Mav’s Fab 5 – October 1, 2013

This month in celebration of the fall weather and the fashion that comes along with it we’re dishing on the Fall 2013 trends that we’re most excited about as well as the second hand vintage stores and little gem shops that we find all our favorite pieces at to make our wardrobe special!

Fall Trends
our 5 picks

Leather

Leather is such a versatile material; it’s no surprise it’s a fall trend. From jackets, to dresses, to pants, to boots, to accessories, there’s so many ways to wear it. Not to mention all the different colors! Leather can take an otherwise every day outfit to chic, high-end level and it’s perfect to keep warm in cool temperatures, while still maintaining your style. You really can’t go wrong!

Emerald

Bold seems to be an underlying theme this fall and jewel tone Emerald oozes confidence, strength and luxury. We love the sophistication that this color exudes and if you’re going for a demure look with a pop, you can still rock the color of the season by incorporating it into your accessories. Think shoes, belts, purses, and jewelry.

Over-the-knee Boots

Every New York girl who stomps the sidewalks each day can tell you that nothing makes us feel empowered like an awesome pair of boots! So obviously, we are thrilled to see this footwear favorite making a statement as a fall trend this year. Over-the-knee boots can be worn by anyone, at any time. Whether you like heels or prefer flats, you can totally rock this trend at work or for a night out on the town.

Winter White

How many of you dislike the ‘No White after Labor Day’ fashion mantra? Well this fall,  all rules can be broken and you can wear as much white as you want! A head-to-toe white ensemble is one of the top trends this season and we’re loving it.  If you’re not ready to go all the way, white elements can be also be added to an ensemble to enhance other colors or patterns.  So the next time you want to reach for white in your closet, we say, go for it!

Velvet

We were a caught a little off guard when we heard that velvet was in this season. But after taking a look at ways to wear it, we have to admit that we’re feeling a bit adventurous. Velvet dresses and jackets have a high-end Rock and Roll feel that can act as a cruelty free alternative to fur, while providing a similarly plush aesthetic.

Secondhand Vintage Stores
our 5 picks

Decades
www.shopdecadesinc.com

Located in LA, Decades has become a renowned vintage go-to. You may know them by their Bravo series, called “Dukes of Melrose”. Not only do the owners take their selection of items very seriously by personally choosing their inventory, they also have impeccable taste. Carrying items ranging from the 1920s to present-day, you’ll be sure to find something you love! If you can’t make it to their location on Melrose Ave, you can be sure to snag something great via their website.

The Way We Wore
http://www.thewaywewore.com/

Doris Raymond is, without a doubt, a vintage fashion pro! All you have to do is visit The Way We Wore (online or in person) to quickly realize this. Focusing on all aspects of 20th century fashion, it’s clear to see why Doris has been said to have encyclopedic fashion knowledge. Being in the industry for 30 years, she has provided costumes for a plethora of movies, including the epic hit Titanic. Don’t be fooled into thinking that her vast knowledge is limited to all things vintage though! Doris and her team also show their talents by making sure that celebrity clients are a hit on the red carpet. Be sure to stop at The Way We Wore next time you want to make sure all eyes are on you!

Resurrection
http://www.resurrectionvintage.com/

If you hadn’t heard of Resurrection before, you’ve been missing out! With locations in both LA and NYC, it’s no wonder they’re so popular among the celebs. Resurrection has been featured in ELLE magazine as one of the best vintage stores in America and we couldn’t agree more!

Wasteland
https://www.shopwasteland.com/

Wasteland is vintage heaven when it comes to west coast grunge. We couldn’t help but feel like a kid in a candy store when we came across them. Don’t worry if grunge isn’t your thing! Their pieces are so versatile that you can put together an outfit of any genre and still look fabulous! Wasteland boasts four locations in California and a very user-friendly site for those of us who aren’t stationed on the West Coast.

Jet Rag
825 N La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 939-0528

Jet Rag is a vintage landmark on La Brea Ave. Known for a great layout and diverse inventory, you’ll be sure to find something you just won’t be able to leave without. The true icing on the cake is their $1 Sunday Sale. Yes, one dollar! Every Sunday, Jet Rag has a sale in their parking lot, where every item is sold for a dollar. Sure it may feel like you’re Black Friday shopping with the crowd and quick grabs, but after years of great $1 Sunday finds we think it’s totally worth checking out!

Special “Gem” Shops in US
our 5 picks

Moss – Nashville, TN
http://www.mossclothes.com/

 

Every girl’s dream come true when it comes to fashion is to look totally chic but feel equally comfortable too. Moss makes this dream a reality. Not only is their selection incredibly unique; it’s also very comfortable! The owner of the boutique (a Maverick favorite!) is known for her ability to find unique pieces, which makes her selection one you’ll definitely want to check out.  Moss is simply a must stop, every time we’re in Nashville.

 

Francesca’s – Nationwide
http://www.francescas.com/

 

When we first heard of Francesca’s, we thought it was a local shop we ran into in Pennsylvania. But boy were we excited to find out that they have locations in 45 states and an amazing website we can shop at too! They do a great job at appealing to all styles while still making sure their pieces are unique. If “eclectic…clothing, bright baubles, bold accessories, and playful gifts” draw your attention, Francesca’s is your place to go!!!

 

DoubleDutch Boutique – Baltimore, MD
http://www.doubledutchboutique.com/Store/pc/home.asp

 

DoubleDutch is a super fun boutique that mixes between girlie-girl style and art-school hip fashion. The store works with modern and indie designers to give great prices on unique items. On the first Friday of every month they host a First Friday Shoppers’ Social that includes food, drinks, a DJ, and 10% off everything in the store. The store has won multiple awards from the Best of Baltimore since 2006.

 

No. A – Los Angeles, CA
http://store.number-a.com/welcome.html

 

When No. A opened in 2009, they wanted to give shoppers an experience that combined the best of retail chains and high-end boutiques. Needless to say, this fusion has been a hit! LA locals know to go to No. A when they want pieces that no one else will have. Their inventory is so neat; you may be tempted to keep it a secret just so you can have it all to yourself!

 

O.N.A. – Brooklyn, NY
http://onanyc.com/

 

O.N.A. has become a neighborhood favorite due to their fun, cozy inventory and great staff. For us busy city girls who can’t live without a great dress, they have a selection of easy to wear pieces in a variety of colors and prints. Their accessories display features cool, funky pieces that compliment any outfit! O.N.A. is also great with customer service. They’ll help you find the perfect piece and totally understand that one size doesn’t always fit all.

 

Mav’s Fab 5 – September 3, 2013

In honor of launching our Wedding Services division, this month we’re devoting our blog to all things nuptial!  From tricks and tips to keep your wedding carbon footprint light, to our favorite ways to capture the moment, to unique twists on classic traditions, we hope that you’ll find something new and creative to incorporate into your special day!

Green Wedding Trends
our 5 picks

Caterers that use locally grown food
The caterer and food chosen for a wedding may be something your guests will talk about for days. So why not give them something great to talk about? By using locally grown food, you’re not just getting a more delicious, fresh meal; you’re also supporting the local community and farmers. We loved Lucid Food (http://lucidfood.com/) and their “conscience catering”. Not only do they use ingredients from local farmers’ markets, they also use bio-degradable supplies like napkins, cups, and plates. We’re into that!

Lavender Toss

Sending the newly-wed couple off with a rice toss has been a tradition for as long as some can remember. For a green alternative that won’t hurt the local birds, rice has been getting replaced with dried lavender. Your guests can toss lavender without any worries since it will breakdown naturally, plus you’ll always associate the calming scent with the memory of that moment. Aromatic, biodegradable, and beautiful – what’s not to love about that?!

Prius Limo

Ride in style on your special day without leaving a carbon footprint. Despite being the bigger brother to the original, the Prius limo still gets a fabulous 50 miles per gallon. This environmentally friendly ride seats ten and will get you to the church on time!

Post Wedding Donations

Florals can be essential to making your special day picture perfect, but what happens to them once your day is over isn’t very glamorous. Rather than tossing your arrangement, we suggest donating them to facilities such as, hospitals, senior homes or hospice centers. Other items that can be donated to charities are the bridal gown and bridesmaid dresses. One of our favorite organizations helping in this mission is Brides Against Breast Cancer (www.bridesagainstbreastcancer.org). This organization sells donated dresses to raise money to help breast cancer patients with expenses. Now that’s what we call spreading the love.

Bamboo Decor

Bamboo has become a popular item due to its multi-purpose functionality and ability to be recycled. Some of our favorite wedding tricks are to make the bamboo arbor/canopy/chuppah. Then you can decorate it with flowers or other materials that fit with the theme of the wedding. After the wedding you can relocate it to your backyard for decoration or as a lattice for vines in the garden. Another way to incorporate bamboo in to your wedding is by using bamboo paper for your invitations. Now we think bamboo is Eco-chic, all the way!http://www.treehugger.com/green-food/lucid-food-conscience-catering-in-new-york-city.html http://invitationsbyajalon.com/blog/green-paper-bamboo/

 

Unique Twists
our 5 picks

Weddings in the Round

This is far and a way one of our favorite set up choices.  A wedding in the round allows for way less depth in the audience, better sight lines and a feeling of being surrounded by love for the couple saying their vows.  If structured so that “aisles” are at the bride, and grooms backs and in front and behind the officiate, there is literally not a bad seat in the house.  This set up also allows for amazing aerial shots!

Casual Shoes on Men

For the most part, wedding fashion tends to focus mostly around the bride’s dress, but what about the groom? If you’re not having a black tie wedding and your groom is looking for a way to show a bit more of his personality without straying too far away from the traditional suit, we recommend having some fun with his shoe choices.  The most popular casual footwear is the Chuck Taylor, but we’ve seen this expression of individuality go so far as to include stuffed animal panda shoes!  Cowboy boots are another great option for a southern style wedding… we even like these on the bride!

Creative Themed Dessert Bars

Sometimes it seems like the best part a wedding cake is the suspense that the guests experience when waiting to see if the happy couple is going to turn their wedding into a food fight.  After that’s over, there’s often just a whole lot of vanilla sheet cake left.. and let’s be honest, we’ve all had our share of dull wedding cake.  For this reason exactly, we’re loving the trend in themed dessert tables.  From spiral custom cupcake towers, to color coordinated miniature sweets, the need for a giant wedding cake is quickly diminishing.  We advise getting the top layer to cut and keep and incorporating more creative confectionary treats that will surprise and delight your guests!

Something Blue

The old adage states that every bride needs “Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue”.  In a world of white and lace, that final requirement gives every bride the opportunity to really do something fun with a pop of color.  Adding blue ribbon or florals to the bridal bouquet is an easy way to go, but we also love using blue to add a bit of flare to a beautiful bride.  Some of our favorite ideas include Robbins egg blue pumps, a blue garter, pretty blue wedding panties, or a blue pearl barrette in your hair.  If you’re digging the shoe idea, but are also torn to keep your accessories white, why not split the difference and have the bottom of your shoes painted blue?  We think it would make for some seriously cute pictures!

Fun Ways to Capture the Moment
our 5 picks

“I Do” Sound Wave Art

This idea takes capturing the moment to a new level and allows your moment of commitment to become a piece of art that lives with you each day.  This is how it’s done…An artist takes the recording of your vows (“I do” and “I do”) and then paints the exact tonality of your pitches when saying those words, onto a canvas.  You can chose to share with people what the staccato painting represents or just let houseguests assume it’s modern art.  We think it’s a creative way to have a romantic reminder of your vows on a daily basis – and decorate your home at the same time! Check out Bespoken Art for more information. http://www.bespokenart.com/products_bespoken_art.html

Rock Notes for Home Décor

Another way to turn your wedding memories into home décor, this idea is a play on the traditional sign in book or message book.  Rather than a book to write in, guest can pick a stone (you will want to make sure they’re a few inches across and have a somewhat flat surface) and then write their well-wishes with a sharpie.  After the wedding you can collect the stones and keep them in a glass cylinder or scattered across a table with a glass top – allowing them to be read in full or just at a glance.

Table Number Message Books

This creative way to combine table numbers and message books can become a tradition for the couple for years to come.  Rather than getting cards with numbers on them to denote which table is which, you can get small journals and number the covered.  Place the books on mini-stands so that guests may find their seats and then have the emcee explain that the books are meant to be written in by everyone at that table.  After the wedding, put the books away and each year on your anniversary, open the correlating table number and read the messages that your loved ones wrote for you on the day of your wedding.  This tradition could keep you in literature for decades to come!

Luggage Tags for Destination Weddings

Giveaway’s at weddings are a tricky detail to plan.  There is room to be kitchy and fun but at the same time you don’t want to spend money to send your guests home with knick knacks that they’re going to immediately throw out.  We love the trend in seedlings and charity donations in guests honor but if you’re having a destination wedding, why not continue on with that theme in mind?  We recommend getting custom luggage tags for your guests.  A custom created luggage tag made of leather or a sustainable fabric with either the date or a quote on the back is a way to give your guests a functional gift that ties in your wedding and doesn’t get too cheesy.  We’re into it.

Slow Motion Video Capture

We were planning on writing about our love of prop-filled photo booths that allow guests of any age to get silly and express themselves.  That was until we found this video (http://vimeo.com/72365593) by Super Frog Saved Tokoyo and had our minds blown.  Imagine all of the best parts of a photo booth, but in motion and then slowed down for your entertainment.  Their props are incredible and really enhance the slow-mo effects.  We’re particularly obsessed with the glitter, confetti and the bubbles.  Do yourself a favor and check them out at http://www.sfst.com/.

Mav’s Fab 5 – August 6, 2013

New York City is an epicenter of trend setting.  Be it through experimental art, high fashion  or epic architecture, when looking for a standard to emulate this city always sets the bar high.  This month we’re dishing on the new and the old of NYC.  So read on for our take on the best in New York art galleries, classic landmarks and up and coming fashion designers.

 Art Galleries
our 5 picks

Jonathan LeVine Gallery
529 West 20th Street 9th Floor
New York, NY 10011
(212) 243-3822
http://jonathanlevinegallery.com/

Jonathan LeVine’s Gallery is an epic combination of music and art.  Fusing a passion for punk music with Post-war art, the success of this gallery is overwhelming.  The exhibits (mainly portraits, paintings, and graffiti) are colorful and thought provoking, and the gallery has previously championed international artists from Brazil, Italy, England and France who have come to America and showcased their original pieces.

Klughaus
Various Pop-Up locations
(646) 801-6024
http://www.klughaus.net/about.html

Klughaus is a contemporary art agency that represents artists with roots in graffiti, painting and photography.  Possibly most intriguing are the vivid graffiti murals— created only using aerosol paint on large-scale canvases.  Graffiti has grown to be not only respected, but also highly sought-after.  Klughaus offers quarterly exhibits in pop-up locations and diverse event spaces around New York City and these shows are not to be missed.  Notable clients include Google, Living Social, and DirecTV.

AFA (Animazing Fine Art)
54 Greene Street
New York, NY 10013
(212) 226-7374
http://afanyc.com/

This SoHo gallery has been a neighborhood staple since 1984 attracting comic and illustration enthusiasts alike.  Featured collections have showcased original works by Dr. Seuss, Charles Shulz, and Tim Burton and will bring you right back to the days of picture books and silly cartoons.  The art offered by AFA originated as conceptual animation but recently the curators have transcended into the realm of fine art while staying true to their roots.  Currently Tanya Clarke’s Eureka “Liquid Light” exhibit is not to be missed.   Hand sculpted glass drops are home to low voltage lights and reclaimed plumbing, a creative way for Clarke to make a bold statement about reducing our environmental footprint.

Chambers Fine Art
522 West 19th Street
New York, NY 10011
(212) 414-1169
http://chambersfineart.com/index.shtml

For those curious about contemporary Chinese art, Chambers Fine Art gallery is the place for you.  With locations in NYC and Beijing, director Christophe W. Mao has become an authority on cutting edge developments in the Chinese contemporary art.  This summer marks Zhang Dun’s first exhibition entitled New Works, a series of pencil sketches juxtaposing industrial buildings and peaches.  The peaches, a Chinese symbol of longevity and health, are drawn in color and with imperfections that accentuate the natural world, in a stark contrast to the monochromatic and utilitarian buildings.  The fine pencil lines are incredibly delicate and her evocative scenes are truly intriguing.

Urban Glass
Interim Location:
126 13th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11215
(718) 625-3685
http://www.urbanglass.org/

Have you ever wanted to design your own stained glass window? Or maybe you’ve seen a glass blowing demonstration and wondered how hard it really is… Well at Urban Glass you have the opportunity to follow up on these fantasies! Channel your inner Venetian artist and take a private lesson or join a class to learn how to blow glass, create beads or make a stained glass panel.  If you’d like to take a more visual approach, visit the Robert Lehman Gallery to admire glass art of emerging artists.  However you want to get involved, Urban Glass offers creative outlets for every level.

Iconic Landmarks
our 5 picks

Angel of Bethesda
Mid-Park on the north side of 72nd Street
(212) 310-6600

Perched at 26 feet, in the heart of Central Park, rests Emma Stebbins’ 1873 bronze statue, The Angel of Bethesda.  Stebbins, the first woman to receive a public art commission in NYC, built the angel to reference the Gospel of John.  The fountain was designed to symbolize the pool below as yielding magical healing powers and to pay homage to the first fresh water system in New York City.  The statue’s intricate details include a lily in the angel’s left hand denoting purity as well as four cherubs representing temperance, purity, health and peace.  After its restoration in the 1980’s this iconic statue has been featured in numerous movies like Angels in America, Enchanted, Elf, Home Alone 2, and was the starting point for the first episode of The Amazing Race.  It’s also our favorite spot for a serene lunch in the park.

Chrysler Building
405 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10174
(212) 682-3070

The NYC skyline would simply not be complete without the exceptional Art Deco style skyscraper known as the Chrysler building! With its bold geometries and dramatic ornamentation, the design of this building was inspired by the Gatsby era, exuding luxury and glamour.  Protruding from Lexington Avenue over 1,000 feet in the sky, this building is reputed as the tallest brick building in the world and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976.  Having received the LEED Gold Award for existing buildings and declared an official National Historic Landmark, it is truly one of the most iconic symbols of New York City.

Grand Central Station
89 East 42nd Street
New York, NY 10017
(212) 340-2583
http://www.grandcentralterminal.com/

We’d like to wish a very happy 100th birthday to this breathtaking transportation hub! Officially opened in 1913 after being built by tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt, this terminal is home to five high-end restaurants and cocktail lounges, 20 eateries, a market and 50 unique specialty shops! But really, it’s the peculiar quirks that make this train station one of our favorite landmarks.  The Whispering Gallery on the dining concourse amplifies a hushed message into a shout on the opposite side of the hall.  The renowned ceiling mural of a zodiac scene by Paul Helleu that is actually painted backwards (the debate continues if this was intentional or not…) is simply mesmerizing.  Maybe most importantly, the energy that vibrates through this epic building is a perfect welcome to NYC—buzzing with history, movement and excitement.

Conservatory Gardens
East Side from 104th-106th Streets
(Enter at 5th Avenue and 105th Street, or 106th Street gate inside the Park)
(212) 310-6600
http://www.centralparknyc.org/visit/things-to-see/north-end/conservatory-garden.html

Looking for the most beautiful yet cost efficient way to spend a hot afternoon? Take a stroll through the serene Conservatory Gardens in Central Park, a six-acre refuge from the hustle of the city.   Divided into three sections, each plush with colorful flowers, trees, shrubs, and wildlife, this popular garden is unique and picturesque.  The north garden is home to the famous Three Dancing Maidens fountain, while the central garden is cherished for its abundance of violets.  Finally the south garden is renowned for its bronze statue depicting the characters from The Secret Garden.  In addition to being perfect for an afternoon respite, the Conservatory Gardens are also one of our favorite wedding locations in NYC!

The New York City Public Library Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
5th Avenue East 42nd Street
New York, NY 10036
(917) 275-6975
http://www.nypl.org/locations/schwarzman

If you weren’t aware of the epic beauty of the New York Public Library—Carrie’s pending nuptials in the Sex and the City Movie probably filled you in.  With elaborate reading rooms that mix classic European style with modern technology, this building is home to over 15 million items ranging from ancient medieval manuscripts to daily newspapers from all over the world.  Guarded by two marble lions named Patience and Fortitude, the Schwarzman building has been a source of inspiration for authors, celebrities and politicians alike.  We love the romance of the Rose Main Reading room with its gorgeous chandeliers and breathtaking murals and when it comes to doing research, there is simply no better place to go.

Up & Coming Fashion Designers
our 5 picks

Tess Giberson
97 Crosby Street, #1
New York, NY 10012
(212) 226-1932
http://www.tessgiberson.com/

Launched in 2001, Tess Giberson’s designs featured conservative pieces like pleated skirts and cap-sleeved dresses.  After putting the line on hold for several years, Giberson came back to her line with a fresh take.  Her minimalist style was spiced up with a higher emphasis on detail and embellishments.  Tess even hand embroiders several pieces each season! (We are seriously jealous of whoever gets their paws on those.)  By featuring her husband’s (artist Jon Widman) hand paintings on knit tops and collaborating with musicians for inspiration, Tess targets empowered women amongst an expanding audience.  We can’t get enough of the edgy cardigan that is draped twice over the head providing two necklines and screams effortless chic.

Reed Krakoff
831 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10021
(212) 988-0560
http://www.reedkrakoff.com/

As Executive Creative Director at Coach, Reed is no stranger to high fashion.  After serving as the Vice President of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) from 2006-2010, Reed has emerged with his own luxury label catering to modern women.  His line combines athletic sportswear with artistic minimalism and graphic design to produce a geometric yet feminine feel.  Adding cornflower blue and sun-kissed tan to his palette for the Resort 2014 pieces, we love the summery apparel and anticipate nothing but impending success for Reed in the future.

Monika Chiang
125 Wooster Street
New York, NY 10012
(212) 625-3300
http://www.monikachiang.com/

Monika Chiang, a New York City native, is more than an accomplished designer.  Starting as a savvy businesswoman Chiang opened Double Seven, a swanky lounge in the heart of the Meat Packing District back in 2005.  Moving into fashion, Chiang debuted her eponymous line in 2011, inspired by the exotic cultures that she encountered during her nomadic youth.  Chiang’s creations, which include apparel, handbags, shoes and jewelry, can only be described as “modern glamour steeped in elegant nonchalance.” Check out our favorite Artemys platform sneakers at one of her bicoastal boutiques.

Tabitha Simmons
Bergdorf Goodman
754 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10019
(1800) 558-1855
http://www.tabithasimmons.com/

As if we needed another reason to love shoes… Tabitha Simmons’ Summer 2013 collection was inspired by her business partner’s Blue Marine Foundation charity.  (Blue Marine Foundation is an initiative that aims to increase the amount of protected ocean from 2.3% to 10% by 2020).  Drawing inspiration from the azure of the sea, fabulous footwear like the snakeskin “Marina” sandals were created.  This talented designer is also a contributing editor for Vogue and has worked with notable names like Calvin Klein, Alexander McQueen and Zac Posen.  With a strong international presence and a featured line at J.Crew, we can’t help but ogle her designs.  Complete your Saturday night ensemble with her “faiza” shoe: a peep-toe lace up pump (and favorite of Charlize Theron) or compliment a daytime casual look with her “Dolly Espadrilles” (spotted on Cameron Diaz).

Re-Launch of Yigal Azrouël
1011 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10075
(212) 929-7525
http://www.yigal-azrouel.com/ 

Making a comeback is never easy … however, with the re-launch of his self-titled line, Yigal Azrouël has proven that he is a force to be reckoned with.  Born in Israel with a French-Moroccan background, this self-taught designer is known for his superior fabric-draped designs and feminine, body-conscious silhouettes.  Drawing inspiration from his current home of New York City, Azrouël launched a more contemporary brand concept called Cut25.  Keep your eyes peeled for his 2014 leather jacket—we cannot get enough of the bold but flirty feel that this jacket exudes.

 

 

Mav’s Fab 5 – July 2, 2013

It seems like every year we wait for summer and about two weeks in the temperature and humidity become so oppressive that the last thing we want to do is hang out outside!  If you feel the same way, this month’s blog is for you!  From the best of the NYC karaoke scene to perk up your nightlife, to our all-time favorite romantic comedies for rainy summer nights, to five of the coolest indoor activities that we simply can’t get enough of – We’ve got your inside summer escapes covered!

Karaoke Bars
our 5 picks

Planet Rose
219 Ave A
New York, NY 10009
(212) 353-9500
http://www.planetrosenyc.com

Most people fall in love with this great karaoke bar the second they step in and see zebra couches. With a great selection of songs to choose from, mobile microphones that allow you to dance around when it’s your turn to sing, and a fantastic happy hour, how can you go wrong? Planet Rose is a karaoke favorite for many New Yorkers and is always packed with a fun-loving crowd.

Wicked Willy’s
149 Bleecker St.
New York, NY
(212) 254-8592
http://wickedwillys.com

Wicked Willy’s is a great fit for the karaoke bar beginner! Festive Caribbean décor, a complimentary pre-performance drink, and their slogan “Time flies when you’re having RUM!” will welcome you and shoo away any newbie karaoke jitters. Wicked Willy’s isn’t just for karaoke though; you can catch your favorite games or play beer pong with friends when you’ve had your fill of singing. We call that a great Sunday!

5 Bar Karaoke
38 West 32nd St.
New York, NY
(212) 594-6644
http://www.5barkaraoke.com

Located in the heart of Korea-town, 5 Bar Karaoke takes the karaoke scene to a whole new level. This bar prides itself on offering the best karaoke equipment as well as the latest songs for you to sing your heart out to! There are plenty of party package options to choose from, making this sing-a-long spot perfect for your next birthday celebration. We recommend taking advantage of the neighborhood and finishing your rock star night out with some Korean BBQ!

Karaoke Boho
196 Orchard St.
New York, NY 10002
(212) 777-0102
http://karaokeboho.com/best-karaoke-bars-and-lounges-nyc/home/

The next time you hear that catchy tune, don’t feel restricted to sing only in the shower.  With two NYC locations, Karaoke Boho warmly welcomes diverse crooners by perpetuating a collection of over 40,000 songs in 14 languages! Surprise your friends by pre-recording a perfect playlist online.  Reserve one of 18 private rooms for an exclusive sing-along-sesh, or snag a seat at the bar for your big performance.  Free song ticket with each drink; Private rooms at $8/hour/person.

Rock Star Karaoke NYC at Bar 13
35 E 13th St.
New York, NY 10003
(646) 490-5696
www.rockstarkaraokenyc.com

If you are a committed karaoke lover with secret dreams of “Rock-Stardom”, our friends at Rock Star Karaoke NYC have just the thing for you…live band karaoke.  With pages upon pages of songs teed up and ready for you to take the lead on, this band of seriously talented musicians will transform your Tuesday night into the best night of the week.  Led by the ever fearless Father Ron and their sassy, super cute host Kelly, this crew attracts some serious crooners while keeping the sets light hearted – so even if your vocals aren’t amazing, you still walk away feeling cheered on and awesome!  Did we mention it’s also 2-for-1 drink Tuesday? If you’re looking for us on Tuesday nights… Bar 13’s Rock Star Karaoke NYC is a great place to start.

 Romantic Comedies
our 5 picks

Pretty Woman (1990)

Everyone’s favorite Cinderella story, Pretty Woman proves that every girl could and should have a fairytale ending; and also that it’s not always necessary to be politically correct.  Julia Robert’s performance encouraged generations of women to allow themselves to laugh a little louder, be a little blunter and admit that they don’t always know for sure which fork to use.

10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

If you weren’t sure of the difference between ‘like’ and ‘love’ (ie; Sketchers vs. Prada backpack), this adaptation of Taming of the Shrew definitely set you straight.  10 Things I Hate About You brought our favorite Shakespearean archetypes to the big screen in all their sharp-tongued, quick witted glory! Add together a script full of quotable lines, a killer soundtrack and an incredible cast led by the one and only Heath Ledger, it’s no wonder we’re still obsessed with this movie well over a decade later!

How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days (2003)

This is the flick that puts all of the most ridiculous male and female stereotypes on display.  While your boyfriend might not immediately sign up to watch this one, you can remind him that the more you can relate, the funnier each circumstance is!  Sure, Kate Hudson ends up winning the guy in the end (the ever-dreamy Matthew McConaughey) but on the road there, she maps out a meticulous and hilarious torture strategy that most women would secretly love to enact on some poor fool.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

Sometimes the best time to tune into a relationship is at the end—at least when you’re looking to laugh— which is exactly what you get to do in Forgetting Sarah Marshall.  Jason Segel’s desperate, vampire musical obsessed, post-breakup Peter makes us want to be his best friend which is impressive amongst a superior supporting cast of the most bizarre and hilarious characters (count us in for a surf lesson with Paul Rudd!)  In the end though, Peter gets the better girl, Dracula sings and Russell Brand gets a spin off…which is exactly how we like it.

Because I Said So (2007)

Diane Keaton as the overbearing and pushy mom to Mandy Moore, Piper Perabo and Lauren Graham in Because I Said So gently reminds us why we don’t share the entirety of our love lives with our mothers.  Her meddling tactics to marry off her daughter are well intentioned while absurd, and leave us giggling at how strong a mother’s love can be.  We’d be lying if we said we weren’t team Johnny (played by Gabriel Macht) from the start, but it’s the relationships between the women that end up being the truest part of this love story.  Packed with pratfalls lines and polka dots, this one may be our very favorite…

 Indoor Activities
our 5 picks

Aerial Silks with Bobby Hedglin-Taylor
Brooklyn, NY 11249
whywalkwhenucanfly@gmail.com

Definitely our favorite thing to do when we’re not at work – if you’re looking to mix it up, we have just the activity for you!  Go visit Bobby Hedglin-Taylor in Brooklyn for an aerial silks (or hammock, lyra, spanish web, aerial net, flying trapeze or rope) lesson and prepare to be inspired by an array of anti-gravity madness happening around you!  Uncle Bobby (or Papa Silk, as we call him) teaches silks to all levels every Tuesday and Friday afternoon – and to be frank, he’s simply the best.  His playful yet seriously devoted approach to teaching aerial arts is challenging and supportive in both group settings and private lessons.  His prices also cannot be beat.  So unlock your inner circus freak and learn how to Spanish Birthday Cake… it’s our personal favorite.

SPiN NYC
48 E 23rd St.
New York, NY 10010
(212) 982-8802
http://newyork.spingalactic.com/

Looking for a respite from the conventional club scene? Grab your friends and ditch the dance floor for the ping- pong court.  Yes, you read that right.  Created by mega-movie star Susan Sarandon, SPiN NYC is the most entertaining and trendy way to spend a night out.  Complete with 17 pong courts, a fantastic bar menu and VIP lounge, SPiN is the ideal location for a party, charity event, or enjoyable night out.  Open until 4 a.m. on the weekends, participants can rent a table and have (literally) a ball, without the arduous task of chasing after fouls.  Aspiring ping-pong champs can observe the experienced pros on bleachers surrounding the main table, or try their luck during weekly Monday tournaments.  Table rentals start at $10 per person.

Dave and Buster’s Times Square
234 W. 42nd St., 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10036
(646) 495-2015
http://www.daveandbusters.com/default.aspx

If you’ve been longing for a night out that is less about waiting in lines in full hair and make-up and more about getting straight to the fun, Dave and Buster’s in Times Square has got you covered. With daily specials like “Power Hour” (60 minutes of videogame play for $10) and ½ priced drinks for “Happy Hour” – Dave and Buster’s mixes childhood play with adulthood pleasures. So go ahead and get your game on!

Brooklyn Boulders
575 Degraw St.
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(Corner of 3rd Ave. and Degraw St.)
(347) 834-9066
http://www.brooklynboulders.com

If you want to incorporate some challenging fun into your summer workouts you seriously need to check out Brooklyn Boulders – Brooklyn’s premier rock climbing mecca. One of the largest climbing facilities on the East Coast, Brooklyn Boulders makes it easy to catch a class and get your bearings or perfect your climbing strategy on the walls. Their staff is helpful and warm and their space is laid out in a clear and cohesive way. We give Brooklyn Boulders a serious thumbs-up!

Bowlmor Lanes
110 University Place
New York, NY 10003
(212) 255-8188
www.bowlmor.com

This is not your average bowling experience!  Offering two full floors of lanes (42 lanes in total), four nights of live DJ’s weekly and a Monday night party from 10 p.m.- 1 a.m. with bowling and drink specials, Bowlmor Lanes is serious about fun! We love it for group outings and when you’ve had your fill of bowling, you can head upstairs to GVCC (a.k.a. Greenwich Village Country Club). GVCC is fun for so many reasons! It’s a club underneath a pressure dome with giant animal statues, a miniature golf course, air hockey, foosball and beer pong.  Are you on your way yet??

Mav’s Fab 5 – May 28, 2013


We’re so excited for summer to get started that this month we decided to blog about  NYC girl’s summer survival tools.  We’re dishing on our favorite summer hair products, sites and apps to find the best deals and save extra cash, and of course, the music festivals we can’t wait for.  Enjoy!

Summer Hair Products
Our 5 Picks

Bumble and Bumble “Hair Dressers Invisible Oil”
http://www.bumbleandbumble.com/products/9358/Products/HairdressersOil/index.tmpl

If you’re tired of fighting stubborn frizz every morning or if you just want to cut down the time you spend with your blow dryer, this might be your new go to fix for an everyday flat-ironed look.  At around $40 a bottle, Bumble and Bumble’s “Hair Dressers Invisible Oil” is well worth the price tag! The product does two things; fights frizz and adds shine. So the next time you look in the mirror and see puffy poodle hair, grab some Bumble and Bumble!

 Sebastian Professional “Liquid Gloss”
http://www.sebastianprofessional.com/en_US/products/flaunt/product.jsp?id=100032

You know those days when you’ve spent hours perfecting your hair, make up and outfit only to realize its 65 degrees out with 80% humidity? Yeah, we’ve all encountered that nightmare. Well, that dreaded first step into the fog where your gorgeous hair transforms from Mila Kunis flawless locks to a Marge Simpson disaster need never happen again. “Liquid Gloss” by  Sebastian Professional is the quick fix for this weather-induced catastrophe. Just a few drops of this $25 lifesaver (easily found on amazon.com) are all you need to keep your hair soft and sleek like the glamazon you really are

Josie Maran “Argan Oil”
http://www.sephora.com/argan-oil-P218700

We were all  familiar with the magic of Moroccan Oil.  It may have been the first product you learned to work into your hair with its signature light amoretto sent. However, times have changed and so have oils. “Argon Oil” is probably your hair’s new BFF. But how can you weed through all of the brands claiming that their product is the best?  “Argan Oil” by Josie Maran is the pivotal product for your hair care routine. Not only does it add volume and shine to your over dried locks, but you also use it as a moisturizer for your skin and a softener for your cuticles. Still not sold? This product comes from a co-op in Morocco devoted to helping women support themselves financially.  Your beauty routine just officially became charitable. Pick it up at Sephora for just under $50.

Frederic Fekkai “Glossing Cream”
http://www.fekkai.com

“Glossing Cream” by Frederic Fekkai is a must have for those who’ve color treated their hair one too many times. This repairing and restoring system is a great finale to a lineup of great moisturizing products. Not sure yet if its right for you? No problem! While the full sized bottle is sold on their website for $34, you can snatch the entire regimen for around $26 at target! So go ahead and test our theory without breaking the bank!

 Serge Normant “Meta Sheer Dry Oil Finishing Spray”
http://www.sephora.com/meta-sheer-dry-oil-finishing-spray-P296446

Have you ever turned around the bottle of your favorite styling product and had to whip out a dictionary to figure out what it is that you’re using? Phthalates, Triclosan, petrochemicals? Chances are if you can’t pronounce it, you probably shouldn’t be using it in your daily routine. Fortunately, Serge Normant’s “Meta Sheer Dry Oil Finishing Spray” uses ingredients like lavender and olive oil to add shine and control frizz in your daily up-do. Grab it at Sephora for just $24.

A Summer Of Festivals!
our 5 picks

Governors Ball
(Randall’s Island, New York.  June 7-9)
http://governorsballmusicfestival.com

As NYC’s most famous music festival, Governor’s Ball is a weekend of music that you don’t want to miss.  Taking place from June 7-9 on Randall’s Island, this year’s line up includes Kanye West, Kings of Leon, Guns n Roses, Nas, Pretty Lights, Feist, Kendrick Lamar, The Lumineers, Icona Pop and Of Monsters and Men.  More than ever before, the GB team is creating a food festival feel to go along with the eclectic music options.  So plane, train or ferry in – but don’t miss out on Governor’s Ball 2013!  VIP Tickets range from $180-$470.

Osheaga
(Montreal, Canada. August 2-4)
http://www.osheaga.com

We nearly had a heart attack when we saw the line up for Osheaga, Montreal’s rockin’ summer music festival taking place this August 2-4 at Parc-Jean Drapeau.  The line-up will include Mumford + Sons, Phoenix, Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore + Ryan Lewis, Vampire Weekend, Frank Ocean, The Lumineers, Ellie Goulding, The Cure, Porter Robinson, Beck, New Order, Hot Chip, Tegan + Sara, Jets, Icona Pop…are you sold yet?   Three day pass starts at $235.  We hate to play favorites, but if we could only chose one festival all summer, this would 100% be our pick!

Firefly
(Dover, Delaware. June 21-23)
http://fireflyfestival.com/site.php#home.php

Up next is the Firefly Festival.  Set in Dover, Delaware, Firefly offers the over citified New Yorker a respite to dance their city woes away to the sounds of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Vampire Weekend, Foster the People, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Avett Brothers, Calvin Harris, Passion Pit, MGMT, Ellie Goulding, Dispatch, The Lumineers, Kendrick Lamar, Alabama Shakes, Big Gigantic, Azealia Banks, Jim James, Zedd and more!  Single day passes start as low as $98 per day.

 Made In America
(Philedelphia, PA.  June 21-23)
http://www.madeinamericafest.com

Returning after an unbelievable inaugural year, last year.  This festival put on by Jay-Z and Budweiser took shape in Philadelphia on the steps of the famous art museum that Rocky once ran up.  This year’s line-up is headlined by miss Beyoncé herself and includes Nine Inch Nails, Deadmau5, Phoenix, Queens of the Stone Age, Calvin Harris, Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, A$AP Rocky, Wiz Khalifa, the Gaslight Anthem, Public Enemy and Solange.  Two day passes start at $150 and are available at www.ticketmaster.com.

Lollapalooza
(Grant Park, Chicago, IL.  August 3-5)
www.lollapalooza.com

This music festival has been growing strong since 1991 and returns this year with a rocking line-up headlined by The Cure, Mumford & Sons, The Killers, Nine Inch Nails, Pheonix, The Postal Service, Vampire Weekend, New Order, Queens of the Stone Age, The National and so many more!  There will be plenty of other activities in Grant Park to keep you occupied between sets.  Single day passes start at $95.

 Tools to be wallet smart
our 5 picks

 Mr. Rebates
www.mrrebates.com

This ingenious way to save money via cash back rebates while shopping online was created in 2002.  Since its conception it has evolved to include coupons and deals for thousands of stores specializing in everything from technology to apparel to jewelry.   Mr. Rebates even offers 3-10% on your total purchase when you’ve finished shopping!  We’re into that.

 LearnVest
www.learnvest.com

LearnVest empowers women to take control of their personal finances so that they can afford to live their richest lives. It helps women tackle their finances by giving them the information, tools and support they need to earn well, save well, and spend well. LearnVest offers a number of custom opportunities to connect partners with the audience of loyal, engaged and influential women.

NerdWallet
www.nerdwallet.com

A San Francisco-based consumer finance website that helps folks find the best deals in areas ranging from credit cards and travel to college scholarships and personal finance. NerdWallet was co-founded in 2009 by two high school friends who later worked on Wall Street.  It has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN Money, Reuters and MSN Money -  that’s some serious street cred.

Yipit.com
www.yipit.com

Yipit is the place to go to find all the best sales, online and in-store.  They gather the best daily deals from the most popular deal sites so that you only have to make one stop.  You will find deals on everything from fashion to spas to restaurants and sports games.  With all the running around we do, it’s so convenient to have one website to go to and find the best deals of the day!

RedLaser
www.redlaser.com

 This phone app lets you scan the barcode on a product and then compares its price at other stores and online retailers.  Scanning food on redlaser will also help you identify any allergens that the product contains.   This is hands down the best way to find the cheapest prices.  Stop paying more for the same product and start saving money with this gem!

Mav’s Fab 5 – April 30th, 2013

With Mother’s day coming up, we’ve been reminiscing about all things comforting and yummy, just like mom made. So, this month’s blog is comprised of our favorite desserts, recipes and classic cocktails, some from our childhoods, others we’ve found along the way. We hope you shoo your mama’s out of the kitchen and spoil her with some of our favorite treats!

Classic Cocktails and their Origins
our 5 picks

Bellini
Harry’s Bar (Venice, Italy)
Calle Vallaressco, 1323
30124 Venezia, Italy
+ 39 (0) 41 528 5777
www.harrysbarvenezia.com

Before this bubbly peach cocktail became a brunch favorite, it was concocted and made popular by bartender Guiseppe Cipriani in 1948. The drink quickly gained popularity at Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy (a favorite haunt of Ernest Hemmingway, Orson Welles and Sinclair Lewis) and became a staple at the New York counterpart Cipriani’s. It is due to the unique pink color of the drink, which reminded Cipriani of the color in one of Venetian artist Giovanni Bellini’s paintings, that this drink got it’s name.

Negroni
Caffe Giacosa (Florence, Italy)
Via della Spada 10/r
50123 Firenze, Italy
+39 (0) 55 2776328
www.caffegiacosa.it

The invention of the Negroni is credited to Italian Nobleman, Count Negroni. As the story goes, Count Negroni (who apparently made a living as a rodeo cowboy in the U.S. for a period of time) asked his bartender at Caffe Casoni (now Caffe Giacosa) to add gin instead of soda water to his Americano (a cocktail containing Campari, sweet vermouth and club soda) – it seems he was in need of an extra kick on this particular day! He also switched the lemon garnish to an orange to note the difference between the two drinks. The Negroni became so popular that the Negroni family founded the Negroni Distillery, where they produced a ready-made version of the drink.

Martini

The origins of the martini are a bit blurry, which is fitting considering the affect it tends to have when consumed! The most widely accepted story is that it evolved from a cocktail called the Martinez, named for Thomas Martinez who served them at the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco. However, the people of the nearby town of Martinez claim it was first created by a bartender in their town. There is a third theory that it was named for the bartender, Martini di Arma di Taggia, who concocted it in 1912 at the Knickerbocker Hotel in NYC. The martini rose to popularity during prohibition because it was relatively easy to illegally manufacture gin. Today you can order your favorite version of the martini with gin or vodka, dirty or dry, with olives a twist, and of course, shaken or stirred!

Bloody Mary
King Cole Bar (New York City)
The St. Regis Hotel New York
2 East 55th St.
New York, NY 10022
(212) 339 6857
www.kingcolebar.com

From what we can decipher, it seems the Bloody Mary was a collaboration between George Jessel and Ferdinand Petiot. Jessel, a comedian and frequenter of the 21 Club popularized this cocktail made of equal parts vodka and tomato juice. Petiot, a bartender, also claimed to have invented the Bloody Mary, but later clarified that he adapted it by adding spices and garnishes at The King Cole Bar. Some say it was named for Queen Mary of England, others say legendary actress Mary Pickford… either way, it’s clear that it was inspired by one seriously spicy Mary.

Manhattan
The Manhattan Club
200 W. 56th St.
New York, NY 10019
(212) 453 8855
www.manhattanclub.com

The most popular story behind the Manhattan credits its concoction to Dr. Ian Marshall at a event at the Manhattan Club in NYC. The party was hosted by Jennie Jerome (mother of Winston Churchill) and was in honor of presidential candidate Samuel J. Tilden. The drink became incredibly popular and having not yet been named, began to be referred to it as the Manhattan cocktail. It has also been said that the cocktail was served as early as the 1860’s at a bar called Broadway near Houston St. One this is for sure, New York City can solidly stake its claim on this brown liquid delicacy.

Favorite Savory Recipes
our 5 picks

Summer Kale Salad

We found this delicious dish at a picnic in Brooklyn close to a decade ago and immediately hunted down the guest who brought it for this recipe! It’s good hot or cold and proves what we’ve been preaching – kale is not just a garnish any more!

What you’ll need:

1 bundle of kale
Olive oil (splash)
Pepper to taste
Braggs –liquid amino acid to taste
1 fresh leek
Pine nuts 1/2 – 3/4 of a cup

What you do:

Cut or tear the leaves from the thick center stem (discard stems) and rip remaining leafy greens into bite-sized pieces. Steam! (Just a few drops of water in the bottom of a non-stick pan does the trick) Set aside in a bowl.

Slice about ½ of one leek very thin (mostly the white portion) and then roughly dice the sliced circles so that they’re ½ thin circumferences. Set aside. We generally use 1/3 – 1/2 leek.

With just a splash of olive oil in a pan at med/low, toast the pine nuts gently. You want them golden but be careful, they will burn quickly! Once they’re done, dump them (oil and all!) on to the kale, add the leeks, pepper and Braggs (which will bring in your salt element) to taste. Wash your hands, dig them in and toss that kale! Enjoy!

Spanakopita

We’re just going to say it… this is the BEST Spanakopita out there. A deep dish, tangy, hearty variation of the traditional Greek spinach and feta pastry – we’ve searched hugh and low and this recipe reigns supreme! It is definitely the most labor intensive of the recipes in this blog (separating each tissue paper thin layer of phyllo dough is an art) but once complete, it is worth every second! Consider this a delicious challenge! We dare you!

What you’ll need:

2 cups of crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons of flour
5 eggs
3 tablespoons of butter
½ pound of melted butter
1 cup of chopped onion
1 teaspoon basil
2 cups (1 pound) cottage cheese
½ teaspoon oregano
2 pounds fresh spinach
1 package of phyllo dough (defrosted)
Salt and Pepper

What you do:

Clean, stem and chop the spinach. Salt it lightly and cook, adding no hot water for five minutes. Cook the onions in butter, salting lightly. When soft, combine with remaining ingredients and spinach. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

To assemble: Spread melted butter on a 9X13 baking pan. Place a “strudel leaf”(aka one the thin phyllo sheets) in the pan (it will outsize the pan – let the edges climb the sides) and brush generously with butter. Keep layers of dough coming, one on top of another, brushing each with butter. When you have a pile of 8 leaves, spread on half of the filling. Continue with another pile of 8 or so leaves (don’t skimp on the butter!), then apply the remaining filling, spreading it to the edges. Fold the excess of the phyllo down along the edges, making little tidy corners. Pile as many more layers of phyllo and butter as your baking pan will accommodate (this will create the most amazing crispy, golden, flaky crust). Butter the top most leaf. Bake uncovered for about 45 minutes – until beautifully golden.

Paula Deen’s Southern Fried Chicken

You’d never know it by looking at her, but our CEO has a penchant for all things Paula Deen. Maybe it’s just the utter respect for butter and cream that melts her heart, maybe it’s Paula’s adorable southern accent… all we know, is that when it comes to frying anything up, Mama Paula is a trusted source. This fried chicken has just the kick we’re looking for when we’re packing a summer picnic!

What you’ll need:

3 eggs
1/3 cup water
About 1 cup hot red pepper sauce (recommended: Texas Pete)
2 cups self-rising flour
1 teaspoon pepper
House seasoning (recipe follows)
1 (1 to 2 1/2-pound) chicken, cut into pieces
Oil, for frying, preferably peanut oil

What you do:

In a medium size bowl, beat the eggs with the water. Add enough hot sauce so the egg mixture is bright orange. In another bowl, combine the flour and pepper. Season the chicken with the house seasoning. Dip the seasoned chicken in the egg, and then coat well in the flour mixture.

Heat the oil to 350 degrees F in a deep pot. Do not fill the pot more than 1/2 full with oil. Fry the chicken in the oil until brown and crisp. Dark meat takes longer then white meat. It should take dark meat about 13 to 14 minutes, white meat around 8 to 10 minutes.

House Seasoning: 1 cup salt 1/4 cup black pepper 1/4 cup garlic powder Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Cucumber Salad

Cucumber salad has a special place on the rosters of many cultural menus, but this version of a classic is the version my grandmother made, so of course, we’re pretty partial to it. From the pages of the Jennie Grossinger’s The Art of Jewish Cooking – this has been a staple in the family since the 1950’s – the secret is making sure the cucumbers are cut paper thin! This cucumber salad is tart, crunchy and fresh and is exactly what we want to munch on during a hot summer day! So get out your mandoline and enjoy!

What you’ll need:

3 cucumbers
2 teaspoons of salt
½ cup of cider vinegar
2 tablespoons of cold water
1 teaspoon of sugar
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 scallions – sliced thin

What you do:

Peel the cucumbers and slice VERY thin. Sprinkle with the salt and set aside for 20 minutes. Drain well. Mix together the vinegar, water, sugar and pepper. Add to the cucumbers with the scallions. Mix well and chill for 2 hours before serving.

Lils Chicken Parm

Growing up vegetarian, I ended up in a funny position when in my first adult relationship; I wanted to make dinner for my new boyfriend and realized I had no idea how to cook meat! This recipe – originally based off of the Chicken Parmesan from The Joy of Cooking, was the first meat based recipe that I tackled. Throughout the years, I have altered it here and there and I’ll be honest, this used-to-be-veggie-girl makes a damn fine chicken parm! The instructions might seem a bit outlandish but follow them to a t and you will blow your friends away!

What you’ll need:

Chicken breasts (boneless, skinless – ideally free-range and organic)
All purpose flour
Bread crumbs
Garlic powder
Parmesan cheese (grated fine like powder)
Fresh Parsley
Fresh Basil
Salt and Pepper
One yellow onion
An egg or two (depending on how much chicken you’re making)
A whole bunch of fresh garlic cloves
Pasta Sauce (your favorite marinara)
Olive oil or Safflower oil
Smoked mozzarella cheese

What you do:

Take a handful of the parsley (sans the stems) and dice it up really finely. Add it to a medium mixing bowl. Add breadcrumbs (you’re going to need to eyeball the amount that you think you will need to cover the amount of chicken you’re making), salt and pepper (If you have grinders, I usually do about 5 twists of each), about 1 teaspoon of garlic powder and 2-3 tablespoons of parmesan cheese. Mix this up with your hands – it’s your crust – and it should be colorful!

After unpacking the chicken breasts, I like to cut off the white veins of fat and any extra fatty area’s around the outside. Take a piece of wax paper and put each chicken breasts on it (one at a time), lay another piece of wax paper on top of the chicken and then beat said chicken with the bottom of the pasta sauce jar. You don’t want to make it too thin…you’re simply tenderizing that chicken – it will expand! After your chicken has been tenderized, toss each breast in flour (shaking off any excess).

In a small bowl crack the egg, add a bit of water from the tap and beat the water/egg mixture. Dip the floured chicken into egg mixture so that it’s coated and then transfer the breast to the bowl with your crust mix. Press the crust onto the chicken with your fingers – make sure each breast is totally covered.

In a non-stick pan, add the oil and cook at medium – you want to sear each breast for about one minute or 90 seconds on either side – you want the crust to be golden brown but don’t worry about cooking the chicken all the way through – this will happen during the time in the oven.

Pour your marinara into a small saucepan, add about half of a yellow onion (diced), a handful of torn up basil leaves, and 2 crushed cloves of garlic. Let this simmer until the onions are tender. Pour some of the prepped sauce into the bottom of a 9X13 baking pan so that a thin layer spreads across the bottom. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top of the sauce. Arrange your chicken breasts tetris style, so that they fit in a way that works best for the pan. Pour the rest of the sauce across the chicken. Slice the smoked mozzarella in thick slices (about 1/3 of an inch thick) – and cover each piece of chicken with a slice (or a few!) of mozzarella (it is ESSENTIAL that this is smoked mozzarella). Sprinkle the whole pan with parmesan cheese. Finally, peel 5 cloves of garlic – leave them whole or if they’re really large, cut them in half. Pop these into the sauce around the chicken so they’re hidden evenly. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Dessert Recipes
our 5 picks

Celia’s Oatmeal Cookies

It’s almost sinful how much bake-sale money I raised in high school with this next recipe. Literally I would just put up a sign that read “Lily’s Mom’s Cookies!” and these delicious variations of a traditional cookie would be gone! I hope that they bring you as much joy and luck as they’ve brought me!

What you’ll need:

1 ¼ cups butter (melted)
¾ cup brown sugar (we whip this up with some white sugar and molasses)
½ cup white sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon (ish)
almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 teaspoon ginger powder
1/3 teaspoon all spice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3 cups old fashion uncooked oats

What you do:

Set your oven to 375 degrees. Blend the melted butter and sugars (brown and white) together until fluffy. Add in the egg and the extracts. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Mix both bowls together and then stir in the oats. On a parchment paper covered cookie sheet, drop spoon sized dollops and bake for 8-11 minutes.

Cloud Cookies

I named these cookies at age five – they’re easy, quick, gluten-free and a yummy, light sweet – perfect for summer! What’s even better is that they’re totally adaptable…right before baking, you can fold in walnuts or strawberry juice or our favorite, mini dark chocolate chips!

What you’ll need:

2 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup white sugar

(optional: 1 6 ounce package of semi-sweet chocolate chips or ¼ cup of chopped walnuts)

What you do:

Beat egg whites, salt, cream of tartar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Add sugar gradually, beating until peaks are stiff. Fold in any additions. Cover a cookie sheet in parchment paper and drop dollops by the spoonful. Bake at 300 degrees for 25 minutes.

Candace’s Banana Birthday Cake

If you know our fearless leader, you are aware of her love of all things sweet – but in particular all things banana. So for her birthday, it seemed only appropriate that I make her the best banana cake in the world! This cakes is a sure-fire winner with some really cool culinary tricks that keep it super moist and fluffy. I made it with vanilla butter cream icing for Candace but a great cream cheese or cream fraiche icing would work nicely too!

What you’ll need:

1 1/2 cups banana’s, mashed and super ripe (I let a few get really brown and then threw them in my freezer. If you pull them out the night before, they’ll thaw up and they’re like liquid banana gold on the inside!)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 cups of flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup butter, softened
2 1/8 cups white sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cups buttermilk

What you do:

Preheat your oven to 275 degrees. Grease and flour a 9X13 pan. In a small bowl, mix mashed bananas with the lemon juice and set aside. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside. In a large bowl, cream ¾ cup butter and 2 1/8 cups sugar until light and fluffy.

Beat in eggs, one at a time and then stir in 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Stir in the banana mixture. Pour the batter into the prepped pan and bake for one hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and put directly into your freezer for 45 minutes. This will preserve the moisture like a magic trick!

Prepare your favorite icing (buttercream, cream cheese, crème fraiche, etc..) – and ice that cake! Beware, even after 45 minutes in your freezer, your banana cake will still be quite warm and the icing will melt a bit if you put it on right away!

Double Layer Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Butter Cream Icing

This was the very first dessert that I learned to bake growing up that wasn’t a recipe stolen from my mothers regular repertoire. If you have a chocolate lover in your life, I swear to you, this is the key to their heart. This cake is decadent, moist and truly a pure expression of chocolate. As far as chocolate cake goes, you will be hard pressed to find a better one anywhere!

What you’ll need:

1 ¾ cups unsifted flour
2 cups of white sugar
¾ cup Hershey’s cocoa
1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoon baking power
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup of milk
½ cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water (you can also use coffee for a mocha effect- but I’ve always stuck to water)

What you do:

Grease and flour two square layer cake pans (or one 9X13 pan if you only want to do one layer), shake out the flour excess. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. While beating with an electric mixer (on medium) add in the eggs, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Stir in the boiling water. This batter will be very runny but don’t worry, It’s supposed to be like that!

Pour the batter into your prepped pan and bake for 35-40 minutes. If you want to make a super large cake – double this recipe and split between two 9X13 pans. As soon as you can stick a toothpick into the center of the cake and pull it out cleanly, take your cake(s) out and let them cool.

If you’re doing the double layer preparation, flip them upside down to release them from the pan once they’ve cooled. You’ll want a thick layer of the chocolate butter cream on top of the first cake, then carefully drop the second layer on top and cover the entire masterpiece generously with more chocolate buttercream.

Chocolate Buttercream Icing: Beat 6 tablespoons of softened butter in a large bowl until creamy. Add in 2 2/3 cups of confectioners’ sugar and ½ cup of cocoa until fully blended. Stir in 1/3 cup of whole milk a splash a time, stirring in between splashes. Add 1 ½ teaspoons of vanilla extract. Voila! (You may want/need to multiply this recipe for extra icing)

Emeril’s Coconut Cream Pie

Coconut is one of our favorite sweet flavors – it’s reminiscent of the Caribbean and summer cocktails and fluffy cupcakes and mermaid bra’s – really what is not to love?! We though including a delicious cream pie would be the perfect note to end this blog on… so below is a coconut cream masterpiece form our friend Emeril!

What you’ll need:

¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons of white sugar
3 cups of milk
4 eggs, separated
¼ cup of cornstarch
1 1/3 cups of sweetened flaked coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon butter Pie crust (we recommend homemade!)

What you do:

In a nonstick 1-quart saucepan, combine ¾ cup of sugar and 2 ¾ cups milk together. Bring this up to a boiling point and scald the milk. In a small mixing bowl, whisk the remaining milk, egg yolks and cornstarch together until smooth. Temper the egg yolk mixture into the scalded milk. Bring the mixture back to a boil and cook for about 3 minutes or until it gets thick, stirring constantly. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in 1 cup of flakes coconut, vanilla and butter. Pour the filling into the prepared pie shell. Cover the pie with plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Using an electric mixer, whip the egg whites and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread the meringue evenly over the top of the pie. Sprinkle the remaining 1/3 cup of coconut on top. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and cool. Bon Appetite!

Mav’s Fab 5 – April 8th, 2013

This past Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013, Maverick Events celebrated two very exciting milestones.  We have officially opened our L.A. office and we have also just turned five years old!  The occasion was celebrated with friends and family at the Hotel Gansevoort Park Avenue.  Since five is now even more of a special number here at MAV, we would like to celebrate by sharing a Fab 5 blog dedicated to our favorite five vendors/performers who were showcased at our launch party.  When planning an event of your own, these fab five will make your night a sure success!

Photo Booth

Vanity™ Photo Booths
vpbmarketing.com

Vanity™ Photo Booths has been capturing fun and fabulous event moments for over twenty years.  Whether you choose a traditional “scoot in and pull the curtain” booth (like we did!) or a bigger space where your guests can move around for action shots, we’re sure you’ll agree that having a Vanity™ Photo Booth on site is always a good decision!  Our guests could not get enough of this and neither could we!

Photographer

Mykwain Gainey Studio
mykwain.com

Mykwain A. Gainey is a New York based multimedia producer, having created video and photography projects for a myriad of clients including Warner Music Group, Atlantic Records, Elektra Records, The Economist, Diageo, Groupon, and Dylan’s Candy Bar, he is always our go-to photographer!  Mykwain has also done a wide range of music and performance photography including Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars…and of course Maverick produced concert-benefits including John Mayer and Maroon Five!

Magician

Dan White
www.danwhite.tv

As a performing magician, Dan White has become the star of the Discovery Channel’s “The Supernaturalist” and the HP Envy X2 Television Commercial. A magician since the age of ten, he is now a featured entertainer at many premier events around the world.  Take it from us, you will not believe what Dan can do with a kiwi!


Graphic Design 

Steve DeFino
www.SteveDeFino.com

Steve DeFino is a graphic designer and tattoo and fine artist based in Brooklyn, New York. He has designed for artists such as Melissa Etheridge, Neon Trees and Rihanna and he has been an integral part of the Maverick family for the past four years.

Florist

Belle Fleur
BelleFleurNy.com

Working closely with clients for a seamless, stellar and memorable affair, Belle Fleur has blossomed into one of Manhattan’s most sought-after floral and event design firms. They are noted for their meticulous attention to detail, unyielding commitment to quality and an incomparable sense of beauty.  Meredith and her team are simply stellar and we were proud to include their floral arrangements at our launch!

 

Mav’s Fab 5 – March 26th, 2013

This month we are celebrating all things Easter!!  Read on for the dish on the Easter egg hunts, adult Easter festivities and Easter arts and crafts that we are most excited for!

Egg/Scavenger Hunts
our 5 picks

Spring Egg Hunt
The Queens Botanical Garden
43-50 Main St.
Flushing, New York 11355
(718) 886-3800
www.nycgovparks.org/events/2013/03/30/spring-egg-hunt-at-queens-botanical-garden

The Queens Botanical Garden is hosting its first ever Spring Egg Hunt on Saturday, March 30th, from 11am-2pm.  The Easter Egg Hunt will take place in the crabapple orchard and will be followed by arts and craft activities and a special appearance from the QBG mascot Flora the Flower.  Don’t forget to bring the kiddies in your life, we know it’s nostalgic but you’ll look pretty funny trying to participate without them!  It’s only $5 per person for entry to the garden, so bring your basket for egg collecting.

Spring Eggstravaganza
The Queens Zoo
53-51 111th St.
Flushing, NY 11368
(718) 271-1500
www.queenszoo.com/plan-your-trip/events-calendar/easter-egg-hunt.aspx

Lions and Tigers and…..Bunnies, oh my!  Ok, we know that’s not how Dorothy and her crew famously chanted it but if you come down to the Queens Zoo over Easter weekend, bunnies you shall see!  Saturday, March 30th and Sunday, March 31st from 11am-4pm the zoo is holding its annual Spring Eggstravaganza.  This year the scavenger hunt will be followed by arts and crafts, pictures with the Easter Bunny and demonstrations featuring the zoo’s Flemish giant rabbits, Ruby, Herman and Olivia.

Barnyard Easter Egg Hunt
The Queens County Farm Museum
73-50 Little Neck Parkway
Floral Park, NY 11004
(718) 347-3276
www.queensfarm.org/events.html

Dust off your dancing shoes and come Bunny Hop with us down at The Queens County Farm Museum on Saturday, March 30th from 12pm-4pm!  If the Bunny Hop is not your thing, there will also be an egg toss and opportunities to take pictures with “Whiskers” the bunny.   Easter Egg Hunts will be ongoing throughout the day, so come whenever you like, when you’ve finished your hunt you can visit with the farm animals or go for a hayride!  Admission is $5.

Bohemian Hall Beer Garden
29-19 24 Avenue
Astoria, NY 11102
(718) 274-4925
www.bohemianhall.com

This is the perfect compromise for adults and children alike!  Sunday, March 31st, at 1pm Bohemian Hall Beer Garden is hosting an Easter Egg Hunt, egg painting, face painting and more for the kiddies, with plenty of Czech delicacies and artisanal beer for the adults.  Experience NYC history, The Bohemian Hall Beer Garden is the last original remaining beer garden in all of NYC!

Affinity’s Easter Egg Hunt 2013
St. Albans Park
Merrick Bl, 173 Pl, Sayers Ave
Queens, NY 11433
(888) 543-9070
www.affinityplan.org/EggHunt/

This is the largest Easter event in all of NYC!  Saturday, March 30th, from 12pm and going to 5pm enjoy free snacks, amusement rides, games and of course an Easter Egg Hunt!  WBLS radio personality Bob Lee is hosting and there will be live performances from child stars Breje and Troi Zee.  After all those marshmallow Peeps and Jelly Beans you can stop by the Health Plex station on site.   The major dental program provider will be handing out free toothbrushes and offering free dental screenings for children!

 

Adult Easter Fun
our 5 picks

Brunch at Park Avenue Spring
100 E 63rd St. (at Park Ave)
New York, NY 10021
(212) 644-1900
parkavenyc.com/spring/

This Park Avenue restaurant concept has recently made its transformation from winter to spring.  The imaginative restaurant changes its menu, décor and name to correlate with the current season.  The spring installation is the result of collaboration between restaurateur Michael Stillman and the award winning design firm AvroKO ( of Public and Stanton Social).  The spring décor is inspired by a classic English garden and is highlighted with wild, raw-vegetation and materials.  We can’t wait to check it out and think Easter Sunday brunch is the perfect way to ring in the Spring!

Ridgewood Social’s Easter Egg Hunt (for adults!)
Mafera Park
39 65th Place
Ridgewood, NY 11385
www.ridgewoodsocial.com

On Saturday, March 30th, Ridgewood Social will be hosting an adult Easter Egg Hunt starting at 3pm.  Mafera Park is accessible via the M line and they request that you RSVP in advance of the hunt.   Come down and search for plastic eggs filled with “adult things.”  They don’t go into specifics on the “adult things” except to entice with alcoholic candy.  Our curiosity is definitely piqued, how about you?!

Pysanky – Ukrainian Easter Egg Decorating Workshop
The Ukrainian Museum
222 E 6th St.
New York, NY 10003
(212) 228-0110
www.ukrainianmuseum.org/workshop.html

Come learn the decorative Ukrainian art of Pysanky!  The Ukrainian tradition of decorating pysanka (egg) dates back to antiquity.  The pysanka was perceived as the source of life, and the symbolic motifs and colors were implemented for social and religious occasions.  In this workshop you will learn more about the fascinating history of pysanky and get to try your hand with dyes, beeswax and a stylus to create traditional Ukrainian designs.  The workshops are offered on Saturdays and Sundays, but times and availability varies, so check out the website or give them a call.  The cost ranges from $5-$15.

Easter Sunday Champagne Brunch Cruise
Bateaux New York
Chelsea Piers
23rd St. and Hudson River Park
New York, NY 10011
(866) 817-3463
www.bateauxnewyork.com/New-York/easter-lunch

Celebrate this Easter Sunday in style with a Champagne Brunch Cruise.  The cruise will board at Chelsea Piers at 11:30 am and will last until 2:30pm.  The price is $64.90 and includes a plated brunch, music, dancing and the dazzling sights of NYC.  We can’t think of a better way to welcome in Spring than a lovely afternoon on the water.  There is special pricing for children, if you decide to make it a family affair.  Make sure you book your tickets in advance to guarantee your spot.  We’ll raise a glass to that!

Bossa Nova Brunch Sundays
SOB’s
200 Varick St, Basement
New York, NY 10014
(212) 243-4940
Sobs.com

This is definitely not your conventional Easter Sunday Brunch!  Bossa Nova Brunch takes place at SOB’s every Sunday, but we think it would be a fabulous way to spend our Easter Sunday this year.  This Brazilian influenced brunch promises to make you feel like you are in a tropical paradise, it includes an open sangria bar and music from a live 3-piece Bossa Nova band.  Brunch is prefix only $28.99, for 3-course brunch, sangria bar, and live music.  Why not enjoy your Easter feast with a twist!

 

Easter Arts and Crafts
our 5 picks

Easter Egg Decorating Class and Brunch
The Peninsula
700 Fifth Ave. (at 55th St.)
New York, NY 10019
(212) 956-2888
www.peninsula.com/New_York/en/default.aspx#/New_York/en/Enticements/Easter/

This is the perfect Easter Weekend destination for families looking for a more traditional experience.   The Peninsula is holding an Easter Egg Decorating Class, March 30th, from 12pm-2pm.  Each participant will have the opportunity to decorate their very own chocolate Easter egg with the help of the hotel’s culinary team.  A child-friendly version of The Peninsula’s famous Afternoon Tea will be served complete with hot cocoa, finger sandwiches and a candy station.  There will also be an adult Afternoon Tea available.  To further complete this Easter experience the Easter Bunny and The Peninsula’s Peter Bear will be on hand to help children with their decorating.  The price for this event is $85 per person, well worth it for such a special experience!

Cupcake Kids – Bunny Cupcakes
TasteBuds Kitchen
109 W 27th St, 10th Fl
New York, NY 10001
(212) 242-2248
Tastebudskitchen.com

Hop on down and bake some bunny cupcakes!  On the Saturday morning of Easter weekend, come by TasteBuds Kitchen at 9 am for a bunny cupcake making class.  This is the perfect Easter activity for your little ones (the suggested age range is 2-8).  This $45  class is an hour long and the kids will learn how to decorate their cupcakes to resemble everyone’s favorite Easter mascot, the bunny!

Dinosaur Egg Decorating & Egg Hunt
Bank St Books
610 W 112th St
New York, NY 10025
(212) 678-1654
www.bankstreetbooks.com

On Easter Sunday at 2pm, the Bank St. Book Store will be hosting a prehistoric Easter.  Stop in to decorate dinosaur eggs and participate in other fun dinosaur-themed crafts.  There will also be a dinosaur egg hunt, so come ready to search for eggs in the nooks and crannies of the bookstore and then stick around and get your read on!

Easter Activities at CMOM
The Children’s Museum of Manhattan
The Tisch Building
212 W 83rd St
New York, NY 10024
(212) 721-1223
www.cmom.org

This Easter weekend The Children’s Museum of Manhattan is hosting a bonanza of Easter arts and crafts.  Both Saturday and Sunday bring the kids down from 10am-4pm so they can make a creative Easter collage or design their own Easter eggs.  There will also be an Easter Egg Hunt and children will receive a special Easter prize!  The price of participation is free with museum admission so don’t miss out on the fun!

The Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival
Fifth Ave (49th-57th St)
New York, NY 10022
www.nycgo.com/events/easter-parade-and-easter-bonnet-festival1

Everyone should experience The Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival!  This is the least organized of NYC’s Parades as it consists of New Yorkers wandering the streets in festive Easter getups complete with fancy Easter bonnets.  This year, we suggest you get your family together for an Easter Bonnet making party and then take them out for exhibition in The Easter Parade!  Here are some fun websites that may be of help,

www.allfreecrafts.net/156/how-to-make-an-easter-bonnet/

www.goodtoknow.co.uk/family/522463/make-your-own-easter-bonnet

Happy Crafting!

Mav’s Fab 5 – February 12th, 2013

This month we’re celebrating the February holidays!  Read on for last minute Valentines Day gift and date ideas as well as some super fun facts for Presidents day!

Presidents Day Fun Facts
our 5 picks

Fun-Fact-1

Obviously, here at Maverick we like our sass in spades – so when it came to this saucy Prez fact we just could not resist!  Did you know: One of our forefathers once chased his Secretary of State out of the White House with a pair of fire tongues?! That’s right.  James Monroe either had quite the temper or that S.o.S. must have done something truly awful. Either way, we bet he didn’t question the President’s authority again after that

Fun-Fact-2

Aside from the fact that this was an election year, the past 12 months have really been the year of Lincoln!  Between the Oscar-nominated biopic and the axe-wielding vampire hunting, honest Abe has really gotten to show off his talents as of late!  So here’s another little known fun fact about the tall man in the famously tall hat. Did you know: Before becoming the President of the United States of America, Abraham Lincoln was a licensed bartender! Seriously, adding his devotion to equality to his cocktail making prowess, Lincoln was kind of a dreamboat – way to go Mary Todd!

Fun-Fact-3

When we think of Presidents we think of stately, educated, historical figures that we learned about in school. We can still hear our mom’s saying Study hard and there’s nothing that you can’t be.  If you finish school you could be a doctor, or a lawyer, or even the President!  Funny enough, more than a few of our 44 Presidents (well technically 43 because Grover Cleveland gets counted twice) didn’t attend college at all, let alone graduate.  Did you know: Eight, that’s right, EIGHT of the people chosen to run our entire nation did not ever acquire a higher education.

Fun-Fact-4

While we are on the topic of moms, we just can’t resist calling out President Truman’s mom, who, when it came to naming him, got just a little bit lazy.  Listen, we all have embarrassing nic-names that we would prefer our mother’s not mention in public.  Some of us even have middle names that we deny like the plague but at the end of the day, whether you like it or not, your mom put some serious thought into naming you something that she thought was special.  Such is not that case for poor President Truman. Harry S Truman’s full given name is exactly how it is written.   Harry’s actual middle name is the letter S. Well… at least he got to be President!

Fun-Fact-5

This last fun fact is our favorite one of the bunch.  Did you know: There is an actual word in the Japanese language that was inspired by a recent American President? It’s true.  That word is Bushusuru.  When President Bush Sr. vomited on the Japanese Prime Minister, the Japanese people were so inspired that they added this new vernacular to their native tongue.  Literally translating into “to do the Bush thing”, we are kind of obsessed.  When researching bushusuru, we were lead to the following sentence…and incase you are ever asked to use this lovely new word in an appropriate phrase, let us offer you this little gem: “Girl, if you cross me again, I’m going to bushusuru all over your pretty new shoes” 

Valentines Night Out
our 5 picks

** If you are a couple wanting to try something new…

Zack’s Dance Loft
37 East 28th Street
New York, NY 10016
(212) 464-7506
www.zacksdanceloft.com

Are you looking to add some spice to your Valentines date night?  We advise you dance, twirl and sip the night away with a wine tasting/tango class combo at Zack’s Dance Loft.  The tango portion of the evening is designed for beginners, so whether you are new to the world of fancy footwork or just looking to add some new tricks to your rhythmic arsenal, this class has got you covered.  The beauty of the wine tasting portion of the evening is that if you or your dance partner has a bout of stage fright, you will have 8-10 regions worth of vino to boost your courage!

** If you’re in from out of town…

Heartwalk – Times Square New York
Times Square New York
(212) 730-7555
www.timessquarenyc.org

As New Yorkers it’s easy to forget how epic our city really is.  But if you’re making your way into the big apple to celebrate Valentines in the city that never sleeps, you should take a some time in the center of it all…Times Square.  Though it needs no more adornments to be truly magical, even this landmark gets in the holiday spirit when it comes to celebrating love.  Designed by the winners of the Times Square Valentines Heart Design contest (congrats Situ Studios!) – the Heartwalk was created to represent the love that binds people together during difficult times.  Built from salvaged and repurposed pieces of post hurricane Sandy boardwalk, the Heartwalk starts as two ribbons made of planks and gradually leads into an enclosed heart shape.  This special piece is commemorative, poignant, and a good reminder of how lucky we really are.

** If you want to wine and dine…

Ayza Wine and Chocolate Bar – West Village
1 Seventh Avenue South
New York, NY 10014
(212) 365-2992
http://www.ayzanyc.com/west-village/

If you’re looking for the perfect spot to wine and dine your better half, look no further than Ayza Wine and Chocolate Bar in the heart of the West Village.  Executive chef Murat Sevimcok will be serving up a decadent three-course menu for you to enjoy at your romantic candle lit, rose-petal covered table for two.  What could possibly make this dinner better?  Ending the night with champagne and strawberries while whispering sweet nothings through the flickering light.  New York does dining best, so dive in and give your loved one a dinner to remember!

** If you’re single and looking for fun…

Union Hall’s Love Bites: The Power Ballads Sing-Along
702 Union Street (at 5th Avenue)
Brooklyn, NY 11215
(718) 638-4400
www.Unionhallny.com

Who says that a non-romantic Valentines Day has to be sad or full of resentment? We are particularly excited about this next V-day option…Union Hall’s Love Bites: The Power Ballad Sing-Along.  We’re talking 80’s and 90’s costumes, air guitar riff contests, and all the Pat Benatar, Heart, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard and Cyndi Lauper you can handle.  Tease your hair, pull out that neon lace outfit you save for Halloween and get down with your bad self girl…we’re right there with you! 

**If you’re looking for luxury…

The Plaza Hotel’s Private Central Park Tour
768 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10019
(212) 759-3000
www.theplazany.com

Are you looking to escape the mundane and get a little fancy this Valentines Day?  If so, the Plaza Hotel on 5th Avenue has the perfect package for you.  Start off relaxing in your luxurious suite accommodations before you’re whisked away on a private custom tour of Central Park with premier historian and Central Park conservancy photographer, Sara Cedar Miller.  End your evening with a signed copy of one of Sara’s books (a perfect coffee table keepsake to remind you of this night all year long) and then head back to the Plaza for a champagne toast for two.  It will be impossible not to fall in love with New York City and each other all over again!

Valentines Day Gifts
our 5 picks 

Sweet Treat Tower – Chocolate
Dylan’s Candy Bar
1011 3rd Avenue
New York, NY 10065
(646) 735-0078
www.dylanscandybar.com

If you have a chocolate lover in your life, forget the ordinary box of cocoa and make a statement with the Sweet Treat Tower from Dylan’s Candy Bar.  No chocolate statement will show you care more than this foot tall tower of boxes, each meticulously packed with every chocolate-based sugar dream she’s ever had.  From vanilla clodhoppers to chocolate pretzels, dark chocolate non-parells to chocolate covered oreo’s… our girl Dylan has got your sweet’s sweets covered.  And if by some chance chocolate is not the key to her sweet tooth…Dylan also has a gummy tower, yeah that’s right, we went there!

A different kind of card to say I love you
http://www.usplayingcard.com/

Writing a love letter is a classic form of expressing one’s deepest feelings for a beloved.  Tried and true, it can also be a bit intimidating for a modern day suitor to tackle…so why not try it with a twist?  We recommend getting a deck of cards (or a few decks, if you’re so daring), isolating the Hearts and then on each one penning a favorite quality on each one.  You can rhyme your compliments, phrase them out word by word or sentence by sentence, but when you’re finished, clip them together and you’ll be left with a declaration of love..flip book style! We promise she’s never gotten a “card” like this before.

Music Video Montage

If your budget is tight but you still want to make a big impact, rely on the resources around you.  Everyone wants to be a musical muse, so pick out your favorite song that represents you as a couple or your feelings for your loved one, pull pictures and videos off Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or your hard drive and piece them together into a moving declaration of your devotion.   You can add text as you go along of let the memories speak for themselves, but either way we think this is a sure fire way to catch that special someone’s attention.  There are a bunch of programs on the internet that let you do this…we personally recommend iMovie http://www.apple.com/ilife/imovie/ .

A Year of Affirmations  – aka 12 Valentines Day’s

The most common argument against Valentines Day is that we shouldn’t need a commercial holiday to remind us to appreciate the people in our lives.   So this next idea is one for the naysayer’s.  Go out and purchase a calendar (or steal the one off your fridge if you’d prefer).  Think about your partner and everything they do for you as a person, for your relationship, for your children and for the world…and then on the fourteenth of each month fill in a commitment that you are making to support them in all that they do.  An example of how this may be…March 14th: I will give you a thirty minute back massage surrounded by aromatic candles, April 14th: I will do the dishes for this entire week, May 14th: I will pick up the kids from every practice/lesson/play date all weekend so you can do you, June 14th:  Every morning this month I will wake leave you a note reminding you why I love you.  A Valentines commitment could make the next year even sweeter!

Tease for Two’s Edible Body Icing
Victoria’s Secret
(800) 888-8200
www.victoriassecret.com

If you’re looking to spice up your love life this Valentines Day but don’t know where to begin, Victoria’s Secret has got what you need.  Tease for Two’s Edible Body Icing will get wake up your creative side as well as your taste buds, giving you both an excuse to reconnect and get to know each others sensual sides.  The chocolate-flavored body icing can be applied by brush (included in the kit) or if you’re feeling more avant-garde you can always revert to finger painting.  We recommend starting with this ending with a shared bubble bath!

Mav’s Fab 5 – January 14th, 2013

Travel Sites
our 5 picks

 AirBnB
(415) 800-5959
(855) 424-7262
www.airbnb.com

If you thought your travel choices started and ended with hotel vs. hostel we are about to blow your mind!  Meet AirBnB, where anyone from a Bed and Breakfast owner to your cousin who wants to rent out his guesthouse can post their available space (from room to mansion) for your traveling benefit.  But what about safety you ask?  AirBnB is built a like a glass house, so travelers and hosts alike set up profiles and pictures to introduce themselves, and then after each trip each side reviews the other and the reviews are listed as part of each profile.  So in addition to having actual insurance provided through the site, you will also be pre-informed if the pillows are like clouds or the bathroom door creaks.  We have only ever had fabulous experiences with this site!

onefinestay
(917) 383-2182
www.onefinestay.com

If you have ever wanted to live someone else’s life for a few days onefinestay is just perfect for you!  This ultra-hip travel site is exclusive to London and New York, and their specialty it hooking you up with the best home-stays in the coolest pads. While out of town, hosts rent out their homes through the site, allowing you to enjoy the perks of a hotel while really getting to live like a local. If you’re looking for vacation rentals or holiday apartments in London or New York, head to onefinestay and feel truly at home at your home away from home.

Hipmunk
www.hipmunk.com

If you’re an Expedia or Kayak frequenter looking for a new search engine to set up your travel with, then look no further! Hipmunk’s claim to fame is that they make travel planning faster and easier for you.  How, you may wonder? They list all relevant flight and hotel information on one single page for you. They even have a time chart available, which lays out your flight options in chronological order so you can more simply plan your travel around the requirements of your day.

Love Home Swap
877-778-8485
www.lovehomeswap.com

If you’ve got that pesky combination of the travel-itch and a tight wallet, Love Home Swap may be your new best friend.  For a small monthly fee, you can trade homes with other members from all over the globe.  Love Home Swap boasts the participation of thousands of homes across over 100 countries, which means your travel options are endless and what’s even better, your stays are free!  As far as options that allow you to see the world on a budget, we think this is one of the best!

Vacationist
877-313-6769
www.vactionist.com

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Weekend Getaways
our 5 picks

Wine Tour at Mirbeau Inn & Spa
851 West Genesee St.
Skaneateles, NY 13152
(877) 647-2328
www.mirbeau.com

A few short hours outside of the city, tucked away in the beautiful Finger Lakes, lies Mirbeau Inn and Spa and their Finger Lakes Wine Tour Package.   Grab your someone special and spend your weekend basking in a six hour wine tour and picnic lunch, relaxing with spa treatments, luxuriating with a three-course dinner prepared by their award winning restaurant and unwinding on their beautiful grounds.  When the hustle and bustle of the city is getting a little too frantic for you, just call Mirbeau, they’ll help you out!

Ski & Stay at Winter Clove Inn
Winter Clove Road
Round Top, NY 12473
(518) 622-3267
www.winterclove.com

This winter wonderland is for you snow bunnies who think hot cocoa is a warm but brief distraction from your frosty fantasy land of slopes. Pack up your skis and head to the Winter Clove Inn in the Catskills!  Over the duration of your stay, you can spend hours on the slopes and then relax in the onsite heated pool and if you overdose on the cold temperatures, there is also a bowling alley and a recreational room for your indoor leisure as well!

Mohonk Mountain House
1000 Mountain Rest Road
New Paltz, New York 12561
(845) 255-1000
www.mohonk.com

If you are like us, you have watched Dirty Dancing about a million times and while we may not be able to provide you your own Johnny Castle to make sure you’re kept out of that pesky corner, we can guide you towards the uncannily similar Mohonk Mountain House.  You can rent a room, a cottage, have your wedding or even just spend a day exploring the grounds and then getting rubbed down in their in-house spa.  Picturesque doesn’t even come close to describing Mohonk which was named the #2 resort spa by Conde Nast Traveler in 2012.  This place is romantic meets rugged, Hollywood meets country getaway, we promise you will love it!

Trail Rides at The Settlers Inn
4 Main Avenue
Hawley, PA 18428
800-833-8527
www.thesettlersinn.com

If you’re in the mood for a down home weekend but aren’t quite ready to sign up for a few days with the in-laws, check out the Settle in and Saddle up package The Settlers Inn in the Poconos.  Reconnect with yourself and get down with the “horseplay” while taking trail rides (all levels available) at the Vanderbeek Farm and Stables and then replenish your energy with the Inn’s farm-to-table dining.  Sometimes a little bit of country is exactly what us city folks need!

The Whiteface Lodge
7 Whiteface Inn Road
Lake Placid, New York 12946
(518) 523-0500
www.thewhitefacelodge.com

If you have varied desires for your weekend away and don’t want to settle on any front, the Whiteface Lodge could be exactly what you have been searching for.  The accommodations are pristine, the food delicious, the wine and beer lists are dense and well thought out and the grounds offer a bevy of options with which to entertain yourself.  From ice-skating, to bowling, multi-bedroom adjoined group suites to intimate dining, and of course spa treatments and indoor/outdoor swimming, the Whiteface Lodge provides a forum for you to unwind and recharge in style!

NYC Staycations
our 5 picks

Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC
18 Ninth Ave
New York, NY 10014
212-206-6700
www.hotelgansevoort.com

When you need get the heck out of dodge but simply don’t have the time, checking into your favorite nearby hotel and pretending you’re on holiday can be just what you need to decompress.  Our friends at the Gansevoort Hotel in the Meatpacking district have created the perfect answer to your staycation needs with their Night Owl Package.  Their invitation reads as follows; check in early to your Deluxe suite, take a swim and enjoy a complimentary cocktail poolside, retreat to your room where you can prep for the night and pre-game with a 750ml bottle (see site for generous options) on the house and then hit the town with VIP passes to this seasons hottest club.  Wake up the next morning and get your hair did – you have 20% off at Prieto Select Hair Studio – girl you look fancy!

Hotel Tonight
www.hoteltonight.com

If you are a last minute kind of person, Hotel Tonight is right up your alley.  This app gets all of the sickest deals that you can’t get your hands on and offers them, discounted, to you each day at noon.  And we’re not just talking NYC hotels, Hotel Tonight covers over 50 cities nationwide and more in Canada and Mexico!  It’s genius really, this site has relationships with all of your favorite hotels and each day the hotels tell Hotel Tonight about their extra rooms and since vacant rooms are no fun for anyone, they pass them on with enormous discounts!  So the next time you wake up on the wrong side of the bad, get yourself a little staycation…we promise it will turn your day around!

Dream Downtown
355 West 16th Street
New York, New York 10011
(212) 229-2559
http://www.dreamhotels.com/hotels/new-york/new-york/dream-downtown/hotel-overview?propId=PX45548

Sometimes it’s nice to plan a staycation for your favorite over-worked, under-played brother, boyfriend, or best friend…If you’re in the market to make him feel special the Dream Downtown has a package called The Shot Caller that you need to know about!  The shot caller is like the NYC man’s spa-weekend, boasting a Platinum suite, a private cabana poolside (fits 5), a 12 pack of Heineken along with Kobe sliders and fries poolside. He can follow that up with his 60-minute Swedish massage, before he heads to Marble Lane for a three-course Prixe-Fixe dinner, and finally he can unwind in his new monogrammed bathrobe with on-demand movies and dessert delivered to his suite.

Ace Hotel
20 West 29th Street
New York, New York 10001
(212) 679-2222
www.acehotel.com

Want to feel like a rock star for a weekend?  The Ace Hotel has you covered.  Their Loft suite’s get even the most unimpressed travelers intrigued.  Not only is their vintage décor thoughtful, interesting and so un-hotel-like, but this suite in particular comes outfitted with a turntable, a carefully curated mini-bar an amazing view and here’s the kicker…a guitar.  That’s right, you can rock out high above Broadway and 29th and let that inner music god shine!  And should you get hungry or lonely, downstairs lives the Breslin and the John Dory Oyster Bar for all of your pork and seafood needs.

W New York
541 Lexington Avenue
New York, New York 10022
(212) 755-1200
www.wnewyork.com

Are you feeling frisky? That may just be your inner staycation-traveler telling you it needs a weekend at the W New York and their Flirty and Fabulous Package!  After you check into your plush suite, you can snack on some “Naked Strawberries” – which come with a side of chocolate dipping sauce so you can dunk or dab your fruit as you please.  When you’ve finished with your snack head down to the Oasis lounge for your complementary champagne and once the bubbles have you feeling brave, take your two hotel-provided tickets and be admitted into the Museum of Sex for an eye-popping, and arousing experience.  One quick tip – make sure you visit the animal exhibit – we’re telling you, you’ll leave with a whole new respect for Zebra’s!