my kinda sundae…

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HEALTHY SUNDAE SFG 5

Dear Diary,

For the last couple weeks, I’ve been in celebration mode.  First, I was celebrating my boyfriends homecoming after a long trip away… and since I always associate celebration with food… you can assume that there was A LOT of poor eating choices involved.  For almost a week we spent money (that we don’t have) on everything from pizza to Indian… then a few days later, it was time for yet another celebratory event– my BIRTHDAY!!  And you guessed it, with more celebration, comes more expensive meals and poorer food choices.  Hey, a girl only turns 27 once, right!?  But sadly… the festivities have all come to an end, and all that I have left to show for it is an empty wallet and a less-lean physique.

While I’m ready to jump back into my healthier routine– it’s not that simple.  Once I’m out of my routine, it takes a real effort to get back into the swing…But I’m up for it!  Plus I know that since I live a mainly healthy and fit life, I’ll get back into the swing a lot quicker than I think.  But that doesn’t mean all of my cravings will be gone… Once I start eating pizza consistently… all I want is the good stuff… and it goes the same with dessert!

This weekend I was finally getting back on track, when a craving hit… I had been eating so much cake and candy (thanks to my wonderful mama’s b-day care package), I felt like I was going into sugar withdrawal… and with the weekend finally arriving– I felt that it was again time to celebrate with sweets.  But this time, I was going to create something a little more satisfying for my body and mind with the perfect ice cream sundae!  This sundae is deliciously simple, and certainly a lot healthier than the traditional…

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what really takes this dish over the top is the use of fresh and seasonal ingredients– I was inspired to incorporate figs.  If you’ve never had them before– go to the store and grab them while you can!  The chocolate fig sauce and whipped “cream” really make this sundae unique.

The sauce is DI-VINE… the figs add an extra sweet bite while the dash of salt brings an unexpected kick!

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To balance out that rich, deep flavor of the chocolate sauce, I think a smooth whipped “cream” is in order…

Greek yogurt is a healthy alternative to a fatty cream… You guys know that I like to use greek yogurt in pretty much anything!  I can’t help it– it’s such a tangy and healthy addition to any savory or sweet dish– by adding just a few simple ingredients it is easily transformed.

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Here’s how to create the perfect healthy sundae:

3 scoops of our FAVORITE ICE CREAM… halo top of course! (whey protein in our dessert?  Yes, please!)

FIG CHOCOLATE SAUCE:  4 Figs, 2 TBSP of Vanilla, a pinch of salt, half a bag of Lily’s vegan- no sugar added dark organic chocolate chips, & 2 tbsp of almond milk (melt all ingredients together in a sauce pan… then strain the chocolate sauce to get rid of the fig seeds for a smooth sauce!)

NO-CREAM WHIPPED CREAM: 1 vanilla bean, 2 teaspoons of vanilla, cup of plain greek yogurt (slice open that vanilla bean for those beautiful and flavorful seeds and whip everything together!)

spoonful of sliced almonds & elemental superfood crumble (this “granola” is THE BOMB DOT COM!!!!)

tsp of raw cocoa nibs for some extra sweet crunch!

1 banana

2 figs & no sundae would be complete without a cherry on top ;)

Share this sweet treat with a friend this week… trust me, you won’t regret it!  Enjoy SFG’s!

HEALTHY SUNDAE SFG 6

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Mac + “Cheese”

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Dear Diary,

After a very glutenous vacation in Peru (Check out our Instagram #SFGinPeru for some pretty snaps!) I’ve been trying to be better in the health food department. If you have any question that I’m exaggerating let me just say that for Tommy’s birthday I treated us to a 29 course meal. Yes, you heard me correctly… 29! And I may or may not have mistaken tomato infused butter for tuna. And ate it. All. However, the only thing I truly regret was brushing my teeth that night. I wish that flavor could live on my tastebuds for eternity. (Sigh.)

Needless to say, we’ve been doing our best to eat clean since we’ve been home. I’ve been recalling all my favorite healthy, yet filling dishes and whipping them up like the domestic goddess I sometimes pretend to be. This recipe in particular is one of my favorites because it’s comfort food made healthy. It’s a recipe I picked up from my girlfriend Abby over at Hummingbird Pilates (with a slight variation). It’s vegan and gluten-free, but has the hearty taste of a family comfort food classic. It’s Mac + “Cheese” and I’d say it’s just as good as the real thing! Don’t believe me?! Try it, I dare you!

Vegan Mac n' Cheese

Squash Mac ‘n “Cheese”

Ingredients:

  • 1 Butternut squash (Or substitute for canned pumpkin)
  • EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
  • 1 tbsp Coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened & unflavored Almond milk
  • 1 tbsp Cornstarch
  • 6 tbsp Nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4-3/4 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp Onion powder
  • 1 tbsp Fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2-1 tsp Salt + Pepper (to taste)
  • 4 servings Brown Rice Macaroni
  • (Optional: Veggies. I like to mix in fresh spinach!)

1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Slice your butternut squash in half. Lay the halves in a dish and drizzle with EVOO and sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Roast uncovered until tender. (Around 45 minutes)

2. To prepare the cheese sauce: Add coconut oil to a sauce pan over low-medium heat. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together milk and cornstarch. Add into saucepan and continue to whisk. Mix in remaining ingredients (nutritional yeast, mustard, garlic, lemon, salt + pepper) and stir until all the ingredients fuze together and start to thicken up.

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3. In a separate saucepan, cook your brown rice macaroni until tender.

4. Remove your butternut squash from oven and scoop out the center (1 cup) adding it to your food processor or blender. Blend the sauce with your roasted squash (if canned, just add 1 cup butternut squash or pumpkin puree into the pot with your cheese sauce).

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5. Strain and rinse your noodles and add them into the cheese pot. Mix them all together on low heat and serve.

I used the extra “cheese” sauce as a dip for veggies too!

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What’s your favorite healthy dinner recipe with a hearty feel? I need to add some more gems like this to my cook book!

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Homemade Pasta Sauce and Zucchini Noodles…Feeling like a domestic goddess

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SONY DSC

Dear Diary,

I’ve been on a cooking crock pot frenzy: soups, stews and sauces. You pin a pot recipes, chances are… I’m making it. So being that it’s pasta night in my household. My usual routine of buying it in a jar just doesn’t fit my current cooking trajectory. I decided homemade pasta sauce is on the docket… How hard could it be?

Turns out it’s a lot easier than I expected, but it requires the one thing I don’t have a ton of during the week, time. My girlfriend, Liz passed along this recipe that comes straight from her Italian fiancé. I figured, he would know best, having grown up in Italy. He was baffled that we buy pasta sauce in a jar..! It seemed taking the lead from him would be a safe bet. Turns out my intuition was right on, this sauce is amazing! I just topped it over zucchini noodles and enjoyed my guilt free satisfying pasta!

Here’s what you need:

-4 cloves garlic minced
-1 yellow onion finely chopped
-1 lbs. ground turkey breast
-1 can of tomato sauce (this will help thicken the sauce)
-10 ripe tomatoes
-2 tbsp. fresh oregano
-2 tbsp. basil
-2 tsp. thyme
-1 tsp. of salt to start
- 2 tbsp. of olive oil

Grab the largest pot you have to make the sauce.
Pour olive oil in pan with garlic and simmer on low heat until it starts to brown.
-Add chopped yellow onion
-Sauté on medium heat until onion is golden brown and soft

- add the ground turkey, break into pieces with a spatula and cook until brown
-add diced tomatoes and salt
-stir and simmer for about 30 min uncovered while stirring occasionally.
-add herbs and stir
-taste sauce and add more salt until desired taste.
-Simmer another 40 min or until desired consistency.  The longer you cook the thicker the sauce will get. It took about 2 hours for my sauce to have the right consistency.

While the sauce is cooking, you can prepare the zucchini noodles. My friend gave me this “As Seen on TV”noodle shredder and what can I say, I’m a believer!  You simple place the zucchini in the tool and start turning… It takes a couple times to get used to but it’s legitimate. SONY DSC

I used about 2 zucchinis for my bowl of pasta. You can put sauce on the noodles and let it sit for a couple minutes to cook. Or you can place them in the microwave for 30 seconds.

You can also sprinkle brewers yeast on top for a cheesy flavor. Bon Appetite!

 

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lauren2

 

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Slumber Party Essentials!

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Dear Diary,

Here’s our #fbf to the first time ever, all of our men were out of town at the SAME TIME! It was the perfect excuse for a twenty-something slumber party and we made sure to enjoy every second of it.  Not to mention, plan every detail of it…What can we say, being bloggers makes every occasion a Pinterest worthy opportunity, am I right? In between planning which rom-coms to watch and what homemade beauty treatments to perform, we also outfitted ourselves for the occasion in Plum Pretty Sugar. They have the cutest pajamas and robes….We are obsessed!best photo

They also have lots of different options and you know we love that. Being three girls with different body types, here’s what we chose: Lauren PJ set,  Jackie’s robe and Valorie’s PJ set.

Re-do Slumber Party

re-do SP3Happy Friday and if you are looking for a fun night in, might we suggest these guilt free snacks?

VEGGIE CUPCAKES

veggies cuplcakes us

Ingredients:

* ¼ cup of smart balance

* 1 cup of applesauce

* 2 eggs

* 1 tsp of vanilla extract

* ½ of greek yogurt

* ¾ cup of cacao powder

* 2 ½ cups of coconut flour

* 1 tsp of baking soda

* ½ tsp of salt

* 1 cup of grated zucchini

* 1 cup of grated carrots

Directions:

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes! (For the frosting) Melt together a tbsp of vanilla extract, coconut oil and a cup of chocolate chips!

This recipe is absolutely delicious.  Honestly, us SFG’s couldn’t get enough—but remember a healthy cupcake may not have the same consistency of a sugary one!

SWEET POPCORN

popcorn

Ingredients:

* 1 tbsp coconut oil

* ½ tsp salt (optional)

* ⅓ cup popcorn kernels

* ¼ tsp vanilla extract

* 2 tbsp vanilla protein powder

Need:

* small spray bottle for vanilla extract

* sifter for protein powder

Directions:

Put coconut oil, salt and 1 kernel in large (high wall) pan and heat on the stove. Place the lid over the top and wait for it to pop. When the first kernel pops, add the rest of your popcorn kernels. Even out the kernels in bottom of pan, coating each with the oil. Place the lid back on the pan and wait. (I like to shake the pan back and forth to help disperse the heat.) While the popcorn is still hot, lightly mist it with vanilla extract and sprinkle the protein powder on top, shake it up until it’s evenly coated. 

edited yes

Photos: Samantha Zachrich

TGIF!!!

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RAW-GUST SALAD

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sfg raw salad 4

Dear Diary,

When I told my friends that I was attempting to partake in “Raw-gust”… they basically laughed in my face.  And the truth is, while I love a challenge… this challenge is kinda unrealistic for me… while I love snacking on raw foods, I can’t live with out a home-cooked meal all month… and eating “raw” means nothing is cooked. So… with that said, I changed my definition of raw-gust to a less-restricted version.  Instead of only eating raw foods for the month of august, I’m going to attempt to make a few raw meals per week– try something new, and making the last month of summer a healthy one!  It’s good to get out of your “food comfort-zone” sometimes… I often like to stick to the same vegetables and recipes that I’m used to making, but unless you try something new… you’ll never know what you’re missing!  This month is about getting more creative with vegetables– and fortunately since it’s Raw-gust, there’s not much cook-time involved!  Perfect for August, where I’d rather be spending time outdoors with family and friends than in a kitchen sweating over a hot stove!

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With so many great vegetables in season… it’s the perfect time to hit up your favorite farmer’s market and experiment with some yummy ingredients– here’s to keeping it raw & DELICIOUS!

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Why eat raw!?  While I’ve known that vegetables lose crucial nutrients from high heat, I’m learning new facts from this experience… did you know that vegetables start losing nutritional value the moment they’re harvested?!  Now that I know that, the more local and simple I can keep my vegetables, the healthier they are for me.

Why salad?!  Well, while I’m stepping out of my comfort-zone… I’m not treading too faraway.  I don’t often make salads at homes so experimenting with new flavors and textures is perfect– but making a “raw lasagna” just feels too foreign for this Italian food lover this early in the “raw-game”…!

Want to make this for yourself?  It’s very simple.  Here’s what you do!

What you need: a peeler… it’s basically your best friend for this dish.

Boil some water and use a heat-proof strainer to steam your vegetables (this way the broccoli and asparagus can soften up a bit without being cooked!)

after a few minutes of steaming (or until vegetables are soft) immediately place into a bowl of cold water in order to shock the vegetables and keep them looking bright and green!

Then… use a peeler to slice up 2 long carrots & 1 cucumber

now all you have to do is assemble!  Place the vegetable along with 1/4 cup of almonds for some crunch!  That’s it!

For the dressing, this is what I did… combine 1 tablespoon of olive oil with the juice of half a lemon, and a pinch of salt and pepper

the lemon citrus flavor is a perfect compliment to the broccoli and asparagus :) YUM.

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If this is raw… I can get used to this.  Feel free to add some tofu in there as well for some protein!  That’s raw… right?!  ;)

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Also check out this other summer salad if you’re digging making salads at home!

Enjoy SFG’s… and remember to step out of your food comfort-zone… every once and a while!

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Summer Strawberry Treat

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Strawberry 1

Dear Diary,

This weekend I was in need of some serious R & R. Friday night, felt like a tribute to my college days. I was visiting a friend in Santa Barbara and the night quickly turned from dinner into a bar hopping extravaganza. Irish car bombs, Jager shots and tequila were involved… Saturday morning, my headache reminded me that college ended some time ago.   I didn’t want this weekend to be a total bust of binge watching, “Orange is the New Black” and ordering takeout. But my body was in need of carbs…lots of sweet carbs. So, I headed to pinterest for inspiration.

Strawberry short cake recipes kept catching my eye, though I couldn’t make these recipes as is, without having major food guilt.  So I headed to the kitchen to create something that would be SFG approved. Coconut flour and stevia are ingredients that would help cut the sugar and carb count. I’ve been wanting to bake with them for some time… Unfortunately, there aren’t exact conversion charts for substituting these ingredients for sugar and wheat flour in recipes. Stevia is about 300 times sweeter than sugar and coconut flour doesn’t behave like wheat flour. Believe me, I had a couple fails before this recipe worked out. Here’s some things I learned that might be helpful in your own kitchen experiments.

- 20% of the flour called for can be substituted with coconut flour, the other 80% has to be rice, wheat or “real” flour

-1 cup of sugar is closely the equivalent with 1 packet of stevia, or about 1 tsp of the dry stevia

Here’s what you need to create your own #SFGapproved “Summer Strawberry Treat.” It really does help with hang-overs and is guilt free :)

 

 * 1/4 cup coconut flour

* 3/4 cup  flour

*2 tsp. Stevia

* 1/4 Fage Yogurt 0%

* 1 tsp. lemon juice

* 1 tsp. cream of tarter

* 1 tsp. vanilla extract

*1/4 tsp. of salt

* 12 egg whites (about 1 and 1/2 cups of liquid egg whites)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaf pan and set aside. Combine coconut flour, cake flour and stevia in a bowl, stir with a whisk. Use another bowl to beat the egg whites at high speed until soft peak forms.  Add cream of tarter, lemon juice and vanilla to the eggs; beat until smooth.

Next, take the flour mixture, and slowly add to the egg white mixture, about 1/4 cup at a time. Gently fold the flour into the egg mixture each time, until all the flour mixture is gone. Then fold in the Greek yogurt.  Using a spatula, place the batter in the pan. Bake for about 40 – 50 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

Using a metal spatula, loosen the cake from both sides and place on a cooling rack. Wait until the cake is completely cool. Then cut into 2 inch square and place in the bottom of mason jars, top with strawberries and Greek yogurt. You can also throw on some mint if you are in the mood.

fruit parfait

Enjoy!

lauren2

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Coffee Cocktail?!

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Dear Diary,

Summer has always represented “break” to me, however not being in school anymore and in a career (wedding photography) thats busy season is summer changes all that.  I’m constantly pumping myself with caffeine to get through the day and occasionally wanting to cut loose on an off night. However, I definitely still need that coffee to keep me going, so I played with mixing the two. I’m putting a whole new meaning on coffee-aholic. If you love coconut and coffee you’ll also love Jackie’s homemade coconut popsicle float or you could check out the other time we froze coffee for the sake of beauty

Coffee Ice Cubes

Pour coffee into ice cube trays and freeze.

Coffee Cocktail Recipe

Ingredients:

* 1 oz coconut milk

* 1 oz Kahlua

* 1 oz coffee

* Frozen coffee ice cubes

* (Optional) Sprinkle of cinnamon – (But you know how we feel about this miracle metabolism booster!)

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Don’t judge me, you can also skip the Kahlua and just have it as an iced coffee! Annndddd the coffee ice cubes won’t water down your cup of joe! Cheers to that!

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STAMP NECKLACE by Irina Victoria Jewelry

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Dear Diary,

When our friend and fabulous jewelry designer, Irina Victoria, introduced us to her new collection of stamp necklaces… we were immediately blown away.  Not only by the delicate and chic design, but by the powerful messages each stamp entails and the great impact a small message can do.  Mantras are a great reminder to each of us… they can act as a guide for your attitude and goals every day.  Through out your life, these small mantras can serve you… as well as those around you– and these stamp necklaces tend to get attention every where we go.  :)

What makes these designs even more spectacular is that through the purchase of one of these necklaces… you’ll also be helping endangered animals throughout the world!  The pieces are inspired by wildlife and were created to support ongoing efforts to help save endangered species and threatened ecosystems. 50% of proceeds from each sale of the Do Good/Be Kind/ Live As One necklace will be donated to the Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN)!

Who is WCN, you ask?  Great question SFG’s!  WCN is a highly regarded U.S.-based charity whose mission is to protect endangered species and preserve their natural habitats by supporting entrepreneurial conservationists who pursue innovative strategies for people and wildlife to co-exist and thrive. Care to learn more? Visit their website wildnet.org

Check out which pieces from the collection we chose below…

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Lauren is sporting the “be kind” necklace in gold…

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Val is rocking the” do good” in gold as well… these blondes were made for gold metallics, weren’t they? :)

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And last but not least, Jackie is changing it up with the “live as one” stamp in silver!

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we get to look stylish and do something good too?!  that’s what we call good karma :)

check out our other post on this talented jewelry designer here… and make sure to check out her site to buy one of these necklaces for yourself :)

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Confidence: my favorite way to suit up

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LSPACE JACKIE 1Dear Diary,

I blinked, and it’s August!  I can’t believe how quickly the season goes by… we’re officially in the height of summer, and I’m taking full advantage.  I usually find myself day-dreaming about summer by early February– I get excited about beach days, pool parties and margaritas with my girlfriends, but soon my day dreams turn into delusions… Suddenly, as I picture myself enjoying all these sunny festivities (with food/drinks galore), I’m magically 10 lbs. thinner with a spray tan!

I envision that by the time the hot weather rolls around, my body will be perfect and I’ll feel confident in all the seasonal attire that goes along with summer fun… but of course, it never quite turns out that way…  why doesn’t it ever turn out that way, you ask?  Because my fantasy transformation is completely ABSURD!!

But as each year goes by, I get more confident with who I am and the beautiful body I got… but instead of panicking about what bikini is going to fit the way I want, I often decide to go with a good old fashion one piece instead.  In my opinion, one pieces often get a bad rep– often times a little coverage can make you look even hotter than a bikini– especially when you’re lucky enough to be rockin’ one by L*Space!

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For me, if I’m not feeling comfortable with what I’m wearing, there is NO WAY I can enjoy my day… I get too self-conscious!  In the past couple of years, I’ve really made an effort to let that go– it’s not easy to put your neuroses aside when you’re not feeling your best, but it’s important to go out and enjoy your life whether you’re feeling super-awesome or not!  Staying healthy and picking outfits that make you feel the most comfortable though do make this struggle a little bit easier… :)

The night before this shoot, I had a quesadilla and nachos with all the fixings… it was cheesy, oily and completely amazing… and I’d go crazy (and be a complete liar) if I said I was happy to eat only salads and nuts for the entire summer!  I eat what I love (in moderation of course), and don’t want to feel like my indulgences are going to haunt me in a swim suit the next day.

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That’s where the right swimsuit comes into play :) Confidence on the beach (even after a night of cocktails and delicious mexican food) is possible when you choose a swimsuit that you love… This suit by L*Space is flirty and figure-flattering– camouflaging areas that I want to avoid, while creating focus where I want it… it shows off my curves, without feeling like I’m on display.

I love bikinis too, but what’s wrong with a cute onesie!? Instead of worrying about how flat my stomach looks, I’m able to enjoy the beautiful waves and focus on having fun!!     No wonder the suit is named “the sweet thing” one piece ;)

LSPACE JACKIE 4

Be confident and love being you this summer :)  Share with us your summer stories!

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Sail Away Attire!

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Dear Diary,

I’m absolutely obsessed with bright colors this summer! Until recently, I never really embraced my body type and used to hide it behind dark colors. After years in hot yoga rooms, gnarly spin classes and kick-boxing. I began to judge myself less and appreciate what my body could do. In celebration of this freeing moment, I felt compelled to literally set sail in this ensemble. Through my sailing trek wasn’t very far – around the harbor to be exact… It felt symbolic of a new journey in my life – a more appreciative one.

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The anchor tank, in all its bright peach glory, spoke to my new found “grounded” self and I just had to splurge! The cut-offs are actually old Joe’s Jeans that I simply cut into shorts with fabric scissors. Ripped shorts are one of my favorite trends this summer and not to mention really affordable when you are reusing your old denim. I love pairing them with a fun pair of bootie heels, it shows off all the hard work you put in at the gym. photo 1

Scarves are great accessories for the summer; chic by day and functional at night. I absolutely love my Prana Del Mar scarf by Tiny Devotions. The company is a community of hippies, yogis and health fanatics – my kind of people! The scarf is named after a place on the southern, tip of Baja, Mexico. In ancient times, goddesses would go there to seek solace and it was believed to hold special healing powers of the sea…The shores of Venice don’t have quite the same aesthetic, but the ocean felt freeing nonetheless. The scarf is a tiny reminder to see the world through rose colored glasses.

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Bon Voyage!

 

lauren2

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Edible Arrangements?!

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Pineapple Bouquet Vase - How To - DIY - 04.jpg

Dear Diary,

When you live in California you deal with earthquakes on the regular. And the last one broke all my flower vases!! Waaahhh. I haven’t had a chance to scour Goodwill for some new glass wear, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me from housing some gorgeous florals. Having fresh flowers in the house just makes my day instantly better. I can’t help but smile when I see them! I was cutting up an afternoon snack and thought this pineapple could be a good housing option for these stems. What you you think?!

DIY Pineapple Vase

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Choose an array of your favorite colors and textures. Don’t forget the greenery it fills out your bouquet and is much cheaper than flowers!

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Cut off the top inch of your pineapple (You know, that funny tree-looking part).  Take your knife and cut around the inside of the rind and then slice a grid (think tic-tac-toe) in the middle of your pineapple. (Make sure not to puncture the sides of your fruit. You don’t want a leak!) I then took a spoon (a melon baller would work best) and scooped out the middle of the pineapple, eating it as I went of course! All my meals have to be multipurpose! Haha.

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I lined the inside of the pineapple with a sandwich bag before filling it with water. That way the pineapple juice doesn’t affect the flower’s water.

Do you have any clever ways to design centerpieces?! Share with us in the comments below!

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Swim Attire for the Sportie Spices…

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Dear Diary,

Every time I’m on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook – I’ll inevitably see something about summer – be it poolside shots, bikinis or epic sunsets. I guess there’s no hiding from it, summer is here… and it’s a hot one! So it’s time to show your bathing suit body…whether you feel entirely ready or not.

Unfortunately, I’m in the latter category because summer doesn’t make me crave nachos or sweet potato fries any less…. And, I’m just not one to pass up a good summer tart. So you can image my trepidation when putting my swimsuit on. Especially living in a city where people think baby carrots suffice as lunch…plleeasssee, maybe… breakfast. ;0

I have picked up some tricks of the trade, while living Los Angeles though. Here are some tips to help you look and feel your best when catching some rays, especially if you have a more athletic build, like myself. We are of the fake it till you make mentality.

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-Pair a patterned top with a solid bottom. This draws your eye towards the pattern making your legs seem longer.  I’m in love with my L*Space bathing suit at the moment. They have such great patterns this season! Their bottoms also come with several different coverage options. So you can be completely comfortable. I know tiny is trending, but my Midwest self just can’t let go.

I’m wearing the Twister Top in carnivale, with the Classic Lacy Bottoms in peacock.

-If you are bigger on top, steer clear of extra fabric on your tops: ruffles or fringe can add too much width & made you look bigger than you are…

-Also, if you have a planned beach outing, pass up fiber muffins & lots of spinach a couple days before, instead opt for lean protein, you’ll retain less water and have less chance of bloating. Worse comes to worst, and you are in a pinch during a bathing suit photo opt. Place an object in front of your stomach…like this here coconut and it can help optically shrink your waist.

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-Spray tans are never out of style when you are pale and athletic… seriously no one ever said an ompah loompha looked thick.

The most important thing to looking bathing suit ready, is self-confidence. We aren’t all supermodels and it’s a bummer… but at least we have our humor.

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Cheers to the weekend! Hope to see you at the beach :)

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Yumm Bowl

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Dear Diary,

I just got back from shooting a wedding in my college town of Eugene, Oregon and of course I got all nostalgic. I had to see all my old spots… I got excited when I thought I recognized someone from the grocery store, I went to my old coffee stand (I was employed at Dutch Bros. Coffee all through college. Tried to jump back in the stand to show off my barista skills and they thought I was trying to rob them. Oops.) and I HAD to go to one of my favorite restaurants, Yumm Cafe!

They have these incredibly tasty and seemingly healthy “Yumm Bowls” with this special sauce I’ve been trying to master for years. They’re now selling it, so I had to stock up! Only to forget them in Oregon :( My sweet girlfriend offered to mail them down to me packed in dry ice, but I thought that was a bit excessive and would only feed my ridiculous obsession.

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Then there was a miracle… I found the recipe online! (I wrote it in here too!) Thank you, Taste Book, for fulling my greatest fantasies! So thankful I can now make this sauce to have whenever I please!

INGREDIENTS:

…YUMM SAUCE…

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup grape seed or canola oil
  • 1/2 cup almond meal or finely chopped almonds
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup cooked garbanzo beans
  • 1/4 cup cooked soybeans or 1/3 cup tofu
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried cilantro

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a small measuring cup, mix together the water and lemon juice. In a separate small measuring cup, measure out the appropriate amount of oil. Set both aside.

2. In a small measuring cup, mix together the water and lemon juice. In a separate small measuring cup, measure out the appropriate           amount of oil. Set both aside.

3. In a blender or food processor, process the almonds, nutritional yeast, garbanzo beans, soybeans or tofu, garlic, salt, curry, oregano, and cilantro together until almost fully ground, about 15 seconds.

4. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. With the machine running, add lemon juice-water mixture in steady stream through feed tube. Scrape down bowl and continue to process for 1 minute. With the machine running, add the oil mixture in a steady stream through feed tube; continue to process until the sauce is smooth and creamy, about 15 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed.

5. Transfer the sauce to a clean bottle or jar, cover, and refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to blend.

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…YUMM BOWL…

  • Brown rice, cooked
  • Black beans, cooked
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (I don’t think this is necessary so I forgo cheese, but it is part of the Original Yumm Bowl)
  • Salsa (Optional: I only show love for the Yumm sauce on this one :)
  • Diced fresh tomato
  • Sliced fresh avocado
  • Sliced black olives
  • Sour cream (I skip this too since the Yumm sauce is all I need!)
  • Fresh cilantro sprigs (Optional: I’m not a fan of cilantro. Yuck.)

ASSEMBLY:

1. Place a scoop of brown rice in an individual-sized serving bowl, then layer a scoop of black beans over the rice. Drizzle the rice and beans with a desired amount of Yumm Sauce, then sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese over the rice.

2. Spoon a dollop of salsa in the middle of the bowl, then spoon the tomato, avocado, and olives around the perimeter. Place a dollop of sour cream in the center of the bowl, garnish with some cilantro sprigs, and serve.

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To get some more veggies, I like to mix in arugula too!

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Jackie’s Take on Summertime Scarves

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Dear Diary,

As I struggle this summer to find a job, I also continue the struggle to find balance in my life– social work, acting, family, friends, blogging– I’m constantly being pulled in 15 different directions and somehow I’m supposed to find the BALANCE!?  SFG’s… I know you can relate!  The term balance is often used loosely by a lot of people but it seems so important nonetheless– us ladies do it all, and somehow we all like to pretend that’s easy!  Balance is meant to suggest that we’re able to juggle everything at once, but seriously it’s NOT possible.  Life nowadays is too hectic– but for some reason we keep on trying!

We all know that cooking is one way that I try to find my zen, but another is through yoga.  I am an ultimate yogi– no that doesn’t mean I can meditate in a headstand or make every yoga position look easy, but what it does means is I go regularly, sweat A LOT (a lot may be an understatement), and practice yoga not just for the awesome work out.  I go to focus on nothing… but my breath.  Yup, that’s right!  I go to regain that “balance” that is so often missing in my every day life, and reconnect to myself for just a moment during my day.  As I struggle to complete the class (usually by the 10th chaturanga I’m ready to pack up and completely quit this whole “yoga-thing”), I try to remember that just like in life… perfection is not the goal!  Life (and yoga) is about focusing on the moment, taking each day in and trying to find what’s meaningful and purposeful for your right then and there!  If I start my day off with a yoga class, I feel rocketed into the day!  I not only know that I did something healthy for my body, but I did something healthy for my mind and spirit!  I feel confident and excited to start the day… and I’m no longer dragging my feet, anxious about the next thing that I have to do.

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We came across tiny devotions online and I immediately felt that I had found a kindred spirit in their message and brand… not to mention in their style ;)  hah… I’m all about the bohemian look… it’s sexy, laid-back and looks fabulously effortless.  So when I saw their “hipster scarf”– it was love at first sight!  This scarf makes me feel like I can conquer anything, and not to mention look pretty chic doing it… hey, it even makes my yoga pants look inspired!

All the things that I have to do… work, blog, friends, family… they’re not going away– and I wouldn’t want them to!  I’m devoted to it all… just like my yoga practice!  It’s the only way I’ll stay sane… :)

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Bachelorette Fiesta!

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Dear Diary,

With wedding season in full swing we were inspired to look back at Lauren’s fun road leading up to her nuptials.  We documented her bachelorette and featured it on Lauren Conrad! Incase you missed it, here it is…

It was so much fun…and healthy, too. Seriously, we had fresh pressed cucumber juice cocktails and made healthy Mexican entrées. We can’t help ourselves, healthy is just who we are!

Bachelorette Fiesta Dinner Meal

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We rented an amazing Spanish Villa with a huge kitchen and incredible views. Having everyone cook together was kind of magical. 10 girls whipping up a meal really made a rental house a home. Since we were in a Spanish Villa (and Lauren drools anytime someone mentions chips and salsa), we made the entire bachelorette weekend a Mexican-themed affair. Low calorie enchiladas with guacamole were the fare. But, what really made this a memorable event, fabulous company excluded, was the décor…

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Need some great ideas on how to make your bachelorette party pop? Today, we’ve got you covered!

Here are some of our tips:

1.  Pick a color palette.
The rule of thumb is 60 percent of your main color, 30 percent complementary colors, and 10 percent accent color. Lately we’re loving metallic as an accent color.

2. Personalize it.
Nothing will make your guests feel more special than creating unique details just for them. So go ahead and add personal touches wherever you feel it’s appropriate!

3. Create stations or focal areas.
Your décor will make a bigger impression if it’s concentrated in specific areas, rather than sparsely strewn about. Don’t be afraid to move furniture around to make your vision happen.

The dinner table was our favorite area to decorate. We adorned our setting with old charger plates, sombrero name tags and drink labels, red napkins with mini maracas and tiny gold donkey figurines, a Mexican blanket table runner and, of course, the sombrero centerpiece. It really took the cake as far as conveying our fiesta theme.

Bachelorette Tablescape

Bachelorette Tablescape Fiesta Theme

Bachelorette Tablescape DIY Fiesta - Lauren Conrad

What kind of fiesta would it be without a metallic piñata and a photobooth? A photobooth is a fun activity to have at any gathering. Just set up a little sign so guests know where to take their photos, and place funny props and costumes in the area. The photos will captures memories you won’t ever forget.

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Be the hostess with the mostest by thanking your guests for coming to celebrate the bride with little party favors. On the outside, these little gifts were decorated with piñata streamer details and “muchas gracias” tags with each guest’s name. Inside, each guest received a shot glass dipped in gold to remember the weekend.

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Muchas Gracias - DIY Bachelorette Thank You

Shot Glass souveniers

And did we mention the Bachelorette Survival Kit decorated with a mustache to tie in with the theme? It came equipped with everything a girl needs on an end of the weekend recovery morning: a hair tie, Band-Aids, Advil, and chewing gum. More than a nice gesture, it was necessary come Sunday morning.

Bachelorette Survival Kit DIY

Our Mexican fiesta was a huge success! We hope you had fun reading about our SFG bachelorette weekend. Just remember, party planning is all in the details!

What theme are you going to choose when hosting your next get-together?

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Photos: Valorie Darling Photography

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