Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Welcoming October

My front doorway, after I tossed out the dead plants from summer and replaced them with fresh baskets of colorful mums

Happy first day of October! I'm so looking forward to autumn. I admit, however, I'm dreading the days getting shorter and the long, cold, dark nights ahead. I'll just have to light more fires, burn more candles, and cozy up with pets on the couch more often!


  • Tidy up for midweek - Freshen bathrooms, empty trash cans, remove clutter from mail table or entryway, hang up coats, put away shoes, remove clutter from living room, empty or fill dishwasher as needed, wipe down kitchen counters.
  • Need to fill up with gas on the way home from work today?
  • Pay rent, mortgage or other bills due today
  • Take a moment or two to flip through your calendar for the month ahead. Notice any upcoming birthdays, anniversaries or other celebrations you should participate in? Make plans to send cards, buy gifts, send flowers, or whatever else you might want to do to express your appreciation for someone else.
  • Do you need to make any October salon, dentist, dermatologist, eye doctor, vet, or other appointments?
  • How is your budget looking for this month's food, entertainment, costumes, fall decor and birthdays?

TODAY'S PROJECT: Welcoming October and Autumn

A colorful basket of flowers on my front steps

What will you do to celebrate autumn? Will you dash to Starbucks for a pumpkin spice latte, begin decorating your home for autumn or Halloween, bake a spice cake, whip up some soup or hearty crockpot meals, enjoy a fire in your fireplace as soon as it gets cold enough in the evenings? Decorating for each new season takes quite a surprising bit of time. I'm spending a bit of time today (before rushing out to my sister's birthday dinner) to set out my autumn placemats, table runners, tablecloths, beaded glittery leaf mats I keep on side tables, pumpkin-shaped candles and my Halloween haunted house tea light holder. I'm also swapping out the mats I keep at my front and back doors for autumn-themed ones I've carefully stored away.

What will you do to welcome autumn into your home tonight?

LOVELY BATH & BODY: L'Occitane's New Bonne Mere Shower Gels

I have been splurging quite a bit lately on the new shower gels from L'Occitane. I'm so glad to see these - they remind me of the shower gel scents that first got me hooked on L'Occitane over 15 years ago! The current scents are Peach (my favorite), Lemon, Rosemary, Honey, and Olive. The little containers are cute (though they don't hold much) and are designed so you can stack them on top of each other if need be. Aah, I can't wait until my shower tonight! I'm sensing it will be a Rosemary night for me.

Bonne Mere Shower Gels, at L'Occitane

LOVELY BEVERAGES: Murchies' Sugar Maple Tea

I've served this autumn-themed tea to quite a few guests who have loved it so much I've had to ship them a box or two! I'm drinking this right now and loving the flavor - not too sweet or mapley. Just perfect. I know I am going to go through a lot of this tea during fall!

Sugar Maple Tea, from Murchies

LOVELY BLOGS: Undomestikated

Kate's blog about "fabulous food and the joy it brings; about eating it, cooking it and sharing it." I've been enjoying her recent posts on lemon meringue pavlovas, adorable pear and cinnamon pie pops, chocolate and ale cake, and a colorful autumn beetroot and carrot salad. Kate is an actress for her profession. I can't quite work out what part of the world she blogs from.

LOVELY BOOKS: Edmund Dulac's Picture Book for the Red Cross

Here's one of those charming vintage books you can read for free at the Internet Archive. I so adore Edmund Dulac's art style. The stories here include "Three Kings of Orient (a Carol)," "The Little Seamstress," "Sindbad the Sailor," and "Cinderella" among several others. So darling!

Edmund Dulac's Picture Book for the Red Cross, at the Internet Archive

LOVELY FOOD: Falling Leaves Cake

I'm not sure what sort of cakemergency would cause me to spend $100 on a birthday cake, but if I had one, here's a gorgeous autumn themed birthday cake you can have shipped to a friend or relative. Gorgeous! I so miss shopping for gourmet groceries at Dean & Deluca from when I lived in Washington DC!

Falling Leaves Cake, from Dean & Deluca

LOVELY KIDS: Cardboard Play Castle

Living in rainy cold Seattle, and having so many friends with little kids, I'm always dreaming up indoor entertainments to invite friends and kids over to. I feel like this cardboard castle would keep little ones occupied for a quite a while so the moms could chat over tea in the kitchen! I'd definitely enlist some of the older kids' help in painting and decorating it. The assembly looks like a pain, and I imagine one would have to take it apart for storage - would it possibly store flat? I'd want to research carefully before buying. It's not super expensive as toys go - I'm more worried about the storage space it would take up.

Kardboard Kingdom Play Castle, from Land of Nod

LOVELY KITCHEN: Nordicware Apple Cake Pan

New from Nordicware for autumn 2014: Apple Cake Pan. I'm sooo tempted, as I've been enjoying my skull cake pans from Williams-Sonoma so much. I baked a cake with them just yesterday, so I suspect I would use the apple cake quite often in fall too. However, I'm trying not to clutter up my cupboards with too many one-application gadgets and bakeware. Would I use this apple cake pan year round? Probably not...

Still, check out the darling cake Nordicware made to showcase this pan!

Apple Cake Pan, on Amazon

LOVELY SHOPS: Home Sewn by Laura

This lady sews the most adorable baby shoes! I'm particularly enjoying looking at her autumn themed ones, such as the leafy ones pictured above, these fleece pumpkin baby shoes and these black and orange polka dot Halloween shoes.


Apple, Almond, Cheddar & Ham Sandwich (So How's It Taste?)

Apple Cinnamon White Cake (The Midnight Baker)

Cinnamon Maple Gooey Butter Cake (The Baker Chick)

Cranberry Ginger Martini (Cooks with Cocktails)

Cranberry Ginger Pear Pie (Brown Eyed Baker)

Cinnamon Raisin Soft Pretzels (Girlichef)

Creamy Pumpkin Mac and Cheese (The Baker Chick)

Food Color Trumps Flavor (The Atlantic)

From Kale to Pale Ale: A Love of Bitter May Be In Your Genes (NPR)

The Gender Politics of Pockets (The Atlantic)

Gilmore Girls - When Paris Met Rory - TV's Last Great Teenage-Girl Friendship (The Atlantic)

How American Parenting is Killing the American Marriage (Quartz)

Maple Spice Squash Cake (Vegetarian Times)

Spiced Pumpkin Scones with Cinnamon Pumpkin Cream (An Edible Mosaic)

Spicy Tomato Pepper Jam (Edible DC)

Vanilla Cardamom Pear Hand Pies (Studio DIY)

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