Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Hope you are having a fabulous day. I love Halloween.

This year I did not decorate as much as I wanted but I am still enjoying this season. Luckily, it is cooler up here and feels more like fall.  Very excited about this. Not sure what we are doing today but I know we will either go out on a date or stay in and watch horror movies and drink pumpkin ciders. No Halloween party, nothing like that. Just a very mellow day and evening.

Happy Halloween!
Have a spooky day!


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Simple Life Improvements Worth Applying

The holiday season is just around the corner, can you believe it? Usually now is the time when you start thinking about new goals you can make and resolutions you can keep. It can be fun actually and you shouldn’t dread this fun time of the season. Instead of waiting until December to come up with a few life improvements you can follow through with in 2015, start making a list now. If you make small improvements daily soon enough your goals will become a habit and you’ll be ahead of the game when the New Year begins.

Quality Sleep

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If you’re one of those people who only gets six or seven hours of sleep each night, seven hours of sleep is good, but eight and nine hours of sleep is even better. Sleep helps your brain function and the result of more rest is you can focus better at work. Your productivity and concentration will improve immensely as well. If you struggle with going to bed early try setting an alarm clock for yourself at night, an hour before bed time. That way you’ll know what you need to finish up in time to hit the hay at a reasonable hour.
Another way you can get more sleep is to be more productive with your time. Don’t procrastinate on projects that need completing at home and that you can start on now. Seize the day and make a list of how you can specifically accomplish your tasks step by step. Don’t over commit yourself daily; be realistic about what you have time to complete. If you stay motivated and follow through on your goals then you’ll be able to get more sleep. It is possible!

Home Improvement

{via}

If the siding on your home needs replacement consider using vinyl instead of wood. Vinyl is more durable and will withstand severe weather and sun exposure. What’s more if you desire a home upgrade vinyl comes in many styles and finishes. Today there are many trim and accent options available and a full spectrum of colors help homeowners achieve a beautiful exterior for any type of home.
Home repairs are important but are often easy to forget. Life gets in the way and you’d rather focus on other tasks that need taken care of. If you wait to long to replace siding however your home can suffer significant damage from harsh weather and sun exposure. Don’t allow this to happen and find a company that specializes in vinyl siding for a durable and trendy appearance for your home.

Moisturize Your Skin

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It’s really easy to forget to put moisture on your skin when you’re in a hurry or it just slips your mind, but adding a quality moisturizer goes a long way. Your skin needs moisture to stay young, soft, and healthy. Especially if you live in a dry climate lotion should be applied daily all over your body. Forgetting to moisturize your skin can cause significant dryness, premature aging, and other potential skin problems. Keep your skin moist during the fall and winter and you’ll have soft glowing skin that’s healthy and beautiful. 
Guest Post Written by Sierra 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

My Quick Trip to San Francisco


It was not a planned a trip, but since the city is about one hour and thirty minutes away we thought it would be fun to meet up with a mutual friend after she is done with work. We left in the morning and got there a bit before noon, bought our daily pass {because well, we don't drive in SF...I learned how to drive in San Francisco and I clearly remember how wonderful it was to drive to one-way streets and hills, but I don't want to do this if I don't need to}, and did the things we wanted to do. :) We didn't want to go to the Golden Gate Bridge even though it was a clear day. We just felt we saved this for another time. Then again, to me it is not the most sensational thing ever. Yes, you read right...blame it on me having done this so many times in the past. You get over it after many years.

I finally showed my man what public transportation is all about. I missed taking cable cars, buses, munis...oh man, it was fun...plus with a daily pass {easily purchased at Walgreens} you don't have to worry about change or cash in general.


I love hills. I love to walk up and down. You don't need a gym anymore in San Francisco. You have a natural, everyday and every moment-gym. We walked and we took public transportation. I mainly wanted to stay closer to downtown so once my friend was done with work we could meet up. It was a fun day. I wish we could have seen more or done more, but at least we got my favorite cupcakes from Kara's bakery. Their gluten free cupcakes {displayed separately on a covered tray} are delicious. It is so difficult to find moist, gluten free cupcakes that don't taste like stale bread. Even making your own is not as easy {the gf mixes help but it's not the same}, so months ago when someone suggested to try Kara's for their gf section I was sold. I will not buy anything else anymore. Their cupcakes come close to Crumbs or Sprinkles but I have to admit the ones from Kara's are better {sorry, all you Sprinkles lovers out there}.

San Francisco has always been my favorite city on the west coast. Los Angeles is number two. Granted, I lived longer in the L.A./OC area so I am a little torn there. Yet, living in the Sacramento area San Francisco is the closest I can get to a big, fun and cultural city {yes, I just wrote that down}. I cannot wait to go back. Hopefully soon.


And since I lack photos of myself...here's a photo of me while wearing my new top I got from StitchFix. Don't mind the ridiculous looking hair...I had a good hair day until this photo; I promise.



...I promise I work on my photo and posing skills, but posting this shows I am still around, and that it is indeed me writing all of this. Just saying.

Cannot wait to go back to San Francisco!!!

Have a great day,
xoxo

Monday, October 27, 2014

Fall Adventures


Happy Monday Morning!
How was your weekend? Mine was great!
 
It finally cooled down. It cooled down to a point that allowed us to do stuff outside, still wear short-sleeved shirts and all but fully let us enjoy normal fall temperatures. After all it is October for crying out loud. October should be the month when everything cools down, and I am glad this season finally got the memo. 

Friday afternoon we went to Folsom for the Night of 1000 Pumpkins and it was so much fun. Granted, I believe this is more an event for children but it is still a fun {free} event to go to and see wonderfully carved pumpkins {we definitely got some ideas in for our carving time this week}, fun costumes, hear spooky music and see the kids go wild for candy one week before Halloween. Yes, they do this every year on the Friday before Halloween.


People went really out and carved beautiful pumpkins. I am more a very ordinary girl, carving the simplest of pumpkins {or painting them}, but we saw pumpkins I don't even know how to they did it let alone how long it took them to do all this - very impressive. Also, Country Living named them #3 among the 15 Amazing Halloween Celebrations in America


I am so looking forward to carving our pumpkins we found a couple of weeks ago at the pumpkin patch. I don't know what or how we are going to carve ours but I can tell you it is going to be fun regardless of what we come up with. I may just carve a heart and a few scary eyes in mine. :) 

Have a great day and a fantastic early Halloween week.

xoxo

P.s. I am again linking up with Leeann and Kimberlee and their linkup Monday Morning Gossip. Feel free to join the fun and make new friends!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Lately....


Last weekend my man and I went to Jackson. His family spent a few days up there so they thought it would be a great idea for us two to join them. Also, we both needed some time away from Sacramento, and away from everything so what better way to go to a very close wine country and tasting wine? Exactly my point, nothing {unless you can't stand wine}.



We had a blast. It was a very mellow weekend. I enjoyed cuddling with two cats and two dogs, walking around and soaking up in the jacuzzi. Also, wine tasting wasn't that shabby either. We bought a few bottles, I made my famous potato salad for everyone while my man took responsibility in preparing the meat. I know that is his job, so not mine.


What bothered me most was that my card got declined while I was trying to purchase bottles of wine. I was very shocked and kind of mad. Luckily, we have other cards but it got me worried all weekend. Calling the bank made it worse because all they said was to come in Monday {I did and we fixed the issue, I hope}. Also, by not having a card this week to buy anything I literally worked on other things, helped my guy prepare for his interview{s}, and go fall shopping. I also got my 2nd StitchFix selection in and they nailed it big time. I am the happiest girl ever. I kept three things and I am so stoked it's not even funny. 

Halloween is pretty much around the corner...not to mention Thanksgiving. I am making dessert and I am testing everything before I even try making something. It's been a challenge especially since it needs to be gluten free. Also, I can't wait to see my friend on Sunday where both of my favorite things come together: San Francisco and my friend M. Win win!!!

What have you been up to lately?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Homemade Fall Chili


This dish is so easy. I love chili, and I especially love it when temperatures drop. It is time to actually cook some warmer, heavier dishes. Hey, a salad can be heavy too. ;) So, when temperatures dropped last week I got all excited and decided it was time to use my frozen ground beef for a perfect and easy-made chili - plus, my chili is usually less fatty because, well, I still try to keep it all on the light side.


 Here's what you need:
  • 1 pound 95% lean ground beef {or whatever ground beef you prefer, really}
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped bell peppers {orange, red, yellow, or green, or all of them at once; I used green}
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic {I had to use two gloves}
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon {cracked} black pepper
  • 2 15 ounce cans light kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup {Light} sour cream
Here's what you do:

- In a Dutch oven, over medium heat, cook and stir the ground beef, onion, pepper, & garlic until beef is no longer pink and the vegetables are crisp tender {about 8 to 9 minutes}.
- Add the chili powder, cumin and pepper. Cook for 1 minute.
- Add the kidney beans, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and water.
- Cook and stir until the chili comes to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium low.
- Occasionally stirring, continue cooking for about 25 to 30 minutes.
- Serve individual bowls of chili with some sour cream {optional}.
- Garnish with shredded cheese, avocado slices, or whatever you desire {optional}if desired.

Enjoy.



***

Next time I will spice up my chili with some fun extras and see how it will turn out. Cannot wait. We both loved this one and I shouldn't change a thing. It is the perfect dish to embrace fall in full force. I simply cannot believe how fast time has flown by. It is almost Halloween, almost winter, and almost holiday season. 

Are you a chili lover?

Monday, October 20, 2014

How to Enjoy Rain


Happy Monday everyone.

How was your weekend? I hope it was filled with lots of fun adventures. Even if you stayed home I hope you were able to relax, sit back and enjoy a wonderful October weekend. As for us, we went away for a few days. We met up with the in-laws, and enjoyed a full weekend filled with wine-tasting, beer-tasting, pet-cuddling, and sunshine! It was needed. I miss having pets, so cuddling with dogs and cats was incredible. There is so much love given by a pet, it is the {almost} best feeling ever.

This weekend was also the weekend I had no computer, hardly any cell reception and just one book on me. It was relief and pleasure not to be connected with anyone at all times. I unplugged and it felt phenomenal. If you have ever done this you know this feeling. It's just pure, refreshing, and perfect - at least for one long weekend.

Now that we are back home this week will be busy!!!! Paperwork needs to be sent in {then we just wait}, my favorite person's job interview is Wednesday, some early Halloween fun will be part of this week as well as us going to San Francisco to meet a friend of ours. Cannot wait. I am so glad his work schedule is steady now and he gets Sundays off. He always worked on weekends and it wasn't fun. I could never plan anything. Last week his work finally gave him the okay to get a more steady schedule which allows him to balance school, life and work at once. Also, rain is in the forecast. Rain!!! I don't even remember what rain feels like, let alone temperatures that make you feel like fall. This week is going to be exciting, busy, fun-filled and hopeful.

So, I am enjoying rain...or just the thought of it looking forward to some drops falling onto the car today!

Happy Monday! I am ready for this week, are you?!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Wedding Update or How I Won't Share It All


Our special day was anything but traditional. We got engaged, we moved in, we lived together, we traveled together, and then we got married. No engagement party, no bridal shower, no registries, no bachelorette party, and no rehearsal dinner. Yes, none of that. Don't worry or frown for me though, I still want my bachelorette weekend, and I would love to have a shower...just post-wedding. Sound weird? I know, but think about it. We can talk about the whole day, the drama beforehand, talk about what we wore, what we ate, what I would have done differently, and what I would like to repeat again.

One major thing that prevented me from having my dream bachelorette weekend {I have it all planned out, sorta, kinda, ya know, just know that it is a weekend and know the location, everything else is then up to my girls working their magic} or a bridal shower is that none of my girlfriends live up north. They all live in the greater Los Angeles and Orange County area, or even Arizona. It meant more to me to have them with me on my big day. Also, everything happened so quickly there was hardly any time to figure things out and organize parties. Maybe I will set a new trend. Post-bachelorette weekend/party, and post-bridal shower might be something new. I should Google this before I talk about it. I know. Anyways, we will have those traditional parties just in a very nontraditional way. 

Our day was almost perfect. The few days before didn't look or feel perfect {we got married in Napa, and there was a 6.0 earthquake shaking the old buildings a little up and down and left and right the weekend before our big day}. Also, my beloved mom, my best friend, could not attend and it not only broke her heart but also mine. Besides that, and the little drama about the city of beautiful Napa it was a perfect day: the alarm went off on time. Anything else would have been a disaster. The people we love and could make it in such a short notice to our wedding came in fashion, the sun wasn't scorching hot, our restaurant was still open {we switched to an a la carte lunch than a prearranged menu}, nobody fainted, and I felt like the cutest little princess walking hand in hand with her prince charming. 


A small wedding still meant there was going to be dessert. I wanted dessert. Yet, I did not want a cake because I knew it would be almost impossible to have one made in time, and since it was an intimate affair I just did not think a cake would be appropriate. If there is a big reception or something at some point I will make sure there is cake. There were a few more cupcakes added to the above selection, and we put them neatly on a cute, everyday-use, tier. Plus, yes, most of the cupcakes were gluten free and I could not have been happier with Kara's Cupcakes. If you are in the Northern California area I'd recommend you check them out. Every other place I tried up here just disappointed me greatly. 


What I was very particular about was the little tiny details. Despite arranging a simple and easy-going wedding day we still wanted to dress up {it is a wedding after all}, and have our guests arrive dressed up as well. I still wanted some decoration, a cake or cupcakes, and favors as a thank you note to our lovely guests for driving or flying up. Making my own favors, and adding a little personal touch to them was very important to me. Purple, polka dots, and monograms were a must. I just had to remind myself that our wedding was simple and that I should not overwhelm or overdo the whole thing.

Small, intimate or not, there was one thing I was VERY particular about. The Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, and Something Blue. That was the only tradition we had at our wedding, and the speeches friends gave.  

Something Old - a purple ring I was given for the day {also, something borrowed}. It belonged to B's grandma and matched my vintage outfit and vineyard surroundings perfectly.
Something New - The dress I was wearing and the clutch I was using.
Something Borrowed - My best friend's M.'s bracelet that gave me some extra sparkle.
Something Blue - my toenails were painted in baby blue


Yes I am holding a Redbull can. Two girls were walking around giving away those cans and so we grabbed some. I don't like Redbull but felt like I wanted to try their new flavor. Now, if you were wondering...I'm walking alone here because right after this photo was taken I threw the bouquet to my friend {the only single girl at the wedding}. Of course she caught it.

We took our friends who stayed the entire weekend to our favorite Italian restaurant in Sacramento, and we explored Old Sacramento again. Plus, who doesn't want to get high on candy?!


Our day was special. It was also different.
I can't believe how fast time flies, it is already mid-October and it's crazy. We are still writing our Thank You cards, one at a time. Do we feel any different? Not really. He goes to work, attends school as well, and I cook, clean and organize things with our lives as much as even possible. I may have changed my name, and I may have two rings now on my ring finger but other than that nothing has changed. We are happy and loving each day {even when I hit a low day and don't feel like cheering}.

That was our day. 
I shared with you as much as I wanted to share. Plus, I can't smile so you won't even miss anything...photos with me in them are horrible. My mother-in-law caught a few cute ones apparently. My friends caught a few good ones, and also a few funny {or shall I say bad?} ones. In one I am about to burst into an ugly monster. See? You don't miss much. 

Happy mid-October!!!!

P.s.: my wedding dress came from Ruche, and I could not have been happier with it 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Mexican Quinoa Dish Made Easy


If you follow me on Instagram you probably saw this photo a couple of weeks ago. Let me tell you one thing, this dish was delicious and made a fantastic leftover side dish the next day. Also, this dish was so easy to make.

Here's what you need:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapenos, minced {optional, I didn't use any}
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup corn kernels {love my stash of frozen veggies}
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Here's what you do:

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
Add garlic {and jalapeno}  and cook, stirring frequently for about 1 minute.

Stir in quinoa, vegetable broth, beans, tomatoes, corn, chili powder and cumin.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat.
Let it simmer for about 20 minutes or until quinoa is cooked through {it will look glossy}.
Stir in avocado, lime juice and cilantro.

Serve immediately.

***

If you don't like cilantro then use parsley or nothing at all. I am not a huge fan of cilantro. Actually I hate it and still used it and didn't mind. I just had extra cilantro I didn't know how to use, ha!
But it's a really simple dish. Everything you need for this dish you probably already have at home. Plus, it's healthy and a nice alternative to rice or pasta or potatoes. My man even liked it, and he is not so into the super healthy stuff but he eats everything I make, burned or not. Next time I will try to add some meat as well.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

My love for Eggplant


Colors enhance our daily lives. I already share my love for gray and orange with you, so I thought I would continue this walk of color-love for this season. Eggplant, plum or dark purple are my second favorites for the fall. I love to see this color on nails. It makes fingers and hands look more sophisticated, and honestly speaking, any accessory added looks stunning when you see a spark of dark purple. 


New outfits are needed this month and while I cleaned my closet I learned that my favorite purple top just doesn't look perfect anymore. Needless to say I got rid of it. A new blouse or sweater in my favorite warm fall color is needed. Also, purple goes beautifully with orange. A touch of both makes for a perfect fall outfit.


Gosh, I love these colors. Perfect fall impressions making me all warm and fuzzy. Cannot wait to go out and find some pretty items for myself. Fall is definitely my favorite time when it comes to combining warm colors!

What are your favorite fall colors? Is eggplant or purple one of them?

images via 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |

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