Home Tips: Fall Harvest Decor Ideas

When summer fades, many of us are ready to welcome the fall season. Pumpkins, gourds, and other decorative squashed are in abundance this time of year! Why not use them as inspiration for your fall harvest decorating project?

Wheat Wreath with Wooden Beads

A wreath is a lovely way to welcome guests into your home. This wild wonder owes its elegant good looks to the natural materials that embellish its standard straw base. We added wheat stalks laced with wooden beads and sculptural bleached seedpods.

Wheat Centerpiece

Summer flowers may have wilted with the changing of seasons, but wheat stalks – with their delicate, golden form – are long-lasting. Arrange an armful of tall stalks into a vase, cropping the ends and fluffing the tops, and display your glorious autumnal bouquet.

Hanging Basket of Fall Flowers

Assorted pinecones, pods, acorns, and other natural decorations all make for a wilt-proof wall hanging. Treat them with a few coats of golden yellow paint, then hot-glue them to dried twigs gathered from the yard.

Tabletop Baskets

Baskets are good for more than bearing fruit! Make use of them on the dinner table as centerpieces, salt, and pepper cellars, or and added touch to your guest’s place settings. For each place card, cinch a napkin with a waxed cord and tie the ends around the basket’s handle.

Cornucopia

For the piece de resistance of your fall harvest décor, why not consider the universal symbol of bounty? The cornucopia, that is. This raffia cornucopia lined with a bed of dried wheat stalks holds an abundance of golden squashes, apples, and pears. This is a natural Thanksgiving decoration that radiates good fortune!

LA & Valley Eats: Wine + Cheese

Wine and cheese prove to be an unstoppable food pairing. Check out our favorite wine bars with delicious snacks to pick up from for a fun quarantine pod picnic at home!

Mirabelle Wine Bar

Located: 12518 Burbank Blvd, Valley Village, CA 91607

This cozy but stellar wine bar has settled nicely into sleepy Valley Village. There’s cheese and charcuterie for those needing something light to pair with beers and wine, and the grilled cheese sandwich makes for a heftier bite late into the night. Make a reservation before going!

Buvette

Location: 15005 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

An incredible wine bar that the locals love with snacks and food that complement the wine parings perfectly! Make a reservation before going since there is plenty of outdoor space to sit.

Canyon Bistro & Wine Bar

Location: 120 N Topanga Canyon Blvd #119, Topanga, CA 90290

French-style cuisine, boutique wines & live jazz highlight this chic, art-filled cafe with a patio.

Tabula Rasa

Location: 5125 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Bestia vets Zach Negin and Daniel Flores operate this quaint wine bar in Thai Town. With dark, moody lighting and plenty of approachable wines by the glass, it’s the perfect kind of neighborhood spot.

Bar Covell

Location: 4628 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Dustin Lancaster and Matthew Kaner’s Bar Covell is the definitive Los Angeles wine bar. The bar’s incredibly knowledgeable staff helps guide customers through its constantly changing selection of roughly 150 labels spanning 24 countries. The food selection includes a solid selection of cheese and charcuterie options, as well as some assorted small plates.

Esters Wine Shop & Bar

(Image Credit: Lindsey Huttrer)

Location: 1314 7th St, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Kathryn Coker’s sophisticated wine bar boasts an extensive selection that leans heavily toward import and small-batch labels. Chef Jessica Liu-He oversees Esters’ food menu, which includes bar snacks like lavender almonds and heartier small plates like a sausage with pickles and beer mustard.

Streaming: Classic Rom-Coms

For decades, romantic comedies were derided as unserious “chick flicks,” as if that was a bad thing. But in recent years, the moviegoing public and critics alike have finally come around to celebrate the rom-com in all its frothy, silly, heartwarming glory. Check out some of our favorite classic Rom-Coms on Netflix!

My Best Friend’s Wedding

Julia Roberts was the perfect casting choice for ’90s rom-coms like My Best Friend’s Wedding because her bubbly personality and giant smile helped conceal the fact that her character is kind of a jerk (see also: Runaway Bride, which is unfortunately not available to stream anywhere).

10 Things I Hate About You

10 Things I Hate About You is one of the best entries in the teen-rom-com-based-on-classic-literature genre (see also: Clueless, She’s The Man). Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger star as Kat and Patrick, high school versions of the sparring couple in Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, with Larisa Oleynik (aka Nickelodeon’s Alex Mack) co-starring as Kat’s younger sister Bianca, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt new student Cameron who’s smitten with her.

13 Going On 30

Were one to claim that 13 Going on 30 is the best romantic comedy ever made, there’d be slim argument against it. The movie is a charm on all fronts, from its cast — the winning Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo — to its premise, which involves Garner’s 13-year-old self wishing to become “30 and flirty and thriving” is magically granted.

Crazy, Stupid, Love

Steve Carell’s kicked off his post-The Office career by playing the leading man in two rom-coms: Crazy, Stupid, Love and Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. The former sees Carell as a recently divorced dad navigating the dating scene with the help of a smooth-talking Ryan Gosling.

Economic update for the month ending September 30, 2020

September marked a turbulent month for stocks – Stocks rallied on the last day of September to end the month lower, but much better than they were during the month. At one point, markets were down approximately 10% for the month. Much of the turmoil this month centered around a new round of stimulus. It was widely felt that a coronavirus stimulus package was a done deal in late August. The size and scope of that stimulus were in the range of $2-trillion to $3-trillion. It was felt that a package was days away. All stock markets hit all-time record highs in August. As prospects of a deal on the stimulus package began to fade, stocks began to drop. Over the last few days of September, a new round of negotiations between Democrats, Republicans, and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin have produced results that lead investors to feel a deal is near, and stocks have climbed. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the month at 27,781.70, down 2.3% from 28,430.05 last month. The S&P 500 closed the month at 3,363.01, down 4.1% from 3,500.31 last month. The NASDAQ closed the week at 11,167.31, down 5.2% from 11,775.46 last month.

U.S. Treasury bond yields – The 10-year treasury bond closed the month yielding 0.69%, down from 0.72%, last month. The 30-year treasury bond yield ended the month at 1.46%, down slightly from 1.49% last month.

Mortgage rates – The Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey released on October 1, 2020 reported mortgage rates for the most popular loan products as follows: The 30-year fixed mortgage rate average was 2.88%, down from 2.91% last month. The 15-year fixed was 2.36%, down from 2.56% last month. The 5-year ARM was 2.90%, nearly unchanged from 2.91% last month.

The U.S. economy added 1.37 million jobs in August – The Department of Labor Statistics reported that employers added 1.37 million jobs in August. While that number slightly exceeded expectations, approximately 250,000 were temporary census workers hired by the federal government, so the report was pretty much what analysts expected. The unemployment rate dropped to 8.4% in August from 10.2% in July. August’s unemployment rate was the lowest since March 2020. The unemployment rate in February was 3.6% but I surged in March and April when it peaked at 14.7%. This was due to the government-ordered shutdown of the economy because of the Coronavirus pandemic. While 24.2 million people are still not working, who’s employers have either shut down or reduced staff, the economy is still on a positive track.

Home sales figures are released in the third week of the month for the previous month. These are August’s results.

California’s existing-home sales and prices hit a record high in August – The California Association of Realtors announced that existing, single-family home sales totaled 465,400 in August on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate. That marked a month-over-month increase of 16.3% from the number of sales in July. Year-over-year sales were up 14.6% from August 2019’s 406,100 sales on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate. The state-wide median price also hit a record high. It was $706,900, up 6.3% from $666,320 in July. Year-over-year the median price increased by 14.5% from $617,410 last August. That marked the steepest year over-year-increase in the median price since March 2014 when home prices were recovering from steep drops during the Great Recession financial crisis. The median price is the point at which one half the homes sell for more and one half sell for less. Historic low-interest rates with 30-year fixed at or under 3% have increased buyer demand, and very low inventory levels have created competition and pushed prices up. The unsold inventory index in August held steady at a 2.1-month supply. That was unchanged from July, but down from a 3.2-month supply one year ago. A 5-6-month supply is considered a normal market, but we have not seen that high of an inventory rate for many years. The index indicates the number of months it would take to sell the supply of homes on the market at the current rate of sales. The graph below indicates the number of sales and median prices for counties in Southern California.

The graph below indicates results from Southern California by county.


U.S. existing-home sales and prices soared in August – The National Association of Realtors reported that U.S. existing-home sales hit 6 million in August on a seasonally adjusted yearly basis. The number of homes sold in August was 10.5% higher than in August 2019. That marked the highest number of homes sold in a month since December 2006. Prices also surged. Nationally the median price paid for a home jumped 11.4% from one year ago.

Spooky October Events

Halloween is not canceled this year! We have rounded up some Halloween-Specific Events for the family to enjoy socially distant from others. Book early before they are all sold out!

Haunt’oween LA Halloween Drive-through

When: October 9 – October 31 
Tickets: www.hauntoweenla.com
Where: Westfield Promenade (6100 Topanga Canyon Blvd) 

Trick or treating will look a little different this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get the whole family together for a drive-through experience to get spooky. Coming to Woodland Hills on October 9, a new Haunt’oween L.A. event promises jack-o’-lantern tunnels, pumpkin picking, family-friendly sights and even a bit of “door-to-door” trick or treating—all socially distanced, of course. The entire experience runs between 25 and 35 minutes and costs $70 per car. You’ll find it at 6100 Topanga Canyon Boulevard on the site of the former Westfield Promenade. Tickets are on sale now. 

Nights of the Jack

When: October 1 – November 1 
Tickets: www.nightsofthejack.com
Where: Calabasas 

Cruise across the grounds of the scenic King Gillette Ranch as the Santa Monica Mountains hideaway is illuminated with thousands of hand-carved jack-o’-lanterns. Nights of the Jack returns this year with a drive-through edition, with timed tickets required each night. Expect to spend about 25 minutes on the mile-long trail, and just a heads up that there will be no food or beverages for sale, nor will bathrooms be available.

Disney+ Drive In Festival 

When: Oct 6 – Oct 11 
Tickets: https://www.showclix.com/event/disney-drive-in
Where: Santa Monica Barker Hangar 

Want to watch some Disney classics somewhere other than your couch but you don’t have a subscription to Disney+? Allow this free drive-in movie series at Santa Monica’s Barker Hangar to help. The early October series starts and ends with a pair of invite-only Disney+ original premieres (astronaut series The Right Stuff and music drama Clouds) but in the middle you’ll find a decades-spanning mix of open-to-the-public classics: Tangled, Coco, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, a Halloween-themed Hocus Pocus screening, a sing-a-long edition of The Sound of Music, and Captain Marvel. Free reservations open up on Monday, September 28 at 10am, but capacity is “extremely limited” (we’d say the fact that the ticketing page already leads to a virtual queue probably tells you everything you need to know about the demand for tickets). Each reservation is good for one vehicle with up to four guests.

Huluween Drive-In 

When: Oct 22 – Oct 25
Tickets: https://1iota.com/show/1143/huluween-drive-in 
Where: Los Angeles Equestrian Center, Griffith Park 

Drive through a haunted forest and catch screenings of a pair of new horror movies as well as a mix of old classics. Hulu is taking over the L.A. Equestrian Center for some spooky screenings ahead of Halloween, including its new originals Bad Hair and Books of Blood, plus favorites like Hocus Pocus, Beetlejuice, I Know What You Did Last Summer and Carrie (as well as an opening and closing night set from DJ D-Nice). As for that forest, all we know is that it doesn’t include jump scares, but that it’s at least spooky enough that Hulu says it’s not suitable for young children, and that a bypass option is available. Tickets are totally free but very limited (capped at 150 cars per screening). Also, just a heads up that ticket requests don’t guarantee admission.

Streaming: Disney+ Halloween Themed Movies 

It’s no secret that Disney Plus has the best kids’ movies. Among the vast collection of films in the popular streaming service’s library—storybook fairytales, animated blockbusters, favorite shows, teen musicals, and more—you’ll also find holiday favorites, including age-appropriate Halloween movies for kids. Check out this list of wholesome Halloween Movies that are perfect for the family! 

Hocus Pocus

This 1993 movie about three wacky 300-year-old witches—the Sanderson sisters—is truly a Halloween classic. After three teens accidentally bring the trio back on Halloween, the witches are “running amuck” and literally digging up old friends from the past. The star-studded cast includes Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy.

The Haunted Mansion

Funny man Eddie Murphy stars in this spooky tale of a real estate agent who, along with his wife and two children, try to rescue a historic haunted mansion from its cursed existence. 

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Pumpkin King Jack Skellington is bored with himself and the same ol’, same ol’ “scare tactics” of Halloween. He sets his sights on the new enchanting world of Christmas, but his spooky spin on the holiday doesn’t go over so well. This movie from Tim Burton, of Beetlejuice and Batman fame, was at the forefront of 3-D animation in 1993.

Halloweentown High

When a supernatural teen who comes from a family of witches brings some monster friends (think ogres and gremlins) into her “mortal world” high school disguised as foreign exchange students, her school—and her magic—is threatened by an evil enemy. This movie is the third of the Halloweentown series.

Coco

A little boy who dreams of becoming the greatest musician of all time is told “no music!” his whole life. It’s not until he ends up in the Land of the Dead among his ancestors and makes a most unexpected friend that his family story unfolds.

Home Tips: Fall Preparations Before Winter

With summer in the rear window, we look forward to cooler weather in California. Fall is the perfect time to prep your home for the upcoming winter and it gives you an opportunity to really get to know your home. It’s easy to forget little maintenance tasks that need to happen seasonally in order for the home to perform properly but unfortunately, the repercussions of forgetting these tasks can really financially hurt us. There are different areas inside the house as well as outside on the property that need to be addressed and observed annually. Doing these maintenance checks prolongs the enjoyable quality of your home and helps avoid sudden unexpected expenses.

Let’s start with Indoor Maintenance… go around your house and look for areas of deterioration.

Countertops and Grout/Caulking

Look carefully around where the countertops and the wall meet in the kitchen and bathrooms, are there any little holes that could be a passageway for pests? Do you have grout on your counters that could use some TLC to remove their stains? Baking soda and water or baking soda and lemon juice become a kitchen’s best friend in cleaning grout. What about inside the bathroom showers and baths, they could be wearing away of caulk. A great tip is to use the exterior use paintable latex to seal up any holes and gaps. If the gaps and holes are wider than a quarter-inch than using plastic foam filler. Walking around and seeing what areas need addressing will allow you to smoothly flow from one task to the next. After these items have been fixed or maintained then move onto the paint.

Paint

How does the paint on your walls and around the window look like? Is there a slight draft by the windows?? Are there cracks on your walls or on the ceiling? Discoloration on your ceiling as well as your walls is a clear indication of either water, smoke, or mold damage. If you have ceiling stains that look like a wobbly dirty halo than that could be water damage and could also be coming from damaged or loose shingles or roof tiles which will need to be corrected before mold sets in as well. The last thing one needs is a hefty roof or ceiling repair bill during the rainy season. Check your home for signs of discoloration, flaking, chipped, or cracked paint, especially if you are on a regular schedule with pest control and professional cleaning services. Chemicals from cleaning products as well as pest spray can break down paint and stain or crack it by the baseboards or anywhere where the product can get near the wall. There are waterproofing and sealing paints available for indoor and outdoor use.

Batteries and Filters

The filters in your home determine the air quality in your house which in turn will have a direct effect on your health. If you have children or elderly in your home or anyone with asthma or allergies then you understand the importance of clean air. Living in California we are prone to fires and oftentimes the quality of air leaves many with migraines and nose bleeds. Air filters are so often overlooked that some don’t realize the filter is working with your HVAC system for proper use. When your filter is clean the HVAC system isn’t circulating dust and pollen as well as numerous other particles in the air and throughout your house. Before winter sets in, change your filters.

Again, living in California is synonymous with fires, and doing our part to make sure we are protected goes further than just making sure the stove is properly turned off and no matches are thrown in the trash. Walk around your house and find all the smoke/carbon monoxide detectors and take inventory of how many you have and when maintenance is done on them. Make sure you’re replacing the batteries of your smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector every year and to replace the whole smoke detector every 10 years. You will need to remove your smoke detector from the ceiling and look on the back of the device to see the date of manufacture.

Now that we’ve covered some inside tasks let’s move to the outside…

With rain and wind comes a lot of leaves everywhere. Make sure you clean up your landscape so water can easily get down through away from your house.

Gutters and Downspouts

Keep your gutters and downspouts clear of any leaves and other debris. This keeps water from collecting in different areas of the house like the roof and near the foundation of the house. You want to make sure water drains away from your home. Downspouts should move run off at least 3 feet from the foundation. Your goal is to make sure water doesn’t sit by your home‘s foundation

Trees, Plants, and Bush

You will need to observe your trees and cut any limbs that are too close to your roof as well as any branches that look dead or loose. Trim your trees before the winter rain comes to avoid falling or shedding limbs from high winds damaging your home. Give your plants, bushes, and your flowers some warmth by adding some mulch to the base as well as throughout the flowerbeds.

If you live in a townhouse or a condo it’s a good time to pack up your patio and store anything that could get damaged or moldy during winter. Most buildings have separate detached storage that is often on the ground floor of the parking structure or parking lot. Many times, these areas can collect water if they aren’t in covered parking and damage stored items. Prior to winter, it’s a good idea to go through your storage and organize your items while putting away your packed summer items and patio furniture that can get damaged if displayed during winter.

It may seem like a long list of items to keep track of but just like a car’s oil change or an annual doctor’s check-up, maintaining your home before winter will save you a lot of money in negligent expenses.

In taking these steps to really observe and address your home needs you will further become acquainted with your home and learn what tools and supplies you will need to have around the house as a homeowner.

Streaming: Fall Movies on Netflix

So much happens in the fall: School kicks off in September, we dress up for Halloween in October, and then celebrate Thanksgiving in November. In between all the layering up in cozy sweaters and downing pumpkin spice lattes, some relaxation time is much needed. So take some time off from all the pumpkin carving and back-to-school madness, and queue up a movie on Netflix that fits the cozy-up, fall theme.

E.T 

Steven Spielberg’s iconic sci-fi film is the ultimate pick for snuggling up on the couch. This heartwarming film centered around two unlikely friends will surely put you in the right mood this leaf-falling season.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button 

Brad Pitt is front and center in this one-of-a-kind romantic drama. The acclaimed actor stars as Benjamin Button, a man who mysteriously ages in reverse.

Casper

This might be the year you introduce your kids to Casper the friendly ghost, or just revisit the movie on your own. While a paranormal expert is on the hunt for scary ghosts in a haunted house, his daughter is shocked to find a new friend. 

Julie & Julia 

Following the lives of two real women, Julie Powell and Julia Child, this film shows how their lives become intertwined. At a time when everything is falling apart, Julie seeks comfort in blogging about her experience cooking through Child’s cookbook. Prepare to get inspired, weepy, and hungry while watching this one.

About Time

To us, fall movies on Netflix are best viewed with cozy blankets and a hot cup of cocoa. The best complement to those accoutrements is a romantic movie, like Rachel McAdams’s time-traveling film About Time.

LA & Valley Eats: Pumpkin Everything! 

We have officially crossed the September 21st date threshold, and have entered fall. Huge trends during the fall are dressing up in warmer clothes, switching your drink order from iced to hot, and well… anything pumpkin. We have rounded up a list of pumpkin food items you must try if pumpkin is your jam! Happy fall! 

Huckleberry Cafe – Santa Monica 

What to order: Pumpkin Pie

It doesn’t get much more classic than pumpkin pie. There are plenty of spots to get a good slice around town, but we’re partial to the pumpkin pie at Huckleberry, a fantastic spin featuring all the flavors your nostalgic soul craves.

Pizzana – Brentwood

What to order: Pumpkin Budino

The dessert menu at the pizzeria shares pastry chef and co-founder Candace Nelson with another little sweets shop you may know called Sprinkles. This fall treat combines silky pumpkin budino pudding with a dollop of sweet whipped mascarpone and a brittle of candied pumpkin seeds.

Crossroads Kitchen – Beverly Grove

What to order: Kabocha Squash Ravioli with Pepitas

Not all pumpkin dishes have to be sweets. In this dish, toasted pumpkin seeds are used to add an extra layer of texture to a creamy—but vegan—dish of housemade ravioli stuffed with kabocha squash and harissa. The pasta is a limited-edition menu item only available this autumn.

Sweet Rose Creamery – Studio City

What to order: Pumpkin Bon Bons 

Sweet Rose Creamery has multiple seasonal offerings that all start with their spiced pumpkin ice cream, including a Halloween-themed sundae topped with little ghost marshmallows, but we’re picking the bon bons as our treat of choice. Mini scoops of ice cream, dipped in a fall jacket of Guittard dark chocolate, on sticks, because any food is better when you can eat it on a stick.

Creme Caramel L.A. – Sherman Oaks 

What to order: Kabocha Pumpkin Spice Latte

No orange chemical goo in this latte! Créme Caramel L.A. roasts kabocha squash with all the nutmeg, cinnamon, and other spices you crave to create a flavorful syrup, then adds espresso, condensed milk, and salted caramel to complete the delicious drink.

Cinnaholic – Echo Park & Woodland Hills 

What to order: Pumpkin Pie Cinnamon Rolls 

What could be more decadent than a pumpkin pie cinnamon roll? Maybe one that comes from a bakery that lets you add your choice of any of 20 frosting flavors (we think maple or chai sound like good matches, but you decide) and 22 ice cream parlor-style toppings from pie crust crumbs to chocolate chips. At least these seasonal sugar bombs are 100 percent vegan because at least that sounds kind of healthy.

Home Tips: Household Gadgets

Now that we are spending more time at home, it may be time to consider upgrading a gadget you’ve been using more and more or purchasing a gadget that you didn’t even know you needed until reading this! Check out some of our favorite household gadgets to elevate your time at home.

UV Sanitizer

These come in all shapes and sizes. You can get one for your phone, you can get a larger one to fit your laptop. We’ve seen some people use these and throw in their masks, cellphones, and pacifiers to extend the life between washes. Slowly but surely, UV lights are making their way into everyone’s homes during this time.

Furbo Dog Camera

This dog camera has stellar reviews. You can watch your furry friend from the camera from a live stream, get notified when your dog is barking, coughing, or choking. Two things that set Furbo apart from other dog cameras is that you get a daily summary of your dog’s movement and day along with the ability to talk through the device and throw treats to your pet from your phone! Highly recommend for those of you who are working on site and miss your furry friends.

Dyson Cordless Vacuum

Done with the days of unplugging and plugging in your cord to your vacuum as you move around your home? Consider purchasing a cordless vacuum to streamline the process of keeping your floors dirt and dust free!

Projector

Since we can’t go to the movies, spice up your movie viewing with a projector that can be fit for your garage, or even set it up in your backyard for an outdoor movie night!