Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Beginning a New Week in Autumn

Autumn Harvest Wreath, on Amazon


  • It's a new week. Let's look over our calendars (whether paper or digital) and peek at our week ahead. Any doctor, dentist, vet, salon or spa appointments coming up?
  • Have you written in and planned for quality family time, time to socialize with friends (online if in person isn't possible), and carved out some alone time for yourself?
  • Make meal plans for the week; create grocery list
  • Sweep kitchen and front entryway if needed. I find I can easily complete this task while I wait for water to boil for my tea in the morning.
  • Check on houseplants and kitchen herb garden, watering, pruning and turning as needed.
  • Need to sweep any autumn leaves off your driveway, sidewalk, front or back patios? I like to do this in the morning when it's light, and not wait til darkness falls.

TODAY'S PROJECT: Planning Ahead for the Rest of Autumn

Be Thankful Pillow Set, from Henhouse Originals on Etsy

Today I'm looking ahead at the rest of my autumn, making choices, planning, setting goals, and trying to keep my life in balance. I'm making appointments for my hair, for massages, doctor and dentist appointments, checkups for my dogs, and a service for my car. I'm arranging things for the two quick California trips I'll make in October and again in November. I'm also planning the parties, concerts, and events I'll go to this autumn (including a Stevie Nicks concert and a Disney musical!) It's a good idea to look over my budget and set goals for reining in spending!

I don't want to plan everything - spontaneity makes life fun! I'll try hard to leave a couple nights open each week for either chilling out at home, or being able to accept last-minute invitations for fun things.

What fun things, parties, events, and social meetings does your autumn hold? What might you like to plan, given time and budget constraints? Are you hosting any parties (even simple soup-and-salad dinners?) at your home before Thanksgiving?

I'm also planning my fall wardrobe sorting, homemaking schedule, provisioning and food purchases, tea and firewood acquisition, and other things to help maximize my comfort and enjoyment of life this autumn!

What are some of your plans this autumn? Let me know in the comments section below!

LOVELY BLOGS: Wife, Mama, Foodie

Joscelyn blogs about her life and family in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She also shares cooking tips and recipes, some learned from her Southern grandmother. Many of the recipes she shares here do not contain any dairy, gluten, or refined sugar.

I've enjoyed her recent posts on Autumn Vegetable Soup, Pear and Almond Bundt Cake, and this intriguing "White Forest Cake." Her dark-style food photography is stunning and inspiring, too!


LOVELY FOOD: Snickerdoodle Cupcake Mix

These limited edition seasonal mixes tempt me every time! I'm definitely baking one for my upcoming Autumn Frolic party. I won't be able to try one myself, since I'm unfortunately allergic to cinnamon, but I imagine the kids are going to go wild for these!

Betty Crocker Limited Edition Snickerdoodle Cupcake Mix, on Amazon

LOVELY FOOD: Pumpkin Truffles

Every year in autumn, if I have a gift-giving occasion (birthdays, hostess gift at a dinner party I'm invited to, thinking-of-you gifts, welcome-autumn gifts, etc) I try to get my hands on a few boxes of these delicious and adorable pumpkin truffles. I love that it's a small box of four - not too indulgent and it doesn't give you time to tire of the pumpkin spice flavor! So far every recipient, as far as I'm aware, has been delighted!

Moonstruck Chocolate's Pumpkin Truffles, on Amazon


I adore Natalie Portman, and I'm interested in the life of Jackie Kennedy, but something about this trailer left me cold. I think I just got annoyed at the breathy multiple mentions of "Camelot." I'll still likely see the movie, though. After watching the trailer, what do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Jackie, at Apple Trailers

Jackie, at IMDB

Will Natalie Portman Win an Oscar for "Jackie"?


I'm enamored with these darling wooden houses, hand carved in Ukraine. They come with battery packs and can serve as nightlights too! I already have a passion for house-shaped things, and it's going to be difficult for me to pick just one of these to decorate my home with.

LOVELY TV: Autumn in the Vineyard

Every so often I get a hankering to see a sappy romance movie. This one, airing October 15, tempts me due to the vineyard theme. It's a Hallmark Channel original, starring Rachel Leigh Cook (who I'm not a particular fan of anyway) and Brendan Penny, who I've never heard of.

"When Frankie and Nate both have a claim to ownership of Sorrento Farm, they are forced to divide the vineyard right down the middle and work the fields alongside each other to bring in the harvest leading up to the Best Wine competition at the annual Autumn Harvest Festival -- only this rivalry won't be settled in the fields."

Sounds cute, playful, and like something I can enjoy on the television in the background while I cook, do laundry, and blog! I'll definitely set my Tivo to grab this one.

Autumn in the Vineyard, at The Hallmark Channel


Amtrak's Historic Autumn Express Route Returns for One Weekend Only (TimeOut New York)

Apple Almond Cream Cake (Where Is My Spoon)

Apple Walnut Salad (Last Ingredient)

Autumn Bread (Cookies & Cups)

Autumn in Sweden (Canelle et Vanille)

Autumn Vegetable Grain Salad with Cider Mustard Vinaigrette (The Whole Bite)

Autumn Flush: The Best Darjeeling Tea You'll Likely Never Taste (NPR)

Cheesy Italian Red Pepper Frittata Muffins (Delightful Mom Food)

Chicken Cacciatore with Red Peppers (Serious Eats)

Cinnamon Poached Pears with Walnut Brittle (Turntable Kitchen)

Cream Cheese Pumpkin Bread (Euna Mae's)

Crispy Salmon with Soy Tamarind Sauce (Cooking with Cocktail Rings)

Easy Pumpkin Cream Cheese Dip (Lauren's Latest)

Get Your Autumn On (Semi-Rad)

The Long and Short History of the Choker (The Atlantic)

Maple Dijon Roasted Butternut Squash (Flavour and Savour)

Photographer Captures Soulful Portraits of Dogs Enjoying Autumn (Bored Panda)

Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirled Bronies (The Whole Bite)

Roasted Cinnamon Apple Walnut Parfaits (Simply Real Health)

Roasted Red Pepper and Butternut Squash Soup (The Brit Beet)

Slow Cooker Cream Cheese Chicken Chili (The Magical Slow Cooker)

Spanish Style Omelette with Potato and Red Pepper (The Culinary Jumble)

13 Quotes About the Cozy Nostalgia of Autumn (Mother Nature Network)

--Copyright 2016 Lovely Living


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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Mid-September and the Mid-Autumn Festival

I'm trying to wait until October to start decorating for autumn. I like enjoying each season in its own time, and with it 78 degrees here today, it's still summer to me. Still, I couldn't resist this tricolor planter of mums! I had to splurge on it. It was nearly $30, and I bought it instead of going to a movie and spending money on a drink and popcorn. (There wasn't anything I wanted to see this week anyway!)


  • Are any of your friends celebrating the mid-autumn festival? Wish them a festive one!
  • I'm doing a load of towels to get a little ahead of the laundry before the weekend starts. Can't hurt, can only help!
  • As the evenings are growing colder, I feel more like cuddling up in bed reading more substantial material than my backyard "beach reads" I indulged in. Do you have anything good picked out to order at the library or from your favorite bookstore?
  • Let's spend just a tiny bit of time today on our area rugs and throw rugs. I'm going to vacuum all of mine that can't be laundered, wash the ones that can, sweep under them, shake out the little rubber non-skid mats I have under them, and hose off the welcome mat by my front door. These mats are important, as they trap dirt that might otherwise end up on my floors and carpets!
  • Have you made a little bit of time the last couple evenings for yourself, to read the book by your bedside table? Or are you just dropping into bed exhausted and ready for sleep?
  • Do you have your social plans set for the weekend? Need to make any plans, RSVP to anything, invite anyone to something fun?


This weekend might very well be the last of our nice weather for eating and working outdoors, for months to come. (I live in Seattle). I'll retain my hope that we have lots of warm sunny days all the way through into late October like we did the last couple years. But meanwhile, I want to get some of my yardwork (lawn mowing, weeding, planting fall flowers in my flowerbeds) done while it's still nice. Tonight I'll mow, sweep the front walkway, pull weeds from driveway cracks, scrape moss off the steps, and tidy everything up as best I can until I get sick of it and flee indoors to nicer pursuits. (I'm really not a yardwork person!)

In my back yard, I'm moving outdoor furniture around so I can water parts of the lawn without soaking my furniture.

When I get inside, I want to research why the mid-autumn festival is taking place right now, despite it not being even autumn yet. I think it has something to do with the lunar calendar and tonight's nearly full moon. (The Harvest Full Moon rises September 16, 2016).

Do you have any yard work to do this week or weekend, or are you a lucky apartment or condo dweller where that's taken care of for you? :)


Erin writes, "I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Here, you'll find lightened up comfort foods, weeknight meal ideas, and a few soulful sweets." She blogs from Milwaukee.

Recent posts I've enjoyed here include Apple Oatmeal Cookies; Pumpkin Pasta Sauce; Crockpot Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs; and Pumpkin Pecan Cobbler.

This is the perfect recipe blog for cooking inspiration as we transition into autumn! Take a look.


LOVELY BOOKS: Birthday Cakes

I have a bit of an obsession with cake decorating books, though my own personal cake decorating skills are not quite up to the task of creating any of the lovely things pictured in them. This one is by Britain’s leading baker and cake designer, Fiona Cairns. The cakes are categorized by the type of party you might throw. For example, the Vampire Party has recipes for vampire cupcakes, black cookies, a crystal skull, a strawberry and elderflower cake, a jewel box, and then, inexplicably, robots. There's recipes for cakes for a Vintage Tea Party, including Earl Grey tea cupcakes, and tiny rose and violet creams. The other party themes include Alice in Wonderland, Glamping, and a Gardener's Delight party. I love envisioning theme parties I might throw!

Birthday Cakes, on Amazon

LOVELY BOOKS: Fairy's Album

Here's a charming vintage book you can read online. (Peek at the first page, this was a Christmas gift given way back in 1892!) It features "rhymes of fairyland" and simple, adorable illustrations. I hope you enjoy paging through it.

The Fairy's Album, at The Internet Archive

LOVELY FOOD: Apple Cider Cupcake Mix

Though I shudder to think about what chemicals created the color, I love the hue on these apple cider cupcakes! I also rely heavily on box mixes with my busy life. Today before I go out to dinner, I plan to bake a batch of miniature loaves in my new Wilton mini loaf pan. They'll create tiny loaves that are just three or four bites. They'll technically be "cupcake loaves" and I'm delighted to do something different than just trendy round cupcakes! I'll drop off a couple at the neighbors' and gift one or two to my cousin. Later tonight when I'm watching Netflix and drinking my caramel hot black tea, I bet I'll be nibbling on a little apple cider loaf!

Apple Cider Cupcake Mix, on Amazon


Apple Cinnamon Muffins (Brown Eyed Baker)

Building a 13th Century Castle in the 21st Century (The Atlantic)

Creamy Polenta with Mushrooms and Collards (Country Living)

Ginger Bourbon Smash (Baking Bites)

How to Dry Herbs (101 Cookbooks)

Mom's Italian Cream Cake (Bake at 350)

Orzo Salad with Roasted Cauliflower (Annie's Eats)

Roasted Mushrooms and Creamy Polenta (Alexandra Cooks)

See a Harvest Moon Eclipse, The Last Until 2024

Tomato Soup (Bakers Royale)

Two Millenniums of Chinese Tradition Come to Life at Mid-Autumn Festivals (LA Times)

Wild Mushroom Ragu with Creamy Polenta (Connoisseurus Veg)

--Copyright 2016 Lovely Living


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