A monthly list of good things to do, buy, read, watch, and more.
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Hello October! I'm back to wearing socks and sweaters or fleeces everyday, so it really feels like fall even though the leaves are just starting to turn here.
We did get good rain in September, which ended our dry streak of almost 3 months. Even though I'm a sun lover, I appreciated that rain after so much dryness.
I've got soup and homemade bread on the menu this week, which is a comfort food combo we all love around here. I'm still harvesting lettuce, chard, and kale from the fall garden, so salads are on the menu, too.
What about you - are you feeling fall? Hopefully the super simple fall decorations below will help inspire all things autumn for you.
On to the good things!
Good Things List
Fall Decor - Green, White, & Gold
Every year I think my seasonal decorating gets simpler and simpler - of course not having a mantle probably helps that along (it's still weird to me that we're in a 100+ year old farmhouse with no fireplace...).
I grow two kinds of pumpkins to decorate with every year (mainly because I harvest the seeds and it's just super easy to stick them in the garden beds here and there - you can see them growing in this fall garden tour):
The Jarrahdale are described as a slate blue-grey color, but maybe that's when they're full grown? They are always greenish for me when I pick them and I love that color.
It's the easiest thing in the world to harvest them and place them all around the house and porch. To that I add some fall-ish pillows - this year in a pretty gold velvet and gold-green floral - some dried flowers, and gold candlesticks on the table.
I bring out the throws to have ready everywhere (we actually use them!), set candles in places we can appreciate them, and that's about it.
I set up a new Simple Autumn section in my Amazon shop where you'll find some of the new things I bought and other things I already have. It's not just decor, either - I've added some fall-themed cookbooks for those comfort food menus!
Our Favorite Oregon Coast Town
Yes, we were back in Pacific City on the Oregon coast at the end of September! I love the slow, small town feel of it (compared to busier coastal towns) and it's a great place for surfing for Brian, so we end up there often.
We were celebrating our anniversary and Brian's birthday (they're a little over a week apart), so we stayed in a hotel I've always wanted to stay in this time, the Inn at Cape Kiwanda (we usually do AirBnB - anyone else noticed how expensive they've gotten this year??).
I loved it - every room has a view of the beach and the haystack rock. The room we reserved had a couch, chair, and table which was great as we work part of the day when we stay there (you can see the room in the second row left and the view from the balcony right).
The fridge and microwave were actually in a little alcove with a sink separate from the bathroom, which was a great bonus for making coffee and the breakfasts and lunches we ate in the room.
So, I have to mention these two photos:
- The sunset photo on the top row left - a pretty typical photo with the water reflections. We were blessed to have 70s, sun, and no wind while there!
- But check out the bottom photo- that's actually what we woke up to one morning around 6:30 - it's the moon still visible as the sun is rising in the east!
Isn't it beautiful the way the moonbeams are shining on the water? It took my breath away when I opened the curtains!
Newest Cut Flower Obsession
They are a fall flower (yep, even with all those pastel colors) so they don't start blooming until August, which is actually great as they start taking off when the zinnias and other cut flowers start to decline.
Not only are they gorgeous, they make a great cut flower since you can cut them down far enough that each stalk has multiple blooms.
THEN, they last about 2 weeks in a vase!
Really - with nothing but water, no special food or additives. I refresh the water every few days but that's about it.
The Softest Jean Jacket
As you can see, I'm SO not a fashion blogger, but I wanted you to see the new jean jacket I got that's actually soft.
I've had many jean jackets through the years (lots from thrift stores) and while I like the idea of a jean jacket and how it looks, they've always been a bit stiff and uncomfortable to me, so I rarely wore them.
I stumbled on this Wrangler jacket while researching if there was actually a soft one and the reviews were amazing so I ordered it.
Obviously it lived up to the hype since I'm sharing it with you, lol. But I really am amazed at how comfortable it is - even with short sleeves underneath.
And since I wanted a transition layer that could be worn with sundresses or jeans and shirts, that's a good thing.
I got a medium in 'weathered' finish and it fits just right (I can button it up) - fitted without being boxy. However, I will not be able to wear a thicker sweater under this - if that's a goal, then I'd size up.
I'm so glad to have another transitional season layer! If you're looking for a soft jean jacket, definitely check this one out.
The Moisturizer/Sunscreen Face Tint I Wear Most Days
I learned about this tinted face sunscreen by CeraVe last spring from a fellow blogger as a good alternative to heavier foundations. I don't use a heavy foundation, but I liked the idea of a tinted sunscreen for the summer so I ordered it.
There's only one color, so they aren't trying to match skin tones or anything, but it is more of a medium coverage than light, which I need to cover uneven skin tone (in fact, I'm using it in the jacket photo above).
When you first put it on it seems a bit heavier and shiny, but that's before it settles in. I do add a light dusting of powder to set it, too.
I really like how this hardly feels like makeup, but provides the coverage that I need.
Those Wild Wyndhams, Claudia Renton. I've had this book waiting in my Audible library for a few months and it was right up my alley - pure history of a time and family I didn't know much about but did know about the history that was happening around them. The cover is a painting done of the Wyndham daughters by John Singer Sargent in 1899 that hung in a royal exhibition where the Prince of Wales dubbed it "The Three Graces."
Although their father was a second son, they had money and all the daughters made good marriages, making them popular in the British aristocracy. Their story is of their time with highs and many lows (a number of their sons were lost to WWI) and it was a fascinating listen for me as I gardened.
The Kitchen Front, Jennifer Ryan. My son gave me this for my birthday and I would take it out to the garden to read and drink tea on Sundays (don't you love when books hold sweet memories like this?). It's the story of four women in rural England during WWII who decide to compete for a job on a TV show that helps women cook with the rationed food supply.
It's a really fun book - you get the backgrounds of the women and their stories, the competition (which includes actual WWII recipes the author researched), a bit of history and politics of the era, and then the surprising friendship that develops between the women.
A Fatal Grace (Chief Inspector Gamache Novel 2), Louise Penny. So after listening to the first book in this series of 'gentle' murder mysteries a few months ago, I decided to continue with the series which was actually surprising to me since mystery isn't really my favorite genre. However, the murder-solving of the books (at least so far) take a back seat to the characters and especially the characters that continue from book to book. The author is always dropping hints about their thoughts, backgrounds, and lives that make you wonder and often are picked up in the next book.
Some of the characters aren't very nuanced and solving the murders are sometimes pretty easy to figure out, but it's the sum of it's part that make these books compulsively readable. You just want more information on what's happening with CI Gamache and Three Pines.
This book follows a new dysfunctional family that arrived in Three Pines that no one really likes. The mom is killed and Gamache and company work to solve the crime. There's an overarching storyline, too, of enemies of Gamache that are working towards his downfall.
The Cruelest Month (Chief Inspector Gamache Novel 3), Louise Penny. I didn't really care for the premise of this book - a seance and the talk of spirits and evil - but thankfully that was only the beginning and once the crime-solving aspect of the story starts, it's again about the characters and Gamache figuring out motives and secrets. It also brings a conclusion to the story of who was out to ruin Gamache and why.
I will keep reading/listening to the series as they come in through the library - some have quite a wait time, so you know they are popular. Oh, and I heard they are going to start a new Amazon series based on the books, too.
Year of Wonders, Geraldine Brooks. I'm on the fence about this book. On the one hand, it's historical fiction set in 1666, a time not many books are written about and with ordinary people, so that's fascinating to me. On the other hand, it's relentlessly horrifying and sad as it tells the story of a year in a small town from when the plague first came to when it finally died out.
The book is just one terrible thing after another and I found that harder and harder to listen to. I think the ending was supposed to be happy, but it didn't really sit that way to me or at least didn't make up for the previous pages I had to get through. It's very well written and you definitely learn about a time of history that it's nice not to be a part of, but if you decide to read it, just be ready in your heart for heavy things.
Orthodoxy, GK Chesterson. I saw a review of this book (written at the turn of the 20th century) that just said, "Wow." I found it on Hoopla and started listening to it in the mornings. And while Chesterson does lay out why he believes in Christ and God (the answer to natural human needs, to a "riddle") much of the book is direct responses to other people's writing of the time. Or of his views of writers or culture of the time. Much of this wasn't meaningful to me since I don't know many of the people or situations he mentions. There were also a few times I really didn't agree with his ideas. It's considered a classic of Christian apologetics, so obviously there are many nuggets of good in here - I just had a hard time with everything around them.
Only Murders In the Building, Hulu. We are all loving this smart, funny episodic show that pokes fun at true crime podcasts while showing and trying to solve a crime.
Professor T, PBS. We were able to watch the first episode of this free and we really liked it - it's definitely got a Monk vibe with a OCD crime-solving professor. Unfortunately, to watch the rest of the three seasons we'd need to get PBS Passport...
The Crown, season 4, Netflix. I'm so late to this - I keep forgetting about it! But then I saw that it was nominated for Emmys and that the actress who plays Lady Di is good, so I started watching it with my daughter. It's just really a good, historical show.
The Courier, Amazon Prime. We enjoyed this movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch as an accidental spy in the early 1960s cold war era. He's a very good actor and the story was compelling. It's based on a true story and after reading, they did keep to most of the facts, but just upped the drama factor.
That's it for another addition of the Good Things List!
If you'd like to see more of what I'm enjoying, you can check out all the Good Things Lists here. I'd love to know what you think - if you've tried any of these or what you'd recommend. Leave a comment below with your thoughts!
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