Well, my goal was to have my October 2023 Favorites published before the end of November. It’s December 2, so I’m a couple days late. But since the end of October was technically only a little over a month ago, I’m still ahead of schedule with recapping my monthly favorites compared to how I’ve been most of the year!
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Beautycounter Holiday 2023 Collection Launch
I have been a Beautycounter Brand Advocate for a little over four and a half years, and the holiday collection launch is always my favorite part of each Beautycounter year. This is my fifth holiday season with Beautycounter, and I love it just as much as the first year. Brand Advocates have the chance to purchase a pre-sale package in mid-September, and then the collection launches to customers in early October. Beautycounter Holiday includes fun limited edition sets. These include popular products in new colors or scents, mini sizes of bestselling skincare and makeup faves, and all-new products only available while supplies last!
Most of the Beautycounter holiday sets are still in stock, so you can grab some if you need to pick up gifts. First time customers can save 20% on their first order with code CLEANFORALL20.
Lilly Pulitzer Florida Popover
Typically I don’t use the coupons that Lilly Pulitzer sends me as a thank-you for shopping their sales, because I can’t justify buying more Lilly at the time. However, the coupon they sent me after the September Lilly Pulitzer Sunshine Sale was more generous than past post-sale coupons. And I had my eye on the Sunshine State of Mind Florida print popover. I knew this probably wouldn’t be included in future sales unless Lilly decides to discontinue it. So I bought it in October using my post-sale coupon.
Carolina Ballet Frankenstein
Carolina Ballet’s October ballet was Frankenstein, and this was the second ballet in my 2023-2024 season ticket package. The program featured the Frankenstein ballet based on Mary Shelley’s novel, as well as two smaller spooky-themed ballets. As expected, the dancing was phenomenal, and this was definitely a fun new fall activity for this year.
Prior to seeing this ballet, I wasn’t familiar with the actual story of Frankenstein. I never had to read it for English class, and my online exposure to it in school was merely learning that it is a Gothic novel by Mary Shelley. Thus, I had always thought that Frankenstein was the name of the monster. I now know that “Frankenstein” is actually the last name of the man who created the monster. Unlike other story ballets I’ve seen, Frankenstein definitely doesn’t have a happy ending. But it was still an enjoyable production due to the artistry.
Ripken the Bat Dog Plush
If you follow me on Instagram and have read my Spring 2023 and Summer 2023 Favorites blog posts, then you know that I love Ripken the Bat Dog from the Durham Bulls. Early this fall the Durham Bulls Store released an adorable Ripken the Bat Dog plush. I took advantage of their Prime Day Sale in October to get him for 20% off. I think it’s hilarious and ironic that it took me nine years of living in Durham to purchase any Durham Bulls merchandise, and when I finally did buy something it was a stuffed dog. In case you aren’t aware, I’m typically not a dog person. However, I love labs, especially black labs. And Ripken is the absolute sweetest. My Spring 2023 and Summer 2023 Favorites posts show some pictures of me meeting him at two different Bulls games this past season.
UNC vs UVA Game
I went to the UNC vs. UVA Game with my family in October. The actual game was not that great. UNC went into the game undefeated (6-0) and highly favored to win. Unfortunately, the UVA Cavaliers handed the Tar Heels an unexpected upset at home. After this game, UNC’s football season pretty much went downhill. But despite the not-so-great game, I was happy to get a really cute picture with the UNC mascots, Rameses and Rameses Jr (RJ). This might be one of my favorite UNC mascot pics yet.
North Carolina State Fair Trip
From 2013-2019, I went to the North Carolina State Fair every year. But then the fair was cancelled in 2020 due to Covid, in 2021 my depression was really bad so I wasn’t up for going, and then in 2022 October was a really hectic month so I simply couldn’t make it work. So this year I was determined to make it back to the NC State Fair after a hiatus for three consecutive years. I wasn’t able to find a friend whose schedule coordinated with mine to go with, so I made the decision to go by myself.
When I found out that the live Rameses mascot for UNC was going to be making a special appearance late morning through mid-afternoon on the second Thursday of the fair, I decided to take a half-day vacation from work and go then. This was my first time ever going to the State Fair solo, but I had a blast! Getting to see the live Rameses was definitely my favorite part of the day. Other highlights of my visit included:
- Eating NC State Howling Cow Ice Cream
- Meeting fair mascot Casey the Cardinal (who was very mischievous and stole my phone to take a selfie)
- Seeing the giant watermelons and pumpkins
- Free hushpuppies from the Old Grist Mill
- Seeing the giant Smokey the Bear statue
- Enjoying hot apple cider
I also got some chocolate chip cookies from The Cookie House at the end of my visit. These cookies are freshly baked on sight, and I had heard people rave about them, but never actually tried any. So this year I decided to get some.
My first trip to the NC State Fair in four years was definitely worth the wait!
A Valuable Life Lesson
On another note, I’m so glad that I didn’t let having to go by myself keep me from going and enjoying the fair! People often cite “not having to plan around anyone else’s schedule” as an advantage of being single. However, the flip side of this is that you don’t have a built-in plus-one/companion who prioritizes you in their schedule to do things with. While I’m thankful to have great friends, the reality is that we all have busy lives and they aren’t always available to do everything with me that I want to do. And that is one really hard thing about singleness that I will gladly trade in someday even if it means less “freedom” in my schedule.
However, one thing that I’ve really learned the past couple years is how to be okay with doing things by myself, even if I would rather have someone to do them with me. It’s better to go out and do something I really want to do (whether it’s go to the fair or the ballet) rather than missing out simply because I can’t find someone whose interest and schedule aligns to go with me!
Birdie Halloween Costume
My 2023 Halloween costume paid homage to my nostalgia for the McDonaldland characters of my 90’s childhood (see this post for more). I decided to be Birdie, my favorite McDonaldland character. My goal was to put together a good costume without spending a ton of time and money, and I’m pleased with the result.
Birdie wears a pink jumpsuit. I wasn’t able to find pink overalls or a pink romper for adults at a reasonable price. So I decided to wear this pink jersey tank dress I’ve had for several years. I purchased an inexpensive long-sleeved yellow shirt from Kohl’s, since I didn’t already have one in my closet. The only other items I bought for this costume were a beak from Amazon and a 99-cent piece of cardstock to make the McDonald’s Golden Arches logo to tape on the front of my dress. I thought about buying a yellow feather boa and yellow tights, but I didn’t want to spend the money on them and decided my costume was perfectly fine without them. Final touches to the costume were putting a pair of swim goggles I already owned to be Birdie’s flight goggles and doing braided pigtails in my hair.
I wore this costume both to hand out candy at my church’s Trunk or Treat, and to a party on Halloween. I’ve always loved Halloween costumes, and it was fun to debut a new costume this year!
Santa Kitty Greeting Cards
While at the NC State Fair, I also stopped at the Villages of Yesteryear pavilion, where North Carolina artisans have pieces for sale, and you can even see some of them at work. It’s always fun to stop in this pavilion at the fair, even simply to look. This year I saw an artist who had watercolor paintings of a gray tabby cat who looked just like Clove (one of my parents’ new kittens), and I was intrigued. This artist had watercolor paintings printed on greeting cards as well. Since I don’t really have space for additional wall art, I opted for greeting cards. A four-pack of greeting cards was more in my price range than wall art as well! I got a pack of greeting cards with the gray tabby wearing a pink Santa hat. I am using one to display as part of my Christmas decor this year.
The artist is Walter Creech, and you can check out his website and work here.
Meeting Mr. Wuf & Ms. Wuf
As a die-hard UNC fan and Clemson fan, I naturally do NOT like NC State. In fact, I refer to them as the “Wolfpuppies.” However, I love their mascots, Mr. Wuf and Ms. Wuf. I especially love Ms. Wuf. She loves to ham it up and is a fun follow on Instagram. In addition, she’s quite a fashion icon! On a Friday night in October, I had plans to go to the Clemson vs NC State soccer game at NC State with a friend who is also a Clemson fan. When I found out there was going to be a pep rally on campus that started about an hour before the soccer game and Mr. Wuf & Ms. Wuf were going to be there, I decided to go and get a picture with them.
Now here’s the funny thing- this particular pep rally was for NC State Homecoming, and it was called the “Beat Clemson” pep rally since NC State was playing Clemson in football for their Homecoming game the next day. I had a Clemson jersey I was wearing to the soccer game. If my Clemson friend had been able to come with me to the pep rally, I would have proudly worn my Clemson jersey. However, she wasn’t able to get there early enough for the pep rally, so I went alone. I decided I didn’t want to insert myself solo into a sea of NC State wearing Clemson paraphernalia at their “Beat Clemson” pep rally. And I figured it would be easier to ask a random person to take a picture of me with Mr. & Ms. Wuf if I wasn’t decked out in Clemson gear.
Therefore, I wore an Old Navy t-shirt with the FRIENDS logo that I had been wearing while lounging around my place. I didn’t want to dirty up a fresh item of clothing that I would only be wearing briefly. I wore a tank top under the t-shirt so that when the pep rally was over I could easily change into my Clemson jersey in the car. This FRIENDS t-shirt helped me blend in nicely as an undercover Clemson fan at the pep rally, and I got a great picture with Mr. Wuf & Ms. Wuf. Also, little did I know at the time that Matthew Perry (aka Chandler Bing)would pass away the very next day.
At the beginning of October, I joined a new Life Group at my church, and it has been a huge blessing. Although I’m an older young adult than everyone in the group, they are still so easy to connect with and have been so welcoming. Our Life Group had a party on Halloween, where we wore costumes, ate delicious food, and carved pumpkins. This was the first time in years that I had actually gone out and done something on Halloween. In recent years, costume/Halloween parties I’ve attended have been either the weekend before Halloween, or another weekend in October. Also, this was the first time in seven years that I carved a pumpkin. I had fun doing a cat face on my pumpkin.
Nespresso Pumpkin Spice Cake Capsules
Nespresso released some limited edition seasonal capsules this fall, and I bought a sleeve of the Pumpkin Spice Cake ones to try. Back when I had my Keurig, I never liked any of their flavored capsules. They would always taste gross and artificial to me. Shortly after I got my Nespresso at the beginning of this year, I tried a couple of their core flavored capsules. One I liked (caramel), the other (chocolate) was just okay (ie it was drinkable, but I won’t repurchase). I decided it was worth it to try one sleeve of the Pumpkin Spice capsules. They were really good, and unfortunately they sold out before I had a chance to order another sleeve. I still have a few more I can ration out, and now next year I can buy multiple sleeves to begin with since I know I like them!
Thanks for reading my October 2023 Favorites. I am going to publish a few gift guides over the next few days to help you finish up your Christmas shopping. Then I will have my November 2023 Favorites post up next week!
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