Monday, September 01, 2014

September Begins - Sliding Back into School and Work

The flowerbed I'm going to have to weed tonight, like it or not!

Have I ever mentioned that I really, really, really don't enjoy gardening? Yet I love having pretty flowers in my yard. I have got to force myself to weed out these horrible nettles or thistles, whatever they are, out of the bed I worked so hard to plant and my cousin worked so hard to clear out and weed a few weeks ago. If I don't keep up my garden, I should be living in a condo not a home. So off I go with a whiskey and lemonade, a blanket to sit on, ugly gardening gloves and a bucket to carry the yard waste to my bin in. Not a bad way to spend my sunny Labor Day afternoon and early evening, I suppose!


  • Is school starting for your kids tomorrow? Prepare a special dinner, help them pick out what they're wearing, make their lunch etc.
  • Make meal plans for the week ahead.
  • Is everyone sleeping on clean sheets tonight?
  • Clean one drawer, one shelf, or two door shelves in your fridge and freezer today. Doing this makes sure your fridge and freezer both get completely cleaned out every 4-6 weeks (depending on how many shelves you have).

TODAY'S PROJECT: Flowerbed Weeding

Some dahlias that miraculously have survived the summer in my neglected garden

I have to suck it up and go tend my poor flowerbeds. I bet I can get the whole thing done in just half an hour. The sooner I start, the sooner it will be over and I can curl up and watch Houdini on the History channel!

LOVELY BLOGS: The Fashionable Hostess

Amanda's styling tips for home, wardrobe, and babies. Recent posts include September Beauty Essentials, a post on strawberry water, a project for making DIY champagne party favors, and how to host a champagne celebration. The photography here is gorgeous!

LOVELY BLOGS: Silver Screen Suppers

I usually only review one blog per Lovely Living post. But I don't want to neglect mentioning this awesome blog that specializes in Hollywood-themed parties and vintage celebrity recipes. They're currently blogging about Vincent Price's Pepitas a la Curry, Jane Wyatt's beer bread, and the Louella Parsons cocktail. It's refreshing not to have anything from modern trampy young celebrities here, focusing instead on old Hollywood glamour!

LOVELY FOOD: Ben & Jerry's New Cores Flavors

I refuse to stop eating ice cream just because summer is ending and the weather is a teensy bit chillier! I'm excited to try the new Cores flavors from Ben & Jerry's. The deal is, down the center of the pint, there's a core of fudge, caramel or raspberry jam. I wonder if it's tasty, or if the texture is weird. One way to find out!

Cores, at Ben & Jerry's

LOVELY HOME: Hidden Passageway

Wouldn't you love to have a secret hidden passageway leading to a tiny room in your home that nobody else knows about? Creating Home Engineering specializes in things such as this for people who can afford it. I can't, so I'll just have to make do with my not-very-secret storage space under my stairway. Anyway, browsing the gallery is pretty fun.

LOVELY KIDS: Jane Austen Paper Dolls

I think I need a set of these! I'm not ashamed to be an adult cutting out and playing with paper dolls. Especially when they're based on my two favorite Jane Austen novels, Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. I have this categorized under Kids, but I don't think actual children (most likely not having heard of or read these books) would care to play with them, with the old fashioned costumes and characters they've never heard of.

Jane Austen Paper Dolls, on Amazon

LOVELY KITCHEN: Coffee Pod Ferris Wheel

I don't use coffee pods - heck, I don't even drink coffee - but I couldn't resist sharing this adorable storage device. So amusing! It definitely would be allowed to take up space on my kitchen counter if I used coffee pods regularly.

Coffee Pod Ferris Wheel, at Pottery Barn


Acting French (The Atlantic)

Blackberry Rose Gin and Tonic (The Picky Pantry)

How Not to Make a Peach Pie (A Cake Bakes in Brooklyn)

When Labor Day Meant Something (The Atlantic)

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Waffles (Zen & Spice)

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Last Fleeting Remnants of Summer

Flowers I bought to help decorate my backyard for a recent party

Today I had the joy of quickly rushing out to retrieve my indoor/outdoor couch cushions from my outdoor living room - it was raining when I woke up! The weather was warm enough still - too warm for an indoor fireplace and my hot tea I drank made me slightly uncomfortable. Luckily this afternoon the sun came out and I was able to take my dogs on a longer-than-normal walk this evening, enjoying the long shadows and a slight smell of cedar in the air. All this is hinting that summer will soon be over.


  • Look back over your Summer 2014 - Did you get to do everything you anticipated? Did you go berry picking, make fresh lemonade, sit in the sun reading a book, go to a lake or beach, have a picnic in the park, take your dogs to an off-leash park, attend an outdoor concert, attend an outdoor film, go to the farmer's market?
  • Any summery events you can plan to enjoy this next week or so, weather permitting?
  • Most of our cooking and eating styles will soon change as autumn begins. We'll cook soups, use our slow cookers, bake more now that we can stand to turn on our ovens. Yet, there's still time to eat heirloom tomatoes, slice up watermelon, prepare some fabulous summer corn, make a fresh berry pie, cut open a summer melon, and drink an ice cold martini on the porch in the evening.

TODAY'S PROJECT: Total Relaxation

All I'm doing for chores today is a load of laundry (so I have fresh sheets to sleep on tonight), a wipe down of my kitchen counters so they don't get grody, and a quick cleanout of a refrigerator shelf with expiring food on it. I intend to spend tonight reading, chatting with friends on the Internet, and watching a few episodes of Orange is the New Black on Netflix. Tomorrow I might possibly play around in the kitchen, baking a cake and trying a couple recipes I've wanted to experiment with. Tuesday (a busy workday) will come soon enough. Tonight, it's time to relax.

LOVELY BEVERAGES: Three Olives' Jacked Apple

I'm not rushing yet to swap out summer flavors for those of fall. There's no pumpkin spice anything in my house right now. But I probably can't resist trying the new vodka from Three Olives - it sounds tasty and refreshing! Liquor store, here I come!

Three Olives Jacked Apple


Mimi Thorisson's blog, where she cooks and let you peek into her busy life in Paris. She and her husband have somewhere around seven kids, if I'm counting right, and four terriers. She's written a cookbook, "A Kitchen in France," and has neatly organized her recipes for you on her blog. I think you'll enjoy her food photography as well!

LOVELY FASHION: My New Purple Dress for Fall

I really do not enjoy shopping at White House Black Market, which seems to specialize in overly pushy, obnoxiously overhelpful sales ladies. I get treated much better at Macy's, where I find I buy many more dresses since I'm left alone to browse and not pressured into joining an email list. The other day, however, when walking by the store windows in the mall, I spotted this purple dress and could tell it had a good chance of looking good on me. I tried it on hurriedly, trying to get to my hair appointment on time. It fit and looked great! After a two minute argument with the pushy salesclerk (wanting me to try something else on, wanting me to apply for a store credit card, asking four times why she couldn't have my email or phone number) I purchased the dress and ran it out to my car. I was a couple minutes late for my hair appointment, which felt rude, but now I have a lovely dress to wear to early fall dinner parties and restaurant outings!

Purple Dress at White House Black Market


Baked Apple Pie Fries (Averie Cooks)

Baked Okra (Bev Cooks)

At Work, Every Friday Should be a Summer Friday (Slate)

Farmstand Blackberry Cornbread Buckle (The Wimpy Vegetarian)

Fermented Turmeric Tonic (Sarah Wilson)

Gluten Free is the New Normal - Get Over It (CHOW)

Homemade DIY Ranch Seasoning Mix (Brown Eyed Baker)

This Week's Meatless Meal Plan (Oh My Veggies)

Whiskey Smash Cocktails for Labor Day (Slate)