Holiday Entertaining with No Rules

rustic table-scapeI see a lot of cool things happening in party planning right now. The trend in fall party decorating seems to be rustic, cozy and casual with some antique influences and best of all – no rules! You no longer need to go with the traditional “pumpkins and leaves” theme when accessorizing your home for a holiday party.

And you don’t have to spend a lot of money. Go to the thrift store to mix and match antique dinnerware and glassware pieces. The in-cohesive look is in style and so charming. An old beat up dinner table suddenly has chic appeal, so forget the tablecloth and dress it up with a lace runner or simple linen placemats. Read more

Vinyl’s Made A Comeback! Tips For Storing Record Albums

State Faults As you may or may not know, one of the most popular formats for recorded music is once again the vinyl record. Though every time a new format made its debut as the “next big thing” – whether it was the cassette tape, compact disc, 8-track, or MP3- and the vinyl album would be written off as a thing of the past, they have actually held on quite well. In fact, many record labels that specialize in pressing vinyl records have bucked most music industry trends and actually seen increased sales and profits.

I will readily admit that I am certainly helping to contribute to these profits as I have been collecting vinyl records for the last 10 years or so. Read more

Incorporating Fitness Into Everyday Life

walkingWhen my wife and I moved to Southern California, we decided we would do everything we could to ensure we lived in a neighborhood where it was easy and convenient to do most errands and chores on foot. We had previously lived in Boston, Massachusetts for a couple of years while she finished graduate school, and as the city is famously known, is “America’s Walking City”. We actually lived completely carless for the time we lived out there, which most definitely had its inconveniences, but overall it was a very rewarding experience. Read more

My Fall Prep Plans

mama's mac and cheeseIt’s difficult to think fall when the weather doesn’t agree. Days this week have been in the upper 90’s and low 100’s here in Wine Country. But it’s still not deterring me from preparing my home and heart for the inevitable cool and wonderful fall weather that’s surely on its way.

Here are some of the things I’m doing this weekend to prepare myself and my home for fall: Read more

Decorate with Fall’s Bounty

decorating with fall leavesFall is such a great time to decorate, whether it’s just for the season or for expanding the long term decor plan in your home. Because of all the autumn beauty nature provides us at this time of year, it’s a cinch to get yourself in the fall-mood by simply looking at what is already around you. Here, we will focus solely on seasonal decorating, with the next post taking a look at what elements of fall you can incorporate into your home decor scheme to last a lifetime!

Fall Seasonal Decorating:

Pumpkins – Not just for carving or eating, pumpkins make great seasonal decorations inside and outside the home, and are a must-have at any fun fall get-together. Read more

Tips for a Fall Themed Party

fall dinner partyFall is one of my favorite times to entertain because you can draw so much inspiration from the natural surroundings. When planning a menu and decorating scheme for a fall bash, think about all the things we love about fall. The first thing that comes to mind? The changing of the leaves. Tree lined streets burst into vibrant flames of color and richness. The apples ripen and give us mouth watering tones of red and green. Pumpkin patches alongside the roadway create blocks of luscious orange. We trade in our bright, floral summer dresses for cozy sweaters in charcoal and chocolate colored knits. Read more

Cozy Thoughts of Fall

cozy fall afternoonEvery year around this time, I start falling in love with fall. As the festivities of the action-packed summer come to a close, I move inward and one word describes everyday… cozy. What is cozy? To me, cozy happens when all the senses are in tune with something comforting. A warm blanket to snuggle up in, a scented candle that evokes the upcoming holidays, warm and hearty home cooked meals. The refreshing iced tea of summer becomes hot, steeping pots of herbal blends that soothe the senses. Playful afternoons in the sunshine turn into drizzly craft days, movie days, and days where any kind of indoor indulgence is acceptable. The sun sets a little earlier everyday to remind us that this is the time to nest. Read more

Stop House-Guest Overwhelm

welcome house guestsWith so many holidays, fall is the perfect time to visit with friends and family. While it can be fun to catch up, having a house guest at such a busy time of year can sometimes seem like a lot to handle. Don’t get overwhelmed with everything going on. A little planning ahead can help make sure you have plenty of time to spend with guests and don’t waste any time worrying about whether or not they’re being taken care of. Read more

Summer Clothes Storage 101

summer clothes storageOne of the most well-known and oft-recited laws in the world of fashion is, “Never wear white after Labor Day”. Of course, this strict rule of thumb begs the question: Where does one keep all of those white garments during the fall and the winter?

While some fashionistas are blessed with walk-in closets that provide ample amounts of space to store your off-season outfits, the vast majority of us have to make do with what we have and find a way to squeeze those out-of-season duds into what available space we have left. Read more

Taking The Stress Out Of Fall Travel

fall travelAs we approach the crisp, fresh days of fall and escape the sweltering sweatbox that is summertime, I know that I suddenly find myself looking to capitalize on my personal favorite season.

There are many ways to enjoy the fall – from apple-picking to cheering on my favorite college football team. There is something about the freshness in the air that makes fall the number one season for me. Read more

Summer Clothes Storage – It’s That Time of Year

Fall and summer clothes storageI don’t know about you, but I am so glad that this record-hot summer is has finally winded to a close. Okay, sure the weather is nice and the living’s easy – but honestly, is the weather really that nice? And is the living really that easy? With 100 degree temperatures and kids all over the house, it is nice to see a return to moderate climates and kid’s with backpacks lining up for the bus.

Well now we can finally “chill-out” because summer has ended, the kids are back at school, the MLB pennant race is heating up and our favorite football teams are back in action. And I do mean “chill out” quite literally – better get used to brisk evenings and chilly mornings! It’s time to ditch those board-shorts, maxi-dresses and tank-tops and get ready to stay warm. Read more

Fifty Ways To Leave Your Clutter: Part Three

Fifty Ways To Leave Your Clutter: Part ThreeHere are Part One or Part Two, in case you missed them.

~~ Just Give It Away, Ray ~~
Here you won’t get a tax deduction, but you’ll have the satisfaction of helping someone and expecting nothing in return. Plus good things will come back to you. Here’s a poem quoted by Joe Vitale in The Greatest Money-Making Secret in History:
A man there was, and they called him mad, The more he gave, the more he had. Read more

Make Your Bedroom A Retreat

memory foam mattressThe bedroom should be a calming space where you can relax and unwind, not just a place for sleeping. The ideal bedroom strikes a balance between decorative touches that make it a space that reflects your personal style and practical key elements that ensure comfortable sleeping. By taking specific details into consideration you can turn our bedroom into a soothing space you can’t wait to spend time in. Read more

Tuesday Tip: 10 Household Uses For Lemon!

lemonIn my quest to find natural solutions to all my everyday cleaning chores, I stumbled upon this list. I never realized something so inexpensive and readily available could do so much – and best of all, with no chemicals!

1. Sanitize your wooded cutting boards. Run a slice of lemon over the surface to disinfect.
2. Keep foods from browning from air exposure. Mix equal parts lemon juice and water and dunk apple or pear slices before serving, or squeeze a bit into guacamole and give it a stir. Read more

Downsizing: 2 Reasons to Downsize

downsizingWhen I’m asked where to begin downsizing, I’m tempted to say “At the beginning, of course.” But that’s not always the right answer. For each of us, the beginning is different.

Why are you downsizing? Is it because you’ve realized your living space is being taken over with “stuff” and you want to liberate that space? Or are you moving to a smaller home?

Let’s begin with the first option. You’re being squeezed out of your home by the accumulation of things you used to love but don’t any more. This is fairly simple. Read more

Moms Need Desks, Too!

computer desksI don’t know why, but it surprises me every time.

I get a call from a prospective client—usually a woman with a few children, telling me her papers are all over the place. I go to her home for a Needs Assessment and she shows me piles of papers on the counter, on the dining room table, in bins under her bed. I ask her one simple question: “Where is your desk?” The answer I get more often than not is, “I don’t have one.”

I have seen a home with two play areas for the kids but no area for Mom. I have been to a home with a home office for Dad but no space for Mom. I have been shown Dad’s fancy home office and then shown Mom’s counter space in the kitchen that she shares with the mail and a stack of recipes. Read more

Product Review: Hotel Style Luggage Rack – Foldaway Suitcase Stand

Hotel Style Luggage RackAn inviting and comfortable guest room should bring relaxing hotel touches to your home.  Create a casual yet stylish space for your guests by adding things they probably wouldn’t have packed, like a robe or slippers. Scented candles or a cozy throw blanket are a good way to create a warm feel. Pick up some fresh flower at the store or grab some plush throw pillows from around the house to give the bed a decadent feel. These little touches are a great way to welcome your guest. Read more

Lap Desk to the Rescue

mydesk lap deskAt the end of a long day, all my wife and I want to do is relax and watch a couple of our favorite television shows.  However, my wife is an elementary school teacher and she has work to correct at the end of the day.  One of the most difficult things for her to do is correct schoolwork and homework when she is trying to watch the television.  She is left with one of two options: either she would have to sit at the kitchen table, way-away from the TV, or she could use the coffee table, slumped over her work and with a sore back. Read more

Product Review: Lapp Topper Vinyl & Plastic Lap Desk

Lapp Topper Lap DeskWho among us haven’t been caught sitting on the couch, swamped by the day-to-day commonalities such as bill paying, assessing the month’s family food budget, or composing letters to love ones, while simultaneously attempting to enjoy not only a deliciously hot beverage, but also a favorite television program?

I know I have, and sometimes it is a real humdrum conundrum. There is just not enough space on my sofa for all of those activities, certainly not all at once. If only we as a species were gifted with more hands and arms! Alas, we were not. Read more

Quick Tip: Getting Ready For Christmas

Holiday Card KeeperWhen I wanted to write about Christmas this week, I wondered if it was too early.Then I saw two Christmas posts on a couple of my favorite “intentional living” blogs and I felt like I was in good company. So… onwards and upwards.

When you think about Christmas, what are the aspects that overwhelm you and stress you out?

For me, it’s not knowing what’s happening.

I’m a girl who loves a plan and I like to know who’s hosting the lunch and what I have to bring.

I also like to have clear in my mind what we’re doing about gifts and cards. Read more

How To Leave Work Earlier

outlookI have recently moved my office into my home. I’m actually enjoying the integration of “home” and “work” life. It’s not the distraction that I thought it would be. As a matter of fact, my biggest problem is working too long and late into the evening.

Today I received an email from Marcia Francois – to my rescue again!

Try these suggestions for organizing your day and not over-working yourself: Read more