Friday, November 30, 2012

My Christmas To-Do's

Happiest Friday to you friends! 

I feel like I say this every Friday but I am SO HAPPY that the weekend is here...and today I really really mean it. I am still struggling to shake my cold and it's super annoying/making me exhausted. I've recently been saying how one of the best parts of working from home is that you're not exposed to other people's germs/illnesses during the winter months, but I guess I was wrong! However, it's currently snowing hard outside my window, so I'm thankful to have a job where I don't have to go out and drive in that mess and I can stay in my PJs and not feel awkward for blowing my nose 112908+ times a day. Work has been super busy this week, but thankfully I have been able to get pretty caught up. But there is still a lot to be done around the house that I'm hoping to tackle this weekend. 

Oh, and then today is my last day of being 25. 

So there's that. 

People that know me know I love my birthday, and I am indeed looking forward to celebrating it tomorrow. However, with the whirlwind of travel these past few weeks and the craziness of the holidays to come in the next few weeks I'm honestly just looking forward to having a low-key birthday. Think sleeping in, finishing decorating for Christmas, making Cam watch Elf with me, going out for a nice dinner, then coming home to sleep some more and hope this cold goes away!

But since my birthday also signifies the start of December aka the holidays are really here, I thought I'd share my list of fun Christmas to-do's for the next month. The holidays are my favorite time of year and I really want to enjoy it to the fullest. For me, making a list of to-do's is not a chore of all this stuff to get accomplished, but rather it's a way for me really think about the special things I enjoy about this time of year in order to make sure we make time for them. Here's my list for this year...

{Family picture in front of our tree last year at our apartment in Colorado...seems like so long ago!}
Christmas To-Do List 2012:
  •  Book tickets home to Michigan for Christmas  (Done! We will be in the Mitten from Dec. 21st-Dec 28th and I CANNOT WAIT. SO EXCITED)
  • Get a Christmas tree (We were supposed to this earlier this week, but thanks to the gross rainy weather/my cold, we haven't yet--but we're doing it tonight!)
  • Watch the following Christmas movies: Love Actually, Elf, Miracle on 34th Street, Christmas Vacation, The Holiday, and It's a Wonderful Life
  • Decorate the house/tree
  • Mail Christmas Cards (They are going in the mail tomorrow!)
  • Adopt a family/buy gifts for people in need
  • Have an Ugly Sweater party (This is happening this year and I'm pumped)
  • Do some sort of Christmas craft (Going to do some browsing on Pinterest this weekend--anyone have any cute ideas?!)
  • Bake at least 5 kinds of cookies (Definitely making these, these, & these)
  • Workout at least 4 times a week (In addition to getting enough sleep, drinking a lot of water, and eating healthy meals during the week, maintaining my regular workout schedule definitely helps keeps me sane and prevents me from feeling all gross and sluggish during the holidays!)
  • Go to see the Nutcracker Ballet
  • Make a really good batch of hot cocoa to enjoy on a snowy night
  • Get our Christmas shopping done ASAP (This was I can enjoy wrapping presents and not feel rushed to get it all done before we leave to go out of town!)
  • Go to candlelight Christmas Eve service (my favorite!)
  • Keep the house clean during the month of December (When we get busy, sometimes we let things around the house slide, but I really want to make a concious effort not to let that happen. Having the house clean is HUGE for helping be able to not feel stressed out and just enjoy the holidays)

{I do realize that I'm such a dork with my seasonal list making, so thanks for humoring me!}

Those are the things I want to do over the next month...what about you? What special things to you look forward to at Christmas? I'd love to hear! 

Well, that's all for me today! I hope everyone has a lovely first weekend of December! Xoxo

PS: In case you missed it--here's a recap of how we did on our fall bucket list :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My Birthday/Christmas Wishlist

Hello!! Long time, no talk!

Sorry for the radio silence on the blog the past few days, but we are back in the US of A and FINALLY back home! Yipee!

We had an amazing time on our trip, and I'm so excited to share all about it...sometime in the near future. While taking an extended vacation is awesome, I could definitely use another week off to recover! All the traveling getting home this weekend was definitely tiring (not to mention the jet lag!), I had to do a major grocery shopping trip Monday because we were out of food, there is lots of unpacking and laundry that needs to get done, and the house is a little bit of a disaster right now. Oh, and now that Thanksgiving is over that means the holiday season is in full swing so this week I have been eager to get our house decorated for Christmas. I think we are finally going to go get our tree tonight, and I am so excited for that! However, getting caught up on two weeks of work/the mountain of work email in my inbox has been somewhat daunting (and I'm nowhere near done), and to top it off Cam and I both have colds--ugh! I almost never fall asleep before 11pm, and the past few nights I have fallen asleep on the couch at 9pm which definitely means I'm not feeling well.

{The one bright spot of productivity this week? Our Christmas cards I ordered came in while we were on vacation, and I have them sealed, stamped, and addressed and they will be going in the mail at the end of this week!}

Don't get me wrong, I don't mean to sound like I'm complaining. I feel so blessed that we had the opportunity to take an incredible trip and I'm thankful for being busy, as I wouldn't have it any other way. It's just this week blogging is probably going to have to take a little bit of a backseat to other things on my plate! I will eventually sort through the 1700+ photos (that's not a joke, we took a ton of pictures!) from Israel/Turkey and post about our trip, but bear with me because it's going to take a little while!

{In the meantime, you can check out photos from our trip that I shared on Instagram here}

With it being the start of the holiday season, today I thought I'd take a minute to talk shopping! I totally missed out on Black Friday since we were flying home that day, and then earlier this week was the much-hyped "Cyber Monday" but I ended not buying anything. Whoops. I skimmed a few websites, but I personally didn't think the deals were that great? But part of that might be that I don't know what I'm buying for people yet, and we're also not in the market for any big ticket electronics like TVs. And as crazy as it sounds, I really do enjoy going out to do Christmas shopping in the stores. Yes it can be hectic, but I enjoy getting a Starbucks red cup, listening to the Christmas music, and seeing the decorations, and browsing to find that perfect gift. Ahhhh :)

So not only are we in the full swing to Christmas sales, but my birthday is also this Saturday!! That's crazy to me because my birthday means it's December and 2012 is almost over...insane. Having a December birthday is always a little bit of extra pressure to come up with gift ideas all at once, but I suppose there are worse problems to have! And honestly, I really don't need anything. I have a wonderful family, a great husband, a dog who I love like my child, and last week I got to do this: 


I'm pretty sure that no gift can top riding a camel, so I think I'm pretty much set for the year. My heart is so full of things to be thankful for that I really don't have anything to ask for. But since I've seen lots of Christmas wishlists around the blogosphere the past few weeks, I thought I'd share a couple things that I wouldn't mind finding under the tree...keep in mind, I don't expect all of this stuff by any means. I realize that a lot of this stuff is a little pricier, so this is definitely not a "will you buy this list" but much more of a "wish" list...I just thought it would be fun to share!


I've been in the market for a new pair for awhile right now, and I want some that are cute and colorful...I've got my eye on these pink and gray Nikes in the size 10! 
(Yes, I have giant feet)


My Kindle broke this fall, and so I'd really like a new e-reader...but I don't want something that has a computer like screen. I love that the Paperwhite has a backlit screen when you need it, but it's not like staring at a computer. Only problem is that it says it's not expected to ship until Dec 21st? Idk.

3. Paleo Cookbooks
 While I am definitely relaxing my eating habits a little bit during the holiday season, I definitely notice a marked difference in how I look and feel when I eat Paleo vs. when I don't. While I am not really following it too closely now with our recent trip and the holidays, Cam and I plan on buckling down again come 2013, so I'd love to have a few new cookbooks to use such as this one and this one.



 4. Snowshoes
 I really don't know anything about snowshoes, so I have no idea what kind/size I need but I think they'd be a fun thing to have here in Tahoe. I would love to get some girly pink ones but someone (*cough* Cameron *cough*) thinks I should get a more unisex color just in case we have non-female friends/family that ever want to use them...which I suppose makes sense. I think I'd prefer metal over plastic, but I really don't care about the brand.

 5. Clarisonic Mia2
 I have heard so many raves about the Clarisonic Skin Brush that I would really like to try it out for myself. I really don't know if there are huge differences between the Mia and the Mia2 besides the fact that the Mia2 has two different speed settings, however, I also noticed that the Mia2 comes with a travel case (definitely a plus for me!) and it doesn't look like the Mia does. Right now Sephora has a great holiday gift set that comes with a berry Mia2 (which just so happens to be the color I wanted anyway) along with a travel case, two brush heads, and some great products for the same price as the Mia2 alone. Definitely have my eye on this set!

 
6. Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in Berry
 I'm kind of obsessed with this ultra-moisturizing lip treatments from Fresh, and I have almost every color. I've been dying to get the new berry shade since it came out, I think it would be so pretty for winter!
7. Manduka Yoga Mat
While I only do yoga here and there, I'm hoping to incorporate it more regularly into my routine again this winter once ski season really gets going as I think it will be a great compliment to help stretch sore muscles! I have been using my same flimsy yoga mat from Target for years now and I'd love to upgrade to a thicker mat that will provide more support to my knees in certain poses. I've heard great things about Manduka's mats and have been really impressed with the quality when I've tried them out at various studios.  They have a regular and a long length mat, but being tall I think that the longer 85-inch mat is probably best for me.


 8. Magazine Subscriptions
I love getting magazines, but most of the subscriptions I've had have expired/I didn't change the address when we moved and they stopped being forwarded. Whoops. Magazines that I'd love to get for the new year are Sunset, Real Simple, InStyle, or Allure

 
9. A new camera lens
I'll admit, I don't know as much about our camera as I should. However, we only have the 2 lenses that came with our camera when we originally purchased it and I think a new lens would be a great way to upgrade a little bit. I have been noticing lots of other bloggers mentioning the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens and it seems like it would be great for both people and food photos, plus all the reviews I've been reading say it's a great lens for the price. 




10. A Le Creuset French Oven
I've been wanting one of these for awhile now, but it's definitely a little bit of a splurge! I'd love the 5.5 qt size in Red as I know it would be perfect for cooking all sorts of hearty winter dishes and I know it's something I'd keep forever.

11. Gift Cards
I know some people might think it's impersonal, but honestly I LOVE getting gift cards. You can usually find the best bargains after Christmas anyway, so I love having gift cards to take advantage of all the sales! My favorite stores to get a gift card from would be Lululemon, Sephora, Nordstrom's, J.Crew, or Gap.



12. Moroccan Oil
 I love the way this stuff smells and it's great for keeping dry split ends at bay. I had a small bottle of both the regular and the light formulas, but I think that I prefer the regular formula as the light isn't quite as moisturizing. I'd love a larger bottle to use in the winter months!

 Coming off the heels of such a big trip, I definitely do not need anything this year and am just looking forward to celebrating the holidays with family, but those are a few things I've got my eye on...what about you? Are you asking for anything special this year?

Alright, that's all for me today...off to work/tackle some items on my to-do list! Hope everyone is having a fabulous week! Xoxo

Friday, November 23, 2012

Fall Bucket List Recap

Happy Black Friday everyone!
Who went out shopping this morning?! Did you find any good deals?

Now that Thanksgiving is over, it's time to officially kick off the holiday season and I couldn't be more excited! (Even though who am I kidding, I've been listening to Christmas music the past month and I have no shame in admitting that) Before I get too deep in to Christmas elf mode, I wanted to take a moment to look back and reflect on this fall because it's been a really great couple of months. And yes I realize it is still technically fall until December 21st, but since the upcoming month is going to be all about celebrating the year's two biggest birthdays (mine and Jesus's...duh) I figure we might as just go ahead and close the lid on all things autumn right now. 

Because obviously the compulsive list maker in me already has a whole list of things I want to do in the next month for Christmas. Pretty sure these bucket list are going to be a regular thing here on this blog. 

Get excited. 


Anyway, here's the list of things I set out to do back in the beginning of September, along with how I did in terms of actually getting them done! (I included links to the posts of items I checked off/blogged about!)

(I did on most days where I wasn't swamped with work/that it wasn't freezing outside!)

 Go to San Francisco
Really stick to having one "No-TV Night" a week
(I'll admit, we didn't stick to this at all...to many new fall shows to watch!) 

 Enjoy my parents' visit to Tahoe
Take better care of myself--get more sleep/floss everyday!
(Both of these are still a work in progress) 

  Make 2 different pumpkin recipes {here, here, and here}
Get together with friends to watch a Michigan Football game and make "M" cookies

 Go to Oregon

 Get a haircut/new glasses
(Since I already bought contacts this year, I'm waiting until after the first of the year to get glasses so I can use the vision insurance credit for 2013!) 

 Run a 10K
Ride the gondola at Heavenly and have a picnic
(We didn't end up getting to do this before they closed it for the fall but we'll be riding it soon enough come ski season!)

 Go to the apple orchard

 Have donuts/cider
(in addition to getting them at Apple Hill, I also got them here)
Go back to Napa/Sonoma
(We ran out of time to do this, so hopefully we can make it back in the spring!)
Do at least 3 new hikes
(We only got in one longer hike this fall, and it didn't go so well...but we did get to do some exploring on the trails around our house though!)

(We didn't dress up but we did carve pumpkins and eat cupcakes with our neighbors!)
Get to 500 blog followers
(Not quite there yet, but that's totally fine! I've definitely enjoyed connecting with quite a few new-to-me bloggers this fall...and if you're a new reader, welcome!)

 Make 2 different apple recipes {here, here, and here}

 Read at least 5 books
(I have really been slacking on the reading the past few months ever since my Kindle broke in the beginning of the fall...boo)

 Be more social here in Tahoe
Find an organization to volunteer with here in Tahoe
(Still haven't done this...I'm putting it on the list for 2013!)

 Give away some clothes/"stuff" to charity

 All these photos are from my Instagram account {follow me here} but if you click on the links below each post, you can find the full recap/more photos.
Have a lovely weekend and enjoy all of your Thanksgiving leftovers! Xoxo

PS: See the recap of my summer bucket list here. Good times.

(Full disclosure: I wrote/scheduled this post before we left...but we get back in to the states today, so I'll definitely be sharing all our photos from the trip soon!)  

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving + What I'm Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I just wanted to pop in and say hello {this is a pre-scheduled post from before we left for our trip, just fyi!} and wish you all a blessed day filled with lots of good food!

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It's a great day to reflect on the year, be grateful for your blessings, eat way too much, and officially kick off the holiday season. As a kid, we always spent Thanksgiving with in Michigan with family, but as I get older there have definitely been changes to tradition. Last year at this time, we were living in Colorado and hosting our first Thanksgiving dinner.

This year, we're in Jerusalem. 

It's crazy, but I love it.

I honestly have no idea where we'll be at this time next year. But I know that God is in control and will work out everything the way it's supposed to happen and that's honestly one of the things I'm most thankful for. Looking back over the past few years, I can so clearly see the Lord's divine providence at work in our marriage/life. I had no idea when Cam and I started dating almost five years ago that we'd end up living in four different states in two years, or that I'd ever be living in a place like Tahoe.

But Christ has been with us every step of the way.

I remember sitting around with my parents and Cam last year stressing out about we should live in Tahoe. All of the potential housing options we were looking at seemed terrible and I was really anxious about how it would all work out. Now almost a year later, I wake up to this view every morning:


Is our house perfect? No.

But is it perfect for us right now? You better believe it! 

It's amazing to me that God loves us enough to concern himself with the everyday details of our lives. Seeing how he's worked everything out these past few years continues to strengthen my faith and makes me excited for the future because I know that He has great things in store.

And that's not to say that every minute of this year, or the past few, have been easy. There have been challenges, trials, and bumps in the road. But what makes all of that worth it is knowing that the Lord will work all things out for good, and that as much as I try and plan everything, so much is really out of my control.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
Romans 8:28

That's definitely something to be thankful for! 

Here are some other things, both big and small, that I'm also thankful for this year:

+good health and the ability to get out of bed each morning
+my sweet parents who I love so much and are always there for me, even from across the country...they're always just a phone call or a plane ride away :)
+my wonderful extended family at home in Michigan who always gets together to celebrate whenever we come home...can't wait to see them at Christmas!
+the fact that my sister and I are each getting to travel--earlier this month she went to Thailand for work, then Cam and I left for Israel/Turkey...she'll be home in Michigan for Thanksgiving, but we'll still be overseas...we'll be back in Michigan for Christmas, but she'll be in France...which means that we aren't going to get to see each other until 2013...and although that's definitely hard to swallow because we're so close and I miss her tons, I am happy we're both getting to have these experiences of getting to travel the world in our 20's
+my husband's kind and generous family and getting to experience the joy of having nieces and nephews
+the fact that 4 of my close friends got engaged this year--I can't wait for all the weddings to come in 2013!
+Tahoe sunsets
+the resources to go grocery shopping and always have a fridge filled with food
+fall boots and colorful, cozy scarves
+nightly snuggles with Lola and how she loves to fling herself right between Cam and I on the couch and wedge her silly little self into a cozy little nook
+Tahoe sunshine streaming in my window every morning
+a roof over our heads, complete with a gorgeous view of the mountains
+the ability to work from remotely for a company that I'm proud to be a part of--along with the fact that I can work from home (and in my pj's!) or bring my work anywhere so we can travel more
+Trader Joe's giant Pound Plus bars of dark chocolate
+Tazo Zen Green Tea
+warm slippers and cozy socks
+Instagram--I love being able to snap, prettify, and share random photos as well as being able to follow along with friends and fellow bloggers
+having a gym here in Tahoe that Cam and I enjoy attending together
+the freedom that comes from living in a place where you can just be, without the pressure of feeling like you need to dress a certain way or keep up with the Joneses
+Lola's underbite, giant ears, and incredibly expressive face that keeps me smiling
+new friends here in Tahoe that have been so welcoming
+old friends that I can not see for months and pick up right where we left off
+the way I feel when I eat Paleo and give my body the nutrients it needs instead of tons of sugar
+pretty snowflakes outside my window when I'm warm inside
+the ability to be able to travel as much as Cam and I do, whether it's a short weekend trip, going home to visit family, or an extended overseas vacation
+blogging, for both being a creative outlet and a way to connect with so many incredible individuals with similar interests, especially living in a place that's so isolated
+all my lovely guest bloggers who filled in for me this week/last week!

and most of all...
+my wonderful husband who truly is my rock and such a wonderful leader of our little family--he's my best friend that I not only love deeply but also respect tremendously
+how much our marriage has continued to grow this year
+the incredible peace that comes from assurance of salvation in Christ
+Lola...because she deserves to be on this list 100+ times :)


Now tell me, what are YOU thankful for this year?

 Have some turkey and pumpkin cheesecake (my favorite Thanksgiving food) for me today everyone since I will most likely be eating hummus and falafel! Xoxo

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What I'm Thankful For: Michaela Noelle Designs

Today we have the gorgeous Michaela of Michaela Noelle Designs to share with us what she's thankful for! This girl is beautiful inside and out, and I'm so glad I've gotten to know her this year though blogging! She put together a lovely little list of gratitude, take it away Michaela! 

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Hello to all of Jane's sweet readers! I'm Michaela, author of Michaela Noelle Designs, and I'm thrilled to be here sharing a few things that I'm especially thankful for this time of year.  Even though I'm working on being in a continual state of thankfulness, it's nice to have November as a reminder to truly focus on what blessings you have...and all the fun, pretty and lovely little things you have in this world.
{photography by ashley slater photography, gem photo, & michaela noelle designs}

- Loving and supportive family.
- Peonies...and all other beautiful blooms.
- My sweet-as-can-be english cream golden retriever, Hope.
- Boots & scarves.
- Sunsets of all colors. Truly, God is the best artist I know.
- Hot tea that soothes the soul, especially on blustery Autumn afternoons.

What are you thankful for this time of year?! Hope you're having a great time on vacation, Jane! Thank you for having me! xoxo
Photobucket

Monday, November 19, 2012

What I'm Thankful For: the saga of a twenty-something

Happy Monday everyone! Today we have one of my favorite bloggy friends to share what she's thankful for--Alex from the saga of a twenty-something! When I found Alex's blog my first thought was like wow, this girl is kind of like the Asian version of me...so obviously we were destined to be friends. Plus Lola and her dog Toby are basically dating...take it away Alex! 

************

Hi friends! I'm Alex from the saga of a twenty-something, and I'm tickled that the lovely Jane has asked me to guest post for her while she's off galavanting in faraway, beautiful lands! I'm insanely jealous of her amazing trip, but I'm glad that I get to meet all of you now.

Jane asked me to write about thankfulness. And I love lists. So why not a list of things I'm thankful for?

I know, it's a novel concept.

\\ my health \\
Listen, I know this is kind of lame, but I'm super thankful for my health. Seriously. I do a lot, and sometimes I feel like I'm running myself ragged. But my body hasn't given up on me. So thanks, bodacious bod, for staying healthy and letting me do crazy awesome things like run stupid long distances and train for a marathon. You da bomb.

\\ my adorable mini family \\
I've got the cutest little family on the block, guys. Ok, so maybe we're not as adorbs as Jane's family, but I think we're kind of great.

\\ my job \\
Let's be real, I haven't been out of college for too terribly long, so I am beyond thankful that I have managed to land a job not once, but twice since I graduated. I'm pretty damn lucky.

\\ my iphone \\
Honestly. How else would I keep track of my life and be able to constantly document adorable animals I see on the street and my outfits? Thing is a lifesaver, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

\\ cake, pie, brownies, dessert in general \\
Self-explanatory. Obviously.

\\ my fabulous friends (real and blog) \\
Honestly, my friends keep me sane. And I've met some really awesome friends through my blog. I'd love to make you all my friend too.

Be my friend? Plz?

There are lots of things I'm thankful for, but those cover the basics. Come drop by my blog to learn more about me and my life! And thanks Jane for having me! I hope you find my babysitting job up to par ;)

Friday, November 16, 2012

What I'm Thankful For: Schue Love

Today we have my real life friend Natasha from the blog Schue Love to share with us what she's thankful for. I know I've mentioned her before on my blog, but I'm honestly so thankful that blogging brought us together! She has been such a sweet friend to me this year, and Cam and I have really enjoyed getting to spend time with her and her husband Ryan. And her little boy Ethan? Honestly one of the happiest, most adorable babies I've ever seen. Take it away Natasha! 

*************

Thankful

Hello there!  I'm Jane's local bestie, Natasha from Schue Love and I'm thrilled to be back here again to fill in while Jane is off exploring Israel and Turkey {lucky girl!}.  

Jane asked me to talk about what I'm thankful for this year, and as a new mom, I certainly have a lot to be thankful for!  First and foremost, my son Ethan.  He was born this past June and he is just the light of our lives.  I am so thankful for a happy and healthy baby boy...it completely humbles me to be his mom.  On the same note, I am very thankful to have a loving husband, partner and father to our son.  It sonds cliche...but you really do fall in love all over again seeing your husband as a dad.

I am also thankful for the ability to travel and see our friends and family.  This Thanksgiving will be our first trip home and I'm excited to introduce Ethan to more of our friends and family over the holiday.

And I cannot forget our two first babies..our dog Wilson and our cat Mr. Whiskers {she's a girl!}.  They've had a rough transition with baby this year, but are nothing but gentle and patient with the new addition in our house.

On a lighter note, I am thankful for the chilly weather and the ability to bundle up.  Growing up in Southern CA, I never had a change of seasons...so it's been fun watching the leaves turn and have a white Christmas now that we live in Tahoe.  And of course, I am thankful for yummy comfort food too...hello hot chocolate!

Last, I am thankful for my faith...I have witnessed many miracles this past year...and have some angels in heaven that are looking down on our little family of three.  Not a day goes by that I don't say a little prayer that our son will thrive and do good in this world.  He has a part of my heart and I am so very thankful to be his mom.

Thanks for letting me share today...stop on by and say hello sometime!

xo natasha

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Brie and Apple Tarts from Keep Calm & Carry On

Today we have the gorgeous Katie from Keep Calm & Carry On here to share a recipe with us! Despite being an Ohio State fan (sorry, I had to give you a hard time about that Katie!) she's such a sweetheart that I suppose I'll let it slide. This recipe she's sharing would be a perfect appetizer for Thanksgiving...which is a week from today! Take it away Katie! 

***********

Hey there party people!
I'm Katie...
and sometimes, I dress up in onesies.


Just sometimes, though.

I'm so happy to be here today while Jane and her hubby are off exploring the world. The fact that she didn't ask me to squish into her suitcase makes me a bit sad, but I'll get over it. 

I don't know about you, but does seeing all of Jane's pictures from living in Lake Tahoe make you completely jealous as it is?

It does for me.

Especially since just two months ago my husband and I traveled there 
and know that it is, hands down, one of the most gorgeous places ever.


Anyway-being that Thanksgiving is right around the corner, I wanted to share an easy, yummy recipe that is by far one of my favorite finds, and something that would be perfect to make for Thanksgiving. 

Are you prepared to be hungry?


Brie and Apple Tarts

-1 green apple
-1 box (2 sheets) of puff pastry, thawed
-1 medium wedge of brie
-1 tbls brown sugar
-1 tbls butter (I didn't use any but original recipe calls for it)
-1/4 cinnamon
*I recommend using more cinnamon and brown sugar than what this recipe calls for. I love cinnamon and think it would be great with more, so don't be shy with it!
-1 egg (to brush on the puff pastry)
-flour, for rolling

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry onto a lightly floured board and roll it slightly with a floured rolling pin until it's a 10 by 10-inch square. Cut the sheet into quarters with a sharp knife. Place a good-sized slice of brie and 3 or 4 this slices of apple the middle of each of the 4 squares. Sprinkle apples with cinnamon and brown sugar and top with a pat of butter. Brush the border of each pastry with egg wash and fold 2 opposite corners to the center, brushing and overlapping the corners of each pastry so they firmly stick together. Brush the top of the pastries with egg wash. Place the pastries on the prepared sheet pan. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry.

Bake the pastries for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan once during baking, until puffed and brown. Serve warm.

These little tarts are delicious and will have your house smelling all kinds of wonderful!

I'm thankful I found this recipe...thank you Pinterest.

Speaking of being thankful and Pinterest-I recently wrote a post on everything I'm thankful for (click here to read) and I also host a link-up everything Thursday called Saw It. Pinned It. Did It, where you can show off your latest Pinterest creations! 

I'd love it if you would visit me over at my blog, Keep Calm and Carry On, and say hello!! 

You will see a lot of these two...
my husband Billy, and our pomeranian pup Rocky: the two things I'm most thankful for!



Thank you so much Jane for having me and I hope next time when we are in Lake Tahoe (which will hopefully be sooner rather than later!), we can meet! xo 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What I'm Thankful For: A Home Away From Home

Today we've got a guest poster from the other side of the world--the lovely Jenna from A Home Away From Home! She is such a sweetheart, recently engaged, and I love reading all about her adventures as an expat in South Africa! (I mean she gets to do things like hang out with monkeys, how cool is that?!) I so appreciate her taking the time to share what she's thankful for this year!

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Hello readers of In the Pink and Green!

I was so thrilled when Jane asked me to guest post for her while she and her hubby are off exploring Israel and Turkey.  I can't wait to see all of her beautiful photos and hear all about her time in the Middle East when she gets back!


My name is Jenna and I blog over at {A Home Away From Home} about my life as an American expat living in South Africa.  South Africa started out as a study abroad experience in 2008, but after I met and fell in love with a local my life was forever changed and I sort of just never left.  It's amazing what life can throw your way, don't you think!?  In fact, just a couple months ago Jurgen took the plunge and proposed {!!!} and I can't wait to delve into the fun and challenge that comes with planning an international and multi-cultural wedding.  Exciting times ahead!

Jane's only guideline for this post was that it be somehow related to thankfulness and I thought that today it would be fitting to share a few of the things {both big and small} I'm currently thankful for in my life.  

Today I'm thankful for...  

1) Being able to call two beautiful countries home.  There are so many things that I'll always love and appreciate about California and the United States, and there are also many ways I have been blessed by living in South Africa.  I'm one lucky girl.

2) Freshly popped home-made popcorn.  It's the best.

3) My fiancĂ© {I bet you knew this one was coming!}.  But really, when life gets hard it's nice to know that there's always someone I can turn to for a hug or a shoulder to cry on.  When the going gets tough, for some reason it doesn't seem so bad when there's two of you.  And when the tough gets going, it's even more incredible to have someone so fun, carefree, and adventurous to share life with.

4) Our Namibia road-trip this December/January!  Our plans are really starting to come together... it's going to be epic!

5) A warm bed, a roof over my head, clean water, and a full tummy.  It's so difficult not to take these luxuries for granted, but so important to remember that millions go without these things on a daily basis.

6) Travel!  I'm so thankful that every once in awhile I'm able to hop on a plane to somewhere new and learn about different cultures, see incredible sites, and breathe in a fresh perspective.

7) My family.  Even though they're 1,000's of miles away I always feel like they're here when I need them and are willing to offer words of advice and encouragement.

8) That experiences like this + this + this are right in my backyard.  The expat life is good.

9) A good strong skinny cappuccino.  Without these, I don't know whether my day would ever really start.  The morning version of me without coffee is not a pretty picture ;)

10) Friends.  Real friends and blog friends alike.  And for this community of amazing women {and a few men!} who continue to inspire and uplift me on a daily basis.  Blogging has turned into so much more than I initially anticipated.

Thank you so much for having me Jane!  I hope you and Cam are having an incredible time in Israel and Turkey.  I can't wait to hear all about it!  Be safe :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake from The Daily Dish

My guest poster today is the sweet Shari from The Daily Dish! She has a passion for food, and her wonderful blog features lots of delicious recipes. She was kind enough to share a one of those with us today that's perfect for Thanksgiving, along with some of her favorite kitchen gadgets that she's thankful for...take it away Shari!

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Hello everyone! My name is Shari and I blog on over at The Daily Dish. I'm so happy to be guest posting for Jane today while she is off on her amazing travels. With the holidays coming up, and with Jane sharing some awesome looking dessert recipes over the last few weeks, I thought I would share with you one of my favorite no-bake recipes for the holidays. This no-bake cheesecake is one of the easiest to prepare, and the best part is it frees up your oven for all of the other dishes that need it. 


 No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake

Ingredients:
- 1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup of canned pumpkin
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tub 8 oz cool whipped topping, thawed 
- 1 (6 oz) graham cracker pie crust

Method:
1. With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice on medium speed.
2. Once the mixture is well blended, gently stir in the cool whip topping.
3. After the cool whip is evenly combined with the mixture, spoon it evenly into the pie crust.
4. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (or overnight) before serving.
I promise this will be one dessert everyone will enjoy and it doesn't take more than a few minutes to pull it together. There's nothing better than that! 
Since it is close to Thanksgiving and thankfulness is always important to recognize, I thought I'd share something a little different for my "what I'm thankful for". Of course there's always the usual family, friends, health, etc. responses, but given today's food post, I thought I would share a few of my kitchen gadgets I'm the most thankful for. With working full time, blogging, and loving to cook, any kitchen tool that can shave off a few minutes is my best friend. Here are a few of my kitchen gadgets that I use on the regular and don't know how I ever lived without.

#1 hands down is my Food Processor. I use this thing almost every day of the week. It's incredible all of the things it can do. 
#2 would be my Kitchenaid Mixer. Not only does it look pretty sitting on my counter, but it makes baking a breeze. It is definitely an investment piece, and well worth every penny.
#3 my latest addition to my kitchen, my beautiful Le Creuset Dutch Oven (whose name is Lucy). Because really, what's easier than a one-pot dish? Not a whole lot.

Thanks again Jane for having me! I wish I currently was away on vaction too! As for all of you reading, stop on over to my blog and say hello! I can't wait to meet you.

Monday, November 12, 2012

What I'm Thankful For: Hungry Meets Healthy

Happy Monday everyone! 

As I mentioned last week, I've asked some of my favorite bloggy friends to help me out from now until Thanksgiving to talk about what they're thankful for. Today we have our first guest blogger--the lovely Christina from Hungry Meets Healthy! She lives in Charleston (one of my favorite cities!), her blog is fabulous, and she's completely adorable. I'm so glad that I've gotten to know her via blogging and I really appreciate her helping me out this week!

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Hey everyone! I’m Christina from Hungry Meets Healthy. My blog focuses on finding the balance between healthy eating and indulging in delicious treats. I write a little bit about everything: healthy meals, fitness, fashion, new food products, books, music and a lot of fun. I’m always up to some crazy shenanigans, so stop by sometime! I think you’ll have a laugh.

I was honored that Jane asked me to guest blog for her. She’s a gem, isn’t she? I hope she’s having a fabulous time on vacation and I can’t wait to hear all about it. Being that we’re less than two weeks away from Thanksgiving, I thought I’d write about a few things for which I am thankful.

First and foremost, I love my friends and family. What would I do without these crazy people?
I have so much love for my Grammy!!image
And what else do I love?
Books. The library. The ability to read, write, and freedom of speech.image
The beach. Even if it’s a visit during the Winter!image
Pickles!image
Laughter.image
Chick-fil-A.image
The beautiful city in which I reside, Charleston.image
Hula hoops (and best friends!).image
My education.image
Cookies.image
You bloggers!!image
I hope each and every one of you reading this has a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!

Big hugs to you!

Stop by Hungry Meets Healthy and say hello sometime! :)

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