Autumn months are my favorite time of year. It feels more like a new beginning than the over-rated month of January does! I hope you have optimism and goals for the months ahead. 

Getting around

My husband and I spent two delicious weeks in Destin, Florida this past month. Although we live near North Carolina beaches, the Panhandle's sugar sand beaches and the Gulf's aqua water called to us. It was relaxing to have a change of scenery and change of pace, exactly what travel should be. Does anyone else feel they have to rearrange some furniture and some decor items once they settle into a rental condo before she can feel at home and undistracted by her surroundings? I just can't help myself!

If you want to travel the world in your mind from the comfort of home, you might enjoy these photos of places UNESCO has named world heritage sites.   

Cheer up

I'm always on the lookout for things that make me smile. I believe humor has the power to save us from painful experiences and awkward moments. I'm not suggesting that jokes and lightheartedness force us to ignore reality, just that noticing the irony or surprises in everyday situations changes our view of the world around us. 

Take a moment to read this post about why humor and laughter are important -- the mental and physical and social benefits it brings.       

This site has humored me for years. The link goes to a post the site's creator has written about improperly punctuated writings on bakery cakes. If you are not familiar with CakeWrecks, and you enjoy laughing and gasping at all kinds of mistakes cake decorators make, be sure to check out Jen and John's photos and wit. (Note: Jen can be a little vulgar at times.)    

Express yourself

Do you Tweet? I keep a Twitter account for this blog and also for the garden club I belong to. Did you know that you can still read other Tweets from people, companies, and groups even without an account of your own? It's a fun way to check in with the opinions of people you like, are just curious about, or who inspire you. One Twitterfeed that might be encouraging when you are selling a home is The Betty Brigade.

A few months ago I mentioned how I enjoyed using snail mail to send note cards. But I didn't mention then that I also prefer using commemorative stamps issued by the US Postal Service. Since it now prints what's called "forever stamps," you know they will still be good ongoing for mailing a first-class letter. I think a special stamp shows you gave thought to what you're mailing, and gives you the chance to express yourself or call attention to a cause, person, or event. 

Postage stamps don't cost more than ordinary ones do and
there is an always-changing array of interesting choices.  

Thinking ahead

This Christmas season is going to be different, according to economic predictions. The supply chain and distribution businesses have all been hit with problems. Why not get a jump on Christmas gifting? I'm definitely not recommending panic buying. Instead consider local sources. Farmers' markets and craft fairs are flourishing at this time of year. They're the perfect places to find unique gifts while you support your local economy. If you prefer online shopping, try some of my favorite sites for American-made gifts: 

This California company sells a great assortment of foods, kitchen gadgets, and tools.

I like the way this company makes it easy for you to name your price and make your own gift assortment from its list of small-batch U.S. food producers.

Darn Tough is a Vermont company offering beautiful, top-quality socks made from merino wool.

Wicked Uncle is a Maryland company that carries a large line of interesting American-made toys, and helps you shop by gender and age.

Wicked Uncle sells these printed pillowcases that can be colored,
then washed, and colored again and again.   

This month's books 

One book that captured my full attention while on vacation was Shoe Dog, by Phil Knight. The reviews for this book are excellent, so I know I'm not alone in my admiration for the author, his writing style, his determination, and his intelligence. He is the founder of Nike, and this book is the story of how he built his business from one crazy idea he had as a young man, into an international company worth billions today. It's an amazing saga. If you are an entrepreneur or know someone who is (or wants to become one) I can't recommend this book more enthusiastically!  

If you are on my Christmas list, don't be surprised if
you get this book from me in December. 

I absolutely loved a novel written in 2014 and translated from the French. It's The Red Notebook, by Antoine Laurain. At less than 200 pages, it follows the sweet mystery of a shy bookseller trying to locate the owner of a stolen and discarded purse that contains a small notebook. Of course, he falls in love with the owner without knowing who she is or how to find her.    

I hope you are looking forward to autumn as much as I am. Remember to stay safe to protect yourself and everyone else so we can all do what's in our control to end this pandemic.