Parched by the Summer and Thirsty for Fall

With September coming to a close, I feel the last little bits of summer quietly slipping away, and while this would normally make me feel a tad melancholy, I feel nothing but sheer delight. I have pulled out my sweaters, scarves, and boots and am ready to deck the apartment with pumpkins and autumn décor. These rainy days have been exactly what I needed – while the ground and plants were getting parched from the summer heat, so was my imagination. The rain has served as a refreshing nourishment to my soul and imagination and I feel renewed and motivated for a new month and a new season.

My body is finally getting accustomed to going to bed and waking up earlier. And while finding myself tired around 10 p.m. can make me feel old sometimes, I honestly think it’s good for my body. I feel happier and more energetic. And I’m finding out the perfect recipe for a goodnights sleep. And the ingredients are 1) Reading a chapter of a good book in bed, 2) Watching a funny/cute video and having a good belly laugh, 3) Running my diffuser with a mix of tea tree oil, lemongrass oil, and lavender oil to help cleanse the air, 4) Drinking a glass of Apple Cider Vinegar water with Lemon, and 5) Praying with my husband before drifting off to sleep. Having a regular “bedtime” routine is a lovely thing.

Waking up earlier allows Brendan and I to start our day in the quiet, reading our own devotions and spending time in God’s word before getting on with the demands of the day. I was reflecting on the past few months the other day and realizing how much happier and at ease I feel since first moving in June. While it hasn’t been easy, especially since I’m still not working, Brendan and I have continued to grow closer together and learn more about each other since getting married and moving in together. Never could I have imagined how absolutely wonderful it is to marry your best friend and live with them. God has blessed me well beyond what I deserve. We both strive daily to wisely use the provisions that God has so graciously blessed us with. It’s a learning process, but I’m so thankful to be in this stage of life.

For me, it’s been so much fun learning how to grocery shop and meal prep for the both of us each week. And I also love cleaning and keeping our apartment tidy and cozy. I know that we don’t have kids and it’s just the two of us now, but I hope that having a positive attitude about these chores now will help ease the stress of them once we do have kids.

I’m so excited to be wrapping this month up with most of my personal goals met and a few healthy habits formed. I will sit down at some point today and make my list of October goals and healthy habits that I want to work towards over the next 31 days. I’ll make sure and share them on here once I get them all in order. 🙂 

While it doesn’t look like there will be any rain this weekend, it is raining today, which I think is the perfect type of weather for a cozy Friday afternoon. Brendan and I are going to see “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” this evening and I am both excited and nervous at the same time! I finished reading the first book in the series by Ransom Rigg the other week and it was such a wonderful book. I’m excited to see that Rigg and Tim Burton are working together, which is sure to make it a great film. However, as it always is with the movie adaptation of a book, I’ve already seen some stark changes they have made with the movie. But, I’m hoping I can look past that for tonight and just enjoy the movie.

And now it’s time to write out my very last lists for the 30 Days of Lists Challenge! This was such a fun exercise to do and it has been wonderful motivation for me to blog more often. I’m hoping to come up with some more fun writing prompts for the month of October. 🙂

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30 Days of Lists Challenge

Day 29: Things I’m looking forward to

  • A trip to IKEA
  • Halloween movies
  • Finding a big girl job
  • Fall festivals
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas (Too soon? Maybe, but I’m still looking forward to it :))

  

Day: 30 Highlights of this month

  • My birthday weekend
  • Day trips to my parents’ house
  • Getting to visit with my Maw
  • The arrival of autumn
  • Lots of rainy days
  • Getting into a regular routine

 

 

 

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Changing Seasons

These first few days of autumn have been so delightful. I’ve been taking advantage of the changing seasons to clean, organize, and de-clutter Brendan and my apartment. I’ve cleaned out my drawers and am so ready to swap my summer clothes for all of my comfy sweaters, scarves, and boots! I’m also itching for a visit to IKEA so that I can get some new plants, pieces that will help tie the look of the apartment together, and some more items that will help with de-cluttering our small space. 

While the temperature on Saturday ended up being 90 degrees, both Sunday and Monday were cooler with temperatures in the upper 60s and low 70s. Both days were shrouded in clouds and fog and made for the coziest of autumn afternoons. We even got some much needed rain on Monday! After Brendan got off work we went on a short drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway before dinner so that we could enjoy the mist and the rain.

These rainy days are literally some of my very favorites! I love to spend rainy days curled up with a good book or journaling with a big cup of tea or coffee by my side. I also love to go out in the rain, taking walks through the woods and daydreaming up all kinds of short stories. 🙂 There’s just something about a bleak, gloomy day that inspires and motivates me to get things done. 

Now on to some lists! It’s hard to believe that my 30 Days of Lists Challenge is almost done. September has gone by so fast. 

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30 Days of Lists Challenge 

Day 25: Words that I hate 

I love words! As a writer and a lover of classical literature, I enjoy learning new vocabulary words, especially words that have gotten lost over the years. But, as I was thinking about words that get on my nerves, I quickly realized that southern slang is just something that doesn’t sit well with me. Hey, just because I live in the south doesn’t mean I speak like a southerner!

  • Y’all – this one just gets under my skin!
  • Hanker
  • Whatchamacallit (if that’s even technically considered to be a real word)
  • Reckon

 

Day 26: Stuff I’m allergic to

I don’t know of a single thing that I’m allergic to.

 

Day 27: Obsessions 

  • Books, books, books
  • My husband 😉 ❤
  • Coffee
  • Animals, specifically Otters right now 🙂
  • Looking at healthy food pictures on Instagram

 

Day 28: Favorite Plants 

  • Succulents
  • Little cactus
  • Snake plant
  • Echinacea
  • Aloe vera
  • ALL OF THEM! 🙂

September Goals and Healthy Habits

Since July I have been taking time to sit down at the beginning of each month to think about what goals I want to reach and what healthy habits I want to form for myself by the time the month is wrapping up. I know that many people get excited to sit down and make a huge long list of new year’s resolutions (most of which end up getting abandoned after just a few weeks), but I think that many of us never think to make monthly, or even weekly, goals for ourselves.

In my opinion, it’s easier to sit down at the beginning of each month and think ‘Okay, what were some of my highs and lows this past month? And what can I do differently this month to make changes in my life?’. Not only does this relieve you of the pressure to write out ONE long list of goals, it gives you the opportunity to have a positive mindset and start fresh each month.

So, instead of having one opportunity a year to make resolutions this method lets you make 12 smaller lists of goals that you can work toward little by little each month. Sounds a lot less intimidating, right? We’re human, so we have to allow ourselves to be human and fail sometimes. There’s nothing wrong with failure, as long as we pick ourselves back up, learn something from the experience, and try again. This is where many people mess up-they cheat on their diets, or skip a couple of workouts at the gym and then say to themselves “Well, I’ve already failed on my goals to eat healthy and workout every day this year, I might as well abandon those goals now and wait for next year to roll around before I start again”.

STOP RIGHT THERE. We’re human, remember? We’re not perfect- we cheat on our diets and eat ice cream, sometimes we have days where we’d rather sit on the couch and binge watch Netflix instead of going to the gym. The key to achieving our goals and forming lifelong healthy habits is to realize when we have messed up, and know that tomorrow is a brand new day where we can start over. Just because you skipped a workout one day doesn’t mean you should stop going to the gym altogether. And to be honest, I really need to be taking my own advice because I’ve done this time and time again. Sometimes I’ll eat junk food and then feel guilty about it afterwards and think ‘well, I already made one poor food choice today, I guess it won’t hurt to make another’. This can send me into a downward spiral of moodiness. So I’ve learned that if I know I’m going out for dinner in the evening, I make sure to make healthy food choices during the day so I can balance things. Balance and a positive mindset is the key my friends.

I thought I’d share with you guys the list of goals and healthy habits I made for myself at the beginning of the month with an update on how well I’ve been sticking to those goals. Here’s my list for September:

  • Drink at least 53oz of water a day I think I’ve been pretty consistent with this, although I’m sure I’ve had my days where I don’t quite hit the mark.
  • Drink at least 1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar a day I think I’ve missed one day so far.
  • Go to the gym 3 times a week It’s been more like two times a week, but I make sure I workout (whether that’s at home or at the gym) at least three times a week.
  • Take supplements everyday going strong!
  • Write everyday (journal, blog, write letters, etc.)! while I definitely haven’t been journaling as much as I’d like, I think I’ve been doing pretty well with writing more consistently this month. 
  • Read five books While I have been reading plenty of books at one time, I’ve only finished one this month. 
  • Blog at least once a week I think I’m knocking this one out of the park!
  • Pray for others Between everything that’s going on in our country and friends that are going through a difficult time, I’ve been praying long and hard these days. 
  • Read my Bible consistently I’ve started to have my daily devotions and read my Bible at a consistent time everyday and it’s helped so much

While there are some areas I could be doing better in, I’m proud of how well I’ve been sticking to this list and I know that there is always room for improvement. 🙂 What are some of your goals for the month of October? I’ll make sure to share my list with you soon. 

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30 Days of Lists Challenge 

Day 23: Favorite patterns 

I feel like I’m not a typical girl who loves chevron everything! I tend to like more unique and funky prints, some of which I probably don’t even know the names of. But here are a few prints and patterns I could think of that I adore.

  • Stripes!
  • Tribal patterns
  • Any kind of botanical or fruit and veggie prints made into patterns
  • Moroccan
  • Polka dots
  • Quatrefoil
  • Ikat
  • Scales

Day 24: Foods that I dislike 

  • Any and every kind of meat (obviously)
  • Olives
  • Mushrooms
  • American cheese (Kraft singles is NOT real cheese people)
  • Boiled peanuts
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Corn bread
  • Grits

 

Autumn’s Return

In case you didn’t know already, today is the first day of autumn! I can honestly say that this is probably the most excited I have ever been for autumn’s return. I’ve been longing for the cool crisp air, fall festivals, warm soup and chili, pumpkin flavored sweets, rainy days, and comfy sweaters that the changing season is sure to bring. I love summer and the heat, but for some reason I’m just antsy for the autumn winds to blow.

Today was a beautiful day. When I left my apartment to do some shopping the sky was cloudy and there was just something in the slight breeze that seemed to whisper that autumn was here. However, later in the afternoon the sun came out and it was a very warm 80 degrees for the high. So, maybe not the ideal autumn weather yet, but I know it’s coming. 🙂

I had gone out with the intention to stop by Target, head over to the mall to do some shopping at American Eagle and Old Navy, grab a coffee from Starbucks and then head back home. But I ended up walking into Target…and then walking back out two hours later! And it was then I decided that the mall would have to wait for another day. I can’t be the only one who does this, right? Haha Seriously, Target just has too many cute things. I ended up buying a few little pumpkins from the dollar bin so I can start my own little collection of fall décor.

Tomorrow I hope to get a post written about how I’ve been doing with my September goals and healthy habits I set for myself at the beginning of the month. I’m happy to say that I’ve been doing a lot better than last month! But for now, I’ll leave you with today’s 30 Days of Lists Challenge.

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30 Days of Lists Challenge

 Day 22: People I want to meet

 I feel so lame, but I can’t really think of anyone that I would want to meet. I’m not one to get star-struck over celebrities haha. I guess it would be cool to meet some of my favorite authors though.

  • J.K. Rowling
  • Some of my Instagram friends

Cloudy Skies and a Happy Heart

Have you ever had one of those days where you have a lot of thoughts running through your mind and the only way to escape the noisy chaos is to go on a long drive? Well, I had one of those days yesterday. Luckily I had already made plans to visit my family for the day and I was very thankful for an excuse to flee my little apartment and just drive.

It was a gorgeous day for a long drive. The almost-autumn day boasted of warm air, cloudy skies, and changing foliage. I was almost bursting at the seams with delight for this weather that was just melancholy enough to satisfy my somber mood while the bits of blue sky let me know that God was smiling down on me. I had ginger tea by my side for the ride while Vanessa Carlton serenaded me for the whole journey to the sleepy little town of Shipman.

The real reason I was going to visit my family was so I could help my brother on an English essay he was working on for college. It felt good to be able to put my journalistic editing skills to good use by helping my brother improve is essay. And during the process I was thrilled to discover that I actually do know a decent amount about editing essays, so I guess going to college for 4 ½ years paid off haha.

Going back home to visit my parents always eases my stress and fills me with such peace. There’s just something about the wide open fields, the fresh country air, and the protective mountains surrounding the house on all sides that brings a sense of security and comfort to me. And the older I get, the more I grow to love that little old farm house. ❤ I especially love going back home in the fall when all of the leaves on the mountains begin to gleam different shades of bronze and red.

Another thing that lifts my spirits when going back home is being surrounded by animals! My parents currently have 8 kittens, all black and orange. Some are short furred and others have fluffy little coats. My favorite is Cheetah – he’s an orange lazy kitty who has big ears and the cutest little nose. I’m kind of thinking he might be ‘the one’ to kitty-cat-nap and bring back to Roanoke to be a part of Brendan and my little family. ❤

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I ended up having the best afternoon. I had a much needed venting session with my mom (don’t we all sometimes?), my dad brought home pizza for dinner, we all played around with Snapchat filters, I fixed a nice cup of coffee (which always seems to taste better when I make it at my parents’ house), and I got to love on all of the fuzzy buddies. And if that wasn’t enough to cast my worries away, my mom French braided my hair for me (I’m a 23 year-old married woman who still gets her mom to braid her hair), fixed me a jar of some homemade potato soup that she had made the other day, and my dad gave me a Starbucks gift card as the last part of my birthday present. 

So, by the time I left that evening to start my journey back home to Roanoke, the gloom that followed me from Roanoke had passed and I was left beaming with love and sunshine in my heart. With a thermos filled with piping hot coffee next to me and Adele singing to me in the background, I didn’t even mind the two-hour drive back home to the apartment. In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed the drive home and it went by quickly.

So I’m wondering, when you have one of those days when someone says something to upset you, when you’re angry, or just feeling a bit blue, what’s your go-to to make you feel better? A few things that always brighten my mood and help me feel better are: going on a long drive, getting a cup of coffee (surprise), going to the gym, venting to a friend (or my mom haha), cooking, journaling about my feelings, watching funny animal videos on YouTube, cuddling with my husband, praying, listening to Jazz (or a favorite artist), and reading a good book. These are just a few things that I find I run to when I’m feeling upset and overwhelmed.

Just remember, your happiness depends on your attitude and mindset. You can choose to let something or someone hurt or upset you and then spend the day sulking around, OR you can choose to pray about it, brush it off, and move forward and live happy and joyfully. My day may have started out crappy, but by the time twilight rolled around I was surrounded by family and laughter and I felt happy again. 

(Fun Fact: I spent the entirety of my morning writing this post, and then the laptop decided it would have a mind of its own and delete the whole thing. So, here I sit writing it out a second time, trying to remember all of the beautiful words that got deleted.)

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30 Days of Lists Challenge 

Day 20: Favorite words 

I read a lot of classic literature, so I tend to love the rich vocabulary and language used by the authors, whether they be American or British. However, I am drawing almost a complete blank on my favorite words, so I might have to come back  and had them here as they come to me haha.

  • Bleak
  • Loquacious
  • Melancholy
  • Blustery
  • Ominous
  • Tomfoolery
  • Vellichor
  • Eloquence
  • Somber

Wow, I need to find some sunshine-y words to add to this list! Guys, I promise I’m a happy, upbeat person haha. 

Day 21: Favorite Bible verses 

  • James 1:17
  • James 5:16
  • Luke 11:9-10
  • John 3:30
  • 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20
  • 1 Corinthians 10:13
  • 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7
  • 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10
  • Ephesians 4:32
  • Philippians 4:6-7
  • Philippians 4:8
  • Philippians 4:13

Birthday Wishes *23*

I’m sitting in my cozy little apartment living room as I write this, drinking a cup of hot coffee with Jazz playing in the background and rain trickling down my window. These kind of September days are my favorite! It’s been weeks since we’ve had a decent amount of rain, and I’v been craving those chilly, damp early autumn days. But I know that autumn and October are just around the corner and I couldn’t be more thrilled. 

So the other week was my 23rd birthday and I must say, it was one of the nicest birthdays I’ve had in a while. Like I mentioned in a previous blog post, the last several years I’ve always had classes to go to and homework to do on my birthday, and that tends to get in the way of actually celebrating and doing something fun. But this was my first birthday in the “grownup” world—no classes to attend AND I got to go on my first birthday weekend getaway. 🙂

My birthday fell on a Friday this year (September 9), so Brendan did have to go into work. But he woke up early so he could give me presents before heading into the office for the day. I’m usually not much of a morning person (I’m still trying to adjust to our new schedule), but for some reason I felt excited like a little kid and was wide awake. Brendan gave me a new diffuser and a set of six essential oils (probably my favorite gift), a yoga strap to help me with my yoga poses and stretches, Hollow City by Ransom Rigg (the second book in the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series) and a whole goodie basket filled with my favorite healthy snacks – Go Macro bars, Clif bars, Justin’s almond butter packs and super dark matcha green tea chocolate with spirulina! He definitely surprised me with the last one, and it was so thoughtful. 🙂 I asked Brendan to save a couple of gifts for me to open later that day, so that evening I opened The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and a beautiful Harry Potter book set which contained The Tales of Beedle the Bard and Quidditch Through the Ages. 

We decided that we would use some of our hotel points to stay a night in Richmond for my birthday. So while Brendan was at work, I spent the day straightening up around the apartment and packing. Brendan ended up getting off work early, so we were able to leave Roanoke sooner than we had originally planned. 🙂 We stopped in Lynchburg for dinner at La Carreta and then were on our way to Richmond. 

We arrived at our destination around 8 p.m.. We did some walking around and went to Starbucks after we checked into the hotel, but decided to save most of our exploring for the next day. So we went back to the hotel room, got some junk food from the lobby and watched “Princess Diaries 2 Royal Engagement” on TV until we got sleepy. It really was a nice, low key birthday. 

The next day we got up early, grabbed some breakfast at Starbucks and headed out to explore the city. I had only been in downtown Richmond once before when Brendan and I went to the Edgar Allan Poe museum back in February, but it had been so cold then that we didn’t get a chance to really explore. It was around 92 degrees this time, so we got a little warm after walking around for a while. We walked the grounds of the State Capitol and then drove to Carytown. 

Carytown in Richmond is the most charming little urban shopping district I’ve been to! The streets are lined with unique shops, restaurants and offices. For the most part we just did window shopping, but we did go into a record shop, a book store and a cute shop called Urban Interiors that was all decked out for fall and Halloween. Before heading out, we went to Carytown Cupcakes. I’m definitely not a cake person, but when I saw they had vegan options, I thought it would be nice to get a birthday cupcake. So Brendan and I shared a vegan vanilla bean cupcake and it was delicious. 

After leaving Carytown we headed to the Shortpump area to do some shopping. We went to Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and World Market first. Whenever we’re in Richmond we stop at these places because we don’t have any of them in Roanoke. 😦 We also went to a couple of Goodwills to look for some used books. 

We had planned on going to a restaurant called Strange Matter for dinner, but they were closed for some reason. I was really looking forward to trying some of their vegan options, but it will have to wait for another time. We opted for going to Whole Foods for dinner instead, which I didn’t complain about. 🙂 

On our way back home from Richmond, we stopped by my parent’s house to visit for a couple hours. I got some really neat gifts from my parents—an antique coffee jar, vintage copies of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights (my favorite books), a yoga block, some Halloween stamps, headbands and Mary Poppins Comes Back by P.L. Travers were some of the fabulous things they gave me. 🙂 I am so thankful that I was able to see my family for my birthday. ❤ 

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Fast Forward to this past Thursday (September 15) when I got to celebrate my birthday more with a little party with friends and family at my grandma’s house. My sister baked a homemade spice cake and everybody brought other desserts and snacks and we just hung out and I got to open more presents. It’s been so long since I’ve just been able to sit down with my Maw, mom, aunt and my second momma and just spend the afternoon talking and catching up with each other. For those of you that don’t know, I’m a pretty quiet and introverted person and only have a few close friends, but these ladies are definitely some of my best friends. And yes, you CAN be friends with your family members. 

To be honest, it was so nice to be back in Lynchburg. After living in Lynchburg for 4 1/2 years—going to college, working and living with my Maw for a year—I’ve grown pretty attached to the city. I never thought I would and I told myself I wouldn’t miss living there, but it turns out that I do! 

As soon as I walked through the door and Maw came over to give me a hug (I hadn’t seen her since July!) she said “You found your way back home! I’ve missed you being here” ❤ And I told her when I drove through her neighborhood and walked through her door, it felt like coming home. I’ve always loved my Maw’s house—it’s located in a nice neighborhood, it’s got the prettiest little yard, and it holds so many memories. So I was so excited when I got the opportunity to live there with Maw for a year. I can’t imagine that house not staying in our family. ❤ 

Now that I think about it, I’m blessed to have so many places that feel like home—Brendan and my apartment, my parent’s house, Liberty University, and my Maw’s house. ❤ All of these hold a special place in my heart and have played a significant role in my life.

I got some awesome gifts from everyone at the party, some of which include a handmade Starbucks clock, lovely little autumn themed tea towels and a really cool skull mug to put my smoothies in! So I just want to say “Thank You” to everyone who helped make this birthday so special. 🙂 I know 23 is going to be a magical year!  

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If you made it this far through my post, props to you haha! Now it’s time for today’s list. 

30 Days of Lists Challenge 

Day 19: Guilty Pleasures 

  • Starbucks
  • Chips and salsa
  • Binge watching shows like The Office, Parks and Recreation, Cops, My 600-Lb. Life, Hoarders: Buried Alive, Smallville and most recently The Secret Life of the American Teenager

Is It Sunday Already?

Hello lovelies! Wow, I’ve been slacking on my daily blogging recently and I need to change that. Today I’m just catching up on my 30 Days of Lists Challenge but I plan on getting a blog post up tomorrow about my birthday celebrations and other things that have been going on in my life.

For now, here’s some lists for you!

30 Days of Lists Challenge 

Day 15: Events I want to time travel to

  • The Titanic’s maiden voyage
  • The movie premiere of “Roman Holiday” starring the lovely Audrey Hepburn

Day 16: Halloween Costume Ideas

These aren’t necessarily costume ideas I’ve come up with myself, but these are costumes I would like to wear for Halloween. 🙂 

  • Vegan fairy princess/Mother nature
  • Bellatrix Lestrange from the Harry Potter movies
  • Mrs. Lovett from “Sweeny Todd” (can you tell I like Helena Bonham Carter?)

Day 17: Other lives I’d want to live if I had nine lives

This is a hard one because I could think of some people I admire that at first I would say I’d want to live their lives, but these people didn’t necessarily have good lives (Audrey Hepburn, Jane Austen, etc.). To be honest, I can’t think of other lives I’d want to live, I’m happy being me and improving myself everyday.

Day 18: Favorite scents 

  • Fresh fallen rain
  • Dry leaves
  • A pot of soup or chili cooking on the stove
  • Coffee
  • My husband’s cologne
  • Baby kittens (yes, they have a smell)
  • My parents box of Christmas decorations (it smells like Christmas magic)
  • Honeysuckle
  • Books!
  • Garden soil