Friday, September 28, 2012

Embracing fall: Help for summer stragglers like me.

Posted By: Leah

This weekend I have super cozy autumn plans.

However, this year I have not been excited about the weather getting colder and the days getting shorter. It's depressing to think about trading in the seemingly endless warm summer nights to be stuck inside under blankets and watching TV.

I've seen so many people on facebook, blogs, etc. talking about how excited they are about fall. With all that joy, I can't help but start to get a little bit into the spirit of the season too. Autumn and winter are not my favorite time of year. I appreciate the beautiful changing colors of the leaves, but the impending cold winter, and dark, dreary days are not what I look forward to.

You know the whole saying 'fake it till you make it' well this year I'm faking it that I love fall... and crazy enough, I'm actually really excited about my weekend plans.

Check out what I'm doing... you will be excited too!

Today (Friday) I'm taking off work to chaperone Gav's class's trip to the apple orchard. Picking apples is something that I have always wanted to do, but never done. There will be a hay ride, we'll tour how they make apple cider, get to go to the farm's bakery, and pick apples of course! I can't wait!

Tonight (Friday night) we're headed down to see BF and he is making us deep dish pizza!

We flew through Chicago on the way to California a few weeks ago, and bf was super bummed that we weren't there long enough to get real deep dish pizza. In San Diego, we went to a great Chicago-style pizza place called Lucky's (maybe Lefty's?) but BF has been really wanting to make his own... and he is! I'm excited. Except it's not going to have the sauce on top like in this picture.

After that, we're headed to BF's and my high school's football game! You know that's how BF and I know each other right? We went to HS together. Gavin has never been to a football game, and BF played varsity all of high school, and hasn't been to a game there since. So it's going to be pretty special.
This is bf's senior picture and his class ring from when he won the state football championship on our school's winning team. BF was kind of a big deal in HS. ANDDDD he's breaking out his letter jacket from like 15 yrs ago. And wearing the ring. Or I'll make him let me wear all that stuff and pretend we are in the 1950's. Where's my poodle skirt?

Saturday, idk what we're doing, but I'll make sure some kind of fun fall activity is incorporated :)
We're going to my parent's house for dinner and BF is going to grill out for them. He's a super good cook and griller (old news) so that will be awesome and my dad and step-mom have not had BF cook for them before, so they're in for a treat.

Saturday night, BF is going to build us a bonfire in his back yard! And... that's pretty much all we have planned so far. But I'm actually really excited!
This is what BF & I look like. I think. Maybe. Where are my cowgirl boots?

Autumn is a time of change. The leaves change, the weather changes, the amount of daylight changes, it's just different. So many people have been talking about their fall wreaths and pinterest desserts and really decorating for the season. I finally understand why.

It's because fall is such a contrast from summer. It comes in with a bang, almost unexpectedly and there is no choice except to embrace it. There is an awesome print-out from Katie, that you absolutely must print and have for your family. BF, Gav and I printed this last year and we did so many amazing activities we probably never would have done otherwise.

 HERE IS THE PRINTABLE and here it is framed:

Sometimes you just need a little boost to get into the spirit of the season. For me this year, it's fall. But like I said in my So What! Wednesday, my home is filled with pumpkin muffin candles, my car has an apple cider bath and Body Works clip-in thing. Fall is not my favorite season, but like it or not, I'm going to make it awesome!
Now off to the apple orchard and I'll probably be stopping for a pumpkin spice latte on the way :)
 What do you do to celebrate fall?

All photos (except the one of BF and Katie's are via)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Return of the Duck Lips.

Posted By: Leah

So... I don't know where you've been, but I have always thought the whole sority girl 'duck lips' poses were cute. In the 'olden days' aka over 7 years ago, I'd call this my 'dancing face.' And it was soo adorable (maybe only in my own mind).

This was March, 2005... I INVENTED 'dancing face'!

Anyway, It's cool, I rock them. I have no shame.

And this was a week ago. At a work event... clearly.

Then somewhere around Jersey Shore, Fist Pumping, and Snooki pre-baby (remember we're old friends), the 'dancing face' was negated into 'duck lips.' and the world made fun of them :(

Well I'm here to tell you 'duck lips' are awesome, especially paired with 'deuces.'

Ok, Ok I know not every situation calls for 'duck lips' so my 2nd favorite 'fun' pose is the 'open mouth.' But let's be serious, duck lips / open mouth / all of these = awesome photos and what I'm sure your and my facebook is full of.

Katie, I'm passing the open mouth pose to you... Go!

Katie got it! And I'm back to Duck lips, holler! 

Or maybe you don't have duck lips on your facebook. Maybe you have a different, yet equally awesome expression as your 'go-to' for photos. Don't even hate. Duck lips are adorable (on me. I don't care what you say).

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

So What! Wednesday. Fall (not Fail.)

Posted By: Leah
Yay you guys I'm back! I mean really back. Not just scheduled posts. And I'm back to catching up on all of your blogs too... woo hoo! Half of blogging is my site, but the other half is reading all of your posts and catching up on what everyone else is up to. And I've missed that sooo much!

One of my favorite link-ups is  So What!? Wednesday.

So What!? Can I just say I already love the Fall Shows? The Mindy Project. I love her. I mean even before the show. But this show is awesome. She's so great, and quirky and hello? I think she is me. If I were a doctor and single and... ok I somehow identify with her. And I love how they played MIA throughout the show. Good call. And it was weird how Andy from the Office was her date, but it was good. Also New Girl! Zooey was especially adorable or 'adorkable' or whatever. I think the writing is better, and I don't know... I like her and Nick. No, not a spoiler. I just like him and her. the Tuesday Fox line-up is great. Not 100% on the Ben & Kate show, but it may grow on me.

So What!? I signed up for a fall gift swap! So many people have let me know they wanted to hear about the next one I am doing, so here is the one I'm signing up for:
So What!? Maybe we'll get each other for the swap!? I always go wayyy over the minimum. I am 'that girl' who is a total over-achiever and wants the recipient to feel like this is the BEST gift swap ever. I know, I'm that crazy pay it forward girl. I just have had amazing swap partners in the past and want to keep it going! And no, I don't drop tons of cash on these, it's not about that. It's about getting creative, and making the recipient feel special. Not just running out to Target for the minimum.

So What!? Speaking of the fall.... I have a tiny confession. I don't really like it. The fall, I mean. I have woken up to the crisp 50 degree mornings this week and been like 'dang I do not want to wear another layer!' And I hate that it's already pitch black by 7pm. It makes me feel so cold and reclusive. In the summer when it's warm and light out until 9pm, it's just so much more comfortable. Oh well, I'll keep downing pumpkin spice latte's from Starbucks and hopefully catch the fall spirit soon.

So What!? Yesterday marked 3 months until Christmas... OMG! where has this year gone!? Seriously. Oh, and on that note I totally have to do some self-promotion (sorry!) but exciting news about my Etsy Shop, ShopLeah! People who read my blog (including IRL friends/family) make up for 100% of who has purchased the hair ties. And to that I have to say THANK YOU! Ok so the good and exciting news is I've re-ordered and RESTOCKED in a BIG WAY! I found out what colors you guys like and gotten more of it! I've also gotten some new patterns I can't wait to share! As always, they cost only $1 each and I make them all custom, so each order is brand new and just for you :)
Check out my etsy shop HERE. They make really good gifts for all your friends, co-workers, girls of all ages!

So What!? I know I am not a huge fan of the way fall 'feels' but I LOVE how it smells! I took a trip to Bath and Bodyworks and got new car scent discs and candles for the season. I think that bath and bodyworks caught on that their prices were too high because I got soooo much (i'm talking like 10 things) for under $15 total! Now my car smells like warm apple cider and my livingroom smells like a pumpkin muffin. It's kind of awesome.

So What!? OH! Speaking of pumpkin muffins, I have a super good (and easy!!!) recipe I think everyone has tried. Two ingredients you guys (box of spice cake mix + canned pumpkin). Gav and BF eat these up like they are going out of style. And soooo moist. healthy too! These are a WIN for sure :)

So What!? I spent all of last Saturday evening watching Kim's "Don't be tardy to the wedding," Yeah, this is the first time I'd seen it! And Abby & Brittany, it looks like a 2 headed girl! I mean it is. I love them. And how they speak the same words. How do they control their limbs in sync?  Oh, and Breaking Amish. Fab show! Ok maybe I'm not too sad about staying in with the dark evenings and cooler nights.

So What!? Gav lost another tooth! Remember his super magical and glittery tooth fairy experience last week? Well on Sunday night he lost his 2nd tooth. He told me he thinks he'll look like a jack-o-lantern by Halloween LOL.

So What!? And THANK YOU Adri for the head's up on Panera's adorable pumpkin cookies! Is it bad I drempt of these after seeing the pic you posted to IG? Yeah... so Gav and I HAD to go :)

So What!? Ok that's it for my fall (not fail) So What Wedsnesday! I have missed this link up you guys, I promise to get back into these soon.
So What Wednesday

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hello Kitty Yogurtland and Sprinkles Cupcakes!

Posted By: Leah
Before going to San Diego I had a short list of all the things I wanted to do, see, and EAT! I was sooo excited to go to the much-hyped Sprinkles Cupcakes. You know, the place that single-handily started the popularity of cupcakes world wide?

And Yogurtland. A frozen yogurt chain who lets Sanrio take over every summer. Hello Kitty + Cupcakes = the two things that make me extra super happy no matter what :)

I'll let the photos of Yogurtland speak for themselves. I mean seriously... imagine me, the biggest Hello Kitty fan, stepping into a froyo place that was sooo HK decked out. There may have been shrieks and Gasps. I was sooo happy to be in the midst of this awesome. I couldn't stand still. I wanted to try everything, to look at everything. This was pretty much just as good as if I had flown to Sanrio Puroland (hello kitty theme park) in Japan. For me, it was the next best thing.

The poor lady at the register I think was honestly a little freaked out by me. I promise I semi-kept it together, but when I asked for an extra Hello Kitty spoon to take back to NC she said 'no way.' Then somehow with my amazing charm I asked to see all of their merchandise (yes they had shirts, HK plush, pins, bags, key chains, etc.) and after purchasing probably more than the average person would. I think the casheer realized my love of HK was for real. She gave me a wink and tossed about 10 HK spoons and several twin stars spoons in my bag too! And the spoons are nice. I mean they are that biodegradable plastic (like what they give you at Whole Foods). So you can wash and reuse them for many many uses.

Oh! And the fro yo! It was good! It's the kind that tastes like soft-serve not the bitter yogurt kind, thank goodness! I think I got like 4 samples and my cup had at least 3 different types in it and I was so excited about HK that I couldn't even tell you what the flavors were ;)


Sprinkles Cupcakes was another must-see (must eat!) on my Cali list. We went to Sprinkles in La Jolla one evening and got there 15 minutes before it closed. Ok, really how we got there was BF and I were going to La Jolla to see the beach at night, but didn't really have a destination. So I typed Sprinkle's address into the Garmin and there we were!

I had pretty much the same reaction to going into Sprinkles as I did at Yogurtland. Me, gasping, then trying to compose myself, totally trying to play it cool, when really I wanted to jump up and down, point, and hug all the cupcakes (don't worry, they were behind glass). You can tell from the expression in the employee's face above  that she totally was getting a kick out of how giddy Sprinkles made me. I know, I know, I'm 32 yrs old and should be able to compose myself. I just couldn't. I told her I came all the way from NC for Sprinkles and I was so excited that I couldn't choose a flavor. BF said to go ahead and have them get us a few (OH yeah! I seriously felt like I had to pick only one). So we ended up getting s'mores, vanilla hazelnut, lemon and dark chocolate. 

The cupcakes were good. Especially the s'mores one. I wouldn't say they were any better or any worse than the cupcakes I could find at a bakery locally, but just to have that dot. You know, the signature sprinkles dot (yes, I know it looks like a boob) on my cupcake made it sooo special! 

I didn't keep the wooden cupcake spoon or knife. And I didn't get any Sprinkles merchandise to take home. But I got to eat at Sprinkles!!! I have been obsessed with that company for years. I get their newsletter and (#geekmoment) even have a Sprinkles screensaver on my computer at work. You can have one too lol. Yeah, there's actually an website for other crazy fans like me. 

SN: I am not LDS, but directly across from Sprinkles was the most gorgeous temple I had ever seen. There are quite a few LDS bloggers that I follow so as soon as I saw this absolutely breathtaking temple all lit up at night, I immediately knew what it was. Those Mormons know how to build a spectacular place of worship for sure!
San Diego Mormon Temple (_DSC0539a)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Stand Up Paddle Boarding and BEST DRINK EVER

Posted By: Leah
 BF had wanted to go stand up paddle boarding since forever. Like he's talked about it for as long as I have known him. When we booked our San Diego trip, I was smart and signed up for San Diego groupons as well. Guess what? They had a stand up paddle boarding for two groupon offer in San Diego, so I totally purchased it and gave it to BF as part of his BDay gift, back in August.

I seriously knew nothing about San Diego or paddle boarding and feel SOOOO lucky that the place I booked, Pacific Beach Sports, was amazing. AND remember I talked about how the pacific ocean is freezing year round? Well without knowing, this groupon was to paddle board on Mission Bay... a super WARM lake-type place in the middle of San Diego (ok I get it, it's a bay, but it looked like a lake where we were.)

Pacific Beach Sports was super awesome. I called a couple weeks before we went and asked how exactly we would get the paddle boards to the beach. That's when I learned that we'd be on Mission Bay and they said they loaded the boards onto the cars for us and gave us racks. What a relief! I was scared we'd lose our rental car deposit trying to create our own make-shift paddle board rack lol.

ANYWAY the instructor we had, Laura, was super cool. She gave us the instructions and it seemed easy enough. Just get on your knees on the middle of the board and paddle on both sides. Then stand up when you're comfortable.

 AND Laura our instructor took pics for us! I wanted to have pics of us paddle boarding but was thinking either BF or I would have to get out of the water and go get the camera in the car. No need! Laura took tons of pics and then uploaded them to FB that afternoon so we could tag ourselves. Check out PB Sports Labor Day for all of them from that day. 
I'm not even going to lie. It probably took me a good 15 minutes being out on the water before I even attempted to stand up. It was SUPER windy, and everybody who stood up wiped out into the water. I didn't want to deal with crawling back up on my paddle board (lazy!) so when I felt a little wobbly I would just kneel down or sit really fast. I never fell off once, holler!

And this is probably the best photo ever. Me super confident like the paddle boarding pro I am, and bf wiping out. Hilarious. 


OK! SO best drink ever time. And YES it has to do with paddle boarding! I know you are all thinking this is an alcoholic drink. And you are actually wrong.

Seven Grand
BF and I had gone out with friends to dinner the night before paddle boarding and got to ride in their cute convertable VW rabbit to eat at this place called Urban. But before that, we went to their adorable house for drinks and the most amazing ahi tuna ever they had fresh for us. Then, after that and the dinner at Urban, we went to Seven Grand and I had an old fashioned which had raw sugar, burbon and bitters, which seemed like the right thing to do.

The bartender who made it was all dapper and straight out of a movie with his perfectly tailored crisp pressed button down, tie, apron and vest, shaking the drink all pro style. Yes the deer head decor freaked me out slightly but hey, there is NOTHING like that around here (ok maybe like a redneck bar lol and this is the opposite of that!)

However... in the morning my head felt not so good, and I knew I  had to go paddle boarding in the sun. yay. So here's where the best drink ever comes in!

So at the corner of the street where we were house sitting there is a little convenience store. PS all the convenience stores in San Diego sell Liquor. no ABC stores for them. ANYHOW NO I was not buying more alcohol to drink before I went paddle boarding, I went in early that day to get some caffeine for BF and I. Honestly, they had a $5 minimum and the energy drink I got BF plus my starbucks in a can wasn't enough, so I grabbed some coconut juice. my favorite. But this time I got Parrot brand. A kind I had never tried.

OH MY GOODNESS!!!! BEST DRINK EVER!!!! So you know how coconut water is kind of gross. I know, I drink it and I like it but most people don't. It's a little salty and creamy and weird. Well Parrot Coconut Juice with pulp was different. It was almost like drinking coconut milk, but juice! And it had crunchy bits of coconut in it. omg it was heaven. And you know how coconut water is advertised as a sports drink replacement because of the electrolytes? This TOTALLY worked on my hangover and I felt AMAZING! Immediately! Headache gone! Energy Restored! And I had an awesome time (clearly!) paddle boarding!

Unfortunately the only place in NC you can get Parrot coconut juice is at World Market (random). And I spent $12 at Whole Foods on various coconut juices with pulp, but NONE were even remotely as good.

Then last week a miracle happened. BF got on Amazon, found my beloved Parrot coconut juice and sent me a case. It was the best day ever! And ok, yes I've averaged 2 a day of these, but omg they make me feel amazing. And aren't tooooo bad for me. Plus it's 85% coconut juice and the rest is water, ok and sugar. It just happens coconut has fat in it booo. but whatever. Worth it! Sweetest coconut water out there. for sure!

So if you like coconut, or coconut water, I HIGHLY recommend Parrot coconut juice! It's the BEST!

(PS if you follow me on IG these pics hopefully make sense now :)

Tomorrow... Hello Kitty at Yogurtland and Sprinkles Cupcakes!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Ocean Beach, California

Posted By: Leah
When I told people I was going to San Diego, sooo many people said that I HAD to check out Ocean Beach. Apparently this is a popular spot for the locals and tourists have discovered it too. They have a great T-shaped pier and amazing Acai bowls.

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BF, Like a Boss.
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This was another beach with grass right next to the sand ocean. I love that! It's something I had not seen before and I think it's so pretty.
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There was so much just 'classic cali' stuff. I mean, where else have you seen a hair and tattoo shop? West coast!
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OB was super different (and wayyy more crowded) than any beach I've been to before. But also really interesting. I have seen the same old NC beaches my entire life, and the Cali beaches are a 180 from what I'm used to. There are mountains! And cliffs! And palm trees! And Surfers! And grass! And people EVERYWHERE!

 I had heard about Acai bowls before visiting SoCal and we saw a sign that said 'world's best' so of course this is where I had my first acai bowl. sooo delicious. It's like a thick smoothie with granola and fresh fruit and honey on top!
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This is also about the time I realized I lost my wallet. Yeah... not just my ID but bf's too. We didn't stress out too much at the time, I thought I had just left it back at the house. .. so untrue but I'll get to where it went in another post next week.

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Next week... stand up paddle boarding in Mission Bay! Me standing on this thing that looked like a surf board! OH! And the GREATEST DRINK IN THE WORLD! Have a wonderful weekend!
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