Monday, September 30, 2013

[second-annual] un-official fall lineup

You guys.

It's back.

FALL, that is!
Pumpkin Spice Lattes (PSLs as the cool kids call it), college football, sweaters, scarves, boots, pumpkins, crunchy leaves and cinnamon & clove scented candles!

Who am I kidding? I live in Southern California where it's more like 80 degrees inside of an allergy bubble...but a girl can dream, can't she?

The weather may not be ready for me to bust out my collection hand knits, but inside I'm enjoying the sweet, spicy smells of my fall candle collection, [iced] pumpkin spice lattes, and the year's best in television! I love all of the must-see fall favorites creeping around the blogosphere this time of year, and I must share my own. My list has changed a bit since last year, but I'm OK with it. I'll just have to clear some more room on the DVR :) Without further ado...

[second annual] un-official fall lineup
in no particular order

[categories] drama, psychological thriller, mystery
[why I watch] I finally got around to seeing what all the fuss was about over Revenge. While I'm still behind the rest of America (trailing behind in season two), the third season is recording and ready on the DVR and I am completely hooked. Murder mysteries are kind of my thing (I own an embarrassing number of James Patterson novels), and I love the twists and turns in this show.

Side Note: It took me a long time to realize that Emily VanCamp is the same actress that played the homely looking girlfriend in Everwood. Bonus points for anyone who remembers that show... back when it was on the channel formerly known as 'Warner Brothers'.

Sons of Anarchy
[categories] crime drama, tragedy
[why I watch] Can not even tell you how (un)apologetically obsessed we are with this show. As if Charlie Hunnam wasn't reason enough to watch, the plot lines are well-developed and engaging, building upon themselves season after season. I never thought I'd find a series about biker gangs so intriguing, but I love it and will mourn it's absence after the series finale next season. 

[categories] musical, comedy-drama, teen drama
[why I watch] ...Because it's the only one on my list that's not some kind of sick, twisted thriller? Well... kind of. It's bubbly, upbeat, somewhat topical, and continually surprising.

American Horror Story: Coven
[categories] horror, thriller
[why I watch] The American Horror Story series is in its third season, and if its anything like the first two it won't disappoint! Each season is like a miniseries all its own, meaning that while the actors are the same, their characters change as does the storyline. This season centers on a group of witches in a coven, lead by Jessica Lange--an ironic twist from her role as a God-fearing Nun last season.
The Bridge
[categories] crime drama
[why I watch] OK, so technically this was a summer hit... but it's fall and still going strong! The premise is interesting and unique, looking inside the lives of two detectives, each on the other side of the border as they work together to find a serial killer. We've really enjoyed this one, and hope they leave it open for a second season.

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While the DVR is still full of countless other recordings (not at all unlike anything you've just seen!) these are my top picks for this season. What are your can't-miss fall favorites?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

september in review.

My lack of posting lately is shameful. It's so hard to believe September is coming to a close and October is lurking around the corner. It seems like just yesterday I was getting amped up about the smell of coconut and suntan lotion and here I am sipping on Pumpkin Spice Lattes and watching football. Where has the time gone?

So...what's been going on?

The weekend after my birthday, I had the most fun baking and decorating four dozen sugar cookies for a baby shower. One of Spencer's co-workers is having a little girl and I happily volunteered to make  the cookies for her shower. Despite the fact that I practiced for weeks, I still managed to wait until the day before to try my hand at some new designs. Typical, right? :) Luckily, I was pretty pleased with how they turned out... but most of all, so was the Momma-to-Be! I'm anxious to use the new pumpkin, black cat, and ghost cookie cutters I scored [on sale!] for Halloween.

a few of my favorites :) 
a pair of my signature booties for the baby girl!
of course... I saved one for myself. duh :)
In between birthday celebrations, baby knitting, and weekend baking sessions, I've been happily munching away on my favorite seasonal treats and decorating our little casa for fall. Since fall doesn't really make it's way to Southern California in the typical sense, I've been trying my hardest to bring fall to us. I've had at least a half dozen Pumpkin Spice Lattes, several handfuls of marshmallow pumpkins and pumpkin spiced M&Ms (don't knock 'em till you try 'em!), treated myself to a mani/pedi on the first day of fall, and even dusted off the old Crock Pot for some hearty, cool weather dinners (never mind the fact it's never dropped below 70 degrees outside!). Much to boyfriend's dismay, the inside of our house is decorated head-to-toe in pumpkins and gourds. Though he's not exactly wild about all of the decorating, I can't help but smile when I see the cheery bowl of mini pumpkins on our coffee table, the ceramic gourds strategically placed on the side tables, or the hand knit candy corns strewn about the living room (hooray for stash busting!). 

little basket of fall happiness that sits on our coffee table! 
the polish on my toesies might look black, but rest assured it's an autumnal shade. ;)
can't get enough of these babies!
these leaves they are a-changing. 
This weekend, I even managed to make a wreath that I'd pinned on Pinterest at least two years ago. It was well worth the wait. I like it so much, I'm toying with the idea of leaving it up year round! That might be a battle I don't win... ;) 

felt flowers are the most fun things to make. ever. 
Life on the job front is busier than ever. Luckily, I see a glimmering bit of light at the end of the tunnel. It comes in the form of a TEXAS VACATION! Hallelujah! I leave on Wednesday to visit my home state for a little R&R... though I know neither rest nor relaxation is on the already full itinerary ;) I am just thankful for the break. 

Hope you all are enjoying the last few days of September! 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

birthday goodness.

I fervently and ardently believe that sprinkles make everything taste better. Everything. 
The older I get, the more I delight in the small stuff.

Like whipped cream and sprinkles in my birthday coffee. [I am a firm believer in calories not counting on your birthday... and I definitely live up to my own standard!] I got the idea from my sweet IG buddy [Ashley] over at House of Jensen. She makes the prettiest coffee drinks and I thought... why not!? It was love at first sip.

So this is how my birthday started...fancy coffee & birthday gifts!

Ignore my lobster claws snapping a pic in the reflection :) 
Kitties LOVE crinkly wrapping paper!
Post-gift unwrapping sesh, I got dressed and we headed out for a super yummy, low-key Italian-style brunch. I had the most delicious avocado toast with a sunny side egg and roasted tomatoes. Yes, please! It was simple and heavenly. I will certainly be interpreting it at home.
Sporting a few of the birthday treats I bought for myself.
Selfie birthday presents are also a must :)
Brunch perfection.
We continued the big day with birthday shopping (yay, new riding boots!) and college football. I literally could not ask for more :)

After a quick outfit change, we were off for dinner and drinks at one of our favorite places.

Pretending like it wasn't 85 degrees outside so I could wear my fall getup. 
It was such a low-key birthday, but I enjoyed every minute of it. Twenty-eight... please be kind! :)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

the magnificent staircase.

I had to share with you guys one more special moment from our recent trip to New Mexico :)

On our way to the cabin, we stopped in Santa Fe, NM to have lunch and do a little sight-seeing. Little did I know, we were just a couple of blocks away from The Loretto Chapel, home of the famous 'Magnificent Staircase". I'd first heard about it's origins on Unsolved Mysteries (guilty!) and could hardly contain myself at the thought of getting to cross off this feat of structural engineering phenomenon from my architectural bucket list.

If you're unfamiliar with the tale, you can read more about it here. Luckily, it was early in the trip and everyone was tolerable about my moment of pure geekery in paying homage to an inanimate object. It's kind of amazing that to this day, it remains as big of a mystery to anyone as it did upon it's completion in 1878.

PS - I totally took these pictures legally, as flash photography was allowed inside. Not like that time I got snap-happy at the Sistine Chapel.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

a new mexico vacation.

I know I've kept it pretty quiet on the blog as of late, but that's just because we've been enjoying the mountains of New Mexico in sweet serenity. We've just returned home from a long holiday weekend away at boyfriend's family's cabin in New Mexico. The mountain air, lack of cell service, and general solitude of the sleepy little mountain town was exactly what the doctor ordered! 

I cannot even describe what this trip did for my soul. Just days before, I broke down in the deli of our office building. I was having an incredibly stressful week, nothing was going right, and my to-do-before-vacation list was a mile long. I was feeling overwhelmed and completely incapable of catching a break. The kind deli owner, obviously noticing my red eyes and tear-stained cheeks, complimented me on my necklace and gave me a reassuring smile. I completely lost it, right there by the Sun Chips and Red Bull. It was time to get away. 

We spent Friday through Monday up in the mountains of New Mexico, letting the stress of the previous weeks collide. We ate, drank, hiked, explored, shopped, watched bad television, and woke without an alarm every day we were there. Glorious!

One of our excursions was a hike through the pine-laden trails of our little community. [Did I mention that I'm moderately allergic to pine, and in my best efforts to avoid having a Benadryl coma for the duration of the trip, I thought ahead to have my Flonase prescription refilled? Only... the pharmacy mixed it up with the topical prescription I have for mild eczema (because that's the same?) and I didn't realize it until we were in the airport. Le sigh.] Anyway, it turned out to be totally fine and the hike was gorgeous! 

Every step of the way was postcard-worthy (as evident in this photo-heavy post). The below pictures were a few of many we snapped along the way. The rain held out until we got back to the cabin, where we enjoyed pre-dinner snacks and cocktails. Literally, I couldn't have asked for a better day :) Enjoy!