Happy Halloween!

I can’t believe November is tomorrow! This year is going by so fast. I’m already getting Christmas gifts put together and thinking about Thanksgiving. Next thing I know, it’ll be 2014!

This Halloween doesn’t feel particularly Halloween-y to me. I don’t live where kids trick or treat. I’m actually excited for when I have a place of my own and can decorate the front porch and hand out candy to cute costumed kids! I also don’t have ANY Halloween candy. I don’t know why. I don’t even have candy corn! I feel so weird without it. Tomorrow I hope to stock up on all the discounted candy. I don’t care at all for scary movies, though my boyfriend has watched one every night this week.

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I DID, however, have a caramel apple today! And it was free! It made me very happy. I proceeded to get caramel ALL over my chin and not realize it for at least an hour. Typical! It was definitely worth the mess.

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My latest “ModHaul” from ModCloth included this incredibly luscious rust colored cardigan and mustard circle scarf. I tried them on and loved how the colors looked together, so I decided to put them in action with a more monochrome background! I originally had on my high waisted shorts, but after a quick “no” from my boyfriend and some reconsideration, I decided my cat skirt was the perfect choice!

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I cannot wait to LIVE in this cardigan for the rest of the fall and winter. Prepare to see it featured in outfit posts to come! ModCloth has the same cardigan available in navy, and you can bet it’s on my Christmas list this year!

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Top: Forever 21 | Skirt, sweater tights: H&M | Your Fireside of the Story Cardigan in Rust, Yellow Brick Cold Scarf, Trendy Traveler Flat: ModCloth

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Pumpkin love

I’m not the type of person who likes coffee, even when it’s pumpkin spiced. I’m actually not that big of a pumpkin fan in general. I tolerate carving them (goopy hands aren’t my favorite!). I don’t eat pumpkin pie (I know, I know). I like them best when they’re a seasonal decoration.

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Because of the fact I basically am not a huge pumpkin fan, you’d think I wouldn’t like pumpkin cookies–specifically, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. You’d be right if you asked me a month ago. My boyfriend made these incredible pumpkin chocolate chip cookies at the beginning of October, and I’ve asked for a new batch every week since then. (I’m still waiting for the next batch, honey!) They are the perfect blend of pumpkin and chocolate. They’re soft without being too gooey. They’re cakey but not sticky. They’re probably the best you’ll ever eat.

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I grab at least three each time I walk by the plate. It doesn’t help that this recipe makes over two dozen cookies (the recipe source says two dozen, but my boyfriend makes them “medium sized” as he says). Seriously, guys. You need to make these cookies if you haven’t already.

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The Best Pumpkin Cookies You’ll Ever Eat

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (* don’t use kosher salt–your cookies will be a bit crunchy!)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the pumpkin, sugar, oil, and egg; set the pumpkin can aside.

2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

3. Pour the milk into the empty pumpkin can and dissolve the baking soda in the milk, stirring in any extra pumpkin stuck in the crevices of the can. Pour it into the bowl with the pumpkin and mix.

4. Add the dry mixture to the pumpkin mixture and stir.

5. Pour in the vanilla and chocolate chips; mix again.

6. On a greased cookie sheet, drop the dough by the spoonful.

7. Bake until firm and/or lightly browned (approximately 10 minutes). My boyfriend found that it takes about 12 minutes in our oven. He first bakes a couple of test cookies to determine optimum bake time for the rest of the batch!

Recipe source

I hope you enjoy them! 🙂 Feel free to share your favorite pumpkin cookie recipe.

I’m warming up to pumpkins, one goody at a time. I’m recently intrigued by roasted pumpkin seeds and might have to give those a try, too… Tis the season!

Chambray

This is the last nice weather weekend we are going to have for a long while and possibly until spring (nice to me means sunshine and mid-upper 60s!). My boyfriend and I ran a few errands earlier today. We first drove up to Park City to visit the outlets. I’m glad they are a good distance away or else I’d be there all of the time! I’m obsessing over J.Crew right now. We also stopped at Pier 1 Imports and rummaged through the clearance fall items. We’re hosting Thanksgiving this year (ahh!), so we needed some decorative table settings. When we got back into the valley, we had to make stops at the liquor store and at a local organic market for caramel vodka and apple cider, respectively. We’re going to try making hard apple cider tonight! Yum! We also made a stop at a cute crafting shop. Its patio, trees, and nearby bike rack are all decorated in colorful yarn.

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There was also this really bizarre cactus plant that we walked by. I had to snap a picture! I don’t see cacti very often here, especially growing wild in town.

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Today, I wore my new chambray shirt. I’ve seen so many adorable outfits with chambray lately, so I gave in and got myself a chambray shirt to try and put outfits together myself. I paired it with my dark wash skinny jeans, my moccasins, and a lightweight scarf (it was cool in Park City). I love how simple and relatively easy it is to work the chambray into various outfits. I do wish I could have found a shirt in my budget that was more fitted at the waist, but this will have to do for now.

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And for good measure, I had to get a picture of my beautiful earrings. They are currently my favorite pair!

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(I’m pretty proud of the fact that I got this shot myself! Ha!)

Chambray shirt: Old Navy | Skinny jeans: American Eagle Outfitters | Shoes: Minnetonka Moccasin via Nordstrom Rack | Scarf: Target (old) | Bouquet Brilliance Earrings: ModCloth

Ridging in the west

The weather right now is PERFECT. High temperatures in the mid-sixties (degrees Fahrenheit) plus plenty of sunshine equal my ideal fall days. This weather is all thanks to a ridge (area of relatively high pressure) which is situated over the western US. Conversely, there’s a nice trough (area of relatively low pressure) over the eastern US. This is a very common pattern; we can see it in the climatology!

Below is an image of the GFS forecast of the 500 mb geopotential heights in black contours (and the mean sea level pressure in white contours) at 0Z tomorrow, Tuesday, October 21 (which corresponds to tonight at 6 pm).  The GFS (Global Forecast System) is one of many numerical weather prediction models. According to the National Weather Service, the geopotential height is “roughly the height above sea level of a pressure level. For example, if a station reports that the 500 mb height at its location is 5600 m, it means that the level of the atmosphere over that station at which the atmospheric pressure is 500 mb is 5600 meters above sea level. This is an estimated height based on temperature and pressure data.”  For simplicity’s sake, I’m just going to point out the clearer black lines–the 500 mb geopotential height lines. Notice how they curve up over the coastal western US and curve down into the eastern US. That’s the ridge and the trough I mentioned earlier!

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(Analysis courtesy of weather.rap.ucar.edu.)

Anyway, I’ve been having a lot of fun picking out cute fall outfits thanks to this ridge! It seems as though it isn’t going anywhere at least for a week, so I’m super excited to try some new outfits out! Below is what I picked out for today. I’m trying to incorporate dresses and tights into my fall wardrobe more than I did in the past (which was pretty much never).

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Airport Greeting Cardigan in Charcoal: ModCloth | Dress: American Eagle Outfitters | Tights: H&M | Shoes: Minnetonka Moccasin via Nordstrom Rack | Earrings: Forever 21

Sybil meets Rosie and Melody

Two weeks ago (either October 2nd or 4th, we can’t remember), my boyfriend came home early and let Sybil out of the office, where she had been living against her will since September 22nd. We site swapped three times prior to the release without major problems (Rosie protested loudly during site swaps), and since they all basically knew the others existed, we figured they would probably be fine if we skipped the slightly-cracked-door introductions strongly suggested by Jackson Galaxy, the cat whisperer and star of Animal Planet’s My Cat From Hell.

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For the first few days, Sybil meowed every time she was near Rosie or Melody. It was sort of like a warning meow, but then she’d flop onto her side and act like she wanted to play. She’d walk right up to one of them, only to meow loudly at them and do nothing else. I wasn’t sure how to read it, but Rosie and Melody tended to avoid her as much as possible. Sybil also chased them a few times around the apartment. Rosie was the least interested in being chased/playing, not surprisingly.

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Eventually, the weird meowing stopped, and they have been peacefully coexisting ever since! Sybil likes to sleep alone upstairs sometimes, which I wasn’t expecting. She is quite playful and a little bit on the derpy side. She runs sideways when she’s really excited, and my boyfriend claims he saw her do Parkour on the spare bed. Sybil and Melody play sometimes, but Rosie doesn’t like playing…still. She’s kind of a grumpy old woman at times. I’m just glad they’re all getting along so far!

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I took those last two pictures within seconds of each other. I love having all of my girls with me! (Sorry for the crappy picture quality; I have to take my shots when I can with these girls.)

Now we are on to our next cat challenge–getting rid of Melody and Sybil’s cat acne. Stay tuned?

Stylishly surprised by ModCloth

About every six months (at the end of winter and again at the end of summer), ModCloth (my favorite online retailer!) hosts what is known as the Stylish Surprise event. Basically, you pay a set amount of money ($15 per apparel item or shoes and $5 per accessory or apartment item), pick the size you want (for clothing/shoes), and ModCloth sends you something. It is completely random. The value of the piece varies; some people get tops that originally were $40 while others might get fancy dresses or coats that were listed for upwards of $200. Waiting for the package of stylish surprises to arrive is both terrifying and exciting, because you might struck gold or you might get something completely unlike anything you’d ever think about wearing. Opening the box feels like opening a present on Christmas morning from that one quirky relative who never really has any idea what you might want or use but occasionally might pick something spot on.

ANYWAY. Sorry for that horrendously long explanation of the ModCloth Stylish Surprise event! This is my third time participating; I got one apparel each of the other two times and lucked out with two dresses, so I decided to go for it again. This time, I got one of everything, since it was all still available! (Stylish surprises sell out very fast, especially the accessories and apartment items!)

Melody inspected my box for me. It weighed about five pounds, so I was holding out for boots.

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And here’s what was inside!

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I ended up with a third dress as my apparel item! It’s the Try a Little Trendy-ness Dress, which originally retailed for $47.99. I love how the colors are very fall-y, though the top is a little baggy for me.

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My shoes turned out to be sandals. I wasn’t at all surprised since these were mostly going to be summery items. They are the Wearing is Be-weaving Sandal, and they originally retailed for $34.99.

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My accessory turned out to be a laptop bag! My laptop actually fits perfectly inside, which is exciting. I’m not sure how much use I’ll get out of it since I don’t really use laptop bags, but maybe I’ll travel with it. It’s the Poised Lady Laptop Sleeve and retailed for $49.99 (score!).

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The message inside the bag is darling!

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My final surprise was this ADORABLE pillow. I thought it was a cushion at first (“cush” was typed on a tag attached to the bag), and I thought it was funny that ModCloth sent me a cushion because I have no real use for one cushion. My boyfriend and I decided it would be perfect on a rocking chair sitting on a New England porch. WELL, turns out, after my Google Image sleuthing, this is actually a pillow. It’s the Tree’s Company Pillow and retailed for $47.99. I think I lucked out with this surprise because ModCloth carries some really bizarre apartment things!

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The back is even cute!

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If you read all of that, you’re awesome! I’m already looking forward to the next Stylish Surprise event, which should be around next March. Maybe next time I’ll get a nice pair of boots or a coat!

Where’s fall?

Living in the intermountain west means a lot of variability in temperatures and weather this time of year. We are transitioning out of a ridge-dominated summer (meaning we were under the influence of high pressure most of the time: hot and dry!). We just had a cold front pass through that made it feel more like winter than fall. I even woke up this morning to snow on the benches! Temperatures earlier this week were in the mid-upper 70s, and they are expected to reach that again early next week. Fall is nice, but this temperature/weather variability drives me crazy! I go from wearing a summer outfit to a winter outfit within a couple of days. It would be nice to actually wear a fall outfit sometime! Such is life.

Anyway, to mourn the end of summer, here’s an outfit I wore a couple of weeks ago. It’s my first official style post–woohoo!

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Shirt: H&M | Karaoke Songstress Shorts, Unisexy Sunglasses, There’s a Map for That Necklace: ModCloth | Earrings: Forever 21

ModCloth is my guilty pleasure. I will talk about that website a lot, so be prepared! The shorts are my favorite; they are my first pair of high-waisted shorts. I love how they have buttons down the front. They are very flattering and super comfortable. They’re short but not so short that my tush hangs out (I really don’t like that aspect about high-waisted shorts usually). I’ve been considering wearing the shorts with tights underneath for fall. Thoughts on that?

Don’t get me wrong–I LOVE fall! I am so excited for scarves and leaves changing and warm drinks and wrapping up in blankets. I had caramel cider at a local coffee shop recently, and it was amazing. I cannot wait to drink that again! Also, my boyfriend makes glorious pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. YUM! Now I must go eat one… 🙂