Month: October 2014



(A “purr-fectly” carved pumpkin)

After a crammed full week, I’m excited to wrap up my last day of work for the week, enjoy Halloween, and relax on my time off tomorrow. I’m not usually really into Halloween, but this year, Ryan and I will be handing out candy with my Aunt and family friends, and maybe getting dressed up into something a little bit spooky later (stay tuned!). Tomorrow, my mom, sister, and I head off to our annual Junior League of Raleigh Shopping Spree – the official start to my holiday shopping season. It’s one of my most favorite traditions, and it’s going to be a perfect fall weekend to spend some quality time with friends and family. Hope everyone has an exciting and happy Halloween!

P.S. As always, follow along with my on my adventures through my Instagram, here.


(The colors of fall finally arriving in Raleigh)


(A quick breakfast with family is always the best)


(My pop pop’s old blanket finding a new special home)


(A magical morning in the forest to shoot a dear friends engagement photos)


Good Reads: Halloween Edition


1. This is what 200 calories of your favorite Halloween candy actually looks like – good thing we get a free pass tomorrow, right?

2. Read the stories behind three of the world’s most haunted houses.

3. Searching last minute for a costume? Do like the British do and use one of these printable masks.

4. The secret history behind bobbing for apples.

5. The specifics behind that Halloween chocolate we spend billions on every Halloween.

6. A recent study discovers kids who get less candy on Halloween are actually happier.

7. Discover this year’s top Halloween themed apps.

8. Three easy and cheap make-up ideas for Halloween costumes.

9. Feeling low on your ‘brain consumption’ lately? This post has 20 ways you can eat more this Halloween (gross).

Build Your Own Chili Bar


One of my favorite things to eat in the fall is a homemade bowl of chili. Ryan introduced me to it last year, and I’ve been waiting for it to cool down enough to make it this year ever since. It’s super simple to whip up a batch (just throw everything in a crockpot, and voila!), so naturally, it’s perfect for entertaining. I’ve been really into ‘make your own’ bars lately, and decided to make my own ‘build your own chili bowl’ bar. All it takes is getting together some fun toppings, setting it out, and serving up a few bowls of chili. Here’s how you can build your own chili bar for a get together of your own!

Ingredients (for chili, serves 6-8)

2 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef

1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained

1 can (16 oz) chili beans in sauce, undrained

1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper


 Cook ground beef of medium-high heat until browned. Drain. Combine all ingredients together in crockpot, and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

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Favorite Fall Beauty Buys


Perfect Red Lip: For fall, I’ve been all about putting together some classic go-to looks. These have either been monochromatic looks in black or gray, or opting for denim and an oversized white button down. I’ve been searching for a good red lip to pair with these looks, and found the perfect, moisturizing shade, with YSL’s “Rouge In Danger” No. 4 Rouge Volupte Lip Shine.


Bubble Bath Bar: I had a co-worker tell me about these bars that you crumble under running water that produces the best bubble bath. Being a bath-fanatic, I had to try it out. I’ve had super bubble-filled baths before, but that is only a result of me squeezing half a bottle of the bubble bath into the tub. My co-worker was right – this was my new favorite bath add in! Just crumble off a corner, and I’ve got a tub full of bubbles. It also smells great, is all natural, and leaves your skin feeling silky smooth.


Dry Texturizing Spray: After getting bangs, I started to notice how quickly my hair falls flat (especially after being pushed down under a floppy felt hat). Although I have fairly thick hair, I realized it was still necessary to use a dry texturizing spray to give my bangs and the hair framing my face a little bit of extra volume.  This is a dry spray that goes on after your hair is styled (that smells amazing), and gives you hair just a little bit of a wind blow, natural finish all day.


YSL No. 4 Lip Shine :: Lush ‘Amandopondo’ Bubble Bar :: Umberto Beverly Hills Dry Texturizing Spray :: Fieldcrest Luxury Bath Towels

Halloween Sips + Sweets

halloween sweets

 Zombie Cakes :: Deluxe Caramel Apples :: Blood Splatter Cookies :: Creepy Caramel Apples :: Witch Finger Cookies 

halloween drinks

The ‘Weeping Woman’ Cocktail :: Fruity + Sweet ‘Get Lucky’ Cocktail :: Bloody Shirley Temples :: ‘Ghost in the Graveyard’ Black Vodka Cocktail :: Mr. Hyde’s Potion Cocktai

As a result of feeling under the weather the last few days, I’ve been spending all of my free time out of the kitchen and laying in bed. With halloween this coming weekend and lots of festivities to still complete, the best I could do was start planning a round up of fun sips and sweets to serve on Hallow’s Eve. It’s a good range from gory to super sweet, and a few in-between that look so real, I would actually be pretty scared to eat them. Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and is looking forward to all the spooks to come this week!



(A gorgeous bridge and perfectly blue skies on our drive to Virginia)

I loved everything about this week. It started this past weekend at the fair (where I rode the ferris wheel for the first time), continued at Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream, and ended with a perfect movie night with Ryan. It was one of those weeks that was filled with so much joy and happiness I remembered to stop and take a second to consciously make a memory of these times. I don’t have any major plans for the weekend, except hopefully a family breakfast, pumpkin carving, and shooting engagement photos for one of my good friends. I’m looking forward to relaxing, and taking in more of life’s simple joys.


(Eerie settings at Howl-O-Scream – Photo Credit: Ryan Sides)


(Experiencing my first ferris wheel ride – we stopped at the top just in time for the fireworks to start)


(Raleigh skyline during a windy lunch downtown)


(“Near death” experiences at Busch Garden’s Howl-O-Scream)

Luna: One Year Later


Yesterday was the year anniversary of adopting little Miss Luna Lee. I can still remember that day so vividly. I had been mulling over the ‘do I or don’t I’ adopt a kitten decision for months. I had even taken a week off of work in anticipation of adopting a little one. I remember that Sunday afternoon, sitting in the car with Ryan outside the SPCA, and needing to be calmed down and reminded how much I wanted to rescue a kitten and give it a new home.

We walked in and Luna was one of the two kittens remaining. All of the others that we had seen the previous day had all found homes, but poor little Luna (at the time named Mariah), was all alone. There was a little girl in the room with us who kept trying to play with Luna – and I remember already thinking that I wanted to be selfish and hold her and have her all to myself (I resisted and let her keep playing, of course). But from that moment I knew I was making the right decision. I was already so protective and attached to this little kitty, and wanted to give her a home forever.

This year with her has passed so quickly. It seems like just yesterday that I brought her home and she laid on my chest for the first time, purring and sound asleep. From her first Halloween and Christmas, and becoming ‘Instagram famous’, to the sleepless nights where she demanded her 2am snack time, and the endless supply of kisses (and occasional ear nibble) she wakes me up with every morning, this year has been the most fulfilling year having her to share it with. I never realized how much of an impact one little bundle of fuzz could have on me, but it is safe to say, she is one of my best decisions yet.

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