Where are you wanderlusting for these days? Have any fun vacations planned? I’d love to know!
Where are you wanderlusting for these days? Have any fun vacations planned? I’d love to know!
What are your favorite things about Fall?
For those of us in school, this time of year tends to find us a little haggard. We’ve made it through midterms but there are still a million projects to do and final papers are looming. We get a break for Thanksgiving but have to spend most of it doing coursework. Even if you aren’t in school, this time of year can start to take its toll. The days are getting shorter and there is less sunlight, the holidays are coming up and bringing with them a host of new responsibilities. In any case, it’s a Monday so I thought we’d turn to my man Teddy for some encouragement.
I first knew Teddy was onto something when I read this around the eighth grade:
Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.
But lately, I’ve been going to his “Citizenship in a Republic” Speech. I recently received feedback on a project I’ve been working on for almost a year. I’ve spent countless hours digging through archival material, deciphering scrawling handwriting from the 19th century, and formulating an argument. The feedback I got was good, but wasn’t what I had hoped for and I was feeling disappointed. Rather than focusing on the good, I was focusing on something I can’t control – one person’s opinion. Enter Teddy:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
It’s so simple, but so important to remember. And okay yes, sometimes the critic does count. Sometimes the critic is deciding your grade or if you get a promotion or something else important. But knowing that you did your best and that the rest is out of your control is much more important.
Do you have a go-to inspirational quote for when things don’t go your way? Do you have a favorite president? I’d love to know both!
Nothing says Mary Kate Olsen bag-lady-chic like a cape right? It doesn’t have to look like that, though! The trick is to keep the rest of your clothing fitted. I’d pair this with super skinny jeans and brown heeled booties. Keep jewelry simple – just a pretty pair of gold earrings and maybe a ring. If you are feeling really trendy or just don’t want quite so much volume, belt it at the waist.
I love sweaters with fun detailing because they are that much easier to style. This sweater from Anthro makes your waist look teeny and the V-neck makes you appear longer. I’d pair this with black pants and metallic or snakeskin flats (like these) for an office-appropriate outfit. Outside of work it would look great with white jeans and over-the-knee black boots don’t you think?
Normally I am not that into belted cardigans or prints but I really like this one. It gives the Fair Isle vibe without a full-on Switzerland moment. I’d pair this with a navy or red shift dress and brown boots. Add chunky jewelry (think a leather cuff or wooden necklace) and you have yourself an outfit. It would look just as great with a silk blouse and heels.
This sweater just belongs in Paris, don’t you think? I don’t even want to fight the urge to tell you to pair it with a beret. Color is big this Fall and I think this would look fresh and unexpected when paired with a bright pair of pants – I’m thinking mustard or perhaps red. It would look cute with a collared shirt peeking out from underneath it and some flat riding boots.
I have such a penchant for toggles that I couldn’t resist adding one in here! Toggle sweaters are nice because they double as jackets. They tend to take center stage so I’d keep everything else low-key. This would look precious with dark brown corduroys or pants and simple jewelry.
What is your favorite out of these sweaters? What’s your favorite type of sweater in general? Do you have another cold weather go-to piece? I’d love to hear!
These Reese’s cookies are a cinch to make and everyone loves them. You will need a mini-muffin tin, peanut butter cookie dough, and miniature Reese’s cups. You may also want seasonal sprinkles and muffin paper liners. If you want to be super fast, use pre-made cookie dough. No one will be able to tell the difference and you save yourself the time and effort of making homemade dough. Line muffin tins with paper cups. Roll cookie dough into one inch balls and place in each cup. Bake at 350 degrees for 7-9 minutes or until the dough has risen and filled the cup. While these are baking, unwrap the Reese’s cups. Do not wait for the dough to cool. Immediately press one Reese’s cup into each cookie. Add colored sprinkles, if you desire. Wait for them to cool before removing from the pan otherwise you will make a mess.
Covered Oreos take a little more time but are still easy to make. You will need seasonal oreos, Almond Bark, sprinkles and waxed paper. This treat is made a little easier with the help of a chocolate melter but it isn’t necessary. You can melt the Almond Bark on low heat in a non-stick pan. Once it is melted, use tongs or a fork to cover each Oreo with melted chocolate. Place on wax paper to cool and add seasonal sprinkles while still wet. Done and done.
These Nutter Butter ghosts are cute and festive. As a bonus, just add two miniature pretzels to the top and you have reindeer for Christmas. Just like the oreos, melt Almond Bark. Dip 3/4 of each Nutter Butter in the chocolate and place on wax paper. Add two chocolate chips for eyes and allow to cool.
You can pick up cute Halloween treat bags at Target or a paper supply store and make homemade goody bags for trick-or-treaters. Alternately, you can just throw them on a plate and bring them to work or your next function – they won’t last long!
What’s your favorite easy baked good? Have any treats that you always make for Halloween?
I’m pretty sure Gerberas are the happiest flowers around, but take your pick. You can get extra endorphins by walking to your nearest florist to get a few – even if it is grey out the fresh air works wonders.
Sometimes you just need to get outside your own head. You can laugh with friends, visit your favorite website, or watch a funny movie. I like funny TV shows because episodes are only 20-45 minutes long (less time commitment than a movie!) and easy to fit in your day as a break.
After Lisa mentioned it in the comments of my last blog, I’ve been dying to make Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese. Too many carbs will make you sluggish and probably fat, but you shouldn’t ban them all together! Plus cooking (even for one) can be a delightful experience – the colors, the smells, marveling that you made something edible. Put on Julie and Julia for added inspiration.
Ever notice that we tend to wear bright colors much more in the summer? My own winter wardrobe is filled with gray and black – easy to match but not very cheerful. Why not look for bright colors and prints the next time you are out shopping? A bright red sweater or a yellow scarf will instantly make you a little happier. Not into color? How about some sparkly TOMS? I won’t even laugh (very hard) if you pair them with socks.
Vague, I know, but it is different for everyone! Maybe you love looking through all photographs or journal entries. Maybe you are more into going to the mall for retail therapy (or online shopping, anyone?). Perhaps both of those sound like hell and you would rather go out dancing or take a Zumba class. Whatever you are into, make time to actually do it! It’s so easy to get wrapped up in day-to-day tasks and forget to take time for ourselves. But the happier and more content you are the more productive you will be in your daily life.
Plus how can these things NOT make you happy?
Cute pumpkin carvings!
I know we shouldn’t laugh at others but celebrities don’t count, right?
Penguins need you to knit sweaters – wait, what?
What a bizarre game: is it a cheese or a font?
And of course, bulldogs.
What is your favorite instant mood booster? How do you make it through impossibly gray days? Tried any of these tips? I’d love to know!
I picked this because I was in the mood for both roasted red peppers and pesto but as it turns out, it is the world’s simplest soup to make. I feel kind of dumb even sharing this as a recipe but whatever, everyone is busy and wants to eat well on a time-budget, right? If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s you can pick up the ingredients at any grocery store.
Simplest ingredient list ever, right? You just heat the soup and stir in 4 ounces of mascarpone to make it creamier. While that is heating, boil water and dump in as much gnocchi as you want – I did 2/3 of this package (about 2 cups) for 4 bowls of soup. The gnocchi is cooked when it rises to the surface, which takes 2-4 minutes. Drizzle pesto into each bowl and add cheese if you want. Done and done!
Next the chocolate pie from The Help! If you saw the movie or read the book, you may be staying away from chocolate pie but I’m a Stevens girl – we never say no to chocolate! There are probably some copyright issues with me sharing the recipe, but you can find it here. This recipe was pretty easy, especially since it called for pre-made crust. Sadly, my crust fell to pieces and I had to put it back together Humpty-Dumpty style.
Verdict? Pretty delicious! I burned the crust a little bit, as you can see. This tasted like Grassroots Fudge Pie, if you have ever had it. It’s got almost the texture of a mousse and I think it would taste even better in a graham cracker crust. Worth making, but I probably would use the Grassroots recipe if I made it again.
This recipe is also very easy to make and one I use a fair amount. Frittatas are a great way to fit in protein if you are a vegetarian and are like the quiche’s healthier cousin. No crust means fewer carbs and calories but the same taste of a quiche.
Saute the vegetables you want to use until they are not quite cooked – they will finish in the oven. Mix the eggs and milk with salt and pepper. Add cheese and vegetables. Pour into a pie plate and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. You can also make these in muffin tins for easy grab-and-go breakfasts. They only need to bake 7-9 minutes in that case.
What have you been cooking lately? Any dishes that you only make in the fall? What does it take to get you back in the kitchen when you feel like nothing but take-out? I’d love to know!
But I also had two new goals:
This can be a little tricky. Yes we are in Fall/Winter but I still use my favorite tanks under sweaters and things. Use your judgement. I took out shorts, summer shoes, and any tops that screamed “I belong in the sunshine.”
You likely don’t
want need everything you just pulled out of the closet. Be realistic and be objective. If you didn’t wear it this entire season, it needs to go. If it doesn’t fit (but hey it might in three years!) it needs to go. If you love it, you wore it, and it is in good condition, it goes in pile number two. I use rubbermaid containers here and store them in my basement. If you don’t have this option, under-the-bed containers are great.
What are you going to do with all the stuff you don’t need? Make some money! I take my stuff to Poor Little Rich Girl. It is upscale enough to appreciate many of my items (and in turn sell them for a higher price than say, the Buffalo Exchange) but bonus, they donate what they don’t want/can’t sell to programs like Dress for Success so you feel philanthropic. Problematically, they take things seasonally so box up this stuff and label it. You can take it in to sell around March.
There were some items I was holding onto for God knows what reason – well, probably because I felt guilty just throwing them away. And others that were too big/didn’t fit right. I put these in bags and made an appointment with Poor Little Rich Girl. The rest went into my closet.
Clearly, my wardrobe is pretty stocked and I could get by without buying anything. This is excellent news since I don’t have a lot of money to spend and I don’t buy cheap clothes. I noticed two huge gaps immediately – I had no pants that weren’t a type of denim save one pair of black pants and 3/4 of my closet was gray/black. Neither of these are exactly emergencies given my day-to-day activities, but they are holes none-the-less. I also found a few legitimate holes (brown leggings) and a few wish-list type items. Breaking it down I wanted to find (in order of importance):
Now, instead of going to my favorite stores and picking things willy-nilly, I had and have a plan. Plus, I made some money on the clothes I didn’t want so I could feel less guilty. I picked up leggings and a blue top, as well as some new jewelry. Then my aunt and uncle came in town and so generously bought me boots and an emerald green cashmere sweater. I haven’t committed to any of the rest but plan on acquiring it slowly but surely. A few items I’m lusting after?
Do you go through your closet every season? Buy new seasonal clothes? What is on your Fall wishlist?
It was a quick trip but I’d say the city treated me well. I’m going back in November! What’s your favorite thing in Shreveport, Shreveporters? And Northerners what do you want pictures of when I go back? xoxo
Find tons more owl stuff here, Chi Omega Owl stuff here, and my favorite subtle owl here. Leave it to Target to make Owl rain-boots. Oh and the owl children’s book my favorite eight-month old nanny charge has me read over and over.
PS Pippa Middleton is better than you.
What’s your favorite owl item? Is there a certain animal you are obsessed with for decor (I hear elephants are big these days!)? I’d love to know!