The Bronx Holiday Shopping Challenge!

Thanksgiving is just barely over and here we are already rushing to think about the holiday season. I literally just took down my Halloween decorations yesterday. I would’ve left them up, but having sugar skulls plastered on my window in November, just came across as kinda creepy.

This year, I started to think a lot about the original mission of this blog — to highlight our borough’s hidden gems and encourage Bronxites to have pride in their borough. I get a lot of PR emails about this event and that product, some of it is really cool, but I had to make a decision. Let me preface this by saying that I have a problem, I am super cheap, I LOVE free things. I always have. So, it’s really hard to say no to a free dinner and open bar somewhere in Brooklyn (hiss! boo!) or to try out some free product from some company that has absolutely nothing to do with the Bronx. But, I saw myself starting to drift away from my original mission and realized I needed to refocus. Get back to basics.

To really do this and put my money where my mouth is, so to speak, I decided that this holiday season, I’m going to shop local. Like really, truly, local. Not “Hey, I shopped at the Target in Throggs Neck, all my holiday shopping is done!” (Although, who doesn’t love Target? )

So here are the parameters:

  1. I must buy from a local, independent business.
  2. Holiday fairs are acceptable, so is Etsy.
  3. The goal is to buy for everyone on my list, which right now is at 15, though, I am probably forgetting some people.

Small Business Saturday is tomorrow and the Bronx Museum’s Holiday Fair is December 12 & 13th so I’m going to start with those and see how I go. I’ll do an update after the fair to keep you guys abreast of my progress. Please feel free to leave suggestions in the comments or on Twitter or Facebook.

Ways to Give Back in the Bronx this Season

While we should be in the giving spirit all year, there’s something about the holiday season, starting with Thanksgiving that makes people really realize that they can probably be doing so much more to help others. This summer, I volunteered with The Uni Project, doing pop up reading rooms at various Playstreets in the South Bronx. It was great to be part of something bigger than myself and help kids become interested in something I’m really passionate about — reading.

So here’s a very brief round up of places you can donate your time to in the Bronx and get yourself into the habit of giving back:

South Bronx United — This nonprofit organization uses soccer to engage youth and provides a host of resources to support growth within the community, such as immigrant legal services and health and wellness promotion.

Masa — Promoting educational attainment and civic engagement for underserved families, particularly those of Mexican descent, Masa has a bunch of different ways for volunteers to get involved.

POTS (Part of the Solution) — Offering a food pantry, shower and haircut services, a clinic, and legal services, POTS aims to be a “one stop shop” for those in need.

Presbyterian Senior Services (PSS) — A nonprofit dedicated to helping seniors, PSS has a number of different volunteer opportunities available.

 Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services (JBFCS) — Supporting recovery and rehabilitation for people living with mental illness, JBFCS also has a wide variety of volunteer positions. Note: All volunteers must be at least 21 years old.

These are just a handful of the many, many organizations in the Bronx that could use a hand. Feel free to leave suggestions below in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter.


Savor the Bronx 2015: Bistro SK

I’ve wanted to go to Bistro SK, the Bronx’s sole French restaurant,  for a very long time, but something usually comes up (ok, it’s those City Island pina coladas. Such a distraction!)  This year for Bronx restaurant week, I was determined to make it.

When we first arrived, I quickly noticed that this place is the definition of a cute and cozy restaurant. We were greeted warmly by Stephane, the owner of Bistro SK. We sat down next to “the tree.” This is a real tree that has been boxed off to allow it to grow through the restaurant. Very cool.

I went to Paris maybe 5 years ago and I can’t remember if I had escargot, which is a sin, so I made sure to order them this time, just to make sure. By nature, I hate insects, but especially ones with no legs – worms, slugs, and of course, snails. So, I was a little wary if the texture would freak me out, but, I’m happy to report that it didn’t. The garlic butter sauce they were in was a delicious distraction.

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For my entree, I went with the bar raye roti (bass) which came with a side of basmati rice and vegetables. The portions were great – enough to fill me up without making me feel sluggish. Stephane was instrumental in helping my friend choose her entree, the fish special. Even though we were hesitant about the dish coming with a side of beets, Stephane assured us we would like them and he was right.

For dessert, we split what is known as the floating island, which is merengue with almonds on top, drizzled with caramel. It was interesting. To be honest, I can’t say I’d order it again, not that it was bad, but I didn’t love it.

Bistro SK also does brunch, so I’d be very curious to try that out, too. I’m certain I’ll be back in the near future.

Fall in the Forest

As many times as I’ve been to the botanical garden, I’d never been to the forest. I decided to change that this past Sunday. As petrified I am of being stranded alone in nature – left to my own devices – I find myself craving time outdoors. Breathing in fresh air, taking in the colors and sounds around me, it’s really invigorating and helps put things in perspective. As much as I love city life, even I need a break sometimes. Try to make it out to NYBG so you can take a look at the fall foliage, when I went, I was told  maybe only 30% of the leaves had turned and it was still really beautiful, so make sure you go before winter comes and you miss out! Side Note: This was my first time using my free IDNYC grounds membership to NYBG, which you should definitely get. Not only is it great to have a backup ID card (I just lost my license, so it’s nice to have this in  the mean time!) but the memberships to museums and cultural centers throughout NYC are amazing (this is not an ad, I am legitimately  enjoying all of the IDNYC perks)!


Photo by Tecumseh Ceaser


Photo by Tecumseh Ceaser


Photo by Tecumseh Ceaser

nybg fall

Photo by Tecumseh Ceaser

Bronx Socialite Tote Bags are Now Available at the Bronx Museum of the Arts!

I am so so happy and excited to announce that you can now purchase tote bags designed by The Bronx Socialite at The Bronx Museum of the Arts.  The two designs available at the gift shop are the I heart the Bronx tote and the Bronx Born tote.  Right now the Cafepress store is unavailable so for the time being, these are available exclusively at the museum.

They are roomy, sturdy, and perfect for work, school, or the gym.

Photograph by Lauren Click

Photograph by Lauren Click

Bronx Food & Wine Festival

This past week the first Bronx Food and Wine Festival took place at the Mall at Bay Plaza. This had my name written all over it!

Let’s start with the highlights:

Beforehand, I was a little worried that I would leave starving; that vendors would give you a tiny sample and send you on your way. I’m happy to report that that was not the case and I left as full as I would have leaving a restaurant for dinner. And the wine booths didn’t skimp on their samples either. It was wonderful to see so many different vendors including one of my faves the Bronx Beer Hall as well as Flaco Coquito, Bistro SK, Euro Products, Frozen Peaks, Havana Cafe, among so many others I know I’m leaving out. Everything I sampled was delicious. Plus the swag bag contained samples, coupons, and a dorky nifty little wine glass holder for lushes  people who were holding lots of things, such as myself.

As it was the first of its kind, there’s always room for improvement…

On the one hand there were a lot of people, which was great! But it did get a bit crowded and you had to kind of shuffle around  to find a free space. Another thing that would have been helpful was chairs and tables! With all of that food and a full wine glass, it would’ve been nice to have a place to sit and enjoy it. Lastly, something that was confusing was the way it was marketed alongside the Bronx Fashion Week event, which led me (and others) to believe that the two events were connected, particularly since they were only two floors away from each other. It was still easy enough to view the fashion show…well…until you were shooed away (nicely) by the mall’s security guards. Something that could have been cleared up in the wording or advertising of the event.

Overall, though, I had a great time and can’t wait until next year!

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Bronx Native American Festival Tomorrow in Pelham Bay Park

Tomorrow at Pelham Bay Park, the annual Bronx Native American Festival will take place from 12-4 pm. I’ve posted about the festival before, but this upcoming one is of particular interest to me because the Boyfriend who runs Native Tec will be selling his beautiful handmade jewelry this time. So stop by and support!

native fest 2015


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