Pumpkin Carving Party

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October is my favorite month of the year. The crisp, cool air…the colorful leaves on the trees…oh wait, that doesn’t happen in Florida! Every year, I make a desperate attempt to celebrate autumn despite the 80° temperatures. I invited a few friends over to carve pumpkins but ending up spending most of our time hovered over the food table. I mean who wouldn’t be impressed with a Jack-O-Lantern shaped veggie platter and bloody knife cupcakes? The rest of our night included sipping on cider, enjoying the beautiful weather and everyone cramming onto the couch to watch Halloweentown.

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Mini Donut Pumpkins

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I love donuts…that’s no secret. I’m guilty of stopping at Dunkin’ a bit too often. The ceramic donut bank on my desk doesn’t help my constant cravings. So painting mini pumpkins like my favorite sugary breakfast item seemed only natural. I stopped by a local pumpkin patch (or two or three…I love pumpkins, okay?) and picked up a whole bunch of mini pumpkins for an afternoon of Halloween DIY fun!

Step 1: Pop off the stem of the mini pumpkin or cut it short so it doesn’t get in the way of the donut hole.

Step 2: Use a matte spray paint (in a light tan color, mine came out a bit too dark) to coat the pumpkin and let it completely dry overnight. Using a coat or two of spray paint helps get rid of the pumpkin’s waxy texture so the frosting layer of paint goes on a little smoother.

Step 3: Pick out your frosting colors. I went for the classic chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. Use a tiny brush to draw the frosting outline and a little circle on top for the donut hole then fill in the rest with a larger paintbrush. You might need 2-3 coats depending on the thickness of the paint.

Step 4: Once the frosting paint layer is completely dry, it’s time to add the sprinkles! I opted for puffy paint. It was extremely easy to add the sprinkles this way plus the three-dimensional texture made them looked even more realistic.

Step 5: I dare you not to take a bite out of your new little treats. They look almost good enough to eat!

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A Day in the Life {Halloween Edition}

1. All of my favorite things about autumn- scarves, lattes, sweaters, and shopping (which I love doing in any season). // 2. The cutest jack-o-lantern cookies. // 3. Homemade Chai Lattes on Halloween morning. The recipe will be posted soon! // 4. I’m a sucker for candy corn but only the mix with the little pumpkins in it. // 5. Autumn-inspired flowers and plaid table runners at my brother’s wedding rehearsal dinner. // 6. My favorite part about Halloween…pumpkins! // 7. I can never visit enough pumpkin patches during the month of October. // 8. There’s something so magical about twinkling lights on a cool night. // 9. The spookiest desserts on set at HSN.

Halloween Compost Cookies

Since I consider Halloween to be the season of sugar, I felt it only necessary to do a little baking. I first found this recipe for Halloween Compost Cookies on Glitter Guide last October and it has quickly become a yearly tradition to whip up these salty + sweet cookies inspired by Momofuku Milk Bar in NYC. Who knew potato chips, M&M’s, and caramel rice cakes could make for the most amazing cookies?

I’m So Glad I Live in a World Where There are Octobers

The autumn festivities are officially in full swing. November greeted us with surprisingly cold weather. I could actually see my breath outside last night! It’s been a nice change from the usual 80 degree afternoons.

I spent the entire month of October participating in Halloween-related activities. Between farmer’s markets, pumpkin patch excursions, costume making, autumn baking, and pumpkin decorating, I would say I have completed my fall checklist.

Halloween week was full of parties. Mariah turned 21 so she hosted a birthday + Halloween celebration. On the evening of Halloween, I co-hosted a “A Nightmare on Azeele Street” with my friend Alissa in South Tampa. What a spook-tacular night it was!

I debuted my Kate Middleton costume and was thrilled when everyone loved it. I was quite shocked at how many people didn’t actually know who Kate Middleton was. Most of the guys thought I was the Queen of England. Someone needs to brush them up on their pop culture!

Mariah celebrated her 21st birthday right before Halloween so another party was completely necessary! We spent a lovely evening with her family and friends while my brother whipped up some amazing food and I made my first “real” birthday cake for her. I’m really considering opening a bakery in my future after all the time I’ve spent baking this past month!

My proudest accomplishment of the month was winning 2nd place at the Idlewild annual pumpkin carving contest! I carved a Mockingjay from The Hunger Games and it was a huge hit. There were so many other amazing designs and I would have awarded first place to the Gangham Style pumpkin. So creative!

Life Starts All Over Again When it Gets Crisp in the Fall

Autumn has always been my favorite time of the year. The crisp temperatures, the vivid oranges and reds of the leaves, and pumpkins lining every street. I flew up to Ohio a few weeks ago for a quick two day trip. Although it was short, we squeezed in as much family time as possible. Our first stop was my mom’s favorite childhood spot, Taggarts. There’s nothing like their homemade peanut butter fudge ice cream.

We were lucky that it warmed up a bit during the day so we stopped by Gervasi Vineyard in Canton for a glass of wine and a relaxing afternoon by the lake. The leaves were just beginning to change colors, families were gathered around a fire, and kids were playing corn hole beside the lake. It was the picture of perfection.

I’ve really enjoyed getting involved at my brother’s church in Tampa recently. About 40 of us got together and went over to the dessert room at Bern’s Steak House. I ordered a trio of mini chocolate cakes filled with dulce de leche and topped with a salted caramel gelato. I can safely say the cafe con leche was the most incredible thing I’ve ever had to drink. Every dessert was extremely indulgent and the presentation was impeccable.

After our sugar feast, we took a tour of the kitchen and the wine cellar. Bern’s has over 500,000 bottles of wine- some dating back to 1810. They hold the largest wine collection in the country!

Weekend adventures have to be one of my favorite things. Just getting in the car and driving, soaking up the sunshine, and spending time with friends is the absolute best. My friend Anna and I went to Datz in Tampa for a delicious Sunday brunch. Afterwards, we felt compelled to pop into the bakery next door. We were delighted to find ghost and candy corn shaped cookies. We ended our day at Cigar City Brewing for a tour and tasting. What a cool local spot and great local craft beers!

I found out that Giuliana and Bill Rancic would be speaking at the University of South Florida and was thrilled at the chance to see them in person. Kate and I drove over to Tampa and waited in line for an hour with the hundreds of eager fans.

It was such an inspiration to hear Giuliana speak about her career at E! News, her road to recovery from breast cancer, and what it was like having her first child via surrogate. Her husband, Bill Rancic, was the winner of the first season of The Apprentice and is a very successful Chicago businessman. The relationship between them is something I strive to have in the future- what a beautiful friendship and marriage they have!

I currently have the windows open and am enjoying the break from 90 degree weather. I miss NYC in the autumn but I’m thankful to live in a place where freak blizzards on Halloween are not likely. Stay warm my northern friends, I’ll be enjoying the sunshine for you.

If You Only Get One Great Love, New York May Just Be Mine

Yesterday we had our first sign of winter- snow flurries! I was on my way to work when I could see the small flakes landing on my jacket. It only lasted a mere five minutes before turning into sleet but still, I was quite excited. I’m looking forward to some real snow in the next few months. I keep getting warned that after a few days of snow, I’ll be tired of it and wishing for warm weather and sunshine. The leaves have all started to change and Central Park is absolutely beautiful this time of the year! I love having REAL seasons!

Two weeks ago, I had the chance to meet two of the ladies from The Housewives of New York. They were filming an episode of their show at a costume shop in the city. My friend Alyssa’s mom owns the store and invited us to come see the taping. She personally introduced us to Jill Zarin and LuAnn de Lesseps. We got to talk to LuAnn for a few minutes and she started asking us about our internships at Fuse. She asked me for my business card and told me she wanted to send her music video to us. Then she went on to sing a line from her hit single “Money Can’t Buy You Class.” Boy, was that entertaining…

Halloween in the city was so different than anything I’ve ever experienced. All of the restaurants and bars started decorating for Halloween on October 1. One of my favorite things about fall is carving pumpkins. I carved a haunted house into a pumpkin and I’m thinking of becoming a professional pumpkin carver! On Halloween night, I dressed up as Lady Gaga from the “Telephone” music video and my roommate Jaclyn was Carrie Bradshaw from Sex & the City. I worked really hard putting my costume together and getting the coke cans to stay in my hair all night. I went out with a bunch of friends and we ended up having a blast! We spent our night at a rooftop party in the West Village (even though it was in the 40’s outside). My “best costume award” went to my friend Aaron who dressed up as a tree that got “TPed.” The one question I never got answered though was where do kids go trick or treating in the city?

I’ve been trying to take advantage of the beautiful weather and explore before it starts snowing! Last weekend I went to The Met for the first time. What a gorgeous museum. I went with another friend named Jaclyn and we spent 3 hours in the museum walking around. We then spent the rest of the afternoon walking around Madison Avenue. We went into the Louboutin store and I must say, I was in shoe heaven. Of course we ended up in Henri Bendel’s, one of my favorite NYC accessories stores.

Last night, I had the opportunity to go to a free Katy Perry concert at Roseland Ballroom. AT&T put on a free concert to promote one of their new phones and they gave out a couple thousand passes to fans. She sang all of her big hits along with most of the songs off her new album “Teenage Dream.” Katy put on an unbelievable live show and her costumes were pretty amazing too.

This week I’ve seen snow flurries, the tree go up at Macy’s, and the window displays in progress. We all know what that means…Christmas is coming!

Autumn in New York

First of all, I want to apologize to all of my wonderful friends who have been waiting patiently for another blog entry. I’m happy all of you are reading this. The last few weeks have been hectic but exciting! The cold weather is finally moving into the city. The highs don’t get out of the 60’s and it has finally started feeling like fall. A few weekends ago, Allyson and I took a train to upstate New York and spent the weekend with our friend Tony. We went to DuBois Farms and had the chance to pick apples and pumpkins. We drank hot apple cider and enjoyed our time out on the farm! The night before we went to Headless Horseman- an old farm full of haunted houses and scary hayrides. What a great autumn-themed weekend!

I’ve been loving my time interning at Fuse. It has been a big change but I’m enjoying every second. I work with some great people and I’m learning a lot about the company. It has been really cool to turn on Fuse and see the work I’ve done appear on TV.

I’ve been spending a lot of time cooking and baking. I forgot how therapeutic it can be after a long day at work. I recently made some delicious apple crisp with the apples I picked in upstate New York. If you ever have any good recipes, send them my way!

Last week, I got the chance to meet one of my favorite female celebrities, Hilary Duff! She was doing a book signing for her new book Elixir at the Borders in Columbus Circle. I purchased her book and waited about an hour and a half in line. I was absolutely thrilled to meet her! We sure had an interesting 30 second conversation. I walked up to Hilary and asked her if she was going to be making any more music in the future. She looked at me as if she couldn’t say much about her future music projects so I said “It’s okay if you can’t say anything.” And Hilary thought I said “It’s okay if you can’t sing!” I corrected her, took a picture, and ran off embarrassed. In my quick meeting, I insulted one of my favorite celebrities. I won’t soon forget that conversation!

This past weekend, my mom came up to visit me! We started off our weekend at Peanut Butter & Co- a little peanut butter themed restaurant in Greenwich Village. I had an amazing sandwich called The Elvis- honey, peanut butter, banana, and bacon! We walked around Washington Square and found my Uncle Roger’s old apartment where he lived in the 1970’s while attending NYU. Allyson’s family was also in town so we met them for dinner in Little Italy and had pastries afterwards at the wonderful Ferrara’s Bakery. We spent the next day shopping and having lunch in Chelsea. We visited American Girl Place, had cupcakes at Magnolia’s Bakery, and stopped by some West Village vintage shops. On Sunday, we got the chance to see Chicago on Broadway. We bought rush tickets and ended up with front row seats- such great luck!

I have come to love exploring the city. I feel like you see something new every time you walk around. I can’t believe I have been here for over 2 months now. This has been quite an adventure, and as Frank Sinatra would say…”the best is yet to come!”