Fragrance is a classic gift to create romance and warm ambience. Lighting a candle transforms your apartment into a peaceful sanctuary in moments. Just picture it, reading a book on the couch on a Saturday night, kinda lame. Reading a book, curled up the couch with a snuggly blanket next to a luxurious scented candle? So much better. I particularly love Krigler fragrance candles, which are sheer, warm, and sexy. I was lucky enough to receive a sample in the mail just yesterday, perfect for Valentine's Day, right?And it's the Sparkling Diamond candle!
Created in 1922 in Monte Carlo, the unique Sparkling Diamond 22 is based on nectar of Champagne with strawberry, coconut, musc. An intense, fresh, refined fragrance, perfect for setting a romantic mood in your apartment. I used to think that candles at Duane Reade would do the trick but it's just not true. Cheap candles' fragrances are overwhelming and frankly they just smell cheap. Krigler, a noted perfumer nails its candles' scents perfectly with just the right amount of zest. You can smell them but they doesn't overwhelm your senses.
You can pick up a Krigler Candle online for about $65. I'll be on the couch snuggled up by mine…
*Sample was provided as consideration for this post but as always, opinions herein are my own. As always, no one can buy my love. Except my husband.*
Sleep No More is one of my favorite activities I've done in New York in my whole time living here. Yep, I said it.
Sleep No More is an interactive production set in the somewhat oddly named, McKittrick Hotel. This name is a bit misleading since the "hotel" is filled with an insane asylum, children's bedrooms, candy stores, a hospital, a ballroom and a cemetery. Not quite where I would head to for a long weekend. Et toi?
The set is an adult playground reminiscent of a film noir, set in the early 20th century. The world is your oyster in what is essentially the most sophisticated haunted house for adults. As you enter the building your belongings should be checked (other than cash). You then enter a bar where the scene is set. You
can must sip absinthe or champagne cocktails as you wait to enter the five-floor immersive theater where you can quite literally become part of the show.
I don't want to spoil it by telling you too much but I will say that we enjoyed it so much that we are going back for round two on Halloween!
Here are a few tips to make sure you make the most of your Sleep No More experience. I wish someone had given me these before I went.
Brush Up On Your Shakespeare: Wikipedia this $#!t! It's a bit easier to follow (though admittedly not much) if you have some semblance of how the story goes. It really just helps you gain an appreciation for bits and pieces.
Party: You simply must have an absinthe cocktail because, well, how many bars can you have an absinthe cocktail? It sets the mood for the evening to come. If you're going to enjoy this show you have to get into character. Not only do I recommend having a cocktail before the show at the bar, I think you should have a few before you arrive. While I'm not saying you HAVE to be in an altered state of mind to enjoy, because you do not, I think it just enhances the experience (considerably).
Cash In: If you want to drink (see above) you need cash. Of course the friendly staff provide you with an ATM if you forget. Problem is its generous $4.50 surcharge. And there isn't another ATM for blocks (or years, you are in the 1920s, dahhlings)
Step Back in Time: Be sure to take in the glorious jazz band. You will be impressed. Trust us. How this band isn't selling out MSG is a mystery to me.
Dress Comfortably: You are running (sprinting) up and down stairs and chasing after characters (you're not? You should be). Do not wear clothes that are uncomfortable or high heels if you're a girl. You will regret it. Just make sure you have pockets so that you can stash your cash (since you'll be wise to check your bags and cells–this is strangely liberating. Don't bother trying to keep a cell, there's no service anyway). PS-Check your coats or you'll sweat to death. This fanciful adventure can also double as your daily cardio.
Explore: Peak behind dark curtains, get close to the cast…you may even find yourself locked in a closet with a cast member throwing holy water on you (true story, happened to our friend). Forget everything you learned in horror movies–turn every dark corner you can find.
Separation Anxiety: If you're in a group and you're afraid to separate from your main squeeze hold on tight. They try their best to split people up in the elevators. While I am certain experiencing the show alone would be a wonderful experience, I simply could not bear the thought. If you're like me, be prepared and stick to your friends like glue. I know, I know. They highly encourage you to separate and explore solo. More power to ya. Scared friends out there: you can absolutely get away with this. You might get a few angry looks but as long as you stay out of people's way a duo shouldn't do much damage! I don't think though that anything larger than a pair could make it through the show without separation.
Maximize Your Time: Buy the earliest slot for your show. The more time you get here, the better. You pay the same price for the 7:00 or 7:30 show. Why not be able to wander about for an extra half-hour? In order to see the most of this show (and it's truly impossible to see it all) follow one character at a time. The show replays each hour, be sure to check out different scenes and rooms. Make sure to stop at the bar but don't miss too much of the show. The 7pm show is kicked out promptly at 10pm.
The Mask: Be prepared, you're going to have to wear a scary white mask over your face. If you have glasses or headgear it's gonna have to go.
Let Yourself Go: This show is absolutely bizarre and that's the whole point. If you walk around the entire time trying to act too cool for school like you're the high school jock and these are the nerdy drama kids, you're going to hate it.
To learn more, visit the website for Sleep No More visit their website.
Hi All my little Smartypanties out there! I just wanted to give you a little update on my writing outside of this blog! Since I've last had the chance to tell you I've begun writing for Forbes Travel, Startle.com (Forbes other travel site) as well as CheapOAir.com (new travel site).
Please have a look if you have a moment!
My first article on Forbes.com is entitled, "What's New in Montreal"
I am now a Startle Travel Correspondent and shared my expertise about Thailand! Check out my homepage and see all of my advice!
I also wrote an article recently for CheapO Travel about the "Best Restaurants in Montreal. Be sure to check that out too!
Phew, that was a mouthful! Meet Bliss Spa's Marcia Kilgore in Sephora Times Square (1500 Broadway) in New York City next Thursday (September 27th). She'll be there from 3-6pm for you to ask her any questions your heart may desire! She also is behind FitFlop so feel free to ask her about those too!
What are you going to ask her? If I could make it, I would ask how come their face wash smells so delicious that I want to eat it!
Most Luxurious Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam: Sofitel Metropole Hanoi Review If It’s Good Enough For Angelina Jolie, I’ll Take It!Sep 18, 2012 Author: Katie Lara | Filed under: 301, Travel
This review isn't the most timely. I was in Vietnam 6 months ago (March 2012). Vietnam is such an incredible place and I wouldn't stay anywhere else other than the Sofitel Metropole in Hanoi! I apologize for my delay in writing this review, truth be told I was writing for Fodor's and when I finished my articles for them I was a bit burnt out. But I'm back and ready to share my fabulous experience.
Check in truffles!!
The Sofitel Metropole was my first stop on my trip. We had a grueling flight to Hong Kong, a massive layover and then finally reached our destination of Hanoi after a gazillion (or so) hours. As you can imagine, I was dead tired–but perhaps more dead tired than ever before. The only way to describe it is that I was a zombie.
Arrival in Hanoi, Vietnam: Whatever you do, definitely opt for the VIP Visa servicethrough Trails of Indochina. I am not quite sure what they do but they get you your Visa and through customs so quickly that it's a little scary. In fact I didn't speak to one person in Customs. We were just walked right through, helped with our bags and brought to our driver from the Sofitel Metropole. We were greeted with a BMW waiting with the freshest macaroons I have ever tasted (props to Vietnam's French influence–Bonjour!) as well as Perrier (Oui!Oui!) and cold towels(C'est Bonne!). We drove peacefully, albeit totally jet lagged for 45 minutes to the Sofitel Metropole, where I was greeted with a dozen of the freshest roses I have ever seen. Happy Valentine's Day to me, y'all! We were staying on the club level so check in was performed in our room,which after being up for 29 hours felt amazing to not have anyone look at me. Our room was filled with more roses and a mango drink for each of us. I immediately saw why Royal and celeb clientele like Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Robert DeNiro and Mick Jagger choose to stay here when in town. Our tour guide told us this was the nicest hotel in town and she was definitely not lying (although she did say people have freedom of thought in Vietnam in the same breath she said Mao was the greatest philosopher so you be the judge!). Be careful not to confuse the Sofitel Metropole with the Sofitel Plaza, which I'm sure is nice but this is where it's at.
Our butler let us pick out specialty pillows before departing after check in–like neck pillows or extra thin or squishy pillows to ensure you feel like you're sleeping on a cloud. During the rest of our trip we were told by several of the locals that the Sofitel Metrople is the most luxurious hotel in Hanoi. And it's also the oldest!
There are two wings of the Sofitel Metropole, each equally as luxurious. Our room could not be nicer and I must say, although Hanoi is beautiful and so culturally rich, returning to such a luxurious hotel at the end of a very busy day was much appreciated. Have you ever been to Hanoi? No? Well imagine you are in a video game and 20 million people are trying to run you down on little motorbikes. Crossing the streets in Hanoi was an absolute adventure. I mean that in the greatest sense of the word. ADVENTURE! There was a point where I gave up and thought I was just going to live on my little corner of pavement I was stuck on…FOREVER. We also had a terrible cooking class, Anh Tuyet. More on that in another post. Point is, you don't realize how foreign of a country Vietnam is until you're there. No one speaks English and it's a bit exhausting. While I loved seeping in the culture and we were gone from dawn until dusk, it felt really great to come back to a five-star hotel that made you feel comfortable and like every desire you could possibly have would be taken care of. That, is the Sofitel Metropole.
Every detail here has been thought of to make your stay feel luxurious. We especially appreciated the Club Level's tea time from 230-430 each afternoon. There were fabulous little bites like homemade cakes, scones, waffles and macaroons. You could then sit down for a complimentary pot of tea and read a book in the lounge or talk about your day's travels. We often grabbed coffees (they even gave you to-go cups) and headed back out after a short rest.
The rooms could not be more immaculate and this is coming from a total germaphobe who is constantly worrying at most hotels. And in Asia? Well let's just say I was being as cautious as possible. Not here though. The second after our butler left I slipped into my comfy silk robe that was provided. The bathroom is complete with the ultimate pampering tool–the oversized tub, flat screen TV to sit back and soak with. The bath products are of course Hermes, which is also coincidentally located in the hotel property for easy access. It is accompanied by Cartier, Chopard and several other high end shops. But back to the bathroom, the shower has a rain shower head that makes you feel like you've died and went to shower heaven. All the appliances and technology are modern and updated. Nothing about this hotel wasn't completely on the money. The marble floors, the converter provided in room, the complimentary wi-fi all make you feel like you are getting what you pay for at this grand hotel. The silk slippers, the plush terry his and her robes made me feel like Hugh Hefner. I also didn't hear a peep while sleeping, or shall I say while my husband was sleeping and my jet lagged self woke at 6am.
Of note: The breakfast here was to die for. The croissants rivaled the best French bakeries in Paris. Complimentary umbrella use. The Lobby had the most intoxicating scent I have ever smelled. I will dream of it.
I was here as part of my honeymoon and I could not have been more impressed (and this comes from someone who stays at 5-star hotels ONLY. In fact, this was definitely one of my favorite hotels I've ever stayed in. Absolutely worth it–especially for a honeymoon. Comparable to the Four Seasons in Southeast Asia.
Visit the Sofitel Metropole Hanoi Vietnam if you have the chance. Have any of you dolls been? Or do you have other favorite hotels in Southeast Asia or Vietnam?
Here are some of my favorite pics from Vietnam for your viewing pleasure:
Also visit our review of the Best Luxury Hotel Hoi An, the Nam Hai.
Check out my fridge!! It’s this peel and stick chalkboard. I stuck it right on my fridge and then proceeded to doodle while my husband was trying to do work. I kept forcing him to come look at my beautiful handiwork. Our awesome friends in Montreal had a chalk-fridge and I fell in love!! How long do you think until one of my drunk friends ruin this work of art? Seriously. Taking bets.
Here is the packaging.
This year for my birthday my hubby and I decided to check out Catch over in the Meatpacking District. Never sure what to expect over there, I was somewhat hesitant that although I had heard rave reviews from friends, that I was in for a night of haughtiness and pretention (not to mention small portions at a high price). I was so pleasantly surprised, I dare even say, I think that Catch is my favorite restaurant I have tried in the past five years (rivaled by no one in the seafood department, that's for sure).
The food was incredible, the service was shockingly personable and sweet. It's hard to believe that it's difficult to get a reservation in the 2-floor restaurant (with a posh/exclusive club on the third floor dedicated to the art of fancy rooftop drinking) just because of its massive size. But once I tasted the food and witnessed this hot-spot in action it was easy to see why.
My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I would recommend almost everything we sampled as the best rendition of the dish I have ever had. Rock shrimp are perfectly crispy, doused in the ideal amount of mayonnaise and just spicy enough without being overwhelming. The crispy rice cakes were probably my favorite–crispy fried rice covered in spicy tuna. The textures are perfectly contrasting and the entire dish melts in your mouth. Perhaps most unique was the Lobster and cream mac and cheese. It was just the right amount of sauce, rather on the stingy side but ina good way. The dish was complimented by a delicious crunch of toasted breadcrumbs. YUM! We also had the crab spaghetti and truffle fries. While both were amazing I would recommend the other dishes over these just because the others were outstanding, these were just delicious. Dessert was original and heavenly, s'mores pizza: a crispy graham cracker crust covered in charred marshmallows and drizzled with melted chocolate.
It was the most wonderful birthday dinner I think I have ever had. What a wonderful husband! And he must have even pulled some strings, we were seated next to the cast of BOSS–Kelsey Grammer and Clare from original 90210! All my birthday dreams came true!
Yep, I'm a creep. Too embarassed to be a tourist taking pictures of my meal for you guys but clearly not classy enough to keep me from taking pictures of Kelsey Grammer!
Catch is at 21 Ninth Avenue but the entrance is around the corner on 13th street. You'll see a C and an anchor above the door. You'll be lucky you've found this oceanic gem! Trust me! Check out the menu and more information on the Catch website.
Happy birthday to me! 31 is going to be a good year!