First of all, can I just say a few things here?
- I’m really, truly not one of those “OH MY GOD, PUMPKIN SPICE!” kind of girls. I don’t like pumpkin spice lattes and I don’t lose my shit when fall rolls around so it can be all pumpkin, all the time. It’s not in my nature to go out of my mind for a member of the gourd family. I reserve my obsession for foods involving chocolate and/or cheese.
- I know this photo is hideous. I can admit that I know absolutely nothing about photography and am using this blog and a way to learn. Obviously, these photos missed the mark. I suddenly have mad respect for food bloggers. I promise I’ll never judge another ugly food photo again. It’s surprisingly difficult to make a photo of appetizing food look…appetizing.
That said, I had one of those Sunday mornings where scrambled eggs sounded about as appealing as two-day old leftovers. I did a half-asleep stare into the kitchen cabinet and noticed a can of pumpkin that had seriously been in the cabinet for a year and thought “why not?” Within an hour, I had a couple of warm pumpkin muffins to enjoy with my coffee. That is some Sunday Funday right there. Try it for yourself next weekend!
I used the Libby’s Pumpkin Muffins recipe. If I make these again, I will do the applesauce substitution method for the vegetable oil, which is an easy 1:1 substitution. These weren’t too oily when I ate them, but I was a bit concerned when they transferred quite a bit of oil to the cutting board when I took the photos.
I’ve lived in California more than four years now, but I can clearly remember driving with the windows down one cool, refreshingly crisp summer morning right after I moved here, thinking “why in the world doesn’t everyone live here?” I still stand by the sentiment, but I’ve come to realize that everyone DOES live here. That’s why amazing places like Lake Tahoe, Yosemite and even the 580 Freeway in the Bay Area are almost always trafficky, congested messes. California is crowded, yo!
Nevertheless, I am still completely smitten with this state. I had to attend a video shoot in Santa Cruz a couple of weeks ago for work. I woke up in the morning to a dense fog out of the window of my hotel room and felt pretty worried that we weren’t going to be able to get what we were looking for because of the weather. I don’t know why I doubted, though. By 11am, the fog had burnt off, revealing the most epic, quintessentially California beach day we could’ve ever asked for.
I didn’t have my good camera on me, but I just had to capture the day with the trusty iPhone. I hope you enjoy my snaps.
I stayed at the Hotel Paradox (recommended, but I might stay at the Santa Cruz Dream Inn next time because they are dog-friendly and very convenient to the Board Walk) and ate at the Aquarius Restaurant at the Dream Inn twice, unfortunately. I honestly don’t recommend it because I had two meals there and was very disappointed both times, but the view from the table WAS amazing.
I work for a winery, but a wine snob I am not. I may not have the most sophisticated palate, but I like to seek out wines that are approachable and delicious because I am expected to bring the wine to any family/friend/random get-together I attend. Let me just say that this Starborough New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is fantastic. It’s mouth-wateringly acidic, but not bracingly so. It has all the grassy notes that New Zealand Sauv Blancs are known for and it is AFFORDABLE. This wine is delicious and is my go-to for summertime events. It’s refreshing and easy to drink. A winner all around.
Full disclosure: my company owns this brand, but I am writing this post of my own volition because I just want to share the things I love with you all. I also plan to feature wine brands that are not owned by my company!
A few months ago, I finished nearly two years of reading and studying and writing and working on my Masters degree while also working full-time. It was crazy stressful and busy, but it was fulfilling. I loved my job and I loved my school and I think I took a lot of pleasure in the out-of-control way my life was unfolding. It was ridiculous, but it was also exciting.
I finished school in May of this year. When I submitted my final paper, I felt a strange mix of relief and overwhelming sadness. I called my boyfriend Keith a few minutes after I turned in my assignment and proceeded to cry my eyes out. I think my exact words were “I’ll never be able to learn again”. Obviously, I was being a bit melodramatic. There are opportunities to learn all of the time in our lives, but the guided learning I experience when in school is just my absolute favorite thing. To be honest, I am a bit lost without it.
This summer, I’ve felt like the worst version of myself. I am so lost without the constant mental stimulation of school and I spend most of my days oscillating between wanting to go back to pursue my PhD, wanting to work on my writing, wanting to do well at work, wanting to lose weight, wanting, wanting. I’m exhausting myself.
While I’ve been so focused on myself, I’ve lost sight of all of the goodness I am blessed with. I am in a healthy, loving relationship. I’m part of my boyfriend’s children’s lives, I have enough money to pay all of my bills, I have the world’s sweetest dog. I could go on and on.
Today, while observing Labor Day by laboring and piddling around the house, I decided that enough is enough. If time is any indicator, things will work out just perfectly. I hope that I’ll be able to return to school some day, but in the meantime, I just want to stop and smell the roses.