coffee date.

happy “it’s finally getting to be seasonal hot drink weather” season! let me tell you all something, and you can hold me to this; i will never be sick of seasonally appropriate food and beverages. seasonal eating and drinking IS MY JAM. give me all the gin and tonics and rose in the summer, all the pumpkin spice and old fashioneds in the fall, and all the hot cocoa and red wine in the winter (we don’t have spring here really so i have no seasonally appropriate beverages for that one). i don’t get all the hating on the PSL man. just let people live their lives and drink it, and if you don’t like pumpkin things, then get something hazelnut or cinnamon flavored. or don’t. but stop hating on my seasonal drinks!

here’s to a post that’s not about my pregnancy, and instead about catching up with you on all things in the z household. coffee dates are the best. let’s always have them.

coffee date fall


if we were on a coffee date, i’d obviously be sipping on a hot, lovely latte. probably a pumpkin spice latte with half the pumpkin spice (or vanilla if i’m feeling old-fashioned). like i said, i am pumped up about fall coming. not only is the weather getting cooler, which means i am far less swollen and puffy, but there is also more time for relaxing and getting stuff done around the house, which is perfect for me since i’m pretty obsessed with organizing right now.

fall candles

if we were on a coffee date, i’d be singing praises for the glory that is living near family. our babysitter recently left for a fabulous, open-ended trip around europe, which is awesome, but also left us with a couple months gap in childcare for one day a week. sounds easy to fill, but finding someone for one day a week is tough, then taking a maternity leave right after for four months? not happening. enter my aunt and my mom splitting the weeks to help us out. it’s amazing. my mother-in-law, who regularly takes care of amelia two days a week just told me that she would be happy to take amelia one day a week while i’m on leave to help me take a break. we are never in need of babysitters or people to help us out with our yard work or anything else we might need. i’d highly suggest that if you are ever able to, you live near your family if you get the chance. it’s pretty dang great.

if we were on a coffee date, we’d probably talk about the fact that i’m feeling like a terrible friend. on average, i’ve been responding to texts four days after i get them (which is ridiculous), i’ve been terrible about locking down friend dates, and just in general i’ve been a lump of a human being. i’d want to know that you feel like that sometimes too. because i can’t be the only one who does this from time to time. i mean, if you’re the type of friend who is amazing all the time, then you can tell me about what that’s like too, because i have no idea. and i’d want to learn from you. teach me your ways, or at least tell me that you understand me on some level. that would make me feel better.


what’s on your mind lately? tell me what’s going on with you over whatever type of coffee date beverage you want. seasonal or not!

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watermelon bourbon cocktail

hah, two recipe posts in a week. at least one has booze in it? i promise saturday’s post does not have anything to do with recipes (but it is a good one). 

as if you haven’t heard me say this enough, one of my favorite things to do on a friday night in is to make up new cocktail combinations. i love looking in the fridge to see what i have to work with and seeing what fun recipes i can think up. there’s a fun challenge in earning my drink, you know what i mean? there are quite a few tries that end with a drink down the drain, but i love sharing the ones that work out!

this is one of those cocktails that, the second i finished making it, knew it would be a hit. it’s also one of those cocktails that was so good that i only took one photo of it, because if i waited too long, it’d be watery and not as fruity and warm and smooth.

something about the wintery bourbon and the summery watermelon makes this a perfect transition cocktail as the fall gets into full swing. i hope beyond hope that you can still find some fresh watermelon, but frozen will do just as nicely, as will any other watery fruit (pear? peach?).

watermelon bourbon cocktail

watermelon bourbon cocktail recipe (makes 2)

  • ice
  • 1 cup fresh watermelon cubes (thawed frozen will work too)
  • 1 large lime wedge
  • 1-2 tsp. honey
  • 2 oz. of your favorite bourbon
  • club soda (optional)

in a shaker, add the watermelon cubes, the juice from the lime wedge, and the honey. muddle together until they make a juice. add the bourbon and ice to the shaker. shake vigorously to mix together and chill. strain mixture out into a glass filled with ice. if you’d like some bubbles in your cocktail, leave some room and add a little club soda. finish off with a pretty straw and you’re set.

note: a standard american shot glass is 1.5 oz., so use a little over one shot for every 2 oz. the recipe calls for.

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recipe: fancy caramel apples.

okay, it’s totally misleading to call this a recipe. because let’s be honest, this is not anything revolutionary in the world of food. this is good, old, traditional, sticky fun, and most people have made caramel apples before. but i wanted to share the way i fancied mine up this year, and if it inspires you to try some of your own combos, all the better! and who couldn’t use more sweetness in their life on halloween?

remember when i told you that my basic heart was breaking because i hadn’t done a lot of fall things this year? and that i set a goal to do one festive thing last week? you’re looking at festive thing #1. fancy caramel apples. i got the idea after spending too much time on pinterest while nursing, and ended up pinning a ridiculous amount of dressed up caramel apples. it occurred to me that with a few ingredients and a tiny bit of luck with nap timing, i might actually be able to do this. the stars aligned last week, and so fancy caramel apple time it was!

i used a bag of caramel pieces, the kind that drive you crazy to unwrap (especially when you’re racing against nap time) and just followed the recipe on the bag…melt the caramel plus two tablespoons of water in a double boiler or bowl over a pot of a water until it’s smooth, then dip the apples in the caramel, place on a buttered plate and refrigerate until set!

the fancy part comes in once you’ve dipped the caramels. it’s your chance to get creative and really bring our your inner martha stewart. for my fancy apples, i decided to do a different ingredient twist on each apple. one i left as a plain caramel apple, with just a bit of sea salt added (not pictured because i ate it before i could take a photo). one i rolled in mini chocolate chips. one i rolled in heath bar pieces. then i got really crazy and made chocolate-dipped caramel apples with the last two by melting baker’s chocolate and dipping the apple once the caramel was a bit set. i rolled one of the chocolate-dipped apples in crushed pretzels and the other in a mix of heath bar and mini chocolate chips. HEAVEN.

here are some ideas of other ingredients to dip your caramel apples in:

  • mini chocolate chips
  • heath bar pieces
  • m&ms
  • crushed pretzels
  • melted chocolate
  • sea salt sprinkled over the caramel
  • candy corn
  • peanuts
  • crushed walnuts
  • sprinkles
  • crushed oreos

i mean, the sky’s the limit with these! i had to give a couple away, otherwise i would (and could) have eaten them all by myself before the week was over. that’s just not a good idea when i’m bound to have all the leftover halloween candy to eat after today.

now i just need to find time to watch hocus pocus tomorrow, and i’ll consider this october successful!

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date nights and other musings.

mister man and i had our first date night away from the baby last night. it was amazing. and not “amazing but i missed my baby so much” amazing, it was “amazing and i wish i could have had a second cocktail” amazing. we ate a delicious dinner, i drank a pumpkin manhattan, and we talked about grown up things unrelated to our child’s bodily functions.

what is it about date nights that feel so special once you have a baby? is it the feeling of playing hooky from parenthood? is it that you can put on your fancy clothes and remember what it feels like to just be yourselves again? is it just the ability to order a strong cocktail and drink it all without being interrupted? i guess it doesn’t really matter, because at the end of the day, it’s magic in some form or another.


our daughter has all of a sudden turned into a happy, smiling, lovable ball of joy. not that i didn’t think that she was the most precious peach in the whole before now, it’s just that she was…less than happy, let’s say (i have more to say about that soon). now, well, now she wakes up with a smile and a giggle for me, and we spend the day chatting together in a baby language only we understand. we talk about things like daily plans and where we should take a walk and how to solve the national debt crisis. she’s got some good ideas that girl. she is also laying down some mad flirting game for any male she sees…we’re going to be in trouble someday.

she also is doing this all of a sudden, which means that tomorrow she’ll be eating solids and in a week she’ll be off to college:


it’s a weird thing to answer the question, “what have you been up to?” when you’re on maternity leave. the answer is complicated. i’m doing everything and nothing at the same time. i’m watching lots of crappy tv and also keeping my child alive. the shorter/more socially acceptable answer is “oh just hanging around the house, getting out when we can, not a whole lot of anything really.” but what i really want to say is “i’ve been teaching my little girl how to exist in our world, it’s exhausting and awesome and i want to talk about it all the time!”


in case you haven’t noticed, it’s decorative gourd season mofos (points for anyone who gets that reference). normally i would be crafting something like a seasonally appropriate garland, or making plans for some festive activities. this year, since it’s a feat to manage to get dressed every day, i’m feeling a little lackluster in the fall spirit, and since i’m as basic as you can get (give me all the hot cider/crunching leaves/pumpkin spice lattes/boots&jeans/etc.) this has pained me. so i set a goal for myself last week to do one fun fall thing, and i think i managed TWO(!). you shall see for yourself in the coming week. any guesses what they were? hint: think super stereotypical fall things.

and with that, i end these musings for today. thank you for getting inside my head with me. i’d love to hear the random thoughts bouncing around your heads if you would be so kind as to entertain me with them!

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these days.

hmmm, maybe these are just going to start being a saturday thing. i kind of love a saturday morning spent sitting with a candle lit, and a blanket on my lap, blogging while the husband putzes around the house. it’s my happy place.

there is a lot going on around here, in life that is, so writing has taken a bit of a backseat. and that’s okay. life is meant to be lived, and the more i live it, the more inspiration i have to write down the line.

i hope that your weekends are wonderful. love on your family and friends, and have a cocktail for me. hugs and kisses to all of you reading this.


these days i’m…

eating lots and lots of popcorn. Mister Man has a pretty terrible travel schedule this month, so there have been a lot of single lady dinners to be had around these parts. the silver lining is that i’m all caught up on my tv shows since there is no one to snuggle with in the evenings….

trying to wash my hair less. so far i’ve been going at least 2-3 days without shampooing, and my hair is so healthy right now! normally on day three i just throw it up into the ol’ blogger topknot (does anyone want a tutorial on that one?) but i wore it down in tribute to amber’s lion hair habit. big hair is happy hair!

watching the harry potter movies. or rather, re-watching them. because obviously i’ve seen them before, who do you think i am? i don’t think ashten and i could be friends if i didn’t like hp. MM and i are starting from the beginning, because this weather means mandatory viewings of those wonderful movies.   

wearing my winter coat. while crying tears of sadness for the cold being here so dang early.

praying for family that recently went through a terrible loss, the kind that no one should ever have to endure. praying for their healing, for peace in their hearts, and strength.

drinking coffee again. don’t judge me, i know i said i was off it, and i’m still off it most days, but let’s be honest, a girl needs her latte on a friday afternoon from time to time!

loving that i get to see my sister and her new apartment tonight! she’s a teacher in a town about an hour and a half northwest of us, so i don’t get to see her very often, and it’s going to be an epic girls night with dinner, cocktails, and hocus pocus. whoop!

also loving this special mail delivery from my girl alicia (or etley, as she’s also called). seriously, this girl is so wonderful, and has been an amazing far away friend to me since we found each other in the blogosphere. she is funny, gorgeous, and the sweetest person. love you lady!

working on getting our gosh darn lawn ready for winter. i have been cutting back plants, raking and pulling weeds for what seems like the last three weeks straight. i thought living in the city with a tiny yard meant i’d have LESS yardwork, not the crap-ton i’ve been doing.

(p.s. in honor of the cold weather arriving, for the rest of october i’m offering my monster squawker ad spots for 50% off with the code “sweaterweather”. with this spot you get social media love, an intro in one of my daily posts, and even a guest post opportunity if you’d like! go here to get your spot, they fill up fast! doesn’t nikki from rural rookie look so good over there on my sidebar?)


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