Archive | November, 2010

New Category: Personalitie

29 Nov

Well, the results are in…

Cheekie’s new category, determined by you, our readers, is Personalitie!

With 64 percent of the vote, Personalitie has earned a spot as our newest feature. The Personalitie category will allow us to profile interesting, amazing, and unique women in their 20s and 30s. A business owner, a comedian, an author… the possibilities for this category are inifinte. The profiles will appear in Q&A format, and will hopefully offer an inspiring look at the lives of all different kinds of women.

Don’t worry Poochie fans, we are still considering adding a doggy-centric category in the future! In the meantime keep your eyes peeled for our first Personalitie post, coming soon.

Thanks for voting in the poll and providing great feedback. We appreciate you!

Advertisements

Lines for Winter

29 Nov

We’ve got another three weeks until winter officially begins. But it’s cold and gray where I live, and those familiar feelings of wintertime have started to re-emerge. Winter is a season of endings–the end of life, the end of the calendar year. Maybe for you it’s a time when a relationship or a life phase will end.

The following poem is a favorite of mine. Perfect for winter and coming to terms with the cycle of life (and death).

Lines for Winter

Tell yourself
as it gets cold and gray falls from the air
that you will go on
walking, hearing
the same tune no matter where
you find yourself–
inside the dome of dark
or under the crackling white
of the moon’s gaze in a valley of snow.
Tonight as it gets cold
tell yourself
what you know which is nothing
but the tune your bones play
as you keep going. And you will be able
for once to lie down under the small fire
of winter stars.
And if it happens that you cannot
go on or turn back
and you find yourself
where you will be at the end,
tell yourself
in that final flowing of cold through your
limbs
that you love what you are.

-Mark Strand

Killer Cupcakes (That Just Happen To Be Vegan)

27 Nov

How does a vegan cupcake sound to you?

If you are making a face right now at the mere thought of vegan cupcakes, stop! I promise you these cupcakes are delish. Just look at that photo! Honestly, you wouldn’t even know they’re vegan.

You might have noticed Cheekie tends to feature vegetarian-friendly foods and products. About two weeks ago I decided to give vegetarianism another go. But as I mentioned in my first post, I’ve considered myself a part-time vegetarian for quite a while. Even though one cannot technically be a part-time vegetarian, I use this term because I love vegetarian restaurants, vegetarian/vegan products, and the health benefits of eliminating (or cutting back) meat from my diet.

So Cheekie would be committed to sharing awesome veggie-friendly stuff regardless of my vegetarian status. It’s frustrating to hear omnivores declare that vegetarian food is “gross” or tasteless. You don’t have to be vegan to enjoy vegan food.

Which brings me back to the topic of this post… Vegan Cupcakes!!

I brought Apple Cider cupcakes with Vegan Fluffy Buttercream Frosting to Thanksgiving dinner. They were gobbled up by a vegan, a vegetarian, and two omnivores. Moist and tasty, the cupcakes were a hit!

The recipe came from a great little book: Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World: 75 Dairy-Free Recipes for Cupcakes that Rule. Just a few of the amazing cupcake flavors in this cookbook: Chocolate Mint, Banana Split, Lemon Macadamia, Chai Latte, Tiramisu, and Cashew Butter Cardamom. Next time I make them, I’m going to try the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cupcakes with Cinnamon Icing. YUM.

Here’s the recipe for the ‘cakes I made on Thanksgiving:

Apple Cider Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

2 cups apple cider

1 tablespoon agar flakes or 1 teaspoon agar powder (I couldn’t find this, so I left it out)

2 cinnamon sticks

1/2 teaspoon whole cloves

1/2 teaspoon whole allspice

1/2 cup apple butter

1/4 cup maple syrup

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tray with cupcake liners.

2. Place apple cider, agar agar, cinnamon sticks, cloves and allspice in a small saucepan. If using agar flakes, let mixture soak for 10 minutes; if using powder, proceed to the next step.

3. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

4. In a separate bowl, mix together the apple butter, maple syrup, sugar, vegetable oil, apple cider vinegar and vanilla.

5. Bring the apple cider mixture to a boil, then lower heat to bring it to a low rolling boil, careful not to let it boil over. Boil fro about 15 minutes, until the cider is reduced to 1 1/4 cups and the agar agar is disolved. (If the cider hasn’t reduced enough, boil longer. If it has reduced too much, add extra apple cider to make up for the difference.) Stir frequently because the agar agar tends to stick to the sides of the pan.

6. Strain the apple cider and discard the spices. Let cool to lukewarm, then add the apple cider to the apple butter mixture and mix well. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients in roughly three batches, mixing well after each addition.

7. Spray the cupcake liners with non-stick cooking spray. (I found this to be completely unnecessary, but I used non-stick liners.) Fill each liner three-quarters full. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

8. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely before frosting.

TO ASSEMBLE

1. Pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes and sprinkle some cinnamon or cinnamon sugar on top of it. It would be cute to stick a cinnamon stick into the frosting if you are feeling fancy-pants.

Vegan Fluffy Buttercream Frosting

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup nonhydrogenated shortening

1/2 cup nonhydrogenated margarin (like Earth Balance)

3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted if clumpy

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 cup plain soy milk or soy creamer

DIRECTIONS

1. Beat the shortening and margarine together until well combined and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for about 3 more minutes. Add the vanilla and soy milk, beat for another 5 to 7 minutes until fluffy.

Giving Thanks, Even When You Don’t Feel Like It

24 Nov

I’ve decided the most important time to be thankful is when things aren’t going your way. When life feels unfulfilling. When it’s easier to name what’s lacking in your life.

Lucky for me, the holiday of Giving Thanks happens to fall right in the midst of such a time. My twenties have been nothing like what I thought they would be. At 27, I’m still not sure what I want to be when I grow up, I haven’t bought a house, I haven’t gotten married, I haven’t even had a job for the past year. Focusing on all I haven’t accomplished, though, gets me nowhere. And the truth is my priorities have changed. Many of those things I thought I’d achieve in my twenties aren’t even accomplishments I want under my belt these days.

In my family, we used to go around the Thanksgiving dinner table and each say something for which we were thankful. But this year, I feel it necessary to go beyond one thing. I need to remind myself of all that I am thankful for, because even though my twenties haven’t been what I thought they’d be, I still have many blessings to count. So I’ve decided to make a list of all that I am thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Go ahead and make your own list. It’s important to write it down. Not only because writing is therapeutic, but also because you can return to it throughout the year whenever you need a reminder.

I Am Thankful For:

My mom, who is my best friend.

Girl friends. Every woman needs them, and mine are spectacular.

Not being married or having kids at 27.

My family. After witnessing so many dysfunctional families in my life, I am especially thankful for my wonderful, hilarious, loving family.

Peppermint white mochas from Starbucks.

My dog, who keeps me company and cuddles with me whenever I want.

My education. Even though it hasn’t helped me get a job, it made me smart, analytical, and open-minded.

CDs. Because MP3s just aren’t the same.

The man who convinced me I could love again, and became one of my best friends in the process.

Old friends who resurface and remind me of parts of myself I had forgotten.

Sparkly things. They make me feel happy and magical.

My soul mate. He helped me through the most difficult time in my life. One of the most amazing people I’ve had the pleasure to know.

Poetry.

Asheville, for being vegetarian-friendly, which allows me to give vegetarianism another shot.

The man who broke my heart, but taught me the most about love and friendship, for making me stronger and more self-aware.

Strangers who smile at me.

Boots.

My honorary sisters: Kelly, Meg, and Cam.

My big brothers, for always having my back. And making me tough.

My ability to not identify with any specific religion or country.

Books.

Friends, the television show, for cheering me up and making me laugh every single time.

My dad, for believing I am the most amazing daughter in the world, regardless of what I’ve accomplished, where I work, who I date, where I live, or what I decide to do with my life.

Love.

 

Cheekie’s Favorite Things: Spa

22 Nov

In honor of Oprah’s final Favorite Things show today, we at Cheekie have decided to launch our own Cheekie’s Favorite Things series! (Don’t say you weren’t warned about my Oprah obsession…)

From now through the holidays, we’ll be highlighting dozens of our Favorite Things. Featured items might make great holiday gifts, or perhaps you’ll spot a few goodies perfect for those “gifts to yourself” in which every woman should indulge. Today’s favorite spa things are ideal for pampering yourself and relieving holiday stress!

These are all products I use, so I can personally attest to how effective and luxurious they are (accounting, of course, for personal taste). Enjoy!

Cheekie’s Favorite Things: Spa

1. Aveeno Positively Nourishing Soothing 24-hour Moisturizer

Winter is not officially here yet, but dry skin is. After itching through my summer moisturizer for a couple weeks, I realized it was time to find a more formidable moisturizer for these colder months. This lotion uses colloidal oatmeal to moisturize your skin, and it’s long-lasting so there’s no need to apply three times a day. Plus, it smells awesome and it’s not too heavy or greasy (a must for me!).

2. Kozi Neck Wrap: Plum Velvet

This is by far the best neck wrap I’ve ever experienced. I got it about two years ago from Spa Theology in Asheville, NC (an amazing spa if you’re in the area!). As the name suggests, it is cozy and soft. The lavender scent is incredible and is wonderfully amplified when the wrap is microwaved. Chamomile, rosemary, spearmint, lemongrass, and cinnamon are also included in the ingredient list, so it doesn’t have that overpowering lavender aroma. Whenever a friend is over and complains of pain or a stiff neck, I leap out of my chair and pop this wrap in the microwave for a few minutes. It’s fun to see someone just melt when I place the wrap around his shoulders.

3. Privai Gentle Foaming Cleanser

Privai skin care products are ah-mazing. Just before I turned 26 my skin decided to rebel against me. I searched high and low for gentle products that would keep my skin in balance. Finally, I discovered Privai and my face cleared up within three weeks. I haven’t had a problem since! This cleanser is mild and doesn’t dry out your skin. It produces a soft foam but does not contain the chemical foaming agent SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate). It boasts a fresh, clean scent and contains aloe, green tea, and jojoba.

4. Privai Gentle Mineral Toner

Chamomile, geranium and ginseng help this toner balance your skin’s pH level. Like the Gentle Foaming Cleanser, the toner does not dry out your skin. After using this product my skin always feels refreshed and clean, not tight and dry. Though it’s probably against prescribed skin care “rules” I often use this toner to clean my face after a late night out. Hey, who feels like washing her face at 3 a.m.? A few quick toner swipes work great for me!

5. Privai Advanced Hyaluronic Creme with Matrixyl™ 3000

Alright, so I don’t use this moisturizer for it’s age-defying properties. That said, I don’t think they hurt–I’ve been noticing a plethora of laugh-lines recently, yikes! With firming peptides and CO-Q10 (repairs cells), Privai’s moisturizer is great for those with mature skin. For some reason, it’s also great for my skin! It makes my skin moist but not oily. It staves off breakouts. I have sensitive skin that is a little oily in summer and a little dry in winter (dermatologists would call this normal, I believe). This moisturizer has worked for me in every season. Privai does offer two other moisturizers for those with different skin types.

6. Blissoma Armoatherapy Soy Candle: Calm

Some days I want to recreate that calm feel of a yoga studio right in my own apartment. The yoga studio I attend actually burns incense, but that’s just way too complicated for me. Candles are so much easier–especially when they come in tidy little tins! The Calm candle from Blissoma, with lavendar, chamomile and bergamot, smells gorgeous and contains only essential oils (naturally derived from real plants). Soy wax candles burn cleaner than paraffin and beeswax candles, and Blissoma candles are vegan and Kosher certified.

%d bloggers like this: