Hey All, I hope you are having a splendid week despite all the craziness in the world right now. This week has been a complete whirlwind for me and I have totally been losing track of days because we have half the apartment packed so it’s Wednesday right?
Happy National Gluten Free Day! I can’t believe I almost missed it! I need to give a shout out to one of my favorite skincare lines, Hale & Hush, for reminding me.
Stay tuned for a full post on their products soon! I know that my usual post day is Thursday, but what kind of Gluten Free Blogger would I be if I didn’t post today? And what is a holiday without cake? So today I plan to do both.
Cake in a mug? Heck Yes!
I don’t know about you, but I love cake! Sometimes I don’t want the hassle of making a whole cake and then of course there’s the pressure to eat it all before it gets wonky. There’s nothing worse than wanting cake and having it be a dry mess. As any gluten free baker already knows, once a cake hits 3 days it’s crumble city. I usually make cupcakes and half or quarter the recipe so I have just enough for a couple days, but I’ve already packed half my kitchen, so I was just about to go look for a box when I ended up with another plan.
I was talking to one of my gluten free besties this afternoon, Deidre, as we do most Wednesdays and we got to talking about mug cakes, and I thought to myself: “Well there you go Melissa, you don’t even have to unpack anything to bake something today!” (Thanks Dee….you are a genius! Love you!)
So off to the pantry I went and after staring for a bit I decided on making a coffee cake as I just so happen to be out of powdered sugar which is an essential ingredient in both my vanilla and chocolate mug cake recipes.
Coffee cake is another one of my favorites because I’m a sucker for a crumble and I love that brown sugar and cinnamon combo. I decided to pump it up a little with some Flavor God Gingerbread Cookie Topper. I use this stuff so much, it's great in coffee and pancakes and now as I found out today it’s also great in coffee cake.
A couple tips before I share my recipe with you:
Got everything? Great! Let's Go!
Mix 1/2c + 1 T Gluten Free Baking Mix (I used Bob’s Red Mill because it’s still my favorite) with 2T Brown Sugar with 3T melted butter, coconut oil or ghee in a small bowl and stir until combined. (Don’t mind my picture as all I have out still is my medium pyrex.) I used some amazing brown butter ghee that my fiance Sam made in the instant pot. I’ll have to have him guest blog about that sometime soon!
I hope you enjoyed my quick and easy recipe! Let me know your favorite quick desserts in the comments! See you next week!
"Life is a lot like jazz... it's best when you improvise." George Gershwin
I had the perfect post planned for this week! I had heard amazing things about the Schär bagels so when I finally found some, I picked them up right away and was planning on making them a couple different ways and reviewing them for you. I was so excited! I got some cream cheese and lox and set Sunday as the day to take photos, nosh and write out an outline for my review…and then...this happened:
My Planning Hobby
I have a little confession to make. I can be a bit of a control freak. I have been all my life. It is something that I have been working on and has been getting better, but it still tends to manifest itself in planning. I am a planning enthusiast. I have lists of lists and planner books and journals, pinterest boards and all the things. My business plans are in beautiful folders and are updated regularly. Whenever we go on a trip I’m the one with the binder and I would make long term goals for everything. Then 2020 happened. Sam and I joke that one of the greatest oxymorons of our age is a 2020 planner.
As an aside, I actually did alter my 2020 planner into one for 2021 (Thanks to my trusty Cricut, printer, some old magazines and decoupage skills):
....And Then 2020
I was on the verge of having the best year of my career in 2020 with appointments, photo shoots and fashion shows booked out months in advance. I had big dreams of going mobile with my business and converting an RV into a mobile luxury spa. In my personal life, some things were rough due to a very unexpected death in the family, but other than that shock things were going pretty much “according to plan”. Sam and my upcoming wedding was planned to the tiniest detail and everything was going along pretty swimmingly until the end of March...and we all know what happened to all of my perfect plans then.
It started off with me being grateful for the “extra time off” to get my beloved RV project off the ground, but soon a few weeks turned into a month, turned into 3 months and I watched the date for my (again well planned) Grand Opening come and go. As the days turned into weeks and then turned into months I realized I needed to prepare for not going back to my “normal” practice anytime soon.
The rest of the year passed in a bit haze. I attempted to shift my practice fully online and spent a ton of money doing so. I bought professional equipment, paid for a new HIPAA safe telehealth platform and paid for a lot of advertising to stay afloat, so when my clients didn’t follow and I wasn’t reaching new ones I spiraled into a pretty dark place. It wasn’t pretty and if it weren’t for my amazing family I don’t know what would have happened to me. Full disclosure: I was so depressed I didn’t get out of bed many days and when I did it took a miracle for me to do anything but sit on the couch. It’s exhausting when you put yourself out there and it feels like nobody cares.
On top of that awfulness in my business and the feeling that I was losing myself, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. They luckily still caught it early, but she still needed to have surgery and radiation. My mom is my hero and one of my best friends and that gutted me even further, but I was able to pull myself together enough to put together a supplement and herb plan and give her some acupuncture treatments. Then, completely mentally exhausted, I ended up back in bed for about a week.
It was during that week, after watching a ton of movies with makeovers I realized I needed my own. Not a “take your glasses off and put on makeup and a new dress” kind of makeover, more of a “change your environment and change your life” kind of makeover.
Once I started looking into opportunities outside Oregon things started moving quickly in a positive direction. The question was...if I don't stay in Portland, where do I go?
I’ve lived in Oregon my entire life (minus a year when I attempted to go to film school...long story for another time) and I've lived in the Portland Metro since I was 18. Somewhere around mid 2018 it stopped feeling like home, but I was scared to do anything about it. After crashing and burning this year so hard I realized that I needed a change of scenery to find out what’s next. Sam has been wanting to move back to California for a while, and after talking it over with him we decided to use this as an opportunity to start over. It hasn’t been without emotional challenges; it really is so hard to watch everything you worked for get sold off or put into storage. Anyone who has gone out of business will tell you the same. It feels personal even though, deep down, I know it’s not.
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that there are far too many things that you can’t plan for. I know that my story is nowhere near the worst tale of 2020 and I am very aware and grateful for my privileges that offer me options and opportunities that others may not have, but I still feel like my world has exploded. I am so very aware of the loss and grief we are experiencing as a nation and am no way trying to make light of it with toxic positivity. I am only sharing my own personal experience. Please don't take my casual nature and optimism as me being flippant about everything that is going on right now. 2020 was a legit dumpster fire.
Now in 2021, for the first time in my life, I am going to a new place without much of a plan in place. I am truly improvising for the first time in my life. I'm scared to death, but I'm excited to finally be letting go of the past, and right now I feel like not knowing every single step is ok. I guess the point of this post was to share with you the idea that improvising and making things work can be difficult, but the outcome can be just as tasty (or maybe even more so) than your original plans.
Ok, so that’s not entirely true...because I did give my Facebook page a little makeover (they still won’t change my page name, but hopefully soon..) and redid the design of my client portal this morning to fit my new branding!
As many of you know, as of midnight last night my previous company (an acupuncture and skincare clinic) has officially been dissolved. It truly is the end of an era and while I am no stranger to change, it seems like kind of a big shift this year in particular. I am still me though, maybe even more so now, as I am free of all of my expectations of my former life and business. So Happy 2021 everyone!
If you know me in “real life” you will already know that I am practically a professional goal setter and always have been. I am always working toward something. That’s why resolutions have always bugged me. Goals can be adapted and changed as needed while resolutions are rigid concepts that set you up for failure. Which leads us right to the purpose of this little blurb.
The main reason for this post is my complete frustration with the concept of New Year’s Resolutions, especially when it comes to our society’s obsession with losing weight.
It seems to start earlier every year, doesn’t it? The increase in people talking about starting a new diet or “lifestyle change,” subtle (and some not-so-subtle) fat shaming on TV and blatant fat shaming on the internet. I don’t know about you, but even with my very clear fat-positive outspoken stance online I still get targeted for the most awful weight loss ads. I know it’s because I am larger than what society deems “appropriate” that I am inundated with this B.S. constantly, but even some of my smaller-bodied friends have reported to me receiving similar messaging.
As much as diet culture tries to chip away at our self esteem and make us feel “less than,” it seems to be especially pervasive post holiday. This whole concept of “New Year, New Me” and resolutions in general have really been, for a lack of a better term, pissing me off for a few years now.
Since I began my journey to self love and self acceptance, I have become hyper-aware of these messages and they really rub me the wrong way. I’ve had many conversations with peers and we have come to a similar conclusion: The new and increasingly invasive ways that advertisers can target people are making things harder and harder to avoid.
Diet culture is EVERYWHERE you look, from television, magazines, online and of course friends and family that perpetuate these stereotypes. The diet industry is a multi-billion dollar juggernaut and shows no sign of slowing down, if anything it is getting more creative.
One thing I’ve noticed in the past couple years is the word “diet” has been slowly changing into words like: “lifestyle”, “cleanse” and “clean eating.” These are not plans, but thinly veiled euphemisms. There is no difference between these and diets and, as I have always said, diet is a 4 letter word.
So how do we fix it?
That’s a really big question (pun intended).
Fighting fatphobia is an ongoing battle for me as a large woman in my own everyday life, and it’s only compounded by existing in the beauty and wellness space. I’m by no means perfect and I have my bad days just like everyone else. Sometimes the messages just get to you and make you begin to doubt, but I have made a conscious effort to say something when I see something. While I am only an expert in my own personal experience, I would love to offer some resources for further reading. Below are some great resources about fatphobia and weight stigma that I think you might enjoy:
First, here is a fantastic intro to the concept of weight stigma and fatphobia: https://thebodyisnotanapology.com/magazine/weight-stigma-101/
Here is great guide for allyship that is easy to read and helpful to send to people: https://www.vice.com/en/article/mb4e7n/how-to-treat-fat-people-ally-fatphobia
Here is a wonderful list of other bloggers and social media accounts you may want to follow:
If you have any other resources to share please add them in the comments below!
Once again, I want to say Happy New Year to you and remind you that you are amazing no matter your size!
P.S. Just wanted to bring in one more perspective from my Chinese Medicine background: If we are truly living in harmony with the seasons, winter is the time to rest and renew, not push for huge goals. I plan to write all about the winter season in Chinese Medicine in another post very soon, but just wanted to mention it here to get you thinking!
Melissa is a self proclaimed geek glam girl with a passion for gluten free food, self care rituals and beauty products. She is in the process of relocating from Portland, Oregon to Bay Area, CA