Local Spots: Suitsupply in Hyde Park Village

by Jennifer Thai in ,

I had the chance to attend the grand opening of Suitsupply in Hyde Park Village earlier this month, but had a conflict due to work, so I sent my ever-so-dapper other half to cover the new storefront for me. I'll let pH take it away - be sure to check out the slide show in full for an immersive experience of the new store!

Recently, I was given the chance to attend the grand opening of South Tampa’s newest high fashion mecca for men - Suitsupply. This newest establishment seems to resonate the definition of modern class and high fashion for men with all the little attention to detail taken into very serious consideration, but not too seriously. Suitsupply seems to like to showcase their store, the suits and the amazingly-perfect oxfords in a neon frame, letting the style stand out on its own. Most menswear stores seem to be very drab and earth-toned, which is more or less depressing, so it was nice to see an extreme 180-degree on the perspective of menswear. But with the attention to detail and the in-house craftsman tailoring your suit on-site, you’ll be sure to know that you’re the one glowing after getting fitted by these professionals. Suitsupply coming to Tampa seems to be an interesting choice, given its international prowess, but apparently its reputation has presided itself. They had been reporting an extremely high amount of online traffic originating from the Tampa area, so naturally they investigated and found a proper home in Hyde Park Village. I can say, without a doubt, I’ll be returning to see how classy I can get with a real testament to the classic, old-fashioned kind of man that never goes out of style. Cheers.

Local Spots: Mediterranee Skin Spa

by Jennifer Thai in ,

Pampering myself and taking care of my skin is something I'd like to say I'm good at, but am admittedly not. I indulge in the occasional pedicure and massage, but I also occasionally sleep with my makeup on. Sometimes (most of the time), the best motivation for taking better care of yourself is having a professional, who does what he/she does best, show you the way.

I was introduced to Claudia Murray, esthetician and owner of Mediterranee Skin Spa, located inside Crave Nail Spa on Bay to Bay Boulevard. Claudia prides herself in using organic, all-natural products and non-invasive procedures to help people enhance their natural beauty. I visited Claudia at her spa to experience my first facial, the Mediterranean Infusion Facial. If you're a newbie like me, you have no idea what to expect from such a service, so I included as many images as possible to break down the process.

Note: This service is actually completed in a relaxing, dim-lit environment; lights were left on during my experience so that pH could capture each step of the facial and so that we could share them with you visually.

Claudia Murray, licensed esthetician and owner of Mediterranee Skin Spa.

Claudia began the treatment by giving my face a thorough cleanse.

A mild, delicious-smelling papaya/pineapple mask was applied to my face and a steamer was place above my face for several minutes.

After the mask was removed, Claudia performed a skin analysis, and detailed my skin complexion and offered recommendations for future maintenance.

Then, the extraction: This isn't most people's favorite step of a facial, but it's definitely the most beneficial - my clogged pores were cleared carefully using a metal tool.

Afterward, Claudia gently massaged my face and neck - it was sooo relaxing.

A seaweed mask was then applied to my face to assist with hydration.

The final steps: A hand and arm massage and application of toner, eye cream with sunblock and moisturizer to my face.

I learned a lot from my consultation with Claudia - to start, I do not have the oily complexion I always thought I did. That was a huge surprise. Claudia recommended that I stop using products meant for oily skin, and also told me I need to hydrate more - she saw symptoms of dehydration around my nose.

Since my visit at Mediterranee Skin Spa, I've heeded Claudia's advice and have seen a significant change in my skin - what used to be larger breakouts are no more (knock on wood). The Mediterranean Infusion Facial costs $85 and for the entire 75 minute experience, is truly worth it. For a expanded list of services, click here. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience with Claudia and Mediterranee Skin Spa, and will most definitely be a return customer.

Mediterranee Spa is located at 3211 West Bay to Bay Boulevard in Tampa, inside of Crave Nail Spa. Hours are by appointment only - you can book yours with Claudia by calling (813) 299-2601.

*Disclosure: This service was provided by Mediterranee Skin Spa for editorial consideration. This post was written on my own accord, and opinions expressed here are my own and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Mediterranee Skin Spa.

Chanse's Chef's Table: August 2016

by Jennifer Thai in ,

It's so crazy to think that our last Chef's Table event was eight months ago! Since then, life has been insane for all of us, and between work and personal schedules, we never got the time to plan and execute another event. Sad face. But, sure enough, after a summer crawfish boil that we all attended, Chef Chanse was itching to get cooking again, and we got August plans together and excitedly mapped out our next ventures for October and November.

This time around, our friends Lauren and Josh kindly offered to open up their home in St. Pete to our guests - Lauren set up three beautiful tables for them to dine at. pH was mixologist for the evening, shaking up Sidecars and muddling mint for his Rum Swizzles.

Craft Cocktail of the evening: Rum Swizzle

August's Chef's Table event featured an inspiration-themed menu, with dishes that fuel Chef Chanse's passion for cooking along with some family recipes that he loves. Of course, we couldn't start Chef's Table without his seriously addicting special roasted edamame. I'll let the rest of the images explain our delicious seven-course meal from the evening:

Chef Chanse's special roasted edamame

Jalapeno and cucumber tuna sashimi atop lotus root crisps | Truffle-orange Japanese scallops atop taro crisps | Red snapper sashimi with black bean sauce atop wonton crisps

Shrimp and Gouda mac and cheese

Grilled lamb atop pureed eggplant, served with charred romaine and corn salsa

Oven-roasted Key West lobster served with a spicy tamarind fish sauce

Steamed chicken thigh atop rice, wrapped in banana leaves and topped with a ginger sauce and fried chicken skin

And for dessert: Assorted flavor mochi ice cream

It was another wonderful, successful event, with 20 guests total. We all got to explore new food, new flavors and new textures, and as usual, it was a great time connecting with all of our guests over our mutual love for food. What I love most about Chanse's Chef's Table is that he consistently encourages his guests outside of their comfort zones when it comes to what they're "used" to eating - for instance, this time, he introduced us to medium-rare prepared lobster, which was absolutely delicious.

Don't miss out on our next Chef's Table event - be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for the latest news and upcoming event dates!

Fueling A Fast-Paced Life With Fitlife Foods

by Jennifer Thai in ,

Between my roles as full-time social media producer, freelance social media strategist and part-time lifestyle blogger, it's easy for the hours in my day to pass by in the blink of an eye. Especially considering the off hours I work sometimes at HSN, it can be difficult to keep a healthy eating schedule.

Lucky for me, I've been introduced to the lifesaver that is Fitlife Foods, which just recently opened the doors to its ninth location in the Tampa Bay area. Fitlife Foods gives its customers access to fresh, made-from-scratch prepared foods, understanding that time is precious to all of us, and that quick and convenient doesn't necessarily have to mean unhealthy. I have a Fitlife Foods location right down the road from me, which means that on Sundays, I can stop by and load up my cooler bag with meals and snacks for the week and not have to resort to fast food or microwave popcorn (as tempting as it may be) during my days at work.

I personally don't count my calories, carbs, etc., but for those of you who do, Fitlife Foods offers detailed nutritional info on all of its meals, both on the packaging and online. I usually purchase the medium-sized meals, which are the perfect portions for me.

I blend the Fitmix Antioxidant Blend into my daily morning oatmeal to give me the protein fill I need to hold me over until lunchtime.

I blend the Fitmix Antioxidant Blend into my daily morning oatmeal to give me the protein fill I need to hold me over until lunchtime.

Tampa Bay BBQ Beef with Mac ‘N Cheese: Slow-cooked tender, lean steak with a sweet & tangy BBQ sauce and served with homemade mac ‘n cheese.

Peanut Butter Oat Crunch: Homemade peanut butter bites made with gluten-free oats with red grapes and sliced apples.

I've really enjoyed all of the meals that I've tried so far, my most favorites being the Mac 'N Cheese and Low Carb Huevos Rancheros. And in regards to snacks, the Peanut Butter Oat Crunch is on point. When I experience those midday pangs of hunger, the peanut butter bites fill me up, and paired with the fresh fruit, give me that boost of energy that I need to make it through the rest of my day.

Fitlife Foods has nine different locations in the Tampa Bay area. To find the location nearest you, click here. You can view the menu here. For additional updates on Fitlife Foods, follow along on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

*Disclosure: I was provided a gift card to try meals from Fitlife Foods. This post was written on my own accord, and opinions expressed here are my own and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Fitlife Foods.

Customized Hair Care From ShampYou

by Jennifer Thai in

It's difficult to get exactly what I want in a shampoo all in one single bottle. For my caramel highlights and lackluster hair, I'm in need of a formula that will bring out my vibrant brunette tones and give my locks a little more texture and body. I've been using John Frieda's Brilliant Brunette Volumizing Shampoo, but I'm not exactly wow-ed by it. It's been my go-to shampoo because it's reasonably priced and treats my hair okay. 

ShampYou introduced me to its unique line of customizable, salon-quality shampoo. With four shampoo base blends and six SuperSerums, over 144 unique combinations are possible - simply choose the shampoo base blend that is the right fit for your hair's needs, mix into two SuperSerums of your choice, and shake.

I let them know about my personal hair needs: I had color-treated hair that could use more texture and volume, and that got oily pretty easily. ShampYou sent me a bottle of its Juniper + Mint shampoo base blend, two SuperSerums (Beautiful Brunette and Turn Up The Volume and a bottle of its Cashmere + White Lilly creme de conditioner

So, I added my two SuperSerums to the shampoo base blend and shook it like crazy until well-blended. I used both the shampoo and conditioner five times over the course of two weeks. The most noticeable change in my hair was the texture - it had body and bounce, and not with the usual oily-feeling that my hair tends to easily accumulate.

The smell of the shampoo and conditioner is wonderful and fragrant, but gentle. And at $10 per shampoo base blend and $3.50 per SuperSerum, $17 for a bottle of salon-quality shampoo that is customized specifically for your hair is not a bad price point at all. And currently, Ulta is offering ShampYou products for buy two, get one free - that in combination with Ulta's $3.50 off $15 purchase coupon essentially gets you both of your SuperSerums for free!

 *Disclosure: The product featured in this post was provided by ShampYou for feature/review. Opinions expressed here are my own and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of ShampYou.

Local Bites: On Swann Part Two

by Jennifer Thai in ,

I cannot get enough of Hyde Park Village's latest addition, On Swann! Not too long after our first visit, pH and I returned to nom on some other menu items that we didn't get to try. Except, I had to order my favorite Carrot Soup again - it's my favorite!

Spiced Carrot Soup - Red lentils, buttermilk creme, radish & mint-pea pesto.

Tomato Soup - Heirloom tomatoes, prosciutto & cream.

Swann Manhattan made with house-made sweet vermouth.

The Farm - Chicken liver mousse, apricot mostarda, duck rillette, pork pate, drunken goat cheese, raypenaer, gorgonzola dulce, capicola, prosciutto, creminelli tartufo salami, served with pecan raisin croutons & sourdough croutons.

Gnocchi - Herb lemon ricotta, garlic, tomato sauce & pesto.

Hot Chicken - Crispy tenders, paprika honey butter & romseco aioli.

pH, my bourbon connoisseur, absolutely loved the Swann Manhattan, made with a special sweet vermouth that is prepared in-house. He also really loved the Hot Chicken starter, touting it as the best chicken tenders he's ever had, ever. 

On Swann did not disappoint, again. We really enjoyed The Farm charcuterie and the stuffed Gnocchi was delicious. If you still have not been, you need to make reservations and give On Swann a try!

On Swann is located at 1501 Swann Avenue in Tampa. The restaurant is open Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. You can view the menu here. For additional updates from On Swann, follow along on Facebook and Instagram.

Tech Meets Vogue

by Jennifer Thai in

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to be a part of the launch of TPA Lady Project, a non-profit organization whose mission is to impact the community by connecting, inspiring and showcasing women doing amazing things. Themed "Badass Women," we had these amazing "be badass" tees made for us by WovePrint.co. I couldn't think of a more perfect accessory to pair with this tee than the Martini Choker from Black Dot Products, a jewelry line created by architect Camila Borges-Chiang, who 3D prints and laser-cuts these classic pieces.

I am in love with her entire jewelry line - each and every piece exudes a modern, geometric feel - minimal, yet still bold enough to make a statement. And guess what, gentlemen - there's a men's collection for you, too.

I am in awe of Camila - in my eyes, to be able to tackle her career in architecture by day and flawlessly execute her passion for designing classic jewelry pieces by night, truly makes her one badass woman. Next on my wish list? The Trapez Choker. I cannot get enough of choker necklaces this season!

I'm giving you an opportunity to win a Martini Choker of your own! I'm hosting a giveaway in partnership with Camila and Black Dot Products over on my Instagram page - the giveaway launches at 12 p.m. EST!

 *Disclosure: The product featured in this post was provided by Black Dot Products for feature/review. Opinions expressed here are my own and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Black Dot Products.

Hi-Chew Taste Test Challenge

by Jennifer Thai in

I've always loved fruity candy, especially ones with a chewy texture. I remember going to the Oriental market with my mom when I was younger and begging her to buy me my favorite green apple Hi-Chew candy. For those of you unfamiliar with the brand, Hi-Chew is a Japanese candy brand known for its real-fruit flavors and chewy texture, and has most recently made its way to being a cult favorite in the U.S. It used to only be sold at Asian markets, but now I've been seeing the brand a lot more at local candy stores, and even at Forever 21 at checkout.

Hi-Chew put my palate and knowledge of their candy to the test, with a taste test challenge - after sending me their candy in Strawberry, Mango, Green Apple, Grape, Cherry and Mango flavors, they challenged me to guess each flavor in a blind taste test. pH happily assisted, but mostly to make fun of me:

I made an oopsie on one of those - melon wasn't even one of the six flavors to choose from! But the point is, it's not hard to distinguish the flavors, given that real-fruit flavor. If you haven't given Hi-Chew a try yet, and you love fruity, chewy candy - check out the locator to see where your nearest Hi-Chew candy pickup location is!

Backless, Strapless, Fearless

by Jennifer Thai in

Some of my favorite summer pieces are open-backed or mildly see-through, and without the right bra alternative, I've been wearing a tan camisole to get by. I had purchased a backless, strapless bra from Target to try, but felt like it didn't offer the coverage I wanted and was terrified it'd slip off with its less-than-stellar adhesive, which is the worst feeling to have when you're trying to enjoy a day/night out with friends.

The kind folks over at Nudwear sent me a couple of their products to try, and it couldn't have come at a more perfect time. Initial impression - love the packaging. It reassures me that I can actually take proper care of these bras, instead of packaging them back up in a cheap, plastic container. I chose to test the Sofia Strapless Backless Adhesive Bra first, since it was my most immediate need, wardobe-wise.

This Jenn Girl - nudwear 1
This Jenn Girl - nudwear 2
This Jenn Girl - nudwear 3
This Jenn Girl - nudwear 4

I love the feminine, lace look, and most importantly, the coverage it provides along with the fact that it doesn't feel like it's about to fall off, even on the most humid of Florida days. So whether I'm getting dressed up for date night with a see-through lace dress or heading to brunch with friends in a backless tank top, I feel confident and fearless (of wardrobe malfunctions, anyway) with Nudwear.

I haven't gotten the chance to try the Daisies Waterproof Adhesive Covers yet, but will provide an update when I find the reason to use them!

 *Disclosure: The product featured in this post was provided by Nudwear for feature/review. Opinions expressed here are my own and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Nudwear.