Transitioning your home from October to November

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Now that Halloween is done, time to pack up the pumpkins and get out the Christmas decorations- right? WRONG!! Did someone just forget to tell Pier 1 about the best holiday of the year?? Don’t get me wrong, I love decorating for Christmas, but Thanksgiving will always be number one for me.

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A simple, cheap and easy way to transition from Halloween to Thanksgiving is gold spray paint.

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No need to get rid of all the fabulous pumpkins you gathered for the trick or treaters – just give them an elegant makeover for the pumpkin pie eaters!

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Fall Brunch

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Have I mentioned that I love fall? With fall comes so many decorating and baking opportunities, and this weekend I had the pleasure of hosting the “Girls in TV” brunch!

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Planning a menu for a bunch of women in general can be tricky – but especially so for a bunch of women producers, in Los Angeles! Talk about a carb free, gluten free, dairy free, alcohol free, nut free, headache! Good thing I really like these girls.

So I kept a few fully loaded favorites and snuck in a few more healthy options as well.

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Bread pudding – is my ‘go-to’ for EVERYTHING. It’s so easy to make, it’s always a crowd pleaser, and it can be adapted with each seasons fresh fruit. I took my “hot dog bread pudding” recipe and replaced the berries with diced roasted apples. This is now my favorite way to make it! https://wishiwereahousewife.wordpress.com/2013/03/28/berry-bread-pudding/

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You can’t have a fall brunch without a pumpkin flavored item – so I went with this great pumpkin muffin recipe by Something Swanky http://www.somethingswanky.com/pumpkin-pudding-muffins/  The best secret ingredient ever? Instant Pumpkin pudding mix! So this might not be one of my healthy options, but it tastes damn good.

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Since I had two sweet baked items, I decided to bake one last classic brunch staple: Quiche. Once again I turned to Queen Martha for a recipe since I had actually never made quiche. (My mother doesn’t believe in quiche for some reason- but I think this recipe could make her a believer).  http://www.marthastewart.com/868429/shallot-mushroom-quiche#Favorite%20Quiche%20Recipes|/275606/quiche-recipes/@center/276953/brunch-recipes|868429

I changed just a few things to Martha’s recipe – I took out the shallots (for selfish reasons – because I hate anything to do with onions…I know), I used half and half instead of the full cream, I sautéed the mushrooms first and drained the extra liquid,  and I FORGOT to add the fontina! Whoops! But when I brought the left overs in to work one of my colleagues asked what kind of cheese I used because she loved it. Guess I lucked out – or it doesn’t need the cheese.

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Ok so for the healthy guests, I set out berries and honey flavored yogurt and made the cutest tangerine pumpkins with pipe cleaner stems! I also served a kale salad with roasted, diced butternut squash and goat cheese (On the side of course).

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A great ways to frame all the food you’ve prepared is with a natural fiber mesh- with wire, so you can bend and twist it around each dish. It’s a great alternative to a table cloth- which seems dated at the moment. I also love using chargers to bring a pop color (in this case gold) to your table. I found these plastic ones at sur la table and bought them in both gold and red.

Happy fall everyone! 🙂

Perky Painted Pumpkins

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Ok yes – my blogging has slowed… or stopped rather. I confess, this idea of the balanced career woman isn’t as easy to master as I thought! But, balanced is the key word here; so while my career life has picked up (yey), I’m going to try and share some of my crafting and cooking adventures when I can. I blame Fall for this  blog resurrection.

I love Fall. I love fall decorations, I love fall cooking, I love fall weather, I love fall holidays,

I LOVE FALL!

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My first inspiration this fall came from a photo I saw on Southernliving.com – of painted pumpkins. I love the idea of carving pumpkins for Halloween – but in the end – it’s tedious, makes a mess and you have a rotten pumpkin in  24 hours. I’d prefer hang on to my pumpkin’s until Thanksgiving – so I chose to paint them this year!

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I used the Queen’s acrylic craft paint (Martha Stewart) – in gold metallic, and black. And the easiest way to paint uniform polka dots is to use round sponges! I love using these when painting signs too.

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Check out Southern Living for more pumpkin decorating ideas!

http://www.southernliving.com/food/holidays-occasions/diy-decorate-pumpkins

Tools to Have Around the House

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This pink tool box was one of the greatest high school graduation presents I got! I have used its contents countless times and don’t know what I would do without it. This is one accessory no woman should go without.

Here is my list of top ten tools to have around the house.

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1. Hammer: Hanging up wall art and seasonal decor

2. Screw Drivers (Phillips and Flat-blade): Assembling furniture

3. Staple Gun: Hanging Christmas lights around your home or garden, reupholstering furniture and attaching curtain ties

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4. Exacto Knife: Great for cutting tape when painting or tracing paper molds to hang a wall collage

5. Wrench: When you made a mistake and need to get that nail or screw out. Oops!

6. Drill: Hanging up curtains, shelves or building gardening boxes and other fun things

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7. Pliers: Get a good grip on anything you can’t pull out with your bare hands

8. Sander and Sand Paper: For the crafty woman who likes to refinish furniture or to smooth out any rough surface

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9. Nails and Hooks: To hang up wall art and seasonal decor – you’ll always need them.

10. Measuring Tape: FOR EVERYTHING! Measuring the perfect position while hanging wall art, making sure the furniture you liked at the store will fit into the space you have, laying out plans for your living room to space out everything perfectly. (I recommend a travel measuring tape as well to keep in your purse – just in case you find something you love on the go!)

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You can get your own Pink Ladies Tool kit here : http://www.collectionsetc.com/Product/105-piece-pink-ladies-tool-kit.aspx?utm_source=www.google.com&utm_medium=CSE&mr:trackingCode=3DFDD1BF-696A-E111-9D2A-001517B188A2&mr:referralID=NA

Decorating with Herbs: Mint

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It’s great to mix it up a little by using herbs instead of flowers to decorate your home. This mint makes a beautiful arrangement while also making your home smell amazing!

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Mint is one of those plants that will keep growing and growing anywhere you plant it! You will have plenty to cook with and decorate with.

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Can’t wait to think of fun recipes to use the mint with! Any ideas?

Cinco de Mayo Margarita Bar!

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I thought a fun way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo was a do-it-yourself margarita bar, because let’s be honest – I can’t always be the hostess with the mostest – so make your own damn drink!

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I put out 3 different kinds of juice: classic lime, orange and grapefruit, and raspberries, blackberries, and lime slices as garnish.

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Can’t forget the tequila and Cointreau!

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I put out instructions for a classic margarita – but let my guests decide what fruit juice and garnish they’d like.

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Two combinations I liked were 1 ounce of lime juice and 2 ounces of grapefruit, mixed with both blackberries and limes.

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My other favorite was simply using orange juice with raspberries.

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I think mango and pineapple could be a fun addition to this margarita bar as well. What are some of your favorite margarita recipes?

Budget Bouquets

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These homemade arrangements are so easy make, and would make the perfect centerpiece for a bridal or baby shower.

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I found these adorable pantry jars at Marshalls for under $4 to use as the vases.

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These ranunculi and viburnum from my local farmers market made this arrangement look both rustic and elegant. I love the bright green and pink color combination.

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No need for a florist! These budget bouquets were less than $15 dollars each and were a huge hit.

All Tied Up

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I finally decided to hang my curtains- and stop giving my neighbors a show. I needed a way to tie them back but didn’t want to use tasseled ropes because it seemed so formal. My solution was both affordable and girly: Grosgrain ribbon.

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Grosgrain is a heavy ribbon made from silk or nylon with ribs. I used one that was about 3″ wide, and cut two pieces 2 yards long.

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I secured the ribbon on the wall behind the curtains with a staple gun.

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And tied back my curtains.

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Remember when tying bows and square knots, left over right and right over left.

A Little Bit Country

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This weekend I flew home to Sacramento to celebrate my baby sister’s 16th birthday. My mom and I whipped together some fun country-themed decorations with the help of Rustic Event Rentals. They supply great custom accents for any occasion. Check them out at: http://www.facebook.com/RusticEventRentals

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Some sand blasted glass jars, tied with burlap and twine made the perfect country lanterns.

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We used these colorful cowboy hats as both party favors and as garland to decorate!

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My favorite inside-tip from the girls at Rustic Events was the cowboy boot center pieces!

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All you have to do is place a regular glass jar or vase inside a cowboy boot.

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Just add water and flowers!

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Yes, that is a mechanical bull– what country-themed party would be complete without one?

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So, my sister insisted on having Taco Bell to serve for dinner.

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Rustic Event Rentals provided the cutest wooden containers to display all the tacos and burritos.

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It was a great way to feed hungry teenagers!

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Chalkboards are an instant way to personalize an event.

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I loved all different shapes and sizes and scattered them around the party.

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Other decorations were simple items we found around the house – like jean jackets.

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The party was definitely a success thanks to Rustic Event Rentals! Thank you for some great ideas and supplies!

Extra Versitile Olive Oil

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I love finding new uses for my glass jars and bottles! This bright green bottle used to contain extra virgin olive old from California Olive Ranch. As you know, I use olive oil pretty frequently when I cook, so I didn’t have to wait long to decorate my home with the bottle!

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One way to use this bottle was as a dish soap container. After thoroughly cleaning the bottle, pour in regular dish soap with a splash of water to make it less dense. Top the bottle with a pour spout that you can purchase for under $5.

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Another more obvious way to re-purpose this bottle is as a vase. I filled it with some fresh lavender from my yard and it really made my room look and smell like spring.

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Have a great weekend everyone!

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