Thursday, September 15, 2011

Not Quite Fall After All

Pumpkin Chai Tea and Apple Cider Herbal Tea, at Crate and Barrel

Seattle is enjoying an extended summer, though we have cloudy gray mornings. I still haven't had to turn my heater on, and we still run fans every night to cool the house. I drink iced tea in the daytime still, but crave hot tea at night.

I am in the mood to bake, but it's too hot in my kitchen today. It's too hot to take my dogs to our favorite dog park - they'd just run themselves into heat exhaustion. My autumn decor looks a bit silly right now when I think about it.


  • Check your fruit bowl - anything that needs to be thrown out? Something tasty you can enjoy as part of your lunch or dinner today? Need to make a trip to the store for some fresh fruit, or maybe some heirloom tomatoes?

  • Need to vacuum a room or two today? I'm making myself vacuum both sets of my stairs today, a much-hated but much-needed task.

  • What are you doing for fun this weekend? Today's a great day to make plans so people have enough advance notice to join you in an activity.

  • Do you keep a diary or journal? Do you need to update it with your adventures from the past two weeks? It takes me only ten minutes to update my diary usually - the hard part for me is carving out the alone time to make a cup of tea, sit down and actually reflect and write.


What I'm using on everything I'm dusting today other than my wood furniture: Pledge Multi-Surface. It works on wood, but I prefer to use furniture oil on my wood furniture.

In addition to my daily maintenance tasks that I do in order to keep my house in its normal condition (vacuuming, a load of laundry, emptying or filling dishwasher, emptying a trash can, and wiping down counters) I do one project every day.

Today's project is dusting. I'll start with my pictures, paintings, mirrors and artwork or anything else hanging on the walls. Several of them are visibly dusty, so that's what sparked my attention to this particular project today. Both fireplace mantels need attention, as do the staircases and wooden railings in my home.

Next come the four televisions in my home (living room, family room, bedroom and kitchen). I won't just wipe off the screens, I'll dust the sides and backs too.

Last, I'll dust my two curio cabinets, two nightstands, the hope chest in my bedroom, DVD bookcase, Blu-Ray bookcase, five bookcases, one coffee table, and two end tables.

I'm skipping the window sills as they get cleaned at the same time I do the windows, and they don't look visibly dusty right now.

I'll finish by dusting my three standing lamps, six bedroom lamps and the lamp in the family room.

I expect this project to take just thirty minutes out of my day. I think it will be quite pleasant actually, traipsing around the house rubbing my beautiful wood furniture with lemon-scented spray, while I listen to music I've put on in the living room.

LOVELY BLOGS: Bright, Bold and Beautiful

Laura's blog about color inspiration and design, art and fashion, and holiday decor. Currently blogging about how to make a magnetic memo board, citrus color inspiration, and what she's currently painting in her studio.

LOVELY KITCHEN: KitchenAid's New Artisan Copper Stand Mixer

This doesn't go with my kitchen decor at all, and I don't use my stand mixer enough to leave it out on the counter where people can see it. But I can think of several people who are going to be very excited about this new copper finish. For people who care that their kitchen appliances match their specific decor theme, this will open up a lot of possibilities. It would work great in a steampunk kitchen too.

Copper Kitchenaid Mixer, at Crate and Barrel

LOVELY TV: Changing My TV Diet

I've changed my diet of television shows drastically over the past two months. Don't get me wrong.. I love TV. I find it very relaxing and therapeutic after a long day. I use it to help me get through the boredom of sorting, organizing and housecleaning.

But one evening as I was watching some Real Housewives bickering (I was enjoying it, too) I suddenly had an uncomfortable thought: "Who am I to be writing a blog about lovely living when I'm spending so much of my time watching other people's negativity, drama, and useless lives?

I quickly flipped through my archived shows on Tivo. Tons more "housewife" drama, some competitive cooking shows, a show about a ghost and vampire living with a werewolf, and a very entertaining show about very shallow people.

All this combined with my new sleeping schedule and spending time with my new foster teenager, means I have very little TV or recreation time. I've never been one to just have the TV on in the background at all times, nor have I been a channel flipper. I like to have a plan when I sit down to watch something - and I like to have something else to do (laundry folding, blogging, magazine reading) while I watch.

I decided to spend my one hour a night before bedtime reading the lopsided, falling-down stack of books at my bedside instead. I deleted all the crappy negative junk off my Tivo, deleted some subscriptions, and sat down with a copy of Entertainment Weekly to figure out if any of the new fall shows were positive and promoted happy living at all. (Don't get me wrong, I'm not a "positive" airy fairy person either! I just don't want to watch people screaming just before my bedtime).

I will stop watching whiny housewives; no more competitive cooking shows - I'd rather learn to cook from lovely pleasant shows like Barefoot Contessa; I might watch the occasional Kitchen Nightmares as while there's screaming, it's well intentioned and business-focused; no more The Apprentice backstabbing; I won't watch the manufactured drama in competitive singing or dancing shows; and I'll avoid the temptation to watch dark shows like Grimm and The Secret Circle. (Nothing wrong with those shows; just not promoting loveliness).

I think I'll keep watching How I Met Your Mother as it's a lighthearted comedy with kind people and good friends; I watch True Blood with a group of friends and can't imagine quitting doing that; I'll throw some Pan Am-themed dinner parties; I'll still watch Mad Men; I might occasionally enjoy an episode of Mad Fashion to see the pretty clothes, if it's not nasty and snarky; and I will see if my teenager likes watching Once Upon a Time with me, but only if it's not too dark.

I've just listed quite a few hours of television I expect to still watch - I know that's cutting into my book reading time. I think at least I'll be watching shows with less yelling and bickering, and more pretty costumes and light comedy! This is something I'm doing for myself; I'm not criticizing other people's TV viewing habits, by the way!


Beautiful Cushions (French Chic & Shabby)

Before and After: Sunny Yellow Bedroom Redo (Design Sponge)

Devil's Food Cake with Black Pepper Boiled Icing (The Bitten Word)

The Evocative Nature Photography of Nicolas bell (Decorology)

How to Live a Beautiful Life (Gala Darling)

"Just a Housewife With a Blog" (Mommy Moi)

Kid and Guest Bathrooms (House Tweaking)

The New Easy Bake Oven: Share Your Memories (Epicurious)

Owl Cookie Pops (Celebrations)

A Romantic California Vineyard Wedding (Hostess with the Mostess)

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