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Half full travel


Guest Post | Pinneapple Almond Upside-down Bars

Hello Darlings!

Today I am so excited to host another great guest post. Remember the Chocolate dipped Tahini cookies I posted a few weeks ago inspired by the master mind behind Half Full? Well today I am happy to present the source of the inspiration herself! She so kindly agreed to custom make a wonderful recipe for our blog that will make you salivate. Enjoy!

Hello lovelies! This is Ruby of Half Full, writing to you from my quaint blue terrace in Tangier, Morocco. When Valerie and I first started chatting, we were both so inspired by how the blogging community can bring together people from different cultures and places around the world. Even though she's all the way in Puerto Rico and I've somehow landed headfirst in North Africa, we are connected by common loves of new recipes, making lists, and taking painstakingly perfect still-life pictures of food & crafts. Sometimes the internet is just magic. 

In honor of our international home-bases, I've created a treat for you guys combining flavors from breezy tropical Puerto Rican beaches and the bizarre cultural melting pot of Tangier. Gathering the ingredients for this recipe also allowed me to use my favorite french word with three different fruit vendors until I finally found un ananas that wasn't overripe or overpriced. It's all in the little achievements. 

However, these Pineapple Almond Upside-Down Bars, if I do say so myself, turned out to be a pretty grand achievement. I mean, you already can't go wrong with fresh pineapple drenched in butter and brown sugar, but to add my own little flair to a classic recipe, I turned the base into a dense & nutty Moroccan style cake, rich with ground almonds and sticky sweet dates. Not only does this make the bars slightly healthier and heartier than the traditional yellow-cake base, but it adds a depth of flavor that will make you go back for seconds. And thirds. Until the entire pan of bars disappears down to the last crumb in a single day. 

Pineapple Almond Upside-Down Bars (gluten-free & vegan)

makes 12 servings

1/2 fresh pineapple, cut into rings
1 oz vegan margarine/your preferred butter substitute 
45g (1/4 cup) brown sugar
150g (1 cup) almonds, ground finely in a food processor
105g (3/4 cup) rice flour
110g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 oz. vegan margarine
1 1/4 cup vanilla soy or almond milk
8 pitted medjool dates, processed in a food processor until roughly blended
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Preheat your oven to 375º F and grease an 11x7" rectangular pan.

Melt the 1 oz of margarine and mix together with brown sugar. Spread the mixture evenly across the bottom of your pan and lay pineapple slices on top. Set aside.

In a saucepan, melt together the margarine and almond milk and let sit until lukewarm. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the ground almonds, rice flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the wet into the dry ingredients, add pureed dates and mix until combined. Quickly whisk in the apple cider vinegar and pour batter over the pineapple slices in your prepared pan. Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until the middle is set and doesn't jiggle to the touch. Let the bars cool for at least 30 minutes before carefully carving around the edges and flipping onto a flat serving plate or cutting board. Slice into bars and enjoy!

Sending love from Morocco to wherever you may be in the world.

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Tips for packing light | What to pack when speaking at a conference

Packing for my trip to LA

Hello darlings! 

This past week I got to travel between San Juan, New York and Los Angeles, which is every city girl's dream, right? 

The reason  I went to California is that I was fortunate to be the keynote speaker a young women's conference. I was excited and a bit nervous. To knock off at least part of the nervousness I decided to be well prepared and to dress the part. However, I don't like to overpack and extensive traveling in the past few years have thought me a few things that I would love to share with you.

Today I have joined a fellow blogger Ruby Josephine from

half full travel blog

(who also happens to be an avid traveller and a dance teacher in Morocco) to write a series full of tips for different kind of traveling experiences. Check her

blog post

about permanent back-packing! 

Today's post is how to pack for a conference or for a speaking engagement. 

Before starting to pack:

-decide if you want to pack in a carry-on or in a bag that you will check in. Most airlines allow one free bag (50lbs). 

For this post I will use a carry-on because it saves me time when I arrive and I can save some bucks when the airline does not offer in-state first free bag service.

1. Start with "the one": 

Usually it is easier to pack after you decide what favorite piece for this trip is. You can also prioritize a particular color scheme and build outfits from there. 

For this trip I chose a color scheme that I am really into right now and that in many ways consists of neutrals and I just brought pieces to add color. 

2. Build outfits with the 2 for 1:

 Once you have your favorite pieces, start building outfits including at least 2 multifunctional bottoms (like a black skirt or cute pair of jeans). This is important because this is how you save space. By packing pieces that you can use more than once and that you can pair with different tops, making each other look completely diverse from the next.

3. Pops of color:

 Choosing a color palette that include mostly neutrals may seem boring at first but it is here where the fun begins. In order to complete your look make sure you pack: 

- colorful statement jewlery which could include at least 2 necklaces, bangles, 2 pairs of earrings and perhaps a nice watch. 

I usually pack a pair of funky earrings for a fun after party meal or drink with new friends, a pair of classic pearls for when I want a more polished look and a pair of hoops for a casual traveling day. But I just happen to love earrings so take this simply as an example. 

- bold lipstick and nail polish: this a very simple way to add color and interest to your overall  look. Plus lipstick does not take a lot of space.

When going to a conference as a speaker I like to do my nails in gel so it will last. This is a simple unwritten rule that many women follow. I am not fully aware of why that is but my guess is that we get a small sense of accomplishment and care for our own self when our nails look pretty. I have recently discovered an Essie "nail bar" in the swanky drugstore of our neighborhood. They do gel polish as well as regular nail polish and I am very happy with their services. 

-At least one scarf and/or cardigan: Feel free to play it bold here since this is the removable part of your outfit. 

Note: conferences are usually held in climate controlled places that can get cold. This is why you should always bring a sweater, cardigan, shawl, or just a cute light cape. 

- a nice purse that will hold all your essentials like: a bottle if water, lip balm and/or lip gloss, your tablet or anything else in which you carry your notes, a snack and your phone (I may add a camera and/or an extra layer) 

-Hair accesories: think a hat, head band or a statement headpiece that looks elegant while setting you apart as a stylish person. 

-Shoes: This is another simple and unexpected way to add color to your outfits. However, shoes do take space so hopefully I can help you how to do it right. 

4. Shoes:

 It is said that "Cinderella is The proof that a pair of shoes can change your life" and maybe it won't change your life per se but it will definitely make your outfit. Having the right shoes is like having the right underwear, it can bring your outfit from average to great. 

The 3 shoe formula:

- pack a pair of flats, a pair of nice heels and a pair of running shoes (if you like to work out to release the stress of having to speak) or walking shoes

Note: depending of where you are going you may want to replace your flats for strapy sandals. 

This 3 shoe formula has worked wonderfully for me in most weekend conference trips. I think the hard part is to choose which pair of flats to pack. I would suggest to pack a 

solid but colorful

pair of flats that will complement every outfit you plan to wear them with. 

5. Extra space saving tips:

 in a blogger chat we agreed to say that "the" best way to pack is to roll your clothes as oppose to folding it because it allows for more to fit. 

Put all your product in travel size bottles, keeping in mind the complementary ones that you will receive from the hotel where you will stay. Another way to save space is to not bring anything and do a small shopping run to get travel size things that you will need for the weekend. 

Note: most hotels offer a lot more travel size products than the ones displayed in the bathroom of their rooms and are only available upon request. When you call the front desk they can inform you of complementary (nice way of saying FREE) things that you can have brought to your room. 

Bring your hair styling hot tools, except a hair dryer because every standard hotel room in North America has one. A clothing iron is usually included as well. This will save you space. 

6. Extra travel savy tips: 

-After clearing the security check point, I usually buy a bottle of water that I put in my bag to have in my hotel room as I get situated and settle in. Water bottles in hotel rooms tend to be overpriced (even more than the airport ones ha!)

-I pack energizing munchies that can also serve to boost my immune system.  

- If you are a blogger, speaker or coach of some sort make sure to bring your business cards and be ready to make friends. 

I have met wonderful people on the road and I was happy to have a business card to share my information. 

- Most speakers are required to be there earlier, which allows for down time to rest and go over notes, explore the premises or the city even. Remember this possibility when you pack. 

While you explore be conscious of your look because chances people will be excited to meet you and will be taking pictures with or of you at all times and you always want to look your best. It may sound vain but those are the images they will share on social media, those are the images people will remember about you. 

What do you pack for something like this? Let me know your best packing tricks! 

Also here is a

great post

I found about making your blow out last longer that can be useful  during a conference because you may be running from one session to the next and let's face it it gives extra time to mingle! 

Packing for my trip to LA



featuring a

black satchel handbag