Monthly Archives: July 2011

Beauty - "The Lovely" - Nails

This is seriously the coolest thing ever

July 27, 2011

Nail art animation! Whomever over at Kia thought, “Why don’t we do a car commercial on nails?” is an absolute genius. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen anything like it (credit to Jezebel for unearthing it). The Kia Picanto is showcased using a stop-motion film — ON NAILS!

It took 1200 bottles polish, 25 days and nights, and 2 hours of drawing for each of the 900 nails (900!!) to make this happen…what do you guys think??


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Beauty - "The Lovely" - Body - Face

Nivea celebrates its 100th birthday at Grand Central with Giuliana Rancic

July 26, 2011

Happy Birthday Nivea! Nivea turns 100 this year and as part of its year-long celebration (because if you turn 100, the party HAS to last at least that long), they’ve set up a huge pop-up station at Grand Central. Just imagine a HUGE skin-loving party…inside a gigantic Nivea Creme tin. I mean, where else would it be?

Nivea Pop-Up at Grand Central

Nivea at Grand Central

Old and new tin designs

Inside Nivea's Pop-Up space

The Nivea house will be at Grand Central Station all week, so you can check it out yourself! Yesterday, I went to its launch to give you a little preview of what you can expect. First stop, the Skincare Lounge to enter to win Rihanna concert tickets in Prague.

Entering to win concert tickets to see Rihanna in Prague...fingers crossed!

Holding a limited-edition Rihanna Nivea tin for good luck

Afterwards, I got the most relaxing hand massage and right when I was about to go to another station, Giuliana Rancic, host of E! News, arrived!

Giuliana Rancic in support of Nivea

Giuliana headed straight for the lotions...can't blame her

She talked about using Nivea as a child in Naples, Italy and how her mom was obsessed. I think all our mom were and are Nivea fans too…those blue tins seem to be a staple in almost every house. Speaking of which, the next place I stopped at was the turntable journey through the years of the tin design:

The evolution of the Nivea tins

All over the walls were old ads and shots of Nivea through the years too…it’s like a skincare museum:

A glance at the history of Nivea

I saw there were also stations to get your skin elasticity tested. I was curious about mine, and had the doc run a quick test on my arm…

Getting my skin elasticity checked

He said my skin was 83% which was very good sign (whew). Before you leave, you can stock up on some of their limited-edition Rihanna tins (who’s serves as their brand ambassador), and other moisturizing goodies.

Bags to stock up!

Our Nivea gift bag

They sent us home with a generous gift bag of moisturizing goodness. I used their Happy Sensation Lotion today and love. Can’t wait to try the rest! The Nivea 100 Year House will be open to the public at Grand Central (on E. 42nd Street) from 8am to 7pm every day until Friday 7/27. Are any of you fans going to stop by?


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Beauty - "The Lovely" - Tips and How-To's

Interview with Bollywood makeup artist Mickey Contractor – Part II

July 25, 2011

[This is Part II to my interview with Mickey Contractor, M.A.C’s Director of Makeup Artistry for India. The first part of the interview can be found on HERE]

Me and makeup artist Mickey Contractor

As promised (a while ago, I know), here are some more details on my interview with makeup genius Mickey Contractor. I sat down with Mickey the day after he came with us on a tour of M.A.C’s headquarters. In between doing makeup for Bollywood celebs like Priyanka Chopra for the IIFA’s, he shared some of his thoughts on his experience at M.A.C’s labs and a few tips too!

: Did going on the M.A.C. tour with us change your perspective at all on makeup?
Mickey Contractor: I wouldn’t say it changed my perspective on makeup. For me it was like a religious experience. Going into the M.A.C lab and meeting all the chemists who actually made my products was like a wish being granted. I was so tired that morning on the bus as you might remember. Once I went there though, I woke up. I don’t know how! I didn’t sleep until 3 that morning. It was an overwhelming experience. It truly was a dream come true.

: What was the most challenging part in creating your own line?
MC: Mixing colors was challenging but extremely joyful. To tweak the submissions that came back after the testers was the most challenging because there is very little difference between tester 1, 2 and 3. Apart from that, I would say doing Master Classes. I hate being in front of people doing makeup. I rather do it behind the scenes, be really quiet about it. For me, doing makeup is a very personal time with who I’m working on. It’s very sacred to me.

Rani eyeshadow from Mickey's MAC collection

: I love bright shadows like Rani, but I have no idea how to wear it. What are some tips to make bright shadows like that more wearable?
MC: Rani was made because we needed a pop in the collection. I use colors that are very muted, so the line would have looked very dull otherwise. It was also filling a gap from the regular line up — there was nothing as bright as that. I would say to first use an eyeshadow like Folie all over the lid, and then layer it with the pink so it kind of comes down to a nice plum-ey color.

: So it’s a matter of blending?
MC: It’s about layering it one on top of the other and layering it well.

: What product would you freak out over if you found was missing from your makeup kit?
MC: I would freak out if there was even one thing missing! If my eyelash curler was not there, I would just walk away from my kit [laughs]. No no, I have two of everything in my kit because I cannot afford to lose anything.

: Well do you have three favorite M.A.C products?
MC: No, I have about 30 [laughs]. I would say Fluidline for sure, Studio Fix Fluid Foundation, and I actually love the new Viva Glam lipgloss.

: I have a reader questions: How do you rock highlighter without looking sweaty?
MC: If the highlighter you’re using is too frosted, you would need to tone it down. Apply the highlighter first, and go over it very lightly with some Studio Fix powder. It just numbs it down and looks much better. Another important thing is to use highlighters in the right place. Product placement is very important, not how much you use. Just remember, use it sparingly and place it right.

: I always feel like it’s hard for me to do smokey eyes — what are some tips if you want to do smokey eyes if you have smaller or darker eyes?
MC: The technique for smokey eyes is the same. For smaller eyes, the only thing I would suggest is try to make them looks more open by using a highlighter right in the middle, but just use a but please blend it. There’s a lot of people who just use a dot of highlighter in the center and it just looks awful. [Note: A short video/guide on how Mickey’s team did smokey eyes on me right after this interview is coming up in a future post!]

: What would you say is your “signature” look?
MC: Whether I like it or not, I have been stamped with the no–makeup look, which is what my focus is. But people also love the way I do smoky eyes. I would like to be known for the natural look.

: I have to ask you a food question too now! What is the one dish you miss the most while you’re on the road?
MC: I don’t miss much because Indian food is everywhere. We usually have our cooks with us, so I don’t really miss it. I’m OK with not having Parsi food for a few months!


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Australian - FOOD - "The Delicious"

Kingswood in the West Village

July 24, 2011

After being a fan of Ruby’s for years, it only made sense that I’d eventually have to visit their sister-restaurant, Kingswood in the West Village.

Inside Kingswood

I kept hearing mixed reviews about the place — some rave about it, others seem to be hung up on it having a very see-and-be-seen crowd. I personally was most interested in the food. After going through menus online, I thought I might know what I want. But I think the very edited menu is also seasonal, so not much of what I was looking at before was even there.

Popcorn shrimp

We started with what I think was called something like popcorn shrimp. I was picturing something, well, like battered shrimp, but we got three baby shrimp buried under sliced pineapples and spices. It was OK, a little forgettable.

Quinoa salad

We needed a little more to fill up, so we went with a quinoa salad. I love quinoa personally, but again, it was pretty standard. Healthy too, because I just remember crunching into carrots. After our light appetizers, we moved on to the main. I was excited to try their burger. But I read the menu and it was titled “Ruby’s Bronte Burger.” As in the same burger they serve at Ruby’s. I asked the waiter if it was the exact same thing and he confirmed.

Ruby's Bronte burger with rosemary fries

Bronte burger

Now, don’t get me wrong — Ruby’s bronte burger is great, but I wanted to try something new. My friend, Chelsea ordered it though. It comes with a side of truffle fries with rosemary and a dollop of some mayo dip which was sinfully good. Instead, I went for the cornish hen with a side of cooked pasta.

Cornish hen

The pasta was kind of like a spätzle — I loved it especially because they even threw in some hazelnuts in there (I’m a fan of different textures in food although I’m sure not everyone would agree).The cornish hen was flavorful and I enjoyed the mix.

Overall, I definitely think it was a cool place to hang, but I would have enjoyed a little more selection on the menu, personally.

Restaurant Info:

121 W 10th St.
(at Greenwich Ave)
New York NY 10011
West Village


Meal: Dinner
Occasion: Business-ey dinner
Price: $$$$
(Out of three stars)
Ambiance: *** (at night, it’s dimly lit and had interesting rustic decor — since it also has a rather large bar area in the middle, it can get pretty loud too)
Food: **
Service: ***
Would I go back?: Probably not — I’m glad I tried it but I feel like there’s not much more I’m dying to try on the menu. If I really want a burger, I’ll probably just go straight to Ruby’s.


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Beauty - "The Lovely" - Lips - Product Review

Senna Cosmetics: Lips Road Test

July 23, 2011

By Melissa Stephans

I’m so bored of my makeup. I have put lipstick and lip gloss shopping off so long, that I’m reaching the bottom of my stash. I hesitate to admit that I have used my faves so sparingly that I’m still nursing some of the products I received when I was at Town & Country — ahem, that was four years ago. (Okay, five years ago. I know, I know!).

Senna Cosmetics lipsticks in Tiffany, Paris Pink, and Glint

I can’t help it.  I am so pale and picky that I find lipstick and lipgloss shopping a hit or miss situation–usually, it’s a miss.

Senna lipstick in Glint

Lipstick can be hard to find because many formulas are either too matte and dry, or way too sheer.  It’s pretty much the same with glosses–they range from sticky and dry to slick and greasy…and don’t get me started on colors! Some colors are just so bold, they make us look like we should be hanging out in a nursing home instead of a beach. We uber-pale people sometimes want to have a more natural, pretty look.

Faced with the fact that I need to dip my toes into the glossy lipwear waters, I decided to report back to you during my hunt for new beauty booty.  In agreement with Shy’s previous post, my friend Tiffany reminded me about her love of Senna Cosmetics.  She suggested I stop by Senna’s studio or the counter at Beauty Collection.  So they were my first stop. I spent over an hour working my way through Senna’s products, so I figured it was time to contact the company for more details on the brand and try out some of their best and brightest (not literally, of course) products.

Senna lipstick in Tiffany

Tiff swears by Senna and I can see why.  Many of their shades are soft and wearable. The textures vary and they have a variety of formulas to choose from, but I really liked the buttery feel of their cream lipstick. I have it in “Tiffany” (no pun intended and no relationship to my friend), which is a peachy pink shade. I like it so much that I will be going back for Suede, a nude color that seems to suit my pale skin with yellow undertones.

Three other hits from the Emmy award winning makeup artist created brand include:

“Glint”: a sheer pink lipstick with flecks of gold. It’s SPF 15, but I probably cancel that sun protection right out when I plop about one pound of clear lip gloss right on top.

Senna's Glint

Double Dose Lip Lacquer in Sugar & Spice got me a whole lot of head turns. I had to use clear lip gloss (I use NYC, as favored by Kim Kardashian) on top of this because the formula was pretty dry. Believe it or not, I liked that the formula of this gloss wasn’t liquid smooth because it had some serious staying power. When combined with a clear gloss, the particles of shimmer created a lot of depth. It was a very beautiful look–especially at night!

Sugar and Spice

Sugar and Spice - peach tone

Sugar and Spice - beige tone

Lip Sync in “Paris Pink” gives you a full-sized lipstick and gloss in one sleek, double-sided package. I’m not sure what type of magical mica Senna uses in its lip gloss formulas, but I like it! This gloss didn’t last as long because it was much more thin and spreadable than the Double Dose Lip Lacquer, but it was equally stunning. Combining the lipstick and gloss together made my pink pout pretty for a good two hours and left a feminine stain after that.

Paris Pink lipstick and gloss

Paris Pink lipstick

Paris Pink lipstick + gloss

Next I want to try their Firefly duo, which is a peachy golden lip pair. But so far, I’m pretty happy with my Senna goodies. Have you ever tried Senna?

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Beauty - "The Lovely" - FOOD - "The Delicious"

Finally updated BATF’s Press Page

You know what’s hilarious? I totally forgot I had a “press” page created for Beauty and the Feast. I wanted to have a link where I would collect all the places BATF has been featured, and yeah. Forgot. This might have something to do with the fact that it’s a rather negligible link on the bottom of this page…whoever finds it gets a cookie!

So, the good news is I finally found it all by myself — and updated it! (Let’s ignore the fact that this is how I spend my Friday nights). Anyway, here’s the link in case you’re interested: I will be updating it regularly from now on!


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