Tag Archives: Autumn

One Year Later

I don’t know if it’s a blessing or a burden that with the change of the season from summer to fall that my baby also turns a year older. Today, in came the Santa Ana winds (for those of you not in Southern California- Santa Anas are very strong, hot, dry winds typically in the beginning of fall) and out went my first year as a mom. You can read all about my birth story here. I have so much to say, yet so little ability to express it today. Ugh, so many emotions! Moms, I know you know what I mean. Since I’m a little tongue-tied about how I feel today, one year later, here’s what I would tell myself a year ago if I knew the words to say.

Go with your gut, it won’t steer you wrong.

Sleepless nights will be nothing but a fleeting memory one day.

There is joy to be found in every single stage, even the difficult ones.

Wherever she falls asleep in your arms, stay there and rock her- everything else can wait.

Be grateful, even when it’s tough. She’s perfect.

Kiss her cheeks a million times.

Remember that toothless smile.

Reach out to others, they’re dying to help.

Read to her, sing to her, talk to her- everything wonderful she becomes is because of you.

Be kind to yourself, especially in the beginning.

Remember what those little eyelashes look like every night when she closes her eyes to sleep.

Hold those tiny hands.

Every memory will be special to you one day.

Give, give and give more even when you think you have nothing left to give.

And most importantly, if you’re trying your hardest there’s no such thing as messing up. You’re doing an amazing job.

We celebrated Leighton’s birthday on October 8th with family and friends at Underwood Family Farms. We had some of her favorite foods: mommy’s bolognese with gluten free penne, strawberries and melon and cucumber salad. There was feed for the animals and kids had access to all of activities that the farm normally offers like baby goat feeding, and train and tractor rides plus there was a harvest festival and heirloom pumpkin picking. We had picnic-themed decor and our favorite red velvet cake from Susie Cakes (same as our wedding cake). All around it was a perfect day!

Last year on my due date, October 2nd we went to Underwood as kind of an unbirthday celebration for the baby. Walking around seeing all of the families with babies and children and talking about what it would be like to bring the baby here the following October. I took the photo on the top that day and yesterday we went back to the passion fruit arches on the farm to take a photo one year later. 

Leighton’s First Birthday at Underwood Family Farms

xo, rootedinmoss


Succulent Cornucopia 2.0

Back to break the internet with this beauty! Ha! But seriously, last year’s cornucopia has been the most visited post on my site and I was getting offers to buy it all the way in February! I put together this year’s cornucopia centerpiece between the baby napping…things are a little different these days but we’re still all about holiday crafting! To see the full tutorial for the succulent cornucopia, visit last year’s post here. Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday in part because it’s the gateway to the Christmas season and because it’s totally centered around cooking. Even though a lot has changed after having Leighton, I’m so happy to be hosting the holidays and this cornucopia will be the centerpiece on my Thanksgiving table.

Succulent Cornucopia 2.0


5 weeks old. So lovey and squeezy.

Happy Thanksgiving!

xo, rootedinmoss

Succulent Cornucopia

I don’t know about you but I’ve always felt awkward about cornucopias. Maybe it’s the weird name or the odd shape that have never drawn me to adorning my Thanksgiving table with one… until now. My husband had the genius idea of making a succulent filled cornucopia to replace all of my negative thoughts. 🙂 While mapping out our DIY game plan we aspired to making 100% of the project ourselves. That was until we realized that neither of us possessed the basket-weaving skills of the pilgrims and indians, so we bought the cornucopia base. Yesterday, we stayed home in our pjs and put this gem together. This is how we did it. I chose a holiday-themed color palette with shades of green, red and accents of mint. The cornucopia base used for this project measures 9 inches in diameter at the opening and about 16 inches in length. To create the internal base to build upon I used floral foam, one half-dome of wet foam (here), one half-dome of dry foam (here).

  Place the piece of wet floral foam into the base with the flat side facing out. With a butter knife, cut a “pizza slice” out of the dry foam and place aside the remaining foam for later use. Use floral wire (here) to attach the two piece of foam together. The base does not need to be beautiful, as evidenced in the photo above, because you will be adjusting and shaving away at the base as you go and it will eventually be entirely covered. If necessary, use the leftover dry foam to fill in gaps. To prep the succulents, remove all dirt from the roots. With scissors, snip the stem close to the base of the succulent and carefully insert a two to four inch piece of floral wire into the stem. Larger succulents may need two pieces of wire due to their weight. IMG_2295Now for the fun part, placing the succulents onto the base. I used two larger Echeveria ‘Doris Taylor’ succulents as my focal points. The bright green color and fuzzy texture speaks “holiday” to me. I nestled the larger succulents into the gap between the two pieces of foam to accommodate their heavier weight. As I placed the succulents on the base, I continued to shave down the base to keep the appearance of the contents cascading out of the cornucopia. Occasionally, I would create a nook in the base to nestle in a succulent that had too much natural height. If you don’t like where you have placed a succulent, remove it, the base is very forgiving. Once I placed more than half of my succulents, I went back and added some Thanksgiving-inspired fillers (here) and (here). I had these fillers leftover from my Succulent-Pumpkin Wreath. I stuck them into places where the base was still visible. I also filled in gaps with tiny succulents in the same method of carefully inserting floral wire up the stem or base of the succulent.And that’s it! I used about twenty tiny succulents, most of which were just babies attached to the larger succulents, to fill in spots once I was finished staging. Once Thanksgiving is over, you can reuse all of these succulents in either your garden or for other projects. Stay tuned to see how I repurpose these succulents for Christmas decor.

I am thankful for the ability to use my mind and my hands to be able to create the things inspired by my heart! Happy Thanksgiving!

xo, rootedinmoss

Back to November

November, the gateway into the holiday season, is a special time for many. November is also a reminder that physical time is passing quickly and that the turn of a new year is swiftly approaching. The leaves falling to the ground in order for new ones to grow externalizes the changes in our bodies and lives in order to start anew. I just love how that works.

November also holds personal significance for me, a spring to the winter of my life’s journey. Six years ago on a cool, autumn morning in Santa Monica, CA I married my husband. What felt like years in the making was only the inception of a love and life that has brought us literally around the world and back again to be together. Exactly one year later, to the day, my dad passed away suddenly. His passing, furthermore on my one-year wedding anniversary, has been much of the inspiration of my introspection to find significance, not sorrow. I have to say, I never felt robbed by the fact that the two events would eventually be remembered as one, November 7. It’s no wonder to me that the Lord allowed my two favorite men, my past and my future, to be remembered on one special day. And when the year gets long, my heart gets heavy and my memories begin to fade, time always takes me back to November again.

Succulent-Pumpkin Wreath

This time of year is my favorite for DIY projects. It’s also a great time to forage pieces of nature that have fallen to the ground to use for projects. Also, a great use for some of your leftover Halloween pumpkins. Here’s what’s going on around the house this week.


Apple Cinnamon Layer Cake with Buttermilk Icing

This is the ultimate fall dessert. It’s a perfect alternative to traditional holiday pies or a great bake-ahead to bring to a party. The longer it sits, the better it gets.

For the cake:

2/3 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup butter, room temperature (save wrappers to prep the cake pans)

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

4 eggs, room temperature

3 teaspoons vanilla

3 cups flour

3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (my husband was helping me and accidentally used baking soda…the cake came out fine)

1 cup milk, room temperature

2 apples (I used honey crisp) peeled, chopped

For the buttercream:

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup powdered sugar

1 to 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

For the buttermilk caramel icing:

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup buttermilk

4 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 8-inch round cake pans by greasing the pans with butter wrappers.

Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside. Beat butter and sugar together in a bowl until creamy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. In another bowl, sift flour and baking powder. Stir dry ingredients into butter mixture by hand. Add milk into batter until smooth.
Mentally divide your batter into fourths. Each pan will use two layers (each layer will be 1/4 total batter). Pour 1/4 of batter into each pan, reserving half of the batter in the bowl. Add 1/4 apples and 1/4 brown sugar mixture to each pan and gently pat into the batter. Then, add another layer of batter, apples and brown sugar mixture.Bake 30 to 40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. While cakes are baking make butter cream and buttermilk caramel icing. For buttercream combine butter, vanilla, cinnamon and powdered sugar and one tablespoon cream with a mixer on high for one minute. If mixture seems too thick add another tablespoon cream until spreadable. 

Place strips of parchment paper on cake stand. Assemble the cake by placing the bottom layer of cake on top of parchment paper. Spread buttercream on top of bottom player and top with other layer of cake. Let sit while making the buttermilk caramel icing. In a cold non-stick saucepan, add sugar, buttermilk, butter, corn syrup, baking soda and vanilla. Combine and bring to a slow boil at medium-high heat. No need to stir while bubbling. The icing will turn to a light caramel in 5 to 7 minutes. The caramel should be sticky and pourable, not firm. Allow the icing to cool for 3 minutes and pour slowly over the cake. The cake is amazing while warm, but only gets better with time. 

In Search of Open Space

Like so many other people and plants, I was born and raised in California. I have visited and briefly lived in many other cities across the country but I have always kept my home base in the Los Angeles area. The opportunity to visit somewhere new or far from home is what I live for. After each trip though, I always feel a slight depression when I’m headed back home to LA. I find myself sitting in my morning commute looking around at the other drivers wondering why everyone wants to be here. The traffic, the noise, the attitudes…over time I’ve begun to blame these feelings on California as a whole. As if I don’t remember all of the great trips I’ve taken in this vast and topographically diverse state. During summers and winters and sometimes on weekends, I grew up on the roads of California. Reading books, listening to my parents’ music, imagining what existed off the highway beyond what my eyes could see. Certainly the onset of my fondness for exploring the unknown. And years later, I knew I loved my husband when I realized that he too loved a long drive. We don’t have a song but you could say the sound of the desert road whizzing by and the ocean breeze swirling around us has always been our jam. California provokes me to leave and yet inspires me to return. Upon the mountains, through the forests, within the farmland, along the coastline, it’s terrain so dramatic with so much to explore. Just when it seems that people are moving into every nook around me it’s, ironically, California that reminds me that the open space is plentiful and here for me when I need to escape close to home.    

image2-3Autumn is my favorite time of year to take road trips. Below are some of my favorite drives in California.

Highway 46, between Paso Robles and Cambria. Along this 60 mile drive you’ll pass by many wineries and vineyards. In Templeton, a must-stop is Jack Creek Farms, a fifth generation family farm, where you can buy fruit, vegetables, baked goods and do a honey tasting (highly recommended!). You’ll end up at Highway 1 just south of Hearst Castle.

Highway 1, between Cambria and Big Sur. Probably the most beautiful 90 miles you’ll ever drive. A coastal drive with dramatic changes in landscape from plains-like beaches to clifftop views of the Pacific Ocean. Ragged Point Inn and Restaurant perched atop a cliff in Ragged Point, CA is a great pit stop for food with a view.

Carmel Valley Road (G16), between Carmel-By-The-Sea and Greenfield. Depending where you start this drive it’s about 40 miles, 1 hour. Scenic mountains line the valley, surely an area that inspired John Steinbeck as he grew up and lived in Monterey County. You’re unlikely to pass many cars on this drive which adds to its allure.

Where are your favorite road trips, in California or elsewhere? I’d love to know!