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Oh, How Civilized contains ad banners and sometimes uses contextual affiliate links. This means that a small commission may be made if a product is purchased through a link. The commission earned goes toward providing original content for this blog. 

I only write about things and experiences that I genuinely like. Anything gifted is noted with a c/o or courtesy of.

Friday
Apr112014

Afternoon Tea Review // Press Tea

Once I found out Press Tea had started serving afternoon tea, I made a reservation via email (reservation required, and at least 24 hours prior) and met Georgia for an afternoon tea for two. 

SETTING:
It's a cute little cafe with different types of seating (booth, high stools, couch). Pretty decor, and casual. Not all the tables are ideal for afternoon tea though since you do need some space. There were two of us, but we ended up sitting at a table for four since the three-tiered tray took up a lot of space. 

SERVICE:
They don't have table service at Press Tea; you order and pay at the counter. When we got there, we let them know we were there for the afternoon tea that we had reserved. After we selected our teas, we sat down and they brought over both the tea and the three-tiered tray of food. It's pretty much self-service after that. Anything we needed, we had to get up and get ourselves. As for the service? Very friendly.

TEA & TEA SELECTION:
There are just four teas and they're listed on a blackboard above the counter: a black, a green, a rooibos, and a chai. From there, you can choose different ways to dress it up with flavorings, and steamed milk. We both opted for the hot pressed tea. I got a green, which was served in a tall glass, which I thought was a little odd. No teapots or teacups here. 

A three-tiered tray arrived with our afternoon tea courses. 

SAVORIES:
Georgia opted for the vegetarian afternoon tea, so we had two different savories on the bottom tray. You only get one savory for this course, and mine was a mini pork burrito with ramen. I missed having a bit of a variety since if you don't love the savory, you're out of options. Although I will say, that the afternoon tea at Press Tea is just $22 per person, so it's actually a lot of food for that price.

SCONES:
I really likes the scones at Press Tea and they were served with clotted cream and jam. We each got two different types of scones. Light, fluffy, and with a crispy crust, the scones were delicious.

SWEETS:
Four different sweets were served: a blueberry cheesecake, two madeleines, and a brownie. All tasty, with the blueberry cheesecake being my favorite. You can get these a la carte at the counter, which I have gotten on previous visits. 

OVERALL:
It's a great deal for the quality of food you're getting, if you can overlook the lack of table service.

INFO: Press Tea | 167 7th Ave South | New York, NY 10014 | 212.888.6666
AFTERNOON TEA HOURS: Inquire when making the reservation | info@presstea.com
COST: $22 

Friday
Apr042014

Sulwhasoo Facial at Bergdorf Goodman

Ever hear of Sulwhasoo? I didn't until recently, but I found they are the #1 cosmetic brand in Asia. Both AmorePacific (where I got a facial last May...unfortunately the spa is now closed) and Sulwhasoo are owned by the same company.

And...did you know you can get complimentary facials from Sulwhasoo at Bergdorf Goodman? There's a tiny facial room on the Beauty floor inside Bergdorf Goodman's where you can book facials when you make a Sulwhasoo purchase. Note: The booking for the facials are available every few weeks, and are not offered every day.

Thanks to the lovely ladies (Deborah and Emily) at Sulwhasoo, I booked an appointment and went in for a facial. Perfect time to do so, with the weather transitioning from winter to spring.

At Bergdorfs, I headed downstairs to the Beauty level and found Sulwhasoo.

AmorePacific focuses on the benefits of botanicals like green tea, but Sulwhasoo takes a herbal medicinal approach in their skincare. 

Their skincare lines are divided in age categories and they recommend a line of products depending on how old you are. This really helps to narrow down what is essential for your skin without feeling overwhelmed with too many choices.

The facial room is small, but feels so peaceful the minute you walk in. I changed into a towel body wrap and got comfortable on the facial bed while Emily, Sulwhasoo's facialist, waited outside the room. A few minutes later Emily knocked on the door and got started right away on my facial, which are an hour-long. It was soooo relaxing! I'm pretty sure I fell asleep a couple of times. Essential oils (which I got to pick before we started), used during the facial added to the experience. 

One thing I will say is that the location of the facial room is not the best. It's right next door to a door that has a punch key, so I would hear beeping noises, and clicking of footsteps every few minutes. But since I was so relaxed, I was able to ignore it pretty quickly.

After the facial, Emily prepared a hot green tea for me to enjoy as I slowly got up to get dressed. 

Back at the Sulwhasoo counter, I got some Sulwhasoo BB Cream and applied a bit of it before heading out to meet a friend. While there, I asked Emily to provide some tips how to transition skin from winter to spring.

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HELPFUL TIPS FROM SULWHASOO FACIALIST EMILY ON HOW TO TRANSITION SKIN FROM WINTER TO SPRING

[1] Spring clean your skin!
Deep clean your pores with Sulwhasoo Cleansing Oil to remove makeup, followed by a cleansing foam to dissolve dirt and oils trapped in the pores. Lastly, exfoliate with Snowise Ex White Ginseng Exfoliating Gel one to two times a week for smoother skin. This routine is especially helpful for anyone that becomes oily in the spring and summer months.

[2] Keep hydrated!
Keep Sulwhasoo's Hydro-Aid Mist handy to refresh at work or on the go.

[3] Let your light shine!
A great way to combat dullness, and brighten the skin's overall complexion, is through our Snowise Brightening line. White Ginseng is the main ingredient. It gently yet effectively creates a beautiful radiant glow. For a targeted solution to age or sun spots and acne marks try our Brightening Spot Serum. Our new Brightening Masks are a great treat that brighten and hydrate.

[4] Brighten... and then protect!
Brightening systems go hand in hand with sun protection. Try our Snowise BB creams with SPF to prevent further sun damage and protect your skin.

[5] Re-harmonize your skin.
Sulwhasoo's Herbalinic Ampoules are to be used during transition periods such as the changing of the seasons and times of stress. The ampoules restore key functions in the skin by addressing the root cause of a skin imbalance - the symptoms of which could be acne, dry itchy skin, redness, sensitivity, or over-production of sebum. 

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If you are in NYC and are interested in purchasing any of their products, I would suggest booking an appointment for a facial with Emily to see which products would be best for your skin. The facial is complimentary with a Sulwhasoo purchase, but as far as tipping goes, the norm is usually between $10 - $20. You can ask for an envelope at the Sulwhashoo counter. 

Wednesday
Mar122014

Mansur Gavriel Clutch

I don't like to carry a lot of things with me, so everything I need easily fits into a clutch. Thanks to my cousin Pam, who introduced me to this brand, I found a beautiful leather one from Mansur Gavriel. Smooth Italian leather with a pop of color inside (mine is a bright orange) and most importantly, it has a wrist strap. This clutch comes in two sizes, and the one pictured is the large size that can fit an ipad.

Hunting down this clutch was no easy feat. It took several calls and online searches, but I found one in a shop in Soho and as soon as I saw it, I knew it had to be mine. ALL MINE, MUHAHAHA.

Monday
Mar102014

Patisserie Tomoko

Patisserie Tomoko opened last November in Brooklyn by a former chef at Cha-An (one of my favorite tea spots). Like Chikalicious, this dessert bar serves only prix fixe desserts. 

I met up with Barb, of Wishful Chef, to chat over sweets and tea.

Take out counter on the right...

and seating on bar stools on the left.

After looking over the menu, I went with a pot of jasmine pearls ($4) and selected the Standard, two-course $12 dessert prix fixe.

Out of the four dessert options, I got the Kumquat Mille-feuille with Kumquat Ice Cream. 

Made in front of me, the mille-feuille was light and airy but super messy to eat. 

After, petits fours, which is included in the prix fixe. The above shows a serving for two. Because there weren't two of each, it was a little hard to share, especially since some were hard to cut in half. Would have preferred if we each had the same petits fours. 

Nothing was overly sweet, which I loved. The flavors really came out beautifully.

INFO: Patisserie Tomoko | 568 Union Ave. | Brooklyn NY 11211 | 718.388.7121

Monday
Mar032014

Tea at Three // Chai Latte & Hazelnut Chocolates

TEA: Chai Latte [Made with Organic Masala Chai from Chai Diaries.]
SWEETS: Hazelnut Pralines [Amedei]

Aside from rooibos, masala chai goes really well with chocolate. This organic one, courtesy of Chai Diaries, is a great shortcut to making one from scratch. (If inclined, here's my homemade chai recipe.) Just bring milk to a simmer, then steep the chai for about 3-4 minutes. Strain the chai tea, then froth it up with an immersion blender. 

Hazelnut chocolates are my favorite, so the Amedei box with five of the hazelnut pralines were gone way before the chai latte. (See my post from their NYC store opening and tips on how to buy chocolate.)