Monday Morning Madness: Little Celebrations

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Like most moments of our lives, things seem to pass by so quickly and we begin to wonder where all the time has gone. How we ended up in a particular place and it almost can begin to feel like life has a certain domino effect to it.  This has definitely been a theme to my thoughts lately, just thinking about how it’s already about to be the end of August and my birthday (i.e. October in 2 months, what?!) is about to be around the corner. I think this year has been the quickest year to date, but so far it’s been an amazing one.  

 This past weekend was about celebrating that last bits of summer and also welcoming new opportunities writing-wise, and other ideas, etc…that I’m looking forward to.  I will be posting pictures soon of Charleston, too! Anyhow, lately life handed me this thought; It’s so easy to become excited about where things are headed at times that we begin to completely (and almost unconsciously) dismiss those moments where we didn’t feel like we had any great ‘grand’ ideas, or had a goal that seemed almost untouchable at one point.  I suppose I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the meeting of those two phases in life. I’m at a place where I can see behind me- and I can see in front me.  It’s a fabulous feeling, even if things don’t work out. I suppose this is another phase of being in your 20s, and for me, just about mid-20s. Serious gasp, after that one.  But you know? It’s actually lovely to feel the ground not be quite as shaky.  I emphasize ‘quite’- but it’s a step.  Is this a just-about-mid-20s thought?  Ah, anyhow- this was me celebrating this somewhat ‘meeting place’ of my life, so far, this morning.  A new little routine I’m taking up…now.  You know how I’m all about the little things that make life feel a bit more like Wonderland. And p.s…it’s a dangerously delicious, and simple, combination- so beware.

 I mean, really, what’s better than strawberries, goat cheese, and cinnamon graham crackers?

 I would love to know- what are some of your small, yet magical, routines to celebrate life wanders? xoxo.

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In My Cup: Simple Inspirations From Friends.

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Even though all I can dream about lately is my favorite season, Fall, I decided I might as well embrace summer here and there before it’s gone. To be completely honest my week has been little sparks of wonderful, and other moments have been a drab. Lots of pondering on where in the hell I’ll be living in exactly one month from now, and trying to find a new job that won’t make me completely miserable, and also balancing heavier thoughts of the universe (i.e. oh, you know, just the meaning of life and all.) On the other hand, I have definitely had my fair share of catching up with friends lately whom I haven’t spoken to in a while, which is always a welcomed change.  For instance, one of my closest friends lives in Asheville, NC and just got a new ‘big-girl’ awesome job where her job title includes camping eight straight days every 2 weeks. How amazing is that? Of course we talked about it for about an hour like two crazed 20somethings having a rare ‘hey, things are going to be okay’ moment. Ah, to have a job hanging out in nature? Lovely. She is a newly-licensed Recreational Therapist, so to score a job within a huge Wellness center is definitely nothing short of amazing.  She will be helping people with substance abuse problems- what a wonderful way to be around people and nature everyday and to give back in a way. It made me rethink a lot of where I’m heading, and where I want to go. Good vibes. Anyhow, hope you loves are having a wonderful Thursday! xoxo. Here’s a few things that have made my life a bit more whimsical as of late, the first being Jessica (whom I talked about in this post) and me in the ridiculous boa, naturally:

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{sweet (blurry) memories of childhood and playing ‘Cinderella’}

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 {summertime treats: GoAgave natural soda}

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{an article I wrote this week about my experiences of living in the South, and how it taught me to trust + a beautiful view from my parent’s home}

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{new superga sneakers, before rainy Dave Matthews concert}

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 {fall-inspired candy corn scented candles in midsummer- instant cozy home makeover}

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 {the plants in my home are starting to make the place look like a jungle, which is a welcomed look especially on rainy evenings while reading}

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 {cupcakes and cashmere + thanks for the drink idea+ carrot margaritas}

xo. Cheers to the weekend!

In My Cup: Happy Anniversary, My Lovely Blog.

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{peach sharpies for writing, fresh vanilla-bean infused coffee/my ridiculous awesome mug, and crackling wick vanilla scented candles to make up for a calming winter fireplace sound}

So, WordPress gave me a tiny happy anniversary well wishing this morning- which I thought was too awesome.  I didn’t even know it had been a year since starting this blog (we’ll nix the fact I was sort of MIA for 5 months), but I couldn’t help but think it’s been a wonderful outlet for me to share my thoughts and feelings…and recipes and random ideas that I think up or come across.  Hopefully this next year will be even brighter, and somehow, I feel like it will be.  I figured since I was a little too late for Monday Morning Madness, I would just keep it a simple day of reflecting on the little things that have been making life bright as of late.  Thank you for following my blog and coming along this journey of life, with me. xoxo.

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{a newly-sprouting sunflower in my window, new beginnings are all around us}

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 {pretty NC skies + local beers}

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{re-found photos of beach summer trip + awesome ice cream shops}

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{manuka honey for DIY masks + late night movies}

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{sunbathing fur family, of course}

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{chic leith sweatpants + tildon pumps are sort of everything}

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{this hot pink scalloped lace shirt will forever have a place in my closet, bright colors are so uplifting}

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{where can we get this iced coffee? via Darling, Be Daring}

xoxo.

Monday Morning Madness: New Age Martha Stewart, Here.

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Hello Monday, you’ve really kicked my ass. Stress-wise, that is. You know the feeling, so I’m not going to harp, or keep the negative energy flowing, I’m going to make peach and fig tarts. As I did above. And, yes, they are pretty mostly because I like pretty things, but note, they fell apart the second you tried to eat them because, again, yes, I insisted they be gluten-free. So no worries, I’m no real Martha Stewart, my tarts are all show. But they tasted amazing and were also vegan, so woo! I only used honey and a tad of agave to sweeten, so I suppose it’s ‘a give and a take’ sorta’ thing. The flour was gluten-free obviously, so they were a brown-rice flour, so it makes the dough a little, hm, flakier, we’ll say. However, it did singe the ‘guilt’ a bit. Anyhow, this was the inspiration for a Monday afternoon full of attempt-to-be-Martha-Stewart fun. Of course, I opted for the ‘Laura-version’, trying to make it vegan and such. Note: I am no longer vegan (vegetarian), yet I sometimes find making things vegan are easier, and no, I have no idea as to why. I am definitely by no means good at baking, but it was actually quite lovely and stress-relieving. Maybe it was the wine? Probably, but we’ll go with the baking on this one. Perhaps we’ll be drunken Martha’s together? Perfect. Creative endeavors come in all forms, we’ll stick to that. xoxo. 

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{p.s…when you are trying to ‘vibe’ with your inner Martha, if you mix honey and cinnamon…it makes a mean natural and delicious decorating tool/option when you put it in a ketchup bottle, etc., so you can make frilly hearts, like above, without all the added refined sugar, hell yea!}

p.s.s…check out my 10 Reasons He Doesn’t Have a Girlfriend, with all the other awesome writers over at 20something. xoxo.

In My Cup: Weekend Style and Sorts.

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{the best iced latte I have ever had at the 7th Street Farmer’s Market, with Vanilla Bean-infused sugar}

Hm, for the most part life as of late has been pretty busy with here and there, and a lot of craziness in-between. I was stoked about moving somewhere new for the past month, and then like most things, my plans went into a hectic downpour and I decided to stay in my current apartment. In which, yet again, I should know my luck because I waited until the itsy bitsy last minute (as any person of my nature would, life is unpredictable, random invites to Paris could always be hovering around the corner, right?) and someone grabbed my lovely apartment right from beneath me. So now I’m something like a nomad, per usual. Oh, the loveliness of life. Anyhow, after about 3 hours of complete spazz mode seeing I had nine days to figure out a new place to call my habitat, I opted for a bottle of wine. I thought it was a great idea. It must have been actually, because the next day I was notified the heaven-sent angel said he was in ‘no hurry’ to move in (it’s like, where are you going to live you mysterious man? Are you just drifting along, or did you just finish ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ and get all lovely and thankful on me?) so I said karma would grace him any day now, like any normal person would respond. He is giving another 2 months for me to wait until the last minute. What a lovely, indeed.

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{I had to include a quote, you can’t reference ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, without a quote. It’s impossible}

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 {my first choice for stress-management, naturally}

So with the two months in hand, I’m still all over the place as the where I want to move. I could just stay in Charlotte for another year to get a bit more steady, but then my whole ‘Life is short, Laura White, what the hell are you doing?’ voice blows me away like some god-like conscious. Stating the above when I least expect it, like while I’m making coffee, or while I’m in the shower, making pancakes, watching a move, driving, etc. I’m actually kind of a hazard at this moment in my life, please consider this a warning if you see me driving past you…god-like voices from our conscious do not discriminate while driving, apparently.

However, aside from my craziness, as always. I hope your Saturday is lazy and full of summertime randoms. Here are some things/inspirations in my cup lately…

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 {speaking of infusing sugar, I’m thinking of giving this classic idea a healthy twist by infusing my coconut sugar with vanilla beans instead}

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{obvious self portrait moments, that we’re all guilty of, when I realize I’m always ready for it to be Fall/dark color schemes}

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{what I’ll be painting tomorrow, because who can resist gold painted honey bears as vases? Obviously, like, no one. A Beautiful Mess, always has such addicting ideas}

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 {Sex on a first date? My advice, from a gypsy fairy perspective (you’ll know what I mean, ladies, in my best ‘Samantha’ voice), of course}

freepeoplebalcony.

 {Refinery29 nails switching to natural makeup-three-part ‘need to knows’ + these Free People slips are so pretty}

sweetlyrawbananadonuts.

{healthy mini-banana donuts, they do exist! Vegan & gluten-free, plus how cute are they?}

Monday Morning Madness: Creamy Coconut-Garlic Dressing

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The other day we were grilling out and I was in the mood for a homemade salad dressing. I wanted something with a punch and yet had a light feel to it, quick to prepare, and of course- fresh ‘laying around the house’ ingredients. I whipped this together and it was a hit, even with people who definitely would rather slide the idea of ‘healthy’ over. The coconut oil gives the dressing a light and subtle sweet coconut flavor, while the garlic is a balance of rustic and savory, and the avocado I used helps to give everything just the right creaminess for a dressing I plan to use quite often. Plus, it’s super versatile- you can use it a lot this summer in a pinch; sandwiches, a quick dip, or a good toss in a tried and true pasta salad recipe…

Continue reading “Monday Morning Madness: Creamy Coconut-Garlic Dressing”

Monday Morning Madness: ‘Pretty Simple ways to’ get ‘glow-worthy’ in your recipes.

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Hello loves, I hope your weekend was all that you dreamed it would be. If not, there is plenty of time for wine tonight. Today, I was just hoping to share a few tips to get glowing for summer, and not to mention, healthier. Summertime is definitely full of flavor. From barbecues to seasoning, it’s easy to stick to tried-and-true recipes and habits. However, sometimes it’s nice to get out there and try some new ideas and shake things up a bit. Plus, I promise if you give these three ‘swaps’ a chance, you might be pleasantly surprised at how versatile they become around your kitchen, and how often you’ll be using them. And no, you don’t have to only use these for everything, I have definitely learned not to be a preacher, but ‘here and there’ can make a pretty big difference to your summertime glow, and your health.

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1. Nutritional yeast has a bit of a ‘cult-following’ by many vegans, and it’s kind of no secret as to why. Besides the name itself being less-than-‘yum’, it is actually one of the best kept secrets in the glow-worthy department of eating for health. The first time I heard of the stuff, I was a bit hesitant, I mean- it sounded more like a bread-starter than a delicious good-for-you cheesy treat. However, I went to my health food store and grabbed some, hoping all it’s glam and gossip would deliver the promises I had read all about. I started mixing and baking and tasting…and sure enough- the stuff can be absolutely delicious, with the flavor consistent with cheese. I am most fond of its’ power when it comes to Macaroni and Cheese, and Strawberry Cheesecakes. The above picture was from just the other night, it’s quick and easy and can be subbed for any cheesy-dish. I like to play around and add things like bell pepper and garlic, for extra health benefits and taste.

Why it’s Glow-Worthy: It is chock-full of good-for-you protein, so it has all the essential amino acids your body needs to be its’ healthiest. Also, one of the best reasons to add some to your recipes, is its’ high content of vitamins; especially B-complex vitamins for extra energy, most notedly B-12. Just a little bit, goes a long way! It is ironically very low in fat and sodium, yet when added to different recipes takes on the flavor of richer dishes. So go ahead and eat your Macaroni and Cheese, it’s really good for you! 😉

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Dulse is an amazing substitute for regular table salt, I’m kind of addicted. However, the best part is that it’s super low in sodium, yet brings a salty flavor we all want. I’m also a big fan of simply adding half pink himalayan salt, and the other half subbed for dulse. I have been finding it adds a good balance, mostly because dulse can have a certain taste that many have to grow used to- yet it is very subtle. What is it, you ask? It is actually a sea vegetable and is used in a lot of asian dishes, so it does have a certain undertone in its’ flavor. It is actually quite versatile in the different recipes you can create with it. I for one, think this recipe would make for a great use of dulse vs salt. And, of course, my above ‘Sweet and Salty Mash’, which is essentially just lots of dulse and garlic, complimented by the sweetness of the sweet potatoes. It’s really good for a summertime side-dish.

Why it’s Glow-Worthy: It is full of beautifying minerals that regular salt just doesn’t add up to (although I’m talking sea salt here vs pink himalayan salt, that I’m also a big fan of), plus the big difference is it’s low-sodium. Dulse also is great for under-eye darkness and can help eliminate puffiness. Which is mostly caused by our over-consumption of salt, which then leads to water retention/a load of problems. When we consume dulse it helps balance the electrolytes in our body, and therefore help to keep us less bloated. It is also a great form of B-vitamins.

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This is a new ‘to do’, with me. I have talked about my bread obsession here, but this is actually such a simple way to add an extra punch of vitamins and minerals to the norm’ ‘sandwiches’ we (or at least I) tend to grab for during the summertime months. It’s something I’m still playing around with and trying to swap a lot more, but with the farmer’s markets getting more dense with an array of fresh, green, leafy veggies, it’s kind of a no-brainer to keep it a routine. As you can see above, all you have to do is cut along the stem to make it easier for wrapping, and voila. I made the above wrap the other day and it was absolutely delicious. I have been thinking of ways to make it a little tastier and I came up with this: in a bowl just throw some apple cider vinegar, pinkhima’ salt, garlic, and dill- then toss the leaves around and let them stay in for at least an hour or so. So now, you have infused them with a little extra spice & flavor- and they are still full of all their goodness. Cooking them, to me, still kind of defeats the purpose of why they are so good for us. However, if you want to give them a light blanche, to make them a little more tender, I suppose it wouldn’t be so bad.

Why it’ Glow-Worthy: Well ironically, they literally brighten our skin’s tone. No joke. Only one cup provides us with up to 70% of our daily vitamin C. It also has a very high content of chlorophyll which helps to create a cleansing effect to our blood, and overall gives us better circulation which =’s a healthy glow. I suppose you can judge a vegetable by its’ denseness, and kind of put together how much ‘good stuff’ it is brimming with. Collards are definitely super dense- to me- even more so than cult-standing kale. It is also very high in body (and skin)-loving vitamin A, B vitamins, and E. While also providing a serious amount of calcium and iron, which many of us girls need a lot of in our early 20s-30s. Plus, it’s super absorbable when in the form of collard leafs.

So, with nothing else to really say, get glowing my dears with these three simple swaps. Kind of crazy all the good the littlest changes can create. Oh, and a mantra for your Monday, because it’s so true. 😉 xoxo.

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Raw and Reckless Revamp: Beautify Your Dinner {Date.}

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Sometimes when I’m thinking of something to do for dinner, things get complicated real quick. Not to mention time consuming. This recipe, however, is certainly neither of them, not to mention it is delicious and great for your skin and healthier for you… Continue reading “Raw and Reckless Revamp: Beautify Your Dinner {Date.}”

Monday Morning Madness: Birthday-Filled Weekends; Children’s Books, Cocoa Butter, and Cardigans.

Morning Loves. Hope your weekend was a dear.

This is a spastic post. Mainly because I was all over the place this weekend, and well, pretty much altogether.

For starters, my Monday morning was an early one. I’ve been up since seven and it wasn’t the most relaxing morning, or weekend for that matter. For sure.

The weekend was met with exactly three birthdays, and looking back, it almost seems I haven’t been anywhere but a car for the better part of all of them. So to the parent’s house I went, partly because one of the birthday’s included my Father’s 72nd birthday, which still seems crazy to me! I can never quite grasp he was born in 1940, but his history has made a big impact of my own life, and so for that I will forever be grateful.

However, to add to the madness, there were a lot of question marks as to what random ideas I would pull together for a gift, but, there is one thing my father does adore. Food (as any man, of course). So I found some knicks and knacks of sorts which perhaps might help you if you’re in a crunch during a loved one’s birthday, as I was;

1. Sarabeth’s Strawberry-Rhubard Jam; Which may I say I had this a.m. and it was delicious/highly recommended.

2. This fancy Grapeseed Oil for high-heat cooking, plus the company itself seems pretty awesome.

3. Oh, so salty, Capers for Fall-inspired recipes.

4. Garlic-Basil Oil for bread dipping/quick appetizers.

5. A large ice-cube tray for cocktails- it’s great because the ice melts slowly so your drinks don’t become too watery!

5. And, an awesome versatile (stove top, oven, microwave!), Italian Terracotta, cooking pan. Which also helps because it’s Green. 🙂

After the present was already given, of course, I realized a good coffee would have been another great addition. Then again, there is still Christmas’s steady approach. However, all in all, it was kind of a perfect assortment because both my Mom and Dad could use it, which made me feel like I didn’t leave her out. So that was nice. Anyhow(www)…

Even in the hectic last-minute birthday cake runs, present searching, and deciding on an either funny or serious card (another dreaded decision!), laughter filled a lot of the craziness in. Which isn’t too hard because I have one of the funniest people in the world around a lot of the time, my boyfriend (aww, haha.), but, this book made for a pretty good competition. Have you ever heard of SkippyJon Jones? My niece’s fourth birthday was this weekend and I looked high and low for a good children’s book and came across this absolute jewel. We read it on the way to their house and…hysterical. Seriously, I haven’t laughed at a children’s book since I was a child myself, and for any parents out there/crazies like me whom love funny randoms…this book is too cute and hilarious!

 He kind of reminds me of Ciel, my precious pup. Whom Liddy (my niece) is obsessed with. She was her baby for the day, below. Too precious (haha!).

 Happy (now belated-ish) Birthday!

Another high, the weather. It was a chilly cool which called for two essentials; 1. Jason’s Cocoa Butter (heart, heart, heart!) because my skin seems to be switching to dehydration mode (<—post I’ll touch on very soon!), 2. and a little more layering. I wore a light beige J.Crew chunky cardigan I bought last year and practically lived in it yesterday. It was pretty much amazing. Aside from my makeup-less face and non-strategical ‘messy hair’ look, but whatever.

On that note, this rainy morning is definitely calling for a latte. Au revoir, my beautifuls. xoxo.