Getting Dressed

Making the Switch to a “Cruelty-Free” Lifestyle (without making it cruel to you yourself)


, laboratory animals form a special category of animals and are not currently protected from ordinary animal abuse and cruelty laws.
But if enough of us speak up loudly enough, perhaps this fact could be changed.

Making positive changes and choices--one decision at a time, one individual at a time–always impacts more than just that one individual. Any act of kindness, no matter how small, has a ripple effect.

Making the decision to change to a cruelty-free lifestyle–one product at a time, one individual at a time–eventually could have enough of an impact to convince large companies to stop animal testing altogether.
Make this lifestyle change gradually. Switching over one product at a time, instead of going all out and buying everything at once, will make the the transition more manageable and cost effective. 

 Take an inventory to see what products you already have on hand–makeup, skincare, shower essentials, toothpaste, deodorant–that are already “cruelty-free.” However, don’t feel like you need to replace everything all at once. 

This will help you know which products you can continue to purchase and which ones you may need to re-evaluate for more conscious options.
But instead of simply throwing everything isn’t found to be “cruelty-free,” replace particular product with a cruelty-free alternative as you are almost finished with it. 

If you do find that one or more of your favorite products are made by a company that does still do animal testing, take the time now to find a cruelty-free alternative that works well. Researching brands and products before you’re desperately out of it gives you time to find the right brands, products, and shades.

Do not wait until the last minute to find an alternative for that product(s). If you do, you will probably end up reaching for the same non- “cruelty-free” product out of habit.

Getting Dressed

Rabbits Wearing Rouge, and Monkeys Wearing Mascara


According to Cruelty Free International, an average over 115 million animals are being used for medical research and product development each year worldwide.

These animals are often confined to small cages, live in inhumane conditions, are subjected to tests that are beyond cruel, are tortured, maimed, blinded, and even killed,

Animals commonly used in tests for cosmetics include rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, and rats. 

Dogs, especially beagles, are often used in medical research in cardiology, endocrinology, and bone studies. Approximately 70,000 dogs are used in research in the United States each year. 

Cats are often used in neurological studies. Approximately 25,000 cats are used in research in the United States each year.

Primates-macaques, monkeys, baboons, and chimpanzees- are used in a multitude of experiments for research in toxicology, AIDS, hepatitis, and reproduction. Over 70,000 primates are subjected to tests every year in the United States and European Union. 

Some companies claim that animal testing ensures that ingredients and products are safe enough for humans., but the truth is that today there are actually better alternatives.

Animal testing began being practiced in the United States during the early 1920s. 

In 1938 the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act was passed in the United States, mandating animal testing to establish the safety of any new drug, after a poisonous drug — Elixir Sulfanoamide, caused over a hundred deaths.

For decades, this practice has been prevalent all over the world, and has been the accepted norm for testing the “safety” of both drugs and cosmetics.

Animal testing is not only an unethical, unnecessary practice…but also a practice that is outdated.

Several alternatives to animal testing exist today, including in-vitro testing, computer models, and replicaing real human organs on microchips. 

Also cosmetic companies have access to an “official” list of over 7,000 safe ingredients that have already been “proven to be safe” to choose from to formulate their products. 

Finally, animal toxicity tests are not scientifically meaningful, and the results cannot be trusted as accurate because humans and animals are genetically different…so why bother?

And now that we know more about the “they” side…

…let’s find out more about the “we” side and what we can do to protect the wee little critters…

Sweet, Sweet Sunday


st 26…Be Kind to Humankind Week

August 27……Just Because Day

August 28…

August 29…More Herbs, Less Salt Day

August 30…New Ideas

August 31…New Goals

  • 10. Enjoy a work of art…If you are tired of sitting in from of your computer hoping for inspiration to come, don’t waste your time. Go out and meet it on its way to your place. Visit an art gallery, go to the cinema or watch a new play in the theatre. You will enjoy spending time there and forget about your writing. New ideas will come as soon as you relax.

4. TravelThe moment you leave your country is the moment you realize the world is a giant book and you’ve only seen the first page.When you travel, you expand your horizons, become open-minded, see different and unusual things, feel in a way you’ve never felt before, see amazing places and world’s phenomena, meet interesting people and learn about their cultures.If that doesn’t inspire you to the fullest, I don’t know what will.
1. Look around and observe….There are plenty of things that may inspire you if you look carefully. Ask yourself “why” and “what” while looking at people and things, and you’ll discover the stories you were searching for.2. Listen to music and dance….Take a break and listen to music you enjoy. Music elicits a lot of emotions, helps to relax and definitely inspires. And f you are the active type who doesn’t like to lie on the sofa, you could listen to music and dance! Dancing, you won’t just relax, but also train your body while enjoying the whole process.

8. Listen to Musicmusic is the strongest form of magicToo often we have a speaker shoved in our ears whilst we go about our daily business. It’s rare that we take the time to indulge in the tones and the notes of the music. Music is a powerful trigger in the mind. Whenever we listen to a track from our childhood, the memories associated with the music return as if it all happened yesterday.Try to listen to different genres of music. Every type of track has something to offer you, even if you don’t really like what you’re listening to.It’s exactly why films constantly opt for music tracks throughout crucial scenes. This evokes additional feeling and somehow helps us to sympathise with the character on-screen.

2. MusicOne song can create so many emotions, memories and feelings. Choose songs that make you more energetic, ready to do something with your life and motivate you. That’s when music is used as a source of inspiration
1 Unique Craft Storage…One thing almost every crafter can use is more storage for all their supplies. Sure, you could just buy an organizer at a box store, but a gift becomes so much more meaningful when it is homemade and unique. This supply organizer is simple to make and extremely versatile. If your recipient is into painting, brush lettering or watercolors, gift them a pencil or brush bag. This DIY version, made with fabric scraps and a VELCRO® Brand closure, lets you personalize the fabric and color to match their personality—and use up any craft supplies you may have on hand!

2 DIY Class…No matter how advanced someone is at their craft, they can always learn more. In-person or online classes help crafters stretch their creative wings. Check with your local recreation department, community colleges, crafting groups, clubs and craft stores for classes in your area. If you’re searching for someone long distance, you can also look into online classes such as Craftsy, Udemy and Skillshare.hobby magazine subscription

3 Hobby Magazine Subscription…Even the most creative person needs inspiration every once in a while. Help them stay on the cutting edge by signing them up for a year’s subscription to a periodical in their field. They’ll be reminded of you every time your gift shows up in their mailbox!

4 Funny Mug or T-shirt…If your recipient has a sense of humor about their love of crafting, there are countless funny gift ideas that show just how much you understand them. You can find T-shirts and coffee mugs with unlimited quotes about almost any hobby on handmade sites. Buying personalized gifts directly from crafters on sites like Etsy helps you support local artisans, too.

5 Gift Card…What do you get for the crafter that has everything? There’s always the good old gift card! Allowing your recipient to splurge on something at her favorite craft store means that he or she will end up with the perfect gift Opt for a gift card to a specialty shop rather than a box craft store. These smaller shops often have a wider variety of specialty crafting supplies. You can find stores for everything from quilting, knitting and crocheting to scrapbooking and jewelry making. For the avid woodworkers or DIYers, a gift card to a hardware store or lumber yard can kickstart their next project.

6 Personalized Wall or Desk Art…If your crafty friend has her own logo, brand or blog, let them show it to the world with these DIY printed wood blocks. Of course, if they don’t have a logo, any cute phrase or photo relating to their craft would work, too.If wall art is more their style, consider a printable in a beautiful frame. There are unlimited numbers of free and commercially available printables online. You are sure to find one that can convey almost any message or style.

7 Charm Bracelet Charm…Let your gift recipient carry a tiny part of you with them whoever they go, by giving them a personalized or inspirational charm. Charms are available in a wide variety of designs and price ranges. You can find handmade versions on Etsy, or brand name versions such as Pandora, Pugster or Rembrandt.

8 Handmade Phone Case…Since nobody is ever far from their phone, tablet or laptop, you can give your gift recipient a way to protect them while still looking cute. Even the craftiest friend can appreciate a homemade padded phone case! Grab some VELCRO® Brand closures and craft an easy cloth pouch that can be used to stash everything from phones to business cards, office supplies or sunglasses.

9 Subscription Kit…Services like KiwiCrate, CrateJoy, DarbySmart and Makers Kit will deliver crafting supplies directly to your favorite crafter’s doorstep every month. There are even specialty kit services for hobbies like scrapbooking, calligraphy and fiber arts.

10 Sketchbooks or Journal…The mind of a creative person is always running, and inspiration can come when they are least expecting it. Help them capture fleeting ideas with a beautiful sketchbook or journal paired with a nice pen set, high quality colored pencils or sketch pens.

A great gift doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult to make. The best gifts come from the heart and show that you understand someone’s passion and what they love. By encouraging a crafter’s creative side, you show them how much you care and how you love them for who they are.
It seems that many beginner sewers aspire to sew a quilt. A lovely, well made quilt has an heirloom quality to it – something to be treasured and past down. Yet despite these aspirations, it seems many sewers (both beginner and even those with more experience and skill) are daunted by the prospect.

1) Start small – this is the beauty of quilting – your project can be as little or as big as you want it to be. If even a cot quilt seems to big, perhaps start with a dolls quilt, patchwork cushion cover or something similar. This will help get your confidence up.

2) Start with a simple design – straight lines and squares (more on this soon.)

The basics:

a) Materials required

quilting needs2K+

Pins for the piecing stage

Basting / safety pins

Rotary cutter


Sewing scissors

Seam ripper

Quilting ruler

Self healing mat

Fabric pencil / marker

I will explain the use of some of these further, later in this post.

The one thing that I left off accidently is my

quilting pencil – a very helpful tool that I use to draw my

quilting lines on during the

‘quilting stage.’ This pencil’s markings wash off.

And of course you need batting and bias binding too.


Quilting demystified – jargon and the stages.

A standard/traditional

quilt is essentially made up of three components:

1) The ‘quilt top’ – The design on the top made up of lots of quilt blocks in rows and often surrounded by a border.

2) The ‘batting’ – The wadding the middle that gives the quilt it’s substance. You’re local sewing/ quilting shop should stock various different types of batting. The more expensive ones will most likely be made of natural fibres – cotton, wool, or bamboo, whereas the polyester or poly-cotton blends should be cheaper. They also vary in thicknesses.

3) The ‘backing fabric’ – This is essentially the bottom of the sandwich (with the quilt top being the other piece of bread and the batting being the filling). It is worth checking the width of your selected fabric (compared to the width of your quilt) before buying it, to see if you will need to join two pieces together. For most larger quilts you will need to do this, but for smaller ones this may be able to be avoided.

In my view there are essentially four stages to making a quilt:

1) Preparation – selecting a design and fabric, washing fabric.

2) Making the quilt top – cutting and ‘piecing’ (sewing) together the blocks.

3)Quilting – sandwiching the batting in the middle of the

quilt top and backing fabric and sewing them together. (You can choose to do this yourself or get it professionally done.)

4) Binding – sewing the binding on to make the edges all finished and nice and neat.

1) PreparationGet a quilt design you like. You can either find these online (ask Mr google or Pinterest.) Or design your own. Either way as a beginner quilter you probably want to be going for something simple with mainly squares and rectangles. In my opinion simple is often better and more effective anyway.In the world of quilting everything is pretty much done using inches, and most quilt blocks are built on a (finished) 6 inch square.I use 1/4 inch seam allowances, so if I want a finished 6 inch square I will cut it 6 1/2 inches square (to allow for the 2 x 1/4 inch seam allowances on each side.)Once you’ve finalised your quilt design, you need to select your fabric. Most fabric stores will have a selection of pre-packaged co-coordinating fabrics for quilters. Or you can choose to pick the fabrics yourself.When selecting your own fabric, one helpful tip I’ve found is that on the selvedge of the fabric you often find something like this above, which shows the colour tones used in the fabric. Once you have selected your feature fabric you can take this into the fabric shop and match coordinating with it.If you have one or two pretty busy fabrics, then perhaps consider getting something with a simpler design.

2) Making the quilt top…This is the most time consuming stage of your project and often the cutting process can feel the most tedious. Cutting accurately very is important so that all your corners match up crisply. This is why we use a rotary/ roller cutter.I fold up my fabric so can cut through a few layers at one and then line up a corner of this fabric with the markings on your self healing mat, to give a right angle. (You may need to neaten the raw edge of the fabric first, if it is not already cut in a straight line.)Then you line up your quilting ruler to give the size you need to cut. Before you cut check that the ruler is lined up properly both at the top and bottom.You basically keep making your blocks and join them together with other blocks until you have a full row. Then make another, join the two rows together and you so on and so forth …


pinning….pay special attention to meeting up vital corners and junctions and make sure that I pin at these points.

Once you have finished all your rows, add any borders that you require to give the desired size (I usually google or measure old quilts/duvets to get the size I want.)

3) Quilting…Before you can begin quilting you first need to ‘sandwich’ your batting in between your quilt top and backing fabric. I find it easiest to do this on a large clean bit of floor. (It also pays to remove curious babies and pets at this point!)

First lay down your pre-washed and pressed backing fabric with the wrong side up on the floor (remember you may have had to join a couple of pieces together to get the right size.) Ensure that this is very smooth. Then place your batting on top, followed by your

quilt top, right side up. smooth all layers out. The backing fabric and and batting should be bigger than the quilt top. You can trim around the edges later.Once you have it how you like it start pinning through all layers of the quilt with safety pins. These serve to hold all layers of the quilt together until it is quilted. As this is a very important job I say the more pins the merrier!Once you have all your pins in you can now trim the batting and backing fabric down to size. in line with the quilt top.Then draw your quilting design with a quilting pencil and ruler.

quilt on the diagonal through squares and find it easy to keep this straight.

you shouldn’t have more than a hand’s gap between any two lines of quilting so that your quilt holds together really well

it is good to quilt a large bit in the centre to really ‘anchor’ your quilt to start with.

Obviously remove your safety pins as you go.

Use a long stitch and take it slow to avoid puckering (and unpick if necessary!)

If your making a large

quilt it can be tricky at times dealing with so much fabric, but persevere, it’s worth it!

Some people choose to get their quilts professionally quilted, obviously there is a cost to this but the results are amazing and can save you a bit of work (and possibly stress) – so this always is another option.

4) BindingHold on, you’re on the home stretch!

Some people choose to make their own bias binding – and if you wish to do so there is a really good tutorial here.

I personally am a bit lazy and prefer to buy nice wide binding from my local fabric store.

There are few different options when it comes to sewing on your binding.

I personally like to follow this but finish the back by hand sewing using a blind stitch.

I would also recommend this tutorial if want to use rounded corners instead.

The Good Life, Delivered: Our Favorite Home & Garden Subscription Boxes

by Brittney Morgan,

February 6, 2017

The products of a Knit-Wise coaster kit, $30Knit-Wise

There’s something to the whole “retail therapy” idea, but sometimes the best way to treat yourself is with a surprise monthly gift, and now there’s a subscription box service to do just that—for just about everything you could possibly need or want. From cleaning and gardening to DIY-ing and decorating, here are 16 subscription boxes that will always make your month.

BloomsyBox…BloomsyBox is a flower of the month club that sends subscribers a hand-picked variety bouquet every month. It’s all the perks of having fresh, unique and beautiful flowers in your home all the time, without the hassle of going to the store and picking them out yourself.Cost: There are 3 subscription options available—the S for $39.99 per month, M for $43.99 per month, and L for $48.99 per month.P.S. Want more flower delivery options? We picked our favorites.

The Incense Box…For essential oils or incense (or both!) delivered straight to your front door, The Incense Box has you covered. Each box also comes with a month-long meditation challenge and a mandala coloring exercise.Cost: $14.99 per month for the Incense Only package, $15.99 per month for the Just Oils package, $19.99 per month for the Incense Surprise box, and $25.99 per month for the Incense + Essential Oils box.

Wordy LoveWordy LovIf you need art for your home and enjoy inspiring quotes and stylish fonts, Wordy Love is a service that sends subscribers a new canvas print each month (along with a metal clip to hang them on your first month)—all for not much more than you’d pay for Netflix.Cost: $10 per month for a 16×22 print, or $12 per month for a 20×28 print.

Art CrateBare walls got you down? You can leave it up to Art Crate to curate the art in your home for you—just pick your budget and fill out the service’s style quiz to get started. You can preview the art chosen for you and pick your favorite, or let the curator decide, and you’ll get a new print each month.Cost: $39 per month for small (8×10 or 10×10) prints plus an additional optional $40 per month for framing, $49 for medium (11×14 or 12×18) prints plus $50 for framing—again, optional—or $69 per month for large (16×20 or 18×24) prints plus an optional $80 per month for framing.

Jade CanopyJade Canopy is a great subscription box option for the garden-obsessed. Each box comes with different gardening supplies and seeds to grow produce and flowers—past boxes have included broccoli, sunflowers, garden soap and more.Cost: $35 month-to-month, or you can pre-pay for 3 months for $95 (or 6 months for $190).

The Desert BoxThe Desert BoIf you’re more into succulents than gardening and fresh flowers, The Desert Box might be the perfect subscription box for you—the service delivers cute little succulents in hand-made planters for you on a monthly or quarterly basis. And a nice green bonus: Every planter and all the packaging materials are made from recycled goods.Cost: $19.95 for the monthly Uno box ($21.95 quarterly) or $26.95 for the monthly Dos box ($28.95 quarterly).Nelle Clark Photography / Plowbox

PlowBoxPlowBox is another must-try subscription service for plant lovers to make gardening more convenient. You can choose from one of two subscriptions: PlowBox, which delivers 4 boxes per year (1 per season) of 100-percent organic non-GMO garden seeds, tips and other unique items; or PlowBox Green, which is a monthly box of microgreens to grow indoors.Cost: PlowBox ranges from $45-$150, and PlowBox Green ranges from $14.95-$135, depending on how many months you want to purchase in advance.

Anchor of HopeWant your decor to be as charitable as it is unique and stylish? Anchor of Hope is a subscription box service that gives back. Each item is handmade by survivors of human trafficking, refugees and others in vulnerable situations who live in the United States, and the service aims to empower them. The money you pay for each box goes directly to the artisans, and boxes come with items like ceramics, soaps, spices, home goods and jewelryCost: $34 per month.

NorseBoNorseBoxNorseBox is a subscription service for all things Nordic design. Each box (you’ll get 4 per year, so one each season) comes with 1 to 5 unique items valued at $85-$100. The service works with multiple brands, including Muuto, Darling Clementine, Stelton, FERM Living, Royal Copenhagen, and more.Cost: Subscriptions start at $54.95 plus shipping.

Home Made LuxeIf you prefer a DIY approach to decorating your home, Home Made Luxe has you covered. Each month you’ll get a new project delivered to your door—they come with written and video instructions, so you’ll know exactly how to make them. You can also purchase one-time projects if you’d rather not keep up a monthly subscription, but want something stylish to work on.

Knit-WisKnit-WiseWhether you’re just getting into knitting for the first time or you’re a long-time knitter, Knit-Wise is a fun subscription box that will send you new projects like coasters, wall hangings and more to work on each month (complete with yarn, needles, step-by-step instructions and anything else you might need).Cost: You have to select whether you’re a beginner or an intermediate/advanced knitter, but the prices are the same regardless—a month-to-month subscription costs $29, or you can pre-pay to get a 3-month or 6-month subscription for $79 and $149, respectively.Cost: $29.99 month-to-month, or $83.97 to prepay for 3 months ($155.95 for 6 months).

Squix QboxThe Qbox from Squix is all about cleaning and fighting germs. Every product (organic or not) is antibacterial, and you get 3 full-sized products and free gifts in each box. You can also subscribe monthly or bi-monthly and pause your subscription at any time. The service works with brands like Seventh Generation and Eat Cleaner.Cost: $14.98 per month, and you can get a free trial which features 1 full-size product and 2 free samples if you pay $2.95 shipping.

Quilters Candy BoxLove to quilt? With Quilters Candy Box, you’ll get new quilting supplies every month—think various fabrics and other necessities—along with other surprise goodies like chocolate, candies, mugs, tote bags, and moreCost: $42.95 every month.

WickboxWickboxTo keep your home smelling lovely without ever having to step foot in a store, you can sign up for Wickbox, a luxury candle subscription. Each box comes with either a medium or large candle in a seasonal, trendy container along with a dust bag to protect it—and you’ll get a different brand each month.Cost: $29.95 month-to-month for the medium candle box ($28.95 per month if you pre-pay for 3 months, or $27.95 if you pre-pay for 6 months), and $39.95 ($38.95 per month if you pre-pay for 3 months, or $37.95 for 6 months).

Estate Crate…Estate Crate is a great option for people who love shopping for vintage items but don’t have a lot of time—the service delivers a new box of hand-picked vintage and antique decor items and accessories each month. Every box includes different items, so each month you’ll get a new package of mystery treasures from the past.Cost: $54 month-to-month.

Grove CollaborativeGrove Collaborative is the box for you if you’re in need of sustainable and natural cleaning products for your home and for yourself (everything from non-toxic laundry detergent to good-for-your-skin argan oil). Each box is custom-curated, but you can edit your basket before it’s delivered if you want specific products or don’t like something that’s been chosen for you.Cost: You can get an annual VIP membership for $39.95.

When it comes to quilting, one thing’s for certain: Good tools make for stunning stitches, and an even more beautiful finished product! And that’s especially true if you’re dedicating time to our Block of the Month. From refreshing your thread and cleaning your iron to selecting a new rotary cutting blade, start with these tips and tricks for ensuring your tools are in tip-top condition.

1. Clean your sewing machineThe nicer you are to your sewing machine the better it will behave. This goes for the fabric you use, the thread you sew with and, of course, how often you clean it out. Sneak a peek at the dos and don’ts for giving your own machine a good cleaning before stitching your Blazing Star quilt!

2. Check your threadTime is not always kind to thread. Believe it or not, light, humidity and dust can all take their toll on the strength of your thread. Read on to determine if your stash can still be stitched, or if you should splurge for a new spool.Read On

3. Clean your iron…Dust, dirt, detergents, spray starch and melted fabric fibers can do damage to your iron’s soleplate. Even worse, when your iron is dirty, the grime drags across fabrics, creating stains or marks on your heirloom quilt. The good news? Learning how to clean an iron is easy.Read On

4. Make your own fabric starchStarch or pressing spray is essential for maintaining crisp, straight seams and accurate piecing for each month’s block. If you’re out, you can make your own at home in a pinch! This quick recipe uses natural ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen.Read On

5. Sharpen your bladeDull blades can lead to messes and mis-cuts! Hit refresh and pick up a replacement before cutting the Blazing Star pieces. Did we mention these Olfa Refill blades are Craftsy best sellers?Once your supplies are in good shape, join us in the FREE 2017 Block of the Month class and learn to make the beautiful Blazing Star quilt.

Top 10 Must Have Craft Supplies to Keep on HandFebruary 19, 2017 by Brooke Riley 1 CommentFacebookpinterest

When you are an avid do-it-yourselfer/crafter/try to be thrifty decor changer upper (yes, that is totally a thing) like me- there are a few supplies that are crucial to have on hand at ALL times, in my humble opinion 🙂You see, I am one of those people who simply loves to make things out of nothing. Sometimes it is a worn down piece of decor that has great potential, but needs some work and sometimes it is simply a space that needs filled and I have no budget to buy new (most of the time these days! haha) During these creative moments when I need to get in my stash and get my hands dirty, there are certain items that I have come to see are simply a must have. I practically ALWAYS use at least half of these on any given project. Those are the supplies that I always like to have readily available, so I thought I would share them with you today, so that you too can be prepared for that next bit of DIY magic! **I went ahead and used some affiliate links for your convenience! These are all my recommendations that I love.**

1. Hot Glue Gun (and glue sticks, of course!)hot glue gun- a must have for crafts!There is no telling how many times a week I use my hot glue gun! That bad boy comes in so handy in all kinds of situations. I use it to adhere letters onto wood for signs, add embellishments to frames or other decor to spruce things up a bit, to “fix” little chips and breaks in my decor (some new, some thrifted to fix up). It is just an absolute MUST have in my stash. And make sure you have plenty of glue sticks or you will be in a big ole bind 🙂

2. Chip BrushesChip Brush for CraftingChip brushes are super cheap, and they are good for many many things. I love them for dry painting, painting small pieces (such as small frames or smaller decor pieces) and applying mod podge. Everytime I go to Walmart or a craft store, I try to pick up a couple for my stash. They are usually less than $1 and just handy dandy to have around!

3. Mod PodgeMod Podge

4. Scrapbook Paper or other decorative paperI LOVE me some pretty scrapbook paper! This is one of the cheapest and easiest way to add a fresh look to your home. Putting paper in frames and covering letters for signs are some of my favorite ways to use it. It is so fun to change out paper in frames for every season and occasion. It will change the whole look of a room with just a few cents worth of paper! #winnerHere is a fun and easy frame magnet that I made using several of these supplies (scrapbook paper, spray paint and fun embellishments!DIY Magnetic Thrift Store Frames

5. Acrylic Craft Paint (a good supply- but especially white!)At $.50/bottle, you absolutely cannot go wrong with stocking up on a few of your favorite colors! It comes in handy for lots of small paint projects, such as small little wooden pieces to use as embellishments or canvas art.

6. Pallet BoardsIf you follow this blog, you know this is a no brainer! I am the pallet board sign queen (a title I wear proudly!). I have made so many pallet signs, and I love them! I love the look of the worn wood, and 1 board is the perfect size for lots of signs. To make larger signs, use more! Usually, these boards are free- so you truly can’t go wrong!Here are some examples of a couple of signs I made (Just click on the link above the picture to see how I made these signs-all SUPER easy):JOY Pallet Sign

Chalky Paint or other sample paints(This is one of the chalky paints I tried to always keep on hand. This is a pretty good chalky paint, but what I love most is the beautiful color. I have used it on lots of things- such as my daughter’s chest and my Christmas JOY sign)Vintage Market & Design Glacier Chalk PaintChalkyt paint is great because there is no prep work, which is fabulous~especially in some cases where the piece just really needs some quick love and you don’t want to have to spend much time on it! I love to keep as much on hand as I can when I come across it. You can DIY it, but I haven’t given that a try yet. I know LOTS of people do it, and it will definitely be something I try one of these days- but I haven’t needed to just yet. I have way too much on hand right now! I also love to go to Lowes and buy those little sample paints to use on projects! I have painted LOTS of furniture with those sample paints and they have turned out great. You can get them mixed in ANY color, and they are only about $3 each. You do need to sand your furniture down some before using so that it will stick better!

8. Spray PainTHIS IS MY FAVORITE SUPPLY OF ALL! You all, if you are still holding out on spray painting things—please tell me WHY?!?! You can spray paint everything and change it dramatically! Old things become new. New life is brought to worn out items with the press of a button! It is an absolute must have. I could share countless projects that I used spray paint on, but I will just share a couple of my favorites- plus a round up of some of my favorite spray paint projects by myself and other bloggers!

Random Cute Fabric…You can find deals on fabric left and right. When I come across a clearance pattern that really catches my eye, I try to go ahead and get a nice little piece of it for my stash. Small upholstery projects come up with all of my thrift store shopping, and I need something readily available to spruce my piece up! I also love to frame beautiful fabric or even use it to mod podge onto stuff. It is great to have around for lots of reasons!This cute little bench was a simple makeover with some adorable fabric!

10. Fun Embellishments…I love to add cute, fun embellishments to things to change the looks and add that little bit of “extra” to it. My thrifted frame magnets that I made (picture above under the scrapbook section) were made MUCH cuter with the addition of the little flowers. The one frame was pretty bland until then. It is fun to add them to frames, letters and all kinds of projects.My DIY Paper Towel Vases were a fun project that was taken to the next level with the use of some pretty flower embellishments that I had on hand!

13 Cute & Clever Things Voracious Readers Will Loveby Marlen Komar, apartmenttherapy.comFebruary 20, 2017If you constantly have a nightstand piled high with books, are on your local bookstore’s newsletter, or always tuck a paperback into your bag, then it’s safe to say that you’re a book lover. And while it’s easy to jump into your story while riding the train or stealing a few minutes before bed, sometimes you want to make a bigger deal out of your book reading session.It just feels so much more relaxing and special when you can make a cup of tea, put on a pair of comfy socks, and wrap yourself around a blanket. But what if you take your “me time” one step further and basically give everything you own a literary theme? Below are 13 things you need to support your voracious reading habit—because everyone needs a bibliophile coffee mug!

ConnoxA Convenient Book Mark…Rather than dog-earring your book to an inch of its life, get this triangular bookmark, the Ritterbach Book Hook from Connox (€45/$50), instead. You can put it on the coffee table or leave it on your nightstand, and simply place your book on it turned to whatever page you’ve left off at. That way you’ll never lose your place again.Packagery/Etsy

Library StampAre you the diligent reader in your group, and so you lend out your collection to all your friends? If you constantly have at least 10 books circulating outside of your house, invest in this fun library stamp ($26) from Packagery to make sure they always come back home to you. And even if you hoard all your stories to yourself, this will make a nice personalized touch on your most favorite of books.From Flora With Love/Etsy

Cheeky Tote BagIf you’re taking your reading outside of the apartment, then there’s no other way to carry your novel than in this cheeky tote bag ($27) by From Flora With Love. From coffee shops to parks, this is a playful way to carry your books.Wine a Little Gifts/Etsy

A Pair Of Reading SocksIf your new thriller or romance novel came in the mail and you’re all ready to plop on the couch, don’t forget to change into these reading socks ($14) from Wine a Little Gifts. That way when you prop your feet on the coffee table, everyone will know you’re deep in reading mode and can’t be disturbed for a couple of hours. Also, they’re too cute, so there’s that!First Edition Tea Co.

Literature Themed TeasWhat’s a cozy book reading session with a big cup of hot tea? To make it extra special, get a tin that’s inspired by one of your favorite novels from First Edition Tea Co.—like this Jane Eyre currant & spice black tea ($12) or maybe a Pride & Prejudice citrus tea ($12)Amy Gale/Society6

A Cozy Blanket…What’s the point of even curling up with a book when there’s no blanket involved? This soft throw ($49) by Amy Gale on Society 6 features a mod bookshelf pattern—making for a stylish and beautiful decorative piece for your favorite reading room.BOOKMOUNT/Etsy

Bookmark ShelfThis is such a cool one! Not only is it a bookshelf that lets you display your favorite editions in an interesting way, but the raised point acts as a bookmark, where you can toss your book onto the bump and have your paged saved where you left off. Grab one ($60) from BOOKMOUNT.ElephanTees/Etsy

Book Reading SweaterIf you’re about to settle into a long read that’s going to take you way further into the night than you should be up, put on a cozy sweatshirt ($21) from ElephanTees that’s appropriate for such a page-turning event.Madeline Vy & Co/Etsy

“Please Go Away” MugIf you take your book into the kitchen or living room and you need to let the people in the house know that they have no chance of ripping you away from the plot line, then it’s time to fill up your coffee in this particular mug ($16)from Madeline Vy & Co. It gets the message across loud and clear./Etsy

Reading LampOne moment it’s the afternoon and you crack open your brand new book, and the next it’s midnight and you need to bring some light into the room in order to find out what happens next. Rather than blasting your main light, try this cute desk lamp ($127) from Oitenta instead. Not only is it convenient for your late-night reads, but it’s a quirky touch to any desk or nightstand.LiliLite

Shelf-Lamp-Bookmark HybriThis hybrid, the LiliLite (€149, $159) is a shelf, lamp, and bookmark all in one tool. You can easily store your “currently reading” books over your bed on the shelving unit, and the triangle acts as a bookmark for you to hold your place when you stop reading. While an amazing idea on its own, it gets even better: When there’s a book on the raised point, the light stays off. But when you bring your book down, the light turns on, offering you late-night reading.Wooden Androyd Studio/Etsy

Thumb Ring Book Holder…If you’re into reading paperbacks but get annoyed with how awkward they are to hold sometimes, then this thumb ring ($3.99) from Wooden Androyd Studio is going to make all the difference. You can hold the books one handed now without the novel ever snapping shut on youThePaperSpoon4U/Etsy

Hand Stamped Tea Spoon…If you’re in the habit of brewing yourself tea or coffee to go with your chapters, then make the little ritual a little more special with this vintage hand-stamped spoon ($20) from ThePaperSpoon4U.

If you’re lucky, your weekends are designated “me time.” Those are the days you get to unwind from work and delve into hobbies, passions, or side projects that take us out of the daily grind and let us flex our interests and creativity.But, you know, sometimes life gets in the way. You were supposed to practice with that fancy new camera lens you bought, but then a mountain of laundry beckoned. Or maybe you were going to finally start those Italian lessons, but then a friend asked if you could help them move.There’s always going to be something that pops up during the weekends, but the trick is to make your side project time non-negotiable. Rather than giving away your hours because of guilt or necessity and then feeling bummed you had no “me time,” here are a few sure-fire ways that will make room for your hobbies on the weekendsThe Day Designer, one of our favorite daily planners.Day Designer

Schedule It…It might sound rigid, but if you use a daily planner regularly or an app on your phone, then you probably know that if an appointment is made it’s basically set in stone. If the time is marked, you’ll show up to it. Following that logic then, if you see “yoga” or “beer brewing” on your Saturday afternoon schedule, you’ll be more likely to actually do it. Since it’s already blocked off in your calendar, you’ll have a smaller chance of giving that spot away to a brunch with friends or a quick nip to the laundromat.

Set Yourself Weekly Goals…It can be super easy to be diligent with your hobby one week, and then put it off for two more because things came up. What you need to do is find a way to make your me-time a priority. A great way to do that is to set yourself weekly goals so you have something to strive forFor example, say your hobby is writing. If you have a goal of writing one chapter per weekend (or one poem, or one pitch,) then you’ll be more likely to sit down at the computer and do it. You can make it more specific – maybe the first Sunday of the week you’ll write a chapter, and then the next weekend you’ll look up editors you want to pitch to, and the weekend after that you’ll read articles on how to properly write out a pitch. Having action steps mapped out for the month will help you motivated to continue on with your goals.

Think Of It As Play TimeRather than making it another thing to check off your list, reframe your hobby as “play time.” See it as a break from the usual rotation of chores, errands, and obligatory hangouts, and use your hobby time almost like recess: This is the part of the weekend you’ve been waiting for. The part that puts your interests front and center, and has no other purpose than to let you enjoy something for an hour or two. If you reframe your hobby that way, then not only will you look forward to it all week, but you won’t feel guilty for indulging. It’s not time away from cleaning your house or hanging out with your partner- it’s self-care.

Do It In The MorningIf you find yourself easily bogged down by commitments or out-of-the-blue emergencies, try tackling your hobby during the mornings. While everyone is still waking up and moving slowly, you can get a jump start and sit down with your blog, your camera, or your book club selection, and tackle your me-time before noon hits. If you get it out of the way first thing in the morning, you won’t have any excuses for not doing it.

Fitness in Minutes: Micro-Workouts You Can Do in the Time it Takes Your Coffee to Brewfizkes

Have A “Short Version” Ready For Busy Weekends…Rather than just hitting pause on your interests when the weekend gets busy, have a “short version” ready of your hobby for when schedules get hectic. For example, if you enjoy doing yoga, swap your usual 45 minute session for a quick 15 minute one on YouTube. Or if you love to bake on the weekends, try a recipe that uses five ingredients and takes 30 minutes to bang out, rather than picking one out of the fancy French cookbook that’s meant to take half the afternoon. That way you can still enjoy your interests and tackle everything on your hectic to-do list.

Block Out Recurring “Me Time” for the FuturOpen up your planner right now, and every 1 PM on every Saturday for the next year, block off an hour with the words “me time.” That way, no matter who asks you to lunch, to volunteer, or to help you with moving, you’ll know that you’re already booked. It’ll help you manage your time, but it also establishes a routine for you and your hobby that will help you accept it as a permanent part of your life: Every Saturday at one o’clock, you do it. After a month or two, it’ll feel like a natural part of the weekend.

Announce It To Your FriendsIf your friends (or partner) have a habit of springing plans up on you during the weekend, make a habit out of announcing that you need time for your hobby. So if they want to go to the beach or a flea market or get lunch, always respond with, “Well, I have my guitar lessons at two every Saturday,” or “maybe after my photo editing session at one.” By reinforcing that you have this weekly task that you make time for, they’ll begin to respect that time slot and not try to take it over. And even better—you’ll respect it more, too. By announcing it to others you’re making it a permanent part of your weekend, which will only make you take it more seriously.Sometimes responsibilities get in the way, and making room for personal hobbies or side-projects can get tricky. But follow some of these tips and your passions will have at least a fighting chance!

Ever since I saw Molly Ringwald’s character, Andie, craft her own prom dress in the eighties film Pretty in Pink, I have imagined what it would be like to sew your own unique threads. Of course I only ever imagined – I didn’t actually learn to sew clothing.My daughter has expressed an interest in taking sewing courses. (She’s almost as old as I was when I watched Pretty in Pink!) Maybe she can live out my dream by creating her own unique teen wardrobe? Either way, I thought it would be fun for us to explore some sewing books this Spring Break. Maybe we’ll start off with something a little more simple, like a toque or a pillow cover. I confess I often evaluate books by their covers. Do you?

The cover of Sew Happy drew me in with its sunny colours and bold polka-dot hoodie. It’s got 25 fun and funky sewing projects, from a cute reversible fleece and jersey hat to a flared skirt made from your aunty’s curtains. There’s even a high-waisted undies project (and they’re really cute)! There are non-clothing sewing projects too – like a plaid fleece blanket with applique roses, a tote bag and even a hammock. If you’re a sewing newbie, like me, you’ll want to start at the beginning with the sections on high-quality tools, sewing machines, fabric know-how, pattern making and cutting tips. This is just the book for the aspiring Andies of the new century.

Handmade Interiors is another book with any eye-catching cover. It gets me to imagining a house full of luxurious, hand-made pillows. This is a big, hardcover book with a wide assortment of projects, from a piped chair pad to a headboard slipcover to roller blinds to a really cute teepee for a child’s bedroom or playroom. Any kind of soft furnishings – you’ll find them here, with the clear, step-by-step photos DK is known for.You can even learn how to re-cover a drum lampshade in a pretty fabric to suit your decor. I have been looking to buy new covers for my IKEA chairs and I see a project, “Tub Chair Cover” using exactly those chairs. That might be a bit advanced for me right now though. I might just be able to handle curtains though. The book is full of really pretty projects with a contemporary aesthetic.

Pillows, Curtains, and Shades Step by Step: 25 Soft-Furnishing Projects for the Home has many of the same projects as Handmade Interiors, but focuses mainly on the pillows, curtains and shades (hence the title). So if these projects are your focus, you might be interested in this shorter, softcover, less expensive sewing book. Both books look at sewing machine features, essential sewing kit items, fabric types, widths and weights and types of machine and hand stitches. Handmade Interiors also looks at the tool kit needed for creating home furnishings. Both books explore various types of pillows, such as enveloped, zippered and bolster pillows. There are a bounty of projects to keep you busy sewing beautiful accessories for your home.

DK Canada has a great assortment of coding, science and crafting books to keep you and the kiddos making cool stuff throughout March Break (and the whole year actually)What topics would you like to explore in greater detail? Do you sew? Would you like to?Find These Books in Canada:Find These Books in the US:*This post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase after following the link, Woman in Real Life will get a small commission. Your price is not affected.

Getting Dressed, Getting Healthy

Brushing Up on Dry Skin Brushing



Dry brushing is an ancient practice that involves…can you guess?!… brushing with a brush that is dry, instead of wet. To be more specific, brushing your skin with a dry natural-bristle brush in order to help keep it healthy.

    Keeping your skin healthy is important, because the skin will not be able to eliminate toxins and dead skin cells…In other words, if your skin isn’t healthy, then you are less likely to be healthy in general.

    Exfoliating once or twice week allows you to slough off the millions of dull or dead skin cells…to help unclog your pores from dead skin cells, pollutants and cosmetics…and to stimulate the sweat and oil glands that provide moisture for the skin.

    Exfoliating gives you a fresher and healthier appearance in general…but specifically skin that is fresh, vibrant and free of breakout, instead of the thick, dry and leather-y look commonly seen on “more mature” adults. 

    But the benefits of dry brushing are so much more than merely cosmetic.

    Our skin is the largest organ in our bodies and plays an important  role in eliminating toxins–similar to the eliminating processes performed by the kidneys, liver and colon. 

    About one-third of the body’s daily impurities are excreted through the skin. If the skin is not doing its part in this elimination assembly line, the liver and kidneys must take up the slack and work even harder to get rid of the impurities funking up your systems.

    , through dry brushing, ensures that the skin continues to carry its own workload  in the important job of helping the body eliminate all the “the bad stuff,” such as toxins surrounding the skin cells, from our bodies.

    Increasing circulation to your skin cells and clearing out your pores allows your skin not only to better eliminate this “bad stuff” but also take in more if the necessary “good stuff” such as nutrients and oxygen.

    Dry Brushing and Cellulite…Cellulite–the dreaded “cottage cheese skin” often seen on the legs, butt, stomach and back of the arms–can be caused by fluid retention, poor blood circulation, weak collagen structure, increased body fat, hormonal imbalances, certain medical conditions, genetics, poor diet, and toxicity….and we all hate it and try to hide it, or at least most of us do.

    Dry brushing can help minimize this appearance of cellulite by stimulating the cells, bringing fresh circulation to these areas of stored toxins, and breaking down these fat deposits that have collected beneath the skin.

    Finally, dry brushing is great for reducing stress and anxiety, which in turn helps your immune system…and only requires one brush and about five minutes of your time each day.


    The brush that you choose should have soft natural bristles…and a handle that is long enough to allow you to easily reach all areas of your body, like this Bernard Jensen Natural Tampico Bristles Skin Brush with Long Handle, available at your local CVS.

      The best time to do dry skin brushing is right before you take your shower so that you can easily clear your skin of the lifted dead skin cells.

      For best results, it’s important to do this every day.

      Dry brushing normally will typically take three to five minutes. But take as much time as you need. Do not rush yourself.

      First make sure that your skin is dry. 

      Start at your feet and ankles, then your lower legs, then your thighs, then your stomach, back, and arms. Work in gentle circular upward motions, then long smooth strokes. 

      Focus especially on any areas of concentrated cellulite.

      Direct the flow towards your heart and your collar bones, where the main drainage points for your lymphatic system are. Brushing away from the heart supposedly will cause ruptured vessels and varicose veins.

      Be sure to use only gentle pressure. This should be like a graceful sweeping of your skin, not an all-out attack. You do not want to tear the skin, break down the skin’s protective layer, or cause irritation to sensitive skin. Be especially careful to use gentle strokes on delicate skin like the skin on your breasts and upper chest.

      Remember to brush all surfaces of your skin on your body– including the soles of your feet, your whole back, your armpits, and your inner thighs. When you brush your back, brush from the neck down to the lower back.

            Sweet, Sweet Sunday

            Raw Foods Diet

            • Lily Kunin, the creator of Clean Food Dirty City and author of the new plant-based cookbook Good Clean Food1. Combine one

            • Raw Food Diet:


            • Risks and How to Do It
            • more like a lifestyle that simply promotes eating more real foods in their natural state
            • eating mostly or all unprocessed and uncooked foods so you get all the nutrients without the dangerous additives.
            • The goal of eating more
            • raw foods is to obtain plenty of nutrients in an easy-to-digest manner, one that our bodies are naturally suited for.
            • making sure to consume at least some
            • raw vegetables and fruits every day is important for just about everyone.
            • Raw foodism has been around since the 1800s, and both studies and anecdotal evidence show the benefits of a
            • raw food diet include: (1)
            • lowering inflammation
            • improving digestion
            • providing more dietary fiber
            • improving heart health
            • helping with optimal liver function
            • preventing cancer
            • preventing or treating constipation
            • giving you more energy
            • clearing up your skin
            • preventing nutrient deficiencies
            • lowering the amount of antinutrients and carcinogens in your diet
            • helping you maintain a healthy body weight
            • Maybe you’re wondering how much raw food it takes to consider yourself someone who eats a mostly raw food diet. There isn’t one single type of raw food diet that you should strive to follow — rather there’s all sorts of different variations of raw food diets out there, all with different advice and degrees to which foods can be cooked.
            • Depending on the exact type you choose to follow, raw food diets can include far more than just fresh produce. In addition to raw fruits and vegetables, you might consume fish, sea vegetables, fermented foods, sprouted grains, nuts, seeds, eggs, and even some meat and raw dairy products.
            • The thing that ties various raw food diets together is that generally no foods that have been pasteurized, homogenized, or produced with the use of synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, industrial solvents or chemical food additives are included.
            • This means avoiding, or at least greatly reducing, most popular packaged and processed foods sold in the grocery store like breads, bottled condiments, cereals, crackers, cheese, refined oils and processed meats.
            • taking small steps. There’s no need to completely make over your diet overnight. In fact, you’ll likely maintain a healthier way of eating when you transition things slowly
            • the more you rush into a new way of eating and the more you consider it just a quick-fix “diet,” the likelier you are to gain any weight you’ve lost back and to give up
            • cooked foods are usually harder to digest than raw foods
            •  cooking nutrient-dense foods tends to destabilize some of their valuable enzymes and destroy certain antioxidants and vitamins.
            • Raw foods also help alkalize the body, reduce acidity, and have less of a chance of fermenting in the gut and causing inflammation/autoimmune reactions.
            • This applies to all of us, but some people who can especially benefit from eating more
            • raw foods include those with:
            • cancer (3)
            • heart disease
            • high blood pressure and high cholesterol (4)
            • osteoporosis
            • kidney disease
            • gallstones or gallbladder disease
            • Parkinson’s disease
            • autoimmune disorders
            • food allergies
            • fatigue
            • joint pain (5)
            • muscle aches and pains
            • headaches
            • PMS
            • hormonal imbalance
            • trouble with weight gain/obesity
            • Qfoods heated over about 112 degrees Fahrenhqeit may retain less vital enzymes. Digestive enzymes are used by the body to break down foods to smaller and more operable nutritional units.
            • it’s not only how many nutrients a food has to offer that matters, but how we are actually able to absorb these nutrients
            • the pancreas and other cells produce enzymes to help with digestion (called endogenous enzymes) while raw foods also supply some enzymes (called exogenous enzymes).
            • The greater our intake of exogenous enzymes, the easier time we have fully digesting nutrients without overly taxing our systems.
            • Each food is a bit different in terms of when it starts to lose some of its nutrients. Many high-antioxidant foods are sensitive to cooking because phytonutrients don’t stand up well to high temperatures.
            • The temperature at which a food starts to be depleted of nutrients due to cooking is called the “heat labile point.” At this point, chemical configurations start to change within the food, enzymes are lost, and the food becomes less beneficial.

            Another reason to eat more

            • raw foods is because of how they easily make their way through our digestive systems. The longer a food sits in our digestive tracts, the likelier it is to ferment and cause problems. Pre-fermented foods themselves are good for you (more on that below), but a food fermenting in your gut causes gas, inflammation and toxic waste to accumulate. During fermentation in the gut, proteins putrefy and fats go rancid, which negatively affects the mucosal lining of the gut and can lead to intestinal permeability (leaky gut syndrome).Finally,
            • raw foods have a big impact on the acid/alkaline balance in our bodies. Diseases develop more easily within the body when acidity rises, because acidosis lowers immunity. The body can become overly acidic due to environmental pollutants, stress, processed and refined foods, lack of nutrients, and mineral-deficient water. Cooked foods create even more acidity in the body, but on the other hand,
            • raw foods neutralize acid and help alkalize the body.While weight loss isn’t the primary goal, you’re also likely to feel full when eating lots of
            • raw foods from consuming plenty of fiber and nutrients, so this can help you curb cravings and eat less overall if that’s one of your goals.
            • Raw Food Diet vs. a Vegan Diet: What’s the Difference?Thinking of becoming a “
            • raw vegan” and wondering how this differs from a general
            • raw food diet? The two have a lot in common, but eating a diet high in
            •  raw foods doesn’t necessarily mean you need to avoid all animal products, which vegans do. Some
            • raw food diets include
            • raw fish,
            • raw dairy products,
            • raw meats or eggs, and even some cooked animal foods too. Again, there isn’t an ideal percentage of cooked versus
            • raw foods you should try to live up to. The goal is just to move your food intake to one that’s more natural, nutrient-dense and unprocessed.What do vegans eat?
            • Raw vegans don’t consume any animal products whatsoever and very few cooked foods, which means this way of eating can be hard to keep up with and unattainable for many people. On top of that, there are plenty of nutrients available in animal foods and benefits to including some of them in your diet. For example, organ meats, like chicken liver or kidneys, are often called superfoods and are some of the most nutrient-dense foods there are, extremely high in things like vitamin A, B vitamins, phosphorus and iron.Some nutrients are simply more easily obtained when you include some animal foods in your diet. For example, if you compare the nutrient density of organ meats to that of vegetables like spinach or carrots, the organ meats outperform many of them. Other animal foods make smart food choices too: Eggs are a great source of choline, fish are the single best way to get anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, and beef is rich in things like zinc and selenium.I don’t recommend a
            • raw vegan approach because it’s too easy to run low on critical vitamins and minerals, plus protein. It’s true that some plant-based foods have protein, but they aren’t “complete proteins” — meaning they don’t supply all of the essential amino acids that the body cannot make on its own like animals foods can.The reason I recommend avoiding
            • raw veganism and including high-quality animal products in moderation is to make it easier to obtain enough amino acids, healthy sources of saturated fats and omega-3s, iron, B vitamins (especially vitamin B12 and folate), zinc, and selenium. (7, 8) Vitamin B12 benefits red blood cell formation and improves cellular function; iron prevents anemia and fatigue; folate is important for converting chemicals in the body for proper cellular functions and cellular division; and omega-3s lower inflammation and improve heart health.If you struggle with low energy, fatigue, being underweight, infertility, depression or neurological issues, loss of muscle mass, or weak bones, a vegan or vegetarian diet will likely make it harder to recover. I recommend, in addition to eating plenty of fruits and veggies, that you include some organic, pasture-raised or grass-fed animal proteins — calf liver and chicken liver, cage-free eggs, grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, raw/fermented dairy products, and pasture-raised poultry are all great options.Quality of animal foods is very important — and that’s one of the reasons I don’t promote a “Paleo diet.” The Paleo diet has some great things about it (and also usually includes plenty of
            • raw foods), but in my opinion, people eating this way tend to consume too much meat and don’t stress eating organically as much as I do.How to Eat More
            • Raw Foods in a Balanced WayAs you’ve probably gathered by now, it’s all about balance. You’ll likely feel your best when you consume plenty of
            • raw foods in addition to some that are lightly cooked.Here are some of my favorite
            • raw foods to start eating regularly:
            • Leafy greens
            • Citrus fruits (several servings per day)
            • Sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds
            • Avocados
            • Coconut kefir/raw and organic regular kefir
            • Raw veggies like carrots, celery, peppers, tomatoes, etc.
            • Raw yogurt
            • Extra virgin coconut or olive oil
            • Cultured veggies (like sauerkraut or kimchi)
            • Watermelon and cantaloupe
            • In order to move your diet in the right direction, try taking these steps below, which will help you incorporate more
            • raw and anti-inflammatory foods into your diet:
            • At each meal, plan to fill half your plate with fresh, non-starchy veggies and fruit. Make a reasonable portion of those raw, but some cooked can be beneficial too (which you’ll learn more about below).
            • Lightly cooking food at temperatures less than 100 degrees, steaming, juicing, sprouting and using slow cookers are ways to gently cook the food you aren’t eating raw. Remember that you have the power to individualize your diet and choose what works best for you. Typically on a mostly raw food diet, about 75 percent to 80 percent of what you eat each day will be plant-based foods that were never heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit, but here’s room for variation.
            • Replace bad fats with good, healthy fats. Get rid of any hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils, trans fats, soybean oil, canola oil and vegetable oils. Replace these with good fats like extra virgin olive oil, cold-pressed coconut oil, grass-fed butter, avocado and nuts/seeds, which are essential to hormone production, cancer prevention, brain development, weight loss, cellular healing and lowering inflammation.
            • Focus on having quality animal products in moderation. This greatly lowers your exposure to pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and hormones in meats while supplying important nutrients and fatty acids like arachidonic acid, conjugated linoleic acid and omega-3 fatty acids.
            • Replace all sugary snacks and refined grains. This includes all white rice, white pasta, cereal and white bread, plus pizza, sugary sauces/condiments, soups, crackers, fruit drinks, canned foods and sweetened yogurt. Instead, have soaked/sprouted grain products (like sprouted beans, Ezekiel bread or sourdough bread) in moderation. The fermentation process turns the normally inedible (raw grains and legumes) into the edible. Also eat real fruit for a sweet treat instead of sweetened snacks.
            • You’ll find that roughly eating this way helps you easily consume lots of superfoods like fresh fruit and vegetables, sprouted seeds and nuts/nut butters, cold-pressed extra virgin olive or coconut oil, fresh herbs, freshly squeezed vegetable juices, fermented veggies, and herbal teas if you’d like. Plus, you’ll get to eat a lot of food and feel very satisfied since
            • raw foods are large and so low in calories.
            • The Importance of Fermented Foods in a
            • Raw Food Diet
            • A staple of nearly every civilization on earth in one form or another, fermented foods are some of the healthiest things about eating a
            • raw food diet. Fermented foods are
            • raw and naturally develop probiotics during the period when they undergo fermentation, which happens when oxygen converts some of their nutrients. Fermented foods have been eaten for thousands of years in the form of yogurt, kefir, sourdough breads, kombucha, and cultured vegetables like sauerkraut, kimchi and kvassProbiotics supplied by fermented foods, which are “good bacteria” that reside in your gut, are responsible for nutrient absorption and supporting your immune system. They help you to repopulate your gut with beneficial microbiota after you’ve begun the process of clearing away built-up toxins and waste. Probiotic foods encourage a healthy microbiome, are great for your digestive system, improve immunity, help clear up your skin, and are even beneficial for maintaining hormonal balance and a healthy weightRegardless of whether you eat a
            • raw food diet or not, you can benefit from including more fermented foods in your diet to prevent digestive disorders, skin issues, candida, autoimmune disease and frequent infections.Are There Any Risks of
            • Raw Food Diets?Why might an all
            • raw food diet not be the best option? There’s merit for cooking certain foods to bring out more of their nutrients — plus cooking allows you to eat some animal products that many people would be hesitant to eat
            • raw. In other words, cooking does degrade some nutrients, but it also makes others more digestibleCooking foods with antioxidants called beta-carotene and lycopene (like squash, sweet potatoes and tomatoes, for example) helps release their nutrients and make them more absorbable, plus it makes them taste a lot better too! (9) Cooking is also useful for killing bacteria and pathogens that can live in some foods, like certain fish or eggs and meat.In addition, some vegetables like those in the cruciferous vegetables family (kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, mustard greens and Brussels sprouts) contain goitrogen compounds, which in excess can block thyroid function and contribute to hypothyroidism, but these are mostly deactivated by heat and cooking. And some studies have also shown that peppers and mushrooms become more nutrient-dense when cooked.Is there anyone for whom a
            • raw food diet isn’t a good fit? Yes. Keep this in mind: While including more
            • raw food in your diet has plenty of benefits, a
            • raw food diet tends not to work so well for people with certain gut types.
            • Raw foods diets aren’t for everybody, since
            • raw fruits and vegetables can be hard to digest for some people lacking certain enzymes or digestive capabilities and because they’re high-fiber diets.If you have a sensitive digestive system, such as inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis, cooking more of your food might be a better option. If we’re unable to digest the vitamins and minerals in foods, we risk nutrient deficiencies and other illnesses. This can happen when we can’t break down fibrous vegetable cell walls to unleash stored nutrients, so in some cases cooking with low to medium heat can help predigest fibers for us and release more essential vitamins and minerals. (10)
            • Raw Food Diet TakeawaysA
            • raw food diet is consider an “anti-diet” and more like a lifestyle that simply promotes eating more real foods in their natural state that’s about eating mostly or all unprocessed and uncooked foods so you get all the nutrients without the dangerous additives.
            • Raw food diets supply more nutrients than vegan diets, because there are some nutrients and proteins you simply cannot get without consuming animal products. In addition,
            • raw food diets sometimes include a few cooked foods.You can eat more
            • raw foods in a balanced way by following the following steps: at each meal, plan to fill half your plate with fresh, non-starchy veggies and fruit; lightly cook food at temperatures less than 100 degrees, steam, juice, sprout and use slow cookers to gently cook the food you aren’t eating
            •  raw; replace bad fats with healthy fats; focus on having quality animal products in moderation; and replace all sugary snacks and refined grains.Fermented foods also play a key role in a
            • raw food diet.
            • Raw Foods DietThe PromiseYour oven gets a rest on this diet. You’ll mostly be eating
            • raw fruits, vegetables, and grains.The idea is that heating food destroys its nutrients and natural enzymes, which is bad because enzymes boost digestion and fight chronic disease. In short: When you cook it, you kill it.Some fans of
            • raw food diets believe cooking makes food toxic. They claim that a
            • raw food diet can clear up headaches and allergies, boost immunity and memory, and improve arthritis and diabetes.What You Can Eat and What You Can’tThink uncooked, unprocessed, mostly organic foods. Your staples:
            • raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sprouted grains. Some eat unpasteurized dairy foods, raw eggs, meat, and fish.Your food can be cold or even a little bit warm, as long as it doesn’t go above 118 degrees.You can use blenders, food processors, and dehydrators to prepare foods.Level of Effort: HighYou may need to ramp up your kitchen skills. Eating out can be tricky, and if you go organic, you may need to go to specialty stores for a wider selection than your usual grocery store.Cooking and shopping: Prep work can be extensive. Many
            • raw food fans become experts at blending and dehydrating foods. Some germinate nuts and sprout seeds.Because some uncooked and unpasteurized foods are linked to food-borne illness, you’ll need to wash your food thoroughly and be extra careful with risky foods like sprouts, raspberries, unpasteurized juices, green onions, and lettuce.Due to the risk of food poisoning, a
            • raw foods diet isn’t recommended for pregnant women, young children, seniors, people with weak immune systems, and those with chronic medical conditions like kidney disease.Packaged foods or meals: No.In-person meetings: No.Exercise: Not required.Does It Allow for Dietary Restrictions or Preferences?Vegetarians and vegans: This diet works well for you. Just make sure your diet meets your nutritional needs. A dietitian can help you with that.Gluten-free: Most
            • raw foods, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, are naturally gluten-free.What Else You Should KnowEating lots of veggies and fruits helps control blood pressure. The diet is low in sodium, so it might help lower your chance of stroke, heart failure, osteoporosis, stomach cancer, and kidney disease. Losing weight and keeping it off can help prevent or manage type 2 diabetes.But because most people who eat
            • raw foods exclude animal products, you may need to take vitamin supplements to make up for any gaps in your diet.Cost: You don’t have to pay for meetings, memberships, or prepackaged foods, but this diet can give your wallet a workout. Organic ingredients tend to be more expensive. Kitchen appliances like juicers, blenders, and dehydrators are another expense.Support: You can do this diet on your own or find online resources, like recipes.What Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, Says:Does It Work?You’ll probably lose weight on this diet, since most of its foods are low in calories, fat, and sodium, and high in fiber. One study found that people who followed a
            • raw foods diet lost a significant amount of weight.You’ll also get nutritional perks. Most of what you eat will be high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and disease-fighting phytochemicalsBut there are lots of drawbacks. The diet is difficult to follow and inadequate in many essential nutrients, such as protein, iron, calcium, vitamin B12, and more.Plus, contrary to the claims of many
            • raw food fans, cooking does not make food toxic but instead makes some foods digestible.Cooking also boosts some nutrients, like beta-carotene and lycopene, and kills bacteria, which helps you avoid food poisoning. There is no scientific evidence that
            • raw foods prevent illness.Is It Good for Certain Conditions?It is not recommended for any specific health conditions. But losing extra weight is good for general health.If you are considering a
            • raw diet, talk to your doctor before starting the plan.The Final WordA
            • raw food diet is low in calories, high in fiber, and based on primarily healthy whole-plant foods, so eating this way will lead to weight loss.But the diet is a nutritionally inadequate and highly restrictive plan that will be hard to stay on for the long-term. The risk of food poisoning from eating
            • raw or undercooked foods outweighs the benefits of this plan.In general, cooking makes your food more easily digestible and saferThere are some nutrient-rich super foods that can’t be eaten
            • raw, such as beans, whole grains, and lean proteins.Back in 2010 I decided to go on a
            • raw food detox. I’d been on a yoga retreat in Bali and had eaten
            •  raw foods the whole time I was there. I loved the food, and it got me curious to learn more, so I decided that when I returned home that I would try and go 100%
            • raw for a while.It was partly because I wanted to lose weight, partly because I felt like my body needed a cleanse after many years of partying it up and not treating it so great, and partly because I love a good challengeI threw myself into this new
            • raw food lifestyle. However, in order to be able to follow it, I couldn’t live the same way anymore. It really meant overhauling everything I ate and the entire way I lived.Without my even realizing it, going
            • raw became the catalyst for dramatic positive change in my life, bringing more benefits to me than just weight loss and a cleaner body. Here are seven benefits that I did not see coming:
            • 1. Going raw got me back in the kitchen.Eating out or ordering in every night was the first habit I had to break. Raw food restaurants in Jakarta (where I now live) are nonexistent, and the closest menu item I could find that was suitable to eat at most places was a very unsatisfying garden salad (which just doesn’t cut it for an evening meal!).So I started going grocery shopping again, began making green smoothies for breakfast, packing my own salad for lunch at my office, and then experimenting in the kitchen at night.This habit alone was one of the best things I could have gained from my year on raw. Eating home cooked meals is not only better energetically, but it means consuming better ingredients. It saves heaps of money, too.
            • 2. The raw food diet helped me discover food intolerances.Following a raw food diet means the common allergens in food are completely avoided: eggs, soy, wheat (gluten), sugar and dairy. These get cut out completely. By not including those items in my diet anymore, I started to feel amazing.
            • 3. Eating raw made me more intuitive.I started to eat such a clean diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, cutting out all the processed crap and the above-mentioned allergens, that something changed inside me spiritually. My clean body seemed to open the passage for my intuition to soar.It’s like my mind was no longer hazy from drinking too much booze the night before, or my brain fogged up from eating gluten, that I could see things with clarity. I could tap into my intuitive side, and I started to notice the beauty in the world around me. I became more focused and started to see the world differently, noticing the small and beautiful things around me.
            • 4. Going raw changed my taste buds.I stopped craving coffee every morning, and no longer needed alcohol to end my night. Sugar cravings got replaced by more savory ones, and if I did crave sugar I’d feed myself a super indulgent yet still healthy raw dessert, which did not have the same negative effect as eating a whole roll of Mentos or Skittles, my former vices. I now miss it when I don’t have a green smoothie for a few days if I’m traveling, and junk foods don’t even factor into any of my decisions around food anymore.
            • 5. Following a raw lifestyle meant cleaning my act upThe raw food lifestyle changed all my former party girl ways. The thought of sitting in a smoky bar while drinking all night seemed absurd when everything else in my life was now so clean. I much preferred to stay at home experimenting in the kitchen on a new recipe, learning about raw foods and healthy living, and practicing yoga and meditation than going out partying on a Friday or Saturday night. I had found a new passion, and that really fueled me more than any of more former bad habits had.
            • 6. Eating raw foods taught me about diet and nutrition.As I started to change my diet and lifestyle, I began fielding questions from curious friends and colleagues. So I started writing a blog to share recipes and other aspects of my experience.This led me to begin learning even more about food, nutrition and health. My thirst for this new knowledge was almost insatiable. Reading novels got replaced by reading nonfiction books on nutrition and diet, and I became obsessed with healthy, raw and vegan cookbooks as I devoured all the information I could get my hands on.
            • 7. Going raw led me on a new career path.I then discovered a new career I could have: health coaching. I never knew that this job even existed, but as soon as I found out about it, I just knew that I had to become one.So I did my diploma, trained as a raw food chef and started teaching classes in my home. Then I started seeing clients and decided to take my career in a whole new direction.These days I eat a mostly raw diet, but it’s actually a plant-based diet mixed in with raw and cooked food. But if it hadn’t been for raw foods I don’t think my overall well-being would be the way it is now, and I certainly wouldn’t be writing this article. It really is amazing how things can change by making one decision. All it takes is the first step, and it can lead you to just about anywhere!
            • The Raw Food Diet: A Beginner’s Guide and ReviewThe
            • raw food diet has been around since the 1800s, but has surged in popularity in recent years.Its supporters believe that consuming mostly
            • raw foods is ideal for human health and has many benefits, including weight loss and better overall health.However, health experts warn that eating a mostly
            • raw diet may lead to negative health consequences.This article reviews the good and bad of the
            • raw food diet, as well as how it works.AdvertisementWhat Is the
            • Raw Food Diet?The
            • raw food diet, often called
            • raw foodism or
            • raw veganism, is composed of mostly or completely
            • raw and unprocessed foods.A food is considered
            • raw if it has never been heated over 104–118°F (40–48°C). It should also not be refined, pasteurized, treated with pesticides or otherwise processed in any way.Instead, the diet allows several alternative preparation methods, such as juicing, blending, dehydrating, soaking and sprouting.Similar to veganism, the
            • raw food diet is usually plant-based, being made up mostly of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.While most
            • raw food diets are completely plant-based, some people also consume
            • raw eggs and dairy. Less commonly,
            • raw fish and meat may be included as well.Additionally, taking supplements is typically discouraged on the
            • raw food diet. Proponents often claim that the diet will give you all the nutrients you need.Supporters also believe that cooking foods is harmful to human health because it destroys the natural enzymes in foods, reduces their nutrient content and reduces the “life force” that they believe to exist in all
            • raw or “living” foods.People follow the
            • raw food diet for the benefits they believe it has, including weight loss, improved vitality, increased energy, improvement to chronic diseases, improved overall health and a reduced impact on the environment.Summary: The
            • raw food diet is made up mostly of foods that have not been processed or heated over a certain temperature.How to Follow the
            • Raw Food DietAdvertisementIs
            • Raw Food Healthier Than Cooked Food?
            • Raw food diet supporters believe that eating mostly or all
            • raw food is ideal for human health.However, like many of the core beliefs behind the
            • raw food diet, this idea is not backed by science. In fact, research shows that both cooked and
            • raw foods have health benefits.One of the main reasons the
            • raw food diet discourages cooking is because of the belief that cooking destroys the natural enzymes in foods. The diet’s advocates believe that these enzymes are vital to human health and digestion.High heat does cause most enzymes to denature — that is, to unravel or change shape. However, many enzymes denature in the acidic environment of the stomach anyway (1, 2).In fact, the body already produces its own enzymes to facilitate chemical processes including digestion and energy production (3).Another core belief behind the
            • raw food diet is that cooking destroys the nutrient content of foods.Cooking can indeed decrease certain nutrients in food, especially water-soluble ones like vitamin C and B vitamins (4, 5).However, cooking actually increases the availability of other nutrients and antioxidants, such as lycopene and beta-carotene (6, 7, 8)Cooking also helps inactivate or destroy some harmful compounds in food. For example, cooking grains and legumes reduces lectins and phytic acid. In large quantities, these can block your body from absorbing minerals (9, 10). Additionally, cooking also kills harmful bacteria (11).For these reasons, it’s important to eat a variety of both
            • raw and cooked foods. To learn more about the benefits of raw versus cooked foods, check out this article.Summary:
            • Raw food is not any healthier than cooked food. Cooking decreases some nutrients, yet increases others. It also destroys certain harmful compounds and kills bacteria.Nutrition Review: Pros and ConsA
            • raw food diet has some positive points. Mainly, it is very high in fresh fruits and vegetables. It also incorporates other foods that are high in nutrients and fiber.To its credit, a
            • raw food diet limits the intake of foods known to contribute to poor health if you eat them in excess, such as processed junk foods and added sugarAdditionally, a
            • raw food diet nearly guarantees weight loss because it is low in calories. Yet despite this, there are also many cons to a
            • raw food diet.When someone switches from a mostly cooked diet to a mostly
            • raw diet, their calorie intake is likely to decrease dramatically. Some people may not find it possible to eat enough
            • raw food to meet their daily calorie needs (12, 13).This is partially because fruits and vegetables, though healthy, simply don’t provide enough calories or protein to make up the majority of the diet.Additionally, cooking increases the digestibility of foods, making it easier for your body to get calories and nutrients from them. In some cases, your body gets significantly fewer calories from a food if it’s
            • raw (14, 15)Cooking also increases the amount of certain nutrients and antioxidants your body absorbs (6, 7, 8).Finally,
            • raw diets tend to be nutritionally unbalanced because they must be mostly made up of either fats or fruits to meet calorie needs (13).This means
            • raw diets may be deficient not only in calories, but also in some vitamins, minerals and protein (13).Summary:
            • Raw food diets are made up of healthy foods and are likely to cause weight loss, but they are often too low in calories and some nutrientsAdvertisementHealth Benefits Review: Pros and ConsLike most of the beliefs behind the
            • raw food diet, many of the supposed health benefits are not supported by evidence.Some studies have found the
            • raw food diet to have positive health effects, but much of the research has found it has negative effects.One study of people following a
            • raw food diet found that it lowered blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. However, it also lowered “healthy” HDL cholesterol levels and led to a vitamin-B12 deficiency for many (16).Another study found that people following a
            • raw diet over long periods of time had an increased risk of tooth erosion (13).Nevertheless, studies have consistently found that the
            • raw food diet is associated with having less body fat.One study of participants following a
            • raw diet long-term found that it was associated with large losses of body fat (12).Men lost an average of 21.8 pounds (9.9 kg) after switching to a raw diet and women lost an average of 26.4 pounds (12 kg). However, 15% of men and 25% of women in the study were also underweight.Additionally, 70% of women on the diet experienced irregularities in their menstrual cycle. And nearly one-third of women developed amenorrhea, meaning they stopping menstruating, which can be a consequence of low body weightAnother small study found that people following a
            • raw vegan diet had significantly lower calorie intake and body fat than those who weren’t following the diet. Nonetheless, they also had low protein, calcium and vitamin D intakes (13).The same study found that participants following a
            • raw vegan diet had low bone mass, potentially due to low calorie and protein intake (13).Overall, following a
            • raw food diet may lead to weight loss or even improve some markers of health, such as blood lipids. But despite this, the significant risk of negative health effects outweighs the potential benefits of this dietSummary: Evidence shows that
            • raw food diets are associated with losing body fat. However, they are also associated with serious negative health consequences and the negatives outweigh the positives.Sample MenuAdvertisementIs the
            • Raw Food Diet Safe and Sustainable?In the short-term, the
            • raw food diet is not likely to pose major health concerns.However, you may develop problems if you follow the diet long-term.A mostly
            • raw diet makes it difficult to get enough calories, protein and certain vitamins and minerals.Some people may not be able to get enough calories from this diet. The evidence also shows that the larger the proportion of
            • raw food in your diet, the higher the risk of negative effects (12).Unless you take supplements, you may develop problems from nutrient inadequacies over time as your body’s vitamin and mineral stores are used up. Vitamin B12 and vitamin D are particularly hard to get in
            • raw vegan diets.However, even nutrition supplements cannot make up for a lack of calories and protein in the diet.Additionally, the risk of being exposed to a foodborne illness is increased when you consume foods
            • raw (17). This is especially true if
            • raw dairy, eggs or meat are part of your diet. Nutrition experts always recommend that people only eat these when they’re fully cooked or pasteurized (11, 17).Lastly, a
            • raw food diet can be challenging to keep up for several reasons.For starters, food choices are very limited and avoiding cooked foods makes it difficult to go out to eat or to eat with friends.Avoiding cooked foods also means that food preparation methods are very limited, so a
            • raw food diet can get boring. Many people also find eating only cold foods to be undesirable.Lastly, it can be expensive to buy so much fresh, organic produce, not to mention time consuming to plan and prepareSummary: The
            • raw food diet is probably not harmful in the short-term, but you may experience negative effects if you follow it in the long-term.The Bottom LineFresh,
            • raw foods are a valuable part of a healthy diet. However, it is possible to have too much of a good thing.Cooking is important to make certain foods and nutrients more digestible.A completely or even mostly
            • raw diet is likely to cause weight loss, but also makes it difficult to meet your nutritional needs.In the end, eating a combination of cooked and
            • raw foods is ideal for your health.The
            • Raw Food Diet: Trend Worth Trying or Half-Baked Hype?Stove

            The way its proponents talk, raw food can sound like a magic potion served in a salad bowl. “When I transitioned to an all-raw lifestyle,” says Karyn Calabrese, a restaurateur in Chicago, “I felt like I could walk on water. I didn’t just stop aging; I began to feel as if I were actually growing younger.” The 64-year-old—who could easily pass for 40—is brimming with energy. It’s enough to make you want what she’s having, which might be a portobello napoleon with “blue cheese” made from cashews, or an avocado puree with wakame and olives wrapped in nori.

            • A raw diet consists of foods (typically produce, grains, seeds, nuts, and beans) that haven’t been heated above a certain temperature, usually somewhere between 104 and 118 degrees. Cooking destroys enzymes that raw foodists believe are essential to human health; without those enzymes, the thinking goes, we’re not getting the full, life-supporting benefits of our food.
            • But this theory overlooks an important fact, says Andrea Giancoli, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. “While it’s true that cooking causes enzymes to unravel, the same thing happens to those enzymes as soon as they hit the acidic environment of your stomach.” She says raw foodists enjoy so many health perks for a simpler reason: They’re eating a lot of plants. Comprehensive lifestyle studies—like the China-Cornell-Oxford Project, which lasted 20 years and followed 6,500 participants—have found that plant-based diets greatly reduce the risk of chronic diseases and conditions.
            • Still, says Eat to Live author Joel Fuhrman, MD, a specialist in nutritional medicine, there is some magic in raw fruits and veggies. It’s not denatured enzymes that worry Fuhrman so much as the loss of vitamins and minerals that occurs and the carcinogens that are produced at high temperatures. He recommends eating a mix of cooked and uncooked produce, because some nutrients (like lycopene in tomatoes and carotene in carrots) are better absorbed after they’ve been heated. And when you do cook, opt for stewing or steaming. “As a rule,” Fuhrman says, “if you cook things at a lower  for less time, you’ll be moving in a healthy direction.”
            • Four years ago, Gena Hamshaw started shifting toward a mostly raw diet. “Not only did I feel better,” says the certified clinical nutritionist, who writes a blog called Choosing Raw, “but, more importantly, I fell in love with the delicious taste of fresh food.” Her advice is to start by adding simple uncooked dishes to your regular diet, like vegetable sides and blended soups. “Don’t agonize over complicated recipes. Just eat a big chopped salad and you’re on your way.”
            • Keep Reading: 3 Easy No-Cook Meals
            • More Healthy Advice
            • 4 reasons to eat your ocean veggies
            • This article is about raw food consumption in humans. For a raw diet for cats or dogs, see Raw feeding.
            • Raw foodism (or following a raw food diet) is the dietary practice of eating only, or mostly, uncooked, unprocessed foods. Depending on the philosophy, or type of lifestyle and results desired, raw food  may include a selection of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, meat, and dairy products.[1]
            • It may also include simply processed foods such as various types of sprouted seeds, cheese, and fermented foods such as yogurts, kefir, kombucha or sauerkraut, but generally not foods that have been pasteurized, homogenized, or produced with the use of synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, industrial solvents or chemical food additives.
            • Contents
            • Raw food diets are diets composed entirely or mostly of food that is uncooked or which is cooked at low temperatures.
            • Raw veganismEdit
            • Main article: Raw veganism
            • A raw vegan diet consists of unprocessed, raw plant foods, that have not been heated above 40–49 °C (104–120 °F). Raw vegans such as Brian Clement, Gabriel Cousens, Thierry Browers a.k.a. “Superlight”, and Douglas Graham believe that foods cooked above this temperature have lost much of their nutritional value and are less healthy or even harmful to the body.[unbalanced opinion?] Advocates argue that raw or living foods have natural enzymes, which are critical in building proteins and rebuilding the body, and that heating these foods destroys the natural enzymes and can leave toxic materials behind. However, enzymes, as with other proteins consumed in the diet, are denatured and eventually lysed by the digestive process, rendering them non-functional. Typical foods included in raw food diets are fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and sprouted grains and legumes.
            • Among raw vegans there are some subgroups such as fruitarians, juicearians, or sproutarians. Fruitarians eat primarily or exclusively fruits, berries, seeds, and nuts. Juicearians process their raw plant foods into juice. Sproutarians adhere to a diet consisting mainly of sprouted seeds.
            • Raw animal food dietsEdit
            • Main article: Raw animal food diets
            • Included in raw animal food diets are any food that can be eaten raw, such as uncooked, unprocessed raw muscle-meats/organ-meats/eggs, raw dairy, and aged, raw animal foods such as century eggs, fermented meat/fish/shellfish/kefir, as well as vegetables/fruits/nuts/sprouts/honey, but in general not raw grains, raw beans, and raw soy. Raw foods included on such diets have not been heated above 40 °C (104 °F). Raw animal foodists believe that foods cooked above this temperature have lost a lot of their nutritional value and are less bioavailable.[unbalanced opinion?]
            • Examples of raw animal food diets include the Primal Diet, anopsology (otherwise known as “Instinctive Eating” or “Instincto”), and the Raw Paleolithic diet (otherwise known as the “Raw Meat Diet”).
            • The Primal Diet consists of fatty meats, organ meats, dairy, honey, minimal fruit and vegetable juices, and coconut products, all raw.
            • The “Raw Meat Diet”, otherwise known as the “Raw, Paleolithic Diet”, is a raw version of the (cooked) Paleolithic Diet, incorporating large amounts of raw animal foods such as meats/organ-meats, seafood, eggs, and some raw plant-foods, but usually avoiding non-Paleo foods such as raw dairy, grains, and legumes.
            • A number of traditional aboriginal diets consisted of large quantities of raw meats, organ meats, and berries, including the traditional diet of the Nenets tribe of Siberia and the Inuit people.
            • Contemporary raw food diets were first developed in Switzerland by Maximilian Bircher-Benner (1867 – 1939), who was influenced as a young man by the German Lebensreform movement, which saw civilization as corrupt and sought to go “back to nature”; it embraced holistic medicine, nudism, free love, exercise and other outdoors activity, and foods that it judged were more “natural”.:31–33 Bircher-Benner eventually adopted a vegetarian diet, but took that further and decided that raw food was what humans were really meant to eat; he was influenced by Charles Darwin’s ideas that humans were just another kind of animal and Bircher-Benner noted that other animals do not cook their food.:31–33 In 1904 he opened a sanatorium in the mountains outside of Zurich called “Lebendinge Kraft” or “Vital Force,” a technical term in the Lebensreform movement that referred especially to sunlight; he and others believed that this energy was more “concentrated” in plants than in meat, and was diminished by cooking.:31–33 Patients in the clinic were fed raw foods, including muesli, which was created there.:31–33 These ideas were dismissed by scientists and the medical profession of his day as quackery.:31–33
            • Other proponents from the early part of the twentieth century include Ann Wigmore, Norman W. Walker (inventor of the Norwalk Juicing Press), and Herbert Shelton. Shelton was arrested, jailed, and fined numerous times for practicing medicine without a license during his career as an advocate of rawism and other alternative health and diet philosophies. Shelton’s legacy, as popularized by books like Fit for Life by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond, has been deemed “pseudonutrition” by the National Council Against Health Fraud.
            • Leslie Kenton’s book Raw Energy – Eat Your Way to Radiant Health, published in 1984, added popularity to foods such as sprouts, seeds, and fresh vegetable juices. The book advocates a diet of 75% raw food which it claims will prevent degenerative diseases, slow the effects of aging, provide enhanced energy, and boost emotional balance; it cites examples such as the sprouted-seed-enriched diets of the long-lived Hunza people and Gerson therapy, an unhealthy, dangerous and potentially very harmful raw juice-based diet and detoxification regime claimed to treat cancer.
            • Claims held by raw food proponents include:
            • That heating food above 104–118 °F (40–48 °C) starts to degrade and destroy the enzymes in raw food that aid digestion.[21][22] A few raw food proponents such as Douglas Graham dispute the importance of enzymes in foods, however, and it is commonly believed that enzymes in food play no significant role in the digestive process, prior to being digested themselves.[23][15]:34
            • That raw foods have higher nutrient and antioxidants values than foods that have been cooked.[15]:34[24] In reality, whether cooking degrades nutrients or increases their availability, or both, depends on the food and how it is cooked.[15]:34[25]
            • That cooked foods, and especially meat, contain harmful toxins, which can cause chronic disease and other problems, including trans fatty acids produced by heating oil, acrylamide produced by frying, advanced glycation end products (AGEs), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.[15]:34–5[26] While it is true that a healthy diet minimizes fried food and red meat, not all cooked food contains harmful chemicals (a serving of french fries has 200 times the AGEs of a bowl of cooked oatmeal), and a diet containing a normal mix of cooked and raw food does not shorten life.[15]:34–5[27][28]<[29] High rates of some of these compounds formed by cooking meat can cause cancer in other animals; whether such an exposure causes cancer in humans remains unclear.[27] According to the American Cancer Society it is not clear, as of 2013, whether acrylamide consumption affects people’s risk of getting cancer.[30]
            • Health effects Edit
            • A meta-analysis clinical trials and epidemiological studies published in 2004, and covering a broad range of cancers, found that it appears that there is an inverse relationship between the risk of developing certain types of cancer and eating both raw and cooked vegetables. Consumption of raw vegetables tended to be associated with decreased cancer risks somewhat more often than consumption of cooked vegetables.[31] On the other hand, a raw food diet is likely to impair the development of children and infants.[32]
            • Care is required in planning a raw vegan diet, especially for children.[33] Dr. Joel Fuhrman, author of Disease-Proof Your Child, says there may not be enough vitamin B12, enough vitamin D, and enough calories for a growing child on a totally raw vegan diet. Fuhrman fed his own four children raw and cooked vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, beans, and occasionally eggs.[34]
            • Food poisoning is a health risk for all people eating raw foods, and increased demand for raw foods is associated with greater incidence of foodborne illness,[35] especially for raw meat, fish, and shellfish.[36][37] Outbreaks of gastroenteritis among consumers of raw and undercooked animal products (including smoked, pickled or dried animal products[36]) are well-documented, and include raw meat,[36][38][39] raw organ meat,[38] raw fish (whether ocean-going or freshwater),[36][37][39] shellfish,[40] raw milk and products made from raw milk,[41][42][43] and raw eggs.[44]
            • In his book Health or Hoax, nutritionist Arnold E. Bender has written that “Many raw foods are toxic and only become safe after they have been cooked. Some raw foods contain substances that destroy vitamins, interfere with digestive enzymes or damage the walls of the intestine. Raw meat can be contaminated with bacteria which would be destroyed by cooking; raw fish can contain substances that interfere with vitamin B1 (anti-thiaminases)”[45]
            • A close-up of a raw food dish
            • Cooking and global warming Edit
            • It has also been pointed out that cooking food, directly or indirectly, requires energy and may thus release gases associated with global warming.[46] Raw diets mitigate the use of non-renewable resources, which results in raw diets being less environmentally deleterious than cooked food diets in this respect.
            • Role of cooking in human evolution Edit
            • Richard Wrangham, professor of biological anthropology at Harvard University,[47] proposes that cooked food played a pivotal role in human evolution. Evidence of a cooked diet, according to Wrangham, can be seen as far back as 1.8 million years ago in the anatomical adaptations of Homo erectus. Reduction in the size of teeth and jaw in H. erectus indicate a softer diet, requiring less chewing time. This combined with a smaller gut and larger brain indicate to Wrangham that H. erectus was eating a higher quality diet than its predecessors.[48] To explain a decreased gut providing the amount of energy required for an increased brain size, Wrangham links his research on the digestive effects of cooked versus raw foods with the lower reproductive abilities of female raw foodists, and BMI in both sexes, to support his hypothesis that cooked starches provided the energy necessary to fuel evolution from H. erectus to H. sapiens.[49]
            • Theories opposed to Wrangham’s include that of Leslie Aiello, professor of biological anthropology at University College London, and physiologist Peter Wheeler. Aiello and Wheeler believe it was soft animal foods, including bone marrow and brains, which contributed to humans developing the characteristics Wrangham attributes to cooked foods.[50] Further, archaeological evidence suggests that cooking fires began in earnest only around 250 kya, when ancient hearths, earth ovens, burnt animal bones, and flint appear regularly across Europe and the Middle East. Two million years ago, the only sign of fire is burnt earth with human remains, which many anthropologists consider coincidence rather than evidence of intentional fire.[51] Many anthropologists believe the increases in human brain-size occurred well before the advent of cooking, due to a shift away from the consumption of nuts and berries to the consumption of raw meat.[52][53][54]
            • Water and Tea… Water and tea contain carotenoids and flavonoids that aid blood circulation and the delivery of nutrients…which improves the condition of your skin, hair and nails. Red wine, hot cocoa, and dark chocolate also contain flavonoids.
            Making Dinner Plans


            •  It has been found that coffee has health benefits, such as increased cardiovascular function, a decreased risk of basal cell carcinoma, and protection against liver disease…and many people like me simply cannot function without a freshly brewed pot of coffee close at hand.But recently my coffee machine stopped working and had to be replaced.
            • Buying a new coffee machine was a really big decision at our house, and here are the factors that I considered while comparing shopping options and trying to make sure that I would buy a coffee maker that I absolutely love.
            • 1.  Cleaning…Think about how easy it will be to clean, most likely meaning something that can go in the dishwasher.
            • 2.  Cost…Coffee makers involve long-term costs, not only a one-time initial expense.
            • Single-serving machines-such as the Nespresso Inissia, Ninja Coffee Bar Single-Serve System, and Keurig-require constantly buying coffee pods and capsules which can run anywhere from $5 to $7 a package.
            • Drip machines require constantly buying new filters and grounds or beans.
            • 3.  Effectiveness…Make sure that you buy a machine that can brew at high heat. Most top-of-the-line machines will list their brewing temps on the box or online.
            • 4.  Material…Decide what kind of carafe you want-glass or stainless steel. Glass pots let you see and smell the coffee as it is brewing. A glass pot keeps warm for about 20 minutes. A thermal, stainless pot will keep coffee warm for up to an hour, but will have to be cleaned by hand.
            • 5.  Size…Take stock of how much you coffee you actually drink. If you barely go through a cup a day, buy a single-serving machine. If you drink coffee to keep you functioning all day long, buy the biggest pot available.
            1. Summer is such the perfect time to drag out the blender and make a piña colada and sit by the pool…but making the perfect mixed drink might require the blender that you’ve been using for thirty years, ever since your wedding shower.
            2. But with all the options available, shopping for a blendercan be complicated. How do you know which one to buy?!
            3. Just like shopping for anything else, there are a few criteria to consider while you shop…factors such as lifestyle or needs, storage space required, type container…and how much you’re willing to spend.
            4. Lifestyle or Needs…Do you really even need a blender at all, or can You simply get by with an immersion blender or something more along the lines of a Magic Bullet…What will you using the blender for…simply to make the occasional mixed drink, or to grind almonds and make your own nut butter every single day…
            5. Storage Space Required…If you will be storing the blender in the space between your kitchen counter and upper cabinets, be sure to measure this space.
            6. Type of Container…Even though there are still plenty of glass options, most of the big blender brands come with plastic containers. Glass containers can get heavy and break, but some of us just don’t like how flimsy cheaper plastic option can feel.
            7. Cost…How much are you willing to spend, as based on how often you will be using it…
            8. Vitamix (often considered the gold standard of blenders) ..,Vitamix A3500 Ascent Series BlenderBlendtec. Ninja


            Breville Boss

            • Cost…$ 379.95
            • Functions: 5…smoothie, green smoothie, frozen dessert, soup, and pulse/ice crush…variable speed dial
            • Motor…2 horsepower
            • Reviews
            • Size…9.5 x 18 x 7.8 inches

            Cuisinart® 2.25 Horse Power Blender 

            • Cost…$199.95
            • Functions…preprogrammed smoothie and ice crush functions””” electronic touchpad controls: low, high and pulse
            • Motor…2.25 peak HP motor
            • Reviews
            • Size..7.75×11.5×16″H

            Hamilton Beach HBH750 Countertop Drink Blender w/ Polycarbonate Container, Programmable

            • Cost…$891.25
            • Functions…100 pre-programmed cycles, memory card slot
            • Motor…3Hp, 120v/60/1-ph, 8.6 amps
            • Reviews
            • Size…19.8 x 14.1 x 12.1 inches

            KitchenAid® Pro Line® Series Blender 

            • Cost…$599.95
            • Functions…Three pre-set Adapti-Blend™ recipe programs: Smoothies, Juices, and Soups, which heats soup and keeps it hot….precision power dial with continuous variable speeds from 1 to 11 and high/low pulse option.
            • Motor…3.5-peak-horsepower
            • Review
            • Size…10 1/2″ x 9″ x 17 3/4″
            • Size..
            Making Dinner Plans


            Eggs are one of the main ingredients used in baking, and so the first topic in this “Taking Up Baking” series of posts.Eggs consist of three main parts—a fragile and porous shell, the yolk, the egg white—plus membranes and chalazae, two white strands that hold the yolk in the center of the white.

            Eggs carry out many functions in the baking process, including…
            1. Adding flavor…Eggs add a unique taste and flavor to baked goods.
            2. Emulsifying…Eggs help make batter smooth.
            3. Giving a proper finish…Egg whites and egg yolks are used as washes on baked goods like croissants an anish pastries…and on rustic breads to hold sesame seeds and other accouterments in place.
            4. Leavening: Eggs trap air cells in whipped eggs or egg whites… important for angel food and chiffon cakes.
            5. Moistening…About 3/4’s of an egg by weight is water, so when you add eggs to batter, you add a great deal of water into the batter.
            6. Providing color…Most lemon meringue pie recipes rely entirely on egg yolks for color.
            7. Providing nutrition…Eggs add nutritional value such as protein, Vitamin D, and choline (an important nutrient for the brain, nervous system, and cardiovascular system).
            8. Providing structure…As eggs cook, the protein coagulates and provides stiffness to the product.
            9. Tenderizing…The fat in the egg yolk tenderizes the batter by shortening the gluten strands.
            Pâte à Choux
            Pâte à Choux is a light pastry dough that contains only butter, water, flour and eggs…but no “raising agent.”
            Steam created by boiling the water and butter, puffs the pastry instead…and then flour and eggs are added to achieve the desired consistency.
            Choux pastry, or pâte à choux, has been used as early as 1540 in many European and European-derived cuisines….such as…

            Beignets, the official state doughnut of Louisiana since 1986, have been popular within New Orleans Creole cuisine ever since being brought to New Orleans in the 18th century by French colonists.These “fritters”are made from deep-fried choux pastry are traditionally prepared right before consumption, doused in powdered sugar, and eaten fresh and hot. Today beignets from the Café du Monde, along with their coffee with chicory and café au lait, are quite famous…and here’s a copycat recipe worth sharing…
            Paula Deen’s French Quarter Beignets…1 1/2 cups lukewarm water, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1 envelope active dry yeast, 2 eggs, slightly beaten, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, 1 cup evaporated milk, 7 cups bread flour, 1/4 cup shortening, Nonstick spray, Oil, for deep-frying, 3 cups confectioners’ sugarMix water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes. Beat eggs, salt and evaporated milk together. Mix egg mixture to the yeast mixture. Add 3 cups of the flour to the yeast mixture. Add the shortening, and continue to stir while adding the remaining flour. Remove dough from the bowl. Place onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth. Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray. Put dough into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours. Preheat oil in a deep-fryer to 350 degrees F. Add the confectioners’ sugar to a paper or plastic bag and set aside. Roll the dough out to about 1/4″ thickness and cut into 1″ squares. Deep-fry, flipping constantly, until they become a golden color. After beignets are fried, drain them for a few seconds on paper towels, and then toss them into the bag of confectioners’ sugar. Hold bag closed and shake to coat evenly.

            Chicken and Dumplings is perhaps one of the most familiar Southern comfort foods. Chicken and Dumplings is a staple main dish recipe in many Southern kitchens because the dish is delicious, satisfying, economical, and easy.Yet many people find the dumplings to be dough-y, thick, strangely flavourless un-cooked balls of dough.Instead of the traditional dumplings, here is a recipe for Chicken and Dumplings using the cream puff dough that we have been discussing lately, known as pâte à choux, mixed with plenty of fresh herbs.
            1. Making the Dumplings…Combine 1C milk or water, 4oz butter, 1tsp salt in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil.Add 1C flour.Reduce the heat to medium, stirring rapidly to make a thick paste. Cook the dough 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Transfer the dough to a stand mixer.Add 3 eggs, 1Tbsp Dijon mustard, 2Tbsp parsley, ½C Swiss or parmesan cheese, 1Tbsp minced tarragon, 1Tbsp minced chives.Wait 30min.

            2. Making the Broth..Cook one diced onion, 2 large diced carrots, 2 diced celery ribs, in 3Tbsp butter over medium heat until translucent. Add one quart chicken broth. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low. Add 1tsp salt, 1 bay leaf, 1Tbsp tomato paste, pepper, lemon juice, 1/2tsp honey, 1 bay leaf, 1 sprig of thyme, 1 small garlic clove, 1/2tsp Dijon mustard, 1/2Tbsp parsley.Reduce the heat. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.Add one quart chicken stock.Simmer for 30 minutes., then strain the soup base into another pot and discard the vegetables.

            4. Cooking the Chicken…Roast boneless skinless chicken thighs in a very hot oven for 20min.

            5. Cooking the Dumplings…Fill a medium sized pot with salted water. Bring to a simmer.Fill a quart-sized Ziploc bag with the dough.Cut off one corner of the bag to make a quarter-sized opening.Pipe 1” of the mixture. Cut with kitchen shears directly over the broth. The dumplings will sink to the bottom of the pot and then float to the top. Once the dumplings rise to the surface, cook an additional 10 minutes to ensure that they are cooked.

            Note…The dumplings can be made up to a day ahead and refrigerated, or frozen. In this case, scoop them from the poaching water with a slotted spoon and let cool on a paper towel-lined cookie sheet.
            6. Making the Soup…Turn off the heat. Add the meat. Wait a couple of minutes before serving.

            Another pastry made with choux dough is the classic eclair.
            The éclair, originally called “pain à la Duchesse”or “petite duchesse,” were first made by Antonin Carême, the famous French chef, around 1850. The first known English-language recipe for éclairs appears in the Boston Cooking School Cook Book by Mrs. D.A. Lincoln, published in 1884.Eventually the pastries came to be known as éclairs…the French word meaning ‘flash of lightning’…because the eclair is supposedly eaten quickly, or “in a flash.”The classic eclair consists of a crispy golden shell of pâte à choux, a rich pudding-like filling of vanilla pastry cream, and a chocolate ganache glaze on top..And a batch of eclairs takes about the same amount of time to make as required to make a batch of homemade cinnamon rolls. So let’s “Take Up Baking”…

            1. Making the Eclair Shells…The ingredients in pâte à choux are simple–merely milk, water, eggs, butter, flour, sugar, and salt…but actually making the pâte à choux and the eclair shells is probably the most intimidating piece of the puzzle.

            2. Starting the choux dough on top of the stove…Bring 1C water, 8Tbsp butter, 1/2tsp salt, 1-1/2tsp sugar to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat. Add 1 cup flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Using a spoon instead of a whisk or fork will keep the flour from getting stuck in the tines.Return to the heat. Cook, stirring constantly until the dough comes away from the sides of the pan and forms a thick smooth ball… about 2 minutes. At this point, move the dough from the stove to the mixing bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Controlling the amount of air that gets worked into pâte à choux dough is crucial…because too much air will make the shells either crack in the oven or explode and collapse. Using a paddle attachment and mixing at a slow speed will keep both the amount of air in the eggs and the amount of air in the choux at a minimum.
            3. Finishing the choux dough in the mixer…Beat on low speed one minute.Add three eggs, one by one, making sure each egg is completely emulsified before adding the next. As you add the egg, the dough will at first break apart, but as you continue to beat it will come back together.Continue to mix until you have a smooth, glossy, thick paste-like dough…and the eggs are completely incorporated. The dough should be thick, but should fall slowly and steadily from the beaters when you lift them out of the bowl. If the dough is still clinging to the beaters, add the fourth remaining egg.It is important that you only add as much egg as the dough will hold. If you add too many eggs, you will have trouble piping the dough, and the pastries will have trouble puffing and drying out in the oven.If the dough is ready, it will look soft, creamy-colored, and very smooth…and will leave behind a little “V” of dough on the spatula if you scoop up a little bit with your spatula and let it slide back into the bowl.Spread the mixture onto a sheet pan and cover with Saran Wrap until cooled to room temperature.

            4. Piping the Shells…Draw a dozen 3-1/2″ lines on a piece of parchment paper, spacing the lines about 3″ apart. This will serve as a template or guide.Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the template under the parchment paper.Place the dough in a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip.Pipe eight to twelve oblong lengths of dough, about the size and shape of a jumbo hot dog, onto the lined baking sheet using the template as a guide.Whisk an egg and water together in a bowlto create an egg wash. Brush the surface of each eclair with the egg wash. This gives the pastry a lovely golden brown sheen and allows you to smoothe out any imperfections on the surface of the pastry.

            5. Baking the Shells…Preheat oven to 475. Bake 15 minutes. Starting the baking process at a very high heat allows the steam from the butter and eggs in the dough to expand very quickly, which creates the space for the filling, the most important thing about an éclair.Remove shells from oven. Let cool to room temperatureReduce the oven temperature to 350.Bake shells 15 more minutes. Baking the éclair shells this second time dries out the choux and makes the shells extra firm and crispy.The shells are ready once they are a nice light golden brown color and are almost dry inside when splitRemove from oven. Place on a wire rack to cool.Poke each of the shells with a toothpick to release any steam trapped inside.Let them cool completely before filling them.

            6. Making the Filling …Eclairs may now be filled with chiboust cream…chocolate, coffee, pistachio, rum, or vanilla custard…fruit-flavoured filling…lemon curd…pastry cream..or whipped cream.

            Eclair Filling…Heat 2C milk and 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, to a boil over medium heat. Immediately turn off the heat. Set aside to infuse for 15 minutes. Whisk six egg yolks and 2/3C sugar until light and fluffy. Add 1/4C cornstarch. Whisk in 1/4C of the hot milk mixture vigorously until no lumps remain. Whisk in the remaining hot milk mixture. Pour the mixture through a strainer back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until milk starts to foam up. Remove from heat. Stir in 1Tbsp cold unsalted butter.
            For a chocolate pastry cream, simply stir two ounces of finely chopped semi-sweet chocolate into the hot pastry cream.
            For a mocha flavor add 1 1/2tsp instant coffee or espresso powder.
            Cover with plastic wrap, lightly pressing the plastic against the surface to prevent a skin from forming.
            Cool to room temperature or refrigerate up to 24 hours.
            7. Filling the Eclair Shells…Split the pastry shells in half, lengthwise. Place pastry cream into a piping bag. Fit the piping bag with a medium-size plain tip. Pipe filling into each eclair shell. Use just enough filling to fill the inside…Don’t stuff them full.

            8. Making the Glaze…The final step is to ice or glaze the eclairs with vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, or chocolate glaze. Caramel-glazed eclairs are often referred to as bâton de Jacob.

            Chocolate Glaze…Heat 1/2C heavy cream over medium heat just until it boils. Immediately pour it over 4oz coarsely chopped semisweet chocolate. Stir in 1tsp vanilla extract. Whisk until melted and smooth. Cover.Glaze can be made up and stored in the refrigerator up to 48 hours in advance. Rewarm in a microwave or over hot water when ready to use.
            Dip the top halves of the eclair shells in the warm glaze, letting the excess drip off. Place on a wire rack to dry for ten minutes.
            9. Assembling the Eclairs…Once the glaze is dry, gently place the top half of the pastry shell on the cream. Spread icing over the top of each. Let sit for about 5-10 , until the icing hardens, before serving.Chill, uncovered, at least 1 hour to set the glaze. Serve chilled.

            Finished eclairs can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to two days…if they last that long…

            Churros are another type of pastry made from choux pastry…but in the case of Churros, the choux pastry is fried, instead of baked.
            The churro was first made by Spanish shepherds, because the churros were easy to make and cook over an open fire in the mountains, where the shepherds spend most of their time.Today churros are standard “street fare” in American theme parks, street fairs, carnivals, and other celebrations.Churros are crunchy, fried pastry sprinkled with sugar and then dipped in a thick hot chocolate sauce.
            Churros (Yield: About 18 6″ churros)

            1. Make the dough…2C wate, 3Tbsp butter, 2Tbsp sugar, 1tsp vanilla , 1/2tsp salt, 2C flour, 2 large eggs…Heat water, butter, sugar, vanilla and salt in a medium-size saucepan until simmering and butter has melted. Remove from heat. Dump in flour all at once. Mix vigorously with a spoon until the mixture forms a smooth ball and no floury bits are visible.Let cool 5 to 10 minutes.Add eggs, one at a time. Choux dough can be made and kept in bowl for up to a day before using, but it will be easier to pipe when it’s still warm.

            2. Pipe the churros..Transfer churro dough to a cloth pastry bag fitted with a #8 large closed star pastry tip. (This pastry tip is what gives the churros the expected textured lines.)Be sure to use a cloth or heavy-duty plastic pastry bag,. A regular resealable plastic bag is not thick enough and will split open if you try to pipe the churro dough through it.
            Pipe the churros in 6″ directly into a pot of boiling water…or onto cookie sheets.If piping onto a cookie sheet, place the tray of shaped churros into the fridge for at least 15 minutes before frying them.

            3. Fry the churros…Heat oven to 200 degrees to keep churros warm while you fry them in batches.Line a large plate with a couple layers of paper towels. Add 1-1/2″ oil to Dutch oven. Heat oil over medium/medium-high heat to 375.Pipe two to three churros into the oil at a time. Use scissors or a sharp knife to cut the dough.Fry 6 minutes, turning frequently, until they turn deep golden brown on all sides.Remove from oil. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate to drain for a couple of minutes before transferring to a cookie sheet in a 200 degree oven to keep warm.
            Repeat with remaining dough.

            4. Coat the churros…2/3C sugar, 1-1/4tsp cinnamon Once all churros are fried, combine cinnamon and sugar on a plate. Roll warm churros, one by one.Churros can be kept warm in oven before coating with cinnamon sugar for up to an hour before getting dry.

            5. Make the sauce: Make the chocolate sauce right before you’re ready to serve it with the churros because it will thicken as it cools….3/4C heavy cream, 1/2 cup chocolate chips, Pinch salt…Heat cream, chocolate chips, and salt in a bowl in microwave in 30 second bursts, whisking between them, until chocolate has melted.Dip warm churros in warm chocolate sauce.Enjoy!

            Chouquettes are a type of cream puff consisting of a small round, hollow portion of choux pastry covered with crunchy nuggets of large-grain pearl sugar … baked until golden brown…and sometimes filled with custard or mousse, dipped in chocolate, or covered in chocolate chips.The pearl sugar is the key ingredient in chouquettes and gives the puffs their signature crunch. Swedish Pearl Sugar is available online at King Arthur Flour at a cost of $6.95 per 12oz.Pearl sugar is a bright-white, irregular chunky sugar that won’t melt or burn when added to the top of Panettone, sweet breads, iced cookies, and cakes.Crushed sugar cubes may also be used instead as a last resortChocolate chips may also be pressed into a few of the puffs before baking.

            Chouquettes (Sugar-Topped Pastry Puffs…1-1/2C water, 1 stick + 1Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into cubes, 1tsp sugar, 1/2tsp salt, 1 1/2C flou, 7 large eggsPearl sugar

            Prep…Preheat the oven to 400°. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.Combine the water, butter, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderate. Add the flour all at once. Stir vigorously 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.Beat 7 eggs. Add to the dough in four batches, stirring vigorously between additions until the eggs are completely incorporated and the dough is glossy.Transfer dough to a piping bag fitted with a 1/2″ plain tip. Pipe 1 1/2″ mounds onto the baking sheets, leaving 1″ between them. Generously sprinkle each mound with 1/2tsp pearl sugar. Bake 30min.The baked choux can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days and rewarded in a 325° oven for 10 minutes.
            Chouquettes are a type of cream puff consisting of a small round, hollow portion of choux pastry covered with crunchy nuggets of large-grain pearl sugar … baked until golden brown…and sometimes filled with custard or mousse, dipped in chocolate, or covered in chocolate chips.The pearl sugar is the key ingredient in chouquettes and gives the puffs their signature crunch. Swedish Pearl Sugar is available online at King Arthur Flour at a cost of $6.95 per 12ozPearl sugar is a bright-white, irregular chunky sugar that won’t melt or burn when added to the top of Panettone, sweet breads, iced cookies, and cakes.Crushed sugar cubes may also be used instead as a last resort.Chocolate chips may also be pressed into a few of the puffs before baking.


            Chouquettes (Sugar-Topped Pastry Puffs)
            1-1/2C water, 1 stick + 1Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into cubes, 1tsp sugar, 1/2tsp salt, 1 1/2C flou, 7 large eggsPearl sugar

            Prep…Preheat the oven to 400°. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.Combine the water, butter, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderate. Add the flour all at once. Stir vigorously 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.Beat 7 eggs. Add to the dough in four batches, stirring vigorously between additions until the eggs are completely incorporated and the dough is glossy.Transfer dough to a piping bag fitted with a 1/2″ plain tip. Pipe 1 1/2″ mounds onto the baking sheets, leaving 1″ between them. Generously sprinkle each mound with 1/2tsp pearl sugar. Bake 30min.
            The baked choux can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days and rewarded in a 325° oven for 10 minutes.

            Learning the basic techniques behind good cooking, such as how to make a good pâte à choux, is far more important than mastering a specific recipe.

            As shown in recent posts, this dough can be piped into decorative logs and filled with pastry cream to make eclairs…sandwiched with dollops of chantilly or ice cream to make cream puffs or profiteroles…deep-fried to make light and puffy beignets…or mixed with herbs and cheese and baked for savory gougères.
            Regardless of what you are making, the basic technique behind making pâte à choux remains the same…
            First, boil water and butter in a saucepan…then dump in flour all at once and stir it vigorously with a wooden spoon until a smooth ball of dough forms. Finish making the dough by adding eggs and beating the dough until creating a sticky, paste-like dough that holds itself together just well enough to be piped from a piping bag.
            Today we will be talking about Parisian gnocchi.

            Parisian-style gnocchi are very different than the traditional Italian potato version and actually easier to prepare.
            Parisian-style gnocchi are made by piping the pâte à choux directly into boiling water, cooking until they rise to the surface, and finally searing them lightly to create texture.
            Parisian Gnocch… 1tsp salt, 1⁄4tsp nutmeg, 3 Tbsp butter, 1C flour, 3 large eggs, 1⁄4 cup freshly grated parmesan, gruyere, or asiago cheese

            1. Making the Dough…Combine water, salt, nutmeg, and 2Tbsp of the butter in a small saucepan. Bring to boil over high heat. Add flour all at once. Beat dough with wooden spoon until thick. Cook, stirring to dry out dough, about 30 seconds.Beat 1 egg into dough until incorporated. Beat in 1/4 cup cheese and another egg until blended. Beat in last egg until dough is smooth and shiny. At this point you may also add chopped fresh herbs–chervil, chives, parsley and tarragon-for a more savoury version.Gnocchi dough can be refrigerated overnight before boiling and baking.

            2. Cooking the Gnocchi…Transfer dough to medium bowl. Let cool 5 minutes.Bring large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Set bowl of ice water near stove.Transfer dough to large pastry bag.Reduce boiling water to gentle simmer. Hold bag over water with one hand. Squeeze out dough into the water, using a small sharp knife to cut it into 1-1/2″ lengths.Simmer gnocchi 3 minutes. Drop cooked gnocchi into nearby bowl of ice water. Drain on paper towel-lined baking sheets. Drizzle with olive oil. Allow to cool.Cooked gnocchi can be transferred to a sealed container and stored in the refrigerator for up to a few days until you’re ready to fry or broil them just before serving.

            3. Finishing the Gnocchi…The next step and the toppings for the gnocchi now are totally a matter of personal choice. you may bake them, broil them, or Sauteeing them in butter.

            Baking…Grease 9×13 baking dish with 1Tbsp butter. Scoop gnocchi into the dish.Top with 2Tbsp cheese. Bake 25 minutes.
            Broiling…Preheat broiler. Broil gnocchi 6″ from heat for 1 to 2 minutes. …
            Searing…Add gnocchi to aa very hot skillet. Add just enough butter to cover them. Top with finely grated Parmesan cheese. Cook over high heat for thirty seconds. Be careful not to agitate them too much when searing. As they heat, they get even more tender.
            Sautéeing…Sautée gnocchi with butter, lemon, and fresh parsley.
            The gnocchi can now be used as a blank palate for any number of seasonally-based pasta dishes….just like any other type of pasta.

            As most other treats made with choux dough-croquembouches, éclairs, French crullers, beignets, St. Honoré cake, quenelles, Parisian gnocchi, dumplings, gougères, chouquettes and craquelins-making profiterole requires that you first prepare the choux pastry dough.Next you either pipe the dough through a pastry bag and bake to form hollow puffs, or drop the dough into small balls into boiling water to cook.

            Profiterole are typically filled with a typically sweet and moist filling, such as whipped cream, custard, pastry cream, or ice cream….but may also be served as savory items by filling the shells with pureed meats and cheese.Profiterole then may be left plain or garnished with chocolate ganache, caramel glaze, or a dusting of powdered sugar. Profiterole are the building blocks for both croquembouches and the outer wall of St. Honoré Cake.

            1.  Prep
            …Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a pastry bag with a 1/2″ plain round tip. Line two rimmed baking sheets with baking parchment.

            2.  Make the Dough…
            1C milk, 1/4tsp salt, 1C water, 8Tbsp butter, 5 eggs, Pinch cinnamon…Bring the milk, butter, and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Whisk together the flour and salt. Once the butter melts, reduce the heat. Add the flour mixture to the saucepan all at once. Beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together and forms a dough. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl. Let cool for 4 minutes. The mixture does not have to be cold, just cool enough not to cook the eggs when added. Add the eggs. Mix until the dough is smooth and glossy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add cinnamon.

            3.  Piping the Dough…Spoon the dough into the pastry bag.  Pipe into 18 puffs, each 1-1/2″ wide x 1 ” high onto the baking sheet, spacing at least 1″ between each. Dip your finger in water and smooth the top of each ball where the pastry bag released the dough.

            Note…The dough can be frozen at this point on the tray then collected into freezer bags and sealed.

            4.  Baking the Profiterole …Bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned, rotating the tray halfway through the cooking time to insure even cooking. Turn off the oven. Allow them to sit in the oven for another 10 minutes.When done, the puffs should be light, airy and dry inside…and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Make a small slit in the side of each puff to allow the steam to escape.  Set on a wire rack to cool. Cool completely before icing.

            5.  Making the Chocolate Sauce..
            1/2C heavy cream12oz semisweet chocolate chips2Tbsp honey2Tbsp prepared coffee…Bring a saucepan with 1″ of water to a boil.  Place the cream and chocolate chips in a metal or heatproof glass mixing bowl. Place the bowl on top of the saucepan with boiling water, being careful that the mixing bowl does not actually touch the surface of the boiling water. Stir just until the chocolate melts and everything is combined. Add the honey and coffee. Stir until smooth. Remove bowl from heat once the chocolate has melted.

            6.  Serving the profiterole…Cut each profiterole in half horizontally. Fill each with a small scoop of high-quality vanilla ice cream. Replace the top. Drizzle with  warm chocolate sauce.


            Gougères are another pastry made from the classic French pâte à choux.These baked savory pastries are made with a generous amount of grated Gruyère, Comté, or Emmentaler cheese folded into the dough before baking. They are said to have come from Burgundy, particularly the town of Tonnerre in the Yonne department, where they are generally served cold when tasting wine in cellars.Earlier forms of gougères were more a stew than a pastry, including herbs, bacon, eggs, cheese, spices, and meat mixed with an animal’s blood, and prepared in a sheep’s stomach. In medieval France, gougères we’re a kind of cheese tart or pie. Later, gougères were unknown outside what is now Belgium, and became associated with Palm Sunday.Gougères can be served as an alternative to dinner rolls, offered as an appetizer, or stuffed with deli meat to make sandwiches.Gougères are loved by everyone, including children…can be made weeks in advance or an hour before you need them…are transformed easily by using different cheeses, herbs and spices…and are made from everyday items you most likely have on hand at all timesDrier cheeses— Parmesan, Asiago, or Manchego—make better gougères because there is less moisture to drive out during baking, and they puff just a little bit better in the oven, making for crispier gougères.

            Cheese Gougères…1C water, 8Tbsp butter, 1/2tsp salt, 1/2tsp mustard, 1C flour, 4 eggs, 1 1/2C grated cheese

            1. Preparing to Bake…Preheat oven to 450°F. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
            2. Making the Dough…Place the water, butter, salt, and mustard in a 4-quart saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, stirring to melt the butter. Cook until the butter melts.
            Remove the pan from heat. Add the flour. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together and resembles mashed potatoes.
            Return the pan to medium-low heat. Cook 5 minutes to dry out the dough. The dough is ready when it is thick enough to hold a spoon upright and a film of starch forms on the bottom of the pan. If the batter is too loose when you begin incorporating the eggs, the dough will not puff properly come baking time.Transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.Allow the dough to cool for two minutes. Add the eggs, one a time, fully incorporating each one before adding another. Scrape down the bowl each time and check the consistency of the paste. It should be stiff enough to stand, but soft enough to spread. Add the cheese.
            3. Piping the Gougères…Gougères can be made any size…smaller ones are great as appetizers… larger ones can be used to make sandwiches.Drop dough onto the baking sheets, using an ice cream scoop, two spoons, or piping bag fitted with a wide round tip.Be sure to leave an inch of space around all sides of your gougères to keep them from sticking together.

            4. Baking the Gougres…Bake 5 minutes.Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Bake 25 more minutes.

            Turn off the heat. Allow the pastry to stand in the closed oven for 15 minutes so the insides can thoroughly dry out. Transfer the baking sheets to a cooling rack. Finished gougères will be deep golden-brown, and will feel light and hollow when picked up.Serve warm or at room temperature.Gougères may be baked up to three hours in advance and reheated in a 350 degrees oven for five minutes just before serving. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days or frozen for up to three months. Re-crisp in a warm oven before serving.

            Getting Dressed


            A well-chosen skirt can be an important addition to any woman’s wardrobe, and an abundance of different styles makes it possible to find a skirt for just about any occasion.

            Skirts add virtually limitless possibilities when creating capsule wardrobes. Skirts are more versatile than dresses because simply changing the top can give you a totally new outfit.

            First secure the basic skirt essentials in neutral colors such as black, browns, whites and gray. These colors blend in with all seasons and most occasions – from fall to summer, andgo with all color combinations.Your skirt essentials should also be easy to combine with other clothes. So leave out patterns and frilly add-ons.

            After you’ve bought all the basics, add more skirts in colors and styles that reflect your personality. Experiment to find those skirts with your best colors, prints, and hemline shapes.

            Color…Solid neutrals–like black, navy, cream, and khaki–will be worn most often because they can be paired with many different tops to create several different looks.

            Length...Lengths range from mid-thigh, to above the knee, to at the knee, to below the knee, to mid-calf, to ankle length.

            Business skirts are typically knee length, or just above the knee. Knee length skirts flatter women over forty the most because they show of your full calves and create a slimming, elongated look. Knee length skirts will always be the smartest choice.

            Long skirts are generally more casual, but can often be overwhelming and awkward.

            Short skirts show off more leg, while long skirts are more modest, and usually more practical for everyday wear.

            Material…Material choices are vast, causing some women to feel overwhelmed with options…and the material of the skirt is important because this determines how it looks and when it is most appropriate to be worn.

            Knowing what a skirt will mainly be worn for can be helpful in determining what material to look for.

            Certain fabrics are preferable to others, but woven fabric with tight weaves stands up well, does not shrink significantly, launders easier, and needs less ironing.

            Heavy fabrics–such as wool, canvas, and denim–are great during the colder months.

            Lightweight materials like chiffon are better when lined, so that they hold up longer over time and are less transparent.

            Fit…It is important to choose a skirt that fits correctly, so take the time to actually measure your hips and waist before going shopping.

            Choose a skirt that fits properly at the waist. The skirt should is tailored, but not too tight.

            Women with large hips should always choose their skirt size based on hip size. High waisted pencil skirts and fitted miniskirts will also have to fit over your hips. For professional wear, choose a skirt that is a few inches bigger than your actual measurement.

            Body Type…Some skirt styles are a simply more flattering to certain body types than others. Knowing your personal body type allows you to focus only on those skirts that are best suited to your natural figure.

            Full-figured women look best in sleek pencil skirts that hug your curves in all the right spots, and skirts that fall just below the knee that will hide larger knees and help calves look slimmer.

            Taller women look best in long skirts and dark colors ..and should avoid bulky pleated and ruffled styles

            Pear-shaped women, those of us who are biggest on the bottom, look best in A-line and pleated skirts

            Petite women look best in skirts that make your legs look longer, such as high-waisted skirts and fitted skirts that fall above the knee. Also avoid long skirts because they can appear overwhelming. Instead look for large patterns and bold florals to draw the eye downward.

            Women with “boy-shaped” bodies can wear many different skirt styles—such as clingy knit skirts that enhance limited curves…and .ruffled or tiered styles with fitted waistlines that create and add shape and substance to figures that lack natural curves.

            Shopping for Skirts…Trying various styles will help you find a skirt that looks good and fits comfortably.

            The best skirts will be those that best match your personality, show off your best features, and hide or disguise any flaws. Also think about where the skirt will be worn and what the weather will be.

            Knowing the different skirt styles available can help make it easier for you to find the perfect skirt.

            1.  A-Line…A-line skirts are fitted at the waist and wider at the hemline…creating a triangular; “A-shaped” appearance. A-line skirts are rather casual and look especially nice on curvy women.

            2.  Asymmetrical Hem …The classic asymmetrical skirt is usually made from lighter fabrics, has some panels falling longer than the others, and obviously has an uneven hem The layers of light but voluminous fabric in this style provides a very feminine look.

            3.  Bubble…The bubble skirt consists of layers and layers of fabric either wrapping around in semi-circles or draping down to create a puffy silhouette, commonly referred to as the “bubble.”

            The volume and draping of the extra fabric and the tucking of the hem underneath creates a puffy look; perhaps not a good thing for most of us.

            4.  Circle…Circle skirts are full skirts with fabric descending from the waist to form a perfect circle at the hem.They are made in a variety of fabrics and lengths.


            Skirts worth having…

            • Pencil skirts
            • Sarongs


            Getting Dressed


            Finding the perfect pair of pants can also be challenging. So here are a few questions to ask yourself when shopping for the perfect pair..

            1. Are the pants lined? Lined pants can help conceal any lumps or bumps.

            2. Are the pants too high?

            3. Are the pants too low?

            4. Are the pants too tight?

            5. Are there creases or “smiling” across the crotch?

            6. Can you can grab at least an inch of extra fabric on your thighs?

            7. Do the pants sit too far below the belly button?

            8. Do you have a visible pantyline?

            9. Do you have the dreaded “camel toe,” outline of your lady parts, through the pants?

            10. What material are the pants made from? A heavier fabric, like wool gabardine or cotton twill,are more flattering.



            Pants worth having…

            • Jeans
            • Khakis
            • Leather Trousers
            • Suit
            • Wide-Leg Pants

            More About Buying Jeans
            All women face challenges when shopping for  that “perfect” pair of jeans.

            Jeans are a year-long wardrobe staple, so finding ones that don’t look like “mom” jeans, give us the comfortability that we crave, and actually flatter our changing bodies often takes effort, diligence, and endurance.

            Questions to ask yourself when shopping for the “perfect” pair of jeans include…

            • Are they long enough to roll down and wear with boots?
            • Are they long enough to roll up and wear with sandals?
            • Are they “suffocating” you?
            • Are they too high or two low?
            • Do they allow just the right amount of stretch to hug your curves?
            • How do they fit around the waist?
            • How good or bad does your butt look in these jeans?
            • Would you haveto wear a belt with them?
            • There are several different cuts of jeans available. these include…

            1.  Boot-cut…Boot-cut jeans-those that are fitted around the thighs and butt, but a little more relaxed around the calves and ankles-help “balance” out your figure.

            2.  High-Waisted…High-waisted jeans accentuate and flatter your waist, and will elongate your legs. Petites look best in high-rise jeans for this reason.

            3.  Low-Rise Jeans...Tall women, on the other hand, look best in low-rise jeans, but be careful not to pick a pair that is so low rise that they expose a little too much of your curves, such as your butt crack,  every time you sit down…

            4.  Skinny Jeans…A pair of streamlined skinnies creates a sleek look, but also accentuates your shape and highlights your curves….(which could be either a good or bad thing). They can also make your legs appear a few extra inches longer. Choose a pair of skinny leg jeans that has a contoured waist and is made from a stretchy material that will “give a little” in the hips and rear. Steer clear of a super skinny, too-tight-of-a-fit jeans.

            Other things to pay attention to…

            • Dark wash denim creates a slimming effect.
            • Higher prices don’t always mean better fit or quality.
            • Lighter color washes draw the eye dow
              Leggings—worn for warmth, comfort, style, and athletic wear— are perfect for creating a smooth base layer for long tunics and short dresses.
              But leggings come in a wide variety of colors, fabrics, and lengths.So how do you choose the perfect ones to buy?1.  Color…yes, leggings do Come in a wide variety of solid colors and prints, but lighter-colored, brighter, and patterned leggings draw attention to your legs and emphasize the lower body…and unless you’re very tall and bone thin? So typically steer away from these.

              Black and darker-colored leggings have a moreslimming effect on the legs, flatter all body shapes, coordinate well with a wide array of outfit choices, and just plain out far less tacky.

              Fabric…are usually made from a Lycra or a spandex blend, but can also be made from cotton, silk, lace, and wool.

              They can also be sheer or opaque, smooth like tights, or textured like cable-knit.

              Jeggings are a hybrid between jeans and leggings. They are made of a stretchy denim material that has had elasticated fibres added during production to give the denim plenty of stretch and to create a softer, less rigid fabric. Jeggings are more versatile and durable than standard leggings.

              Length…Length of leggings usually depend on where you are going to wear them and what length you yourself actually like best.

              1. Ankle-Length Leggings...Ankle – length leggings They provide full coverage and warmth and can be worn beneath  dresses, skirts, pants, and longer tops. Ankle-length leggings cover a wearer’s entire legs, reaching all the way down to the ankles. They are commonly worn with boots or high heels. Full length leggings help make your legs look longer, especially dark leggings worn with heels, and best flatter slender women.  .

              2. Capri-Leggings…Capri – length leggings have a more casual feel than full-length leggings. They work well with mini-skirts,  oversized sweaters, and long shirts.

              Be sure that the Capri leggings that you choose end at the mid calf. If not, they will simply look like full-length leggings that are just a little bit too short.

              3.  Footed Leggings..Footed leggings are similar to tights, but they are made from a thicker material.. These leggings are great for wearing with dresses, skirts, long buttondown shirts, and coat-style cardigan sweaters during the winter.

              Always make sure that your top covers the top of your thighs and your butt. Leggings are basically meant to be a type of an undergarment, not actual pants.

              4.  Knee-Length Leggings…Knee – length leggings fall to just below the knee and are typically worn for various forms of exercise, such as dance, gymnastics, and yoga…but they could also be worn under skirts and dresses. Knee-length leggings can flatter legs with a heavier calf.

              5.  Stirrup Leggings…Stirrup leggings are similar to ankle-length leggings, but they also have a connected elastic-type strap, called a stirrup, that wraps under the arch of the foot.  The stirrup prevents the leggings from riding up and gathering at the ankles.These leggings are typically worn as pants instead of a layering garment.


            • Struggling to get into the legs is a key to finding good jeans. If the jeans you try go on easily, go down a size. Jeans always stretch.
            • The waistband should be snug enough to fit two fingers down the back. If you can fit your whole hand, they are too loose, if only one or no fingers, they are too tight.

            Citizens of Humanity Avedon Slick Skinny jeans…$188

            Levi’s Curve ID Low Rise Bold Curve Skinny Jeans…$80

            Lucky Brand Charlie Low-Rise Skinny Jeans…$60


            Lauren Conrad Slim Bootcut Jeans…$20


            More About Shorts…

            Shorts are a staple wardrobe item in summer weather, and having a variety of different shorts in your closet can obviously expand your outfit options..

            But finding shorts that are appropriate, comfortable, and wearable can sometimes e a challenge.

            1. Appropriate…The main question as to whether shorts are appropriate or not is length. Shorts come in many different lengths, and choosing the perfect lengths primarily depends on what you personally prefer and why/where they will be worn…
            Three standard lengths of shorts are short shorts-those with a 3″ inseam..lmid-range-those with 4″ inseam…and Bermudas—those with a 12 inseam.

            Typically a pair of midrange shorts that are neither too tight nor too baggy are the most flattering on everyone. Stay away from short-shorts unless you are in amazing shape.

            2. Comfortable…Finding the right fit should involve first measuring your waist, hips, and inseam. inseam lengths are determined by the height and length of your leg. To measure the inseam, run a tape measure from the bottom center of your crotch straight down…

            Comfort also depends on the material that the shorts are made from. Fabrics that have more structure, such as linen and silk-cotton blends are most appropriate for dressy shorts. Stretch denim is more comfortable than regular denim.

            3. Wearability…Neutrals and bright, solid colors are going to mix and match with other items in your wardrobe. Also try to steer clear of large patterns.

            Pair your shorts with shirts that offer contrast in color and texture—such as a loose shirt worn with tailored, fitted shorts.

            Types of Shorts

            Having a selection of several different types of shorts—casual, dressy, and athletic —available will give you more flexibility

            1.  Casual Shorts


            • 2.  Dressy Shorts
              •  Bermuda…Bermuda shorts are typically knee-length shorts that look like cut-off and hemmed trousers…such as these PURE JILL COTTON-STRETCH BERMUDA SHORTS from J Jill.
              • Culottes…Culottes have a flap in front that covers the shorts, making them appear like a skirt; designed to appear more feminine but still have functionality
              • Walking…Walking shorts are everyday shorts that are designed for comfort; most of the time they reach mid-thigh and are fairly looseWalking Shorts & Bermuda Shorts – Varies but should hit 1″ above the knee
            Getting Dressed


            Everyone typically wears some sort of day, every single day of every single year for pretty much our entire lives…so most of us have at least how many  shirts hanging in our closets…

            But how do you know that the next shirt will be an item that you wear at least once a week…or will join the other shirts that will simply remain in your closet for how long before being donated to Goodwill?

            Here are a few tips to remember…


            Fabric…There are two types of material that fabric can be made of-natural and synthetic…and there are good things and bad things about each of them. For example…

            Natural Fabrics

            • 1.  Cotton…Cotton is one of the most commonly used fabrics. Cotton shirts should have easy “breathability” and a soft feel.
            • 2.  Linen…Linen is slightly rougher and thinner than cotton. This lightweight material is great for summer.
            • 3.  Silk…Silk shirts are generally smooth and have a sheen that works great for formal occasions.

            Synthetic Fabrics…Polyester is the most common synthetic fabric used for shirts. Polyester is lightweight and dries quickly after being washed.

            Other Notes about Choosing Fabric

            • Look for shirts labeled as “stretch cotton.” Stretch cotton prevents wrinkles and allows for comfortable all-day wear.
            • The material should be thin enough to be layered beneath sweaters, but heavy enough not to be able to see through.
            • Dry cleaning shirts will help shirts them retain their color, shape, and crispness.
            • You do not need to wash or dry clean your shirt after every wear. You should be able to get at least two wears out of the shirt before you need to wash it or have it dry cleaned.



            • 1.  Avoid large prints if you want to look slimmer.
            • 2.  Black shirts and white shirts are suitable for all women and pair well with most other garments.
            • 3.  Blues and greens vary a great deal in tone, but darker shades generally suit darker features and lighter shades lighter features. Reds and pinks are a good choice for those with green eyes and a tan skin tone.
            • 4.  Horizontal stripes make you look fatter.Vertical stripes make you look taller.
            • 5.  The classic “must have” white shirt might not be a “must have” for you personally. Instead your perfect shirt because bright white doesn’t flatter everyone. Your “must have” shirt might instead be soft white, ivory, or even a very pale pastel. Bright white typically looks best on women with dark hair and light sk


            Cut…Crew necks and V-necks both shorten a longer neck, whereas scoop necks tend to lengthen a neck. Boat necks broaden narrow shoulders. A tailored style is always more flattering than a looser style..

            Shirttail…Shirts with a long tail, one that covers your bottom and hits right around the bottom of your bottom, are more likely to stay tucked in. A rounded shirttail hem is easier to tuck in.



            • Short sleeves should come down to the mid upper arm-closer to the elbow than to the shoulder-in order to hide flabby arms
            • Sleeveless shirts should have arm holes that are cut quite close to the armpit, so that your bra is not exposed.The shoulders should be wide enough to hide your bra strap.
            • Shoulder seams should hit squarely on your shoulders, not above or below. Rip out any shoulder pads.


            Size…The right fit and proportion is key. An incorrectly sized buttondown will either pop open in between the buttons and exposing the body, or too much extra fabric billowing around the body which is not flattering

            • The shirt should fit closely, but not so closely that it clings to your sides or gapes open between the buttons.
            • When trying on a shirt, take the time to sit down in order to test for clinging, gapping, and overall comfort across your back.
            • Never intentionally buy too large of a shirt. The extra fabric might not be able to fit into your pants or skirt.


            • Tucking the shirt in and wearing a belt makes an outfit look more professional, but shirts can remain untucked if the shirt does not fall past mid-hip.
            • Wear the sleeves buttoned and pushed up, or unbuttoned and rolled up. higher than mid-forearm.
            • Wearing a camisole underneath helps the fabric to lay flatter against the body, thus keeping the shirt closed. It also prevents any exposure if the shirt does malfunction.


            More about T-shirts…

            T-shirts have evolved from basic undergarments issued as part of the standard military uniforms during World War II as an undershirt….to now being a wardrobe staple for both women, men, and kids of all ages…available in a wide variety of fabrics, necklines, sizes, and shapes.

            Every capsule wardrobe should include several solid colored t-shirts for layering with  jackets and sweaters.

            And typically t-shirts are made of cotton…because cotton naturally breathes, stretches, and moves with the wearer. Cotton is soft, breathable, lightweight, and affordable.

            But cotton is not all simply cotton. There are actually five different types of cotton available…each with its own distinct characteristics:…

            •    1.  Combed Cotton:Cabela’s Women’s Combed Cotton V-Neck Tee Shirt…Combing cotton aligns its longer fibers and produces a softer and more durable fabric. Combed cotton t-shirts typically last longer than plain cotton varieties. This high-quality cotton has a higher thread count, but is a bit pricier than other options.
              2.  Organic Cotton:…Baserange Women’s Natural Cotton Lege Long Sleeve, $110… Organic cotton is environmentally friendly since it is grown with minimal use of fertilizers and pesticides. This is great for an environmentally conscious audience, but it also comes with a higher price tag.
              3.  Pima Cotton:Everlane Cotton V $15, Everlan…Pima cotton is woven from very fine, extremely thin cotton strands chosen from a particular variety of the cotton plant. These are comfortable and soft t-shirts that are resistant to stretching and fading and that tend to get softer with wear.
              4.  Ring-Spun Cotton:... Hanes Womens 4.5 oz., 100% Ringspun Cotton nano-T T-Shirt … Ring-Spun cotton is created by twisting and thinning the cotton strands. It is usually pricier but extremely durable, lasting a very long time
            • 5.  Slub Cotton Buck Mason Slub Tee $28, Spring...Slub cotton is woven, creating slight lumps and a unique texture. It’s airy and lightweight, making it great for summer.