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Favorite Eats on NYC’s Upper East Side
Mar21

Favorite Eats on NYC’s Upper East Side

Last week was spring break, which meant  a week back home in the city! This visit, my husband Seth and I were extra busy co-op shopping; but we still managed to get our fix of museums, theater, music, and — of course — some great meals. I never have time to visit all my favorites in a single trip, but this time around we made it to a couple of my faves on the Upper East Side. Monday night was Candle Cafe (which came before its nearby sister restaurant and also a favorite, Candle 79); on Wednesday night, we had dinner at V-Note Organic Wine Bar & Bistro, a member of the Blossom family (Cafe Blossom on the UWS, Blossom in Chelsea, etc.).   Candle Cafe, 1307 Third Ave. near 75th St. Candle 79, 154 E. 79th at Lexington V-Note, 1522 First Ave. near 80th St. Bonus Tip! For the simple pleasure of a soft-serve ice cream cone, check out The Soft Serve Fruit Co. (formerly Simply Peeled). Vegan, gluten-free, fat free and low cal — definitely hits the sweet spot! Located at 1371 Third Avenue, between 78th and 79th...

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NY’s Candle Cafe in the Frozen Food Section!
Feb15

NY’s Candle Cafe in the Frozen Food Section!

New York comes to the local Whole Foods! Whether you’re looking for a quick dinner for Meatless Monday or — like me — to keep a few items in the freezer for hectic days when it’s dinnertime before there’s been any time to even think about dinner, the new Candle Cafe frozen entrees, available in stores around the country, are a boon. As many of you know, Candle Cafe and its sister restaurant, Candle 79, are among my faves in NYC. Not only do I visit them frequently, but I’m also a devotee of the two cookbooks. So it’s great news that four frozen entrees are now available at many Whole Foods locations. I can enjoy a taste of Candle Cafe from miles away… and I don’t even have to cook! Four entrees now available: Seitan Piccata with lemon caper sauce (this is one of my faves at the restaurant!) Ginger Miso Stir Fry Tofu Spinach Ravioli Macaroni & Vegan Cheese For those of you still looking to satisfy that Mac & Cheese comfort food urge, Candle Cafe’s entree will delight you. And a special note to anyone who has yet to visit one of the restaurants or try a recipe from either The Candle Cafe Cookbook or the Candle 79 Cookbook: the frozen entrees are wonderful for convenience, but you really must try the real deal when you have a chance. Some of the best meals in my lifetime. Newsflash! There’s a new Candle Cafe coming NYC’s way! Soon, residents of Manhattan’s Upper West Side will be able able to enjoy the restaurant’s amazing meals without having to  hop on a cross-town bus. Look for a new location at Broadway and 89th Street coming...

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NYC Spa Day!
Dec02

NYC Spa Day!

If you’re living in the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple, spa days are essential to peace of mind and body — especially during the craziness of the holiday season. Whether it’s for a one-hour facial or a full day of treatments, here are a few of my NYC faves: Bliss Spa I’ve been a regular at the SoHo location for a long time. The “fabulous facial” really is fabulous. And your aesthetician will be glad to discuss products, to ensure you’re only using cruelty-free. Word to the wise: book well in advance, especially if you’re hoping for an appointment this time of year. It was here that a woman gave me the advice that I still follow today: “Honey, you have to plan and book your year.” Other New York locations on West 57th and at the W Hotel on 49th Street. La Casa Day Spa This spa on East 20th Street focuses on Ayurvedic principles of detoxification, which speaks to the yogini in me. I’m also a huge fan of the body wraps here. But my favorite service, which I’ve always added to whatever else I have going on: floatation, where you practically levitate in a a tub of water filled with mineralized salts. Besides the detoxification and relaxation it provides, a session of such quiet and stillness can be a wonderful meditative experience. Sweet Lily Natural Nail Spa & Boutique This nail salon in TriBeCa uses all-natural, animal-friendly products such as Zoya nail polishes. Holiday Shopping  Idea! Gift certificates for a manicure or massage where they use cruelty-free products make terrific gifts and stocking...

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Unleashed, NY: Young Girls Helping Puppies
Nov30

Unleashed, NY: Young Girls Helping Puppies

As a former educator, I get super-excited whenever I hear about programs that are empowering children and teens. So Unleashed, an after-school program in NYC that pairs middle-school girls and puppies who need help finding their “furever” homes, is something I’m overjoyed to spread the word about! This 12-week program gets the students involved with all aspects of puppy rescue. In doing so, the girls are becoming aware of the need for animal advocacy at an early age, and they are  learning how to be effective advocates. In addition, they’re gaining confidence and upping their own self-esteem at an age when girls typically start becoming overcritical of themselves and look to society’s superficial values for self-validation. A young girl participating in this program will look into a puppy’s eyes and see the unconditional love and trust, and she will know she’s made a difference in that puppy’s life. What an amazing way to to help young girls realize they each have the capacity to contribute, and to encourage each of them to demonstrate compassion throughout their lives. The positive impact of a program like this, therefore, is both immediate and far-reaching. And, of course, there is the life-changing impact the program has on all the lucky pups that are rescued and adopted. The Unleashed program started by partnering with a few different New York schools, including The Nightingale-Bamford School in Manhattan. Having taught several years ago at another Upper East Side private school, I have to add that I’m especially pleased to find out about this program happening in the old neighborhood. Here’s a quick look at the program that’s sure to brighten anyone’s day! [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=pDP4fyYvjME&noredirect=1&w=600]...

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Sister Power! Compassion Couture, New York
Nov28

Sister Power! Compassion Couture, New York

First, we have the fab sisters of MooShoes in NYC — one of my favorite shopping destinations on the Lower East Side. Now, New York has another dynamic duo: Long Island sisters Jill and Tracey of Compassion Couture. Their e-boutique offers shoes, handbags, and accessories by various designers. Among the variety, some of my favorite brands: Beyond Skin Cri de Coeur Matt & Nat Neuaura Novacas Olsen Haus Susan Nichole Reveal All the products sold on the site are hand-picked by the sisters. The products are 100% animal-friendly (vegan) and made by designers who demonstrate strong ethical/eco-friendly business practices. Especially when you see all these fabulous designers under one e-roof,  it’s encouraging to see that there are plenty of designers in the  fashion world listening to consumers and getting the message — cruel is not cool!...

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Happy Happy Thanksgiving
Nov15

Happy Happy Thanksgiving

Looking for easy ways to update Thanksgiving traditions so that it’s truly a happy holiday for everyone — including the turkeys? Alternatives to Cooking a Bird If you really want to stick as close to the original tradition as possible, there are a few mock turkey options, most notably the Tofurky that comes complete with stuffing. Newer to the scene: the Celebration Roast by Field Roast. A couple behind me in line at Whole Foods last weekend was buying one, trying it for the first time. Each roast is made by hand, wrapped in a cotton netting and simmered to bring out all the flavors of the sausage-style stuffing (made of butternut squash, apples, and mushrooms). However, there’s nothing stopping any of us from creating an altogether new tradition of a favorite dish we reserve especially for this Thanksgiving Day. Last year, I shared a recipe for Polenta Stuffing that we just love, and I watched as some of my favorite restaurants, like NYC’s  Candle 79, promoted their vegan holiday dinner menus — all kinds of creative dishes! So, whether you’re at home exploring new recipes or dining out at a restaurant’s vegan feast, deciding to eschew the turkey actually opens wide the possibilities for all kinds of delectables on the Thanksgiving table. Adopt A Turkey! Farm Sanctuary has an awesome program where you can sponsor a turkey (for only $30). Last year, we adopted turkey Kima at the Farm Sanctuary in New York. This year, we’ve continued this new family tradition by adopting Raphael, who lives at Farm Sanctuary’s California shelter. He loves peaches, just like I do! Sanctuary Celebrations Farm Sanctuary FS has two locations — one in New York and one in California. Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, Farm Sanctuary rescues farmed animals and gives them a place to live the remainder of their lives in peace. Each year, they hold Celebrations FOR the Turkeys in both California and New York. Although I haven’t attended myself yet, I’m planning to make it to one in NY once we’re back on the east coast again. Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary Woodstock hosts a ThanksLiving celebration each year in October (mark your calendar for next year!). This event is a more formal affair — 250 people gather for an elegant dinner under a heated tent, enjoying the serenity of the sanctuary in all its autumn-leaves glory. FYI: The sanctuary just finished renovating a pre-Civil War farmhouse into a lovely bed & breakfast, the Guesthouse at Woodstock...

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