On Monday I saw my first house decked in Christmas lights. On Friday I heard Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” on the radio for the first time this season. Yesterday my parents and I picked out a Christmas tree in 80 degree weather.
The Christmas season is officially here! Which means I have to say goodbye to my wonderful pumpkin decorations and bring out all my favorite Christmas ones (hint: all my favorite Christmas decorations are covered in glitter).
I brought a few things up to my apartment in Gainesville to spread some holiday cheer in our little apartment.
This picture does not do this little bouquet justice. It’s so sparkly, I love it. I think I’m part parakeet.
Some glittery/snowy reindeer from my youth also make an appearance. These were my favorite decorations in elementary school.
I hung some ornaments in our empty picture frames (aka chic wall art) above the couch, but our white living room wall doesn’t lend itself to great photographs:
I’ve got a few more things I’d like to put up but already the apartment is feeling festive!
I love Christmas. Anyone else have a favorite decoration that they look forward to bringing out each year?
Last night, I went to my friend’s Psycho-themed Halloween party. What better way to get ready for Halloween than pay homage to one of the best horror/thriller filmmakers of all time?
"Oh, we have 12 vacancies. Twelve cabins, twelve vacancies."
I love Hitchcock, and I loved the attention to detail my friend Amanda put into the foods and decorations! She even splattered her shower with chocolate sauce to look like blood from the famous shower scene–dedication. It smelled amazing in there.
"You eat like a bird."
These red velvet cupcakes were fantastic, by the way.
And of course, no Psycho party would be complete without at least one photo of someone wrapped in a shower curtain.
As mentioned before, I have an ongoing love affair with Uppercrust bakery in Gainesville. Every time I head to that part of town, I am drawn to Uppercrust like there’s some kind of creme-filled magnet pulling me towards it. This visit was particularly wonderful because they finally have started baking their amazing chocolate bread again!
A thick slice of chocolate with chocolate bread with peanut butter is better than most things in life. And that’s exactly what I had for a pre-dinner snack on Friday night…just because I could. Chocolate bread and apple cider out of a flamingo mug.
Later that night, my friends and I carved pumpkins! My poor pumpkin ended up looking a little janky due to a mustache malfunction, but in the end it wasn’t too awful.
Although my pumpkin was so pretty I felt a little guilty carving it. I knew that whatever I attempted with my limited art skills would be a disservice to my cute little pumpkin. However, we carved our pumpkins, large and small, and toasted pumpkin seeds while watching Hocus Pocus and Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.
Toasted pumpkin seeds fresh out of the oven
I was already feeling the Halloween spirit before Friday night, but now I am going to doubly enjoy what’s left of October!
The finished pumpkins! Mine is the one with the strange bat-shaped mouth.
(Fellow Gator fans: the FSU pumpkin was later thrown off the balcony to a slimy, messy death by someone as my friends and I were leaving. I felt a bit sad about that, FSU carving aside).
The first day of October was ushered in by beautiful 70 degree weather. I think this means Mother Nature loves October as much as I do.
It’s the best month, hands down. Soon there will be the Micanopy Fall Festival, Halloween parties (who doesn’t love a good costume party?), and lots and lots of pumpkin chocolate chip bread. Loads of it. I’m not holding back this year. Even better, my fondness for decorating the apartment with pumpkins is totally appropriate for the next two months.
I guess March is pretty great, too (month-wise), but it doesn’t have apple cider, mini-pumpkins, and Halloween movie marathons going for it. I’ll wait at least until the second week of October before I break down and watch Hocus Pocus for the 117th time.
October 1st also marked the day that it is now officially okay to start baking (and buying…) Halloween-themed desserts! Fresh Market had some adorably festive cupcakes on display.
On Saturday, my friend Amanda came over and we feasted on two different kinds of pasta, mini-cupcakes, and 6 episodes of Parks and Recreation, also known as The Best Show on Television.
A pretty fantastic start to October, if I do say so! This weekend, I’m heading home for my father’s birthday, and I’m looking forward to that. While this year has been busy in a good way, I am definitely ready for a bit of a breather. And for animal cuddles.
Today was a lovely Saturday! It was a bit hot, and yet it felt like a perfect fall day even though I spent most of it running errands. I ended up at Fresh Market, Target, Publix, and this adorable French bakery in Gainesville, Uppercrust.
I love Uppercrust. Its one of those places that I often go to just because I haven’t been there a while. They’ve got loads of gourmet pastas, olive oils, various sauces, and of course, wine. Lots and lots of wine. But my favorite part is the bakery aspect, of course! I often buy their rosemary bread and their chocolate bread (though they’ve not been making that lately and I’m desperately in need of a loaf! No, really. I’m not sure how much longer I can go on without a chocolate bread + peanut butter sandwich, and I’m not being at all overly dramatic about this).
Anyway, they sadly were still out of chocolate bread, so instead I decided to get a little pastry for later and moved on to other errands. After an unsuccessful hunt for red lentils, I decided to make this delicious-looking soup that my mother sent me. The recipe can be found here, on the blog How to Be Chic (links straight to recipe).
Its a lentil + tomato soup. Super easy to make, and it was absolutely wonderful! Very filling, and now I’ve got lunch covered for the next few days. My favorite kind of recipe. I added in some garlic and a yellow zucchini I already had, and the flavor complimented the lentils nicely.
Then, after a long day of errands and work, dessert in the form of a raspberry cream rose from Uppercrust and a cup of tea. A lovely end to a busy day!
What’s better than raspberry jam and cream cheese wrapped in flaky pastry dough? Nothing, I tell you.
Tonight I was craving pho like you wouldn’t believe. I haven’t had Vietnamese cuisine in a while, and my stomach was telling me it had been quite long enough, thank you. I found a lovely little place near my apartment: Pho Hanoi, in Gainesville, FL. I didn’t know much about what Gainesville had to offer in terms of Vietnamese food, so I let yelp.com be my guide. My favorite place in Tampa is the Pho Quyen on Hillsborough Ave (anyone in Tampa, check it out!), but unfortunately that’s just too far away now!
Anyway, I got the Pho Ga (pho with chicken instead of beef), and it was wonderful! Here’s a (very green) photo of tonight’s dinner:
I loved that when I picked up my order, the broth was packaged separately from the meat, noodles, sprouts, and basil. Now I can reheat the broth for seconds tomorrow and not worry about my noodles becoming mush in the microwave!