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Mother’s Day Gift Guide

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It’s almost Mother’s Day! May 12th! My most favorite day of the year!

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My whole life my mom has been spoiling me: one random Tuesday my brother and I came home from school to find gifts (a lava lamp for him, a giant mesh hanging butterfly for me) set up in our rooms; the month before 8th grade graduation, she called me in sick to school and took me dress shopping at the fancy mall an hour away; when I moved to Colorado for college, she drove the entire 20+ hours so I could sleep off my hangover…That’s serious selflessness! She deserves more than just one special day, but I do love that there is an official holiday just to celebrate her.

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I admit I hit the jackpot in the Mama lottery, but even if you aren’t besties with your mom, she still got stretchmarks for you, endured your crummy middle school band performance, and gave you plenty of stand-up comedy material. Make her brunch, take her to the Botanical Gardens to see the rare orchid exhibit, tell her you love her, and give her one of these (click on the link to go to website):

Because it’s Hot to Keep Cool–bright hat, $16.99

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Because Turning the Camera Off while Shooting is only Funny the First 100 Times–easy digital camera, $164.95

cameraBecause She Deserves Better than 1-800 Flowers–tulip and iris bouquet, $62

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Because Your Mama is the Chicest Shopper at the Farmer’s Market–french market basket, $48

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Because Your Mom is Sweet, and Likes ’em, Too–zingermann’s baked goods, $50

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Because it’s Spring!–bright blazer, $89.50

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xo

Not an Oxymoron: Delicious Vegan Cupcakes

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On Friday, I went to a housewarming party and offered to bring the desserts….and then I remembered the hostess is vegan. D’oh! I had a moment of panic where I seriously considered bringing fruit or popcorn–but then I started searching the internet. After reading hundreds of comments on at least a dozen recipes and studying a variety of articles, I came to the following conclusions: flaxseed, applesauce, and coconut oil are all over-rated fat substitutes. So I decided to look for a recipe that was either banana or pumpkin based–and then I remembered that Hummingbird Cake (the new red velvet) incorporates both!

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This cake is bursting with flavors of pineapple, caramelized banana, and salty pecans. The texture is just sublime–crumby and moist. Although I would have preferred a cream cheese frosting, this drizzly icing does a more than adequate job. I would happily make these again, and not just for a vegan crowd! The recipe below is so heavily modified from Boulder Locavore it seems ridiculous to even link it, but if you’d like to see the original inspiration, click on over.

Cake (makes 12):

-2 large bananas, roasted and smashed

-1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

-1 tsp cinnamon

-1/2 tsp baking soda

-1/2 tsp salt

-1/2 cup sugar

-1/2 cup light brown sugar

-1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp canned pumpkin

-1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp grape seed oil

-1 tsp vanilla

-1/2 cup fresh pineapple

-1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions:

1.) Roast bananas-peel on-in a 350 degree oven for 12-15 minutes, until skins are black. Remove peel and mash bananas in a bowl. Set aside.

2.) In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon.

3.) In a small bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, sugars, vanilla and oil.

4.) Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine.

5.) In a small bowl, crush the pineapple with forks until thread-like.

6.) Add the mashed banana and the crushed pineapple/juice to the batter.

7.) Fold in the chopped pecans.

8.) Divide evenly among 12 cupcake liners. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12-15 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

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Frosting:

-1 cup of vegan margarine

-3 tsp vanilla

-4 cups powdered sugar

-1-3 tsp vanilla rice or almond milk

Directions:

1.) Using an electronic mixer, whip the margarine on high until light and fluffy, about 5 to 6 minutes.

2.) Add the vanilla and powdered sugar, and beat until incorporated.

3.) Depending on the texture, add 1 to 2 tsp of the milk substitute.

4.) Place inside pastry bag or ziploc with the corner snipped off. Drizzle over the top of cupcakes, and adorn with pecan.DSC_0254

Enjoy!

xo

 

Fashion Dare

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Want to know a guaranteed way to come across as a chic fashionista? Break “the rules”–pair black with brown! Rock head-to-toe white in winter! Mix stripes with polka dots!

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I paired a polka-dotted collared shirt with this striped sweater, which is pretty tame as far as rule breaking goes. This is like the jay-walking of fashion crimes. But unexpected none the less!

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Would you ever pair stripes with polka dots!?

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xo

Currently loving…

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Pellegrino. Until very recently, I abhorred sparkling water. Thanks to living in Europe, I am now fully aboard the bubbly water train! Can’t get enough!

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Tortoise Comb. My best friend Lauren sent this to me in a Christmas package of whimsical goodies. I feel so fancy detangling my wet strands using this comb, and I love how it looks sitting on my vanity. So luxurious–Thank you, Lauren!

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L’Oreal Revitalift Total Repair 10 Serum. I have switched from the night cream in this range to the much lighter serum, and my skin is much happier.

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Bright nail polishes. These punchy colors compliment my (faux) tan perfectly! Writing work emails is much more pleasant with happy hued digits.

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Blooming daffodil bulbs in my kitchen. Although the temps have yet to rise above freezing here in Copenhagen, these delightful flowers at least cast the illusion of springtime…

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What are you loving this April?

xo

 

Enter the Center Part….

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For years I’ve been rocking a side part, a look that works for my face shape (chipmunk round) and for my awful cowlick smack in the middle of my forehead. But lately I’ve switched things up, parting my hair messily down the center:

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I like how it makes my long blunt bob feel a bit Gwyneth Paltrow-esque, and somehow I think it makes me look a little rocker chic, especially with the waaaaay overgrown roots.

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Gwyneth Paltrow

If you squint, stand back about 50 feet or so, and move your head really fast side-to-side, you can see the resemblance….

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Would you try a center part?

xo

Pizza with Carmelized Onions, Gorgonzola, Pears, and Walnuts

Traditional Turkish Tea Time!

My mom and me enjoying a traditional Turkish tea!

Last week was a tough week for me. It was hard to return to work after the excitement of our trip to Turkey, visiting with my Mom, and celebrating Valentine’s Day/my birthday.To ease the back-to-work-blues, I made lots of comfort food. This pizza might not be traditional, but it is warm and cheesy and the perfect balance of sweet/salty.

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I have yet to come across the perfect pizza dough recipe. I have tried several, but none seem to be worth the fuss (really, 24 hour rising time!?). Plus, my local pizza shop sells balls of dough for about $3. I top this pizza with arugula tossed in olive oil and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper. Not only is it delicious, but then it truly is a one dish dinner.

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I didn’t measure anything out, but went by sight instead. You can use shredded mozzarella for this, but the buffalo mozzarella melts so much better and is less oily, so if you can find it I definitely recommend spending a couple extra bucks on it.

You’ll need:

-Pizza dough

-Fresh mozzerella, thinly sliced

-Walnuts, crushed

-1 large onion, thinly sliced

-1 pear, thinly sliced

-Gorgonzola

-Arugula

-Olive oil, salt and pepper

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To make:

1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large skillet, heat a generous glug of olive oil and a tbsp of butter over medium heat.

2. Thinly slice the onion and drop into the heated oil/butter. Sprinkle with salt and then let hang out to caramelize over medium-low heat, stirring only occasionally.

3.Lightly oil a tin foil covered baking sheet or pizza stone and roll out dough to desired thinness. Lightly oil and salt the dough.

4. Plop gorgonzola evenly over the pizza dough.

5. Spread onions evenly over dough.

6. Top with sliced mozzarella, pears, and walnuts.

7. Bake for 12 minutes.

8. Toss arugula in bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place right on top of pizza.

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Here’s a tip: To easily cut your pizza, use SCISSORS! It is much simpler and safer than struggling with a knife or even a pizza cutter. Plus, you don’t have to transfer your pizza to a cutting board, meaning one less dirty dish. Win!

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What’s your favorite pizza topping? And if you have a great recipe for pizza dough, please share!

Weird Zit Zappers That Work

Everyone has her thing: some women fuss over their hair, others fixate on their body, but the object of my obsession has always been my skin.

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Thanks largely to genetics, but also to a diligent routine, my face has mostly been smooth and clear my whole life. So naturally, I’m especially wary of break outs. caitskin

Confession: I am guilty of crying, bargaining with God, and canceling plans all due to a zit. But here’s the thing: when I do get a zit, it is usually of the deep, painful, cystic variety. Over the past 15 years,  I have tried literally EVERY zit zapper on the market: cortisone shots (by a licensed esthetician), various birth control pills, a prescription of spironolactone from my dermatologist, Mario Badescu drying lotion, red clay, green clay, Proactiv, Clinique, Erno Laszlo sea mud soap, tea tree oil, and every drugstore product on the shelves. I shudder at the hundreds (thousands?) of dollars I’ve spent on the search for a magic cure, but feel confident that I’ve found the best blemish fighters on the planet. These three products below are my holy grail zit zappers:

1. Zeno

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This tiny battery powered device runs through a 2 min 30 sec heat pulsing cycle that kills bacteria. When applied to a sore spot even before a zit erupts, and then twice to three times a day after it does push its way into the world, this tiny technology either stops a blemish before it truly even blooms, or shortens its life span to just two days flat. This can be used on cystic acne or even more superficial whiteheads. Honestly, this is the best acne fighting tool EVER. Seriously, go buy this. Right now.

2. Cortisone + aspirin (optional) + band-aid

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Cortisone shots can range from $10-$50, and have been a celebrity staple for decades. This home-remedy is nearly as strong, and a helluva lot more convenient. Simply apply a thick dollop of extra strength cortisone cream, cover with a tiny band aid, and voila! Your blemish will be significantly reduced within 6 hours, and completely gone after two nights. As an added blemish fighter, crush up an aspirin and mix it in with the cortisone to form the ultimate spot treatment. I typically use this on painful “under-grounders” on my chin and jawline.

3. Honey

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Really. Honey is a natural anti-microbial, stays put all night, and keeps skin ultra soft (so it’s easier to conceal the next day). As I’ve mentioned a dozen or so times, I have uber-sensitive skin…as in I pop a Benadryl to fight redness, irritation, or hives at least once per month. Honey is one of the few spot treatments that is effective at treating blemishes while also moisturizing my skin. I find this to be especially good on spots on the center of my face (nose and cheeks). Added bonus? The boyfriend compliments how sweet I smell when I come to bed!

Would you try any of these nontraditional spot treatments?

xo