Wednesday, March 1, 2017

PopSugar February Reveal

I better share this before February is over, right? Then again, if I share it March 1st, I won't spoil it for anyone waiting on their box, right?

I've been getting the PopSugar Must Have Box for a few years now, I think it's actually over 5 at this point! I will be honest, the quality is gradually declining as time goes on, but doesn't everything really? I know I have extremely high standards and I'm frequently disappointed due to these expectations, but recently the boxes haven't wowed me. Over the years I have found so many amazing products and brands, which keeps me subscribing and coming back every month.

They do offer special edition boxes ( I think) four times a year, which I have found myself looking forward to more than the monthly box. They are more expensive at $100/box, but they feel more like the original boxes did- bigger, substantial products, a bigger bang for your buck.

This box is valued at $223, and I have to be honest- not one product wowed me. I'll show a bit of the products below, describe them a bit, then tell you my favorite piece from the box.

Tribe Alive Folder-Over Pouch ($98) This is quite a nice clutch, I just don't think it's my style. It's a little too bohemian for me, if that makes sense? There is a good back story, with each bag being woven by hand and supporting impoverished women, providing safe working environments for them. This will go into the eBay bin, in an effort to be realistic and only keep things I'll actually use.

Battington Lashes & Glue ($28) Silk eyelashes that brag they can be used up to 25 times. This intrigues me, and I will report back! They are definitely natural looking which I like- a little bit of drama, but low key enough for every day.

Kris Nations Love Necklace ($48) I have a silver similar version of this necklace which has seen quite some use over the years. This is very tiny, definitely a very delicate necklace, but I will be keeping this to wear. Did you know statement earrings are coming back? This is perfect to pair with a pair of amazing Stella & Dot earrings, just saying...

Chuao Cinnamon Cereal Chocolate Bar ($6) This was super disappointing. You can't taste the cinnamon cereal at all- just tastes like an off market brand of a Hershey Krackle bar. I ate 2 small squares and threw the rest out.

Juara CandlenutBody Creme ($35) I wanted to love this. I need a new rich-creme lotion, but I just don't love the scent. Maybe after trying for 5 minutes to get it open I should have take the hint that it wasn't meant to be. It's definitely a thick creme lotion, very rich, and very hydrating. Just a little strong on the perfume! This will go in my giveaway box-- seriously, come visit me, I have bins of goodies!

Revlon Love is on Lipstick ($8) This is a gorgeous red lipstick, but I don't need another red lipstick, so this is going in the bay bin as well.

So, favorite part? I'd say the lashes. I'll give them a try this weekend and post on Instagram Stories my thoughts on them!

Another month goes by hoping next month will be better. Sigh.... Oh, and I prepaid for a few months, so no canceling for awhile. Popsugar is $40/month, keep your eye out for sales though! Black Friday/Cyber Weekend I was able to pick up 6 months, averaging $19/box- definitely an amazing deal! Makes for a good gift too.

So I don't end this post completely in the dumps, here's my favorite product from January, it's tea, are you surprised?!?!


Friday, February 10, 2017


The Clock Tower, Staunton VA
I absolutely love reading currently posts on other blogs or watching vlogs on this topic. It's a great way to find new shows, books, products, recipes, etc and a way to interact more on topics normally not discussed or as often.

For awhile I debated combining this with a Favorites post, but figured I'd keep that separate. I try to use products a few times before labeling them a favorite, it's easy in blogging/vlogging to label everything as a favorite, and it's hard to see the true opinions of the writers. I do not rely on the blog for income, it is purely a hobby, so I will be as transparent as I'd like when it comes to my opinions on products.

I would like to have some cool graphic I designed in Illustrator or Photoshop to express all these in a creative, streamlined picture, but for now a list works!

-The Crown, Netflix. Among a few other ongoing shows I watch, I've been enthralled with The Crown. Did you know that this week the queen celebrated her Sapphire Jubilee, celebrating 65 years on the throne, becoming the first British monarch to sit on the throne for 65 years? That is incredible and just astounding. Now I need to finish watching this series. I am dragging it out to savor every episode- so many shows I rush thru and binge watch, then find myself in a show hole. Maybe tomorrow night I'll create some ambiance in my office with lights, candles, a blanket, and watch an episode with a cup of tea. *Have I mentioned I'm a massive anglophile?!*

-The Quiche of Death, M.C. Beaton. My mother in law, my fellow murder-mystery enthusiast, found this AcornTV series in their catalog, pointing it out to me back in October. Well, on the way home from dinner that night I ordered it on DVD thru amazon.  I have since binge watched Series 1, and found myself in said show hole. For now the fan group on Facebook and the books are tiding me over. Only downside? Books are nothing like the show, so I'm having to re-picuture every character!

That big ass cup of tea above, didn't you catch that hint? That cup is just absolute perfection, and is my current favorite tea cup. I bought it for myself Christmas Eve, sitting beside a pool, at the beach, hand in hand with my husband, feeling sorry for myself. I know, pathetic. I'm working on dealing with holidays and expectations, and loneliness, and rejection...yada yada yada. This tea cup reminds me of the occasion and setting when I bought it, but in a good way. I have an amazing life and need to remember that daily- especially when sipping Black Currant tea and nibbling on Cranberry Almond thins from Aldi.  Here's another shot:

I'm super excited to start sharing videos on here and Youtube- well, maybe equal parts excited and terrified. I have filmed 2 get ready with me (GRWM) videos and need to hurry up and edit them so I can post them and not chicken out. I haven't really decided what else to film yet, maybe hauls, vlogs, ??? I seriously don't know yet. What I do know is I have a ton of fun filming them, so hopefully you'll like them as much as I do!

I have never been a fan of avocados, but have been trying them different ways recently in an effort to get us to eat more healthy fats. I've been making a simple guacamole recipe that I don't love, chopping them up over salads or rice bowls, and actually that's about it.

Chicken Fajita Salad with Cheddar and Greek Yogurt
I tried avocado toast over a year ago and hated it. Maybe I'll try it again now that I've eaten it more? I have been craving an egg salad sandwich recently, and upon grabbing this cookbook to flip thru this past weekend while meal planning, I flipped to a recipe for egg salad with avocado and pickled celery. That to me sounds divine and I cannot wait to report back.

This nail polish. OMFG. I just can't. I literally cannot. This is Alysha from Julep Maven, and it's in the top 10 polishes of my life. That is not trick photography, that's what it looks like in direct sunlight. I also picked up a nude and a cobalt blue holo the same month and cannot wait to use them now as well!

What are you currently reading? I have 20+ books on my kindle in queue to be read, but I'll always take a recommendation!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

BareMinerals Dirty Detox Mud Mask

During the Super Bowl, or just Sunday night as it was called in my house, I had 15-20 minutes to kill until it was time to get a ham out of the oven. I had been meaning to talk more about my love for this mud mask for awhile now, and I was finally able to get some good pictures in the other day. So I popped it on again and was mindful of all the lovely details.

I am very hesitant when it comes to products I use on my face due to my *extremely* sensitive skin.   Although I'm overly cautious, I also like to promote self-care, and well let's face it, FORCE myself to relax. That's pretty much what a mud mask is, isn't it? Or any mask for that matter. You try not to smile, laugh, cry or frown, so you lay as still as you can. Turn on Pandora spa radio, dim the lights, burn some candles and voila at-home spa.

I decided to give this mud mask a try, as I can use most, if not all BareMinerals products, and trust them to be easy-going on my skin. I did purchase the additional brush and cloth kit ($18) and I am very happy I did. The brush is contoured perfectly, and allows you to get an even distribution and around eyes and your mouth with ease.

The mud mask itself is green in color, silky smooth, and smells divine, with hints of bergamot and eucalyptus. The mask itself contained 4 mineral-rich clays, charcoal, and papaya enzyme for a "fresh and ridiculously healthy looking glow ("

Immediately upon application, I had a cooling sensation, partly I'm sure due to the temperature of the product, but it was a refreshing, soothing experience. It took all of 2-3 minutes to paint my entire face, then I left it on as the instructions say, 10-15 mins.

You may notice two different outfits- pajamas and my Eagles sweatshirt.... I'm using pictures from my first experience using it and my most recent. 

While wearing it, my skin does feel tight and taunt, as to be expected when wearing a mud mask and it is drying. What I do like is that even when wearing it, I can smile and laugh- see photos below...smiling caused wrinkling, but no cracks!

When it's time to remove the mask, all you need is a wash cloth and warm water. Again, I purchased the add on brush and washcloth kit, which contains a black, waffle-textured cloth. The mask itself wipes right off, first swipe shown here:

Wipe, rinse, wipe, rinse, wipe rinse. Done!

I do want to add- in the picture where it's in the process of being wiped off, my skin is slightly red, but only because of the temperature of the water and my sensitive skin. Once it has a second to cool down, my skin is even colored. And feels divine. Soft, nourished, hydrated, and refreshed. No, seriously it does. This stuff isn't 5 stars on every site for no reason!

I did not immediately put on lotion as I wanted to experience all the benefits of the mask. About an hour later I threw on some of my night cream from Beauty Counter to ensure hydration overnight. 

Now, here's the bad news. It's AH-MAZING, so it's sold out like everywhere. It retails for $35 on their site, and you can sign up to be notified when it comes back in stock. I bought mine awhile ago on Ulta or Sephora, and will be replacing it when I run out. This is definitely a keeper!

Side note- please, please, PLEASE be careful when using masks. Please spend the extra money, read reviews, ask friends (OR ME!!) for referrals for safe ones, because there are some toxic masks out there. I know I am overly cautious and super hesitant to try most non name brand products, but it's usually for a reason. My sweet friend Jen just this week used a black mask, and the results were catastrophic- we're talking not able to be removed, horrible reaction, and red, puffy, irritated skin 24 hours later. PLEASE  be careful my sweet friends!

Do you have a favorite mud mask? Do you prefer sheet masks?

Monday, February 6, 2017

A Self-Imposed No Buy

August 2012 I had my first self-imposed no-buy, I survived to tell about it, and haven't been able to stick to one again since. FOR SHAME. Over 4 years I have bought what I want, when I want, and WTF enough is enough. My sweet blogging friend Elizabeth over at Cheers Elizabeth has inspired me to join along with her for the month, stop by and say hello!

I'm writing this on the 3rd, and it will go live on the 6th, but I did start on February 1st! Trust me, I binge shopped an Ulta and a Sephora order around 10:30pm on the 31st of January, but tightened the belt on the first.

I define my no-buy as any extraneous spending over my monthly "allowance" of spending cash. I haven't decided if I want to disclose what that amount is, but for now I'll say $XXX amount. I have already spent some of my allowance on my favorite subscription services, which I will break down below. Some of my subscriptions will come out of the house fund, but majority of them will come from my allowance. As will the pedicure I thoroughly enjoyed tonight after work. ($35)

I definitely have my fair share of subscription services, I've listed them below.

Monthly Subscriptions:

  1. ipsy ($10) I've talked about ipsy a lot, and definitely given out my fair share of free bags to try<<enabler alert: let me know if you'd like a free bag to try.>> This will be my last month of ipsy- I don't even really LOVE any products I receive, and frankly I'm kinda over the sample sizes. (I really wish I would have canceled before the no-buy, but that's ok!)
  2. Boxycharm ($21) LOVE this box- full sizes, amazing products, and without a doubt worth the price.
  3. Glossybox ($16) This is usually $21/month but I tried it out on a coupon code. I haven't decided my thoughts on this one yet- the last 2 months I got were excellent, but do I need another subscription beauty box? This is the last month at a reduced rate, so time to decide.
  4. Julep Maven ($21) I do love that with Julep we get to see what's in the box before ordering it, and most months I just skip out of meh-ness. I did pick up an AMAZING purple holo, and some gorgeous oil slicks recently, but I'd say in the last 12 months, I've ordered maybe 3 times. February was NOT one of those, so this will not come out of my budget.
  5. PopSugar ($20) This is normally $39.95, but Thanksgiving weekend they ran a special offering $100 off a 6 month subscription, making it $19.12/month for 6 months, I couldn't pass it up! I have been debating cancelling this box- they're not as good as they used to be, and I keep hoping they'll redeem themselves the next month. I still have 3 more months at this reduced rate, so I have time to make up my mind. 
  6. FabFitFun ($16.67/month) This is a quarterly box rather than a monthly, but I figured I'd add it to my monthly budget. Quarterly price is $49.99. This is an excellent box- what Popsugar USED to be. Comes with a great variety of products- I'll share a box soon I promise!
  7. Texture ($5) Have an iPad? YOU NEED this app. I used to have a TON of magazine print subscriptions, then I found Texture, which is hundreds of magazines for a monthly charge. It's normally $9.99/month for Basic Membership and $14.99 to make it Premium- which adds People, USWeekly, Time, etc. Definitely worth checking out. Send me your email and I'll send you a coupon code- they don't have a referral code/link.
  8. Plum Deluxe ($16) This is an organic loose tea subscription, and this comes out of the house fund. I drink water, 1-2 cups of brewed coffee, and a pot of tea a day. I LOVE tea.
All told, $88.67 in subscriptions. Yikes. And to be honest, I have a few months' worth sitting in my closet untouched. In my defense, I do only open and use products I know I'll like, everything else gets boxed up and sold on eBay in lots. I sell about 1 lot a month for $50, which brings the monthly subscriptions cost down to $38.67, much more manageable!

The second part of this no-buy is to sell $500 worth of excess STUFF and put it on debt. This includes subscription items/lots, planners and planner supplies, clothes on postmark, eBay, and Facebook sales. Oh, and I guess Stella & Dot. (This isn't realistic as any profit made from trunk shows is donated to a charity of the hostess' choice, but any outside internet sales will count.) Anything I raise OVER this, will go towards my allowance this month or next.

There are some caveats to this plan that I will deal with along the way. One such hiccup is my monthly work bonus. This is commission more than a bonus per se, with 100% of the bonus at my discretion. This month it will go on debt 100%. Or be invested into my Etsy shop.

So, who's with me? It's not too late to start! Let's close our wallets and put a little more away in savings together. I will be blogging about this along the way, and will summarize my experience on March 1st. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Health & Wellness Vol. I

I sat down to meal plan today, and about 3 minutes in, I put everything down and went to Instagram to scroll because I was SUPER overwhelmed.  I'll explain.

I have decided in the last week, to ensure I eat a vegetarian, plant-based meal for lunch each day during the week, in a general effort to continue my health journey. I LOVED the documentary on Netflix Forks Over Knives, and bought their cookbook and inaugural magazine in the past week. When I started reading the magazine today, I was interested to see some amazing, yet terrifying statistics regarding cancer and heart disease and efforts to prevent certain types of cancers. Then it started getting overwhelming. I know we should be limiting our red meat intake, as well as processed meats such as sausage, ham, and of course bacon- ok, got it. 50g of that kind of meat increased colorectal cancer by 18%. Sweet Jesus.  OK, I'll limit bacon to Saturday morning breakfasts, eat Turkey sandwiches, and limit the Italian sausage to bi-monthly.

Next up? OILS. The magazine went on to say how olive oils, coconut oil, and other oils are so processed, everything of value has been stripped, leaving them a calorie dense food, pretty much guaranteeing you to gain weight. Hmm, ok. So at this time I am not attempting a plant-based diet, but that definitely is not good. I sautè my omelette vegetables for breakfast in olive oil. I roast my vegetables in olive oil. I cook EVERYTHING in olive oil. Now what?!?

This was really conflicting information- I have tried Weight Watchers in the past, as well as LA Weightloss, both of which claim oil as a healthy fat, reminding you to have a tsp a day outside of what is in foods naturally or from cooking. Now it's harmful and could be responsible for potential gains?

I'm so in over my head. Every where I look (read,) there is conflicting information and I'm so frustrated. I'm trying to do the right thing- eat as healthy as I can, yet what one nutritionist is telling you is ok, another is telling you is harmful. WTF. So, after eating a processed lemon biscotti bar and drinking a cup of Peach Cobbler tea, I thought rationally about this and decided to continue as I have been- just doing my best to ensure my health and wellbeing. Trying new recipes, trying to cut out all the bad and incorporate more of the good. Take it one day, one meal at a time.

I am taking a page from Franish and I will be sharing my weekly meal plan and workout plan with you each week- this will keep me accountable, and if you're like me, you like seeing what other people are eating and doing to stay healthy!


Breakfasts- rotate out 2 eggs over easy with Dave's Killer Bread, turkey bacon, and grape tomatoes, oatmeal with apples, raisins, and pecans, Siggy vanilla yogurt with fruit, or egg whites with sautéed veggies. I have decided 2 days a week to have a cup of English Breakfast tea, and 3 days a week to have coffee.  Coffee I only add half & half, tea I add a splash of whole milk.

Lunches- my favorite thing to make for lunches is hearty salads. It's a quick way to get vegetables in, and they are SO versatile! My absolute favorite is a Zoe's copy cat Greek Salad, but honestly most days I heat up leftovers from dinner the night before and throw it over a bed of mixed greens, peppers, onion, tomato, and assorted veggies.  I am interested in throwing in a few different vegetables that I don't always use- like beefing up the salads with purple cabbage, snow peas, and shredded carrots. 

Dinners- We did stop our boxed meals, so I am back to meal planning, hence my beginning rant. Meals planned for this week:

-Sheet Pan Chicken & Roasted Potatoes (Cooking Light Top Rated Recipes)
-Crock Pot Meat Sauce over Spaghetti Squash (my recipe)
-Remaining Plated Meal (Chicken and Roasted Tomato Caesar Salad)

Fitness-  I started up playing tennis again, which is fitness that doesn't feel like fitness because it's fun.  I like to spice up my fitness routine for boredom sake as well as not becoming too complacent and doing the same workout over and over. Fitness plan this week:

-Tennis, 90 mins, 2 Days
-At home walking/HIIT DVD, 45 mins, 2 days
-Yoga 1-2 days, depending on class or doing it at home thru Cody

Wellness- I NEED to do better with getting my water in. It's literally all I drink during the day besides my cup of coffee in the morning and my cup of tea after lunch, but I am not getting enough it. This week I will start with 64oz, and go from there.

For the past few months, I start my day with a cup of warm lemon water- there are a plethora of benefits to this, but mainly I like that it cuts down on bloat, gets a cup of water in, and kind of eases me into the day.

I will also be concentrating on getting to bed earlier- I stay up WAY too late and then pay for it the next day.

That's my plan this week- what about you? Any new recipes or workouts I need to try?

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

BoxyCharm: October (I Think)

Father's Day and Christmas are our busy season, and I pretty much lose myself for a few weeks. So when I say I think this is October's box, I honestly don't know. I may go do some research on the Google to rectify this, but do you care if it's the wrong month?

BoxyCharm has quickly become my favorite makeup subscription. Whereas ipsy is sample sizes, BoxyCharm are full size products. Coming in at $21, it's twice the price of ipsy, but by far a better value. This box's retail value was $127!

Now don't get me wrong- I don't use all the products all the time, so it's never really retail value, but it is definitely worth the $21. I have added a few regular products to my daily use and my makeup routine that I have only found thru BoxyCharm. First and foremost, Luxie Brushes.

I received my first Luxie brush about a year ago in a subscription box, and it's literally my favorite brush of every kind of brush. My first brush was the Luxie 205 Tapered Blending Eye Brush, which has revolutionized my eye makeup game. It's that great of a brush. Now maybe I love it so much because I equate it with upping my skills, or maybe I just love it because it's pearly pink, rose gold, and extremely soft. Add the fact that it's synthetic and thus vegan and cruelty-free, I'm addicted to their brushes. Real Techniques and Morphe are also super popular brushes- I've used Real Techniques, but not long enough to form an opinion (maybe at a later time.)

I bought this set at Ulta purely for the highlighter fan brush and was very much disappointed. Then again, give me some more time to form a more informed opinion.

All that to say, I was pleasantly surprised to see a 3 pack of blending brushes in October's box. (I have since confirmed this really is October's box FYI.) This set of 3 brushes retails for $36, $12/brush, which is pretty low for eyeshadow brushes of quality. There's a pop up on their site when you leave the window open for a bit for 20% off your first order which is a great deal if you'd like to try them out.

Back to the matter at hand...the brush set. I have not used the bottom, longer, thinner brush as much as the other two due to lack of control. The shorter, stubbier brushes allow you to completely control the shadow you're blending or applying, whereas the longer, thin brush is a bit more loosey goosey, for lack of better comparison.

Enough about the brushes.

Up next, hair care: Briogeo Rosarco, blow dry perfection and heat protectant. Ignore the large tub in the top left, that came September in my PopSugar box. I had planned on doing a true review of the product after seeing it posted about quite frequently around beauty blogs recently. I still may, even if it's just to contradict all the "omg, I LOVE it," "this is amazinggggg" and "so goooood"'s out there.

I digress... the heat protectant creme. I would rate is a 3 out of 5 stars. It has a pleasant smell, a runny formula, but is formulated without paragons, sulfates, and phthalates. Briogeo claims it protects your hair up to temperature of 425, smooths hair, tames frizz, and enhances shine and softness.  Ehh, that's a stretch. I will say it cuts blow dry time by HALF. So those of you with super thick hair who are tired of the time it takes to dry your tresses, use this. Honestly, other than that, I wasn't impressed. I'll finish it, but I won't purchase it again.

Lipstick. I love lipsticks, and this is a gorgeous hue. It's ultra matte, and promises to last 12 hours and not transfer to drinking glass or significant others. Um, sign me up. I wore it this past weekend to a family event- I figured it would be the perfect opportunity to try it out- eating, drinking, smooching, and it would be a few hours.

First off, I LOVE the color. Other than that, it wasn't great. It was sticky the entire time and I detest sticky lip products. I did use a BareMinerals lip liner first, and may have had some lingering chapstick, maybe this is why? It transferred to my water bottle too, even hours after applying. I will give this another go without lip liner and chapstick though because I just love the color. It is definitely more cranberry in color than it appears in the tube, shown here Essie Sable Collar:

On to the palette. Full disclosure- I cannot find it. I must have given it away, because I searched everywhere and cannot locate it! If I gave it to you, let me know how it is? I hope I did, because honestly with the number of palettes I have, I did not want to open it just to try.

So that's it for October's box- what did you think?

If you'd like to sign up for BoxyCharm, you can do that here.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Butternut and Brussels Sprout Risotto

We've been running our Etsy store now for over a year, and have determined our busy seasons to be Father's Day and of course, Christmas. During those times, it is sheer insanity around here- 16 hour days, 7 days a week, and very limited time or energy for meals. 

When we were first hit with volume Christmas 2015, we were not expecting it, and did what we had to do to survive. This meant eating out. A LOT. We both put on about 15-20 pounds due to the stress and the horrible habits we were adapting. Some days I am absolutely embarrassed to say we were eating out multiple meals- and we definitely felt the effects of it. It was actually counterproductive- what we were eating for convenience was actually slowing us down. You are what you eat, right? Well, we felt like garbage. 

Father's Day 2016 we were slightly more prepared. We signed up for Blue Apron and Hello Fresh, selecting 3 meals a week for 2 people. Blue Apron is $60/week and Hello Fresh is $70/week. Now I admit, this is a little steep in price, but compared to the alternatives, within reason for us. It averages $20-23/meal for the 2 of us, which is WAY better than what we usually spend on meals, and healthier than what we would be purchasing out at that price point.  So when we combined convenience and health concerns, we decided it works for us during the busy seasons.  

I will be sharing some of my favorite recipes going forward from my box subscriptions, and do my best to convert some of the ingredients so you can try them as well.  

INGREDIENTS (for 2 People:)

8 oz. Brussels Sprouts
8 oz. Butternut Squash
1 Veggie Stock Concentrate (Buy here)
1 Yellow Onion (medium to large)
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Lemon
2 oz. Pancetta
3/4 cup Arborio Rice
1 oz. Pepitas
1 Tbsp Honey
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 Tbsp Butter


1.) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

2.) Halve and trim Brussels sprouts through stem. Toss squash and sprouts on a baking sheet with 1 TBSP olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast until browned and tender, about 25 minutes. Toss halfway through. 

3.) Bring stock concentrate and 4 cups water to a boil in a small pot, then reduce heat to low. 

4.) Halve, peel, and finely dice onion. Mince garlic. Zest then halve lemon

5.) Add half the pancetta (more for snacking!) to a medium pot over medium-high heat. Cook until crisp, about 4 minutes. Remove and set aside. Add onion to same pot and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened, 2-3 minutes. Add rice and cook until translucent, 1-2 minutes. 

6.) Add garlic to pot and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Reduce heat under pot to medium and add stock to pot 1⁄4 cup at a time. Stir after each addition and allow rice to absorb stock before adding more. 

7.) While risotto cooks, add pepitas to a small pan over medium-high heat. Toast until fragrant, 2-3 minutes (be careful—they might pop). Add honey, 4 TBSP water, and a pinch of salt to pan. Stir to dissolve honey. Cook until liquid evaporates and pepitas are coated and sticky, 3-4 minutes. Remove to parchment-lined plate and let cool. 

8.) When rice is al dente, squeeze in juice of half the lemon. Stir in the squash, Brussels sprouts, half the Parmesan cheese, and 1⁄2 TBSP butter. Season with salt and pepper. Plate risotto and sprinkle with honey pepitas, lemon zest, pancetta, and remaining cheese


This was the first time I've made risotto the real way, gradually adding the stock to the rice- it is quite labor intensive! It's needy, and definitely something you want to put the effort in to. It is worth it, but you can't say I didn't warn you. This was unusual for a Hello Fresh meal, they are usually a 20-30 minute easy sheet pan dinner- this was quite out of character, but I enjoyed it!

Finish off with a cup of hot tea on the side and you have the perfect winter meal!

*Note: I am in the process of finding a Recipe Card widget for Blogger to make it easier to print out recipes-- anyone have any advice, please let me know!*

I paid full price for this box and all opinions are my own. 

If you'd like to try Hello Fresh, click here for $40 off your first box!

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