Coffee Talk: October

neighborhood-walk

I love Amber Thomas’ and Rachel Dawson’s monthly coffee dates, so I thought it might be fun if I joined in (a little belatedly). I think the structure is really fun, and I’m interested to play with it and see what happens.

If we were on a coffee date, I’d probably be late. Because honestly, I’m almost always late. I don’t have a great sense of time and I tend to try to do “just one thing” before I head out the door and then inevitably, I’m late. I’m trying to do better, but if I’m honest I’ve had an especially hard time getting out the door the past few months.

If we were on a coffee date, I’d apologize profusely for being late, and order my drink. A plain iced latte if we’re at Starbucks, but if we were at Minuti (a local Italian-inspired coffee chain that I LOVE) I’d get an iced chai. It’s creamy and cinnamon-y and not too sweet, which is perfect. But always iced, because it’s not quite chilly enough in Houston to drink something hot.

If we were on a coffee date, we’d have a lot of catching up to do. It’s been quiet around here on the blog, partially because I’ve been in a writing slump, and partially because I’ve been unsure what to do with this space. I’ve really struggled to find a focus, so for now I’ve decided to do more personal writing, since those are always my favorite blog posts to read. We’ll see where this goes!

If we were on a coffee date, I’d confess that I’m disappointed our Halloween plans fell through. I’m planning on wearing my costume next year, but it was just so good that I’m really disappointed that I can’t wear it this year. I’m planning on making peanut butter balls and eating them on the couch while we watch a movie instead. Reese’s is the only candy I’ve really missed since I’ve started eating low carb, so I’m excited to try making sugar-free peanut butter balls. Fingers crossed they turn out!

If we were on a coffee date, I’d remember that I started my low carb diet almost a year ago. And since then I’ve lost 46 pounds (so 55 pounds total since April 2015). I’m feeling pretty dang proud of myself! I’d probably also advise against a major dietary change the week of Halloween. Speaking from experience, it’s just not a good idea. 😉

If we were on a coffee date, I’d ask what your holiday plans are. Christmas is my very favorite holiday, so I love hearing about other people’s fun family traditions and disaster stories that are retold so many times they become legendary. My first Thanksgiving with Teddy’s family was a group Thanksgiving dinner with some people from their church who we’d never met. When we realized we were the first Huizingas to arrive, we were so petrified of knocking on a total stranger’s door that we parked down the street and hid in our car until Teddy’s parents came. Even after we were inside the conversations with the church group were SO awkward and the boxed-mix mashed potatoes were SO bad we decided next time we’d ask to have a family-only Thanksgiving. Teddy and I still laugh at that awkward first Thanksgiving as a married couple.

What about you guys? Can you even believe it’s already October?? Do you have any fun holiday traditions you’re looking forward to?

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Favorite Places: Cornelius Nursery

Flower store
Just look at these beauties!

Lately my favorite place to be on a Saturday morning is the Cornelius Nursery near my apartment. Teddy and I drive to our favorite coffee shop and get our drinks to go — an (iced!) chai latte for me, an (iced!) caramel macchiato for him. The ice is very important, even if I always forget to specify and almost order a hot chai latte every time.

all the succulents!
All the succulents!

Then we drive back toward our apartment, but turn right as if we’re going to my office. But luckily we turn into the nursery parking lot instead.

It’s hot and humid (hello Texas!). My cup is sweating in my hand, I’m sweating, the people stocking fertilizer and potting soil are sweating. But every now and then you’ll pass an enormous fan and close your eyes, lingering in the breeze. Until the lady with a cart full of 20 identical plants needs to  pass you. (I don’t know why you would need 20 identical plants but there’s always someone.)

I found Neville's mimbulus mimbletonia
I found Neville’s mimbulus mimbletonia

But the best part is getting lost. We walk up and down the aisles, point at new plants we’ve never seen before, read labels to see if a plant will survive in our apartment. We talk about the plants we’ll have when we have a yard and more room to plant things — Teddy likes jungle plants, bonsai trees, and Japanese maples. I like roses and bougainvillea and anything that looks like it’d grow around a British cottage. Our yard will definitely not be boring!

Bougainvillea
Bougainvillea

The other best part about the garden store is how it almost seems magical — like a small jungle full of plants that come from all over the world, in the middle of Houston. Once we saw a kitten weaving through the rose bushes like he’d done it a hundred times.

 

We keep walking around until we decide we’re too hot. We pay for any new plants we’ve picked up, hoping we’ll be able to keep them alive this time. After the 5 minute drive home we collapse on the couch and soak up all the air conditioning. And maybe take a nap.

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Weekend Happy List

Treat Yo' Self

 

If you’ve been reading Eat Up, Buttercup for a while, you’ve probably seen my Weekend Thoughts posts. I loved writing those posts, but eventually I felt like I was linking to my favorite blogs and websites every week, which seemed really repetitive. I started thinking about ways to mix things up. I always love Jacquelyn Clarke’s Scenes from My Week posts, and recently I started using Food52’s Happy Lists as a journaling format (I’m notoriously bad at keeping up with a journal, so weekly lists work better for me), so I thought it’d be fun to share my weekly list with y’all! I’m excited to see what you think!

1/17/16 – 1/31/16

  • listening to the Force Awakens soundtrack
  • Tonks playing with her favorite ribbon
  • Food52’s 57 Small Things to do for Yourself this Year
  • Finishing 1099s at work!
  • bringing grainy, overcooked ice cream base back to life with an immersion blender
  • roasted Brussels sprouts with horseradish sauce — divine!
  • girl’s nights with lots of wine
  • a fun writing project I finished up last week
  • cleaning my apartment — I tend to be a messy person, but cleaning this week has been so freeing!
  • Bon Appetit’s article about Tara Jenson from Smoke Signals
  • playing with ABM’s new A Color Story app
  • lunch date with Teddy at Torchy’s Tacos for some killer queso
  • I’ve watched this video way too many times, and I’m not even a little bit sorry
  • This Captain America: Civil War and Taylor Swift mashup is AMAZING
  • I’m asking Teddy for this shirt for my birthday

What are you guys up to lately? I don’t know about you, but I am SO glad January is over! It was a rough month in a lot of ways, so I’m hoping for a better February. Hoping you guys have a great week!

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Weekend Thoughts / 39

Daylight Savings

Daylight savings is killing me! One day I left work a little early and finally got to see the sunset!

 

October was a really hard month for me. I was stuck in a creative rut  and trying to figure out some weird health things so I was a lot of fun* to be around. (*Note heavy sarcasm) And then I started the Ketogenic diet the week of Halloween, so that was… interesting.

 

But good news is, the first week of November has already been way way way better than October! The transition to the Ketogenic diet has been going pretty well (besides the candy I ate on Halloween… and drooling over people’s desserts on Instagram). And I even have an outline for my second draft, so I’m hoping to start on that in the next couple of weeks!

 

It’s been pretty quiet around here lately, but I’m kind of ok with that. Sometimes I go through phases of wanting to write just for me, and none of it really seemed right for a blog post. I’m trying to give myself permission not to be super rigid about my blog schedule. That being said, I have some ideas I’m really excited about, so I can’t wait to share those with you!

 

In the meantime, here are my favorite reads from around the internet this week:

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Weekend Thoughts / 38

Glamorous

My glamorous Sunday plans are a dead ringer for last Sunday’s — minus Teddy’s random t-shirt, which is now in the wash.

 

Happy Sunday! I hope you’re all recovering from a sugary/ boozy Halloween! Teddy and I went as Calvin and Susie Derkins from Calvin and Hobbes, with Hobbes and Mr. Bun. Most people thought Teddy was dressed as Goku from Dragonball Z and had no clue who I was, but it was still fun.

 

Here are some of my favorite reads this week:

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October Round-up: Halloween Costumes

Grand Budapest costumes - Sugar and Cloth

Agatha and the Baker from The Grand Budapest Hotel: Sugar & Cloth

 

Are you guys excited for Halloween? Teddy and I are going to a costume party this weekend, but there’s a costume contest, so we’re keeping our costumes top secret. I’m not sure if we’ll win, but I’m excited that everyone will (hopefully) be able to tell what I am this year. Usually I pick a really random costume idea, and it’s hard to tell what I’m dressed as. This year I decided to do some costume research ahead of time. If you’re looking for some last minute inspiration, here are some of my favorite costume ideas:

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Weekend Thoughts / 37

Thursday's Sunset

Sunset photos are back!

 

Hey guys, how is your weekend going? It’s definitely gloomy and dreary here, which I actually don’t mind too much. (As long as it doesn’t flood — crossing my fingers!) It’s been kind of quiet here this week since Teddy was out of town for 3 days. Still jealous that he got to go to Denver, since I’ve never been, but he brought me back a squirrel mug, so that helped.

 

Here are some of my favorite reads from around the web this week:

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Weekend Thoughts / 36

Sometimes you just need to read an old favorite.
Sometimes you just need to read an old favorite.

 

Hey everyone, what are you up to this weekend? I’m crossing off an item on my fall to-do list and going to the Texas State Fair. I’m probably munching on something fried while I wait in line for the Ferris Wheel. So much fun!

 

Here are my favorite links for the week:

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Weekend Thoughts / 35

Treat Yo' Self Flowers

I’ve been waiting for dahlias to come to my local grocery store, so I snagged these when I saw them Thursday.

 

How was your week? It went by super quickly for me, and I have a feeling it’s because our office went to an Astros game Wednesday afternoon. And I really enjoyed it, even though I’m the least sporty person in the world. The odds of me watching a baseball or football game by myself are slim to none, but I really like going with friends and family — it’s the perfect excuse to eat snacks, drink beer, and cheer on your local team. I also loved that the Astros stadium has a roof that can open and close, so it was actually cool despite the 90’s temps that day. I like watching baseball much much more when I’m not all hot and sweaty. 🙂 My mom loves watching baseball, so I think we’ll have to take my family whenever they come to town.

 

Besides watching baseball, I read Sage Living: Decorate for the Life You Want by Anne Sage, and I really enjoyed it! I loved the stories about women using design to maneuver a transition, unwind from busy lives, or bring their families closer. I’m pretty interior-decorating-illiterate, but I’m really inspired to look at my apartment in a whole new way.

 

Here are some of my other favorite reads this week:

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Five Things I Learned Writing My First Draft

Five Things I Learned

Photo courtesy of Death to Stock

 

If you’ve ever read Chuck Wendig’s blog Terrible Minds, you’ve probably seen his “Five Things I Learned while Writing…” series, where different authors list five things they learned while writing/ publishing their latest book. (If you haven’t read any, this is one of my favorites.)

 

I love those posts, and while my novel is nowhere near publication, I did finish the first draft, which is a HUGE deal considering how many novel fragments I have scattered in old notebooks. So I thought I’d write about the five things I learned writing my first draft:

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