Free Fitness in NYC: Bryant Park Yoga Summer 2016 Season, Presented by Athleta & Yoga Journal

There is never an excuse to be out of shape whilst living in NYC during the summertime as there are a plethora of free or low cost fitness classes or sessions throughout the season. Returning for its 13th season is the ever popular, Bryant Park Yoga. The flagship series presented by Athleta and taught by Yoga Journal instructors, holds free yoga sessions on the lawn on Tuesday mornings and Thursday evenings, now fully in session!

There are great perks for frequent yogis. When you attend your first session, you receive a Frequent Yogi Card, which is used as a loyalty card of sorts to make tabs of every session you attend. Guests who attend 6, 12, 24, or 36 times receive exclusive coupons and discounts from both Athleta and Yoga Journal.

Check out the full summer schedule on Eventbrite, and I hope to see you on the mat!

 

*Photo courtesy of Bryant Park

Take A Bite: Brunchin’ On A Weekday at Dominique Bistro in NYC’s West Village

Street view of Dominique Bistro

As a purveyor of all things cool and delicious in NYC, I always enjoy the opportunity to discover hidden gems in one of the greatest cities in the world. A favorite neighborhood of mine to peruse is the West Village as a majority of the pre-war constructed buildings are still intact, hosting unique retail offerings in fashion boutiques, casual-faire restaurants, and cocktail bars. Newly opened in the neighborhood is Dominique Bistro, a Parisian-style French bistro located at the historic intersection of Christopher & Gay Streets.

Interior. Photo courtesy of Dominique Bistro

I was invited by the restaurant’s public relations team to partake in a meal, and write about my experience. As a Francophile and frequenter of French bistros, I quickly agreed to the task at hand. I visited the restaurant on a sunny afternoon for brunch. Although at an iconic intersection, Dominique Bistro feels off-the-beaten path as the block was super calm, and quiet. Upon entering the facade, I was greeted by a lovely ambience which included a full wooden dining area, bar with a vast selection of wine and spirits, eye-catching artwork, and a record player playing downtempo musical selections.

Latte with half & half to start

I introduced myself to one of the servers, and was seated within minutes at a table near the windows on the left. She gave me a menu and insisted I begin with a beverage, so of course, I ordered my favorite caffeinated beverage, a latté with half & half. It was served in such a beautiful mug (above) complete with fern latté art.

I took a look around the space to get a feel of the vibe. There was an equal amount of solo diners and couples. As the dining area was pretty quiet, it is definitely good for someone who wants to work on their computer for a bit as they do have wifi. I would not recommend it for groups as it is a smaller venue.

Croque Madame served with French Onion Soup

Now, it was time to order my meal. The pressure was on, as there were so many great plates to choose from, but I finally decided on the Croque Madame from their “French Market” menu. The croque consisted of prosciutto cotto, gruyere cheese, and a sunny side egg served atop a crispy bread from Amy’s Bread. I had a side of French Onion soup to pair and add yet another cheesy element to my meal, because I absolutely love cheese.

I really enjoyed the textures and flavors of the croque, but I must say, it was not the easiest to eat. I used my steak knife to cut it into smaller pieces, which proved a bit difficult as the bread was hard to cut through. I took spoons of soup in between bites and burnt my mouth because I did not judge the cool-down effectively. I can say I was a bit embarrassed as I was sitting by myself, making a slight mess of crumbs, and burning my tongue, simultaneously. Nevertheless, the flavors were solid.

Chocolate Soufflé

Seeing my visible stress, the server asked if I would be interested in dessert, and of course I responded favorably. I am a firm believer that dessert or sweets can really turn your day around. As a huge chocolate lover, I HAD to order the Chocolate Soufflé. It came out super fresh from the kitchen in a ramekin, with a generous scoop of vanilla bean ice cream atop a small bed of walnuts.

X-rated chocolate vibes

How could I resist this? I put my spoon in to release heat and not repeat my prior mouth burn situation, and the visual was food porn at its best, seen above. To say the chocolate and vanilla ice cream pairing was delectable may actually be an understatement. The varying temperatures paired with the crunchiness of the walnuts made it the perfectly balanced dessert.

When in the West Village, be sure to have a meal, snack, or drink at Dominique Bistro. Its inviting atmosphere and delicious Parisian menu are a treat!

 

Dominique Bistro

14 Christopher street
West Village, NYC 10014

(646) 756-4145

 

All photos by Andrea K. Castillo

I received a complimentary meal at Dominique Bistro.

Saturday Sounds: ROM “I Just Want You To Know”

Music discovery is one of my favorite pastimes in life, and one of my favorite places to discover new music, aside from the suggestions of friends, is SoundCloud. Although their new set-up as a paid service with commercials is not the best for inquisitive listeners like myself, I am still able to find a fresh bunch of producers, beat makers, vocalists, and DJs with ease based on their suggestions for me.

Case in point is that of this week’s Saturday Sounds offering, ROM. As per his SoundCloud profile, he is a 20-year old producer and multi-instrumentalist from Birmingham, UK. I saw that one of my friends had added a track of his to their collection, so I decided to take a listen. I am glad I did. The young musician flips a lot of popular R&B tracks, including a few produced by my favorite guy, Pharrell.

The track “I Just Want You To Know” is a flip of Snoop Dogg & Pharrell’s track “Beautiful”, solely featuring the vocals from Pharrell on the hook. Of course it caught my ear. Listen below and enjoy your Saturday.

Wanderlust Presents Yoga + Meditation Series with Samsung 837 NYC

Memorial Day is just around the corner, and many of you may have plans to kick the summer season off right. Whether it be with a huge barbecue, beach party, or trip locally or abroad, the season can be quite busy to say the least. What do you do when you want to keep it chill, unwind, and do something for both your body and your spirit? We have got the thing.

The lovely folks at Wanderlust have teamed up with Samsung 837 in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District for a spring/summer Yoga + Meditation series. Beginning on Sunday, May 22nd, the sessions will be split as follows; rooftop yoga on Sunday mornings and guided meditation on Monday evenings. The best part about it all, aside from taking the time out for yourself and feeling refreshed after, is that all sessions are FREE!

Check out the line-up so far below, complete with instructor names, dates, and the sign up link. Hope to see you there!

 

SUNDAY SESSIONS YOGA

AARONA GANESAN + DJ TASHA BLANK
Sunday, May 22 • 11 AM
SIGN UP

 

MONDAY MEDITATION

HUNTER CRESSMAN
Monday, May 23 • 7 PM
SIGN UP

 

SUNDAY SESSIONS YOGA

KEVIN COURTNEY + DJ AMBER RYAN
Sunday, May 29 • 11 AM
SIGN UP

 

MONDAY MEDITATION

KATHY CHERRY
Monday, May 30 • 7 PM
SIGN UP

 

SUNDAY SESSIONS YOGA

DANA FLYNN + DJ MATTHIAS HEILBRONN
Sunday, June 5 • 11 AM
SIGN UP

 

SUNDAY SESSIONS YOGA

ELENA BROWER
Sunday, June 12 • 11 AM
SIGN UP

Samsung 837

837 Washington Street
New York, NY 10014

Free Fitness in NYC: Meatpacking Sweat Sessions, May Schedule, Presented by Wellthily

So you want to be summertime fine, but you’re low on dimes? The approaching summer season is the best time to experience free fitness classes in NYC, both in studio, and al fresco. Manhattan’s Meatpacking District has teamed up with wellness-driven design firm Wellthily to offer a full series of gratis fitness classes called Sweat Sessions, at Hudson River Park’s 14th St. Park.

Taking place on Tuesday nights between May 10 – August 30th, there are three 45 minute sessions that you are able to take part in, from some of the city’s most popular studios, trainers, and gyms. The May sessions are now live, which you can check out below.

Tuesday, May 10th
6PM: Cyc off the Bike – Interval Hour
7PM: Lululemon Yoga
8PM: Barre by Exhale Spa

Tuesday, May 17th
6PM: Dancebody
7PM: Bari
8PM: ACCESS by Rebecca Kennedy

Tuesday, May 31st
6PM: Barre at the Park
7PM: Lululemon Yoga
8PM: Asics

So, you wanna get fit with the crew? Be sure to sign up on the Sweat Sessions Splashthat page, and keep your eyes peeled for the June schedule.

Lazy AF But Want A Bomb Margarita This Cinco de Mayo? Try These From José Cuervo

Authentic Cuervo Margarita Flavors

Today is Cinco de Mayo, the day that commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). Although the holiday is generally another day in Mexico, with the exception of the state of Puebla that holds military parades and other festive events, it is a huge celebration of Mexican-American heritage in the United States.

Here, Mexican culture is on full display, mainly its music, cuisine and popular spirit of choice, tequila. Maybe you plan on throwing some shots or margaritas back at a local bar this evening with your buddies, but how about those who like to entertain at home? José Cuervo has the perfect option for you, with no shakers and bar tools necessary.

Enter the Authentic Cuervo Margarita, a ready-to-serve margarita made exclusively with Cuervo Gold tequila. Available in six flavors: classic lime, strawberry lime, mango, watermelon, grapefruit-tangerine, and coconut-pineapple, there is sure to be a variety to suit your taste. The best part? All you have to do is load up your glass with your desired amount of ice, pour, and serve. Check out some of the flavors below.
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AFROPUNK BROOKLYN Announces Their 2016 Line-Up, & It’s Great!

Living in a time where there is conflict in the idea of being young, gifted, and Black, the AFROPUNK festival celebrates all of these things, and the people who are often labeled as other. I have been a longtime supporter of the movement, having attended my first fest back in 2007 when they had set up shop in the little skate park in the triangle outside of BAM (RIP as a new high-rise is currently being built in that space).

Last summer, I had the opportunity to go back after a few years, and it was nothing short of magical. Never have I been in a space filled with so much love, acceptance, and happiness, a safe space for the young, gifted, Black other. Today, the summer 2016 lineup was announced for Brooklyn, and boy does it deliver. Peep the video re-capping bits of last year’s jaunt, and check the full lineup below. I have put stars next to my favorites. Will I be seeing you there?

AFROPUNK BROOKLYN 2016 LINEUP
Ice Cube
TV On The Radio
Tyler The Creator*
CeeLo Green
Flying Lotus*
Janelle Monae*
The Internet*

SUPERJAM
Featuring Members from
Bad Brains
Fishbone
Living Colour

George Clinton*
Earl Sweatshirt*
Skunk Anansie
Skye & Ross from Morcheeba
Young Fathers
Benjamin Booker
Saul Williams*
Angel Haze*
Kelela*
Trash Talk
Shabazz Palaces*
Thundercat*
Sango*
Esta*
Gallant*
Prayers
Radkey
Seinabo Sey
The Suffers*
Sir The Baptist
Sate
Downtown Boys
Roman GianArthur
Joe Kay*
The Whooligan
SPZRKT*
Eden Hagos

AFROPUNK BROOKLYN will be held at Commodore Barry Park on August 27-28. Tickets may be purchased here. Act soon before prices rise!

A Life In the Day of Andrea Turns 5! A Photo Reflection.

You read that right. On this day in 2011, I published my first post ever on this here blog. I truly had no idea what I was doing at that time, just the fact that I was in the know when it came to happenings around NYC and abroad, that were usually fueled by my intense love for music. Honestly, I still don’t have it all together. In these years, my blog has had a multipurpose function, to share my personal thoughts and happenings in my life, and to introduce you to new things and interesting people. Because I care so much about what I do decide to cover or write about here, the blog has also served as a portfolio of sorts, helping me snag writing, social media, and event gigs with brands and people that I do admire.

April 2013. Photo: Ernest Estimé

The past five years of my life have not been that peachy, as in this time I have dealt with a ton of personal loss in the form of death of family members and friends, loss of stable jobs, and the loss of relationships. I don’t say this for you to take pity on me, but to peel back a layer on the actual life of the creator behind the blog. I have written on many accounts of my struggles with depression, sadness, and anxiety, and I thank each and every one of you who took the time to read, give advice, and wish me well. It is incredibly difficult to keep up with everything that is happening in your city when you are not the happiest with yourself. I have toyed with the idea of shutting A Life In The Day of Andrea numerous times as I started to drown in events and content.

Fab 5 Freddy posing in front one of his works

Fab 5 Freddy, 2013. Photo by me.

When I look back, it is very easy to feel a bit disappointed as I haven’t amassed tens of thousands of followers on social media to show brands and important people that I am worthy to work with. I did not start this platform to find fame, but to share my world. Having the opportunity to work with interesting people over the years has just been a bonus. With all that being said, I will not shut the site down, but fine tune my content to really be an extension of my life. Photography is a huge part of my expression, so I will get back to posting photos I have taken, and cool shoots I collaborate with friends on.

Caye Caulker, Belize 2014. Photo by me.

With that said, here are a few of my favorite images that I have taken, or were taken of me over the years. I hope you enjoy!

Alexandra Ferguson pillows, Gluk wine glass coaster, High Heel wine coaster, NEO (neoprene pillow)

Lifestyle shoot at Harlem Flo, 2012. Photo: Creative Jenius Agency

Coco O. dazzling the crowd with her sultry vocals.

Coco O. of Quadron, 2013. Photo by me.

Borbay on left and author Zack O'Malley Greenburg.

Borbay & Zack O’Malley Greenburg, 2014. Photo by me.

moeimacakes

Moeima, 2012. Photo by me.

Picture in picture, 2015. Photo by Kermit Mercado.

#COZYGirls Shoot with jeffstashbox

Stunt

It has been a bit of time since I have updated the magical world of Andrea, and rightfully so. Things have been a bit hectic (in a good way) so now that I am back, let me reemerge from the shadows with some hot shit. In the past few months I truly have been building up my freelance game in writing, editing, event & video production, and creative endeavors as a whole.

I have been, and am currently being approached by my fellow creatives to be interviewed and or photographed for their individual projects, which I love because it is all about COMMUNITY! With that being said, I wanted to share some super dope images from my latest shoot with jeffstashbox.

Posted up, on the move

Jeff has an amazing photo series called #COZYGirls, which celebrates women of color dressed in their favorite cozy/athleisure looks. I have been following the series for some time now, and I enjoy the fact that he is highlighting girls like us, in a society where women of color are often sexualized for our bodies, scantily clad and painted to be overly dramatic. I jumped at the opportunity to shoot with him, and the proof is the pudding. He provided a Staple Pigeon sweatshirt for me to wear, which was totally on-brand as the colors perfectly represent my fuchsia/white/black branding.

Getting more comfortable

Shot in the East Village outside of Good Records NYC, it was almost serendipitous that it came out this way. I am a huge audiophile, love shades of pink, and it was quite the coincidence that the location was on East 5th Street, the same street I live on in Brooklyn.

Sitting on the stoop

Shooting with Jeff was super organic because I did not really have to pose, but just be myself. I admit I am a bit of a dork when it comes to photoshoots, and my face shows it sometimes. I didn’t think too hard, and just went with the flow.

My mid SB Dunks

To achieve maximum coziness, I brought out my Nike Sportswear joggers that I purchased in Toronto after my Nike Women’s 15K race, my near vintage (2007) SB Dunks, and my black jacquard jacket from Stylemint.

Rapper Pose

For Brooklyn, I ended with a rapper pose/jail shot for authenticity purposes. I had an awesome time, and I hope you enjoy the photos! Many thanks to Jeff for considering me, and dealing with my fake diva demands when I got cold.😀

 

*Photography by jeffstashbox

Take A Bite & Sip: Dinner & Cocktails at Earls Lincoln Park in Chicago

Setting and menu

Back in mid-November I had the opportunity to head out to Chicago with my cousin Lauren, and some friends. Having never been to the Windy City, I was really excited to head out, although for just two days, to explore a bit of the city’s famed food culture.

I had previously interviewed executive Stephen Andrews about the newest opening of Earls Kitchen + Bar in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, and I found this quick trip to be the perfect time to stop into the restaurant to eat, drink, and be merry.

B-flat by Ricky Alvarez, #ArtOfEarls

The restaurant was situated in a hip shopping and dining area in Lincoln Park right on North Clybourn Ave. The space was quite large, with a lovely outdoor dining space, specially equipped with weatherproof furniture, fire pits, and heating lamps to keep guests warm when it is brisk out. Upon entering, the aesthetics of the exterior melded into the main dining room, featuring two bars, one massive with all around seating for those that prefer a more casual outing, and a smaller bar near the entrance to cater to patrons present for a sit down dinner, or more formal outing.

Muddy Waters by Erik den Breejen, #ArtOfEarls

Unique artwork was ever present, including a huge wall installation in the bar area entitled B-flat by Vancouver-based artist Ricky Alvarez, which was created using a plethora of trumpets. Also of note was the Muddy Waters collage by Erik den Breejen in the main dining room, comprised of Muddy Waters lyrics that create a portrait of the famed Chicago musician.

The staff greeted us, gave us the lowdown on the space and Earls as a chain, and quickly seated my cousin and I at a dining table. We were given a full description of items on the menu, and were treated to all courses. Here is what we ate!

Appetizers

We began our evening with appetizers to share, and specialty cocktails. We shared three appetizers including the Korean Hot Wings, Dynamite Roll which was made of shrimp,  mango and avocado sushi, sriracha mayo, black sesame and unagi maple, and a Corn poblano dip topped with jalapeño and served with fried bread. Everything was delicious, but the wings were definitely off the chain, containing the perfect amount of sweet and spice.

Bees Knees cocktail

Cocktails came our way about every fifteen minutes, and I can definitely say that I was tipsy by the end of the evening.  I will highlight my favorites, one being the Bees Knees cocktail above. Comprised of Aviation Gin, Cointreau, honey, fresh lemon, and angostura bitters, I was quite surprised that I loved this cocktail so much as it was gin based. I usually go for rum or tequila based drinks.  I had two of these.

Paloma cocktail

The Paloma cocktail was a not-so-classic Paloma recipe, comprised of Espolon Reposado Tequila, fresh lime juice and Jarritos Mexican grapefruit soda. Both Lauren and I enjoyed this cocktail as it was super fresh, not too sweet, with a deep tequila flavor. Reminiscent of a vacation somewhere tropical, like Tulum.

My entree: Salmon

Entrees were so hard to pick as all the offerings were amazing, but our plan of action was to pick two completely different plates so we could share. We went the surf & turf route, with Lauren choosing a Chimichurri Skirt Steak, and me choosing a Mediterranean infused Salmon plate.

The earthiness of my dish muted my salmon in a nice way. The grains, legumes, and tomato-based sauce that the salmon steak laid upon brought about a medley of flavors to the salmon that I was not used to, but in an exciting way.

Lauren’s entree: Chimichurri Skirt Steak

Lauren’s chimichurri skirt steak was just delectable. The Earls chain only uses the best beef, “Certified Humane Creekstone Farms Black Angus Beef free of antibiotics with no added hormones”, and boy does it show. Served in an iron skillet, the beef was so fresh and tender, cooked perfectly with baby potatoes, and pan roasted cherry tomatoes. I can definitely see now why this is a favorite among patrons.

Lemon Meringue cocktail

As with our appetizers, more cocktails came with dinner. A standout for me was the Lemon Meringue cocktail. Comprised of Skyy Vodka, Limoncello, and meringue foam, the cocktail tasted almost as good as Lauren’s mother’s family famous lemon meringue pie. A feat indeed.

Silly Wabbit cocktail

Lauren’s favorite cocktail of the evening, which I also enjoyed, was the Silly Wabbit. Comprised of vodka and fresh carrot juice with a few other ingredients, Lauren described the drink as a “nice cool breeze” and gave her that feeling you get after having a great work out at the gym. The carrot juice makes you feel super healthy, but don’t be fooled; the vodka has a kick!

Sticky Chocolate Toffee Pudding

And then came dessert. We had a bit of a sampling. The pumpkin pie was delectable and reminiscent of something your grandma would make. Spiced just right and topped with fresh whipped cream, it was a treat. The Sticky Chocolate Toffee Pudding was a staff favorite, so we decided to try it as well. The combination of warm pudding cake atop chocolate and toffee sauces, paired with vanilla ice cream was pretty much the best of both worlds. I like the balance of sweetness and textures.

Upon completing our meal, we were greeted with, you guessed it, more cocktails, and treated to a unique tour of the restaurant’s kitchen and prep spaces with Senior Sous Chef, Jovahn Sandhu.

Saucy!

Since I am a complete food and kitchen nerd, the kitchen tour may have been even more exciting than the food and cocktails! Jovahn introduced us to the kitchen staff, and showed us all of their stations; every thing from sauce and condiment prep, to meats, to baked goods and more.  It was really intriguing to see how many moving parts are needed to get the final meal on your plate at super fast speed.

Even more exciting for me, was taking a step into the refrigerators. I cannot truly gauge the amount of square footage the refrigerators took up, but with racks and product, you could still fit a small dance party of folks within. Above you see all the containers of sauces, that are prepped fresh each day before dawn.

Zests for cocktails

As I am a bit of a cocktail snob, it was great for me to see where all of the zests for the cocktails you saw above, and more, were stored. These things that may seem so small, are so important to the diner’s overall experience from a taste and time perspective. I was so geeked it was probably embarrassing, especially as my drinks were starting to hit me during the tour. Despite all this, Jovahn and crew were super detailed and helpful, giving me all the information I was seeking, and then some.

Cousins!

We finished our tour with some insight on the bar culture of Earls from Lounge Manager, Taylor Happy, who had been present throughout our meal, helping with suggestions. He showed us the outdoor seating and fire pit, as well as the outdoor seating near the entrance. With a garage door between the inside and outside, summer patrons can feel like a part of the indoor action with a quick raise of the door.

When in downtown Chicago, definitely make a stop at Earls Kitchen + Bar. With a menu to appeal to all tastes and a friendly, knowledgeable staff, it is sure to be a dining experience you will never forget!

 

Earls Kitchen + Bar, Lincoln Park

1538 North Clybourn Avenue, Unit A108, Chicago IL
Get directions via Google maps
tel.   312-929-3952   fax.   312-929-4049

 

All photos by Andrea K. Castillo

I received a complimentary meal at Earls Kitchen + Bar.

Walks Of New York Delights Foodies With The Official Mario Batali™ Greenwich Village Food Tour

Are you a lover of Italian food? Do you love to explore local gems? Do you live in, or will be visiting New York City soon? If you have answered yes to all of  the previous questions, I have got a treat for you. Walks of New York, the walking tour company that helps New Yorkers and tourists alike discover the varied history and culture of the city, has recently launched the Official Mario Batali™ Greenwich Village Food Tour.

I was invited to take the tour myself from the company, and of course, jumped at the opportunity. I have long been a fan of Batali’s work and authentic approach to food, so I was excited to take the tour to discover more about his food and the home to his restaurants, the Greenwich Village.

Washington Square Park arch

The meeting point for my morning tour was right under the arch of Washington Square Park. It was there on that sun-filled morning that I met Simona, my incredible guide for the tour. Originally from Rome and living in New York City for a few years now, Simona was very well-versed in all Italian cuisine from a historical context right up to the present.

I got some insight on the neighborhood of Greenwich Village, and its history as a stomping ground for Italian immigrants. We took a bit of a walk through time, and I am here to share all of my stops with you.

Special menu for Walks of New York

Our first stop on the tour was Batali’s famed pizzeria, Otto. Nestled on the unassuming 8th Street right off of Fifth Ave, the restaurant opened a little earlier especially for us. Upon arrival, we took a seat by a bright window, and had a little tasting of some of the menu offerings.

A glimpse of the offerings

I nibbled on various cheeses, a fresh arugula and cherry tomato salad, sliced salami, perfectly cooked lentils, stewed apricots with chili flakes, and a bruschetta unlike any other. It was really amazing to get schooled on cheese by Simona, and why different varieties get their specific taste. Along with the nibbles  and brick-oven pizzas, Otto has an extensive wine list and education program.

Florence Prime Meat Market from curbside

Our next stop on the walking tour was Florence Prime Meat Market. The old-school butcher shop has been providing the best cuts of meat to the community since 1936. Once inside it feels like you are transported to yesteryear through black and white photos, and some original signage.

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Video: Warby Parker + AKC #FallSyllabus Shoot, Captured by Kermit Mercado

So if you have been keeping up, just recently I shared my Warby Parker #FallSyllabus shoot. You may have thought that was the last of it, but no, we have a special treat! My partner in creativity Kermit (who is an incredible videographer alongside being an awesome photographer) suggested we do a bit of a behind-the-scenes video with his top notch equipment. I was down for the cause, of course, and you can see the magic above once you press play!

Many thanks again to the team at Warby Parker for inviting me to be involved in this blogger campaign, Mika for making my hair and makeup look on-point, and to Kermit for capturing it all. Watch and share.:)

Saturday Sounds: MeLo-X “Curate” EP

It has been a minute and a half since I posted a “Saturday Sounds”, but sometimes you have to wait for the perfect moment, which is now. My buddy, multi-media artist, musician, and producer MeLo-X released new audio heat this week in his EP Curate. The six-song offering is perfect for the fall, comprised of synth heavy production with vocal complexity, and warmth. Features include the likes of Little Simz, Raury, and Kilo Kish.

In addition to the music, Melo released an accompanying interactive app which pairs each song with a 3D geometric figure. When hovering over the figure, you can distort the sound of each track, perfect for the audiophiles! Get into it.

Lookbook: Warby Parker #FallSyllabus Lifestyle Shoot, Captured by Kermit Mercado

When you think of “fall”, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Is it the changing color of leaves? Pumpkins and apples? For me, fall will always encompass the notion of back-to-school and new beginnings. Whether it be starting a new course or job, fall to me will always signify positive change. Breaking out cool sweaters and specs is an added plus!

I was super excited to receive a message recently from the team at Warby Parker stating that they wanted this girl from Brooklyn to create a fall-themed lifestyle shoot with their eyewear. They handpicked a number of bloggers to capture what #FallSyllabus means to them. As I am forever a nerd in search of knowledge, I created a mood that is reminiscent of college, and the interpretation of my favorite people on campus.

Scroll on to see what I created with fresh Warby Parker frames, and copious amounts of layered knits!


The Librarian

When we think of a librarian, it usually skews one of two places; sexy librarian or mean librarian. I wanted to capture a somewhat hip librarian. She is draped in smart designer threads with a pen in hand, reading a book on Brooklyn maker culture. She is a great resource, and definitely knows what’s up.


Winston Eyeglasses | Ralph Lauren Dress | Ralph Lauren Shawl Collar Sweater


The Off-Duty Athlete
As a former student athlete, track & field to be specific, I can never resist the ultimate coziness of a good sweatshirt. Here we see the off-duty athlete. She layers her sweatshirt under her varsity jacket and pairs with a pair of jeans and Chucks because she is all about easy dressing.


Keene Eyeglasses | Vintage Polo Ralph Lauren Sweatshirt & Jacket | Stylemint Jeans | Converse Chuck Taylors


The Photographer

Here to capture moments is the photographer. In school, photography was really recreational for me, capturing photos of friends at parties, as well as nature around me, I have since transitioned to that of a professional. Here, our photographer dresses really smart, a bit high brow if you will with her suede pants and vintage pieces, but her eye is always in search of her next subject.

Caspar Eyeglasses | Ralph Lauren Oxford Shirt | Vintage Polo Ralph Lauren Teddy Bear Sweater | Vintage Camera Case | Ralph Lauren Suede Trousers | Converse Chuck Taylors


The Professor

At some point in your life, you’ve had a crush on a teacher or professor, right? Don’t lie! I wanted to capture the “highly favored” professor if you will. Maybe she is a bit daring, exposing leg in the cooler weather, but you must applaud the effort she puts into dressing. The eyeglass and briefcase is just so smart, don’t you think?


Percey Eyeglasses | Ralph Lauren Oxford Shirt | Polo Ralph Lauren Mock Collar Teddy Bear Sweater | +J Uniqlo Wool Skirt | Cole Haan Heeled Oxfords

I really want to thank the folks at Warby Parker for inviting me to partake in this opportunity. Many thanks to my awesome team of Kermit, Mika, and big bro Q for the vintage pieces.Do these looks remind you of fall? Would you rock the specs?

Photography: Kermit Mercado
Hair & Make-up: Mika
Styling: Andrea K. Castillo
Wardrobe: Personal collection of Andrea K. Castillo & Q

MANday Interview: M. Tony Peralta Has A Fresh Take On Latina Icons With “Rolos & Icons”


M. Tony Peralta and his work, “Dora Con Rolos”

*Originally published on Slant News

It’s an unseasonably warm Friday afternoon for October and I am making my way to Manhattan’s Lower East Side to chat with artist M. Tony Peralta. His newest exhibition, Rolos & Icons had opened the night prior to a packed house of family, friends, and supporters. This was the first time he had ever held an opening downtown, and the incredible turnout was a feat in itself.

I had been following the works of the Dominican-American artist by way of Washington Heights for a few years now as we have many mutual friends who’ve invited me to his events in the past. I was intrigued by the juxtaposition of his Latin roots, hip-hop and pop culture elements that were consistent through his works.

I sat down with Tony to talk to him further about his career thus far, Rolos & Icons, and the inspirations behind his work.

I have been following your career for a number of years and I have noticed that there has been a strong female presence throughout. Why is it important for you to showcase women of color in your artwork?

The first exhibit I did, Complejo, had to do with identity issues. Mainly being Black and Latino, and the identity issues we have growing up and the effects of it. I started to think about some of the things that women go through as well; the whole good hair/bad hair thing, which I went through myself, as a man. I had curly hair and would shave it off. For women, it’s a little more extreme because they have to go to the hair salon, and get their hair straightened, and relaxers, etc. I grew up with a single mom and an older sister, and a younger sister, and our bathroom was filled with their products.

Growing up with a single mom that was a very strong figure, along with my sisters and brother, I had a good balance. My mom was very influential. I don’t think it’s something that I do consciously. I grew up with low self-esteem, so I touched upon things that affected me [with the Complejo exhibit] but then I started to think about how it affects women as well because they deal with it more, whether it be a hair [texture] thing or skin lightening, if it’s body issues. There was a piece in the exhibit of a woman in hair rollers, and that woman almost became a Latin Mona Lisa. She had a certain gaze that people thought was beautiful, and I feel that it influenced other artists to start creating works with women in hair rollers as well.


A glimpse into “Rolos Con Icons”

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