In Fitness Food and Drink Good Eats Health Mens Mens lifestyle Plant Fusion Plant-Based Protein Powders Summer Body Summer Fitness Vegan Vegan Foods Wellness

Plant-Based Redemption For The Willing And The Waiting: Plant Fusion

You blinked didn't you?  I think so.  You blinked during the winter, opened your eyes from that nanosecond and it's already a month into Spring.  Where does the time go?  Before you know it we will be bombarded with 'Back To School' ads and 'End Of Summer' deals.  It was just a short while ago, wasn't it, that you proclaimed aspirations of reclaiming that fit bod that went away for a time due to the cozy comforting culinary delights of Winter.  Now here it is almost halfway to Summer and about a month away from the unofficial start of Summer and what do you have?  A questionable waistline and regrets.  Don't get frantic, get started!

I, for one, am always looking for ways to live my best life by examining what I would like to do versus what I am doing all pushed up against always assessing how I think about doing things.  With my two year vegan anniversary a little over a week away, I have discovered the powerful coercive physiological aspect of food and how I don't have to subscribe to how things were always done.  I inform myself then think for myself based on what I've learned.  Over the past two years I've learned that I don't need whey and dairy in my protein powders to get the protein I need.  This is why I was glad to be introduced to Plant Fusion at a recent Editor's Showcase here in NYC.

Plant Fusion is a line of plant-based proteins that has a complete vegan assortment within their selection of shakes and powders.  Through sourcing garden-fresh ingredients from non-GMO produce and ensuring high quality standards for exceptional flavors, Plant Fusion speaks to those seeking plant-based protein choices that speak to individualized needs.  For example, they offer their 1:1 Fats & Protein powder that uses good fats and takes then from oil to powder form then blends it  with a high-alkaline plant-based protein.  You feel fuller longer and gain energy without sugar.  This is also the case with their Complete Lean protein powder whose prebiotic fibers and probiotics aid in digestive health, sustaining energy and supports healthy blood sugar levels.  Their Fermented Superfood Protein powder supports those seeking enhanced immunity, gut health and energy.  Meanwhile, their Collagen Builder is the first plant based shake that supports new collagen building, hydrates skin and joints with plant-based ceramides and protects existing collagen. 

So based on what you are seeking, all of Plant Fusion's proteins are candidates for pre and post workout shakes.  Along with Complete Lean, finishing out their 'Complete' line is Complete Meal, a perfectly balanced meal replacement that also builds and repairs muscle and Complete Protein, (my favorite) whose 21g of protein feeds the muscles, digests easily and is dairy, soy and gluten free.  What's even better is that Plant Fusion is free from the dry chalkiness that many plant-based protein powders can have.  It blends up smoothly and tastes natural and not overly processed with the unnatural sweetness.  Check out my post-workout smoothie recipe, that I swear by, below for a great pre or post workout smoothie suggestion then head on over to and learn more about their complete line of plant-based power.  You've just been briefed and what to ingest so now all you have to do is meet it halfway with the motivation and the movement.  

Post-Workout Plant Pump

1/4 cup      Ice
3                Frozen strawberries
10-15         Frozen blueberries
1-2             1" to 1 1/2" X 1/4" to 1/2" in diameter fresh turmeric root  
2                Pinches of ground black pepper
1/4 cup      Fresh cut pineapple
1/4 cup      Fresh cut papaya (with seeds)
1 scoop      Plant Fusion Complete Protein powder
1 tsp          Fresh cut ginger root
1                Fresh Banana
1 tbsp        Black Chia seeds
2 tbsp        Oatmeal
1 tsp          Almond Butter
1/2 cup      Almond Milk
Juice from a 1/2 of a fresh cut lime

Note:  You can also use a 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder if you can't find the root.

Put frozen ingredients in first and into a 24 ounce blender cup and follow order as laid out above.  Blend until smooth and enjoy.  

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In Mens Mens Accessories Mens Clothing Mens Fashion Mens footwear Mens lifestyle mens shoes New York Fashion Week NYFW Top Owens

An Eye For The Craft And The Sole Of A Craftsman: The Top Owens U.S. Launch

It would appear that the moment we were all waiting to happen, since the suits got uncomfortably slim and the sportswear proportions got bizarrely exaggerated, has happened.  Menswear has taken that vain cue from the pages of womenswear and we now live in a world where in the boardroom there may not be just grey and blue suits, but louder colors, florals and prints.  There may not even be a suit in the boardroom.  Hell, there may not even be a boardroom!  Someone may materialize to the conference call in French terry sweats from the privacy of his living room or phone-in while on set in tattered denim, bicep-hugging leather and exorbitantly-priced trainers.  Now while I applaud the shift from predictable to excitable, what has always reigned true is the incarnate beauty of those guys who own their looks as opposed to those who borrow and repurpose someone else's look.  You know, those who see the beauty of the design, be it in the form of a simple enzyme-washed tee or a laser-cut distressed leather moto jacket, and then put their little creative and innate 'stink' on it.

Well in this world of nattily tailored Prince of Wales checks worn with white low-tops and defensive lineman sizing on horse jockey body frames, let's not forget the beauty of the hard-bottom shoe.    What's more, let's also not forget to make them our own!  Similar to how we can place puffed-up oversized sneakers with nods to the 90s with abbreviated trim suitings as well as swaddling hoodies with ankle-puddling jeans, we can surely find a renewed creative space for the historically more traditionally beloved mens shoes with an ardent fervor.  Enter Top Owens.  Launched in 2015, Top Owens is the mens luxury footwear brainchild brand of Owen Jiang, a 20-year footwear industry veteran who's footwear passion was fueled by influences from Italian craftsmanship.  What emerged from Jiang's tenure is a footwear collection that upholds to the highest standards of mens luxury footwear by finding a trifecta balance between craftsmanship, style and fit.  Currently Top Owens has seven flagship stores with six in China and one in Sydney, Australia.  The design studio is based in Milan, Italy where Jiang can stay close to the techniques, artisans and materials that initially inspired him.  

In February of this year, I had the pleasure to be introduced to the Top Owens experience at the brand's exclusive U.S. launch during New York Fashion Week which also showcased its new collaboration with Mykel C. Smith, the creative one-man collective who has an attuned knack for molding and translating clothing, cosmetic, and now footwear, brands.  From the result of Jiang's tireless drive & vision and Smith's seasoned experience in creating energy for brands through promotion and style, Top Owens is now positioning itself to become a rising global footwear powerhouse.  The Collection showcased in February highlighted beautifully tooled, tanned and burnished leathers & suedes on chisel & mock apron-toed  silhouettes in classic & remixed long-wing brogue, double monk, loafer, half-boot and loafer styles.  It was a fitting introduction that gave guests an introductory taste of the skillset and commitment of Jiang together with the electric vibe and influence of Smith.  

What stuck out and impressed me about Top Owens was its poise as a well-executed collection of mens footwear that has a cross-sectional appeal to men seeking classics, those seeking styles more fashion-driven and those seeking a clever combination of both.  Such a welcomed respite in the land of oversized soles where sometimes you want to remind yourself of the tactile joy of slipping your foot into a leather-lined insole to experience details that are tooled rather than inflated and ones that feature a hand-sewn rather than an air-bubbled sole.  For more information on Top Owens and where to purchase the footwear, please visit their website here and keep up with how the brand is growing on their instagram here.

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In Alcohol Review Cocktails Drinks Food and Drink Mens lifestyle Sauvage Upstate Vodka Vodka Wines and Spirits

The City's Nice, But The Beauty Is Upstate: Upstate Vodka By Sauvage Distillery

You may have missed it if you were too busy figuring out which way to wrap your scarf that day, but the first day of Spring happened this week.  Tell that to certain Massachusetts residents that received a few inches of snow a couple days ago.  You may also get looks of skepticism from certain Northeastern residents who have been eagerly waiting for the mild to usher in and the cold to slide on out.  However, fear not, the milder weather will be here before you know it which will then turn over into disturbingly hot weather which will have you seeking air conditioned temps rivaling the temps  currently outside.  The point is you have to deal, better times are ahead and good things come to those who wait.  

Well what if I told you that the good times you seek are perhaps just a sip away?  What if I prodded you with the reminder that whether its frigid or fired up outside, the comfort of a perfect cocktail makes the extreme cold and the excessive heat seem all the less intolerable.  Then what if I went further and told you that I recently had the pleasure to discover a new vodka made from apples right here in New York State?  That is exactly what Upstate Vodka is.  Appropriately distinguishing itself from the infused and flavored vodkas, Upstate Vodka is the latest brilliant effort from the Sauvage Distillery in Oneonta, NY that has produced a clear and lively vodka made from New York State apples.  The result produced a notable vodka experience marked by its clean refreshing color, faint & comforting apple aroma and a taste that starts with a slight jolt of fruit sweetness and then as the spirit expands across your tongue and down your throat, you're left with a warmth and almost herbaceous finish.  What comes through here is that the root of this vodka is not traditional grain or potato.     Upstate Vodka is quality-controlled by being expertly handcrafted in small batches to really allow this spirit to stand apart as a benchmark vodka.  It's subtle in the enduring presence of the apple and has a definite depth with its 90 Proof, 45% Alc/vol rating which allows it to be a clean perfect sipper over ice and paired with clean foods like mild cheeses, roasted veggies and fish as they are light with delicate flavor.

So for the time being it would appear that New York State has still got its cold weather lingering, but it now also has a wonderful vodka birthed from the spoils of its own land with Upstate Vodka.  Now while I highly suggest you sip it to experience the satisfying subtleties of the tenured apple and clean distillation, but I couldn't leave you without suggesting some cocktails to get your through your day.  Check out these two martini recipes below using the pleasant Upstate Vodka:

Upstate Comfort Martini 

3 ounces          Upstate Vodka
2 ounces          Carpano Dry Vermouth
6                      Cardamom seed pods
8-10                 Clover pods
2                      Cinnamon Sticks
1                      Apple skin sliver

Into a shaker place ice, vodka, vermouth, cardamom seed pods, clover pods and cinnamon sticks.  Shake for about 20 seconds.  Strain in a martini glass.  Skewer garnish with one of the cinnamon sticks from inside the shaker and a sliver of apple skin.

What a lovely way to experience this vodka.  The thinking was that it may lose to punch since the apple is delicate, but that is the loveliness to Upstate vodka.  The pleasant apple essence of the vodka still held its own again the spiciness of the cardamom and cloves and the presence of the dry vermouth. 

Almost Spring Martini

3 ounces          Upstate Vodka
2 ounces          Carpano Dry Vermouth
1/2 ounce         St. Germain Liqueur
1 tbspn             Fresh chopped ginger root
2 ounces           Fresh chopped apple
1                       Flat slice of apple
1                       Spring of rosemary

Place the apple and ginger into a cocktail shaker and muddle for 30 seconds.  Add vodka, vermouth, St. Germain and ice.  Shake for about 20 seconds.  Strain over a martini glass.  Garnish with the apple slice cut down the center.  Lightly stir with the sprig of rosemary then lay it across the top of the glass.

This cocktail was inspired by the changing of the seasons.  Again the Upstate Vodka held its clean and unique flavor profile against the heat of the ginger and was in a way amplified with the presence of the muddled apple.  The sprig of rosemary was a nice verdant touch  to symbolize Spring with some nice depth and heat from the ginger to remind you that warmer temps are ahead.

Upstate Vodka is now available at your finer wine and spirit retailers including Columbus Avenue Wine & Spirits, Ambassador Wine & Spirits and Cabrini Wine & Spirits in NYC in 50, 375 and 700ml bottles.  Check with your local wine and spirits retailer and also click on the link below to see the growing number of locations Upstate Vodka is available at in New York State so you too can enjoy this new walk into a vodka with depth and flavor.  Depending on how you look at it, it's something to warm you up for the Winter or cool you down for the Summer straight from the natural deliciousness of the Empire State.

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In Alcohol Review Drinks Entertaining Food and Drink Mens lifestyle Provence Rose Group Rosé Summer Drinks Wines and Spirits Winetasting

Three, The Easy Way: Provence Rosé Group Chateau De Berne and Ultimate Rosé Wines

Have you ever thought about some of the labels that spirits receive?  Tequila gets the blood boiling and can make you want to fight.  Brown liquor gets your drunk quicker.  Vodka makes the world and your head spin around.  Well I say, if it's believed that those spirits can do all those things then I say that wines can put you in a mood too.  Outside of all the hang-ups and notes about tannins and acidity, a great wine can put me in a good mood.  That mood, particularly at the end of a hectic workday, is one of relaxation and a savory unwinding where problems slowly exit as the wine enters.  

So how fittingly appropriate that at an event last week I discovered a trio of truly stellar rosés.  Fitting since I love rosés and appropriate since the event came on the heels of a long and sensorily busy workday.  Rosé serves as the light pink bit of grown and sexy grape that conspires to uplift your spirits and lighten your mood.  So when I first tasted a rosé entitled Romance, it was almost a reminder that spring was right around the corner where love and newness bloom.  It was one of three rosé wines highlighted from the esteemed Provence Rosé Group.  Romance comes from the Chateau De Berne, Provence and has a fruity & fresh taste, peachy & floral aromatics and pale pink color with a bright and pleasant taste to seemingly evokes its namesake.  

Then came a rosé with a stellar smoothness and a texturally silken quality that just flows clean enough to leave the mind free to be inspired.  Inspiration, also from Chateau De Berne is a wonderful rosé that has aromatics from the garden with berries, flowers and herbs that are lovinglay balanced with a satisfyingly light sweetness and herbal freshness.  Finally there was Ultimate Provence, a truly special rosé that reminds you how even while being light and airy, a wine can be bold and complex.  This brightly colored rosé has notes that were kissed by the salty sea air and  when paired with berry and spiced notes creates a nicely blended beautiful full-bodied wine. 

These three rosé wines together have something for all rosé and wine connoisseurs.  Each have the essential beauty of the Provencal grapes together with tenured methods from a renowned winemaking region.  Then there's also the fact that the varieties of the trio offer relief for whatever kind of day you've had.  At least some not so great days can have a rosy ending.

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