The Scary Truth about Pumpkins


October traditions lead to massive pumpkin waste!  In November when pumpkins begin to decompose, unfortunately they turn in to methane. That, of course, is a harmful greenhouse gas that plays a huge part in climate change. 

Transforming a plain old pumpkin into a jack-o’-lantern is one of the highlights of Halloween. But once we’re done, second nature – we throw them away instead of disposing them in an eco-friendly manner. Pumpkins are organic waste, which means you can compost them, but we often fail to do so. Here are some ways to extend the life of your used jack-o’-lantern and uncarved pumpkins. 

Firstly, what you’re going to want to do is split the pumpkin seeds and guts apart.  Then cut the pumpkin in half. With the seeds you can either roast them, creating a delicious plant protein snack, or you can store the seeds to grow your own pumpkin patch. 

To roast them you simply preheat the oven to 320°

-Boil the seeds in salt water and drain

-Scatter them on a cooking sheet

-Add olive oil and a little bit of salt

-Roast for 10 minutes and you’re done with an easy healthy snack.

Now for the guts – many overlook the endless possibilities of how you can use the guts – If you have a juicer you can juice the pumpkin with apple, ginger or cinnamon, creating a healthy drink. You can use the pulp for these recipes- but if you don’t have a juicer, you can use the guts of the pumpkin for various recipes.

If you have a savory sweet tooth but want to stay healthy around the holidays this might be the perfect drink for you –

Pumpkin Pie Milkshake (Vegan)

-Steam the pumpkin guts for 30 minutes

-Let it cool and using a blender purée

(If using pulp you can skip this step^)

Now blend-

-4 tbsp purée or pulp

-Either 3 ice cubes and a Banana or 1 cup vanilla vegan ice cream

-¼ cup of any plant-based milk (my favorite, oak milk)

-½ TBSP vanilla extract

-½ tbsp pumpkin spice, cinnamon or nutMeg

And enjoy a healthy holiday dessert!

This next recipe will make your dogs love you a little bit more around the holidays – pumpkins are considered one of the best “people foods” you can give your canine companion, supporting their urinary and digestive health!

Pumpkin Flaxseed/oat Dog Treats 

Blend: the pumpkin pulp 

-1 ½ cups of flaxseeds or oats

-¼ cup of water

– *2 tablespoons of coconut flakes or peanut butter (If desired) 

Roll into ball shapes and freeze them

With this same recipe you can make a brightening face mask filled with vitamin A and C 

All you do is you the same ingredients, minus the peanut butter and freezing.

 If you don’t want to do any of these sustainable recipes you can always donate pumpkins to local animal sanctuary.  The animals love them. You can also compost in your own backyard, or find a local composting facility or community garden that will utilize the pumpkins.

Make the most out of your pumpkins this season and let’s all be less wasteful together!

Image credit: Pinterest.com

Colorblind Autumn

California will always be the greatest state to me, don’t get me wrong. We have everything here. Some of the best skiing in the world, iconic beaches, wine country, incredible and unique cities. But despite all of these, the golden state lacks one thing- seasons. For me, and probably many of us who were raised here, Fall is warm breezes and dry air. The landscape maintains a tan and green hue, and the blue skies yield temperatures in the 80s. Here, it isn’t harvest season. The skies are not gray. Sweaters are not the garment of choice. Yes, we do have an abundance of pumpkin spice themed foods at the local Trader Jose. But it doesn’t quite make up for an abundance of colored leaves and ominous sky. In some ways it feels like fall. The lighting is different than summer, and the nights colder. There’s a general sense of giddy unease, and everything is a shade darker. But it isn’t the same. Visiting colleges display fold outs of orange yellow and gold tinted campuses, scarves and beanies, coffee and scarecrows resembling the flourishing crops. I know I’m not the only one that yearns for this, but sometimes it feels that way. California I love you, but there’s a few things you lack. Don’t even get me started about winter. 

Credit: TripSavvy

Warmth of the Cold

I love fall. The sheer aesthetic of sitting by a window with warm glowing string lights, drinking some sort of hot tea, surrounded with the smell of books. The fact that it is finally cold enough to be wearing wool socks and sweatshirts. The feeling of cold air filling your chest from the inside, making your home feel so much warmer.

I have to admit, I miss the cold winters back home in Germany. Right now, it is almost freezing there, the leaves that are turning red-orange, some almost pink-purple, are covering the roads like a warm-colored blanket. The lakes are topped with a paper thin layer of ice in the morning, and windows and cars are frosted the way they would be in movies. Horses’ coats are becoming thick and soft, and cows are being brought from their pastures back into their winter barns.

Credit: view.stern.de

I remember how much I hated the feeling of biking up the hill to my house after school, watching the clouds turn to a darker grey as the sun set behind them, and feeling the warm air in my lungs being replaced by the cold, making my throat hurt by the time I got back home. But I always loved the moment I walked through the door, embraced by my jumping dog and the heated floor, maybe even a fire in the chimney. The best days were the rainy ones. Your house just feels so much cozier when you don’t want to go outside.

 

Credit: moondog.de

I miss that weather. I miss the grey skies and the rain-soaked lawns. I miss the muddy roads and paths going through the forest by my house. I miss collecting chestnuts with my friends and cooking them with their whole family. I miss being freezing cold with numb fingers and an icy nose. I miss how later in the winter the trees would look like they had been covered in powdered sugar, reflecting the grey-purple of the afternoon sky.

I miss my home.

And no matter where I’ll live throughout my life, no matter how many times I’ll move and find new homes, that will always be my first home. My family’s home. My real home.

The Party at the End of the Summer

It was oppressively hot, but it was worse inside. The idea for the party had been born earlier that month, straight out of the heatwave, full of desperate loneliness and braised, salted wounds. He had thought that the heat had been bad when the party was thought up but it had gotten worse, the end of summer was supposed to bring promise of a cool refreshing fall, but instead the dog days were holding on.

Partygoers were wilting like flowers, falling and rising in dance on a phantom wind born and nursed by too-expensive-booze, and sweat dampened morals, the peace was tenuous. It was just too hot for a party, even the breeze was like licks of fire on his cheeks.

The rail of the balcony scorched his forearms, but it was better than dancing in the heat. He dropped his head back and looked for stars he would not find, but before the search even truly began the click of heels sounded behind him, the echoes of a last ditch S.O.S in consistent and aggressive morse code.

He did not look, she came up to the railing next to him. He still did not look at her, but in his peripheral he could see she was reasonably tall, dressed in unseasonal black, sleek. She inclined her head and stared out into the darkened hedge maze below them, all shadow. He could sense her grace rather than see it, there was something indescribably elegant in her presence, but she was incredibly still. She was pensive in a way that only people dressed in finery and malcontent can be.

She looked on as a couple stumbling their way through the doors below them, tipsy, glittering and very much in love made their way into the maze. Both were dressed in crisp autumn colors, one a in deep burgundy gown that splayed behind her like a trail of fire and the other in a warm burnt orange that fell like water.

Photo Credit: previously.tv via Penny Dreadful

Two leaves dancing in the too warm night, lost to the world and unregistering of the weather outside of their perfect dichotomy.

She glanced sideways up at him through the leaden air, her sharp, slanted eyes caught him off guard, caught him staring at her with the sideways glance of someone interested but unwilling to admit it, but her interest was clear.

He slid his eyes lazily away and turned so his back was to the railing. She turned her head to see his profile, if he glanced at her out of the corner of his eye again he would see almost her whole face, a dangerous temptation. He hadn’t really seen her yet, the tendons in his neck lightly pulled him to look at her, but he resisted, he vowed not to look. He didn’t want to talk to anyone, especially not at this party.

She sighed, a light huff of hot air in the even warmer atmosphere around them, the air around them weighed heavy on him, even the light seemed dragged down. She leaned her narrow gloved hands on the bannister the stem of a champagne flute nestled in her long, lithe fingers.

She was made of long lines like an artist had just drawn out the essential curves in stark black strokes, she flowed like fine ink.

She swirled the champagne in her glass, light winked off it catching the light like a star on earth.

“This is the expensive stuff and what a glass to put it in.” Her voice was low and rolling over him, lulling him into a stupor, “The cost of the wine almost justifies the dressing up, but this glass, the glass definitely justifies the dressing up.”

A sudden shattering caused his trance to break, his vow forgotten his head snapped to look at her.

From her elegant and bewitching fingers the glass had fallen, no, he realized as he looked at her small smirk in profile, the fine crystal glass had been dropped, on purpose.

A galaxy now lay on the stones beneath them, the leaves in the maze had also turned suddenly at the clear cold noise cutting through the heat, but they were once again lost to themselves within moments.

He was now staring into her eyes, unable to look away, pinned like an insect to a scientist’s board, her dark brown eyes looked almost black under shadow and tapered lids.

He spoke one word, his voice rusty and thick with the overly warm air, “Why?”

She glanced down and turned on her heel, her sharp cheekbones and nose flashed in the light of the windowed doors she was headed toward, now that he had looked at her he could not look away. Those inky outlines were nothing on the amorphous night she was truly made of.

“So you would look at me,” she walked through the doors then, the promise of a cool fall night disappearing into the light of a too hot summer party.

East Coast Weather vs. West Coast Weather

Winter in Los Angeles — Photo Credit: ImMovingtoLA

Winter in Washington D.C. — Photo Credit: HostelsClub

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is almost Halloween, Thanksgiving is only a month away, and fall has technically been in full swing since September 22. Yet, last week it was almost 90 degrees Fahrenheit in some parts of Southern California. Spud Fest happened last week at OVS and it was hot enough for people to be wishing they were in the dunk tank or the pool. At the end of Spud Fest, some students were so tired of the heat they had the remaining water and ice from the ice chests dumped onto them.

For some, 2/3 of the year being summer, and the rest being an awkward mix of cold and warm is heaven. But for those who live for the cold, the Southern California fall and winter seasons are not ideal. Currently, the weather in New York City and Washington D.C. is ranging from 50-60 degrees, with rain. Hopefully, Southern California will catch up soon.

Fashion Week Favorites

In the middle of February Anna Wintour, Chiara Ferragni, Andrè Leon Talley, Karlie Kloss, and truckloads more of fashion icons gathered in New York City to kick off Fashion Week Fall 2016. A week later, the photographers, models, jounalists, paparazzi, street style stars, and celebrities went across the pond to London, then to Milan, and ended with a bang in Paris. A whole month of tulle, camera flashes, ubers, designer invitations, and upcoming trends had passed. Here are my favorites:

Valentino

This season Valentino offered a ballerina inspired collection with blush tulle, ribbon detailing, and ballerina flats. Gorgeous.

Photo Credit: ecgadget.com
Giambattista Valli

The mix of textures, colors, and craftsmanship shined in this show.

Photo Credit: pinterest.com

Miu Miu

Khaki, fur, and a bit of utilitarian were the main exhibit in this show accompanied by feminine accessories.

Photo Credit: Vogue

The Row

The Row always kills, no matter how simple.

Photo Credit: Vogue

Alberta Ferretti http://assets.vogue.com/photos/56cdf46205d0ebda742c6890/master/w_600/_ARC0981.jpg

Silk was the main factor in this show, and for good reason.

Photo Credit: Vogue

October

Photo Credit: blogspot.com

It’s finally October – so whip out those Halloween decorations and a copious amounts of candy corn.

Every year when October comes around, I get really excited, like way too excited, because it is the beginning of fall and it means Halloween is not far away.

My current neighborhood, filled with rich retired elderly couples treating Halloween like any old day, and to be honest, it’s dreadful.

I used to live on a block where Halloween was the most important holiday. They used to put their decorations up right when the first leaf fell from the trees, and the fresh smell of pumpkin wafted through the air.

Every house had a jack-o-lantern in the window and a styrofoam cemetery on their front lawns coated with bright golden leaves. October, in my eyes, is one of the best months out of the year.

Halloween is magical, but the sounds and views around you on an everyday basis are what makes October truly great.

The sound of crunching leaves on the sidewalk, the turning colors on the trees, the burning of fall time candles, and let’s not forget pumpkin spice everything.

Ok, I know that anything pumpkin spice is basically all sugar with the tiniest amount of real pumpkin, if it has any pumpkin at all, but it transports your mouth to fall wonderland.

Photo Credit: tumblr.com

 

On top of all that, is the introduction of fall fashion. Along with October comes chunky sweaters, boots, and cute beanies.

Seriously, sweaters are like socially acceptable pajamas, and beanies can save a bad hair day.

So take advantage of October. This is the month to curl up in huge blankets, drinking a pumpkin spice latte if you wish, and watch all the Halloween classics.