a quick hello

Hello there.
These past two weeks have been magical.
we have visited with so many of my favorite people,
enjoyed the sunny California weather, and have eaten lots of yummy food.
I have a lot to share, but for now I am off to enjoy a big glass of egg nog
and an evening catching up with family. 


the first christmas

Today, we head out on a road trip to California. 
We are spending the holidays out there with my family. 
Twelve hours in the car with this guy could not get any better. 
This pictures is an oldie, but it brings a smile to my face every time I look at it. 
It was taken during the first Christmas break (from college) that we hung out with each other . 
During that break are friendship began. 
We quickly became best friends with the occasionally kiss thrown in. 
That Christmas was also the first time that Bear met and entertained some of my extended family. 
Six years later he is still my best friend, but now I get all the kisses I want. 
yeah for holidays... yeah for love... yeah for families... and yeah for road trips!  

nothing a little lights, candy, and pizza won't fix

we celebrated Christmas with the Brooks this past weekend, and it was just what I needed to feel the Christmas spirit . You see, I have been a little scrooge-ish. Un-prepared and scattered are two words that you could describe how I have been feeling about the up-coming holiday. But thanks to a great weekend of yummy food at Maxwells, my favorite pizza place ever, decorating the Brooks Christmas tree, watching Christmas movies,  and relaxing with family, my spirits are up! Bring on this merry season. I . am . ready! 


around my town. Reading, Pennsylvania

I am super pleased to introduce to you 'around my town'. a new feature on my blog that will take a closer look at bloggers and where they live. Bear and I have traveled a lot since we got married and I love getting recommendations of places to eat or things to see from other blogs. That is how this little feature got started. i hope that you enjoy learning about the different towns and all the fun recommendations of places to visit and restaurants to try from bloggers around the country. 

without further ado, I want to introduce to you Betsy. Born and raised in Reading, Pennsylvania, a graduate student in Multicultural Education. Her blog, Heavens to Betsy, is all about photography, crafts, food, and fun. 

Let's get to know a little bit more about Betsy and Reading, Pennsylvania. 

How long have you lived in Reading, PA?
I was born and raised in Reading, and other than the last 4 years, have lived here all my life.  I moved to Wenham, Massachusetts to go to Gordon College in the fall of 2007, but moved back home to Reading last December when I graduated. 

What is one thing that you love about Reading?
I love that my entire family is here.  We’re a pretty tight-knit bunch, and it’s great to not be more than 15 minutes from anyone.  But I guess that’s not really about Reading.  I love the diversity in landscape that Reading has.  It’s situated in a valley, surrounded on all sides by mountains.  You can be in the heart of the city drive five minutes and be in suburbia, and drive another five minutes and be on a farm.  It’s situated right between Lancaster and Philadelphia, so you don’t have to go too far to experience some different ways of life.  It’s crazy how fast the landscape changes around here, but it gives Reading a city and country feel all at the same time.

What is one thing that you don’t like about living in your town?
We don’t have an Anthropologie.  (Just kidding!)  While there are a lot of awesome things going on in the Reading area, the city is pretty rough.  It’s not exactly the safest place around.

If you could use one word to describe your state/town/house what would it be?
Community –minded.  

Favorite go-to Dinner Spot?
This is super lame, but I really love Panera & Moe’s Southwest Grill.  Yeah, not exactly unique.

If you had the opportunity to take someone to only one place in Reading where would it be?
Mt. Penn.  It’s one of the mountains in Reading, and houses the Pagoda and the Fire Tower.  The Pagoda is literally a Japanese-style Pagoda.  I think it was a hotel or something, but now it’s a museum of sorts.  And right in the middle of the mountain is the Fire Tower, which you can climb to the top of and see the entire Greater Reading area.  It’s easily the best way to show someone Reading, and it’s pretty cool, too.

Where is the one place that you would not want to forget your camera?
Oooo…this is a hard one.  I pretty much take my camera everywhere that I go, but I’d have to say you wouldn’t want to forget it if you were heading up towards Lancaster county.  The rolling hills, farms, and even Amish horse & buggies are so picturesque!

Favorite weekend getaway?
The beach!  We’re about 2 ½ hours from both the Delaware and Jersey seashores.  Easy day or weekend getaway!

Where would we might find you on a Saturday afternoon?
Probably out with friends, shopping or grabbing coffee, or, as nerdy as it sounds, at home, on my couch, doing homework.  

Best place to satisfy your sweet tooth?
Sublime Cupcakes.  I’m a cupcake addict, and Sublime makes different flavors everyday….my favorite are the Grasshopper, S’mores, and Harvest Pumpkin!

What is on your list of things that you want to do in the upcoming months?
Go up to Hershey for Candy Lane…they decorate the entire park for Christmas and they have the BEST hot cocoa.  (plus, the town smells like chocolate…what’s not to love?)

Favorite blogger? 
I’m a HUGE fan of Naomi over at The Rockstar Diaries.  Her little family is the cutest!


the weekend

Highlights from the weekend include

1. going to glades for hamburgers. This use to be one of our weekend hangout spots (the parking lot) when I was younger.  It was as delicious as I remembered it being.  They have this white sauce for dipping your fries (and anything else) and it is scrumptious! It's so good that I kept some and it's in my refrigerator for when I get a craving.

2. taking a walk up Hobble Creek Canyon, and then driving around looking at all the million (x6) dollar houses that are hidden up throughout the canyon.

3. watching Shento play in the snow.

4. coming home and trying out our new espresso maker. Bear made a killer pumpkin spice espresso!

5. (not pictured) Bear and I walked to center street to watch Santa turn the Christmas lights on in downtown provo. The lights were so so, but the walk was wonderful. It is great living within walking distance to downtown.

That wraps up our weekend. How was yours?


electric light parade

on saturday, we took a little visit to Ogden to watch the electric light parade, santa run, and visit the city park filled with playhouses decorated for the holidays.  we arrived just in time to get a hot beverage and watch the 700 plus santa look-a-likes run down main street.  later, we watched the light parade, walked around the village, and had dinner at Roosters. I highly recommended eating here if you ever get the chance.  it was a perfect evening out with my family. a special thanks to Bear for making us all laugh at your ridiculous jokes during the evening events.   


we spent Thanksgiving with the Brooks family and it was wonderful. we were spoiled with not one but two turkeys... a fried and a roasted. the fried was my favorite, it was so moist and delicious. we stuffed ourselves, but that's what your suppose to do on Thanksgiving, right? Bear's mom organized for all of us to paint either a snowman or santa to get in the spirit of the holidays. it was a great idea and lots of fun. everyone's came out looking spectacular. this was the first Thanksgiving that Bear and I have spent with family, and although we missed are friends we were so thankful to be around all of our family.



it's super quite in my house right now. Bear is reading in our room and i am sure that Shento is snuggled up  right next to him. i am sitting on our couch sipping some tea reminiscing about the curtains that i sewed today. i thought long and hard about how i would make them and what pattern/color they would be, and now as i am starring at them they turned out just okay. they look more blue to me than the grey they looked in the store and my seam line is not completely strait. maybe i should of just bought the ones that i was wanting instead of trying to be crafty. oh well, i am sure they will grow on me... they've got to because they are here to stay! the moving process is progressing. i still feel a little discombobulated. i put things away and then i forget where they are, and trying to find room for all of our stuff has been a challenge but the house is lovely, the neighborhood seems charming, and it's exciting starting this new adventure.


wishing everyone a joyous weekend

 we like bright colors
Bear actually picked the wall color (magenta haze). You wanna know why? 
Because it's 'his' color. it says it in the book of colors. it goes by your birthdate and year. 
His happens to be magenta haze so he thought why not paint the office that color. 
it's bright, but i think it will be fun and energetic when we are complete. 
what do you think of the mock up? 


have a happy weekend. 
we will be un-packing and putting together our new home. 


we shall be moving

wish us luck today!
we are packing up the u-haul and movin are stuff to provo.
ready. set. GO!!! 


our new home on e street

our house is coming along nicely. 
the walls have been painted, the carpet has been cleaned, and the kitchen has been scrubbed.
 we owe a HUGE thanks to both of our parents for helping/doing a lot of the work.
 we will be loading up the u-haul and moving all of our stuff tomorrow. 
let the craziness of un-packing and decorating begin! 
and lastly, no this pictures has nothing to do with moving, provo, or even bear and i. it was taken in park city of some random donkeys that i thought were cute! 


happy birthday my love

thank you for being my best friend.
 i love you. 

Love, me 


welcome home

whew, yesterday was a whirlwind. we signed the lease, got the keys, and started painting our new home.   the new coat of paint already brightens up the rooms and makes the house look a lot more charming. i have a million ideas for decorating and i am anxious to start moving our stuff/boxes in. today, we are heading back to the house to paint. the more time i spend in the empty house, the more it feels like our home.


Road Island Diner

Awhile back Bear and I took a drive to Oakley to visit the Road Island Diner
It's an actual old streamlined art deco diner car that was moved here from Elizabeth, NJ. 
Now you see why we had to visit! It has ties to NJ.
The car is filled with bright colored seats, neon signs, a jukebox,
 and of course the curved aluminum ceiling. The waiter even wore a hat replicating 
the ones that were worn in the 1930's by waiters. 
We had chocolate malts and boy were they tasty (and huge), we should of shared.. 
Everything on their menu looked good, but the breakfast looked especially yummy. 
I think we will be visiting again soon to try out the breakfast. 



Hello, hello, hello,
this past week was busy. so many little things in our life are happening and it started feeling overwhelming. we have been afraid of jinxing it so we have stayed quite, but we have found a cute old house (to rent) that we will call our home sometime next week. the house is everything we could ask for. two bedrooms plus an office, tons of natural light, a fenced in back yard for Shento, and the best part, they allow dogs! it feels good to have finally made a decision and to know that this is the start of our new adventures in utah.  

in other news, we still miss nj. isn't that the craziest thing? i miss our routine, all of our favorite restaurants, and our friends. i am so thankful that we took full advantage of living there. i have strange flashbacks when we visit local stores that we frequented in nj. i sometimes have to remind myself that we are no longer back east.  i think that i am ready for a trip or i am ready for our friends to come visit us (Janice). we have a nice house and i will be a great host. yes, i am bribing everyone to come visit us. 

also, i am excited about the snow. this weekend i was ready for the predicted blizzard that we were suppose to have but it didn't happen. it was just cold. but this cold is great. in nj when the temperatures dropped you seldom went outside. the humidity made everything unbearable. now we can go for winter walks without feeling like we are going to freeze to death. 

and lastly, the house gets a fresh new coat of paint and we are in the process of picking out the colors. that task is harder than it seems. we stared at all the paint color samples hoping for one to jump out at us. instead we left about a dozen different choices. 



hope that you are having a great week thus far.
I feel like ours has been productive.
we have checked things off of our never ending to-do list.
We have been moving along with the job search, house search, and grad school.
And after much debate, thought, and stress
we have officially decided to call Provo our home for the next little while.
And while I never thought that I would ever live in Provo/Utah County,
I am starting to except and like the idea.
It's beautiful here and we have potentially found an awesome Indian food restaurant
that I am super excited about (as long as I can find me some good Indian food, I will be great).

The house search is proving to be more challenging than we thought.
Especially in this area because everyone here is dog haters.
How can you not like dogs? Doesn't make any sense to me.
I couldn't even image life without my adorable Shento.

We are in Provo today. I am actually sitting in the student library typing this. Bear is teaching his class.
I am really hoping he hurries up because my stomach is starting to rumble.
Breakfast is sounding yummy right about now.

Any suggestions on awesome things to do in Provo?
We are going to go exploring today.

Pumpkin Monkey Bread


3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 Tbsp melted butter
1/2 cup warm milk
1/4 cup warm water
2/3 cup pumpkin puree 
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

1 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 stick butter, melted
1 block cream cheese (not softened)
12oz pecan pieces

Whisk together the flour, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, water, pumpkin, melted butter, sugar, and yeast. 
Add wet ingredient to the dry and mix together

Once both wet and dry ingredients are thoroughly mixed, it’s time to knead the dough. You can either turn the dough onto floured surface and knead by hand until elastic (about 8-10 minutes) or using a kneading attachment for your mixer. You’ll likely have to add flour a little at a time during the kneading process in order to get the elastic consistency that is the mark of good bread dough.

Once the dough is elastic, transfer to a bowl sprayed with cooking spray. Flip the dough over so that the top is coated and won’t dry out. Cover with a towel and allow to rise until double in size or about an hour.
While the dough is rising you can go ahead and do a little prep work for the assembly process. Cut a block of refrigerated cream cheese into tiny cubes. You’ll need to get 20-30 cubes out of one block so slice small. You can also mix together the cinnamon and sugar for rolling the dough balls and if you feel really ambitious you can melt a stick of butter.
Once the dough has doubled in size, it’s ready to be divided into small balls. 
Pinch dough into balls that are 1 1/2 – 2 inches in diameter and tuck a cube of cream cheese inside. Dip each ball in the melted butter then roll in sugar/cinnamon mixture.
Place one layer balls in a Bundt pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle pecans on top then add another layers of balls. Repeat dough ball/pecan layers until Bundt pan is a little over half full.  A tighter packed pan makes cake-like, sliceable monkey bread whereas a lightly packed  pan (ie just laying the balls in the pan) makes for pull-apart monkey bread.
After layering is complete, sprinkle any leftover butter and cinnamon/sugar mixture on top, cover, and allow to rise again for about an hour. Once the dough has risen for the second time, bake for 30-35 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
After baking, let the monkey bread cool in the pan for about 10 minutes (no longer or it will get stuck!) then flip onto a serving platter. 
Enjoy this yummy treat. It is really good for breakfast! 
Original recipe found here.


a day filled with baking, music, and laughter is always the best type of day

we had a day date. 
the smell of pumpkin filled the house. 
and Bear entertained with the sounds of his guitar.
I tried to sing along (but that just hurts our ears).
we laughed and talked about our future
and we made dinner together.
these types of days are the best. 
and remind me how lucky I am. 


a little music to start your day

this lovely song came on this morning and i instantly fell in love with it. 
and i hope you will too. Drew Tabor is the talented lady behind this amazing music. 
Go check her out on youtube. She covers a lot of different artists and also sings some her own songs.  
 this was just what i needed for my Wednesday morning. 


Cascade Springs Drive

A couple weekends ago we took a drive with Bear's parents up to Sundance and back around through Cascade Springs and into Midway (personally, I think that this is the prettiest drive to take to see the fall leaves).  It was breathtaking. The bright reds on the tree leaves were covering patches all over the mountains. And yellow was just starting to peek through. This is truly my favorite time of year. And taking drives through the Utah mountains is something that I am grateful that we get to do now that we are back. 


Happy Saturday

Hey Hey.. I never write on Saturday because this time should be used to hang out with the Mr. or to be enjoying the outdoors. However, the Mr. is gone this weekend at a conference and I thought this would be a good opportunity to get some photography things done. Awhile back I did a giveaway on this lovely blog. The giveaway was for a free photo session. Pretty awesome huh! I met and photographed the couple who won the photo session this past weekend. They were pretty adorable and their session was super cute and romantic. You might even know her.. she writes the blog redhead memories.
Anywhoo, to see more of their pictures go to my photo blog. Become a follower and you might be the next person who wins a free photo session. Also, I am offering mini sessions through the month of November. Perfect for your upcoming christmas cards.


outside my window

7:30 a.m 
the moon was still out and the sun was just starting to rise.
 The bright colors have seemed to fade and snow is still on the top of the mountains. 


nothing beats a chocolate malt

A couple weeks ago we had a double date with my adorable Grandparents. We had lunch at one of 
our favorite places in Kamas, High Mountain Drug. The hamburger and chocolate malts are amazing...     
I crave them for weeks afterwards. Thanks to my Grandparents for making our double date so fun.  
Can't wait for the next time. 


Mr. Best Dressed

a little while back Bear played in a woody tennis tournament. 
everyone involved played with the old wood racquets and were suppose to dress the part. 
you probably noticed that Bear pulled the look off like a champ.
 he won a trophy for his awesomeness. Best dressed.. that's my hubby! 
he also did great playing tennis.
 I sat on the side and cheered for mr. best dressed.