How to Get the ‘No-Makeup’ Look

How to Get the 'No-Makeup' Makeup LookJealous of women who look perfect without a drop of makeup? We are—but here are three easy ways you can get that flawless, natural look, too. From Jennifer L. Scott, author of Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris.

Le No-Makeup Look
The following are my three favorite variations that I observed while living in Paris.

Au naturel
This look is very subtle. It includes a light foundation to even out the skin (either powder or tinted moisturizer), blush, mascara, and a neutral lip color. It is just enough to give you a pretty, professional polish but also looks completely natural. This takes almost no time to apply and is a great look for every day—for when you just want to feel pulled together. The au naturel look is perfect for professional endeavors like job interviews as well as quotidian adventures like running errands.

Defined eye
This variation features a defined eye and neutral lip. It uses the same items as the au naturel look but adds my favorite makeup product—eyeliner. This look is very gamine, very Parisian, and suggests that the wearer is more chic than the average person. She simply got out of bed, tied her hair back, slicked on some eyeliner, and went about her day! (In my case it takes a bit longer to get ready, but you do get the idea.) The defined eye look is great for visiting museums, watching films, attending casual concerts, or engaging in any artistic endeavor. Wear it when you would like to look mysterious. (Highlighting the eyes always ups the mysterious factor in a woman.)

Defined lip
This variation showcases a defined lip (red maybe?) and neutral eye. It would include powder, blush, a bold-colored lipstick (berries, mauves, or reds), and a neutral eye (no eyeshadow, just mascara, with eyeliner optional). This look is more romantic and clearly draws attention to the mouth—perfect for when you are feeling passionate, whimsical, or adventurous. It also suggests that you have better things to do than carefully apply makeup every day, but that you are feminine enough not to forget your lipstick! The defined lip is great for a first date (or any date!) or for any day that you feel like adding color to the face. In the dead of winter, it can boost your morale to use a vibrant shade (such as fuchsia) to highlight your pout.

For more great daily chic tips, visit Jennifer’s blog, The Daily Connoisseur.

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Beauty on a Budget: Tori Spelling’s Homemade Body Scrub

Beauty on a Budget: Tori Spelling's Homemade Body Scrub Looking for party favor ideas? Tori Spelling likes to create a homemade spa scrub in labeled mason jars. Try this easy-to-make facial concoction from her CelebraTORI: Unleashing Your Inner Party Planner to Entertain Friends and Family.

1. Choose a salt: sea salt, Epsom salt, kosher salt, or even table salt. Fill half of a small bowl with it.

2. Pour oil over the salt until it is saturated. Oils that work well include almond, coconut, grapeseed, safflower, and avocado, but there’s no need to run out and buy a fancy oil. Any cooking oil you have in your kitchen will do the trick.

3. Add about a teaspoon of honey—but it’s your scrub so feel free to play with measurements.

4. Sprinkle in your favorite dried herbs—I like lavender, rosemary, and crushed rose petals.

5. Mix the ingredients well.

6. Put in a mason jar, tie with a ribbon, and tag for gifting.

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Essential Seasonings You Need to Stock Your Kitchen

Cooking pasta tips for home improvementStock your pantry with these fundamentals, and you’ll be able to turn out flavorful, healthy meals any day of the week. From Just Married & Cooking: 200 Recipes for Living, Eating, and Entertaining Together, by Brooke Parkhurst and James Briscione.

Turning out tasty, well-seasoned food takes a little more than that starter spice rack you got for your first apartment. This is a fantastic list of fundamentals that’ll get you through every recipe in this book. Buy whole spices when possible and grind them (with an inexpensive coffee bean grinder) as needed. If that’s not an option, buy them in ground form and be sure to store in a cool, dark area (directly above the stove is not the best place to store spices). Vinegars and oils are also best kept in a cool, dark place.

  • kosher salt
  • whole black peppercorns, for your pepper mill
  • cumin
  • coriander
  • paprika
  • smoked paprika
  • cayenne
  • dried basil
  • dried marjoram
  • dried oregano
  • fennel seed
  • mustard seed
  • ground cinnamon
  • ground ginger
  • nutmeg, buy whole and grate on a Microplane as needed
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder

Non-Spice Essentials

  • vanilla extract
  • almond extract
  • honey
  • sriracha hot sauce
  • vinegar-based hot sauce — Tabasco or Cholula
  • soy sauce
  • fish sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • sesame oil
  • vegetable oil
  • olive oil
  • vinegars: balsamic, red wine, white wine, cider

Holiday Gift Idea: Candle-Making Checklist

Homemade candles are a great gift idea, but be sure to follow these safety tips before you start melting wax. From Homemade: The Heart and Science of Handcrafts by Carol Endler Sterbenz.

• Melt wax in a double boiler.

• Replenish the water in the double boiler.

• Use a wax or candy thermometer.

• Know the wax’s melt point and pouring temperature.

• Never leave wax unattended on the stove.

• Remove smoking wax from the stove immediately!

• Read the manufacturer’s recommendations when choosing wax, molds, and wicks.

• Allow ample ventilation when making candles, especially when using fragrance oil.

• Add scent to liquid wax just before pouring, when the wax is off-heat, to avoid dissipating the fragrance through evaporation.

• Preheat molds and containers before pouring in hot wax.

• Do not flush hot liquid wax down the drain. Let unwanted wax cool and harden for proper disposal.

• Do not microwave wax.

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8 Money-Saving Ways to Organize Your Halloween Treats

Halloween organization and decorating tips to save money by Barbara Reich author of Secrets of an Organized MomBy Barbara Reich
Author of Secrets of an Organized Mom

As a child, the whole concept of Halloween seems too good to be true. You get to wear a costume, knock on strangers’ doors, and ask them for candy. Then you pretty much eat as many sweets as you want for an entire night. But as a parent, Halloween can be downright scary.

Your pre-schooler changes his mind four times about his costume, your tween wants to trick-or-treat with friends (and no parent), and your teenager’s costume seems to be exposing an awful lot of skin. And you haven’t even started thinking about the costume you’re wearing to your friend’s annual Monster Mash. So how can you enjoy the holiday keeping it fun? Here are some tips that are sure to help.

1. Take out your Halloween decorations two to three weeks before the holiday. If you’ve gone to the trouble of buying and storing the decorations, enjoy them for a few weeks as excitement for the holiday builds.

2. Begin to think about Halloween costumes as soon as the back-to-school fervor fades. If you’re going to order a costume online, leave yourself enough time for it to be shipped to you and returned if the size isn’t correct. Planning on making a costume? Start early enough so you can enjoy the process with your child.

3. Buy your Halloween candy early. The prices for candy are the highest in the two weeks before Halloween.

4. This is the perfect time to sort through your child’s dress-up clothes. Maybe you can find a costume your child wants to wear or some accessories that can be used. It’s also the perfect time to purge the costumes that no longer fit.

5. Sort Halloween candy by type and store in glass or clear plastic cylinders of different heights. You’ll be amazed at how pretty the candy looks when stored this way.

6. After trick-or-treating, invite your child’s friends over for a cake or cupcake-decorating play date. Unwrap the candy and place it in bowls in the middle of the table. Then, give them each several frosted cupcakes or one cake to decorate. The candy will stick to the icing, the children will have a great time, and you’ll be rid of the candy by the end of the afternoon.

7. November 1 isn’t too soon to take down the Halloween decorations. All things Halloween related should be put away by the weekend following the holiday. Halloween books, pumpkin carving kits, Halloween decorations, and costumes should be stored in a clear plastic box with a lid (size and number of boxes depends on the quantity you have). This should be put away, out of the way, until next year.

8. Be realistic about saving costumes. If you have a child that loves playing dress up, add it to the stash. However, if there’s little chance the costume will be worn again, donate it.

Barbara Reich is a professional organizer based in New York City. Her tough love approach turns organization and clutter from chore to lifestyle. Barbara’s book Secrets of an Organized Mom will be on shelves in February 2013. To find more tips from Barbara, please visit her personal website, like her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

5 Steps to Decoupage Anything

5 Steps to Decoupage AnythingIf you’ve never decoupaged before, don’t be scared. It’s not as fancy as it sounds, but the end result is beautiful using this how-to guide from Tori Spelling’s CelebraTORI: Unleashing Your Inner Party Planner to Entertain Friends and Family.

If you graduated from kindergarten, you’ve got all the skills you need. You are basically just cutting out pictures and gluing them onto a surface.

1. Pick your surface. You can decoupage anything from wood, to bottles, to garbage cans, to wine bottles (which make nice candleholders).

2. Cut out the pictures you plan to use. You can choose photos, labels, postcards… anything that works for your concept.

3. Glue the pictures onto the surface.

4. Paint over the whole collage with diluted white glue. There are special decoupage glues out there, but regular school glue works just fine.

5. Let your work dry, then paint it again. About three to four layers of glue should do the trick.

Now your collage is transformed into a shiny, finished surface. So crafty!

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The Cake Boss’s 17 Must-Have Baking Tools

Cake Boss Buddy Valastro shares his 17 essential baking tools from his book Baking with the Cake BossWhat the heck do you do with parchment paper? How do you use a pastry bag? Buddy Valastro, author of Baking with the Cake Boss, lists everything you need for at-home baking success—including how to avoid grating your knuckles on a microplane zester.

I recommend that you have three types of brushes as part of your kitchen arsenal. A pastry brush is the best way to apply syrups and other soaking liquids to sponge cakes, to work with melted butter, and to apply water to fondant if you don’t have a water pen (see page 195). (A squeeze bottle with a sponge tip applicator or a spray bottle will also work.) A bench brush has long, stiff bristles and is made for sweeping flour off your work surface. I rarely see these in home kitchens, but I recommend you own one because it makes it very easy to get your surface clean. A large makeup brush, sometimes called a powder brush, is useful for patting down sugar or cornstarch on your work surface when you are working with fondant. Use it to get any lumps or clumps out of the sugar or cornstarch, whether on your work surface or on the fondant itself.

In the old days at Carlo’s we made our lemon zest by rubbing lemons on one of those old-fashioned box graters. It wasn’t the best way to go—the now-familiar recipe instruction not to shave off any bitter pith with your grater wasn’t even on our mind—but we didn’t know any better. (We also had to garbage the occasional batch when a guy grated a little of his knuckle into the bowl along with the rind!) Then along came the Microplane zester. It’s a common kitchen tool today, but was originally devised as a woodworking tool. It’s got dozens of minirazors that produce a snowy zest from lemons, oranges, and other citrus fruits.

Ceramic and glass mixing bowls are perfectly fine options, but I prefer stainless steel for a very practical reason: They don’t break if you drop them. Get yourself a good assortment of mixing bowl sizes—generally speaking, I like to use a bowl that’s large for a given task because it helps keep ingredients from splashing or flying out of the bowl when you whisk or stir.

Always have some parchment paper on hand: You will use it to line baking and cookie sheets for a variety of items, and I often use a parchment pencil (see page 185) for decorating pastries, pies, and cakes. By the way, if you’ve ever wondered why some recipes call for parchment paper and some don’t, it’s almost always a matter of preventing what you’re baking from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Parchment can sometimes be left out if you’re baking a batter with a high fat content, because it will release just enough fat to keep itself from sticking. (In this book, I don’t use parchment in these cases.) Whatever you do, if you don’t have parchment paper, don’t substitute waxed paper instead. Waxed paper smokes like crazy and will fill your oven and kitchen with that smoke and set off your smoke detector.

The pastry bag is one of the most important tools for a baker. At Carlo’s and in this book, it is are used for everything from piping out cookie dough to filling pastries to icing and decorating cakes. There are four main types of bag: polyurethane, canvas, disposable, and makeshift. I don’t necessarily favor one over the other; instead, I like different bags for different jobs. For piping cookie dough and thick, heavy batters, the gold standard is a canvas bag, because of its durability. You can really squeeze it, using as much pressure as you like or need to, without fear of busting it open. For decorating and piping with buttercream, I prefer a polyurethane bag because I find it lets you feel closer to the cream, giving you a greater sense of control. If you’re working with anything that will stain a polyurethane bag, disposable pastry bags are perfectly acceptable to use instead. For example, dark buttercreams such as black, red, and green will all stain a bag, so I recommend a disposable bag for working with them. A makeshift bag isn’t really an “official” type of bag, but it can be a lifesaver if you don’t have a bag on hand and want to do something that requires it. You can fashion a makeshift bag by using a large (1- or 2-gallon) resealable plastic bag: Fill it with whatever you’ll be piping, fold the top closed, and snip off a corner to act as the “tip.” You can’t get much finesse with a makeshift bag, but it’s a perfectly viable way of frosting a cake, filling cannoli, icing cupcakes, and applying meringue to a pie. A note about working with pastry bags: When you are working with meringue, buttercream, and other sensitive mixtures, the temperature of your hands can cause what’s in the bag to soften. Different people’s hands have different temperatures; mine, for example, tend to generate heat, so after ten minutes of piping, I often squeeze out whatever’s left in the bag, then refill the bag with more of whatever I’m piping. If your hands run hot, you may need to do the same.

At the very least, you should have a #6 plain and a #7 star pastry tip for piping cream, frostings, and fillings. For decorating cakes and cupcakes, a good set of interchangeable decorating tips is essential. There are many sets on the market that feature a variety of tips; you might want to purchase one, or you can amass a collection as you bake more and more recipes, but always check before embarking on a new recipe to be sure you have the necessary tips. You can purchase them individually if necessary, or if you don’t want to buy a whole set right off. Interchangeable tips are small tips shaped to produce specific effects, such as grass, leaves, or the shape that mimics rose petals. You affix these to pastry bags with a coupler that acts as a dock or port for them. In addition to empowering you to create visual effects, tips and bags are also convenient: If you need to create different effects with the same color icing, you don’t need to fill different bags; you just change the tip. Throughout the book, I indicate when an interchangeable tip is called for; if a recipe does not indicate “interchangeable,” then you just drop the desired tip (a regular pastry tip) into the bag before filling it with the desired filling or frosting.

You should have at least two racks for cooling cookies and pastries after baking. (If space on your counter is limited, or you want to avoid resting hot trays on it, you can let the trays cool on top of the racks until the cookies are ready to be transferred.) Racks are available in a variety of sizes; I recommend having at least two nonstick racks, 17 by 12 inches each, which is toward the larger end of the size spectrum.

Everybody in the kitchen at Carlo’s has his or her own opinion about rolling pins. There are only two main types of pin (three, if you count polyurethane), but we’re as personal about them as a hustler is about his pool stick. Both wooden and marble pins are fine; the overall weight and balance are more important than the material. For rolling out cookie dough, pie crust, and raspberry bars, I like a straight wooden rolling pin. (In reality, I leaned to roll those items with a broomstick, but you don’t want to do that at home!) For tougher jobs, such as rolling out rugelach, pasta frolla to stripe a wheat pie, or puff pastry dough, a wooden, steel, or marble pin with ball bearings that allow the cylinder to spin is better. Those ball bearings help a spinning pin make its way through denser dough. (But I generally use a wooden pin here as well. I’ve done it so many times that I’m comfortable with it.)
For rolling fondant, I recommend a polyurethane rolling pin because it stays at a good neutral temperature and has a terrific weight for pressing out the fondant, which can become uneven. You don’t want to use wood for fondant because wooden rolling pins tend to develop little divots over time, and these will get imprinted into the fondant.

Some ingredients are measured by weight rather than volume, so if you don’t already own one, I suggest purchasing a kitchen scale. Digital battery-operated scales can be purchased for about $20 and many are small enough to tuck away in a drawer or cupboard when not in use.

In a home kitchen, a rubber spatula fills in for most of the things we use plastic scrapers for in a professional bakery, namely folding ingredients together and scraping mixtures out of a bowl or a pot. But I still recommend owning a plastic scraper because a spatula keeps you at a bit of a remove from the food you’re working with, and sometimes you want to have a greater feeling of control. In our kitchen at Carlo’s, we also use a metal scraper for scraping our benches (wooden work tables), especially for removing caked-on flour. But I don’t recommend this tool at home because so many home kitchen surfaces are delicate or prone to scratching.

For ensuring the even distribution of leavening agents such as baking soda and baking powder, and loosening up compacted flour and other ingredients, a sifter is essential. If you don’t yet have a sifter and are dying to get started, in its place you can pour your ingredients into a fine-mesh strainer and gently shake it over the bowl into which you are sifting, but the result won’t be as fine.

The three types of spatula called for throughout this book are so different that it seems odd to call them by the same name. Cookie spatula or pancake spatula: This is probably the first spatula you ever heard of, meant for lifting baked goods out of pans or turning cookies or pancakes as they cook. Sometimes also called a “turner,” it’s the one we use for checking doneness on cookies and pastries and for lifting them out of their pans. Icing spatula: Many baking books recommend an offset spatula (aka angled spatula) for icing cakes, but I like a plain old flat icing spatula (we call it a “bow knife” in the Carlo’s kitchen), which gives you a greater feeling of control because of its straight shape. I like an 8-inch icing spatula, which I find works well for any task. Rubber or silicone spatula: This common kitchen tool gets used a lot in baking, mainly for folding two mixtures together or for scraping mixtures out of bowls. It’s a good idea to have a set that includes small, medium, and large spatulas in order to be able to accommodate any size job.

If you can afford it and have the room for it on your counter, there is simply nothing better for mixing than a good, sturdy stand mixer, which is basically a miniature version of the mammoth industrial mixers we use at Carlo’s. You’ll need the paddle, whip, and hook attachments. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can also use a hand mixer for many recipes (I’ve indicated which ones in the book), but the motors aren’t generally as powerful as those on a stand mixer and your arm isn’t as durable as the stand itself, so you’ll need to take the time to let ingredients such as butter, cream cheese, and shortening really soften before you begin mixing with a hand mixer. If you do use a hand mixer, set a damp kitchen towel under the mixing bowl to hold it in place. It’s a tried-and-true trick that makes mixing much easier than trying to mix with one hand while holding the bowl with the other, especially if you have to pour or drizzle liquids into the bowl while mixing. In some of these recipes, you can simply use your hands to mix. I’ll tell you when that’s the best way. Just make sure that your hands are immaculately clean before using them.

For checking the temperature of batters and buttercream, a kitchen thermometer is the only way to go. I suggest that you take advantage of modern technology and purchase an instant-read thermometer that gives you quick, exact, digital information. It’s a good idea to have an oven thermometer to be sure you’re baking at the right temperature. Even if your oven reads correctly today, it might begin to run a little hot or a little cold over time. Position your oven thermometer on the same rack you’ll be baking on, which will almost always be the center rack.

Don’t rely on your memory in the kitchen; it’s a recipe for disaster. (“Did I put the cake in the oven at 5:45, or was it 5:54?”) Get a timer. In particular, I recommend a timer with at least two clocks in case you’re doing more than one thing at a time.

It’s a good idea to have a large and a small whisk on hand for beating mixtures of varying sizes by hand.

For stirring mixtures as they cook, a wooden spoon or two should be a part of any kitchen arsenal.

Jonathan Waxman’s Favorite Salads

If the core of Italian cooking is seasonality, then nothing defines it more than fresh greens. Celebrity chef Jonathan Waxman shares his favorite fresh, simple salad ideas from Italian, My Way: More Than 150 Simple and Inspired Recipes That Breathe New Life Into Italian Classics.

Lettuce can be a basic term for all greens; in Italy they grow an amazing variety. In America we tend to stick to the same old standbys; in Italy they have fifty varieties of treviso! I am constantly awed at what I find in the Italian markets when I wander around the countryside. Italians like their greens crisp, bitter and colorful, and this style appeals to me. A classic example is arugula. In Italy, some varieties of arugula are large and soft; others, small, crisp and spicy. I happen to like the wild variety, the small, bitter, almost blue-tinged sylvetta.

With the greening of the American food industry, arugula no longer rests in the hands of the Mediterranean farmers. We produce amazing arugula here. Nothing, absolutely nothing, compares to a freshly made salad of arugula and real Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese tossed with great olive oil and sea salt.

Early on in my career I became impassioned by the world of warm salads, which the Italians have enjoyed for centuries. I am particularly enamored with the classic bagna cauda, which I have adapted to my taste. I often wonder why eggs taste better in the hills of Piedmont than in downtown New York. I think pedigree might have something to do with it. In any case, a perfectly poached egg atop a curly endive salad, mixed with freshly picked herbs, pancetta, crispy torn bread croutons, true balsamic vinegar and, of course, that fantastic walnut oil from Abruzzi, is heaven!

I quite like the idea of a colorful, composed salad. Roasted apples, toasted walnuts and freshly made goat cheese, delicately but firmly tossed with lemon juice, good olive oil and black pepper, is an autumnal treat.

Then there is my absolute favorite: the raw vegetable salad. I was a picky and not at all adventuresome eater as a child. I came late to the game of delicious, freshly picked vegetables. Raw beets, asparagus, summer squash and even Brussels sprouts have all entered my daily menus. The only “trick” with raw vegetables is to choose farm fresh. A Brussels sprout gone past its primeis no one’s friend. My first raw salad came in the guise of a shaved black truffle and mâche (lamb’s tongue lettuce) salad — very decadent, and truly delicious. I have tried to enhance my repertoire along this theme. A trick I employ with raw vegetables is to use a lovely and sharp Japanese mandoline. This amazingly simple and precise tool makes quick work of a raw artichoke, caulifloweror turnip, making delicate, tender shavings. Again, tossed with great olive oil and salt, they are transcendent.


Avocado mango salad

Beat the Heat With Refreshing Gazpacho

Make this easy summer gazpacho recipe from The Stocked KitchenCool off on a hot summer day with this stove-free soup recipe from The Stocked Kitchen: One Grocery List…Endless Recipes, by Sarah Kallio and Stacey Krastins.


Serves 6

3 medium tomatoes, diced, or one 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
One 15-ounce can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons diced shallot or 1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 English cucumber, diced
1/2 bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and pulse until blended to desired consistency.
2. Chill for 1 to 24 hours. Serve cold.


How to Buy the Perfect Steak

‘Tis the season to fire up the grill and enjoy a tender piece of goodness. Let Brooke Parkhurst and James Briscione, authors of Just Married & Cooking: 200 Recipes for Living, Eating, and Entertaining Together help you choose a steak that’s a cut above the rest.

You only need two things for a great steak: quality meat and a hot grill. (While you’re at it, throw in some kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper for enhanced flavor.) That means the onus of turning out a great steak rests squarely on the shoulders of the hunk of meat that you select. Here’s what to look for:

The color of the meat is a great indicator of how much it’s been aged. Good or bad. Proper aging of steak yields a slightly darker, more brown color. It might not be the prettiest steak in the butcher’s case, but it’s the tastiest, with the richest, deepest flavor. Improper aging — aka steaks that have been sitting in the butcher’s case too long — will look dull, slightly grayish. To recap: good aging – color deepens; bad aging — color fades.

Those white flecks in the meat are fat, and fat is flavor! Look for a good quantity and an even distribution of the white stuff to ensure that every bite will be a flavorful one.

When it comes to steak, size definitely matters. If the cut is too thin, it will be difficult to develop a good char on the outside without overcooking the interior. If it’s too thick, you might burn the exterior before the interior reaches a level beyond that of steak tartare. Go for a steak that’s atleast 1/2 inch thick and up to 2 inches thick.


Great grilling and barbecue tips