Friday, October 29, 2010

trick or treat

not to be messagey about something as innocent and fun as halloween, but i've given it lots of thought this year. i don't want to ignore it (like our crazy neighbor who thinks kids shouldn't worship the devil), but with obesity an epic epidemic in this country, especially in children, i've decided to make this year's candy bowl at our house full of everything but candy. add to the equation that i'm two weeks off a gastric bypass, i would find it a strange message to be doling out funsize snickers while i can still hardly bend over. feel me?

i hope my little trick-or-treaters will be pleased, and if not, maybe when they're grown-ups they'll remember that they have options the way i remember the people who gave out nickels and spider rings.

image from therabreath

Thursday, October 28, 2010

bowls in bloom

i love the idea of fresh flowers in a low or footed bowl, rather than a traditional vase. first, because i think it automatically creates a different shape and proportion than we're so used to seeing, and also because it provides the opportunity to use such a wide array of special pieces. it's such a great thing to be able to use a family piece of silver or a rarely-used soup tureen or serving bowl from a beautiful set of china.

of course it's a great chance to use great thrifting finds as well. so often, when i'm at tag sales or antique shops, i see a really gorgeous bowl, but i hesitate, often because they're so much fancier than what i use at home. but when you think of it this way, it's a whole other world of opportunity for the special bowls of the world.

images from house beautiful, real simple, katie-writes, country living, a rose is a rose florist, garden party sisters, k bella designs, wedding flowers and reception ideas, my home ideas

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

honey gift files: early possibilities

i think it’s never too early to keep on the lookout for potential holiday gifts. like anything, the second something is marketed as a holiday gift, the price tag goes up a little, so i always like the idea of picking things up throughout the year as you see things on sale or for good prices.

though it often makes sense to wait on more personal gifts until you get closer so you know what they need or want, the more generic gifts for hostesses, hair stylists, work colleagues, etc can be great to pick up along the way.

some of my perennial favorites are from pier 1 - i love their little jeweled boxes which are three in a pack (three gifts!) for about $13 and they can each be wrapped in pretty tissue paper or cellophane for a perfect little token - for a little over $4 each! these are also great little gifts for when people get engaged - they're perfect for rings. also along the glittery lines, i love the jeweled pens (above) for $9 each.

for even less, i looooove their nylon reusable totes and i find that people really use them, including me, as i have five of them and they're stashed everywhere. so pretty, so useful, so green. and so $3 each. to be really green, don't even wrap them (they're sort of wrapped themselves) and just clip a gift tag on with a little note.

these faux python lipstick cases are $2.50 each and are a perfect token for someone who loves pretty things. i love the idea of the yellow or purple ones since both colors are so big right now, and i don't think you could ever go wrong with pink.

for a really cute little combo gift, i love the glitter leaf pen ($3.50) and the boho purse notepad ($4.95). of course you could also pair the jeweled pen with the boho purse notepad. this is one of those gifts where i inevitably get a little gift for myself too.

have you had any good holiday finds yet?

all images from pier 1

Monday, October 25, 2010

a fall bounty

a couple weeks ago, my sister molly and i met our friend rebecca at the farmers market near our office at about 8 am. it was so beautiful to be there first thing in the morning on a cool, crisp fall day, and the morning sunlight streaming in created a totally different feel than i've felt at the farmers market before. it was like an otherwordly light filtering through all the layers of beautiful greens and colorful shapes.

as we perused, we talked about the ways we shop for produce and how to minimize waste and maximize the use of seasonal produce when it's at its best. just a few days before that, rebecca had emailed me to pose this question for discussion:

do you have a game plan when you go to the farmer's market? like, do you go there looking for particular things or with a recipe in mind? or do you just go and see what's there and figure out what you will make with it as you go along? it's just so hard to resist the beautiful things that they have there, especially when you don't know if it will still be available the following week.

so we walked and talked about this conundrum that i think a lot of people feel in some form. my personal thought is that it's a great idea to have a plan B for everything you buy at the farmers market. for example, you might see some beautiful squashes and peppers you want to try - interesting colors and shapes, and you have lofty goals of sauteeing or grilling them, drizzling with some herb-infused olive oil, blah blah blah. and that would be lovely. but if it doesn't happen, for whatever variety of reasons make things like that not happen, then you can have a plan in the back of your mind to make a big pot of chili on sunday to use up the things that never made it to their culinary promised land.

and about the idea of not knowing what will be available next week making it hard to pass over something particularly interesting, i say ask the sellers. one of the best things about farmers market shopping is that you're buying directly from the source (which is so nice in so many ways). they've known that huge eggplant since it was this big. so they'll gladly tell you when things will be available and when they won't, even when they're at their peak. and they can also give you ideas of how to prepare each specimen if you're not sure.

one of my favorite things at the farmers market is seeing vegetables in their full, uncut form. it totally makes them more exciting to use, though it can sometimes be a little intimidating. seeing them (and buying them) that way makes me feel even more connected to the true source of this goodness, and that's really something to feel good about it, especially in a food world that we know is over-processed and so very disconnected from its source and its intended form.

i was happy to see all the gnarly and huge heirloom tomatoes (the uglier the better, right?) after last year's tomato issues. these are the kind of tomatoes that just sliced on a plate are a showstopper.

what have you been buying at the farmers market? and do you have a system or strategy to share?

some more honey living farmers market posts:

fresh ideas

local harvest
on the grid
good and green

Friday, October 22, 2010

hot under the collar

aren't heavy winter coats the bane of your existence while commuting, traveling or shopping? UGH! they're great when you're outside freezing, but it seems like the nanosecond you get inside, the heat is blasting like it's trying to bake you, and all the people create a level of body heat that makes you want to strip down and scream. my solution is usually to skip the coat if at all possible, figuring i'll be cold while outside but that i'll warm up quickly inside. then i stand there shivering waiting for the bus cursing my stupid, stupid idea.

enter the abrigo love love! have you seen it? it's a pretty tapestry-style carpetbag (comes in cognac or verde) which holds any size coat (and a pocketbook as well!) and is easily slung over your shoulder or strapped onto a piece of rolling luggage. and when you're not using it, it folds flat and stows anywhere you want. this is so perfect for someone who travels a lot, carries an abundance of stuff everywhere they go (hello, have we met??), really this is just pretty awesome.

LOVE. especially in cognac.

images from abrigo bag

Thursday, October 21, 2010

a tree grows

on one of my very slow, very calm post-surgical walks around my neighborhood, i noticed this little house with the most charming tree on the front lawn. i pictured kids sitting under it playing, and a little girl peering out over the tree from her bedroom window above. for all i know, an 80 year old man lives in that room, but this is my fantasy, so it was a little girl who reminded me of me. obviously.

i couldn't figure out why i felt so drawn to it, and then i realized that growing up, there was a big old tree on my lawn, and i remember looking down over it from my bedroom window, jumping in leaf piles and building snowmen under it, even sitting under it trying to smoke a cigarette without applying pressure to my cheeks after my wisdom teeth came out. ah, memories.

that tree was removed a few years ago because it had died and had started to pose a threat to the house itself, and the cars in the driveway. though they left it bare at first, my parents filled the space with a pretty little cherry tree.

though it doesn't tower over the lawn the way the other one did, and it never will just based on its type, it will grow bigger and fuller, and i like thinking about a little girl peering out that second floor window, my old bedroom window, one day.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

vintage HL: scent of a season

next up on my fall already-have list is my cooler weather fragrance wardrobe, with one great new addition. over the summer, i love to use light fragrances, most specifically coconut, as you might remember. but as cooler temps prevail, i prefer something a little heavier, with musky and spicy flavors. throw in a dash of sweetness and i'm happy.

i love having different scents that i wear in different seasons, but also different scents within the same season - i used to be of the idea that a signature scent was essential to one's personal style, but i fully reject that notion now. i think it's the same as with clothes, jewelry, makeup and any other style detail - should be easy to change and adjust based on mood, event, and any other number of factors that dictate our style choices.

some of my favorite fall and winter standbys are straight patchouli oil, which i get at jean tourmo in woodstock, valentino, which i wore on my wedding day, and bulgari notte which i got on my honeymoon in the bahamas. in addition to loving the scents, i love the memories they evoke for me and the way they transport me in time for just a split second, as only true sensory experiences can.
my favorite new cool weather fragrance is neroli from l'occitane. over the summer, i wandered in there and was very pleasantly reminded of the loveliness of that store - delicate, feminine and of course, tres provencale.

i also fell in love with one of their rose scents (they have two - the one i loved was the nuit de mai) but i figured when i need a new spring fragrance, i could explore that one. but i digress....neroli is an oil used in many, many fragrances, and is often compared to bergamot, and in this perfume is also mixed with orange blossoms. the scent is deep and spicy and be sure, i purchased a gift set which was on sale for $20 - it's a very gold, very 90's looking "compass" purse atomizer with three small vials that slide right in. not only do i seriously adore the smell, but apparently, everyone adores it on me. you know when that happens, a scent just really works on you? i have never gotten so many compliments and have never enjoyed deeply inhaling more, with my nose to my wrist, my hair, my gets everywhere and it lasts forever. LOVE.

i'm actually thinking about, later in the season maybe, experimenting with mixing the neroli and patchouli. the patchouli is SO strong - i love it, but people smell me from a few blocks away and it gets on everything - like, as in, baby gifts i give smell like patchouli. and kelly and cory's cat smelled like patchouli for a month after sitting on the same chair as my bag. yeah.

other items on the fall already-have list:

darkness falls

all wrapped up

originally posted 9/16/09

bulgari notte photo from; neroli photo from; valentino photo from

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