Now that we’re all fully geared for fall, it’s time to celebrate all the fab holidays this season has to offer: Halloween (a true delight of a night), Daylight Savings Time (any day where you get a glorious, extra, free hour of sleep is a holiday in my book), 2 of my sisters and my mom’s bdays (okay, now I might be reaching), and most of all …(pause for effect) TURKEY DAY! You might be furling your brow in confusion and checking your calendar – yes, you’re right, technically Thanksgiving is still a ways away, but one can never be too prepared for such a festive celebration.

Let’s cut to the beginning {Plymouth Rock… I kid, I kid – in reality; 2 weeks ago…}

Browsing for recipes to fulfill my fall cooking goal, I found myself smiling back at the warm faces of (my close, personal friends…) Paula Deen, Alton Brown, and Giada De Laurentiis. My eyes were bombarded with images of buttery mashed-potatoes, crispy, golden turkeys, delicious, fluffy stuffing – yes, yes, I knew that the most thanks-worthy of holidays was still woefully two months away, but… With my mouth watering and my tummy grumbling, I called my sister and together we hatched the most clever of all holiday heists: Mashed Potato Madness! {Title credit to Michael T. Holm.} We just simply couldn’t wait. I know patience is a virtue, but it’s never been my strong suit. So, a pre-Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving dinner, a cool two months in advance? Yes, please.

Co-cook/host and the two lucky guests of MPM 2010

I thought I would share with you the several reasons that MPM seemed like a brilliant idea (aside from the impatience/2 month fiasco I’ve already noted). First, who wouldn’t want Thanksgiving food now? Duh. Secondly, as young women in the extended family, the cooking for TDay does not typically fall under our list of duties – we leave that to the pros. But a girl needs some practice for the future real-deal, yes? Additionally, and very corn-ily, we wanted to have Thanksgiving with our adorable man-friends (I know – gag). Plus, it’s on my goals list – check. Plus, plus, it’s the new Christmas in July – so trendy right now.

That being said – were those valid enough reasons for you to want to emulate this pre-holiday gloriousness? I highly recommend stepping outside the box for this fun and delish activity. Try your own version of MPM or try putting a unique spin on it. It’s never too early to be thankful!

“Now let’s all go around the table and say what we’re thankful for this year…”

Craving more deets?



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‘Tis the Season


The trees they are a changin'


      Those first few days of fall have to be some of the most glorious days of the year. Some naysayers may conclude that they pale in comparison to the water-filled days of summer sunshine, but sun schmun, there are approximately 90 days in a row where that same yellow ball floats in the sky (as long as you don’t live in Seattle and the summer of 2010 is not a contender in this census) and it loses it’s glamour in my book. Au contraire, mes chéris, that first chapter of this grand season, when the air is crisper than a honeycrisp apple and the leaves are just starting to catch on fire with red, yellow, and orange, those moments before the rain falls relentlessly and the sidewalk becomes a pathway reminiscent of walking on soggy Life cereal, those precious days, *sigh* are the loveliest of the year. Take a deep breath – can’t you just taste the change in season? Smell the spicy aroma of cinnamon-y apple cider brewing and sweet cornbread baking in the oven? It’s time to hang up that beach towel and break out the hats, scarves, and pumpkins to welcome back that quintessential period of “fresh starts” with open (and mittened) arms.

      Fall is a superb time to try new things. Studies have shown that trudging back to school year after year for our whole lives has programmed us to view this season as “the beginning of the year.” January who? We all set New Year’s Resolutions on January 1st, and promptly throw those out the window by late February – give it up girlfriend, it’s past VDay by then, what’s the point? Either you got him or you didn’t – you can stop scrimping on the chocolate and wine. But why not give that New Year’s Resolution list a little makeover, and have the start date be today. Start right now – grab a pen and paper and make a list of 3 (or more) things you would like to accomplish. I’ve bravely listed a few of my own to help you get your creative juices flowing (no judgment – I’m practically naked here):

  1. Re-organize my living room by October 10th – rearrange furniture, assess whether or not a fab, new piece is in the cards… and budget, and add some new, decorative finishing touches.
  2. Take a photography class/workshop before Christmas – photography is one of my favorite hobbies, but at this point, I’m a complete amateur. Hopefully you’ll see an improvement as I get some (kind, gentle) critiquing and practice with some of the pros.
  3. Cook more – I vow to myself (and my future husband and children) that I will be a great cook! I want to try one new recipe a week for the next month, practice using different cooking methods, and cook with some comrades to get some great tips and clever tricks of the trade.
  4. Work on more craft projects. Crafting (stop judging. Right now.) is my favorite free-time filler. There are endless possibilities! And many times, craft projects can be shared with family, friends, and roommates. Think of all the great gifts and home décor items you can make! I have about 4 projects going on currently (more deets to come), but my goal is to work on one project a month this year (or until death do us part – and by us I mean my pink, leopard-print glue gun and me)

     Now your turn – feel free to post your goals below and I will give you endless words of encouragement (my other follower might even chip in – thanks Mom!).              

     Note a couple of handy tricks I’ve used here – I picked these up from a very clever friend who knows how to make things happen, so have faith. The first scheme is to write down your ambitions somewhere you’ll see them often. I hope to spend much of the rest of my spare time (after accomplishing all my goals J) sharing via blog all my favorite thoughts with you! So I am bound to see my four main fall goals every time I update life unabASHed. Try writing yours out on a piece of posterboard and taping it to the wall by your bed, or write them with a whiteboard marker on your bathroom mirror. Can’t miss ‘em if you try!             

     The next handy tool is to make a sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T. I know this sounds like some kind of Michael Scott seminar, but memorizing this fab little mnemonic device can definitely help when making your Fresh Fall Faves to-do list. The ‘S’ is for Specific – throw in lots of extra words to help you get down to the nitty-gritty, in particular those fab ‘W’ words (okay, maybe I’m going overboard with my letters here…), who, what… you know the rest. ‘M’ means Measurable – hence all my due dates and numerical instances. ‘A’ = Attainable; i.e., let’s shoot for the moon, but be happy with the landing among the stars bit too. The ‘R’ is for Realistic. See Attainable… I know, redundant, but who wants to have S.M.A.T goals? Not I! And finally, the ‘T’ is for Timely, because when you have goals like, ‘read more,’ you can push that one off until you’re 90 years old and boring. Committing to a particular end date holds you accountable to your biggest critic – you.            

     So jump on board – or into a huge pile of leaves – join the movement (it’s huge – again, thanks Mom), and take advantage of this brilliant time of year.  Happy fall!


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