Tuesday, November 01, 2011

First Day of November

My neighborhood in autumn


Fall Spice Soap and Lotion Set, from Crate and Barrel

  • Daylight Savings Time Ends November 6

  • Quickly tidy up before you leave the house (or even if you are staying home today) so you come home to a fresh relaxing home. Put dishes in dishwasher (or take them out and put them away), wipe kitchen counters, empty off the coffee table and dining table as needed, and vacuum the most trafficked room in your house. You might think you don't have 2 minutes to vacuum before you leave, but I challenge you to try it!

  • Did you do your refrigerator maintenance cleaning over the weekend? Maybe Halloween activities made you skip this week? Try cleaning one shelf, one drawer or two door shelves when you get home tonight.

  • Also when you get home tonight, shine and freshen bathroom sinks and mirrors, empty wastebaskets in bathrooms and replace toilet paper if needed. Remove any soiled looking bathroom towels or rugs to the laundry room if needed and replace with clean ones.

  • Take vitamins and drink some fruit juice or eat fresh fruit (I am enjoying a Satsuma orange right now!) This will help balance out any Halloween candy you might have nibbled last night.

  • Pay bills, rent or mortgage.

  • Look over the month ahead. Think about your financial budget and your time budget as well. See what upcoming birthdays are in the month, as well as doctor, dentist, vet or salon appointments. Anybody in your family need a trim on their haircut?

  • Light candles tonight. I know so many people who own cupboards full of candles but yet forget to ever light and enjoy them.


The Pierre Chair, at Z Gallerie

Tonight I'm doing a thorough cleaning on my upstairs living room. It's a bit messy right now. The carpet has muddy dog paw prints and cat fur, the leather couches are dusty, there are drool marks on the lower parts of the windows, the mantel is dusty, and several leaves got tracked in from our walk yesterday.

The most light-filled room of the house, this room is our favorite. I use this room in the mornings sometime to sort mail, pay bills, and read a magazine while drinking tea and trying to wake up. In the afternoons I watch a recorded cooking show or comedy from the night before while I'm taking a break from my work or eating a late lunch. In the evenings, my roommate uses this room as his "man cave" so we stay out of it and let him have some peace.

Zanzibar End Table, at Z Gallerie

Besides the dining room, this is the main room I entertain in. When guests are over, I spread appetizers and drinks on the coffee table, play music on the living room stereo, light candles on the mantel, and light a fire in the fireplace. Guests are welcomed into this room while they wait for dinner to be served. They do tend to hover in the kitchen, but there's always the hope that appetizers will lure them into relaxing.

Because I do entertain so often, I need this room to always be ready to go at a moment's notice, looking cozy, neat and clean. (I will admit that I often rush upstairs right before a cocktail party to hide the coffee table's pile of papers, mail and magazines I was working on earlier that day).

Some of the things I struggle with in this room are my overloaded bookshelves, constantly ashy fireplace, and a hard-to-reach ceiling with spiderwebs and candle soot. But keeping the room maintained constantly in a clean manner makes it a lot easier to go through and do a full cleaning today.

The chaise I can't afford and don't have room for, but dream about still, at Crate and Barrel

I'll clean out the fireplace, then scrub my glass fireplace doors. That will help to show the warm dancing flames of the next fire I light. The living room windows need to be washed and have the tape from the Halloween lights removed. This should take less than fifteen minutes. I can watch the news while I do this, or listen to music.

I have a fireplace mantel and three windowsills to dust, plus two huge bookshelves and all the room's baseboards to dust. I'll move the couch, coffee table, mail table and end tables and vacuum under them. The two leather couches, dusty from the front door being opened often, need to be wiped down. The curtains were laundered during Spring Cleaning, so I will just Febreze them and leave them alone. The lamp should be dusted, and dead tea light candles removed from their votives.

For a finishing touch, I'll put a bowl of Satsuma oranges on the coffee table. I'll fluff the decorative pillows, refold the throws we keep on the couches, and be ready to settle in late tonight with hot cocoa and the current book I'm reading.

LOVELY BLOGS: Retro Deco Settings a Day

I can't believe how often this blogger posts with ideas for decorating and setting your table. Recent posts I've enjoyed include several days worth of cool Halloween posts; this amazing fortune teller's table; a Dickens-inspired Miss Havisham's Wedding Feast; and a cheerful comfort breakfast.

Retro Deco Settings a Day

LOVELY MUSIC: The Puppini Sisters

One of my favorite groups to listen to is The Puppini Sisters. They sing in a vintage retro "close harmony" (or "three part harmony") style, influenced by the Andrews Sisters. They often perform intriguing covers of modern songs (such as "Heart of Glass" by Blondie).

I'm excited to hear their newest album, Hollywood, which will be released on November 15. I'm having it shipped right away to my doorstep (I'm not much for downloading MP3s, I still like my physical CDs). Songs include a cover of "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend," "Moon River," and "I Got Rhythm." These will be great to listen to in the car, but especially as background music for my next dinner party.

Hollywood, by the Puppini Sisters, on Amazon

The Puppini Sisters, on Facebook

The Puppini Sisters, on Wikipedia

LOVELY TV: Project Accessory

I was addicted to Project Runway the first two or three seasons. I'd gotten bored and given up watching it; and nowadays I have limited TV time in the evenings. However, I might carve out a chunk of time to watch 12 designers competing for a $100,000 prize. I'm intrigued by the idea of designers creating handbags, jewelry and belts on the spot. There of course will be some drama, I'm sure - the kind of negative energy I'm trying to avoid on TV and in my life. So I might only be able to watch one episode.

Project Accessory airs on Thursdays on Lifetime.

Project Accessory, on MyLifetime.com


Autumn Leaves Pie Crust (Worth the Whisk)

DIY Vanilla Extract (CHOW)

Fall Decorating Ideas (Good Housekeeping)

15 Ways to Cook With Pumpkins (CHOW)

Fondue Party Tips (The Bashionista)

My First Fondue Party (The Spice of Pfeif)

Peanut Butter Caramel Apples (Post Punk Kitchen)

Pear Cranberry and Gingersnap Crumble (Smitten Kitchen)

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup (Breadwinner)

Pumpkin Creme Brulee (Love and Olive Oil)

Roasted Lemon Chutney (101 Cookbooks)

Sesame Noodle Toss (Good Housekeeping)

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