{45} Lately…

So you guys, it may seem like I have skipped a few Lately posts, but the last few I have done LIVE over on my Facebook page…42, 43, 44…so this is the first written one I’ve done in awhile!!! Excited to be back in action with this one since it’s one of the blog favorites and also one of my personal favs….



Lately I’ve been…

reading  So many things you guys! I recently finished Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod which has been LIFE CHANGING and I absolutely recommend it to EVERYONE. Expert Secrets by Russell Brunson which was AMAZING for any entrepreneur or anyone pursuing a side hustle and Into the Water by Paula Hawkins (author of The Girl on the Train) which I have to say was good, but not as good as The Girl on the Train. I then read The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena in about 24 hours. Couldn’t put it down. I just had to find out what was going to happen next. I am also re-reading The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy along with my current challenge group.

 writing  Not a whole lot, but still striving for my daily 5 minute journal habit that I started up in January of this year. I will absolutely re-up for 2018.

listening  I’m going to embarrassingly admit that I am enjoying the Hipster Yoga playlist on iTunes during my Miracle Morning.

thinking About how awesome my Challengers who are rocking CLEAN WEEK are doing! Seriously! They are crushing it.

smelling  Broccoli. Yep. Roasted broccoli was happening when I was writing this post.

watching  Grey’s Anatomy. Still obsessed.

wearing  These amazing new leggings from the new Target athletic line, Joy Lab.

exercising You guys…I’m on Day 47/56 of Insanity Max 30…a program I tried once 2 years ago and swore I would NEVER do it, because it was too freakin’ hard and it way way to hardcore cardio and guess what…I’m almost done.

feeling  Kinda badass about post above.

wanting  Someone to cook for me right now, because I’m hungry but don’t feel like cooking. Should have prepped better, dang it.

needing Hot coffee.

loving  All of the adventures I’ve been taking with my boys this week…zoo, museums, etc. Feeling like I am getting a great balance of break time, coach/work life, and mom life with our new routine this school year.

wishing Luca could get over the hump of tears at school drop off. I felt like we were doing well and now it seems like things are going backward. He also recently is having trouble going to sleep on his own and I feel like it’s all related. That being said…his experience in school is definitely showing in other aspects of life…at a music class we went to yesterday he was really involved and participatory whereas in the past he would have clung to me the whole time. Baby steps.

hoping  That all of the costume items I ordered for Halloween will actually come before Halloween lol.

craving  Wine.

clicking  Around about a few things I am interested in doing and learning in terms of health and fitness and taking things to the next level. Yoga teacher training? Mind Body Green nutrition program? Podcasting? Organizing a Wellness Retreat? Thinking long-term here and not TOMORROW by any means, because let’s face it, I’m already crazy-busy. But always good to do research and advance ourselves when we can!

following Amanda Bella – her blog is super cute and I just love her hair and make-up video tutorials!



Are you celebrating Halloween this weekend? Dressing up? Or that’s just for kids?

What have you been up to lately?



Homemade Apple Butter


After our recent trip to Fishkill Farms, I knew that this was going to be the perfect opportunity to finally make homemade apple butter this season. With fresh organic apples from the farm and a recipe from Skinnytaste, I decided to spend a Sunday afternoon making this delicious spread that reminds me of my childhood days. I was nervous with how it was going to turn out, but I have to say, it was pretty spot on!


  • 6 large apples, peeled, cored, finely chopped (honeycrisp, gala, ambrosia) – *I used a couple extra apples and the apple type was whatever we found at the farm
  • 1/3 cup raw sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, not packed
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg – *For all the spices, I had an Apple Pie spice that I used instead which had these ingredients


Place the apples in a slow cooker. Top with sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg and mix well. Cover and cook high 5 hours, or low 10 hours, stirring once halfway, until the apples are tender and dark brown.

Uncover and puree with an immersion blender. *(I do not own an immersion blender, so I actually had to spoon it out and blend it in my regular blender…not really recommended, as it’s hot and this is a difficult procedure! However, it got the job done.) Cook on high uncovered 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until thickened.

Spoon into jars or containers, cover and refrigerate.

Makes 2 cups.

IMG_9532_Layers_v1 IMG_9537_Layers_v1

Nico has been enjoying peanut butter and apple butter sandwiches for lunch as I did as a child, and he absolutely loves it! I have enjoyed some on toast as well. If you have other great ideas for how to enjoy apple butter, please share!

Hope you all had a fantastic Halloween last night. My boys dressed up as Curious George (Nico) and the Man in the Yellow Hat (hubby). Luca was a skeleton (with a pumpkin hat), and I was a panda (naturally). We enjoyed our neighborhood Halloween Parade, which was fabulous, and then took off for some Trick or Treating. Nico had his first candy this year, and had no idea what to do with a lollipop. It was a pretty funny experience to say the least. We let him have a few pieces…and then my husband and I had a few too many pieces…and now I need to GET IT ALL OUT OF MY HOUSE!

21 Day Fix Round 2 starts tomorrow as well as my Thankful for Fitness Challenge Group, and it’s healthy eating and living from here on out so that I am going into the holidays feeling happy, healthy, and strong.

Who’s with me?

Happy Sunday!



Happy Halloween


We are all ready for Halloween at the Notes/Gonzalez household!  I will admit, aside from the pumpkins, most of this decor was done by my fabulous neighbors.  We are excited for a neighborhood celebration complete with a parade, and I can’t wait to take Nico trick-or-treating for the first time in his Mickey Mouse costume.

In celebration of Halloween, I have decided to share some of my holiday favorites this year…

*A combo including two of my favorite things…white pumpkins and glitter.

*This may be a Christmas movie, but it includes my favorite Halloween song.

*One of my most favorite Halloween costumes to date.

*And I had to, of course, include an old school throwback with the little sis.

*This movie is one of those that you have to watch at least once a year.

*Love these adorable Halloween Frankenstein treats.

*Speaking of yummy things, you must try this pumpkin fluff dip.  They serve it with graham crackers which is great, but I also like it served with apples and nilla wafers.  Amazing.

*This scarily sweet martini is right up my alley.

*My favorite children’s Halloween costume.

*Who remember’s these awesome books from when they were a kids?

Hoping you all stay safe this Halloween night.  Have a fun time and hope there are less tricks and more treats!

Happy Weekend!



Seven Deadly Sins {Link Up}

To celebrate this Halloween season, I’ve decided to link-up with Shane, who came up with the brilliant idea to share Seven Deadly Sins.  I adore Halloween, dressing up (have never repeated a costume…see here for last year’s), pumpkin carving, and most importantly…candy corn.



Seven Great Things In Your Life

1.  My amazing family including my fantastic husband, adorable baby boy, and my incredibly supportive extended family on both sides as well as in-laws.  We are so blessed.

2.  My phenomenal circle of friends that I have made throughout my life starting in childhood, and moving through middle school, high school, college, post-college in Maryland, Dewey Beach, New York City, and now in my neighborhood of Brooklyn.

3.  This blog as my creative outlet.  It’s a place to vent, a place to share, a place to (hopefully) inspire, and also a place to document my life, my fashion, my adventures, my friends, and my family.

4.  My apartment.  We are lucky to have a spacious apartment complete with parking, outdoor space, a garden, a grill, washer/dryer (practically unheard of in NYC), dishwasher, and wonderful neighbors…all for an extremely reasonable cost…and all within the incredible city of New York.

5.  Speaking of NYC…I love my city and the fact that we have pretty much anything we could ask for at our fingertips…beautiful parks, museums, art, culture, a melting pot of people from all walks of life, delicious food, shopping, fashion, and even the beach.

6.  My job.  I am so thankful to have a job that I enjoy, wonderful coworkers who are fun to be around, and the stability that it offers to help provide for my family.  And the fact that I am being fully supported while on maternity leave.

7.  Soccer.  While I haven’t been able to play in quite some time due to my little monkey…soccer has always played an important role in my life.  It’s my favorite way to work out and de-stress, because I can run around without thinking about how tired I am every 5 seconds.  I am excited to hopefully get back on the field again soon.


Seven Things You Lack And Covet

1.  I know I said I loved my apartment…and I do.  But I secretly covet the adorable Victorian mansions in my neighborhood, and it’s my goal to buy and renovate one of them one day.

2.  A bank account that has no end.  Okay, so maybe that doesn’t exist…so maybe just a bank account that has more money than mine does haha.

3.  No matter how much shopping I do, I can’t seem to have enough delectable fashion in my closet!

4.  Time.  The days go by so quickly!  It feels like there is never enough time to do anything.

5.  The creativity and skills to draw and paint.  We went to an artist’s open house over the weekend, and the artists were so skilled and talented.  I can barely draw a stick figure.

6.  The ability to let things go.  I am super stubborn and must win every argument.  Or at least get the last word.  I should have been a lawyer…

7.  Ultimate confidence.  There are things I wish I could have/should have done in life, but ultimately didn’t have enough confidence to pull it off.  I envy those who do everything they put their mind to.


Seven Things That Make You Angry

1.  People who stop walking in the middle of the sidewalk.  I don’t care if you are a tourist.  MOVE OVER to the side to figure out where you are going, and stop blocking everyone from walking.

2.  The fact that I practically have to stand on my tippy toes to reach the upper hand bar on the subway.  One stop and I’m already exhausted from holding on.  Don’t they know that not everyone is so tall?

3.  Liars.  The truth will always come back to bite you, so you may as well just be honest.

4.  The fact that America is one of the few countries in the world that doesn’t give a shit about parental leave after having a baby.  Don’t believe me?  See here.

5.  Bad drivers.  I’ve seen my fair share in Brooklyn (seriously, stop honking your horn for no reason), Maryland (oh my God, it’s raining! Let’s all forget how to drive!), and in Boston (I mean, they just breed straight up maniac drivers), and they all know how to ignite my road rage.

6.  Religious wars.  I mean, to me that just sounds like an oxymoron…

7.  People that are ignorant or close-minded.  There’s a whole world out there people, and (gasp!) everyone may not be like you.


Seven Things That You Neglect To Do

1.  Floss.  I will do it for about a week after I go to the dentist, and then it gets forgotten again.

2.  Iron my clothes.  I hate ironing.  I’m not really sure why…maybe it’s because I end up putting more wrinkles in them than they started with.

3.  Clean.  Don’t get my wrong, I am tidy.  I am good at straightening up.  But ever since I got pregnant, and it became a huge burden to get on my hands and knees and scrub anything, and the cleaning got totally neglected.  I haven’t exactly had much time since the baby was born either.  I admit, we have been paying someone to come in and clean every few weeks these days.

4.  Change the filter in the Brita.  It should probably happen a few times a year I’m thinking, but it very rarely gets done.

5.  Wash my car.  I mean…it’s just going to get dirty again!

6.  Cook dinner every night.  Luckily, my husband enjoys cooking!

7.  Tweeze/Wax my eyebrows.  Yeah, I can’t tell you the last time I did that.


Seven Worldly Material Desires

1.  A Chanel bag.  What girl doesn’t want Chanel?

2.  My dream house.  With dual staircases.

3.  Weekly manicures.  It takes forever to dry when I do them myself.

4.  Unlimited airline tickets to travel the world.  There are oh so many places I long to go.

5.  Louboutins.  See above re: Chanel bag.

6.  A Canon 5D III.  One day, when I really know what I’m doing, I will splurge on this.

7.  Sparkly jewelry…preferably diamonds.


Seven Guilty Pleasures

1.  Ice Cream.  Can’t get enough of it.

2.  Reality TV.  I watch waaayyyy too much of it.  Especially the Real Housewives.

3.  Singing in the Shower

4.  Picking my skin when it’s peeling…I know, it’s disgusting.

5.  Chick lit.  Sometimes we all need a good beach read.

6.  Hitting the snooze button

7.  Online shopping.


Seven Things You Love About Love

1.  The way it sweeps you off your feet.

2.  Those little butterflies during a budding romance.

3.  Having someone that you can completely trust, be open and honest with, and tell them anything without judgement.

4.  Knowing there will be someone there to support you through both good and bad times.

5.  Not having to hold your farts in anymore.

6.  Cuddling/Snuggles

7.  The passion

Well, now you’ve definitely gotten a deeper look into me, and it was fun linking up with Shane this Halloween season.  If you’d like to link up, you can do so here!

Hope you all enjoy any Halloween parties that you may have planned for this weekend.  We have one in the neighborhood, and can’t wait to dress up our little one!



Happy 1st Birthday to Popcorn and Pandas


Would you believe that today marks one whole year that I decided to make the change to my little ole blog, popcorn and pandas?  I know, I can’t believe it either.  It’s been a crazy year full of adventures and travel, fashion and fun, pregnancy and now a new baby.  It’s been wonderful and therapeutic to have this creative outlet to share with you all, and I am completely grateful that you all have chosen to follow along for this past year.

Below I have reflected a bit on some of your favorite posts this past year:

My first two outfit posts with the amazing photographer Marisa

Reminiscing a Rockin’ Summer

Reminiscing Rockin Summer

Summer Stripes

Summer Stripes

Lettered sweaters were my jam


Sported my favorite Halloween costume

Hunger Games

Rang in the New Year in Winter White

Winter White

Foxes became super trendy

Foxy Lady

I had some ups and downs, announced my pregnancy, and did a cool photo shoot with Justin to find out the sex of our Little Monkey

It's A BOY

I added some Flair to my wardrobe

Flair Promenade

Craved everything peplum

Navy Peplum and Black

Felt a little Guilty

Guilty Spring

I ate my first mangosteen


Went to Arizona and saw the Grand Canyon

Desert Florals

Grand Canyon

I made some waves with Waveborn


Made fresh homemade tomato sauce and pesto from the garden

Tomato Sauce


Enjoyed the sunrise on Branch Lake in Maine

Branch Lake Sunrise

Watched as my belly grew larger and larger


Retro Rainbow


Beachy Keen

And gave birth to a beautiful baby boy


It’s been such a great year, and I am hopeful that this year will bring even greater joy.  Thank you so much for following my adventures.  Would love to hear any feedback that you have of things you want to see from me in the coming year.  What you like/don’t like.  What you want to see more or less of (outfit posts, lately posts, shopping posts, personal stories, photography, baby stuff, etc…)  I have less free time on my hands, but hopefully I can make things happen!

Happy Friday everyone!!!



Happy Hunger Games!

…and may the odds be ever in your favor…

Despite all the Hurricane Sandy madness…I hope everyone has a HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Hope everyone is staying safe.  We lost power for a couple hours last night, but it’s now back on.  Again, if anyone needs a place to stay or shower or eat, please feel free to come on over to Ditmas Park.

How to recreate Effie Trinket…

Effie has many different looks throughout the movie, The Hunger Games, so I chose to go with the pink/purple/fuchsia color scheme since that screamed the most fun to me.

Hair: Bought a super long curly blonde wig from Ricky’s and pinned it up to create the voluminous look of Effie’s hair.  I then sprayed it with Jerome Russell Strawberry Blonde Highlight Color Temporary Spray, also from Ricky’s.  To complete the look, you’ll need a huge headpiece or flower to place in the middle of the hair.  I actually found this amazing piece in Union Square from a street vendor.  I can’t believe I got so lucky!  Voila!


Base: Kryolan Aqua Color Wet MakeUp color 070 for the white / Eyes: MAC Paint Pot in Painterly for base of lids, Make Up For Ever Diamond Shadow No 303 via Sephora all over lid, outside of lid, Make Up For Ever Matte Eyeshadow No 26 Fuchsia via Sephora all over lids to eyebrow and outside, also underneath, Make Up For Ever Matte Eyeshadow No 58 Dark Raspberry via Sephora in eyelid crease, Korres Soft Eyeliner Pencil in Athens Black / Eyelashes: Paperself Peacock (not the original (Deer & Butterfly) from movie because they were sold out, but these were close!) / Cheeks: Make Up Forever Diamond Shadow No 303 (same as above) stroke from eye to cheekbone, Make Up Forever Matte Eyeshadow No 58 (same as above) very lightly on cheekbones / Lips: MAC Lip Liner in Magenta to outline the heart, Lancome Lipstick in Fuchsia Clutch to fill in the heart.

Clothing:  Again, Effie has so many different outfits, and it’s almost impossible to recreate her exact outfits without having a seamstress alongside you or an amazing vintage boutique, so you can get a way with a lot in the clothing department.  I went with this fuchsia peplum top that I found at Forever 21, and I pinned two flowers to it to give it the “Effie volume” which I purchased at H&M.  For the bottom, I wore a simple black pencil skirt (that is so old, I have no idea where I originally purchased it.)  For the shoes, I meant to pack my black booties, which are a signature Effie look, but I forgot them, so I went with these beautiful Betsey Johnson Zingerr pumps instead, which I think Effie would totally be able to pull off.

 The girls and I celebrated Halloween this past Saturday, and I am so thankful they were such an awesome hair and makeup team to help me create this costume!  I have never been more excited about a costume I don’t think!  The girls (Alex & Marisa – also known as Pregnant Snookie & a 50’s Housewife) and I went out to downtown Annapolis on Saturday night and we literally bar hopped to almost every single bar showing off our costumes and trying to see others dressed up as well.  It’s not often that I get this much bonding time with my cousins anymore, so I was really excited to have a little girl’s night.  What a fun time!

Hope you all out there were able to enjoy the holiday as much as we were, and hope the Hurricane didn’t rain on your parade!  Again, stay safe!