12.31.2012

A New Year.



Well, it's here...2012 is very nearly done! Holiday decorations are down, and the plan was to unpack and get the casa in order before a low key night out with two of my favorite girls and their equally awesome guys.


Unfortunately, D and I were hit hard by either food poisoning, the flu, or some angry hybrid of both. Looks like happy Christmas photos, vacation recaps, resolutions and celebration will have to resume in 2013.


2012 was incredible. But it's just the beginning! I hope you have a beautiful New Year's, friends, and I will see you on the (healthy!) other side!


(Photo via)

12.21.2012

merry christmas!

Well, the time has come! Fun, family and friends for the next 11 days of my life. I hope you have a beautiful holiday!

Merry Christmas!

12.19.2012

adventure wednesday - travel edition.

Nothing says adventure more than security lines, recirculated air and $6 airport latt├ęs, right? I am not the biggest fan of air travel, to say the least. So I did the smartest thing ever and married a guy who's family lives on the exact other end of the country. The things we do for love...

So in the spirit of travel adventure (and not losing my mind), I have been continually upgrading my travel gameplan with each trip. It HAS gotten easier - but I still wouldn't mind someone slipping me a xanax next Sunday if you wouldn't mind...

A few of my favorite travel items I'm packing on this trip:

Ipad mini // tablet keyboard // Ipad mini case // ear buds // Kindle Game of Thrones // scarf // camera bag insert // water bottle with filter // insulated coffee/tea mug // travel blanket & pillow // eye mask

12.18.2012

weekend.

Christmas is in one week. What the what? I seriously can't process how quickly we are to holiday festivities and 2013.

This weekend was a busy one, celebrating my mama for her birthday, catching a showing of The Hobbit, chopping my hair off and attending our dear friends' annual Christmas song sing-a-long (what puts you more in the Christmas spirit than belting out Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer with live piano accompaniment? Answer: NOTHING!).

The last few years I've been fanatical about getting my shopping done by December 1, and let me just tell you, that did NOT happen this year. I was frantically finishing up our final family gifts last night so they would arrive by Christmas (to be fair, we just received the last part to make these gifts this weekend!).

Cocktails in my sexy new bar set from two dear coworkers...

Silly party shenanigans...

12.10.2012

weekend.

I was all set to post about our annual cookie exchange this weekend, but my laptop was being screwy last night and I gave up. Maybe it's just mad at me for neglecting it for my new love, Ipad mini?

In the meantime, here are a few instagrams friends took. I'm kind of depressed those peanut butter and jelly cookies (last pic) are already gone - they were delish!

12.04.2012

weekend.

This weekend was a good one - a perfect balance of activity and nothing. I always consider weekends that involve at least one nap (and preferably more) a success.

We bought our (slightly off-kilter) Christmas tree on Saturday, with only one near-casualty. When trying to straighten the crooked tree, I ended up tipping it (all 8 feet of it) over just as Max jumped into it's path. I'm happy to report both tree and cat made it through with no damage.

Went to our first holiday party on Saturday, which was a great time with good friends. Favorite party moment: Jamie trying to mix a gifted bottle of 18 year old scotch with eggnog, which was met with several shouts of "Nooooo!" Crisis averted.

Happy December!

(Photo via)

11.30.2012

odds and ends.

I'm real glad it's Friday. I've been super antsy this week, and I'm not sure what brought it on. An itch to make a move, learn a skill, run another half marathon. I'm trying to be patient and see what this shift means and what I should do with it, but patience has never been my strong suit.

Part of it is the need to see good friends and new places and old familiar places, which I guess is basically my brain telling me to get out into the world. I'm hoping 2013 will be my year of adventure!

Here are some things that caught my eye this week and last:

This is the sweetest ever - I want to hug this bear but then she'd probably eat my face in her snow party.

Mary sent me this article and I about died laughing. Just perfect.

D and I will be starting our advent calendar tomorrow, but I kind of wish I had found this sooner! Next year?

I am so in love with this story - good life perspective.

This article really hit home for me as something that has been on my mind - the cost of raising children these days. No kiddos for us in the immediate future, but definitely a someday plan.

Made this last week and will probably make it again this weekend. Delish.

Have a lovely weekend!

(Photo via)

11.26.2012

weekend.

Turkey day/weekend was a big success. This Thanksgiving go-round, we elected to stay in LA Wednesday night and head out to my parents' on Thursday morning, which gave me lots of time on Wednesday eve to make cornbread, cranberry sauce and pumpkin bars. Thursday, we were able to hit the gym, pack up and head on out (only delayed by a 40 minute convo with my brother, which was a welcome treat - he got unrestricted phone privileges for the holiday!).

Cooking up goodies + drinking champagne cocktails

Friday D and I ventured out to mess around with tablets, and I pulled the trigger on an Ipad Mini! I wasn't even really interested in the mini until I was in-store and playing around with it - the size really is fantastic. It's definitely a fun new toy and I'm already addicted. D elected to order the Nexus 7 tablet, which just arrived today. These were our Christmas gifts to each other. Merry Christmas to us!

New toy!

(Top photo via)

11.21.2012

Thankful.

This has surely been a year to be thankful for in my life. There are all sorts of things big and small that I could spout off, but really, it boils down to the people in my life that I am the most grateful for.

There was a moment at our wedding during dinner that I just sat and gazed around the room at each table of people laughing, eating and even hopping up and dancing periodically (to say our DJ was the best ever would be the understatement of the year). I felt incredibly present in that moment. Looking around at our family and friends made me realize "Damn, we're lucky."

Tomorrow I'll be sitting in my childhood home, sipping coffee with my dad and finally enjoying a minute of calm after these crazy few weeks of work. I can't wait.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

(image via)

11.20.2012

To Tablet or Not to Tablet?

For the past few weeks, I have been weighing the pros and cons of getting some sort of tablet-like gadget. Originally my justification was that I'd love to have something I could bring traveling and leave my laptop at home. Unfortunately I'm not convinced I'd be able to do that, and would just be adding a third gadget to my (terribly overpacked) luggage stash instead.

To be honest, I don't even use my (lovely) Macbook Pro with any regularity. The last thing I usually want to do after sitting in front of a computer for 8, 10, 16 hours a day is crack open another computer. Is this a pro or a con for a tablet? No idea.

Full disclosure: it took me an insanely long time to make the switch from Blackberry to Iphone, and I am NOT a fan of ereaders (or actually, I am just way more a fan of regular books!). But I am warming up to the idea of being able to read a book or two and/or watch a movie while traveling (D brings a mini DVD player on flights!). And we ARE planning lots of trips next year. Hrm.

Dilemmas. Yes, I'd love a new toy. But I don't want to waste my money on something that will get limited use.

Any dedicated tablet fans out there? Help!

11.19.2012

Thanksgiving Menu.

This weekend I did a whole lot of nothing, to balance doing a whole lot of everything (work) last week. One thing I did do this weekend, though, was plan our Thanksgiving menu.

I am a big fan of getting creative with traditional menus, but that is not well-received in my family. So traditional it is for Turkey Day.

Here is the menu I have planned:

Recipe links:

Clean Eating Cranberry Sauce

Turkey Giblet Gravy

Maple Corn Bread

Creamy Pumpkin Pie Bars

I plan to make the cornbread and the pumpkin pie bars on Wednesday night before trekking out to my parents', then finish off the rest* on Thursday.

*My dad is and always will be in charge of the turkey and stuffing. He makes the worlds-best Thanksgiving turkey, no contest!

11.14.2012

adventure wednesday - work edition.

So I was planning on making my first adventure Wednesday post about my favorites in and around West LA, aka home. But truthfully, this week is killing me big time, so unless you'd like an adventure Wednesday about my work computer (I have two monitors on an outdated PC!), my little office (no windows!), or the ins and outs of ordering on Seamless Web (today's lunch: sushi), then we're going to have to get back on track next Wednesday. Meanwhile, I'm going to try and take advice from that picture up there.

Happy Hump Day!

(Image via)

11.13.2012

a tuesday.

Ah, mid-November. We meet again. No matter how much I think I am prepared for you, you take me out every year.

'Scuse me while I tend to the rising mountain of work on my desk currently. Turkey Day can't come soon enough!

(Photo via)

11.12.2012

weekend.

(My mom bought me this coloring book as a joke for my 24th birthday and I found it yesterday during a huge file clean-out. Wine + coloring, perfect Sunday evening activities)

Not feeling so hot today - first cold of the season? Meh.

This weekend didn't feature anything real extraordinary...loafed around at home, went into work for a bit on Saturday, did a huge clean/purge of documents and files in my ongoing attempt to make our second bedroom a functional space.

Have a lovely week...I'm off to drink tea and hope this head situation will be all cleared up by tomorrow!

11.09.2012

friday tidbits.

Thanksgiving is in 2 weeks. What the what? Suddenly it feels like fall, and I'm loving it.

A few things I loved this week...

// Made this last Sunday night and it was a winner.

// My inner tween is so pumped right now about this.

// I still can't stop laughing at this.

// Kind of dying to see this movie - looks amazing! Also, I hate to admit I'm not a huge Bond fan, but people are saying this current movie is the best Bond film ever. So I might need to see that, too!

Have a great weekend!

(Photo via)

11.08.2012

pumpkin pecan granola.

We managed to score several beautiful cookbooks as wedding gifts. One of them was the lovely Sprouted Kitchen. I have been a huge fan of Sara's blog for a good while, and have never been disappointed cooking up a recipe from her blog.

One cover-to-cover read through the book, and I knew the first recipe I'd be making. Pumpkin Pecan Granola, get in my face.

Generally in the morning I stick to a protein smoothie, but lately I've been trying to hit the gym before work, and I've needed to cut down my morning routine to do so. Enter: granola. I whipped up a batch of this on Sunday night, and have been pairing it with plain greek yogurt all week. So good!

Pumpkin Pecan Granola
Adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen cookbook

// 2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
// sea salt
// 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (a good recipe)
// 1/3 cup Grade B maple syrup
// 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
// 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
// 1/2 cup raw pecan pieces
// 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
// 1/2 cup dried cranberries
// handful large coconut flakes (I used unsweetened, but sweetened would be fine too)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, the pumpkin pie spice, maple syrup, and pumpkin puree and whisk to combine. Add the oats, pecans and sesame seeds and stir until evenly coated.

Spread the mixture on a baking sheet, keeping some of the clusters of oats and nuts intact so that the finished granola will have some chunks. Bake the granola, stirring every so often by scooping the mixture from the edges of the pan toward the middle and spreading it evenly again, until dry and light brown in color, 35 to 45 minutes.

Remove the baking sheet form the oven and sprinkle the coconut flakes over the granola. Bake for 5 more minutes, keeping an eye on the coconut so it doesn't burn. Once the coconut is brown around some of the edges, remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow the granola to cool for a few minutes. Add the cranberries and toss to mix. Add another pinch or two of salt if needed.

Cool completely before storing. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

11.07.2012

adventure wednesday.

Years ago, my girl Kat coined "Adventure Wednesday" - a day of the week where you gather who you can and anything can happen (Day trip? Palm reading? Ghost hunting? Drag Queen Bingo?). Unfortunately, as time and age will do, these fantastic weekly Wednesday activities have faded to near non-existence. It's just not as fun to hop on a train in the afternoon, destination unknown, when you know you have to be sitting at your desk at work the next morning.

So instead of participating in Adventure Wednesday, I'm going to reinvent it here, to catalogue all of the adventure-worthy places I love or want to visit.

I have a whole bunch of LA favorites I'd like to discuss, but I also feel sadly outdated. Since we were saving for a wedding for a year and a half, I didn't venture out much to try new things. Like, is it still cool to be all about Father's Office? Should it be embarrassing to admit I love the Century City mall? Or that I wish I could try all the Silverlake hipster spots, if Silverlake just wasn't so damn far away?

Anyway, stick around. Maybe my virtual Adventure Wednesdays will inspire a real life one, too. Time will tell...

(Photo via)

11.06.2012

vote.

Civic duties FTW! Did you vote today?

(Photo via)

11.05.2012

weekend.

This weekend was lovely - sushi date with D, an afternoon with my mom and pops, and an evening spent with a few of my favorite people circa 1999 - 2005. I haven't seen most of those folks in 7+ years, and it was such a lovely treat to catch up with them.

Also pretty thrilled to be back in action with meal planning. Before the wedding we became some serious foragers, as I didn't have the time or energy to plan anything for us. This weekend I sat down with a few brand new lovely cookbooks and picked some stellar recipes. New favorites will be shared here!

And hey...I just received a few new sweaters I ordered, just in time for a November heatwave. So, that's special. Fall, did you forget about LA?

(Photo via)

11.02.2012

friday tidbits.

No instagram pics from this rough, back to real life week. Just lots of time at work and too much not enough coffee. It feels strange to be back to business as usual...but I suppose that's normal?

So instead, here are a few instagrams I took over the wedding weekend. I can almost feel the warm dry desert air, feel the concrete under my bare feet, taste the Stumptown coffee. Take me back!

That sign...

Always my first order of business upon arrival: Sangria.

I'd like to time travel to this very spot.

If you'd like to follow me on instagram, I'm at @simplyshannyn.

A few things that were good this week...

// One of the raddest comedians around (who once hosted the sketch show D used to write for!), wrote this moving piece about Sandy aftermath. So good. Also, donate here if you are so inclined.

// Sarah posted this gem, but it's NSFW, due to inducing a sobbing mess. Don't say I didn't warn you.

// I splurged this week on some new candles for the casa - a couple old favorites here and here, and some new ones like this and this. At some point, I really need to try this one too - I've heard great things!

// I can't stop watching this - Michael is truly a musical genius and he was the best decision we ever made for our wedding!

Have a great weekend!

11.01.2012

November.

Woohoo! November 1 - the day I can unapologetically play Christmas music all the time.

Just kidding (not really), but I know there some some out there (!!) who do not feel as I do with regards to the tunes of the holiday season.

That said, I'm ready to embrace the next two months. As I've done for the past two years, my gameplan on Christmas gifts is that all shopping is to be done by December 1. It makes for a crazy November, but I'm always ridiculously grateful that if I venture out into holiday madness in December, it's by choice, not necessity. Let me tell you - grab a coffee or tea, park it on a bench at a mall and just people watch in mid December. Sociological experiment, anyone?

(Photo via)

10.31.2012

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is hands-down one of my favorite holidays of the year. It encourages consuming maximum amounts of candy, and involves no expectation of gifts.

This year we've laid very low for Halloween due to our big party just a week and a half ago, but that doesn't mean it hasn't been on my mind. Tonight, I'll be watching my all time favorite Halloween movie - The Halloween Tree. Nerd city, but it seriously doesn't feel like Halloween without it! It's even narrated by the book's author: the late, great Ray Bradbury.

Happy Halloween!

(Image via)

10.30.2012

Hurricane.

Growing up in California, hurricanes were never really on my radar - I knew they weren't great, but I didn't really know much about them. Earthquakes were always more our style.

But since D is from New York, I've spent a lot of time in the Northeast. So this crazy storm has really made my heart heavy! Also, since spending so much time out there, I have some dear friends and family that have been hard hit by this storm. Luckily, everyone is safe and dry, but I wish I wasn't 3000 miles away and could do more than just watch the news and worry.

Also, the lovely city that D's family has vacationed in for most of his life - Ocean City, New Jersey - got hit incredibly hard. We were just there last summer - posts here and here. And this is what it looked like yesterday:

My heart is with you, east coast!

(Top image via, OC NJ photo via cousin's facebook)

A Honeymoon.

In the early stages of wedding planning, D and I tossed around exotic honeymoon ideas. But the idea of planning an elaborate trip on top of planning an elaborate wedding (not to mention the additional costs) made us rethink our gameplan. We decided that we'd take a short, semi-local honeymoon right after the wedding, then go to Europe in the late spring/early summer of 2013.

We booked a three night spa package at The Bacara in Santa Barbara, and it was truly amazing. Room service, pool time, massages, and a whole lot of vino.

We took a day trip into Los Olivos, had the best burger of my life (the Bacon Burger - unreal) at Sides Hardware & Shoes, and did some wine tasting in town. Big fan of Presqu'ile - picked up some rose and pinot noir there.

Overall it felt decadent and relaxing and the perfect way to unwind after such an epic 4 days with friends and family.

10.29.2012

hello!

Well hello! I'm back from the best week there ever was.

Last Saturday (October 20) D and I got married in Palm Springs, and it was a pretty awesome shindig, if I do say so myself. After four days in the desert with our favorite people in the whole world, we headed up to Santa Barbara for some primo relaxation at The Bacara.

Now we're back, and I'm finding it hard to understand that I'm back to real life. But truly, real life is so much sweeter now.

Also, you may have noticed that this here blog got a bit of a facelift. I figured it was time. After channeling all of the creative energy into our wedding for the past year and a half, I'm excited to get back to the simple joys of life, the ol blog included.

I am still gathering my emotions (and everyone's amazing photos) from our wedding weekend, and will post more about it all very soon. For now, I'm planning a few new things around here. But first, coffee. Lots of coffee.

10.11.2012

tunes for october.

Holiday music is my jam - literally. I live for it. Christmas music is fair game November 1 (let's be honest, I listen to it before that). But I am a big fan of getting into the October spirit with a good playlist.

~Spotify Link Here~

Enjoy!

(Photo via)

10.09.2012

lately.

October - it's here! Not only the first of my three favorite months...it's also wedding go-time!

It really feels surreal - we've been engaged for over a year and a half, so for us to be here it's pretty wild!

I had an amazing shower with my best girlfriends a couple weeks ago - sitting around drinking wine at a wine bar, with no shower games in sight? My kind of perfect.

Yesterday brother bear left for the air force, which has been a super bittersweet event that has weighed heavily on me but I haven't really talked about on le blog. I am so proud of this kid for following his dreams in life, but he left for boot camp and thus will not be at my wedding. There have been many tears on my part over this, and hopefully there won't be too many next weekend! In any event, I really am so crazy proud of the man he's growing up to be.

Some photos of life, lately. Tomorrow I'll be back around with a geeky spooky October playlist!

1/Getty adventures
2/Champions
3/Lovely wedding of friends
4/Naps with my naptime buddy
5/Beach and...
6/...brunch day with brother
7/Wine party - champagne sent from amazingly thoughtful out of town friends
8/Wedding crafting