Friday Five – Links to Love – Hotober edition

Apple Picking 15

It’s October, and you know what that means – cool, crisp days, fires in the fireplace, scarves and boots, hot apple cider … Oh wait. I live in LA, and that means it’s ONE HUNDRED DEGREES today. I’m always irrationally mad at Southern California for ruining my favorite season. I’m sure you’re all tired of me bitching about the weather, so the good news is that this is probably the turning point, and that some time in the foreseeable future I may again be able to wear clothing with sleeves. Now on to the links to love:

1. From the Archives:

Now that it’s October proper, I feel like we can indulge in unabashed pumpkining. I’m totally going to make this pumpkin pie french toast this weekend, and pretend that it feels seasononal.

2. Speaking of Seasonal…

If the change of seasons and the end of the stone fruit has left you feeling a little bit lost, you might want to check out this fantastic seasonal produce guide from the LA Times. It’s California-centric, but roughly accurate for the rest of the country, who are mostly getting fruits and vegetables from California anyway.

3. They Say It’s Your Birthday…

One of the reasons I love October despite being a native Californian with all the potential for awful weather that implies is because it’s my birthday month! I’m going to ignore the gray hair, and take a page from the Nuni’s book to focus on … presents! One of the things I’ve become moderately obsessed with this year is these absolutely chic ear pebble earrings from Catherine Canino.  I love that combination of classic and modern, and they could really be worn with everything.  (PS, they’re also available – and aptly named! – at Anthropologie.)

4. The Vaguely Literary Link

Because part of my raison d’etre is to be a book blog. This is only very tenuously bookish, but will delight Shakespeare nerds and other followers of Elizabethan culture. Modern song lyrics rewritten in the style of 16th century sonnets. A sample:

“All eyes are fix’d upon thee, most entranc’d-/thy coronation as the Queen of Dance!” — Abba

5. The Semi-Serious Feminist Article

Only this one’s all sexy. Have you guys been watching Outlander on Starz? You all know I’ve been a fan of the books since I read the first one (in college! I was 20!) and the TV series does not disappoint.  Created by Ron More (who also created BattleStar Galactica), it’s a little slow-paced, but makes up for it with gorgeous scenery, authentic period details, fine acting, and eye candy.  Lots of eye candy.  This article from Maureen Ryan (Huffpo’s TV critic) helps explain what feels so FRESH about the series – it’s sexy times!  For women!  The women aren’t just getting raped and fondled (ahem, Game of Thrones – I love you, but I don’t love that about you) – they’re (and by “they”, I mean “she” because there’s still only one real female character) getting their jollies on!   That sounds very salacious, but I promise you, it’s a good read.


We have family in from out of town and I have my book club this weekend, so there will be much gadding about.  What are you up to this weekend?   

xoxo, Kate

Sunday Night Apple Cake with Brown Butter and Bourbon

Easy Apple Cake


We went apple picking this weekend, which means I have about 20 pounds of apples in my kitchen, which means this easy apple cake recipe is going to be made again soon.

Apple picking is one of those things I used to miss most about living in the northeast.  From the first autumn Ken and I were dating (16 years ago now!)  we used to climb into a car (first a tiny blue Ford Festiva, later a zipcar), drive out into the country, and see some beautiful color and pick apples.  When we moved to Southern California, we thought our New England apple-picking days were done.  But, as I described three years ago, we were mistaken.

It took us three years to go back (a delay I attribute squarely to a curly-headed imp we call Typhoon Bootsy) but we’re glad we did.  As we were driving through the Inland Empire (such a glamorous name for a less than glamorous place), listening to the incessant chatter and music of our delightful children (Bootsy is perfecting his Ozzy Osborne version of Kumbaya), we realized that the apple orchards are just as close to us in Los Angeles as they once were in New York.  We pulled up to Stone Pantry Orchards (trees laden with apples!  Close enough to the ground that even the littlest one could pick!)  and proceeded to fill a bag.

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Promoting Your Blog – How to Start a Blog Part 5

Publicize Your Blog


This is part 5 in a 5 part series on How to Start a Blog. This post will deal with promoting your blog, managing your blog, and growing your readership. Also see Part 1 – Choosing a Blog Name, Part 2 – Choosing a Platform and a Blog Host and Part 3 – The Basics of Blog Design and Part 4 – Creating Great Blog Content.

I feel a little bit like a fraud writing this, because obviously I’m not some huge blogger with huge readership, and clearly, The Pioneer Woman should really be writing this post.  (I’ve heard her give the speech – it boils down to “Be Yourself!”  which apparently works well if you are the redheaded wife of a wealthy Oklahoma rancher but the rest of us might need a little help.  Another variation on this is, “Write great content, and people will come.” NO!  There are thousand of great blogs out there without a ton of readers.  Honestly, a big part of your blog really taking off is timing and luck.  Sorry.)    But truly beginning bloggers often have NO IDEA how to get anyone besides their mom to read their blog, and I can give you a few tips.
Continue reading Promoting Your Blog – How to Start a Blog Part 5

Creating Great Blog Content – How to Start a Blog Part 4

Blog Content Tips


This is part 4 in a 5 part series on How to Start a Blog. This post will deal with creating great blog content. Also see Part 1 – Choosing a Blog Name, Part 2 – Choosing a Platform and a Blog Host and Part 3 – The Basics of Blog Design and Part 5 – Promoting your Blog.

When it comes to blogging, content is king.  You can have the best name, the fastest hosting package, and the most beautiful blog design anywhere, but if you don’t have something to say, then blogging may not be for you.  I can’t tell you what to write about  – you may want to just have a personal blog, or be the world’s expert on the appearance of cats in 19th century Scandinavian literature, and those are both OK!  But I can give you some advice – mostly on things to avoid. (Spoiler alert: don’t plagiarize!)

Continue reading Creating Great Blog Content – How to Start a Blog Part 4