Wednesday, February 29, 2012

We Want to Know Wednesday #18





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WWTKW is hosted by Mamarazzi, Crazymama, and Queso.

This week's questions are from Mamarazzi, and she is asking:


{1} What are your Top 3 blogging tips for other bloggers?
{2} What book have you read lately that you would recommend?
{3} What is a physical feature you have been complimented on?
{4} What color is your toothbrush?
{5} What question would you like to add to a future WWTK?




1.   My 3 blogging tips for bloggers?

Please turn off your word verification.  There is NOTHING more annoying. That is why you have a SPAM folder!!!

Do not ignore your readers who leave comments.  It is rude.  Manners matter!

Take the time to proofread.  Grammatical errors are distracting!


2.   I recommend The Heroine's Bookshelf: Life Lessons, from Jane Austen to Laura Ingalls Wilder by Erin Blakemore.  This book reminds us of lessons learned from our favorite literary heroines, like Jo March, Scarlett O'Hara, Scout Finch, Jane Eyre, and others.  Read this book with your daughters, and then read the classics if you've never read them!


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3.   My hair.  Just because it always has odd colors in it.


4.   My toothbrush is red and white.


5.   I would like to know what the WWTKW's participants serve when they have company for dinner.  What are your go-to recipes?  :D


I want to know what your answers are to these questions.  Won't you link up?


Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill



Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My Happy List #45



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My Happy List has a theme this week:

It's All Greek to Me!  :D


1.     My mother and I attended Zeta Day this past weekend.  It was fun and loud!  The young ladies were not shy about showing their Zeta love.



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My mom and I at the Mississippi/Alabama Zeta Day 2012




One of the highlights for me was seeing the actual silver chain of Zeta chapters.  Usually it is on display at the national headquarters, so it was a treat to see it in person here in Alabama.


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My chapter's link in the chain:  Nu Chapter, the University of Alabama, founded on April 10, 1910.

There's a long, long chain of chapters
From North to South, East to West.
There's a loyal group of sisters that we all love best.
How we'd like to have you join us,
And be a Zeta so true.
We'd like, oh how, we'd like to make a
Zeta Girl of you!



We were served a strawberry dessert, of course!  Strawberries were served at the very first Zeta social.


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One of the main reasons I remain active in my sorority is our philanthropy.  I have had several friends develop breast cancer, and they are all the encouragement I need to support the Zeta Tau Alpha Foundation.


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Zeta's partners include the NFL and Yoplait yogurt.


Raising funds and awareness for breast cancer makes me very happy!  I am proud to be a Zeta!



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2.     Our daughter's sorority is hosting a philanthropy event with my husband's fraternity.  Mr. Art @ Home will definitely be there!  She even bought Mr. Art @ Home a t-shirt for the event. She is so cute to think of her daddy!


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A pocket on the front of a fraternity t-shirt is called a frocket!  ;P


Are you Greek?  Are you still active as an alumna in your sorority?  Our local chapter keeps us busy, and I was so proud and in awe of how much money and awareness our local Zeta chapters have raised for breast cancer.

Until next time...

Zeta love!
Ricki Jill

Monday, February 27, 2012

Cooking With Jazz

Mr. Art @ Home made another pretty frame from reclaimed antique pine that was submerged in Mobile bay at one time.  He made it to frame a fun New Orleans Cooking With Jazz poster for the kitchen.  I love it!


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Sorry about the quality of the photo...the glass made it difficult!


There was not much cooking going on around here over the weekend.  But Mr. Art @ Home did bring home some crawfish from Rouses in New Orleans. We had many fun activities and functions, so it was crazy busy!  I will post about some of them tomorrow.  Today, I need to get caught up on work.  I will visit y'all tonight in between homework and watching Ben swoon over that crazy Courtney on The Bachelor.

What are you doing today?

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Friday, February 24, 2012

Literary Friday: Big Art, Small Canvas

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I have been reading the best books lately, but some of them have been a wee bit inappropriate for my blog, and I have even put some of them down and stopped reading them.  It was difficult enough to write a post about Shantaram last week, so this week I am going to share a nonfiction book I have been enjoying: Big Art Small Canvas by Joyce Washor.

Washor is an artist who prefers small canvases, and I mean tiny:  3" X 4". She truly does an amazing job explaining the process of how to paint small. Her process begins with color theory and how to select subjects for still life paintings.  She even gives step by step instructions on how to set-up your own still life in your studio or work area.  

I have enjoyed this book so much, and I appreciate the practical advice. Washor even shares her best resources for framing!  I have ordered some frames, and I look forward to receiving them and framing my tiny canvases.  I will probably give these to Shanley for her apartment  My only complaint is her paint.  I use Gamblin paint exclusively, and she uses mostly Winsor & Newton.  The colors' names are not the same, so I had to wing it.  I do use Winsor & Newton brushes.  They are my favorite!

Using Washor's instructions, I painted two still life paintings:


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I like the pitcher and vase in this one...not sure about the orange slice and the pepper.


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The orb in front is an orange, the one in back is a yellow onion.  Two roses are in the foreground.


Can you believe that they are only 3" X 4"?  These are not the paintings I wrote about in yesterday's post.  I am working on two other larger canvases and I will share them when they are finished.  Next week, I will set-up a still life in my studio and try Washor's techniques.  

I might write about two or three books next week, one fiction and three nonfiction.  Next week's post will probably be long!

Have you read any good fiction lately?  Please share!


Linking to:



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Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill

Thursday, February 23, 2012

You Have Inspired Me!

I want to thank all of my bloggy friends.  You inspire me every single day to dream, create, give, love, and laugh.  

Now you are even inspiring me in my art.

Here are the next three images I am planning on painting.  Each image is from a blog I follow:



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From Red Rose Alley's gorgeous post on clouds
I recently attended a painting workshop, and the focus was on clouds.  I want to practice what I learned!




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I love the composition and contrast in this image.  




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I think the bulb turned vase with napkin ring as stand is brilliant!  I think this would make a quirky and fun painting.



I am finishing two still life paintings this week, and I cannot wait to begin painting one of these images.  Now I have to decide which one to start painting first.  What do you think about these subjects?  Would you like one of these subjects hanging on your wall?  Please give me feedback because I am trying to figure out what people prefer.


What's inspiring you today?


Linking to:



Thursday Favorite Things













Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

We Want to Know Wednesday #17


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WWTKW is hosted by Mamarazzi, Crazymama, and Queso.  This week's questions are from Crazymama!


{1} What is your go to color if you paint your nails? do your toes and fingernails match?
{2} Have you ever gone for a mani/pedi? how often do you go?
{3} Do you color your hair? do you have a salon do it or do you do it yourself? 
{4} Facials...have you ever had one? 
{5} Would you or have you ever done botox?
{6} Beauty knows no pain, do you believe in waxing, electrolisis, eyelash extentions, anti-aging creams, micro-dermabrasion, peels, botox? 




1.     Here are my all-time favorite picks for nail color:



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Revlon's Cherries in the Snow for fingers



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Chanel's Vamp for toes

Nothing in my life ever really matches.  Well, rarely.....


2.     Yes.  I might get a mani/pedi once, maybe twice a year, but not very often.  I spend too much money on my hair!  When I do get my nails done, I like to use OPI's "I'm Not Really A Waitress" red.


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Got to love this classic red!


3.      I have my hair colored at an Aveda salon.  Their color lasts longer, and it is not as harsh on my hair.  Right now I have light blonde, copper, and stop sign red highlights.  I think your hair should look like it has been colored if you pay for it.  If you want your hair to look "natural," then leave it alone!  Do not color it.  ;P


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Right now I have all three highlights in my hair.  My natural hair color is a dark strawberry blonde, and is very close to the first copper color.



4.     Yes, I have had facials, but I have to be careful with them because I have incredibly sensitive skin.  I have used the Clinique 3-step system since I was thirteen, and my skin is in pretty good condition.  I also use Oil of Olay's Complete daily Moisturizer (with SPF) for Sensitive Skin.


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5.     Let's see....inject a dangerous toxin that close to my brain?  I *so* don't think so.  That's why I have bangs!



6.     Yes, Virginia:  all of these things exist!  ;P  But seriously, the most important things for your skin are exfoliation and sunscreen everyday.  I do not use anti-aging moisturizers.  If my skin is very dry to to skiing or some other reason, I might add Clinique's Moisture Surge on top of the three step program.  I rarely buy it because it is usually in those free gifts when I buy the other products.


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Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My Happy List #44


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Welcome to My Happy List!  Mamarazzi @ Dandelion Wishes hosts this linky every Tuesday.

This week's theme is:

Happy Mardi Gras!


My Happy List


1.     My violas and pansies are so pretty and purple (and yellow) for Mardi Gras!  I also planted some pretty pericallis in shades of purple and white. Pretty springtime flowers make me happy!


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I am loving the pericallis! 




2.     Speaking of flowers, I bought these daisies from the $1.99 bin at the grocery store, and they looked so pitiful.  I revived them with some warm water and aspirins.  Aren't they pretty! Bargains make me so happy!




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3.     Mr. Art @  Home went on a quest to find me the twentieth anniversary edition of Outlander for my Valentine's Day present.  He had to visit three different stores.  He could not understand why I wanted it because I have already read it, but the special edition has a CD of the musical in the back.  :D

Then, on Friday night, he took my by the bookstore and bought me another book:


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New books make me very happy!




4.     While my family eats King Cake today for Mardi Gras, I will be enjoying a tasty treat, too: Pumpkin Pudding.  Please don't gag.  We made it last week in cooking class, and no one was thrilled about it, until we tasted it. Seriously, it was one of the favorite dishes of the day, and it is healthy! Yummy and healthy desserts make me happy!



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Pumpkin Pudding
(serves 8)


Ingredients:


1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree, canned or fresh
2 large eggs
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon
2 cups skim milk (I used 2%)
2/3 cup orange juice
Whipped topping, if desired

Procedure: 


1.   Beat pumpkin and eggs in a large heavy saucepan.  Combine cornstarch, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cardamon in a medium bowl and stir into the pumpkin mixture. Add milk and juice.

2.   Cook over medium heat, whisking continuously.  Be sure to get the corners where lumps can hide until the pudding is very thick, about ten minutes.

3.   Reduce the heat and give the pudding a few quick whisks to remove any lumps.  Divide among 8 ramekins.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about two hours.  Add a small amount of whipped topping if desired.

133 calories;  2g fat;  1g saturated fat;  4 g protein;  26 g carbohydrates;  58mg sodium; 2 g fiber



5.   Check out this sky today!  Pretty walking weather, so I am putting on my Pumped Up Kicks and I am walking this afternoon!  YAY!  Walking makes me happy and in shape!


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6.   Look at who I spotted in our backyard!  He is out of hibernation, so spring must be right around the corner.  I love spring because it means the end of winter.  Springtime makes me happy!


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What has made you happy this week?  Link up and share your happy!

Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill


Monday, February 20, 2012

Musical Monday: Best Performance from the Grammys



We listen to lots of Taylor Swift around here because our fourteen year old daughter, Shelley, loves her.  I like her, too, and I think that Shelley could not have chosen a better role model. Watch her performance at this year's Grammy Awards, and notice her reaction at the end when she receives a standing ovation:




Taylor Swift performs "Mean" at the 2012 Grammy Awards


I love this song.  It reminds me of when Shanley Belle (our nineteen year old) was thirteen and in middle school.  There was a girl in our neighborhood who was nasty and mean to her.  We were telling an elderly friend about this mean girl when she walked into the restaurant where we were eating lunch. This sweet lady looked at the girl, her eyes got really large, and she said:"That is the mean girl?  SERIOUSLY?  I thought that she must be pretty. Why, good heavens! She isn't pretty enough to be THAT mean!!!"

We laughed so hard we cried.  So now whenever anyone is mean at Shelley's middle school, she just shakes her head, and says, "I'm sorry...but you aren't pretty enough to be that mean!"

What have you been listening to lately?  Please join Miss Angie for Musical Mondays.


Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Quite a Transformation

I have been meaning to post photos of Shanley's sorority house.  It is simply stunning since Matt Clinton redecorated it.  He is so talented; he did an amazing job with the Delta Zeta house.  I only wish he had been chosen to redecorate my sorority house!


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A server in the dining room



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The formal living room


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Another view of the formal living room.  The TV can be hidden when not in use.  One of the things I love about the new design is the artwork!



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Gathering room.  I love the cheerful colors!


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The girls are truly enjoying their pretty home.


Matt Clinton Designs also offers dorm room "fluffing" services for young ladies.  You can visit his website here.

I am eating lunch with some friends today, then it is back home to tackle a pile of laundry.  I might put on a good movie while I get it done.  This is a good day for it because it is going to rain.  What are your plans for today?


Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

Friday, February 17, 2012

Literary Friday: Shantaram

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For the past two weeks, I have been reading Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts.  Shantaram is the Dixie Diva Book Club's January selection.  I would have never chosen this book on my own, but that is why I belong to a book club because it challenges me through reading books out of my comfort zone.  My life has been enriched by reading Shantaram because it made me think about what is truly important in life.  It also made me so thankful for my faith.  It is a thriller with plenty of culture, humor, and romance. Gregory David Roberts is an extremely talented writer, and it was well worth reading the book's {over} 900 pages.

The protagonist in the story is Lin, an escaped convict from an Australian maximum security prison.  With the help from friends and a fake New Zealand passport, Lin escapes to Bombay. As a tourist, he travels to a small village and becomes fluent in Marathi.  On his way back to Bombay, thieves steal all his money so he is forced to live in one of the city's slums where he starts a medical clinic for the thousands of people living there.  Eventually he meets Bombay's mafia boss and works for him, mostly in currency exchange and document forgery.  The mafia boss, an Afghan, recruits Lin to accompany him on a weapons running expedition to his home country for the Jihad against the Soviets.  Lin is a likable character in spite of some of his decisions.  His mores are very complicated and questionable, and a big part of this book discusses the philosophical question of good versus evil.  I was devastated when he succumbs to heroine, the cause of his downfall in Australia.  His time spent in the opium den is heartbreaking and difficult to read.  Still, I found myself rooting for Lin because he really does "get it" when it comes to what is truly important.  He prefers to live simply (not that he always does), and he has a serving heart which is evident during a severe cholera outbreak in the slum. I find his sense of duty and honor quite humbling.

There are several other characters in the book I enjoyed.  Lin's first Indian friend and tour guide, Prabaker, takes him home to his village and accepts him like a family member. Prabaker's mile-wide smile and positive outlook on life in spite of his poverty touched me.  I would love to have a friend like Prabaker!  Didier, an ex-pat from France, is witty; he is the glue that keeps their little social group at Leopold's Cafe together.  And then there is the enigmatic Karla.  Lin falls in love with Karla at first sight, and she introduces Lin to many contacts in Bombay.

But the true star of Shantaram is Bombay (Mumbai).   I learned so much about the city's people, culture, and atmosphere.  I had never before desired to travel to India.  Shantaram has changed my mind.  Someday I would love to visit Mumbai.  Shantaram is truly a love story: Roberts' love for Mumbai.  I do want to warn you that there is violence in this book, and very bad language. There is an Indian slang phrase that is very offensive and used often in the book.

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Decorating for Mardi Gras



Today I replaced all the hearts and lovebirds with Mardi Gras decorations.  I hated for my Fourteen Days of Love to end, and I appreciate y'all's positive comments about it!


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I am not crazy about the Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold.  I decided to go with a very neutral centerpiece in the breakfast room so it would not compete with the place mats and linens.


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The Mardi Gras print is from my sister in law's company, M & L Nostalgia.  I think the pillow, coasters, and table runner are all so, so cute.


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This has been a busy week with several meetings and appointments.  I cannot wait until this afternoon when I get to blog jog with no interruptions.  I might even turn off my phone!

How is your week going?


Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill