Sunday, March 10, 2019

Spring Beauty Favorites


It's been absolutely aaaaages since I've done a beauty post! I've been using so many top notch products lately, all of which are getting me in the mood for Spring. All of these bad boys are tried & tested products that I've genuinely been using daily and loving. As usual there are no affiliate links, nothing sponsored - just good old fashioned recommendations! 



1.  NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer.  I swear to god this stuff + a beauty blender is like a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser for my face. I don't love the fact that it's in a pot (I much prefer a tube) but it's so good that I will happily repurchase. I love using it alongside  Nars Sheer Glow for a perfect color and texture match. 

2.  Charlotte Tilbury 'Pillow Talk' Lipstick. Formula is comfortable on the lips and the color is the PERFECT pinky-nude for those like myself with dark hair and light skin. The fact that the packing is magnificent also helps. I won't lie, the staying power isn't what it should be for the price, but I've been through 3 of these already and will continue to purchase because it's overall such a trusty, classic product! 

3. YSL Vinyl Couture Mascara.  A new discovery and quickly becoming one of my favorite mascaras ever. This leaves my lashes thick, glossy & the blackest black.  Plus it does NOT sting my eyes or smudge badly which is my biggest issue regarding mascara.

4. Nuxe Bio-Beaute Repairing Lip Balm.  I picked this stuff up in Paris last summer when I was in dire need of lip balm and I really, really love it. Not only is it moisturizing but the tint it leaves on the lips is so gorgeous and glossy. It's a perfect everyday lip moisturizer. However, I will say it doesn't do heavy duty work. If your lips are CHAPPED from the change in season (I'm talking painful, cracked, bleeding) then you need La Mer 'The Lip Balm'. It's STUPID expensive but I swear to you it is magic. It heals my broken blistered lips overnight better than anything I've ever gotten doctor prescribed. 

5. Fenty Beauty 'Flyliner'. A really solid eyeliner that doesn't transfer to my upper lid. Super black and inky, sharp nib, easy to use and hold. Stays on so long that sometimes I have a hard time removing it, but I think of that as a good thing! 

6. Anastasia Brow Wizz. I am LATE to this bandwagon. I've heard good things about this stuff for years but always assumed it was overhyped. I saw it on sale at Sephora when I was home for Christmas and decided to take the plunge. Needless to say, I'm impressed. 

7. Charlotte Tilbury Bronze & Glow. One of my genuine 'desert island' products. The powers are such high quality and both the bronzer and highlight are so natural but still pack a punch. Every time I've strayed away to test other products I always return to this beauty. 

8. Aesop Sage & Zinc Facial Hydrating Cream. I love that this stuff has zinc in it (anti-inflammatory, helps scarring) and it also as SPF 15 for two-in-one moisturizing and sun protection. I'm also a fan of the smell (though some people will surely hate it) - the one thing I don't LOVE is how it feels on my skin, it's very thick and sticky. Normally this would detract me from using it but actually, I find the texture helps my makeup stay on! So I deal with the 5 minutes of sticky discomfort for maximum makeup results + skincare benefits. 

9.  BENAMÔR Rose Amélie The Miracle Dry Oil. I picked this bottle of heaven up when I was in Lisbon last year and I'm obsessed. It reminds me of a sliiiightly thicker, rose scented version of another body oil I love, the Nuxe Dry Oil. I slather it on after a shower and hop into bed - when I wake up in the morning I am soft and smell divine. 

10. Tatcha Luminous Dewey Skin Mist. I'm in two minds about this because on one hand, it is a truly great product. It makes my skin feel dewey and my makeup look smooth. However, this stuff is FIFTY. DOLLARS. For a little over an ounce of product. Dumb. So dumb. Why did they have to make it so expensive??? For this reason I use it sparingly, which pisses me off because I want to douse my entire body in it.

11. Diptyque Eau Rose Hair Mist. I am a die hard Diptyque fan, they own my bank account to be honest. I think their scents are gorgeous and their product design is amazing. My favorite scent is Eau Rose and when I saw they had a MINI that was meant for your hair I knew it needed to be mine. I wear it on days where I know I'm going to hug a lot of people and I always get compliments! 

12. Armani Pivoine Suzhou Soie De Nacre. This was a Christmas present and I am over the moon with it. It smells like fresh peonies and it lasts all day. Definitely on the pricier end for perfumes though! For a cheaper alternative, try Chloe's Eau de Parfum

13. Glow Receipe Watermelon Sleeping Mask. Another Christmas present that I've been getting great use of. This stuff does wonders when my skin is feeling dehydrated! The idea is to slather your face with it before bed and then rinse it off when you wake up. At first I thought it would be  impossible to do without getting gunk on my pillow, but actually it dries so fast on the skin and is totally comfortable to sleep in! I now pretty much use it as my nightly moisturizer and I'm so happy with the results! 

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Edinburgh City Guide



Edinburgh is (and I know this is a BIG statement) my favorite city in the world. This is confirmed by the fact that I've been there 7 times within the past 6 years. I can't necessarily pin point why I love it so much, but there's something about the energy and the history that just makes me weak at the knees. Not to mention it is truly drop dead gorgeous and filled with some of the friendliest people you'll ever meet (Scots are so, so lovely). If ever given the opportunity to live there, I would happily oblige! In the mean time, I'll continue to hop on the 45 minute, 20 euro flight from Dublin every so often to have a shopping spree and pop round to my favorite spots.



Victoria Street


Victoria Street is a magical little rainbow colored haven right off the Royal Mile. It's said to be the inspiration for Hogsmeade Village, and once you visit it's easy to see why - it's dripping with cobblestones and quaint, quirky little shops and restaurants.  A great place to start when exploring Edinburgh!


Calton Hill



When in Edinburgh, most people will tell you to visit Arthur's Seat (which in fairness, is incredible) but if you don't fancy the proper hike it takes to get to the top, then Calton Hill is an excellent alternative. It provides some of the nicest views in town without the trek (but definitely prepare for a brief, steep, uphill walk!). A perfect picnic spot on a nice day. 


Royal Mile



The Royal Mile is appropriately named as it's the mile-long street that leads you to Edinburgh Castle. It's definitely where you will find all the tourists lurking -  but it's absolutely worth a browse. It's not touristy in like a "Planet Hollywood" kind of way - it has some incredible charm, a detailed (haunted!) history and some lovely places to shop for souvenirs.


Dean Village



Dean Village is a picturesque little place a short walk away from the City Centre. To be honest there's not much there besides some lush foliage and gorgeous homes but it's a great spot for a nice walk & a photo op! 

The Waters of Leith



Now, to get from the City Centre to Dean Village, it's best to follow the Waters of Leith. Leith is a fishing village right next to the seaside. The Waters of Leith is the canal that streams into the city center from Leith. It is a GORGEOUS walk, like if you are lucky enough to get decent weather in Edinburgh then I couldn't recommend this more!

Circus Lane



Similar to Dean Village, Circus Lane is simply a beautiful place for a walk and a photo op. I'm particularly fond of it because the houses are straight out of a fairy tale. Quintessential Harry Potter realness. 

Greyfriar's Kirkyard




I realize it's weird to include a cemetery on this list but hear me out - this place is a must visit if you're a Harry Potter fan. When J.K Rowling was writing the first HP novel, she often took walks through this cemetery to get inspiration for names. Walking through Greyfriar's you'll spy the names McGonagall, Scrimgeour, and most notably - Thomas Riddell. It's also notorious for being THE most haunted graveyard in the world!



Camera Obscura & World of Illusions




This place is so much fun. It's an interactive museum that focuses on illusions and other mind tricks. It's 100000% touristy but a truly good time. If all fails, it has an amazing view from the top that's worth the admission!  

National Museum of Scotland



If you love a good old fashioned museum, this the place for you. Free to enter and so much to explore! A great place to pop into if you get burdened by the rain. 




Edinburgh has some absolutely incredible restaurants, but here are the three places I keep going back to: 


Elephant House



Another must visit for Harry Potter nerds: this is the spot where J.K. Rowling penned the first book. They even have a signed first edition in a cabinet to commemorate! The photo above is a selfie of me in their bathroom, where people from all over the world have come to write love letters to Harry Potter. If I'm being very honest-  this place is pretty plain, the service is really bad and everything is overpriced - so why do I keep coming back? Well, they have some of the BEST shortbread I've ever had in my life. Their elephant shortbread cookies are my all time favorite, and don't even get me STARTED on their millionaire's shortbread. My GOD. They are worth the queue you need to stand in to get them. That being said - assuming you're not shortbread addicted - if you go here once, you're good.

Witchery's Secret Garden




Easily my favorite restaurant in Edinburgh, and high on my list of my favorites of all time. This place is expensive - it's not somewhere you'd pop in for lunch. But if you want somewhere memorable with incredible atmosphere, service, and food, look no further. It's such a treat and somewhere I dream of going back to (even though I've been 4 or 5 times at this point!) Note: they have a sister restaurant next door called The Witchery. Make sure you're booking the Witchery's Secret Garden

Dirty Dick's



Quite the opposite to the Witchery, this is a classic Scottish pub. The inside is surprisingly cozy despite the ecclectic decor and the bartenders are friendly. Get the haggis burger if you dare - it's incredibly delish! 


(The three S's)

Scarves

Cashmere, with tartan print. A classic Scotland staple!  

Scotch

I mean...where do you think it got its name?

Shortbread

Please read the description under "The Elephant House" 





I couldn't end this blog post without sharing one of my favorite Airbnbs of all time. This place has the most incredible location right near Edinburgh Castle and a lovely view of the Royal Mile. The interior is impeccably decorated and the host is wonderful and goes above and beyond for his guests. I really couldn't recommend it more. You have to climb a LOT of stairs to get up to it which is the only downside, but if you can deal with that then this is the perfect Airbnb for a quick getaway for two with minimal luggage.

You can find it by clicking here!



Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Since we last spoke...


Okay. I have some explaining to so. I truly never intended to not write a post for FOUR months! I think that might be the biggest break I've ever taken. What can I say, life just got crazy and I couldn't keep up! Last year I didn't make blogging a priority and that does not please me. I definitely feel happier and creatively stimulated when I'm writing about my adventures! I have no pin-pointed reason why I stopped - other things just took over my life! But nay I say, NAY - no more. My 2019 resolution is to spend more time on creative endeavors so here I am (in February, hehe oops) ramping back up again.

I was going to just jump right back in to posting but I figured I needed to update my loyal readers as to what I've been up to the last few months! So here's a breakdown:

Travels

Ohhh lordy. I've been jetting around a LOT since October!

I spent my Halloween weekend road tripping around the Scottish Highlands, which if you can recall was on my Autumn To-Do List! It was insanely magical and I already want to go back. If you ever want to visit the Highlands, do it in the Autumn. The landscape took my breath away.



For Thanksgiving my beautiful cousin Shereen flew over and we jetted off to Lisbon, which I hadn't been to in 6 years and was SO excited to return to! We spent two days exploring, taking pictures of all the beautiful tiles, drinking coffee and soaking up the Portuguese sunshine.




Right after Lisbon I flew directly to London for a work trip and got to take in all of the INCREDIBLE Christmas lights. I loved London at Christmas so much that I already know I want to go back this year! 




When December came around, I decided I needed to cross off visiting a European Christmas market off my bucket list. HOWEVER - I only had a day to spare. So my two friends and I flew into Frankfurt, Germany for approximately 10 hours to visit their insane traditional market and it was an excellent decision. I went on a Wednesday and my flight was only 25 euro round trip!




A Christmas drew nearer, I jetted off to San Francisco to spent one entire month with my family. I took three weeks off work (the most I have EVER taken off at one time) and then worked a week remotely. It was so special to be able to spend time with my family for so long, PLUS - we have a new family member! Meet Angus:  




He's a Norwich Terrier, and he is perfect. And I promise he has a much happier disposition when I'm not forcing him to take selfies with me.

During my time in California, Joey and I took a road trip down to San Diego to indulge ourselves in sunshine and Mexican food, followed by one magical day in Disneyland on our drive back home. 




I can honestly say I have dreamed of this meal multiple times a month since its consumption. Truly divine. If you ever go to San Diego, consider Casa de Reyes a MUST stop. 

Come mid-January I was back in Dublin. Which brings me to...

Life Update


Ohhhh guys. Despite the travels, the fun family times and the new puppy, I had a major underlying stress the past few months - I had to move. Emphasis on the HAD. When I was in London for work in November, my flatmate told me that my landlord had slipped a notice under our door telling us that we needed to get out because she was selling our apartment. We had approximately 3 months to pack up three YEARS worth of stuff and find a new place to live. During Christmas time. When I had a month long trip abroad planned. 

Needless to say, I had a bit of a crisis. 

I won't get into the nitty gritty because it's all just a bunch of first world probz, but luckily when I returned to Dublin I found Joey and I an apartment within a week. We moved out of the city center  and now live in a gorgeous little seaside village in Dublin County. We have a walk-in wardrobe (first time in my LIFE I've ever had one and I'm impossibly excited about it!), a way nicer bed and even MORE outdoor space then we had before! So it all worked out for the best in the end. We've never lived together without a flatmate and so far, so great.  ♥ 

I have so many things this year I want to write about! I feel more inspired than ever to get back into it and share lots of stuff - not just travels but lots of lifestyle content too! I hope now that my moving fiasco is over I can finally get a grip on my life and dedicate my downtime to things I am passionate about. Oh, and if you ever want to keep up with me, I am super active on Instagram stories! You can follow me @alyseya 

Monday, October 15, 2018

How To Take Great Instagram Photos on your iPhone



The thing I am complimented on the most, out of EVERYTHING in my life, is my Instagram. I get a lot of positive input from both loved ones & strangers on a virtually daily basis, which is the sweetest and most encouraging thing to hear. I don't have the biggest following and I don't post all that often, but I would definitely still consider it a hobby. I've loved photography ever since I was a kid and I LOVE creating mood boards, vision boards, themed boards etc - so Instagram is the perfect medium as a creative outlet for me. 

90% of the time after I get a compliment on my Instagram, I hear the question "What camera do you use?" and let me tell you friends - it's all iPhone. I own two very fancy and expensive cameras which sit depressingly unused in my electronics drawer because I ultimately cannot be bothered to lug them around. That is the one & only true reason why I don't use them. They're heavy! And cumbersome! And I live in frickin' Ireland where it rains all the time and they can't get wet! I don't even use them for blog photos anymore because I am a truly unbelievably lazy individual who just wants to be cozy (potential title for my autobiography lolol).  

That being said, let me make something very clear: you do NOT need a fancy camera to take great pictures. Some of my favorite Instagramers with hundreds of thousands of followers are iPhone only. And why not! Smart phones these days have crazy good cameras. Will they provide you with the same quality as a DSLR - no. But Instagram isn't really about photo quality, it's about creativity, vision, and palette, none of which you need a fancy camera to produce. However, there are still some general everyday tips & tricks I have to make your iPhone pics as close to professional quality as possible (or just, you know, better then they are now!) A note to Android users: I know nothing about your tech, but I'm sure if you have a good camera on your phone these principals will be relevant to you too! 

A good picture consists of four things: Concept, Composition, Lighting, & Editing. So I'm going to give you tips on all 4 of these matters! Starting with...

Concept

At some point in your life I'm sure you've blurted out something stupid, to which someone probably taught you the lesson of how you should 'think before you speak'. In photography, it's the same - you should always think before you shoot. 

Let's say you come across a pretty flower and want to take a photo of it. Instead of simply taking out your phone and grabbing a quick snap, take a moment to think about what is it about the scene that is attractive. Some questions to ask yourself:

What is the main focal point of this scene? 
Is it a single flower? Is it the entire bed of flowers?

Is there anything distracting in the background? 
Are there people walking around in the background who need to depart before you take the snap? Is there a patch of dead flowers that should be avoided?

What are the colors surrounding the scene? 
Is there an ugly brown bench that is ruining the bright colors of the flower bed? Or is there a cute colorful building in the background that plays off the colors of the flowers?

What is interesting about this scene? 
Why are you taking this picture? Is it for sentimental value, or to simply capture a beautiful moment? This may change the way you want to frame the shot. Always use the main point of interest to guide your creativity!

Now I'm not saying to spend 15 minutes really contemplating these - these questions are more to inspire you to simply ponder what about the scene makes for the best photo. I once saw someone on my Facebook feed post a photo of themselves at The Bean in Chicago. However, I only know they were at The Bean because of the geotag - the photo was an up-close picture of them sitting on the floor in front of The Bean, with nothing but a small sliver of The Bean in the picture. So this person was at one of the coolest, most popular attractions in Chicago and to showcase it they posted a photo of them sitting on the floor. Do you understand my point?

 Here is an example of creating a concept:



I was walking around the Upper West Side in New York when I saw this building and my jaw literally DROPPED. I thought it was absolutely stunning, so naturally I needed to snap a photo. The pic on the left if the first picture I took, very much a "oh wow pretty building let me snap it quickly" shot. But when I took a second to analyze the scene, I realized that not only was the tree above me was causing my photo to be dark, but there were some gorgeous flowers and a vintage lightpost that would look incredible in my shot. Not to mention moving forward meant that the building filled more of my frame, which makes it look much more grand.

Composition 

Now, there are entire textbooks dedicated to photographic composition so we're not going to go too deep with this, but here are some quick tips:

Familiarize yourself with the Rule of Thirds
It's one of the most basic photography principals and will truly change your photos once you master it. To sum it up hastily, the idea is to split up the scene into three sections an then use those sections to frame your photo. You never want the horizon or the floor to be in the middle third, and you never want the main point of interest to be dead center. The Wikipedia article I linked is very thorough and gives great examples! Now in my mind this is just a guide (I've definitely taken photos with artistic merit that do not follow the Rule of Thirds) but it's a great rule of thumb to follow when in doubt.

Ground v. Sky. 
Always check to see if there's too much of either in your photo. For example, let's say you're taking a picture of your friend up against a cool wall (something I find myself doing very often) - the focus is on your friend and the wall, so make sure that the ground or sky aren't making a serious cameo in your photo.


Here are two photos I snapped of my gorgeous BFF Grant while we were roaming around Brooklyn. The photo on the left is a prime example of me fucking up - the photo is supposed to focus on the beautiful colors (& his beautiful bod) and yet I captured quite a bit of the ugly, dirty cemented street. The righthand photo follows the rule of thirds (neither he nor the sky/ground is centered) and I framed him perfectly to amplify the two main interests. 

Now, if the main focus of this photo was on his outfit (which, it very well could have been) then I would have re-shot a different version of the left photo that captures his entire body, but would have framed him better and captured minimal amount of ugly ground floor. 


Try to always shoot with your iPhone in the vertical position. 
I know that some scenes look WAY nicer when the camera is horizontal but if you want to post it on Instagram it will lose its detail since horizontal photos are not optimized for smartphone apps.

If you want to post a photo to your Instagram stories, use your fingers to stretch it out and reformat it in your camera roll and then screenshot it before uploading.
Instagram stories are full screen, whereas iPhone photo are not. If you put an iPhone photo into IG stories, it will auto-zoom so that it's formatted correctly, but that auto-zoom isn't always the best composition for your photo! I like to resize it myself in my photos and then screenshot it so it's already full screen and perfectly aligned. Another IG stories tip is to always take a photo from further away than necessary so that when you reformat it to be full screen, it's not too zoomed in!


Lighting 


Overcast is EVERYTHING.
You would think a dreary, cloudy day would produce dull photos, but on the contrary, it is some of the best lighting out there. Obviously you can't beat golden hour (the perfect time for photos!) but if you have an overcast day the light can be bright and diffused, low and subdued, or dark and dramatic - all amazing settings for great pictures.

If you're shooting indoors, always do so by a window.
Ever notice that your selfies look bomb when you take them in the car? That's because windows diffuse bright light and create a gorgeous softness that is great for portraits.

Generally speaking, you don't want the light to be above you or behind you.
I'm not saying you can't work with this lighting or that this lighting hasn't produced some cool photos, but for everyday life these two lighting styles are often unflattering.

If you find yourself in a situation where the light has to be behind you, be mindful of the shot. 
Being backlit means one of two things: either you are a giant dark shadow with a beautiful background or you are bright and beautiful in the foreground with a blown out background. You can switch between the two by the touch of a finger on your phone screen. Sometimes this situation can't be avoided, and when this happens the best thing to do is determine what is more stark - is the light literally blinding? Or is the darkness way too black? If the brightness is blinding, make sure to focus on the shadows. If the shadows are too dark, take the option where your photo is a little blown out.

Here's an example of this principal:



The photo on the left is an example of a bright foreground but a blown out background. The second is an example of a dark foreground but a well lit background. The third is an example of a perfect balance. If for whatever reason my phone was not able to adjust to create the third photo, I would probably take both of the first two photos and then edit the photos to see if I can darken the highlights on the first one/lighten the shadows on the second one, and then determine which edit looks best.

Which brings me to my FINAL point:

Editing

Editing is both an amazing tool with incredible potential and an evil tool that can have disastrous consequences. Using it wisely is key. But generally speaking, editing is great! Sometimes you can't get the scene you want because you're on the go and don't have time to set up a perfect shot, or you're in a situation with unfortunate lighting, or maybe the moment is quick and fleeting so you had to act fast and accidentally captured someone walking in the background. Situations like these are where editing is your best friend.

There are hundreds (maybe thousands!?) of editing tools, but here are the ones I reccomend:

Adobe Lightroom 

At this moment in time, I exclusively use Lightroom. It's $10/month and the creme de la creme of editing tools. Besides the monthly fee, the one downside is this tool is that it's generally not good for beginners as it's not the easiest to use. It's a professional tool that involves a deeper knowledge of photo editing to begin to use. That being said, there are so many courses online you can take to help you. If you're serious about making photography and photo editing a hobby, definitely look into it!


The photo on the left is the original photo, the photo on the right is edited in Lightroom. Truth be told, the right photo is over-edited in that it's a little too saturated and blown out (I edited it super quick to throw it on my Instagram story) but I still feel like it is a perfect illustration of how powerful of an editing tool Lightroom can be!

FaceTune 
Now don't get ahead of yourselves, I do not use FaceTune to thin my face or body. Doing this is almost always noticible so I do not recommend it. If you want to look skinny you need to Photoshop that shit. That being said, FaceTune is wonderful for 3 things:

 1) Smoothing over harsh lines. Sometimes when I edit in Lightroom I find I get some harsh lines from lightening shadows and darkening highlights. A quick smoothing from FaceTune and I'm usually good to go!

 2) Whitening your whites. They have a teeth whitening tool that can be used for SO much more than just giving you pearly whites. If the whites in your photo look yellow or grey, going over them with the whitening tool is incredible.

3) Getting rid of acne. No need to let a bad skin day ruin your portraits. I see no harm in erasing a zit or two!

iPhone 'Edit' 
Honesty, the iPhone Photos in-app editing is really good! Sometimes even after I edit in Lightroom I'll tweak a couple of things before I post. I would HIGHLY recommend this for beginners - play around with it and see what you can create!

Instagram In-App Editing
Truth be told I do find that editing an iPhone photo in Instagram can degrade the quality slightly, but the tools it contains are great. Up until last year I used to use the IG in-app editing a lot!

VSCO
Though I don't personally use VSCO, I see a lot of gorgeous content created from it. Their filters are natural and soft but striking at the same time. They can also help you create a beautiful, cohesive color scheme for your feed.


Some general editing principals to follow:

Don't over saturate or over sharpen/clarify 
The human brain loves bright, sharp scenes so sometimes it's easy to get carried away. Always remember a photo should look as natural as possible without compromising your creativity.

Do not edit your body using a phone app 
I touched on this earlier but for real, phone apps are not Photoshop. Though some people might not notice, it's generally not worth risking.

Experimenting is good! 
Spend a solid amount of time playing around with editing and find what color palettes, textures and lighting speak to you. The most fun part of editing is being creative with it and trying different types of edits! It can lead you to create a beautiful Instagram theme. Do you like dark & moody, bright & playful or serene & muted?



I hope some of you find these tips helpful! And PLEASE remember:

Instagram is supposed to be fun, creative & inspiring. If you find yourself feeling down about yourself because of it, take a break. It makes a great hobby but should not in any way negatively affect your life!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Autumn To-Do List pt.II



Last Autumn I set myself a to-do list and managed to cross almost everything off! I carved pumpkins, went to a drive-in movie, visited my favorite lighthouse, went to a Halloween party, even took a trip to New England - which was on my bucket list for a VERY long time! Needless to say I am incredibly pleased with myself. Living in Ireland means that traditional fall activities aren't readily available to me (apple picking. hay rides, corn mazes and pumpkin patches are unsurprisingly American traditions) so I like to create my own festivities for my favorite season of the year!  

Make a festive breakfast 

I'm talking the works. Chai lattes, pumpkin waffles, smokey bacon and something rustic in a skillet. Probably eggs. Final menu to be determined. 

Lord of the Rings marathon 

Growing up I was absolutely OBSESSED with LOTR. I had convinced myself that Aragorn was the man I was going to marry (the character specifically, not the actor who plays him - obviously). I had the realization earlier this year that I haven't seen the films in so long (10 years?) that I forgot a lot of the plot. Clearly I'm in need of a refresh & autumn is prime-time for film marathons!

Road trip through the Scottish Highlands 

I have this vision of Joey and I driving through the highlands, seeing the beautiful colors of the changing leaves, taking photos and stopping to pet highland cows. I am (very) determined to make it a reality. 

Finally finish the stack of books on my bedside table 

I (very) shamefully have 3 books that I started early this year that I have yet to complete. Ultimately it comes down to the fact that when I have downtime I generally choose other activities, but in the chillier months I definitely find myself reading more. I have made a vow that by the end of the year they will be complete!

Visit the Harvest Display @ The Botanical Gardens 

Every year the National Botanic Gardens make an incredible display with different squashes and gourds and this year I MUST go.

Kayak 

Honestly this has been on every to-do list since the first time I kayaked in 2016 and I truly don't understand why I haven't done it.

Start A fresh notebook 

I have this dream of being the type of person who carries around a perfectly curated notebook everywhere I go, with pressed flowers and beautiful penmanship in it. Reality: I scribble, make lists I never cross off and usually end up making ugly doodles in the margins. But it never hurts to try! 

Take a walk in the woods 

Something I've been itching to do for a while, especially because this cute little coffee truck is always settled in the mountains, a prime location for a coffee & an autumnal stroll!