10 Reasons Why Halloween Can Go Away Now

creepy-vintage-halloween-costumes22

So, I hear they don’t celebrate Halloween in Australia. Luckies.

Ever since I was a 2-year old crying in the mirror because my parents put face paint on me and dressed me up like a tiger, I’ve wished we were one of those countries that doesn’t celebrate Halloween. I’ve just got some beef with it and I’d like to get it off my chest!

If I ever start a petition to end this holiday, the following reasons will be cited:

1. “Sexy” costumes. Please stop those.

2. Scary kids scaring kids. I don’t like being scared and Halloween suddenly gives people the right to walk up to strangers and get all up in their face and be scary. Please stop that too.

3. Scary movies. They’re the worst! In high school and college I felt peer-pressured into watching them with a group of friends. When I was left alone my mind went wild and I would do crazy things like walk around the house with the vacuum as my weapon or never sleep with my hands outside the covers until I was 18 years old. (Okay, that one was a result of Edward Scissorhands…technically not a scary movie I suppose.)

4. Creative costume pressure. I like being creative, but I don’t want to feel pressured to make plans and spend money and/or extensive time to come up with some super cool costume. Just let me be Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz for 5 years straight, okay?

5. Halloween parties. Gross-looking food, the same 5 Halloween-themed songs and lots of fog in your face. Also, if you’re trying to meet people, you’ll never know who you were actually meeting and if they were actually cool.

6. Costumes in general. I just don’t like dressing up 😦

7. Candy hangover. That sugar hangs around the house for weeks and weeks, taunting me and making me feel like I just have to eat it so it doesn’t “go to waste.”

8. Whoppers and Sprees. No one likes those, and they always end up being the most plentiful candy at the end of the trick or treat adventures.

9. Halloween pranks. I don’t like pranks anytime really, but especially the Halloween kind.

10. Stealing things from fall. All of the cool things about Halloween are actually just cool things about fall: pumpkin-flavored treats, apple treats, crisp weather, bowls of soup, sweaters, etc. So Halloween can go away and leave those to the fall fest parties!

One reason Halloween can stay: Reese’s pumpkins. Those are good. But they also have Reese’s eggs and Reese’s Christmas trees…so it’s probably fine to sacrifice them.

Photo via Halloween Forevermore

Eying on Etsy: Art by Amanda Blake

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 10.00.16 PM

I’m always on the look-out for new artists who sell on Etsy, since it’s the only art I could maybe-almost afford. (Though I’m usually still too cheap to actually buy it.)

My most recent find I’m excited about is the art of Amanda Blake. Her shop is called thisisalliknow, but she has even more art on her flickr account.

I love the random portraits that, if I were to hang them in my house, would probably have people asking if they are of a family member or ancestor. Nope! Just a random person on a cool background.

How To Live in a One-Bedroom Apartment with a Baby (and Stay Sane)

Sure, there have been a few moments when I’ve frantically started searching Craigslist for 2-bedroom apartments so we can get the heck out of this teeny place, but in general, I’d say living in a 1-bedroom apartment with two adults and a baby has gone just swimmingly. (Those frantic moments always had something to do with an overtired baby and nowhere to run away from the heart-wrenching cries :-/ )

storyboard-4

There are several reasons why we decided not to move when we found out I was pregnant: 1. We knew it was very likely we’d be moving for my husband’s grad school program in a year or so and didn’t want to move twice. 2. We save a TON of money living in our 500-square foot apartment. 3. We actually truly do love our apartment, despite it’s quirks, eg. creaky floorboards, fluctuating water temperatures, unreliable window unit, etc etc.

All that said, we’ve definitely had to learn a thing or two to make it work. Here are a few of our tips and tricks for keeping baby Liv happy and us parents sane!

  1. The nighttime switerchoo. I’ve heard of other parents with a baby in a 1-bed say that they put their baby to sleep in the living room, then simply have to stay isolated to their bedroom and sneak around quietly after the baby goes to bed. After hearing that, I’d say probably the most genius idea we’ve come up with is to put Liv to bed in the Pack ‘n Play in our bedroom, then hang out and function as normal adults in the rest of the house until we are ready to go to bed. At that time, we each take a side of the Pack ‘n Play, lift it up, walk it out into the darkened living room, then go get ready for bed in our room as usual. Sometimes Liv stirs in her sleep, but it usually works out just fine!
  2. Pack ‘N Play fo life. Another one of our greatest ideas in parenthood life was to buy a Pack ‘N Play and have it serve as Liv’s bassinet, crib, crib-on-the-go and play pen. I know plenty of parents buy them for the whole crib-on-the-go aspect, but if you’re on a budget or tight on space, GET THE PACK N PLAY, and ONLY the Pack ‘N Play. Bonus: if you’re having a party and want it out of sight, you can simply fold it and put it away in the closet for the evening.
  3. Naps in the bedroom. Just like we do at night, we put Liv down for naps in our bedroom. That way, we can darken the windows (we’re ghetto and use cardboard), minimize the noise in the room and still have the rest of the apartment to do our thing.
  4. Every bit of storage space counts. This baby girl certainly doesn’t have a nursery abounding with toys. Instead, she gets precisely two corners of the apartment to lay claim over. One spot is her toy zone in the living room. The other is her dresser/baby storage/changing table in our bedroom. To maximize space, we decorated the shelves above the dresser with her toys, books, and even diapers and wipes. Present them in a pretty way, and you’ve got function and cheap decor. Win-win!
  5. Minimal toys. We made sure to find toys that could be packed down compactly, since babies quickly outgrow them. For months 0-3, her main “toy” was this Graco swing. Then we put it away in storage and introduced this play mat. When she turned 6 months, we put that away and brought out the big boy: the Fisher Price Rainforest Jumperoo. Whenever Liv outgrows that, we’ll be able to pack it down too and then her little corner will be filled with a few other toys. Aside from those main toys, she has a few stacking cups, fake food, a stuffed animal and some books. That’s it and that’s all! We give her household items like lotion bottles, boxes and plastic dishes to keep things real lively around here.
  6. High chair efficiency. If we had a big enough space for the kitchen table, we would’ve gotten one of these high chair seats that just goes on an adult chair, but since we only have a 2-person table, we went for the next best thing: the $15 Ikea high chair. It’s small and can easily be taken apart if we want to make room for dinner guests some nights.
  7. Walks, walks and more walks. In a 1-bedroom apartment, there aren’t a lot of places to turn for a change of scenery. Even Liv gets tired of it sometimes! So when she’s fed up with the apartment life, we make sure to get out for a walk around the block, if nothing else. We usually end up walking once in the morning and once in the evening. Sometimes more if we haven’t been running errands at all during the day! Luckily we live in the perfect area for observing lots of birds in the trees, fish in the stream and people on the street!

(Photo via Marriage is the Bomb)

7 Rock-Your-World Ice Cream Shops

If anyone ever asks me, “What are you truly passionate about?”, my answer is usually ice cream.

Once I threw a really big (and I mean BIG) party just so I could make a ton of ice cream flavors and have someone to eat them. We served about 10 flavors (all made by me in the weeks prior) out of my friend’s VW bus on the corner of the street and played music and ate in the front yard among a ton of friends and friends-of-friends, and I was truly happy.

Whenever I travel somewhere, of course I look up the best ice cream places in the area. And when my husband was applying for grad school programs, the proximity to world-famous ice cream shops was definitely a factor in my preference on schools he applied for. Hence, I put together this list. Read, then go, eat, be happy.

7 Rock Your Word Ice Cream Shops #icecream #travel

1. Cupcake Royale (Seattle)

Why it’s on the list: One simple reason — their Royale Extra Dark Chocolate ice cream. Unbelieeeevable. Creamy, fudgy…really almost like pudding.

What to get: The Royale Extra Dark Chocolate, obviously. Burnt Caramel is pretty amazing too.

2. Jeni’s Ice Cream (Ohio and lots of other places)

Why it’s on the list: Because I had $120 worth of ice cream shipped from their shop to my front door just so I could experience the beauty I saw on their website. I’ll never regret it.

What to get: Pistachio and Honey, The Buckeye State, Sweet Cream Biscuits & Peach Jam, Savannah Buttermint…really, you can’t go wrong.

3. Salt and Straw (Portland & L.A.)

Why it’s on the list: Because it’s clearly the reigning king of ridiculous creamy goodness that is both zany and always so so good. Salt and Straw is on any and every top ice cream shop list, and it wins on mine too! Their menu constantly changes, and I frequent their website just to see what kind of craziness they have up their sleeve.

What to get: Honey Balsamic Strawberry with Black Pepper, Cinnamon Snickerdoodle, Olive Oil

4. Bi-Rite Creamery (San Francisco)

Why it’s on the list: Long before I tasted Salt and Straw, Bi-Rite Creamery stole my heart. This place pretty much invented the Salted Caramel mania that runs rampant in the dessert world now, so that’s enough to earn them a spot on the list. Also, they have soft serve along with their other traditional ice cream flavors. Soft serve will always be my first love.

What to get: Salted caramel, of course! Or brown sugar with ginger caramel swirl, OR really pretty much anything.

5. Smitten (San Francisco)

Why it’s on the list: This ice cream shop in a shipping container gets a lot of attention for its unique method of making ice cream with liquid nitrogen, but rest assured, it’s no gimmick. Making ice cream on the spot, in such a fast process reduces the ice crystals and gives you the most creamy, pudding-like ice cream you’ll ever eat. Super rich, super good.

What to get: Absolutely get the TCHO chocolate with spicy caramel. Every seasonal flavor has been amazing too.

6. Humphry Slocombe (San Francisco)

Why it’s on the list: SF is my homeland, hence the many ice cream shops of the Bay on this list. Luckily, they have a lot of good ice cream. And this place is no exception.

What to get: Secret Breakfast, Cinnamon Brittle, Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip

7. Ample Hills Creamery (Brookyln)

Why it’s on the list: Because even though I’ve never been there I’m confident it belongs here! I may need to travel 3,000 miles to NYC just for a taste. There’s enough hype, mouthwatering flavor descriptions and Instagram photos to justify it. Trust me on this one. (While I trust the internet on this one.)

What to get: The Munchies, Nonna D’s Oatmeal Lace or Snap, Mallow, Pop. (The names!!)

And just to make it clear: sadly and strangely, there is no good ice cream in Utah. None. Mormons love ice cream. Ice cream dates are equal to meeting someone at the bar. Sooooo, you’d totally think….but, no. Maverick frozen yogurt is the best we got! Don’t get me wrong though, Maverick is go-oood. Pumpkin froyo every November, get it while it’s…cold.

(Photo via The Kitchn)

Rock My Socks Off

I have a thing for socks. When socks showing out of your shoes became a thing again, it brought joy to my fashion spirit.

sock it to me (2)

My mom sometimes sends me socks in the mail…it’s always exciting. I even had to do a sock cleanse recently because my sock collection was getting a little out of control. So now here I am again, wanting more socks. Here are a few I have my eye on.

1. / 2. / 3. / 4. / 5. / 6. / 7. / 8.

Meals I Met and Liked: Kicking off Fall Cooking

I’ll take all the inspiration I can get for meal planning, so I thought every so often I can share what’s been on our weekly menu. But there are definitely some failures every once and while, so I’ll only share the keepers!

lemony-chicken-soup_05-09-14_5_ca

This past week I went fall-crazy and made a several meals of all fall-ish ingredients. Can’t say I regret it!

1. Butternut Squash Risotto (had people over for dinner and it was a huge hit!)

2. Kale + Arugula salad with Blue cheese, Pomegranate, dried cranberries, candied sunflower seeds and poppyseed dressing (no recipe, just threw it together)

3. Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff (substituted cauliflower rice for real rice)

4. Lemony Chicken & Spring Veggie Soup (opposite of fall – but at least it’s soup!)

5. Apple Butter, Applesauce and Apple Crisp (we picked more than 40 pounds of apples from my cousin’s tree!!!)

6. Roasted Pumpkin 5-Spice Ice Cream (I just used canned pumpkin and pumpkin spices. It was amazing with the apple crisp!)

Photo via The Cozy Apron

Need You: Fall Style Picks

fall capsule (2)

Living in a 500 square foot apartment with a family of three, minimize, streamline and purgepurgepurge has been the name of my game lately. And Ms. Un-Fancy has inspired me to do the same with my wardrobe.

Though I won’t go to quite her level of commitment, (She only wears 37 pieces of clothing for an entire season! Comparably, I think I have close to 20 skirts in my closet still :-/ ) I do want to make more of an effort to eliminate clothes I never wear and limit my new purchases each season.

A key to this process is getting your clothes to mix and match easily. Caroline (of Un-Fancy blog) recommends picking a color palette and sticking to it for the season. Apparently mine is gray, black, olive green, oxblood (such a weird color name), and navy. Some of these items I already bought for fall, but some I had existing in my closet, so I don’t feel like this is too excessive of a list!

1. / 2. / 3. / 4. / 5. / 6. / 7. / 8. / 9. / 10.