Monthly Archives: December 2013

Dessert - FOOD - "The Delicious" - Food Trucks

AmEx spreading some holiday cheer: Free Cupcakes & Cocoa!

December 17, 2013

New Yorkers, mark this on your calendar: From Saturday, Dec 21st to Monday, Dec 23rd, the American Express holiday truck will be distributing FREE Baked by Melissa Candy Crunch cupcakes and creamy hot cocoa at locations throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn!

The AmEx truck is coming to NY!

If you think you could use a little pick-me-up during your holiday shopping, take note of the timings and locations:

Day 1: Saturday, Dec 21

Meatpacking (Vehicle 1, stop 1) – noon
Chelsea/Highline (Vehicle 1, stop 2) – 3 p.m.
Midtown/5th Ave (Vehicle 2, stop 1) – noon
Central Park South/Columbus Circle (Vehicle 2, stop 2) 3 p.m.

Day 2: Sunday, Dec 22

Washington Square Park/Greenwich (Vehicle 1, stop 1) noon
West Village (Vehicle 1, stop 2) 3p.m.
Cobble Hill (Vehicle 2, stop 1) noon
Park Slope (Vehicle 2, stop 2) 3 p.m.

Day 3: Monday, Dec 23

Herald Square (Vehicle 1, stop 1) noon
Midtown/5th Ave/Rock Center (Vehicle 1, stop 2) 3 p.m
Bryant Park Area (Vehicle 2, stop 1) noon
Soho (Vehicle 2, stop 2) 3 p.m.


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BATF Giveaways - Beauty - "The Lovely" - Eyes

Enter to win an Acuvue Oasys contact lens giveaway worth $200! #WhatsYourRub

My eyes have been giving me issues. I’ve been a contact lens-wearer for years but you can say as of a year ago, I’ve all but given up on them. I’ve switched brands and types of lenses so many times on different doctors’ suggestions because at some point I would always find my eyes super dry and itchy by the next day. I could rarely wear them two days in a row. I seriously couldn’t wait every day to just get home and pinch them out. Then recently, I felt like it got worse…to the point where I was carrying around an artificial tears dropper with me wherever I went, and would wear my bi-weekly contacts for two days max and only a couple hours each time. I scaled back a LOT with eyeliners and mascaras. Yup, that bad. And just like that, as if the clouds parted and the angels started singing, I get an email from Acuvue asking if I want to try their new super-hydrating Oasys contact lenses. Are they reading my diary? (Yes, sad that that’s as juicy as it gets).

Acuvue Oasys contacts


I made an appointment with Dr. Susan Resnick to try it out. Thankfully, all they found was that my prescription went down a tad. So why were my eyes reacting this way? Sometimes it’s an allergy to the contact lens solution itself (I was told this before and has switched before, but Dr. Resnick recommended RevitaLens disinfecting solution). I’m sure the constant switch between drying winter conditions and coming home to stuffy heat couldn’t have helped my situation. It also turned out the contacts I had just ordered, Air Optix, are no longer offered in their two-week category. That one had also worked fine for me a couple years ago but somehow it wasn’t doing the trick anymore. I was switched to Oasys for two weeks to see how I fare and if that still wasn’t resolving the issue, she said we can switch over to the 1-Days.

Thankfully, there hasn’t been a need. For once, in a very long time, I can wear contacts everyday without having to worry about bloodshot eyes. And I know, some of you may be thinking just because Acuvue emailed me I’m writing this, but honest to God it’s been a lifesaver for me and purely coincidental that I was dealing with this issue without even thinking to switch for the 100th time before I was asked to try these out. I’m very particular about what I giveaway, and if I don’t love it, I won’t bother. And since I love these lenses so much, I’m even more stoked to offer you the chance to try it yourself with some equally comfort-inducing pairings ;).

Acuvue giveaway pack! Win every one of these items!


ONE winner will have a chance to win ALL of these below:

· ACUVUE® OASYS® Brand Contact Lenses (with a valid prescription)

· NEUTROGENA® Deep Moisture Day Cream with Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 20

· KORRES® Body Butter in Vanilla Guava

· LUBRIDERM® Soothing Relief Daily Lotion

· AVEENO® Skin Relief Healing Ointment

· Cable Knit Throw Blanket

· Hot Cocoa

· Café Mug


TO ENTER:
You must Like Acuvue on Facebook to enter. To increase your chances, tweet using hashtag #WhatsYourRub. You can do both below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winner will be picked and contacted on Monday, December 23rd. Good luck!


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Beauty - "The Lovely" - Face - Product Review

Try this now: Neutrogena foundations

December 15, 2013

It’s easy to skip over drugstore foundations if you can’t try them on as you can at places like Sephora. It only took a couple swipes of Neutrogena’s Shine Control makeup from makeup artist and brand ambassador Amy Oresman though to make me a believer. This foundation is legit (even when not applied by a celeb makeup artist). My shade straddles between fresh and warm beige, and the color and coverage are both beautiful.

Neutrogena foundations

When I tried it at home, I was even more impressed that it practically made any sign of my pores disappear. The coverage is buildable – as Oresman explained, one swipe for a tinted moisturizer, two for medium coverage and three for full. But one light layer was enough to do its duty without making me look like I have anything on. Case in point, I was testing it out this morning and while sitting on my computer, my roommates started complimenting how good my skin looks right after I wake up…so sad to break it to them that it was this makeup. At least it fooled the people who I see daily (somehow my roommates’ reactions always turn into my litmus test).

The Shine Control collection is especially great for people who have oily skin with its lightweight and breathable matte finish, thanks to its rice protein complex. The foundation basically has a primer and invisible pressed powder (yes in a liquid foundation) in one without over-drying the skin. Think of it like tiny blotting papers hidden in the makeup to continuously absorb oil. Ok that’s a weird visual, but just a way to relay the idea…

The only people I wouldn’t recommend this to are people with already really dry skin. There’s nothing worse than mattifying foundation on crumpling skin. If your skin is already on the dry side, try their Healthy Skin Liquid makeup instead. It’s not oil-absorbing like this one and has a more dewy finish. Because of the harsh winter, and the fact that my skin is more combo than any one type, I mix these two together and use very, very little on only problem areas. It comes in only 8 shades, so if you can find yours, run with it. On the other hand, if you are super oily, start off with their Shine Control primer for extra oil banishing.

Neutrogena Shine Control Liquid Makeup SPF 20 is available at drugstores and mass retailers for $14. Check out Neutrogena.com for more info!

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FOOD - "The Delicious" - Mexican - Spanish/Latin American

Otto’s Tacos in the East Village

December 14, 2013

I always say good Mexican food is not NYC’s forte, which  may not necessarily be true for long. I have a short list right now — Tacombi in Nolita is up there; Oficina Latina has good bites and a fun atmosphere; La Esquina (must try their queso). Now there’s a brand new joint on the block: Otto’s Tacos in the East Village which just opened last month. I stopped by a couple days ago to check it out with my friend Feeny, and got the run down of the menu from owner Otto Cedeno himself (he’s real! And you’ll likely catch him there).

Otto's Tacos. Source: Instagram

The food, which I’ll get to in a minute, was among many highlights to the story. Maybe not so surprisingly, Otto was influenced by his LA-roots for the west coast style mini tacos (although rooting for the Lakers may be his strongest connection to Cali these days).

The more surprising part is Otto’s background comes in tech (he was the head of Operations and Production at Livestream), not necessarily a culinary one. But, he explained, his passion for the NY neighborhood he’s been residing in on and off since he was a teenager, and of course, really good Mexican food is what drove him back to set up shop on the corner of 9th and 2nd Avenue. “I said it has to either be in the East Village or I’m not doing it at all,” Otto said. Is it for the cool factor? I ask, considering East Village does boast some of the best restaurants. He replied that it was to give back to the area he lived in for so long. It really is as much about the tacos as the neighborhood for him.

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Guacamole

THE TACOS

The tacos are served on a homemade corn tortilla that are prepared right in the front of the taqueria. They come filled with your choice of carne asada (beef), chicken, pork, shrimp, or mushroom and chef suggested sauces (which you can customize if you’d like).

Carne asada (beef) tacos


Chicken tacos

Feen got the beef and chicken and I opted for the shrimp and mushroom. Everything was bursting with layers of  flavor — Feen said the beef was the best she’s ever had and the chicken was just as good, and I can say the shrimp and mushroom didn’t disappoint either.

Shrimp taco


Mushroom tacos

It’s hard to lose with fresh chopped vegetables like onions, tomatoes, and cilantro, and seasonings done so right that you probably wouldn’t even notice that there was no cheese topping them (note: none needed). The thicker-than-flour corn tortillas also gave the tacos more density in every bite.

Corn tortillas

MASA FRIES

They serve the standard guac and chips but the masa fries is one of their strong points of differentiation from other Mexican places — when was the last time you’ve been to one and saw fries on the menu? These aren’t any normal fries either.

Masa Fries

Instead of going the usual potato route, Otto’s makes them with the same masa corn flour. The recipes was a serendipitious mistake — Otto said chef Joe Lonigro was making masa and when they didn’t turn out right, threw them in the fryer. Masa fries were born. These are paired with chipotle mayo sauce which makes everything taste even better — unless you don’t like chipotle mayo (in which case, what’s wrong with you?).

HORCHATA

Mexican Coke and Horchata

Made in house daily, a fresh and sweet rice milk and cinnamon drink that almost tastes like dessert…

CHURROS

…until you realize you can also have dessert with their churros and dulce de leche dipping sauce.

Churros

And might I add, nothing on the menu is more than $3.50. You would be doing a disservice to yourself by not stopping by. Otto’s definitely brought sexy good Mexican food back to a city that never tires of bragging all the amazing cuisines here.

Now, if he can only do something about those Lakers… (JUST KIDDING, OTTO!)


Restaurant Info:
Otto’s Tacos

141 2nd Ave.
at 9th Street
New York, NY 10003
646-678-4018
East Village


REPORT CARD
Meal: Dinner

Occasion: Checking out the new restaurant
Price: $
(Out of three stars)
Ambiance: *** (no frills and casual for a bite-and-go. Just a few communal tables and bar stools)
Food: ***
Service: ***
Would I go back?: Yes!


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Beauty - "The Lovely" - Hair - interviews

The beauty routine of Olympic Alpine skier, Mikaela Shiffrin

December 11, 2013

On the heels of the heavily applauded ad Pantene released illustrating the stereotypes of how men vs. women are viewed (Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said the message it sends is one of the most powerful she’s ever seen), it’s only fitting to introduce yet another young, powerful woman who’s joined as their latest spokesperson: Mikaela Shiffrin.

Mikaela Shiffrin

Touted to be a likely pick for Team USA, Shiffrin won the slalom title at the world championships in Schaldming, Austria at just 17, becaming skiing’s youngest female world champion since 1985. Although heavily preparing for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, the bright-eyed Shiffrin was game for some beauty and food questions from Beauty and the Feast!


Beauty and the Feast:
As the new spokesperson for Pantene, what’s your own personal earliest memory of the brand?
Mikaela Shiffrin: From the time I was a little girl, I remember seeing Pantene everywhere in our bathroom. Pretty much immediately after I stopped using baby shampoo, I started using Pantene. I’ve switched back and forth through the years, trying to find something that tames my unruly hair. But I keep coming back to the brand because it makes my hair feel more soft than anything else does.

BATF:
What products do you like to use on your skin to keep it from being dry in the harsh, cold conditions that you ski in?
Shiffrin: Every night before I go to bed, I put on the Olay Night Fortifying Cream, lots of it. When I wake up, I slather on the Olay All Day Moisture Cream. Then I mix it with the CoverGirl CC cream so I can even out my skin tone. After skiing all day, my skin tone is like 5 different shades. It gives me extra hydration and a more an even tone and pretty looking skin.

BATF:
What is your daily beauty routine like?
Shiffrin: I just put on a tiny bit of light colored blush and a little bit of black eye liner. It’s simple, but it brings out my best features. I feel so much more confident taking helmet and goggles off. I don’t look like I’ve been skiing all day – the products last throughout training session.

BATF:
How do you combat helmet hair?
Shiffrin: It’s just something that I live with! I spray a little bit of Pantene’s Flexible Hold Hairspray, before I go out, just at roots. It stays in my hair, pretty much all day. Then, after I take off my helmet, I just pull up at my roots a little bit and the helmet hair pretty much disappears.

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BATF:
What are some foods you always like to incorporate in your diet as an athlete?
Shiffrin: I have Barilla plus pasta at every single meal, but not an entire dish of pasta. Many people think of athletes carb-loading and having a huge bowl of pasta with 2000 calories. I don’t do that. It’s more of a side dish, that complements the protein and I have a little bit of salad. Barilla Plus has extra protein so it helps replenish my muscles.

BATF:
What are some beauty products that will be traveling with you to Sochi the Winter Olympics?
Shiffrin: I’ll be bringing the Pantene Repair & Protect collection. They have rough water there so it will help keep my hair looking good. I’ll also bring Smoochies lip balm. It’s a natural lip color, so it doesn’t look like I’m trying so hard to look good. I’ll also be bringing the face creams I mentioned earlier.


BATF:
What’s the best beauty advice you’ve gotten from your mom?
Shiffrin: Moisturize! The very first thing I remember her telling me about beauty was to make sure to put on your lotion and make sure you are moisturizing your skin every day. I remember sneaking into her bathroom to put on her lotion.

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BATF:
You’ve accomplished a lot at such a young age…where does your confidence and focus stem from?
Shiffrin: My confidence is a work in progress and it will continue to be so. When I was little, my family loved sports. Sports were family activities. I started skiing because I had a passion for family time and that turned into a passion for the sport. Then, it evolved into a passion for training, then racing and loving the competitive atmosphere. It stemmed from having a love for what I was doing. My advantage was I fell in love with everything I did, because we did it as a family.

BATF:
Finally, what’s your best advice to aspiring professional athletes?
Shiffrin: My advice to aspiring professional athletes is to make sure you love whatever you are doing. And if you don’t, then tone it back or find something about it that you can love. You are never going to love everything you do, it’s always going to be tough, but if you find your passion, then it’s always going to be worth it. It can be a painful process sometimes, but if you love it than it’s worth it.

Thanks so much for the interview, Mikaela!

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Beauty - "The Lovely" - Face - interviews

Actress Cynthia Nixon talks about life with rosacea

December 10, 2013

Who knew that Cynthia Nixon, the actress best known for her role as Miranda on Sex and the City, was dealing with a skin condition all these years? Well, Nixon herself didn’t realize her flare ups were a result of rosacea, chalking it up to bouts of acne.

“I struggled with acne as a teenager and I was very diligent about using all sorts of anti bacterial face washes and scrubs,” the 47-year-old actress told me in a phone interview. “I found myself in my 40s at my dermatologist’s to check if a mole I discovered was cancerous, and that’s when she told me, ‘And by the way, you see this redness all over? This is rosacea. You have rosacea.”

Actress Cynthia Nixon talks to Beauty and the Feast about rosacea

Rosacea is an incurable facial disorder that affects over 16 million Americans. The condition is characterized by redness on the cheeks, bumps or pimples, and watery, irritated eyes. Understandably, Nixon said she was ‘taken aback’ at the revelation. “I noticed my skin was red but thought, surely it’s not that bad.” Nixon proceeded to give a run-down of her skincare routine with her doctor – the scrubs, the face washes – and was told “that’s the absolute worst thing you can do for rosacea.” The discovery didn’t slow the Emmy Award-winning actress down, nor did it keep her from completely avoiding her favorite things (spicy foods and warm baths, in moderation). Nixon, who just wrapped up filming Life Itself with Morgan Freeman and Diane Keaton, is on the forefront of speaking on issues related to rosacea with the National Rosacea Society.

Somewhere in the middle of her busy schedule, Nixon made time to talk to me about her journey with rosacea:

Beauty and the Feast
: How did your skincare routine change once you found out you had rosacea?
Cynthia Nixon: I started getting products that my derm help me find that specifically addressed anti redness. I learned to be gentle–no harsh scrubbing and anything that would make my skin sting, that was an immediate sign that it wasn’t good for my skin. And have consistency. I wash my face every evening and not in the morning. I have all sorts of creams if my skin flare up I have an anti redness moisturizer I’ll pull out. I have one perscription drug that I use on a daily basis that helps.

BATF:
Do you have to adjust your makeup when you’re filming?
Nixon: My makeup artist was very relieved once my rosacea got in control. She agrees with me that light hand is best. The older I get, the less foundation I want to wear particularly when I’m shooting for hours and hours. There’s nothing that can make you look older than you are faster than a lot of heavy foundation that’s been sitting on your face for 12 hours.

BATF:
For someone who is constantly in the spotlight, did it affect your confidence?
Nixon: Absolutely. It’s hard to understand why it makes you lose your confidence but it does for whatever reason, particularly when you’re a teenager. But whatever age you are, when your skin looks all broken out and red, it’s embarrassing and makes you feel ashamed.

BATF:
Have you changed your diet at all??
Nixon: My dad is from Texas, so I love spicy food. I really love it. And not mildly spicy food, like really spicy food. I didn’t give it up completely, although I knew in terms of spicy food and hot baths, if I’m playing with those I’m playing with fire. When I’m on vacation it’s fine, but if I have a photoshoot or filming the next day, or and important family event, I keep in mind if I have a glass of wine, it may bring on an attack.

BATF
: Are there any tips or tricks makeup artist taught you on set?
Nixon: I feel like Sex and the City taught me a lot about beauty and fashion. One thing I learned on set was that it’s not about all your clothes and coordinating — its about how your clothes suit your body. Instead of looking like a hanger. It’s true of makeup too. It’s about what you want to bring out in your face, use the makeup sparingly. For me, when I was younger, I would take foundation and put it all over my face. Now what I do is I use a very light hand a tiny bit of cover up. Unless I’m on a talk show with harsh lighting, I really just cover bits where slightly red like around my nose or under my eyes. By in large I want most of my skin to show. In the same way, I want my body showing rather than showing just being a hanger. You’re the main event, not your makeup.

For more infomation on rosacea and Cynthia’s work with the National Rosacea Society, visit rosacea.org and www.rosaceafacts.com. Thank you Cynthia for taking the time out for the interview!

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