Friday, September 23, 2011 |

The Star Factor - Fall Edition

Today marks the first day of fall and with it I think of pumpkins, hot cider, cooler nights and the time falling forward to bring on longer nights. Things that I look forward to every year. When summer comes on, I look forward to seeing the green buds of pumpkins growing at the local pumpkin patch and when I start to see orange peek through the leaves, I know that I don't have much longer to wait. This season we see some new trends from clothing and makeup to design, fashion. There are are also some things that are always classic and timeless and in the Star Factor I am going to cover what's the latest and greatest.

Color - The word in color this season is three little words R - E - D! Everything from brights like Vermilion and Chinese Lantern, to darker Burgundies and wine colors; red is the fashion and design statement of the season. Find a beat-up great piece of furniture at a yard sale, bring it home and paint it red.  Want to re-do your bedroom find a neutral dark base like black, grey, and cocoa brown and than throw in different shades of red as accents. Same goes with any of your styles. Pick a neutral color, and add a pop of red with your accessories and or shoes. Animal prints are still a hot ticket item for both fashion and decorating as well as boots of all shapes and sizes. Spice up your fall accessories by combining your summer necklaces and bracelets with coordinating fall colors and styles.
click on the links to take you to the websites that feature these fashions and colors for more ideas and inspiration Fashion and  Color Palette)

Makeup - Everyone is using makeup these days to enhance their outer beauty but don't confuse fashionable with tacky. Watching TLC's What Not to Wear, I learned that playing up one feature of yourself is better than trying to over do it. The fun thing about this is you can highlight a different feature everyday, or just play up your best feature. So if you have really great eyes, play them up with smokey hues and than leave your lips with a more natural look. Same goes if you want a great red lip color, leave your eyes more neutral. Here are a couple of great looks from the Mary Kay website on each side. See how the eyes are really played up, but not overly so and the lips are left in more neutral colors. A color palette that looks great on everyone is Caramel. Shades of browns can go on any skin tone and can be found from creamy flat lipstick to a nice shiny gloss that's great for an evening out.

I read a month or so ago that the cat eye look is in. I consider this the Cleopatra look to a point and have seen it done in various mediums. This look can be highly over done. I know, I have done it myself. The girls at Saphora's loved it on me, but when I got home I think I looked like I was trying to hard and it had to go. If you want to add a little fun in the evening with this look I say go for it, but when applying to the upper lid go out about a 1/4 of an inch from the eye and bring it down to blend with your lower lid eye liner. Still classy and sophisticated and won't make you look like your going for the freak of the year award. Angelina Jolie here makes a great impression with her eyes while the other model looks great for her, but how many of us can get away with not only the extreme colors but the intensity of the cat eye. This look is better left on the runway. (taken from Google Images) Also don't be afraid of cream eye shadows. While they come in a variety of intense colors, there are a lot of neutrals and with some careful blending can give you a stunning look. Cream eye shadow also eliminates the need to apply a base on to your eyes because it already gives you long wear. You don't have a lot of time to blend, but enough time that you can play around with it and achieve the look you want. Practice makes perfect on this, but it's really worth the effort.

More ideas from  HGTV 
Entertaining - Being that it's fall there is a whole new world of entertaining out there to explore. For most of us in the Midwest to the Pacific ocean we can still enjoy some great times out of doors even during the cooler weather. A fire pit of any size and shape makes for a great way to spend a cool evening outside. So don't cover up your patio furniture and barbecues just yet. If you never have done any outdoor entertaining in the fall your really missing out of the greatest part of the year. Our family has a Halloween tradition with a portable Webber fire pit placed out in the front and we set up a table or two and have a crock pot filled with stew, carafes of coffee and plates of doughnuts and my husbands favorite, pigs in a poke. (Kids will love them) Some years it's colder than others so depending on the weather we either don't have to wear jackets or just light ones with the fire on. I even had a fire pit going for a Christmas party last year and while being outside was optional I found that most of the party goers found there way outside to sit around and enjoy the company and the warmth. 

From for a ton of different and simple ideas that won't cost you a lot.

Gardening - Now is the perfect time to plant your spring bulbs. They must be planted before the ground freezes which here in California, still gives you a little more time, but don't procrastinate. Bulbs should be planted in holes that are three times their height and be facing upwards. This means the fat end of the bulb needs to be sitting on the dirt while the stem or tips face up.

Fountain Grass
Silver Grass

If your like me, I sometimes don't have a clue as to what to plant. I have done the hibiscus plants because I love their beautiful colors, but the flowers and the bushes fade in the winter. I also am not really fond of alot of the dry arid plants that come with living in California, and honestly while we have a variety of things to choose from they don't always appeal to me. There is a solution my's grass! Now I'm not talking about the short green stuff that you have to mow every week, but the ornamental grasses that can give height, variety, flow and movement in a garden bed.  They stay good all year long and even in frost can bounce right back. These grasses come in a variety of colors, and heights. They can be used in the back of a bed or there are grasses that are great for bed borders. Talk to your local nursery about what's available and what would be best for your space. Some grasses can grow very large and may need to be divided every couple of years.

Food - Well we can't have a Star Factor, without highlighting some seasonal foods now can we? One of my favorite all time recipes for fall is Maple Pork Chops! Nothing says fall like a big plate of steaming hot pork chops stuffed with stuffing and topped with apples and seasoned sauteed onions. The recipe comes from Goose Berry Patch cookbooks. My mother has given me a collection of these books over the years and I love them for not only the great recipe ideas, but also for the great decorating tips and last year found a ton of really great cookie recipes for my Christmas baking. They can be found various stores including Joann's, but in case you can't find them, go to their website at My Recipe is from the Cozy Home Cookbook and I have added a variation of it to make it mine.
Maple Pork Chops

4 pork Chops                        
1 t. fresh thyme, chopped (dried is OK)
 2 T. oil                                       
salt and pepper to taste
 1 apple chopped                        
 1/2 c. chicken broth
1/4 C. golden Raisin (I omit)    
2 T. maple syrup
2 onions, sliced                       
1 T. all-purpose flour

Brown pork chops in oil over medium heat. Place in a single layer in a casserole dish and top with apple and raisins. Combine butter, onions, thyme, salt and pepper in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until onions are transparent; transfer to baking dish. Whisk together chicken broth, maple syrup and flour until well blended. Pour chicken broth and onion mixture over pork chops. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Serves 4. (My variation) Make up a bag of stuffing mix, I prefer Mrs. Cubinsons and I add onions, celery, pecans, and apples to the mixture. Before cooking the pork chops put them on their side and slice it through like your going to make two chops, but don't cut all the way through. Than cook them in the skillet. When completed stuff the pork chops with the stuffing. Don't be afraid to really load them up. Place in the casserole dish and top with the onions and the maple mixture. Any left over stuffing can be tucked around the pork chops in the casserole dish. with the stuffing you need to bake a little longer than 30 minutes. I usually just look to see when the top of the stuffing and onions are starting to brown, but not burnt. With the stuffing you can double the maple mixture and depending on how much you like onions, you can limit that to one or the two. This recipe is great for company because it can be doubled and tripled. It was a huge hit last year at my Fall dinner and other times that I have fixed it. Always a crowd pleaser!

Another crowd pleaser this time of year is chili. It can be made with beans, no beans, vegetarian style, hot, spicy, sweet. Go to for some fantastic ideas on your next get together or family dinner. For the Football fanatics out there, my husband and I came up with a great game day snack. My husband loves tater tots, which aren't my favorite, but I was fixing them with our Sunday night hot dogs while we watch the game. We came up with a brilliant idea to take the tots add Tostitos nacho cheese (medium) and the hot dog chili sauce and topped that with some shredded cheddar cheese. WOW, what a combination of flavor. I only ate one hot dog because I kept eating our tater tot nachos. Great thing to put out if you have a group over for the game. You can add sour cream, onions, jalapenos, and other condiments as you choose. I picked up the Tostitos cheese at my local Fresh and Easy Market for 2 for 5, which is a great price.

Lastly this months Better Homes and Gardens magazines has some great coupons in it. To promote Fall season clean up and home Improvement there is a $5 off a $25 purchase at the local True Value Hardware. There is a 40% off coupon for one regular priced Martha Steward craft product redeemable at Michael's. There is also a fairly large tear out insert with $1 or more savings for cleaning products like Scrubbing Bubbles, Pledge, Glade air fresheners, Zip lock baggies, Ocean Spray juice, and C&H Sugars. They are also promoting Carving for a cause go to BHG to download anyone of their pumpkin stencils and for every download you do they will donate $2 to charity. Up to $5000 per charity which include; The Humane Society of the Unites States, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Rebuilding Together, and the March of Dimes. It costs nothing for you to download and these great organizations benefit!

I hope you all enjoyed this edition of the Star Factor. Stay tuned for additional fall ideas and projects. I'm also going to start walking you through my own gardening make-over here at my own home. I'm starting with basically some great structure, but bare bones and I am so anxious to start making the outside of my home look as beautiful as the inside. Will love to have you join me. Till next time.
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