First day of Fall!

IMG_20170921_184129

 

Happy fall, y’all! It is officially the first day of autumn, although here in Michigan it still feels like summer! I am so ready for these hot days to go away, and for the cooler, crisper weather to start. I want to wear snuggly sweaters, hoodies, scarves, jeans, boots; I want to drink cider around a bonfire in the slightly chilly evenings. I want my pumpkin spice latte to not seem out of season! It looks like I am going to have to wait though, as the next week is supposed to be in the 80s still.

This is my most favorite, most wonderful time of the year! I may not have the weather (yet!) but Halloween is coming, and that means spooky movies, chilling reads, and fun activities! My calendar is literally filling up! We have family trips to the apple orchard, which I learned last year is a regional thing; various Halloween costume activities at the zoo, at our local metropark, and at Haunted Nights at Greenfield Village. I have Wyatt’s costume bought and ready to go, and I feel ahead of that game. We made his Viking costume last year, complete with a Viking ship made from a wagon, which was pretty amazing. This year I went a little easier, and bought his costume from the Land of Nod. It is adorable – I will share it with you when we get closer!

My plans are not just where we can go – but what we can do. Simpler things. Things like a nature walk through the woods, crunching leaves underfoot, collecting chestnuts and acorns. I want to bake bread, and go to a football game, make a few (easy) fall craft crafts. Make soup. I can’t wait to make soup. I know I can make soup at anytime, but it’s not that fun to eat when it is 90 outside. At least to me, someone who lives in the Midwest. Soup with crunch bread sounds amazing. With goat cheese to spread on the bread – yum!

 

I’ve got so much goodness planned – I can’t wait! What about all of you? Any traditions? Anything you look forward to in the fall? What is your favorite holiday?

Happy Mail

I love getting mail. I practically race to the mailbox when I see our mailman deposit things into it. Usually, it is a pretty huge letdown. Surprise, surprise! Bills, circulars, flyers, credit card offers – not anything to get excited about or look forward to. So this year I decided to treat myself to something I so creatively call Happy Mail. I give myself a budget of ten dollars a month, and every month, I choose something different to be mailed to me, something fun, something I wouldn’t normally buy for myself. A treat, if you will. It is cheating to just go on Amazon and buy something. I need to find a subscription box, or magazine even. I have had a blast with it and have gotten some good stuff, and not so good stuff.

I started the year with Ipsy, for $10 a month, free cancellation at any time. Their bright pink mailers, cute little bags filled to the brim with different beauty products – definitely not stuff I would ever go to the store and buy, honestly. It’s all part of the fun, like a present to myself. Ipsy gives you the option to peek at your bag before you get it, but I never did. I wanted it to be a surprise. And sometimes I liked the stuff, other times I didn’t. I kept the stuff I liked, and gave away the stuff I didn’t. I wish I had taken photos of my bags that I received, but I didn’t think of it! Which is totally out of character for me, I take pictures of everything, everywhere.

I did Ipsy for about three months, then decided it was time to switch it up! I decided to try Birchbox, which is like Ipsy but instead of a bag it comes in a box. I paid $10.00 a month for this one too, and I could cancel at anytime, per my own rules. It is described as:

Birchbox is a monthly beauty subscription of five samples tailored to your skin, hair and style. Each month, your personalized beauty box subscription will include five product samples. You’ll get to try all types of products (from haircare to skincare to makeup), and we’ll include information on why they’re great and how to use them.

And they are absolutely right on. You answer questions as to your preferences and personal style, hair, skin, etc, and they try to tailor your box around your answers. You also have the option to peek at what is coming!

I did take pictures of my Birchbox.

 

 

I actually liked getting the stuff in a box more than a bag. I guess I have more use for small boxes! I used this one to store pens in, in my desk drawer. It looks so cute in there! As for the products themselves, I kept every one of these and used them all. I really liked the Arrow Boost color enhancing lip balm, and the Beauty Protector, to protect and detangle, leave in conditioner. I have crazy wild feral hair, and it did a nice job of keeping it soft and less frizzball.  Despite loving the Birchbox, I only did it one more month, as I wanted to totally different mail – I was done with makeup for now. I actually rarely wear makeup so it was fun but after awhile, I was ready for a switch.

Next up, I tried a book subscription box, called Bookishly.  I had such high hopes! Coffee, a book, both full of goodness. This is the description:

A surprise vintage paperback and delicious ground coffee through the post each month. You’ll receive a different 75g bag (4-5 cups) of freshly roasted medium ground coffee each month, along with a vintage book from our library. There’s no stationery in this version of the subscription.

And from the UK! How fun!

However, I was a bit disappointed.

 

I think I paid around $15.00 for this subscription, when all was said and done. The coffee was actually tasty, but not enough to keep me more than my one month. The book was just pointless, I guess. The one in the ad is of Howards End – I guess I expected something more like that, than something so pulp and that actually seemed physically dirty. It just wasn’t the subscription for me.

Moving on, I took a break from subscription boxes and instead, subscribed to HGTV magazine. I just got my first issue and love it! Now though, I need to start searching around for my next bit of Happy Mail!

Anyone have a subscription box? Which ones do you like? It doesn’t need to be within my price point, I am just curious what ones other people like – or don’t!

The State of Me

trees

After a fabulous meal and some laughs with friends last night, we got in the car and I just started bawling.  Hands over my face, crying. Traffic was terrible leaving the city, with a Kid Rock concert and a Tigers game, I had stumbled on gravel in an alleyway so my knee was killing me, and I was anxious to get home. None of this warranted tears, and wouldn’t have under other frames of mind. I think despite having a fantastic time out, or maybe because, I just fell apart. Perhaps I finally relaxed enough to let emotion out that I had been keeping hard at bay.

Life can be stressful, for all of us, everyday. Our responsibilities weigh on us, our families depend on us. The house needs to be cleaned, you don’t clean it well enough. Countless trips to the store and the doctors. Phone calls. Loved ones battling serious illnesses. The country ideologically at war with each other, everyone so ready to fight with someone else. Sometimes it is hard to make the time for our mental health and physical health, and I haven’t been doing a good job of either lately. My resolution this year was to do just that, and last night was a warning why.

I need to find some balance – I need to become unbusy. I have been slowly working my way through our home, discarding things that are no longer needed, wanted, or useful, taking a minimalistic approach to things. We are buying new things carefully and thoughtfully. I think I need to clean out my schedule too, and slow things down. We are always on the run, squeezing things in, people in. I don’t want to squeeze people in. I want to be able to luxuriate in their presence! I want to spend quality time with my family and friends and have real conversations, not just hear a list of what they have been doing. I want to hear how they are, really. What they have been thinking, rather than doing. I want to taste my food instead of eating quickly so I can move on. I want to enjoy that cup of coffee, that glass of wine. I want moments to count, and just be counted off.

So what do I do from here? I guess I start letting stuff go, saying no. Working smarter not harder. To me, fall is renewal, of the cycle of life, the balance our world needs. I am going to take my cue from it, and find my own balance and renewal.