Saturday, December 05, 2009

Holiday Shopping


I'm sorely tempted by Pier 1's cute gingerbread house candles. They'd look nice on my mantel next to my sparkly Christmas Tree candle.

QUICK THINGS TO DO TODAY:

- If you've been wrapping gifts, see if you need to reorganize your gift wrapping box or station. Throw out those little odds and ends of paper you save "just in case I have to wrap something small." Odds are you won't actually ever find anything to wrap in those. Remember not to burn wrapping paper in the fireplace (though it's sorely tempting). The chemicals produced by burning wrapping paper can produce toxic fumes, and burning paper can ride up your chimney and catch the roof on fire. Organize your bows and ribbons. Put everything away if you are done wrapping for the year (lucky you!)

- Make weekend socialization plans if you don't have any set yet. Or cuddle up and stay home alone cozy tonight enjoying some quiet time.

- Fill up with gas for the weekend, if needed, and stop by an ATM for cash.

- Need to drop by the video store to rent movies for the rest of the weekend's entertainment?

TODAY'S PROJECT: Quick Polish and Declutter, Then Shopping

Tidy up for the weekend. Empty trash, take out recycling, freshen bathrooms, change bedding, sweep the front entryway, and do a miraculously quick cleanup on the kitchen. Have any dead flowers or houseplants to throw out? Can you squeak $8 out of your budget for fresh grocery store flowers for your home for the weekend?

Spend just a little time in every room whipping things into shape. In bathrooms, swish toilets, wipe mirrors and sinks, empty garbage, refill toilet paper roll if needed, and replace hand towels with clean ones.

In bedrooms, wash sheets if needed, remove empty drinking glasses, tidy up clutter, dust nightstands, and make beds. Need to vacuum?

In the kitchen, put dishes in dishwasher, scrub sink, wipe down microwave, fridge and counters, empty trash, sweep floor if needed.

In living room, pick up newspapers and magazines, dust TV, remove empty dishes and glasses, straighten pillows and refold throws. Sweep out fireplace (a task that should take no more than five minutes) and wash down the hearth. Vacuum a room or two if you have time and energy and if they need it.

Finish by spritzing with holiday scented room spray, then go have a glass of water to replenish your fluids after you expended so much energy making your home lovely.

After I'm done tidying today, I'm going Christmas shopping for my last two or three gifts. Later I'll join friends for dinner. We've chosen a restaurant that's nowhere near a mall, hoping to avoid crowds.


LOVELY MUSIC: Sting's "If On A Winter's Night"

I just treated myself to the new Sting holiday CD, featuring rearrangements of traditional holiday songs from the British Isles.

It's a major departure for Sting - his voice sounds totally different and he's purposely going out of his way to sing in a particular old style. I don't know if I can recommend this CD to any of you because your music preferences might be vastly different from mine, and this album is so different from what a Sting fan normally expects. I'm enjoying it on my car rides, but there are definitely a couple songs I skip over when they start playing (There is No Rose of Such Virtue and Now Winter Comes Slowly). My favorite song on the album is "Soul Cake."

Listen to the clips of the songs and see what you think.

Reading the reviews of this album on Amazon is actually quite entertaining - the fans are arguing back and forth about whether Sting's voice "sucks" on this album or whether this is a masterpiece album.

If On A Winter's Night, at Amazon

ABOUT MY AFFILIATE LINKS:

I wanted to point out that I normally include an affiliate link if I'm linking to something totally fabulous that I would talk about anyways, even if I wasn't an affiliate on whatever site the item is sold on. The Pier 1 candles I showcase above, for example, don't have an affiliate link because I'm not a Pier 1 affiliate. They're just something cute I wanted to show you.

I did not use an affiliate link when I mentioned the Sting album, though I'm an Amazon affiliate, because it's sort of an "iffy" album. Not everybody is going to like it. I wouldn't want anyone to think I was so desperate for a tiny bit of affiliate revenue that I would link to something weird or cram spammy advertising down your throats.

I'll always point out interesting or pretty things that I personally like on Lovely Living, whether or not I'm going to make money off of mentioning them. Lovely Living did start out as a "shopping finds" type blog, after all, and it didn't have affiliate links at all for the first several years. But I figured I might as well use an affiliate link when possible, because it doesn't hurt to get some extra pocket spending money here and there to use for books and pretty things!

And I love being able to "dress up" this otherwise text-heavy blog with pretty pictures here and there - copyrighted pictures I'm allowed to use because of my affiliate relationship!


LOVELY HOLIDAYS: Real Simple/Container Store Recipes

Real Simple magazine and The Container Store partnered together to share recipes for homemade treats you can gift. The recipes include sugar cookies, raspberry pinwheels, fudge sauce, lemon almond macaroons, cinnamon twists, spiced mixed nuts, and more.

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