Where to Go? What to Eat? Manhattan, NY with Magpie

Manhattan is known for many things—theater, shopping, dining, sightseeing, you name it—making it a very popular spot for both visitors and residents. With everything New York City has to offer, it can be overwhelming knowing where to start. Where should you go? What should you see? Where should you eat?

Sylvia Parker, owner of Magpie and a native New Yorker, has you covered! Sylvia’s shop—located in the Upper West Side of Manhattan—offers unique, beautiful, and practical gifts that are frequently handmade, organic, and locally made and designed. “We’ve been on the Upper West Side of Manhattan for six years,” says Sylvia. “We love our neighborhood for its mix of people, our proximity to two wonderful parks (Central and Riverside), the cultural richness, and old-time architecture.”

river and manhattan skyline

Where to Go?

American Museum of Natural History

Just a few blocks away from Magpie lies the American Museum of Natural History, a city landmark with world-famous exhibits. “I’ve always loved the old-fashioned dioramas and the giant blue whale suspended from the ceiling there,” Sylvia remarks. One of the largest museums in the world, the AMNH offers spectacles and exhibits for children and adults alike.

Central Park Rambles

A wooded area within Central Park, the Rambles are a restored area of the park that have been fitted with nature trails, gardens, and bird feeders. Located between 73rd and 78th streets, the Rambles offer a beautiful outdoor space full of both native and exotic plant species as well as views of a pond where visitors take out rowboats when the weather is nice.

Shakespeare Garden

Also in Central Park is the Shakespeare Garden, located near the Delacorte Theatre, the site of the annual “Shakespeare in the Park” series held in the summer. A less-frequented part of the park, this serene and picturesque part of the park is perfect for a relaxing stroll on its winding paths. Full of seasonal flowers, the garden is particularly lush in the spring and is a popular spot for outdoor weddings.

Museum Mile

A fifteen-minute walk across the park takes you to Museum Mile, which features one block after another of incredible museums including the Guggenheim, Cooper Hewitt, Frick, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, “which I consider one of the best (if not the best) museums in the world,” Sylvia adds.

Riverside Park

With four miles of park, from 72nd to 158th street along the Hudson River, Riverside Park is frequently considered one of the best waterfront parks in Manhattan. With sunset views, a bike path, outdoor cafes in the summer, a skate park, and other sports courts and fields; this park is a must-see when visiting the city.

food and drinks

What to Eat?

Zabars and Fairway Market

Two longtime favorites, Zabar’s and Fairway Market are both famed for their selections of cheese, coffee, and foodstuffs from around the world.

Orwashers, Maison Kayser, and By the Way

“Orwashers and Maison Kayser have particularly delicious bread and pastries,” notes Sylvia. “I also like a bakery called By the Way that sells homey gluten-free and dairy-free cakes and cookies.”

Murray’s Sturgeon

Murray’s Sturgeon, a gourmet deli, sells everything from dried fruit to smoked fish and has “the sweetest counter service ever.”

Amelie Wine Bar

A French bistro that was recently cited by Michelin, Amelie has phenomenal brunch and dinner menus as well as a wine list that is updated daily.

Mermaid Inn and Pizzeria Sirenetta

Mermaid Inn and Pizzeria Sirenetta are sister restaurants that both have terrific happy hour food. Pizzeria Sirenetta serves Neapolitan pizzas and rustic Italian fare while the Mermaid Inn is known for their seafood.

Jin Ramen

Another good spot for happy hour food, Jin Ramen offers delicious Japanese food and—of course—multiple kinds of ramen to choose from.

Shake Shack

The second Shake Shack to have ever opened its doors, this Upper West Side staple is popular among tourists, residents, and folks who work in the neighborhood. “There is always a long line outside for the burgers at Shake Shack.”

Amorino and Van Leeuwen

It’s also a good neighborhood for ice cream lovers,” Sylvia notes. “Amorino sells Italian-based gelato, while Van Leeuwen is local and features vegan ice cream in its shop.”

Go-To Tips: Surviving the Holidays

The winter holidays are a fun and festive time of the year, but they can come with their fair share of stress and headaches too. Instead of letting yourself get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, these tips can help you relax, be present, and enjoy the time with friends and family.

holiday self care with tea

Tips to Help You Stay Merry and Bright

  1. You may have plenty on your to-do list this holiday season, but you better make sleep a priority too! Without adequate sleep, your stress levels are likely to go up and you may wind up not getting to fully enjoy the holidays. Sleep deprivation can cause or contribute to fatigue, overeating, forgetfulness, and other ailments you probably don’t want coming with you to your holiday party.
  2. If the idea of being around certain coworkers at your office holiday party makes you want to tear your hair out, or you’d rather be alone than be around a certain few family members, gently remind yourself that it’s only for a short amount of time if these get togethers are unavoidable. It’s not ideal to spend your free time during the holidays around people who cause you stress, but you are in control of how you react to the situations around you. Take a deep breath, enjoy the parts of the festivities that you can, and remind yourself that it’s just one time a year.
  3. If you’re dreading going to a holiday function alone, bring a friend or significant other! Having company that you can turn to for stress relief, comic relief, or just to roll your eyes at when your uncle says that dumb joke for the 30th time can mean the difference between getting to relax and staying wound up all throughout dinner. If you can’t bring anyone, bring some entertainment (a book, for instance) so you can enjoy some quiet solo time.
  4. Don’t forget to make time for self care! While the holidays are a time to think of others and spend time with them, it’s important to remember to consider your own needs as well. Even if that means taking a break from holiday shopping to enjoy a hot cup of tea in a relaxing bath, watching an episode of your favorite TV show in your softest and fuzziest slippers, or making a batch of decadent cookies just for you; make time for yourself this season so you can be your best self when it comes time to celebrate with other

Fresh This Month: Chai Tea

Chai is a perfect winter scent with a warming grounding blend of cinnamon, cardamom, clove, and ginger. The warming spicy aroma of cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg meld with the creamy richness of milk to create a delicious and soothing blend.

Chai is a phenomenally distinct yet versatile flavor and scent. Commonly founds mixed with black tea, chai originated in South Asia and can be traced back to India and China. While chai spices vary from region to region, traditional chai spices include cinnamon, star anise, cardamom, cloves, fennel, ginger, and peppercorn.

Etta + Billie Chai Tea

If you’re interested in making your own chai drink, here is a simple and delicious recipe that combines black tea, milk, and spices.

Ingredients:

2-inch piece fresh ginger, chopped
2 cinnamon sticks
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
10 whole cloves
6 cardamom pods
6 cups cold water
6 bags of black tea
2 cups of whole milk (or almond/soy milk)

Directions:

  1. Combine fresh ginger, cinnamon, peppercorns, cloves, and cardamom in a medium saucepan. While stirring, lightly crush the spices.
  2. Add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover the saucepan, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, add tea bags and steep for 5 minutes.
  5. Discard tea bags, add your milk of choice, and simmer over high heat for 2 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat, strain chai into a teapot, and serve hot.

Etta + Billie Chai Tea Limited Edition Products

Want to include the deliciously aromatic smells of chai not just in your beverages but in your home and skincare routine too? You’re in luck! Etta + Billie just released a line of limited edition chai tea inspired bath and body products for those who can’t get enough of the stuff.

A perfect scent for the cooler temperatures of fall and winter, these chai bath and body products offer the perfect blend of warming cinnamon and ginger with spicy cardamom, cloves, and nutmeg:

Chai Tea Body Scrub
Chai Tea Room + Body Spray
Chai Tea Skin Balm
Chai Tea Soap

Makers Gonna Make: Bergamot

Bergamot is a citrus fruit from the tropical Citrus bergamia plant, which is commonly found in the Mediterranean, Italy, France, and other parts of Europe. The fruit is typically the size of an orange, yet is closer in color to a lime or lemon depending on ripeness.

Many people are familiar with Bergamot because it’s the fruit that gives Earl Grey tea its citrusy scent and distinct flavor. A highly fragrant fruit, Bergamot is also used to make essential oils (which can be used for perfumes, soaps, or oil diffusion) and can be used in a number of recipes. Bergamot flesh and its zest—which is tart, aromatic, acidic, and spicy—has been used as an ingredient in everything from cookies, custards, and marmalades to syrups, cocktails, and even pesto, mayonnaise, and other condiments.

etta + billie bergamot ginger bath + body oil

Bergamot and Lavender Reusable Dryer Sheets: Both environmentally friendly and easy to DIY, these dryer sheets will leave your laundry soft and smelling great! And with the added bonus of not needing to dispose of the dryer sheets with each load.

Bergamot Ginger Bath + Body Oil: With the invigorating combination of citrusy bergamot and spicy ginger, this bath and body oil is perfect for skin that is in desperate need of hydration or a soothing and relaxing bath. This oil can be used directly on the body as a moisturizer or in a bath, and it doesn’t leave your skin feeling greasy! (If you prefer a standard lotion for moisturizing, check out the Bergamot + Ginger Body Lotion or Skin Balm.)

Bergamot Honey Frappe: This delicious frappe recipe only needs 5 ingredients, takes about 15 minutes to throw together, and is vegan! Perfect for a mid-morning pick-me-up or a refreshing evening drink this combination of flavors will have your taste buds singing.

Bergamot and Lime Deodorant: Whether you’re in a pinch and need to craft up some homemade deodorant or prefer to use deodorants with all natural ingredients (or without aluminum), this recipe will not only have you smelling great but is easy on your skin as well.

Bergamot Ginger Room + Body Spray: Need to refresh your kitchen, bedroom linens, car, or even yourself? This room and body spray can do it all in an instant! Made with simple ingredients that won’t damage or stain anything, you can spray this product on everything knowing its all natural ingredients aren’t harmful to yourself or your home.

Oyster Mushroom Salad with Apple and Bergamot: A unique combination of ingredients, this salad makes a perfect addition to any dinner or could be enjoyed on its own for lunch. With the apple marinated in bergamot juice, this winter salad will be sure to wow anyone who eats it.

Behind the Counter: The Making of Etta + Billie’s Room + Body Spray

Our Room + Body Sprays are intended to be simple yet versatile sprays, hence their multi-use purposes. Created with both home and beauty care in mind, Etta + Billie’s Room + Body Spray is designed to be fragrant without being overpowering. Perfect for freshening up your linens, car, and even yourself! But have you ever wondered just how we make this magical potion?

etta + billie room + body spray

All of our Room + Body Sprays are a mix of 4 simple ingredients: Spring water, witch hazel, non-GMO organic vegetable glycerin, and essential oils. Here’s how they’re made:

  1. Blend together a combination of witch hazel, spring water, and glycerin.
    2. Pour this blend into glass amber bottles, either 2oz. or 4oz.
    3. Mix with a combination of essential oils, depending on which scent is being made.
    4. Use a pipette to draw a measured amount of the essential oil blend and deposit into each individual bottle.
    5. Cap and seal each bottle with a spray top.
    6. Label the bottles.

Short, sweet, and simple! All of our ingredients are 100% natural, and since our Room + Body Spray is made in small batches, you always receive the freshest possible product. And not only are they easy to use (just shake and spray), but the bottles can be recycled or upcycled and reused!

Etta + Billie Crew: Mylene

Etta + Billie crew members are the heart of our company. Since the company’s launch in 2009, our employees have helped us along the road of creating purposeful, sustainable, natural body care products and without them, we wouldn’t be the company we are today!

Want to know more about the Etta + Billie team? Here is a closer look at one of our crew members: Mylene!

etta + billie crew mylene

How long have you been at Etta + Billie? What is one of your favorite things about working here?
I have been with Etta + Billie for six months. One of my favorite things about working here, besides the lovely folks I get to work with, is the smell! The studio always smells amazing!

What five things couldn’t you live without?
Sunlight, phone calls, grass to lay in, lip balm, and carbs.

What’s one nice thing you could do for somebody in your life today?
One nice thing I like to do for others is to listen to them.

My favorite scent is:
Horchata Soap (seasonal)

What is your favorite Etta + Billie product?
My favorite Etta + Billie product is the Room + Body Spray.