Tag Archives: catching up

Long Distance Coffee Date

For October’s Long Distance Coffee Date, I wanted to discuss my favorite season with my favorite ladies. I didn’t catch the fall bug until later in life and I always love to see what traditions other people have created for themselves and for their families.  And of course I had to have them weigh on the hotly debated, much lamented PSL. I may hate, but I acknowledge there are other schools of thought.

Rebecca:

I. Love. Fall. NC is a great place to be this time of year because we have cooler weather and color-changing leaves! 🤗 I seek out reasons to celebrate. A new season is just as good a reason than any to continue traditions and create new ones.

You will find me burning a Pumpkin Apple candle on September first. I don’t care when the Autumn equinox really is. I will also splurge on a PSL like the basic white girl that I am. However, I must confess, this year I found it to be much too sweet! Is it just me??? I also highly recommend visiting an apple orchard. This is fun for the entire family. You can pick apples, eat apples on the spot and bake with apples later on! Sky Top Orchard is about a 2 hour drive from Charlotte with picturesque views from the hillside, Apple cider, Apple cider donuts and some farm animals too.

October is all about Halloween prep. I admit I prefer fall decor to the scary trappings of the holiday. My husband appreciates all things gore and zombies. A compromise has been made to decorate “spooky.” We have young kids for Pete’s sake. They are comfortable with ghosts and witches. Visiting a pumpkin patch is a must! How glorious it is to be surrounded by a ton of pumpkins, great and small; and possibly corn mazes and hayrides, sunflowers and mums! Then you better believe we carve the pumpkins and bake the seeds. The butter, cinnamon and brown sugar seeds are the best! Our tradition of Scary Movie Night has evolved. What once might have been Shaun of the Dead or Hocus Pocus is now…Monsters Inc. lol! Like I said, young kids. Which brings me to our next tradition of Trick or Treating. Who doesn’t want to see a two-year old dressed up like her favorite movie character, Moana? You guys, cultural appropriation did not even cross my mind when my MIL offered to make a Moana costume for my daughter months ago. I am so concerned that it’ll be frowned upon, but it is beautiful. My daughter loves the strong character and will be wearing the costume.

Okay. It’s a no-brainer… November is all about Thanksgiving! Now is my chance to decorate Autumn. Leaves and gourds. We have started a new tradition of creating a Thankful tree. My girls will write down one thing they’re thankful for each day on a leaf that gets pinned to the branches of a tree. I love nurturing a grateful heart. We are sure to give God the glory for our lives and all that he created. Each year on Thanksgiving I make sure to eat my mom’s famous Southern Comfort Sweet Potatoes topped with pecans and marshmallows browned just right. When gathered around our table with beloved family and friends, we write down what we’re thankful for on a piece of paper and put it in a basket. We then pick a paper out and try to guess who said what.. It’s another reminder to count our blessings. Even those in the face of hardship can recognize something positive.

I’d love to know what some of your Fall traditions are!

Verhanika:

One of the best parts about living in Seattle is that I get seasons. And by far the best
season in Seattle is Fall. We get the cool, crisp air, clear blue skies, and lots and lots
of fall colors. We also get some rainy days as the weather reminds us that our cold,
wet winter is just around the corner. But fortunately for us, on the day of one of our
favorite fall traditions, visiting a pumpkin patch, the day was clear and, dare I say,
warm.
We go to a pumpkin patch in Snohomish, which is about an hour and fifteen minutes
north of us. We ate a super quick breakfast and loaded into the car to make the
drive. Along the way we stopped at a drive thru Starbucks. Andy, my husband, got
his favorite hot chocolate and I got a white mocha Americano. Neither of us are huge
fans of pumpkin pie, so pumpkin spice anything isn’t really interesting to us. That
said, we do enjoy a pumpkin scone. Scones are delicious and lightly spiced pastries
with icing are sort of the pastry ideal.
Up at the pumpkin patch we tried to let Ronan run around, but he was not super
interested. I think we have a super introverted baby right now and big crowds of
people just aren’t his bag. He’ll probably grow into it when he realizes that the corn
box, hay maze, giant slide, and bouncy house are super fun. We got a lot of mileage
out of a wheelbarrow. We forgot our baby carrier and Andy and I got tired of
carrying him, so we got a wheelbarrow for the actual pumpkin hunt part of our
outing.
One other thing that we love about fall weather is leaf peeping. It’s a joke my
husband and I have from an episode of The West Wing, but we do love to drive
around (with a fancy coffee/hot chocolate) and check out all the gorgeous leaves. My
camera does not do justice the almost fluorescent colors that the leaves turn here.
Finally, we do a lot of long family walks together along the Puget Sound to take in
the mountains and water. The cooler weather means we can enjoy the walk in the
sun without sweating a lot and there’s nothing cuter than a bundled baby.

Stefanie:

Hello & Namaste, friends!

I am SO excited and grateful to be a part of this new blog series, not just because Julie is amazing and I want to support everything she does, but also because the holiday season is upon us! And knowing her I have a feeling these next couple of blogging opportunities are going to be holiday themed… And that is alright with me! 🙂

Family Fall traditions… Where to start. Well first of all, I feel it is only fair to say that as I type this I am lying on my couch under a handmade quilt, with a cup of warm tea in my lap, and a Christmas holiday album spinning on my record player – fall scented Yankee Candles burning and a partridge in a pear tree. Nobody loves the holidays more than this girl right here, and we are JUST close enough to our favorite kick-off holiday (Halloween) that I feel comfortable DIVING IN!

I am definitely the friend that wants to do the MOST so that every minute of the next two months feels like a holiday celebration. The fall season really gives us permission to get started. The first thing I do is make sure that all the appropriate smells are in the air… cinnamon, apple, pumpkin, etc. This way even the most mundane days have a holiday kick. Unfortunately, all of my closest friends and most of my family are still up in Tallahassee, but that means getting up that way as often as possible is #1 on my list! because this is the time of the year that I head north most, Tallahassee feels like a holiday to me. I love getting to my sister’s house and seeing all of her fall themed decorations (she goes all out for every holiday and it is GREAT). We always put some time aside for baking, and we pretty much don’t stop until January 1st. For some reason, homemade banana nut bread just isn’t as fantastic in June. Lots of warm nights cuddled up in front of good movies are in order too – another past time that just doesn’t have the same appeal in the other 9 months of the year.

Of course, this is all leading up to fall’s big number… THANKSGIVING! This is easily my favorite holiday because it kicks off the season, you get to eat tons of yummy food, and it is less gift centered than Christmas. The past couple of years I have hosted vegan Friendsgiving at my sister’s house, and I am so excited to say that this year will be no exception! I LOVE cooking all our favorite Thanksgiving side dishes with a vegan twist. Throw in a Tofurkey and it really doesn’t get any better. (We DO have somebody else cook a turkey or a ham for all the meat eaters in attendance). Fingers crossed that everybody makes it this year, and of course YOU are invited too if you are in the Tallahassee area on Thanksgiving with nowhere to go (or you just a hankering for a nice big *almost* cruelty free meal).

If we aren’t in a Tofurkey coma all day on Friday, our plan is always to head out to the stores to check out the ridiculous Black Friday deals. I could take or leave this piece, although there is no denying that it is a TRADITION. You never know what you’re going to find, and it is so nice to get that first burst of holiday cheer. Consumerism is rampant in our culture and it definitely takes away from the “true meaning” of the holiday season, but there is something about being out and about during this time that brings us closer to our fellow (wo)man and helps us feel more connected. If I am REALLY lucky we will spend Friday night out picking a tree or two – and UP she goes ASAP. Then the party really gets started!

Ahhh Mother Autumn. Thank you for all the joy you bring. As for my opinion on pumpkin spice, I can’t say I have too much experience with it (outside of candle scents and pumpkin pie). I am not a coffee drinker BUT I do adore my soy chai latte, and I have heard rumor that Starbucks will add a pump of PS to the mix if you can handle it. I only splurge on SB a couple times a year so I am usually too afraid to risk messing up a good thing. This might be my year though! If I try it before our November post I’ll be sure to let you know what I thought… 😉

Back to holiday music and hot tea… Happy Autumn friends!


Disney Springs Mini Vaca Recap

Before I get into the recap, I have a quick question for you guys: Is it possible for women to get “man flu”? I’ve been sick the last two days, but in a way that has me feeling really pathetic and sorry for myself. I am trying to keep it at bay, but the urge to suffer dramatically is strong. So very strong.

Anyway, fortunately, my dramatic illness did not strike before our day trip to Orlando, and we had such a good time. I got to have face time with Verhanika, one of my favorite people, and bond a little more with her little guy. Seriously, the kid is going to be a heart breaker. I love few things in life as much as I enjoy getting to be “Aunt Julie”. Andy was completely cool following us around and participating in any shenanigans we decided to indulge in.

 That’s right, bask in the awesomeness that is our friendship. Also, I was very pleased that I didn’t end up with all of those lines sunburned into my chest. Thank god for travel sunscreen and cloudy days.  With a lot of the state still dealing with the fall out from Irma, I was a little concerned that Disney Springs wouldn’t be its usual magical self, but of course, things were running smoothly, and with the exception of some decorative construction walls here and there, you’d never even know that there were repairs still being done.   Verhanika and I decided that this would be an excellent place for a “mermaid grotto”. I bet there are any number of girls who’d be completely happy to rock a tail and leisurely brush their hair for photo crazed tourists. Heck, if they didn’t mind chubby pink haired mermaids, I’d sign up for the job!Seriously swoon worthy gelato: Black Cherry on one side; the best Pistachio EVER on the other.   I fell in love with this shop. I mean, come on guys, they’re “dealers in whimsy”, and I am all about the whimsy! I picked up some cute little baubles for stocking stuffers, some I may end up keeping for myself. I am regretting leaving these gorgeous shades behind at Anthropologie. I checked online, but they aren’t available. (sigh)  After half a dozen visits, I finally broke down and tried the little Micky Butt cake at Amorettes. It was really good, and I can see why it is a fan favorite. Andy’s little lemon blueberry cake was pretty great too.  Despite the temperature being securely in the 90’s, most of the shops were sporting all the traditional fall favorites. I think poor Andy was half deaf from all the excited squealing going on (on my end). So many lovely items, so many reasons I need to make a lot more money than I currently do. 

Verhanika and little guy had to say goodbye to us about midday on Friday; it was his nap time, and he’d been such a trooper, definitely earned a nice air conditioned car ride home. Andy and I walked around a bit longer, but the sky turned grey and we had diabetic fur babies that needed their evening insulin shot, so we bid a reluctant farewell to the Disney magic and headed home. I already want to go back.