Wednesday, October 31, 2012

HAPPY HALLOWEEN & my Unicorn Costume!

We had our big Halloween Bash over the weekend, and here are some of the awesome pictures from it!

This was one of my favorite costumes of the night!!  MUGATU!  Haha!  I let him borrow my corset - I can't believe it fit.  Good thing he's a skinny dude (in fact, I don't think I can fit into it anymore - haha!).

Stacey - the biker chick!  Those sleeves looked awesome - she looked the exact opposite than she does in real life!  Ha!

Oh my gosh - she looked JUST like Helena Bonham-Carter in Fight Club.  It was awesome.  That's even her real hair.

Geneva looked amazing!! Those contacts were badass (and totally creepy). She even crocheted her kitty ears earlier that day!

These two cracked my shit up.  Doritos!?  Who thinks of stuff like that?  My friends - love them!

Sasha's sugar skull makeup was amazing.  Katy did it just with eyeliner and eye shadow!  So awesome - she looked great!

Hipster Ghost!  LOL!

Kendra and John just chillin' out.  Such a cute picture. :)


Me and Katy!!  She looked hilarious.  Here's a link to the character she went as - it's a band called Die Antwoord, they're pretty crazy. Here's a link to a picture of the girl in the band.  Just search them on YouTube, and you'll see all their crazy antics!  It's worth it, trust me.

And here's my unicorn costume!! Pretty hilarious, huh?  Haha!  Katy lent me a lot of stuff for my costume, but this was pretty much a $10 costume.  I already had my pink Forever Lazy, and I gotta say, I think I'm going to have to incorporate pajamas into my costume every year.  It was SO comfy!  

Everyone's costumes were so amazing - I seriously think it was the most creative ideas I'd seen in a long time.  I only saw ONE duplicate out of everyone, which was pretty hilarious - John had another girl come as a bumblebee!  Haha!

Hope you all have a super happy and safe Halloween!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Spending Fast - 10 Months Down!

Holy crap!  I can't believe it's been almost an entire year since I began my spending fast!  Only 2 months left of 2012 - how nuts is that?  I have a feeling they're just going to FLY by too.  

This month it was a little easier to not spend money due to the fact that I literally could not spend anything (because I didn't have anything left over after my bills were paid).  In fact, I was a little bit under which makes me terribly nervous. 

The new job change was definitely worth it, but I knew I'd be a bit tight over the next few months before I was making enough money to keep putting stuff towards my debt while still being able to live my life.  I'm hoping it will get easier but it has been a struggle, and with the holidays coming up I'm sure there will be more struggles to come. 

But hopefully I will be debt-free in the near future (hopefully, hopefully), and be able to live on my smaller income in happiness while still setting aside money in my savings.  I hope that's not just a pipe dream, and I'm praying that the day will come in the next year or so.  I already feel so blessed to have come as far as I have on this journey, and I've learned so much about myself.  I just need to keep plugging away and just get there! 

Here are some ways I'm planning to survive the holiday season (without going broke): 

- My family & I decided to draw names for gifts this year.  We drew names from a hat, and we'll only get a gift for one person (instead of all 5), then do stockings for each person.  Gifts are not what Christmas is about anyway, and this will help us keep the spirit of gift giving alive, while enjoying the true joys of the season.

- Handmade / re-purposed gifts for all!  I'm sure that I have many things already that could be spruced up / re-painted / made personal so that I could give them to friends as gifts - I just need to get creative about it.  

- Food not Booze.  If someone has us over for a get-together or birthday gathering, I'll plan to bring a food item (like a homemade pie) instead of a bottle of wine.  The ingredients that go into a pie are much less expensive than getting a $10 bottle o' booze.  Especially if buying in season!

- Handmade cards!  I have a huge stack of blank cards that I bought a very long time ago and never used.  So instead of purchasing Christmas cards, I'm going to make my own!  They'll be much more personal, and really, much more fun.

Those are my plans so far, and I need to figure out how to make the time to get everything done!  The last month has been a complete whirlwind (I can't believe it's almost November!!), and I'm sure the next will be the same.  "Pie Season" is the busiest time of year at the bakery, so wish me luck!  

Happy Saving! :) 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Two Years!

Two years ago today I went on my first date with John!  
I can't believe it's already our 2-year anniversary - how time has flown.  This is officially my longest relationship ever (it beat my 2nd longest by an entire year)!  And what's great is that it's been so easy.  Sure we have our rough patches as every relationship does, but love wins out every time. 

What do I love most about us as a couple? 

We can always make fun of ourselves. 
We make each other laugh. 
We both love to dance. 
We find happiness in the little things. 
We love to cook together. 
We know when a hug is needed. 
We are there for each other in the tough times. 
We are excited to tell each other things. 
We respect each other. 
We love each other! 

Here's to two pretty fantastic years, John - and for more to come!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Soup's On!!

It snowed like crazy last night in Denver (yep, SNOWED!), and we're supposed to get even more tonight.  Crazy, huh? 

But the best part of that means, it's time for SOUP!! 

I love love love soup.  Hearty chunky soup, creamy mellow soup - it warms you through and through.  Nothing is better than coming in from a cold day and having a hot steaming cup of your favorite soup. 

I recently made a big batch of "anything goes" soup which included pretty much everything but the kitchen sink - any veggies I had in the fridge and then some!  I threw in: 
- Carrots
- Celery
- Onions
- Potatoes
- Mushrooms
- Garlic
- Broccoli 
- Asparagus
- an Apple (it was great, trust me)
- leftover black beans

And I think even a few more ingredients.  I sauteed the harder veggies in olive oil in the pot first (the carrots / celery), then tossed the rest in.  I added some veggie stock and water and let it simmer for about 45 minutes or so.  Then I removed it from the heat and used my hand blender to get everything well blended.  I seasoned it and popped 1/2 of it in the freezer.  

It was great with noodles too - oh my goodness, so hearty and yummy! 

Unfortunately that soup is all gone now (I kind of ate it all), so I'm gonna have to make some more!  Luckily Pinterest has given me some great ideas for the next batch of warm delicious awesomeness: 

Vegan Sweet Potato & Cauliflower soup.  A lovely seasonal soup with a bright orange color - yum yum!  And so simple according to the recipe!  Can't wait to try it.

A classic favorite with a sweet twist - Butternut Squash & Apple Soup!  I love love LOVE butternut squash soup, and I happen to have a butternut squash sittin' on my counter right now, waiting to be chopped!  Definitely going to try this savory / sweet soup.

I found this one on the Whole Foods website, and boy does it sound hearty and totally delish.  Hearty Minestrone Soup!  Who doesn't love a big bowl of veggies and tummy-filling noodles?  YUM!

Lasagna + Soup = LASAGNA SOUP!  Yes, you heard that right.  How could this not be a crowd favorite?  It has everything!!  Of course I would use veggie sausage, but you understand. ;) 

Also, I saw that there were plenty of potatoes and leeks at the Farmer's Market last weekend, and this weekend is the last one so I'm gonna have to load up!  (So sad!!)  But man, potato leek soup is friggin' scrumptious.  


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A trip to a Haunted House

Last night I went to a haunted house with all of my new work buddies from the bakery! 

I don't usually like haunted houses, and I never really go to them.  I haven't been to one since high school - I just get totally freaked out!  I just don't like the gore & stuff - which is kind of ironic since I have gotten a lot more into horror movies lately.  Ha. 

Anyhoodle, we did have a few beers (and maybe a couple of shots) beforehand which gave me some liquid courage.  Everyone made me go first for the beginning part - no fair!!  But it was still pretty darn fun.  I realized during the second part (through the middle of everything), there is really no safe "spot" in line.  Those guys jump out at you everywhere!  I can't imagine having that kind of job.  So crazy and creepy!  

They had all kinds of bodies hanging everywhere, and really narrow passageways that you kind of had to walk through single file.  I was clutching both my friend in front of me, and my friend behind - it was so scary! 

We had a blast though, and by the end we were giggling our heads off.  I doubt I'll do it again anytime soon, but it was really super fun.  I think it was really just because of all the super fun people we were with!

This is the pic we got at the end - I wore my Beetlejuice pants just for the occasion! 

Tonight I finally got a night off, so I worked on my Halloween costume.  It's going to look something like this: 

But BETTER!  Haha!  Just wait, you'll see... I just finished it tonight, and it's gonna be awesome / hilarious.  Our big Halloween party is coming up in just a few days - it's gonna be crazy! 

Happy Halloween!!  

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fall is here - in full force!

Yesterday I managed to get up early enough to take a little walk to the library to pick up some books, and some scary movies to get in the mood for Halloween! 

I haven't been for a walk in a while (sad, I know), and it was as though fall snuck up on me!  It's finally here in full force, and it's so beautiful!  

Luckily I brought my camera with me so I snapped some pictures of the beautiful colors.  I'm going to have to get back to taking walks more often... 

OH!  And we've got PUMPKINS in the house!!  I love it!  My sister dropped off some ones she had leftover from work, so we have 3 big beautiful ones, and the little one that's in front is one that we grew in our garden!  I think we're going to have to carve the big ones, and eat the little one...

..Pumpkin soup, anyone?  Yum yum! :) 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Beautiful Portraits

I've been pinning a lot of portraits lately on Pinterest - I'm just in love with them.  I always loved portraits the best when I was in photography school, and I find these so inspiring and beautiful.  It takes more than a beautiful person to make a beautiful photograph.  

I just love these!  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do! 

And just for fun, here's a new little portrait of me that my good friend Dave Wood took of me.  He did a photo shoot with my whole head-shaving team (Megan, my sister Taryn & I), the week after we got all of our hairs shaved off.  He did an amazing job, and I can't wait to see them all!  But for now, here is one lovely shot from our session.  He's such a talented photographer! :) 

Thursday, October 11, 2012


John and I leave for New York in mere hours!!

We'll be hanging with my big sis at her little apartment, meeting up with the rest of the fam on Friday (my parents and little sis fly in then), and going to my cousin's wedding on Saturday.  It's going to be FUN!

I also haven't gotten to do many vacations this year due to my spending fast, so this is a huge treat for me.  I'll be on a serious budget, but hopefully I can still have fun and be stingy all at the same time.  I'm usually pretty lax while on vacation, so wish me luck!!

Catch you kids on the flipside... :)

Image found via pinterest. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Excited about... my trip to New York coming up in just a few days!!  My cousin's big wedding, visiting my sister, and having the whole family there.  Can't wait. 

Feeling... blessed.  So very blessed to be who I am, have the people that I have in my life, and to have a job that I love and that I'm excited about.  

Listening to... Kimbra.  She's amazing, and so talented!  If you haven't seen this video yet, please watch.  She's awesome. 

Grateful for... finding a new free yoga class!  Thanks, Kendra!!  I missed yoga, a LOT.

Reading... The Gates by John Connolly.  I was hoping it would be like The Book of Lost Things - another of Connolly's books that we read for book club.  But it's very different, and more comical.  I'm not sure what to think of yet, although it has been funny at times.  We'll see...

Loving... this much cooler fall weather, and wearing scarves again.  I absolutely adore scarf weather!

Hating... how the first debate went, and all of the political commercials.  C'mon Obama - get your act together!  I'm rootin' for ya!

Really wanting... an awesome European commuter bike.  Sigh, someday...

Enjoying... apple cider.  I missed you, my darling!

Watching... old school / classic scary movies.  Getting in the mood for Halloween (and trying to not watch any ones that are TOO scary before bedtime).  Already watched The Shining and Friday the 13th, now I need to move on to Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, and maybe a few classics I haven't seen yet!

Noticing... that my hair is growing back thick and full... with a lot of little grey hairs flecked throughout!  My goodness!  Not sure I'm ready for that yet... ;)

All images not originally mine were found on Pinterest.  

Monday, October 8, 2012

Fall Butternut Squash with Raisins, Pine Nuts & Couscous

We just harvested a beautiful little butternut squash from our garden, so I decided to make up a recipe so that I could use it! 

I started with a base of couscous, then I roasted the diced squash in the oven so that it caramelized on the outside.  I realized that it needed something else to contrast all of the salty flavors, so I figured raisins would be a nice compliment.  And what better way to plump them up than with some seasonal apple cider? :)  

This recipe would be a great dish to bring to any fall dinner gathering (I brought it to Canadian Thanksgiving), or as a side dish to a main meal.  I'm definitely going to make it again, it was delicious! 

Butternut Squash with Raisins, Pine Nuts & Couscous
Serves about 5-6
Prep time: 15 minutes; Cook time: 45 minutes

- 1 small butternut squash, seeds removed, peeled & diced
- 1 cup couscous
- 1 cup water or broth
- 1 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup apple cider or apple juice (water mixed with a little bit of sugar will work fine if you have neither)
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- olive oil & sea salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Spread butternut squash on a cookie sheet, drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt, then mix with hands to coat.  Pop in the oven for 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, boil the 1 cup of water or broth in a pot on the stove.  Turn off the heat, add the cup of couscous, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes to cook through. Dump into a large serving dish, and cover to keep warm. 

Remove squash from oven, and flip pieces.  Return pan to the oven for another 10 minutes. 

Put raisins on the stove in a shallow pan with the apple cider over medium heat.  The raisins will soak up the juice and get plump.  While they are soaking, toast the pine nuts in a pan over medium-high heat.  They will burn very quickly so keep an eye on them and toast until golden brown.  

Layer raisins on top of the couscous, then check the squash.  If they are not slightly brown, put them in the oven for another 10 minutes.  If they're good to go, layer them on top of the raisins, and season with a little more sea salt.  

Top everything with the toasted pine nuts, and serve!