Falling into Fall

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

It seems this past Sunday, we turned a big corner. Fall weather is finally here.

Crisp, cool mornings. Clear, blue skies. The smell of bonfires and crunchy leaves filling the air. My favorite time of year has finally arrived. 

To celebrate the change of season, we spent the day fully immersed in all things autumn. We went apple picking, took hayrides, and carefully picked out some pumpkins for our front porch. We bought mums and dried corn and apple cider and loved every minute. 

We ventured to a new orchard this year since the ones we've gone to in past years have been getting a bit more crowded than usual. The minute we parked the car at Lohr's Orchard, we knew we'd love it. We were greeted immediately by a barn-turned-market with a big sign advertising their homemade apple cider donuts. We snagged some hot apple cider and headed out for a hayride to the pumpkin patch and apple trees. 

After our trip to the orchard, we headed back down south of Baltimore to Papa John's Farm for some local produce and their large selection of mums. My mom and I have gone here before to pick out fall flowers so we've made it a little tradition to hit them up this time of year. We picked her up on our way down so that she could get in on the fun. We each snagged some gorgeous blooms, some peppers and pears, and made sure to scoop up a bag of their fresh kettle corn. So. Good. 

Things are about to get crazy for us again with travel and to-do lists, but it's weekends like these that make all the chaos worth it. Hope you all had a great weekend too and if you were caught in the path of Hurricane Matthew, know that you are in our thoughts. I was glad to learn that all of our loved ones were safe from the storm, but the devastation down south and in Haiti is breaking my heart. We're hoping to find a way to contribute to the relief efforts in the coming weeks. 

Happy Tuesday, ya'll!

You've Been Gilmored.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

There's something I haven't talked much about on this blog but since it's a huge part of who I am, I feel I need to share it. So today, I'm officially coming clean.

I, Laura Powell, am a Glimore Girls addict

And I don't just mean your typically oh-I've-binge-watched-all-seven-seasons-on-Netflix kind of addict. I mean a full-blown, intervention-level, I'm-ready-to-move-to-Stars-Hollow kind of addict. I own all seven seasons and have opened and closed the boxes so many times the spines are completely broken. I regularly quote Lorelai in day-to-day conversation and I have the theme song permanently seared into my cortex. My brain also seems to store the weirdest facts about the show like the origin of Lane's band's name (Hep Alien) and the nickname Rory and Lorelai have for Luke's toolbox as well as what Kirk's name was in the pilot episode when he came to install the DSL (hint: it wasn't Kirk - continuity errors be damned!) 

The show started back when I was in middle school and I can honestly say that I feel I was partially raised by Lorelai Gilmore. She was more than just a TV mom that had a kid at 16. She was a total badass with super quick wit, the best t-shirt collection, killer blue eyes, and a freaky large repertoire of pop culture references that she shared with her insanely smart daughter, Rory. The dynamic and tight-knit relationship that Lorelai and Rory had was something that I think most mothers and daughters wished they had. So, as a teen who was constantly battling my mom on everything from low-rise jeans to curfew, it was an important thread that drew us closer together.  

As a teenager, there are all sorts of crazy things that go through your head. You're trying to figure out who you are, what you like, what you want to be when you grow up, and how to do it all somewhat gracefully, hoping that people won't remember those super awkward years where you cut your own bangs and thought that bell-bottom jeans with a diameter of roughly two feet around the ankles looked fabulous when paired with your pink wedge flip-flops and roll-on glitter eyeshadow. (90s be damned!) It's hard enough being a teen, especially when you don't really fit in, so this show was quite literally a break from reality for me. For one hour every week, I could step outside myself and into a quirky, picturesque little town full of unique and slightly strange characters who owned their differences and still managed to find a place in society. It wasn't perfect, but for someone who was struggling to identify, it felt like home. Every day since then, as I navigate adulthood, this show has grown with me and although it sounds a bit crazy, it's gotten me through some pretty rough times. 

So all that said, you can imagine my excitement when I heard that Luke's diner was coming to Baltimore. For one day, Netflix sponsored 250 coffee shops across the US to transform their stores into mini Luke's diners complete with classic signage, Luke's coffee cups, and even backwards baseball caps. It was the stuff that dreams are made of - well, at least for Gilmore fans. In honor of the upcoming four-part series return of the show, they brought a little bit of Gilmore and a whole lot of happiness to life for thousands of fans.

My best friend Katie (and fellow Gilmore addict) and I spent the morning there eating bagels and drinking coffee and while we chatted, I secretly hoped that Luke's could stay forever in my hometown. I'll always cherish this show and these characters and the impact they had on me growing up. The wit, the wisdom, the charm, the poignancy. I will always love it.

And with that, I leave you some of my favorite Gilmore moments.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

And just like that, October is upon us.

This past weekend, Mike and I took full advantage of having a totally free weekend to do, well... next to nothing. We got a few chores done around the house on Saturday and went to Fell's Point Festival on Sunday, but aside from that, we just hung out and relaxed. It was more than a little necessary after weeks of scrambling and packing and traveling.

With the start of our October Instagram challenge on Saturday, I decided to take the opportunity and jump head first into the fall season. I broke out my fall decorations, scheduled a date with my mama to pick apples and pumpkins, and woke up early to do a little fall baking. Our first prompt for the challenge was "homemade cookies" and when my good friend Dawn posted a recipe for these Pumpkin Snickerdoodles on Facebook, I knew exactly what kind I'd be making.

Aside from the 1 hour of chill time, these cookies were super quick and easy to whip up. I made a double batch to give out to friends, family, and co-workers. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles


For the cookies:
1 cup shortening
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the topping:
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice

Beat shortening, 1 cup white sugar, and light brown sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Stir in pumpkin puree; beat in eggs and vanilla extract.

Whisk flour, baking powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, cream of tartar, salt, and nutmeg together in a bowl. Gradually stir flour mixture into pumpkin mixture until dough is just-combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk 1/2 cup white sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and allspice together in a small bowl. Roll dough into 1-inch balls; roll balls in cinnamon-sugar mixture and place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Slightly flatten each ball with a flat-bottomed glass.

Bake in the preheated oven until golden and set, 12 to 13 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.