Month: October 2013

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sustainable living: bleach alternative

Happy Halloween!! Last week I posted about the new GREEN box from the Homegrown Collective which was chock full of sustainable laundry products. I wanted to introduce you to this bleach alternative, provided by the company Refyll. The only two ingredients are sodium percarbonate and sodium carbonate. Sodium percarbonate is found in many eco-friendly cleaning products, and is a product of sodium carbonate, which is used to soften water and is formed from the ashes of many different types of plants. This bleach alternative has been compared to Oxy Clean, and is a great healthy substitution for harsh bleach products that are hard on fabrics, and rough on the environment. There is no strong smell or odor with this alternative, and I noticed a bright difference when I added it to my white dress shirts. It’s subtle, and gentle on fabrics. I didn’t find that it was able to take out tough, long worn stains from my dress blouse, but I wasn’t disappointed as I did feel it gave my clothes a much needed white …

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a memoir of life lived boldly

I recently read a digital memoir by a lovely young writer – an ebook with videos to accompany the story – sort of a like a play script with snippets of the actual play. Chloe is a woman full of life and energy, passionately accounting her childhood years growing up in a chaotic world with a not-so-average mix of places and faces. Chloe wrote her memoir while spending some time studying abroad in Greece. I asked her to describe this experience: “Basically, I was out of my comfort zone, thousands of miles from home/everything I knew, and as a result of that combined with an amazing group of writers and mentors, I was able to completely let go of any predisposition I was harboring about writing things that I held on to so tightly” She has captured the story of her own life – however influenced by her mother, father, stepfather and siblings. Moving from place to place, making new friends and experiences, struggles, raising a mother, raising a brother and sister, trying to understand …

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tieks by gavrieli

Outfit: Cardi, Forever 21 | Tank, LOFT | Pants, LOFT | Shoes, Tieks | Anchor Ring, James Avery | Black gem ring, Lily Emme  | Watch, Fossil My favorite shoes. Versatile, comfortable, well constructed and stylish. The best ballet flats ever invented, these are my go-to shoes for any occasion. Dress up, dress down – the perfect companion for traveling, working and going out. Hello Tieks by Gavrieli! I bought the Ballerina Pink Tieks because I wanted a subtle color that would match everything in my wardrobe – I’m usually always in navy, sage green, browns and purples. They are such a nice subtle shade of pink, that they even appear cream in some of my photos. This was exactly what I wanted – something soft and gentle, just like the real Italian leather used to create these beauties. (hey, you don’t want leather? No fear, there’s vegan options too!) I loved everything about my first experience with Tieks; from opening the cute blue box, to unwrapping the lovely creamy leather flats, to the first …

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culinary: best chocolate cake ever

Need a dessert for a dinner party this week? Then try this one. It’s the best chocolate cake recipe.Ever. Adapted from here, I was stoked to finally get to use my espresso powder – which brings out the deep flavors and tones of chocolate without tasting like coffee (I promise). My version is gluten free and lactose free – but not sugar free, sorry I can’t please everyone! So try it out, I know you’ll never go back to any other chocolate cake after this. I’m hooked. What You Need: For the Cake 2 cups all-purpose gluten free baking mix (or regular flour) 2 cups natural cane sugar ¾ cup dutch processed cocoa powder 2 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder 1½ teaspoons baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon espresso powder 1 cup vanilla almond milk ½ cup coconut oil 2 eggs 2 teaspoons Madagascar bourbon vanilla extract 1 cup boiling water For the Frosting 2 sticks of butter, softened 1 cup dutch processed cocoa 3-5 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar ½ cup almond milk 2 …

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culinary: rogue bacon maple beer pulled pork tacos

Well good morning and hello! I hope your week has been just delightful. If you’re staying in this weekend, then oh boy, here’s an interesting recipe for ya! Get out that grill and thaw that pork loin – you’ve got some smokin to do, girl. I brought this Rogue beer back from Portland, during my recent trip in August. Evan specifically requested it so we could marinate some pork and smoke it on a lazy Sunday afternoon. This is certainly not my favorite beer to drink, but it was magnificent as a marinade! Enjoy! What You Need: 1.5 lbs. pork loin 3 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 tsp. dried thyme 1 tsp. orange zest Bacon Maple Beer Toppings cheese spinach carrot edamame salsa fuego What to Do: Place the thawed pork in a plastic container as shown. Add garlic, thyme and orange zest, then cover the pork with the Rogue Bacon Maple beer. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the fridge for 5 hours, or overnight. Start your smoker, and allow the coals to burn …

sustainable living: the homegrown collective green box

Well curated, perfect for my lifestyle, sustainable and practical. This is The Homegrown Collective‘s GREEN box. When this little surprise arrived in the mail, I was beyond eager to open it. I have been pondering these monthly goodie boxes for a while, but never really bothered to look much into any of them like Conscious Box or Birch Box. But when I stumbled upon this one, I just had to try it out. You know the purpose of my blog is to share my experiences with daily living, inspired by nature. I try to find ways to live more sustainably, more economically and cultivate a healthy lifestyle mentally, spiritually and physically. The Homegrown Collective seemed to be a great way to help foster this lifestyle by providing me with the tools and instructions to get anyone on this path. You should check out some of the past boxes – make your own kombucha? all about coconuts? Yes please! So, this month’s box is all about natural cleaning – sustainable laundry, to be specific. Partnering with …

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recording histories

[Photo by Tyler Forest Hauser] I started a record keeping of the histories of the women in my family. Because time is fleeting, and the time spent with them feels even more so. Like the lapping of a wave against the beach, each passing tide tells a story of that moment – and these moments are things I want to remember and pass on to my children. So this is what I’ve done. I bought a large leather journal. Inside, I wrote a simple request – “Tell me stories of when you were a child, what lessons did you learn from your mother, what memories are the most valuable, where did your family come from” amongst others. I presented this idea to each grandmother, and my mother. I consider myself abundantly blessed that both my grandmothers are still alive and healthy. So I wanted the chance to record what is precious and memorable to them, to read over and over again later. I’ve always been interested in history. I’m encouraged by what my mother and …

how to live on an island

What is life like on an island? I get asked this a lot actually, so I figured I would take a post to describe some daily living routines down here in Puerto Rico. It’s certainly not like the States, that’s for sure, but we still have many comforts of home and also some completely unique aspects too.  Borinquen was the original name of PR before the Spanish arrival, and there are still many Puerto Ricans that refer to themselves as “boricua“, or 100% pure bred native. It’s a pride thing. Just like how I will always and forever claim Texas as my home, and I’m beyond proud to call myself a native Texan. So I respect that.  Puerto Rico has a very rich culture, and I’ll actually have more of a chance to share this with you in the next month, as I’ve recently been commissioned by Afar Magazine to create their Puerto Rico destination page on their website (wow! more on this later..). But I want to focus on what daily life is like …

be beautiful: better for you beauty buys on a budget

Sorry that title has a lot of alliteration. So you all know that I live on a student budget, because I am in fact still a student (but a grad student, which is basically a glorified form of a student). That doesn’t mean I’m poor (yes, it does) and that doesn’t mean that I always put my research before anything else in my life (that part is true). So I wanted to start a new little section called “be beautiful” , in which I’ll curate different aspects of healthy living, because this is a very important part of well being. Today, I’ll be talking about all natural (or close to it) beauty buys that you can easily find at your pharmacy. If you’re like me, then you might be a little hesitant to jump into the homemade beauty products and all natural organic skincare. Trust me, I’d love to switch completely, but I’m just so dang faithful to products that I know “work”. I have very sensitive skin, which is easily irritated by fragrancey face …

culinary: salsa fuego

One of our favorite salsa recipes. From a great, solid, close-to-the-heart cookbook – The Homesick Texan – here’s a recipe for a delicious salsa that is perfect on eggs, tamales, enchiladas, chips, nachos, tortillas, anything! What You Need:  2 dried pasilla chiles, stems and seeds removed 1 pound plum tomatoessalt, to taste 2 cloves of garlic 1/4 medium onion 1 canned chiptole chile in adobo 1/2 cup cilantro To Make: In a dry skillet heated on high, toast the pasilla chile on each side for about 10 seconds (they should puff). Fill the skillet with enough water to cover the chiles and leave the heat on until the water begins to boil. Turn off the heat and let them soak until soft, about 30 minutes. Discard the soaking water and rinse the chiles once rehydrated. While those are soaking, cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise, and place seed-side-up on a foil lined sheet. Sprinkle with salt and place under the broiler for 20 minutes.They should be black. Then with tongs, turn them over gently, add …