Happy Thursday, My Lovelies!  Today is the first day of fall.  

Does it feel like fall in your neck of the woods?  Yesterday it was in the nineties here in Central Alabama, but I won't let that stop me from enjoying all the fall things.

If you need a little nudge to get into the fall spirit, I have just the book for you:  Jennifer Snow's A Lot Like Forever.

About A Lot Like Forever
Paperback: 336 Pages

Publisher: Entangled: Amara (August 23, 2022)

Whitney Carlisle has everything under control–or at least that’s what she needs everyone in Blue Moon Bay to think. She has always faced the hard times in her life head-on and come out stronger for it. But this time, she isn’t so sure. Whitney knows she needs help, but how can she put that burden on Trent, her fiancé? How can she crush his dreams by telling him the plans they made for a future together have to change?

All Trent Connolly wants is to get married, have kids, and spend the rest of his life loving Whitney. Their relationship has had its share of ups and downs–like any other couple–and they’ve always managed to get through it unscathed. So when Whitney is clearly struggling with something, Trent is ready to help. His fiancée’s strong will is part of what draws him to her–but this time, it feels like it’s pushing him away.

Whatever Whitney is hiding from everyone has to be big. Possibly life-changing. She must believe that revealing her secret would do Trent more harm than good, even if it crushes her under the weight of it. The only thing he can do now is be there for her in whatever way she needs…until a secret of his own comes to light that threatens to steal their chance at forever.

Although A Lot Like Forever is Book 3 in the Blue Moon Bay Series, each book in the series is STANDALONE:

* A Lot Like Love
* A Lot Like Christmas
* A Lot Like Forever

I appreciate it when an author and/or publisher sends extras with books and ARCs.  This book came with a postcard and bookmark.

This is what the postcard says:

Dear Readers:

Welcome back to Blue Moon Bay!  Fall is my favorite season with its changing weather and beautiful landscape of colors, so I love setting books during that time of year.  Pumpkin spice and spooky Halloween movies, the fall harvest, and visiting the corn maze are all very special to me and my family, and I love incorporating those elements into my stories.

This fall romance features a very driven heroine with no time to slow down and a local bar owner who is determined to support her any way he can.  Unfortunately, secrets threaten to destroy the strong foundation they've built their relationship on.  Sometimes love can be tested even when two people are perfect for one another.  I hope you'll enjoy Whitney and Trent's journey to a second chance at forever-together.

Enjoy fall in Blue Moon Bay!
Jennifer Snow

I enjoy stories set in fall, too!

Here's My Review:

Whitney has a secret: It was love from the start with her now-fiancé Trent, but a bombshell has rocked her life, and she can’t let go of their dreams long enough to tell her husband-to-be the truth that will change everything. 

Ensue a second-chance romance that sweetly wraps back around to show how the couple met and fell in love… and proves to us how their relationship could be unbreakable, if they’re brave enough to take a leap of faith. 

Trent was pure cinnamon roll here— all sweetness and support, with an intense determination anyone could love. It was Whitney who had to grow and adapt to her life being turned upside down when she was already overwhelmed from wedding planning, a sick mother, and a cutthroat job. 

Other than the romance, the highlight of this book is the fall atmosphere! You have all the fall themes, including a haunted house, in a cozy coastal Hallmark town setting that includes both biological and found family. I recommend pairing this book with some spiced cider while wearing flannel. 

Below is an IndieBound affiliate link:

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

Disclosure:  I received a paperback copy of A Lot Like Forever from the publisher via TLC Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review.  Thank-you for asking me to be a part of the tour!

Until next time...

Ricki Jill

Happy Wednesday, My Lovelies!  Since tomorrow is the first day of fall, I thought I'd share an easy fall centerpiece tutorial.  I wanted something pretty and easy for our kitchen table.

I was inspired by a recent visit to my happy place, Leaf 'n Petal, in Cahaba Heights.  

This beautiful centerpiece is between three and four feet long.  Its base is a long bread server.

Here's a close-up.

The sweet lady who always helps me was busy with a customer, so I just took these photos so I could show her when I returned.  Yesterday, when I returned, she helped me get the materials together that I needed for the project.  I didn't want to take the container I was using to the shop because I didn't want to risk breaking it, but I did have the dimensions with me in order to purchase the right amount of pumpkins and gourds.

Here's what you'll need for the centerpiece:

pumpkins and gourds
fake berries


First, arrange your pumpkins in the container.
Next, place moss in between the pumpkins.

Note:  Place newspaper or craft paper on table before making your centerpiece.  I didn't do that, and the moss made one hot mess!

Next, arrange vine around pumpkins.

This vine has bright green stuff on it.  I took a close-up so you can see it better.

Finally, insert the berries.  I cut them off the stem and inserted them in the moss.

After I spent fifteen minutes cleaning up the mess I made, I placed a table runner (with blues, grays, reds, and oranges) to match the container and pumpkins on the table and centered the centerpiece.  

If you're a local reader, the Leaf 'n Petal has everything to make one, and they have beautiful containers, too.

Come back tomorrow for a book review about a cozy romance set during fall!

Until next time...

Ricki Jill



Hello, My Lovelies!  Welcome to the Welcome Fall Tablescape Blog Hop hosted by Sweet Rita @ Panoply!  

I love fall.  What's not to like?  The days are cooler, the skies are bluer, and everything important is flavored pumpkin spice.  I also love sweaters and sweater weather, pumpkins, college football, bonfires, and Hallmark's Countdown to Christmas.

Because I love so much about fall, it was hard for me to decide on just one theme for my tablescape.  I was inspired by two things: one of my favorite movies and a milestone from my own life:

Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address. On the other hand, this not knowing has its charms.
~Joe Fox, You've Got Mail

Don't you just LOVE that movie?  It will truly put you in the fall spirit.  It inspired me to make a bouquet of paint brushes, though, because for the first time in months I was able to go back to my art class in person!  Buh-bye, ZOOM!!!

Come on into our dining room and see what I put together:

I found the plates in an email from West Elm.  I laughed for about thirty minutes when I saw them, and when I noticed that they were on sale, I bought them for less than $10.00 each.
Our daughter Shelley, also an artist, HATES them.  She's insulted because Vermeer's Girl With The Pearl Earring is a favorite of hers, and she also likes Van Gogh.

I wanted my centerpiece to be a vanitas.  I have several features seen in most vanitas paintings, like the flowers, fruit, paintbrushes, painting, and a book.  All represent fleeting worldly pursuits and ephemeral beauty.  The brevity of life is represented by the tea light candles.

According to Wikipedia, vanitas is a symbolic work of art showing the transience of life, the futility of pleasure, and the certainty of death, often contrasting symbols of wealth and symbols of ephemerality and death.  

“Vanitas—Still Life with Bouquet and Skull,” by Adriaen van Utrecht, circa 1642.

This genre was popular with the Dutch Old Masters, and skulls, timepieces, and withering vegetation are featured prominently in these paintings.  (My husband has a skull from school, but I decided not to use it in my vanitas).  These carry the same meaning—life is short and fleeting.  Musical, writing, and art instruments as well as symbols of wealth represent that earthly pursuits are worthless or in vain.

The wooden human figure (or maquette) used in figure drawing is what I'm using in my vanitas in lieu of a skull.  ;P

I like the painterly effect of the table runner.

Klimt, Da Vinci, Vermeer, and Van Gogh
from the Rachel Kozlowski Dapper Animal collection

The table needed a little humor to balance the vanitas!


Luncheon plates and table runner:  West Elm
Chargers, flowerpot, small compote, and votives:  MacKenzie-Childs
Small vase and napkins:  Anthropologie
Paint brushes:  Winsor & Newton and Silver Brush
Teacup and saucer painting artist:  RJ Treleaven
Flower frog and maquette: Gifts from generous friends
Water glasses:  Vintage
White wooden chargers:  Pier1
Flatware:  Horchow

Me and My Captain - Shine On Harvest Moon
Home is Where the Boat Is - Cusp of Fall with Woodland Friends
Hyacinths for the Soul - Whoooo is Ready for Autumn?
The Painted Apron - Early Fall Pumpkin Patch
From My Carolina Home - Autumn Apples Tablescape
Celebrate and Decorate - A Fall Tablescape in Shades of Blue
Living With Thanksgiving - Fall Vibes
Dinner at Eight - Mums Lead the Way to Fall
Thrifting Wonderland - It's Time for a Fall Tablescape
The Bookish Dilettante - Back to (Art) School
Life and Linda - Welcome Fall
Corner of Plaid and Paisley - Fall Tablescape - Autumn Gnome
Red Cottage Chronicles - Cozy Up Around an Autumn Dinner Table

Until next time...

Ricki Jill


Happy September, My Lovelies!  

Welcome to the September 2022 edition of the Tales of the Traveling Tote!  I only have one short weekend getaway to share with y'all.  After chemo and before my surgery we decided to go to Mentone, Alabama.  Our trip was at the end of June, and it was nice to escape to a place slightly cooler than Birmingham.

La Countess de Monet at one of the Welcome to Mentone sites.

Mentone is a small town located in Northeast Alabama.  It boasts the highest elevation of all of Alabama's towns on the crest of Lookout Mountain (1,736 feet).  There are several private camps located in Mentone (Camp Alpine for boys is one), and it is close to the Little River Canyon and DeSoto Falls.  

DeSoto Falls is one of the tallest and most visited waterfalls in Alabama.  It is named for Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto, and the 107 foot waterfall and the picnic area is part of DeSoto State Park on Lookout Mountain.

Photo by Sam Dellaporta on Unsplash

Note:  The day we went to the park, it was a little rainy so I left my camera in the car.

Did you know that Alabama has a canyon?  Yes, we do!  AND it's on top of a mountain!

Little River Canyon National Preserve is a United States National Preserve located on top of Lookout Mountain near Fort Payne, Alabama, and DeSoto State Park.  The canyon is sometimes said to be the nation's longest mountaintop river.  Little River is unique because it flows for most of its length atop Lookout Mountain in northeast Alabama. Forested uplands, waterfalls, canyon rims and bluffs, pools, boulders, and sandstone cliffs offer settings for a variety of recreational activities. 

Here are some photos, also taken by Sam Dellaporta:

Little River Canyon

Little River

Most people visit Mentone to relax and enjoy nature by hiking.  Annually Mentone hosts several art festivals, but there was really nothing going on the weekend we went.  We walked, ate at one of my favorite restaurants, visited a lovely farmer's market, and enjoyed a few of Mentone's pretty gardens.

Below are some photos I took:

We are never disappointed with the Wildflower Cafe.

La Countess made a friend!

Raspberries were in season.

The photos below are a few from the gardens we visited.  I was just playing with my camera because the light kept changing that day.

I'm packing Miss Square Peggy, La Countess de Monet, and Miss Candy Max for an upcoming adventure for December's post!

Please visit the other ladies' posts to read about their adventures.  

Don't forget to enter the giveaway! 

Blog Hop Links:

Debbie with Miss Aurora @ Mountain Breaths 
Emily with Miss Courtney ChildsThe French Hutch
 Patti with Miss Kenzie @ Pandora's Box
Jenna with Miss Coquille @The Painted Apron
Linda P with Miss Lola @ Life and Linda
Rita with Miss Luna C Panoply 
Sarah with Miss Merri Mac @ Hyacinths for the Soul
Jackie and Miss Madi K @ Purple Chocolat Home
Ricki Jill and Countess De Monet @ The Sketchy Reader
Cherry Kay and Carrie Ann Hall @ Entertaining Women  

Until next time...

Ricki Jill

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