Caramel Apple Spice at home

Who doesn't adore hot apple cider in the fall??

If you're like me, you also adore the Caramel Apple Spice drink from Starbucks. (Note the absence of "cider", mostly because there is no cider involved. But that is neither here nor there.)

Alright last question, who loves spending $3-4 for every craving of this apple-y goodness? 
Right. Not me.

So through the power of Google, I found out all you need is a couple things to make this lovely fall goodie at home:
- Apple juice
- Cinnamon Dolce syrup
- Whipped cream
- Caramel

I walked into a Starbucks store and asked for Cinnamon Dolce Syrup and they promptly handed me a 33 oz bottle (with a pump- gratis!!) in exchange for $8. Considering the serving size is 1oz, that gives you 33 happy caramel apple drinks.

Bt-dub, the Cinnamon Dolce Syrup makes this drink. I tried making it sans syrup and it was meh. Trust me on this, it makes the drink.

We have a steamer as part of our espresso machine so we steam the apple juice, combined with the cinnamon syrup. If you didn't happen to grab an espresso machine on clearance at Target, you can just heat up the juice/syrup in the microwave. 

So you're welcome, friends.

Oh and if Super Man happens to be in the area, invite him over for a cup between rescues. He loves it.

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fall to winter

Autumn sprinkles.

What's been going on around here?
 A little of this
and a little of that.
My nephews and I spent this rainy fall afternoon making pumpkin doughnuts with pumpkin cream cheese frosting from scratch. Then we sat back, (briefly) appreciated our hard work and ate them with warm cider.

I love you, fall.

Special thanks to my aunt who bought us autumn sprinkles which inspired us to buy more sprinkles. Thanks Aunt Marta!

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Creating outfits.

Hello my friends. There have been some recent changes to my postings, which you may have noticed. I started using polyvore! Polyvore has catalogued bunches and bunches of items found all over the internet and allows you to take those images and piece them together to create outfits and home decor plans. Crazy. I've been loving being able to search through lots of separate pieces to be able to create outfits. I love to see how colors look together or how styles can work together. And it has certainly influenced how I shop. I'm focusing more on pieces that I love that work with many pieces I already have.

So if you're already using polyvore, let me know so I can check out what you're creating and be inspired. And if you're not, maybe you will now? I need some ideas, creative friends!

*This post was not sponsored by polyvore, although it should be, right?
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Lovely with yellow gold accents

Men and women for others.

I attended Boston College and I will forever be indebted to BC for my excellent Jesuit Education. When I first began my college search, I told my parents that I was only interested in Catholic colleges. As luck would have it, I ultimately was wait-listed at Providence College (where I had had my heart set on going) and was accepted, and with a substantial grant, to Boston College. With each payment I continue to make to BC, I am forever grateful for the experiences I had, the people I met and the person I became with the help of incredible professors.

In light of this the 10th anniversary of September 11th, I wanted to share a video that has been passed around among BC alums. It truly represents what Boston College embodies: Men and women for others.

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Fall Style

The UP Party

I am so excited to share this with all of you! It took a lot of time and work, but in the end, the party was absolutely lovely and we all had such a good time. So here it is: The UP Party.

UP is one of my favorite movies, particularly the first ten or so minutes. I love love love Carl Fredricksen. He's adorable. But mostly I love the story of Carl and Ellie. With so many divorces and so much infidelity in the world, I think it's so important to portray loving relationships. Somehow in just ten minutes, Disney/Pixar managed to tell a compelling story of love, in the good times and the bad. Through infertility/miscarriage, financial hardships and ultimately in sickness and death. Heavy topics for Disney, eh?

Adrian had told me he was hoping to throw me a birthday party with a movie in the backyard. And with UP being one of my favorites and being so wonderful for kids and adults alike, we chose to show it and to center the party decor and food on elements from the movie.

The "UP" letters were created using cardboard letters from Hobby Lobby. I painted them, traced them onto cute orange gingham scrapbook paper, cut the paper, glued it on and covered each in Mod Podge. Easy enough, no?

The House was also bought for just a few dollars at Hobby Lobby. It's cardboard also. Knowing that the house was not the same exact shape as the house in the movie, we wanted to paint it to make it recognizably UP. So we checked out some stills from the movie and painted accordingly. I have to say, Adrian has a much steadier hand than me and did the majority of the painting. And did an amazing job!

Next up were the Carl and Russell paper figures.
My cousin Maddy was in town last weekend and made me wish she was in town every weekend! She loves a good party and has more party-making talent than I do... at age 15! Sigh. We printed the figures from the Disney Family site. Maddy then cut out Carl, folded all the pieces and glued them into the stunning little man you see in the photos. So thank you Maddy!! You saved me hours of work.

We made the chocolate cupcakes and the raspberry frosting from scratch and they were sooooo good. For cupcake toppers, I created an SVG of Carl's glasses and cut them using my Cricut. The bowties came from a Cricut cartridge and were also cut using the Cricut. Adorable.

In frames that hung from the horizontal poles of the canopy, I displayed mini posters from the movie, which I found here. I might end up keeping them because they are just too cute to throw out. 

Since I realized I didn't take great detail pics of the mailbox and the lollipops, I'm supplementing this post with some in-home pictures. (Note to self: take good pictures next time) Anyways, here you go.

 I bought the lollipops at Michael's and they came with blank stickers to print and put on them. Sooo, I made a little design on the computer and printed them out, and there you have it. UP lollipops. The stand came from Hobby Lobby. I bought that green floral arrangement foam and covered it in scrapbook paper and again Mod Podged it all. Then Adrian shoved gently placed all the lollipops in the stand.

The other detail I failed to correctly photograph was the little mailbox. We bought the cardboard mailbox at Hobby Lobby (are you sensing a theme here?) and painted it to resemble Carl and Ellie's mailbox.

On a table on the opposite wall of the canopy, I had lots of movie watching goodies, including candy boxes (like you buy at the theatres), boxes of popcorn, Jarritos soda (my favorites!) and pumpkin mini-doughnuts! We made the minidoughnuts from scratch as well as a pumpkin cream cheese icing that they could be dipped in.

Remember how I did a bad job photographing the lollipops and the mailbox? Yeppp. I did an even worse job photographing the donuts. So again, here are some post-party photos of the donuts.
We lined mini boxes with blue gingham wax paper (thanks Michael's!) and stacked them on the snack table beside the donuts. We snacked on donuts throughout the movie and then, after the movie, everyone packed up a couple to take home in the boxes. Perfect.

 Lastly, we strung lights from the top bar of the canopy. We floated a bunch of balloons because, really, what is an UP party without balloons??
The other half of the tent, not occupied by food and UP goodies, was filled with rows of chairs and blankets and pillows on a tarp on the ground. The kids sat on the blankets in the front and the adults in the chairs. We then projected the movie onto the backwall of the canopy/tent. It worked out just as I had imagined.

So much work. But soooooooooo good in the end. Everyone loved all the snacks and the decor and, of course, the movie. It was such a great night of laughing and spending time together. And I must give a huge thank you to Adrian because he is always, always willing to help when I get these crazy ideas. And he always knows how to make my wild visions a reality. So thank you, Adrian!

And of course, if you have any questions about how any of this was done, please contact me and I'd be happy to share more details!

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