Infusing grandeur into otherwise drab Mondays with five things/ideas/events for the week:

I.  My parents aren’t particularly fond of the outdoors, which meant that I never went on a hike in my entire life until I was an adult. Now one of my favorite past-times, I’m always looking for new trails in Santa Cruz, Marin, and Lake Tahoe. To cap off my weekend yesterday, I stuck with a Bay Area classic and hiked the Headlands with a friend. The weather was gorgeous, albeit quite chilly, providing for spectacular views of the entire bay. Starving post-hike, I spent the drive home contemplating my go-to cold weather recipes. My favorite, too oft-forgotten, is Coq au Vin. Though chicken isn’t typically on the epicurean spectrum, dressed up in red wine and bacon - it’s transformed into a culinary masterpiece. Keep things cozy at home by making big batch to eat all week.

II. Often, I find myself forgetting the point of Thanksgiving. Caught up in guest lists, menu prep, grocery shopping, floral arrangements, and cooking - it’s easy not to focus on what you’re grateful for (especially the people sharing your meal). To prevent the day from escaping me, I’m making place cards for people to write on during dinner. While I’m sure there will be a smattering of hangman/tic-tac-toe/less appropriate doodles, it will be wonderful to hear what everyone wants to give thanks for this year.  If you don’t want to make your own, here is a darling version on Etsy.

III.  Every single person on earth loves a Copper Moscow Mule Mug. You can put any beverage in the mug, and it will instantly taste better - but I like to keep things traditional by making actual Moscow Mules (two ounces vodka, half a freshly squeezed lime, and a top-off of ginger beer over ice). For the holidays, I’m adding a couple twists based on this collection of recipe hacks. First up, the Apple Cider Mule for guests as they arrive to Thanksgiving festivities!

IV.  Winter is synonymous with plaid. Though in years past, I’ve pulled out red/black lumberjack throw pillows and blankets, this year I’m gravitating toward a cleaner black/white palette. The tailored look is actually perfect for year-round interior design. From accessories (this lampshade and this coat), to bigger pieces like this striking wing chair in Buffalo Check with antique brass nailheads, refresh your decor this month by inserting some of the classic pattern into the mix.

V.   It’s time to start thinking about sending out holiday cards. If you’re old school (like me) and Paperless Post just won’t cut it, it’s easy to find an array of beautiful custom options (Rifle Paper Co. is my new favorite), but hiring a calligrapher makes things needlessly more complicated. Address your envelopes yourself using this tool called Lettermate that stencils the appropriate lines for you. Genius!

Have a wonderful week!  xx tt