the weekend list no. 68

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May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.
— Edward Abbey
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It’s been a fairly eventful past two weeks with the summer winding down and hurricane season in full swing. We went further inland for a few days during Hurricane Dorian and were lucky to have great weather there, but things also weren’t bad at home. The power didn’t even go out which was a shocker! Our holiday away from the storm basically just included a lot of Italian food, reading, and work as usual during the day. After that, it was back to business as usual.

Last weekend was mum’s birthday, which we celebrated with even more Italian food from Prato in Winter Park. We had a tremendous Margherita pizza, arugula salad, then blackberry gelato and coffee cake with blueberry compote for dessert. Before dinner, we went into a new-to-me store around the corner called Piante, which had the most beautiful floral designs and pieces for the home.

This weekend, we’re going to see the new Victor Kossakovsky documentary Aquarela, which is described by Variety as “the most metal documentary about water you’ll ever see”, so I am definitely looking forward to that! After that, I’m hoping to spend part of Sunday with a friend, baking a tarte Normande while she makes homemade cider and kicking off autumn with some cozy movies.

Two weeks from now, we’re going to see a stage production of Pride + Prejudice that I’m really excited about and then, before you know it, it’ll be October and time for all things Halloween! In the meantime, here’s a great list of links for you this weekend:

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Such great reminders on career.

Jane’s guide to creating a secondhand capsule wardrobe for fall is spectacular.

Love these ideas for switching up your fall work routine.

I’m so inspired by these back-to-school outfits.

Five lessons learned from living in Paris.

Treat yourself to a French girl facial massage.

How to style your black booties for fall. I love #1 and #7.

Loved reading Coco Gauff’s feature on ITG.

Have you stocked up on Trader Joe’s fall products yet? I have my eye on the pumpkin ravioli.

I can’t get over this dress! And of course, the incredible work she’s doing.

Five ways to eat the apples you pick this fall.

I think I’m going to need to plan a trip to Bath. Because of this too.

Such gorgeous interior design work.

As an enormous fan of Audrey Hepburn and Charlotte Rampling, a resounding yes to this.

why we should all be lifelong learners + how to do it

This month’s theme on the blog is back-to-school and for the first few decades of our lives, that’s what we do every fall. But what happens after that? Unless you’re pursuing a Ph.D or two, you typically reach a point in your mid to late 20s when you’re out of school and are no longer in a traditional learning environment. But, I feel strongly that we should all commit ourselves to being lifelong learners and that education is one of the very most important facets of life.

If you look to history, so many of our iconic figures were autodidacts, from Ernest Hemingway and Le Corbusier to Leonardo DaVinci and Vincent van Gogh to Nikola Tesla and subsequently, Elon Musk. They were or are committed to a life of discovery and self-education, which I think we should all emulate. So, get out your notebooks and let’s do it.

WHY SHOULD WE ALL BE LIFELONG LEARNERS?

It makes you more interesting.

You’ll be more independent.

It promotes a healthy brain.

You’ll be better at your job.

It connects us with others.

SO, HOW DO YOU DO IT?

Read (a lot).
The truth is you really can’t learn a whole lot if you’re not reading. If there’s one thing you do in life by my recommendation, it’s to prioritize exercise and prioritize reading because the two together are a powerhouse. Elon Musk learned to build rockets from books, Bill Gates reads 50 books a year, and apparently, those who read only seven or more books a year are 122% more likely to be millionaires compared to those who only read one to three. So, set a goal! For the past few years, I’ve achieved reading 50 books a year and in 2019, I’m on track to read 70. It’s so much easier than you think. Start by committing to read 10 pages every morning and 10 pages before bed. You’ll probably end up reading more and hit 50 books before you know it.

Take courses online.
To pick up practical skills - everything from languages and design to programming and beyond - why not take an online course? There are so many great websites out there like Coursera, Skillshare, and Dataquest that can help you to learn new hard skills. On the more academic side, you can use Academic Earth to take courses from schools like Columbia, Yale, and MIT or even Harvard Extension School directly.

Pick up new hobbies.
Something I always say in jest when I see people obsess over little, meaningless problems is, “Get a hobby.” But in all seriousness, having hobbies outside of work is so impactful. Not only are you learning new things and developing new skills, but it’s keeping your mind in a good, productive place and makes you more interesting. This could be anything from playing a team sport or board games to baking or learning about wine.

Travel often.
Traveling is a great way to learn new things across the board, especially about cultures and geography but also politics and history. When you do travel, schedule some time to visit museums and historical sites to really expand your knowledge set. If you’re interested in a particular period of history, it can be fun to plan your travel around that too. For instance, I love World War II history and there are so many great places around the world you can visit to learn a ton about that era.

Develop a growth mindset.
This sort of falls both under “why” and “how” to become a lifelong learner. Developing a growth mindset is perhaps the most crucial part of success and it goes hand-in-hand with learning. If you haven’t heard the term, here’s the basics: People with a growth mindset believe that their abilities and intelligence evolve over time while people with a fixed mindset believe that their abilities and intelligence are fixed traits. For instance, a fixed mindset says, “I’m naturally bad at math and will never be good at it,” where a growth mindset says, “Math isn’t my greatest strength, it might even be a weakness, but with time and effort, I can get better.” Growth mindset and lifelong learning, in my eyes, are mutually exclusive.

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.
— Benjamin Franklin

new books to read this fall + the handbags to carry them in

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When I think about my vision of the perfect autumn day, it includes - among many other things - a walk through a beautiful garden or forest with a cup of hot tea and a cozy book to read outdoors on a crisp, sunny day. But of course, you’ve got to have something in which to carry all your books and there are so many gorgeous bags in the shops right now. My thinking is why not match the bag to the book?

When fall comes around, I like to break out my shearling bag (in the photo above) because it makes me feel cozy and an unintended side effect is that it matches so many of the fall book covers I have around. So without further ado, here’s eight books to read this fall and the bags to carry them in.

Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout (October 15)
In the sequel to Strout’s massive hit Olive Kitteredge, titular character Olive struggles to understand herself and the people who populate her small Maine town, from a woman about to give birth to a nurse confessing a high school crush and more.

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett (September 24)
Cyril Conroy starts a real estate empire at the end of World War II which leads him to purchase The Dutch House, an estate near Philadelphia that sets in motion the undoing of his family. In this story, Ann Patchett weaves a dark fairytale spanning five generations.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern (November 5)
From the author of The Night Circus - arguably one of the most autumnal novels there is - comes this story about a grad student in Vermont who discovers and becomes enthralled in a mysterious book and finds himself in a hidden underground library below the Earth and other magical worlds.

American Royals by Katharine McGee // (September 3)
This is a story set in a world where George Washington became the first monarch of the United States after the Revolutionary War rather than the first president. Now, his descendants are the US’s royal family and deal with all sorts of intriguing drama like you’d expect from any other good royal novel.

The Widow of Pale Harbor by Hester Fox // (September 17)
I adored Hester Fox’s 2018 book The Witch of Willow Hall, which makes me excited for her follow up, The Widow of Pale Harbor. This story is set in Maine in 1846, where a man, after the death of his wife, takes a a job as a minister in the remote village of Pale Harbor. He soon faces unsettling things in the town that are attributed to a spinster maid who is accused of being a witch. There’s a connection to Edgar Allan Poe in this book which makes it a no-brainer fall read.

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson // (September 17)
In this story, a teenage pregnancy ties together families from different classes. It begins in 2001 with Melody living with her grandparents in a Brooklyn brownstone and tells the story of Melody, her parents, and her grandparents and how they all got to a particular moment in time.

Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore // (September 3)
I’m beyond excited for Evie Dunmore’s debut novel, set in 19th century England. Annabelle Archer, daughter of a poor country vicar, is accepted to study at Oxford where she is to lead the charge for the suffragette movement. She set outs to recruit a duke to join her cause and manages to fall for him even though he stands for everything she hates. They become locked in a battle in which Annabelle discovers what it takes to topple the duke.

A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier // (September 17)
Set in 1932 after the war in which she lost her brother and fiancé, Violet is referred to as a “surplus woman”, part of a generation ‘doomed to spinsterhood’. But, she moves to an English town where she joins a society of broderers who embroider kneelers for the town’s famous cathedral to carry on a centuries old tradition. She finds community there, but must brace herself as another war is on the horizon.

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!