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Beauty

Pro Travel Tips From Flight Attendants

Written on September 17, 2014 at 10:57 am , by

Between the grueling flight schedule and essentially living out of a suitcase, it’s fair to say that flight attendants have one tough gig. But Cabin Crew Member for Emirates Airline, Marta Bil, makes traveling look easy (and looks good while doing it). She shares her tips on staying fresh during flights so you can have a “ready-for-vacay” glow straight out of the gate.

All of the Cabin Crew members wear red lipstick. Do you have a favorite brand?
“I have a couple of favorites. Inglot Cosmetics is my personal favorite brand. But we are all wearing different brands. You must use whatever suits your skin and the type of beauty that you are because as you know, we represent over 160 nationalities in the world, so you have to find one that suits your personality or look.”

What other makeup items are you allowed to wear?
We are only allowed to use certain shades. It can be gold, brown or black. Natural shades. You must always use mascara—my favorites are Rimmel and Bourjois and either eye shadows or eyeliner or both so that it’s visible. Other than that, we have to take care of our uniform so it always looks spotless. Also, the nails are very important so we need to always make sure they’re nicely done. We can use a red color or a natural color.”

What are your must-haves for freshening up on the plane?
“There are a couple of things that I always carry with me and use anytime during the flight. The air on flights is very dry, so I use a cream under my eyes just to make sure that the skin looks good and doesn’t get dehydrated. Another thing that I bring is a facial spray like Evian Mineral Water Spray ($12, sephora.com) just to refresh my makeup. Also, it’s always good to bring a lip balm and hand cream—that’s something I never leave my house without. And of course a toothbrush and toothpaste.”

What’s your strategy for packing an organized carry-on?
“I learned the easiest way is to put the heavy stuff in first, then the pants all together on one side, shirts on the other and shoes in between with all the cosmetics bags.”

What’s the best beauty tip you picked up from another country?
“I use this product from South Africa, its called a Bio Oil ($17, ulta.com), but you can buy this all over the world but it’s not that well-known in the United States. We use it from time to time for our faces because it’s an oil and after a 14-hour flight your face gets really dry. I use it in the morning and the evening.”

Any other tips for staying hydrated on a long flight?
“The most important thing during the flight is drinking water and having a healthy diet.”

—Julie Ricevuto and Molly Ritterbeck

Want a Makeover from Yours Truly?

Written on July 25, 2014 at 9:17 am , by

My favorite part about being a beauty director is helping women feel better about themselves (playing with products is a close second). None of us are perfect but I’ve learned a few insider beauty tricks over the years that I love to share. Those of you who live in the tristate area can come get them first hand. On Thursday, August 7th, I’ll be at the Clarins’ counter at Saks Fifth Avenue from 12pm-7pm chatting with women just like you! For the past few years, I’ve participated in Beauty Editor Day and it’s always an amazing experience. Whether you want a new makeup look (I’m the master at smoky eyes!), need skin care advice (on zits to wrinkles) or just want to ask me your burning beauty questions, book a 20-minute appointment here. Participants get a cool free gift but even more exciting, the proceeds from your $30 session go toward Look Good Feel Better, a charity that helps cancer patients regain confidence during and after treatment. Post-consultation, you’ll look gorgeous and feel great, I promise. Hope to see you there!

Father’s Day Gifts Your Dad Will Totally Love

Written on June 11, 2014 at 2:17 pm , by

Beauty—er, grooming—products probably aren’t the first things that come to mind when hunting down the perfect gift for your dad, but since men rarely buy these goods for themselves (after all, there’s no grooming aisle at Home Depot), they make amazing presents. So spoil him with these foolproof Father’s Day finds. No matter what type of guy he is, we have something he’ll totally gush over.

The Role Model: What little boy doesn’t want to be just like his dad? Create an Instagram-worthy moment for father and son to share by getting him Harry’s Father-Son Shave Set ($30, harrys.com). This kit contains a limited edition three-blade Winston razor for the big guy, a toy razor for the little guy and a how-to picture book so they can “shave” side by side. Too cute for words!

The Jetsetter: Whether he’s flying from one business meeting to the next or driving to see different clients, this on-the-go dad might run into some snags along the way. Keep him prepared for anything with the Pinch Minimergency Kit for Him ($13, pinchprovisions.com). So small, it can be stashed in a carry-on or glove compartment and includes 13 must-haves: lip balm, dental floss, breath freshener, stain remover, mending kit, safety pin, extra buttons, shoe shine towelette, nail clipper, hand-sanitizing towelette, deodorant towelette, adhesive bandage, and pain reliever.

The Classic: This guy is simple but he cares about his skin and he doesn’t like all the girly stuff his wife uses. Stock him up with a dopp kit—grab the new PC4MEN Complete Skincare Kit ($98, PC4MEN.com), which includes complexion-perfecting essentials (face wash, shave gel, after-shave, sunscreen and night cream) that are free of fragrance and irritating ingredients so he can always put his best face forward. Bonus: he gets to keep the preppy travel bag, too!

The Man’s Man: Beer, bacon and the great outdoors. Sound like your guy? Give him a little taste of his favorite things with a Yankee Candle Man Candle ($28 each, yankeecandle.com). Allow him to escape in his man cave with scents like On Tap (the cool, golden smell of a freshly poured draft) MMM Bacon! (the mouth-watering aroma of sizzling meat) and Camouflage (a natural woodsy fragrance that’ll transport him to the wilderness).

The Gym Warrior: This guy makes pancakes in the morning, reads bedtime stories at night and yet he still finds time to fit in a sweat session every dang day. Turn his quick locker room shower into a spa-like experience that invigorates the senses with Organix Citrus Mint 3 in 1 Shampoo + Conditioner + Body Wash ($7, drugstore.com). The three-in-one formula saves him space in his gym bag and has citrus extracts to stimulate his hair and skin and refreshing spearmint and peppermint oils to re-energize after a hard workout.

The Sophisticate: Sleek and suave, smart and stylish—what man doesn’t want to be just like Bond, James Bond? He’s every guy’s favorite spy and now you can help your favorite father unleash his sense of sly adventure with the James Bond Quantum 007 Fragrance ($40, kohls.com). The fiercely masculine scent has a mix of earthy moss and a touch of lavender while notes of British crisp apple and sandalwood give it a modern twist. Offer him a spritz and then follow it up with a martini—shaken not stirred, of course.

 

Karina Smirnoff: How She Stays So Fit Plus Her Best Beauty Secrets

Written on June 4, 2014 at 12:10 pm , by

Photos Courtesy of Karina Smirnoff

As a pro dancer on ABC’s hit show, Dancing with the Stars, Karina Smirnoff is an expert on two of our favorite things: fitness and beauty. As she prances around the dance floor making a fast-paced foxtrot look easy, she’s glammed out in full hair, makeup and of course, bronzer from head-to-toe. We recently grabbed a few minutes with the Ukrainian stunner to chat about how she stays camera-ready through tough routines and how she likes to stay fit off the dance floor.

You have to keep your skin camera-ready through sweaty performances. What’s your skincare routine like?

“Yes, the sweat is not only mine, it’s usually your partner’s too! It’s definitely not the most glamorous part of the show but in the very first season of DWTS, my skin actually started breaking out pretty badly because you have heavy makeup on for hours, especially on the day of the show. We get our makeup done at six, seven or eight in the morning and we don’t go live until five p.m. and then comes touch-ups, where they put more and more on you. So my skin was breaking out really badly. But you find a way to keep it healthy and clean and right now, I’m obsessed with the Apothederm Acne Clarifying Treatment ($33, apothederm.com). I use it two to three times a week during the season and it keeps the blemishes away. I always wash my skin when I’m off the air and try to take off all the makeup. I use an exfoliant or the Clarisonic brush (prices vary, clarisonic.com), which is amazing because all you do is hold it to your skin and it does the job. There are different types of cleansers that have some parabens in them but Apothederm doesn’t and it’s incredible. It lifts all of the makeup off of your skin. And if you use it with the Clarisonic, which you don’t have do it every day but maybe once or twice a week, it gets out everything from inside the pores as well. I love when you have time off and you can use a mask and sometimes, I even make my own mask when I go to a sauna. I mix salt with honey and use it as an exfoliant on my skin but its also very moisturizing because of the honey.”

You wear some pretty intricate hairstyles on the show. Do you have any tips for keeping them in place during such active performances?
“Yes, besides hairpins and bobby pins, they have these little metal clips with teeth (similar here: L. Erickson Mini Mini Metal Jaw 8-Pack, $18, franceluxe.com) and they are the size of your pinky nail and they hold onto your hair so well to keep it in place. And not to mention, the excessive amount of hairspray! I can’t go out to places that have live fire just for the sake of catching my hair on fire!”

Everyone on the show is so bronzed! What is the self-tanning routine like?
“We get spray tanned on Sundays for the show during the season with a great company called South Seas Tanning, which gets you darker but it doesn’t get you nearly as dark as what we actually look like on the show. So there are different bronzers that I mix to create my own concoction for the body and you put it on and it dries so it doesn’t get on your clothes. It gives you that shimmery, glowing skin. I mix Rimmel Sunshimmer Instant Tan (available in the UK, boots.com) with South Seas Beach Bling Shimmer Lotion ($18, southseas.com), that’s the one that keeps it dry and then I add LORAC TANtalizer Body Bronzing Luminizer ($32, loraccosmetics.com). I mix it all in my hands. I wear gloves because it’s easier and you don’t have to wash your hands after and then you just put it all over! I love to look tan. But the funny part is I never spray tan my face, I only spray tan my body so you kind of have the floating head when the face is pale against the rest of the body, but I don’t want to clog my pores.”

The show is so glamorous but on a day when you’re not feeling your best, what’s one beauty move you do to boost your confidence?
“Oh, well, I always believe that a great pair of heels and mascara is all a girl needs to feel sexy!”

What’s your favorite mascara?
“I really like the new Blinc Mascara ($26, sephora.com). It’s not like a normal mascara. This one has an ingredient [tube-technology] so when you wash it off, you don’t get raccoon eyes. It gets soft and just comes right off like gel. I also like Marc Jacobs Gel Definition Mascara ($26, sephora.com) and Stila mascaras ($22 each, stilacosmetics.com). L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Power Volume 24H Mascara ($8, lorealparisusa.com) is great, too. It makes your eyelashes look twice as long!”

So when you’re not dancing, how do you like to stay in shape? What are your favorite workouts?
“I do everything, from martial arts to Krav Maga, to yoga to jogging, running, hiking. I like to spice it up and keep it different every time because I get bored really fast. And the ADD doesn’t help that either! So I try to do different stuff every time but to me, the best workout is dancing. That’s why I have the DanceFIT-KS. It’s a dance-inspired workout because it’s moves that dancers use to keep in shape and no matter how often you do it, your body never gets used to it because you never use the same muscles twice. We do dance camps, too and we take it to different hotels in the summer. It’s a win-win situation, with the travel, the amazing vacations, you get to work out, stay in shape, meet new people.”

Do you have any favorite snacks that you like to fuel up with before a workout or performance?
“I do but when you perform and dance you don’t want to feel full. Me, personally, when I eat, all I want to do is sit on the couch with the remote control. I get into the couch potato mode. And when I dance I don’t want to feel hungry but I want to feel light and alert. So I try to snack on things like pineapple or watermelon because they’re diuretic and go right through your system. I eat nuts a lot, like walnuts because they are a brain food and we could all use a little brain food! Sometimes I even do dried cranberries because they are a great source of energy. And you can never go wrong with dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is a divine food.”

Beauty Gifts Your Momma Will Love!

Written on May 9, 2014 at 4:25 pm , by

Whether the mothers in your life are savvy businesswomen, amazing cooks, dedicated yogis or just awesome women who do it all, there’s no doubt they deserve some extra pampering. Treat them like queens this Mother’s Day with a beauty gift customized to their lifestyles.

The New Mom: Give her a treat that she can share with her new bundle of joy. This Aveeno Baby Essential Daily Care For Baby & Mommy ($29, drugstore.com) contains daily facial moisturizer and body lotion for mom plus gentle body wash, shampoo and soothing relief cream for baby. Bath time just got even better!

The Techie: This woman gets giddy over a cool new gadget. She’ll go gaga over this cult favorite that combines beauty and brains—the Limited Edition Spring Mia 2 Skin Care Cleansing System ($150, ulta.com), a cleansing device that uses sonic technology to gently cleanse and smooth skin.

The Beauty Junkie: Yes, she has more makeup than she knows what to do with, but since she loves making herself up, her brushes are most likely in need of an upgrade. Gift her a new set, like this Sephora Collection Gift Of Beauty Brush Set ($42, sephora.com). The bristles are not only plush and effective, but also a pretty addition to her vanity.

The On-the-Go Girl: For the lady who just keeps going and going, help her unwind after a long day. A stress-reducing Eucalyptus Spearmint candle, bath soak and body lotion from Bath & Body Works ($38, bathandbodyworks.com) will calm her mind and ease her to sleep so she can conquer tomorrow.

The Timeless Beauty: She’s a classy beauty so why not give her a bottle of perfume that’s equally classic? A scent like Calvin Klein Eternity ($78, sephora.com) or Chanel N°5 ($120, nordstrom.com) never goes out of style and will leave mom feeling special.

The Mother-in-Law: Thank your partner’s mom for raising such a great mate with a set of sweet-smelling hand lotions, like this Crabtree & Evelyn Hand Therapy Paint Tin Box ($60, crabtree-evelyn.com). The variation of fragrances will please even the toughest critic and the colorful packaging is a cute addition to any bag or bathroom.

The Time-Saver: Isn’t beating the clock every mom’s goal? For those who can’t or don’t want to splurge on salon visits, give the gift of easy blowouts at home. The Conair Pro Series Ultimate Blow Dry Tool Kit ($20, drugstores) includes everything needed to perfect that shiny, voluminous style in your own bathroom.

The Fashionista: This mom knows how to rock a bright lip. Give her some trend-setting essentials she’ll never get bored with, like the Bite Beauty Luminous Crème Lipstick Duo ($12, sephora.com) or the Lorac Pro Palette ($42, loraccosmetics.com).

The Athlete: Whether she runs marathons, does indoor cycling or rock-climbs, this woman isn’t afraid to sweat and get her hands dirty. Help her pack the perfect beauty bag for when she’s on-the-go with this Sonia Kashuk Completely Organized Maxi Cosmetic Bag ($19, target.com). Then fill it with portable products—cleansing wipes, dry shampoo, a BB cream and a multitasking makeup palette. She’ll leave the gym feeling like a supermodel!

 

—Katie Maguire, beauty intern

Dying To Go On A Vacay That Won’t Wreck Your Bod? Meet Celebrity Cruises

Written on May 9, 2014 at 3:25 pm , by

Full disclosure: I fall off the clean-eating wagon when I travel. Between the lack of healthy options at the airport, food chains and room service (eek) plus my mental shift to the “I’m on vacation!” mind-set, I go from feeling great pre-trip to indulging and bloating up after just one day. And when it comes to keeping up with my daily sweat sessions, I always feel torn when I’m at the gym in the middle of paradise. I feel like I should be exploring, sightseeing or relaxing. The pressure of trying to maintain my good habits when I’m out of my typical environment ends up stressing me out, which is the exact opposite of what a vacation should do. Recently, I stumbled upon a stress-free solution: a vacay that supports a healthy and active lifestyle without missing the fun that goes along with getting away on a Celebrity Cruise.

I recently took one of the company’s Reflection cruises to the Caribbean (tough job, I know). I had never been on a cruise ship before so I had no idea what to expect, but I was impressed. A Celebrity Cruise is a fit girl’s dream. There are several different packages available but their AquaClass caters to a healthy lifestyle. Here, the highlights:

Accommodations:
I assumed the rooms would be tiny with bunk beds. I blame it on watching Titanic too many times. But the spacious room—301 square feet—was almost the size of my entire New York City apartment and it included a 79-square foot veranda, perfect for getting fresh air and admiring the breathtaking views. It was exactly like a room in a luxury hotel. In fact, there were times I forgot I was on a ship! The AquaClass staterooms offer spa elements to help you relax, feel comfortable and stay focused on your goals.

Food:
In AquaClass, you get exclusive access to and priority seating at the specialty restaurant, Blu, which features “clean cuisine” (inspired by light dishes of the Mediterranean which change nightly) and complimentary breakfast each day. You also get a daily delivery of ice, bottled water, tea and fruit. Plus, like other guests, you have access to the main buffet. Now—buffets can sometimes be a nightmare, but this one had many healthy (not to mention yummy!) options.

Workouts/Activities:
No matter which class you are in, every guest gets access to the fitness center on board. This is essential for days when you are at sea. I went everyday and loved it! Instead of being stuck in a basement gym, the 12th story gym featured cardio machines facing floor-to-ceiling windows that overlooked expansive and gorgeous views of the endless ocean and each port. This makes a “dreadmill” workout a whole lot less dreadful. Once docked, you also have the option (for a small additional cost) of touring certain destinations through different shore excursions. These vary from mild to strenuous effort and include fun activities like walking tours, snorkeling and swimming, bike adventures and zip lining. These activities offer ways to get in some fitness and enjoy your destination at the same time.

Spa:
As an AquaClass benefit, you receive a personal spa concierge to arrange spa treatments. Celebrity Cruises feature Canyon Ranch Spa Club, one of the world’s leading health and wellness brands, on 10 of their ships. Because I worked out everyday, I booked a massage (bonus: they were offering a discounted price during my stay!) to help ease muscle soreness. When I tell you this massage changed my life, I am not exaggerating. It was amazing! In addition, you get unlimited, complimentary access to the Persian Gardens, which is a relaxation room on board so you can chill out whenever you’d like. If your goal is to get healthier on the trip, you can also opt for various fitness-related services including a basic fitness assessment, an exercise prescription or an exercise program for weight loss for a small additional cost.

Bottom line: This was the first trip I’ve ever went on where I came back feeling lighter, fitter and healthier than before I left. So if you’re someone looking for a way to stay focused on your fitness while enjoying an amazing vacay, this getaway is for you. For more info., head to the Celebrity Cruises website here. For other fit vacation ideas and to get inspired to have your healthiest summer yet, pick up a copy of our July/August issue on stands this June!

Connie Britton: The Secrets Behind Her Gorgeous Skin and Enviable Hair

Written on May 7, 2014 at 9:00 am , by

In real life, Connie Britton is a little different from her Nashville character, Rayna Jaymes—mainly that she’s not a country singer with a drama-packed personal life. But when it comes to beauty, both women have the same MO: glowing skin and to-die-for hair. (Who hasn’t tried to replicate those waves?) We recently chatted with Britton to find out her beauty tricks (spoiler: her go-to skincare product is a classic). Bonus: she let us in on what’s coming up in the last two episodes of Nashville. Tune in tonight, May 7th at 10pm on ABC to find out and click below to watch our interview!

Heidi Klum Spills Her Secret to Rocking Stilettos and Pampering Her Feet

Written on April 22, 2014 at 2:26 pm , by

Heidi Klum’s got legs-for-days so she could probably get away with never wearing a pair of painful pumps in her life! But as a globally-recognized supermodel and host of television shows, including Project Runway and Germany’s Next Top Model, trend-setting footwear is a part of the biz. And even a stunner like Klum can’t escape the pain that sometimes goes hand-in-hand with a killer pair of shoes. So she’s teamed up with the foot support and care expert, Dr. Scholl’s, to launch their latest series of inserts—the DreamWalk collection. We chatted with Klum about how she takes care of her tootsies and how she takes care of herself, all while juggling a booming career and four super-cute kids.

So obviously you spend a lot of time walking in heels and on your feet all day. How does Dr. Scholl’s play a role in your daily life?
“Well, it is a new role in my life; they were not really on my radar before, like I don’t know why not. You know, from wearing the highest heels for so many years and I just never thought of putting a cushion in my shoe—how stupid? But it makes such a huge difference, when you’re on your feet for 10 to 14 hours a day and I wear more heels than I do flats, in my job I kind of have to. Like if I don’t, people usually say ‘Oh, you’re so much shorter than I thought!’”

So who introduced you to Dr. Scholl’s?
“They did. They came to me and they said, ‘We would like to talk with you about doing a business venture together. We would like to have you do our commercials and our ads’ and I said ‘I wanted to see the product first. I want to see if I like it.’ So they sent me the product and I was just filming Germany’s Next Top Model and I film that for four months and it’s a grueling schedule in terms of being on my feet; it’s probably the hardest. You know, when I do America’s Got Talent, I sit at my desk all day; on Project Runway, I stand on the runway, but then I usually sit in my chair, so it’s fine. Even though sometimes the heels can hurt too when you sit in them too long, it’s also not the most comfortable all day, but when I do Top Model, I’m on my feet the longest. So it was a great time for me to try this. It makes a huge difference because you have that extra arch support. And no one sees that. No one knows, you hide it in your shoe. You stick it down; it doesn’t slide around. It’s in there and it’s perfect.”

On the topic of taking care of your feet, what are some other ways that you get your feet pedicure-ready for spring? 
“I do get a lot of manicures and pedicures. But that also comes with my business. You know, I always think it’s important to have beautiful hands and beautiful feet. You just never know what shoe they’re going to give you and then you have to take your shoes off and they’re like ‘Oh my god!’ You know, in my business, hands and feet always have to look good.”

Do you have a favorite pedicure color?
“It depends on what I’m doing. Like I was just on holiday so I had turquoise, which I loved.”

Is there anything you do at home that’s pampering? Something you do to treat yourself?
“I don’t really have time! I have my hair and makeup team and I trust them. For me, I just eat really well, really healthily; I stay away from bad things. We do smoothies every morning. We cook every day and I try to really rotate the fish and the chicken and the vegetables and the salads. So for me, I try to do everything from the inside to be healthy. And for the beauty department, I let my team take care of that.”

Sometimes a great pair of shoes can make an entire outfit. Do you have a beauty equivalent to that?
“Well, it always depends on the outfit. You have to start with the outfit and then you have to think about what you want to do with your hair. I don’t really have super big lips, so I usually do my eyes bigger than my mouth. Every once in a while, I will do a bold mouth because sometimes it’s like a statement—like a fuchsia or a red. I never really go brown, that doesn’t really go with me, or if it’s too dark, that doesn’t look good on me. I like friendlier colors better.”

We know you travel so much for work, so how do you find time to stay fit?
“Well, when I’m at home with four kids, it’s a workout by itself to be honest. They always want to do something, so I’m always running after them. I was just in the Bahamas, but it wasn’t like a holiday. It was like, ‘Let’s go down the slide! Let’s go do the lazy river! Come in the ocean with me! Can you blow this up? Let’s do a sandcastle! Let’s go chasing!’ You know, it’s always something. So it’s not like I’m just lying there and sunbathing all day; it’s constant. There’s always something they want to do and I understand that. When I have time, I try to run. I have a great treadmill at home and even just to get two miles in, every now and then, makes a huge difference for me. Cardio is important because also it’s good for your heart and when we get older, we have to make sure the heart is with it, too. So it’s not just about being fit in your body. I think it’s important to have a healthy heart too, so you have to keep it pumping!”

Meet The New (Gorgeous) Face of Lancôme: Lupita Nyong’o!

Written on April 4, 2014 at 9:00 am , by

Photo Credit: Alexi Lubomirski for Lancôme

Breaking beauty news: Lancôme announced that the Academy Award-winning actress, Lupita Nyong’o, will be their new brand ambassadress. The 31-year-old Kenyan stunner stormed onto the Hollywood scene with her moving role as Patsey in the film 12 Years a Slave and has been wowing us with her one-of-a-kind beauty ever since. From bold and bright eyeshadows and liners to punchy lip colors, Nyong’o proves she’s not afraid of color and pulls off every shade flawlessly. We totally envy how versatile her look is (not to mention, her toned body and glowing skin!). About her new role as a face of the brand, she says, “I am truly honored to join the Maison Lancôme, a brand with such a prestigious history and that I have always loved. I am particularly proud to represent its unique vision for women and the idea that beauty should not be dictated, but should instead be an expression of a woman’s freedom to be herself.” (We second that!). She’ll be in good company by joining Julia Roberts, Kate Winslet, Penélope Cruz and Lily Collins as faces of the brand.

Giada De Laurentiis Dishes on Hair Color, Healthy Living and Her Next Big Business Venture

Written on April 1, 2014 at 2:20 pm , by

Giada DeLaurentiis is kind of like our (gorgeous) best girlfriend from down the street who comes over to whip up delicious meals then help us eat them. She’s a staple in thousands of kitchens as the star of the Food Network’s Everyday Italian and Giada at Home, a judge and mentor on Food Network Star and the author of six New York Times best-selling books including her latest, Giada’s Feel Good Food. And although she’s a pro when it comes to cooking, she knows a few things about primping as well. As the celebrity spokesperson for Clairol, we met up with her to chat about Natural Instincts, the hair color and her own intuition. Read on for more scoop on her beauty routine, her favorite recipes and her new restaurant opening in Las Vegas.

So let’s talk about hair color. When did you start coloring your hair and why?
“I started coloring in my early 30s. I just felt that my hair color was getting a little dull. It was brown, but it wasn’t doing anything for my face and as I was getting a little older, I felt like it might be fun to play around and figure out what looks good on me. I think that happened because I had little bit more money to spend and a little more confidence to go out on a limb and try it. So I started coloring my hair a little bit; I went much darker like jet black; I went red; I went platinum blonde. I tried lots of different things. I cut my hair really short at times, then I had a bob and then I had it long. I really was searching. I sort of had a love/hate relationship with my hair almost my whole life; I have curly, sort of frizzy hair, and so I never knew how to tame it, and my mom was never good at teaching me, so I really wanted to find a way to control my hair and so I think I tried lots of different things. And then, I started with Clairol. I found a good color for me; something that could give me a pick-me-up in between salon visits because as I get older, I have to go to the salon more often, but I don’t always have time and so it’s really nice to be able to use something that’s actually conditioning my hair at the same. I think that a lot of us women tie our hair to the way we feel about ourselves. That’s why a bad hair day can throw off the entire day and make you feel bad. So, I think that’s what I was searching for and that’s what I found.”

Has the formula helped with your frizz as well? 
“Yeah and that’s the other thing—controlling your frizz is number one and moisturizing your hair and keeping it healthy is a great way to control frizz.”

In terms of makeup, what are some of your must-haves?
“I have a whole beauty routine that I like to do, but I really like cover-up with SPF in it. Sunscreen to me is the key to everything. My brother died about ten years ago from melanoma, so I really, really am hardcore when it comes to sunscreen in everything that I use, whether it’s foundation; whatever it is, I use sunscreen. I even put sunscreen in my hair, to protect my hair and my scalp because a lot of times you burn your scalp without even knowing it, and you can get melanoma on your scalp. So I put sunscreen everywhere. It’s my number one; I don’t leave home without it. I don’t care if it’s snowing or raining, there’s still some kind of light coming out, and I have to protect myself from it. Then I always wear a light foundation on my skin to even it out and to protect it. Unlike a lot of people who feel like the best thing to do for your skin is not wear anything, I actually feel like wearing something actually protects your skin from the elements. The cold, the heat, the dryness: all that stuff. Lately if I don’t want to do my eyes, I really like a red lip. I’m into the red lip, otherwise I’ll do up my eyes and I like a little sparkle, a little glitter eye shadow for me is super fun.”

We know you’re a pro in the kitchen. Do you have any cool beauty tricks that you can DIY in your kitchen?
“Well, what I love to do to moisturize my hair when I’m home is to make a little mask of avocado and olive oil. You mix it together and put it from mid-length to ends. And then, if I’m not in a rush, I’ll just put my hair up and leave it in there for a few hours and then go back and rinse it out. Otherwise, I’ll just stay in the shower for 15 minutes and let the humidity and moisture lock it in. Coconut oil is great on the ends of your hair, as well, and straight olive oil is great on hair, which I love to do. That’s what I do when I’m home. When I’m on the road, I love the conditioner included with Clairol Natural Instincts Hair Color ($9, walmart.com). That’s what I use once a week, because my hair goes through so much styling and curling and flat ironing and blow-drying, so I use that to moisturize my hair.”

Switching gears a bit, we know it’s your job to cook and essentially to eat. What are your tricks for not over-indulging?
“Well, I’m not going to say I never indulge in anything, because I do, but the next day I balance it out. I will say that eating all day is tough [when judging The Next Food Network Star], so I make sure that I have one-to-two bites, tops. I feel like once I’ve had one or two bites, I know what it tastes like and anything else after that is just pure indulgence. And when you have to eat as your job, and you have to eat lots of different things, you can’t ever overeat. So, that plus lemon water also helps me flush it down and keeps my palette feeling very clean and ready to eat something else. I think for me, moderation is the key and I portion-control myself, from snacks that I keep in my bags to food that I eat. Even when I go out to eat, I’ll try and order the appetizer version of things. If I can’t, or I don’t like something that’s on the appetizer menu, I’ll get a main course meal, and then I’ll ask them to just pack up the other half and I just don’t ever see it. Or, the other thing that works really well is family style, where you just share plates and that makes it easier because you never feel like you’re going to overeat and you can taste a lot of different things. I think those are some really simple ways to keep moderation in your diet when you’re out and about, because it’s hard when you travel.”

Definitely. I know you love chocolate. For those of us who have a sweet tooth, are there any healthy recipes you love?
“Yeah! One of my favorites lately is my Chocolate Avocado Mousse. So, put avocado in a food processor with unsweetened cocoa powder, a teaspoon of agave and some bittersweet melted chocolate chips, and puree it all together. And then I usually just chill it, so I put it in little cups and I serve it with raspberries. That to me is my go-to pick-me-up. The other one that I love is dried figs and almond butter in a food processor. I make little balls and then I dip them in melted dark chocolate and make little fig balls and, again, I keep them in the fridge and top them with a little sea salt. And those are pop-in-your-mouth pick-me-ups that are healthy and good for your body. So it’s a really good indulgence.”

Yum! You mentioned you travel a lot, how do you manage to stay active and healthy when you’re on the road? 
You know, working out on the road is probably the hardest and I’m not a runner, which tends to be the easiest way to get some exercise. So, I do a lot of yoga, I bring my yoga blocks with me, so I do yoga in the morning and at night, even if it’s just for five minutes and even if it’s a few sun salutations, it gets my body breathing and aligns me. Lately, I’ve tried to do a little bit of boxing. I find that boxing releases stress and frustration and, at the same time, helps you sweat and really tones your body. So, I’ve been doing a little bit of that.”

I got into a really big kickboxing phase at one point and it’s such a stress reliever; it feels good!
“It just feels good! You know, because I’m opening this restaurant in Vegas, I feel like my stress level has sort of gone to another level and it’s a really great way to control it. So, it’s been really helpful, maybe six months from now when everything’s said and done, I won’t like it as much anymore, but for right now, it’s working for me so I’m going to stick to it.”

That actually brings me to my next question; congratulations on the new restaurant! Why did you feel like now was the right time and Vegas was the right spot?
“Good question. Now is the right time because I think I’m at the point in my career where I need something brand new. I needed to sort of explore a new horizon and try something totally different, although, still in my wheelhouse, something I’ve never done before on a grand scale that I don’t think anybody has done before. I believe that everybody that has a restaurant on the strip has a restaurant somewhere else first. No one is starting from scratch and I’m starting from scratch – literally: the place was gutted, my space was a 2-floor parking garage. Most places have an existing framework or have an existing kitchen, they might be gutting it, but there was a kitchen there. There was no kitchen; there were parked cars there. So, for me, it’s like starting from scratch all the way. It’s a boutique hotel, the first on the strip and I’m one of the first female chefs on the strip, so there’s so many firsts. For me, I feel like, there are things you can do in Vegas that you can’t do anywhere else and although I’m going to make my food and I’m going to have my iconic dishes, I also want to have some show with those dishes. So, instead of just giving you Chicken Cacciatore, I’m going to roast a whole chicken and I’m going to present it to you, it’s going to be Chicken Cacciatore for two, and we’re going to carve it for you. We’re going to finish pasta dishes tableside, sometimes in a skillet and sometimes maybe in a round Parmesan cheese wheel, like they do in Italy. So there’s a lot more show involved than just ‘here’s your dinner.’ And, you know, a really sort of modern, Italian restaurant. So not checkered tablecloths, more of a reinvented Italian with a California spin, which is really what I’m known for. And we have indoor-outdoor dining, which is kind of unheard of in Vegas and an unbelievable view of the Bellagio fountains, so I hope people will come and get engaged—it’s so romantic. The hotel is called The Cromwell and the opens May 1st, and we open around the 20th of May. It’s around the corner and it’s kind of scary because there are no walls up yet, so I’m not really sure how it’s going to work, but they tell me that in Vegas, anything is possible, so we’re just going to leave it at that!”

Good luck! Obviously opening a restaurant is a big step. What has been the best advice you’ve gotten in regards to following your own natural instincts?
“My grandfather told me a long time ago that following your instincts, your natural instincts, is the way to success. It’s kind of the key to success and a lot of us don’t do that or we question ourselves. Trust me that I have questioned myself as to what I was thinking when I said yes to this space and to this restaurant and many people doubt me and many people, especially my peers, fear the worst for me and feel that I have bitten off more than I can chew. And maybe I have, but I have to say that sometimes in life when you’re a little bit naïve about something and you think you can handle more than you can, at the end of the day, part of that naïveté has probably helped me make this decision and will probably propel me to the next level. And had I known everything that I’m in now and will be in, I may not have done it. So, you know, I think ignorance is bliss sometimes and I think that I would like to prove to people that, women can also do the same thing that men can do.”