Essential Travel Accessories That Will Simplify Your Life – A Proven Testimonial

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Today’s the first day of fall, although the 90-degree weather permeating the East Coast would have you believe otherwise. We’ve made it to the autumnal equinox. And, with summer soon becoming a distant memory and the inevitable autumn leaves already making their presence known on New York City streets. It’s time to think about practical fall gear. Here are some useful products to ease your commute to: school, work or a weekend getaway and keep those summer travel memories fresh and plans for your next vacation tangible and seamless.

Before I embark on any trip, I’m always in a perpetual search for the perfect travel tote. Even though I’ve acquired handbags, backpacks and luggage (hard and soft-shelled) in a variety of colors, belonging to a host of brands, I can’t seem to rely on any one to fulfill all my travel needs. What are these needs? 1) They can’t have too much hardware and add too much weight to the bag 2) The bag must endure all travel conditions and should not absorb water 3) It must be stylish enough to camouflage with any outfit I own.

BEHOLD THE PARKER TOTE BY SOLO NEW YORK TOTE

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Photo: Courtesy of ECHOS Communication

Inspired by the fashion capital of the world, the Parker Tote offers stylish New York women on-the-go a versatile hybrid backpack for their laptop, keys, light change of clothes, and makeup fundamentals. There are enough compartments to carry your most coveted small accessories. The smart bag transforms into a 15.6 laptop compartment tote with a fun striped padded interior that will hug your device and keep it safe. It’s ideal to travel with in the rain and has conveniently placed backpack straps and overhead luggage handles with light gold hardware. It was a lifesaver as I traveled through meetings between New York and New Jersey with an overnight stay. The Parker Tote is available in black and retails for $69.99. Find it on: Solo New York’s website.

ALL PRAISE THE PACKABLE BACKPACK BY SOLO NEW YORK

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Animation: Courtesy of ECHOS Communication

Let’s face it. Camouflage print is back in a big way – not just in Women’s and Men’s Ready-To-Wear fashion; we’re talking water bottles, sunglasses, linoleum tiles and wallpaper. Yes, camo has become as permanent as home fixtures. The fun and super vibrant brand, Solo New York, founded in 2008, has introduced the subtlety cool Packable Backpack. But, aren’t all backpacks packable? Yes, what makes this backpack exciting and different is its sleek black camo design, ultra-light weight of .38 lbs., and its ability to be folded into a pouch that fits into the palm of your hand. The Packable Backpack functions as a duffle and takes up virtually no space and has the capacity to fit 13 lbs. (24 liters); can’t deny its multi-functionality. Whether you’re on your way to the grocery store to pick up a few things or at the latest hottest festival and need to safeguard your food and beverages – search no more. You’ve found your travel bag. The Solo New York Packable Backpack retails for $19.99. Get yours today at Solo New York’s website.

THREE CHEERS FOR THE XENOLITH SWEATER

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Photo: Courtesy of ECHOS Communication

Alas, the age-old question: what should I wear during that oddly familiar time between the end of summer and beginning of fall? You’re chilly in the morning and perspiring heavily mid-to-late afternoon as your fall sweater or jacket has let you down. Luckily, the Kora brand – a company specializing in high performance technical clothing has a transitional piece that will accommodate your sweater or light jacket needs. What’s really nice about the Kora Xenolith sweater is that it has insulation, but not so much so that you become overwhelming hot –indoors or outdoors – during these perplexing Indian summer temperatures. The Hima-Layer Yardang 240 fabric – a Merino-Yak wool blend, designed to help you maintain a comfortable body temperature and odor free. It has practical features, such as: thumb loops, and extra zipper for ventilation, and an inside pocket for keys, sunscreen or cell phone. I’ve worn the Kora sweater during 60-75 degree weather morning walks and as a workout cover-up, before and after my workouts, without becoming overheated. It’s an invaluable piece of clothing that will meet your late summer and fall needs; I suspect it will be a great layering piece for the brutal winter months to come! The Kora Xenolith Sweater is available in Epidote Green or Steatite Gray and retails for: $250. To learn more about the Kora company (founded in 2013) and to get your hands on the Xenolith Sweater, visit Kora’s website.

The Rosé Mansion Is Open In NYC: Get Ready For The Rosé Renaissance

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Photo: courtesy of the Rosé Mansion

After visiting the Rosé Mansion popup with friends, I was pleasantly surprised after my encounter with the two-foot story space. It will pique the curiosity of not only passerby tourists, situated in the heavily trafficked midtown – but also attract the attention of cynical and jaded New Yorkers, like myself. With its intoxicatingly pink motif consuming the former Charming Charlie’s fashion and accessories retailer, the Rosé Mansion has more to offer than meets the eye. To kick off National Rosé Day, partners Tyler Balliet and Morgan First, opened a first of its kind, Rosé-themed popup in New York City. Wine enthusiasts Balliet and First have been creating popup wine-tasting events for more than a decade with their company Second Glass, founded in 2008.

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Photo: Tyler Balliet (L) and Morgan First (R), courtesy of Tyler Balliet/Instagram

At first glance, the pink décor engulfs your brain with an assortment of pink hues demanding that you to denounce the color, from your life – for good! Yet, as you glide into the inviting and interactive rooms to partake in selfie-dom with the rest of the crowd, each room has a fascinating historical component to it. Upon receiving a rosé plastic wine glass with stickers illustrating popular rosé wine grapes, you can decorate the wall at your leisure and proceed to the rooms labeled: New York, I Love You – which traces the history of how European wine techniques were implemented into the Finger Lakes region and became a huge source for wine production in the U.S. The enchanting and fun-fact filled Sparkling Wine and When in Rome! rooms describe the history of the 6,000 year-old wine industry, and are complemented by colorful and impressionable design. We chatted with Tyler Balliet on his inspiration for the Rosé Mansion and the process it took to launch.

DSMC: What inspired you and Morgan to create a rosé-themed popup experience?

Tyler Balliet: We spent the last 10 years doing educational wine events and large-scale festivals for 6,000 people. We reached a point where it was fun to do these large events but our customers wanted a more intimate experience. At the same time, we could only do so much education and interaction in this large-scale format. We wanted to take the concept of wine-tasting events and reformat it into a place that was more permanent. We looked at bars, places like Eataly, to replicate and instead of focusing on food, we wanted the emphasis to be on beverage. We didn’t want to take over a restaurant because of the logistical challenges. Building out a restaurant is really expensive. Building out a popup bar is much easier and less expensive. There are no ovens or food code regulations involved.

DSMC: I found the historical aspect of the Rosé Mansion fascinating, as most patrons will. Did you partner up with wine historians on the research?

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Photo: courtesy of the Rosé Mansion

Tyler Balliet: I’m a wine expert that’s spent 10 years in this business. We’ve received a number of awards, Inc. Magazine’s 30 Under 30 Award and Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s 40 under 40 Award. I love history and for the last 10 years I’ve had the opportunity to fly all over the world. Meet with winemakers and producers in Europe, South America and throughout California. We didn’t come up with this idea in a few weeks – it’s been a career’s worth of education to put together this experience in a unique way. I made sure to consult with winemakers with 15-20 years of experience – learn the process, the logistics.

DSMC: There are 14 rooms throughout the Rosé Mansion. What inspired the décor when you conceptualized the design for each room?

Tyler Balliet: Morgan, my partner, was in charge of the décor. She’s really good at styling and branding. We wanted to make use of what was already in the space. As soon you walk in, we want you to be transported into another place – somewhere you wouldn’t find in midtown. Morgan worked really hard on the look and feel of each room. She was inspired by her travels over the years and the current design trends she reads about and discovers. I stepped in with the education aspect and together we built the Rosé Mansion.

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Photo: courtesy of the Rosé Mansion

DSMC: The Rosé Mansion will be operational through October 7th, any plans for other popups throughout the U.S.? Will you go on tour?

Tyler Balliet: We love the concept. We love the idea of taking the education and fun of wine to other places. When we built the first one it was like version 1, to be honest, we didn’t know what the reaction would be. You hope after you build it, people will like it. We’re trying to learn what people respond to, what they want to see in the future. I can tell you this: This won’t be last of the Rosé Mansion popups.

DSMC: Since the launch, have most of the visitors to the popup been women, men?

Tyler Balliet: The overwhelming majority of patrons have been women. From the feedback we’ve gotten, both men and women enjoy it. We market it and put it out there and have gotten a large female response. It’s been tough – it’s been really difficult to explain what the Rosé Mansion is to hundreds of people. But once people see it. They’re like: Oh, I get it. It’s one of the problems we had initially before it was built, before we had photos. The longer we’re open, the more people will document what it is, tell their friends about it, and enjoy the Rosé Mansion experience.

DSMC: Rosé has been associated with luxury. Eataly, The Veuve Clicquot Polo Classics, to name a few. Do you have plans on partnering with influencers to expand the Rosé Mansion brand or do you believe the product speaks for itself?

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Photo: courtesy of the Rosé Mansion

Tyler Balliet: We’ve been working with a lot of different organizations and groups. I’ve been in the business a long time. We’ve had a lot of people with a large Instagram following that have come through. I find that a lot of people think wine is complicated. It’s not. If you don’t spend years learning about it you can’t appreciate it– I don’t believe that to be true. I’m pretty good with color. My mom is an interior designer and when I was growing up, I’d say: Oh, that color’s blue and my mom would say: no, it’s not blue, there’s a special name for it, it’s this kind of blue. I didn’t understand what the word was for that, but I could appreciate it. As much as anyone else that did know the word for the color. And, that’s what wine is. Wine is in this place right now where people think it’s difficult to understand, but it isn’t, it’s really simple. If you taste wine and you want to drink more of it, it’s good, if you taste it and don’t want more of it, it’s not good and it’s your opinion. Nobody could tell you you’re wrong. We’ve had a lot of success over the years working with lifestyle publications, influencers, bloggers, You-Tubers. These people fall more into fashion and lifestyle because that’s what wine is: it’s a luxury product at the end of the day.

DSMC: Would you agree that one of the selling points of rosé is its affordability?

Tyler Balliet: The coolest thing about rosé is that it’s not very expensive. You can go to a retail store and buy really good hand-made rosé bottles – that comes from family-owned wineries for between $12 – $15. That’s pretty amazing. It’s one of the successes of rosé. It’s not just a trend. It’s becoming an entirely new product category for a whole new generation of wine consumers. It’s really high quality. Another great benefit: it doesn’t cost a lot to make rosé. Red wine, it takes 3 – 5 years to make a bottle, whereas rosé can be turned around in 6 months. It’s meant to be more of an everyday, easy-to-drink thing. Americans aren’t used to thinking about wine in this way. They think of it as this high-end, sophisticated beverage. And, all throughout Europe, it’s normal, it’s just something you drink daily. Rosé is the first real movement in the United States to get rid of that snootiness. It’s wine. Just drink it. Have fun, but make sure it’s high quality and it comes from a good place.

I love a good rosé and at the Rosé Mansion popup you’ll have the opportunity to taste rosés from around the globe that will satiate your palate. There’s never a wrong time to have rosé. And, it’s here to stay. Enjoy it with your friends, family or alone with your burger or hummus. The Rosé Mansion will be open through October 12, 2018. To learn more about the Rosé Mansion and get tickets, click here.

Statement Toques: Your Latest Winter Accessory

The winter months in New York can be brutal, but that doesn’t mean you have to endure the cold weather with bland winter accessories as you tackle each day. Enter: Tuck ShopTrading Co., founded in Toronto, Canada by Lyndsay Borschke and inspired by her and her husband’s time spent between cottage and city life. Their new line: City of Neighborhoods pom-pom beanies or toques (as commonly referred to in Canada) are fun, playful and pride-inducing. What started as homage to cities around Canada, now includes neighborhoods all over the United States.

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From the East Village to Morningside Heights, and from Hell’s Kitchen to Bushwick, the City of Neighborhood’s toques include nearly every district in New York City. The Tuck Shop Trading Co. features cozy, ready-to-wear clothing and accessories for men and women. Their products are designed and manufactured solely in North America. These unisex casual luxe headgear pieces are ideal for battling the frigid temperatures and reppin’ your favorite neighborhood – simultaneously! I was lucky to be armed with one of the Bronx toques on a long drive to Canada to visit relatives, and yes, I’m known to always be the coldest person in the room, but this toque kept my noggin warm for the duration of my trip. Spotted on the streets of the famous heads of Method Man and Cara Delavigne, these popular toques are everywhere. Get yours now for $38 on: https://www.tuckshopco.com/collections/city-of-neighbourhoods/