food

Food Review: Tsubi Soup

Hi everyone! It’s Friday, so let’s have a little fun and do a food review.

I recently ordered some vegan miso soup from Amazon because so many of the instant miso options available in stores contain bonito (a type of fish that is a traditional miso ingredient). Previously, I tried Miyasaka miso soup, which was tasty but lacked the flavorful “punch” I craved.

While searching through the miso mixes, I came across Tsubi Soup, a soup company that prides itself on using simple, fresh, authentic ingredients to create superbly flavored soups. I was really impressed by the fact that the company has such high standards for its ingredients, so I decided to give it a try.

I ordered the spicy red miso soup with mushrooms (the company offers several other flavors). The soup mix arrived in two days because I have Amazon Prime.

I made the soup by adding hot water and allowing the ingredients to re-hydrate. After about two minutes, it was ready to eat.

OMG, this was delicious! I didn’t miss the bonito flavor at all. This has to be one of the most delicious vegan miso soups I’ve ever tasted. I ended up each the entire box within 3 days LOL! The spice is abundant but not too hot. The mushrooms plumped up perfectly and give the soup great variety in texture.

Now, one major difference with this and the previously reviewed miso soup mix is the price. Tsubi Soups has 4 packets for $12.99, while Miyasaka Soups has 12 packets for nearly the same price ($14.28). But, you get what you pay for. Tsubi Soups are far tastier than Miyasaka Soups and, in my humble opinion, worth every penny.

I haven’t tried the other Tsubi Soup flavors but I intend to. If the spicy red miso with mushrooms is any indication, the other flavors are probably excellent, as well.

That’s my review for today. If you love Japanese foods or curious about them, let me know in the comments below. Thanks, and have a great Friday!

 

travel

Hotel Review: Rodeway Inn and Suites, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Happy Sunday, friends! Here is my overdue review of the hotel that I used when I went on my cruise in October.

Prior to, and immediately after, my cruise, I stayed at the Rodeway Inn and Suites Fort Lauderdale Airport and Port Everglades Cruise Port Hotel (now that’s a mouthful!). I selected this hotel because it offered quite a few attractive amenities. Firstly, it was close to the airport and featured a free shuttle service. This service picked up and dropped off guests at both the airport and the cruise port. As someone that has paid for several shuttles to get around before boarding a cruise ship, I appreciated the complimentary service provided by the Rodeway Inn.

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Secondly, the hotel had a complimentary breakfast for guests. The breakfast was available for several hours each day, so it serviced both the early birds as well as the slightly late risers. The offerings weren’t luxe – it was just a step up from a continental breakfast – but it was nice to get some fresh fruit, pastries and coffee before heading out for the day.

Thirdly, the hotel offered a very reasonably priced early check-in option. Since we got to Florida well in advance of the standard check-in time, it was nice to pay the small fee and get into our rooms early. Finally, the hotel had a laundry room on site, as well as a gift shop and restaurant. With so many of amenities at the hotel, I truly didn’t need to go anywhere else to get the things that I needed during my stay.

Now, here’s my review of the staff and room.

The staff was excellent! The ladies at the front desk were all friendly, professional and thorough. They made sure that we knew everything we needed to have a comfortable stay and a seamless transit to the ship and airport. If only all hotel staff would be so spectacular!

The room was clean and adequately sized. I especially liked the fact that the room did not have carpeted floors: while most hotels do an excellent job of keeping carpets clean, I’ve seen a few that made me cringe. The floors at the Rodeway Inn were spotless. The bathrooms, too, were immaculately cleaned. I breathed a deep sigh of relief when I saw how much care had gone into preparing our room.

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In a nutshell, I enjoyed my stay and I will return. The convenience of a complimentary shuttle, combined with great service and a good breakfast, are fantastic reasons to return!

beauty

Beauty Review: Harvey Prince Hello Perfume

A couple of months ago, I saw a promo on Instagram for Harvey Prince Organics perfumes. After following the page, I received a message inviting me to get a perfume for free, with the only out of pocket cost being shipping and handling. Being a perfume lover, I couldn’t resist: I got a bottle. Behold!

The perfume arrived in a sleek black box with salmon pink writing. I wasn’t sure which rollerball scent I would receive (either it wasn’t explicitly confirmed by the company or I wasn’t paying attention) but the one that arrived was “Hello“.

The rollerball has a good amount of product for the price, and the small size is perfect for tossing in a purse or gym bag. The scent is fresh and has a slight sweetness to it. According to the Harvey Prince website, “Hello” has a lot of citrus top notes (Meyer lemon, white grapefruit and satsuma mandarin) layered over heady floral midnotes (summer forsynthia, pink plumeria and wild verbena). It dries down to a sweet, warm fragrance in the base notes (Tahitian vanilla and musk).

I initially enjoyed “Hello” when I applied it. I like citrus notes so the clean smell was an immediate hit with me. However, as it dried down, I liked it less and less. It turns out it didn’t agree with my personal chemistry and it started to smell kind of rank on me. I think it may have been a bit too floral and sweet for my tastes. In short, this smells delicious in the bottle, and probably amazing on someone else, but for me? I can’t do it. I plan to pass it along to someone who may like it better, because I’d hate for a good product to go to waste.

To it’s credit, Harvey Prince specializes in organic products. So for those that are looking for a perfume that is cruelty free, vegan and safe for pregnant women, this company is worth checking out. The prices are also very reasonable, so feel free to give them a gander if you’re curious.

That’s it for today’s review! I’ll talk to you all tomorrow.

music

An Evening with Tamia

A couple of weeks ago, I took a trip to Charleston to visit with one of my girlfriends and to attend a concert. The artist performing was Tamia, one of my favorites from way, way back.

Tamia’s recent tour was inspirational to me because I know she had been battling health issues over the past several years. Hearing that she was touring and performing again gave me hope that she may be feeling better nowadays. And, from what I saw, it appears that she is doing well and positively THRIVING!

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Tamia’s most recent LP, Passion Like Fire

She sounds fantastic and put on a great show. She performed at The Music Farm, a performing arts venue that was conveniently located in downtown Charleston. The acoustics, the crowd, and the location all worked together to create a perfect evening. I had a great time!

Her newest album, Passion Like Fire, is currently available for purchase. I love her first single, “Leave It Smokin'”. Tamia is looking great and sounding even better. Enjoy this latest single, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

beauty · luxury

Beauty Review: Sephora Mud Mask Purifying and Mattifying

It’s been AGES since I did a mud mask on my face. I used to use clay- and mud-based masks regularly for my oily skin, but as my life got busier, I just didn’t have as much time to wait for a mask to dry, then all of the extra time needed to rinse it off was more than I wanted to commit to . . . So I let mud masks go.

This past week, though, I had a little extra time. AND, I had a trial size of Sephora Mud Mask Purifying and Mattifying in one of the Sephora Play boxes that I ordered. So I decided to give it a whirl. My skin isn’t as oily as it used to be when I was younger, but I figured this would still be a fun treat for my combination complexion.

So shiny, so silver: it looked more like an eyeshadow than a beauty treatment

The product is described as being made with ” with zinc, copper, and white clay”, and it’s supposed to “cleanses and purifies pores, absorbs excess sebum, and reduces the appearance of blemishes without overdrying. Skin is left clean, matte, and soft after each use.” I figured that, with all of those promises, I should give it a try.

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When first applied, it’s a dark grey hue

I applied a thin layer after washing and drying my face. The consistency of the mask was smooth overall but there were a few lumps (I’m not sure if it was just my sample or if that’s how it usually looks). The smell isn’t too strong, but definitely noticeable. I let it dry for about 15 minutes.  I then rinsed off the mask: it came off easily and quickly. In fact, this is the only mask I’ve ever used that rinsed totally clean without needing a washcloth to assist in removing the product in stubborn areas.

When dry, it’s chalky white (left to right: partially dry and fully dry)

My skin felt very clean and more matte but not stripped. My skin felt very soft but balanced. I skipped my hydrogen peroxide toner and followed the remaining steps of my skin routine.

This mask retails for $20 and I would definitely purchase it and use it again. It’s difficult to find a mask that rinses clean and doesn’t strip all of the moisture out of my skin. I also liked the smell: I couldn’t pinpoint it, but it had a very clean essence that is familiar and (fortunately) not cloying. This one gets a thumbs up from me!

beauty

Beauty Review: L’Oreal Revitalift Miracle Blur Instant Skin Smoother

Once upon a time, I was a huge fan of L’Oreal’s Revitalift Triple Power Intensive  Overnight Mask (actually, I’m still a fan, I just need to restock for the upcoming cold months). One time, when I purchased a jar of it, I got a free sample of L’Oreal’s Revitalift Miracle Blur Instant Skin Smoother. The product – a combination of a primer and “finisher” – claims to minimize skin imperfections and leave the face smooth and velvety.

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With those claims, you know I had to try it.

So I’ve been using this for over a year, but I hadn’t done a review until now. Let me tell you that I still reach for this, after all this time, because it WORKS. Now, I’m not going to claim that it will fill every line, wrinkle or pore to perfection, but it does a great job of “smoothing” the face a bit. I’ve worn it as a finisher (with no makeup on top of it) and as a primer (as a base for my foundation), and I’ve been impressed in both instances. Particularly, I like how my foundation lasts all day when I apply it as a primer.

My face after applying this primer: a soft finish but not shine-proof

Now, here’s a warning: I didn’t find that this product kept my face matte all day when used as a primer. In fact, I am invariably blotting throughout the day when I wear it under my foundation. For full disclosure, I generally don’t wear a powder over my foundation. But, since this is supposed to be a primer that leaves your skin matte, I thought that would translated into a non-shiny face after a couple of hours. I guess my skin’s oils are just too strong. On the other hand, when I wear it as a finisher, I don’t look especially shiny.

This primer is $25 on Ulta’s website. A little product goes a long way, so it may be a good value for you. However, if you’re an oily girl, you ma want to try a product that delivers more on its mattifying promises, since this one falls short. Would I use it again? Sure, but only if I got it on sale.

Enjoy your Saturday, friends! I’ll chat with you all tomorrow.

beauty

Review: Viktor & Rolf Magic Liquid Diamonds Perfume

Happy Saturday! I hope you all are enjoying some warmer weather than what’s happening on the East Coast right now. Yes, I know it’s fall, and yes, I know that cooler temperatures are normal. That doesn’t mean that I’m excited about them, or that I even have to fully acknowledge them. . . Anyhoo, if you’re somewhere warmer than here, kudos to you.

In a recent Sephora order, I received a sample of the Viktor & Rolf Magic Liquid Diamonds perfume. Now you all know how I feel about a perfume . . . I love any and all things fragrant and sumptuous, so I eagerly tried this one out and decided to do a mini-review on it.

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The perfume is described on Sephora as ” an opulent balance of a delicate flower bouquet and velvety white musks”. The notes identified in this perfume include “fresh petit grain bigarade, green galbanum, and spicy pink pepper essence […] Bulgarian rose and ylang-ylang flower tinted with jasmine[…]”. This decidedly floral fragrance definitely has a bit of spice to it, and it dries down to a soft but warm fragrance.

I wore this and could smell it clearly on me for quite a few hours after. The sillage is pronounced with this one, too: my mother could smell it even after I had been gone for a few hours (she called me to tell me so!). Despite lingering for a while, I wouldn’t call this fragrance particularly “strong”, though I’d advise anyone wearing it to apply lightly to start, and don’t increase the applications until you confirm your preference level.

This fragrance is an investment at $190 per 2.5 ounce bottle. Also, there isn’t currently a smaller travel size at Sephora, so if you want to give this a try before buying, you’ll have to ask the staff to give you a sample. However, I like it and would consider purchasing it once I finish using some of my (MANY) bottles of perfume currently in my collection.

It’s Saturday, so if you’re making a trip to Sephora, you should check this one out. I think you’ll like it!