spring sephora haul

I thought I would treat myself to some new goodies from Sephora since it had been a while.

The reason why I wanted to stop by Sephora was to get a new fragrance. I took home a few samples and fell in love with this one the instant I tried it out. Most importantly though is that it doesn’t give me a headache, which many fragrances do.

I knew I was going to purchase this perfume going into the store but then of course I got sidetracked and picked up some other goodies- because why not?

So here’s what I picked up. All of these products are new to me so I can’t say how they are in the long run, but I will report back if you have any questions about them.


CHLOÉ Nomade Eau de Parfum– I’m super excited to add this Chloe fragrance to my collection. I love the original Chloe, Chloe love story and Roses de Chloe. My initial impressions are that it is sexy and sophisticated. It’s different from anything I’ve worn in the past. Oh and it’s super long lasting!

Scent Type: 
Warm Floral 

Key Notes: 
Oakmoss, Freesia, Mirabelle Liquor  


BOBBI BROWN Instant Full Cover Concealer in honey


BITE BEAUTY Amuse Bouche Liquified Lipstick in Caramelized, a creamy butterscotch


FENTY BEAUTY BY RIHANNA Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer (comes in one shade) 


TARTE Airbrush Finish Bamboo Foundation Brush

Oh and how cute is this Better than sex mini? Perfect for travel!


Have you recently made any purchases from Sephora? Would love to know what you picked up!



good reads · lifestyle

2018 reading list

IMG_7669.jpgWho else loves books? bookstores? the smell of books? books and coffee? books and curling up with Chutey? Me! Here are my top picks for books to read in 2018, including what I’ve already read.

Already read:

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah 

The F word by Liza Palmer

The tribes of palos verdes by Joy Nicholson 

Paris for one & other stories by Jojo Moyes 

Julie and Romeo by Jeanne Ray 

Reading now:

What to expect when you’re expecting by Heidi Murkoff

The library at mount char by Scott Hawkins

Current reading list:

Shadow of the wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón 

My not so perfect life by Sophie Kinsella 

The library at mount char by Scott Hawkins

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

What to expect the first year by Heidi Murkoff 

Everybody lies by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

Eating animals by Jonathan Safran Foer 

I need more recommendations so please leave some in your comments below! I’d also love to know what you’re reading.







cauliflower chowder

My husband and I made this soup the other night and really enjoyed it. It has none of the unnecessary fat in a traditional chowder and all of the flavor. A great weeknight comforting dish that is so easy to prepare and utterly delicious.

recipe adapted from damn delicious 


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • one cup shredded cheddar


  1. Melt butter in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in cauliflower and bay leaf. Cook, stirring occasionally, until barely crisp-tender, about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in chicken broth and milk, and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until cauliflower are tender, about 12-15 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. If the chowder is too thick, add more milk as needed until desired consistency is reached.
  4. Add shredded cheddar and allow it to melt for a minute or two.
  5. Transfer the contents to a blender and blend until you have reached desired consistency and thickness.
  6. Serve immediately, garnished with parmesan cheese and black pepper.


I hope you give this soup a try, I guarantee you will love it!




current beauty favorites

I’ve been trying to take good care of my skin during this transitional weather and find that it loves milky cleansers and more hydrating products like facial oils. Here are some things that I’ve been enjoying lately.

Lancome Lait Galatée Confort Comforting Makeup Remover Milk

My mom introduced me to this cleansing milk and my skin has been loving it so much. I use it on my face either dry or wet and the scent is so gentle and soft. I’ve been using it for a few months and it’s definitely a staple in my beauty routine now.

Lancome Tonique Confort Re-Hydrating Comforting Toner with Acacia Honey

This toner is a must for me after using the cleanser. The two are a match made in heaven! The smell is divine.

KIEHL’S SINCE 1851 Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil

This has been the first step in my cleaning routine and I use it to remove makeup. I’ve been enjoying it so much that I even use it on makeup free days to give myself a facial massage- so relaxing and aromatic.

KIEHL’S SINCE 1851Midnight Recovery Concentrate

This has been my go to facial moisturizer for the past few weeks. This combination of oils is wonderful, applies like a dream- not greasy or heavy AT ALL. It sinks into my skin immediately and I wake up to the softest skin I have ever felt. I now understand what all the hype around this product has been about.

L’OCCITANE Cleansing And Softening Shower Oil With Almond Oil

This is my current favorite body wash. My skin has been super dry lately and using this in combination with a thick body cream or oil has been working well for me. I really enjoy the almond scent.

TARTEQuench Lip Rescue – Rainforest of the Sea™ Collection

This lip balm is great for those days when I don’t feel like wearing lipstick but just want a hint of color plus lots of hydration. It works well on top of lipstick as well.


This has been my signature scent for years now and I just fell back in love with it after having used some other perfumes. It is perfect for this time of the year and will always be a classic. I don’t think I can ever be without having this scent in my collection.

What are your current beauty favorites?





pasta with cauliflower



I feel like every time I make this pasta, we say we need to make it at least once a week- it’s just that good. I know it’s hard to believe that such few and simple ingredients would lead to such a flavorful dish, but this is surprisingly delicious!! Try it and watch it get devoured.

The only time consuming part of the recipe is the time required for the cauliflower to actually cook down–but be patient because you do want it to get really soft and creamy, almost cheese-like. My mouth is watering even as I type, thinking about how good this is! I hope you like it as much as my husband and I do. It will convert all the cauliflower haters out there, I promise.

recipe courtesy laura in the kitchen 


  • 1 Head of Cauliflower, core removed and florets cut into small pieces
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp of Olive Oil
  • Pinch of Hot pepper Flakes
  • 2 Cups of vegetable Stock
  • 2 Tbsp of Fresh Chopped Parsley
  • 1 cup of Freshly Grated Parmiggiano
  • 12 oz of Short Rigatoni or any other short cut pasta
  • 2 Tbsp of Unsalted Butter
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

For the Bread Crumb Topping:

  • 1 cup of Breadcrumbs
  • 1 Tbsp of Fresh Chopped Parsley
  • 2 Tbsp of Olive Oil
  • ½ tsp of Fresh Lemon Zest


    • 1) Fill a large pot with water, sprinkle in some salt and bring to a boil.
    • 2) In a large skillet with high sides, add the oil and garlic and let it sizzle over medium heat, add the hot pepper flakes and cook them for about 30 seconds or until the garlic is lightly golden brown and fragrant.
    • 3) Add the cauliflower, season well with salt and pepper and sauté for about 8 to 10 minutes or until most of it is turning a lovely golden brown color.
    • 4) Add the chicken stock and turn the heat down to medium low. You can cover the pan with a lid if you would like at this point.
    • 5) Allow the mixture to cook for about 15 minutes or until the cauliflower is nice and tender.
    • 6) When the cauliflower has about 10 minutes left to cook, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to packaged instructions. Reserve ½ cup of the starchy cooking water.
    • 7) Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet with the cauliflower, add the starchy water along with the butter, parsley and cheese and cook the mixture together for about 1 minute on medium heat until the sauce thickens and coats all those pieces of pasta.
    • 8) Add the pasta to a large platter and serve as is or make the bread crumb topping.
    • 9) To make the topping, add the oil to a skillet and let it preheat over medium heat. Once it’s nice and hot, add the bread crumbs, parsley and lemon zest and let it toast up for a few minutes or until the mixture has a lovely golden toasted color all around and the bread crumbs are crunchy.
    • 10) Sprinkle this mixture all over the top of the pasta. Serve immediately!



kiehl’s skincare routine

Kiehl’s has always been one of my favorite skincare lines and I’ve been a huge fan of their ultra facial cream, which I enjoy using every evening as the last step in my routine. I recently started incorporating more of their products into my routine and have been loving it so much that I’ve started to having all Kiehl’s skincare routine every other night.

Recently walking into the Kiehl’s store was such a pleasant experience and I got lots of great tips and information (and free samples!) from the knowledgable sales associate. I highly recommend going to one of the stores and chatting about your skincare needs with one of their associates. I find their products to soothe my skin, the scents are very relaxing and never irritating in any way. It’s just an overall fuss free line of products and does what it claims to. Most importantly, I enjoy getting “unready” when I use these products, which is nice because sometimes skincare can seem like a chore. I just love Kiehl’s!

Please note I haven’t been paid to write this post and bought all of the products myself. 

Here’s my Kiehl’s skincare routine:

Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil: I’ve tried several cleansing oils as they are my preferred method for removing makeup. There is something so soothing about massaging cleansing oil onto your face as you feel your makeup just melting away. I have not used a makeup removing wipe ever since cleansing oils have come along and don’t think I ever will. This particular oil smells so lovely! It feels like I’m at a spa getting a facial. It also does a wonderful job at removing my makeup and prepping my skin for the next step. I apply 3-4 pumps onto my hands and massage onto my dry face and let the oil work its magic before adding water to emulsify and remove my makeup. 


Cucumber Herbal Conditioning Cleanser: This is a really gentle, gel/lotion cleanser which foams minimally. I stay away from foaming cleansers, since they strip my skin of its natural oils which dehydrates my skin. This cleanser is gentle enough that I don’t feel that squeaky clean feeling (which is terrible for your skin) yet effective enough that my skin feels clean and soft. I enjoy the cucumber scent as well. 


Calendula Herbal Extract Alcohol-Free Toner: This toner has calendula (marigold) petals in it, which makes it incredibly effective at soothing and refreshing the skin. I love the scent so much! 


Midnight Recovery Concentrate: This is a Kiehl’s bestseller and probably the product that   I am most excited about. It is a facial oil that restores the appearance of skin overnight. For those of you who might be afraid to try a facial oil, don’t worry! Facial oils are helpful for keeping skin’s vital hydration locked in and they have incredible, instantaneous skin-smoothing properties. This one is extremely light weight and immediately sinks into the skin. It is full of botanical oils such as  lavender essential oil and evening primrose oil. The scent is so relaxing it can help put you to bed. I apply two to three drops onto my face and neck. 


Ultra Facial Cream: To me, this is such a neutral, unoffensive cream. It almost seems like it has no ingredients, which isn’t true, of course.  It has no scent, has such a silky texture that melts right into the skin and never irritates. This is my hero product from Kiehl’s and the reason why I fell in love with the brand to begin with. I don’t think I can ever be without a tub of this in my bathroom vanity. I think I’ve managed to convince my husband to love it too, since I’m pretty sure there’s another tub of this in his bathroom vanity as well:) Kiehl’s also has a separate men’s collection. 


In the mornings I’ve been using this serum in place of the midnight recovery concentrate and have been loving it. It gives my skin an immediate boost of hydration while leaving it silky smooth and ready for makeup application. I have normal to dry skin right now so I do apply a thin layer of this SPF on top for some added hydration and most importantly sun protection! For my eye cream, I use this one from Estee Lauder and have been enjoying it so far. I’ve heard great things about the avocado eye cream and the midnight recovery eye , both from Kiehl’s so they’re on my “to try” list.


So do Kiehl’s products work? If I were to ask myself this question, I see that the proof is written all over my face. I am very happy with these products and how my skin is looks and feels. What is your favorite Kiehl’s product? I have yet to try their body products so let me know what you think of those as well!









ESTÉE LAUDER Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II and Advanced Night Repair Eye Concentrate Matrix

IMG_4361.jpgIt is no surprise that I love this brand, especially for their skincare. The advanced night repair serum has been a favorite of mine for quite some time now, as I’ve been using it for over two years now. I recently stopped using it and then wasn’t using it consistently. Just a few weeks ago, I started to incorporate it back into my regular skincare routine and have noticed a huge difference in the overall texture and clarity of my skin. It feels and looks more well rested when I apply this serum. I can’t say that I notice a difference when I haven’t used a skincare product, other than this one. This really is my “miracle” serum. See my review here. 

More recently, the company has come out with a new eye serum.  

IMG_4360Since I was looking for a new eye cream anyway and I love the ANR so much, I thought I would give this one a try. I’m definitely not disappointed! This serum/ cream has a lovely texture to it, which I find glides on like butter when massaged on with the applicator. It sinks in immediately and is perfect for both am and pm. I’m really happy with this purchase and highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for extra hydration along with anti- aging benefits in their eye cream.

I think I’m an advanced night repair lover for life! It wakes up my skin even when my body is feeling exhausted and has been a true skin saver. I hope you give this line a try!




roasted vegetable paella

The best paella I’ve had was when I visited Spain and since then I had been looking for a vegetarian paella recipe. I’m so glad I found this one with roasted veggies. If you’re a rice lover like I am, give this one a try!

recipe courtesy Ina Garten 



  • 2 pounds Holland bell peppers (red, yellow, and orange), cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
  • 2 pounds fennel bulbs, tops and cores removed, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 pound baby eggplants, unpeeled, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 large red onion, 3/4-inch-diced
  • Good olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups (3/4-inch-diced) yellow onions (2 onions)
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 1/2 cups Spanish paella rice, such as Calasparra
  • 1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, undrained, such as Mancini
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (not regular paprika)
  • 5 to 6 cups simmering chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 3 ounces freshly grated aged Manchego cheese
  • 1/2 cup pitted Manzanilla or Cerignola olives, halved
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions, white and green parts


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Position two racks evenly spaced in the oven.

Put the bell peppers, fennel, eggplants, and red onion in a large bowl, add 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper, and toss. Divide the vegetables between two sheet pans and spread in one layer. Roast for 45 minutes, tossing occasionally.

Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a 14- to 16-inch paella pan or large (11-inch) Dutch oven, such as Le Creuset. Add the yellow onions and saute for 6 to 8 minutes, until tender. Add the garlic and saffron and cook for one minute. Add the rice and cook for 2 minutes, stirring to coat the rice with oil. Place the jarred peppers (including their liquid) and paprika in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until pureed. Pour the mixture into the paella pan, stirring to combine, and bring to a boil. Add 1 cup of the hot stock and 2 teaspoons salt and cook uncovered over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is mostly absorbed, as you would cook risotto. Continue to cook the rice over medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring in 1 cup of hot stock at a time whenever the liquid is absorbed, until the rice is al dente

Add the vegetables to the paella, add one more cup of stock, and stir carefully. If the paella is dry, add more hot stock. Off the heat, stir in the Manchego cheese, olives, and scallions. Taste for seasonings and serve hot.




best of beauty 2017

As we near the end of the year, I wanted to round up my absolute beauty loves this past year. I have some new favorites that I’m really excited to share with you!

In terms of skincare, my focus has been hydration hydration hydration! I find that my skin has really been loving products that hydrate and plump it up. It has been dehydrated so finding the right products to hydrate and nourish my skin without making it look greasy has been essential. I fell back in love with some old loves, like the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum, and wonder why I ever stopped using it! My favorite skincare brands this past year have been Farmacy, Fresh, and Kiehl’s.

Best in Skincare:

best makeup remover–  FARMACYGreen Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm with Echinacea GreenEnvy

 best facial cleanser–  FRESH Soy Face Cleansing Milk

best facial scrub– OLEHENRIKSEN Transforming Walnut Scrub

best facial moisturizer– KIEHL’S SINCE 1851 Ultra Facial Cream

best facial sunscreen– MD solar sciences   

MURAD Essential-C Day Moisture Broad Spectrum SPF 30 PA+++

I chose two here because the MD Solar sciences works best for summer since it helps to mattify the skin while the Murad is great for the cooler months.

best anti aging product- Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II

 best facial mask –KIEHL’S SINCE 1851 Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Mask 

best eye cream– BELIF Peat Miracle Revital Eye Cream


Best in Makeup:

best lipstick – MARC JACOBS BEAUTY Le Marc Liquid Lip Crème

best lip gloss – Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Gloss

best lip balmNivea kiss  of milk and honey

best blush- Nars Orgasm 

best eye shadow palette–  Urban Decay Naked Smoky palette 

best eyelinerMac modern twist kajal liner 

best mascara– TARTE Gifted™ Amazonian Clay Smart Mascara

best concealerNARS Radiant Creamy Concealer

best tinted moisturizer: NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30

best foundation– BOBBI BROWN Skin Foundation SPF 15

best makeup brushes- real techniques

Best in Hair:

best shampoo and conditioner– Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion Smoothing Shampoo & Conditioner 

I love how soft this leaves my hair. I haven’t switched to anything else in close to a year and that says a lot.

Here are some of my favorite body products:

Favorite shower gel: Aveeno Skin Relief Nourishing Body Wash, Coconut

Favorite shower oil: L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil

Favorite body cream: Shea Butter Ultra Rich Body Cream and a recent favorite AERIN Beauty Rose Hand & Body Cream

Favorite hand cream: Almond Delicious Hands and Roses et Reines Hand & Nail Cream

Best fragrance: 


What are your beauty favorites? What has made a significant difference in your skincare or makeup routine? Please let me know in the comments!





winter skincare routine

Now that the weather has started getting cooler, I had to switch up some things in my skincare routine. So far this routine has been working well in keeping my skin hydrated and healthy.

My morning routine:

FRESH Soy Face Cleansing Milk-– This has been my go to cleanser for morning and night and I absolutely love it. I’ve been using only cleansing milks instead of foaming cleansers and have seen a difference in my skin.

thayer’s witch hazel toner– This has been go to toner for over a year now and I prefer it to many high end toners I’ve tried. Not only does it smell amazing, it keeps my skin clear and removes every last trace of makeup.

kiehl’s ultra facial cream– This is hands down my favorite moisturizer. I have been using it for around a year now and it never disappoints. It sits beautifully under makeup and sinks in like a dream into my just washed face when I get out the shower. It is lightweight, hardly has any scent and is a no fuss moisturizer that delivers hydration and softness to my face. I’ve been using this now for about one year.

my evening routine:

Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm with Echinacea GreenEnvy™–  

I remove my makeup with this cleansing balm, which I’ve been using for a little less than three weeks now. I’ve really been enjoying it so far and would definitely repurchase it. It has a light scent which is very pleasant.

SEPHORA COLLECTION Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover- This has been a very effective makeup remover in taking off all of my eye makeup. I don’t usually need to use it unless I’m wearing heavy eye makeup. If not, the cleansing balm is enough to remove all my makeup. 

FRESH Soy Face Cleansing Milk

thayer’s witch hazel toner

BELIF Peat Miracle Revital Eye Cream– Ive been using this eye cream for just under a year now and I’ve enjoyed how rich and hydrating it is.


Around two to three times a week I like to exfoliate using this walnut scrub. I like that the texture is quiet grainy so I can feel it exfoliating and removing dead skin cells. This leaves my skin baby soft.

ESTÉE LAUDER Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II- I don’t use this every night but on the nights that I do, my skin feels healthier and more youthful the next morning. It just looks like I’m really well rested even if I’m not! 

What is your skincare routine? Are there any products you would recommend?