Ever since we've been together, Jeff and I have never once coordinated costumes for Halloween.  In fact, up until last year, we'd never actually dressed up in costume for Halloween. Thankfully a friend of mine started a Halloween party tradition last year, so now we're forced to conjure up costumes every year in order to attend. I'm happy to report that our first experience with coordinating costumes was a total success. Not only did we win the Most Original Costume award at the aforementioned Halloween party over the weekend, we spent a total of $6 on our costumes. Jeff dressed up as Mitt Romney, complete with graying hair and all. I'm still laughing about how realistic it looked. My coordinating costume is courtesy of a joke from the 2nd presidential debate this year.

Because we're way too old to get away with trick-or-treating (I stopped at age 19 and I've been depressed ever since!) and we never get trick or treaters where we live, we always end up staying in on Halloween night. It's become somewhat of a tradition for us, complete with pizza, our Hocus Pocus DVD and plenty of candy. That's exactly how we'll be spending this evening and I'm totally excited about it. Happy Halloween everyone!    

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The weather and I are in a fight.  It's been so unseasonably warm lately, the allergies are kicked into high gear and dare I say, even Jeff is in a fight with the weather as well.  I suppose I can't be too surprised, considering that SoCal weather is always crazy like this, but even having grown up here, it makes me long for fall.  Even though I might not even know what a legitimate fall feels like.

Last week, we had a few days that felt reminiscent of fall.  Meaning the highs were only in the low 70's.  So we took advantage and took a trip to the pumpkin patch.  The Halloween season just doesn't feel complete unless we do and because we don't have a child to dress up and take pictures of, we just took pictures of each other.  Still mastering the art of getting both of us in a photo together, but we're working on it.  And the weather?  It was absolute perfection.  

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Truth be told, pumpkin flavored food isn't usually my favorite thing in the world. With the exception of pumpkin bread. Ashley on the other hand, she embraces pretty much everything having to do with the fall season because it's her favorite time of the year. We found this recipe shortly after we got married, before take out for dinner took over because of busy schedules. It's not only healthy, but an almost vegetarian dish as well. I like to add chicken to it because I'm more of a carnivore than Ash is. Enjoy!

  • Pumpkin Pasta
  • (we like to cut the recipe in half for just the 2 of us)
. 1 pound whole-whear penne
. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
. 3 shallots, finely chopped
. 3 to 4 cloves garlic, grated
. 2 cups chicken stock (you can substitute vegetable stock if preferred)
. 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
. 1/2 cup cream
. 1 teaspoon hot sauce
. Freshly ground cinnamon
. Salt and black pepper
. 7 to 8 leaves fresh sage, thinly sliced plus more, for garnish
. Grated parmigiano-Reggiano

Heat water for pasta, salt it and cook penne to al dente.

Heat the oil, 2 turns of the pan, over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic to the pan, saute 3 minutes. Stir in chicken stock and combine with pumpkin, stir in cream then season sauce with hot sauce, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer 5 to 6 minutes more to thicken. Stir in sage, toss with pasta with grated cheese, to taste

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Those who know me (Ashley) know that my favorite holiday of the year is Halloween. We've been to Disneyland a few times during the Halloween season since we got married and although the fall decor is typically the same every year, I still get excited when I see it appearing during the month of September. My parents were generous enough to hook us up with annual passes last Christmas (Jeff's favorite holiday), so we decided to put them to good use on a recent trip the happiest place on earth...or at least Orange County.

This was one of the few days where the weather actually felt reminiscent of autumn. We've had really hot weather all month so this was a welcome change. Now if only it would stay this way! The boots in my closet are getting lonely.

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If I had to define my own personal style, I'd undoubtedly say it's both classic and feminine.  This was reiterated to me once while shopping at one of my favorite stores.  A sales girl who was assisting me told me she pinpointed my style right away based on the items I'd chosen to bring with me to the fitting room.  Being an entrepreneur, I'm always striving to make sure my brand is a reflection of my own personal style, so out of curiosity, I asked her how she would describe my style.  You'll never guess which two words she used as descriptors (:

Truth be told, I was a late adopter of the colored denim trend.  Bold and brightly colored pants just didn't seem to fit with my classic style and I told myself I'd just have to pass on this particular trend.  But after seeing it pop up everywhere for a few seasons and seeing it styled in different ways, I finally gave in when I saw this pair of extremely reasonably priced green pants.  I decided that in order to, as Tim Gunn would say, "make it work" for me, I'd have to use colored pants as the statement piece every time I wore them.  I try to wear more neutral colors when it comes to tops and accessories so that it doesn't look like two pieces are competing with each other.

I've found that often times when I wear my green pair of pants, I end up wearing a black shirt. On this specific occasion, Jeff and I were headed out to the movie theater (surprise, surprise) so in addition to the black t-shirt I paired with the pants, I added a black blazer to keep warm inside the air conditioned theater.  In keeping with the neutral top and accessories theme, I added a gold headband.  But then I did something I don't normally do when I wear colored pants.  I added a bold print in the form of animal print flats.  I'd been dying to wear animal print because it's fall and because I was wearing so much black, I felt like the print helped to balance everything out without feeling too loud, at least by this classically styled girl's standards.    

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There's kind of a stigma behind saying you like to watch TV.  Like you're some sort of couch potato or something.  Stigma or not, I'll say it right here and right now, I really love my DVR.  I work from home the majority of the time and unless I'm sick, the TV is rarely used during the day.  But once I finally step away from my computer, at whatever hour of the evening that may be, I often retire to the couch and allow myself to just relax for a while before bed.  It's as though watching my favorite shows on the DVR helps me to transition from thinking about work to thinking about things like Blair Waldorf's wardrobe and who is going to make it to the next round on X Factor.  Jeff shares this same hobby with me and I'd say 90% of the shows on our DVR are shows we watch together.  As in we can't watch them unless we're together lest one of us dares to get behind on programming.  Here are some of the shows currently on our DVR this season.

1. Gossip Girl - Still bothered that we only get 10 episodes for the final season...does that mean a discounted season 6 box set?
2. Hart of Dixie - It got good at the end of the first season, so we're still hanging on to it.
3. 90210 - Don't judge - I watched the original 90210 and I can't give this one up without feeling guilty.
4. Switched at Birth - Jeff's parents are deaf, so we like seeing how they portray deaf culture and the story line is obviously unique.
5. Giuliana & Bill - Need I say more?  We met Bill in person while attending a taping of their new show due to come out this fall (Ready for Love) and he's ridiculously handsome in person.
6. X Factor - We're American Idol junkies, so this is right up our alley.  I may even take Britney's place as a judge next season should she not return (:
7. Project Runway - First season we've watched and I'm obsessed with Tim Gunn.  Make it work is officially my new mantra.
8. American Idol - Obsessed with the show.  Although I must say I'm already mourning JLo's absence.
9. The Bachelor - Even more obsessed with this than Idol.  We even make Starbucks drink & pastry wagers with a friend about who we think will be left standing at the final rose every season.

*Just for the record, I also watch The Kardashians.  Don't judge, I like to watch to see what they wear, how they do their hair and makeup and how many amazingly delicious looking salads they eat for lunch.  Along with everything else they do.

*P.S. Is Body of Proof for sure coming back for another season?  I researched and found out that they are filming episodes, renewed for season 3 and that it will be back in winter of 2013.  That's another fav of ours.

1. Nashville - Because obviously we don't have enough to watch already...haven't seen any episodes just yet but I'm hearing good things about it!

What are some of YOUR favorite TV shows this season?  Anything we're missing in our current line up?

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I wouldn't consider myself an extremely crafty person, but every once in a while I find myself with a simple craft project I feel comfortable undertaking.  This was one such project.  And of course, I found the idea for it on Pinterest.  Instead of a having a preexisting color palette in mind, I fee like this color palette just sort of found me.  Jeff and I were at Home Depot getting a few basic supplies to paint the dining room and I came across the paint samples.  I pretty much loathe going to Home Depot, except when it comes to the paint aisle.  As I was perusing, I came across 2 new Behr colors.  Behr is the brand of paint we used for all our gray walls, so I thought I'd compare the swatches of new paint to a swatch of the gray we were about to use to paint our dining room.  I initially thought I'd use these 2 brighter colors for frames for the dining room, but after we decided on white frames instead, I thought they could become the color palette for the decor in the frames.  And so our wall decor color palette was born.           

J and I attempted to create our own trees, but they were both kind of ugly.  So then we decided to combine forces.  He created the tree trunk and branches with a paint brush and I created the leaves using a compass to lightly outline the amount of space I wanted the leaves to cover and then q-tips to paint the leaves.

The Ambrose Redmoon quote is one of my favorites.  We created it in Photoshop and then had it printed at our favorite photo lab.  The colored paper that just so happens to match the wall decor color palette I had lying around from a coaster craft project I did earlier this year.  The Family Proclamation we created in Word and printed it on card stock using our printer at home.  

Being the OCD girl that I am, I find myself frequently changing or adjusting the decor around our home.  So you can imagine what it's like to look at a wall collage like this one and feel like the frames aren't straight.  Nightmare, right?  Or maybe that's just me.  I came up with a solution when we created our existing collage on this same wall.  Using fasteners I found at the store (either Target or Home Depot, can't remember which one), I simply secured matching velcro pieces to the bottom of each frame and the wall behind it.  I cut really small pieces so it wouldn't be impossible to adjust if need be or peel any paint when removed.  And viola!  Peace of mind.  That is unless I stare at it too long...  

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Rearranging furniture has been a hobby of mine since I was a little girl.  I blame my Grandma for teaching me by example.  I've carried this habit/hobby with me into adulthood and even though we live in a tiny apartment in Orange County, the urge to redecorate still creeps up on me every now and then.  And working from home the majority of time doesn't help the frequency at which these urges occur.  Because of space constraints and the shape of the rooms in our apartment, it makes it difficult to rearrange furniture.  But certainly not accessories and wall decor.

Last week I had the sudden urge to paint a wall in the dining room.  This has happened a few times before, resulting in a large accent wall in our living room/office (which looks drastically different now, especially because we have new flooring), followed by an orange accent wall in our kitchen, an accent wall in our bedroom and eventually painting all the remaining walls in our bedroom.  J was VERY hesitant to paint yet another wall and made me promise we wouldn't end up painting the entire space gray, but there's still one more small wall I have my eye on.  I call it my parallel walls design theory.  Perhaps we'll all get to see it one day (:

Hey everyone, Jeff here.  She's right, I did not want to paint the wall.  Again.  Because I know one wall isn't just one wall.  It's one wall and wall decor.  That aside, (unfortunately) I have to say that it looks a lot better than what we started with.  We weren't planning on changing the photos on the wall, but when we saw how dark everything looked with the gray paint and existing black frames, I was in agreement that a change needed to occur.  We've been meaning to do a specific craft for a while now (see the painting of the tree) so this seemed like the perfect opportunity and the rest of the wall decor followed suit.  We'll be sharing specifically how we created the tree painting and more specs about the wall decor on Wednesday's post.

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I think it's fair to say I'm a connoisseur of nail polish.  OPI brand nail polish in particular.  I have a pretty extensive embarrassingly large collection of OPI and one rebellious bottle of Essie I added this past summer.  I've been painting my own nails since I was about 8 years old and although I can't remember at what age I got my first professional mani pedi, I know it occurred before age 10.  I'm pretty OCD when it comes to cleaning my house, so I don't paint my fingernails very often because they chip too easily, but those who know me have seldom or never seen me without my toes painted.  It's kind of like a modesty issue for me, like I just can't handle seeing them bare.  Don't read into this, I'm just a huge perfectionist.     

Because I just feel so compelled to keep my toes in fresh polish, pedicures occur somewhat regularly for me.  While I'd love to report I get professional mani-pedis to help with this habit of mine, I've found that I get more longevity when I do my own nails at home.  It's not something I always enjoy doing (think having to contort into sitting yoga postures to see my toes close up) but I pride myself on getting the polish to last for about 2 weeks at a time.  So for me it's totally worth it.  Not to mention a lifesaver when it comes to my wallet.  

Here are some of my current favorite colors for fall. 

From left to right:
1. Brisbane Bronze (for me, this color is the epitomy of fall and one of my all time fans)
2. You Don't Know Jacques!
3. Glitzerland (you know I love my gold!)
4. Teas-y Does It
5. Pamplona Purple
6. Nein! Nein! Nein! Ok Fine! (the newest in my collection)
7. Vampsterdam (this is what I'm currently wearing)

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When Ash and I were first married, we used to frequent a restaurant called the Chaparosa Grill.  Every time we dined there, we always ordered the Avocado Feta Bruschetta appetizer.  Because we were so enamored with this particular dish, I thought I'd try to recreate it at home.  And these were the delicious results.  

Avocado Feta Bruschetta
(serves 1-2 people)

. 2-3 roma tomatoes
. 1 avocado
. several large basil leaves
. 1/4 cup feta cheese
. drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette (I use Ken's Steakhouse Balsamic w/ honey brand)
. pinch of salt & pepper
. 1 loaf french bread

First I diced the tomatoes, avocados and basil leaves and mixed them together in a bowl.  I added the salt and pepper, followed by the feta cheese.  Then I cut the loaf of bread in diagonal shaped slices, buttered one side and grilled them using my cast iron pan on the stove.  Afterwards I assembled the bread on a plate and topped the slices with the avocado bruschetta mixture.  Finally, I drizzled the balsamic vinaigrette to top it off.  This recipe isn't exact, you can always add more or less.  Ash doesn't care for Avocado, so I make hers without it.

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I usually want to see movies that are either full on chick flicks or the dramas that really make you think. But every so often there's a movie like this one that catches my attention that I feel I need to see to get a good laugh.  I went into it thinking it would be funny and cheesy and it was pretty much exactly that, but with slightly less cheese than I expected.  There were some funny one liners and to my surprise, a decent main character story line for a comedy like this.  The acting wasn't anything to write home about, but the actors were definitely in character.  I'm a music lover so I definitely appreciated hearing a variety of different songs, especially sung a capella.  I'd say aside from the one liners, the singing was the best part of the movie.  It was funny, but not quite on a Mean Girls or Easy A level funny.  My apologies if you don't think those movies are funny.  I'm not regretful I watched it, but I probably won't purchase it on DVD. (overall rating: 3/5)    
Definitely a light hearted movie, you can't take it too seriously.  There were multiple funny lines and scenes.  If I were to give a letter grade for acting, I would give it a "C".  It was just average.  The music was interesting, especially with all the different harmonies.  From a photography standpoint, there wasn't anything out of this world.  If you're looking for a movie that will make you laugh a bit, this is it.  But it's not anything more than that. (overall rating: 2/5)  

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I know it sounds cliché, but shopping for clothes, accessories and beauty products is one of my favorite things to do.  I always say that if I had a bigger clothing budget, it wouldn't be difficult to look cute more often.  I don't consider myself a fashionista by any means and most days I wouldn't say I look very fashion forward.  But every so often, I'm inspired to put certain pieces together and I feel like I get it right.  Even if it's only for a day at a time. 

I recently updated my wardrobe with a new pair of heels.  Anyone who knows me knows this is a big deal because I'm the self proclaimed queen of wearing flats.  When I brought them home I immediately started thinking about which skirts I already own that I wanted to pair them with.  A skirt that I've literally owned for 6+ years and purchased for $20 or less (and can't seem to let go of) seemed like the perfect compliment.  Along with a blazer that's been sitting in my closet but I haven't had the chance to wear yet.  It's amazing how just one or two new pieces of clothing or accessories can make old pieces feel fresh again.    

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If I had to pinpoint exactly when I started doing favorite things posts, I'd say it was likely in 2007 when I started my very first blog. It was one of those "hey I just got married so I'm starting a blog" kind of blogs. Two years later, I transferred the favorites posts to my photography blog, changed the category title a few times and now I'm officially bringing them over to this blog. I guess you could say the 3rd time's the charm.  

1. 1" Hot Tools curling wand - I've been curious about curling wands for quite some time now and a few months ago, I decided to see what all the hype was about.  It took a few curling sessions for me to figure out how to get my hair the way I like it, but once I did, I fell in love.  And I really like how long the curl lasts when using the wand as opposed to a curling iron.  If you're curious as well and don't yet have a curling wand or want to shell out the money for one, all you have to do is remove the clamp from your curling iron with a small screw driver (:

2. Agent 18 iPhone 5 case - I'm OCD when it comes to keeping my stuff well preserved and whenever I get a new iPhone, I always make sure I have a case before using it.  The downside to that is typically when new iPhones come out, decent looking cases are really hard to find.  Much to my surprise, I found the Agent 18 brand at Best Buy the day the iPhone 5 came out.  I found this particular case a few days later at Target and pretty much died when I saw the gold chevron stripes.  Have I mentioned gold is one of my favorite colors?

3. Aromatherapy Bath Soak in Eucalyptus Spearmint - I've been a big fan of this particular line for a while and recently decided to try the bath soak as opposed to the body wash/foam bath I always use.  What I love about this product is that you get the strong aromatherapy scent with just a small amount, without any bubbles or soapy residue.  It's like sitting in a tub ridiculously good smelling water. 

4. Maybelline Volume Express One by One mascara - I've been on a long search to find the right mascara.  I used the classic green and pink for a long time, then went on a search to find the perfect MAC mascara.  MAC is my go to brand for every other makeup product I use, but after trying several types of their mascara, I still couldn't find one I loved.  And I couldn't justify paying that much for mascara I didn't love, so I went back to the drugstore brands.  I'm not going to lie and tell you this is the most perfect mascara on earth.  It definitely doesn't last as long as department store brands, but it's 1/3 the price and does what I want it to do in terms of how it looks.  I've tried other Maybelline Volume Express mascaras, but the One by One has proven to be my fav.  And you can't beat being able to pick it up on regular Target trips instead of having to visit a department store.  We all know it's dangerous when I have to visit Nordstrom for any reason.  

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Because it's my favorite season, I'm always looking for different ways to celebrate fall.  Not to mention excuses to purchase adorable owl related items.  I found this particular owl stamp at one of my favorite stores and immediately tried to come up with a reason I needed it.  Then my thoughts drifted to my embosser which was collecting dust in one of my craft drawers.  Then my eyes drifted over to the shiny gold embosser powder on the shelf.  And so it was decided.  I would make owl themed stationery.  The gold, which just so happens to be one of my favorite colors, makes it feel even more fall.  And I have no doubt I'll find other uses for it in the future (: 


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