Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Falling For Fall

 Growing up summer was hands down my favorite season; days at the pool, no homework, no school, late nights, no schedule – what wasn’t there to love about the summer season? Now that I am older fall and spring are by far my two most favorite season of the year. I just love how they both seem to represent a renewal of life and demonstrate just how beautiful change can be. However, in all honesty, I think fall just might be my most favorite… I love the first morning when the humidity breaks and there is a slight crispness to the air. Plus let’s not forget about fall fashion…  

Confession I have way too many coats, sweaters, boots, and fall theme flats, but at some point it starts to turn into a collection of fall classics, so you have to keep building the collection, right…?  

One of my all time favorite early fall looks is a pair of fitted pants, classic tee, timeless blazer, and fall themed flats {either in color or design} to kick off the season. Sarah Flint shoes have become one of my latest obsessions; I mean, when Meghan Markle, Blake Lively, and Amal Clooney all wear a shoe from a designer that is great quality and reasonably priced, they are worth checking out, in my opinion. 

I love Sarah Flint’s classic Natalie flat, but recently I have become slightly obsessed with her Bennett flat in Pansy Floral Jacquard. The navy and goldish/brown color combination complete with a pansy flower print is just too perfect for the fall season. I love how you can wear them with a pair of jeans or black or navy pants with a casual sweater or elevate them to the next level with a silk top or dress. 

Recently I have been wearing them non-stop with jeans and darker color pants. Sarah Flint shoes are so comfortable and I love how they mold to your feet over time to create the perfect fit. I practically live in mine. In my experience her shoes seem to run true to size, but if you have any questions about the fit, Sarah Flint’s costumer service is amazing! Plus, you get $50 off your first Sarah Flint order when you use code: BALAURENK50 – they are seriously the perfect shoes for fall!

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Books on Audio

 It has taken me the longest time to get into to audiobooks; I literally listened to my first one back in April. I love the feeling of holding a book and being able to turn the physical page, so I have never really given a nook/kindle {still haven’t tried those} or audiobooks a chance until recently.  

The pandemic and the currently circumstances of things has, for me, personally, made me a bit more anxiety prone and a little restless. I usually listen to music while I do my hair and makeup, go for a walk, or just have it on in the background while I work on something. I am one of those people who finds silence distracting…some times it’s nice to have a little quiet when you’re trying to process something but for the most part I have to have some sort of background noise. 


When I am working on different things I still play music or have a movie running in the background, but when I am doing my hair/makeup and go for a walk, I have started to listen to audiobooks in place of music and it has made such a difference. It’s just kind of relaxing to zone out and listen to a story while you’re doing something for yourself. I feel so much less anxious, and like I said, it’s just relaxing having a story read to you in a sense.


I haven’t listened to that many books on audio yet, but I thought I would share the few that I have so far! 


Mother City, by Starner Jones

Mother City is the first ever book that I listened to on audio. When I first started my first thought was: “this might have been better in book form” only because the first few minutes of the story are so descripted, and it was my first time listening to a book on audio so I was obviously a little leery about the whole experience… Within about ten minutes I was completely onboard with the whole audiobooks thing. Mother City is a fantastic thriller set in South Africa, that will undoubtedly hold your attention 


The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett

Tom Hanks Narrates this book and it completely made the entire story come to life. I love actually reading the book, but if I hadn’t listened to this particular book on audio I honestly don’t think I would have gotten as into the storyline as I did. I really hope at some point in time that this book gets made into a movie and that Tom Hanks plays the part of Danny as narrator of the story and the actual older Danny. 


Educated, by Tara Westover

Right after I graduated college I got really into reading autobiographies and memoirs, because I was so entranced with why certain peoples life turned out like they did, and how they decided to such and such for a career, and why some people decided to take a completely different road in life than the one they were on. Nowadays, a memoir has to just be super gripping to grab my attention. Tara Westover’s memoir was so well than that at some points I actually felt like I was actually listening to a piece a fiction, just because I would fall so deeply into her story. Highly recommend this one.


Before We Were Yours, by Lisa Wingate

This was such a fun book to listen to on tap. Wingate did such a flawless job of telling the story from past and present perspectives, and was able to switch from one to the other beautifully. 


This book grabbed my attention pretty easily, just because of the nature of the story. The Tennessee children’s home is located in Memphis, TN, about four hours away from where I live. And on occasions I’ll hear an occasional reference to the whole situation and it is just always so hard and so sad to believe that there once really was a Georgia Tann and a Tennessee Children’s home. Even though Before We Were Yours is a work at historical fiction, at times you feel like you are actually listening to a firsthand account. Very well researched and very well done.  


We Were The Lucky Ones, by Georgia Hunter

I feel like World War II books are always poetic, emotional, dark and a journey, just because of the nature of the time period he/she is having to weave your characters and setting into. I love how Hunter was able to weave so many characters into the storyline and the different accents and voice pitches that the narrator used to distinguish each character only added to the story overall. 


Would love to hear what your audiobook recommendations are if you all have any!

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Links I'm Loving

 I usually love these posts, but haven’t done one in a while… the weeks just seem to run together, and before you know it, Monday jumps to Friday. The change in the weather has already started to put a little extra spring in my step. I love the first morning, right before the leaves start to change colors, and all of the sudden you feel break in the humidity and a crispness to air – it just makes everything feel a little bit lighter. 


One// Get Organized with The Home Edit

I’ve only watched one episode s far, but I am officially obsessed with their Instagram and new Netflix series. For their first episode they helped Reese Witherspoon organized her closet and did a surprise closet makeover and the end results were simply inspiring.


Two// Fitzgerald Cableknit Sweater by Tuckernuck

I ordered this sweater last year and I wore it 24/7. Super warm, super comfortable, classic, and they got with pretty much everything, I’ll take one in every color, please! 


Three// Mini Waffle Maker 4 inch Orange Pumpkin

I am so excited for fall! In all truthfulness 2020 has just been one of those years that just keeps dragging on {I am sure a lot of you feel the same way} and I can’t wait for 2021. In the meantime, I am so thrilled that Fall is in the air. It’s the season’s that ushers in the holidays and I simply could not resist the getting the cutest mini fall waffle maker


Four// More Beautiful: All-American Decoration

I always love all the Blue and White Mark D. Sikes incorporates into his designs; I mean, look at Reese Witherspoon’s stores for example, beautiful. Cannot wait to flip through a copy of this book


Five// J. Crew Slim Perfect T-Shirt

It is surprisingly hard to fit just a basic tee at a reasonably price, that fits well. This Slim Perfect T-Shirt is, in my opinion, the perfect go-to basic tee. I love that the sleeves are a little longer so you can wear it with a skirt and then the fit makes it the perfect fit to wear under pullover sweaters

Monday, September 14, 2020

Gray And White

 Finding transitional pieces to wear between the fall and winter weather is always somewhat of a challenge. It either feels like summer weather with less humidity or like fall early fall temperatures with humidity. 

The best approach I have found is to start transitioning into fall with a change in colors {i.e. grays, navy, black, browns, blues, etc.}. Even if you are ready to break out the sweaters, boots, coats, vests, jackets, etc. try not to force a change in wardrobe too early if the weather doesn’t permit. 

One of the small things I am thankful for is that the no white jeans rule after Labor day is a thing of the past. I just love the chromatic look you can create with a white sweater and white jeans. I also love how gray and white always seem to work flawlessly together. This darker gray tunic from Rock Flower Paper is perfect piece and the perfect weight to carry over into the month of September and early October for those day that are a little too warm for sweaters and plaids.  

Even during the summer season proper this top would be a great piece to use as a swimsuit cover-up or to simply wear with a pair of white shorts. Definitely a 3 out of 4 season piece that is a great addition to anyone’s wardrobe at a very reasonable price! Plus, I am completely smitten with the design! 

Thursday, September 10, 2020

September Goals

 It seems so weird to me that it is already September…I feel like this has been the longest year ever, yet, at the same time, it has gone by so fast. I feel like the older you get the faster time seems to pass, and it seems that it is especially true this year. I have come to the conclusion that having too many things on your plate is just as bad as having too little; there definitely needs to be a balance. 

What my routine was last fall is drastically different from what it is this fall due to the pandemic {obviously} and various lifestyle changes. As I have mentioned before, I broke off my engagement back in January {which is a lifestyle change in and of itself} and honestly there were a lot of unrealistic expectations that was met with criticism after the engagement took place, that really absorbed a lot of my time… So, last fall my routine consisted of working in a school setting about three days a week, trying to maintain a blog, social media accounts, writing for various other things, taking care of a house {and almost everything that involves}, grocery shopping, cooking almost every night, being a support system, running errands, etc. 


This fall all I really have to concentrate on is myself, which is really weird for me, and at times a bit unsettling. As weird, as it is to say, sometimes, all the time I have at my disposable can be paralyzing. I’m obviously not engaged anymore, and I’m not working in a school setting at the moment {maybe after January depending on how Covid is doing}, definitely not cooking and grocery shopping almost every night of the week. Sometimes it’s just really weird having the opposite problem I did last year. 


I realize that I am not always going to have this much time on my hands so I have been trying to appreciate it, organize my time, and work on some self-improvement, and am embracing being able to do some of the things I had to let fall to the wayside last year in order to just keep up. So I thought I would share some of my goals for September to help me stay on track this month. 


Read More// This is one of the things I let fall to the wayside in 2019; I think I maybe read three books the entire year. This year I have read about nine times that amount. Plus, getting lost in a book is a great way to mentally escape the current circumstances, and even take a mental vacation. Last month I read/listened to 8 books and this month I am aiming for 9 books {I have already read 3 thus far}!


Workout// I have been trying to get back in shape – it’s one of my top goals for 2020 and probably 2021 as well. This is another activity I let fall to the wayside. By the time the engagement has ran it’s course, I was so stressed out by everything that had been going on within that situation that I had gained weight and my face was even swollen from the stress. For this month I am aiming to walk 5 miles every other day and do a round at nighttime yoga


Establish a routine// It’s nice to have free time, but I feel like I am just overall more productive when I can fall routine. This month I really want to work on setting a routine for myself and having more of a rhythm to my day


E-Mails// Staying on top of emails. Sometimes I wake up to so many emails that it can be daunting. My goal is to answer them as they come, because as we all know, incoming email does not have a pause button!


Going to bed Earlier// Last year I was at full mental capacity and would stay up just trying to process different things and I fell into a pattern of going to bed really late… I really want to work on going to bed before midnight. I feel like rest is one of those things people take for granted – being rested really just does bring out the better version of yourself


Blog More// With everything that is currently going on it makes it hard to come up with things to write about on my blog. You’re not really out living your usual everyday life and I think having kind of a mundane life at the moment can lead to a mental block when it comes to some things


Instagram// Post at least every other day. Instagram is probably my most favorite social media platform and you definitely get more out of it when you post and interact on a regular basis


What Are Some Of Your September Goals?