11.30.2011

hello.

I can't believe it's been a whole week since I was sitting in this chair staring at this screen. I have piles of emails to respond to, mail to open, and no less than four lists started for things I need to do (work items! groceries! cookie party! wedding stuff!). I think I need a vacation from my vacation. All I want to do is eat vegetables and nap.

Hopefully I'll be able to post pics in the next couple days from the whirlwind wedding weekend. For now, here is my favorite picture from Thanksgiving. Sitting in a comfy armchair at my parents', sipping mulled wine and watching football with my grandma. Happy place!

11.22.2011

confetti.

This weekend one of the priorities on my pre-holiday travel to-do list was decorating for Christmas. Usually this is exclusively reserved for the weekend of Thanksgiving (post turkey coma), but since we will be gone until mid next week and we are hosting our cookie party the Saturday after we get back, I wanted to make sure at least the decorating was done. Also, I’m obsessed with holiday d├ęcor so no complaints here!

I have been wanting one of these for ages, but the price tag was too steep for me. When I came across Natalie’s tutorial, I was sold. Holiday confetti tassels, here we go!

For a step by step, check out the tutorial here. I’m so happy with the way they turned out, and it was a great way to dust off my crafting before wedding madness descends.

Some pictures of the process (including my curious helper):

11.21.2011

engagement pics.

Posting will be more sporadic than usual around here for the next week and a half, as we are packing ourselves and the cat up for Thanksgiving with my family on Thursday followed by a redeye flight Thursday night to upstate New York, and D’s sister’s wedding this weekend.

We did receive our engagement photos this weekend, though, and I had to share a few. I might post more later because it’s hard to pick a favorite. Our wedding photographers Stone and Shelby are absolutely amazing!

(All photos via Stone Crandall Photography)

11.17.2011

come as you are.

This past weekend was a busy one, filled with long drives and good friends. Friday night was our dear friend's birthday (11.11.11, lucky girl!) and in honor of this special date, she and her husband threw a fundraiser/party to benefit this charity through their charity, Foundation of Joy. I made a pink velvet cake in honor of the party:

One of my absolute favorite parts of the party (I was not alone in this sentiment) was the insanely talented '90s grunge cover band that played.

Saturday D and I too a quick trip up the coast to attend our wine club's pick-up party. Solvang is so kitschy but insanely charming, and I wish we were able to spend more time there (we looked into getting a room for the night, but it was out of our budget - I guess we're saving for a wedding or something?). At the pick-up party, two acoustic guitarists were playing - ahem - more 90s music! I think I died and went to '90s heaven.

11.14.2011

bruins.

Dragging particularly hard this Monday morning due to a wake-up call at 4:45am (D had to head to Chicago this morning for work), so it's not hard to set me off in my tired state. I can neither confirm nor deny tears at my desk due to this video. Love you, Bruins (D's favorite hockey team!).

11.11.2011

friday.

(Really wishing this was my house)

Oh Friday, you are so lovely.

This weekend is the first of many busy weekends of the season. Tonight D and I are heading to a birthday celebration for a dear friend. Tomorrow we are heading up the coast (in the rain!) for our wine club's quarterly tasting party, and hopefully stopping off at one of my favorite places for dinner (where to go - so many good choices from Santa Barbara to Solvang!). Sunday I am heading to my parents' to try on wedding dresses (!!!) with my mama. I'm feeling good about these dresses...hopefully they are feeling good about me as well!

Thoughts from this week...

I am desperate for some real fall foliage...more here, here, here, here, here.

Two weeks...cringe.

Agreed.

Oh LA, so trendy since day one. Also, Wilshire and Fairfax in 1920! How things can change.

(Photo VIA)

11.10.2011

nutcrackers.

Long before I existed in his life, D has been collecting Nutcrackers every Christmas from his parents. While I definitely tease him about this sentiment, I was floored when his mom emailed me to see if she could ship a bit of the treasured collection out to decorate our apartment. He'll be spending Christmas with my family this year, so this was a sweet piece of home she could send out.

They arrived yesterday, and are officially our first pieces of Christmas decorations up! Pretty soon I'm going to be one of those people that strings their lights up November 1...then just leaves them up all year and finally unplugs them around April.

It's pretty much all downhill from here. At least I have these nutcrackers to keep me company in my creepy year-round Christmas house apartment.

(Aren't they cute??)

11.09.2011

wednesday.

Last week and the weekend kind of merged into one huge lovely weekend due to my BFF visiting (and interviewing for med school) from Wed-Sat. This week I've been catching up at work, and it's been typically busy...year-end is always busiest for me. I really just cannot believe Thanksgiving is two weeks away. For serious?

Some favorite phone pics from the past week:

11.02.2011

pumpkin muffins.

I know I'm not alone in my obsession with fall everything, and pumpkin is basically my kryptonite. I haven’t been doing much fun baking and cooking lately, but I took a break from that this weekend to make these pumpkin muffins, which were pretty much gone two days later. Total self-control in our apartment, let me tell you (there was a lot of "I plan to run/just ran 13.1 miles, I deserve this!" going around).

These are basically individual servings of the lightest pumpkin bread ever.

Pumpkin Muffins
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (or for gluten free, I used 1 1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill GF Flour + 1/2 tsp xanthan gum)
1 tsp baking powder
15oz can solid-pack pumpkin
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1/8 tsp each of: ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cloves, ground ginger, allspice (you can also use 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, but using the individual spices makes the flavor more dynamic)
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease muffin tins or fill with muffin liners.

Whisk together flour and baking powder in a small bowl.

Whisk together pumpkin puree, oil, eggs, spice mixture (or pumpkin pie spice), sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl until smooth. Add flour mixture until just combined.

Divide batter among muffin cups (could generously make 12 large muffins, or 14-16 regular muffins).

Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Mine cooked for 25 minutes and were perfect, but could cook slightly under or over that depending on the size. Don’t over-bake or they will dry out.

Cool. Enjoy.

11.01.2011

a race.

Los Angeles Rock and Roll Half-Marathon, conquered.

A few months ago, D and I decided to train for and run a half-marathon together, which culminated on Sunday! His first, my third (and probably my last). I have determined that I just don’t have what it takes to be a long-distance runner. That said, I do love running, and I forsee some 5Ks or 10Ks in my future!

Since we were so focused on the race, we didn’t do much for Halloween weekend. A housewarming party for some dear friends in their beautiful new house, and a post-race lunch with my little brother, who drove out for the afternoon. I also got to see one of my favorite girls Carly who was in town from NYC for work, which was wonderful! I have too much fun with that girl, even if we’re just shopping for luggage to replace her bag that was demolished in transit.

Some pics from the race:

The starting line...

Sweet view of downtown on the way back (around mile 9.5)...

So many people dressed in costume, and these Elvis’ pushed a baby stroller with a speaker pumping hits from the King. Loved it!

Completely necessary bloody mary post-race!

What a team...

Happy November!