Solo Travel: Momofuku & Hell’s Kitchen (Las Vegas) Part 2; Winter Trip 2018

One of the most fantastic things about Las Vegas is the food.  There is everything from cheap eats to fine dining.  Like Los Angeles, you can get almost anything in Las Vegas.  While I enjoy cheap eats, I really take advantage of the fine dining.  The 2 restaurants on my radar for this trip were Momofuku and the newly opened, Hell’s Kitchen.

I watched a show called Mind of a Chef about 2 years ago.  In that show, it featured a chef named David Chang.  He is behind restaurants like Momofuku Noodle Bar, and most recently Majordomo in Los Angeles.  He opened his Vegas outpost of Momofuku in The Cosmopolitan last year.  His Vegas location serves as a greatest hits of his other establishments.  I have been dying to try it, but it just never worked out.  It was worth the wait.  When in New York this fall, I was introduced to the Momofuku family by Momofuku Noodle Bar in the Village.  So, I knew that it would be good.  I just didn’t know how good.

I ordered the Ginger Scallion Noodles, Dried Mussels and for dessert, a slice of MilkBar Birthday Cake.  Hands down, this is one of the best meals I’ve ever had.  The Ginger Scallion Noodles were topped with pickled shiitake mushrooms, which were my favorite part.  It is definitely a testament to how a simple dish can be elevated to the point of excellence.  The Dried Mussels were excellent.  It was a last minute decision to order them, and they were the perfect addition to my meal.  And for dessert, I knew I was either going next door to get something from MilkBar.  However, because they go with each other, they had MilkBar desserts available there.  I had a slice of MilkBar Birthday Cake.  As the other times before that I’ve had MilkBar, it was outstanding.  Chef Christina Tosi is really just one of the women I admire the most.  I love how creative and classic she can be at the same time.  And it comes out in everything MilkBar comes out with.


The next night, I tried the new Hell’s Kitchen.  I have been to 3 out of 5 of Gordon Ramsay’s other Vegas restaurants.  I have yet to try his Fish & Chips place, but that is for next time.  For this trip, I couldn’t wait to try Hell’s Kitchen.  I feel like the concept is a long time coming, and is pretty cool.  Especially if you love the show, it will be just that much more fun.  There was absolutely no question that I was going for the Hell’s Kitchen prix fixe menu.  It had all the parts of the menu they serve on the show.  It had the Seared Scallops for an appetizer, Beef Wellington for the entree and Sticky Toffee Pudding for dessert.  I also partook in a mocktail called the The Whispering Banshee.  The meal was to die for.  It is exactly how you think it would taste, but better.  Now, disclaimer…I had never had Beef Wellington before.  And holy cow, it was incredible. The waiter told me that they were fully booked every single night, and they had seen 50K diners since they opened last month.  This is no doubt due to the Ramsay name and the show, but it most definitely has the food to back it up.


I highly recommend both of these restaurants if you visit Las Vegas.  They are for sure worth the money.  I did not leave disappointed at either place, and I cannot wait to be able to go back again.  I would also suggest reservations for both places.  Especially Hell’s Kitchen…they get booked fast.


Solo Travel: The Neon Museum (Las Vegas) Part 1; Winter Trip 2018

Every year, I try to take a trip to Vegas in the Winter.  This is usually a solo trip where I can figure out ME.  Even at 35 years old, I still haven’t really discovered everything about what makes me happy, truly happy.  However, this year, my trip was absolute perfection.  I learned more about myself over the last 4 days than any other trip I’ve taken.  Now, let me get on my soap box for a minute.  Solo travel is one of those things that many people do not do.  Either they think it would be weird to be by themselves.  Even in every day life, a lot of people I know would not go to eat by themselves, or even see a movie by themselves.  As a society, we are conditioned to do these things only in groups of 2 or more.  I am of the opinion that people should do things occasionally by themselves. It forces you to get comfortable with the one person you can’t escape from…you.  Ok, off my soap box.  On to the fun stuff.  As I was editing my pictures for this post, I realized quickly that there was no way I could fit it all into 1 post.  For whatever reason, this trip was special, and deserves multiple posts.  I hope you enjoy the first in the series about my Winter Trip.  First up…The Neon Museum.

Now, I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this place too much or not.  I believe I have taken the regular day tour 4 times.  This time, I decided to do a night tour.  Then, I saw something incredible in my Facebook feed.  It was an article about a new event at the Neon Museum.  It is called Brilliant! and it is just that.

First of all…a little about the show/installation.  Brilliant! is housed in the North Gallery.  Ah, yes, the coveted North Gallery that is normally not open to the public.  Well, now I know why.  This took a long time to put together.  It uses a technology called Projection Mapping.  And the genius behind this is artist, Craig Winslow.  So, what is the point?  Well, I’m sure the artist had multiple reasons as to why he took on this project.  But the most obvious and relevant reason to a visitor is to make the non-operational signs look, well, operational.  And he, in collaboration with the Neon Museum, did just that.

Now, don’t think they just turn it on and you can take pictures and leave.  No.  Its not that kind of party.  What it is, is an experience.  It a) gives you a little history lesson about the fabulous neon signs of Las Vegas and b) it is set to music (good music).  You are not allowed to take pictures or video while the show is going on.  In our Instagram obsessed world, it forces us to go old school and actually experience something and to experience it over and over through our memory (shocking, I know).  At the very end, they turn it all on and let you take pictures and video.  They wouldn’t torture us and our Instagram feeds, would they?  Of course not!

I’m going to get a little sign geek on you right now.  I love signs.  Not just any signs.  I LOVE neon signs.  And they don’t just have to be ones in Las Vegas.  I am madly in love with the El Capitan signage in Hollywood, which is right at the top of the list with my favorite sign, the Stardust Hotel & Casino sign.  The Stardust will always be my favorite.  The original sign in a showable form is on the regular tour.  But Brilliant! showcases the later version of the sign that we probably all are familiar with.  So, to see this “lit up”, quite frankly, got me a little emotional.  You see these signs in the Boneyard, just metal and glass.  And you see pictures of them in their hey-day.  But you may have never seen them operational, or at least not for a very long time.  The Stardust was the very first place I stayed in in Las Vegas when I was 12 years old.  So, to see parts of the Stardust sign shine again, was well, brilliant.

If you are in Las Vegas, I strongly urge you check it out.  At the time of this post, the show costs $23.  It is for sure worth it, and you get a discount if you also want to do a regular tour.  The Neon Museum is very committed to preserving and protecting the city’s neon history intact.  Las Vegas Neon is one of the most identifiable things about Las Vegas, and I am grateful that they stay committed.  They add new pieces to their collection as the town makes way for the new and shiny.  Recently, they acquired the Riviera signs prior to implosion, as well as the original Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign.  They currently have a campaign to help with restoration costs of this beauty, and I look forward to seeing it in the Boneyard someday.

Visit their website here… The Neon Museum of Las Vegas.

Signs in all their non-operational glory.

Signs in the Brilliant! installation, “lit up”.

Naan with Puntarelle & Hummus

Puntarelle?  What is that?  That is exactly what I said.  Last week, while at the farmers market, I saw this interesting looking vegetable from The Garden Of…, who is my go to for kale & lettuce.  They also have the most incredible looking pumpkins in the fall.  But during the winter, they tend to have interesting things from time to time.  For the last couple of weeks, they have had Puntarelle or Italian Chicory.  This week, I went for it.  And I’m happy that I did.  I tend to think that in our normal lives, we stick to what we are familiar with.  I feel like trying new vegetables puts me right outside my comfort zone when it comes to what I eat.  But not so far outside that I’m scared to eat it.

I did what most people do when they don’t know something.  I googled what to do with it.  The most traditional preparation involves an ice bath and anchovy vinaigrette.  However, I really am not into anchovies, and there doesn’t really seem to be a good substitute for them.  I found a couple recipes in which they sautéed them.  This was it!

I sliced the puntarelle into strips, about a 1/4 inch thick.  I added these strips to a hot pan with some olive oil.  Add in some salt & pepper and cook for about 5 minutes.  So, let’s be honest.  By itself, its a little bitter.  Not super bitter, but enough to notice.  I applaud people that can eat bitter vegetables on their own.  But me?  No way.  I need to put them in or on something.  Enter some garlic naan, hummus and some delicious pepper sauce from Trader Joes.  I layered everything onto the naan and then cut it into pieces (easier to eat).  And I’ve gotta say, I’m pretty impressed with this weird, alien looking vegetable.  It adds just enough crunch and texture to what you’re eating, and its not an overpowering taste.  From now on, I’ll look forward to winter at the Farmers Market to get my hands on some.  So, if you see this at your local Farmers Market or grocery store, don’t be afraid, just buy it!

It is 2018: New starts, new passions and The TB12 Method.

We’ve come to another year.  2017 was rough.  Let’s just get that out of the way.  It was a year that was filled with highs and lows.  Personally, this year, I struggled to find out what I want my life to look like.  Unexpectedly, my life took a turn in a completely different direction than I would like.  But that is ok.  Events in my life allowed me to find new passions and new goals.  The picture of what I wanted my life to look like, well, changed.  Again, that is ok.

For 2018, I’ve chosen to focus on my finances, nutrition and fitness.  I’m already signed up for another half marathon in November, and I’m continuing with my yoga practice.  Nutritionally, I was a mess.  I’m all over the place.  I desperately needed to get focused in this area.  After being sick, I’ve tried to make nutrition a priority.  There are so many diets, trends, etc that are out there and one can easily get overwhelmed.  Enter Tom Brady, 5x Super Bowl champion, Gisele Bundchen’s husband, founder of the TB12 Sports empire (well soon to be empire, I’m sure), and a 40 year old in the best shape of his life.  That last part is what attracts me to him.  For the last couple of years, I’ve been intrigued by his lifestyle.  It obviously contributes to his success.  He has to rely on his body and its performance to do his job.

TB12 Sports released a nutrition manual for around $200 awhile ago, but unfortunately, it was a little out of my price range (still on my wish list though).  Then, finally, he released The TB12 Method:  How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance in 2017.  I had to get this book.  I wanted a glimpse into how this man remains in the physical condition he’s in.  In particular, I was interested in the nutrition information.  So, I read the nutrition chapter, and wrote down approved TB12 foods.  For the last week, I’ve tried to adhere to these foods.  I also tried to adhere to the 80% Alkaline/20% Acidic guideline.

After a week of diving into this, I have to say that I feel better than I did.  I have less digestion issues, feel less bloated, have more energy and feel better mentally.  When you know you are putting good stuff in your body, you don’t feel any negative feelings about what you do eat.  Now, I was not perfect.  I most definitely steered off the path a couple of times.  But each time, I didn’t beat myself up about it, and just started the next meal fresh.  It is a fairly restrictive way to eat, but it feels less restrictive the more creative you get.  I’m eager to continue on this path, and to get fully back into working out.  I think all of it in combination, especially when I can start incorporating the pliability, will make for a better, healthier me.

To be continued…

Too Faced Chocolate Gold Eyeshadow Palette – Cruelty Free

What is it about that shimmer shimmer that attracts women like a magnet to things.  I will say, I was starting to lose faith in one of my favorite brands; Too Faced.  I am in love with their Sweet Peach Palette, but I was OVER the peach stuff.  It smells divine, but I don’t want everything I put on my face to smell like peaches.  It was just overload.  Enter the Holiday 2017 release of the Chocolate Gold collection.  And faith restored.

A little back story on my newest obsession with gold.  For YEARS, I thought I had a cool skin tone.  I never wore warm colors, and definitely stayed away from gold.  Then, when I actually started caring about foundation, I found out that I actually have a neutral skin tone.  Then, the heavens opened up.  First came the Fenty Beauty highlighter Trophy Wife, then came the Morphe 35O2 palette.  And then, Too Faced releases one of the most gorgeous palettes I’ve ever seen; The Chocolate Gold palette.  Here is a little review with swatches of this beautiful addition to the Too Faced family.


Although it all seems like 1 big cohesive palette, I realized while swatching that it is arranged in 2 halves.  Let’s call it the Fun Side and the Neutral Side.

On the Fun Side, we have Livin’ Lavish (Dark Purple), New Money (Magenta), Chocolate Gold (well, gold), Old Money (Copper), Gold Dipped (a cooler Gold), Holla for a Dollar (Dark Copper) & Money Bags (literally the color of money).

On the Neutral Side, we have Rollin in Dough (Matte Off White), So Boujee (Matte Fawn), Decadent (Matte Black), Classy & Sassy (Rose Gold), Cocoa Truffle (Matte Brown), Rich Girl (Medium Gold), Famous (Brown) & Drippin in Diamonds (Silver).

Normally, my favorite colors are usually the bright ones.  New Money and Money Bags were what made me want to buy the palette.  Now, don’t get me wrong…New Money speaks to me, and Money Bags makes my heart happy.  But after using the palette, my favorites actually ended up being Old Money and Famous.  I cannot tell you my surprise by this conclusion.

Of course, Rollin in the Dough and So Boujee were used in all the looks I tried.  They are just the universal colors you need in every palette.  I used the below 3 combos:

*Money Bags/Old Money/So Boujee/Rollin in Dough

*New Money/Chocolate Gold/So Boujee/Rollin in Dough

*Decadent/Famous/So Boujee/Rollin in Dough

This palette performed well.  They blend out beautifully and are not falling all over the place.  I will say this though, and quite possibly the only downside.  They creased.  No so much that I felt my look was ruined, but enough to make me a teensy bit disappointed.  It could be that I need to use a different primer or even a glitter primer, so I’m not going to hold it against the palette too much.  Due to my lovely monolids, I’ve dealt with creasing shadow all my adult life, so I usually carry an eyeshadow brush to fix this kind of thing during the day.

Overall, I recommend this palette.  Especially if you are a fan of the Too Faced Chocolate Bar Collection.  Over the last year, Too Faced has focused heavily on the Sweet Peach collection.  It was nice to see them put out something different, beautiful and fun.


Favorite Cruelty Free Brushes

Using the right tools for applying your makeup is essential to getting the best results.  Over time, you learn what works best for you.  Some people prefer a blending sponge, some people prefer brushes, and some use a combo of both.  I prefer to use brushes.  Every so often, I reach for my blending sponge, but 99.9% of the time, I prefer brushes.

The beauty industry is ripe with all kinds of brushes.  If you enter “Makeup Brushes” into an Amazon search, you will get thousands of results.  With this many choices, it could seem impossible.  Over the last few years, I’ve tried a variety of brands and brushes.  For YEARS, I used the same 4 (yes, 4) MAC makeup brushes.  I remember when I bought them, and it was the first time I had also bought higher end cosmetics.  I was obsessed with their black eyeshadow, Carbon, as they seemed to be the only ones at the time to have a true black eyeshadow.  Mind you, this was back when they were still cruelty free.  In fact, I still have 3 of the 4 brushes that I bought that day.  Do I use them? Nope.  They just sit in a drawer.  Because they are natural fibers, I don’t reach for them.  Since going cruelty free, it grosses me out to use brushes made with animal hair.

Fast forward to about 2 years ago when I started getting serious about my makeup.  I slowly started acquired brushes that were made with synthetic fibers.  Enter my new found love of beauty Youtubers and I soon had a collection of WAY TOO MANY brushes.  Over the last couple of weeks, I did what you are supposed to do to your closet every so often.  I took them all out of their home and put them in a drawer.  As I used them, I put them back in the cup.  I vowed to myself after 2 weeks, that I would get rid of the ones I don’t use.  Let’s just say, it was a lot.  I am keeping about half of what I have currently.  Its hard to believe that I have that much excess.  How did I get to that point?  The answer is simple…trial and error.  I would take a chance on a brush, and it would either work or not.  The result is about a dozen brushes that I cannot live without.

As a side note of this little experiment/project, I learned an important makeup lesson.  Even though a brush is labeled as doing one thing, it could very well suit me doing something else.  One of my favorite Youtubers, Laura Lee, uses this delightfully looking fluffy brush when she puts eyeshadow in her crease.  But that brush is way too big for my little monolids.  As much as its an essential to her, I have zero use for that brush.  As I started to think outside of the box, I found exactly what I liked, regardless of its intended purpose.

Here is a round up of my essential brushes. And yes, a lot of them are Morphe Brushes.  I was definitely introduced to this company through watching Youtube, but I use them every day because I love them.



Morphe Brushes – Y6 (Pro Flat Buffer) – $10 

*This was a generally recent find for me.  Beauty guru Laura Lee uses this brush on her channel to apply foundation.  I would see tweets about how this brush was so amazing.  I didn’t think it could be THAT amazing.  So, as I was getting frustrated with a blending sponge, I decided to try it out.  I was not disappointed.  I can’t imagine applying foundation with anything else now.  I also use this brush to blend in concealer.

Setting Powder

Morphe Brushes – Y2 (Tapered Powder) – $10

*This is a very standard addition to the list.  Everyone needs a big powder brush.  This one is perfect.  I was formally using a regular, full powder brush.  However, the Vegan Morphe set came with a tapered powder brush.  I love it. Its also dense enough to use with pressed powder as well.

Face-Contour & Highlight

Contour (Detail)

Morphe Brushes – Y10 (Detail Contour) – $8

*Again, this is another recent find for me.  This brush offers a subtle and precise way for me to put contour in my cheek bone area and around my jawline.  If I use too big a brush in these areas, it becomes too much and my face looks dirty.


Morphe Brushes – Y5 (Tapered Blush) – $10

*When I first started buying Morphe Brushes, I bought an inexpensive set to start with.  I figured if I was happy, that I would invest further.  I bought the 10 piece Vegan Set.  First of all, it is extremely cute, since it has blue handles and pink bristles.  Second of all, it was $20.  In that set, there was a Tapered Blush brush.  I use this brush for 1 thing; to apply bronzer to my forehead.  I used to use it for my cheekbones, but its just too big.  I linked the set at the end, or click the link above for the version of it in the Gold Series.  Eventually, I want all my face brushes to be from the Gold Series.


Sonia Kashuk – Small Powder/Blusher Brush – $9

*I love this brush.  It is the perfect shape and density for blush.  I originally bought this brush as part of a 4 piece set that was on super clearance at Target.  To this day, its the only brush that I really use out of the set.

Powder Highlighter

Morphe Brushes – MB43 – $6

*The Basic Series at Morphe is extremely affordable.  They are exactly what they suggest.  They are basic.  Nothing special about them.  With that being said, for my eyeshadow brushes, this series is my go to.  The MB43 has the perfect shape for getting powder highlight exactly where it should go.

Cream Highlighter 

e.l.f Cosmetics – Flawless Concealer Brush – $3

*I originally bought this brush to do what it says, to apply concealer.  It worked terribly for concealer, but I found out by accident that it is perfect for cream highlighters.  I see cream highlight normally applied with a blending sponge, but this method never works for me.  But this brush really does the job so well.



Morphe Brushes – MB11 (Angle Liner) – $2.50

*Every girl needs gel liner in their arsenal.  More importantly, they need a good liner brush to apply that fabulous gel liner.  I think I went through 3 different liner brushes before I stuck with this one.  I spend too much on one from Sephora and it was painful to use.  This was also part of that first set I bought.



Morphe Brushes – MB20 (Oval Fluff) – $4

*I love using flatter brushes to apply my lid color.  The precision of a flatter brush prevents shadow getting too high and from me looking like a clown.  The one pictured is part of the Vegan Set, but there is a great one similar in the Basic Series as well, the MB20.


Morphe Brushes – MB13 (Deluxe Blending Fluff) – $5

*If I had to pick my favorite brush, it would definitely be a tie between this brush the MB13 and the next one on this list, the MB46.  I usually use this to put a lighter, base color all over my lids.  Its like Baby Bear’s porridge; just right.  It is big enough to use over the whole lid, and dense enough to not get shadow everywhere.  It is also what I use to do the final bit of blending.

Base Color/Blending

Morphe Brushes – MB46 (Defined Blender) – $4

*What can be said about this brush.  First of all, it is the perfect crease brush.  Again, with my eye shape, it can go very wrong, very fast.  But the density and precision of this allows me to create a normal crease.  I recently bought a back up of this one as well.  If you have monolids, I would say this is a must have.

Precise Primer Application

Morphe Brushes – MB10 (Concealer) – $3

*Listen, I hate using my fingers to apply makeup.  I only use my fingers to apply glittery stuff and used to use it to apply Colourpop’s Super Shock Shadows.  Used to is the operative word.  But I hate when my fingers are all dirty with colors.  This little brush is so tiny, that I’m shocked they don’t call it something else.  I suppose it could be used for very precise application of concealer, but I don’t use it for that.  I use it to apply glitter primer on top of shadow.  Yes, this is the only use I have for it.  It offers a certain precision to adding glitter primer that your fingers don’t offer.  Plus, its one less time your finger is in your eye area.


Colourpop – Medium Shader Brush – $6

*When Colourpop first introduced brushes, they were giving them away with certain orders.  This was how I got this one.  And I was so pleasantly surprised.  Its perfect for packing on their Super Shock Shadows and diffusing the edges a bit.

Colourpop Medium Shader

Morphe Brushes 10 Pc Vegan Set 

10 Pc Vegan Set

Finally Made My Own Cold Brew

There was a time in which coffee was not very exciting.  Most people had a regular coffee maker with regular coffee.  In terms of brewing coffee at home, it was pretty standard.  Of course, coffee houses and independent roasters have been around for some time.  But at home, the coffee game has changed.  There are so many methods and gadgets for brewing coffee at home.  One of those gadgets is called the Coffee Sock.  My friend got this for me for Christmas and I finally used it.  Truth be told, I wish I had used it sooner.  The Coffee Sock consists of a cloth “sock” or filter that sits in a mason jar.  It is definitely one of those things that is so simple that its genius.  It also helps to eliminate waste from the disposable cups from a coffee house.

I have always wanted to be that kind of person that makes their own cold brew.  I finally took the plunge.  I couldn’t be happier.  I love iced coffee, even when it is cold outside.  And I love not having to pay $4 for a cold brew at Starbucks.  If you don’t have a specific gadget to make your own cold brew, there a so many methods to do this.  If you have a large container and a way to strain the coffee grounds out, you can make cold brew.  Here is what I did.

For my “recipe”, I used 4 cups of water and 1 cup group coffee.  And I didn’t use some fancy coffee.  I used the Trader Joe’s Cup o’ Joe coffee.  When you grind it, just make sure its a course grind.  You don’t want to grind it too fine, or it won’t come out right.  You put the coffee in the sock part, and submerge it in the water.  After the initial set up, you let it sit on your counter for 12 hours.  After the 12 hours, remove the sock part.  What you do with the coffee grounds is up to you.  After making the concentrate, you can store it in the fridge for 2 weeks (or so google told me).  Now, onto the fun part!

How people take their coffee is as personal as what kind of music they like.  This is how I made my Iced Coffee.

  • *1 1/2 Cups Cold Brew
  • *1 Cup Water
  • *Creamer to taste

That’s it.  Its very simple, and not very exciting.  But I love it.

I feel like I’m late to the game to cold brew at home, but I got here, and that is all that matters. But if you need one, you can get The Coffee Sock in a variety of places.


Tummy Tuesdays: Quick Lentil Sloppy Joes

I am blessed to be able to stock my house on a regular basis with finds from the Farmers Market and Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.  But some weeks, (especially when I’ve been doing a good amount of Christmas shopping) I go into budget mode.  Its kind of like Battery Saver Mode on your iPhone.  All the extras fall away and I get only the essentials.  I grew up in a home that did not always have extra money, so I can default to this mode pretty quickly.

I will say this.  It does become easier to live on a relatively low budget since I stopped stocking meat in the house.  Relying on alternative sources of protein lends itself to stocking grains like lentils, farro, etc. in bulk.  A mason jar is truly man’s best friend.  Meat was eating a large part of my budget when I went grocery shopping, and storing it always skeeved me out.  Now, don’t misunderstand me.  I am not a vegan.  I’m a sucker for the chicken gyoza at Trader Joe’s.  But I have definitely decreased my meat consumption.  But I digress…this isn’t a post about the virtues of veganism.  Its about living on a budget.

When I need to trim the budget significantly, I usually get the following at the grocery store:

  • *Eggs (Preferably Organic and Free Range)
  • *Bread
  • *Cheese
  • *Cottage Cheese
  • *Canned Fruit
  • *Pasta Sauce
  • *Tortillas
  • *Salsa

I usually try to keep grains and pasta on hand, as well as some frozen veggies.  So what do I cook during these weeks?

  • *Egg salad sandwiches
  • *Pasta with sauce and cheese
  • *Quesadillas with salsa and avocado (if I can get some for a decent price)
  • *Cottage Cheese w/ canned fruit

These are just a few of the things that I keep in the rotation.  Avocados are most definitely a luxury item, but they have good fats, so I like to have them.  Sometimes, though, I like to get creative.  One of the things I love is sloppy joes.  I haven’t really had them since I stopped buying meat, but that is easily substituted with lentils or another hearty grain.  And much to my skepticism, it actually turned out decent.  I usually use a very basic recipe for sloppy joes, so I would definitely be interested in trying a different recipe down the road.  Here is the recipe I used.  And a quick disclaimer, if you do not like ketchup, I would steer clear.  I love ketchup, so I like this recipe.

Quick Lentil Sloppy Joes


  • *1/2 cup split lentils
  • *1/4 cup ketchup
  • *1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • *1 Tbsp Mustard
  • *Salt, Pepper and Garlic Powder to taste
  • *Bread
  1. Cook lentils.
  2. Mix ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, salt and pepper into cooked lentils.  Let simmer in pan for like 30 seconds while stirring.
  3. Toast whatever bread you desire, and EAT.  I used sliced white bread with a little bit of butter.  It may not be pretty, but it was tasty and filling.

My original inspiration…

Cruelty Free Faves

For me, makeup has become something that gives me so much enjoyment.  While sick, it was the only thing that made me feel human.  And still, even when I’m just having a bad day, makeup makes me feel better.  What also makes me feel better is when I find a cruelty free item I love.  Here is a list of my favorite cruelty free makeup items.


Wet n Wild PhotoFocus Foundation – $5.99

*My go to drugstore foundation.  I have extremely oily skin, and it is difficult to find a foundation that doesn’t turn my face into an oil slick in 5 minutes.  It goes on smooth and provides full coverage.  The only drawback is the smell.  It has a very paint-ish smell, but it does go away pretty quick.

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation/Instant Retouch Primer – $34 & $32

*I have to mention these 2 together, as you need to use the primer that goes with it.  You can’t just use any primer.  Its a slight drawback, but its worth it for this foundation.  I love this foundation, especially for my oily skin.  If you have dry skin, this might be too much and will likely make your skin super dry.

NYX HD Photogenic Concealer Wand – $5

*After NARS lost their cruelty free status, I needed a cruelty free alternative to their concealer.  Enter super affordable NYX Cosmetics.  I read in a couple articles that this was a good drugstore dupe for the NARS one, so I decided to try it out.  Drugstore + Cruelty Free is a win-win.  And I love it.  Its not heavy and comes in a ton of colors.

Morphe Continuous Setting Mist – $15

*I never thought I would like something better than the Make It Last by Milani, but this one is great.  The aerosol eliminates the awful wetness that sometimes comes with setting sprays.  Its a little pricy for a setting spray, but it does last quite a bit.

Face-The Fun Stuff

Fenty Beauty Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter – Mean Money/Hu$tla Baby – $34

*Did anyone doubt that Rihanna would come out with beautiful highlighters?  I love the duos, as they give you a matte and a shimmer.  Mean Money/Hu$tla Baby is my favorite every day one, but Trophy Wife is beyond.

Wet n Wild MegaGlo Highlighting Powder – Precious Petals – $4.99

*This is a good drugstore dupe for the Fenty Beauty Killawatt highlighters without trying to be.  This one came out first, so it could also be said that the Fenty Beauty highlighter is a good mid-range dupe for this one.  Enough of my musings on the philosophical stiuations about highlighters.  The formula for this one is great, and they even recently came out with more colors, as well as a palette of 4 colors.  Precious Petals seems to be the most universal, unless you are super pale.

Makeup Geek Blush Pan – Heartthrob – $10

*This one is making a repeat appearance on this blog.  Previously, Colourpops Quarters was my favorite.  But as I was putting my travel palette together, I found this one.  Now, yes, the $10 price may be a lot for a blush, but is actually on par with Milani or Flower.  And it comes in a pan, which just sings to me.  I have this in a mini palette with the Kat Von D Contour pan.  Perfection.  And this color, also perfection.  Not too pink, not too brown, just right.


Kat Von D Shade & Light Eye Contour Palette – $48

*One of the most useful eyeshadow palettes in my collection.  With my monolid eye shape, there isn’t much contouring to be done, as too much makes me look like a clown.  I usually just follow the dark to light (bottom to top) method of applying eyeshadow.  This palette has everything set up so I don’t have to think, and truthfully, I’ve used them all in combination.  If you only have 1 higher end eyeshadow palettes, this one is the one to have.

Colourpop Pressed Powder Shadow Palette – My Little Pony – $16

*As far as color is concerned, you can never have too much.  I appreciate brands who do something different and interesting.  Pür put out a My Little Pony collaboration as well for the movie.  However, Colourpop took it back to vintage My Little Pony.  And this was a must have for me.  With that being said, I have a couple other Colourpop pressed powder palettes and I love them.  They have a decent formula that is super affordable.

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner – Trooper – $20

*Again, I bring up my eye shape.  Monolids.  There are certain things that are hard to find that work.  Eyeliner is one of those things.  There is always the dreaded transfer situation.  My little sister usually forgoes eyeliner altogether, but I need it.  This eyeliner is everything.  Previously, I was afraid of liquid eyeliner.  I never had good luck, but then pens started to become a thing.  And this one, is my perfect eyeliner.  I’m a fan of eyeliner pens with brush applicators.  Felt tip is my worst enemy.  Plus, this gives a good line, and lasts all day.

Kokie Velvet Smooth Eyeliner – $7

*While not perfect, this is my favorite pencil eyeliner.  It tends to not transfer and usually lasts all day.  The one about this one that makes me happy is that it smudges beautifully, and gives you time to do so.  While I love the Marc Jacobs Highliner, it gives zero play time.

Wet n Wild Max Fanatic Mascara – $4.99

*Again, I’m all about the Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir mascara, but the Wet n Wild mascaras are extremely good.  I’ve never had issues with transfer or anything.  Of course, it takes time to dry, but its not unreasonable.  This particular one I love because of the wand.  Its curved, and lets me get the whole lash.


Smashbox Always On Matte Liquid Lipstick – Bawse – $24

*Smashbox kills it with their liquid lipstick formulas.  When they went cruelty free recently, the liquid lipsticks were what I was most excited about.  This color in particular is a collaboration with Lilly Singh, and I hope they keep it.  I don’t really need a lip liner with this but I actually started using Colourpop’s Bossy with it.

Kat Von D Everlasting Lipstick – Nahz Fur Atoo – $20

*The perfect deep red that is super classic.  Most definitely, this color is a tie with Santa Sangre, but this one is more versatile.  I read a lot of reviews saying that this is super drying, but I have only had an issue with 1 color.  I usually use a lip balm under before I apply.

Colourpop Ultra Satin Lip Liquid Lipstick – Jiffy – $6

*This color is part of the collab they did with Amanda Steele, and may not be available.  Echo Park is one of my favorite nudes, but this one edges it out by a smidge.  Their Ultra Satin Lip formula is one of my favorites.  Its comfortable and lasts.

Jeffree Star Cosmetics Velour Liquid Lipstick – Mannequin – $18

*I love this liquid lipstick formula.  It goes on without too much effort and comes in great colors.   In the past, I’ve always grabbed nudes that had a touch of pink or mauve, but this is a straight up nude.  Its beautiful, and is perfect when I want to bring attention to my eye makeup.

Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick – Sexer – $20

*Studded Kiss is by far my favorite stick lipstick formulas.  Underage Red was the first lipstick I bought at Sephora.  But I am particularly fond of the pinks she has to offer.  Sexer is a gorgeous hot pink.  The formula for the stick formula is changing and the Studded Kiss Lipsticks are currently on sale for $12 at Sephora.

Kat Von D Everlasting Lip Liner – $18

*I have several colors of this lip liner, and its great.  I love how it feels and it most definitely lasts.  And since its not a pencil, it doesn’t need to be sharpened.


NYC: Food!!!

New York City; one of the greatest cities in the world.  And one that I had the pleasure of visiting this year.  I have only been to New York once, and it was for less than 24 hours.  I used to work at Macy’s and had the chance to be a balloon handler in the Thanksgiving Day Parade.  It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience.  However, that was quite a long time ago, and I remembered almost nothing.

My list of things I wished to do became longer and longer.  And, that list became more and more centered on New York points of interest.  Specifically, I wanted to experience many of the restaurants that can only be found there.  My trip was a full week, and a lot was accomplished.  Here is a recap of some of the great food that I had the pleasure to eat.

Papaya King

*Nothing says NYC like a hot dog.  I will say, I’m not a fan of eating off carts.  There is something about it that has always made me a little sketched out.  So, after a little research, I found a place I could get a good NYC hot dog.  And I certainly found it.  Let’s just say that it was one of the most delicious hot dogs I’ve ever had.

Papaya King

2 Hot Dogs and fries @ Papaya King


*Prior to this trip, I started to be interested again in musical theater.  After going down an internet rabbit hole (we’ve all been down one), I stumbled on this cookie place.  Every year, they hold a fundraiser called Broadway Bakes.  I also started seeing it on some must-eat lists.  After looking at pictures of their cookies, I HAD to go.  They looked ridiculously delicious.  I was not disappointed.  I got the Cookies & Cream and the Funfetti cookies.  They were the perfect pre-theater snack.  Schmakery’s is something to behold.  They have something for everyone, and especially if you love cookies.


The Spread!

IMG_2991 2

Funfetti & Cookies and Cream

Momofuku Noodle Bar & Milk Bar

Anyone who has seen The Mind of a Chef is familiar with Chef David Chang.  And this is exactly how I was made aware of him.  I am fascinated by his culinary point of view, and he is proof that even the simplest things can be memorable.  Momofuku Noodle Bar was on my list of non-negotiable things to do in NYC.  Shockingly, I have never had ramen.  Like real ramen.  I’ve had variations of it, but never in an actual ramen place.  There is no better way to try ramen than at Momofuku.  And it was so good, and I don’t think I could ever judge ramen fairly again.

Now, under the same umbrella, but altogether different, is Milk Bar.  No, its not some pop-up Clockwork Orange place.  Its one of the most creative and well executed dessert establishments…ever.  It is the brainchild of Chef Christina Tosi.  Coincidentally, as I was becoming aware of Milk Bar, Chef Tosi started as a judge on MasterChef.  One of their specialities is the Cerealmilk products.  Specifically, the soft serve is what I tried.  I’ve never had anything like it, and I double I will ever find anything else like that.  In addition to the Birthday Cake truffles, their famous Crack Pie and the Cornflake Marshmallow Chocolate Chip cookies, I will never look at dessert the same way.  I’m forced to patiently wait for their Los Angeles location to open…soon hopefully.

Le Bernardin

I don’t think any words could possibly convey what it is like to eat at Le Bernardin.  But, I will try.  But first, a slight detour into the background behind why I picked it.  When I was going through chemotherapy, I couldn’t eat seafood that wasn’t thoroughly cooked.  One of the chefs I love is Eric Ripert.  He has a gentle soul, and an appreciation for life that is unmatched.  I admire him, as a chef and as a person.  Since a fair amount of seafood in a fine dining restaurant is usually lightly cooked, it is something that cannot be risked when you have zero immune system.  I made a promise to myself that when I beat the cancer, I would go to eat at Le Bernardin.  And eat at Le Bernardin is what I did.  It was the best meal of my life.  I had the Le Bernardin Tasting Menu and it was incredible.  Each course was delicious.  I will let the picture speak for itself.


All in all, it was an incredible trip filled with tasty food and fantastic sights.  And one of the best things about my trip was that everything was on my terms.  I went solo, and I can’t imagine seeing New York City for the first time not solo.  I packed so much in in a week, and I don’t regret going by myself.  I’ve done a lot of things by myself, but never a trip like this one.  Most definitely something I will remember for the rest of my life.