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Friday Five

It’s so crazy for me to think it’s been five years this week since I started this blog. Five! I’m definitely a more experienced baker, eater, traveler, and drinker, thanks to this blog and your participation. Let’s celebrate with a new edition of Friday Five over some cocktails, shall we?

Friday Five | @innatsshoes

1. I’m 100% down to try these historic bars in the Bay Area. Who’s with me?!

2. What’s your favorite region in France? Having only been to Paris, I’d have to say that is mine. But after reading this post on reasons to visit other regions, I’m ready to pack my suitcase and take in the rest of the country!

3. Like raspberries? Like scones? Like cookies? This recipe sounds like something right up my our alley!

4. Absolutely itching to take this¬†iconic road trip in my home state! But it will have to wait, as I have a different road trip in my future ūüėČ

5. Whoa! Apparently, gluten-free, clean eating doesn’t have to be boring! I’m ready to hop on that dietary train, if all the recipes look like this one!

Friday Five

I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween! Last week, I prepped some spooky Halloween cookies with my friends. I’m quite proud of how my decorating turned out. Especially the cat with wonky eyes, creepy spikes, and a sinister mouth/whisker stich going on. Very scary, indeed.

We celebrated #halloweekend in San Francisco on Saturday night, dressed as Jim and Pam from the Office. AND I got to meet my chef crush AND take a pic with him. I died of happiness! Photo proof to come soon on my Insta. On actual Halloween I was a Scrooge. I turned off my porch light and read a book in my pajamas.

Okay, enough about my Halloween. Below are my favorite finds from the week!

Friday Five | @innatsshoes1.¬†Joy makes Ina’s apple pie bar recipe and now I need to.¬†I mean, just look at those pictures!

2. Heading to the Hawaiian islands? This awesome guide from Sunset gives you all the “must dos” for each island!

3. Apple cider AND bourbon?! This pie recipe sounds amazing and is absolutely perfect for Thanksgiving.

4. Erin at The World Wanderer ate her way through India last year. SO jealous!¬†In a recent post, she shares all of the foods she’s looking forward to indulging in on her trip back next week!

5. OMG. After seeing all of these cool new additions to Walt Disney World, I’m devising my plan¬†to get there in 2017!

Easy Candied Bacon

Happy hump day! I’m still trying to get back to reality after a quick jaunt up to the Oregon coast for a bachelorette party. We had an absolute blast. Dune buggy ride on the sand dunes to the beach? Check. Eating a ridiculous amount of freshly caught crab? Check. Drinking way too much champs/ beer/ cider? Check. Taking advantage of a gorgeous day at the beach and getting sunburned? Check.

Easy Candied Bacon | In Natalie's Shoes @innatsshoesBut enough about me. Let’s talk about something you can make. Something that will change your life. Candied bacon. But not just any candied bacon– no, I’m sharing¬†easy candied bacon.

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Friday Five

¬†1. In my opinion, the only reason to run is to be able to eat whatever you want. I also believe that¬†running should always be followed by lots of wine– so, I ran the Wicked Wine Run with some friends last weekend. Can you tell I’m an 80s baby?

2. As a mega lover of cats, this video made my week. Seriously, just try not to smile!

3. Pink, angel food cake, and sprinkles? This recipe from Sweetapolita has my name written all over it.

4. Um, news of this bar opening in SF gives me the perfect excuse to take a trip to the city soon! Someone meet me there, please!

5. I can’t even with this cake recipe from Joy the Baker. It’s like she knows I’m obsessed with Oreos.

Friday Five

Caramel bits, chocolate chips, Heath Bar, white chocolate chips. Diggity donezo.

1. I made trashed up brownies over the weekend that were killer. Just take a box mix of brownies (and accompanying ingredients) throw in whatever leftover candy/mix-ins you have, bake according to the directions on the box. Debate smothering in peanut butter. Realize that’s a bit outlandish. Enjoy 5 in a single¬†sitting. You’re welcome.

2. Hearing that the maple syrup-guzzling, mustache ride-giving, cat¬†game-playing guys are (almost) back made my week. Here’s to hoping they left Farva out of the trunk.. Click here to help make it happen!

3. I was recently introduced to Bronze Radio Return. I can’t. get. enough.¬†What else should I be listening to!?

4.  If I could tell you what I want, what I really, really want, it would be that this Spice Girls rumor is true. Because flatforms and crop tops are currently back in style, so why not!?

5. I’ve managed to sate my wanderlust with booking two trips over the next few months! I’ll¬†finally be making that trip I had to cancel two years ago and then I’ll be making a return trip to one of my favorite places to disappear to. Can’t wait!

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, Jessica,¬†the 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!

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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 Рin 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.

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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.

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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

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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 ūüėČ Happy New Year!

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