Category Archives: Fall


My Fall Bucket List

October 13, 2016

img_9924We’re well in the thick of fall weather in Amsterdam, so I’ve started thinking about what I want to put on my fall bucket list this year. Since Halloween isn’t really a thing in Europe and Thanksgiving obviously doesn’t happen here, the Christmas season starts a bit earlier here than it does in the states. We will probably start in on our Christmas prep beginning in early November, especially since we will be flying back to California in early/mid December to spend the actual holiday with family — so don’t be surprised that a lot of the below is very Christmas-centric. Here’s what I’ve come up with for my list so far:

  1. Vote! I have actually already gotten and filled out my ballot, so I just need to get some international postage and send this bad boy off. Trump all the way! (Kidding guys, OBVIOUSLY. Barf.)
  2. Make a delicious scent on the stove so the whole apartment smells like the holidays. (And then post the recipe so you all can make one too!)
  3. Make homemade enchiladas, since I was able to track down green enchilada sauce at the international store nearby.
  4. Figure out if there is any Halloween activity to take Prim to in Amsterdam. So far I’ve come up with nothing, but we’re still planning to have her dress up!
  5. Celebrate Thanksgiving. Right now it looks like we will be heading to a local restaurant that supposedly does an American-style Thanksgiving dinner. (Because I’m not about to scour Holland for turkey and all the trimmings to make an entire Thanksgiving feast solo at 27 weeks pregnant. No thanks.)
  6. Make beef stew, which means making beef stock from scratch. Looks like a trip to the butcher is in order.
  7. Visit the Amsterdam Christmas markets.
  8. Take a trip with KC and Prim to visit another country’s Christmas markets. (Right now the tentative plan is to head to Austria to hit Vienna’s!)
  9. Pick up some Dutch goodies to bring back to California for Christmas. (Ummm probably not anything featuring Zwarte Piet though…)
  10. And finally, the biggie: KC and I are celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary this December (and 12 years together in total — holy moly) so we are planning on taking a little babymoon/anniversary trip to Paris together… without Prim. This will be the first time I have left Prim overnight ever, so I’m simultaneously super excited and totally nervous at the prospect.

What’s on your list this year?

Previous fall bucket lists: 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Fall / Family Fun

Fall in Amsterdam

October 11, 2016

img_9925Since arriving back in Amsterdam a little over a week ago, it has felt like full-on fall here. Fall is one of my most favorite seasons (summer is my least favorite — yes, really), so I have been reveling in the colder weather and cozy evenings at home. I’ve jumped right into my arsenal of soup recipes, and have already made Potato Leek twice (!) and lentil once in the past week alone.

img_9922Coming back to Amsterdam after being in California felt a little more like returning “home,” though I will admit that I still don’t totally feel like this is our home yet. The fall weather certainly helped my mood upon returning, as did walking the Albert Cuypmarkt with KC, Prim, and some fries (yes, with mayo) from a local vendor.

We’ve also gotten back into biking around the city, which I just love. We biked to the center this past weekend to buy a new frying pan (our lives are thrilling), and the fact that it went from sunny to raining over the course of our trip didn’t bother us in the slightest. There’s something about biking home in the rain that really makes you feel like you’re a local here. Plus, I’m getting so much more comfortable riding with Prim on my bike now, which is lucky for her since she sits behind me on my bike — not in front like on KC’s, which is pretty chilly right now! (I will admit that I thought the purchase of this most adorable fall coat for P was a little frivolous when I bought it amidst the 90-degree heat in California, but man are we getting a lot of use out of it here in Amsterdam!)

KC and Prim came down with the stomach flu last week, which certainly put a damper on things. I will say though, I’ve never felt better about my decision to register for three crib sheets and two mattress protectors as I did last Thursday night. And I’m even more glad that I decided to wash all of our laundry back in California before we flew back to Amsterdam, because adding that to the pile of sheets, towels, and sick bedding would have been nuts. (I’m definitely looking forward to returning to the land of normal-sized washers and dryers in 2018. These tiny Euro appliances kill me.)

PS: Does the stomach flu only strike kids at night? It’s terrible no matter what, but I swear child illnesses have some special incubation period where they specifically take hold after you’ve gotten your kid to sleep for the night. The worst.


My Fall Bucket List

November 4, 2015

IMG_6649I’ve written about my fall bucket list a little earlier the past two years (here’s 2013’s and 2014’s), but the weather has been so hot an un-fall-like (that’s a word, right?) that I honestly haven’t really gotten into the fall spirit too much until now. Now that it’s feeling a little cooler and I’m getting into holiday mode, here’s what’s on my fall bucket list this year:

  1. Make an advent calendar for Prim
  2. Order new Christmas stockings for our little family of three!
  3. Find a dress to wear to holiday parties (since none of my dresses really fit… oh heyyy new postpartum body)
  4. Start Prim on solid food (omggg how is she almost 6 months already??)
  5. Take a family picture for our holiday card
  6. (And on that note…) Send out holiday cards
  7. Take pictures with Prim in rain gear once it actually starts raining. (Hellooo El Niño..?)
  8. Go out to a Christmas movie with KC (I’ve got my eye on this one and this one)
  9. Indulge in some crab in the fireplace at Camino. (Once they hopefully lift the health department warning! Boooo)
  10. Introduce Prim to the wonders of Christmas music (I can’t wait!)

What’s on your fall bucket list this year? Rain dances until El Niño actually shows up? Fires in the fireplace and lots of spiced baked goods? How magical.

Dairy-Free / Dinner / Fall / Gluten-Free / Pescatarian / Savory / Soup / Stay Healthy / Vegan / Vegetarian

Soup Recipes for Rainy Evenings

December 3, 2014

Just like I go crazy for salads during the summer, I love making a giant pot of soup when the weather gets cold in the fall and winter.  Soups are so wonderful because they generally require fairly little effort, and have a big payoff with enough food to cover more than one meal.  Plus, it’s an awesome way to get a crapload of veggies into your body (always helpful when trying to fend off the plague when you ride BART).

I’ve posted a lot of my favorite soup recipes on here already, but thought a recap post might be in order (I always like to have a one-stop-shop for the “what am I going to make for dinner” dilemma).

Sooo, here we go!  (Just click on the name of the soup to link to the recipe.)

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup with Black Beans and Butternut Squash

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup with Black Beans and Butternut Squash

You guys, this soup is the business.  It doesn’t make a TON of soup like some of the other soup recipes, but it’s so delicious and easy to make — perfect for a weeknight meal.  And trust me: you shouldn’t skimp on the toppings!


Split Pea Soup

This is a great, basic recipe for split pea soup; and it’s another nice option if you don’t want to be eating the same soup for the next 7 meals (it makes about 6 generous servings).


Not Your Mama’s Chicken Soup

This soup is a little more time-consuming than some of the others, and makes A LOT of soup.  But it’s awesome if you or someone you know is feeling a little under the weather.  Maybe whip up a batch and give half of it to your neighbor who isn’t feeling so hot.

Lentil Soup

Lentil Soup

This soup is so delicious and comforting — perfect for a cold, rainy night.  I like it with some Grana Padano grated over the top and a big hunk of sourdough bread.  (But really, I like most things with a big hunk of sourdough bread…)


Potato Leek Soup

This soup is so crazy-easy to make.  And it’s just a little indulgent (not quite as veggie-full as many of the others on this list).  It’s so delicious though, and awesome to make for a crowd.

Winter Minestrone

Winter Minestrone

This is my go-to soup during the fall and winter months.  It makes a ton of soup and is overflowing with all kinds of good-for-you ingredients.  Grate some fresh parmesan on top and have at it.

Butternut Squash Soup

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

I made up this recipe after being dissatisfied with butternut squash soups that were either lacking flavor or wayyy too sweet.  This soup is a good balance of salt, spice and sweet.  It tastes rich and creamy, but it’s actually full of veggies.  Yum!

Spicy Tomato Soup 4

Customizable Spicy Tomato Soup

This tomato soup is great for picky appetites — there’s a million and one ways to modify it.  Make it upscale with spices and some coconut milk, scale it down and make it basic — whatever your little heart desires.  Just don’t serve it without the grilled cheese if you’re making it for me.  🙂

Current Crushes / Fall / Favorite Things / Personal

Current Crushes

November 18, 2014

current crushes

I recently hit the Sephora VIB sale and spent entirely too much money.  And really, I could have easily doubled what I spent — that store is like the adult-equivalent of letting a seven-year-old run rampant through The Sweet Factory for me.  (You can try EVERYTHING!  And you have your own money to BUY IT ALL!)

And let’s not even talk about the impulse purchase section by the checkout.  Um, of course I need everything I just bought in travel-size.  Even if each item is like 1oz and $19.

Clearly, I am the obvious target-consumer for Sephora’s marketing campaigns.

Anyhoo, here’s some of the stuff I bought and some of the things I’m currently loving (makeup and otherwise):

1. Blush: I’m obsessed with blush.  Sometime during college I owned up to the fact that I have SPF-100 skin and realized that a healthy-looking flush was necessary to make it look like I wasn’t about to let-loose my fangs and bite someone’s neck.  I’ve tried a lot of different blushes over the years and have finally found my absolute favorite blush brand: Tarte.  Tarte’s Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush is like a freaking feat of nature.  Somehow it gives you the perfect amount of color and stays all day long (those of you who wear blush can back me on the fact that finding a blush with staying power is near-impossible).  I have two colors — I use Blissful (a light, bright peachy-pink) during the spring and summer months and Memorable (a limited-edition darker rosy-pink I got last year) during the fall and winter.  I also got the NARS cheek palette at the Sephora sale — I like it ok so far, but I’m still kind of figuring out the colors.

2. Shimmer Powder: I also purchased Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in luminous light at the Sephora sale.  I’m still kind of on the fence about whether this is worth the purchase price (not cheap!), but I wanted something for the holidays to boost my makeup look (and let’s face it — I grew up in the 90’s, so I pretty much would love to cover my entire face in glitter and call it a day).  I love the idea of a subtle sheen for candlelit date nights and the upcoming holiday parties, so I’m hoping that this powder is just the thing for that.  (I had purchased the Diffused Light version a long time ago, and while I find the color a little chalky for all-over coverage, I like it as a light powder highlighter — if that makes any sense.)

3. Free Gift: Those of you who regularly shop at Sephora know that they have those 100 and 500-point gifts you can redeem at the counter with your beauty points.  I have amassed some ungodly amount of points, but never seem to find anything I want to redeem when I’m shopping there.  This time they had the Clinique Chubby Stick Lip Balm in Strawberry as one of the options, which I decided the try out (despite the fact that I absolutely hate the name “Chubby Stick” — seriously, who are their branding people?)  I was pleasantly surprised when I tried it out — it feels like chapstick (my go-to lip coverage on most days), but gives you just the slightest hint of color.  And awesome perk — it’s so sheer that you can actually put it on without a mirror, without worrying that it will look like some makeup-hungry 6-year-old got their hands on you.  Perfect for everyday wear — I’ve been throwing it into my purse and work bag and wearing it just about daily.  (Another good option which is a little cheaper is the Revlon Colorburst Balm Stain sticks.  They aren’t quite as sheer as the Clinique sticks, but over chapstick they have pretty much the same effect — I’m wearing Romantic in the photo above.)

4. Accessories: Since I’m pregnant, I don’t want to spend a bunch of money on buying a ton of new clothes which are only going to fit me for only a limited period of my life.  So rather than giving into my “OMG I have nothing to wearrrr” complaints, I have been investing in a few accessory pieces instead (since those always fit!  Am I right?)  I got a new statement necklace at Banana Republic recently (so fun for the holidays!) as well as the gold and leather necklace in the photo above (and let’s just ignore my hair up there, ok?  I kind of don’t believe in brushing it anymore.  Lucky KC.) — the necklace isn’t on the website for some reason, which is probably why it was on super sale when I bought it.  I’ve got my eye on these earrings as well — I guess we’ll see if I get into the store while they’re still available!  I also snagged a new pair of booties on super sale at Nordstrom Rack recently (I got the gray leather).  They’re surprisingly comfy despite the fact that they have a bit of a heel (I have the knee and back of a 150-year-old, so I generally opt for flats), and make me feel like I look at least a little bit stylish, even with my baby bump, which these days mostly just makes me look like I’ve been hitting the Halloween candy HARD.

5. Currently Coveting: I’ve been going back and forth over whether or not to purchase a new lipstick — specifically MAC Sin.  I love the look of a deep, dark lip color on some other ladies, but will I look like I’m some sort of goth?  Or like I totally just fell out of 1996?  (Remember the brown lipstick everyone wore with their super-light, powdery makeup back then?  I was obsessed but too young to try it out.)  Maybe I’ll pull the ultimate cheap move and order it from Nordstrom, since their return policy is crazy-amazing.  (Um yeah, I’ve totally returned lipstick there before…)  Oh yeah, and since the world apparently decided that diaper bags should be the ugliest looking accessory ever, I think this tote in chestnut might be just the thing to haul kid-gear for quick outings when le bébé arrives.  (Dear Diaper Bag Designers:  No.  Just no.)

I was going to add in what I’ve currently been using on my skin (both with and without makeup), but I think I’ll save that for another post, cuz it’s kind of long.  (And are you even interested?  I mean, I realize I kinda just post whatever on here and don’t worry too much about who actually reads it, but y’know…)

Hope you’re having a good week so far!  And feel free to post comments if you have any questions. 🙂