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Celebrate America's Independence w/ Red, White, and Blue(berry) Cocktails

With all the recent tumultuous events we as American have been experiencing, there is not a better time to come together and celebrate the fact that we have freedom to live our lives without threat of persecution.....or at least we shouldn't be. Let us not forgot the words of our Founding Fathers who wanted us to enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. What better way than a patriotic cocktail to help us celebrate life, our liberty and our continuous pursuit of happiness. In the spirit of celebration, let's raise a glass or two of these delicious cocktail recipes from Basil Hayden Whiskey, Cruzan Rum, DeLeón Tequila, and Skinnygirl Cocktails. All of these delicious cocktail recipes are the perfect companion to the fireworks, and fun-filled cookouts.


Toast to America's Independence with a one of two firecracker cocktails (your choice of tequila or vodka), a sparkler, odes to Independence, and living the dream. This weekend, kick back, be wowed by the beauty of the fireworks, and embrace your freedom to enjoy life.

Firecracker Red Manhattan


2 oz. DeLeón Reposado
½ oz. Cardinal Mendoza Spanish Brandy
¼ oz. Tempus Fugit Creme de Cacao
½ dropper Bittermans Hellfire Shrub
Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass over cracked and cubed ice until thoroughly cold. Strain into a chilled coupe and serve up.

Miss Independence


2 oz. DeLeón Platinum infused with fresh sage
¾ oz. clarified lime juice
¾ oz. fresh cane syrup
Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass over cracked and cubed ice until thoroughly cold. Strain into a chilled coupe and serve up garnished with a sage leaf.

The Firecracker


2 parts Skinnygirl® Bare Naked Vodka
1 part club soda
Watermelon balls, frozen
Toothpick/mini umbrella
Shake vodka with ice. Pour into martini glass and top with club soda. Spear frozen watermelon with a toothpick and drop in glass.

Blueberry Sparkler


2 parts Skinnygirl® Bare Naked Vodka
5 muddled blueberries
Dash of grenadine
Splash of club soda
Lemon wedge for garnish
Muddle blueberries at the bottom of a glass, add in Skinnygirl® Bare Naked Vodka and grenadine. Then, top off glass with club soda. Garnish with lemon wedge.

Star Struck Sipper


5 parts Skinnygirl® White Peach Margarita
Star fruit wedge for garnish
Pour Skinnygirl® White Peach Margarita over ice. Garnish with star fruit.

Basil Hayden’s Independence Spice (Created by Kristi Green)


1 ½ parts Basil Hayden's® Bourbon
½ part Fresh Lemon Juice
¾ parts Simple Syrup
7 Blackberries
7 Mint Leaves
2-3 parts Sparkling Wine
Muddle 6 blackberries and 6 mint leaves in a Boston Shaker with ¼ part simple syrup. In the mixing glass, combine Basil Hayden's® Bourbon, lemon juice and remaining simple syrup and add to the muddled blackberries and mint leaves. Add ice and shake. Double strain into a Collins glass with fresh crushed ice. Top with sparkling wine. Garnish with a skewered mint leaf and blackberry.

Cruzan Caribbean Dream


1 1/2 part Cruzan Blueberry Lemonade Rum
1/2 part Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 part Cream
Cinnamon
Maraschino Cherries
Combine all ingredients over ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds and double strain into a shot glass. Garnish with freshly grated Cinnamon and a speared Maraschino Cherry.
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Dark and Lovely Au Naturale Moisture L.O.C.: Inspired by Naturalistas, Refined by Dark and Lovely

I received complimentary samples of the fabulous trio of Dark and Lovely Au Naturale L.O.C. Super Quench Leave-In Spray, Soak It Up Oil Cocktail, and  Lock It In Sealing Cream, the other day, and decided to give it a try. I have been rocking my natural hair for almost four years now and have been using the L.O.C (liquid/leave-in, oil, cream) method for over three years, and I love it. For those of you who are curious about my hair type...my hair is mostly 4b all over, except the back which is 4a, but the L.O.C method works for all curly hair textures.


When I received Dark and Lovely Au Naturale L.O.C. samples in the mail, I couldn't wait to try them!! This trio left my hair soft and well moisturized. For just $9.99 each, these products are a steal! A little goes a LONG way! I have very thick, long hair, and I only needed a dime size of each product on each section. Thank you Dark and Lovely, you've made my hair styling experience so much easier. The Dark and Lovely Au Naturale L.O.C. Collection has become my new staple, and it's certain to be yours too.


**Welcome new Contributing Writer, Valerie Goines**
EDITED BY GLASGOW SKINNER
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Restaurant Review: La Pulperia Coctelería and Rustic Latin Restaurant

My blogger buddy, Christine Ongsueng, and I are back again to review a new restaurant. This time, we give our take on a little hidden Brazilian gem, La Pulperia NYC, nestled just off 8th avenue on the restaurant-heavy 46th street. We thought we knew what to expect from this exotic hideaway that seats 60, but we were more than pleasantly surprised by the menu, service, and entire experience of La Pulperia. Fellow foodies will love this Coctelería and Rustic Latin cuisine. Named for the general stores found throughout South America, Chef/Owner Carlos Barroz, and Victor Medina combine Latin America's simple culinary refinement, with Spanish and Italian influences to exquisite results, many of which are vegan, and Gluten-free. For our review, we were set to indulge in their amazing 5-Course Chef Tasting Menu, which is available for $50.00 (they also offer a 3-Course Tasting Menu for $35.00). Read on for a detailed account of our heavenly experience.


First Round of Cocktails


Carlos Gardel Cocktail

Chris: It's as if they knew a caffeine fiend was going to dine with them, the first cocktail we tasted was a Yerba Mate based drink with orange juice and Spanish vodka. This also came with a bit of a fiery presentation -- the waiter singed the orange peel above the drink to release the citrusy sweet essence. Creamy, woodsy, and spiced, this drink was definitely a unique experience.

Glasgow: Talk about a pick me up! If you happen to be the victim of a rough day that has worn you out, and you need a burst of energy, let the combination of Black Tea from Argentina, Caffeine, Orange Juice, and other ingredients that make up this unique cocktail, lift not only your spirit, but your energy as well.

La Tuna Cocktail

Chris: The next cocktail was a matcha based spiced drink made with Pisco, agave nectar, prickly pear, and cinnamon. I imagine this is what retired sea captains drink to reminisce about their adventures. The masculine smokiness of the drink was balanced by the refreshing nature of the prickly pear but it was still something to be sipped and savored...at least to a lightweight like me.

Glasgow: It's like they made this cocktail according to my personality, a touch of sweetness, a bit of freshness, and a little spice. This pink concoction was as delicious as it was pretty (I almost didn't want to disturb the decorative swirl but one sip made that feeling disappear quite quickly). I love a sweet cocktail and this sophisticated pink cocktail, which immediately made me think of hibiscus flowers and strawberry puree took me on a mental trip to the islands.

Salmon Brûlée - 1st Course


Chris: Brulees are not just for dessert. The salmon tartare is at the heart of this seemingly delicate plate. Tartares are usually served alone and naked and often leave that fishy aftertaste. However, this particular dish perfectly combined the savory with the sweet. Balancing the rich savory flavor of the salmon with strawberries and cream elevated your taste buds to new heights.

Glasgow: The only Brulee I've ever enjoyed as a creme...as in dessert and never thought it could be anything but that. I was so happy to be proven wrong with this sweet and savory first course. It may look very much like a dessert but this combination of cream cheese, strawberries, Salmon tartare, and ginger leche de tigre, (not a tiger's milk as the name translates, rather it's a citrus-based marinade that cures seafood in ceviche dishes), hit the perfect note, much like the first note of your favorite song.

Lobster Taquitos - 2nd Course


Chris: Lobsters in tacos I'm sure are a thing, but I guarantee you've never had them like this. Chunks of Maine lobsters mixed with avocado cream sauce, citrus juice, grilled pineapple, and a hint of Japanese mayo is a culinary excursion amidst bite sized taco shells. I usually shy away from anything spicy and by shy away I really mean run away crying and screaming from the scene but this time, I was surprised at how much I loved the little kick of spice in the tacos. It wasn't so spicy that it overwhelmed the palette but more like a subtle emergence that lingered awhile before the wave of juicy sweetness from the pineapple took over.

Glasgow: I used the think the world started and ended with fish tacos but those thoughts are long gone after devouring this delicious second course. Boasting a crispy wonton shell, stuffed with the creamy avocado sauce, fresh Maine Lobster, grilled pineapple, Cilantro and the spicy Kewpie mayo, I know I'll never go back to regular fish tacos. This dish is what I imagine eating at an open beach-side restaurant. I loved its fresh, tangy, sweet and refreshing taste, it settled with a very smooth and subtle kick.

Second Round of Cocktails


Smoky Room Cocktail

Chris: In a past life, I was the proverbial old man by the sea... And this was my drink of choice. Mezcal, rum, tequila, and passion fruit are blended together for a deeply intriguing taste with hint of smokiness. The Mezcal and tequila are softly balanced by the splash of passion fruit, making it just the right amount of sweet.

Glasgow: The first of what I refer to as the dark and stormy cocktails. I, like Chris, also imagine men on the sea. I imagine this is to be a brew Pirates would enjoy after braving a storm on the high seas. It featured passion fruit, a tangy and tart fruit juice, that when combined with the Mezcal, put some hair on your chest so to speak and lit a fire in your belly. If you love your cocktail with a bit of a bite, this is a must.

Chilango Cocktail

Chris: This drink perfectly sums up the island life. The special ingredient, tamarind, a sound fruit found in many tropical islands is the core of the margarita. To offset the tartness, mango and a hint of jalapeno gives this drink a sweet but spicy kick. Again, I was pretty surprised at how fond I was of this drink, despite its spicy element.

Glasgow: This second cocktail was even more robust than the Smoky Room, as least for me. If the first one put hair on your chest, the combination of tangy Tamarind, Jalapeno, and red pepper in the Chilango will turn you into a werewolf. This is the cocktail that took me down and let me know it was king. I had no power left, and all I could do was submit. Be careful, this cocktail bites back, and you may fine yourself ordering bread to satisfy it.

SIDE NOTE: Tipsy or not, we recommend ordering the hot, buttered grilled bread, just for its smokiness


Squash and Crab Gnocchi - 3rd Course


Chris: Like most people, I've always had gnocchi the traditional way, which was why I was a bit surprised that it can be made from squash. I happen to love squash and crab so this was already a winner in my book. And just like the previous dishes and cocktails, the tastes were far more complex than I thought. To go with the crab and squash were some spinach, sage, and cheese doused in brown butter sauce. Together, it made for a rich flavor explosion that blended together perfectly.

Glasgow: I, on the other hand, have enjoyed quite a few Gnocchi varieties, but none have come close to these bites of heaven, especially as I've never thought of myself as a fan of Butternut Squash. paired with crab, citrus brown butter, sage, and spinach, I officially became a fan of Butternut Squash, and fully addicted to this 3rd course.

BBQ Pacu Fish Ribs - 4th Course


Chris: Given a choice between meat and fish, I'd almost always choose meat. Having been served fish that looked like ribs, I may have to rethink my natural impulses. The BBQ Fish Ribs were absolutely magnificent. The fish was Pacu, a cousin to the Piranha (thanks Animal Planet!), was arranged in a wood slab slathered with chipotle sauce and topped off with mandarin oranges. It was melt-off the bones grilled goodness that was quite juicy and zesty.

Glasgow: If anyone ever asked me why I love fish, I would set a plate of this unworldly delicious dish and say "this dish is my reasons 1-10 why I love fish" and reasons 1-5 would just be my eyes rolling into the back of my head in utter pleasure. The taste is beyond divine, it is orgasmic. It boasts the smokiness, aroma and sweetness of award-winning BBQ, thanks to its orange chipotle BBQ sauce, and "meatiness" of the fish. As Chris stated the Pacu is cousin to the Piranha, and while she told me about the Animal Planet episode, all I could think of was...."damn, I could go for another round or two of BBQ Pacu". It's almost unreal that something can be that delicious.

Hangar Steak - 5th Course


Chris: And then there was the meat. To end a night of fusion seafood, we had an amazingly delectable hangar steak. We ordered it medium rare and it came with Potatoes Au Gratin, and pickled eggplant and cauliflower. I loved that the sides were not the typical heavy starches.The vinegar infused vegetables went perfectly well with the mouthwatering steak topped off with some chimchurri sauce. Tender, juicy, and packed with a lot of flavor, the hangar steak was divinely done.

Glasgow: Because one image isn't enough to do it justice, I've added three so you can get a better understanding at the succulence of this cut of meat that was cooked to perfection and paired with side dishes that were matched as if by divine decree. The steak was incredibly tender, and bursting with juiciness. It was the perfect end to a immaculate meal.

The Setting


Chris: Deep within the restaurant strata of the theater district, among all the big named chain restaurants and eateries that tout a marquee as big as some of the Broadway productions, lies a small almost missable hallway of a place packed with so much thought, flavor, and heart. La Pulperia feels like a true New Yorker's secret spot. A long bar area greats you as you walk in, the rest of the decor is what I endearingly call rustic nautical-- filled with worn wood and the ceiling bedecked in ropes and bulbs makes you feel like you've been invited into the hull of a well voyaged ship to have dinner with the captain.

Glasgow: You can get lost in time at La Pulperia. The intimate lighting (courtesy of the brass lamps with Edison bulbs that hang from the ceiling), decadent aromas, and rustic decor (it features handcrafted floor tiles from Mexico, and reclaimed wood from Brazil on the ceiling and walls), will enchant you to remain in your seat, and that is completely fine. while there, you will find there is no where else you'd want to be. it's the perfect setting for dates, be they first, second, or twentieth. If you find yourself not hungry (although the aromas will change your mind), the restaurant boasts a 12-seat, marble-topped bar where you can enjoy the above mentioned cocktails, a many more from mixologist Jorge Velasco.

Bottom line: If you're craving something uniquely authentic, get thee to La Pulperia. As cheesy as this may sound, everything in this quaint restaurant was done with heart. The local, organic, farm to table focus isn't pretentious; It exudes from the freshness of the dishes to the knowledge and warmth of the staff to the multicultural guests mingling at the bar and dancing by the live performer (which consisted of a woman on a keyboard passionately giving her own soulful spin to classic Spanish ballads to popular bossa nova tunes). Hospitable life and friendly faces abound in this small and intimate setting; which by the way, makes it a great date spot-- not to mention that you'll impress your date by finding such a hidden treasure in the heart of the city.

La Pulperia Hells Kitchen is located at 371 West 46th Street. Make a reservation for brunch or dinner by calling (212) 960-3176. You will thank us later.
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Kiehl's, Solange Knowles, & Mary Lambert Celebrates NYC Pride w/ Official Kick-Off Party

On the night before the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality for all 50 states, Kiehl's Since 1851 held their annual Gay Pride Party to celebrate NYC Pride Week. The event was hosted by singer/songwriter, Mary Lambert, alongside Kiehl’s President, Chris Salgardo, who were on hand to honor the weekend of celebration.


Guests were treated to a night full of great music from DJs The Misshapes, and later in the evening, Solange Knowles, who rocked the house with a non-stop playlist of hot 90's hits. Check out a video snippet of her set:


Guests were also treated to three delicious kinds of Mac and Cheese dishes - Mediterranean, Parisian and Buffalo Wing Style, and a wide assortment of cocktails that flowed freely all night.


Of course the event wasn't just to party, Kiehl’s, who has been an avid supporter of great charities for years, made a donation of $5,000 to the Hetrick-Martin InstituteThomas Krever, Chief Executive Officer of the Institute who was on hand to receive the amazing donation. The Hetrick-Martin Institute is a non-profit that believes all young people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to achieve their full potential. Hetrick-Martin creates this environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth between the ages of 13 and 24 and their families.


Check out video of Mary Lambert and Thomas Krever, Chief Executive Officer of the Hetrick-Martin, Institute speaking at the event, and a few more photos of attendees at the event:


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Built to TYLT: Gadgets for the iPhone6

Picture this….you’re running late for a meeting and you’re stuck in traffic so you pick up your phone to call your office and realize you only have 10% battery power left. “Nooo! I forgot to charge it last night.” Yeah, we’ve all been there. No worries, because TYLT Products has got you covered with these must-have tech and mobile accessories for the iPhone 6.

ENERGI Sliding Power Case for iPhone and other Apple and Galaxy products



The TYLT ENERGI Sliding PowerCase for iPhone 6 has a built-in 3200mAh. It will keep your iPhone 6 charged all day, and has drop protection. This thing is amazing. Yes, a protective case that also keeps my phone charged. I absolutely love this product. I cannot ask for more than that! TYLT has a similar power case for the Samsung Galaxy 6. Get yours today for only $99.99. Believe me, it’s worth every cent!

Y-Charge Car Charger


With all of the new smartphones on the market; who knows when you'll switch from an Galaxy to Apple or another phone all together. There's nothing worse than having to go out an buy back up chargers because your old charger doesn't fit your new phone, and you've left the one that comes with the phone at home, or in your desk drawer at the office. TYLT is revolutionizing the car charger once again. The Y-Charge Car Charger takes the bullet style charger to a whole new level with its compact and sleek design. The best part is that the Y-Charge is compatible with ALL phones and devices that charge via USB. For only $34.99, this is an investment you wont't regret! It's truly a lifesaver. Choose from four colors to match your unique style.

RIBBN 4.8 Charger with Flat Ribbon Cable



I just hate it when my car charger gets all tangled and sometimes stops working as a result. The TYLT RIBBN 4.8 Charger with Flat Ribbon Cable will never tangle. Measuring 3 feet long, my phone rests nicely wherever I place it while being charged by the RIBBN. This must-have car charger with Flat Ribbon Cable comes in four fun colors, and is available with either an Apple Lightning connector, or a Micro USB connector. The best feature is the additional USB port just in case you need to simultaneously charge another device.

ALIN Glass Screen Protector for iPhone 6 and for other Apple and Galaxy products




You ever see those folks with the fancy design on their phone that strongly resembles broken glass? Wait…that is broken glass. SMH.....they’ve cracked the screen of their $600 phone. Don’t be one of those people! Check out TYLT’s ALIN Glass Screen Protector for iPhone 6or the ALIN Perfect Alignment Screen Protection. Not only will this screen protector keep you from having the phone of shame, it also keeps your phone’s screen looking brand new, clean, and scratch-free. As I’m not a person who is well coordinated, I always dread installing that new screen protector. Always worried that it’ll end up crooked or wrinkled. Well, TYLT made it so easy. Both the ALIN Glass Screen Protector for iPhone 6, and the ALIN HD Screen Protector come with a snap-on alignment tool that guarantees correct positioning. I am as uncoordinated as they come, but I was able to install this screen protector with ease. For $34.99 you can keep you expensive new phone looking brand new.



**Welcome new Contributing Writer, Valerie Goines**
EDITED BY GLASGOW SKINNER
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