And Just Like That, Society No Longer Needed Carries

Before we had the phrase “main character moment,” we had Carrie Bradshaw, the woman known for her credit card debt, kitten heel collection, and love for a man we pray was not based on D*nald Tr*mp.

With a weekly column in the New York Star, a few best-selling books, and a stint at Vogue, Bradshaw was the original influencer—a quality it seems she’s holding onto. In a recently leaked script for And Just Like That, the upcoming reboot of the HBO hit that ran from 1998-2004, we learned that Carrie Bradshaw will be ushering her vintage narcissism into the new era in exactly the way we would expect: from behind a podcast mic. Where will Carrie’s Sex and the City pod land among modern competitors like U Up? While her insights may have been revolutionary in ‘99, her tired tips don’t hold a candle to today’s sex positivity, and her narcissism doesn’t translate either. 

Carrie Bradshaw was supposed to be the ultimate It Girl: career focused but not too busy, sexually free but hopelessly romantic, an enigmatic quirky Manhattan elite. She was written as the dream girl of every type of man, from finance guys in suits to artists to comic book enthusiasts. She sat front row at every fashion show, despite having worn a literal bird in her hair on her wedding day. She represented an impossible standard of perfection, one that every 2000s girl aspired to before ascending to adulthood and coming to the realization that Carrie Bradshaw is actually humanity’s shared nightmare. 

Between leaked scripts and the mysterious set photos of Natasha, we can’t stop thinking about the HBO hit that taught a generation of women to choose between four basic archetypes of femininity. We’ve spent decades taking Cosmo quizzes seeking the answer to an age-old question: which Sex and the City woman are you? We’ve refreshed the page so many times that we’ve missed the point: be anyone except Carrie.

Be a Samantha, a Charlotte, and a Miranda—a blend of our three supporting characters would make a classy, optimistic, sexually liberated woman who values her career, independence, friendships, and style. Imagine a world where a woman can wear Jimmy Choos without talking about it all goddamn day. 

If your vision board is still anchored by photos of Carrie Bradshaw’s hundred-pound body in 10 pounds of tulle, we have the solution for you. The best way to combat Bradshaw levels of narcissism is to perform a self-check. Let’s evolve the “which character are you” quiz into something actually helpful. Instead of asking, “am I a Carrie?,” ask yourself, “am I the problem?” Here are some useful tips:

Maybe I’m bitter because Carrie Bradshaw is the person who convinced me I needed a collection of dresses for the classic last-minute gala. The summer before moving to the city, I spent my days rewatching all six seasons of Sex and the City and ordering countless pairs of heels that would never see the inside of a subway car. The first few weeks in New York make anyone feel like a Carrie, like the main character; but a few morning commutes, a failed Hinge date, and a phone call with ConEd are there to bring you back down to Earth all too quickly. Remember this, city girls: there is nothing chic about credit card debt.

In its time, Sex and the City turned the tides for single women. At dinner tables and crowded bars, four women created space to talk openly about subjects that were once taboo, even introducing the world to the Rabbit. The show laid a foundation, albeit a thin one, for 20 years of sex positivity and female empowerment, even if aspects of it failed to hold up to modernity. With the evolution of modern feminism and the introduction of the Bechdel Test, Sex and the City’s mortal nemesis, longtime fans began looking to the show for nostalgia more than wisdom. Headlines once dedicated to “Carrie Bradshaw’s Best Fashion Moments” were replaced by roundups of “Carrie’s Worst Decisions on Sex and the City,” “10 Times Carrie Bradshaw Was A Jerk,” and “9 Times Carrie Bradshaw Was The Actual Worst.”

When it comes to nostalgia, HBO is a bloodhound, and they caught the scent and ran with it. So now here we are, counting down the days to the reboot that we never asked for and the main character we never liked. That said, when And Just Like That does finally drop, don’t reach out for at least three days, I’m busy. 

Be the main character without being a Carrie. Romanticize your life, but don’t forget that the people who will meet you in a diner at midnight to have another conversation about your Mr. Big are not your supporting characters. Look at your life the way Sex and the City should have always been seen, as an ensemble.

Oh and—justice for Samantha Jones. 

Image: Courtesy of HBO Max

The NYC Restaurants Where You’re Guaranteed To Run Into Everyone You Try To Avoid

You’d think that in a city of over eight million people, you’d rarely, if ever, run into anyone you know—“you’d think” being the operative phrase here.

But even in a city like New York, with amazing restaurants on virtually every corner, it seems like everyone I know is still going to the same 10 or so. And if I had to guess, a restaurant or two just popped into your head as soon as you read that sentence.

What? I don’t make the rules.

Don’t get me wrong: Most of these spots are actually really great, and I’d be lying if I said I don’t go to a majority of them pretty frequently, too. But if you’re planning on showing up to any of them thinking you’re going to have a low-key night and stay under the radar, well, I’ve got news for you. Be prepared to run into your best friend from camp’s college roommate’s friend from high school, with whom you’ll inevitably have to make small talk and consider merging reservations.

Momoya

If I had a dollar for every time a girl in Golden Goose sneakers walked into Momoya (Chelsea location, always) and said, “We’ll get the spicy tuna crispy rice and/or the spicy tuna pizza for the table, and then I’ll have a spicy tuna naruto roll and a spicy salmon hand roll without rice,” I could buy a full-price retail Chanel double flap bag, new price increase included. This is like, the unofficial meeting spot for anyone who went to Syracuse, Michigan, Penn State, or Wisconsin.

Kotobuki

Kotobuki is the Momoya of the east side. Chances are you also have very strong opinions about which one you prefer and will defend it like you’re rooting for your Color War team during Sing Night. You were probably introduced to this place because a friend of a friend is from Roslyn, and now you’ll rave about how good the spicy tuna sandwich is to anyone who will listen. (But also, the K-Mac slides are fire. I would know. I’m literally from Roslyn.) When you come here, expect to run into a group of 22-year-olds who are all rooming with their best friends from college in Windsor Court. That is, if they ever look up from their phones.

Sushi Seki

If you didn’t know any better, you might think Momoya, Kotobuki and Sushi Seki were the only sushi spots in all of New York City. You’re going here if you want a slightly more ~upscale~ experience than the first two, and to eat spicy tuna crispy rice while listening to the table of girls next to you talk about how they need to make a return at Zara tomorrow. They’re probably at least in their mid-20s and work in marketing or media buying but are considering going to law school. Naturally.

Marinara Pizza

Ok, technically you won’t really run into anyone you know here because getting delivery is always the move, but you get the gist. I mean, if you ordered Marinara but didn’t post a picture of the MVP cauliflower pizza and house salad to your Instagram story, did you really order Marinara? I think not. The free marketing they’re getting from girls who live in one-bedroom flex apartments in Murray Hill is truly next-level.

Sadelle’s

You’re going here for the bagels and lox tower, and also maybe to spot Arielle Charnas. Honestly though, the bagels and babka here are worth the run-in with your best friend from middle school who you haven’t seen in 10 years but *promise* that you’ll grab lunch and catch up with (soon!!). 

Mark’s Off Madison

We get it: You miss Barneys. Tell us more about how you dream about the Madison Avenue Salad from Freds on a daily basis. But while you’re at it, get an order of the Belgian fries, a margherita pizza and probably some bagels and lox for good measure. You’re virtually guaranteed to see that girl you stalk on Instagram but don’t know personally—you know, the one who just got engaged and posted a picture of herself in the jean jacket.

Hillstone

There’s no thrill like finally seeing that 7pm Resy notification for the Park Avenue location pop up on your phone and knowing that the kale and rotisserie chicken salad, spinach and artichoke dip, and coconut shrimp roll are just a few short hours away. Word to the wise: Order yourself a martini so that you’re prepared to inevitably run into the finance bro you once went on a few Hinge dates with before he ghosted you.

American Bar

Is it just me, or did this place just appear out of the blue one day and now it’s… everywhere? Specifically, that damn chopped salad with the sun-dried tomatoes. Yes, yes, I know: Order it SFK style with the negroni. Noted. It goes without saying you’re pretty much guaranteed to run into one of those girls you grew up with who wants to be the next Bravolebrity.

Pastis

You’re coming here to break your low-carb diet and get your hands on that burger and fries if it’s the last thing you do. That is, after you awkwardly wave hi to the girl in your sorority a year or two older than you that you a) never exchanged more than five words with, and b) haven’t seen in at least five years. But that encounter will be worth it if you spot Tinx while she’s in town.

Lola Taverna

Dinner at Lola Taverna is like walking into an unplanned high school reunion. You’re coming here to order a Greek salad and a side of the scene. It’s not Scorpios Mykonos, but it’s pretty damn close. Prepare to see girls who are really just here for Instagram and wouldn’t go near the pita bread with a 10-foot pole.

Tasti-D-Lite, Murray Hill

Need I say more?

Images: Javier Díez / Stocksy.com

What Being Back In The Office Is Really Like

When I first got the email about returning to my office in July, I was overwhelmed with emotion, both negative and positive.

Let’s backtrack a bit. I am a twentysomething living in NYC. I’ve stayed here throughout the entire pandemic thus far. I stay inside, I wash my hands, I wear my mask, I respect other people’s space, and I do my part to keep myself and those around me safe. In other words, I’m not an a**hole.

So, that being said, when I found out I was headed back to the office on the first day of phase 3 (July 6, to be exact), I was kind of shook. COVID had (has) made me quite an anxious person over time, and this felt like my worst fear coming to life. Public transportation? Sitting in an office with 50 other people I could not control? WEARING JEANS AGAIN? A lot of scary stuff here.

 

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Bunch of morons // credit/permission: @lexniko

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On the contrary, sitting in my apartment day in and day out had also been quite an unhealthy habit. I made every excuse not to go outside, washing my hair became a task, and I had literally become one with the couch. Going to work meant I’d have an excuse to focus a bit more again on self-care and to get up and do something.

Here I am almost two months later, and I am here to spill what it’s actually like to be back in an office in the midst of a pandemic.

I take one subway and one bus to get to work. The first day I went all out and prepared for battle in the form of a mask, gloves, paper towels to hold the handles on public transportation (yes, even while wearing gloves), and a big bottle of hand sanitizer in my bag. The subway was fairly quiet, with some essential workers, and some others in suits who looked as nervous as I did. The bus was even quieter. Quieter as in, I was the only human on the bus and therefore it was a straight shot to work, with no stops in between. As time has gone on, the subway has gotten a bit more crowded, but the bus remains empty. Public transportation overall hasn’t been scary, but when someone gets on the subway without a mask (which is obviously against the rules but nothing I can do much about), my stomach still drops.

When you arrive at my office, the first thing you must do is have your temperature taken. Of course, if you have a fever, you will be sent home immediately. Upon entering the building there is a mask, glove, and hand sanitizer station. They are also set up throughout the office building. Most people wear cloth masks, but should you have a paper mask on and want a fresh one, it is available. The little things, ya know?

The elevators are limited to four people per ride (which I think is pretty standard across NYC now), but typically I opt to ride solo even though that means waiting longer for an elevator. We have an open floor plan in our office, with rows of tables as desks. As you can imagine, we are limited to one person per row, so there is forced social distancing in place. In some ways, it’s so distant that it’s lonely. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the luxury of being able to turn and chat with someone next to me.

During the workday, in fact, there is little to no human communication at all. Despite being in office, meetings are held via Zoom to avoid any large groups. If you’re reading this and thinking “sO wHy ArE yOu BaCk In An OfFiCe”, the answer is… unclear.

confused

In terms of further safety precautions, while a mask is not required when sitting at our desks, it’s encouraged. You can bet my paranoid lil self has one on all day. All community snacks have been taken away (sad), so has the coffee machine (sadder!!!). Safety > coffee, obviously, but I know you all feel me on the heartbreak there.

We also can’t leave for lunch. Once you’re in the building, you are in for the day until you go home. This one hurts the most simply because I take my lunch hour seriously, but again, I get it. I did reach out to the few friends I have who are also back in the office, and they have similar limitations. On the bright side, I’ve saved money by packing my lunch daily, something I didn’t know I was even capable of! (Only half-kidding).

The best (and most important) safety precaution/perk of the office is weekly COVID testing. Once a week we are required to take both a COVID and antibody test. A team sets up right in the common area, and we have to walk a maximum of one flight of stairs to get there. As someone who lives with a roommate, this is a huge relief for not only myself but for him as well. Given the fact that he is working from home and did not sign up to be put at risk, the fact that I can come home and show him a negative result each week puts us both at ease. And even better, the antibody test has only a 15-minute turnaround time, the COVID test only a 24-hour turnaround time, so we don’t have to wait long for our results.

Being back in an office has forced me to make small but important changes. I set my alarm for 8am now (instead of 8:59am). I wake up and actually have to CHOOSE an outfit (remember that???). I style my hair. I wear makeup. I use time management skills to give myself a work-life balance. All of the things that gently slipped from my mind during my four-month quarantine period. It’s had a huge impact on my mental health, and a good one at that.

While the world is still gloomy AF, and the news cycle hasn’t gotten any better, at least leaving the house daily has provided a healthy (and easy) change I didn’t know I needed. Despite the fact that I have essentially left one room where I work alone to head to another room where I work alone, there has been something very refreshing about the act of getting outside and doing something daily.

Since I started going back into the office, I’ve been valuing my weekends and nights in a new way. Aside from sleeping, I’ve also used my downtime to capitalize on more *important* hobbies (like binging Selling Sunset, obviously).

So, in all seriousness, being back in the office isn’t so bad. It feels good to get back into a routine, and even if I am still questioning “the point” of putting myself at risk to travel to work and be in an office with others, I do believe there was some method to the madness.

Images: Marina Andrejchenko / Shutterstock; whenshappyhr / Instagram; Giphy (2)

5 Indoor Rooftop Bars You Need To Try This Winter

When most people say they’re outdoorsy, they mean that they enjoy going on hikes. When I say I’m outdoorsy, I mean that I like drinking on rooftops. Maybe that’s why I don’t get many Hinge messages? Oops. Participating in my favorite pastime is obviously easiest in the summer where I can knock back rosé outside and tan, but doing it in the winter is obviously more difficult. Thank god for indoor rooftop bars, where you can get all the same NYC views without freezing to death. Here are some of our favorite indoor rooftop bars to hit when it’s f*cking cold outside.

The Crown

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Just add you, your girlfriends and some jean jackets. We’ve got drinks & views on deck 😉 Open late, til 4am! #CrownNYC at @50Bowery // pic: @hypebae . . . . #CrownNYC #infatuationnyc #thirstynyc #LESismore #lowereast #50bowery #elizabethstreet #bucketlistnyc #nycbucketlist #cocktail #rooftop #nycviews #todoinny #rooftopvibes

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Gerber Group’s The Crown is located on the roof of one of the few gems Chinatown has to offer, Hotel 50 Bowery, and it’s one of the only places in the city where you can get unobstructed views of both the Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines. That means double the Instagrams that you can queue up to post later on—what more could you ask for? Inside, there are plush couches (and a neon sign, because who doesn’t love a good neon sign?) and floor-to-ceiling windows so you can still capture your candids. The menu changes seasonally, but when I went over the summer, their fruity drinks and lobster roll were really f*cking good.

Hotel Chantelle

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Coming up here this week?

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Fun fact: Hotel Chantelle, the Lower East Side classic, is not, in fact, a hotel! Makes sense. Like my Bat Mitzvah, the rooftop is Paris-themed, but unlike the social event of 2007, Hotel Chantelle doesn’t look like a 13-year-old-girl’s wet dream. But unless you’re going there specifically for French feels, the decor doesn’t really matter. It just looks like a cute, small rooftop bar, which is more than fine by me. 

If you and your work “friends” are into happy hour, Hotel Chantelle is definitely the move because there’s rarely a line before 1am and the deals are legit. For instance, $8 for a cocktail and $42 for a pitcher. There are also $8 food specials like chicken meatballs and white truffle flatbread. (Also, fun fact, they also have a good brunch with even better drink deals.) 

Broken Shaker

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Shop with a cocktail in hand! Join us for a fall preview with @acurrentaffair today from 11-5 and shop incredible vintage! 🍹✨🍹#nyfw #shakervibes

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Broken Shaker is my favorite bar in New York. I know no one goes to a bar for the interior design, but this place has noticeably cool interior design. It was giving me Tahiti vibes in the best way possible, and the drinks were amazing. I actually went here on my birthday, and because I wouldn’t shut the f*ck about it being my birthday we were so sweet to the other bar-goers, we managed to snag a cocktail table with two wicker peacock chairs and drink all damn night. The views were sick, the drinks were delicious, and the bartenders were really hot. What else could you want in a bar?

The Water Tower

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We love both views; when the city lights illuminate the dark sky and river at night 🌃, and when the Sun ☀️ shows us in the light how beautiful city we live in. The Water Tower is open from 2 pm on weekends. • • • • #thewatertower #williamsburg #hotspot #hotelrooftop #thewilliamsburghotel #cocktailbar #nycnightlife #nycnights #brooklyn #rooftopbar #nycviews #newyorklike

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Williamsburg is usually not on my list of places I want to go, because hipsters with micro-tattoos and ironic top hats aren’t really my cup of tea, but The Williamsburg Hotel is my exception. It’s hands down the coolest hotel I’ve ever been to, and I will gladly stay here when I make more money and can afford it. The Water Tower is, you guessed it, on the roof and it definitely fits with the funky aesthetic of the hotel. Even though most rooftops have pretty decent views, The Water Tower’s view is truly unreal because you’re looking across the East River at all of the Manhattan apartments you can’t afford. I’ll drink to that. 

Also, unlike other misleading names, The Water Tower is kind of a water tower. No, it never held water, but it’s a giant glass structure shaped like one. So the views are too legit to quit because they’re panoramic. It’s kind of mesmerizing being in there because it feels like you’re in a bubble floating above the street. 

JIMMY at The James

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a girl's night out is better 18 floors above soho.

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Unlike a lot of rooftop bars, this place looks like it was designed for the winter. By that, I mean it’s really cozy and decorated kind of like a super chic ski chalet. I’m definitely into that and will probably be holed up there all weekend. No, you can’t go in the pool this time of year, but that’s why they designed the inside to make it so appealing. And the drinks all have cute/weird names like Grapes of Wrath, Catch Your Pikachu, and Legal in Vermont. I don’t know what those last two drink names mean, but whatever. The drinks are tasty and the atmosphere is really cozy, so if you don’t feel like drinking a cocktail with a lame name at your apartment, go here.

Images: The Crown at 50 Bowery; jimmyatthejames, thewatertowerbar, brokenshaker, hotelchantelle, thecrownnyc / Instagram

The Betches’ Bachelorette Guide To Manhattan

Planning sucks, and bachelorette parties are a ton of work. So we’re taking all the guesswork out of planning a bachelorette party by breaking down top bachelorette destinations. Our guides will tell you where to stay, eat, party, how to get around, and give you a sample itinerary that you can follow. You’re welcome.

? “Concrete jungle where (bachelorette) dreams are made of…” ?

Manhattan is an obvious choice for a weekend of debauchery and making poor decisions life-long memories with your best friends. Not only is it one of the easiest cities to get to—and get around in—but it has everything, and we mean everyyyyyything going for it. World-class shopping (or questionable thrifted finds), 5-star hotels and spas (plus a gazillion Airbnbs that may or may not be legal), more restaurants, bars, and clubs than you could ever stumble into, and a boss bitch attitude that suits a bride-to-be and her crew planning on taking over the town.

Regardless of your personality, or goals for the trip, there’s a neighborhood that can satisfy the greatest of expectations—and get you drunk at the same time. Go all Blair Waldorf and Serena van der Woodsen on the Upper East Side, embrace your inner hipster in the East Village and Alphabet City, and act like you’re better than everyone else in the Meatpacking District. Or go everywhere and do it all, quasi inebriated. That’s the beauty of the Big Apple! Here’s how to bach it up once you’re there.

How To Get There

The great news about choosing Manhattan as your bach HQ is that it’s easy as hell to get to. If you live in New England or the Tri-State area (NY, NJ, CT) you can drive, train, or bus into the city (not that we suggest the latter, though…it is your bachelorette, after all). And if you live anywhere else in the country, or world, you can fly directly into one of three airports: JFK, LaGuardia, or Newark. There are about a million flights that go in and out of NYC every day, at all hours, and on all airlines, so booking your travel will be the easiest part of your trip. That means more time for researching bars, obvi. It’s also pretty cheap to get to Manhattan and flight deals can be found on sites like Orbitz, Kayak, and Expedia, starting at $50-60 one way, depending where you’re flying from. If you book far enough in advance, you’re only looking at a couple hundred dollars for a roundtrip ticket. That’s less than what you’ll spend on hotels, food, and drinks, and think of everything you can spend that extra cash on like strippers! quality bonding experiences with your mains.

How To Get Around

We’re pretty sure this city was plotted out with tipsy girls in mind, it’s that easy to navigate. If you have a Type A personality in the group, have her schedule your nights, because arranging dinner, drinks, and after-party spots in the same neighborhood means you can just walk (or try balancing three sheets to the wind in heels) from one venue to the next, without having to go too far. When you need to get back to basecamp, because someone’s on the verge of passing out, Ubers, Lyfts, and cabs are your best friend. They’re everywhere you need them to be, reasonably cheap, and some even come with saintly drivers who honor wasted song requests mumbled from the back seat.

Where To Stay

Pro Tip: Use HotelTonight to book. The top-rated hotel app offers steep discounts on rooms up to 100 days out, as well as suite upgrades and HT Perks (their rewards program).

The James New York, SoHo: This boutique hotel landmark is on the corner of Thompson and Grand and pretty much slays when it comes to checking off every hotel box in Manhattan. The best staff ever? Check. Posh rooms and corner suites for pregaming, glamming, and sleeping in style? Check. A rooftop oasis with a pool and bar? Check. (Jimmy at the James is the jam, as is Gitano Jungle Room downstairs) and it’s in SoHo. You don’t do NYC without doing SoHo.

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?: @thebabooshka #jamessoho

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Lotte New York Palace: If you’ve never watched Gossip Girl, we don’t know you, but if you have, you’ll immediately recognize this one as the courtyard where Blair, Serena, and co. used to REIGN. The Palace is the city’s largest luxury hotel (with a whooping 909 rooms and suites) and perfect for bachelorette groups traveling to New York City. They offer room blocks and extended stay rates, but you’ll want to book in The Towers as they’re recently renovated and more royally appropriate for this kind of event. They even have a Gossip Girl Getaway package available and for that, we’re eternally grateful.

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Retreating back to your favorite place feels a lot like meeting up with an old friend. #StayIconic ?: @elsmorgan

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BTW, engagement ring designer extraordinaire Martin Katz designed The Jewel Suite, and there’s a Champagne Suite with an expansive rooftop terrace and custom waterfall spa, so you’re probs going to want to book one of those…just sayin’.

 

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A life-size jewelry box in the middle of Manhattan. #JewelSuite

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INNSIDE New York NoMad: If you want to be closer to downtown, but can’t swing (or deal with) hotels in the Meatpacking district, set up bachelorette HQ in Chelsea. INNSIDE by Melià New York NoMad is ideally positioned (on West 27th Street) and features all the things girls gone wild love: reasonable rates starting at $150 a night, selfie-friendly backdrops, and places to rest, work out, and play. The spacious (for New York) accommodations and cozy beds are key for when you’re ready to catch zzzzs, but in-room essentials like Nespresso machines, plush robes, and rain showers will really save your life after a night of not sleeping, when Pedialyte and eye patches just won’t cut it. When you do finally emerge from your quarters to see the light of day, go straight to INNSIDE’s new signature restaurant, The Wilson. The new neighborhood mainstay is known for seafood dishes, al fresco dining, and top-notch cocktails, plus a menu just for dogs, in case your pooch is part of your wedding party.

 

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New York or Nothing! We couldn’t agree more with style blogger @tonyamichelle26 #worktripping #newyorknewyork #nyc Photo credit @juliaotestphoto

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Le Méridien New York: What used to be the Viceroy New York has recently been rebranded as Le Méridien New York, and after a cute little refresh it’s better than ever, with a penthouse suite that’s begging for a group of girls to move in for the weekend. What you can expect upon arrival: a baller presidential bathroom (plus two smaller ones for guests who don’t deserve to invade the queen’s throne), living room, dining room, kitchen, multiple bars, and two bedrooms. We would argue another reason to stay is because it’s luxe, yet more affordable than some of its downtown counterparts. It’s also within walking distance of Central Park, the Theater District, and Columbus Circle, and it has a roof for Insta opps galore.

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Rosé with a view ?

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Where To Eat

NYC is equal parts brunch culture and then dinner-into-nightlife culture. Listen, we take our “restaurant capital of the world” moniker seriously, okurrrrrr? Basically, you’re going to be wasted all day, since day drinking turns into night drinking and then after-hours drinking. The good news is, we’re going to hook ya up with plenty of spots to carbo-load so you don’t faint midway through the marathon.

Bagatelle: Smack dab in the heart of the Meatpacking District, Bagatelle is a “New York Institution,” and a given for bachelorette shenanigans. Open for brunch and dinner, it deserves a place on your itinerary. After devouring platters of avocado tartine and poached eggs, or truffled gnocchi and smoked salmon pizzas, there are magnums of champagne and rosé to drink, along with Rich and Famous cocktails, and overflowing bowls of booze that come with 20 straws. Then the party really gets started once the sparklers come out and everyone tries to dance on said tables without falling off. Issa French-Mediterranean-live-your-best-life kinda vibe, and we’re here for it.

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Chasing that Joie de Vivre will always lead you back to brunch at Bagatelle ✨ #Bagatelle #Brunch

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Añejo: For boozy brunch on a budget, look no further than Añejo in Hell’s Kitchen or Tribeca. There’s no better place to go bottomless! In terms of drinks and food, we mean—it’s too early for the other stuff. Seriously though, they have the deal of the century with two hours of unlimited Mexican-inspired libations and small plates for $47 a person. Cure your pounding hangover with scrambled egg tacos and chorizo hash or carne asada con huevos with grilled skirt steak and yuca tots, then blackout cheers to the bride with six different kinds of margaritas and Bloody Marias, which sub vodka for tequila. Salud!

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Rain or shine, our bottomless brunch is going strong! Cheers! ? . . . #bottomlessbrunch #salud #cheers #saturday #daydrinking #celebrate #funtimes #anejonyc #anejotribeca

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Baccarat Hotel: If you don’t wake up in time for brunch, go for fancy AF Afternoon Tea in the Grand Salon at Baccarat. There are tiered masterpieces of crustless sandwiches, tiny cheesy gougères, to-die-for mini quiches, and enough petit fours and scones with clotted cream to make Marie Antoinette roll over in her grave with envy. Arguably the best part of this extra affair will be sipping champagne from cut-crystal tumblers that cost more than your life. That, and ‘gramming it up with the girls in the mirrored jewel box setting. Just try not to break anything.

P.S. The Baccarat’s cushy suites (complete with lacquered red mini bars and Hermès throws) also make a viable candidate for alternate lodging, if you and your crew are next-level bougie.

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Savor every moment in style at Afternoon Tea. ?: @cheraleelyle

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STK: This steakhouse-meets-hot-spot lounge is where it’s at for sexy GNO dinners. Friday and Saturday get lit (thanks to DJ-spun tunes) and with two locations in Midtown and Downtown (Downtown has a rooftop BTW), you can party wherever’s convenient. Crazy good martinis, surf and turf, and all the apps in between are par for the ordering course (get the lobster mac, tuna tartare tacos, and truffle fries, duh) and if any members of your squad are single, even better. STK is always crawling with hotties you can sweet talk into buying you more drinks, since your tab is bound to be on the pricey side. Whatever, YOLO.

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Rooftop Season Starts Now! STK Rooftop in the #Meatpacking District of NYC is now accepting reservations for dinner, and open weekdays for #HappyHour! DON'T MISS OUT on "The First Taste of Spring." BOOK NOW -> STKsteakhouse.com

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Catch Roof: Celebs, influencers, and social climbers love Catch, and so do we. It’s sushi goals in an upscale venue that’s always packed and high up on NYC bachelorette guides. As an OG Meatpacking haunt, it’s a must. You’re also likely to bump into famous people here (the Kardashian-Jenners, Chrissy Teigen and John Legend, and the Biebs have all been), but don’t be that girl who gets kicked out by security trying to take pics with them, alright?? Nosh on over-the-top rolls al fresco, then after the party it’s the after-party when the restaurant transitions into a lounge with bottle service after 10pm.

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Three. Day. (Brunch) Weekend. ? Catch NYC + LA open for brunch on Memorial Day ?? #MDW #catchrestaurants #catchnyc ?: @viibekee

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Santina: Nestled under The High Line, Santina is helmed by the Major Food Group dream team (of Carbone, Dirty FrenchSadelle’s, and The Lobster Club fame) and it’s coastal, casual, and chic. AKA necessary for lunch. You’ll feel like you’re in Positano sipping spritzers, even if there are sirens blaring while you do so. It’s also one of the few entirely gluten-free Italian restaurants in the city. Must-try specialties include: squash carpaccio, capellini blue crab, and caprese grilled cheese.

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Some favorites from Santina, including the Tortellini Sorrentina, which you can also get again today at the @nikenyc Joyride Cafe. Check the “Nike Cafe” story highlight for more info. ? #majorfoodgroup

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Where To Party

There’s definitely no shortage of places to get f*cked up in the city, but it’s very easy to go down a Google rabbit hole trying to decide which velvet rope blocked door to hit first. So we thought we’d make it easy on you with this vetted list. Oldies but goodies like TAO Downtown, AvenueMarqueeUp&Down, and 1 Oak are always name dropped, but they often come with long-ass lines, crazy covers, and annoying door guys and can be impossible to get into—unless you’ve got a hookup. Then again, a group of girls on a bachelorette party is basically a free hookup card and promoters are usually creeping around outside ready and willing to get you in. In any case, here are our tried-and-true faves:

PHD: With two outposts in the city—PHD Penthouse at Dream Downtown and PHD Terrace at Dream Midtown—you have double the opportunities to live up your last single days. Both venues have a few things in common: prime outdoor space and killer skyline views, big name DJs, and party people dancing and drinking until the lights come on, so you can’t really go wrong at either. If you want to be Downtown, PHD Lounge is also in the same building as Bodega Negra, Dream Beach, and Electric Room, which is a trendy basement bar in the hotel that goes from dusk to dawn, to dusk again. Our kind of place.

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We own the night ✨

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The Box: Things get weird at The Box. Weird as in, I once saw a guy do some pretty questionable stuff to a slice of pizza on stage, but that’s precisely the reason to go. It’s also fun AF when you’re with a big group and feeling rowdyyyy, as you do on a bachelorette. It’s all about the theatrics here, so most people go late for the kinky burlesque show portion of the evening, although they do have a full bar and dining menu so you could technically make this a one-stop-shop for the night. Just do yourself a solid and book a table in advance. You don’t want to deal with any door hassles because you’re queens and shouldn’t have to, k?

 

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No matter the weather it’s bubbly in here??

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Le Bain: Cat Marnell famously once wrote: “I couldn’t spend another summer meeting deadlines behind a computer at night when I could be on the rooftop of Le Bain looking for shooting stars and smoking angel dust with my friends,” and when you step inside, you get it. The penthouse discothèque and rooftop bar (with a pool in the middle of the dance floor #NBD) is where epic times are had—that you probably won’t remember the next day. It’s also important to note Le Bain is in The Standard hotel in Meatpacking, so you could hit The Standard Beirgarten—an NYC staple for steins, pretzels (which you need to soak up the alcohol), Ping-Pong, and hottie banker boys.

 

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Sunday sunset coming up at 7:38pm and then we celebrate @christina_visca’s birthday in her Birdcage featuring @quentin_harris_music and @hexhector ? Doors 2pm, party 10pm ? @aadityankothari

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The Fleur Room: Moxy Chelsea has everything you could ever want or need in one hotel (restaurants, bars, bunkbed-style rooms if you want a true sleepover moment with your baes), but the #1 reason to visit is for The Fleur Room. This new(ish) lounge is 35 stories up and swankkkky. Think: dimly lit, major chandeliers, 360° vantages of Manhattan (thanks to all-glass walls) and floral touches everywhere. They are in the Flower District, after all, and love a theme.

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Incredible party to start the week! Delighted to have hosted @la_detresse by @lanzybear & @emilyperlstein

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Magic Hour Rooftop & Lounge: As you may or may not be aware, the Moxy Hotel Group is all over NYC. They have numerous locations and cool bars at each. Over at their Time Square location, there’s a year-round carnival going on upstairs on the 18th floor. As the largest indoor/outdoor rooftop in Manhattan, it’s sorta like a garden party playground on steroids. There’s Foreplay for mini golf amongst a bunch of fake animals in naughty poses, state fair-style snacks (such as disco waffle fries with nacho cheese), and wild cocktails dreamt up by magician bartenders most likely after a bender. They’re made for sharing—and getting the bride tanked. Order the Disco Ball for All.

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Enjoy the last few days of warm weather Where The Magic Happens! Head on over to the roof @MagicHourNY for some after-work cocktails in the ☀️ || ? @@KateMcKay_

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Friday, Day 1

Pro Tip: Download the GetYourGuide app so you can easily book last-minute actives i.e. bar crawls, group-discounted meals, and touristy bachelorette sh*t on the fly. Sex and the City Tour, anyone?

  1. First stop: your hotel to drop your stuff, check in, and aggressively hint it’s a special occasion at the front desk to score free glasses of bubbly.
  2. Saturday and Sunday are your biggest day drinking times, so take Friday as an opp to do ANYTHING else. Go vintage shopping in the Lower East Side, mingle with the city’s label whores on 5th Ave and Madison, hit up the new Hudson Yards, get your culture on at MoMA, walk The High Line, and once noon strikes, pause for lunch and maybe a shot or three.
  3. Grab lunch at Santina.
  4. Insert a meaningful and important culture moment here—like partaking in NYC’s Drunk History Tour, where you visit New York City’s underground and hidden bars while learning about the city’s Prohibition era.
  5. Chug as much water as you can and, I cannot stress this enough, NAP.
  6. If you’re still a bit intoxicated when you wake up and can’t work a blowdryer probably—or shouldn’t be trusted with liquid liner—there’s NYC’s answer to the get-ready dilemma: Glamsquad. They’ll come to your hotel room, do your hair, makeup, nails, etc. and have you moving faster (and looking way better) than if you attempted this feat on your own.
  7. Head to Dirty French, Carbone, or STK for dinner.
  8. If on the LES, do The Box, if in Meatpacking, end your night at PHD, Le Bain, Electric Room, and Brass Monkey for last call.

Saturday, Day 2

Pro Tip: Book an detox treatment with The Hangover Club, who will send angel registered nurses to your hotel room to IV you back to a state of normal, just in time for boozy brunch.

  1. Get up and raid the mini bar—for water and electrolyte-packed bevs.
  2. Make your way to rager brunch at Bagatelle.
  3. Head back to the hotel to nap. You’ll never power through otherwise.
  4. Get up, try to rally, and blast single lady anthems with the bride, then break out the concealer and other makeup must-haves…you need extra coverage.
  5. Do dinner at Catch and then stay for the after-party or try one of the Moxy spots, Fleur Room, or Magic Hour.
  6. Try not to lose your room keys or your dignity on your way home.

Sunday, Day 3

Pro Tip: Check your wallet before checking out. 9 times out of 10, our credit cards are still at last bar from last night.

  1. Do boozy brunch at Hotel Chantelle, Añejo, Black Ant, Poco, or Essex on your way out of town. Your liver isn’t going to shut down…for at least another few hours.

Images: Andre Benz / Unsplash; magichourny, fleurroomny, lebainnyc, theboxnyc, phdrooftopny, majorfoodgroup, catch, eatstk, baccarathotels, anejonyc, bagatellenyc, susieisabella, innsidenewycrk, newyorkpalace, jameshotels / Instagram

5 NYC First Date Ideas That Aren’t Getting Drinks

Remember that scene in the Sex and the City movie when Carrie asks Jennifer Hudson why she moved to New York and she dead-ass said, “to fall in love”? Yeah…lol. Look, I moved here two years ago (for a job) and I’ve learned that in order to fall in love, you have to go on a first date. I miss college, a place where I could meet my boyfriend at a fraternity party while fully blacked out and not have to worry about it. Needless to say, we met, made out, ate leftover Chipotle in my dorm room and then dated for two years. Those were the f*cking days. Post-grad dating in New York is nothing like that, for a number of reasons (like the epidemic of guys who will ghost you after meeting your family but then watch all your Insta stories), but also because you will have to slog through lots of first dates.

So all of this made me think about why I hate first dates so much and I landed on the following: meeting up with a person, whether you have previously met or not, at a loud bar at 8pm on a Tuesday sucks. It just does. Unless you work until 8pm, in which case, I’m so sorry, no sound-minded person wants to put on makeup and a cute outfit and sip cocktails at the time you’re usually clicking “watch next episode” on Netflix. So then I thought: why don’t we just not do the whole “let’s get drinks” thing for a first date, and let me just say, I’ve never been happier. So if you’re interested in something other than screaming over each other over $14 cocktails, read on for NYC date options that are not at a bar. 

1. Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain

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Throwback summer 2016 @blakelively at the Farmacy #brooklynfarmacy #sodafountain #carrollgardens #throwback #milkshake

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Ok, I know this sounds aggressive, but maybe not! I’m a messy, disgusting eater, so I figure the guy who may end up dating me would probably like to find out if he can stand the sight of me deep-throating a cheeseburger sooner rather than later. I’m just looking out. Anyway, this Cobble Hill spot is too f*cking cute to pass up. Seriously, I am made of ice and even I loved it, but more importantly, Blake Lively loves it. Okay, so if you are unclear as to what this place actually is, allow me to enlighten you. Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain is an old-school diner in an authentic pharmacy circa the 1920s. According to the website, the exterior was ugly af, so the current owners redid it so that it matched the adorable interiors, which haven’t been touched (except for necessary changes, like electric and plumbing) since the pharmacy opened. This place serves classics like banana splits, corndogs, etc.

Since no one reading this was on the dating scene back in the days when the youths actually went on dates to places like this, you won’t be able to appreciate it from a nostalgic perspective, but you will be able to obsess over it from an aesthetic perspective. If you’re going to go here, don’t pretend you’re too cool to be there and order something stupid. Live it the f*ck up and get a root beer float with two straws and chase it with a big-ass order of fries. If there is no second date after going here, he ain’t worth sh*t. Next!

2. Kick Axe

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❌AXE OUT the #SundayScaries! ❌ Get ready for the week by axe-ing out your group (or built up stress!) in some friendly competition. Book online today or learn more at www.kickaxe.com.

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I don’t know about y’all, but I love a good pun. You know what else I love? Winding up and hurling a three-pound axe across a room. Just fun girly things! Full disclosure, if you don’t have a sense of humor, this place isn’t for you. Unlike bowling (ew) or shooting (gag), no one is actually good at throwing an axe. But that’s why it’s so fun. This place is also really cool because, unlike your childhood bowling alley, there is an aesthetic here. If you’ve ever been to one of those wineries in Redhook, it kind of looks like that, except there’s a giant area blocked off for guests to catapult axes through the air with the greatest of ease. Book a reservation and eat/drink first and throw axes after. And if the date goes poorly, you already have a weapon in hand! (Kidding. Am I? …Yeah okay.)

3. Comedy Cellar

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We had a marathon last night in the cellar!!! #ComedyCellar ?: @pbsthephotographer

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This is my favorite place in the world, which is saying a lot considering I’ve been to the Amsterdam Cheese Museum twice. Seriously, if I could get married at Comedy Cellar, I would. *Googles if Comedy Cellar does weddings* Look, this is truly a perfect place to go on a first date because you’ll know immediately if he/she has a sense of humor or is the type of asshole who heckles comedians. These are the only qualities you need to know about a person! You’ll also find out if he/she can hang pretty quickly because if you’re going to Comedy Cellar in a group of two, you will most likely be seated in the front row, which is essentially on the stage and there’s nothing better than Amy Schumer asking how you and your date met. You will get called out and if your date can roll with it, he/she’s a keeper! Comedy Cellar, or any comedy club for that matter, is also amazing because you don’t really have to talk. In fact, don’t talk! The comedians will yell at you and that’s embarrassing. I know what you’re thinking: but if we don’t talk, how will we get to know one another? Look, you don’t learn anything of substance on a first date, okay? You learn what kind of food they don’t like, how many siblings they have and, if you’re lucky, how over their ex they are. So Comedy Cellar is a good and realistic alternative to the classic, “what’s your favorite color?” kind of questions on a “let’s get drinks” first date. There’s also a bar next door where you can get drinks after, so chill.

4. The Belfry

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Join us tonight at 8 o’ clock for trivia with @triviabingojoe and @nyctrivialeague! . . . . Repost via @lucurates. Thanks for the great pic!

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Most bars have a trivia night and, in my opinion, you will find out everything you need to know about a person based on how they perform at trivia.The Belfry is a cool of-the-moment bar, but on Tuesdays, they have a flamin’ hot game of trivia! Of course, they have delicious discounted specials that change every week, so if you like cheap bar food that’s usually expensive while you realize you know absolutely nothing about World War I, the Belfry is for you. If you’re wondering why this place is different/better than other bars who do trivia, I’ll tell you. Those other places are horrifying sports bars that have inexplicably sticky floors and toilet paper everywhere. Like your college bar, only worse because you’re not in college anymore. The Belfry is actually a really cool bar and somewhere you wouldn’t be embarrassed to be if you ran into someone you know there any other night of the week. It’s chic, it’s delicious, and it’s actually pretty expensive, but 100% worth it. 

5. Escape The Room

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Can you discover the secrets buried deep within The Dig!? Play one of our most popular rooms today! #EscapeRoom #EscapeTheRoom #EscapeGames #GoodTimes #theDig

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I’d have to say that I lost my innocence after seeing Brie Larson slay in Room. This movie freaked me out so much that I am truly shocked people are willing to pay money to get locked in a room with other people, relying on clues to get themselves out. However, I did an escape room once and it was f*cking fun. There were moments when I thought, “Yep, this is how I’m going to die,” but there were also moments when I realized that maybe I wouldn’t be the first to go if the Hunger Games were real! Escape rooms are a great first date because if you’re smart (hello), you get to show off how clever you are, which is such a turn-on, right? If you are both dumb and can’t figure out how to escape, they will let you out, and you can laugh about it after. After that, you can celebrate not dying with a drink or seven! And if your date sucks, you can take the escape room literally and run away after.

Images: Toa Heftiba / Unsplash; escapetheroomusa, belfrynyc, comedycellarusa, kickaxethrowing, brooklynfarmacy / Instagram

A White Woman Is Getting Dragged For Opening A ‘Clean’ Chinese Restaurant

Today’s tea is piping hot and honestly probably too flavorful for the likes of Arielle Haspel, a self-proclaimed nutritionist who has opened what she calls a “clean” Chinese restaurant in New York’s West Village. The restaurant is called… wait for it… Lucky Lee’s. Look, we don’t have to tell you that she’s white, but we will because how else will you know the food at her restaurant is “clean”? In her words, her food won’t make you feel “bloated and icky the next day”.

This tells us a few things. One, she clearly has not been privileged enough to have Chinese friends invite her over for good home cooked Chinese food, and honestly, we feel for her. Like, she probably has only ever eaten Chinese food when she gets it from a takeout Chinese restaurant when she’s hungover or wants to feel like she’s “cultured.” Two, this woman has not studied abroad, and if she has, then she probably got trashed in public and only hung out with Americans the whole time. Honestly, she probably still wears a sombrero on Cinco de Mayo and we’re embarrassed just thinking about it.

Like, let’s get one thing straight. Takeout is fast food. Saying Chinese food makes you feel sick because you’ve only ever eaten sh*tty Chinese food is like visiting America and only eating McDonald’s and then thinking that all American food is greasy and comes with an action figure. Like, has this poor woman ever heard of Din Tai Fung? Honey, if you can’t afford a nice Chinese restaurant, I’m sure someone will donate to your GoFundMe. Truly we cannot stop laughing at the idea of this entire thing, because while wanting to eat healthier is totally valid, she missed the mark so hard in this marketing that she must not have enough cool friends who could have told her to definitely not do this.

 

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The other day we received some negative comments on an Instagram post. Some of your reactions made it clear to us that there are cultural sensitivities related to our Lucky Lee’s concept. We promise you to always listen and reflect accordingly. A number of comments have stated that by saying our Chinese food is made with ‘clean’ cooking techniques and it makes you feel great that we are commenting negatively on all Chinese food. When we talk about our food, we are not talking about other restaurants, we are only talking about Lucky Lee’s. Chinese cuisine is incredibly diverse and comes in many different flavors (usually delicious in our opinion) and health benefits. Every restaurant has the right to tout the positives of its food. We plan to continue communicating that our food is made with high quality ingredients and techniques that are intended to make you feel great. Chef/owner, Arielle’s husband’s name is Lee and his life-long love of Chinese food was inspiration for the restaurant. The name Lucky Lee’s reflects the story of how the recipes were conceived. We also received negative comments related to being owners of a Chinese restaurant but not being Chinese. Owners Arielle and Lee are both Jewish-American New Yorkers, born and raised. Similar to many other Jewish New Yorkers’ diets, bagels, pastrami sandwiches and yes, American Chinese food, were big and very happy parts of their childhoods. New York is the ultimate melting pot and Lucky Lee’s is another example of two cultures coming together. To us, this is a good thing. We love American Chinese food and at Lucky Lee’s it is our intention to celebrate it everyday and serve great food. #luckyleesnyc

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She’s since removed the controversial language in her IG post, but when it was up, she called her restaurant a healthy alternative to “oily” and “salty” typical Chinese cuisine, claiming her restaurant was for “people who love to eat Chinese food” and “and love the benefit that it will actually make them feel good.” In other words, girls who will do a line off a bar bathroom toilet but can’t handle a little bit of garlic. I’m not speaking for all Chinese people, but yawn, call me when a white person will admit that cheese gives everyone diarrhea before complaining that Chinese food makes them sick.

Furthermore, calling the restaurant Lucky Lee’s is just like, so cringeworthy. Apparently her husband’s name is Lee, but somehow we don’t think she would have called it like, Lucky Connor’s if that was his name. It would be like if a Chinese person opened a diner called Becky With the Good Flavor and promised American food with actual seasoning.

 

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Lucky You! You’re invited to the opening week of LUCKY LEE’S located at 67 University Place between 10th/11th Street. Get your chopsticks skills ready for Baked General Tso’s Chicken, Orange Cauliflower and Kung Pao Mushrooms. As luck would have it, we cook with fresh local veggies, pasture-raised chicken and grass-fed meat. Our recipes are made with less oil, non-GMO oil and no wheat, gluten, peanuts or refined sugar because we care about how you feel and we want you to feel great (and lucky!!) Can’t wait to see you starting Monday, April 8th ??? #bewell #luckyleesnyc #luckylees #newrestaurant #newyorkcity #feelgreatchinese ? @mark_roskams

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If a Chinese person wants to befriend Arielle Haspel so she doesn’t do this kind of thing again, they could probably write it off as philanthropy because this woman needs help. Because, honestly, gluten free Chinese food isn’t a bad idea—it’s the implication that every single Chinese restaurant is unhealthy and bad for you that makes us want to cancel Lucky Lee. Hit us up when you figure out gluten free hot dogs too, thanks babe.

Images: Frank Zhang / Unsplash; luckyleesnyc (2) / Instagram

Everything You Should Know About Microblading & The Aftercare

I’ve written before about the wonders of microblading: the magic treatment behind so many celebs’ perfect, make up-less brows. While microblading is slowly becoming more common, the treatment is expensive enough—and permanent enough—that I assumed my microblading days were years away, if they existed at all. Perfectly sculpted brows first thing in the morning were a luxury for the rich and famous—I, who struggles to go a single day without spilling food on my shirt, was not worthy. Cut to: in an exchange I thought maybe I had dreamed, EverTrue Microblading Salon offered me a treatment with their head stylist. I (obviously) couldn’t accept fast enough, and two weeks later, I’m confident it’s the best beauty treatment I’ve ever gotten. Read on for details on the procedure, aftercare, and some dramatic before and after shots.

WARNING: Side effects of this procedure may include taking a disgusting amount of selfies, a small obsession with what other semi-permanent treatments could also improve your face, and a general spike in vanity. WORTH IT.

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High arch or straight brow? Life is full of choices! @fashionzine ? @jon.snip #beautifulbrows #microblading

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The Microblading Procedure

I got my brows done at EverTrue’s Flatiron salon, with their Master Therapist Michelle Wu. (Pictures of her work, and other brow specialists, are available on the salon’s Instagram.) Wherever you go, make sure that you look at samples of your stylist’s work beforehand, and even speak to past clients if possible. With semi-permanent makeup, there’s no such thing as being too careful. While I’d been daydreaming about this procedure for years, I found myself getting nervous the night before. What if I hated it? What if it hurt? Was I crazy for going through with this?

Luckily, both the salon (pictured above) and Michelle herself were incredibly soothing—and it didn’t hurt that everyone there, down to the receptionist, had flawless brows of their own. Before diving in to the procedure, Michelle did some tweezing, and we discussed brow shape and color. My brows, as you’ll see in a moment, have always been lighter and patchier than I’ve liked, which meant about 20 minutes spent with my Anastasia brow pencil every morning. They’re also lacking when it comes to having a defined shape, or noticeable arch, something that’s harder to fake with my particular makeup skills.

After listening to my concerns, Michelle drew in my brows with pencil, showing me exactly where every stroke would go, and what the end product would look like. The first time through, she gave me a very natural look, following the existing shape of my brows and just filling in. On a second draft, I asked her if she could give me more of an arch, even if that meant tweezing my brows further to fake it (it did). She drew it in, I fell in love, and she went off to mix up a pigment that would match my natural hair. Twenty minutes of numbing cream later—and 30-45 minutes of Michelle individually drawing in each “hair” with a tiny, pigment-carrying blade—I was all done. In less than 90 minutes, and with no pain other than a slight soreness toward the end, my brows were complete.

My brows, before and after:

Microblading Aftercare

Honestly, most of my night-before fears about microblading weren’t about the process itself; they were about the aftercare. Mostly, I blame this InStyle article, which led me to that my brows needed to be on full lockdown for a week following. No moisture (including sweat), no showering unless you wanted to tempt fate, and don’t you dare roll over in your sleep—unless you want to ruin your brows like this author’s unfortunate, side-sleeping co-worker did. Obviously, this writer had no malicious intent, but as someone who believes basically everything she reads on the internet, I was pretty f*cking stressed.

After carefully rattling off my concerns to Michelle, she gave me a few pieces of good news. Given improvements in the pigment they use, microbladed brows now only need to stay dry for 48 hours after the procedure—not a full week. And short of sleeping fully on my face, she was very skeptical that I would manage to mess up her work overnight. Phew! That being said, I had still just gotten eyebrows tattooed onto my face, and she was clear that certain aspects of aftercare were non-negotiable. For one week: apply a thin layer of healing balm (provided) twice daily, don’t get any product on your brows, and don’t apply direct pressure. This means when people see your brows and immediately try to touch them, you back the f*ck away. (Maybe no one in your life will do this. But all of my weirdo friends definitely did).

So yeah, my showering regimen definitely took a hit the following week (I could get them wet after 48 hours, but I was scared of stray body wash or shampoo getting in there). And I may or may not have yelled at my boyfriend every time he tried to kiss me, but every rose has its thorns and all that. It was a slightly annoying week with 3-5 heart attacks that I’d fatally messed up—but I never had, and my brows remained intact.

The Final Results

Finally, I didn’t realize how much your brows change in the weeks following the microblading procedure. For the first few days, they were much darker—now, two weeks later, they’re almost too light. This is all a normal part of the healing process, as your skin scabs, heals, and grows back, and as the pigment adjusts to your skin. Brows will reach their “final” color 4-6 weeks after the initial process, and just in time for a mandatory touch-up session, where your stylist can fill in any holes, go bigger if desired, and make adjustments to the shade.

I have to say, though, both at their darkest and their lightest in this healing process, my brows look the best they’ve ever looked. Even my sister, who is skeptical of all beauty treatments that take more than water to remove, was thoroughly impressed. And of all the slight modifications I’ve made to my appearance over the years—eyelash extensions, laser facials, coloring my hair—it’s made the biggest and best difference. Having thicker, filled-in brows gives me the exact boost I sought out with my minimal makeup routine: I look more put-together, and frankly, more natural than I did before.

Me, one week in and feeling myself:

Something about having these permanent (technically, one year to 18 months) brows makes me want to wear less makeup on the rest of my face, too (obviously, the above selfie notwithstanding). While I know these brows aren’t actually natural, I feel like they look like they could be—and appreciating a natural look goes a long way toward putting down the eyeliner and taking on the world with nothing more than my fancy new brows. It’s boosted my confidence, cut down my morning routine, and flooded my DMs with questions about the procedure. If you’re able to make a beauty investment right now, and you’re wondering what to go with, run, don’t walk, to EverTrue, or your nearest (reputable!) microblading salon.

Images: Alexandru Zdrobău / Unsplash; EverTrue Microblading Salon (2); @evertruesalon, @louisabhaus / Instagram