October 28, 2016

Five on Friday | Welcome, Weekend!

Happy Friday! I’m so glad to see this week behind me. Jason had his wisdom teeth out on Wednesday and I was sick, so we made a lovely pair sleeping on the couch in our pajamas all afternoon. Fortunately, we are both on the mend and looking forward to a great weekend! I’m keeping my fingers crossed for another Penn State win as the Lions take on Purdue in West Lafayette and I’ll be enjoying the game with some spiked cider and donuts from the farmer’s market.
I’m glad to be linking up with Five on Friday again this week – this time sharing a few random life updates. Ready? Okay!

1 // Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

With both Jason and I under the weather this week, I took the opportunity to make some chicken noodle soup, and I must say it was one of the best batches I’ve made in a long time! I wish I had taken photos and been more careful with the recipe so that I could share it here and remember exactly what made it so delicious. Oh well, I’m sure there will be more opportunities to perfect the recipe and share it this season.

2  // Boo Baskets

My coworkers are “Boo-ing” one another with little baskets filled with Halloween treats! The baskets are put together along with a little poem and dropped on the desk of an unsuspecting coworker as a holiday surprise. I received my Boo Basket on Thursday morning and put two together to surprise people with this morning. I haven’t picked my recipients yet but I can’t wait to share in the holiday goodness!

3 // Fall Décor

Speaking of Halloween, I just couldn’t find the motivation to decorate for the holiiday this year. I did manage to grab a few pumpkins and some mums and put them out on the front porch, but that’s the extent of it. I’m looking forward to continuing to purge and clean out our house, so hopefully that will be done just in time to pull out the Christmas decorations!

4 // Junior League of Harrisburg Fall Tailgate and PSU Viewing Party

Our JLH fall fundraiser has been announced! Our League is hosting a PSU viewing party on Saturday, November 19th at 7pm. We’ll have food, drinks, a silent auction, and lots of cheering! Penn State takes on Rutgers that evening, and you better bet I’ll be there screaming for the Lions and bidding like a crazy person on the food-related silent auction baskets. For any local friends who want to attend, please let me know!

5 // Weekend!

Honestly, I can’t even come up with a legitimate 5th for my five today! I’m just so happy it’s almost the weekend. Tonight I’m volunteering at a Dress for Success event, which is a cause I can completely get behind. After that, I cannot wait to put on some sweatpants and binge watch How To Get Away With Murder with a warm drink and a snuggly little dog. Does anyone have any other exciting Friday night plans?

October 26, 2016

Autumn Reads | Book Reviews

Earlier this week I posted a little poll on Facebook asking for book recommendations. I’m well into my goal of reading 52 books this year, but I’ve recently hit a standstill after finishing my backlogged pile. Thanks to my friends and family, I have a few books that I picked up from the library last night and a few more that I’m on the waitlist for! If you’re looking for a good read to curl up with this October, here are a few I’ve recently finished and loved:

1 // The Woman in Cabin 10 – Ruth Ware

This murder mystery was a Book of the Month choice that I passed over in August. However, after reading reviews I knew I needed to get my hands on it, and I’m glad I did! This novel follows Lo Blacklock, a travel journalist aboard the maiden voyage of a luxury yacht. On her first night, she hears (or thinks she hears) a woman being murdered in the cabin next to hers. But Lo is an unreliable narrator, and I found myself wondering what was true and what was being covered up. Pick this one up and read it in a day or two!

2 // Siracusa – Delia Ephron

Oh my goodness I loved this book, if only for the oh-so-talented writing style that is Ephron’s. Told from alternating points-of-view, Siracusa chronicles an Italian adventure full of deceit, love triangles, and of course food and wine. The different voices of each adult character (Lizzie, Michael, Taylor and Finn) were so perfectly written and captured the turbulent thoughts and feelings that each one was experiencing. This was another Book of the Month choice, and I’m so happy I picked it!

3 // The Curated Closet – Anuschka Rees

This book by the author of the minimalist blog Into Mind has been the perfect jumpstart for helping me create my capsule wardrobe. Although I know myself well enough to know that I will never be a true minimalist, I am concentrating on paring down my wardrobe and becoming a more conscious consumer. Anuschka helped me work through my closet and understand that a curated selection of clothing that I love is more important than having a true capsule. One of the most helpful parts of The Curated Closet was taking photos of outfits for a few weeks and using those pictures to analyze why or why not I loved what I was wearing, as well as how I felt in the clothing. I’m still in the process of solidifying my wardrobe after a KonMari purge, and this book has really helped me plan by solidifying a color palette and creating a specific list of what I need to fill in wardrobe gaps. If you’re a fan of Anuschka’s blog, I definitely suggest picking up the book! (Disclosure: I received The Curated Closet from BloggingForBooks.com)

4 // The Devil in the White City – Erik Larson

A non-fiction book that seems like it can’t possibly be true, The Devil in the White City has a dual focus: the building of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and the disappearance of women (and men) who came to Chicago to take part in this once-in-a-lifetime exposition. While reading this book, I had to remind myself that it was a completely true story. Building the World’s Columbian Exposition in the late 1800s seemed almost impossible as it was, but add in the murderous mindset of Dr. H.H. Holmes and this is a book that just seems unreal. I’ve had this book on my “to-read” pile since last year, and I’m unsure what got me to finally start reading it, but I’m glad I did. If you love historical fiction and twisted murder, this is a great story to check out!

So those are the most recent books I’ve finished; is there anything else I should add to my list? Too many books is never a problem!

October 24, 2016

Weekending | Penn State Wins!

What a weekend! Saturday marked one of the most exciting Penn State games I have ever attended! For those of you who may not love college football like I do, please allow me to share with you that PSU pulled off a HUGE upset against Ohio State on Saturday night! The spread was 17.5, and while I had 100% full faith that the Lions would easily stay within 18 points of the Buckeyes, I was one of the 107,208 people in in Beaver Stadium who witnessed a comeback win with shock and awe.
Anna, Jason, my friend Kim and I all loaded up Dan's truck (sorry you missed such an awesome game, dude, but thanks for the truck!) on Saturday morning and headed off to Happy Valley to watch the game. It was freezing cold and somewhat rainy on Saturday, but obviously we stuck it out. The game was a White Out, which make such a great statement under the lights. The game was all over the place - it would get exciting, calm down, and it seemed like there were so many TV timeouts that paused the action and slowed everything down.

Obviously the most exciting moment of the game was Penn State blocking OSU's field goal attempt at the end of the fourth quarter and running it back 90 years for a touchdown. Or maybe the most exciting moment was the two sacks against JT Barrett at the end of the game. Who knows? All of State College was absolutely going crazy and I'm so glad I was part of it!

This weekend's game easily ties with the best game I ever attended at Beaver Stadium against OSU in 2005, where PSU pulled out another after-dark win! It's regarded as one of the best Nittany Lion home games, and I would certainly agree. I don't think I could talk for three days afterward because of all of the screaming and cheering I was doing, which seems to be par for the course as my throat is still sore today!

How did your team do this weekend? The college football rankings are certainly shaken up a bit today, right?!

October 21, 2016

Five on Friday | Fall Favorites

Happy Friday, friends! This was a pretty short and easy week (thank goodness!) and I have an exciting weekend coming up. Tomorrow is Penn State’s White Out game against Ohio State, which will be chilly but fun, I’m sure. It’s a night game, too, so that leaves plenty of time for tailgating beforehand.

Anyway, today I’m linking up for Five on Friday and sharing some of my current favorite products. There’s skincare (duh), food, clothing…no discriminating with this week’s favorites! Here’s what I’m bringing to today’s virtual party:

1 // Soap & Glory Hand Food 

Dry fall weather = icky skin, especially on my hands. This hand lotion is my new must-have for those dry and peeling hands! As with the other Soap & Glory products I've used, it has a strong scent but it fades nicely and the quality of the lotion outweighs any smells. Plus it's only $8 for a tube that's over 4oz, so it's basically a steal. I purchased it at Ulta and will probably gift everyone a tube of it for Christmas!

2 // Merona Bi-Stretch Modern Ankle Pant

These slightly cropped dress pants are my new favorite for work. They're very, very similar to the Exact Stretch from The Limited, but with a slightly thicker (read: more coverage) fabric. These pants are so comfortable that I don't mind sitting in the office for eight hours and then running errands in them after work. I picked up the dark teal shade and I'm going to try to hit up another local Target for the burgundy. The colors are gorgeous and perfect for this time of year, plus the price point of $27.99 can't be beat. Get yourself to Target before they're all sold out!

3 // Tate's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Since I started allergy shots over the summer, I've been eating wheat-free to help reduce some of the residual inflammation in my body as a result of being allergic to basically everything. Fortunately, it's not too difficult to find wheat-free products on the market these days, and the best one I've found so far is Tate's Chocolate Chip Cookies. The reason I love these cookies more than their wheat-filled counterparts is because they're so perfectly crisp and crunchy. If you're a lover of soft-baked cookies, these aren't for you. If you like thinner and crispier cookies, give these a shot, even if you're not wheat (or gluten) free!

4 // Sunday Riley Luna Night Oil

So this cult-favorite nighttime face oil is the absolute furthest item from a bargain on this list. It's incredibly expensive at $105/bottle and seemed so over-hyped to me, but it really has been amazing for my skin. I'm always afraid of using any retinol product in the summer because of all the time I spend outdoors, so this is the best time of year to start a new product. I apply this oil after I wash my face at night and I wake up to soft, hydrated skin. I have a fairly large sample of the Sunday Riley Good Genes which I'd love to try in combination with this, but right now my skin is feeling so wonderful that I'm afraid to change anything. 

5 // Candles

Now that fall is officially here and the weather is chillier and more damp, I've been burning candles at home more frequently. I'm by no means a candle snob and I've been rotating through my Voluspa Apple & Blue Clover, Bath & Body Works Pumpkin Pecan Waffles, and Grove Collaborative Blood Orange. They're all equally fantastic and leave the house lightly scented long after I've blown out the candle. What are some other good autumn candles I should try out?

So that's what I'm currently loving, although  I'm sure I'll find even more favorites soon! I have a box of skincare samples to try and some apple recipes saved on Pinterest, so be on the lookout for another edition of fall faves soon ;) Anything else I should be on the lookout to try?

October 5, 2016

October Spending Freeze

I could spend half of an afternoon reading posts about spending freezes and scouring Pinterest for budget ideas and templates. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems as if no matter how much money I have coming in, it seems to leave just as quickly! Now that I have a new job, I need to be more conscious of what I’m spending my hard-earned dollars on. What better way to do that than implementing a spending freeze for October!

Although we’re already a few days into the month, I’m committing myself to a “no spend” month. Why “no spend” in quotations? Because of course I’m going to spend; there are bills to be paid and groceries to be purchased. What I’m talking about is banning all excessive and non-planned spending. I’ve already budgeted my $100 allowance for the month, and that cash will have to last me through happy hours, Junior League events, and work lunches. If I tell myself I’m not allowed to buy lunch out at all or force myself to only drink water at a restaurant, I’ll hit the wall fast and end up saying “SCREW IT” to the whole plan.

I’ve chosen October for this challenge for a few reasons. First, I’m hoping to get some extra mileage out of my birthday. When my parents asked what I wanted for my birthday gift, I requested a 10-pack of classes to my favorite barre studio. Second, the holidays are coming up quickly and I’d like to have a little extra cash in the bank for the unexpected holiday spending that always seems to pop up in December. Finally, I have a pretty busy schedule this month, so I won’t be tempted to shop out of boredom. Plus, there’s so much that needs to be accomplished around the house, and this is the perfect month to take care of that to-do list that I’ve been putting off.

As far as the big events I’m aware of for the remainder of this month – two Junior League happy hours, two JL meetings, book club, two home PSU games and one away game, a JL fundraiser, a Dress for Success gala, and our four year wedding anniversary – a plan is in place and I’m ready to go. I’ve withdrawn some cash, hidden my credit card, and gathered as many coupons as possible. Plus, I’ve decided that if I have a gift card, I’m allowed to spend it, as it’s not money that affects my bottom line. So here’s to this month’s money challenge. Bring it on, October!

October 3, 2016

Weekending | Sports Edition

Another Monday, another weekend behind us! This past weekend marked another trip to State College for a PSU game, which will be a frequent event this month.

My sister and I decided that between no one to watch the doggies and the rainy forecast in Happy Valley, we wouldn't drive up early and tailgate before the game this weekend. It actually turned out to be a great decision, as we sat in ZERO traffic on the ride up and the ride back. Our parking spot was perfectly convenient, it only spritzed rain for about 15 minutes, and Penn State pulled off a win in overtime! Aside from a very rude player from Minnesota being ejected from the game on an unsportsmanlike conduct call for a late hit on my #1 fave player Joey Julius, it was a great game to be there to watch. 

Sunday was spent being lazy and watching NFL games, all while stalking MLB scores to see if St. Louis will end up in a playoff game for the last NL Wildcard spot. As I'm typing this, it isn't looking likely that the Cardinals will wind up in the postseason, as San Diego is beating Los Angeles in the 8th inning. Whomp.

This week is slated to be a busy one, between extra hours at work to help out, meetings, happy hour, and cleaning up our disaster of a home, I certainly have my work cut out for me. I'm so glad October is finally here, though! It means I'll soon be celebrating my birthday and our wedding anniversary, and I'm trying to convince my sister and her husband to do a nighttime corn maze with Jason and I. Seriously, between college football, NFL games, and the World Series...how can you beat October?

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