Fall is Here // Pumpkin Bread

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Hello my lovely friends. It is officially November 1st! How is this year flying by so quickly?? 

Just a quick catch up. This year is my first year in my program at the University of Texas (I'm an Advertising major) and I have been simultaneously swamped and ecstatic for the past few months! If you've been following along on Instagram you know exactly what I'm talking about - which, if you all don't follow already I've been using my InstaStories to keep up with everyone, so go check it out if you want to keep tabs on the day-to-day. ;)

So, as it is the first day of November, and I've been talking about it for weeks, I've finally recorded my pumpkin bread recipe and am bringing it to you all just in time for Thanksgiving and the Holidays! 

Without further adiou. My family's world-shattering, life-changing pumpkin bread recipe.

Ingredients.

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3 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour

3 Cups Sugar

4 Eggs

1 Can Pumpkin Puree

1 Cup Vegetable Oil - for the health-conscious you can use the same measurement of apple sauce and it works the same!

2/3 Cup Water

2 Teaspoons Baking Soda

1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt

2 Tablespoons Cinnamon

1 Teaspoon Nutmeg

1/2 Teaspoon Cloves

1/4 Teaspoon Ginger 

1 Teaspoon Vanilla (optional depending on desired flavor)

1 Cup Chocolate Chips (I use dairy-free/vegan ones!)

Baking Instructions.

1. Preheat Oven to 350 Fahrenheit (175 Celsius). Prepare either loaf pans, cupcake trays, or muffin tins. *This recipe can make up to three 7X3 loaves, but I like to mix and match with muffins and loaves of bread!

2. Combine wet ingredients - Pumpkin puree, oil, water, sugar, and eggs (and vanilla if you choose) in a stand mixer and mix through - I used a Kitchen Aid stand mixer with the whisk attachment, but you could also use a handheld mixer.

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3. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl - Flour, baking soda, salt, and spices and whisk together until fully incorporated.

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4.Slowly combine the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and mix to combine thoroughly. 

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5. Pour into baking tins until half way full. Top with chocolate chips!

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6. Bake at 350 for up to 50 minutes for a 7X3 loaf pan, about 15 minutes for muffins and cupcakes, and about 30 minutes for smaller loaves. 

7. Let cool + enjoy with a hot spiced chai <3

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Well folks, that's about it! I hope you all enjoy this super easy dairy-free recipe as much as I do! Let me know what you think, any other recipes you'd like to see, and don't forget to follow along on Instagram! Happy autumn! 

A Month's Impressions // With Verb

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After almost a month of using the Verb Ghost Collection exclusively, I love it. My hair feels light, bouncy, and clean. I wanted to write this post so you all could see how my hair looks after a month with the Verb Ghost Collection. If you're interested in getting some of the products for yourself, you can use code MonAmiXVerb for 16% off, and all of the products are only $16 which is so affordable given the quality! Here's what a month of Verb's Ghost Collection looks like with my hair (both up and down!).

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I've loved working with Verb this past month. Verb's Ghost Collection is so amazing, especially with this heat in Texas (I've been washing my hair everyday). So whether you're interested in products that feel light as air in your hair, you want added shine, you have fine hair, or you just love that these products are cruelty free, this collection is for you. Hope you all are off to a great start this week, let's kick Monday's butt. XOXO

Verbing // With Verb

Hi guys! I am so excited to share with you all the newest line of products from VERB! You all know how much I love VERB, so I am thrilled to be working with them again. VERB just sent me this package filled with their new Ghost Collection, which is for people with fine hair or people who do not like feeling product in their hair (me!), or for people who wash their hair everyday. All of the products in this collection are vegan, paraben, sulfate, gluten, and cruelty free! The Moringa Oil blend is in each of the products to soften, shine, and de-frizz, everything I've ever wanted and more. ;) Every product is only 16$, which is amazing when you think about how good these products are, and additionally, you can now use Code: MONAMIXVERB for 16% off your purchase throughout the month of September! Shop the new collection here. I'm so excited for you all to try this collection, and I'll keep you posted with some luscious hair photos in the next few days! Until then, check out this unboxing video I did above!

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Work Essentials // Inside My Work Bag

It's that time of the year again. Students are going back to school, adults are headed into the almost-holiday-season, and everyone seems just a little busier. Last year around this time I shared with you all how to create a bullet journal, and how I organize my desk. Well, this year, I wanted to show you all what are the necessities for my work bag. Too frequently work bags get filled with miscellaneous stuff that we don't need, and we end up feeling dragged down. As you all may know, I've been reading up on Tidying (read my reasons for getting into tidying here), and I thought I should expand tidying into every aspect of my life, including my work bag. I'm tired of having a work bag that weighs 15 lbs. From now on I only want to take the necessities with me wherever I go. 

Here is what I carry with me in my work bag.

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As you can see, it's really not very much. 

My work bag. Longchamp Paris Le Pliage Tote in Midnight Grey I have this in the Medium size because it's the perfect size for everything you need, any bigger and you're drowning in tote bag.

Laptop. Apple Macbook Pro with Retna Display - everyone has their own laptop that they love and probably take with them everywhere.

Datebook. This year, instead of the bullet journal, I've decided to go old school with a Mead Cambridge Edition No. Planner - similar here

Notebook. Muji USA A6 6mm Notebook Muji is my one-stop-shop for all things quality on a budget. Their entire brand is that they have no brand, which allows them to sell their products for a very reasonable price. I can get all of my office supplies through Muji for less than $30.

Electronics Pouch. I find that sometimes there are a lot of small items that float around at the bottom of work bags. These small items get dirty, break, and make the bag a mess. In order to keep everything a touch more tidy I have a small pouch dedicated to all my small items including - headphones, flash drive, and external harddrive, etc. Any small pouch will do, you could even do like I have and use an old makeup bag.

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Pencil Pouch. Muji Usa Denim Pen Case  I use this for all my pens/pencils/and extra lead. Perfect for making sure there are no pen explosions in the bottom of your bag, and that your notebooks don't get too dirty with pencil marks. 

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I find that besides a wallet, keys, laptop charger, and whatever lipstick I'm wearing that day, I don't need anything else in my work bag. With these simple necessities, I can keep my work bag light weight and fully functional. 

Be sure to keep up with my shenanigans on Instagram. XOXO

Tidy Hygge // Nesting

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I've stumbled across two different books recently. One, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and the other, The Little Book of Hygge. I knew about both of these books for a while now, but they recently plopped into my life (and at the perfect time). Since moving into my new place I've felt very overwhelmed (like so overwhelmed I left town for a week). First, I spent about a week cleaning the house (yuck) and unpacking all my stuff. Then, when I saw the sheer magnitude of stuff I had accumulated I started to panic. Where did it come from?? How do I have so much junk?? were some of the thoughts that went through my head.

For the past month I have been researching different living styles in a hope that it will help me with my own home. I stumbled upon Marie Kondo's book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, surprisingly through the Gilmore Girls reboot (I am a GG kid by heart). When I went searching for tips/advice for home care, this book immediately popped up. Now, as a side note, I have been kind of obsessed with Japanese culture for a little while now, so when I found this book it was like sparks flew. Love at first read. I got my copy off of Amazon (because it's so much cheaper than Barnes and Noble, tbh) and have been devouring it ever since.

At the same time I stumbled across Marie Kondo's book, I also happened to find The Tiny Book of Hygge, which if you're not familiar, hygge is a concept that's been circling around social media and social trends for awhile now. Essentially hygge is the Danish art of comfort and living. It encompasses not only your physical space, but your entire lifestyle. Hygge is a feeling as well as a practice. When I started reading this book, the way it was written gave me all the hygge vibes, and I new it was the right home care path for me. 

Now, the conundrum is, how do you mesh being tidy with hygge? I've given some thought to this puzzle, because I truly think the way for me to fid joy in my home and lifestyle is to incorporate these two home care/lifestyles. My goal is to keep you all updated and use this experience as a running blog post series with the title of each post always ending in "Nesting". I chose the word nesting because it's kind of like those words "dwell," "gather," and "belong," they just fill me with comfort. 

Getting started.

To start things off. I'm rereading Marie Kondo's book to make sure I have all of the aspects of Tidying down. Then I'll be rereading Meik Wiking's The Little Book of Hygge, to also have a thorough understanding of hygge. Next, I am going to determine with precision what kind of lifestyle I want, incorporating aspects of interior design and lifestyle choices to create my ideal life (which will be another blog post soon!). Throughout the KonMari Method of Tidying I am going to be using hygge as my guide to what kind of lifestyle I want after I am done tidying. It is only after I have finished the KonMari Method's step-by-step process of discarding and organizing that I'll start incorporating physical additions of hygge to my home, additions that will spark joy and have a specific space in my home. 

Going forward.

Keep a look out on Pinterest for my board Tidy Hygge where I will be crafting a mood board of sorts for my ideal home/lifestyle. Be sure to continue to follow along on Instagram and leave any tips/thoughts you all have on this! 

Favorite Lipsticks // Everyday Wear

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Summer is officially coming to a close ... well, at least summer break is. Everyone is back to school shopping, kids are headed back, and we're all getting that fall itch. At least here in Texas where the temps are still three digits (and there is no end in sight) we are ready for some cooler weather. I wanted to share with you all, since the end of summer is so near and the start of fall right around the corner, my favorite lipsticks. 

To clarify. My perfect every shade, everywhere, everyday lipsticks. 

Starting from Nude to Vibrant.

Tarte Cosmetics Tarteist Creamy Matte Lip Paint in Birthday Suit - this is the perfect matte nude lip. I use this for a very subtle amount of color and a brilliant matte finish that feels like chapstick. Do you know how sometimes nude lips are just a little dry? Not this lip paint - it feels like a cloud on your lip. No exageration.

L'Oreal Cosmetics Colour Riche Lipcolour in Fairest Nude (800) - For a touch more on the pink side. I use this lipstick when I just want to run out the door. A slight shine perfect for everyday use.

L'Oreal Cosmetics Colour Riche Lipcolour in Toasted Almond (843) - This is a deeper nude that is perfect for when you're a bit tanner, or those with darker skin tones! 

YSL Rogue Volupté Shine Oil-in-Stick in Nude Lavalliere - For a slightly baby pink nude option with loads of shine.

YSL Rogue Volupté Shine Oil-in-Stick in Rose Saharienne  - Moving away from the nudes, this vibrant pink is great for going out on a date or for a little more color added to an outfit.

YSL Rouge Pur Couture Lipstick in Red Clash Matte Finish - A bold, matte, deep pink. Worn casually with a white top, or for going out with a black top (pictured above).

Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Gazpacho -  The true deep blue-red. Not a perfect red, and not an orange red, this lipstick is perfect for the night out, or the coming holiday/fall seasons.

These are the lipsticks currently in my rotation. A little matte, a little shine, and enough variety to get me through any occasion. I like to keep variety without feeling like I have an excess of beauty products. What are your favorite lipsticks?? Let me know and check out more of my shenanigans on Instagram!

Life's Recipes // Self Care + Bread

Hey guys!

The past month has been a lot of up and down, so I'm going to recap on life so far - the good, bad, and the unexpected.

To end summer with, I was recently let go of my dream job, started a self care routine, became more confident in my personal style, dedicated more time to blogging and content creating, found out my grandma was in the hospital, made friends with all the nurses, shopped for flowers on a regular basis, baked eight loaves of bread, ate countless cookies, felt more loved and cared for than I could have ever imagined, and have loved every minute of this crazy life. Also, ate a lot of chocolate chip cookies, but let's be real that's me every month. 

This summer, really this life, is filled with some much change and uncertainty, and I finally feel like I am able to embrace it head on thanks to the overwhelming support from all of you, my family, Patrick, and my friends. Thank you all for being there. Now on to the fun stuff. For the past month I've been really trying to nail down a self care routine that works for me, and do you want to know what I found?? Baking. I've fallen in love with the Great British Baking Show - Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry please adopt me - and have since been baking at least one thing a day for the past week. I've loved actually making something delicious and then giving myself the grace needed to be okay with eating it. Let's be real guys, especially when you're a blogger (but also all the time as women) we are expected to look a certain way, and I have struggled to accept how I look for a very long time - always wanting to be more toned, skinnier, or whatever. But recently, I've been giving myself the self love I've needed. So this is your reminder to try something new, embrace self care, love yourself, and be grateful. On this little month-long journey I've stumbled across some favorite recipes and I'm excited to share them with you.

Paul Hollywood's Ciabatta Bread. Okay guys so I haven't mastered this one yet, but one day I will! Regardless of how the loaves turn out, it's still bread and you know I will be eating it with Nutella on the regs.

One Part Plant's Chocolate Chip Cookies. OMG SO GOOD. Like seriously these are amazing even if you aren't gluten free or dairy free. Try them, love them, eat all the cookies.

What are your favorite recipes to bake?? I'd love some suggestions - let me know if there is something you all would want me to bake next! Also, don't forget to follow along on Instagram! XOXO

Ciabatta Ciabatta // Keeping on Time with Woodgrain Watches

Let's get real guys, life get's a little messy. I've been living in this half-up/half-down pony for weeks now with casual comfortable clothes, and I'm loving it. I love dressing up, especially for my blog posts, but sometimes it's nice to just be causal. So here is a glimpse at real life right now. If you all have been keeping up with my stories on Instagram, you've probably got a good sense of how hectic life is right now. I'm currently in the middle of unpacking after a big move, and I just recently found out that my grandmother isn't doing well. But, even though the punches keep on rolling in, I choose to remain positive and keep moving forward.

For me, my self-care-love-language (is that a thing? because if not we should make it a thing!) at the moment is baking. I've been really obsessed with The Great British Baking Show (because who doesn't want Mary Berry to be their best friend??), and have been tearing through both the regular seasons and the masterclass on Netflix. If you haven't checked out GBBS, and you love non-dramatic competition shows with a wholesome flair, this show is definitely for you. Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood are fantastic hosts/judges/and chefs. I heartily recommend. 

If you hadn't guessed already, a quick fun fact about me is that I really love to bake. I always have, although I haven't always been good at it. Today I made Paul Hollywood's Ciabatta recipe for the first time, and well... it didn't really turn out the way his did, but it was my first attempt! I plan on perfecting it throughout the next coming months as this is my self care project! Making breads is very difficult, you have to have the timing just right on the proof as well as the bake. I've been using my Woodgrain Watch to help keep on track. Not only are these watches made out of solid wood, you can choose exactly which wood you prefer from their expansive selection + what style watch face best fits your personal style. All together you can get a show stopping watch, guaranteed to attract attention. I really love the leather bands on my Woodgrain Watches, silky soft and sturdy mix together to create my perfect minimalist, capsule watch. Check out the Kickstarter for Woodgrain Watches here, and grab a watch for a discounted price! Staying on time has never been easier or looked so good. I have relied on my Woodgrain Watch for everything from moving to baking.

SHOP THE LOOK.

Watch. Woodgrain Watches

Jeans. Lucky Brand Sienna Slim Boyfriend Jeans

Top. Target's new A New Day Grey Sweater - Only available in select stores right now, but don't worry, they whole new line will be everywhere this fall!

Check out the Woodgrain Watches Instagram here and don't forget to follow along on all my shenanigans here

In the Middle of Moving // High Summer Playlist

Oh man has it been a busy end to July and start of August around here! First things, I recently went through an unfortunate experience with my job (read about it here), then it was my three year anniversary with my fella, and then I moved! 

The good news: I only moved about a mile away from where I used to live. I moved into a beautiful house in the middle of Austin, that I couldn't be more excited to make a little more my own! I've been all over Pinterest these past few days pinning all of the cute home inspo ideas, which you can check out here! Are there any tried and true design ideas that you all use? I'd love any tips for you guys! Here's a peak at the living room.

While moving in this Texas heat, I've caught myself listening to the same few songs on repeat, so I wanted to share with you all my High Summer Playlist, perfect for lounging, moving, and everything summer in between. This playlist features indie, alternative, and pop music! You can follow along on Spotify here, or check the list below. Let me know what you guys think! And don't forget to follow along on Instagram!

1. The Bucket - Kings of Leon - I love the tune to this song, it's infectious!

2. Bad Boy - Dan Croll - The perfect song for jamming to in the car.

3. Sedona - Houndmouth - I listen to this guy when cleaning - you can't help but get into it!

4. Real Love Baby - Father John Misty - The absolute sweetest song.

5. All We Ever Knew - The Head and the Heart - I LOVE the Head and the Heart, I've probably been listening to them for the past six or seven years, and they never disappoint.

6. Sweet Disposition - The Temper Trap - A cult classic, you can't have a summer playlist without this guy - it's so 500 Days of Summer.

7. Sheep - Mt. Joy - Great for a pump up.

8. Argonauts - The Little Ones - Also great to get you pumped.

9. Alaska - Maggie Rogers - A little softer, and great to wind down a bit.

10. Tell Me If You Wanna Go Home - Keira Knightly - Keira Knightly is the most perfect human - gorgeous, brilliant, and a singer ?? Can us mere mortals ever match up??

11. I Chose You - Sara Bareilles - I am in love with this song - it's perfect for your summer romance - I know I can hardly listen to this one without crying. 

Hope you guys enjoy the playlist! Happy listening!

High Summer Essentials // The Perfect Summer Dress

As I mentioned in my self care post yesterday, I'm hoping to really grow this little blog of mine, and that means more posts! If you all have any suggestions or requests about what you'd like to read about, please let me know! I'd love to get your feedback!

I don't know about you all, but I have been looking for a summer dress literally all summer long. My ideal summer dress is not form fitting, but flattering, simple, but not plain, and well made. I finally found the perfect dress a couple of weeks ago at Madewell, and I've been wearing it non stop. 

Outfit Details.

Dress. The Striped Midi Dress from Madewell. Perfect for every occasion.

Shoes. Target Lois Criss Cross Ballet Flats - under $25!

Hair. DryBar Blow out - check out my Instagram to see more about my blowout experience at DryBar!

This dress is a true midi dress. It hits perfectly mid-calf, has elegant ruffles, pin stripes, and is lined, + my absolute favorite aspect of this dress is the delicate buttons down the back, such a subtle addition, but it really makes the dress stand out.You never have to worry about that after-meal bloat, panty lines, or anything else unflattering. All you have to do is sit back, enjoy the summer breeze, and if you're like me, drink all the iced coffee in sight. 

If you're still in the market for the perfect summer dress, I highly recommend this one from Madewell. 

Keep up with all the goings-on over on Instagram here!