Life Update // These Past Few Months

Hello mis amis <3 

It's been another couple of months since I've written. You all know the drill - life is busy, messy, and all around beautiful in its chaos. 

Recently mine has been filled with a little more of those messy, human, unexpected moments than ever before.

Where to start?

I recently left a three and a half year long relationship, moved into a new place, cut my hair off, and finally, maybe for the first time in my life, have been embracing all of the uncertainty of this crazy life. (See photos at end :))

Brace yourself for some real heart-pouring-out that's about to happen.

About four months ago, I realized that I was unhappy in life. I was busy and stressed all of the time, and felt like I didn't have enough time for myself to pursue my dreams without anything holding me back. I started to feel like I could not care for myself let alone care for someone else. I started to spiral into a self-loathing mindset where I felt like I was constantly not a good partner or friend. I realized I wouldn't be able to be there for anyone else if I wasn't there for myself first. I spent a long time thinking about what I want, and I'm still trying to figure most things out, but I found myself craving a certain type of uncertainty, the uncertainty of no restraint. Where nothing is holding you back, tying you down, and you have the freedom to pursue any of the crazy impulses and dreams you choose. So, I went and talked with friends, family, and professionals about all of my confusion, unhappiness, and uncertainty. I started to repair myself after years of self-undoing and self-destruction. I started painting again, hanging out with friends new and old, and focusing on my work. I've been eating a lot of Lebanese and Cuban food, running, and eating lots and lots of chocolate. Doing all of those things big and small to try and feel whole again. 

I've been working really hard to focus on myself, what I want, my dreams, my feelings, and my life. But you know, it's important to tell you all that even after months of working, I still don't have everything together. My life is still a hectic, beautiful mess filled with bad choices, wonderful experiences, and hopeful opportunities. I am still, every day, trying to put myself first, and some days I do a really bad job, but other days I feel happier than I have in years. It's all a balance, and it's so important if you're dealing with a lot, to reach out to friends, family, and even professionals who can help you. I don't know where I would be right now without the constant love and support from my friends and family.

I say this all the time, I know I'm a broken record, but friends, it is so important to take care of yourself. In the famous words of my queen Rue Paul, "if you can't love yourself how the hell you gonna love anyone else". So, maybe loving yourself means starting small with giving yourself a break, cutting yourself some slack, or maybe it's going away for a weekend, or grabbing an extra cookie at the cafe. Whatever your self-care looks like, make it a priority. And always know, no matter where you are in the world, everything works out the way it's supposed to and there are so many people in this world who love you and care for you, including me. 

Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart, for keeping up with me, supporting me, and staying with my through all of the ups and downs throughout this wonderful experience called life. 

I don't know how regularly I'll be on here, I hope to keep up with it more, since this is one of those things that help me feel myself, but in the interim while I figure myself out, I'll be on Instagram if you want to check in on the goings-on of my life. 

Mum and I at the beach &lt;3

Mum and I at the beach <3

Exploring my hometown with a sweet friend.

Exploring my hometown with a sweet friend.

Drinking way too much coffee, as always, at my favorite spot.

Drinking way too much coffee, as always, at my favorite spot.

A genuine smile. Enjoying the beauty of this life.

A genuine smile. Enjoying the beauty of this life.

Bee Delicious // Bee Seasonal Honey

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It's not a secret that I'm a huge fan of sweets. I can get down with desserts and pastries like no one's business, however, I've been taking my health very seriously lately and trying to cut out excess sugars by switching to honey! 

Additionally, I've made the switch/am making the slow transition to a more intentional and sustainable lifestyle. Essentially, this means that instead of buying things because I want them, or they're on sale, I've decided to only buy what I have spent time considering, doing my research on brands, looking at if I truly need it, and for things like parity products, I've decided to (when I can) only buy from companies that are responsible and sustainable.

Imagine my happiness when a responsible and sustainable honey company reached out to me recently. Today, I am delighted to talk about Bee Seasonal Honey, a raw, organic honey company that practices responsible and sustainable bee-keeping. Side note: if you didn't know, bees have been in decline for the past few years, and these little firecrackers are very important to keeping our planet in balance. Bees are pollinators, which means that they are integral for plant life. Additionally, the land in which bees thrive and the communities that practice bee-keeping are threatened by irresponsible ecological practices. That's where Bee Seasonal comes in. Bee Seasonal operates between responsible bee-keepers and the marketplace to support and encourage responsible bee-keeping while bringing about a broad variation of honey. 

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Here's a little quote from the Bee Seasonal website about why they are choosing to work with sustainable bee-keepers and why they do what they do:

We see organic beekeeping as a means to help protect native areas and, at the same time, empower communities with a source of income. Bees forage beyond the boundaries established by humans, bringing back nectar and producing honey. This honey can be used as food or can be sold to generate an income for the beekeepers and their families. This secures the existence of people in unique natural regions, helping to prevent rural exodus. Beekeeping can thrive in areas where normal agricultural cultivation is not possible. If vegetation is removed from a piece of land, for agriculture or pasture, the land can only be used for a short period of time before the nutrients are depleted. On the other hand, an intact forest—even on inaccessible slopes—can be a fantastic source of nectar and pollen for an entire lifetime.
— Bee Seasonal

As you can see, when you buy from Bee Seasonal you're not just getting honey, you're making an impact on the bee-keeper, community, and land that raised those bees. Right now in the shop is their Harvest 001 set of four unique honey varietals. Inside the box there is an adorable card with maps and information about each individual honey. I love that "every honey has a story," and Bee Seasonal is here to help tell it! This small insert even has a section called "Notes from the Hive" where you can here quotes from some of the bee-keepers themselves. How, amazing is that? You really feel connected to where the honey comes from and who harvested it.

In order to give you guys some ideas, and share some of my favorite go-to recipes, I've been experimenting with my Bee Seasonal honey varietals. Here are two super easy, dairy-free/gluten-free/processed-sugar-free recipes.

Honeyed Breakfast Bowl.

As you all may know, I'm dairy-free, so this recipe features some dairy-free yogurt, but you can use dairy if you'd like!

Ingredients.

  • 1 cup Forager Cashew Yoghurt in Plain/Unsweetened (Kicking those excess sugars in the butt!)
  • 1/4 cup Hemp Seed Granola - I like this brand you can get at Trader Joes!
  • Fruit! Use whatever fruit you like the most - I typically use whatever I need to eat before it goes bad (kind of an everything but the kitchen sink bowl)
  • 1 TBS Flax/Chia Blend 
  • 1 heaping spoonful of Bee Seasonal honey (I used Angico)

Recipe. (This is the easiest thing you'll do all day)

  • Place yoghurt in a bowl.
  • Fill bowl with all of the mixings (fruit, granola, flax/chia).
  • Drizzle honey on top.
  • Mix together.
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THE easiest thing in the world + is SO delicious. The next recipe is inspired by Creme de la Crumb's, and is a weeknight staple in my house. Special thanks also to my friend Sydney for introducing me to this dish!

Honey Sriracha Chicken w/ Rice.

Ingredients.

  • 3-4 Chicken Breasts
  • 1/3 cup Corn Starch
  • 1 cup Water
  • 4 Tbs Sriracha
  • 5 Tbs Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbs minced Garlic
  • 3 Tbs Honey
  • 2 additional Tbs Corn Starch + 2 Tbs water
  • Red Pepper flakes
  • 1 cup Rice
  • 1 1/2 cup Water (for rice specifically)
  • 1/2 Vegetable Bouillon Cube

Recipe.

  • Start the rice. I use a rice-maker, but you can do this over a stove-top too. 
    • Disolve bouillon cube into water by mixing thoroughly (it might help if the water is slightly warm)
    • Use this flavored water to cook your rice in! So simple, yet so delicious.
  • In a sauce pan, combine  cup of water, sriracha, soy sauce, garlic, sugar, and honey and stir.
    • Bring to a boil.
    • Mix the 2 Tbs corn starch and remaining 2 Tbs of water until dissolved.
    • Add to sauce pan and stir until thickened.
    • Reduce heat to low.
  • Add diced chicken and ⅓ cup corn starch to a large plastic bag.
    • Seal the bag and shake to coat chicken.
    • Drizzle a large pan or skillet with oil over medium heat.
    • Add chicken and sauté until browned and chicken is cooked through.
    • Add the sauce and stir to coat.
  • Sprinkle with crushed pepper flakes if desired and serve over warm rice.

I've loved getting to work with Bee Seasonal and help tell there story. I think it's important to discuss brands that are really trying to make a difference. I love the intentionality behind Bee Seasonal. It's so easy to get caught up in making profits, cut corners, and treat your partners poorly, however every single detail of Bee Seasonal, from the packaging to the product to the mission, is thoughtful, authentic, and inspiring. 

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Honey c/o Bee Seasonal

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

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

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! 

 

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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! 

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 all enjoy this playlist! Happy listening!

Keep Moving Forward // Self Care

Hey guys, it's time to get a little real with you all. 

Recently (like earlier this week recently) I was let go from my dream job. Now, before I continue, I'd like you all to know that there are no hard feelings, I understand exactly where my boss came from, and I don't begrudge her in the slightest. It was such a great opportunity to get to work with an amazing team of women, and I wouldn't trade it for the world. 

If you've ever been let-go, it can be a rough, and so today I want to talk with you all about some self care I've been taking to try and boost my spirits. 

If you don't know, I recently worked for a jewelry company (which will remain nameless) as their Chief Marketing Executive. You all should totally still purchase and check out the amazing jewelry the ladies have created (if you know what I'm talking about) because it really is gorgeous and incredibly made. 

For my self care, I'm making a pact. To spend the next few weeks relaxing, enjoying fun-employment, and blogging more (yay!). I'm going to finally seriously get into coding, something I've always wanted to dedicate more time to, research ways to grow my little blog, and enjoy a stress-free end of summer. Recently, I've been drinking coffee and tea (all the warm drinks), painting my nails, and reading the Moth's new book All These Wonders as part of my mourning period. If you like true short stories from the people who experience them, the Moth is the perfect thing to get into - they have a podcast and this book which features stories told at Moth Story Slams across the country. It's one of my favorite podcasts to listen to. I love feeling like I know the person who is telling a story - it's so honest and real. You can check out the Moth here.

So, in the spirit of the Moth podcast, I wanted to let you all know the very real things going on in my life. Thank you all for taking the time to read this, and let's enjoy living this life we have! 

See all of my shenanigans on Instagram here!

Links + Sites

This past week has been filled with, you guessed it, work, work, and more work. My boss is expanding our small business up to Seattle (whoop!), which means getting everything ready to move and finalizing some last-minute details. If you're every curious about the work I do, head over to Britta Ambauen - we make unique, handmade jewelry here in Austin to inspire you to be the most unapologetic version of yourself. I was also able to meet with the blogging queen and king, Christina and Robert of New Darlings. It was such a blast to get to meet them and explore around the state capitol for the Canon #EOSMMission. 

Here's my shot from the #EOSMMission

Here's my shot from the #EOSMMission

And now, without further blabbing, here is my list current favorite links from around the web. 

1. This airline specializes in inexpensive flights to Europe - If you need me, I'll be over here planning my trip to Paris

2. While on the topic of travel, here is a great site for keeping tabs on cheap airfare 

3. Need recommendations on books? Look no further - this site has recommendations, reviews, and podcasts discussing new releases and book-ish news

4. Is life getting you busy? I love this little online shop that specializes in planners and stationary

5. I am currently obsessed with this retailer - shop online or in store for the highest quality products at a very reasonable price

6. This new camera I just tested out is worth-while and perfect for the travel bug

7. This new line from Outdoor Voices is fitness goals

8. I am obsessed with this hair trend - I cannot wait for my hair to grow out more

9. These Madewell Summer Styles have me all heart-eyes-emoji if you know what I mean

10. Have you checked out my Pinterest page - checkout my inspirations

New Year; Same Me

I've grown tired of the customary "New Year; New You," slogan. I feel as though this slogan doesn't promote the most positive image of who you are, and I'm tired of it. So, for this New Year my slogan is going to be New Year; Same Me, in honor of the person I am (I feel like we all need a bit of self-love from time to time). My New Year is going to be spent bettering myself in the hopes that I can make who I already am a better version of myself (getting off soap box now, thank you for bearing with me).

Everyone makes resolutions for the New Year, and I typically join in, however this year I am shifting gears a bit. This year instead of New Year’s Resolutions I am making New Year’s Goals. I am hoping to make a weekly/monthly catalog for every goal I want to achieve this year. All too often I have fallen victim to the 2-week resolutions. This is when you start the year off with your resolutions in mind, but by January 14th or so the resolutions have fallen by the wayside and you are in the same routine as you were last year. The concept of my New Year’s Goals is to break down my resolutions into manageable chunks, so by the end of the year I can actually accomplish what I set out to.

Goal 1.

We say this one every year, so no shocker here that my first goal is Fitness and Wellness. I am not looking for weight loss this year; I’m hoping to achieve a healthier lifestyle. I’m hoping to start eating more organic, local foods, to look at eating and mealtime as more than a rushed activity, and to be more physically active. Plan: To create a fitness goal catalog with outlines week by week/month by month what I want my fitness goals to be. I will also be trying to create menus in advance to make trips to the grocery store more efficient. I’ve started doing research and looking into recipes that are so yummy looking and healthy – curtsey of The Minimalist Baker (check her out!).

Goal 2.

Mindfulness. Being Present. I think in our technologically growing society it’s very important to take some time to be present, to be mindful of what’s going on around you. I’m hoping with the New Year I can stop rushing and stressing from one deadline to the next. Plan: Scheduling out time better. Utilizing tools such as my bullet journal (don’t know what this is? Check out my DIY post here) to organize and better plan out my time so I don’t feel stressed or rushed – I’m specifically thinking about making time for laundry and cooking, two tasks that always get swept under the rug!

Goal 3.

Creativity. I want to really be more consistent with my creative pursuits – thinking about goals for how many blog posts and photos I would like to create every week. I think it’s important to have a creative outlet, and thanks to all of you, this blog has been an amazing way for me to be creative (thank you!). I want to create more engaging content for all of you readers and push myself to my creative limits this year. Plan: Scheduling out more time to let myself be creative. Going out in my spare time and taking more photos/creating more content. Giving myself a weekly and monthly goal for how many photos I want to take and how many blog posts I want to publish.

I think these are all the goals I have time for this year. I don’t want to over burden myself and end up unsuccessful. I’m hoping my goals/resolutions help you with yours, and I’m hoping we can be accountability partners together!

I quickly want to thank you all for everything you have helped me accomplish this year. It is only through your support and readership that I have been able to create my blog and publish my content. Thank you so much for being you!

Today and throughout this New Year of ours, may 2017 be filled with joy, love, laughter, and happiness. Life’s just too short to not enjoy every moment with the people you love. Happy New Year, guys! It’s 2017!

Holiday Music Playlist

I love the holidays, if you haven’t noticed. There is so much joy filling every corner of the house, family is all around, and holiday tunes are always playing.

I love listening to Christmas music as I wrap gifts, bake cookies, and decorate the tree, however it can be difficult to find the perfect set of tunes. I’ve composed a list of my favorite Christmas jams for all of you Christmas lovers out there, and I’ve also created a list of all of my favorite winter jams for my friends who don’t celebrate Christmas. Time to get your hot cocoa and fuzzy pajamas on because things are about to get cozy in here.

>Cozy Christmas Tunes:

Can be found as a playlist on Spotify here or I’ve included the titles and artists of each song so you can find them on any music platform.

Christmas Is Coming – Vince Guaraldi Trio

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – She & Him

White Christmas (Duet with Shania Twain) – Michael Bublé

Christmas Time Is Here (Vocal) – Vince Guaraldi Trio

Jingle Bells – Frank Sinatra

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear – Norah Jones

Blue Christmas – Elvis Presley

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree – She & Him

Silent Night – Josh Groban

Winter Wonderland – Bing Crosby

Carol of the Bells – Mykola Dmytrovych

The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You) – Nat King Cole

The Little Drummer Boy – Johnny Cash

You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch – Thurl Ravenscroft

A Holly Jolly Christmas – Burl Ives

What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? – The Head and The Heart

(There’s No Place Like) Home for the Holidays – Perry Como

>Cozy Holiday Tunes:

Can be found as a playlist on Spotify here.

White Winter Hymnal – Fleet Foxes

Charlie Brown Theme – Vince Guaraldi Trio

Emmylou – First Aid Kit

La Vie en Rose – Édith Piaf

That’s Amore – Dean Martin

Winter Song – The Head and The Heart

Mood Indigo – Louis Armstrong

Volare (Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu) – Dean Martin

All the Way – Frank Sinatra

Cheek To Cheek – Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong

Come In From The Cold – Joni Mitchell

I’ll Be Seeing You – Billie Holiday

What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? – The Head and The Heart

I hope these tunes bring you as much joy as they do for me as this holiday season wraps up. 

 

Holiday Gift Guide

With the holidays coming up quick, so are many deadlines. There seems to be so much to do and so little time! I know my biggest worry when it comes to the holidays is getting everyone the perfect gift, so I’ve compiled some gift ideas for both guys and gals featuring some of my favorite sustainable brands.

For Both.

P.F. Candle Co. Combo Pack: Seasonal Classics.  Help make home smell like the holiday season. Bound to make anyone feel relaxed on their self-care night.

Kinfollk Subscription. One of the most aesthetically pleasing magazines on the market right now, and bound to make your coffee table pop.

For Her.

Origins Clean Energy Gentle Cleansing Oil. This product has changed my face game. Bound to give that extra boost of moisture during these cold months, and a lovely treat at the end of the day. I love coming home and taking a couple minutes for myself. Origins also makes a wonderful mask, Drink Up, that boosts moisture and feels wonderful.

Barbas and Zacari Original Collection Watch. Personally, I love my Barabas and Zacari watch (which I have in , it goes with everything, is genuine leather, and ships free! If you find one you love, use code HI.MON.AMI to get 20% off your order!

Everlane Modern Point Flats. I am in love with these! Definitely on my holiday wish-list. They go with everything, are high quality, and come with the transparent pricing Everlane showcases.

Britta Ambauen Marquise Tower Earrings. My personal favorite of Britta’s new line. Bound to take any outfit from casual to classic, and made to last for years.

For Him.

Malin + Goetz Clarifying Clay Mask. Patrick swears by this; he uses it almost everyday. Made to boost moisture back into your skin, and perfect for a self-care date night, especially if you get her the Origins Drink Up (mentioned above).

Nisolo Travel Collection Leather Backpack. Handmade with genuine leather, by a company that showcases their craftsmen on their website, something I truly appreciate. It’s wonderful to get to see who makes your products and to feel a connection with the company who sponsors them.

Everlane Cashmere Crew Sweater. He will really appreciate this light-weight layer, made specifically to last for years and go with everything. I know it can be difficult for some guys to create fabulous outfits, but the Everlane cashmere crew is made to make all outfit decisions easier; just throw it on and go.

The holiday season is my favorite time of year, filled with joy and way too much food. I know it can get a bit stressful, especially when looking to get everyone the perfect gift, but I hope this small gift guide makes everything that much easier. Cheers.

Fall Treats. Snickerdoodles.

About a month ago I adopted a two year old cat from the local cat cafe here in Austin. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I thought it was time to introduce you all to my wonderful cat and share with you all of the lovely moments we have had so far. 

Meet Snickerdoodle!

Likes.

Eating mom's food.

Sitting between mom and her work.

Snuggling. 

Fancy Treats.

Pumpkins.

Dislikes.

Loud noises.

The birds outside the window every morning.

The window that keeps me away from the birds in the morning.

Front doors. (where do they lead to?)

Not enough treats.

If you have the option of adoption I highly recommend rescuing your fury friend! There are so many sweet babies in shelters looking for a loving home, stop by your local shelter to find your new best friend! I'm so glad I adopted Snickerdoodle. She's been a true companion this past month. Can't wait for many more! If you have any cat-care tips/tricks I'm all ears! I'd love to hear all about your fury-friend experiences!

Labor Day Weekend Staycation

This Labor Day weekend I was pleasantly visited by my sweet boyfriend. We are in the middle of a distance relationship, so anytime we get to spend together we really cherish.

Here are some highlights from our weekend together.

Birds Barbershop

Both of us were in desperate need of a trim, as such, we started our weekend together by heading over to Birds Barbershop to get a fresh look. Ladies, Birds is commonly referred to as a men’s barbershop, but let me tell you, my hairdresser, Michelle Farrow, did an amazing job. Birds caters to women’s hair as well as men’s and they do a amazing work. Easily one of the best cuts, and best chats, I‘ve had in a while. Birds also started a hair-care line called VERB, now owned by Moroccan Oil, that has very affordable, quality hair care products. I just got their Curl Crème (I'll let all of you know how it works out).

Cactus and Succulent Show and Sale

We woke up early Saturday morning and headed out in need of some adorable cacti and succulents. It was the most beautiful showcase we had ever seen. Everything was hosted in a small room packed with different local vendors selling their plant babies. We lost all sense of self control and bought way more than we should have, but at least our new planties will make the apartment look more fresh and natural. We got a gorgeous cactus, an Adenium Black Beauty, and two succulents.

My two favorite things: Coffee and Succulents

Cat Café.

I’ve already shared with you guys the infinite joys that are found at the Cat Café, but Patrick had never been; I had to show him the place while he was in town! We also might have found a cat we both love… Maybe one day we will adopt her. (If it were up to me, we would have already adopted her! I've got kitty fever.)

Meet Sienna! She's available for adoption at the Cat Café 

Esby Apparel and Stag.

This local gem makes some of best women’s clothing. The clothes have a higher price point, but it’s completely worth it for the quality you’re getting (more photos to come of my Esby pieces). After spending an hour or so at Esby we headed to Stag on South Congress for Patrick. Stag sells quality men’s clothing and accessories. Patrick found a lovely pair of shorts (photos, and maybe a post on men’s fashion to come?).

Mueller Farmers Market.

Sunday morning we went out to the Mueller farmers market and met some amazing locals. We couldn’t resist getting all of our weekly groceries and some extra goodies while we were out. If you live in Austin, this farmers market is for you. There's always a nice group of people, and the products are always amazing. Head over to Mueller Park (off Airport Blvd) Sunday mornings from 10:00-2:00!

Local Dinner.

Dinner Sunday evening consisted of fresh chicken breast, baked over fresh Serrano peppers with rice and an Egyptian spinach salad. YUM! We love our fresh produce, and the Mueller farmers market is one of the best to find some. It was so nice to get to cook together and share a nice meal after a month apart. Easily one of my favorite moments of our staycation. 

Labor Day Brunch.

Our Labor Day was very lazy. We snoozed our alarm clocks for as long as we could, indulging in every last cuddle before we had to face the day. We settled on brunch at Delicious, a new spot on South Lamar that hosts weekend brunch and has a small market inside. Patrick got his favorite, chicken and waffles, and I got an amazing breakfast sandwich with fresh arugula and house-made hot sauce. A must try for the Austin foodie looking for a new brunch spot.

These are just a few snippets of our wonderful time together this weekend. I hope your Labor Day weekend was filled with love and simplicity. Also, follow along on Instagram to see more of my daily happenings! 

 

**All jewelry is Britta Ambauen - Get 10% off with code HIMONAMI10

DIY: Workspace

In the spirit of my last post, I wanted to bring you all some easy ways I keep my workspace looking nice, and give some insight into how I get work done.

The goal of any workspace should be productivity. I struggle fighting the intoxicating power of sleep when I spend countless hours at my desk, however I have some tips for how you can make your space productive (and cute!).

I always use the mantra “Look good, feel good,” so why should my workspace be any different? If my workspace is cute, I feel more inclined to spend hours sitting there. My perfect workspace combines my love of neutrals, plants, and minimalism.

Desk.

I have this desk from Ikea. It’s perfect for a small space, it’s classic, and it’s minimal.

I recommend using a desk that allows for lots or creative freedom, a wide open space with room to stretch your work out on. Here is one of my favorites from West Elm .

Organization.

I use a standard pencil organizer from Target that’s absolutely adorable. To organize my papers I like to use a standard paper tray, and West Elm offers a really cute option! I like the West Elm set of Foxed Mirror office supplies because it matches my Target lamp well. To keep my space open to my creative mess, I think utilizing a side cart is a great way to manage your desk essentials while leaving room to work. Here is a great option from Ikea. If you are a maker and have many craft items you need to keep near your workspace, I recommend using a side cart. You can organize each shelf with different bins so all your essentials are at your fingertips.

Décor on a budget tip: I like to use a wooden tray table as a paper organizer or even a portable desk! It’s a cute way to add dimensions to your desk space, and you can place cute paperweights on it!

Décor.

I like to keep my workspace pretty minimal. I don’t like having too much clutter lying around, so when it comes to décor I like to have just a couple of plants on my desk. I only get my succulents from a small nursery in Austin, and I keep them in a small planter from Ikea (similar here). I find that having a touch of green on my desk really helps brighten my day.

I hope this helps you work more efficiently now that your desk looks beautiful! How do you work best? Did this post help you in your workspace? I’d love to hear from all of you!

DIY: Bullet Journal

School is starting, which means a few rather exciting things. Kids are learning, college students are embarking on their own lives, parents have more free time, fall is coming, and cool weather is on its way. School starting also means that parents, kids, and college students alike will be heading into a busy season of back-to-school madness.

Whether you’re headed to school, you’ve got kids who are, you’re starting more creative projects, or you’re just plain busy, I’d like to share my methods of organization with you.

A few years ago I found myself in a situation of being perpetually frazzled. I had too much on my plate at all times, and I needed a way to organize my life that made sense and was easy and efficient. In a mad craze to find some organization I stumbled onto a wonderful bit. The Bullet Journal.

You may be thinking, “What is a bullet journal?” think of it in terms of a planner/date book, but without all of the extra frills and confusing sections that you never end up filling in. A bullet journal is the most customizable way to create a planner that utilizes every part of your life.

Without further or do, let’s get down to it.

There are many different ways to put together a bullet journal, but I am going to share with you the most efficient way I have found to set up a bullet journal. Get your rulers out, this is going to be a fun, simple craft.

Start with a simple journal.

I like to use a Moleskine journal with a dotted inside because I think it is the most versatile journal, however any journal will do. I’d suggest using one that isn’t too thick, can easily be carried around with you (I take mine everywhere), and fits your personal aesthetic. Here is one example of a good bullet journal.

Markings.

There are multiple ways to determine importance. This is really where you can let your creativity and personalization come into play. A bullet (Ÿ) represents tasks to-do. The open circle (O) bullet is to represent events that are coming up. Those are the two most important markings for me with my bullet journal. You can do other things like an (X) to symbolize events or to-do items missed that need revisiting, or an arrow (>) or star (*) for important events/items. Figure out how you would like to mark up your bullet journal, and how it would be the most useful and efficient for you. Here are some helpful markings to keep in mind.

A symbol of importance.

A symbol of missed event/item.

A symbol of notation.

A symbol for recipe ideas.

A symbol for in-progress items.

Sections.

Index/Glossary (optional).

On the inside of the journal, on the first and second pages, this is the start of your glossary. In the center of the title line, write Glossary or Index. This is where you can write each page number and what each corresponding page entails. Make an indent line about an inch wide on the left side of each page. In the first row of the indent section, title this Page Numbers. Title the long section Collections. The Index makes it so you can easily find where each Collection is located in your journal. I don’t add the glossary to my personal bullet journal, but that’s because I never think to go back and add to it or keep track of page numbers. Leave two pages for the Index to fill in later.

Future Log.

This is one of my favorite features of the bullet journal; it’s essentially a year at-a-glance section. After your pages set aside for the Index, on the next page, title it Future Log. Grab your ruler and divide this page and the next four pages into either thirds or fourths (depending on how big your journal is), horizontally. Draw a vertical indent line an inch from the left edge. Inside the indent, on the top row of each section, title each month for the next year, including the one you’re currently in. My Future Log takes up four pages because I divide the page into thirds (three months on a page X four pages = twelve months in a year).  In this section, write out all of the important dates that are coming up for the next year (birthdays, final exam dates, important events, etc).

Monthly Log.

After you have finished your Future Log, on the next page title this the current month. This is your monthly log. On this page, use your ruler and indent the page an inch in from the left, drawing a vertical line. In the indent, on the top row start numbering the days of the month, moving down the page as you go. Right next to each date, indicate what the day of the week is by placing a “M, T W, Th, F, S, Su”. In the main section you can be more specific about what events are coming up that month (fill in the corresponding row to the date). On the page directly next to this page, title it the month. This is your monthly to-do list. You can indicate here what you need to get done by the end of the month.

Daily Log.

Each page of the daily log will look different, as each day will be filled with different events, items, and importance. I give my Daily Log the same basic structure. I start at the top of the page on the left side, write the date (8/1 Mon), and underline it. Under the date, I write my events first and indicate what time and where each are happening. Then I start in on my to-do’s for the day. If I have a recipe I want to make that day, I add it here and mark it with an arrow. If I have a deadline coming up, I’ll mark important items with stars. You can personalize your daily log in any way that is most understandable for you.

The Bullet Journal a lá Mon Ami.

I have tweaked my design for the bullet journal to allow more room for creative space. If you open my Daily Log, on the left-side page there is a normal Daily Log set-up, on the right-side page I have left it blank and open for things like grocery lists, topic ideas for blog posts, ideas for photo-shoots, doing my budget, things that the traditional Daily Log space doesn’t give much room for.

Efficiency.

You might be thinking, “Okay, how is this design more efficient than a traditional planner?” well, with the ease of notation, you can mark through your bullet journal quickly, and you can look over previous days quickly to find any missed to-do items or events. I like to go through my bullet journal at the end of every month, look at the items I needed to complete, completely mark out items I’ve completed, and write the items I didn’t get around to in the To-Do section of the next Monthly Log. This way you can easily stay on top of things every month. You have a clear visualization of what needs to be done and how you can get it done; that’s what makes the bullet journal efficient.

And that’s a wrap.

There are so many ways you can make this journal uniquely yours. You could add washi-tape as a way to highlight; you could use color-coding instead of marking indicators; you could add stickers, draw intricate graphs and figures, and combine pages; the options are endless.

Here is a link to the official Bullet Journal website if you have any additional questions.

I would love to know how your journals come along and if you have any suggestions for how to make it more efficient. 

Moving, A Multipart Series: Getting Out There

Once all of the stress of the initial move has worn off and you’ve started decorating, it’s time to get out there. I just moved to Austin, a city where there is always something to do. Getting out there and being social in a new town where you don’t know anyone can be a little nerve-racking (especially if you are an introvert like me). The nice thing about moving to a place where things are always happening is that it’s easy to make friends.

I want to share with you some of my favorite things to do when living in a new city, and how I’ve met people/”got out there”.

Find out what events are happening.

This is the first thing I do when I get to a new city. You need to know what’s happening, where people are, what the fun things to do are, etc. I typically go on social media and do some research on what’s going on. You can Facebook/Instagram stalk the top local bloggers and see where they go, or you can look up different accounts that specialize in knowing what’s going on around town. For example, in Austin there is a great Instagram account called OurATX that focuses on keeping you in on what’s going on. I follow them and check in regularly to see what's going on around town! Plus, the ladies who work the site are absolutely amazing. You can find their website here.

Find your creative community.

This can be a bit difficult and can take quite a bit of time, but I promise it’s so worth it. Look up different creative meet-ups that are happening where you are. Ask your barista if they have any ideas. Start up a chat with a creative looking fellow at the local coffee shop. It might take some digging, but you’ll find your people eventually. In Austin there is a group called the Boss Babes. They host monthly creative meet-ups for women in creative fields! I’m actually signed up to go to their August meet up, and I’ll keep you all posted on finding my creative niche here. 

Don’t be afraid to do things by yourself.

I used to be very insecure about going out alone, but after some practice, it got a lot easier. It’s great to spend some time with yourself, enjoying who you are, and doing what makes you happy. When people see you having fun, being happy, and doing-you, they will want to do things with you.

Here is a list of some of my adventure hot-spots in Austin.

Blue Cat. Austin’s very own cat café. It is as glorious as you would think. You can come, eat vegan food, drink coffee, and hang out with a purrrfect group of kities and cats. Plus, if you can’t resist some of the cats they are available for adoption! You can take them home with you! Pictured below: Charlie, a baby kitten in need of a home!

Zilker Park at Sunset. If you want a view of the Austin skyline and to hang out with a bunch of dogs, this is the place for you. I like to bring a book, some snacks, and a blanket and hang out.

All the local coffee shops. I’ve had great success meeting new people by hanging out at local coffee shops and introducing myself to the locals. It’s a nice way to meet new people, get work done, and find the perfect cup of coffee.

There are so many great places for food, art, culture, coffee, and outdoor activities in Austin, and honestly no one looks at you funny for being on your own. Austin is such a friendly town, and I’m sure a majority of cities are like this, where you can explore on your own and in the process meet new people.

Getting out there can be a little nerve-wracking but it’s so worth it. You get to spend time out in a new city, learn more about yourself, and meet new people along the way.

 

Moving, A Multipart Series: Interior Design and Decorating Basics

One of my favorite things about moving into a new space is finding the perfect pieces to decorate and fill it with. It an be a little intimidating, trying to make your apartment unique and lovely, but I have a couple tricks I use when decorating that really helps me, and hopefully helps you too.

Research.

Take some time to research designs that you love. This is the perfect excuse to insta-stalk your favorite bloggers. See what they put in their home, how they organize it, and what you like/don’t like about their aesthetic. Try to look at their homes as a starting off point to developing your own unique design aesthetic. I utilize Pinterest a lot when I’m trying to come up with design ideas. There are so many creative people out there, and when I see what others are doing it really helps me to get an idea of how I want to decorate. For example, some of my favorite interior design aesthetics follow a common trend, which is how I have been able to figure out what I like and want in my apartment.

A small POV.

Once you know what time of aesthetic you want to go for, think about your space in small terms. I like to think about my apartment in terms of corners. Each corner is unique and different, and looking at things from a small point of view can really help you organize and manage the stress of decorating. When decorating your space it’s nice to think in terms of a general theme/general criteria and then small spaces. For example, with my apartment my general theme was neutrals and naturals. I wanted my apartment to be very beige with nice plant accent pieces (I’ve included photos to give you an idea what I mean). On the smaller scale, looking at each individual corner, I tried to think about how best to make everything fit into each spot. What goes together? Which neutrals match best? What accent plants or decorations would fit the area best? Etc. Keeping things small is how I best compartmentalize decorating.

Get Creative.

If you’re living in a small space, like me, or you’re on a budget, there are great things you can do to fit everything in to your space and curate perfect pieces! I personally love to thrift my way to a great apartment. Local thrift stores can have some amazing pieces for cheap. I got most of my furniture from local garage sales, thrift stores, and antique stores, and while you might not find the “trendiest” pieces, you can make them cute and unique. Pinterest is a great resource here to look at for creative inspiration. Things like using an old wooden milk crate as an outdoor table, an old mug as a planter, etc. are all ways to keep your space adorable while maintaining a budget.

These are just a couple decorating tips I live by when working with a new space. I hope this has helped any beginners in your decorating endeavors. As you do more research and figure out what aesthetic interests you, decorating will come easier. 

Moving, A Multipart Series: How To Manage

This is the opener to a multipart series I’m starting. I'm going to focus on how to deal with moving, how to curate a new space, and tips for designing and organizing your home.

Purging. Packing. Loading. Unloading. Loading again. Unloading again. Purging again. Fitting things into your space. Dealing with any disappointments about your new home. Moving can be a huge stress. I’ve moved a couple of times before and it’s always the same drill; excitement and stress rolled into one. Given my experiences moving, I wanted to share how I deal with the stress of moving, and hopefully help any of you dealing with similar situations.

Here are some easy things I do to minimize my stress level.

Baking.

I love baking, and when I’m feeling particularly overwhelmed I can always make some homemade treats to get my mind off of things (Plus you can treat yourself by eating your particularly yummy sweet afterwards!).

One of my favorite recipes to make is homemade pumpkin bread.

In full disclosure, this isn’t my great grandma’s recipe, it hasn’t been passed down from generation to generation, and I didn’t even get it from a fancy cookbook…. I found it on allrecipes.com. I love allrecipes. It’s an easy way to find amazing recipes made by normal non-chef people. While it doesn’t have the feel of a vintage cookbook or an old family recipe, allrecipes is definitely a must for basic recipes (especially for starter cooks).

Here is my pumpkin bread recipe, originally made by Laurie Bennett, which I have fallen in love with, and tweaked (I’ve added some healthier options in parenthesis).

Ingredients.

1 (15 oz) can of pumpkin puree

4 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil (or 1 cup apple sauce)

2/3 cup water

3 cups white sugar

3 ½ cups all-purpose flour (or 3 ½ cups gluten-free all-purpose flour)

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teasoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

Instructions.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 7x3 inch loaf pans.

In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water, and sugar until well mixed. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.

Bake for about 50 minutes (about 60-65 minutes if you use gluten-free mix). Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

You can find the full recipe here with comments from other bakers!

 

I hope my baking tips helps you to manage your stress in a delicious way. Baking has been great for me, I’ve really enjoyed getting back into it, it’s a wonderfully fun thing to do that’s creative, delicious, and (relatively) easy. 

What are some of your favorite recipes? Favorite stress-relievers? I'd love to hear from all of you in the comments!