October 14, 2019

Ghostly Double Coconut Cake

October is here and it is my favorite time of year. Leaves are changing colors here in New England, the mornings are brisk and cool with a fresh scent in the air. I love sweater and boot weather. Lots of cozy sweaters. And for me fall means lots of baking. I found this yummy Double Coconut Cake in my favorite magazine, Rachel Ray's Everyday and had to make it with a Halloween twist. I provided the ingredients and step by step instructions below with photos, because this is how I learned how to cook and bake, I need lots of pictures and progress photos to help me along the way, and I hope it helps you. This is a very easy recipe and absolutely delicious to enjoy on a beautiful fall morning with a cup of tea or iced vanilla lattes, which I will be posting how to make your very own Starbucks iced vanilla lattes at home.

Double Coconut Cake (Rachel Ray Magazine October 2019)
Serves 8

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted (I used about 75%, I always try to cut butter when I can)
  • 1 cup of shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup of sugar (I only added 1/2 cup of sugar and think it tastes great)
  • 2/3 cup of unsweetened coconut milk, stirred well
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature (I removed some of the yolk in both eggs to cut the cholesterol), I think olive oil could replace an egg.
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting on top of cake and for the ghost (or you can use shredded coconut for the ghost)
  • Mini chocolate chip morsels for the ghost eyes.

Arrange a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat to 350 degrees.

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.

Whisk in 1 cup of shredded coconut and the sugar. 

I bought the unsweetened coconut milk at Target in the international food aisle (I couldn't find unsweetened coconut milk anywhere) In a small bowl, whisk the coconut milk and eggs.

Gradually stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until blended. Stir in the melted butter into the bowl, as shown above.

Grease an 8-inch round cake pan with 2 inch high sides with butter. I used the leftover melted butter I pour into the bowl.

Line the bottom and sides of the pan with parchment paper, then grease the paper, as shown above. Parchment is not mandatory, you can simply grease the pan and dust the pan with 1/3 cup of shredded coconut, but I went with the parchment.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top, as shown above. I thought the batter looked a little dry, because it didn't pour right in, but that is the texture you are looking for.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a knife comes out clean and the cake bounces back when pressed lightly (You can see I pierced it a few times to make sure) Let cool for 10 minutes.

Next, invert the cake onto a wire rack and remove the parchment. Turn the cake right side up and let cool on the rack.

Dust with confectioners' sugar. Next, I got a ghost cookie cutter and poured confectioners' sugar in the cookie cut, that's it and super easy. When I lifted the cookie cutter I had to clean up the edges a bit with a butter knife. Shredded coconut can be used instead of confectioner's sugar. I added mini chocolate morsels for the eyes and mouth. I also had a skull cookie cutter that I think will look equally cute.

Enjoy! Stay tuned for a few more Halloween themed recipes.

July 24, 2019

The Perfect Summer Espadrille

I have been on the hunt for the perfect summer espadrille. I envisioned a wedge espadrille with clear straps and the right amount of heel.

My dreams were answered when I found André Assous' "Anfisa" Espadrille. The company started in the 70's and started with the original espadrille. They still make espadrilles to this day with a variety of other styles such as espadrille wedges and sneakers. They make the cutest sandals.

Each one is made and hand sewn in Spain with traditional jute.

In my quest to find the perfect summer shoe it had to fun, be able to wear inside and outside of the office, comfortable (comfort is key), look polished, and to go with many outfits. 

This shoe fit the bill. They are extremely well made.  The leather footbed has a comfortable cushion; the heel height is 3 1/4" and has a 1/2" platform in the front, which gives it an overall height of 2.75, which for me is the perfect amount of heel to walk around in.

I normally wear an 8 1/5. I was told the shoe runs "True to Size", but if you fall between sizes they recommend you order the closest size up. I ordered a size 9 and it fit me perfectly.

They practically are invisible as you can see from the above photos, which is one of the biggest reasons why I wanted these. They go with everything. I wear mine with dresses, jeans, and it gives even the most casual outfit a sense of polish. 

I didn't need to break these in at all. I wore them to the office the first time and they were comfortable all day.  I was worried that the clear straps might dig in or feel uncomfortable and I was wrong to be worried. I didn't experience any issues with the clear straps. I do recommend that on an extra hot sunny day that you put a little bit of baby powder on the areas of the foot that straps will come into contact. Feet swell in the summer, so it's preventive.  I also noted that after wearing them for a long period of time that the leather footbed color did transfer a bit to under my foot. This happened the first 1-2 times I wore the shoe and hasn't happened since.

I am so happy I found these clear strap espadrille beauties right in time for the beautiful sunny weather. They really are the perfect summer espadrille.

July 18, 2019

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2019

On Friday, July 19, public access to the Annual Nordstrom Anniversary sale begins and I have my eye set on a few things for the fall. 
  1. Chelsea28 - Surplice Twist Front Top - Comes in Black, Red, White and a Funky Stripe print.  This is a perfect top to go from work to out for dinner. I love the twisted front. I wear a lot of black, so I appreciate a twist/an added element to change of the texture in my black tops.
  2. Gibson Lace Camisole and 1.State Chiffon Inset Camisole - I am loving these camis they are perfect under everything. I wear them under my blazers for work and under cardigan. They are perfect all year long.
  3. Halogen - Felt Panama Hat - I love wearing hats and this one is black with a stripe of navy which will go perfect with all my denim that I will be wearing in the fall.
  4. Treasure & Bond - Mock Neck Sweater - Super cozy mock neck sweater in "Burgundy Stem or a bright red. I love the burgandy color of this and it has slits on the side which gives it a little touch of something unique.
  5. Mother - The Hustler Two Step Fray High Waist Ankle Bootcut Jeans. I am loving high rise/high waisted jeans and I like how they are boot cut. I am also wearing a lot of High waisted "mom jeans".
  6. Thread & Supply - Wubby Fleece Pullover - You must have seen these everywhere. There is a reason why everyone loves these. This year they are lined in fleece too!
  7. Clinique Chubby Lip Set - You receive 6 mini chubby lip colors.  I have these in various colors and I love the tiny size of these. I keep different ones in different bags. They are very moisturizing and have the sweetest colors.
  8. Eileen Fisher Tote Bootie - I really like Eileen Fisher booties. They are really comfortable and these block heel bootie are comfortable with a 2.5 inch block heel, and true to size.

  1.  Astr the Label - Lace Midi Dress in "Red Tannin" - This is a such a pretty dress. I can see myself wearing it in the fall and with the right cover up into the holidays. It has adjustable straps, thank goodness.  It runs small, so order two sizes up. It comes in a lot of different colors, but I am feeling the burgundy color for fall.
  2. Eliza J - Flutter Sleeve Belted Satin Jumpsuit - I love jumpsuits and this dark green one is so sweet with its flutter sleeves. And Pockets!!
  3. Astr The Label - Floral Long Sleeve Midi Dress - I love midi dresses and I especially love flower boho dresses. This one is definitely going to be worn on repeat all fall with different booties and knee high boots.
  4. Ted Baker London Manyap Sandal - These block heels sandals come in a snake print, which is all the rave currently. It has a  2 3/4 block heel. 
  5. Sam Edelman Welles Bootie - These booties also come in Black Leather and Red Suede. Also very comfortable with a 2 1/5 block heel.

  1. Caslon Faux Leather & Faux Fur Moto Jacket - I love moto jackets and this faux leather and faux fur is definitely up my alley. 
  2. BlankNYC - Onto the Next Faux Leather Drape Front Jacket - This one too! I love the burgundy color. 
  3. Kenneth Cole New York Double Breasted Teddy Bear Coat in Red. This coat is so soft and warm. I will feel like a muppet, but that is alright with me, because it is so warm and fun! And fashion should be fun! It runs large, so order one size down.
  4. BB Dakota - Drapey Boucle Trench - This boulce trench has structure yet no structure at the same time. It's perfect with black leggings or jeans for the fall. Comes in Black, Oatmeal and Olive Green.

July 7, 2019

Stretching my toes with YogaToes

I recently read an article in the May issue of Women's Health about the importance of stretching your feet. Stretching and flexibility training has always been important to me, especially with Taekwondo, flexibility is necessary for kicking.  I foam-roll, stretch all my muscles (arms, legs, stomach, back....you name it, I stretch it), but I discovered after reading the article that I have been completely ignoring my feet. This article came right at a time I needed to read it because I have taken up running again. And after running long distance my feet and toes ache. I also feel pain on the bottom of my feet and the the tendons on the top of my feet feel tight. My pinky toes have been broken in Taekwondo. And I wear heeled shoes during the day (I know..not healthy for my feet). So my feet have been a mess.

Our feet carry our entire weight, they are tired, sometimes in pain, so stretching your feet can serve many benefits. From increasing flexibility that can help with exercise, walking, balance,  and providing some pain relief. It is important to do sets of foot therapy, at least twice a day:
  1. Move big toe up and other toes down; pause, then reverse. Do this 10 times, then switch feet.
  2. Using toes, pick up 10 small objects (like marbles) and place in a cup nearby. Repeat with other foot.
  3. Sit and rest ankle on opposite thigh. Bend toes back toward shin; pause, then release. Do 10 times, switch feet.
This has led me to the use of YogaToes Gems spacers.  YogaToes are supposed to help create some space between your toes, stretch your toes, and helps with circulation.

You pull each gem in between each toe, which gently spreads them apart providing relief while your toes are stretched.

This has become a nightly ritual for me. Once I put them on I feel instant relief. It is recommended to start wearing them for about 10 minutes at a time and work your way up to 1 hour. When I first started, I experienced some pain as my toes were not used to being spread apart, but now I can wear them up to an hour.

I highly recommend these. Wearing the Gems along with the stretches above, I have noticed a big difference in the way my feet feel and look. My toes were tightly crammed, and now there is some comfortable difference between each toe. Wearing the Gems helps relieve pain after my long runs or a long day wearing heels. I feel like I negate what I do during the day during the night when I wear these.

March 12, 2019

St. Patrick's Day Pot-O-Gold Chocolates

Hi guys! I know I haven't been posting as much as I would like to. I have been busy with work and also working on my jewelry and crystals over at Black Feather.

But I just had to share these cute mini St. Patrick's Day cauldrons I made for family and friends.

I found these cute small black cauldron's at the Target dollar area at the front of the store. A bag of six cost $3.00. These are mini, about 4 inches tall and 2 inches wide. I wish I took a photo of all the cauldrons I made, but didn't realize I should until I had only two left...

These are q quick and easy gift to make - Very small chocolates can fit the inside of the cauldron, so it is easy to stuff it with gold foiled rolos or hershey kisses. About 12 or so small chocolate can fit inside.  I took the longer approach and dipped mini oreos in chocolate and wrapped each one.

Next, I bought a few bags of these mini oreos. I melted some chocolate chips in the microwave and I got to work by dipping my oreos in melted milk chocolate. Placed each one on parchment paper and once the chocolate hardened I wrapped them in gold foil. And that is it - You can wrap the cauldron with colorful ribbon and add a sweet note.

Enjoy! And if you make these please let me know as I would love to see your version of them.

August 17, 2018

My Favorite Things - Beauty Edition 2018

I decided to put together a list of some of my favorite beauty products that I am using right now.

Olay Complete All Day Moisturizer with SPF 30 (Not in Image).
I have been using Olay's moisturizer with SPF 30 for over 15 years every day. Before using this, I used Pond's moisturizing cream for years, but unfortunately it did not have SPF. Olay's Moisturizer with SPF is not only moisturizing, but it is also light, so I don't feel like it is clogging my pores. I use it as soon as I finish washing my face in the morning. I wait about 15 minutes and then apply my makeup over it.  It also has Vitamin E, B3, aloe, and it is oil-free and my face feels so soft.

OleHenriksen Truth Serum.
Olehenriksen truth serum contains vitamin c, collagen, orange, and green tea extracts. Since using it I noticed my face looks brighter and more hydrated. I use it right before I put my Olay Moisturizer on and I also put it on after I wash my face before I go to bed.

Peter Thomas Roth Hydra-Gell Eye Patches.
These Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Hydra-Gel Eye Patches come with 60 patches (30 pairs) are so hydrating and cooling. I only use them about once or twice a month or when needed. These eye patches are perfect for hydrating under the eye, crow’s feet, and under-eye darkness. It contains ceramide NP, collagen, and marshmallow root extract to help smooth and soften the look of fine lines. Caffeine helps de-puff the look of the eye area. Arnica helps diminish the appearance of dark circles. 

Kopari Coconut Melt.
I heard great things about Kopari's Coconut Melt. It is 100% pure, organic, and unrefined coconut oil.  And I use it for pretty much everything. I use it as a hair mask, my skin, cuticles, lips.
And I love that it is sustainably source, hypoallergenic, cruelty-free, and organic.

Essie Nail Polish.
Essie's brand of nail polish is one of my favorites. I found a great deal on some of my favorite colors for my hands, such as Limo-Scene, Ballet Slippers, Mademoiselle, Vanity Fairest, and Marshmallow. I usually wear light colors on my hands and dark or fun colors on my toes.

Coola Radical Recovery After-Sun Lotion
It's an ultra-moisturizing lotion that uses organic aloe vera and lavender oil to defend against environmental aggressors and calm sunburns. I do my best to be very careful when I am out in the sun to avoid sunburns. I wear hats, sunscreen, long sleeves, but sometimes, even I get burned on certain areas that I missed. I use Coola's Radical Recovery After-Sun lotion right after and have found that I have quicker recovery and it hydrates the skin.

Becca X Chrissy Teigen Glow Face Palette.
This is a limited-edition palette, created in collaboration with model Chrissy Teigen.
I love that it is for the entire face, there is a highlighter, blush, and bronzer.  The are two Pressed Highlighters, one in Rose Gold (subtle gold with rose) and the other is Beach Nectar (bronzy apricot with gold). The Blush is Hibiscus Bloom, which is a golden-pink coral color. The Bronzer is Malibu Soleil, which is a medium amber. I use this palette almost every day and absolutely love it. I might get one more to have as it is limited edition and I don't want to be without this one.

Lancome Monsieur Big Mascara
My absolute favorite mascara. I have tried countless mascaras and this one is the best one I have ever tried. It elongates, thickens, and curls my eyelashes.

Not Your Mother's Blonde Moment Treatment Shampoo
During the summer months I lighten my hair a bit and this is a great shampoo to neutralize brassiness and hydrate. It is infused with dark violet pigment to prevent brassiness & and gives a cooler tone to brassiness that happens to my hair.

August 12, 2018

Chocolate Peanut Butter and Banana Oatmeal Breakfast

Almost every morning for breakfast I make the yummiest treat with organic oatmeal (1/2 a cup) that I put in the microwave for about 2 1/2 minutes with water (I just eye it and make sure that all of my oatmeal is submerged in. Next, I add the toppings.  

My current favorite toppings are Trader Joe's Crunchy Peanut Butter with Flax and Chia Seeds. It is not as sweet a traditional peanut butter and I love it.

Next, I add a half of a banana, dab of honey, shredded coconut, fresh fruit (if I have any), and top it with chocolate granola.

I buy Target's Archer Farms "Double Chocolate Chunk" granola.  It is so delicious. I look forward to breakfast every morning. Isn't that what life is all about, enjoying what makes us happy and this my friends bring a smile to my fave every morning.

It is very filling and has lots of protein and fiber. I have tried quite a bit of granola and many times my stomach hurts a bit after eating it. I don't have that problem with this granola.

July 21, 2018

My Favorite Things - Summer 2018

It's time for another round of my favorite things. And these items have been my go to this summer:

Grace and Frankie and Santa Clarita Diet TV Series. In my spare time I have been finishing up on the Waylon biography that I have been reading off and on and catching up on some tv series. A few of my favorites are:

Santa Clarita Diet stars Drew Barrymore, and she is an absolute doll and love her in so many things, like Miss you Already, 50 First Dates, Wedding Singer. Drew Barrymore plays Sheila, and Timothy Olyphant plays Joel, they are married realtors, and have a teenage daughter in Santa Clarita, California. Their life is picture perfect, until Sheila goes through a sudden and very scary change, causing her eat human flesh. I know it doesn't sound like something you might want to watch, but it's very funny, clever, yet gruesome. If you like a good scare, not afraid of obscene amount of bloods and a little dash of human flesh and body parts eating, then this is the show for you. I will be honest, I watched the first episode and wasn't so sure if I was going to love it, but I gave it a second chance and watched the second episode and they got me hooked. I really enjoyed all the characters, I especially loved the character actor Skyler Gisondo is playing, he plays the "nerdy" teenage boy next door. He is so funny, and his comedic timing really is spot on and he is very fun to watch, he is absolutely adorable. I am really looking forward to seeing Season 3, which is coming out sometime in 2019.

Another show I binged watched was Grace and Frankie. I never really understood binge watching until I found some amazing shows that you just can't stop watching at one episode. I would watch 3-4 at a time. Grace and Frankie is an amazing show. It really is one of the best out there right now. It reminds me of Sex and City meets Golden Girls. And I absolutely adored the Golden Girls and this. It was funny, sad, and sweet all at the same time. It was a rollercoaster of emotions, you laughed and sympathized with the characters and they really made you love them. Grace and Frankie star Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin (They both also starred in 9 to 5 together).  The show starts with Grace and Frankie learning that their husbands have fallen in love with each other and leaving them both. Frankie and Grace are complete opposites, from their personalities, to their wardrobe, to the way they live their lives, sharing absolutely nothing in common accept that both of their husbands are leaving them for each other. The show revolves around how Frankie and Grace's relationship grows after they are both thrown together after the news.

Benefit Cosmetics Dandelion Dew Liquid Blush. Dew Baby-Pink Liquid Blush is not only my favorite summer blush but my go to blush all year round. It is a liquid blush and it's a flattering light baby pink, it's the perfect flushed colored and I think it would work for various skin tones. It is very natural looking. I also use it on my lips.

LaLaVaVa Zip Front One Piece Swimwear. I have been looking for the right swimwear and honestly I have never found one, until now. I had a strapless black bathing suit, but I kept having to pull it up. I have a trip coming up and wanted something I could throw on and not even think about, so I knew I needed wider straps. I also knew I wanted a zip front, just because I like the sporty feel and look of it. I knew I didn't want to go to the store to try a million of them on. My sister recommended that I find one on Amazon, which I didn't even think about. I quickly found one, read the reviews and looked at the pictures countless times and decided to get this one. The price was ridiculously inexpensive, so I bought two, one in black with pink and one in black with aqua blue and I love them. They arrived 2 days later and I tried them on and love them. They are super flattering and comfortable.

Target's Universal Thread Tie-Front Dress. There was only one of these dresses in a size too big at the store, but I loved it when I tried it on. They were sold out online and everywhere near by, I happened to find one as I was browsing. While it is a little big on me, I still love the way it feels and looks. This is definitely on repeat for summer dinners and strolls.

Urban Decay Born To Run Eyeshadow Palette.  I try not to buy too many palettes because I end up only using a few shades, but the Born To Run Eyeshadow Palette offers so many beautiful colors to pass up. It has 21 shades and a full-size mirror, but unfortunately doesn't come with a eyeshadow brush like their other palettes do.

The colors range from jewel tones, neutrals to fun colorful shadows. It is very versatile with shades of pink, purple, orange, neutrals, blues and greens, and I have already been using it on repeat everyday.

J.Crew Aviator Sunglasses. These are my favorite go to sunglasses. I have always loved the aviator style, thank Sylvester Stallone. I have high cheek bones and the bottom of the aviators always touch my cheeks, so it has never worked out for me, until I tried these on. These were the perfect size and super comfortable. Unfortunately, they are sold out at J.Crew :( but Here is a similar pair.

Target's A New Day Michaela Block Heels. I have these in beige and black and wanted to find them in a fun summer color. They also come in sky blue, lavender and red. They are super comfortable and have a 2.5” block heel. I bought the black and beige pair in my size, but I decided to go up a half size in these and I think going up a half size is more comfortable for me as these squeeze a bit in the toe area.

Nubian Heritage Deodorant. I am all about all natural deodorant with no Aluminum. I saw a documentary about the correlation between breast cancer and deodorant and there is just too much data out there that it is not worth the risk. I have tried quite a few and most of them I started out liking, but then they weren't holding up. This Nubian Heritage Deodorant is one of the best of I have tried out there. It is all natural and  made with vanilla extract, coconut, and papaya. When I have this on my underarms smell like coconuts, the more I sweat the more I smell like coconuts, not a bad problem to have at all.

So these are a few of my favorite things right now. All of these things have been putting a little smile on my face, and I can't urge that enough, it is important to do and be surrounded by things that you like and love.