Friday, September 25, 2015

Essential for Fall

Sometime in early elementary school, my love affair with fall began.  It took my breath away, the way the air seemed to shimmer in the afternoon sunlight while everything took on a glowing stillness.  Fall was taking the long way home from school through golden afternoons, climbing the backyard maple tree to eat apples, reading books in complete absorption, cheering the hometown football team to victory on Friday night, roaming the streets on Halloween collecting a pumpkin full of candy, and watching spectacular Texas Panhandle sunsets light the sky with gold and purple and orange.

The fields of summer - striving, pushing, reaching, growing - give way to autumn, where everything reaches its pinnacle and holds for a long moment in its greatest bloom - perfect fullness, simmering beauty.  The striving ceases, the busy rush buzzes to a resilient halt and all the world luxuriates in the harvest.  Fall is a reminder to stop, savor the moments and just be.

As I pull the fall decor from its boxes, the jumble of leaves and baskets and pumpkins in a riot of autumn on the dining table never fails to thrill my heart.  This is my favorite season change, and while I unpack autumn, I celebrate the people who love me best, those who've gifted me with some of my most treasured fall items.  Although I decorate for each season, autumn colors make our house come alive better than any other.  Fall is my favorite.

In the kitchen, shades of autumn are everywhere.  Fall has generated some of my favorite refrigerator art that I'll keep forever, even though the artists are nearly all grown up.  In preparation for cooler evenings, the tea drinkers in our family have their own tea station with orange accents and pumpkins not far away, and the coffee fans have their station, too, with thermos at the ready.  Above all, a Holly Hobbie lunchbox just like mine from 2nd grade, calls up heart-warmed nostalgia.

Fall glows best of all in the family room, where we have lovely views of the treeline and all the colors of the sunset stream in through the windows.  Lanterns, candles, pumpkins, fall leaves, bouquets, and the fireplace glowing not quite yet with a fire, but a farm harvest scene (Texas autumns are in-congruently warm) make long evenings in this room a tranquil pleasure.

Really, my home decor journey began with decorating for autumn, in a desire to pull all the joy of the season from outside to in.  Cozying home up for fall is a fond nod back to those lovely days of raking yellow leaves in the backyard while the evening sky turned orange.  Every year when I bring out the fall decor, the rich and beautiful colors take my heart back to a childhood that wasn't exactly perfect, but was definitely golden, and I savor the homey pleasures of then and now.  Lots and lots of color is the essential element that invokes autumn tranquility and the resonant satisfaction of the harvest season for me.  

My post is about decorating the home for fall - it's the best place to snug in and be satisfied, don't you think?  Taking it even further, how about snuggling into bed early on a chilly autumn evening with a great book, or lingering in bed on a rainy fall Saturday?  Our master bedroom is still the final frontier decorating-wise, and I'm always looking for inspiration to finish out what I've started in there.  This post was inspired by Parachute, a luxury bedding company, just as I was thinking about cozy, and fall, and essentials for meshing the two.  For some beautiful bedding ideas, check out the Parachute bedding page, and don't miss their blog (click } here { to go to the blog home page) for some absolutely lovely ideas for making your bedroom an enclave of cozy no matter what the season.

Celebrating fall with a decor change is a chance to put a pumpkin here and a spot of orange there, until the house is rich, warm and cozy with color. What's essential to your autumn decorating scheme?

Happy fall!  

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Perfectionst vs. The Birthday Girl

Fall is my favorite time of the year.  My family indulges my swooning over the trees changing colors, cool temperatures, pumpkins and all things orange.  As favorited as fall is in my world, it's also the busiest time of the year preparing for back to school and homeschool co-op classes.  Once we get in the swing of things and nail our routine down, the roar of preparation subsides and life settles into rhythm.  So, you know, birthdays are nice and everything ... but really, who has time to take the weekend before school starts to celebrate a birthday?  Not me, no way.  Impossible.  Can't be done.

Fortunately, LtDan has no such perfectionist compunction to let putting ducks in rows take precedence over celebrating a birthday, and he planned a surprise weekend getaway that he knew would be a welcome respite once I got over my notions about how things "must" be done.

We went to the Omni Mandalay Hotel in Las Colinas, less than an hour away, and our old stomping grounds from newly married years.  Las Colinas is a business and residential development complete with hotels, townhomes, restaurants and businesses.  It's quite convenient to DFW airport, and is about in the middle between Dallas and Fort Worth.   The Omni Mandalay sits beside Lake Carolyn, a small lake that runs into the canals of Las Colinas.  

We made ourselves at home and enjoyed the gorgeous artwork throughout the hotel before we convened with wine overlooking the lawn and Lake Carolyn.  I fell in love with these two gorgeous fall-ish prints in one of the conference rooms.  

The corner rooms of the Omni are special ... they have a curved wall and a huge rounded window with a balcony, and the floorplan feels more like a small apartment than a hotel room.  Simply gorgeous!  Standing on the rounded balcony feels like being the queen, and the views are stunning, both day and night.

Our view was toward Williams Square, home of the Mustangs at Las Colinas.  These are giant sculptures, sitting at the base of huge buildings - if you ever want to feel small, this is where you should go.  You can just make out the mustangs in my picture from the balcony (sorry, blurry phone pics), but click }here{ for a better idea of how magnificent these sculptures are.  
 We opted for a leisurely breakfast in the room - my favorite, and my favorite breakfast entre, smoked salmon.  There may or may not have been sharing.

We took a stroll along the canal, remembering distinctive shops that were there back in the day, but sadly the shops we remember are no longer there.  I teased LtDan that he'd planned this, since we were supposed to shop for my birthday gift on the canal.  The architecture has a Spanish flair and the landscaping is beautiful.  Even though there are 'no fishing' signs posted, we passed three fisherman who proudly showed us a catch of six huge catfish.  If I were a fish, I would want to swim here.

Back at the hotel, we scoped out where we wanted to spend the evening, and the courtyard patio did not disappoint. While Friday night had been fairly quiet, the hotel filled up on Saturday with New York Giants VIPs and their families, which was kind of fun. 

On the way home, we stopped at Nebraska Furniture Mart, and I picked out my birthday gift, which was a much bigger deal than I was expecting.  My dream of having a comfy place to stretch out and take naps on the porch is about to come true ... happy birthday to me!

If you've never been to Nebraska Furniture Mart ... well ... you must go.  Quickly.  Go there.  Think Ikea, except bigger.  And they have everything.  Furniture for the house, inside and out, kitchen appliances, decor, rugs ... and I'm not sure what else because we didn't even go upstairs ... !


Coffee understands :o)  

I was expecting to have the whole weekend to wrap up loose ends before starting school, but instead spent it in the lovely real-life suspension that is staying in a hotel.  Although I'd convinced myself that the weekend was necessary to prepare for school, I sensed that everything would be fine if I just relaxed.  Sure enough, LtDan and I had a marvelous weekend, it was a great first week of school, everything was more than fine, and the kids were happy to be back in class.  Here's one great gift of getting older:  you learn you can trust yourself.  Even if all the ducks aren't in an absolutely  p e r f e c t  row, it's probably quite good enough, and the perfectionist should take her birthday off.  Birthday Girl for the win :o)