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Taste,

This Super Coffee Packs More Caffeine Than an Energy Drink. Your Mornings Will Never Be the Same

Leave it to millennials to take something wonderful and make it even better. Kitu Life, a beverage company founded by three athletic brothers from Hudson Valley, has created a Super Coffee.

What makes it “super?” Well, it packs a stronger morning jolt than your favorite energy drink.

Kitu Super Coffee has 200mg of caffeine and zero grams of sugar in a 12oz serving. So it basically gives you an energy boost without the crash.

Made with organic Columbian beans, it also contains 10 grams of lactose-free protein which is about the same amount as two boiled eggs. Kitu Super Coffee is also soy free and gluten free.

At 80 calories and with only one gram of carbs there isn’t a reason to wonder why this coffee is considered exceptional AF.  It is available in four flavors: Black, Vanilla, Mocha and Hazelnut and starts at $14.99 for a 4-pack. You can find it here.

Kitu also has an all-natural Super Creamer that boasts zero grams of sugar, carbs and three grams of protein per three tbsp serving.

 

Your mornings will never be the same!

Taste,

The New Best Summer Wines To Sip Now

Summer’s officially here. So it’s time to gather the wine, friends, and, of course, sunscreen – and head outside. But, before you grab a bottle of everyone’s seasonal favorite – rosé – you should know that there are some tasty new wines on the market that are perfect to pair with your upcoming adventures. Here are four of the new best summer wines that you should totally try.

Best New Summer Wines:

Lubanzi Wines

Best Summer Wines Lubanzi Wines

Staycations can be just as much fun as traveling abroad, especially when you get to enjoy some international flavor right at home. Produced in South Africa, Lubanzi Wines has two toast-worthy wines to explore, a red blend, composed of Cinsault, Shiraz, Grenache & Mourvedre and a white, a Chenin Blanc. The responsibly sourced wines retail for $18. You can find them here.

Skinny Prosecco

Best Summer Wines Skinny Prosecco

 

You can have fun popping bottles and still watch your waistline. Skinny Prosecco from Thomson & Scott Wines recently launched nationwide and is the low-sugar, 67-calories per glass elixir you’ve been waiting on. It’s also the first 100% vegan and organic sparkling wine in the US.  It’s not available for US order online yet, but you can (and should) check with your local wine/liquor distributor to find the best location to purchase T&S’s Skinny Prosecco near you.

Snowbirds Rosé

 

Best Summer Wines Lubanzi Wines

There’s nothing wrong with a summer classic, especially when it’s good. Produced in Orlando, FL the new rosé from Snowbirds Vintners includes hints of strawberry and peach and pairs well with barbecue (whoo hoo). The whimsical wine – named after the folks who move to warmer climates –  is sustainably sourced and sells for $18. It is available here.    

Suite Four

 

Best Summer Wines Suite Four

If lounging by the pool with a drink is your thing, why not sip in style? Suite Four, the new California Champagne that launched last year, is the refreshing upgrade you need this summer. The sparkling wine is light with aromas of green apple and nectarine and pairs perfectly with all the best parts of summer – beach days, barbecues and soirées. It retails for $30 and you can get it here.   

Taste, Tech,

Lifestyle Unboxed: Unboxing the Perfect Drink Pro Smart Bartender

Thanks to technology there is really no excuse for handing your friends a poorly mixed drink. Apps like Alchemy and LiquorCabinet turn any smartphone into a cocktail recipe guide and more than a few startups have been working like mad to make the process even simpler.

Enter the Perfect Drink Pro from Perfect Company, a recipe app that works with a drink smart scale to help users create a near flawless cocktail every time. It precisely weighs your ingredients as you pour for accuracy and notifies you when to stop.

I tested it out and was wowed by the results.   Check out my Lifestyle Unboxed video to see how it works and my tips for use.

The setup was pretty easy. After downloading the Perfect Drink App to my ipad, I synced it with the smart scale via Bluetooth. I did need to add three AA batteries to the scale first. They weren’t included in the box, but it did come with a metal cobbler shaker and a stand for my tablet.

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From there I picked a recipe from the tons of ones listed on the app to test out. I selected a “Bees’ Knees” – one of my favorites – so I’d be able to compare it to ones I’ve had in the past.

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The app provides set-by-step instructions for mixing recipes down to telling when to add the shaker to the scale and the order to pour in the ingredients. The app gives you a little ding every time you complete a step and are ready to move on to the next one.  Also, if you happen to ah-hem, overpour your liquor or mixer, the app will automatically update the measurements of the remaining ingredients, so your cocktail still comes out tasting right.

The app also tells you when to add ice and exactly how long to shake all your ingredients. I needed 12-seconds to achieve the correct level of coldness for my drink.

perfect-drink-pro

The Results:

My Bees’ Knees cocktail was one of the best that I ever had, no lie.  I would totally be ecstatic if a mixologist handed me one of these at my local bar and could see myself extending my evening by order one or two more.

And, that’s the beauty of being able to mix a good drink at home. You can turn you living room into the fav hangout spot for your friends, with a little tech help on the bartending front.

Mixing cocktails – like baking- is just chemistry in a more fun form, so following the recipe is a surefire way to get an outcome you’ll like. The Perfect Drink Pro is $99 on Amazon and would be a great at-home bar addition or a fun gift for a friend who loves to entertain. -XOXO

Taste,

The 2016 Eater Awards or How To Blow A Pre-Holiday Diet

The recent 2016 Eater Awards was both a foodie’s sweet dream and dieter’s beautiful nightmare. The prestigious event honored the top restaurants, bars, and industry players in the food world and brought them all to Union Faire in NYC to wreak havoc on my pre-holiday diet goals ????.  The event was worth every moment of my 6 AM spin class the next morning.

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So, let’s start with the food. It was all delicious. I sampled stuffed myself full of sweet cornbreads, seafood bites, pork salads and snickerdoodle cookies.

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I got to chat briefly with the ladies from Sister Pie – a bakery in Detroit.  Their treats were sweet without being overwhelming which was a nice surprise. Actually, it might have been too nice since I happily ate four cookies without a single regret.

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Of course, good food is only enhanced by fabulous people. Celebrity chef Carla Hall was honored with the Eater Icon award at the event. She is absolutely one of my favorite chefs and took the time to chat with everyone who came up to her.

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 16: Chef and television personality Carla Hall (L) poses with a 2016 Eater Awards honoree during the 2016 Eater Awards with Ketel One Vodka at Union Fare on November 16, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images for Ketel One Vodka)

Mixologist Moses Laboy crafted signature Ketel One Vodka cocktails to pair with the Award’s food options. And, New York Yankee pitcher Dellin Betances jumped behind the bar to get in on the cocktail action.

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 16: Mixologist Moses Laboy (L) and professional baseball pitcher Dellin Betances create the perfect cocktail during the 2016 Eater Awards with Ketel One Vodka at Union Fare on November 16, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images for Ketel One Vodka)

Laboy’s Perfection cocktail was one of the best drinks of the evening.

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 16: Perfection cocktail created by mixologist Moses Laboy at the 2016 Eater Awards with Ketel One Vodka at Union Fare on November 16, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images for Ketel One Vodka)

 

He also did some cocktail demonstrations for attendees and his speakeasy style drink was pretty tasty as well. I took a video of him crafting the specialty smokey drink, which was fun to watch.

Laboy totally recommends adventurous at-home mixologist try smoking some cocktails to impress friends. He’s the real deal when it comes to mixology so he actually suggested going to a lumber shop and getting a 10- foot piece of Maplewood to smoke. You can also check out this Youtube how-to that might be a little simpler for beginners.

After I finished my cocktail I snagged a few more cookies – seriously, they’re that good – and headed home stuffed and happy.  At the gym the next morning, all I could do was smile as I thought back to all the goodness I’d enjoyed the night before and look forward to doing it again next year.

Be Inspired, Taste,

Tough Turkey: Biz Tips & More From A Master Carver

My great grandmother once told me, “every opportunity in life will teach you something new or help you get where you’re going.” She always spoke the truth and although her home spun honesty wasn’t always universally appreciated (that’s family for you), this life lesson has stuck with me.

PhotoGrid_1434379543102Making the best out of new opportunities also seems to be a way of life for Master Carver and Model/Actor, Everton Ricketts. The Bridgeport, Connecticut resident (by way of Jamaica) has used his time at Boston Market to become one of the chain’s brightest employees while leveraging his skills to to take his acting career to the next level.

Just in time for Thanksgiving, I caught up with the turkey carving king to find out his tips on turning out the perfect bird and for using the job you have to further your passion.

Check out the exclusive interview below:

How did you get your start working for Boston Market? 

A friend of mine was the manager and told me about the position. I went in and they hired me as a carver.

How did you become a Master Carver? 

In 2013, Boston Market had this cool event—their first “chicken games” at our headquarters in Denver. Myself and six other people flew out there for two days and learned how to do a bunch of different positions. We prepped food and then they had a demonstration of us carving to see how efficient we are as carvers. They also tested our knowledge and gave us questions like “What’s the proper handling procedures for chicken?” “What’s the proper temperature for chicken when it comes in?” That’s how I become a master carver. There are only a handful of us for Boston Market.

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You also act and model, is that your true passion? 

I’m definitely passionate about acting and modeling. Acting is really cool because you get to bring a character to life based on what the writer has come up with and bring truth to that character and be able to portray that character, which is always a fun part to me. Modeling, you get to learn about color palettes and how different lighting can give different feel through image being captured.

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How does your day job help you as an actor?

What’s great is I can use that training at Boston Market, when it comes to making people feel comfortable. You want to be able to talk with your guests when they come into the restaurant. You need to adorn yourself in that mentality of being professional, knowing your guests are the most important thing to your business and being completely focused on them having a good time. They may have had a good day or a bad day, but it’s your job to make sure they leave smiling because you gave them a great experience.

Where have we seen you? Where have you been featured? 

I was in the Boston Market commercial in 2014 for the Parmesan Tuscan chicken. I was featured as the brand ambassador for our new campaign “All Good” at Boston Market this year. I was also featured in Vogue Italia online.

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That’s awesome. Vogue is a pretty big deal. How do you balance your day job with your acting/modeling work? 

It’s hard during Thanksgiving month to leave and go to rehearsals because I’m one of the key players at the restaurant and want to be able to help with what needs done. Planning is just the biggest key. I always get information about shows or acting gigs to the restaurant early so we can plan and I’m giving as much notice as possible. It’s so important to plan ahead in all aspects of the restaurant industry so I really follow that.

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Any tips for others who may want to act/model as well?

If you want to be part of it, you have to have thick skin. You may go into a modeling audition where all the models will walk up and down in a row and then send you home without even saying anything. It can be tough, so you have to really figure out if this is what you want to do. There are a lot of actors out there and it may take time, so you have to be stick to it and be committed if it’s something you really love.

As a Master Carver, what are your top tips for carving a turkey this holiday season?

Make sure you have proper tools, such as a good sturdy tong and a knife. Make sure the knife is super sharp. That is the most important thing. If your knife isn’t sharp, you’re going to have a hard time getting those beautiful cuts.

What’s the biggest mistake people make when trying to carve a turkey?  

They think it’s almost like cutting a ham or other boneless protein. Turkeys have many more bones, so you want to make sure you cut the sections apart properly so you can carve the meat more efficiently. You have to cut it up before you can properly carve it because otherwise, everything is going to be awkwardly positioned. If you’re trying to slice the breast while it’s still on the turkey, for instance, you’ve got the wings there in the way. The biggest key is to cut the turkey into sections first and then carve it.

What is your best Thanksgiving or holiday memory? 

My best Thanksgiving was about three years ago, when the rest of my family came to the United States and were all together for Thanksgiving. My cousin made the most amazing deviled eggs I’ve ever had. After we had Thanksgiving dinner, we all went to the movies together. It was a great day with family and that meant so much to me. That’s definitely what we try to emphasize at Boston Market, too—letting us cook so you can have that family time.

à bientôt

Charell Star | Not Just A Girl In A Dress

Taste,

Entrepreneur Duo – The McBride Sisters- Launch A Cool New Wine

SHOT05_Vineyard_0388Wine has always been the sophisticated libation of choice for grown folks and Robin and Andréa McBride, aka The McBride Sisters aim to honor that history by elevating it to the chic drink of choice for contemporaries across the country. The entrepreneur duo, wine connoisseurs have partnered with Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines to create Truvée – a new brand of wines that reflects their expertise,  passion and personal style.

SHOT05_Vineyard_0640With more than a decade of experience within the wine industry, the McBride Sister have become authorities in the industry and have honed in on the type of flavors and value trendsetters expect. Created from some of the most select vineyards within Central Coast California;  their Truvée Chardonnay and Truvée Red Blend include only the best grapes sourced from the vineyards and retails for $15.99.

 

SHOT05_Vineyard_0212Derived from the French word for “to find”, Truvée is as much a nod to their mission as to their journey. Separated and unaware of each other as children, the two sisters found their way to one another later in life and then set out to help people find a wine that matters to them.

Their tenacity and business focus is an inspiration to entrepreneurs everywhere and I’m excited to see where their journey takes these ladies next.

à bientôt

Charell Star | A Girl In A Dress