A Girl Should Be Two Things: Classy & Fabulous. - Coco Chanel


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Confessions of a Brunette on the Internet 194

Holy Moly it's the last day of October! Halloween! This month always flies by. I love it though. Nothing better than fall and all of the fall and Halloween activities that come with it.

Today at work is chill... seems like Friday. Why? Because we have all the cute trick or treaters that come to our offices and our floor had a pot luck. SO MUCH FOOD! Our department just hung out in there and ate... a lot. I ate too much. I also went to Zumba and we did the Thriller dance. It's tradition. One that I love. :)

I am getting another client to be a health coach for. My dear friend. I'm so excited! I love helping other people lose weight... especially because I have become to passionate about this program. I want other people to be as well.

My roommate Jessica gets married this Saturday, so we had a bridal shower for her at our house. This means I will be getting a new roommate this weekend. Jessica will be missed and hopefully Carla will be a great addition to the house. She seemed nice when I met her. I seem to go through SO MANY roommates. I can't wait for the day that I don't have to find roommates anymore. I have great ones though.

I bought a nice new backpacker's backpack this week... in prep for my trip in like 10 days. I wish I would have bought it before I went to Havasupai. It's nice! It made me excited for my trip... and upcoming backpacking trips. Also made me want to invest in other quality camping gear... that I do have it when I need it and go somewhere awesome. I was thinking I should pick one thing a month or every other month that I can add to my camping gear collection. I'm loving this idea.

Today 22 year old that I met in Michiana was texting me because he heard "Fishing in the Dark" while he was at the gas station and he thought of me. Cute. We text back and forth... it was fun because I hadn't heard from him in a while. Oddly, right after that my cousin Trav called me! They must have been on the same wave length. Trav called me because he heard "Purple Rain" on the radio. I love that they both thought of me because of songs that reminded them of me and then called or text me. I always love talking to Travis. He is the coolest.

I had to watch Nightmare Before Christmas by myself this year. I was a little sad that I couldn't find anyone that wanted to watch it with me. I love that movie. Don't understand people who don't. ha ha. Oh well.  Speaking of shows... I'm almost done with Mad Men and then I will need to watch a new show. Maybe I should wait until I get back from my trip.

I'm kind of sad that Halloween is over. I didn't even get into it that much this year. I never dress up for work... because nobody does. My costume this year was... well, REALLY simple. Still cute, my roommate Sabrina dressed up with me. But I'm glad I still dressed up and went to a Halloween Party. Wouldn't have felt like Halloween without doing that. Pictures to come.

Funny moment tonight. I saw my friends Jordy and Nick dressed up as Ninja Turtles at the party I went to. One of their Ninja Turtle friends that I didn't know looked at me and said... "Weren't we supposed to go on a hot Tinder date?" I laughed because I thought he was joking. He says, "No, I'm serious, what's your name?" I tell him. He's like yeah, we were and he reminded me of our conversation. I laughed. He had never met me before and recognized me with a mask on. Pretty impressive. ha ha. So funny. Made me laugh.

I guess I don't really have anything else to report for this week. I went to John's soccer game on Wednesday night. The game wasn't until 11pm! What the... he is super good though. It was fun to watch him play. Other than that... I have been enjoying the fall weather, and fall trees and of course... fall fashion. I love boots and cardigans and fall colors. :) It's the most wonderful time of the year. Seriously.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


*Prepare yourself for a long post*
I heard of Havasupai for the first time when my brother went for scouts YEARS ago. I saw his video of the trip and ever since then I have wanted to go. Through the years, I have known many people who have gone and told me how amazing it was. I kept waiting to be invited with a group of people so that I could go... but it wasn't happening. A couple of years ago, I tried to get my own group together and reserved a camp site 6 months before. A week before the trip just about everyone bailed. I felt like Havasupai was just not meant to be for me... which made me so sad.

My dear friend Allyson was one of the people that was supposed to come with me to Havasupai that year and pretty much the only person that didn't bail out. We both really wanted to go. WELL... this month Allyson turned 30. You know what she wanted to do for her 30th birthday? Go to Havasupai. She reserved months in advance and I told her I was in no matter what. I was so excited.

Because of my past experience, up until a few days before I was supposed to leave, I was expecting the trip to fall through. A lot of people that said they were going to come didn't end up coming, but there are fun, adventurous, spontaneous people out there (I love those people) like Dusty who did end up coming and the trip all worked out. Those who came were not disappointed.

Our journey began Thursday night. John, Jonathan, Anna and I drove down to Vegas. This is when I met Anna. I actually only knew 3 people on this trip (Allyson, John and Jonathan) the rest I didn't know, but that is the great thing about taking trips like this with people you don't know. You leave with lots of friends. I love that. We got a good nights rest in Vegas at my BFF Lolly's house. We got up early the next morning and drove to the Grand Canyon to wait for the rest of our group at the trail head before we started hiking. When I saw Allyson, I gave her the biggest hug ever. I have missed her a lot since she moved to Texas. Once we were all there, we began our hike with our heavy backpacks on with all of our camping gear.

And we hiked for 10 miles. It was beautiful.... and long. My feet really hurt at the end of the day. My heel was bleeding and I think I might lose a toenail... but I was SO happy to be there. :) So worth it.

We found the rest of our friends that we were meeting there and set up our tents right as it was getting dark.

We ate dinner and then everyone was so tired that we all went to bed at 8:30 (this is unheard of for me) and we slept... until 8:30 the next morning. Yep... hiking 10 miles with our packs made us tired. We got up, had breakfast and then got ready for more hiking. My feet were so tender from the day before. I couldn't bring myself to put my shoes back on, so I decided to hike in flip flops. Turns out that wasn't the best idea. Not that I can't hike in flip flops, I can. It was the going through rivers and rock climbing part of the trail that made it a little more difficult. However, John and I both did it. In the end, I think my feet were happier because of that decision. It was another 8 miles of hiking the next day... but what beautiful scenery we had! First stop in the hike was Mooney Falls.

It was beautiful from the top, but then we had to climb down to continue the trail on to Beaver Falls. That was scary. I also am a little scared of heights, especially if I don't feel secure. Well... I wasn't feeling so secure climbing down backwards on slippery rock with just some chains to hold on to. Thankfully John was there to help me and keep me safe every step of the way.

You feel pretty awesome when you get to the bottom. Then... you go on with the hike!

I was AMAZED with how green it was there... and how pretty the water is. Allyson's brother, Nate, said it perfectly when he said it was like a scene from Avatar... you would expect to come back at night and see everything glowing. During the hike we would have to cross the river, climb ladders, cross sketchy wood bridges and so on and so forth. What a fun adventure!

Then we finally reached Beaver Falls. SO beautiful. Some went swimming and we ate our lunch there before making the hike back.

On the hike back, it was the same beautiful scenery. Had to go back the way we came. Made a lot better time on the way back though. Allyson and I even took a dip in the water and we found this waterfall.

Then it was back to camp to eat dinner and go back to bed. The next morning we got up early to take down camp and hike two miles to the village. On your way in and out of camp, you pass by Navajo Falls.. which is also beautiful. We wished we had another day just to hang out there.

Because it is such a long hike, many people ride horses or mules in... or just have them carry their luggage as they hike in.

In the village, we waited several hours to take a Helicopter out. We were all pretty tired after hiking 20 miles in a couple of days. We wanted the easiest way out. Plus I had never been in a helicopter before. We did have to wait 5 hours to get on... that was frustrating since we had a 9 hour drive to start after that. I don't regret that decision though.

We had a VERY long trip home with a series of unfortunate events, but all in all, the trip was amazing! I'm so glad that Allyson organized it and I was able to go and that the weather was so perfect and it was just the weekend adventure that I needed. Most people should know by now that lately I like to put videos together of my adventures. Well, Havasupai is no exception. Here is the video I put together of the trip.

What a great group. What a great weekend. What a great place. Everyone should put Havasupai on their Bucket List.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Pumpkin Dinner Party Take 5

Tonight I had my annual pumpkin soup dinner party. This was the 5th time I have put on this fall dinner party... although one year I didn't get little pumpkins in time so we had the soup but not out of pumpkins. Every other year, I have done it out of pumpkins... because it is fun, and a crowd pleaser.

I was actually going to do a lot more decorating and make a dessert, but I thought I was going to have help making the dinner... and then ended up not, so I barely got all the dinner ready in time. Oh well. It still all turned out cute and everyone loved the food and had a great time. That is what matters. Maybe next year I can go all out and make it fancy.

Every year I make Sassy Salsa Pumpkin Soup to go in the pumpkins. It is always a hit. Everyone loves that soup. It is healthy and has GREAT flavor. Along with the soup I made corn bread, but instead of just a corn bread mixed, I made it with a yellow cake mixed in. It was a little sweeter and a little less crumbly... which I really liked. Then I also made a new salad. I thought I would give you that Recipe. I loved it. John finished it off, so he obviously loved it as well.

Cranberry and Avocado Salad with Candied Spiced Almonds and Sweet White Balsamic Vinaigrette

Ingredients for the dressing:
  • ½ cup (60g) sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried mustard
  • 1 tablespoon minced sweet onion
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup (120 ml) white balsamic vinegar
  • ⅓ cup (70 ml) vegetable oii
  • ⅓ cup (70 ml) extra virgin olive oil
Ingredients for the salad:
  • 12 ounces (340g) baby spinach, arugula, field greens
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, washed and dried, leaves removed whole from stems (discard the stems or use for another recipe)
  • 2 medium avocados, peeled and halved
  • 1½ cup (115g) dried cranberries
  • 1½ cup (115g) Candied Spiced Almonds (see recipe)
Ingredients for the almonds:
  • 5 cups (600g) sliced almonds, or a 1 pound package
  • cup (100g) sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cumin*
  • 1-1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika* – some smoked paprikas are quite hot, if you don’t like “hot”, just use 1 teaspoon and they will be mildly spiced.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • sea salt
  • The cumin and the smoked paprika give just a hint of mysterious, delicious flavor – even though these are savory spices, these almonds are still wonderful served with sweets like ice cream or yogurt.
For the dressing; combine all ingredients in a pint sized glass jar and shake well to dissolve sugar.
    For the salad; place greens and cilantro leaves in a large bowl.
    1. Add avocado and dried cranberries and about ¼ cup of the dressing and toss gently.
    2. Scatter candied almonds over salad and sprinkle lightly with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pass extra dressing at the table.
    For the almonds:
    1. place a large sheet of foil on a work surface. Spray with cooking spray or rub a teaspoon of oil over foil with a paper towel.
    2. Place sugar in a large non-stick sauté pan and heat over medium heat, occasionally tipping and swirling the sugar until it’s all melted into a pale golden syrup.
    3. Lower heat immediately and add butter, cinnamon, smoked paprika and vanilla. Stir until well combined and all butter is incorporated into the sugar syrup.
    4. Add the nuts and stir gently to coat. Don’t worry if you have some clumps of caramelized sugar – they will melt as you continute to sauté the almonds. Cover and continue to cook on low, stirring every minute or so until almonds are a delicious golden brown. Watch very carefully as they can go from beautiful to burned very quickly! Turn out onto prepared foil and sprinkle liberally with sea salt. Spread out on foil to cool.

    I love having dinner parties... even if I'm the only one doing all the cooking and feel pressed for time to get it done in time. I enjoy having people over and I enjoy cooking the meal... especially if I get to try out a new recipe. I'm for sure going to keep this tradition alive. :) PS I have great friends.

    Sunday, October 27, 2013

    Halloween Dinner for the Kids Take 4

    Tonight for Sunday dinner... instead of my dad grilling like he usually does, my sister put on her 5th annual Halloween Dinner for the kids. It is the 4th that I have attended. I told my sister that I probably get more excited for this tradition than the kids do. Guess it is my peter pan syndrome. The last few years I have also tried to help out and contribute a scary or gross food to the menu. My sister always does such a great job thinking of cute things and every year is different. First year was cute. But I feel like every year just get's better. :) And the kids.... they love it.

    My mom had some Halloween decorations up.

    My parents made some of their regular food and put bugs in them.

    My dad also made some eye ball deviled eggs

    An ice hand got put in the drink.

    My mom made moldy brains (cauliflower with cheese sauce)

    What did I contribute this year? I made little mouths with teeth (apples with peanut butter and marshmallows)

    I also made bones (pretzel sticks with marshmallows covered with white chocolate)

    My sister Kristy made worms. Jello that were made in straws! By far wins the prize for the most realistic gross food made yet.

    And the main dish. Sea Monsters (pot pies)

    It was so fun. Thank you Kristy for putting this on every year and for letting me be a part of it.