Monday, September 23, 2013


I just had a fabulous fall weekend. On Saturday I made some homemade apple sauce in the crockpot that turned out amazing. I don't have any pictures or even a recipe, but basically you just peel, core, and chop about 10-12 apples, put them in the crockpot, and sprinkle about 1/4 cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon over the top. Of course you can adjust the measurements depending on how sweet you want the applesauce to be and how strong you want the cinnamon flavor to be. Then just cook everything on high for 4 hours. If you like your applesauce smooth with no lumps, you may want to put it in the blender for a minute, but I like chunks of apple so I just stirred mine. Delicious!

Sunday afternoon I went for a drive not knowing exactly where I would end up. I just knew I wanted to see the changing leaves. On my way...

Getting closer to where I finally stopped...this picture doesn't show the fiery oranges and reds I was looking for, but I love all the different shades of green along the road.
I ended up at a park with a mountainside walking/bike trail near my house, and my walk started on a bridge over this little stream.

Starting out on the trail. All I could hear was nature sounds, and occasionally another person. So calming.

 Every once in awhile there would be a break in the trees and I would get a nice view of the beautiful houses across the canyon.

The leaves were just starting to change and I think in a couple more weeks there will be a lot more color, but I loved seeing hints of the bright colors that are coming.

It was the perfect day to be out enjoying fall before the long, cold winter hits. I love how bright blue the sky is in this shot behind the gorgeous yellow, orange, and red of the leaves.


These next two are a little creepy if you're a spider hater like me. There was a group of 3 trees that were completely covered in thick spider webs. I'm just glad I couldn't see the spiders, because the webs alone gave me chills. 

Back to pretty...

I love that one tree that just couldn't wait to turn fiery red



 How would that be? A castle with the mountainside in the backyard and sweeping views of the valley in the front. Not bad.
Back at the stream at the bottom

I would have gone farther and faster if it hadn't been for this...
but really it was just nice to relax and breath in the mountain air. No rush to get to the top, no worries about getting home at any specific time.

Along the way I picked up some of branches and brought them home to display in my house. This one I stuck in a vase with some pine cones. 

And this one I just laid across the table next to my couch. 

I love the touch of nature in the house, and the reminder of my little hike (can you call it a hike if you're wearing flip flops?) that took me away from the world for an hour and helped me clear my head a little bit. I can't wait to go back in a couple of weeks (in better shoes!) and see how the canyon has transformed as the leaves continue to change colors. Fall is, without a doubt, my favorite time of year!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

fall mantel

I put out some fall stuff a few weeks ago and I'm finally getting around to posting some pictures. I love this time of year, and after the brutal summer we had this fall is especially welcome. I love adding orange to my living room and kitchen. Opening my box of fall decorations is always so fun, and when you add in pumpkin, cinnamon, and a Leaves candle from Bath & Body Works...I'm in heaven.

For the last 2 years, my fall mantel has looked like this

I loved it and wanted to keep some of it the same, but I did want to change it up a little bit so this year I made a couple of small changes. Nothing is new, just moved around which is always fun. I'm very traditional when it comes to holiday decorating, and for me part of that is using the same stuff from year to year. I love to add in a few new things each year or use the old stuff in a different way, but for the most part I like to find things I love and stick with them. There's something so comforting and familiar about pulling them out of the box and surrounding myself with things I love.
My leaf wreath, fall letters, and leaf garland all made it back this year, and I still love them all.

Instead of the candles on the left, I filled a lantern with some little pumpkins and gourds

And on the right I used this ceramic pumpkin instead of the "give thanks" sign.

I love how festive it is!

Besides my mantel, I put out a few other fall things around the living room and kitchen, including my fall yarn wreath

This is on a table next to the couch. That platter will come down when I have some fall treats to put on it, but for now I'm loving it here.

Some cute pumpkin towels in the kitchen

And one of my favorite fall things are these leaf goblets. I bought 6 of them at the dollar store a couple of years ago and I love them. I was so excited to take them out of the cupboard where I keep my holiday dishes. They're just more fun to drink from than a regular glass.


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Thursday, July 11, 2013

around the world

I've talked about my travels a little bit on this blog, but always kind of in passing as I mention that I got a bowl in Italy or a shirt I'm wearing in Dublin. I have some travel room updates coming soon (and I'll explain why I call it that), but I wanted to do something a little bit different and put together a round-up of some of my favorite pictures from my world wandering. Some are just pretty to look at and some have a story behind them, but they all represent the incredible experiences I've had and lots of amazing memories.

 I have another blog where I post all the details of each trip and I just love going back through those posts and remembering all the things I've done and the amazing places I've seen. As I was putting this post together, it really hit me how lucky I am to have been to all of these incredible places. This world really is an unbelievable place and I want to see it all! So fasten your seatbelt, put your seat back and tray table in their full upright positions, and enjoy this little trip around the world with me!

My first international trip was to Spain the summer after 8th grade. I went with a group of 15 girls, and we cared more about shopping than actually taking in the sights and culture of Spain. I would love to go back now that I'm older and can appreciate shopping and culture. Unfortunately, that trip was way before digital cameras so I don't have pictures to share here. My 2 semesters in Hawaii during college were also pre-digital, but that is where I really fell in love with other cultures and wanted to see the world and learn everything I could about how other people live. It's so fascinating to me. So we're starting here with my first trip with a digital camera.


Vatican Museum ~ every inch of every surface was covered with paintings, mosaics, tapestries, and sculptures. Beautiful.

Grand Canal in Venice ~ I didn't know until I went to Venice that it's all canals. There are no streets, no cars, nothing with wheels basically. Just walkways and canals. Pretty impressive.

New York

We were in the audience for a taping of the Late Show and it was such a fun thing to do!

View from the top of the Empire State Building


Big Ben ~ I heard they renamed it, but to me it will always be Big Ben

Westminster Abbey (hands down, best abbey I've ever seen)

Windsor Castle - the queen's second home. I loved this day. We took a train out of London a little bit to get here and I loved the little town of Windsor with its cobblestone streets lined with cafes, and this castle was unbelievable. It's so much bigger than what you see in the picture. Our tour took a few hours and we barely saw a little section of it. The life of a queen doesn't seem so bad.


The Eiffel Tower at night

Standing on top of the Arc de Triomphe with the Eiffel Tower in the background. We climbed a never-ending spiral staircase to get up there and my legs felt like mush by the time we finally made it, but the view from the top was pretty amazing.


Funny how a little bit of paint made these guys at Tulum seem a lot less naked

Parasailing in Mexico is pretty ghetto. It this picture I'm sitting on a rolled up towel hooked with rope to a tarp. It was fun though!

Our resort. We stayed in the white building on the left, and just past that you can see the ocean. Take-your-breath-away beautiful. I spent my 30th birthday here and it was the perfect way to turn the page on a new decade.


Karlstejn Castle ~ we had a hilarious guide and loved our tour of this castle, even though it's not heated and it could not have been more than 20° in there.

Still Karlstejn ~ that box on the side of the castle was the king's bathroom and it was just open on the bottom. If you're feeling sorry for the king who had to use an open bathroom in the winter, think about the poor soul whose job it was to go out and clean up the ground every day.


Great Wall of China ~ our guide told us anyone who climbs to the top is considered a "true Chinese hero," so you may refer to me as such :)

The Chinese people at the Great Wall acted like they had never seen a white person before and kept asking to take pictures with us. We felt like celebrities!

This was one of the most amazing things I've ever done. We road in this rickshaw pulled by a man on a bike through the hutong (an old part of Beijing where the streets are less than 9 steps across) and ended up at the house below. The woman who lives there cooked a homemade meal for us that was delicious. It was so amazing to talk to her and see how her family lives. An incredible experience.

Yu Garden in Shanghai ~ right in the middle of the bustling city of Shanghai, this garden is quiet, peaceful, and so beautiful.


This trip to Ireland started with a day in New York with my friend and travel buddy Rikki. Sadly, she was not able to go to Ireland with me because she was pregnant and had some complications, but her doctor said a day in New York would be okay. We had seen Wicked before in London and were so excited to see it again!

This friendly Irish wolf hound guarded the door to the first castle we stayed in. So perfect.

Our Nissan Micra with everything on the other side. That took some getting used to and I was nervous at first, but it ended up being kind of fun once I got the hang of it.

The second castle we stayed in was haunted. Don't believe me? Look at the picture of our bathroom wall below.

It was seriously a creepy place.

Kissing the Blarney Stone


No description required for a picture of a beach sunset

Waimea Falls ~ this picture has been on my desktop since we got back. That's how much I love it.

My brothers and nephews

Something beautiful to see everywhere you look

This is a picture of a picture so it's not the best, but my brothers and I took a ride in that helicopter over the island. I maintain that it was amazing and totally worth it...even though I got to taste my lunch a second time during the ride. Motion and I are not friends.

Costa Rica

La Fortuna Waterfall ~ we hiked down (and then back up) millions of steps to get here and swam in the pool. Cold, but so fun.

We found this little guy at the end of a hike through the rainforest

Click on this one to enlarge it. We were so close to this tree full of howler monkeys. So amazing.

Tabacon ~ an all natural hot springs, and as you can see, absolutely beautiful.

Lake Arenal ~ we did 2 different sets of zip lines and this was the view from one of the platforms.

As you can imagine, I have tons more pictures from all of these places, each with a memory attached. This has been such a fun post for me to write, and I hope you enjoyed a look at a few of my favorites! I'll end with my favorite quote (that you've seen here):

"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page"
~St Augustine

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