I've Won the Lottery...in Avocados

October 31, 2012

I currently have in my possession a grand total of 29 freshly picked avocados. 
You may be saying to yourself, well Jessica, what could you possibly do with 29 freshly picked avocados? 
And true, it does seem a bit...excessive. 
But what would you do if you were invited to a local avocado ranch and a lovely little lady named Carol kept stuffing avocados into your bag like the world depended on it?!
You would gladly take them. :)

Carol is the mother of one of Amanda's classmates up in Seattle, and she is the sweetest. On the last morning of Amanda's visit, Carol and Tenni, her yellow lab, gave us a tour through their 5 acres of avocado trees in the Goleta foothills and it was amazing!

Now begins the great Avocado experiment. 

Any recipe suggestions? 

Westmont Homecoming Weekend | 5 Years!

October 29, 2012

I've never really been into the idea of Class Reunions.

I just envision bad scenes from tv shows or movies - the ones where there are only three things you can be - the model, the over achiever, or the socially awkward.

I mean, yikes.

I was glad to start the weekend off right with our dear friends Amanda and Katie. If you're armed with good friends, you can dispel even the most socially awkward situations - and by the end of the weekend we were all reflecting on how happy we were that we'd gone.

I'm sad I didn't get any pictures of our reunion dinner...but it was sunset/evening at the beach...and I was living in the moment, right?!

I was reminded, as I am every morning, that we live in paradise

It was incredible to spend some time with our fellow Communication Studies majors and to visit a Rhetoric class. I was overwhelmed with how meaningful those people, professors and classes were and still are to me. 

Campus has changed a lot, and really, it's just more beautiful. 

Matthew with our bestie Katie!
Thanks Lori for the pic!
We met up with our freshman section - Clark K girls forever! - and it was so good to reconnect with these lovely ladies. Blenders and Butterfly Beach, obviously

Brunch with the incredible Amanda and Jeff! Love these two. #shipleystyle
Thank you wonderful friends for energizing, encouraging, and lighting up my life.
I guess reunions aren't the worst...they're actually quite awesome.


One Needle Costumes | Polaroid Journey

October 23, 2012
One needle costumes.

This is a very serious topic.

When we were young my mother would lovingly embrace the Halloween tradition of costumes - her way.

She would gather fabric of all sorts, random household supplies that weren't in use, old clothes, you name it - and create for us homemade costumes using, yep, one needle and some thread.

One year my sister Kate wanted to be a monarch butterfly, so naturally my mother went out and got a hold of heavy gauge wire, fabric, felt, and created (I kid you not) a pair of wings that had a wingspan of at least 4 feet. Speckled orange, white, and black wings that made 5 year old Kate look like she might actually be swept away should the wind pick up...my mother started getting costume requests from other parents.

I've always loved sunflowers, so one year my mother created a huge set of petals that framed my face - and they totally rocked....that is until I got stuck in some lady's rose bush in front of her house...but hey, what a memory.

I was digging through some old photos in search of said costume genius, and came across one of my favorites- I was an angel, Kate was Peter Pan. (You can't see it, but my mom made Kate a jeweled sword and a tiny sheath that hung off her belt - rad!)

I hope that I will have the time, energy, and joy to do the same for my children.

(First child, be warned - you will be Bach for your first Halloween. We will slap a wig on you, and your round little belly will sell the rest. You can thank your Dad.)

I have such fond memories of sitting in the living room and watching my mother transform a pile of jewels, felt and other oddities into the coolest Jester costume ever (Get it? Jessica the Jester?! Okay, I was 10...) or taking an old faux bear rug and turning it into Kate's Beanie Baby jumpsuit (it was the mid nineties).

Ahh, the woman was a genius.

What is your favorite Halloween costume ever?


Apple Pancakes | Recovery Food

October 22, 2012

As a kid one of my favorite weekend activities was going to Apple Hill as a family. The day itself was fun - we'd pile into the car, head out to a few apple ranches, eat apple doughnuts, drink apple juice, see the animals - but the day after was also something special. My dad would buy a large box of freshly picked apples and that always meant the same thing - the next morning he would make his famous apple pancakes. I don't know what made them so good, I can't recall him putting anything out of the ordinary in them...perhaps it was the ritual that makes them so memorable. To this day whenever I eat apple pancakes I'm transported back to those fall mornings, all of us kids crammed around the table, and my dad flipping pancakes like a pro. 

These pancakes also served another, very important purpose this weekend: they provided much needed recovery nourishment. We hung out with our cutie pie nephews overnight, and man, those kids tired. us. out.  

I've never been so tired. Ever.  

Things I've learned over the past 48 hours: 

I need to learn how to draw animals. Thank God Matthew can draw anything. This activity is a lifesaver. 

The boys, watching The Incredibles, all snuggled up - makes this girl swoooooooon. 
Aren't they adorable?

This little guy is CUTE. This little guy also has the power to never let you sleep again. 
This photo is brought to you by 4:45 a.m. 

-> Parents everywhere - I salute you. <-

And finally...these pancakes channel the best of fall. They are lemony, appley, and have a hint of vanilla. 
They are dang good and should be made immediately! 

// Apple Pancakes //
Yields approx 12 pancakes
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

The Essentials:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk (almond, soy, etc)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla
2 - 3 large tart apples, peeled and grated (I used one monstrous honey crisp apple)
Coconut Oil for pan
Syrup/Butter/Jam/Topping of choice

Whisk eggs, vanilla and milk, set aside. Combine dry ingredients; add wet ingredients. Add lemon zest. 

Heat pan over medium heat - I used a large nonstick stainless steel, but feel free to use a non-stick if that's your preference. 

Add coconut oil and heat for about 30 seconds. Dollop batter into pan - I fit 3 pancakes to a batch. 

Flip, cook until golden. You know the drill. 

We were out of syrup and butter...so homemade raspberry jam it was. It was delicious! Top with whatever you please. 

*These also freeze wonderfully for mid-week breakfasts...

Mo + Erin | Santa Barbara Wedding

October 19, 2012

Talk about a fun group to hang with - Mo and Erin threw an awesome wedding. It was my first time shooting out at the Arroyo Hondo Preserve, and it was breathtaking. Fun people, amazing thai food, great music, love in the air - perfection. Congrats Mo and Erin! 

Have a lovely weekend friends! :)