Glazed Vanilla and Thyme Cookies (Freezer Ready)

Vanilla and Thyme Slice and Bake Cookies (Freezer Ready)

Once upon a time, I roasted some sweet potatoes with a few sprigs of fresh rosemary. If you’ve never done this, I’m seriously not sure if we can stay friends. The mixture of sweet and savory is totally the bee’s knees, and one of my goals in cooking is to marry these flavors in pretty much every dish, be it an entree or a dessert.

I decided to bake some cookies the other night, and I really wanted to add a little pizzazz to a basic sugar cookie recipe. I usually go for just a little extra vanilla or sometimes I add cinnamon, but I had some fresh thyme on hand so I was all like, why not? Let’s make a sweet cookie with the unmistakable, deliciously aromatic, herbal flavor of thyme. I winged it the first go around and I think I got a little bit carried away with the thyme on the first batch. Anyway, after my first failed attempt, I found a recipe that was simply perfect. You guys, these are pretty delicious and are dreamy with a piping hot cup of coffee or tea. You must try this!
Glazed Vanilla and Thyme Cookies (Freezer Ready)

Glazed Vanilla and Thyme Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt

For the Glaze (optional)

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 tsp milk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Glazed Vanilla and Thyme Cookies (Freezer Ready)

Directions

  • cream together the butter, sugar, and the seeds from the vanilla bean
  • add the thyme and egg and whisk together until well incorporated
  • stir in the flour and salt until a dough ball forms
  • Roll the dough into long cylinder, cover in plastic wrap, and freeze for at least 2 hours or overnight
  • remove from the freezer and allow to sit out for a few minutes while your oven preheats
  • slice into 1/4 inch or slightly thicker rounds and place on a baking sheet lined with  parchment paper
  • Bake at 325°F for 12-15 minutes
  • Remove from the oven and place the cookies on a cooling rack

Glazed Vanilla and Thyme Cookies (Freezer Ready)

For the glaze:

  • whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla until smooth
  • Dip the cooled cookies into the glaze, then place back on the cooling rack to allow excess glaze to drip off
  • decorate the tops with a few thyme leaves

***the cookie dough will last in the freezer a month or two

***if thyme isn’t your thing, try rosemary!

Source:  A Beautiful Mess

Homemade Strawberry Honey Face Mask and Strawberry Yogurt Face Mask---Spa Days at Home

Homemade Strawberry Honey Face Mask and Strawberry Yogurt Face Mask—Spa Days at Home

I’m going to keep this one short because tbh I haven’t really done as much experimentation with this facial mask as I have with the others I post about. That being said, can we talk about how great strawberries are for our skin?! I mean, make up-free, no filter- Instagram good for the skin. There’s been a lot of buzz about vitamin c serum being the savior of dull, aging skin. Of course, I ran out and got myself a little bottle of some pretty expensive serum. We’re talking 60 bucks for just 1 fluid ounce. When I pay that kind of money, I really want the product to pay me back by working. I cleaned my face and applied the tiniest amount of this stuff assuming a little would go a long way. With any skin care product, I’m all about the tingle. You know, the tingle you feel on your skin so you know the product is doing the job. Dude, I am totally opposed to the burn, however, and after applying just a tiny bit of this stuff my face was on fire. I washed it off immediately and was absolutely determined to find an alternative to these serums everyone seems to rave about. As always, I turned to homemade beauty recipes.

I read up a little bit on some of the amazing benefits of strawberries in skin care products and ran out and got myself some. They’re super high in Vitamin C, amazing for brightening the complexion, healing scars, and fading hyperpigmentation. I mashed up some of these rubies and made two pretty tasty facial masks (seriously, it tastes pretty good). I’ve only applied each once, but my skin felt so soft and looked so bright after both applications that I just had to tell you about it! Check out these recipes!

Homemade Strawberry Honey Face Mask and Strawberry Yogurt Face Mask---Spa Days at Home

 

Strawberry Honey FacE Mask

Ingredients

  • 3-5 ripe strawberries (the riper they are the easier it is to mash them)
  • 1tbsp honey
  • 1tsp fresh lemon juice (optional)

Directions

  • rinse strawberries and cut off the stem
  • slice the strawberries into quarters
  • in a small glass bowl, mash the strawberries with a fork
  • add honey (add lemon juice at this point too if you choose to use it) and mix
  • apply this mixture to your face and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes
  • rinse with warm water
  • follow up with moisturizer
  • store any leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days

Strawberry Yogurt Face Mask

Ingredients

  • 3-5 ripe strawberries
  • 1 tbsp plain whole fat yogurt
  • 1 tsp honey

Directions

  • rinse strawberries and cut off the stem
  • slice the strawberries into quarters
  • in a small glass bowl, mash the strawberries with a fork
  • add yogurt and honey, mix well
  • apply this mixture to your face for 20 minutes and rinse with warm water
  • follow up with a moisturizer
  • store any leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days

Image: Stephanie Gerber

 

Move Over, Ikea: Hygge Style is What We’ve Really Been Missing—Fixer Upper Friday

Over the past several years, Scandinavian style has dominated interior design trends. In may ways, it’s been our answer to our overly cluttered, chaotic lifestyles and we’ve embraced it’s simplicity and function. Every home seems to have some space-saving, Ikea solution in one room or another, and we’ve totally fallen in love with the idea of paring down and organizing the things we have.

The Best, Eclectic Scandinavian Interior You've Seen---Fixer Upper Friday

Move Over, Ikea: Hygge Style is What We've Really Been Missing---Fixer Upper Friday

The root of this ‘less is more’ design motif is that we all just want a serene space that allows us to truly relax when we get home at the end of a long day. We want a space that is perfect for entertaining family and friends. We want a space that functions to make our daily routines easier and joyous. We want a space that’s cozy and inviting… and in the back of our minds we know that no piece of furniture on its own can create that kind of space. That space we all desire requires action. This, in a nutshell, is the Danish concept of Hygge (hoo-ga).

Move Over, Ikea: Hygge Style is What We've Really Been Missing---Fixer Upper Friday

Move Over, Ikea: Hygge Style is What We've Really Been Missing---Fixer Upper Friday

Hygge encapsulates the idea of mindfulness, kinship, familiarity, comfort, charm, and simplicity. It’s about creating an atmosphere of intimacy in our daily lives and in our homes. More than just a design trend, Hygge goes a step further by celebrating life’s mundane moments and fostering a general sense of mental wellness. Whether it’s lighting a candle with every meal, or taking the time to brew a cup of loose tea, Hygge describes the feeling of genuinely taking pleasure in all of life’s simple moments. Isn’t that what we all need a little more of?

Move Over, Ikea: Hygge Style is What We've Really Been Missing---Fixer Upper Friday

Here are some simple ways to make Hygge a part of your life:

For more information on Hygge, Check out this amazing book available through Amazon. It’s a total game changer!

DIY Winter Skin Treats---Peach Banana Face Mask and Super Simple Almond Toner

DIY Winter Skin Treats—Peach Banana Face Mask and Super Simple Almond Toner

So we had a pretty yucky snowstorm in NYC over the weekend. I had the bright idea to walk from Avenue K up to the Target on the corner of Flatbush and Nostrand. This isn’t a long walk when it’s sunny and warm, but on Saturday the snow and wind was relentless making this (usually pleasant walk) practically unbearable. It felt like I was being poked in the face with thousands of tiny, ice cold needles. By the time I got back to my bestie’s house, my skin felt overwhelmingly cold and dry. Even if your skin is super oily like mine, winter has the tendency to dry you out something fierce. A total violation of the skin care commandments.

I decided to share a winter skin care routine that’s sure to give you that dewy, summer-skin look that we all crave during these brutally cold months. The name of the game when it comes to winter skin care is moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! If you do nothing else for your skin this winter, try these two recipes! Your weather-weary skin will thank you!
DIY Winter Skin Treats---Peach Banana Face Mask and Super Simple Almond Toner

Peach Banana Face Mask

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 ripe peach
  • 2 rounded tbsp ground almonds
  • finely ground oatmeal

Directions

  • in a blender, mix the bananas, the peach, and the honey
  • add the ground almonds and just enough ground oatmeal to make a paste-like consistency
  • apply to clean dry skin and leave it on for about 10 minutes
  • rinse off with lukewarm water

DIY Winter Skin Treats---Peach Banana Face Mask and Super Simple Almond Toner

Super Simple Almond Toner

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp ground almonds
  • 1 tsp glycerin
  • 1 cup boiling water

Directions

  • combine boiling water and ground almonds
  • allow the almonds to steep for about 3 minutes
  • filter the almond water through a fine sieve
  • add glycerin
  • transfer toner to a small spray bottle and store in the fridge
  • to use, spray your face and neck after your cleanser and before your moisturizer

 

Yoga Essentials for Beginners and How to Use Them

Yoga Essentials for Beginners: Where to Find Them and How to Use Them

I started out doing yoga because I knew I needed to exercise. My energy levels were super low, no matter how much coffee I drank and by midday I was ready to crawl back into bed. The last straw was that my lower back and legs started to hurt more and more each time I leaned down to tie my shoes. Despite the fact that my body was functioning like I was 176 years old, I still wanted to find the lowest impact exercise I could, because lazy. That’s how I settled on yoga. I figured, I stretch and breathe every day already so yoga is totally in my wheelhouse. I was too embarrassed to actually go to a yoga class though. I chose an at-home yoga app, and in the privacy of my own living room, I began my yoga practice.

My very first full yoga routine was on New Year’s Day of last year and I’ve done a yoga routine every single day since then. I can’t begin to describe to you the difference it has made in my life. I have more energy than I’ve had in years and yoga is totally bringing my sexy back. Anyway, this last year has taught me some of the finer details of yoga—the things I wish I had known when I started that could’ve saved me from some aches and pains and other minor inconveniences. If you are just toying with the idea of starting on a healthier path, and you think yoga might be for you, here are some beginner essentials that you should totally invest in. Where applicable, I’ve also posted a link to a short video to show you how to use the particular item.

Yoga Mat

It pays off to invest in a good yoga mat. What makes a good yoga mat, you ask. One that doesn’t roll up or slip around when you’re moving from one pose into another. One that doesn’t get noticeably sticky when you start to sweat. Most of all, one that doesn’t wear out quickly and start to shed little pieces of mat all over the place. I really love Gaiam yoga mats (currently discounted here) and Manduka Prolite Mats (find them here).

Yoga Mat Towel

If you naturally run a little bit hot when you exercise,or if you plan on doing hot yoga, yoga mat towels are a must. These towels are specifically designed to wick up sweat. You can use them in place of a yoga mat or lay them right on top of your yoga mat (especially useful if you’re using the ‘bowling shoe’ yoga mats that the gym lends you).

Yoga Bolster

Yoga bolsters make it easier to get into and maintain poses that are a difficult for you. These are key when you’re trying to relax in a pose that you find a little bit strenuous. Here are some yoga poses that really benefit from the use of bolsters.

Yoga Strap

I didn’t know how great yoga straps were when I first started doing yoga, but these things are amazing. Yoga straps are so helpful when it comes to improving flexibility. Even if you’re not new to yoga, yoga straps can really help you sink deeper into a pose. Here’s how to use them.

Yoga Block

Yoga blocks are also useful for improving flexibility, but they also assist in maintaining the proper alignment in a pose. Check out this intro to yoga blocks.

***Even if you don’t pick up all of these items, you can still get moving and start your daily yoga practice. Remember: this time next year, you’ll wish you’d started today. You can do this!!!