Saturday, December 13, 2014

All I want for Christmas... A last-minute Holiday gift guide!


Oh the holidays. We love them because everything smells like spices, people are unexpectedly kind all the time, and obviously because it's the only time of year that it is socially acceptable to watch Elf 3 times a day. 
But there's a caveat. 
We have a list of people we need to get gifts for. And as you get older, you accumulate more people onto that list until you have 40 people you need to get gifts for by December 25th, and each gift somehow needs to perfectly represent that person's personality, with a witty and thoughtful card to match. Seems simple enough, right? 
Not right. 
Holiday shopping is stressful. You never know if your gifts will actually be things that your friends and family want, or if they are those "oh! how nice of you to think of me!" gifts that just get put aside. Fortunately, I have compiled quite the list after Holiday shopping for my friends and family these past few weeks, which will hopefully spark some sort of inspiration for the lovely people in all of your lives!

1. CHOCOLATE 
Everyone loves chocolate- and i'm not talking about cheap, preservative and sugar-laden chocolate, i'm talking quality, cruelty-free, fair-trade chocolate that melts in your mouth with every bite. There are so many small chocolate businesses out there that are definitely worth supporting, and I highly recommend Taza chocolate, Righteously Raw, Zenbunni, Anandamide Chocolate, Santosha, Sacred, Alter-eco, Pana Chocolate, and the delicious chocolate treats from Moon Juice

2. QUALITY COFFEE
Oh man, I cannot stress this enough. Coffee coffee coffee. The perfect gift, because boy can coffee be expensive. My favorites are Groundwork Coffee, Alfred Coffee's Groundwork blend, Blue Bottle Coffee, Intelligentsia, Cafecito Organico, and Chameleon Cold brew coffee

3. PRETTY STATIONERY 
Ok, so knowing me, this is pretty much a given. Stationery is important. A beautiful calendar, like the one shown above from Tortoise General Store in Venice, or even some pretty notebooks and pens are great gifts. I like to shop at Jetpens, Tortoise, Urbanic, Notemaker, Rifle Paper, Muji, and etsy for all of my stationery gifts!

4. THEMED GIFT PACKS
Ok, these are a lot of fun to make. I will pack up a bunch of superfoods from Moon Juice into a cute box with tissue paper for a "health box", or some crafty supplies for a "craft starter kit" and just pick 5-10 items to fill them up with. Be warned, gift packs can get pretty pricey, so choose your items wisely! 

5. BEAUTY 
I have been getting a lot of beauty products this season, since I have discovered so many wonderful brands! Frank body is one of my favorite body scrub brands, as all of their scrubs are all natural and cruelty-free, and they work so well. Every time I take a shower with one of their scrubs, my skin feels so soft and smooth you would think I took some sort of miracle potion! I also really love Herbivore Botanicals, Fig and Yarrow, Vice and Velvet handmade soaps, Aesop, and Lush

6. HEALTH FOODS
If you know me, then you know I am into some pretty funky health foods. I love learning about superfoods and their benefits, and also the great flavor they add to smoothies and desserts. If you have any foodies in your life, then be sure to get some mystical superfoods to stuff in their stockings :) My favorite brands are Moon Juice, Navitas Naturals, Terrasoul, Living Intentions, and Skinny Coconut Oil. If you live in Los Angeles, it would also be fun to get gift cards to Moon Juice, Pressed Juicery, Juice Served Here, L.A. Juice, and Sunlife Organics! It's always nice to reset after the holidays with a good ol' juice cleanse. 

These are all of the gifts I will be giving this year, and as you can tell, I love supporting small businesses because you know that each product is lovingly made with intention and lots of hard work. Try to shop local and small as much as you can this year- not only are you supporting your community, but you are also encouraging small businesses to flourish, and are in direct contact with each product you buy! Also, whatever you buy from a small business, you know it will be special! 


Happy Holidays!
xxbee

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Raw Vegan Gingerbread Caramel Slice!


I don't know what it is with me during the holiday season. I somehow become a crafty little christmas elf and decide to bake everything either gingerbread or peppermint flavored, clean out my entire closet and take out all of my oversized coats, and stay in bed for longer than I should. Some good things do certainly come out of my holiday madness, and I must say that this gingerbread caramel slice is one of them. It has been approved by my entire family, including my junk-food loving father and little sister. If they liked it, then I think I should be awarded vegan of the year, because boy is it a triumphant moment to tell them that not only is this treat crazy healthy, but that it's also raw, vegan, AND gluten free. Now, you can have your cake, and eat it too ;)

RAW VEGAN GINGERBREAD CARAMEL SLICE

Base
1 cup almonds
½ cup medjool dates (packed)
2 tsp ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tb coconut oil

Filling
6 medjool dates
1 cup coconut sugar
½ cup coconut oil
a few dashes of raw almond mylk
½ cup almond butter

Toppings (optional, but highly recommended)
Drizzled raw choc
Crystallized ginger pieces

Instructions
Blend all of the base ingredients in a food processor, and press into a pan lined with parchment paper. Place into the freezer while you make the filling.

To make the filling, blend up all of the filling ingredients until you reach a thick, caramel-y consistency, then pour on top of the base (here, you can press in the pieces of optional crystallized ginger) and freeze. When everything is frozen (about 4 hours), drizzle the raw choc on top of the slice, freeze for 30 minutes, and then slice into rectangles with an extremely sharp knife. Enjoy! 

Guys, i'm telling you now that this gingerbread slice is addictive, as is proven by the fact that I made this huge batch just yesterday and 3/4 of it is already gone. 
phew!

xxbee

Friday, November 21, 2014

Frozen chocolate ginger mylkshakes

Yes, it's mid-November. Yes, this is a recipe for a freezing-cold smoothie. Yes, I am crazy.
But a good kind of crazy because boy is this 'mylkshake' worth freezing over. It's creamy, chocolatey, and spicy from the insane amount of ginger thrown in. I eat mine with a spoon like ice cream :)


FROZEN GINGER CHOC MYLKSHAKE
1 cup homemade almond mylk (recipe below)
2 frozen bananas 
1 beet 
1tsp-1 tb ginger root (depending on how spicy you want it!)
2 tb raw cacao 
pure vanilla bean 
2 dates 

Blitz everything up in a high-speed blender (such as the vitamix blender) until you reach an ice cream-like consistency. You can add more/less liquid if you so desire :) Top with granola/raw cacao nibs/ or homemade raw red velvet brownies like I do!

RAW ALMOND MYLK 
1 cup of almonds
4 cups of filtered water

Soak the almonds overnight in water (about 3 cups) in a sealed container. The next day, drain the almonds and place them in a high-speed blender along with the 4 cups of filtered water. Blitz for about 2 minutes, until it all starts to look like a frothy milkshake. Filter the nut mylk with a nut mylk bag/cloth/sieve in a large glass bowl to remove the excess almond pulp and place your delicious raw almond mylk in a sealed glass jar/recycled milk bottle. Enjoy in smoothies/as is/with cereal/oatmeal/in desserts... the options are endless!

Here are a few fun facts about ginger + cacao!
1. Ginger improves the absorption of nutrients in the body.
2. Ginger and Raw cacao have great anti-inflammatory properties.
3. Ginger helps ease bloating and an upset stomach.
4. Raw cacao is high in antioxidants, which help to destroy the free radicals in your cells and tissues.
5. Raw cacao is one of the highest sources of magnesium, polyphenols, and flavanols (all good stuff!)


Enjoy!
xxbee

Friday, October 31, 2014

In my Bag: Featuring Rue La La


When Rue La La released their style guide for handbags, I decided that maybe you guys would be interested in seeing what I tote around everyday. I love creating spreads like these.
Anways, if you look on their website, you'll see that  Rue La La is based in Boston, and that they basically curate boutiques that stay open for only 48 hours with special prices and all. On their blog, they have a specific style guide for handbags, which I thought was pretty neat and well thought-out, considering I'm a die-hard handbag fanatic. I have too many to count.
As for what I carry in my bag everyday, I have quite a few essentials. First of all, I do wear the Walk handbag. I bring The Walk Bag with me everywhere I go, because not only does it carry absolutely everything, it somehow goes with anything I wear, and it's the perfect length so that I can carry it either on one shoulder or hold it cross-body. Seriously, if you don't have one yet, mosey on over to my Book River Store and get yourself a Walk Bag! You'll also be doing some good, because not only is The Walk Bag super cute (!), but it provides work for the monks that run orphanages in the hills of Hanoi, Vietnam. With this income, they can better provide for the children in these orphanages, giving them a better quality of life. I'll be going to Vietnam later next year (hopefully) to go and visit these orphanages for myself. These bags are also 100% vegan :)
Here are the essentials I carry with me (almost) everyday:
1. Lipstick 
I wear lipstick everyday. I am a lipstick-loving girl and i'm not afraid to go for some crazy colors. Ask my friends, they know that I will wear bright red lipstick even to go grocery shopping. So, I always make sure and bring several different colors with me wherever I go (dark purple, maroon, Russian red...). My favorite brands are NARS and Benefit, both cruelty free and vegan.
2.  My car key
I feel like this one is pretty self-explanatory, but I would like to add that my Prius C is named Jared after my adorable 12 year old neighbor, Katie. When we were at the car lot, I knew I had to name my new car, and since Katie was with us picking it out, she looked at my car and automatically knew his name had to be Jared. Katie is the cutest.
3. My phone
How else am I going to take pictures of my adorable puppies, Biche and Kuma?
4. All sorts of punch cards/credit cards/business cards and obviously money haha
Side note to this- I NEVER leave the house without my business cards, and it seems that the days I need them the most are the days that I somehow always forget them. The world is an unforgiving place.
5. Sunglasses
I need to remember to bring these with me everywhere I go, because I do indeed live in Los Angeles, where it rains maybe once every 20 million years, and is sunny even when it does rain.
6. My beats headphones
I have tried so many other types of headphones in my life, and boy do none of them compare with these ones. If I forget them, my entire day is potentially ruined.
7. My ipad
Since I can't bring my computer with me everywhere I go, I bring my mini ipad to catch up on assignments if i'm in a waiting room and to answer that never-ending stream of emails I receive daily.
8. My weekly planner
A lot of people ask me what type of planners I like to use, and I even made a post about them here! I would be completely and utterly lost if I didn't have my planner with me at all times! It keeps me feeling organized and gives me the illusion that I have my life completely together.

So, that's pretty much everything I carry around on a daily basis. Thank you Julie for introducing me to Rue La La!
xxbee

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Morning Rituals

beautiful books + loose leaf tea

black coffee + the latest issue of Monocle 
I am a morning person. I always have been.
On weekdays, I am always the first one to get up in the house, and somewhere, there is an unwritten law that states that I am responsible for all of the most important morning duties; make breakfast for my sister, coffee for my parents, feed and take the puppies out, put on the news as comfortable background noise, and finally wake everyone up to get ready. Before all of that though, I have my own morning ritual during the week. 

smoothie jars layered with crunchy granola
I get up religiously every morning at 5:30 AM on the dot. I am not one to laze around in bed- I get up as soon as my alarm sounds and jump out . I just get too excited to start the day, I wouldn't want to waste another moment lazing around. Once I'm out, I do a few sun salutations and some inversions to get blood flowing to my head and then I take a shower, pick out my outfit for the day, and do my makeup. I have to leave the house by 6:50 to make it to school on time, so I can't dilly dally in the morning with everything that has to be done. And it's funny because I have been doing this every morning during the school year for as long as I can remember, and somehow it almost seems automatic. It's weird to think that I will have to change up my morning routine entirely when I go off to college next year. I just can't fathom it. 

Then the weekend comes around, and boy are saturday and sunday mornings my favorite. They're both so entirely different yet equally satisfying. I get so much done in the mornings, because I find that I am most productive in the early AM. Biche and Kuma are my alarm clock on the weekend, wining to go outside and get fed. Kuma will generally plop onto my chest and scratch my face at 7 AM and once my eyes open, I get bombarded by a million kisses from both of them. It's really a fantastic way to wake up, I highly suggest it. 
On saturdays, after I wake up, I go downstairs to make coffee for the entire family and make a double espresso for myself. I like my coffee black and strong. Lately, I have been obsessed with Cafecito Organico's espresso- it's fruity and bitter, just the way I like it. 
Before breakfast, I'll make a to-do list for the day and start getting work done. I will usually get the majority of my homework done in the morning, leaving the rest of the day for going for a walk on the beach, yoga classes, or catching up with pen pals. Saturdays are my leisure days. 
I make my study guides on saturdays and study from them on sundays
sometimes when I'm feeling fancy,
I'll wake up and drink a bottle of homemade detox water :)
Sundays are a little different. We have a sunday farmer's market in Malibu, so I usually go with my mother and we chat with the vendors and get young coconut water straight from the coconut whilst perusing the various stalls of vegetables, vegan food, and baked goods. I love supporting our local businesses and farmers instead of going to the store- there's so much more warmth involved. Most sundays, I'll go to an 11 AM vinyasa yoga class with my mother and we'll leave all sweaty by 12:30, and the rest of the day is almost always dedicated to work. As for the early morning, I will always get out my latest periodical (monocle is a favorite) and will sit in bed with a cup of coffee for a couple of hours reading articles on politics, business, and of course, design.
 I live for mornings- they are a time for me to be productive and spend some quality time with Biche and Kuma, and just appreciate the little things like a smooth cup of coffee or the comfort of a fuzzy sweater. 


planning for the week and going through the next few months deciding what to do with my life 

What are your morning rituals?
xx
bee

Friday, October 17, 2014

Fall Essentials

TOKYO MILK
"let them eat cake"
PRESSED JUICERY VANILLA COFFEE
P.F. CANDLE CO. 
"spiced pumpkin"
Fall is here. Well, whatever your definition of fall is anyway. I live in Southern California where the idea of fall is here- with those limited edition pumpkin drinks at Starbucks and newscast attempts at trying to make it sound like the weather is "cooling down" when we all very well know that it is never cooling down. But hey, I'm not one to complain. I know of nothing else! I've only heard of or visited places where there's an actual fall, where all of the leaves turn brown and people walk around in their winter coats and boots with a steaming hot cup of double pumpkin sugar spice black magic coffee and dilly dally along in a fall-like manner. Sometimes I wish we had a real fall, but then again, this summery weather with the awkward addition of pumpkin-themed everything is fall to me, and I kind of love it :)
I figured I should do a post on my fall essentials to really set the mood for the changing seasons and a precursor to my favorite time of the year- WINTER! aka wrapping presents, giving said wrapped presents, and obviously chipmunks christmas music! Anyways, fall. 
I would first like to point out that fall weather (or California fall weather I should say) does not agree with my skin. at all. That's why when fall comes around the corner, I'm always prepared (did that sound cheesy enough?). But seriously, I use the Tokyo milk "let them eat cake" moisturizer almost religiously because not only does it really smell like freaking cake batter, but it does the job quite nicely. If I could eat this stuff, you know I would. 
And even though I just criticized fall-themed coffee drinks, I should say I am a bit of a hypocrite because I do have my favorite fall-themed coffee, even if it doesn't have the word "pumpkin" or "spice" or a combination of the two. To me, vanilla is basically fall. If fall were a flavor, it would be vanilla. and coffee. Pressed Juicery has made all of my wishes come true- combining my two fall flavors into one blissful coffee drink that is so good for you it would be unhealthy not to drink it. 
Last but not least, the spiced pumpkin candle from P.F. Candle C.o. If I could give you one word of advice, it would be to stop everything you are doing now and buy one of these babies, light em' up, and just sit there and bask in their glorious fall-emitting scents. It's basically pumpkin and spice and everything nice all wrapped up in a little perfect candle. 
Enjoy the fall-ness! Let me know what your fall essentials are :)
xxbee

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Walk Bag: Restocked!

I have finally restocked the WALK BAGS in my etsy shop!

Worldwide shipping and hand-wrapping (even if it's just a gift for yourself!)
xxbee

Saturday, September 13, 2014

COYO: A vegan's ultimate dream


 First off, there are a few things I need to touch on before we get started. I have been a plant-loving vegan for a while now (a good year I would say), and boy I have not felt better in my entire life. I made the switch for ethical reasons after educating myself on animal exploitation, and especially after watching Earthlings, which I highly suggest watching. Not only am I a very happy vegan, but I'm also a very healthy one. But how do I have time? With all of the college applications, AP classes, and social outings with my friends, one would think that juggling all of this while staying a plant-based vegan would be nearly impossible. But it's actually not. It's the easiest thing I have had to do in my life.
So that is where COYO comes in; an all-natural, vegan coconut yogurt with minimal ingredients and processing, filled to the brim with healthy fats and taste, it's an optimal yogurt replacement for anyone who lovessss coconut and is as busy as I am! My lovely mother, knowing that I have been through a rough week, surprised me with all three of their flavors the other day, as I wouldn't shut up about how much I wanted to try them. First of all, how fantastic is my mother?! Anyways, after I opened them up, I immediately smelled the delicious coconutty-ness and after my first bite, I fell in love with COYO. I tried the raw chocolate, Mixed berry, and natural flavors, and out of all three, I would have to say the mixed berry wins by a landslide. It's so silky smooth and thick, just like the greek yogurt I used to eat daily. And unlike other vegan yogurts I have tried, COYO is much thicker and way more natural, being sweetened with stevia leaf, and not cane sugar.
My favorite way to have COYO is definitely with frozen mixed berries and homemade quinoa puff granola, all layered in a cute little jar. Presentation is always key, right? ;) So, when I'm on the go, I can just grab a tub to have as a snack and it keeps me full for hours! The healthy fats power my brain for those AP Bio study sessions that last for hours, and my body for hot yoga or long runs. Plus, it tastes like dessert!
Oh goodness, now I'm craving some!
xxbee


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Tips on staying organized and neat for school


So, school. How do I do it?
I'm a senior in high school now, and since i've gotten this far, I must know a few things on how to be successful at school. Some might say determination, ambition, and discipline, but I say it all comes down to how organized you are. If you're notes are sloppy and disgusting, but you are disciplined and whatnot, you'll get through those notes, but will you get through them quickly, efficiently, and happily? I would say not. 
But, then again, i've always been a stickler for clean and neat notes. That's my #1 tip. You need to always have NEAT NOTES!! trust me, reviewing will be so much more enjoyable if you just clean up your handwriting and put a little extra effort into your note-taking. Buy some new pens (jetpens is the bomb) and have fun playing with different styles and colors. By the end of the year, your notebook or binder will be so beautiful you won't want to throw it away. That's how I feel about last year's AP US history notebook (seen above and below). It's too gorgeous to throw out. 


Another important part about staying organized is consistency. If you start your notes out one way, then finish them that way. Don't decide to put a bolded title to your unit 1 notes and then not put any title for your unit 2 notes. You'll be confused by the time your final comes along and you'll probably have a panick attack. (I am saying this from experience, yes). Consistency is key here, and you need to make sure that all of your ducks are in a row. Use the same highlighters to indicate the same things, and use the same pen throughout all of your notes. Don't decide to suddenly "change it up" midway through december. You just don't do that. 

Next, draw adorable pictures. I don't mean to doodle all over your notes, because that is a very very bad idea. I mean that, if given the chance in class or at home, draw pictures within your notes to help you visualize the concept better. Make it fun by using different colored pens and keeping the picture NEAT. If you put in the effort, the grade will come along with it. 


Oh, and this is the most important tip of all, I think. plan every. single. thing. 
I will constantly say this to everyone- buy a cute planner. customize your cute planner. use your cute planner. Don't just let it sit around while you say to yourself, "eh, i'll remember those 58 homework assignments I have for next week, I don't need to write it down". Sorry to break it to you, but yes, you DO need to write it down. Write it all down. Make note of the days you have to tutor, differentiate the important things by boxing them with colors. Highlight the items you have completed. plan, plan, plan. If you could pull one piece of advice from this post, I would say it has to be this one. If you stay on top of things in school or work, then you won't feel so overwhelmed in the long run. It will feel good to plan. trust me, i'm a senior ;)


I hope you found all of these tips helpful, because boy I would have if I was just starting out. 
And if you want to see more of my handwriting/notes/school posts, then take a look at my tumblr morning oats, you won't regret it, I promise :)

xxbee