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Belvita unveils their #MorningWin Swag Shop & you can win!

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Today, Belvita, who make breakfast bars that I stock up on at work to have whenever I missed breakfast, unveils their new #MorningWin Swag Shop from now until Sept 19th with the coolest things to win (seriously go there right now, they’re giving away a tablet! morningwin.com).

On my own Belvita kick

In celebration of a #MorningWin, mine today started with getting enough sleep for once, and waking up early enough to pack my own lunch (a rarity) ,and also finding a moisturizer I lost the night before in a box of fruit snacks…because that’s how creative I get when it comes to losing stuff. And also, who loses moisturizer? Anyway, morning wins all around.

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Philosophy’s new No Reason to Hide products are EVERYTHING.

Hellllo lovelies! All this eating and not enough posting on what’s been going on with my beauty arsenal. As a beauty blogger, I go to a TON of events for skin, makeup, and hair products (no really, a ton), so when a product stands out to me the way Philosophy’s new No Reason To Hide ones have, it’s kinda a big deal. Philosophy has always been one of my favorite brands for their multi-tasking products and cutesy, inspiring message on their packaging which always encourages one to love, feel beautiful, and have hope (like their best-selling Hope in a Jar, with accompanying message, “Where there is hope, there can be faith. Where there is faith, miracles can occur.”)

Philosophy's new No Reason to Hide products!

On the same thread, Philosophy is now on a confidence campaign. What does that mean? It’s a two-prong approach to A) try out their new products and see the difference it makes when you look in the mirror, but also to B) really reflect on what moments make you feel the most confident on their inside. So I did both –more on this in a minute!

Recently, I was invited to check out the launch of the newest from the brand, which includes their No Reason to Hide Multi-Imperfection Transforming Serum ($68) and accompanying Instant Skin-Tone Perfecting Moisturizer with SPF 20 ($45). The combo was developed to treat basically everything, from blotchiness, to enlarged pores, dark spots, and acne marks. In clinical studies, these products have shown:

• in 4 weeks: 88% of women showed a significant reduction in the appearance of red spots and blotchiness
• in 8 weeks: 94% showed a dramatic correction in the look of dark spots, revealing remarkably even skin-tone
• in 12 weeks: 100% of women showed transformative improvement on multiple skin imperfections

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All the delicious things at Bee’s Knees Baking Company new spot

Inside Bee's Knees

Bee’s Knees Baking Company, known for their delicious cake cups, just opened the doors to its new location in Kips Bay. The space is a sultry addition to the block and I’m predicting, a new favorite date spot for many. Which is why I asked my friend Mahvesh to join me and check it out before she moved back to Ohio (side note: comebackalreadyplease).

Inside Bee's Knees in Kips Bay


I was excited to check out their new expanded menu from their flagship store in the West Village. It’s still going to be a spot for dessert and drinks, but they’re expanding their menu to include light, savory bites. I quickly got comfortable in the cozy space — I felt it could easily transition from a communal dinner to a more intimate setting. When I got there, there was an older couple on a date, a group of friends gabbing away, and even a few people were even working on their laptops in different corners (free WiFi is so key in this city…it almost made me wish I was a student again. Wait, blogger. Duh.).

Decor


Founder Billy Mayer — easily one of THE nicest people I’ve ever met — was working behind the counter and gave us a sampling of their menu which was every bit as delicious as I’d hoped for, starting with their maple siracha spiced nuts.

Maple Siracha Spiced Nuts

We moved on to coffee made with Counter Culture coffee beans (amazing), black toasted coconut tea, and a gluten-free blueberry lemon muffin. The muffin was not overly sweet, super soft, and you could taste hints of both the blueberry and lemon:

Latte with Counter Culture coffee


Black toasted coconut tea -- must try


Gluten-free blueberry lemon muffin

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FiberChoice Get Picky Challenge Final post

Last post on fiber, I swear (although by now you’re probably all experts on the subject — if you’ve been reading!). So I’ve done 30 days of taking FiberChoice’s Chewable Calcium Tablets and as you can read here and here, it’s now a lifestyle change for me. This one specifically gives me 50% of my daily recommended calcium in each serving, and added vitamin D. Now it’s your turn :) . I’m challenging you to take FiberChoice’s Consumer Challenge. Because you’ll not only get the fiber you need throughout the day, but you can win things too :D

Click to enter!

Join today and each week in September, five winners will be selected at random to win high-value coupons. At the end of the month, one participant will win a $500 gift card! Good luck!! :)


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Shy
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Magnum ice cream partners up with chef Andrew Carmellini & fashion designer Christian Siriano

Fashionable dessert? It’s a real thing that and MAGNUM just made happen. NYC-based James Beard-Award Winning Chef Andrew Carmellini and fashion designer Christian Siriano to create what they’re calling, “America’s Most Fashionable Chocolate Dessert.”

MAGNUM Double Caramel Cool Down

They used fashion trends (like color blocking and the Pantone Color of the Year) to come up with the little details of the dessert. And the best part is they made it super easy to make at home too. I caught up with Chef Andrew Carmellini to talk about how he came up with the recipe and what it was like working with Siriano:

Beauty and the Feast: How did you come up with this dessert recipe? What trends specifically were you inspired by?
Chef Andrew Carmellini:
Christian Siriano and I worked together to explore this summer’s top fashion and culinary trends to create a fashion-forward, indulgent dessert featuring a MAGNUM Double Caramel Ice Cream bar. We utilized the MAGNUM Ice Cream signature dark and milk chocolate drizzled in a lattice effect to mimic trending design textures such as modern embroidered lace and tribal textiles. The dessert also features the trending tropical fruits coconut, lime, bruleed champagne mango and pickled pineapple all artfully displayed to highlight this season’s color blocking trend. We were also inspired by the pantone color of the year – Radiant Orchid. So, we created edible flowers to showcase their glowing color and vibrant tone.

Christian Siriano and Chef Carmellini in the kitchen



BATF: What was it like coming up with the recipe with a fashion designer? Did Christian Siriano have a lot of input in how it turned out? If so, what exactly were they?
Chef Carmellini:
We collaborated really well together, from the initial brainstorming process, to the final product. His fashion expertise (demonstrated through his mood board) was particularly helpful and helped bring the dessert to life. Quality, seasonal ingredients are the foundation of my menus. I enjoy the creative process of creating an innovative dish and what better way than through a fashion/food partnership. It was a definite first for me; I’ve never crafted a dish using trends from the world of fashion.

Chef Andrew Carmellini and Christian Siriano



BATF: What surprised you the most about working with Siriano?
Chef Carmellini:
I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to work with Christian. He was open to my ideas about incorporating flavor with fashion!

BATF: What has been the feedback so far on the dessert from people who have tried it that you’ve heard from directly?
Chef Carmellini:
They were very pleased and felt it was a true fashion-forward and indulgent experience. We also created a consumer-friendly version that people can make at home called the “MAGNUM Double Caramel Cool Down”. It’s something that everyone can create and feel like they are elevating the traditional MAGNUM ice cream dessert experience.

BATF: What’s the best way to prep this dessert ahead of time if you’re expecting guests?
Chef Carmellini:
If you are planning to serve the “MAGNUM Double Caramel Cool Down” at a dinner party, I recommend making the coconut sauce ahead of time. The sauce can be created up to two days in advance and can be kept in the refrigerator. Also, feel free to slice the pineapples and mangos the day-of to save time before serving to guests later in the evening. Also, I would dress the MAGNUM bar a couple hours before guests arrive with the white chocolate and keep in the freezer. Just remember to remove the bar about 5 minutes before so it tempers a bit.

BATF: What for you is the best part about coming up with new recipes like this one?
Chef Carmellini:
For me, the best part was that this was something different from any collaboration I had done before….and the leftovers tasted great.

Thank you MAGNUM and Chef Carmellini for the interview! Recipe below!

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FiberChoice Get Picky Challenge update 2!

So now it’s been about three weeks since I started the FiberChoice Get Picky Challenge. I don’t know if I’d call it so much a challenge since taking two chewable tablets of their Prebiotic Fiber Chewable Tablets plus Calcium + D a day easily became a habit I couldn’t end the day without. Taking the supplements starting making me more mindful of where I can find fiber in my foods. I started implementing chia seeds and flaxseeds in my smoothies, incorporating more kale and brussels sprouts in my breakfasts and dinners. I started to realize it’s a whole lifestyle change. I’ve been more aware of what I’m eating and gone back to the gym to not rely only on my nutrition to stay healthy.

FiberChoice Prebiotic Fiber plus Calcium + D

I’ve had no stomach issues and my metabolism has been more consistent than it has been in months…months. Also something I mentioned in my first post is something I found about the tablets are they actually taste good so taking them everyday was a treat. Plus I love that I’m getting the added calcium benefit to keep my bones strong and healthy. The only thing is I wish I started it sooner! I definitely think this is going to go beyond 30 days for me.

What sources of fiber do you take? Have you tried FiberChoice? Share your thoughts! I’m going to have one last post to wrap up the challenge and show how you can get involved and win some $$!

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Giveaway: T-fal OptiGrill!

This is kind of the greatest thing to happen to my tiny NY kitchen: the T-fal OptiGrill. Not gonna lie, it looked intimidating to use when I first got it, but I found the smart grill makes cooking meat a no-brainer with its color-coded cooking indicator.

T-fal OptiGrill

The grill has an automatic sensor grilling so no matter what the thickness, it indicates by beeping when the meat is rare to well-done. When you turn it on, you just click the button showing what meat you’re cooking (they have options for beef, chicken, fish, sausage, etc.). Just close the grill to let it pre-heat, and it’ll beep when it’s ready. Then place the meat, and the sensor will change colors depending on what stage the meat is (rare, medium, medium-well, well-done, etc).

But the to me one of the greatest things about this grill is you can cook frozen meat right on it since it has an option to de-frost the food, then cook it in one shot. Here, I made an easy breakfast of eggs and chicken sausages from Honest Chops (side note: they have pre-seasoned meats available there which I love because it saves me so much time).

Honest Chops frozen chicken sausage before and after

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Brunch: Jack’s Wife Freda in SoHo

I feel like people have consistently recommended Jack’s Wife Freda to me for brunch, and today when a couple friends and I were deciding where to go for food, this place ended up coming up again in an article I found about the best brunch places in NY. Not only was the food delicious, it said, but it’s CHEAP (something not necessarily associated readily with the neighborhood it resides in). Happy to say we weren’t disappointed on any front.

Recommended: Poached eggs with grilled tomato & haloumi (served with sourdough bread). Small, tasty, and a perfect mix of poached eggs over easy, grilled tomatoes and haloumi.

Poached eggs

Must try: Their hot sauce. It’s not a typical sauce, made in-house with what looked like an avocado base. Just a little add so much flavor to each dish.

Rosewater waffle

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Brunch at Ted’s Montana Grill + Giveaway!

Living in midtown, I feel like I’ve exhausted some of my favored brunch places. The usual suspects for me have been Eatery and Norma’s, but all said, the area’s not known for their brunch spots as much as places like the Village. Restaurants have been trying to counteract that rep though, most recently Ted’s Montana Grill who just unveiled a new brunch menu and invited me to try it out.

Inside the spacious restaurant, Ted's Montana Grill

I didn’t even know this place existed even living a few blocks away. Interestingly, the restaurant was created by media entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner (CNN) and George McKerrow (founder of LongHorn Steakhouse).

Brunch at Ted's Montana Grill

My friend Priya came along to give the menu a try. The great thing about this place is even though it’s huge, it has cozy, dimly lit booths for a more personal feel. Priya and I got a sampling of their Chantilly Waffles, Crab Cakes Benedict, and day’s special, Huevos Rancheros.

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FiberChoice 30-Day Get Picky Challenge: Why I’m joining

Almost every nutritionist I’ve met over the years have been reiterating the benefit of including fiber in your diet. Why? Fiber helps support our digestive tract and keeps food moving through our system. The recommended daily fiber intake is 25 to 30 grams, but according to the American Dietetic Association, most Americans get only about half that amount. I’ve tried consciously including more fiber-rich foods in my meals (brussels sprouts, kale, and flaxseeds among them), and also begin my day with fiber-enriched bars. The only downside to the latter is they are a bit heavy to rely on solely for most of my fiber source. And as a food blogger, I do eat a lot at different restaurants where it’s not always easy to make sure I’m getting in the amount of fiber I should be.

In steps FiberChoice, inviting me to be a part of their 30-Day Get Picky Challenge, which is pretty easy: they provide me with a 30-day supply of supplements (which helps get the recommended amount of daily fiber), and I report to you all about how it’s been working for me.

FiberChoice Chewable Calcium


I chose to try their FiberChoice Prebiotic Fiber Chewable Tablets plus Calcium + D (for the record, it was hard to resist opting for their gummies…I’ve had them before and would eat them like candy, so to avoid that and maintain the normal recommended amount instead, I decided to go with the tablets). Also, after reading about all their products, I learned that calcium is a mineral your body needs but can’t produce so it’s obtained by foods and absorbed in your digestive tract (foods like dairy products which I try to have minimally, dark leafy green veggies, bread, soy, and tofu products are all sources of calcium). Also, I love that they use 100% of the natural fiber already found in fruits and veggies.

I’ll keep you guys posted on how it’s going, if I stuck to the challenge, and if I noticed a difference. Full disclosure, the product was provided by FiberChoice and they compensated me to stick to the challenge, but I’ll share my real thoughts on what I thought and if I’ll continue with it going forward! I’ve always remained true to working with brands that have either helped me reach my nutritional goals and I was already, as I mentioned, someone who has bought their fiber-infused gummies whenever I could (fun fact: it’s one of the few supplements that don’t contain gelatin, which also aligns with my dietary restrictions, so thank you FiberChoice :) ).

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