The Fault in our Stars


I just started reading this book over the weekend and am a third of the way through. It’s re-inspiring me to get back into reading again. It’s quite wonderful.

Our breakfast Thanksgiving morning. We ate apple pie, bourbon spiked pumpkin chai, and watched Looney Tunes for several hours. My man and I really have a great time together. I am so grateful for him.

Speaking of what a great guy he is, he even lets me sneak in multiple shots of him with my feet on his chest. SNEAKY.

Saw these at a local store over the weekend and couldn’t believe how cheap they were. Makes me feel like my $8,000 kit for hygiene school was a total rip off!

Union/Pine was offering a great liquor tasting sesh for free over the weekend that we took advantage of. Our favorite? New Deal’s Coffee Liqueur.

Scored a new purse from one of my favorite shops, Appetite. It has a black and white Pendleton pattern on the outside and kinda looks like this. I love it. It’s so roomy (the kind of roomy where stuff can get lost way too easily!) but at least it’ll hold my camera which was the whole point of getting something new.

Ok, so I’m not much of a dog person, but I do love pugs now and again. And this little guy runs the shop at Appetite. So ridiculous!

So many books, so little time.

We’re headed to Michigan this weekend for a week. Flying into Chicago and staying around Grand Rapids, Saugatuck, and Holland, then staying for 1 night in Chicago on our way back. I’m so excited! And preparing to pack very warmly. Wish me luck for my first time back in the mid-west in winter time!

My Trip Back Home Away from Home


Last Tuesday I embarked on the long eleven and a half hour drive home to grieve Capistrano’s passing, and to regroup, return to some familiarity, comfort and support. It had been nearly five months since I moved out of my parents house, living on my own in Portland. Many life changes. Many good life changes.

Santa Cruz is what it is. It hasn’t changed much. Pretty much exactly as I expected it. It’s so crazy to be able to just jump in my car and have the freedom to change into a completely different city.  700 miles later, and I am back to my home away from home. It was a long drive, I won’t lie, but once it’s over you think “well, that wasn’t so bad”. It was full of rain, wind, buffalo, rainbows, tumbleweeds, crazy California drivers, traffic, and cruise control. Coming home was exactly the thing I needed and I am so glad I listened to my gut and my heart and what I needed most to help heal.

My stepmom has since redecorated and renovated my bedroom with lovely wall decor and a comfy couch. It was my room, but nearly unrecognizable. The orange and grey walls are no more. Now it’s Edison bulbs, antlers, and Turner prints.

In a way, it was a mechanism of avoidance, just up and leaving my apartment. There was too much space, not enough energy that I’m used to with the little one being around. Every time I walked into my apartment, I was so used to his greeting, him sitting on the couch or hiding under my covers till my return. Walking back in Monday evening, it felt so dead. So cold. So different. The power of space, a space, is not to be underestimated. It can be quite overwhelming, similar to the way that your sense of smell can bring back childhood memories.

I revisited my faithful running trail near the backwoods of our neighborhood, went to my family’s favorite breakfast joint, visited all four of my grandparents, brought home some of my grandma’s homegrown apples from her farm, had home cooked meals shared at the dining room table, cuddled with my Lily, had the honor of participating in my stepmom’s girlfriends “old hen” brunch extravaganza full of boozy french toast, bacon and swedish tea, met up with a former lovely dental hygiene instructor to discuss my current job hunting frustrations and to catch up in general, spent several hours surprising lovely people from hygiene school and assisting my “little buddy” during clinic, had a wonderful dinner with two lovely people dear to my heart, had a great sushi lunch and catching-up time with this beautiful, crafty lady and wonderful mother, tried out a new Italian restaurant with my family that was surprisingly scrumptious, attended a Harvest party (with pumpkin macarons in tow, of course) and reconnected with a bunch of great Santa Cruzans and Shopper’s peeps dear to my heart, met up with my Ayurvedic guru owl friend for another delicious meal and great catch-up time talk, and made a trip to Costco with mom, scoring some apple pie moonshine and my favorite apple pie. Yep, I brought my man home a $10 delicious Costco pie instead of making one. Tis okay though, I’m making a homemade bourbon pumpkin one to make up for it. Oh yes, and how could I forget a meal at my favorite restaurant, Malabar.

So yeah, good times. I felt so much better about coming home, re-energized and inspired to take another go at this. To keep going at this. To not give up or lose hope. To remind myself of all of the lovely people I have in my life, that I have a home base to fall back on, that that place is there. It isn’t going anywhere. And I can come home anytime.

The comfort in knowing that alone is worth the 24 hours and 1,400 miles of travel time.

Tomorrow it’s just me and my man, cooking up our own Thanksgiving feast of feasts. The day after that, we are unplugging. Friday is a “no-electronics, additional consumption or outside communications” day. We’re taking a day off to just be, to be together. Face time. Much needed time. What’s on your menu for your turkey (or Tofurkey) filled weekend?

Mending a Broken Heart


My apologies for the lack of presence around here lately. I have been trying to mend my broken kitty mothering heart.

Capistrano passed away last Monday morning, November 12th around 3am in the living room from natural causes that will be investigated before his ashes are returned. These were my last parting words to him.

My dearest Capistrano, my Italian lover boy, joy of my life:

One hundred and sixteen days ago I fell in love with you the moment our eyes met and you climbed up onto my shoulder and refused to leave. For the first time in my life, I truly understood what love at first sight meant when you captured my heart. There was no question. We came into each other’s lives when we needed each other the most, as you helped me transition comfortably into my new life out on my own, domesticating and simultaneously acting as your faux kitty mother. You were my comfort, my contentment, my warmth, and my purpose.

Whether it was accompanying me as executive kitty baker in the kitchen, observing my every move, waiting for me at the door while I was taking a shower, climbing up my neck and never wanting to leave, showering me with a billion wet nosed kisses, using your little motor boat 24/7 regardless of what was going on, you fostered my life with unconditional love, and I am forever grateful. Throughout the disappointments and hardships, I could come home and find peace with you.

No matter what I did or could do, there was no solution for this unfortunate, unpreventable situation. I did everything I could to make your short kitty life on this planet as blissful as possible and fought for you to my greatest capacity. You were the greatest companion and furry friend I have ever had and could have asked for during this time. Your personality so unique, so affectionate, so incomparable to any other I have met. You were meant to find me, as I was meant to find you. Despite this fate, we made the best of the sweet time we had together and I am forever grateful. I will mourn for your presence, but keep close the tender memories. May your divine kitty soul rest sweetly and peacefully in heaven and fill the cups of other kitty souls with your sweetness. You will live in and have my heart forever.

Love forever and always, your kitty mama Kylie ♥

I have been dealing with this okay. It comes in waves. I decided to spontaneously pack my suitcase and head out on the road to California for a few days to be with family and friends, to be back to some familiarity and comfort. I couldn’t stand the thought of coming home to an empty kitty-less apartment. At this point, I do not dread going back, and I should get back into my groove pretty soon here. Thank you for your patience, and I am sure I’ll be back and baking up a storm very shortly.

Cream Cheese Monkey Bread


Craving something cinnamon-y, chewy, creamy and comforting during this holiday season? (Not to mention simple, affordable and easy to make!) I’ve got the perfect solution for you. You only need six basic ingredients! CREAM CHEESE MONKEY BREAD. It will make all of your dreams come true.

I think I spent a total of less than $6 to make these. Spectacular right? The biscuits and cream cheese were majorly on sale at the time, which made a huge difference, but I can’t imagine having to spend more than $10 total any given day. It’s basically a quick and easy trick for a frosted cinnamon roll craving. It tastes just a Cinnabun but without all of the yeast rising waiting business. I bought a new bundt pan especially for this recipe, but I’m sure you could just as easily glob the biscuits together in a round springform or cake pan. This is amazing heated up for breakfast with a cup of tea or coffee, but especially straight out of the oven!

You’ll sleep good the night after you eat this!

Cream Cheese Monkey Bread

Serves 12

Recipe adapted from Pip & Ebby

  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom (optional)
  • dash of nutmeg (optional)
  • Two 12-ounce tubes refrigerated flaky buttermilk biscuits
  • One 8-ounce package neufchatel cream cheese, cut into 20 cubes
  • 3⁄4 cup unsalted butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray a 12-cup bundt pan with cooking spray; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the sugars and spices; set aside.
  2. Slice 10 discs of dough from each tube of biscuits. Set discs on a flat surface and set one cube of cream cheese in the center of each piece of dough. Wrap edges of dough up and around the cheese so all that is visible is the top side of cream cheese cube. Place 10 dough-wrapped cheese cubes, cheese-side-up, in bottom of prepared pan. Top with half of the sugar mixture and half of the butter. Top with the remaining dough-wrapped cheese cubes, cheese-side-down, the remaining sugar and remaining butter.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. Invert onto a serving platter and serve!

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Brownies


Oh man, it’s a total shame I haven’t posted this recipe sooner. This is totally the equivalent to a “#latergram” on Instagram type status. I made this back toward the beginning of the year for a dinner party and was too busy to post the recipe. So here we are, and it’s in perfect time to add to this wonderful pumpkin season!

Can’t decide if you’re in the mood for something chocolatey or with pumpkin? Brownies? Pumpkin? Why not have both?! This is absolutely luscious. Think of a pumpkin pie with a brownie crust/base. It’s literally thee perfect combination. My friends definitely seemed to think so. (And no one knows it’s vegan! Shhh…)

I think this would be a great addition to a Thanksgiving feast!

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Brownies

Makes 8 brownies

Adapted from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar

For the brownie layer:

  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the pumpkin layer:

  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinches of nutmeg and allspice

For decoration: a handful of chocolate chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9 in. springform pan (or use a 9 in. square pan lined with parchment paper).

To make the brownie layer:

  1. Melt the chocolate.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the pumpkin, sugar, oil and vanilla. Sift in flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine, then mix in the melted chocolate.

To make the pumpkin layer:

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, stir until thoroughly combined.

To assemble:

  1. Use a spatula to spread the brownie layer mixture into prepared baking pan, taking care to bring the batter to the edges of the pan. Pour the pumpkin layer over it, leaving a little room at the edges if you can.
  2. Bake for 30 minutes, until pumpkin layer looks fairly firm (slight jiggling is ok), and has cracked at the edges a bit.
  3. Let the brownies cool for 20 minutes, then transfer the pan to the fridge to set for at least an hour and a half. Once set, decorate with chocolate chips, slice into wedges, and serve!


Drunken Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies


Are you drunk enough on pumpkin yet? Yeah, I didn’t think so. At least, your answer should have been no. I am here to change that.

Yes kitten! I made this batch of cookies just for you!

This is the second batch of cookies I have baked with a stout beer in the mix. It gives the batter an interesting fluffy texture and makes the cookies poof up in the end. You can smell a hint of it when you bite into these, especially with the added in fleur de sel to enhance the chocolate notes. Think of a pillowy pumpkin raisin cookie but with chocolate chunks, pumpkin seeds, and salt chunks instead.

I had to do quite a bit of tweaking with this batch, but it all worked out in the end (as it usually does). I had to be conservative on the liquid, and add in a bit of whole wheat flour to soak up the excess moisture. Additionally, I would recommend sticking the bowl of batter in the fridge for about a half hour to make it easier to scoop up the batter and form the shape you want. I obviously didn’t do that, but feel free to do whatever you please. I’ve become way less OCD as of late.

Eat these with a glass of pumpkin beer! You’ll get drunk off of drunken pumpkin goodness for sure!

Drunken Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Makes 30 cookies

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin flavored syrup (optional)
  • 1 cup stout (ie. Guinness, Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal)
  • 1 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2 cups dark chocolate chunks
  • fleur de sel, for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 325° with rack in the oven’s center. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice; set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugars on medium speed until thoroughly blended.
  4. Add eggs, vanilla and pumpkin syrup, and beat on low speed until combined. Add dry mixture until combined, then add stout in small amounts. Mix in seeds and chocolate chunks.
  5. Spoon onto cookie sheet. Sprinkle a few chunks of fleur de sel on top of the cookies and bake about 14 minutes or until golden brown.



Last night we celebrated with the public at the Doug Fir and the energy was absolutely incredible and infectious. And then streamed the president’s speech from all of our electronical devices to make sure we would not miss a beat.

Yes, it definitely looks like it’s going to be a bright sunshiney day, for sure.