1. Orchid Spectrum: this week I went to the U.S. Botanic Garden orchid exhibit and found my new favorite orchid among tons of amazing specimens. This stunning purple-black orchid is a Vandachostylis Colmarie ‘Carmela’ and I am utterly in love. I posted about my visit (with lots of pics!) over on my orchid blog, bklynorchids.com, so feel free to check them out there!

2. Sephora Collection Lotus Sleeping Mask [paid link]: this little “single-use” pod came in the Holy Sheet mask set that I received over the holidays. So far I’ve only used one other sleeping mask pod from the set so I decided to crack this moisturizing and soothing pod open this week. These pods are intended for one-time use, but there’s actually so much product in them that I can stretch them out for four nights, even when I slather them all over my face and neck! This lotus sleeping mask is a pink jelly-looking formula that takes a few minutes to soak into the skin. It smells a bit floral, but it’s more of a fresh floral than an overpowering scent. After using this product for four consecutive nights I can’t say it made much of a difference in my skin, so I wouldn’t buy it on its own. But if it came in a set, I wouldn’t have a problem using it again.

3. Sephora Collection Avocado Eye Mask [paid link]: this week I also tried the avocado eye mask from the same Holy Sheet set. I feel like I always put eye masks on wrong, but I guess it doesn’t really matter as long as the product is being absorbed into your skin. This avocado formula is meant to nourish and repair. I didn’t really feel like my eye area was in dire need of either of those things (and I never feel that way about my eye area anyway), so there weren’t any noticeable results. The skin around my eyes felt a little sticky for awhile after use due to the excess serum. I guess my skin can only absorb so much at a time! Again, I’d use this eye mask if it came in a set but wouldn’t spend money on it on its own.

4. Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower and Blue Cheese: on Monday morning I spotted this recipe in The New York Times daily briefing and decided to make it for dinner that night. And I am SO happy that I did! This was a very easy recipe and it tasted AMAZING. It’s like a fancy stovetop mac and cheese without the fuss of making a roux or baking the dish for 30-plus minutes. The recipe called for leeks but I couldn’t find them at my store, so I threw in some caramelized onions that I had made awhile back and stuck in the freezer. The Gorgonzola dolce (plus the addition of butter and pasta water) turned this into a seriously creamy bowl of yum. It’s one of those meals that veers toward restaurant quality. I will definitely make it again!

5. Sunset: I will never stop sharing photos of amazing sunrises and sunsets that I have the pleasure of experiencing. This particular sunset took place last Friday evening, and I was in awe of those gorgeous watercolor hues.