Pumpkin Picking

This past Saturday we took William to Brecknock Orchard to pick his own pumpkin. He didn't actually pick a pumpkin on his own, but he quite enjoyed the freedom he had at the orchard. This place was legit and we plan on making the trip a family fall tradition. 

Not only could you pick your own pumpkins but you could also pick your own apples, vegetables, and more (during their respective seasons). And the day we went was their Apple Festival so they had all kinds of apple-themed activities (like candy apple making) and apple-flavored goodies around. We had apple cider donuts which were legit (you'll see below in the photos). If you're in the Lancaster area, I definitely recommend checking out Brecknock for picking your own produce. And the prices were really great. It was only forty-five cents per pound for the pick your own pumpkins. 

Inspirers | Allie Lehman

An interview with Allie Lehman of Be Up & Doing and The Wonder Jam!

This is the second interview in the Inspirers series, interviews with women who are inspiring and rocking what they do! For more information on the series, click here. To read the last installment, an interview with Jessie Artigue, click here.

Allie has an adorable blog and an amazing business, which she runs with her hubby. I don't think Seth and I could run a business together but I learned a lot from Allie about how to make it work if we ever wanted to do something like that. Allie is adorable and so sweet and so wise. Enjoy!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your blog/business.

My name is Allie Lehman and I own a branding + photography studio with my husband, Adam! We live in Columbus, Ohio and work out of our studio (thank goodness we're out of our second bedroom). I started my blog, Be Up & Doing, back in 2009 when I was about to graduate from college. It's evolved a lot but it's always been a place where I can share what I love and what I've learned.

How did you get started in the online world?

I joined Twitter and started my blog of January 2009. I really started both accounts to share my design work and share personal stories. I remember my goal was to meet 3 new people from Twitter later that summer. I've made friends all over the country and met many of my close friends here locally!

What can we find when we visit your blog, Be Up & Doing?

Lately, I've been focusing on owning a business, my adventures and travels, personal lessons and health & wellness. I shoot all my own photography and try to keep it casual. I love hearing from my readers and consider them friends!

You co-founded Death to the Stock Photo, which I subscribe to, for anyone who does not know what it is, can you explain it and how it began?

I did! David and I founded Death to the Stock Photo in 2013 and its rapid growth makes me so happy! We started it because we saw a lot of our blogger/designer friends in need of authentic, high-res photography.

While the name makes it sound like stock photos should disappear but it's really about killing the "stock lifestyle." If you're subscribed to Death to Stock's free email newsletter, then you receive 10 free photos each month to use however you like! You can also subscribe to the premium option for $10/mo and get access to another 10 photos plus the entire archive. 

An interview with Allie Lehman of Be Up & Doing and The Wonder Jam!

Your design business, The Wonder Jam, is run by yourself and your husband. What is it like working with your husband?

It's amazing. We get along really well, but we're also opposite in every way. In a way, we balance each other out. Honestly, I can't imagine not seeing him during the day. But don't get me wrong - it can be a challenge. Just like any relationship, communication is huge. 

You co-authored Charge Up, an e-book for introverted business owners, can you tell us a little bit about the book?

Yes! I co-authored Charge Up with my friend Claire Deane. She lives in Brisbane, Australia and we met when she hired The Wonder Jam! As time progressed, we realized that we're both introverts! We felt that there wasn't a lot out there regarding introversion + owning a business. In it we discuss self-care, self-love and practical advice for professional introverts. 

What was your experience co-authoring a book?

It was more challenging than I thought! We started by outlining the entire book and then splitting it up into sections. We wrote, allowed each other to edit, wrote some more and then hired an editor. I definitely advise hiring an editor! It was huge. Then I designed the entire book + Claire really focused on marketing. It's been fun to have passive income + see how much the ebook has helped others.

What does your normal workday look like?

I'm usually working directly with clients. When we bring on new clients, we set up pre-session meetings with them. Then we work through the photography and design alongside them! I have some weeks that are a bit more chill but usually I'm working within constraints. I really love it. If I'm not working with a client directly, then I'm available to keep projects moving and connect with our contractors!

An interview with Allie Lehman of Be Up & Doing and The Wonder Jam!

You do a lot in the online world, how do you balance it all and choose which projects to say yes to?

It sounds cliche, but I really go with my gut. If I don't wake up thinking about a project, then I really think hard about whether it's something I should be putting my time into! I've started/launched many projects and businesses that fizzle out. You learn so much and in a way..."exercise" that intuition. 

Click to Tweet: "If I don't wake up thinking about a project, then I really think hard about whether it's something I should be putting my time into!"

You have done a lot of collaborations in the past, what tips do you have for other entrepreneurs/bloggers/authors who are looking to collaborate?

Collaborate before you collaborate. Start working together on a small project and see how you both contribute. Take note and be honest about your strengths. At the end of the day, remember that a partnership can alter a friendship (and that your partner might not always be your best friend). 

What are you currently working on? Any fun new projects you can tell us about?
I am working on creating an online course for those that want to get better at product/lifestyle photography! It's something that bloggers, Instagrammers and photographers can benefit from and I'm excited to share more soon!

For more from Allie, follow her on social media:

The Maiedae Mixer

It all started months and months ago when Jenny + Savannah announced the 2015 Maiedae Mixer; Britt texted me excited (because we both love Maiedae) because the mixer was only about 8 hours from her home in North Carolina. And my house is only 8 hours from Britt's house. Somehow I managed to talk my husband into making it a family trip and we decided to make the trek down to the Maiedae Mixer.

Fast forward to last Thursday when our trip began with an eight-hour drive from PA to NC. Once we got to Britt's, she and I got to meet for the very first time! We've been friends via our blogs for about 2 years now (all thanks to Jess) but until last year Britt lived on the West coast. So when her husband, a Marine, was moved to the East coast I was pretty excited because I was sure we'd get a chance to meet up. And boy did we meet up. 16+ hours in the car with two toddlers and my husband is quite the experience. 

Britt and I both agree that the long hours stuck in the car was totally worth it for the 3+ hours that we spent at the Maiedae Mixer last Sunday evening.

The Mixer was gorgeous. I mean it was by far the most beautiful party I have ever been to. The whole atmosphere of the space was perfect and totally fit with Jenny & Sav's brand and it was decorated down to the very last, beautiful detail. 

The flowers were arranged by Gold and Bloom, an Atlanta-based floral company. Jenna did an amazing job arranging all of the beautiful flowers and greenery and she was really sweet, I'm glad I got to meet her!

The menus and party stationery were all provided by Minted and looked amazing.

Aside from the amazing atmosphere, the best part of the evening was meeting so many amazing creatives.

You can check out my Instagram for more photos and I tagged some of the awesome people I met.

Having a kid-free night out with like-minded women was much needed and so inspiring. We all need a few nights like that here and there to rekindle our creative juices. I met bloggers, photographers, graphic designers, artists, virtual assistants, branding coaches, etc. and I am so inspired and ready to create. 

I was reminded that sometimes I need to take a break from the never-ending cycle of creating. I need to stop and I need to take some time to connect with like-minded fellow creatives. Connecting with other creatives is not only inspiring but we can learn so much from each other. For example, I met the adorable Chelcey Tate who really gave me a push to switch to Squarespace (I'm not making the switch quite yet, it'll be a little, but it is coming) and I met artists and photographers who shared information on their respective crafts with me.

The Mixer was amazing. And I'll cherish those memories and friendships I made forever. And I'm inspired to host my own mixer/dinner/party in the near future (so join my email list to get updates on fun stuff like that). 

Recipe | Sweet Potato Pie with a Pecan Crust and Toasted Marshmallows

I'm slowly starting to build my blog's arsenal of Thanksgiving recipes. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite food holidays; probably because I love all things pumpkin. And 'tis the season to start thinking about your holiday meals. Are you planning your family's holiday meals? Let me know in the comments below what types of holiday foods you would like me to share on Little City Adventures. I'm already planning recipes for roasted white sweet potatoes, two different apple pie recipes, bacon and cream cheese mashed potatoes, and whatever else you would like to see. 

Last year I made Sweet Potato Pie for the first time and instantly fell in love. Pumpkin is still my number one, but sweet potato is now one of my favorites. It's basically like a sweet potato casserole in pie form. Especially this particular recipe because it has the same ingredients as those yummy casseroles. 

This recipe is also surprisingly easy to make. The crust is really easy to work with and the filling is so easy to mix together. You can bake the sweet potatoes for the filling however you like, I simply microwaved mine until soft and scooped out the insides. But if you want to, you can roast the potatoes in the oven, boil them, or you could even grill them! 

Whatever you do, this pie will be delicious and everyone will love it! That's a guarantee! 

Sweet Potato Pie with a Pecan Crust & Toasted Marshmallows
Yields: 1 9" pie                                                                                                                                                           PRINTABLE VERSION

1 cup pecans, coarsely crushed in food processor
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp brown sugar
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp granulated sugar
½ tsp salt
½ cup shortening
¼ cup cold water

2 cups cooked sweet potatoes (peeled!)
¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp fresh squeezed orange juice

mini marshmallows

1. Prepare the crust. In a food processor, pulse the previously crushed pecans, flour, cinnamon, sugars, nutmeg, and salt until combined. Add the shortening and continue to blend until the dough starts to come together. Mix in the water, a few tablespoons at a time, until the dough is soft and smooth and does not stick to your hands. If it sounds sloshy, that means you added too much water, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time until smooth.

2. Dump the crust onto a well-floured surface and gently form into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for thirty minutes.

3. Prepare the filling. First, preheat the oven to 375°F. In a bowl use a handheld mixer to beat the cooked sweet potatoes unOl the stringy bits are wrapped around the beaters. Clean off the beaters and return to the mixer. Beat in buHer unOl combined. Then, mix in the sugar and eggs. Finally, mix in the cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, salt, vanilla, and orange juice.

4. Remove the pie crust from the refrigerator and place on a well-floured surface. Use a well- floured rolling pin to roll the dough to about 1/4” thick. Very lightly spray the pie pan with cooking spray. Place the rolled out crust over the pie pan. This dough is fairly crumbly so you may need to put the crust onto the pan in pieces. Press the pieces together unOl the pan is covered. Be sure to press in the inside edges. Once the crust is evenly placed in the pan, use a straight edge knife to trim the excess crust that overlaps the edge. If you would like, crimp the edges of the pie crust.

5. Place the crust in the prepared oven and bake for 10 minutes.

6. Remove the crust from the oven. Pour the prepared filling into the pie crust and bake for 45 minutes on the middle rack.

6. After 45 minutes, remove the almost-baked pie from the oven. Reduce the oven heat to 325°F. Place marshmallows around the inside of the pie. Return the pie to the oven for 5-10 more minutes or until the center of the pie has set and the marshmallows are golden. Let cool completely before serving. 

If you make this pie this holiday season, share a photo using #littlecitykitchen!

Recipe | Vegan Pumpkin Bars

As you read this I am headed from North Carolina to Rome, Georgia for the Maiedae Mixer with my buddy Britt. It's a quick trip but packed full of fun. And full of hours and hours in the car with two toddlers. 

Yes, we know we are insane. 

Be sure to follow me and Britt on Instagram to follow our adventures. 

Because things are going to be epic. 

And Britt is an amazing photographer so the photos will be beautiful as well. 

I'm not vegan. But every few years my slight lactose intolerance gets worse and I'm in one of those phases right now. I know it sounds crazy, but my intolerance gets worse and gets better whenever it chooses. I can't eat butter in cookies without having to run to the bathroom soon after eating them. And I can't even have powdered cheese on cheese flavored chips. It sucks because I really love cheese. Like a lot. 

But I'm working on going completely dairy free. Not all of my recipes will be vegan/dairy free, but some of them will. I mean some things are just better with cheese. Right? I will sacrifice myself when tasting those dishes, for you, my friend.

I developed this recipe because I figured it would be good for me to have at least one dairy free pumpkin recipe this fall. 

I hope you enjoy these yummy and easy to make vegan pumpkin bars.

Vegan Pumpkin Bars
Yields: 1 8x8" pan

3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
½ cup brown sugar
3 tsp vanilla
1 cup pumpkin puree (canned or homemade)
1 ½ Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

6 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
5 Tbsp vanilla soy milk
4 Tbsp margarine, Earth Balance, or other vegan butter substitute
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line an 8x8” baking pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the applesauce and tofu until combined. Mix in the brown sugar until well combined. Mix in the vanilla followed by the pumpkin. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the dry ingredients to the bowl, then mix until smooth and creamy. 

3. Pour into the prepared baking dish and bake for 30 minutes on the middle rack, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely before icing or slicing.

4. While the bars cool, make the icing. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, or using a handheld mixer, mix half of the confectioners sugar and brown sugar with the butter substitute and soy milk. Once combined, slowly add the remaining sugar followed by the vanilla and cinnamon. It should be fairly thick so if it is too runny, add more confectioner’s sugar until thick. Mix for 3 minutes on high once all of the ingredients have been combined. Ice the bars and then slice into squares.

Share your take on this recipe, using #littlecitykitchen!