Friday, August 29, 2008

Farewell to Summer

Well, it's finally here.  The end of summer.  Yes, I know that technically fall doesn't begin until mid-September, and the weather is still warm.  But for me, the season is over when Labor Day commences.  Football starts, and the days get shorter, and it won't be long before I have to add another blanket to my bed at night.

Summer's end, of course, marks the end of the Summer Squeeze series where I celebrated all things fun and leisurely.  Fun and leisure isn't over, per se, but it's time to refocus for the fall.  

I've been talking all month about starting a Back to the Basics series in September.  This series, starting next week, will focus on one thing: making sure our "home base" is solid.  By home base, I mean the home.  And by solid, I mean that it is strong enough to provide us with the peace and energy we need to tackle the busyness of fall and the holidays.  My theory is that we need strong roots so that we can be strong leaders.  As HGTV says, we'll "Start at home."

You'll also notice a few changes to this blog, like a new title.  Yes, I'm still passionate about domestic life, and we'll still talk a lot about it here on this blog.  But I'm also passionate for community leadership and female entrepreneurship, so we'll be talking about that too.  

Other changes are happening even now on, and you can expect me to be mentioning my website a lot in the months to come.  Why?  Because it is a hub for all of the ideas I mention here on this blog, and I'll be adding new resources, testimonies, and activities frequently!  I invite you to check it out, and keep visiting, to find "lifestyle inspiration" and opportunities to share!

Though I am a little sad to see the sun set on summer, I am excited to jump into fall.  I hope you'll jump with me!  See you next week!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dining in the Library

Perhaps by now you've noticed that for me, enjoying the last leisurely bit of summer involves a lot of home design.  It's true--I'm a bit of a design fanatic.  Ever since I saw my first episode of Trading Spaces, I was hooked.  

Now that I own my own house, one of my primary ways to de-stress is design.  I sew slipcovers for my pillows, duvets for my bed, paint canvases for my walls, and find furniture deals at Goodwill.  I even have notebooks full of design ideas in case I need some inspiration.  I don't have a big budget, so a lot of the time I just like to look at pretty pictures and imagine what I want to do.

That said, I'm currently In Love with the idea of adding a library to my rather boring dining room.  I saw the picture above in a Domino magazine from a gentleman who did just that, and think it's a brilliant plan.  Click here to read more from Domino if you're curious about his design. me your latest project or plans for your home at

For those of you who might be new to my blog, rest assured, it is not all about design.  But during the last week of summer, I can't help but write about my favorite hobby!  Summer's almost over, though, and soon it is back to business---or, Back to the Basics (coming soon).

This post is part of August's Summer Squeeze series.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Blog Favorite: Housemartin

Everyone has their short (or long) list of favorite blogs.  Well, mine includes Housemartin.  I first read about this blog from a long-ago issue of Sunset magazine (they since have referenced it several times), and decided to take a gander.  What I found was a visual treat!  

Housemartin is a home and floral design blog created by the owner of Ink & Peat, a floral boutique in the Northwest.  The posts always highlight fun design finds (like the one shown above), great for inspiring ideas.

Housemartin is also the gateway through which I found, the online marketplace for crafty and artisan types.  For those of you who know that I now operate a small online boutique, you can see why I'm thankful for stumbling upon this blog.

Take a minute or two to check it out!

This post is part of August's Summer Squeeze series.
Email me your favorite blog at

Monday, August 25, 2008

Making my Garden look Older than it Is

Since it is the end of summer, I'm starting to feel some pressure to tackle those landscaping projects that I have put off all season.  I have recently fallen in love with the "cottage garden style"--you know, with lots of shrubs and flowers and vines surrounding a quaint home that looks like it's been there for ages.  Homes that look like these:

Unfortunately, I have one major problem: my house is less than five years old, in a neighborhood that is about the same age.  In other words, all the plants are small and instead of cobblestone and gravel I have concrete and synthetic siding.   Maybe you can relate to the problem.  But, I have a plan to make my yard look older than it is (thanks in large part to a great article in Cottage Living).  

So, here are some of my plans to age my cookie-cutter yard (I doubt I'll get them all started this year, but it's worth dreaming about...):

1.  Add vines.  There is something about vines that makes things seem like they've been there a long time.  Thankfully, most vines grow like weeds, too, so they are "instant gratification" plants.  

2.  Add paths and plant trailing ground covers.  I'm thinking of a gravel path, but stone would work well too.  Plants spilling over onto the sides of the path are the trick to making it look like it has been there for awhile.

3.  Add structures, like a gate or arbor or pergola.  Fortunately for me I have a handy hubby who can build me these structures.  Fortunately for those with less handy hubbies, arbors, arches and the like can be purchased at almost every garden center, already assembled.  Just don't forget the vines to grow on the structures!

Have any more helpful tips to make a new garden look older than it is?  I've love to hear them.  Email me at

This post is part of August's Summer Squeeze series.
Coming in September: Back to Basics's series on this blog, plus the launch of beAdornable boutique's fall collection, and new website features on!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Sunscreen Tips worth Trying

I was flipping through a recent issue of Self Magazine and ran into a very helpful summer (and yearlong) tip: use cleansers that leave sunscreen behind.

Now, I'm perfectly content with my current cleanser/moisturizing combo, so I won't be using any of this fancy technology on my face.  BUT...Self's recommendation wasn't for the face--it was for the hands.  They recommend using a cleanser like St. Ives Protective Cleanser (found on every drugstore cosmetic aisle) to keep sun spots off your hands.  Just stick a bottle next to the kithen sink and in the bathroom and apply!

I'm not entirely convinced that something you wash Off your hands will protect them, but it might be worth the try.  I wouldn't mind having my hands stay youthful, and I certainly don't remember to put sunscreen on them after every wash.

Try it yourself and let me know what you think by emailing me at

This post is part of August's Summer Squeeze series.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fall Harvest--A Second Chance for a Bad Gardener

I wrote earlier this year that I was embarking on my first ever backyard vegetable garden.  I was all excited about the idea of growing my own food, saving money, and being environmentally mindful.  

Being a "just do it" kind of person, I didn't really do any research.  I went to the garden center, bought my plants, and plopped them in the ground.  I was thrilled when my spinach took off and my cauliflower grew by leaps and bounds.  I was less impressed with my sad basil and underachieving tomatoes (they've since improved their performance!).  

Of course, when it comes to gardening, a little research does actually come in handy.  I learned this the hard way when I discovered that half of my garden was planted too late and in too-warm weather.  I never did get a chance to actually eat the cauliflower I planted (it went to flower), or the brussel sprouts (my most favorite veggie).  Apparently Martha Stewart I am not!

Fortunately, I have a second chance to replant these cold weather crops as the fall sets in.  This time I'm taking my cues from people who know better than me, like Better Homes and Gardens.  Their "Plant a Fall Vegetable Patch" link from the home page lists the crops I need (incidentally, many of them are the same ones I planted in June!), and tips for fall harvesting.  

So, if you were like me, and jumped on the home garden trend this year, but kind of forgot to do your research (who can be bothered with rules when inspiration hits?), maybe these links will help.  And if you are not like me, and know a lot about gardening, please feel free to email me at to give me some pointers!

This post is part of August's Summer Squeeze series.
Stay tuned for September when we jump Back to the Basics!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Fun Fiction

I've been focusing all month
on the last days of summer, and squeezing every lost drop out of them before fall sets in.  The days are dwindling fast!  To savor them a little longer, I thought I'd hit the bookstore and look for the ultimate in summer relaxation: fiction.  My favorite find?  Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic series.  I know, I know--they've been out for ages.  You've probably read them all by now.  But just in cast you haven't, they are worth the read.  Funny, entertaining, and quick.  

I've also recently finished her "Undomestic Goddess" story, which (conveniently related to my life) tells the tale of a high-powered lawyer who finds herself working as a housewife.  Apparently I'm not the only one who stepped out of a traditional career and found surprising fulfillment at home.  

Of course, summer isn't over yet, so if you have any good recommendations for fun fiction for me to squeeze in before the days get cold, send me an email at!  

This post is part of August's Summer Squeeze series.

The Queen of Colors

I was helping my friend shop for fabric
for a bedroom makeover that she is trying to squeeze out before summer ends, and couldn't help sharing my universal rule for decorating: orange is the perfect color.

Now I know what you're thinking.  She's nuts.  Orange (coupled with ocre and avocado green) is the reason no one wants to relive 1970's decor.  And of course you're right.  Still, I'm in love with orange.   You can dress it up, or make is casual.  Orange can go modern or girly.  It looks great with pink in the spring and summer, or with brown in the fall.  You could even do orange and red for the holidays (I promise--it looks good).  

Needless to say, my friend didn't end up going with the queen of all colors, but worse things have been forgiven.  But just in case you are contemplating how to freshen up your decor, I'll throw my two cents in for orange.  

This post is part of August's Summer Squeeze series.
Do you have a favorite decorating tip?  I'd love to hear it!  Email me at and share.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Get the Look

On many occasions on this blog I have touted praise for, an online marketplace for "indiepreneurs" who want to use their creative/crafty talents to earn some money (see the sidebar for a link to my etsy shop, the beAdornable boutique).  

One of the things that etsy does that I love is to select a theme and pull together from a variety of stores items that fit the theme.  Their selections are always fun to look at, and I am particularly drawn to anything that strikes me as being classically glamorous or vintage (1950's vintage--not 1980's vintage).  

One recent collection was titled "get Scarlett Johansson's look," and I loved every piece they picked (see pics above).  In addition to the good taste, I love how these themes showcase the variety that can be found on etsy, and how fun it is to shop.

Click here to read the "get Scarlett Johansson's look" post, and maybe do some etsy browsing on your own.

Updates about the beAdornable boutique?  I am gearing up to launch my fall collection early September, and can't wait!

This post is part of August's Summer Squeeze series.

Friday, August 15, 2008

New Belgium

Because beer is my most favorite summer beverage (and it happens to be great in the fall, too), I thought I would highlight a hometown favorite.  On the other side of town from where I live is a great micro-brewery that some of you may be familiar with: New Belgium.

In addition to great beer (Fat Tire is one of my all-time favorites), they are also a great company.  When jobs open up at New Belgium, they don't stay open long.  Why?  Because they have fun.  On a tour of the brewery I took a few years ago, I was intrigued to see offices full of creative clutter, as well as a spiral slide to use as an alternative to stairs (yes, that's right--grown-ups travel down slides at New Belgium).  Fun aside, here are some other cool things about the brewery:

* it is employee-owned, so employees get to vote on important issues, thus determining the direction and growth of the company.
* you get a bicycle on your year anniversary (as an employee), and a trip to Belgium after five.
* they are very environmentally innovative, and recycle/upcycle everything they can.  Their goal?  To be 100% waste free.

To read more about their company, or see if their brew is available near you, click here.  And if you are even traveling in Fort Collins, CO, stop by for a tour and beer tasting.  

This post is part of August's Summer Squeeze series.  
Domesticity returning soon!  Check out the Back to Basics series staring in September.

Also, catch up on the week's headlines by reading my recommendation for the "101 on the Russian-Georgian military crisis."  Find it today on my current event blog, Cigars in the Parlour.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Flowie Style

I have a special affection for textile designers
so when Sunset magazine introduced me to a new favorite this month, I thought I'd share.

Her name is Yaling Hou and her design line is called Flowie.  I love her nature-inspired drawings, which she sketches when something catcher her eye during walks around town or in the park.  As for her finished products, I really like her bags--especially the cute little ones.  She has a lot more to offer than just bags, too, and at reasonable prices.

I write a lot about women who take their creativity to the market.  Yaling is one such woman.  Take some time to check out her shop at

This post is part of August's Summer Squeeze series.

Share with me your favorite designer, or a female entrepreneur you admire by emailing me at

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Resourceful Resource

Part of being domestically savvy is practicing resourcefulness.  And one of my favorite resources is Plato's Closet.  Maybe you've seen the store in your town.  They buy and sell used clothing from select boutiques and stores.  

I like Plato's Closet for several reasons:
1.  Because they are selective in what they purchase, the clothes are usually trendy and stylish.  I've snagged some great deals from brands I love but can't afford at regular prices, like Banana Republic and Lucky jeans.
2.  I save money.  This is an obvious benefit.  Because they're used, the clothing and accessories are a bargain.
3.  It's recycling.  I'm not too proud to wear used clothing.  The fact that the garments had a life with someone else before me is actually appealing.  Better in my closet than in a landfill.

Plato's Closet is not the only used-clothing store to shop, too.  My town has several locally-owned shops, and I'm guessing yours does too.  

Haven't shopped used before?  Consider browsing a Plato's Closet or other second-hand boutique soon and check it out.  You might find a resourceful resource!

This post is part of August's Summer Squeeze series.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Lotsa Lotta!

Lotta Jansdotter
is one of my most favorite textile designers in the biz today.  I first ran across her work in a Blueprint magazine (Blueprint has since gone out of print), and since that time she's popped up all over the place.

I was excited to see that she recently published a book about printing, and wasted no time getting my hands on a copy.  Since then I've been happily printing fabric using her nifty stencils. 

I love her organic designs, and have found that her style is difficult to find.  All the more reason to take advantage of her stencils and printing ideas!  

If you like simple, nature-inspired designs, and are not intimidated by a little do-it-yourself printing, grab a copy of her book.  Or, just visit her website and get some of her products (sans the DIY).  

This post is part of August's Summer Squeeze series.  
Stay tuned for September, when we'll get back to the basics and talk about building a livelihood by meshing career and home together.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Summer Slimmers

I am going to be in a wedding at the end of the summer, so I decided that it was high time for me to get back into the routine of working out (I took a wee bit of a break this summer....).  I turned to my most favorite place to find good workouts: Exercise TV.  

I discovered Exercise TV earlier this year as part of my television on-demand cable package, and was instantly hooked.  Since I can't afford a gym membership (and we were already paying for the cable), this has been a great alternative.  The workouts are quick and usually involve a combination of strength training and cardio.  No leaving the house.  No classes to catch.  It's great!

Fortunately, in addition to being on cable, you can also find these workouts online, and download them to your phone, ipod, or computer for pocket change.  Check out my new summer favorite, the Summer Slimmers two week program.  

This post is part of August's Summer Squeeze series.

Don't forget to check out my other blog on current events, Cigars in the Parlour.  Today's topic: China.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Wild for Wild Spirit

Apparently I am not the only one working on my fall collection.  I just got an email from Bare Escentuals showcasing their new Wild Spirit Collection.  

The smoky eyes and peachy cheeks/lips combo looks very enticing.  Have I mentioned that I love their mineral make-up?

Click here to check out their fall line.

New to Deviantly Domesticated?  Welcome!  We are just kicking off the Summer Squeeze--which is my attempt to squeeze the last bit of vacation out of the summer.  And for me that means having fun with girly stuff, like make-up.  

This blog isn't all about beauty, though.  Stay tuned for my Back to Basics series starting in September, where I'll be talking a lot more about creating a meaningful livelihood by combining career and home into one!  

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Food You Crave

I was recently introduced to The Food You Crave, a cookbook by Ellie Krieger.  Maybe you are familiar with her--Ellie has a show on the Food Network, and a website called Healthy Living with Ellie.  

Now, I am not a cooking afficianado.  Most of Martha Stewart's recipes are too fancy for me.  But every now and then I'll stumble upon a book that I like, and I like Krieger's.  First, her recipes seem simple enough.  Second, they are tasty.  And third, she is a dietician, so she talks a lot about healthy eating, and her recipes are well balanced.  

Since this is a blog about being domesticated, I thought I would pass along her name in case you might be looking for some new ideas.  I'm personally in a bit of a cooking rut (it happens to me quite frequently...), and could definitely use the inspiration.  

In addition to her cookbook, she does offer a membership program for a minimal monthly fee.  To be a member, you get pre-planned menus (which can be a godsend if you don't like to plan yourself), calorie counting tools, recipes, shopping lists, motivational encouragement, and the like.  I don't think I'll join, but it's worth checking into if you like a little more accountability in your quest for health. 

This post is part of August's Summer Squeeze series.  
Any good tips, services or products you're enjoying during these last days of summer?  Please share by emailing me at!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Squeezing out every drop of Summer

I feel like I haven't taken much of a summer break on this blog.  I mean, we've been tackling some pretty serious issues, like money and the economy, during a season when beach balls and sunscreen should be on the brain.

So, to make up for all the brain power spent over the last 8 weeks, I thought I'd take advantage of the last days of summer and actually enjoy some leisure, and invite you to join me.  My plan is to take a vacation, not from blogging, of course, but from some of these heavier topics I love to dabble in.  And like all true vacations, I plan to read lots of magazines, enjoy good food, tackle late-summer projects (like my garden), and in general take-in the last of these summer days.

In the spirit of this "vacation," you can expect to hear lots from me about my favorite magazine tips, updates on my domestic projects (please feel free to counsel me!), pretty things I stumble across, and perhaps a review of a good book I've read.  

I'm sure I'll be ready to jump into the fall when September rolls around, but until then, I plan to squeeze every last drop out of this summer.  I hope you'll do the same!
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