Monthly Archives: July 2013

FOOD - "The Delicious" - Italian

Dining at Serafina on Broadway

July 19, 2013

Serafina on the Upper West Side

Serafina in all its yellow-awning glory, will always be associated to me with moving to NY. Not only was it one of the first nicer Italian restaurants I been to when I moved here, its midtown location was always right next door to where I worked at the mags and where I live now too! But beyond what it represents in my mind, it’s an NY staple — a place frequented by celebs for its cozy corners and delicious food. (It’s no wonder when I interviewed Kim Kardashian, she said it’s one of her favorite restaurants in NYC!). When I was invited recently to their Upper West Side location for Italian Dine Out (Restaurant Week for Italian restaurants earlier this month — a three-course dinner is only $40), I brought my friend Mehreen along for a superb three-course meal, starting with their light and flavorful salads:

Arugula e Parmigiano salad, $13

The Arugula e Parmigiano salad (baby arugula, cherry tomatoes and shaved Parmigiano, fig vinaigrette) is a crowd pleaser — simple and light. We munched on it along with fresh foccacia bread and extra virgin olive oil we got on the side. The chef then sent over their gorgeous seasonal salad (mango, chicken, and palmito…all good things!).

Focaccia bread


Mango salad

I ordered one of my favorite dishes, the Ravioli Alla Salvia (homemade spinach and ricotta ravioli served w/ butter and sage) and Mehreen when with their Tagliolini Con Petti Di Pollo (another homemade mountain of pasta with chicken, baby peas, mushrooms & a touch of cream).

Ravioli alla Salvia, $16.50


Tagliolini Con Petti Di Pollo, $15.50


Ready to get our grub on!

What I loved about every course is the fresh and simple ingredients that marry so perfectly together so even the slightest hints of herbs like rosemary or sage come through in each bite. Just when we thought we couldn’t indulge anymore (“food babies” are starting to get a little more visible), we were presented with the dessert menu. If death by chocolate is a real thing, death by profiteroles has to be real too. Their profiterole are pastry balls filled with vanilla, chocolate, and pistachio ice cream, and doused with Nutella.

Profiterole, $10

And, this is just me, but it’s really hard for me to leave an Italian restaurant without trying their tiramisu. There’s was soft, not too dry, not too wet, but just right:

Tiramisu, $9


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A perfect ending to a perfect meal! While it’s not Italian Dine Out anymore, Serafina should top your list for a date (note: one who you really, really like), a business dinner, or maybeee to just catch up with your girl (hi, Mehreen!).

Restaurant Info
Serafina Broadway

2178 Broadway
(at 77th Street)
New York, NY 10024
(212) 595-0092
Upper West Side

REPORT CARD
Meal: Dinner

Occasion: Italian Dine Out week
Price: $$$
(Out of three stars)
Ambiance: ***
Food: ***
Service: ***(Wonderful and attentive wait staff who didn’t rush our meal at all)
Would I go back?: Yes, and this time I’m all over their wood-oven baked pizzas!


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Shy
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Beauty - "The Lovely" - Fragrance (perfume/cologne)

Air Wick’s newest scents are like a mini vacation in a bottle

July 16, 2013

So this is not my usual type o’ post. I was recently invited to the Mondrian SoHo Hotel to learn more about Air Wick‘s newest launches. To be honest, while being led to the rooftop for breakfast, I still wasn’t sure it’d be something I’d actually be able to connect to enough to write about. But settings make quite the difference…

View from the Mondrian Hotel rooftop!


More writers at the Air Wick event -- are we still in NYC?

At 9AM, the rooftop was transforming. Miles away from the city noise pollution, sipping on hibiscus tea and walking on grass-mimicking flooring, it was easy to mentally vacation from the office (which I had to return to shortly after!). It’s all in the details, something that Air Wick evidentally had long picked up on when they partnered with the National Park Foundation (NPF). They’ve crafted fragrances that bottles the essences of their national parks (their fragrance experts spent thousands of hours and went into countless combination of notes to find the perfect scents).

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That includes the Rocky Mountains, Cape Cod, Zion, Acadia, Grand Canyon, Virgin Islands, Denali, American Samoa, Hawaii, the Gulf Islands. With subtle floral scents (like cactus blossoms of the Grand Canyon), tropical notes (like papaya and hibiscus flower in Hawai’i, or native coconut and island palms for American Samoas), and woody notes (like sandalwood in Acadia), they’ve successfully managed to take you away while you’re sitting on your couch.

My Denali reed diffuser!

Not to sound overly-romantic about the whole thing, but the minute I set up the Denali-scented reed diffusers in my bathroom, the smell quickly permeated my small apartment. Forget spending at least a portion of my day waiting for the train on dingy subway platforms, the minute I walk through my door, I’m now greeted with clean notes of pure cotton grass. While I’m at the office for the better part of my mornings, the times when I am at home typing away, it’s nice to picture myself somewhere far (like a sun-drenched valley of a national park!). At least now I realize how important surrounding yourself with beautiful scents is to your overall well-being…especially for a blogger. Next stop — Hawai’i ;).

Are you big on surrounding your home with candles and scents like these? Which ones are your favorites?

Air Wick scents are available in scented candles, oils, reed diffusers, and sprays, ranging from $3-$6 (at all major retailers!).


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Shy
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FOOD - "The Delicious"

Jameela’s A to Z guide to nutrition


By Jameela Ali

I thought I’d kick things off for my nutrition column by having a regular column of “A to Z” of foods, highlighting some of their biggest health benefits. Without further ado, A is for…

APPLES

Apples are at the top of the list when it comes to detoxifying your liver. Apples are full of a particularly important fiber called pectin. Pectin promotes regularity and helps to cleanse the intestinal tract by binding to fats and ridding the body of any undigested food particles and accumulated toxins, like food additives. The phenolic compound found in apple skins also prevents “bad” LDL cholesterol from solidifying onto the walls of your arteries.

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Choose organic Red Delicious or Granny Smith apples as they contain the most antioxidants according to a 2004 USDA study. Other pectin-rich foods include pears and guava.

ALFALFA

The alfalfa plant has been used around the world for centuries due to its strong health-promoting qualities. The leaves and seeds contain high levels of enzymes that help with digestion and delivery of nutrients to various organs. Not only does it act as a diuretic, cleansing the urinary tract, but it also purifies the blood and liver. Alfalfa also has a strong alkaline effect on the body, which balances our very acidic Western diet and can prevent many diseases, according to recent studies. I enjoy alfalfa leaves by drinking Yogi Healthy Fasting tea. This tea includes other powerful cleansing herbs like burdock root, cinnamon bark and cardamom seeds. Add raw honey, to taste.

ARTICHOKES

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Known for their ability to support our body’s natural cleansing of the liver, artichokes promote bile flow due to an abundance of the antioxidant compound known as caffeoylquinic acid. Bile itself is an emulsifier that breaks down fats and carries toxins and other waste from the liver to the small intestine for eventual elimination when nature calls. For a great side dish or snack, roast artichokes in an oven or boil them in water until soft to touch. Drizzle olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

ASPARAGUS

This spring blossoming plant is not only a natural diuretic but is also packed with antioxidants. Asparagus is a rich source of a detoxifying compound called glutathione. Glutathione, which is also found in avocado, kale and Brussels sprouts, can slow the aging process by neutralizing harmful free radicals like carcinogens (cancer-causing substances) that can cause damage to our cells. Glutathione blocks at least thirty different carcinogens while aiding detoxification of synthetic chemicals from the liver. It also blocks the absorption of certain fats by the intestines that cause oxidative damage to our cells. Choose green asparagus over white or purple varieties for maximum health benefits. Stir-fry with mushrooms, onions and some minced garlic or steam for 30 to 40 seconds and blanch in cold water to stop cooking, which will help retain its crispness.

AVOCADOS

Like most fruits, avocado is rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber. However, the ratio of soluble fiber to insoluble fiber is 1:3, which is rare and adds to its cleansingproperties. Insoluble fiber promotes regularity, which cleanses the colon and reduces LDL cholesterol. Soluble fiber is also very important to the body’s natural detoxification process. This particular fiber not only absorbs water into the digestive tract, but it creates a “gelling” effect similar to psyllium husk, which helps bind to substances in the digestive tract, moving them out quickly and preventing toxic buildup.

Fresh Avocados from Mexico


Avocados also dilate blood vessels while blocking toxins from harming our arteries. And don’t forget, it contains the same cleansing powerhouse compound, glutathione, as asparagus. Aim for ¼ cup a day.
See also: Guacamole recipe, Avocado: Dry Hair Remedy

Stay tuned for next week’s column!

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Beauty - "The Lovely" - Nails - Nails & Gadgets

In today’s edition of nails and gadgets…

July 15, 2013

Another day another mani. This time, it’s Incoco’s Park Guell Nail Polish Strips. These are honestly one of my favorite nail strips now! I find them to be a little more resilient than most brands. These are my nails after a whole night of chopping, marinating, and cooking. They still are in pretty good shape! PS, any idea what I’m holding?

Park Geull nails


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OK this is a really short game….

Mujjo phone sleeve

It’s a phone sleeve straight from Holland. This one is a Mujjo original for the Galaxy S3. A little more Fall than summer with the dark felt. But sleek touches like a brown leather clasp gives it a little more sophistication. (Love this for a gift!)

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A space for your phone, and an extra pocket for cash or credit cards. That much less to lug around.

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The sleeve is available at mujjo.com for $39 (available for the iPhone too!).

See also:
Sally Hansen x iPhone cover
Maybelline goes electric!

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Shy
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Coffeehouse/Cafe - FOOD - "The Delicious" - Tea/Drinks

What your coffee says about you

July 11, 2013

So on point haha…what about for you?

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Shy
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Beauty - "The Lovely" - Teeth

Family celebrations: A Baby Teeth-themed party!

I think it’s safe to say my family is pretty creative when it comes to parties. When my mom, brother and his family decided they would come to visit the east coast, it was my cousin Safia’s idea to throw a dual-surprise party: (1) to celebrate my sister-in-law’s second child on the way; and (2) to celebrate my youngest sister getting into dental school. How to meld those two very different occasions? We decided a cute theme for both would be Baby Teeth!

Congrats on dental school to Haj! Congrats on baby two for Fatima!


A party like this was put together fairly quickly on our end, but with help from the family (thanks Sumaira, Heba, Ammaar, Z, Suh, and MOM!), plus the very generous Rembrandt (which, PS, I’m the new blogger ambassador for!) we were able to pull it off!

Favor table

When we decided on the theme, Rembrandt was quickly on board to help with the favors and prizes. They sent over two of my favorite things from their line: their Intense Stain Toothpaste for every guest to take home, and four boxes their Intense Stain Dissolving Strips as prizes. They were such a hit, the guests loved them. We put them right next to my sister’s favorite candies, with this sign:

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Baby shower prizes

We had to get a little creative with the theme, since we quickly realized there’s really not much baby teeth-related party stuff out there. Sumaira baked red velvet, chocolate, and vanilla cupcakes and topped them with little baby feet candy and edible baby teeth frosting Safia made the night before. We tried to make the food ‘bite size’ wherever we could (my mom made sliders, I made grape salsa crostinis, and we had Chicago-style popcorn and treats sprawled across the table, for example). We mixed up the “CONGRATS!” and “IT’S A GIRL!” balloons all over the place. We also got mini water balloons and water guns that the kids played with on the end (good thing too — that day was super humid!). Here are some more highlights from the day!

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Chicago popcorn


Baby teeth and baby feet!


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Drinks table

Think my brother was too preoccupied with the water gun

Nephew and family

I know I missed a ton of pics of guests, will add more soon! But thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate! Also, special thanks to Rembrandt for their help!

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Shy
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*This posting includes products send to me on behalf of Rembrandt brand to help my review!