Mast Brothers Brooklyn Chocolate Tour

There are few things more fun then spending an evening learning and tasting chocolate with friends after a long day at work.

mast brothers maple

Almost a year ago, I discovered the brand while perusing the chocolate section at our local grocery store and since then have visited their Williamsburg location two times. Previously our small chocolate stash was primarily Swiss chocolate, heavily influenced from our time living there, but over the past few months more and more Mast Brothers chocolate has found its way into our house.  Therefore, when Gilt City invited Heather, Diana, Alanna, Christine and I for private tour at Mast Brothers Chocolate factory and show room in Brooklyn, I was elated!

Mast brothers bloggers

mast brothers behind the scenes

This behind-the-scenes tour which took place at their original, Williamsburg location provided us with a better understanding of not only how they make their chocolate but also how it is different than other chocolate brands.  During the tour we learned a great deal ranging from the details behind the process to the history of the brand.

mast brothers

  • The company was started by two brothers, Rick and Michael, one a chef and the other a business man.
  • They sold their first bars (17 to be exact) on their first day at Brooklyn based Artists & Flea
  • They now have three locations: Williamsburg, LA and London.
  • They pride themselves on including no more than 6 ingredients in any bar.
  • Cacoa nibs are made of half cocoa solids and half cocoa butter.
  • The nib portion boast many health benefits due to the fact that each serving contains flavanoids, antioxidants, 9 grams of fiber, magnesium, and potassium!
  • They have a base line of popular chocolate flavors but also introduce seasonal collections each year.
  • They do their best to source the ingredients for the chocolate from local or small farms and business partners such as Stumptown Coffee for the coffee that goes in their coffee bar.
  • Their recent collection is an herb collection, of which lavender is their most popular!
  • My personal favorite flavors are sea salt, goat milk, and lavendar in the perfectly portioned small 1.0 oz size bars.

If you want to enjoy your own tour of the factory, check out the great deal Gilt City is offering through tomorrow which includes a $20 credit to spend on chocolate! It saves you more than 50% and would make a great date night or weekend activity with friends or out-of-town guests!

Interested to try Gilt City? One lucky reader will win a $50 Gilt gift card! 

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Gilt City covered the cost of this tour but we were not compensated and all opinions, as always, are my own. 


Six Weeks of Bar Method

I’m that girl who loves recommendations. Whether I’m shopping on Sephora or looking up a restaurant, I always read the reviews and ask people for recommendations. When Kristine couldn’t stop raving about Bar Method, I knew that I needed to give it a second chance, especially since there is a location just a few blocks from our apartment. Six weeks and 14 classes later, I couldn’t be happier that I took her recommendation. The Bar Method Brooklyn has helped me stand taller, lose inches, gain strength, and most importantly, feel part of a community.

Based off the workout created by Lotte Berk, a German dancer, in the 1930’s Bar Method combines ballet bar and dance conditioning into one class. In 1959, she opened her first studio in London, sharing the Lotte Berk Method with students. In 1971, one of her students, Lydia Bach, bought the rights and brought it to the United States. Bar Method, as we know it today, was started by Burr Leonard, one of Lydia’s students. The Bar Method is based on the Lotte Berk method but has been improved and optimized based on input from physical therapists, ensuring that each exercise is not only effective but also safe. I had the chance to take a class at the flagship location in San Francisco, last week with Kristine! Since this first studio opened in 2001, they have grown to over 80 studio locations, including my local Brooklyn studio.

bar method brooklyn fall
While there are many studios in New York City that I enjoy, the Bar Method Brooklyn is very different than most NYC studios. As soon as you walk through the doors, you are greeted by a spacious, bright, airy space as well as very friendly staff. The staff makes it their goal to know each student on a personal basis, whether it’s by asking about their family or latest travels. I think part of this community is because the owner, Katie Muehlenkamp, was born and raised in Brooklyn. She knows how important community is in Brooklyn and wants to build that same community at her studio. On my first visit, the staff asked me about my current fitness routine so they could better explain how Bar Method can supplement the routine and which moves would be most beneficial.


This Bar Method location has two studios, a full locker room and shower area, as well as child care facility. Child care is offered for an average of two classes per day, a very welcome benefit for local parents. The studio is far more spacious than most, featuring wall-to-wall carpeting as well as a wall of windows which allow light to stream into the classroom. The carpet still looks brand new since every student is required to wear socks during the class. The studio can easily accommodate up to 30 students, providing plenty of space for stretching and moves at the bar.
The class itself is 60 minutes in length, including a warm-up and cool-down section. You will use two sets of hand weights, a lighter and heavier set, as well as other props such as balls, straps and mats. During the class, the teacher and assistants make things simple by providing you with the props you need for each move. Another Bar Method signature is the personal adjustments and attention they provide to each student. During class, expect to be adjusted or provided verbal cues no less than two times even if you are a Century Student, who has attended over 100 classes. The teachers want to ensure that every student gets the most out of the 60-minute class by having perfect, precise form.

Most people wear tanks, leggings and grippy socks for class though you can wear regular socks as well. The class begins with a dynamic warm-up that gets your joints lubricated and blood flowing. After the warm-up, you will move directly into upper-body that changes each day. Most days it includes moves that work the biceps, lats and triceps including arm curls, tricep extensions and tricep dips. Each class also includes 60 push-ups, which are spread between each section of class. As of this morning’s class, I am finally able to do all three sets of 20 pushups on my hands and toes, a huge improvement from where I started six weeks ago. Following the upper-body sequence, the class moves to the barre where you’ll spend around 20 minutes doing moves that will humble you and make your thighs, calves, glutes and abs quiver. In between each set, there is time for a deep stretch that helps lengthen and release the shaking muscles. The stretching sections are 30-seconds to one minute, providing ample time to lengthen and relax the muscles. Finally, the class moves to the center of the room for 10 minutes of ab work and glute work on the mat. This section often includes curls that engage the deepest ab muscles, helping to smooth and strengthen the core. Once the core work is is complete, students are rewarded with a final stretch and cool down session that leverages a strap to help students get deeper into each move.

bar method stretch

After the 60-minute class, I may not always be sweating but I always walk out feeling taller, stronger and leaner. Over the past six weeks, I have averaged two classes per week in addition to running three times per week. The Bar Method has started to change my body, most noticeably my posture and legs. I lost an inch from my waist during the six weeks and a half inch from each thigh. While this was a nice side effect, I was more excited by the way Bar Method improved my running. The perfect complement to running, many of Bar Method’s exercises strengthen the knees by strengthening the surrounding muscles in a low impact way. My new found core and leg strength has allowed me to feel stronger during hills and speed work as well as run three half marathons and Reach the Beach within a five week period without injury.

bar method lockers

Want to try Bar Method Brooklyn for yourself? Book a class via ClassPass or, sign up for their new client special. The special is $99 for a month of unlimited classes!

*Thank you to Bar Method Brooklyn for you support and partnership. I was not compensated for this review though I was provided a discounted media partner rate. 


Two New Health and Wellness Trends

The only thing I enjoy reviewing more than workout classes is beauty and spa treatments. Similar to workout classes, these treatments have the ability to relax and rejuvenate me in just a few minutes. Since New York City seems to unveil new trends faster than the Kardashians find a new tabloid topic, it can be difficult and downright intimidating to keep up with these fads.

Lucky for you, I tried out two of the hottest trends for you. If you’re a New York City local I highly recommend you add these to your list of things to try and if you’re a tourist, they are each a must if you are a health and beauty maven!

Face Love Fitness

Face Love Fitness– While this chic start-up is currently located in an adorable pop-up shop in the Financial District, the minute you sit down in their relaxing lounge chair, you’ll forget where you are. Face Love Fitness doesn’t offer facials or other treatments. Instead, they have pioneered a 15 and 30 minute workout routine for your FACE. Yup, you read that right. During the 30-minute FaceLove workout, my face was treated to a warm-up, high intensity workout and cooldown in a session that reminded me of a personal training session. Using multiple tools, including Pilates rings, my face was put through different exercises and movements which released tension, promoted oxygen and blood flow and rejuvenated my skin. Similar to a one-on-one personal training session, my instructor, the lovely and flawless founder Rachel, taught me about the importance of each exercise as well as a way to do it at home during the session. After the workout my face looked flawless and as if it was five years younger. My complexion was radiant and bright while my wrinkles were diminished.  The 30-minute workout session is $50 while the 15 minute workout session is $30. For those people who want to do a mid-day session, don’t worry about removing your makeup. Since you won’t sweat, the treatment can be done with or without makeup and they even have a small touch-up area for both your hair and makeup.

Would I pay for this?  While I can’t afford the weekly or bi-weekly workouts, I would definitely book a treatment before a black-tie event or after a stressful week when I can use some relaxation and pampering with a dose of wrinkle release.  

Lift Next Level Floats

Lift Floats – Whether you get your news from Daily Burn or the New York Times, it’s clear that floating or sensory deprivation is a hot fitness and health trend right. For those of you who haven’t heard about it, floating basically is a relaxing bath tub on steroids. For many people, there is nothing more relaxing than a lengthy evening bath complete with soothing music and bath salts. Each pod or tank combines over 1,000 pounds of Epsom salts in the warm water so that you can float effortlessly. While Epsom salts are known to many for their relaxing and holistic benefits, floating has an even more important benefit. It allows you to spend the time exerting zero effort. The team at Lift Floats, down the street from our apartment, welcomed me in for an hour float session so I could personally check out the trend. After a brief introduction to the gorgeous, loft like space, I was escorted to my tank. I chose a tank over a pod since I don’t love small spaces, though I immediately was struck with many questions regarding the tank. Would water fall out when I open the door, how deep was it, would I be able to float? Luckily, I quickly learned that the tank is a glorified bathtub. Only a few feet of water filled the large tank but over 1,000 pounds of salt would ensure that I floated and never touched bottom. The tank featured lights and spa-like music which I personally chose to turn off. I wanted the full experience of floating in total darkness. After a quick shower to rinse off, I put in two ear plugs to ensure that salt water wouldn’t get into my ears. With a large step, I entered the tank as if it was my bath tub at home. I gingerly laid myself into the water, sure that I would immediately sink. Science proved me wrong and I quickly floated to the top, adjusting my arms alongside my body. Similar to savasana, I found that lying with my hands palm down is most comfortable instead of cactus arms or palms up. I calmed my mind in the same way I do after a busy day, by counting backwards. After 200 counts I felt my entire body relax, as if melting into the water. For the next 58 minutes I wavered between sleep and a very relaxed state of awake. I thought about nothing until the lights started to gently brighten, signaling the end of my session.  Similar to the calm and enjoyment that I find from savasana, floating allowed me to fully relax in a way that I have never done while awake. I have never been able to calm my mind enough to find a meditation practice but while floating I was able to zone out for 60 minutes and fully relax. As the staff warned, I emerged from the water as limp and relaxed as a noodle, wanting nothing more than a fluffy robe and glass of tea. Instead, I headed home to cook dinner but found that by 9 pm, just a few hours later, I could barely stay awake.

Would I pay for this? Ideally, I would float once a week on Friday evenings as a way to welcome the weekend. But, similar to many health and wellness treatments, I can’t afford to make a float session a weekly treat. The $99 price tag that accompanies the hour long float session means that this will be a treat, used as a reward after especially tough races or work weeks.

Want more proof before you choose to book these sessions? Check out Theodora and Meaghan’s reviews!

Have you ever floated or had a facial workout? What were your thoughts?