• Yesterday, after a period of time too embarrassingly long to pinpoint, I was suddenly compelled to wash a couple of the wool shawls I tend to cocoon myself in year-round. Despite the fact that the other apparel in my rotation gets laundered with regularity, for whatever reason my standards for hygiene slip drastically when it comes to cold weather accessories and outerwear. And now, motivated by how easy it was to hand-wash and rack-dry my scarves (which I swear are now softer than before, not to mention laced with the pretty floral scent of my delicates wash), I got to wondering what else in my fall wardrobe could use refreshing, and how to go about laundering things like down vests and fleece jackets. And on realsimple.com just now, I found out exactly how to do just that-and more. Here's a re-cap of what I learned:

    Down jackets and vests should ideally be washed twice per season. You can toss your puffies in the washing machine, using cold water. Skip the detergent, which can

    Read More »from Tips for washing your cold weather gear
  • Martha StewartMartha StewartHalloween is just about upon us, and even if you haven't given much-or any-thought to getting your home in the creepy spirit, it's definitely not too late. There are a plenty of really easy things you can do to make your place prepped and festive for all the little trick-or-treaters who are about to start lining up on your doorstep, and none of them require a significant investment of time or money. Here, eight of my favorite spooky DIY Halloween decorating ideas.

    If you don't feel like dealing with the mess of carving your own pumpkin, get a bunch of orange balloons, blow them up, and draw on a series of jack-o-lantern faces on them with permanent marker.

    Give your place a Wizard of Oz twist: stuff striped stockings with newspaper, then add some pointy shoes. Place them somewhere at the base of your house, or tucked underneath your sofa, to look like a witch is trapped underneath.

    Draw a template of a cat (don't forget to arch its back!) on black construction paper,

    Read More »from 8 simple, last-minute Halloween decorating ideas
  • From the East Coast to the West Coast, "Grey's Anatomy" star Kim Raver always has a place to call home. In November's InStyle magazine we get a look inside Kim's bicoastal style.



    The stunning actress divides her time between this cozy Hamptons farmhouse and a sleek bungalow in Los Angeles. Anchoring her 300-year-old Hamptons home is a massive fireplace. The kitchen features "bead board" paneling and inviting wood counters. The upstairs master bedroom has exposed beams, and at the foot of the bed is a dollhouse that once belonged to the actress's grandmother.

    Meanwhile, in Pacific time, Kim's Hollywood hideaway has poured concrete floors, a minimalistic family room filled to capacity with family photos, and a state-of-the-art kitchen. Kim's office is a converted garage, mixing industrial, vintage, and mid-century furnishings.

    To see more of Kim's home, check out the November issue of InStyle magazine.



    RELATED LINKS:

    * Inside More Celebrity Homes


    * Stars Show Off Their Closets

    *

    Read More »from Famous Haven: Grey's Anatomy star Kim Raver gives InStyle Magazine a look inside her coast to coast homes
  • Thankfully, the flies I've been contending with in my kitchen, pesky and gross as they are, are no where near as big as this guy.Thankfully, the flies I've been contending with in my kitchen, pesky and gross as they are, are no where near as big as this guy.I mentioned this last week, but recently I've noticed a small-but-incredibly-annoying barrage (or at least, something like 2-3 flies per day buzzing around my kitchen) of fruit flies at home. They're minuscule, and appear pretty benign, but seeing them leaves me with the unpleasant feeling that my kitchen is dirty and unsanitary-despite the fact that I'm cleaning up constantly and, especially in light of this mini-infestation, am particularly careful to wipe away crumbs and not leave food out.

    So, after a few weeks of this, I came home from running errands this weekend to my gloating husband, who had had enough and decided to take action. After researching various methodologies for getting rid of them, he made a concoction consisting of 1 part water to 1 part apple cider vinegar, plus 2-3 drops of dish soap, and left the mixture sitting out on the countertop in a little bowl.

    The cider vinegar apparently lures the flies in, while the dish soap works to sink them. I was a

    Read More »from Getting rid of fruit flies—the cheap, fast, and non-toxic way
  • Last weekend I stopped in to visit a friend who was brewing hot apple cider, which was spreading the coziest, loveliest scent all over her apartment. The perfect blend of spicy and sweet, it made her house feel so warm and festive, and instantly made me excited about the season ahead and holing up indoors with good friends and family.

    And much as I'm a big fan of scented candles, I've found the cinnamon-y, fall-ish ones tend to be cloying or overly fragranced-and don't compare at all to the all-natural, heady smell of actual fruits and seasonings bubbling away on your stove (which also have the added benefit of being a lot less expensive than candles, plus the steam acts as a humidifier too!). So here, via re-nest.com, five good old-fashioned simmer pot recipes to celebrate fall:

    One thing to note: It's a good idea to hold onto your apple, pear and citrus peels these next few weeks (just freeze them in a plastic container until you're ready to simmer)-they'll really come in

    Read More »from 5 awesomely autumnal simmer pot recipes to get you in the mood for fall
  • Composting is one of those things that always sounded like a cool, virtuous thing to do, but wasn't applicable to my life over the past decade in New York City, where I lived in a very small apartment with zero outdoor space. Since moving to San Francisco though, where I've upgraded to having a (tiny) backyard, am trying to tap into my inner green thumb, and the city offers specially designated garbage bins for collecting compostable waste, I've had no excuse not to jump on the bandwagon-well, if only I weren't so put-off by fruit flies.


    Despite being genuinely excited about the prospect of making use of the food scraps that had previously gone right into the trash can, even before I started collecting leftovers I noticed miniature flies buzzing around my kitchen. I have no idea where they come from, though given I usually have a bowl of oranges out on my countertop, I can only assume they're tagging along with the citrus I get at the market. And though the critters seem

    Read More »from A non-stinky, no-mess, no cost way to get your food scraps compost-ready
  • While putting together a Halloween costume can be tons of fun, it can also be creatively challenging and tough on your wallet, especially if you're trying to outfit multiple family members for the holiday. So, to take the stress out of trick-or-treat planning, read on for a re-cap of 30 easy-to-assemble ideas, many of which are comprised entirely of goods that you probably already have lurking around the house. And if you've any thoughts to add to this list, by all means chime in here!

    1. Baby: PJs, pacifier, teddy bear

    2. Fall: Brown sweatshirt, safety pins, autumnal-looking leaves

    3. Biker: Black leather, white tee, bandana, sunglasses

    4. Candy Cane: white clothes, red (and/or green) duct tape

    5. Charlie Brown: yellow tee, black marker or fabric paint (for zig zag stripes on the tee), black pants

    6. Present: Cardboard box (that's big enough for you to fit into!), wrapping paper, ribbons/bows

    7. Where's Waldo: Red and white striped tee, beanie, eye

    Read More »from 30 easy DIY Halloween costume ideas
  • The annual Kip's Bay Decorator Show House is in full swing right now in New York City, which for those who aren't familiar, is a big fundraising event/decorating extravaganza whereby an army of chichi interior designers overtake a chichi house (this year's location is an Upper East Side manse that's also currently on sale-unfurnished-for $28.8 million) and each gets his/her own room to makeover however they see fit.

    It's an opportunity for some of the country's most prominent designers to showcase their talents, and since it's open to the public, it's a great time for the rest of us to catch a glimpse not only into how the other half-or really .01%-lives (there are individual side tables in there that are worth six figures!), but to check out some of the latest interior trends to adapt in our own homes.

    The decorators' styles range from old-school traditional to glamorously ladylike to unabashedly modern, and no matter how your own taste skews, there are some good tips and

    Read More »from America’s top design talents show off the latest home decorating trends
  • With Halloween just a couple weeks away, now is the time to hit your local pumpkin patch. It's easy enough to find a great specimen (just choose one in size and shape that suits your space, look for a smooth surface so it's not hard to cut into, and make sure it's not too wobbly to avoid a fire hazard!), though carving can be a trickier, and more labor-intensive endeavor. Here, a dozen tips to create your own masterpiece jack-o-lantern:

    Sketch out a template directly on the pumpkin with a water-based marker. If you mess up, mistakes can be easily sponged away.

    Make your biggest cutouts (like the lid) with a sharp, straight-edged knife.

    For safety, always carve away from yourself, and always keep part of the blade in the pumpkin and use slow, steady strokes (as opposed to stabbing it!).

    If you're worried about you or your kids getting hurt, there are plenty of pumpkin carving kits out there that come standard with mini serrated saws, which are easier to manipulate

    Read More »from 12 tips for safe and flawless pumpkin carving
  • Rob Lowe and his wife, Sheryl, build their dream house on the California Coast.

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