Archive of ‘NicNacs’ category

Trader Joe’s favorites!

Even as I’m starting this post, I’m realizing all of the other items that should be part of this. Maybe a new blog series? It could work, especially since Trader Joe’s changes up their selection pretty frequently.

First up: Snack foods. Would you expect anything else from me?

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I hesitated to try the Raisin Rosemary Crisps, but now I want to go back and eat more of them to make up for that. I know it sounds like an odd combination, but they’re really good and most of the time I don’t even dip them in anything. The Pita Bite crackers I either dip in hummus, a tzatziki sauce (TJ’s also has an awesome one!), or I heat them up with pieces of mozzarella string cheese on top and pretend it’s healthy nachos. Whatever works.

Now that we’ve snacked, I guess we can move along logically to breakfast?

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Dan and I go through so many boxes of both of these. He eats the waffles plain or with syrup while I prefer them with almond or peanut butter and some fruit on top. Same story with the oatmeal – Dan likes it plain, I like to add some fruit (more on that below).

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These pomegranate seeds? Everything. I can eat an entire box of them in one sitting and I’ve even googled whether you can have too many. I told Google “a friend” wanted to know. These are what I throw on top of my oatmeal and I love the combination of the mush (is there a better word to describe oatmeal?) with the crunch. The feta also ends up on top of every pasta dish I make, including these ravioli. I can’t always find these, but when I do, I stock up. They were even part of Easter dinner this year!

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Ugh, these things are so good. I usually dip them in some of my flavored balsamics, but I’ve also melted cheese over them. I would imagine they’re good plain as well, but I can’t stop putting cheese on things, so I may never know.

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Speaking of things to add cheese to. This is my absolute favorite pizza and we both buy it all the time. The cheese with the squash, and then there are green things on it that disguise it as healthy. MMMmmmmm.

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You know that commercial for hot sauce where the old woman says “I put that $#@% on everything”? Well, I put this garlic salt on EVERYthing. I bought it on a whim one day and I can’t get over how flavorful it is, even with just a sprinkle of it on pasta, bread, salads, pizza, cupcakes. Ok, I’m kidding about that last one, but…maybe?

The chocolate bar says “sugar free” and yet it still tastes amazing. It’s dark chocolate, so it’s doing good things for my heart too, which is why I have to eat a piece every night. Right?

Ok, your turn!! What things do you love to buy from TJs? We wait for the pumpkin waffles every fall and we’re constantly buying salads. Oh, and their burritos! And some of the iced teas. And wine. Ok, I think we will be doing another one of these soon…

Sephora Haul

So I know hauls are usually done on YouTube where I could easily show you my new products while talking on and on about them, but the thought of sitting in front of a camera and listening to my own voice while I play it back? Ew, no.

You guys definitely seem to be more interested in beauty posts though, and I get the most feedback when I talk about some of my favorite products (#1 and #2), so I figured I would share a few things that I ordered from Sephora over the weekend.

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The main thing I wanted was this Murad Clarifying Cleanser that was part of my last favorites post. I had bought the starter kit that comes with 4 sample sizes of a cleanser, treatment lotion, moisturizer, and spot treatment. While I wasn’t a huge fan of the moisturizer, I did like the cleanser and the treatment products. I will say that it has seemed to lose its effectiveness a bit, but that’s also because I seemed to lose the motivation to use it twice a day. I was almost out of the cleanser so I decided to buy the full-size version and stick with it a bit longer.

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The next thing I wanted was this Clinique Lash Doubling Mascara in black. I first received this as a trial size in one of the gift-with-purchase promotions. I was holding off on buying the full size version until there was another Clinique gift at Macy’s (starts today!), but I felt kind of …meh about most of the items in the gift and I have enough of those bags to wallpaper my bathroom now, so I grabbed it at Sephora instead. This is my current favorite mascara and even though I have five other brands currently on rotation in my makeup bag (indecisive much?), this is the one I usually reach for.

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I’ve become a big fan of using makeup brushes to apply everything from foundation to powder to shadow. I used to be the girl who just used the sponges or little applicators that came with my makeup, but I’ve since become a bit of a brush snob. That being said, my collection has been lacking a crease brush for a while and I’ve even tried to use a small blush brush to blend my eye makeup. Yes, you’re right. That was a disaster. I don’t have any other Sephora brushes, but I’m hoping this Sephora Crease Brush #73 will help me avoid any more panda eyes.

Those were the three items that I purchased, but if you’ve ordered from Sephora before, you know that you usually end up with a stack of awesome samples. First up was my birthday bonus – a pair of Nars lipstick crayons in Cruella and Rikugien (if you can promounce that, you win.) I’ve never owned anything by Nars, but I do know that last year’s birthday gift (a Makeup Forever lipstick) is my all-time favorite everyday lipstick, so I’m trusting Sephora on this one.

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When you sign up to be a Beauty Insider, you not only get the annual birthday gift, but you earn points on purchases that can be exchanged for products. I used 100 of my points this month to get this Lancome Bi-Facil Eye Makeup Remover since I’m almost out of my Clinique bottle.

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Another helpful tip is to google “Sephora promotional code” whenever you order online from them. Most likely you will find several to chose from and score yourself some extra stuff. The one I used got me this Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment. I have one of these in a wine color and I barely use it, so it definitely wasn’t worth spending $22 on for me (I spent WHAT on a lip balm?!?), but the internet seems to love these things, so I’m giving it another shot. I suspect I might like it better now that it’s free.

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And finally, the samples! Usually you get to pick three with every order, but I was able to chose five this time.

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First up is the Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation + Concealer. I’ve seen a little bit about this on the internet – both good & bad – so I’m curious to try it.

The Dr. Brandt pores no more primer – you know I love my primers and I can easily be sold by the thought of being poreless.

I’m not really sure why I chose the Living Proof Curl Conditioning Wash. I think I just want Jennifer Aniston’s hair. Now and in the 90’s.

I had a bit of a moral dilema with this one. I hear good things about the Kat Von D Lock-It Tattoo Foundation, but she did ruin Sandra Bullock’s marriage, so… We’ll see.

The last one they screwed up on a little bit, but I don’t mind. I was supposed to be getting a sample of the Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation (it even says it on my packing list), but instead ended up with this Amazing Cosmetics Amazing Concealer set. I’m actually kind of glad this happened now that I think about it because I already have several other foundation samples. Mixin’ it up a bit.

So there it is! I’m also on the hunt for some purple eyeshadow shades, a shampoo that lathers but doesn’t ruin my hair, and a new eye cream. Any suggestions? I haven’t been to Sephora in about three hours so I’m overdue.

Drinking Away the Springtime Blues with Brews!

What do you do when the first day of spring delivers a few more inches of snow? You hop on a flight! Or you head to a brewery to get some hops on a flight. My apologies to everyone who follows me on social media and has already heard that line, but I have a love of terrible puns and I couldn’t leave it out.

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We took a ride up to Gloucester to tour Cape Ann Brewing Company and we were not disappointed! As you locals know, Gloucester is very much a fishing town and it’s evident in the decor both inside and outside the brewery.

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You can even play a game trying to hook a fish on the wall. Bonus points if you can do it with a beer in the other hand.

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This was a little different than some of the brewery tours we’ve done before in that we didn’t actually get to sample anything during the tour itself, but it was nothing less than informative. I can always be won over with a carefully drawn out diagram.

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After learning how the beers were crafted, we had the opportunity to visit the pub and try a few. It’s not easy to narrow it down to just a couple when the descriptions sound this good, so we had to go with a flight to try six at once.

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While most are available on tap, the barrel-aged options come in a bottle that can serve 2-3 people for $20. We were told these were best for wine drinkers because you get the cabernet flavor mixed with the beer, taking away some of the bitterness. I’m not much of a beer drinker myself, so I would have loved to try one of these, but it wasn’t included in our flight. I did, however, enjoy the Rockporter – a dark, chocolately porter named for a neighboring coastal town. Dan’s favorite was the Tea Party – a barley wine made with three flavors of tea.

We couldn’t leave without also sampling their food, so I tried a pub classic.

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Dan had a BBQ chicken sandwich that he says was delicious. I can only vouch for the pickle.

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With its wooden, cafeteria-style tables and its ever-changing menu of craft beers, this seems like a great place to come with friends to enjoy a few snacks and drinks. Even if you aren’t the biggest beer-enthusiast, like myself, there is something for everyone to enjoy, whether it’s a behind the scenes tour, or a plate of soft pretzels as an alternative way to get your carbs!

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[This post is not sponsored and Cape Ann Brewing Company has no idea that I’m even writing about them. I simply wanted to share a positive experience and give some local love ūüėČ ]

Spring Favorites

I’m completely ignoring the fact that it snowed this morning and instead focusing on the fact that it warmed up to 48 degrees in the afternoon (hello, bipolar New England weather). The least little bit of sunshine makes me want to break out all my spring clothes and, of course, buy new ones. Here’s what I’m eyeing right now:

Spring Things

(1) Charlotte Russe earrings – I ordered a crap ton of earrings from Charlotte Russe recently and I love them all, but I didn’t own a single ear jacket before then and I’ve become obsessed with expanding my collection. These are just the right combination of classy and fun.

(2) NYC Madison top – This shirt comes in a few different colors, but I’m loving the bright blue.

(3) Le Rose phone case – This site actually sells an enormous collection of artsy phone covers and they all look like something that could be taken off your phone and hung on the wall.

(4) Madewell Poolside necklace – I recently bought 3 separate necklaces to layer, but it’s a bit high maintenance, so I love that this one is all one piece. The blue pop of color is another bonus!

(5) Target floral cardigan – I actually already own this and have worn it three times already. I’m in love with it and can’t wait to pair it with my mint jeans soon!

(6) Target pink flats – These read more coral to me, but they say pink. If I see them in the store, I may grab them to match my floral cardigan (above) and wear them every day of the week.

(7) Target mint satchel – I had a mint obsession last year and apparently it hasn’t left my system yet. And why should it?!

Things & Stuff | Weekly Favorites

Hey, so let’s talk about something other than that hideous internet dress that changes colors like the horse from The Wizard of Oz, shall we? Here’s what I’m into this week:

(1) House of Cards is back! I considered waking up early this morning to get a few episodes in before work, but “before work” is just so early for….well, for anything really. I got half of an episode down while getting ready, and I plan to have the entire season complete by Sunday night. Hashtag GOALS.

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(2) I bought a ticket today for my first ever blogging conference in April – Blog Better Boston! In fact, I think I actually bought the first ticket because I’m a little overeager, but the focus is on two of my favorite aspects of blogging – photography and design – and I can’t. freaking. wait. Is anyone else going??

(3) Wedding planning. Hyyeeeeeelllll no, that’s not a favorite, just the topic here. Things have been moving along rather quickly, overwhelmingly, and expensively, and while I have weekly meltdowns and want to cancel things and lose deposits to elope and have a BBQ on the beach (true story), there are a few things I’m really excited about. One of those is the location for our engagement photo shoot – Larz Anderson park in Brookline. I would link to it, but it links to the Auto Museum on the property and you would be all like “whaaat? you’re having photos taken in old cars?” and we’re not, so I don’t want to confuse you. But Google image search it. Gorgeous, right? Now let’s just hope for sun instead of snow that day…

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(4) Speaking of the “s” word, it has ruined plans just about every weekend this month, so our Valentine’s Day trip to the Ice Castles never happened. We’re finally making it there this weekend (fingers crossed) and plan on seeing them and photographing them both in daylight and at night. We’re also checking out a new place for dinner because we heart food. A lot.

(5) Have you guys seen this shoveling dog yet? His technique needs work, but a shovel is not that much different than a vacuum, am I right? We have two cats who owe us a lot of money for vet bills, and, you know, rent, food, and someone cleaning your poop every day. I’m wondering if I can get this dog to come teach them a thing or seven.

That’s it for me! What’s exciting to you this week??

Have a fabulous weekend! :)

Beauty Faves #2

It’s been a while since I’ve shared with you some of my favorite beauty products. I’ve been snowed in for just about 48 hours now and my beauty routine has consisted of showers and toothpaste. At least if I talk about some of my favorite products, it will make me feel like I made a bit of an effort these last two days.

I’m still a big fan of¬†everything that I wrote about last time, especially the eye shadows, primer, and heat spray that I use daily. Here’s what else I’ve added to my routine lately:

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I’ve been trying to stick to a nightly routine where I remove all of my makeup before getting into bed. Since I’m a 33-year old with skin that can’t decide if it wants to be 40 (wrinkles) or 15 (acne), I tried to find a system similar to Proactiv, but more for adult skin. I ended up buying the Murad Acne Starter Kit¬†at Sephora and I’m pretty happy with it so far. I like the cleanser and the acne solution (both pictured), and I do use the spot treatment at times, but I’m not a fan of the mattifying lotion. It’s a little too mattifying, even for me. The whole system is definitely¬†intense, so I’ve started only using it at night since it makes my skin a little red during the “purging” phase, but it’s cleared things up really well!

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I also use the Almay eye makeup remover pads¬†at night and I’ve found that they don’t irritate my eyes like other removers have. They’re also super convenient, which is great when you’re trying to break lazy habits that lead to getting mascara all over your pillowcases.

The Laneige mask is also part of my nightly routine. It feels really refreshing and if you’re freaked out by the idea of sleeping in a mask, don’t be – it really feels like just a mositurizer, but I can see the difference in my skin every morning.

The Borghese scrub is my compromise between wanting to exfoliate frequently, but feeling like the St Ives Apricot scrub (you know the one) kind of rips my face off. This one is more gentle, but still gets the job done and if it’s anti-aging benefits really work, then that’s just a bonus in my mind!

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I love the Cover Girl foundation¬†because it goes on fairly smoothly, looks natural, and doesn’t require me to put powder on, which is saying a lot because my skin is very oily. It definitely lives up to it’s “shine-free” claim.

I apply it with my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush. These are great because they are good, quality brushes without the crazy price tag. I also have the blush brush and the powder brush and I have no complaints about any of them.

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Oh my God, these Lush lip scrubs. I’m sure you’re not supposed to use them as a dessert, but I can’t even help it, I just love them so much. They taste great and I’ve become so addicted to them that I even brought a second jar of the popcorn one to work. My lips just felt so dry and gross that I needed a solution, and these are definitely helping! And look at those hearts in the Santa’s scrub!

I don’t wear a lot of perfume, but when I do, I like something clean or fruity. When the brand name is Clean, it’s safe to assume that the scent might be as well. This really does smell shower fresh and I’m excited to try some more of their scents (um, fresh laundry?? sign me up.)

For hair, this Pantene¬†Weekly Rehab Creme has been a MUST for me this winter. And don’t tell anyone, but I use it more than weekly. Pantene seems to be one of those brands that people either love or hate, but this is a big LOVE for me.

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There are some Clinique products that I use frequently, and so I wait for them to have their bonus promotions to invest in them. These next two items were part of a free gift with purchase, but I intend to repurchase them when they’re gone. The mascara is my absolute favorite and I use it every day lately. It gives me both length and volume. The lipstick is in the shade A Different Grape and it scared me at first with how dark it looks, but I attempted it one day for a nice fall look and have been wearing it on and off ever since.

This particular Laura Gellar baked blush/highlighter seems to be hard to find (I have the shade Como/Portofino), which makes sense because I’ve had it a long time without using it. It seemed too sparkly for me as a blush, but I’ve started using it as a highlighter and now I love it and wish I had tried it sooner!

Lastly, this Cover Girl eye shadow kit in Blushing Nudes¬†has been a go-to this season when I don’t want to wear too much eye makeup or I’m in a hurry. You can tell from the photo below that I prefer the peach color and really haven’t bothered with the others yet, but that shade is the perfect brightening color without a lot of fuss.

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So that’s all of my faves! What things are you loving right now?? Please share!! I¬†have somehow spent enough money to be¬†very¬†close to a 500-point bonus at Sephora and I need to know what I should buy to get me there!!

[None of these are sponsored products or affiliate links, I really just love them all and wanted to share!]

Sweet Swap Story!

This past weekend I hosted a sweet swap at my place. I’ve always wanted to take part in a cookie swap, but I couldn’t discriminate against all other forms of sugar (hi, have you met me?), so I decided to turn it into a sweet swap, which just sounds nicer anyway, don’t you think?

Sweet Swap Invitation

I created an invite (address blacked out above) and emailed it to a few of my girlfriends. The rules were simple: bring food and take food home! Prizes were given out for the best tasting and most creative treats.

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Before the swap, I bought a tin for each guest to use to take their sweets home in. Since I couldn’t find pink tins, I decided these Valentine’s Day ones were perfectly girly and appropriate.

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I simply lined them with tissue paper and stacked them on the counter for guests to help themselves.

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I made some simple favors using baking-themed items and a few crafty supplies.

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A little “Thank you” written using a white Sharpie paint pen on black paper kept my chalkboard theme going.

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Add some sparkly stickers and a little bit of ribbon and you have yourself a favor!

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Display cards were created using the same black paper, white Sharpie, and stickers. I wanted these to let everyone know what they were eating and, more importantly, who created the treats they were enjoying!

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The dollar store has some great trays to use for displaying your desserts, and the best part is that instead of washing them, you can choose to toss them afterwards and not feel guilty!

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What goes best with diabetic-coma-inducing levels of sugar? Why, hot chocolate of course! Serving this in a slow-cooker is an easy way to keep things warm while allowing guests to serve themselves and add their own individual toppings.

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Don’t forget the important ones.

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Plan to have lots of water for your guests as well – it even got 1 vote as the “best tasting” item of the day!

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Check out some of the delicious things my clever friends made:

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Those wedding cookies? Adorable! Such a great idea considering recent events. It was also a good idea to have someone bring “real” food so that when things got too sweet (is that really a thing?), we could snack on cheese and crackers instead.

Have you ever been to a sweet/cookie swap? What are some of your favorite recipes? Could you mail them to me for a taste-test? ūüėČ

I Have a Feyoncé

I just spent a good chunk of time trying to figure out how to share my news all “guess what?” style, but then I remembered it says fianc√© (sort of) right up there in the title. Sooo…maybe not necessary?

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Dan proposed this past weekend while we were in Boston! I think I spent the first few minutes just asking “is this serious?” before I actually said “YES!” And then for a few more minutes after I said “yes”.

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We had some random strangers congratulating us and taking our photo, and I think it was one of the most surprising moments of my life. Somehow it was out of nowhere, but yet nine years in the making, all at the same time.

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This is my new favorite photo of us, even with the streaks of snow and all of its grainy, cell phone glory.

I dove straight into wedding planning the next few days, and then promptly climbed straight back out of that pool. These things cost how much?! They take how long to put together?!

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If any of you who have already been through it have any tips on how to keep the whole process manageable, affordable, and stress-free, please share them in the comments!

For now, any of you who follow me on Pinterest are safe from an onslaught of wedding boards. We’re taking some time to just enjoy being engaged and not having to rush to plan anything. When the time comes, I’m sure I will DIY the crap out of this thing, so be on the lookout for plenty of crafty favors and centerpiece ideas.

In the meantime, I’m hosting a Sweet Swap at my place this weekend and can’t wait to share it with all of you when it’s over! Have a great weekend!

Winter Bucket List 2014-2015

Happy December!!

I’m so excited for this one! I love how the design came out, and I think that makes me even more excited to complete the things on the list. Can you find all 15 items?

Winter Bucket List

I tried to branch out a bit this year and stay away from just holiday-related things. I also tried to do a few more unusual things, instead of just “drink hot chocolate” or “bake cookies” 17 times, not that I wouldn’t enjoy that, but because a bucket list should be things you’ve been wanting to try as opposed to things you’ve already done. That being said, I also threw in a few traditional things as well because it wouldn’t be true to the season if I didn’t add them. I tried to add a new twist to those things, for example, instead of just taking a drive to look at Christmas lights, we’re going to do a Christmas light scavenger hunt! (More on that in a future post!)

What things made your list this year? What would you really like to try this winter, or what’s one tried-and-true thing that you do every year?

Fall Bucket List Recap

I hope everyone has stuffed themselves full of delicious Thanksgiving food and unstuffed their wallets on all kinds of great Black Friday deals! Now that this holiday is behind us, I feel it’s completely appropriate to retire the Fall Bucket List and bring out the Winter version!

Before I reveal my Winter list, I wanted to share how I did with Fall. Here’s what my list looked like:

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And here’s how I did!

[[Go apple-picking & bake something with the apples]] – I did this one early on. We had more fun picking the apples than I thought we would, but I mistakenly added mint extract to my apple crisp instead of vanilla. I still ate it though! Thumbs up

[[Horseback riding]] – Loved this one after I got over being terrified! Thumbs up

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[[Wear a Halloween costume out somewhere]] – I dressed as Gronkowski with a mask and a jersey for work, then made myself into some sort of spider thing for going out at night. Thumbs up (but thumbs down for the tiny cell phone picture)

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[[Decoarate a pumpkin]] – Also a Thumbs up

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[[Take new fall foliage pictures]] – Did this one several times and also found a few new places to photograph! Thumbs up

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[[Make Butterbeer]] – Made 4 glasses to split with Dan, but somehow drank….4 glasses. Thumbs up

[[Donate to a food drive]] – Have a bag full of canned goods in my car right now waiting to find a food drive. Thumbs half up

[[Find a favorite pumpkin drink at Starbucks]] – Turns out my favorite pumpkin drink is no pumpkin drink at all. I tried a pumpkin latte and a squirt of the flavored syrup in my chai latte, but it’s just too sweet and too…pumpkiny? for me. I consider this a win though because I just discovered caramel brulee lattes, so I can change up my drink order when I want to now. Thumbs up

[[Watch 1 new Fall TV premiere]] – Started watching Scorpion, which was good, but it didn’t hook me. Stalker on the other hand? Obsessed. Also loving How to Get Away with Murder. Thumbs up

[[Get apple cider donuts]] – Obviously done. Thumbs up

[[Make an appetizer for Sunday football]] – Just bought the ingredients to make these for tomorrow’s game. Salivating. Thumbs up

[[Make a fall craft]] – Made some paper pumpkins that my cats promptly destroyed. Also helped make fall-themed decor for a friend’s October wedding. Thumbs up

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[[Watch a horror move that I’ve never seen]] – You’re Next. Still terrified. Thumbs up

[[Make a Crockpot meal]] – You guys already know how this one turned out. Thumbs up

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[[Cook a dish for Thanksgiving dinner]] – Sort of? I made corn dog muffins (corn bread with hot dog pieces), but I’m not sure if this can be considered a “dish” so we’re going halfway on this one. Thumbs half up

[[Try a new fall makeup trend]] – Tried matte lipstick in a fall-ish wine color. Not a fan of the matte, it felt very 90s, but I did like the color! Thumbs up

[[Try a new brand or flavor of cider]] – Found a pumpkin cider I loved at a brewfest in September. Was slightly drunk on samples, came home and bought a 6 pack, but it just doesn’t taste the same. Thumbs up

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[[Go to a haunted house]] – This one was a bit of a fail? I made an attempt, but got uncharacteristically scared about 2 feet in and forced Dan to turn around and walk back out with me. Ugh. Still annoying. Thumbs down

[[Visit a local winery]] – Conveniently, there is a winery about two minutes down the street from us. We’ve already done two tastings in the past month and purchased several bottles. Thumbs way up

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[[Bake something with pumpkin]] – Made pumpkin muffins, but promptly got sick of pumpkin this year and haven’t had much since. Thumbs up

So there it is! 18 thumbs up out of 20, and once I find that food drive, it will be 18.5. Not too bad, but let’s see if I can get 100% of my Winter list complete this year!! Stay tuned tomorrow for the big release ūüėČ

What was your favorite thing you accomplished this fall?

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