Friday, November 1, 2013

Things I Loved in October 2013

October was good to me. I got a lot of mileage out of minimal spending, which is always a good thing. I spent a lot of evenings plopped in front of my tv, fall 2013 seems to have a lot of good shows. My weekly cooking ventures went better than I anticipated. They opened a Target in my town, which did not disappoint when I went to check it out a couple of weeks ago. Work is going well, school is going well, and I planned a trip to visit friends from college in a couple of weeks. So here are some of the (many) things I enjoyed this month!

This Simple Chicken & Dumplings Recipe
Cooking makes me nervous. I'm always afraid I'm going to screw things up horribly. And I was extra terrified while making this recipe, because I was expecting there to be more liquid in it than ended up in my pot. But everything turned out fine, and both of my parents enjoyed this as much as I did. I substituted cream of chicken soup for the creamy chicken mushroom soup, and corn and green beans for the peas and carrots (my mother hates peas and I hate carrots), and it was fantastic. It tasted so much like the chicken and dumpling meal sets my father used to get from the grocery store. And I'm sure it was a lot healthier.

CrockPot Caramel Apple Cider
The only thing I ever really get from Starbucks is their Caramel Apple Spice, and for some reason it's not on the menu this year (I've been told multiple times that they have all the ingredients in stock, so I can order it regardless, but that still makes me nervous). So I've been looking for a good replacement recipe. This one is delicious, if not exactly the same. The cinnamon taste is much stronger and the caramel taste is much weaker, but I still loved it. And I figure that, with a little experimentation, I can get closer to my preferred taste. I made this for my parents last week, and my mother has now decided that I'll be making it for our extended family on Thanksgiving. So I'd definitely call it a hit.

Atlas Genius
A couple of weekends ago, I went to an Atlas Genius concert with my friend Katie. We saw them open for Imagine Dragons a few months prior and thought they were fantastic. And it turns out their headlining show was even better. So you should take a listen to their songs on youtube and maybe pick up their album.

Bad for Me by Megan & Liz
You might remember this song from the Macy's commercial that aired last year. I thought it was really catchy at the time but didn't end up downloading it until I saw it in another commercial recently, this time for Audi. I had it stuck in my head for days after I downloaded it and it's an excellent addition to my workout playlist. Watch the video for it here.

Never Mind the Buzzcocks
I wish I could say that my favorite British TV show was something critically acclaimed or classy or cult. But it's not. It's Never Mind the Buzzcocks, a music-themed quiz show. The show is currently in it's 27th season, and I've seen all the episodes starting with season 19. It's hilarious and fun, and I say this despite the fact that I have no idea who the celebrity guests are half the time, much less what the answers to most of the questions at home. I can tell you, that I would do horribly on this show because I have never been able to correctly guess any of the songs from the Intros Round. Still, I find myself watching it on YouTube every week.

Battle Magic by Tamora Pierce
Unsurprisingly, my favorite book this month was Tamora Pierce's Battle Magic. Like I've said, Pierce has been my favorite author for over a decade, and I anxiously await each of her new releases. This book was set in her Emelan universe and follows the story of Rosethorn, Briar, and Evvy, who we've seen in her previous books. It follows the trio on the tail end of their world travels, in the lands of Gyonxe and Yanjing, where they get caught in the middle of a brewing war. I really liked getting to see Rosethorn's point of view this time around, as we've never gotten to see things through her eyes. It was yet another wonderful, wonderful story from Tamora Pierce, and I cannot recommend her books highly enough.

Lucky Brand Unitas Lace Front Booties
I bought my first real pair of heels during my Junior year of college. They were a simple pair of black oxford booties with a 2.5 inch heels. I wore them on my first date (with jeans and an argyle sweater, in case you were wondering) and they were my go to shoe for my first year of post-college employment (when you wear a 28" inseam, most of the time you need a pair of heels with even the petite leg work pants). But with plenty of tears in the leather and heel so worn down I could feel the unevenness when I stood in them, it was definitely time to replace them. So when a coupon arrived for 25% off any Lord & Taylor purchase, I decided to finally get new pair of black suede booties I have eyeing. These are so comfortable, they don't rub anywhere. The heel is a bit higher than my old pair (3.25 inches), but still easy to walk in. I don't think I could go much higher than this, though. They also come in oliver suede and brown leather.

TopShop Lips in Beguiled & Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick by Kate in 107
Now that it finally feels like autumn, I've been breaking out my autumn colored lipsticks. Both of these are gorgeous burgundy colors. Beguiled is just a tag more purple and 107 is a bit more red. It spent a lot of time tracking down 107 (I ended up buying mine in London, while I was on vacation, but Walgreens seems to have it), and it was definitely worth the effort. I already know I love the TopShop lipsticks, but I can't wait to try out more of Rimmel's Lasting Finish line.

Living Proof No Frizz Shampoo & Conditioner
I bought these in travel size for my vacation in August and I absolutely loved them. They leave my hair feeling so soft. They manage to tone down my frizz while still giving my hair volume. Also, it leaves me hair feeling so clean. I switched back to my old favorite shampoo and conditioner a few weeks ago, and it doesn't even compare to this. I'll definitely switch back to Living Proof, maybe even before my current bottles run out. I'm definitely looking forward to trying more of their products.

And that's the cream of the crop from October. Hopefully I'll find just as much great stuff in November (and I'm looking to try out a bunch of great Thanksgiving recipes). What have you been loving this month?

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