Your Fresh Face Forward

Whether you approach makeup like an off-duty professional or view it as a required daily chore-everyone’s drawer needs an annual refresher.  We offer two schools of thought below-something for everyone!

If makeup is your thing and you enjoy a large wardrobe of shadows, lip color and liners-you probably know way more than we do. IMG_4323If you have added the new colors for fall and know six different smoky eye techniques, we salute you and our advice is simple: gather all the contents of your collection on a countertop and edit.  Look for expirations dates and toss anything past it’s prime. (Common recommendations for pitching are: two years for powder, one year for foundation and three months for mascara.) At least once a month, sharpen pencils, wipe lipsticks with a bit of rubbing alcohol, and wash all makeup brushes with your face wash. If your drawers are filled with sample products, be ruthless in your sorting.  Put products you will use in travel bags and toss those that really aren’t going to be used. Carry on-you’re amazing and you no doubt look gorgeous!

If your approach to makeup is more basic, say five minutes or less, read on!  Once a year (we use our birthday as the reminder date) visit a makeup counter for a new routine.  Choose a store with good lighting if possible, such as actual windows, and as relaxed an environment as possible.  Take a tour of the department to find someone with your style of makeup-or if you have a preferred brand stop there-and let them know up front how to approach your face.  For example, we request a five minute daytime look with an easy transition (or extra step, two at the most) for nighttime.

Makeup
Follow along in a mirror, ask for instructions or written notes, and have them pull the products you like or any additional tools, such as fresh brushes, that you may need. Cut out any products or steps you know you simply will not follow on your own.  (Only take any samples offered if you absolutely 100% will use-otherwise it’s okay to politely refuse!) You’ll walk out of the store with a fresh face for the day (which is especially great if it’s your birthday) and everything you need to overhaul your drawer at home.   We toss all products from the year before, save a lipstick or two if it’s in good shape, and either clean or replace the organizers and you’re good to go!  Happy birthday!

Quick Tech 411-Good Eggs

Spend just two minutes on the  Good Eggs site and you’ll either pop in an order right away or send them an email begging they come to your community next.  At the heart of this tech company is a genuine desire to connect small food producers with consumers who value local grown and artisanal food products.

Good Eggs Order-Tues
Currently available in the Bay Area, Brooklyn, LA and New Orleans, GoodEggs provides a wide range of groceries-from produce to dairy to fish to snacks-from local farmers and producers.
 Customers select their groceries, (gluten-free, vegan or other specialty products abound) choose either pick up or free delivery (yes, free delivery) and Good Eggs handles the rest.  Their network of providers receive an email by midnight with orders for the next day, which they then deliver to the Good Eggs warehouse.  Orders are packed (reusable ice packs and insulated sleeves are part of the “lending library” which you return or leave for pick up with the next order) and sent on their way.

It’s local, it’s simple and it’s like magic when your order simply appears at your front door.  There is also the added bonus of supporting small food businesses, farmers, entrepreneurs-like the Good Eggs motto: “Better Food, More Heart.”

Here’s how to give it a try:IMG_4242

1. Visit Good Eggs and select exactly what you want

2. Choose either pick up or free delivery

3. Enjoy!

 

*Top snapshot  shows order placed in one minute on the site this morning, for delivery on  Thursday. Lower photo is last week’s delivery.

What’s For Dinner

Nearly every meal around here in September involves tomatoes from the garden.  While our go-to “burrata, tomato, basil” is always a crowd pleaser-for tonight’s family dinner we turned to one of our favorite (and well tagged) cookbooks “What Would Brian Boitano Make?” for inspiration.

BB's Book

Best know for his excellence on the ice rink, Brian began a second career as a culinary champion. Beginning in 2009, he hosted a show on the Cooking Channel (later on the Food Network), showcasing his favorite recipes to prepare in his San Francisco home for friends and family.  His cookbook features many of the same themes as the show-fresh, accessible ingredients, a straightforward approach to cooking and a generous sprinkling of his Italian heritage.  His style is relaxed and perfectly matches our Sunday mood.

Sunday nights are a favorite evening to invite neighbors or another family over for a quick catch-up before the busy week ahead.  We set a relaxed table for a one course meal-served family style, and guests often bring the dessert. The result is cocktails to clean up in under 2 hours, with very little prep.  For tonight-we are pairing Brian’s “Heirloom Tomato, Cantaloupe and Feta Salad” with  a grilled market steak and crunchy grilled french bread-an easy, relaxed meal that ensures your time is spent with your guests and not in the kitchen. Brian’s salad takes 10 minutes to prep and results in a gorgeous, colorful and delicious late summer dish that is universally enjoyed.

BB's Salad

In a bowl combine 2 cups of diced tomatoes (we mix whatever we harvest that day-heirloom, roma, cherry) ⋅  2 cups diced cantaloupe  10 leaves basil cut with kitchen scissors ⋅ 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts  ⋅ toss with dressing (3 Tbs avocado oil + 1 Tbs white balsamic vinegar)  ⋅ a little maldon flakes salt on top  enjoy

*FYI Brian’s recipe calls for 1 cup of feta cheese and we offer ours on the side so those who wish to enjoy may

à la votre (cheers)

fields-of-lavender-brian-jannsenNothing is more glorious than the south of France in the summer-when the lavender is in full bloom and the air is intoxicating. As we celebrate the last official weekend of summer (fall  begins on September 23rd ) we offer our house-made Lavender Martini and our French Se Bon playlist for you to enjoy.

We use the digital music streaming service Spotify to create a variety of playlists to suit our every mood and occasion.  You can create playlists, import your iTunes, follow other users (we recommend LiveWell_bySLD of course!) and access your music from any of your devices.

We have been experimenting with infused simple syrups in the test kitchen all summer and find they add a tremendous, natural elegance to the drinks.  The Lavendar Martini is clean,  slightly mellow and the perfect way to toast the weekend.

combine in an ice-filled shaker:  2 oz gin ⋅ 1 oz  house made lavender simple syrup ⋅ 1 dash of bitters

shake until chilled ⋅ strain into cocktail glass ⋅ add a sprig of lavender ⋅ cue the playlist and savor the moment ⋅ à la voter

 

drink

Bulletproofing It

IMG_4289We hear from our friends on the East Coast and Jimmy Fallon too, that Bulletproof Coffee has been making the rounds for a while (how did we miss this?) It’s time to brew, blend, butter and sip a cup.  

At a high level, here’s what we know: Bulletproof Coffee is a recipe formulated in 2009 by biohacker Dave Asprey with its genesis at the top of Mt Kailash in Tibet, where a revitalizing cup of yak butter tea provided a physical and mental boost and an initial spark.

By combining pure brewed coffee, unsalted butter and coconut oil in a blender, a creamy latte-like beverage is produced that by many accounts results in increased focus, improved brain and body energy, weight loss and muscle gain. Or as Jimmy Fallon said,  “you burn energy slower, longer and you don’t eat as much.”

The secret, at least partially, is in the quality of the ingredients.

First, the beans. Coffee that is cheap or high in toxins can adversely affect  brain function, mood and energy levels-clearly the opposite of what most of us would hope for. Look for local coffee that is low in toxins.

Unsalted grass-fed butter. Happy, grass-fed cows produce butter with improved nutritional properties and is a source of good cholesterol.  Basically, use better butter.

Coconut oil (or medium-chain triglyceride oil if you have that hiding in the cupboard) considered by some to be the healthiest oil on earth, naturally increases energy and metabolism.

When you blend it all together, the resulting drink, with its high calorie count, is intended as a meal replacement, not an add-on to breakfast.

So gather clean beans, better butter, coconut oil and your blender.  For simplicity we are using the Bulletproof Coffee kit-which includes the beans and MCT oil (the aforementioned medium-chain oil) and purchased butter from a local farm.

IMG_4295Let’s do this:

1. Brew coffee using Bulletproof Upgraded Coffee or other low-toxin beans

2. To a pre-heated blender, add 2 cups of coffee, 1-2 Tbs unsalted grass-fed butter, 1-2 Tbs coconut/MCT oil

3. Blend until frothy, like a latte, and enjoy

4. See how the next 6 hours go

We’ll report back how our day went after a morning dose of bulletproof-so stay tuned!  Have you tried Bulletproof Coffee? What did you think?

Feel it in your SOUL

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You have no doubt heard about SOULCYCLE the 45-minute indoor cycling workout that is part exercise, part dance party, part spiritual pump up. With crisp, clean studios in New York, Washington DC, Miami, Los Angeles and the Bay Area, the workouts  are designed to tone your entire body-especially your abs-while providing a powerful dose of affirmation, all while riding together to the beat of the music.

No matter which location you choose, the formula is consistent: cheerful check-in staff offer water and cycling shoes, lockers, restroom and showers are available and the basic etiquette is on display. (We love #3)  Soul-Etiquette-SoulCycle-1024x695In class, bikes are tightly lined in rows facing the instructor,  pre-set with towels (you will need this!) and weights (for the arm section) with staff available to help adjust your bike.  The ambiance is intense: a dim room lit by candles enclosed by walls posting inspirational words which, eventually, vibrate to the instructor’s personalized soundtrack-everything from classic rock to hip hop. The people next to you are your friendly competitors, there encourage  you to ride faster, lift heavier, and sing a little louder.  There is no chitchat allowed, however shouts and hoots are encouraged by the instructor. (Earplugs also available if the noise level is a tad much.)

Like any popular trend, this one comes with fierce loyalists and equally fierce naysayers, and it’s not for everyone. 

Soul-Cycle-Bikes-1024x768

If you’re ready to  give it a spin, here’s what we recommend:

1. Sign ups for the week open on Mondays at noon. You will be able to see immediately which are the most popular instructors. Choose a class that is less popular or at an off time-it’s less intimidating.

2. Once online, choose your bike.  Ride in the middle back row  facing the instructor-don’t hide in a corner.  Trust us on this.

3. Arrive 10 minutes before class to get oriented-when classes change over it is a frenzy-so avoid the rush.  Cycling shoes are free for your first class and are required. Two minutes before the class starts, all seats not checked in are open. This means that if you are late and don’t call ahead, your bike can be taken by a walk-in. There are no refunds.

4. Ask for help with setting your bike, even if you have taken spin or similar classes before. Make sure the weights under your seat are comfortable to use for an entire song. If in doubt go for the 2 lbs.

5. Hold your head high.  By looking down you miss the visual cues that allow you to ride with the room as a group. Try and stay with the beat, it will keep you with the group and will shift your focus from the intensity to the fun.

6. Prepare to sweat-a lot-and be sure to hydrate during class. Don’t make plans right after class-you’ll need a shower.

7. Be prepared to have fun.  While their methods are serious, and the instructors intensely trained (mandatory 12 week training) the atmosphere is energetic and fun.

Are you feeling it? Share your experience in the comments!

Twist on a Tailgate

Fight on place seettingFootball season has arrived and one of our favorite events so far was the President’s Tailgate before the USC vs Stanford game.  Traditionally hosted in the afternoon, this year’s event was remained  as a relaxed family-style breakfast full of Trojan spirit.buttons

While some celebrations require a subtle approach, events to showcase school spirit or support of an organization demand to be lived out loud and colors and logos beg to be showcased.

 

For a large seated crowd, we love the drama of servers parading out to deliver platters of innovative food for the guests to share.  Tasking guests with passing the food serves as a great ice breaker for those who may not yet be friends and makes for easy conversation.  Family-style is a particular SLD favorite for rehearsal dinners-where you are introducing people from not only two families, but many different stages of life.

table 18

Bloody Marys

Playing off the school colors, as well as the time of day, cocktail hour featured Bloody Mary’s with football garnish, Mimosas and Aqua Frescas in mango or pineapple while a coffee cart stood by Pastriesto create specialty coffees.

Once guests were seated, trays of house made pastries, french toast in shot glasses with syrup, yogurt & granola parfaits and early girl tomatoes filled with scrambled eggs were delivered and devoured!  The power breakfast strategy clearly worked as the Trojans scored a victory over The Farm later that afternoon. Fight on!

Crew at the BarAll photographs Mary Alessandra  Event Design Sarah Lucas Designs
Tent + Furnishings Classic Party Rentals    Catering Palace Cafe

Quick Tech 411 – Nextdoor

IMG_4237Think of Nextdoor as the modern day neighborhood roster, the watchful neighbor and the community bulletin board, rolled into one.

For anyone who has ever struggled to remember that neighbor’s name, Nextdoor is the app for you!  It is a free private online social network that connects you and your neighbors, allowing you to send messages, share resources and build a friendlier, safer community.

Members sign up using their real name and only those with a verified address can join and access the password protected neighborhood Nextdoor website.  There are guidelines for “neighborly behavior” as well as safety and privacy policies to ensure the power of technology is fostering better relationships.  Members have the ability to control the influx of information, use on a mobile device, view the map of members (our favorite feature) and set up emergency alerts.

Whether you want to sell an outgrown bike (hello $60), discover your street is being fogged for West Nile Virus (twice), be on the lookout for a lost pet (Ginger was returned to her owners) or find an amazing teammate to help launch your new LiveWell by SLD site (yep, we found Lindsay in our own neighborhood) Nextdoor is giving us the confidence to smile, wave & say “Hello, Tito!”

1. Visit nextdoor.com and enter the required information.IMG_4238

2. If your neighborhood is one of the  40,000+ established U.S. Nextdoor neighborhoods, you’ll be directed to the private website, if not, you can opt to create one.

3. With a verified address, out rolls the welcome mat!

If you still aren’t sold, check out this Wall Street Journal video on the important of knowing your neighbors in a disaster situation.

Cheers to the Supermoon

The final supermoon of the summer, the third in the “supermoon” trilogy this season, will light up the night on Monday (the 8th).  This September’s supermoon is also the Harvest Moon, the moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox.  A super moon is when a moon at its fullest is also at the point in its orbit closest to the Earth.  The moon appears bigger and brighter, especially when viewed near the horizon.  In honor of this lunar phenomenon, we suggest:

The White Lady

IMG_4224_2

combine in a shaker without ice:  1.5 oz gin ⋅ 1 oz contreau ⋅  3/4 oz fresh lemon juice ⋅ 1 teaspoon house made thyme simple syrup ⋅ 1 fresh egg white

shake until the white is frothy ⋅ add ice and shake until chilled ⋅ strain into cocktail glass ⋅ twist orange peel over drink then discard ⋅ toast the super moon & enjoy