Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Today is officially one of my favorite holidays of the year!  I want to wish everyone a safe and happy Halloween.  What are your plans for tonight?  Are you dressing up?  We will be handing out candy and watching small children run away from bravely walk up our driveway and maybe get a tiny little fright.  It's all in the name of good fun. I can't wait to see what kind of costumes the kiddos will come up with this year.  

In case you aren't totally burned out by my recent Halloween posts, here are a few shots of the inside of my house.  As much as I loved decorating, I am looking forward to November 1st, when I can put it all away again.   

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Scenes From My Yard

Last year when we were decorating our yard, a very sweet neighbor said to us, "You do this every year.  Don't you get tired?"  I am not exactly sure that he meant our decorations were getting boring, rather than it is a lot of work to put it all together, but husband started to worry we were getting stale.  We tried to mix it up a bit this year, adding a few things and taking a few away.  Although it looks cooler at night, it photographs better during the day.

In case you are wondering, we are definitely not the most decorated house in the neighborhood.  In fact, there is a competition held every year for best Halloween decorations that we have never even come close to winning.  I like to think we get a little bit better every year.

For a peek at our yard in 2011, check this and this out.

Monday, October 29, 2012

My So-Called Instagram Life- This Is Halloween Addition

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that we are big on Halloween in my neighborhood.  Here are a few recent pictures.

At my front door.

Just out for your regualr Sunday drive.  Nothing weird or unusual going on here.

I both love and hate him so much.  He gives me the willies.  I don't like clowns.  

One of our neighbors.  They created a fake steeple, complete with a cross on the upper left-hand side (which isn't showing up in the pic).  This house is creepy.

Testing out one of our fog machines in our front yard..

Something new that we just purchased for Halloween.  I will try to get a video, but in case I don't, it looks like this.  

The best part of the holiday (food-wise) is roasting pumpkin seeds.  If you are worried about trying it, it is so easy.  Check this out.

I was behind this person in traffic.  Notice the head hanging from the trunk and the spider on the roof.  

You may already know about my love for garden gnomes.  I found a zombie gnome and knew I had to create something special.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Winchester Mystery House

I have known about the Winchester Mystery House since I was little.  I remember watching tv shows about it with my mom and desperately wanting to visit, even before I lived in California.  I was always intrigued by the mystery that surrounded the home. 

The year was 1881.  Sarah Winchester was the heiress to 50 percent of the Winchester rifle fortune.  After the deaths of her baby, father-in-law, and husband, she became convinced that she was cursed.  She visited a medium who told her that the spirits were angry because they had been killed by Winchester rifles.  The only way to appease them was to move west and build a house for herself and the spirits.

The house was originally an 8 room farmhouse.  Work started in 1886.    It continued for the next 38 years, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.  To say the house is maze-like does not describe what it is like to walk through it, up and down stairs, in a pattern that makes little sense.  Many people have theorized that Sarah designed the house this way in order to confuse the spirits.  The staff needed maps to navigate it.  

The front part of the house was originally 7 stories high.  Most of it collapsed during the famous San Francisco earthquake in 1906.  Sarah believed that this meant the spirits were upset because she was spending too much time on the front part of the house.  She boarded it up and continued working on the rest of the house.

Photography was not allowed inside of the house, but I was able to capture its magnificence from the outside.  There are many odd features, such as stairways that lead to ceilings, windows that opened into walls, and a recurring theme of the number 13.

One of the most famous features is the door that leads to nowhere.  You can see it from a distance in the picture above, and up close in the picture below.  I would not want to have been to person that originally discovered this exit.

We took a tour of the basement and saw the heating system for the entire house, which was a boiler room that was warmed with coal.

There were numerous fountains and statues around the house.  This serpent fountain is directly in front the of main door.

Here is a more detailed shot of the front door, decorated for Halloween.  There seemed to be crushed glass on the stairs, but I am not sure of the significance.  Does anyone know?

Sarah wanted to placate the spirits of the Native Americans who were killed by Winchester rifles.   To do this she erected this statue of Chief Little Fawn stalking a deer.  You can see that they are across the lawn from each other in the first picture below.  The other two pictures are closeups of each individual statue.
The house is about 24,000 square feet.  There are 10,000 windows, 2,000 doors, 52 skylights, 47 fireplaces, 40 bedrooms, six kitchens, 13 bathrooms, 3 elevators, and one shower.  You can easily get lost inside.  

Construction stopped on September 5, 1922, the day of Sarah's death.

After World War I, there was a decreased need for military arms in the US, so Winchester shifted its production towards tools and sporting goods.  The gift shop is also a museum that houses some of these antiques.
Since we happened to be visiting during the month of October, the grounds were decorated for Halloween.

There was also a maze set up in the gardens that served as a haunted house at night, which we didn't get to check out. 

However, they did have a scavenger hunt through the maze for visitors during the day.  My cousin Vicki and I took a moment to pose.   

Have you ever visited the Winchester Mystery House?  Are you interested in visiting now?  Any interesting haunted places in your home city?  I would love to hear about them.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Have You Seen Any Good Scary Movies Lately?

I can't really say that there is anything I am dying to see.  The thing about October is that I want to be thrilled.  I want to see something creepy and new (to me).  I want to watch the screen in-between my fingers while they are covering my eyes.  I feel like I get disappointed a lot.  Do you have any recommendations?  

I have one for you.  The best horror-ish movie I have seen this year is Let The Right One In


and it's American equivalent, Let Me In.


If you haven't seen either version, I highly recommend them.  The premise of these movies is that a young vampire girl and her guardian move in next door to a lonely boy.  The girl and boy become friends.  She needs to feed on humans in order to survive.  He is bullied at school.  Through various circumstances, they come to depend on each other.  Although the Swedish version is slightly better, the American version is also great if subtitles aren't your thing.  These films are haunting, and great to watch while cuddled up under a blanket.  If you have seen either, I would love to hear your thoughts.

So getting back to this weekend, I have decided to make husband sit through both Paranormal Activity 3 and Hellraiser.  I haven't seen either, and don't have any better suggestions...yet.  Help!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Yoda Pumpkin

Husband and I spend a lot of time at Spirit during the month of October.  We love Halloween, and we love to decorate.  Recently, we stumbled upon a fun way to embellish our pumpkin, but first we needed to find the perfect specimen in our garden.

It absolutely had to be green.

We found this awesome kit.

I think our looks a little bit cooler than the one on the website.  What do you think?

Do you have any interesting ideas for decorating your pumpkin this year?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Birchbox Vs. Ipsy (Formerly MyGlam) October 12

I really wanted to review my packages from September, but I never got around to it.  In the meantime, MyGlam changed its name to Ipsy.  Time for an October redemption.  Here are my reviews of both shipments.

This month, Birchbox did a collaboration with Goop, which I jumped at the chance to receive.  I am a big fan of Gwyneth Paltrow, and I do read the monthly newsletter always when I have a chance.  I have to say, I was not disappointed.  This was the best Birchbox I have ever received.  

Inside My Birchbox:

Miracle Skin Transformer SPF 20 Face in Medium-  I loved the matte finish this left on my face with just a touch of color.  I will be purchasing this in the near future.  Seems like it would be nice for weekends, when I just want a little bit of coverage and for my skin not to shine.

Orofluido Beauty Elixir-  This has a soft vanilla scent to it, but I haven't tried it yet.  

Chantecaille Brilliant Gloss in Charm-  Oddly enough, I had been wanting to try this exact color for a while now.  I had torn out the magazine page below with Angelina Joile wearing the same shade a few years ago.  However, $33 (it was $28 a few years ago) seems kind of steep for one lip gloss.  

I will say that after trying it, I would spend $33 on it.  It applied smoothly, and left my lips feeling moisturized, but never sticky.  Plus, I adore this color.

DDF Wrinkle Resist Plus Pore Minimizer-  I am a fan of DDF products.  I love the idea of this product, but I am not sure I really noticed a huge difference in my skin.  At $85 a bottle, I want to know it is working.

Luna Lemon Zest Bar-  I love Luna Bars, and this flavor was absolutely delicious (and probably not one I would have chosen myself).  I will be looking for this at the grocery store.

The Ipsy theme this month was "Hello, Bombshell".  

Inside My Ipsy Bag:  

Cute Chevron Stripe Bag-  I adore this bag.  It is my favorite so far.  Very on-trend and it seemed to be well made.  

The Balm What's Your Type? "The Body Builder "Mascara-  This mascara was ok.  It wasn't amazing.  It wasn't awful.  I will use the whole sample, but I like my mascara to impress me a little more before I will run out and buy it.

Mirenesse Lip Balm Glossy Lacquer Stain in #9-  This applied nicely, but I am unsure about the nude color on my lips.  I think I need to try it out a few more times to decide if it is for me.

Be A Bombshell Eye Liner in Onyx- This was kind of like using a Sharpie to line my eyes.  I loved how easy it was to apply this, but I wish I had received it in brown instead.  Black is a little severe on me.

Couture Colour Pequil Oil Treatment- I honestly haven't tried this product yet.  I feel like I get at least one hair oil a month from these companies, and this is the second one I received for October.  Plus, I am still using a few from previous months.

Coastal Scents Eye Shadow in Maroon Berry, Flesh Tone, Caramel, and Light Bronze-  I loved these colors.  I am definitely an eye shadow novice, but I thought these applied nicely.  

One thing that I like about Ipsy, that Birchbox doesn't do, is give a discount on all of the products in the box.  Birchbox only offers free shipping.  Overall, I give the Birchbox an A this month, and the Ipsy bag a solid B.  Definitely enough to keep me as a subscriber, anxiously awaiting what gems will be in my shipments next month. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

San Francisco Fleet Week

It has taken me a while to get this post up, but better late than never (I hope).  Fleet Week in San Francisco is usually at the beginning of October, and it brings large crowds to the city.  Although I have seen them practicing before, this was the first year I actually attended.  It was a lot of fun, but the crowds were a bit insane.  Next year I need to plan a lot better.

This is a view of all the people walking from the BART station, towards the main viewing area.  There are literally hundreds of people. 

When we were walking from the train, we saw a stealth bomber flying around the city.  It was a fantastic, yet kind of eerie sight.

Here it is, a little closer up.

These are US Marine AV-8B Harriers.

This is a US Marine MV-22 Osprey.  It takes off like a helicopter, and then the propellers shift forward, and it drives like an airplane.  They are very interesting to watch in action.

This was an acrobatic plane

One of the coolest advertisements I had ever seen.  There were several planes flying together, who released puffs of smoke at the same time to form letters.

My favorite, the Blue Angels.  I really admire the precision and skill it takes to fly inches from each other in complete unison.  I got chills every single time they passed.

I am already looking forward to next year's air show.

I'm Erin

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Hi, I'm Erin. I am living back on the east coast after 15 years out west. Currently readjusting to humidity and mosquitos. I love to take pictures and read fashion magazines.... and to talk about nothing in particular (ok, and my dogs).

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