Embracing Fall When its Still 90 Degrees Out

We’re supposed to get cooler weather this weekend (thank goodness) but just because it’s still summer outside and I’m still wearing shorts, t-shirts, and flip flops doesn’t mean I don’t also want all the fall things in my life, too. 

For me, part of embracing fall is making everything pumpkin-flavored. I tried out this recipe this week and P even was a big fan (he is not a pumpkin lover like I am). I think it worked because it’s still flavorful and you can taste the pumpkin, but it’s not overwhelmingly PUMPKIN. Plus, it lends itself really well to the addition of your favorite hot sauce (which I put on almost everything).

Sneaky begging dog in the background


Recipe was modified from here though I added probably four times as much garlic and chili powder and red pepper flakes because I like my food spicy. 

* 1 pound ground beef
* 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste 

* 3 cloves minced garlic 

* 1 large onion, diced 

* 1 green bell pepper, chopped 

* 1 red bell pepper, chopped 

* 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained 

* 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained 

* 1 (15 ounce) can Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed 

* 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce

* 2 (14.5 ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes 

* 1 (14.5 ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes 

* 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree 

* 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice 

* 2 teaspoons chili powder (or more of you like spicy)

* 1 teaspoon ground cumin 

* 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste 

Directions

* Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat; cook and stir the beef in the skillet until crumbly and no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in the red pepper flakes, garlic, and onion; continue cooking until the beef has browned and the onion has softened and turned translucent. Add the green and red bell pepper and cook 5 minutes more.

* Once the beef is cooked, add the kidney beans, black beans, Great Northern beans, tomato sauce, tomato sauce with garlic and onions, petite diced tomatoes, fire roasted diced tomatoes, and pumpkin puree in a large slow cooker. Season with pumpkin pie spice, chili powder, cumin, and salt. 

* Cook on Low until the chili is hot, 1 to 2 hours.

Charleston Getaway

I knew I was going to be bummed about having to pull out of Augusta 70.3, even though I knew realistically that doing a tri in the second trimester was just not a good idea, so to avoid further feelings of sadness and missing out seeing all the shiny, sleek bikes pour into town, I booked us an AirBnB in Charleston for the weekend.

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Pineapple fountain in the Waterfront Park



I LOVE Charleston. It’s where we had our marriage ceremony and I was captivated with it from the start. Funny story-our actual marriage was by proxy as I was living several states away. I asked a friend of his I liked to be my stand-in and we did my vows over the phone. We did our ceremony a while later and chose to do an elope-acation with just us and in a place we’d never been-Charleston.
It also seemed fitting that we go back to Charleston now that we have our little one on the way for some alone time before we become a family of three.

Rainbow Row


We did a half day charter with Charleston Fish Rod Bending charters and had SO.MUCH.FUN. I’d wanted to do deep sea but the weather was pretty choppy from the storms so we did inshore instead. I had such an amazing time.


We caught a ray, a speckled trout, a sand perch, and several red fish (which fought like hell and were so much fun) including one really incredible big one that had a tag. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources has a program where you report catching a tagged fish and they’ll send you a t-shirt. This beautiful fish was a solid 8.75 pounds and 29 inches long. We released all of our fish this time; I am 100% a fan of keeping and eating fish but we were meeting a friend for dinner and I didn’t want to have to stuff fillets into a ziplock bag and try to freeze them and keep them frozen.


We ate at several great restaurants, Ms Rose’s in West Ashley, and revisited some favorites, like Kaminsky’s where we went for dessert after our wedding in the Waterfront Park. Our only disappointment was Caviar and Bananas where our food was just bland and tasteless and the drinks were not chilled enough.

Kaminsky’s Dessert Cafe


We walked along King Street and the Charleston City Market, went back to where we got married in the Waterfront Park, and spent a morning out at Ft. Sumter seeing the old fort.

Ft. Sumter ruin. The original was three times taller.


It was such a fun trip and definitely the right thing to do. I never even thought about the triathlon I was missing and I loved being able to reminisce with P about when we got married.

It’s all fun and games until your pants don’t zip

I had a surprise trip to the DC area last week and was excited to wear some clothes for the cooler weather (it’s still above 90 degrees at home right now as I’m typing this). I tried on all my clothes before I left to make sure they all still fit since some of my clothes have been getting a little tight.

I’m not sure what happened but Wednesday I pulled on the same jeans I’d worn the night before and although I could zip and button them, they felt much tighter and more uncomfortable than I remembered them ever feeling before. I always had the idea that I’d be able to get through the whole pregnancy either buying no new clothes or modifying what I had with some assists. That was clearly no longer an option. One of my relatives had given me a gift card to Motherhood Maternity and my hotel happened to be across the street from an outlet so I decided it was a good opportunity to do some shopping.

Since I’ll be pregnant/recovering from pregnancy down here where it’s pretty warm year-round, my wardrobe is a little more forgiving in that I won’t have to worry about making a winter coat fit. I tried to add some clothes that were easy to wear and could be dressed up a little if I wanted to look nicer.

Maternity Inspiration

 

By far, my favorite item so far has been Jessica Simpson’s skinny maternity jeans with a spandex belly band. Holy cow, these are easily as comfortable as my favorite pair of sweatpants. These leggings here look amazingly comfortable as well. (I’m totally okay with wearing leggings as pants).

I also bought a loose cardigan and a couple of side-ruches t-shirts that I could mix and match with other things for a little more variety.

I’m also loving these belted tops for looking nice and pretending that I have a middle section somewhere, and as always, Tieks ballet flats.

House Projects

I took advantage of Labor Day weekend by catching up on a number of house projects that have been sitting on my to-do list since I moved in. I had a master plan to get everything done before the movers showed up but I had to cut a few less-essentials and push those off. And then I kept pushing them off so finally that weekend I decided to get some of them done.

  1. Refinish the bathroom countertops. I used another kit from Giani Granite since I loved the kitchen results so much. I wanted a white counter in the bathrooms so I chose their White Diamond kit. I’m not as artistic as I wish I was, and I didn’t think it was as forgiving or intuitive as the Black Bombay kit, but overall I like it a lot better than the previous color. Also, P wholeheartedly likes it a lot better, so that’s a total win in my books.

2. Convert the spare bedroom’s closet bifold doors to French doors. I tried to see if I could just buy closet French doors, but you can’t. You can buy regular doors, bifold doors, or barn doors, but not French doors. I wasn’t interested in cutting down regular doors, or losing the entire wall to make a barn door happen, so I followed this tutorial (or rather, P did all the work and I sat there and scrolled through Instagram and helpfully held down the sides of the door while he screwed in the brackets) and am much happier with how they look and function now. I’m going to move the handles to the front of the door and paint them, but I’m debating caulking/spackling the center line where the hinges used to be. P says they’ll split but I’m hopeful they won’t.

3. I haven’t really loved the Recycled Glass color I painted the spare bedroom and what is going to be the nursery ever since we moved furniture in there. They get less light than the master bedroom and the green just looked sort of murky and sad. I had almost a full gallon leftover of Sea Salt so I repainted the nursery that and Lowe’s was having a rebate on paint so I picked up another gallon of Comfort Gray to redo the spare bedroom. I also put together the guest pop-up trundle bed so now we can actually have people over without making them choose between a camping cot or the couch.

4. Still working on the kitchen table. P is doing the sanding and staining since he’s convinced it will give me a miscarriage or something, but once that’s done we’re going to paint the bottom of it the same Dixie Belle chalk paint in Buttercream that we did six of the eight chairs already. If I have any leftover I may re-prime and redo a couple of the chairs that have tannin bleed-through. Right now I’ve relegated those to the desk and spare bedroom as additional furniture.

Maybe not the most exciting weekend, but it’s been great getting some of the longstanding projects finally done.