porch refresh | apple cider mojito | kitchen gadgets

it’s friday, gang!  summer is over, and fall is here.  out with the old and in with the new.  as an (adopted) southern woman, that means a mandatory refresh of my porches:  front and back. i love the gold undertones of fall leaves that give the oranges, the reds, and the yellows their subtle but unmistakable shimmer.   out go any remaining semblances of lazy summer days, and in come any and all combinations of this color palette: whether it be the fall harvest—pumpkins and cornucopias—or spooky, but always fun, Halloween skeletons. 

my long time followers know that i love to decorate.  i openly admit it. and i got that love from my mother.  growing up, our basement was filled to the brim with decorations for every holiday and season:  spring, summer, fall, and winter. and as a child, i would await the changing of the seasons in anticipation of my mother to out boxes full of decorations i hadn’t seen in a year.

my trusty gardening tools and garden clogs are back in action for planting mums in my flower boxes.

now, i don’t want to scare anyone.  the holidays aren’t upon us. yet.  but there’s nothing wrong with getting a little jump start in preparation for the craziness that will surely ensue.  so today, instead of giving you a new recipe to try, i’m going to show you my fall porch refresh. i hope it will inspire you to pull out your box of decorations and create some memories with your (grand)kiddos. 

starting with the front porch refresh, i’ve scattered a variety of mums in my planter boxes.  the subtle reds and yellows provide a nice backdrop for my Pièce de résistance: a bouquet of skeletons.  isn’t it fun (and a bit spooky)?

although i’ve streamlined things a bit this year, and taken a more minimalist approach, you can imagine going full-blown.  for a color pop, head to your local nursery and grab some celosia or goldenrod. scatter them amongst a healthy dose of pumpkins, squash, and other harvest favorites and you’ll be feeling fall in no time.  and of course, i haven’t even touched on the endless possibilities Halloween decorating affords us…

and if it’s still 91 degrees where you are, keep it breezy with this sleeveless collared top (old, similar here) and comfy joggers from Ann Taylor Loft (old, similar here and here). as for footwear, i elevated the casual look of the joggers with snake print cap toe slingbacks (old, similar here and here).  

i’ve streamlined the back porch refresh this year as well: i rotated my decorative pillows, pulled out a beautiful wool blanket, and a surprisingly simple, yet elegant centerpiece for the dining table. 

as soon as temperatures start to drop, the back porch will become my most trafficked room, especially now that most of my kiddos are in town.  

in preparation for the many dinners and late night conversations we’ll all enjoy, i’m sitting down to try a new cocktail: a fall-inspired apple cider mojito. the crisp, minty flavor takes the edge off the sweetness of the cider—a true juxtaposition of tastes.

Apple Cider Mojitos
Apple cider mojito fall cocktail
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  1. Ice
  2. Juice of 1 lemon
  3. 1/2 c. gold rum
  4. apple cider
  5. Mint, for garnish
  6. Apple slices, for garnish
  7. Cinnamon sticks, for garnish
  1. Fill 2 glasses with ice.
  2. Add the juice of half a lemon to each glass.
  3. Divide the rum between the two glasses, then fill 3/4 of the way full with apple cider.
  4. Top each with a splash of seltzer and stir to combine.
  5. Garnish with mint and apple slices.
Adapted from delish
Adapted from delish
Style At A Certain Age https://www.styleatacertainage.com/

and although i don’t have a recipe for you this week, i’d thought i’d try something new.  i’m giving you my top 4 kitchen accessories i currently can’t live without. let me know what you think in the comments below. 

silicone splatter screens are great because they stay cool to the touch. this one is nice because it folds for easy use and storage.

i get a lot of use out of a fine mesh skimmer, because it serves multiple purposes. it’s perfect for skimming fine particles out of soups and sauces, and it also works great to scoop small pastas like tortellini or ravioli out of boiling water.

 silicone spatulas have replaced virtually all of the wooden spoons in my kitchen. they are great because they don’t conduct heat and won’t scuff up my nonstick pans. they are also the perfect tool for getting every last drop of batter or sauce out of a pan or bowl.

peeling garlic is even more annoying than chopping garlic. but this super simple gadget makes quick work of getting your cloves peeled and ready to go.

all right gang, another week in the books.  but before you go and enjoy that apple cider mojito, let me know some of your fall memories in the comment section below.  did you unpack Halloween decorations with your mother or grandmother? what sites and smells do you have floating around your kitchen this time of year? 


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  1. Chris Illius wrote:

    HURRAY! I love the decorating tips and ideas – I’m so glad you added this! Your home is just beautiful and I love the back screened in porch – so comfy looking – ENVYYYYY! 🙂 We are in the Cleveland OH area and had a distinct nip in the air that I don’t think my doggers are ready for. Thank you for sharing Beth! OH PS, I love the minimalist approach too, although I did it big time when my kiddos were little. I have little ones in the neighborhood and like to do it up a bit for them still – starting to get ready for Outdoor Christmas decorating since we can get snow/rain/sleet and cold up here – as you know from living in the midwest! Have a great weekend Beth!!

    Posted 9.27.19
    • Lyn wrote:

      I lost my husband a few days ago and I want you to know how much your posts have helped me over the past few weeks.

      Posted 9.27.19
  2. Julianne Leistner wrote:

    Beth, you and Oscar are looking good, as always! I look forward to seeing you two every Friday. Ollie appearances are an extra-special bonus (as I’m sure she would agree). Thanks for the recipes, too!

    Posted 9.27.19
  3. Susan wrote:

    Trips to the pumpkin patch was always a must when our daughter was young. We also did it every year with our grandsons who are now both in College! Love the porch, it looks so inviting! Have a wonderful weekend!!

    Posted 9.27.19
  4. Karen wrote:

    Hi Beth! I am a decorator as well. I already have all of my Fall things out on display. Pumpkins, Fall leaves, Halloween themed characters. I have sliver sparkle skeletons that are “see no evil, speak no evil, and say no evil on my mantle. Everyone comments on them! i also love to mix in crows with my pumpkins. Wish I could send you pictures! We are in Rochester NY, and are huge Bills’ fans.. So WE LOVE FALL!!!!

    Posted 9.27.19
  5. Julie Mycock wrote:

    Hi Beth, everything is looking great. Both you and Oscar are looking well, I thought that you looked quite relaxed. Thank you for the cocktail recipes too.
    Have a lovely weekend xoxo

    Posted 9.27.19
  6. Jo wrote:

    I love to decorate too so pumpkins have been slowly making an appearance inside and outside my home as fall slowly arrives. Still in the 90’s where I live but you can still feel a change in the air. Love your porches and always love seeing Oscar. He is just adorable and love his sweet face!
    Happy Fall!

    Posted 9.27.19
  7. Madeleine wrote:

    Anyone old enough to remember when you could burn leaves at curbside? Oh, the lovely scent of autumn

    Posted 9.27.19
  8. Donna Skrenta wrote:

    It’s clear to see, with each week passing that you are “falling” into a calming peace and serenity.

    Enjoy the fall season and the messages it brings to your heart.

    You’re an inspiration to many!
    Especially me.

    Your friend from Long Island,

    Posted 9.27.19
  9. Wendy Waters wrote:

    A girl after my own heart; a glass (or two) of Cab Sav on a Friday evening. What better way to end a hectic week.
    xoxo Silver Sister from Across the Pond

    Posted 9.27.19
  10. Lynn wrote:

    Your back porch is GORGEOUS! I put mums, a few pansies and some decorative cabbage/kale in a few of my containers last weekend and put out 2 fall garden flags. I also changed out the decorations and bows on my 2 front door wreaths and put out my indoor fall decor. Since my kids are older and I don’t have yet any grandkids, I don’t decorate for Halloween at the moment. Have a good weekend!

    Posted 9.27.19
    • thanks Lynn! i’m responding for Beth, as she’s in NYC. your decorations sound lovely. have a great weekend.

      Posted 9.27.19
  11. Judy wrote:

    Hi there!
    Your back porch looks amazing. You may have done this before but could you link to your porch furniture and any pros/cons for your porch purchases – including the sectional and the table and chairs? Thank you!

    Posted 9.27.19
  12. Jeanne Myers wrote:

    This is the first year in over 30 years that I was able to get my fall decor out by the first day of autumn. That’s because I finally retired at the end of 2018, moved totally from NC to MI. I know, what were we thinking, but all of our kiddos and grands have moved back to our home state now. So when I open my bins I try to channel my mother, who has always decorated every room to the hilt! I love to place little surprises around the public areas for our friends and family to discover as they stop by for a visit.

    Posted 9.27.19
  13. Judith Presgrove wrote:

    Good afternoon Beth!
    I swear that Oscar poses for the camera.
    He looks like a professional model today!
    Thank you for your beautiful post.
    It’s is so wonderful to see and enjoy something lovey and heartwarming in the midst of all the strife and business of our world today.
    Best wishes to you and your family as you create a blog that not only inspires but gives a “timeout” in midst of hectic days and reminds us all to take time for beauty, family, friends and “Style”!
    Best Regards,

    Posted 9.27.19
  14. Suzanne M Smith wrote:

    I love the light and the shadows this time of year. Your porch will be great for a number of seasons–that’s the nice thing about the south! My mom was the same–always changing everything from season to season, and I think I inherited that gene as well. But I admit I’m scaling back and de-cluttering these days so that each piece is one I “can’t live without,” and really love. It’s been freeing, I must admit. Fall is my favorite season, and I’m so ready. The mojito sounds yummy. I like the addition of the cider. Happy weekend!

    Posted 9.27.19
  15. Denise Kneeland wrote:

    I’ve been reading your blog for a few years. Want to let you know you are inspiring and talented, and as a woman also widowed last year, suddenly, I am buoyed by you resilience. Love your new design and all your Style!

    Posted 9.28.19
  16. Katie wrote:

    Your back porch looks wonderful! Like your featured outfit as well.

    Thanks for the push. I just ordered the garden shoes and need to get busy decorating the back porch. I have no Grands, or close relatives, and the kids in our small (mostly gated far apart homes) neighborhood do not come door to door trick or treating as when mine was little, but I still decorate our home to the absolute max for all holidays.

    Anything that has the scent of pumpkin spice is pleasant in my kitchen right now, but I am not much on cooking myself but once a week when our adult daughter visits with her two dogs.

    I like to plant/arrange seasonal live florals inside and outside just as my Mother use to always have.

    Posted 9.28.19

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