Taking Stock 02

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I haven’t done one of these posts in a while, but I thought it might be fun to catch up. I’ve been busy with my new job (which I’m loving) as well as blog stuff and getting ready for the holidays! This is also the time of year where it feels like everything seems to happen and calendars get filled up quickly, so I’m making sure I remember to take it easy during my free time…which really just means drinking lots of hot chocolate and watching all of the holiday DVDs in my collection.

Cooking: Ha! Nothing lately, but I do have some recipes I’ve been wanting to try out.

Drinking: Mostly water and coffee. And lots of mugs full of this hot chocolate.

Reading: Winter Street. The Happiness Project and Do Less are next on my list though.

Enjoying: Writing my Christmas lists of all of the gifts I want to get for people. It’s making me so excited for the holidays!

Wearing: My cozy cable knit sweaters. I seriously live in them!

Watching: Some holiday movies…I know it’s a little early, but I can’t help myself.

Looking forward to: The holidays. I’m excited to see all of my friends and family that I don’t get to see very often!

Listening to: lots of Alt-J (Ahhh!! I’m going to the concert in a few days!!) and The Gilmore Guys podcasts (you guys need to check it out – they’re hilarious)

November Playlist

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Above the Clouds of Pompeii / Bear’s Den
Arrival in Nara / Alt-J
I Couldn’t Want You Anyway / Jack Garratt
Pull My Heart Away / Jack Penate
As Tall As Cliffs / Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s
Mykonos / Fleet Foxes
Tonight / Jonas Alaska
You Got What I Need / Joshua Radin
Tiger Striped Sky / Roo Panes
Worry / Jack Garratt
Pusher / Alt-J
Imitosis / Andrew Bird

Listen here!

eShakti Dress

IMG_1381Dress (c/0 eShakti)/ Gap Sweater (similar) / Urban Outfitters beanie (similar) /Urban Outfitters shoes (similar)

A girl can never have too many little black dresses, right? Right. I have quite a few hanging in my closet, but when I saw this one from eShakti, I knew I just HAD to add it to my collection. It already feels like winter here, so I decided to pair it with one of my favorite sweaters from Gap (seriously, it’s so cozy) and a beanie.

My favorite thing about this dress? Besides the fact that it’ll be perfect for the upcoming holiday season, it’s so well-made and I was able to customize it so that it fit me perfectly! And they made the whole thing super easy..all I had to do was enter in my measurements. Seriously, why don’t more places do this?

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Be sure to check out the eShakti website and find them on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram!

Also, you can get 10% off your eShakti purchase if you enter shelbyhelton at checkout from now until 12/17! (You can use it more than once too!)…so time to do some shopping!

November

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There are so many things that make November my favorite month of the year. I love the weather (chilly but not too cold), Thanksgiving (the best day of the year if you ask me!) and the cozy nights.

Maybe it’s because it’s the season for it or maybe it’s because October wasn’t exactly an easy month for me, but I’ve been feeling particularly grateful during these first days of November. Whenever I’m feeling a bit down, I always try to take a step back and think about everything that I have that I’m thankful for and it makes me feel a lot better.

Anyway, here’s the list of goals I have for this month!

+ Get the walls in my bedroom painted

+ Try some new recipes. I’m thinking this one and this one

+ Learn how to (finally) use my cappuccino maker

+ Do a personal style/outfit post

+ Revise some “behind-the-scenes” stuff of See Shel

 

4 DIY Projects to Try

4 DIYs to TryWorking on DIY projects is one of my favorite things to do, especially once the weather starts to cool off and I’m spending more time indoors. I keep a running list (in the form of a Pinterest board) of all of the projects I want to make and since it’s starting to feel a little bit more like fall here and I’m starting to make some more – slow but steady – progress  on my bedroom re-do, I’ve been trying to narrow down which DIY projects I want to cross off my list.

I wanted to share a few projects that are at the top of my list. I’m so excited to try them all that I can’t decide which one to do first! We’ve got…

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Ampersand Bookends – via Katelyn Now

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Hand-painted Dresser Knobs – via The Crafted Life

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Plus Sign Garland – via A Little Birdy Blog

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Wine Cork Bulletin Board – via A Beautiful Mess

What DIY projects are you dying to try?

Apple Cider Donut Recipe

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Donuts are one of my all time favorite treats. I would eat them breakfast, lunch and dinner if that was allowed. And obviously when fall rolls around it means one thing: apple cider donuts.

I usually get them from the farmer’s market if they have them, but this year I wanted to try to make my own. I’ve heard donuts are pretty hard to make and I’m not the best in the kitchen, so I was a little nervous. I followed this recipe and I have to say, they turned out pretty well! {I included the recipe below too}

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Ingredients

(makes about 2 dozen donuts):

1 cup unfiltered apple cider

3 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided

½ cup well-shaken buttermilk

3/4 stick unsalted butter, melted

2 large eggs

2 cups sugar, divided

2 quarts vegetable oil

 

Directions

1. In a small saucepan, boil apple cider until reduced to about 1/3 cup, 12 to 15 minutes, then set aside to cool.

2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.

3. Mix together reduced cider, buttermilk, butter, eggs, and 1 cup sugar until well combined. Add flour mixture and mix on medium speed until a dough forms (it will be sticky). {This can also be done by hand if you don’t have a stand mixer. I did it by hand.}

4. Turn out dough onto a well-floured surface  and roll dough into a 13-inch round (about 1/3 inch thick). Cut out rounds with floured donut cutter, about 2- 3” in diameter and transfer to a floured baking sheet. Repeat with scraps. Reroll the dough only once, as it will start to become tough if it is rerolled too many times. {Note: Keep making sure that the surface/donut cutter/your hands were covered in flour I found that it was much easier to cut the donuts that way.}

5. At the same time, pour vegetable oil into a 5-quart heavy pot and heat oil over medium- high heat. ( Sprinkle a tiny bit of flour into the oil, when it sizzles, the oil is ready.)  Carefully slide donuts one at a time into the oil and be careful not to crowd pan. (If pan gets crowded with donuts the temperature will drop and you will have soggy donuts)

6. When dropped into the oil, the donut will sink to the bottom and then float to the top after about 20 seconds. When each donut floats to surface, turn over and continue to fry until golden brown, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

7. Cool slightly; dredge in cinnamon sugar made from remaining cup of sugar and remaining teaspoon of cinnamon.

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What are your favorite fall treats? Also, be sure to tag me in your pictures (on Twitter or Instagram) if you try the recipe! I’d love to see.

 

Books I’ve Read (and Loved) Lately

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I’ve always been a reader, but lately I’ve been really making an effort to read more before bed. I got into the habit of binging on watching a show on Netflix or scrolling through my Twitter feed before turning out the light and (spoiler alert: all of the articles are true!)  I could tell that it really did affect my sleep. So over the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to log off at least an hour before bed and it really has made a huge difference.

I’ve read so many really great books lately, so I thought I would share some of them with you!

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The Secret History by Donna Tartt

I read The Goldfinch earlier in the summer and really liked it, so I was excited to pick up this one. I think I liked The Secret History more than I liked Goldfinch. Tartt is an excellent writer and I got completely wrapped up in this book. It’s about a group of university students, who are kind of outsiders. I don’t want to give away too much, but something happens that changes their lives and their relationships with each other. This book was intense and kind of dark, but I really liked it and would definitely recommend it!

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

This book was so good! It’s about a group of friends (the call themselves The Interestings) who meet at a creative summer camp and what happens in their lives and relationships from when they meet in the 70s and up until current day. Some of them ended up being really successful with their artistic endeavors and others didn’t, which leads to some jealous moments and resentful feelings. This book is all about close friendships and the ups and downs that go along with them.

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Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

I was so excited to read this one. This book is just as quirky, intelligent and hilarious as you would expect. I couldn’t put it down! She shares lots stories of her experiences as a female in her twenties. From stories about boys, to work, to dealing with insecurities, it has a little bit of everything. While I was reading it, I couldn’t help but feel like I was just at a coffee shop, catching up with a friend. Couldn’t recommend it more!

What have you read lately? Anything good?

October Playlist

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Places We Know / Jacob Pearson
Breathe In ft Wafia / Japanese Wallpaper
Draw Your Swords / Angus & Julia Stone
For Emma / Bon Iver
Let It Go / James Bay
Sinner’s Sonnet / Andrew Whitman
Tenuousness / Andrew Bird
I Can’t Make You Love Me/Nick of Time / Bon Iver
Foreigner’s God / Hozier
In A Week / Hozier ft Karen Cowley
Sway / RHODES
A Collision / Jacob Pearson
Water / Jack Garratt
Blood / Osca
Come Into My Arms / Lion Bark
The First Thing You See (Live) / Bruno Major
Friends (Acoustic) / Eliza and the Bear
I Lost Myself / Sivu

Listen here!

How to Deal with Anxiety

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I’ve mentioned before that I have anxiety (read that post here) and while my anxiety usually doesn’t affect this space -in fact, this blog has been one of the ways I’ve dealt with my anxiety – I haven’t been posting as much lately, as some of you have probably noticed.

Some life things have happened recently and that has caused my anxiety to rear it’s ugly head, so I’ve taken a little bit of a break over the past few weeks to really focus on all of those anxious feelings and worries.

There are a lot of different ways to manage anxiety, from therapy to medication to tons of methods in between. I thought I would share some of the things that have worked for me and hopefully this post will be able to help any of you who also deal with anxiety and are looking for some ways to cope with it.

9 Ways to Manage Anxiety:

1. Quiet time. This can be anything that helps you relax. I usually make myself a cup of tea, light some candles, listen to some music and just breathe. I’ve also found that curling up with a good book in my most comfortable pajamas after a hot shower works for me too. You could meditate, scroll through Pinterest, or watch funny cat videos on YouTube, whatever makes you feel the most relaxed. That’s the key here.

2. Do some light exercise. Exercise as a way to deal with stress seems to work well for a lot of people, so go for a run or do some cardio. I’m not super athletic, so I’ll usually go for a walk around my neighborhood or do some yoga. I’ve found it really helps me to focus on something other than what is causing me to feel anxious. Getting some fresh air is always good.

3. Write. I’ve found writing to be one of my favorite ways of dealing with my anxiety. Getting whatever it is that is worrying me down on paper really helps.

4. Talk about it. Surround yourself with positive people that you feel comfortable talking to. I know firsthand how hard it can be to talk about having anxiety and how hard it can be to explain exactly why and how you’re feeling anxious. Being able to talk to a friend, family member or even a professional that understands makes all the difference.

5. Face your fears. This is kind of a nightmare for someone that has anxiety. It’s easier just to avoid the situations that make you feel anxious, but that’s no way to live. So work on becoming a “yes” person. Here’s an example. Sometimes I experience social anxiety, like going somewhere that I don’t know anyone, and I dread it. But I can’t just avoid those situations. Even though it makes me uncomfortable and I would rather just say no, I make an effort to participate and I usually end up glad that I did.

6. Work on changing your thinking. This takes a lot of effort and a lot of practice, but it is possible. When you have those anxious thoughts or you feel an anxiety attack happening, take a second to calm yourself down and then change all of the negative thoughts you’re having into more positive ones.

7. Focus on the present. This is a big one for me. A lot of what I feel the most anxious about (and I don’t think I’m alone here) is future oriented. I really try to stop and remind myself to concentrate more on what’s happening right now, not five or ten years down the road.

8. Let yourself think about the worst possible scenario. This isn’t always my go to tool for managing my anxiety, but in certain situations, it definitely does help. If you allow yourself to play out a situation with the worst possible outcome you can think of, you’re prepared for the worst. And most of the time, what really happens will be nowhere near as bad as you expected it to be.

9. Cry. I don’t cry often, but every now and then, I let myself have a good cry about something and it makes me feel a lot better. There have been times where I felt like crying was the best way for me to deal with feeling anxious. Sometimes you just need to get it out of your system, so you can move on.

Do any of you have anxiety? What are some of your tips and tricks for dealing with it?

5 Instagram Accounts to Follow

thetrottergirlthetrottergirl

All of Eva’s photos are bright and really well thought out. I’m guilty of liking ALL of them. She’s one of the founders of Trottermag, a webiste that features curated city guides. And if her posts on Instagram are any indication, she really knows her stuff.

megangilgermegangilger

I’ve read Megan and Mike’s blog The Fresh Exchange for a long time. It’s one of my favorites. I love reading about their travels, the community they work hard to create and about their lives as creative entrepreneurs.  I admire how hard they work to create beautiful and authentic content and moments. Have you see photos of their Simple Evenings? Swoon.

ifitwagsifitwags

Where do I start with this one? I’m obsessed with German Shorthaired Pointers in general – I want to adopt one (or maybe two?) so badly!! These two GSP brothers, Gus and Trav, are just beyond adorable. I seriously can’t get over them.

emmajanekepleyemmajanekepley

Emma is a Brooklyn-based photographer. All of her photos are super cool and she has amazing style! She has such a great eye and I always like seeing what she posts.

 

drifterandthegypsydrifterandthegypsy

I love Micaela’s blog Drifter & the Gypsy and I equally love her Instagram feed. I really like her sense of style and she always seems to be up to something fun.

Are you guys as obsessed with Instagram as I am? Let’s be IG friends! Follow me here