Sunday, February 24, 2019

Virtual Flowers for a Blog Friend...PLEASE READ!!!

I'm sending some virtual flowers to my sweet blog friend Diane @ Lavender Dreams.

Google deleted her blog.  She's lost everything: every post, comment, photo...

Diane emailed me yesterday.  Here's the story in a nutshell:

My original blog lavenderdreamstoo was unfairly removed by blogger and I need your help to get it back.

Please read my post and add what I've written to a post on your blog so that our voices can come together and be heard.

You can copy the entirety of my post or select a few sentences. Anything you can do would mean a lot to me and hopefully will make a difference to blogger! I want my blog back!!! And we all know if this could happen to me, it could happen to any of us!

Sweet hugs, Diane

Before I go on, please click on THIS LINK to her new blog.

This is a snippet of what happened to Diane's blog from her post:

It wasn't someone reporting us. It was Google's automated piece of software (a bot) that roams the Blogger world looking for pre-programmed words of woe. Once it detects something it kills the whole blog without warning. Without any notification about these supposed offending words. Without an opportunity to fix anything. Just ZAP ... your digital life is deleted. Everything is gone!

Ten years of blogging, thousands of posts, many thousands of photos, over ten thousand comments and a hundred thousand heart-felt words all gone in an instant. Devastating! Be warned all you innocents in blogland.

The blog was actually removed twice, for "phishing". Which, as you all know, is absurd. We have never asked for your personal, private information. The Appeals process reinstated the blog the first time then the Google Bot zapped us again the next day. But the second time we were locked out of the Appeals process. We tried sending Feedback. Never got an answer. Tried to post to the Blogger Help Community. They never published the post. Located twenty phone numbers for Google. The numbers are all automated and only a couple allowed you to leave a message. We left messages. Never got a callback.

Google/Blogger pronounces you guilty using an "automated system" (their words) and gives you little or no opportunity to prove otherwise. It's been a nightmare. 

Diane is in the process of putting together a timeline of what's happened with her blog and her correspondence with Google.  She should have it posted shortly.

This is frightening, but honestly I'm not surprised.  I love using Blogger as the platform for my blog.  I resisted moving my blog to Typepad or Wordpress not only for financial reasons, but also for aesthetic reasons.  (For instance, I love how mobile responsive my template is compared to other blogs including Wordpress blogs.)

However, I do own my own domain.  It's inexpensive (via Go Daddy) and I've never had any issues with them.  My blog only costs me around eight dollars per year, maybe ten dollars more if I purchase something like a blog graphic or something which is rare.  If you want to go this route, Linda the Blog Fairy can help you.

I wanted to give all of y'all a heads-up about what's going on with Diane, and more importantly a link where you can find her.  She could really use your support and encouragement right now.

I hope y'all are having a peaceful and blessed Sunday.  I will check in with Diane in a little while and post an update.

Also, if any of you have experienced a similar fate or know of anyone else who has, it would be helpful to Diane to know how it was resolved with Google.

Thanks SO MUCH for taking the time to read this post!  Y'all are the best!

Until next time...

Ricki Jill

Saturday, February 23, 2019

February Book Club Selection: Their Eyes Were Watching God

“They seemed to be staring at the dark, but their eyes were watching God.” 

Happy Saturday, My Lovelies!  I want to apologize for being a day late with our book club post, but it couldn't be helped.  

I've read Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston three or four times, and I'm always surprised by the new things I learn from Janie Crawford.

I hope you're reading the corresponding chapters in The Heroine's Bookshelf by Erin Blakemore for each book because I think it will give you a fresh perspective about the heroines and their authors we're reading this year.  The chapter about Janie Crawford and Zora Neale Hurston is fascinating.  I could see several similarities between Janie and Zora, and I appreciate Blakemore's insights into when would be an optimum time to read these stories.  For example, she states that a good time to read this book is: "When you're not sure you're going to church or going through the motions."  Blakemore also recommends other reads, or "Janie's literary sisters."  I think it would be fun to go back through the book and read the literary sisters' books.  Maybe for next year's book club!

Janie's characteristic that Blakemore writes about in her book is faith.  Janie has it in spades: in God, although she questions Him, and herself.  This is a book about becoming who you are meant to be by exploring an uncharted horizon.  Janie is brave, and she is self-assured.  She has a voice, and she isn't scared of using it:

“Two things everybody's got tuh do fuh theyselves. They got tuh go tuh God, and they got tuh find out about livin' fuh theyselves.” 

"Sometimes God gits familiar wid us womenfolks too and talks His insides business.  He told me how surprised He was 'bout y'all turning out so smart after Him makin' yuh different; and how surprised y'all is goin' tuh be if you ever find out you don't know half as much 'bout us as you think you do.  It's so easy to make yo'self out God Almighty when you ain't got nuthin' tuh strain against but women and chickens."

I'm changing how I'm posting questions for this book only. The main reason is because I am currently not home, and I thought this would be easier for me to moderate comments via my phone.  

I'm posting a few questions here in the post, and y'all can discuss in comments.  I'd appreciate it if you'd ask a few of your own, if you like.  

Their Eyes Were Watching God Discussion Questions

1.   Hurston wrote this book using AAE (African American English) dialect, and she was criticized for doing so.  What are your thoughts about reading stories using AAE?  

2.   There are many references to the horizon (especially that of a sea or ocean) in this book, which is apropos considering the setting is in Florida, and the book's climax is during a hurricane.  How does this symbol apply to Janie's life?

3.   Let's talk about the symbolism of Janie's beautiful hair.  Go!

4.   Death is not only personified in the book, he is a symbol for transition.  How does death provide transitions for Janie?

5.   Why does Hurston have Janie tell her story through flashback?

6.   Janie loved Tea Cake in spite of the fact that he hit her.  What do you make of this, and what do you think about the symbol of the sun as it relates to him?

7.   Blakemore states in her book that Janie represents the characteristic of faith.  If Blakemore decided to rewrite this chapter, what other trait could she attribute to Janie?  

8.  There are so many beautiful quote in this book.  One of my favorites is the first line: "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board."  This is one of the best opening lines I've ever read because it sets a mood of dreaminess and wishes....and I like it!  Do you have a favorite quote from the book?  Please share it!

I hope you enjoyed reading Their Eyes Are Watching God.  I look forward to reading your comments!  I will close comments Tuesday evening.

Comments are now closed.

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill

Friday, February 15, 2019

Literary Friday: The Golden Tresses of the Dead {and} An Enchantment of Ravens

Happy Literary Friday, My Lovelies!  Today I'm sharing two books with you that I read recently:  The first book is the latest in the Flavia de Luce Mystery Series: The Golden Tresses of the Dead by Alan Bradley, and a wonderful YA fantasy,  An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson.

According to Goodreads:

Although it is autumn in the small English town of Bishop’s Lacey, the chapel is decked with exotic flowers. Yes, Flavia de Luce’s sister Ophelia is at last getting hitched, like a mule to a wagon. “A church is a wonderful place for a wedding,” muses Flavia, “surrounded as it is by the legions of the dead, whose listening bones bear silent witness to every promise made at the altar.” 

Flavia is not your normal twelve-year-old girl. An expert in the chemical nature of poisons, she has solved many mysteries, sharpening her considerable detection skills to the point where she had little choice but to turn professional. So Flavia and dependable Dogger, estate gardener and sounding board extraordinaire, set up shop at the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, eager to serve—not so simple an endeavor with her odious little moon-faced cousin, Undine, constantly underfoot. But Flavia and Dogger persevere. Little does she know that their first case will be extremely close to home, beginning with an unwelcome discovery in Ophelia’s wedding cake: a human finger.

My Review:

I'm an avid Flavia de Luce reader and fan: I've read all ten installments of the series including the one short story (eBook only) "The Curious Case of the Copper Corpse."  I have enjoyed the series immensely, but unfortunately I was disappointed in this latest installment for several reasons.

The first reason for my disappointment is Flavia herself.  She's now twelve, on the cusp of puberty (which seemed evident by her mood swings), and definitely NOT HERSELF!  I understand that if the series continues (which I hope it does) Flavia will enter her teens and eventually grow-up.  However, Mr. Bradley needs to think about how he portrays her because girls do not necessarily lose their God-given talents, confidence, and abilities as they become pubescent.  Flavia definitely seems to second-guess herself which is so out of character for her.  Dogger's character, as lovely as he is, dominates this first official mystery of the "Arthur Dogger and Associates" Detective Firm.  He catches all the clues, and Flavia seems flummoxed by them all.  I'm not buying it.

The second reason for my disappointment is the mystery is never really solved.  I like mysteries to have all loose ends tied-up like a pretty bow on a well-wrapped birthday present.  This one has way too many loose ends for my liking.  I would like to see answers in the next book because I'm not ready to give-up on this series.  Yet.

The third reason for my disappointment is the lack of explanation for how Buckshaw financially can remain in Flavia's hands.  She is the heir to the estate, and she also has an inherited role as a spy for His Majesty's secret spy organization, and it was my understanding that she was to be in training for that role.  I also dislike Feely's being married and sent away, and Daffy was MIA for most of this story.  I miss the sisters' interactions.  

I'm giving this one three out of five stars because it does have a few interesting scenes in Flavia's chemistry lab, and I do love the series as a whole. The elements of the mystery are interesting (yet icky), and  I also enjoyed the history lesson of the Brookwood Cemetery funeral trains.

According to Goodreads:

A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts—even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—in this gorgeous debut novel.

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.

My Review:

I chose this book because YA fantasy author Holly Black (The Spiderwick Chronicles) recommended it in an interview.  I've read a couple of her series with my daughters when they were teens, and I do love how she writes, so I took a chance with this book.  She said in her interview that this book has one of the best Faerie Queens she's ever read, and she's right!  It's fantastic, one of the best YA books I've read in a very long time.

Of course I loved that the heroine Isobel is an artist.  She's so good at reading people: it's almost as if she can peer into her subject's' souls and capture them in oil paint.  Isobel is part of a world that serves fairies via craft because it's fatal for fairies to create anything.  I do appreciate the world that Margaret Rogerson has created in An Enchantment of Ravens.  The meaning of the title is brilliant on a couple of levels, and it illustrates how perceptive and witty Isobel is.

The plot is fast-paced, and it was difficult for me to put it down at night.  I love how Isobel and Rook's love story develops: it's well-written and creative.  A few of the villains are so creepy and scary, but they were not nightmare-inducing; and there are more than a few surprising twists in the plot.  I also love how a character is not at all what he or she seems....such a surprise!  

I highly recommend this book for older teens and above.  I checked this book out from my local library, but I'm purchasing a copy to give to one of my daughters.  I'm even thinking about buying a second copy for our library at home.

How many of y'all are reading Their Eyes Were Watching God?  It's this month's book club selection, and we'll discuss it next Friday, February 22nd.

Go to the library this weekend and check it out!  You have plenty of time to read it before next Friday!

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

What to Bake for Valentine's Day Breakfast

Happy Wednesday, My Lovelies!  Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, and I have the perfect thing for you to bake for breakfast:  SCONES!

I have been playing with scone recipes forever.  I've tried recipes with sour cream, heavy whipping cream, milk, buttermilk, eggs, no eggs...I think I've tried them all!  But I've finally figured out an easy recipe for scones that combines elements from several recipes I've tried.

Now the one thing that can totally ruin a batch of scones is over handling the dough.  Resist the urge to handle it!  Seriously, I barely touch mine!  ;P

Here in America, we tend to bake our scones in triangles.  We roll the dough into a round and score them or cut them into triangles and bake.  The English make theirs round, and I've found that they seem to be not as dry if they're round.

I love the way my recipe makes the scones rise higher than most recipes.  I learned the trick of using 4t of baking powder from the Fifteen Spatulas Blog.   You can see their English Style Scones Recipe HERE.  Our recipes are very similar, but I keep my butter cold, use heavy whipping cream, and I use caster sugar rather than regular sugar.  I've found that these little tweaks make a difference in the final product.  They are light and moist compared to most scones!

I should've taken a better photo from the side so you can see how they rise...but they almost triple in height.

Easy Scones


2 cups all-purpose flour 
4 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 cup caster sugar
6 T unsalted butter (keep in fridge until ready to use)
1/3 cup whole milk (I use A2 milk)
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 large egg (use the largest egg you can find.  I used a jumbo sized egg.)


1.   Preheat over to 425 F.

2.   Combine all dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse until combined.

3.   Take out butter and measure 6 tablespoons.  Dice butter and add to dry mix.  Pulse several times until you don't see any butter chunks.

4.   Combine the milk, cream, and egg.  Beat until smooth.  Reserve 2 T for egg wash.  Add wet mixture to food processor slowly while it's on low.  Once the dough looks solid, remove onto a floured work surface.

5.   Knead the dough with floured hands only a couple of times.  Lightly pat into a circle 1" high.  Using a round biscuit cutter, cut out four or five scones and place on a cookie sheet with a Silpat mat.  Make as many scones as you can with the scraps, but handle the dough as little as possible. (This recipe only makes about 6 or 7 scones with my biscuit cutter).

6.   Brush the egg wash on top of the scones.

7.   Bake for 13 - 16 minutes (check after 12 just in case) until they are golden brown on top.

Enjoy with butter, jam, honey, or lemon curd. Devonshire cream and whipped cream are delicious toppings, too.

This time I had a pat of butter and a tablespoon of strawberry jam on my scone.

I'm making a fresh batch for breakfast tomorrow morning.  

Do you cook anything special for breakfast on Valentine's Day?

Until next time...

Ricki Jill

Monday, February 11, 2019

Redecorating Shanley Belle's Room

Happy Monday, My Lovelies!  Today I want to share with you a recent project: Redecorating Shanley Belle's bedroom.

For those of you who don't know Shanley Belle, she's our daughter who's a perpetual student.  She's a doc student at LSU, so she isn't home very often.  However, we've been unhappy with her room, and we also wanted to build sturdy bookshelves along her dormer wall.  One of the main reasons we wanted the bookshelves located there is because it's one of the few long walls in our house.  There simply was no other place to put them!

I want to apologize about the poor quality of the photos.  I've given up being able to take decent photos in her room....there just isn't enough natural light!

Here are a few before photos:

Shanley's room was ballet slipper pink.  It truly darkened the darkest room in our home.
Another thing I must share:  Pink is one of THE HARDEST colors to paint over.
We kept her bedding and nightstand, but replaced her bed.

This is the only window in the room, and it's in a funky dormer.  The ceiling also slopes in the room.

Here are the during and after photos:

 We painted the walls and ceiling Polar Bear White by Behr.  

We turned her bed a quarter turn counterclockwise and centered it on the wall you face as you walk into the room.  
The room is dark and claustrophobic because of the one dormer window and the sloped ceiling viewed above.

We kept her bedding and added a new throw pillow from Anthropologie.
Seriously, this might be my new favorite white.  I normally don't even paint with Behr paint!

I love that the lamp has a shiny finial made from the same glass as the lamp! 

We purchased a shiny lamp from Pier1 to lighten-up the dark corner.

I love this pillow.  It has a few sequins scattered about, but they didn't photograph well. 

Looking from the dormer area toward the bathroom and closet.

The art is by Vanessa from A Fanciful Twist, and it's the aunts' house from Practical Magic.

The bookshelves were installed along one of the dormer walls.  It is opposite the wall the bed is on.
Mr. Sketchy Reader built them for me.  I love how the oak stained shelves turned out.

We installed three MacKenzie-Childs Courtly Check Edison light fixtures.
I never thought I'd organize books according to color, but I read a strong defense for it and it won me over.  You might not always remember the author, and you might sometimes forget the author's name, but rarely do you forget what the cover looks like.  This makes sense to me, especially since I'm so visual!  

This is a small bookcase that stores cozy mysteries.  It's a distressed piece, and the circle on top is a circle in the pine wood.  The canisters hold tea.
The artwork is appropriate because Shanley is a book thief.  She "borrows" books from me all the time!
The artwork is from Etsy shop Vintage Expression 702.

We placed a kettle and everything needed for making tea on the chest of drawers.  We have a Nespresso in the library next door to this room.  Shanley prefers tea, so we put the tea stuff in here.

We also collect card catalog art from one of my favorite Etsy shops, Winged World.

On the bottom shelf I placed this basket for library books.  This way I can avoid paying fines especially on new books.  Now I have no excuse!  

The rest of our fiction books are in the library.  Cookbooks are in the kitchen, art books are in the art studio, and home decor books are in the family room.  I think it's important to have books in the rooms where you'll actually  use them.

I literally sorted every book in our home (and dusted them, too)!  We sold a few, but we donated a lot of them to our local libraries, and I recycled the ARC's I no longer wanted.  It was quite a chore!  

Thanks for stopping by.  I kept waiting for better lighting, but I thought I'd go ahead and share even though the photos are horrible.  Now it's time to move on to another project!

What's your favorite, go-to white interior paint?  Please let me know in the comments section below!

Until next time...

Ricki Jill

Friday, February 8, 2019

Literary Friday: Where'd You Go, Bernadette

Happy Literary Friday, My Lovelies!
This week I read Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple.  My daughter recommended it to me, and I checked it out from our local library.  I don't know what took me so long to read it other than I've been very burned the past several years by hyped books, but this one deserves all the hype it's received...and more...

According to Goodreads:

When her daughter Bee claims a family trip to Antarctica as a reward for perfect grades, Bernadette, a fiercely intelligent shut-in, throws herself into preparations for the trip. But worn down by years of trying to live the Seattle life she never wanted, Ms. Fox is on the brink of a meltdown. And after a school fundraiser goes disastrously awry at her hands, she disappears, leaving her family to pick up the pieces--which is exactly what Bee does, weaving together an elaborate web of emails, invoices, and school memos that reveals a secret past Bernadette has been hiding for decades. Where'd You Go Bernadette is an ingenious and unabashedly entertaining novel about a family coming to terms with who they are and the power of a daughter's love for her mother.

My Review:

This is one of my all-time favorite books.  I loved the wit and wisdom of Bernadette: She is a brilliant, agoraphobic (non-practicing) architect who won a MacArthur genius grant early in her career.  When a pet LA project is literally destroyed, she agrees to move with her husband Elgie to Seattle.  Elgie's also a wonder: His animation company has been absorbed by Microsoft, and he heads a division of the software giant.  He also gave the fourth most popular TED Talk of all time.  The couple purchase an abandoned school as their home and never renovate it.  People in their income bracket don't live in squalor like they do: buckets catching rainwater through leaks in the roof; blackberry bushes growing through the floors; and doors that get stuck shut due to humidity.

Bernadette hates Seattle: the people, the weather, the lack of culture, and especially the gnats.  The gnats are the annoying volunteer moms at her daughter Bee's laughingly liberal school.  A big chunk of the narrative is epistolary, and the school's newsletters are memorable and laugh out loud funny!  Bernadette is so disgusted with her environment, she hires a VA (virtual assistant) in India to do everything for her so she won't have to interact with stupid people.  A series of misunderstood and unfortunate events lead to Elgie's decision to have Bernadette involuntarily committed to a mental hospital, but before this can be achieved, Elgie learns that Bernadette is a person of interest in an unbelievable FBI investigation.  

And then Bernadette disappears...

The rest of the narrative that isn't epistolary is told from Bee's point of view.  She's determined to find her mother and bring her home.  I love Bee: She certainly has her parents' intelligence, yet she has the sagacity her parents lack.  I enjoyed reading about Bee's search for Bernadette; during the process, she learns so much about her mother.  There are several surprises in the plot, especially who aids Bee in her search.  Not only is this a sweet book about a daughter's love for her mother, it's also about what happens to an artist who stops creating.  The characters, plot, and humor in this novel are unforgettable.  I was so sad when I finished the book's last page, and the ending was more than satisfying.  I highly recommend you read it before the movie comes out.  I'm very happy that Kate Blanchett was cast as Bernadette.  :D

Here is a trailer for the movie Where'd You Go, Bernadette.

The movie is scheduled to be released on August 9th of this year.

I hope y'all have a wonderful weekend!

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Book Review: How the Light Gets In by Jolina Petersheim

Happy Tuesday, My Lovelies!  I hope your week is going well so far.  Today I have another book review from Tyndale House Publishers, How the Light Gets In by Jolina Petersheim.  This is Christian fiction set in a Mennonite community (Petersheim's heritage is Mennonite).  The book will be released on March 5, 2019, so you have plenty of time to preorder it.

According to Goodreads:

"Compellingly woven by Jolina Petersheim's capable pen, How the Light Gets In follows a trail of grief toward healing, leading to an impossible choice--what is best when every path will hurt someone?" --Lisa Wingate, New York Times bestselling author of Before We Were Yours

From the highly acclaimed author of The Outcast and The Alliance comes an engrossing novel about marriage and motherhood, loss and moving on.

When Ruth Neufeld's husband and father-in-law are killed working for a relief organization overseas, she travels to Wisconsin with her young daughters and mother-in-law Mabel to bury her husband. She hopes the Mennonite community will be a quiet place to grieve and piece together next steps.

Ruth and her family are welcomed by Elam, her husband's cousin, who invites them to stay at his cranberry farm through the harvest. Sifting through fields of berries and memories of a marriage that was broken long before her husband died, Ruth finds solace in the beauty of the land and healing through hard work and budding friendship. She also encounters the possibility of new love with Elam, whose gentle encouragement awakens hopes and dreams she thought she'd lost forever.

But an unexpected twist threatens to unseat the happy ending Ruth is about to write for herself. On the precipice of a fresh start and a new marriage, Ruth must make an impossible decision: which path to choose if her husband isn't dead after all.

My Review:

When I first read the synopsis, I was a little bit upset because I thought it contained too many spoilers, but trust doesn't.  The plot has a few twist and turns I did not see coming, so I think that there's lots here to discuss.  If you'd like to suggest this book for your book club, here is a LINK to a book club kit that even includes delicious cranberry recipes reminiscent of the novel's cranberry farm setting.  The kit makes it easy to host a book club meeting to discuss How the Light Gets In.

I like the fact that Ruth's journey is certainly a biblical allusion to the story of Ruth.  She is so kind to her mother-in-law; they have a great relationship with each other.  Ruth makes a leap of faith to follow Mabel to her home after the deaths of both their husbands.  Like her biblical counterpart, she becomes determined not to let the past hold her back.  

One of the central themes of the book is how Christians tend to focus on the one purpose God has for our lives.  What happens if we screw-up God's one plan?  Why do we not only limit ourselves, but foolishly limit God?  One of my favorite quotes in the book is said by Ruth's father:

"I think God winks a bit at our self-torture...You act as if there's only one purpose for your life.  One destination.  One end goal...God's will is like this hand.  The five fingers represent the five different routes your life could take-and yet, regardless of what you choose, are you still not contained in the palm of his hand?"

If you enjoy contemporary Christian fiction, well-written plots with unexpected twists, and stories with biblical allusions, then you will love How the Light Gets In.  It's definitely an inspiring read, and it's good to be reminded of Ruth's story of enduring faith and loyalty as it has inspired women for millennia.


I received an ARC of How the Light Gets In from the publisher via TLC Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review.  Thank you!

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill

Friday, February 1, 2019

Where In The World Is...(?)

Happy Friday *and* February, My Lovelies!  

Today the Traveling Totes are playing a game:  Where In The World Are We???

Well, dear sweet readers, I didn't get very far....nope!  We've stayed close to home during Christmas and January, but we have a couple of trips planned for the near future.

*HOWEVER* I did go somewhere VERY fun, and VERY exciting.  Let's see if you can *guess* where I am....

Below are some pictorial clues to help you guess...

This is Miss Daisy.  She is not the real hostess....she just holds plants in the spring.
She's trying to steal my mug!

I am at someone's home.  You might know her...

You might even read her blog.  She has a beautiful home because she has exquisite taste...

Another friend is here, too.  Her Courtly Check mug is shown, and our hostess's wine glass is almost full....probably due to the stress of the impending (no-show) snowstorm!  

Our hostess with the mostess loves to arrange flowers.

She also loves to entertain and cook!

She enjoys baking pizzas in her new pizza oven.  Her outdoor kitchen is da bomb!

She's also an artist.

I know I just gave it away with that clue.  I'm at Jenna's house!!!  And I LOVE it!!!

BTW the only two decent photos shown in this post were taken by Emily.  I'm having an issue with my phone, but if you want to see some great photos of our luncheon at Jenna's, look at their blogs (and the other Traveling Totes' posts) by clicking on the links below!

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
Katie with Miss Daisy @ Preppy Empty Nester
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