Fall Fun Series II: In The Kitchen

This week is all about crafting and culinary adventures. I’ve been in the mood for soups and chilis lately and was holding onto a particular recipe for a couple of weeks. It was based off of a recipe from Ayesha Curry’s cookbook The Seasoned Life, and comes from the blog How Sweet Eats: Game Day Beer Chili.

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The finished product is a well-balanced, hearty, and flavorful chili with enough servings in the pot to freeze plenty for later. I did need to tweak the recipe a little to suit what I had available when I spontaneously decided to make it after a family event.

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What excited me the most about this recipe were the additions of maple syrup, cinnamon, and a can/bottle of beer. I chose the beer Madtown Nutbrown with the intriguing description: A blend of seven unique malts give this brown ale an earthy aroma and a flavor reminiscent of caramel with a slightly creamy finish.

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Migraines and exams over the past week have prevented me from doing all of the crafting and baking that I planned to do by this point in the fall season. In lieu of making a sweet treat over the weekend, I threw together a very simple, but tasty latte a couple of times. The drink combined Starbucks’ dark roast coffee Caffè Verona, lightened with International Delight’s sugar free Pumpkin Pie Spice creamer, and flavored with Torani’s sugar free Salted Caramel syrup.

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Another busy week precedes a trip to the pumpkin patch on a farm with family this weekend. I think this marks my first official autumnal outing, unless shopping and decorating for Halloween counts. What kind of fun fall activities has everyone been up to?

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Fall Fun Series II: Festive Entertainment

My favorite thing to do during autumn nights is light a candle, fill a bowl with candy, and relax on the couch with festive entertainment. My boyfriend and I have begun our annual ritual of watching creepy movies and TV shows all October long. Last year, we committed to watching all of The Simpson’s thirty-or-so Treehouse of Horror episodes. This year, we’ve been less ambitious, but still plenty spooky already.

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Some TV favorites we’ve started watching are the newest season of American Horror Story and re-runs of Dexter for slashers, and The Good Place for lighthearted fall entertainment. We’re patiently waiting for the return of Mr. Robot and Stranger Things; we’re big fans of both shows. Of course, I’ll need to check out The Walking Dead as well. I stick with that show like a bad relationship.

 

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I’ve been loving the festive shows on Food Network this fall. Halloween Wars and Halloween Baking Championship have helped us get into the holiday spirit, and they’ve also inspired me to get more creative in the kitchen. I can always use new ideas for spooky Halloween treats – this year, I learned about using peanuts for zombie teeth! Icky!

 

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For scary movies, we’ve seen The Shining, Blair Witch, and House on Haunted Hill so far this year. Possibly more, and most likely some that I’ve slept through because my schedule has been busy and odd. I still have to see the new IT, as I unfortunately missed my chance to last month. Chances are pretty good that we will watch some of our Rob Zombie favorites. I’d like to put on the Quentin Tarantino Grindhouse double feature as I’ve always been a huge fan of his style and those two films are definitely creepy and gory.

 

GoTFall

I don’t do a lot of reading for pleasure during the fall semester. I’m usually only reading out of textbooks. However, the boyfriend and I have been sitting on A Song of Ice and Fire audio books for a few months now, and will be starting those within the next few days. This will fit in perfectly during work outs, bubble baths, and bed time for the rest of the season. In my opinion, it is the best time of year to geek out on this series.

 

Fall Fun Series II: Favorite Fall Scent

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There are a few home fragrances that I absolutely must have around during the fall season. Anything and everything pumpkin spice, everything related to toasting marshmallows over the fire, and anything that captures the essence of leaves. If I had to pick just one, though, it has be the aroma of fallen autumn leaves. Bath & Body Work’s 3-wick Leaves candle is my top choice, but I have found a few that are close dupes, some that are similar, and a couple in this scent family that are quite different, but still very well loved.

 

Bath & Body WorksLeaves
– Crisp red apple, golden nectar, and warm clove spice
719 Walnut AvenueWalk in the Woods
– Maple and birch woods, tangy pomegranate, juniper, and orange

Goose CreekCrunchy Leaves
– Autumn leaves, cinnamon, black currant, tangerine, cedar wood, oak bark, and amber
Better Homes & GardensCrisp Fall Leaves
– Crisp harvest air and warm all spice
Kringle CandleLeaves
– Leaves, woods, citrus, and spice

ScentsyFalling Leaves
– Herbal patchouli, sweet and spicy cinnamon, and clove
Colonial CandleFalling Leaves
– Freshly fallen leaves, ambered spices, and warm harvest grains
Dessa’s Homespun ScentsFall Foliage
– Earthy autumn leaves after the rain, and crackling logs on the fire

Candles From The Keeping RoomLeaves (Type)
– Cinnamon, dried apple peel, allspice, fresh clove bud, and Vermont maple
Vintage Chic ScentsThe Addams Family (Leaves Type)

 

I loved pulling each of these products out and comparing/contrasting all of the scent notes. It’s funny how some fragrances are so similar, but are described so differently… Or they are described similarly, but smell completely different! Dessa’s blend is probably the most unique out of this list, which I sort of expected, followed by the Scentsy wax bar.

I was meant to also share my least favorite fall fragrance, but since I already sorta trashed apple scents, I won’t rain on that parade anymore!

 

Fall Fun Series II: Fall Fashion

I was shopping for fall wax and hand soaps yesterday and I grabbed a sweater on my way out the door. It was the first day of fall, so I assumed: it will be chilly this evening, I better take this! No, it was hot and humid. It sat in the car the whole time. I didn’t even want a Pumpkin Spice Latte as I passed Starbucks, so I didn’t see if the fall cups were out yet! There have been plenty of cool days, however. I already took out my boxes of fall and winter clothing and have slowly moved out the summer wear.

I’m crazy about scarves, but I haven’t added many to my collection lately. I added a couple of shawls to my wardrobe last autumn, but I haven’t come across those yet. I’m excited about a few other new things I got with autumn in mind. I bought this cute Betsey Johnson bag at Macy’s back in the spring, but I put it away thinking I’d love it more in the fall. I was right.

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My mother brought this necklace back for me from her recent trip to Germany. Although they are flowers, the colors just scream “autumn” to me. I’m sure it will be worn a lot this season.

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I’m big on fuzzy socks during the colder months of the year. I love them even more than scarves. I’ll spare you… I won’t show the old, used socks in my collection! These ones are new and I can’t wait to wear ’em. One pair is solid brown and the other is green and brown with white snowflakes.

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Owl leggings. Of course I needed to grab these. They’ll match perfectly with the fuzzy socks!

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This is Aesop Rock merch, but I actually got this hoodie with Halloween in mind. I put on cat ears and makeup when I went trick-or-treating with my niece and nephew last year, so I think the freaky cat will match perfectly with the same get-up.

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And lastly… this is not my picture, sadly. These have not yet arrived at my home, but they should be here next week. New booties!

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That does it for my new fall fashion favorites. I’m sure I will be adding plenty more as it gets colder and colder here in the Midwest. Check out how fashionable the other Fall Fun Series bloggers are going to be this fall:

Amanda at Thrifty Polished (thriftypolished.blogspot.ca)

Jay at The Candle Enthusiast (thecandleenthusiast.wordpress.com)

Julie at The Redolent Mermaid (theredolentmermaid.com)

Michelle at Melting With Michelle (meltingwithmichelle.com)

Sandra at Finger Candy (fingercandy.ca or fingercandy.wordpress.com)

 

Fall Fun Series II: All About Apples

I’ll come right out and say it… for the most part, I do not like apples. I know, I’m weird. Most fruits are hit or miss for me, as far as snacking on ’em goes. However, I have found that I can tolerate the artificial scent of apples, preferably mixed with other yummy smells. For instance, the Warm Apple Pie wax melts & candles by Mainstays took me by surprise a few autumns ago. No recipes or decor for this girl, but, I do have a few new-to-me apple scents that I am excited to use this fall, much to the surprise of those that have ever lived with my love/hate/mostly hate relationship with apples.

 

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I lucked out and bought several sugar scrubs from Bath & Body Works when they were on sale for only $6. Champagne Apple & Honey is a returning fall fragrance with notes of pink lady apple, sparkling champagne, and jasmine honey.

 

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Caramel Applewood from Goose Creek is pretty much what I expected: green apple, caramel, and wood. I skipped this scent the past two fall seasons, but I made sure I grabbed it this time.

 

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The Supernatural Victorian sampler from Vintage Chic Scents included two yummy apple melts. Witch’s Chair is Vermont honey apple and Vanilla Lace (Victoria’s Secret type), and Sanderson Sisters has notes of green apple, caramel, candy corn, and marshmallow.

 

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Apple & Oats was one of many free samples I received from Candles From The Keeping Room last month. Its scent description includes crisp apple slices, steel cut oats, Tupelo honey, tart apple peel, vanilla extract, and maple sugar. Yummm. I feel spoiled already.

 

Even though the weather has started to change where I live, this past week+ has felt very un-autumn-like to me. I’ve temporarily slowed down on my pumpkin frenzy. My mother and I celebrated our birthdays along with two others in our family. For these occasions, I’ve gravitated more towards simple vanilla cake type scents, and I’ve enjoyed gazing at fresh flowers more than my pumpkins. I did, however, purchase my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season, and started the first late night fire. I’m curious to see if anyone is in full fall mode yet. I am certainly in full fall semester mode.

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Fall Fun Series II: Autumn Inspiration

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The photos in my collage are all moments that I captured last fall, in October of 2016. They were taken all around the state of Wisconsin. Some of them are pretty obvious depictions of fall: arranged pumpkins, fallen leaves, animals at the farm. The photo in the top right corner is a representation of how much time I spend traveling in the car during the fall season, as it was snapped randomly on the side of the road somewhere in northern Wisconsin. Time at the lake when the weather is cool is still one of my top favorite ways to spend the day.

It has been a really busy, slightly chaotic week. My fingers are crossed that next week is a lot smoother. I’ve had some time to enjoy my Pumpkin Cupcake candle from Bath & Body Works. Still, I’m finding it difficult to resist placing another order for more of their fall scents.

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Fall Fun Series II: All About Autumn

Fall Fun Series II Photo

Hello, September! I’m excited to start out this month participating in the second annual Fall Fun Series with some fantastic bloggers! The first post of the series is a festive fall tag all about ourselves and autumn. Be sure to take a look at all of their posts as well for extra helpings of fall goodness each week:

Amanda at Thrifty Polished (thriftypolished.blogspot.ca)

Jay at The Candle Enthusiast (thecandleenthusiast.wordpress.com)

Julie at The Redolent Mermaid (theredolentmermaid.com)

Michelle at Melting With Michelle (meltingwithmichelle.com)

Sandra at Finger Candy (fingercandy.ca or fingercandy.wordpress.com)

 

Have you ever participated in a Fall blogging series?
I was late to join in, but I participated in the Fall Fun Series last year (2016) after looking up festive blogging tags to do for the first day of fall.

What are you most looking forward to this Fall?
I can’t wait to go pumpkin picking with my nieces and nephew again. I have yet to schedule the rest of my fun fall activities, but I’m definitely looking forward to Halloween and Thanksgiving as usual.

Crisp Fall mornings or cozy Fall nights?
Can I have both, please? I’d probably have to say fall nights, though. A good chunk of what I spend my time on during the season is watching creepy movies in PJs and catching up on all of the new fall TV shows with my significant other. Plus, I usually burn my candles at night! It is a tough choice though, because if I’m out on the lake, I’ll take an early morning sunrise at the firepit with a latte anytime.

When do you start decorating for Fall?
Fall begins for me on September 1st, to an extent. The pumpkins and leaves definitely start coming out and I’m 100% done with summer in terms of home fragrance and decor. On October 1st, Halloween decor goes up and on November 2nd, Thanksgiving decor comes out.

What is your favourite store to visit for Fall goodies? Share the link!
Bath & Body Works and Starbucks are a given for fall scents and treats. I’ve already visited each store a few times, and will likely visit several more times throughout the season!

If you had to get one Fall-themed image tattooed on your body, what would it be? For extra points, where?
Well… I’m a cat lady, so I would get a Halloween-y black cat tattoo. If that doesn’t count, then I’d get a fox. I would place the tattoo somewhere along one of my legs. When I ran this past my boyfriend, he didn’t sound too opposed to the idea…

Did you trick-or-treat when you were younger? What was the last costume you wore? What’s your dream costume (whether you actually got to wear it or not)?
I loved trick-or-treating as a kid. I went with my older brothers and our neighbors in a big group, and we’d stay out as long as we could and then compare candy piles afterward. The last costume I wore was cat ears & makeup for Halloween last year. I studied so many Youtube tutorials to make my face look cat-like! My current dream costume is probably something Game of Thrones related, but it’d be expensive to pull it off well, so that is why it remains in my dreams.

Favourite Fall home fragrance?
Leaves 3-wick candle by Bath & Body Works, and I also love Goose Creek’s Carrot Cake wax melts. I have added a lot of new stuff to my collection, however, so I’ll need to revisit this question at the end of the series.

Best body care fragrance for Fall?
Bath & Body Works Marshmallow Pumpkin Latte. I wasn’t always crazy about this scent, but I found myself craving it all summer, so now I’m very pleased to be using it again.

Must-have nail polish/perfume/makeup for the Fall?
Nail polish: Essie Playing Koi
Perfume: Victoria’s Secret Dark Angel
Makeup: Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance

Favourite Fall month?
Hmm… September is my birthday month, but all of the best fall activities happen in October, and November is such a peaceful beginning of the holiday season… all of them are my favorite, really.

What’s the weather like where you live?
It stays sunny and somewhat warm (by Midwest standards) up until early October, and then quickly becomes chilly, windy, wet, and dark. It is the best time of year for candles and hot coffee, that is for sure.

Is pumpkin spice worth the hype?
Totally. I decided that as a young child that gobbled up pumpkin pie whenever and wherever possible. It tastes and smells too yummy to resist in any of its forms. Lotions, coffees, cookies, wax melts… just gimme ’em all.

Favourite Thanksgiving food?
All of it. I love to cook and eat each dish! It is easier to just say “Thanksgiving Dinner” is one of my favorite meals.

Briefly describe your idea of a perfect Fall day.
My perfect fall day would include some element of nature, like a walk around town admiring the leaves, a trip to the lake, pumpkin picking at the farm, or sitting at a firepit in the evening. It would probably include some baking or cooking, lots coffee, lots of strong scents around the house, watching a football game with my family, and maybe even shopping so I can get more fall goodies.