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Friday Five

Guys, I bought my first pumpkin of the season. I couldn’t be any happier!1. If it’s not totally apparent, fall is my absolute favorite season. This recipe from Joy the Baker has me giddy for colder days and baking for the holidays!

2. It may not be showing up in the news everyday, but the drought in California continues to worsen every single day. It’s so bad now that restaurants are having to resort to conservation tactics like this. Yikes!

3. One of my favorite food authors is also writing for Vogue! In this article, she shares which Parisian street has all of the best Parisian pastries. Let’s go to Paris and try them all!

4. In rarely reported crafty news, how awesome are these ideas for your Instagram photos? I printed out a few for my room and have had a hard time finding frames that aren’t an arm and a leg each. P.S. are you following me on Instagram? Do it here!

5. I’ve always wanted to go to Granada ever since my cousin visited while studying abroad. In a recent post, Gerard and Kieu of GQTrippin share what to see, eat, do Granada. Sign me up!

Gardening for the Novice

This post should probably be called ‘Gardening for the Plant Killer’, but I thought that might come up in some weird searches..

I’ll be frank, guys, I’m a plant murderer. Orchids– toast. Rosemary (yes, the ridiculously hearty herb)–donezo. The one plant I’ve managed to keep alive for a few years is a cyclamen, but it even tried dying for a few months. Miraculously, it came back to life after I started ignoring it.

It’s bad. Read the rest of this entry

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

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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

DIY Cinnamon Gift Tags

So, I’m not exactly sure if it was the pre-jet lag, or the time difference, or maybe I’d had a beer too many in New York, but I hadn’t even considered using the WordPress website to post. You know, like how I normally do it at home? Ughh.. dummy! Anyway, let’s carry on with this week’s post, and just ignore the little fit I threw last week, shall we?

I mean, we have important things for me to chat about, like Martha. She’s such a badass. I don’t know about you, but I think the whole “she went to prison” thing gives her even more street cred and versatility. But maybe that’s just me.. Either way, lady knows how to craft. I bookmarked this “recipe” of sorts from her site for cinnamon ornaments a while back to make for the holidays. Then I spotted this recipe on Pinterest that said I didn’t have to use glue and included other ingredients, which I thought was curious. So, I sort of combined the two recipes into what follows but decided to use the creation as gift tags for the delicious Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Mix and other gifts I’d made for friends and family this year before I left for my NYC-London-Paris trip.

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I wonder if I have enough cinnamon..

Read the rest of this entry

DIY Personalized Mug.. Maybe

Howdy! Happy Friday! I hope all is well with you. I’ve been lovely, thanks for asking. A few things before we get started:

  • I don’t know about you all, but I survived my first full week back at work, post-holidays. Well, I’m in the process of surviving it. Is it 5 pm yet?
  • If you’re interested in receiving delicious, homemade baked goods (and you live in the US– sorry ’bout it), follow me on Twitter and use #NatTravels to guess where my next big trip will be. The person(s) who guess the closest will win some goodies!
  • Also, I’m ready for it to be summer. The pedicure I got last night only strengthened my toes’ desire to be in flip flops and sunshine.

Okay, onward we go to this week’s post!

Disclaimer: if you’re going to try making the mug referenced in this post’s title, read the final paragraph in this post before attempting/getting your hopes up. Just in case.

Each year for Christmas, a couple of friends and I exchange gifts. It’s typically a Secret Santa-type exchange, it’s usually set at a $15-20 amount, and it’s always themed. One year we did socks, another we did Christmas ornaments. This year, we did coffee mugs. Read the rest of this entry

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

Merry Christmas! I hope everyone was able to spend time with their families and friends this holiday season. I am officially back from my unplanned and unannounced nearly month-long hiatus. Planning for the holidays both at work and at home, along with the social obligations one has as a twenty-something during the holidays took me by surprise this year– I’ll try to plan better for next year!

As I’m sure many of you have been to a Starbucks (no judging if you haven’t.. okay, a little bit of judging.), I’m sure you’ve heard of a Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate. Well, I had my first one on Halloween and I’ve been obsessed ever since. One day, I was perusing Pinterest and stumbled upon a recipe from Pennies on a Platter‘s Nikki. It sounded so easy and so good that I couldn’t pass up trying it out.

I knew I’d wanted to make the mix for friends and family for Christmas, but didn’t read through the final part of the instructions which states that it only keeps for about a month. So, my ingredients sat in a cupboard for about a month before I finally had a spare weekend to make it.

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I briefly questioned whether this recipe would be worth it or not. Teaser: it is. Like, so much.

Read the rest of this entry

A Travel, Food, and Craft Update

This week’s post consists of updates and news.

I “traveled” (all 60 minutes driving time) to San Francisco on Saturday for the Treasure Island Music Festival. What a blast! Here are some photos from my adventure!

 

The ladies at The Lazy Travelers have inspired me, once again. This time it was to create a “Where I’ve Traveled” page on my blog, extremely similar to their “Where We’ve Been” page. You should go check out some of the awesome places The Romantic and The Wino have been! I found out I’ve been to 18 states in America. I can’t decide if I think that having visited 36% of my nation’s states is a decent amount for being in my 20s. I think I need to change that soon!

Kate at Words for Worms nominated me for both a Liebster Award and a Sunshine Award! Thanks for thinking I’m award-worthy 🙂

I mailed out my package for The Lean Green Bean‘s Foodie Pen Pals program for October! I’m very excited to see how Heather likes what I’ve sent her. I might be even more excited to see what Tabitha is mailing me. Since Heather doesn’t have a blog, we’re discussing the idea of her doing a guest post on here!

Speaking of guest posts, I’m going to be a featured Jetsetter for one of the upcoming weeks on The Lazy Travelers! Very, very honored. I’ll give you all a link to the post once it’s up.

I actually have free weekends for the next few weekends, so I’m going to hunker down and get crafting! I have a few ideas for around the home and a couple for the upcoming holiday and birthday season. Obviously, I’ll also be scanning other DIY and craft blogs that I follow and I’ll likely hit up Pinterest for some ideas, too! Assuming they turn out somewhat attractive, I’ll post them up soon.

Map Frame

Sorry I didn’t post this last week; I was a busy lady! Not only was it the 4th of July, but Charise got married and I was the maid of honor! So up to Chico I went to help her with whatever last minute details she needed help with.

But back to something that you should might find exciting. I was finally craftier than usual: I made a present for Mel! She is moving from down undahh to the land of stars, stripes, and bald eagles this week and I wanted to bring her something to decorate her new house with. I’ll be bringing it to her when I visit and help her get acquainted with the greater Chicago area.

Read the rest of this entry

A Friendly Piece of Advice..

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I’m pretty sure new moms *hate* receiving unsolicited advice. I’ve even seen onesies with “My mommy doesn’t want your advice” cheerfully printed on them. I doubt such a onesie has stopped an experienced mother from unloading wisdom and amazing tips that saved their lives.

That being said, one of the ideas I had to make the shower special for Alice and Payton, when she’s old enough to care, was to create an advice book. I found the idea on LearnVest here. I didn’t want it to be filled with obnoxious “advice” like “don’t let her sleep with you, she’ll never learn to sleep in her own bed” or “don’t let her suck her fingers, she’ll end up with teeth like Austin Powers”. Anyway, I wanted it to be advice from the women in their lives (most of which lack the actual experience of having a baby and/or managing a relationship), that will give them something to look back on as Payton grows up and Alice and Clinton have to figure out what to with her and their own relationship. I feel like this will be better received than “tape a quarter to my child’s belly button so they’ll have an innie,” (obviously a nickel just won’t do). Read the rest of this entry