'/> Sharing My Joy: October 2014

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

The holiday has always been a great memory for me. My incredibly talented mom made the BEST costumes, all of them homemade. I was so lucky to have some of the most admired costumes in the neighborhood :) I loved trick-or-treating around the 'hood with my sister and friends and then coming home and organizing all the candy into piles, like the type-A people we are :) ...trading our least favorites out for the good ones. We made a tradition of carving pumpkins on the kitchen table every year, seeing who could come up with the best design. Halloween has changed over the years but I still enjoy the time to dress up, be a little silly and have a good time. Hope you enjoy the holiday!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Recipe: Ginger Bourbon Cider Cocktail

I have found the perfect fall cocktail! Apple cider is delicious hot or cold in the fall, with or without liquor. It's great here with the addition of ginger beer, which gives it a little bite and flavor. This would be perfect to serve at Thanksgiving!

1.5 oz bourbon (I used Maker's)
2 oz Ginger Beer (I like Gosling's)
2 oz apple cider

Combine bourbon and apple cider in the glass, mix over ice. Top with ginger beer and garnish with an apple slice or cinnamon.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Mad for Plaid

Mad for Plaid

Forever 21 Sweater / Madewell Plaid ShirtBB Dakota Coat / Forever 21 Buffalo Check Sweater / Crate and Barrel Throw Pillow / Modcloth Buffalo Plaid Shirt / Mossimo Scarf Urban Outfitters Blanket Scarf 

Plaid has always been a fall fashion staple, but it seems to have really taken over this year. From last year's blogger-famous Zara plaid scarf, oversize blanket scarves seem to be all over the place. It's definitely one of my favorite ways to wear the trend. Plaid button down shirts have also gone from hipster uniform to mainstream necessity. The new oversize coats and pullover brushed sweaters are a cool addition. I'm also loving the idea of adding some plaid to my apartment with a throw pillow. What is your favorite way to wear the trend?

Friday, October 24, 2014

DIY: Gold Painted Pumpkins

I've always enjoyed carving pumpkins as part of activity to celebrate fall and get ready for Halloween. This year I wanted to try something a little bit different, and this was so much easier and less messy! My sister and I took a trip to an awesome pumpkin patch and picked out a ton of cool pumpkins and gourds. We bought gold acrylic paint and a gold paint pen like this one and checked out some different designs online to try. It was super easy to use the paint pens, which I used on the spiderwebs and polka dot one.  I used a brush and the paint on the chevron one, which wasn't as easy and needed a couple of coats. It was fun to try and I like the festive pumpkins in my apartment to enjoy for the next couple of weeks :)

Also, this square green pumpkin was just begging to be painted like Frankenstein :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Recipe: Sweet and Smoky Chili

I love making chili in the fall and winter - it's super easy and a total comfort food of mine. There a lot of variations on the traditional chili recipe out there, and it's fun to try new combinations. It's almost always hard to screw up too! I love this combo that gets the smokiness from smoked paprika and sweetness from a little brown sugar. This is my new favorite!

1 lb ground beef
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
15 oz can tomato sauce
15 oz can diced tomatoes
15 oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 Tb brown sugar
2 Tb chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
sprinkling of cinnamon
sprinkling of cayenne pepper

1. Saute onion, pepper and garlic in 1 Tb olive oil in a skillet until soft, about 10 minutes.
2. Transfer into large chili pot. Brown ground beef in skillet.
3. Add the remaining ingredients to the chili pot and bring to a simmer. Transfer in ground beef when it's done cooking. Simmer for 20 minutes on medium/low.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Hair Products I'm Loving Lately

Hair Products I'm Loving Lately

Hair Products I'm Loving Lately by carlyjklein 

I have very fine, wavy hair which gets constantly tangled.  It is difficult to straighten, and I am always looking for ways to give it more volume. I've recently found a couple of products I really like that help to make my hair more manageable.

Conair Detangling Brush - I first read about this brush on The Beauty Department's blog as an amazing detangling brush, and it really is! The bristles are thin and flexible and make it much easier to comb through my hair after a shower. The Wet brush is another one very similar. FYI only found at Walmart.
Kenra Blow Dry Spray - This heat protectant claims to cut hair drying time in half, and it really helps. A heat protectant is important to me when I dry it to keep my fine hair as undamaged as possible!
Batiste dry shampoo - Dry shampoo is a necessity for 2nd day hair, or as a texturizer on clean hair. I love how this "Wild" ones smells!
Pureology Colour Fanatic 6.7oz - My stylist introduced me to this spray, which detangles, protects and conditions. Bonus, it smells amazing!
Conair 3-in-1 Ionic Styler, Model SD6X - My friend has used this dryer for years and I finally followed suit. I usually partially dry my hair with a regular dryer and then finish with this. It helps to smooth out the waves and is easier than a round brush since it's attached right to the dryer!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Free Weight Arm Workout

I've been trying to incorporate more strength training in my workouts in the last year since I've learned how important it is to your bone health, metabolism, and how much it can change your body's shape.  Here's a workout I did this week to incorporate cardio, strength, and core all into one. It was a good one, so I thought I'd share! I used 8 pound dumbbells and Fit Sugar's Best Dumbbell Arm Exercises as a guide for the exercises. Give it a try!

10 minute treadmill interval warmup
1 minute 4 mph
 1 minute 6 mph
 1 minute 8 mph
Repeat 3x


Complete 12 reps each:
 Sumo squat with bicep curl
Upright row
Tricep extension
Bent over row
Bent over reverse fly
Overhead press
Lateral arm raise
Lying chest fly
20 Squat Jumps
20 Jumping lunges

Repeat whole circuit 3x

1 minute plank
1 minute bicycle crunches
1 minute V-sit

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Recipe: Homemade Vanilla Sea Salt Almond Butter

I am seriously so obsessed with almond butter! And it couldn't be easier to make at home! Since I've always had a peanut allergy I've never eaten peanut butter, so I was so glad to discover almond butter years ago as an alternative.  Justin's Vanilla is my all time favorite - but I treat it as more of a treat these days because of the sugar and calories. The good fats in almonds are still a healthy alternative and a favorite for breakfast with toast and sliced banana!

I used Ambitious Kitchen's guide for homemade almond butter, and was pleasantly surprised at how it turned out - so fresh, better than Justin's!  Roasting raw almonds beforehand is the trick to getting them easy to process (throw them in warm). It takes a while for the whole process to happen, but it will!

2 cups raw, unsalted almonds
Honey (to taste)
2 tsp vanilla extract
Sea Salt (to taste)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
On large baking sheet spread out almonds and roast in oven for 10-12 minutes until slightly brown. Be very careful not to burn the nuts.
Transfer to your food processor and process for 10-15 minutes, scraping down the sides as necessary. At this point the almonds should start to clump together. Continue to process until you reach the desired consistency. Add vanilla, honey and sea salt to your preference.

Transfer to mason jar and store at room temperature or in fridge. If you store at room temp, simply give the almond butter a stir before you use it.

Have you tried almond butter? What's your favorite way to eat it?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Mani Monday: Don't Sweater It

I love wearing muted taupes as neutrals in the fall and spring, and this is one of my favorites - Essie's Don't Sweater It from the Fall 2013 collection. This one is a little bit on the lighter, more mauve/purple side, but I also really like OPI's You Don't Know Jacques which is a little bit darker and more brown.  Both seem to go with everything!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Recipe: Pumpkin Cinnamon Cookies

Happy Friday and Happy October! This picture of these cookies may not be the best, but I'll tell you...these cookies are! I made them this week and brought them to work and they were a hit :) They are the perfect fall cookie, just like a pumpkin snickerdoodle- with cinnamon chips (<-awesome) and then rolled in cinnamon sugar! The next day I just warmed one up in the microwave for 15 seconds and it was so good! Just like warm pumpkin cinnamon bread. Give them a try!

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup pumpkin (I used Libby's canned pumpkin)
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup cinnamon chips

Cinnamon Sugar Topping:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with Silpat baking mats or parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices. Set aside.

3. Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla and mix until combined, about 3 minutes. Slowly add in the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Stir in the cinnamon chips.

4. In a small bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon. Shape dough into rounded tablespoons and roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Place balls 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Lightly press down on the cookies with a spatula or the palm of your hand.

5. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to brown around the edges. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for two minutes. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.

Note-You can usually find cinnamon chips at the grocery store, but if you can't find them, you can always order cinnamon chips from Amazon.  Thanks to my mom for providing the chips for me! :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Recipe: Grilled Fig and Ricotta Pizza with Honey

If you saw my previous post on how to grill a pizza, I did this the same way, just tried it with different ingredients! Figs are in season during late summer, and I wanted to find a tasty way to enjoy them. This turned out super delish! Follow my same steps for grilling a pizza:


Pizza dough (Trader Joe's is the best! - let sit for a bit at room temp)
Fresh Ricotta Cheese
4-5 figs sliced vertically
1 bunch of greens of your choice (arugula, spinach, etc)
Olive oil

1. Preheat the grill by turning the burners on medium/low
2. Roll out the dough with flour into desired thickness
3. Place all topping ingredients on a plate/cookie sheet, ready to bring outside
4. Brush olive oil on one side of the dough
5. Place dough directly on the grill, oiled side down
6. Let dough grill for about 5-10 minutes, watch closely- top will bubble and underside will get crispy
7. When ready, brush a little more olive oil on the top and then carefully flip over with tongs
8. Top with the ricotta cheese, figs
9. Let finish grilling for another 5-10 minutes
10. Remove carefully with tongs
11. Drizzle honey on top, sprinkle sea salt and top with greens
12. Slice and enjoy!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Beauty Review: Manic Panic


After spotting the ombre hair color trend 2 years ago, I knew I had to try it for myself. I experimented with hair chalk, but wanted something that lasted longer than one wash. I'm not sure where I originally heard of Manic Panic hair dye, but I found it at Sally's. I first tried Cotton Candy pink, and then this summer I tried Ultra Violet. You can use a hair painting brush (also at Sally's) to apply on the ends, let sit for 30 minutes, and then wash your hair. It is a semi-permanent dye, and I found mine lasted about 7 shampoos to fully fade. I'm sure you can make it last longer though. It's such a fun and inexpensive way to change up your hair look for a festival, summer, or just for fun. I can't wait to try it again - I think a pale blue or teal is next!

Would you try this? Have you done something fun with your hair?

Friday, October 3, 2014

I Tried It: 30 Day Plank Challenge


I've seen quite a few of these 30 Day challenges floating around Pinterest for a while now, and always thought they'd be a great way to challenge myself to improve on something. This one is from the 30 Day Fitness Challenge website, which has a ton of these. Before this, I was only able to hold a plank for about 45 seconds before bailing - and while I didn't get up to the 300 second/5 minute mark, I did go up to 4 minutes - sometimes taking some 10 second breaks and sometimes doing a minute as a side plank. This challenge greatly improved my core strength and my ability to hold a plank longer, and my stomach feels a lot flatter than it did a month ago. Most importantly to me, it got me in a routine of doing planks first thing in the morning. I will definitely try to continue to do a few exercises every morning before the day starts. I'd also like to check out more of the challenges from this site!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Recipe: Vanilla Ice Cream with Roasted Strawberries

I obviously love roasting veggies (my favorite way to eat them), but I hadn't tried roasting any fruit before. I first got this idea after seeing How Sweet Eat's Roasted Strawberry, Brie and Chocolate Grilled Cheese (<-- OMG) a while back, and wow they are delicious. Roasting them brings out the sweetness, and they become almost like that sweet strawberry topping, only without the added sugar. This is obviously great in the summer while strawberries are in season, but I could see this really any time of year: on a salad, as a topping to a goat cheese crostini or on top of baked Brie.

Vanilla Ice Cream with Roasted Strawberries

How to roast strawberries:

1 pint/package strawberries
3 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp coconut oil (melted)
pinch of salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. Wash and cut each strawberry in quarters. Mix together maple syrup, coconut oil and salt. Add strawberries and mix until all the berries are coated. Arrange the strawberries in a single layer on the baking sheet.
  3. Roast for about 30-40 minutes.
  4. Scrape the berries and juice from the parchment paper into a jar. Use immediately or cool and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  5. Pour berries over ice cream and drizzle with your choice of topping.