4 Books to Encourage & Inspire

I'm a huge fan of non-fiction in general, but especially love a good self-help/improvement book every once in a while. Personally I don't see any problem with the term self-help, but I know it kind of has a negative connotation, so I decided to stick with personal development term for this post.

Quiet | I remember reading this and thinking, finally someone gets it! This is obviously a book about the power of introverts, but I think it's a great read for anyone regardless of your personality type. I think you might appreciate it a bit more if you're a fellow introvert who went through over half of your life feeling like something was wrong with you, and sitting through the majority of high school and college classes with so much anxiety due to the pressure to "speak up", as if participating in front of class is the only way to measure someone's intelligence (end rant). Cain does a really great job of balancing stories with facts and research.

The Happiness Project | This book was published back in 2009 and I'm sure it isn't new to anyone, but it's one of my favorite books when it comes to needing a little inspiration to make changes. Not because I thought anything Rubin shared was really groundbreaking, but because it's the perfect book to help get you into a positive mindset and I love the setup of accomplishing different aspects of your life in each month.

How to Have a Good Day | The title pretty accurately sums up the aim of this book and I loved that it was science-based without being too heavy on the facts. While a large part of the book focuses on work life (specifically more corporate careers), I think there's a takeaway for anyone regardless of what you call your job. Read my full review 

Daring Greatly | A few years ago I read The Gifts of Imperfection and think I've had Daring Greatly on my list since then. Even after I got it for my birthday in April this year, it was one that sat on my shelf for a while until I felt like I was in the mood to read it. Of course it ended up being one of those books that I wish I read years ago because it spoke to me in almost every way. It was another one of those books that I read and was shocked at how much I could relate to so much of the material. That was how I felt reading a lot of this, and I imagine it's how most people would feel because Brene's research on shame is so raw and real. I could easily write an entire post on what I learned from reading this, and I probably will eventually, but for now I would say to check out Brene's research if you're interested in enriching your life and how important it is to be vulnerable sometimes.

I have a few other self improvement books on my radar that I hope to read in the next few months as well. I always enjoy a good personal element and ease to read, but look forward to the research and facts as well. If you you have a good book in this same realm, let me know!

Linking up for my books & favorites

Currently | September 16

I always read Emily's posts for this linkup and I love Shay's blog so I thought I'd participate in my first what's up wednesday linkup today. I took out a few of the questions because my answers were repetitive, but thought this was a fun version of a currently post. 

What I'm eating this week: I made the first batch of chili for the season and think I finally found a recipe that I love. I'm kind of picky and prefer for it to be more on the soupy side with not very much meat. I used this recipe as a base and adjusted it quite a bit and it was a huge success! Special thanks to my mom for giving me the idea to add fritos! 


Don't You Just Love New York in the Fall?

This is more of a last week-ing than weekending, but I figured it still counts to linkup with Biana today. We took a short last-minute trip to New York last week, where we did our usual walk around and experience as many neighborhoods as possible.


Fall Goals & Plans

The beginning of fall is officially right around the corner and after an insanely hot summer that followed an insanely rainy spring, I'm looking forward to fall more than ever. While spring is more of the season of growth and renewal, there's something refreshing and exciting about fall. The above quote is from Gatsby and I realize Jordan's meaning behind it can mean a few different things, for me it perfectly sums up my feelings on fall. I'm linking up with Steph & everyone sharing their seasonal goals update. 

Visit the orchard | This is one of my favorite yearly traditions. We usually pick apples, pick up some mini pumpkins, and stock up on apple cider.

Make an apple dessert | There are about a million desserts I want to make this time of the year, but I love making something new with some of the apples we pick.

Make caramel corn | On the dessert subject, I'm really hoping to make caramel corn this year. It's one of my favorite treats and I'd love to try making it from scratch. On the caramel corn subject, this snack mix looks delicious.

See the Girl on the Train | I'm not a huge movie theater person and I think the last movie I saw in theaters was the Martian, but we like to go to the fancy theater every once in a while. I think I only gave the book 3 stars, but the movie looks really intense and I actually don't remember how it ends, though I'm guessing it will come back once the movie starts.

Another 5k | This one is a big maybe-- I'd love to do a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving, but there are a couple of other fall 5ks I have my eye on... I'm definitely not 100% committed to running another race, especially during a cold month, but maybe.

Just a few seasonal fun things for fall as I try to enjoy it without mentally going right into Christmas/holiday season mode. What are your favorite fall things?

Carly Reads Here | september

After what felt like forever I finally got back into somewhat of a reading grove and stopped reading books that left me continually bored or unsatisfied in some way. At the end of August I read five books in like three days when I had some kind of awful summer cold, so that definitely helped bring me closer to my 2016 reading goal and rounded out August with 7 books completed. One will be coming in a stand alone review post sometime later this month. As always I'm linking up with Steph and all the other book lovers for Show Us Your Books. 


Slow Cooker Meals to Add to Your Dinner Rotation

Even though we use our slow cooker year round, I get excited when fall hits and I can bring back a few of my favorite recipes. Most of these fall into the comfort food category with creamy soups, but they're a few of our go-to fall/winter recipes. When it comes to using our slow cooker, I want something that's going to be super easy to prepare and have minimal prep and ingredients. The ease is the whole allure of using a slow cooker after all.

Corn Chowder Taste & Tell Blog
This might be my favorite slow cooker recipe ever-- something about the flavors is so good. I follow this recipe almost exactly- only using frozen diced potatoes because it's so much faster than peeling and dicing your own.

Super Easy Pot Roast Cooking Classy
There are a lot of pot roast recipes out there, but this one is usually our go-to because it's so easy. Depending on what you keep stocked in your pantry you only need the roast, beef broth, and worcestershire sauce. You can even use baby carrots, so you don't have to deal with any prep peeling or cutting vegetables.

Creamy Chicken Soup A Touch of Grace
This soup is basically chicken potpie without the crust-- it's the perfect comfort food, and you really could add in any veggies you like. I've followed Tiffany's recipe exactly just subbing cream of chicken for cream of celery.

Baked Potato Soup Mostly Homemade Mom
Not the healthiest option, but always so satisfying! I follow the recipe pretty closely, but always used diced potatoes instead of shredded. Cream of celery or mushroom instead of cream of chicken, and about half a yellow onion (not onion powder).

What are your favorite recipes for the slow cooker? Do you have any favorite recipes for fall?


Friday Favorites | All Things Beauty

planner (similar)
Happy Friday! I haven't done a beauty favorites post, or an empties post in a while so I thought I'd highlight a few beauty products I've been loving including a couple of new things and some old favorites with Amanda & Andrea.

Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser | After going through two tubes of this wash for dry/sensitive skin, I switched to the cottonseed version for normal/combo skin. As much as I enjoyed the other formula I wasn't so sure I liked the shea in it- plus my skin is more combo than dry. The first few times I used the new one I didn't think I liked it. I wasn't the craziest about the scent (it smells like soap) and it almost gives you a squeaky clean feeling if that makes any sense, but I've grown to really like it and definitely prefer it to the one with shea.

Becca Spotlight Highlight | I mentioned this last month when I reviewed the full Becca Blush Radiance kit, but after using this more frequently I wanted to mention it again because it gives the prettiest highlight ever. I do also love the powder highlight, but sometimes that can be a little bit much-- this is more subtle, but still has a wow factor.

Dior Addict Fluid Stick | I actually did an entire post on this last year, but pulled it out recently and remembered why I liked it so much. As soon as I put it on I was like this feels so good on the lips-- it's smooth without being sticky or tacky and feels moisturizing with a very slight tingle. It makes my lips actually look semi-shapely and doesn't all over my face (which happens often for me with traditional lipstick).

Maybelinne Fit Me Concealer | This was another product I hadn't used in months and when I put it on I was shocked by how much I liked it. It creases just a tiny bit, but it gives the perfect amount of coverage without being too heavy or difficult to blend in- definitely a drugstore concealer worth trying out if you're looking for something new.

Shea Moisture Coconut Oil | I know you can really get coconut oil anywhere, but I'm a huge fan of this brand. I love using it on any really dry patches on my elbows or ankles, but it's also a great deep conditioner for your hair. I like that you can get it at Target or Ulta in the travel size for $3 or $4 and it still lasts a really long time because you only need a little bit. It's a really great overall deep moisturizer.

It's always the best when you rediscover old favorites! What beauty products have you been loving lately?

Favorite Fall Fashion

I'm not big into fashion, but fall is a fun time to pack on the layers, bring out all things plaid, and search Pinterest for inspiration (while trying not to get caught up on the fact that regardless of the outfit I won't ever look like whatever person or celebrity is rocking the outfit). I was watching Gossip Girl this time last year and my phone is full of screenshots and grainy photos taken of my ipad of my favorite Blair Waldorf outfits (see below). I would love her entire wardrobe if I had an unlimited budget and plenty of places to go dressed up. What fictional character has a wardrobe that you love?

blair waldorf

Wrapping Up the Summer Months

I'll start this post by being honest and saying I kind of feel like saying good riddance to August. I really do try and appreciate and practice gratefulness for every day and season, but this summer was hothard and I don't think I've ever been more excited for fall. September is here now, which means we're basically into the holiday season and I can't wait until October 1st so I can watch Hocus Pocus approximately 25x before November hits and I switch to terribly cheesy Christmas movies.

At the same time I feel like it was just May and I was so excited when Megan listed the categories for the summer book challenge. I couldn't wait until it was June to start reading the books on my list. I didn't finish the challenge, but I definitely made a good effort, especially since I was working primarily with library books. I think book challenges can be tricky because you never want to read a book that you won't enjoy, or something that doesn't interest you, but it's also so important to expand your horizons and consider new genres or categories.

Aside from the category on a microhistory (I never picked a book), I was able to find a book that I wanted to read to fit in each category. I didn't get to Big Stone Gap, but it's the perfect example of a book I probably would have never discovered without this challenge. When I first saw the Appalachia category, I admittedly had zero interest in it, but I've loved some of Trigiani's other books & after mentioning Big Stone Gap in my initial post a few people commented about how much they love the book/series.

I'm not going to list out the categories or books in this post because I've already reviews the ones I finished, but you can see my final list & point total here. While this challenge has ended and I'm really close to finishing my Goodreads challenge, I want to focus in on some of the categories for the PopSugar Reading challenge and the Book Riot Read Harder challenge as well.

At the beginning of August I put together a to-do list (or a few goals) for the month and definitely didn't come close to checking most of them off. To be fair, it really should have been a summer to-do list because there was no way it was going to be possible to check off so many things in just four weeks. The best part is that everything on the list can still be checked off this month, so no pressure.

September also brings a few new things I'm really looking forward to checking out: National Book FestivalMuseum of African American History & Culture openingDC Short Film FestivalReopening of the East Building at the NGA. I'm also really excited for season 2 of Narcos to be released this week-- it's definitely my most anticipated new season of the year. Plus football is back, and chili sundays, and flannels, and all things apple...

What are you looking forward to in September? Are you ready for summer to wind down, or are you also ready for fall? Linking up with Kristen & Gretchen today for what's new with you?

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