Tuesday, October 29, 2013

In Case You Were Wondering || A Fun Q&A

In the spirit of fun and to share more about myself, I thought I'd participate in a little Q&A quiz inspired by a recent blog post from Kaelah of Little Chief Honeybee.  Enjoy!

1. What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
After hitting snooze 5 times, I check my instagram feed.  It forces me to have to wake up so I can actually register what I'm looking at.  Plus, it's normally some good visuals to start my day.

2. What is the third picture on your phone?  Share it!
Me and my sweet Ricky Ricardo from his first trip to Seattle in 2012.  He was only six months old here and just so stinkin cute.

3. What TV show are you most excited about returning this Fall?
Since I only have Hulu and Netflix, I honestly don't even know what the Fall lineup is!  I'm eagerly awaiting the return of Orange Is The New Black whenever it's supposed to come back, though.  And I'm waiting for the last season of Sons of Anarchy to come out so I can catch up.  Love me some Jax Teller!

4. What is something really popular that you secretly (or not so secretly) loathe?
Crop tops.  I just don't get it and will not be participating in that trend.

5. Do you have any pets?  Tell us about them!  Bonus points for pictures.
Mr. Ricky Ricardo is my 1 1/2 year old Frenchie who I adore in an unhealthy way!  In fact, last night I took a minute long video of him snoring because he was just too precious.  I can't help myself, he's my sweet little lovebug. 

He "helps" with DIY projects.

After our first week together, we were both in love.

Even Ricky is a tourist, visiting the first Starbucks in Seattle in 2012. He wasn't much impressed.

His first Christmas; he was more interested in the lights and tree water.

Even with dirt hanging from his mouth, he's so handsome!

Celebrating his first birthday at the park.

He's the best cuddler, especially when his mama's sick.

6. If you could put together one outfit that represents you perfectly, what would it be?
Colored skinny jeans, Toms, and a comfy tee/blouse/sweater.  If it's cold enough, throw in a scarf and I'm golden.  I'm in love with my newest pair of Toms!

7. What is your favorite adult beverage?
I'm all in for a good mojito, classic or passion fruit flavored.  Lately I'm on a Bloody Mary kick, too.

8. What is your favorite guilty pleasure?
I hate to admit that I love flipping through US mag weekly to look at all the pictures and I check in frequently to see the gossip on TMZ and EOnline.

9. What are 3 positive words to describe you?
Honest, optimistic, loving.

10. What is your favorite Friday afternoon/evening activity?
At the end of a long week, I like to eat out with my main man and just relax.  And after an especially rough week, a nice margarita or mojito doesn't hurt.

11. A day in the life: What does your typical day look like?
A typical work day starts at 6:30, waking Josh up since he sleeps like a rock through his alarms, feeding Ricky, and getting myself ready for the day.  I get to work by 8:00 in time for the daily executive meeting and spend the next 9 hours waiting for 5:00 to come around, if I'm being totally honest!  After work is normally filled with playing/cuddling with Ricky, making dinner for Josh and I, and either going to the gym or working on a project/my blog in the office.  We normally finish the night with an episode of Burn Notice or Dirty Jobs before bed which is normally around 10:30.  Nothing exciting, but so goes the work week.

A typical weekend usually starts around 7:00/8:00 with Josh sleeping in longer if he doesn't have to work.  On Saturdays I go to Power Yoga at 9:30 usually followed by a coffee run at The Coffee Shop and taking Ricky to the dog park.  If I'm baking something or have a project lined up, I do my supply shopping and almost always can find myself at Target buying things I probably don't need!  On Sundays I like to lay in bed catching up on Pinterest and blogs I follow before getting out of bed, then I either make us brunch or we grab a quick bite before starting house projects/chores and running errands.  We normally do our grocery shopping for the week on Sunday evening so I gather up recipes and plan our week's meals out for the week.

12. If you cold live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?
Outside of the US I would love to live in Spain or Australia.  I've been to Spain and loved but Australia would be a new fun adventure surrounded by water.  I could get used to that!

13. You've got a whole day to yourself...what will you do?
I'm a bit spoiled in that I normally have a dream day to myself on most Saturdays.  In any case, I'd start my day with Power Yoga, pick up Ricky and head to The Coffee Shop to enjoy an iced vanilla soy latte and San Diegan plate on the patio, then head to the dog park for a while to let Ricky make some friends.  To be really spoiled, I'd probably opt for a massage, mani, pedi, and facial afterward!  A spa day sounds so relaxing and luxurious!  For dinner I'd pick up some caprese bruschetta and salad from Sauce and spend the rest of the day enjoying an Ugly Betty marathon while perusing Pinterest and making to do lists.  I love the little simple things.

14. Dream job?
Owning my own studio where I paint, photograph, and print to my heart's content.  I'd also like to teach art to small kids to help nurture their creativity.

15. Least favorite chore?
Putting laundry away!  I can wash, dry, and fold laundry just fine, but I loathe putting it away!  Instead, I like to pile my clean clothes on top of a chair in our bedroom until Josh nags me enough about it.  This past weekend I got it all done and even took the chair out of the room so I'm not tempted to start a new pile!

16. When do you most feel like a rock star?
After yoga, hands down.  There is something so empowering about yoga that puts me on top of the world.  I will skip cardio day any day of the week (even though those cupcakes say I shouldn't) but I will NOT miss power yoga for anything.

17. What is something you are currently trying to improve within yourself?
Follow through.  I can plan to my heart's content, but following through is sometimes a slow process.  I'm working on it!

If you made it through that whole quiz, good for you for sticking it out!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

From The Kitchen || Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

When it comes to desserts, Josh is very simple in his likes.  And since it's just us in the house, baking normally requires that I keep him in mind unless I plan on eating the goods all by myself.  Confession: I've dusted off more than I care to admit on my own and my thighs are thanking me now.

Back to Josh...  For his birthday, he originally requested chocolate whoopie pies with mint frosting.  Sure, it's his call since he is the birthday boy but I wanted to try something new and take advantage of my pumpkin fever. Seeing as how he loves snickerdoodles and cream cheese, I figured I couldn't go wrong.  Lucky for me I got to knock out two birds with one stone (no actual birds were harmed in the making of these cupcakes) and easily convinced him that I should make these instead.

The verdict?  Yum!!!  The cake is extremely moist and isn't overpowering with either the pumpkin puree or pumpkin pie spice flavors.  To me, subtly is key when you're using such powerful spices.  And while I'm normally not a fan of cream cheese unless it's thoroughly disguised, this frosting won me over.  Josh requested I leave a few without the frosting so I just dunked the tops in the sugar/spice mix and served them at breakfast.

A few notes/variations I made on the recipe. 1) I used yellow cake mix instead of the alternative, white; 2) I opted to use oil instead of applesauce since that's what I had on hand; 3) I only used 3T of butter to coat the tops and it was more than enough; 4) Trying to keep my expanding waistline in mind, I went for reduced fat cream cheese; and 5) I found the right amount of powdered sugar for the frosting is 4 cups.  Another change to the recipe is the oven temp; I've found that 325 for 20 minutes with each cup filled 3/4 full is the magic equation to perfect cupcakes.  I'm also a big fan of baking with these party cups since they can be pulled apart easily, making eating a bit less messy.  I still use a cupcake pan so that each cupcake bakes evenly.

Pardon the day after iPhone photo.

These cupcakes were a hit with Josh and his family and super easy to make.  I'm always looking for new pumpkin recipes to try, any suggestions?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Tradition || Apple Annie's Pumpkins and Apple Orchard

Every October since my parents moved back to Arizona, we have traveled to Willcox to visit Apple Annie's Produce & Pumpkins and Apple Orchard.  Since we don't experience Fall like the rest of the country, this trip marks the official change of season for me.  Now I can officially go pumpkin wild!

Not to break with tradition, we made the annual trip this past weekend to pick out pumpkins, produce, and eat the necessary staples: kettle corn, pumpkin ice cream, and apple cider doughnuts.  Sharing this tradition with my niece now makes these trips even more special. 

The real reason Josh takes the trip: kettle corn!

We tried the maze one year, that was more than enough for our lifetime.


This ham LOVES the pumpkin patch...

...almost as much as she loves her momma!


Another tradition: portraits at the patch.


My favorite flower.

Really, he loves his kettle corn!

GIANT pumpkins!       

She's quite pleased with her picks.       

Fresh, organic produce for the picking.       

I love baby pumpkins!       

Farm stand under the big tent.       


It took a couple takes...       

...but we finally got it! Our best one yet.       

The REAL reason we go down the road to the apple orchard: pumpkin ice cream...       

...and apple cider doughnuts!       

Looks like Fall at the orchard.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Birthday Boy!

Happy Birthday shout out to my other half!  Today marks another year in which he's managed not to kill himself, which is no easy task!

With both of us working today, I tried to make the best of it starting with a Starbucks run and a homemade breakfast at the crack of dawn (literally) to get his day off right.  Tonight we're off to his mom's house to enjoy a family celebration and to devour the pumpkin snickerdoodle cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting that I whipped up last night.  Recipe to come soon!

Love you, babe! 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Changing Seasons || Fall

Fall in Central Arizona is a state of mind, not an actual season.  Sure, the weather cools down come late October, but the leaves don't really change colors rather they just fall off the trees unceremoniously.  Sadly, nothing special. Since 2009 I have either lived in or visited Seattle during the Fall so I could soak in my fill of the changing season.  I'm a bit bitter this isn't the case this year so without the visual cues, I'm looking to Trader Joe's, Starbucks, Target, grocery store baking aisles, our annual pumpkin patch trip, and the likes to get me into the spirit.  I'm longing for the first opportunity to bust out the riding boots, leggings, and sweaters.

Perhaps I overcompensate, but I get full fledged, borderline obsessive, pumpkin inspired fever!  It's everything pumpkin from granola, pancake/waffle mix, chai tea latte mix, and PSL's to pumpkin cookie jars, cupcakes liners, sprinkles, puree, and more.  I can't help myself.

If I can't have Fall outside, I can at least have Fall in my stomach!  To throw myself into the season, I've rounded up a few recipes to whip up over the next couple months.  Some I've already tried and loved, others I'm just drooling over.  What are your favorite fall recipes?

Get The Recipes 

Caramel Apple Cupcakes | Salted Caramel Apple Hand Pies | Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes
Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes | Pumpkin French Toast Bake | Chocolate Pumpkin Whoopie Pies