UYC’s Kitchen: 5 Veggie Homemade Soups To Get You Through The Winter


When the bone-chilling cold winter weather hits, I’m all about the soups.  The best thing about these huge pots is that you can fix one up on Sunday, and have plenty to nosh off of all week.  Busy New Yorker’s best friend?  I think yes.

Here’s a few favorites that circulate through my kitchen until the frost stops:

 Ginger + Lime Carrot Soup (my very favorite from this list!)

Classic Lentil Soup

Slow Cooker Cheesy Potato Soup

Butternut Bisque

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

Another perk: a whole pot of one of these costs about the same to throw together as buying an individual serving from our beloved NYC soup-centric restaurants (Hale and Hearty, I’m talking to you!)  Kudos for saving money and staying warm, NYC!


What’s your favorite cold weather soup?  Share below!


By: Jessica Tiare Bowen





Cheap Date: 10 Affordable NYC Outings Your Boo Will Love


Sometimes having too many options can be uber overwhelming, and another night of Netflix and Dominos seems like the better option than weeding through ALL. THOSE. CHOICES.

We’ve compiled a list of 10 of our favorite dates around the city to make it just a tiny bit easier.  (We’re not knocking Netflix, promise, but jussstttt in case you need to get out of the apartment..!)

1. Bring out your inner Picasso at a painting class (the bring your own wine helps a lot!)

2. Sip a $0.92 cocktail (no joke!) while listening to live jazz.

3. Bake cupcakes together.  Seriously, so sweet.  And tasty.

4. Become well versed in wine and cheese pairings so you can be THAT COUPLE at your next dinner party.

5. Couple’s massage, anyone?

6. Take a foodie walking tour of Chinatown + Little Italy.

7. …then try a new workout class together.

8. Or that hot yoga you’ve been meaning to try.

9. Download an adventurous walking tour onto your iPod and explore a new hood.

10. Have a moment at a special place in the city. We think this is as good a spot as any.


Have you been on any fun dates (friend dates count, too!) lately?  Share below!


By: Jessica Tiare Bowen


This post is part of Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox.






The Realistic Joneses + Giveaway

The Realistic Joneses

This contest has officially ended.  A huge New York thank you to all who participated, and congrats to our winner, Mary Lane from NewYorkCliche!  Stay tuned for more exciting UsedYorkCity.com giveaways!

Guys!  HUGE giveaway going on today!  Not only are we so excited to share with you the newest hit on Broadway starring the lovely Toni Collette, The Realistic Joneses, but we’re also giving away tickets to the show’s dress rehearsal on Wednesday, March 12th at 8pm.  Typically an “industry insider” event, this is such a fun and exciting way to see the show before ANYONE else in Manhattan!

Here’s a bit about the show:

What do you really know about your neighbors?

This spring, TONI COLLETTE, MICHAEL C. HALL, TRACY LETTS, & MARISA TOMEI invite you to find out!

Academy Award nominee Toni Collette (Muriel’s Wedding, Hostages), Golden Globe winner Michael C. Hall (Dexter, Six Feet Under), Tony Award winner Tracy Letts (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Homeland) and Academy Award Winner Marisa Tomei (My Cousin Vinny, The Wrestler) star in THE REALISTIC JONESES, the new play about love and life, friends and neighbors. Written by Pulitzer Prize finalist Will Eno and directed by Sam Gold (Fun Home), it’s an outrageous, inside look at the people who live next door, the truths we think we know and the secrets we never imagined we all might share.



Want those free tickets?  Here’s how to enter:

1. Subscribe to Used York City, getting the best picks of NYC delivered straight to your inbox.  (Don’t forget to respond to the verification message you are sent via email.  Previous subscribers are automatically entered!)

For a bonus entry:

1.  Like us on Facebook!


The contest will run until Sunday, February 23rd, 2014, at which time winners will be randomly chosen and announced on this post and via Twitter, and the winners will be notified directly by the email address that they subscribed with!  Best of luck to all our readers!


By: Jessica Tiare Bowen









New Yorker Moments: So You Wanna Wear Your Wedding Dress Twice…


Let’s call a spade a spade: I wanted an excuse to wear my wedding dress twice.  (Kidding!)  But seriously, having a secret elopement on a rooftop in NYC with only our chihuahua and parents, and then keeping it hush-hush for 5 whole months (ekkk!), and surprising our guests with the video of our ceremony at what they THOUGHT was the wedding was buckets of fun.

We got the best of both worlds: a super intimate ceremony where we could be our sappy, mushy selves without the pressure of everything that goes along with a wedding or an audience for our vows (seriously, there’s nothing I hate more than public speaking when I’m emotional!), and got to be husband in wife in SECRET for months before revealing it to the world (best idea ever!), and THEN got to dress all our friends up like flappers and newsboys from the twenties, drink champagne and dance on tables.  They were the two best days of our lives!  Well, maybe the second and third best days…meeting Mr. P for the very first time will always be my very favorite day.

Here’s 10 amazing moments that were so, so special.  

7.7.13–Our secret elopement!  (We even surprised our parents, they thought they were coming over for a “food tasting” for the wedding, and then, surprise!  Here we are, ready to get our vows on, an excerpt from “The Little Prince” being read.  They loved it:-)

12.6.13–Having our bridal party dance in to Chris Brown’s “Forever”.  This was pretty much my dream wedding entrance since watching it on The Office years ago.  Proud to say, our bridal party trumped Michael Scott and Company!

Watching the expressions of our sisters + friends as they watched the video!

Having our bestie as the ring bearer (again!), and temporarily lose the bands, which were found later in the bottom of his bag.  Oh, Gills!

Seeing all the DIY projects come together to create a truly magical 1920’s literary-love night!  (In all shades of blush and bashful, of course!)

Dressing all our favorite people up in 1920’s garb.

My 83 year old grandma came all the way from Richmond to be by my side.  Love her!

Our first dance was a waltz to “10 Minutes Ago” from the musical Cinderella, sang by my sister and dear friend, making it extra special.

Dancing with my dad to a rendition of Taylor Swift’s “Best Day” that I wrote just for him.  The very talented Jessica Lynn singing!  Here’s the song: The Best Day {to Dad, love Jess}

Spending the rest of forever with this guy right here.

Advice for future brides that want to wear their dress twice (or more?!)  Go for it, darlings!  Like everything in life, your wedding is an expression of who you and your partner are, and so what if it bucks from tradition?  It’s one of the big moments in life that you can make exactly how YOU dreamed it to be, so get imaginative with that dream, make it sparkle.  We had concerns that some of our guests would feel slighted that they didn’t see the ceremony in person (and that we kept it secret for months in order to surprise them!), but you know what?  Everyone was so supportive and awesome about it.  So whatever your thing may be, I say make it what will cause you to look back in 50 years and say “By golly, how lucky am I to have gotten my dream partner AND dream wedding?”

A huge thank you, darling readers, for letting me share these unforgettable New Yorker moments.  Wishing you all the happiest Valentine’s Day!






p.s.  Our vendors?  The absolute BEST!  I can’t rave enough about each and every one of them, and would recommend any of the below in an absolute heartbeat!

Wedding Planner: Brilliant Event Planning
Wedding Photograher: Brklyn View Photography 
Video + Reception Photographer: Generic Brand Human 
Officiant: Bettina Yiannakourou
Wedding Venue: The Surrey
Reception Venue: Housing Works Bookstore
DJ: A Starry Night DJ
Gown: Bhldn
Hair: FaceTime Beauty Concierge
Makeup: The Illustrious Kenny











Nina’s European Day Spa And Laser Center


I’m pretty loyal when it comes to my massages, but in all honesty, trekking down to Chinatown in this bone-chilling cold just isn’t happening for me.  A friend recommended Nina’s European Day Spa and Laser Center, centrally located on 35th and 5th, and promised it would live up to my high standards of DEEP-deep tissue.  (I mean, I have a ridiculously tight back under normal circumstances, but the Polar Vortex conditions are magnifying that by a bijillion.  Just saying.)  Anyhow, Jess was impressed.

I started off with a facial, including cleansing, exfoliation, steaming, massage, AND a mask (when in a day spa, eh?), and particularly loved how the esthetician Natalie didn’t try to up-sell at all during the process.  Any other place in the city I have tried has always done this (NO, I don’t want gold flakes rubbed into my face, thank you very much!), and I really feel it takes away from the whole relaxing experience.  I was super pleased that there was none of this involved, along with the fact that I was left in my cozy cocoon to nap under the hot steam for a pleasant amount of time, warding off the chill from outside.

Next, I was off to the massage room!  My high expectations were exceeded by the lovely therapist, Inga.  I knew we’d get along when she started the massage with “Just tell me if I’m going too hard…”  (No!  It’s perfect!)  The combo of the deep tissue, warming oils, hot towels, and strong, strong hands was the absolute best medicine to fight off the Polar Vortex.  Not to mention, I didn’t have to trek all the way downtown to get it.  Ladies, I will be seeing you again soon.

For our UsedYorkCity readers, we’re super excited to be offering you the following 2-for-1 deal!  I’ll see you there:-)

WHERE: Nina’s European Day Spa and Laser Center
5 West 35th Street
New York, New York  10001


What are you loving right now?  Share below!


By: Jessica Tiare Bowen


This post is part of Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox.