I'm Bianca. I hope to inspire thoughts and actions of simple and pure happiness, love, compassion, gratitude, and true beauty. Here, I speak my peace (with a few quirky post here and there) and hope it will lead.
We were at Pleasure Point. An amazing local surf spot in Santa Cruz, CA. It was a gorgeous day. I can't believe I live here now. My transition has been somewhat rocky, but getting to look at this everyday has made it all worth it. Do you love where you live? Feeling good and loving your community plays a definite role in your overall happiness. Just keep that in mind, friends. Cheers!
I came home this weekend, and couldn't be more content. The air has cooled and the leaves have just barely begun to change from emerald to gold and scarlet. I feel like eating a Thanksgiving dinner on the floor of a wheat field, like hiking up to the hills to cut down the most perfect Christmas tree (preferably a douglas fir). I am yearning to sit beside a warm fire my father made while watching our favorite holiday movie. Peppermint tea in hand. These are my childhood wishes, imaginings, and pastimes that have all rushed back to me with my coming home this early November. I can't wait for the actual holidays to be here. This year they will feel the most special since I haven't been living at home. Thanksgiving at my grandmother's house, Christmas with the cousins, who feel like my long lost siblings. Drinking all the cider with them, getting mischievous with the wine, being silly at the dinner table, laughing with/at our drunken parents, exchanging gifts, waking up early after Christmas for Starbucks Holiday drinks... I just can't wait to see them. This year, I want to relive my wonderful memories of the holidays. I'm so fond of them.
Please enjoy your family, friends, or whoever you may be sharing this special time of year with. Appreciate one another, share your love and laughter with them!
Okay so I am so exited to share my newly perfected cookie recipe... BEHOLD: Egg Free, Dairy Free Pumpkin Oatmeal Spiced Cookies! These are dedicated to my best friend Kristi, and in spirit of her October birthday!
What you'll need:
3/4 cup of Earth Balance Butter (can be found at Trader Joe's or Whole Foods)
1/3 cup of pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin
1 cup of packed dark brown sugar
1 cup of flour
2 cups of rolled oats (not instant)
1/2 teaspoon of of baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract (alcohol free is best)
1/2 tablespoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
Preheat Oven to 350 degrees F. Combine room temperature EB butter and pumpkin puree in a glass bowl. Mix together with a whisk. Combine sugar, salt, vanilla extract, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. Continue to stir mixture until completely smooth, no lumps. Next slowly add in flour and baking powder, whisk until smooth. Switch out the whisk for a large wooden spoon. Lastly, add oatmeal into batter by mixing it in a little at a time. Once all of the oatmeal has been completely mixed in, place entire bowl of cookie dough into the refrigerator to set. This last step will stiffen the dough so its easier to shape and isn't too sticky. You can either use the "scoop and drop" method or "roll and press" method. Both give you nice looking shaped cookies!
Scoop and Drop: simply scoop up a walnut sized amount of cookie dough and drop onto a metal baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes to get rustic looking cookies, with an unpredictable shape.
Roll and Press: take a walnut sized amount of dough, roll between hands, and press down to form a flat circle. Bake for 10 minutes for uniform and share-worthy cookies.
Let them cool for 5-10 minutes so they can get their crisp!
I hope this recipe is shared with good company, herbal tea, joy, love and happiness.
Some of my favorite ways to treat my self (this one's for you Annie) is to lather up in the shower with yummy soaps and scrubs. Now if you like to treat yourself often, this could get expensive with all those fancy scrubs and things to indulge with. I'm going to share a simple and inexpensive way to get your body polish on, by just looking in your kitchen cupboard!
My favorite and most used homemade body scrub: Coconut and Brown Sugar
1/4 cup of brown sugar or white cane sugar
1 Tablespoon of Coconut oil (Olive Oil is a wonderful substitute as well)
Dime-sized amount of gentle liquid face or body soap (to help with scrub consistency)
Blend all ingredients together, scrub onto skin for a couple minutes and rinse off!
Brightening face scrub/ mask: Baking Soda Polish
1 Tablespoon of baking soda
Quarter sized amount of mild liquid face soap
squirt of lemon juice
Mix all ingredients to get a paste like consistency (add more baking soda if it is too fluid). Gently massage onto wet skin, and leave on face for 5 minutes. Rise off with warm water and pat skin dry. You will have soft, brightened skin all day!
Sleep is the best. It's one of nature's greatest gifts. A healing process and a getaway; sleeping well is very necessary for the body to function properly. I'm always a much more positive individual after a great night's rest. I feel happy, alert, and confident to take on the day in the best possible way. The recommendation for enough sleep is 7-9 hours each night, uninterrupted! So all that tossing and turning at night is preventing you from getting TRULY restful and beneficial sleep. Some simple and easy tips for getting to bed and staying asleep:
1. Stretch to promote relaxation: before bed, release all the tension and stress you built up during the day.
2. Turn the lights down low: Lower the lighting in your room and bathroom with candles or a small lamp. Lower lighting will promote the secretion of the melatonin hormone in the brain, which is the hormone that regulates your sleep cycle.
3. Skip out on the TV: Nightly television shows almost always keep me up longer than I planned on.. And after the show, I'm completely wired from the bright flashing screen and intriguing storyline and can't fall asleep.
4. Temperature: it's a huge factor in the quality of your sleep. It's the biggest reason why my slumber is disrupted. My advice is to keep the air around you cooler by cracking open a window or to leave a small, minimal noisemaking fan on through the night. It's better to be a little chilly and to pull over the covers then to wake up drenching in sweat, all hot and bothered.
5. Lastly: nighttime tea, aromatherapy, and warm showers! All relaxing and thoroughly enjoyable methods to help get you to bed.
Today, instead of going to my much sought out pumpkin festival, my breaks decided to give out on me while on my way to Santa Cruz and I was forced to put my poor car in the shop. My bf and his best friend's roommate Tyler was nice enough to pick me up. On the way back, we decided to go thrifting for us and the guys (who were at work). What luck we had! We found some beautiful treasures, including 1880s old post cards in mint condition, handmade ceramic mugs, beautiful fall sweaters, a vintage leather Members Only jacket and a can of Wilson's tennis balls, circa 1950. Everything was so cheap, yet so lovely. They told a story that I want to discover, that I want to dig up. Go explore your local thrift store, at least once a month. I guarantee you'll find something great... Cheers! Love, Bianca.
For some reason during this particular October, I'm especially fond of all things pumpkin! Pumpkin candles, baked sugar pumpkins, pumpkin spiced oatmeal cookies, pumpkin lattes, mini pumpkins, pumpkin pudding, pumpkin seeds and you get the picture...While searching online for some pumpkin recipes, I stumbled upon something even more exciting than a slice of warm pumpkin pie! Half Moon Bay, California is hosting their 42nd Annual Art & Pumpkin Festival on the 13th and 14th of October. The festival will include a world championship pumpkin weigh-off competition, lovely live music, expert pumpkin carvers, and of course amazing and delicious pumpkin foods! Admission is free, and the pumpkin party begins at 9am and ends at 5pm. (Art & Pumpkin Festival Website) Join the free festive fun this weekend if you get the opportunity! Cheers! Love, Bianca. p.s.- subscribe at the bottom of the page for daily lovelies!
Can't wait to see my boyfriend and friends tomorrow. It shall be a great evening, including my amazing vegan oatmeal pumpkin spice cookies (recipe coming soon), bubbly beers, lots of laughter, night beach walks, and getting cozy before bedtime with Netflix comedies on the big screen. The simplest of nights, with great people surrounding you, always seem the happiest! Hope Friday brings great joy, fun, and laughter to you!
Waking up to a gorgeous overcast morning is just what I needed. I opened the window to feel the cool ocean breezes coming up from the Pacific a couple miles away. I woke up my body with some stretching, had a cup of yummy green tea, chatted with my bests, and am so far having a beautiful and successful morning. It feels so great to begin a morning in a such a way. Morning time is usually the foundation for the rest of your day. Having a little time to treat your body and mind to a little TLC, is going to keep you positive minded and smiling through the day. Morning routine advice: 1. Starts the night before: Write down true things you are absolutely grateful for, things that you already have in your life. Friends, family, possessions, etc. Also create a small list of happy thoughts and reminders. This is for a morning time message to yourself. 2. Wake up to a pleasant and exciting sounding alarm or song! Place the alarm source away from your bed, so you can't reach over during REM sleep and turn it off. This happens to me a lot, causing me to be super late (unnecessary stress)! This hopefully will get you up and out of bed without a struggle. 3. Read your list from the night before, smile, and carry that gratitude with you through the day. 4. Stretch to wake up your body, and after have a wholesome breakfast. Refined foods will only leave you hungry before its even lunch time! 5. Lastly, make a promise to yourself of something you will strive achieve today. My promise today: to stay positive through out my rigorous work day. Because as I pass all of the unemployed on my daily walk to work, I am truly grateful to actually be working. Cheers! Love, Bianca. p.s.- be sure to subscribe to A Lotta Love! thanks a million
I'm new to this sea of diversity. A San Francisco, California newbie. Its a lot to get used to. I'm from a small town in the California Central Valley, where dreams run high and opportunities fall low. So I came here, and I'm here... to begin my new journey. In a city full of opportunity, I was brought down with a lot of negativity. In my first months here I became a self-centered being. It seemed to be the overall attitude of many downtown locals. The workers in the financial district, the big shots, the women in their all black suits. I soon thought the job, the nightlife, and the clothes would be what would satisfy me here. Soon enough, I was left left unhappy, stressed, and lonely. My priorities were offset. Through this realization, I came to know that love, family, true friends, happiness, gratitude, and compassion are components of what I should have been surrounding myself with all along. I made love a priority, making sure my boyfriend would never feel neglected from our long distance relationship. I made sure my family knew that I cared for them, and that visits would never be rushed. My friends would know that my love for them was infinite, and loyalty untarnished. I began writing down all that I'm blessed with, notes of happiness, and things to be thankful for. Reminders of the everyday beautiful life that I had not been acknowledging. Yoga, kale, love, the ocean, chia seeds, laughter, kombucha, long walks, baking, friendship, and crafting are just a few of the simple things that made me smile big big big. I now want to share my happiness with everyone. And with A Lotta Love, maybe that'll be a possibility.