Fall To Do List

fall to do list

I get really excited about the start of any new season (except winter), but fall always seems especially full of promise. The weather is perfect for light sweaters and long walks, it’s the perfect time to stay in the kitchen and bake, the holidays are approaching…you all know why fall is great. Lately, I’m feeling especially inspired to make this fall fantastic.

In the spirit of this post, I’ve come up with another seasonal to do list. I think I did pretty well on the last one (8/10!) and I think posting them here helps keep me accountable – plus, I know I like reading these kinds of things on other blogs. Let’s see how I make out! What kinds of things are you looking forward to doing this season?

1. Read 10 books. 2. Find a new brunch spot. 3. Host another board game night. 4. Find a great new fall recipe. 5. See at least two plays. 6. Go to the BSO. 7. Start planning out my trip to France next summer. 8. Learn enough Swedish so I can sort of read a children’s book. 9. Find a new magazine. 10. Gather inspiration in one place.

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Checking In

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I’ve been a little behind on blogging lately – I’ll spare you the details, but last weeks have consisted of some work things rearing their ugly heads, a handful of anxiety attacks over upcoming changes, and some very unpleasant dental work. All of that has left me a little drained, or at least not quite as happy and inspired as I like to be.

sarah kate style just turned three a few weeks ago, and I’m now getting a little reflective. I’m giving myself s small pat on the back for posting so much this summer, but now I’m going to cut myself a little slack. I plan out posts a month in advance, and I tell myself to stay as far ahead of schedule as I can. But then some posts I end up not wanting to do, or I can’t do them as well as I’d like, and then I feel a little guilty, and I usually have no alternative ideas. If I let myself, I go crazy with my blog. And it’s draining. A post that takes a few hours to create gets published and read in a few minutes, and is just as quickly forgotten. Doing that every day can drive you a little mad. I don’t like that, so I’m not going to make myself spend hours in front of the computer if I know it won’t make me happy. Because – and I knew this, I think, but I just said it out loud to myself when I was thinking about my blog last weekend – I don’t want blogging to be my job. Not that I’m in a position where I have to make that choice, but it’s a bit of a relief to recognize that that’s not my goal and I can relax. I started this blog as an outlet (funny how you see that line on so many small blogs, but really, my guess is about half of them want to be full-time bloggers) and I want to fully return to a schedule and content that makes me happy, which maybe means I won’t post every day.

And then, personally, my schedule this summer has left me feeling a little meh. I thought I’d try holding myself to a strict list of deadlines and to-dos this summer, each hour or so having its own activity. And it worked great for a while, but now I’m finding myself uninspired by it. Some days instead of returning to my desk, I’d waste an hour or so online, or watching TV, and end up feeling terribly unproductive and tired and sad, and not get anything done at all. And that’s another thing – I’m feeling almost a little attacked by social media and how superficial it all is, not to mention that there’s always a TV show or movie I should be watching, a blog to catch up on, Internet black holes like Buzzfeed that can snatch all of your free time…so I’m going to be more intentional about the things I take in during the day, so I’m less overwhelmed and less drained, and so that I can ultimately get more done.

I actually wrote all of that a week ago, and it’s taken me this long to get over my inspirationless slump and post it. I have a few more ideas now and some motivation to get back to posting. I’ve been resetting myself with little indulgences like watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s with a scone on a rainy day and a leisurely backyard picnic. Those things work wonders.

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Yellow Geometric Blouse

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Zara blouse // New York & Company jeans // Birkenstocks // Vintage clutch

I love patterned tops, and this bright yellow one makes me so happy. You can wear one with a neutral bottom and it’s an instant outfit, and doesn’t require accessorizing or layering, which I personally don’t have patience for in the summer. This summer has been pleasantly mild, which means I haven’t had to give up my jeans in favor of shorts. This is sort of a go-to outfit for me, and it was perfect for walking around quaint towns while on vacation a few weeks back. (And, as you might be able to tell, it was really, really windy when I was taking these pictures.)

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Party Plan: Outdoor Dinner Party

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I’m back with another simple party plan, because isn’t summer the perfect time to throw a party? I love a casual, summery dinner that’s made even more enjoyable by eating it outside. It’s blissfully simple – I made a few salads and sides (plus the fastest, easiest and most insanely delicious vegan cake) earlier in the day, popped them in the refrigerator, and pulled them out when it was time to eat. I like serving salads because they’re lighter than a full-on entree, usually faster and less fussy to make, and, of course, they highlight fresh summer ingredients.

I made a simple and unbelievably good quinoa salad (from this awesome cookbook), a simple carrot salad (carrots, parsley, lemon juice and olive oil – from this cookbook), some zucchini chips (from Thug Kitchen), and artichoke dip. It’s simple fare, but that’s as it should be. (And it makes for great leftovers.)

And then, this cake – it was a total showstopper. It required no effort, one bowl, and some coconut milk whipped into whipped cream (who knew you could do that?!). And it was vegan. It’s coconut cornmeal cake, but don’t be put off by the ingredients – it’s sweet and rich (and the whipped cream totally makes it). I’ve posted the recipe here.

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My Favorite Albums

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I’ve only really been into music for the last two or three years. Before that, I basically just listened to whatever popular music was on the radio – and then I had a (really pathetic) epiphany and realized that I kind of hated most of it. All those overly-catchy melodies, the trite lyrics – it all started to sound the same, and I was sick of it. So I set out to find music that I really loved (my discovery of Spotify helped with that), and it’s a project that I’m still working on (one of the artists featured in this post I found just two weeks ago). I’ve discovered that I really don’t have a definable taste in music, since there are some pretty crazy outliers, but most of it veers toward alternative, some folk-ish, some more electronic. And since I love music so much, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite albums, and a handy Spotify playlist corralling a few of my favorite tracks from each. (Also, I don’t listen to playlists, I just listen to albums on repeat, so this made sense. And if this were a list of my favorite songs, it would be very, very long and you would get bored,)

Mondo by Electric Guest // I think Electric Guest will always be one of my favorite bands, and that’s partially because they were really the first group I found when I started looking for music I liked. Now years have passed and my favorite song off the album, Waves, has been on a bunch of commercials (that only sort of drives me crazy) – and I still turn to their songs when I crave familiar sounds.

My Rocks are Dreams by Psychic Friend // I think this album is so cool – it’s not really weird or crazy, but the vocals and piano on every track are unexpected. It’s soothing without being boring, and over the years it’s become my soundtrack for fall – so come September, you can expect I’ll be listening to this on repeat.

Beneath the Skin by Of Monsters and Men // I realize these guys are pretty popular, but I only started listening to them this year, and I was seriously missing out before then. Both of their albums are so, so good, and I’ll often just keep their latest one playing as background music.

San Fermin by San Fermin // I just discovered this group a few weeks ago and I’m a little obsessed. I’ve listened to Sonsick easily a few hundred times, and I’ve yet to get tired of it. The whole album is sort of perfect – it’s kind of folk-ish but not so rustic. And I love the album art (I’m guilty of judging an album by its cover).

Sylvan Esso by Sylvan Esso // I first heard Coffee on the radio late one night and instantly fell in love (thanks NPR!). I listened to the full album soon after and there isn’t a song on it that I don’t love. Listen to it now, and thank me later.

Racine Carée by Stromae // Everyone listens to Stromae, yes, but I’ve heard a ridiculous number of interviews with him and I think he’s such a cool person and a great artist. There are songs you can dance to and then some less happy ones – Tous les mêmes and Formidable will always be my favorites for their lyrics, and if you haven’t seen the music video for the latter – go check it out.

Shrines by Purity Ring // This music is pretty different from just about anything else I’ve heard – it’s heavily electronic, modern and cool. The lyrics are strange but poetic – Fineshrine is my favorite.

St. Vincent by St. Vincent // So everyone listens to St. Vincent, and if you don’t, you should. Her songs and lyrics are just so good and unique. There are upbeat, catchy tunes like Birth in Reverse and Digital Witness, and then Prince Johnny, which is beautiful and a little heartbreaking.

San Cisco by San Cisco // I discovered this band about a year ago after hearing their delightfully creepy song Awkward, but only recently thought to check out their other songs. Their first album is full of bright, summery tunes, and I’ve been listening non-stop.

Here’s the link to the Spotify playlist.

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