Twenty Five

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Today I am a quarter of a century old. It feels so weird to write that! While my car insurance is now cheaper and I can officially rent a car, time is flying way too fast for my liking. I recently came across a list I made when I was 12 of certain goals I wanted to achieve before I turned 25. It included things like get straight A’s, become a cheerleader, go to Florida State, have a hot boyfriend, and get a dog named Chocolate or Moose. Clearly, my 12-year old self had some pretty high standards. It’s funny to look back and see which ones I actually accomplished. My favorite goal was to get a dog named Chocolate or Moose, because I completely forgot this list even existed and I ended up with loving dog named Moose. So, in the spirit of making lists (and the fact that I’m now 25), I felt it was time to set some new goals. I made a list of 25 things I hope to complete by my next birthday.

Cheers to 25!

1.  Read 25 new books.

2.  Take a photography class and learn how to use my DSLR camera properly.

3. Try five new foods.

4.  Attend one show at New York Fashion Week.

5. Find my signature scent-I rarely wear perfume.

6. Take a self-defense class or learn to shoot a gun.

7. Learn to French braid.

8.   Spend more time with family.

9.   Organize my iTunes, photos, and all the files on my Mac. It’s time to back up!

10. Finally get my passport.

11. Visit a winery, preferably in Napa, but I’ll settle for a local one.

12. Make it a habit to work out-take a yoga class, run a 5K, or actually use my gym membership.

13. Send more handwritten notes-thank yous, just thinking of you cards, etc.

14. Take a spontaneous trip with my boyfriend and visit a city we’ve never been before.

15. Pay it forward-25 acts of random kindness.

16. Finish reading the 50 Shades of Grey series, then go see the movie. {Does not count for #1}

17. Take a cooking class.

18. Invest in some new cookbooks, then cook 25 new recipes.

19. Re-learn French. It’s sad that after 6 years of classes & one summer with a French exchange student, I’m still not fluent.

20. Join a charitable organization. {Junior League, maybe?}

21. Participate in a flash mob. {My mom has already done this one haha}

22. Blog at least 4 times a week.

23. Attend a blogging conference.

24. Join a blog association. I’ve got several in mind.

25. Put $50 into savings for every goal accomplished {$1250, baby}.

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Think Pink

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness month which means it’s time to Think Pink! This month many brands are partnering with organizations that donate a percentage of their profit to breast cancer research. This is a cause I support wholeheartedly after I had my own scare at just 22. No worries- after my surgery I found out everything was benign, but its campaigns such as these that made me visit my doctor in the first place. Had I not been proactive, my outcome might have been much different. With that in mind, I’ve picked out some of favorite pink items that give back to such a great cause!

Pumpkin Farm

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With October already halfway over, it’s been killing me that I couldn’t get a pumpkin sooner. I’m the type of person that gets excited for Halloween in April, so you can see my disappointment when I realized my favorite holiday is just 16 days away and I had yet to get one. I made it a priority this past weekend to change things, so my boyfriend and I drove up to my favorite pumpkin farm in Dawsonville for our 3rd Annual Pumpkin Outing. Burt’s grows thousands of pumpkins every year, with sizes ranging from 1 lb. to 150 lbs., along with a variety of winter squash, gourds, and Indian corn. We literally saw pumpkins bigger than me! They provide you with a wheel barrow which makes the pumpkin picking process much easier, especially if you are bringing home the big Bertha sized ones. My favorite pumpkins were the large white ones, but it felt wrong not getting an orange one, so we picked out a large orange one to bring home. I even got two little pumpkins for my cats (yes, they get their own). I’m so excited we finally got our pumpkins. It’s beginning to feel more like Halloween every day. Now I get to look forward to our pumpkin carving party!

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{Rows of Indian Corn}

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{These were my favorite}

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{The chosen one}

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Burts

{3rd Annual Pumpkin Patch Pic}

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{Our little pumpkins}

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{View of the Amicalola River leaving Burt’s}

Homemade Apple Butter

Apple Butter

Before I embarked on my adventures in apple picking, I had already predetermined several things to make with said apples, one recipe in particular-homemade apple butter. It’s my go-to condiment anytime I order French toast or biscuits, yet it can be very intimidating to make on your own. Not only is apple butter labor intensive (you have to peel, core, and slice the apples), but it is also time consuming.  Luckily, I turned to Martha for guidance and this trusty tool to speed up the process. I followed her recipe for overnight apple butter and it could not have been easier. My Apple Mate did all the hard work for me in less than 10 minutes, so all I really had to do was throw everything into my crock-pot and wait. The next morning, my house smelled of cinnamon and I had fresh apple butter to enjoy with my breakfast. This recipe yields 6 pints, which was the perfect amount to can and give away as gifts.

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Throwback Thursday: Costume Edition

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{Hannah Montana}

I loved getting dressed up as a kid, walking around the house in my mom’s heels and pearls, so I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my favorite part about Halloween is dressing up. It’s so fun putting costumes together, whether you buy one from a costume shop or create a DIY version. I’ve worn many costumes over the years (sometimes three in one year), and with Halloween quickly approaching, I thought I would share some of my favorite costumes.

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{Patti Mayonnaise}

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{Rachel Zoe- I die.}

P.S. I noticed a trend here: I must have a thing for blonde wigs. A little clue about this year’s costume-it doesn’t involve a blonde wig! 🙂

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Ever since I came across 50 Things to Make With Canned Pumpkin from the October issue of Food Network Magazine, I’ve been trying to incorporate pumpkin into everything I make. ‘Tis the season, right? I’ve added it to my tea in the morning, cooked it into some chili, and decided it was finally time to add it to my favorite treat-cupcakes! To welcome my boyfriend’s family from Tampa, I baked up some Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes topped with a Cinnamon Cream Cheese frosting. They were truly an autumnal delight! The canned pumpkin added a nice moistness to the cake and when combined with cinnamon cream cheese, it really was heavenly. And how cute are those pumpkin cupcake liners? These cupcakes just scream festive!  I’m so glad pumpkin anything will still be acceptable to eat in November because I plan on making these again for Thanksgiving!

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Ingredients:

For the cake:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
4 large eggs
1 can pumpkin puree

For the Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting:

2 (8) ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 TBS ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice; set aside.

2. In a stand mixer, whisk together brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter. Mix in eggs one at a time.  Add dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Whisk in pumpkin puree.

3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting:

1. Using a mixer, blend the butter and cream cheese together until well combined.

2. Gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar until fully incorporated.

3. Finally mix in vanilla and cinnamon.

Apple Picking

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I’m a city girl through and through, but one of my favorite things about living in Atlanta is that the country is just a short drive away. Over the weekend, my mom and I decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and partake in our first Fall activity. We headed up to B.J. Reece Orchards, an apple orchard where you can pick from a wide selection of the seasonal fruit. The 120-acre family owned farm and apple orchard, nestled in the mountains of North Georgia, also contains a petting zoo and country store. We filled our bags with Granny Smith (my favorite), Red Rome Beauty, and some Golden Delicious. Luckily, we didn’t see any poisonous ones ;). Before heading out, we made a quick stop at the petting zoo where I tried to bring home the cutest goat, and then to the country store for two more pecks of apples and some local honey. Cute animals, delicious fruit, and crisp mountain air- I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the arrival of Fall.

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