WHAT I LOVE: SEPTEMBER EDITION
"I'm so glad to live in a world with Octobers."
Oh me too! Happy October to you! Hooray for tricks and treats, spooky-spooks, and the witching hour! This month has so much in store!
September, like all other months, flew by! Just this month I hope the days will drag so that I may delight in all of it's offerings. For the leaves to put on their grand finale--the spectacle of brilliant oranges, fiery reds, and great golds they burst into, the noise they make as they dance impatiently across the ground; for the crisp autumn air to chill my lungs; for glitter and disguises (or glittery disguises), and all things sweet!
That's not to say that September wasn't lovely-- it was. On a deeply personal level, I took time to be even more intentional with my hours. I slowed down; for my family, my marriage, myself. I realized (again) what great joy I find in creating a meal for my three boys, eating with them. Sitting down around the dinner table with music lightly playing, chatting about anything and everything, and being present is a constant favorite thing, but became especially poignant this month. I put myself to bed at a reasonable time, and reveled in how good it felt to have my husband's body next to mine, warming me and bringing me comfort. These are things that I never want to take for granted, and somehow, in all the to-dos of being a small business owner, a Mama, a human being, I do. September reminded me to consider my blessings, my season of life, no matter what.
This edition of What I Love features five things that made my September what it was. From a drink I enjoyed sipping on my porch, watching the afternoon sun sink low into the sky, to books I've been reading, I hope you'll find something you can love too!
I've already confessed that one of my Happy Places is the kitchen, preparing an elegant meal for my family to gather around and enjoy. It brings me satisfaction unparalleled to anything else. It's my therapy. I've recently discovered that I get the same "therapy" from concocting craft cocktails.
When I was much younger and would look through my mother's Martha Stewart's Living issues, I couldn't understand why there were just so many drink recipes. Now I know: they're for people like me. Since I am usually making one or two, I take my time with the ingredients; muddling, shaking, stirring, creating. I enjoy scouring vintage cookbooks, magazines, and even Pinterest for all sorts of fun, and most often, seasonal drinks, which is how I found this recipe. Fall drinks I have to try? OK, Wedding Chicks.
A margarita on the rocks, with quality tequila and a salted rim is one of my absolute favorite drinks. It's a classic. When I discovered this Apple Cider Margarita, I knew I had to try it.
September in Virginia isn't really that conducive to All Things Fall (boots, cozy sweaters, mugs of steamy goodness), so combining all those flavors which bring that autumnal warmth and nostalgia (apple, cinnamon, nutmeg) in a typical hot-weather drink is genius! I've so loved sitting on my porch sipping on this concoction, taking in the beautiful weather. (Well, before the coast decided to dump it's wrath on us). It's fabulous for any fall get-togethers you may be planning, and is a great alternative if you don't go crazy for pumpkin beers.
My slightly tweaked recipe is as follows:
- 1 oz Grand Marnier
- 1 oz gold tequila (look for one made with 100% blue agave)
- 4 oz Trader Joe's Spiced Apple Cider
- Orange segments & apple slices
- Cinnamon & course sugar
- Cinnamon sticks (for garnishing)
On a plate, combine sugar and cinnamon. Run an orange segment along the rim, and flip your glass (rim down) into the mixture, and press to coat. Add an ice ball to your glass, and then add the orange segments and apple slices. Next, combine Grand Marnier, tequila, and Spice Apple Cider in glass, stirring to mix. Sip & enjoy!
Like most people, I use my phone to take a lot of pictures. I even print them out! Like days of old, my prints have stayed in their folders, in a box, labeled "Photographs". In the past, I've managed to put our images into leather heirloom albums, but mostly, they are archived. Earlier this year, I decided that I was not going to allow one more year go by without doing something more with my images. Enter: Artifact Uprising.
I use the Artifact Uprising app to upload my Instagram photos and create small volumes of my iPhone images. I've made multiple books with varying themes; our travels together, all of our snaps from the past few summers, etc., from hashtags I've created to keep them organized. (All of our camping pictures are found under #campbaconfoot, for example).
What I love so much about these books is that they take almost no time to create, upload, and receive, and they are absolutely gorgeous. The quality, the prints, the paper, not to mention the options to design different covers, add titles, and other personal details, make Artifact Uprising a clear winner for me. What's more is that they are extremely affordable. (They begin around $18).
These little volumes of books have been a huge hit with the boys, who absolutely love going through the pages and laughing at themselves, or saying, I remember that! That day was so much fun! It's a tangible way to connect our family, and to bring joy to others, which is why I think they'd make wonderful gifts as well. (How about throwing a book together from all the images you've snapped of the wedding planning process, like the time you, your mother, mother-in-law, and husband went to the bakery for a cake tasting? Or making a volume of all the images of you and your fiancé since he proposed?!)
As soon as I received these, I knew I had to include them in my list of What I Love for September. What I didn't forecast was just how much I would use them! Almost immediately upon opening these boots, they were put to use. For weeks, our part of the world has endured gray, dreary weather complete with buckets of rain. And guess who has been out in it all, shooting?
Rain boots, in my opinion, are an essential part of any wardrobe. (If you don't feel the same way, you may change your tune once you become a parent, or a wedding photographer). Within the last few years, there has been an EXPLOSION of rain gear available, including boots in just about any color way, pattern, and style you can imagine, and for every budget. Last winter I came across the Hunter Chelsea Boot and knew that by the time fall came around, I would have them.
Traditional Hunter wellies don't really fit my legs. The calf part is ill-fitting, and the foot part is usually too big. (When I was sized at Nordstrom, I was told to buy a size 6, or a 5 1/2! I am usually a 7). When I discovered that the Chelsea boots fit just right, I was one happy girl. The Chelsea seems to be more my speed. I love classic styling with an edge, and these fit that bill!
I should mention that these boots are wonderful quality, and are supremely comfortable. Like most shoes, they need to be broken in, so I wouldn't suggest wearing them for the first time during a 10 hour wedding day. Now that mine are broken in perfectly, they are a rainy day essential. (Or for a day after the rain!)
As I mentioned in my last What I Love, my skin has changed a whole lot in the last year. Where I have never had to worry about dry skin previously, it's now primary skincare concern at this season of my life. What I love about Milk is that it is so deeply moisturizing, but my face isn't left feeling heavy or greasy, as when it does when I use oils and many serums. The formula comprises of microscopic droplets of oil surrounded by purified water, which comes about from some sort of cosmetic Big Bang process. (Watch the video if you're interested in the science).
Due to my ragweed allergies which soar around this time of year, producing perpetually itchy eyes and a runny nose, I am blessed with sensitive, red, flaky skin. (It's quite lovely, really! ;) When I bought this at the apex of allergy-related misery, I was immediately soothed by it. It felt good--calming--to those areas, and healed them quickly. I so wish I had known about this product when I flew into Denver last December--it would have been perfect for my skin after multiple flights and 20-degree weather!
Let's be real. Bachelorette parties--from a midmorning brunch to all-out weekend-long island getaways--usually involve drinking, which dries out your skin. Wedding planning can be stressful (although it totally shouldn't be), and life gets busy. Sometimes skincare suffers. Your skin can absolutely tell how you're really feeling, and this product may be able to add that little boost to your routine as it has for me! A tiny bit of this product goes a long way. It's a bit of splurge, but if you're especially susceptible to the drying effects of the colder temperatures, I definitely suggest investing in it, even if it's just for the winter months.
If you haven't noticed a theme to this month's What I Love, let me spell it out: I have slowed down, focused on taking care of myself, set aside time to do things just for me, and treated myself a bit too. (Things I don't often do). I suggest everyone doing these things, even if you aren't a small business owning mama.
As an avid reader who normally reads an average of 20-30 books a year, I've become distressed the last two years that I have had less time to read for fun, and that they books I have been reading have taken on a business-y theme. This summer I changed that. Earlier this year I read The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, and absolutely loved it! For some reason, this spawned a whole cache of mystery/voyeuristic fiction to pop into my What to Read recommendations from Goodreads. I've never been a big fan of mysteries in particular, but after The Girl on the Train, there has definitely been an upswing in that genre for me.
Another favorite of mine has been You by Caroline Kepnes. It's deliciously creepy-- I couldn't put it down. I just started Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin, which seems fitting now that it's October, and spooky stories are a part of the fun. (I'd love to know any mystery books you've read and loved!)
With all that October has in store, there is sure to be so many things to be grateful for and enjoy. I'm so excited to see what's in store that isn't planned for this month; what surprises are lurking around each and every corner! I hope your October is full of things you love.