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Nine Favorite Things |

(Brendan and Lynd’s pumpkins)

Happy Halloween!! I feel like this year we’re all really celebrating. Last year was a bit of a bust. So I know many people are excited to have a more normal Halloween this year.

What are you guys up to? I need to live through you guys a bit, so tell me about your Halloween weekend festivities!!

Around here, Halloween is a little quieter than most places. Just a small mountain town vibe. There really isn’t trick-or-treating between houses. Many of the houses are far apart and many are second homes. They do trick-or-treating on main street here, which is really cute. This will be Asher’s first time away from home for Halloween, as she is still in SoCal with my brothers. She was going to come home earlier this week but didn’t want to fly alone. So she waited for my older brother Creighton to be able to fly back with her. This means she’s spending Halloween trick-or-treating with them. She’s going to love going house to house with those guys. They’re going to have so much fun!

Asher and Creigh are planning to come home tomorrow. I’m excited to see those guys, it’s honestly been a while!

Speaking of tomorrow, it’s crazy that November is here. Does anyone else feel like they’re already behind on Thanksgiving, and even more so on Christmas? With all the supply chain issues it feels like I have no time to get everything together. It’s crazy!

After a lot of requests, we’re going to try and put out a few holiday guides this month. We’ve never done this, so I’m excited to put them together! I know everyone wants the guides as soon as possible!

Before we jump into Christmas though, we have Thanksgiving things to do! I photographed our full menu and table yesterday and will be sharing details this Wednesday. We’ll have new recipes throughout the next couple of weeks. This year’s menu is simple but delicious!!

Tomorrow I’ll start our Thanksgiving Tips series on Instagram! This is my third year doing the series and I have so much fun with it. Expect a lot of holiday talk this year. If you’re looking for some holiday inspiration today, scroll through my 2018 Thanksgiving Menu, 2019 Thanksgiving Menu, and then last year’s 2020 Thanksgiving Menu.

Question: What Thanksgiving questions do you have? Hopefully, I can help!

Question: What are your BEST Thanksgiving tips and tricks? I’ll feature all my favorites that you send in throughout the month!

Nine Favorite Things |

(he is just so sweet)

1. Things i’m loving, wanting, and excited to try…

listening to…Melissa Wood-Tepperberg on The Skinny Confidential. I really enjoyed this conversation. And there are so many great product recommendations throughout here too.

traveling to…Austin in a couple of weeks. Excited for a super quick work trip and to stay at the Austin Proper. It looks so nice.

curious about…The Bearaby Weighted Blanket. I keep seeing all these things about weighted blankets and how they help with anxiety and sleep. This one from Bearaby looks really cozy. Anyone tried one?

love…my SENREVE bag. I know this is an investment, but with holiday travel coming up, this bag is perfect. I bring it with me every time I fly anywhere. It fits my computer and everything else I need. Just got my mom one too because she loved mine so much.

watching…Hocus Pocus. It’s a Halloween tradition.

love…Celeste Chunky Wool Throw. It’s a bit of a splurge, but wow this throw looks so cozy and perfect. I would love this on my bed.

excited to try…Nori Press. I just got this and honestly can’t wait to use it. It’s an iron/steamer combo. It’s going to be perfect for steaming/ironing clothes and table linens quickly. Plus, I love how small and compact it is.

ordered…too much from the Zara holiday collection. Picked up these ornaments and I love this adorable pillow. Hoping they come out with more soon, I loved their holiday collection last season.

dreaming of going… the One & Olnly Mandarina in Mexico’s Coastal Rainforest. This place looks magical and perfect for a winter vacation.

wanting…these Ganni boots. They’d be perfect to throw this winter once the snow comes and they look super cozy too.

loving…this Handmade Pie Plate. Great for pie season and really cute.

drinking…all the warming November cocktails. See my favorites here.

watching…Lovehard on Nexflix. I don’t like to start Christmas movies until Thanksgiving night, but this comes out on the 5th and I am tempted to watch.

cooking…Slow Cooker Turkey and White Bean Chili. It’s a Halloween night tradition.

import to remember…

there’s a person behind the screen reading the comments and messages you leave, kindness always wins in the end.

Cider Braised Short Ribs with Caramelized Onions |

Most Popular: Cider Braised Short Ribs with Caramelized Onions

Cream Cheese Swirled Cinnamon Pumpkin Butter Bread |

Runner Up: Cream Cheese Swirled Cinnamon Pumpkin Butter Bread

Simple Baked Cheesy Italian Chicken Meatballs |

Also have to mention: Simple Baked Cheesy Italian Chicken Meatballs

Roly Poly Pumpkin Cookies |

My personal favorite: Roly Poly Pumpkin Cookies

Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup |

Ok, last one: Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup – mom’s favorite!

3. Hostess gifts for entertaining season…

never show up empty handed, here are my current favorite hostess gifts


4. Favorite questions of the week.

q: Would you ever do an IG story where you teach Asher how to cook/bake?
a: this would be so much fun. yes! what recipe should I teach her to make??

q: Are your hands immune to heat from cooking so much?
a: basically. but as you have all seen, I have plenty of cuts, burns, and scars on them. so they’re not bulletproof.

q: can you share more about how you manage the business side of things?
a: sure! what do you want to know exactly?

q: what is your favorite pumpkin recipe?
a: Vanilla Chai Pumpkin Latte Cupcakes with Cinnamon Brown Sugar Frosting.

q: do your cookbooks have different recipes from the blog?
a: yes! the books are totally separate from the blog with all new recipes.

q: how much time do you spend in the kitchen each day?
a: from like 8:30 am to 8 pm. not fully cooking all those hours but it’s a lot of time between cooking, photography, and filming recipes.

q: do you have to remake recipes if you’re not pleased with the video taping outcome?
a: yes. all the time 🙁

q: favorite fall layer for your hikes?
a: a lightweight down jacket. in the winter I put a windbreaker over it. I just ordered this from The North Face to try out.

q: what’s an easy way to get the skin off of butternut squash?
a: either roast the squash halves, then scoop out the flesh or use a knife to cut the skin off the raw squash. a vegetable peeler works too but I find a knife easier

q: how often do you make a recipe and it doesn’t make the cut or you decide not to post it?
a: once or twice a week

q: sweater or sweatshirt?
a: well I love them both but I live in a hoodie or crew neck when I’m at home.

q: how do you monetize when you are just starting out?
a: I wouldn’t expect to make money the first 1-2 years if you’re getting into content creation. you need to build your audience and more importantly build their trust. without both, you’ll never be able to go very far, at least in my opinion

q: how do you take such beautiful photos? Lighting and staging are always perfect.
a: I use all natural daylight, never any artificial light, which can get really tricky this time of year due to lack of actual daylight. but it’s what I know best, and I think it makes food look the very best too. aside from lighting (which is HUGE) it took many years of photographing food daily to actually improve and develop my own style. basically though, I love to make all things pretty and pleasing to my eye. growing up I styled clothes, now I  style food. And guys, trust me, I still struggle with photos. making food look good is freaking hard!!

q: do you take your pictures on your camera in manual mode?
a: yes, always! it’s how my brother taught me to shoot.

q: advice for someone who just lost a best friend? Just misunderstood/grew apart.
a: that’s so hard! I’m sorry you’re going through that. I think it’s important to remember that people change. and while some people grow together, others just don’t, and that’s ok! if a friendship is feeling strained, breaks are needed. you never know, you could reconnect in a few years. right now I would say to focus on the friends/family you do have around. the ones that are adding happiness to you’re life. find a new hobby to meet new people or focus on something you really love! or hey, get into cooking! it’s such a good distraction 🙂

q: are you a fan of breakfast for dinner?
a: yes, yes, yes!! it’s my favorite. my usuals are pancakes, Nonnie’s Dutch baby, or toast with sunny side up eggs. and then hot chocolate cause that’s what my mom would do

q: Do you ever get to watch any tv shows/movies? If so what’s your favorite?
a: literally never ? it’s so bad. but I’m currently rewatching Harry Potter for the 19th million time while I edit photos.

q: what is the best kitchen gadget?
a: I use the basics… stand mixer, food processor, crockpot, instant pot occasionally, and then a cookie scoop! I’m really not big on kitchen gadgets. I love to keep things simple. oh, and of course, my espresso machine. is that a kitchen gadget? and since we’re on the topic, I do love the Breville milk frother too.

q: how do you deal with the trolls? You don’t seem to acknowledge that side and I admire that.
a: exactly that! I don’t give them energy. In the end, if I take the time to respond, they’re getting what they want. Which is to be heard, and to take up my time. I have zero tolerance for that 🙂 by not acknowledging them, they’re getting completely ignored…as if I never saw the comment. Trust me, it can be hard, and some of them definitely get to me, especially if I’m already having a bad day. internet trolls are the worst and they seem to know just the right time to hit you when you’re down. but you’ve got to ignore them and keep on doing what you’re doing.

q: When you first started the blog, did you attempt to make money, or were you only content focused?
a: only content focused. I didn’t even think I could make money at first.

5. It’s the month of giving…do something special for someone.

Excited to share that we’ve decided to highlight a new charity each Sunday leading up to Christmas. Rollin’ from the Heart is one my mom recently found. It was founded by the parents of Ian “Poods” Barry. Below is the organization’s missions statement…

Providing disadvantaged and at-risk youth the opportunity to participate in skateboarding, surfing, and camping in an effort to promote a more active lifestyle and encourage positive choices.

My parents have always been all about getting outside. It releases endorphins and helps to give you a better perspective for dealing with issues.

Here are some ways you can direct your giving!
$1.00 – 1 Slap bracelet with a motivational message
$2.00 – Skateboard Grip-tape
$5.00 – A set of Skateboard wheels
$10.00 – A RFTH logoed T shirt for our after school participants
$20.00 – Will provide 1 new Skate deck
$35.00 – Provides 1 complete skateboard
$50.00 – 1 complete skateboard and helmet
$100.00 – Snacks for 2 after-school skate sessions
$700.00 – Provides a full week Campership to the YMCA Skate Camp in Lake Sequoia plus transportation
$2000.00 – Will help us purchase a Mini mobile skate park to donate to one of our After School skate site locations.

Learn more and how to help support here.

Question: what are the charities you support? Please leave your favorites in the comments fur us to look into and possibly highlight in the coming weeks!

Additionally, the funny thing about me is that I love to give gifts, but hate receiving them. It’s weird, but gift giving is actually one of my very favorite things to do. Lately, I’ve been sending out small gifts any time I see something that I know someone would love but might not grab for themselves. It’s so much fun and it can really make someone’s day, or even week. It lets that person know you’re thinking of them. If I had more time (and endless money), I’d honestly be doing it more.

Since November (and December) are all about giving, I thought I’d share some of my favorite gifts to send out randomly or sweet things to do for a friend. These can be products. Or just doing something nice to help them out throughout the day, which is totally free! On Instagram, I’ll often give out Starbucks gift cards. And I love to send off my favorite candles to anyone who’d enjoy them. If there was time, it would be so fun to send out sweets too…but I usually save that for my Christmas cookie boxes.

  1. Email over a Starbucks gift card to anyone feeling under the weather…I love their fun seasonal cards too.
  2. Do a chore that you normally don’t do for your partner…such a nice surprise.
  3. Send a care package to a friend that just had a baby…this is such a sweet surprise.
  4. Send someone flowers or a holiday candle for no reason…these 2 are my personal go-to.
  5. Cook someone their favorite dinner.
  6. Send someone a hand-written letter in the mail…always fun to get a handwritten note.
  7. Say hello to everyone you cross paths with…I’m a firm believer that we should always do this. It’s so odd to me when you don’t acknowledge someone.
  8. Babysit someone’s children for free…they’ll love you forever.

Just small, small things…but fun and usually very appreciated!

(Asher and Hailey’s pumpkins)

6. Inspiring me…Thanksgiving tablescape edition.

This year, I’m doing a full table and serving most of the food buffet style. Using the below photos for inspo. How do you guys set your Thanksgiving tables?


(Marly Dice)

(Liz Marie)

(Happily Ever After)

(Style Souffle)

Step Inside Vanessa Hudgens’s Transporting Los Feliz Home…her kitchen is perfection. I love the moody green color, the tiles, all of it. Same with her cozy brown dining nook.

Camille Charrière’s Marble Dining Table Is the Heartbeat of Her Home…so pretty and unique.

The 200-Year-Old History Behind Why We Carve Pumpkins…you learn something new every day.

Have You Tried Backcombing Your Brows…you might want to try this for fuller brows.

10 Things to Do If Your Confidence Needs a Major Boost…I needed to read this.

30 Black Jackets That’ll Instantly Become Wardrobe Staples…I love this Free People Jacket for every day.

7 Nail Colors That Are Thanksgiving Classics…very into these autumn tones.

No Halloween Plans…here are 8 spooky things you can do at home.

Did Adele Just Predict The Newest Interior Design Trend…love this rich burgundy color.

12 Self-Care Practices That Are Completely Free…love #2, and #3 is my personal go-t0.

The Best Beauty Gift Sets To Buy…so many good ones, I’d grab that Tatcha set for sure.

The Crucial Thing Missing From Your Workout Routine…I need to stretch more.

13 Starbucks Hacks You Need to Know…if you’re a Starbucks junky, read this.

50 Amazon Finds That Will Elevate Your Work-From-Home Setup…if you need a spruce up.

Feels Like a Steal…A winter-ready puffer under $200.

7 Stunning Real Estate Developments with Private Restaurants…real deal luxury living.

Now You Can Climb Outside a Skyscraper to the Top of New York City…I probably wouldn’t do this.

8. Under $100 fashion finds for November…


9. This week’s dinners + weekend eats…

Creamy Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Pasta |

Monday: Creamy Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Pasta

Creamy White Lasagna Soup |

Tuesday: Creamy White Lasagna Soup

Creamed Mushroom and Brie Chicken |

Wednesday: Creamed Mushroom and Brie Chicken

Coconut Sweet Potato Lentil Soup with Rice | #soup #healthy #dinner #autumnrecipes #vegan

Thursday: Coconut Sweet Potato Lentil Soup with Rice

30 Minute Coq au Vin Chicken Meatballs with browned Butter Mashed Potatoes | #meatballs #easyrecipe #dinner

Friday: Coq au Vin Chicken Meatballs with Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes

Pumpkin Head Punch |

Saturday: Pumpkin Head Punch

Vanilla Chai Pumpkin Latte Cupcakes with Cinnamon Brown Sugar Frosting |

Sunday: Pumpkin Latte Cupcakes with Cinnamon Brown Sugar Frosting

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  1. I’d like to nominate ElderTLC for consideration as your featured charity. ElderTLC is an all volunteer 501 (3) c whose mission is to provide meaningful and essential holiday gifts to low-income residents of Arizona senior living communities and Native American tribal areas. It is usually the only gift these seniors receive and ElderTLC thinks of it as a way of showing that they have not been forgotten. Funding is from individual donors and small grants. Volunteers shop for deeply discounted merchandise including clothing, personal care items, blankets, and stimulating gifts for the memory impaired.
    “Spreading Holiday Joy to Seniors in Need”

  2. What would you make for a Thanksgiving potluck in the office? I won’t have any way to heat something up when it’s time to eat and it’ll need to serve a crowd.