Monthly Archives: October 2016

Halloweekend

It is truly Halloweekend over here. Friday night I left work early to get ready for a Roaring 20’s themed Murder Mystery Dinner party in a “Speakeasy” with lemony libations. The costumes were elaborate with fringe and feathers, and three courses were each paired with a cocktail from the era. It was a night straight out of my favorite book in high school, The Great Gatsby!

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Three of us girls sat together in the decorated club with five large full tables plus 6 actors roaming around and setting the storyline in to motion. The performance took us back to prohibition times in a Speakeasy with a VIP poker game in the next room. The proprietor and his rival, plus a flapper girl and her husband as well as the hustling doorman were all alone in the VIP lounge when suddenly the rival died. Suspected poisoning. #whodunnit

I’ve watched CSI (Las Vegas of course. None of the spin-offs will compare) enough to overthink the details and clues. All of the actors started throwing out their alibi while we debated their motives and means.

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“Mrs. Peacock….in the library….with the rope!” ;)

We began the night with a cocktail called “The French,” which was citrusy and sparkling in a chapagne flute. One of the actresses was served a drink and she abandoned it without a sip at our table, so I happily made sure it didn’t go to waste either ;) This was paired with a wedge salad, champagne-soaked melon balls, gorgonzola and candied walnuts with a champagne vinagrette while the flapper girls sang on stage.

The next course (in between scandelous murders and speculation) was a Steak l’ Orange, with seared sea scallops, amazing apple bacon risotto and honey glazed carrots. The cocktail for this course was a sidecar that was definitely strong enough to knock you sideways.

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By the time we solved the case – a classic case of a love triangle and cyanide – we had our final course of mini lemon meringue and the least favorite cocktail. A “White Lady” which includes an egg white. Pass.

The entire week was one fall festivity after the next, because there were too many fun events going on that we couldn’t pass up!

Every month, our country club has a Ladies Night with different themes. This month was “Cocktails and Crafts” and if you don’t already know, I am Pinterest’s #1 fan. My friend Shelby and I and both of our mom’s got crafty with the help of pumpkin spice martini’s and caramel apple sangria. The craft of the night = autumn wreaths.

The event coordinator looked like she raided Hobby Lobby and had a table full of every leaf, ribbon, bow and bell you could imagine. I tried to control myself with the toppings so it didn’t look like I threw up a pumpkin spice latte all over the wreath but there were too many cute decorations to choose.

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Can you handle anymore pictures of hues of orange and gold? I promise the autumn overload will end soon, but it will likely be replaced with scenes of cliche snowy shenanigans so I can’t promise it will be any better.

Brush’d Experience is a local painting class hosted at local restaurants and bars. Last week I won a giveaway on their Instagram and attended their October class for free! The class was held on Thursday evening in a cafe with serious mood lighting and fruity cocktails. My friend from work, Alissa, joined me to follow along the painting instructor for a canvas of a pumpkin patch.

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Raspberry Lemonade Mimosas! (Yes this is the most alcohol I have ever consumed in a week, haha. If you’re new to the blog and wondering why I consider this a “health and fitness” theme – this is not my normal routine!)

I diverted from the instructions slightly because I wanted to recreate a photo I had taken myself a couple weeks ago at the corn maze. This was the inspiration for my painting:

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We used acrylic primary colors and mixed our own shades. I won’t be hanging this anywhere permanently but it can sit on the kitchen counter for a week or so as a holiday decoration :) The funny thing is – this morning, Brush’d Experience hosted another giveaway for next months event and my mom won!

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This must be a record for most pictures of pumpkins and alcoholic beverages in one post for my blog ever. Editing all of the photos has given me newfound motivation to get myself over to the gym right now. I think November will be a refreshing break from cocktails and pumpkin treats – since my 2012 “No Gain November” is still one of my most populat posts on Pinterest, I think I’ll do a little 2016 reboot next week. You in?

Off to trade in sangria for spin class. Martini’s for mat pilates. Sidecars for stair masters. Champagne for chin-ups. Too much? Okay, bye.

XO Kenz.

 

Pie Crust Cut-Outs for a Festive Hot Chocolate Bar!

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The sun rise this morning was at 8:10am. 8:10! Before this summer, the farthest north I’ve ever lived is Arizona. The 10pm sunsets during the summer blew my mind and these dark mornings are throwing me for a loop now too. Considering that I wake up at 4:30am, the first four hours of my day are spent without daylight.

Once the sun was finally up on Sunday, we drove out to Eagle, Idaho to hike some of the foothills. We walked Seagman’s Gulch, a hilly loop with a full view of Eagle and the fall colored trees.

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I also found some bike paths, an outdoor public sports complex and another loop that looked like perfect future running routes. On the way back, we stopped at a local Eagle coffee shop Perks of Life. I couldn’t resist ordering from their seasonal menu and sipped my Maple Spice americano on the drive home.

Speaking of festive flavors – we are officially one week out until Halloween! Our pumpkins are picked, my costume is set, and tomorrow night we are braving a haunted corn field.

My work takes holidays very seriously so we’ve had Halloween shenanigans all month. This week, each department is assigned a day to host a trick-or-treating event for the rest of the office. We tend to be somewhat competitive with our originality so there will be no bowls of Twix and Snickers.

Instead, my department is hosting a Hot Chocolate Bar for Tuesday’s trick-or-treating station! Along with cups of hot chocolate, we’ll have a table full of marshmallows, whip cream, sprinkles, crushed candy cane, caramel, chocolate spoons, coconut flakes, shaved chocolate curls, and these adorable pie crust cut-outs for a crunchy topping.

Eat, Drink, and Be Scary!”

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I saw this idea on Pinterest (where else) and picked up a couple mini cookie cutters at the grocery store along with a pre-made pie crust. It was the simplest “recipe” ever.

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Just unroll the pie crust, create the shapes with your cookie cutters, place on a lined cookie sheet, and bake at 450 degrees for 8-10 minutes. The smaller your shapes, the less cooking time.

Stars, hearts, or letters could easily be substituted if you’re using this for a different time of year. Pie crust dough doesn’t expand or change shape in the oven, and I used a little knife to carve indentations into the dough to give the shapes some texture.

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Obviously I had to test them out at home before I brought them into work! Which is just a fancy excuse to brew a Keurig cappuccino, add some Cool Whip and pumpkin pie spice, and top with a pie crust pumpkin. :)

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Perfect sweet treat! Hot Chocolate and all those extra toppings are so sweet, so the savory pie crust is a good contrast. Pie crust doesn’t have any sweetness to its flavor, but if you like to spice it up a bit then you can toss some cinnamon & sugar on the dough before placing in the oven.

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Thank goodness I’m able to work out again right? ;) After 7 full days of complete rest after my wisdom tooth surgery, I’ve started back with some light cardio and weight-lifting circuits. Just in time for trick-or-treating.

Cheers!

Get Lost

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Remember last week when I thought that recovering from wisdom tooth extraction surgery would include lots of time blogging and being productive?

I had this ideal picture in my head about how I would recover over the weekend. Lazily staying in my cozy bed with books, magazines, Netflix, occasionally being productive and catching up on blogging or researching my next project.

In reality, my body was so angry with me for the anesthesia and pain medications it was circulating that the moments where I wasn’t nauseously holding a bucket to my mouth, I was completely knocked out. After two decades of medical procedures, my body is pretty resistant to any forms of medicine and it certainly didn’t appreciate having four impacted molars pried from my jaw bone.

Originally I planned on returning to work today, but my jaw pain and swelling had other ideas. I’ve taken my antibiotics, aspirin and mouth rinse for the morning so I thought I would finally take up some of that “productivity” on day 4 of my recovery time.

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The night before my surgery, four of my friends from work and I went to a local corn maze and pumpkin patch. We wandered around the dead stalks of corn and took pictures of the sunset and pet the farm animals. It was a gorgeous night out, perfect sweater weather but not too cold or windy. We didn’t end up so lost in the maze that we had to call the emergency help phone number so that was considered a win. And at the end of the night, we did what all millennials do, and posted our favorite pictures to Instagram.

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Which made me realize: none of us knew each other just 3 short months ago. In fact, 3 of us just moved to Idaho in 2016. We all began working for the same company within 3 months of each other, and quickly became a “coffee group” with our weekly Wednesday coffee shop dates together. Isn’t it crazy how some things work out?

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And I am SO THANKFUL for finding these fast friends so quickly after moving across the country.

When I left California this summer, I knew that starting over in a new state wouldn’t be as  glamorous as it’s made out to be in all of the movies and novels. Making new friends after college (especially in this digital age where people are less social to begin with) isn’t exactly a piece of a cake.

 

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Making a change, starting new, exploring and traveling – it’s everyone’s dream, right? We’d all gladly pack up and find our dream home in our dream town tomorrow. But practically speaking – it’s expensive. It’s inconvenient. Sometimes it’s lonely. Navigating new streets and new traffic laws is tricky. (HOW did people relocate before smart phones?!) You start out with the “Vacation Mentality” where everything is perfect and then slowly you start to notice the little quirks of the new environment.

Like how everyone here takes twice as long to bag your groceries. Or the drivers all come to a complete stop to merge on to the freeway. Or how every one has the exact same bizarre haircut. And (hopefully) eventually you go from feeling like you’re on vacation to feeling like you’re “home.”

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And four months in, I’m so happy we made this blind leap into Idaho! I have never been surrounded by such beautiful landscape. I swear, I have more pictures of trees on my phone than parents have of their children.

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The way my home faces, I get to watch the sun set over our neighbor’s farmland every night and that will never get old. I’m sure some day a commercial investor will come in and start building houses on the land, but for now we are soaking it in.

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We left the corn maze and the pumpkin patch after the sun had set and I went home to eat my last REAL MEAL before having my wisdom teeth surgery. It was just one of those fun fall nights that felt exactly like back in college a little over a year ago with my teammates and roommates.

Halloween with the blondies (stronglikemycoffee.com)

2014 Senior Year Throwback

farmstead-sunset-2-stronglikemycoffee-comAnd now I’ve had a solid four days at home with puffy cheeks and applesauce and smoothies, lots of Friends episodes, and plenty of time to think about what I’m excited for next! As the weather starts to turn, I foresee lots of treadmill miles in my future and I want to make sure I have a goal to work towards that will keep me from burning out or falling off the fitness wagon until after the holidays (#beentheredonethat).

Once I’m totally healed, there’s nothing stopping me from finding a springtime race to train for! I haven’t really decided if I’m ready to train for a half marathon or a full, but my best running buddy will be running the Boston marathon this year so I’d have a training partner for whatever I choose.

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Now I just have to pick a direction and GO! Okay time for another Tylenol for this girl. Your turn – find a corn maze and GET LOST.

XO Kenz.

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