Ten Movies for People Who Love Autumn

Happy First Day of Autumn! Autumn is my favorite season. I love everything about it — the changing leaves, crisp air, pumpkins and apples, and cozy sweaters. If you love autumn, you might like some of these movies that capture the essence of autumn. Which is your favorite?

Autumn in New York

Continue reading

Posted in Fall Fun | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Harvest Moon shines tonight – meditation and more

Today is the Harvest moon. Several cultures celebrate this special day with unique festivities, notably the Asian Mid-Autumn Festival. Jasmine-scented mooncake, anyone?

The full moon will be in Pisces. The vibe with this moon encourages you to trust your intuition and to act and speak with compassion and understanding to others, especially your loved ones.

It’s a good day to take a healing bath with sea salt, Himalyan salt or Epsom salts. Set out your moonstones, selenite and sea shells.

If you would like to try your hand at a little Full Moon magic, journaling and coloring, visit Spells8.com for free printables.

It’s also Mindfulness Monday, so here is a guided meditation for today.

Coincidentally, the Harvest Moon is occuring on “Moon-Day” Monday. Stroll outdoors this evening to see the moon in all her brilliance.

Posted in Enchantments, History, Culture and Traditions | Tagged | Leave a comment

Happy Oktoberfest!

The Bavarian folk festival Oktoberfest officially starts at noon today and lasts through October 3rd.

The first Oktoberfest was a public celebration of King Ludwig’s marriage in 1810.

The festival involves parades, horse races, marksmen contests, traditional costumes, agricultural exhibits, music, dancing, food, and, of course, beer!

While official celebrations in Munich may be cancelled due to the Pandemic, there is no reason why we cannot celebrate this fun fall holiday safely at home! Here are some ideas..

Order a German food takeout feast

In the DC metro area, your best bets for authentic, prepared German fare to go, such as bratwurst, sauerbraten, beer and potato pancakes, is German Gourmet in Falls Church and Old Europe in Washington, DC (which also delivers within 15 miles; the sauerbraten is amazing!). I highly recommend both!

Try Aldi or Lidl for German favorites

If you don’t live in the DC area, you may have an Aldi or Lidl in your area. You should be able to find bratwurst, mustard, pretzels, pickles, apple strudel and black forest cake, among other German fare. Look for Oktoberfest snack mix.

Prepare a German-style meal

Here are some recipes that are not difficult to prepare. I have made the sauerkraut with apples a few times (it’s delicious).

Kielbasa with Roasted Kraut, Apples and Mustard Glaze (y0u could always substitute bratwurst, if you prefer)

Brats in rolls with Sauerkraut

Braised Pork and Sauerkraut

Potato Pancakes

German Potato Salad

Black Forest Cake – if you make this simple Betty Crocker recipe, I recommend you use Target brand canned cherry pie filling for best flavor.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg – no German celebration, sadly

Oktoberfest is not being celebrated this year at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg. Das Festhaus will be featuring a Halloween production for “Howl-a-Scream” today and through October. “Bierfest” is slated to return in 2020.

Posted in Fall Fun, History, Culture and Traditions, Tempting Treats | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Happy Birthday, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark!

Cassandra Peterson was born today. You may know her as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, corny-joke-cracking hostess to Elvira’s Movie Macabre, ressurecting some of the wonderfully worst horror B films.

Also known as the Queen of Halloween, Elvira has been one of my heroes since the early 80s when she first appeared on television. Like her, I love horror movies and I used to want to be a horror movie host, just like my childhood hero, Bowman Body, the TV horror host of “Shock Theatre” in Richmond, Virginia.

I was lucky enough to meet Elvira in person, in her full costume, once. She was nice and is even more beautiful in person. I bought a life-sized poster of her and she autographed it for me. I wish I still had it!

Cassandra Peterson is publishing her autobiography,  “Yours Cruelly, Elvira: Memoirs of the Mistress of the Dark” in just a few days, on September 21, 2021. Her life has been interesting and if you are a fan, like me, you may want a copy!  You can order it on Amazon.

Here’s a video of Elvira, doing what she does best! Here, she is hosting a legitimate documentary on the evolution of women’s roles in horror films. It’s so interesting. Enjoy!

Posted in Frightful Films | Leave a comment

September Self-Care Challenge

Have a Self-Care September! Here are 30 fall-perfect self-care ideas. Are you ready for the challenge? How many will you complete? No presssure, I never finish all 30 myself! Feel free to as few or many as you like, in any order you choose. Download the self-care tracker and color in a leaf for every challenge you complete. Self Care September 2021.

Today is World Letter Writing Day. Have you ever written a letter to yourself? Today, write a letter of appreciation to you for all the ways you are great.

2 Apples are in season in September! Some varieties to try include Jonagold, McIntosh, Gala, Cortland, Fuji and Empire, among others. Keep them in the crisper in your refrigerator. And yes, you can eat one a day to stave off heart disease and diabetes.

3 Observe pandemic precautions. Vaccinated or not, wear a mask any place you are indoors (other than your home) and any place outside where there are crowds. N95 masks are safest but you can also double up on your fall-themed cotton masks from last year.

4 Decorate your home with fall touches for less. You can find autumn-themed door decorations and cider-scented or pumpkin candles at Dollar Tree. Look for $5 autumn-hued pillows and throw blankets at Five Below.

Wal-Mart is selling a autumn-scented hand soap for 99 cents.

5 Add a container of mums or another bright touch to  decorate your front porch, patio, deck or balcony.

Meditation is a wonderful form of self-care but plenty of people find it difficult to do. I use guided meditations. Here is a relaxing meditation to help you set intentions during the September New Moon (listen anytime you like). If you don’t like to close your eyes, you can keep them open with a soft gaze.

7 Today is the International Day of Clean Air. You can improve your home’s indoor air quality by changing the filter return routinely, mitigating for mold and mildew, skipping fragranced air “fresheners,” dusting and vacuuming carpeting at least weekly, opening your windows twice a day for 15 minutes, running the bathroom fan and kitchen exhaust fan and operating an air cleaner with a HEPA filter. Bonus: the Covid-19 virus is less likely to survive in a home with good air quality.

8 As the days seem to be shorter, some people experience depression associated with Seasonal Affectives Disorder (also known as “SAD”). While antidepressants may help some (they don’t work for everyone), there are strategies that can help are habits like devoting daily time to your self-care, exercising or walking daily, getting as much sunlight as possible, taking Vitamin D3 and keeping a gratitude journal. You can also try rubbing peppermint lip balm on your wrists or the backs of your hands for a pick me up. Chamomile tea is a natural depression-easer (but avoid if you are pregnant or allergic to ragweed or chrysanthemums). I have also found that chewing some minty gum (I like Orbit Sweet Mint) for just a few minutes can help fight off attacks of the doldrums.

9 Here is a September music playlist of indie folk and pop that just seems right for this month — for studying, working or relaxing. Boho coffee house vibes! 🙂

10 Take a tip from school kids and set aside 45 seconds for a morning moment of silence. Place your hands in a prayer position in front of your heart and focus on your breath. Close your eyes, if you wish. When your mind is calm, reflect on the positive ways you will make it a good day for yourself. Trust me, you will love this practice!

11 Read an article or a chapter of a book you’ve been wanting to read. Twenty minutes of reading daily is good for your memory and cognition.

12 Today is the National Day of Encouragement. You can encourage people by appreciating their efforts, achievments, and the way they have overcome obstacles. Don’t forget to encourage yourself the same way! I tape affirmations and quotes around my bathroom mirror. I even have one on my sewing machine!

13 Enjoy some gentle back-to-school humor in this old-time radio episode of Our Miss Brooks, starring Eve Arden. I find listening to these programs makes mundane, everyday tasks like cleaning much easier.

14 Today is National Coloring Day. Coloring can be a creative form of self expression and meditation. If you don’t have a coloring book, you can download and print free fall-themed coloring sheets online from Crayola.

15  There is something wonderful and melancholy about the month of September. Sometimes, you have to lean into that quiet and reflective mood. I’ve loved “September Song” by the immortal Nat King Cole (with accompaniment by George Shearing) since I was a little girl. It makes me cry sometimes, that’s how beautiful it is.

16 One of the most important elements of self-care is preparing for emergencies. Today is Get Ready Day. Everyone needs to have an emergency preparedness kit in their home and car. In addition to a first aid kit, stock enough shelf-stable food and water to feed your household for two weeks. It’s also a good idea to keep your car and tires in good condition and to keep the gas tank full. How do you prepare for emergencies?

17 Today is National Clean-Up Day. Grab a garbage bag and some gloves and join others outdoors to clean up parks, streams and trails. You’ll feel great about yourself after.

18 Today is the first day of Oktoberfest. Here is a recipe for pork with apples and sauerkraut. I think I skip the dill and add some honey mustard on the side. If you don’t like pork, you could make it with chicken sausage or a plant-based protein (tofu, white beans).

19 Expressing gratitude is a form of self-care. Today, list or journal about all the people, events and things you are grateful for this September.

20 Today is the Harvest moon. Several cultures celebrate this special day with unique festivities. It’s also mindfulness Monday, so here is a guided meditation for today. Tonight, yake a stroll outdoors this evening to see the moon in all her brilliance.

21 If you work or study, set a timer or an alarm on your phone to get out of your chair and take a stretch/walk break every hour for five minutes. You will be more productive and your joints will thank you!

22 Today is the first day of Fall. Relax with a cup of mulled cider — add any combination of cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, star anise or lemon peel to apple cider and gently heat.

23 September is National Honey Month. For the best health benefits, buy honey that is produced in your state or region. Honey is a natural cough soother, it has heart health benefits and has even been shown to help as a topical treatment for ulcerative sores in people living with diabetes. Here is a recipe for spiced honey that is easy to make.

24 When people talk about quintessential autumn movies, Dead Poets Society (1989) is always on the list. Believe it or not, I have not seen it. But I will this month! Thanks to YouTube Movies for making this fall-favorite movie free to watch in September. If you have seen it, pick any other fall-themed movie to watch this month.

25 Today is National Cooking Day. People who prepare and eat dinner at home are healthier than those who do not. And it can be fun to try new recipes in the fall when the weather is usually cooler.

26 Today is National Family Day. Maintaining connections with your family is good for your mental health and  is more important than ever during the pandemic. It is also Family Fitness Day so taking a walk together outdoors would be appropriate. How will you celebrate your family today?

27 Do you collect rocks or crystals? Some fall-colored crystals include Tiger Eye, Carnelian, Mookaite jasper and Citrine. You can find them for about a dollar at a crystal shop or buy the chips or beads from a craft store to fashion a fall bracelet.

28 Foot care and vein care become very important as you get older. Pamper your feet by spending some time with your feet up everyday. If you can, elevate your feet while you sleep. Otherwise, put your feet up when watching TV (aim for at least 20 minutes twice a day). Moisturize cracked heels (try Palmer’s cocoa butter products) but don’t put lotion between your toes.

29 Today is National Coffee Day and if you enjoy Starbucks coffee, it also happens to be Starbucks Coffee Day. Coffee in moderation is good for you: it is loaded in antioxidants. People who regularly drink coffee typically avoid liver disease. Try it black!

30 I found this September Dance Workout and it is only 3 minutes long! Even I can work out for 3 minutes. Let me know if you try it.

Posted in Autumn Self Care | Tagged | Leave a comment

Happy Frankenstein Day!

In honor of Mary Shelley’s birthday, today has been designated as National Frankenstein Day. 

Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein in 1818 when she was only 18 years old. Lord Byron suggested she, he and Percy Bysshe Shelley compete to see who could write the most frightening story and of course, she won!

Although we commonly think of her monster as being named Frankenstein, Frankenstein was actually the name of his creator. In the novel, our back-from-the-dead friend is simply called the “Creature.” I haven’t read the novel but I understand the Creature talks whereas in the most famous of the Frankenstein movies, the Universal one made in 1931, of course, he does not. In many other ways, however, the movies are similar to the novels.

Oddly, although I love horror movies, I find Frankenstein films too disturbing to really enjoy, although I acknowledge that they are brilliant and I particularly like Boris Karloff as an actor. For me, the dramatic representation of Frankenstein triggers a sensitivity I have about the historic treatment of disabled people. Therefore, I find them more painful to watch than werewolf or vampire movies. And I cannot help but empathize with the Creature.

 

Posted in History, Culture and Traditions | Leave a comment

Happy National Black Cat Appreciation Day!

Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

Do you love black cats? Well, today is your day, then!  Today is the U.S. recognition day for these beautiful felines. It is also a day shelters use to encourage adoption of black cats.

How did black cats become associated with Halloween?

Of course, cats are nocturnal, can see in the dark and black cats probably seem more spooky than other cats. In Celtic traditions, black cats were considered sacred and lucky. Elsewhere, particularly in England and Germany, they were associated with bad luck. The Pilgrims who came to America associated them with witches and believed they were the Satanic familiars of witches. That is likely how black cats became associated with witches and Halloween.

The truth is that black cats tend to make loving pets and are typically healthy animals, as well as good mousers. So if a black cat crosses your path, consider yourself lucky!

Posted in History, Culture and Traditions | Leave a comment

Add these spooky recognition days to your planner!

Photo by Daisy Anderson on Pexels.com

Halloween comes but once a year. But Halloween spirit is everlasting!

Since today is National Planner Day, I wanted to share some spooky recognition days you might like to add to your monthly planner. Do you know of any more?

August

13 – Friday the 13th (2021)

14 – National Monster Day

17 – National Black Cat Appreciation Day

30 – Frankenstein Day (Mary Shelley’s birthday)

September

13 – Supernatural Day

17 – Elvira’s Birthday

21 – Stephen King’s Birthday

25 – National Ghost Hunting Day

October

1 – Pumpkin Spice Day

8 – National Haunted House Day

13 – National Phobia Day

15 – World Zombie Day

20 – Bela Lugosi’s Birthday

25 – Apple Day

26  – Pumpkin Day, Howl at the Moon Day

27 – Jack o’ Lantern Day, National Wicked Witch Day, Black Cat Day

28 – National Skeleton Day, Chocolate Day

29 – Frankenstein Friday (last Friday of October)

30 – Candy Corn Day, Vampire Awareness Day, Frankenstein Monster Day, Her-o-Ween, National Trick or Treat Day (last Saturday in October)

31 – Halloween, Magic Day, Samhain, Caramel Apple Day, National Increase Your Psychic Powers Day

November 

2 – Day of the Dead

23 – Boris Karloff’s Birthday

25 – Pumpkin Pie Day 

January

2 – National Science Fiction Day

19 – National Brew a Potion Day

February

6 – National Werewolf Day

10 – Lon Chaney, Jr.’s Birthday

April

17 – International Bat Appreciation Day

May

2 – Interational Harry Potter DAy

3 – National Paranormal Day

22 – Friday the 13th (2022)

26 – World Dracula Day

June

8 – Ghost Busters (movie) Day

14 – Magical Circles Day

July

2 – World UFO Day

20 – Moon Day

Posted in History, Culture and Traditions | Leave a comment

Fall Home Trends 2021 – Transition Through Halloween

This lovely Jo-Ann Fabrics tablescape incorporates many of 2021’s autumn trends: burnished metals, woods, creamy pumpkins, grayed leaves and muted plaids

Are you interested in home decor? I don’t have a big budget but I like adding touches to my home that make it feel updated.

If you can’t afford to change your whole decor, you could think about these colors and texures in throws, pillows, paint color, candle jars, table linens, or accent pieces.

A style that blends into the holidays…

If you love the restful and easy-going look that is in style this fall, you could also think about making your transition fall decor blend into your Halloween, Thanksgiving and even Christmas decorating. You could definitely take these trends through the winter holidays: natural accents like greenery and pinecones, creamy pumpkins, soft plaids, velvet furnishings, warm woods, soft metallic sheens. Less glitz; more simplicity. Monochromatic Christmas trees with fewer decorations in muted, earth tones will be big this year. The brilliant deep sapphire/navy colors appearing on walls and accent pieces (and clothing) this fall is also making an appearance on 2021 trendy trees with a deep blue decorating theme.

Home design reflects our emotions and stage of life 

I feel like the comforting, nostalgic themes so apparent in home design this fall are a response to the world-wide trauma we have been experiencing. Is it a coincidence that after the corona virus, young people are gravitating to styles that remind them of their grandparents?  This casual style is also a reflection of the stay-at-home conditions many of us experienced — working, studying and playing at home. People’s attitudes about global warming and the environment are also big influences on this look — where you see pieces that look like they were repurposed from other items or used instead of purchased new (although much of it is actually new). Eclectic, recycled and simple, homey looks tend to have a resurgence in times of economic difficulty.  The irony is to achieve this look, you actually have to spend some serious money! Or…do you?

DIY this style for less!

Don’t have any money? Some of these looks are DIY. Drive around and see what people throw out on the curb (like porch furniture).  Cruise around older, established neighborhoods with larger single family homes on a Sunday afternoon or right before trash day and you might snag yourself a free coffee table or bookcase.

For example, velvet furnishings, especially sofas and chairs, are very big now. And yes, a velvet chair is awesome in the fall and winter, but do you want it around forever? Maybe not. Take the Drew Barrymore velvet chair pictured below. Do you love it? Well, that costs over $400. Now, those tube chairs were everywhere (Ikea). You might have one. Or you can buy a new one at Walmart for $100 that is microfiber. Then, you  can get a velvet slip cover for a tube chair in that SAME shade for about $25 at Walmart.

There are lots of ways to get this style for less.  You can find great deals on furniture at estate sales, Good Will, Craigs List, yard sales and Facebook Marketplace and the Buy Nothing groups on Facebook.

A collection of treasures to be had from Facebook Marketplace

Or look by a dumpster in your apartment complex! I have a gorgeous, carved wooden dresser in my room that I rescued from the trash, my dining room chairs also were rescued from there, and my dining room table was a freebie on the Buy Nothing Facebook group. My sister repainted a long, 70 era chest of drawers and uses it as a buffet in her dining room; she stores linens and cutlery in the drawers and it looks fantastic. The great thing about these pieces is that they typically have “good bones.”  They are sturdy pieces made with wood and nails, not MDF and glue. And the rattan and wicker ones are typically not that heavy, so they may be easy to transport. These vintage pieces hold up well to every day use and respond favorably to a little refinishing. Mixing style eras, fixing up used furniture and updating pieces with paint or wallpaper are just some ways to achieve on-trend look for less money.

My point is — high end retailers are basically creating that recycled look — for $400 – $500 dollars — when you can often find free furniture and tchochkes. With a little clean-up,  fabric recovering or paint, you can recreate someone else’s trashed item into an amazing and on trend piece. Here are some trends to look for online/in stores or create yourself…

Drew Barrymore’s quirky home designs for Wal-Mart sell out quickly. They feature arty, feminine, “one-of-a-kind-but-it-actually-isn’t,” “look-what-I-found!” style (like the formally attired dog painting). The rattan pendant light is $69 and the the velvet side chair is $418.

Look for simplified, feminine designs with nostalgic or crafty touches, like old framed needlepoint art, applique, crochet throw blankets, quilts, chenille bed spreads, pottery, filmy white window sheers, and anything that looks vintage and is hand painted (like the tole black tray I gleefully rescued from the side of the trash this summer). These store-bought items you see at Anthropologie, Crate & Barrel, Urban Outfitters and other high end stores look like you scored some one-of-a-kind finds at a rural yard sale or antique store. There is a definite boho vibe to this look that is less ” purple mandala” and more “cozy flea market” in Santa Fe colors.

This Fall 2021 Crate & Barrell kid’s room incorporates lots of fun, fall touches and spicy colors. The green wood chest of drawers is on point. And check out that yellow telephone!

Matchy-matchy furniture, bedding and lamps are out. In the Crate & Barrel bedroom above, you can see that the bed, side table and chest of drawers are inspired from distinctly different time periods.  The look is more casual and eclectic. What keeps these rooms from looking like a yard sale is minimizing clutter and keeping the styles simple and clean looking, with complementary or monochromatic, sophisticated color schemes — and VERY selectively choosing the right era pieces (and very few) — more 1970s.

This velvety lamp with in sage green with warm gold metallic accents and a nature-themed shade (sold separately) in spicy fall colors embodies many 2021 fall trends (Anthropologie).

A muted, soft grayed color palette: this October’s orange is a soft terra cotta, black has been replaced by pearly light gray, white is now cream, green is featured in shades from light sage to olive, the rose pink is pale and dusty, the black and white buffalo plaid of last year is gone and replaced with light gray and spicy tone plaids. There is the surprise of deep, saphhire blue in little touches like vases, glass pumpkins and candle jars.

Textiles include throwback-era favorites, like chenille (bedspreads), raffia, rope, burlap, canvas, crochet, pottery, leather and velvet.

Woods are very big this fall with an emphasis on reclaimed woods, natural looks and stains, sometimes in combinations of colors.

This reclaimed wood wall hanging from Brixon Geometric is sold on Etsy.

Rattan, caning, wicker and bamboo and other woven touches are still popular as incorporated in light fixtures, side tables, coffee tables, plant stands, and side boards.

Metallics look burnished, hammered or antiqued: golds and brasses and some silver. I’m seeing this color that’s not quite copper, brass or gold — but more like a blend of those tones. Not as pink as rose gold, but definitely warm. Like — a brassy gold?

The small scale and gold finish of these metal baskets make them on trend for this fall into winter. Display them on your open, wooden shelves in your kitchen. Line with a tea towel and put some apple or pumpkin muffins in them! Affordable, too! Dollar Tree ($1/each).

Wallpaper. Here is a selection from Drew Barrymore’s collection, Wal-Mart. Highly patterned wallpaper like this is great for accenting the walls of smaller spaces, like the inside of a walk-in closet or a powder room, or even the interior of a bookcase or cabinet. Notice the on-trend color of blue in the lamp and the rattan table. Paint colors for walls this fall are in earth tones — notably green in grayed tones, like sage and rosemary.

Natural touches are in. The look is plants, plants, plants. Not a fan of indoor plants but that’s what you see in the photos: lots and lots of plants. Even the kitchen cabinets are painted green in herbal colors (like sage and rosemary).  Not wild about dried flowers but they are making a small resurgence as is everything else 70s. Wall paper in wild florals and leafy motifs. Everywhere green leaves. Succulents are not as big this fall but still around.

Who needs cabinets? People are taking cues from tiny homes and going with open shelves. Kitchen subway tiles are getting replaced by more boho, colorful backsplashes — and lots o’ plants! There is clutter here but the uniform size/scale and colors of items make the shelves look neat and organized.

Accessories… Include the afore-mentioned plants, pottery, ceramics, squat, small round glass jars and vases, as well as patterned area rugs for those wood floors. The half-dipped look is still in, now in earth toned paints (pretty easy to achieve that DIY). The scale of these pieces is pretty small.  The look should be 70s but not 30s or 40s. This is not shabby chic or farmhouse. What else I’m seeing: a pre-digital sensibility to add that quirky, nostalgic flair: turntables and vinyl records, stacks of books, mid-game chess set displays, analog clocks and rotary telephones.

Check out Michael’s Craft stores accessories in warm fall colors – feather pillow, jars, bowls, dried flowers, wall accents.

Did you see any trend that spoke to you? What will you try this fall?

Posted in Fall Home and Garden | Tagged | Leave a comment

Classic Movie Day! Free-to-watch online horror movie classics

You’ve heard of Christmas in July, right? When people play Christmas music and watch Christmas movies in July?

Well, how about we start the tradition of Halloween in May?

Today would be a fine way to start because it happens to be Classic Movie Day! I wanted to share with you that there are many great horror movie classics on TubiTV.com.  You can watch them online. You don’t even have to register, if you don’t want to. Here are some I recommend viewing, if you love classic scary movies. I put them in order of date.

Continue reading

Posted in Frightful Films | Leave a comment