The Stylist LA for Valentine’s Day!

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Dear Diary,

Anyone one else feel like they have a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear?! Seriously struggling over what dress to wear to what, spending money on things I know I’m only going to wear once- we’re all guilty. But, it’s safe to say my life has changed and for the better! You know what I’m talking about, right? The Stylist LA! It’s infinitely expanded my closet; all I have to do is choose a dress for my event, rent it, and I look good and so does my wallet!

Not sure what to wear for Valentine’s Day?! Check out these adorable styles for the spring- We know what we’ll be sporting…

SFG JACKIE

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Dress: Asilio

Jacket: Trina Turk // Similar (budget): Romwe // Similar (splurge): DVF

Shoes: Steve Madden

Shades: Amazon
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SFG VALORIE
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Dress: Karina Grimaldi

Jacket: Similar here

Shoes: Forever 21 // Similar: Just Fab

Shades: Amazon

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SFG LAUREN

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Dress: The Jet Set Diaries

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Valentine’s Day Strawberry Heart Salad

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salad, strawberry, cute, heart, love, valentine, feta, balsamic, entertaining, hostess, dinner party, party, friends

Dear Diary,

What are you whipping up for Valentine’s Day?! I’m having a little GALentine’s Day with girlfriends in Palm Springs! We’re celebrating a 30th birthday and a bachelorette! Double dose of amazingness!!

Strawberries are the perfect little snack around Valentine’s Day especially when you’re trying to eat light poolside. They’re red, sweet, and even look like hearts- I think this calls for a recipe. I typically like to do a couple apps/sides for these events and I was thinking of making basil, strawberry, feta skewers similar to these ones. But I wanted to show off those cute little berry hearts, so why not just lay them directly on a bed of basil?

And what better than to balance all of those chocolates and sweets with a refreshing salad? Strawberry salads are my favorite…so, let’s get to work!

salad, strawberry, cute, heart, love, valentine, feta, balsamic, entertaining, hostess, dinner party, party, friends

What You Need:

* Strawberries

* Basil

* Feta Cheese

*Balsamic Vinaigrette

What To Do:
1. Rinse the strawberries.

2. Slice them length wise towards the base (green top).

3. Cut little “V”s at the base of the berry to create the heart shape.

4. Rinse the basil.

5. Make a bed of basil on a tray and place your heart berries over the top.

6. Top with feta crumbles and lightly drizzle with vinaigrette.

Eat up!

It’s as pretty as it is delicious – make it for friends and family to spread the love… I know what I’m doing, just sayin’…

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GALentine’s Day Gift Box

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IV Jewelry GALENTINES Day

Dear Diary,

How is it already February?!  January was here and gone in a flash, and I feel like if I don’t take a second to breathe and refocus on the NOW… I’ll miss out on all that February has to offer!  And for us, February is all about my girlfriends and some ME time.  I need some spa time, some girl time, and most of all some chocolate!  :)  Galentine’s Day is the day before Valentine’s Day– and it’s all about taking the time to celebrate your favorite gal pal’s and reminding them that they don’t need a significant other to make them feel special!

Our friend Irina of Irina Victoria Jewelry had this in mind when she created her Galentine’s Day Gift Box!

IV Jewelry box

The box includes:

  • Recipe for Chewy Sugar Cookies
  • Pre-mixed dry ingredients for the cookies in a mason jar
  • Heart Shaped Cookie Cutter
  • Heart Sprinkles
  • Chocolates
  • Polishing pads
  • and of course a choice of a RING by Irina Victoria Jewelry

(ring options: smooth band, I heart you ring, textured band, rosebud ring)

IV Jewelry rings

*BUT shhh everything but the RING will be a fun surprise for your GAL pal ;)

This is such a fun idea, that I had to share!  But order soon because GALentine’s Day will be here before you know it!

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Order ends by 2/9 (so it can get there ON Galentine’s Day!) & it costs $44.99! (shipping included)

CLICK HERE to order!

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Vday Menu – Watermelon Feta Salad

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salad, watermelon, cute, heart, love, valentine, feta, entertaining, hostess, dinner party, party, friends

Dear Diary,

I could just look at this salad all day! It’s so pretty I almost don’t want to touch it…but that would be a lie. It’s so sweet, light, refreshing, and satisfying that it couldn’t wait to devour it and it quickly became my favorite appetizer item.

And, lucky for you, I love you enough to share the recipe… Just in time for Valentine’s Day! Want to try it for yourself? Keep reading!

Watermelon Feta Salad

salad, watermelon, cute, heart, love, valentine, feta, entertaining, hostess, dinner party, party, friends

What You Need:

* Watermelon

* Feta

* Mint

* Heart Shaped cookie cutter

Directions:

*  Slice the watermelon into 1 inch thick slices. Use the heart cookie cutter to cut out shapes.

* Plate the watermelon hearts

* Crumble feta over the top

* Finish with garnishing the dish with hints of mint

It’s so adorable it’s the perfect Valentine’s snack. What are you whipping up in your kitchen?

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10,000 Steps a Day Challenge

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Pen and waterbottle

Dear Diary,

First and foremost, Happy New Year SFG readers! We can’t believe it’s already halfway through January – whaatttt??!!! 2016 is starting with me clearly on top of it, as I haven’t written a post in 3 week. So without the ability to drag my feet any longer, time to set the ever cliché fitness goals! I know, I know, but I can’t help it. Between the Weight Watchers and Lifetime Fitness commercials I’m so motivated. I’m also heading to Cabo and being in a bathing suit for 4 days, might be the source of my January fitness vigor.

While in my early 20’s, I would have set some ridiculously unattainable goals, aka Britney Spears body in the “Slave 4 u” video. In my new “refined” age bracket, I find myself setting a more reasonable goal of 10,000 steps a day. I hear some of you saying, but Lauren walking doesn’t do anything!! Hold that thought. According to the Mayo Clinic and The World Health Organization, walking 10,000 steps a day burns 20% of a person’s daily caloric intake. Talk about a life hack – you don’t have to feel guilty for missing kick boxing anymore! Girl, just walk it off!

This leads me to “the how” about measuring your steps and my favorite gift this year – the Motorola 360 Sports Watch. Not only does it track my steps and monitor my heart rate, but it also connects to your smart phone. You can connect wireless headphones, hear Pandora and still alerted of the emails/calls you are receiving when you are on a hike or long walk(without have to carry your phone!). It’s a heaven sent! If you have been dragging your feet on joining the watch tracker crew… I would say stop and get to it.

2016 is going to be great and we look forward sharing our life hacks – you can’t do it all, but you can sure as hell make it look like it!

 

lauren2

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Furniture Face Lift

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Dear Diary,

For the past 6 months I’ve been living alone! It’s something I always wanted to do in my life, but never knew if I’d have the opportunity living in LA. It’s an expensive city! But I find that everytime I take a leap of faith, abundance follows and it’s the best thing I could have done for myself. I love living in a space where everything around me represents who I am and makes me feel happy!

When redecorating my house I wanted it to feel clean, new and fresh! I read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and was moved to change the way I organize and view my things. It’s all about decluttering your life and home and only surrounding yourself with things that bring you JOY! I love that each item in my place really does do that for me :)

I had some items that were practical pieces, but I didn’t like the aesthetic. I was planning on Goodwilling them, but found myself looking for replacements that were expensive in a time when I needed to stay on a budget. So why not just throw a coat of paint on it and make it look new and shiny?! That’s just what I did to this book shelf!

Before/After

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I then styled out the shelves with items that make me smile and inspire me!

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What inspires me?

Books by women who are making a difference, my Glamma’s bracelets, pictures of friends…
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Pretty girlie shoes, polaroid cameras and books that I’ve been published in or have a positive message. They all bring me JOY!
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How are you decluttering your life in 2016?!

ValSignature

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Chia Seed Superfood Breakfast Pudding

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SFG chia pudding

Dear Diary,

Hey!  Do you even remember me?  Ha… it’s been a while.  I’m sorry SFG’s but I promise I have a few REALLY good excuses… first, and I’d like to think most importantly, I’m getting MARRIED!!! AHHHH… I’m so excited, and hope to share some of the fun details with ya’ll very soon… but I have to tell you, getting married is just as much work as everyone warns you it is!  I feel like it’s been a roller coaster of planning– the minute you have one thing booked, there’s something else to worry about!  So between the planning, and some family-engagement fun, it’s been a busy holiday season!  Secondly, I just started a new job AND moved into a new gorgeous apartment in the middle of Manhattan’s West Village (AKA my DREAM-COME-TRUE neighborhood)!!! So between all these new changes– I’ve fallen off the blog posting wagon– but now that 2016 is here!  I am ready to be committed again to the SFG movement AND my healthy lifestyle… and after celebrating my month full of holiday and engagement celebrations– it’s time for me to say “no” to sugar, and “yes” to some cleansing, and natural superfood breakfasts like this one!  Chia Seeds are FULL of fiber and protein– so I’m adding them into my morning routine!

chia pudding SFG diary

This breakfast is SO easy to prepare– and is a great breakfast to take with you during your morning rush;  Just pack it in a mason jar and you’re good to go!  Somehow this breakfast makes me feel indulgent, even when I know it’s good for me ;) so what could be better than that?!

SFG diary breakfast chia pudding

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED

1 frozen banana

1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (I do vegan plant based)

1 cup of almond milk

1/4 cup of chia seeds

handful of blueberries

pumpkin seeds

handful of frozen raspberries

1 kiwi

SFG Diary chia pudding

HERE’S WHAT YOU DO

over-night (or at least an hour)… combine chia seeds with almond milk in a mason jar and let it set in the fridge

mash up some blueberries (so it’s kind of like a jam!) and pour over the chia seed pudding once it sets!

then in a blender– combine the banana, vanilla protein powder, and just enough water so that it becomes a thick smoothie!

finally, pour over the blueberries, and then add a layer of raspberries & slices of kiwis and some seeds for crunch!

AND now ENJOY!!

chia pudding SFG

You can totally make this recipe you’re own… add some nuts, granola, or drizzle on some honey!  Let us know what combinations you come up with SFG’s!  We’d love to know and share! :)

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Black Friday / Cyber Monday Sales!

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Dear Diary,

Can you believe it’s that time of year again?! I’ve put on my Sizzler pants and I’m gearing up for the biggest meal of the year! Moderately snacking throughout the day trying to stay strategic so not to spoil my appetite. I’m currently writing this with pumpkin roll batter on my fingers t0o by the way… It’s one of the dishes I make every year (Here’s the recipe!).

Now, allow me to bring you Christmas early… Here are all the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales codes your little heart could ever desire!

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J Crew Factory // 50% off Everything

Old Navy // Up to 40% off Everything – Code EARLYBIRD

Nordstrom // added tons of Items to its Sale Section

Loft // 40% off Everything -Code TURKEYDAY

Ann Taylor // 40% off Everything -Code GIVE40

Banana Republic // 40% off Everything- Code BRFRIENDS

Shopbop // Up to 25% off- Code GOBIG15

Tory Burch // 30% off $250!

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Dolce Vita // 20% off with Code BLACK20

Joe’s Jeans // 30% off sitewide

Kate Spade // 75% off surprise sale

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ASOS // Up to 60% off casual looks with code BLESSED

Design Darling // 20% off with code THANKFUL
GAP // Early access 50% off everything with code EARLY
J.Crew // 30% off full priced items, 40% off sale with code HOLIDAY
J.Crew Factory // 50% off everything with code SHOPGIFTS
Kate Spade // Surprise Sale up to 70% off
Love Always Couture (monogrammed jewelry) // 30% off entire purchase with code SPARKLE30
Macy’s // Extra 25% off clearance designer handbags, 50% off select juniors clothing, 60% off women’s coats, 50% off women’s sweaters, 70% off memory foam pillow & toppers
Madewell // 25% off your entire purchase with code CALMDOWN
Neiman Marcus // Take 20% off sale items
Nordstrom // New sale items, plus they are price matching!
Rebecca Minkoff // 25% off all orders + free shipping + up to 70% off selected styles
Tory Burch // Spend $250, receive 30% off with code THANKS
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Party dresses in images can be rented at The Stylist LA! (20% off and free shipping with code CYBER20)
Photographed by moi (Valorie Darling Photography)!
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Thanksgiving 3 ingredient peanut butter cookies!

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SFG Diary peanut butter cookies

Dear Diary,

My stomach hurts, and sadly there’s no one to blame but myself… LOL… that’s what happens when I decide to eat my entire batch of peanut butter cookies in one day.  It started out innocently enough, I was experimenting with which dessert recipe to make for thanksgiving when I decided that these “Thanksgiving” 3 ingredient peanut butter cookies were the way to go!  They are simple and healthy while still feeling festive and indulgent.  Now I don’t recommend you follow my example and eat the whole batch in one sitting, but at least if you do, you can feel good about knowing that they’re non-processed, delicious and easy to make– so just make yourself another batch and enjoy! :)

thanksgiving PB cookies

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED/DO

Line a cookie sheet pan with non-stick parchment paper

In a mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of peanut butter with two eggs

Once completely mixed,  place individual peanut butter cookie scoops on the parchment (use an ice cream scooper so that they cook evenly)

press down on each cookie ball with a fork to create a leaner shape and interesting texture

cook in a 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes

While the cookies cool, combine 1 cup of dark chocolate with 1/2 cup of almond milk or half and half

place in a microwave safe bowl and heat for about 30 seconds

gently mix together until it is shiny and smooth (about 5 minutes), and add more liquid if needed

Lastly, place the chocolate ganache in a ziplock bag and cut one of the corner tips

then squeeze the bag (like a pastry bag), squirting out a thin line of chocolate sauce to coat the top of the cookies

lastly add your favorite festive toppings!  Sprinkles, crushed oreos, graham crackers… you like it, I love it! ;)

peanut butter thanksgiving cookies

So next time you’re overwhelmed with which thanksgiving dessert to make– remember that this delicious treat is an easy solution!

2 ingredient cookies

Happy Holidays SFGs!

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Peppermint Protein Bites – The Holidays are Here!

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Peppermint Protein Bites 21

 

Dear Diary,

Christmas came early for us, Stubblefields. After a year of looking for a home, finally finding a home and renovating that said home. We can FINALLY move in!! It truly feels like an early Christmas gift and for that reason, I was inspired to do something festive in the kitchen – with these peppermint protein bites! They are crunchy little bites of deliciousness and a must make for anyone always on the go.

I have a lot of travel for work coming up and these are perfect to put in the refrigerator overnight and take to the airport in the morning.  They are a little sweeter than other protein bites I have made in the past. However, they are still better than the empty calorie and sugary snacks available at the airport kiosks.

Oh- how I love the holiday season! I can’t wait to show you it to  all it. It’s a work in progress with a lot of foreseeable DIY’s, get ready for some serious life hacks. But in the meantime…

 

Here’s what you need to make these delicious bites:

1/4 cup protein powder (I used cookies n cream protein powder)

6 tablespoons of almond milk

2 tablespoons of peanut butter

1 tablespoons of agave nectar

2 tablespoons of coconut flour

Peppermint flakes

Different Angle Peppermint Protein Bites

Mix all the ingredients together, then roll in small bite sized balls and dust with peppermint flakes and white sprinkles for a festive appeal. This also adds some great texture.

lauren2

 

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SoCal HeARTs Holiday Party

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Dear Diary,

As some of you know I started a non-profit (SoCal HeARTs) with one of my best friends over 5 years ago. It started as a Holiday Party and we’ve been lucky enough to team up with Camp TLC in the past 3 years and have put on an arts based kids camp for foster children and at risk youth in the Watts/Compoton area of Los Angeles.

I went through a weird period during the journey of this non-profit, where I doubted what impact our efforts really made… after this year’s Summer Camp and seeing all our kid’s faces I was reminded that even if just one child takes something positive away from their experience it was all worth it! To see the confidence and talents they nurture over the course of a week is so exciting and gives me hope for our future. To know what they’ve been through in their short lives and see their resilience through it all – I can’t help but feel inspired and proud of them. They are wonderful and strong and I’m so grateful to have their glowy, little spirits in my life!

Camp SoCal HeARTs

It’s also cool to witness our volunteers leaving with full hearts and a passion for giving back! Several of them have added a charitable sectors to their businesses since getting involved and it’s so inspiring to see. We all can make a difference! The world is a big place, yes, and the thought taking on the world’s problems is overwhelming and seems impossible. But if we all are just kind to eachother and try to do our best we are already making it a better place… Always put your shiniest self forward!

Summer Camp Video:

Chappy Happy created a bracelet to support our charity and is donating 20% of the profits to the cause! Click the link below to get the details and purchase yours! Perfect gift for the upcoming holidays!

Camp SoCal HeARTs bracelet

Chappy Happy Bracelet

You can also sponsor a child this holiday season by purchasing a present off our Amazon gift list… If you would like to volunteer at the kid’s Holiday Party (on Saturday, December 5th from 1-4PM). Please contact me by leaving a comment below.

So much love…

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Pumpkin “Caramels”

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pumpkin caramels yum

Dear Diary,

When I went searching for some sweet treat inspiration earlier this week, I was having some trouble.  Of course there are so many delicious recipes to try, but many seemed too complicated, or too processed… but then I came across Pumpkin “Caramels”, and I was immediately intrigued.  I love any recipe that stays true to the holiday spirit, and the best part is that there is NO ADDED SUGAR and only FIVE INGREDIENTS in total.  This recipe is easy to make, perfect for dessert or a mid-day snack, and are super delicious!

SFG Diary pumpkin caramelsThese are similar to my recent “Pumpkin Pie Bites” except there are fewer ingredients and and even sweeter!  These little caramels really do taste similar to the real deal– it is amazing how sweet dates can be, and the touch of pumpkin adds a perfect layer of fall flavor! They are so ooey-gooey and natural sweet– just like I like it! :)  I am definitely going to try to make these again this thanksgiving– because they definitely won’t last in my freezer– I’ve already had several today with my coffee LOL (but whose counting ;))

pumpkin caramels SFG

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED/DO

In a food processor combine:

  • 1 & 1/4 cups of dates
  • 2 tablespoons of pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil (make sure it is in liquid form)
  • add 3 large dashes of cinnamon spice & clove spice
  • add a few tablespoons of hot water to smooth out the “caramel” mixture

*keep processing the mixture until it is shiny and smooth– the texture of caramel

then put in the freezer for several hours (any where from 2-6 hours is great!)

The mixture will be soft and fudge-like, but a lot easier to manipulate

use a spoon to scoop out small amounts of the caramel and the roll into a ball or square using your hands

finally– roll in salted pumpkin seeds and enjoy!!!

** leave in the freezer to keep fresh and enjoy anytime!

SFG pumpkin caramels

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DIY Marbled Table Top

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Dear Diary,

I’m pretty proud of myself for my latest Ikea hack… I’ve been completely redoing my place, and sometimes when you’re determined to make something new and fresh and on a budget you get more creative and surpass your own expectations! I took a simple, white Ikea cabinet I bought off of Craigslist and modified it to make it look more expensive, feminine and unique.

I was able to do this cabinet makeover for under $30! Check it out…

 DIY Marble Table Top 

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NEED:

* Marbled Contact Paper

* Scissors

* Hanger

(Or something that can act as a smoother to appy the sticky paper and remove air bubbles. A ruler or anything straight and flat should work fine… I just happened to have a hanger handy :)

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INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Measure out the exact amount of contact paper you need to fit the surface area.

2. Cut the paper to fit the measurements.

3. Remove backing of sticky paper.

4. (You’ll need another person to help with this step) Apply contact paper to one side/edge of surface and slowly lay flat across the entire surface. Have the other person pushing the hanger following along as the contact paper is being layed to remove any air bubbles.

(The last step took several trial and errors for me and it finally worked out perfectly when I had an extra set of hands and a hanger to smooth out the paper!)

5. (Optional) Lay a piece of glass over the top.

6. Voila!

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ADD MORE FLARE!
I also added ceramic knobs to the center of each door to give the piece even more personality!
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INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Measure the exact center of each door.

2. Mark center point with a pencil.

3. Drill a small hole into the mark.

4. Screw in your new knobs!

** Mine are from Anthropologie **

(They have the cutest selection of knobs!)

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Then, style out your table top with your favorite candle, coffee table books (I have my photography featured in the displayed book – Lover.ly here!), etc… It’s important to keep your surfaces looking clean, but also showcasing items that make you feel at home and inspired!

Have a good Ikea hack for us?! Share in the comments below…

ValSignature

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Healthy Apple Monster Snack

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healthy apple monster snack

Dear Diary,

Every year I say to myself, “I’m going to make this Halloween count.”  I convince myself that I’m going to come up with the most epic costume (months in advance of course); throw my friends the spookiest Halloween party; watch every classic horror film; visit every pumpkin patch; and of course indulge in the sweetest treats the holiday has to offer (without gaining any holiday weight.)  Wishful thinking right?  Ha.  Every year I say this… and it’s been years since I felt like I truly embraced the spirit of the holiday.   I think it’s one of life’s lessons to learn that you can’t embrace EVERYTHING fully.  As I get older, I learn more about the importance of balance in your life… if I spent every moment of October “embracing” Halloween, there’s a lot of other things in my life I would have to ignore… so with this new “adult” attitude, I’m learning to just enjoy whatever Holiday fun I can… and leave the rest.  With that said, while I refuse to eat pillow cases full of processed candy (like I did as a kid), I will of course indulge with the rest of the country this Halloween!  But I thought that this week, I’d start some of the fun early with this spooky but Healthy Apple Monster Snack!  It was so easy, and so fun to make… but completely guilt-free!

healthy apple monster treat

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED and DO

Apples!  (as many as you want– one apple makes 2 monsters) (cut the apple in half length wise and then use a knife to shape the mouth and mold the lips

peanut butter (spread on the “inner mouth” of the apple so that the strawberry tongue sticks!)

Sunflower seeds (for the teeth!– stick into the apple)

strawberries (slice thinly length-wise)

{if you want to add eyes– use greek yogurt for the white part ( you can sweeten it with some truvia if you like), and then a chocolate chip or Justin’s organic chocolate spread as the pupil)

And that’s it! ;)

healthy halloween snack

Make this for your friends, your co-workers at the office, your kids, your friends kids, or just for yourself!  Enjoy SFG’s!

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Girl’s Pre-Halloween Gathering Party Décor

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white donut

Dear Diary,

Halloween is almost here and I can’t wait to for the festivities to begin!! Witches, ghouls and pretty pumpkin décor…”insert record scratch sound here”. No, I didn’t mistakenly right pretty décor – gosh darn it I mean it! I’m literally seeing Halloween through my rose colored glasses and want everything to have a pink hue. This starts with the decorating of pumpkins; I’ve dressed them up, as pink and pearl frosted donuts. If you can’t eat ‘em, why not paint them and burn a delightfully scented candle?

Three D's

The idea to girlie up my décor is in support of a girl’s pre-party Halloween gathering. Rather than serve blood red cocktails with scary décor, I decided on garden roses and a well-let selfie station. In the social media world we find ourselves today, it’s a pre-event that’s very pinterestable. So, give in already and jump on the pretty Halloween décor bandwagon…starting with these frosted foe-nut pumpkins:)

Donut

Here’s what you need:

Tiny beige pumpkins

Painters tape

Pink multi-surface paint

White multi-surface paint

Pearl Blue multi surface paint

         4 pumpkins

Rainbow of colors

Paint brushes

First, clean the pumpkins and dry them- they usually have dirt on them! Then take the painters tape and cut in long pieces.  You will them use the tape strands to create a circle about halfway between the bottom and the top of the pumpkin. This allows you to create a somewhat even division between the “icing” part and the “donut” part of your pumpkin. Then I painted the top half of the pumpkin with the different icing colors – pink, ice blue, and white. Carefully, take the painters tape off and fix any areas that need to be evened out. Wait for your base color to dry, before you start adding the “sprinkles.” Just dash different colors on and have fun!

Donut Pink Single  (1024x683)

lauren2

 

 

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Skinny Fat Girl Diary