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I’m Just a Girl Looking for a Nook

It’s happened, guys; it’s finally happened. I dare not speak it aloud, but… I believe… fall has reached Tallahassee. For the last week it has been consistently cool outside, we’re talking high 60’s – low/mid-ish 70’s during the day, 40’s and 50’s at night. It’s been WONDERFUL! I know that isn’t super cold for most of the country, but for us? It’s almost a freeze. As the ability to wear both socks and long sleeves has gone a bit to my head, I have rediscovered my desire for a reading nook. Not just a comfy chair, a designated cozy spot with good light, storage area for my books and well… that comfy chair or really a comfy reading surface.


I have to say that there is a part of me that is really liking that many of these have some sort of covering. I mean, a reading nook is awesome, but a reading fort is even cooler. That’s right; I’m a 31 year old woman daydreaming about making my own fort. As I’m typing this, I am realizing that whatever I make I’ll need to account for at least two cats. Reading is better with cats, and mine are a little spoiled and tend to commandeer any horizontal cozy area.

As much as I am loving this idea, it may end up on my “to-do” list for 2018. A new nook for a new year and all that.

 

Images from here


Currently: November 2017

As the countdown to the end of the year becomes disturbingly small, I am doing my best to get the things I have to do as “wrapped up” as possible so I can concentrate on the things I actually want to do. Here is what is going on in my life currently.

Smelling – CINNAMON! I’ve been baking with it, burning scented candles, and indulging in cinnamon brooms and pine cones. It’s always been something I’ve found warm and comforting, but Andy is a cinnamon fiend and my fondness for the spice has increased exponentially over the years. We keep it reasonable throughout the most of the year, but during the holidays… we definitely indulge.

Planning – Holiday merriment. There are a lot of holiday things that take place in Tallahassee and the surrounding areas. This year I am trying to put all of the information in one list for myself so we can get to as many of these events as we want. Of course there are personal traditions to be considered so we are adding those in as well to make sure nothing is forgotten. So much to do and so little time!

Remembering – Holidays past. When I was younger, a large part of my mom’s family lived a mere hour and a half away. We saw each other regularly for birthdays, holidays, and sometimes just because. Thanksgiving and Christmas were always the biggest get-togethers stretching to include family from further away and friends near by. There was always plenty of food and laughter, so much laughter. It was a common occurrence that outsiders would inquire about the general level of inebriation, which to my young mind was hilarious because nobody drank a drop at these things. These days we’re all spread out, and there are some perpetually empty seats. I still deeply love this time of year, but there is always a tinge of bittersweet thinking about the way it was and the ones who are gone.

Anticipating – Traveling. Andy and I are going to be heading up to North Carolina around Thanksgiving to spend some time with his family, some of our visiting west coat friends, and then my college roommate. It doesn’t end there. My mom is meeting up with us on the last leg of our trip and then coming back to Florida with us for a few weeks. If everything works out, she and I will then head even further south to my hometown of Lake Wales for some nostalgic sightseeing. It’s a lot, but it has been a long couple of months and I am very ready for some holiday merriment.

Wearing – Almost the same things I always wear, it’s still pretty warm here. But every few weeks or so we’ll have a bit of a cold snap and then I get the rare chance to don longer sleeves and optimistically fuzzy sweaters. The arms might end up rolled within an hour or two, but I’ll still take it.

What’s going on in your life currently?

Image from here


Long Distance Coffee Date

For October’s Long Distance Coffee Date, I wanted to discuss my favorite season with my favorite ladies. I didn’t catch the fall bug until later in life and I always love to see what traditions other people have created for themselves and for their families.  And of course I had to have them weigh on the hotly debated, much lamented PSL. I may hate, but I acknowledge there are other schools of thought.

Rebecca:

I. Love. Fall. NC is a great place to be this time of year because we have cooler weather and color-changing leaves! 🤗 I seek out reasons to celebrate. A new season is just as good a reason than any to continue traditions and create new ones.

You will find me burning a Pumpkin Apple candle on September first. I don’t care when the Autumn equinox really is. I will also splurge on a PSL like the basic white girl that I am. However, I must confess, this year I found it to be much too sweet! Is it just me??? I also highly recommend visiting an apple orchard. This is fun for the entire family. You can pick apples, eat apples on the spot and bake with apples later on! Sky Top Orchard is about a 2 hour drive from Charlotte with picturesque views from the hillside, Apple cider, Apple cider donuts and some farm animals too.

October is all about Halloween prep. I admit I prefer fall decor to the scary trappings of the holiday. My husband appreciates all things gore and zombies. A compromise has been made to decorate “spooky.” We have young kids for Pete’s sake. They are comfortable with ghosts and witches. Visiting a pumpkin patch is a must! How glorious it is to be surrounded by a ton of pumpkins, great and small; and possibly corn mazes and hayrides, sunflowers and mums! Then you better believe we carve the pumpkins and bake the seeds. The butter, cinnamon and brown sugar seeds are the best! Our tradition of Scary Movie Night has evolved. What once might have been Shaun of the Dead or Hocus Pocus is now…Monsters Inc. lol! Like I said, young kids. Which brings me to our next tradition of Trick or Treating. Who doesn’t want to see a two-year old dressed up like her favorite movie character, Moana? You guys, cultural appropriation did not even cross my mind when my MIL offered to make a Moana costume for my daughter months ago. I am so concerned that it’ll be frowned upon, but it is beautiful. My daughter loves the strong character and will be wearing the costume.

Okay. It’s a no-brainer… November is all about Thanksgiving! Now is my chance to decorate Autumn. Leaves and gourds. We have started a new tradition of creating a Thankful tree. My girls will write down one thing they’re thankful for each day on a leaf that gets pinned to the branches of a tree. I love nurturing a grateful heart. We are sure to give God the glory for our lives and all that he created. Each year on Thanksgiving I make sure to eat my mom’s famous Southern Comfort Sweet Potatoes topped with pecans and marshmallows browned just right. When gathered around our table with beloved family and friends, we write down what we’re thankful for on a piece of paper and put it in a basket. We then pick a paper out and try to guess who said what.. It’s another reminder to count our blessings. Even those in the face of hardship can recognize something positive.

I’d love to know what some of your Fall traditions are!

Verhanika:

One of the best parts about living in Seattle is that I get seasons. And by far the best
season in Seattle is Fall. We get the cool, crisp air, clear blue skies, and lots and lots
of fall colors. We also get some rainy days as the weather reminds us that our cold,
wet winter is just around the corner. But fortunately for us, on the day of one of our
favorite fall traditions, visiting a pumpkin patch, the day was clear and, dare I say,
warm.
We go to a pumpkin patch in Snohomish, which is about an hour and fifteen minutes
north of us. We ate a super quick breakfast and loaded into the car to make the
drive. Along the way we stopped at a drive thru Starbucks. Andy, my husband, got
his favorite hot chocolate and I got a white mocha Americano. Neither of us are huge
fans of pumpkin pie, so pumpkin spice anything isn’t really interesting to us. That
said, we do enjoy a pumpkin scone. Scones are delicious and lightly spiced pastries
with icing are sort of the pastry ideal.
Up at the pumpkin patch we tried to let Ronan run around, but he was not super
interested. I think we have a super introverted baby right now and big crowds of
people just aren’t his bag. He’ll probably grow into it when he realizes that the corn
box, hay maze, giant slide, and bouncy house are super fun. We got a lot of mileage
out of a wheelbarrow. We forgot our baby carrier and Andy and I got tired of
carrying him, so we got a wheelbarrow for the actual pumpkin hunt part of our
outing.
One other thing that we love about fall weather is leaf peeping. It’s a joke my
husband and I have from an episode of The West Wing, but we do love to drive
around (with a fancy coffee/hot chocolate) and check out all the gorgeous leaves. My
camera does not do justice the almost fluorescent colors that the leaves turn here.
Finally, we do a lot of long family walks together along the Puget Sound to take in
the mountains and water. The cooler weather means we can enjoy the walk in the
sun without sweating a lot and there’s nothing cuter than a bundled baby.

Stefanie:

Hello & Namaste, friends!

I am SO excited and grateful to be a part of this new blog series, not just because Julie is amazing and I want to support everything she does, but also because the holiday season is upon us! And knowing her I have a feeling these next couple of blogging opportunities are going to be holiday themed… And that is alright with me! 🙂

Family Fall traditions… Where to start. Well first of all, I feel it is only fair to say that as I type this I am lying on my couch under a handmade quilt, with a cup of warm tea in my lap, and a Christmas holiday album spinning on my record player – fall scented Yankee Candles burning and a partridge in a pear tree. Nobody loves the holidays more than this girl right here, and we are JUST close enough to our favorite kick-off holiday (Halloween) that I feel comfortable DIVING IN!

I am definitely the friend that wants to do the MOST so that every minute of the next two months feels like a holiday celebration. The fall season really gives us permission to get started. The first thing I do is make sure that all the appropriate smells are in the air… cinnamon, apple, pumpkin, etc. This way even the most mundane days have a holiday kick. Unfortunately, all of my closest friends and most of my family are still up in Tallahassee, but that means getting up that way as often as possible is #1 on my list! because this is the time of the year that I head north most, Tallahassee feels like a holiday to me. I love getting to my sister’s house and seeing all of her fall themed decorations (she goes all out for every holiday and it is GREAT). We always put some time aside for baking, and we pretty much don’t stop until January 1st. For some reason, homemade banana nut bread just isn’t as fantastic in June. Lots of warm nights cuddled up in front of good movies are in order too – another past time that just doesn’t have the same appeal in the other 9 months of the year.

Of course, this is all leading up to fall’s big number… THANKSGIVING! This is easily my favorite holiday because it kicks off the season, you get to eat tons of yummy food, and it is less gift centered than Christmas. The past couple of years I have hosted vegan Friendsgiving at my sister’s house, and I am so excited to say that this year will be no exception! I LOVE cooking all our favorite Thanksgiving side dishes with a vegan twist. Throw in a Tofurkey and it really doesn’t get any better. (We DO have somebody else cook a turkey or a ham for all the meat eaters in attendance). Fingers crossed that everybody makes it this year, and of course YOU are invited too if you are in the Tallahassee area on Thanksgiving with nowhere to go (or you just a hankering for a nice big *almost* cruelty free meal).

If we aren’t in a Tofurkey coma all day on Friday, our plan is always to head out to the stores to check out the ridiculous Black Friday deals. I could take or leave this piece, although there is no denying that it is a TRADITION. You never know what you’re going to find, and it is so nice to get that first burst of holiday cheer. Consumerism is rampant in our culture and it definitely takes away from the “true meaning” of the holiday season, but there is something about being out and about during this time that brings us closer to our fellow (wo)man and helps us feel more connected. If I am REALLY lucky we will spend Friday night out picking a tree or two – and UP she goes ASAP. Then the party really gets started!

Ahhh Mother Autumn. Thank you for all the joy you bring. As for my opinion on pumpkin spice, I can’t say I have too much experience with it (outside of candle scents and pumpkin pie). I am not a coffee drinker BUT I do adore my soy chai latte, and I have heard rumor that Starbucks will add a pump of PS to the mix if you can handle it. I only splurge on SB a couple times a year so I am usually too afraid to risk messing up a good thing. This might be my year though! If I try it before our November post I’ll be sure to let you know what I thought… 😉

Back to holiday music and hot tea… Happy Autumn friends!


Halloween Movie List

Halloween is just around the corner, and this year I have been getting into it a bit more than usual. One of the things I’ve been doing is going through my favorite “spooky” movies; here are my top 10.

Practical Magic – One of my all time favorite movies. Forever cursed by the spell placed on the Owen’s women by their ancestor Maria, Sally and Jillian struggle to become the one thing that has always eluded them, normal. Ostracized because of their name and abilities, the girls each strike out on separate paths to build a spell free life for themselves. But when tragedy and danger strike, the sisters have to band together and embrace their legacy to protect themselves and those they love, and hopefully, to find the happiness they’ve always searched for.

Sleepy Hallow – A wonderful interpretation of the tale by Washington Irving. The incomparable Johnny Depp plays the part of studious forward thinking police constable Ichabod Crane, who has been dispatched to the small town of Sleepy Hollow to investigate a string of grisly murders. Upon arrival he finds himself immediately swept up in the wake of the intriguing Katrina Von Tassel (Christina Ricci) and her complicated family. As the body count rises, Crane and his firm belief in facts and science are tested as political wrangling and super natural forces expose the seedy underbelly of life in Sleepy Hollow and force him to confront the ghosts of his past.

The Craft – I actually found out about this movie from a church meeting. The church administration decided to show us all a video on the dangers of witch craft in the media and why you should shouldn’t let your children read or watch anything from the Harry Potter series. It was supposed to be a “scared straight” sort of thing, but all it did was add movies to my mental list of things I’d watch as soon as I was old enough to make those decisions for myself. It’s 90’s angsty girl perfection with some questionable CGI and only a nod at accuracy, but a good watch. I’ve seen it dozens of times, but it still speaks to the part of me that will always be that awkward teenage girl wishing for magical powers and perfect late 90’s hair.

Queen of the Damned – While I am not a huge Ann Rice fan, I am a fan of the movies made from her books. It was a close call between this and Interview with a Vampire as to which made the list, but this one won out because it doesn’t have Tom Cruise. Plus, I have a soft spot for violins.

The Addams Family – Probably my favorite dysfunctional family of all time, and man, do they know how to throw a great party. Not to mention Angelica Huston’s costume and make up #goals.

The Haunting – Pair chronic insomniacs with paranormal happenings and it isn’t surprising when this experiment goes off the rails. But you know what, I don’t care if it’s haunted by a murdering old creeper and the souls of lost children, the house in this movie is EVERYTHING. I want it, I was deeply disappointed that it was only a set, and I am incredibly jealous of the actors who got to work in it.

Corpse Bride – If you’ve ever worried about things being dull after your dead, this movie shows us, that if anything, it’s when the party really gets started. Also, a cautionary tale against jumping into marriage with someone you barely know and practicing your wedding vows with items that are only seemingly inert. I am a Tim Burton fan, and like his other movies, there is a zany whimsical quality to the worlds created that one finds almost more enjoyable than the story line itself.

Coraline – Talking cats and parallel universes where everything is exactly the way you want it? Sounds amazing, right? But is it everything you’ve ever dreamed of or is it too good to be true? Throw in a creepy spider lady and some button eyes and you have an animated tale that is entertaining, but still creeps me out even as an adult.

The Village – Being blind doesn’t keep you from being a bad-ass. Ivy walker lives a full life and is an intricate part of her small secluded community, and when the life of the man she loves is in danger, guess who womans up and sets off into the woods by herself? That’s right, the blind chick. Even after being abandoned by her guide, Ivy bravely navigates the forest with it’s dangerous inhabitants to bring back the medicine that can save her guy. Of course, there are some twists thrown in along the way in true M. Night Shyamalan fashion.

Underworld – Vampires, werewolves, and secret plots, oh my! Kate Beckinsale plays the gun toting boot stomping vampire warrior Selene, who finds herself tangled up in a centuries old feud and a conflict which will force her to question everything she knows. Throw in Michael, a dreamy detective who is inexplicably caught up in the supernatural happenings, and it isn’t long before things get interesting and bloody.

Which movies are on your Halloween watch list?

 

All Images from IMDB


Sweet South Cottage Country French Flea Market

Quite the name, right? This event takes place once a year, and though I’ve considered going in the past, the stars never really aligned to make it happen. This year, however, things fell into place perfectly so Saturday morning my friend Cassie and I found ourselves pulling into the farm at 9 with all the other “gotta get there early” shoppers and handing over our $10 to peruse what is supposed to be one of the best antique and craft fairs in Tallahassee.

I have to admit that I underestimated this event a little. I mean, I’ve been to local craft fairs and you can find some really incredible stuff, but the furniture at this event… it’s probably better for my bank account that I couldn’t fit most of the larger items in my vehicle.   I would have been HGTV worthy I promise you, oh well… maybe next year 😉We really lucked out; the weather was gorgeous for most of the morning, which is something that is never a given here in Florida, but it did start to warm up around lunch time. By that point, we’d made our way to the booths that were more small items and crafts. We also made some furry friends along the way, like this sweet guy named Diesel. I think Cassie would have stolen him if she had the chance.   I wanted this bed so badly! It was so gorgeously detailed and colorful. The kind of thing that would make Andy roll his eyes, but makes my little hippy heart sing.I bought a lot more things than I intended; one of the impulse purchases was some really incredible soap from a local vendor. I’ll post more information later after I’ve used it for a while and make sure it really is as good as I think it is.   On the way out, we picked up a few pastries from one of my favorite local places Trevas, who had a booth stocked with some of their most popular items. We made some final purchases and listened to some music by this talented father and son duo.If you happen to be in Tallahassee around this time next year, you should definitely plan to check this event out.