Merry Autumn Days

autumn leaves

‘Tis pleasant on a fine spring morn
To see the buds expand,
‘Tis pleasant in the summertime
To see the fruitful land;
‘Tis pleasant on a winter’s night
To sit around the blaze,
But what are joys like these, my boys,
To merry autumn days!

We hail the merry autumn days,
When leaves are turning red;
Because they’re far more beautiful
Than anyone has said.
We hail the merry harvest time,
The gayest of the year;
The time of rich and bounteous crops,
Rejoicing and good cheer.

-Charles Dickens

Solid poem, Dickens! Who knew? I like the line “what are joys like these, my boys”— reminds me of a New England prep school, as if I’d know what that’s like.

Hope you have a great Thanksgiving. If you need it, do a last minute gratitude jar with the fam.

autumn treeMary Tobin is sporting a cape (!!) from her adorable Halloween costume and a smocked floral dress—both by Mama Rote—along with pink ballerina shoes of her own choosing, several sizes too large.

Tips from the Danes: Simple & Cozy

walking in Copenhagen

A year ago, we were exploring a new-to-us corner of the world: Stockholm for two nights and Copenhagen for the rest of the week. (Recall, Ashley’s advice on prepping for Danish fashion and culture, and traveling in general.)

Evidently, I’m a fake blogger because I didn’t record the trip after the fact. (Ashley did! Here and here.) But now that it’s getting cooler, the smell of autumn air is bringing back Copenhagen memories.

It was a lovely trip—obviously!—and the charming Scandinavian way of life and simple aesthetic were inspiring. Here are a few specific ideas to make your life simpler and cozier this fall:

  • Nix the top sheet. The Danes and Swedes sleep on a fitted sheet with just a fluffy down comforter. I did this last night, after Mary Tobin peed through our quilt and top sheet. (I don’t think she did it out of spite, but I can’t be sure!) So I stripped those and pulled out the comforter that had been stored away for summer. It was a delicious night of sleep. And if you’ve got two comforters, a separate one for your partner, I think it could solve some marriage problems.
  • Candles, that’s all. The Danes were so into candles it was ridiculous. Clear off all other tchotchkes and light your (unscented) candles. Ashley and her husband rented a furnished apartment, really just the basics—mostly from IKEA of course!—but it felt so cozy even as the days grew darker and shorter. I was inspired to evaluate what we really need, materially. (Of course, I did go nuts at their equivalent of the dollar store, stocking up on cool Scandinavian napkins and weird trinkets.)
  • French press. Yummier coffee, no counter space. I’m so happy we made the switch.
  • Go outside anyway. “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes.” All the restaurants and cafes still had their outdoor seating available. They added blankets to the chairs and cranked up the outdoor heaters. What a dream it would be to install an outdoor heater on our little balcony! But for now I’ll pull out our sturdiest blanket and park it out there.

Thoughts, feelings, emotions? Other ideas for creating hyggelige? Would you try any of these?

copenhagen hygge

P.S. For more on cultural differences—more than just tighter jeans and “blondes have more fun”—read Ashley’s thoughts as they wrapped up their year in Copenhagen: lessons from the Danes.

P.P.S. If you need another boost to simplify your possessions, here’s a post for you: Nobody’s Dream Job.

Tips from Ash: Copenhagen+Fall Fashion+Travel

Today I’m giddy, stressed, and highly caffeinated, because at the end of the week Israel-bear and I are going on a big adventure. Our dear friends Ashley and Tyler are living in Copenhagen for the year; i.e., living the dream and traveling all around Europe and beyond. Getting some work done, too, I’m sure. And we’re going to visit! I’m all amped up and nervous about the trip, so Ash has been talking me through things, and she’s agreed to let me share with y’all some of her hard-earned Euro travel advice—17 countries and counting!

You should check out her blog, Getting Accustomed Tuite. (Their last name is Tuite. To it. Get it? You can thank Ashley’s dad Branch for that gem!) I have absolutely loved following along in their lives this year through Ashley’s photos and writing.

So, listen in on my conversation with Ashley as we talk nordic fashion and packing, and check in tomorrow for the rest of her travel advice. (One more background item: Ashley and I call each other “homes,” as in homeslice, homey. Not sure why. Just don’t call her “Ash hole” even though that is one hilarious pun.)


Help! I have Copenhagen Fashion Anxiety. What do we need to know? Does everyone wear black? Can Israel wear a puffy vest and other preppy clothes?

Here’s the rub, homes: The Danes are far cooler than I will ever be, so I’ve kind of given up.

But, since you’re much more capable than me, here are a few fashion observations so far this fall. Most girls are wearing leggings or very skinny jeans with baggy, neutral-toned sweaters or blouses, boots, and a dramatically chunky, knit scarf. I’ve seen lots of high buns, pops of color with sassy shoes or bags, lots of ombre and color-blocking. Hipster-esque but still fashionable. No one overdoes it with a funky, bright anthro top or dress and forgettable everything else. It’s a subtle, the-whole-package type of style.

I pretty much epically fail every day. But, I can’t afford funky Danish clothes and I don’t think I have enough Nordic swag to pull it off. You, on the other hand, have blonde hair so you might just fit in.

Here are a few images via pinterest to give you an idea.

Source: via Ashley on Pinterest

Source: via Ashley on Pinterest


Another thing to keep in mind, it’s much cooler here than in the US. We’re full-fledged fall at the moment. And, the seasons are not fickle here, unlike DC. There’s virtually no chance we will have a day in the 70s, or even high 60s. I still think it’s not that cold and know you can get by on sweaters and a light jacket, but others have said I’m too used to the temperature here. So, layer up! And, bring a rain coat. It will rain. For sure.

Do not worry about the weather, by the way. It’s kind of romantic and it’s when Denmark’s magic comes out. One word: “hyggelige”.

Izzy can totally wear a puffy vest. I see lots of puffy jackets here, especially in the winter. Preppy clothes? At his own risk.

Only kidding. We had a friend walk into Christania (look it up) with a pink polo and darker pink sweater tied around his shoulders and he stood out like a sore thumb. But, no one cared. People are totally chill in good ol’ Danmark.

So glad you told me this! Let’s be real, my closet is full of the Anthro-like statement pieces you described. Shoot. I’m going to tone it down. But get ready for “aggressive” (read: bright and preppy) American fashion from Izzy.

In your vast travels this year, have you picked up any amazing tips and strategies as you pack or prepare for a trip? Like only bringing clothes in the same color palette so they’ll all mix and match? Please share your secrets.

Maybe you should be the one giving me tips here? That’s a great idea. I would definitely try that – especially for the fall when you need so many layers.

My best advice is to pack light and re-wear clothes. It’s much more enjoyable to navigate airports and metros and cab rides if you’ve packed light. Unfortunately for you, you’re bringing hair products, bags, pumpkin puree, leggings – you know, the US treasures that I need. Hopefully it won’t weigh you down too much. [TAK, for real, homes!!]

You’re welcome! But OK, I’m about to go unpack and repack my bag and try to get rid of half my clothes . . .

[conversation to be continued . . . ]

Call me Fishmael.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Source: via Josie on Pinterest

Hey, internet friends, what do you think?

It’s fall, and we’re looking forward to all those nice fall-y feeling things. Israel and I brainstormed over lunch this week, and he’s specifically looking forward to:

    • college football
    • tailgating
    • pumpkin beer
    • pumpkin anything
    • delicious air
    • sweaters
    • getting out his Patagonia fleece
    • romantic comedies that feel appropriate to autumn, such as St. Elmo’s Fire and Breakfast at Tiffany’s

It’s also about time to switch out clothes and little house items, like putting away the summer table cloth and getting out that delicious candle. BUT we have a dilemma. “Fishmael” is our gurgling cod from last summer’s New England vacation, possibly my favorite souvenir I’ve ever purchased. (We obviously had to choose Nantucket Red.) Does he stay or does he go?

Here’s Fishmael in his native habitat:

[Let’s take a moment, not for silence, rather for loud appreciation of Mama Rote’s handiwork on those shelves during her last visit! I had the vision; she handled the execution. Here’s the before; the cabinet on the right:

Note well: this metamorphasis took place only during times when Mary Tobin was asleep. And, these cabinets are heavy as the dickens, so we didn’t budge them to paint. When we move, we’ll have to paint the three remaining sides.

We lined the back with wallpaper (from a Washington Design Center sale) and used Annie Sloane chalk paint, which lived up to its rep of being nice and easy. The color is a mix of Duck Egg and French Linen that we dubbed “French Duck Linen” or “French Egg” or “Linen Duck” . . .  shall I go on?]

What do you look forward to for fall? I hope you’re pulling out the blankets, sprucing up the nest to make it nice and cozy, and enjoying the cool breeze through your windows.

More importantly, if you had a gurgling cod pitcher that brought an awesome glug-glug sound to the water glasses at your summer dinners, and—let’s be clear—undeniably reminds you of summer and whaling in Nantucket, would you let him stick around through the cold months? Or are some things made even more special through their absence? Again I ask you. Does he stay or does he go?