FRIDAY POTPOURRI: FAIRYTALES, MAGIC, & GUILTY PLEASURES

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Madeline Hatter (above, and in my new header) recently joined my family of dolls and assorted fairytale images, and I know that I did a little post about her a few weeks ago, when I wrote about A Quest for Alice, my Wonderland doll who has taken up residence in my bins….but obsessions like these seem to rear up every now and then.

 

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Why the obsession with fairytales?  Is it more than just a “second childhood” for me?

I loved fairytales as a child, but my only exposure to them came when I wandered through the connecting orchards that separated my childhood home from that of my aunt and uncle.  My aunt had lovely, richly illustrated fairytale tomes, and I was allowed to leaf through them at will.

There was a certain freedom in being able to just take off and wander…and I don’t think my parents thought there was anything worrisome about these travels of mine.  They didn’t have the time (or patience, I suspect) to yield to my quest for fantasies such as fairytales.

And for me, the little quests were even more gratifying due to their secrecy.  Perhaps I wouldn’t savor them so completely now, if I had had free rein to pursue them then.

Who knows?  At any rate, my doll and fairytale collections are a way to enjoy what was forbidden in the past.

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In the present, I also savor little jaunts to neighboring malls and restaurants to enjoy a lunch with an old friend.  We visited The Cheesecake Factory, where we talked and ate for hours.  I had a Hibiscus Martini and some bread while I waited for my friend to arrive.

 

2-4 martini, etc.

My salad came later….This salad in the photo looks HUGE, but it was actually a miniature one…lol.

 

 

2-4 salad

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When I got home, I looked around, as I usually do, taking in the various collections that I enjoy…

 

 

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And resumed reading this captivating book, about a single mom with a teenage daughter…who meets a handsome contractor who will renovate her 70s-style kitchen.  Just Say Yes, by Alyssa Goodnight, is delightful so far.

 

 

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He’s just what she needs…

Single mom Jade Moran isn’t ready for any big changes in either her horrible ’70s kitchen or her romantic life. Her ex did a number on her, and she isn’t interested in getting hurt again. But when she meets a super-hot contractor, she wonders if avocado appliances are on the way out and romance is on the way in.

Max Gianopoulis doesn’t have a clue why he’s so enchanted by Jade. She’s almost as big a mess as her kitchen, and he’s a guy who likes to keep things simple. He let himself get involved with a previous client, and he’s not interested in repeating the experience. But Jade has turned up the flirty heat – and he can’t keep his hands off her.

With everything moving too fast and coming too easy, Jade’s insecurities kick into high gear. She’s not sure she can trust another man again – and she definitely doesn’t believe in magic.

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Ah, magic…fairytales…is there a theme here?  What are your guilty pleasures?

Filed under My Guilty Pleasures.

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THIRSTY THURSDAY & HUNGRY HEARTS: “HOUSE OF WONDER”

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Good morning!  It’s time for Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts, hosted by Lexxie, at (un)Conventional Bookviews.

The idea of Thirsty Thursday and Hungry Hearts is to share a quote with food or drinks that showed up in a recent read, as well as if it’s something you think you’d like or not. Please share the title of the book it happened in, as well as the character who ate or drank the special little something you discovered between the pages of a good read. Please link up beneath, and visit other bloggers who are participating in Thirsty Thursday and Hungry Hearts as well.

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Today’s snippet is from House of Wonder, the story of a family, dysfunctional at best, but beneath it all, our MC, Jenna Parson, begins to find beauty in unexpected places, strength in unlikely people, and a future she couldn’t have imagined.  But that won’t happen until much later.

 

 

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Our food offering comes from the beginning lines, as it’s about a childhood dinner which sounds interesting:

Ours were dinners of boneless chicken breasts, smeared and then baked in the congealed contents of a red and white can.  My mother would have clipped the recipe from a magazine, using sharp orange-handled scissors, the type that can slice down a length of wrapping paper like a fin through placid water.  Warren and I would sit waiting, eating our green bell pepper quarters filled with twisting orange strings of squirt cheese.  They filled the role of vegetable, the bell pepper and cheese boats, but I’d lick out just the cheese.  And then a timer would beep assertively and a steaming casserole dish would be pulled from the oven and set down in front of us.  Portions would be scooped and piled on top of our plates, and then Warren would notice a desiccated piece of rice that was stuck to his fork from three dinners ago.  His brows would draw together as he stared at it, and my mother would take the fork from his hands with a gentle tug.  “For goodness’ sake, Warren,” she’d say, scraping the fleck off with one of her long, shiny magenta fingernails.  “It’s just rice.”

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I had to laugh at this…reminders of 1950s and 60s dinners from housewives who believed that magazine recipes were the key to a perfect dinner.  Of course, the goal back then was quick dinners, and the ingredients were not what they are now.

I’m eager to read this book now…it’s been sitting on my shelf since last year.  What do you have today?  Come on by and share!

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A post for My Guilty Pleasures page.

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SUNDAY POTPOURRI: GUILTY PLEASURES…AND PURGING

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Welcome to another happy Sunday Potpourri event!  My house guests have returned, and we have gone right into fun mode.  Last night, my daughter, son and I went out for Mexican food.  Gabi wasn’t in the mood, but she joined us in fun after we got back.   Below, Heather has a quizzical look on her face as she decides if she wants another Margarita…Duh.  What’s to decide?

 

 

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Here’s Craig, digging in….And, yes, he shaved his head between the last visit and now.  There’s a story behind it….in my post Anticipating the Berliner’s Return, I described how he shaved his head, mourning the loss of his car…stolen!  On the bright side, it was returned the next day, and he picked it up at the towing company.

 

 

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Here’s a great brother-sister hug.  These two, ten years apart in age, have always been in each other’s fan club:

 

 

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Having my 6’5″ son around is handy…like having a human ladder.  Today he easily removed my top shelf of books from my floor to ceiling shelves….see the Before and After pics below.  In the first photo, you can see the top shelves:

 

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And here are some lower down, which were altered by the purging:

 

 

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And, drumroll!  Here are the rearranged shelves.  Several of the books went out to the garage to my Donations Shelves.  In the picture, below, note the highest shelf is now dedicated to the horses…and those books are gone.

 

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This was my first opportunity to truly purge these shelves.  I had removed a few collectibles, but the books had been untouched.

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Now I can relax, read, and maybe watch another Netflix show that we started last night:  Boss, with Kelsey Grammer.

Today I’m reading All the Summer Girls, by Meg Donohue…on and off.  Tonight we will barbecue at Heather’s house.

 

 

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Happy Sunday!  What special events/activities are you looking forward to?  This post is going on My Guilty Pleasures page.

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THIRSTY THURSDAY & HUNGRY HEARTS: “SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY”

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It’s Happy Thursday, with our Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts Event, hosted by Lexxie, at (un)Conventional Bookviews.

The idea of Thirsty Thursday and Hungry Hearts is to share a quote with food or drinks that showed up in a recent read, as well as if it’s something you think you’d like or not. Please share the title of the book it happened in, as well as the character who ate or drank the special little something you discovered between the pages of a good read. Please link up beneath, and visit other bloggers who are participating in Thirsty Thursday and Hungry Hearts as well.

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The book I’m sharing is a little different from what you might expect.  I bought it to reread, and there was also a movie starring Julia Roberts based on the book:  Sleeping with the Enemy.

 

 

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The excerpt I’m sharing is all about how Sara, a battered wife, has cooked up a meal for her obsessive/compulsive husband, striving for perfection.  The meal sounds delicious, except for that underlying fact, and because Martin has just beaten Sara.

It was a good dinner:  juicy hamburgers with onions still faintly crunchy.  Real butter on the potatoes, so Martin could dip each mouthful in a golden puddle; the carrots were sweet and not too soft.  If he woke, his dinner would be ready.  If he slept all night, he’d find his plate on the kitchen table in the morning.

Sara’s throat closed as if she were sobbing, but she wasn’t crying; she made no sound.  The cherry cake had her best custard frosting, and almonds scattered over it.  She dumped her dinner and piece of cake in the garbage can, and got ready for bed quietly, very quietly.

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What do you think?  What feelings does this passage evoke?

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THIRSTY THURSDAY & HUNGRY HEARTS: A GUILTY PLEASURES EVENT

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I’ve been itching to try this Thursday meme, hosted by Lexxie, at (Un)Conventional Book Views.  It fits nicely into my Guilty Pleasures feature, too, so here goes:

The idea of Thirsty Thursday and Hungry Hearts is to share a quote with food or drinks that showed up in a recent read, as well as if it’s something you think you’d like or not. Please share the title of the book it happened in, as well as the character who ate or drank the special little something you discovered between the pages of a good read. Please link up beneath, and visit other bloggers who are participating in Thirsty Thursday and Hungry Hearts as well.

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My excerpt is from The Hurricane Sisters, a book I just started, and one of the main characters is Maisie, a woman who just turned eighty, and whose dysfunctional family is celebrating the event with her.  For many of them, she is something of an annoyance, albeit a necessary one, which makes the celebration even more sweet.

 

 

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The cake was very pretty, all covered in marzipan hydrangeas of every color, just like the ones I grew.  All the waiters sang and my family sang along too.  Ivy and Ashley (her grandchildren) took pictures with their phones and the Glass and I smiled, thinking again I was very lucky to be surrounded by so many lovely people who cared about making me happy in that moment.

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I’m not really a cake person, but I do love the sound of this one!  What do you think?

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A GUILTY PLEASURES READ: “ALL THE STARS IN THE HEAVENS”

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Welcome to another Waiting on Wednesday event, hosted by Jill, at Breaking the Spine.

Every week, we gather around the blogosphere and search out the upcoming book releases, sharing our thoughts and blurbs.  Today, I am eager to feature another book from a favorite author.  I love spotlighting eagerly anticipated books on this blog, the place where I can shout out about my guilty pleasures.

 

Books by Adriana Trigiani are delectable, and so is her upcoming release, due on October 13:  All the Stars in the Heavens.

 

 

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Adriana Trigiani, the New York Times bestselling author of the blockbuster epic The Shoemaker’s Wife, returns with her biggest and boldest novel yet, a hypnotic tale based on a true story and filled with her signature elements: family ties, artistry, romance, and adventure. Born in the golden age of Hollywood, All the Stars in the Heavens captures the luster, drama, power, and secrets that could only thrive in the studio system—viewed through the lives of an unforgettable cast of players creating magic on the screen and behind the scenes.

In this spectacular saga as radiant, thrilling, and beguiling as Hollywood itself, Adriana Trigiani takes us back to Tinsel Town’s golden age—an era as brutal as it was resplendent—and into the complex and glamorous world of a young actress hungry for fame and success. With meticulous, beautiful detail, Trigiani paints a rich, historical landscape of 1930s Los Angeles, where European and American artisans flocked to pursue the ultimate dream: to tell stories on the silver screen.

The movie business is booming in 1935 when twenty-one-year-old Loretta Young meets thirty-four-year-old Clark Gable on the set of The Call of the Wild. Though he’s already married, Gable falls for the stunning and vivacious young actress instantly.

Far from the glittering lights of Hollywood, Sister Alda Ducci has been forced to leave her convent and begin a new journey that leads her to Loretta. Becoming Miss Young’s secretary, the innocent and pious young Alda must navigate the wild terrain of Hollywood with fierce determination and a moral code that derives from her Italian roots. Over the course of decades, she and Loretta encounter scandal and adventure, choose love and passion, and forge an enduring bond of love and loyalty that will be put to the test when they eventually face the greatest obstacle of their lives.

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Doesn’t this one fit the “guilty pleasures” theme perfectly?  I know I am eager to read it.  What are you spotlighting today?

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SUNDAY POTPOURRI: ENJOYING WHAT LIES AHEAD

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Here we are again, a Sunday afternoon, with the promise of good things ahead.

I just finished watching some episodes of Gilmore Girls on Netflix, and I am taking my time, in this 7th season, hoping to savor every moment, since once the seasons are over, it’s nothing but reruns in my future.

There is no more of this show.  Just like so many other shows that have bitten the dust, like Parenthood (recently), or Private Practice (a while ago), etc.

I hate when shows end.  Especially when I didn’t even know about them until they were over, like Gilmore Girls, or One Tree Hill.

So happy for Netflix!

Over on Chocolate & Mimosas, I chat about guilty pleasures, including some recent ones my daughter has enjoyed in her Nashville trip.

I have never been…to Nashville, I mean.  Although I have enjoyed some “girls gone wild” moments, that wasn’t one of them.

Let’s not go there, though, as today is not about my “wild” moments, but about enjoying what is ahead of us. 

Next, I plan to keep reading a book that has really captured my interest:  What the Dead Know, by Laura Lippman.

 

 

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Thirty years ago two sisters disappeared from a shopping mall. Their bodies were never found and those familiar with the case have always been tortured by these questions: How do you kidnap two girls? Who—or what—could have lured the two sisters away from a busy mall on a Saturday afternoon without leaving behind a single clue or witness?

Now a clearly disoriented woman involved in a rush-hour hit-and-run claims to be the younger of the long-gone Bethany sisters. But her involuntary admission and subsequent attempt to stonewall investigators only deepens the mystery. Where has she been? Why has she waited so long to come forward? Could her abductor truly be a beloved Baltimore cop? There isn’t a shred of evidence to support her story, and every lead she gives the police seems to be another dead end—a dying, incoherent man, a razed house, a missing grave, and a family that disintegrated long ago, torn apart not only by the crime but by the fissures the tragedy revealed in what appeared to be the perfect household.

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I have had a difficult time putting this one down, and now that I have done some of my Sunday stuff, like watching Netflix and doing some shopping, I am eager to get back to this one.

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What are you enjoying on a Sunday near the end of February?

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