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A Wee Bit Pumpkin Obsessed...

10.29.2013


Sometimes all it takes to make me smile is a little pumpkin here and there. An orange one... a white one... those really cool stripy ones. And they are so easy to decorate with too. Just scatter a few here and there... or stack them. Let them stand solo or give them a buddy or two. Intermix them with candles (pumpkin spice yum!) and a few cotton buds... or maybe a little skeleton couple you purchased in Mexico on your honeymoon (yes oddly enough, that's where we went). They even come on branches so you can add some height and depth to say a pumpkin display (shrine) if you had one. This happened last year... when I couldn't go into the grocery store without buying one or four... I thought it was just my homesickness but it's happening again on home turf... I even have some gold spray painted ones in the bedroom and maybe another on my desk at work. Some may say it's a problem but hubs thinks it's cute... we negotiate at the amount of these little guys I'm allowed to take home each trip. I just can't help myself, they are so little and cute and round. I'm sorry I'm not sorry... and truth be told, all probably add more to my collection as they start going on clearance after Halloween...

->>>Canon EOS 7D, Canon EF28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Standard Zoom Lens, Photoshop<<<-

***Today I am thankful that hubs just lets me be when it comes to my weird obsessions... he is a good man that hubs***

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San Diego Sights...

10.28.2013

sunglasses: coach | dress: free people | slip: by francine | sandals: shoemint | purse: rampage | necklace: boutique in london | watch: michael kors | bracelet: boutique in tallahassee | lipstick: fresh (sugar passion tinted) | nails & toes: essie (geranium)

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Snaps Of A Drive Down South...

10.27.2013

 ^^^the road trip selfie must^^^
 ^^^that's hot ave to you non spanish speakers^^^
 ^^^found this sign pretty amusing^^^
 ^^^longest car line ever!^^^
 ^^^wearing 4 sombreros, as you do^^^
^^^more of the border^^^

Last week I told you guys a little story about that time we drove to the border and I thought it would fun to also share a few of the million (no lie, there were tons!) snaps hubs took on our way there. Poor little guy just isn't used to the wide open roads of American highways and so so he sat next to me, eager as a puppy with his head sticking out of the passenger window, hair blowing in the wind, etc. He may have also gone a little snap happy and found the need to document everything... and I do mean everything! If I had a nickel for every time he exclaimed "look, an American flag!" and tried to capture it as we zoomed past, well let's just say I'd have a lot of nickels. I have to admit, the scenery was breathtaking. Being from flat ol' Florida, I too was mesmerized by the big beautiful mountains on either side of the never ending windy road. Paired with the perfect shade of cloudless blue skies, I kept thinking to myself- surely this must be a backdrop of some sorts... how can anything look this perfect?!

A little tiff hubs had though, he kept expecting to see some flat and sandy deserts like in the movies... maybe with a tumble weed or two floating on by in the lazy, hazy sun. That of course never happened as our route took us along the coast and correct me if I'm wrong but flat and sandy only happens in the mid west? I'm sure this will lead us to another road trip at some point in time so hub can see the reddish deserts of his dreams.

The plan was to drive over the border into Tijuana and turn back around to drive back into the U.S. and stay the rest of the weekend in Sand Diego... staying in actual Mexico was just more excitement than I could handle for my first drive out. I think I was expecting a little more of a "wow" factor as we were crossing the border... it all just felt a little underwhelming to say the least. I'm not really sure what I was expecting but maybe a few more flags? Anyways, it was blatantly obvious when we were on the Mexico side as the roads quickly (and without warning) merged into one and the quality dropped tragically. I drove into Mexico for nearly 10 whole minutes before spotting a McDonalds (hubs needed a pee break) and then turning back around. Can I now cross driving in another country off the bucket list? Probably not as hubs kept insisting this was the worst trip to Mexico ever... next time hubs, next time. From there we spent the next three hours (THREE HOURS!!!) in line to get back over the border... which as you can see from the pictures above, anything goes in Mexico! When we finally reached the front and I handed over our passports, it turned out that all immigrants needing to activate visas had to walk over the border, driving over was only an option for those with visas and/or citizens. And so it clicked why I kept seeing so many people get out of cars and walk to the far right side of the road, standing in a never ending line... duh! Luckily because hubs doesn't look too suspicious, the border guy had us drive into another section and allowed hubs to walk from the American side to the area where you get your visa stamped, essentially cutting in line in front of those that had been waiting for hours too only by foot, but at this point who really cared?

What he failed to tell us was that this section was where they pull aside suspicious characters and have them and their cars fully checked out before being allowed into the country... mainly people trying to smuggle people/goods. I had to drive the car through the biggest x-ray machine I've ever witnessed at three miles an hour, then explain to the another border guy that it was in fact my British husband and not I, the hispanic looking one that needed their visa activated. I mean, of course he assumed it was me and that's not stereo typing at all. He asked me to reverse into a parking spot and things got a little tricky since I was driving a rental but I'm sure I provided some much needed comic relief on such a serious job. So we got out and walked on over to the front, the whole time me giving the overly apologetic eyes at anyone I made eye contact with for cutting in line. Hubs got his visa stamped and instagram picture taken (of course) in front of the border and we were on our merry way... or so we thought.

As we were happily walking back to the car, I heard another border guy talk/shout at us "where do you think you're going?" I tried to explain that we were just heading back to our car but he kept cutting me off with a very rude "you two, sit on that bench in the caged area and wait". No lie, as this was the suspicious characters side of things, there was indeed a fenced off  area resembling a cage with benches in it. I tried to ask why and that he was mistaken as we were not whatever he thought we may be but that didn't go over to well. Ge got angrier and shorter with his repetitive responses and hubs just told me to stop arguing before we got handcuffed and/or shot at. So we obliged and stood (I'll be damned if I sat like he wanted) in the caged area until I managed to get the attention of the border guy that had asked me to park in reverse. He remembered me well (how could he not, it was funny!) and escorted us out, laughing about the confusion and asking how long we had been in there for. It was only a few minutes but still felt pretty crappy and so we got into the car as quickly as possible before the other guy could come shouting after us. I gave him the evil eye as I drove past and hopefully that was enough to keep him up that night though I doubt it. What a crazy and bizarre story you must be thinking... and that is in fact the same thing I kept thinking to myself as we drove back to the safe haven that is San Diego. Stuff like this can't be written folks... and it only seems to happen to me. I'm pretty sure I just crossed being in jail wrongly at the border off my bucket list... Also sorry no pictures of jail, for obvious reasons.

So to recap:
-Crossing the border, actually not that exciting and be prepared to wait forever...
-McDonald is in fact everywhere, even in Mexico...
-All people wanting to cross the border by land must walk over, even Brits...
-If you are hispanic and crossing the border, they will assume you are the illegal immigrant...
-American men in charge with guns do not like to be argued with...
-Always do something memorable like backing into a space comically in case of bailing out emergency...
-Sometimes giving the evil eye is the only thing you can do to make yourself feel better...

***Today I am thankful for the chance to share the sitcom that is my life with you all... we seriously need our own reality show***

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Recipe: Roasted Pumpkin Risotto

10.26.2013


It's been a pretty quiet week over here for me because I've been sick in bed with the flu which kind of stunk. Sure I got to catch up on some much needed things like sleep and my shows- New Girl, Glee (I cried like a baby during episode 3!), Nashville, and X Factor (don't ask or judge) but that was about all I could manage. Reading, blogging and even instagramming were just far to exhausting to even attempt and so I may have fallen slightly off the grid for a bit. But I'm ok with that. I'm finally starting to feel a little bit better but naturally, I have passed my germs to hubs and I'm only hoping he's kind enough not to pass them back. I don't think I could handle another week in bed and I can't believe I'm saying this, but I actually missed going to work... I'm sure I'll be regretting saying that come Monday.

Anyways, that was a rant because, well just because and now I am happy to officially kick off this year's Pumpkin Series with this mouth watering little number... roasted pumpkin risotto! This dish right here is what Thanksgiving dreams are made of but without all the hassle of a turkey and what have you. I could seriously taste the holiday with each bite of savory, sweet, delicious goodness. I think I may have even converted hubs into a true pumpkin lover... I told him it was part of his American duties now that he's legit. Oh and the smell that lingered around the apartment for hours after we had devoured our food... well let's just say it trumps my pumpkin spice scented candle any old day!

The Cozy Apron Recipe (which I adjusted), serves 4

Ingredients
  • 1 small sweet pumpkin, seeded and diced into 1/2" cubes
  • 2 medium golden delicious apples, peeled and diced into 1/2" cubes
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil (divided use)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2" tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. artisan avocado honey (you can use regular honey)
  • 3 tbsp. butter (divided use)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/2" cups white wine
  • 4 cups chicken stock (very hot)
  • 2 spicy Italian sausage links, casing removed and browned
  • 1/4 cup gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shaved
  • 4 leave fresh sage, chopped
Directions
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking tray with with foil, lightly drizzling it with olive oil, set aside.
  • In a medium sized bowl, toss together the pumpkin, apples, pumpkin pie spice, salt, pepper, and honey with 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Make sure to mix well to get an even coat on everything.
  • Place on foil lined baking tray in a single layer and roast for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown... apples may turn mushy but that's ok! Flip pumpkin and apple cubes about half way through to prevent burning and sticking, set aside.
  • In a large pan over medium-high heat, add 2 tbsp. of butter and remaining 1 tbsp. of olive oil. Once melted together, add in the onions and saute for about 2 minutes before adding the Arborio rice. Stir to make sure all of the rice grains are covered in the butter/oil mixture for another 2 minutes.
  • Bringing the mixture to a simmer, pour the white wine in and stir gently, leaving it to sit until most of the wine has been absorbed.
  • Begin adding in the hot chicken stock mixture in parts (about 1/2 cup at a time) and allowing the rice to absorb the chicken stock in between additions (2-3 minutes) stirring gently to help everything incorporate nicely. Repeat until rice is soft and creamy but not too mushy, about 25 minutes.
  • With the heat off, add in the remaining tbsp. of butter, gruyere, parmesan, browned sausage, roasted pumpkin/apple cubes, and sage, gently folding.
  • Generously spoon out into bowls, topping with extra cheese (of course)... enjoy!
Check out some other amazing pumpkin based recipes on the Pumpkin Series!

***Today I am thankful for the start of this year's pumpkin series... I'm pretty excited about it!***

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That Time We Drove To The Border...

10.15.2013

 the one that finally convinced me to get back on the road...
 the point of no return...
 trying to look calm but really i was panicking inside...
 bienvenidos a mejico!
 things are a lot different on the other side of the border...
 so close...
 and we have a visa!!!
 celebratory beers, of course...
 view of san diego from our room...
 smitten with these trolleys...
 brunch of winners...
and of course, introducing hubs to 7-eleven & slurpees 

At the end of last month hubs and I had to take a rather impromptu trip to the Mexican border. I use the term impromptu rather loosely seeing as how we both knew he had to leave and re-enter the country in order to (finally) get his proper visa stamped... we are just a pair of procrastinators. And so Friday rolled around with no plans in place and me stressing out (as I do) while hubs just nonchalantly (as he does) suggested we figure it out after work, which of course I thought was absolute bonkers! We came home and started looking for flights to anywhere outside of the U.S. and came to the conclusion that it was just too expensive this last minute, of course. While I continued to panic and insist that we had left it too late and would have to put this off till the following weekend (not really an option but again it was our own faults) hubs dangled the idea of driving down. 

As in me... driving... to Mexico...

A little side story, I used to love driving once upon a time and actually looked forward to the eight hour drive up to my university from home. Unfortunately I had a pretty scary accident in my senior year and have had an irrational fear of driving on the highway ever since. I guess it also doesn't help that I have had the good fortune to live in cities where cars aren't needed and so I never really had to get over that fear. Of course I have driven on the highway since, once or twice before... but only after days, weeks, months even of mental preparation for it. Certainly a few hours wasn't enough time to warm up to the idea. But you see, that's the thing about love and/or being married to hubs. Love/hubs forces me to do things outside of my comfort levels practically on a daily basis. I immediately shot down the idea with oh just the first ten reasons of the top of my head why we couldn't and shouldn't and mustn't do this. Meanwhile hubs started searching for bus rides down and I think the mere thought of him going all the way down there on his on freaked me out more than the thought of driving. I mean, he would be a walking target what with his pale skin, light hair, blue eyes and lack of Spanish (he can say a few phrase but let's face it, the onion is mine isn't exactly going to help now is it?) I googled just how far the Mexican border was (2ish hrs) and before I knew I was even saying it, I had matter-of-factly told him that taking a bus by himself was a stupid and unsafe idea and that I would drive. 

And that my friends is the story of how I got back on the open road after almost six years of sheer terror just at the thought of driving on the highway. I once had a panic attack 30 minutes into a eight hour drive home and had to turn around I was so hysterical. Now don't think I'm by any means applauding hubs and his last minute attitude towards life. I am after all, a planner by nature. But I must say that life with him has surely made for an interesting ride. Never did I think I'd be driving my British hubs down to the Tijuana border for the sake of a visa two days before his current one expired. But then again he's made me do a lot of things I probably wouldn't have without his gentle nudges of encouragement. And for that I love him most... though now he'll probably read this and insist I'm ready to tackle crazy things like buying a convertible car or go back down to Mexico and actually explore... I'm convinced I'm going to die an early death due to stress related issues thanks to him but at least I'll be able to say I really lived.

***Today I am thankful for hubs and his no worry attitude towards life... really hoping some of that rubs off on me***
 

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