Author Archives: andreakcastillo

Nailed It: An Intergalactic Look With Floss Gloss “Dimepiece”

The look of intergalactic nails.

The look of intergalactic nails.

Nail stories are always fun, so here is my latest. If you have been keeping up with my Nailed It series, you would have noticed that I have been wearing acrylic wraps for the past few months. I liked the look of my longer nails, and the strength provided in wraps, but I caved. I took off my wraps at home (not the best idea) the other day, because my long nails were hindering my work, which of course, involves a lot of typing.

With newly short, natural nails, I wanted my first mani to make a statement, so I decided to go forward with a glitter polish called Dimepiece by Floss Gloss.

With bottle in hand of "Dimepiece" by Floss Gloss

With bottle in hand of “Dimepiece” by Floss Gloss

I originally received the polish from NYLON magazine, being a part of their It Girl program, but I must say, the amount of glitter scared me at first. I kept the bottle in a safe place, and thought now was the perfect time to break it out. I’m all for quirky polish names, so when I read that the name was Dimepiece, I was all for it.

I did the manicure myself, starting with a hardener and a base, as my nails became thin from the acrylic. I applied three coats of Dimepiece to achieve the look in the photo above. The polish is a holographic silver glitter which has hints of pink, blue, and green when it hits the light. The coverage is wonderful for a glitter polish. You don’t need three coats, I just decided to use this many to give the appearance of a nail color/glitter polish in one, although it is all glitter.

Dimepiece is available for sale on the Floss Gloss website for $8, which is a wonderful price for the quality and coverage.

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Take A Bite: Bocca Di Bacco Opens on 7th Avenue in Chelsea

The street view of Bocca di Bacco

The street view of Bocca di Bacco

There are certain things that are undeniably New York City; hot dog stands, angry cabbies, iconic skyscrapers, and amazing street style. In the realm of food, Italian is a staple, spanning the realm of your local pizzeria to fine dining in the Theatre District. Its undeniable popularity has worked for Bocca di Bacco, an NYC-based Italian restaurant chain that has opened its latest outpost in Manhattan’s hot neighborhood of Chelsea, in the former space of another Italian restaurant, IL Bastardo. This is the chain’s second Chelsea location, the first being on 9th Avenue.

The main dining room at Bocca Di Bacco

The main dining room at Bocca Di Bacco

Opening festivities for Bocca di Bacco were held at the restaurant on April 8 – 9 for media and special guests. I stopped by to see what it was all about, and was quite impressed. The space is massive, comprised of four rooms for public and private dining, decorated beautiful. The shot above is of the main dining room, filled with natural light in the day, and transformed into a sexier setting in the evening.

Wine selection

Wine selection

Along with its fine menu, Bocca di Bacco is known for their incredible wine selection and practice, being one of the few restaurants that serves many wines by both the bottle and glass. Guests were treated to these wines during the opening, along with specialty cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the likeness of wild mushroom crostini, rice balls, shrimp cocktail, and mini crab cakes.

Wild mushroom crostini

Wild mushroom crostini

The restaurant’s Executive Chef Kristin Sollenne, who was present at the event,  is passionate about creating modern Italian dishes infused with seasonality.

“I focus on rich, bold flavors using fresh herbs and seasonal produce, meat, poultry & seafood,” says Sollenne. “Simplicity makes an impact. More than anything, we want diners to come away feeling satisfied, full and content after a good, authentic Italian meal in the heart of New York City.”

 

Having this been my first experience at a Bocca Di Bacco, I can agree with Kristin in the fact that the food was fresh and flavorful, and the hospitality was on par. Check out more photos below from the opening.

Bocca Di Bacco in Chelsea is located on 7th Avenue between 21st & 22nd Streets. For more info, please visit their website.

*Photos courtesy of Bocca di Bacco/Pace Public Relations

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ZOYA Nail Polish: Summer 2014 Preview!

As warmer weather becomes a constant and festival season is in full-swing, the folks at Zoya Nail Polish give a preview of what is to come for Summer 2014! Check out the video above for a teaser for the “Tickled & Bubbly” line, and stay-tuned here for collection previews and reviews!

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Jane Carter Solution Ulta Stores Launch Event + App Debut

A spread of Jane Carter Solution products

A spread of Jane Carter Solution products

“Home Grown Hair Care” line Jane Carter Solution celebrated a momentous occasion with the Bella PR team on Wednesday April 9th. The company has recently launched their natural hair care collection into Ulta Stores, one of the largest beauty supply chains in the country! In celebration of such, a launch event was held for bloggers and editors at Bella PR’s offices in NYC.

Jane Carter speaking to attendees

Jane Carter speaking to attendees

The woman behind the brand, Jane Carter herself, was present along with her styling team and models with various hair textures. Her products are healthy and homespun, specifically designed for all hair types that want to achieve a “healthy non-greasy look”. We were taken through a slideshow of the company’s history and product line, including the launch of a 2 oz travel size of their most popular product “Nourish & Shine”, a balm that can used to alleviate both dry hair and skin.

Attendees listening to Jane's speech.

Attendees listening to Jane’s speech.

In addition to all of this, the company has also launched a new mobile app for iOS and Android platforms. The app is a one-stop destination for all things Jane Carter Solution, from hair styling tips for all textures, product recommendations, event announcements, and one-click shopping! Check out some more photos from the event below.

I had a lovely time meeting and chatting with Jane Carter, as well as learning more about her company and products. Look out for products reviews soon on the blog!

 

*All photos by Andrea K. Castillo

 

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Saturday Sounds: Etta Bond “Come Over”

Etta-bond-620x413

I recently became acquainted with the music of UK songbird Etta Bond, and I’m so happy that I did. Her seductive vocals paired with raw songwriting and stellar production is a sure hit. I listened to all suggested songs on SoundCloud and stopped in my musical tracks when I heard “Come Over”.

The tune is bittersweet, painting the picture of the other woman, who happens to be staying with her lover and his girl. The song is a bit twisted, but draws you in. The melancholy production by Raf Riley pulls you into the tale, accented with cowbells to keep the spirits up. Check the tune out below.

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Beauty: Birchbox Launches The Limited-Edition “Free For All” Box, Featuring All Natural Products

The products inside Birchbox's "Free For All" box

The products inside Birchbox’s “Free For All” box

In the ever-changing beauty and cosmetic industry, the trend as of late is marketing more ethical and natural products. Many consumers with certain allergies or moral standards, seek these products out as they are both good for them, and for the earth. Birchbox, realizing how important this is, decided to  launch a limited-edition box called “Free For All”.

All items in the box are free from parabens, phthalates, sulfates, petrochemicals and GMOs.

The box, which is not a part of the subscription and retails for $44 includes

This box is the premier product from the brand’s newest category, “Ingredient-Conscious Selections”. Check out the video above to get more information on the products inside the “Free For All” box. Happy shopping!

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New York African Restaurant Week Hits The City April 27th + Info On The Edible Bazaar

NYARW 2014 Flyer-1

Foodie friends in NYC, I have a delightful announcement to share with you! New York African Restaurant Week is just around the corner, beginning on April 27th, and ending on May 4th. The event, in its second year, has partnered with over a dozen pan-African restaurants throughout the New York metropolitan area. Participating restaurants will feature prixe fixe menus, priced at $16.95 for lunch and $24.95 for dinner. Diners will receive 10% off regular menu items with the mention of “New York African Restaurant Week”.Vouchers are available for purchase online at BeUEvents.com.

In addition to this, New York African Restaurant Week will be holding a kick-off event entitled, The Edible Bazaar on April 29th, which will feature food from a selection of participating restaurants, a variety of African wines, and tons of opportunities for networking! Individual tickets begin at $50, upwards of $200 for groups.

NYARW 2014 Edible Bazaar Kickoff event Flyer-2

Interested in attending The Edible Bazaar? Get an extra 25 percent off when you use discount code #NYARW to purchase tickets – offer valid until Thursday, April 10th. Happy eating!

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Take A Picturesque & History-Filled Stroll Through the Big Apple With Walks of New York

As a native of New York City, we often are put into one of two boxes.

  1. The know it all, that has a story about everything from delis to fancy night-life spots
  2. The avoider, AKA, the one that avoids crowds. This is the person that you will never find at any major tourist destination.
Street art on Gansevoort

Street art on Gansevoort

I myself, am somewhere in between. I have a vast knowledge of hidden gems and hot spots in the city, but at the age of 27, I can’t say that I have visited the Statue of Liberty (sad life, I know). Because of this, I am always on the lookout for opportunities to learn more about the city in which I live, and Walks of New York fills that void.

In celebration of National Walking Day on April 2nd, the team at Walks Of New York held a series of free, themed walking tours around the city for media. The company is an extension of Walks of Italy, a successful walking tour company of European destinations that began in 2009. For New York, the company is starting out with five tours:

  • Highlights of New York Tour: Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Grand Central
  • Meet the Met: Highlights of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Lower East Side Stories: Traditional New York Culture & Food
  • B&H New York Photography Tour: High Line, Meatpacking, Chelsea Market
  • Express Access – Empire State Building Tour and Skyscraper Walk
Depth of field.

Depth of field.

Being the photography nerd that I am, I chose the B & H Photo Tour. We started out in front of the Gansevoort Hotel on 9th Ave and 13th St. Our walk headed westward, and in this time we were introduced to some of the area’s history by freelance photographer, Kirsten Alana. Along with educational bits on the neighborhood, Kirsten gave us insight on perfect locations to snap beautiful photos.

New blossoms along the Highline

New blossoms along the Highline

Our westward walk took us to one of my favorite places, The Highline. Once an elevated train track, The Highline has since been remodeled to be a mini park and path of sorts, for us to experience nature at a higher level. The sunlight was splendid on the afternoon, so I was very pleased to capture great shots on the street, as well as close ups of foliage, as seen in the photo above. Continue reading

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Video: Nitty Scott MC Previews “The Art of Chill” x #CHILLUMINATI Tuesdays

Nitty Scott Live at S.O.B.'s

Nitty Scott Live at S.O.B.’s

I first became familiar with Nitty Scott MC by accident. In 2011 my homegirl Kortnee had invited me to a CMJ event in Williamsburg at Public Assembly that Nitty happened to be performing at. I had not heard any of her music prior, and was completely blown away when she hit the stage. “She can really spit!”, I said, and from that moment forward, I kept my ears to the street to all things Nitty.

Fast forward to 2014, and the good folks at XXL ask me to shoot her show at the iconic S.O.B.’s as part of Hot 97′s Whose Next Live series. I obliged, and captured her enthusiastic performance in a colorful way, in which you can see up top and here.

Now on the heels of her LP release, The Art of Chill, Nitty and her team have released a visual which serves as a teaser of the album, as well as introducing us all to  #CHILLUMINATI Tuesdays, a weekly series of behind-the-scenes footage of Nitty and The Boombox Family, leading up to the album release. Watch the video below.

The Art of Chill will be released on May 23rd.

 

*Photo by Andrea K. Castillo

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SOL REPUBLIC Launches “Relays” With A Hot New Track By Run DMT

SOL REPUBLIC Relays earphones on model.

SOL REPUBLIC Relays earphones on model.

Although a new face in the world of personal audio, SOL Republic knows just what their customer wants; solid audio without the fuss. Their newest launch is “Relays”, a pair of earphones that keep up with you. The earbuds are formulated of a special material that does not shift or slip, and resists sweat for an active lifestyle. Get into the video below.

Were you digging the track in the video? It’s by Austin, TX based dub-step producer and artist, RUN DMT. You can listen and download the track below.

Be on the look-out for more news from us and SOL Republic. Maybe a giveaway? You will have to wait and see!

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MANday Feature: Mujjo Sleeves & iPhone Cases

MANday13

Hey man, I know how you’re feeling. You’ve got the Holy Grail of Apple products, ranging from the versatile iPhone to the very necessary MacBook Pro, and you’re constantly on-the-go, while simultaneously using these products. Don’t you think it is necessary to have sleek cases for your gadgets that pack a style punch? Well look no further than MUJJO’s selection of sleeves and iPhone cases.

iPad mini Envelope Sleeve in Tan

iPad mini Envelope Sleeve in Tan

MUJJO is a young Dutch accessories company that started with a line of touchscreen gloves, and evolved to creating sleeves and phone cases. These cases are exquisitely designed with a keen eye for detail, using luxe materials in full-grain vegetable dyed leather and treated felt, for a high-impact aesthetic.

iPhone 5s Leather Wallet Case in Black

iPhone 5s Leather Wallet Case in Black

The line focuses on eliminating bulk. As you can see in the photos, iPhone cases incorporate slots for your credit cards, so you have one slim, stylish case to carry your valuables. The iPad an MacBook sleeves mirror this design practice, hugging your gadgets to fit nicely in your briefcase and hand alike.

All cases and sleeves are available in MUJJO’s online shop, ranging in price from $33.92 for the Slim Fit iPhone 5S wallet, upwards of $90.55 for a MacBook Folio Sleeve in Tan. This is a remarkable price point, given the design and quality of the product line.

Are you digging the collection? Let us know your thoughts below in the comments!

 

*Photos courtesy of MUJJO

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Event: Brooklyn Artists Ball Dance Party At The Brooklyn Museum 4/16

bkartistsballApril is here, and it is time for us all to cheer, because a mass of art events now float in the air!

I hope you enjoyed my little rhyme, if not, that is fine also. I’m just super happy to announce that the Brooklyn Artists Ball is just around the corner. The ball, which takes place at one of my favorite institutions, the Brooklyn Museum, showcases the works of a group of hand-selected artists living, and working in the sweetest borough that is Brooklyn (did you catch the Marty Markowitz reference?). An auction of the featured works will be available on Artsy, a mobile app to discover and purchase art, starting  April 7th and ending on the 16th.

The event will be held on April 16th, and will be immediately followed by a dance party (woo!). The party will feature a DJ set from Brenmar, live performance by Le1f, and libations and dessert for all. Tickets are available for purchase here, starting at $100 for the after party ($90 for Members of the Museum), upwards of $50,000 for a Benefactor table for dinner, cocktails, and admission to the dance party.

All funds support a greater mission.

Proceeds support the Museum’s innovative education programs, our traveling and new special exhibitions, and our position as a vital cultural and civic resource for Brooklyn and all of New York City.

Well said Brooklyn Museum, well said. I will be in attendance at the dance party, so if you want to come out and shake a tail-feather in support of the thriving Brooklyn creative community, you know what to do!

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Harkiss Designs, A Handcrafted Humanitarian Accessories Line To Keep An Eye On

A selection of footwear and beaded accessories from Harkiss Designs.

A selection of footwear and beaded accessories from Harkiss Designs.

Conscious-fashion has been a growing business in the past few years. There are many models for these, whether it be proceeds from certain items benefitting charity, or goods being produced sustainably in underserved communities. Harriet Zaffoni, a New Yorker of Ugandan-descent has used this model to create a line of handcrafted accessories produced by East African men and women, in which they can easily support their families. The name of her company is Harkiss Designs. Says Zaffoni:

Harkiss Designs gives women a voice, as well as the freedom to be sole providers for their families. This company was developed with a unique vision in mind, and I was very elated to see it come to life through the Spring Trunk Show. I want to make every single one of the products unique and special to whoever purchases it, as well as spreading the message of compassion.

Handmade clutches.

Handmade clutches.

All items in the collection are made of a number of materials, including locally sourced wood, stone, cow horn, leather, and many other natural and sustainable materials. You can see this in all the photos above and below, which were taken at the company’s spring trunk show at the end of March.

More jewelry from Harkiss Designs.

More jewelry from Harkiss Designs.

Prices range from $45 for smaller jewelry items, upwards of $400 for specialty home items. In addition to providing a constant source of work for East African artisans, percentage of sales benefit charity.

A percentage of all sales also go directly to the charity organization of choice, “Lend a Hand Uganda”; which provides care services, education, healthcare, donations, and other aid to orphans and vulnerable children in Uganda.

Head over to Harkiss Design’s e-commerce site to see more from the head-turning, handcrafted line.

 

*Photos courtesy of Harkiss Designs

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Art In NYC To Check Out This Weekend: ArtExpo NY, “Rock Seen” by Bob Gruen, & Kurt Cobain by Jesse Frohman

 ART EXPO New York AT PIER 94

April 4- 6

"Pucker Up!" by David Bromstad

“Pucker Up!” by David Bromstad

ArtExpo is named the “world’s largest fine art show”, and has set up shop this weekend in New York City at Pier 94, located on 11th Ave at 54th Street in Manhattan. The show, which opened to VIPs Friday evening, features artwork from all over the world from both emerging (the [SOLO] show) and more established artists. Along with this, there is the DECO Expo Showcase, a trade only art and framing show.

An added bonus for ArtExpo is the featured works of my favorite interior designer and star of HGTV’s Color Splash, David Bromstad. He has partnered with Penny Lane to create a collection of affordable artwork for the home.

General admission tickets are $20, and valid for one-day admission. Public show hours are below.

  • Saturday, April 5, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, April 6, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

 

ROCK SEEN BY BOB GRUEN AT POP SOHO

johnlennonpopsoho

If you are not familiar with the name Bob Gruen, you are definitely familiar with his work. Born in 1945 in NYC, Gruen has documented the international rock scene for over forty years, notably being the personal photographer of John Lennon during his stay in New York City. Pop International Gallery in SoHo currently hosts the photographic retrospective of Gruen’s works, which opened this past Thursday, entitled “Rock Seen”, which coincides with his book of the same name.

This exhibition is not to be missed by music fans and photo enthusiasts alike, and will be on view for a few weeks.  Pop SoHo is located at 473 Broadway in Manhattan. Admission to the gallery is gratis. Gallery hours are below.

  • Mon to Sat 10am – 7pm
  • Sun 11am – 6pm

 

KURT COBAIN BY JESSE FROHMAN AT THE DREAM DOWNTOWN

April 4 – May 6

Kurt Cobain--Smoking C, Ver 2. By Jesse Frohman

Kurt Cobain–Smoking C, Ver 2. By Jesse Frohman

Today, April 5, 2014, marks the 20th anniversary of the unfortunate passing of Nirvana front-man, Kurt Cobain. In honor of his colorful life, The Gallery at Dream Downtown is hosting an exhibition of photographs of the star by photographer Jesse Frohman. We get to see Cobain in his element both on and off the stage. This is sure to be a delight for Nirvana fans, and rock history fans alike.

Kurt Cobain, By Photographer Jesse Frohman will be on view until May 6th. The Gallery at Dream Downtown is located within the Dream Downtown at 355 West 16th Street. 

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Saturday Sounds: “Little Dragon Went To South Africa” (Mixtape)

Little Dragon. Photo by Sagan Lockhart.

Little Dragon. Photo by Sagan Lockhart.

Just in time for the weekend, I am here to share more jams for your listening (and dancing) pleasure. As the weather slowly begins to warm up in NYC, I like to listen to music that is reminiscent of an exotic location, or of the coming summer months.

I found this mixtape by one of my favorite bands, Little Dragon, that they created a few months back when they visited South Africa. In the mix, you hear a mix of Kwaito (South African house music), 90′s house more. Press play to get into it!

Tracklist
1. Do It Blek Sem – Dj Cleo
2. Kuyafiwa – Dj Cleo
3. Ruthless – Dj Cleo
4. Jezebel – Professor feat. Oskido & Dj Tira
5. Mambotjie – TKZee
6. unknown name – Abafana Bovenvane from their cassette SIBALI. label is USM and the cassette no is ZGAL 2080
7. Africa Natives (silly willy) – Mzee
8. Mono T Jam – Oskido & Master Wakes
9. Akhonto feat. Lelethu – Dj Clock
10. Terminator – Dj Gukwa
11. Ndiya Ndiya feat. Zulu Naja – Dj Cleo
12. Track 7 – Dj Christos from Afrodessia mp3 disc1 …. LOL (sorry this is all i got)
13. Djs Manifesto – Oskido
14. Banane Mavoko – Black Motion feat. Jah Rich

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