Autumn is a magical time of year, when nature reminds us of life’s cycle and reintroduces us to the promising vacancy of winter: crisp breezes, overcast skies, and that sharp scent of the cold followed by fresh wood and pumpkin spice. In Houston we don’t have the full-fledged experience; November arrived with temperatures in the 70s and what leaves have fallen are mostly brown, overlooking the rusty shades of the northern trees. During my few years in Indiana, I fell in love with autumn–the physicality of cold Octobers, bundled walks beneath gray skies and in the remnants of lake effect gales, and canvases painted with tangerine leaves that floated at my feet as I made my way from the neighborhood cafe to campus. Now, for me, what bit of that I can collect in cities on the Gulf is very welcomed–that clean smell that comes on the breeze, promising less pollen and humidity, the overcast skies between storms, and finally cool enough temperatures to warrant a jacket, jeans, and a warm mocha without being ironic.
As a local radio station pointed out, if ever there was a day where a positive attitude was needed, that day is today. If you see the world as I do, you woke up to a fearful future for our country. And the shock of a cold shower was needed immediately. Coffee didn’t magically change the election results, but I did find a colorful “I didn’t vote for him” sticker that I’m thinking of ordering. So there’s that.
We returned from our trip a little over a week ago and, because we had purposefully done little shopping before we left town, we had to restock our kitchen. Aside from a few meats that held over well in the freezer, we needed most items, including vegetables, fruits, and snacks. We’ve tried to be more conscious of what foods we buy with the idea that we want to control what goes into our bodies. We also have to work on a budget, however, and we only allow ourselves to splurge occasionally and on certain items, primarily organic vegetables, leaner meats such as bison, preferably locally farmed, and specialty cheeses. The first two are for healthier eating to control the ingredients; the cheeses are simply because we both love cheese and often use it to add flavor, so it is a simple way to vary our ingredients.
My partner and I stumbled into Instagram last month when my mother asked us to join a monthly challenge for her blog. How surprised we were to learn that both of our mothers had Instagram accounts and we were much more advanced in their social media accounts than we were! After playing with it for a month, we’ve become a little more comfortable with it, and I realized the benefit of it several times when I had a picture that I wanted to share on here but didn’t think it warranted its own blog post. Enter Instagram!
It’s the beginning of November, which means two things: beautiful autumn weather has finally arrived and the planning of Christmas gifts has begun. Normally we would be worrying about lists, scouring Amazon for good deals, hoarding B&N coupons, and thinking up until Christmas Eve how we can give the best presents. This year, however, I am doing it differently. After working to live more intentionally the past few months, I realized how materialistic Christmas had become for me, thinking mostly of what the best purchases were, how to stretch my money to but the most gifts, and how to impress people with what I gave them. I didn’t like that one bit. A lot of my focus and stress involving the holiday revolved around purchasing gifts and the financials associated with that process when many times I was taking a guess at what I thought was a good gift. The season had become very centered on tangible numbers, and that felt wrong in so many ways. Continue reading