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Travel

City Guide: New York City, USA

February 26
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Megaformer: SLT
The ultimate workout to strengthen, lengthen and tone is SLT in NYC.  The best way to describe this is ‘reformer on crack’. You get your intense cardio training, weight training and pilates, all in one go. In line with NYC’s lifestyle, you’re in and out hassle-free. (Chrissy Teigen is a regular!) The space is made up of one big room that includes everything from the reception area, storage and a retail space. The hour-long workout I did was a mix of everything on the megaformer, from lunges and crunches to planks — you’re looking to burn over 500 calories in one class! The class I took with Jill was definitely a workout — my muscles were aching the next day, always a good sign.

Workout: ChaiseFitness
This is another workout concept we need in Dubai! Previously known as Chaise23, the concept was started by a mother-daughter duo and is a mix of pilates, barre, and cardio, giving you a full body workout. The instructors are incredibly sweet, not in any way intimidating, and the music is the best! (I need to get their playlist) They’ve now expanded to locations in NYC, such as their new Upper East Side spot. I tried the Reinvention Method class which takes place completely on a chair (hence the name ‘chaise’) that you work on, in addition to the bungee cords that help work out your core with everything that you do on the chair. It’s great for a high-intensity cardio workout, flexibility and coordination to get you that toned bod.

The Beauty App: Glamsquad
What: Your own glam squad via an app.
The concept: An app available in NYC, LA & Miami that allows you to book freelance hair stylists, makeup artists and nail therapists through the app to your home — just like you would an Uber.
What they say: Glamsquad is an on-demand, app-based beauty provider delivering professional and affordable hair, makeup and nails services to your home, office, hotel, or wherever you may be. (Currently available in NYC only.)
Recommended therapists: Christina Aprile for hair (she does the VS Angels as well as the Hiltons) and Deborah (who uses fab brands like Tarte, Tata Harper & Hourglass)
Extra points:
-Slightly more expensive than a salon, but in the comfort of your own home — and they’re super quick!
-They will email you the day before to remind you of your appointment.
-They will also send pictures of your stylists on the day, which is also comforting.

Blow dry Bar: Drybar
What: The original blow dry bar and one of my favorites, Dry Bar is located across the US, with several branches across NYC.
The concept: A look-book of styles like the Cosmo, Southern Comfort and Mai Thai.
What they say: Drybar is a brand new “blow dry bar” concept created around a very simple idea: You see, we believe that everyone (even us pros) prefers having someone else blow out their hair. Why? It just looks better! We also believe there has to be a better option than paying $60+ at a traditional salon, or going to a less-than-desirable discount chain. But there’s not. So, we decided to make one.
Extra points:
-They also produce and sell retail products, which I love — and I must say they’re quite good.
-When I visited, I got the Bay Breeze treatment, a hydrating hair shot that is sprayed on the hair and massaged in.
-$45 for a blow-out

Nail Art: Paintbox
What: A (super hip and chic) nail art bar on Crosby street, NYC, started up by a former Cosmo magazine editor.
The concept: You’re handed an edited book of seasonal designs as soon as you enter and are asked to pick what you want to go with, and every therapist is trained enough to give you that design. While it’s not the cheapest of manicures, you really do pay for the experience at $55 for regular polish and $65 for gel. It’s not your typical manicure, and feels more like working with an artist. They use interesting tools that you have probably not seen used for manicures before, such as an eyelash brush to scrub the nails.
What they say: Paintbox is a high-design nail studio founded by Eleanor Langston, a veteran magazine beauty editor. The studio’s goal is to transcend and transform every aspect of the traditional manicure experience. Paintbox offers a seasonal collection of thoughtfully-edited nail designs and colors reminiscent of runway and editorial trends to discerning women seeking edgy elegance.
Recommended therapist: Ella
Extra points:
-They can do everything, from simple to marbled nails.
-They have their own nail photo booth, which is genius! You don’t even have to worry about finding the perfect light and the best angle for your nail art shot.

Glam Blowout: DREAMDRY
Founded by celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe and entrepreneur Robin Moraetes (look out for our business interview with Robin, coming soon!), DREAMDRY is the most glamorous blow dry bar I’ve set foot in, and one of the most featured blow dry bars in fashion and business magazines. A blow out in a spacious and glamorous space, an iPad in one hand, and a glass of champagne in the other, is exactly what an appointment at DREAMDRY looks like. The salon uses Kerastase and Oribe products, and has spots in Flatiron and Columbus Circle. I came in for some curls and left with polished and glamorous waves by the lovely Sonya.

Facial Bar: Heyday
What: A facial bar concept in NYC based in Flatiron — imagine the facial version of drybar.
The concept: Facials that are customized for your skin; all you have to do is choose between 30 minutes ($60) or 50 minutes ($95) and you’ll get the facial you need. It saves you both time and money compared to spa facials — you’re in and out before you know it. My 50 minute facial included a pre cleanse, a cleanse, exfoliation, extractions, and a mask. I loved the mini hand massage in between steps, and the fact that they used warm towels instead of steam on the face.
What they say: The word “spa” connotes beauty, pampering, indulgence and intimidation – and this is not what we are about (and we do love a good spa treatment every now and then).  Some people term us the SoulCycle or DryBar for facials (which we are), but I use the Warby Parker analogy here, where they successfully disrupted a large, structurally challenged industry to offer designer glasses at half the industry price without a trade-off in quality. The spa industry is trapped in the 1980s, challenged, and unable to change – and there’s no reason why facials should be $200 and trapped in the spa. Like Warby Parker, we are not reinventing the facial, we are reinventing the entire experience — how you book it, experience it, and engage with it.
Recommended therapist: Katya, she really knew her stuff, from my skin’s needs all the way to the brands she was using.
Extra points:
-You will receive an email with your home care routine post appointment with product recommendations.

Canadian blow out bar: Blo Blow dry bar
The concept: Another blow dry favorite, you also have Blo Blow dry bars –  a chain from Canada  and possibly the pioneers of blow out bars (and Gwyneth is an investor!). They have a hair menu, and I went for the Pillow Talk look on my visit, which was a beach wave look.
What they say: Blo has 60+ locations to serve you across North America, the UK and the Philippines, with more opening soon. We can’t wait to blo you away!
Recommended therapist: Toni
Extra points:
-$45 a blowout.
-Blo use Unite hair products at the salon.

Stay: Hotel tonight
I love discovering hotels and I love the whole process of staying somewhere new and falling in love with it. I won’t lie, it also gets me disappointed when I stay at one that doesn’t impress me even though it’s highly buzzed about. Hotel Tonight is a new app I was recently introduced to that is perfect for both regular travelers and last minute trips. They have several cities within the app ranging from Dubai and London to LA and San Francisco. I downloaded the app while in NYC, and I’m happy to report that it was incredibly easy to use, you simply choose your dates and hotel, and after paying for everything directly through the app, you’re all booked and ready to go. As it’s quite known for last minute bookings, there were some incredible rates for Hotel Americano and the Soho Grand for the day I was there or the next night. You can also choose the hotel depending on the style you like – hip, solid (classic) or charming. The app also gives you little highlights about the property (the good and bad reviews both) as well as important info such as the size of the room.

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