Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Time for Us Week - Another Day of Pampering

What I'm reading this week in my extra leisure time

Today I'll tidy up the bathrooms, do a load of laundry, empty the dishwasher, and then that's it for chores for tonight. Plenty of time to clean in the upcoming festive holiday months. Now it's time to spend some time and energy on me!

QUICK THINGS TO DO TODAY:

  • Need to tidy bathrooms or do laundry?
  • Have everything you need from the grocery store? Fresh fruit, milk, butter, eggs, bread, lettuce, tomatoes?
  • Thanksgiving is a little over a month away. Do you know where you're going, whether you're hosting or going to someone else's place, or if you're traveling? Need to make any plans? If you're traveling or going to someone else's house, do you have a hostess gift?
  • Any old friends you wish you could catch up with? Treat yourself to a nice long distance phone call tonight, if your friend has time.

TODAY'S PROJECT: One More Day of Pampering

After I'm done working today, I am going to lie around on the couch, in front of a merrily burning fireplace, with several cups of tea, magazines and a couple books (on my Kindle) I'm eager to finish reading. I have a pileup of Bon Appetit, Martha Stewart, Rachael Ray and Seattle magazines, and half of "The Miniaturist" to finish. I also have a couple Halloween cards that should have been addressed and mailed days or weeks ago. I think this is a lovely plan considering it's raining so hard - otherwise I'd be tempted to go out to my favorite luxury movie theater, iPic to see a movie.

LOVELY BEVERAGES: Cinnamon Plum Tea

Are you getting a little pumpkin-spiced out? Here's a festive holiday tea that can carry you through the autumn and winter hot beverage season. The plum makes it seem a little late summer-early autumn to me. As with all Republic of Tea products, it's a little on the pricy side though.

Cinnamon Plum Tea, at Republic of Tea

LOVELY BLOGS: The Ice Cream Informant

I'm one of those people who still eats ice cream even in the dead of winter. I love hearing about new types of ice cream I've never heard of, and seasonal updates from ice creams that are available to me. The Ice Cream Informant posts a couple different reviews every week. Sometimes I have to admit it's torturous to hear about a tasty new treat I can't find in the stores near me! Ice cream will definitely be part of my self pampering for "Time for Us Week."

http://www.theicecreaminformant.com/

LOVELY BOOKS: The Cocktail Club

"A Year of Recipes and Tips for Spirited Tasting Parties." I love the idea of starting a cocktail party club. It might be a little difficult to pull off in my circle of friends right now, since everyone has small children. Maybe someday when the kids are older, we can plan regular book club style cocktail club evenings. The book suggests highlighting one type of spirit or one kind of drink every month, and features hors d'oeuvres pairings.

The Cocktail Club, on Amazon

LOVELY BOOKS: Costume Design and Home Planning

Here's another charming vintage book you can look through for free online. Published in 1916, it features a female author and female illustrators. The fashion illustrations are fascinating, and I bet you'll like the home planning sections as well. The "Choice of Furniture" chapter is my favorite.

Costume Design and Home Planning, on The Internet Archive

LOVELY FOOD: Mistletoe Mint Gelato

My favorite gelato maker is coming out with a seasonal flavor for the Christmas holidays: Mistletoe Mint. Apparently it will only be available at Whole Foods Market. I love mint ice cream and gelato, but I can see how that wouldn't be for everyone.

http://ciaobellagelato.com/

LOVELY PETS: Trixie Cat House

My cat prefers hiding in the closet or crouching under my desk to living in an expensive cat house. I guess I'm lucky in that regard! If I did have a cat who actually used their scratching post, climbing tree, or cat house, I'd be tempted by this Trixie house. It's so unusual and so cute! It wouldn't be an eyesore in the living room, either.

Trixie Cat House, on Amazon

LOVELY LINKS FOR TODAY:

A Classic Apple Pie (A Cozy Kitchen)

Clear Clutter from 8 Hidden Areas (Housekeeping/About.com)

Fruity Lentil Salad with Persimmons and Avocados (Kalyn's Kitchen)

Mini Sticky Toffee Lincolnshire Puddings (The Belleau Kitchen)

Potted Cheddar with Bacon and Shallots (Nourished Kitchen)

Roasted Acorn Squash with Smoked Paprika (Aggie's Kitchen)

Rustic Cabbage, Potato and White Bean Soup (The Simple Veganista)

Simple Sweet Potato Havarti Soup (Cheeky Kitchen)

Swirled Vanilla Cheesecake and Chocolate Brownie Bars (Plating Pixels)

Top 10 Ways to Enjoy an Autumn Walk (Walking/About.com)

Vegetable Tofu Lo Mein (Hello Little Home)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Time for Us Week - Treat Yourself

Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin Mini Candle, at Bath & Body Works

Let's treat ourselves to just a little special something material today, as well as some time alone or time to do something we enjoy. Even if you only have as little as $5, you can pick up a delicious beverage, a naughty snack, a new nail polish, a scented votive candle, or a simple, pretty bouquet of flowers from Trader Joe's.

And we'll take a break from housekeeping - the mess will always be there this weekend after our Time for Us week is over!

QUICK THINGS TO DO TODAY:

  • Need to run the vacuum really quickly through a couple rooms? We can pamper and treat ourselves this week, but we can also certainly spare five minutes to vacuum or sweep our homes so they don't get out of control.
  • Any trash cans need emptying?
  • Dishwasher need to be filled, or emptied?
  • When's the last time you snuck a truffle or a caramel? Livened up your morning coffee with a dash or two of flavoring from your pantry?

TODAY'S PROJECT: Treat Yourself

Glazed Apple Home Fragrance Oil, at The Body Shop

As part of "Time for Us Week", do something nice for yourself today.

It doesn't have to involve spending money, but it does have to involve spending time on yourself. If you do have a little room in your budget though, splurge on a tasty hot drink at Starbucks, a new lipstick at the drugstore, a fall candle at Pier 1, a new shower gel at Bath & Body Works, or perhaps a potted plant at Trader Joe's?

Maybe you'd like to buy a used paperback at your local bookstore, or spend just $6 on a couple new magazines to peruse, or load your Kindle with a new ebook. You might stop by Redbox and pick up a $1 DVD rental?

No room in the budget? Make your partner take care of the kids this evening (if you have any). Treat yourself to a Lifetime movie today, re-watch a favorite DVD, or play around with your crafts supplies. Perhaps you'll spend the hour you would have spent housecleaning doing something much more fun: reading a book, experimenting in the kitchen, or knitting while listening to music instead.

Take a long bath, treat your hair to a special conditioning treatment, give yourself a manicure or pedicure, scrub and moisturize your skin. Go through old photos, if that's fun, or get out old children's books to enjoy re-reading for yourself. Write in your journal or diary, or work on a short story or poem you've been creating. Paint, or do something else creative that you enjoy doing. Write a letter to someone, go through old letters people have sent you, or try on some goofy makeup and hair styles.

Make someone else cook dinner, whether that be your partner, one of the kids, the microwave, a takeout restaurant or fast food place. (I'm personally hearing the siren call of Taco Bell!) You'll have plenty of time to cook for your family and friends in the upcoming busy holiday season.

LOVELY BEVERAGES: Dragon Jasmine Tea

Jasmine tea is one of my favorites, though not what I immediately turn to in the mornings (That would be Earl Grey or English Breakfast). This week, since it's "Time for Us Week" I treated myself to a lovely tin canister of this hand-rolled tea. I'm taking care to brew it properly and drink it out of a beautiful antique teacup, not just slopping it into a mug of water that's been microwaved.

Dragon Jasmine Tea, by Harney & Sons, on Amazon

LOVELY BEVERAGES: Jim Beam Maple

I decided to treat myself to a small bottle of Jim Beam's seasonal bourbon for "Time for Us Week." I won't drink it all by myself in just a week, don't worry! I'm finding it overly sweet, but that was expected. You probably wouldn't want to drink it with a sugary mixer like a soda. It's best straight up, on the rocks, or with club soda if you can't handle it straight. I didn't get tired of the nice maple flavor, but the sweetness made me worried about a hangover if I had more than one drink of this.

http://www.jimbeam.com/maple

LOVELY BLOGS: Va-Voom Vintage

Here is Brittany's fabulous blog on recreating vintage hair styles and wearing vintage style fashions. Check out her fun recent posts on V for Victory, "This is Halloween," Little Quirks, and How to Cut a Pineapple from 1950s Hawaii. I ended up reading way more posts here and spending more time than I had allotted myself tonight, because I was having so much fun!

http://www.vavoomvintageblog.com/

LOVELY BOOKS: Amy Vanderbilt's Complete Book of Etiquette

"A Guide to Gracious Living" is the subtitle of this quaint 1957 book. Her advice covers weddings and ceremonies, honeymoons, anniversaries, courtships, engagements, funerals, dress and manners, home entertaining, household management, correspondence, family and children, public life, and travel etiquette. I feel like I am fairly polite but have room for improvement, so I should pay a lot of attention to this book. Reading it sounds like both fun and work, though, so I will set it aside for next week when it's no longer "Time for Us Week."

Amy Vanderbilt's Complete Book of Etiquette, at The Internet Archive

LOVELY LINKS FOR TODAY:

Apple Slab Pie (Brown Eyed Baker)

Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Soup (House of Yumm)

Cornbread Tamale Pie (Bon Appetit)

Cranberry Sauce Mini Cheesecakes (Sweet Peas and Saffron)

DIY Faux Halloween Lantern Light (Real Housemoms)

The Lost Art of Making Popcorn From Scratch (Maria's Farm Country Kitchen)

Maple Pecan Apple Crisp with Bourbon (Ambitious Kitchen)

Pumpkin Spiked Horchata (Slim Pickins Kitchen)

Savory Spaghetti Squash Cakes with Harissa Eggs (The Bojon Gourmet)

Simple DIY Skull Garland For Halloween (The Kitchn)

Simple Sundays - Parsnip Apple Soup (Kitchen Confidante)

Spooky Spider Brownies (Dinners Dishes and Desserts)

12 Favorite Kale Salads (Cookie + Kate)