HSJ’s Fall Playlist

fall playlistSeems like it took long enough, but the leaves around here are finally starting to turn. I hate the fact that it’s dark out when I wake up, but I definitely don’t mind the extra chill in the air, the colorful sights, and, of course, the sounds!

I compiled a little fall playlist (the entirety of which can be found here), and I figured I’d give you guys a taste of my favorite autumnal mood music so you can get some inspiration to make your own.

Yo La Tengo – Autumn Sweater

Can’t get enough of this song for obvious reasons. It’s got a cool-weather sound, and like a commenter on the YouTube video said, the words – autumn sweater – just go together, like “cellar door.”

 Neil Young – Harvest Moon

I can never get enough Neil Young, and this song just reminds me of something that would be playing during a romantic walk scene in a movie or something.

Arcade Fire – Half Light

In honor of their new album coming out, gotta have a little Arcade Fire. I know what you’re thinking – “But, Sara, Arcade Fire is good for any season, so that’s cheating!” I know, kiddies. I know.

Foxygen – Shuggie

Just to be fair, since you’ve probably heard all the other ones on the list, here’s one that might be new to you (and if it’s not, congrats, you’re probably a hipster). This song just sounds super cool and makes me want rhinoceros-shaped earrings.

Let me know what your favorite fall jamz are so I can add them to the playlist!

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Fall Footwear Favorites

Alright, so I’m kind of a crazy person. I’ve been pinning an insane amount of riding boots on my Pinterest because I keep hearing people talk about how they need a pair for fall/winter and I kind of fell into the hype.

But when I actually went to buy a pair, and tried a few on, I realized…they’re not my style. Obviously I think they’re cute, but I just have a somewhat more masculine/neutral aesthetic when it comes to my clothes, and I just can’t find an outfit I liked them with.

My fall footwear is a little different, but I kind of get into a certain style or specific item and wear it into the ground. Here are the three pairs of shoes I’m wearing incessantly this fall, love ‘em or leave ‘em.

Ankle Boots with Cozy Socks

footwear 1 footwear 2

I bought these taupe-ish Steve Madden ankle boots in Nordstrom Rack last year and never really knew how to wear them. This fall, I busted them out and layered them with some cozy socks for a comfortable but stylish look that keeps me warm with skirts, dresses, tights, and leggings. As you can (kind of) see, in one of my outfit I layered the socks over a pair of red tights for an interesting look. I’m kind of a layering fiend…

Athletic Sneakers

footwear 2Alright, hear me out. I used to firmly believe that athletic sneakers were for the gym and the gym only. Then I moved to the city and realized…I do a lot of walking. Walking with groceries. Walking with six-packs. My feet were hating me — as much as those SM boots are warm, they’re SUPER stiff and not great for walking long distances.

Then I saw this picture:

footwear 3

click the picture for the blogger’s full post!

And, yeah, I was converted. I decided that sneakers could be wearable on a day-to-day basis, and they’re practical. I wore mine with black skinnies, a slouchy gray tank, and a chambray. It’s an easy, chic, and practical look that I’d recommend.

Original Clark’s Desert Boots

footwear 4I’ve had my eye on these guys for a pretty long time, and I finally pulled the trigger yesterday. Now I’m waiting like some kind of sad abandoned dog for them to arrive. A pair of leather boots is something I’ve never had in my wardrobe. I’m obsessed with chukka boots in general, and considering Clark’s is known for comfort, $110 didn’t seem like a bad investment. I can’t wait to play around with outfits when they finally come in!

What are your fall footwear staples?

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Recent Purchases and Decorating

We’re getting settled into the house utility-wise and have started to go shopping for some decorations. It’s starting to feel like home in here! I figured I’d share what we got and show you what we’ve been up to.


Here’s a little cutaway spot we have in the living room. The lamp on the left is thrifted, but we went to Ikea and got that mini lampshade to offset the black in the pop-art, which is also from Ikea. By the way, you’re about to learn that we have a huge Ikea problem. We also got a vase and some flowers from Reading Terminal Market!


I pushed together these two (thrifted) end tables so we’d have a place to put my record player and records. This lamp is the same as the other one, but since this room is more colorful with a floral couch, we decided to get this cute embroidered lampshade from Ikea. I’m in love with the pattern on it!


Finally, we didn’t have anywhere to put our extra toilet paper and cleaning supplies in the half bathroom, so we picked up this cute woven basket from Ikea, too. It keeps everything tidy and adds a pop of pattern.

As you can see, the downstairs area is coming along. Now to work on the upstairs…

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Product Review: Cheapie Makeup!

I’m sure you guys definitely don’t hear enough about how I’m broke, but, yeah, I’m broke. For that reason, my makeup budget has taken a total DIVE and is pretty much nonexistent (considering the clothing budget is, to me, a tad more important). When it comes to makeup, I’m a label lover. I’ve raved about Urban Decay and fawned over Stila plenty of times on here, I’m sure. Now, though, I find myself sadly wandering the aisles of drugstores, trying to quell my shopping addiction with cheapie makeup.

Though, I gotta say – I’ve tried a few cheap products lately and I’m very pleasantly surprised! So surprised, in fact, that I decided to do a product review.

E.L.F. Eyelid Primer


Eyelid primer is probably the single most important item in my makeup routine because my face can be likened to that of a greasy cheeseburger and without it, my shadow and liner melts off my face. Legit. I found this E.L.F. eyelid primer for A MOTHER-FREAKING DOLLAR at Target, so you can probably imagine that my expectations weren’t too high – especially considering I usually favor Urban Decay’s Primer Potion, which runs about $20 per tube. I figured, it’s probably not going to be as good as primer potion, and if it sucks, whatever – I’m out a dollar. The honest truth? I see no difference between the two. And I am picky when it comes to primers. My eyelids are the oiliest part of my face. But, nope, I primed my lids and put on some shadow, went to a wedding, danced all night, and my shadow was still intact. I couldn’t believe it, dude.


Here’s a picture of the look I wore to the wedding. My shadow went on smooth and very pigmented, I couldn’t be happy with my dollar purchase.

In case anyone was wondering, I used the Too Faced Matte Eye Palette for this look and it’s my all-time favorite palette. It’s the best.

E.L.F. Studio Blush


In the above look, I’m also wearing the E.L.F. Studio Blush in Berry Merry which, as you can see, isn’t very pigmented. Granted, the lighting in that picture isn’t the best and it’s a little blurry, but I do wish this went on a tad more colorful. It doesn’t really last throughout the day (but then again I don’t usually prime my whole face – just moisturize). But, again, it was $3 at Target so I’m not really complaining, it’s a super pretty color.

N.Y.X. Single Eyeshadow in White


I got this in my Ipsy bag for September and I was pretty excited to get it in white since I’m totally lacking in a highlighter pencil right now. (To be honest, Ipsy accidentally sent me two bags, and I got one in a sort of glacier blue, too). It’s not really the best highlighter, to be honest; it’s a little too glittery (I’m also wearing this in the above picture – you can see it in the inner corners of my eyes) and doesn’t really stick to the inner corners. That being said, it looks nice under my brow bone. It’s pretty sheer for a shadow, though I assume if I use my beloved N.Y.X. eye primer in white, it would show up a little better. I still have a certain loyalty to N.Y.X. products, though, and these eyeshadows are decent for the price – $4.50 as compared to $18 for Urban Decay, which are often just as glittery.

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Another Easy, Cheap Soup Recipe!: Broccoli Cheddar

I’m kinda weird – I love cheese but I don’t like soups that are too creamy. I’ve always thought broccoli cheddar soup would look good if it wasn’t so much like eating a bowl of nacho cheese. SO, I decided to invent a recipe that’s better for me because it’s still plenty cheesy with lots of broccoli, but just not so sickeningly dense (especially because it’s not that cold yet).


  • 3 cups chicken broth (I bought low sodium but I don’t know who I was kidding)
  • a 16-ounce bag of broccoli florets, which I chopped up
  • 1 cup of diced onion
  • About 8 chopped baby carrots (it would probably be easier to just use one regular carrot but this is all I had)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (I had to compensate for the non-salty broth)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese (I used reduced fat because I’m so healthy)


  1. Put the first 7 ingredients (chicken broth, broccoli, onion, carrots, salt, pepper, garlic) in a pot and bring it to a boil. When boiling, lower the heat and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Transfer to a food processor or blender and blend it up.
  3. Put it back in the pot. Add the half-and-half and 2 ounces of the cheese.
  4. Stir.
  5. Pour into four serving bowls and divide the other two ounces of cheese evenly amongst each bowl.
  6. Eat some good bread.

If you make it this way, it’s only about 110 calories per serving but super filling!


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Easy Soup Recipe of the Week!

When it starts to get chilly out, there’s nothing I love more than making soups. My criteria of what makes an awesome soup recipe is that it’s cheap, easy, low-calorie, and able to be made in my tiny food processor. This week, I made black bean soup, and for costing about a dollar per serving, it’s a pretty sweet deal. You’re not going to believe how easy it is, either.

This recipe makes about 4 servings; you can double it if you’re not the only one eating.


  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup of salsa, however hot you like
  • 2-ish cups of chicken broth (depends on how soupy you want your soup to be)
  • 1/4 of an onion, diced (optional)
  • Tablespoon of olive oil (optional)
  • Garlic powder, chili powder, salt, pepper, whatever else you want
  • Sour cream
  • Shredded cheddar cheese

What to do:

  • IF YOU CHOOSE TO USE ONION: in a pot on medium-high heat, drizzle the olive oil and let it heat up. Put the diced onion in and let it cook until it gets translucent.
  • Meanwhile, put the black beans and salsa in the food processor and blend until it’s the desired consistency. I like mine a little chunky.
  • Once the onions are ready, pour the black bean/salsa mixture into the same pot. Add the chicken broth and stir until they’re blended together.
  • Season with garlic powder, chili powder, salt, pepper, and any other spices you want, to taste.
  • Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium-low, cover, and let simmer until some of the broth evaporates and it develops a slightly thicker consistency.
  • Serve in separate bowls with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of cheddar cheese on top.

See? Super easy, super cheap. Can’t beat it. Next week, I think I’ll do my low-fat broccoli cheddar soup.

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Hair Repair – Help?

So, I’m not sure what’s been going on with my mane lately, but it’s super dry, super frizzy, and just generally unmanageable. I’ve always had pretty coarse hair, but it’s gotten to the point where I have to clean out my brush more than once a week because it’s completely full, I’m shedding like cray-cray, and even when I straighten my hair I can barely run my fingers through it.

I recently moved so I thought maybe it was my hair adjusting to the different water (is this a thing?) but it’s been over a month now. I’ve tried swapping out my shampoo and conditioner to no avail. I’ve tried Moroccan oil, leaving my conditioner in for a really long time, et cetera et cetera.

Here are a few potential hair repair solutions I found online, but if anyone could hook me up with some stuff that they know for sure will work, that’d be awesome.

Biotin Supplements
Apparently, Biotin gives your hair more shine and strength and helps it grow like crazy. Although I’m not really excited about the fact that I’ll have to shave my legs twice as often, I’m at my wit’s end so I got my hands on some of this and am going to give it a go.

shutterstock_117615883Raw Eggs
I had heard my hairdresser say once that putting raw eggs in your hair works wonders. Is anyone as weirded out by this as I am? If my post-egg-hat shower is super hot am I going to have scrambled eggs in my hair or something? Regardless, it’s supposed to make your hair stronger and shinier, so I might put all my eggs in one basket (ha!!!!!) and give this frightening treatment a go.

I really don’t want to smell like a hoagie shop, but apparently vinegar works wonders on your hair, too. The ashutterstock_123784216cidity is supposed to help with getting rid of residue (which, come to think of it, might be my issue – I use a lot of hairspray).

I love beer enough that the idea of bathing in it is something I can get behind, though I am a tad reluctant to waste a bottle on such a vain endeavor.



Does anyone else have any tips??? Help a sista out!

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Fall Decorating: Warm Up Your Home for Fall!

I’m totally loving having the windows open lately. The weather has been in the high 60′s – low 70′s and it lets in a fresh breeze that’s ideal for napping. Before we know it, though, I’m going to have to shut those windows and turn on the heat — something I’m definitely not looking forward to. That’s why I’m getting my house into cozy mode.

There are a couple little changes that can make your house seem like a warm, comfy, safe haven rather than an icy cold hellcave. (I just made that word up). So, here’s my winter wishlist:

Cozy Throw Blanket

cozy throw blanket

Bronze Popcorn Throw – Pier1 – $40

I fall asleep on the couch, like, six days a week. Having a comfy throw blanket makes the room just look warmer, and it also gives you something to cuddle while you’re watching Breaking Bad.

A Fluffy Rug

Modcloth - $119

Modcloth – $119

I have hardwood floors. I don’t know if you know this or not, but coldness can totally seep through hardwood floors. It gets…pretty cold. Having a nice, warm rug on the floor not only brings some color into the room, but it also keeps your feet warm and makes your heater a tad more efficient. It’s a win-win.

Candles that Smell like Delicious Food

Willow Moon Candles - $14

Willow Moon Candles – $14

Candles warm up a home instantly, and this is especially so – at least in my opinion – if they smell like various baked goods. Ive made my own using custom water bottles that didn’t turn out so well so I broke down and bought a few. I’ve been burning the Pineapple Upside Down Cake and Banana Nut Bread scents from Willow Moon Cottage, which I’ve mentioned before, pretty religiously and it just gives your home a cozy feel. It also kind of makes your mouth water.

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Three Things you can do with that Chicken Breast!

Okay, so I’m pretty sure the fact that I just titled a blog post “Three Things you can do with that Chicken Breast!” makes me a 22-year-old old lady, in large part due to the perceived excitement implied by the exclamation point. But I’m going to write it anyway!

Living on my own, I kind of don’t know how to food shop. I end up with all these odds and ends that don’t really go together, and then I have no idea what to pack for lunch in the morning before I go to work. I’m trying to wean myself off my Lean Cuisine addiction; there’s no way it’s healthy to eat those every day. One thing I always get at the store is boneless, skinless chicken breast (dat lean protein…mmm) but then I don’t really know what I should do with it. My cooking skills aren’t as good as I think they are.

That being said, if you’re on a budget like yours truly, and always running late, also like yours truly, it’s totally a good idea to make a week’s worth of lunches and not have to worry about it. And, like, okay, it’s a little boring to eat the same thing all week but at least it’s fresh and I know I’m being healthy. So I bring to you: 3 things y’all can do with that chicken (assuming you want five days’ worth of lunch)!!

sf-pita-0705p266c-lChicken SaladYo, this is what I’ve been eating all week and I regret nothing. All you need is:

  • Dat chicken
  • Light mayo
  • Pita pockets
  • A bell pepper
  • Red grapes (if you want)
  • OR celery (if you want)
  • Salt & Pepa

So yeah, it’s pretty straightforward. Just cook the chicken in a pan on the stove, cut it up into small pieces, and put it in a bowl. Dice the bell pepper and grapes (if you’re using them) and fry them up in a little olive oil (I know it sounds weird but it’s so good) until they’re soft. Put them in with the chicken. Add a dollop of mayo, salt, and pepper, and mix it up, then put it into five small tupperware containers and take it with a pita pocket for work every day. Yum!

Pulled Buffalo Chicken

You can do a lot with pulled buffalo chicken, and it’s super easy to make. I like to alternate between eating it on a wrap with lettuce, tomato, and cheese; putting it on top of a pita with cheese and making a mini buffalo chicken pizza; putting it on top of a salad; eating it on cucumber slices; and whatever else your heart desires. Just cook the chicken like before, pull it apart, then mix it into a bowl with:

  • A little bit of melted butter
  • Bleu cheese crumbles
  • A tiny bit of ranch dressing
  • A generous amount of hot sauce
  • Salt & Pepa

Pro tip: you can totally make mason jar salads, which hold up well all week. Just put the chicken and other wet/heavy stuff at the bottom, then stuff lettuce or spinach on top. Mmm.

Stir Fry

shutterstock_100057865Stir fry is like, the easiest thing in the world to make and you can make a ton of it with just a package of chicken breast. Make a bangin’ sauce by combining:

  • Soy sauce
  • A pinch of ginger
  • A pinch of garlic powder

Cook the chicken first, then pour the sauce over it. Throw in your favorite veggies after about 6 minutes. I like to use:

  • Chopped celery
  • Chopped onions
  • Chopped carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Those little mini corn on the cob things :)

After the veggies cooked for a bit, pour a little chicken broth over top and let it all simmer. It’ll be so tasty!

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Fall Fashion: Layering

With the past few days being delightfully chilly, I’ve been bustin’ out the layers, big time. My affinity for dozens of cardigans, button-ups, colored pants, and comfiness borderline overwhelms me this time of year, and I don’t even care. Here are two awkward shots of layering outfits I’ve done recently:

outfit 4

It’d be pretty ballsy to assume you want to dress like me, but I’m going to do it anyway and talk about why I think these looks work for me.


outfit 1For the first outfit, I used two of my most-worn pieces in my closet: a chambray button-up from Gap (which is on sale right now…RUN!) and Uniqlo legging pants which are always insanely cheap. In my humble opinion, the legging pants make this outfit because – as long as you’ve got a shirt long enough to cover the waistband – you can’t tell that they’re not really jeans, but they’re SO comfortable whether you’re biking or sitting in an office chair all day. It’s like wearing pajamas. Then, there are few things I love more in life than a button-up chambray with a cardigan over it, and this combo has a nice pop of fall color with the golden yellow cardi. Plus, I just wear

oxfords with everything.


outfit 2

I can’t get enough of colored jeans lately. I’ve got this burgundy pair that I wear on a weekly basis – they’re the perfect fall color – but I also have a bright red, a cobalt blue, and the same Uniqlo leggings in an army green. When you tuck in a boxy, printed top (the one I wore is from Gap, but the one in this picture is from TopShop), wear a pair of flats and a nice belt, and pull it all together with a cardi, it makes for a nice, casual work outfit with plenty of personality and fall hues.




outfit 3Here’s a similar outfit I want to try later — surprise, more burgundy, more cardigans, and another button-up. I’ve got this circle skirt from Urban Outfitters that I’ve only worn once or twice so far because I can’t figure out an outfit, but I think this might work, even though looks just a tad Daria.

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