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Brunch at Elephant & Castle in Greenwich Village

I’m actually starting to venture out more and try new places, which was kind of the spirit of how this blog came about when I first moved to NY. I’ve found some gems (more on that later this week), but every once in a while I come across a complete disappointment. Elephant & Castle in Greenwich Village is one of them.

I arrive there on a Sunday morning with my friend Priya and her two-year-old daughter Madina. When we walked in, they said it’d be a 20 minute wait — pretty standard, if not, even a little better than most popular brunch spots in NY. We said no problem, and walked around to get Madina something to eat. We come back 15 minutes later, and I walked in to ask for a menu to peruse while we want but before I even say anything, the host barks at me, “I told you 25 minutes!” Woah.

Madina insisting on feeding me her avocado while we wait outside :)


I try once more to ask for a menu, but he interrupts me again by waving his hand and shaking his head, “Come back in 20 minutes.” Again I try a third time to ask and when he finally let me get a word in, he realizes his mistake and hands me a menu. You might wonder why we didn’t leave at this point (actually, I wish I had) but brunch on a Sunday in the W. Village with a hungry child would mean another hour wait, so we decided to stick to it.

We wait outside for another 15 minutes and then are promptly seated in a table with three chairs. Whoever led us in apologized, and we were hoping the experience would improve.

Madina continues feeding me butter inside the restaurant


The place is small and buzzy. The waitress finally comes and I give my order for the Canyonland Poached Eggs which comes with balsamic jus, fresh tarragon, tomatoes, avocado, wild mushrooms and a side of a toasted English Muffin. Priya was stuck though, so I ask the waitress, “What do you recommend?” She curtly answers, “Well, I don’t know what kind of things you like…” No help there. I try to rephrase, “OK, what’s your most popular dish here?” She answers, “What you just ordered.” Nothing more. Priya was quickly scanning the menu as the waitress stares on without any indication of assistance. Priya hurriedly picks a sandwich and immediately regretted it.

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JCPenney, Jets + Chefs Tailgate for NYCWFF (plus a giveaway!)

By Nicci Jordan Hubert

Jets + Chef at NYCWFF


I moved to NYC eight years ago, yet despite its ubiquity, I can’t seem to commit to becoming a fan of NYC sports. My inner Midwesterner will not allow it. But what I CAN root for is a tailgate party of any kind, even better if it’s hosted by the one and only Mario Batali, alongside Hall of Famer Joe Namath.

Guess who...


Endless treats


Any party hosted by Batali is serious business. And graciously sponsored by JCPenney (with all profits going to feed the hungry in NYC), this was a food festival to end all food festivals. First off, Tito’s and Blue Moon were offered in endless supply. Then there were the booths upon booths of high-end food being offered in small-plate format. Gluten-free diet be damned.

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JCPenney’s role was crucial, because the place felt comfortable and cool, thanks to the comfy seating and the decor. Even the stage where Mario and Joe were set to present was decked in JCPenney’s new collection, whose focus is on bright colors and modern design. I left the full, a little tipsy, and very content.

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Paintbox nail studio in Soho

Paintbox has been getting a lot of buzz lately. The manicure-only nail studio opened its doors in the SoHo just earlier this year in May, and sets itself apart simply by staying on top of it.

Paintbox in SoHo


Want a menu of trendy, curated colors and designs? They have it. A portfolio of different colors and formulas? Done. They’re not brand snobs either, rather they have careful and well-thought out colors so you step out with a gorgeous stand-out manicure. I was invited to check it out, and the design I ended up with was easily one of my favorites ever.

Paintbox reception area


I was greeted with apple tea and a lookbook of their Fall 2014 collection, a spread of different nail designs and color combos. My manicurist Elissa (who rocks, by the way — find her on Insta at @nailme.e) helped me narrow it down to their Hot Shot design — a canvas of glossy black topped with gold and green metallic foil.

A selection of Paintbox's Fall collection


Apple tea :)


Each station has charging docks for your phone (a lifesaver for me, I didn’t charge my phone the night before and it was already dying when I got there). Elissa carefully cleaned up my cuticles and applied two coats of Floss Gloss black, then (“the fun part” she said), slithers of glue which she then dabbed the foils on, and finished with a clear top coat. She moved me to their bar area for my nails to dry, added some quick-drying drops, and I was good to go. I was in and out in 45 minutes and my manicure held up beautifully.

Bar/drying area


Fall design in Hot Shot


I normally get so bored with nail polish that I rarely venture in nail designs, but I’m obsessed with this combo. It’s dark for Fall, but the foils keeps it from looking dull. I already got so many compliments on it. If you’re looking for an elegant salon that doubles as a relaxing oasis in the city, make a stop here. You can look at their current collections and even book ahead online at paint-box.com.

Regular polish manicure, $35. Manicure with design, $55.

Salon Info:
Paintbox

17 Crosby St
Manhattan, NY 10013
btw Grand St & Howard St
(212) 219-2412
SoHo


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Shy
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The best Rembrandt commercial ever…

…mostly because my cute Ms. Marvel cuz is in it, and they definitely captured how funny/awkward she can be (totally saying that out of love :D ). Check it out:


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Shy
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At-home keratin treatment — does it work?

There’s a reason keratin treatments are so popular. Women shell out hundreds of dollars every few months to soften the frizz and tame the kinks and cut their drying time in half (to read more about what keratin treatments do exactly for your hair, check out my post here and here). I’ve read about at-home keratin treatments and was wondering if they compare. Rio de Keratin was one of them. The brand is DIY 100% formaldeyde-free (a carcinogen-emitting ingredient found in many salon treatments of the same kind) at-home keratin treatment, and its key ingredients include keratin, vitamin E, and jojoba and coconut oils. I met the founder, Nadine Ramos, at an event for the products recently and she has the most stunningly glossy head of hair, so I decided I needed to know if this worked.

Rio de Keratin (their new packaging is so pretty!)

I feel my hair is still pretty smooth from the last keratin treatment I did, so I enlisted the help of a friend to test it out instead. My friend Q has wavy, sometimes-frizzy, and dry hair mostly from heat damage (self-described…I like to say she’s an off-duty model).

The instructions were less intimidating than I thought. It says to first shampoo your hair (no conditioner!) with the shampoo in the kit and do a rough blow dry until hair is completely dry. Next, section off hair, spritz the keratin spray on the first section and flat iron. Do this section by section until you finish all of your hair. Lastly, don’t wash for another 24 hours. Afterwards, continue using the kit’s shampoo and conditioner for best results.

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Styling Bonobos Menswear Fall Pieces for women

Menswear line Bonobos just came out with their Fall suit collection, and gave me the fun task to take some of their pieces to style for women. I love adding a men’s piece to an outfit — big watches, oversized button-ups…I may even be guilty of wearing cologne sometimes (what? NO ONE has heard of Burberry Touch?). Anyway, thought it might be fun to try something out of the norm here and see what I could come up with.

Bonobos Fall 2014 collection


First, floral pants adds a feminine twist to a formal tuxedo blazer. Throw in a fun nailpolish shade to brighten up dull days:

Look 1


Bonobos Tuxedo Blazer (new!), $460 (similar here) / Zara linen t-shirt, $19.90 / Anthropologie Neoprene floral pants, $138 / Zara Leather Court Shoes, $99.90 / Gigi New York White Uber Clutch, $145 / Essie nailpolish in I’m Addicted, $8 / ShahThreads Hamsa necklace, $20

I love simple streamlined looks so I paired this plaid navy/green blazer with a plain jersey top and skinny jeans. The blue strappy heels play off the blue in the blazer and the look is finished with turned up lips (Ruby Woo is my favorite red):

Look 2


Bonobos Capstone Slim Tuxedo Blazer, $695 / Splendid Very Light Jersey Tee, $48 / J. Brand Low-Rise Skinny Leg, $218 / Ray-Ban Flash Lenses, $170 / BCBG Harlow Envelope Clutch, $88 / Pierre Hardy Mucha Kid Suede Pumps, $423 / Bauble Bar Zodiac Constellation Pendant Necklace, $38 / M.A.C. Lipstick in Ruby Woo, $19

I had a little more fun with their gray tweed blazer, matching it with black tweed shorts (add black tights on cooler days), and a grungy heel to toughen it up. A statement necklace like the one from Dannijo pulls it together:

Look 3


Bonobos Nottingham Tweed Blazer, $398 / Madewell Silk Spotlight Shirt in Deep Plaid, $118 / Rag & Bone Em Speckled Tweed Shorts, $350 / Dannijo Lilith necklace, $488 / Rag & Bone Classic Newbury Leather Ankle Boots, $525

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Giveaway: Dove body washes and necklace!

Dove body washes

Last month for Fashion Week, Dove hooked it up with a luxurious stay at The Quin hotel in midtown so we can partake in their #OneShowerChallenge. They asked us to use their body washes and see if we could feel a difference in one shower. An over-the-top way to test a body wash? This is life. I def wasn’t complaining. Their creamy washes are infused with their proprietary Nutrium Moisture blend which keeps skin soft, and you can feel it during and after (and has that clean scent Dove is known for). Want to see for yourself?

I’m giving away 3 of their body washes (Dove’s Deep Moisture Nourishing Body Wash, Gentle Exfoliating Nourishing Body Wash, and Sensitive Skin Nourishing Body Wash) along with this pretty silver necklace below to accessorize your softer skin — because why not?

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To enter, follow and tweet me using @BeautyNDFeast and @Dove with the #OneShowerChallenge hashtag. OR leave a message on BATF’s Facebook page on the link for this post. Leave a comment below telling me how you entered!

Winner will be picked and contacted on October 9th!

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8 products that got me through the month

Sorry, it’s been a minute since I’ve done a product round up, but these are some tried-and-true ones I’ve been using over the month:

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1. Simple Eye Make-Up Remover Pads, $5.99 for 30

These tiny pads are travel-friendly and take off every last bit of eye makeup without irritating my eyes. I thank its formula free of alcohol, dyes, oils, fragrances, irritants and on and on. It also is infused with vitamins B5 and E which protect the skin.

2. L’Oreal Paris Visible Life Blur Blush in Soft Berry, $12.99

This is the most gorgeous shade of pink, and off-label multitasker: dab a little on lips for the perfect fleshy nude.

3. Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels, $30 for 8 pairs

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Rodan+Fields Expression Lines patches (No Botox needed)

The newest from Rodan+Fields

A couple months ago, I had the pleasure to geek out meet Drs. Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields of the eponymous Rodan + Fields (the creators of Proactiv amongst other skincare lines, and my lifesavers in college). The duo revealed their latest to us, and their latest by the way is a pretty amazing breakthrough in the anti-aging realm: REDEFINE Acute Care Skincare for Expression Lines…a really long name to describe their patch alternative to Botox and filler injections.

REDEFINE patches


These patches go on like a band-aid and contain the stuff you get at the doctor’s office, like skin-plumping hyaluronic acid and anti-aging peptides but without a needle. You just place the patch on your expression lines — wherever they may be, including smile lines, crow’s feet, marionette lines — and let them sit overnight. The patches target the lines and through their little microscopic ‘liquid cones,’ settle into these areas for smoother skin.

The mini-cones are extremely potent. I’ve been trying them myself to soothe the (albeit very minimal semblance) of smile lines, and I noticed a big difference with just a few pairs. They do feel very weird when you first try them, like tiny, tiny needles which I didn’t expect. But those completely “melt” into the skin by the morning. Their studies have also showed them that after four-weeks of use (3x a week), there was significant improvement, but what’s more is that they found only MINIMAL return of lines after another 8 weeks after. So the results are supposed to visibly last for a while.

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3 (healthy!) snacks that are getting me through the day

I found delicious ways to keep my energy levels ups and snacks close by at works. Here are a few that have been helping me get through the day.

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1) Blueberries
. I’m obsessed. I eat them by the handful. Not only are they loaded with antioxidants, they’re good for the brain and heart! I just wanted to add I JUST got this collapsible eco-friendly meal kit from Smart Planet and it’s the most genius thing ever. It has the perfect portion for my main course, and two more compartments for snacks/sides. It’s microwave/dishwasher safe. It’s collapsible, so it’s easy to store once you’re done eating. It even has a condiment/vitamin space in the lid and a reusable spork utensil that stores underneath the lid. They basically thought of everything, and it’s been my new lunchtime savior ($9.99, smartplanethome.com).

Karma nuts



2) Cashews.
As you can see above, I have a whole compartment filled with nuts from Karma. My favorite kind are their wrapped cashews. They retain their natural skin so they taste a little more toasty, but it has twice the fiber as regular cashews. They add just a tiny bit of sea salt for flavor, but otherwise it’s minimally processed ($12.50, karmanuts.com).

Bonga Food Fruit Chews



3) Bonga Baobab Superfood Chews
. I’m saving the best for last here. My roommates and I are officially addicted to these healthy snacks. I actually can’t believe they can taste so good and still be good for you. They’re are made from the baobab fruit, a wild-harvested superfruit from South Africa which is rich in antioxidants, naturally rich in fiber and vitamin C, and has high alkaline, potassium, magnesium, and electrolytes. Basically the best answer to your gummi bear addiction.

Mango fruit chews


They’re made with all natural ingredients, and their sugar (16 grams) comes from natural fruit ingredients — nothing added. They come in flavors like raspberry, mango, pomegranate, but strawberry is my standout favorite. My roommates and I easily finished a whole box of it in a week. Try them, trust me, they taste aaaa-mazzing. (from $10.99, bongafoods.com or Whole Foods)

What have you been noshing on lately?


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Shy
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