Thursday, October 23, 2014

All things pumpkin (except for the actual pumpkin)

I think I have reached my limit on all things pumpkin.  Except for the actual pumpkin carving, which has yet to happen.  It's still too early for that.  We don't want any rotting pumpkins on our porch.  But as far as pumpkin flavored things, I think I have had enough already.  Note to self: never buy a huge can of pumpkin puree unless you need it all at once.  Or better yet, freeze it! Why didn't I think of that earlier?!

After buying a huge can of pumpkin puree for these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, I had about 3/4 of the can leftover.  The first thing I decided to make was some pumpkin raisin bagels.  I ended up cutting the recipe in half because I wasn't sure anybody would like them, but they turned out so good I didn't even have time to snap a picture before they were all gone.  I used this recipe and I highly recommend you try them (and make the entire dozen while you're at it).  This is something I could see myself making again.  The bagels have a really nice warm spiced flavor without the pumpkin being too overpowering.

The bagels didn't use a lot of puree, so I was still left with a lot.  That's when I decided to try another cookie recipe.  The ones I posted about were good, but these ones were BETTER!  These had peanut butter in them, which always wins in my opinion.  The first kind (without peanut butter) was very moist but had a very strong pumpkin flavor.  The second kind (with peanut butter) was still moist, but the perfect richness and a more subtle pumpkin spice flavor with a hint of peanut butter.  I found the recipe here, which actually called for apple butter.  However, I don't know what that is so I used peanut butter instead and it was perfect! 

To go with the cookies, I also tried making a pumpkin spice latte.  Which included heating up some almond milk, pumpkin puree, spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice), and a splash of vanilla.  Add this to a cup of hot coffee and there's your PSL. I have to admit it didn't taste quite as good as Starbucks though. 

That still wasn't the end of the pumpkin!  After a browse through Pinterest I found this recipe of Pumpkin Ice Cream.  I LOVE banana ice cream, and this just adds some pumpkin to that idea, so I knew this was gonna be good.  The banana makes the ice cream sweet, but the pumpkin and spices add so much flavor!  I would definitely make this one again too. 

Believe it or not, I still have a little bit of pumpkin puree left.  I am running out of ideas, and the interest to eat anything pumpkin anymore.  If I have enough I might just make those peanut butter pumpkin cookies again!  I guess a can of pumpkin can really go a long way. Now all that's left in the pumpkin madness is the actual pumpkin for carving! 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Just Another Run

October 21 - Most Memorable Running Experience
Crazy, sad, awesome, surprising, or anywhere in between. Can be from a race or just a training run.

This one was hard to choose just one memorable moment.  There have been many.  Obviously completing any race could be considered memorable.  But this one is a different kind of memorable for me.  This may not be all that exciting to anyone else, but it is definitely a run that I won't forget.  It is not from a race, or even from training for a run.  It was just a regular run on a regular day.  I'm probably not setting this up very well to sound like a good story.  The truth is, it's a simple one, but I'm pretty sure some of you can relate. 

I went for a regular run on a regular day.  This was back when I was first started running, probably 5 years ago.  I was home for the summer from college and living at my parent's house.  They have a sports park right down the block which I found to be the perfect spot for my runs.  It was about 2 miles around the park, and with the run to and from my parent's house made this a 3-mile loop.  

Let me just preface this by saying I am by no means a fast runner.  Never was and still am not.  To be honest, I have no interest in trying to compete for time either.  I enjoy a nice jog at my own pace. 

For whatever reason, I was feeling really good about my run that day.  Pandora was picking the perfect songs for me, I could have ran for days.  So by the end I was surprised I wasn't even feeling that tired.  When I got home I checked the time, and to my surprise it took me less than thirty minutes!  To run 3 miles!  That's like a 10-minute mile!  I was so excited I ran inside and immediately told my parents.  Sadly, they weren't as impressed. 

Normally I was running at a 12-minute per mile pace.  But I realized that's because I was always doing my runs on a treadmill at the gym at school.  Once I actually got outside and let myself go, I realized I could actually run faster than I thought.  It was such a good feeling.  

So much so that it got me inspired to run outside more.  Which is now my favorite place to run.  I used to be scared I would run into someone I know and they would see me all sweaty with my face as red as a tomato.  I'm glad I now realize how stupid that was, and have enjoyed so many amazing sunrises, and seen the cutest dogs, and most importantly was able to push myself and see what I'm really capable of. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

31 Day Nail Challenge: Day 9 (Rainbow)

This week's color was rainbow nails.  Again, not quite sure how this is a color.  But I guess it works for those indecisive folks who can't chose just one color and can do all of them at once.  Instead of doing a different color on each nail, I went for a mini rainbow design on each nail instead. 
For the rainbow colors I used Red, Spoiled in 'Let's Get Sushi', Covergirl Outlast in Yellow, Sally Hansen's Hard as Nails in 'Limestone', Spoiled in Blue, and Wet n Wild Fast Dry in 'Buffy the Violet Slayer'.  To start, I used Spoiled in white for the base.  To make the rainbow I started at the top with red, creating a zigzag line back and forth maybe twice, and continuing down the nail with each color.

I used a toothpick to draw the lines on my left hand, but after I was done I thought it looked pretty bad.  The lines were all uneven, as if a kindergartner drew them on.  So for the right hand I used a brush and the lines came out a lot straighter.  I also changed the Red, Wet n Wild Megalast in 'I Need a Refresh-Mint' and Icing in 'Opaque' colors to make the rainbow brighter. 
With a toothpick
With a brush


This isn't a style I would normally wear everyday.  It was a fun one to try, but color overload for me.  It might be nice to just have the rainbow on one nail (I'm all about the accent nail).  And how about those polish names? How do you get that job in naming nail polishes? 

Any suggestions for next week's Gradient nails?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Beaded Giants Bracelet

This bracelet sort of happened by accident.  I originally bought the beads to make some Christmas earrings.  I know, it's too early to start on all things Christmas, but I just wanted to make sure I got the design right and could finish enough pairs in time to give as gifts this year.  But more on that later.  

So I bought a whole tube of orange beads when I only needed 1 bead per earring for the snowman nose.  This left me with a whole bunch of orange beads.  When I saw the extra black beads too my mind went straight to the Giants. 

The only place to look for craft inspiration is Pinterest of course.  Beaded bracelets aren't quite the big fad right now I guess because I could not find any.  But I did find a clothe bracelet that had Giants spelled out which I figured I could do the same but with beads.  So then I opened up excel and created my own pattern to go off.  It really is amazing how much you can do on excel.  Well it's official, I am a nerd. 

In case you're interested, I will share how I went about making this pattern.  And if you're not interested, then just skim over this and look at the pictures!  So I started with 2 rows of black beads to get a feel for how long this bracelet would need to be to fit around my wrist (leaving room at the ends because I knew I wanted to add a baseball bead to clasp).  This came out to be 80 black beads.  Since I only wanted the GIANTS part to read across a small portion, I played around with the number of beads I needed for each letter and settled on this: (again thanks to excel)

21 black beads on each side of GIANTS
38 beads across for the GIANTS
2 orange beads per column/row for each letter part
1 black bead in between each letter

With pattern in hand and beads on the table, I got to work.  Once you know this ladder stitch pattern, it actually comes together pretty quickly. Let me warn you though, be careful when making the GIANTS part because you don't want to misspell anything and have to start over.  When stringing the beads you will want to make sure you do them in opposite order of how they will end up looking on the bracelet.  I know this sounds confusing, but practice a little before and you will get the hang of it quick.

To end the bracelet, I thought it was only appropriate to use a baseball bead.  Instead of using the thin beading thread, I used some white cord and knotted the bead to the bracelet.  I know it's not the prettiest way to do it, but it was easy and I figured a baseball bracelet is allowed to look a little rustic and homemade right?  On the other end I knotted a loop in order to place around the baseball bead to clasp while I'm wearing it. 


I love my new bracelet, and I must admit I am pretty proud of myself.  It has really got my creative juices flowing lately, and makes me want to make more things.  When I was in the bead store looking for the baseball bead, I was browsing through all the Halloween beads and found a cute little pumpkin.  Of course I had to get.  Now I just have to figure out what to make with it...

Any suggestions??

Monday, October 13, 2014

Weekend Recap (Fleet Week)

This weekend I did something I never thought I would get the chance to do, but I am now glad that I did.  No, I didn't go sky diving.  This was much more tame than that.  But still exciting to watch.  I went to Fleet Week in San Francisco!  

For those who don't know, Fleet Week is an annual event put on by the US Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard.  The purpose of Fleet Week is for the active military ships to dock so crews can visit the city while also allowing tours of the ships and providing air shows for the public.  According to Wikipedia, it started back in 1935 when a giant assembly of US Fleet arrived in San Diego, which resulted in parades, ship tours, and the crew was able to visit the area too.  This spread to San Francisco in 1981, where US Navy ships often docked, and has been celebrated here ever since. 

Well I can now say for myself, it really is quite the site to see.  For anyone in the area or visiting in October, I highly recommend checking this out.  The boyfriend's Dad found someone who was nice enough to share his boat and take people out on the bay to watch the Blue Angels fly over.  I have never seen it from land, so I can't truly compare, but after being out on the water and having those planes zip right over you, I'm pretty sure it's safe to say that is the best way to watch Fleet Week. 

We made sure to get to the city early enough because we knew it was going to be packed.  After grabbing a bowl of chowder, we headed to the boat and sailed off to the middle of the bay.  Before the show started we went under the Golden Gate Bridge (another first for me).  Thankfully the fog wasn't too bad yet, and we were still able to see the bridge at this point.  It is a beautiful bridge, and I still would love to walk across it someday. 

After seeing the Bridge we turned around to find the perfect spot on the bay to watch the show.  The show started with some smaller planes doing tricks.  They would go straight up, stall in the air, then start spinning straight down (basically looked like they were crashing) but would take control and fly right over the water, or if you were lucky enough, right over your boat.  

This was followed by the Patriots Jet Team which is a fleet of 6 black planes which are known for their trails of colored smoke.  They flew over a few times showing off the red, white and blue. 

Now it was time for everyone's favorite, the Blue Angels.  These are the US Navy planes which are known for their blue and yellow planes.  This part of the show lasted the longest and was the most exciting to watch.  There was a group of 4 planes, and two single planes.  They each took turns flying across the bay.  When you are out on the water and they are flying right over you, it is the most exhilarating feeling.  The engines are so loud but the planes are so fast, that if you aren't paying attention, by the time you hear them over head they are already gone and on the other side of the bay. 


At the end of their show they got all 6 planes together to do a final fly by over the bay.  But to get together they all went on opposite ends of the bay, flew incredibly fast straight towards each other to the middle of the bay, and at the last second flew straight up together in a tight pack of 6 planes.  They then came straight back down and separated again and all flew in opposite directions out towards the ends of the bay where they started.  Pure talent. 


The entire show ended with a United Airlines 747 which was a little anti climactic, in my opinion.  It was a huge commercial airplane that was so slow and big compared to all the other planes.  It couldn't do all the cool tricks and flips.  The captain of our boat said they usually do the show in opposite order and end with the Blue Angels, but because of the fog concern they wanted everyone to see the Blue Angels first.  

I can see why people go year after year, and I feel like now I could be one of those people too.  It was an incredible thing to see, and I have so much respect for the guys (or girls) flying those planes.  The Blue Angels group was by far my favorite.  The amount of precision and accuracy they need to fly those things is incredible.  At some points they were flying so close together it was hard to tell how many planes there actually were.  And at the speeds they were going, one wrong move and it was all over.  Thankfully they were well trained and did not disappoint.