Friday, October 30, 2015

Friday Favorites

TGIF! I can't believe tomorrow is Halloween. Once Halloween is over, I feel like the holidays are full in swing. I even start listening to my Christmas music in November (but I don't put up my decor until the day after Thanksgiving).

Here are my favorites for the week.

1. Finding the Perfect LBD!
Those following my blog know I have been dress hunting for a wedding I have in Portland next month. Given that it's November and cold, I wanted to wear something black. I finally found this dress here and love it! I am pairing it with this clutch.

2. Pumpkin Squares
I found this recipe last week and pinned it on my Pinterest so I can make it this weekend.  I'll post the results next week.  It looks amazing (but anything pumpkin is, right?).

3.  Trader Joe's Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookie Butter
I already love Trader Joe's Speculoos Cookie Butter, so when I saw this version, I had to buy it.  It's especially good on pancakes.

4.  Cozy Pink Floral Sequin Sweater
I found this on sale at J. Crew and bought it's pink! #noshame

5.  Walks Outside
I'm soaking up the last few warm days here in southern California (it's still in the low 80s) and taking advantage of the afternoons before it gets dark early.  I was walking outside this past week and spotted these two furry little critters. :)

Have a safe and happy Halloween!


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

What's Up Wednesday

Happy hump day!  Today, I am linking up with Shay for my third "What's Up Wednesday," which consists of answering the following questions, plus the bonus question, "What's your favorite Thanksgiving recipe?"

1. What We're Eating This Week
I usually stick to Greek yogurt with fruit and granola for breakfast, but lately, I've been eating more carb-y breakfasts. It might be the cold weather when I wake up in the mornings. This past week, I made pumpkin pancakes (made using Trader Joe's pumpkin pancake mix), French toast with bananas (made using cinnamon raisin Ezekiel bread), scrambled eggs, etc.

I've also discovered Shishito peppers. I'd never heard of these until I saw a blogger mention she was craving some, and then the following week, I saw them while grocery shopping. They're best prepared simply with some soy sauce, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. My new favorite veggie!

2. What I'm Reminiscing About
My trip to the east coast last year in early November.  Such pretty foliage!

3. What I'm Loving
Finally having some cooler weather, especially in the mornings and evenings.

4. What We've Been Up To
Seeing friends and celebrating birthdays. Two weekends ago, there was a birthday celebration at a place called Tokyo Delves, which is basically "dinner" and a show with the waiters/bartenders lip syncing and dancing to hits from artists such as Michael Jackson and N'Sync.

5. What I'm Dreading
The time change this weekend. I hate leaving work when it's dark out. It makes me feel like the day is already over!  Here's a picture I snapped while on an evening walk on Monday because the moon was so bright, full, and pretty.

6. What I'm Working On
Christmas shopping early!  There are so many great sales this time of year that as I find something I think would make a great gift for someone, I buy it.  This helps me not have to frantically shop for everything in December and spreads out the costs, too.  There's nothing worse than trying to find something last minute only to find out it's sold out or no longer available. 

7. What I'm Excited About
Pumpkin carving and roasting the seeds!  I picked up this kit over the weekend so I can carve some fun designs on my pumpkins this year.  I'll post my finished pumpkins next week.

8. What I'm Watching/Reading
I saw the Steve Jobs movie this past weekend.  The acting was great but the movie ended a bit abruptly.  I had wanted to see more of the successful years of Apple (the movie focused on about 20 years, from the early 80s to the early 2000s, right before Apple hit it big with the iMac).  However, it was still a great movie.  I'm sure some Oscar nominations will follow.

I also started the Steve Jobs biography this week.  So far, it's good.

9. What I'm Listening To
My gym playlist has lots of upbeat, random songs from Taylor Swift, Shawn Mendes, Adam Levine, One Direction (no shame here!), and Imagine Dragons.

10. What I'm Wearing
Right now...these slouchy pants from Banana Republic.  So comfy, yet stylish enough for work.

11. What I'm Doing This Weekend
Carving my pumpkins, roasting the seeds, handing out Halloween candy, and watch Halloween movies like Nightmare Before Christmas and Para-Norman. Here's the Hello Kitty pumpkin I carved one year.

12. What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month
Thanksgiving!!  I always put up my tree the weekend of Thanksgiving.  Here is my tree from last year.

13. What Else is New
These are all over my house.  Yes, I am that crazy pumpkin spice lady. :)

14. What's you favorite Thanksgiving recipe?
My favorite Thanksgiving dish is...turkey!  There's no need for a recipe for that, in my opinion.  Just rub down with oil or butter and sprinkle with lots of spices.  Usually for Thanksgiving, I end up baking something sweet to take for dessert.  This year, I will be attempting to make this chocolate-pistachio fudge tart for dessert.  I saw it on Giada's TV show on the Food Network (I forgot the name of the show-- it's the one where she is vacationing on the Italian coast and cooking).  Doesn't it look great?  I will write a post on it after I (hopefully) successfully make it.

Thanks for stopping by.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Show & Tell Tuesday: Halloween Costumes

I forgot today is "Show & Tuesday," so you lucky readers get two posts in one day.  For today's show and tell, I am linking up with Andrea to tell you about some past Halloween costumes I have worn.

Halloween is not one of my favorite holidays, so I've never been one of those people to go all out and dress up. I prefer to stay at home and hand out candy, while seeing what all the cute babies and toddlers are dressed up as.

If I do have to dress up, I usually stick to simple costumes that are in-expensive that I can wear my ordinary clothes with too. I haven't dressed up in years, but during my early twenties I would go to my friend's annual birthday/Halloween party, which was always a blast.  One year I went as an angel, and another year I went as a cat. I've also gone as a nurse.  Pretty simple, right?  Growing up, for some reason, my mom had me be a French maid for about four years in a row. I have no idea why, but I didn't seem to mind.

One of my favorite Halloween memories ever is from when I studied abroad in southern France during college. I lived in student housing that had lots of international students from all over the world, and we had a HUGE Halloween party.  Everyone dressed up.  The foreign students even carved pumpkins and decorated.  Who knew Halloween was so huge in Europe?  It was so festive and fun.  Happy Halloween!


My 10 Favorite iPhone Apps

I have been meaning to write this post for a while, so I finally decided to do it today. Today, I am sharing my ten favorite iPhone apps.

A funny story before I start:  I used to have a Blackberry before I got the iPhone a few years back. I loved my Blackberry (I fondly dubbed it the Crackberry) and swore to all my friends and family that I would never, EVER get an iPhone (the thought of an all touch screen phone sounded too difficult to me for texting). Well, fast forward to 2012, when I was forced to switch since my work no longer supported Blackberry.  Never say never, right?!  And now, I LOVE my iPhone.  I've tried a lot of phones in the past and this one is by far my favorite.  It's so easy to use and has awesome apps, many of which are free.  I have the iPhone 6 Plus, which at first took a bit of getting used to because of the large screen, but now I love it, especially since I do a lot of reading and browsing on it.

Aside from the most common apps that I love and everyone uses (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and LinkedIn), here are my top ten favorites for now.

1.  My Fitness Pal
I use this app daily to track what I'm eating, because I'm OCD like that. ;)  It has a HUGE database (you can find practically anything in there, especially restaurants), and it even has a barcode scanner feature (i.e. you can scan the barcode on the granola bar you are eating and it will automatically find it so you can add it to your food diary).  In addition, you can track your exercise (I have mine set up to sync automatically to my Fitbit app, which makes it super easy to have my daily step calories in there).  It also tracks your macros and your nutrients so you can see if you're short on anything or have had too much of anything (like my carb intake for today, ha.  Today was carb overload day).  You'll be surprised to see how quickly calories add up once you start tracking them.

2. Fitbit
I blogged about my Fitbit in another post here.  I use it daily and it's quite motivating, especially when you are in challenges with friends or coworkers.  It will show you the steps you've taken per day, miles walked, calories burned, active minutes, etc.  It will also show you your standing if you are in a competition.  The Fitbit I have can also monitor your sleep patterns and the hours of sleep you get per night, but I don't use that feature.

3.  Postmark
I love, love, LOVE this app.  It's basically like a giant garage sale where you can find used (and new) clothes for a discounted price.  It's basically like eBay-- you simply list the items you no longer wear or use (clothing, shoes, accessories, jewelry, makeup, etc) in your "closet", and fellow "poshers" can make offers on your items or negotiate for lower prices.  Poshmark takes a 20% commission on each item you sell, but they provide the shipping label for free, which you can print at home.  Then you simply pack everything and drop it off at the post office.  The app automatically lets the buyer know the item is on it's way after you mark it as shipped, and a tracking number is included for free.  Super easy!  It's also super easy to transfer money from your sales directly into your bank account, or you can use the money to shop on the app.

4.  Yelp
I use Yelp for everything...literally, everything.  A lot of people think it's only for restaurants, but it's also great for shoe repair places, auto repair places, etc.  I always look up a business on here before trying it for the first time.  I also love the bookmarking feature.  When I visit new cities, I always bookmark the places I ate at for future reference if I ever return (like I did below for some great San Francisco eateries).

5.  Tiny Scanner
This app is genius.  It's exactly what it sounds like-- an iPhone scanner.  It uses your camera to create the scan.  Simply take a picture, and then you can turn your picture into a .pdf that you can email to someone.  The clarity and quality of the .pdf is pretty good, too.  Here's a sample of one that I did for the UCLA football schedule (go Bruins!).

6.  WhatsApp
This app is great if you are traveling internationally and don't want to be charged for text messages.  You can send and receive messages instantly with your friends who are on the app.  I use it a lot for family who are outside the U.S.

7.  Gas Prices
Just enter your location in this app, and it will tell you where to find the cheapest gas prices in your area.  You can also set the grade of gas you use by default, and it will only show you prices for that grade. 

8.  Shazam
I always find myself hearing a new song on the radio or during a TV show that I love.  I just whip my phone out and shazam it to tag it for future download.

9.  Rue La La
This is probably my favorite shopping app.  You can find great designer items on here that are deeply discounted, and the items available change from week to week.  They also have a lot of home decor and kitchen items. I use this app a lot for Christmas shopping.  

10.  Walmart Savings Catcher
This app is great if you shop at Walmart a lot.  You simply scan in your receipt and it looks at nearby competitors to see if there are lower prices.  If there are, you get the difference back.  You can then request the amount of money you have back as an e gift-card to use in store.  I also love this app because it stores all your receipts.  You no longer need to keep your paper receipts after scanning them in.  You can simply use the receipts on the app to make returns in store.

So, that pretty much sums up my favorite apps.  I'd love to know what some of yours are!  Please share by commenting below.


Friday, October 16, 2015

Kate Spade Friends & Family Sale!

The Kate Spade Friends and Family Sale starts today through Sunday, October 18th. Use code INDULGE at checkout to receive 25% off your entire order.

Here are some of my favs!

1. Strike Gold Stapler

2. Strike Gold Tape Dispenser

3. Crepe Bow Neck Shirt-dress (on sale already too!)

4. Ericka Flats (on sale already too!)


Friday Favorites

It's Friday! YAY! Friday is always my favorite day of the week...I always look forward to it in anticipation of the weekend. As with every Friday, I am linking up once again with Andrea for my favorites of the week.

1. Misguided
A friend and I were talking about dress shopping, specifically in regards to how expensive it gets if you have lots of weddings to go to throughout the year where the same family members are at them (because you can't possibly show up wearing the same dress as the last wedding, right?).  My friend told me about this UK-based website and I decided to check it out. I've ordered these four dresses to try on in anticipation of the November wedding. I'm still debating between a long or short dress, but I decided to try this site out since it's relatively cheap and has cute stuff.

2. Blue Fly
This is another favorite website of mine...they have everything (dresses, shoes, handbags, you name it). They also have designer pieces that are discounted. I went on a bit of a shopping binge yesterday and ordered these dresses to also try on for the wedding. I'll post the winning outfit after I've tried everything on.

3. Cafe Essentials
These shake powders are a great addition to a protein smoothie.  They give your drink a thick, milkshake-like consistency and make it more creamy.  One of my favorites is the Mocha Java blend, which gives my smoothie a delicious coffee taste. I plan to try the Chai flavor next and add it to my Pumpkin Pie Smoothie (see recipe here).

4. The Steve Jobs Biography
I will be starting this book over the weekend in anticipation of the movie, which comes out in theaters this month.  The screenplay is written by Aaron Sorkin, who also wrote the Social Network, which I loved.

5.  Stuff for Planning/Organizing
So friends who know me know I'm a little OCD about planning and organizing (two things I love).  I found these pads at Home Goods a while ago and started using them recently.  The Market List is especially useful because it's divided up by area (e.g. Produce, Bread) to save you time when walking around the supermarket.  Genius!

6. The Kate Spade Friends and Family sale!
This sale is going on now through the Sunday, the 18th. See my post here for the promo code and picks.

Happy Friday!

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