September 2016 archive

link love

Happy weekend eve, everyone – it’s Friday. It has been another busy week where 100 emails seem to hit my inbox all that the same time with questions about things that aren’t even on my to-do list yet because there are so many other things that need to be done first. Here’s to Friday.

link love 9.30.2016


This is the first of six full weekends in a row and it’s a good one to start with. Off to the beautiful mountains I go today to visit with wonderful childhood friends. Now we just need to get to 5pm. Here’s some link love to ease your way through the end of the work week.

Are you properly brainstorming? Apparently not long enough.

I want these oatmeal baked apples with maple brown butter and toasted hazelnuts for breakfast asap. So many fall flavors in one warm, spiced dish.

For the love of PSLs, this blind taste test of four different pumpkin spice lattes is perfect. I know I have mentioned this before, but I don’t love the Starbucks version (I know, shame on my fall-loving self).  There is a really great one at one of our local coffee shops though. I’m now contemplating if one of my goals for fall should be testing all of the pumpkin spice lattes around the area. Hmmmm. Sounds like a good plan.

Women’s outfit choices are often discussed more than men’s outfits in the same setting, but there are reasons we choose what style and color we wear, right? So what is the significance behind Hillary’s red suit at the debate on Monday?

So often social media brings down self esteem and cuts self confidence. Is there really a way to use it to enhance self-esteem? I’m slightly skeptical as to whether this would work, but optimistic? We certainly would be better off if it did.

Happy weekending! I hope it is full of fall activities! :)

fall bucket list

Fall Bucket List 2016-1

Now that fall is officially here and the weather is feeling more and more like the season, it is time to retire our summer bucket list in favor of a fall bucket list. We checked off everything on our summer bucket list this year, and I have the same hopes for our fall bucket list! I love the fall season so so much and always wish it would hold on a little longer, but at least we have another wonderful time of the year to follow. ;)

October is one of the busiest and most hectic months in my work schedule and I’m already a little stressed about what is to come. I am working or traveling every week from now until the second week of November. While some of it will be fun, I can only think of the things that will get neglected at home during this month during all of the weekends I am not at home (aka every weekend). I know I will make it through, but I don’t want to go through one of my favorite months of the year as a ball of stress without having any fun or accomplishing anything. This bucket list is partially here to serve as accountability for me to make sure I intentionally schedule time for fun and relaxing activities and enjoy the season as much as possible amidst the busy. What is on your bucket list?

fall bucket list

-visit the mountains
-make an apple treat
-make a new savory recipe (maybe a new soup?)
-go pumpkin picking
-go to the state fair
-plant winter veggies (kale, beets, broccoli?)
-make pumpkin bread and other pumpkin treats
-figure out costumes and dress up for Halloween
-drink apple cider
-go on a hike/trail walk
-go on a run/walk on Pumpkin Loop (a local trail)
-find a good fall candle
-paint our bedroom
-decorate our apartment for fall
-start working on a large canvas for our living room
-enjoy coffee dates with friends
-start planning Christmas gifts
-plan an exciting celebration (details to come! :) )
-go to a football game
-make a pumpkin spice latte (or find a good local one – so far Bean Trader’s is winning)
-celebrate our dativersary :)

twice baked croissants: apple and pumpkin pie

I can’t tell you how excited I am to share these apple and pumpkin pie twice baked croissants!

Twice baked croissants: apple and pumpkin pie |

They are so so so wonderful and delicious! Don’t be scared, there is no laminated dough or waiting around for days to make croissants. Nope, we’re taking the shortcut here -it is Monday, after all. What’s even better is that these use stale croissants that didn’t quite make it to your breakfast (though I don’t know if that has ever happened in our house). You have no reason to throw away any of your day-old croissants again! The cream filling is so easy to make, and would impress any guest, even if you know that you secretly used leftover croissants. You can pick up croissants at the grocery store, but one pro tip when making these is to stop by a local bakery right before they close. Some bakeries will sell their old croissants to you at a discount if they are going to have to throw them away otherwise.

Twice baked croissants: apple and pumpkin pie |

Twice baked croissants: apple and pumpkin pie |

It finally feels like fall here, and with the cooler weather, we are pulling out the best flavors of the season for this croissant hack: apple and pumpkin, an option for the pumpkin enthusiast and the pumpkin cynic. As a lover of all things pumpkin I was fully expecting to love the pumpkin pie version much more than the apple pie version, but I really don’t know if I have a favorite between them. They are both so good and very different, despite using mostly the same ingredients. The pumpkin ones really taste like pumpkin pie stuffed in a croissant. Insert heart eyed emoji here :)

Twice baked croissants: apple and pumpkin pie |

Twice baked croissants: apple and pumpkin pie |

I had no idea what twice baked croissants were until a few weeks ago when I saw an Instagram of one from a bakery. I did a lot of research to find out what they are and if they are different from a double baked croissant (they are the same). I found out that twice baked croissants are day-old, or stale, croissants that are filled with a type of cream (usually almond) and baked. They are called twice baked or double baked because the croissant has already been baked once and then is baked again with the filling inside. They are mostly made in bakeries when they don’t sell out of their croissants and have the option of throwing away delicious, but old, croissants, or baking them into something new.

Twice baked croissants: apple and pumpkin pie |

Twice baked croissants: apple and pumpkin pie |

Twice baked croissants have a different texture than regular croissants. They are crunchy and don’t have the light, delicate texture we are used to from a croissant, but, they are still flakey and delicious. These apple pie and pumpkin pie twice baked croissants are filled with creamy fillings and warm, cinnamony flavors that pair perfectly with a chilly fall morning. Taking a bite of them is like wrapping yourself in an autumn-spiced hug. The mini versions are so cute and are great because you can try one of each flavor in one sitting. Anything mini is better, right? With mini + warm croissants + pumpkin cream and baked apples + spices, you really can’t go wrong.

Twice baked croissants: apple and pumpkin pie |

Twice baked croissants: apple and pumpkin pie |

You can make these ahead of time and store them in the fridge for a few days before you bake them. Pull them out on a slow morning, pop them in the oven, and enjoy a lovely and delicious fall treat with your morning coffee.

Twice Baked Croissants: Apple Pie and Pumpkin Pie

For Assembly
About 15 mini or 7 regular croissants, a day or two old
Powdered sugar, for topping
Baked apples (recipe below)
Almond and pumpkin fillings (recipes below)
Simple syrup (recipe below)

Baked Apples
1 large or 2 medium apple(s), peeled, cored, thinly sliced and cut in 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Almond Filling
2 1/3 cups almond meal
¼ cup flour
½ cup butter
2 1/3 cup powdered sugar

Pumpkin Filling
1/3 of the almond filling (about 250 g)
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon allspice

Simple syrup
1 cup sugar
½ cup water

To make the baked apples
Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the apple pieces, cinnamon, brown sugar and nutmeg. Toss the ingredients until all of the apples are coated and the brown sugar is melted, about 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. The mixture will be warm and glossy, but the apples won’t be cooked all the way.

To make the almond filling
In a medium bowl, whisk the almond meal and flour together and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and powdered sugar. Beat on low speed until the mixture is pale and fluffy.

Add the dry ingredients and eggs, alternately, starting with the dry. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition. Separate the almond cream into three equal portions. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 3 days.

To make the pumpkin pie filling
Combine one third of the almond cream with the pumpkin puree. Mix the spices together and stir them into the pumpkin cream. Pour the mixture into a piping bag (or leave it in the bowl if you plan to scoop the filling) and place it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.

To make the simple syrup
Boil the water and sugar together until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.

To assemble
Preheat the oven to 330 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.

Halve the croissants and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Brush each croissant half generously with sugar syrup. Spoon or pipe the almond filling onto half of the croissants and the pumpkin filling onto half of the croissants. Pile baked apple slices on the croissants with almond cream and close all of the croissants.

Warm the final third of the almond cream in the microwave for about 30 seconds, until it is more viscous, but still solid. Generously spread the almond cream on top of all of the croissants.

If you are not baking the croissants right away, cover them with plastic wrap and place them in the fridge after you have assembled them.

Bake the croissants until they are golden brown, about 40-45 minutes. Let them cool on the tray slightly.

Sprinkle powdered sugar over the croissants and serve.


Almond cream recipe adapted from Bouchon Bakery cookbook, pumpkin pie filling adapted from Hint of Vanilla Blog.

fall outfit staples

Fall is officially here! It is still a little warm outside, but a few days this week have already felt like the new season. I can’t wait until it cools down for good!

Fall is my favorite season for clothes. I love the layers, textures and colors that come with the season. Each year I reach for a few fall outfit essentials again and again. They are classic pieces and outfits that will always be perfect for autumn. I can’t wait to pull them out again so soon!

Fall Outfit Inspiration

From puffer vests to fluffy and furry vests, these layering pieces are perfect for cooler fall weather that doesn’t yet require a jacket. They pair with almost any outfit – dress, skirt, jeans, corduroy, you name it and a vest will look great with it. I just got a navy puffer vest this year and I can’t tell you how excited I am to use it!

Fall Outfit InspirationFall Outfit InspirationFall Outfit Inspiration

Classic sweater:
I love the combination of a classic sweater with jeans or a skirt in the fall. They are so versatile and can be dressed up with heels and a statement necklace, or dressed down with jeans and boots. Cable knit sweaters are beautiful for fall and winter, but I also love some of the thinner sweaters for layering.

Fall Outfit InspirationFall Outfit Inspiration

Like vests, plaid are great with most fall outfits. Add a plaid button down or a plaid scarf to an outfit for an instantly classic fall look. There are so many great plaid shirts and scarves out right now, but they don’t stay in stock long! I love these plaid shirt dresses too! So cute!

Fall Outfit InspirationFall Outfit Inspiration

I started my first post-college job in September after my senior year. The weekend before I started I bought this wool skirt and it is still one of my favorite fall pieces. I wear it all the time with long sleeve t-shirts, button downs, sweaters, boots, flats, heels – almost every other cold weather item in my closet matches it. I got this houndstooth variation the next year and love the pattern so much. Just like plaid, it is quintessentially fall to me.

Fall Outfit Inspiration Fall Outfit Inspiration

A light jacket or a classic trench coat are perfect for brisk fall days. They give you that little bit of extra warmth needed and are a classic piece to add some sophistication to any outfit. I love the colors, patterns and textures of the corduroy and the wool houndstooth jackets, but I think navy and camel colored blazers always look great too.

Fall Outfit Inspiration

Boots (Hunters and Riding):
When fall weather comes around one of the first, and easiest, changes to make to an outfit is adding boots. Riding boots like these or these are perfect everyday wear, since they look polished and can be dressed up or down.They pair well with skirts, dresses and jeans alike and make even a summery top look more seasonal for fall. Hunter boots are my go-to for rainy weather, grassy fields (like pumpkin patches and apple orchards), and outdoor adventures. I have the original tall boots in hunter green and love them, but I also like some of the newer styles like the refined boots and the packable tour boots. I also threw in some leopard print shoes below, because they are some of my other go-to patterned shoes for fall :)

Image sources:
Vest one, two,
Sweater one, two, three, four, five, six
Plaid one, two, three, four
Skirts one, two, three, four
Jackets one, two, three, four
Boots one, two

soft pretzels with hard cider cheese dip

Football season is back and that means football snacks are back. Soft pretzels with hard cider cheese dip are a crowd pleaser, and replacing the traditional beer cheese with hard cider cheese makes the combination even more seasonal.

Soft Pretzels and Hard Apple Cider Cheese Dip | Pass the Cookies

For a while now I have wanted to work on recipes that involve yeast to try to break out of my usual mold and challenge myself. I struggle every time I make something (or try to make something) with yeast. Sometimes the dough is way to sticky, it doesn’t stay fluffy after it gets punched down, the products are dense, you name it, I’ve had that fail. This time, the product tasted delicious, but didn’t turn out as photogenic as I would have liked. I hesitated to post this, not because of the recipe, but because of the photos that accompanied it. It really is too good not to share, which is ultimately why I am posting these not-so-pretty pretzel pictures, but I want to reassure you that yours will probably look better.

Soft Pretzels and Hard Apple Cider Cheese Dip | Pass the Cookies

Soft Pretzels and Hard Apple Cider Cheese Dip | Pass the Cookies

I got the idea for these soft pretzels and hard cider cheese dip after sharing the most delicious pretzel I have ever had with Will and his cousin at Raleigh Beer Garden (locals, go get one asap!). We split the beer-battered pretzel appetizer and I thought about it for weeks after we devoured it. I didn’t know a pretzel could be so good. These soft pretzels are baked and not beer-battered, but they are still so much better than the soft pretzels you buy at the store. They have a slight sweetness to them that pairs so well with the sharp savory flavors of the hard cider cheese dip and the traditional dip, mustard. While I was making them I questioned if it was worth the effort and the time it takes to work with the yeasted dough. Now that I have tasted them I would absolutely 100 percent make them again. Maybe next time I can work on their appearance ;)

Soft Pretzels and Hard Apple Cider Cheese Dip | Pass the Cookies

Soft Pretzels and Hard Apple Cider Cheese Dip | Pass the Cookies

The hard cider cheese dip is one of my favorite fall recipes I have made so far this season. It has the flavors of traditional beer cheese, but with a more crisp, not quite as strong alcohol flavor. It is great with these soft pretzels, but also with crackers, chips, pita and vegetables for a great game day platter.

Soft Pretzels and Hard Apple Cider Cheese Dip | Pass the Cookies

I’m so excited to welcome fall with football, apples, soft pretzels and hard apple cider cheese dip. Now if the weather would just stay cool.

Soft Pretzels and Hard Cider Cheese Dip

Soft Pretzels

1 ½ cups warm water
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt
4 1/2 to 5 cups flour
¼ cup baking soda
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon milk (or water)
course sea salt, for sprinkling

Hard Cider Cheese Dip
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
½ cup milk
¾ cup hard cider
1 tsp. dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
12 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated (about 2 2/3 cups slightly packed grated cheese)
salt and pepper, to taste

To Make Soft Pretzels
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment combine the water, sugar, yeast and butter and mix until combined. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes.

Add the salt and 4 ½ cups of flour to the mixture and mix on low speed until combined. Increase speed to medium and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl. This took at least 5 minutes for me. If the dough is wet, add more flour, a few tablespoons at a time. [note: I made these on a very humid day, which I think is why they were more finicky. Because of this I used all 5 cups of flour.] Remove the dough from the bowl and, on a flat surface, knead it into a ball with your hands.

Coat a large bowl with canola or vegetable oil, add the dough to the bowl and swirl it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in a warm spot for about an hour, or until the dough doubles in size.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Boil a pot of water (about 4-6 cups) and add ¼ cup baking soda to the pot. While the water is heating, divide the pretzel dough into medium-sized balls (mine were about the size of a baseball) and roll each out into a rope. Take the two ends of each rope and form a circle with a few inches of the ends overlapping at the top. Twist those extra inches and lay them over the circle to create a pretzel shape.

Dunk each pretzel into the boiling water for 30-45 seconds. Remove them from the water with a large slotted spatula and place them on your baking sheet. After you have done this with each pretzel, beat together the egg and the milk (or water) and brush the egg wash over each pretzel. Sprinkle each pretzel with salt or seasoning and bake for about 12-16 minutes, or until dark golden brown.

To Make Hard Cider Cheese Dip
In a saucepan over medium heat melt the butter and flour and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly to get the clumps out and prevent burning. The mixture should be a golden color. Slowly whisk in the milk and hard cider. Increase the heat a little bit and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the mustard, Worcestershire sauce and cook, whisking occasionally, until the mixture begins to thicken. This will take about 3-5 minutes.

Add in the cheese, a handful at a time, whisking after each addition until that handful has melted completely before adding the next batch. Stir in any salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately. While the cheese does begin to congeal after sitting out for too long, it is great when heated back up and mixed together again.

Pretzels adapted from here, cheese dip adapted from here.

link love

This week has been cah-razy. Every day I have gone to work, gotten home at a late hour, washed up, and gone to bed. Nothing else. Sleep, work, sleep is the motto this week. But, we’re here! We’re finally to Friday and I couldn’t be happier about it. I had some pumpkin spiced tea (more on that below) and some leftover pumpkin streusel loaf, and life is good again. Here’s to Friday and to the weekend ahead! I hope yours is pumpkin-filled as well :)

 link love 9.16.2016via

We’re jumping right into the link love this week.

A DJ yogi and his DJ friend started a Drake-themed yoga class in LA – Namasdrake. The class is set to Drake songs. The article says that Drake-yogis will complete a strength-based vinyasa flow that increases in intensity as the beats build up throughout the class, and are then invited to the yoga class after party with drinks inspired by Drake’s lyrics. My question is, why is this still only in one location?

J. Crew is one of my all time favorite clothing retailers. At any point in the year/seasons I could walk in the store and find outfits upon outfits that I like.  Mind you, I didn’t say that I can afford (still dreaming). These notes on the J. Crew show at fashion week reiterate some of the reasons I love J. Crew so much. I mean, stripes, stripes, stripes, stripes – yes, always. I would definitely wear the pink pants too.

I also thought this was an interesting (and funny) article about one woman’s first fashion week. Following the social media of different fashion bloggers during fashion week was similar to reading this article, except they knew all of the thrills and perils and were more prepared for them. It was interesting to observe the differences between the two as an outsider. If you want more recaps of fashion week and fashion week shows, I love this compilation of articles.

Let’s stay in a New York mindset for a second. Climate change research has shown that the island city of Manhattan will likely be flooded in the next two centuries. Hurricane Sandy provided a small glimpse of this, but scientists say more flooding is to come with increasing rainfall and rising waters surrounding the city. As someone who lived in a floodplain for two years, I do not envy anyone near the water on that island.

One more article for thought. Today, many people get paid for their hobbies. From blogs, to Etsy to business ventures based on an entrepreneur’s hobby, we have monetized the activities we do for leisure. It hasn’t always been like this. Hobbies used to be activities people enjoyed outside of work that were just for fun. As the article states, and as I have experienced, we are told that we should love our jobs, which has, in part, led to this culture of creating hobby-careers. Is it better for us to keep hobbies as side fun, or to monetize them for work? I’m certainly not the right person to ask.

Last, but certainly not least, let’s talk pumpkin spiced tea.  Any thoughts on a good one? I have been drinking Tazo pumpkin spiced chai, which is good, but not quite what I’m searching for in a great pumpkin spiced tea. Has anyone tried this one? Or this one? I’m tempted to try this one or this one – they always have good teas. Any recommendations?

Have a wonderful weekend, lovelies!

chai snickerdoodles

Fall, fall, fall! People on social media keep telling me “it’s officially fall.” It surely doesn’t feel like it. How has Labor Day become the door into fall? We still have a whole month of heat left here, and it really isn’t “officially” fall until September 21st. Don’t get me wrong, I want it to be fall with cool, crisp weather more than the average person, and I may have even had a slice of pumpkin spice cake while burning my Leaves candle this week, but I’m not kidding myself to think it is fall yet. Every week that the mornings start out cooler I have hope, but then it heats up to 90+ degrees.

Chai Snickerdoodles | Pass the Cookies |

Chai Snickerdoodles | Pass the Cookies |

So, instead of breaking out the apples or the pumpkin spiced treats this week, which I couldn’t be more excited to do, we’re easing into the end of summer/beginning of fall with chai spices. We use some cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and cloves and soak up all of the coziness from this delicious combination. Maybe we can harken fall with all of our spices. :)


Chai Snickerdoodles | Pass the Cookies |

Chai Snickerdoodles | Pass the Cookies |

The smell of the spices in the mixing bowl is warm and cozy. The spicy dough is like a big hug in a bowl, reaching out to you with open arms. And don’t underestimate the spices in the topping mixture. They round out the whole cookie and give a little crunch to the outside of the otherwise soft cookie, while mimicking the same cozy spiced flavor that is in the dough.


Chai Snickerdoodles | Pass the Cookies |

I’m ready for the new season, the cooler weather, the changing leaves, and all of the pumpkin flavored items. We’re so close. Until then though, chai snickerdoodles all the way.

Chai Snickerdoodles

1 cup butter
1 ½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 ¾ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of cardamom

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla and eggs and mix again until all of the ingredients are well incorporated.

In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, allspice and black pepper.

Pour the dry ingredients into the bowl of the electric mixer and mix to blend all of the ingredients together.

Mix the topping ingredients together in a small bowl. Roll the cookie dough into 1-2 inch balls (I like mine on the smaller side) and roll them in the topping until they are evenly coated with cinnamon cardamom sugar. Place the cookie dough balls on the prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes. The 1-inch cookie dough balls will bake faster than the 2-inch cookie dough balls. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the pan before transferring them to a wire rack to finish cooling. Serve warm or at room temperature. I definitely recommend serving with coffee, milk or a chai tea latte. Go all out :)

Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book

link love

Did this feel like the longest short week ever to anyone else?  This four day work week has felt like it has lasted longer than a regular work week.  Whyyyyy??? I got a little sick at the beginning of the week, which may have had something to do with the days seeming like they would never end.  But alas, here we are, back at Friday. You know what that means?!  Here is some link love to brighten your weekend.

link love 9.9.2016


I have been obsessed with Hamilton for a while now, and while I sometimes like to imagine that the voices on the soundtrack will always be the ones in the musical, I also find it interesting to see what the actors do when they are out of character.  Daveed Diggs (Marquis de Lafayette in the broadway show) and Leslie Odum, Jr. (Aaron Burr in the show) are two examples. These articles about what they are doing post-Hamilton are like seeing a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes of their lives – I think it is so interesting!  But it also feels a little nosy.  Does anyone else feel that way?  I’m not complaining, I’ll take all the info I can find on the cast of Hamilton.  Total fangirl over here.

A different type of show is going on in New York this week.  Many of them, actually.  New York Fashion Week started yesterday. Amidst the many shows and extravagant fashion, one show is inspiring confidence and beauty that is deeper than appearances.  The FTL Moda show was opened by Reshma Quereshi, a 19-year-old Indian woman who suffered terrible burns and lost an eye when she was attacked with acid in India. Welcome to day one, who wants to top that?

I am such a list maker.  I make lists for everything and add tasks that might not need to be on the list, but I don’t want there to be any chance of forgetting (also it is just nice to know you will cross off at least those things).  As it turns out, writing lists is good for your brain, even if you don’t complete all of the tasks.  Good news, fellow list-makers!

Lindsay Letters came out with a fall collection this week and I can’t stop looking at it.  The copper foil on this print is so good!  I love everything in the shop, but especially this mug.  My pumpkin-loving self wants it, my wallet and my kitchen shelves would say I don’t need it.  I have gotten really into the fall looks recently and all of the fall clothes in stores have me wanting to find a great plaid scarf and curl up inside with a hot beverage and a great candle.  So soon!

I hope you can soak up the weekend. Hopefully it seems long, just like the week did.  Happy weekending, friends!

brain tumor trip – nyc part iv

Welcome to the last installment of this year’s brain tumor trip.  We packed a lot into our three-day weekend in New York (see parts I, II and III). On our second day we first went to the World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial. While our trip was about a month ago, it seems fitting to post the 9/11 Memorial and One World Trade now, around the release of the PBS story of 9/11 at the Pentagon and the 15th anniversary of September 11, 2001. It is hard to believe 15 years have already passed since that terrible day in history, every year I remember it so vividly, and likely still not as vividly as many who were older than I was at the time.

Brain tumor trip - NYC | Pass the Cookies

The memorial was deeply moving and, while there were many people surrounding the fountains, it was still quiet and solemn. The scale of the memorial surprised me. I wasn’t expecting each fountain to be so large and deep (they are each about an acre in size).  I definitely recommend stopping by if you are in that part of the city. As my family stood around the memorial, we talked about our memories from the day. Will, my sister and I were in elementary school, and my brother was even younger, so the way we each experienced the day varied and was much different than how our parents experienced it.

Brain tumor trip - NYC | Pass the Cookies

My dad’s business partner (our great family friend) and a few people in his company were in the Pentagon when the plane hit. After the evacuation, they returned to the still burning building, cutting wires and cords to hook up a computer command station while the events were unfolding. As water poured into the flaming building, they helped get the computers back up and running for the army within 24 hours of the crash. My dad explained how he waited to hear that each person in the company was accounted for and safe, but cell service was nonexistent because everyone in the country was trying to get in touch with their family and friends.

As an elementary schooler, I remember the day being different from a regular day, but I didn’t know what had happened until later. Our teachers were notified as someone came to the classroom door to speak to them, but they were not allowed to turn on the tv or tell us about it. My dad picked me up at the bus stop, which was unusual for him. After learning about the events I understood what had happened as much as anyone could, but as a child there were so many things I didn’t know about on that day. I can’t imagine the stress and fear of the unknown that my parents experienced as adults who were trying to make sure friends and family were safe, but not knowing what was going to happen next or where it might occur. Sharing all of our memories and experiences made the memorial even more meaningful.

Brain tumor trip - NYC | Pass the Cookies

Brain tumor trip - NYC | Pass the Cookies

On a happier note, we also walked along the High Line and through Chelsea Market during our visit to New York. I think the High Line is so interesting and such a cool idea. If you haven’t heard of it, the High Line is a “linear park” built on a section of inactive elevated train tracks. They have done a great job maintaining the park, incorporating interesting architectural elements and creating a lush green space in the middle of (and above) a bustling, dirty city.

Brain tumor trip - NYC | Pass the Cookies

Brain tumor trip - NYC | Pass the Cookies

Brain tumor trip - NYC | Pass the Cookies

One of the afternoons we were in the city we walked around the Village (above) and stopped in an adorable coffee shop (I want to imitate all of their décor!), called Bluestone Lane for a pick-me-up. In addition to the great pillows, marble tables and relaxing décor, the teas and coffees were served in a unique and beautiful way. The chai tea and the tea lattes came with their own supplies so you could pour your milk, spices, sugar or honey to your liking, and the iced coffee was served in a glass that was the shape of a can of soda. Everything was cute, delicious and so wonderful. It was the perfect break in our day. Pardon the iPhone shots of the iced coffee and chai tea latte set-up.  They were just too lovely not to document, especially with all that marble – I couldn’t resist (much to the chagrin of my family).

Brain tumor trip - NYC | Pass the Cookies

Brain tumor trip - NYC | Pass the Cookies

Brain tumor trip - NYC | Pass the Cookies

Last but not least, we stopped by the Lincoln Center on our way back to our Airbnb on the last day. We didn’t see anything while we were there, but just stopped to look around the grounds and admire the complex. I think it is so cool that Lincoln Center and Juilliard share a campus and have their own subway station below the plaza. I imagine the students at Juilliard walking out of their practice rooms and dorm buildings right over to the famous performance halls, and jumping on the subway under their feet if they ever need to run an errand. That is probably way more idyllic than the life of a Juilliard student, but I can imagine, right?


Brain tumor trip - NYC | Pass the Cookies

There is so much to do, see and try in New York City. Every time I go I see more and gain a larger appreciation for the city. I still don’t know that I would ever want to live on Manhattan, but the city grows on me every time I visit, making me want to come back to explore even more neighborhoods and boroughs. I’m so lucky, blessed and glad to have a healthy family to visit new cities and celebrate life on this brain tumor trip.  Now to figure out where we will go next :)  Any suggestions?

staycation with crane & canopy

I love being productive on my weekends, but sometimes I don’t feel refreshed, relaxed or ready to go for the work week if I have been really busy traveling, running errands, or doing home projects all weekend. When Will was on his surgery rotations his schedule was packed with hospital time, and not much time outside of the hospital. He typically had to work 6 days a week, which made weekend trips difficult throughout the summer. Instead of trying to squeeze in a day trip during the rare weekend days he had off, we decided to embrace the time we had at home and in our town and have mini staycations. Below are our tips to a great staycation!

Sleep in and spend a relaxing morning in bed.
One of the best parts of the days was the intentionally relaxed morning. I love curling up under fresh white sheets and a puffy duvet and drinking my morning tea in bed while browsing my favorite blogs or flipping through a good magazine. I picked out a new upholstered headboard for our bedroom this summer and have loved being able to make the bed and have the neutral background against our white bedding. The morning light that streams into our bedroom windows makes everything look so peaceful and is one of my favorite parts about staying in bed a little longer on those mornings. If we are both awake, I will bring up Will’s coffee or make a special tea latte to really enjoy the staycation and slowly sip our hot caffeinated drinks together.

Staycation with Crane & Canopy | Pass the Cookies

Check out the local offerings.
After a leisurely morning in bed, we head to the farmers’ market. We live near our local farmers’ market and try to walk there whenever we get the chance. On a regular weekend we walk around the market and mostly look at the beautiful fruits, veggies, flowers and fresh breads. One of our favorite vendors currently has tempting sweet potato and maple doughnuts that are hard to resist, and since it was a staycation we decided to give in ;) (more…)

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