Take A Sip & Bite: Up On 20 at the Hyatt Herald Sq. Offers Food & Drinks With A View

View of Up On 20. Photo: Real Hospitality Group

Let me paint a picture for you. You’re in the middle of Herald Square in Manhattan on a late weekday afternoon. You may be in the area for work, or visiting for a few days. You are in desperate need of food and drink that doesn’t completely break the bank, and isn’t an Applebee’s either. You are coaxed with huge signs from chain restaurants in the area, but how about if you wanted to be slightly off the main street, and able to catch spectacular views while you are it? Let me introduce you to Up On 20.

Located on the roof deck of the Hyatt Herald Square, Up On 20 is the hotel’s rooftop lounge. I visited on a grey Thursday to check out the location’s food and drink offerings, along with its views. As the weather wasn’t the best, the space was not packed, which made me feel better about having a meal solo. I was greeted by a lovely waiter/bartender and told him I was there for a review. He wasted no time to get me seated and really give me the lowdown on the space.

View from my seat of the Empire State Building. Photo: Andrea K. Castillo

The hotel itself opened back in the fall of 2014 and Up On 20 is newly opened for the summer season. I found a cocktail table near the perimeter of the space, to better gaze at the city’s architecture below me, including the Empire State Building.

I snapped a few touristy photos of my surroundings, then got to the menu. The waiter gave me a few suggestions which I trusted as he seemed to be quite the foodie himself. I started with a rum cocktail called “The Old Virgin” which had a base of dark rum and prosecco, with lime and simple syrup. The drink definitely had a kick, but if made with a tad less lime, the finish would have been a little smoother.

All the food. Photo: Andrea K. Castillo

My food platter consisted of white fish sliders with avocado, NYC-style fresh pretzels with fresh sesame mustard, meatballs with hoisin sauce, and shrimp ceviche paired with kettle chips. I would call the cuisine style “New American Fusion” as it melded flavors from both the Americas and Asia alike. So what did I think of the food? Let’s go one by one.

  • White fish sliders with avocado on whole grain bun: fresh flavors and overall great ingredients for a slider. As the fish is quite plain, a smokey or spicy element would have made this top notch.
  • Pretzels with fresh sesame mustard: pretzel consistency and mustard was very good. A bit too much salt on the pretzel.
  • Meatballs with hoisin sauce: great meatball consistency with sauce pairing. No complaints, but had to bring the rest home because of the portion size.
  • Shrimp ceviche with kettle chips: REALLY liked the shrimp ceviche as it had pineapple in it and reminded me of the ceviche back in Belize. The kettle chips were good, but went soggy quickly as I visited on a rather humid day. A good alternative would be fresh tortilla or plantain chips.

Drea vs. Food. Photo: Andrea K. Castillo

I had a lovely experience at Up On 20, and would definitely want to go back on a sunny day. The open atmosphere makes it great for everything from after-work drinks, birthday parties, business meetings, and a casual date. Prices are mid-range, with cocktails in the mid to upper teens, and food made to share. If you are in Herald Square anytime soon, definitely check it out. Address below.

 

Up On 20 at the Hyatt Herald Square

30-32 W 31st St

New York, NY 10001

What I’ve Been Up To: More Writing, Fitness, Food & Travel!

Mid “Running through the 6 with my woes”/ Photo: AKC

For the past few weeks, my posts here have been a little inconsistent, so I wanted to update you all on some of the new happenings in my life. Here is an update of my past few weeks in the realms of writing, fitness, food, and travel. It is “A Life In The Day of Andrea” after all!

 

I am a new “Cocktail Culture” contributor Societe Perrier

I’ve been following Perrier and their lifestyle blog Societe Perrier for some time now. I’ve been interested in contributing since 2011, but didn’t think my work was strong enough as I was fairly new to writing and blogging at the time. Fast forward to late December 2014. They start to communicate with me via social media, to me eventually landing a spot as a new Cocktail Culture contributor for NYC! I started in late May. You can check out my first post on antioxidant cocktails here.

 

I ran a great race at the Nike Women Toronto 15 K, and took 3 dance classes after

Dancing in my race shirt/Photo: CDC

On June 14th, I ran my first major race in ages at the Nike Women Toronto 15 K and finished strong! You can read the full backstory with images here. Post-race I decided to take a few dance classes at the City Dance Corps open house in downtown Toronto (because I’m crazy, apparently). I took jazz, ballet, and dancehall (bluck bluck!) classes, all thirty minutes each, and had a blast! The photo above is from my most challenging session, ballet. Thank you so much to my girl/fake sister Celina for having me.

 

A new “Liquid Culture” feature on Large Up

Arcachon Cremas/ Photo: AKC

I’ve been contributing food & drink pieces to Caribbean culture site Large Up since December of 2014, mainly my own Belizean family recipes. This was my first feature, focusing on a fledging Haitian-American cremas brand. You can read all about it here. Photos by yours truly also!

 

*BIG NEWS: I am a Staff Writer at super new journalism platform, SLANT*

I’m super excited to share this news. I am a Staff Writer for newly launched (like one week old NEW) journalism platform Slant. It is innovative as its model is crowdsourced journalism, allowing the ones who are experiencing the “news” to contribute and tell their own unique story. I love this idea, because I am really able to express myself in ways I may have not been able to on other platforms. Stay tuned for awesome music, personal, fashion, art & culture stories. In the meantime, you can read these that are now live.

My Super Awesome Hair Makeover at ARROJO Williamsburg w/ My Contest Winner, Jordanna!

BEFORE THE CUT & COLOR

On a rather normal day in mid-May, I was checking my e-mail and came across a rather exciting message in my iCloud account. I was perplexed as to how I was even receiving mail there, as I rarely use the account. I opened the message and see it is from Andrew Arrojo from ARROJO salon. I read the words “free cut & color, for you and a friend, in Williamsburg” and I almost dropped my phone. I had worked with the salon a few times in the past, and I was ecstatic for this opportunity as I was able to reenergize the relationship, transform my hair as it was in pretty bad shape, bring a friend, and not have to leave Brooklyn.

I was invited for the service in the afternoon of their new Williamsburg salon’s grand opening festivities, and given the chance to stay and network at the party in the evening. I brought Jordanna of The Fashionette with me, as she won my contest for a hair makeover.

JORDANNA PRE-CUT

We both came in with dark brown, rather limp tresses. Jordanna had been transitioning to natural hair for a few months, but wanted to go for a short pixie cut for summer, in a blue-black tone. I hadn’t cut my hair in about six months and wanted to do something fresh and new. I decided on warm caramel highlights and fresh layers that added movement, but kept the majority of my length.

FUNNY FACE WHILE LETTING MY CARAMEL HIGHLIGHTS SET IN

This selfie was obligatory as it really looked like my hair was plastic at this point. My colorist Lucy informed me that the plastic wrap helps process the color. My strands were bleached first then toned down to a warm caramel color.

JORDANNA GETTING HER BLUE/BLACK COLOR

Jordanna wanted to give her tresses more edge with this blue-black dye. As some of her strands were a little lighter from previous color, her process was a bit longer, but created an awesome result.

SIDE VIEW OF MY FINAL LOOK

I showed my stylist John an image that I found in a Google search of the type of cut I wanted. The layers were a bit whimsical with great length, just a little past my shoulder. I think he really nailed it as he great technique cutting my curly hair. I’ve had unfortunate cuts in the past where the curls don’t blend and are very boxy. I’m super happy with the cut, and the blowout he gave me.

EXCITEMENT WITH JORDANNA! LOVE HER EDGY PIXIE CUT

Look at how different we look! Isn’t Jordanna’s pixie awesome? Her stylist and colorist did an awesome job, and were really thoughtful and patient with her kinkier curls. I really want to stress the fact that ARROJO stylists are trained incredibly well. They can handle all hair types, from my thicker, wavy strands, to Jordanna’s finer, kinkier strands. I think we both got the look we wanted, and more.

FRONT VIEW OF MY FINAL LOOK

Here is my “sexy/quirky” selfie of my final look. Yes, I felt like a Victoria’s Secret model. That’s how I always want to feel after having my hair styled.

POSTED WITH MY COLORIST, LUCY

After the cut & style, there was the party! Here I am with my super awesome colorist Lucy. We hung out at the grand opening party with prosecco in hand. I was able to meet a bunch of great ARROJO stylists and team members, whilst jamming to the tunes of DJ Spinva (who also happens to be a colorist at the SoHo salon).

ARROJO Williamsburg offered me such a lovely experience, from the service and stylists to the overall vibe of the space. I will definitely be back. In the meantime, you should check them out for your next cut or color. Tell them Andrea sent you! :)

ARROJO Williamsburg

11 Broadway

Brooklyn, NY 11249

718.215.6625

 

*Photos by Andrea K. Castillo for A Life In The Day of Andrea

Saturday Sounds: The Internet “Special Affair”

My favorite musical peeps, The Internet set the internet ablaze when they dropped their new track “Special Affair”. The bass-laden, moody, late night caller track is super sensual, telling the story of taking the object of your desire at the bar/club home for the night. There are so many layers to the song, sonically, making it really sound like the darkness of the middle of the night.

“Special Affair” is the first single off of The Internet’s forthcoming sophomore album, Ego Death, which is to be released digitally on June 29th and physically on June 30th. Press play to get into the sensual vibes.

Feeling it? You can pre-order the album now on iTunes and Amazon here.

POSTPONED: Curly Girl Collective Presents Curl Fest 2015, “The Ultimate Natural Beauty Festival” 6/28/15 @ Prospect Park

Girls with the curls, listen up! The beautifully coiled women behind Curly Girl Collective are back with the second annual Curl Fest, dubbed “the ultimate natural beauty festival”. It is an opportunity for the curly girls (and those that love them) to flourish Brooklyn-style in an awesome picnic setting in Prospect Park. In addition to the picnic there will be a live DJ & dance party, food trucks, curly hair styling stations, beauty chats, and marketplace.

Sponsors this year include Carol’s Daughter, Kinky Curly, Hype Hair, and more. Be sure to follow @curlygirlcollective on social media and tag #Curlfest before and during the fest to win very special prizes! Entry is FREE and you can RSVP here. See you in the park!

 CURL FEST 2015

Sunday, June 28th

1-6 PM

Prospect Park Nethermead, Prospect Park

Brooklyn, NY 11225

*UPDATE 6/25/15*

CurlFest has been postponed due to weather concerns. Will keep you updated regarding the new date!

*Photo courtesy of Curly Girl Collective

Concerts in NYC: Summerstage ’15, June Picks Feat. Rich Medina, Jungle, Gyptian& More!

June creeped up on NYC with a blister of wind and drab rain, but not to fret, we are reminded that the summer season is upon us. How you may ask? With the full line-ups of various arts and cultural events that are FREE 99 in the city. Here is where I share with you one of my favorite lineups every summer, Summerstage concerts at the City Parks. Now in its 30th year, the programming for the season is one to be remembered.

Check out my picks for the month of June, which is also Black Music Month, below, and stay tuned for  upcoming months!

 

JUNE

Blue Note Jazz Festival: Meshell Ndegeocello / Roy Hargrove / Gabriel Garzón-Montano

June 6 @ 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm | SummerStage, Central Park | Free


Angelique Kidjo / Emmanuel Jal / Rich Medina

June 7 @ 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm SummerStage, Central Park | Free


Unlocking the Truth / Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls / Black Girls Rock / DJ Diamond Kuts

June 7 @ 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm| Red Hook ParkFree


Duck Down 20-Year Anniversary BBQ with Boot Camp Clik & Friends, Kirk Knight & CJ Fly of Pro Era, Chelsea Reject & Statik Selektah

June 11 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm| Betsy Head Park | Free


Horace Brown / Jeff Redd / DJ Chuck Chillout / DJ Mell Starr

June 12 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm | Betsy Head Park | Free


Nuyorican Poets Cafe featuring Elaine Del Valle’s Brownsville Bred

June 13 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm Betsy Head Park | Free


Lyricist Lounge featuring Biz Markie and Masta Ace

June 17 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm | Herbert Von King Park | Free


The Big Quiet – A Meditation in Central Park

June 20 @ 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm | SummerStage, Central Park | Free


Jungle / Ibeyi / Sunni Colón

June 20 @ 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm| SummerStage, Central Park | Free


The Bullitts / DJ Spinna / Screening: They Die By Dawn

June 21 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm Herbert Von King Park | Free


Judy Torres / Tony Touch

June 24 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm | Crotona Park | Free


VP Records 35th Anniversary: Maxi Priest / Gyptian / Bunji Garlin & Fay Ann Lyons / Massive B

June 27 @ 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm SummerStage, Central Park | Free


Will you be heading out to the parks this month for these awesome shows? You will definitely catch us out at a few. Here’s to a June of great music! Stay tuned for our July picks. :)

 

WOMANday: Nike Master Trainer Traci Copeland Chats Fitness, Training Tips for Runners, & More!

TRACI COPELAND TEACHING

You are a self-professed “yoga-athlete”. Can you tell us a bit about your ​fitness background​?

I was a competitive gymnast for thirteen years- competing in bars, beam, floor, and vault. I also ran track in high school and college- competing in 200m, triple jump, long jump, and high jump. Our high school girls team (me and two other girls) were the first team to ever win a state title. And we did it two years in a row! In college, my first year at Georgetown, we were Big East Champions.

​I first met you in one of my Nike Training Club yoga sessions, as our instructor. What brought you to Nike?

Who wouldn’t want to work for Nike right ? I found out they were auditioning trainers three years ago, so I auditioned. It’s sort of been my dream job ever since. I’m very lucky in terms of the types of projects I get to work on, the athletes I get to work with, and being able to travel the world!

​Spring is here, and marathon season has begun. Do you have any training tips for runners​, both novices and those that are more advanced​?

For novice runners, hold on to what got you motivated to run in the first place. There is nothing more exciting than falling in love with running for the first. Approach without any expectation. Run to finish the race and that’s it. And for more advanced runners, it’s important for them to just be humble. Less expectation and emphasis on times but rather enjoy the race and naturally you’ll run faster.

TRACI’S WORKOUT IN THE NIKE TRAINING CLUB APP

​Where can people take class with you, and what can we expect from you in the coming months?

They can find me at Nike’s Upper East Side Running store every Thursday at 7 AM, and Broadway Dance Center Yoga 9:30-10:30 AM.


It was a pleasure chatting with (as well as taking class with) Traci. Be sure to follow her adventures with Nike on Instagram at @traco4. Maybe she will be in your city soon!

Exclusive Interview: ARROJO Studio Owner Nick Arrojo Talks Hair Education, Styling Products, & Opening A New Salon In Brooklyn!

NICK ARROJO WORKING HIS MAGIC ON A CLIENT

You have been a hairstylist for over thirty years and salon owner for over ten. What initially sparked your passion in haircare and styling?

Growing up just outside Manchester, England, I was constantly re-creating my image. Inspired by music and fashion, I spent every day of my teenage years reading the key fashion magazines of the time (of which there were very few) and getting into all the new trends. Changing the way I looked was a huge part of my development. I thought a hair salon would be a great environment to work, with music playing all day, meeting lots of new and interesting people, and having the chance to be creatively involved in the fashion industry. I loved my new job. The high energy, a hip young team of staff, music playing all day, friendly clients, and parties every weekend. I realized that I wanted this to be my career. By luck or by fate, I landed a job at the best salon in the country, Vidal Sassoon, and I haven’t looked back.

As part of your business model, you operate Arrojo Cosmetology School in your SoHo flagship on Varick St. How important is education to the ARROJO philosophy?

It’s fundamental to everything we do. Education is the foundation of a lasting, prosperous, creative and rewarding hairdressing career. It raises standards of craftsmanship and professionalism throughout our industry. I believe education is the backbone of strong technique, of creative expression, of confidence with clients, of feeling motivated and inspired, of success in any field of hairdressing.

STYLING CHAIRS AT ARROJO WILLIAMSBURG

This past month you opened your first outpost in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood. Tell us more about the space and what clients can expect.

Williamsburg is an incredible, almost unbelievable space and location for us. Manhattan has always been the place for the Mega Salon, whereas Brooklyn has a more bohemian feel. But it has grown and grown, and become a capital of fashion and trend in its own right. We feel our culture, standards, and aesthetics are perfect for the people and the lifestyle here. Located at 11 Broadway, it’s an iconic spot by Williamsburg Bridge with views to the East River and Manhattan’s skyline. A 3300 square foot site with 15-feet high windows and a 25 foot high ceiling, the custom architectural design is influenced by industrial elegance and modern minimalism; a suspended wall of light, flowing lines and aesthetic functionality make for a strikingly beautiful space.  To ensure continuity of our world-class service standards, the first stylists to work out of Williamsburg come with years of experience at our Varick Street Flagship. 6 girls, 1 guy, and a weekly visit from myself (to take clients), it’s an amazing team of stylists and people, committed to giving the people of Brooklyn Great Hair and Good Vibes.

You have a full line of styling products that you sell in your salons, ambassador salons, and online. What are some of your personal favorites to use on clients?

For guys, I love texture paste –– a flexible, medium-hold product that’s perfect for short and messy styling. It creates texture and separation with a smooth matte finish, which is great for modern men’s styles. I use it on girls with short hair too, especially for that just-rolled-out-of-bed look.

For a great cleanse and condition I recommend our Shine Luxe Shampoo and Conditioner. Sulfate and paraben free, it’s a luxurious combination designed to generously restore hair’s natural luster and luminescence. Filled with opulent oils like macadamia and cocoa butter that quench dryness, add vitality, they are feel good products giving an upscale experience.

PRODUCT WALL INSIDE ARROJO WILLIAMSBURG

For styling women and girls, I have three hero products.

Wave Mist is one of our newest products and already a client favorite. It uses sea salt and sea kelp to create playful body and texture and the loose, wavy and beachy styles that are perfect for summer.

ReFresh Dry Conditioner is another new favorite. Everyone loves dry shampoo and now we have its perfect complement: dry conditioning. ReFresh is a weightless spray for impossibly soft and silky hair, instantly, anytime, anywhere, and especially for second or even third day hair. On clean hair we’ve also found it adds bombshell to blow-outs. Just blow-out your hair as you like it and mist ReFresh into mid-lengths and ends and see how the shine and the silk makes for irresistibly touchable locks.

And then there is our original hero: ReFINISH dry shampoo. Recently recognized in Real Simple’s 15th anniversary issue as one of the best ever beauty products, we believe it’s there best dry shampoo on the market. It gives tons of instant texture and volume, and never leaves any white powder residue. We call it “gorgeous on the go, miracle style rescue.”

WOMANday: Sunnie Ha, Founder of Activewear Company Wear It To Heart Talks Apparel Production in Central America, Sustainability, and Empowering Young Women

WEAR IT TO HEART LOGO BEING TRANSFERRED ONTO GARMENT

Back in February, I attended the first ever AXIS Show at Pier 94 in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. The fashion trade show focused on women’s active lifestyle apparel and home goods, which was really exciting to me. It was there that I was first introduced to Wear It To Heart (WITH), a ladies activewear brand based in Los Angeles and produced in El Salvador.

I was really drawn to the soft, yet technologically sound fabrication of the garments, in addition to the lovely prints used across their spectrum of leggings, capris, tanks, and sports bra offerings. I was also drawn to the idea of their goods being produced in Central America, so I decided to set up an interview with the company’s founder, Sunnie Ha, to discuss their initiatives, predominantly female workforce, and more. Read on!

Tell us a bit about your background and when you came to the point to make Wear It To Heart a reality.

Looking back, it all started with the observation that women’s activewear was just men’s activewear made in smaller sizes.  It seemed as if every woman walked out of the same closet all dressed in black tights and uninspiring, boring tops.  I wanted women to look like women, feminine and beautiful.  In my mind leggings with fun and pretty prints give women a comfortable but bold look that is stylish.  The WITH look allows women to live in every moment and love the life they live. Wear it to Heart was born in California and is growing up in El Salvador.  We work with both designers and artists from Los Angeles and El Salvador.  I have the pleasure of working with artists who, for the first time have an outlet which allows them not only to express but also profit from their creativity.  You should see the excitement of the team when their prints are featured on our pieces.  I feel blessed to be able to love what I do and excited to see what the future of WITH holds.

Your product line consists of fashion-forward activewear suitable for yoga and other low-impact activity. What kind of feedback have you gotten from the fitness community thus far?

So far, the feedback has been very positive. Every piece of WITH is constructed with the highest quality materials and attention to detail, which people notice and appreciate. Also, because the prints are fashion-forward, you can wear them out and about, not just at the gym, which is very important to our customers as well.

DESIGNER SKETCHING

Let’s talk about your workforce. In your company factory in El Salvador, you run a sweatshop-free work force, comprised predominantly of women. Was this done intentionally? And can you elaborate on your company values and in-house initiatives?

Wear it to Heart mainly manufactures in El Salvador to support Project Garrobo which was started many years ago by my husband and I.  It began with a desire to help the communities in El Salvador.  We found ourselves working with single mothers to help them acquire work skills to support not only themselves, but also their families.  Project Garrobo, is an apprenticeship program for several disadvantaged, unwed, and unskilled teen mothers.  We pay them a salary and train them for several types of apparel jobs, but also teach them life skills such as finance, English, and other necessary subjects for them to meet the oncoming challenges of adulthood.  Once they reach the age of 18 they are welcome to work at our factory, or if they choose to leave and work elsewhere, we’re happy with that also. Our payback is satisfaction knowing that we improved their lives.
Our factory is recognized globally as a leader in CSR (corporate social responsibility) and sustainability.  This distinction stems from many years of researching and implementing the best practices.  For instance, we responded to employee requests to offer a daycare solution.  Our response was to visit several daycare facilities in the U.S. and Brazil.  Learning from those already doing it, we inaugurated our child development center on our premises in 2011.  Since then we have gained Montessori accreditation, therefore giving our pre-schoolers a clear advantage for when they graduate and move on to regular day school.

A PAIR OF LEGGINGS BEING SEWN

Apparel production in Central America has been on the rise in the past few years, using some of the most technologically sound processes in the industry. What do you see in its future?

On-shoring or near-shoring apparel production back to the Americas has been a hot topic for the last couple of years. It’s good news for us because it creates a win-win situation for the U.S. and the Central American & Caribbean regions. Due to the way the free trade agreement (CAFTA-DR) is structured, most key inputs come from the U.S. and then produced as final garments in the region.  So it’s true bi-lateral trade benefitting both sides of the border.  We are to expect this trend to grow significantly due to the changing global sourcing landscape. As China and other Asian countries develop more consumer driven economies, the available capacities and resources will focus more in that direction.  As a byproduct, the Americas will gain more market share of U.S apparel imports.  Flexible, faster to market lead times and real time communication with U.S. brands and retailers  also make CAFTA-DR region a very attractive sourcing hub.  For W.I.T.H., the flexibility and speed allow for unparalleled levels of service and innovation.

It was such a pleasure to speak to, and learn more about the apparel industry in the Americas from Sunnie. Be sure to check out the goods on the official Wear It To Heart website, in addition to following them on social media!

*Photos courtesy of Wear It To Heart (WITH)

Saturday Sounds: Kali Uchis “Rush” + Music Video

Kali Uchis, the Colombiana songstress & visionary by way of Virginia has been on my radar for some time now. I first came across her last year via Kitty Cash’s Love The Free Vol. 2 mixtape that featured her track “Real”. I was immediately fascinated by her smokey tone and songwriting, and had since been following her music via SoundCloud.

She dropped her Por Vida EP back in February, and it’s been in constant rotation on my iTunes. It contains nine undeniably groovy tracks, one of my favorites being “Rush”, produced by KAYTRANADA & BADBADNOTGOOD. The song has a funky 1970’s vibe, which I always appreciate in music. Listen below.

The music video, co-directed by Kali Uchis is set in the mid-1970’s with hot pants, platform shoes and cascading tresses to set the mood. The visual perfectly complements the lo-fi feeling of the track. Get into it below, and enjoy your Saturday!

Contest: Want A Hair Pick-Me-Up? Win a Cut & Color At ARROJO Williamsburg w/ Andrea K. Castillo On Thu. 5/28!

Hey girl hey! Spring is here, and you’ve been pleading to yourself that you are due for a hairstyle change, but haven’t gotten to it yet? Whether it be a busy schedule, not finding the right stylist, or just being strapped for cash, we believe that YOU deserve that new hairstyle that you’ve wanted. Here’s the deal.

We have teamed up with one of our favorite salon brands in NYC, ARROJO, for a super special experience at their newly opened location in Williamsburg in our hometown of Brooklyn. We are giving ONE lucky winner a cut & color for FREE (or either/or, depending on your preference) on the afternoon of Thursday, May 28th. If this isn’t enough for you, you will be getting your hair did in my company, as I will be refreshing my ‘do as well at the same time! You will get the V.I.P. treatment before the crowd comes in for the salon’s grand opening event that evening, that you a free to stick around for, of course. Sounds pretty BOSS, right? So here’s how you enter.

TO ENTER:

  • Leave a quick comment below to say why you believe you should be chosen for the hair makeover, or tag a friend that you believe deserves it.
  • Follow @alifeinthedayof on Twitter and tweet us “I deserve an #ARROJOBK makeover because…” OR Follow @alifeinthedayof on Instagram and comment on this photo with #ARROJOBK.
  • “Like” us on Facebook, and tell your friends!

 GUIDELINES:

  • Must be a resident of the New York City area, aged 21 or over.
  • Must follow the site and related social media. No exceptions.
  • If chosen, must be present for cut/color on Thursday, May 28th at 3 PM at ARROJO Williamsburg.
  • Upon being awarded the prize, you must specify if you want a cut, color, or both.

The lucky winner will be announced on Friday, May 22nd at 12 PM EST. Good luck to you!

 

*Photo courtesy of ARROJO

Nailed It: Carefree Lavender Vibes in “Charming” by Kryolan

If you have been keeping up with my Nailed It nail color swatching series, you would have come to the conclusion that I have a penchant for bold colors. I try pastels every now and then, but tend to be drawn to blue, green, and pink hues. I’ve never tried a lavender hued nail polish (in my life I think), so when I received this perfectly pastel lavender from Kryolan, I was almost reluctant to try it out.

I looked at the bottle and turned it over to see the color name which read Charming; they already won me over. The color is a neutral, creamy light lavender shade, pretty balanced in blue and pink undertones.

My lovely cousin Ashley was the woman behind my manicure. We achieved this color with a base, two coats of color, and a top coat, which you can see is very true to the color seen in the bottle. I really digged the final look because it complemented my complexion well, which I did not expect. This color pairs well with mint green, peach, white, black, and shades of tan.

Charming is available for purchase on Kryolan’s e-commerce site and retails for $9.95. Get into it!

 

*Photos by Andrea K. Castillo for A Life In The Day of Andrea

MANday: Le Club Des Douze, The Men’s Online Fashion Destination in English & En Francais

ALEX & OLIVIA OF LE CLUB DES DOUZE

It has been some time since I’ve featured a piece for MANday, so to get back on the ball, I want to introduce you to super-cool menswear aficionado Alex Rizos of Le Club Des Douze. Alex first reached out to me over a year ago via Twitter, and since I have been following his blog which is a men’s lifestyle destination focused on curated fashion-apparel inspiration boards, designer & brand interviews, home goods and food. We are both in good company as contributors to Capsule Show’s We Are The Market blog as well.

The site began entirely in French, and with my little knowledge of the the language was able to navigate the mood boards and posts. It has since transitioned to be a completely bilingual site, featuring content in both French and English. I caught up with Alex at a coffee shop in the city to chat about Le Club des Douze and learn the story behind the blog. Read on.

You started Le Club Des Douze in 2012 with your wife, Olivia. Give me a little background on you guys and your interest, and why you decided to start the site?

Let’s start with Olivia. She used to be a lawyer in England, she’s actually from here [United States] but she moved there to study law, but she didn’t love it. At some point she came back here and went to Parson’s because she was interested in fashion, not necessarily fashion design, but working in a more creative, design-related field. She does PR for interior designers and architects, so it is very specific. As far as I’m concerned, I lived here six years ago for one year, then lived in London for a year, where I met her (Olivia). During these stays in both countries I discovered the renewal of independent menswear [brands]. I don’t know if it was because I felt new to it or it was actually a new wave then, between 2009 and now. I discovered a bunch of new brands between here [New York] and in London, and also a lot of menswear blogs that focus on craftsmanship, more independent smaller brands, and I thought that was very interesting. At the time in France, there really was no blog talking about that. So before moving back here, I had a three-month period where I moved back to France to take care of my visa, and I said “let’s launch something in that field.” I started the blog [Le Club Des Douze] and at some point it had an e-commerce portion to it when I launched, then I realized that it was writing that people were looking for.

How important has social media been in connecting you to fashion brands, in addition to building your brand internationally?

It’s crazy how social media can enable you to connect with so many brands, even the smaller ones, and that’s amazing. When I started Le Club Des Douze I feel like most of my followers were on Facebook. There was an interaction, but I didn’t feel that brands would reach out to me there, and it kind of shifted to our biggest following being on Twitter. That’s where our audience is, where you can visit our website from, where you share articles, and where you connect with a lot of brands. Either we reach out to the brands or they discover us, and they want to talk to us. It’s crazy that five years ago, to know about a brand, I would have to read about it on a blog or go to a trade show. Since the beginning, our following grew a lot internationally. Now we have about 40% French followers, about 30% in the UK, and the rest divided between the U.S. and Japan.

SCREENSHOT OF THE WEBSITE

How important do you believe a female influence is for the growth of a menswear-based business?

I think it is very important. I think since she [Olivia] started working with me, she’s added a lot of value in terms of …I don’t know. She just KNOWS when she sees a group of items together, what to add. I need to see things. I need to see the twelve items and then decide if it looks good. She can see three items and already know what the whole section will look like. I don’t know if it’s a feminine thing, but I know that’s the way she thinks. She sees the story behind it all. She has the vision of the guy that’s going to wear the outfit, and each selection is basically one outfit with additional pieces that you can pair and swap out.

What do you foresee in the future of menswear apparel & media?

I think the menswear industry, especially independent menswear …they’re not looking to do something that is “out-there”, these brands are looking to do something that they have seen and that is “heritage” with a twist. Whereas in womenswear, designers create something that is new, and there are menswear designers that do that as well, but that’s not what we are really interested in. The independent brands and designers that we work with are more into heritage and taking something that exists and making it better.


It was such a pleasure to speak with Alex, and see the growth of Le Club Des Douze firsthand. You can check out their site here, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

*Photos courtesy of Le Club Des Douze

Saturday Sounds: “Reflection” Towkio, Produced by Kaytranada

Hey girl/boy! So you had a long week, huh? I hear that. Work was pretty stressful and that one co-worker you can’t stand was all up in your grill, right? You need a break, and possibly a burst of energy. Well, I got that, in the form of music of course! In this edition of Saturday Sounds, I bring to you yet another track produced by my FAVORITE GUY, Kaytranada.

The song “Reflection” is by newcomer Towkio, who is apart of Chicago’s SAVEMONEY click, led by Vic Mensa. His voice is painfully expressive with a great melodic quality, which really trains your ears to listen to the lyrics; the storytelling behind the song. Press play to get into it.

Towkio’s .WAV Theory EP is available to stream and download now.

Take A Bite: Chutney Kitchen, For Fast, Healthy Indian Food on The Cheap In The Heart Of The Theatre District

INTERIOR VIEW OF CHUTNEY KITCHEN

In life, the food that I love most is that which we consider “comfort food”. The meals that are usually filled with carbs, and cheese, and oil; those are the things that make me feel happy inside. But what if your favorite comfort food was also healthy? That would be an added plus, right? That is such the case when it comes to Chutney Kitchen.

Located in the heart of New York City’s Theatre District on 8th Avenue, Chutney Kitchen is the brainchild of chef & owner Silu Sao. Having worked in finance on Wall Street for many years, Sao who is of Indian descent, came to a crossroads in her life where she wanted to truly follow her passion. Egged on by her daughter, Sao followed her passion for cooking and decided that she wanted to open a restaurant that offered Indian food in the manner in which she grew up on; packed with flavor with minimal oil, unlike some of the faster Indian food we have become used to in the States.

CHEF & OWNER SILU SAO- courtesy of Chutney Kitchen

With her business partner Pankaj Amin, they founded Chutney Kitchen in 2012 and developed a fresh flavorful menu, that would get the approval of their own families. Their first location opened in February 2015 on 8th Avenue between 51st and 52nd Streets, and I had the opportunity recently to visit and try out a few things from their menu.

CHICKEN TIKKA RICE BOWL W/ CILANTRO SAUCE

Upon my arrival, I quickly met with Sao who was just so gracious and incredibly passionate about her business. She gave me a rundown on the space and menu offerings, and offered a few things for me to try. The menu has options for everyone, offering “build your own” bowl options, as well as full plates for those that can be overwhelmed by customizing their own plates.

I tried out the rice bowl (which you can see in the photo above) and topped with chicken tikka, tomato salad, and cilantro sauce. The flavors were bold without being overpowering, and the amount of food was generous. I felt light after eating it as it wasn’t weighed down with tons of oil; they cook their food in light olive oil. The food stations are set up similar to a salad bar where you can pick your protein, toppings, and sauces, which I enjoy because customization is my thing. They also offer a wide range of in-house beverages, including the Hibiscus tea (seen in the photo above), Honey Green Tea, Ginger Lemonade, and more!

FULL MENU

Above you can view the full menu, which offers tons of meal options, all under $10! During the week, there are lunch specials for $11 that include a meal, drink, and chips. Healthy food with flavor for a great price? Yes, you can have it all. When you are in the area, be sure to visit Chutney Kitchen. You will NOT be disappointed.

CHUTNEY KITCHEN

856 8th Ave

New York, NY 10019

212-247-6200

*Photos Courtesy of Chutney Kitchen + Andrea K. Castillo