Feb
3

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$25 Massage In Manhattan? Yes, please!

Massage-Oil

Let’s talk guilty pleasures for a minute, shall we?  You tell me yours, I’ll tell you mine.

And….go!

Mine?  Massages, hands down.

And yet…even in NYC, where there’s certainly no shortage of Chinatown-esque massage parlors offering a 60 minute massage for $45, by the time you add in a generous tip, it’s not exactly a luxury to be afforded on a super regular basis.  So when I heard about a place in the city that offers $25 massages, I was all “sign me up!!!”

Aroma TherapyThe New York College of Health Professionals has teaching clinics located at 244 East 32nd Street, which is the magical place where you can get a 50 minute Swedish or Asian massage for $25.  Granted, you will be rubbed down by student interns under the supervision of licensed therapists, but this was certainly no determent for me (literally, the teacher stepped into the room for probably 15 seconds to ask how I was feeling and how the therapist was doing…I was feeling fantastic and she was doing an amazing job).  And side note: since these students are technically getting class credit for being there, you are NOT allowed to tip them–trust me, I asked.  So it turns out being super affordable!  Also, no crazy waiting lists or lottery systems for this place, it was actually no problem at all calling on a Thursday evening and getting an appointment for Friday afternoon.

Along with massages, they also offer reduced price acupuncture treatments and herbal consultations to the public.  To make an appointment for, dare I say?, the best massage deal in Manhattan, call 212-213-8800.

Don’t forget to share your guilty pleasure in the comment section below!

||Photo Credit: 1||

Feb
2

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Stay Toasty At These 20 NYC Fireplace Bars

backoftheplace

Valentine’s Day can be stressful for us demanding New Yorkers, especially if we don’t plan ahead. Getting reservations at the perfect restaurant is not ideal on this day. But with these cold winter nights, it may be a good idea to try some of the places in the city that take a different approach at keeping their guests warm through their meals.

1. Not looking for anything too serious or pressuring? Maybe, just a nice night to get away from the NYC hype? The Black Mountain Wine House, located in Gowanus, Brooklyn, is the place for you. Geared toward our wine lovers, this is a great place to bring your new mate; test the waters with conversation as smooth as the wine. The relaxing atmosphere is created with the countryside décor: wooden tables and chairs with low lights to set the simplistic, charming mood of the countryside that we can’t always find in this lavish city.  Curl up next to the fireplace with your date and choose a meal from the short food menu, which is extensive in taste all for $10! Talk about a cheap get-away!

Photo Credit: Ryan Charles

2. Alewife, located in the Long Island City area of Queens, is a local new beer bar for the couple that shares a passion for crafted beers.  Their selections of beer are constantly rotating but the staff if always up-to-date in knowledge about each selection. Although the beer is phenomenal, the menu makes Alewife an appropriate spot for anytime of day with weekend brunch specials, late-night pizza and even house-made ice cream specials. Sit by the gas-powered fireplace and indulge in a new beer with your favorite person for a night filled with good vibes.

Photo Credit: Alewife FB Page

3. The Black Duck restaurant is located in the Flatiron neighborhood in NYC. With a fireplace located in the front lounge of the restaurant to set the warm ambiance, locals describe this place as “an undiscovered gem”. They offer live jazz music on the weekends with various vocalists and musicians keeping the straight-ahead jazz standards alive and soulful in the NYC area. Sundays have a more relaxed tone with classic James Bond screenings topped with complimentary gourmet popcorn. The intimate atmosphere and friendly waiters create the quintessential place for an easy-going and affective date.

Photo Credit: Black Duck FB Page

4. For all my whiskey lovers in the place tonight! With over 750 variants, the staff at The Flatiron Room is well educated on each bottle of whiskey available to you. If you are looking to try something new, you can surely ask for a small sample to tease the palette. The exquisite décor gives off a “sense of aristocratic wealth”. Vintage Italian wallpaper paired with 100-year-old floorboards and extravagant chandeliers work wonderfully to create this lavish, dim setting. The live music is just as special as the whiskey. All performers are hand selected to ensure your satisfaction. The Flatiron Room is a timeless and classic restaurant surely to impress any date on any given night.

Photo Credit: The Flatiron Room

5. If you want to make her heart smile, bring her over to Tribeca’s Tiny’s on West Broadway. It’s a cute, romantic spot housed in a three-story townhouse dated back to 1810. The cozy ambiance and the family roots create a peaceful energy throughout the space. The owners have stayed true to its classic American features and adorned it with original materials. The wood-burning fireplace and dimmed lights topped with a glass of your favorite American wine will create a memorable first date. Tiny’s is exactly where she wants to go on this special date, so she can tell her friends all about it the next day.

Photo Credit: Tiny’s

Honorable Mentions

6. The Drunken Horse | Chelsea

7. Pound & Pence | Financial District

8. Whitman and Bloom Liquor Company | Murray Hill

9. Harlem Public | Harlem

10. Lantern’s Keep | Midtown East

11. The Back Room | Lower East Side

12. Brendan’s Bar & Grill | Midtown West

13. Uva | Upper East Side

14. Art Bar | West Village

15. Kingston Hall | East Village

16. Union Hall | Park Slope

17. Black Rabbit | Greenpoint

18. Camp | Cobble Hill

19. Hot Bird | Clinton Hill

20. Custom House | Brooklyn Heights

No matter your style, or what kind of mood you want to set on this Valentine’s Day, any of these places are a wonderful setting to show your appreciation to your dear friend or precious lover.

Do you have a favorite fireplace bar or restaurant?  Do share below!

Original 2014 Reporting: Denise Pina // 2015 Update: Jessica Tiare Bowen

Jan
30

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New Yorker Moments

unnamed-10{theater-goers certainly weren’t kept away by a little snow}

On the day of our “blizzard” (anyone else chuckling with me here?;-), I scored a pretty great last minute deal for tickets to You Can’t Take It With You.  A little snow was surely not going to keep me from seeing the illustrious James Earl Jones and Anna Chlumsky (remember Vada of My Girl fame?)  Such a touching, comical show…coming to a head at the end with Grandpa’s (JEJ’s) famous monologue, when he’s reminding Mr. Kirby (his granddaughter’s fiance’s father), that life shouldn’t be all work and no play:

“You know Mr. Kirby, Tony is going through what you and I did when we were his age.  I think if you listen hard enough you can hear yourself saying the same things to your father 25 years ago.  We all did it.  And we were right.  How many of us would be willing to settle when we’re young for what we eventually get? All those plans we make…what happens to them? It’s only a handful of the lucky ones that can look back and say that they even came close.  So, before they clean out that closet Mr. Kirby, I think I’d get in a few good hours on that saxophone.”

Here’s to a wonderful weekend full of things that keep you inspired and bring you happiness:-)

unnamed-8{waking up to this cute little face}

unnamed-11{the detailed work that goes into creating a sensational lavender latte}

unnamed-12{st. patrick’s looks stunning, sans scaffolding}

unnamed-9{morning walks in central park}

xx,

Jess

Jan
29

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10 Comments

5 Steps To Having A Perfectly Tidy NYC Apartment

beatutiful-minimalist-white-living-room-with-classic-ornament-on-the-wall-and-small-black-leather-table

Have you ever walked around your NYC apartment, picked up your things, one at a time, and asked yourself, “Does this spark joy?”

If not, you’re doing it all wrong, according to Marie Kondo, author of the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.  And you know what?  I totally agree with her.  Reading her book put a lot into perspective in terms of the cleaning/organizing/decluttering we all are constantly doing in our small apartments to keep them manageable.  It sometimes seems like a never ending cycle, doesn’t it?  According to Kondo though, it surely doesn’t have to.

Her method for tidying, which she dubs the KonMari Method, is not a mere set of rules on how to sort, organize, and put things away. It is a guide to acquiring the right mind-set for creating order and becoming a tidy person.  Here’s what we’re all doing wrong:

268e96de299bdaadb77b1d1d52450cfe1. Stop organizing, and start discarding.

That’s right.  If we organize, we’re simply putting our stuff (which we have too much of) into another place.  It’s only a matter of time before everything is a jumbled mess again, right?  Instead of putting stuff into another place, discard it.

2. Discard by category, not by room.

Kondo recommends discarding in this precise order: clothes, books, paper, miscellaneous, and things of sentimental value.

3. Do not put things in storage.  In fact, don’t have any storage.

Reverting back to point one, storage is not an option!  I know we so often hear, “put it in the garage for 6 months and if you don’t need it, then throw it away.”  But let’s be real: we’re New Yorkers and don’t have garages, and to pay for Manhattan Mini Storage is kind of a waste cause, if you don’t need it now, you probably don’t need it.  Granted, there’s always exceptions: those golf clubs or skies that you use perhaps twice a year?  I challenge you to think if you actually need them, or would be just as happy discarding them and renting them on the rare occasions when they’re needed.  After all, renting skies is way cheaper than paying to keep them in storage year round.

4. All of your possessions should have a home, so put them there, daily.

When you come in from work, you should have a set place for your keys, your coat, and your purse.  Do not, I repeat, DO NOT continue the habit of throwing them onto the kitchen counter.  Take a few minutes and return everything to their proper home, thanking them for a job well down for the day.

5. Own only items which you can honestly say spark joy in your life.

If you can’t pick something up and feel a rush of happiness, it’s time to realize that the item’s due date is here, and it’s time to thank the item for a job well done and discard it (please note: by “discard” I’m referencing whatever method works for your particular things…you can give items away, donate to charity, sell things on Ebay, put them in the trash…no matter.  Just discard quickly and efficiently;-).  Now, this can get a bit tricky with items that were given as gifts or sentimental items, but again, let’s be real.  Do you REALLY need mementos from your friend’s wedding sitting around?  How many photos do you actually need to recall a family vacation (especially now that everything is digital?)  Yes, your college hoodie got you though some great times, but unless you wear it on the regular and it truly sparks joy, out with it.

I really loved this book, and can say using her method has brought both inner and outer peace to my daily routines.  I mean, when you’re surrounded by things that spark joy, how can it not?

Would love to know…is this method something you’d consider trying?  Let’s chat in the comments below!

||Photo Credit: 1||

Jan
28

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12 Comments

UsedYorkCity Inspiration #18

unnamed^^The most delicious veggie platter at Prune in the East Village.^^

1. Are you a book junkie? This NYC blogger talks about borrowing eBooks from the library for free. (via Noted In NYC)

2. Love this mom’s response to the ex-NYC mom who stated, “raising kids in New York is a terrible, terrible idea.” (via Gothamist)

3. Stumped at what to grab at the wine store? This is probably the best description I’ve heard for aligning your preferred food tastes to bottles of vino. (via A Cup Of Joe)

4. 14 awkward weather situations New Yorkers will totally understand. Umm, understanding umbrella height differences? >>Right here.<< (via Big Appled)

5. A local’s guide to visiting NYC. (via Cultural Xplorer)

Share what’s been inspiring you this week below!

xo,

Jess