Whew! The past few weeks have been a total whirlwind around here and honestly – I wouldn’t have it any other way. Every single thing about the month of October has been magical this year, mostly in part to being able to spend it on the mainland seeing so many of the people that I love. I got home to Hawaii last night feeling sad, but with a heart full of love + a glass-half-full attitude. More about why on my most recent Instagram post.
The main reason for my trip to the mainland was for my best friend’s wedding, but I figured if I was going to head back, I might as well make a big trip out of it, right? Right. I spent a week with my parents and capped that off with a trip to State College for the Penn State football game. Click here to read all about that!
Something about spending time with my mom always leaves me feeling so creative and inspired to cook. I have lots of yummy recipes coming to the blog! In the meantime, enjoy this recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash. While I was home, I also got to see my in-laws! My MIL’s garden is seriously impressive and she was STILL getting sweet potatoes and some other assorted veggies off the vines while I was there. That’s nearly unheard of for late October in Pennsylvania!
She told me she has more kale than she knew what to do with…as you can see it’s still growing like crazy! We also did a little shopping and got some manicures. I’ve been dying to wear these boots since the last time I was in cold weather and I jumped at the first opportunity!
My sister and her husband drove up from Philadelphia one night for dinner and they brought their adorable Greyhound, Dylan, with them to visit! He’s a total sweetie and spent a lot of time cuddling (though not with hard cider, I promise, that was just for the photo ;))!
Since my mom retired from corporate life in November 2016, she has been tremendously busy filling the time gaps by becoming a yoga instructor. Let me just say that she put me through the ringer on some of her classes and moves and holy shit – not only is my mom more limber than I am, she has serious core strength. I’m so in awe of her (for reasons beyond yoga), but damn proud that she began this venture and is totally kicking ass. She asked if I would snap a few headshots for her classes and I think this one totally encapsulates her beautiful smile and infectious personality. Love you, mom!
My dad really enjoys cooking, so one night after my mom and I had gone to the gym, he surprised us both with this yummy homemade Brussel sprout salad. I had casually mentioned I saw on Facebook about how someone made shaved Brussel sprouts into a Caesar salad and VOILA! It was really delicious and I would 10/10 recommend! He also added in a bit of arugula, but the dressing was homemade and I think that was my favorite part.
I still can’t get past the fact that it’s been more than 3 years since my wedding. Every time I visit my parents my wedding dress taunts me from the bag in my closet, so one day I just put that sucker on! I still love it just as much as the day I bought it nearly 5 years ago. This was the first dress I ever tried on and despite trying on many others, I kept going back to this one. I bought it on the spot a week after we got engaged. Little did I know we would be engaged for nearly 2 years before our wedding could happen and I could wear it, but…whatever! I would buy it again in a heartbeat!
Each night after dinner my parents walk their sweet black Lab, Millie, so it was nice to tag along a few times and watch the sunset down near the river by their house. I love this snap since we are all looking! HA!
More Millie + Penn State love 🙂
And would it even be a trip to Target if you didn’t force your mom into wearing the costume heads despite her insane fear of lice? No, no it would not.
Something that is surprisingly hard for Dane and I to get in Hawaii is good Chinese food. And by that I mean – the little white boxes with red writing for takeout that include cheap fortune cookies. You know the places I’m talking about! So it’s always my first order of business upon returning to the
motherland mainland. Broccoli with water chestnuts in brown sauce is my go-to!
The foliage around my parent’s house was rocking! They have had a warmer-than-usual fall, so when I arrived all the mums were still in full bloom with lots of colors, because they really hadn’t gotten too much cold weather yet. The trees were still green when I got there! As the days passed and the weather got colder and colder, the leaves started to change and it was GORGEOUS!
I’ve chatted a little bit before about why apples are such an important staple in my family, but I was totally wow-ed by this homemade apple tartlet my mom whipped up. It tasted so delicious and she topped it with homemade vodka whipped cream. I had never had alcoholic whipped cream before, but she put all the ingredients into her whipped cream dispenser and it came to freaking life. WOW is all I have to say! I’m already dreaming about what flavors I want to make next…
Seeing my grandma when I’m home is always such a special treat. She’s 87 now and while she’s definitely moving slower and seeing less, she makes my heart smile with her quips and wit. Not to mention she always has on something that sparkles, so I guess I got my love for all things glitter honestly 😉
And I feel like I could keep sharing photos upon photos of all the little goodies and things that have made me smile recently (like starting my morning in sweatpants with coffee watching Kelly + Ryan), but I don’t want anyone to get bored!
Stay tuned this week for a recap of my best friend’s wedding, our quick trip to Durham and some delicious fall treats!