Surely Not The Last Post You'll See About a Pumpkin Patch

Getting this post in just under the wire, but I'm happy to do so for the sake of prosperity. For the past two years I've happily blogged about taking trips to the pumpkin patch with my favorite person in the world, my brother, Jack. Unfortunately, this year I didn't get to make it home in time for our usual pumpkin patching shenanigans. In the "real world" there's no more fall breaks to get you through. Instead, this year, my boyfriend and I decided to head to a very small pumpkin patch not too far from our town.

There were bigger pumpkin patches around with petting zoos, cardboard cut outs, hayrides, corn-mazes, thousands of pumpkins, and sweet fair food. However, those patches cost about $10 to get in and that just didn't sit well for us because we wouldn't be utilizing all the fun, more kid-oriented things. If we would've had Jack with us? Well that would have been a totally different story! We figured we would save the entry $ and throw it at buying more pumpkins, which was perfectly okay in my book.

After finding a small, family-run pumpkin patch (that happened to be free) we headed there. Several gravel roads later we found ourselves pulling up to the tiniest, quaintest little pumpkin patch run by a husband and wife duo. They had a large field full of pumpkins for those who wanted to pick their own. For those that didn't, they had a full, open mouthed tent full of different pumpkin and gourd varieties. They also had some of the biggest pumpkins I'd ever seen! The wife told me that earlier in the day that they had just sold someone a pumpkin over 100 pounds. Isn't that crazy?

We took our time browsing in the notoriously too-warm-for-October Arkansas weather. We examined each pumpkin with care and began curating a selection of our favorites. We went with a mid-sized traditional orange pumpkin and two small white pie pumpkins. We made out under just $10, which was the real perk. They were selling the pumpkins for the amount equivalent to half the weight of the pumpkin. For example, a twelve pound pumpkin came out to about $6. Sweet! Why can't this pricing method be put in place for just about everything?

We took one small picture together, but we both decided that we basically dislike it. However, it's the only one we got, so I'm going to cherish it. There's just something about having your picture taken by a complete stranger *real quickly* that just never seems to turn out quite right. Am I right?

Later that night, I painted the pumpkins. I went for something really simple and timeless. I used black, orange, and white acrylic craft paint, a medium sized paintbrush, and a clear coat to protect both the pumpkin and the paint. I highly recommend the clear coat. Acrylic craft paint comes off easily with water (a great tip if you mess up while painting, btw) so if you want to keep pumpkins safe from the elements a clear coat will do the trick. Also, I quite like the shiny look.

In the beginning we fully intended on keeping our pumpkins outside, but after painting them and staging them on the counter we both decided we liked them too much to expose them to the elements. This little slice of fall on my counter makes me so insanely happy. The mason jar vase was bought from dollar general on the cheap. The fake flowers were a product of a great Walmart sale (all of the bundles were under $1). The red placemats were also a Walmart purchase. I bought 2 mats for roughly ~$4. The Bath and Body Works candle was also bought on sale for half off. All in all, the whole set up including the pumpkins, paint supplies, and all the accoutrements cost about $30. That's pretty affordable considering a basic fall wreath will run you nearly $25. Plus, I get to look at and enjoy this set up everyday! Also, lots of these little items are great multi-taskers. For example, the red mat will take us through Christmas and that the vase can be used to hold flowers from every season! Win win.

I say all in all this pumpkin patch experience was a pretty great success. Plus, I got to knock another thing off my fall to-do list!

Did you hit up the pumpkin patch this season? If so, did you carve your pumpkins or paint them? How have you filled your home full of fall bliss? Did you complete any cute fall DIYs? Let me know!

Read also: Pumpkin Patching 2013 // Pumpkin Patching 2014

It Never Gets Easier, You Just Get Better

I love the quote, "It never gets easier, you just get better" for many reasons, but one good one is because it's such a strong reminder to recognize and value personal growth. Life is mostly hard and it never does get easier, but you - you can and will get better.

This concept reminds me of paralyzing first days of school or maybe the uncertainty of driving around a new town because you just don't know the layout yet, how the parts connect to make a whole. It reminds me of undertaking the first steps of a project you're not quite sure how to start, of feeling that anxiety regarding "how in the hell am I going to make this happen?" Somehow, it almost always comes together though. That's because you learn the ropes and if you're anything like me you find yourself having to uncomfortably put yourself out there a lot in order to do so.

This year, though it seems dull in comparison to others, has been one of tremendous personal growth. I've been calling it "the freshman year of adulthood" and that name has really stuck. I've met so many new people (and yet, somehow, not enough people), conquered internships, graduating college, balancing two jobs at once, taking my first "adult" full time job, moving in with my boyfriend, attending conferences and meetups, and much more. This is not to brag, but just to reflect on all the big milestones that, when they were happening, seemed like small quick successions of things to do or get past in the moment.

Sure, I've spent too many late nights and early afternoons wrestling with self doubt and thinking about if I'm doing the right things and if I'm on the right path. It's easy to spend time questioning and judging yourself. For example: Is this the right job for me? Should I be painting more? I definitely should be designing more and writing more - why can't I start? Why don't I have the perfect apartment? When will I find the time to lose the annoying extra weight? The control freak in me has an expertly crafted, much recited three year plan. However, the dreamy overly romanticizing part of me has a glass that never is full and a heart that's restless. It's so easy to fret about what it means to be wanting more and doing more.

I heard recently that "wanting more" does mean that you necessarily lack anything and that has been a comforting notion to consider.

Mostly, I just wanted to take a second (okay, a few seconds) to tell you guys to keep fighting...fight through your daily struggles, the endless boredom, the lack of inspiration, the tough conversation, the scary notions of what it means to be on just one path, or conversely what it means to be on several. Don't be afraid of change. Take internal inventories every once in awhile. Do your best.

It never gets easier, babes, but you do get better.


42 Things To This Fall (+ Free Printable Checklist!)

One of the most loved recurring posts I do here on this blog are my seasonal to-do lists! Usually, they're my own personal to do list which I share, mark off, and document on the blog. This year I thought I'd change it up a tad and make one for anyone and everyone to follow. Fun, right?

Fall is such a special and beautiful season. Truly there's nothing like cozy, comfy feeling fall gives you. There's nothing like the crisp air, changing leaves, and pumpkin spice lattes. There is nothing like the first day of boots and cardigan weather paired with the smell of something delicious simmering and sizzling in the crockpot or baking sweetly in the stove. There's nothing like the first good sleep after "falling back" or the way your house smells after lighting that fall candle. There's certainly nothing quite like the elation of running through a corn maze or visiting a pumpkin patch and finding just the right pumpkin.

I really feel like I've rounded up some of the best things you can do this fall and compiled them all on to one handy dandy list which you can download above. However, here's is the list itemized and expended upon:

  1. Visit a pumpkin patch
    • If you do nothing else, do this one. So much fun! Plus you get more variety of pumpkins and the pumpkins are typically better/cheaper than the ones from big box stores like Walmart. 
  2. Go apple picking
    • If you're fortunate to live near an apple orchard definitely take the opportunity to pick apples! 
  3. Master making pies / cobbler
    • Especially of the pumpkin or apple variety! Those pumpkins you just picked? Those apples your just picked? Turn them into delicious fall magic!
  4. Drink a PSL
    • Have at least one! If you're not big on Starbucks, I bet your favorite local coffee shop has their own spin on it.
  5. Make mini carmel apples
    • They're fun, festive, and bite sized! The perfect fall snack.
  6. Light candles that smells like fall (pumpkin, spice, caramel, apple, leaves!)
  7. Open up the windows and inhale crisp, fall air
    • Fresh air is good for the soul and any time I can cut my electricity bill down by having the air off is a total win.
  8. Go on a walk
    • It's good for the soul and your health. Take advantage of the mild weather before temperatures drop and the last place you want to be is outside!
  9. Revamp your wardrobe
    • Time to bust out the boots, cardigans, scarves, flannels, light jackets, and sweaters
  10. Try a darker lip color
    • We all know dark, bold vampy lips are in. Rimmel 107 does the job for me.
  11. Buy something undeniably seasonal 
    • Whether it pumpkin pie spice creamer or caramel apple Oreos take advantage or the things you can't get any other time of year!
  12. Have a bonfire + make s'mores
    • There is nothing like bundling up on a chilly night next to a warm blaze and simultaneously stuffing your mouth with chocolate/marshmallow goodness
  13. Weekend getaway to a cabin or the mountains
    • Fall calls for cabin adventures and sleepy mountain hideaways!
  14. Take a scenic drive once the leaves change colors
    • One of my favorite fall activities! Check out this fall foliage prediction map to see when leaves are in peak season + google "scenic drives" in your state for the ultimate leaf peeping experience.
  15. “Fall back” and sleep in with your S.O.
    • Gaining an hour of sleep and snuggling in with your significant other is never a bad idea
  16. Drink cider 
    • Adult apple cider is a good option too
  17. Tailgate for a football game
    • Regardless if you're a sports fan, tailgating with your friends is so much fun and a tried and true staple for the fall time
  18. Visit the Farmer’s Market
    • Take advantage of the last few weeks of your local Farmer's Market. Stock up on seasonal veggies, jams, and honey.
  19. Make chili or soup in the crockpot
    • Nothing quite spells fall like having the windows open, a candle going, and simmering something savory in the crockpot. There are 8 million crockpot recipes only finger tips away via Pinterest!
  20. "Fall cleaning"
    • Similar to "spring cleaning" except for the fall time. Restart life and rejuvenate your home by paring down your belongings and giving things a good scrub! P.S. - my mom always liked to take this time to rearrange furniture.
  21. Give mulled wine a shot
    • Because we've all heard about it, but have never really tried it. Could be quite good?
  22. Go on a Hayride
    • There are so many fun hayride options out there nowadays! I've found the spooky ones to be the most fun of all.
  23. Visit a Corn Maze
    • Combat the anxiety of getting lost and take to a corn maze with a group of friends for an afternoon of sure fired fun
  24. Watch Hocus Pocus 
    • It's a fall staple and in my 22 years of life I never met anyone with lukewarm feelings about this favorite flick
  25. Have a scary-movie night
    • October demands at least one horror movie marathon. If you're not into the new age horror with all the jump-scares, try a classic like Halloween. 
  26. Carve or decorate pumpkins
    • You could even turn it into a pumpkin carving party! P.S. - if you kind of hate carving pumpkins like me - painting them works wonders and provides the same punch as a carved pumpkin!
  27. Read a new book
    • New season? New book! Make reading a priority this fall as you cozy up with a paper back (or perhaps a Kindle) next to a warm fire
  28. Make bread (ideally of the pumpkin variety!)
  29. Start pre-season Christmas shopping / list making
    • It's never too early to start sussing out X-mas gifts. Beat the Christmas crowd and aim to get most of your  shopping done before the craziness of Black Friday.
  30. Enjoy all the TV shows coming back 
    • Mine are American Horror Story and Vampire Diaries, but nearly any good show that went on hiatus is back and in action thankfully
  31. Decorate your door, yard, or porch 
    • It can be as simple as a festive wreath + pumpkin or as an intricate as a maze of spiderwebs and a whole yard of ghostly gravestones! 
  32. Pin a few potential Thanksgiving recipes
    • Try them out beforehand so there  will be less scramble before the big day. Make sure to write down the tried and true favorites so you’ll have them forever.
  33. Make apple butter
    • Kind of an 1800s move on my part - but there's something so festive/delicious about apple butter. Serve on warm bread or biscuits all fall long and thank me later.
  34. Donate to a food pantry to those in need
    • Give thanks and be generous. Donate to those who'll be struggling a bit this holiday season.
  35. Volunteer your time 
    • This is is the season of giving, so why not give your time? Whether it's helping out at a children's carnival, manning a fundraiser or ladling at a soup kitchen your time is invaluable when it goes to helping others! 
  36. Do a craft or DIY project
    • Pinterest runs amuck with turkey hands,  fall wreaths, and other easy, fun projects this time of year. It won't be hard to find a few favorites.
  37. Plant bulbs for spring
    • Get ahead on the merriment of blooming bulbs once the frost of winter has all melted away
  38. Try pumpkin flavored beer
    • I've heard mixed reviews and surely you have too. Put the rumors to rest and try a batch for yourself.
  39. Stock up on Halloween candy
    • While you're at it, buy a bag for yourself
  40. Try a Halloween inspired makeup tutorial
    • There are so many good tutorials out there for sugar skulls, deers, superheroes and more. My favorite so far has been this effortlessly cool Maleficent inspired make-up tutorial
  41. Eat More Seasonal Veggies
    • Squash! Pumpkin! Gourds! OH MY!
  42. Visit a Haunted House
    • Brave the dark halls of a haunted house this fall. I suggest doing nothing too intense (hey, unless you're into that sort of thing!). Anything that requires me to sign a waiver or lets the "actors" touch me along the way is generally a no-go. Just make sure to have fun! Bonus points if the haunted house gives part of their proceeds to a deserving charity.

What are you looking forward to most this fall? Anything in particular on your to-do list? Let me know!

It's Been Quiet Around Here & So Have I

Outfit Details: Boots (via Old Navy) // Vintage Dress (thrifted from Grey Dog) // Jean Jacket (via Maurices) // Knee Socks (similar ones here)

I'm not here to offer you anything today. I'm not here to offer helpful resources, e-books, free downloads, tips'n tricks, or webinars. I'm not going to share my artwork, favorite links, any beauty products I swear by, or anything else for that matter. Today is the day for an old fashioned venting/life-update/self centered post if there ever was one.

I've been thinking a lot...about...about just so much. I've been thinking about creativity, branding, and side projects. Along the same vein I've also been thinking about how much there is to accomplish and all the pressure, both internal and external, to make things happen at such a young age.

I attended a design conference recently called Made by Few. It was my first time attending a design conference and to say I was excited was a huge understatement. I was lucky to discover it was in my home town and for months I dreamt about listening to each and every speaker. The former lead designer at Spotify made an appearance as well as the VP of Design at Etsy. Designers who worked with Nike and on presidential campaigns spoke for an hour a piece sharing what they'd learned along the way. Designers who decided to quit corporate desk jobs sang the virtues of freedom as they touted their most recent self-initiated projects. Doers, makers, and shakers all stood up there and embodied everything and more that you would think of when you think "designer." So much of their success was equal parts perfect alignment with the stars and self assured ideation/follow through backed up by years of design training.

I felt more inspired and awed in those two days attending this design conference than I have in months since graduating college. Which is both a good feeling and a somewhat sad realization all wrapped into one.

In college you're (or at least I was) constantly being exposed to new designers, new work, new challenges, and new ways of thinking about things. You learn history - you master multiple crafts and somehow every craft I've ever tried to master has subtly influenced my design practice and vice versa. You're encouraged to explore and test limits regularly. You're invited to master what is the boundaries and what is not. You have access to so many things - equipment, professors, like-minded and equally talented peers. You're constantly pushed pushed pushed. This makes for the perfect storm of creativity and inspiration.

Dearie Lovie + BLOG DESIGN BY Labinastudio