Last Minute DIY Halloween Costumes

If you are anything like me, you were sitting there googling last minute Halloween costume ideas last night. There’s some pretty good ones out there. While I ended up throwing on a leather jacket and putting a flower in my hair, there were a lot of other great ones I came across that I would have done with a little more planning. Here are a few of my favorites:

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Fifty Shades of Grey: This would have also been perfect since I saw “Spank: the Fifty Shades Parody” last night. The problem is that I don’t have 100 gray paint swatches hanging around.

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The Ginger Bread Man: I may be a brunette, but I do own a red wig… lacked the bread, sadly.

jellyfish.

Jellyfish: I had a friend do this a few years ago. Also perfect if it is raining Halloween day.

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“When Life Gives You Lemons”: Super simple. You could even print out a few lemons if you don’t have any on hand.

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That girl from Finding Nemo: FISSHHYYYY!

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Instagram Filter: This is pretty funny. You would want to make sure you include plenty of duck faces and hipster glasses.

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Tinder: Could always throw a good bio in there as well.

Happy Halloween!

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Salted Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

I originally wanted to create a blog based around running and racing. The problem with that is I am currently in race recovery mode and have only really done a handful of races I find note worthy. Not to mention here in New Hampshire race season is coming to an end with snow fall right around the corner. Don’t worry though, I have a few races on the calendar before the year ends.

SO meanwhile, I’ll write about things I do know about, like cookies. After all, a sweet rewards are one of the many benefits that comes with long distance running. Also can be the reason for all the running…

This is my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe. They require some serious patience and a little bit of planning, but as long as you have the ingredients and a few days to spare – they are easy!

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Ingredients: See? Normal cookie ingredients. The two most important things are cake flour and good quality chocolate. Cake flour is fine, while all-purpose flour has more gluten. Together they make magic. The difference between using cheap chocolate and good chocolate is extremely noticeable. After all, chocolate is in the name of these cookies.

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Kitchen Aid is taking the wheel here creaming the butter and sugars. You want to get it light and fluffy.

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After adding all other ingredients (see recipe below) you get a pretty good looking pile of dough if I do say so myself.

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This part is very important: you put the dough into plastic wrap and you…. wait for it…. put it in the refrigerator for a minimum of 24 hours. If you are antsy, a few hours will do. 36 hours is ideal. Sometimes I do three days because I forget. The lesson I have learned is that the longer you wait, the better they taste. Having the dough hang out in the fridge allows the eggs, butter, and liquids to soak and hydrate into all the dry ingredients. It also allows the flavor to develop in a deep caramel toffee-y goodness.

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When the time is right, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (which I clearly forgot to do here, not the end of the world) and scoop out LARGE cookies. I’m talking about almost 1/3 of a cup. People make cookies too small. Larger cookies allow the edges to get crispy and the insides gooey… and they don’t dry out as fast!

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You also want to sprinkle some course sea salt on top… the salt… with the sweet… yup. Enough said.

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The bet part about the cookies is that they are great the second day because the flavors continue to develop. But of course, eat one right out of the oven and burn your tongue. I did.

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And that, my friends, is how you make an impressive chocolate chip cookie. (And how you take poor lighting pictures of really delicious cookies that look better in person.)

Here’s the useful information I left out. Enjoy.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Found via Kate who Adapted it from Jacques Torres

Time: 45 minutes (for 1 6-cookie batch), plus at least 24 hours’ chilling

  • 2 cups minus 2 Tbsp. cake flour (8 1/2 oz)
  • 1 2/3 cups bread flour (8 1/2 oz) 1 ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp. coarse salt, such as kosher
  • 2 ½ sticks (1 ¼ cups; 10 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ¼ cups (10 oz.) light brown sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. (8 oz.) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ pounds bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks, preferably about 60% cacao content, such as Ghirardelli
  • Sea salt or kosher salt for garnishing

1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.

4. Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.

Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.

 

 

What’s Getting Me Through

 

 

This week, like every week it seems, is flying by. I’m at a seminar through today on auditing, disclosure notes, and other exciting accounting topics. It’s just about as exciting as it sounds. It’s nice to get away from the office for a few days, but I know all the work I have is still sitting on my desk waiting for me Thursday!

Here’s a look of what’s getting me through this week:

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The Celtics.

Today is opening day at TD Garden for the Celtics! I (by surprise) got to go to one of the preseason games last week. They have redone a lot of the Garden in the past few years and offer more food options and really started to make the place look new again. The Celtics may not have a strong team this year, but they won last week! They must have known I was there…

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Good Food. 

Of course the days I’m away at the seminar I don’t need leftovers which is a shame. This week would have been left over city at the office if I needed to pack lunches. It all started last week with taco night (fresh salsa pictured above). Other greet meals have included homemade mac & cheese, pulled pork, and spaghetti! Perfect comfort food for these cold days we are starting to have.

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Evening Runs. 

Being back into the groove of running this week is making me feel 100 times better about my life. With the seminar, I am getting home half an hour earlier than most days giving me time to sneak in a run. Yesterday I really cut the timing close, but it was worth it since the sky was on fire. I wish I had been on a better road during this time to get a picture. I couldn’t stop staring. Well worth the sketchy dark run it turned into.

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Fresh Nails. 

I don’t know about you, but when I have a chip-less manicure I feel instantly more put together. That being said, I probably do my nails about once a week. Sometimes they come out awful, other times I’m in love, like this week. The solid color is Essie “Ballet Slippers” with a Julep glitter accent nail. The best part of this weeks manicure? I didn’t bump my nails on anything before they were dry! Small victory!

This Chinchilla. 

Enough said.

Have a great second half of the week!

Back in the Groove

 

 

Prior to running my marathon, I did a lot of reading. One thing I didn’t look that much into is what it would be like after. I expected to be soar. I expected to be tired. I expected to lose a few toenails. But what you expect from reality can be drastically different. At first I thought running was a breeze after. I must have had some weird extended running high going on or something. Every run I did after wasn’t more than 2 or 3 miles, but my arches always seemed to be on fire when I finished. After a weekend away with lots of walking involved, I thought for sure it was the end of my running career and I had seriously messed up my foot.

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So, naturally, I sat in the airport snap chatting everyone that I thought I broke my foot. As soon as I got back that day I got an x-ray. And waited for the results. I was just limping around hoping I could run again soon. I got a call two days later, and thank you Jesus, it was not broken. I decided staying off it for a few days was a good idea. By the end of the week my legs felt like they were going to run right off of my body. My foot was feeling a lot better (it must have been a sprain of some sort) so I decided I could suck it up for a few miles and get some fresh air. I wore a pair of older shoes, my Ascics Gel-Kayanos, since they have more support. I focused on keeping on my toes and I got through the run (almost) pain free!

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It’s amazing what a few solid days off can do. Advantage of desk job = forced recovery.

After a weekend of easy runs, I think it’s time to reevaluate my running shoes again. Anyone else have a “graveyard” full of ghosts from running shoes past? Some of mine were pure experiments, some I wore to the soles, and some just never felt right. As usual, it’s back to the drawing board for me. I want something with enough support to keep me going for those long runs, but light enough that I don’t feel like I’m wearing a motion control shoe.

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I definitely plan on keeping my running easy for a while! I think I’m finally realizing how much wear and tear running a marathon can put on you body. I want to focus on becoming a stronger running and fully recover before I start picking up some winter races. The good news is that these cool fall New Hampshire days are perfect for light easy runs! For now it’s all about relaxing and enjoying the ride (and letting toenails grow back)! 🙂

 

BBQ Chicken Pizza

 

 

 

Pizza. It’s magical. What’s even better is that making some at home doesn’t have to be that hard! Just purchase a ball of dough from your grocery story, heat the oven to 350 degrees, flatten it out on something round or square, and let the creative topping ideas flow!

I started out by baking the dough solo for about five minutes before adding a coating of olive oil and BBQ sauce:

IMG_6232Rewind. I baked a piece of chicken with some camp mix seasoning on it before I did anything. That was chopped up and put on the pie.

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And what’s pizza without cheese?! Throw some of that on there, and lots of it. Maybe even some more BBQ sauce for good measure.

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I think that’s good… for now. Throw her (or him) in the oven until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden!

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What is this?! Cilantro! I chopped some up. Pizza deserves garnishes, too.

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Look how lovely and decorated that looks. It looked so good I had to eat some before even getting a picture.

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SEE?! Making pizza doesn’t have to be that bad! You can, of course, overachieve and make your own dough. I’ve done it, but I’m so tired by the end of the process I want nothing to do with pizza. The “semi-homemade” way is just as satisfying. You don’t even need to use a traditional pizza sauce. It’s the perfect way to carb up for a long run. It’s kid friendly. You could make a desert pizza. You can make more than one. It’s good for sharing. Are you sold yet? I’m mostly just hungry…

 

Kate Spade New Arrivals

Kate Spade’s newest collection is luxe pieces inspired by the glamour of old world train travel. And what is the best part? They have having their friends and family sale through Sunday, October 19th where you can receive 30% off your purchase! You can shop new arrivals here.

Here’s a few of my favorites from the collection:

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NETTA BOOTIES

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MADISON AVE. COLLECTION CLAYTON DRESS

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RACOON SWEATER

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PLACES TO GO PEOPLE TO SEE BOOK

So the book is about the only thing I can afford… So if you are in the right place to make a few purchases, please buy something in my memory! And if you are like me… happy browsing, day dreaming and may all your navy sequin dreams come true.