MCLV Mange: Coconut Vegetables

Welcome to a new reader requested segment called MCLV Mange where I’ll provide a recipe or meal idea once or twice a month – Something quick, easy, and healthy. As always, feel free to email me with any questions, requests, or topic suggestions.

Let’s start with something extraordinarily basic that I love – Coconut vegetables. It’s a healthy, simple vegetable dish. High in Vitamins A, B6, C, K, potassium, manganese, folate, magnesium and phosphorous – Carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower are extraordinarily healthy.

What do you need?

You can pick up veggies at your local market, anything fresh that you’re in the mood for, or even take the quick route and grab a pre-cleaned bag of mixed vegetables like I showed below. Any variety will do! I especially like mixes with sugar snap peas or I’ll get some brussels sprouts, chop them in half and throw them in.

{Trader Joe’s and Safeway both have great, inexpensive options to choose from}

Cook them however you’d like – Steam, boil, sautee – Personally I’m partial to steaming, that way they keep more of their nutrients, stay a bright vibrant color, and still have a slightly crisp texture. Now what is it that makes these veggies my favorite? Just add 1/4 or 1/3 of cup of coconut milk! Coconut milk is an excellent, easily absorbable source of vitamins and nutrients like phosphorus, copper, dietary fiber and antioxidants.

Once you’ve fully coated the vegetables in the desired amount of coconut milk, add your seasonings. Sometimes I leave them with just the coconut milk, but other times I’m in the mood for a more complex flavour. I know it may sound unusual, but garlic is a great accompaniment to the subtle sweetness of coconut milk.

Season to taste and you’re done! Sometimes I even add a little Earth Balance to top things off, though it definitely it isn’t necessary.

You can eat the veggies as part of your main dish and add a baked sweet potato on the side or eat them with a grain (brown rice or quinoa) or meat dish (lean chicken breast or white fish).

Want a pseudo-healthy cocktail idea to round out your evening meal? FitSugar has a creative, low-calorie idea to replace a traditional gin and tonic – an Elderflower Gin Cordial.

Happy eating & stay tuned for the next installment of this tasty new series!

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10 Day Style Challenge

In an effort to shake things up style-wise I decided to participate in Freckles in April‘s 10 Day Challenge, which started on Monday, January 23. I don’t know about you, but I have favorite pieces in my closet and tried-and-true looks that I throw together on a regular basis. Perhaps too frequently… While it’s great to have some go-to looks to save you time in the mornings, sometimes that can mean a style rut or even – gasp – forgetting about great pieces that are smashed in the back of your closet.

Freckles in April

The 10 Day Challenge: Winter Edition consisted of Miss Kayla providing a daily prompt for inspiration and the participants using said prompts to choose their look for the following day. Since the majority of my day is spent in the office and I don’t always change before running errands or going out after work, I wanted to include some work looks as well as more casual attire over the course of the 10 days. I’m going to share the looks with you two at a time so that I don’t overwhelm you with pictures of me for the next two weeks.

You’re welcome!

My friend Liz was kind enough to act as photographer over the course of the 10 day period and she’s doing a great job despite my complete and utter hatred of having my picture taken. Hopefully this challenge will be the beginning of me sharing more of my daily fashion looks!

Day 1 : Layer It

I’m starting you off easy! But the biggest perk of doing a winter challenge is that we can wear layers. Layers add depth and complexity to an outfit as well as warmth. It’s a great way to work in pattern or texture and there are a million different ways you can go about it.

What I love about layering is that it gives you a chance to give an outfit depth. As amazing as a fabulous dress or a great suit can look, layers allow you more creativity and a chance to make a look wholly your own.

Source, Source & Source

I wanted my layers look to be colorful and fun so that it got me out of my all black phase, warm enough to survive the day and professional looking so that it would be appropriate for a Monday at the office.

Dress: BCBG, Coat: Zara, Purse: Zara, Gloves: H&M, Tights: Kate Spade, Pumps: Very Volatile, Pashmina: from market in Manila & Sunglasses: Christian Dior

 
I was worried that the red coat with a thick black belt would be too Santa Clause but the vibe ended up at the other end of the spectrum, closer to Little Red Riding Hood. It turned out pretty well if I do say so myself!
 

Day 2 : Monochrome

There is just something about a monochromatic outfit that feels so wonderfully organized and clean to me. Last time I went safe with blue..we’ll see if I can be a little bolder this time!

I agree with Kayla’s comment above, the first word that I would use to describe most monochromatic looks would be “clean.” And who better to take as my inspiration than the King of Clean himself – Michael Kors?

Source

I’m not going to lie, it took ever fiber of self-control that I have not to wear all black for my monochromatic look. Its safe. Its slimming. Oh, and I have any entire closet full of it… But, it’s also my go-to and the point of this little exercise is to mix things up.

Dress: Banana, Purse: BCBG, Jewelry - Vintage, JewelMint & Tiffany's, Booties: BCBG & Coat: H&M

I was surprised by how well the various shades of grey worked together – the tights and booties ended up complimenting the dress even better than I’d hoped. No, I’ll never be Zoe, but I can emulate her style! Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?

Stay tuned for the next eight looks of the challenge, including some separates and street clothes…

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Looks of the Week

Welcome to Moi Contre La Vie’s Looks of the Week.

This is a special edition because at the end I’ve included some snaps from the Fall/Winter 2012 Menswear collections. And why is that so special? Well… Prada had some very interesting special guests that walked their runway.

Fuzzy, powder blue Philosophy Di Alberta coat paired with purple pants and kick @$$ black leather booties? Yes please! Hanneli, you're my hero.

 

Polka dots, leopard print & sequins? For daytime? It takes quite the talented stylist to pull off that combination and make it look this chic.

Not sure how to stay warm on date night? Rachel McAdams wears a buckled wool coat over a seriously cute pleated LBD with dramatic, pointy toed nude & black pumps.

 

Alright, its official, Matt Bomer is no longer just a pretty face. He's a pretty face that can seriously put together an outfit. Love the camel coat. Love the shoes. LOVE the purple scarf. What? I live in San Francisco.

 

Olivia Palermo absolutely knocked one out of the park with this ridiculously chic look. The cropped pants, leopard heels and bag are incredibly well chosen and the fur-trimmed, double-breasted jacket is beyond stunning.

There may be a Style File coming on this look…

Emma's look here is super cute, but simple enough to copy easily. I especially like the flashy red pants and the black and white striped scarf.

  

Model Imogen Morris-Clarke was captured on the street in New York wearing a phenomenal vintage YSL coat and varying shades of blue and black. I love the mixing of colors, fabrics and textures in this look.

 
Alexa Chung’s cropped navy trench look got fashionable mention on Frugal Fashionista. This is a GREAT way to cover up when you’re wearing a midi length skirt or dress – go for a completely different length top layer!
 
alexa chung burberry, alexa chung paris
 
 

First, why am I not in Paris right now??? Second, LOVE this look. A high-waisted skirt is a challenge to pull off but this bright little number paired with a crisp white button down and seriously hot heels make it work oh so well.

 

It's no secret that I adore outerwear - so there was no chance I wouldn't fall for this look. Knee-length, double-breasted camel colored coat with a matching scarf? AND leather gloves & pressed, hemmed slacks. Oh Milan.

 
Prada’s Fall/Winter 2012 Menswear show in Milan showcased some gorgeous outerwear, slacks, and accessories. It also showcased some new talent on the runways. Think these gentlemen have a future in modeling? 🙂
 

Willem Dafoe was chic in all black with a dramatic broach-like decoration on the breast pocket of his overcoat. I also love the way they parted his hair for this look!

Adrien Brody in a phenomenal red brocade double-breasted coat with fur lapels and hippie-inspired round glasses.

Gary Oldman finished up the show in another great overcoat over a high white collar and great shoes.

Quite the trifecta, no?
 
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Links You’ll Love

Fashion:

It’s that time again… Time for all the new ad campaigns for Spring 2012 that make us swoon and wish the weather would hurry up so we can throw on sundresses and gorgeous resort wear. Sigh. Tom & Lorenzo have the lowdown on Valentino, Harper’s Bazaar previews the fabulous Burberry video featuring Poppy’s younger sister Cara Delevingne, Mama’s A Rolling Stone has gorgeous photos from the 2012 campaigns for Lanvin, Chloe and Balenciaga, and My Dress.My High Heels.My Style shows off the Proenza Schouler Spring/Summer 2012 Ad Campaign with the lovely, tan Natasha Poly, a breathtaking Mila Kunis for Christian Dior Spring/Summer 2012 and great mixing and matching of prints in the DKNY Spring/Summer 2012 Ad Campaign where Ashley Greene giving great face on New York rooftops.

Looking for something light and entertaining to read this weekend? Try Simon Doonan’s Gay Men Don’t Get Fat, see Harper’s Bazaar’s review here. Not your typical fashion tome, that’s for sure.

Need some ideas for comfy clothes and cozy accessories as this latest cold weather front moves through? WhoWhatWear has the breakdown on outerwear worn by everyone from Ashley Olsen to Rooney Mara, Frugal Fashionista has the lowdown on snowboots under $100 and FabSugar has 5 ideas on how to mix and match your feminine, warm-weather wear with cozy pieces for winter.

Need some extras to finish up your daily looks these days? 10 sweet winter accessories under $50, China Glaze creates a Hunger Games inspired line of nail polish, 7 pairs of nerd-chic glasses and leopard print scarves.

Health & Fitness:

Personally, I don’t own a scale, I’m much more interested in how my clothes fit. One reason? Muscle mass is important for your health. Is bulking up at the gym one of your fears? Fit Bottomed Girls discuss common fitness fears.

The girls over at Tone It Up give great daily updates – check out their great suggestion to keep you healthy and moving all day at work. Need some more motivation to get you going? FitSugar has you covered with quotes and mottos to get you up and out the door.

I can’t decide what I want to make first next weekend: FitSugar’s black & white bean sweet potato soup, The Wannabe Chef’s tofu stirfry or The Hungry Hungry Hippie’s clean food cornbread.

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Looking to add some new foods to your diet to increase your health? You could try hemp seeds, antioxidant-rich foods, green monster salads, “cheesy” veggie quinoa Quiche and some of the newly popularized superfoods of 2011.

Hope you had a great weekend!

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Le Manifeste

Have you ever thought about how your goals and dreams evolve over the years? How daily life and putting one foot in front of the other can cause you to lose sight of the ambitions and aspirations you once had for yourself. Every once in a while I like to get back in touch with my plans and hopes for myself to make sure that I haven’t gotten too far off track, and to see if I still want the things that I used to.

When I read Holly from Holly Would If She Could‘s inspirational Personal Mission Statement – influenced by Gala Darling‘s A Girl On A Mission post – I realized that doing something similar would be a great way for me to reevaluate my values and goals, and to regain some perspective on where I am in my life and where I want to get.Pinned Image

So in connection with my non-resolution resolutions – and with my hopes for 2012 in mind – I’d like to share my manifesto:

  • I am at my best when: I’m content. When I accept my circumstances. When I’m at peace with myself.
  • I am at my worst when: I give into stress, it takes me from a rational human being to a OCD nightmare who has to control everything around her.
  • What do I really love to do in my personal life? Relax! My job is stressful so as soon as I step out the door I love that feeling of having the tension draining out of my body. I fill my weekends with anything calm and lazy. Movie nights, walks with beautiful views, foot massages, cooking, good wine, conversations and debates that last for hours, eating at great restaurants, shopping…
  • My natural talents & gifts are: Organization & creativity are two of my most valuable skills. 
  • If I had unlimited time & resources & knew I could not fail, what would I choose to do?  I would travel everywhere that I’ve ever wanted to go and go back to school. I would study journalism and psychology and get my PhD in Classical Civilizations. I’d learn Italian and French. I’d blog fulltime and actually go to the fashion shows and give you guys first hand photos and reviews. I’d finish the three novels that I’ve started writing.
  • My life’s journey is: still a work in progress. Everyday I’m learning more about myself and my goals and what I want out of life, and each piece shapes my journey a little more.
  • What would people say about you on your 80th birthday? She lived her life. She took chances and didn’t play it safe. She ate and drank and loved. They’d quote my favorite Thoreau saying from Dead Poets Society:

“I went into the woods because I wished to live deliberately… To put to rout all that was not life; and not, when I had come to die, discover that I had not lived.”

  • What do I consider to be my biggest future contribution to the most important people in my life? I want to be a constant source of unwavering support and unbiased advice for my friends & family. I want to be a loving and affectionate aunt when my brother has kids. I want to continue being highly involved in the charitable organizations that I support.
  • What are your values? I value love, generosity of spirit, and the courage to be honest with yourself and others.
  • What is most important to you?  The relationships that I have with family and friends, and passion. If I could pick a single word that holds the most importance for me it would be passion. I want to have passion for everything in my life, for every day, for every moment.

“Passion is the source of our finest moments; the joy of love, the clarity of hatred, the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion maybe we’d know some kind of peace. But we would be hollow. Empty rooms, shuttered and dank. Without passion we’d be truly dead.”

  • What are some goals you’d like to achieve this year? Per my non-resolution resolutions my major goals for 2012 are to buy & decorate a house in Sonoma and to publish a piece of my writing. From a self-growth standpoint I’d like to work on becoming a more positive individual and responding to life’s challenges with positive, constructive reactions.
  • What kind of image do you hope to project? Is it similar or dissimilar to the image you’re projecting right now? I would like for those who meet me to come away thinking that I’m a straightforward, honest and genuine. I work

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I have to admit that this was an interesting and cathartic process to go through. These are some meaningful and important topics that you may or may not have thought about before. I was an incredibly introspective individual growing up and through college I kept diaries, wrote daily and really thought about my life and my goals. Over the years as I got busier, life got harder and my responsibilities increased, and I stopped looking inward. This exercise really focused me on myself again and I highly, highly recommend giving it a stab.

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I’m printing this out and adding it to my inspiration board to keep me motivated and positive. Tell me, what’s your personal mission?

Quotes from WordsThatAreTrue

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