SOUPer Sayisfying (and Sexy, Too)! 

Even though we live in hell (also know as Arizona), I crave fall. It’s my favorite season and I adore everything about it. 

Unless we make a trip up the mountain at just the exact right time, we miss any real fall color. It literally happens over night, and being off by a week or even a day or two, can make the difference between seeing those luscious crimsons and fiery oranges, and seeing the same dead, dirt brown that blends with everything else here. 

We have several mulberry trees in our yard that go from green to gold and then dead. Also, an overnight thing. And, honestly? Doesn’t count. Not when you pine for radiant rubies, glorious golds, opulent oranges and vivacious violets, all mixed in a dazzling array, sprinkled with the last bits of Summer’s shades of emerald, kelly and lime; a final farewell. 

The weather cools a bit – this mostly means it will be 100+ during the day and 40- at night. The only freaking state I’ve ever been in I’ve had to blast the AC during the day and the heater at night…in November. 

Sweater weather? Hah! Try, if “death by heatstroke”, is your ideal way to go, then by all means wear a sweater. Layer it over a tank top though, because I guarantee that sweater is coming off by noon. If it doesn’t spontaneously combust first. 

The afternoons are nice though. The sun “softens” and the scent in the air does change a bit. I’ve mentioned before, we live north of the metro and at a higher elevation, so we do get a bit more of the fall feeling here.

 The days are shorter and every so often you get a slight chill in the air that makes you crave something, warm, comforting and satisfying to eat – both to warm your body and soul. 

What’s more warm and satisfying than soup? 

Can you smell it? that warm, soothing scent, filling your home…and belly!

I’ve been craving soup for days now, since a front came through and gave us a few stormy days and nights. Not cold…just rain and thunder and the kind of weather that makes you want to curl up with a good book or movie, a cup of coffee or cocoa and have a bowl of…soup. 
I’m not typically a soup person. I’m pretty picky about what kinds of soup I’ll eat, when and how. Many have ingredients I can’t or don’t eat, if we’re at a restaurant or buying pre-made. Many just taste watered down and flavorless to me. I do enjoy making my own (as you’ll notice on the list I’m about to share, potato soup did not make it simply because it was shoved down my throat as a child and unless I make, what I call, “mashed potato soup”, which is basically a loaded potato soup made with both mashed potatoes, made from baked potatoes, and small chunks of potatoes I bake to a crisp or fry, I don’t touch it), and it’s a cozy way to warm up a chilly house, on a chilly day and satisfy your hunger (let’s face it…after you’ve smelled it simmering for hours, you’re starving!) with what you probably already have on hand or can easily get. Plus, substitutions and/or omissions/additions (like, I’m allergic to pork, so I just omit it), make soup a hard thing to screw up. 

(While writing this blog, I must say, I had the most hilarious conversation with my sis, because as I was sourcing graphics, I asked her what she thought made soup, “sexy”. Let’s face it…it’s not the most fascinating thing to look at. As a PSA, do not search for “sexy soup” via Google. At the very least, wait until you’ve made some of these beautiful bowls, before you do.)

Here’s my top ten SOUPer soups, that I’ll eat or make, pretty much anytime (well, nine – the last is one of my husband’s favorites and a soup staple for many), in no particular order. These aren’t my recipes – I rarely write recipes down and I’m even less likely to measure what I do and don’t add – and, as previously mentioned, I work a lot with what I have on hand. But, this is a jumping off point to bring family dinners, or cozy company, into fall. 

1. Broccoli Cheddar 

Classic! Who doesn’t love cheese! Even kids get into this if you keep the bits of broccoli small enough! Sneaky way to add veggies! This is a Panera copy-cat recipe of their famous version. If you’re in a hurry and still want a great Broccoli Cheese soup, Bear Creek brands makes a fantastic one (look for a dark green bag in the soup aisle, near where the boxes of chicken noodle packets are). Plus, the dehydrated powder makes it easy (once you get the hang of it), to make a cup, a bowl, or a whole pot, to taste. Also stores well and is “non-perishable”, so all you do is literally add water and heat. Fantastic if you’re traveling, camping or otherwise unable to store perishable items for long periods. 

2.Hot and Sour

Classic! My fave at any Asian restaurant (although, Miso runs a close second). Traditionally considered medicinal, a spicy way to warm up your day! Add mushrooms, onions, bamboo shoots – all found in the “ethnic food” aisle of most major grocery chains, in cans, bottles or jars. If you want protein, but not meat, firm tofu, cut into thin strips or small cubes, is a great way to go. Miso broth, like found at Trader Joe’s in the carton, or paste, makes a great, vegetarian broth substitute for most soups. Add some of the aforementioned veggies or tofu and it’s a delicious, healthy way to warm up as well. Look for brown or red Miso; it has more cancer fighting benefits and flavor. If you’re not familiar, good Miso has a light, refreshing, slightly chive/scallion (table onion) flavor. 

3. New England Clam Chowder

Yes, we can debate all day whether Manhattan or NE is better. It all boils down to whether you want that creamy goodness, or a tomato based, soup version of Clamato. If I’m feeling Manhattan, I treat it the same way I do a Bloody Mary. So, I do make both (and we all know by now how much I adore a good Bloody Mary!), but there is something about NE style that keeps it my fave. Bacon is becoming very popular in NE clam chowder. And, while I use turkey bacon, does add a nice touch. Cook your bacon of choice and then use the drippings to sauté onions, even some of your potatoes. Add all that goodness to your chowder and then add the cooked bacon in before serving or crumble on top as garnish. Cheese and croutons are also fantastic! 

4. Cream of Mushroom

It’s not just for cooking! However, if you have leftovers, let them cool, pour into ice cube trays and freeze (stash the cubes in a freezer safe storage bag once you’ve popped them out of the tray), and add to chicken or rice dinners later in the week. 

5. Squash Soup

As in Butternut. I’m sure pumpkin or other hearty, winter squashes would work as well with this recipe – just make sure you find baking pumpkins, which are smaller, as opposed to Jack-O-Lantern types, which can be very bitter when cooked. If you use pumpkin purée, make sure it’s the 100% pumpkin and not pie filing (which has less nutritional benefits, added sugars and spices you may not want in soup, as well as a “thinner” consistency). Don’t forget the nutmeg (I use Chinese Five Spice), which really does illuminate the flavor of your squash! Even if I’m just baking acorn squash, Five Spice is a must! 

6. Chili

Not a soup, per se, but still warm, hearty and satisfying! Accessorize (yeah, I went there!) with sour cream, cheese and tortilla chips or some people add ketchup and saltines. However you like it, it’s easy to add or swap proteins to work with what you have (I use ground beef and some kind of steak/roast type meat in mine). Swap beef for turkey for a lighter alternative. Or, use chicken and white beans for a white chili. Options here are endless! Five alarm or luke-warm, it’s up to you! I also love adding corn and garbanzo beans to mine. Great way to use canned veggies that may be reaching their shelf life and get kids to eat them! 

7. Gumbo

Traveling through Louisiana last May, on our way back from New York, we so desperately wanted to get some good gumbo! It was hot and humid and just not gumbo weather (not to mention, we were on a bit of a time crunch at that point…and money crunch. Hey, that 2016 Dodge Charger surprised me; averaging 28 MPG, but still). Don’t deny yourself this Creole classic because of okra. The slimy texture adds to the base of the soup, lending to its thicker, more stew-like consistency, as opposed to using a roux (flour/butter/milk/cornstarch/however you roux). And, like chili, add veggies and proteins you have on hand. Just remember, a good gumbo has a “surf and turf” protein ratio. 

8. Smoky Eggplant Soup

Mediterranean  flavors are some of my favorites! Finish this with some pita bread and a sprinkle of good feta cheese? Heaven in a bowl! Personally, I’d add some zucchini and yellow squash as well. Slimy eggplant? Slice and dice the night before, salt and cover in paper towels. Refrigerate. The salt will help pull out the excess moisture and the paper towels soak it up. Works for any eggplant application -grilling, frying, stuffing, Parmesan-ing, etc. 

9. Green Chile Soup

Perfect base to add protein like chicken, and some tortilla strips or crushed Doritos (cheese and chilies?!? Plus, kids and junk food?!?), and have a tortilla type soup. Have it plain one night, soup it up the next. Get the freshest chilies you can – preferably Hatch chilies (from Hatch, NM) – it makes a huge difference in flavor. Watch though – real, Hatch chilies are mild with a deep, green, earthy (almost umami) flavor. If you want spicy, toss in a few jalapeños. For spice with less heat, remove the seeds and ribs of a pepper – this is where the Capcasian, or heat, is predominant. Oh! And, wear gloves when handling spicy peppers. Otherwise, you will inevitably have to scratch your nose, fish something out of your eye and use the restroom almost immediately – and suffer the consequences. 

10. Chicken and Dumplings

One of Craig’s favorites, this classic is easy to add frozen veggies or whatever you have on hand, to, without sacrificing flavor. Don’t have time to make dumplings (which are actually super easy)? Canned biscuit dough works in a pinch! He says mine remind him of the Chicken and Dumplings his mother used to make. No bigger compliment than that! 
Consider adding frozen or fresh tortellini or ravioli to soups. Trader Joe’s has some great lobster ones (refrigerated) and dry with a cheese blend. Dumplings (Asian style) or Crab puffs can also be an easy addition (look for wonton wrappers in your local grocery store; sometimes near produce, sometimes by dairy. They’re refrigerated, so that helps narrow the search. Stuff them with whatever you like – about a TBSP per large wrap. For dumplings, stuff and drop them in – they’ll cook with the soup as it simmers. Crab puffs are an easy mix of cream cheese, spring/table onion or chive and crab or imitation crab, finely diced and blended into the cream cheese. Fry and serve as garnish. Have a bowl of water and pastry brush handy – it makes sealing the edges of the wonton wrappers easier). Pastas,  like macaroni or bow tie can add an extra level of satisfaction (especially if your family is mostly boys/men, who are always starving), as will rice, and both will cook as you simmer the soup. Beans are also filling and fabulous. I love black beans and garbanzos in most everything. Just open the can, drain and rinse, first. 

Veggies that are still good but a bit wilted or not as appetizing looking can be thrown in to cut down on waste. And, garnish, drizzle, dollop or dunk as you see fit. Most soups can be up-cycled (the mushroom, for example), for late week leftovers or protein/veggie leftovers from earlier in the week can be tossed in to use them up! 

For some more SOUPer ideas, as well as ways to minimize food waste, check out Good Housekeeping Magazine‘s October issue. Lots of fabulous ideas (and some suburb pumpkin decorating tips, too – which, if you’re hosting a Halloween bash or just a fun family/friend get together, pumpkins, hollowed and cleaned out {save those seeds! Roast them and snack or add as a garnish to your soup!}, with a small crockpot inside, set to warm, makes a super cool way to serve your SOUPer supper! Great for dips and beverages too!)!

Let us know if you try any of these recipes, or share your own! 

And, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest! 
Photos: BettyCrocker, Pinterest,, 

Yes, I Will do Your Makeup…

No, I will not do it for free. 

Every year, when Halloween rolls around, I get asked the same question – “Can I get you to do my makeup?!?”

Yes! Absolutely! Assuming you’re within reasonable distance (or willing to pay my travel expenses),  understand hair and makeup are two totally different issues (this is not a 2-for-1 sale here) and are willing to PAY for my work. 

Obviously, you asked me for a reason. You like my work, and I’m flattered! However, flattery alone does not pay our electric bill, help with groceries (trust me…I’ve tried flattering the produce guy and no dice…or extra tomatoes), nor does it cover the expense of the products I’m going to use on you. 

I refuse to use the cheap stuff from a drug, discount or big-box store for anything other than Halloween decorations. 

That go outside. 

If you send me a picture of your dream look, granted, it may take me a week or two to work out (on myself or others), but I guarantee you it’s not going to happen with the $3.00 makeup effect kit you bought, and threw in your basket with tampons and some microwaveable dinners. I pay for products that I see the best results with and am familiar working with. 

And, they don’t come cheap. 

Depending on your “look”, I may have to order colors I don’t have. Or, say I’m doing hair as well, products I don’t have. I’m a MUA and Cosmo, but I don’t keep a complete beauty supply store up my ass. 

So, while I’m flattered you like my work, and might be interested in hiring me to provide hair and/or makeup services for Halloween, here are my rules, if you will. 

1. I expect to be paid for my time, labor and product, just like any other professional service. 

You don’t hire a plumber and hand them a $3.00 part you grabbed at a discount store and expect them to install it for free. Why am I expected to transform you from “X” to “Y”, without the same courtesy? This is an art, that takes years to hone. And, products that will give you the desired look and not melt off your face an hour later, aren’t cheap. 

2. That being said, I expect 50% upfront, 50% after services have been rendered and tipping is still a great idea. 

I’m going to give you the absolute best deal I can. I’m not doing runway or movies anymore. I’m not charging those prices. However, I refuse to spend two weeks planning and perfecting your look, to have you back out. That 50% upfront is my security you won’t, denotes you’re serious and if special supplies are necessary, what’s going to help fund that. It’s non-refundable, BTW. 

3. The more elaborate, the more expensive. 

This should soooooo go without saying. But, some folks just really don’t get a cute kitty nose and whiskers isn’t gonna be the same price as me spending hours blending, shading, hunting down the exact color feather or gemstones you need. 

4. Expect it to take time. 

Yeah. Not to brag, but I know my field. I’m good at it. As mentioned, if it’s a look I’m not familiar with, I will practice and perfect it. 

However, it’s still probably not going to happen in 20 minutes. I am happy to do an online consult. I will tell you, approximately, how long I will need. That’s my work walking out your door and I don’t settle for less than you being happy and me being happy with it. 

5. Time. 

Don’t dare ask me, the day before. Unless it’s a look I’ve previously done and have down, don’t. I need a two week notice – more if it’s an advanced look that may require me to order special pigments or products. 

6. “I make $80,000 a year, and bought this amazing $2,000 costume! But, only have a hair/makeup budget of $20.00 to look like…”

No. Just fucking no. It’s not going to happen and you insult me by even going there. 

7. Halloween?

My prices double day of, unless we have made prior arrangements. Samhain is a sacred day to me, and I very rarely work it. Period. If you expect me to work on what’s basically my faith’s biggest “holiday”, yes. You will be paying me double-time. 

8. My work is mine. 

This is art. As an artist, I will take pictures and I will post them. Do not claim my work as your own. Polite way out? Just say, “Thanks!”, and walk away. Or, be honest and hand the person my card/contact. 

9. No refunds 

Seriously folks – if you’re unhappy, tell me why and what, BEFORE I WALK OUT THE DOOR. I can probably fix it. I also give tips to help your look last, which, should you choose to ignore, is not my problem. I go through everything from how to scratch (heavy makeup, especially when not used to it, itches), how to sneeze, if a contact or eyelash goes rogue…I give you that info. Once I’m out, you’re on your own. 

Granted, I can help you achieve the look of your nightmares this Halloween! I’ll even tell you how to prep your skin before and treat it after, as a courtesy. I do go above and beyond! 

This list isn’t just for me, though. 

If you hire someone to do your Halloween haute this year, or ever, remember – we are happy to help you! Most MUAs love the creativity and freedom that comes from not doing the same ol’, same ol’ bridal and prom looks. 

We do not work for free. 

Get Soulcial with Soulcial Vibes!

Do I have your attention?!? Keep going to find out more about this beautiful pic!

Well, GF fans! It’s been a year already! Can you believe it? We’re celebrating a year of blowing up your social media and blogging here at Word Press! My, how a year changes things! 

It’s been a bittersweet year for us. My gorgeous husband, Craig, and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary/belated honeymoon  with a 10 day and 24 state road trip to my hometown in Queens, New York! Aside from the weather being cold and rainy, on the front end of a pressure system when we left (late April), what a magical experience! 

I hadn’t been home in almost eight years and Craig had never been to New York at all! Along the way, we stopped in his hometown of Des Moines, Iowa, where I got the hometown tour. I had been to Iowa, but many years ago. We both experienced states and things we hadn’t prior (like, the Famous Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub in Clearfield, Pennsylvania), the Ohio Turnpike (all I can say is, Gods help you if you get on that highway to hell), a brief tour of the Bayou via Baton Rouge, Louisiana and while hubby is not a fan of cold, wet weather, enjoyed visiting all five of the lower boroughs, the amazing food and 
didn’t mind the train – hey! We got a lot space at our hotel! That car wasn’t budging for our five day stay! I would guess seeing Ground Zero and the Freedom Tower were his favorite parts, but he also enjoyed Coney Island and a fabulous-as-always anniversary meal at Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain, Central Park, Times Square and all the hidden food gems and culture I could shove down his throat in just five days!

Coney Island beach – this mermaid isn’t going on vacation without seeing the ocean! Even though it was 40 degrees and raining.

What a memorable way to celebrate our first wedding anniversary (we’re coming up on eight years together, in a little over a week), by sharing our homes with each other. Not to mention, thanks to Enterprise, who helped us out a month prior (I’ll get to that in a few), we rode in style, with a super sexy 2016 Dodge Charger, that, will never steal my love of Camaros, but I certainly wouldn’t turn down if one came my direction (hint, hint, Santa!)!

A few of my favorite moments in NY! Strawberry Fields, cherry blossoms in Central Park, Ground Zero, the 9/11 memorial fountains, Coney Island beach, Hershey store in TS and our anniversay champagne toast at Bar Americain.

My son, Taboo (yes, that is his real name), who I hadn’t spoken to since I gave him up for adoption, to his paternal grandmother, at just over two years old, came back into my life in January. He was supposed to have documents to allow him to contact me when he turned 19, so that could be his choice – as heart wrenching as that decision was – however, his biological father kept them from him. 

My Mother’s Day gift, from my husband, drawn by my son.

A week after his 21st birthday, his was viciously attacked and assaulted, leading me to head from Arizona to Connecticut in order to be tested as a kidney donor (you see where the Enterprise reference is, now). I didn’t make it out of New Mexico when I was informed he would be going into FBI custody and I needed to turn around. 

In a melancholy twist of fate, I was able to see him for an unprecedented five or so minutes, and hold my son for the first time in almost 19 years. 

Due to the nature of the investigation, I’m not at liberty to discuss too many details – I will however say, I do get to hear from him, on occasion and he is recovering well. 

Now, as we head into September, and those being just a couple memorable moments of my 2016, I will say this year has been a wild ride. Craig and I are both looking forward to our lives settling down a little…at least with some of the negativity that’s crawled in. 

Craigs first time on the train!

Naturally, that’s easier said than done.

I have found a few ways to help relax and de-stress a bit though! A warm bath, a glass of good wine, some of my favorite incense and being surrounded by my favorite gemstones, my amazing husband and friends, getting inked (which, let’s face it, not as cheap as that bottle of wine), and recently, the wonderful, peaceful radiance of Michi at Soulcial Vibes! 

Such a lovely, beautiful soul, Soulcial Vibes in on a mission to support and empower everyone on their journey through this thing called life (R.I.P. Prince), by encouraging, inspiring and promoting services, products and good ol’ fashioned wisdom, knowledge and guidance on each individual’s path to their higher self. 

Well, wasn’t that a mouthful! 

Broken down, they want you to be the best you, you can be and live a blissful life, chock-full of the good stuff life has to offer, no matter what your beliefs may be or where you may desire your path to lead. 

This isn’t a quick fix, obviously…and, while there is magic, Soulcial Vibes believes you make your own magic – so, no magic potions or powders or anything – you have to work to attain what you desire to achieve. 

Michi at Soulcial Vibes just helps facilitate that magic. No gimmicks. No games. No fairy godmothers and fairytale endings…unless you’re willing to invest in one. 

Now, I don’t mean financially. Michi wants you to invest in you. That is, after all, the first step and main player in your journey. 

Granted, Soulcial Vibes offers and promotes some wonderful tools that, should that be what calls to you to assist your journey to a happier, healthier life, by all means. For example, they are a huge fan of VibesUp Earth Mats, which I am eagerly awaiting to try for myself! VibesUp also offers everything from bracelets to flip flops to nail polish (yup! I said nail polish!) with the same mineral technology that is highly acclaimed to do everything from ease back pain to aid weight loss to assist with concentration; everything but take off and fly, if you read some of the 118+ benefits and uses of these revolutionary mats/”technology”. I want to wrap myself, like a human burrito in one, since I think all but four of the listed suggestions had me wiping the drool off my screen. 

Granted, much like cheese is optional on a burger, and not necessarily for everyone, so are these tools. They are simply that – tools. 

The real magic is in the gentle encouragement and support that radiates and reminds you, as Michi says, “that you are love and are loved”. It may sound a little cheesy, especially if you’re picturing it coming out of my tattooed, pierced, typically foul mouth. If you’ve followed GF for any length of time though, you know I never recommend or promote anything I don’t honestly believe in. I’m honest, if nothing more, and have a list of companies who refuse to send me certain products for review because they didn’t believe me when reading our PR disclaimers the first time, and learned the hard way. 

I strongly recommend checking out Soulcial Vibes! Especially, on the Soulcial Vibes Facebook Page, where page fans have a plethora of daily good vibes, as well as access to free readings and giveaways! 

Yes, giveaways! Which include Michi’s wonderful, hand created blessing pouches, which are then customized for the recipient, with amazing devotion, energy and effort in the interest of helping you better yourself and in the interest of your higher good. 

Wanna sneak peek? Let’s just say this gal was the lucky winner of the abundance blessings pouch, and cannot wait to have her hot little paws on it (end of week)! 

Just some of the amazing goodies going in my abundance pouch! And, the chunks of the VibesUp Earth Mat!

Palo Santo wood for added blessings!

Go! Run (not with scissors or anything)! Check them out! I will keep you updated as my “goody pouch” arrives (especially on the VibesUp Earth Mat pieces being included) and just the very joy of this amazing “prize” (see? The abundance has already started!), has me in a better place and heading off on my path with a better sense of direction and a brighter outlook for the future. 

As we near the end of 2016, and those winter doldrums start to set in, now is the time to get your Vibe on! Since the energy really does radiate through the screen, sit back, take a couple minutes just for you, grab a cuppa (coffee, tea, that PSL), and a deep breath. May the blissful serenity of my abundance pouch radiate forth, so you too, may enjoy it’s blessings! 

Then, go check them out and grab your own! 


(Oh! And don’t forget to like Glitter Fantasy on Facebook, too!)

Photo credits: personal, Soulcial Vibes