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family fun

November 14, 2014

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My brother and niece came to stay with us in LA last weekend, and we had such a great time together. Besides stopping in the city for lunch one day, they hadn’t spent much time with us here. We played a lot of Just Dance and board games, made chocolate chip cookies, spent some time at the Santa Monica Pier and Promenade, and saw Big Hero 6 (go see it!). Oh, and we can’t forget Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles because….Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles.

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Photobooths forever (in only 7 minutes!).

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-wonderland sam

the apple orchard

November 12, 2014

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Last year the only thing I wanted to do all autumn was go apple picking. Unfortunately, we missed the season, so nothing was getting in my way this year. While in Portland for our anniversary, we took a drive along the Columbia River, stopped at Multnomah Falls, and continued out to the Fruit Loop in search of an orchard. You bet I left room in my carry-on to bring three bags of apples home with us (I packed the lightest I ever have in my life).

The drive was beautiful, the weather perfect, and the apple picking the quintessential fall activity. We rolled our wagon around, picking and tasting apples, reveling in the chill air and hearing children playing. Since we couldn’t bring any of the jam for sale on the plane home, I made my own apple butter (and caramel apples and apple muffins) upon our return home. We stopped for some barbecue on the way home to round off the perfect afternoon.

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Portland, you are perfect.

-wonderland sam

a halloween affair

November 3, 2014

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This Halloween was the first in a while in which we actually had definitive plans. My acting studio hosted a Halloween party, and afterwards we walked through the West Hollywood “parade” to hang out at a friend’s. As for the party – you guys know if there is a camera and/or a booth, I am there. Here are a few photos from the event (I have zero idea why they are cropped to squares and cutting people out!).

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I was really excited about our costumes, but fewer people than I thought had seen the movie. Also, nobody recognized it was me, so I had to keep introducing myself to people I already knew.

The “parade” was much like Austin’s 6th Street Halloween event – hoards of people in costumes walking in the street. I didn’t see anyone with our costumes, but I did see a fair share of Adventure Time characters and Maleficents.

The highlight of my night was probably watching my friend’s (the purple Minion above) husband perform magic tricks at their apartment. Cool stuff, guys.

I hope you all had a happy Halloween. I am already anticipating Thanksgiving (we’ll be in NYC) and of course, my favorite, CHRISTMAS!

-wonderland sam

happy halloween!

October 31, 2014

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The month of October has been all too good this year. I so enjoyed my photo a day challenge and loved that I took the time to capture and treasure the small, magical moments this month creates. From our beautiful trip up to the Pacific Northwest, to the much needed family time back in Texas, and to the celebrations with friends, the past 31 days have given me just the sense of renewal I needed. The weather in southern California didn’t quite get the message this fall, but I sought out the colors of autumn wherever I could find them.

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Autumn nights are to be spent in the home, in the kitchen, cooking warm meals and baking yummy treats. I made this delicious and easy homemade mac and cheese (with real cheese and butter), and it was so satisfying.

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I hosted a pumpkin carving party complete with chocolate-caramel apples, pumpkin bread, and spiked apple cider (oh, and my new favorite – Moscow Mules). Our Jack-O-Lanterns sadly didn’t make it to today, so next year we’ll need to carve closer to Halloween. This morning I tried Starbucks’ Frankenstein Frap (delicious) and laughed at the diagram the barista drew on my cup.

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I used our apples from the orchard to slow cook some apple butter all day. My house smelled heavenly.

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Although I waited until the week of Halloween, I am happy to report I got our costumes finished. We decided last year what we would be this year, so suffice it to say, we have waited a while for this. I couldn’t be more excited!

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Fantastic Mr. Fox and his son, Ash (it’s not weird, right)? #imanathlete #thecussyouare

I used this tutorial for the no-sew ears and this tutorial for the no-sew tails. Whitney already had his outfit, and I found my clothes at Goodwill.

I finished the second Harry Potter book last night and been watching Halloween movies all morning, cuddling with my pup and relishing in the smell of a pumpkin spice candle. I’ll be making her some Halloween dog treats this afternoon, and we are headed to a Halloween party/parade this evening. Halloween has never been one of my favorite holidays, but it’s turning out pretty spectacular this year.

Happy Halloween!

-wonderland sam

comparison

October 21, 2014

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I’ve had a lot of time lately to think. Too much time to think. I often think my mind is my own worst enemy.

Lately I have been thinking a lot about comparison, comparing yourself to others. It is so, so difficult not to do this with our social media crazed world. And with television and magazine articles and definitely with my career of choice. And lately, it has really been getting to me.

I read a lot of blogs for inspiration. I love looking at images on Instagram. I like being in the know with friends on Facebook who I don’t talk to enough. I love using social media to share my story and my photos and to hopefully inspire others in some, even minute, way. And I want to root for other people. But I think I need to take care of myself first.

I guess what I’m getting at here is I need to shift something…maybe take a break. I want to continue blogging because it provides an outlet for me. I want to continue to share on Instagram. But I may start shying away from magazines and celebrity news stories and even from Facebook. It’s not doing anything except providing an excuse for people to not interact in real life. It’s easy to feel isolated, and Facebook isn’t helping that. I say all the time how I wish my future children didn’t have to grow up with technology, but here I am, using it on the regular with no benefit to my life. Too much information can cloud the brain and spark anxieties and fears you don’t need to have.

If we are friends in real life, you can reach me by phone or email (it’s listed on my Facebook- I will not be deactivating it) or see me in person. If we aren’t friends in real life, I’m actually looking for a pen pal! Comment below if you’re interested.

Onto only good things…

-wonderland sam

25 for my 25th : progress

October 20, 2014

A little update on my 25 for my 25th list:

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1. Visit Portland, Oregon √

I have been dreaming of visiting Portland for quite some time. And though we are traveling a lot in these next few months (for the holidays), our anniversary week was as good a time as any to make the trip. So we bit the bullet and bought plane tickets and stayed with my husband’s cousin. Read about our trip here and here.

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3. Make my own sandwich bread √

This has been something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, and the other week I finally decided to just go ahead and attempt it (lucky me I had all the ingredients on hand). I used this recipe but used all unbleached white flour since my wheat was expired (I also use the rapid rise yeast that comes in little packets). And it was so much easier than I imagined it would be (at least with a stand mixer to knead the dough)! It took a few hours from start to finish and was SO GOOD. My husband and I literally downed an entire loaf straight out of the oven. We froze one, and he took the rest to work for sandwiches. Needless to say, this will have to be a regular/weekly occurrence around here (just have to keep a lot of flour on hand).

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4. Go apple picking √

This has been another something that I have been wanting to do for a while. Last year we were planning on going, but we missed the season (it ended early last year). The closest orchards to LA are at least 2 hours away, and we couldn’t find a weekend to make it this year, so we threw “apple picking” into our Portland itinerary, and I’m so happy we did. My husband jokes that we only had to fly 2 hours to Portland to go apple picking, but we both really enjoyed it (and yes we brought bags of apples home in our carry-on luggage). Once I get those photos developed, I’ll be sharing more about it.

I’m also making progress on my reading list:

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6. Read the entire Anne of Green Gables series / on book 3 of 6.

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16. Read Harry Potter / on book 2 of 7 and so incredibly invested in the magic of this series that I must now read them all.

P.S. These are all Instagram photos. You can also follow my progress on Instagram through #sams25for25

-wonderland sam

fall baking

October 16, 2014

I have been spending more time in the kitchen as of late and am loving it. Fall is the perfect excuse to spend mixing and pouring and baking and smelling the wonderful aromas coming out of the oven. And now that the weather is starting to cool off, I’m happy to have my oven turned on while I listen to some smooth jazz. Here are a couple of recipes I’ve made that were such huge hits, I have to share them.

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Everyday Sandwich Bread : Simple to make and oh so delicious. We downed an entire loaf straight out of the oven, my husband took one to work, and we froze another (recipe makes 3 loaves). I didn’t have any wheat flour on hand, so I used all unbleached white. It was so good I ate it straight without any toppings. My husband used it and thought it was maybe a little too buttery for sandwiches (though the only butter I used was to glaze the top after taking it out of the oven). I on the other hand thought it was amazing and will definitely be making it again. Looks like weekly sandwich bread baking will be in our future.

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Apple Muffins : After our trip to the apple orchard up in Oregon, we naturally came home with bags of apples. I’m visiting family in Texas this week and wanted to bring a special apple treat along with me. These muffins were so easy to make (the hardest part, for me, was peeling the apples) and came out so good. I followed a commenter’s suggestion and used 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce and 1/2 cup oil (instead of 1 cup oil), 1 1/2 cups sugar (instead of 2 cups sugar), and added an extra tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp nutmeg. This was my first time baking or eating an apple muffin, and I am in love. Plus, my kitchen smelled heavenly.

Happy fall baking! Are there any recipes you just have to make each autumn? Any apple recipes you would suggest? If you’re not on Pinterest, I’d highly suggest checking it out. It is an amazing resource for any recipe you could so desire (and how I found both of these).

-wonderland sam

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