Our visit to the Pumpkin Patch!

Growing up, I always loved Halloween. Most of the excitement was built around getting dressed up in costume, going trick-or-treating, and most importantly, eating ALL the candy. Though our family didn’t have traditions like going to the pumpkin patch or carving pumpkins (can you believe I carved my first pumpkin in my thirties?!), now as a mom, after my birthday on the 5th, it’s full on Halloween mode. JC’s birthday falls on the 26th and he is really into Halloween. Since we moved into our house and had Jack, JC has made it a priority to make the holiday really special for us all.

We just got a few more pumpkins and plan on carving them a few days before Halloween - the hot weather in LA doesn’t bode well for the survival of the carved creations. In years past, I have taken plenty of pictures, but I really wanted to document Jack going to the pumpkin patch in his adorable PAW Patrol Marshall costume this year.

PAW Patrol Marshall + dog costumes

As you may have seen in this blog post, we got a head start on celebrating Halloween this year with the PAW Patrol Pumpkin Push-In Kits. This time, Jack decided to dress up as Marshall from one of his favorite shows, PAW Patrol.  He was all too excited about the fact that his costume (only at Target) talks and says some of Marshall’s favorite phrases like, “I’m fired up!” I also couldn’t resist ordering some costumes for our pups too. Bamboo was content dressing up as Skye while Buster decided to go as Chase. As we got ready, Jack played with his set of PAW Patrol Pirate Pups Plush toys, PAW Patrol Pirate Pups Action Pack Gift Set figurines, and his PAW Patrol Pirate Pups - Pirate Vehicles and set them up to bring them along to the pumpkin patch. Our house has become Adventure Bay!  

He was a little sad that Buster and Bamboo couldn’t join our little outing to our favorite pumpkin patch, Mr. Bones. However, he was excited to bring the PAW Patrol Pirate Pups Plush along. We met up with our friend Harper, who was dressed as Shine from another Nickelodeon favorite, Shimmer and Shine!

Jack smiled when he saw her and said, “Mama, I seen that show before. I like it.” It was so cute watching him make the Marshall costume talk numerous times for Harper. She also gave the Skye PAW Patrol Pirate Pup Plush a super cute hug and kiss as soon as she saw it. Harper is a huge PAW Patrol fan too! There were so many adorable moments at the pumpkin patch. Here are some highlights from our awesome adventure. You can also see it all unfold in the video below and catch the exclusive talking feature in Jack’s new favorite costume!

They had so much fun at the petting zoo and running around in their costumes. Between the excitement the kids enjoyed snacking on PAW Patrol Fruit Snacks - lots of them. You can check out the way Jack and I documented the pre-Halloween fun in under 30 minutes in my traveler’s notebook.

Would love to hear if you have fun Halloween or pumpkin patch traditions in the comments!

You can snag your very own PAW Patrol Halloween costumes with sound, along with PAW Patrol Pirate Pups plush, PAW Patrol Pirate Pups - Pirate Vehicle Set and more only at Target!

PAW Patrol Marshall costume

Some photography by Kate Haus | This post is in collaboration with Nickelodeon, all ideas and opinions are my own. As always, my creative partners and I appreciate the support.

CHOOSING not to complain

On the morning I had to wake up and report for jury duty back in January, I felt like I needed to set the tone for the day. I had never been chosen for a jury before, but the idea of missing work to sit in a room downtown with a bunch of strangers all day long wasn't the most appealing thought. My original summons actually called me in at the beginning of September 2013, which was just a couple weeks before Jack was due. I turned in an excuse (I really did not want to go into labor in a courthouse and I'm sure no one else would have wanted that either). Then they sent me another summons when Jack was about 5 months old. I was still nursing, so I turned in another excuse. Then they sent me another request when Jack was about 11 months old and I called them and actually got to speak to someone! I told her I was still nursing and wouldn't be able to come in again. Well, she explained that it was too late (I don't remember the exact details), but I had to write something on the summons and mail it in. And she said the next time I got something in the mail from them I couldn't make an excuse unless I physically went downtown to the courthouse. 

After reading this bit of wisdom, I looked at myself in the mirror while brushing my teeth the morning I was called in and thought to myself, "I will not complain for the next 24 hours." I made this promise to myself and made sure to pack my bag with everything I needed to keep myself stimulated for the day. I brought 2 books with me, a blank journal and also my Kauai Travelers Notebook. I chose not to take my laptop because I wasn't confident in the available wifi and I didn't want that to be something I could possibly complain or feel frustrated over. I was all set with my bag, the only thing I should have packed... my iPhone charger! (Lesson learned!)

I parked under the building and arrived with plenty of time to go through security. I found a seat in the jury waiting room at 8:25am (my summons said to be there at 8:30). About 10 minutes later, a guy near me received a phone call. He was speaking pretty loudly in Mandarin Chinese, which is a language I understand. It was not an interesting conversation to me, but one that I could hear loud and clear. So I took a deep breath and put my headphones in. At 9am, a woman got on the microphone. She answered some questions and made some announcements (you can use your cell phones, but if you receive or need to make a call, please take it outside in the hallway and not in the jury waiting room). She went over our lunch break, which was from 12-1:30. After we heard a pep talk from a judge and watched a video about our wonderful judicial system and how important our role as potential jurors were, I felt even better about sitting there. I thought to myself, "if I were accused of something, I would want a jury consisting of smart, honest, hard-working people." We were instructed to just hang out in the room until our names were called. So there I was, hanging out and then a short time later, the guy near me received another phone call. I thought hard about how I was feeling a bit annoyed that he couldn't simply follow instructions and walk outside the room and take his call. I got up and wandered around a bit and discovered a magazine rack and thought about how I would handle him if he was still on the phone when I returned to my chair.

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It turned out that I didn't have to say anything to him (I swear I would have done it kindly) because he was not longer talking on the phone, but probably texting. It was awesome and then I read some magazines from over a year ago and passed the time. I texted Jamie to let her know that I get a lunch break and we had talked about possibly meeting up for lunch since she wasn't too far away. Well at 11:30 we got dismissed for lunch!  She came and picked me up and we went to one of her favorite Ramen places (which is now one of my favorites too!). Then we grabbed boba tea and she dropped me back off.

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The rest of the afternoon was a bit uneventful. I stayed in the waiting room and at 3:30 they announced that if the last courtroom didn't need a jury, then we would be excused. This means I wouldn't be called back as a potential juror for another year. Then sure enough, 5 minutes later, they called about 24 people and there were just 2 people they didn't call. We left the waiting room and then lined up outside in the hallway. We were given a number (mine was 9) and called into a courtroom. The judge was a woman and she explained some things to us and let us go around 4:30pm with instructions to return the next morning as jury selection would begin then.

I left and decided to stop by Michael Levine to grab some fabrics, and while I was there, a friend suggested since I was downtown already, that I should meet her at the Lexus Club at Staples for dinner at 6:30 and then stay for the Clippers game. How fun! So I got my fabrics and then had some time to kill, so I walked around and stumbled upon a super cute store called Pale Violet. I tried on some things that were on sale, but the only thing that looked great happened to be a full-priced dress in the perfect blue color. I pretty much had to get it. As I was checking out, I also spotted a fun statement necklace. Even though I could probably make one very similar, that wasn't going to happen before the game.

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My seats were spectacular, just 7 rows behind Jay-Z and Beyonce. And yes, they looked very happy. You can maybe even spot them in the photo - she has WHITE on the back of her jacket. The Clippers ended up winning big. It was a jam-packed day full of fun - even the waiting around in the jury room part!

So basically the moral of the story is that not complaining for the entire day gets rewarded by hanging out with Jay and Bey. LOL. Just kidding, however, I do think there is some powerful synchronicity that happens when you make a decision to stay positive and choose not to complain for the day. Perhaps you'll try it and let me know if anything fun happens?

brand new bike

amy tangerine My first beach cruiser was purchased when I moved to LA in 2003. Her name was Pinky, and yes she was pink. She lived outside for about 5 years in Santa Monica and then about 5 years in Venice. After lots of use, I decided to retire her to a friend's place last year when we bought our house. I knew I wanted to get a new bike when Jack and I could go for rides, so in August we walked into our local bike shop, Chubby's and fell in love with this Biria and the Co-Pilot. After reading many reviews about the installation of the seat online, I decided to leave it to the experts and paid just $30 to have it professionally done.amy tangerine- biria bikes amy tangerine- biria bikes amy tangerine- biria bikes amy tangerine- biria bikesIt's harder than it looks riding with a little one in the back. I feel like I am 10 again (though I didn't wear a helmet back then), just riding up and down our street over and over again. But Jack seems to dig it and is quite the perfect co-pilot.

Now we just need a name for the bike and I refuse to follow the pattern to call her Creamy. Ideas?

5 seconds of fame

zagat - amanda, kelly, amy - smilebooth
zagat - amanda, kelly, amy - smilebooth

Anytime Kelly Purkey invites me to be her +1 for an event, I have to say yes. Especially when it involves food and a photobooth. You can see us acting rather ridiculous (at around the 1:27 mark in this video) in the smilebooth at Zagat's 30 under 30 party. 

oh, ellen!

10 years ago when I moved to Los Angeles, I had the opportunity to go see the Ellen DeGeneres Show (that's what it was called back then). It was the very first season and I was freelancing for Hudson Jeans. We delivered some denim to Ellen. Yes, meaning I got to not only meet her stylist, but also her!! It was awesome and I remember thinking that she was just so funny, genuine, and down to earth. I attended several of her tapings and remember that the studio used to be SO COLD. I brought my cousin Cindy to a show when she visited during one of her school breaks - she remembers it was the episode with Jerry O'Connell. It was awesome and I really didn't know how good I had it. No waiting in line, just parking the car in the lot (it was a different location back then) and walking in through some door and getting seated shortly after. Then one time my friend Stacey came from Atlanta to interview Ellen and she had 5 minutes after a show on stage one on one. I simply sat in audience (all alone) and watched the two have a lovely chat as if Stacey was her private guest. Several fun and amazing experiences that I am ever so grateful for, though wish I had documented properly, as I do not even remember who the guests were. Then fast forward 10 years. JC's mom (a HUGE Ellen fan) is staying in our converted one bedroom garage unit for a few months. JC manages to get 4 tickets and we announce the surprise at dinner one night. Everyone was super excited, but I have to say my cousin Cindy wins the award for best immediate reaction. Should have gotten it on video.

Yesterday was our big day out and since I wasn't sure what the rules about cell phones/cameras would be, I made sure to get some documentation from the get go. Here we are about to leave for the show. Unbeknownst to us, we miraculously were in for the most amazingly traffic-free drive. We arrived earlier than anticipated, but enjoyed relaxing and sitting around soaking up all the excitement. Even the security people were in good spirits, making us laugh for the photo.Once we were let in, Cindy and I couldn't resist sitting in the big chair, that they promptly took away seconds after we snapped this.So before I go on, I have to preface that Cindy and I went a bit overboard trying to figure out whether we would be on a 12 Days of Giveaways episode. After seeing many years of the fantastic segments and then Paige's post about attending several years ago, Cindy added it to her bucket list. According to the calendar and what we thought were incredible detective skills, we decided there was a pretty good chance (over 90%) that it would be. Paige went on December 2nd and it was the 1st day of giveaways. Our tickets were for December 3rd, so we thought the chances were pretty high. JC was pretty adamant about advising us not to get our hopes up. We talked ourselves into not being disappointed either way, I mean, he got us amazing tickets to the Ellen show! But we tend to get over zealous and we kept going back and forth convincing ourselves we would be happy no matter what. Because we DVR the show (it airs at 4pm locally, typically the day after taping), we saw a teaser on an episode about Adam Levine being the guest for the 1st day of giveaways which was Thursday. Since our tickets were for Tuesday, our episode would likely air on Wednesday, the day before 12 Days was to start. We were a bit sad, but still grateful to go and see an awesome show. And let's just say, in true Ellen fashion, she did not disappoint! I don't care much about seeing myself dancing like a fool on tv, but if you want to try to spot a needle in a haystack, I am right next to the DJ booth in the second row. You can see mommy very clearly in her gold shirt at around 2:45 in this video of Ellen's monologue.

An amazing day we will absolutely never forget! GIVEAWAY: Ellen's I'm Gonna Make You Dance Jams CD and Bastille's debut album Bad Blood. To enter, simply leave a fun comment. Giveaway will close Friday, December 6 at 7am, and a winner will be announced here and notified shortly after.