Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pumpkin Muffins (and Random Thoughts)

Good morning, good morning!

Before I get to my recipe for today, I've got some (really) random thoughts in my head that need sharing...

1. Today is my last day of being 24 years old! Crazy...things have been so busy lately I really can't believe the first day of December/my birthday is tomorrow.

2. My friend Wendi and her husband James are flying in from South Carolina as I type this, and I'm so excited that they are visiting us in Colorado before we move. I was so lucky to make some great friends when we lived in Greenville, and Wendi is such a fun person to be around. She is actually going to be flying from Colorado to Vegas this weekend for the RnR Half Marathon, and you can read the post on her blog about it here.

3. Tomorrow's weather forecast is a high of 26 degrees, 100% chance of snow, with 6 inches of accumulation. Not exactly the weather I'd wish for on my birthday (at all), but at least our Southern guests will get to see some Colorado snowflakes!

4. Last night, I was at the gym and one of my favorite movies, Serendipity, was on TV. Seriously such a great rom-com. I totally forgot that both Bridget Moynahan and John Corbett were in it, and they both end up getting left in the end just like they do in Sex and the City by Carrie and Big. Isn't that weird?! Please tell me I'm not the only one that's noticed this slash things it's a really big coincidence.

5. I am putting my Christmas cards in the mail today! Even though I'm way behind on my Christmas shopping, it's nice to have one thing checked off the list!

I told you my thoughts today were random...anyway, on to my recipe for today! I've got a lot of different Christmas-y posts and recipes planned for the weeks ahead, so I wanted to share one final Thanksgiving recipe with you before November passes us by.


These pumpkin muffins are my mother-in-law's recipe, and an absolute must-have for my husband on Thanksgiving. I made them Wednesday night and we snacked on them Thanksgiving morning, as well as for the next few days. They are sweet, moist, and oh-so-flavorful.

Ingredients

1/3 cup shortening
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 2/3 cups sifted flour
1 t. salt        
½ t. cloves
¼ t. baking powder
1 t. soda
½ t. cinnamon
1/3 cup water

Directions

Cream shortening and sugar
Add eggs and pumpkin
Add sifted dry ingredients alternated with water
Bake in greased muffin tins at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes


I typically double the recipe, and end up with about 36 muffins.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Revlon FTW

Are people still saying "for the win?" I really have no idea, but it seemed like an appropriate title for this post. If you've read my blog before, you know that I love makeup and I'm a pretty staunch Sephora devotee. However, I recently found some new Revlon products that I am loving and I wanted to share my discoveries with you!

Thanksgiving morning, I had to change up my dessert I was making and I didn't have all the ingredients I needed. We have a giant Super Target less than two minutes from our apartment, and I remembered hearing that Tarjay would be open on Thanksgiving. I ran up there, got what I needed, and then decided to quickly browse the makeup aisle. (Because what else would you do when you're in Target in your pajamas on Thanksgiving morning?)

The thing that drew me to the makeup section in the first place was that I desperately needed some foundation. In the past, I've used Makeup Forever HD Foundation in #120, and this stuff is awesome. Great coverage, and a large selection of very natural colors. The only problem is that it's also $40, boo.

This summer I was going buy some more of this foundation at Sephora when I was in NYC, but ended up trying something new. I was originally looking for a concealer and ended up buying Cover FX Total Coverage Cream Foundation which can actually be used as either concealer or foundation. It's great for covering breakouts, but it's also extremely heavy. It's just wayy too much to wear all over your face in my opinion, plus, the shade I bought back in July (E40) is now way too dark for my pale winter skin. So I desperately needed some new foundation for Thanksgiving, since my skin is a little, ahem, stressed at the moment. (Our upcoming move/hosting a holiday may have had something to do with that...just maybe...) I remembered reading that one of my most favorite bloggers, Pink Lou Lou, was a fan of Revlon's PhotoReady foundation, so I thought I'd give it a try. After all, what choice did I have, it's not like Sephora is open on Thanksgiving...darn. 


Y'all, this stuff is WONDERFUL. It's seriously so similar to the Makeup Forever HD Foundation, yet it's only $11.99! Such a steal. It goes on very smooth, provides great coverage, and is just a beautiful foundation. I got it in Nude (#004) and it matches my skin perfectly. If you're in the market for new foundation, give this stuff a try. 
The second thing I bought was Revlon's PhotoReady concealer in Light (#002). This creamy stick blends really well, and I am loving it for under my eyes. The color I got is a little bit lighter than I was expecting, but I figure that my skin is only going to get more pale as the months go on. Definitely a great concealer to add to your makeup bag or throw in your purse for quick touch-ups. 

I have mentioned before that I am totally obsessed with Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatments, particularly the Honey shade. It's so creamy and rich, and the warm nude color is absolutely perfect. But at $22 a pop, it is a little pricey.
So when I saw these new Revlon Colorburst Lip Butters, I was intrigued because it seemed like a similar concept of an ultra-moisturizing lip balm combined with sheer color.

I purchased color Brown Sugar (so not the shade pictured), and I really really like it. It's definitely not going to replace my Fresh Honey Lip Treatment, but it's a great product in it's own right. It's very smoothing, and the shade I bought has a nice amount of shimmer. It's perfect for throwing in you purse during the winter months to avoid chapped lips and give your face a little color. I'm looking forward to trying it out in other colors, and it's a great deal at less than $7! 
And last but not least, I picked up Revlon Colorstay Mineral Lipglaze in Perpetual Plum (#550) to wear on Thanksgiving and I love love love the color. It's just a fun, shimmery lipgloss that actually has some staying power. Very pretty and perfect for the holidays. 

So while I am still a Sephora girl heart, I love when I can find some great drugstore products that work well and don't cost an arm and a leg! 

Have a lovely Tuesday everyone! Xoxo

PS: I'm always on the hunt for new makeup, so tell me, what are some of your favorite products? Do you tend to buy your makeup at Sephora/department stores or do you prefer the drugstore?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011 Recap

Happy Monday everyone!

I hope that you all had wonderful Thanksgiving weekend filled with family, food, and shopping! My parents left Saturday, but my sister is still in town until tomorrow, so today I'm taking the day off from work to spend some time with her. But before time flies by and we get into the hustle and bustle of Christmas, I wanted to share some photos from our first Thanksgiving! 

Overall, I was extremely happy with the way everything turned out. It was great to have my family here, and even though we had a lot of leftover food, people seemed to like the dishes we made. But before I get to the food, after gathering much inspiration from Pinterest, here's how my Thanksgiving table turned out:


 I decided to go with red tablecloths, as I thought I'd get more use out of them for other holiday gatherings versus something that was super Thanksgiving-y. I used the burlap I bought for my wreath as a runner for the table, and I think that helped make the red tablecloths seem less Christmas-y. My sweet momma and I went shopping on Wednesday and she got me some additional table decorations including these cute pumpkins we found at Marshall's for only $2! Such a great deal. I think my favorite part of the table decor was the pear place cards I made. I got the idea from Pinterest (obvs) and I was initially planning to spray paint the pears gold, but Cam convinced me to just leave them their natural color and I think they ended up being the perfect compliment to the rest of the table.

Other than the table, I didn't do too much decorating to the rest of the apartment, but I had a few little touches here and there...


Ok, now on to the food! Last Monday, I shared our Thanksgiving menu that we had planned, however, we did end up making a few changes because stuff happens and we had to adjust. The meal started out with appetizers, and those stayed true to our original plan. We had a veggie tray with hummus and blue cheese dip, a cheese tray, and then of course I had to throw in a little candy! 


And then I had to make Cam's mom's pumpkin muffins, and they turned out great just like they do every year. They mad a great breakfast/snack while we were getting ready for the meal, and I'll be sharing the recipe for them later this week!


Thankfully, Cam did a large part of the cooking and cleaning for the big day and then my dad also helped a ton with everything.


Lola, on the other hand, wasn't quite as helpful...


As for the meal, we started out with the butternut squash soup as planned and it turned out great. We did have a little mishap when we were preparing it the night before; Cam had it in the blender, tried to stir it through the whole in the top, and ended up with butternut squash soup ALL over the kitchen...whoops. But we had already made enough soup for everyone to have a small portion to start, and the addition of the blue cheese and bacon on top was so yummy.


Cam did a great job on his first turkey but I totally forgot to get a picture of him with the whole bird, so I snapped one after it was all carved up.


Lola so wanted that giant turkey leg. Also, it ended up being like 70 degrees on Thanksgiving, hence why Cam is dressed like he's going to a barbecue. As for the stuffing, I ended up changing that up last minute. A week prior, my aunt who was coming called to see if she could bring anything, and I told her some kind of vegetable dish would be great. When I talked to her two days before, she said that she was making a sweet corn casserole, and I felt like it was probably going to be way too similar to the cornbread stuffing I had in mind. So, I opted to go with a more traditional sage stuffing, but I decided to make it in the the crockpot! I used this recipe, and it turned out so well. Seriously, making the stuffing in the crockpot is the way to go because it's super easy and it frees up space in your oven.


We also made the caramelized brussels sprouts and added some dried cranberries for color. They were good, but I think that the cranberries might have been a little too overpowering.


One regret I had about this meal is that I felt like we didn't have enough green food. Between the turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet corn casserole, bourbon yam mash (also compliments of my aunt), and the rolls, I felt like everything on our plates was brown. Oh well, lesson learned for next year!

As for the desserts, we did get the pumpkin cheesecake from Costco, we made Cam's grandmother's apple crisp recipe, and I made a chocolate trifle...but not on purpose.


I mentioned on Monday that I couldn't make up my mind about what chocolate dessert to make, so after much deliberation I decided on this Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake, but I ended up running into a few problems. First of all, the recipe makes a ton of batter, way more than to fit in the bundt pan I have. I reserved some of the batter and baked it in a separate pan, however, some still ended up spilling over while it was baking. Fail. Then once it was done baking, I let it cool but when I tried to take it out of the pan, and the top of half of the cake stuck and it pretty much all just fell apart. Double fail.

 
However, the cake itself tasted really good even if it looked hideous, so I decided to re-purpose it into a trifle! I used this recipe, except instead of brownies I used my cake (obvs), and then instead of using Cool-Whip for the whipped cream layer, I made actually whipped cream. (I did use Cool-Whip in the chocolate pudding layer though!) The trifle ended up looking really pretty and it was a delicious way to cover up my baking snafu.


Overall, it was a delicious day with the family...


We didn't get a lot of candids this Thanksgiving, my fam is all about the posed photos in the same location with as many different combinations of people as possible. Yes.
(I also realized after the fact that my dress was a little more see-thru than I thought so wearing it with a turquoise bra probably wasn't the best idea...)

I also wanted a picture with Cam and Lola, but it ended up being quite the ordeal...

She is such a drama queen, but finally we got a good one!

So that was my Thanksgiving, I hope that yours was wonderful as well! Xoxo

Friday, November 25, 2011

My Birthday/Christmas Wishlist

Happy Black Friday everyone! 

All week I've been talking about how Cam and I were getting ready to host our first Thanksgiving (see here, here, and here) and yesterday, the big day finally came! I'm pleased to say that it went extremely well, and I'm so thankful for my husband as he did an amazing job with cooking many of the dishes we served as well as doing the majority of the cleaning after dinner was done! Seriously awesome. The day was filled with way too much delicious food (seriously I'm still full) and I'll definitely be sharing some photos and recipes with you very soon. 

But since today is the biggest shopping day of the year, I thought it would be the perfect time to share my holiday wish list! (In case any of you are planning on sending me presents) Not only do I love the month of December because of Christmastime, but it's also my birthday month! I can hardly believe that I'm going to be turning 25 in less than a week...crazy. 

Being a December baby, there's this pressure to think of all these things you want at one time during the year, and I kind of always envied those June birthdays who had things a little more spread out. At the same time, I do love having my birthday during the holidays because everything is all decorated for Christmas and everything seems so much more festive and special. 

Here are a few things I've got my eye on this year: 
Christmas List

1. A ski helmet--safety first!
2. Cozy shearling slippers--perfect for snowy days in Tahoe!
3. Mountain Hardwear Power Stretch Gloves--for cold weather runs
4. Ski poles--I know nothing about ski poles, just that I need some...
5. Patagonia Better Sweater in Feather Gray--cute yet warm!
6. Benefit High Beam--love this stuff to perk up my pale winter skin
7. North Face Get Down Jacket--perfect for skiing, and I love the belt
8. Urban Decay Naked Eye Palette--I've wanted this forever
9. A new pair of jeans--I'm still searching for the perfect pair...
10. A second bowl for my Kitchen Aid mixer--for those complicated recipes

Obviously our upcoming move is heavily influencing my list this year, as I'm hoping that we're going to be spending a lot of time on the slopes come 2012! 


Also, I promised myself I was going to get all my Christmas shopping done early this year, but here we are post-Thanksgiving and I haven't bought a single gift yet. Whoops. Now that Thanksgiving's over, I plan on diving in to Christmas head first, and I know that everything will get done eventually. I really just want to enjoy the holiday season because it truly is my favorite time of year.


Instead of getting up at the crack of dawn this morning to go shopping, we're going to take a family drive up to Rocky Mountain National Park. I'm hoping to stop and get a Christmas tree on the way home, and I'm really looking forward to getting the Christmas decorations up in the apartment. My mom, my sister, and I may go out and do a little shopping later this afternoon, but I really just want to enjoy the time I have left with my family and I'll worry about getting Christmas presents later.


I hope that y'all had a great Thanksgiving, and if you are out shopping today I hope that you're finding some fantastic deals! Xoxo

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful for Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


I'm up early to begin cooking our Thanksgiving feast, but I just wanted to take a moment to pause and reflect before the craziness of the day begins. I was thinking about things I'm thankful for this morning and one thing I'm really thankful for is Thanksgiving. No, really, I am. Our lives move by so quickly that we often take things for granted and rarely do we stop and think about all the wonderful blessings in our lives. Thanksgiving is one day out of the year to really just stop and reflect on it and and just give thanks. It's a day filled with two of my favorite things in the whole world, family and food. And as much as I adore Christmas, I actually really enjoy that Thanksgiving has none of the headaches that can sometimes come with the gift-giving of Christmas. There's none of the stress of trying to figure out what to get people or focusing on the presents you're getting. Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks (duh) for all the things we have, not the materialism of accumulating more.


So today I'm thankful for Thanksgiving and what it represents. I know there is this whole idea of the Christmas spirit bringing joy and while that's all well and good, but I think that having more of the Thanksgiving spirit (yeah, I just made that up, you're welcome) throughout the year would be an awesome thing. I want to have more of an "attitude of gratitude" each and everyday because I have an awful lot to be thankful for, including:

Cameron: 
I am so thankful for you, my husband, the biggest blessing in my life. I feel like this has been such a growing year in our marriage as we face new challenges (like moving...again), but I know that as long as we have each other, we have all that we need. I'm so grateful that I have my best friend with me to go through the adventures of life and I love you so so much.

Lola: 
You are the best dog ever. I don't even remember what our life was like before you came along, and I'm glad to be able to celebrate our first Thanksgiving as a little family of three. And yes, you'll get some turkey today.

Mom and Dad: 
I am so glad that you're out in Colorado celebrating with us, and I'm continually grateful for your constant love and support no matter how many miles may separate us. I really appreciate you coming to visit us no matter where we go, and love how when we're all together, it feels like nothing has changed and no time has passed. I really cherish all these new memories we're creating and I can't wait for you to visit us in Tahoe! I wouldn't be where I am today without you, and I love you both so much!

Melissa: 
My stylish, world-traveling, cosmopolitan sister. Even though you are way cooler than me, I couldn't ask for a better best friend. I am so happy you got to come out to Colorado and visit, and even though I really miss living in the same house as you (and borrowing your clothes) I am so proud of you for living your life, taking chances, and being a dreamer.  

My family in Michigan: 
I miss you all tons, and think of you all the time. I'm sad we're not spending this holiday together, but so I'm looking forward to seeing you next month!!

My in-laws: 
I feel so lucky that I married into such a wonderful and welcoming family. Seriously, I couldn't ask for a better group of people to share my last name with. Although we don't get to spend as much time with y'all as we would like, I'm looking forward to seeing you next month and hopefully more in the year to come once we're in the same time zone!

My friends:
I am so thankful to have you as a part of my life, and even though you're spread across the country, I love that I can still pick up the phone and call you like nothing has changed. I appreciate those of you that have come to visit Cam and I in South Carolina and Colorado, and I'm looking forward to spending time with you all over the holidays!

My health: 
For every morning I wake up with air in my lungs, I'm thankful for my health.  Even though there are days when I'd love to be skinnier, better at yoga, or faster runner, I know that I am extremely blessed to have the body and abilities that I do. I so enjoy being able to be active, and although sometimes it can be easy to take your good health for granted when you're young, I know it's something that's not a guarantee and I'm really thankful for it.

Colorado: 
You are an awesome state. I love your vast blue skies, your snowy mountains, and your beautiful sunny weather. I'm really going to miss you when we move, but I'm so glad I got the opportunity to live here, even if it was just for a little while. I'll definitely be coming back to visit.

My blog:
I am so thankful to have you as my own little corner of the world to be creative. You've become a bigger part of my life than I ever could of anticipated, and I love having a place to talk about things as simple as nail polish or as major as moving. I'm so grateful for all the amazing people around the country that you have allowed me to connect with, and I'm thankful for everyone who takes time out of their day to read this and especially thankful for all your kind comments!

My faith in Jesus: 
Most of all, I'm thankful to the source of all these amazing blessings, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It's been really incredible to look back and see God's hand in my life thus far, and I know that whatever changes life may bring in the future he's in control and will continue to be faithful.

All images via Pinterest

I hope that you all have a wonderful day filled with family, food, and fun! Xoxo


 PS: If you thought I was hating on Christmas/gift giving today, check back tomorrow because I assure you it's not the case :)

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