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Tales of the Traveling Tote December 1, 2019: Chicago and Lake Martin

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Happy December, My Lovelies!  Time for yet another edition of the Tales of the Traveling Tote. This past quarter, I didn't travel much.  We're planning a wedding, and our niece has been living with us this semester as she's completing a clinical rotation here in Birmingham.  It has been fun having Molly around, and Shelley has been in heaven having her older cousin here!

We did squeeze-in a trip to Chicago.  I wanted to see the Cubs play in Wrigley Field, and I wanted to attend The Impressionist Pastel exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago.

We saw the Cubs defeat the Pittsburgh Pirates 14-1 on September 14th. It was a beautiful day for baseball!  I wish I had more photos, but I took a lot of videos instead.

I love this statue of Harry Caray depicted leading the Cubbies' fans in "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the 7th inning stretch.

The view from our seats right behind the Cubbies' dugout.  

I thoroughly enjoyed the Art Institute's The Impressionist Pastel exhibit.  I don't have any pastels, and I never use that medium, so it interested me to see these studies used for paintings.  Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas were featured.

I also have a new favorite not part of the exhibit:

John Singer Sargent
"Madame Paul Escudier (Louise Lefevre)"
oil on canvas

We have spent several weekends at Lake Martin this fall.

La Countess de Monet loves visiting Lake Martin
This is outside the carriage barn at Russell Crossroads

One gorgeous weekend in November, we went to Russell Crossroads because the girls wanted to go trail riding.  Below are a few photos from the Crossroads area including the barn.

View of Spring House restaurant, the number one restaurant in the State of Alabama, from the barn
We enjoyed a quail dinner there during the weekend.

Shelley riding Joker

Molly riding Yella Fella

I love draft horses, and the barn has five of them.  These two are Clydesdales.  

Below are photos of the little town square at Russell Crossroads featuring Catherine's Market.  If you've ever been to Modica Market at Seaside, it's very similar only better!

La Countess de Monet and I have been busy at home planning a wedding :D
The first few weeks of 2020 will be very busy for us!  I am hoping to perhaps take a couple of quick trips before the wedding.

As usual, we're hosting a very lovely giveaway this quarter!  Check it out!

Sweet Emily at The French Hutch is hosting the giveaway.  Use the links below to visit all the other ladies because I bet their posts will be much more exciting than mine (haha)!

Debbie with Miss Aurora @ Mountain Breaths 
Emily with Miss Courtney ChildsThe French Hutch
Jenna with Miss Coquille @The Painted Apron
Linda P with Miss Lola @ Life and Linda
 Patti with Miss Kenzie @ Pandora's Box
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  

I hope you all have a wonderful Advent Season.  Please be sure to read my Advent posts every Sunday, and my First Sunday of Advent post will be live this evening.

Until next time...

Ricki Jill


  1. Do you know that I have NEVER been on a horse? And a friend of mine growing up had one - so I dont know why that is so!! I am sure I would enjoy it, so I should probably put it on my bucket list. Chicago is always a fun place to visit and the pastels look amazing and remind me of a class i took in college. When is the big wedding day? How exciting it is to plan all the wedding events - hectic, but fun!! Happy December

  2. I know you enjoyed your getaway to Chicago to see your Cubs! And, wow, would I have loved that exhibit too. Lake Martin is a special place and I do know how you love your visits there. I do love Monica Market in Seaside so I do have to get to Catherine's. Great pics of the family on the trails. Great pics, great post. Look forward to seeing you soon for lunch.........Happy December Ricki Jill.

  3. What a lovely barn and a fun opportunity for the kids to ride the horses! The fall colors were just spectacular!
    Weddings are so much fun, but so much work - hope all goes well, and you can bask in the fun of it all.
    My oldest and her husband's family and all of their kids love the "Cubbies" - he has gone to Chicago a couple of times for the games. So glad you got to go! One of my little grands said, "Grandma, don't you just love the Cubbies?!!!" Haha, I haven't really gotten into baseball. She was quite aghast! Now I have to love the Cubbies with them!

  4. I know you were in heaven in Chicago at the ball game RJ! And the pastel exhibit, swoon...I have dabbled in pastels and it is a fabulous yet tricky medium, I do so admire those artists who successfully master it! What a beautiful Fall we had in Alabama once the heat broke...the girls are adorable on their horses. Have fun with wedding plans and excitement these next weeks, such special times for mom and bride to be! Happy December!

  5. Oh, a trip to Chicago would be fun! I know it was special to be at the game and to see the beautiful pastel exhibit. You photos of Shelly on Joker always make me smile. I grew up with horses, but I don't think I even one photo of me or my siblings or our cousins on one of our childhood horses. Only one from a trail ride in CO. I do have some funny memories from chidhood horse adventures. 🤗 Thanks for taking us along! Happy December!

  6. Oh happy you got to Chicago for a game to see the Cubs play. Glad they won too. The Art museum is always fun. Glad you had nice weather for it too.
    Have a great week ahead.

  7. La Countess de Monet must be in her glory visiting Lake Martin! I enjoy horseback riding, and plan to do it again when we go to CO. Happy December, and have fun with the wedding plans.

  8. Ricki Jill, love your slices of life with your girls and the exhibit you attended. As a dancer I have always admired Degas, but Mary Cassatt and John Singer Sargent are also very pleasing to me. The Russell Crossroads looks like a great place to relax and rejuvenate. Makes me wonder what kind of style/venue is planned for the wedding. I know you must be up to your eyeballs with ideas and plans for the wedding. With your touch, and Countess de Monet to do some heavy lifting, I have every confidence it will be successfully beautiful. Happy December!

  9. We were able to get to a Twins game at Target Field, they played the Yankees. We went to Milwaukee to Miller Park to see the Brewers take on the Astro's.. Cole pitched and we did loose the game, but we got to see Yeli hit a homerun!!!!

  10. Well, of COURSE you went to the Cubs! Yay, go Cubbies! And the art museum in Chicago is one of my favorites -- a fabulous collection. But all your ventures sound delightful!

  11. Ricki, You are a busy girl! Planning a wedding is not for the faint of heart! I wish the best for all of you!
    Glad you did get a nice trip to Chicago and lots of time at Lake Martin to enjoy the fall.
    Happy December!

  12. So happy you got to get away to Chicago to see the cubs. Art museums are always fun and interesting. Loved seeing the kiddos riding horses. The horses have unique names. The barn is lovely. I have a deep appreciation for stylin barns. Our friends remodeled their barn and their daughter had her reception there. Good luck with the wedding planning. Have fun with it.

  13. I enjoyed looking at the photos and the places that you and your bag have visited.


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I'm Ricki Jill. Welcome! I'm honored that you're reading my blog. I enjoy sharing my creative lifestyle @ The Bookish Dilettante. For more information about my blog, please read the Start Here page. Thank-you for stopping by, and I hope you'll consider following me via email.

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