5 Random Things: September

5 Random Things September

I just sat for 10 minutes staring at my screen trying to sum up September. I don’t think there are actual words to describe the highs and lows I’ve had this month but let’s just say that our country’s loss of RBG threw me over the proverbial edge. The little hope I had left about our election seemingly flew out of my psyche and I entered a really dark place for a few days. The next week, however, I had another great call with the Biden campaign that brought some of that hope back and fired me up to do something about it all. I look forward to sharing more information soon.

On the home front, we’ve been in the middle of construction for the last week because we decided to knock down the wall between our kitchen and dining room and build a pantry which has completely changed the feel of our house for the better. It has been a nice distraction. Now when you walk in the door, it’s immediately a big open space instead of feeling closed off and dark. I think it’s the best decision we’ve made in this home so far! I can’t wait to share the final results. In the meantime, here’s a little before and after picture.

For the new open dining space, we’re creating a beautiful plan around this amazing wallpaper (90% sure on that) and I’m hoping to have it all done before Christmas.

Personally, I’ve been feeling a little lost and all over the place. Once I nail down what’s going on, I’ll write more about it but there’s a lot of comparison traps happening for me on social media and that’s never a good thing especially in my line of work (Yes, I started the Social Dilemma but still need to finish it). I’m feeling torn between needing to do my job and just wanting to hide offline until this election is over. Does anyone know what I mean?

But enough of that. Here are some of the things I’ve been loving this month!

J.Crew Blazer / Madewell Top / Old Skirt (similar here) / Stuart Weitzman 5050 Boots


Book – The Guest List by Lucy Foley: After finishing Americanah (which I ended up loving once I got into it, it took a while), I wanted something a little more mindless so I went with a juicy thriller which was exactly what I needed to take my mind off of everything else going on in the world. I couldn’t put it down and read it in a matter of days. It was the perfect mix of murder, romance, and mystery.

TV Show Away (Netflix): When a bunch of my friends and my dad said they couldn’t get enough of this show, Anel and I decided to try it out. I’m not big into space drama because it freaks me out beyond belief but Away is so much more than that. Hillary Swank plays an astronaut leading the first global mission to Mars. It touches on family, relationships, careers, and yes… space. There is one scene where she has to do a spacewalk to fix her ship and my hands were sweating the entire time and I’m pretty sure I didn’t breathe for 5 straight minutes. That aside, I cannot recommend this show enough! It will have you hooked on the first episode. We’re 4 eps in and can’t wait to watch a new one each night.

Documentary The Biggest Little Farm (Prime): Anel suggested this documentary and I was originally not excited to watch it because the preview looked a little boring. But my mind was changed quickly and within the first 15 minutes, I was fully invested in the story. I didn’t know how much we needed the feel-good feelings from watching it until I followed the story about a couple in LA who leaves the city to start a fully sustainable, biodynamic farm filled with all kinds of veggies, fruits, orchards, and animals. It gave me hope for the future of our world and reminded me of the power of determination. When their pig had piglets, I even teared up! This doc is beautifully shot and spreads a positive loving message that I think we could all use right now.


1. Humans of New York’s feature on Tanqueray. I don’t think I’ve been so invested in one woman’s story since Anna Delvey. Except that Stephanie (stage name Tanqueray) is incredible. The HoNY team interviewed this 70-something woman for their famous Instagram feed and her story has gone viral. The series of 20 interviews they did together pre-COVID were originally intended for a Podcast but she had a bad fall and her health has quickly declined so Humans of New York started sharing her stories in a series of 34 Instagram posts. She was a burlesque dancer in the ’70s and has some of the most insane real-life stories I’ve ever heard from running away from home as a young teen to working with the mafia to . I highly recommend taking the time to read them here.

HoNY also started a trust to help her with health care costs. You can donate to the Tanqueray Trust here.

2. J.Crew double-breasted blazerPictured above. Clearly, I can’t stop wearing this blazer (also seen here and here). It’s one of two fall clothing purchases I’ve made for myself this season (the other is this sweater). I was drawn to it because of the color and double-breasted gold buttons and keep reaching for it for the oversized fit and heft. I look forward to wearing it over and over this fall.

3. Artis makeup brushes: I’m terrible at doing makeup and know pretty much nothing about it. I’m also fairly lazy so my routine is quick and easy. But when I tried Artis brushes earlier in the month for an IG partnership, it changed my makeup game. They’re super soft which makes it feel like I’m getting a face massage whenever I wear tinted moisturizer, but they’re also super effective. I can use a lot less product with the same results. You can also easily clean them between uses and can use for everything (powder and liquid) from tinted moisturizer to foundation to bronzer and blush. Use code JULIAD30 for 30% off sitewide. If you go for one, I recommend the oval size 6.

Transparency note: I worked with Artis on an Instagram collaboration earlier this month but my contract with them has ended. 

4. Carrot soup: So this one is super random but Anel harvested a ton of carrots this weekend and suggested carrot soup when we were thinking of what to make with them. I found this Cookie & Kate recipe and made it twice over the weekend. It is savory, a tiny bit sweet, cozy, warming, and so satisfying with a piece of crunchy garlic bread. I might even make it again this week. We can’t seem to get enough!

Next up, I want to try a carrot cake which I’ve never made, so if you have any great recipes for that, send them my way.

5. The perfect pumpkin candle: I’m generally not a fan of pumpkin-scented candles (I know I know). I feel like most of them are cloyingly sweet or too cinnamon-based which is not my thing either. But I found this one at a local store and it is just perfection. It’s not too sweet and has hints of thyme and spice for a little edge. I absolutely love it and have burned it non-stop this weekend. When I found the brand’s website, I also learned that they’re cruelty-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free, Made in the USA, and 100% recyclable.

What is one thing you’re loving this month?

Photos by Julia Dags.


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  1. Laura said:

    Thank you for caring and using your platform to bring attention to what is going on in the world. I have no affiliation with the organization, but I’ve been writing letters with Vote Forward. It’s an easy way to get involved that you can do from anywhere.

    9.28.20 · Reply
  2. Anne said:

    Honestly feel the same way about wanting to hide away until after the election and a weird pull to stay informed and engaged. It gets so overwhelming! I’m starting to not feel guilty when I have weeks at a time where I need to just tune out the world and focus on getting through the days with mom-ing, working, and trying to just enjoy day to day life. But then again that feels like such a privilege the cycle starts again! Ooof. Anyway… samesies girl. Samesies.

    9.28.20 · Reply
  3. YES! “I’m feeling torn between needing to do my job and just wanting to hide offline until this election is over” is 100% how I feel…. as a teacher, a mother, a travel blogger… some days it’s so hard to stay positive.. I am all for different perspectives and beliefs, but the meanness has just gotten too much… hang in there <3

    and bring Amalia and Anel to the Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze at van Cordlandt Manor in Hudson Valley NY.. it's the most incredible thing..we go every year and just went last night… super safe..outside.. everyone masked…1/3 capacity… and your family will be speechless!

    9.28.20 · Reply
  4. Elizabeth said:

    Re your social media struggles, just wanted to let you know that your account is my favorite in the “mommy” genre, because we see not only the shiny and not-so-shiny, but also get a sense for who you are outside of being a mom. It’s a really nice balance. I love seeing your home renovations too because you do a beautiful job, but on a scale that doesn’t feel aspirational-only for families on a budget. 🙂

    9.28.20 · Reply
  5. That wallpaper is AMAZING!!!

    More importantly, I just keep reminding myself: One day at a time, one moment at a time.


    9.28.20 · Reply
  6. Libby said:

    Ooooo Bon Appetit has this great “healthy-ish” gluten free carrot cake recipe! It is so so good, please make it and invite me over for dessert lol!

    Here’s the recipe: https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/gluten-free-carrot-cake

    9.28.20 · Reply
  7. Caroline said:

    I feel you about the election. So anxiety inducing and frustrating to watch. I’m so glad you met with the campaign, because what has helped me feel better is to take action (even if it’s small). I’ve sent postcards and texted because I can’t deal with calling and potentially getting yelled at.

    9.29.20 · Reply
  8. Bridget said:

    Home related! I remember seeing something on your stories about fixing the quartz in your kitchen – what was wrong with it? We are about to start a kitchen reno in our new house and we are trying to decide on countertops, but I remember seeing something about ring marks and quartz . Any info is super helpful – thanks!

    10.8.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      We actually had to fix our marble, not quartz! We had quartz in our old house and loved it. I would definitely choose quartz if I could pick!

      10.8.20 · Reply
  9. Bridget said:

    Thank you 🙂

    10.8.20 · Reply