Monthly Archives: September 2013

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

Nails & Gadgets: Covergirl Fanicures and EYN phone covers!

September 25, 2013

Good news for football fans! The NFL recently partnered with CoverGirl to bring you Fanicures — nail polish bundles inspired by your favorite team’s colors. I went “nailgate-ing” recently with celebrity manicurist Ayana Clark, and got a Giants mani for myself :).

NFL New York Giants Fanicure with Covergirl


(By the way, the nails above are FIVE days after my manicure — no chips! Legit, I always say these Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Glosses are made to last). Ayana used CoverGirl’s Snow Storm #110, Sapphire Flare #307, and Lasting Love #180 for my fanicure. (Giants fans can click here to check out the How-To).

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I thought it’d also be a good time to show you another cool product, because somewhere along the way, my Nails & Gadgets posts became a thing here. So with that, let me introduce you to EYN iPhone storage cases, which I’ve already got my cousin and sister hooked on.

EYN iPhone case in Chartreuse


EYN (which aptly stands for Everything You Need) cases look even better in person. Some cool features: the covers are made of a soft-as-butter polycarbonate; it allows you to carry the bare essentials like credit cards and cash safely in a clip; it even has a mirror inside for touch-ups. Love this for everyday use or as a gift (the Galaxy covers are coming in a couple months!), and costs $30 at eynproducts.com.

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EYN iPhone cover in Black


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


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Shy
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American - Breakfast/Brunch - FOOD - "The Delicious" - French

Monikas Cafe Bar in Astoria

September 24, 2013

First of all, I’m not entirely sure what the correct name for this place is — on Yelp, it’s Cafe Bar, on their website it says Monikas and Monicas, but that’s a moot point. We were on our way to check out The Queens Kickshaw for brunch last Sunday, and while the menu looked great, we felt like we wouldn’t be taking advantage of the crisp, gorgeous Fall day by sitting inside a dimly-lit restaurant. Instead, we walked a few blocks over to Cafe Bar. Or Monikas Cafe Bar. Monicas? Whatever.

Monikas Cafe Bar in Astoria


Cafe Bar


Inside Cafe Bar (photo: Cafe Bar website)


Photo: Cafe Bar website


The place had lovely outdoor and breezy indoor seating, and the menu looked promising (huevos rancheros, poached eggs, ricotta pancakes, organic granola), so we decided to give it a go. We shared the Cypriot (fried eggs, grilled halloumi, olives, tomato, country fries and whole grain toast) and a Tsoureki French Toast (comes with blueberry compote and maple syrup, but we opted to get it with the Nutella and banana).

Cypriot


French Toast

Eggs were amazing (by the way, it also comes with Greek sausage but we ordered it without). The grilled halloumi mixed with the eggs and country fries were a perfect combo. We wiped it clean with the lightly toasted bread it came with.

The French Toast was a little more disappointing. The toast has a slightly citrus and herb taste that didn’t mesh that great with the nutella and banana. And I thought the syrup also tasted a little off (more toasted?). Maybe I was hoping for something a tad sweeter after my eggs, because it wasn’t horrible. Just probably wouldn’t go for it again. There are plenty of other items I’d want to try first.

Also: order a latte. They’re pretty good here too!


Restaurant Info:
Monikas Cafe Bar

3290 36th St
Astoria, NY 11106
(718) 204-5273
Queens

REPORT CARD
Meal: Brunch

Occasion: Good weather
Price: $$
(Out of three stars)
Ambiance: *** (lovely outdoor seating and pretty inside too!)
Food: **
Service: **1/2 (they were busy and our waitress was nice, but wasn’t always the fastest service. To their credit, they didn’t rush us out when we took a while to get up, like most places do in Manhattan)
Would I go back?: Yes.


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Beauty - "The Lovely" - Men - Male grooming

Men-Days: Truman’s Gentlemen’s Groomers gift set

September 23, 2013

It’s not easy getting a gift for a guy frand. What are you going to do if they hate the sweater? Do they even wear cuff links? How many jerseys can they possibly own? Is a watch too much? Is a tie too lame? You guys need to start giving us answers. In the mean time, let’s focus on the grooming stuff they may never think to buy for themselves, yes? I recently visited Truman’s Gentlemen’s Groomers on the east side in midtown — a grooming lounge/glorified man cave, replete with a fully-stocked bar and flat screens reserved mainly for games and the news; larger-than-average booths that gives him plenty of space to stretch out for a haircut or shave; and an even more private area downstairs for massages and pedicures. Men should need to take care of their feet too (Truth). So idea #1: get him a gift card and let him indulge in all that is Man.

Inside Truman's Gentlemen's Groomers in midtown


In case he doesn’t live in NY, the grooming experts themselves did come out with a product line which they sell in this handy dandy Truman’s Product Bundle.

Truman's Product Bundle, $48


It contains the lounge’s signature shave cream (aka The Protector with essential oils like macadamia and safflower…although he doesn’t need to know that), shampoo (aka The Cleaner, a two-in-one shampoo because I have this strange feeling that guys don’t appreciate conditioner the way we do), and hair control paste (aka The Finisher, which also follows a very easy-to-follow OneTwoPump packaging: “helps the man use just the right amount, every time. Half pump for thinning hair, one pump for full, and two pumps for coarse/unruly hair”). With names like The Protector and The Finisher, it may possibly the most alpha-lookin’ products in their bathroom, too.

Truman’s Product Bundle is available to purchase at http://trumans-nyc.com/shop.htm for $48.

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American - FOOD - "The Delicious" - interviews

New York Giants’ Victor Cruz partners with McDonald’s Mighty Wings and talks football

September 18, 2013

Victor Cruz and his Mighty Wings


Victor Cruz is a pretty cool guy. The New York Giants’ star wide receiver dropped by the McDonald’s in Times Square yesterday to help announce the launch their new Mighty Wings menu item (“Nothing is better than football and wings,” he said at the press event).

Victor Cruz, New York Giants wide receiver


Not only did he take a minute to indulge in the wings himself, he also fielded questions in Spanish, took pictures with a few lucky young fans, and yes, even salsa’d with a reporter (“Keep in mind, I’m still a little sore from Sunday’s game [against the Broncos],” he said, without missing a step). Speaking on the partnership with McD’s, Cruz said it’s a “dream come true.”

“I grew up as a fan of McDonald’s, I’ve been going there all my life,” he said, adding that McD’s was a place he would meet friends and share stories. “I’m excited to be part of this campaign–it was a no-brainer for me.”


Cruz answered some more questions exclusively for BATF. See below!


Beauty and the Feast
: Do you have any game day rituals?
Victor Cruz: I don’t have rituals as much as I have a routine. I like to start my day out with eggs or French toast. I’ll train with Eli. I get into my game mode.

BATF
: If you were going to share your Mighty Wings with one fellow Giants’ teammate, who would it be?
Cruz: That would have to be Hakeem Nicks. I think he’s the only one on my team who’s worthy of sharing my wings with because I’m usually pretty selfish with them. I’d try to keep them to myself, but yeah, I’d share with Hakeem.

Cruz!



BATF
: What is your favorite restaurant from your hometown, Paterson, NJ?
Cruz: My favorite Paterson restaurant would have to be La Tia Delia. It’s in Downtown Paterson near school Number 9. They have good lomo, they have good rice they have good beans, good everything.

BATF
: What advice would you give aspiring athletes?
Cruz: My advice would be to never give up. There’s going to be bumps in the road. There’s going to be things that happen in your life that’s going to derail you. No matter what happens though, finish through your goals.


BATF
: Wings are a great staple football-watching food, but what did you eat growing up eating while watching football?
Cruz: I grew up in a Spanish household, so for one, I was cooking. I would be watching the 49ers or whoever was on at the time and cooking rice and beans [and other Spanish dishes]. I mean, my grandmother made it all. Or eating a Happy Meal. I loved the little toys that came with the Happy Meals.

Me and my sister Haji (one of the biggest Giants fan!) with Victor Cruz


Nicely said. Thanks to Victor Cruz and McDonald’s for the interview!


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Beauty - "The Lovely" - Face

Actress Emmy Rossum partners up with Origins and Charity Water

September 17, 2013

Actress and singer Emmy Rossum said she took an abbreviated break from taping Shameless and hopped on a red-eye from LA last night just to support Origins and their latest initiative with Charity:Water.

Emmy Rossum hosts Origins Smarty Plants event benefiting charity:water


“Charity:Water is an amazing organization, and Origins is an authentically eco-friendy brand,” she said in an exclusive interview with BATF. “The partnership just makes sense. My mom is the treasurer for another charity in Kenya, so even though this is supporting children in Ethiopia, it’s kind of full circle for me.”

Actress Jessica Stroup, Origins President Jane Lauder, and Emmy Rossum


Gathering at Jimmy at the James Hotel‘s beautiful pool rooftop (coupled with an equally gorgeous sunset), Emmy went on to comment, “It takes five hours to get water in Ethiopia for some people, and we are literally standing here in front of a pool. We definitely take these things for granted.” (Most rural families in Ethiopia survive on less than five liters of water per day and walk up to four hours to collect it from open sources, according to Charity:Water). To help join the cause, Origins will match the first 1,000 pledges. Tweet using #donate #SmartyPlants ($30 provides 1 person in Ethiopia with clean drinking water for a year). “Don’t go to Drybar tomorrow and give to charity,” Rossum said. “You know you can do your own blowout.”

Rossum was also game for some beauty and food questions. After talking to her, I learned a few things: she’s a drugstore beauty junkie (Maybelline is her go-to brand for mascara), she loves to talk about, from what I could tell, imaginary pimples that she’s dealt with in the past (her complexion is beyond flawless in person), and she’s a bit of a gluten-free foodie in her own right…read on!:

Beauty and the Feast:
Do you have a hidden talent when it comes to beauty?
Emmy Rossum: I’m really good at popping pimples.

BATF:
What’s your best beauty secret?
Rossum: I do use a weird clay called Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay. It’s a powder you can buy at the drugstore, and makes a really nice drying mask.

BATF:
What’s the biggest beauty risk you’ve ever taken?
Rossum: I’ve got a pimple injected with cortisone once. It’s actually not that good for you. I mean, it was a real good one. And it was right here [points between brows], and everyone was staring at it. Then my friend told me you could go to a derm to get it injected, but I don’t think I’d ever do it again.

Emmy Rossum



BATF:
What do you splurge on when shopping?
Rossum: My biggest splurge is usually on shoes. But not on heels — shoes I’d use everyday like Chanel ballet flats. I also love to shop at Topshop, Zara, Asos.com, and etsy.com.

BATF:
What are some qualities you share with your character, Fiona, on Shameless?
Rossum: We don’t take no for an answer, we both wash our face before we go to sleep, and we also don’t always wear a bra.

BATF:
What is your first memory of using a beauty product:
Rossum: My mom’s red lipstick when I was four-years-old. I looked like a clown.

BATF:
What are your three desert island products?
Rossum: Toothpaste for sure. Origins’ Smarty Plants because it has has a high SPF and I’ll still look cute if I meet a hot desert guy. And something to make my breath fresh.

BATF:
Even if you’re alone?
Rossum: I’m not necessarily alone — there could be a hot desert island man I could meet!

Origins Smarty Plants CC cream, $35


BATF: How do you keep in shape?
Rossum: I do Physique57 and SoulCycle. I stay away from alcohol and cigarettes that make you look more tired than you are.

BATF:
Do you have any bath regimens?
Rossum: If I’m sore or anything, I’ll take a bath with Epsom salts and hydrogen peroxide but that’s about it.

BATF
: What are you favorite restaurants in the city?
Rossum: I love Catch [in Meatpacking]. The crab claws are great there! I love Sant Ambroeus because they can substitute any pasta for gluten-free pasta. And I like street cart food. I like taking my chances with them. Sometimes the shawarmas are really good!

See? She’s just like us. Besides the whole crazy talented actor/singer/jaw-droppingly beautiful thing.

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American - European - FOOD - "The Delicious" - Tea/Drinks

The Tea Spot in Greenwich Village

September 16, 2013

You remember that night in NYC last week with the torrential downpour? That was the night my little sister thought would be perfect for a sisters’ outing. To my credit, I tried to explain to her that subways would be flooded; that I JUST took a shower and dried my hair and the impending poofiness would hurt my feelings; that I might even fall sick. But then she did this:

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(Which was so not fair), and the next thing I know, I’m putting on my rain boots to head over to the Tea Spot with her. And to her credit, it ended up being a kinda nice evening.

Inside Tea Spot


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I am a tea lover after all. I’ve been frequenting this place for years but I haven’t been back in a while. They have a great selection though, the only thing to its detriment is probably cramped corners (which is also very characteristic of restaurants and cafes in this area). But the staff is always very nice, and they let you take your time to sniff the different loose leaf teas in their silver tins before you settle on one. In our case, we settled on two: Royal Star and Coconut Creme green teas. Both ended up being great choices (we also tried it with soy milk, per the waitress’ suggestion, which was also great).

Teas -- sorry for the dark pics...it's dark in there!

We also ordered their truffle mac n cheese and pesto one (definitely order the former if you have a choice, thought I don’t think their food is their strong point in general).

Truffle mac n cheese and pesto

I was hungry though and we cleaned our plates. I did want a bite of dessert and since I’m on a seriousss hunt for the best tres leches in the city, I decided to order theirs:

Tres Leches

Verdict: It’s on the MUCH sweeter side and consistency was more like a rice pudding. A few bites were good, but even between the two of us, we couldn’t finish it because it was too sweet (make sure you save your tea to balance it out if anything). It was good, but definitely not the best (the search continues).

Still, this is a good place to have some tea and bond with the lil sis. Try it.

Restaurant Info:
Tea Spot

127 Macdougal St.
at W. 3rd St.
New York, NY 10012
(212) 505-1248
Greenwich Village

REPORT CARD
Meal: Brunch

Occasion: Sister time
Price: $$
(Out of three stars)
Ambiance: ** (Not good for big groups, a little cramped with the seating if you can find one)
Food: ** (Great for tea, OK for food)
Service: *** (Waitress was awesome)
Would I go back?: Yes.


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