Monthly Archives: October 2013

Beauty - "The Lovely" - Spas and Salons

Celeb colorist Sherry Ratay talks hair trends (spoiler: ombre is still going strong)

October 31, 2013

I had the pleasure of meeting award-winning celebrity colorist, Sherry Ratay, recently at the Julien Farel salon. When Sherry is not working at her own Orlando-based salon, Salon Ratay, she’s usually traveling to LA or NY to tend to her clients (some of whom include Lacey Chabert, Audrina Partidge, and Ashley Benson).

Colorist Sherry Ratay

I always say getting just the tips of my hair color works so well for me because it’s super low-maintenence. I always feel a little helplessly under-educated about hair color — and effect of never going near dyes growing up (house rules!). And since coloring my hair still feels fairly new to me, it was so nice to know I’m in good hands when I was treated to Sherry’s services. After talking to her about how I want “color that’s not dramatic but you can still see somewhat of a difference, natural but still light around the ends” (I’m the worst, I know), she totally understood and said well-blended caramel ombre was exactly what I wanted. “We’ll just make it chunkier than what it is now. I loved, loved it.

Et voila

She read my mind and the transition was so spot-on. Sherry was also game for some questions on color — here are some of her helpful tips before getting your hair colored:

Beauty and the Feast: What are some trends for Fall/Winter with hair color?

Sherry Ratay: Brunettes are the HOT this season! That doesn’t necessarily mean that blondes and redheads are a no go. For the fall/winter, blondes need to incorporate some deeper blonde pieces or even consider adjusting from a pastel to a cashmere Blonde.

BATF: What is the most requested service?

Ratay: Ombre has and will be for a while the most requested service in my salon. But here is what is different with it now — think softer variations of color. Not so stark in the dark-to-light!

BATF: What are some tips for some one nervous to color their hair for their first time?

Ratay: Always go on recommendation! If you see someone’s color you love, stop and ask them who does it.

BATF: How does one prepare for the appointment?

Ratay: When I have someone sit in my salon chair for the first time, there are many things I look for personality, existing hair color, skin tone, and eye color. These few things help direct me for the PERFECT selection of shades and application for this one particular client. I LOVE when a new client comes in prepared with photos of haircolor she likes and dislikes, this is a huge part of helping my client feel comfortable during the consultation process.


Thank you Sherry! Check out her salon site to book her services.

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FOOD - "The Delicious" - Homemade

Progresso Artisan at the NYCWFF!

October 29, 2013

Progresso Artisan Blogger Ambassadors at NYCWFF!

I’ve been a little behind in giving you the recap, but as you know I was one of the Blogger Ambassadors for Progresso Artisan recently at the New York City Wine & Food Festival, which turns out is one of the funnest gigs ever :).


Not only did I meet a fantastic group of fellow bloggers (big ups to Food And the City, Big Apple Nosh, Nutmeg Nanny, and NYC Talon), we got to explore the whole line of Progresso’s Artisan line up close and really get to see firsthand their presence at the festival. And it was major.


One of the many raffle winners!

Me with Krista of NYC Talon

Cooking demos

Progresso soup line!

Soup samplers

Soup samples were given out all day during the two-day festival

Not only did the Progresso Artisan have a stage right in the center of it all, they had the most exciting presence. All day, they had celebrity chefs come to do cooking demos, distributed a multitude of giveaways and raffles, trivia games, and what I think the crowd was most excited for, a chance to hear restauranteur Joe Bastianich‘s story about his journey from a young boy in Astoria to joining the family business and opening some of the most successful NYC restaurants (Becco, Del Posto, Eataly), working his all the way up to the owner of three wineries.

Joe Bastianich speaking at the NYCWFF

Turns out soup played a major part in Bastianich’s Italian upbringing. He talked about growing up and eating Progresso. “The Italian immigrant story is the Progresso story,” he told the audience.

Later that night, we were treated with the most exquisite private dinner at Bastianich’s restaurant, Del Posto, with the Progresso team. It was easily, and by no exaggeration, one of the best meals I’ve ever had. All the food had so many different flavors and textures, and instead of leaving heavy and full, the four-course meal was portioned out so perfectly so we enjoyed every morsel.


Dinner at Del Posto

Antipasti: Pumpkin salad, foglie di noce, bee pollen citronettte, & tomato marmellata.

Pumpkin salad

Primo: Pumkin cappellacci with brown butter

Pumpkin cappellacci

Secondi: Cabbage steak! (This was their vegetarian option — others ordered slow-cooked salmon rosemarino with cauliflower and calamari salad or chicken with red endive, coarse polenta, pumpkin and olives in amarena).

Cabbage steak

Dolci: Tarufo al caffe (dark chocolate sant’eustachio coffee)


Del Posto MUST be on your list of restaurants to try. The place itself looks like a dimly-lit palace.

Overall the day was exhausting but it was equally engaging learning about the brand and seeing all the different type of foods represented at the festival. Coming up, I’m going to give a final review of the delicious soups (and I can say delicious already because I’ve been sent samples to try and I went through it way too fast). Thanks Progresso for an amazing experience at the festival!

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Beauty - "The Lovely" - Men - Male grooming

Men Days: An excitingly classy (and affordable!) grooming Kit from Harry’s

October 28, 2013

Last month, I was searching for another men’s product for this very column and somehow landed on Harry’s. How I never knew about this company is beyond me, but I’m obsessed with these razors and gift kit. I always find that if you want to get a shaving kit, you’re left with few options. There’s the Gillette drugstore option, or the much more high end The Art of Shaving — both which can make excellent gifts but Harry’s falls somewhere in the middle. You get the luxury of beautiful craftmanship at an unbelievable price.

Harry's FW13 collection

The Truman Set

The company relies on German engineering to mold steel into razors for high end barbers throughout Europe.The Truman Set comes with their sleek Truman zinc alloy handle, three blades, a tube of shave cream (with coconut and marula oils), and a handy little Shave Guide.

The sophisticated Harry's set box

Truman handle

The razor

Blade box

Extra razors

Shave Cream

Co-founded by Andy Katz-Mayfield and Jeff Raider (co-founder of Warby Parker), the brand’s mantra is ‘a great shave at a fair price.’ Even considering what might be “fair” for all you’re getting in this kit, I’d still guess this kit would be upwards of $80. It’s hard to believe that you can get the whole set for only $15. The Winston Set with a chrome handle runs a cool $25.

The Winston Set

The handles alone cost $10-$20, and the blades cost $2 or less. I like the idea that the gift I’m getting someone won’t cost an arm and a leg to refill so this makes the whole thing even more appealing. My tester loved it for a few reasons: it was easy to clean compared to drugstore brands, the four blades and swivel head made for a comfortable shave (if your guy is into shaping up though, it’s hard to precision through corners and mustache lines). If he’s going for clean shaven, this will easily give him a nice and smooth finish. Check them all out at Also, check out their very own e-magazine, Five O’Clock that covers all ground from shaves, to women, to style.

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Beauty - "The Lovely" - Fragrance (perfume/cologne) - Product Review

So Michael Jordan came out with a perfume…

October 25, 2013

I feel like basketball legend Michael Jordan has been in the news a lot more recently. He had a lavish wedding, made headlines when he said he could beat MVP LeBron James 1-on-1 AND also admitted that he didn’t have a clue to what twerking could mean in the same interview. Now, he’s come out with his very first perfume for women, and it’s aptly called Lady Flight.

Lady Flight by Michael Jordan

The white and baby pink bottle with removeable rubber borders (an ode to his sneaks) is decidedly not the most grown-up of designs, but the pink actually alludes to a greater cause: For every bottle of fragrance purchased, $1 will be donated to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Although it’s easy to miss, I think my favorite part is the subtle white-on-white engraving of MJ’s signature on the bottle cap.


As for the scent, it’s a mix of black currant, glacier lily, sandalwood, vanilla and white amber. It almost smells a tad coconut-ey to me (not one of its listed scents), and is on the lighter side as far as strength which I think probably makes it more appropriate for casual occasions. Get it for all the young Bulls fans in the making :).


The limited-edition perfume retails for $50, but it’s currently prices at $39.99 at

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FOOD - "The Delicious" - Gift Guide

Gift idea: Nescafe Dolce Gusto Circolo machine

October 24, 2013

If you’re thinking about no-fail gifts, clearly I’m all about the kitchen appliances :). As you may already know, I’ve alwaysss been a Nescafe Dolce Gusto fan. Their machines are sleek, and they make THE BOMB coffee drinks (Latte Macchiatos allll day). Not to mention, they add a little character to your countertops. When I was going home to visit my parents recently, I thought I’d surprise my mom with Dolce Gusto’s Circolo, lovingly touted as the brand’s “Showstopper.”

Nescafe Dolce Gusto Circolo

Not only does Dolce Gusto use 100% Arabica coffee (no skimping on quality there), the Circolo specifically has been voted the best single-serve coffee maker by Consumer Reports for three years in a row. One of the coolest things about this machine (besides the built-in LED), is that you can control how strong you want your coffee by a little rolling lever on its screen:


Not to mention, you can make hot or cold drink just by hitting the appropriate button. It makes coffee as simple as possible. The only thing I didn’t realize on first use was that there are WHITE k-cups that is actually the milk capsules, and BROWN k-cups which is the actual coffee. Amateur mistake, but once we figured it out, it was smooth sailing. The machine’s 15-bar professional pressure heats up the coffee in seconds.


Coffee-making in progress

Coming from a family of critics, I was pretty excited when every single person enjoyed their cup of espresso :). I should also point out, their Delonghi cappuccino cups (which I used above) are amazing — they insulate the heat so the inside stays warm, while the outside of the glass is cool to touch.

Delonghi Cappuccino cups

Nescafe Dolce Gusto Circolo machines are available at for $150.

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Beauty - "The Lovely" - Beauty on the Streets

Beauty on the Streets: Mel Rose of Food and the City

October 22, 2013

This week’s spotlight is on blogger extraordinaire, Mel Rose! As a fellow Progresso Artisan Ambassador (more on this soon!), Mel and I were busy roaming the NYCWFF together this past weekend and indulging in one of our shared passions — food! Not only is she an established YouTube makeup and fashion guru, she shares her delicious recipes on her food blog. Read on to learn more about what makes her tick: -Shy


Name: Mel Rose

Age: 22

Occupation: Writer of Food and the City & Beauty/Fashion guru on YouTube

Location: Bronx, NY


Twitter: @OfficialMel

Instagram: @OfficialMelRose

“Just a regular young 20-somethin’ born and raised in New York, who is crazy for all things fashion and food! I love to entertain, hang out with my dog, and sprinkle glitter on pretty much anything I can get my hands on!”

When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I think is: “I’m not ready to wake up..five more minutes please?”

The song I have on repeat right now is: Wake Me Up by Avicii! That song just gets me going. Anytime I’m feeling “ehh” I listen to that song and want to conquer the world!

Growing up, I really wanted to be: A teacher…and a movie star. But no, really!

The best part about being a blogger is: Sharing my ideas with the world! Just being able to get my thoughts and creativity typed out and on a screen for thousands to see.

My best styling tip is: Wear what you feel comfortable in. Not a fan of the way peplum tops make you look? Forget em’.

My favorite places to shop are: Zara, H&M, Nordstrom, J.Crew, plus any cute boutique I may stumble upon.

One of my best makeup tips is: Get your eyebrows in check. They can drastically change your appearance. Play around with shapes, grow them out just to buzz em’ back off again, and look a little crazy until you find the best shape that works for you. It took me years!

Check out Mel's YT channel!

People usually compliment my: Eyes. They have a tendency to sometimes turn into this really light caramel color. I have no idea why it happens, but I’ll take it!

I’ll never forget: I went out for a drink with a few people, and may have had a little too much wine. Next thing I knew I was on the dance floor teaching former football player Michael Irvin how to do the Macarena. True story!

For my skin, I use: A little olive oil to help remove my eye makeup. Not only is it great at breaking down mascara/eye liner, it leaves your skin feeling soft!

My favorite place in the whole world is: Paris, France for sure! My boyfriend and I visited for a couple of weeks last year and the whole experience was amazing!

Current beauty product obsession: I’m really loving the Lorac Pro-to-go palette. I travel a lot and this beauty is equipped with eye shadows, a bronzer, and blushes! Hello non-overweight luggage!

But I also can’t live without: MAC Studio Finish concealer. Its like, an eraser. I love that stuff.

Worst habit: Planning to get ready early and then moving in slow motion since I think I have all this time. Translation: I always end up late.

When I travel, I MUST have: A box of green tea with me! You’d be surprised how hard it can be to find good, green tea! (totally random I know!). My favorite is Teavana’s Matcha Japanese Green Tea!

My favorite scent is:Dream by GAP. It was something I used as a teen, and my love for it was recently rekindled!

People might be surprised to know that: I’m a picky eater, and have been my whole life. I’d probably be a vegetarian if I didn’t love chicken dishes so much! A picky food blogger, go figure.

My current favorite hair product is: Josie Maran Argan Oil. I just rub a little on my ends when I get out of the shower and they feel like new!

I don’t understand people who don’t like: Pizza! I mean really, how can ANYONE not like pizza?!

The restaurant I can never get tired of is: Buddakan on 9th Avenue in Chelsea. The atmosphere is great, the food never disappoints, and it always makes for a great ‘girls night out’ spot. Plus a scene from Sex and the City was filmed there, so that makes it all the more fashionable!

Though I can make a mean: Steak! I’m not partial to steak myself, but its probably the #1 request I get from my boyfriend to make for him!

I hope in 5 years: I have an established career in the blogging department and can take off to travel the world for months at a time!

Who inspires me: Everything inspires me. Music, TV, trends, nature, friends/family–you name it! The world is one big visionary scene that we all see differently. Take what you may and run with it!

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