Sunday, January 24, 2010

January Flowers


QUICK THINGS TO DO TODAY:

- Grocery stores in many areas now have tulips and daffodils available. If you like spring flowers, pick yourself up some. You can generally get a bouquet of several tulips for less than $7 and daffodils for less than $4. It will bring a little early feeling of spring to your home.

- Can you find primroses for your garden? I don't generally plant mine in January, but I put several containers of them on my front porch for a colorful welcome home.

- Fridge/freezer maintenance - Clean one shelf, one drawer, or two door shelves.

- Check your supply of liquor, wine and beer if you keep those sorts of beverages around. Did your supplies get depleted during your holiday parties? Add to your grocery shopping list if needed.

- Take inventory of your paper and plastic products. Do you need more Kleenex, paper towels, toilet tissue, garbage bags, sandwich bags? Add anything you need to your shopping list for the week.

- Do you have any library books due to be returned this week? Any movies you rented this weekend at the video store that need to be returned today?

- It's a new year - does your child need their allowance adjusted for cost of living increases and their age? If this isn't something you review around their birthday, this might be a good time to discuss it. Also, it may be time to adjust chores around your child's older age, new skills they've acquired, or new schedules they've taken on at school.

TODAY'S PROJECT: Bathroom

Thoroughly clean a bathroom (or two!), paying special attention to the shower and/or bathtub. Change and launder towels and rugs if necessary, refresh vases or houseplants if applicable. Replenish toilet paper, hand soap, and toiletries as needed. Sort any and all medicine cabinets, under-sink cupboards or cabinets, throwing away items you don't need. Declutter and prioritize. Can you remove three or more items from your bathroom counter as needed?

TODAY'S SECONDARY PROJECT: Quiet Winter Evening

Spend some time tonight with your family of course, but also give yourself time to work on your crafts, writing, classes, book reading, fun cooking projects, sewing, photo sorting, and other activities. Enjoy tea, coffee or wine, and treat yourself to a fire if you have a fireplace. Enjoy some quiet time without rushing around from errand to errand.


LOVELY BLOGS: Outblush

This is a shopping blog for women. I like seeing these fun finds. The blog covers fashion, home, beauty, and lifestyle.

http://www.outblush.com/

LOVELY LINKS FOR TODAY:

Billionaire-Owned Hotels (MSNBC Travel)

Homemade Bouillon (101 Cookbooks)

How to Eat Less Meat (CHOW)

When Pasta Met Sauce (CHOW)

White Hot and Icy Cool Cocktails (In The Spirit)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Winter Weekend on the Way


Strawberry Chocolate Tea: what I'm serving my guests at a Valentine card-making party

QUICK THINGS TO DO TODAY:

- Fill car with gas, visit an ATM for cash for the weekend

- After all the holiday cooking last month, do your knives need sharpening? Do your scissors need to be sharpened after all the gift wrapping you did? This is an excellent chore to pass off on a man - they actually like sharpening knives!

- If you are a blood donor, have you made an appointment for this next quarter's draw?

- Empty wastebaskets in bathrooms, bedrooms, living rooms and kitchen if needed.

- Declutter living room/family room, empty off dining table or breakfast nook table if needed

- Spray some home fragrance if you like that sort of thing.

- Put out fresh flowers

- Rent movies for the weekend, or update Netflix order for the next couple weeks.

SUGGESTED PROJECT FOR TODAY: Photo Album Sorting

Do you have several messy, disorganized boxes of old family photos that desperately need to be sorted, documented, and put in nice acid-free albums? I do!

Is your laptop full of new pictures you've offloaded from your digital camera, but never sorted, labeled, or backed up onto another computer and onto CDs or memory sticks? Are your relatives anxiously waiting for pictures of your children because they haven't gotten any in several months?

Winter is an excellent time to get your photograph albums in order. There isn't any beautiful sunny weather outside to distract you, and long dark winter nights lend themselves to creative projects. You can even sort photographs while you watch TV and movies, listen to music or visit with friends.

Your photograph albums are a gift to your future family members (even ones you haven't met yet), and to current family members who are very young right now. When you're long gone, your nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and cousins will be able to document their family history in part because of your albums. It's especially important to label photos with names, dates and locations, because someday you'll forget, or you won't be around to tell people that important info.

This newsletter is certainly not the place to go into all the technical aspects of photo preservation (Acid-free paper, not using magnetic photo albums, acid-free inks, not writing on the back of photos with ballpoint pens, etc), but the Internet has a wealth of information on that topic.


Damask Photo Storage Box, at Amazon

For my fellow shopaholics on this newsletter, try to avoid using photo storage and preservation as an excuse to buy more stuff. You probably already have a few archival quality photo albums and photo storage boxes around the house as it is. Wait until those are filled before buying others. Don't fall into the trap of wanting all your photo storage boxes and photo albums to match, either. If you're buying one or two boxes at a time, even if you go back to the same store next year, you might not be able to find the same exact kind of box. So what. Let it go, and spend your time worrying about actually sorting your photos.

I personally do not scrapbook my photos. I think scrapbooks have a very low ratio of photos-to-pages. If I'm going to have several big, bulky albums taking up room on my bookshelves, I want them to hold lots and lots of photos, not two or three on a page, surrounded by a bunch of cute stickers. I'm thinking that scrapbooking should be done with duplicate pictures, not single originals.

I'd personally rather have a well put together album with typed documentation next to each photo. Who is the person in it, when and where was the photo taken, what was the occasion? Any other pertinent information could be on a small typed white card. Although purists scream at the thought of writing on the backs of photos, even with archival inks, I tend to want to do that on every one in case they ever in the future fall out of their albums or get separated from their card. Already, my grandmother is forgetting names and faces on many of her older photos. I need to sit down with her and ask her who all the people in those black-and-white pictures from the 1940s are. We'll write them on the back (with the correct kind of archival pen!) and add a documentation card to the album too.

Come up with a sorting system that makes sense for you. For me, I can't throw a bunch of photos all over a room and sort them over the next few weeks. My cats would ruin the pictures, they'd get stepped on, and I'd miss the use of my living room. So I'm sorting photos first into individual boxes by person or by era (1940s, 1950s, etc) and then will move them into albums in the coming weeks. That way I can keep everything, including the smaller photo boxes, in a couple large Sterilite boxes. That way they're all together, and I can haul them out every time I can grab a couple uninterrupted hours to sort. Which isn't very often!

Probably people younger than me don't have a bunch of photo albums laying around. Lately all the pictures I take are digital, so I'm archiving them on multiple computers and in CD folders. But I do tend to print out a lot of pictures so I can frame them and look at them around the house. I also prefer looking at photos together with family sitting on the couch flipping through albums, rather than huddled around a laptop to stare at the screen.


LOVELY BLOGS: Blondie and Brownie

This is a nice cooking/foodie blog by two contributors. Currently they are celebrating National Pie Day, blogging about eating healthy, sharing their experience at an Ethiopian restaurant, and showing off a red velvet doughnut they baked.

Blondie and Brownie

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Create Something Day


I'm giving these alcohol-infused bonbons to my sweetie for Valentine's Day. I love the masculine packaging and I think he'll love the flavors!

I declare this "Create Something Day!"

Our society is definitely a consumer culture, where everybody buys, collects, hoards, eats, uses up, and throws things away. Most of us are very far removed from the methods by which our clothes, houses, cars, food, and possessions are created and built.

I want to counteract this in my own life (admitting freely that I'm a huge shopaholic) by creating and producing things when I can.

I'm not at all talented at sewing, so I probably won't be sewing my own clothes any time soon. But in the summer I can garden, in the winter I can tend attractive houseplants, I can make handcrafted cards to express affection for family members and friends, and I can cook and bake. Today I will be creating something.

QUICK THINGS TO DO TODAY:

- Do you have a new 2010 wall calendar hanging up in your house yet? Or do you use a desk calendar, or a purely electronic calendar? Spend some time today (if needed) transferring and copying birthdays, anniversaries, and other important events into your 2010 calendar if you haven't already. That way every month you can look ahead and see which birthdays can be celebrated.

- Do a load of laundry, if needed, so you aren't heading into the weekend with loads and loads.

- Have you eaten a "whole food" today? Something that's not out of the freezer or a box? Perhaps a banana, a tomato, an avocado, a handful of blueberries, a handful of almonds?

TODAY'S PROJECT: Create Something

Do something with your hands. Make something yourself. Touch it with your hands, feel the texture, experience the smell of whatever you're working with. Don't run out and buy any supplies - we all probably have way more than we need in the way of groceries and crafting supplies. Use whatever you have on hand, and let that guide you as to what you might want to create today.

Be present in the moment while you are creating. Turn off the TV, stay away from the computer, and put the cell phone away where you can't hear it or be tempted to answer frivolous texts.

Have your kids help you, work with your partner, or enjoy your task by yourself.

You might bake something (I'm baking homemade pretzels today), or create a special out-of-the-ordinary meal for a Thursday night. You might sew something if you're good at that, or work on finishing that knit sweater. Perhaps you got an indoor herb garden as a Christmas gift - spend time tonight nurturing it.

You might just mess around with your crafts - rubber stamping, scrapbooking, trying to make a felt toy, finishing that beaded necklace, or putting together a photo album. Paint a picture if you have such supplies on hand, or work with your watercolors. Create your own cards for games like "Apples to Apples" or "Taboo," or draw up a silly Monopoly board customized for your family's preferences.

Your creativity might run to writing - create an entry in your journal, write a short story, write a family newsletter, work on your family web page, or write a letter to a relative (I'm writing to my niece and nephews today).

Whatever you might choose to do (if you don't think I'm crazy, bitchy and bossy for suggesting this today and you actually go along with it!) give yourself the time and space to do it. Put off laundry til tomorrow if needed, avoid wasting two hours in front of the TV (this one is hard for me!) and log into Facebook 1 time instead of 20 tonight.

Create something, build something, whether useful or frivolous. Make something that you put yourself into.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Back From Vacation


A Kniphofia plant at the San Diego Zoo

I'm back from a lovely week-long sunny vacation in San Diego. I got home just in time to escape the rainstorms and windstorms hitting San Diego today. I'm rested, relaxed, and ready to take on whatever 2010 has to throw at me. It's good to be home with my kids and cats.


This is me, lounging at the hotel bar with a couple of my San Diego friends

QUICK THINGS TO DO TODAY:

- Need to take laundry out of the dryer to fold and sort?

- Pet maintenance - Need to wash pet bedding today? Sanitize their food bowls? clean the floor around said food bowls? Bathe or brush your pet? Inventory any pet medicine to see if you need a refill for them?

- I like to give my kitchen floor a quick mid-week mop. How is yours looking?

- What are you doing for fun this weekend? Check with friends and make plans ahead of time if possible.

- Carve out ten minutes today to just sit by yourself in a room with your feet up, coffee or tea and a magazine. (Enlist your partner's help if your children make this ten minute reprieve difficult to attain).

TODAY'S PROJECT: Mid-Week Maintenance

I've been gone for seven days, so I have a bit of housework to catch up on. My kids did the best they could - I came home to freshly vacuumed carpet, swept wood floors, and a clean kitchen. But there are all those little things that need attention (trash cans emptied, curtains Febrezed quickly, coffee table decluttered and dusted, a lightbulb changed, etc).

After doing a quick sweep through of the house to declutter and collect drinking glasses, empty recycling and trash, I'll probably do some maintenance cleaning in the kitchen. I'll clean the microwave, stove and oven, and sort out two drawers that are really getting out of control. Not the most exciting project in the world, but one that my home will be better for after I'm done.

LOVELY BLOGS: It's the Little Things that Make a House a Home

I thought you might enjoy checking out this homemaking blog. The author shares her progress in homemaking and family projects. Quite a prolific blogger, she posts almost every day. She shares a lot of pictures of her home, food, and decor, but in a way that makes you not feel like you are snooping into the life of a stranger.

http://itsthelittlethingsthatmakeahouseahome.blogspot.com/

LOVELY PARTIES:

There are several opportunities in the weeks ahead for you to throw a fun party. You can throw a delightful party without an excuse, of course, but I like to throw parties centered around a theme. Check out this list and see if you get inspired to host your friends, treating them to an enjoyable time.

- The Superbowl, February 7

- The Winter Olympics, February 12

- Valentine's Day, February 14

- Throw an Alice in Wonderland themed party right before or right after seeing Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, March 5

- The Academy Awards, March 7

LOVELY QUOTE OF THE DAY:

"If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."

— William Morris



LOVELY TELEVISION: Launch My Line

I shouldn't watch so much television (especially after coming back from vacation and needing to catch up on my neglected work). But tonight I don't think I can resist checking out this fashion reality competition show. Ten fashion designers are paired with ten professionals with no fashion industry backgrounds, attempting to launch a line of clothing. I don't think the show will be boring - at the least, it will give me something to listen to while I fold laundry and sort my mail!

http://www.bravotv.com/launch-my-line

LOVELY LINKS FOR TODAY:

Can You Take Leftovers Home From a Party? (CHOW)

Healthy Winter Desserts (Food Network)

How to Make A Veggie Stir-Fry (CHOW)

100 Ways to Live a Better Life (Dragos Roua)

100 Ways to Screw Up Your Life (Dragos Roua)

Valentine's Day Cardmaking Center (Martha Stewart)

Monday, January 11, 2010

"Try Something New" Week


This week I treated myself to a new hand soap for the kitchen: Sicilian Orange, at Williams-Sonoma

It's a New Year and a new decade. Let's open our lives to some new things!

I don't want to be stuck in a rut, boring and predictable, always following the same routines. I don't want to grow up to be a 90 year old fussy elderly woman who has to have things a certain way and can't be flexible.

Flexibility is the key to youth, happiness, and not driving your family crazy.

QUICK THINGS TO DO TODAY:

- Need to pick up or drop off any dry cleaning?

- Freshen bathrooms - 2 minutes each to do a quick sweep or mopping; sink, mirror and counter wiping/sanitizing; toilet paper roll refreshed; towels replaced if needed; and trash emptying.

- Make menu plans and create grocery list for the week

- Do a quick check for any Christmas tree needles that didn't get vacuumed up yet.

TODAY'S PROJECT: Try Something New; Do Something Different

I don't want to eat the same foods all the time (though I don't think my french fry cravings are going to stop any time soon). I don't aim to do the same things every week, and always go to the same places. While it's not okay to constantly crave new things so you never appreciate what you have, it's also not ok to be stuck in a rut.

Rituals and traditions are nice - my grandparents predictably watch Lawrence Welk and eat popcorn for dinner on Saturday nights. The difference between a ritual and a rut is how you feel about it, as well as how it affects others around you. If my grandparents aren't bored doing the same thing every Saturday night; if they still look forward to their routine, and it makes them happy, that's wonderful. But if they are doing it out of boredom or lack of creativity to think up something new to enjoy, it's not good.

When you can't modify your ritual, when your insistence on doing your ritual makes you miss out on a new opportunity, or when it upsets you to not be able to partake in it, then it's a problem. My grandparents can forgo their Saturday night Lawrence Welk tradition every so often in order to see their great-grandchildren's school plays, or go out to dinner with a visiting relative on a Saturday night, and they don't spend the whole time wishing they were home in front of Lawrence Welk.

I have a hard time modifying my "Desperate Housewives" Sunday ritual, but thanks to Tivo I can postpone my trash TV watching until later.

This week I am going to try several new things.

The easiest, most obvious place to start is of course with the foods I eat. This week when I go out to dinner, I won't go to my good old standby Italian, Greek, American or Chinese places. I'll try something new - Vietnamese, Afghani, Korean or Trinidadian. I'll be more adventurous with my palate.

At breakfast this week, I'm drinking refreshing tangerine juice from Trader Joe's instead of my regular grocery store orange juice. That doesn't sound much like I'm switching it up, but it will help me with baby steps towards doing things differently.

I'm also trying to rearrange some of my home decor. I think I pretty much have the house the way I want it - but I don't want someone walking in 10 years from now and seeing the same old furniture sitting in their usual places, the same unburned candle sitting on my coffee table, and the same tablecloth on the dining table.

I don't need to buy any more decor or furniture for a long time, so I'm just going to rearrange a few things to see if I like it better. I've moved the family room couches differently and added a side table we didn't use before. It's handy to have somewhere to set a drink, and the room is cozier with that table holding a candle and framed family member photo.

This week I will try reading a different genre of books - mystery. I normally don't enjoy mysteries, but what if they're more fun than I remember and I've been missing out this whole time? (I think I will pick a short one though). I'm also reading "Psychology Today" and "Writer's Digest" today (and enjoying them!) instead of my usual "Bon Appetit" and "Martha Stewart Living."

I could be really brave and get a new hairstyle, but I am too chicken. I might try wearing different lipstick, rouge and eyeshadow (as long as it's flattering) and something more exciting than my normal boring pale beige fingernail polish.

I spent my Christmas gift card at Macy's on a new style of clothing I haven't tried before. I love it! I will remind myself to wear some of my lovely earrings I own and not just keep the same boring cubic-zirconia studs in every day.

What's something you might do to shake things up a little bit this week?

Friday, January 08, 2010

Winter Crafting Projects


I couldn't resist the new Williams-Sonoma message cookie cutters. They'll be perfect for making "Eat me" cookies for an upcoming Alice in Wonderland party I'm planning, and think of all the other fun messages I can serve up at my future parties!

Winter is the perfect time to catch up on your crafting, scrapbooking, writing, baking, knitting, or hobbies. There's no holiday shopping, wrapping or baking to slow us down. Weather in most parts of the country isn't nice enough to tempt us outside.

If we can resist the distractions of our computers, televisions and video games, we can enjoy our handicrafts, rubber stamping, letter writing, knitting, crocheting, scrapbooking, writing, journaling, photography, photo album sorting, or other indoor wintertime pursuits. It's all about making time and space for yourself to actually do it. (And cleaning up afterwards!)

QUICK THINGS TO DO TODAY:

- Do you have any borrowed pots and pans, or food containers you need to return because people brought them over for the holidays? Any pie pans that need to be washed and returned? Find them, wash them and make time to return them. (Even better, return them with fresh baked cookies or pies inside).

- Make time in your schedule for vigorous exercise. If it's too cold out to walk briskly, put on great music and dance for half an hour. I'm sure I'm not the only person with a little bit of holiday weight gain or a need for some heart-healthy exercise.

- Have you taken your vitamins recently?

- How are your supplies of firewood, propane, wood pellets or similar heating or ambience supplies? Kindling?

- Do you use a space heater? Inspect for signs of damage, clothing and curtains too close to the space heater and other hazards.

- Launder used gloves; remove used Kleenex from jacket pockets and replace with fresh packets.


Home Sweet Sewn, at Amazon

LOVELY CREATIVITY: Crafting

Are you planning to do any crafts this winter, while it's too cold to distract yourself with outdoor activities? Inspire yourself by getting out and organizing your craft supplies. Read (then recycle or give to a friend) any back issues of magazines you have about your hobby. You might have let a few pile up over the past few months.

Browse and enjoy a few webpages about your favorite kind of crafting, but don't spend so much time online looking around that you don't have time to actually DO your craft.

If your craft supplies are in a shambles, now's the time to invest $7 or so in a storage container (or maybe you'll need more than one). Then really get your supplies put away in an organized fashion. This way it will be easier to bring supplies out, do crafts for an hour, and put them back away again. I don't like to have my breakfast nook table covered in rubber stamps, ink, and paper for days at a time. Instead, I put my supplies away neatly in a particular box when I'm done playing in the evening. Then my breakfast nook table is neat and ready for my college student to eat her breakfast there in the morning.

Make a vow to not buy any more craft supplies until either you've used up several items from what you already have, or until you've completed a specific number of your projects. Finish knitting your sweater before buying that luscious soft pink yarn for the next. Find a creative way to use up some yarns, fabric or ribbon you've been storing for years. Throw out that old dried up tube of fabric paint and really evaluate before replacing it with a new one in the same color.

If you're taking any online classes or participating in any book groups, have you done your reading assignments for the week? If you keep a blog or online journal, have you written in it in the last few days? You can't force yourself to write, but if you have some ideas of things you want to talk about, give yourself the time to enjoy doing it.

TODAY'S PROJECT: Quick Tidying

It's Friday, so we only have a little bit of time for cleaning tonight after work. Socializing with friends and family is more important - we can always clean tomorrow.

Walk quickly through your house dealing with any problem areas. Empty small trash cans, remove clutter and dishes from your living room, straighten or replace hand towels in your bathrooms, refill toilet paper rolls if needed, empty or fill dishwasher, empty and scrub kitchen sink, wipe down bathroom and kitchen counters. Need to remove any piles of items on the stairs, or shoes by the front door? Any stray items that need to go back into your children's bedrooms? Any house plants that need to be watered or thrown out? Any piles of packages or items that need to be mailed out?


LOVELY MOVIES: Babies

I wasn't sure what this movie was about, when I first heard of it. Just endless shots of cute babies, in an attempt to manipulate a female audience into tears? Then I saw the trailer (in a theater in front of "It's Complicated), and laughed and cried both along with the rest of the audience.

Cameras followed four newborn babies for the first year of their lives. There's a baby from Mongolia, one from San Francisco, one from Tokyo, and another from Namibia. The babies are just adorable and I felt myself really wanting to see what their little lives are like. Though the movie is meant to be joyous, I think I'd better bring Kleenex when I see it!

Babies Trailer, at Apple

LOVELY LINKS FOR TODAY:

Designer Doughnuts are Hot - How About Making Your Own? (ABC News)

Dinner Party for Beginners (CHOW)

Favorite Chocolate Recipes for Valentine's Day (Epicurious)

Jerusalem Artichoke and Leek Soup (A Sweet Life)

Mardi Gras Sweets (Epicurious)

New Year, New Hobby? (The Statesman)

Monday, January 04, 2010

Looking Back Over the Last Decade


I was overjoyed to discover a bouquet of yellow rananculus at my local Trader Joe's yesterday. It's now in a vase in my bathroom, making me smile every time I see it.

QUICK THINGS TO DO TODAY:

- Look over your calendar for the week, taking note of upcoming appointments, birthdays, activities, events, etc.

- Make menu plans for the week; create grocery list

- Take inventory of paper products, as we begin a new year, a new month, and a new week. Toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, Kleenex, and other items. Add anything missing to your grocery list.

- Am I the only person wanting to eat healthier after the holidays? Peer around your fruit bowls and refrigerator. How are your supplies of salad fixings, fresh fruit, veggies? Add to your grocery list.

TODAY'S PROJECT: Reflection on the Decade

As the New Year began, I looked over my difficult year of 2009, trying to focus on the positive. I thought about my fantastic 40th birthday spent in New Orleans with friends, I looked over pictures from my fun visit to the Queen Mary in summertime, and enjoyed photos of friends' children at their birthday parties I attended. I thought about how I spent the year in regards to my family, my friends, my business, my personal growth, my hobbies, and my home.

Next I am going to spend some time today thinking back on the last decade. I might write a personal private summing up for myself in my own journal. I have a lot to think over. Since New Year's Day 2000, I've lived in Washington DC for three months, started a new business, gotten married, bought a house, got divorced, become responsible for two teenage cousins who I call "my kids," and traveled quite often. I am trying not to focus on the things I haven't done (written a book, dealt with some personal issues I should deal with, started that second tempting new business, started a new relationship, etc). Instead I want to look forward and create new goals for the next year and the next decade.

Some of my friends have been posting fun Livejournal entries where they upload one picture of themselves doing something fun for each year of the last decade. It's fun to see how their hair, fashions, bodies and lives have changed.

Spend some time today thinking about your next year and next ten years. Where do you want to be ten years from now? What things do you want to accomplish? Any goals you want to write down for yourself? Goals for your family? Goals for your home? Goals for your work?

Tonight I am not doing any housecleaning. Instead, I'm getting out journals, old letters, photos, a glass of wine (but just one, so my head is clear while I think) and settling in front of the fireplace with soft music and a long talk with myself.


LOVELY MOVIES:

I'm not sure if there were really any stories left untold at the end of the first Sex and the City movie. But I'm always up for a nice Girls Night Out - cocktails and then a fun movie where you can drool over clothes, jewelry and shoes. So I'll eagerly anticipate seeing this in May!

Sex and the City 2 Trailer, at Apple

LOVELY QUOTE OF THE DAY:

There is no spectacle on earth more appealing than that of a beautiful woman in the act of cooking dinner for someone she loves.

-Thomas Wolfe


LOVELY SHOPS: Huset

Today I'm enjoying browsing through this Scandinavian design online store. While modern Scandinavian is not the style I decorate in, I'm still finding pieces here and there I'd like to incorporate into my "cozy cottage" decor. I love their charming kitchen linens, and I wish I could come up with a good excuse to buy these Sagaform retro bowls. The products here are clean and colorful, a bit whimsical, and definitely cheerful. There's furniture, lighting, dishes, decor, textiles, and clothing for women and children. Plus a bit of jewelry and handbags.

(Note to new Lovely Living readers: When I mention a shop I've come across, I'm passing it along because I think you might enjoy it too, not because I've been asked to or paid to. I occasionally do use Amazon or eBay affiliate links in my posts, but never in the LOVELY SHOPS section of the blog).

Huset-Shop.com

LOVELY LINKS FOR TODAY:

Bite-Sized Resolutions (Canoe Lifewise)

Create a Cozy Winter Living Room (Better Homes & Gardens)

Create an At-Home Spa (Every Day With Rachael Ray)

Crushed Broad Bean, Feta and Mint Dip (Donna Hay)

Fear of Phyllo (Bon Appetit)

How to Make Lentil Soup (CHOW)

Live Your Best Year (Oprah Magazine)

Post-Holiday Recovery Menu (CHOW)

10 Ways to Eat Wisely in the New Year (Seattle Times)

10 Worst Dining Trends of the Last Decade (Seattle Times)

Whole Body Action Plan (Martha Stewart Living)

Winter Produce Guide (Food Network)

Saturday, January 02, 2010

January Begins


The "Sweet Cherry" candle I bought myself from L'Occitane as a post-holiday gift. Burning it today in my bedroom!

I returned home from my travels (sadly, a funeral) last night. I'm eager to start a new, fresh, better year. And it's great to be home!

QUICK THINGS TO DO TODAY:

- Pay bills, mortgage, rent, etc.

- Do fridge/freezer maintenance - clean one shelf, one drawer, or two door shelves thoroughly.

- Look over your calendar for this month. Do you need to make any doctor, dentist or veterinarian appointments for you, your family members and pets? Any upcoming birthdays you need to plan parties for, send cards or gifts, or order flowers for?

- Do you need to make any hair care appointments for yourself or family members? If you color your hair, do you have roots showing? Does your hair need a trim you didn't have time for before the holidays?

- Do your carpets need cleaning after the holidays?

- If you made New Year's Resolutions, make time to think about them, review goals, and do them. Write them down for posterity.

- Buy fresh fruit next time you are at the grocery store (Apples? pears? bananas? oranges?). Slice and serve the fruit to yourself, your family and roommates before the weekend is over. One of my smaller New Year's resolutions is to stop wasting fruit because I bring it home, wash it off, display it proudly in my fruit bowl and then never make the time to slice and serve it.

- Need to update the copyright notices on your webpages or blogs to 2010?

- Need to upload any pics from your New Year's to Facebook or your blog?

TODAY'S PROJECT: Calendar Updating

Today I'm copying over birthdays, anniversaries and other important dates from my old 2009 calendars into my new 2010 ones.

I keep a paper wall calendar in my kitchen, one in my office, and a small diary in my purse. I also use Yahoo reminder services to email me about birthdays. I might also put a few important birthdays into my cell phone's calendar, too.

Besides noting that it's someone's birthday, I try to add what age they'll turn on that day, whenever possible.

I need to make a conscious effort to check my calendars each month and each week for upcoming birthdays. That way I'll have plenty of time to order flowers, send a gift, send a card, or schedule in time to make a congratulatory telephone call.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year 2010!

Let's strive to have a fabulous 2010!

May our year be full of good health, time with family, fun times with friends, quiet time at home, travel, trying new things, tasty healthy food, happy pets, learning experiences, vacations, volunteering, taking advantage of opportunities, crafting, cooking, cozy homes, good books, beautiful music, enjoyable movies, and lots of fun parties and gatherings.

I don't just want to live my life. I want to live a lovely life.