hello, september!

We’re nearing closer and closer to fall and thus, the theme this month is one of my all-time favorites: back-to-school. Although I’ve graduated college and am not currently in school (for now), I still view September as a time to hit the refresh button and recommit to lifelong learning (and lifelong cozy).

So, this month is all about that: staying cozy, learning, books, new skills, libraries, museums, art, and so on. The vibe will be warm and academic, as we all long for autumn to truly begin. You’ll find ideas for fall outfits, including what to wear to class if you are still in school, ideas for becoming a lifelong learner, and inspiration for celebrating all things fall.

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the weekend no. 67

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Success consists of going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.
— Winston Churchill
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As you can see above, preparing for the hurricane with lots of ice-cream! Other than that, I’ve been reading a whole lot and spending time with my best friend, and working on creative projects like my novel! My best friend and I had lunch over the past two weeks, then made blueberry muffins and watched ‘90s rom coms. It doesn’t get much better than that!

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Signs you’re doing better than you think you are.

Some great tips for decorating on a budget!

Four things you will never find in nature.

Mango has been so good lately! I want this sweater and this coat for fall.

I’m addicted to this new series from Bon Appetit. Makes me so hungry 🤤

The new Taylor Swift album is so good, for so many reasons.

Have you seen Julia’s gorgeous home in the new Southern Living?

What you can do to help in the Amazon.

I adore this.

book report: august 2019

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It’s been a nice reading month over here! I’m at 43 out of my goal for the year, leaving 27 books until I reach 70. I read a few fiction books this month, two of which I absolutely adored (as always, Louise Penny) and a couple of non-fiction which was refreshing.

Progress: 43/70

Costalegre by Courtney Maum
I adored Courtney Maum’s first book “Touch” and the premise of this one sounded spectacular, so I was very excited, but it ended up not being for me. Don’t get me wrong, the writing was great but I’m drawn more to plot-driven books and this just wasn’t that. It’s about a group of artists who go to live at the Mexican estate of an an art collector (based on Peggy Guggenheim) when they flee Europe under the control of Hitler. The environment described is lush and interesting, but not a lot happens, so it wasn’t a great pick if you’re like me and need a good plot.

The Long Way Home by Louise Penny
This is Number 10 in the Chief Inspector Gamache series and going into it, I was wary because so many reviewers said it was their least favorite. But actually, this ended up being one of my favorites of the series so I’m now surprised by the negative reaction! However, I’m more interested in art than crime and this book was more centered around the former while most of the others are around the latter, so perhaps that explains it. In this book, the mystery isn’t a murder mystery. One of the main characters’ husband has been missing and they use his artwork to solve the mystery of where he’s gone. I absolutely loved this one from beginning to end, but I’m clearly in the minority. This is a time where I wish more people I knew read the series so we could discuss. If you have read it, let me know what you think. Meanwhile, the 15th book comes out at the end of this month! Oh, and I also love that this book, all about art, has a cover made from canvas.

HausMagick by Erica Feldmann
This was a cute little book by Erica Feldman, the owner of HausMagick, a home goods store in Salem, Massachusetts. The concept is basically how to use magic and modern witchcraft to create a comforting home. When I say modern witchcraft, it’s really all pretty standard things like essential oils, sage, and palo santo, nothing crazy.

Kinfolk Entrepreneur by Nathan Williams
What a gorgeous book. Along with beautiful photography, this book has short interviews with entrepreneurs in creative fields about what makes them tick as well as some more informative essays which I found rather interesting.

From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon
I read Sandhya Menon’s other book “When Dimple Met Rishi” not too long ago and thought it was cute, so I figured I give this one a go. It’s about Twinkle, an aspiring filmmaker who teams up with her crush’s twin brother to make a movie and impress the popular kids at school. Over the course of making the movie, Twinkle struggles with the superiority complex she’s developed as a defense mechanism and falls for her crush’s twin, all while receiving anonymous emails from a secret admirer she thinks is her crush. This was a cute, quick read.

Sadie by Courtney Summers
It’s about time I got around to reading this book, which I’d heard so many good things about and it did not disappoint. Although, I will say I found the ending a little bit disappointing. This book has a really cool format, in that it’s told partially through the transcripts of a fictional true crime podcast which is trying to solve the disappearance of Sadie, whose younger sister had been brutally murdered. The other half of the story is told from Sadie’s perspective. This is an excellent thriller that I’d recommend even despite the ending.

The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali
This was such a great read that nearly made me cry! It’s set primarily in Tehran in the 1950s and follows Roya, a high school senior, who meets a young political activist and falls in love at the local bookstore and stationery shop. On the eve of their wedding, he asks her to meet her on the town square but he doesn’t show up, violence erupts, and Roya never sees him again, until fate brings them together 60 years later. Okay, go read this book now, bye!

10 ideas for the sweetest care packages

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A few months ago, I spent a few hours at Barnes & Noble drinking tea and reading an issue of Bella Grace Magazine. Have y’all heard of this magazine? If not, I highly suggest you check it out because it’s beautifully done and will give you the best vibes. Well, in the issue I read, there was a long article about care packages wherein the editors shared what many different readers liked to include in the care packages they gave to loved ones.

It was such a cozy article, full of so many great ideas, so I wanted to put together a list of things you can put in a care package for your loved ones with some specific recommendations in the photo grid down below. I like the idea of a loose theme when it comes to putting together a package, but really it can be anything you think the person will find special and comforting, with a touch of your own personality for good measure.

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Essential oils, sheet mask, and bath bomb.

Fresh baked goods, a new book, and a candle.

Bottle of wine, culinary herbs, and fancy dark chocolate.

Box of tea, vintage tea cup, and homemade scones.

A new book, cute bookmark, and cozy blanket.

A pretty magazine, bottle of wine, and a jar of soup mix.

Jar of local honey, lavender sachet, and palo santo.

Coloring book, tube of lip balm, and fresh flowers.

Starbucks gift card, reusable mug, and a chill Spotify playlist.

Vintage postcards, bottle of champagne, and a special cheese.

five fun ice-cream flavors to try from the grocery store

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When it comes to ice-cream, I love a classic vanilla bean and my all-time favorite is Breyer’s Mint Chocolate Chip (because it’s white, not green) but sometimes it’s fun to mix things up and try some of the more unique flavors on the market. In New York, shops like Ice & Vice have all sorts of fun flavors (I’m dying to try their Tea Dance flavor) but what’s fun is that grocery stores are catching on and starting to carry more unique options. Here’s a couple you should check out this weekend for movie night:

Boston Creme Donut - Publix
I tried this last weekend and it was so delicious! It’s a Bavarian creme-flavored ice-cream (which tastes like chocolate milk), with swirls of chocolate icing and little chunks of cake.

Brambleberry Crisp - Jeni’s
A client once sent a full cooler of 10 different Jeni’s flavors to my office a few years back and thus began my love affair with this brand. Luckily, the flavors are not just sold in their shops anymore but you can actually get them at the grocery store. I suggest this one which is vanilla with toasted brown sugar streusel and blackberry jam.

Birthday Cake- Halo Top
What’s more festive than birthday cake churned into ice-cream? Plus, being Halo Top, the entire pint is only 280 calories!

Cold Brew (V) - So Delicious
We’ve all tried coffee ice-cream, but what about cold brew? This dairy free brand has a really yummy one and the texture is nice and creamy, which can be hard to find in vegan brands.

Cherry Chocolate Chip (V) - Trader Joe’s
This is one of my all-time favorites! It’s one of the Trader Joe’s dairy-free ice-creams but you would never know. It’s the most delicious cherry flavored ice-cream with lots of big chunks of chocolate throughout.

Dulce de Leche - Häagen-Dazs
This stuff is dangerous. So dangerous that I tend to only buy the little mini portions because I would eat an entire bucket of this if I had the ability. It’s the most delicious blend of caramel and sweet cream. I might drool just thinking about it, honestly.