Five Fall Favorite Things

I love certain things for a LONG time….I rarely post about this kind of stuff, except my undying adoration for Stitch Fix, which I realize is starting to get out of control. Seriously. I just love it.

I don’t usually rant and rave about “stuff” but here I am, sharing my FIVE favorite things right now. Here we go!

Smartwool (anything)

Favorite Things {Domesticated Academic}

The cool weather (ok, polar vortex this week), has had me in smartwool every day. I have thin dress socks, athletic socks, medium weight socks for boots, and heavier weight socks for hiking. To date, I own about a dozen pair of socks of varying thicknesses, uses, and activities. I also own gloves, hats, and anything else I can afford or ask for as gifts. They make great products with attention to detail and I usually have to throw them out once I’ve walked through them. You will not go wrong so treat yourself! They’re worth every penny! Zulily and other outlets will usually have sales several times per year if you’re on a budget like me and you can be patient and then stock up on savings.

ELF Lip Stain

Favorite Things {Domesticated Academic}

I tried Ipsy and liked it, but it was to much makeup for me. I tend to be more of a minimalist when it comes to makeup. Some of this amazing lip stain every day gives me a tint of color without being sticky, heavy, cakey, or any other negative that usually comes with lip things. It gives me a hint of color without being overwhelming and is subtle. Makes my lips slightly more pink without overpowering my natural tint. The best part: $3. Can’t go wrong.

Renewing Moroccan Argan Penetrating Oil

Favorite Things {Domesticated Academic}

Swimming is great for every part of my body. Except my hair. My hair has become a hot mess this fall. Swimming several times per week has wrecked it. My friend raved about this stuff when I was visiting her in FL a few weeks ago. I grabbed a pic of it and flew home. I picked up my own bottle at Target for a mere $6 and followed the instructions. After the first application, my hair calmed down, frizz and wild ends began to dissappate, and after three uses, it was like the pool never happened. Getcha some.

Bottle Brush-any kind-bonus points if it’s spongey on the end for no reason.

Favorite Things {Domesticated Academic}

I never appreciated a good bottle brush until I had tall water bottles with no way to reach the bottom to wash them. My friend in FL (years ago now) had one of these for her water bottles (and later baby bottles) and I was super excited. You can pick one up for about $3 from most stores or online (look in the baby section if you can’t find them elsewhere) and they last for a while. All of those tall bottles don’t stand a chance!

Crock Pot Chicken Stock

Because good stock shouldn’t be a lot of work. Put the bones/carcass, onion, garlic, celery, carrot, WHATEVER in the crock pot. Top with water. Put on high for 6-8 hours. Best homemade stock of my life all fall (y’all). I’ve been making this all fall from chicken and turkey bones after roasting and removing the meat. It keeps well in the fridge for 7-10 days and then you should use. I store mine in large mason jars but you can freeze it as well.

Favorite Things {Domesticated Academic}

What are your five favorite things in life lately? (They don’t have to be ‘things’ per say).

Stitch Fix #5

 

Stitch Fix #5 {Domesticated Academic}

What time is it? It’s time for some Stitch Fix!! I love me some stitch fix and I’m growing to like it more each month. Great clothes right to my door. No fuss, no muss, three days to try them on and decide if they should be in your wardrobe.

 

Look at all of that goodness that got delivered????? I was immediately excited when I discovered some amazing prints that had looked familiar from my pinterest board. Excitement!!! The two bulkiest pieces are photographed below. There was two tops that were nice, but unflattering in fit, where they ‘fell’ on my body and not my style. I knew immediately I’d keep the two pieces below. They fit properly, they’re a little preppy, a little classy, a little fun, and a lot of “fit properly” for my body type.

**Disclaimer**it’s dark when I get home. So, photos will be dark until the clocks change again. We’ve gone from glaring light photos to dark photos. There’s only so much help I can get from the ‘edit’ function on my iphone. And I doubt I’ll be getting home any earlier to try clothes on. :) **end disclaimer**

Stitch Fix #5 {Domesticated Academic}

My stylist was ON POINT this month! Kim referenced my pinterest board and did her best to fulfill my requests. I absolutely love the vest and moto jacket. Keepers!!! I love the feel of the french terry moto jacket, the zippers on the sleeves and the way it fits. I will likely leave it unzipped and wear it as a ‘sweater’ at work. Anything to break up my cardigan addiction. It’s got a little edge without being too weird for me.

Stitch Fix #5 {Domesticated Academic}

 

I love the vest too. The black and white herringbone pattern with black piping is a really nice pattern with some great quilting details. It’s super stylish and will look good with a variety of staples I already own. Win!

Check it out and save yourself a few headaches and a lot of stress and time! As a young academic, I’m always looking to improve my appearance to make up for the lack of gray hairs on my head. This is the perfect way for me to do that without losing time doing research or teaching.

Another great month! Thanks Stitch Fix!

 

October in an Instagram

October was a delightful month! The humidity broke, the sun came out almost every day, and my hair cooperated with some nice waves without going to crazy and with minimal products in it. October, you were a winner this year!

It wouldn’t have been a great month without some fantastic weather to enjoy, to finally do some more baking, and to start making my favorite homemade pumpkin spice syrup for coffee. I feel like Starbucks charges me more every time I walk in there for the same product, so I keep a batch in my fridge at all times. Anywho…..on with the month!

October in an Instagram {Domesticated Academic}

 

This sunset. I walked out of the office/work one evening late to find this beautiful sky greeting me. The sun was getting ready for bed and the lights were just beginning to come on around campus. It was one of those rare Forrest Gump type moments in life where you didn’t know where the sky ended because it was so beautiful.

October in an Instagram {Domesticated Academic}

 

I was treated to some exceptionally beautiful scenery this month! I cannot say enough about the fall colors here in the south this year. As a northern girl with affinity for the foliage of upstate NY, I’ve been underwhelmed for many years since moving down here. I have to admit, Fall outdid herself around here this year. From vibrant reds to fully saturated oranges and yellows, the leaves put on quite a show for us this year. Not to dismiss the often blue and clear skies that came with those beautiful colors, but the leaves stole the show for well over a month. A hard wind and rainy mix knocked a lot of them off this past weekend, but I truly have enjoyed the leaves this year. Perhaps more than any other year I’ve lived here! October in an Instagram {Domesticated Academic}

October in an Instagram {Domesticated Academic}

 

Apple streusel muffin?

October in an Instagram {Domesticated Academic}

 

I didn’t buy candy and I didn’t turn my porch light on. I sucked at Halloween this year. But, my friend and I did cook some delicious food and he made some tasty drinks for us on Halloween. Someday I’ll be dressing up my kids and asking strangers for candy, but until that day comes, I’ll be having drinks and snacks with friends.

October in an Instagram {Domesticated Academic}

I had a meeting and the person I saw had this ironic light hanging in his office. I love it. I kind of want one.

October in an Instagram {Domesticated Academic}

 

A deluxe plate of lox and cream cheese. Salty capers and some fresh slices of tomato made this a decadent breakfast while writing one morning.

October in an Instagram {Domesticated Academic}

Who’s watching me drink my coffee? Matching mugs made my morning when having breakfast with a friend. We could ‘stare’ at each other for hours :P

 

Parsley Salad with Pecans & Dried Cranberries

Parsley Salad with Pecans & Dried Cranberries {Domesticated Academic}

This salad is light, refreshing and highly addictive! I’ve been working to integrate more whole grains in my diet. The best way for me is to make a big batch of something on the weekend so I can eat off of it during the week. I saw the idea for a parsley based salad from budget bytes and really liked the fresh herb as the green in it. Since fall is here in full swing, this is also great because it’s not quite so heavy. Fall often brings warm, comforting, gooey foods and I’m also trying to NOT eat those for every meal. This is perfect. I mixed chicken with it for lunches for a satisfying bite and spruced it up with more vinaigrette when it dried up a bit.

Parsley Salad with Pecans & Dried Cranberries {Domesticated Academic}

You can mix up your grains on this. From brown rice  to quinoa, to bulgar, it’s up to you. You could even make this out of orzo or any kind of fun pasta. Be mindful of the amount of vinaigrette you make, you might want more. My vinaigrette recipe is BASIC (not basic like the college girls are currently using) but basic in the sense that it’s a single batch with some nice flavors but not overly heavy. Spice it up, add more salt and pepper, whatever makes you happy. I like extra garlic and extra mustard, but that’s just my taste preference.

You’ll need:

Salad

  • 1 c. cooked brown rice that’s been cooled
  • 1 c. cooked quinoa that’s been cooled
  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, clean & dry
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped small
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (craisins), chopped roughly

Vinaigrette

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar (apple cider vinegar works too)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ tbsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • salt + freshly cracked pepper to taste
  1. Whisk the dressing ingredients together while the quinoa and brown rice are cooking and cooling so the flavors will marry. Put all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk with a fork or whisk until combined. Set aside.
  2. Rinse parsley and pat dry with paper towels or dry in a salad spinner. Finely chop the leaves and put in a bowl for mixing.
  3. Roughly chop the cranberries and pecans. Place in bowl with parsley.
  4. Top with the cooked and cooled quinoa and brown rice.
  5. Top with dressing and lightly toss.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Stitch Fix #4

 

Stitch Fix #4 {Domesticated Academic}

What time is it? It’s time for some Stitch Fix!!

I don’t have to go through all the reasons I love me some Stitch Fix and every month it magically appears after I give careful, detailed, and sometimes terrible feedback like, “i don’t know what i didn’t like about that blazer, but i felt like i was always tugging at it.” No, not my best piece of feedback. To my amazement, these people ACTUALLY read the drivel I put online and the top two tops were meant to be paired with some blazers I already own. Good job Stitch Fix. I’ll try to write with better grammar and syntax from now on. I appreciate that someone actually read it.

Anywhoooooooo……it came, I swooned, I played dress up.

Stitch Fix #4 {Domesticated Academic}

From top to bottom: two gorgeous print tops are first. They’re photographed several times in this post as they were my faves from the get-go. I loved the fit and the sleeves on the black top. The pattern is flattering and I’m learning that I look good in patterns. Helps play down the middle of my teapot shaped body. I could care less about the cross back and might consider removing them if I keep it.

The chevron type print was also super fun but I’m having an internal struggle with this one because it’s a tank top and we’re heading towards November. Not tank top weather. Not. At. All. I did pair it with a blazer to get a feel for how it would look. I’m not unhappy. The price is right on it and it’s playing with my emotions. Big-time.

The red sweater was super soft but did not fit properly at all. It looked more like a…..tarp on me. A giant red tarp. Returning.

The striped blazer was NICE! Lined with gray fabric, some elastic in the sleeves to create some nice gathering and a nice cuff down or rolled up. Fit properly. Loved. Until the embedded and unremovable shoulder pads. “have you been working out? (no).” I couldn’t keep it for that reason and that reason alone. Returning.

Bottom of the heap was a beautiful color block dress with gray, off white, and a maroon stripe. It didn’t fit properly. That’s all. No other big reasons. The junk in my trunk would not be contained. It’s no one’s fault. It just happens in the world of clothing. Returning.

I am not immediately IN LOVE with the pieces this month. I’m thankful for the three days to assess the two shirts. I knew right away that the red sweater, the dress and the blazer were a ‘no go’ for me. The price is good on both shirts, in fact, it’s perfect and I’m more than happy to spend money on them. They’re very different than what I would normally choose in a store and honestly, I wouldn’t choose them at all. I think that’s my ‘bigger’ first world issue. I’ve sent pics to my friends who know me and how I usually dress. I’ve started to really evaluate what matches what for work and actually pick out clothes on Sunday so I spend less time standing in front of my closet each day. Sounds silly, but staple pieces are becoming key with a mix of blazers and sweaters for the Fall weather.

Stitch Fix #4 {Domesticated Academic} Stitch Fix #4 {Domesticated Academic}

I have a few days to decide about the two shirts. I like them both. I’m thankful for this service to spruce up my wardrobe, give me options, and be understanding when I have to just say no.

Flying Through Fall

Flash Forward to Fall | Domesticated Academic

Oh hey there, how are you?

I’ve been busy. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been making gourmet meals with flair. It’s been living life! I’m going to show you what I’ve been munching on and doing during this lovely early fall season. Granted, the humidity just broke and it wasn’t a very hot summer to begin with, making my AC bill an all-time low, but you won’t hear me complaining, I hate the heat and I hate my electric bill :)

Sunday is a great day for me. I prep a LOT of food for the upcoming week.

Flash Forward to Fall | Domesticated Academic

A few weeks ago, I made spaghetti squash, black bean burgers, crock pot turkey chili, and my standards of hb eggs, fresh veggies, and some beans that I had soaked for the chili were froze for a rainy day. Making food on Sunday’s really helps me stay on track during the week in several areas: there’s something good for lunch every day, it motivates me to NOT take myself to lunch somewhere (or dinner) and I can swim and work out in the evenings and come home to a proper supper. Heating leftovers isn’t all that glamorous, but cooking for one is tough and I like saving money! I did freeze the rest of the chili at the week’s end for later. It made about six servings. I ate about half before freezing it. Rather save it than waste it.

Flash Forward to Fall | Domesticated Academic

This Sunday was no slouch either. Homemade apple/peach sauce worked on the stove while I hb’ed my eggs. I turned the oven on and baked up some of my favorite things in life: roast veggies, my Mema’s pork loin (rolled in flour, salt, pepper, & lemon pepper seasoning), and my first batch of homemade Butternut Mac & Cheese of the season. You’re never going to know there’s a fiber rich vegetable in there! This food prep made a TON of food and I’m going to eat really well all week!

Flash Forward to Fall | Domesticated Academic

Speaking of leftovers, that spaghetti squash and black bean burger combo set me up for a great week for lunches! Doesn’t look like much, but it was delicious!

Flash Forward to Fall | Domesticated Academic

Fall is beginning to fall and I treated myself to a rare PSL from good ol’ Sbux. They’re pretty good but not for the $5 they’re charging now! Meow! and Woof! The coat and I have traveled some miles together. I bought it in 2003, the first year I taught public school and it’s moved with me (and still fits) everywhere life has taken me. I get all nostalgic about the coat. It’s starting to show some wear, but I can’t bear to part with it just yet. I’m waiting until it comes out of the washing machine in tatters before I’ll let go of it. I also can’t get enough of t.swift. I usually don’t like her, but her new tune is catchy and has implanted itself in my middle ear. I just can’t quit you t.swift.

Flash Forward to Fall | Domesticated Academic

Faculty writing group rotates each week to a different coffee shop around town. Last week was the french bistro. Serving a good press of coffee and some fresh crepes with fresh fruit and whipped cream, this place is quite good! Some would argue it’s not “traditional” french, but guess what? We live in Appalachia. It’s as good as you’re going to get around here. My stomach was happy.

Flash Forward to Fall | Domesticated Academic

Wine? Anyone? My friends and I went to a local wine festival over the weekend with some wonderful wineries and some amazing food! Pork belly, angus burger, fried egg, sriracha mayo, bacon jam, cheese, tomato, lettuce, and a challah bun. CRUSHED IT!!!! The tots were smoky and wonderful too.

Flash Forward to Fall | Domesticated Academic

Olivia Pope is back and she’s on her A-Game fo’shizzle. Friends and I celebrated her return with Pope sized wine glasses full of red wine, although not quite as expensive as her taste on the show, more  like $10-15 expensive. I made bacon wrapped grilled cheese bites for a snack to share. It was lovely.

Black Bean Burgers

Black Bean Burgers | Domesticated Academic

Comforting and filing without being too heavy leaving room for football food and plenty of pumpkin everything, these burgers are up to the challenge! Fall is here. And the stuffing of my face with yummy things is coming. Not all the things are bad things, but not all the things are exactly good things either. In a vain attempt to have good things to put in my mouth that don’t involve the words “homemade macaroni and cheese” I was rummaging through my freezer to make room for other things and came across a bag of frozen black beans. Hmmmmm…..brain…..thinks……

Black Bean Burgers | Domesticated Academic

Now before I get ahead of myself: the beans in the freezer–I have been trying to buy dry beans, soak them, use what I need and freeze the rest. It’s cheaper to do this and the beans freeze really well. I made a batch of turkey chili, using kidney beans I’d soaked and froze a bag for something fun later. I had the bag of black beans in the freezer since March and there was no freezer burn on them and they had not dried out or didn’t disintegrate when I defrosted them. A great way to maximize the dollars. I get a bag of beans for $1.25 or just one 16 oz. can for the same price for half of the product. No brainer. You can soak almost anything overnight with little effort if you’re worried about your time costing money.

Back to ma’burgers. I was craving them. The local watering hole makes one hell of a black bean burger and I wanted some. I make these and will sometimes throw in some tuna, feta, and black olives, but this time around, I wanted straight up burger. If you don’t have any greek seasoning (I make my own & store), you can check out your own recipe online to help you out. I’m not the boss of you. You know how to cook. I know it! If you like your burgers a little mushier, cut the bread crumbs by half. If you like a drier consistency, stick with the half cup.

You’ll need:

30 min. total

  • 2 cans (32 oz) black beans, drained
  • 1/2 medium onion (cut in chunks)
  • 1/2 bell pepper (cut into chunks)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 2 tsp. greek seasoning
  • olive oil
  1. Put the onion, green pepper, and garlic in the food processor (or chop them ultra fine if you don’t have a food processor) and pulse until finely chopped.
  2. Add in the bread crumbs, egg, salt, pepper, greek seasoning and the black beans.
  3. Pulse until combined and chunky, don’t pulverize the beans.
  4. Turn out the mixture and hand mix if necessary to make sure everything is mixed well. You want to see some of the beans!
  5. Shape into patties. This recipe will make 4-5 very good sized patties.
  6. In a skillet on medium heat, saute the patties in olive oil until brown on each side, 4-5 min. on each side.
  7. Serve or store for quick lunches. These also freeze nicely.