Thursday, May 21, 2015

How to Create Outdoor Space Indoor

Are you in a situation where you don't have a backyard garden, a covered patio or a front porch where you can go to relax and enjoy the beautiful spring weather? Like most New York dwellers, I too struggle with this unfortunate situation. Not to worry though, I have some beautiful alternatives to help you transform your indoor space into a wonderful outdoor oasis. It's really up to you to think outside the box and not let your surrounding limit your space.


Bring the outdoors inside
Even if it's in the form of a simple, small plant on the window sill, it will bring life to your space and partially bring the outdoors inside. 


Fake it till you make it
So, you're not really into taking care of a real plant but you do love the idea of living plants in your home...why not try a fake plant? It might sound a little less appealing than a real plant, but I know some people who've held on to their fake plants for years! The white flowers against the pink background in the main photo for this post are fake flowers that I got from Michaels to decorate my bedroom. I've had them for years (shhh!) They don't die and as long as you maintenance them a bit you're good to go. I personally love them if you get one that's really great quality, like that one above.


Dress your window sill
I love dressing up a window sill with great pictures, flowers and candles! I love the image above because it captures how gorgeous just adding a vase of fresh flowers can make a window sill really chic! 


Just use what you have
Sometimes, it is a bit of work to go out and buy a fake plant or pick up some fresh flowers. However, if you take a look around your home there are things you might already have that you can make good use of to bring a bit of the outdoor space inside. Just take a look around and see what you can do. Often times all you really have to do is open up that curtain that you typically like closed and crack that window a bit and voila--instant change!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

5 Things I'm Looking Forward to This Summer

There is absolutely nothing like summer time in NYC. Free concerts, movies in the park, beaches, parties on rooftops, art exhibits and so much more. Last summer was good, but I want this summer to be great! It all begins with a list. Nothing too grand, but a simple list with essential things you really want to do that you think will be feasible. I've compiled a pretty simple list of things I'm looking forward to doing this summer. Let's get to it.


1. Veuve Cliquot Polo Classic
This is the ultimate social event to kick the summer off on the right foot. On Saturday, May 30, 2015, the eighth annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic takes place at Liberty State Park. It's a fun afternoon of polo viewing, picnicking & champagne sipping. I love this event because you get dressed up in your best polo match gear and hang out with friends on the lawn while watching a pretty cool polo match and having yummy bites and sips with friends. What more could you ask for, right?

2. Wedding Season
I adore everything about weddings. I'm that girl that can sit and watch WeTV all day and enjoy wedding stories. This summer is extra special because one of my best college friends is getting married in Miami in just a few weeks! I think summer weddings are so beautiful and I can't wait to enjoy a couple this summer.


3. Summer Fridays
All hail summer Friday's! Starting the Friday before Memorial Day and lasting until the Friday before Labor Day, we have early Fridays, meaning the office closes at 1pm. This has to be one of the best perks we get during the summer as it's the perfect opportunity to indulge in some cool summer activities in the city. Summer Fridays makes the week so much more pleasant, knowing that at 1pm on Friday you are released from all work related duties (also making for an even more enjoyable weekend!)


4. Weekend Getaways
Summers in NYC are made for weekend getaways. I'm thinking this summer, I want to get away a few weekends to some of my favorite locations including Montauk for the beautiful scenery, Connecticut for the awesome wine tasting and New Jersey for the beach! Leaving early on a summer Friday and coming back late in the evening on Sunday lends itself to a fun filled extended weekend!


5. Host a Summer Themed Dinner Party
I really want to execute on hosting a dinner party this summer. I think it's such fun way to get friends together. I want a summer themed menu with a beautiful table setting. I envision three courses all served with delicious summer themed cocktails, followed by some fun games to round out the evening (future blog post maybe)?

What do you have on your list this summer? Let me know below.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Harlem Restaurant Guide: Natasha’s Favorite Harlem Eats


Harlem has been my home for last four years and since moving here I've seen the neighborhood spring tons of new restaurants that can rival any restaurant in downtown Manhattan. I figured since I frequent a few of these places in the neighborhood that I would share with you all my favorite places to go to enjoy a delicious meal and an even better drink!


For years, there had been a need in East Harlem for a trendy establishment that offered delicious food in a chic ambiance with staff that paralleled family. The combination of a hip, urban environment with quality food that was affordable were the ingredients needed to bring the idea of Ricardo Steak House to life. When the restaurant’s doors opened in July 2004, New York City was introduced to a place where people from all over could savor a drink, indulge in a delicious meal and have a great time.
My favorite thing about Ricardo is the live and upbeat energy of the restaurant. From the moment you walk in until they close, it's quite literally showtime. The open kitchen layout is a nice touch and add's to the liveliness of the restaurant experience. The food is also out of this world & I highly recommend their mango sangria...delicious and perfect for a daytime early summer dinner.

Ricardo Steak House | 2145 2nd Avenue Bet. 110th & 111th St. | Harlem New York, NY 10029 | (212­) 289-5895



Executive Chef/Owner Carlos Swepson has brought a dynamic Southern-inspired menu to Harlem’s own BLVD Bistro. The lively and bold cuisine reflects his Mississippi roots and his love of food and family. Tucked away in an historic brownstone on Lenox Avenue, BLVD Bistro’s cozy dining room is equal parts romantic and raucous, where the biscuits are always fresh and the tea is always sweet. Chef Carlos is excited to bring Crafted American Soul to the heart of Harlem NYC. BLVD Bistro is now open for dinner and brunch, Tuesday through Sunday.
BLVD Bistro is one of the best gems in Harlem. I absolutely love coming to this restaurant for brunch. The food is decadent and Chef Carlos is super engaging and comes out from the kitchen to speak with guests frequently. I once asked him what his secret was to his fried chicken and he told me that he soaks it in buttermilk...shhhhh. Come to this restaurant if you're seeking a cooking style that fuses together Creole and Southern regional cuisine with classic French technique. Chef Carlos is the best and you most definitely want to taste his food. I highly recommend the crab cake brunch dish as well as the fried chicken.

BLVD Bistro | 239 Lenox Avenue @ 122nd Street New York, NY 10027 | Phone: (212) 678-6200



Barawine Harlem is a wine bar and restaurant located within the Mt. Morris Historic District of Harlem. We offer a broad range of wine and beer choices, all form high quality producers. We have a large assortment of wines from New York wineries, US, Europe, South America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Our extensive wine list features 25 wines by the glass and 200 wines by the bottle. The beer is a selection of craft beers from local breweries. We cater to all of our customers by providing attentive and friendly service.
We provide a full menu of freshly prepared products, such as tartar and ceviche, salads, cheese, charcuterie and main entrees paired with wine. 
I adore Barawine for many reasons. As an aspiring restaurant/wine bar owner myself, the aesthetics and decor of Barawine take my breath away. I remember the first time I went to this restaurant and I couldn't stop talking about the decor. I loved the communal table in the center of the restaurant and I love the glassware. It really is a stunning restaurant and the wine is magnificent! I actually had my 25th Birthday brunch at this location last year and had a blast! It's a great place to come with friends on the weekends or have a quiet weeknight date. Wonderful addition to the neighborhood. They also have a stellar happy hour for my wine lovers out there Mon-Fri 4-8pm!

Barawine | 200 Lenox Avenue | New York, NY 10027 | Phone: (646) 756-4154

Lido is a home away from home, a refreshing change of pace from life in the city. Named after Lido di Venezia, the island off the coast of Venice, the goal at Lido is to create an elegant but relaxed setting. One that transports our guests to the Italian tradition of sharing food and stories with great friends. The food is simple and delicious, the atmosphere is warm, and friendly. Our guests should feel as if they are at the home of a good friend.
This is one of the first restaurants in my neighborhood I ever visited four years ago when I moved here. Lido is walking distance from my church so it's a very popular after church brunch location. Those who know me know I love Italian food. The brunch here is so yummy! I specifically use to enjoy their baked eggs dish. They have since updated the menu and expanded their reach to even more delicious entrees. The unlimited mimosa deal is also a plus :) 

Lido | 2168 Frederick Douglass Blvd @ 117th Street | Phone (646) -490-8575



Maison Harlem is pleased to be the newest culinary destination spot to join West Harlem's vibrant community.  Featuring a charming rustic interior that perfectly complements the mouth-watering French Bistro style menu and superb wine selection. The beautifully designed restaurant offers an incredible bright and airy space with lots of exposed brick and a comfortable and enjoyable ambiance.
Maison Harlem is one of my favorite neighborhood locations not just because of how ridiculously close it is to my apartment but also because the food really is mouth-waterning. I've had brunch and dinner at this restaurant and both are equally tasty. I love the seafood pasta for dinner and the fluffy ham and cheese omelet for brunch. The dollar oysters during happy hour are also my favorite! If you are in the neighborhood this restaurant is a must try! 

Maison Harlem | 341 St. Nicholas Avenue New York, NY 10027 | Phone: (212)  222-9224


This bustling yet laid-back café in Harlem turns out solid food from all corners of the globe, but the primary point of influence is Senegal. Standouts on the extensive menu include fish patties and a braised lamb shank; a morning selection of pastries and standout coffee is also a consistent draw. The restaurant's relaxed atmosphere and pacing matches its global smorgasbord-by-way-of-Upper-Manhattan menu.
I love a good lamb and this place gets it right every time! The portions are huge and the price is right. I love coming here to enjoy a good low-key dinner while staying on a budget! It's also BYOB, so bring your favorite wine to enjoy with your lamb, doesn't get much better than that!

Hope you enjoyed this guide to the best restaurants is Harlem! If you're ever in the neighborhood definitely take the time to stop by one of these restaurants, I promise you won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Ultimate Perm Rod Set on Dry Natural Hair

Lately, my go to style has been perm rods (all day everyday). I absolutely love the curl pattern I'm able to achieve with the orange sized rods. I've been wearing this style so much lately that I finally decided to do a tutorial on Youtube (I've been inspired, ya'll!)

Here are the items that you'll need to get started: 

Check out video below for full technique & results.

Would you like to see more videos? Let me know what you would like to see a tutorial on next below in the comments section! 

Blackened Fish Tacos with Chunky Guacamole and Cabbage Cilantro Slaw

Blackened cod fish seasoned to perfection with a spicy cajun rub and seared until crispy in my Le Creuset cast iron skillet created the most delicious, mouth watering fish taco's I've ever had. This recipe is super easy and is great to make for your Cinco De Mayo celebration.

Ingredients for slaw:
  • 3 1/2 cups (1/2 small) red cabbage, shredded fine  
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 lime, juiced
For the tacos:

  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp (1/2 tsp for spicier) ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground all spice
  • 1/4 tsp ground oregano leaves
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1 lb skinless cod 
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • cooking oil
  • 8 corn or flour tortillas
For the chunky guacamole:
  • 3 medium hass avocados, halved
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/3 cup red onion, minced
  • 1 small clove garlic, mashed
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • kosher salt and fresh pepper, to taste

Combine all slaw ingredients & refrigerate until it's time to build tacos.

Place the pulp from the avocados in a medium bowl and slightly mash with a fork or a potato masher leaving some large chunks. Add lime juice, salt, pepper, cilantro, red onion, garlic and mix thoroughly.

Mix the dried spices and seasoning together in a small bowl, squeeze the lime on the fish then rub the seasoning onto fish.

Heat cast iron skillet & sear cod until golden brown and translucent on the inside.

Divide the fish equally between 4 tortilla and top each with 1/2 cup slaw & chunky guacamole. Add cheese & sour cream if desired.


Recipe modified from @Skinnytaste


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