My Summer Quarantine Reads



If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that I absolutely love books. Reading has always been such a hobby of mine and I have the worst habit of spending way too much at any bookstore. But if we're being honest books are one of the few things that have managed to keep me sane during this crazy quarantine time. I've been reading a ton these past few months and have really blown though some absolute gems. So I wanted to share!

Y'all I'm obsessed with this book. It's the perfect cozy read that really reminds you of Christmas. It follows a baker from Boston who suddenly has to relocate to a small town in Vermont. It's filled with the most colorful characters that made this such an easy read.

When I first started this book I had no idea it was going to be as great as it was.  I bought this book on a whim because it was on the Target recommendations list. But I'm so so glad I did. This book is such an addicting read and there were so many nights I absolutely couldn't put it down.

I love Mary Kay Andrews, she writes the most absolutely wonderful summertime reads and The High Tide Club was no different. I love that the majority of her books are based in the cutest small southern towns and are always complete with the best spunky protagonists. The High Tide Club tells the story of a group of friends whose friendship becomes interwoven in a mystery that spans decades.

In a nutshell, this is the story of a woman who swears she's being stalked by her husband's first wife. But here's the thing, his first wife is dead. I expected this book to be a bit cheesy at best, but I was hooked. If you love thrillers, you'll love this one as well. 

This story was my absolute worst nightmare of having a mother-in-law that just wants to completely destroy you. A book that gets more complicated with every chapter and a read made for curling up on your couch with a glass of wine.

 I've linked every book on Amazon for y'all to check out as they usually have the best prices in my opinion. I hope y'all enjoy hearing about books on the blog because I'd love to start a monthly newsletter with my favorite reads and recipes for y'all. Let me know if this is something you'd like or would subscribe to! 

Until Next Time,
Autumn

Pink Strawberry Pie






It's no secret that I love the color pink. From pink clothes to pink drinks, I'm all about it. So when I stumbled across a photo of a pink pie I was absolutely inspired. So today, I'm sharing my recipe for pink strawberry pie!


Ingredients: 
- 2 Pie Crusts (Pre-made or made from scratch)
- 1/3 cup of brown sugar
- 1/3 cup of white sugar
- 1/4 cup corn starch
-  6 cups of strawberries cut in fourths
-  1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- pink food coloring of your choice
- 9.5-inch pie pan

Step One: Dye your pie crust
Take your pie crust and roll into a ball, add a few drops of pink food color. Knead the color into the dough by pulling it apart and pushing it back together. Repeat this process until the dough has turned a light pink. Roll out one of your pie crusts and place it in your pan. Set the other to the side.

Step Two: Make your pie filling 
In a large bowl combine strawberries, both sugars, corn starch, lemon juice, cinnamon, and salt. Stir until strawberries are completely coated. Pour contents into the pie crust. Do not pour in excess juice if you have it as it will just make the pie soupy.

Step Three: Making & placing lattice. 
Roll out your second pie crusts and use a knife or pizza cutter to cut into even strips. Aim for about 2 inches. Place about five strips across your pie horizontally. Try to use every other strip. Take your remaining strips and weave through vertically in an alternating pattern. Cut away excess dough.

Step Four: Baking
Apply an egg wash and bake at 400 degrees for twenty minutes then at 375 degrees for twenty more minutes. Let cool and enjoy!

And that's it! I've really been enjoying posting fun recipes, so I hope you enjoy this one too!

Until Next Time,
Autumn

My New Puppy + Puppy Essentials!



Hi friends, if you follow me on Instagram you'll have noticed a new furry face popping up here and there. This is my sweet new puppy Charleston, or Charlie for short. 

All about Charlie

Charlie is a 9 week old shorkie, which means he's half Shih Tzu and half Yorkshire Terrier. He's about 3 lbs right now but you'd never know it by the sheer amount of personality crammed into his little body. When he's not running around the house, he's figuring out the next thing he can climb on
or bite.

What's it really like having a puppy
I'm going to be 100% honest with y'all, it's hard. Charlie used to wake up at 3:00 in the morning and then again at 6am. He sometimes gets pretty bitey and most things I've tried haven't really worked. He's only about 60% potty trained so I also clean up my fair share of accidents. Not to mention its definitely very expensive. From buying food, to vaccines, to all the little random things I'd never realized a dog would need it's a lot.

But, he's also made me more discplined, more understanding and so much more patient. I won't say there haven't difficult moments, but I will say he makes it worth it. My best advice to any new dog parent is first to strive for routine, getting up at the same time, lunch at the same time etc. Then secondly, wait until you have the time to devote to training. This is advice I definitely wasn't willing to listen to at first, but I'm so glad I did. Charlie definitely takes up all of my attention.

Puppy Essentials
When I found out I was getting a puppy, I was super overwhelmed at all the things I could and should buy. I tried to look up lists but if we're being honest there are so many things those lists left out that I definitely use on a regular basis for Charlie. So I though I'd round up the top ten things I use everyday for Charlie.


Keep in mind these are things that I've bought for my extra small puppy. You'll definitely have to make adjustments depending on your dog size and breed. If you have any questions about shorkies or raising a puppy I'd love to answers your questions! Although I've only been a dog mom for two weeks now.

I hope this post was helpful and gave you a little insight into what my life is like as a dog mom!

Until Next Time,
Autumn

Black Food Creators I Love





If we're being honest, food is definitely the easiest way to my heart. I love to eat, I love to cook and I spin way too long hunting down a new recipe to try for dinner. Well because I'm such a foodie, I love following creators in the food space. My Instagram feed is cluttered with everyone from chefs to food bloggers. So in my second post about amplifying melanated voices, I'm sharing my favorite black food creators.





My mom is absolutely obsessed with Jocelyn and is always finding inspiration from her cookbooks and newsletters. She cites her grandmother as one of her biggest cooking inspirations and strives to make food that makes people feel loved. One scroll down Jocelyn's feed showcases how absolutely true that goal she remains. Not only are her recipes delicious, but they're also absolutely beautiful. I mean just look at this strawberry pound cake. My mouth is already watering





Kardea Brown of Delicious Miss Brown.                                                 

I'll never not stop and watch Delicious Miss Brown whenever it pops up on my Food Network channel. Kardea is the most joyful South Carolina girl. Her television show surrounds all the absolutely delicious traditionally southern recipes she makes in her gorgeous Charleston home. Everything from picnic-ready pastries to tacos that are to die for. She's so down to earth and incredibly relatable. You should follow her and watch her show!
                                  


I wanted to make sure that I was adding people to this list that had roles in food that were a bit unconventional. Benjamina is not only a baker but a cookbook author and food stylist. I've always thought food stylists were the absolute coolest. I've spent hours watching youtube videos of food styling because at its core it's truly an art form. Now just when you thought Benjamina couldn't get any cooler, she's an alum of The Great British Bake Off! Now you've got to give her a follow. 




Ajiri isn't necessarily a food influencer, but her business is completely wrapped around food and beverage. She is the curator of an incredible vintage shop that specializes in French-inspired table wear. Though she doesn't make food nothing makes me want to bake a cake more than scrolling through her shop. She's absolutely worth the follow. 

And that's that! I hope you enjoyed this second iteration of amplifying melenated voices. I'm happy so much fun curating these for y'all. 

Until Next Time,
Autumn 

A Summertime Cocktail Hour









I've always been a big fan of picnics, some of my friends even refer to my entire aesthetic as "always ready for a picnic." No matter what you're eating there's something so special about grabbing your favorite picnic blanket and spreading out in a bed of grass. 

Though I've had picnics for years, I've added a new addition this past year...cocktails! In the photo above I invited my sweet friend Donyea over for a strawberry watermelon infused rose and a little charcuterie board. We had the best time sprawling out and indulging in the perfect summertime drink.

The cocktail was super easy to make, so I thought I'd share the recipe with y'all! And guess what? If reading isn't your thing, there will be an IGTV video of the recipe too! I absolutely love whipping up fun food and drink items, and I can't wait to show y'all more of what I've been cooking. 

Strawberry Watermelon Infused Rose

Ingredients: 
1/2 cup fresh or frozen watermelon
1 cup fresh strawberry 
1/3 cup fresh mint. 
1 bottle of sparkling rose 
1 bottle of still rose.

Directions: 
1. Chop all fruit into small pieces, ideally the smaller the better. 
2. Pull your mint springs from their stems.
3. Combine both types of rose in a large pitcher.
4. Add in your fruit and stir into your rose mixture.
5. Add in your mint.
6. Allow fruit to infuse in the fridge for at least one hour.

I hope y'all enjoyed this fun picnic inspiration and cocktail recipe! 

Until Next Time,
Autumn

Black Fashionistas I Love

I could spend hours perusing through Pinterest looking for inspiration. From fashion to beauty it's so helpful to have a place to turn to when I have no idea what to wear or how to do my hair. Which is why I thought I share some incredible ladies who's Instagram feeds are totally Pinterest worthy. 



            

Venita Aspen 

If we're being honest, I kind of want to be Venita. She's a drop dead gorgeous model/creative agency owner living in Charleston, SC. Venita's aesthetic is this incredible combination of feminine meets whimisical and I always look forward to seeing what outfit she puts together next. I'd say she's a must follow if you love all things bright, feminine and southern. 



  

Megan Pinckney

Another incredible South Carolina girl. Megan's Instagram bio reads, "A lady first and foremost." This is so incredibly evident in her personal style. Everytime Megan's posts I feel the need to add a new dress to my closet or swipe on some lipstick. Megan's feed is full of snapshots of her previous travels, her visits to the cutest business in South Carolina and adorable moments with her fiance. 



Tomi Obede

Beauty, brains and a total girl boss. Tomi, which is pronounced like homie, is a social media strategist blogger living in Charlotte, North Carolina. Between sharing her casual chic style and cute snaps of her and her husband, Tomi advocates for diversity in the influencer space. Though our style isn't exactly the same, she adds so much more to Instagram feed than just pretty pictures. A follow you absolutely won't regret. 


Onyi Moss

I found out about Onyi's feed from a couple of my friends and I couldn't have been more pleasantly surprised. Onyi has one of the most incredible feeds I've ever seen. Now only are the colors and photography great but her style is out of this world. She wears the most incredible dresses and accessories. Not to mention her travel snapshots look like they're straight out of Conde Nast Traveler. If your're looking for inspo of any kind then Onyi is your girl!

I hope you enjoyed this post as I'm so excited to announce that it's just the beginning of a weekly series I'll be doing to share other black creators I think y'all will adore as well. 

Until Next Time,
Autumn

My Post Grad Plans






Hi friends! If you haven't been following me on Instagram, you might not know that I recently graduated from college! For the past four years, I've been living in Austin, TX, and getting my Bachelor of Science in Public Relations. It's crazy to think that isn't my life anymore.

So, I bet you're wondering what I'm doing now... Well, that requires a little bit of a backstory. Originally when I declared my major, I thought I'd want to work at a huge PR firm in New York. Honestly, I'm not even sure if that's out of the question, but it isn't the plan right now anymore.

When I began the second semester of my senior year, I started applying to jobs like crazy. Anything I thought I was remotely qualified for I sent my resume in for. And for the most part, it worked. I got quite a few interviews, a couple of which I just knew would pan out... Then COVID-19 happened. Suddenly many of the companies I was interviewing with were forced to lay off existing staff and put all new hiring on a freeze.

Y'all I was crushed. I wanted nothing more to graduate and get a job in an industry I loved so much. But it didn't seem like that was going to happen, instead, I was going to head back to my childhood home with my tail between my legs. But then I forgot, a job wasn't my only option.

So I through myself into researching other paths I could take post-graduate, graduate programs, fellowships, internships, etc. And after all of that research, I'm so excited to announce that....

I'm going to Baylor University to get my Masters in Journalism, PR and New Media!

I bet you're now wondering what the heck that means, and what it means for my future career. Well, as much as I have absolutely loved my time at The University of Texas, I feel like there are couple gaps in my education that could really be supplemented by a masters program. Baylor also has a much smaller program than UT, which means I'll get more time to work one-on-one with the incredible professors in the department. Within the Journalism, PR and New Media department, there are quite a few concentrations you can choose from to really focus your studies. I'm still leaning toward marketing and advertising but news-editorial sounds fun as well! 

Now that you know more about the program, I'll tell you what it means for my career. Because of everything happening with COVID-19, there are tragically a lot of people who are currently unemployed, myself included if I didn't choose to go to graduate school. I spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself for not landing my dream job right out of college, but then I realized I had to change my mindset. I couldn't keep my dissappointment keep me from bettering myself. So that's what I'll spend the next two years doing. 

You'll probably notice a difference in my content, as I'll be spending the summer in Dallas with my parents before I move to Waco in August.  I can't wait to share graduate school life with y'all!

Until next time,
Autumn

My Favorite Low Cost Beauty Products




Hi friends, long time no see! I've been a little quiet on the blog as I've been finishing up my last semester of college. I'll be 100% honest, it was a hard one. But now that I'm done, I have so many fun ideas for content that I can't wait to bring to the blog. I hope you don't mind seeing a lot more of me!

First up, I want to share some of my favorite low-cost skincare essentials. I'll preface this with a little background about my skin. I've never had particularly bad skin, I usually only break out more during my menstrual cycle or when I'm stressed. However, I do have pretty combination skin, with an oily forehead but a very dry t-zone. So when shopping for skincare I usually have a pretty diverse set of needs, I want something hydrating, but not oily, I want something that's not harsh but can clear the occassional blemish... You name it, I probably need it. But I'm sure as you all know skincare is expensive. I don't want a skincare routine that completely breaks the bank, so I like to mix higher end serums with some less expensive staples. Here are those less expensive staples!

1. Accure Brightening Cleasing Gel
Okay, I used to go through cleansers like nobody's business. I was always trying a new one but never finding anything I loved. Then after losing my luggage on my birthday trip to Las Vegas last year I bought this one of a whim. I've never really heard of the brand, but it was the most natural product I saw. Turns out this cleanser is incredible. It doesn't leave a weird residue on your face and smells incredible. You can grab it at Target for only 9.99!

2. Accure Seriously Soothing SPF Day Cream
Moisturizers and cleansers were in the same boat for me. I'd tried super cheap ones, really expensive high-end ones and everything in between. I didn't love any of them. But when I was rebuying my cleanser, this was suggested to me as something I might like. I was out of moisturizer, so I bought it. I'll admit the first time I tried it, I didn't think I'd love it. But the more times I used the more I loved the way my face felt afterward. It's even better because it's less than $20 at Target.

3. The Ordinary 100% Cold Pressed Marula Oil
This product is actually a really great dupe for the Drunk Elephant Marula Oil which I used for a while and loved. However, I didn't love paying $40 every time I ran out of it. After some research on alternatives to marula oil, I found this one from The Ordinary. It's literally the exact same thing but way cheaper. I stick this stuff on my t-zone at night and wake up with refreshed skin.

4. Trader Joe's Watermelon Overnight Face Mask
This product has convinced me there's nothing you can't get from Trader Joe's. This product is good y'all. Trader Joe's has a ton of watermelon stuff out right now and I'll be honest I bought most of it. Though I don't really like real watermelon, I love anything watermelon scented or flavored. When I bought this mask, even though I knew I'd love the scent I didn't think I'd be wild about the product itself. I was very wrong. Essentially you slather this mask on before bed then wake up with the most incredible healthy glow. And get this, it's only 6.99.  I also thought I'd add that I read that this mask was a great dupe for the Glow Recipe Watermelon Mask, I've never tried it but if you're interested, try this one!

And those are all of my recommendations! I hope you get to try out a couple, I promise you they really are great!

Until Next Time,
Autumn

Finding Genuine Joy in Quarantine







We're halfway through what feels like the 800th week of quarantine. At this point, the memes are as funny as they used to be, and your motivation to work from home may be starting to wane. But that's okay, we're all at that same point. My senior year now feels like its creeping by, and every day there are a hundred new tasks for me to finish. One thing that has helped is carving out at least thirty minutes a day to do something that does bring me joy.


That sounds simple enough, doesn't it? In theory, it should be. But I've noticed at least for me, it can be hard to remember what genuine joy feels like. Instead of finding things that make me happy despite this situation, I've been finding what I can do because of this situation. For instance, I can't go outside so I can watch a movie about being outside. Not the same feeling in the slightest.

But, I say all that because I've compiled a little list. Five things I've been doing that have brought me genuine joy, not just quarantine joy.

1. Reading

I've read so many books since being quarantine, probably more than I've read all year. Don't worry, I'll be doing a post later about what I've been reading. But I've learned that nothing makes me feel better about our situation than escaping in a book for awhile.


2. Playing Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery

Okay, so this one is a bit different. But I'm addicted to this mobile phone game called Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery. It's based a few years before Harry Potter gets to Hogwarts, and your character is trying to solve a mystery about their brother. You get to learn different spells, how to fly a broom, earn house points and befriend all your favorite characters. It's a little bit of a time suck, but oh so much fun!

3. Stretching

I am the stiffest 21-year-old ever. I'm always a little achy, it's just my default mode. There's absolutely nothing worse for an achy person than sitting all day long. So even if it's just rolling around on the floor to stretch out my back, every little thing helps. I've been taking obe fitness classes at home, and they have the best ten-minute stretching classes. Though it's just stretching, I love having a little bit of direction. But there are a ton of free options on YouTube & Pinterest.

4. Fellowship 

People need people, it's just a fact. We're relational by design. As a self-proclaimed extrovert, I've really been missing my friends. Even just seeing them on my way to class would brighten my day, and now we don't have that anymore. Of course, I've been texting with my friends, but what has really made all the difference is being intentional. Set up facetime dates, set up virtual brunch dates, set up a specific time to be with people and them alone. I know that though I always have a ton on my plate, the most meaningful facetime dates are the ones you share with just each other.


5. Reading my bible


I'm not perfect at this by any means, I can't even say that I've done it every day. But, what I can say is that every day I've reached for my bible I've had a significantly better day than the days that I don't. I'm a big fan of the reading plans on the YouVersion app, I'm currently reading through one on the story of Easter.

How to Support Your Local Coffee Shop during COVID-19










Life has changed quite a bit since the last time I wrote a blog post. For starters, I, like many others are in social distancing. Pretty much everything in the city of Austin has been forced to close, my last semester of college classes have been moved online and things seem a bit bleak. But this period of forced isolation has also put a couple of things in perspective for me. Just how much I love coffee dates.

Though I like to call myself homebody, there's nothing I love more than chatting with a friend over a latte, or in my case a chai tea latte. But with everything going on, that's not an option right now. Which though I understand, makes my heart hurt for my favorite coffee shops. So I've compiled this list of how we can help.

1. Follow your favorite coffee shop on Instagram & share their posts.
This is a great way to spread the word about your favorite shops, and show your support without spending any money. Here are a couple of my favorites that you should give a follow.


2. Order a latte to-go or get one delivered. 
If you're feeling well, see if you can pop into a drive-thru, or get a latte to go. I'm sure your favorite coffee place will appreciate it. If you can't grab one to go, see if  Favor or UberEats can deliver you your drink of choice. Most locals shops have free delivery right now.

3. Grab their merchandise. 
Does your favorite shop have adorable tee shirts or cute stickers? Now's the perfect time to grab one for yourself, or a couple to give as gifts. Look at it this way, it's another shirt to add to your collection of cozy quarantine clothes. 

4. Get a gift card.
We won't be in quarantine forever, so why not grab a gift card to go visit when we're out? Consider it a gift to your future self. Just like ordering something online and being pleasantly surprised when it comes in the mail. 

I hope you find these tips super helpful, and I'd love to know what y'all are doing to support your favorite local businesses in this trying time. Good luck & stay healthy!

Until next time,
Autumn