Presently 2.0

Another snap from our visit to my hometown last Friday.

Reading: Yoga:Your Home Practice Companion. I think I've finally got a proper sun salutation down, with the proper breathing, without looking at the book! Big accomplishment, since I get to do yoga about once a week and I've never set foot in an actual class. I also have an unopened issue of Seattle Met that I'd love to read. Soon, soon...

Writing: Drafts for the Blog Everyday in May link up I'm going to try, this post, and brainstorming ideas for a special post.

Listening: Oddly, to Smashing Pumpkins. What can I say I miss my dad, and it's of his musical influence.

Watching: We haven't watched anything in over a week, unless you count random Vimeo and YouTube videos that David clicks over to from reddit.

Thinking: About a creative endeavor that I'm going to start researching and possibly experimenting with. It may or may not be related to my love of marriage between natural/green practices and beauty products. ;) Also thinking about how I use too many commas and parenthesis. I blog a little bit more like I talk than how I write in the non-blog world, so lots of run on sentences and too many details. Whoops!

Smelling: My Herbal Philosophy Feel Beautiful tea. If you don't follow me on IG or Twitter you may not have seen the goodie basket I won at the PNW Blogger meetup this past weekend. I met Lucy, who makes the tea, there and she was awesome! I also got to chat with Moorea Seal, whose blog I'm advertising on the next two months.

Wishing: That Lorelei would take a nap! That's my one wish today because I'd really like to take a shower. She might be growing out of naps now...

Hoping: I'm hoping that the gorgeous springy weather is here to stay now. Luckily for me it will be a couple months before it gets hot enough to bug me, and the gray and rain don't bother me either, but I sure do love the sunshine!

Loving: These little earrings that I got in my swag bag at the meetup. They look super classy with pretty much everything, are not heavy, and the metal doesn't irritate my skin. Winning!

Wanting: To go on a picnic. I've never actually had a picnic, and it sounds lovely and romantic.

Needing: Eye drops! I've spent a lot of time on the computer the past few days and my eyes are driving me bonkers (being dry, and no I don't wear contacts). Maybe I should be wearing my glasses? There's a thought!

Feeling: Inspired. :)

Clicking: Some blogs of ladies that were also at the meetup:Rouge & WhimsyThe Demure MuseLife By LindsayKayti Vs. The WorldDiscovery StreetDelightfully TackyThe Paper Mama, and Harpers Happening, to name a few.

On another note, I've started swapping ads through Passionfruit (which I highly recommend), so if that sparks your interest visit my Sponsor page. :)


Hairapy: Turban Braided Crown Tutorial

I feel like I should start this by saying that I don't do anything with my hair, not even ponytails, most of the time. This is partially because I'm usually okay with it hanging around all boring and doing it's own thing, and partially because I'm no good at doing hair. Well, it's kind of one of my goals this year to learn how to do some cute things with my hair. I recently saw an article on Refinery 29 with four really amazing braided hairstyles, which were way beyond my skill level, that inspired me. I've mentioned here already that I'm growing my bangs out and it's a royal, ugly pain. So this style was inspired by a turbanesque 'do, and out of necessity to get the bangs out of my face.

A Disclaimer: This is a rough tutorial, and *obviously* not very well thought out because who else in their right mind takes pictures for a hair tutorial with no makeup on, in their husband's shirt? Amiright?

So for this 'do you will need: A brush, two small hair elastics,  two elastics or clips to pin back extra hair, two to four bobby pins, probably some gel or hairspray, and a rat tail comb combs in very handy.

Step One: Start at the front and center of your hairline, measure back about 2-3 inches, and draw a part/line from the center of your head to right behind your right ear. Tie/pin back the rest of the hair to keep it out of the way. Repeat on the left side.

Step Two: Take the left out hair from the right side and comb/brush it forward and diagonally across your face. 

Step ThreeBraid it in a fishtail braid (skip the initial ponytail part), about 3/4 of the way down. You want to leave some hair at the bottom unbraided so that it blends easily into the rest of your hair when your done, and fasten with a small elastic. Repeat step two and three with the hair from the left side as well.

Step Four: Gather both braids and tie together at the center of your head (like when you start to tie your shoes). You'll want to manipulate the way the braids face a little so that the more attractive parts of the braids show. This is where you'll want to maybe use some product for rogue hairs. If your hair is all one length and you don't see any poky hairs sticking out you could loosen the braids for a fuller look too.

Step Five: Pin the braids near/behind your ears.

Step Six: Let down the hair you tied back earlier and style it how you like. 

Pretty easy really. If I can do it, so can you!


Place To Be

"Now I'm weaker, than the palest blue. Oh so weak in this need for you." - Place To Be, Nick Drake
Photo courtesy of Photography by David L. Clark

There is something about places, the significance, the nostalgia, the memories, the beauty, that elicit so much emotion in the human spirit. Maybe a place holds significant because it feels like home, maybe you fell in love there, maybe you found out something about yourself there, or perhaps it just stirs something up that you can't explain. This waterfall is one of those places for me. I was born and lived almost half of my life in Snoqualmie, Washington the place that this beauty falls from. A lot of my fondest memories of my life come from this place, along with a romanticized notion about my father's young life, and my grandfather's. My family lived in "The Valley" forever. 

Yesterday David and I took Lorelei there to just jaunt around a little bit. I was struck by this oily, woody smell in the air the other day while I took my dog outside that reminded me of the train depot I used to visit regularly with my grandmother and aunts, and I felt like I just needed to go home. Sometimes it's so gratifying to go back to where your life started. 

So many memories, buried deep, sprang forth while we walked the streets. Memories of picking up fallen apples to take a bite, as we walked past my great, great grandparent's old home that once had an apple tree in the front yard. A home that also housed a very tiny me and my young parents for a while. Where I could remember the smell of the garage. A place where my aunt later lived and fed me Cookie Crisp for breakfast, baked lemon cakes, and let me try to jump on her water bed. I smiled at the Railroad Museum at the memory of the feeling of the brick walkway under my own stroller wheels when I was Lorelei's age, a sensation I didn't even know I remembered until I was there. Seeing flashes in my head of the sights on the train ride from Snoqualmie to North Bend. Remembering the festivals and parades that I attended on those streets. Hearing the music played by 90's folk and grunge musicians, including my dad's various music projects. Smelling the river. Pointing out houses I loved as a kid, and noticing charming ones I never took notice of before. I had this overwhelming sense of familiarity, security, and of being rooted there. Seeing, hearing, and feeling the spray off the waterfall made my heart flutter. It's like this every time I go back. I feel like I'm home, but it also feels like magic.

Sometimes I catch myself dreaming of raising my own daughter there. It still feels so wholesome and welcoming to me. I would have been incredibly happy to grow up my whole life there. Even as a child I imagined myself going to middle school and high school where my parents did. Maybe it feels so happy to me because I was still young and oblivious to the crap that happened there and threatened to tear my family apart, but I can't help but think maybe those things could have been worked out without leaving. I will never know, and that chapter is behind me, but I can't help but wonder...Maybe there are more chapters for me to make there...

What places have special significance to you?


Midweek Music P.16: Eisley "Currents"

Yep, Eisley again! I can't help it. This is serious ear candy and the anticipation of the album release on May 28th is killer. Funny story, last night I had a dream that I was hanging out with Stacy King and her daughter (with husband, Mutemath drummer Darren King) Scarlett. Stacy was running around trying to get chores and little tasks done and I was playing with Scarlett who was a little bit distressed. I finally got her to smile and she was cutting six teeth. I'm weird, I have weird dreams. I attribute this one to seeing them on Instagram all the time, and to the fact that my wisdom teeth coming in have been bugging me just a leetle bit. Anyways, there's your trivia for today. 


Presently 1.0: A Tuesday Sort of Feature

Technically this isn't my first Presently post, but it's going to be a regular Tuesday fixture around here now. I'm excited! Sometimes it's nice to just jot down what's going on in your life right now, mundane or not, to look back at it later, and that's why I'v decided to do it. Other bloggers do "currently" posts on set days or in link ups, but I chose Tuesday because it's the middle of my week and the best representation of what's going on in said week. Also, it's "presently" for me because currently is one of those words that looks weird to me written out. Do you have any words that screw with your eyes? Anyways, here we go.

Reading: Mindfulness in Plain English, a book on meditation, though I'm not getting in as much reading time as I would like. Lorelei has been making me read This is Not My Hat and I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen on repeat lately as well (he's my favorite children's book illustrator, Lorelei really prefers Oliver Jeffers).

Writing: Lists! I've been following the 52 Lists project over on Moorea Seal's blog and really loving having a way to tap into "me" and being forced to practice my penmanship. I've also been blogging a lot more lately (weird!). Oh, and all of those children's books I've been reading have me thinking, "I could totally write children's books." So maybe I'll be writing little's literature if I get some time and inspiration.

Listening: Right this minute I'm listening to the Decembrists, but lately we've been listening to a lot of Youth Lagoon, Hammock (for yoga), and on the weekends I can't help but play The Beatles.

Watching: Downton Abbey. David and I are hooked! We're in the middle of Season 2 right now and the tension between Matthew and Mary is killing us. We watch an episode almost every night while we drink tea. Haha. Nerds...

Thinking: I can't get our anniversary trip to Portland off my mind! We leave in thirteen days that are going to fly by. We have been planning our activities and food adventures for four months and now I feel like we're not prepared enough. So far we have plans to stop at no less than four coffee shops (all with their own roasts), eat some donuts, visit Pittock Mansion (where I will nerd out and pretend I'm in The Impassible Wilderness, Wildwood reference...), and we'll be staying at the ACE Hotel. Pretty exciting stuffs!

Smelling: LUSH's Sultana of Soap. Their scents really permeate! The smell lingers on the skin forever and just having the bar in the bathroom acts like air freshener. The scent is intoxicating. I like to think of it as smelling like ambrosia...

Wishing: That I had more me time. Yesterday my anxiety was through the roof because Lorelei wouldn't give me space to do anything. We ended up going to Target because getting out of the apartment usually helps, but she ended up really cranky after a while and I lost my new cardigan. Imagine a crying mom frantically pushing a stroller harnessing a wailing toddler all over the store thinking that her life is over because she lost a sweater... The good news is that I found my sweater and she crashed out when we got home. If I could have like an hour of uninterrupted time to do yoga and/or paint my nails everyday I would be so much calmer and happy to cater to her every whim. Sometimes being a stay at home mom is really trying.

Hoping: That I can get my kitchen clean and vacuum today. I have the hardest time doing simple, necessary cleaning tasks and my apartment is a cluttered mess all the time.

Loving: My husband. I don't say it enough, but that guy...he's wonderful. He just is. :)

Wanting: To be on a schedule! I have this overwhelming desire to be more structured lately. I think I'm in a good place to initiate more routine right now. I have some good ideas about how to structure our day so that we are more productive and do more things that we enjoy at the same time. I keep eyeballing calendars and planners when I go to Target. Mostly I want to schedule workouts so that I actually do it more than once or twice a week. Also, I need to do more meal planning so that everything else in the day flows easier as well.

Needing: Nothing that I can think of.

Feeling: A little grubby. Today is the first day of this week that I haven't been dressed and made up before doing anything else.

Clicking: Um, the regular social networking stuff...Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Bloglovin...nothing too interesting. Well, I've spent way too much time on LUSH's site since we visited the store, but I wasn't going to admit that...


Vegan Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls - A Delicious Time Suck

Pictures courtesy of Photography by David L. Clark

On Saturday, by some miracle, I was up before 9 o'clock. I woke up craving cinnamon rolls, so I thought, "Hey, I'll just make some for breakfast!" Problematic, because homemade cinnamon rolls require  A LOT of rising time and waiting. If I had read the recipe through before making them, I might have decided against it, so I'm kind of glad I didn't. Even if we didn't eat anything until around 1 o'clock... It's okay really, they WERE good enough to make up for the growling, angry tummies the wait evoked. I advise making them after eating some sort of breakfast, or doing everything up until the second rise the night before. Also, I found this recipe at VeganBaking.net, substituted whole wheat pastry flour, and ditched the nuts and raisins.

Yields 12 Rolls

  • 1 tablespoon golden flax meal
  • 3 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 4 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup Earth Balance
  • 1 teaspoon salt
1. In a small bowl whisk together flax meal and water, and set it aside.
2. In another small, non-metallic bowl, sprinkle the yeast on top of the water and combine well, and allow to set and get foamy for about 10 minutes.
3. Measure the flour into a large mixing bowl.
4. Beat together the Earth Balance, sugar, and salt in another bowl.
5. Combine all of the wet ingredients in one bowl, and then mix into the flour either by hand or in a stand mixer, until you get a sticky dough ball.
6. Continue to knead in the mixer if you have a dough hook on low for about 4-5 minutes, or knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for 5-10 minutes, until the dough is smooth.
7. Place the dough back into the bowl and allow to rise for at least one hour, in a warm spot.

Meanwhile...make the...

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup Earth Balance
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8. Whisk this all together, nothing fancy.

Back to the dough...

9. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangular shape. I'm not much of a measurer, but the original recipe says 16x20 inches.
10. Spread the filling evenly on the top of the dough.
11. Roll the dough length wise, and the carefully cut into 1 1/2 inch thick disks.
12. Plop them into a greased 9"x13" baking dish, cover, and let rise for another hour (or if you're prepping night before put them into the fridge now). 
13. Preheat the oven to 400º F.
14. Bake for 15 minutes, turning the pan around once during.

Don't forget the icing!
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons non-dairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
15. Whisk together until smooth.
16. Pull the rolls out and let them cool 5-10 minutes before drizzling on the icing and serving warm. 

So delicious, and not too guilt laden. Perfect treat!


Shop Without the Drop

1. Sleeveless Blouse 2. Sultana of Soap 3. Shorts 4. Long Sleeve Blouse 5. Cardigan 6. Jeans

Yesterday I had a hankering to go check out H&M because I've been in serious need of a wardrobe makeover since, well before I ever got pregnant with Lorelei. I decided this was the place to go because not only are their prices super duper good for new clothes, but the company is also pretty socially responsible as far as fast fashion goes. Like, did you know that you can recycle bags of clothes at all of their locations? They can be pretty much any type of clothes, ripped, stained, whatever, and then people sort everything to be resold, recycled, or used to create energy. You can read more about that here. We got really incredibly lucky in that Lorelei decided to take a 3 hour nap starting right before we got to the mall, so I got to try things on (gasp!). I needed to find a few staple pieces of clothing that would work well with the little bit I already had, and the pieces above fit the bill and were cohesive. My entire wardrobe consists of the pieces above (though the long sleeve blouse is actually a really gorgeous berry color, and that isn't the exact black cardigan), a white and a gray v-neck t-shirt, a white and a black camisole, a black turtleneck bodycon mini dress, a black chiffon maxi skirt, a pair of low rise worn in Levi's, a button up chambray dress, a navy lace high-low hem dress, a pair of black moccasins, a pair of black booties, a pair of converse, a yoga outfit, a wool coat, and three pairs of tights. That kind of sounds like a lot written out, but if you see it hanging in the closet it isn't and I'm okay with that. Sometime soon I plan on playing dress up all day to figure out how many outfits I can get out of the pieces. The only items I feel I'm missing are a scarf, a cool statement necklace like this one, and a fedora. 

Anyways, during our trip to the mall we realized that Teavana was right next to H&M, and we'd been dying to go in, so with the dragon sleeping we traipsed on in. We got to sample 6 different teas that were delicious to say the least, ogle some gorgeous tea pots and kettles, and escape empty handed even with the sales people on their A-game. We were on the home stretch to get out to the car when I spotted Lush. Savannah at Maiedae did a review video on some of their products a week or two ago that sparked my interest, so I jumped over to their site to find that a lot of their products were vegan. Also, remember that I have a beauty product problem? We ended up inside, our nostrils rejoiced, we were given little hand arm treatments, and we walked out with the Sultana of Soap. I'm already scheming my next visit to get some henna for my hair!

We're not usually mall people, so it was surprising to us that we had such a good trip. We spent under $85 and loved the loot. So we shopped, and we didn't drop, weird. Oh, also this weekend I made cinnamon rolls, and pan pizza. So look for the recipes soon. ;)


Project Lanterns

Since I don't at all claim to be a DIY blogger (this is honestly the second project I've done all year), I don't feel too bad about forgetting to take the appropriate pictures for this post. So more than instructional, this just serves to show a little bit of the process and result. Doing a project like this is really case sensitive because measurements will be different, and you can use all kinds of different materials.

These paper lanterns have been around a long while waiting to be repurposed. I fell in love with them and bought them for my someday wedding before David and I even met (so over 4 years ago). We used them for decor at our little back yard wedding and then I became sentimentally attached to them, so I saved them.

Originally I planned to hang them directly from the ceiling at various lengths, and using ribbon, but I couldn't find ribbon I loved and without a ladder it would have been too hard to execute. So I decided that I would drape/swoop them instead, and remembered that I had this vintage blue sheet that I got at Goodwill months and months ago. 

These are to show how I attached the fabric so that it wouldn't be able to move or shift with time and get all wonky. 

I tied all of the lanterns in a string by the fabric strips using a basic knot, I wasn't seeking perfection, I like quirk. Then I added bows to the tops of all of the lanterns.

I wasn't patient enough to measure the fabric pieces in proportion to the swoop in front of the chosen wall, so I had to do some improvising, adding a piece of fabric to the center lantern and attaching it at the ceiling so that Lorelei couldn't reach it standing in her bed. The single swoop looked cuter, but I wasn't going to risk having her rip any more of them like the one you can already see in the last picture.   The last picture that does the project no justice, because I am truly terrible at interior design shots apparently. Haha.

Note: I wish I had outtakes of this to share with you! In order to hang the strung lanterns I moved all of her furnishings out of the way, brought our table in her room, and climbed on that to get it done. I'm crazy like that, or resourceful...


Midweek Music P.15: Eisley, Currents, "Drink The Water"

I've been a huge Eisley fan since I first came across them. Sadly that was only a year ago, I was late to the party. They have a new album coming out May 28th and this is a little preview put out by Nylon Magazine. I'm so dying over how pretty it is. Stacy is a real life siren...And the whole lot of them seem too cool to be real. Anyways, have a listen. :)


It Does Not Go Unheard

(No original source found, Pinterest)
As I start writing this all out I have the slightest inclination to want to apologize, but I decided that I will not. I will give you a disclaimer however, that this is very candid, very raw, and spiritual, which I realise does not appeal to all audiences. I have avoided sharing about my faith and spirituality here, and even lately avoided my spirituality on a personal level but I recently had a moving experience that opened up my eyes to many things, one being that I SHOULD share my heart.

I should start this story by admitting that for the last few months I have been soul searching, growing, and changing internally and some of this had led me to doubt my faith, to wonder if God was real, and if and why I was a believer. Something that has always troubled me in my faith was that it had to be so regimented. I felt as though, if I were a true believer in God I could not question what I was taught was Godly. To me, I felt trapped in a box by religion that said believing in my own notion of God, the universe, or manifest destiny made me a bad Christian. The thing is, I'm human. I am curious, thirsty for new knowledge and fulfillment, I believe in the power of my own mind, and I don't believe that things are, or even can be, black and white. And then there are so many things in this world that can elicit doubt and disbelief.

My first contraindications of God stemmed from becoming vegan, and wondering why God would allow so much unnecessary suffering to feed his flock. The "biblical" argument for that is that God put animals in the subjection of man after the flood. But doesn't logic say that it was because on an Earth covered in water there would be no plants for sustenance? And now that there are, wouldn't that have shifted? Do Christians put so much stock in history that they can not see when a practice is no longer relevant or acceptable?

Then I got back into yoga, and started reading a little about meditation, and Buddhism. The thing that appealed to me most about Buddhism is that it's more a scientific take on human thought and controlled emotion than about regiment and set rules. Buddhism of course is not without it's faults, but I find many practices worthy of adopting. Being the free-spirit that I am, believing in Buddhist practices and ideals didn't make me feel as though I couldn't believe in whatever else I wanted in unison.

I've also been in a spell in my life were I have felt so settled, not in upheaval, not overly excited, which can cause complacency and unfeeling. I've continued to speak to God, as I have my whole life, and beg the question, "Are you there?"

This is where things get real...as I laid on my daughter's floor last night pretending to sleep until she succumbed, my imagination was running away with me. I've had my paternal grandma on my mind a lot lately, so I was thinking about giving her a call, and I was thinking about seeing her in June when I go to Idaho to visit. Then it hit me, and forgive me if this is morbid, but there is usually a reason when I have someone so strongly on my heart (I'm an extremely sensitive, intuitive person), and so my mind went into overdrive with worry. I have this habit of imagining horrific things, not the gory or ghastly type of horrific, but the actions and reactions of grief surrounding bad circumstances. I found myself imagining that I lost her, I could see myself going back to her house and just sobbing, sitting in her quiet living room. I saw myself speaking at her funeral, of her life, her impact on others, on how she shaped me, and what she taught me, about how God's light was tangible in her,  how she inspired others to seek him (myself included) and how she was alive in her glorification of Him. That's when it hit me, this time my brain wasn't reacting to my heart telling me that something was going to happen to her, it was being opened up by God to see something bigger, Him. My grandmother has always been the one to gently nudge me back to His arms, and since she's so far away right now He found a way to use her as the answer to my question, "Are you there God?" And it did not go unheard...

As I laid there crying silent tears of realization, of regret, and then joy I felt comforted, and held like I have so many other times in my life when I needed it. This time I didn't even know I needed it, until He told me so. I feel like He was teaching me something about my love, and about Him, and that He took an opportunity to make me ready for something that He wants me to do. Right now I feel loved as I am, for what I do and don't believe, because His love never fails. I may have never known what that really meant before. It feels like being blessed, there is no other way I can describe it.

I share this here because I felt extremely compelled to. I may or may not continue to discuss things of this nature, depending on how my life progresses, but I hope that whether you hate or love it, you're glad to have heard my experience. I offer up and accept no judgment about spirituality in this space. It is an extremely personal thing and this is mine. Take it or leave it, and thank you for reading.


Project Coffee Cabinet

This weekend was pretty awesome as far as our weekends go, with equal parts relaxation and productivity. Our vinyl/audio setup had been out of commission for two months and we desperately needed space for our coffee paraphernalia  Our tiny shelf and counter in the kitchen was just not cutting it, especially since we recently acquired a new Hario ceramic burr hand grinder and aeropress. So, we put the record player to rest until we have more time and money to invest into that hobby and David turned the homemade media stand into a homemade cabinet. The only supplies we had to buy were screws, hinges, and a handle, running us under $10. We are very fortunate in the things that David finds in his field of work when people throw them out. For example, he's brought home: our floral hide-a-bed couch, an UPPA Baby D-Lite stroller, a Kitchen Aid blender, a Dyson vacuum cleaner...and countless other things.  What I'm getting at is that the wood for the cabinet was found...In fact the planks of wood were slats of an IKEA bed base that someone tossed down a recycling chute...

Here's a peak at the process and result. :)

In media stand form.
We had a good laugh at him building things in his nice clothes.
Funky hinges.
The finished, not yet cluttered or stained result.
A handle to match the hinges.
Overall it was pretty quick and easy business. He only had to cut two of the wood planks to make a frame inside the door. Eventually, if and when we decorate with more intention, we will probably paint them a flat light grey and use copper hardware, but for now it's perfectly functional and looks pretty awesome next to our couch. David also screwed together similar found materials to make a play table/coffee table, and we got some unsanded tile grout on clearance to make chalkboard paint for the top of it. So I'll be sharing that later, maybe next week. I have another project on my plate too, for Lorelei's room that involves a cute, fun way to hang some paper lanterns. That should be done on Wednesday, so look for that too. 

On another note, I have a guest post up on my friend Amy's blog Fabulously Ordinary! If you like love stories, or embarrasing stories, you might also like what I wrote over there. If nothing else, just go check out her blog, it's fun, and she's basically pretty awesome, like me... Haha. Happy Monday y'all!


Sinful Vegan Baked Donuts

I know you wanted another donut recipe...just me?! Yeah, I didn't think you would mind. I call these ones sinful because unlike my previous recipe they are full of Earth Balance and sugar. But these babies are freaking delicious! I may or may not have wanted to eat the entire dozen yesterday while we sat on our butts watching Quantum of Solace and Skyfall (the only thing stopping me was the gorgeous Bond girls prancing around with their beautiful figures).

This recipe is essentially the recipe for baked donuts in awesome vegan recipe book Vegan Yum Yum. I checked it out from the library, but I would seriously buy the crap out of it. I would eat every recipe in it, minus the crunchy kale one. Am I the only person, especially vegan, who dislikes kale (I ask as I drool over these donuts)? Alright, enough of my antics...

*You will need a donut pan for this recipe. It may or may not be a sound investment. ;)

2 cups all purpose flour ( I used whole wheat pastry flour on this batch, they rock either way)
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pinch cinnamon (little pinch, unless you just love cinnamon)
1 cup soy milk (if you're soy free other's will work, just add slowly as the consistency varies)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8(!) tablespoons Earth Balance margarine
Egg substitute for two eggs ( I always use Bob's Red Mill Egg Replacer Powder)

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons soy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon Earth Balance

1 cup untoasted, unsweeted coconut flakes

1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
2. In a mixer or large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and mix thoroughly.
3. Measure your soy milk and whisk in the vinegar, set aside to curdle.
4. In the microwave (about 30 seconds), or in a saucepan on the stove top, heat the margarine, vanilla, and egg substitute until melted and warm but not hot to the touch.
5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well. There shouldn't be any lumps and it should be the consistency of a thick batter, or a really soft dough.
6. Grease the donut pan and spoon in batter (about 3 heaping tablespoons per donut) not quite to the tops of the donut molds. Wipe any batter off the sides and center to keep them pretty.
7. Bake for 15 minutes.
8. Let set long enough for the donuts to just pop out and put them on a cooling rack. Wait until they are completely cooled to glaze.
9. Make the glaze whisking all of the ingredients together until smooth. You can color it or not...
10. Go straight from the glaze to the coconut (the glaze will be dripping everywhere, careful) and then onto another cooling rack over a plate to catch the drippings.
11. Try not to eat them all yourself.

Yields 12 donuts.

All photos courtesy of Photography by David L. Clark


The Evolution of a Consumerist Beauty Product Whor(der)

A lot of my life I've thought about, used, and loved an array of beauty and hygiene products. When I was two I started dancing and by age four stage makeup at recitals was required. When I was seven my grandma brought me violet parfum from her travels in France. Once I turned nine I quit ballet, but was basically a preteen immediately after and wanted to wear makeup and scents regularly. In fifth grade I had a tube of silver/blue Wet and Wild lipstick that I used on my eyelids, cheeks, and lips (gag!) with glitter caked on top. By middle school my mom helped me apply eyeliner some days and I was obsessed with body sprays. I received my first bottle of designer perfume (RALPH by Ralph Lauren) for Christmas right before I turned 14. In high school every dollar I earned doing odd jobs went to face washes, lotions, new makeups, blow dryers, etc. Then when I had my first steady job I spent about half of my money on food, and the rest on beauty supplies and magazines. I started box coloring my hair every couple months. It was out of hand! I would buy new foundations, shampoos, and anything that was new before I even ran out of the last one. I had a rotation of *at least* 4 designer perfumes. All that to say I've loved beauty products my whole life... but that is just a lot of crazy when I think about it now!

I still really love beauty products and get super excited to try new ones and experiment with them, but my love is much more rational now! Around the time I moved in with David in 2009, and had bills to pay, I stopped buying any new face paints and concoctions unless I was completely out. In the last few years of doing things that way I've still been able to try out different products (always looking for what's best for my skin, coloring, style, etc.) and have not once felt deprived of anything. 

When we moved to Washington in February of '12, my outlook on the stuff I was putting on my body changed again. I was more interested in finding products that were still affordable but not as harsh on my skin and environment. We stopped using body washes and started using organic handmade bar soap, and then Dr. Bronner's. I bought into products like Covergirl Nature Luxe and then Physicians Formula Organic Wear foundations and Organix Shampoo and Conditioner, which were frankly still too expensive for our small budget and as I later learned here still pretty toxic. 

And then there's the present...It seems like there has been a steady progression towards knowledge and care about what I do to feel pretty/clean/presentable. 

Currently in my makeup bag: e.l.f. mineral powder foundation, blush, lip tint and mineral mascara, and e.l.f. studio corrective concealer which are surprisingly low toxicity for their small price tag and vegan friendly. E.l.f. makes a very cheap nail polish as well in lots of trendy colors that is free of toulene, formaldehyde, and dbp (the top offending ingredients in most nail polishes), so I collect those when I can. I'm also a huge fan of Naked Eye Beauty's products. The Vegan Organic Rose Tinted Lip Balm looks, smells (passionfruit and rose), and feels so nice, but with a steeper price tag than I really like I use it sparingly.

Currently on my body/skin: Dr. Bronner's Tea Tree Liquid Castile Soap, Tom's of Maine Naturally Dry Antiperspirant, and Naked Eye Beauty Organic Vegan Sandalwood Vanilla Body Lotion (which like the lip balm smells and feels freaking amazing) For my face I rotate using oil cleansing methods with washing with this Rocky Top Soap Shop Cambrian Blue Clay bar soap. I've tried 3 of his other soaps and I would happily use no other brand of soap ever! They have a luxurious lather for bar soap and are unscented plus he has a pretty impressive selection based on your needs (even a dog shampoo soap bar!).

Currently in my hair: If the baking soda and apple cider vinegar no 'pooing routine is leaving anything to be desired then I'll wash my hair with the Dr. Bronner's Tea Tree soap and do a vinegar rinse. I don't use any other hair products.

Currently in my mouth: Tom's of Maine Propolis and Myrrh Fluoride Free Toothpaste, it tastes like a ginger mint and it's mild enough in flavor that Lorelei uses it too!

So those are the products that are cutting it for me right now. Maybe farther down the road I'll end up using less or at least gentler products but for now these ones make me pretty happy. At least I know that if I can ever afford to take up a hobby or start an etsy shop it will be in formulating natural beauty products because I love them, and also chemistry.

What are your favorite beauty products? Do you put much thought into what you're putting on your largest organ (that would be your skin)?

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