Catch BronxMama and Me on Bronx Buzz

Last month, I had the pleasure of being on Bronxnet’s Bronx Buzz alongside Nicole from BronxMama to discuss our blogs and how they help bring the community together. The episode is now online for your viewing pleasure (particularly if you’re a cord cutter like me!) A former Bronxnet intern, it was pretty cool to be on the other side of the camera. With Gary Axelbank as our host, we talked about how while our blogs are geared towards different demographics, they both share in the common goal of highlighting all the awesome things that the Bronx has to offer. But, enough of that, you can just watch the episode for yourself below:

Date Night: Bar Car Night at the New York Botanical Garden

Having been married now for all of two months and change, I’ve found that I’d much rather sit inside and binge watch a show on Netflix than make a bunch of plans with my husband where we end up spending money and trying to figure out how we’re going to get home at the end of the night. However, as noted in wedding websites and blogs across the inter web, it’s important to actually go out and do something you’ll both enjoy.

We’ve spent the past few weeks embroiled in a web of property buying responsibilities, and it ended up not working out, so we’ve been drained. So, when I saw a Groupon for NYBG’s Bar Car Nights at the Holiday Train Show, I knew we had to go.

Aside from being ridiculously close to our place, the Husband used to collect trains when he was a kid and I’m pretty certain they’re still at his parents’ house. One of the highlights for me was that it would be adults only and I didn’t have to worry about tripping over someone’s kid and obviously the bar. 🙂

Confession: This was my first time ever going to the Holiday Train Show.

I know, it’s an institution, but somehow I was always busy with holiday preparations and parties and by the time I knew it, it was over. Now I can say I’ve been and it was absolutely amazing. The snow definitely added a romantic setting while we waited our turn to enter the conservatory.

It’s amazing how intricate all of the models are and how the designers use plants in so many innovative ways. One of the coolest features for me was seeing how transformed the conservatory was  – trains whizzed around large leaves and hovered right above small ponds, it was beautiful.

Move quickly though, the Holiday Train Show runs until January 16 and the last Bar Car Night is January 14.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

New Year’s Eve Brunch at Acri Cafe

New Year’s Eve has always been a very important day for me. For longer than I’d like to admit, I thought that New Year’s Eve was an indication of how your year would go, so, if you had really crappy or blah NYE your upcoming year would follow suit. Thankfully, I’ve grown out of that for the most part (that’s a lot of pressure to put on one day!) but it’s still one of my favorite holidays to celebrate (maybe it’s all that food and drink I love so much…)

Because I knew I’d be spending the night with my friends, I made sure to schedule time to hang out with my mother and sister for brunch. I’ve been dying to try out the brunch at Acri Cafe for the longest, so we drove over and were so pleasantly surprised.

Acri Cafe is THE definition of a hidden gem. Located on Commerce Ave. in an unassuming building by the UFT and DMV, inside lies a vast, welcoming space to gather with friends and family. As soon as you enter, you can’t miss the large wood fire oven, which adds a cozy vibe to the restaurant.

The staff was friendly and attentive. Though our food came out quickly, we got to munch on some delicious fresh bread with olive oil while we waited, to hold us over while waiting for our orders.

The brunch menu featured items including eggs benedict, the Acri burger (topped with goat cheese and mushrooms), and churrasco steak and eggs. One of the best features of Acri Cafe’s brunch is the $10  2 hour unlimited drinks, which include brunch staples such as mimosas. I, unfortunately, could not partake because I was nursing a mild hangover and of course had to prepare for NYE festivities. This just means I’ll have to return soon…for research purposes, of course.

acri-3acri-2acri1

 

Holiday Happy Hours

Aside from all the delicious food we get to enjoy during the holiday season (and of course the presence of our friends and family) , one of the best parts of the holidays are the libations. From coquito to peppermint martinis, there’s something for everyone this holiday season.

This past week, I was able to check out two Bronx bars while catching up with friends. First, I swung by Step In Restaurant for a quick drink before heading to Sancocho at Bronx Art Space. A longtime cranberry and vodka enthusiast, I ordered the Caribbean Mule, which is gives a tropical flair to the familiar Moscow Mule. Some slices of fresh ginger give the cocktail a nice kick and I promptly ordered a second. 🙂 Step In has been there for what seems like forever, yet this was my first time actually….stepping in…..(sorry, I had to.) They recently renovated the place and gave the outside a bit of a facelift, giving it a much more modern and inviting appearance.

stepin

This past Tuesday, I had a chance to check out one of the newcomers to the borough- Bronx Drafthouse . As always, I’m happy to check out any place that doesn’t require going past Harlem, but still gives an air of sophistication while serving up great food and drinks. Bronx Drafthouse meets all of those requirements. Boasting 20 beers on tap and almost 30 canned varieties, I appreciated that they also had cider and even wine on tap for us non-beer drinkers. I love ciders, so I decided to try out the Doc’s Cranberry cider. So good. We both ordered the Drafthouse burger, a behemoth consisting of a beef patty topped with pulled pork, plantains, cheddar, lettuce, and tomato. I wish I had fasted before eating it!

drafthouse

Hopefully, you’re partaking in some partying this holiday season. Good riddance to 2016 and here’s to a better 2017!

 

You Don’t Have to Leave the Bronx for Gorgeous Fall Foliage

I’ve been a bit M.I.A. from the blog lately because earlier this month, I got married. Not only did I get married, but we had three different wedding celebrations, so needless to say, I was kinda busy.

The day after the very last event, we decided to take a walk. To nowhere in particular, just to have a chill day to ourselves. This was right as some of the leaves started to turn. It made for a very nice, relaxing, and picturesque stroll. These were taken by Mosholu Parkway.

20161113_14584620161113_15372920161113_15390120161113_15411720161113_15433920161125_131008

Be Easy with Gentle Yoga at Finer Studio

I have a really difficult time just sitting still and being “present” in the moment. It seems like I’m always involved in at least three different projects, leaving me tired and sometimes stretched so thin I feel like I have no time for myself. It’s like if I’m not doing something, I start to think I’m being lazy and wasting my life away.

Enter: yoga.

I’ve taken yoga on and off for the past few years, so I am by no means a skilled yogini. But, I love being able to just take a moment, even if it’s just an hour a week to be still, forget about the craziness going on in the world, and just breathe.

So, when I was recently invited to take a Gentle Yoga class at Finer Studio on Bronxdale, I was excited to check it out. Most recently, I’ve been taking yoga at Crunch, which is focused a bit more on strength training and building muscle, so I knew I’d really appreciate a bit of a calmer pace. And of course I loved that it was a local studio, because while we’ve recently seen an increase in yoga classes being offered in the Bronx, there are still many neighborhoods where it isn’t offered and with the Bronx coming in last place  in New York State’s health ranking, more Bronxites could definitely take advantage of this healing form of exercise.

It just so happens that there was a torrential downpour the day I headed to the studio, which only added to my stress level, coming from work that day, but the studio was so inviting, peaceful, and calm. I chatted briefly with the instructor, Racheal, about my experience with yoga and was provided with everything I needed for the class (no need to lug my mat around with me!)

Racheal was awesome in helping me adjust to the positions correctly and creating a meditative environment. After the class, my body felt great and my mind felt even better.

yoga-class-at-finerstudio-1

Photograph provided by Finer Studio

I also had a chance to interview Finer Studio’s owner, Geydi Moreno to learn a bit more about the studio and her views on yoga in the Bronx:

 How has the community responded to Finer Studios? 

The essence of Yoga is based on the saying that We are All One. Unfortunately, not everyone feels comfortable attending a yoga studio. The media keeps showing us images of yoga that are skinny, flexible, female, and, for the most of the time—white. We rarely see images of plus-sized people, or minorities doing yoga. It is hard to feel included when you don’t see yourself in the picture.

FinerStudio offers a safe place on the mat for people of color, for Plus-Sized people, and for people with physical challenges. People in this community are noticing that our instructors are influencers who represent them. Our crowd is very diverse and that is a great response right there; everybody bending together, it’s amazing! We are all challenged in our lives in some way—the yoga mat can be the great equalizer.

What sets Finer Studio apart from some of the other yoga studios/ gyms in the Bronx? 

-Diversity: We consider ourselves an Inclusive community, we want to be the change we want to see in other studios. It is important to embrace change in all areas of your world. A great place to practice inclusion is a Yoga Class in which Whites, Blacks and Latinos are one on the mat.
-Quality of Instructors: Almost anyone can teach an advanced level classes, but beginners are truly challenging to teach.
Our instructors teach progressively, they pick poses that can be easily modified and encouraging to people. They help students complement their practice. They breakdown the good and positive in each pose for them to tap into their power.

Most of our instructors are very well known influencers in the world of Yoga, and at the same time, they are kind and humble people, with a passion for spreading the word of Yoga in the communities with less access to Yoga.

-Prices: We really want people to be able to benefit from this practice; not too many can afford paying $20 to $30 per class. We are providing better quality of instruction at an affordable price.

What are some of the benefits of yoga for Bronxites who have never tried it before?

Yoga can change your physical and mental capacity quickly, while preparing the mind and body for longevity health.
Yoga is not only an exercise, it’s about a healthy lifestyle. The practice of yoga allows students to find calm in a world of chaos, mental clarity and body awareness. Yoga helps relieve stress (Which can destroy the body and mind) and declutters the mind, helping you to become more focused.
Yoga can lessen chronic pain, such as lower back pain, arthritis, headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome. Yoga can also lower blood pressure and reduce insomnia. Other physical benefits of yoga include increased flexibility, Increased muscle strength and tone, improved respiration, energy and vitality, maintaining a balanced metabolism, weight reduction, cardio and circulatory health, improved athletic performance, protection from injury, etc…
Yoga is great to help with coping skills and finding the positive about life. Yoga incorporates meditation and breathing can help improve a person’s mental well-being

Intrigued? In addition to yoga, Finer Studio also offers Zumba classes and paint and sip events! Check out their website to learn more.

yoga-class-at-finerstudio2

Full Disclosure: I was financially compensated for this post. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

Rejuvenate Yourself at Freckles Juice

I’m back at work again, which means happy hours on happy hours on Fridays. Unfortunately, ever since I crossed the threshold of 25 two years ago, my body seems to no longer agree with this philosophy. (I’m still not wise enough to listen, though.)

Needless to say, I was faced with a mild hangover and intended to trade all of my Saturday plans for hours on my couch watching Netflix. (How were hangovers dealt with before the internet?!) That is until my friend Karen called and asked if I wanted to finally check out Freckles Juice. We’ve been saying we should go for weeks and just hadn’t gotten around to it.

The shop is bright and airy with walls adorned with art of all sorts. (I particularly loved “Dear Pretty Brown Girl” by Ronald A. Draper.) A massive chalkboard menu displays a wide array of smoothies and juices. Karen went with the Air Drizzy and I of course forgot the name of mine, but it was a delicious blend of mango and other tropical fruits.

The woman working even offered us a sample of butternut squash soup, which was so good we both ordered some to go.

So, if you find yourself uptown, be sure to treat yourself to something healthy at Freckles Juice.