October 2015 archive

link love

Happy almost Halloween! I hope your preparations are going well, your costumes are ready and you have plenty of candy for the trick-or-treaters :)

link love 10.30.2015


Here are some links I am loving from this week!

Wondering which candy will be most popular in your neighborhood tomorrow?  Let’s consult the map of the most popular candy by state.

The political science major in me is going to come out here.  Have you been watching the Republican and Democratic debates?  The NY Times has and they analyzed the candidates’ speaking styles and compared them to the language used in famous books.  Trump stands out as the most simple, comparative to Huck Finn and the Legends of King Arthur, while Cruz uses the most complex language and is the only Republican who uses language as complex as the Democratic candidates.  Interesting.

As you probably remember, I ran a half marathon in New York a few weeks ago.  This weekend is the big New York City Marathon!  Runners can only race if they have qualified, paid the entry fee and won the lottery for it.  Crazy.  With more than 50,000 runners, the race is the largest in the world.  It takes over the whole city, guiding participants through the five boroughs of NYC.  In preparation for the big dance, this is a cool article about how NYC made the modern marathon.

On that note, this New York native and Northeastern University student plans to knit her way through the marathon.  Yup, you read that correctly.

I was thinking about Halloween and staying home to pass out candy, rather than participating in trick-or-treating and other festivities, and it reminded me of this article:  You know you are a grown-up when… True, true and true, to all of them.

Halloween candy tastes good, PSLs taste good, let’s read about how our perceptions and senses influence how we think our food tastes.  Can packaging and presentation make food more or less appetizing?

a fun fall weekend

October has been crazy busy. Last week I posted about my trip to New York. The weekend after that was jam packed with farmers’ markets, family, friends and celebrations! We celebrated my mom’s retirement (whoop whoop, go mum!), Will’s sibling’s birthdays and the engagement of one of my good friends who was on the NY trip. Talk about a party weekend.

On Saturday morning, we woke up early and met my family at the state farmers’ market to grab some beautiful pumpkins and delicious local apples. My brother and sister were home from their respective universities for fall break and it was so great to have the whole family together again. I don’t have many pictures from all of the parties from the weekend, but below are some of our farmers’ market adventures and a few snaps from the engagement party my friends and I hosted for the lovely bride and groom to-be, Kelsey and Andrew.

Farmers' Market October-2

Farmers' Market October-3

Farmers' Market October-5

Killin’ it with the colors, NC.  I just love these pumpkins.

Farmers' Market October-6

Farmers' Market October-7

Farmers' Market October-9

The hostesses and the bride-to-be at our autumn soiree :)

Kelsey's Engagement Party-1

Pumpkins and blue and white, a few of my favorite things :)

Putting those farmers’ market pumpkins to good use as centerpieces and mantle decorations :) The picture below is blurry, but you can still feel the atmosphere.  These bistro lights are one of my favorite things about my parents backyard and make for a great party scene.  Congratulations Kelsey and Andrew!  We’re so excited for you!

Kelsey's Engagement Party-2

secretly vegan pumpkin bread

I have a slight pumpkin obsession.

The perfect fall breakfast and snack, this pumpkin bread is filled with moisture and spices.  You'll never even know it is vegan :)  passthecookies.comI started making pumpkin bread the last week of August. It sounds early, but at the time we were so close to fall and nothing pumpkin was out in stores yet. Pumpkin was calling my name and I couldn’t resist. It was like the teaser to the full-on pumpkin season. Since then, I have made pumpkin bread at least a dozen times with lots of different recipes. Sometimes I add chocolate chips; sometimes I switch it up with walnuts, glaze or crumb topping. It depends on the occasion and the snacking cravings.

The perfect fall breakfast and snack, this pumpkin bread is filled with moisture and spices.  You'll never even know it is vegan :)  passthecookies.com

Pumpkin bread is one of my favorite fall foods and I want to be able to share the goodness with everyone. This pumpkin bread is made sans eggs and dairy, so my vegan friends can love and partake of the pumpkin season just as much as I do. Have no fear, non-vegan friends, you won’t even know this bread is vegan AND you will be glad to know that can still make pumpkin bread if you run out of eggs and/or butter.

The perfect fall breakfast and snack, this pumpkin bread is filled with moisture and spices.  You'll never even know it is vegan :)  passthecookies.com


link love

This whole week it has felt like fall and sweater weather then, boom.  Today feels like a warm spring day.  What happened, weather?  While I like October to feel cool and crisp, I can’t deny that it is beautiful outside.  Let’s get out there and enjoy Friday, shall we?

link love 10-23-2015

via pinterest

And here are this week’s links to love, for your reading pleasure:

The 8th Harry Potter story is coming out…as a play!  It will premiere in London next year.  COME TO AMERICA, HARRY!

These photographs show the unfortunate truth of how most of us live – locked to our phones.  With technology edited out of the pictures it displays how separated we have become from the people and places that surround us.

I recently attended a work event where we served breakfast to attendees.  One of the attendees, who just moved to North Carolina from New Jersey this year, noted that one of his favorite things about living in the South now is that there are biscuits at breakfast.  To the two of us southerners around him, this sounded strange.  What do they serve at breakfast in New Jersey?  Apparently pancakes, no biscuits in sight.  This was so novel to us haha.  Growing up, my dad made homemade biscuits for breakfast every Saturday morning and I never thought anything of it until the New Jersey native made a comment.  We have lots of opportunities to grab biscuits down here, but for anyone outside of the South, here is the NY Times guide to the best biscuit in NYC.  You’re welcome.

As a lover of food, cooking, baking and recipe reading, I think this article on how recipes have and are still changing is so interesting.  I took a class on food in American culture in college and one of our units was on community cookbooks.  If we think about it in today’s modern culture, the community cookbook that was once filled with recipes from church women is now almost being replaced by food bloggers who provide themed round ups citing other food bloggers (like this virtual pumpkin party).  Some recipes from my grandmothers’ cookbooks don’t include instructions, just lists of ingredients.  Some of the recipes include ingredients and instructions but no measurements.  Nowadays we include every detail in a recipe, not only of how to make the food, but of how it will look along the way too to help out the many home bakers.  I think the evolution of the recipe is fascinating.

And lastly, back on the technology note, let’s read a book.  Not a screen, but a paper book.  This article on a research-based literacy method shows that it is still good for kids to have paper books and time in class to read them.  Let’s do it.  Let’s increase literacy.

Have a happy Friday and a fabulous weekend!

welcome to new york

As you may have seen from my instagrams, two weeks ago I spent a long weekend in New York with some of my wonderful college friends. We laughed, caught up, walked (a lot), brunched, and ran the second largest inaugural half marathon in the world.  Just a casual weekend ;)  Here are some pictures from the trip!

The race was in Brooklyn early on Saturday morning so after a late start on Friday morning, we headed out on the streets of Brooklyn toward packet pickup.  This is the street we stayed on while we were there.  Isn’t it just perfectly fall-like?

NYC 2015-8

Below is the race map sign at packet pickup!  We signed it on the bottom right, near Brooklyn College.

NYC 2015-9

We tried not to walk around too much on Friday, to save our legs and feet for the next morning, but in NYC it is impossible not to walk around some.  Since we were only there for 3 days we still wanted to make the trip count and see some sites too.  We went over to the High Line and walked around at the perfect time of day.  It was so cool to see the juxtaposition between the calm green areas on the walkway and the skyscrapers and bustling streets that surrounded it.


NYC 2015-2

NYC 2015-4

NYC 2015-10

NYC 2015-11

NYC 2015-12

NYC 2015-13

Dinner in Little Italy after the High Line then an early rise and shine!  With a 7am start time, we were at Prospect Park well before sunrise.  It was cold, but the weather felt great once we got started.

NYC 2015-14

Post-race aluminum blankets, chocolate milk and gatorade as we listened to Nate Reuss from the band Fun!  Those aluminum blankets were the best!  They kept in so much heat.  I kept mine with me until we were halfway back to our apartment.  Of the half marathons I have run this one was one of my favorites.  I don’t know if it was because it was the first one I have run with music, the first one I have run with friends, a good course, or a combination, but it was a great experience. We were all a bit stressed the night before the race, cursing ourselves for signing up for a race when all we wanted to do was catch up with each other and tour the city, but we definitely felt accomplished and much less stressed after the race was over.  Congrats to the first time half runners in the group, these three ladies on the right! :)

NYC 2015-15

NYC 2015-16

After the race we found a great brunch spot in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and got ourselves a well-deserved helping of brunch.  Everything was so delicious and I realized when we arrived that I had been to the same restaurant years ago when my roommates and I visited New York.  Such a great coincidence.  Their hot apple cider was the bestttttt.

NYC 2015-17

After brunch we decided to head into Manhattan for the evening to get in as much of the city as we could on our trip.  We accidentally went the wrong way out of the restaurant and instead of turning around and going a mile and a half in the other direction, we would just walk across the 1.4 mile-long Williamsburg Bridge which was right down the block.  You know, since we hadn’t gotten in enough miles that day. ;)

NYC 2015-6

Photo creds in the picture above to Kelsey Davis.  We had no idea she was taking it but it is one of my favorites :)

NYC 2015-18

Oh hey, Manhattan.  Don’t you look nice at sunset?

NYC 2015-19

And the Williamsburg Bridge in all it’s splendor.

NYC 2015-20

And a surprisingly good underground selfie by Kelsey at the Subway station.

NYC 2015-7

We made it over to the very touristy areas to see Magnolia Bakery, Rockefeller Center, NBC Studios and Time Square.  They laid the ice rink in Rockefeller Plaza the day before so skating was already in full force.  You would think we were there at Christmas, not mid-October, but hey, I’m not complaining.  After resting for a bit at Rockefeller Center we went to Eataly in the Flatiron district.  Eataly was so cool!  So much food everywhere!

NYC 2015-5

NYC 2015-21It was a wonderful wonderful weekend with some great friends.  I’m so glad we had the opportunity to do it.  Until next time, New York!

pumpkin spice granola

Today was a cold, busy Monday. I feel like my Monday’s are always packed with everything I need to do from emails over the weekend or routine tasks I have to complete each week. Between those, the day can easily get away from me.

The perfect treat for breakfast and snacks, this pumpkin spice granola has all of the flavors of fall.  www.passthecookies.com

With a busy, busy week at work last week and a fun but packed weekend, today didn’t even feel like a dreaded Monday, rather, just another day in my continuous week. I feel like I have been going going going for weeks now. I just realized the leaves on the trees starting to change colors on Friday. I’m not sure if they started turning earlier than that, or if I just didn’t have the chance to look around until then.

The perfect treat for breakfast and snacks, this pumpkin spice granola has all of the flavors of fall.  www.passthecookies.com

Sometimes I keep my schedule so busy and so packed that I have to remember to include some time for relaxation and downtime, otherwise the stress catches up to me and I crash. Now that we are immersed in the fall weather and the trees and temperatures have caught up to the season, I find myself swimming in thoughts of everything I want to accomplish before the season ends, and even further ahead to the holidays that follow. The unexpected cold snap this weekend, combined with all of the activities in our busy schedule made me stop and realize that I can’t do everything. I will run myself into the ground trying to get everything done and fit in everything, but I shouldn’t. I should slow down and enjoy the season. We all should. Fall is a beautiful time of year and we should focus on it while we can, before it gets too cold to enjoy being outside. (more…)

link love

It’s the weekenddddddd!!!!!!!!!!!!  Finally.  It has been such a long week but we made it.  I’m jealous of all of the college students who get fall break, but I can’t complain after last weekend’s trip to NYC (more on that later).

link love 10-17-2015



For now, here are some links to love from this week!

This article about the affect of, or lack thereof, gentrification on public schools is interesting.  I’m grew up in a school district where kids were bused from their neighborhoods to schools across the county, to improve the diversity of all schools in the area.  Obviously there are always going to be issues, but as I watch the areas nearby become gentrified I do wonder what affects we will start to see.

I am so so so excited for Sara Foster’s new cookbook to come out!  Between my parents and me, we have all of her other cookbooks and love everything we have ever made from them.  Sometimes we will venture over to Foster’s Market cafe and I always love seeing the wonderfully curated shop and eating some of the food that is in the cookbooks on my shelf.  Go Sara!

Speaking of foodies, this is a great article on the life of Ina Garten, aka Barefoot Contessa. I now know more than I ever did before about her life and her path to fame.  My parents also have almost all of Ina’s cookbooks, and just like Sara, she never fails.  Everything we have made has been great and her cookbooks span so many categories that it makes it easy to use some recipes for a fancy party, and have some quick recipes for the week.  So, while we’re at it, go Ina!

This article on entitlement resonates with me so much.  Why do younger generations feel like they are entitled to higher positions, higher pay and less menial tasks in the workplace?  I noticed this even in the graduating classes after me, and I’m sure even some of my classmates fall into this path.  When did our drive and desire to earn our place disappear?  Work hard, earn your place.

Last week I linked to some costume ideas.  Maybe these couple costume ideas are better?  I particularly like the “Kissing Sailor” and “The Dress” costumes.  Ideas?

Have a wonderful fall weekend!  I hope it is full of pumpkins (and PSLs), apple cider and warm fall clothes!  Let’s cross off some of those bucket list items!

fall fashion: jewelry, scarves, shoes

Last week I posted about tops, dresses, bottoms and warm layers.  This week we are talking fall fashion with scarves, shoes and jewelry!  I’m so excited to wear big scarves and boots as the leaves change and we spend time outside at pumpkin patches, parties and hayrides.

Scarves | Big, warm blanket scarves are the hot item right now.  The one I see most often is the camel, red, green and white plaid scarf that lots of fashion bloggers don.  It is cute, but I like to follow the trend while still being unique.  The scarves linked are easy to find but still different from the most common scarf patterns.  I love the way these can be paired with so many different outfits.  They go well with dresses, sweaters with jeans, and skirts.  Any time you want to enhance an outfit, a blanket scarf is an easy, cute go-to.  It is great to keep you warm on those chilly days that aren’t quite cold enough for a jacket.

Fall Fashion Scarves

Scarves: Zara:  12 | 3  (I also like this one from Asos and this one from Nordstrom)

Shoes | Shoes!  I love shoes!  I do not believe there is such thing as too many pairs of shoes.  We need them for all different occasions and styles!  At least, that is my excuse.  Tall boots, ankle boots, flats, pumps, wedges, stacked heels, strappy heels, patterned shoes, neutral shoes, statement shoes, there are great uses for all of them.  I treat leopard shoes as a neutral, love a good pair of tall dark brown riding boots and think flats are so versatile.  This season I have also been loving the ankle boots pictured below.  I can wear them to work with dresses or on the weekends with jeans, and the color matches everything.  Since I take the bus to and from work and walk to the bus stops, I need shoes that don’t hurt my feet.  Flats and boots are great comfortable options.  Sometimes I will wear flats to and from the bus, and pack heels that I can switch into during the day.  I really like the d’orsay style of both the heels and flats below, and suede is such a great fabric for fall and winter – it makes everything seem a little warmer.  I love browns, blacks and leopard for fall, but I also think the wine colored suede pumps are a beautiful addition to a fall outfit and go so well with the wine tops and pants I mentioned in last week’s post.  Monochromatic wine day? ;)  Wouldn’t that be beautiful?

Fall Fashion Shoes

Shoes:  Suede Pumps:  Ann Taylor (these suede heels from Boden are so fun and I also love these chunky suede heels from J Crew Factory) | Ankle Booties: Sam Edelman | D’Orsay Flats: Lulu’s

Jewelry | Sometimes I overlook how much jewelry can change an outfit.  I like statement pieces and little gold pieces – two very opposite jewelry styles.  Statement earrings and necklaces can turn an outfit from simple to exciting and little gold pieces add a hint of delicacy amidst the chunky layers of the season.  They are different, but great styles.  I have found that Baublebar, Target, Francesca’s and Forever 21 are great places to find statement jewelry at good prices.  Gold layering necklaces are sold at so many places but I like a lot of the delicate jewelry on Etsy.  On Etsy, I can find good jewelry and feel good about supporting small businesses.

Fall Fashion Jewelry 2

Jewelry | Statement Stud Earrings:  Baublebar (love these too) | Delicate Gold Disc Stud Earrings: Etsy | Statement Crystal Necklace: Baublebar (love this too)

What are your favorite fall items?  What did I miss?

spiked hot apple cider

I had my first hot apple cider of the season this weekend and it was absolutely delicious.

This spiked hot apple cider is perfect drink to warm you up on a cool night.

Hot mulled apple cider is one of my favorite fall treats. It makes our entire apartment smell great and brings back childhood memories. I love curling up on the couch with a mug of hot apple cider and a blanket, spending time relaxing and enjoying the season.

This spiked hot apple cider is perfect drink to warm you up on a cool night.

This spiked hot apple cider is perfect drink to warm you up on a cool night.

This spiked cider is even better than regular apple cider. It has spices, as usual, but also has a kick from apple flavored whiskey and rum. It warms you up inside and the combination of the apple cider, spices and alcohol smell soooo good.

This spiked hot apple cider is perfect drink to warm you up on a cool night.

The thinly sliced apples float in the pot while the cider heats up, add a bit of fresh apple taste absorb all of the other delicious flavors, making them a great snack on their own or in your cider glass.

This spiked hot apple cider is perfect drink to warm you up on a cool night.

Spiked Hot Apple Cider is the perfect fall drink to heat you up on those chilly days. It is perfect for a solo night, a date night, or a party and the recipe is easy to adjust. Garnish with a cinnamon stick or an apple slice and you’ve got a cocktail!

Spiked Hot Apple Cider
Serves 2

5 cups apple cider
3 tablespoons apple flavored whiskey (or regular whiskey)
3 tablespoons rum
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ – ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ apple, thinly sliced (optional)
2 tablespoons orange juice

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Serve warm.

link love

link love 10.09.2015


Happy Friday, all! I’m so excited because I’M IN NEW YORK!!!!  Woot woot!  A group of my college friends, now scattered across the country, decided to meet up in NYC this weekend and we are finally here!  I’ll be over here frolicking across the city, but meanwhile, here are some links to love this week.

I can relate to some of the things on this list so much.  Some of them only halfway, but some so much. I have a huge list of to-do’s but also just want to relax and have fun.  We can do both, right?  I guess that is why I can relate :)

Since I’m in NY, this is fitting.  An interesting story.

Oh my gosh, did you know that an ILLUSTRATED HARRY POTTER book came out this week!?!??!!!  YES!!!  It is so cool!  Look at the pictures.

This is the sweetest story.  So great, go read it.

Is anyone else in Halloween mode yet?  Costume ideas?  Or should we stick to one of these?

I have a great love for stories about American history and American presidents and first ladies.  One summer I read three books about the lives of different first ladies, two biographies, one fiction, based on a biography.  One of the families I read about was the Kennedy’s.  This is an interesting article (and biography that it references) about the life of Rosemary Kennedy, and the dynamics of the family, and the stigma of mental health.  Fitting for Mental Health Awareness Week going on this week.


Have a wonderful weekend!  Check back for some NY photos! :)

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