Get Cultured — January 1, 2019 at 2:55 pm

‘My Favorites’ – The Best of 2018

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Every year, Barack Obama releases year-end list of favorites — including books, movies and songs. This year, it has inspired me to create a list of favorites of my own!

Favorite Manhattan with a Twist post of 2018: I can’t take credit for picking this, all credit goes to you wonderful readers! Our most clicked article this year was about Juice Press’s all new soft serve:

Juice Press Introduces Amazing Vegan Soft Serve Ice Cream to the Menu

Favorite fitness class: It’s so much fun trying new studios in the city. We’re lucky to live in a city that tries out the latest fads and is the first to discover new trends. Opened earlier this year, Brrrn is a fitness studio in Chelsea that hosts classes in a cool temperature to help you burn more calories and exercise more efficiently. They offer three different classes – HIT (battle rope & dumbbell circuit series), Slide (core & cardio slide board) and Flow (yoga-inspired mobility and strength) and also have an infrared sauna you can warm up in afterwards.

Another class I really enjoyed this year was Crunch Gym’s Anti-Gravity Yoga. It utilizes hanging fabric hammocks to help you stretch, align your joints, and relieve compression. I was able to attend the class in celebration of Crunch’s partnership with Rituals, which you can read more about on Bella Magazine.

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Favorite books: My goal for 2018 was to read 28 books and I’ve already surpassed that goal! I recently finished Michelle Obama’s Becoming, which I highly recommend. I’m so blown away but what an amazing woman she is. I also loved Amity and Prosperity: A Story of Energy in Two American Towns by Eliza Griswold. It’s about the fracking industry and how it’s effecting a few small towns in rural Pennsylvania and was really well-written and eye-opening. The debut novel by Lisa Halliday, Asymmetry was recommended to me by a colleague and I’m so glad I read it. I haven’t read a novel quite like it before. It’s broken up into three separate stories that are seemingly unrelated but come together in the end. (It also made Obama’s list!)

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Every year I also try to read a book on neuroscience (my major in college was psychobiology), which I find fascinating. This year I read Cure: A Journey into the Science of Mind Over Body by Jo Marchant, which showcases how powerful the brain is using scientific studies. It’s mind-blowing (pun not-intended) how research is finally being done to prove that the mind can actually heal the body. Last but not least, I finally finished the fourth book in The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante early this year. This series is so well-written, so intriguing, and spans the lifetime friendship of two women in Naples. I couldn’t put it down. [Feel free to follow me on Goodreads to see what I’m reading.]

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Favorite travels: I was so lucky to travel to so many amazing places, both for work and pleasure, this year. It’s honestly super hard to pick favorites, but if I had to, here’s what they’d be. Guadeloupe, located in the French Caribbean, is comprised of a few stunning islands. It was one of the most beautiful places I’ve been and I was lucky to be there during carnival. (You can read all about my trip on pages 138-140 of BELLA Magazine’s July/August Issue.)

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Is it the weekend yet? 🍹 #mwattravels

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I went to visit family in Denver, Colorado for Thanksgiving and it’s been a long time since I’ve been there. We got lucky with really warm weather and had such a fun day exploring the city, where we went to the Museum of Contemporary Art, strolled through Union Station, spent a long time among the books at The Tattered Cover, and finished our evening at the stunning Brown Palace.

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The Brown Palace macarons tho…👀

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I also took two trips out to California this year, one to Napa for my cousin’s bachelorette party, and one to La Jolla to cover the Kaaboo Del Mar music festival. Both were beautiful vacation destinations and it was so much fun sharing time with my family.

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California dreaming ☁️ #mwattravels

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Krushing Kaaboo 💥 #mwattravels

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Misbehaving in Napa 💫 #mwattravels

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Favorite accomplishment: This year I did something a little bit crazy for me. I signed up to run the NYC Half Marathon. I started training in January and ran through snow, rain and freezing temperatures (not to mention shin splints and a pulled calf muscle!). But I did it! The race took place on March 18th and my family came out to cheer me on. I can’t say that it was fun, but it was very satisfying to have set a goal and stuck with it.

Favorite freelance piece: In addition to Manhattan with a Twist, many of you know I am also an editor at Bella Magazine. But I also freelance on this side, as well! My favorite piece I wrote for an outside publication this year was all about the history of chocolate for Wine4Food. Give it a read!

Honoring the Rich History of Chocolate

Favorite restaurants: This year I did not get out to review nearly as many restaurants as I usually do. The first half of the year I was busy training for the NYC Half so I strayed away from dining out and drinking and then the remainder of the year was really busy with travel. So no judgements for this very small list!

More of an entertainment spot than a restaurant, Dizzy’s Coca-Cola Club is located within Jazz at Lincoln Center. Here, you can have a fun and different night out, eating Southern-style eats while watching live jazz in an intimate spot.

Never a disappointment, Delmonico’s, the historical and delicious restaurant in FiDi, brought us in for a few fun celebrations this year. We celebrated women at the 150th Anniversary of Ladies’ Luncheon and Discovered KOW Wagyu later in the year.

Spots I didn’t review, but I go to over and over again include Westville (veggie plate for the win!), La Nacional (Spanish tapas), La Pecora Bianca (Italian), Sen Sakana (Nikkei), Toro (Spanish tapas), Brooklyn Crab, Pil Pil (Spanish tapas…do you see a theme?), Taboon (Mediterranean), The Smith (American) and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon.

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Dos cervezas por favor 🍻

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Came for the uni spoonies 🥄

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But who invented #meatlessmonday??

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Truffles on truffles on foie gras

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Favorite Coffee Shop: I know this is a big deal for every New Yorker (and everyone in general). But I have a confession to make: I don’t drink coffee. Let me start by saying, I actually like the taste of coffee, I just choose not to drink it. However, I do enjoy a little bit every once in a while. And I do love tea! I recently discovered the most charming coffee shop, Remi Flower and Coffee, is in Midtown East, and as its name suggests, sells both plants and flowers and coffee. It’s a great little oasis to get work done in the middle of the day.

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Go away, I’m introverting.

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Favorite beauty splurges: This year I turned 30 and decided it’s time to really start taking care of my skin. It’s the first thing people see when they look at you! So I’ve been investing more in my skincare routine this year more than before. One thing I’ve been loving are my weekly sheet masks. They aren’t necessarily a splurge, but for a couple bucks a piece, they aren’t cheap either. I like to put one on every Sunday night so that my skin can stay nice and moisturized. I’ve also added some staples to my daily skincare routine: Hylauronic Acid, Vitamin C + E, and my favorite Skinceuticals Retinol 0.5. I’ve tried a few different brands for the other moisturizers and serums and haven’t picked out a favorite yet, but I’ll keep you posted.

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I’ve also recently been visiting Just Ageless in Manhattan to really amp up my skin. Jeannel Astarita is a godsend and with only a few treatments so far, has really transformed my skin. Lately I’ve been getting dermal infusions, followed by laser genesis and IPL. I can go into further detail on these treatments if you’re interested — send me a message and let me know!

just-ageless

Last but not least, I also invested in the Zoe Qyksonic cleansing and massage device. This device really penetrates deeper into your skin to not only clean it way better than your typical face wash or make-up wipe, but it also doesn’t collect bacteria like a Clarisonic does since it’s made out of silicon. It also helps to gently exfoliate your skin while it cleans, and I also use it after putting on my moisturizers and serums to help them sink deeper into the skin. They are launching an amazing new product soon that I’m fortunate to know all about so stay tuned for details!

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That’s all for now! Hope you all had a wonderful 2018. I’m looking forward to 2019 and what it has in store. Happy New Year!

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