Saturday, November 9, 2019

Ani Ramen Soul of Sake 1 Year Anniversary

Ani Ramen regularly has ticketed events, including their Soul of Sake 1 year anniversary party, which I attended on September 17th at District Kitchen Harborside, 210 Hudson Street in Jersey City. Over 200+ people turned up for dinner, drinks and dancing. Guests enjoyed bowls of ramen and shrimp and pork buns all night, along with sake, beer, whisky tastings. My favorite drink of the night was the Rose Petals cocktail at the Fun Luge ice station, made with Tchiko, rose water, lavender syrup and fresh lemon juice. 

Ani Ramen is one of my favorite Ramen houses ever, and the best I know of in New Jersey. Aside from this event, I've only dined at the Ani Ramen in Montclair, but they also have additional locations in Jersey City, Summit and Maplewood. My favorites dishes at Ani Ramen include the Chicken Wings Two Ways appetizer, Pork Buns and Miso Ramen with classic chicken broth, miso tare with chashu pork, kakuni, bean sprouts, spinach & scallions.

- Kim Weling

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The Big Chocolate Show Highlights 2019

The Big Chocolate Show 2019 took place on September 20 & 21 at the Resorts World Casino in Queens. This was quite a departure from previous shows as it has always taken place in Manhattan, and Queens was quite a trek but I do really love chocolate. I do hope The Big Chocolate Show returns to Manhattan next year though. This show seemed to have a smaller amount of exhibitors and less attendees. In previous years, vendors usually sampled whole pieces of chocolate. I felt like this time around the focus was more on selling chocolate, yet limited sampling was provided by some exhibitors. Please check out my highlights from this year's show below and my recap of the Decadent Evening of Chocolate and Cocktails.

If you're curious about how The Big Chocolate Show has been in previous years, check out these links:
VillaKuyaya is Ecuadorian premium organic dark chocolate. Some of my favorite flavors include Earl Grey Lavender, Himalaya Pink Salt, Cherry Vanilla and Coffee.

2 Chicks with Chocolate (Metuchen, NJ): artisan chocolate hand-crafted with fresh cream. The flavors are amazing, with lots of alcohol-inspired ones including Makers Mark, Jameson, and my favorite, Champagne. I was also eyeing Salted Turtle, Cold Brew Coffee Caramel, and Nutella. 


Chocolat Stella

Origen Cacao

Bang Cookies (Jersey City, NJ): makes giant sized, soft baked, organic & natural cookies in an assortment of flavors.

Emy Desserts: loved their mini fudge cups, especially the Chocolate Sun Butter Fudge Cups!

Twizzles Tasty Treats (Valley Stream, NY)
Hand crafted truffles with custom flavors. Blueberry Port, Salted Caramel, Dark Raspberry and Mexican Coffee all caught my eye. 

- Kim Weling

Monday, October 14, 2019

Decadent Evening of Chocolate and Cocktails

On September 20, on the eve of The Big Chocolate Show, I attended the Decadent Evening of Chocolate and Cocktails presented by the Cocktail Guru at the Resorts World Casino NYC in Jamaica, NY. The tasting included chocolate friendly cocktails paired with sweet and savory desserts, all featuring Guittard Chocolate. My favorite pairings, which were both phenomenal were the Three Chocolate Budino + Bonette Brands and the Dark Chocolate and Pisco Shrimp Ceviche paired with Caravedo Pisco. I am hooked on budino but the only place I know where to get it is at Scarpetta in Las Vegas. If someone can direct me to where I can find budino in NYC please let me know! 

The Salty Heifer Three Chocolate Budino with Salted Caramel paired with Bonnette Brands (Coquerel Calvados, Boudier Creme de Cassis, Bache Gabrielsen Cognac)

Sandeman Port paired with Roni-Sue's Chocolates Portly Fig Truffle

CSW Catering Dark Chocolate and Pisco Shrimp Ceviche paired with Caravedo Pisco

Sowella Chocolates Green Chartreuse Mint Chocolates, Dark Chocolate Strawberry Truffles and Macadamia Matcha Cream Squares paired with Chartreuse

Jomart Chocolates Marshmallow Cookie "Mallomar" paired with Zyr Vodka

Twizzles Tasty Treats Organic Apple Raisin Chocolate Truffle dusted in Apple dust and Nutmeg paired with Amarula

- Kim Weling

Monday, September 23, 2019

Nordstrom Fall Beauty Trend Event 2019

Every New York Fashion Week, Nordstrom goes backstage to assess the biggest beauty trends and then brings this intel direct to their customers. For the Fall 2019 season, they've identified trends such as:

Berry Luxe: Universally flattering shades in velvet and matte finishes

Gold Rush: Strategically placed shimmer from bold gold to deep bronze

At the upcoming Nordstrom Beauty Trend Event, guests can learn how to achieve the freshest runway-inspired looks of the season and get free samples and exclusive gifts with your purchases (while supplies last). Receive one-on-one time with Nordstrom beauty experts, tips tricks to nail the newest trends and receive beauty buzz intel from industry insiders — and it's free to attend!

To read more about the trends, click here: and to see when your local Nordstrom Beauty Trend Event is, click here and purchase tickets here.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Sothys Energizing Intensive Treatment Facial at Elite Hair Studio & Spa

One of the more indulgent facials I had this summer was the Sothys Energizing Intensive Treatment at Elite Salon & Spa in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ. I've always been familiar with Sothys, but this was the first time I was able to experience an entire Sothys skincare regimen. 

Marzenna had started my facial by cleansing my skin with Sothys Vitality Cleansing Milk and then looked at my skin more closely. She noticed dehydration, clogged pores and some sun damage. After assessing my skin, Marzenna explained that she was going to be using Sothys Intensive Treatment with Siberian Ginseng for my facial. This five-phase treatment started with the Enzymatic exfoliating scrub, followed by the Revealing Serum with Siberian Ginseng massaged into the face. What I love about this face massage is that Marzenna also focused on the neck and décolleté area as well as the arms. Next my face mask consisted of a foaming/algae mask that was left on for 10 minutes, as I enjoyed an amazing scalp massage. The last step of my treatment was applying the Enlightening Fluid for smoothing lines and illuminating the skin.

It was one of the most luxurious, relaxing facials I ever had, with my skin feeling radiant, energized and luminous! This facial was an amazing hour and a half! Most facials I have had are 50-60 minutes, and feel over so quickly. With the extractions, massage techniques applied, I really felt like every skincare phase was emphasized and that the products were hitting a deeper layer of my face and not just the surface. 

The Sothys Enegerizing Facial is priced at $125, plus an additional $25 for extractions, and additional $25 for a glycolic peel. 

After my facial, I took a tour of the complete space. The hair studio included the wash stations, cut & style, and hair color areas. I was really impressed how much open space the hair studio has. There is also a nail bar, brow bar, and spray tan services. This salon also has a full Elite Academy program on-site for professional education workshops, seminars and courses. Having a full program on-site like that shows how dedicated the studio team is to their craft and treatments. I will definitely go back to Elite Hair Studio & Spa to experience some of their other services and treatments. Check out their hair promotions and other specials! Elite Hair Studio & Spa is located in Heights Town Center at 65 Route 17 South.  

Thank you to Marzenna, master esthetician, for an incredible facial, Monika, Academy Manager for meeting with me and Martha Mehlman, owner of Elite Hair Studio & Spa for having me!

Unedited selfie, post-facial glow

- Kim Weling

Monday, August 26, 2019

Summer Visit to Shelburne Farms, Vermont

Earlier this month I enjoyed a visit to Shelburne Farms for the Vermont Cheesemakers Festival. Shelburne Farms is a 1,400-acre nonprofit global education center for sustainability, working farm, and a National Historic Landmark on the shores of Lake Champlain in Shelburne, Vermont. 

Each year at Shelburne Farms, 170,000 pounds of farmstead cheddar cheese is crafted from the milk of Brown Swiss cows. The Farm also harvests maple syrup, lumber and wood fuel from 400 acres of sustainably managed forests. Solar panels on the Farm Barn roof and a solar orchard offset 70% of the Farm's electricity use. 

Visitors at the Farm can enjoy walking/running trails, the Farm Barn children's farmyard, the Inn and Farm Cart restaurant, property tours and special events. 

During my visit, my friend Tania and I stayed at the Orchard Cove House, which used to be a privately owned residence and is now being used by the Farm to pilot multi-day retreat-style residential programs.  

I didn't get to do any kayaking, but I did do some jogging and explore some of the trails. I also enjoyed the views of Lake Champlain and finally got a chance to wear my Columbia Sportswear water shoes (the water was a bit cold so water shoes are the way to go). 

Before we left, we had brunch at the Farm Cart, where 80% of the menu ingredients is sourced from the Farm's seven acres of organic gardens or from local Vermont producers. I had the most incredible house churned buttermilk pancakes topped with powdered sugar, fresh peaches and maple syrup. 

If you leave the farm for dining, I highly recommend stopping by Pauline's Café in nearby South Burlington. The spice crusted hanger steak, tarragon aioli and vegetables. 

If you plan on visiting Vermont, you should definitely check out Shelburne Farms. The scenery and greenery is gorgeous and everyone on staff is helpful and welcoming. The Farm is always hosting events and there's plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. Thank you to Shelburne Farms and the Vermont Cheesemakers Festival for having me and hosting my stay! 

The Orchard Cove House included lemon, geranium and cedarwood shampoo and conditioner and grapefruit lavender shower gel, all which smelled amazing! 


- Kim Weling