Friday, October 24, 2014

Cat Town Cafe :: First Permanent Cat Cafe in the United States

Le Café des Chats, Paris

Last Sunday, the Boston Globe published two beautiful pieces about cat cafes. I was one of the writers asked to contribute a story about my visit to one of the most purrfect places in Paris (well, at least in my opinion), Le Café des Chats. If you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, you know just how much I adored my visit in April. An afternoon sitting with cats and savoring Champagne is all an American girl in Paris could ask for. Well, perhaps some Chanel and Hermès wouldn't hurt either. You can read all about Le Café des Chats here.

Cat cafes first took flight in Asia more than a decade ago. Today, the excitement can be found in European cities such as Madrid, Munich and Vienna. With restaurant health and safety codes more stringent in this country, the feline and food concept hasn't fully clawed its way to completion – although the craze could be coming to a city near you. And if you happen to live in Oakland, CA this tailspinning theory is set to come true tomorrow (October 25) with the grand opening of Cat Town Café – the first permanent cat cafe in the United States. 

Ann Dunn, founder of Cat Town – an Oakland non-profit that has been rescuing at-risk shelter cats since 2011, has been committed to finding both foster and forever homes for felines who don’t necessarily fare well in a caged environment. Together with her business partner, Adam Myatt, the duo transformed a 2,200 square foot space into a cafe and isolated “cat zone.” Visitors can purchase food from the cafe and then enter the "cat zone" where they'll be able to interact with the cats available for adoption.

"We’re not trying to be a regular cafe or restaurant. We’re an adoption center with cafe elements," Dunn said. "These cats would otherwise be sitting in tiny cages, but now they can roam freely while waiting for a permanent home."

Cat Town Café will brew beverages from Bicycle Coffee Company and sell bagels, sandwiches and cat shaped macaroons from other local purveyors. And for those of you looking for an extra pep in your step, there's catnip tea for people and for cats. Meow! Once in the designated "cat zone," patrons can purchase dry treats for their new feline friends. Meow! Meow! 

Cat Town Café is located at 2869 Broadway (at 29th Street) in Oakland. The cafe will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday. The "cat zone" will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday. Now, more importantlywhen will Mr. Chat and I be traveling to California???

Cat Town Café, Oakland
{photo credit}

Monday, August 25, 2014

BOSatoga :: A Love Story

Photo by Alexis Kletjian

Those of you who are avid readers of Rue, know just how much I love cats. I'm crazy about them to be honest -- truly smitten with their fluff and purrfection. Well, that same love and affection (only toned down a tad) burns for horses. My father had a connection to these majestic beings. He loved all creatures to tell you the truth, especially his parrot, but held a special place in his heart for horses. I wrote about this briefly in 2012 when I attended Newport Polo.

Naturally when America's Best Racing invited me out to Saratoga Springs for a day at the race track, I said yes. I hadn't been around horses since the polo match and was longing to be around their spirit and energy. I extended my invitation to a slew of my savviest friends. You didn't think I'd travel three hours to Saratoga Springs without my style sisters from the big city, did you?!

So, on Saturday, August 9 at the crack of dawn, Troupe BOSatoga boarded a luxury coach from Boston with a videographer in tow. Why the cameraman, you ask? Well, Jordan Craig was sent to film our entire experience for a Jockey Club Racing Tour segment that aired the following evening on Fox Sports One. He also produced a video exclusively for America's Best Racing. Brushing off my television skills and acting as a reporter of sorts, I was happy to help.

Photo by Alexis Kletjian

Jordan Craig

Photo by Georgina Castellucci

Our luxe coach was stocked with pastries fresh from Mrs. London's in Saratoga Springs, juice, water and of course fuel in the form of fermented grapes. That's right, wine courtesy of Boston-based Richer Pour. It's never too early for an elixir, so we started the morning off like champs with rosé and chardonnay. Our journey called for a "powder room" pit stop and of course I  couldn't help but ask Georgina to snap some pics of me in my chic navy jumpsuit…or is it a romper?!

 Getting "ambulance-y" - a new term coined by Georgina

Upon arrival, we were welcomed with a gourmet brunch at Fasig-Tipton, North America's oldest thoroughbred auction company. Our private dinning room overlooked the stables and had a darling mimosa and Bloody Mary bar on the outdoor balcony. Cocktails were made-to-order and brunch was a light and refreshing concoction of salads, fruits and petite sandwiches. Don Little, Jr., president of Centennial Farms, and Jimmy Jerkens, trainer for Boston-bred Wicked Strong, spoke to us about our hometown hero and their efforts to support Boston Marathon bombing victims through the One Fund.

After a brief betting tutorial, the troupe took to the track. Onlookers were in awe as the fashion-focused females of Boston (clad in vibrant dresses, grandiose hats and eye-catching fascinators) seamlessly bridged the gap between style and sports in Saratoga Springs. Holly, the beauty and brains behind Holly Dolly, and I even won on our first bet.

 Jean of Extra Petite and Khatu of I am Khatu // Photo by Holly Darling

Heather of Glamorous Baggage

Mama needs a brand new bag...

My bet was on #9 King of New York

#Winning with Holly

I had so many memorable moments during BOSatoga so it's difficult to name my favorite, but if I had to name only one, it was definitely meeting a three-year-old thoroughbred named Black Jack. The dark stallion never made it to the races due to an unfortunate injury, but had an aura about him that is hard to put into words. I know I'm going to sound like a mushy animal lover, but our connection brought me back to my horseback riding days with my father at Canton Equestrian Center. I swear, I'll have to return for a ride one of these days. My moments with Black Jack were luckily caught on film, so I'll have them forever.

My new friend, Black Jack

Laura of LoSo Fancy

Katherine of Style Tab

Amy of Cupcakes & Couture

Christine of Rules for the Modern Girl

The beauties behind Glamorous Baggage, Style by Tiffani and Notes on Lifestyle by Georgina

Photo by Dan Tordjman

A special thank you goes to Dan Tordjman and Victoria Garofalo of America's Best Racing and Don Little, Jr. of Centennial Farms in Beverly, MA.

Friday, August 22, 2014

All Hail the Zodiac

I've always been fond of “seeing into the future.” So naturally when I came across a recent Sagittarius horoscope on Refinery 29, I knew I had to share this glimpse into what some may say is meant to be. Could it be a mere coincidence that the stars have aligned precisely as these millennial wordsmiths have predicted? Perhaps. But for all I know, it's as simple as destiny and as beautiful as fate.

2015 Sagittarius Horoscope

"In the coming year, until August 2015, you may travel overseas to an exciting, exotic city far from home, to a location new to you. If you cannot get away to travel, you may expand your horizons in other ways, such as by going back to the university to get an advanced degree. Jupiter will not only open the door to make this opportunity possible but probable (assuming that would be a goal for you)."

I'm more of a European traveler than a Caribbean and South/Central America vacation goer. With that said, Buenos Aires still ranks high on my list, but places like the the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and Costa Rica just don't do it for me…although all quite lovely. Exotic European locales on my list include: Madeira, Capri and Santorini. My mom and I have been talking about a girls trip to Madeira for years. We need to make Maderia happen. Agora! Oh and let's add (French) St. Martin to the list. C'est bon.

As far as education goes, I don't need another advanced degree. Just for the heck of it, however, I’d love to crack open the books again and saturate myself into something like art history or theater arts -- something really cool that won't necessarily get me a job in that field (I'm content writing), but will sharpen my creativity and spark that vivid, only-child imagination that still runs deep.

"Also, glittering for you will be opportunities in broadcasting and publishing, as staff worker or as subject of an interview that may bring outstanding applause for your work. With Jupiter in the twelfth house, that indicates that you will have VIPs behind the scenes to help you in your career. Be ready with a polished resume and bio, for the new moon on August 25 will open the floodgates to new career offers that would give you the opportunity to raise your status and influence in your industry."

I mean, if this is not THE horoscope of horoscopes, then I don't know what is. This is just the type of fuel a Sagittarius hungry for her “big break” needs. Although my professional writing career began in 2002 and then took a hiatus for approximately 6 years (yeah, what the eff was I thinking?!), writing for me has always been a place where I go to escape the (sometimes) inescapable.

This month has also reinvigorated my passion for broadcasting, both as a reporter and subject, with the on-camera time in Saratoga Springs. According to the stars high up above, August 25 will usher in new opportunities that could CATapult my media career to the next level. We'll see, kittens. We'll see.
"While this may be a whirlwind few months, Sag, do not neglect your health. Now's the time to kick those bad habits to the curb, or seek help for any personal issues that need to be resolved. Make a change for the best. Know that all things are possible in the coming year, dear Sagittarius, for it’s simply dazzling.

Health and wellness are both very important in my life. Although sometimes I feel like I have 5 full-time jobs, I always make a point to take time out for me -- physically, emotionally and spiritually. Lack of sleep and caffeine overload combined with my "go, go, go" routine can start to take its toll after a few days since I'm no longer a spring chick. Yoga, cardio, writing, a walk on the beach, a kiss from Mr. Chat, a meow from Manolo, face-to-face time with family and friends (cue in a cappuccino or glass of wine for conversation sake) -- these are the people, places and things that help to calm me and put life into perspective.

images via Refinery 29

What does your horoscope have in store for 2015?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Seasons of Beauty

With September slithering its way into our lives in just two short weeks, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the whirlwind tour I've been on during the past four months. I've been busy and that's apparent given my lack of writing. For that, I apologize dear readers. I've been cruising along the coast, soaking up a little sun and laughing with like-minded ladies. To sum it up, I've been relishing in beautiful places and equally beautiful things.

Ever since I returned from London and Paris (I WILL be sharing my European excursion at some point), there has been a carousel of events, celebrations and commitments vying for my time and attention. Although I'm exhausted and slightly ready for the hibernation that is fall and (gasp) winter, I wouldn't change things one bit. Life's too short to skip what's important and as you know, writing and my relationships rank among the most important in my life.

Despite my blog taking a bit of a back seat this season and to be honest this entire year, I've never once forgotten about you -- my purrfectly chic readers whom I love and value so much. Thank you for continuing to relish in the beauty that is Rue Le Chat and enjoy these snapshots filled with love, laughter and life.

Mr. Chat and I toasted to our first class upgrade on Virgin Atlantic from Boston to London in April. It was a total splurge, but so very worth it. Trust me. 
Fly first or fly home, friends.

 Ello, London calling. So, I've waited 30-something years to take this picture and it was everything I thought it would be. London is just such a proper place brimming with rich history and designer style. Hats, fascinators, high tea, kings and queens. Don't mind the filth on the phone booth floor.
London, my dear chap, is for everyone.

No city in the world can compare to Paris. None. If you haven't been, add it to your list. You won't be sorry. When you're there, visit Pont de l'Archevêché // Love Lock Bridge. This was my second visit to the quintessential city of lights and celebrated land of love. Seventeen years ago, I just didn't get its mystique. My friends and I were too busy scouring the city for cute French boys which is totally natural for American girls in Paris. My second visit, with Mr. Chat, was beyond beautiful and left us breathless. Paris just has that je ne sais quoi. Oui.

My beautiful and beyond talented friend Alexis Kletjian doing what she does best -- talking jewels and gems at her recent launch party at Tryst Studio. Here she is with Boston style blogger Kerrie of Rarely Taken Seriously in what looks to be serious talk about bangles and other eye candy that's always a girl's best friend. Gentlemen take note and call Alexis for a custom piece for your lady.

Laughing with like-minded ladies, Georgian of Notes on Lifestyle by Georgina and Vanessa of Without a Measuring Cup at Tryst Studio. We love Boston, we love style…and of course we love good food and even better wine. 

Several times throughout the summer, Mr. Chat and I stop at Carolyn's Sakonnet Vineyard for a picnic on our way to Newport, RI. We've been going to Sakonnet for as long as I can remember -- definitely before it was "cool" and way before Carolyn Rafaelain, founder of Alex and Ani, purchased the winery in 2012. What's our secret? We always stop at Provender at Tiverton Four Corners for sandwiches (the bread is so good) and then continue our cruise down route 77 to the vineyard. A bottle of their sparkling Blanc de Blanc is always the elixir of choice. We veg on the grass, stroll miles of harvest and just get completely and utterly lost in the property's beauty. What do I always say about the ocean state?!

I always love a party hosted by uber-chic Boston Common. The magazine's collaboration with the Revere earlier this summer to kick-off the hotel's rooftop season was nothing short of the who's who in Boston.

It's never too late to do anything and my recent article for South Shore Living is proof. I took several magazine writing courses in college and for some reason it took me what seems like forever to finally write for a lifestyle glossy. In the July issue, I dish about solo artists and bands with ties to towns south of Boston. Check out center fold stars (above) the Aldous Collins Band.

A Sunday afternoon in Scituate needs no words (I know I just used a double negative, but it sounds good).

Photo Credit :: Alexis Kletjian
Last week, I had a rare and once in a lifetime opportunity to dust off my television persona and put my on-air interviewing skills to good use. Acting as a reporter of sorts for America's Best Racing and Fox Sports One, I had the time of my life interviewing fellow bloggers on our way from Boston to Saratoga Springs for a day at the races. I haven't been in front of a TV camera since my days at Boston Neighborhood Network (BNN) twelve years ago. Here's the package that aired during the Jockey Club Racing Tour on Fox Sports One. There will be more to come on the blog about my reporting efforts, Saratoga style and a new friend I made along the way. Stay tuned. Film at 11.

What have you been up to this summer?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

What's in for Skin?! Truffa Tells All

Christopher Truffa talks eyeshadow

Earlier this spring, I was invited to Bloomingdales to preview all-things beautiful and fresh for skin with my friends at Clarins. The French cosmetics brand was founded in 1954 by Jacques Courtin-Clarins who opened his first beauty spa on rue Tronchet in Paris. I had heard about the brand's skincare superhero, Christopher Truffa, and was excited to meet him and learn more.

Truffa, who joined Clarins as a brand ambassador in 2009, has been trotting the globe for years rearing beauty consultants, clients and connoisseurs alike. As a bonafied public speaker, he promotes the benefits of sunscreen, serums and stuff that just makes your skin look and feel like it's straight out of Vogue. Upon meeting Truffa, I was immediately drawn to him. His charm and wit were that of a best male friend who you chat with for hours on end.

But it was Truffa's passion for his profession that really struck me. I've written about finding and pursuing one's true passion in life so many times on this blog. And maybe it's because (at this point in my life) I'm only following my true calling on a part-time basis. Therefore, I embrace those who are doing what they love to do each and every day. But I digress. Here's a look at some of the treasures I received from the team at Clarins.

Insta Light Radiance Boosting Complexion Base ($37.00)
This was my first time using a liquid highlighter and it certainly won't be my last. Pushing my powder formula aside, I applied "Champagne 02" under my foundation on many a recent nights out with the girls. The formula works wonders at reducing redness and shine. Use it as an all-over primer (under your foundation) or as a spot treatment to target areas like your brow and upper cheekbones.

Opalescence Face and Blush Powder ($40.00)
So I have been completely obsessed with the Opalescence Face and Blush Powder since we first met. Not only is the design so pretty that you do not want to disturb, but the powder is a perfect mid-afternoon refresh for skin. You know that dreaded "office" feeling you get on your skin come two o'clock?! Well, this will help. The product works as a trifecta of sorts -- an all-over face powder (apply the matte pink/beige on oily areas), contour powder (the matte tan will define cheekbones) and blush (the matte coral looks killer on cheeks).

Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster ($30.00)
For those of us who don't necessarily need a self-tanner or who don't want to bask for hours in the sun (but still want a sun-kissed glow), there's Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster. I mean, even I could use a glow once in awhile…especially in the winter and spring...early summer too. I mixed one drop of Radiance-Plus with my night cream and applied it to my face and neck before bed. In the morning, my complexion was smooth and free from streaks. You can use up to three drops per application. And it won't stain your pillows!

Sunscreen Care Oil Spray SPF 30 ($35.00)
And if you're heading to the beach, boat or even backyard this season, do not forget your sunscreen. Clarins has newly launched Sunscreen Care Oil Spray with SPF 30 - a lightweight, oil-free spray designed especially for skin and hair that protects from the drying effects of sun, salt and chlorine. My bottle is tucked away in my beach bag and has already seen many rays of sun this season. Don't forget, summer officially begins this weekend on June 21.

 What was in my gift bag, you ask?!



Products courtesy of Clarins.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Sun Day, Fun Day

Sundays are bitter sweet. For me, the day is a mix of comfort, creativity, catch-up, clean-up and cooking eating. I awake at approximately eight o'clock. Yes, as in 8 A.M. Manolo's high pitched singing of M-E-O-W doesn't allow for much sleep past sunrise. After refreshing my skin, teeth and hair, I head to the kitchen where I manage to multitask the morning essentials -- feed the feline and make the coffee. I avoid accidentally pouring Purina into my Le Creuset French Press and serving Starbucks to my cat at all costs.

While savoring sip after robust sip of what is usually Cafe Verona, I read (newspapers, glossy magazines, coveted blogs), write (this is a no-brainer) and do arithmetic (gotta pays those bills). By mid-afternoon, I'm dashing up and down my tri-level townhouse in pursuit of dust bunnies and dainty droplets of white fur. Thank goodness for that Dyson Animal vac -- it's a neurotic cat lady's best friend. Truly. Laundry is also on my busy to-do list, but I love the smell of clean clothes so wash away I go. Come dusk, Mr. Chat and I reconvene in the kitchen where I open a bottle of our favorite red and he sautés something savory with red...sauce that is.

Yesterday was different though and in a much-needed way. I joined Amy of Cupcakes & Couture, Christine of Rule for the Modern Girl, Georgina of Notes on Lifestyle by Georgina, Julie of Posh and Prep and Lianna of Salem Style at Sam's at Louis for cocktails, cuisine and creative talk. Visit their blogs and show my friends lots of love!

"Like-minded Ladies Who Lunch" is what I unofficially called this gathering of social media gurus and style influencers (this could become a fantastic social group in the city). Thinking cap! I connect with these ladies on Twitter almost daily and we chat at events often, but honestly I never feel like there's enough time to talk on an intimate level. Brunch was just what we needed (or what I needed at least) and the scene at Sam's was topnotch -- beautiful people, bold Bloody Marys and a really good eggs Benedict topped with crab. All good things.

No doubt when friends get together (especially bloggers), they pose for about a million and one pictures. Georgina was kind enough to snap a few for me using Boston Harbor as a backdrop. And without intention, it seems like this will be my first-ever outfit post on the blog. Well, here goes nothing. Enjoy!

Eyewear: Givenchy  //  Handbag: Gucci
Jacket: T.J. Maxx  //  Blouse: Banana Republic
Jeans: Express  //  Flats: Attilio Giusti Leombruni
Necklace: Charming Charlie  //  Bagels: Alex and Ani  //  Timepiece: TAG Heuer

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Cat Chat :: Jessica Diaz - Boston Barre


I don’t know about you, but longer days combined with a balmy Boston breeze have always motivated me to slim down and shape up into a beach-worthy sculpture. But before summer, there’s spring and as we segue into a new season today, I’m delighted to feature a fabulous woman who’s devoted to fitness and thrives on the successes that have flourished from her personal fortitude.

Engage your core. Pull your belly into your spine,” touts barre instructor Jessica Diaz during any given BarSculpt session. Diaz, who splits her time between Charlestown Yoga and Sports Club/LA in Boston, just marked her one year anniversary teaching others how to trim, tighten and transform their torso. And with leading 6 to 8 classes per week plus teaching private sessions, her physique is proof that barre does a body good.

For the past decade, the long-haired brunette and mother of two has been practicing the Lotte Berk Method. This fusion of ballet, Pilates and sculpt has been around since the early 1970s, but has gained momentum in recent years. During her tenure as a student, Diaz trained at the top studios in Boston and among the best names in the business.

Diaz felt compelled to begin teaching after the birth of her second child. Having experienced a less than motivational moment in a class, she immediately knew she wanted to develop a routine as challenging as the ones offered at the popular studios, but with a deeper emphasis on individual fitness levels and goals. “I wanted to take the best of what I learned and combine it with what worked best for me,” Diaz explained. “I also wanted to promote an environment that made everyone feel comfortable.”

A variety of muscle groups are worked to the core (literally) in a 60-minute session. It's challenging indeed, but truly rewarding as body parts you never even knew you had start begging for mercy. Newcomers are encouraged to focus on creating movement from the part of the body being targeted. “You want to feel the area [you're targeting] actually working,” Diaz described. “A second important step is keeping your core engaged.”

Confessing she would have loved a career as a DJ, this music enthusiast shares her love for melody by compiling a killer playlist for each class. I’m convinced it’s the tunes that get many of us through the trials and tribulations of toning our tush, tummy, triceps and other areas too. 

But this busy wife, mother, instructor and secret record-spinner has yet another duty on her dossier, she’s a brand ambassador for Splits59. The athletic apparel brand recently named her a “Firestarter” and in turn Diaz shares feedback on new products and contributes to the company’s blog. I'm always on the hunt for great workout clothes and Splits59 is a favorite,” she said. Tendu Grip Tights are perfect for barre work because they have grips on the bottom of the foot.

A typical day for Diaz starts with coffee at 5:45 a.m. About an hour later, it’s time to move those muscles at her first BarSculpt class of the day. After her morning session, she sends her kids off to school and then it’s time for a personal workout, meetings, appointments and whatever else is vying for her attention that day. “It’s busy, but I love it,” she said. “I have an extremely supportive husband who’s always my partner is juggling our busy life.

Diaz admits attempting to find balance on a daily basis is nearly impossible for her. As an alternative, she opts to structure her laundry list into whole weeks which offers her more control and flexibility. And when it comes to seeking inspiration and motivation, this go-getter who's always eager to add more to her plate draws energy from those around her. I'm amazed by the funny and smart women I know and the positive influence they have on me.

Accomplished women like Diaz who absolutely love their work, welcome new opportunities and are able to harmonize all that’s important in life always inspire me to continue in my personal quest for success and happiness. I’m honored to know her and she’s certainly one to watch.

Jessica Diaz can be reached via Facebook