Friday, August 26, 2016

The Scents and Breezes of Summer

I'm being mindful to enjoy the scents of summer. Some of my favorites that can be experienced right now are the smell of the ocean and salt air (now that it's warm enough to venture to the beach!); the smell of freshly cut grass after my neighbor kid mows my lawns; the way a warm freshly-picked blackberry smells in the sun; the smell of lavender and basil growing in my herb garden; the way peach ice cream, orange soda and lemon sorbet smell as you're consuming them; the way my cat smells after lounging in the hot sun lazily for a couple hours.

What are some of your favorites? Drop me a note in the comments below!


  • Make socialization plans for your Labor Day Weekend, if you haven't already. Who will you be spending time with over the long weekend? Are you hosting a party, going to someone else's house for a barbecue, picnicing, camping?
  • Need to clean your coffeemaker or espresso machine? Then it will be ready to go for your weekend mornings!
  • Speaking of weekend mornings - it just occurred to me that I'll have plenty of time to prepare myself a lovely brunch, spending extra time luxuriating while eating it outdoors. How about you?
  • It's nearly the weekend - Fill your car with gas if needed, and grab cash at an ATM for a bit of pocket money.
  • Tidy your house for the weekend. Sweep or vacuum front entryway; whisk clutter off dining table and coffee table; empty trash cans throughout the house; fill or empty dishwasher; empty and shine kitchen sink; swap out hand towels in bathrooms for fresh ones as needed; toss dead flowers; recycle magazines etc.
  • Need to do any laundry so your weekend won't be full of laundry-doing?
  • I'm touching up my appearance today, after taking an appraisal of myself. Need to touch anything up? Roots? Nails looking good? Need to remove any chipped nail polish (don't forget your toes?). Need to give yourself a manicure or pedicure today, and possibly shave your legs real quickly? Is it time to do a sugar scrub, exfoliate and moisturize? A hot oil treatment for your hair? Are you wearing something that makes you feel pretty?

TODAY'S PROJECT: Freshening and Refreshing

Rosewater Driftwood Linen and Room Spray, at Caldrea

After being gone so long, I feel like my house is a bit smelly. I hope it doesn't smell like this all the time and I just have gone noseblind to it? Today I'm opening all my doors and windows to let in fresh summer breezes. I'm also going to Febreze my couches and rugs; spray refreshing linen spray on my curtains; launder throw rugs and pet bedding; vacuum and sweep; light a couple lavender candles; and mop the kitchen floor. I'll also take out trash from various trash cans throughout the house.

I think all these things will help a lot, and I'm so grateful it's not too hot to have the windows open!

LOVELY BEVERAGES: Green Apple Perrier

I picked up a six-pack of Green Apple Perrier yesterday while at Tarzhay. I was initially worried that these would taste weird or bitter or too Green apple-y. However, I found them crisp and refreshing. I didn't even get sick of the taste after drinking two last night and one today! These are a limited edition, and I suspect I won't miss them when they are no longer available and I have to go back to drinking regular old Lemon Perrier. Plus, with fall bringing colder temperatures, I'm not likely to drink anywhere near as many cold beverages, so perhaps I won't stock up after these are gone.

Green Apple Perrier, on Amazon

LOVELY BLOGS: Big Girls Small Kitchen

Cara makes "accessible, creative" food in her small city kitchen in NYC. She shares tips on entertaining in such a small space, preventing food waste, and budgeting for parties. Recent posts I've enjoyed include A Simple Summer Salad to Write Home About, How to Make Yogurt Dressing, and Small Batch Blueberry Bars.


As the weather grows colder, I find myself eating toast more often - I finally can stand to have the heat of the toaster in my kitchen! I don't usually put jam on my toast, so I usually just have butter - how boring! Posh Toast will supply ideas for making my morning toast ritual more interesting. I'm eager to try the pistachio and avocado "dukkah" toast," which originated in Egypt.

Posh Toast, on Amazon

LOVELY COSMETICS: Kaleidescape Charcoal Brush Set

It's long past time for me to replace my cosmetics brushes. There's only so many times you can wash them and try to prolong their life. The way I have been flying all across the country lately, my poor cosmetics bag has been squished into suitcases and tossed around. I'm thinking of replacing my nasty old brush set with this lovely set of bamboo wood brushes. I love that they're made of cruelty-free synthetic fibers instead of animal hairs.

The set comes with an allover face brush, a shadow brush, a highlight brush, a cheek brush, and a crease brush.

Mara Hoffman Kaleidescape Charcoal Brush Set, at Sephora


Banana Cream Pie Doughnuts (Joy the Baker)

Blackberry Cheesecake Galette (Pancakes and Biscotti)

Chicken Pesto Pasta: Easy 30 Minute Dinner (Shugary Sweets)

Courgette Salad (BBC Good Food)

Healthy Cucumber Salad with Cranberries and Poppy Seed Dressing (Food Done Light)

Lemon and Poppy Seed Pancakes (That Healthy Kitchen)

Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce (Lemon Press)

Strawberry Mojito (The Lemon Bowl)

Summer Rhubarb Muffins with Brown Sugar Streusel (Sweet Poppy Seed)

Watermelon and Gin Granita (Pea Soup Eats)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Join the Viewing Clubs at Lovely Living University

Just wanted to introduce Lovely Living readers to our movie and television viewing fan clubs over at Lovely Living University. They're free to join - all you do is show up and join in the conversation about the shows. (To prevent spoilers, don't attend the chat until you are watching the episode or have already seen it!)

Classic Movie Club

Kym Crawford runs the Classic Movie Club here at Lovely Living University. Every Thursday, she posts a classic movie we can watch together online for free via our Lovely TV app. (She finds movies out of copyright or available via YouTube). We then chat in the chatroom about the movie, our lives, other vintage movies we enjoy, etcetera. Past movies she's selected include "Pillow Talk" with Rock Hudson and Doris Day; and The Dark Corner (a lesser-known Lucille Ball suspense movie).

The Crown Viewing Club

"The Crown" is Netflix's expensive series about the life of Queen Elizabeth. We'll begin watching episodes on November 4, chatting about them in the Lovely Living University chatroom.

The Crown Viewing Club

Gilmore Girls Viewing Club

Our Gilmore Girls Viewing Club members are excited about the upcoming "Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life" series that will air on Netflix starting November 25. It's a "reboot" of the series, featuring four mini-movies, each set in a different season. The "Winter" episode will air on November 25. We'll catch up with what Rory, Lorelai, and Mrs. Gilmore have been up to. Let's not forget about Luke! Join us to chat about the show and swoon over a brief return to the lovely fictional town of Stars Hollow.

Versailles Viewing Club

On October 1st, our Versailles Viewing Club will meet to watch this series about the drama behind the construction of the palace of Versailles. It airs on the Ovation network beginning October first. We'll join in our chatroom as we watch the show in our own homes and chat together online about the plot, actors, and fabulous costumes!

Victoria Viewing Club

In Spring 2017 we'll watch another show about a queen. This one, Victoria, airs on PBS's Masterpiece Theater in the old Downton Abbey time slot on Sunday nights.

Our viewing clubs are meant to be a fun diversion from the classes offered at Lovely Living University, and a great place to meet and chat with other fans of costume dramas and classic movies.

Hope you'll stop by one of our chat events and say hello! Learn more about each show with the links and resources provided in each fan club.


Lovely Living University on Facebook

Meeting the Challenge of Returning from a Long Vacation

We walked on this beach every morning, every afternoon, and every evening

I just returned from a ten day vacation to a beach house near Plymouth, Massachusetts. My vacation was a bit longer than normal for me, given the distance involved. It took basically a day to get there (six hour flight, traveling to the airport, waiting at the airport, traveling to hotel from airport, etc) and a day to get back. A week at the beach house, and a day to sightsee in Boston.

I was gone so long, it took two different sets of dog sitters to care for my dogs, cat and home in my absence. We also had really hot weather while I was gone, so my housesitters were kept busy watering my lawns, herb garden, flower garden and vegetable garden. (Boy do I have a lot of thank-you notes to write this week!)

Today I'm struggling to get back on West Coast time, clean up my house (my housesitters tidied up after themselves, but weren't expected to do things like dust or vacuum) unpack, and get back into the rhythms of my life here in Seattle.

I napped every afternoon in this breezy room, listening to the waves crash on the nearby shore, enjoying the smell of the salt air

Want to peek at my to-do list for today and tomorrow?

TODAY'S PROJECT: Returning From Vacation

  • Unpack suitcase, immediately putting cosmetics bag and shampoo/conditioner in bathroom; souvenirs and gifts on mail table for easier distribution this week; and separating clothes into colors/darks for the wash.
  • Launder all clothing I took with me, whether I wore it or not. It was so hot and humid, my clothes got sweaty, and got mixed in with clean clothes. That makes me determined to just wash everything.
  • Clean any shoes I wore to the beach - I thought I knocked all the sand out of them, but no.
  • Return suitcase to bedroom closet where it's stored.
  • Launder pet bedding, which hasn't been done for over 2 weeks.
  • Vacuum entire house.
  • Sort mail and pay bills (a nice project for some relaxing couch time while I catch up on the Olympics and some shows I missed).
  • Toss old food from refrigerator. That potato salad i opened up for a party August 5 is surely a goner by now.
  • Febreze some curtains and carpets in rooms that smell musty now that I'm back. Also - open every window and let today's fresh breezes into the house!
  • Light candles to make my house smell the way I like it.
  • Run water down sinks and flush toilets that guests might not have used. This is to make sure the p-traps didn't evaporate while I was gone, letting odors into my home.
  • Unpack laptop case, put laptop back in office, put away miscellaneous chargers, store laptop case away.
  • Clean out purse of receipts, trash, etc. and refill with items I prefer to carry but didn't want to have on the plane.
  • Sweep front porch and steps and sweep the back deck. These chores help me feel like I'm reclaiming my space.
  • Wipe down outdoor tables so they're ready to be eaten on today!
  • Fold and hang up/put away clean laundry when the machines finish washing and drying cycles.

What do you prioritize when you get home from vacation?

LOVELY BATH & BODY: Fuji Green Tea

New from The Body Shop: Fuji Green Tea, a refreshing seasonal "bridge scent" while we wait for fall fragrances to arrive in the stores! I definitely want to pamper my sun and salt water tortured skin and hair. Beach vacations are great, but can take a toll on your skin! I'll pick up the body scrub and exfoliating soap, but I'll skip the body wash and lotions as I have enough of those. If I had a better bathtub (mine is too small for adults) I'd be sorely tempted by the bath tea! Next time you are at the mall, drop by The Body Shop and let me know what you think of this new fragrance and product line!

Fuji Green Tea, at The Body Shop

LOVELY BLOGS: Lovely Little Kitchen

Julie blogs about the simple, delicious food she serves to her family and friends. Her recipes are mostly categorized under Healthy, Main Dish, Dessert, or Breakfast. Recent posts I've enjoyed include Banana Cake With Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting, Vanilla Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins, and Whole Lemon Pie.

Lovely Little Kitchen on Facebook

LOVELY BOOKS: The Hearthstone

You all know how much I love vintage homemaking books! Here's a scanned old one we can read online for free: The hearthstone; or, Life at home. A household manual. Containing hints and helps for home making; home furnishing; decorations; amusements ... together with a complete cookery book. Laura Carter Holloway wrote it back in 1883. So far "The Library in the Home" is my favorite chapter. "Home is the central point of all happiness," she writes in the preface. "the pivot upon which depends the weal or the woe of families and communities." "Home

Hope you enjoy browsing through this charming antique book!

The Hearthstone, at The Internet Archive

LOVELY BOOKS: Peter Paper Press's Vintage Repro Cookbooks

Aren't these reproductions of vintage cookbooks darling? I've already picked myself up the ABCs of Casseroles for my Kindle. I really want to enhance my repertoire of casseroles for the upcoming holidays and festivities. The next book I'm tempted by is the ABCs of Canapes.

I'm thinking these could make great and fairly inexpensive gifts for your friends who enjoy cooking or vintage topics. Easy to wrap, mail, or perhaps even slip into a large Christmas stocking.

Peter Pauper Press Vintage Editions, on Amazon

LOVELY GARDEN: Petite Greenhouse

I'm dreaming about having a little greenhouse shed like this one in my back yard, perhaps as soon as next year. I'm not a talented enough gardener to warrant going full out on a real greenhouse. I'd like to dip my toes in slowly by trying out this petite greenhouse shed. It would be a learning experience for sure. Imagine serving hothouse tomatoes, or putting fresh flowers on the table (without running to the grocery store) in the middle of winter! I think I'll start a little savings account and throw the occasional $10 or $20 into it towards this dream.

Little Cottage Company's Petite Greenhouse, on Amazon

LOVELY HOME: Mrs. Meyers New Scent for Fall

Today I'm heading to Target to pick up household necessities, and while I'm there I'll make a beeline over to the cleaning aisle to smell the new fragrance from Mrs. Meyers. It's meant to smell like chrysanthemums - a nice fall flower. I won't buy it if I'm not absolutely enthused with it - I still have plenty of their Basil cleaning supplies and soap to get me through another month or two. Since I'm the type of person who likes to switch up my home decor and scents as the seasons change, I really appreciate the way Mrs. Meyers puts out different fragrances and stops stocking unseasonal ones throughout the year.

Mum, at Mrs. Meyers

LOVELY MOVIES: Bridget Jones's Baby

I can't say I'm super excited about the third "Bridget Jones" installment, but then again, it will definitely be a nice pleasant and diverting way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon this fall. Perhaps sandwiched between some lunch and shopping? It will be nice to see Colin Firth again, and who doesn't enjoy a nice eyeful of Patrick Dempsey? However, a reviewer (Jo Piazza) over at Elle is disappointed by the way Bridget seems to have failed to grow up - still.

What do you think? The movie comes out September 16. That's coming up super fast - where is the time going?

Bridget Jones's Baby Official Webpage

Bridget Jones's Baby Official Facebook Page

Bridget Jones's Baby Trailer at Apple

LOVELY TV: Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

Who else here is super excited about the Gilmore Girls reunion reboot? Beginning November 25, Netflix will offer four mini-movie episodes. Each is set in a different season of the year, beginning with Winter.

We've created a Gilmore Girls Viewing Club over at Lovely Living University if you'd like to join us!

Watch the trailer below:

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, at Netflix


Avocado Aioli (The Kitchy Kitchen)

Cornmeal Fritters Paired with Prosecco (Vancouver Sun)

A Light and Airy Way to Make the Most of All That Zucchini (Washington Post)

Mini Ricotta Doughnuts (Williams-Sonoma)

Slow Cooker Zucchini Lasagna (Slow Cooker Gourmet)

Tarragon Crab Cakes with Aioli (Donna Hay)

Zucchini Breakfast Muffins (Tomato Boots)

--Copyright 2016 Lovely Living

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