Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Restaurant Review: Alice's Tea Cup


I've been wanting to visit Alice's Tea Cup, with locations on both the Upper West Side and Upper East Side, since I read in Us Weekly back in 2012 that Katie Holmes and Suri Cruise had visited the spot for a playdate. Trust me - I wish that previous sentence wasn't true either, but...
 
 
I was recently scrolling through my Facebook feed when I noticed that my grad school buddy, Robin, and her daughter, Anabel, were in town scouting colleges. During the two years it took to complete our Master's degrees, Robin would constantly tell me stories about her days living in New York City and we would discuss the possibility of me moving here.  I credit her as being one of the reasons I'm here.  She told me that living in this city would be an amazing experience, and she was right! Thankfully, we were able to throw together a last minute meet up, and I thought this would be the perfect occasion to try out Alice's Tea Cup on the Upper West Side.
 
 
Beginning with the cute knick-knacks sold at the front of the restaurant, Alice's Tea Cup has a similar vibe to Serendipty 3 on the Upper East Side. All the décor in the restaurant is Alice in Wonderland-themed down to the kitchen doors which are shaped like key holes.  It is the very definition of the word "adorable".
 
 
The menu includes a variety of teas, pastries, small plates, and other sweet treats. Robin and I shared a pot of Alice's Tea - a blend of Indian black vanilla tea with Japanese green tea and rose petals.  We also both ordered a scone with raspberry preserves and homemade clotted cream.  Anabel ordered the warm, soft chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream. Everything looked and tasted lovely:
 
 
 
 
As with Café Lalo, Alice's Tea Cup has a warm and inviting feel to it. I love the beautiful wooden accents and mismatched china. In my opinion they are both the most adorable backdrops for a screen-worthy New York City romance. Or, maybe I'm a hopeless romantic and these are the types of places ladies brunch at on weekend mornings Sex and the City-style to discuss the lack of screen-worthy New York City romance in their lives. To each their own...
 
Stay fit and fabulous (and try a scone or two!),
 
A
 
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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Weekend Recap: The Land of the Pines

I absolutely love New York City, but it's easy to get caught up in everything the city is famous for - money, status, titles, fashion labels, the fast paced life, etc. As someone who grew up wishing she could live in a dirt mound (thanks to my Little House on the Prairie books...), it's nice to step away from it all for a little bit to recharge, reground myself, and breathe in some fresh air.

This weekend I headed down south to the land of the pines to visit with my sister and brother-in-law (who recently returned from being deployed) and to celebrate what would have been my dad's birthday on Sunday.  I missed my connecting flight Friday evening due to flight delays, so my 40-hour trip was even shorter than expected.  It was great to have some fun, Southern family time though.  I'll take as much as I can get!


Meet the Flouer Family

I woke up early Saturday morning to make a quick breakfast trip to Chick-Fil-A - it's always a necessity when I venture outside the city. Anyone who has tasted the greatness that is their chicken mini sandwiches will understand my longing.  My brother-in-law, Jason, and my sister, Logan, then gave us a quick tour of Camp Lejeune.


We made a stop at the MCX (Marine Corps Exchange) which is basically a department store mixed with a Target.  They have everything from designer handbags to department store beauty products to big screen TVs - all tax free! I ended up walking out with two dresses and an $11 pillow which I've been eying at Nordstrom for almost $40 in New York. #SMH...

I woke up like this...
 
We had a light lunch on the water at Icehouse Waterfront Restaurant which looks like something out of a Nicholas Sparks movie. (Sparks lives less than an hour away in New Bern, NC.) I completely went against my love of seafood and ordered the baked brie appetizer - almond encrusted brie with cranberry chutney and grilled crostini. It did not disappoint!

 
 
We briefly interrupted our weekend of eating with a quick fantasy football draft, an ALS ice bucket challenge, and some documentary watching on Jason's new 55-inch television, but that didn't last long as we soon made our way to dinner. Every year for my dad's birthday, we would go out for Japanese food. We would eat a massive hibachi dinner full of steak, scallops, Shirley Temples, and onion volcanoes! Even though my dad passed away last year, we've kept this tradition alive.

This was the best Shirley Temple I've ever had - amazing Sprite/grenadine/cherry proportions! It had to be immortalized through this photograph.

My forty hour getaway came and went quickly but not before I was finally able to make Jason some slutty brownies (a mixture of chocolate chip cookies, Oreos, and brownies) - for breakfast, of course. He requested them during his deployment, but I figured fresh desserts are better than two week old desserts sent through the mail. You can check out the recipe here if you are interested.

 
I'm now back in New York City where I've traded pine trees for skyscrapers and quality family time for rush hour.  It's back to reality and the daily grind, but I look forward to my next big weekend adventure filled with southern hospitality and fresh air in one month. I'm coming for you, Atlanta!

Stay fit and fabulous (but eat dessert too!),
 
A
 
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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Bucket List #117 - Boat Ride Around Manhattan

Recently, I saw a Facebook post that New York City's country music station, NASH FM, was partnering with Circle Line Thirsty Thursday cruises for a country cruise around Manhattan. $26? Country music? Boats? Great views of Manhattan? I was instantly sold! 

 
 On a cloudy Thursday evening, I headed down to the pier off West 42nd Street with my friend, Angela @ Runner in Denial.  The Thirsty Thursday DJ'ed cruises take place from 6:00-9:00PM each week. Beginning at 6:00PM, they kick off a docked Happy Hour.  Angela and I grabbed food and drinks below deck and then headed upstairs to enjoy the last bit of rainless sky. While we both bought beers, they also served complimentary Bud Light "margaritas in a can".  I went with the "Straw-Ber-Rita" one, and the bartender added some funky garnishes to top it off. #murica

It began to pour before the boat even left the dock, but all good country fans know that rain is a good thing, right!? Thankfully, the rain stopped in time for us to get some great touristy shots of Lady Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge. 

 
 
 

The night ended with the whole boat dancing and belting out "Chicken Fried" by the Zac Brown Band at the top of their lungs.  A bunch of New Yorkers appreciating country music just melted my little Southern heart, y'all!  I was also happy that I crossed off #117 on my Bucket List and helped Angela cross off a couple of her summer bucket list items as well. 

If you're interested in getting your country on or dancing to your favorite 80's and 90's jams, Circle Line offers a variety of themed DJ'ed nights every Thursday in the summer. 

What music would you jam out to while sailing on a boat? Let me know in the comments below!

Stay fit and fabulous,

A

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Weekend Recap: Angels, Australia, and Apps!

My co-worker, Layne, recently told me that she wanted to try ModelFIT.  I told her that I'd been wanting to do a ModelFIT class too, and it was basically like...
 
 
I read an article titled "I Worked Out Like Karlie Kloss For A Month" published by Elle Magazine that raved about ModelFIT.  It's a new gym created by celebrity trainer Justin Gelband. The $40 classes incorporate a variety of small, mindful movements to help strengthen and tone using free weights and ankle weights (at least in the "Combo" class I attended). Plus, we got to jump on mini trampolines, which is always fun! My highlight of the entire class though was when model and BFF to the TSwift, Miss Karlie Kloss herself, popped out of her private lesson with Gelband for a water break. If this workout is good enough for Victoria Secret Angels, then it's good enough for me!
 
 
Speaking of angels, since I was already in NoLIta, I decided to make a pit stop at Kelsey Montague's #whatliftsyou angel wings street art. If you want to join the other 2,846 people to take this photo (including Taylor Swift), you can head to the corner of Kenmare and Mott Streets.
 
 
I then recommend walking over to the West Village for brunch at Bluestone Lane Café. This healthy, Australian-inspired oasis is the perfect place to refuel after a workout or to have a quiet Sunday brunch with friends.  Layne and I ventured there to have a nice breakfast while we talked shop. I ordered watermelon juice with the brekkie board -   granola and fruit with Greek yogurt plus smashed avocado on bread. I'm usually an oatmeal-for-breakfast kind of girl, but this was so clean and delicious. Plus, I plan to make my way to Australia next year, so this was a great place to get inspired and talk travel trips as Layne has already spent time in the Land Down Under.
 
"I went all the way to Bluestone Café, and all I got was this lousy photo..." 
Saturday evening, I met a friend for rooftop champagne and appetizers. Is it just me or do meat and cheese plates remind you of fancy, adult Lunchables? It was delicious!
 
 
Around 8pm, we headed to Mr. Chow in TriBeCa for dinner.  I've heard about it because every celebrity from Kaley Cuoco to Al Pacino has dined there, so I was excited to experience it for myself. We enjoyed so much food - brown rice, mixed veggies, dumplings, scallion pancakes, Dungeness crab with egg whites, lamb, and coconut sorbet.  The food was amazing, but the best part of the experience was definitely the people watching!
 
 
Our server suggested we grab a drink at a hole-in-the-wall bar around the corner named Smith and Mills. Smaller than most NYC apartments, this restaurant/bar really is a hole-in-the-wall. The bartender was knowledgeable and friendly, and I loved the bar's chill vibe. I'd love to go back for dinner sometime. 
 
Sunday was pretty uneventful, but I closed out the weekend with Ben, Jerry, and this gorgeous sunset over Jersey:
 
 
How did you spend your weekend? Let me know in the comments below!
 
Stay fit and fabulous,
 
A
 
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Monday, August 11, 2014

Why Living In NYC Is Like College


I've been living in Manhattan for a few months now, so I'm nowhere near an expert (my attempts at riding any lettered subway line prove that...).  I have had time to make a few conclusions about this great city though - one being that living in Manhattan is extremely similar to college life.  Here are my observations thus far:

The weekends begin on Thursdays.  Seriously.  This place is like a scene from I Am Legend in the summer because everyone has left for Cape Cod, Nantucket, Atlantic City, or the Hamptons as soon as they possibly can.
 
Moving day sucks.  You've carried that couch up four flights of stairs and calculated how to shove it into the tiny door frame on the hottest day of the year.  Congratulations!  Only 364 days until your lease is up, your rent has increased, and you have to do it all over again!
 
There are few differences between dorm rooms and NYC apartments.  Unless you've sold part of your soul to the devil or you have an extremely rich great uncle who left you his life's savings in his will, your apartment is the size of a college dorm room or a jail cell.  And don't pretend you haven't seriously considered bunk beds as a way to save space and money....
 
Neighborhoods are the equivalent of fraternities/sororities.  Just as with Greek life, people are loyal to their 'hoods.  One might venture out to party in another area of town, but you best believe people think their neighborhood is the best and they can't fathom how others could live anywhere else. #upperbestside
 
You will gain a "Freshman 15".  I can walk one block from my apartment and pass 459754698 restaurants, a Starbucks, and two grocery stores.  Plus, now that Seamless has been created?  Fuggedaboutit.  You better walk everywhere or the NYC 15 will creep up on those hips of yours!
 
The city survives off coffee and alcohol.  In New York City, days begin with coffee runs and end with Happy Hour with co-workers that lead to late night drinks with friends. Every. Single. Night.  I haven't experienced anything like it...since my college days.
 
These are the best years of your life. Just like with all of your precious college memories, your children will soon tire of hearing all about your days of living the dream in New York City.  But, eventually they too will move here and create memories all their own.
 
Stay fit and fabulous,
 
A
 
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Friday, August 8, 2014

Pucker Up at the Bite Beauty Lip Lab

Have you ever been wandering around the beauty department and dreamed of what it would be like to create colorful makeup and name it fun, unique names?  I have. It happens during every mani/pedi I get.  (Call me if you ever have a job opening, OPI!)
 
Recently, this dream came true after my friend, Portia, introduced me to the Bite Beauty Lip Lab - a "beauty bar" where you have full control over the lipstick-making process from start to finish.  I decided it would be the perfect mother-daughter outing for when my momma came to visit.  I made reservations via phone about a month in advance just in case, and on the Saturday afternoon of her visit we headed downtown to the always lovely and fabulous SoHo.

When we first arrived I was a little disappointed because for whatever reason I was expecting a similar look and feel to a Sephora or MAC.  The Bite Beauty Lip Lab is just a long, slender room filled with color palettes and women in white lab coats.  After looking around, this small set up makes the experience feel more intimate and special though. 

First, we looked at a variety of color options.  If you like a color then you're job is done for a bit, but if not, you can mix as many colors together as you wish until finding your perfect shade.

 
The lipstick pros work their blending magic until they've reached a shade you love.  You can even add in moisturizers depending on what type of finish you'd like your lipstick to have.
 
 
One of my favorite steps was picking the scent.  Everything smelled so delicious, but I ended up going with mint and mango.  I know it sounds like a random combination, but they work together nicely.  I smile each time I smell the fun pairing.
 
 
Lastly, we picked out the case.  Bite Beauty has a few unique options, so that you can differentiate between your lipsticks while digging around in your mess of a purse. 
 
 
Once all the decisions have been made, the lipstick pros pour the concoction into a mold to form and harden. 
 
 
They clean it up a bit...
 
 
They place it in the tube, and voila!  You've successful created your first personalized shade of lipstick.  My mom named her shade "Summer in the City", and I named mine "Manhattenhenge" (duhhh!).
 
 
They give each guest a "recipe" card in case one want to repurchase the same shade of lipstick once their original runs out. 
 
 
 
One tube of lipstick is about $40, which is probably more than I've spent on all of my lip products combined this year.  The unique experience and memories with my mom made it worth it though!  I definitely suggest visiting the Bite Beauty Lip Lab for a bachelorette weekend or friend outing in the city.
 
What would you name your shade?  Let me know in the comments below!
 
Stay fit and fabulous,
 
A
 
 
 
 
 

Friday, July 25, 2014

71 Questions With Me!

I didn't think I could love Blake Lively more until Vogue posted their "73 Questions with Blake Lively" video on YouTube this week. 
 
 
She loves baking, hot chocolate, and Paris...I don't know how we aren't besties already.  My favorite part of the video might be the fact that she casually refers to "my husband" like she isn't married to one of the hottest men to ever walk the face of the planet... #NBD
 
Don't we make a nice pair?
 
I wanted to do this post after Vogue asked SJP 73 questions, but I never got around to it.  I couldn't pass it up this time, so here are 71 questions (I took two irrelevant ones out of the mix) answered by yours truly:
 
1.  How are you feeling these days?  Life is good!
2.  What's the best thing to happen to you this year?  I moved to Manhattan!
3.  What's the best thing that happened to you this month?  My blog hit 1 million views!
4.  What's the best thing that's happened to you today?  I woke up with Lily cuddled next to me in the cutest position.
5.  What's the best thing ever?  Chocolate or nature.  I guess nature since it doesn't make you fat.
6.  What's your favorite season? Fall.
7.  Favorite holiday? I love all holidays!
8.  What's your best Halloween costume?  My favorite Halloween costume is probably the Wilson costume I made out of paper mache because I designed and created it from scratch.
 
 
9.  Would you ever live anywhere besides the East Coast?  Totally.
10.  Which Sex and the City character do you identify with most?  Charlotte.
11.  Do you like surprises?  Yes, but I'll try to find out what the surprise is because I need to know everything!
12.  What's the biggest surprise you've ever had?  One time in middle school I had a slumber party at my friend Caroline's house, and her mother told me that my dad was there to pick me up the following morning.  I told her that was impossible since he didn't live in Atlanta, but he surprised me!
13.  What's a surprise that made you cry?  When my dad passed away.
14.  What's the best surprise you've planned for someone?  I love planning birthday surprises!  Birthdays are my favorite!
15.  What's your favorite plot twist?  I hate the movie, but it had a pretty surprising ending.  Off the top of my head, I'm going to have to say Saw.
16.  If you could do a flash mob, where would it be?  Grand Central Station.
17.  Do you like cupcakes?  Not as much as I adore them!
18.  Do you usually bake cupcakes?  Cookies and brownies are easier.
19.  Do you want to decorate some cupcakes?  Can I eat them after?
20.  How often do you bake?  I've been on an ice cream kick this summer, so I don't bake as often as I used to.
21.  What's your favorite dessert?  Anything chocolate.
22.  Is there a dessert you don't like?  They are few and far between.
23.  Cake or pie? Cake.
24.  What's your favorite bakery?  I'd have to say Crumbs because not only are their cupcakes huge, but they also have "cupcake milkshakes" where they blend a cupcake with ice and milk.  I haven't had one, but just the thought of it is enough to die and go to heaven, no?!  Sadly, they are shutting down, so I don't know if this will ever become a reality for me...
25.  What's the coolest thing about Canada?  The Canadian Rockies! Bucket List #71!
26.  What's your favorite food?  Pasta and chocolate would have to duke it out for the number one spot.
27.  What's your least favorite food?  Umm, bugs?!
28.  What's your favorite condiment?  Hershey's syrup.
29.  It's brunch.  What do you eat?  Chocolate chip pancakes.
30.  It's 4am on a Saturday night.  What do you eat?  McDonald's fries and a chocolate milk shake.
31.  You're stuck on an island.  You can pick one food to eat forever without getting tired of it.  What would you eat?  This is already my life as I live on the island of Manhattan and I will never get tired of eating macaroni and cheese.
32.  Favorite color?  Pink.
33.  Least favorite color?  Brown.
34.  What kind of lipgloss do you use?  Sadly, I can't remember the last time I used lipgloss.  I've been rocking my glossy lipstick from Bite Beauty Lip Lab in SoHo.  (Look out for a blog post soon!)
35.  What color dress did you wear to your prom?  Junior year my dress was coral, and senior year my dress was blue.
36.  Blow dry or air dry?  Air dry.
37.  Would you ever cut your hair short?  All the time. I grow it out.  Cut it.  Grow it out.  Cut it.  Repeat.
38.  Who's your fashion icon?  Kate Middleton.
39.  What's three things in your purse that you cannot live without?  My phone. Lip balm. Debit card.
40.  Favorite superhero?  Batman.
41.  Who's your favorite painter? Monet.
42.  Who's a person you'd love to have coffee with?  Emma Watson.
43.  Who's an historical figure you'd love to have coffee with?  Mark Twain.
44.  How do you like your coffee?  I prefer hot chocolate, but I've been trying to get into more mature beverages...if I must!
45.  What do you usually order at Starbucks?  Green tea or an iced skinny caramel macchiato when I'm trying to act like an adult, but my heart belongs to peppermint hot chocolates, morning buns, and marshmallow dream bars.
46.  Who's the last person you texted?  My friend, Karen.
47.  Who's the last person you tweeted? James Franco.
48.  iPhone or Android?  iPhone.
49.  Vine or YouTube?  YouTube.
50.  Twitter or Instagram?  Instagram.
51.  Who should everyone be following right now?  Me! - @PopFitLife on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook
52.  Carpet or wooden floors for a pre-war, one bedroom apartment?  Hardwood floors are gorgeous!
53.  Have you had anything stolen from you?  Not that I can recall...
54.  Favorite country to visit?  Sweden.
55.  Last country you visited?  France.
56.  Country you wish to visit?  The other 192 countries I haven't visited yet...they are on my list!
57.  What was your first pet?  Two cats.
58.  What was your first pet's name?  Gumdrop and Ebony.
59.  Favorite Disney animal?  Rhino, the hamster from Bolt.
60.  Kittens or puppies?  Puppies.
61.  What's your spirit animal?  Britney Spears circa 2000.
62.  What are you doing tomorrow?  I'm taking a barre class at Pure Yoga and then heading to work.
63.  What are you most excited about in life right now?  Future possibilities, football season, and sleeping.
64.  What's your favorite movie?  I will never be able to pick just one, but I will say I'm very excited for the 50 Shades of Grey movie trailer that was released yesterday.  As if we all needed another reason to be counting down the days until my birthday next year...
65.  Movie you laughed the hardest through?  40 Year Old Virgin.
66.  If you could sing a duet with someone who would it be?  Justin Timberlake. Or I could just stare at him instead.  That's cool too..
67.  If your life was a song, what would the title be?  Sadly, "If You're Happy and You Know It..." is already taken...
68.  A book you read because everyone else was reading it?  Any young adult fiction series.
69.  Best gift you've ever received?  Any gift of travel.
70.  Last gift you gave a friend?  An Alex and Ani bracelet.
71.  One last question.  Did you forget something?  I've been told I have the memory of an elephant, so that's highly unlikely. 
 
Feel free to answer these questions yourself, and tag me in them.  Bonus points if you make a video!
 
Stay fit and fabulous,
 
A