Some Random Things I’d Like To Recommend

I do not consider myself an expert on pretty much anything, let alone what you should be spending your money on. But! Here are a few of my favorite things as of late, Oprah-style, should you be interested. Sure wish I could give them away to each and every one of you. YOU get a Uniqlo shirt! YOU get all-natural deodorant!

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This Uniqlo shirt — The high neck and half-sleeve make my neck and arms look long and slim, and the material and ribbing are soft. Plus, it’s 10 freaking dollars.

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Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders — I am a big Saunders fan, but this novel really blew me away. It is unusual and touching and funny and sad and I’ve thought about it a lot since reading it.


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Schmidt’s Sensitive Skin Deodorant Stick
— If you’re anything like me, you’ve been desperately seeking a natural deodorant that doesn’t leave you smelling like a gym sock or make your pits burn. This one works great for me! I have the geranium scent.

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Numi Rooibos Chai Tea
— I love making my own Chai tea, but I am often lazy and want tea right NOW. This caffeine-less rooibos tea has a nice balance of spices and tastes great with a little dollop of honey.
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Volunteering or Giving to Planned Parenthood
— I’m a volunteer and a donor and it’s awesome, and you should be, too!

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Some Random Things I’d Like To Recommend

Homemade Chai Tea

chai tea

I LOVE chai tea, and have for a long time. When it’s approaching cold out my love just multiplies, and now it is prime chai drinking time. I step into snob territory when I order it out, usually snubbing the store-bought syrups (waaay too sweet). One of my favorite places to order it in LA is Antigua Coffee House, a neighborhood stop that makes it’s own tea blend and steeps it fresh.

But nothing is better than making your own. For no good reason I haven’t made real chai for a while, and I finally went by Spice Station and picked up their Masala Chai mix. You can easily make your own– they just blend whole green cardamom pods, black peppercorns, crushed dried ginger, crushed cinnamon stick, cloves and star anise. This recipe is a good place to start if you’re buying your spices separate.

Below is how I prepared it based on my taste. It’s easy to tweak based on your chai preferences, and you can store it in your fridge so that you can have a homemade chai at a moment’s notice.

chai tea

Homemade Chai Tea
Makes 6 cups

2/3-3/4 oz whole spice Masala chai mix (see above)
4 slices of fresh ginger
6 cups water
6 black tea bags or equivalent loose-leaf tea
1/4 cup raw sugar (or less)
milk or non-dairy substitute

Place spices (except fresh ginger) and water in a medium to large pot. Bring to a boil, decrease heat and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes. Add ginger when there’s 5 minutes left. Turn off heat and add tea bags and sugar (use less or more depending on how sweet you like it). Stir and let steep for 7 minutes.

Remove tea bags. Stir again to make sure the sugar has dissolved. If you are drinking it right away, add about 2 cups of milk– start with less and add more based on color and taste. Re-heat, and then strain as you pour into each cup.

I like to make a whole batch and store it in a bottle to be doled out over the next week or two (if it lasts that long). Just leave out the milk and carefully strain your brew into an airtight bottle or container. It will keep for a couple of weeks. When you’re ready to drink, just use your mug to measure– full it to 2/3 full for each cup you want to heat up. Add milk and heat up on the stove or in the microwave.

chai tea

Homemade Chai Tea

The Village Bakery & Cafe

I was meeting a friend for a much-needed catch up breakfast, and decided on The Village Bakery & Cafe in Atwater Village. Their food is always solid and the space is very inviting. I especially love their big pastry case full of sweets and their friendly staff. Obviously, the pastry case got to me.

Village Bakery and Cafe

Village Bakery and Cafe

They have these baked donuts that trick me into thinking that they’re healthy enough to get two. Two was too many, but they were both delicious. I also got a chai, which was really too many sweet things. It’s a dessert all on it’s own. To sum up: order one of these things, and you’ll be a happy duck.

The Village Bakery & Cafe