Everyday Inspirations


~ how to ~

Happy Halloween! If you haven't already heard how much we love fall here at Everyday Inspirations (like here, here and here), let me tell you one of my very favorite things about fall--pumpkins! Here are ten creative ways to use pumpkin.

Make a pumpkin vase. This makes such a cute centerpiece or decoration. After the top is cut off and inside hollowed out, fill your pumpkin with water and add autumn florals like sunflowers or reeds.

Make your pumpkin seeds sweet or spicy: Take your roasted pumpkin seeds up a notch! Here are a couple easy recipes. 
Sweet: pumpkin seeds, melted butter, cinnamon, sugar, a pinch of nutmeg and allspice. Coat seeds in butter and sprinkle with sugar and spices.
Spicy: pumpkins seeds, olive oil, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt. Coat seeds in olive oil and sprinkle on cumin and cayenne pepper to taste.
For either recipe, bake at 325 degrees for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Make a pumpkin face mask. Rich in vitamins A and C and zinc, pumpkins are great for your skin. Bella Sugar has a great DIY face mask.

Drink your pumpkin: Make your own pumpkin spice latte at home. Love this recipe from Fearless Homemaker.

Keep your drinks cool in a pumpkin. Turn your pumpkin into a festive party cooler. Leave it to Martha for the best instructions.

Use pumpkin to enrich your garden. After you're done with your jack-o-lantern or pumpkin vase, cut it into pieces and bury it in your garden. It makes wonderful fertilizer for your soil.

Serve your pumpkin like Harry Potter. Make pumpkin juice or pumpkin pasties. Even muggles can enjoy these recipes.

Use a pumpkin body scrub. Mix up this do it yourself body scrub recipe courtesy of Get Green Be Well.

Serve drinks in a pumpkin punch bowl. Cut it a very large pumpkin in half (usually wider is better) and insert a glass bowl that will fit inside it. Serve your favorite fall beverage.

and last but not least...

Whip up something pumpkin. Okay, this may sound like a pretty normal concept, but I had to share some of these amazing recipes because I love cooking with (and more importantly eating) pumpkin. This season's pumpkin recipes from ABC Design, Ina Garten's pumpkin cupcakes with maple frostingbaked pumpkin from The Produce Lady, pumpkin soup in a pumpkin bowl from Make and Takes, and a wonderful array of pumpkin recipes listed at Blogher.


~ small inspiration ~


I had to run a bunch of pre-Halloween party errands this afternoon. While I was out, I picked up this pretty coral lipstick to go with my "costume."

I say "costume" because I never actually plan something elaborate. I just throw on a bunch of stuff I already own.

I require my "costumes" to be cute or pretty -- nothing dead for me, thanks. That's where the coral lipstick comes in. It's a fun color that will perk up my look on this gray, cool Halloween Eve. Plus I can continue wearing it after the holiday.

Have a happy, safe Halloween!
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~ our world ~

I'm not a morbid person, but I love graveyards. They used to scare me. They were dark, dead places full of the unknown. Then I started photographing them and made my peace.

This may not seem inspirational at first, but my transformation and discoveries I've made personally by visiting graveyards around the world has inspired me. Death unites humanity. Across cultures, countries, and time we face mortality. No matter your race, religion, class, health, intelligence, beauty, or age; Whether you believe in an after life, reincarnation or decaying in the earth; Our mortality is something we can't escape. Some people accept that. For others it is their greatest fear. But just as birth, death is something that connects us all as the human race, and however sad, I find that beautiful.

I now find peace and beauty in these places where those who have walked the earth before me lie. Their existence affected the world as it is today and we are their decendants who will affect the world for generations of tomorrow. I honor and respect their existence for having made the world the place it is today. And while I mourn the loss of those before me, I sit here appreciating every wonderful breath I take, hoping I can make the world as beautiful for others as they have for me. May they rest in peace.

~ food ~


When I was in middle school, I stayed over at a friend's house and the next morning her mom made us these amazing, puffy pancakes. I asked for the recipe and made them again and again.

Somewhere over the years, I lost and/or forgot about that awesome breakfast dish. Bummer. So you can imagine my excitement when I stumbled on a similar recipe on Kelsey Nixon's blog about a year ago.

I love this recipe. I've made it probably eight times in the past year, and it never disappoints. While the top comes out nice and puffy and beautiful, the bottom is denser and egg-y -- delish! I make the dish almost exactly like Kelsey, except she dices her apples and I don't. I personally prefer bigger chunks of fruit.

Dan and I enjoyed this dish on Sunday. It was a cold, rainy, and gray (but beautiful!) day, perfect for puff pancakes, coffee, and football. Simple pleasures!

Apple Puff Pancakes

1 1/2 cups granny smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
4 eggs
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
Powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Place 8x8 inch baking dish in oven to melt butter.
Remove and add apples to bottom of dish and sprinkle with brown sugar.

{Since I love my apples sliced this way, I have fun arranging them in the dish. But be warned: the batter and the oven will mess up most of your arrangement. :)}

In a blender or food processor, whip eggs, flour, milk, vanilla, sugar, cinnamon and salt on high for one minute. Pour batter over apples.

Bake in oven 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top is puffy and golden.

{Like a souffle, the top will, sadly, fall.}

Generously dust each serving with powdered sugar and/or maple syrup. I prefer my pancakes with just sugar, but I've enjoyed it with syrup and it's quite tasty.



~ a better you ~

reach your goals
You want a new job. You are looking for a relationship. You want to lose weight. Whatever it is you want, make it happen.

I was explaining my theory of success to my husband the other day--the idea that if you think positively and you focus on reaching your goals you can literally will things to happen. Of course he had a smart ass remark ready that if he concentrates on willing wings to grow out of his back he can fly. Sigh. No honey, that's not what I mean.

Whether you believe in energy, the power of the mind, or the power of hard work, I think at least half of most anything you do is based on your mentality. When you have a positive mindset toward a set goal and you regularly reaffirm yourself, you can make it happen. Will it necessarily happen the exact way you plan? No. Can you control every aspect of it? No. But you can have the things you want. And it may surprise you how things fall into your lap (it certainly has surprised me!) Here are steps to attain the life you want.

1. Set your goal. Figure out a solid goal to reach for. It helps to write it down.

2. Make a plan. Figure out logical steps you can follow to make it happen. You don't have to fill in all the blanks, just get yourself on a path toward what you want.

3. Affirm yourself along the way. As you follow your plan don't let yourself get negative. Give yourself little pep talks by saying affirmations in your head or even aloud. Here are some examples. "I will find a job I love." "I will be in a happy relationship." "I will be happy with my body." "I will be secure in my finances."

Continue to affirm yourself and think in a positive way. Could you have attained your goals simply by following this logical plan toward your set goal? Perhaps. But the positive attitude affects the way you might handle things which affects your ability to attain your goal. It's those small decisions that often shape the larger picture. Now decide what you want and set yourself on a path to make your dreams come true.

~ home ~


As the days get colder and colder, I'm sure you'll find yourself happily seeking shelter at home. I don't always like my place to be too quiet, and during winter, it's easy for me to flip on the TV for background noise. I try not to rely too much on television, so music is a great second choice. We'll hook up an iPod or phone to a little dock or the speakers and let music keep us company as we make dinner and chat. Unlike TV, music takes a back seat to whatever you're doing, which enhances relationships with the people you love.
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~ fashion ~

Vera Bradley apron
fashion apron
When you're a foodie like Ash and I are here at Everyday Inspirations, you always want to feel cute while you're cooking. That means wearing the cute outfit of the day and protecting it with a super cute apron--like this black and white floral apron by Vera Bradley. Since last week was my birthday my cute grandma sent me this adorable apron that came in a matching recipe box. I love the look of mixed patterns, and no one does that quite like Vera Bradley. If wasn't cute enough already, it even has a cute layer of ruffles accenting the top. Now after warming up my appetite with today's #fnichat I can take on the kitchen in style. Chocolate-covered bacon anyone?


~ how to ~


Cool air. Pumpkins. Kids in costumes. Yes, folks, we love fall (in case you haven't been able to tell from all the autumn-themed posts on EI).

By the way, snow is in the Utah forecast for this week, but I'm not giving up on fall until after Halloween.

Anyway. It wouldn't be fall without the background noise of college and professional football. If you're like me and relatively fresh to the sport, you enjoy football and have the basics down (touchdowns, first downs, end zone, field goals). However, there are a few things you're a little unclear on. No worries -- EI has a resident football expert who's here to introduce a few terms. He happens to be my boyfriend, but no worries, he's totally qualified. ;)

Hello, all. My name is Dan. I have been a football fan all of my life. My dad brought me up watching the game. I have continued my love of the game and have continued to try my best to understand the ins and outs of what goes on every Saturday, Sunday, and Monday during the fall. I was asked to give a few examples of terms used during a football broadcast that might not be as easy to understand without some explanation. The game of football continues to evolve and it gets more and more confusing every year. Here are a few terms that you will hear on a pretty regular basis that might not always be as clear as some of the more basic terms.

Safety. The term "safety" can be confusing because it's also a defensive position. In this case, a safety refers to when an offensive team gets tackled in its own end zone. The defensive team is awarded two points and the offensive team has to kick the ball off to the defensive team.

Touchback. A touchback is when a kickoff that goes into the end zone is either knealt down by the receiving player or goes out the back of the end zone. On a punt, the ball just has to cross the goal line to be a touchback if it isn't caught by a player on the receiving team.

Blitz. A blitz is when the defense sends more than the normal amount of players toward the offensive side of the ball to try to sack the quarterback or stuff a running play. {Ash's note: "Stuff" means to allow the team little or no gain.} A blitz can lead to a big offensive play if it fails.

Instant replay. In the NFL, instant replay can be used for almost any questionable play. Each team has two challenges per game. The coach can throw out a red challenge flag if he wants the official to take a look a the instant replay. A coach will do this if he thinks the play could be reversed in his team's favor. If the coach loses the challenge, a timeout is taken away from his team. If two challenges are won by a team in a game, that team is awarded an extra challenge. During the last two minutes of each half, all replays are controlled by a replay official in the press box.

Helpful? Need more clarification? Leave us a comment and we'll be happy to chat with you! Or you can tweet Dan @datweezy.

~ small inspiration ~

autumn fog
Crisp air, autumn harvest, rolling in the leaves, pumpkin spice lattes, beef stew, trees of red, yellow, orange and brown--fall is in full force and I'm loving it. I especially love cold, rainy fall days like today when the clouds engulf the mountains. Makes you want to sit at your window with a warm drink wrapped in a blanket. I love fall!

~ our world ~


Last weekend I was in Illinois and Iowa for a graduation. It was my first trip to the Midwest and I had the typical, predictable response of a girl who has been raised next to gigantic mountains:

"It's so flat!"

Flat, yes, but charming. And just as I imagined -- fields and fields and fields of corn, silos, whitewashed farmhouses. And the colors! I wish I could bottle up the beauty of the reds, oranges, and yellows. The area was experiencing an absolutely perfect autumn weekend.

It was lovely to experience a new part of my country for the first time and incredibly inspiring to be surrounded by the simple beauty of it.

Have a happy weekend!