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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