October Highlights


  1. Spooky 2. Sophisticated 3. Celebratory 4. Natural 5. Scrumptious 6. Black and White

October keeps bleeding into November which is something of a metaphor for what this year has been: one thing just melding into the next and being quite surprised the old thing has passed and the new thing has arrived. October was spooky yet sophisticated with Halloween and at last breaking out the scarves, boots, and Fall prints. It was also scrumptious and celebratory: celebrating the return of everything pumpkin and my one year anniversary in this space! I can’t even believe it!

Some DIY’s I share simply because I think the idea was a good one, and even though my execution may have fallen a little short, someone else might be able to take the idea and run with it so I share anyway. But this month’s Raven Wreath and Black and White Pumpkins I can say I couldn’t wait to share because I was so very proud of them. Fall is my season: the best things happen, the best ideas, and I’m so excited for November. This month has already been incredibly busy in its four days but also incredibly exciting and I can’t wait to see what happens in the next twenty-six. I have some more things I can’t wait to share but I’m waiting to make sure they’re actually happening before I spill the bloggin’ beans!

image via vintage Vogue

– <3 A. 

Spicy Pumpkin Butter

spicy pumpkin butteringredients

  •  4 cups pumpkin puree (two 15 oz. cans)
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • chopped hazelnuts (or walnuts) for garnish.

**If you don’t want the butter spicy, just don’t add the cayenne pepper. It’s a nice balance to the sweet though so you could also dial it back to 1/4 tsp. if you want a more subtle spice. Also, if you’re not a maple syrup fan, add honey instead!**

Combine all ingredients except the nuts in a large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook uncovered for 25 minutes stirring frequently. Remove from heat and cool. The original recipe said the butter can be ladled into jars/freezer containers leaving 1/2 inch space at the top and kept in the refrigerator for a week or the freezer up to 6 months! This recipe gave me an entire quart of butter, but if you got the teeny little jars, it would be such a good hostess gift for the holidays along with a loaf of bread. Plus, it only takes about 5 minutes to dump all the ingredients together and 25 minutes to cook. A one-pot wonder is a pretty fabulous find because even with all my best intentions, drinking pumpkin lattes and watching You’ve Got Mail for the 1000th time sounds way better than a day spent baking.

spicy pumpkin butterspicy pumpkin butterspicy pumpkin butter

I’m thinking of trying it next on some scones, or maybe pancakes, or a muffin, or…you get the idea, yes?

Happy Friday everyone! This weekend I’m helping put the flowers together for a wedding and studying for midterms…quite the combination that I’m not really sure how it came about but at least it’s the weekend! Coffee and late night pumpkin butter runs are on the cue I think.

original recipe from BH&G magazine

– <3 A. 

Autumn Aspirations

October is swiftly coming to a close, can you believe it? I always want to hold on to these last few months at the year’s end. Call it nostalgia or call it just the January-blues, but regardless of what the previous year held for me, I’m never ready to see it drift away and watch the new one come into view. October is like a security blanket. It’s as if everyone does a collective sigh from the year’s ups and downs and finally remembers to look around and enjoy each other.

Maybe you have a different experience. Maybe the end of the year festivities fill you with dread and give you a sense of being overwhelmed by trying to get everything just right. It doesn’t have to be just right though. It doesn’t even really have to be close. In honor of making some easy memories without too much time to plan, and with a weekend staring us straight in the face full of moments to make memorable, here are a few musts for your October-end:

Drink far, far too much coffee:

coffee Decorate at least ONE table in your house:

fall decorating ideasok, maybe two:
fall decorating ideas Read a novel:

reading Indulge in Pumpkin-Spice-everything: Come December I am so over Pumpkin-Spice, but for October and November I enjoy it without even a splash of guilt:

fall recipes Find an excellent pumpkin-patch…
pumpkin patch
pumpkin patch …and someone special to carry the pumpkins for you:

Happy weekend everyone! Hope you can make some memories and enjoy the beauty that is October.

– <3 A. 

You’ve Got Mail…

Every October I watch “You’ve Got Mail.” And, every October, I want Kathleen Kelly’s (Meg Ryan) life. I don’t know any other character who actually makes me want to be sick.

She makes it look so lovely. Suddenly, I want to scuff around my house in socks, sit in sunbeams, and wear outrageously comfortable-looking sweater sets.

But this October, in particular, I feel very Kathleen Kelly-like.

 I don’t own my own bookstore nor was I forced to abandon a lifelong dream. Yet, I am, as Kathleen’s long-time friend and bookkeeper Birdie Conrad declares after hearing Kathleen’s decision to close the failing bookstore, “daring to imagine that (I) could have a different life.”

When Patricia, Joe Fox’s (Tom Hanks) girlfriend and the die-hard associate of a fast-paced New York publishing house, remarks that she is going to offer the now unemployed Kathleen Kelly a job,   Joe states that Kathleen could never work in Patricia’s corporate world because she lacks Patricia’s “killer instinct.”  I think that instinct is what many women believe they need not to thrive, but just plain survive in this crazy world. And, it might be true. After a century-long movement for gender equality, women are out-achieving men in work and education. Yet, after working among these over-achievers, I began to wonder if I was even working with women. It seems as if women have decided in order to overcome that glass ceiling, they should just stop being women at all.

Deciding to abandon a full-time job that was making me miserable and my creative curiosity icy-cold, was deciding that I didn’t have to give in. Not yet at least, not until I am disproven that genders are genders for a reason. I want to be educated, yes. I want to achieve things, of course. But how a man achieves things is different, and should be different, from how a woman does.

Feminist Germaine Greer wrote that the “classic burning of the bras” image of the feminist movement “represented liberation from the oppression of the male patriarchy” (The Female Eunuch, 62). After my experience in the work-a-day world, it appears that in our haste to burn the bra and throw off male patriarchy, we have thrown it off only to discover a new oppression, the realization of a void: the loss of the innate, female sense of nurturing, kindness, and caregiving.

Kathleen Kelly definitely didn’t have the “killer instinct” to survive in the business world. She disliked competition and confrontation, loathed when she actually said “exactly what (she) wanted to say at the exact moment (she) wanted to say it.” And, after crushing Joe Fox’s ego at a coffee-shop date, “felt terrible” for being cruel, for “what if what I said mattered to this man…? There is no excuse for my behavior.” Still though, she is successful in her own way. She writes and publishes a book, discovers a fulfilling relationship, and does so in her own sweet, charming way.

Achieve anything ladies, but don’t forget, please please, that putting up more twinkle lights, admitting daisies are your favorite flower, and wearing a skirt goes a long way.