Monday, February 29, 2016

Leaping Into March

Today I've reminded myself to stop and take time to use and enjoy some of my beautiful things. Rather than slopping a tea bag into a microwaved, chipped old mug for my breakfast tea today, I've taken the time to brew a proper cup. I'm drinking my tea out of this charming antique tea cup (I believe it was my best friend's Aunt Edith's tea cup, a sentimental gift passed on to me years ago).

I also need to use and enjoy my cuter clothing more often. I'm vowing to wear something cute - a flowery skirt, perhaps, when I pick up my nephew to take him to karate. I will stop goofing around on the Internet and actually take time to put on makeup and some pretty earrings. I don't want to be "that crazy aunt" who picks him up looking messy or disheveled!

Are you using and enjoying your most beautiful possessions? Or are they gathering dust while you use boring, washable blankets, dishes, towels or clothing instead? Let's appreciate what we have, take good care of our lovely possessions, and add beauty to our lives wherever possible. Even if we're risking breaking something precious (like this irreplaceable great-aunt's tea cup), it's worth enjoying our things rather than letting them waste away in cupboards.


  • It's the end of the month. Look over your calendar, journal and memories from February. Did you accomplish (or attempt) your goals for the month? Have you kept up with your New Year's resolutions, whatever they were? Made time for friends and family, taken care of yourself too? Worked on your hobbies a bit? Read and stayed informed via books, newspapers/news websites, magazines?
  • Pay any end-of-the-month bills and get a jump on next month's bill paying.
  • Create menu plan for the week if you haven't already.
  • Any pet bowls need to be washed and sanitized? Pet bedding need to be vacuumed or laundered?

TODAY'S PROJECT: Decorating for Spring

I'm tempted to get this Spring and Easter table runner for my dining table or entryway mail table. So pretty!

I'm still decorating for Spring, though lightly. I don't want a bunch of clutter and kitsch for this season. I just want some pretty, refreshing colors to help through the gray rainy days ahead in March.

I'm setting out pink and yellow candles, a few vases of cheerful flowers throughout the house, and replacing heavy beaded placemats on my side tables with soft colorful pastel fabric ones. In my bathrooms, I've removed the Valentine's themed hand towels and swapped them out for pink, lavender and yellow towels for Spring.

I'll do a bit of dusting and straightening as I go along, but mostly I'll enjoy a light decorating project today rather than a housecleaning one.

Tomorrow I plan to begin my Spring Cleaning. Are you with me?

LOVELY BLOGS: Little House in the Suburbs

Lately I've been reading more gardening how-to blogs, as I'm trying to do better with my flower and vegetable gardening this summer. So I was excited to find this blog, which covers DIY topics, crafting, recipes, tips on simplifying your life, and tons of advice on beginner gardening. I've enjoyed recent posts including Garden Shape Up: Carrot and Stick; Kids and Chickens; and their recipe for Persimmon Pecan Cranberry Muffins. Take a look around and see what you think of this handy blog!

LOVELY BOOKS: BabyLit's Les Miserables

I'm a huge fan of BabyLit's board books, so I can hardly wait to add "Les Miserables" to my collection when it comes out tomorrow. It's by "Little Master Hugo," naturally. It's a French primer that introduces your baby to ten French words and phrases, with the characteristic adorable illustration style BabyLit is known for. So cute!

Les Miserables by BabyLit, on Amazon

Les Miserables by BabyLit, at Barnes & Noble

LOVELY BOOKS: Echoes From Storyland

Here's a charming vintage book from the late 1800s, available to read for free over at The Internet Archive. The stories include Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, The Story of Robinson Crusoe, and one I've never heard of before, "Pauline and the Matches and the Envious Minnie." There are also a few Mother Goose nursery rhymes. I find the illustrations quite amusing and thought you might too!

Echoes From Storyland, at The Internet Archive

LOVELY FOOD: Easter Egg Shaped Petits Fours

If I have occasion to send a special gift this Spring, I may be tempted to send these Easter Egg petit fours. I love how they look, and what a cute riff on the traditional dessert. I think someone would enjoy opening these up. No idea how they taste - I haven't tried any!

Easter Egg Petit Fours, at Williams Sonoma

LOVELY KITCHEN: Sur la Table's Bee Collection

I wanted to show you these lovely bee and honey-themed items for Spring. They don't go with my own kitchen's theme at all, but I know a lot of people love to collect bee items. Especially in Spring! The collection, new this year from Sur la Table, features salt and pepper shakers, aprons, canisters, a butter dish and spoon rest, and even a cute little bee salt cellar. There are also coordinating kitchen towels, oven mitts, pot holders and napkins. I also see a few baking related items, such as a beehive cakelet pan. For the table, there are bee themed glasses, goblets, and bowls. Take a look and enjoy browsing through this spring-themed assortment!

Bee Collection, at Sur la Table


Almond, Ricotta and Polenta Cake (Bon Appetempt)

Baked Pasta with Butternut Squash and Ricotta Cheese Pockets (Italian Food Forever)

Balsamic Strawberry Wonton Bites (Sweet Peas and Saffron)

Castagnole: Chestnut and Apple Fritters (Domenica Cooks)

Cream of Peas and Carrots Soup (Vessy's Day)

Gluten-Free Strawberry Shortcake Bread (Maebells)

Simple Burst Tomato and Ricotta Toast (Sarcastic Cooking)

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio (The Suburban Soapbox)

Spinach Ricotta Cheesy Chicken (Life at the Quarry)

Spring Desserts Made With Pie Filling (Old Fashioned Homemaking)

Strawberry Ginger Pie (Baking My Way Through Germany)

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes (The Starving Chef)

Things I Took for Granted Today (Campari and Sofa)

Whole Wheat Ricotta Cake (Hey Cakes)

--Copyright 2016 Lovely Living

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Friday, February 26, 2016

Beginning to Decorate for Spring

I've taken down all my winter decorations, and right now I'm enjoying my relatively clutter-free, minimally decorated house. Still, the pull of those lovely pastel yellows, pinks, blues and greens is calling to me. I'm slowly beginning to decorate for Spring. This lantern and rananculus grouping at my front door is the first thing I've done. Sometimes in the evening if I know a friend is coming over, I'll light this wax candle in the lantern to welcome them. (I just have to remind myself sternly not to forget to blow it out later!)

Are you decorating for Spring yet?


  • Let's get our houses ready for the weekend. Counters cleared off and wiped; coffee table emptied of unnecessary items (and dusted, probably!); trash cans emptied; fresh toilet paper rolls and hand towels in bathrooms as needed; front porch swept; kitchen swept; rooms most in need of vacuuming vacuumed; magazines and newspapers whisked away; dishwasher emptied or filled as needed.

  • Clean out your car if needed. Mine needs the dashboard wiped, floors vacuumed really quickly, trunk de-cluttered, and dog kiss marks wiped off the back seat windows.

  • I've been inside most of this week due to a brief flu. I don't want to just spend the upcoming weekend camped in front of my TV. I'm going to try to plan something fun to do tomorrow out of the house, whether it's elaborate and expensive or simple and free. At the very least I'll take a rain-or-shine long walk with my dogs tomorrow. Perhaps I'll catch a movie or meet a friend for a short-notice tea cafe gossip session. What will you do to make your weekend more lovely?

  • Plan to do any Spring Brunch type of baking this weekend? Do you have all the supplies you need? (Eggs, butter, cream?)

TODAY'S PROJECT: Dusting and Decorating

My favorite flowers are hard to spell - rananculus?

This week I've enjoyed the luxury of leaving doors and windows open to fresh air. However, this has caused dust to pile up a bit more quickly on my window sills, floors, coffee table, mail table, and bookcases. I'll spend a few minutes this afternoon dusting all those surfaces before I leave for dinner tonight.

When I get home, I plan to get out some of my Spring decorations. I'll swap out my heavy winter curtains for my embroidered floral pink and white ones; swap pillows out on my couches; change out a few throw rugs; and set out some flower and Easter themed decor. This is a "project" I'm looking forward to tonight! It's always fun to beautify the house, not just dust it and clean it!

Have you done your Spring decorating yet, if this is something that's important to you?


Bree blogs about food, family, marriage, photography, and home. Her About page is one of the most honest, funny and endearing blogger introductions I've ever read.

Recent posts I've enjoyed here include Miso Honey Chicken, her tips on making cute and easy non-food kid Valentines, her Game Day snacks and Slow Cooker Smoky Chicken Chili.

LOVELY BOOKS: The Alphabet of Flowers and Fruit

This beautifully illustrated book is a rare 1856 book with hand-colored illustrations. It's difficult to imagine any actual children would have been allowed to touch such an expensive (for the time) book. Hope you will enjoy looking through the few scant pages of drawings and rhymes.

The Alphabet of Flowers and Fruit, at The Internet Archive

LOVELY BOOKS: Lovely Layer Cakes

I like attempting to make and serve beautiful layer cakes to my guests. I don't often succeed in producing lovely ones - mine are tasty at least! I might pick up this book to help improve my skills. It offers over 30 recipes, plus tips on baking, frosting and decorating. I'll have to get rid of another cookbook to make room for this on my shelf, but I suspect I will enjoy this enough to make it worth the agonizing decision.

Lovely Layer Cakes, on Amazon

Lovely Layer Cakes at Barnes and Noble

LOVELY COSMETICS: Modern Watercolors Lip Gloss

It's hard to resist a beautiful new set of lip glosses. Especially when winter weather has made my lips so chapped. These, after all, would be so useful! So what if both of the purple hues might look a little strange on me - they're lip glosses, after all, not long wearing lipstick or lip stain. The colors include Cantaloupe, Fox Glove. Rose Quartz, Serenity, Pale Banana, and Sunlit Allium. This might make a nice springtime birthday gift for your friend, cousin or fun-loving auntie!

Modern Watercolors Lip Gloss Set, at Sephora


Blood Orange Poppyseed Mini Bundt Cakes (The Bay Leaf Kitchen)

Cilantro Lime Chicken Drumsticks (Budget Bytes)

Citrus Cake with Strawberries and Ricotta (The Cedar Kitchenette)

Citrus Olive Oil Cake (Cooking Light Fast)

Fresh Passion Fruit Sour (Stir and Strain)

9 Breakfast Crostini Ideas (Frites and Fries)

Papaya, Orange, and Turmeric Smoothie (At the Corner of Happy and Harried)

--Copyright 2016 Lovely Living

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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Little Things Around the House

Welcoming spring visitors to my front porch with these cheerful, colorful primroses

Today I'm trying to get some "annoying" little things done ahead of my Spring Cleaning push in March. Even the most well-maintained home has several small, easy yet annoying things that need to get done. If we let all of these pile up, we soon are left with a disorganized or ill-suited home, a disappointing day or two of irritating errands, and we're not living our loveliest lives.

It will feel so good to have these little things checked off my list today and this week!


Lavender and Citrus Lysol Wipes, on Amazon

  • When's the last time you sanitized your tablets, phones (both mobile and landlines), keyboards and remote controls? Take a couple quick minutes to grab a sanitizing wipe and wipe them down. Don't forget your video game controllers, if any.

  • Check over your kitchen gloves, bathroom scrubbing gloves, dish brushes, sponges and scrubbers. Anything getting worn out or less useful? Need to toss any and buy new supplies?

  • Take just two minutes to grab a sponge, a cloth and your favorite cleaning spray and really make your kitchen sink shine (if it needs it).

  • Here's a thought - have you backed up your pictures you store on your smartphone or tablet? Might want to spend some time researching how to get them off in case you lost your phone or in case of accidental deletion.

TODAY'S PROJECT: Taking Care of the Little Things

One of my little tasks today is to replace my ugly dirty old floor register vents with a shiny new grate from Amazon

What's on your list of little (yet necessary) things that you need to do around the house? Can you do them, or do you need to enlist help from a household member, or hire someone from the outside? Obviously the tasks on your list that you can't do yourself won't get done tonight, but at least take steps tonight to secure the assistance of another person who might be able to help you this weekend or be hired to arrive next weekend.

Look over your tasks, and wander around your house looking for things that need minor fixes or updates. (I have a twelve inch spot on a wall that needs to be repainted, for example). Take some time today to either get these things done, or make a concrete plan to get them done over the weekend. Some of your things might require taking time off work (ie, waiting for an electrician or plumber), so plan far ahead. If you have a child home sick from school anytime this spring, you might use that day at home with them to schedule last-minute short-notice appointments, if possible, with carpet cleaners, plumbers, home maintenance professionals, etc. Sometimes they've had a cancellation that day and can squeeze in a trip to your house.

What's on my list:

  • Paint the wall.

  • Paint a windowsill the painters forgot.

  • Replace several extremely ugly forced air heating vents with new brass ones. Some of them are a standard size and I can order them on Amazon, but the rest will have to be taken in to Home Depot so I can try to find exact replacements.

  • I need to call a plumber to replace an ugly and barely working sink fixture in a guest bathroom.

  • I'm replacing a cracked, rotted rubber stopper on one of my spring loaded curtain rods. Not a major priority, but it will make changing out the curtains so much easier this spring.

  • It's time to replace my dirty and painful old office chair with a new one. I've ordered the new one, and need to assemble it when it arrives. The old chair needs to go to the dump, so it's time to call the junk haulers to take that and some flooring supplies away for me.

  • I absolutely hate my upstairs living room curtain rods, and it's time to replace the fourteen year old crumbly curtains anyway. Time to call the curtain professionals of my choice to come out, measure and advise.

What's on your list of annoying little things that need to be done so your house isn't slowly crumbling down around you?

LOVELY BATH & BODY: L'Occitane's New Shower Gel

I love grapefruit scented bath and body products - especially during dreary, cold wintertime! Here's the new shower gel I've treated myself to for this month. Stop by your local mall's L'Occitane if you're curious to smell this!

Pamplemousse Rhubarbe Shower Gel, at L'Occitane

LOVELY BLOGS: Sweet Cayenne

This blog's author, Whitney, grew up in the South. She now lives and blogs from Columbia, MO. Both she and her husband are dieticians. Check out her recent posts on Meyer Lemon Rosemary Bread Baked in a Dutch Oven, Chocolate Covered Wild Blueberry Superfoods Smoothies, Asian BBQ Chicken Meatballs, and her compilation of tips on resources for starting a blog.

LOVELY BOOKS: Sing a Song of Seasons

This free vintage book was written in 1913. It's filled with charming, light and easy seasonal poems and offers a few nice color illustrations. These would be ideal for reading to small, sleepy children at nighttime.

Sing a Song of Seasons, at The Internet Archive


"Decluttering Your Home, Mind, and Soul." This book should have come out right after New Year's Day, when many of us were making resolutions to change our bad habits. One of my bad habits is definitely clutter, the result of another of my bad habits - over-shopping! I'm going to read this book when it comes out in April. I'm always up for a good decluttering book!

I'm confident I will take some things away from it that help me declutter my house and life. I did succeed in several goals after reading "The Art of Tidying Up," so it will be interesting to see what changes I am inspired to make by "Unstuffed." However, as a non-religious person, I'll be skipping the parts of this book about Biblical or religious topics.

Unstuffed, on Amazon

Unstuffed, at Barnes and Noble

LOVELY CANDLES: Paddywax's Flower Market

I love this new line of candles from Paddywax. Not only do they smell fabulous, but the floral packaging is so perfect for Spring. If I have an occasion to gift a girl friend a nice candle (perhaps for a birthday?) this spring, it will be one of these! So far my favorite scent is the Freesia & Apricot one.

Flower Market, at

LOVELY TV: The Full House Reunion Series: "Fuller House"

Ok, I admit, I shouldn't be looking forward to this sappy sitcom reunion so much. But I have fond memories of watching the syrupy sweet show back in the old days; and watching re-runs with my nephews recently. So tonight I'll be making a little time to turn on the Fuller House reunion show on Netflix. At least it will give me something to watch while I'm folding laundry and taking care of a few little projects!

Fuller House, on Netflix

Fuller House on IMDB

Fuller House on Twitter


Banana Walnut Bread (The Classy Cookies)

Brioche! (A Garden for the House)

Cinnamon Roll Casserole (A Beautiful Mess)

Cinnamon Sugar Orange Knots (Tutti Dolci)

Healthy Avocado Deviled Eggs (This Mama Cooks)

How to Make a Pound Cake, with Video (The Bearfoot Baker)

The Moroccan Berber Omelette, Shakshuka (Cooking on the Bay)

No-Knead Rosemary Asiago Cheese Bread (Love and Pastries)

Our Glam Shara Tent Camp - Overseas Adventure Travel in Morocco (Worth the Whisk)

Preserved Lemon Chicken Soup with Rosemary (Soup Addict)

Rustic Chicken Cranberry Bean Soup (One Hundred Dollars a Month)

Salmon Tacos with Avocado Cilantro Cream (Tartelette)

--Copyright 2016 Lovely Living

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Mid-Week in Springtime

My dogs, bored of winter, are delighted to spend time enjoying their bones in our grassy, sunny back yard today


  • Just a few days left in the month. Do you have any upcoming birthdays to send gifts or cards for? Parties to attend? Bills to pay ahead of time?
  • Have any mid-week laundry to do so you are caught up before the weekend? I'm doing a load of dark clothes, and a pair of dusty curtains.
  • I'm unloading my dishwasher so it's ready to receive dirty dishes after tomorrow morning's breakfast and teatime.
  • My friends are currently readying their kids' summer camp applications - do you have your kids' summertime plans handled?
  • Have you made your socialization plans for this weekend yet? Invited friends out or over, or accepted invitations from others? RSVPed in a timely manner?

TODAY'S PROJECT: Airing and Freshening My Home

Caldrea Sea Salt Neroli Linen and Room Spray, on Amazon

Today we have unseasonably warm (59 degrees) and sunny weather here in my suburb of Seattle. I'm jumping on the opportunity to make my home smell fresher and cleaner. (I have two pretty smelly retriever dogs, after all!)

I've turned off the heater, opened all the doors and windows I can safely open without the dogs escaping, and I'm working to refresh the house. That means vacuuming my carpets, spritzing curtains and couches with linen spray or Febreze, getting rid of any dead vases of flowers or deceased houseplants, emptying trash cans, and washing any smelly pet beds and throw rugs. I don't expect this project to take more than an hour this afternoon! Loving the slight breeze that's coming through my windows.

LOVELY BEVERAGES: Bittermilk Cocktail Mixers

Here's the trendy cocktail mixers I've been stocking in my bar lately. They must be quite delicious as I've had to restock them more than twice since New Year's Eve! My favorite is the Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Fashioned mix, and my least favorite is the Smoked Honey Whiskey Sour cocktail mix. (I just don't like smoky tastes!) So far the company has come out with seven mixers. (I'll save the Gingerbread one for next Christmas).

Bittermilk official page

Bittermilk, on Amazon

LOVELY BLOGS: Peonies and Orange Blossoms

This delightful blog is created by Angelina, who writes about antiques, decorating, travel, food, fashion, and whatever else catches her fancy.

Besides a section for recipes, she features What to Wear posts on how to pack for travel to various destinations.

Recent posts I've enjoyed include her recipe for Parisienne gnocchi; a look at the gorgeous kitchen from the film "The Intern,"; and her post on pink inspiration for Valentine's Day.

LOVELY BOOKS: Dame Curtsey's Art of Entertaining

Today's "charming old book you can read for free" is "Dame Curtsey's Art of Entertaining," from 1918. There aren't any illustrations, but I love this kind of seasonal tip-of-the-day type book. Each month has its own chapter of celebrations, parties and amusements you could throw.

Looking ahead at March, for example, "Dame Curtsey" suggests a March First party; introduces us to the idea of a March Hare party; proposes a Violet party for one's grandmother; gives tips for a Lenten party; how to celebrate Mothering Sunday; and tips for throwing a St. Patrick's Day luncheon. Each party is short and easy to read, simple to execute and still seem applicable to modern days. Enjoy your reading!

Dame Curtsey's Art of Entertaining, at The Internet Archive

LOVELY BOOKS: Little House Living

I'm not much of a DIY type person - I bake and cook, and do a little gardening, but don't make anything by hand. Still, I'm a huge lifetime fan of the Little House books. So the day "Little House Living" came out, I ran to the new Amazon Books store near me and bought a copy.

Merissa Alink is the author of the Little House Living blog, and this is, of course, her book. It's "The Make-Your-Own Guide to a Frugal, Simple and Self-Sufficient Life." (Uh oh, I don't like being frugal!)

There are chapters on Body and Beauty; Household; Children and Pets; Make Ahead Mixes (this is the chapter I'm looking forward to the most!); and Meal Planning. I'm sure I'll learn a lot from this book!

Little House Living, on

Little House Living at Barnes and Noble

LOVELY CRAFTS: Janome Portable Sewing Machine

I'm fairly good at hand sewing, but bad with sewing machines. Still, I'm pretty tempted by this portable sewing machine (so long as I am able to find positive reviews of it). I don't mind if it's sort of aimed at children and beginners!

I have a few doll dress and dollhouse furniture sewing projects I'd like to try doing by machine instead of by hand. I have to wonder though if I will actually use this sewing machine or if it would sit in a corner in a pile of fabrics I couldn't resist buying! Anyway, I thought I'd show you a pic of what I'm most tempted by at this particular moment.

Janome Portable Sewing Machine, on Amazon

Pink Janome Compact Sewing Machine, at Target


I doubt anybody here, including me, can afford a $1400 corset. But I was just so enthralled with this spring corset - such a welcome departure from all the black-and-red burlesque type corsets I see out there - I wanted to show you. We can all drool together. I'm not even a corset wearer, but this is so gorgeous I got excited! The corset, blouse, and bloomers set is by Julina Corsets in Russia. Take a peek!

Spring Corset, from Julina Corsets on Etsy

LOVELY HOME: Topiaries

Lately I'm fascinated (and perhaps a bit obsessed) with topiaries. (The live kind, not faux plants). I can't seem to find any good ones in the nurseries around my home, so I'm checking them out at the Terrain shop. I'm doing so well keeping my dwarf citrus alive, I might trust myself with one topiary splurge. I love the way these look! See what you think.

Topiaries, at Terrain Shop

LOVELY SHOPS: Studio Gentuso

If you've read Lovely Living for any length of time, you might have discovered that I have a very weak spot for house-shaped home decor pieces. So exploring this Nashville-based store is difficult for me - so many temptations! Check out her gingerbread house and the adorably whimsical twisted ceramic houses this artist makes. There are also a few Noah's Ark critter figurines.

My favorite piece here is this darling ceramic little French tea house.

Studio Gentuso, on Etsy

LOVELY TV: Cooked, on Netflix

Tonight I've set aside some time to watch acclaimed food writer Michael Pollan's new four-part miniseries. He'll explore "how cooking transforms food and shapes our world." I'm looking forward to it! Sounds fascinating. I'm tired of competitive backstabbing cooking reality shows, so this will be a nice treat. Here's the trailer in case you want to check it out:

Cooked, on Netflix

Four part Miniseries Cooked Aims to Reclaim Lost Cooking Traditions (The National)

Netflix and Grill: Michael Pollan Takes His Food Evangelism to the Small Screen (Mother Jones)


Almond Butter No-Bake Cookies (Minimalist Baker)

Almond Couscous with Pomegranate (Kevin is Cooking)

How to Make Overnight Oats (Fitfluential)

Los Angeles: City of Breakfast (NY Times)

Moroccan Quinoa with Blood Oranges, Olives, Almonds and Mint (Feasting at Home)

Orange Cranberry Almond Bread (Baking Bites)

--Copyright 2016 Lovely Living

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Hope of an Early Spring

My snowdrops flowers came up in late January, the earliest they've ever appeared in my twelve years of living in this house. Wondering if we're going to have an early spring!


  • Let's get a jump on our Spring Cleaning. Find a quick project you can do now to make your life easier in March when we begin our projects! Sweep a porch or patio, perhaps? Clean your kitchen windows? Rinse, scrub and soak recycling and trash cans throughout your home?
  • Some of my readers are living in snowy conditions right now; others are experiencing a heatwave. If you're lucky enough to get a mild, temperate sunny spring day like I'm enjoying today, make time to go for a walk, sip iced tea in a sunny window with a magazine, or otherwise enjoy your good fortune!
  • How are you doing on any New Year's resolutions you made? Writing, creating your art or crafts, reading more, exercising, going to the gym, eating healthier? Give yourself a little mental checkup on your progress.

TODAY'S PROJECT: Kitchen Touchup

Over my busy weekend (dinner and drinks with a gentleman on Friday; dinner and a movie with relatives on Saturday; and the Northwest Garden Show on Sunday) I let my kitchen deteriorate and become quite messy.

Today I'm going to empty the dishwasher, fill it with a few dishes from the sink, scrub a couple pots and pans, put away my new blender, and take out recycling. Then it's time to sweep, mop, and wipe down counters. I'll light my current favorite lemon-scented candle when I'm done. I'm enjoying today's sunny opportunity to open the kitchen door and let a bit of fresh air in from the yard.

LOVELY BLOGS: Little Sunny Kitchen

Diana's blog presents some intriguing, unusual recipes I haven't often seen on other cooking blogs. I like the uniqueness! Recent recipes include a Russian buckwheat soup, a cute recipe for roasted heart potatoes, a custard apple cream, and something called an Apple Sharlotka. You might also enjoy a quick look at her Guide to Choosing a New Kitchen, should you be so lucky as to have this project in your future.

LOVELY BOOKS: Health and Beauty Hints

This charming 1910 vintage book (written by Margaret Mixter) offers still-useful tips on skin care. There are chapters devoted to facial massage; hair care; shampoos; bleaches and dyes for hair and skin; nails; the complexion in general; wrinkles; beauty preparations you can make at home; caring for your ears, eyes and nose; how to care for your feet and teeth; and how to care for your figure.

Several of the hints you can already guess at - using lemon to bleach skin, using creams to moisturize your face. Still, I found this a fun and useful quick read. I'm inspired to get into my bathroom and beautify myself!

Health and Beauty Hints, at The Internet Archive

LOVELY SHOPS: Boundless Bookbindery

I'm so entranced by these darling cake-shaped blank writing journals! They might be a bit awkward to write long entries in, but what a lovely way to jot down a few notes and thoughts. I really like the idea of using one of these for a wedding guest book or visitors book, too. The shop is based in Austria. Take a look and see if any of the paper confections tempt you too!

LOVELY TV: Just Add Magic

Here's a cute new witchy TV show you can watch for free if you have Amazon Prime. The show is sort of like Charmed for pre-teens, but also intriguing to my middle-aged self too. The show is centered around a magical cookbook and a new young witch who doesn't yet know she is one. Might be nice for some background noise while you're doing projects or crafting.

Just Add Magic on IMDB

Just Add Magic Trailer on YouTube

LOVELY WEBSITES: The Secret Society of Happy People

The founder of this society writes, "Our name refers to most folks’ reluctance to speak out when they have something happy to share. Otherwise, they fear, grumpier people might rain on their parade by making fun of them or questioning their need to express happiness."

She continues on to explain, "The Society believes it’s always OK to share your happiness."

Visit the Society's website to learn about the 31 Types of Happiness, Happiness Happens Day, Month, and Hunt for Happiness Week celebrations, and join other happy people in celebrating life.

The Secret Society of Happy People on Facebook


Blueberry Birthday Pie with Fresh Basil (The Patron Saint of Pie)

Cinnamon Orange and Cardamom Pull-Apart Rolls (Sticky Spatula)

Golden Milk AKA Turmeric Milk (Clean and Delicious)

Honey Lemon Curd (The Whole Smiths)

Lavender Cardamom and Blue Vodka Fizzies (

Russian Cream with Berries (Our Best Bites)

Melinda Gates: The Scourge of the Female Time Crunch/Chore Burden (The Atlantic)

Sense and Sensibility and Jane Austen's Accidental Feminists (The Atlantic)

Shakshuka with Herbed Yogurt (The Wayfaring Whisk)

Turn Your Leftover Rice Into a Waffle Because Why Not? (The Huffington Post)

Zucchini Noodles with Saffron Sauce (Shock Munch)

Copyright 2016 Lovely Living

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