Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Gifts for the Anglophile

On Cyber Monday I posted perfect gifts for the Francophile on your Christmas list.  You can see that post here.  With a family-full of Anglophiles, I had to do the same for them.



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Burberry Haymarket Check rain boot



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Emma Penguin Deluxe Edition with needlework look, from Barnes & Noble




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Harris Tweed laptop case



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Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry acceptance letter, from the WB Shop



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William and Kate commemorative mug, from Emma Bridgewater


What is on your Wish List this year?

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

We Want to Know Wednesday #11





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This week's questions are provided by Queso.


1. what is the worst job you have ever had?


Folding sweaters at a retail boutique.

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2. have you ever been fired?



No.

3. what would your dream job be?



That is a tough one...probably either naming the OPI nail polish colors or painting the cover art for Cook's Illustrated Magazine.


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La Paz-itively Hot Pink by OPI



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Got to *love* this cover art...*le sigh*...





4. what did you want to be when you "grew up"?



I wanted to be a Radio City Music Hall Rocket.


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5. how old were you when you got your first job?



I was 19, almost 20, and I landed the only paying job at my university's radio station.





Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Happy List #34




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My Happy List

1.     I am so happy that I got to spend a week with my girls as they were out of school for Fall Break.  We had such a nice time, and I was able to meet a few of Shanley's new college friends, too!  Spending time with my girls makes me so, so happy!

2.     I have put away all of our Thanksgiving decor.  It makes me happy to get stuff done!!!  


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All I have left out from Thanksgiving is this one flower arrangement.

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3.     I had to shop at Sephora for some Clinique eye make-up remover, and look what the sweet sales associate gave me!  Dior freebies!!!



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Shelley wanted it so I gave it to her.  I really like the Dior Addict fragrance. Freebies make me happy!
For Sephora coupons, see Coupon Mate!


4.     I found a great candle at Sephora.  This Climbing Rose's Folly candle in Geranium Bourbon smells like heaven.  It was originally $32 and I bought it for $7.95.  Expensive candles bought at a bargain price makes me happy!


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5.     I painted at Ellen's house today.  Painting at Ellen's makes me happy! I'm making progress on this crazy French kitchen interior, Harvest Gold appliances and all!  Elaine's post here reminds me of that kitchen, so her post made me very happy, too!

What's on your happy list today?

Miss Angie is hosting this linky for Mamarazzi here.  I hope you will join us!

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

     

Monday, November 28, 2011

Gifts for the Francophile

It's Cyber Monday, and I thought I would help you with your Christmas shopping list  ;P

Here are a few things I found for the Francophile on your list.  I will post a similar list for Anglophiles on Wednesday.




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Pragmatic vase from Anthropologie







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For the Francophile who has everything: a Laguiole champagne sabre from Williams-Sonoma



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Although maybe not as classic as L'heure Bleue or Shalimar, Champs-Elysees is a lovely fragrance from the House of Guerlain.  Sold stateside at Sephora



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Lavender always reminds me of Provence.  Lavender gift set from L'Occitane



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Monsieur et Madame candles, one for each bedside table, from Market Street Candles


I am here to help!  ;P


Are you shopping this Cyber Monday?  I must admit I am much more of a Cyber Monday girl than a Black Friday girl.  I like avoiding crowds!

Both of my girls are back in school after a long Fall Break *sadface*  It was so nice having them both out of class and having fun!

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill



Friday, November 25, 2011

Literary Friday: I am Half Sick of Shadows

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This week I have been reading the latest Flavia de Luce mystery, I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley.  If you have not begun reading this series I highly recommend you start.  Right now.  What are you waiting for?  It is Black Friday, and you can buy these books cheaply today, I'm sure!

I Am Half-Sick of Shadows is the fourth book in the series.  Here are the first three:

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You can read my posts about The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie here, and A Red Herring Without Mustard here.  I do not want to be repetitive, so if you want more information about Flavia, the eleven year old genius, chemist, and detective extraordinaire, please read my previous posts, or visit Flavia's fan club here.

Now about I am Half-Sick of Shadows.......

In the fourth installment of the series, it is Christmas, 1950, in the sleepy English village of Bishop's Lacey.  The de Luce family's estate, Buckshaw, is about to be the setting of Phyllis Wyvern's latest movie, and she has agreed to perform scenes from Romeo and Juliet with her co-star, Desmond Duncan, to raise money for the local Anglican church.  As a blizzard traps practically the whole village at Buckshaw, a murder is committed.  Only Flavia can solve the mystery...but can she do so in time to trap St. Nick?

I loved this installment because you get more information about Dogger, and insight into Flavia's relationships with her older sisters, Ophelia and Daphne. I thought Daphne was incredible in this book, and I liked seeing a different side to her.  There is a bit of a cliffhanger concerning a rare (almost non-existent) Shakespeare folio and the future of Buckshaw.  I also want more answers about Dogger, his friendship with Colonel de Luce, and their activities/service during World War II.

I know I have posted this video before, but it is a fun trailer for the book.  I hope you enjoy it!




Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill






Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving! {...and a recipe}

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Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!


I hope everyone is enjoying time with family and friends.  Our week has been busy so far, and it will be even more busy as family and friends stop by to celebrate the season.

Today I am sharing our appetizer from lunch: corn chowder.

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Corn Chowder

Ingredients:

2 T butter
1 chopped onion
1/2 cup minced celery
1 minced red bell pepper
4 cups fresh sweet corn (about 5 cobs)
1/2 t salt
1/4 t thyme
1/2 t dried basil
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup evaporated milk or cream
freshly ground pepper to taste

1.     In a medium-sized sauce pan begin cooking the onions in the bitter over medium-low heat, stirring constantly.  After about 4 minutes, add celery, and continue cooking.  After five minutes, add peppers and corn.

2.     Add seasonings, stir well, and cover.  Reduce heat to low, and cook five minutes.

3.     Add vegetable stock.  Cover and simmer about 10 minutes.  Using a blender or food processor, puree about half the solids in some if the soup's own liquid.

4.     About ten minutes before serving, add the milk (or cream).  Do not cook, simply heat until it is the correct temperature for serving.


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It looks a bit like queso dip, but it tastes nothing like it!

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill




Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Menu and Dining Table

The groceries are bought, the silver is polished, the table is set, and the cooking has begun.  My older daughter and I have been working hard all day so we can enjoy tomorrow.

This is our Thanksgiving luncheon menu:

Appetizer:
Corn Chowder

Main Course:
Smoked Turkey Breast
Turkey Gravy
Chicken Dressing
Stuffing
Green Bean Casserole
Sweet Potato Casserole
Glazed Carrots
Cranberry Salad (chunky)
Molded Cranberry Jelly
Plain Yeast Rolls
Herbed Yeast Rolls

Pie Bar:
Blackberry Cobbler
Apple Pie
Cherry Pie
Buttermilk Pie
Sweet Potato Pie

Here are a few photos of our dining room.  You can see last year's tables here.  It is hard to believe that I have been blogging for over a year.  I let that one slip past me!

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I hope y'all are enjoying your time with your friends and family.  I will post my recipe for corn chowder tomorrow.

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My Happy List #33


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For My Happy List today, I would like to tell you a story....About a Girl.....


Once upon a time, there was a girl.  She said she would *never* attend college in the South

She said there was no reason to purchase student football tickets because she would never attend a game.  She said she had rather sell them for the money because football is stupid.


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Shanley Belle on game day at the University of Alabama...which is in the South the last time I checked.


The same little girl said that she would never pledge a sorority because she would not find a good "fit" for her.

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Hmmmm.....Okay.....so.....aren't those your pledge sisters....at Bryant-Denny Stadium?


She also said that she would never dress up for a football game, or sit in the Greek section, and the world would end before she would wear houndstooth to an Alabama football game.

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Ummmm....someone go and check the sky for Jesus....plus her date is wearing a bow tie with little elephants on it and crimson pants with little "A's" all over them....How much do you want to bet that he is in a fraternity sitting in the Greek section?


{Sometimes a mom just needs to entertain herself.  ;P }

I am happy because my daughter is so very happy!

My daughter is home for Thanksgiving, and this makes me very, very happy!


Join Mamarazzi for My Happy List.


What have you been doing today?  

Until next time,

Blessings, and Roll Tide!
Ricki Jill


Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving Prep

Today I am planning the menu and decorating for Thanksgiving, cleaning house, and doing laundry.  I wanted to share this adorable banner I bought from Alicia @ La Famille.  Her Etsy store is La Famille at Home, and you can find some very cute Christmas items there.

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I might need to stop by and look for some Christmas goodies at La Famille at Home.



How are your Thanksgiving preparations coming along?

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Friday, November 18, 2011

Literary Friday: Before Ever After

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This week I read Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto.  My sweet bloggy friend, Diane @ Diane Writes recommended it a few weeks ago in this post.  I am so happy I read this it because of the book's unique premise.

The video teaser for this book was so well done.  It does an excellent job of summarizing the basic plot.



Warning:  If you did not view the video, the remainder of this post will not make sense to you.


We do not have the opportunity to learn about Max and Shelley's love story in real time;  we are told their story in flashback.  I think Sotto was brilliant in retelling their story in this way because it allows Shelley to recall Max's melancholy and its possible source as Paolo and Shelley look for clues in stories Max shared with his tourists during The Slight Detour.  

A flier for The Slight Detour reads:

Not for the prissy or the daft.

Nutters most welcome.

Good fun and excellent egg breakfasts included.

I loved everything about the quirky Slight Detour.  One would never find the stories Max shares in any history book.  I kept thinking while reading it how much I would love to travel through time and witness my ancestors, their joys, and their sorrows.  I must mention that Samantha Sotto is a huge Dr. Who and David Tenant fan which is a good enough reason to read her books in my opinion!

I must say that I loved the history in this book.  I enjoyed the chapter about the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79 best.  I also liked the myth and incarnation of a very creepy, sociopathic immortal who seems to threaten Max.  This book has plenty of suspense, chickens, and eggs! Max's unhealthy obsession with chickens and eggs is a major plot point, and as Shelley recalls scenes from their tour, the obsession begins to make sense.  I just wish I had Max's world-famous recipe for baked eggs and cheese!

Before Ever After was such a pleasure to read.  It is not a romance, but it is romantic.  It also has history, suspense, drama, magical realism, and a nail-biting ending.  Shelley's grief over Max is so palpable; I was truly rooting for her to find the answers.  I suggest you find this book, make a hot cup of jasmine tea, and relax and read.

You can see Shelley's scrapbook from the tour on Samantha Sotto's website here.

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill






Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gettin' Twiggy With It

Recently I watched an episode of HGTV's Color Splash Miami that blew me away.  A Twilight mom wanted to redecorate her living room and dining room using the Cullen house from the Twilight saga as her inspiration.  David Bromstad's interpretation of Twilight in the room was very interesting.  I liked most of the elements, especially the shiny mushrooms and textures in the throw pillows, rugs, and ottomans.  The crew installed hundreds of pieces of logs on the wall, and David painted a green apple similar to the red one on the cover of Twilight. The homeowner wanted green as an accent color to remind her of the moss, trees, and ferns that grow in the forests of Washington state.

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Did any of you see this episode?  What did you think about the rooms?

I started wondering how many folks would really want to live with raw wood in their home.  I did find some pretty inspiring photos.

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source
I love the retro woodland upholstery and drapery fabric in combination with the majolica collection.


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I think I prefer branches and stumps in small doses, like in this photo:

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Stumps can even work in a contemporary loft.

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This home office featured in Country Living Magazine eventually influenced me to put wallpaper in our art studio.

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Check it out:  there is a twig shelf in it!

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What do you think about these rooms?  Would you like any of these furnishings in your home?

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill