Traditionally, I am a Black Friday shopper. I don’t go out Thanksgiving Thursday night (Hello–I have to take care of my food baby) or even early Friday morning, (Hello–beauty sleep and morning work out…) but I definitely hit my favorite stores at some point.
In years past, I come home with bags and bags of bargains–for myself. Yep. it’s my favorite day to score clothes, shoes, and accessories to stuff my own stocking.
If you’re NOT like me and are planning to shop for others on your list this Friday and all season long, take a look at my holiday picks!
The theme of my picks: Hammered metals.
For the Home / Hostess / Host
Not only are these pieces useful for dining and entertaining, but they are also standalone decorative pieces fit for display any time of year. Further, they can fit in with many styles of decor–these pieces can fit in anywhere, whether the host or hostess on your list has a rustic, modern, or shabby chic style home!
Okay so this ^ isn’t hammered metal (obvi) but it is an honorable mention. I spritzed this on and couldn’t stop sniffing. All night. I was like a preschooler with a bottle of Elmer’s. Another all out win by Tory.
We used succulent plants in my bouquet (above) and in the centerpieces for the dining tables (below).
And they were so beautiful!
After the wedding, I was able to save a few of the plants from my bouquet and the centerpieces to use as decor throughout our house! Listen up, because you’re gonna wanna do this too.
Head to your local garden center and pick out a variety of shapes and colors. They come potted in a bit of soil–however, you may need an extra bag of soil for re-potting.
head to your local goodwill or thrift store. pick out a bunch of vintage glasses and cups to pot them in! Remember–Super Saturdays at goodwill will afford you an additional discount on these already cheap items. Plan ahead!
This is also a great way to re-purpose items you already have! Old housewares like coffee mugs and candle holders you have laying around the house will do!
Below are some of the ways that I’ve placed succulents around my house!
^ Cacti and candles as an everyday Centerpiece for the kitchen table
another little guy in a teeny little cordial glass I got from goodwill ^.
^ This is a succulent in literally an old can of olives. I just stuck that sucker in there and Tied a bit of crafting twine in a bow. and i’m not even on pinterest because i have my own flippin good ideas. See how easy this is!?
I also had this birdcage left over from the wedding (originally purchased from hobby lobby.) It used to hold cards. Now it holds my little green babies!
A bird’s Eye view ^
OH LOOK! There’s the bar cart! It is no longer functions as a bar cart, but now as a unique side table!
This is pretty much really important, so I’m just gonna jump right in.
As homeowners, we are faced with a particular problem this time of year that can affect our pride and reputation for years to come. Yep, the choice of what Halloween candy we will give out to our neighborhood trick-or-treaters. Or…
…The Harding Halloween Candy Conundrum!
Whatever you wanna call it, this is an important decision that will have a lasting affect on how we are viewed as residents on our block.
The way I see it, there are three categories of Halloween candy:
The kind in which I will eat the whole bag in one sitting
The basic betch kind that like everyone gives out (no thanks.)
The shitty kind that literally no one likes
Here they are in a color coded, visual format.
PROBLEM PROBLEM PROBLEM! I don’t WANT to eat an entire bag of Halloween candy! I need to save some for the trick or treaters! Solution: anything in this bubble cannot be purchased.
PROBLEM PROBLEM PROBLEM! Like everyone goes to Wal-Mart and buys these. These three candies make up, on average, 63% of your typical trick or treater’s haul. We aren’t basic here in my house. Solution: anything in this bubble cannot be purchased.
PROBLEM PROBLEM PROBLEM! HELLLL NOOOOOO. Solution: anything in this bubble cannot be purchased.
And below is a Venn Diagram. Don’t know what that is? Ok–go back to third grade. Anyways, Please Enjoy this visual representation of all three categories of candy and how they interact to form the entire Harding Halloween Candy Conundrum.
(You may have to click on the image to enlarge.)
See that star in the middle? Like the diagram points out, this is the sweet spot.
The candy that fits into this spot will solve our candy conundrum. This candy will *NOT* be the kind that makes each little Anna and Elsa immediately turn around and run into the other direction. It will be unique enough so that children will think, “GOSH this is the best house on the block! That Mr. And Mrs. Harding–they sure are swell!” And finally, I will not sit and eat the entire bowl of this candy so there will be enough for the little minions and goblins in the first place.
Clearly, this decision is up to me. If I left Adam in charge of this, he would probably go into the store and come out with dried pineapple pieces for each little girl and boy.
Okay okay okay. If you make ONE recipe from this blog, make it this one, okay? This may be one of the best ones I’ve ever made up!
Start with your small (8oz) Mason Jar. (Don’t all super great things start with Mason jars these days?) Ready? OKAY! You’re gonna put all these things into it:
Get nutz about seedz. Flaxseeds, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds to be exact! I already had all of these in my cupboards, and you probably should too. A ton of great recipes call for ’em. Go to your local Sprouts or bulk grocery store and stock up on them in your spice cabinet. One tablespoon of each, into the jar!
2 tablespoons of chopped pecans
4 tablespoons of pure pumpkin
2 tablespoons of powdered peanut butter.
Wait–you don’t have this in your pantry either? What are you, new? I seriously have like 5 big jars of this stuff right. I use it in my protein shakes, protein pancakes, and now, my pumpkin pie overnight oatmeal! It supplies a nutty flavor and serves as a great thickener!
1/4 cup of rolled oats
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice (DUH.)
Also. I add in two stevia packets. If you’re one of those who is against sweeteners, omit that. You could also add honey, pure maple syrup, or agave syrup, I suppose. Whatever you prefer!
And there you have it. Fill the mason jar with almond milk!
Put on the sealing lid and give it a really super great shake for like a minute, okay?
(If you can even wait that long! You have to AT LEAST wait 30 minutes, fine.)
The only thing that would make this better would be like, a spoon made out of bacon.
Every woman gets to have that one thing they loooove about themselves, right!?
One of my secrets to keeping my hair healthy and looking fab is that I only wash it seldomly, which keeps my hair shiny and prevents it from drying out.
Welp, in between washes, I’m always using my ONE product I CANNOT live without.
Remember? Read more here, in my very first post ever!
In addition to dry shampoo, I use another product to keep my hair smooth and shiny when it’s been a several days since my last scrub a dub.
The “Haute Mess” by Hempz Couture sprays on to dry hair for added shine and silkiness. And the cherry on top is that it smells amazing! Purchase this one here.
My next September favorite is the “Modesty” lipstick by Mac.
The color is enough to make your lips pop but is understated enough and super gorg for everyday wear. Get it here.
And finally, I’ve started using the “Orgasm” illuminator by Nars. I put this on my cheeks and under my eyes right after my foundation for a little bit of color and highlight. Seriously–it’s called “orgasm.” Can you really pass that up?
The grocery stores are stocking candy, costumes, and fall decorations.
All the kiddos are back in school.
The mornings and evenings bring a chill to the air.
Leaves are getting colorful and crispy.
The basic betches are breaking out the sweatpants and pumpkin candles.
And then comes the first Sunday in September which marks the beginning of a very special season.
Yep, I’m talking about crock pot season!
This Sunday, while Adam watched the first football games of the season, I was busy with my dueling crockpots! There’s just something very special about being together in our home on a Sunday with the sound of football and smell of simmering stew filling the air!
We have two crockpots–remember? When you take two previously single people and co-habitate them, you get two crock pots and two can openers! (To make it simple–I double the recipe so that we get twice as much food all while only having to grocery shop, chop, and mop up after only one time!)
Because it just felt right, (and because I already have a ton of this stuff frozen in mason jars) I made our fave beef stew!
Just put all that stuff in your crock pot and cook it on low for 6-8 hours. It’s that easy.
(Yes, this recipe does require some prep. But once you’re chopped, diced, and scooped, all you do is put all of the ingredients in the crock pot and set on low for 6-8 hours!)
Two crock pots made seven meals for us. We froze four for jar lunches and put the rest in the fridge for meals this week!
Note: this stew turns out more brothy than a traditional stew. I wouldn’t call it a “soup” but it does not have that goopy stewy texture you may be used to. So, if you’re looking for a very traditional stew recipe, this is not the one! In order to achieve that, you’ll need to add some sort of thickener like flour or corn starch and that’s just not something we’re interested in!
Okay. So you’re like, Liquid Aminos? What’s that!? This is what it looks like (^), if you’re gonna search for it at your local store.
One thing that bothers me about most recipes involving tomato paste is that they only call for a small amount of the can.
I normally put the leftovers in the fridge but never find myself using them before I have to throw the rest away.
Here’s what I do:
I stick the rest in my ice cube tray and freeze! This way, when I need a small amount of tomato paste, I just simply thaw the perfect amount needed for the next recipe!
You guys. Last weekend in Orange County, I participated in mollie & laurie’s 3rd Annual Inaugural Pumpkin Pie Party.
Okay okay, so if you’re thinking, “Annual Inaugural Pumpkin Pie Party!? What’s that!?”
I shall start from the beginning.
This is me and my pal, Laurie, above. You see, we are pumpkin people.
Exhibits B and C.
Once pumpkin season hits, we are those girls. We are all about the pumpkin bundtcakes, lumpcakes, poundcakes, roundcakes, and cupcakes. Pumpkin sheetcakes and cheesecakes. Pumpkin coffee and pumpkin toffee. Pumpkin soup and pumpkin goop. Pumpkin hula hoop. Pumpkin muffins and puffins. Pumpkin doughnuts and go-nuts. And of course, pumpkin pie.
So like I said, back to the 3rd Annual Inaugural Pumpkin Pie Party.
I’ll break this down for you, bit by bit.
Pumpkin Pie Party: Ok. So this means a party where you eat pumpkin pie. DUH.
3rd Annual: Ok. So this means this is the third year in a row that this party has happened.
Inaugural: Ok. So this means that we mark the beginning of pumpkin season together for each individual year.
Put it all together: We mark the beginning of pumpkin season by eating our first annual bite of pumpkin pie, together. And this year was the third year in a row.
Laurie and I were both populating places in Orange County at the present–her pad in Irvine, mine in Mission Viejo. We were just plain clueless that we were pioneering a perfect new practice as two pumpkin pie peckers in my pretty penthouse.
We proceeded to pig out on pizza and pumpkin pie off of plastic plates during a pajama party in a San Diego hotel room. See?? Here, I poured on a peak of whipped cream at a point of profound pumpkin passion.
And this year, in 2015, it was a picnic in a public parking lot!!
Laurie still lives in Orange County proper. When I was there over Labor Day, it was a priority that we meet for lunch (and of course to hold our third annual pumpkin pie party.) Because many pit-stops have puritanical “No Outside Pie Policies,” we could not perform the precise procedures of our party in our peaceful booth promptly postliminary to our lunch.
Lucky for us, there was a perfectly pleasant parking lot right outside which would serve as a prime position! And of course, being a premium pie party hostess (among other things), Laurie had been proactive and packed all the prerequisites for a pristine party in a portable pumpkin pie pouch.
Laurie then unpacked several pretty paper plates–proportionate to the exact number of persons who were present for the party (they even corresponded to the particular gender of the partaker–blue for Adam, pink for Laurie & me!)
Keep your peepers peeled. Can you pick up on the phrase printed on the plates?
“Happy Time FOR YOU!”
(It was a happy time, indeed.)
She had even packed a personal pie server.
Laurie portioned out and passed the pie pieces.
As soon as I had my eyes on the prize, I could feel my patience petering out and could no longer persevere. I could not postpone my excitement with each passing moment. I was about to put away a powerful pile of pumpkin pie.
Then, we proceeded to propose praises to ourselves and projected very positive potential for this pumpkin season.
And the party progressed as planned.
The pungent pumpkin flavor panged our palates and we couldn’t help but take a pause to savor our pleasure during our inaugural taste of pumpkin paradise!!!!
Please peruse the video below which contains more moments of our pumpkin party! Make sure you have the volume turned up as it is set to the most delightful song!
…Are you peeved with all the “p” words I’ve procured for this post?
On our westward way, Adam made a terrible mistake that nearly ruined THE ENTIRE WEEKEND.
This is the Zip Travel Center. We stopped here for gas and a potty break.
As I was headed back to the car, Adam said, “I’m gonna get us some snacks. Do you want anything to drink?” I politely turned down a beverage–this was the third time we had to stop already–and we weren’t even out of Arizona.
“I’m gonna get us some snacks.”
Now, Adam knows me well enough that I completely and 110% trusted his snack-selecting abilities. (BUT. This is where things went critically wrong.)
So I headed back to the car welcoming the surprise and thinking, “this is gonna be good.”
Why? Because this was not any Travel Center. This Zip Travel Center was absolutely full to the brim with sweets and treats, crunchies and munchies.
The Zip Travel Center did have all the yummy usuals that one would expect at a Travel Center.
See? On these shelves alone, I see at least FOUR different Reese’s varities, TWO different Kit-Kats, Almond Joys, like FIVE different M&M’s, NUTTER BUTTERS (OMG), OREOS, AND YES YOUR EYES ARE NOT MISTAKEN–THOSE ARE MOON PIES ABOVE THE CHIPS AHOY. DID SOMEONE SAY PORTABLE NUTELLA CUPS!?
Not pictured: like a million other shelves also teeming with Twizzlers and Twix.
On top of all of that, this Zip Travel Center had a CINNABON inside of it.
Right there ^.
I waited in the car for what seemed like hours as Adam lingered inside. The suspense was building up as I dreamed of an ooey gooey cinnamon roll or perhaps the tangy taste of a red vine. When he finally returned….
WARNING: WHAT IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN NEXT MAY SHOCK AND SCARE YOU.
DRIED PINEAPPLE PIECES.
Um. Whut?! Literally there were no words for my disappointment.
I don’t think I’ve felt this let down since Leonardo DiCaprio’s character died on a floating piece of wood in Titanic and Kate Winslet kept saying, “I’ll never let go, Jack.” BUT THEN SHE DID, AND WATCHED HIM SLIP AWAY INTO THE OCEAN.
I couldn’t even express myself. In the words of Regina George:
Luckily, Adam picked these up at stop #4.
Chex Mix Muddy Buddies, which may be the equivalent of a road-trip truck stop holy grail. Notice the flatness of the bag–they are indeed ALL GONE.
What do you think about Dried Pineapple Pieces???! Weigh in below!
Ultimately, despite this massive mistake, we did go on to have a fantastic weekend in Orange County.
Haiiii guys! Remember how I used to be a #CaliforniaGirl?
(Yea, from May of 2013 to November of 2013, I was pretty much a Real Housewife of the OC.) See the ocean in the background!?
SO FOR LABOR DAY WEEKEND, I’M GOIN’ BACK TO CALI.
Yep. We’re all road trippin’. Bambi get OUT of the driver’s seat. That’s obnoxious–everyone knows you’re a virgin who YOU CAN’T DRIVE. (That statement is at least half true….)
3 day weekend. Cool ocean breezes. Sand in my toes. Family. Old friends.
What else could a girl need!? Well, I’ll share some of what I can’t live without this LDW so that YOU can copy me!
It’s fine. I know you always do anyway.
READ ON…AND DON’T EXPECT TO SEE OVERALLS ON THIS LIST….
Those were SO fourth of July.
FOR STARTERS, WE’RE GONNA HAVE A KILLER PLAYLIST As the soundtrack to our trip.
(If the player above doesn’t work, you can listen to the Labor Day Weekend HypeHits here!)
But first. We will finish listening to the audiobook of Aziz Ansari’s, Modern Romance! (This is our book club book for September!)
NEXT, I’M OBSESSED WITH COCKTAILS INVOLVING GRAPEFRUIT JUICE.
It was like THE THING to drink grapefruit juice and vodka (AKA the greyhound) at Kate’s wedding. I think at one point the bartenders even ran out of grapefruit juice. Fail.
So. I read about this drink involving grapefruit juice called the “Bichon Frise” on a new blog I’m following, Caradise Found. This also reminded me that I LOVE St. Germain Elderflower liquor.
And I’m gonna drink ’em all weekend long. My sister-in-law, Ashley, probably will too.
(Photos courtesy of Caradise Found. Click here to find out how to make it yourself.)
By the way, Caradise Found was recently started up by my cousin-in-law, Cara. She is just about the most stylish and fabulous human alive. And she does it all with three kiddos in tow. You should check it out. (Especially if you’re a Saint Louisan. And you CAN say “Saint Louisan.” I should know. I once was one.)
NEXT, I’M GONNA PACK SOME APPAREL APPROVED BY MARISSA COOPER HERSELF.
You guys wanna start a petition so that we can stream all four seasons of The O.C.?
SO. I’M LIKE IN LOVE MY NEW WHITE BOYFRIEND JEANS.
Here’s why. They’re forgiving when you’ve eaten too much the entire cake and they are comfortable for lounging/road tripping! Further, those skin tight skinny jeans make your butt sweat! THESE DO NOT DO THAT!
I found the perfectly priced and perfectly adorable pair at TARGET. Find yours here. Warning: mine streeeetcheddddd–consider this when choosing your size.
AND THEN I’M DEFINITELY GOING TO PACK MY GOLD SPARKLY SPERRY BOAT SHOES.
NOTHING SAYS NEWPORT LIKE THESE, AM I RIGHT?
Hmmm. These are old so not sure where you can get these anymore–sorry! (Not too sorry.) But you CAN get all sorts of other cools ones here.
You guys. I’m currently obsessed with my beauty routine.
…I’ve jumped on the Kim Kardashian Contour train.
And. I’m. Never. Looking. Back.
Disclaimer: Right about now, if you’re saying, “I’m not the kind of girl who wears makeup,” then you should probably just leave now–we won’t have much in common. If you’re saying, “I’m naturally beautiful–I don’t need this,” then screwwwwww yewwwww.
In the above photo, you’ll see several classics. For instance–Urban Decay’s eye shadow palette, Naked 2.
If you haven’t tried this or aren’t using it, do you live under a freakin’ rock?
It’s fabulous. So many beautiful shades for a natural, understated work-day look as well as options for your night-time smoky eye. Cuz I’ve gotta have options, amirite?
Another classic, Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle Eau de Parfum.
EAU DE PARFUM? Yea. That’s what I said. I see you there rolling your eyes and saying, “it’s called perfummmme in America, you idiot.” Stop. It. Right. Now. Once you’ve made French macarons from scratch at Sur La Table, you can start calling things by their French names.
For starters, I will now refer to myself as La Hype-Fille! La is French for “The” and Fille is French for “Girl.” Duh.
It applies the powder so evenly it gives me tingles just to think about it. And it’s like just so super soft.
What are your current faves?!
If you are interesting in contouring but aren’t sure which palette is right for you, I recommend just popping into your neighborhood Sephora and ask the makeup artists for their advice, taking your individual skin tone and type into consideration!