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Three Years of Adventuring

Loves! Today, we are celebrating three years worth of In Natalie’s Shoes!

Some of you have been around since the first post I ever shared with you dear readers (clearly it was going to be about food). Starting out, I’m pretty sure that my wonderful Aunt Donna was my first reader. Yay for family support! But now, I have a whole slew of you who check in on what I’m cooking and where I’m traveling to on my Twitter, Instagram, and good ol’ WordPress. You guys are the. best. ever. Thank you for making me laugh, feel welcome, always giving me useful tips for my adventures.

I have a few thoughts on In Natalie’s Shoes turning 3:

  • I’m so grateful for continuing to meet some of you IRL (I’m looking at you, Jessicathe romantic and the hubs & Mr. and Mrs. O!), arranging cross-country cookie swaps with others (Allie, Karla, Amber, Jazzy & Coco) and chatting with everyone else I consider my internet friends!
  • Even though I’m still balancing blogging with real life (work) and social life, I continue to strive to be better at it. I hope you’re as excited as I am about my brand new Friday Five series, where we can catch up each week.
  • Recently, I was reminiscing on my post for last year’s birthday/anniversary/celebration. I’m still loving that people continue to like going on adventures in the kitchen with me. I feel that the excerpt below is still true today and love that you guys still love me, regardless!

Because I’m not a professional food/travel/craft blogger, and that means nothing turns out perfectly, recipes aren’t followed to a tee and that I am 100% using my iPhone camera for all of the photos I take. This blog is a hobby and I truly appreciate everyone for understanding that.

  • I’d like to think I’m a better (iPhone) photographer, than I was in my earliest posts. I’d also like to think I’ve honed my skills at selecting better and fewer photos, rather than overwhelming you lovely readers. However, I think the trade-off is that I talk more. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not.. Either way, I’ll continue to try to improve. So adult-like.
  • Oh, and I have a little surprise for you all in the works. A new look, a giveaway, some partnerships and a few little secrets will be shared soon. Keep an eye out!


P.S. I’m dyyyying to tell you all about some recent adventures and all of the ones in the future. Okay, that was dramatic. But it’s true.

Cheers, friends! xx Nat


2014 Highlights

Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful end to 2014 and start to 2015! Gahhh it’s 2015. While I don’t really do traditional resolutions, I do try to come up with goals for the year. Being more mindful is a personal goal. Posting my regularly is a blog goal. Please don’t ask about my fitness goals. (I’m kind of the worst about those). What are your resolutions/goals/targets/dreams for 2015? Please do share!

Also, let’s discuss New Year’s. What did you do? Something fun and glittery, I hope. I had a few cocktails before midnight, then headed to Denny’s for some hot chocolate, mozzarella sticks and a burger after midnight. I still made it home in the early hours of 2015 to share a New Year’s kiss with Mr. Leon. We’re pretty old like that.

New Year’s Day was very low-key: brunch at Bouchon (absolute heaven) followed by a 4-hour nap (seriously). I am not joking when I say I love naps. Then I made a quick and easy dinner (Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps–recipe to come!), we watched some Seinfeld reruns and headed back to bed. See? Olllllld.

Despite spending most of the day asleep, I spent some time reflecting upon some of my favorite moments from 2014:

(Some of) My Favorite Moments – in no particular order

Meeting my favorite food blogger Jessica from How Sweet It Is with my dear friend (and fellow Jess lover) Stephanie and getting our copies of her amazing cookbook Seriously Delish signed. I’ve already dog-eared like, the whole book, so you will definitely be seeing recipes from it on here! Steph and I were seriously fangirling over meeting Jessica who is so, so sweet. This trip to San Francisco got even better when it turned into a girls’ day and mega laugh-a-thon with some of my best loves.


Attending a Tristan Prettyman concert and getting to meet her and have her sign my copy of her new CD Back to Home (which is awesome, btw). I was so excited to meet Tristan that I had no idea what to say. Ugh, I am so lame sometimes. The second best part of this night was hearing her cover Iggy Azalea’s Fancy. Yes, it really happened and it was awesome.


Going to Mexico on vacation. It was my only true vacation of the year (being international meant work couldn’t catch up with me for 8 whole days!!). I stayed in Puerto Vallarta and spent most of my time there, but also took a day trip to the smaller town of Sayulita and fell in love with it! The trip consisted of lots of chips and guac, tacos, booze, adventures, and lounging in the sun. It was amazing.


Readers’ Choice: Top 3 2014 Posts – Most visited posts from 2014

1. Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

2. Playing Tourist: V. Sattui Winery

A fabulous lunch and more vino.

A fabulous lunch and more vino.

3. NapaQuake 2014


Oh no, not the wine!

I also looked to see which posts, to date, are the most popular. I give you:

1. Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate (always a crowd pleaser!)

2. Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies (quite the popular post!)

3. Frozen Peppermint Pie / Unhealthy Chocolate Chip Coconut Banana Bread (a tie!)

It was fun thinking about these and seeing which posts you all loved most! Dare I say it’s obvious that there were many, many wonderful things that happened throughout the year, but I don’t want to bore you with sharing every.single.thing? Time spent with friends and family, adventures with Chef and Mr. Leon, travels taken, delicious food eaten, (the always rare) crafts crafted all come to mind.

I plan on continuing to travel, bake, cook, booze, and eat just as much in 2015. I am determined to post more regularly, because I do love it and simply need to make more time for it. I will begrudgingly be more health-focused by making healthier dishes more frequently and being more active (yoga 3x a week! walking to work?). Although 2014 was absolutely wonderful to me, I cannot wait to see what 2015 has in store! And yes, I’ll be keeping tabs on 2015 via Twitter, Instagram, and.. well, something else very soon 😉 Happy New Year!

Take a peek down memory lane with my 2013 Highlights and 2012 Highlights, too!

What I’m Thankful For

The clamor of our carving knives has subsided and we’ve woken up from our tryptophan-fueled naps. That’s right, guys, we made it through Thanksgiving! I wanted to give you all a break from reviving the economy while shopping for your friends and family this #CyberMonday to share with you how my holiday went. Never one to follow the rules completely, I had two Thanksgiving dinners! One with my family on Wednesday and one with my friend-family on Thursday. Both were simply perfect. And now, to continue on the tradition of sharing with you what I’m most thankful for (see here and here), I give you the 2014 edition:

My family– Throughout the holiday season, despite some living as far away as New Orleans, we always make a point to be together. My family loves and supports me, even though I can be pretty particular. Except for Marvin and Betsey– they simply tolerate me.


Chef and Mr. Leon– I’m not really sure what I’d do without these two goofballs. They take care of me when I’m sick, are always down for a good cuddle sesh on the couch, and give me reasons to smile every single day.


My friends– always down to get together, be it for an earthquake relief concert, cocktail and gab sesh, or grown-up girls’ sleepover, these people keep me going throughout life’s ups and downs. And they know all of my secrets, so we kinda have to stay friends.


And finally, I’m forever thankful to you. You read my blog, share my recipes, and every once in a while send me sweet little notes and comments. I’d originally started In Natalie’s Shoes as both a way to document and share my misadventures around the world and in the kitchen. But all of you are what keep me posting. I love meeting you in real life, swapping cookies/recipes in the mail, and regularly being inspired to cook what you cook and travel where you travel. You guys are pretty darn awesome. So thank you, I truly am grateful for you.

I hope you all enjoyed your holiday and I look forward to continuing this internet friendship! xo Nat

Getting Ready for Outside Lands 2014

Happy August, y’all! I have some exciting things planned for the month, including a shopping trip and fun food-related event this weekend! Next weekend, however, I’ll be attending my first ever Outside Lands Art and Music Festival! From what I hear, Outside Lands is the more laid back, awesome vibes-y Coachella of the north (read: more hipsters, less douchebags). Held in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, it began in 2008 and has featured a variety of musical performers such as Beck, Hall and Oates, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Kings of Leon, The Black Eyed Peas, Metallica, and more. Tons of art is on display and a variety of food and drink vendors are on-site as well. Chef and I bought tickets for Sunday’s line up so we’re pretty excited!

If any of you are familiar with “summer” in San Francisco, you know that it could be gorgeous and sunny or 55 F and windy. And then there’s always the fog.. So when deciding on what to wear, layers are always a good idea!

Outside Lands 2014
Outside Lands 2014 by innatsshoes featuring Alex and Ani

Head on over to my Polyvore page to check out all the items in the photo above. Any suggestions for food or drink vendors to try out while I’m there? I might just have to try a bunch to be able to report back to you all. You know, for research purposes..

Oh, and if you’d like to see how I managed to survive my first year at Coachella, click here and here.

Another Year, Another Birthday

Yes, I am now year older, but I’d like to think I’m a tad bit wiser. I’m still pretty thrilled to be considered a 20-something, but close enough to 30 to begin preparing for that big day by drinking copious amounts of wine.

Birthday Month, as I like to celebrate, has been splendid so far! My lovely mother made me Great-Grandma Emogene’s Coconut Cake (my fave) for my family celebration. Darling friends and family have treated me to cocktails and dinners and I have a few more scheduled. Free booze and food alongside great company? Birthday Month is the best, guys.


Pinky promise that I didn’t turn 10 this year..

So thank you for all of the birthday wishes, you all have made me feel special! I have tons in store for posting in the upcoming weeks– wine tastings, tasty recipes and a few of my favorite restaurants. Looking forward to sharing it all with you! xx Natalie

Getting Ready for Coachella 2014

Well, as you can see, I’m still figuring out how to use Polyvore for my blog. Since Coachella is less than a month away, I thought I’d do some Polyvore-ing for outfit ideas. It’s always been my thought that if you’re going into the desert, you need light and airy clothing. Being that I’m now a veteran of Coachella, I offer you an idea of what I’ll be packing for this year’s adventure.

Coachella 2014
Coachella 2014 by innatsshoes featuring short shorts

I strongly feel that I will need some close-toed shoes, as I do not want my feet turning brown from the sweat/beer spillage/mud/grossness that is Coachella. These shoes should do the trick! And obvi a hat for sun protection (along with sunscreen, duh). Who else is going this year? I’m totes excited about Lana Del Rey, HAIM, Foster the People, Lorde, MGMT, Capital Cities, Muse, Queens of the Stone Age, and the bagillion other awesome bands playing. If anyone is going Weekend 1, let me know!

Here are the items in the set above:

Blue peplum top

Short shorts

Oh, and if you’d like to see how I managed to survive my first year at Coachella, click here and here.

Two Years of Adventuring

I was totally MIA last week, and I’d like to offer my sincerest apologies! I’m not sure if it was a case of writer’s block or how incredibly sleepy/lazy the rain makes me. But let’s take a second to recognize that California is finally getting rain!  However, I could not wait to acknowledge what today is.

Two years ago today, I registered for a WordPress account and started sharing my adventures (and sometimes misadventures) in the kitchen, while traveling, and my attempts to craft with anyone who would listen (Hi, Auntie Donna!). I’ve been introduced to some lovely bloggers, tweeters, commenters and pinners online over the past two years, and even had the chance to meet some of you (the romantic and the hubs!) or at least visit your favorite places or make your favorite things.

While I’m still figuring out how to balance my blog and real life (read: a 40+ hour/week job), I’ve learned a lot over the past two years. Like participating in any sort of food related exchange not only gets you more followers (and let’s be honest, free food), but you get to know some awesome people from all over (like Jazzy and Allie). Or that despite having made the food/craft in advance and despite the best of my attempts to write a post, I’m really bad at scheduling posts more than a week out. But that’s okay and I’m totally still working on it. Promise. I’ve even learned that people apparently like going on adventures in the kitchen. Because I’m not a professional food/travel/craft blogger, and that means nothing turns out perfectly, recipes aren’t followed to a tee, and that I am 100% using my iPhone camera for all of the photos I take. This blog is a hobby, and I truly appreciate everyone for understanding that.

So, I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite posts and some of my most frequented. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy sharing them with you!

I can’t wait to tell you all about some recent adventures and all of the ones in the future. Cheers, friends! xx


P.S. It’s perfectly acceptable to enjoy a glass (or 3) of wine/beer/cocktail of your choice while reading through these. I mean, I’m not encouraging you to drink alcohol, but it’s what I’m currently doing. And it’s adventurous.. right? Right.

2013 Highlights

First of all, HAPPY (late) NEW YEAR! So, on New Year’s Eve 2012, I posted a bunch of highlights from the year. I was so prepared. And for NYE 2013, I was in Paris and well on my way to a cheese and Champagne-induced coma. Sooo.. I wasn’t prepared. But, better late than never, right?

Let’s take a gander at all the delightful things 2013  threw my way!

Read the rest of this entry

A Post-Turkey Day Post

In the aftermath of my Turkey Day binge, I contemplated what I was thankful for. Having food (and wine) and shelter always make the cut. Duh. Friends and family (and cats), too, are obvious things I am so so grateful are in my life.

Pusheen Thanksgiving

Photo courtesy of Pusheen the Cat

I’m also really thankful for all of those who read this blog (hi, Auntie Donna). I never expected this little hobby of mine to be so well-received. So thanks, you guys rock. xx Natalie

I’m Thankful For…

Happy Thanksgiving! I doubt you have trouble believing that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Food, family, wine, and food.. what more could a girl ask for? Here are a few things I’m giving thanks for on this lovely day:

  • My adorable kitties, Betsey and Marvin (For those of you who do not know, I’m a crazy cat lady.)
  • My wonderful friends and family who support me, have fun with me, and help to keep me sane
  • My amazing job and coworkers
  • Chocolate, wine, broccoli, zucchini, and food in general
  • How much I’ve been able to travel in my twenty-something years
  • My 2012 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants for making Torture a little more bearable this year (Yes, Torture with a capital ‘T’.)
  • Jim Harbaugh and my San Francisco 49ers for bringing in a new era of respectable, watchable football from San Francisco
  • All of my awesome followers and readers, along with the cool blogs I follow! You guys get me excited to write new posts and read yours!

Red wine with a Lorax 'stache

Red wine with a Lorax ‘stache

Stuffed brownie bites

Stuffed brownie bites

Watching the SF Giants for my birthday

Watching the SF Giants for my birthday


60s party fun– we all had our own ideas about what 60s garb was.

Betsey in a purse

Betsey in a purse

Wine tasting and picnicking for Em's birthday

Wine tasting and picnicking for Em’s birthday

Mini Prague reunion

Mini Prague reunion

Monday Night Football game to support the 49ers!

Monday Night Football game to support the 49ers!

Marvin's sexy pose

Marvin’s sexy pose

Biker parade in Santa Barbara

Biker parade in Santa Barbara with my sissies

Cousin love

Cousin love

Homemade pulled pork sliders with broccoli salad

Homemade pulled pork sliders with broccoli salad

Obviously this list doesn’t include every single thing I’m thankful for (Hi, being alive, having a roof over my head, etc.), but it highlights some truly important things that I’m extremely grateful for. I hope all of you American followers enjoy gorging yourselves like I am, and for anyone outside of the geographical boundaries of the US, I hope you have a lovely day carrying on. Either way, take a moment to think about who and what you’re grateful for, and be sure to let the people on that list know it! Cheers!