About Jessica Tiare Bowen
Jessica Tiare Bowen lives in the juicy Big Apple with her adorable pink-nosed chihuahua, Gillman. He's the inspiration for her first published children's book, "Park Avenue Pound Puppy." The book is the combined result of her two greatest passions: pooches and penning stories.
Her passions include art, urban hikes through Manhattan, drinking coffee with 3 creams and 6 sugars, making extremely detailed itineraries and traveling to far away places, singing along to Broadway shows, Netflix movie nights, discovering incredible treasures at Goodwill and thrift stores, and listening to stories from little people under 7 and big people over 70.
She started her career as New York City Teaching Fellow, teaching elementary school and theater arts at a special education school in the South Bronx for 6 years. She is now a Special Education School Improvement Specialist working in public schools throughout New York City. She is the Editor-In-Chief of the online New York City travel magazine, Used York City. The magazine focuses on finding the best of New York...as used by New Yorkers. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and an ASPCA Ambassador.
Latest Posts by Jessica Tiare Bowen
While we have a few tried and trues up our sleeves, we like to venture out and try new places in New York as locals — both classic NYC restaurants that have been around forever for good reason, as well as trendy new spots that feature the season’s hip new food craze.
A few weeks ago, we were strolling along the beautiful tree lined blocks of the Upper West Side when the lunchtime stomach growls started. The sun was shining and it seemed like the kind of day you try something new, so we decided on Michelin-recommended TESSA, and quickly discovered a new spot that will be moved from our list of “to try” to “tried and true.” We loved it so much that I wanted to share all the goodness with you!
A modern Mediterranean eatery, TESSA has a rustic and urban industrial vibe that is typically seen more in downtown dining (seriously, so cool! It’s like the Restoration Hardware of restaurants. Even if you’re not hungry for a full meal, it’s the perfect spot to sit at the bar for a craft cocktail, little nibbles, and all the good vibes.) As much as I appreciate a beautiful aesthetic, the real shining jewel here is the food (as it should be.) The menu is full of options that are easily shared between everyone at the table, letting you sample an array of dishes.
From the basket of pastries (be still my beating heart!) to the appetizer mezze trio of house dips to the bruised kale caesar salad with the perfect amount of lemon zest to the avocado toast with a twist to the housemade gelato, it was really impossible to choose a favorite course, they all had such interesting and robust flavors. I sure do know if I were taste testing for the Michelin guide, TESSA would go from “recommended” to “starred”.
Bravo to the chefs, cooks, and staff of the restaurant—we are already planning our return!
349 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY
TESSA is located on Amsterdam Avenue between 76th and 77th Streets.
It’s great when you discover a delightful restaurant near a museum, because what makes for a better NYC outing than dinner and a museum? MOMA has long been my favorite museum, and I recently dined at a delicious spot directly across from its 53rd Street entrance: Foco do Chão. Foco has been a staple in the Brazilian Steakhouse scene for a while, famous for its churrascaria experience, which offers a never-ending parade of fire-roasted, high-quality meats presented table side. But as a vegetarian, what really excited me was their new outdoor dining experience, dubbed The Patio at Bar Fogo, and menu, which is both affordably priced for Midtown and loaded with delicious selections, friendly for a variety of dietary restrictions. Don’t worry carnivores, there’s plenty of meat on the outdoor menu to quell your cravings, too!
The Patio is perfect for al fresco dining while watching pedestrians stroll by to and from their offices, tourists go in and out of the museum, and local neighborhood folks walking their pint sized pooches. Unlike so many other outdoor dining spaces in Manhattan, this one doesn’t feel cramped–the tables are large and have comfortable chairs, and are spaced far enough away from each other that you aren’t privy to the group next to you’s conversation. Win! They also have large umbrellas, perfect for keeping out the summer rays.
A few of the food options you’ll enjoy are: the Linguiça Sandwich ($12.50) with blistered Brazilian sausage, onions and mozzarella and the Churrasco Plate ($16-$20) with the choice of Filet Mignon, Ribeye, Lamb Chops or Brazilian Spice-Rubbed Chicken. If you’re just in the mood for a substantial snack, stop by for Happy Hour (Monday – Friday; 4:30 – 6:30 pm), with options such as Picanha Sirloin Sliders ($10) on signature gluten-free pão de queijo rolls and Grilled Beef Tenderloin Skewers ($15) with a chimichurri sauce. My favorite dish from the Patio? Hands down the crispy parmesan polenta fries. I ate two plate full before being like, “Ok Jess, too much of a good thing…”
Next time you’re at MOMA, instead of fighting the crowds to eat in the museum’s restaurant, hop right across the street to enjoy a delicious meal at The Patio at Bar Fogo. And, don’t forget to order one of their delicious drool-inducing caipirinhas.
Fogo de Chão |
40 West 53rd Street
New York, NY
Going on a cruise is a fantastic way to see the world; though you’re traveling, you’re staying in the lap of luxury on board some of the most amazingly kitted-out moving hotels. If you want to get the most you possibly can out of your vacation time in the US, a cruise is the way to go – but what are the best cruises around America?
Cruises around Central America are some of the most interesting for those who want to get a taste of different cultures and great sense of history. Cruising at this part of the globe means you can take onshore excursions around lush rainforests, as well as visit pristine beaches, sample delicious food, and delight in the offerings of each of these diverse and beautiful countries:
The barrier reef in Belize is second only to Australia’s, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
See Mayan ruins with your own eyes.
La Tigra National park is a feast for the eyes as well as a great place for outdoor activities.
Visit some of the most impressive volcanic landscapes in Central America.
- Costa Rica
Get a chance to see endangered wild sea turtles and visit the volcanic hot springs.
See the Panama Canal and the bridge that connects the Americas.
The Caribbean is so rich with diversity in all its thousands of islands. From the biggest Caribbean islands like Jamaica and Cuba, to the smallest, like Monserrat and St. Kitts and Nevis, you’ll see a huge diversity of landscape, language, history and culture.
Of course, you can’t see each of the thousands of islands in one trip; find the nations that really interest you and pick your cruise. Most cruises run either Western or Eastern Caribbean routes. In the West, you’ll often find cruises running from Florida to Haiti, Jamaica, and even Mexico. Over on the East side, you’ll get to visit the smaller islands of St. Maarten, The Bahamas, the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Kitts, and St. Thomas. An Eastern Caribbean cruise is great for first timers as you get to see so much.
If these tantalizing details weren’t enough to awaken a new-found wanderlust in you, then check out the destinations in more detail to really get you hungry for new experiences.
We’d love to know…have you ever taken a cruise? Where to, and what was your experience like.
Here are some fun products that tout all natural when it comes to skincare and beauty.
Dr. Bronner’s Bar Soap
Instead of body washes and cleansers and shampoo, use Dr. Bronner’s Bar Soap. Dr. Bronner’s Organic Magic Soap is all the right stuff you want to put on your skin (they have an unscented version that’s safe enough to use for a newborn, too!), and this little bar of soap can be used for your body, face, and as a shampoo. There’s scents ranging from peppermint to almond to lavender, but the rose remains my favorite. You can also get it in a gel form if you’re sharing a bathroom with multiple people and bar soap freaks you out.
Instead of toners, use Witch Hazel. If you’ve used any of the fancy face products on the market (think Dr. Perricone’s Super Detox Elixir, Murad Clarifying Toner, Olek Henriksen Grease Relief Face Tonic), you’ll see that the main ingredient in them is, indeed, Witch Hazel. Save your money on those brand names and head to your local pharmacy to pick up a bottle of the real stuff for a few bucks. This stuff is great for toning, and also helps with puffy eyes, large pores, and redness.
African Shea Butter
Instead of body and face lotion and conditioner, use African Shea Butter. I discovered pure, raw, unrefined African Shea Butter when I was pregnant and trying to avoid stretch marks. I’d lather this stuff on my belly every night before sleep, and voila! It worked like a gem! It got me thinking…if this miracle spread works so well on maintaining the elasticity of a stomach that’s been stretched to the size of a basketball and back, it would probably be pretty good for the rest of my skin too, right? I’ve been religiously using this as my body and face lotion (bonus: it also acts as a sunscreen), and while it initially goes on a bit thick, I’ve found it to be super moisturizing for dry skin and it actually maintains that hydration throughout the entire day, unlike many lotions that seem to lose their punch a few hours after application.
Instead of face oils, use Argan Oil. This was a tip I picked up in the book French Women Don’t Get Facelifts (such a fun read if you’re into natural beauty remedies, btw!) I’ve been manically trying to keep better care of my skin and in my quest for the magic elixir, I’ve spent a lot of money on brands that promise big and deliver meh. (Meaning no noticeable difference from the cheap drug store brands.) However, putting a dab of Argan Oil on my face before bedtime has been that magic cure I’ve been searching for. My skin feels quenched without feeling like an oil spill happened, and I love the glow it gives.
Instead of Crest White Strips, use Coconut Oil. Coconut Oil can be used for basically everything under the sun (and we use it that way in our house–pretty sure we’re single handedly keeping the coconut industry in business;-), but one of my favorite things to do with it is oil pulling. If you haven’t heard the term before, it’s basically putting a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth, and gargling it for as long as you can stand before spitting it out into the trash. The recommended amount of time is 30 minutes, but I’ve never lasted that long. I usually do this while doing another chore (making breakfast, cleaning, putting laundry away), and I swear, even after a few minutes, you have that squeaky clean feeling of visiting the dentist. It’s literally pulling toxins and bacteria from your mouth, and in turn acts as a natural whitener and brightener for your teeth.
Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Meeting a friend or colleague near Grand Central Station can be tricky. Yes, it’s a super convenient spot to meet for many, because of all the trains and subway lines, but it’s also in a weird part of town. While there are a few nice options to drink within Grand Central itself, they certainly don’t lend themselves to every situation. Case in point: The Oyster Bar is loud and crowded and it’s impossible to carry on any kind of conversation, while The Campbell Apartment will set you back a week’s worth of groceries for one round of drinks.
That’s whey I’m delighted to share with you a spot I cam across which is right in the area, classy, quiet, and perfect for both entertaining a client or catching up with a friend in from Westchester (hence the train station;-) Davio’s is located right on 45th and Lexington, and offers a full service bar, terrace with a beautiful breeze (and view!), and of course, delicious Italian fare.
I recently attended a wine tasting event there, and snapped a few photos for you to get the gist of this perfect Midtown East spot. Cheers to trains and tonics!
447 Lexington Avenue
New York, New York 10017 |
Life in an urban city is fast-paced, exciting, inspirational, and, well, stressful. At least it can be. Rather than turn to the not-so-healthy alternatives for handling stress (weekend binge drinking, eating, and sleeping ring a bell?), we turned to one of NYC’s yoga gurus, Yen from Yens Yoga for some tips on dealing with stress in a healthier manner.
Here we are in Central Park with 5 simple poses that can be done anywhere, so there’s really no excuse not to give them a try. Below, she explains each pose and its benefits.
1. Meditation Pose: This pose is the key to all stress relievers and mental clarity. It quiets the mind, eases stress, releases fear and self doubt. If everyone meditated at least 5 minutes a day, the world would be a more peaceful, harmonious, and less stressful place to live in with one another.
2. Dancer Pose: This pose helps with depression, as well as alleviates headaches. It makes you feel more connected with yourself, thus promoting self love and acceptance.
3. Pigeon Pose: This pose helps calm the mind, with the added bonus of fighting food cravings. It’s great before bed to create a clear mind and promotes peaceful sleep.
4. Tree Pose: This pose stimulates the body by creating balance, strength, and calmness. It will help in regaining concentration by giving a sense of grounding and a feeling of peace.
5. Mermaid Pose: This pose is great for restoring focus. It will strengthen your core, legs, feet, and back. It’s an all around full body stress reliever and one of the best in all of the yoga poses because it calms the entire body and prepares you for the last pose which is Shavasana, i.e. lying flat on your mat for some much needed R + R. Cue the zzz’s! (top photo)
When I stepped into the bathroom at the Chinatown Dumpling House, Vanessa’s, I was pretty taken aback, too. While it was absolutely covered from ceiling to floor with graffiti and stickers and looked like something out of pre-Giuliani NYC, it was immaculately clean, and smelled of a fresh wiping of Clorox bleach. Go, Vanessa’s, go!
Don’t leave without trying the dumplings. A meal here is crazy cheap (mine came in at $7.25), is super tasty, and while it’s not exclusively vegetarian, they certainly have enough items on the menu to cater to the veggie eater. Add this to your radar of cheap eats in the city. And don’t forget, Chinatown bathrooms > subway bathrooms, always.
Vanessa’s Dumplings |
118A Eldridge Street
New York, NY 10002
Midsummer Night Swing is in full swing in Manhattan! For just a few short weeks in June and July, New Yorkers who are light on their feet (or even have two left feet, like me) have the chance to partake in various dance sessions outside at Lincoln Center.
The sessions start off with a group dance lesson lead by experts, and each night has a different singular type of dance to focus on, from swing to salsa to ballroom to tango, and yes, even disco.
Our particular dance lesson was jazz swing. My partner and I managed a simple little box step, but many others were whirling and twirling all over the dance floor. It truly didn’t matter the skill level one possessed; everyone was having a great time regardless of their progress after the lesson. Likewise, you don’t need a beau to dance with either; there were plenty of friends-only and sister-sister pairs on the floor to compete with the sweethearts.
After the dance lesson, the crowd gets treated to a mini show put on by expert dancers, and then it’s fair game to try any of the moves you’ve learned with the live music provided. On our night, the Mint Julep Jazz Band was playing, and besides loving the name, we really enjoyed the music as well.
You can buy a single ticket or season passes and some in-between options as well. Sessions are available through July 9 this summer.
Would love to know…what’s your favorite summer activity? Share below!
By: Sarah Henry