Friday, March 17, 2017
Happy Friday! I'm currently obsessed with anything and everything rose: Rose colored, rose scented, rose flavored... you get it. Rose is so subtle and pretty, and makes a wonderful addition to beauty products. I also really love discovering new beauty products. I just received my first order from cult favorite Glossier this week and I'm really impressed. I think these products really live up to the hype, and I'm excited to try more of this brand. Although these products aren't made from 100% natural ingredients, I like the message behind the brand. They encourage you to accept your flaws and show off your skin instead of covering it up. I have also been loving these natural anti-aging products from Kiehl's, another long-time cult favorite band wagon I am just now jumping on. Here's a list of my current favorite obsessions:
Glossier Stretch Concealer $18 - This product appealed to me because it claimed to be like second skin. I have some hereditary darkness under my eyes and have nearly literally tried every concealer on the market. My under eye area also tends to be sort of dry, which is not a great base for concealer. Needless to say, my under eye area is my biggest skin concern. I am happy to say that this product did not disappoint! A lot of reviews I read said that this product was too sheer, but I totally disagree. I think it beautifully smooths imperfections and it is so ridiculously smooth and moisturizing... AND it stays put. You would think something so creamy would slide around, but there was barely a crease to be found hours and hours after application. The best part? This stuff is totally build-able (another claim I read about the product that did not disappoint) without being cakey or heavy. Do you get that I LOVE IT?
Glossier Cloud Paint in Haze $18 - Glossier totally gets me with their simple, pretty and fun packaging. These little paint tubes are filled with skin plumping, build-able color that looks flattering on virtually every skin tone. I really dig a healthy flush, so I chose their deepest berry color to try. It's so pretty! It looked a little intimidating when I squeezed a drop out of the tube, but it goes on very sheer until you build it up. Pretty much goof-proof, which I love because I am no make-up guru.
Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate $46 - I've used some light-weight anti-aging products since I was in my teens (mama is a long time Mary Kay lady), but now that I'm in my thirties, I decided to step it up a bit. I've been blessed with the 'still look like I'm 12' genes, and I'd like to keep it that way. This product is an expert concoction of essential oils and claims to reveal younger looking skin overnight. A little goes a long way, and I add a few drops into my moisturizer at night before hitting the sheets. After just a few days, my skin felt noticeably smoother (like crazy smooth) and my fine lines diminished. Plus, it smells good and is super easy peasy. I'm sold.
Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Eye $37 - As I mentioned above, my under eye area has been my main skin concern for years. I've tried so many (so, so many) under eye creams over the years, but I have pretty sensitive skin and most have crazy ingredients that cause more harm than good. This eye cream is a dream! It's super supple and not at all heavy. My skin literally sucks this stuff right up! I wake up looking like I've actually slept HOW BOW DAH!
Evan Healy French Rose Clay Mask $26.50 - I have been using Evan Healy clay masks for years! The green tea clay is my absolute fave, and I just recently discovered this amazing French Rose version. The green tea mask is a little more aggressive and will leave your skin pretty pink for some time after removing it. This mask is pink going on, but is made for sensitive and congested skin types so it leaves no irritation. It also has a bit of grain to it for exfoliation as you rinse it away, leaving you with clean, smooth and happy feeling skin.
Heritage Store Rose Water $9 - I have come back to this product after a few years of not using it. I used to purchase the version with Glycerine, but I found it to be irritating to my skin. I came across the non-glycerine version and I love it. I like to spray it on after using my rose clay mask to help soothe my skin. I also love adding some to my bath for that light rose scent.
What are some of your favorite products?
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
I'm sort of a self-proclaimed 'good girl' in the sense that I try to do what I think is right, but I have definitely done my share of sinning. What actually constitutes a 'sin' is different for everyone else and totally up for debate. To me, a sin is something you know you shouldn't really be doing, but you do it anyway because it feels good to some part of your soul. This outfit sort of reflects these opposite parts of my personality. I'm attracted to anything pink, soft and sweet looking, but I also love the power behind wearing black. The two are even better together. Anyway, this pretty pink blouse has been in my closet for quite some time. I think I've worn it twice, and I always forget how pretty it is. I usually opt for comfort and love the fuss-free freedom of throwing on a t-shirt, but sometimes it's fun to be a little more fancy. This blouse is actually pretty sheer, and I used to wear a tank underneath, but I hate tugging at all the layers. So, I just threw it on over a pretty bra and voila! Ladies are "supposed" to wear bras, so I figure I might as well enjoy pretty ones. And hey, they aren't cheap, so why not show them off a little. If you think that's indecent... well... then next time I just won't wear one at all, so pick your battles :] (blame the sinner in me).
Blouse - Forever 21
Jacket - Gypsy Warrior
Jeans - Levi's
Shoes - Colin Stuart for Victoria's Secret
Thursday, March 9, 2017
Today I made a really tough decision. Life changing. I decided that it was time to take a break from peanut butter and give almond butter a chance to show me what's up. Ok, so maybe it's not so serious. Or maybe you just don't realize how much PB I actually consume on a daily basis. I currently have a nearly empty crunchy bae sitting in the fridge with 2 brand spankin' new jars up in the cupboard. No grocery run is complete without a trip down the Isle of Creamy Dreamy. To my shock and dismay, I recently read somewhere that a fellow PB loving baker actually developed an adult stage PB allergy from consuming waaay too much (I will still argue that too much PB is not a thing)! Reading that scared the crunchy-creamy dickens out of me, so I picked up some alternates. Sooo... to help me get through this rough patch, I decided to let almond buttah do me a solid and whip up the kind of cookies you make when you're heartbroken: the sweet, salty, sinful-but not so sinful that you feel guilty- kind of cookies. These are flourless, gluten free and refined sugar free with a pea protein pow! Crunchy, chewy, sweet and salty satisfaction. There is light at the end of the tunnel... or maybe that's the fridge light. Whatevs.
Almond Butter Cup Protein Cookies
1 cup almond butter
2/3 cup coconut sugar
2 scoops unsweetened pea protein (can sub other unflavored or vanilla protein powder if desired)
2 to 3 tblsp dark choco chips
1 to 2 tsp coconut oil
Almond Butter Glaze
1 heaping spoon almond butter
1 to 2 tsp coconut oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees anf line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the almond butter and coconut sugar with an electric mixer. Add in the egg and whisk until combined. Whisk in the protein powder. A crumbly but moist dough should form. Roll about 1 inch balls of dough in your hand and place on your prepared cookie sheet. (I was able to get 24 cookies this way. You can definitely roll bigger balls of dough if you want larger cookies)
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until slightly golden but still soft. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. While your cookies cool, prepare the chocolate coating and almond butter drizzle. Melt each in separate bowls with coconut oil. 30 second increments until smooth. Dip each cpokie halfway into the chocolate and place on a tray lined with parchment. Pop in the fridge or freezer to set. Remove from cooling and drizzle with melted almond butter. Place back in the fridge or freezer until set and enjoy!
I like to keep these in the freezer. Keeps them nice and chewy.
Friday, March 3, 2017
Chocolate and I have carried on a long time love affair. Chocolate and I understand each other. Chocolate and I have a bond that cannot be broken. That's why you may notice that nearly all of the recipes I post have chocolate in them. When I think sweet, I think chocolate. Brownies are the ultimate chocolate dessert. I have tried a lot of brownie recipes in my day, but this one might just top all other brownies. First of all, they are made with my favorite flour to bake with: oat flour (xoxo). Secondly, you can change up the sugar and use either cane sugar or coconut sugar (my other fave baking buddy). Both result in ridiculously delicious brownies, but for different reasons. I'm not really a fan of cane sugar, and I reaaallllyyy try to keep that refined babe out of my sweets... but using white sugar creates a crazy beautiful and satisfying crust like nobody's business. The brownies will puff up when baking and then sink when you take them out of the oven, creating cracks of crusty goodness hugging a shy, gooey center. That was my first experience with these brownies, following the original recipe (sans coffee), which you can find here. My second time baking these brownies, I swapped out the refined sugar for coconut sugar. This resulted in a more dense, fudge-like brownie with crazy-complex flavors. The coconut sugar and butter create a sort of (ah-mazing) caramel base, and when they are baked and cooled (I always put my brownies in the fridge or freezer), they taste faintly of coffee. Don't even get me started on the crazy-good and chewy texture with studs of dark chocolate. I cut these babies into bites and store them in a ziplock in the freezer. I eat them cold, but popping a few in the micro for 10-15 seconds is something I can't (and won't) argue with.
1 1/3 cups oat flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 (1 1/2 sticks) cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups coconut (or cane) sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line an 8x8 ceramic baking dish with parchment paper. In a separate bowl, mix together the oat flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter. Mix in the sugar and then microwave for another minute. Whisk by hand with a wire whisk or fork until smooth and creamy. Add in the vanilla and cocoa powder. Mix in the eggs one at a time until smooth. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet until just combined. Don't over mix! Top with dark chocolate chips or chunks and bake for about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool at least 10 minutes before cutting.
I baked these in a ceramic baking dish and they turned out beautifully. I also tried a batch in a metal pan, but they turned out dry and cakey.
These are best a bit under-baked. They will look too gooey when you remove them from the oven, but they will firm up as they cool.
Thursday, February 23, 2017
We all have rituals. Whether it's that morning cup of coffee (or two), a daily jog or yoga practice, reading before bed, etc. I have a few of my own, specifically geared towards self-care, like baths and daily meditation. Crystals, salts, oils, teas and candles are a big part of my favorite rituals. I believe in the calming/healing/powerful properties that these items hold, and I use them for different purposes. I carry bergamot oil in my bag for when I'm feeling particularly nervous and need to feel grounded. I use bath salts to relax and restore my fatigued muscles after a workout or long day. I have crystals for different purposes (protection, healing, anxiety, balance, etc.) and I wear a moonstone ring everyday. I love lighting candles, and drinking teas that work naturally with my body. Here are some of my favorite things that play a big part in my daily rituals:
Crystals - I've always been drawn to stones and crystals. Yes, they're beautiful and unique, but I also believe in the healing and empowering properties that they hold.
Sage - Smudging is new to me, and I love the ritual of cleansing my home with sage. My favorite way to use sage is to let the light smoke (sort of like insense) fill each corner of each room in the house. Then I open all the windows and watch as the smoke is pulled out of the house. I like to imagine that all negativity is pulled out with it.
One of my favorite rituals is my daily tea intake. I try to support my body in the most natural, holistic ways I can, and I often turn to herbal teas. Traditional Medicinals is my favorite brand of teas.
I used to think aromatherapy was hogwash (yes, I used the term hogwash), but it is an age-old method that is proven to be very effective in balancing, calming and revitalizing your senses. I love adding lavender to a bath, combining rosemary with lavender and apricot oil to support healing, and I use bergamot daily to support and calm my nervous system.
What are some of your favorite rituals?
Have you heard of Depop? I'm totally hooked! I'm all about getting a great deal, especially when it comes to clothes. I got these two great jackets secondhand, in great condition and at a fraction of the original price. You can search by using keywords to find something that suits your style or by brand name. Depop offers everything from designer to vintage, all from independent sellers. You can buy and sell, like I do, and sometimes even suggest a trade. It's so much more fun than trying to survive the mall (seriously).
Jacket - Gypsy Warrior via Depop
Dress - Not Brand Name
Socks - Forever 21
Shoes - Steve Madden
Jacket - Forever 21 via Depop
Dress - H&M
Shoes - Mod Cloth
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
I'm not a huge fan of Valentine's Day or the expectations that come with it. Sure, hearts are cute, and who doesn't love a box of chocolates? I'm just not a fan of how the holiday creates a buying frenzy. Love should be celebrated everyday, and I fully believe in showing the people you love how you feel in little, meaningful ways - every single chance you get - ...but I don't think that should mean buying a bunch of 'stuff'. I also hate the question, "So, what did he/she/they get you for Valentine's Day?", like it's some sort of competition. Now, I don't mean to sound like a jerk, but I just think that this holiday is LAME. This is coming from a hopeless romantic (I know it may not sound like it with all of my anti-Valentine's ranting). I have never thought that this holiday was romantic, and that's just my opinion. I'll take those, stay up late talking about life, kiss me in the middle of an argument, hold my hand while watching TV, bring me a flower you picked on your way home when you thought of me, and pinch my butt in the middle of the grocery store because you think I'm really cute (P.S. not an invitation to strangers) kind of moments. It's the little everyday things that matter to me.
Anyway, you know what's not lame? CAKE. Here's a yummy recipe:
Vegan Double Chocolate Cake
Slightly Adapted from Minimalist Baker
1 1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup hot coffee (I used instant)
2/3 cup melted coconut oil
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups + 2 Tbsp whole wheat white flour
1 1/3 cups coconut sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup vegan butter, softened
2 1/2 powdered sugar
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup dairy-free dark chocolate, melted and cooled
Splash of almond milk if needed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 8-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray and dust with cocoa powder. Tap the pans over the sink to shake out the excess, and set aside.
Mix the almond milk and vinegar in a large mixing bowl, and let set for a few minutes to thicken. Add the oil, coffee, and applesauce and beat until foamy.
Add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt to a separate bowl and whisk together. With your mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix until smooth and creamy (batter should be thick, but pour-able). Divide batter evenly between your 2 cake pans. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.
While the cakes cool, whip up your frosting. Whisk the vegan butter and powered sugar until creamy Add in your cooled, melted chocolate and mix until smooth, then add in the cocoa powder. Whisk everything on high until light and fluffy. Add in some almond milk if the frosting is too thick. You can always add more powdered sugar or cocoa if it's too thin. Once the cake is cooled, frost with your chocolate frosting. If you want to write a note, melt a little bit of white chocolate in the micro for 30 seconds at a time until smooth and melted. Transfer to a plastic sandwich bag, and cut the tip off one corner. Pipe your message onto your cake, and add some pretty flowers if desired. *Note: I always wrap a little parchment around the stems of my flowers before inserting them into the cake.
Whatever your opinion is of Valentine's Day, I hope you enjoy!