Wednesday, January 29, 2014

#4.1 Read 25 New Books – The Lovely Bones

Let me start off this post by saying that it's been a while since I've read a book. My free time is usually spent on social media and/or Netflix (a habit I'm trying to break, mind you), so reading hasn't been a priority (whereas the Internet has. Sad).

Believe me, I used to read ridiculous amounts. It wasn't uncommon for me to read a 200+ page novel a day back in seventh grade, and I remember spending Saturdays at the public library collecting so many books to take home it physically hurt my arms. I miss that. I miss that time in general (the first six months of 2009 has, so far, been the best time of my life), but reading as much as I did especially.

Anywaaaaaaay, The Lovely Bones was a Christmas present from my mom's friend. She's a big reader herself, and I know whatever she recommends will be great. And that's just what The Lovely Bones was: great.

"'My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.' So begins the story of Susie Salmon, who is adjusting to her new home in heaven, a place not at all what she expected, even as she is watching life on earth continue without her – her killer trying to cover his tracks, her grief-stricken family unraveling. out of unspeakable tragedy and loss, The Lovely Bones succeeds, miraculously, in building a tale filled with hope, humor, suspense, even joy."

I've never read anything quite like it before. The whole premise of a character narrating everything that happens on earth from heaven was foreign to me, but I realized how genius it was a few pages in. Susie's situation offers such a unique perspective of her family's (and killer's) lives. The whole book had a very somber tone to me, possibly because death is such a huge theme, and I felt very discombobulated whilst reading it. The abrupt ending definitely contributed to that; I was left not knowing what exactly to think or feel. Just as Susie was unexpectedly and prematurely torn from her world, I was taken out of the Salmon's. If it was intentional, I must tip my hat off to Ms. Sebold.

Bottom line? I loved this book, and it was refreshing to read something that both made me think and made me feel. If you're on the hunt for new reading material I highly recommend it.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

#3.1: Make 20 Recipes From Pinterest – Whole Wheat Pumpkin Brownies

I feel kind of bad for writing another recipe post, nonetheless another dessert post, right away. But, unlike the last one, this one is for my 101 in 1001 list. That makes it sound less lazy, right?

I was in need of a dessert to take to a get-together my mom's best friend was having. At first, I was frustrated – I'd completely splurged on pumpkin chocolate chip cookies a couple days ago, and I was counting on that for my cheat day. I knew I'd have a hard time staying away from all the food and desserts that would inevitably be there, so I decided I'd make something healthy. This way, there'd be something for me to satisfy my dessert cravings, and the chance of going overboard would be thrown out the window. You've heard that saying, I'm sure – if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. So that's what I did. I planned.

After searching Pinterest for a number of hours (slight exaggeration), I found this: 65 Calorie Whole Wheat Pumpkin Brownies. The blog is run by a girl named Taralynn, and it's amazing. I highly recommend checking it out. Anyway, the brownies looked so good, and the comments were full of rave reviews, so I had to try them. Plus, this would give me the chance to use the leftover pumpkin I still had. Zingaaaaa.


º 3 medium eggs
º 1 tsp vanilla extract
º 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
º 1/3 cup hot water
º 1 heaping cup whole wheat flour
º 6 oz vanilla yogurt
º 1 cup pumpkin puree
º 3/4 cup Stevia in the Raw
º 1 tsp butterscotch chips
º 1 tsp chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Put the eggs, yogurt, pumpkin, and vanilla in a bowl and beat together. 

Now, I didn't have any vanilla yogurt, so I substituted half a cup of plain Greek yogurt. I also added an extra teaspoon of vanilla.

Mix in the Stevia with the pumpkin mixture aka bowl of vomit.

Mix the water and the cocoa powder. 

It should look somewhat like icing. If it's too thick, add more water. (CAUTION: DO NOT LICK THE SPOON UNLESS YOU WANT TO HACK UP YOUR OVARIES. IT'S VERY BITTER)

Mix with the pumpkin mixture. Now it's a darker shade of vomit. 

Add the flour and mix.

Spread out the batter in a greased baking dish.

Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top. I didn't have any butterscotch chips, so I just doubled the amount of chocolate chips. No complaints here! Taralynn also mentioned that topping the brownies with cherries, cranberries, walnuts, peanut butter, or M&Ms would be good. Bake the brownies 25 to 30 minutes. They're done when a toothpick comes out clean.

Once they're out of the oven, place them in the fridge to cool. This gives the brownies a fudgier consistency (2 points for my clean, organized fridge).

Cut them into 15 pieces, and eat!

You all must be dying to know how they turned out. Did I like them? Yes and no. They turned out great for brownies that were only supposed to be 65 calories, and I'll definitely eat one or two during the week if I'm craving something sweet. BUT, they didn't meet my expectations. Maybe it was because I didn't use vanilla yogurt, maybe I should have used more chocolate chips or cocoa powder. Who knows? Needless to say, I did not take them to the party. It turned out that we were the only people bringing dessert, and I didn't want to make people gag. What did I end up doing, then? I made chocolate chips cookies and took those instead, but I did bring a brownie for myself to resist any temptation. It was a good night.

Nutrition per Brownie:
65 calories, 2 g fiber, 3 g protein

Friday, January 24, 2014

Healthy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I found a pumpkin chocolate cookie recipe on Pinterest several months ago when I needed to make something for Thanksgiving. Being the calorie conserver that I am, I modified it to reduce the calorie, sugar, and fat content (the healthier I made it, the more I could eat, sue me). They were delicious. So delicious, in fact, that I made them again Christmas morning for my birthday.

However, until I put the recipe into MyFitnessPal, I never realized just how healthy they were. One cookie has 108 calories, 3.2 grams of fiber, and 3.4 grams of protein. 3.2 GRAMS OF FIBER AND 3.4 GRAMS OF PROTEIN. FOR ONE COOKIE. I was floored. Cookies are one of my many loves, and now I can enjoy them all the time, not just on cheat days. Without further ado, here's the recipe:


º 2 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
º 1/2 cup Stevia or Splenda
º 1/4 cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
º 1 tsp baking soda
º 1 tsp salt
º 2 large eggs
º 1 tsp vanilla
º 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (although it turns into 2 teaspoons whenever I make these)
º 1 cup pumpkin
º 1 cup chocolate chips

*If you want, you can add a couple tablespoons of honey or agave and more chocolate chips (the original recipe actually calls for 2 cups). These aren't the sweetest cookies, which is fine for me as I don't have a massive sweet tooth, but I realize everyone has different tastes. 

Preheat the oven at 375. Mix the baking soda, salt, and flour in a bowl.

In a second bowl, mix the sugars, eggs, pumpkin, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice until smooth. 


Combine the wet and dry ingredients and start mixing. Once it looks like this,  you can start mixing it with your hands.

There we go.

Now, add in the chocolate chips aka piece of heaven.

Roughly shape the dough into a square (that's a square, shut up).

Divide the dough into 25 pieces, cutting it 4 times horizontally and vertically.

Place however many chunks you want on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet and bake 12 - 14 minutes (make sure you flatten the dough balls out a little bit, mine baked into literal golf balls). 

Put the extra dough chunks in a plastic container and store in the freezer (this way, when you want to more cookies but don't want to make a whole batch, you can pop one in the oven and voilà! Cookies without major cleanup! Oftentimes I'll make a double batch just so I have more to put in the freezer. Lolz whoops.)

The cookies will look cakey, but don't fret. That's only because of the pumpkin. Store them in a cookie jar or container that isn't completely air tight (avoid Ziplock bags, they tend to turn soggy).

Like I said, literal golf balls.

Regardless, they still turned out great. #hiddenmickey for Shannon.

What a cheat day it was.

Nutrition per cookie:

108 calories, 3.4 g fat, 3.4 g protein, 3.2 g fiber 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

#2: Start a Blog

I should not have included this on my 101 in 1001 list. Just like my Gossip Girl challenge, this was another lazy cop-out I took because I couldn't come up with ideas. I mean, I was already kind of blogging, right?

Anyway, when I first started this blog I wasn't intending on using it regularly. It was appropriately named "I'm Not Good at Naming Things", because I'm not. I honestly made it just because I could. 

Last night, however, as I was writing my Gossip Girl post, I realized just how fun it was. I'd forgotten how much I'd enjoyed writing, and I vowed to make blogging a hobby of mine. 

First step? Coming up with a blog name that didn't scream laziness. It took a while; each blog name I came up with was already taken by someone else, and I was running short on ideas. I wanted to somehow incorporate my name, similar to how Zoella named hers. Eventually I came up with Miss Automne, reminiscent of how one of my mother's best friends called me Miss Autumn as a young lass. Miss Automne.

omg autumn u spelled ur own name rong 

No, I didn't. Automne is French for Autumn. I've been obsessed with French culture since I was 11 years old, and, as Miss Autumn was already taken, I figured it was the only way to go. 

Look out, world, Autumn's blogging now. 

#1: Finish Gossip Girl

I can officially cross the first thing off my list! I finished Gossip Girl (cue the exasperated sighs).

I had been watching Gossip Girl for a while now, and was towards the end of the fifth season when I started this challenge. Honestly, I listed this because I got lazy and was having a hard time coming up with ideas for my 101 in 1001 list. It was inevitable that I was going to finish the series eventually (religious Netflix watcher, here), so my listing this was definitely a cop out. Lolz srry.

You must be dying to know: did I like it? Was I a true Gossip Girl fanatic? Did I ship Dair or Chair?Believe me, I didn't want to like the show. For the longest time, I didn't want to even try watching it. Blake Lively had always annoyed me, and I was scared the writing would be so horrible I'd routinely be reduced to tears. But, after weeks of reading the pilot summary over and over again, I gave in and clicked play.

Was the writing so horrible that I was reduced to tears? Yes. Tears of laughter (ba dum ching). The plot was so wildly unrealistic, the lines cheesy, the costumes ridiculous, and the characters annoying as hell. 16 year olds drank alcohol like 26 year olds do, teenagers had wardrobes only consisting of Chanel and Louis Vuitton, coke was a common party activity. I didn't believe any of it.

Now, you'd think I would have been smart enough to have stopped watching after the pilot, but I couldn't not watch more. As much as I hated the whole premise of the show, I found myself wanting to be a part of it. Who wouldn't want to have money to burn and men fawning over them? I want galas and glamorous social events to be part of my weekend itineraries. I kept watching. And watching. Gossip Girl became my guilty pleasure that I was too proud to admit.

The more I watched, the more I became engrossed in the characters. Dair or Chair? Dair. I need Chuck all to myself. Nerena? Lol, no, Serena needs to leave and never come back.

I oddly feel empty now that I've watched the finale. Not quite empty in the way I was when I finished the Harry Potter series for the first time, but empty enough that I don't know what to do with myself now that the story's come to a close. But I guess this means I can find another series to watch, so I'm not complaining too much.

XOXO, Autumn

          (LOLOLOL I HAD TO BYE)

Monday, January 6, 2014

101 in 1001

The 101 Things in 1001 Days Challenge

The Challenge: 
Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria: 
Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on your part).

Why 1001 Days? 
Many people have created lists in the past - frequently simple challenges such as New Year's resolutions or a 'Bucket List'. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1001 Days (about 2.75 years) is a better period of time than a year, because it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks, which is better for organising and timing some tasks such as overseas trips, study semesters, or outdoor activities.

Start: January 6, 2014

End: October 3, 2016


Fitness & Health
  • Reach my goal weight
  • Run a half marathon
  • Splits
  • Eat clean (no cheat meals at all) for 1 week
  • Do 10 push-ups in a row
  • Do 10 pull-ups in a row
  • Take a pole-dancing class
  • Use my boxing class card
  • Complete Jaime Eason’s 12 Week Live Fit Trainer 
  • Take a yoga class
  • Go without soda for 1 year
  • Go hiking 5 times
  • Keep a food diary for 1 year
  • Run 3 5ks

  • Make 50 vlogs on a YouTube channel
  • Start a Blog 
  • Get new headshots
  • Book 2 jobs
  • Take voice lessons
  • Write 5 songs

  • Make 20 recipes from Pinterest (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  • Go Vegan 1 week
  • Go Gluten-free 1 week
  • Try 10 new restaurants (1, 2, 3)
  • Try 10 new foods (1, 2, 3, 4)

Kill Them With Kindness
  • Donate blood
  • Donate to the D.I./Goodwill 2 times
  • Volunteer
  • 5 Random Acts of Kindness
  • Compliment a stranger
  • Donate food to the food bank
  • Leave 10 RAK notes

Learning, Reading, Writing
  • Read 25 new books (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17
  • Write in a journal once a week
  • Read BuzzFeed’s 21 Best YA Books of 2013 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11)
  • Write a letter to myself in 10 years
  • Take a photography class
  • Buy a camera
  • Write a novel


Family & Friends

Just Because
  • Get a piercing
  • Get a tattoo
  • Go skinny dipping
  • Go an entire week without electronics (besides cell phone)
  • Do something I’ve always been afraid of
  • Go an entire day without using my phone
  • Visit a haunted house
  • Carve a pumpkin
  • Go a full day without saying anything negative
  • Laugh until I cry
  • Decorate my room
  • Fall in love

  • Make 10 DIY projects (1, 2)
  • Make 10 projects from Pinterest (1)
  • Sew something
  • Make a scrapbook


And finally...
  • Create a new 101 in 1001 list.

I'm going to try my best to blog about each thing I finish. I'm excited and motivated, which are things I haven't felt in a while. Here we go.