10/26/16

Kicking the crud: Gluten-Free Chicken Noodle Soup



The change in the seasons seems to often bring about sicknesses. Where I live, we have been enjoying fall for a few weeks now, but recently we went through quite a rainy period and the temperature has dropped significantly. These kinds of weather changes practically taunt our bodies into getting sick, meaning that it is indeed that time of year: soup weather.

I must admit that I have a love/hate relationship with soup. I'm fairly picky about the soups that I like and there are plenty that I just do not (pretty much anything with a beef broth is likely to fail with me). I have however, always been a fan of homemade chicken noodle soup. It started with the soup that my grandmother on my mother's side used to make. She was always to the rescue with her Italian style chicken soup. My mom carried on that tradition, and this soup is very much inspired by that soup. The tomatoes are definitely a nod to it and it's become that I expect tomatoes in chicken soup now.




The broth-y goodness of chicken soup is often enough to make it a staple for when you are feeling under the weather, but I wanted to kick it up a notch with this soup and fill it with immune boosting goodies. There are the usual suspects, like carrots, celery and garlic... as well as some perhaps unusual additions like turmeric and cayenne pepper, which gives the soup a nice little kick to help kick the crud, without being too overwhelming.

Oh... and while soup making can often take quite a bit of time with all the prep involved, here's a helpful tip that can cut your time down a bit: rotisserie chicken. Rotisserie chicken means you don't have to fuss around with cooking your own chicken, and you get that nice tender and juicy rotisserie taste!



Immune Boosting Chicken Noodle Soup (Gluten-Free) 
(Italian portion style)

Ingredients: 

A Rotisserie chicken
5-6 carrots (more or less to taste)
2 medium sized onions
4 stalks celery
2 tablespoons minced garlic
a small piece of ginger
1 32 oz can of whole, peeled tomatoes
3 32oz cartons of chicken broth
4 cups of water
ground turmeric - 2 tablespoons
ground cayenne pepper -1 teaspoon
Himalayan pink salt - to taste
fresh ground pepper - to taste
thyme - 1 & 1/2 tablespoons
parsley - 2 tablespoons
oregano - 3 tablespoons
juice of one lemon
a little olive oil 

Process: 

  • Start by chopping up your onion and celery and sautéing it with some olive oil in the bottom of your pan. Add the Himalayan pink salt and some cracked black pepper. You don't have to cook the veg completely, but you want them to soften so they'll cook better in your soup. Once they're semi-soft, you can add in your garlic to sauté a bit. 
  • Add the broth and water to your pot (I used a stock pot) and lower your heat to a medium low. 
  • Chop up your carrots and ginger and add to the broth - stir. 
  • Add your thyme, oregano, parsley, cayenne pepper and turmeric and stir to incorporate. 
  • Take your can of tomatoes and drain into a strainer over the sink. With your hands, gently squeeze the tomatoes to break them apart.** Add them to your soup and stir. 
  • Let the soup simmer (lid off) while you break apart the chicken, during which you can check on the soup to make sure its not on too high, or burning. Stirring occasionally. You can just shred the chicken with your hands, or chop it into similar sized pieces. Use the darker meat, or go with all white meat - this is entirely up to you. I personally use as much of the chicken as I can. Not all rotisserie chickens are created equal and some are better meat wise than others! Once all the chicken is prepped, add it to your soup! 
  • Let the soup simmer for about an hour or so, stirring on occasion. This is usually when I give it a taste to see if I want to add anything to it spice wise. This is also when I usually add more garlic. I love garlic. 
  • After about an hour - more if you've got the time and/or patience, you can add the juice of one lemon and stir. 
  • When you are ready to eat, or about twenty minutes before, you can add about two cups of gluten-free pasta*** directly to your soup. Once the noodles are cooked to your liking, it's time to mangia! 

** I say gently, and in the sink so that you do not get tomato juice all over yourself. They WILL squirt, and it can be detrimental!! You've been warned! :)

*** I would have used gluten-free egg noodles but the store closest to me did not carry them. I had googled and saw that Manischewitz carried some and when I asked where they had that brand, I was told they don't carry any Jewish foods. Hmpf. Seriously?! I mean, seriously?!?!

Whether you're trying to combat the sickness, or just craving a warm soup on a cold fall day, this soup is perfect. I'd love to know if you make this soup and any variations you make alone the way so please feel free to share in the comments! 


10/20/16

The Palette Everyone Needs: BH COSMETICS Marble Collection Warm Stone Palette {Review + Swatches}



When I first saw a photo of this palette I was instantly drawn to it. I've fallen for the marble trend just like everyone else and a marble palette? Yes, please. I've wanted to try out BH Cosmetics for awhile now and I regret not doing so when Judy from It's Judy's Life had released her palette with them. I missed that train and I wasn't going to miss this one!




This palette is from the Marble Collection, which consists of two different palettes: Warm Stone & Cool Stone. I picked up the Warm Stone because I feel like it's a bit more neutral, and perfect for Autumn.



The palette contains twelve different colors in a variety of matte and metallic finishes. I like when palettes have a bit of everything because it means that you can easily create complete looks with one palette. This Warm Stone palette provides great colors for all over the lid, in the crease, transition shades, or even to use as a liner. It's super versatile!



Upon first impression, I felt like the palette was packaged rather nicely (it also shipped rather quickly considering it came from California which often takes some time), and the look of the marble is really nice. It's not tacky, and is quite sleek. I also appreciate that the packaging is a hard plastic which makes it easy to clean. The shadows themselves seem of decent size and I like how they are organized into three different color families, yet could easily be mixed and matched how you choose. There are no limits to this palette!

Now, what's most important? How they feel! I tweeted earlier that I feel like this was an experience of love at first swatch because oh my, are these shadows incredible!! They're all fairly buttery and they swatch extremely well. They have a great pigmentation and in testing them out I didn't find that there was much fallout, if any. The lighter pink shimmer shade at first seemed chalky but when I swatched it, I was instantly proven wrong. It's a gorgeous metallic pink shimmer with a hit of blue green in it that is quite unique and surprising. As I went down the line, I fell in love just a little bit more.

 First Row


 Second Row 




 Third Row 

This palette is absolutely a winner in my book and I think everyone needs to get on the BH Cosmetics website ASAP and order this palette! Right now it's on sale for $12 and you can get free shipping...I mean, how can you beat $12 for a palette?!!? I have a feeling this gem will sell out so I wouldn't wait around! It'd also make a great holiday gift! ;) Oh, and did I mention that it is cruelty free? A+!

10/19/16

Marc Jacobs Twinkle Pop Shadows {Review}



When it comes down to it, I'm pretty simple with my day-to-day makeup. Sometimes I like to glam it up a bit more, but most days I go for simple, quick and easy. With that being said, I still like a bit of shimmer and I'm always drawn to shiny things, so these eye shadow sticks from Marc Jacobs were right up my street!

I was searching on the Sephora website recently for some cream shadows for an easy everyday look and came across the twinkle pop shadow sticks from Marc Jacobs. They come in a decent range of colors and I was drawn to their packaging which would allow for you to apply the cream shadow easily and mess free!






I ordered them in two colors: Honey Bunny, which they describe as a ballet pink shimmer, and Au Revoir, which is a pewter shimmer. Each shadow stick costs $28, which is about on par with Marc Jacobs and higher end beauty products. I also appreciate that they are cruelty-free.

The stick design definitely makes for ease in application, and I find that the product stays for a long while. I have fairly oily skin - especially on my eyelids and I find that the shadow will stay all day if I use an eye shadow primer first.




Both colors truly are gorgeous and it's difficult to choose which I prefer. The Honey Bunny shade is sort of a rose gold color in my opinion and I feel like it brightens up my face, while Au Revoir makes for a nice smokey eye look. I like them both and I often have a difficult time choosing which to go with in the morning!



I'm curious to try out more shades from this product line - perhaps Volver or Three Shakes will be next?? If you're looking for an easy every-day cream shadow that has a little sparkle to it, these twinkle pop shadows are the perfect answer in my opinon!

10/17/16

Ten Books for Sociology Nerds



Sociology is a serious interest of mine. I have my Bachelors in Sociology and Its a subject area which I continue to explore. When I am looking for a new book to read, that is often the section I start off in (although my reading interests are all over the place). I'm sure that I'm not alone in my interests so I've put together a list of ten books that I think would be great for sociology nerds like myself. Even if you think that isn't a subject you hold any interest in, these books are well worth picking up. The general theme of these books is that they explore a different world, or culture - one which you might have little experience with or prior knowledge. They might not officially be considered sociology books, but I feel like those with that type of interest (and others!) will enjoy them!


by Kennedy Odede and Jessica Posner
(Review Here)


by Lynsey Addario
(Review Here) 


by David Ebershoff 
(Review Here)

 

by Katherine Boo 




by Lois Mark Stalvey  





6. Night
by Elie Wiesel  




by Marjane Satrapi  
(Review Here)




by Malala Yousafzai  
(Review Here)



by Jonathan Safran Foer  




by Lauren Belfer  


*    *    * 
I hope that this list inspires your reading! If you have any suggestions that you think I might like based off of this list, please leave them in the comments!

10/16/16

Spend vs. Splurge: The Battle of the Dry Shampoos.



Over the years I've been on a mission. It's been a complicated mission, full of ups and downs... and I think I might have finally completed it. I've been searching for years for a good dry shampoo. One that really works for my hair. There have been plenty of fails along the way and recently I put two more to the test.

I tried out the Drybar Dry shampoo, which I picked up as a travel size while I was waiting in line at Ulta, as well as a drug store option from Pantene, which I grabbed from Target recently.

The Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo was $13.99 for a travel size bottle (!!) which in my opinion, is quite a hefty price tag. I have long hair and I could see this being a two time deal... if that. The full size bottle is $23 and you get 3.5 oz. Again, this is pretty pricey in my opinion!

I also picked up the Pantene Pro-V dry shampoo, which was $4.99 (ahhhh, much better!) at Target. You get almost five ounces for that price, so it's larger than the full size dry bar and cheaper than the travel size! That certainly gives it points in my book.




I first tried out the Drybar Detox Dry shampoo. The scent of it was alright, but I did find it a bit chemically and the fumes really lingered for a bit. After spraying my hair as I normally do with a dry shampoo I looked in my mirror and was quite shocked. This product really gives off a strong white cast!! I have really dark brown hair so that's definitely something I consider when trying dry shampoo out and its often the deal breaker. Sometimes the white cast comes out easily, but in the case of this dry shampoo, no matter how I massaged or brushed my hair, the white cast just stayed put. If I was trying to make my hair look grey so I could be a Golden Girl for Halloween, then this stuff is great! However, I wasn't going for granny chic...




When trying the Pantene, I have to admit that I was a bit scared. It has been a really long time since I have tried anything from Pantene and I wasn't holding out too much hope for this product. I sprayed my hair as I did before and this time when I looked in the mirror, there was NO white cast to be seen WHATSOEVER!! It also smelled really great and I found that the fumes did not linger as much as the Dry Bar shampoo did. It helped reduce the oil in my hair, while also giving me a little volume which is always an added bonus!

Overall, the winner in this duel is hands down, Pantene! I was pleasantly surprised by this dry shampoo. Don't overlook this one next time you're browsing through the drug store. For $4.99,  I think the Pantene Pro-V dry shampoo was a real winner! Especially if you have darker hair like me.


10/14/16

Neutral Knits: Fall Sweater Roundup

As a huge fan of neutrals, I find that even during the colder months, there can be something refreshing about going for a lighter shade. Black is generally my staple, go-to color year round, but lately I find that I've been drawn to knitwear in lighter colors. I've put together a round-up of some neutral knits that I find appealing which I think would be perfect for Fall/Winter:



 
This sweater is from a Nordstrom House line called BP. I like that BP. offers style and affordability. As style tends to change on a whim for me, and of course, from season to season, I find that I don't always want to spend too much on a piece of clothing. I'm also into simple and casual. I like that this sweater is simplistic with the mock neck and ribbing. 



I think this sweater would be great with leggings, which is a standard for me during the cooler months. I like the cozy look of the cowl neck, and the length seems just right.


 
This sweater goes for the cold shoulder style that has become quite popular. I like that its simplistic enough with a more conservative opening as some tops have quite a large cold shoulder. The price is pretty steep, but I like the idea of it anyway!


 
I'll admit...when I saw this sweater, I instantly felt like it would be something that Lucy Liu would wear as Watson on Elementary (I'm a huge fan of the show!). It's not completely far fetched as Rag & Bone is a brand her character often wears. I like that this sweater is neutral in color and style while also being different and having a little something unique to it. The price is again up there but I couldn't not include it. It's just pretty to look at!!




This BP. sweater offers another staple piece at a great price. I like that the back is longer, which makes it great for wearing with leggings, and it just looks like a comfy cozy sweater!



This sweater from Top Shop really draws me in. I love the colors offered and honestly, it's difficult to pick which I prefer! I also like that it has simple detailing in the zip, while still being a fairly simple and neutral sweater. 


 
This is another rather indulgent piece and technically it's a sweatshirt and not a sweater, but there is something about this that really grabs my attention. I like the slightly distressed appearance and the layers that this piece has. I also love the color. It's got quite a hefty price tag though so I'll just have to look at it from a far. ;)



Last but not least is this sweater from Topshop. Last year they had a similar piece that I lusted after. It sold out in my size really quickly so I never ended up picking it up. This year, I think I like this version even more. I like the tail and the layered look and of course the gray color wins in my book.

Hopefully this collection can help you to think outside the box of darker colors and jewel tones (not that there is anything wrong with that), that are often so popular during the Fall & Winter. Feel free to share your favorites, and your thoughts in the comments! 

10/13/16

Chantecaille Limited Edition Pride Cheek Blush

 


I'm a huge animal lover. The harsh reality that lions are regularly hunted down for sport breaks my heart. I'm also a bit of a product junkie, so when I came across this limited edition blush from Chantecaille, I knew that I had to grab it up.





The purchase of this particular product donates towards helping The Lion Guardians and their efforts to protect lions in both Kenya and Tanzania. I'll admit that I'm a bit of a sucker for a product which also helps a good cause so that certainly helped to draw me in.The product in generally is just stunning. It caught my attention before I even knew it helped a cause I care about.



What is great about this blush is that it's also cruelty free - which is something I try to be mindful of in my purchasing (it's sometimes difficult, I'll admit). Also, the gorgeous lion embossed detail is just insane. I'll admit that it almost makes me want to not use it...almost!





The shade is simply called "Pride Cheek Shade" and it's a nice brighter, rosy toned pink. It doesn't go on too pigmented which is important in my opinion. Pigmentation is great in a product, but too much in a blush or bronzer and its harder to fix any mistakes you might make in application. I'm also drawn to more natural looking makeup so I don't want a harsh blusher. This shade has a bit of a shimmer to it but not too much to be tacky. It's a perfect blend in my opinion.



This blush is the first product that I've tried from Chantecaille and while their range seems a bit pricey, I'm happy with my first dip into the pool. I'll definitely be keeping them on my radar and there's already a few other products I've got my eye on.

If you're interested in picking up this blush, I purchased mine from Nordstrom and it was limited edition, so I'd get on that quick!