autumn

OOTD: fall colors and falling leaves

Fall colors

I think this is my favorite time of the year. The autumn colors are gorgeous and I get to wear all of my favorite things: boots, cozy scarves, and lots of layers. It’s been a bit rainy here but I did get outside to take these quick OOTD pics. I’m loving my new boot socks and wear them everyday!

Fall colors

(T-shirt, sweater: Target; jeans: Walmart; jacket: Wet Seal; boots, boot socks: Payless; scarf: Kizuri; earrings: Pier 1)

On my mind: November 2015

Join me this November for the #gratefullifeNOV challenge on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook! (Original photo by Dayne Topkin via Unsplash)

Happy November everyone! It seems like October really flew by, and now it’s already time to start planning for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

This time of the year, everyone is talking about “the holiday spirit” and tossing around words like “thankfulness” and “joy”—but how much are we really focusing on those attitudes on a daily basis? And why is it so hard for us to focus on gratitude and maintaining a positive attitude once Thanksgiving is past? I know I personally have a tendency to zero in on tiny little things that irritate or upset me and then stew over them endlessly. And yet, when you focus on the positive, you’re bound to be happier (it’s science, people!). People who are more grateful also tend to feel better physically and have better relationships with those around them. Who doesn’t want that?

It also seems like this time of year highlights a sharp contrast between the “haves” and “have-nots”, and I don’t just mean the people who are well-to-do financially and those who are poorer or even homeless. A lot of people spend the holidays without the love of friends and family, or face a long gloomy winter that highlights mental or physical health problems. I know I have a TON to be grateful for in my everyday life—a warm home, a loving family, shelves full of books to read—and even though I see almost daily reminders of people who are hungry, hurting, or friendless, it’s so easy to start taking all of those blessings for granted.

So this month, I’m kicking off a gratitude challenge on Instagram. Each day I’ll post something I’m grateful for that day with the hashtag #gratefullifeNov. I’d love it if any of you want to follow along! If you don’t have Insta, you could do this on Twitter or Facebook, too. There is no daily prompt, just snap a pic of something you’re thankful for and share the story behind it. (Maybe it’s a mug of hot tea on a rainy day or a surprise card in the mail—it could be anything!) And be sure to tag me so I can see all your posts!

I think taking note of all the little things I have to be grateful for will make me happier overall, and if you join in I hope it will help you have a happier November as well. <3

Restaurant-worthy meals at home: how to dress up canned soup and a basic sandwich

Like many people these days, and especially with the husband going back to school, we’re trying to stretch our budget a little further each month. One of the areas we’ve really cut back is eating out/delivery–takeaway Thai, pizzas, lunch out while running errands. Not necessarily the most fun or easy, but I’m learning that there are lots of little ways to recreate our favorite restaurant items at home, or dress up simple meals so they feel a little more “luxe” on the weekend.

One lunch meal that’s easy to recreate is a soup and sandwich combo. Condensed canned soup isn’t exactly the most appealing thing, but I’ve found you can easily dress up a basic tin instead of spending a lot of money on a fancy packaged soup. The same goes for your sandwich–a few mix-ins make all the difference between a basic lunch and one that feels like a takeaway from your favorite cafe.

Fancy up canned tomato soup with spices and almond milk, and add some unexpected fillings to your grilled cheese for a restaurant-worthy combo.

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