Hello Winter.....Brrr it's cold outside!

Updated: Jan 31, 2019

Well as I sit here writing there is a little of that white stuff out my window. Winter is definitely here in New York. At times it looks gorgeous when we get the "real snow" but I have to say this is my least favorite season. I am not happy about the current forecast for this week. I am just not a cold weather person. Dreary and cold I could totally do without. It certainly affects our bodies, skin and everything else.

I am trying to be proactive though and counteract this mood and weather!


Here is how my shopping list and winter to do list is taking shape right now. Take a look below for my January FAVE finds and all the things I've been using this wintery month.


I am layering overtime every time I walk out the door. This huge wrap in soft vanilla and beanie were a great find at Zara.



If all else fails I just go for a little warm up in front of the fire as often as possible:)


I am finding I just want don't want to go out for dinner as much and just want to be cozy and warm up to some cold weather cooking certain nights. I am trying to begin the year on a healthy start as well so I came up with this delicious vegetable soup recipe which is all vegan!


I used what I had in my fridge for the day, but any combination of vegetables could be used.


Here is my version of what I was told was the "best vegetable soup" by a certified plant based, vegan connoisseur!

Here ya go....

Vegetable Soup from







1/2 sweet onion, chopped

2 tbs garlic chopped

4 tbl olive oil

3 carrots, chopped

4 stalks celery, chopped

1 zucchini, chopped

1 1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped

1 1/2 cups spinach leaves

1 red and 1 yellow pepper, chopped

1 can crushed tomatoes

2 tsp sundried tomato paste

16-20 oz of vegetable broth (depends if you like very chunky or more soupy?):)

I use 16 oz of broth




Sweat the onion and garlic in oil until light and soft. Just a few minutes on low heat.

Add in the carrots and celery and cook for 4 minutes or so on medium heat.




Add in the mushroom, zucchini and peppers and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.



Add in all the tomatoes and the paste and cook until the paste is all incorporated and then add in all your broth. Bring to a boil and them lower the heat to simmer and cook another 30 minutes. Add in all the spinach until wilted.





I also made this delicious herb pistou to top off the soup as a garnish. This DOES have parmesan cheese so if you are looking for an all vegan dish just skip this, but if not, I highly recommend it. It was so yummy and tasted amazing as a dip for raw veggies or crackers too.




Herb Pistou


1/2 cup parsley

1/4 cup dill

1 cup spinach leaves

1tsp garlic

1/3 cup olive oil

2-3 tbl parmesan cheese ( to taste)


Put the garlic and herbs in a food processor and chop until mixed. Drizzle in the oil until all mixed. Add in parmesan to taste. Dollop this on top of your hot soup as a garnish. It is also delicious served as a dip with credit, bread or crackers. I would also use it on top of any grilled fish as a sauce.



Now we have established it just plain cold and we are fully into winter.

So lets talk skin and body......now this is a winter topic affecting me in some form or fashion every day.

Just a few days back in the cold of New York I am feeling it on my skin immediately. I have stocked up on these alpha beta peels from Dr. Dennis Gross.


Dr. Dennis Gross alpha beta peel

SO I have been using these pads for almost 15 years! At almost 55 years old I get a reasonable amount of compliments on my skin and people are always asking me "what do I do?". Well one thing "I do" is use these pads from my dermatologist, Dr. Dennis Gross. I do wash my face every morning and night either with his products or Chanel face wash. I went to Dr. Gross right before my 40th birthday. I suppose in a bit of a weird panic state thinking "I'm about to be 40" and he very calmly said "your skin is all good, I think these alpha beta peels would help preserve, and be a nice addition to your skin care routine'. He couldn't have been more right. When I run out them or skip a few days I notice the difference right away. They just seem to keep your skin glowing and feeling right, not tight but feeling fresh. Without them I feel I get a dull wash over my face. Highly recommend these and any of his products.



The weather also seems to affect my hair. Everything just seems to be a bit dry. Maybe because of all the cold outside or maybe because of the dry heat at home.

This shampoo and conditioner from Soekoro is great for any color treated hair and Pancho, the stylist who created these products, has other varieties for all hair types as well.




My skin is dying in this weather. I am addicted to Bliss body lotion. I actually use it EVERY day ALL year long. Head to toe. I can't live without it. They have quite a few scents but I stick to the

Bliss Aloe Leaf & Peppermint Moisturizing Foot Cream and the Naked Body Butter




Hand and lips are another story. I think one of the best tried and true lip products is Aquaphor. You know the drugstore stuff. I keep it on my makeup table in all my handbags, travel bag. It is also great on cracked heels and dry hands.




As the year started out my mood changed a bit and I was looking for a nice softer scent in my candles. I'm loving this Diptyque vanilla candle. It's pretty amazing to if you use it while taking a nice little bubble bath.

Speaking of baths.....

It didn't take many days after returning from California to feel the cold effect on my skin. My whole body was feeling it. I am really digging these bath salts from https://www.cucciosomatology.com


The milk bath is great for moisture and the detox bath is amazing on the days I am feeling stiff from the cold or a harder than usual hot yoga. I sent these to my daughter and she said " is it in my head or did you feel a difference after 2 baths?" I think it's a real thing. All of the products are really great that they make.This Cuccio detox bath is perfect for easing sore muscles and the milk bath perfect for chilly weather! Best bath soak ever!





Another fantastic beauty find and skin miracle is an organic oil from Trees and Flowers. Developed by makeup artist to the stars, Lynda Eichner, who has been getting people ready for the red carpet for years. A hidden secret and routine skin prep she used on her A list clientele is now available to all. Trees and Flowers is the perfect antidote for your face and glowing skin.


​Lynda spent years perfecting this recipe and she also shadowed a Master Healer from Japan for several years and learned what the skin thrived on. This experience, along with a fascination of the ancient healing practice of Ayureveda, inspired Lynda to create several different oils to use on skin.



These oils are calming and soothing, creating a beautiful canvas before makeup or simply to add a glow to clean skin. Every ingredient comes from either a tree or a flower and only organic and wildcrafted essential oils are used to create these pure and natural products.


I confess I keep the heat cranked up a lot when home and or sit in front of a fireplace as often as possible. Our home is very old and has those crazy old radiators. It get super warm in some places and while we keep warm it is very drying on your skin. I am about to invest in a humidifier to balance that out. I found many good ones on Amazon and Bed Bath & Beyond.


So that's my cold weather story. I hope wherever you are... you are heading into the weekend cozy and relaxed and that some of these finds may help warm you up this weekend.


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Carolyn Bender 
info@cbealifestyle.com

914-722-9094