I just flew in from Philadelphia last night and woke up this morning realizing there's only one day left in October! October went by so fast and I'm not ready for it to be over - I think I'm in mid-Fall denial. We have a warm Fall season here in Phoenix and it isn't until late November when we can finally start baking pumpkin bread and wear sweaters. And when I say "wear sweaters" I mean light knit with shorts, haha.
Looking back, October was pretty productive, Mark and I were always running around doing something. Since moving in July, we've had an endless list of house projects and October was no exception. While these house projects are a good problem to have, I was definitely looking forward to my conference in Philadelphia so I could take a break from my endless to-do's.
One house project I started this month that quickly spiraled out of control was organizing the pantry. More on my pantry project below but it's 99% done and I'm very happy with how it turned out. We also started a different kind of month-long project that was really fun - decorating the house for Halloween! I know it sounds silly but celebrating our first holiday in our new house really makes us feel like real suburban homeowners!
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While I won't get too deep into the pantry specifics here, you can expect a full blog post about the pantry organizing process and I'll share the finished product when it's done. Right now, I still have a little left to do but luckily it's almost complete!
I naïvely thought my pantry clean-out would be a quick weekend project that ended up taking over my entire October! I posted a 'before' photo below just to give you an idea of what I was working with. The pantry had become a dumping ground for random, semi-kitchen related items and it was overdue for a thorough clean out. If you look hard enough, you can probably spot jugs of Draino right next to some decorative serving dishes. Yikes!
This 'little' undertaking took about 4 weeks, 15-20 trips to The Container Store, and I'm still tabulating the receipt totals. It was absolutely worth it but honestly, my head is still spinning from being in pantry OCD overdrive.
#FNCE in Philly
One of the biggest nutrition events of the year is the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) put on by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. If you are unfamiliar with FNCE, it's a 3 day conference for registered dietitian nutritionists, diet technicians, and students that's packed with networking events and educational sessions. These educational sessions keep us up to date on the latest nutrition research and recommended guidelines in all areas of nutrition.
I've attended every FNCE since 2010 and every year I fall in love with nutrition all over again! Some of my favorite sessions this year were about the latest in gluten sensitivity testing, the health benefits of convivial cooking, and showcasing the new nutrition facts label. If you aren't in the nutrition field, this might seem really boring but I honestly can't get enough! I also really enjoyed walking through the expo and was able to connect with some awesome brands that I'm really excited about trying.
Before the conference started, I was able to do a little sightseeing and the Barnes Foundation was at the top of my list. The Barnes Foundation is a controversial new gallery that was previously Dr. Barnes's private art collection.
After his passing in 1951, the City of Philadelphia was trying to take Dr. Barnes's collection public and only recently was able to do so. There is a great documentary called The Art of the Steal that talks all about the controversy and how significant the Barnes Foundation is to the arts world. I felt a little uneasy visiting after watching the documentary but I will say, the collection is spectacular and I feel like they honored Dr. Barnes in a really beautiful way.
Our First Halloween
Obviously, this isn't our very first Halloween but it's the first Halloween where we are able to decorate and prepare for trick-or-treaters! I kid you not, I've been looking forward to a Halloween like this my entire adult life. Mark and I have always lived in a dorm, apartment, or condo with not a single trick-or-treater or Halloween decoration in sight. Since moving out to the suburbs, we are now surrounded by kids and playgrounds, and anticipate quite a few trick-or-treaters this year.
I was so excited to decorate our house this year and not having landscaping in yet makes our house look even more spooky! When picking out decorations, I really wanted to find items that store well and don't take up a lot of space - aka big impact with minimal square footage. I also wanted to keep everything in the same color scheme and tone of black, white, and orange for a clean, cohesive look. I am obsessed with our graveyard and skeleton dog, and really love the colorful pumpkins. When Halloween is over, I'm going to leave the pumpkins out for a really pretty Fall entryway.
Something I noticed on our neighborhood Facebook page is that people were posting about having both candy and toy alternatives to accommodate kids with food allergies. Navigating allergies on Halloween was something I've never heard of and certainly wasn't prepared for. After reading those Facebook posts, I quickly ordered a few glow in the dark bracelets and fun costume glasses on Amazon that I actually think are more fun than the candy!
Amazon affiliate links to our food allergy toy alternatives and Halloween decorations
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How was your October? Did you decorate or dress up for Halloween? Let me know in the comments section below, I would love to hear all about it!