New Series: What’s on Your Table?

Welcome back! I do a ton of cooking at home, and I decided it was time I started to share some recipes! Story time will be brief, and the food will be delicious, I promise.

So, between the rain and some bugs that have been going around, January has been rough at my house. It seems like everyone’s been sick at some point! So I’ve been in a major soup making zone, making homemade broths and seeking out wild rice or obscure pasta shapes… it’s been a mood.


Today I needed something light and yet warming so I was dreaming of Benihana’s onion broth that they serve as an appetizer… once I get a craving I generally end up making the dish by the end of the day, and that’s exactly what happened today. Let’s get to it:

Beni-Esque Onion Broth

2 large yellow onions, diced

2 celery stalks, diced

2 carrots, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced
(if you’re not a garlic fan, you can scale this down, but at least use one. You will strain all the veggies out before serving!)

6 cups vegetable stock
(Not to be too Ina Garten about this… homemade is always better, but of course boxed or bouillon is fine as well)

white mushrooms, about one per serving

green onions
(this will be added as garnish at the end)

Start with some oil in a large pot- I used vegetable oil so it could handle some heat- and saute the onions until they soften and start to brown at the edges. After about 5 minutes, add the celery, carrot and garlic, and saute for another 3-4 minutes.

Add the veggie stock, scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding water to the pot if it gets too low, about ½ a cup at a time if needed. I had to move my pot to two different burners to get a simmer low enough, so watch the liquid here while the flavors get to know each other.

Strain all the veggies out. I tossed mine but if you have another use for these, use them! Season the broth with salt and pepper to taste. At this stage I paused and put some in mason jars to be stored for later because I was so delighted at how it tasted. (This also explains why there are hardly any pictures, because I didn’t plan on blogging about this, ha.) I took it off the heat for that, so I brought the portion we were going to eat back to a simmer.


Slice the white mushroom super thin and slice the green onion while you’re at the chopping board- this is the home stretch! Toss the mushrooms into the broth and let them simmer for a few minutes while you set up bowls for the soup. We ladled it up and garnished with green onion, and then I put another tray of garlic bread in the oven because I accidentally burned the first one.

This soup was so amazing, you could have it on its own for a main meal (I am realizing as I typed this that it’s vegan, so I’m very happy I got so inclusive for my first recipe here!), an appetizer, you can add stuff to it, or dip stuff in it. I’m already planning to serve it at my Game of Thrones party. It’s super healthy and clean.. and I’m so happy I have more in the fridge.


P.S. I also garnished this with sesame oil and sriracha, you could also maybe add soy sauce or more pepper… it’s so ready to be customized but also delicious on it’s own!


WOYF Product Review: Pink Cloud Rosewater Moisture Creme by Herbivore Botanicals


I was introduced to Herbivore Botanicals by a very good friend of mine, and don’t you just love friends like that? Pink Cloud Rosewater Moisture Creme by Herbivore Botanicals gives me such a luminous, natural glow that I have fallen in love with it pretty quickly- I have done a video review of it over at my Instagram so it’s easier to see the effect on my skin! This is a lovely moisturizer that features aloe vera juice, kukui nut and sunflower seed oils, rice powder, rosewater, and white tea extract. The aloe vera and various oils help to bring moisture, rice powder helps to even out pigmentation, the rosewater acts as a toner (and makes this creme smell fantastic), and the white tea extract brings antioxidants to the party. Over all this moisturizer is great for the skin, deeply moisturizing, without being greasy or heavy on the skin. I also appreciate the price- at $48 for the 1.7 oz jar that will last quite a while, it’s super reasonable!

The only negative I could see with this creme is that I don’t think it would be appropriate all year around. During winter months or in colder/harsher weather, you might need a thicker moisturizer to get all the moisture you need. I will need to try when the weather is colder, really- during these hot summer months, this lightweight creme is perfect. It’s generally hard to find products that can be used all year around, so that’s just something to be mindful of in general. Using a product that’s inappropriate for the season or weather can get you off on a bad skin cycle- just as easily as using a product with ingredients that don’t work for your skin.

Overall, this moisturizer is a product that I am so happy to have in my routine. I really appreciate the natural glow it gives, as that just means less makeup needed to highlight my skin’s healthy beauty. I am a big believer in putting my effort (and money) towards skincare products rather than makeup products whenever I can. I’m a big fan of some other Herbivore products, so I will definitely have more reviews of their line!

Score: 8/10

Overall, I am a fan of this moisturizer, the only thing I am watching for is when my skin gets drier. It will be interesting to see what the difference is then!

WOYF Product Review: Neon & Co. Hair and Scalp Mask

Neon-Co_Hair-and-Scalp-Treatment-1-350x350-2Neon & Co. is an Australian brand that came to me through my Ipsy subscription. I love trying new stuff and I mostly get skincare now from them through setting up my preferences on their site by reviewing my monthly bag! I have very curly hair, so I tried their Hair and Scalp Mask after I washed my hair. I actually ended up using this as a leave-in instead of rinsing it out. I immediately noticed my curls were more defined and after about 15 minutes it was totally absorbed by my hair, with no weird residue. I was planning to use this mask as directed and rinse off, but once I felt my hair drinking it up, I just left it in!

I really felt definition in my curls and smoothness overall, I really liked this mask and I was surprised to be such a fan. Frankly, it is usually hard to find products like these that work in my 4b type hair- my hair is kinky, curly, and a big fan of moisture!

I like to research the companies behind these products a little bit and I appreciated their company’s mission statement, which is that they are behind good hair days and multi-functional products. I think this approach is a win-win (we get good hair, they get their products ordered), and it takes the focus off of specific hair types, and just focuses on what is good for hair in general. No wonder my hair loved it so much!There is also a price tag of $60 for 8.82oz on their website. This works out to about $6.80 per oz and I think that’s incredibly reasonable for this very multi-functional product!

I would say that if you are looking for mostly natural products, this may be one to avoid. There were a lot of ingredients and not a lot of info on the product page that I could find. I generally don’t consider “chemical” to be a bad word so I was pretty unfazed by the list. I just wanted to make sure there weren’t any ingredients that I knew didn’t work with me before I just slapped it on. I understand that the ingredient list may be daunting to some, however.

Overall, I will be finishing this sample of hair mask, and I may even order more! I appreciated the hair control and I also liked the curl definition. This was definitely an Ipsy win, I always find something to love in those bags – if not the bag itself!

Score: 7/10
I will absolutely use again, loved this product!

WOYF Product Review: isCLINICAL’s Cleansing Complex


(This is my first review, so please let me know if you have notes!)

iS CLINICAL is the medical grade line from Innovative Skincare. I have fallen in love with this entire brand over the course of trying their products. For my skin, it’s one of the few products that has done exactly what they advertise they do, with no side effects.

Today I’m reviewing their Cleansing Complex, which is a clear liquid cleanser. It foams up nicely, is paraben-free, and washes away clean, yet also somehow softly. It takes off excess makeup, but is also gentle enough for me to use all year around, which is very hard to find. One major thing I love about the company is that they derive their key ingredients from nature anytime it is possible to do so. For example, some key ingredients in this cleanser are salicylic and glycolic acids, which exfoliate the skin nicely and clear off dead skin during cleansing, so that any serums or toners can sink right in. The salicylic acid is derived from white willow bark extract, and the glycolic is derived from sugar cane extract. There is also chamomile extract and centella asiatica, which are both antioxidants derived from plants. Chamomile is calming and also helps with photo-damaged skin. (Combine the effect of the chamomile with the exfoliation, and this is a great cleanser for the peeling stage of a sunburn) The plant-derived ingredients are very effective, but also gentle enough for daily use.

I have several drug store products that I use so I understand that the price may be a bit high for some. But in my experience, there are some lines that are far more expensive and as effective or even less effective than iS CLINICAL. iS CLINICAL products also last a long time- they are quite potent, as iS CLINICAL is the medical grade line from Innovative Skincare. You truly do not need much at a time, keep this in mind when thinking about the price. One half pump of cleanser during my morning clean routine only makes this cleanser really last a long time for me personally. (If you get a bottle with no pump, use about a dime size amount.) You can get a 6oz bottle on Amazon for $42. The 6oz bottle lasts me about four months, which averages out to like $10.50 per month for cleanser!

If I could bring one skincare product (besides sunscreen) to a remote island with me, it would be this cleanser. If you have never heard of this line and are thinking about trying it, try this cleanser first. I have recommended it to so many friends and honestly beginning to use this cleanser was the beginning of really getting to a good place with my skin and its cycle of care. I highly recommend it- it’s good for all skin types, and I think that’s why my combination skin has loved it from Day 1.

Oh and Pro Tip: My esthetician suggested that I leave this cleanser on for a little while so all of the good stuff can be absorbed better. I usually put it on, then brush my teeth while letting it sink in. After 2 minutes or so I finish with my brushing and rinse my face off!

Score: 9/10
The only reason this score is not a full 10/10 is for price. I understand it is a bit high. Other than that, this product from iS CLINICAL delivers on all fronts!

The Journey Begins

Hi! Welcome to my blog!

I am a former Spa Manager who hates makeup but loves skincare. I fell in love with getting to know my skin during my time working in the spa industry, and I want to share all the tips and products I’ve picked up along the way! I am very new to blogging so I appreciate you being here.

First, I have to say that I cannot recommend any product more than I can recommend finding a good esthetician- if this is a possibility for you. If not, you might consider looking on Groupon or something similar for deals on facials, or if your skin needs it, you can even ask your doctor for a referral to a dermatologist. Basically, the skin is more complex than you may think, and a trained professional may be able to help you get on the right path.
Pro tip: you can usually call the spa and see if you can pay them the discounted rate directly, and even see if there are any add -ons you can select to make your service even better. (If you do end up getting a service, please respect the staff and tip on the original price!)

The reason I say that a trained skin professional may be what your skin needs is that my esthetician, who I will be bringing up often, has really helped me to have a better relationship with my skin. In fact, my skin is the best it’s ever been since she has gotten me on a good, healthy skin cycle. She has helped me to understand what products to use and when, and what ingredients are good for my skin and which skin symptoms they effect. It’s really made a difference and after just one facial with her I realized that before her help I was flying blind with respect to the products I used! Not everything that is advertised works for all skin types, and it’s important to know what skin type you have before you pick a product. (My fiance’s skin is basically the opposite of mine, and there is very few product overlap between us. He had no idea until his first facial, and he has now gotten products more formulated towards his skin type!)

The knowledge that I gained made such a difference that I have tried to be an advocate for self-care and skincare since. Anyone who comes to my house has a good chance of leaving with a skincare sample! I hope that my posts can help someone out there get to know their skin better or find a product that is really effective. And thank you again for visiting my blog!