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10 things I’m taking on this flight!

I’m way too excited about my tropical vacation today! I have to leave for the airport in like 15 minutes, so let’s see how fast I can tell you about my in-flight essentials :) .

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1) BluePrint Orange Grapefruit Lemon juice – Packed with all kinds of antioxidants and vitamin C to help support healthy cells and keep skin happy. I already drank two of their drinks this morning (their Carrot Lemon, and Kale Apple Lemon) which just gives me a little boost of nutrients. All their drinks are 100% juice and help to keep skin hydrated especially during these colder months.

2) Snacks (Belvita Soft Baked Breakfast Biscuits and Clif bars) - I always need snacks on a plane and I’m trying to go a healthier route with snacks that have fiber and protein like these two!

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Giveaway: Essence of Beauty bath & body sets (15 winners!)

So excited for another giveaway and this is the first time this many BATF readers could potentially win — 15 to be exact :) .

Forbidden Orchard and Vanilla Whisper


Just in time for the cooler weather, CVS’ exclusive line Essence of Beauty has launched two gorgeous new scents: Forbidden Orchard (which has notes of red apple, nectarine and fig) and Vanilla Whisper (with notes of Tahitian vanilla and peach) seen above.

Fifteen winners will each get one set of all 4 products (body mists, and body/hand creams pictured here by entering one of two ways (do either to enter, 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 set of #EssenceOfBeauty products! http://ow.ly/FQUDz #giveaway”

Make sure you leave a comment below to let me know how you entered. Winners will be picked and notified by Dec 17th. Good luck! *Winners must have a US mailing address!

x
Shy
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Holiday beauty with Tagspire (PS you can now shop my photos!)

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Hey guys! Just wanted to let you know about a cool new feature I’m going to be implementing in my blog that makes it easier for you to find the products I photograph. It’s from a new social shopping site, called Tagspire (think of it like shoppable Pinterest). My very first example below with some suggestions for holiday beauty and accessorizing :) .

I love all that is bold and sparkly for the holidays, so that’s why I put together a bunch of my favorites that describe both:
*MAC’s Ruby Woo is a must — the perfect red.
*I tend to wear my chunkier, gold watch like this Marc By Marc Jacobs one around this time of year because it compliments more lush fabrics.
*This new Hermes ear cuff is something I just got from Baublebar (on sale too)! Like little trinkets for your ear.
*Cargo’s Cannes blush is the perfect I-just-got-back-from-vacation peach that I’ve been using more and more lately. It compliments medium skin tones so well.
*Use with Tom Ford’s Shade & Illuminate contour cream for the perfect sculpted face.
*Erickson Beamon Rocks cocktail ring is a nice splash of turquoise to the darker outfits I’ve been wearing lately.
*Finally I recently been introduced to the amazing world of Burberry Beauty by way of Mary Wiles (their celebrity makeup artist). It’s not just a label, these products are some of my new favorites. People always notice when I wear their Bold Lash mascara in Ebony. It elongates lashes with a silk and super dark finish (no tarantula lashes here). And finally, their new My Burberry perfume is a rich mix of patchouli, freesia, roses and bergamot that you can actually monogram to personalize for a beautiful gift (I pictured the small one here, but you can get the full sizes inscribed).

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#BauliBakeOff recipe: A spin on a traditional Indian dessert

Bauli, a company whose signature is their ready-to-eat Italian pastries, recently launched a contest to create a recipe using one of their baked goods. I wanted to try my hand in making something different using their star-shaped Limonce (lemon) cake, and my friend Shazeen suggested trying a traditional Indian/Pakistani sweet shahi tukra (literally translates to ‘royal piece’) which consists of fried dough and a sweet saffron sauce topped with nuts. I never tried making it before but I loved the vision of blending an Italian dessert with and Indian one and seeing what happens. Spoiler: it tasted delicious and the nuts and roses (playing off the rose water infused in the sauce) makes it the prettiest dish too. Check out the recipe below (and vote for it if you like it on their Facebook page HERE)!

First time making our version of 'shahi tukra'

We used Bauli's Pandoro Limonce cake



INGREDIENTS

Bauli Pandoro Limonce (lemon) cake
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp of saffron
1 tsp rose water
8 tbsp olive oil (for frying)
4 tsp butter (for frying)
Pistachios
Sliced Almonds
Edible silver leaf foil (optional)
Dried roses (optional)

Some ingredients for this recipe



DIRECTIONS


Prep:

In a blender, ground a handful of pistachios and set aside.


For the sauce:

In a pot, pour sweetened condensed milk over medium heat for a few minutes then pour in milk, saffron, and rose water. Keep stirring until it bubbles and thickens. Set aside.

Step 1


Stirring in milk, saffron, and rose water


Waiting for sauce to bubble and thicken



For the cake:

Ready made Bauli cake


1. Slice the ready-made Bauli cake in four pieces lengthwise. Then, chop each piece evenly in little loaves.

Slicing cake


Loaves


Ready to fry


2. In a sauce pan, pour 2 tbs of olive oil and a tsp of butter. Warm over medium heat. Fry pieces of the cake until just slightly brown (this happens quickly, each side should take about 30 seconds to a minute depending on the heat).

Frying cake


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4. After frying the cake slices, arrange on a dish as desired. Take sauce and drizzle over and around slices. Sprinkle ground pistachios, whole pistachios, and slice almonds over the dish. To decorate, you can add the edible silver leaf foil, and dried rose buds (we found this at an Indian grocery store — note to NYC’ers, Kalyustan’s has everything you need and some).

Finished!


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Moxxie: handcrafted plant-based bath products

More and more, people have been asking me for natural and plant-based beauty product suggestions. As if on cue, a line called Moxxie was sent my way and totally fits the bill if you’re going in a more green direction.

Moxxie's line of soaps, scrubs, balms, and body wash


The handcrafted line is 100% plant-based, vegan, and cruelty-free. The heart of their collection are their bar soaps which come in beautiful and varied herbal scents like Rosemary + Lavender (the one I’ve been using all month), and Lemongrass + Oatmeal. The soaps are infused with good-for-you ingredients like coconut palm, olive oil, and soothing olive oil.

Moxxie sugar scrub in lavender


My favorite by far though are their solid sugar scrubs. I’m so big on exfoliating in the shower. I’ve noticed a huge difference in my skin since I started being more diligent about it, since it not only sloughs off dead skin cells to make your skin smoother, it also helps your skin absorb any moisturizer or oil you apply afterwards. I’ve been looking for something heavy duty because too often the scrubs I come across are doused in gels or cream mixtures that aren’t as effective at exfoliating. That’s why I’m in love with these little cubes. They come in chunks that dissolve as you use, and is good to use from head to toe. Plus they’re infused with moisturizing oils like almond and grapefruit so your skin isn’t left parched.

Also, not to be missed: their Peppermint lotion which leaves behind a natural cooling feel. The line ranges from $3-$18, and right now their gift sets are on sale for $20-$60 — check them out :) . www.moxxiesoap.com.

x
Shy
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*Products were given gratis to review but opinions are my own.

Sicilian cauliflower baked mac n cheese with Mezzetta

Sicilian cauliflower baked pasta

Sometimes good dishes happen by beautiful mistakes. More on this in a minute.

Since the holidays are in full swing, Mezzetta asked us about holiday memories when it comes to food. Since Thanksgiving was just upon us, I remember why it’s my favorite: every year, regardless if I’m in Chicago or on the east coast, it’s always a family-filled evening where we all come together to cook, bake, eat, and play games all night. This year, we had a full spread of whole chickens, roasted lamb, crostinis, and casseroles. When Mezzetta asked us to come up with holiday recipe, I was thinking of ways to make something that I could add to that spread next time, something simple but also tasty.

Mezzetta jalapenos and roasted red peppers

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My hair is purple.

Violet

To make this story short, I just had a sudden urge to dye my hair, and dye it purple. Nothing really spurred it. I didn’t lose my mind. I just thought the color would look pretty. I’m not one to normally — or ever — dye my hair any funky color. In fact I normally would never veer too far from my usual hair routine, but lately that’s all I’ve been doing. Garnier came out with the perfect solution too — something for a sudden urge, that you may or may not regret in a week, and that you can easily do at home.

K, I just re-read that. Get your mind out the gutter.

I’m referring to their Color Styler, their new semipermanent wash out intense color. It’s pretty foolproof, even for clumsy people who never dye their hair themselves like moi.

Garnier Color Styler in Purple Mania

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Appetizer idea: Grape Salsa Crostinis

For Thanksgiving, we usually divvy up the cooking amongst us all and this year, as always, every single dish was so delicious. I resorted to my grape salsa crostinis, which if you’ve been following the blog you’ve probably have seen on here a few times. Truth be told, I maybe volunteered to make it somewhat selfishly because it’s one of my favorite appetizers since I first sampled them at a Bobby Flay event a couple years ago (it’s one of his recipes!).

Grape Salsa crostinis

The reason I love it besides that it just looks beautiful, the taste is so unexpected with a mix of things you normally wouldn’t associate with fruits — spicy jalapeños and red onion, and creamy herb cheese on a toasted baguette slice. It’s a little nerve-wrecking trying to introduce something new that parents would like too, but even my Dad kept commenting on how different and good this was, so I figure I share the recipe again :) . It’s super easy to make — just chopping everything takes the most time.

GOAT CHEESE CROSTINI WITH GRAPE SALSA
A Bobby Flay Recipe

Prep Time: 20 Minute(s)
Stand Time: 30 Minute(s)
Cook Time: 8 Minute(s)

WHAT TO GET:

1 cup red grapes, diced
1 cup blue and/or black grapes, diced
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro or flat-leaf parsley, plus leaves for garnish
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar (can also substitute with balsamic vinegar which I did for this!)
4 slices whole grain bread, quartered, OR 1 baguette, thinly sliced into 16 pieces
6 ounces herbed goat cheese, slightly softened
1/3 cup mayo

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5 Hostess and Housewarming gift ideas

Hope ya’ll had a great Thanksgiving and are overcoming any bouts of food comas. And now, the shopping :) . Don’t you love the irony of spending a night of being thankful to just go shopping for more the next day? On a positive note, giving gifts is always a good thing, yes? I love, love brainstorming gifts and lately I’ve been thinking about what gifts I would like to receive would make good gifts for your hosts. Here are some of my faves:

1. Kusmi Wellness Teas Gift Set, $56

Kusmi gift set

First of all, HOW PRETTY?! I love that this tea set assorted like a colorful pinwheel. This single handedly got me to drink tea three times a day.  It contains a delicious selection of 42 herbal teas each delicately wrapped in muslin. Whenever we have guests over, I love taking this box out and letting them look through blends of maté, green tea and lemongrass; or ones with grapefruit, or even unlikely ones like chocolate and orange. Worth every cent.

2. Savannah Bee Once Upon A Hive The Book of Honey, $59.95

Savannah Bee Story Book honey sampler


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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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