Thursday, April 13, 2017

Getting Lost

By Lisa VanWilliams

Karen Blixen said, "I know of a cure for everything: salt one way or the other. Sweat, or tears, or the salt sea."

We took a spontaneous Spring Break trip just to get away from it all. My husband, the two kids, and myself. The kids were wiped out after day 1 of swimming and beach, so we rented a car and drove. We drove aimlessly and ended up on the best beach side road we've been on in a long time and it felt great. Tropical forests on the right, and beach shanties & blue water on the left. Both the kids slept peacefully exhausted in the back seat.

We drove to the top of the rain forest and back down to the beach to look for a place to explore and have lunch. We missed the main turn off for the beach and ended up on some side road that was obviously not the main attraction we were looking for. We ended up parking and walking on a little side beach only to go around the bend and see the most beautiful lava rock and beach oasis. My son hurriedly grabbed as many coconuts as he could carry and my daughter searched for tiny fish in the pools of water accumulated on the lava rocks. It's not where we intended to be, but it's where we ended up. We had the beach to ourselves and it was perfect. Sometimes, your not lost, but where you are suppose to be. We stayed and for an hour or so we pretended to be Moana on the island beach.

My husband always says life is made up of moments. Not the big picture, but tiny moments. Tiny moments that take your breath away, balance you, and reinspire you when you lose sight of what's important or get lost along the way.  It ended up being the perfect day and the prefect cure, and a moment in time I will always remember.

Hold onto your precious moments.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Honest Beauty Truly Kissable Lip Kit

Review by Lisa VanWilliams
Move over Kylie, and check out these all natural high-quality lip kits from Honest Beauty. Spring arrives on Monday and the changing of the seasons is a great time to switch up your beauty regime. Honest Beauty was kind enough to send me over this new launch to check out for myself.This is a new limited edition that features a 1 all-purpose balm and two anti-oxidant rich lip crayons. It was also voted Best of Beauty Award Winner for Allure 2016 Editor picks.

The first lip crayon color is a demi-matte called Honey Kiss and it's a perfect soft nude, the second color is a sheer called Raspberry Kiss and it's a pop of fuchsia pink. The Honey Kiss is a little light in color for me (I am fair skinned right now and it makes me look washed out), but the Raspberry kiss is perfect. It's got a great sexy shimmer to it and it's not overly bright. The perfect hint of color. The lip crayons look like mock pencils but they have a twist colored end to that you turn like a regular lipstick to push up more color. No sharpening needed. 

The Magic Balm can be used anywhere, just avoid eye contact. The balm is a mix of organic fruit and botanical oils created to soften and soothe. There's not much of a smell to it and it's great to apply to your lips and just rub the rest into your hands. It absorbs fast and leaves skin feeling soft and moisturized. This is a really nice kit and worth check out!

The Honest Beauty lip kit is selling for $28 ($54 dollars in value) and it's available at:

Monday, February 27, 2017

February Beauty Picks

Here are a couple new launches to check out. These items should hold me over til Spring happens in three more weeks!

Tweezerman Holographic Tweezer ($26) - These jazzed up iridescent precision tweezers are so sharp they almost scare me. They are sharp, they are pointy, and they are precise. Get yourself a Conair 10X magnifying mirror (around $48 at Bed, Bath & Beyond with 20% off coupon), and these tweezers, and you will never be bored again. You can give yourself the best facials and remove every hair you didn't know you had with that mirror and these tweezers. Available at:

Le Couvent Des Minimes Botanical Cologne of Love (8.4 fl. oz $49) is mix of orange blossom, bergamont, mandarin, wild rose, nasturtium, and petitgrain. It's a unisex floral and fruity body spray for anytime of the day. Smaller sizes are available at Ulta 1.0oz for $16 or 3.4oz for $38. It smells fresh and clean and it's not overpowering. Great cologne to try out if you like soft scents and orange blossom. Items available at:

Lauren B. ($18 each) sent me a few chemical free colors to check out. Hollywood Royalty is a inky purple with a hint of gray and it creates a velvety shimmering shade. Ocean Ave is a cool peri winkle blue inspired by a bike ride along the boardwalk from Santa Monica into Venice Beach. I wore this for a week and a couple people commented how they liked the color. It's a nice pop of dreamy tropical smurf blue.
To order online, please go to:

Friday, February 24, 2017

Benecos - Natural and Organic Makeup

Benecos offers affordable natural beauty products and they are launching a few new items. This pure plant and mineral-based brand is creating a buzz and they were kind enough to send me some items to check out for myself.

Natural Light Fluid Foundation ($17.99) is a light and effective foundation that provides subtle and delicate coverage. Available in three colors: dune, sahara, mocca. A little goes a long way and it sets fast. I tried the Dune and I have a fine color skin but on the tan side and it was a good match.

Natural Lipsticks ($13.99) I tried the "First Love" which is a coral pink shade just waiting for Summer to come along. It has avocado oil and babassu oil so it will leave your lips feeling moisturized, soft, and seductive. I little too pinky for me (I like neutrals).

Natural Eyeshadows ($12.99) I tried the Mono Eyeshadow in Choco Cookie which is a milk chocolate brown shimmer that's perfect for night time wear all over your lid.

Benecos uses certified and organic ingredients whenever possible and they are cruelty-free. To find about more about Benecos and to order online, please go to:

Friday, February 3, 2017

John Masters Organics - Lip Balm & Hand Creams

Review by Lisa VanWilliams
If your lips or skin are feeling a little dry, it's a great time of the year to check out the new John Masters Organics Lip Calm Collection and the Hand Cream Collection launching this month. They were kind enough to send me the new sets to check out for myself. I have previously tried some of their roll on perfumes and I like the brand.

The Lip Calm comes in Peppermint, Raspberry,  Vanilla and original scent of Citrus. They sell for $6 each or you can get the set for $22. I think Peppermint is my fave. They go on smooth and my lips feel moisturized.

The Hand Cream comes in Lemon & Ginger, Lime & Spruce, and Orange & Rose scent. The 1.9oz sizes go for $14 each of you can get the set for $40. The Lemon & Ginger is a pop of citrus. The Lime & Spruce reminds me of the tree in the house during December but it's very energizing. The Orange & Rose is a sweet scent but I don't prefer this one (one of the oils in there does not agree with me). They feel good, not greasy, and the lotion soaks in fast. These are the perfect purse size, or toss in your car for extra hand cream option.

John Masters Organics has over 30 products to chose from, and they have been doing organic hair, skin and body care for over 20 years. Products are USDA certified organic, cruelty free, and made in the USA.

To find out more about the company, or to order any products, please go to:

Friday, January 27, 2017

Meal Prepping - Low Carb Meal Recipes

By Lisa VanWilliams
All of the families I cook for have started the New Year off right and they are all eating healthy! Today's client prefers healthy low-carb meals and I made a bunch of tasty dishes. As a private chef I cook tons of food, yet I struggle to feed my own family. I have two children under the age of six that only eat three things (chicken nuggets, french fries & clam chowder), and none of my cooking. I come across many dishes that look tempting enough to make in my own home for my husband and I, and today I made a few good ones I wanted to share!

Beef and Cashew Stir-Fry
This is a fragrant dish and you can add whatever veggies you prefer if this mix does not suit you. I like to hit the cashews with a hammer in a sandwich bag to get them extra fine and sprinkle them on top at the end.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb Sirloin
1 onion, cut into thin wedges
1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
1 bunch broccolini
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon chili sauce
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce
toasted cashews
steamed brown rice

1. Heat oil in wok or pan over high heat. Cook the beef in batches, for 1-2 minutes, until well browned. Remove from the pan.
2. Heat a little more oil over medium heat, add the onion, red pepper, broccolini, ginger, garlic, and chili. Cook and toss around for 3-4 minutes or until just tender.
3. Return the beef to pan with the combined sauces. Toss until well mixed and heated.
4. Serve over brown rice and sprinkle w cashews

Glazed Carrots w Orange and Ginger
This is a great way to sweeten the carrots and adds a nice pop of citrus with the beef stir fry.

Tomato Basil Chicken
This is a classic. You can't go wrong with chicken cutlets, basil, tomatoes, and balsamic! Great recipe for reheating as well. I will make this.

Roasted Root Vegetables w Rosemary
I omitted the leeks because the store was out of them and I substituted some scallions in at the end.

Pecan-Crusted Honey Mustard Salmon
Yum Yum Yum...I would eat anything encrusted in pecans. Again, take a hammer to the pecans for extra fine and I leave a few pieces in there for texture.

French Cut Green Beans w Almonds and Fried Onions

I also did a couple batches of McCormick Grill Mates marinated chicken. Grilled chicken is great to keep on hand for extra protein and they are packed with flavor. You can toss these on a salad, put them in a wrap, use them for soup, or just eat them plain.
The have tons of options, and they are all great.

Grill Mates - Island Woodfire & Smoky Applewood Grilled Chicken

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Promise Organic - Facial Skincare & Body Products

Review by Lisa VanWilliams
Every Winter I struggle with dry skin and I am constantly on the hunt for cures and remedies. I have recently been using Promise, which is an affordably priced and environmentally conscious organic skincare line. I really like the products and I would recommend the brand if your looking to try out some non-toxic alternative brands. These all contain organic ingredients, and they are made with plant-derived alternatives like aloe vera leaf juice, and shea butter. The body products are all priced under $10, and the facial care products are all under $15.

Promise Organic recently launched 14 new products in two distinct collections. The Ultra-Moisturizing Argan Crème is for normal to dry skin, and the Nourishing Coconut Milk which is for normal to dry skin. They were king enough to send me the Ultra-Moisturizing Set to check out for myself and help my dry winter skin.

The Towelettes are very refreshing and they do not leave a tacky feel. This is a great way to remove makeup, oil and impurities from skin in a gentle way and they smell great. ($5.99)

The Facial Scrub works to remove dead skin. It has a wonderful smell of blended sugar and walnut shells. ($9.99) The Facial Cleanser has aloe vera and soap berries in it and it has a great lather to it. ($7.99)

Promise Organic is exclusively available at select CVS locations throughout the U.S. To find out more about Promise Organic, you can go to:

To order online from CVS:

The body wash with shea butter smells great and has a nice lather ($6.99), followed by the body lotion which offers deep moisture without a greasy feel.($8.99) All of the products either have a citrus smells to them or a grapefruit smell. 

I was bummed the pump in the facial cream is not working but I did try the squeeze version. The Facial Cream goes for $14.99. Nice smell, soaks in fast, no residue or greasy feel. My skin feels great. 

  • Certified to NSF
  • Not test on animals
  • Recycled packaging
  • Made in the USA
  • 1% for the planet (1% of all product sales are donated to THE NATURE CONSERVANCY)