3 Free Activities for You and Your Besties

This post is written in partnership with Frieling USA . All opinions are 100% our own.

Hello, readers! It’s Bethany here on Oak and Earth today.

Us girls of Oak and Earth love our coffee. With the leaves finally changing, we love to work in a coffee date outside in the crisp air! Little get-togethers like this make us giddy. In fact, we’re already planning another coffee date to watch the Gilmore Girls reunion! Is anyone else losing sleep in anticipation for this event?! Yes, I’m calling it an event. We’re getting so excited to plan this simple  get-together that it got me thinking about other free activities that bring us so much joy. Here’s a little guide detailing a few ways to bond with your besties on a dime!

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While coffee shop dates are a must have, we really enjoy gathering together outside of that! Try mixing it up and have your coffee at home on the porch, curled up in your living room, or even your bedroom! Wherever you gather, make it an intentional space. Create a fun atmosphere with pillows, music, string lights, magazines, or fresh air. We recently took to the front porch to chat in the gorgeous fall weather. To make it special, opt for French Press coffee like we did! Not only is this fun because it’s portable, but our Frieling French Press gives our coffee a really smooth and rich flavor perfect for our fall vibes. Just the way we like it! Setting aside time to talk and laugh and enjoy one another’s company is always what we need in the midst of all the craziness of the week. And trust us, coffee is even better when you can kick off your shoes and laugh as loud as you want.

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Being from the natural state, this is one of our favorite actvities. Whether it’s a five minute jaunt around the nearest lake, or an all day trip up the mountains, hiking is the perfect way to bond with your girlfriends! We love this time away from social media and technology to focus on our relationships! This allows you to get out of your head space and really relax.  An added bonus? Most hiking spots are free!

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Get out and explore! We love museums. Art museums are a fun way to bring out your creative side and immerse yourselves in culture! We have a beautiful (and free) museum in Northwest Arkansas called Crystal Bridges. If you don’t have a free museum near you, there are many that offer free or inexpensive mini-exhibits and showings throughout the year. This a fun way to learn more about your girlfriends. What kind of art do they like? What’s their favorite way to express themselves? It’s amazing the bonds you can walk away with. And the views aren’t bad either.

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Whether you’re lounging it up with your coffee, wandering up the mountains, or exploring the downtown culture, don’t limit yourselves to routine. What better way to get out of your comfort zone than with your besties! Did one of your favorite free activities not make our little guide? Tell us about it! Leave a comment below or keep the conversation going on @OakAndEarth or my personal Instagram, @BethanyMPoteet. We LOVE hearing from you all.  Now, excuse us while we go grab another coffee to survive the busy week!

Cheers!

-Bethany

5 Inexpensive Ways to Style Pumpkins All Fall

Do you have all the desire to decorate for the entire fall season, and little money to do so? Yeah, me too.

Every time Halloween ends, I toss out our rotted pumpkins and I feel like I toss out heaps of my money right along with them. Not only that, but I’m left with little to no decorations on my porch for Thanksgiving! Now, if you haven’t noticed the massive expense of fall decorating, take out cash the next time you go to purchase real pumpkins and everything that goes with them. Your pocket book will drain faster than you can say PSL!

I could buy fake pumpkins, but one of my favorite parts of fall is romping around the pumpkin patch in search of the perfect ones! In addition to that, I prefer the natural look of the real pumpkins, especially for the front porch.  This leaves quite the predicament. And I have the feeling I’m not alone in this. Do I prefer a barren and sad little porch, or wasted money?

Fortunately, there’s always a way to work with your budget. A little innovation and a pinch of creativity can provide you with all the fall fun no wasted money.

Here are some inexpensive ways to make your (real) pumpkin arrangements last from October through Thanksgiving!

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1.Preserve your pumpkins.

One of the best ways to have your natural arrangements last is to prep your pumpkins ahead of time. Once you preserve them, most can last at least a couple of months. With this technique, you can pick out the best pumpkins and keep them around through Thanksgiving! This alone will save you a lot of money. Here are few links I found that will help guide you in the preservation process. Try HERE or HERE.

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2. Purchase neutral shades.

Not only have these neutral pumpkins been on trend, but their muted pallet makes it easier to create different combinations for the entire fall season. I think they’re gorgeous! When picking yours out, choose different shades to mix and match. I chose whites, sage greens, and pale orange winter squash. I used vibrant mums (an inexpensive choice) to brighten up the space. Have fun with it! The more neutrals you have, the easier it is to play around with your accessories.

3. Rotate your pumpkins.

This one might sounds a bit odd at first, but it makes total sense! Once you’ve gathered your favorite bunch of neutral pumpkins, you can easily rotate the different colors and shades in and out of your arrangements. It takes minimal effort, and helps you feel like you constantly have a brand new arrangement. This is especially helpful when you want to inexpensively transition from an October arrangement to a November arrangement. Check out my example below. I took this arrangement from October to November by substituting my winter squash for my sage pumpkin, yellow mums for burgundy, and swapping out my dried accessories — all of which were a part of my original haul.

4. Style small pumpkins.

While investing in the beautiful large pumpkins is so fun (and necessary to fill large spaces), I find that the small ones are just as useful. It’s very inexpensive to buy a large bundle or two of the small pumpkins. I found mine at Wal-Mart. I use the small ones to fill in the empty nooks in my house, and it automatically feels more festive and inviting. Check out these simple ways to style the small white pumpkins throughout spaces you might not think of, like your bedroom or office space.

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5. Mix and match dried accessories.

For those of you who love the natural look like I do, using dried accessories helps obtain that style while keeping expenses down. Try using dried plants and flowers, pine cones, and maize. All of these dried pieces look great with the pumpkins, and can be preserved or for many fall seasons. In looking at my arrangements, you can see hints of dried accessories all throughout.

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I hope you enjoyed these styling tips! I would love to hear about some of your favorite arrangements you’ve seen this fall. Are you an over the top decorator? Do you prefer the natural decorations? I love to see both! Let’s keep the conversation going! Leave a comment below or follow me on my personal Instagram @BethanyMPoteet. We love to chat with you all.

Happy Fall, yall!

Bethany

5 Inexpensive Ways to Style Pumpkins All Fall

 

Kancamagus New Hampshire Fall Autumn foliage

FALL in love with New Hampshire

At the beginning of October, I had the opportunity to travel to the White Mountains of New Hampshire to see my pen-pal of 15 years, Becca Cahan, get married. New England natives, Becca and her – then fiancé, now husband – Tom, wanted to get married amongst the gorgeous Fall foliage that New Hampshire is well-known for, and coincidentally, where they got engaged.

Jeff went with me on this adventure, and I have to say, adventure is definitely the right description. We flew into Boston on Friday, September 30th, rented a car, and drove straight to New Hampshire. Thanks to a series of weather-related delays, we were unable to attend the meet & greet that evening, but we arrived safely late that night and with plenty of time to recuperate before the wedding the next day.

We went to breakfast at the most adorable little diner and got a taste of the New England experience, which I very much enjoyed. After breakfast, we ventured out to get the lay of the land, as we didn’t have much time before we had to get ready for the wedding.

You guys. I fell in love.

I am now convinced I need to buy a picturesque little New England home, and temporarily move to New Hampshire every Fall. I have never seen colors like that before. It was simply spectacular. There really is no other word to describe it. No wait, I thought of some: breathtaking, mesmerizing, iridescent, awe-inducing, shocking, gorgeous, unreal, insane, absolutely beautiful.

From the foliage, to the mountains, to the wedding, to getting my feet back on the Appalachian Trail, it was an unforgettable and wonderful trip. Becca’s wedding was of course, a dream, and I was so happy and thankful to be there, apart of it, and apart of the gorgeous New Hampshire Fall; if only for just a moment.

Fall New Hampshire New England foliage

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White Mountains New Hampshire New England Crawford NotchNew Hampshire Mount Washington FallNew Hampshire Fall foliage White MountainsFall foliage barn New Hampshire New England

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Wedding New Hampshire Fall foliage Becca Cahan

Becca and I on her wedding day

As always, live healthy and love hard!

-Shelby


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5 Trendy Fall Fashion Looks

You’ve decked out every surface in your home with pumpkins, pinned all the latest Fall fashion trends and recipes, consumed approximately 36.5 Pumpkin Spice Lattes, and are counting down the days until Fall officially begins. Sure, it may still be 90 degrees out, but no one is going to stop you from wearing that perfect scarf you just snagged at your favorite local shop. It’s on. For all intents and purposes, Fall is here, and so are these 5 outfits to help you get on trend for fall fashion.

Fall fashion 2016Fall Fashion 2016Fall Fashion 2016Fall Fashion 2016Blazer: Banana Republic / Top: Occasions / Boots: Nordstrom by Jeffrey Campbell / Necklace: Belonged to my great, great Aunt Ruth


dsc_5349-2dsc_5454-2dsc_5414-2-2fall fashion 2016Hat and Tops: Target / Sweater: H&M / Boots: Free People by Bed|Stu / Watch: Michael Kors


Fall fashion 2016Fall Fashion 2016Fall Fashion 2016Fall fashion 2016Hat and Blanket Scarf: Target / Top: Occasions / Jacket: Loft / Boots: Nordstrom by Jeffrey Campbell / Watch: Michael Kors


Fall fashion 2016fall fashion 2016fall fashion 2016fall fashion 2016fall fashion 2016Top: Occasions / Pants: Old Navy / Blazer: Banana Republic / Watch: Michael Kors / Earrings: Anthropologie / Boots: Dillards by Gianni Bini / Book: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen


fall fashion 2016fall fashion 2016fall fashion 2016fall fashion 2016Top: Target / Blazer: Banana Republic / Watch: Michael Kors / Pants: Old Navy / Shoes: Nordstrom by Jeffrey Campbell


I love this season. The colors, the tastes, the sounds, the smells, the festivals… and of course, the fashion. It’s a great time of year to really play around with your style and try new things. All of these looks are very versatile, taking you from morning to evening with ease. Have fun checking out all of these items, and Happy Fall y’all!

As always, live healthy and love hard,

-Shelby


All photos by: Jeff Rose

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3 Trendy Hair Styles for Fall

This post is written in partnership with Megaphone Influence and Soapbox Insights + Influence on behalf of their client, Thermaluxe, by Remington. All opinions are 100% our own.

Hello Oak and Earth readers, it’s Bethany and Tera here, and we are getting so excited about the Fall season! What’s not to love? Pumpkin Spice Lattes (oh so typical), changing leaves, cooler weather, yummy candles, and new fashion. We want it to hurry up and get here already! All of us girls at Oak & Earth love Fall hair and fashion.

It’s always fun to see the newest Fall fashion trends, and we did our best to research and find some of the cutest Fall 2016 hair trends (before they overtake our Pinterest pages and our favorite magazines) so that we could share some of them with you! A big thank you to Thermaluxe, by Remington for aiding us in selecting some great hot tools to get #RemReady for these Fall looks!

Trendy hair styles for fall 2016

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Textured hair is in for Fall, and we couldn’t be happier about it. Whether it’s straight, wavy, short, or long, all hair types can be textured! Even better, this look takes almost no time at all. To achieve texture, you can use a small curling wand for short hair, and a larger wand or a straightener for longer hair! Lightly wave a few chunks or pieces and leave the others how they are naturally! Another fun way to create texture for medium to long hair is to keep the ends straight and blunt while tousling or waving the rest. The final touch for this look is to add some sea salt spray or dry shampoo. This creates tackiness to your hair so that you can kind of rough it up for your free style! For shorter hair, use a little bit of hair paste to create a fun, tousled look, and a finishing spray to make it last all day! Check out the captions to see what hot tools we used to create texture!

 

We used a 1” slim Thermaluxe straightener on Bethany’s mid length hair for blunt ends.

We used a 3/4”-1” Thermaluxe wand on Tera’s short hair to give it body.

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Who doesn’t love a good knot in the Fall? This can be a top knot, mid knot, or even a half knot! If you wear your hair textured the day before, throw it up the next day into a knot of your choice! These knots pair amazingly with a big fall sweater and a scarf. A fun little Oak and Earth tip is to create the textured style on day one, do a half knot on day two, and a top knot on day three! This gives you three different looks, and only one day of using hot tools on your hair! Even better, all of these looks align with the Fall 2016 hair trends.

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Big waves are on trend for a Fall look! You can use a curling wand or a straightener to create big waves. Because of the high heat, wands allow you to do a wrap-and-go technique. This gives you a loose and natural wave without having to rest your hair on a hot tool for an extended amount of time. Instead of curling it to perfection, run your fingers through it to give it a more natural wave! Short hair is so fun to play with on this look! You can create a soft, beachy wave for a more natural look, or create a bigger curl for a more dramatic ‘do’! Check out our captions to see which hot tools we used for our waves.

Tera and Bethany waved their hair with the 3/4”-1” barrel Thermaluxe curling wand. You can use the larger 1”-1 and ½” barrel for longer hair or bigger waves!

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What are our favorite brands and products to use to achieve each of these looks?

Since us girls of Oak and Earth are real women with very real budgets, every product we mention in this post can be purchased at Wal-Mart and on Walmart.com!

Texture Spray

Getting your hair to be tacky is imperative for your textured look! We both use Not Your Mother’s Sea Salt Spray. We love the texture it gives without weighing your hair down, and the bottle lasts such a long time! If you’re wanting that textured look, this is such an easy and inexpensive way to achieve it. For a pixie, a waxy hair paste is a great way to create the same tackiness that the sea salt spray makes, making it easy to use for almost every style. Here is a brand that has some great reviews!

Hot Tools

As mentioned before, we used a few hot tools to achieve these styles. If you’re going to use hot tools on your hair, we highly recommend products that focus on keeping the integrity of your hair! This is what we love about the Termaluxe tools. We loved that the tools were so smooth on our hair, making the styling process easy and quick! With the curling wand, the base of the iron is hotter than the tip. This keeps volume at the root of your hair where you need it without frying your ends! We also love that there are different sizes of each tool, giving variety for different hair type and length. Since the Thermaluxe tools reach high heat, you only have to do a one pass wave over your hair. The high heat also lets your style last longer and can be used fewer times throughout the week. Spray your day old waves with your favorite dry shampoo or texture spray, and your hair is just as trendy and cute as the day before!

Dry Shampoo

Not washing your hair every day helps retain hair health and moisture. But what about the excess oil and flat texture it leaves behind? Dry shampoo allows you to go a couple days without washing your hair, and also gives you root volume and texture! Since these particular Fall looks will be able to last a couple days, skipping a few washes also keeps down the damage! Here are a few dry shampoos that we have found work well for us: Dove, Refresh + Care Dry Shampoo and Not Your Mothers Dry Shampoo.

Which one of these Fall 2016 looks are you looking forward to the most?! If you try any of these looks, we want you to share it with us! Tag us on Instagram @OakAndEarth! We’ll be using the hashtags #OakAndEarthBlog and #RemReady for these posts, so be sure you’re following along on our social media accounts! You can find these on the side bar or in the footer. We would also love to see you following on our personal Instagram accounts at @BethanyMPoteet and @TeraPianalto. Now to go snatch a Pumpkin Spice Latte in hopes that drinking one will make the humidity drop and the cool weather roll in! Makes perfect sense, right?

Happy Fall, yall!

Bethany and Tera

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Dessert Apple Cider: A Crock-pot Recipe

Hello, readers! It’s Bethany here for this autumn drink recipe!

Autumn is here in all its glory. With bonfires, hayrides, camping, snuggling, pumpkin spice, boots and scarves, it is time for Hot Apple Cider to make its way to our blog! Not only does this amazing cider have a 5 minute prep time, but  it is made in the kitchen appliance that was brought down from the heavens–the crock-pot *enter hallelujah chorus*.

I love this recipe because it can be made for several different occasions. You can add the dessert toppings and serve this for a fall party, OR  you can choose to keep it as a simple and rustic cider in a mug. The dessert version makes for a fun party favorite, and the simplified version is great to curl up with after a long day. This recipe is based off of a recipe I found on a site that I visit quite often for slow cooker meals: Taste of Home. I highly recommend checking it out! I have tweaked it to my taste, style, and convenience Let’s get started!

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WHAT DO I NEED: 

  • 8 cups apple cider (I buy a gallon jug.)
  • 1/4 cup caramel syrup. **Note: The original recipe calls for 1 cup of caramel, and this was too sweet to me and a few of my taste testers . I prefer a spicier cider, so 1/4 cup is more than enough for me; however, I would suggest 1/2 cup if you like a sweet cider. 
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (3 inches) **Note: I found a small and inexpensive package of cinnamon sticks in the baking isle. 
  • 1 tablespoon whole allspice
  • Cheesecloth or non-bleached coffee filter
  • **Dessert Version: Garnish with  whipped cream, hot caramel ice cream topping and cinnamon sticks (3 inches)

DIRECTIONS (5 min prep time, 2-3 hour cook time) 

  1. In a 3-qt. slow cooker, combine the apple cider, caramel syrup and lemon juice.  
  2. Place the cinnamon sticks and allspice on a double thickness of cheesecloth. Bring up the corners of the bag and tie with string to form a bag. I did not have a cheesecloth, but I have found that a non-bleached coffee filter does essentially the same thing for this recipe! If you find yourself without a cheesecloth, you can follow my lead. After putting these ingredients into my coffee filter, I tied it off like a bag, and left it to steep in my cider mixture for the rest of the cooking time (as seen below). 

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3. Cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours or until heated through. Discard spice bag. Pour cider into mugs; garnish with whipped cream, caramel topping and additional cinnamon sticks if desired. Yield: 12 servings (3/4 cup each).

MAKE YOUR DESSERT

It’s time to decide how you would like to serve it up! This cider can hold its own in a mug or it can be elevated to be a stunning fall dessert drink. If you are going to make it into a dessert drink, be sure to remember that if you put your whipped cream onto your piping hot drink, it might turn loose pretty quickly. I waited a few minutes for it to cool a bit.

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This cider has been a great hit and I can’t wait to share it at my next fall get together! Maybe I’ll have to whip up some  Pumpkin Spice Cakes that Tera blogged about last week to go with it! Be sure the keep up with all of our Oak & Earth adventures through social media, and tell us about your experience! You can follow my adventures on Instagram @BethanyMPoteet.

Happy fall y’all!

-Bethizzle Potizzle with the Apple Cizzle.

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