3/31/2014

MONDAY INSPIRATION...



Hi there... I hope you had a great weekend. My weekend was fantastic. I don't think I've said that during this time of the year for the last ten years. I'm always buried in work during this time of the year - and that is still the case this year. Except this year, it feels different. It feels different because I'm doing exactly what you read above. I'm "taking the time to do what makes my soul happy." I saw that quote on Pinterest yesterday and it really resonated with me. What does that quote mean?? Well it can mean something different for each person. But for me, it means putting myself first when there is a free two minutes to do so, not stretching myself too thin, saying no, sleeping normal hours, eating really well, drinking lots of water, taking time off - all things I've never really done consistently during this time of the year. I'm prioritizing and it feels really good. Yesterday, I took a day off, had herbed eggs for breakfast in bed, read a stack of magazines, took a nap and made the best salad for dinner (I'll share it with you tomorrow!). All is well with my soul. I'm more energized and prepared for another busy week ahead and I like that feeling...

Monday's are typically the start of busy times. If that is the case for you, the point here is to take a little time to do a few small things that make your soul happy- the really great things that you normally only do when times aren't so busy. It makes for a much better attitude and spirit.

That is my two cents for today... :)

Image by me, Quote unknown...
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3/28/2014

SIMPLE & UNCOMPLICATED...



Links of the week will return soon. Promise. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these simple and uncomplicated spaces. So relaxing I must say... I hope your weekend is just the same. :)

Images 1/2/3/4

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3/27/2014

I'M WEARING: A TRENCH & A COUPLE OF STRIPES...


Outfit posts can be both fun and awkward at the same time. But I've also learned something good from doing them. I've learned about what it really means to shop in my own closet. I wear business-casual attire over 70% of my week and PJs for about 20% of my week - which means I wear the fun stuff about 10% of my week. Gosh I need to work on that... Anyway, it's sometimes hard for me to piece together laid back outfits since I don't get to wear them often. So when I plan these shoots, I often think it would be much easier and less time-consuming to just order or buy all new stuff. But that is expensive and doesn't make sense if you already have what you need to get the look you want. I just needed to carve out some time...

So this little outfit is the result of me shopping in my closet. Nothing is new and each piece is simple and classic. To make my shopping-in-my-closet experience easier, I started with a neutral dress (stripes are a neutral in my book) and "accessorized" it with things like blue jean jackets, cardigans and scarfs. I ended up picking a light trench coat. Trenches are my fave... I paired the outfit with a classic brown genuine leather tote packed with my favorite flower (for a little color), and some heels and big sunnies that I've had for the longest time. All of that made for a great shopping trip - right at home.



Dress: J.Crew, love this one and this one | Trench Coat: Donna Karen via TJMaxx | Tote: K.slademade, similar here and here | Sunglasses: Coach | Heels: NineWest | Watch: Michael Kors | Lips: "Burnt Red" by Bobbi Brown 

SHOP THE LOOK




Images by Paula Coldiron
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3/25/2014

TWO EFFECTIVE ALL-NATURAL SKIN CARE PRODUCTS FOR DRY SKIN...

Hi friends!! I hope you are doing well! Life is still quite busy work-wise for me, so I can't say that I'm 100% back to regular posting just yet, but I wanted to pop in today to tell you about two amazing products that have truly helped me out lately. Perhaps they will help you, too...

I naturally have dry skin and this winter made my skin even more dry. Coconut oil really helped, but last week it just wasn't enough. Spring temps arrived here last week which set my skin off! I had a huge eczema break-out plus my lips and hands started peeling like crazy. It was as if my skin was shedding its "winter coat." Does that happen to you when the seasons change?? Well last week I tried two amazing new-to-me all-natural products that practically healed my skin issues - like in ONE week! I must tell you about them...

When I have really bad eczema break-outs, it literally feels like my skin is on fire. That is what my skin felt like last week. The unnatural soap that I had been using for years was making my skin feel even worse, so I knew I had to find something new. A good friend of mine recommended Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Castile Soap and I immediately went online to research it. It's an all-natural, organic, GMO-free gentle soap that can be used as a body wash, shampoo, laundry detergent - everything. You can see a full list of its uses here. Friends, I LOVE THIS STUFF. There are many different scents, but the peppermint soap makes the skin tingle, which made it really feel like it was working on my problem areas. It smells divine and the scent really wakes you up, too! It's pricey, but a just a little goes a long way. It lathers really well and my skin doesn't feel dry after I use it. I have been using this twice a day for a week (a week today) and my eczema break-out has subsided- in record time I must say! I'm pretty sure I'll never use another soap again... 


If I ever meet Victoria of VMAC + Cheese, I'm going to give her a big hug. One - because she is a great blogger and two - because she introduced me to the one and only lip scrub that has ever worked on my lips. I've always had dry lips. I have an arsenal of lip balms and scrubs that all failed last week when my lips started peeling like crazy. I remembered bookmarking this DIY lip scrub that Victoria posted a while ago and decided to try it. I applied it last Tuesday night then covered my lips with coconut oil. By Wednesday night, my lips felt smooth like buttah and they still feel that way!

Here is what you need and what to do:

1 tsp melted coconut oil (olive oil works here, too)
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp honey
A clean nail or toothbrush with soft bristles
Moisturizing lip balm

Mix the oil, sugar and honey together in a small bowl. Apply the mixture over your lips with the tip of your finger. It will be quite runny, so do this over a sink! Gently rub your lips together. The sugar will exfoliate the lips as rub them together. If your lips are super dry, then use the brush to get a deeper exfoliation. Move the brush in small circular motions over the lips. No need to apply a lot of pressure. The brush will do the work.

Use a paper towel to wipe off the scrub and any dead skin. Then apply a moisturizing lip balm (you know I love coconut oil!).

I hope this is helpful!

Images by me
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3/17/2014

A LITTLE TIME...




Hi friends... I hope you had a great weekend. So I want to start this post off by being honest- honest with myself specifically. Last night, I was in the middle of writing the post I had planned for today and my heart was just not in it. I really love blogging, so that feeling is rare for me. So I took a step back and realized why. I need a little time...

I've been working longer hours over the last few weeks. I've been ending my 10-12 hour workdays that are mostly spent in front of the computer by spending time on my computer editing blog posts. I'm used to that and don't mind it most days because blogging is often my way of relaxing after a long day. But this week, I think I want to relax in a different way. I want to take time to make a good dinner that takes longer than 10 minutes to make. I want to finish a book that I have been trying to finish for the past month. I want to reduce the stack of magazines that have taken residence in my bed by actually reading them instead of flipping through them just to look at the pictures. I want to watch a movie this week after work. I subscribed to Netflix just to watch House of Cards. I sadly watched the last episode over the weekend and I will scream if they don't hurry up and film the next season!! I'm quite sure Netflix has more to offer, so I want to check it out on say... a Tuesday night instead of Friday night. You know what I mean??

So relaxing weeknights and a little more downtime are on this week's to do list. My mind and my body are telling me I need it and I'm going to listen up. So I will see you here next week with a refreshed mind and hopefully a renewed spirit! Have a great week!

xo, 
Tiff

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3/14/2014

SALTED CARAMEL COFFEE DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CAKE + LINKS...



Hi there friends. I hope you had a wonderful week! Well I must start off by saying thank you for your sweet comments on Wednesday's post. You all are really, really wonderful and I appreciate your kindness!

So what's up for the weekend? This week was quite a long one for me, so other than a few errands, a little work and a workout, I plan to just relax. I need it man!! I hope you have a great weekend and enjoy the links!

That beautiful cake (and photo) is by Josh Weissman, an 18-year old foodie who has quite an inspiring story...

Sarah Jessica Parker answers 73 quick questions and gives you a little sneak peek of her charming home in the process... Loved this.

I pre-ordered her book this week (so excited for her) and was in awe of her honesty in this post... Amazing.

Apparently I've been doing this the wrong way my entire life...

Even Beyoncé falls asleep on the job sometimes...

I need one of these...

And I'll take one of these, too. Cute.

Hilarious. Just hilarious.

A really, really great list...

This one is good, too...

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3/12/2014

I'M WEARING: MY FAVORITE $30 DRESS...

This dress my friends is special. Over the Christmas holidays, my mom and I were watching TV and surfing the Internet. I ran across this faux leather dress from ASOS. I LOVED it and my mom offered to buy it for me as a Christmas gift. I had never ordered any clothing from ASOS before, so I had my mom measure me to increase my chances of ordering the right size. The dress was only $30 (and still is!!!), so I was a little skeptical of what the dress would be like. But when I got it, all of my concerns were put at ease. The dress fit perfectly and it looks and feels so much like real leather! It is extremely comfortable and so versatile for spring and summer.

Faux Leather Dress: ASOS (similar dress here and here) | Necklaces: J.Crew ( similar here and here) | Heels: NineWest by InStyle (old) | Bag: H&M (old) | Watch: Michael Kors | Sunglasses: Dolce & Gabanna | Lips: "Burnt Red" by Bobbi Brown

Images by Paula Coldiron
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3/11/2014

SIX REALLY GOOD COOKBOOKS...


Up until about a year ago, I never really collected anything. I don't like clutter and collections of things can sometimes mess with my self-diagnosed OCD. But I can now officially say that I am collecting cookbooks and I am ok with it! The collection wasn't planned, but I've realized over time that they are really something I really enjoy. I love flipping through them, looking at the photography and styling, and seeing how various ingredients are combined to make something delicious and beautiful. This year, I have really focused on healthy, whole foods and I feel SO much better. So naturally, most of the cookbooks I'm loving lately reflect that...

1. True Food: My brother always gets me a cookbook for Christmas and he got me this particular one last year. It is by Dr. Andrew Weil, who is known for his expertise on healthy food and healthy skin. The book has wonderful essays on the affects of eating an anti-inflammatory diet, which is a diet that is heavily based on whole, pure foods, healthy fats, and lean proteins. This type of diet tends to heal the body in natural ways and reduces the body's reliability on medication. I personally hate taking medicine, so I'm enjoying learning more about this diet. The recipes are easy and extremely original. The photography is amazing as well...

2. Giada's Feel Good Food:  I heart Giada because she has the ability to come up with quick and simple recipes that are always full of flavor. This is her latest cookbook and the inspiration behind three of the recipes I've posted here this year (Red Riser Juice, Avocodo Hummus Dip, Soba Noodle Salad), so this book is truly a favorite for me. The most frequent question she is asked is, "How do you stay so small??" Her answer is genetics, eating healthy meals and small portions of the not-so-healthy meals. In the book, she shares some of her favorite quick and easy healthy meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack time. Outside of food, she gets personal. She gives you glimpse inside of her bag, shows you how she organizes her suitcase for travel (I LOVED her tips), and gives you the scoop on her popular manicure. Oh.. and my brother is amazing because he got me this cookbook, too... :)

3. Whole Grain Mornings: Breakfast is not only the most important meal of the day, but it is my favorite meal of the day! That means I scooped this book up as soon as it came out. Author Megan Gordon is the blogger behind the beautiful food blog, A Sweet Spoonful and her book is just as beautiful. Whole grain breakfast foods are known for not being as pleasing to the eye or taste buds as the usual alternatives, but Megan has a way of making the food look fabulous and her creative recipes make the food taste amazing. The Very, Very Best Oatmeal is one of my favorites... The stories she tells in the book are entertaining as well.  I could see this is as a book I will reference when I have children so that I can get them used to starting their day off with simple and healthy meals. That makes this book even more special to me.

4. Love, Bake, Nourish: So I am pretty comfortable when it comes to making healthy meals. But I'm not so comfortable when it comes to make healthy desserts. The whole substituting regular flour for spelt flour or whole wheat flour or buckwheat flour - I don't get it. But I want to get it and this book will help me out. It's full of healthy desserts that are full of flavor and look incredibly beautiful. I'm inspired...

5. Plenty: I make it a goal to try to eat a fresh vegetable or two at every meal - including breakfast (I put them in my morning smoothie). So I am really attracted to cookbooks that introduce creative ways of making a variety of vegetables. That's what I love about this cookbook. The recipes are original and not too fussy. If you aren't big into vegetables, the stunning photos might entice you to change your mind. They are just that good.

6. Shake: Ok so this book might not be a "healthy" cookbook per se, but I had to add this one in here because it's good. And spring and summer are coming up and there is nothing like a good cocktail in the spring or summer. The book is full of seasonal cocktails that almost look too pretty to drink. They are super creative, too. One of the drinks in the book is called the "Montauk Mule." Another one is called "The L Train." That might give you an idea of how creative this book is...

What are some of your favorite cookbooks??
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3/10/2014

WEEKEND IN SIX PICS...

Hi there! I hope you enjoyed these last few days. I certainly did... I strained a muscle or something in my back, which placed me in bed most of the weekend. While I didn't enjoy the pain, I certainly enjoyed down time in bed watching the rest of House of Cards, reading and working a little. I swear House of Cards is one of the best shows I've ever seen... Anyway, they say things happen for a reason and if hurting my back was a sign that I needed rest - well I was cool with that. But a girl still needs to eat, so I did make it to the farmers market with my camera in tow. The weather was perfect and being there reminded me so much of spring. I can't wait for it! My back gave me a little time to venture out of the market to photograph some railroad tracks (one of my favorite things to photograph - not sure why) and just enjoy my time outside. It's back to the grind today. But thanks to a restful weekend, I am well prepared... :)








Oh and those are this week's tulips next to my clock that I had to reset yesterday. Waking up to that color made it a little easier to accept the hour of sleep I lost... :)

Images by me


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3/07/2014

A QUAINT KITCHEN + LINKS...



Happy Friday!! This week flew by in a flash - which means I was pretty busy - which means that I'm welcoming the weekend with open arms. The weather is supposed to be lovely here, so after doing a little work, I plan to enjoy it by taking a long walk and doing some baking in the kitchen with the windows up. I love doing that... My hope is that you get to do something you love, too... Enjoy the links and I'll see you here next week!

It's simple, beautiful, small and romantic. It's my kind of wedding

I'm totally smitten with her studio... Pun intended. 

An Instagram feed that is a feast for your eyes...

I tried this last night. While it was awkward, it worked.

A pretty dress for your tech...

Heaven in a sandwich...

Weekend sale shopping...

And weekend reading...

Image: Lilly Bunn Interiors via Domaine Home


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3/06/2014

I'M WEARING: THE LAST OF WINTER...


Spring is almost here and I am THRILLED!!! This winter has gotten the best of me, my skin and my attitude, so I am looking forward to warmer temps! While I am excited, I will say that this time of year brings about a challenge for me in the fashion department. I have to put together what I call "transition" outfits." I have to do that on days when it's too cold to be dangerous and wear shorts and flip flops and too warm to wear a hat and boots. So I have to put something together that keeps me warm and cold at the same time AND is somewhat cute. I don't know about you, but that is hard for me sometimes! 

Anyway, here is an example of what a weekend go-to transition outfit looks like for me. I typically pair a light-weight sweater with some jeans and sandals. This particular sweater is light and goes off the shoulder if I need a little air. It can be pulled up on the shoulder in case I get cold. The coated jeans I'm wearing are light-weight as well. Since it is often too warm during these times to wear a coat, I like to carry a bag big enough to hold an oversized scarf in case of an emergency. Sandals that aren't too revealing are just right... And if I'm not in the mood to bust out the spring colors (like I was here), then I just wear red lips to make up for it... :)



Sweater: Zara (old) | Coated Jeans: Madewell (similar here) | Sandals: Zara (old) | Bag: Gucci | Sunglasses: Dolce & Gabanna | Lips: "Burnt Red" by Bobbi Brown

SHOP THE LOOK





Images by Paula Coldiron
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3/04/2014

SOBA NOODLE SALAD...

So this recipe includes a few firsts for me. It's the first time I have ever had soba noodles. I've seen so many good-looking recipes that had them and they are incredibly healthy, but I was a bit fretful. Soba noodles, to me, look like they taste like cardboard. They are not attractive at all. And guess what? After I cooked them for this recipe, I discovered I was right. They taste exactly like cardboard. I thought I was in trouble... But thank God for the heavenly, almond butter dressing that graces this salad. Before I assembled the salad, I dipped one of the cooked noodles into the dressing and I smiled. The nutty and ever so slightly salty dressing is really the star of this salad. So good! The noodles take on the flavor of the dressing and it totally transforms them! If it weren't for the dressing, I would have had to eat cardboard with a side of fresh vegetables. No good... :)

This was also the first time that I used this fabulous vegetable julienne peeler. It was introduced to me by Sarah Yates of A House In The Hills, one of my favorite blogs. If you have a recipe that requires a vegetable to be "thinly sliced," then this little tool is what you need. It makes the job much less stressful than using a knife. It also make the prep process a little more fun and the end product a little prettier. 

All in all, this is one of the best salads I've had. I love the crunchiness of the vegetables with the chewiness of the noodles. The best thing is that the salad gets even better the longer it sits in the fridge, which makes it a perfect make-ahead dish. Love that.


Here is what you need and what to do: (serves 4, vegan, gluten-free)

Dressing:

3 tablespoons creamy almond butter
3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, chopped
2 teaspoons wasabi paste

Salad:

8 oz dried buckwheat soba noodles (use 100% buckwheat if gluten-free)
1 1/2 lbs napa cabbage, shredded
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
3 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
1 hothouse cucumber, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
3 tablespoons black sesame seeds

Bring large pot of water to a boil. Season the water with kosher salt and add the noodles. Cook for about 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Be sure not to overcook them! If you do, the noodles will be soggy. Drain the noodles into a colander and rinse well with cold water. Add the noodles to a serving bowl and set aside.

To make the dressing, add the almond butter, soy sauce, olive oil, water, lime juice, sesame oil, honey, ginger and wasabe paste to a blender. Blend until smooth.

To assemble the salad, add the cabbage, bell pepper, scallions, cucumber, carrot and almonds to the noodles. Pour the desired amount of dressing over the salad. Toss until all of the ingredients are coated with the dressing. Garnish with sesame seeds and chill in the fridge for a few hours. The longer it chills, the better it tastes!

Enjoy!

Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis

Images by me
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3/03/2014

WEEKEND IN THREE PICS...

{A glimpse at my weekend: A House of Cards binge session via my Roku (remote on my iPhone), obsessing over Uma Thurman's country home in the new issue of Porter magazine, the new issue of Domino (love), and recipe planning for the blog via this amazing cookbook... }

Happy Monday!! I hope you had a good weekend. As planned, my weekend was very laid back. I spent most of Saturday watching House of Cards for the first time. I totally understand the hype now. I'm hooked and I LOVE Robin Wright's style on the show. So classic. I had dinner and drinks with one of my best friends at Art Smith's (Oprah's former personal chef) restaurant. It's called Southern Art and I highly recommend it! My friend and I laughed about tons of things while we ate some of the most glamorous soul food we've ever had. I ended the weekend with the Oscars. Lupita Nyong'o, Kate Blanchett and Charlize Theron's gowns were breathtaking. And I thought Ellen was perfection. So funny and my vote for the annual Oscar host... 

{A new outdoor rug from Target ($39 in stores, but similar one online here) that is the first thing I step on when I leave home and come home. The green makes me happy. }


{Some sort of ruffled tulip I found this weekend that instantly made me smile when I saw them. Anyone know what kind of tulip that is??}

Images by me
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