The beginning of November was a whirlwind for me. After accepting an awesome job offer, I jetted back to the East Coast for the first time in three months to spend some time with my family before the hustle and bustle of the real world began. Ten days at home was just what I needed – I was able to enjoy an early Thanksgiving feast with my family, have a sleepover with my nieces, go out in DC with my best friends from college, and get some quality rest. Perhaps my favorite part of being home (other than driving my beloved yellow submarine) was basking in the glory of the East Coast autumn. On my first full afternoon home, I took a long walk down the road I grew up on, which I used to run all the time when I lived there. Back then, I needed my iPod blaring in order to be motivated enough to run the full three mile loop, but this time I left my headphones at home. After living in a city for a while, something about the quiet stillness of country life is inexplicably appealing and I didn’t want anything to get in the way of me enjoying it.
As a kid, I loved Halloween. I have fond memories of getting dressed up, eating pizza and popcorn balls at my babysitter’s house, and then going door- to-door in her neighborhood because the farm I grew up on wasn’t conducive to trick-or-treating. I remember being so excited when the first children of the night would run up to her door, costumed and elated, and we would get to hand out candy to them before we left to do our own scavenging. Somewhere along the way though, Halloween lost its luster and I’m (sort of) ashamed to say that these days, the only thing I like about Halloween is the candy. Horror films freak me out, carving pumpkins is too messy, and I just don’t particularly like dressing up in costumes. Yes, candy is the only thing about Halloween that I truly enjoy anymore. But don’t fret, I won’t ruin the holiday for those of you who love it with a rant about my anti-Halloween tendencies. Instead, I’ll share these beautiful Halloween-esque photos with you and wish you a safe and happy all Hallow’s Eve!
The weather in San Francisco is sort of always the same. Days are always cool and brisk, the sun always shines at some point, and more often than not, the fog rolls in by mid-evening, blanketing the streets in mist. So when my sister asked the other afternoon on the phone if it was turning to fall here, I couldn’t really say yes or no for sure. It’s kind of always fall here except for the foliage – some leaves change but for the most part, flowers are still blooming and trees are still green. But yesterday morning, I made a point of taking a really long stroll around the city to see what true signs of fall I could find. And I’m happy to report that I found stoops decorated with pumpkins, mums planted in flower pots, and fake spiderwebs lining the bushes – just like back East.
I was at my friend’s apartment in Lower Haight the other night getting ready for a Halloween party when I spotted it: an adorable mid-sized black floppy hat that was just perfect. I’m pretty sure I gasped and claimed that I wanted to steal it. But because I already had my flapper headpiece on for my costume (complete with a feather) I did no such thing. I’m such a fan of hats right now though, especially ones of the floppy variety. I prefer the “mid-sized” floppy hats – that are floppy but not TOO floppy. I think this is the most I’ve ever said that word in my life. Anyway, I am pretty sure it’s the most amazing and versatile cold weather accessory there is and I need to invest in one ASAP!
There is just something so elegant about the simplicity of apartments in Paris. From my travels there, I remember being so enamored by the architecture of the buildings, and so pleasantly surprised when I stepped inside apartments that were simple and quirky. When we visited the apartment of my professor’s old professor (from when she studied there in the 60s) I fell in love with the floor-to-ceiling book shelves and the wide windows overlooking the tops of the buildings. But the furnishings were simple – well-made chairs and couches that looked as if they had lasted (and would last) a lifetime. It’s an unfussy way of decorating, there are no frills and everything has it’s own purpose. Julie Arrue’s apartment in Paris is no different and I find it absolutely charming.
One of the best decisions I’ve made recently was joining the San Francisco Public Library. I’ve always loved books and consider myself an avid reader but lately I’m also a girl on a budget (yikes!) and books are expensive. But on the same page, something freaked me out about belonging to a library in the city (hello germs! and flu season!) and I was reluctant to go in and sign up for a card. But to my pleasant surprise, its actually been an amazing resource for someone like me. I’ve come to love visiting the different branches (there are three within walking distance to me) and I find the selection of books to be better than the local library back home. This past Saturday, I took a beautiful walk down to the branch on Chestnut Street and had to stop myself from checking out ten different books. Here are the ones I did pick up:
Wild by Cheryl Strayed: I’ve seen this book cover seemingly everywhere for the past year, but never picked it up to read until just now – and boy am I glad I did. It’s the memoir of twenty-something Cheryl who after experiencing the death of her mother and a messy divorce shorty thereafter, decides to go on a soul-searching, 1,100 mile solo-hike along the Pacific Crest Trail, from the Mojave Desert in California and Oregon to Washington State. Cheryl’s story is plagued by demons from her past (hard to read at some points – the beginning of the book is pretty dark) but reassures us with the fact that with a little self-exploration and reflection, we can all forge better trails for ourselves in the future. The book is filled with vivid details of the great, rugged American West, as well as entertaining anecdotes about the people Cheryl meets along the way. I also just discovered via this article, that the book is being made into a movie with Reese Witherspoon playing the leading lady!
A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler: Ah, Zelda! That jazz-loving, hard-partying, semi-psychotic wife of famous writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, is a true legend. Her life in the 1920s jazz era rivals the Paris Hilton’s and Lindsay Lohan’s of today, making her one of the very first American socialites to captivate the public. I’ve been dying to get my hands on more info about her ever since I decided that I’d follow the advice of this Thought Catalog entry and live my summer exactly as Zelda would have. Well, I definitely deviated (sadly) from that plan, but my interest in her never waned. At first, I was disappointed when I realized that this book was a novel (ie: fiction) but the story of her life and her love with F. Scott, as well as their time in Paris among the literary elite of the 1920s, is still intriguing and interesting no matter how embellished.
The Letters of Ernest Hemingway (1907-1922) by Sandra Spanier & Robert W. Trogdon: My last semester of college, I took an English course dedicated solely to the works of Ernest Hemingway and truthfully, it was my favorite class of my undergraduate career. His works opened my eyes to an amazing era and style of writing that I’m not sure can ever fully be replicated by anyone in the modern day. I became fascinated (as does almost everyone who reads Hemingway) with his life, and the time period in which he lived. So when I found this volume of letters, which my professor had recommended, it was a no brainer for me to check out. I’m intrigued by letter writing in general (I’m probably one of the only people alive that still sends snail mail), and to read the personal letters of a man I truly admire through his important formative years is truly amazing. One of my favorite lines so far: Hemingway writes, in a letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Or dont you like to write letters. I do because it’s such a swell way to keep from working and yet you feel you’ve done something”. My sentiments exactly.
An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin: When I first picked up this book, I had no idea it was written by the Steve Martin. As in the actor. As in the hottest banjo-playing, silver fox that ever existed. And once I did figure it out, I almost placed it directly back on the shelf. What does he know about writing anyway? He’s just an actor and comedian, right? Wrong. Steve Martin can write, and captivatingly so. His story of Lacey Yaeger, a young and charming fixture in the New York City art world is told through the eyes of a man who simply can’t get her out of his head. From her rise to the top of elite circles to the dark ways in which an industry based on beauty can effect those within it, this story acts as insight into a exclusive world that few ever break in to.
On black Friday, instead of heading to the mall like normal people, I went to Virginia with my parents to a large flea market called ‘The Barn’. As the name suggests, this flea market takes place every weekend inside of an old barn where different vendors have stalls and sell their various finds. To my mom, who owns an antique shop, this place is like heaven. To me, it’s kind of cold and kind of dusty but every once and a while there is a treasure. It’s also a good excuse for me to hang out with my parents, go on a drive, and get some lunch. And let’s face it, I really do enjoy spending time with them!
On this particular visit to the Barn (there have been many) I learned form my parents that the birthplace of George Washington, the father of our country, was right down the road. I’ve always been interested in history (it runs in the family) and was really excited when they said we could go down the road a bit so I could see it. My parents had been before but hadn’t gone to the visit center or taken the walk back to see the actual site – so we did just that!
The original house is no longer standing and in reality, George Washington only lived there until he was three anyway. But the foundation for the original home is still on the site as well as a newly built replica of what the house would have looked like when he was born. The plantation also includes out buildings and a very well kept garden. Overall it was a great little side-trip!
I live in an apartment on the top floor. Even though my building has an elevator, getting a normal sized Christmas tree (I prefer the living kind) up here would require more effort than I’m willing to put in. But alas, all is not lost. There is a great alternative: the tiny tree. A pint-sized baby fur, cedar, or evergreen is the answer to my ‘I-want-to-decorate-my-apartment-for-Christmas-with-a-real-tree’ prayers. Portable, easy to decorate, and oh so cute, a tiny tree is a great option for those of us living in small spaces or who don’t want to invest the time or money into a full size tree. Here are some easy and adorable ways to use them as part of your winter decor:
How are you guys decorating for the holidays? Anyone using a tiny tree? xoxoxo
So ever since I’ve had this blog I’ve been doing a weekly feature on Wednesday’s that gives you a little glimpse into my life and what’s been going on lately. My hiatus from blogging last week interrupted that pattern and today I’m too excited to show you my latest crafting project to do another ‘my world wednesday’ post. Oh well!
I’ve been seeing pom poms all over the internet forever now! Martha Stewart Living even did a whole feature on using pom poms in decor last month. I had seen something on Pinterest about how to make pom poms with a fork and after many attempts, had given up on my pom pom dreams. It’s harder than it looks people!
So along came the Saturday after Thanksgiving when my Dad dropped me off at Michael’s while he ran over to the local Lowe’s. I wanted to buy yarn for a new scarf I’m making and while I was perusing the needles I saw this little gadget called a pom pom maker. At first, I was skeptical because I’d struggled so much with the whole fork ordeal. But I ended up buying the maker and have been so pleased ever since! I recently made this garland to give my apartment some holiday cheer and knew I had to share with you guys!
DIY Pom Pom Garland:
Start with these materials; a ball of yarn (I used a cranberry color because I was making a Christmas garland but you could use any color), scissors (make sure they’re pretty sharp so they cut the yarn well), hemp twine, and a pom pom maker (which I got at Michael’s)
Start by wrapping the yarn around the prongs of the pom pom maker. There are two sets of prongs and you’ll want to wrap the yarn completely over one set…
Before moving on to the next. Wrap the yarn completely around both sets so that you have a full circle
Cut the yarn so it’s no longer attached to the rest of the ball of yarn
Take your scissors and cut down the middle of each side of the maker. This is when it’s super important to have sharp scissors. I tried cutting with at least three pairs before I found a pair that were sharp enough to cut the yarn yet small enough to maneuver the pom pom maker
Take a piece of yarn or string and tie the pom pom together. Make sure you double knot it!
Open both pairs of prongs to release your pom pom
Pop open one side of the pom pom maker and pull the pom pom out
Trim the sides to make sure they’re even and then roll back in forth in your hands to fluff the pom pom. Then viola, you’re done! Repeat those steps until you have enough to make a garland.
To make the garland I used a plastic needle that came with a knitting kit I have. It has a big hole for the twine to go through so it makes it easy to use for garlands. Take a long piece of hemp twine and feed it through the needle
Thread the twine through the center of the pom pom and gently move it down to the end of the twine. Repeat with desired number of pom poms
Then you’re done! The finished product is so cute, easy, and versatile!
One of the many garlands I plan on making now hangs behind my couch! xoxox
Homemade goodies as gifts have always been a winner around the holidays. Nothing says “I love you” or “Thank you” like a delicious, made-from-scratch, treat that can be enjoyed by a whole household. This Christmas, my mom really wants to make homemade caramels to eat, enjoy, and share with our loved ones. I absolutely love the idea and hope to be able to help her! I’ve also been eying these candy recipes to give a go:
Sweet Cherry Truffles
Candy Cane Bark
Dark Chocolate Candy Bark
Don’t all of these options inspire you to get baking and making yummy candy for the holiday season? Okay, okay I know not all of us are great in the kitchen (myself included) but regardless, this at least makes me want to eat some candy! Have a sweet day xoxox