9 October favorites

Some of my current fall favorites, from books to beauty to coffee:

1. Spiced pumpkin seeds at Trader Joe’s. Tis the season for pumpkin spiced everything, I know. (Props to lululemon, whose chalkboard proclaimed “We have pumpkin spice yoga pants! Just kidding.) But these are worth seeking out. Their frozen lasagna also saves my life on a regular basis, for $4.99. (I share my Trader Joe’s favorites right here.)

2. The perfect pair of bookends.

People are always telling me, if you have bookends, you don’t have enough books. But these pineapples were way too pretty to pass up, because look how nicely they play with Reading People!

This isn’t the first set of cute bookends I’ve picked up for less than $20 this year. You can see my similar A to Z bookends in our home library on the middle shelves.

3. Instant Pot frozen whole chicken. I would like to think I’m the kind of person who doesn’t need a recipe like this in my life, but alas, this method has saved the day a few times this fall. It turns out that, yes, you can cook a frozen solid whole chicken in the Instant Pot in less than an hour (including that pesky coming-to-pressure time that pressure cooker recipes never seem to account for).

A few notes: this wouldn’t be my method of choice if I wanted to serve a chicken dinner. But if I want cooked chicken to add to a dish like curry, chili, chicken soup, or enchiladas, it works like a charm.

4. Non-pink nail polish.

Because somehow whenever I try to impulse buy nail polish at Target, I always come home with the same shade (Revlon’s Teak Rose).

I found myself on the road recently with peep-toe heels and nails that hadn’t been painted in too long, so I stopped into the drugstore to see what I could find. I had my eye out for a pretty shade of greige but on the rack they looked pretty boring (plus would probably clash with my brown heels anyway).

I was happy to find Essie’s Smokin’ Hot, a muted purple with grey undertones. That drugstore selection wasn’t the greatest, and I might love the more-lavender-than-purple Merino Cool that I found after my trip even more.

5. PrepDish.

Not planning ahead is a recurring theme in my life, apparently. We’ve been using PrepDish at my house to see us through busy seasons for about a year and a half now. It’s called PrepDish because it works like this: you do all the prep work for a whole week’s worth of meals at one go, which makes it super easy to actually put dinner on the table every night of the week. I love how the menus are simple without being boring, and always feature seasonally appropriate dishes and ingredients.

Sharing here because I love it, but because PrepDish is a podcast sponsor, you can get two weeks free to try it for yourself: click here to visit the PrepDish site and use the code READNEXT.

Pro tip: I enjoy prep day sooo much more if I start with a clean kitchen and a podcast or audiobook I can’t wait to listen to.

6. Shoes that match the autumn leaves.

I’ve been thinking about a new pair of Tieks for a while now, but I wasn’t sure which color to get. But then Kristen showed up at our New Orleans MMD meetup wearing the burgundy, and I was sold. I ordered them the day I got home. I especially appreciated her explanation of why she preferred them over a few other colors I love. Short answer: the dark colors wear better over time.

(A few notes about Tieks: they’re spendy, but worth it for me, and I write about why here. The short version: my feet are enormous. I also share my tips and tricks about styles, sizing, wear, and customer service in this review.)

7. Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream.

I’ve always been a drugstore moisturizer girl, but I have a few Kiehl’s lovers in my life, and they talked me into giving this a try. Last November, I bought a 1.7 ounce (as in, not huge) jar of their Ultra Facial Cream. A family member is a Kiehl’s junkie, so every year we buy her a different Kiehl’s gift set. While I was shopping for her last November, I bought myself some of this moisturizer.

I have really sensitive skin, and I was skeptical. But I love it. And also, I’ve used it every single day since before last Christmas and I’m still working on the same jar. I don’t need very much.

8. Mood lighting.

File under: things I never would have purchased on my own. A decorate friend recommended this West Elm pendant for our kitchen, and I said Seriously? It arrived, I opened the box, and said Really? We hung it, and Will and I both said Ohhhhh. I get it now.

It looks nice, frames the space, but most importantly, the light it throws in the dark/dim is fantastic.

9. Coffee on autopilot.

Caffeine continues to be my nemesis. I love coffee, but caffeine continues to make me feel terrible. We have great local coffee shops here in Louisville, but because decaf options aren’t abundant, I end up drinking the same three blends over and over again. It’s not a horrible situation to be in, but I would appreciate some variety.

Will got me a MistoBox subscription for Christmas this year, which means a box of decaf coffee arrives monthly. I always forget it’s on the way, which means I’m continually surprised when a new-to-me decaf blend arrives on my doorstep once a month. I love my local roasters, but it’s so nice to be guaranteed something different once a month, even if I fail to plan ahead.

What are YOU loving this fall? We’d love to hear a little about your favorites in comments. 


Leave A Comment
  1. Liza says:

    I love my Tieks! I have yellow but am eyeing the burgundy, olive, and navy. I’m planning on buying another pair in the next couple of months.

    Today, I’m loving the weather. We had our first real cold front of the fall come through. So the temperature is 80, but a cool breeze is blowing. I know it’s not really cool, but it’s so much better than the upper 90’s heat we had this weekend, which caused me to overheat twice in one day.

  2. Laura says:

    If you like Kiehl’s ultra facial cream, you should try the avocado under eye cream. It’s the smoothest, silkiest moisturizer you’ll ever use. I’m a bit of a Kiehl’s fanatic (I’ve used 6 of their products today!) and proselytize about them to everyone I know. I even got both of my parents using their products.

  3. Amanda June says:

    Love these lifestyle kinds of posts of yours the most. 🙂

    I do have a nail polish question though, and it’s such. burning one that I’m asking it on two different blogs that recommended Essie polishes today: Do you not have issues with Essie polish chipping? I have tried a few and every single time I find that the quality is among the worst of all the nail polishes I’ve used (and it’s certainly not among the cheapest!) — chipping in just a couple days. What gives? Am I missing something?

    P.S. a great purple-grey shade: OPI’s You Don’t Know Jacques.

  4. Diana says:

    I love those pineapple bookends and keep debating buying them…but I also already have a set of pineapple bookends (also from Target) and two feels like overkill…

    Your kitchen is so cute! Love all the light with the open shelves and subway tile!

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