Monday, April 30, 2012

{pumpkin cupcakes | gluten-free goodies}

Pumpkin Cupcakes w/ Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

1 cup brown rice flour or sorghum flour
1 cup organic light brown sugar
3/4 cup tapioca starch
1/2 cup organic white cane sugar
1/4 cup almond flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking power 
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger                                         For the frosting: 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon                                        2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt                                                   4 oz cream cheese, softened 
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg                                         2-4 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup canned organic pumpkin
2 organic free-range eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350*F. Line a 12-muffin pan with cupcake liners.

In a large mixing bowl, wisk together the brown rice flour, light brown sugar, tapioca starch, almond flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, sea salt, & nutmeg.

In another bowl, mix together the sugar & eggs, until well combined. Add in the pumpkin & vanilla; beat well. Stir in the dry ingredients, & mix gently until smooth.

Spoon the cake batter into the 12 cupcake liners & smooth out the tops.

Bake in the center of a pre-heated oven for 22-25 minutes or so, until the tops are firm but springy. Cool in the pan briefly, until the cupcakes are cool enough to handle. Then remove them from the baking pan & cool on a wire rack.

Frost & enjoy!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

{get ready for some recipes!}

Hi there!

Before I get to the point of this post--remember how I said I ran for the first time in months the other night?


{and I never say y'all}

I am SO sore!  I literally screamed when I got out of bed yesterday morning & limped like a wimp all day. Just proves how really out of shape I am ;)  I'm still sore today.

Moving on...

So for my final graphic design project this year, I had to design my own cookbook! Can you guess what I chose? ;)

I attended a gluten-free baking class back in January & it was so much fun!  I made a date with myself & hopped over to Cambridge for the day. I didn't know how many people had signed up; I was a little afraid I'd be the only one! :) Fortunately about ten people came, all with their own gluten-free story. Some were there because their kids have Celiac, some were there because a friend has Celiac, and some were there because they have Celiac. It was a great mix of people!

Once we arrived, we all got a packet of seven recipes that we would be baking during the class. We all split off into pairs & got to work!  The recipes in my cookbook are from the class :)

Here's where the good part comes in: I will be posting the recipes here! I've baked & tested them all, so I promise they're all great! So without further ado...let me introduce:

I'll post the first recipe on Monday!

Have a lively weekend!

Friday, April 27, 2012

{fashion friday}

Like last Friday, I'm going to tell you about another new buy of mine that I am obsessed with :)

Colored jeans are ALL the rage these days. I think they are so fun! I've seen purple, blue, teal, yellow, red, green. I love every color.

Before I walked into Gap last weekend, I promised myself NOT to buy anything. Because I really don't need any more clothes. But then I saw the colored jeans rack & I got grabby hands. I needed them.

I've been searching for red jeans for a while now, so I went straight for them. Unfortunately, they didn't have my size, but I did try on the yellow. I almost bought them, but my sister said I would blind people, so...I left the store empty-handed ;)

But since I knew the pants fit me...I took my colored-jean-grabby-hands & bought myself a pair online.

I'm seriously in love with them. They're much softer than the normal jean material...almost like leggings. So not only are they super comfy, but they're so so stylin' ;)

FYI...this isn't sponsored & I'm not being paid to say this. Just sharing the love :)

You can buy them here:

Here's two outfits from my week...
{outfit one: vest from anne taylor, shirt from j.crew, jeans from nordstrom, ralph lauren boots}
{outfit two: shirt i stole from my sister :) maybe H&M? skirt from gap, shoes from target}
And lastly...look what I did last night!
I RAN. I embarrassed myself--since I'm so out of shape--but I did it.

My sister & I were hired to sing at a wedding in Jamaica in a few weeks, so we've decided that this is the perfect reason to kick our you-know-whats in gear. We need to some bikini-ready bodies for the beach! 

Happy Friday! 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

{rooms i'm loving}

Are you all on Tumblr?  I am...& I love it!  I follow lots of decor blogs, & I've been lusting over a few interior design photos.

How gorgeous is this room? I ADORE that couch, especially the soft pink hue, & the fun throw pillows. I'm also loving that simple, but very chic, side table. And we all know how I feel about those photographs & artwork on the wall...

Oh my gosh. This room. The rounded brick ceiling. The elegant mauve drapes. The curved windows & that marvelous door. Love.

How amazing is this apartment? That rounded doorway is amazing! Exposed brick = yes please.

{source wasn't given}

Who else wants to take a bath in that tub? I love colorful rooms...but I'm totally digging this white bathroom. The delicate chandelier looks beautiful & is the perfect wow-factor. I also adore the simple light fixture above the sink, the vintage scale, & the candle-filled faux fireplace. And is it just me or does the shutter give anyone else a storybook-home vibe?

Who else has room envy?? If you're not on Tumblr...join! You'll be addicted in thirty seconds ;)

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

{wishful wednesday}

First things first: I have seven days left of the semester. Holy. Moly. Guacamole.

Now onto my wishes...

1. Arrow Necklace. 
I would wear this all the time! And not just because I'm a Hunger Games fan :)
Simple, but cute.

2. Floral bathing suit.
One pieces are coming back, girls. This suit looks like a painting! Love the print, hate the price.

3. Kelly Moore Camera Bag
OMG. I need this bag. The Libby Bag. Like, now.
It can even fit my 15inch laptop, with room for lenses & wallet to spare :)

4. A manicure & pedicure. 
I will spare you pictures of my hands & feet :)

{pale blue is my favorite toe color in the summer}

What's on your wish list? 
If you have a blog, grab the graphic at the top & link me!

{sisterly love}

Yesterday, my sister proved, yet again, how much she rocks. Twice.

She called, & before I could even open my mouth & say hello, she asked, "Liv? What are you doing?"

Me: "Watching tv...why?"

Sister: (sighing in relief) "Oh, okay. Good." She paused for a beat. "It's just...I saw that your college just called the house, but I didn't answer in time. They didn't leave a message, and I worried...Just wanted to make sure you're okay."

Me: "Well, actually....I'm watching tv in my hospital room, so..."


Sister: "No you're not. That's not funny." Then she hung up ;)

Still...she called.

After I wrote yesterday's post, I cried.

Sobbed, actually. Big, heaving sobs. The kind that made me use paper towels--not tissues--to soak up the tears. And the kind that made me laugh when I looked in the mirror...because my eyes were puffy & red & I looked so ridiculous I couldn't help but laugh.

And then I called my sister & hiccuped my way through explaining why I was crying.

Here's when you know you have a good sister:

I texted her: you awake?
Sister: going to bed.
Me: can i call?

I didn't wait for her response, but instead just hit her speed dial. She answered & immediately sensed the tears. "What's wrong?" she asked in slight panic. "Why are you crying?"

I explained & she listened. At 12:13 in the morning, seconds from going to sleep, she listened to me cry happy tears about being okay with celiac. She didn't tell me I was crazy, or weird, or make me feel embarrassed. She has celiac too, so she gets it. But even if she didn't have celiac, she'd get it.

And that's what makes her the best.

Wishful Wednesday will be up in a bit :)

{and after these last two posts, I'm putting sappy Liv back in the drawer for a while. you're welcome.}

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

{on celiac disease}

{I've had a post written for two weeks that I keep bumping from day to day. It was supposed to finally get posted today, but I'm bumping it yet again. Because I think I've finally had a breakthrough.}

I have 100% completely, totally, come-to-terms-with & accepted having Celiac Disease. Not only that, but I feel good about it. Happy. I'm no longer sad or annoyed about it.

I realized this when someone asked me the good ol' question of: "If I could grant three wishes for you--right here, right now--what would you wish for?"

Three years ago, I would have used ALL THREE wishes on not having Celiac anymore. And you know what?


Not having Celiac is at the way bottom of my list.

That's all for today.


Monday, April 23, 2012

{exciting news!}

On Friday, I officially signed my first apartment lease!  I John-Hancocked & initialed about fifty pages, but it was well worth it :)

I signed a 12-month lease, but since I'll be spending my last semester of college in Los Angeles, I'll only be in this place for seven months.  {A friend is subletting from me for the spring semester, & I'll have it back for summer.}  I walked through it last week & I am SO excited to start thinking about how I'll decorate it. It's on an adorable brick-lined street, in a very safe neighborhood downtown, & walkable to both school & my go-to gluten-free grocery store. In short: perfect.

We're on the ground level--so from the sidewalk, we walk down three steps--and my apartment number is a half!  I've never seen that before, but my address is 381/2. I thought that was totally cute :)

The best part about it?  In the backyard, there is a little fenced-in brick patio!  I'm giddy over the fact that I'll be able to eat & read outside on warm nights. I'm already thinking about stringing bulbed-lights on the fence.

I'll probably get my furniture from IKEA...simply because they're stuff is good quality, affordable, &...IKEA rocks :)  I move in September 1st.

I've only met my roommate once...she posted on our college's online tackboard that she needed a roommate, & I jumped for it. {All of my close friends are seniors & graduating, so I unfortunately can't live with them.} But she seems super nice. We both look at the apartment as a place to go home & relax in; aka...not the party house.  I think it'll work out great!

I'm just thrilled to be out of DORMS!!

Have a lively Monday!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

{in bloom}

I walked through the gardens on the way to my realtor's office yesterday, and there were TONS of gorgeous flowers in bloom. I was snapping pictures like crazy.

Just some florals to brighten up your Saturday...

I love flowers {obviously}. Funny story: Last weekend, when my sister & I were walking around the city, I stopped about ten times to take pictures of flowers. On the eleventh time, she said, "I don't get it, Liv. I guess flowers just don't speak to me as much as they speak to you." Haha!  I explained that even though I take lots of photos of flowers, it's not because they "speak" to me per se. It's mainly to get more comfortable with my camera & lenses :)  That, & the pictures are nice to look at.  

Here's one of my favorite flower photos that I've ever taken. I took it when I visited Pittsburgh last August:

{at the phipps conservatory} 

I have some fun real estate news that I'll be sharing on Monday :) Enjoy the rest of your weekend! 

Friday, April 20, 2012

{fashion friday}

In addition to Wishful Wednesday, I'm going to do a themed post each friday. Introducing...

For today's Fashion Friday, I'm going to tell you about my current shoe obsession: my faux Toms.

I'd like to begin by saying that Toms is a wonderful company. Their promise to donate one pair of shoes per every purchase is an inspiring action. They help SO many kids in need around the world.

However...I don't have $54 {& up} lying around for a pair of shoes. I definitely splurge on some pairs, but not on Toms.

Low & behold...last summer, I found these in TJMaxx:

Don't they look almost identical to TOM's??  They are made by Soda, & they are super comfy & WAY more affordable.

I recently purchased another pair on Amazon in a cheery red. They came last week & have been glued to my feet since I ripped open the box. See: 

I am so tempted to get five more colors :) For $23, you can't beat that price! Bonus: they came two days after I ordered them. Win for Amazon.

And because I'm not helping TOMs' cause of donating to children in need, I always make sure to slip any extra change into the charity boxes at the grocery store {especially when I'm wearing my fake TOMs!}

Here's the link:

And here's two outfits from my week...I went a little preppy ;)

{excuse my messy floor}
{outfit one: my faux toms, old navy shirt, & gap pants}
{outfit two: target shoes, gap shirt, & j.crew skirt}

Happy shopping & have a lively weekend!

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Did you catch the premiere of HBO's new show Girls? 

I watched it this past Sunday & I may have a new favorite show!  It's hilarious, witty, charming, & incredibly realistic & honest. Girls is centered around four twenty-something girls in NYC who are trying to navigate their lives after college. { a year from now...minus NYC.}

I'm totally impressed by the lead, played by Lena Dunham. She not only stars in the show but also wrote, directed, & created it. Talk about talent!  {It's also produced by Judd Apatow, which is an automatic win in my book.}

The actresses are perfectly cast & all gorgeous. I mean...look at them!  It would be so fun to be on this show!

{all images from tumblr}

I definitely recommend this show. For those who don't have HBO {like me}, the first episode is being streamed on YouTube & HBO's website. Go watch & tell me what you think! :) 

Have a lively day!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

{wishful wednesday}

1. I want to live inside this picture. 
The dress, the hair, the Vespa, the location...all of it is fabulous.

{dress from here}

2. A Personal Cooling System. 
Yes, this looks ridiculous, but it's getting so darn hot here, I need a fan to follow me everywhere.

{photo credit}

3. Wallpaper from Anthropologie.
Wouldn't you love this in your bedroom? Either color!


4. Vanilla cake with cream cheese frosting.
Gluten-free, of course.

{photo credit}
What's on your wish list?

Have a lively Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

{my weekend}

Like I said last week, my sister came home from London! :)

On Thursday after class, I rushed over to the airport to pick her up. After she got her bags, we hugged and squealed like fools in the middle of baggage claim. It's so crazy that 8 months ago I was dropping her off in Rome...& now she's home!  She had an amazing two semesters in Europe; from her stories, it seems like she had an unforgettable experience.

We chatted until about midnight before she succumbed to jet lag...but I was relieved to find that even after all this time, we fell right back into our normal relationship. The distance didn't change anything :)  On Friday, we went into the city to walk around & grab lunch with some high school friends. The weather was gorgeous & I took a ton of pictures.

The rest of the weekend consisted of good food, shopping, & spending time with family. She drove home today, & I was sad to say goodbye {yet again!}, but she'll be picking me up in two weeks. Summer can't come fast enough!

Here are some pictures from the weekend...

{hot cocoa art from a lovely cafe near school}
{we spotted a cupcake truck & they had gluten-free cupcakes! soooo good}
{spring flowers in bloom at the public garden}

How was your weekend?

Have a lovely day!

Monday, April 16, 2012

{sleep troubles & solutions}


It's no secret that college {or high school, for that matter} is stressful. Classes, exams, papers...the list goes ON!  Some people deal with stress well; others...not so well.  Guess where I fall?

Yup--in the not so well category.  Stress causes two things for me: panic attacks & insomnia.

Starting in September I started having this little panic attacks late at night--sometimes in the middle of the night--and they were so so so annoying. I would start breathing really fast, my heart would speed up, I'd feel really hot, and I'd just have this overwhelming panicky feeling. Random things would pop in my head & I would really believe them to be true. For example, one night I convinced myself that I was going to drop out of school the next day.

See? Craziness. They would only last a few minutes {& maybe four times since September} So whenever this would happen, this is what I'd do:

1.) Turn off all the lights
2.) Lay flat on my back & relax every muscle {and put my palms facing up}
3.) Close my eyes
4.) Repeat in my head: I'm going to be alright. I'm going to be alright.

After a few minutes, I would feel fine & if it was late at night I would even fall asleep.  Since January I haven't had any, but if they return, I know how to handle them.

Another thing that stress causes is sleep troubles! Ugh. Some nights I'll go to bed at midnight but I won't be able to fall asleep until two or three in the morning. To help this problem I began this little ritual each night.  I make myself think I'm getting ready for bed around 9:00pm, so my mind would start shutting & slowing down.

First, I turn off my room's main light, but I keep the bathroom light and a lamp on so I can see. I also don't have any caffeine after 2:00pm, or a ton of sugar at night.  Then I make myself a cup of Sleepytime Extra Tea.

OMG you guys. This stuff is DIVINE.  I sometimes have two or three cups of's just that good. {And yes...I may have had some during breakfast once too.}  It doesn't need any sugar or honey...just hot water.

And then on the nights when I really have trouble sleeping, I pop in a DVD of Friends, turn the TV monitor brightness down really low, and right before I catch myself falling asleep, turn off the TV. Works like a charm.

If you have little panic attacks or sleep troubles, what works for you? Any tips? I'm always open to suggestions!

Have a lively day!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

{guess who's coming home?}

My sister!

After a nine months studying abroad, she's coming home!  :)  Words cannot describe how excited I am. She flies here {where I go to college} tonight & then will drive home on Monday. 

I visited her in London over my spring break. Wow...what an amazing city. I had never been before, but I cannot wait to go back. We visited museums, went shopping, & drank lots of tea :) Here are some pictures...

{from the London Eye}
{Tower Bridge}

{tea from the Crooked Tea House}


I'll blog about our reunion next week...

Have a lively day!