book report: october 2018

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I’m so close to meeting my goal for the year of reading fifty books and better yet, I’ll be meeting it early! As of today, I’ve read 45 books this year, so only five more to go for the rest of the year. I read seven books this month and am in progress on three other books. Yes, my attention has been divided between them so it’s taking me longer than usual to finish. I read a lot of great books this month, though, that I’m excited to share.

Total Progress: 45/50

By Invitation Only by Dorothea Benton Frank
This was a cute book about two families joining together when their kids get engaged. The groom’s family are peach farmers from South Carolina and the bride comes from a wealthy family in Chicago. All sorts of drama ensues during the wedding planning process, but the story wraps up with everything in a sweet little bow. That’s kind of nice sometimes, don’t you think?

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
So, I watched the movie before reading the book and, as much as I liked the movie, I loved this book even more. This is the epitome of feel-good reading! It just made me feel so cozy and I love how clear and simple Jenny Han’s writing style is when she describes food or clothes or the atmosphere of Lara Jean’s cozy night at home. If you’re looking for something really cute and atmospheric, this is for you!

Whiskey in a Teacup by Reese Witherspoon
I loved this book so much. I got it from the library and midway through chapter one, I ordered it on Amazon because I knew I needed to have it on hand forever. It was so good, I have a full review post coming soon!

All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin
This was the first Emily Giffin book I’ve ever read and I’m glad I did! It’s about a wealthy Nashville family whose son becomes involved in a scandal with a scholarship student at his school. I must say, reading this felt very timely as the story really reminded me of the recent Supreme Court hearings and Dr. Ford’s story. So, yeah, that made it a little bit anxiety inducing to read, however justice is served in its own way. Highly recommend!

The Class by Heather Won Tesoriero
This was a great non-fiction book about Andy Bramante’s science research class at a high school in Greenwich, CT. His class is renowned for the students’ work and their accomplishment at major science fairs around the country. These aren’t your typical baking soda volcano type of science fair experiment. His students provide research and solutions for things like Lyme disease, tests for arterial clogging, cancer, and more. It was really an inspiring read!

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
Ugh, these books are so good. I swear, I feel like they were written just for me. The second in the series follows Lara Jean when John Ambrose McLaren comes back into her life. She finds herself dealing with various issues and having to sort of choose between John and Peter K.

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han
I’m so sad I finished the whole series and I want more! The final book in the series follows Lara Jean and Peter K. during their senior year. Lara Jean has everything planned out and is excited to join Peter K. at UVA in the fall. When things don’t go as planned, everything kind of falls into disarray. The ending was so cute and nostalgic and I seriously want more! Jenny, where are the college books?!

my fall favorites are...

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We’re in the thick of fall by now, so it’s time that I share my fall favorites for the year. Last year, I talked about teddy coats and candles and this year, I have a pretty good list of favorites, too.

Rifle Paper Co. Notebook Set
Aren’t these so cute? I needed a new journal and saw these at the Rifle Paper headquarters in Winter Park and knew they had to be mine. They’re only $15 for a set of three!

Cider Lane & Pumpkin Apple Candles
I got these two candles for the season and they’ve been so nice. Pumpkin Apple smells like a pie baking in the kitchen, whereas Cider Lane is a little bit more crisp, similar to the Leaves scent.

Summer Fridays Overtime Mask
This is probably the perfect mask for fall because it smells just like pumpkin pie! It actually contains pumpkin along with a bunch of other great ingredients, plus it doubles as an exfoliant.

Green Quilted Vest
Any day the weather drops below 70, I throw on my green quilted vest that I bought last year at Francesca’s. It’s pretty similar to this one from Old Navy or this one from Barbour. It looks so cute with jeans and boots or layered over a white long-sleeve tee and Lululemon leggings.

Skillet Apple Cobbler
I seriously made the best apple cobbler earlier this fall. I made it in the cast iron skillet topped with biscuits and, oh my GOD, it was the best thing ever. The recipe can be found here!

Bean Chili + Cornbread
My mom makes a really good vegetarian bean chili that’s so good topped with crumbled cornbread, sour cream, and cheddar cheese shreds. It’s the perfect thing to eat on a chilly day watching spooky movies.

Apple Cider Sangria
On the night of our annual viewing of “You’ve Got Mail”, I made this delicious apple cider sangria. It was a mix of recipes, but it’s super simple. Just mix apple cider, white wine, cinnamon sticks, and a diced apple.

Let’s Not Meet podcast
I’m usually not into crime podcasts at all, but I’m hooked on this one after Jane recommended it on Instagram! It calls itself “true horror” as opposed to true crime and it’s basically a guy reading stories from the Let’s Not Meet section of Reddit, where people tell stories about their run-ins with creepy situations.

All Things Cozy podcast
On the opposite end of the spectrum, I stumbled upon the All Things Cozy podcast which is not scary at all. The hosts talk about everything from cozy books and movies to candles and celebrities they deem cozy. It’s perfect for this time of year!

Hogwarts Mystery game
I’ve been playing the Hogwarts Mystery game on iPhone since it came out but stopped over the summer for some reason. I recently picked it back up and have been addicted! If you like Harry Potter, you have to try it out. You get to explore the castle, take classes, and try to solve a mystery involving cursed vaults.

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
This is the perfect Halloween / fall show. It’s the new remake of Sabrina the Teenage Witch by the creators of Riverdale, so it’s super dark. Sabrina is basically a half-witch who is being pressured into joining a satanic cult that’s tormenting her friends. So yeah, it’s definitely dark but it isn’t too scary.

Hocus Pocus
Is there a more quintessentially Halloween movie than Hocus Pocus?! Shockingly, I only saw it for the first time last year but now I love it! I think it’s best watched with caramel popcorn, personally.

Suspiria
I love listening to the soundtrack of this 70s horror movie but the movie itself is great, too. It’s about ballet school and witches. Before going out to see the remake starring Dakota Johnson, watch the original here.

my cozy fall morning routine

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By now, you know fall is my favorite season and isn’t it everyone’s, really? I also love a good morning routine, so why not merge the two together and show you my cozy, fall morning routine.

Wake up, drink water, turn on diffuser.
The first thing I do when I wake up is drink a glass of water. Partially because I’m always thirsty when I wake up and also because it fires up your metabolism, helps you wake up, and gets your brain ready for the day. Then, I turn on my diffuser using a fall essential oil blend of sandalwood, vanilla, marjoram, and ylang ylang.

Meditate, stretch and engage abs.
I like to meditate before I get out of bed to set my intention for the day. I used to think I didn’t like meditating and I hear a lot of people say they think they can’t do it. My tip is to start small. I’m probably not going to easily meditate for a straight 15 minutes or more at this point. Some days, I do 10 minutes in the morning, but I usually stick to 2-4 minutes. Even that short amount makes a difference! Lately, I’ve been using the Insight Timer app because it allows you to choose either guided meditations or just a timer for self-guided meditation. After meditating, I do a few stretches and roll-ups to engage my core.

Take vitamins, morning skincare.
Right now, I’m taking Olly’s Undeniable Beauty vitamins which contain biotin, keratin, and vitamins C and E. This is good for strengthening hair, skin, and nails and I’ve been taking them lately to repair the damage last winter and New York’s soft water did on my hair and skin. After that, I do my skincare routine which is lighter in the morning than the evening. I typically wash my face with just water in the morning or if I feel like my skin is dirtier, I use Bioderma or my Indie Lee cleanser. Then, I use my Derma-E moisturizer (with vitamin E and hyaluronic acid) followed by EltaMD sunscreen all over my face, ears, and neck.

Refer to planner and journal.
Before I start my day fully, I refer to my planner to see what tasks I need to complete and just generally what’s going on that day. I love my Passion Planner because it also has lots of good motivational quotes and spaces to fill up with whatever you need. Typically each week, I write a prompt (what inspires me, restaurants to try, etc.) and fill it out a bit each morning. Then, I move on to my actual journal. I try to journal everyday even if I don’t have much to write about. In cases like that, I usually find a prompt online or just write about what I did the day before.

Visit my pumpkin plant.
Every morning, I go outside to check on the mini pumpkin plant that I’m growing on my front porch. There are a bunch of lower maintenance herbs and flowers out there, too, but I’m focusing a lot on the pumpkins. I water it every other morning, but like to look at its progress everyday.

Healthy drink and breakfast
I rotate through several different healthy morning drinks to kick start my day. Sometimes, it’s as simple as ice water or hot water with lemon whereas other days, I do a protein shake, green smoothie, or a tea. Today, I’m trying to be as cozy as possible so I have the Trader Joe’s apple roiboos tea. Next, I make breakfast. Because it’s a cozy, Sunday morning, I go all out and make pumpkin French toast.

Read a cozy book, pet my cat.
Before moving on to the rest of my day, I sit down with my fur blanket and whichever fall book I’m reading at the time. Right now, it’s Louise Penny’s A Trick of the Light. It’s not necessarily set in fall, but all of her books are super cozy. Usually when I read in the living room, my cat is looking over my shoulder, putting her paws down on my head, and so on, so I make sure to cuddle with her. There’s literally nothing cozier than reading a book with a fur blanket while cuddling a kitten, right?

the weekend list no. 46

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Happy last weekend of October! I hope you’re getting in all the Halloween-themed, spooky celebration you possibly can over the next few days before we move into November and all things harvest/Thanksgiving.

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I had a couple of good highs this week! Earlier in the week, I got to eat lunch at a new restaurant I’ve been wanting to try in Orlando called Earls. It ended up surpassing my expectations, especially because they made us the best vegan tacos ever.

My biggest high, though, is that we booked our hotels for London and Amsterdam next May! It feels so good to have that booked because it’s one less thing I have to think about and it makes the trip seem more real. We’re staying in Mayfair in London and a really good location in Amsterdam, too, which I’m really grateful for. It’s going to be so much fun and I can’t wait to take lots of pretty photos!

My low is that my muscles have felt really tense lately, causing me to not sleep super well. I also slid down the stairs in my house, which made me sore and ripped a pair of my favorite sleep leggings, which sucks! Luckily, I have a deep tissue massage booked for early next week, so hopefully that helps.

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Today, we’re doing a big fall cleaning of the house which should be nice. I love watching Rachel Talbott videos to get me in the mood to clean. They seriously always do! I’m also going to go pick up some new essential oils for my diffuser and get a green juice while I’m out. Should be good! Like I said, I have a spa day booked this upcoming week and then we go to Jacksonville over the weekend for my brother’s wedding festivities!

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The one piece of advice young women need.

Need some quick ways to feel healthier?

If you need something cozy to read, definitely read this.

I love this coat on Julia.

This story about the logistics of planning royal tours was so interesting!

Man Repeller’s take on ten autumn candles.

The “french girl” philosophy on self-care.

This is so out of my usual comfort zone, but I’ve really been enjoying the creepy Let’s Not Meet podcast lately, as well as Limetown!

The best autumn apple recipes. Makes me want that tarte tatin!

Cute inspiration for a Thanksgiving centerpiece.

Stream the perfect Halloween movie.

I love a good before and after.

cozy vibes // coffee talk

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Happy Friday! It feels like it’s been a long time since I’ve done a coffee talk post, even though it’s only been about a month. This month, I’ve been super intentional about making everyday cozy and celebrating Halloween. I think I’ve been doing a pretty good job, but can’t wait to make this Halloween week extra special with scary movies and cozy treats.

the hate u give // I recently saw ‘The Hate U Give’ and was totally knocked out by it. I read the book and loved it, so I was really looking forward to the film. Everyone, please go see it. It’s painful to watch but also really beautiful. Amandla Stenberg and Russell Hornsby’s performances were amazing, but I was really struck every time Algee Smith was on the screen.

pumpkin carving // My friend Holly and I got together for brunch last weekend at this outdoor spot in our town, which was decorated for Halloween with ghosts flying all around the ceiling. Afterwards, we sat on her porch to decorate our pumpkins while drinking mimosas and hanging out with her pets. I painted mine with a white and orange gingham pattern and “Boo!” in black letters. Seriously, it was such a nice, cozy time. I’m also growing some mini pumpkins at home, which I’m excited about!

the duke + duchess of sussex // I’ve, of course, been following along with Harry + Meghan’s tour in Australia, mostly through GoFugYourself because I like their commentary so much. Her outfits have been amazing, no? Another cool thing is that the royal baby will most likely be born right before or while I’m in London next year! How lucky is that?

olly undeniable beauty vitamins // Ever since living in New York, I’ve been having weird hair issues where I feel like my hair is thinning and losing its natural wave. This month, I finally decided to get some vitamins and decided on Olly’s Undeniable Beauty which have keratin, biotin, and vitamin C. They’re supposedly grapefruit flavored and I absolutely hate the taste of grapefruit, but they actually taste really good. It’s more like a grapefruit, cherry, raspberry kind of blended taste and it feels like having candy when you wake up in the morning! I’ve been using them for a couple weeks now and I already feel like I’m seeing a difference. The thickness of my hair is coming back and it’s been a little bit wavier, too!

getting back on track with workouts // I know I’m not alone in saying that I’ve gotten a little off track with my workouts lately. I feel like I’ve been hearing that from a lot of people! I’ve been doing hot yoga a bit and taking walks, but not working out as much as I like to and as much as I used to for the past few weeks. Anyway, I just wanted to share a tip that I always like to use that helps to get you back on track. When you haven’t worked out for awhile, getting back into it tends to feel like a feat, when it’s actually just as simple as doing it. What I like to do is pick a 10 minute workout and just go for it. It’s short and manageable, but it gets your endorphins going and reminds you why you love to work out, which then gets you motivated to do it again the next day and fall back into a pattern of doing it daily. Just a thought!

louise penny novels // I’ve been reading Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Gamache series over the past few years and just picked up the next one to read this fall. All of her books, no matter what season they take place in, are super cozy. The one I’m reading is the seventh in the ongoing series (there are currently thirteen), "A Trick of the Light”. It’s centered around a gallery exhibition and a murder in the garden of the artist being celebrated.