Halloween teasers

Busy. Busy. Busy.  Our 3rd Annual Halloween Party is this Friday, and Gabriel and I are in full-throttle planning and prep mode, but I wanted to share with you a few teaser photos, sans descriptions, until I do a full post on the party w/ our DIY projects.
Gotcha hooked now, don't I?

Mmmmmmm...kale chips...

Barring a major camera malfunctioning, I will definitely post on the party next week.  What are your Halloween plans??  Have I mentioned this time of year is my ultimate favorite?!

Happy Halloween, friends!!



Last night, Gabe and I watched one of my favorite fall-time movies: Garfield's Halloween Adventure {c. 1985}. 

Please tell me you've seen this {if you haven't, the title of this post will not make any sense to you}.  It's a childhood favorite of mine.  I've had the song What Should I Be stuck in my head all morning--singing I could be a scaaaary vampire, and turn myself into a bat! flap. flap--so, luckily I have had the office to myself.

I also love watching Hocus Pocus, Young Frankenstein {a fave that we watch roughly once a week all year long}, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, + The Shining several times surrounding Halloween every year.

This weekend, we're finishing our DIY costumes for our Halloween party and a family member's party, and trying to finish with the decorations, although Gabe likes to go a tad overboard so this task may never be completely finished.  I hope you have some creative weekend plans as well!

What are your favorite movies to watch around Halloween time?  AKA the best time of year in my opinion!

{photo source: librariansareweird.com}


M's baby shower

Yesterday was friend M's baby shower for baby boy #2, and it turned out so nice. 

Another friend, Tish, hosted the shower at her adorable house, which accommodated 40 or so adults / kids comfortably, and a few of us helped with games, food, and gifts.  Guests visited and ate the yummy food for the first hour, then we went round-robin and everyone introduced themselves + their relationship to M before we started the first game.  We played some traditional baby shower games that are always fun: the yarn measuring tape estimating how big around the prego mom is, a timed word scramble, and when cupcakes were passed out to all the guests, whoever had a Mickey Mouse sticker on the bottom of their cupcake wrapper won a prize.  Although the rain kept the party indoors, everyone looked really comfortable and happy, and every game went off without a hitch--rare, for such a large group!

I wanted to share with you my crafty contributions to the party, because they were a big hit and hopefully will inspire you in some way.  First, let me start by saying these are super-cheap projects and can be adapted for other types of parties.
Using only a piece of recycled craft paper, foam stamps + ink, I made a giant calendar for guests to guess the baby's birthday.  I specified the doctor's estimated due date, then offered dates three weeks before + after said date.  The most time consuming part of creating this calendar was measuring and drawing perfect lines to create the boxes for the dates {Virgo!}, but other than that, it was really simple and fun to make! 
Guests had fun picking their dates, and I announced to the group that when baby arrives, I will send out a gift to the person who guessed his birthday correctly.  Even some of the kids participated.  So cute.

Speaking of kids, they were the recipients of my other crafty project: lunches.  Seriously, I had so much fun putting these together with Gabriel.  The morning of the shower, he and I began cutting out frog-shaped bread slices {M loves frogs!}, slathering one slice in creamy peanut butter and the other slice in jelly to make fun kid-sized sandwiches.  
We used whole wheat bread {pretending we were making healthy lunches for our own kids} for the sandwiches, and also included tiny carrot sticks, colorful goldfish crackers, and a tiny box of raisins in the lunch sacks.  I found the sandwich-size lion baggies and snack-size polka dot puppy baggies in the dollar bins at Target {30 in each pack}.  Score! 
Gabriel used the foam stamps {that I had used earlier for the calendar} to stamp the word lunch in blue ink on each lunch sack.  Super easy, cheap, and adorable.  We had an assembly line going in our kitchen and joked that this is what it would be like everyday if we had twelve kids.
At the shower, Tish placed the lunch sacks on a podium marked kids bags on a shelf above a tub of chilled capri sun pouches.  This worked out so well, as it kept the kids away from the adult's food table, and the parents were able to grab a sack and give it to their kid and send them off into Tish's daughter's room to eat and play with the other kids.  It was awesome.  One kid hopped around the living room holding his frog sandwich, singing "yummy! yummy!"... I was touched and thoroughly entertained.  And at one point we spotted M's two-year-old E walking around with two baggies of goldfish, so he must have bartered with another kid.

I am still pleased with the entire event.  You know how sometimes you leave a party and think, they should have done this, or it would have been better if...  I wouldn't change anything about that day!  Adults were happy.  Kids were happy.  And most importantly, M is happy.  It went so well that a couple of us were joking that we should start a business throwing people's showers for them.  But I think we'll stick to our day jobs.

It's Monday!  And it's below eighty degrees in the capital city, so I'm content.  Have a fabulous week!


Monday morning. Gas tank on E. Happy.

This past weekend was a blasty blast.  Gabe + I spent the whole weekend together, complete with a party, yard sale hopping, garden grilling, bike riding, UNO, Korean BBQing, and a trip to Sonoma for brunch + hiking!

Friday night we went to our friends' house for their son's 2nd birthday + his cousin's 5th birthday = a ton of people: kids, family, friends, etc. It was fun seeing all the kids with their party hats on, playing with their new toys, and the guys huddled in the kitchen, keeping in close proximity to the beer-stocked cooler. 

Saturday we had blueberry muffins + coffee for breakfast, then hit up the good neighborhoods for their yard sales.  We didn't find anything really worth sharing, except a food processor with all the original attachments for $2.50!  Oh, and a vintage leather Kenneth Cole satchel for $3.00.  I guess those are worth sharing.  Mid afternoon is when people started packing things up, so we headed home for a late lunch using goodies from  our garden {tomatoes, squash, zucchini, herbs, cayenne peppers} and from others' gardens {tomatillos, herbs, fennel}, plus Parmesan, feta, cheddar cheese, kalamata olives, BBQ sauce and flour tortillas to make garden pizzas on our pizza stone on the grill. 

Oh my goodness were those delicious.  After lunch we packed our new {yard-sale find} knit blanket + UNO card game, grabbed our bikes and rode across town to a park we had a picnic at years ago near the duck pond.  We had the whole park to ourselves most of the time, and I was kicking his ass at UNO.  Good times.  After a couple hours, we rode back home, showered, and got ready to go eat a late dinner at a new place: Oz Korean BBQ
In all seriousness, this place is now my favorite place to eat in Sac.  Gabe + I have been excited to try Korean bbq and soju ever since watching Zane Lamprey on Three Sheets in South Korea.  Did any of you ever watch this show?  It used to be on the Mojo network, then moved to Fine Living, but we only watched the seasons on DVD.  It's the best travel show on television.  Anyway, this restaurant was like party central + we can't wait to gather a big group of friends to go with us next time.

Sunday was just as fulfilling.  We drove to Sonoma Valley and enjoyed an amazing brunch at the girl and the fig {one of my fav restaurants!} of eggs benedict + mimosa for me, and steak and eggs + coffee for Gabe.  In the photo our server took of us, I somehow came out looking four times larger than Gabe {the wrong angle maybe? hopefully?}, so I will only share with you the photos I took of our plates.  Much safer.
Poached eggs are my new favorite food.  And I believe I will eat anything that is covered in hollandaise.  Good hollandaise, that is.  And trust me, this was good hollandaise.  After brunch, there was no way we were in any condition to just start hiking, so we strolled around town for a bit.  The square was packed with people, ducks, and limos.  On a Sunday?  Really?
That male mallard was so perfect, he looked fake.  We must have taken a few dozen pictures of these ducks, but when a dude came up next to us toting pro camera equipment, we took our leave.  {Note: I'm asking for a nice camera + lenses for Christmas. Cross your fingers I get my wish so you'll be able to look at better quality photos on my blog}

The state park Gabe picked out for us to hike was about a twenty minute drive from Sonoma's bustling center.  The drive was surprising in that one minute we went from passing well-kept farmhouses on dry acreage to custom homes nestled in lush green foliage.  It was insane.  Gabe kept asking, "What do these people do for a living?!"  I wondered the same.  And also wondered if we could weasel our way into becoming best friends with a couple of them.  Possible, yes. Likely, no.  The most surprising home looked like an impressive replica of Frances Mayes's Bramasole in Cortona, Italy. 
Wow.  If you lived here, you wouldn't need to go on vacation. 
Just up the road from this home was where we stopped to hike at Sugarloaf Ridge, to a place called Bald Mountain.  The trails were a combination of lush greenery providing ample shade and stale hot sun-drenched spots where temperatures were a good 10° hotter than in the shade.  We hiked for a few hours, although, thanks to my asthma, we didn't make it to the top of Bald Mountain, but we did get a good view of it and understood the reason for its name.  
It wasn't so much the exercise that piqued my interest, but rather the breathtaking views and gnarly tree- and lizard- sightings.   The only sounds around us were the rustling of leaves as the lizards hid, the nearly dry creek, and gun shots from a yonder shooting range.  The gun shots definitely broke our peaceful enjoyment of our natural surroundings, but admittedly added a jolt of excitement.

Upon returning home, we grabbed the dogs and headed over to Gabe's dad's house for a cousin playdate, since we were taking care of his two dogs while he's on vacation.  They swam, play-fought, swam some more, and wore themselves out.  We stopped by Blockbuster on our way home {yes, they still exist} and picked up three random movies.  Couples Retreat starring Vince Vaughn turned out to be surprisingly good.  New York, I Love You was good, but not as good as Paris, je t'aime, which we own and really enjoy.  We finished both before passing out, and have yet to watch the third movie we rented, 9 by Tim Burton.  We both are big fans of Tim Burton, and something about October puts me especially in the mood for his artistry.   

If I would have elaborated on each meal and movie, this post would have ended up ten times as long.  Did I mention the hollandaise?  I believe I did.  I'll stop there.  How was your weekend??


My recent book purchases speak volumes

Haha, get it?  Okay, that was a bad one.  But really, looking at the last handful of books I have bought in the last few weeks, they are telling me something. Can you guess what that something is?

It's time for me to get a passport and get the hell out of Dodge Sacramento.  I'm craving adventure, culture, new experiences.  Gabe and I have a few specific destinations in mind, which I cannot yet reveal, so once we get our passports {+ once my vacation time refreshes}, we'll be saying peace out!
Have an adventure-packed weekend!

{Tales of A Female Nomad by Rita Golden Gelman; French Toast a memoir by Harriet Welty Rochefort; Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert}


Me, elsewhere: Apartment Therapy

Thanks, AT, for choosing my room to be part of your Behr Room For Color 2010 Contest!

Readers: If you like my room, please add it as a favorite. :)

In the interest of full disclosure, the room is unfinished.  We are working on installing new floors {cork!}, trimming out the huge windows, replacing said windows {and slider}, and updating the adjoining kitchen.  And, if you remember, I promised you I would post afterish pictures from our Valentine's Day paintfest this year, so, this is me finally making good on that promise. 

Also, I should confess that I did not style the room for these photos.  I thought about it, but other than these particular fresh flowers in the recycled S. Pellegrino glass bottles, our room always looks like it does in the photos on AT.  Nothing fancy.  Lived in.  Home.


Anniversary SuRpRiSe!

Gabriel planned a surprise mini-getaway for our anniversary: a trip to St. Helena in Napa Valley + dinner at my favorite restaurant, Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen.  If you have never been to Cindy's, you have not lived.  My only instructions for the surprise were to be ready at 2, and to look cute.  Well, I was ready by 2:30, but I did look cute in my new top + skirt from J. Crew and my EmersonMade flower! :)

We sat at the same table, and I ordered the same thing as on our honeymoon: Schramsberg Blanc de blancs, avocado + papaya salad, Incredible Mushroom Tamale, and coffee, sans campfire pie for dessert {no room}.  Gabe ordered something different this time: the special.  He had the most delicious halibut we have ever tasted, accompanied by the same beer he ordered on our honeymoon, Death and Taxes Lager.  Although we passed on dessert, our server brought us a sundae of strawberry ice cream topped with chocolate and a warm baked chocolate chip cookie {all made in house}, with a lit candle on the plate.  It was so sweet, and we felt as though we were once again on our honeymoon.

After dinner we walked down Main St., which was eerily empty seeing as how it was Sunday night, but we enjoyed the peace.  When we returned to our car we decided to go fantasy-house-hunting through the neighborhoods of St. Helena...neighborhoods that rival Stars Hollow in charm.  We were happy to see several residents sitting out on their front porches enjoying the early autumn weather, and wished we could join them.  When all sunlight was lost, we headed back home.  Upon returning, I jumped online to check the MLS for listed homes in St. Helena... :::and:::

...Maybe we'll just continue to visit on occasion. ;)


One year ago today, I became an Olson

Yes, friends, today is our one year anniversary as husband and wife.

Can I believe it has already been a whole year? No!
I love my husband. We exchange good morning hugs everyday. I look forward to a lifetime of them.

I'm one super lucky gal.

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