Doughnuts!

Raise your hand if you like doughnuts…

That’s what I thought.

While I’ve never really thought about making doughnuts before I decided to give it a try when I saw Jenna’s Glazed Cake Doughnuts recipe on Eat, Live, Run. I knew that they would never look as good as Jenna’s, which is a little discouraging, but with 9 ingredients and a proposed time of 25 minutes, I figured even I might be able to pull it off.

During a lull at work I ran out to the Sur La Table in the Ferry Building and picked up this doughnut tray.

Glorious right? Right!

On my walk home from work I picked up milk (they were out of buttermilk) and eggs, so I was ready to go by the time I got home. Just as Jenna promised it was quick and easy once you assembled all of the components.

Tiny adjustments: I used 2% milk instead of buttermilk (not my fault!), earth balance instead of butter, gluten-free flour and rather than go with the glaze I dipped the doughnuts in melted earth balance and rolled them in cinnamon sugar.

Side notes: (1) Don’t be discouraged if you don’t use a pastry bag to put the dough into the tray, it looks messy but they fluff up. (2) Because these aren’t flipped, mine ended up a bit striped, pale on top and golden brown where they were in the tray.

But they were a success! Perhaps too much of one actually, my boyfriend ate close to a dozen and gave himself a stomach ache…

Continue Reading · Comments { 1 }

Style File – Kate Middleton

 
Let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to dress like a Duchess?
 

 
While the commoner formerly known as Kate Middleton’s recent straight-from-the-runway Alexander McQueen Pre-Fall 2011 look could run you a couple thousand dollars (blouse $1,355 & skirt $995 @ Net-A-Porter) you can definitely put together a similar look for less.  
 

(L to R) See by Chloe - $240 (sale) @ My-Wardrobe.com, Paul & Joe Sister - $70 (sale) @ TheOutnet.com & Tibi Military Bodysuit - $83 @ Tibi.com

 

(L to R) AK Anne Klein - $50 @ Macy's, Moschino Cheap & Chic - $100 @ Outnet.com & MARC by Marc Jacobs - $330 @ Bloomingdale's

If a pencil skirt and blouse combo isn’t quite your style or you’re looking for an outfit that’s a little easier to put together, a navy double-breasted shirt dress is a great alternative, like the examples below.
 

(L to R) Laundry by Shelli Sega - $105 @ Bluefly, ABS by Allen Schwartz - $150 @ Lastcall.com & JCrew - $130

The perfect finish to this regal look are a pair of classic navy pumps, heeled Oxford’s or peep toed heels.

(L to R) Pilar Abril - $105 @ Endless.com, Giani Bernini - $90 @ Macy's & Badgley Mischka - $120 @ Bluefly

Read TLo’s comments on this outfit here.

This isn’t Kate’s first navy & white military-inspired outfit, see below for other classic looks she’s worn with the same style.

Check out MCLV’s first Style File look – Red Maxi Skirt
 
 
 
Continue Reading · Comments { 14 }

Links You’ll Love

Fashion:

Rare interview with Kate The Great here, if you missed the pictures from her wedding, check them out here.

Check out a great modern hippie look perfect for all over at Mama’s a Rolling Stone.

Does your town celebrate Fashion’s Night Out September 8th? You can check here, or watch Glee’s tribute video here.

Want to see some Victoria’s Secret models stretch, pout and pose in pink sports bras? Wait, I meant, want to see the new Victoria’s Secret sportswear line? 🙂 People has the inside scoop.

Health & Fitness:

Looking to add some protein & fatty acids to your life? Rachel Wilkerson says pick up some eggs.

B-12 supplements, plant-based diets & getting complete nutrition through a healthy diet – Dr. Stuart Seale at Choosing Raw

Bill Clinton discusses his new heart-healthy diet & his journey to better health with Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CNN.

Is happiness just a habit? Something that can be taught or learned? Check out Susan Kaiser Greenland’s Making A Habit Through Mindfulness over at the Huffington Post.

Five healthy & quick snacks with FitSugar.

 

Continue Reading · Comments { 0 }

Confessions of a Former Insomniac

When I arrived at Berkeley at the tender age of 18 I started Living – Capital L – And stopped sleeping. Too much caffeine. Too much excitement. Too much booze. Too much stress. Just TOO MUCH. That was the beginning of years of struggling with insomnia, subsisting on as little as three hours of sleep a night for stretches of months at a time. But I’m proud to say that I no longer dread the moment when I get in bed, fearing that it’ll be the beginning of hours stressful tossing and turning. And I have just one thing to say to all of you out there with similar fears:

TAKE BACK THE NIGHT!

Insomnia is something that doctors seem to spend a great deal of time guessing on. Well, perhaps not guessing, but it is not necessarily an easily diagnosed or cured condition. Sleeping pills are quite addicting and the sleep you get isn’t satisfying, so it’s not the most beneficial course of treatment. Back in the day I was given allergy tests, cat scans, thyroid tests, prescriptions, eye tests…

Unfortunately there was no quick and easy cure for my insomnia – Though I was convinced I had a brain tumor. In college the doctors told me to slow down, that I was taking too many classes and not giving myself enough downtime. Then after I left school and joined the workforce they told me it was the stress and pressure of my 12+ hours a day job. Well… Clearly there needed to be another solutions since I’m a go-go-go kinda girl.

BreakfastAtTiffanysSleepingMask

Since I’ve had a handful of sleepless nights recently and needed to go back and resurrect some of the tricks that I learned over the years, I’d like to share them with you in the hopes that we can all enjoy a full night’s sleep.

Confessions of a Former Insomniac:

[1.] Create a sleep space – This is the first thing that a doctor will tell you if you make an appointment to discuss insomnia. Make your bedroom a sacred place, a place for sleeping alone. That means no television, no eating, no stressing – Your bedroom is for sleeping and sleeping only. This was particularly hard for me in college since I had such limited space in my tiny Berkeley apartment. It was especially challenging for me to find other locations for studying (libraries, cafes) and eating (balcony).

These days, I’ve discovered that if I allow my bedroom to become cluttered it really affects my ability to sleep at night, so I have to keep things neat and organized. And for me, this also means no radio, television, or computer in my bedroom. Too tempting. Too distracting.

[2.] Power down – Turning my brain off at night after 17 or 18 hours of being “on” is another major challenge for me. In order to do this I employ a number of techniques, including turning my cell phone and blackberry over so that I don’t see any flashing lights, wearing a sleep mask, ear plugs, and keeping a notepad handy so that I can write down things that are keeping me awake so I don’t have to focus on them right then.

[3.] Sweat it out – I for one sleep vastly better when I’m physically exhausted so getting in a good workout is incredibly important. If I don’t have time to hit the gym, sneak in a Pilates class, or go for a run, then I go for a walk after dinner or spend 15 minutes stretching right before bed. Stretching in particular is very therapeutic for me, by concentrating my energies and focusing on my body, I’m usually able let go of everything else. I know that’s how some people feel about yoga!

[4.] Caffeine Monster – Some people can have caffeine right up until bedtime and have no issues sleeping, the key is to know your personal limits and to do some research to determine what works best for you. While caffeine wont keep me awake, it will make my time between the sheets more restless, so one green tea after lunch is all I allow myself during the week.

[5.] Food – For some people sleeping on a full stomach is uncomfortable and interferes with their sleeping patterns. Trial and error may have taught you to avoid spicy dinners – And the resulting horrors of indigestion – Or taught you not to eat after 7pm. Personally, a carb-heavy dinner always makes me wake up starving in the middle of the night so I try to have bread-y or potato-based dinners on the earlier side and not right before bed.

[6.] The Golden Rule – Most important rule? Do. Not. Panic. When you go to bed fearing that you wont be able to sleep – Surprise – You wont be able to sleep! You need to do whatever you can to reduce your negative and/or nervous energy before you pull back the sheets and fluff your pillow.

Some of my quick fixes to try before heading to a doctor for poking & prodding?

  • Ear plugs – While there are those who dislike the feeling of something in their ears (especially if you sleep on your side) these can be a great tool since they allow you to sleep through small noises without waking up.
  • Sleeping mask – Studies show that exposure to light and can greatly affect your body’s ability to fall into deep REM sleep so cover those flashing numbers on your alarm, turn off your phone & pull on a mask for deeper sleep.
  • Magnesium – Rather than turning to over-the-counter sleep aids or melatonin, try a magnesium supplement or powder like Natural Calm.

Check out the Huffington Post’s 30 Minutes More Sleep Challenge for more ideas.

Sweet dreams!

Continue Reading · Comments { 2 }

California Dreaming

I’m a city girl through and through, but sometimes even this city girl needs to hang up her heels and head for the hills.

{Fallen Leaf Lake near South Lake Tahoe in Northern California}

Or mountains, as it were.

For a MUCH-needed weekend of sleeping in, swimming, sun worshipping, hiking, and a healthy doses of wine and good company with my parents, aunt & uncle.

Luckily for me this Summer also included a group camping trip in Northern California – Complete w/ camouflage & bear sightings. I’m serious about both!

 

{Calaveras Big Trees State Park}

 

We all have different ways of keeping ourselves grounded and relaxed, whether its slapping at mosquito bites and making toasts with family & friends or escaping to the beach for a weekend of yoga and meditation.

What’s your fool-proof way to wind down during the Summer months?

Continue Reading · Comments { 2 }