Friday, October 30, 2015

Fall // My TJ's Pumpkin Picks

Happy Friday everyone!

If you've been following along with me on Instagram, you'd know that I've been out of town for the past week; my grandfather passed away so we were in Michigan for the funeral. And although we were there for sad circumstances, it was actually a really nice visit with family. I'm hoping to share more next week, but in the meantime, I wanted to share a more lighthearted post with you today!


It seems like over the past few years, the whole pumpkin trend has really spiraled out of control and no place is that more apparent then at Trader Joe's. They literally put pumpkin in EVERYTHING. But I'm a marketer's dream and so if anything is seasonal, I feel compelled to try it. Plus, I've been on a real Trader Joe's kick the past few months, and it's where I've been doing a lot of my shopping lately. And although they have lots of staple items that I love (and will probably do a separate post on that soon!) they're also really good at constantly bringing out new things as the seasons change. Since it's going to be November this weekend (craziness!) I figured I had better share my pumpkin picks before they start disappearing from the shelves and getting replaced by Christmas stuff!

Here are some of the things I've tried so far...


Hits

Pumpkin Ice Cream
This stuff is so delicious! The reason I like it is because it's just pumpkin flavored, not pumpkin spice - so many pumpkin items go wayyy too heavy on the spice and end up tasting like a scented candle. This ice cream though is sweet and creamy and seasonal without being gross. Two thumbs up!

Mini Ginger Pumpkin Ice Cream Mouthfuls
These are a perfect fall treat, and the ginger cookies are the perfect compliment to the pumpkin ice cream. I'd definitely give these things a try just because it's such a unique and delicious flavor combo!
 
Pumpkin Cornbread Mix
I made this recently to go with chili and it's definitely on the sweeter side, which is not bad, but it's just something to be aware of. I liked it better than I thought I would, but it honestly seems like it would be a better breakfast item vs. trying to pair it with a savory dish.

Pumpkin O's
I've been feeding these to Henry in lieu of  puffs lately and he seems to love them! The pumpkin spice flavor is a little too strong for me to want to have a bowl of them, but they're a good snack!

Pumpkin Body Butter
This stuff is super think and moisturizing, perfect for dry winter skin! But you have to really like the smell of pumpkin spice because the scent is super strong. (It also has a vague banana scent to it as well) Cameron's allergies are super sensitive to scented stuff like this so I can't put it on often, but it's definitely a cozy scent that's perfect for the fall/winter months.

Misses
Pumpkin Spice Granola
I didn't necessarily think this stuff was bad, it just wasn't all that good. The pumpkin spice flavor is fairly strong and there was just nothing special about it.

Pumpkin Biscotti
These were way too heavily spiced for my taste and I literally felt like I was eating a piece of potpourri. I would not recommend them unless you are crazy about pumpkin spice. 

(I actually haven't tried the chips/salsa yet, but I'll share on Instagram if I end up really liking them!)

Other pumpkin standouts?


These pumpkin succulents are a basic white girl's dream because they combine two very blogger-y things (pumpkins and succulents) into one adorable package...and for so cheap too! I have one on our dining room table that was in the photo of my pumpkin haul, but these are so cute that I thought they deserved their own special shout out. Plus, they last forever so they're the perfect item to keep on display all the way until Thanksgiving.


Speaking of Thanksgiving, I am not a huge pumpkin pie person but I love me some pumpkin cheesecake. Costco actually makes a really delicious one that I usually request, but last year I discovered that this one from TJ's is also pretty delicious. Plus, it's about half the size of the Costco one so it's perfect for a seasonal dessert for a smaller group anytime in the fall.


Last but not least, these Pumpkin Joe-Joe's were a little sweet/overly spiced for my taste, but they were still pretty good. They're the type of thing that would be perfect with a cup of tea on a fall day :)

Finally, the winner of my Minted giveaway on Instagram is:

@teamsobus

Thanks to everyone who entered! (And for all the great Christmas cookie ideas!)

Now as far as I'm concerned, all this pumpkin stuff has been fun...but I'm ready for the stores to break out the peppermint items ASAP! I'll have to do an updated TJ's favorites post for the holidays :)



PS: This post was not sponsored in any way, I just really love Trader Joe's and fall :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Holiday // Celebrating with Minted + Giveaway!

Ok, so I know I just posted pumpkin patch pictures...but today we're jumping ahead to the holidays!

I know it may seem a little early, but December will seriously be here before we turn around...eeek! The holidays are generally such a busy time of year that it really makes sense to start thinking about them now. One of the things on my to-do list that I really look forward to each year is Christmas cards. I love sending them, I love getting them, and I just think it's such a nice tradition. And when it comes to holiday cards, no one does it better than Minted! They've got the most gorgeous designs, their paper quality is amazing, and all the little extras they offer (like super cute recipient addressing) is just the icing on the cake. I've used them for my Christmas cards for the last few years (along with Henry's birth announcements and baby shower invites) and have always been so pleased with the results. They recently released their 2015 Holiday Collection and there are so many beautiful options! I really don't know how I'm going to choose this year, but here are a few of my favorites...

 Styled Agate

Love & Laughter

 Merry Holiday

Everjoy






Some of my favorite cards that they offer are the ones that celebreate a big life event. Whether you have a new house, are newly married, are expecting, or have a new baby, Minted has you covered!





As a new-ish parent, that last one is so good :)

I could seriously put at least twenty more cards in this post because all of their designs are so lovely. And with the convenient option Minted offers to purchase your cards now and provide the photo(s) later, there's no reason not to get a jump on your holiday card while it's still pumpkin season! That's why I'm SUPER excited to be giving away a $100 credit for Minted to one of YOU! I decided I'm going to try something a little different with this giveaway and so instead having you enter here on my blog, hop on over to my Instagram for details on how to win! (It's super easy to enter, so definitely check it out!)

Monday, October 19, 2015

Henry // His First Fall

Happy Monday everyone! How was your weekend?

Ours was pretty low key with Saturday's Michigan game vs. Michigan State being a low point. (If you saw SportsCenter at all this weekend, you probably heard about it. Basically we lost at the very end on a crazy play and it was super disappointing.) We did end up going on a hike in the Gorge yesterday though and that was great! I shared a few pictures on Instagram, but the fall colors were out and it was so beautiful. I'm looking forward to (hopefully) getting in quite a few more hikes before the weather really starts to cool off! Today though, I wanted to share a few photos from last weekend/this past week from my "real" camera; I have seriously been terrible about taking pictures with anything but my phone this past year since it's a lot easier not to worry about lugging along with camera when I'm dealing with Henry. But I whenever I do take the extra time to take photos with the actual camera, I'm always happy I did. So in the spirit of fall, here are some recent snaps...



Before having a baby, I always really enjoyed doing seasonal things...but now that we have Henry, it is a million times better! Fall is my favorite time of year and he is at such a sweet age right now so I'm really loving being able to do all these fun things with him. Growing up in Michigan, the big thing to do in the fall is go to the cider mill and get cider and donuts. When we were in Michigan last month, we were able to do that (I posted some pictures on Instagram) and it's special to think about carrying on these seasonal traditions my parents did with my sister and I with my own son. For Cam's family, their tradition is going to the pumpkin patch and so it was really exciting to be able to take Henry for the first time last weekend. My husband's birthday, his brother's birthday, and my niece's birthday are all within a few days of each other so that's when we usually go. (I've posted about it before here, here, and here) I completely blanked on getting any pictures of Cam with his chocolate cake because I was too focused on taking 384952 pictures of Henry, but it was a really fun day!

Henry borrowed the hat from his cousin Lucas for a few pictures :)
Cousins, who are all getting big so fast!
We had a warm sunny day for our visit!
Cameron is having so much fun with Henry these days, seeing them together is the best :)
Cam and his brothers
Pumpkin chunkin' canons...I have a feeling Henry will probably get a kick out of it in a few years
First patch picture as a family of three!
I wear the baby, he does the heavy lifting :)
Cam's parents love getting lots of pumpkins :)
These pumpkin pants kill me...I couldn't resist!
He's was having a lot of fun checking out the pumpkins...
...until his mom wanted to take too many pictures and then he was done. Ha.

Last week, I went to check out some of the pumpkin patches a little closer to Portland with one of my friends and her little boy, who is conveniently also named Henry. We had hoped to beat some of the crowds by going during the week...but it was actually super empty and they weren't serving any food, so that was a little bit of a bummer! But we still had fun and I couldn't resist taking more pictures of my little pumpkin in the patch :)


Henry is normally super happy but he was not in the mood to give me smiles...



 Such a little stinker!
We tried getting some pictures of the two Henries together and that didn't go much better. Both boys were so distracted by everything in the pumpkin patch plus it was super sunny and warm (seriously this is the summer that will not end out here on the West Coast!) and so it was hard to get a picture of them both. I tip my hat to children's photographers because it is definitely not easy to get two babies to look at the camera at once!
I think this is the best once I got and my Henry looks super pissed off. Ha.
Crazy to think that next year they will be running around the pumpkin patch!
My friend Amanda did get some cute pictures of me and my boy though, so that's always appreciated!
 Brace yourself kid, you've got many years of pumpkin patch photo sessions ahead. 
 This is his new favorite expression lately and it cracks me up :)
Pumpkin drum!

 He was super intrigued by the whole pumpkin stem situation
For reference for Portland folks, we went to Kruger's out on Sauvie's Island and they had great pumpkins...just don't expect much else if you come during the week! (Although the grounds are pretty and Sauvie's Island is just a generally beautiful spot) I also happened to swing by Bella Organic as well just to compare and that was really nice as well!


Hope everyone is having a wonderful October!


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