Distress yourself

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crafts / denim / DIY / repurpose / reuse / san francisco

It is no surprise that fashion* is very cyclical with different fads in one year and out the next – then back in again a few years later. Such is the case with distressed denim and boyfriend jeans (albeit, I’m sure many will argue that distressed denim is always a classic fashion statement).

I had been contemplating purchasing a pair of distressed boyfriend jeans myself, however, after looking at the prices, I just could not bring myself to spend so much on quality denim that had been, well, destroyed beyond repair. Instead, I decided to make a craft out of an old pair of GAP jeans that I hadn’t worn since dropping some weight a few years back. I opted to style them as boyfriend jeans since they are a bit baggy on me now.

All you need to get started with your own DIY distressed denim is a box cutter, a pair of scissors, and some sandpaper. To make your own, head over to the Free People blog and check out the great video tutorial I followed.

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*There is a great documentary that explores the fast fashion industry, exposing the inhumane conditions for workers, the harsh environmental impact, and what really happens when you donate your clothes to Goodwill. Before you purchase another clothing item, I highly recommend giving The True Cost a watch. Currently streaming on Netflix.

Time to ball out

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dairyfree / food / plantbased / rawtreat / vegan

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These raw energy balls are so simple to make and are the perfect, clean go-to snack. I love this recipe because it is so easy to modify so you can easily create a different type of treat each time you make them.

All you need is a food processor to achieve a chewy nut and date batter with just four ingredients. Add any toppings or mix-ins that you want depending on what flavors you’re craving.* I had a lot of extra ingredients from past recipes so I got super creative. I made these balls with toasted millet**, superfood berries (Goji berries, goldenberries, and mulberries), coconut flakes, and a mixture of chia seeds + hemp hearts.

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Instructions:

  1. Process 1 cup walnuts in a food processor until finely ground.
  2. Add 1 cup pitted dates, 4 Tbsp cacao powder, + 1.5 tsp vanilla extract and process the mixture until a chewy batter forms. You may need to squeeze out extra liquid.
  3. Roll the batter into balls, add toppings or mix-ins, and place on a tray to set in the refrigerator for 15 minutes before enjoying.

FullSizeRender (5)I get a lot of inspiration from OneGreenPlanet and while I can’t remember the first recipe that got me started on these balls I did find one pretty similar here

*Or you can keep it simple and just roll the batter into a ball and enjoy. These remind me of the all-time childhood classic – Tootsie Rolls!

**Millet is a grain often used in cereals or granola. I threw a handful in a skillet with a spoonful of coconut oil and tossed the mixture on the stove for a few minutes until the millet turned slightly brown.

Drink more beets

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beets / cleanse / detox / food / garden / juice / nature / plantbased / plants / vegan / vegetarian

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Plants never cease to amaze me so I’ve decided to start posting about the various benefits of nature’s bounty.

A wise lady once told me,”If you can’t throw what you’re eating into the dirt and get life, then it’s probably not giving your body life.” Throw fruit and vegetable scraps into the dirt and you’ll make compost; throw seeds in the dirt and you’ll have a new plant. Try throwing meat scraps into the dirt and what do you get? ROTTING FLESH. Seriously though, it’s an interesting thing to consider when choosing what to fuel our bodies with.

I’m digressing here…because today’s post is really about BEETS! Here are a few benefits of drinking beet juice:

  • Detoxifies your liver
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Acts as a natural anti-inflammatory (I’m convinced humans take too much ibuprofen.)
  • Increases stamina
  • Helps clear skin

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*I’ve been digging on this beet juice blend from Nourish, a vegan cafe in the Richmond district of SF. Buying fresh juice is pricey so experiment with making your own at home! You can use the beet pulp later for baking.

 

 

Old jars, new candles

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candles / crafts / DIY / nature / plantbased / plants / repurpose / reuse / Uncategorized / upcycling / zen

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How adorable are these candles? I did a bit of crafting with my friend Patricia this past weekend, repurposing some old food jars and used candle holders to make all-natural soy candles at home.

All-natural soy candles are a great alternative to traditional paraffin candles. Paraffin is made from petroleum oil, so when you burn these types of candles you’re adding CO2 to the atmosphere. Also, these candles are typically scented with artificial chemicals adding to the toxicity of the air around you, versus soy candles which can be scented with natural essential oils.*

Soy candles can be a little pricey so I decided to get some supplies and make my own – upcycling jars I already had at home! Although this project was a little messy, it was such a fun afternoon craft and now I have several quality soy candles for a fraction of the price as the store-bought version.

Check out the steps below to make your own all-natural soy candles at home. Keep in mind that you may use different items to make your candle and that’s part of the creativity when it comes to upcycling items that would normally go to waste or sit around the house.

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What You’ll Need

  • Soy wax chips
  • Recycled jars or other glass containers
  • Essential oils
  • Wick spool
  • Chopsticks or pencil (something to tie your wick in place)
  • Tin can and pan to make double boiler**
  • Anchor piece***

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Step 1: Gather all of your supplies and assemble your candle-making station. Cut wick from spool for each jar, making sure to cut the wick about 2-4 inches longer than the height of the jar you are using. Tie the wick to the anchor (for these bolts, we melted a little wax down to harden the wick inside the bolt) and place inside jar while also looping the other end of the wick around the chopsticks balancing them at the top of the jar. This will keep your wick straight and in place while the wax hardens.

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Step 2: Prepare your double boiler to melt the wax by boiling a large pot of water and placing the tin can filled with wax chips inside. Stir the wax constantly, until completely melted down. Remove the tin from the boiler and set on a heat safe surface. Stir in essential oils for desired scent.

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Step 3:  Pour or scoop melted wax into jars slowly. Allow the candles to dry in a warm, temperature controlled area (i.e. not near an open window) so the wax does not crack from cooling too fast.****

 

*Read about the many types and benefits of essential oils here. Gah – I freakin’ love plants!

**Found this cheap wine chiller tin at Goodwill for just a few bucks.

***By now you’ve realized I’m all about getting creative and repurposing stuff I already have. My candle-making partner, Patricia, happened to have bolts from skateboard stoppers around and they worked well for anchoring the wick to the jars. See what you can find around your house – it’s part of the fun!

****This happened to me, but the candles still burn beautifully and evenly so don’t fret if you can’t find the perfect cooling area.

 

 

From your garden to your table

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DIY / food / garden / gardening / heatherhardison / homegrown / illustrations / love / nature / plants / recipe / san francisco / Uncategorized / vegetarian

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With spring in full bloom, now is the perfect time to start an at-home garden! The question is where do you begin? If you’re a visual learner like me you’ll love Heather Hardison’s book Homegrown: Illustrated Bites From Your Garden to Your Table. I’m a sucker for cute design and this book really delivers by being both visually appealing and easy to follow when it comes to setting up your very own garden.

Homegrown takes you through each of the four seasons, detailing peak produce and how to grow it. At the end of each section, Hardison offers a recipe using your newly-grown ingredients. I love that this book is both vegetarian and produce-forward using recipes that really highlight the flavor in the produce itself.

I had the pleasure of attending a CreativeMornings* session last summer in SF where Hardison spoke on the topic of action. There were a lot of great takeaways (or as she calls them: “learn-ables”) from her talk but a few simple notions stuck with me:

  • Starting is the hardest part. Starting your first garden can feel daunting, but you just need to commit to it, get your hands dirty, and shit will start happening.
  • Figure out your framework. This will help you get shit done. Allow Hardison’s book to be your framework for beginning a seasonal garden.
  • Be authentic. Silence your inner-critic and do what feels right to you. If you don’t want to grow your own seasonal garden, then DON’T. Go support your local farmers and eat their seasonal goods instead.

You can view Heather’s full talk here.

*CreativeMornings is a community-driven breakfast lecture series that happens on the last Friday of each month globally. Completely managed by volunteers, a common theme ties each session together. I highly recommend checking out a session in your city to meet other creatives and to feel inspired.

Not your average Twix

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candy / chocolate / dairyfree / love / plantbased / recipe / twix / vegan

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I was inspired to make a vegan “Twix” bar recipe after drooling over the twin caramel cookie stix from Vegan Treats Bakery. I mean seriously, how uh-mazing do those look?!

Being the locavore and frugal spender* that I am, I couldn’t justify the price of the bars in addition to the $15 shipping fee (and carbon toll; because, ya know, it’s coming from far as f%#k) to get them all the way from Bethlehem, PA  to San Francisco, CA . If you’re anywhere near there though, I would already be standing in line for some of their delectables.

So here we are: my first attempt at vegan “Twix” bars. They aren’t as pretty as the ones I saw online, but they taste like any chocolate-y, caramel-y, shortbread should and without all the added chemicals. I modified two recipes I found from fellow bloggers Blissful Basil and The Organic Dietitian.

Let’s get to it!

Ingredients

Cookie:

2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Caramel:

1/2 cup raw cashew butter

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1 cup dates (pitted)

1/3 cup coconut oil

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Pinch of pink himalayan sea salt

Chocolate:

3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips

1 tbsp coconut oil

2 tbsp maple syrup

Instructions

Cookie:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Add the rolled oats to a food processor and blend until oat flour is formed.
  3. Combine the oat flour, coconut flour, coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl.
  4. Line a rectangular baking pan with parchment paper**. Spread the cookie mixture on the pan to about a half inch tall from the surface. Use a fork to poke holes in the cookie to allow for venting. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until slightly golden. Remove from oven to cool completely.

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Caramel:

  1. Blend dates in food processor until smooth.
  2. Add the cashew butter, maple syrup, blended dates, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and sea salt to a small saucepan. Whisk over low heat until all ingredients are smooth and melted together. Remove from heat to cool.
  3. Once the cookie has cooled completely, use a spatula to spread on the caramel layer .
  4. Place pan in the freezer for 25 minutes to set.

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Chocolate:

  1. Add the chocolate chips, coconut oil, and maple syrup to a double boiler (bowl over pan of boiling water) over low heat. Whisk together constantly until ingredients are melted through.
  2. Pour the chocolate over the caramel layer and use a spatula to spread it out evenly.
  3. Return pan to the freezer for 25 minutes to set the chocolate layer.
  4. Use a sharp knife to cut the bar into “Twix” shaped pieces.
  5. Store the bars in the refrigerator for up to a week  (as if they would last that long).

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Brb, eating this whole pan right now.

 

*So I’m not the most frugal spender when it comes to purchasing ingredients for these type of treats. However, once you begin making different vegan dessert recipes, you will be amazed by the inventory of supplies you acquire which end up making these treats so much cheaper than any comparable store-bought product. I only had to buy the chocolate chips for this recipe because I had everything else on hand!

**I use compostable parchment baking paper from If You Care. This is a great, eco-friendly brand that creates household products with the least environmental impact.

Finding the present

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consciousness / discontent / love / mindfulness / nature / peace / san francisco / vegan / zen

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I have so much content that I want to share with you all but my mind has been in a haze for several days. You can never anticipate when life is going to become chaotic or even when it is going to be so swift that you’re simply performing the motions of each day without fully being present. The saying “the days are long, but the years are short” comes to mind when I start to notice my time turning into this.

My solution to these feelings of worry and days of discontent is to take time for myself and focus on bringing myself back to the present moment. I know, this may sound either really obvious or even feebly sentimental, but I promise that it is unbelievably helpful to practice turning off your thoughts and turning on your awareness. All we have is now. The past and the future are only ideas, merely thoughts, and we can only truly live right now.

Achieving awareness in the present moment takes time and practice;* and your practices could be vastly different than mine. If you’re not sure where to begin, I’ve listed some things I do to get my zen on:

  • Headspace
    • Headspace is an app that gently introduces you to meditation through 10-minute sessions focused on deep breathing and mindfulness of both your physical body and your surroundings. The first 10 sessions are free so it’s a great way to try out meditation, especially if you are apprehensive of the practice as I originally was.
  • Dark chocolate + Hot tea
    • Okay so I promise I’m not just trying to justify my chocolate cravings here – I find it helpful to savor a piece of quality chocolate** to bring me back into the now. By stopping and slowly tasting a chocolate, you are bringing awareness to your sense of taste and, thus, living in the moment. Pair this with a hot cup of tea and you’ll start to focus on the sensation of warmth in your body.
  • Stretch
    • Deep stretches and light yoga poses help me to feel all of my muscles and any tightness in the body. Stretching also helps to get the blood circulating which can help naturally alleviate stress.
  • Nature walks
    • I’m not talking strenuous hiking here, simply get outside and take a walk at your nearest park or nature space. Spending time in nature, noticing the bits of life around you that are often overlooked, is a great practice for overall awareness. We are all connected and it is such a beautiful, humbling realization!

*I’m still figuring this out. I’m no Buddha, but that’s okay. Life is not all or nothing, we can take small steps throughout our days to achieve peace in the present.

**The delicious “Peanut Buddha” vegan chocolate photographed at the top came from a local SF shop called Jade Chocolate.

 

 

 

Give it a new life

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crafts / DIY / garden / gardening / plants / repurpose / reuse / san francisco / succulents

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I love challenging myself to reuse or repurpose things around the house that would otherwise turn into waste. It’s not always about preserving something forever, but about giving things new life – one final use. So that’s just what I set out to do with these old, rain-damaged drawers we had on our deck.  Why toss the drawers out when I could make a super dreamy succulent garden instead?!? Hello, free planter. Check out three steps to make your own succulent garden:

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Step 1: Gather supplies from your local nursery. It’s always better to shop locally – you’re supporting your community and are almost always guaranteed to get better advice on keeping your plants alive from your neighbors who understand the climate you’re gardening in. If you’re in San Francisco, I highly recommend the Clement Nursery in the Richmond.

What You’ll Need

  • Organic Soil
  • Succulents
  • Trash bag liners (you can use bags you already have and cut them – repurposing is always the right move, especially with plastic)

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Step 2: Line drawer with trash bag. This makes for easy cleaning if you ever want to move your succulent garden to a new planter.

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Step 3: Add soil to the lined drawer, filling about halfway. Now, get creative and arrange all of your succulent plants! Make sure to leave space between each plant to allow for growth – before you know it, your succulent babes are going to sprawl, filling gaps in between. Add extra soil if needed and spritz your new garden with water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not your average Nutella

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consciousness / dairyfree / plantbased / recipe / vegan

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I’ll admit it, growing up I loved eating Nutella, so much chocolatey hazelnut goodness – I could eat it by the spoonful. I’m sure many of you can relate, but can you guess what the main ingredient in your favorite, store-bought spread is? I’ll give you a hint: it’s not hazelnuts. The main ingredient in Nutella is *ding*ding*ding* sugar. Over 10 grams of refined sugar per tablespoon to be exact.

The second ingredient, palm oil, might be even more terrifying. Why is palm oil bad, you ask? For starters, it’s high in saturated fats that can lead to heart disease. Secondly, most palm oil is not sustainably produced leaving a huge carbon toll on our planet. Basically, humans slash and burn acres of natural rainforests, destroying different organisms and habitats along the way, to plant mass quantities of non-native palm trees that will, inevitably, also be torn down to harvest palm oil. Not something I want to support.

Luckily, with a little inspiration from the Unconventional Baker, I’ve got a guilt-free, vegan recipe alternative of this classic spread that you can make at home, jar up, and spread on anything you can imagine. Go on, it’s okay, spread it on everything – I won’t judge you.

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Ingredients

1 cup dates (pitted)

1.5 cups hazelnut meal/flour

2/3 cup almond milk (or other plant-based milk)

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup cacao powder

1 tbsp coconut butter

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp pink himalayan sea salt

Instructions

Blend all ingredients in a high-speed food processor until smooth. Be patient with the mix – stopping to scrape sides of the processor as you go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To new beginnings

comment 1
consciousness / love / plants / san francisco

Hello world, it’s me, Tamra!

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Almost two years ago, I packed up my life in Atlanta, Georgia to travel miles and miles away to my new home in San Francisco, California. Moving to such a wondrous, progressive, beautiful, and eco-conscious city opened my eyes to a different way of life.

I became enlightened about the importance of supporting local + small businesses, buying fresh foods from the neighborhood market, and so much more. Before I knew it, I was composting all my food scraps, finding new ways to generate less waste, eating a primarily plant-based diet, and discovering cool brands that care about the impact they have on the world.

I can’t give all the credit to SF for this new wave of thinking; I have countless social media influencers, Bill McKibben, Eknath Easwaran, and my amazing soulmate of a friend, Lex Hundsdorfer, to thank for inspiring me to live better for the planet, and ultimately myself. Because that’s what it comes down to folks: the choices that we make every day can make a positive impact on our communities and our planet; on our minds and our bodies.

I’ve created this blog to document the many discoveries I’ve made (and am continually making) in my journey to living more healthfully and happily.

From recipes to brands and products I adore, places I’m visiting, and everything in between – this is Figs and Flannel.