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)



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!

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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)


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!


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!


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!

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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!

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(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!


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)


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.


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...

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Civic duties FTW! Did you vote today?

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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)


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!



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)