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Giveaway: Don’t Call Me Ma’am products ($85 value)

The only thing frilly about the newly-launched Don’t Call Me Ma’am line is the packaging. The line consists of eleven products for the face and body that have been created with “ingredients that are good for you (no parabens, sulfates or harsh chemicals), packaging that is good for the earth (it’s 100% recyclable) and attitude that is good for the soul.”

Don't Call Me Ma'am cleanser, toner, and moisturizer

Their products are filled with botanicals and hydrating ingredients. For example, their creamy Wash It Away Cleanser has sunflower and avocado oil, while their toner is a botanical blend with allantoin, and their Face Love moisturizer has jojoba and vitamin E and has been keeping my skin soft during the colder days.

Want to try it yourself? I’m giving away a full-sized set of all three products to ONE BATF reader (valued at $85 total). Do either to enter, both to increase your chances:

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Try this: Zoodles

I was inspired by some of my friends to try zucchini noodles, or ‘zoodles’ (s/o to Sarah and Asma!). The easiest way to do it is to get yourself a Veggetti, one of those As Seen on TV contraptions.

Zoodles

I sliced a zucchini using the ‘thin’ side (you can make thin or thick noodles depending on which side you twist from), and then added it to boiling water for a couple minutes. Don’t do this too long because it will end up too mushy. My friends have told me varying things, that you can sautee it to make it more crispy, or just stick it in the microwave to warm it up. Boiling it made it soft, and it was nice for this dish, though next time I might try making it a little more crispy. I cooked some beef I got from 5 oz burger from Honest Chops, a butcher shop in the East Village which specializes in organic and halaal meats (I find a big difference in the quality of meat from this one and other butcher shop meat so I like to stick to them, check them out). I made it more or less using this recipe I posted, only I added garlic salt and coriander to it. Just add a little tomato sauce and you have a healthier alternative to pasta.

Anyone try the Veggetti or making zoodles? Let me know if you have any good recipes I can try :) .

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Review: InStyler Tulip rotating curling iron


By Anum Ahmed

There have been so many automatic curlers popping up lately, and the InStyler’s Tulip is the latest to join the arsenal. I was invited to the Cutler SoHo salon to get a firsthand look.

InStyler Tulip


The first thing I noticed was the design – it looks and feels very different from a traditional curling iron (most of the ceramic barrel is covered so it looks like a short rod and the design gives it the shape of its namesake). There were a few of them sitting on a table to use yourself, and another counter with stylists who were ready to help us figure out the best styles for us. It looked a little intimidating so I asked the stylist Dottie for assistance as I figured out how to use it.

Dotti styling my hair


She obliged, sectioning off my hair and started curling by taking ½” sections and placing it in a small opening by the barrel. When you click the button, the rod rotates and curls the hair itself. All you’re doing is placing the hair in the right spot for it to do so. The same perfect curl is formed every time.

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One of the things that set this apart from other curlers are that there are a few different settings to help you customize your style including heat level, rotation, and timer (which helps figure out how tight you want your curls to be). I usually opt for undone beachy waves but here, we aimed for something a little different — spirals. Dottie set up the iron on medium heat, with alternating rotation and an 8-second timer and set my hair in a pretty arrangement of spiral curls.

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When it was finally time for me to try, I had a little trouble using the product while looking in the mirror because I already have difficulty telling my left from my right, and this was on another level, depth perception and all that jazz. Anyway, with help from Dottie, I figured it out and after the third try. So maybe it isn’t the most incredibly intuitive upon first use, but I got the hang of it. Plus it was nice not having to worry about burning myself – or really anything around me because when when I set the iron down, the heated iron stays off the table (don’t even ask how many things I’ve burned by leaving my curling iron out).

Dottie mentioned – and I agreed – that this would be a great starter product for girls who hadn’t really started curling their hair. I was even contemplating getting one for my niece because it was so safe to use.  Just be cognizant of using thinner sections in case a larger ones would end up in a tangled mess. It takes me about the same amount of time that it would a normal curling iron to do my whole head, but at least with this, I know all the curls would be perfect.

So to wrap up:

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Actress Emma Robert talks beauty faux pas and tips

Neutrogena threw their annual holiday party Monday night, which IMO is one of the best with their mix of beauty stations and festive bites and decor — it looked like a straight up winter wonderland with all the glitter and white at Paintbox in SoHo where they held it. The event, in partnership with Rogaine, Rembrandt, and Band-Aid, had none other than brand ambassador Emma Roberts in attendance who’s been recently making waves in FX’s American Horror Story. Roberts, who rivals Kristen Bell in the tiniest person I’ve ever interviewed category, was game to talk to me about her no-makeup philosophy (trust me, you want to know because she’s just as glowing in real life), and some beauty tips she’s picked up just being on set.

Emma Roberts shares her beauty tips!



Beauty and the Feast: First of all, your skin is flawless! Tell me a little bit about your skincare routine.

Emma Roberts: I am really all about kind of keeping it simple as far as skincare and makeup. My one must is I always have to have SPF. I feel like when winter comes around, people stop using sunscreen and to me, that’s the biggest faux pas. For me, it’s all about taking your makeup off at night because anytime I break out is when I go to bed with makeup on. I always regret it and I’m always mad at myself when I do that so I keep Neutrogena’s Makeup Remover Cleansing Wipes everywhere– in my purse, in my carry-on, on set, in my bathroom – I just have so many packs of them because I know otherwise I won’t take it off.

BATF: What is something you’re really bad about with your upkeep?

Roberts:I hate washing my hair. You have to like wash my hair for me. I will dry shampoo my hair for three days. There are times that my boyfriend has been like, ‘Em, you gotta wash your hair.’

BATF: Really?? Your hair is so shiny and healthy looking
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Roberts: I just got it done – it didn’t look like this before, trust me.

BATF: What’s your go-to makeup look?

Roberts: I’m all about curling my lashes, and using mascara. I use the Healthy Lengths and Healthy Volume ones, and on my face, I use Healthy Skin Liquid Makeup. I actually don’t do full face, I use it as concealer under my eyes and dab on problem spots because I don’t really love the look of a full face of foundation. I do a little bronzer, and one of the Moisture Smooth Color Sticks because they’re so sheer and then I’m good to go. When I’m not working, I literally don’t even wear makeup. I think it’s important to let your skin breathe and to look like yourself sometimes. I feel so many younger girls wear makeup every single day. I think it’s important to be comfortable with how you look without it.

Emma Roberts favorite products



BATF: Do you have any tips on how looking more awake when you’re tired?

Roberts: I always have to drink a lot of water when I’m feeling tired. I also put spoons in the fridge and in the morning place them under my eyes, on top of my eyes, everywhere.

BATF: Do you have any tips you picked up just from being in the makeup chair on set?
Roberts:
Just learning how to blend is what I learned, because it’s hard to know how to do without someone showing you. I’m better now at looking at all angles in the mirror.

BATF: I always feel like we get great tips from our mothers — what was your mom’s biggest piece of beauty advice to you?

Roberts: My mom hasn’t worn makeup a day in her life! She would just tell me to exfoliate my face and body and to moisturize, which are good tips especially for winter. I love making a brown sugar scrub. I always look online for recipes for that. I always use a scrub then shave and my skin gets so luxuriously soft.

BATF: What’s your beauty guilty pleasure?
Roberts:
Manicures. I love getting manicures and pedicures, and I love going with my mom, friends or my sister. There’s nothing better than getting a manicure and reading a magazine.

BATF: Any colors do you normally gravitate to?
Roberts:
I’m always about red, but for the holidays I’m into doing more silver and golds instead. I’m trying to be more festive with my color choices.

Thanks to Emma Roberts and Neutrogena for the interview!

x
Shy
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Review: Conair Infiniti Pro Curl Secret

How many of you have heard of or seen Conair’s Infiniti Pro Curl Secret? My friend Heba texted me asking what I thought about it, a new patent-pending curling iron which clasps on to hair and automatically curls it. That was my first time hearing about it, but when I did look it up, I was curious to see if it really did work.

Testing, testing


Curl Secret


The way it works is you clasp down on to about 1/2 inch section of your hair from where you want your curl to start, and the motor will spin to automatically curl your hair inside the iron. After a few seconds, the iron will beep, and when you loosen your grip on the iron, your hair will fall out curled. If all that was too hard to follow, here’s their official how-to video on using it.

Conair Infiniti Pro Curl Secret


So back to the original question, does it work? The short answer is, yes, but it comes with a few caveats that I observed from using it a few times:

- First of all, it’s easy to use once you get the hang of it, but it does take some practice. The first time I used it, I was amazed by the shiny, bouncy curls it delivered, but the second time, when I was more impatient, my curls didn’t come out nearly as nice.

- Check your settings. I didn’t realize it there are 3 settings for how long you want to keep your hair curled (3, 10, and 12 seconds), and I always had it at the highest setting, which meant the longest amount of time. I kept loosening out my curls before letting it beep which meant looser, but sometimes weaker curls. Make sure you adjust it to whatever time you want it set for!

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CoverGirl’s #GirlsCan campaign and gift card giveaway!

It’s always a celebration of women and beauty with CoverGirl, but this month they’re taking it a step further with their #GirlsCan campaign. The company is donating $50,000 to Dress for Success, an international not-for-profit organization that promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support, and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and life. For a limited time, you can find #GirlsCan packs at Walmart stores to promote the initiative. In light of this, they asked me two things: (1) to tell them about a ‘can’t moment’ I turned into a can, and (2) create an inspiring look using their products.

CoverGirl eye makeup

I was talking to a friend yesterday about how sometimes the future can look bleak after finishing a degree creative field in college — sometimes there isn’t a clear trajectory. When I graduated, it was a pre-Twitter, pre-Instagram era, where social media was still finding its footing. My understanding of a blog was nothing more than a personal diary written for public consumption which was confusing at the time. It was after my first internship at a magazine that I knew I was at the right place. But after a couple years, I felt like I wasn’t getting to write as much as I initially hoped for, and that’s when the idea of keeping a blog to me was born. Neither my ignorance on the tech/backend part of blogging inhibited my curiosity to what seemed to me the Wild West of the digital sphere. I didn’t think it would turn into anything except a fun space where I share musings on new beauty products and the food scene in NY, but it’s grown to so much more. It’s still what I initially set out to be but it’s also something that has helped me understand my own craft (whether that’s writing or cooking) and has been a vehicle to meet a lot more interesting people I ever thought. There is a lot of satisfaction in knowing I started something on my own without a lot of direction or peers that could advise on how to go about it — in a way the free range gave me a lot of room for error but space to learn.

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9 things that got me through this month

This was so meant to go up a couple weeks ago, but you know. Moving apartments and things got in the way. But here are a few things that I’ve been trying out and loving:

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1) Pura Naturals Soap-Infused Active Charcoal, $9 for a 3-pack

Pura Naturals Active Charcoal

This is not your average sponge. Pura Naturals came up with and EPA-approved foam that repels water to avoid bacteria build up. The best part is it’s already infused with natural ingredients like coconut oil, soybean oil, and shea butter so you just have to wet it to use to clean and exfoliate your face. The little beads of charcoal sloughs away dead skin gently without irritating. This is particularly useful when I travel – no need to measure 3 oz.

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Healthy Holiday Entertaining with Gardein’s Meatless Meals

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OK, I know what you’re thinking. For some of us using “healthy” and “meatless” in the same sentence means “tasteless” and “boring.” But with so many options lately, that’s just not the case. Going vegan or vegetarian is having its moment right now — consider celebrities like Bey or J. Lo doing a 22-day vegan challenge. But after learning about some of the health benefits, here’s hoping it goes beyond a trend to consider different meal options that do include more plant-based protein.

Gardein Beefless ground


Recently, I sampled some dressed up hors d’oeuvres from Gardein at an event that made me re-think some of the usual grocery store offerings you get in the meatless section. These were not only beautiful in presentation but they tasted delicious. There was a whole table offering gluten-free beefless tacos with roasted corn, black beans, & roasted poblano peppers, gluten-free Rosemary pecan crusted chick’n skewers with cipollini onion aioli; Turk’y cutlet with stuffing, cranberry sauce, & mashed potato on mini spoons; and (surprisingly my favorite), Fishless filet & chips with french fries & lemon wedge.

Fishless filet & chips with french fries & lemon wedge


Turk'y cutlets with stuffing, cranberry sauce, & mashed potato


Beefless tacos

The recipes were perfect finger foods, and if you’re throwing a party (likely for the holidays, yes?) these are perfect additions for your vegetarian guests. Plus, since it’s plant-based, these have less fat and zero cholesterol compared to their meat counterparts. Here are the recipes in case you want to try to re-create them at home!


Recipe 1: FISHLESS FILET with french fries and lemon wedge
(makes 10 servings)

INGREDIENTS:

Gardein Fishless filets
French fries, lemons, flat leaf parsley

Prep
– product takes 20 minutes to cook, so every 10 minutes you will be placing a new tray in oven to ensure consistent samples.

Directions

1-Preheat oven to 475 degreed F. Using scissors, cut open bag. Place filets on two parchment lined oven trays (parchment paper is essential to ensure fishless filet does not stick)
2- Put 1 or 2 trays on middle rack, set timer and cook for 10 minutes.
3 – After 10 minutes, flip the fishless filets, rotate tray and move to the bottom rack. Add a new tray or trays to middle rack, set timer and cook for 10-11 minutes until golden brown and cripsy.
4- Fill each fish cone with 2 tsp tartar sauce, drizzling from the middle of the cone to the bottom (not all sauce should be in the bottom). Note: Do not pre-sauce more than 15 min in advance, or this will ruin the paper cone.
5-Take out the 1st tray (cooked for 20 min), moved 2nd tray (1/2 cooked) to bottom rack, flip filets and add new tray to middle rack, set timer and cook for 10-11 minutes.
6- Cut each filet into 2 pieces
7- Put each piece into a cone holder, garnish with lemon slice and flat leaf parsley sprig.
Gardein products are available at over 22,000 retailers/grocers nationwide, for more products and recipes at www.gardein.com.

Recipe 2: ROSEMARY-PECAN CRUSTED CHCK’N SKEWERS w cipollini onion aioli
(makes 20 skewers)

INGREDIENTS

Gardein Chick’n Scallopini
For marinade:
1 cup red wine (or substitute)
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp chopped rosemary
1/2 tsp sea salt
For crust:
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup flour
2 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
1/2 cup panko
sea salt to taste

Equipment needed
: 4″ bamboo knot cocktail skewers
Prep:
1- In a blender, combine all marinade ingredients and blend until smooth. Cut Gardein Chick’N Scallopini into 3″ strips. Pour the marinade into a bowl, add the gardein to the marinade and let sit overnight.
2- Grind pecans in a food processor. Transfer the pecans to a bowl, add the flour, rosemary and panko.
3- Bread gardein with pecan mixture until fully coated.
4- In a large frying pan, heat up your favorite oil and pan fry gardein on both sides until golden brown.
5- To assemble: Once gardein is fried, insert skewers. Drizzle skewers with cipollini onion aioli, garnish with rosemary.

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Recommended: A haircut at Hairroin Salon in Herald Square

So to briefly explain my relative absence, there’s been a lot of change lately in my life (side note: I was going title this post with Drake’s ‘Nothing Was The Same’ but that sounded too dramatic…and was also not SEO friendly).

Chop chop (image from Instagram)


I’ve switched apartments and moved to a completely new neighborhood; I have a new roommate who’s been great and way patient about my piles and piles of boxes that I have yet to sort; my offices are moving from Times Square to the Freedom Tower; friends have moved in and out of the city — everything has just been shifting. I started to really feel the impermanence of everything around me. And it felt real. I felt inclined to make another tangible change to represent that, and ultimately decided to take it out on my hair (it’s cheaper than a tattoo…kidding). Aside from trims, I’ve more or less kept my hair long but I was itching to cut inches off.

A few months ago, I was invited to check out Hairroin, a new salon in Herald Square connected to Urban Outfitters. They have LA roots where their other location still stands, but they recently opened their doors in NYC.

Hairroin Salon in NYC. PS if you're new to the blog, you should know it ALWAYS rains when I get my haircut. I don't know why.


I got a trim then from Luis Payne, who was AMAZING. He understood I wanted to keep it long then and expertly cut in some more long layers to spruce it up. Since then, I’ve told countless friends about the salon, and every single one had a glowing review of their stylist. Every stylist here are experts at what they do. They don’t specialize, they do their homework and do it all. So this time, when I went back to get my hair done by Courtney, who was cutting my hair for the first time, I wasn’t nervous at all.

I told her what I wanted, brought in some pictures of (don’t judge me) Kim K’s shorter ‘do, and she understood exactly what I wanted. I mean, she even knew off-hand that it was Chris McMillan’s work…points in my book. I didn’t wince at all while she cut in layers on the underside of my hair to achieve the same piecey texture I wanted (prob just another sign that I was so ready for this cut). Courtney used a cocktail of Oribe mousse and shine spray (she’s an ambassador for them) before blow drying, then sang praises for R+Co’s Outer Space Flexible Hairspray which she used on me before adding some waves with a curling iron.

Before (left) and after (right)


Courtney using a curling iron to add a few waves to my cut


After adding waves


When I look at the before and after pictures, I can’t believe how freakishly long my hair was! The result was exactly what I envisioned. The cut made it look so much healthier. It’s not a pixie, I still look like ‘me’ and even after chopping at least 5-6 inches, my hair is still technically long. But to me, it was refreshing. Can’t stop recommending this place. If you’re in the market for a cut I’m sure you’ll be happy with, come here! Haircuts start at $65 and go up depending on the stylist level.

Salon Info:
Hairroin

1333 Broadway,
entrance on35th between Broadway and 7th Ave.
New York, NY 10018
(646) 794-5951
Herald Square

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Invisalign’s Countdown to Confidence

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I was a strange child. When I was little, I wanted braces so bad. I was so excited to go to highschool and get them just like my brother had. But to my disappointment, that never happened. The idea of having braces was less appealing when I started working. By that time Invisalign had come out–which, in case you DON’T know, are a series of nearly invisible aligners that move teeth over time like braces but more discreetly–so when I first moved to NY and started actually making money, the first thing on my list was to try them out.

Invisalign compared to traditional braces


I had a few bottom teeth I wanted to fix and a small gap on the side I wanted to close. Within a year, it was all corrected and I loved it. And a lot of people can vouch for the same thing — check out some of these before and afters:

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So when Invisalign told me about their new Countdown to Confidence Sweepstakes to celebrate how a nicer smile can give you a little boost, I had to share with you guys. They found that many people avoid smiling or perfected the close-mouthed smile which doesn’t exude the same warmth as a big smile. In fact, 73% of adults would be more likely to trust someone with a nice smile than someone with a good job, outfit or car (fun facts for ya’ll). In honor of the their new sweepstakes to fix all that,

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Invisalign is awarding ONE winner $100 each day for 60 days PLUS a chance to win the grand prize: FREE Invisalign treatment and $1,000. If you enter daily, your chances of winning increase. So basically, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

You can enter by clicking HERE.

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