It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Can you believe Christmas is so close? I sure can’t and I feel completely unprepared. The move that we are in the midst of has totally thrown me off this year. We have no tree (boohoo), no decorations, and I’ve barely done any shopping. Next year I intend to make up for this with a giant tree and copious decorations, although maybe not as many as Clark Griswald… The snow this weekend has at least made it look a little more festive outside, and I’ve been watching tons of Christmas movies this weekend to put myself in a holiday spirit, so it’s finally feeling a bit more like Christmas to me!

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Here are some decorations and craft ideas I’ve been eyeing that I’ll be saving for next year when I don’t have an apartment full of boxes and packing supplies to contend with!

Snowy Winter Wreath

via creativegreenliving.com

via bhg.com

Rosemary placecards DIY

via spoonforkbacon.com

Christmas Centerpiece DIY

via justagirlblog.com

Christmas Place Setting

via pinkfrilly.blogspot.it

And I’m loving all these creative ideas for gift-wrapping!

Pretty wrapping with twine and pine

via odessamaysociety.com

Kraft Paper and Red Ribbon

via Pinterest

Kraft paper and pine

via Pinterest

Gift Wrap

via hgtv.com

DIY Gift Wrap

via the lilypadcottage.blogspot.co.uk

I’ve also been checking out Etsy of course to see what holiday related goods there are to buy out there. Here are just a few of my favorites!

This monogrammed burlap tree skirt:

Burlap Tree Skirt

from The Burlap Cottage (via etsy.com)

This cute “Let it Snow” garland

Let it Snow garland

from Crafty Belles (via etsy.com)

This adorable dachshund Christmas card!

Dachshund card

from Doggy Design (via etsy,com)

This lovely Advent calendar:

Advent calendar

from Good Wishes Quilts (via etsy.com)

This snowflake-adorned pillow:

Snowflake Pillow

from Low Country Home (via etsy.com)

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Super Saturday (on a Sunday)

I’ve really been missing Super Saturday, so I thought that even though today is Sunday, I should get one up this week… and since it’s a holiday weekend, today is basically Saturday, right?!

So I am just loving that it’s fall. It is definitely my favorite season. I used to say that spring was my favorite, and while I still love spring, fall has risen above it. I love the chillier temperatures, changing leaves, pumpkin spice everything, and of course Halloween…. I absolutely love scary movies, haunted houses, ghost stories, and everything else associated with the holiday.

Here are some Halloween and Fall related things I’ve been loving lately!

Fall Decor

So I love carving pumpkins, but I have been loving these alternatives to the traditional pumpkin carving this year. I still will probably do a couple of traditional ones, but maybe I should get a couple extra and try some of these other ideas out…

Mouse Motel

via marthastewart.com

via realsimple.com

via realsimple.com

 

via mysweetsavannah.blogspot.com

via mysweetsavannah.blogspot.com

via countryliving.com

via countryliving.com

It is my dream to someday have an front porch so that I can create an entryway such as these:

via marthastewart.com

via marthastewart.com

via jollymom.com

via jollymom.com

from hgtv.com

from hgtv.com

via bhg.com

via bhg.com

Here are some other fall decor ideas I am loving!

via revelblog.com

via revelblog.com

via bhg.com

via bhg.com

via laurenconrad.com

via laurenconrad.com

 

via bunchesandbits.blogspot.com

via bunchesandbits.blogspot.com

Oh, and of course there are a million things I want to buy from Etsy…. as usual….

via MoseyRoseDesigns

via MoseyRoseDesigns

via 112FarmhouseLayne

via 112FarmhouseLayne

 

via LonelyHunterHome

via LonelyHunterHome

via TheCountrySignShop

via TheCountrySignShop

 

I’m sure I’ll have even more fall/Halloween related things to share next time. I just can’t get enough.

Super Saturday: Summer Vacation Edition

Photo Source: seasidevacations.com

Photo Source: seasidevacations.com

As I’ve mentioned… because I can’t think of anything else, I’m going on vacation just a week from now!!! Because of this, and because my mind seems to be getting in vacation mode already, I thought that today for Super Saturday, I’d focus on all things related to vacation!  Oh, how I can’t wait.

Vacation Reading

One of the best things about vacation is having long stretches of uninterupted time that can be devoted to reading. I usually bring a bunch of magazines to read at the beach, but I also try to read a bunch of books as well. The beach is the perfect place to delve into a good book. I think that vacation is a good time for some light(er) reading, and here are some of the books that are on my radar for beach reads.

Joyland

Joyland by Stephen King- I’m a big Stephen King fan, so any book that he’s written is automatically on my radar. This seems like a quicker read than some of his other works (not that reading a long book is a problem, but sometimes shorter is good). Ghosts, carnivals, and a murder mystery sound like something that’ll be right up my alley.

The Cuckoo's Calling

The Cuckoo’s Calling by J.K. Rowling (under pen-name Robert Galbraith)- When I heard that this book was actually written by the author of the Harry Potter series, it intrigued me, and made me check out the description on Amazon. When I read that it was about a detective investigating a mysterious suicide I became even more interested. As you can probably already tell, I love mysteries. In fact, one of my favorite shows growing up was Murder, She Wrote…. and I of course loved the Encyclopedia Brown series.

The Man Who Ate Everything

The Man Who Ate Everything by Jeffrey Steingarten- I know this will be a shock, but one of my other favorite genres of books is food writing. I’ve been wanting to read this book forever, and I think that vacation will be the perfect time to do so! I love to read about people’s experiences with food and I’ve heard this book is especially funny, and “mouth-watering” as well.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky- This coming-of-age novel is one that has been on my radar for a while. Set in high school, from the point of view of Charlie, and written in his point of view in a series of letters, this book about a shy “wallflower” seems like something I’ll be able to relate to, as I also have always been a wallflower… and even though I have been out of high school for over a decade now, I think that since my recent positive experience with The Fault in Our Stars, that I will still find this book relateable even at the ripe old age of 30.

The Yard

The Yard by Alex Grecian- Okay, I needed just one more mystery novel.. I can’t help it! This book takes place in Victorian London, right after the reign of Jack the Ripper, and focuses on the “Murder Squad”, a group of 12 detectives hired to solve murders, after Scotland Yard’s failure to catch Jack the Ripper.  I mean, how great does that sound?! I hope it lives up to my expectations.

Drooling Over

Tomatoes!! My cherry tomatoes are finally ripening, and I’m so excited to be able to use them in recipes (and just eat them plain too!). I expect to be buying a bunch of fresh tomatoes on vacation as well, as there is a farmer’s market that comes to town a couple days a week, and a small market that sells local fruits and vegetables daily.

Photo Source: npr.org

Photo Source: npr.org

This Avocado Shrimp Salsa from Smitten Kitchen

This Heirloom Tomato Pizza from Heather Cristo

This Caprese Chicken from The Novice Chef

These Soft Tacos with Roasted or Grilled Tomatoes and Summer Squash from The New York Times

These Roasted Tomato and Goat Cheese Crostini from Cook Like a Champion

This Easy Feta Dip from The Girl Who Ate Everything

Lusting After

This Coral Chevron Beach Tote

Coral Chevron Beach Tote

from Vianney Creations on etsy.com

This Starfish Beach Towel

Starfish Beach Towel

from L.L. Bean

This beach chair

Beach Chair

from Land’s End

These cute and colorful sandals 

Sandals

from Old Navy

Super Saturday

It’s Super Saturday once again! Yippee 🙂 Tomorrow is Ron’s birthday, but we started his celebration today with a lunch out at Outback steakhouse courtesy of his parents!! It was delicious…. I got the Alice Springs chicken which I had heard of but had never tried. It was wonderful… I mean how can you go wrong with chicken smothered in cheese, mushrooms and bacon. Ron got steak of course, and for an appetizer we shared the crab stuffed mushrooms- soooo yum! And the service was great as well. Tomorrow I’ll be cooking some treats for Ron and he plans on celebrating his birthday by sitting on the couch and watching Top Gear all day.

So here’s some things I’ve been up to this week…

Reading:

Jane Austen Quote

This Jane Austen quote is just so, so true!

Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – I finished The Prisoner of Azkaban last Sunday, and of course I had to immediately start the next book in the Harry Potter saga. I remember when these books were being released, and you actually had to wait for the next one to be written in order to find out what happened!! Oh the anticipation! Now it’s just like binge watching shows on Netflix, which is my preferred way of watching television. Waiting a week for a new episode? Waiting for commercials to end so you can get back to the episode? That is so foreign to me now! I guess these really are the days of instant gratification.

The Round House

The Round House by Louise Erdrich- As I mentioned last week, we had our book club this week to discuss A Fault in Our Stars. We were all pretty unanimous in liking the book, but also all found it to be one of the saddest we’ve read… and now our next book, The Round House, is set to be a sad and tough read as well… although my guess is that it’ll lack the levity and humor that The Fault in Our Stars included. I haven’t read anything by Louise Erdrich, and I don’t know much about the book other than the fact that it tackles difficult subject matter (rape), that it takes place on a Native American reservation, and that it’s been compared to To Kill A Mockingbird (which I loved). I’m only a chapter in, but I have high hopes, even though I know that it will be a hard book to read.

Rewatching:

Friends– because it’s my favorite show ever, and it always puts me in a good mood. Here are just a few of my favorite moments:

Occupation... dinosaurs

Pivot!

My sandwich?!?!?

Miss Chanandler Bong

Drooling Over:

Vietamese Spring Rolls (aka Summer Rolls) – These just look so delicious and fresh and perfect for summer! I want to eat them all right now! The hard part will be choosing just which one I want to make first…

These Spicy Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce from Gourmet

These Lobster Summer Rolls from The New York Times

These Spicy Lentil Summer Rolls from The Sprouted Kitchen

These Shrimp, Avocado and Rice Noodle Spring Rolls from Cookin’ Canuck

These Vegetable Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce from The Kitchn

These BLT Spring Rolls from White on Rice Couple

These Fresh Rolls with Shrimp and Honey Lime Slaw from The Lemon Bowl

These Fresh Chicken Spring Rolls from Heather Christo 

Lusting After:

These Claudia Pearson Dog Plates

from West Elm

from West Elm

The “Shoreline Simplicity Dress”

from Modcloth

from Modcloth

This French Cheese Art Print

from Geraldine Adams on etsy.com

from Geraldine Adams on etsy.com

This “Vintage Blacksmith Pot Rack”

from Pottery Barn

from Pottery Barn

Have a happy weekend everyone 🙂

Super Saturday

Hello everybody! It’s Saturday once again! Can you believe it? I feel like I was just here typing my very first Super Saturday. I guess it’s a good thing that the work week went by so quickly, but on the other hand I can’t believe how quickly time seems to be flying by! I just wish we could pick and choose the days and moments that go quickly, and those that pass slowly.

Here’s some things I’ve been doing/dreaming about/drooling over this week!

Reading:

Books and Tea

I actually haven’t started anything new this week. Can you believe it? I did finish The Fault in Our Stars, and my short thoughts… Such a wonderful book, and also one of the saddest I’ve read. I found myself tearing up constantly, and needed to take frequent breaks so that I wouldn’t dissolve in a ball of tears. I highly recommend it though- definitely a worthwhile read. I have my bookclub this week, and I’m really looking forward to hearing what my fellow book club members thought about it!

I am almost finished with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and I am excited to start the next book soon- The Goblet of Fire. With The Prisoner of Azkaban things start getting much more intense, and even though I know what happens and how things turn out, I am still finding the story to be such a page turner! Still so suspenseful!

Dreaming about:

Speaking of all the reading I’ve been doing, I’ve been dreaming about someday having a wonderful space in which to get lost in a book. How perfect are these spaces?!

Reading Nook

Source: Boston Design Guide via Pinterest

Reading Nook2

Source: apartmenttherapy.com

 

Or if I ever become a millionaire…

Amazing Library

The Biltmore Estate: Source: beautiful-libraries.com

Drooling over:

Source: pbs.com

Source: pbs.com

The weather this week has continued to be pretty hot and humid, and so I’ve once again been craving summery foods, like ice cream. I plan on busting out my ice cream maker this week and putting it to good use. We also just gave my dad an ice cream maker for his birthday, so in researching some good recipes to give him, I found myself craving ice cream even more. Here are some of the recipes I’ve been salivating over:

Coconut Raspberry Ice Cream (Vegan) from Two Peas and Their Pod

Mocha Madness Oreo Ice Cream from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

Coconut Mint Ice Cream from Love and Lemons

Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream from Confections of a Foodie Bride

Toasted Marshmallow Coconut Milk Ice Cream from How Sweet It Is

Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream from Brown-Eyed Baker

Cheesecake Ice Cream from The Curvy Carrot

Oh man, I could go on and on and on……

Growing:

My garden is doing pretty well so far this year, despite the multitude of critters that live in the backyard. They’ve eaten some of my herbs, but haven’t touched all of them, and those they have eaten are growing back. Despite a rocky start, it looks like I might possibly get some cucumbers… I do have some flowers! I have a bunch of little green tomatoes growing, so I’m hoping those start to ripen soon, and I’m also hoping that my jalapenos will start to grow soon- I have some flowers on those plants as well!

Cherry Tomatoes

 

Cherry Tomatoes

 

Cucumbers

 

Jalapenos

 

Basil and Parsley

 

Thyme

 

Chives

 

Oregano

 

Mint

Lusting After:

This Fern-Print Dress 

from Loft

from Loft

These Stone Seahorse Coasters

from MadebyDeedle on Esty,com

from Esty

This cute Wristlet

from LiReca on etsy.com

from LiReca on etsy.com

These beautiful bowls

from RossLab on etsy.com

from RossLab on etsy.com

Super Saturday

Okay, so maybe I need a better name for this new “series” I’m thinking of doing, but Saturdays are super and you have the alliteration, so I think it works for now 🙂 Some of my favorite posts on blogs I read are posts that talk about what the author is reading/doing/pinning/craving, and because I also do things other than cook, and want to share things other than delicious recipes from time to time, I thought I’d do a weekly series where I talk about randomness in my life. Books I’m reading, movies/shows I’ve been enjoying, places I’ve gone to or restaurants I’ve eaten at, inspiring things I’ve seen on Pinterest, etc… whatever goes for this series. I think it’ll also be nice to have a time capsule for myself when I look back at these posts in the future, as I’ll be able to remember what was going on a year in the past for example.

So here’s what’s going on!

Reading:

I’m in the middle of a reading frenzy right now and I’m loving it! I have always loved reading, but I go through phases where I just don’t read as much as I want to. For a while I was only reading my books for the book club I belong to and really nothing else, and even those books were taking me a long time to get through. It wasn’t even because they weren’t enjoyable… I just wasn’t making the time to read. There was always something else I felt I should be doing instead… and it wasn’t important things either… I was just getting distracted by Pinterest (which I love, but don’t have to spend 100% of my time doing), magazines (again, which I love, but shouldn’t be my only reading material), TV… just anything and everything that wasn’t a book. I seem to have finally broken out of that, and have been making time to read everyday, and I feel so great about it! I feel like my brain is re-growing brain cells.  Speaking of Pinterest… I saw this on Pinterest and it really spoke to me:

Confucious

Also this:

Reality

So just what am I reading? Well, I seem to have gone to the opposite end of the spectrum, and am now reading not just one book, but five.

The Fault in Our Stars

1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I am reading this for the book club I belong to. I’m almost finished with it, and I’m really loving the story of two teenagers in love, who also happen to have cancer, and yes, it is as sad as that sounds. It’s funny, and heartbreaking, and it would be a very quick read, if I didn’t feel I had to put it down after every chapter with fear that I am going to burst into tears. I don’t read sad books, or watch sad movies that often due to this propensity for crying easily.

Game of Thrones

2. Game of Thrones (A Song of Fire and Ice, Book 1) by George R.R. Martin. Like many, many people I know, I have also become hooked by the HBO series based on these books, and I figured that it’s high time I read the series… especially since we have to wait until it comes out on DVD to catch up on the adventures of the Starks and Lannisters. This is Ron’s favorite series of books, and so I borrowed his copy, and got down to reading. I’m not very far in, but so far it is pretty much exactly like the television series- it seems the adaptation is extremely faithful.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling- I already read the whole Harry Potter Series years ago, but I thought it was about time for a rereading. I am on the third book and it is still as great as I remember. I just love the magical world of Harry Potter, and while the books are for children/teenagers, they are no less exciting to me as an adult. Now I’m really in the mood for some butterbeer!

John Dies at the End

4. John Dies at the End by David Wong- The movie adaptation of this book is one of the funnest/wackiest horror movies  I’ve seen this year. When I was at my parent’s house for the 4th of July, my brother Patrick had a copy which he had just finished, and asked me if I wanted to borrow it, so of course I had to say yes, and start reading it despite already reading 4 other books. The more the merrier, right? I’m only a couple of chapters in, and it is exactly like the movie so far (or vice versa). If you like weird horror movies, I would definitely recommend the movie.. and I have a feeling I’ll be recommending the book as well.

The Omnivore's Dilemma

5. The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan- I need some kind of nonfiction book in my lineup, right? I’m only in the first section of this book (all about corn), but I have a feeling it’s going to give me some things to think about when I’m shopping at the grocery store in the future. I haven’t read any of Michael Pollan’s works, although I’ve certainly heard of him, and thought, since he just came out with a new book (Cooked) I should start reading one of his earlier ones and catch up.

Watching:

New Girl

New Girl– Last summer, my aunt mentioned this show as one she was really enjoying and thought I’d like too… and I’m embarassed to say I only just started watching it this week. In my defense, Ron and I don’t have any sort of television channels whatsoever. We watch a lot of movies on DVD, and shows on Netflix, so we have to wait until things come out on DVD or on Instant Watch to actually see them. New Girl has been on my DVD queue for a long time now, but it is now on Instant Watch!!!! Yay!!!! As soon as I saw this, I started watching it, and now I am hooked. It’s quirky and hilarious, and I am loving it! Zooey Deschanel is fantastic, and I hope this show goes on for a while!!

are you afraid of the dark

Are You Afraid of the Dark? – So I mentioned this last week, but Are You Afraid of the Dark? is on Amazon Instant Watch!!!! I have been enjoying this immensely! Seriously, putting an episode of this on instantly makes my day better if it’s been a tough one. Some of the episodes are a little cheesy, but still fun nonetheless, and there are some legitimately good ones. I’m going to be sad when I finish watching all the available episodes.

Drooling over:

Photo Source: epicurious.com

Photo Source: epicurious.com

Popsicles– So, after seeing a multitude of amazing looking popsicle recipes this week, I have decided it’s high-time I finally buy new popsicle molds!!! I can’t keep putting it off, especially now with temperatures rising into the 90s! Popsicles will be a great way to make some delicious and health(ier) treats for the summer. Here are some of my favorites:

Sparkling Strawberry Pops from Cooking Light

Creamy Mango Pops from Living Life Brightly

Double Berry and Coconut Pops from An Edible Mosaic

Honey Yogurt Berry Pops from Joylicious

Coconut Macaroon Pops from Cooking with Alison

Roasted Strawberry and Toasted Coconut Pops from Joy the Baker

Lusting after:

This Lobster Tote Bag 

From MaineUptown Studio on etsy.com

From MaineUptown Studio on etsy.com

This Kitchen Island Table

from the Butcher Block Co.

from the Butcher Block Co.

This Julia Child-inspired print

From Susan Newberry Designs on etsy.com

From Susan Newberry Designs on etsy.com

 

This Seahorse Print Dress

From Target

From Target

I hope you guys enjoy this new series! I’ll be back later today with a recipe 🙂