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October is very much the start of the new year for me. It is the time of comfort and ritual. This time of year also feels fresh; I’m an October child through and through. I turn thirty-one in just a few short days. We’ll be in Hawaii over my birthday (we leave on Sunday!), but upon our return I’ll be ready for full on fall.

October Goals :: girldust.com

It’s been quite a long while since I’ve shared any monthly goals in this space. It’s a habit I would like to return to. It’s one thing to jot down a list in my day planner, but sharing these goals in a public place makes me a little more accountable. These are my October goals, in no particular order.

Deep clean and dust the house. We’re getting ready to shut ourselves in for the season, and I want everything to be clean and cozy. I’ll be washing all the blankets and picking out some new incense and candles.

Get some seasonally spooky soaps. Okay, so I actually already did this. I ordered a few bars from Cellar Door Bath Supply Co., and I can’t wait for them to arrive. Cobwebs & Candelabras, The Drunken Pumpkin, and Zombie Repellent are on their way! My roommate in Dover was serious about seasonal soaps, and I could always rely on her to bring home giant bags of fun. I’m carrying on in her honor.

Winterize the herb beds. I’m not 100% sure how to do this, but I do know I’ve got to do some major cutting on a couple plants. I brought a huge bunch of sage to a former co-worker yesterday afternoon, and will be giving more to a friend later in the week; hopefully I can find something clever to do with the rest of it.

Visit Salem. This is on my list of maybes. We had the best intentions of visiting last year, but it didn’t quite work out with Tj’s schedule. If not this year, perhaps next. It’s always on my list.

Pick pumpkins. I am going all out with jack-o-lanterns this year, now that I have an entire house and front yard to decorate.

Finish getting my graduate school documents together. Harvard’s program application period opens mid-November, and I want to make sure I have everything ready to go before then. I have an essay to write, but am otherwise ready to go.

Bake rosemary cookies for Halloween. For the last few years, I’ve been working or otherwise too busy on Halloween night, so it just hasn’t been anything special. I’d like this year to be different. Rosemary signifies remembrance, and these simple sugar cookies are eaten to honor the deceased. I haven’t made them since high school. It will be a nice tradition to return to.

Take some gravestone rubbings. It’s been a long, long while since I’ve done this properly, and I have yet to visit any of the local cemeteries. I have an upcoming post all about this, so stay tuned. In the meantime, check out this great graphic guide to cemetery symbolism from Atlas Obscura!

Host a girls night. There are a couple local friends I haven’t seen in ages, and I would like to do something before the winter holidays roll around and everyone is too busy. I’m thinking cider punch and Hocus Pocus. I may be able to combine this one with my last goal…

Visit a haunted house/go on a haunted hay ride. This is another one of those seasonal things that’s always on my list. It’s always so hard to work this around everyone’s schedules, but I think with a little careful planning we can pull it off this year.

What are your goals for the month? Or even the season?

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Friday Favorites // 034 :: girldust.com

The harvest season is upon us. Lots of good things in the air right now. I’ve been enjoying the last few days of sunshine, and the nights are finally getting cold.

  1. LUSH USA just released a bunch of brand new products. Shower Jellies are back! Needles and Pines is right up my alley. If you haven’t used a LUSH Shower Jelly, you’re missing out. They’re lots of fun.
  2. I love love love these little opal earrings. Opal is my birthstone (October children ♥), so it’s one of my favorites. These are simple but feminine.
  3. Blackbird makes some really beautiful incense cones. If you’re unsure or don’t want to make a commitment, they offer samples of all their scents. There are a few I’d like to try out, including Gorgo.
  4. This top is gorgeous. That shoulder detail is maybe my favorite thing ever.
  5. I’m not sure why I’m so into reddish tops right now (maybe because it’s fall?), but I love the Witching Hour Tunic from Sovrin in wine. Give me anything with a hood or a huge cowl neck and I’m happy. I’d probably wear a long line lace bra (like this gorgeous piece from Free People) for a little more coverage and support under this, but I love the look.
  6. The willow charm bangle from Alex and Ani is officially on my wishlist. I feel like that goes without saying. It shall be mine.
  7. I was sorely tempted to purchase a pair of horn tumblers (very similar to these) from a vendor at King Richard’s Faire at the beginning of September, but I decided to wait. I think we probably need to take stock of what we have and use before I make any new purchases.
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I am still trying to find a daily pattern for myself in this new place. In the process, my blog sometimes gets neglected, so thanks to those of you who keep checking back. I am present.

I sometimes can’t help but feel a little less than useful while I remain on the search for a “real job.” I am intentionally allowing myself to be picky while I am able, but there still comes some level of guilt with that decision. I am trying to make the best of it. It would maybe be a little different if I could wholeheartedly immerse myself in creative projects, but I find myself only able to put in a few scant hours (if that) a day. It’s difficult to put your heart into something when you feel like the good parts of yourself aren’t quite making it through. I am sure it has something to do with depression, though psychoanalyzing myself makes me uneasy. I suppose it’s complicated. I tend to just let my brain do its thing.

In the meantime, I am finding comfort in our kitchen. It’s cozy, and a perfect amalgamation of the two of us. I find myself wanting to bake, despite the heat of the season, or more appropriately make ice cream. Nesting is something I am pretty skilled at. Kitchen creations emerge from that, interpretations on the works of other people (because there is far less pressure there).

And I like sugar.

These are a few things I want to make and eat, with thanks to Pinterest. You can follow me here, if you’d like.

Things I Want to Make and Eat Recipe Roundup :: girldust.com

Vanilla and Earl Grey Tea Cookies from Butter and Brioche

Salted Honey and Chamomile Ice Cream from 10th Kitchen

Things I Want to Make and Eat Recipe Roundup :: girldust.com

Strawberry Cookies and Cream Cake from Joy the Baker

Silver Toffee from Vanelja

Things I Want to Make and Eat Recipe Roundup :: girldust.com

Apricot and Lavender Marmalade Pull-Apart Bread from Butter and Brioche

Matcha Mint Chip Ice Cream from The Bojon Gourmet

You can read some other recipe roundup kind of posts here:

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McCoy has been adjusting to his new surroundings ever-so-slowly (which I suppose is how he accomplishes most things). We’ve been trying to take him outside a few times a week, since he was never able to venture out too much at my apartment in Dover. He sits very still in the grass for quite a long while, but once his confidence surfaces, he’s off like a shot. I’ve read about people tying balloons to their pet torts so they can more easily keep track of them outside, and I can understand why. Once he’s finally in motion, he’s a speed demon. I think once the landscape of the backyard become permanent memory, his initial wait time will lessen and he will be less hesitant to venture out.

Tortoise in the Grass :: girldust.com

Tortoise in the Grass :: girldust.com

Tortoise in the Grass :: girldust.com

Tortoise in the Grass :: girldust.com

Tortoise in the Grass :: girldust.com

Tortoise in the Grass :: girldust.com

Tortoises and other reptiles aren’t for everyone, and require a lot of very specific care. That being said, torts do make great pets. Each animal has its own distinct personality, and despite not being particularly cuddly (he does like pats), McCoy is actually really great company. Tj has had McCoy for most of his life, and we believe that he’s probably in his late twenties. Tortoises can very easily outlive their owners! Russian tortoises like McCoy can grow to be around 8 to 10 inches long, but some captive tortoise species grow to be much larger. Please feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions!

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Our world by the river is looking green. The sunlit days have been kind. I have mint to plant, sage to harvest, and chamomile seedlings to nurture (look at how fluffy and wee they are!). Summer has started out well. ♥

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