Author L.M. Montgomery once wrote “I’m so glad we live in a world where there are Octobers,” and this issue of American Lifestyle is here to help you make the most of this magical month. Inside you’ll find tips for giving your powder room a makeover, a guide to multigenerational travel, ideas for hosting a successful tailgate, and a fall-flavored baklava recipe.
The season for holiday hosting will be here before you know it. Is your powder room ready for guests? The enclosed guide can help you give your guest bathroom a major upgrade you’ll be proud to show off.
Fall is a popular season for family travel, but it can be challenging to plan a trip that meets everyone’s needs. Check out the tips in this issue for ways you can accommodate your entire family and ensure everyone has a memorable time.
Football is back, and that means tailgating is back too! The guide inside has everything you need to help you prepare to host the ultimate pregame party.
Are you looking for a different kind of dessert to make this season? The enclosed recipe for Pecan Tahini Baklava is the perfect alternative to the apple- and pumpkin-based recipes you’re used to eating in autumn.
Here’s to a splendid October! As always, here's to your #LifeHomeHappy!
A powder room or a half bathroom may be frequented by your guests, so it’s an ideal place to add glamour to your home. Because a powder room can be relatively tiny, you can decorate it inexpensively, making it the perfect spot to experiment with finishes and colors you might be hesitant to use in a larger room. Use these tips to add luxury and style to this space.
Add decorative elements
A powder room is often called a water closet, and for good reason. Because of its diminutive size, a half bath, which typically only includes a sink and a toilet, can feel cramped and uninspiring. Designer Martina Gieske of the blog The Lived-in Look kept this in mind when decorating a client’s powder room by including crisp, white wainscoting to make the walls more interesting and white crown molding to draw eyes upward and make the small room feel bigger.
Paint the walls
It can be easier to experiment with color in a powder room since it’s a contained space, so you could try painting your walls a hue you might not otherwise use in your home. Black-and-white color schemes in half baths are trending, as are emerald green, navy blue, dark gray, and purple. An alternative to painting your walls in a deeply pigmented color is to leave them white and add a vibrant color to your wainscoting instead. Consider using glossy paint on your wainscoting to make it easier to clean.
A few rolls of wallpaper might be all you need to upgrade your powder room from basic to fantastic. To simplify the decorating process, you could dress your walls with peel-and-stick wallpaper, as Gieske did for her client. Such adhesive-backed wallpaper is easy to hang and remove if you tire of it, and is best for half baths since tubs or showers can produce adhesive-loosening steam. The gray wallpaper Gieske chose for her client features a trellis pattern and metallic bronze accents, but there are many other equally beautiful wallpaper patterns you could utilize, such as a black-and-white herringbone print, a feminine floral, or one that resembles tile, such as this hexagon print with marble-like veining. Another option is to use a stencil to make it look like you have beautiful wallpaper on your walls.
Tiling can be a fun and inexpensive way to add style, color, and durability to your powder room. Ceramic tile is a popular choice for both walls and floors, while peel-and-stick faux tile can make it easy for homeowners to get the look they want without advanced do-it-yourself skills. For instance, Arin Solange of the blog Arin Solange at Home took her powder room from bland to glam by taking a chance and putting a bold black-and-white floor tile on her powder room’s walls for a modern look.
Update your vanity
You could swap out your vanity for a new one or paint your existing vanity with primer and then a low-VOC acrylic enamel paint to give it a new look. When Solange styled her powder room, she painted her dark vanity a blush pink and replaced its silver-toned cabinet pulls with these brass-toned ones to give it a brand-new look. She also refreshed her sink by replacing its brushed-nickel faucet set with a brass one. If you change the hardware on your vanity, you might want to update the rest of your powder room’s hardware, too, such as the toilet-roll holder and bathroom doorknob.
Hang a mirror
A mirror is essential for any powder room because it’s necessary for grooming, can reflect light, and can make a space look and feel bigger. You could choose a round mirror framed in black for simplicity, a scalloped mirror with beveled edges for elegance, or an oval mirror for a classic look. As a general rule, choose a mirror with a width that’s at least one to two inches less than your vanity. Center the mirror over your sink, and place it at a height that complements the space and allows most people who will be using it to see their own reflection.
Accessorize your room
Once you have all the main elements of your powder room in place, you can add decor that complements its design. For instance, Erica Van Slyke of the blog Designing Vibes redesigned her previously dated and dark powder room to include a space-saving floating vanity with a white ceramic vessel sink and a wallpapered accent wall that mimics the look of tile. She then brought in woven baskets, a snake plant, and framed black-and-white artwork to give her half bath a beachy boho vibe.
Multigenerational travel can be a wonderful experience for the entire family. Children who do not get to spend much time with grandparents can enjoy one-on-one time with them, and participating in activities as a group can create long-lasting, fond memories. With the ever-evolving changes in the travel industry, having an alternative plan for unforeseen circumstances, such as canceled flights, can help to avoid any turmoil if your itinerary needs to be shifted.
Although organizing and planning a trip can be exhilarating, it can also get a bit tricky when traveling with multiple generations. And when traveling as a larger group, you will want to consider the needs of everyone so that your vacation doesn’t turn into a caregiving event where you’re juggling both parents and kids.
Once you have selected your travel destination and the number of days you will be away, strategically plan your itinerary ahead of time. Everyone wants to enjoy themselves, so be sure to add fun activities that everyone can participate in. For example, a three-mile hike may not be the best choice for your younger or older traveling companions; however, taking a slower, easier-paced nature walk with paved trails could be more enjoyable. If you want a more robust hike, it’s OK to carve out time for yourself and others in the group who may want to be more active.
Don’t feel compelled to fill every second with a planned activity, and do not underestimate the need for downtime. When traveling with an older person or smaller children, be sure to take time for rest to help prevent exhaustion and getting overtired. Also, schedule some time for yourself. It’s important to take a break from the group, especially if you’re the one planning the daily activities. Remember that it’s your vacation too!
Make sure you have properly prepared and packed any medications for your traveling group. For example, will you need to bring an EpiPen or inhaler for your child’s well-being? Are vaccinations or immunizations needed if you plan on traveling outside the United States? If anyone in your group has medical issues, be sure to discuss your intended travel itinerary with their doctors to be sure the places and type of activities planned will be safe.
Amenities and services
Most times, airlines, resorts, and hotels are happy to oblige when it comes to special requests. This can include wheelchair service at the airport or additional time to board the plane. Consider inquiring about your room’s location at the place or places you will be staying. Do you have adjoining rooms? Are you close to the elevator? Also, make sure the property is universally accessible if additional mobility assistance is required. For example, most bed-and-breakfast establishments have steps, so you may want to request the first floor.
Leave additional time
When traveling as a group, it can sometimes be difficult to gather the troops, especially with small children and older adults. You may need a little extra time to get moving. Before bedtime, let everyone know the schedule for the upcoming day. If most of your group prefers to sleep in, consider planning a 9:00 a.m. breakfast instead of 8:30 a.m., giving everyone some latitude for starting the day. This can help reduce stress and create a more laid-back environment.
Emergencies can occur at any time. Travel insurance can provide financial security in knowing that you won’t lose your money if the trip has to be canceled at the last minute because of injury, illness, or other dire circumstances. If you are taking an expensive trip, travel experts recommend that you insure it and that you purchase the insurance from an outside company, not from your tour operator.
Going on a multigenerational vacation can be an experience of a lifetime. Traveling as a group can have its challenges, but as long as you’re flexible and leave additional time to arrive at your scheduled activities, you can leave the stress behind and create wonderful memories with your family. Bon voyage!
Football and other fall sports are in full swing, which means tailgating season is back. Picnicking and grilling in the parking lot with other fans before and after the game is a beloved tradition, so you’ll want to get it right. Follow these tips for hosting a fantastic tailgate party.
Bring a feast
A tailgate party isn’t complete without delicious foods and drinks, so it’s best to plan your menu before the game and prep any dishes you can before game day. Hamburgers and hot dogs are traditional tailgating fare, but if you would like to impress the crowd, you could surprise them by making an unexpected yet just as satisfying dish like grilled pizza, Mexican street corn salad, or grilled cedar-plank salmon. For dessert, you could make a s’more no-bake pie, loaded bacon bark, or game-day cookies decorated in team colors. And, while your guests may appreciate soda and other satisfying beverages, you should also have plenty of water on hand to help keep everyone hydrated.
Get your gear
You’ll need a cooler to transport your beverages, cheeses, and perishable items (and it may be helpful to have a separate one for your meats), and don’t forget can and bottle openers. Also, consider bringing a few folding tables so you have a place to set out your food. If you intend on grilling, you could bring a lightweight portable grill, along with a lighter, fuel, and grilling utensils. You can limit the amount of waste you create while tailgating by utilizing reusable plates, cups, utensils, napkins, and take-home containers and by having garbage bags for your trash.
Keep in mind that your party might last a few hours. So bring a charger for your cell phone, and protect your guests from the elements by providing a pop-up canopy to shield them from the sun, wind, and rain, and, depending on the temperature, a portable fan or heated folding chairs.
Make it fun
During your tailgating party, you could bring game-day items such as a football, team pennants, pom-poms, and face paint. For extra fun, set up games like ladder toss, cornhole, or a football toss game, and bring along a Bluetooth speaker so you can share some tunes. And don’t forget to take photos of all the excitement!
Finalize your preparations
Some stadiums and venues have regulations for where you can park and what items are permitted in their parking lots, so check the rules before heading to the game. Make a list of what you plan to bring as well—you don’t want to regret leaving anything behind. In addition to the items mentioned above, it’s a good idea to pack a first aid kit, hand sanitizer or wipes, bug spray, a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, rain jackets, and a fire extinguisher.
If possible, fuel up and pack any nonperishable items you are bringing the day before—this will also give you an early idea of how much will fit in your vehicle. Try to get to the parking lot at least four hours before kickoff to secure a good tailgating spot, and find a parking spot near a grassy area, if possible, to have more room to set up your gear. Plan to serve your food at least two hours before the game starts so you’ll have time to clean up before heading to the field or stadium. Finally, remember to be courteous to other tailgaters near you so that everyone can have a good time and enjoy the game.
Baklava has had a resurgence in popularity, and it’s not hard to see why. This delicious twist on the dessert—with its nutty flavor and cinnamon-spiced layers—is the perfect sweet-and-savory treat for fall.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Toss the pecans with the cinnamon. Brush the bottom of a 13 × 9-inch casserole dish with a little bit of butter.
Lay a base layer of the phyllo dough 4 sheets thick. After the base, layer the phyllo one sheet at a time, brushing each layer with the tahini and a sprinkle of the seasoned pecans. Repeat this step 8 times.
For the final layers, lay the phyllo dough 6 sheets thick, and brush each layer with the tahini. Brush the top phyllo sheet with the remaining melted butter.
Bake for 20 minutes or until phyllo is golden brown.
In a medium pot, simmer the water, sugar, vanilla, and honey over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Immediately pour the syrup over the baklava. Let it cool to room temperature, and cover before cutting and serving.