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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I wish you a day full of great food and good times with friends and family. While I have no doubt there will be a lot of this going around today, I just wanted to share with you 10 things I am thankful for this year.
- My sweet husband – as cheesey as it sounds, he makes this crazy journey called life infinitely more interesting and enjoyable.
- My family – we might make each other crazy sometimes, but I know they love me and have my back.
- My nieces & nephews – yes, they are “family”, but these little guys deserve their own special shout out. They remind me what it’s like to see the world through new eyes, to approach everything as a game, and to laugh at and learn from our mistakes.
- My friends – to me, friends have always been like the family we choose for ourselves, and new or old I am grateful for their laughter and support through thick or thin.
- My furbabies – I am without a doubt a crazy cat lady, and after losing two of our fluffy children last year and having a couple minor health scares this year, I am so happy to see those sweet sleepy faces every morning and give them goodnight kisses every evening before bed.
- My health – the last few years have been a roller coaster, but I have finally found a good rhythm. It’s so incredibly nice to have more good days than bad and to feel like I am finally getting back to being myself.
- Having the space and the resources to indulge my creativity.
- For you, my dear readers. For checking in and following along in my adventure, you guys keep me accountable and push me to keep exploring and trying new things.
- The healing power of books – something that started as a child and follows me to this day. Books are there when I need information, when I need distraction, and when I need reassurance. A lot of ills can be mended or soothed by some quite time with a good book.
- Personal growth – I’ve been trying to stretch myself emotionally and physically this year, and it’s nice to feel that effort pay off in little ways, while still keeping you humble enough to remember that there will always be more lessons to learn.
Did I make you roll your eyes or throw up a bit? It did get a bit mushy at parts, but ultimately I mean every word. What are you most thankful for this year?
*I also wanted to let you guys know that I’ll be taking the last week of this month off. After Andy and I are done with our holiday travel, my mom and I are going to take a mini road trip before getting back into the daily grind. You can follow along if you like on my Instagram page.
Image from here.
Wow, I am having a hard time believing that not only is November more than half over, Thanksgiving is only a couple of days away! Originally, we were hoping this weekend would be a little more about resting up and getting ready for our trip to NC, but it ended up being a little more on the side of spending time with friends with a few errands thrown in.
One thing I managed to get done, that was long over due, was dying my hair. To keep the color nice and vibrant, I bleach my light brown roots to blond every other month. It’s actually been more like two months since the last time, and while things looked “fine”, it wasn’t the vibrant color I’ve come to love. It took me a couple of hours, but I managed to not only bleach my roots but freshen up the pink, with two rounds of air drying thrown in to minimize the damage. Things look much better now, but that bit where my hair was blond was really odd for me. I kept looking at myself in the mirror and trying to figure out if I hated it or loved it… jury is still out. I also received this little surprise in the mail on Saturday. I was a little confused, but I thought my mother-in law had just sent me a some supplies to freshen up my garden come spring. However upon closer inspection, this was what Amazon sent me instead of the nose stud I’d ordered. Tiny to be sure, but lacking the sterling silver filigree and the opal I was expecting. Customer service was thoroughly confused by the mix up and ultimately decided to issue a refund and told me to keep the seeds – they didn’t want them either. Sunday morning Andy caught a little bit of manly down time while I headed out to Basic Bitch Brunch with some friends. We wore our paid and blanket scarves ironically, but were literally out-basic’ed by another group within five minutes of entering the restaurant. There was a bit of laughter and the decision that we’d all just have to try harder next time. If you’re in the Tallahassee area, I whole-heartedly recommend Table 23 for brunch; the food was great, our waiter was fantastic, and the bar staff happily mixed up a round of virgin mimosas and poinsettias for those of us who couldn’t drink. One of the nicest large group dining experiences I’ve had in a long time. If you do decide to try it out, I recommend starting with either the sticky buns or the house made biscuits. The were so good they were divided up and gone before I could get my camera out. Sunday ended as it often does, with me making cupcakes in the kitchen after dinner. The only difference was that these were going to work with me instead of Andy. We had our holiday luncheon on Monday and I signed up to bring Apple Spice Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting. I think they turned out pretty well; I’ll have to write the recipe down next time so I can share it with you guys.
Tonight I am hoping to finish up what trip packing is left over from the weekend. We are driving as far as Savannah Wednesday night, and I’d like to get to the city in time to do dinner in the historic district and maybe the teeniest bit of walking around. That means I’ll have to have the car packed and ready to head out as soon as I leave the office at 2. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
There are few holiday tasks more daunting that hosting Thanksgiving dinner. All those people, all those dietary restrictions, and all those expectations! Regardless of how laid back your guests are, we all know that people can be a little judgmental when it comes to things that are so steeped in tradition. In all honesty, 9 times out of 10 I serve things up buffet style and astound people with the fancy disposable plates and flatware I manage to procure (seriously, it’s a skill). I do know, however, that many of you dream about that perfectly executed Pinterest worthy table, complete with seasonal centerpiece and coordinating linens. Not always possible, but a quick and relatively easy way to elevate your holiday table is place cards. Place cards let your guests know that you gave them a little extra consideration and they also make a great keepsake for anyone who likes to save mementos from these type of things.
Place cards also give you a little extra control over you holiday table. You can manipulate your seating chat to keep your aggressively alt right uncle away from your vegan lesbian friend Kate… or not if you want to keep things lively. You can also make sure that any newcomers don’t find themselves ostracized at the far end while everyone else is chatting it up in the middle. I also like to consider guests with any disabilities or who are a little older to make sure that they get up and down as easily as possible, not to mention closer proximity to restrooms.
Thank goodness for the internet, right? Hopefully, this will help you get inspired for your own table. I am, fortunately, off the hook this year as we will be heading to NC to spend some time with Andy’s parents. So I wish you good luck and happy crafting!
It’s happened, guys; it’s finally happened. I dare not speak it aloud, but… I believe… fall has reached Tallahassee. For the last week it has been consistently cool outside, we’re talking high 60’s – low/mid-ish 70’s during the day, 40’s and 50’s at night. It’s been WONDERFUL! I know that isn’t super cold for most of the country, but for us? It’s almost a freeze. As the ability to wear both socks and long sleeves has gone a bit to my head, I have rediscovered my desire for a reading nook. Not just a comfy chair, a designated cozy spot with good light, storage area for my books and well… that comfy chair or really a comfy reading surface.
I have to say that there is a part of me that is really liking that many of these have some sort of covering. I mean, a reading nook is awesome, but a reading fort is even cooler. That’s right; I’m a 31 year old woman daydreaming about making my own fort. As I’m typing this, I am realizing that whatever I make I’ll need to account for at least two cats. Reading is better with cats, and mine are a little spoiled and tend to commandeer any horizontal cozy area.
As much as I am loving this idea, it may end up on my “to-do” list for 2018. A new nook for a new year and all that.
Images from here.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, my dislike of sweet potatoes has peppered any remarks around holiday recipes/meal planning. So this year I decided to set aside the distaste and give it another chance. I mean I eat broccoli now, and no one saw that one coming. Tastes change, right? Supposedly? Maybe? Okay, maybe not in this case. The cupcakes are good, but I’m still not a huge fan. My taste testers really enjoyed them. Oh well, at least I tried right?
- 1 cup cooked sweet potato
- 1 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
- 1/3 cup bourbon
- 1/3 cup butter
- 2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter
- 4oz cream cheese (softened)
- 1 tbsp vanilla paste or extract
- 3/4 cups powdered sugar
- 1-4 tbsp heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup toasted chopped pecans (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Cream together sweet potato, brown sugar and butter until smooth.
- Mix in the eggs one at a time.
- Add bourbon, vanilla, cinnamon and salt.
- Sift together flour and baking powder.
- Add milk and flour mixture alternating until everything is incorporated.
- Pour batter into cupcake liners and bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
- While cake bakes, brown butter in a pan and set aside to cool.
- Cream together cooled brown butter and cream cheese, then add vanilla.
- Add powdered sugar a cup at a time until the desired consistency.
- Thin frosting with cream if it becomes to stiff.
- Frost cooled cupcakes, top with toasted pecans and enjoy!
Note: Now something I feel like needs to be said is that these are not your traditional light fluffy cupcake, they are a bit more dense. Still good, but more of a “one with a cup of tea” and less “holy crap, how did I already eat three of these”.