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Stowaway

Published December 1, 2011 by Cassie

We had an unexpected visitor the other night. He was just hanging out in the cassia blooms my mother brought in from her garden!

He made it safely back outside. Two days later my mother brought in more cassia flowers. She checked for caterpillars that time and found a baby frog stowaway. It seems the cassia plant is the place it be in her garden.

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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

Published November 28, 2011 by Cassie

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.

Sparkles! Glitter!

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?

McIntosh, FL

Published November 27, 2011 by Cassie

Better late than never! I would wax poetic about my love for smalltown Florida, but I’m still halfway stuck in a turkey coma. Instead, enjoy some pictures from the McIntosh Fall Festival! McIntosh is one of my favorite places in Florida. Its quiet and charming and I could envision myself living there one day. It reminds me a it of Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls except with more Spanish moss and less snow.

So many wreaths, so little time

These appealed to my cat lady tendencies, but I refrained from buying any.

The coolest snow cone cart around

I couldn't resist. Next year I'm bringing my Italian Greyhound dressed as Little Lord Fauntleroy

My friend Julie's dream house. It used to be the McIntosh Hotel when the town had a railroad!

My dream house. If I lived there, everything would be amazing.

A vintage necklace I bought at the festival! I’m still in love with it a month later.

A Little Night Pumpkin Bread

Published November 1, 2011 by Cassie

This weekend, I made pumpkin chocolate chip bread and by the time I was done, we had loaves coming out our ears. Next time I guess I’ll cut the recipe in half, but this time I wanted loads and loads of pumpkin bread to share with friends!

I used this recipe, although I add 1/2 cup more chocolate chips than the recipe calls for. I also use mini chocolate chips instead of full size ones, because I think they distribute a little better in the batter.

I made a few mini loaves as well, because everything looks and tastes better in miniature.

I love pumpkin chocolate chip bread. If I had to pick one food to eat for the rest of my life, it may very well be this bread. Or goat cheese. Close call.

“A boy’s best friend is his mother.”

Published October 30, 2011 by Cassie

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.

Poor Marion Crane

Happy almost Halloween, everyone!

Of Chocolate Bread and Pumpkins

Published October 23, 2011 by Cassie

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).

October: The Best Month

Published October 3, 2011 by Cassie

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.

Here’s to a wonderful October!