Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Random Tuesday: Chicago Random

Happy Random Tuesday, My Lovelies!  I hope your week is going well so far.  Today in honor of the Chicago Cubs I want to share with you our favorite places to visit in Chicago.

We *love* games at Wrigley Field.  We are the most devoted Cubbies fan!  Here are Mr. Art @ Home and the girls outside Wrigley Field before this season's Game 6 against the Colorado Rockies.

Go, Cubs, Go!
Go, Cubs, Go!
Hey, Chicago!
What do you say?
Cubs are gonna win today!!!

First of all, we like to stay at the Palmer House hotel because it's close to my Mother Ship, The Art Institute of Chicago.  We like to fly into Midway and take the L straight to the hotel.

After checking in, I like to immediately walk to the Art Institute of Chicago.  When we visited in April, we saw the Van Gogh's Bedrooms exhibit.

Van Gogh painted three versions of this bedroom.  This version was loaned from the Musée d'Orsay.

Shelley's favorite art at the museum is Marc Chagall's "America Windows."  We were also able to see the reinstallation of Chagall's "White Crucifixion."

After spending most of the day at the museum we enjoy visiting the Bean at Millennium Park.

The girls enjoy Wicker Park.  A lot.

The coolest coffee shop on the planet is in Wicker Park:  The Wormhole.

All the walking makes us hungry!

We love starting our day with a continental breakfast at Goddess and the Baker.

Our favorite place for dinner:  Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Company.  They make the best pizzas that are part pizza, part potpie.  L@@K:

I hope you enjoyed my mini tour of Chicago!  If Chicago were in the South I'd live there!  It's my favorite city to visit, and I really would love to visit this week and go to a game or two of the World Series.

Go Cubbies Go!

In honor of the Cubbies spectacular season, the Art Institute is flying the W flag and the lions are sporting Cubbies caps.  LOVE this!

Until next time...

Hey, Chicago....what do you say?  Cubs are gonna win today!
Ricki Jill

Monday, October 24, 2016

Prudence and the Crow: The Vintage Literature Subscription Box

Happy Monday Morning, My Lovelies!  Oh, what a great weekend!!!  My beloved #1 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the #6 ranked Texas A & M Aggies.  *PLUS* My Cubbies defeated the Dodgers and the won the NLCS and will be going to the World Series for the first time since 1945.  *squee*

Today I want to share with you a fun subscription box.  Do you subscribe to any subscription boxes? My daughters love Ipsy, and my oldest daughter thinks that Owl Boxes (young adult fiction and other surprises) are the best.  So I decided to try out a few subscription boxes of my own, and I'll review them here on my blog as I receive them.

The first subscription box I found that intrigued me:  Prudence and the Crow.

This subscription is a little more expensive because it's based in London.  However, I was very pleased with my package.  Let's take a look!

The packaging for October is fun!

I received a book in the fabric pouch, the library card that's always a part of the subscription, candy, two tea bags, vintage ephemera, Halloween confetti, candy, and instructions for how to make an origami raven with origami paper.

The Edgar Allan Poe postcard is fun....more on that later.

Cute book plate

The back of the Poe postcard has a list of book recommendations for October: one from Prudence and one from the Crow.

My vintage book:  The Loved One by Evelyn Waugh.  Waugh wrote one of my favorite books, Brideshead Revisited, but I haven't read this one yet.

According to Goodreads:

Following the death of a friend, British poet and pets' mortician Dennis Barlow finds himself entering the artificial Hollywood paradise of the Whispering Glades Memorial Park. Within its golden gates, death, American-style, is wrapped up and sold like a package holiday. There, Dennis enters the fragile and bizarre world of Aimée, the naïve Californian corpse beautician, and Mr Joyboy, the master of the embalmer's art...

A dark and savage satire on the Anglo-American cultural divide, The Loved One depicts a world where love, reputation and death cost a very great deal.

Doesn't this sound like the perfect read for Halloween?!?!?  I can't wait to read it.  I'll post a review one week from today on Halloween.  I highly recommend Prudence and the Crow.  You can visit their Facebook page here.

I have one more book subscription coming, and an art one.  Do you subscribe to any subscription boxes?  Please share in the comments section below!  

Until next time...

Ricki Jill

Friday, October 21, 2016

Literary Friday: Gretel and the Dark

Happy Literary Friday, My Lovelies!  I hope your week has been productive and wonderful.  Recently I read another great book: Gretel in the Dark by Eliza Granville.

From Goodreads:

A dark, distinctive and addictively compelling novel set in fin-de-siècle Vienna and Nazi Germany—with a dizzying final twist.

Vienna, 1899. Josef Breuer—celebrated psychoanalyst—is about to encounter his strangest case yet. Found by the lunatic asylum, thin, head shaved, she claims to have no name, no feelings—to be, in fact, not even human. Intrigued, Breuer determines to fathom the roots of her disturbance.

Years later, in Germany, we meet Krysta. Krysta’s Papa is busy working in the infirmary with the ‘animal people,’ so little Krysta plays alone, lost in the stories of Hansel and Gretel, the Pied Piper, and more. And when everything changes and the world around her becomes as frightening as any fairy tale, Krysta finds her imagination holds powers beyond what she could have ever guessed. . . .

Eliza Granville has had a life-long fascination with the enduring quality of fairytales and their symbolism, and the idea for Gretel and the Dark was sparked when she became interested in the emphasis placed on these stories during the Third Reich.

My Review:

This novel is one of the best debuts I've ever read.  Its structure is a little complicated as there are two narratives woven together within the context of a fairytale.  The turn of the century narrative in Vienna has magical realism elements.  Lillie is found by Dr. Breuer's servant Benjamin and brought to Breuer's home.  She's in pitiful shape when she arrives: She's naked, bald, and mute.  As Lillie overcomes her selective mutism she confides to Dr. Breuer that she isn't human, and her mission is to kill.  Her words do not match her beauty; Both Breuer and Benjamin are enchanted.  The mysterious appearance of butterflies at the Breuer home adds to the magical realism atmosphere and mood, and their symbolism represents the co-narrative set in Nazi Germany.  Benjamin is my favorite character in the book because he sees the world as it is and maintains his honesty.

In the Nazi Germany narrative Krysta's character isn't likable.  I sympathize with her nanny Greet (her mother has passed) because Krysta is such a little pill.  She tells Krysta many stories and fairytales in order to give her a moral education.  When Krysta and her father move away to an insidious complex that houses "animals" not "humans," Krysta draws from Greet's stories to try and make sense of her circumstances because everyone in her world creates false narratives.  Fairytales provide her construct for survival.

Beautifully written, Gretel and the Dark is as the title says: dark!  I find Granville's premise about the Nazi's use of fairytales as propaganda both interesting and insidious.  I highly recommend this book in spite of the disturbing narratives which merge in a surprising twist.  Eliza Granville is an author I will continue to read because her voice is unique and exceptional!

Below is a video with an excerpt from the beginning of the book.  It exemplifies the fairytale atmosphere and narrative style of the novel.  I hope you enjoy it!

I'm adding this book to the list because it certainly has gothic elements!

Have you read any good books lately?  Please share in the comments section below!

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Happy Birthday, Shanley Belle!

Yesterday Shanley Belle celebrated her 24th birthday!  She had a twelve-hour day because she worked and had class until 7:30, but after class she came home to a small family birthday party.  The theme: The Chicago Cubs!  We watched game 4 of the NLCS.  The Cubbies defeated the Dodgers 10-2:  Shanley Belle had a very happy birthday indeed!

I made the big gift bag filled with Cubbies-themed gifts from materials I found at Paper Source.

The cake is from Edgar's Bakery.

I used flowers in Cubbies colors.

I chose this runner for the blue and red Cubbies colors in it.

The puppies wore their Cubbies jerseys for the party.  They will be cubbies for Halloween:  Mustang Sally will be Miguel Montero, Finlay will be Javier Baez, and Lily will be Addison Russell.

Happy Birthday, Shanley Belle!  I hope you enjoyed your little party, and Go Cubbies for Game 5 tonight!


NOTE:  Nothing on the table is that new except for the blue vase.

Table runner, gingham napkins:  Pier 1
Salt and Pepper Shaker Set:  MacKenzie-Childs Aurora pattern from the Taylor Collection
Votives:  Leaf 'n Petal
Red vase:  Cheap plastic thing from the grocery store (flowers came in it and I saved it for the color!)
Blue ceramic vase:  Rachel Ashwell's Shabby Chic
Square white cake platter:  Williams Sonoma
Blue and white dessert plates:  Anthropologie

Until next time...

Ricki Jill

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

Happy Wednesday, My Lovelies!  It's the middle of the week, and I thought I'd share a fantastic pancake recipe for you to try this weekend.  I had these at a local restaurant, and after a couple of trials {and mostly} errors, I'm happy with the recipe results below.

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

2 cups pancake mix (I used The Fresh Market's Buttermilk Pancake Mix)
1 egg
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups whole buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon butter extract (optional)
2 tablespoons melted butter
For serving:
Fresh Blueberries
Lemon Curd


Mix all ingredients together.  Heat griddle and/or pan according to pancake mix instructions.
Serve with lemon curd and blueberries.

Serves 4 - 6

I made silver dollar pancakes.  The blueberries are large mutants, too.

Until next time...

Ricki Jill