This was officially the last full week in August. Where has the time gone? If it wasn’t for the fact that winter comes after fall, I would be super excited about September’s arrival next week. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve always loved autumn and the blank slate that any new season provides.

I’m also looking forward to some travel in October – my first visit to Asheville, NC (for my step-sister’s wedding) and a trip to Napa, CA. Even though I’ve been to both states, I’ve never spent time in either of those locales so I’m looking forward to getting acquainted with them. Beyond the fun wedding activities, I’m thinking about taking a few extra days to explore Asheville. Any suggestions you have on what to do, see, taste, experience, or where to shop would be much appreciated.

This weekend my mom and I are heading to State College, PA to do some Fall Home Tour shopping. Because of the popularity of my past tours, this year I’ve decided to do two Fall Home Tours. (A decision I will probably regret because tours are a ton of work, and invariably they leave me on the floor in the fetal position at least twice.) Nonetheless, I have many new and interesting ideas, and I can’t wait to share those with you. One of the tours will have a fall entertaining twist; the other will be the traditional full home tour.

What's the Tea with IBC |

What's the Tea with IBC |

I’ve already started teasing you with fall decor ideas here on IBC and social media. The response has been mixed since not everyone is ready to let go of summer and welcome in the season of “pumpkin spice everything.” Trust me. I totally get it. I’m just trying to inspire you with a few ideas and recipes should you want to get a head start on fall.

What's the Tea with IBC |

I’m also planning another Fall Cookie Week! It’s scheduled for the week of September 19. This will be my 5th Annual FCW if you can believe it. (You can find the previous four FCWs here.) This year, I invited a fellow blogger and friend to join in on the fun, so there will be a total of twelve recipes. (Hint: It’s Julie Blanner!) It’s going to be a fun and tasty week. Please wear your stretchy pants.

Fall Cookie Week 2016 |

In other news, I thought I’d give you glimpse of my espalier apple tree. Do you remember when I planted this guy almost six years ago?

What's the Tea with IBC |

Here’s what it used to look like:

What's the Tea with IBC |

When I bought this house, things were quite stark out there, and I was desperate to add some green life around the property. Without much of a yard, I had to get creative. So, next to the shed I literally dug a hole in the blacktop driveway and planted a $20 apple tree from Walmart. Six years later, I’m finally seeing the fruits (pun intended) of my labor.

What's the Tea with IBC |

In the past the tree has produced 2-4 apples every year. This year, I have 26! Yep, that wasn’t a typo. Twenty-six!

What's the Tea with IBC |

I’m not sure if the increase is because the tree is finally feeling its groove or because we had a mild winter, but there are apples a plenty, and I’m feeling ridiculously giddy. Of all the projects I’ve done around my house, this is still one of my favorites. Getting such a bountiful crop makes it all the more rewarding.

What's the Tea with IBC |

What's the Tea with IBC |

Also, the apples (I don’t remember the variety.) are pretty tasty. I’m thinking about making mini caramel apple hand pies so stay tuned for that deliciousness.

Finally, as I told you a few weeks ago, I’ve been pushing myself to work harder and smarter. After a rather lazy, laid-back summer, I’m sort of kicking myself for not accomplishing more. Recently I learned about the concept of Bullet Journaling. It’s a customizable organization system that acts as a planner, list maker, and journal.

What's the Tea with IBC |

The original system was developed by Ryder Carroll and was designed to be a forgiving and minimalist way to organize, schedule, and journal. The goal is lo leave the user more motivated, inspired, and organized.

You might not know this about me, but I have an obsession with offices supplies, notebooks, and planners. I have embarrassingly spent hundreds of dollars trying to find the perfect planner. In my 33 years, I’ve yet to find it. So, inspired by this Bullet Journal (aka BuJo) concept, I decided to give it a try. Given that you only need a notebook and a pen, it was probably the cheapest option that I’ve tried, so what the heck.

What's the Tea with IBC |

It’s been about a week, and I’m actually loving it. There was a day or two this week when I ignored it, but I quickly hopped back in the following day.

If you’re anything like me and have struggled with finding that perfect organizational tool, I definitely recommend giving this method a try. To start, check out the official Bullet Journal site for some background. Then, when you’re ready, search on Google or Instagram for more inspiration.

What's the Tea with IBC |

As you will discover, the crafting and journal community have jumped on the BuJo bandwagon and have created these beautiful spreads full of calligraphy, washi tape, fancy pens, and stickers. My approach is more minimalist with only a couple pieces of washi tape and a colored pen for good measure. I also recommend checking out Boho Berry on YouTube. She was a huge source of inspiration for me. I’ve used several of her ideas for setting up my BuJo.

I’ve included a couple pictures of my own planner. If you have any interest in seeing more or reading about how this tool is working for me a month from now, please let me know. If not, I won’t bore you with the details of my attempts to be more organized and productive.

What's the Tea with IBC |

If you’re wondering, I’m using the Leuchtturm 1917 along with these Pitt Artist Pens and the Staedtler pens for a bit of color.

I think that’s it for now. However, a “What’s the Tea” wouldn’t be complete without a few of my favorites from around the web. Here are some of the latest things I’m loving:

I’m not the biggest Britney fan, but I will admit that I’m a bit excited about her new album (which came out today). It’s been receiving good reviews, so I’m giving it a listen this weekend.
How cute is this Tree House She Shed Craft Room?
Currently reading: Present over Perfect
With all these journaling supplies, I should make this Rollup Organizer!
In case you’re wondering where I got those black pumpkins (seen in the photo above): West Elm. Check them out here. I’m also kind of obsessed with their black flatware. I’m very tempted.
Be still. (If Oprah tells you to do it, it’s probably a good idea.)
In a previous What’s the Tea, I mentioned The Weekender, which is on YouTube. The series is put together by Lowe’s and features my friend and fellow blogger Monica of East Coast Creative. If you haven’t watched it yet, check it out. It’s so good.

ICYMI (In Case You Missed It):

Tips for Decorating with Pumpkins
Zucchini Houdini
6 Tips for Keeping the Chic in Your Spooky
Avocado Panzanella
Nature-Inspired Fall Decor
5 Steps to a Fall Bar Cart

I hope you enjoyed this update. Have a fabulous last-weekend-in-August. I’ll meet you back here next week for fall. Ready or not!

Disclosure: This blog post may contain affiliate links as part of the Amazon Services LLC Associate Programs and other affiliate services. This means that receives a small commission by linking to and other sites at no cost to the readers.

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  • Karen at

    Yes yes yes to BuJo posts! I’m a planner lover too!

  • Tina at

    Eat at Tupelo Honey while in Ashville. I was skeptical about their signature pimento mac n cheese but it’s delicious!

    Definitely going to check out the Bullet Journaling, I too love office supplies 🙂

  • Sherryl at

    If you’ve never been to Biltmore Estate definitely go see it! I second Tupelo Honey. Its southern deliciousness. ?

  • Elizabeth at

    While in Asheville go to the Antique Tobacco Barn (it’s near Biltmore) and plan to do lots of walking in the downtown area. Tupelo is great place to eat and Wicked Weed is another. Have a great time in NC!!

  • Elle at

    Tupelo is a chain, bur still good. (We have one in Raleigh.) Downtown Asheville has lots of farm-to-table spots. I’ve also been to a vegan restaurant there, but can’t remember the name.

  • KC1 at

    I can’t get over your apple tree! I remember when you planted it. It’s a work of art and so fun to bake with your home-grown apples!!

  • Anne at

    I love the apple tree. It’s really taking off this year. Also yes to the BuJo posts. And thank you (in advance) for the 2 fall tours. I have been trying to outwit our hot summer here by working on fall things. Fall WILL come one day.

  • Candice at

    Love the apple tree! I think I need to try it on the side of my garage facing our much nicer than a big grey wall. I’m also a newbie to Bullet Journaling. I have to remember “baby steps” when I look at the pages on Pinterest. It’s the perfect answer for someone who loves pens, markers and paper, which I do. Try adding some colored pencils to your supplies, they’re great for doodles and much more forgiving than markers.

  • Jackie L. at

    Heading to State College??? We live just about 40 minutes from there!!! Where are some of your favorite places to shop for the fall home tour in Happy Valley?

  • Meredith at

    Hi Michael! I’m originally from right outside of Asheville and would love to share ideas with you! For dining, you must check (if you are not already familiar) and go to the Southeast Board and type in Asheville. You will get so much great info. I’m obsessed with Nightbell, All Soul’s Pizza, and White Duck tacos right now. Of course be fabulous and get a drink at sunset on the balcony of the Grove Park Inn. Please email me with any specific questions and I will help any way that I can. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog and look forward to all of your updates. Safe travels! Meredith

    • Meredith at

      Jeeze – I can’t get anything straight this morning. It is for great dining suggestions; I apologize about the typo

  • Meredith at

    PS — I adore the Espalier tree! Gorgeous!

  • Michelle Cattapan at

    I NEED that rose gold pumpkin!!! Where did you get it?

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      I found it at HomeGoods! Check there and / or TJ Maxx. I saw a few of them at both places.

      xo Michael

      • Michelle Cattapan at

        Thanks Michael! Love your blog ❤️

  • Cecile at

    Old fashioned stationary stores are my favorite places to browse and yes! buy. They are getting hard to find though. It is jut not the same experience in super stores.

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Totally agree! They have the most unique items and special finds.

      xo Michael

  • Jenny at

    Your Home Tours are my favorite! Keep em coming – whether it be fall or not!

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      You are so sweet, Jenny! Stay tuned next week for a sneak peek at fall. 🙂

      xo Michael

  • Diana at

    Yes, the apple tree is awesome but I can’t wait for your Cookie Week! Some of my favorite posts of the year!

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      I’m so glad you’re excited for Fall Cookie Week too. I love any excuse do some baking.

      xo Michael

  • MELANIE at

    Just got back from Asheville. Loved Marco’s NY Pizzaria and mostly loved French Broad Chocolate Bar. They have warm sipping chocolate truffles!! If you love chocolate, it is a must.

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Yum! That sounds delicious. Thanks of the tip!

      xo Michael

  • JenW at

    Yes! I definitely want to hear more about your BuJo journey…even if it doesn’t work out for you. I recently tried my hand at a Midori style planner/journal, but I’m not loving it. I think I tried too small a size, so I might size up before throwing in the towel for good.

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Sounds good! I’ll pop back in with an update.

      xo Michael

  • Pat @ Life At Lydias House at

    I LOVE your espaliered apple tree! I have never had good luck with fruit trees and I am surprised that yours did so well since I thought they had to be planted in pairs for fruit production! Apparently that is not the case.
    You must visit Biltmore Estate while in Asheville. It is spectacular and will take most of the day to do the home and gardens. The food in the stable café is excellent and is a great place for lunch. Also near Biltmore are the Antique Tobacco Barn and the Screen Door, two of my favorite shopping spots.

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