Spooky Spooky Splendor

Wishing everyone a spoooktacular halloween 🙂 Fall is in full swing and of course the city is alive with thoughts of Halloween.  Actually, the big kids have been partying it up since last weekend and festivities continue into tomorrow or maybe even Saturday.

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Over the years I’ve had my share of excellent costumes and if I had access to my pictures from home, I would gladly share them (ok, most of them). From Padma in Star Wars to a pumpkin, a waitress to Nancy Kerrigan (an ice-skater but of course we had to get specific), I have to thank my grandma Nance for her excellent sewing and creative skills.  Costumes started to tank when I entered junior high and it not longer was considered cool to trick or treat.  I may or may not have gone when I was in college 😉

This year I was one of the three Blind Mice for a company party.  I also planned out an outfit from Dodgeball (one of the Average Joe’s players), but nothing too extravagant.  I certainly won’t be dressed like Miley Cyrus, nor a cat, unlike the majority of Halloween-goers. Here are some good ideas for work (and ultimately age) appropriate costumes that don’t break the bank 🙂IMG_4172

I’ve actually had sort of a Halloween slump the last few years. I can’t seem to find the right crew to have a good night with.  It’s all fun and games when you are in elementary school and can wear your costume to school, run up and down the streets, and gather as many sugary laden delicacies (many of which “disappear” the next day…Mom?).  Parents gather in the streets and chat it up as kids bound from one side to the next, comparing notes on one another’s costumes and what they picked up.

313099_2527929086350_1497138066_2720857_784238944_nHere is a throwback to Barcelona fun.  I didn’t plan this out, so I just decided to look cute.  Not a problem, right? 😉

Actually, the latest episode of The Goldbergs lays it out perfectly.  What does it take to just have some good ‘ol fashioned fun? 🙂

Halloween is great because it can be celebrated for an entire week, if not month 🙂  Although, I’m not such a fan of scary things so I’d be better off with a Disney-style Halloween than Knott’s Scary Farm.  IMG_4184

Though most high schoolers avoided costumes, our cross country team had a blast dressing up.  This was from my senior year and we dressed as fairies with a Domo accent.

One year I was such a nice sister and snuck into Meghan’s room before she woke up and started to blast play “Moster Mash.”  Let me preface that my sister and I had an interesting relationship for a good 18 years.  Basically we were the typical type of siblings who fought and taunted (me doing most of it…yes, the first step is to admit you have a problem) 🙂

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Our family tradition usually consisted of starting the night with a warm cup of chili and little hot dogs or what our family calls pigs in a blanket.  Ah the flavor of hot dogs wrapped in warm pastry dough.  Certainly brings back memories of holiday events.  Then we would trick-or-treat up and down the two blocks around our house and drive up to our cousin’s house, check out the delicious spread my aunt put together (she is absolutely amazing with parties and making everything thematic), and check out the haunted house their neighbors construct annually. One day I’ll be able to have a party of my own, filled with lots of spooky looking treats. 

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I’m honestly not sure what to expect this year.  Living in a city is a whole different ball game.  Apparently kids go up and down each floor and knock on all the apartment doors.  It just seems so strange to me but I guess that’s what happens when you live so close together.

There is also the epic Halloween Parade that starts and ends south of Union Square.  I might try my luck and wander over tonight to see what the hype’s all about.  Maybe if I’m up for the challenge next year, I’ll find a dog to decorate for the Halloween Dog Parade and then bring some friends along to participate in the actual Halloween Parade. 🙂 After all, Halloween will be on a Friday next year, so no excuses!

How do you celebrate Halloween?  Either childhood memories/traditions or what are you doing this year?

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What I Love About Fall Food

Before I jump into this week’s munching roundup hosted by Jenn at Peas & Crayons, I’ll go ahead and share a few of my random thoughts.

Kate Spade needs to stop advertising its sales.  Or I should just avoid all means of accessing shopping stores, websites, or literally freeze my credit cards.  There is just too much good stuff out there.  And there need to stop being sample sales next to my work.  Right now Under Armour is literally one block away and they have SO MUCH and decent prices.

I also need to create a massive buffer between me and any type of candy.  Usually I’m good about spreading out my sugar intake and saving up for the good stuff.  I don’t know what happened Monday but I must have had some underlying stress combined with lack of sleep that prevented me from realizing I was full and altering my willpower.  Oh well, what’s done is done.  I did whip up some good junk in ‘da trunk cookies to take to work and my roommate gave two thumbs up.  This helped me get rid of some of some ingredients in the kitchen.  I try not to house too much junk in my apartment, just because I know myself and know that I will dive in whenever is around, especially if I’m a bit stressed.  Eva Longoria claims the no sugar diet helps with energy and sleep.  I think I might try my hand at it.  Although I have a few sweet treat recipes coming out in the next few weeks, so no guarantees.

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made these while riding Monday’s sugar high.  The plan was to use up any remaining candy in the house and instead bring them to work for my coworkers. 🙂  They pretty much loved me and hated me at the same time. 

One more random thought – has anyone heard of the Mercury Retrograde?  Where Mercury is in such a position that impacts our communication and makes technology go haywire?  This would sort of make sense why my phone keeps acting up, I never hear it when it rings, it continued to drop calls yesterday, the washing machines in our apartment complex don’t work (one even ate my $20…I had a lovely conversation with the company about that), and the computers at work keep breaking.  Don’t believe me? Check out this Huffington Post article on the matter.

Their recommendations: editing, revising, reviewing, research, relaxing, and regrouping. Also, cleaning out clutter, organizing and catching up on paperwork are highly favored during this time. Above all, remember that this is a magical time to reconnect with the past while revisiting abandoned projects and renewing old relationships. Have a magical retrograde!

So onto food, food, food.  Breakfasts have been anything from bagels from our company’s Thursday bagel delivery to pumpkin overnight oats to a Shakeology smoothie to go.  This morning in particular I threw in half a large frozen banana and a handful of spinach.

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In terms of lunch, I finally got into the habit of prepping meals for the week on Sunday, which saves some money by not eating $12 salads every day.  As of late, lunches consist of quinoa, pepper, carrots, spinach, green beans, and hummus.  I might not be eating enough protein since I end up hungry throughout parts of the afternoon and am pretty much starving by dinner.  As you can see, the snacks are distributed throughout the afternoon and if I’m lucky, avoid most of the candy.  That is, “if” I’m lucky.

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Does anyone watch Revenge? I’m starting from the beginning on Netflix and it’s too good.  Not to mention the attractiveness of the cast 😉

IMG_0958This is my favorite dinner by far – salmon with some type of squash or sweet potato and some sauteed kale.  Add a dollop of ketchup and mustard and we are good to go.  I was still hungry after my body pump class, so some peanut butter and almond milk was added to the late night mix.  Maybe I should add some more pumpkin to my daily routine 🙂

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Here are some of my favorite recipes thus far (some are oh-so-old and desperately need to be recreated) –

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And yes, a recipe for this will be happening SOON.

Do you find yourself hungry throughout the day?  What are your favorite snacks?  Favorite fall foods?

“I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence, but it comes from within. It is there all the time.” – Anna Freud

Big City Excursions – Williamsburg

Where to even begin? Living in the city is certainly MUCH different than being a tourist.  When I told people I was moving to New York, I’m sure they pictured me living in the middle of Times Square.  Oh no, no, no.  That would not be pleasant.  There are way too many people ignorant tourists who can’t figure out how to walk in a straight line and feel the need to hold hands in some of the busiest areas.  Not cool.

I actually interviewed for a job located right in Times Square and while I decided it wouldn’t be the perfect fit career-wise, I sure was glad I wouldn’t have to make that commute every day.

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However, I do believe that the best thing about living in a city, especially New York, is that you are simply minutes away from the next attraction, restaurant, or outing.  In Los Angeles, you actually have to commit to having plans.  That would be due to the lovely freeway structures and constant flow of traffic.  Here in the city, public transportation is at its best and on my walks to work, I’ve passed too many interesting stores, parks, bars, and restaurants. Below are some notes, along with a photo dump, of my recent excursions.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn

This is considered an influential hub for indie, rock, hipster culture and the local art community.  It’s filled with various ethnic groups and packed with various people from New York on the weekends, looking to explore something new and different.  Wow, that last part fits me perfectly 😉 

IMG_3822It’s easily accessible via the L train and some of the best spots are located right off Bedford Ave (1st stop in Brooklyn after leaving Manhattan – 1st Ave).  My roommate Hope and I have explored this area a few times, picking out places to eat, wandering through various stores and thrift shops, taking in the entire scene.  As I’ve mentioned before, one of the best parts about living in a city, is the vast amount of people-watching one can do.  It’s practically endless!

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I’m partial to the stores with kitchen supplies and food goodies.  Lucky for me, these are the types of stores Hope likes to wander through as well!  We just have to watch our wallets, not in terms of getting stolen, but rather spending too much on funky kitchen gadgets.

Fun fact, there is also a WHISK store located near the Flatiron in Manhattan.  Sure it’s a bit pricey but finding that on my way home from work made my afternoon.  I would categorize these types of stores as my happy places – the endless options housed within those four walls – too many gorgeous looking appliances and the many recipes that could be created.

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Note all the flavors below – popcorn, pumpkin, coffee, maple walnut, rum raisin, cookies & cream, chocolate peanut butter oreo, mango sorbet, red raspberry chardonnay, smurfette, cookie dough, brownie blast, piece of cake, mint chip, and chocolate cabernet.

 

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I used to be a big cookies & cream person but have morphed into a mint chip connoisseur.  Funny because when I was little I had an aversion to mint chip ice cream and Mexican food.  Now that would probably make up my dream meal. 

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The first time we wandered through Williamsburg, it was quite a warm afternoon.  People were eating their beloved brunch outside and sipping mimosas and bloody mary’s in the wonderful sun.  This last weekend we made another trip out to Brooklyn and while it was a bit chillier, the sun was still out and people were soaking up the perfect fall weather.

It’s crazy to think how diverse the city is, especially between all the different burroughs.  There is so much to see, places to eat, and people to meet.  Until the next time Brooklyn.

“Believe that you can do it, under any circumstances. Because if you believe you can, then you really will.  That belief just keeps you searching for the answers, then pretty soon you get it”  – Wally “Famous” Amos. 

Marvelous Fall Life in the City

Welcome back to the beginning of the week 🙂 Only four more days until it’s officially November.  I honestly cannot believe the month has flown by so fast!  The past few weeks and even days have taught me to appreciate the little things in life and tell the important people in your life how much they mean to you.  I’m extremely thankful and blessed to have each and every member of my family, including extended, alive and healthy. There have been a couple of moments this summer where a family friend or former classmate has passed away and I’m not sure what I would do with out my family, no matter how much they might drive me up the wall or I might drive them crazy.  Please just take a moment to thank those around you and tell people how much you care.

Marvelous is receiving little packages from your friends.  I’ve been corresponding with my best friends from home and Santa Clara, both of which love crafts and sending snail mail.  We keep in touch through texting but also love talking on the phone once in a while or even once a week.  It’s nice to actually catch up on life and share stories that are just too complex or complicated to share via text. The mug below was made for me by Laura, who moved up to San Francisco.  Yes, I send them little goodies as well 🙂 I send Laura a little “passport” of things to do while she is in the city and am brainstorming a box to send to Alexis.

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Last weekend I received this gem of a box from my SCU friend Alexis who really went above and beyond.  Her thoughtfulness brought a smile to my face.  Here we have a little lavender scented rice pack, which can be used for relaxing muscles, muscle cramps, or just making your room and bed smell delightful.  She also included a mixed variety pack of nuts, dried fruit, and dark chocolate.

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Marvelous is successfully creating (or rather enjoying) a Pinterest recipe.  Hope created not just one but two delicious Pinterest recipes for us to enjoy last week.  We started off with simplified chicken potpie for dinner – ingredients thrown into on of our handy-dandy cake pans and topped with Pillsbury biscuits.  Who knew how many ways you could use a cake pan.   The other recipe was our own take on Apple Pecan Pie Cronuts with Apple Cider Caramel Drizzle.  Curious for a step-by-step guide to this deliciousness?  Come back tomorrow 🙂

Marvelous is also finding pictures and recipes from your website on Pinterest.  I was simply scrolling through and thought one of the collages looked familiar.  Sure enough, it was linked back to californiaendlesssummer and I soon found additional photos that were pinned and even re-pinned!

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Marvelous is taking a trip to Brooklyn for brunch.  Enough said. 🙂

Marvelous is no longer stressing about homework or tests over the weekend.  I love being able to clear my mind of work stress, at least for a good portion of the weekend, and instead adventure through the city.  I’ve started to pick different coffee spots to blog from, just because being in my apartment for so long can be boring and lonely.  It’s something about changing up the atmosphere to keep the creative juices flowing and even sitting alongside other customers (most of whom are usually studying or writing papers), is comforting and exciting.  Have you ever created stories about people in your head?  What they do for a living, why they are in that Starbucks, etc.

I probably shouldn’t talk on the phone while I’m working in Starbucks but of course my sister calls immediately when I settle down.  Sorry folks, this is the only time I can talk to her so deal.

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Marvelous is babysitting.  Sure sitting with adults all day can be intellectually stimulating (or not, depending on the day), but talking with kids is refreshing.  The kids I babysit are pretty self-sufficient but I hang out and make rainbow loom bracelets or rather listen to his commentary and instructions and absolutely hilarious comments.   The first time I babysat, I made a comment that I didn’t know much about New York because I recently moved.  His response was “well, I don’t think that’s an accurate statement because essentially when you moved, you became a citizen of New York”

Marvelous is running through the highline and having a better long run than expected.  Sure the tourists were slightly annoying, but with a view like this, it made it worthwhile.  I was planning to only run about 5 miles on Saturday but decided extend it to 7 and make it the long run of the weekend.  I’m following my “beginner” ½ marathon plan pretty closely and seem to be on track for the race in November.

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Marvelous is stumbling upon a few secret items from Panera such as the power breakfast bowl with egg whites and roasted turkey or the power Mediterranean chicken salad.   I used to love going to Panera back in California, but haven’t been here yet.  However, there probably are quite a few foodie spots that I should check off my list before falling back to my chain favs.

Marvelous is finding a little bit of fall amidst the concrete jungle.  There may be some trees around us and along central park that shed their leaves, but experiencing an entire park full of bushes and trees with leaves changing from summer’s vibrant green to the reds and browns of fall.

Marvelous is this hilarious and relatively accurate Buzzfeed list comparing life in Los Angeles to life in New York.  Gee, isn’t Buzzfeed amazing?

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What’s marvelous about your life right now?

Can We Say TGIF?

I think it’s safe to say I’ve had a bit of a writing slump the past few days.  Between interviews, my internship, running around (literally), and our company Halloween party (yes, we are a week early), I’ve been moving full speed ahead.  I probably will spend some time this weekend formulating blog posts or stories, but for now let’s start the weekend with a good ‘ol fashioned list of random thoughts and a tasty recipe.

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  • Within the period of one week, the temperature dramatically dropped and it’s officially brrrrrry.  My friend and I have been monitoring the temperature during our morning runs and have determined that 48F is still ok for a light long-sleeve and shorts but when it drops to 43F, throw caution to the wind and bring out the pants and gloves.  Looks like I’ll have to purchase another pair of running pants along with gloves if I want to function in the winter.  Oh and actually complete my half marathon without catching hypothermia.
  • I have to formulate an adequate (and preferably creative) synopsis of what I’ve learned over the past few months.  Public speaking probably isn’t one of my strengths, especially when I feel the pressure to whip out something memorable, but you can’t learn unless you practice.
  • I want to leave a memorable gift for my coworkers at my internship.  The last intern left mini cupcakes, so obviously I have to go one above.  Luckily I have a week or so to formulate something and that means plenty of time to browse through Pinterest.  Any ideas?
  • I’m tired of coming home after work and finding myself on the computer or my phone.  For goodness sake, I sit with a computer all day, I need a break from technology.  What do you do after work or in the evenings?
  • I’m actually one of those weird people (some have said “goody-two-shoes” but I prefer “dedicated”) that looks forward to a schedule and work (most days) because I can sit and listen to a bunch of random and often hilarious stories.  It’s the social part of work that makes the day great.  I don’t think I would like to work at home or in a satellite office because I would drive myself insane!
  • Lately I’ve been monitoring my food and exercise on myfitnesspal just because I think the whole chemistry of it all is fascinating.  Simply eating a few tablespoons of jam throw the sugar chart off the scale.  Isn’t that weird?  I’m sure I’ve shared how much of a sweet tooth I have (if not…see my recipe index – all sugar), so it’s not like I’ll go cold-turkey, but I have tried to take a step back and monitor it a bit more.
  • I honestly cannot believe that it’s almost November.  Where in the world did the time go? Soon it will be a very special day…my HALF birthday.  Ok, that was sarcasm but I may do something fun all the same.

And now for a recipe – Pulled between these two, Simply Recipes and Healthy Aperture. How about a nice biscotti to go with your cup of coffee in the morning? Or alter the ingredients and wrap them up as a fall housewarming gift.  

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Pumpkin Spice Biscottis

  • 2 cups of flour (1/2 wheat & 1/2 white)
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of pumpkin purée
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, and spices into a large bowl.
  2. In a different bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin purée, and vanilla extract. Pour in the wet mixture into the dry bowl and stir well. 
  3. Flour your hands and a clean kitchen surface and lightly knead the dough. Place the dough on a cooking sheet lined with parchment paper. Mold the dough into a log-shape (about 15-20 inches by 6-7 inches ~1/2 inch high)
  4. Bake for 22-30 minutes at 350 F, until the center is firm to the touch.
  5. Cool for 15 minutes and then using a serrated knife cut into 1 inch wide pieces. Turn the oven to 300 F and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. Cool completely.

*I cut my baking time a little short, so they turned out a bit more chewy than the typical store variety.  Still got good reviews at work, so the decision is yours 🙂 Enjoy!

Anything fun planned for the weekend?

Eating and Exploring Brooklyn

Let’s just say the past few weeks have been a little crazy.  Lots to share but all in due time.  For now, let’s try a relatively wordless What I Ate on Sunday by Jenn at Peas & Crayons.  I spent the day exploring Manhattan and Brooklyn, listening to ESPN College Game Day and having a blast.
IMG_3963 IMG_3968 IMG_3976 IMG_3990IMG_3995 IMG_4020 IMG_4034 IMG_4037 IMG_4039 IMG_4042 IMG_4044 IMG_4048 IMG_4053“Say yes, and you’ll figure it out later”
– Tina Fey