Monday, October 28, 2013

What's for dinner - Cauliflower Pecan Casserole

Hi friends,

Here is a new addition to my What's for Dinner? series!

Today, I am making a cauliflower casserole using unusual ingredients such as pecans and orange zests. It is very easy to make and so delicious...the best part of this recipe is that it is power charged with flavor, so even those of you who do not care for cauliflower will enjoy it!

As always, there is a video recipe, which explains it all:

Here are the ingredients:

  • 1 cauliflower - cut into florets
  • 1.5 cup of fresh pecans (not roasted)
  • 1 orange for the zest and its juice
  • 1/4 lb of grated swiss cheese
  • Grated parmesan cheese (for topping)
  • Freshly hopped herbs (I use basil, oregano and rosemary)
  • 1/3 onion
  • 1.5 cup of whole milk
  • Panko bread crumbs (for topping)
  • Cracked peppercorn
  • Nutmeg (to taste)
To begin, I cut my cauliflower into florets and steamed it all the way through.

I used my small food processor to finely grind the pecans...

Once that is done, zest your entire orange and add to the pecan alongside the herbs (finely chopped).

In a saucepan, add the pecans, nutmeg, herbs and orange zest to the milk and let it cook without boiling for about 5 minutes.

Once the cauliflower is steamed. Add all the ingredients, including the grated swiss cheese, mixing gently to coat all the florets.

Pour your ingredients in a baking dish (you can butter your dish as well).
Top your casserole with onions, parmesan, panko bread crumbs.
You can add peppercorn too!
Bake in the oven until golden and the cheese is melted.

Et voila! So simple and so delicious!
Thank you for liking and joining my blog.
You can find me on FACEBOOK and YOUTUBE
Sophia, NJ
*This blog contains affiliate advertising.  I am not a professional cook nor a nutritionist. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Nutribullet - unboxing, first impression and review

Hi friends,

I am on my way to better health, and to kick start my journey, I purchased a Nutribullet food extractor.
This is a smoothie maker that does not break down the fibers and nutrients in food like a blender would normally do.

In this video, I go through the entire process and make my first smoothies. This is not a paid review, I was not solicited to review this product either. I purchased it for my own use and all opinions are my own.

I purchased the Nutribullet on HSN and was able to enjoy a 15% discount as well as two installment payments with no interest. My total bill was under $95 which is less than the regular price I have seen on the internet (between $99 and $125).

Thank you for watching!

Sophia, NJ

You can find me on FACEBOOK and YOUTUBE

*This site contains affiliate advertising. This post is not sponsored by Nutribullet or HSN, I m not affiliated either company or any brand mentioned in this post. All opinions are my own.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Current Look Makeup Review - Revlon, Rimmel,BareMinerals, Yves Rocher, Benefit

Hi friends,

I am starting a Current Look - Makeup Review series...Let me know what you think, the full review is on YouTube as well, if you prefer to watch it!

This is my current look:

Products I am using:
Pure Light - Light & Luminous Foundation


I love this foundation and reviewed it in the past. I am still using it, every day! This is a very fluid, easy to apply foundation with amazing light coverage. It has a semi matte finish that stays on all day. I don't think I will ever try another foundation after this one. Yves Rocher offers a variety of shades with the same formulation, and they are cruelty free and botanical beauty products. Can't say enough good about the company and their line of cosmetics and skincare.

Click the link to purchase and choose your shade:

Pure Light - Light & Luminous Foundation

Image Source

This is a bit pricey ($42) but worth every penny of it. I apply it after my foundation on areas where I could use a bit more attention when it come to enlarged pores such as the side of my nose, cheeks and sometimes my chin. It completely finishes my skin and leaves it with a beautiful matte silky finish. I just can't leave the house without it. I strongly recommend you splurge on this product if you want a beautiful professional finish on your skin.
Image Source
This is one of those quad eye shadows that looks too good to be true. The colors are beautiful, I swatched them in the store but once I applied them on my lids, I was very disappointed. The shadows have little payoff when it comes to pigmentation, they just sit there and immediately blend into my skin and one another making them difficult to differentiate once applied. While I am not crazy about a lot of contrast with regards to eye shadows, these have none whatsoever and if you look at the picture above, you can barely tell that I applied all four and I did not even use a blending brush.
They are vey subtle which makes them great for everyday/work look, but I really wish they would have turned out just like the ones in the compact...I am not recommending this quad. it is still very affordable though, under $5 at my local store.
Image Source
This is not a good liner. While the color is beautiful, I do not like the brush which is more like a mini nail polish brush - very thin and too flexible. As a result, you need to apply a second coat in order to get a full and darker line. It also has zero staying power, as soon as you rub your eyes, it's gone. This is a complete miss for me!
Image Source
I received this mascara as a sample - the full price is $24 and quite frankly, I would expect better performance with that price tag, not to mention the brand. The brush is way too big and clumps easily, in addition, the mascara itself has a very strong chemical smell that is, to me, not pleasant at all. While it is not waterproof, it does not rub off throughout the day, but it is difficult to wash off and I find that the following morning, I am still working on getting rid of the stuff I had previously washed away the night before. I do not recommend this mascara. It's a miss for me!
Image Source

You've got to love ELF, they are so affordable yet still providing good quality. This blush is a beautiful shade of pink with a hint of purple, it looks beautiful on the skin but unfortunately, does not have the greatest staying power if you do not use a setting spray. I still think it is a good buy and would recommend it. Plus it is compact and great for travelling.
Image Source

This is a beautiful color and a great formula for a Revlon Lipstick. In the past, I have stayed away from Revlon lip products as I have always found them to be drying and poorly formulated, but this one is just great! It is very moisturizing, the color payoff is beautiful and it also stays on for a longtime. I think I am going to go back to the drugstore to purchase different colors in the same line. Great buy too!

Image Source
I just do not see what's the big deal about this product. It's just a good finishing powder with a hint of an apricot color. Personally, I find that the tub is just too small for most brushes needed for this kind of job and I find that the application process is not saving me time as a result. I also always end up with wasting product. I am not even a klutz, so for me to not be happy about the process, it says a lot. For the $20 I could find something that does the same if not a better job, It's just okay.
And that's all I am wearing for this look!

Thank you for spending the time to read this review.

You can find me on

Sophia, NJ.
* This blog and blog post contain affiliate advertising. I am affiliated with Yves Rocher which means that I will receive a small compensation when you purchase from any of the links above. I am not solicited by Yves Rocher or any other brand mentioned above to provide product reviews. All opinions are my own.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Fall Decoration - 2013

Hi friends,

I love the Fall as it is generally the start of seasonal décor at my house: I only decorate for Fall and Christmas (thus far).
Here are some pictures of my 2013 décor!

I usually keep my Fall decoration centralized to the living room area - otherwise our home begins to look too cluttered. Christmas, however, is a whole other story!


On my coffee table, I keep two identical trays with various knick knacks and pictures...



On the mantle, I keep an assortment of Fall themed items such as the sign reminding us to be kind (and thankful), foliage and pumpkins harvested inside a basket...



On the outside, I always take advantage of the School Mums Sale to purchase a few colorful mums for the front porch...This year, I added some of the pumpkins and gourds we had purchased, a few weekends ago, while apple picking in NY.



And since the weather is still mild enough, I enjoy keeping the front door wide open so that we can gaze at our colorful mums in full sunlight!

Fall décor does not need to be complicated and overwhelming. I hope you enjoyed looking at these pictures.
Here is a video showing more of my décor as well as where I found all my knick knacks!
Thanks for watching!

You can find me on FACEBOOK and YOUTUBE.

Sophia, NJ.

* This blog contains affiliate advertising. All opinions are my own. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Birchbox - September 2013 - Review

Hi friends,

In my last beauty post I had announced that I would cut time by going straight to the box reviews rather than showcasing a new box, and then returning to it for a the review. As a result, the box reviews will be coming a little bit later in the month. In this case, way later since we are already in October.

Let me begin by saying that it's about time I realize I have ceased to be excited about the monthly box from Birchbox, and apparently I am not the only one as oodles of YouTubers and Bloggers are dropping out of the program or seriously considering it. I had said I would try it for a whole year, just to be fair, in order to give it a good average rating. I basically have three more months left to go and it's no longer Christmas every month for me... I am, again, thinking about cancelling and switching to another subscription box.

Overall, while I still love receiving samples in the mail, their boxes have become increasingly uninspired, not to mention the lack of full size and limited makeup. They also send a lot of stuff I could easily get at my Sephora or Ulta and quite frankly, it's all become very blah for me.
Nevertheless, here is the review for the September 2013:

It was called the Heritage Collection:


Berrimatrix Intense Repair Complex with Copper & Vitamin E
Full Size $116
Let me start with the price. I don't care if a jar is made of crystal or plastic, if the ingredients are rare and or hard to process. The bottom line is that no one should be paying $116 for a jar of face cream that doe nothing more than moisturize while sitting on the surface of your skin until you wash it off the same day!
I never heard of this brand (oh, surprise) and the card reads:
"A hydrator with blueberry extract that absorbs instantly to soothe and repair skin."
This hydrator is so fluid, it has the texture of carnation milk. It is very hard to take out of the jar because of its fluidity and I suspect it is supposed to be in a pump rather than a jar, which would probably make it disappear at a faster rate than if it had a more solid consistency. Now, I was a good girl and seriously gave this a try, using it faithfully for the duration of the jar. It glides onto your skin and does absorb well. As for moisture, it does the job, but it really ends there. I cannot say that I felt any kind of difference from using this pricey concoction than I would from any regular (and more affordable brands). To be honest, even if it was $20 I would not purchase it because it failed to demonstrate any kind of result that would convince me blueberry and copper mixed together = beautiful skin.
This is a Sea Salt Spray
Full size $27
There has been a lot of hoopla on the web and in magazines this past summer about sea salt sprays and how they make your hair look like you just came back from the beach. I am not really sure how that is supposed to be attractive since most of us can't wait to get into the shower when we come back from either the beach or the pool, and for a valid reason: we don't want our hair to be all tangled up, looking like ragweed and smelling musty.
The card states: "This styling spray gives you beachy texture and megavolume without any stickiness. Spray on wet hair to boost volume before styling, or dry hair to mattify and add lift".
Let me start by saying that this was a generous sample, the only problem is that I have no use for it. The stuff made my dry hair unbelievably matte (think lifeless as in totally dead looking) and so tangled, I ended up tying my hair back for the rest of the day, looking like I never brushed that same morning. I gave it another try on wet hair and it did separate my curls in a nice way,  and added volume but again, it mattifies your hair, giving them the appearance of lifeless lumps. I can see where this would be great on straight hair that needs volume, but on curly and unmanageable hair like mine, it's not a good look, dead and lumpy, if you know what I mean.
That said, it smells wonderful, a mix of nuts and patchouli and exotic coconut kind of smell, it is very soothing to me. So if it was a fragrance, I would buy it, as a hair thing, forget it. So why I am rating it at a C- and not a complete hall of flops? I plan on cutting my hair short (soon) and am thinking that this spray may actually help me get out the door faster in the morning, in the like of towel dry spray and go...again, not a big fan of the matte effect but it is very volumizing.
Ultimate Youth Power Eye Serum
Full size $36
Because I am a complete maniac when it comes to eye cream and serums, I would pay $36 or more for a good one. This is not the case though. "With plant stem cell technology, this conquering serum targets fine lines and dark circle".
It reads that you only need a pea-size amount for your eyes, the problem is that the stuff is so fluid and slippery, I had half the tube come out at the first squeeze. Not wanting to lose any of the precious "stem cell technology" I ended up using it all over my face that one time. After that, I had learned my lesson and was a bit more gentle on the squeeze the tube action thing.
As a serum, it comes out as a semi translucent gel like texture that glides onto the skin and absorbs almost instantly. It did give me some bounce under my eyes and seemed to act as a good moisturizer but I cannot say that I looked rested or de-puffed the following day. It is just a standard eye serum - my opinion of course. I don't know why but for some reason, anything that would use plant stem cell technology ought to be pricier than $36 so it does appear a bit bogus as a claim to me, not to mention the use of the three BIG buzz words bunched together into one name: ULTIMATE - YOUTH -!
Bottom line, it's a good moisturizer for your eyes, nothing amazing.
Nail Lacquer in Fox Hunt
Full size $10
F for Color - B for formula
If you have been reading my blogs for a while, you know exactly what I did with this thing, right? I mean look at it, it's neon copper/orange glow for crying at loud! And it is screaming "look at me, look at me, look at me!" I could not even get myself to swatch it on my finger nails for the purpose of this post, though I did try it on my toes and I will spare you the sight of that.
This is supposed to be an exclusive to Birchbox and the first nail collection from Ruffian (a clothing brand). I live under a rock, so of course I never heard of them.
Ok, so bottom line the color is hideous but what about the quality? Well, it is actually a better texture and application process than other salon lacquers, go figure. I thought the formula was very good and would not mind trying other colors. So I went on line (we knew that) to check out the rest of the collection available on the Birchbox website:
image source

image source
And it's pretty frightening to me that the only wearable color I can see here is the boring pink at the bottom...Which is easily available in less expensive and equally impressive brands of nail polish such as this one by Wet 'n Wild (2% Milk - that's the name). I have to mention  Wet 'n Wild Megalast lacquers because I recently discovered them and I am unbelievably impressed by both the formula and the brush - hence the ease of application, not bad for a lacquer that costs less than $2!
image source
Bon Genre
Full size $55 -$75
It is difficult to rate a fragrance because it is such a personal thing. This one is a mix of lychee and "mysterious" Jasmine Noire...Basically it is fruity, floral and spicy at the same time, somewhat similar to Narciso Rodriguez (for her). It is a warm scent, very feminine with good lasting power but I think I would get bored with it after a while because it is a bit overwhelming on the jasmine note.
Just for the sake of it, I went to fetch a picture of the actual bottle to show you, because sometimes, half the fun in perfume is in the packaging itself and this one is a bit flashy, to say the least:
image source

So, that pretty much sums it up, another blah box from Birchbox.
You can find me on FACEBOOK and YOUTUBE.

Thanks for reading and sharing my blog.
Sophia, NJ.


* This blog contains affiliate advertising. I am not affiliated with any of the brands mentioned above. I am not affiliated with Birchbox, Sephora, Ulta or Wet'n Wild or am I solicited to write reviews. All opinions are my own. 

Apple Picking in Warwick, NY

Hi friends,

Two week ends ago we went apple picking at our regular spot in Warwick, NY. It was a beautiful day.

We go to Warwick at least twice a year and it is always a beautiful ride. Our first stop is always Penning's Farmers Market for lunch and pumpkin field pictures.
They have a beautiful garden center with plenty to look at and a Farm Market where you can buy delicious apple butter and fresh pumpkins for the fall.
Some Fall and Halloween décor for sale, I thought the prices were inflated because of the season and all the apple pickers this time of year!


Across the parking lot, there is a guy who makes these amazing wood sculptures using a chainsaw, a drill and a dremmel!


Here's part of my lunch: their signature apple crisp salad with homemade dressing.

Every year we take pictures of the boys by the pumpkin patch...It's become a tradition.

Apple picking was amazing this year, it was unbelievably crowded, but our favorite apples (Empire) were absolutely delicious! We picked just under 45 lbs worth of apples at Ochs Orchard which is the only one we go to since they carry our favorite apples!


I even took a video of the entire trip so you can enjoy it as well!


Thank you for watching!

You can find me on FACEBOOK and YOUTUBE.

Sophia, NJ.


* This blog contains affiliate advertising but I was not solicited to advertise for Pennings Farm Market or Ochs Orchard. All opinions are my own.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Pin It button on image hover