Monthly Archives: February 2015

Breakfast/Brunch - FOOD - "The Delicious"

BelVita and The Changing American Breakfast

February 27, 2015

I was introduced to BelVita’s breakfast biscuits and bars a year ago and now I’m always stocked up whenever I don’t have time for a big breakfast (i.e. almost every weekday). Namely, their crunchy biscuits are a good source of fiber and B vitamins, but their new Breakfast Bites has even more fiber and whole grains (20 grams).

Breakfast today

Each packet is 230 calories and gives you a steady bout of energy for four hours at least. Plus they have no high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors, and colors. To celebrate all its goodness, BelVita is asking you to ‘trade in your spoon’ on National Cereal Day (March 7th) in favor of a complete breakfast like their Bites, fruit and dairy. They’ll be hosting a Twitter party on Wednesday, March 4th at 11am ET so make sure you follow them (@belVita) and tweet along the influencers below who will be sharing their breakfast wisdom and nutrition facts with you!

BelVita Bites


: Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Time: 11:00 AM– 12:00 PM ET; 10:00 – 11:00 AM CST
Moderator: @MomCentral
belVita Breakfast Influencers: @ChristinHassler, @Kerigans, and @DaveZinczenko
Topic: Breakfast has always played an essential role in our diets but times have changed. As today’s modern family has evolved, consumers’ morning routines and breakfast eating habits have changed as well. A panel of nationally renowned experts will discuss the changing American breakfast and how nutritious, convenient solutions like belVita can help on-the-go families stay energized all morning long.

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Beauty - "The Lovely" - Body

Shower tip: Try Dry Brushing!

February 26, 2015

Dry brushing has changed my winter skin life, thanks to Joanna Vargas! So many benefits to just an easy step to add before you shower.

My Dry Brushing essentials

This method exfoliates, helps eliminate cellulite, improves elasticity, and stimulates your lymphatic system. Many naturopathic doctors even use dry brushing to help with bloating since massaging the lymph nodes helps the body shed excess water and toxins. One of the immediate effects, they say, is that it can even help improve digestion, kidney function. And all you need is a $5 brush from the store.

Before jumping in the shower, grab a coarse, dry bristle brush (like the one here) and starting with the feet, brush up on dry skin. Do the same with arms, always towards the heart. In the shower, use an exfoliating wash like Suave’s Sea Mineral Infusion Exfoliating Wash, and end with a lotion (I love their spray lotion since I’m always on the go and it’s faster). You’ll notice your skin is MUCH brighter right away, and so much smoother in two weeks. Try it and let me know what you think!

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BATF Giveaways - Beauty - "The Lovely" - Fashion

Wooden inspirations + watch giveaway from Jord

February 24, 2015

I’m a minimalist when it comes to accessorizing. A few wood-based pieces, though, prove to sleek up a wardrobe (or your bathroom — recyclable toothbrush, anyone?):


I was just recently introduced to a couple of brands. Woodzee has a feel-good ethos: through their Our World Program, they team up with organizations to help protect the environment, plant trees, save animals, and the world basically. When you check out, you have a choice of what continent you’d like to contribute to, and Woodzee will donate a portion of the profit to an non-profit organization. Their products are also made from renewable resources and can be sent back to them to be recycled or re-used.

Close up of Woodzee sunglasses

My minimal accessorizing makes me rely mostly on a statement watch to overcompensate. I was recently introduced to Jord watches, who specialize in making beautiful wooden watches, like this cherry wood/mother of pearl face watch from their Sidney series.

Jord Sidney watch

It’s surprisingly light and the beauty is in the details, like the small crystals lining the perimeter of the face. Want for yourself? You can pick out your own watch from their line this week. Details below!


To win a $139 gift card to Jord*, do either of the following (you enter by doing either, or both to increase your chances):

Like BATF’s Facebook page and comment on this giveaway post

Follow me on Twitter (@BeautyNDFeast) and tweet “Hey @BeautyNDFeast, I want to win a #JordWatch @woodwatches_com #giveaway”

Make sure you leave a comment below to let me know how you entered. Winners will be picked and notified by March 2nd. Good luck!.

*Giveaway includes free shipping and gift certificate can only be used once

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Beauty - "The Lovely" - Face - Product Review - Skin

8 Skin Saving Winter Warriors

February 16, 2015

We’re basically walking around in the Arctic here in NYC. I think my eardrum froze yesterday. It’s bad. I’ve been loading up on these moisturizers though, so although I’m partially deaf and afraid that even my soul is frozen, at least you can’t tell on my skin.

Winter time saviors

1) Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream, $15 – This is like a tall glass of water for your skin. Almost literally, though: this is a water-based gel that’s super lightweight and not sticky. Plus it has skin-plumping hyaluronic acid that gives moisture back to the skin. The olive extract helps protect the skin from moisture loss. It basically locks moisture in your skin. It’s a great first-thing-in-the-morning moisturizer.

2) Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream, $17 – I think I’ve sang my praises for this to all my friends by now. And I always say the same thing: the medicinal scent is not for everyone (I personally hate it) BUT. BUT. This is the best moisturizer I’ve found for my skin, hands-down. That’s why it’s always in my bag. Before flights, before bed, under my eyes, on my lips, elbows, everywhere. If my skin is ever acting up, I apply this before bed, and my skin is so much softer in the morning. It’s a thicker, gel-based cream that is a tad greasy, and glycerin-ey, but it hydrates my skin like no other.

3) Dove Quench Absolute Shampoo and Conditioner, $7 each – Sooo this is specially formulated for the curly haired — therefore not me, my hair is wavy — but that didn’t stop me from stealing a page from their book. The line is so nourishing for dried out locks, and it smells beautiful — like coconut and happiness.

4) BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Gel Cream, $29 – I already wrote how much I love this tinted BB/CC cream just the other day here, but this is seriously the only thing I’ll wear in the winter and it lets my skin show but also hydrates it so it looks like I’m wearing nothing.

5) Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair, $92 – This is a repair serum that helps fight signs of aging and just a little goes a long way. I recently re-discovered this, and apply a little under my cream at night. It also has skin plumping hyaluronic acid, and algae extracts which helps repairs cells. In their studies, 83 percent of women felt their skin looked healthier and more rested in just 4 weeks (*raises hand).

6) Aquaphor, $5 – If you want just one, affordable, heavy duty cream to ease your winter woes, then Aquaphor. This is another little tube I keep with me to use on my lips or under my eyes to protect against the blistery cold. Also great to apply to chapped heels or even as a hand balm/cuticle saver.

7) Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Nighttime Miracle Moisturizer, $39 – Seeing how much I love the original Eight Hour Cream, I had to try Elizabeth Arden’s Nighttime Miracle Moisturizer. The good news is they added a little lavender to this so it smells better than the original. It’s a thicker situation than the original as well so I only use it sparingly since it can be overpowering. I’ve been using a little under my eyes and on ares prone to turn patchy with the colder weather.

8 ) 100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Eye Cream, $21 – I’ve loved this small brand ever since I tried their brightening pineapple enzyme peel mask. This eye cream has anti-inflammatory green tea, and the coffee helps reduce puffy under eyes and dark circles. And true to the brand’s ethos, it’s made only with 100% pure ingredients (also every single person who tested it said it improved skin hydration and moisturization).

What moisturizers are you relying on for the winter?

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Beauty - "The Lovely"

10 products you need for Valentine’s Day

February 13, 2015

Because better last minute than never :). Instead of making a guide full of red lipsticks you can wear tomorrow (speaking of, this Tarte balm is so much muchier), I put together a round up of some of my favorite things for date night and beyond. Check em out:

A few of my favorite things

1) Fekkai Hair Fragrance Mist in Rose Fraiche, $19.99 – Fekkai is one a step ahead of the game in launching fragrance specifically for hair that not only adds a beautiful scent but also shine (and half the cost of a luxe perfume). The scent is influenced by their own Technician Color Care line. It has a light alcohol scent (not was I was hoping at first) but the notes blossom as it settles in. Also comes in Creme Vanillee with notes of vanilla, and sandalwood. ALSO comes in handy when this happens:

Best IG ever

2) So Susan Universal Blush, $27.99 – A co-worker of mine picked this up for me at a beauty sale and I didn’t recognize the brand, and that it would be the same ol’ bright blush. That is until I tried it, and this is so much more fun. It’s actually been my go-to lately since it’s so pigmented and gives off the prettiest pop of pink (thanks to its pink tinted kaolin clay) that also gives off a gorgeous (not sparkly) sheen. The color accentuates cheekbones and flattering on all skin tones (I can say it passed the medium skin-tone test). It’s also infused with skin loving ingredients like buriti, an Amazonian fruit rich in beta-carotene and essential fatty acids.

Without contacts, and with Define contacts (right side)

3) 1-Day Acuvue Define contacts, prices vary. This newest development from Acuvue is kind of like getting really good highlights. You know when your friends know there’s something different but can’t put their finger on it? This is kind of like that but for eyes. These contacts emphasizes the limbal ring, or the outer ring of your iris. It’s not color contacts, but it enhances your natural eyes to define the iris and make it seem bigger, which is found by studies to be perceived as more attractive, and youthful. It comes in three varieties (Natural Sparkle, Natural Shimmer and Natural Shine) – ask your doctor to try it out.

4) Kevyn Aucoin The Celestial Powder in Candlelight, $44 – Hands down, my favorite highlighter. Just use a fan brush to lightly tap on cheekbones brow bones for a celeb worthy glow. The BEST.

5) Tarte LipSurgence Skintuitive Lip Tint in Energy, $24 – Sheer and balmy and the pink adjusts to your complexion (or add extra to pump up the color). I love the finish of this which is a subtle pink, but not too pink. Well, that’s the case for me. Plus with essential oils like jojoba, it’s a nice moisturizing blend too.

Creepy close up wearing Tarte's LipSurgence tint. You love the creepy close ups (no you don't)

6) Benefit Roller Lash, $24 – Benefit’s newest mascara has a patent-ptending hook design to help set a curl for 12 hours (no extra lash curler needed!). If you want volume too, I’d double up by using a volume mascara over this one while it’s still wet, but if you just want those clean, curved lashes that opens up your eyes, give this one a shot.

Benefit roller ball mascara

7) Benefit Fake Up Concealer, $24 – In this FREAKING cold weather, I’m extra grateful to this concealer because it not only hides dark circles, but it also has a ring of a conditioning balm that goes easy on skin and hydrates. Set with powder if you have extra oily skin to avoid gathering, though!

BareMinerals Complexion Rescue tinted gel

8 ) BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Tinted Gel, $29. BareMinerals always finds a way to do it right. Their latest is my favorite winter-skin-saving tinted gel. I’ve been using it almost on the daily. It’s super, super moisturizing but doesn’t go on greasy or drying. No silicones, no oils, no parabens. If you have problem areas, you might need to go over it again with concealer, because this has a very sheer finish, but it does double duty of moisturizing and covering just enough to even out your skin. Skip the moisturizer, you can use this straight.

9) Suave Professionals Souffle Mousse, $4.99 – OK I’m obsessed with Suave’s newest products to help smooth, add volume, hold curls, fix your man problems (maybe not the last one). BUT. Their products are at the caliber of Kérastase (no really, they tested it), and last night I used a combo of their Souffle Mousse for volume and their smoothing hairspray and it was legit making me feel like I might have a future in hair styling. But then I realized, no. Anyway, bouncy curls with lots of volume and no frizz to boot. Try a combination that works for you but definitely check out the line. When everything is $5, you don’t have much to lose.

10) Simple Micellar Cleansing Water, $6.99. And then at the end of the night, you can take it all off. Your makeup. Stop being weird. This has vitamins V and C, and is super gentle on your skin without leaving it greasy or dry or (the worst), irritated. It also boosts hydration by 90% (can you tell this winter is killing me?). I can never quite get myself to just use a makeup remover alone STILL, so I do a light wash after (although, it’s not technically needed). And at best, maybe 2-3 cotton rounds will do it.

What new beauty finds will you be using tomorrow?

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FOOD - "The Delicious" - Recipes - Vegetarian

Stonefire Naan recipes: Avocado-Tahini spread with veggies, Rosemary Brie flatbreads, & roasted pepper mint dip!

February 9, 2015

Veggie flatbreads and dips!

Wow, that was a mouthful. Literally though, as I’ll explain in just a minute :). This weekend, my friend Shazeen and I went to town experimenting some fun ways you can dress up Stonefire‘s delicious flatbreads, not to mention a fun dip to accompany their pita chips with.

Stonefire Naans line of breads and pita chips

Since my mom is the greatest and most innovative chef I know (seriously, she’s never shies away from veering off from the traditional ingredients to start new ones of her own), I asked her for her thoughts and she came up with the idea of trying an avocado-tahini spread and “make the toppings colorful.” Which was sage advice — the avocado-tahini spread tastes a little nutty, which complimented the toppings. The garlic in  Stoneware’s naan ended itself nicely to the finished product. We started off with that one idea but talking more, it blossomed into two,  and then three recipes which were as follows:

Stonefire naan veggie recipe


Ingredients (enough for two Stonefire Naan)
1 pack of Stonefire garlic naan (comes with 2 naans)
1 Avocado
2 tbs of Tahini
1/2 lime (or you can use lemon, which we wanted to do originally but only had lime at home)
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt

1 roasted yellow bell pepper (again you can use red or green, but we went with yellow)
3 mushrooms, sliced
8-10 sliced, pitted olives
1 green chili, chopped
2 tsp pepper
2 tsp salt
5 shallots (or you can use 1/2 red onion)

Ingredients for the veggie flatbread

Preheat over to 350. Toast the Stonefire naans for 4-5 minutes.


Over stove, warm 2 tbsp olive oil and fry mushrooms, shallots, chili pepper, roasted pepper (you can buy this roasted, but we roasted this first in the over for 15 minutes then sliced), seasoning until browned.

Fry veggies

In a food processor (or blender), add avocado, tahini, cumin, lime, salt, pepper, and olive oil (the oil helps it mix better) on high until it mixes into a paste.

Avocado tahini paste

Remove naans from the over and let cool. Spread the avocado-tahini spread, and top with fried veggies. Add more pepper or salt to taste.

Spread paste on toasted naan

Top with veggies to finish!

The rosemary recipe was a lot faster to make and I actually think I liked it even more than the first flatbread. It was an interesting mix of flavors and the honey also sweetened it up a little.

Rosemary/brie/tomatoe on whole wheat Stonefire Naan


1 pack of Stonefire Whole Wheat naan (2 come in a pack)
4-5 sprigs of rosemary
4 tbs of brie (enough to spread over both naans)
8-10 cherry tomatoes, halved
2-3 tsp honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. When warm, toast the naan for 3-5 minutes. Let cool after done cooking.

Next, spread brie cheese on top, and top with rosemary and cherry tomatoes. Drizzle honey on top, et voila.

The greatest part about their naan is it’s made with no artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors and (like I did) you can freeze them until you’re ready to use them.

Dinner and CHEF -- watch it!

The next thing we tried is a dip which is great for parties, or for eating while watching the movie Chef which we did (awesome movie by the way, everyone watch it!)

Roasted red pepper, feta, mint dip with Stonefire pita chips!


Stonefire Naan pita chips (we taste tested and found their Everything or Garlic Parmesan pita chips paired the best with this recipe!)
3 roasted red bell peppers (you can roast your own like we did, or get them ready made at the store)
1 tsp. minced garlic (or less)
3-4 oz. low-fat cream cheese (we used about 3 oz)
4 oz. Feta cheese
1/4 cup fat-free Greek yogurt (or regular yogurt, we used the latter)
3 tbs finely chopped fresh mint (or more)
1 tbs fresh lemon juice (again, we used lime here)
1 tbs olive oil
salt to taste

Chop mint, then place sliced red peppers and minced garlic into a food processor and process until pureed. Add cream cheese, Feta, fat-free Greek yogurt, mint, lemon juice, and olive oil and process until well blended. Serve with pita chips.

We roasted our own peppers for these recipes! Just add oil and bake for 25 minutes...when cool, peel skin and slice

Finished dip!

There you have it, some easy recipes ideas for Stonefire’s naan and pita chips — anyone tempted to try? Share your favorite flatbread and dip recipes with me below or on Twitter! Check out Stonefire’s website to locate where to buy, and more recipes!

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*Stonefire sent over product, but the recipes and opinions are my own!