Saturday, September 19

Hi folks! How are we all doing? I’ve had a pretty solid week, albeit busy with work, and now I’m relieved to have reached the weekend for some peace and quiet. I’ve been trying to hold myself to going to bed early and getting up at a reasonable time, even on weekends, so I’m happy to report I was up and walking around before 9am today. I’d ideally like to be up at 8am every day, but if I don’t have much to do, then what am I even getting up that early for?

Normally I go to the Starbucks down the street from my apartment for coffee, but this morning, I decided to take the journey outbound on the train to visit Nathaniel at his Starbucks. It was a pretty long train ride, and then I had to walk quite a bit, but it was worth it to see his smiling face and get a coffee from him. 

Now I’m back at my place and I’m currently eating lunch- a bowl of macaroni and goat cheese (surprisingly delicious) and some steamed broccoli. Nathaniel might come over for a sleepover tonight, depending on what time he finishes up his homework, which would be lovely (even though I saw him literally yesterday and this morning.) 

Sorry for only talking about my boyfriend this week; anyway, here’s a picture of me in my new favorite overalls.

My goals for the rest of the day are to get some laundry done, cook dinner (I’m thinking spaghetti and meatballs,) and schedule a blog post for Tuesday. It’s funny how much my personality and my goals/values have shifted since graduating and moving out of my house, in a way that I have a difficult time describing. Even though my life is objectively harder now, I still feel like this is the most simple and happy life I have ever felt. COVID obviously makes things a bit confusing, but in general, I feel like I have a lot of clarity and confidence in my life right now. I’m looking forward to this upcoming fall and all the subtle changes that it brings: colder weather, pumpkin lattes, and the hintings of Christmastime ahead. 

Sunday, September 20

It’s Sunday afternoon now, which means tomorrow I have to resume getting up obscenely early for work (honestly, I don’t mind that much anymore now that I’m used to it.) And besides, I’d rather go in early and get out early than get home at 8 or 9 o’clock at night. At least when I get home between 4 and 6, I have time to unwind for a bit, cook dinner, and enjoy what’s left of my day before it gets dark outside.

Buck left a little while ago; he slept over last night and went to brunch with me this morning. It’s such a nice change to see him more often now that he’s so close by for school, and it’s comforting to know I can always go to him if I need anything. Since living in Boston, I’ve felt so far away and disconnected from most of my friends and family; it’s nice to know that someone is nearby for me.

I don’t have anything particularly exciting planned for this week- just working, writing, and probably baking more delicious bread. I’m thinking either banana bread or cheesy loaf may be next- what do you guys think? I hope you all stay safe and healthy this week, and enjoy the weather as it begins to cool down (depending on what hemisphere you’re on, I suppose!)

I actually had an entirely different article planned for today, but you know what? Bread ended up happening instead. As many of you probably know, I am undertaking a newfound hobby of baking and my goal is to bake a different kind of bread each week. This week, I decided to make pumpkin bread!

As with last week’s bread, I found this recipe on pinterest and will link it here. I was drawn to it because it claims to be a “Starbucks copycat”- I’ll be the one to judge that, as a Starbucks employee and connoisseur. Find out at the end how this recipe measured up to the Starbucks pumpkin loaf!

I already had most of the ingredients; the only things I had to go out of my way to buy was the pumpkin puree (and a can opener for the said puree.) The rest of the items were just your basic kitchen staples- flour, sugar, baking powder, etc. First I mixed together the dry ingredients- the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking sugar, and salt. I only added half a teaspoon of cinnamon because I didn’t want it to be *too* overpowering, but you can definitely add another teaspoon of cinnamon if you want an extra kick.

Next, I mixed together the wet ingredients. I was a little bit nervous about “whipping up” the sugar and the butter because I don’t have a mixer, as the recipe instructs, but honestly, just using a regular ‘ole pastry spatula worked fine for me. I mixed the sugar and the butter until it was as light and fluffy as possible, and then I added in the pumpkin puree, eggs, and almond milk. After that was mixed adequately, I slowly added in bits of the dry ingredients until I had a very thick batter. I was expecting it to be less chunky, but again, I don’t have a mixer, so that probably affected the consistency a little bit.

I then poured the batter into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper (easier cleanup for me) and baked it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 75 minutes. The recipe only calls for 50-60 minutes, but my bread actually wasn’t quite done for an additional fifteen minutes. Make sure you test out your bread with a toothpick or a fork to make sure it’s cooked all the way through! By the way, this bread smells AMAZING while it’s baking. It’s a perfectly sweet and subtle pumpkin scent, and it made my entire kitchen smell like fall. 

I waited until Nathaniel got here to cut into it, so we could both try it at the same time (he also works at Starbucks and was ready to compare it to our pumpkin loaf.) I personally think the bread came out absolutely delicious, soft, and so perfectly sweet. I also think it had the perfect amount of pumpkin flavor and tasted preeeetyy darn similar to the actual Starbucks version (minus the fact that this recipe doesn’t have the nuts on top.) Nathaniel thought the bread was delicious, too, but he didn’t think it tasted “pumpkiny enough.” I’m gonna have to disagree with him there, I think the notes of pumpkin really came through and it didn’t need any alterations. Overall, this recipe was a huge success, and I’m excited to bake this bread for my family! Maybe for Thanksgiving this is what I’ll be bringing to the table.

So, that summarizes this week’s adventure in baking! I think next week I’ll switch back to a savory recipe, so let me know if you have any ideas or recommendations for me. Thanks for reading!

Every now and again, I like to post some sort of an update on the foods I’m buying and how I’m preparing dishes for the week ahead. This past weekend has been a great opportunity for me to cook some delicious things, and Nathaniel even helped me to cook as well! I hope you find some inspiration from this article and enjoy these fall-themed food ideas.

Breakfast: Overnight Oats

It’s hard to go wrong with overnight oats, and whenever I prepare them, I feel like I really have my life together. I love everything from brainstorming the different ideas for customizations, prepping them, and of course, eating them! I’ve been sticking with strawberry banana overnight oats this week because that’s what I picked up at the grocery store, but next week I’d like to try pumpkin oats and PB & J oats. Ellie Krieger has a great recipe on her website for the pumpkin oats, so I’ll have to think about giving those a go! 

Bread: Soft ‘N’ Sweet Dinner Rolls

Like I said, Nathaniel and I did some cooking together last weekend, and one of the things we made were soft ‘n’ sweet dinner rolls. I have to say, this bread baking experience was a lot different than my other bread experiences because this one required activating the yeast and kneading the dough. Our rolls were delicious, but they were definitely much denser and biscuit-like than the recipe intended them to be. I’ve been pairing them with my dinner soup, which I’ll get to soon. I’m really happy with how they came out, and I hope they come out even better the next time.

Lunch: Fall Apple Salad

Keeping with the seasons, lately I’ve been enjoying prepping this easy fall salad. It’s a common variation of a salad I’ve made a lot and talked about on my blog: sweet kale base, apples, walnuts, craisins, and poppy seed dressing. I really like crunchy, fruity salads, and this dish definitely offers me the perfect combination of both. It’s super easy to whip up in big batches, and several of the ingredients are fairly cheap and easy to find (if not all of them.) My favorite poppy seed dressing to use is the Panera variety, as I find the creamier versions don’t quite pair as well with the other ingredients.

Dinner: Butternut Squash Soup

Lastly, I’ve been burning through my homemade butternut squash soup all week, and there’s still a ton left in my fridge! This was the other dish Nathaniel and I made together, and I think it was an absolutely perfect choice. I was surprised because the recipe called for two cups of apple cider, but once it was incorporated into the actual dish, it actually tasted really good. I think this is one of those dishes that tastes better as a leftover, too, so I’ve been really enjoying eating a little bit every day and observing different notes in the flavors. 

So, that’s everything I’ve meal prepped to eat for this week! I really wanted to choose dishes that I felt celebrated the fall season, and I also made sure I picked ingredients that are cheap (and fresh) as well. I already have a lot of ideas for what I want to cook next week, so I’m looking forward to sharing that with you guys. I’ve been meaning to make pumpkin bread for forever now, so maybe that will be on my agenda next.

Sunday, September 13

It’s been a sufficiently busy weekend, and although it was also loads of fun, I’m happy to have some quiet “me” time now to catch up on other things. Work has also been crazy and exciting, per usual! I feel like my coworkers and I have moved beyond the initial cordial phase and into being goofy and lax with each other, which is a nice feeling. My shifts have also been starting a bit later than usual, which is nice because it means I can sleep in later AND not have to worry about the trains being delayed. 

I had an eye doctor appointment on Friday that I needed to attend, and since my mom’s birthday was this weekend (it’s today, actually,) I decided to take a two-day trip up to my hometown to hit two birds with one stone. Actually, I hit multiple birds with one stone. I got to spend some quality time with my father, with whom I have a complex relationship, and Eli and I went to our favorite local farm on Friday morning. I haven’t seen him since March, so that was a nice treat. And I got this pumpkin!

After that, I spent some quality bonding time with my mom since I won’t get to see her on her actual birthday. We did some cute mother-daughter shopping, and just had a great time catching up together and hanging out. After my appointment, she dropped me off at the train station and I headed back to Boston.

But my Friday didn’t end there; actually, it was just getting started. My friend Alanis, who I also haven’t seen since quarantine started, came to visit me at my new apartment that night! We got some cocktails at the bar down the street from me (safely, of course,) and I had THE BEST macaroni and cheese ever. In fact, I’m kinda thinking about getting some takeout tonight. I mean, it’s right there. She slept over afterwards as well, and it was great to see her after being apart for such a long time.

After Alanis left on Saturday morning, I took a quick errand break to go to the grocery store because my SNAP benefits finally landed and I desperately needed to restock my fridge. Buck came over a little bit later and we cooked an incredibly yummy dinner together- butternut squash soup with dinner rolls and salad. I lit a candle and set the table as nicely as I could with my current resources, and we ate dinner over jazz music and candlelight. It was so sweet and relaxing, and we finished off the night with some beach pizza for dessert and lots of episodes of Adventure Time.

So that brings us into today. After we made delicious (but very thin and shriveled-up) pancakes, we decided to head into the city and check out Newbury Street & The Prudential Center. My favorite part of today was sitting in the garden at the Prudential with Buck and leaning my head on his shoulder, talking and letting the warm sun wash over us. He’s so nice to have around, and it makes me unbelievably happy to know that he’s so close by. I can’t wait for another dinner date + sleepover with him; I think we agreed to make spaghetti next time. It was a really busy weekend, as you can see, but also so wonderful and worth it. I got to spend much needed quality time with my loved ones, I have a fully-stocked fridge, enough money in the bank, and a great partner. I’ve never felt so full to the brim with happiness.

Since emerging into ∼adulthood∼ and learning how to cook various dishes, I’ve certainly come across my fair share of food blogs. Several of them I discovered through Pinterest (another milestone of adulthood?) but others are blogs I’ve known and loved for years, such as Budget Bytes and Ellie Krieger. I was drawn to several of these blogs because of their delicious vegetarian recipe selections, but trust me, you definitely don’t have to be vegetarian or vegan to fall in love with these recipes. 

Supper with Michelle

Vegetable Ramen Noodle Soup - Supper With Michelle
Source: Supper with Michelle

As I said, learning how to cook dinner and shop for groceries responsibly is like a pinnacle of adulthood. Particularly being a vegetarian, it can be difficult to find yummy recipes that are easy, cost effective, and nutritious, since most of us find ourselves resorting to boiling pasta or toast to save money.

What I like about Supper with Michelle is her site’s incredible organization: there are separate pages for vegetarian, vegan, and pescitarian meals. She also has a tab specifically dedicated to soup, which I’m sure I will be frequenting as the months begin to cool down. Right now, I have my horizons set on making the Vegetable Ramen Noodle Soup. What could be a better cheap dinner meal for September? 

Nora Cooks

Vegan Stuffed Jumbo Shells with Spinach: Stuffed jumbo shells with cashew tofu ricotta and spinach.
Source: Nora Cooks

If you are looking for delicious, affordable vegan meals that everyone will love (vegan or not,) Nora Cooks is the place to start. I love that so many of her recipes are classic, simple recipes- just vegan. So many times, people assume that if you’re a vegetarian or a vegan, you must only enjoy eating vegetables. That’s simply not true; plant-based love desserts, pasta dishes, and classic American dishes just as much as the next person. If you’re looking for a place to start, I highly recommend trying her jumbo stuffed shells with spinach– they’re incredible and worth every minute of prep!

Julia’s Album

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Pasta
Source: Julia’s Album

Ironically, a lot of the recipes on Julia’s Album are actually not specifically vegetarian or plant-based (several of them are pasta or chicken dinner meals.) However, I love this blog because chicken meals are actually extremely easy to substitute with plant-based alternatives. Tofu is a great replacement for chicken, of course, but there are also several believable vegan “chicken” products you can buy at the grocery store (particularly those from Gardein.) I’m really looking forward to making her Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Pasta next week and subbing it out with vegan chicken strips instead. I’ll be sure to let you guys know how it turns out!

Budget Bytes

Beth Moncel of Budget Bytes - My Story - BudgetBytes.com
Source: Budget Bytes

I’ve been a huge fan of Budget Bytes and Beth Moncel, its creator, for as long as I can remember. My mom originally bought the cookbook, and after I read that so many times it started to fall apart at the seams, I began checking out her blog. What I love about Beth and Budget Bytes is her affordable yet healthy recipes, as the name “Budget” Bytes may imply. As a recent college grad who lives off food stamps, being able to find cheap, delicious recipes has been invaluable to me. I’m looking forward to making her soft ‘n’ sweet dinner rolls next, with a side of butternut squash soup. Unfortunately, I do not have a link for her dinner roll recipe because I’m using it straight from the cookbook. 

Ellie Krieger

Pumpkin Spice Overnight Oats 
Source: Ellie Krieger

Ellie Krieger is yet another OG cookbook author from my childhood, and although her recipes aren’t particularly vegan/plant-based oriented, you can easily sub out the meat recipes with your favorite vegan ingredients (similarly to Julia’s Album.) As a nutritionist, Ellie Krieger is an expert about how to make recipes that are both yummy and healthy, which definitely takes tons of practice and knowledge to learn. I am so excited to try these Pumpkin Spice Overnight Oats– don’t they look absolutely incredible and perfect for fall? 

Anyway, those are all of my favorite food blogs! I am super excited to try some of these recipes and tell you guys how they turn out. I think I’m most excited for the pumpkin spice overnight oats and the dinner rolls- what do you think sounds the tastiest? Let me know down below!

As a self-identified dectuple-booker (someone who reads ten books at once,) there is always something new on my reading list. This usually happens when I go to Barnes and Noble to pick out one new book, but I realize there are about 7,569 books I’d ideally like to read as well. So I add them to my mental list, and slowly but surely, I get through all of them. Currently, these are the five books I’ve got my eyes set on reading right now.

American Street | Ibi Zoboi

I was really pleased to see that Barnes and Noble dedicated an entire section to Black young adult authors, and while I wish I could have bought all of those books on the shelf, I decided to settle for just one in my budget. This book stood out to me the most because I think it has a perfect combination of elements: education, strong story-telling, and page-turning emotion. The book has almost five stars on every site I’ve visited, and it was even nominated as a National Book Award Finalist! I am super excited to crack open this one and get started on it.

The All-Night Sun | Diane Zinna

I actually picked up this book on the same Barnes & Noble trip as the last book I mentioned. I always judge a book by the inside blurb, and as soon as I opened this one and read it, I was immediately dying to know more about what happens. I love a book with a good twist, and this story sounds like it has some juicy ones! I’ve never heard of this author before, but I’m looking forward to checking out some of her other work if I end up liking this novel! I’ll be sure to let you know what I think.

Gingerbread | Helen Oyeyemi 

I’ve read books by Helen Oyeyemi before, and I really think she is such a phenomenal, unique author. Her writing style is so fresh and the characters are so memorable, they stick with me for years after reading. I’ve actually been pushing Nathaniel to read Mr. Fox by Oyeyemi, which is one of my favorites. Gingerbread sounds like such a sweet book to me, especially considering the name, and it’s definitely going to be the next book I purchase at Barnes and Noble.

Second Chance Summer | Morgan Matson

This is actually a book I’ve read a few times before, but I didn’t actually own it until yesterday, when I picked it up at Barnes and Noble. The first time I read it was in high school, and I cried so hard, I didn’t even know what to do with myself after I finished it. I read it again a couple of years later, and it was another round of the waterworks, so I’m fully expecting to cry a third time! I think the reason I get so emotional from this book is because it focuses around the complicated relationship between a father and his daughter, and that really hits home for me. I’m glad it’s finally officially in my collection, and I can’t wait to read it again. And probably cry. 

The Likeness | Tana French

Slowly but surely, I am indulging myself by eating up every Tana French title available. I just simply love her mystery novels, and every few months, I make a point of picking up a new one. Her plots are so singular and complex, I can’t even imagine having so much creativity and organization to pen these stories! Each one is so different as well, but they all share similar themes: deceit, nostalgia, secrets unearthed, and chilling plot twists. If you’re a fan of mystery/thrillers, Tana French’s work is a MUST. My favorite thus far is In the Woods, so I’d recommend checking out that one first. 

That’s everything I’m currently looking forward to reading right now! As you can see, I already own a few of them, but I’d like to finish up some of the other books I’m reading before I start more. I’ll be sure to update you guys in a few months on my progress with these!

Saturday, September 4

Hey everyone, I hope you’ve all had a great week and you’re enjoying the weekend ahead. I’m doing pretty well here in Boston, and there honestly isn’t too much going on! If anything, my life is at a place that feels very under-control and placid. I’m not worrying about food or finances, my relationships with others are all very good, and my new job is finally starting to feel comfortable and familiar. I honestly was worried for a while that I could never get the whole barista thing down, but of course, all I needed was some practice. I surprised even myself when I did great on bar this week, and I’m looking forward to more time on bar next week, rather than thinking about it with dread.

I’m also really looking forward to next week because Nathaniel is coming back to Boston for school, and I will be able to see him a lot more often! Hooray for no more long distance (for now.) Who knows how long he’ll be at school until COVID forces everyone home again, but I have a feeling everyone will be sent home by Thanksgiving if students aren’t extra careful. And really, with a group of 18-22 year-olds, you have to know that things are probably not going to end very well. But anyway, my fingers are really crossed that he gets to stay in Boston and maintain his safety at the same time. After he graduates in May and my lease is up in July, we’d like to move in together and possibly end up in Vermont. But honestly, who knows where we’ll go? As long as I’ve got him, that’s all I need.

Sunday, September 6

It’s been a pretty quiet weekend, I’m happy with that. My goals for the rest of the day are to finish next week’s articles, and maybe do a workout if I can find the motivation. I’m actually really looking forward to going back to work tomorrow, even though the early mornings are gruelling, because I miss my lovely coworkers and the regulars who come into our shop. As you can probably imagine, I’ve been making a lot of pumpkin spice lattes.

Get a load of this dog I ran into the other day!

I’m also probably going to see Buck tomorrow, because he’s moving back into school and he and his family may swing by to see me at work. It will surely be lovely to see them all again, and of course, lovely to have Buck so close by.

While in quarantine, I’ve been journaling a lot about the different hobbies I’d eventually like to pursue and make time for. One of those hobbies is baking bread, because it’s such an intricate and patience-requiring art, I feel like it would bring me a lot of joy to try it. And guess what- I was right! I absolutely love baking bread.

The bread recipe I used was probably the most basic artisan bread you can find- flour, water, salt, and instant yeast. I specifically bought a specific bread flour that is designed for baking loaves, pizza crusts, and biscuits with, so I’m really looking forward to cooking with that again in the future.

The first step for me was to combine all of the ingredients and mix it together thoroughly. I used 3 and ¼ cups of bread flour, 2 teaspoons of instant yeast, 1 and ½ cups of cool water, and 2 teaspoons of coarse salt. Personally, I just used regular coarse sea salt, but I imagine you can use any salt that you wish. I also added a few good shakes of rosemary garlic seasoning (probably about 4-5 good shakes,) and mixed that into the batter as well. After I finished mixing it, I just covered it with some cling wrap and let it sit in the bowl for about two hours. As you can see, it looked pretty sticky and rough at first, but that was normal and to be expected. After I let it sit out and rise for a couple of hours, it got much fluffier and doughier. In fact, I’m pretty sure it doubled in size.

After this step, I read that you can either immediately continue with the cutting and the baking, or you can refrigerate the dough and use it for up to three days. I’ve read from a few different sources that it’s better to let it sit in the refrigerator than to use the dough immediately (it has something to do with the air bubbles,) but it really doesn’t make too much of a difference. I didn’t refrigerate my dough, and as you’re soon to find out, my bread turned out just fine. 

After the 2 hours were up, I cut the dough in half (which was so satisfying) and formed two individual loaves, about 9 inches long and 3 inches wide each. After that, I preheated my oven to 450 degrees and left the loaves to sit AGAIN for another 45 minutes or so. The dough did flatten out a bit during that time, but it was easy enough to just push them back in and narrow them out again. After that, I made 3 slits in each of the loaves, about half an inch thick, and then I baked the loaves for about 25 minutes. Don’t forget to flour your hands and the baking sheet for this step! I think I might have used a bit too much flour, but it didn’t change the flavor or the texture of the bread.

You cannot imagine my pure joy when I checked on the bread 25 minutes later and I saw that it looked absolutely delightful! It looked perfectly cooked and browned on top, and the loaves had lost their heaviness and became light and fluffy. And they smelled absolutely amazing, too, which I owe to the rosemary garlic seasoning.

When I cut into the bread, I was very happy with the color and the density. It wasn’t as airy as I had expected- it was a bit denser and there weren’t a lot of holes- but that’s probably because I didn’t leave the dough to cool for 12 hours in the fridge. Instead of using butter or olive oil, I put mascarpone on my bread as a topping, and oh my goodness- it was absolutely divine. Mascarpone is a very soft, creamy, Italian cheese spread with a subtle taste, and I think it balanced perfectly with this bread. Because I made two loaves, I saved one for myself and froze the other one immediately so I could give it to my boyfriend’s family. I definitely don’t need two loaves of bread, so I was happy to give some away!

Overall, I think my first experience with baking bread was very successful! I can’t believe the bread came out decently; in fact, I’d go as far as to compare the flavor and the density to the white Cheesecake Factory bread. Speaking of Cheesecake Factory bread, I found a copycat recipe for the brown bread. Should that be my next baking endeavor? Let me know below! In fact, drop any other bread suggestions you have below! Right now on my horizons, I’d like to make sweet dinner rolls or pumpkin loaf next. Eventually I’d like to work my way up to sourdough bread, but not until I’m a bit more advanced.

It’s no secret that fall is my favorite season, so I’m ∼super excited∼ to be putting together a fall mood board. For context, these aren’t items that I actually own, but they are totally fitting my vibe and my aesthetic for the fall season! And maybe once I have some disposable income this fall, I can treat myself to a few new sweaters and neutral staple pieces.

First off, I’ve never owned a pair of dark-wash jeans, but my boyfriend wears them quite often and I think they look so vintage and stylish. Particularly with the cuffs rolled up like in the picture, I think some high-waisted dark jeans would be super flattering and essential for the fall. They’re also a great transition piece into the winter, and would pair well with an ugly holiday sweater or a leather jacket. 

I found a couple of pairs of shoes that I liked while I was browsing Pinterest, particularly these chunky, super-high mini boots. I love a good heel with a funky twist, and these shoes look absolutely perfect for fall. They also look pretty comfortable to me; I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve always found booties with a thick platform to be easy to wear, compared to something like a stiletto or a pump. And of course, black is a great universal neutral color, particularly for the colder months, too.

I’ve mentioned in my “least favorite trends” article that I’m not crazy about hats, but I do think they can be pulled off with the right styling and hat shape. I really love this hat and I’ve seen a lot of indie girls wearing it on Instagram with fall sweaters- particularly gothic girls in the darker subcultures. I could see myself wearing a hat like this with a chunky sweater and some knee-high boots, sipping my pumpkin spice latte as I listen to The Smiths. Again, I think choosing a neutral color like black or beige would be the way to go with a statement piece like this. 

So, do these super-high boots scream Ariana Grande or what? I would have never gone for something like these in the past, but I just think they would look so sexy and cozy with a loose, baggy sweater dress (like the one in the middle row on the far right.) Particularly for curvier girls like myself, I think this shape of boot is a great way to extend my figure and make my legs look longer and slinkier than they actually are. I’m not sure how well these boots actually stay up in practical application, but I’d be willing to give it a try. Unfortunately, every pair of boots I’ve found online in this style have been really expensive. 

I LOVE a good baggy sweater, particularly one that’s a warm shade of beige, yellow, or brown. I like to stay within a particular color scheme when I am making mood boards, and I felt like these two burnt orange/yellow sweaters really complimented the neutral accessories nicely. Also, can we talk about this star-patterned sweater on the bottom left? I was drawn to it immediately because it makes me think of Coraline– one of my favorite movies to watch around Halloween. I also think stars are a safe way to incorporate patterns into a stylish outfit, particularly if you’re someone like me who’s generally afraid of prints or how to use them. 

Those are all of the clothing elements that stood out to me this season. As you can see, the clothes I’m interested in are very heavy on neutrals and warm-toned shades, such as burnt oranges, mustard yellows, and browns. I’m excited to corporate some of these elements into my closet on my next clothing excursion, which will probably be via TJ Maxx or ThredUp, and combine these new pieces with clothes I already have in my closet, too! You guys know I’m the queen of burnt oranges and yellows, so that shouldn’t be too hard. Keep an eye out for my fall lookbook, which should be coming out some time in early October!

Tuesday, August 25

Today is my last day before heading back to work early in the morning, so I’m spending it on my patio, drinking apple cider and taking in the fresh air. While I do like to think of myself as “outdoorsy,” I’m not a huge fan of being outside in the city because I don’t really feel safe or comfortable. Bring me to a forest or a beach on an overcast day, however, and I’ll be a happy girl. Living in Boston has definitely made me realize that I’m not a city person; someday I think I’d be much happier living in the countryside, far away from people and surrounded by animals. 

Even though being out of work for 2 weeks due to COVID has been a bit stressful, particularly since I don’t know anything about how catastrophe pay works, I’ve been holding up pretty okay. I’ve been doing a lot of reading and journaling, for example, and I’ve also caught up on my blog. Additionally, I’ve been trying to get more into baking (particularly breads,) so that’s been keeping me happy and occupied as well. Nathaniel is coming to see me from Friday to Saturday, and he’s already agreed to baking something with me. It’s going to be a short visit, only two days, but I’ll make the best of it. And once he comes back to campus, I’ll be able to see him a couple of times a week, at least. 

The longer I go without seeing him, the harder and sadder it is for me to even talk to him on the phone, because I miss him so much. Which obviously isn’t his fault, or mine, it’s just that hearing his voice makes something well up inside me and miss him even more, realizing how far away he really is and how I start to forget what it’s like to hear his voice or feel him hugging me. You know, sappy things like that. 

I’m going to try to go to bed early tonight, but who knows how well that will work. I’ve been admittedly sleeping late these past few days, so it might be difficult for me to force myself to sleep early. Nonetheless, I’ll try my best.

Sunday, August 30

This may be wishful thinking, but I think it’s really starting to feel like fall. The weather has been less humid lately, coffee shops are pushing for pumpkin spice, and sweaters are filling the racks in clothing stores. I’m so excited for colder days!

I just had a really marvelous weekend with Nathaniel, which I very much needed because I haven’t seen him in about four weeks. First he was swamped with work, and then I had a COVID scare, so the weeks just kept adding up and up. We spent Friday afternoon walking around Cambridge and visiting book stores, which happens to be one of my favorite pastimes, and that evening we sat on my porch and just held hands, staring at the sky and spending some stripped-down, technology-free time together. I remember at one point I asked him if I was going to be his wife someday and he said of course, which made my eyes well up with happy tears. It was one of those metaphorical veil-lifting evenings where you feel like you can see the world for how it really is, without anything else hanging down in your face. If that makes sense.

look at that glowing skin! this was taken mid-burrito lunch date.

And when you go so long without seeing your soulmate, there’s absolutely nothing on this planet like waking up in the morning next to them. Poor Nathaniel, he’s such an early bird, but I sort of made him sleep in all morning with me. Saturday, we (unsurprisingly) went to another book store, and I picked out one of my favorite books from high school that I loved and have been meaning to read again. Nathaniel bought three records this weekend- two at Newbury Comics and one at Barnes and Noble. My boyfriend + record stores are a dangerous combination.

So it was a perfectly lovely weekend with my person, and now he’s gone but I can still feel all the warm fuzzies of him being here. I’m currently enjoying a pumpkin cream cold brew from Starbucks- which I highly recommend if you’re a fan of pumpkin. Do you consider yourself a Dunks person or a Starbucks person? I’m (of course) very loyal to Starbucks, considering I’m an employee of the corporation. Let me know what you guys prefer in the comments!