I love decorating for the holidays! I spent a good part of Thanksgiving weekend helping decorate my parents house, then came home last Sunday and spent the afternoon decorating my apartment–my desk at work is decorated too! There’s a small part of me that wants to take down all my decorations just so I can put them back up again. (Don’t worry I won’t actually do it. I’m not that crazy.) So come on in and take a look around!
My mom has been wanting a bigger tree for years and finally got one this year, so I got her hand-me-down. (score!) It’s a serious upgrade from my skinny 3-footer of Christmases past. I’ve slowly been collecting ornaments over the past few years–a few from Target, several from when I was a kid and a few from my mom’s collection. I always thought I would have a “coordinated” Christmas tree right out of Martha’s foyer, but I really like my curated collection of new and old!
Can we talk about how expensive tree skirts are for a minute? I’ve seen several upwards of $40 and even spotted a $90 one–I mean come on! I don’t even spend that on skirts for myself, let alone a fake tree. So with my Mom’s help I whipped up this one for less than $15. We found a plain felt tree skirt at target for $5. It was pretty lame to begin with but I liked the scalloped edges and the price of course. We picked up 4 yards of pom-poms at Hobby Lobby and my mom sewed them on. It’s perfect with the rest of my decor–and I like it much better than the pricier versions I found.
I don’t have a fireplace, so my TV stand serves as my stand-in mantle. I decked it out with garland, lights and straw ornaments. I tucked in the trees I found a Gordmans too. I always like to display holiday cards and I think this will be their home. (And yes, I do put out the card I send too. Its too cute not to!)
This string of knit garland is the most recent addition to the merriment. I’ve been pining after them for several weeks, so when they were on sale at Target this weekend I picked up two strings!
A simple centerpiece for my island.
I didn’t do much decorating in my bedroom, just replaced a plant with a sparkly silver tree and strung up a few snowflakes in the windows.
See my 2012 holiday tour in my college apartment here.
I’m still powering through the Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. I really don’t know what I’m going to do when I finish the last book. These beasts have been keeping me thoroughly entertained for almost 6 months now. I’ve most recently finished the fifth installment, The Fiery Cross and the sixth installment, A Breath of Snow and Ashes. One of the things I love about the series is that the books pick up literally right where the last left off. I’m talking like Claire was boiling stew on page 966 of the one book and enjoying said stew on page 1 of the following book. It’s exactly what I want in a series! I tend to get very impatient when I have to piece together several years of story line between books.
The last two books place the entire Fraser-McKenzie clan on a growing settlement in the colonial mountains during the onset of the Revolutionary war. If you’ve read any of my reading posts, you know that I love a story that follows characters throughout their lives. Well, Diana takes it one step farther by carrying us all along on this multi-generational story. We’re talking third generation here. And somehow Grandda Jamie is just as hot as 23-year Jamie was. Diana has yet to disappoint.
I took a little break in between Outlander installments for Orange is the New Black. I’ve had my name on the list for the memoir for weeks–and once I landed the paperback I sped through it in just a few days. I’ve been wanting to read to read the book since I first binge-watched the juicy Netflix series it inspired. Where the Netflix series provides an entertaining, scandalous and over the top story line that’s best watched in several-hour sittings–the book offers an honest, well-written and heart-felt look into one woman’s brief prison sentence. The true story exposes the weaknesses and ineffectiveness of the US corrections system and tells the surprisingly beautiful story of what the author learned from her stay and the women she spent a year of her life with. I highly recommend.
Pasta is the best right? If I could live solely on pasta I probably would. Well, technically I could live solely on pasta–but I do care about my general health and well-being a little bit, so I try to moderate my pasta in take. (TRY is the key word there.) And this dish is one of those that helps with the whole pasta moderation thing. Spaghetti squash does not taste like pasta. Don’t let anybody fool you in to that bologna. BUT it does pair fantastically with pasta-perfect flavors like marinara sauce and meatballs. So you get the “pasta experience” when really you’re just shoving your face with squash (which is good for you right?) so really, it’s a win-win.
Get yourself a spaghetti squash and big-ole sharp knife. OR if you don’t have a big-ole sharp knife, get your weenie little dull-chopping knife and pray that you don’t hack off a finger in the process of getting this thing sliced. (And try to decide if you could walk yourself to the hospital across the street if you happened to hack said finger off–no? just me?)
Okay, now that we’ve got that thing in two and all of our fingers are still attached, throw some olive oil on there, sprinkle on some salt, pepper and garlic and roast ‘em up for about 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Once it’s roasted, use a fork to shred it into pasta like strings.
Top with marinara sauce and a few frozen meat balls. Dump some more sauce on there and top with lots of mozzarella cheese. Top with a bit of Italian seasoning and bake for 20 more minutes.
Guys I’m really excited. I’ve found another thing to love about fall! Fall. Brews. I always thought that seasonal beers boasting harvest, and pumpkin on their labels would be too dark or too strong for my tastes. Boy, was I wrong. They are so delish! I think I even like them better than summer brews. I haven’t tried Trader Joe’s Oktoberfest yet, but here’s my take on the other four.
Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin is my favorite by far. Blue Moon is my go-to already, so I might be biased, but I loved the subtle undertones of pumpkin spice along with the always dependable Blue Moon flavor. Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat was delish, but it tasted like pretty much every other variation of Shock Top wheat (aside from their fruity flavors).
New Belgium Tour de Fall was nice. I love the label–they always have the best labels. The flavor was aaaalmsot too strong for me, but I like to think it’s broadening my palate. KBC Pumpkin Ale is a close second to the Blue Moon. The cinnamon notes were just right–not too Big Red-ish. It was like brisk fall afternoon inside my frosty mug (who am I kidding I drank it straight out of the bottle).
What are your favorite fall brews?