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Misshattan X Amex Rewards

After a long day, there is no better way to unwind than having a glass of wine. Unfortunately, many people get overwhelmed by wine selections; I used to be one of them. Let's get real, there are so many wine options to choose from. Merlot, Chardonnay, Burgundy to Riesling - the list goes on. How does one really know what type of wine they actually like? 

 

I've been to a few wine tastings and still, I didn't understand what I liked and disliked about certain wines. It wasn't until my recent collaboration with American Express that I really got to dive into learning about wine, (finally)! Using my membership reward points, I booked a  personal wine tasting experience with Jeffrey ______ from Wine Hack, and boy, was it a complete game changing experience. 

 

It was great to instantly have a connection with Jeffrey. His bright energy and fun attitude really shines through his personality. I was also happy to learn that Jeffrey and I share a lot in common; we both graduated with a business degree and we both left our cubicle jobs in order to pursue our passions and dreams. After visiting a friend that worked at a vineyard in Oregon, Jeffrey instantly fell in love with the art of creating wine, and BOOM - life goals instantly changed. He realized the missing gap of simplified educational books on wine and decided to write a book on this topic.

 

"How drunk do you guys want to get?" - was Jeffrey's first question. I couldn't help but laugh out loud. With Santa Con madness in the air, and having left my Cadillac in the garage for a driving free night - I was ready to drink the night away, (responsibly), and finally understand wine. 

 

Jeffrey immediately told us that this wine tasting experience is all about fun - learning about what we like and dislike about what we taste. Hearing that immediately made me comfortable asking questions and put my mind at ease because, hey -  I barley knew a thing about wine. 

 

The first thing we learned about were the four attributes that describe all types of wine - B.O.S.S. (Body, oak, sweet, sour) - then the drinking began where I specifically remembered hoping I'd survive our drinking escapades. I really don't drink as much as most people in their 20's. After the waitress served the two different wines, she couldn't remember which was which. With a simple smell and taste, Jeffrey immediately figured it out. It was then and there, I knew I was learning from a pro. We started with drinking two different wines that had a different body to them. Instead of him telling us which wine we were drinking, he put our taste buds to the test to distinguish which had more body, (I found this method so much fun and focused hard to get the answers right). The best way to compare body would be whole milk and skim milk - one is much thicker in body while the other tastes watered down. I was easily able to figure out which wine had more body. After understanding body, my confidence level was definitely boosted. I was ready to learn about Oak in our second round of drinks. Bring it on! 

 

 The second letter of Jeffrey's acronym is O - for oak. After the wine has been prepared, it is then aged in barrels of oak wood to complete the transformation of grape juice, to wine. A few years ago, I did a wine tasting in Tuscany, Italy. I remember seeing barrels of wine, but never understood the reasoning behind it. Jeffrey compared this concept to tea bags; the longer you leave the tea bag in hot water - the more bitter the tea flavor will get. This same concept applies to wine aging in oak barrels. The longer the wine is in oak, the more bitter the taste will be. It also makes the wine richer in flavor and body. It was all starting to make sense. Before we even tasted the difference, I already knew I would favor the wine that hasn't been aged in oak as long. I was never a fan of bitter wine that had more body; and finally I understood why. 

 

The next letter we learned from the BOSS acronym was S -which stands for sweet. Sweet wine is definitely the underdog of all wines, as there are certain stigmas against sweet wine lovers. It reminded me of all the times I would ask waitresses at restaurants for a sweet tasting wine, meanwhile get dirty looks from people around me questioning why I like sweet wine. I was glad to learn that sweeter wines are the better option for food wine pairings - as it brings out the flavors of the dish more. Ha! I dare someone to question my wine selection next time I'm at dinner! 

 

Last but certainly not least was the last attribute that describes wine; S, which stands for sour. Now, please note - I am NOT a heavy drinker. Growing up, my friends  called me astro-NAT, because I was such a "lightweight" when it came to drinking. At this point, after having so many glasses of wine - I wasn't sure if I'd even be able to tell the difference. Luckily, Jeffrey was there to guide me through this last flavorful experience. First, he described what sour wine would taste like- freshness. Our next test was to figure out which wine was more sour. Without giving away the answer for us, he had us to taste both wines and hinted that the more sour the wine is, the more your mouth will water after drinking it. I don't know about you, but I was on a roll figuring out the differences between each wine and was on a mission to get this comparison right. Drinking also tends to bring out my competitive side. With a little drunken concentration, I was happy to guess the wine that was more sour! Hooray for me! I guess, when broken down - understating the different flavors of wine isn't so hard after all. 

 

I couldn't believe it. Could this be real? How was I able to tell the difference between the 8+ glasses of wine we drank? Was I just drunk getting luckily with answers? Something tells me that was not the case. Wine is like a foreign language and in order to understand its vocabulary, you have to practice, (something I don't mind doing at all)! Having wine being broken down to 4 elements, simplified to easy descriptions, I finally understood wine and all of its attributes. 

 

 

 

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The First Lady & Hillary Clinton Speak at Wake Forest University, NC

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The First Lady & Hillary Clinton Speak at Wake Forest University, NC

You might be asking yourself: What is Misshattan doing at a Hillary Clinton campaign speech?

Unfortunately, I don't have an answer beyond the fact that I am very open-minded despite being very apolitical. Hillary's campaign team reached out to me and offered to bring me down to North Carolina to capture my perspective during her final stretch of rallying.  Up until this point, I had been trying to keep away from this election frenzy because I find that it brings out the worst in people, especially due to the media. Twelve days prior to the election, I found myself packing my bags for a day trip to Wake Forest University in North Carolina to attend my first ever presidential candidate rally.

Not only was excited to attend the rally, but I was honored for the invitation and decided to take advantage of a unique experience. It never occurred to me that attending this event would be considered a public political stance, until I sat down in my chair at the gate of LaGuardia.

I decided to post a Facebook Check-in to let my followers know what I was doing, as I usually do when I am attending anything photography related. Almost immediately, I noticed a string of comments that not only attacked me as an individual for "supporting a criminal", "long live WikiLeaks", etc. 

I felt a deep sense of sadness that my mere attendance at an event would elicit such a harsh reaction from individuals, especially when I wasn't necessarily endorsing Hillary through my platform. I decided to ignore the critics and enjoy the rest of my day, despite having to fly back the same night. But before I go on, I need to preface that my attendance at the event does not make me some politically-driven photographer who uses their platform to push their agenda. This is simply my account of a presidential rally, as free from bias as I can humanly achieve.

I met up with my former Coworker at JP Morgan for lunch during the gap between landing and the event. I won't bore you with all the details of our reunion, but I will tell you that I was at this Diner called Scrambled and their Steak n Eggs was pretty delicious (although my friend's fried chicken made me regret my order). 

After lunch, I made my way to Wake Forest University for the rally. Upon exiting the car, the first thing I noticed a line that wrapped around the stadium that was more impressive than a Yeezy drop. There were thousands of people all waiting in line with their friends and family, and they were all sporting "Stronger Together" posters. 

Unfortunately for the attendees waiting in line, my Mark III and I were able to skip the line (sorry). Although that stroke of luck was compromised when the security guard decided to play 21 questions with me and my camera bag.

After a relatively painless process of entering the stadium, I met up with the individual who I had been in contact with, and was shown my seat. There were two lovely ladies who were kind enough to provide me with free iPhone photography lessons. Did you know you can crop? You're welcome. 

The energy in this stadium was very similar to a concert. Which was strange because there was very little music. Although, in between the speakers they were blasting current jams which was a nice touch.  I was not expecting the energy to be so wild, positive and loud! The attendees were incredibly diverse and everyone had a friendly demeanor towards one another despite being strangers. The crowd knew when to listen carefully to the speakers, and when to let loose and do the wave. I was also very intrigued at how vast the age range was. There were senior citizens and small children, all coming together for a shared cause that they stand for. 

It was an honor to attend this rally and I enjoyed my time at Wake Forest University. I want to take a moment to thank the Hillary Clinton campaign for inviting me down to North Carolina to attend. Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton are phenomenal speakers, and it was inspiring to hear two powerful and influential women speak to such a large crowd about the issues they cared about.

Once it was over, everyone bum rushed for the exit. Luckily, this wasn't my first rodeo so I made it out before most people. I got to my car and felt my stomach rumbling - all I could think about was that fried chicken from Scrambled (this isn't an ad, I just love food). It was a little far, so I found this other place that served fried chicken but it didn't hold a candle to the diner. I guess I have unfinished business in North Carolina.


 

North Carolina has me like.... ↓↓↓

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Puerto Rico, a Ritz Carlton Reserve experience

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Puerto Rico, a Ritz Carlton Reserve experience

I never knew paradise could be so close to home. After a short flight, I arrived into Puerto Rico's Dorado Beach where I stayed at the Ritz Carlton Reserve - a unique twist on luxury, where you instantly feel a part of a family. I was stunned with how gorgeous the rooms were, from the outside shower to the bedroom doors opening up to your own private/personal pledge pool. Immediately after settling in, I checked out the Spa  Botanico, designed to create a multi- dimensional mind and body experience. I experienced serenity at its finest alongside one of the best massages Ive ever gotten. The spa even has its own pineapple garden - something I had never seen before.  The day ended with fantastic drinks and meal at Positive Sand Bar with the incredible Chef Suttiphan Ngamtipakon. Even though I was pretty exhausted from the day, something about the Ritz vibes made me not want to fall asleep. Luckily - my good friend and fantastic photographer, Senen Llanos, recently moved to Puerto Rico and came to visit. Of course we ended up taking some flicks! The next day was one to remember. After a great sunrise impromptu shoot with Senen and breakfast at Mi Casa, we had the privilege of free diving with Jean Michel Cousteau (!!!!!!!!!!) and learned about the Ambassadors of the Environment program and the importance of taking care of our ocean. As an active scuba diver - this was truly special. One of my favorite things about the Ritz Carlton Reserve was having our own personal bikes to ride around the resort. At first, it was a bit intimidating - as a city girl, I haven't been on a bike for a while. But it really was so much fun! Especially riding with my new friends Kirsten Alana and Leslie Murphy. After a day filled with adventures - we enjoyed an incredible cocktails and meal prepared by Jose Andres. One of the great things about Chef Andres is the story behind his dishes. One dish was served in a unique serving shoe - because as a kid, Andres would get yelled at from his mother for putting his shoes on the table. He decided to break the rules (with a twist) by designing the serving shoe. Boy do I love creative minds! Truly an experiential dining experiences - something you could always expect from a Ritz Carlton reserve. The following morning - we had another private dining experience for breakfast with Chef Rory Dunaway - where I learned how to make eggs Benedict like a pro. With some free time left on our trip - we grabbed our bathing attire and jumped right into the pool and the ocean - oh to be playing in the sand! Can't wait to go back! 

Tropical vibes from a new home, away from home - the Ritz Carlton Reserve in Dorado Beach Puerto Rico

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Las Vegas | #WHHSH

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Las Vegas | #WHHSH

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Curaçao

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Curaçao

Island dreams is what Curacao is made of. Curacao, located in the Dutch Caribbean, off the coast of South America, was incredible. Aside from the beauty of the island and its colorful architecture, the locals were some of the friendliest I've met. Favorite moments include singing during car rides and learning the local language of Papimento. People from around the world travel to explore and relax at this Island, and I could understand why. Massages by the beach,  drinking cocktails into the sunset, and great conversations.

Stills during the exploration of the island :

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Cadillac CT6 Experience: The Oscars

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Cadillac CT6 Experience: The Oscars

A golden experience

Cadillac sure knows how to make a bold statement, and the Oscars weekend was the perfect time to do so. The CT6 was nothing short of luxurious & I was honored to get a sneak peak of the vehicle and all of its new features.

The weekend started off with a cocktail hour where I was able to connect with old and new friends. Its always excited seeing familiar faces and getting inspired learning about new friends stories. When I got back to my room, I was surprised to find some of my images printed onto glass. Seeing my work printed meant a lot to me. I was definitely excited to take memorable photos of the upcoming weekend festivities.

The London hotel might have to be one of my favorite hotels in LA. Not only for the beautiful decor, but the hospitality too! Breakfast at Boxwood is always a great way to start the mornings. We first learned about the CT6 and how it sets apart from other brands. Personally, my favorite feature was the digital rear view mirror - I have never seen anything like it before!  We then drove to iconic locations around LA - I must say, the spots were so awesome. LA sure does have a lot of gorgeous locations to shoot! During this time, I was able to hang out with my girl Swopes and learn about Christopher Gray. This guy is LEGIT. He grew up struggling but determined to make it to a great college. Not only did he spend countless hours applying to scholarships and receiving ONE MILLION dollars in tuition, but he Dared Greatly and created an app called Scholly, that made it easier for students to get access to these scholarships. After about a year having the mobile app active, Scholly provided over 100 million dollars in scholarships for students. INCREDIBLE. We caught up with a few others for lunch and shared deep conversations. Shout out to Marcus Troy for that awesome story about his Goros necklace piece! Loved it!

Heres a link to learn more about Chris and his efforts for affordable education. 

After a beautiful afternoon spent with beautiful people, the glam squad was ready to make up look fabulous for the Cadillac Oscar’s party ate the Chateau Marmont. The party was filled with so many inspiring people and I felt blessed being able to experience the event. Once back at the hotel, I heard a commotion coming from the balcony. Glad to see it was my awesome new friends having THE BEST TIME EVER, so I decided to make my way down to their room, PJ’S and all. During this time - the gorgeous Tina Craig shared her story about being one of the first bloggers out, before twitter and Facebook even existed. Amazing! 

The following morning we had an exclusive tour of the Jimmy Kimmel studios. I was having an absolute blast. The studio set was filled with hilarious images from Jimmy and his guests. One day, Ill be on the show. ONE DAY JIMMY! Haha! After, we had a private tour of the Oscars red carpet. Seeing the set up and efforts the crew put in order to make this show possible was unbelievable. So much work goes into even the slightest of details. It was an amazing thing to see. 

One of my favorite moments of the trip was having lunch curated by Iron Chef Cat Cora. GUYS, I grew up watching the food network/ the Iron Chef and Cat was the first female to represent for the ladies. Meeting her and being able to taste her cooking was a moment I’ll never forget. 

We ended the night at the 2nd Annual Toast to the Arts dinner hosted by Common with celebrity guests such as Halle Berry (believe the hype), Kelly Rowland, Ice Cube, the Straight out of Compton cast and a few others. Yup! It was awesome. Common even broke down into a freestyle. Epic. Epic. EPIC.

The weekend was filled with great people, luxurious Cadillac cars, incredible food and memorable experiences I wont ever forget.

Inspiration starts with you - how do you #DareGreatly ? - tweet @Cadillac and let us know! 

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Beautiful Destinations: The Augustine, Luxury Collection - Prague

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Beautiful Destinations: The Augustine, Luxury Collection - Prague

I’ve been to so many beautiful cities this year and Prague is definitely one of them. About 9.5 hours away from NYC, the Augustine felt like my second home. This gorgeous luxury collection hotel was impressive in more ways than one. From incredible decor, to their spa, restaurant and 24 hour room service, everything was perfection. Upon arrival, dinner at the hotel was served, where I had a chance to connect with old and new friends over a delicious meal. After many laughs, a few of us spent the rest of the night exploring the city. Shout out to the chef who prepared a meal at 5 AM! I really try to sleep as least as possible when traveling but this time, the bed’s were too irresistible to leave. Breakfast was always the main motivation to get up. Time went by fast while exploring the city taking endless photos and indulging in traditional food. My favorites had to be the warm red wine w spices, Goulash (beef stew served in a bread bowl), with a Chimney for dessert (pastry filled with Nutella, fresh strawberries and cream). Yup! After a few days of exploring (and eating), I ended the trip with an unforgettable massage. The Augustine will forever remain special within my memories. 

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Mashable x Asics x Misshattan #GoWalkITMeet

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Mashable x Asics x Misshattan #GoWalkITMeet

I had such an incredible time hosting the #GoWalkItMeet along side Mashable & Asics at the Highline on Halloween in celebration of the NYC Marathon; The meet ended with a group shot using the worlds largest Selfie Stick; which is a large device that holds your smartphne and shoots it up into the air (so dope)! Video of using the selfie stick can be found below. From creative costumes, freestyles and of course lots of photos, it was great to connecting with awesome people! Thanks for everyone who came out! 

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Beautiful Destinations - Ultimate Vegas at the Bellagio Hotel

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Beautiful Destinations - Ultimate Vegas at the Bellagio Hotel

#UltimateVegas was more than just an ordinary vegas trip, but an experience that could never be duplicated. Surrounded by incredibly talented, intelligent and creative people, I was given the opportunity to experience THE Ultimate Vegas vacation with the great people at Bellagio, Aria and Beautiful Destinations. The itinerary was jam packed with some of the best things to do in Vegas. We enjoyed a relaxing morning at the Aria Spa, shopped around Crystals Showcase, had a Poker Lesson by Poker legend Phil Hellmuth, got a behind the scenes tour of Cirque Di Soleil's Zarkana (where I skilled our tight rope lesson), incredible after party filled with women in lingerie having pillow fights and confetti filled blow up pools (i know),  helicopter rides over the strip and Grand Canyon, Exclusive behind the scenes tour of the Bellagio Fountains, VIP treatment at Hyde Nightclub (my new favorite spot in vegas) and incredible dinners (Huge thanks to Yellowtail, Julian Serrano, Jean Georges Steakhouse and Lago for the fantastic meals.)

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Sweden: An Absolute Elyx Experience

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Sweden: An Absolute Elyx Experience

Visiting Sweden was absolutely an unforgettable (Elyx) experience. Surrounded by incredibly talent, we were able to learn about the true Heritage of Absolute and their young luxury spirit - Absolute Elyx. 

Images from my experience include Distillery visits where we learned how to create our perfect martini and had a vodka tasting (yup, thats right- vodka tasting!), glassblowing lessons, helicopter tour of the Elyx estate, and last but certainly not least, incredible breakfasts, lunches and dinner - prepared by the amazing folks at Kippers Restaurant lead by the chef guru Klaus, where we dined at the Elyx single estate and Blacksmiths castle, and savored incredible Absolute Elyx cocktails throughout our visit.

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Mans best friend.

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Mans best friend.

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72 Hours in Dubai

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72 Hours in Dubai

aka no sleep till #NYC & boy was it worth it!

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Miami 2015

Miami from a different perspective.

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Miami Instameet

Had the pleasure of co-hosting an Instameet in Miami alongside Derick G. Always good times meeting people.

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Jordan All Star 2015

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Jordan All Star 2015

Great times shooting at the Jordan All Stars!

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Budweiser #BestBud

I had the opportunity to collaborate with Budweiser and help promote their new Super Bowl ad (that I absolutely LOVE). 

Here are a few photos during this puppy's journey on the Brooklyn Bridge finding his #bestbud

 

 

 

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#staycation

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#staycation

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of a staycation in New York is The Urban Cowboy. Located in Brooklyn and close to home, the space makes me feel as if Im outside of the city. I called up a few friends and shared a night (& morning) filled with creativity and incredible food cooked by dinner party extraordinaire, Chef Sarah Ashley.