See how the Brooklyn-based brand is creating awareness for rescue animals (and fashion-forward pooches) one leash at a time

By Sarah Emily Gilbert

Image Courtesy of Found My Animal on Instagram 

Some things are meant to be, just ask Bethany Obrecht and Anna Conway, cofounders of the pet accessory brand Found My Animal. In 2006, Obrecht and Conway ran into each other while walking their rescue Chihuahuas who were both named Walter. As if that wasn’t enough of a sign, the two also went to art school and were looking to use their craft in order to help animals. Thanks to Obrecht and Conway’s eye for design (and love for all things named Walter), they were able to launch Found My Animal. more

From moisturizing shampoos to nourishing serums, R+Co is ready to revamp your tresses for fall

By Sarah Emily Gilbert

With school starting and Labor Day right around the corner, it seems as though all signs of summer are quickly disappearing. That is, except, when it comes to our hair. For many of us, the long days spent on the beach or in the chlorinated pool show on our strands. Whether you’re dealing with bleached out hair color, an extra dry scalp, or brittle and damaged ends, R+Co is equipped with the products to get your mane in shape for fall. more

A mesmerizing collection of photographs of the world’s most majestic trees

By Sarah Emily Gilbert

Knotted and gnarled, solid and strong, every tree tells a story, and in Ancient Trees: Portraits of Time, they’re able to do just that. From the United States and Europe to Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, Beth Moon’s collection of photographs capture the world’ most enchanted trees. The result of her 14-year search for the perfect subjects, Moon’s book provides immensely detailed images of trees in their natural environments. Using her signature platinum printing process, Moon’s photographs offer a depth of tonality that emphasizes the weathered exteriors of these massive beauties. Complete with Moon’s narrative captions that describe the natural and cultural history of each tree, the tomb provides a stunning documentation of how trees can thrive when virtually untouched by civilization. more

Mezxalita de Pifia (margaritas)=Fidencio Mezcal Joven, grilled pinapple, jalapeno, cliantro,agave,lime

By Sarah Emily Gilbert

Toloache is a staple in fine Mexican cuisine in New York City. The creation of esteemed chef Julian Medina in 2007, Toloache has since expanded to locations in downtown and midtown Manhattan, as well as its Lower East Side.   Originally from Mexico City, Chef Medina brings his native country’s cultural flare to both the restaurants’ food and its décor. The menu features traditional Mexican cuisine like their famous guacamole, slow braised carnitas, and chapulines tacos. Did I mention that “chapulines” translates to “grasshoppers” in Spanish?

Those who get creepy-crawlies at the thought of eating bugs should know that Toloache’s grasshopper tacos are famously delicious. In fact, they’re a common Mexican delicacy that Chef Medina grew up eating as a snack. Served at all three Toloache locations and Medina’s other restaurant Tacuba in Astoria, the grasshopper tacos offer a nutty taste that’s packed with protein. Chef Medina sautés the grasshoppers with jalapenos and onion and then tops his homemade tacos with guacamole and salsa verde. Toloache suggests pairing their chapulines tacos with the Mezcalita de Pina, a smoky pineapple cocktail with mezcal, and their avocado fries with spicy ketchup. So hop your way over to Toloache for a dish that will have you saying, “Ole!” more

“I have known for as long as I can remember that I was going to be an artist.”

By Sarah Emily Gilbert

Images courtesy of Clio Newton

While most 26 year olds are still trying to decide their longtime careers, Clio Newton has had it figured out since she was a little girl. She would be an artist.

Newton’s self-assuredness came as a result of her art-filled childhood in Madison, Connecticut. Her dad, a steel sculptor, and her mother, a farmer and photographer, would have Newton shadow them as they worked on their designated projects. more

See how the British artist’s inspiration comes into full bloom

By Sarah Emily Gilbert

There’s nothing more eye-catching than a vibrant bouquet of flowers – except, of course, when there’s over 16,000 flowers of 14 different species hanging from the ceiling of an entire room. Just ask British artist Rebecca Louise Law, the woman behind the breathtaking “Flowers Outside: In Encased” exhibit that was featured in the lobby of the Viacom headquarters in NYC this past January. more

PortraitAcclaimed owner of Chango & Co. interior design firm, Susana Simonpietri, guides Urban Agenda NYC through some of her most striking creations

By Sarah Emily Gilbert

When your past projects include collaborations on residential interiors for Lenny Kravtiz, P.Diddy, and Damon Dash, you know you have made a name for yourself. However, when Susana Simonpietri would sit in the aisle of an England bookstore thumbing through interior design and architecture books (when she should’ve been buying novels for her B.A. in comparative literature), Simonpietri had no idea she would start the esteemed NYC interior design firm, Chango & Co.

A graduate of the Pratt Institute with a Masters degree in Interior Design and Architecture, Simonpietri is not only a dexterous designer, but also a literary maven. Before finding her niche in interior design, Simonpietri received a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature from the University of Puerto Rico, which included studies at La Sorbonne, Paris and the University of Warwick, England.  more

See the quintessential NYC artist’s work at MAD Museum

By Sarah Emily Gilbert

American artist Richard Estes’ work is on display at the NYC Museum of Art and Design (MAD) until September 20, 2015. The exhibition includes a full range of Este’s paintings and works on paper including his photographs, silkscreens, and woodcuts that capture the breathtaking architecture and sensory overload that is NYC. Since 1958, when he first moved to NYC from Chicago, Estes has become one of the leaders in the Photo Realism movement. After taking dozens of photographs of the city, Estes would cut and paste them together in order to assemble the perfect scene to recreate with his paints. His art features his knack for painting reflective surfaces and light and capturing the cityscape at multiple angles. Below, MAD Museum provides a sampling of some of Estes most recognized artworks.

 more

From Mexican food to “me time,” this flower phenom knows what he can’t live without

By Sarah Emily Gilbert

Jeff Leatham’s projects are always in full bloom. When he’s not at his art-directing job at the Four Seasons Hotel in Paris or designing flower arrangements for the likes of Tina Turner or the late Alexander McQueen, he might be at a book signing, working on his fall fragrance collection, or designing the 2015 holiday windows for Bloomingdales. Yet, amidst it all, the celebrity florist took the time to share his ten favorite things with Urban Agenda NYC. more

By Taylor Smith

Practice the art of “diving within” (as David Lynch would say) at the Rubin Museum of Art with weekly meditation sessions offered by master meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg and others from the New York Insight Meditation Center.

The Rubin Museum is also pleased to offer a podcast of each weekly practice. Click here, to access the podcast on your mobile device or computer.

Upcoming Mindfulness Meditation Schedule for September 2015: more

By Taylor Smith

The Nicholas Roerich Museum is housed in a stately, yet subdued building in New York’s Upper West Wide. The Russian-born painter and spiritualist explored the mystic qualities and majesty of Russia, the Himalayas, and Central Asia. more

Dineh Mohajer of Smith & Cult gives us an insider look at Fall 2015 nail trends

By Sarah Emily Gilbert

Whether you’re feeling pretty in pink or beautiful in black, Smith & Cult Nailed Lacquer has you – and your nails – covered. This lux polish comes in a diverse array of hues that are made with a 5-free, non-toxic formula that gives your nails a bold, gel-manicure-like finish. Co-founded by beauty maven Dineh Mohajer, Smith & Cult nail polish is always featuring the latest and greatest in nail fashion. Below, the beauty junkie herself shares her go-to nail trends for fall – and her fabulously witty prose – with Urban Agenda NYC. more

By Taylor Smith

Images courtesy of Buly 1803

In 2014, the artist Ramdane Touhami and his wife Victoire de Taillac revived the French apothecary and dispensary, Bully, that opened in 1787. This 19th century perfurmery was founded by Jean-Vincent Bully who had great success with his “Vinaigre de Toilette.” Bully provided the leading fragrances for France’s 19th century ladies and gentlemen and eventually patented the “Vinaigre de Bully,” an aromatic lotion meant to soothe the skin and preserve youthfulness.  Bully eventually served as the inspiration behind the character César Birotteau written by Balzac. more

Web 1The internationally acclaimed interior designer gives Urban Agenda an inside look at some of her most representative designs

By Sarah Emily Gilbert

Having Deborah French give you the background on the products in her interior designs is like getting a tour of the world. From Uzbekistani pillows to a Swedish farm chair, the pieces used in French’s interiors are steeped in cultural history.

Perhaps, it’s French’s own history that connects her to these pieces. After receiving her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), her MFA from the University of Illinois, and completing her final year of graduate work at the Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program, French went on to become the Senior Designer at Dineen Nealy Architects. Immediately recognized for her artistic eye, French became the Director of Store Development at Polo Ralph Lauren, where she was responsible for the design of some of the brand’s most important freestanding stores through out the globe, including their largest shop in Omotesando, Tokyo. She was then recruited by the internationally recognized Ian Schrager Company to be the Executive Vice President of Interior Design for their project with the J.W. Marriott luxury hotel brand.  more

Graffiti Food & Wine Bar might be tiny, but its food is packed with an explosion of flavor. Located in the East Village, this eclectic restaurant is just as vibrant as its name suggests. Chef and owner Jehangir Mehta uses his inventive and progressive approach to cooking to draw out the strongest flavors in his international dishes. He combines Asian ingredients with French and American cuisine in order to create unique entrees that often feature fruit and spice. more

Newborn and infant photographers to the stars, Keri Meyers and Jennifer Blakeley share their tricks on effortlessly handling newborn babies (and their celebrity parents) while capturing them in stunning portraits

By Sarah Emily Gilbert

Being able to capture photographs of your child’s milestones is like a parental duty, yet it’s often next to impossible. There’s the infamous photo of children hysterically crying on the Easter Bunny’s lap. There’s the attempt to get little one’s eyes open for the annual holiday card, and we can’t forget the oft-missed documentation of the first day of school because the bus came early. Luckily, there are two women who are professionals at child portraiture – literally. Keri Meyers and Jennifer Blakeley are co-owners of the esteemed newborn and child photography company, Keri & Jen.

 more

Achieve the perfect plait at these hip NYC Braid Bars

By Sarah Emily Gilbert

Braids are the foolproof hairstyle for any situation. Hair’s a day old? Braid it. Is the weather hot and humid? Braid it. Going on a date? Braid it. Okay, so you get the idea – braids are the best, but they’re not always the easiest to master.

While braids are having a moment in the fashion world, they can be complicated to achieve on your own. Luckily, “Braid Bars” are popping up all over New York City. As their name suggests, Braid Bars are places where women can quickly and easily get their hair braided before hitting the town. From walk-ins to scheduled appointments, Braid Bars offer a myriad of options and styles to accommodate every woman for any situation. Below, Urban Agenda outlines some of the best places to get the perfect plait in NYC. more

Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft and Design, Midcentury and Today at The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) in New York, considers the important contributions of women to modernism in postwar visual culture. In the 1950s and 60s, an era when painting, sculpture, and architecture were dominated by men, women had considerable impact in alternative materials such as textiles, ceramics, and metals. Largely unexamined in major art historical surveys, either due to their gender or choice of materials, these pioneering women achieved success and international recognition, establishing a model of professional identity for future generations of women. more

Achieve the perfect ice-cream creation in the comfort of your kitchen

“Say arrivederci to your old ice cream maker and ciao to easy ice cream making, as just about anyone can make these tasty favorites. Whether it’s fun in the sun, or a night in by the fire, these glorious creations are perfect for any occasion.” – Pavilion Publishing more

By Sarah Emily Gilbert

55 Bond Street, NYC (between Lafayette Street & Bowery)

The beautiful ambiance and classic French cuisine at Le Philosophe makes their restaurant-goers feel like they’re having a romantic evening in Paris. The modern bistro’s delicious seasonal plates with creative twists have placed it among the premiere French restaurants in NYC according to Zagat.com and the Newyorker.com. Complete with a wall filled with photographs of French philosophers, an extensive wine list, and cuisses de grenouilles (better known as frog legs), Le Philosophe provides an immersive French dining experience in the center of Noho. more

Healthy Dessert might sound like an oxymoron, but these health-conscious bakeries prove that guilt-free treats do exist

By Sarah Emily Gilbert

Babycakes NYC

Website: https://www.erinmckennasbakery.com/new-york-city/

Location: 248 Broome Street

Celebrated vegan baker, Erin Mckenna, owns Babycakes NYC where patrons can indulge in vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, and refined-sugar free cupcakes. Mckenna (who isn’t even vegan herself) substitutes white sugar for agave, rice and coco milk instead of dairy, and coco oil instead of canola. But the one thing that is not substituted for at Babycakes is the incredible taste of its products. Stop by McKenna’s quaint Lower East Side shop to try them out for yourself. more

Weekly home and design picks from our Editor, Lynn Adams Smith

Home goods from Aidan Gray

Founded in 2003, Aidan Gray a leading brand in home furnishingshome decor and accessorieslightingchandeliers and antique reproductions. The Texas-based company represents a love for interiors, design, and authentic pieces that exude “European Grandeur.” more

Be a Weekend Warrior at M. Wells Steakhouse

“M. Wells Steakhouse in Long Island City is located ‘in the middle of nowhere and everywhere’.  Until sunset, the restaurant’s big airy room basks in sunshine from skylights set over the restaurant.  The enclosed terrace has a bar to saddle up to for drinks or something out of the wood oven.  In addition to beef cuts of all kinds, their guests enjoy the season’s most beautiful fruits and vegetables, the raw bar, their fresh trout and lots of other seafood.  more

Where are the best spots to visit in Napa? Assouline’s gorgeous book answers all your wine-themed questions

By Sarah Emily Gilbert

Assouline publishing’s In the Spirit of Napa with text by Jennifer Raiser provides the perfect mental reprieve from this heat wave. The stunning images of the valley’s rolling hills, sprawling vineyards, and impressive estates make you feel as if you’re amidst the dry air of Napa Valley sipping a glass of wine. Better yet, it helps you make your imaginings a reality by providing readers with a trip-planning guide to the region. The book includes surveys of Napa Valley’s local food and wine establishments, while specifying the best places for sightseeing, entertaining, recreation, and more. So, pour yourself a glass of wine and get some inspiration for your next trip to Napa through the stunning images below. more

If you’re looking for a relaxed, comfortable place to have food or drinks with your friends, Oliver Stumm’s Cafe Select is your go-to spot. Designed like an imaginary European train station cafeteria, Café Select combines the best of Stumm’s native Switzerland with New York City in both its food and decor. The casual chic atmosphere attracts young professionals working in nearby agencies who often become Café Select regulars. more

The homemade cook tells us about her new book, The Homemade Kitchen

By Sarah Emily Gilbert

Have you ever wondered why your attempts at cooking never look like the pictures in the glossy recipe books? Well, cookbook author, food blogger, and working mother Alana Chernila certainly has. And while Chernila writes books with gorgeous images of food inside, she is the first to admit that her cooking is far from picture perfect. Working at home in a house that she shares with her parents, 17-year-old sister, two young daughters, and husband in the Berkshires, Chernila’s life is a controlled chaos. Clear boundaries have to be set while Chernila is working so that she doesn’t go off to clean the bathroom or do laundry once she’s in her workspace. more

By Linda Arntzenius

After a four-year ban that prevented him from all international travel and kept him from visiting Princeton in 2012, Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei has had his passport returned to him.

Last week, Mr. Ai posted a photo of himself on Instagram holding the document, which had been confiscated by Chinese authorities following the artist’s outspoken remarks on number of national scandals, including collapse of badly-constructed schools during a 2008 earthquake.  more

Weekly home and design picks from our Editor, Lynn Adams Smith

Lighting by Jamie Young Co. 

In May of 1997 Jamie Young Jeter and David Jeter, both artists with a passion for travel, took a day trip to Mexico, where they filled their car with interesting gardening pots they discovered in a roadside shop. more

Shakespeare in the Park begins performances of Cymbeline on Thursday, directed by Tony winner Daniel Sullivan.

Preview the Mostly Mozart festival for free at a concert on Saturday night at Lincoln Center. more

teNeues publishing shares their appreciation for the Big Apple in their colorful art book

By Sarah Emily Gilbert

Whether you’re riding the tube in London or walking the streets of Japan, it’s not uncommon to spot the famous “I ❤ NY” t-shirt that’s available at seemingly every bodega and souvenir shop in NYC. No matter where you’re from, it’s virtually impossible not to fall for the lit up Empire State Building, get overcome by the green space in Central Park, or swoon over the stylish dames on Madison Avenue. Simply put by teNeues September 2015 title, Everyone Loves New York. Edited by the art book specialist, Leslie Jonath, Everyone Loves New York showcases the best of NYC through eclectic and vibrant illustrations created by artists from around the world. more