Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Reader In A dDress: Yoga

I have been receiving a lot of workout/yoga questions, so I recruited family friend and yoga extraordinaire, Lindsey Richard to help us out! Lindsey and I have been working on answering reader questions (and many of my own!) and together we will be writing a couple of posts a month, dedicated solely to yoga. I love yoga, but I am no expert and tend to get very distracted (like, veeeeery), especially when I workout with friends. 
Lindsey, we really did try to concentrate! 

What is, American Beauty!
It only took us the next hour to figure it out...

"I am determined to master the art of yoga, allowing it to do all the incredible things for my mind and body that it claims. Though, I can't help but find it boring and a waste of time, it never seems to work! I hate workout DVDs and don't have the money to take a class. Any suggestions? Where do I start?"-Jessica S., Huntington Beach, CA. 

We all know it can be tough to find the time or energy to workout, let alone experiment with an exercise that overwhelms you just thinking about it! I personally love DVD workouts; one of my favorites right now is TurboFire, which includes a yoga/stretch routine. No matter how great, I know a ton of friends who just don't find DVD workouts motivating so if that's you-we understand and I don't want you doing anything you don't somewhat enjoy!
As far as classes go, thanks to Lifebooker and Groupon, you don't always need a huge budget to attend a yoga class; one of my friends just bought a private lesson on Lifebooker for $25 (normally they can run well over $100, especially in the city)! Just one private lesson can go a long way; let the instructor know what you would like to work on, write down a few tips (most often they will be more than willing to help you with an at home workout plan) then come back for another private lesson or class down the road-once you've practiced on your own time and/or have the extra cash. 

OR, practice with me and Lindsey! Check back soon for our first yoga post to help get you started. Look forward to learning together! xo

(photo above)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Eye Candy

Set in 1938 in New York City, Rules of Civility had me hooked at first glance (how great is that cover shot?!). The book is just as much sophisticated and charming as it is witty and silly--the perfect weekend read! xo

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

No Butts About It

"The recipe that started it all. After five thousand or so failed attempts to produce a vegan, gluten-free cupcake in my slanted, 6-foot-by-5inch kitchen in Brooklyn--with an oven that flared to broil at whim and had long since lost its temperature dial--I had to tape a picture of a cupcake on the fridge to remember what a cupcake should look like. When I finally hit the right formula, though, I knew it immediately. The cake was delicate and golden, tasting subtly of vanilla with a faint hint of lemon. Now, when I see rows of these beauties on the speed rack at the bakery awaiting frosting, it's hard not to slip into nostalgic reverie." -Erin McKenna, Founder. 

Vanilla Cupcakes: 
Yield: Makes 24 cupcakes

2 cups garbanzo-fava bean flour
1 cup potato starch
1/2 cup arrowroot
1 tsp. plus 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup coconut oil
1 1/3 cup agave nectar
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce 
3 tbs. pure vanilla extract 
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 cup hot water

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 standard 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, potato starch, arrowroot, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt. Add the oil, agave nectar, applesauce, vanilla and lemon zest to the dry ingredients and combine. Stir in the hot water and mix until the batter is smooth.

Pour 1/3 cup batter into each prepared cup, almost filling it. Bake the cupcakes on the center rack for 22 mins, rotating the tins 180 degrees after 15 minutes. The finished cupcakes will be golden brown and will bounce back when pressure is applied gently to the center. Let the cupcakes stand in the tins for 20 mins, then transfer them to a wire rack and cool completely. Using a frosting knife, gently spread 1 tablespoon of vanilla frosting over each cupcake. Store the cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 

Vanilla Frosting:

1 1/2 cups unsweetened soy milk
3/4 cup dry soy milk powder
1 tbs. coconut flour (essential as a thickener for the frosting)
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 tbs. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups coconut oil (warm slightly to achieve liquid state)
2 tbs. fresh lemon juice

In a blender or food processor, combine soy milk, soy powder, coconut flour, agave nectar and vanilla. Blend the ingredients for 2 minutes. With the machine running, slowly add the coconut oil and lemon juice, alternating between the two until both are fully incorporated. Pour the mixture into an airtight container and refrigerate for 6 hours before frosting cupcakes. 

"Saving your behind, one cupcake at a time"

I discovered BabyCakes a few years ago while working for Ford Models (photo shoots to in office meetings, BabyCakes would linger!); from then on these vegan treats became a necessity! Diet restrictions, allergies or just love sweets and trying new things-you'll appreciate BabyCakes. I personally don't have food allergies or need to eat any different than the average person, just choose to for the sake of knowing better (and for my future-I want to have the healthiest kids in the whole wide world! Not anytime soon though-yikes!). BabyCakes doesn't make me miss the average sweets and allows for an option that is "healthier"-even when indulging (who doesn't love that?!). The shop itself is tiny with a retro vibe. Just like any other bakery, BabyCakes has it all-scones and donuts to cakes and cookies! 

These photos were taken at the Greenwich Village location, but you can also find BabyCakes in downtown Los Angeles (another opening on Larchmont at the end of December) and downtown Disney in Florida with plans to someday expand to San Fransisco and Chicago! The vanilla cupcake recipe is one of my favorites because I like to experiment with different flavors when I bake; it's the perfect base to work off of or make as is, plus a pretty manageable start to baking from scratch-vegan style. All the ingredients you can find at Whole Foods. 

Our health, bum and sweet tooth can now all agree-for once! xo

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Summer Fling Or 'Fall'-ing?

With so many budding trends on the horizon, I am constantly reminding myself that it is still in fact summer and fur in 90 degree weather is not going to fly 'no matter how cute.' When it comes to trends, transitioning from season to season can be a challenge-I am already indecisive enough without the awkward in between stage 'of seasons that is! Well...actually...ha!' The spring/summer runway introduced us to bright colors and they have continued to pop up in fall collections. Traditional blue denim will always be a staple; I am sure most of you have noticed the colored denim trend this summer and might have already stepped outside the box 'so not my type-until now' and snatched up a pair. Aside from colored solids, I bet it's safe to say you have collected a few floral dresses 'duh, day-dates'. Colored denim, or just colored pants in general and floral dresses are two effortless trends you can count on to keep you calm, cool and collected 'keeper!' as you transition into fall.

How-to 'fall' into floral: Dresses or a flirty top; pair this summer essential with a fitted black blazer, nude pumps or bold wedges and vibrant lips 'I wouldn't dare mess up my lipstick-sorry Charlie.'


How-to 'stay committed' to colored denim: Use this look to start incorporating that black or textured cheetah print belt and black pumps. Tuck in a fitted or loose gray or white tee and pair the look with an oversize watch and/or your  favorite silver/gold bangles (a black blazer works here too)-'date night!'

Stay Committed to Colored Denim

When in doubt-barefoot in blue jeans, a white tee and textured summer hair will have you effortlessly irresistible 'look who's 'fall'-ing now...' as you sum up summer! Enjoy it! xo

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Beachy Keen

One thing I really miss about California is having textured beach hair-just from running errands! I am sure lots of you have heard of (or tried) putting homemade saltwater in your hair to achieve a 'local' beach babe look. However, it seems that unless you have perfectly sun kissed ends, a glowing tan and a hot bod to boot, your hair never falls right and you end up looking like you tried too hard to...well, not try hard. Those are my worst looks. My sister, Marlo and I both have unruly hair; give us a little humidity and dry ends-watch out, chances are we're in a really bad mood too! Marlo e-mailed me the other day suggesting I give this saltwater trick another try-her way. After trying her method my hair was still textured and tangle-free even after a day of running around the city!

1 cup water
1/2 tbs. sea salt (avoid table salt-it doesn't work the same, plus not so good for your hair!)
1/4 tsp. leave in-conditioner or moisturizing hair oil

In a small sauce pan, bring water to boil. Turn off heat and stir in salt. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, add in conditioner and stir. Transfer into a spray bottle. Shake and apply to damp ends. Flip head upside down a few times and shake. Let air dry. 

Before applying saltwater mixture: Brush hair (while it's still dry) then wash normally (shampoo and condition). Towel dry and comb out (or don't comb out-you pick!)

Hair that's thick, dry or tends to get frizzy: After the normal shampoo/conditioner routine and towel drying, coat your still wet ends with leave in-conditioner (yes, aside from the 1/4 tsp. used in the saltwater mixture); this will help add to that 'beachy' texture and keep hair soft and frizz-free. 

Avoid grease: Keep saltwater spray and extra conditioner away from roots!

Need for speed: Running fingers through your hair (don't use a brush!) use the 'cool' option on your blowdryer until hair is close to dry. Finish with heat. After hair is completely dry, use a 2-inch barrel curing iron and randomly curl 1/2-inch sections. Flip your head upside down, shake and tease roots for added volume. Avoid hairspray for a natural look. 

The "sulfate-free" hype: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is a chemical used to aid against grease build up in tons of soap products. Anything from shampoo to face wash to garage floor cleaners, most often you'll find 'sulfate' in the ingredient list. It is also a less expensive way to make soap much more "soapy" and since we relate bubbles to clean, we're hooked on SLS. Considering it's harsh nature (even in diluted quantities) SLS has been known to cause hair follicle damage, weakening the structure and growth of hair over time. There are some studies that claim SLS is cancer causing and damaging to not only the skin, but the immune system. The FDA has not banned SLS from products, but who knows if it's actually as harmless as they say. I have a hard time completely trusting the FDA so I am constantly researching; an ingredient that can be just as commonly found in skin or hair products as it is engine cleaner, makes me a bit suspicious.

Favorite hair finds: 

Bioken Enfanti (sulfate-free) is the only sulfate-free option I have found that actually works, leaving my hair to look much healthier than most other products riddled with sulfates. Usually sulfate-free products tend to make my hair coarse or greasy, not these! Totally worth trying (they're in my shower as we speak!). 
Dove Damage Therapy though they do contain sulfates, it's an inexpensive option that repairs my hair and makes it super soft. 

Leave-in conditioner/conditioning oils
Jojoba oil (organic option available too!) is an all natural oil that can be used for various beauty needs! I love it because it helps aid split ends and nix frizz the natural way. It's one of those oils that is great to have under your bathroom sink at all times! 
Moroccanoil (oil treatment/light treatment) has two options-one for normal or thicker hair and one for blonde or fine hair. A lot of my friends with fine hair always try to stay away from oils because they tend to make their hair look greasy-this is the only one they trust! These products are a go-to for tons of salons and highly recommended, especially after harsh coloring. 
It's a 10 (miracle leave-in plus keratin) is great for all types of hair. It even helps maintain keratin straightening treatments, replaces lost protein and is one of my favorite detangle aids! It comes in a spray bottle so it's effortless to apply and perfect for travel. 

Find the "beach" wherever you are-for me it's on the rooftop of my apartment with a Beach Boys/Jimmy Buffet/Jack Johnson playlist on tap (don't forget to drink lots of water!). xo