Monday, September 12, 2016

Things I Learned on Vacation This Summer

Our charming rental beach house in Plymouth, Massachusetts


  • Look over the week and weekend ahead on your calendar, noting appointments and events. Make socialization plans for the week.
  • Create dinner and lunch sack menu plans for the week if you haven't already.
  • Does your pet bedding need laundering? My dogs have two sets of beds - one each for the living room and one each for the bedroom. If I wash a set of two dog beds each week, then each bed only gets washed once every two weeks - probably not often enough! Into the laundry goes a set today.
  • It's still iced tea weather here for me, and my carafe I keep in my fridge is empty! Time to refill it and "cold brew" another batch. How about you?
  • It's warm enough here I can eat dinner outside. Soon the evenings will be too chilly. I mustn't forget, or give up and eat dinner in front of the TV or computer!

TODAY'S PROJECT: Putting What I Learned on Vacation Into Practice, or At Least Thinking About It

I learned something on my East Coast beach house vacation this summer, and I'm mulling over a bit of a lifestyle change.

Our rental house was a 15 minute drive (30 round trip) from a little Stop and Go grocery store and a handful of restaurants. While that was very convenient, we didn't always feel like leaving the restful porch overlooking the sea, or stopping our beach walk or swim time in order to go to the store. I noticed my friends and I ate what was in the house, what we'd already purchased, instead of going to the store for more. I found it very freeing, actually, while planning dinner on the nights it was my turn to cook.

Also, the kitchen was well organized, and had just the right kinds of items we needed, and not a single item more. (I did feel the need to buy a pitcher for iced tea, and left it behind for the next guests!) Because the kitchen wasn't cluttered or full of specialty kitchen items, it was easy to grab what we needed, cook a meal, clean up and put things back. We were able to bake an apple pie, bake bread, roast potatoes, and make cookies.

I'm putting some thought into organizing my kitchen better (I don't need to declutter much, as I lost many items due to smoke in a small kitchen fire I had earlier this year). But I may rethink the way I shop for groceries - hoarding lots of things "in case" of emergencies, spontaneous dinners and last minute parties. It might be nice to reach into the organized, nearly empty pantry for the only jar of spaghetti sauce and only box of pasta and know what I was having for dinner - or suck it up and drive to the nearby store for something different.

I'm thinking about it.

LOVELY BEVERAGES: Lipton's New Black and Herbal Teas for Autumn

I'm trying all of Lipton's new black teas: Amazingly Grey, Daring English Breakfast, Stirring Ceylon, and Irresistible Lady Lipton, but I'm skipping their chai due to my cinnamon allergy. Their new herbal teas include Peach Mango, Lemon Ginger, Berry Hibiscus, and Apple Cinnamon. So far I didn't find the Amazingly Grey very flavorful, but I did like the Daring English Breakfast and the hint of citrus in the Irresistible Lady Lipton. I like that these come in individual packages (though that isn't as friendly for the environment) so I can offer them around in my tea chest after a dinner party, for guests to select a flavor to try.

New Black and New Herbal Teas, at

LOVELY BLOGS: Brewing Happiness

Haley blogs from Los Angeles about healthy eating habits - but the occasional indulgence too. "Brewing Happiness is a place where we celebrate the strength it takes to choose fruit instead of a candy bar. Brewing Happiness does honor the fact that some days are salad days and some days are French fry days."

Recent posts I've enjoyed here include Mango Basil Hot Sauce - Saucy Sunday; Poke Nachos; Crunchy Hazelnut Chocolate Pudding and Orange Blueberry Balsamic Sauce.

LOVELY BOOKS: Ladurée Savoir Vivre: The Art of Fine Living

I can't wait to dive into this book! "Stunningly illustrated with specially commissioned photographs and illustrations, the book offers practical tips and inspiration on such varied topics as how to prepare and have breakfast the Ladurée way, how to be a good host and a good guest, how to dress for the theater, and how to pack for stylish travel. It is the ultimate guide to knowing how to live well, the French way." I really enjoyed the Madame Chic advice books, and I suspect I won't be bored of yet another "Live like the French" lifestyle book.

Savoir Vivre: The Art of Fine Living, on Amazon

LOVELY DISHES: Sur La Table's Woodland Creatures Collection

As we head into autumn, I'm doubly tempted by the cute woods-and-forest themed dishes, candles and decor from Sur la Table's new fall collection. There are foxes, raccoons, owls, and squirrels. The collection includes salt and pepper shakers, dishes, platters, an almost irresistible owl-shaped ice cube tray, kitchen items, and home decor. Plus a couple candles that go along with the theme. Also, the good news is, many of these are already on sale!

I daren't buy even a single item as I'm trying to declutter my decor and tablewares as it is! Shoot! Hope you enjoy looking through these.

Woodland Creatures Collection, at Sur la Table


I like to use pear-scented bath and body products and burn pear-scented candles in the harvest season. This NEST Fragrances Wasabi Pear Votive Candle "is a blend of anjou pear and fresh, ozonic watery notes that are infused with the essence of wasabi." I don't know what ozonic watery notes means, but I like the way this smelled when I tested it at a local store.

Wasabi Pear Votive Candle, on Amazon

LOVELY SHOPS: Miss Poppins and Me

This Melbourne, Australia based shop specializes in crafting delicate, beautiful paper flowers made from books. There are wedding bouquets, boutonnieres, single paper flowers, corsages, and the occasional paper hair accessory. I think it would be so romantic for some bride to carry a paper bouquet made from a couple's shared favorite book!


Almond Butter and Jam Bites (Poppy Deyes)

Basil Lemon Verbena Pesto Recipe (Cooking on the Weekends)

Breakfast Baked Sweet Potatoes With Almond Butter, Banana and Chia (Ambitious Kitchen)

Chicken and Corn Chowder (Jo Cooks)

Cucumber and Avocado Sandwich (2 Peas and Their Pod)

Hatch Honey and Carolina Porch-d'-Oeuvres (Young Austinian)

How to Build a Reading Corner In Your Home (Huffington Post Canada)

Inside the World of New York's Vintage Girls (Harper's Bazaar)

"Jackie" Natalie Portman Movie Review (Collider)

Pesto and Parmesan Bread Sticks (Honest Cooking)

Pesto Caprese Pasta Salad (Thirty Handmade Days)

Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Soft Pretzels (Southern Fatty)

10 Mostly Healthy After-School Snacks (Love and Lemons)

Zucchini and Lettuce Soup with Pesto (Serious Eats)

--Copyright 2016 Lovely Living

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