite brands! Once your store is open for business, post it on your facebook, twitter, blog, and spread the word. Your friends can then shop through your hand-selected picks and order whatever they like. The benefit for you: earning 10% of whatever you sell! Also, if you shop at your own store, you automatically recieve 10% off your purchase. What a brilliant idea, counting down the days until I can open my finally open my own store!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Essie Hotspot

Walking into a nail salon always makes me stressed out… I can never, and I mean NEVER chose a nail polish color. After trying on over 15 different colors on every section of all of my nails, my hands finally end up looking like a rainbow. While sitting in the massage chair and receiving what seemed to be a millisecond foot massage I was still staring at 4 different colors I was deciding between. I was being so incredibly indecisive I chose my only last resort, “eeny, meeny, miny, moe” of course. There we go, I had finally landed my color… Essie “Bermuda Shorts”. After she applied it to my toes, it was clearly evident this was not the color that was going to be on my hands as well. This matte neon color looked dry and cheap, not at all what I had expected. Now it was back to the drawing board, time to pick a new color. After another solid 10 minutes of going back and forth between a dark shade and a light shade, I finally chose Essie hotspot”. At first I wasn’t so thrilled with my choice, but after a few minutes the coral pink color started to grow on me. Fun and summery, this bright color would look great on the beaches in places like Miami or Malibu.
Now that I know what Essie's Hotspot looks like, here is a list of some of my NY hotspots that I am still hoping to get to before my summer ends:
Along with many others..... What are you NYC hotspots?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Allure Promo Event!

The Allure Promotional Department and Hanes Bali are teaming up for an event at Macy's this Thursday! Who ever is in New York should definitely make it to Herald Square at 5pm Aug. 4th :)

Monday, August 1, 2011

YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund Panel

On Thursday, I attended the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund Panel at NYU’s Gallatin School. Some of New York's brightest interns came together to listen to a panel discussion featuring Amy Levin (of College Fashionista), Calvin Klein’s Malcolm Carfrae, IMG Models’ Jeni Rose, Annabel Tollman (stylist and journalist) , and Nary Manivong and Ally Hilfiger (the founders of NAHM). From Nary Manivong's brave story about growing up homeless and taking the bold leap of moving out to NY with only $200 in his pocket to Amy Levin's success story about how her own personal blog turned into her now flourishing company, every individual definitely had a unique story to share. Commenting about their interesting experiences in the fashion industry and throughout life in general, I can absolutely say that I left with some helpful advice.

Top things I learned:
  • Don't get too caught up in what everyone else is going, focus on your own path
  • Everyone's career peeks and different times so don't get frustrated because success is based on hard work and determination
  • It's important to stay in contact with those you meet, whether it be by sending them a quick email now and then or a phone call, don't lose touch
  • Never underestimate the power of a hand-written letter
  •  Always be humble, grateful, prepared and willing to take on any challenge
As the inspirational panel came to a close, I approached College Fashionista's Amy Levin and asked her for advice with my own blog. This young blonde entrepeneur wearing an adorable Chanel bag was more than overjoyed to give me tips and even volunteered to speak with me over the phone! I would also love to be a style guru for her website. Our call is set for today and I can't wait to talk to her! If anyone has questions you want me to ask her, please let me know :)