Best Donuts in Nashville

My friend and I took a quick trip to Nashville over NYE weekend and the majority of our time was spent eating. Whether it was barbecue, tacos, or late night drunchies, our trip pretty much revolved around what our next meal would be!

I had heard so many great things about Five Daughters Bakery in Nashville that I had to check it out for myself. It was so delicious, I had to go back a second time before we headed home. My favorite donut was the simple vanilla sugar and my friend Jamie loved the vanilla cream!

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Nothing is sweeter than family!

While the donuts were amazing, I also loved the story behind the bakery. The bakery is owned and operated by a young couple and their five daughters. The husband just so happens to be a third generation baker (hence the friggin delicious donuts)! The bakery is bright and colorful and when you walk in it just feels super homey. There are family pictures on the walls, as well as adorable signs and decorations. They even had a christmas tree up in the front room!

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They also are a company that values giving back! In the front of their shop they were selling a few goodies and had a bunch of information on an organization called Given Ministries. Given works to rescue children and their families from trafficking and slavery around the world. Their mission is to rescue, restore, and reentry. Not only do they remove people physically from these enslaved situations but they offer rehabilitation to restore their emotional health as well. Lastly, they work on reentry, to give these people the necessary skills to form a career so they never have to look back. Learn more about this awesome organization here: http://www.givenministries.org

It truly was an great experience visiting Five Daughters Bakery and I can’t wait to go back soon! What is your favorite local bakery?! I’d love to visit one day!screen-shot-2016-11-18-at-2-05-16-pm

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Chocolate Dream Loaf

If you hadn’t already guessed, I have an insane sweet tooth. And I’m not saying I have a few pieces of candy here and there. I’m talking eat a dozen cookies and half the batter in one sitting kind of sweet tooth. It’ll probably be a problem for me in years to come, but hey it makes me happy so I’m not pulling this tooth anytime soon.
For those of you who also love sweets or just want to make something yummy for others, this Chocolate Dream Loaf’s name speaks for itself. It tastes like a dream come true. I’ve baked this loaf a few times now and every single time it turns out just so damn moist. I sliced off a piece of this loaf three days after making it and it was just as fresh and delicious as day one.
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I love this recipe because it’s super easy to make (though does make quite a few dirty dishes) and it also makes a great gift!
You can find the recipe here:

CHOCOLATE DREAM LOAF

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Whole Milk
  • 1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 cup Plain Yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cup Flour
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 6 tbsp. Butter, softened
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 tbsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 cup Semisweet Chocolate Chips

Instructions: 

1. Preheat oven to 350 °F and grease a 9 x 5-in loaf pan.

2. In a bowl, whisk milk into cocoa powder to make a smooth paste; then whisk in the yogurt and set aside.

3. In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

4. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy; beat in eggs one at a time and vanilla extract.

5. Take turns stirring in flour mixture and milk mixture, making around 3 additions of each at a time. Fold in chocolate chips.

6. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 60 to 70 min. Let cool in pan for 15 min. Turn over onto rack, remove the pan and let it cool completely.

7. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy!

Hope you guys enjoy it as much as I do!

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I put together a list of a few of the necessary and affordable kitchen supplies! You can shop for them below:

Plaid on Plaid

Plaid has become a hugely popular pattern and it’s definitely a staple in my wardrobe. I’ve always considered plaid to be mostly a winter/ holiday pattern and after reading an article on the smithsonianmag.com, there is actually an interesting correlation.

Apparently plaid goes back at least 3,000 years to when it was first called “tartan.” It was used to describe the different patterned clothes of the Scottish clans. They mainly wore the same colors but “plaids” were the heavy coats worn to survive the unbearable Scottish winters. They then became popular when the American and British started recreating the fabric of tartans in all kinds of clothing items.

I’ll definitely be thanking the Scottish every time I throw on my favorite plaid scarf or curl up next to the fire with my cozy plaid blanket!

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Like my outfit?! You can find my outfit here: J. Crew Top, Madewell Beanie, Plaid Scarf, Rag & Bone Jeans, Dolce Vita Ankle Boots

While we may not need a tartan to keep us warm in Los Angeles, there are quite a few people that need help staying warm this winter. One Warm Coat is an organization that provides anyone in need with a coat. Donate any of your old coats or check out onewarmcoat.org to figure out other ways to can keep someone warm today!

What’s your favorite winter apparel?! I’d love to hear 🙂

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Gingerbread Donuts

Christmas may be over but I still haven’t taken off my furry reindeer slippers! I have really been loving spending time with my family curled up in sweatpants, drinking endless cups of coffee in Cleveland. I hope everyone has been enjoying family time during this holiday as well! Along with all the coffee drinking, I haven’t stopped baking all of my favorite Christmas treats!

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{You can find my comfy pjs here: J. Crew PJs, Mistletoe Sweatshirt, SlippersChristmas Santa Claus Mug 

Also check out my gorgeous dainty rings at https://www.agildedleaf.com. It’s a fair trade jewelry company that prides itself on being socially, environmentally, and ethically responsible. }

You how people feel about pumpkin spice during fall? Well that’s me with gingerbread. I’m actually not the biggest fan of pumpkin in general but gingerbread has me hooked. It all started with my great Grandma Estelle’s gingerbread man recipe which is a secret 😉 but these gingerbread donuts come pretty darn close.

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Not only are these gingerbread donuts delicious but they’re pretty easy to make. Below is the recipe…try them out for yourself!

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 c . all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp . ground ginger
  • 1 tsp . ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp . baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp . baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp . salt
  • 1/4 c . coconut oil melted
  • 1/2 c . brown sugar packed
  • 1/2 c . molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 c . milk low-fat ok
  • 1/3 c . fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 c . granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp . ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp . ground ginger

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease 2 6-count donut pans.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3. In a separate large bowl, whisk together coconut oil and brown sugar.

4. Whisk in molasses.

5. Add egg, and whisk to combine.

6. Add milk and yogurt; whisk until well-combined.

7. Add flour mixture, and whisk until just combined.

8. Scoop into donut pans and bake for about 14-18 minutes.

9. In a wide, shallow dish, stir together the granulated sugar, cinnamon, and ginger. Dip the tops and bottoms of warm donuts into the mixture.

What gingerbread treats do you guys like?

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Spiked Peppermint Hot Cocoa

I’m currently flying over these seriously magical clouds on my way to Cleveland and it made me think of this delicious whipped cream I made the other day.

I used the whipped cream on just about everything I could think of. It was perfect on a cup of my favorite spiked peppermint mocha hot cocoa. I wanted to share this heavenly recipe with you just in time for Christmas! Hot cocoa during the holidays is a must but sometimes it’s fun to spice things up by adding some peppermint schnapps and Bailey’s. You can make it without the alcohol though if you are under 21 or just don’t drink and it tastes just as good!

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Here is the recipe to warm your soul this holiday season!
Ingredients:

SPIKED PEPPERMINT MOCHA HOT CHOCOLATE

  • 1 1/2 cup Whole Milk
  • 1/3 cup Coffee-Mate Peppermint Mocha Creamer
  • 5 1/2 ounces Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
  • 3 tablespoons Irish Cream, optional
  • 2 tablespoons Peppermint Schnapps, optional
  • Marshmallows, Crushed Peppermint Candy Canes, or Whipped Cream Cutouts

WHIPPED CREAM CUTOUTS

  • 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2 tablespoons Sugar

DIRECTIONS:

SPIKED PEPPERMINT HOT CHOCOLATE

Add the milk, peppermint mocha creamer, and chocolate to a small pot. Bring the mixture to a boil over low heat, mixing constantly with a whisk.

Continue to cook on low for about 1 minute, while whisking. Then turn off the heat, and slowly stir in the peppermint schnapps and Irish cream.

Serve immediately, topping with either whipped cream, marshmallows, peppermint, or all of the above!

WHIPPED CREAM

In a chilled bowl add the cream and sugar and whisk at a medium speed until the cream begins to thicken.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper and spread the whipped cream out into an even layer. Place in the freezer for a few hours or until completely firm. Using a cookie cutter cut out shapes of the whipped cream and store in a freezer-safe container until ready to use!

Important:

Do not serve alcoholic beverages to persons under age 21. This recipe can be prepared without the Irish cream for serving to minors, or anyone who does not consume alcoholic beverages.

How do you guys like your hot cocoa?! I’d love to hear!

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DOGgone Good Cause

The night before Thanksgiving, my sisters and I had just picked-up dinner and were driving back home on a dark and busy street. Cars were braking and my sister yelled, “oh my god, there’s a puppy in the road!” We both got out of the car to grab the dog, I finally was able to chase her down. She was not a puppy, but a very old dachshund. We pulled our car over and went house to house in the area for an hour.  Then we called shelters, animal control, the sheriff, and anyone we could think of to help, however, being the night before Thanksgiving, everything was closed.  We gave up and took the dog back to our house. The whole night the poor pup was making this terrible noise.  It was like she was telling us how badly she wanted to go home.

The next morning we thought to text the woman who walks our pug – thinking she might recognize the dog or could at least provide some guidance.  Guess what??  It was a Thanksgiving miracle… she knew the dog!  Her name was Moo Moo and her parents were out of town for the weekend.

What surprised us the most was that no one had stopped to help the dog. I couldn’t help but think what could’ve happened to this sweet girl had someone not stopped to get her. She could’ve been hit by a car, eaten by an animal, or taken to an animal shelter. Luckily though she’s home safe and sound with her family.

This kind of parallels the story of Blue, the pup pictured below. This cute little guy belongs to my sister and brother-in-law. They rescued him from a kill shelter in Rancho Cucamonga a few years ago. He has been such a big part of our family ever since. But before then his life wasn’t so easy. Animal Control found him wandering the streets malnourished with scabs all over his body.  He was a mess with parasites, kennel cough, an eye infection and seizures when they first adopted him.  It’s crazy to see how he’s transformed from a sick and timid dog into such a loving and adorable part of our family.

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Blue is a great example of why everyone should adopt! There are so many dogs in shelters that could really use a happy home. I know that a lot of people are unable to adopt but there are other ways to help those animals in need!

I got this shirt from a company called Treat Dreams. They have adorable shirts, mugs, as well as gourmet baked treats for your pets! I love this company not only for providing me with this hilarious shirt, but for what they stand for: 10% of their proceeds from every purchase goes to a different Canine Rescue Group each month. Check them out here and see more of their amazing products: https://treatdreamsthedogbakery.com

Treekisser is a similar company that donates 10% of its sales to animal rescue and advocacy organizations! You can purchase one of these shirts by clicking on the images below:

     

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5 Gifts that Give Back

The holidays are coming up fast!  What better gift to give someone than the gift of helping others. For the family and friends you struggle to buy for every year, I found your solution. I put together a list of my favorite companies that not only sell great items people will love, but stand for something much greater than any physical gift you could receive.

1. The Home T

This company makes apparel and home decor from each state.  Their items super cute and for those who like comfort – their shirts are insanely soft. The best part about this company though, is that 10% of their proceeds go to multiple sclerosis research, a disease that affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide. Click on the image below to get this shirt from amazon or head to their website to learn more: https://www.thehomet.com

2. Bloom & Give

This company sells adorable clutches and scarves while donating 50% of their profits to support girl’s education programs in India. No that wasn’t a typo, I said 50%!! This company is making strides in one of the world’s most impoverished countries. You can get your friend a cute bag and help support India’s gender equality in education at the same time. Who wouldn’t love to get that gift during the holidays?! Shop their bag selection here: https://www.bloomandgive.com/collections/bags

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Taken from bloomandgive.com

3. Bird + Stone

This jewelry company gives opportunities to widowed Kenyan women who aspire to be independent.   This opportunity helps to bring these women out of poverty.  You can learn more about it and purchase this cuff here: https://shop.birdandstone.com/bracelets/dreambuilder-cuff

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Image from birdandstone.com

4. Toms

I’m sure most of you have already heard of Toms, but did you know they make super cute wedges and booties now?! I’m serious – they have some shoes that I mistook for Steve Maddens the other day. Toms has always had the motto One for One. For every pair of shoes purchased they give a pair to kids in need. For every pair of glasses sold, a person in need receives an eye exam and treatment. For each bag of Toms coffee sold, 140 liters of safe water is provided to a person in need. Toms is doing some really amazing things, so why not join in this holiday. You can purchase a pair of Toms booties by clicking on the image below or head to http://www.toms.com to see what other goodies they have in stock!

5. Alex and Ani

Charity by Design is a segment of this jewelry company that gives back to organizations that mean the most to you! This bracelet in particular is of a Lotus Blossom which symbolizes beauty, strength, and grace. 20% of the purchase price for every one of these bracelets sold goes to Women & Infants Hospital, one of the best hospitals for women and newborns. You can purchase this bracelet by clicking on the image below or go to their website and see what other charities/bracelets someone would love to get this holiday season: http://www.alexandani.com/collections/charity-by-design.html

What our some of your favorite companies that give back?

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California Donuts

When I was little, I used to wake up really early on the weekends.  I would wake up early for one incredibly special reason – so my dad could take me to get donuts for our family. I remember feeling so special for two reasons: 1) I got to pick out everyone’s donuts, and 2) I got to do it with my dad. Carrying that big pink box home gave me this huge feeling of satisfaction; a feeling that I still get to this day. Since moving to LA I’ve been trying to find a donut shop that brings me as much joy as my favorite shop from home. I’ve tried quite a few donut shops, let me tell ya, but none of them compare. I have, however, fallen in love with California Donuts.

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While California Donuts may not give you that big pink box, you always leave with a smile. Their donuts are so cute and colorful making it almost impossible to eat… almost. They range from your average glazed donuts to donuts with lucky charms on them! My personal favorite was the little panda face donut. It took me about an hour to finally take a bite, but it tasted just as good as it looked.

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It’s easy to forget how lucky I am that I am even able to eat doughnuts. So many people are not as fortunate. 1 in 5 kids in the U.S. don’t get the food they need every day. Help end childhood hunger and visit nokidhungry.org. With our support, this organization is working to ensure that every kid in America has access to healthy food!

What is your favorite donut to get from California Donuts?

screen-shot-2016-11-18-at-2-05-16-pmLike my outfit, find it below:

X-Boyfriend Tee, J Brand Jeans, Tory Burch Flats

Boxfox – The Ultimate Gift Box

Running out of gift ideas this holiday season? No need to stress about getting that perfect something anymore. With gift boxes, you get to give a whole box of goodies! At Boxfox they have adorable pre-curated boxes for you to choose from and their holiday themed boxes are amazing! You can also design your own gift box out of their wide variety of items. These boxes are the perfect gift for both men and women.

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I designed this particular box for a girlfriend of mine. It’s packed with a cute little notepad, well-kept wipes, caramel popcorn, matches, and a candle from the little market. They also provide you with the cutest little cards that they will handwrite for you or you can do yourself!

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My favorite part about BoxFox is that it incorporates The Little Market, an online fair-trade shop that sells beautiful products by artisans all around the world. There are many Little Market candles to choose from but if you head to https://www.thelittlemarket.com you can read more about it and see that there is more than just candles to choose from!

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A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.

Not only does this candle do a lot of good for the artisans and their families, but it also serves as a reminder that lifting others up is never a bad thing. Try and light up someone’s day today whether it’s simply with a compliment or by helping them accomplish something and tell me about it below!  screen-shot-2016-11-18-at-2-05-16-pm

Fall Clothes in LA

Don’t get me wrong, I love everything about LA weather. It’s the bomb. But I am starting to grow cobwebs in the fall/ winter clothes section of my closet, and I live for that section. Luckily I live close to the water so it’s easy to whip out my heavy jackets once in a while but I put together a short list of my fall favorites. These four key pieces are LA approved and don’t leave ya sweating when you wish you were shivering.

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1. An ultra thin long-sleeve top.

I got this turtle neck from top shop but it is thin enough to keep me cool. Any other thin long sleeves or even some sheer options work well!

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2. Knee High Boots.

These are kind of a staple in LA’s wardrobe. I have two pairs and wear them as often as possible. You can easily dress them up or down and they are perfect for fall!

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3. A lightweight vest.

Vests are you friend!! I love them so much especially now living in LA. It’s an accessary that can really put the finishing touches on an outfit without being as heavy as a winter coat.

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4. A big handbag.

Something about fall makes me always need to be carrying a giant tote or handbag. I always feel like this season is full of surprises so my handbag should be too! This KateSpade bag is my go to. I just love how clean and simple it is.

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Here are a few options for a similar look:

Even though I’m trying to make use of most of my fall wardrobe there are so many pieces that I just don’t need anymore. It’s good to go through your closet and pick out a few pieces that you haven’t worn in a while and take them to Goodwill. Not only will you be decluttering your closet you’ll also be helping people in need.

Learn how to donate here: http://www.goodwill.org/donate-and-shop/donate-stuff/

What are some of your favorite fall clothes?

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