Sunday, September 21, 2014

And the winner is...


I took all the comments from May until my last post and put them through the random number generator to choose a winner of the giveaway.


And the winner is Mary of Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes! Mary had multiple entries because she commented on many of my posts.  Mary, please email me your address so I can get your package in the mail.

Thanks to all who commented on the various blog posts since  May. I appreciate every comment and I really enjoyed reading the comments on the giveaway post. I wish I had more books to give away because there were several people who commented on almost every post and they have been loyal readers for years.

So keep those comments coming because I plan to have another giveaway this year.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Autumn Excitement and a Giveaway


It is almost that time of the year, time for my favorite season. I am definitely an Autumn Girl. I love everything about it.

To express my joyfulness and to celebrate a long overdue bloggerversary (it was 6 years in May), I am having a giveaway. The winner will receive an autographed Susan Branch Autumn cookbook and a tin of Autumn Cranberry tea from Jolie Tea in Hamilton.


I taste tested the tea at the Jolie Tea Company this weekend. I can honestly say I think you will enjoy the tea. Of course, there will be a few additional little surprises in your parcel when you receive it (if your name is chosen).

I am so thankful for my readers and especially those who take the time to comment or email me. I want to reward you. So if you have commented on any post since my first post in May your name will be thrown in the hat. In fact, you will get an entry for each post you commented on.

If you are just joining the fun of Café Chatelaine, you can comment on this post or any posts since my first post in May. Obviously I want you reading my blog. The more you comment the more entries you will receive.

I will draw the winner on Sunday, September 21st. Entries will be closed on 6PM on that day and the winner will be announced on my blog. The winner will be notified by email.

Good luck to everyone!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Fall Tablescapes


The temperatures are dropping and that means it's time to plan for my annual Harvest Dinner. I usually host a pre-Thanksgiving dinner in late October or early November. 


You will notice that there are some elements that I always use for this event. The cranberry glass turkey has to be on the table and I think this is the year my lighted table runner made it's debut.


This year I went a little simpler with most of the elements because I went for the wow factor with the white pumpkin centerpiece. The green glasses always add a bit of calming color.


The table runner was linen, just plain and simple. I was going for a rustic elegant theme.


Bonus, you can see my mantelscape too. Everything is interchangeable as sometimes the candlesticks are on the table and so are the pumpkins.


I used a pashmina as a table runner for one Harvest Dinner. The greens and burgundies in the fabric were a nice complement to the browns and oranges on the table. I used to use a gourd as a gravy boat
but it broke during my move to the condo six years ago.



I was just playing with editing in this photo. I just love my turkey dish!


I found some orange sunflowers at the local market and put them in a milk bottle.


Sometimes I use teacups but often I just use my white china cups or white mugs.


Of course no matter how pretty it looks the food must be delicious! The turkey is presented on a leaf platter from the Christmas Tree Shoppe.


Butternut squash and gravy are always menu favorites. I hardly cook anything as all the guests bring the meal!


Last year I again used the lighted table runner and I added mini pumpkins to each guest's plate. They took them home as favors.


Apple pie is a must for a Harvest Dinner menu. One of my friends always makes the prettiest and most delicious pie.


Another view of the table and the mantle. This particular year I used lanterns on the mantle.

 
Percy says enough already, let's eat!!
 
 
I am linking to the Thoughts from Alice blog. Please visit her blog to see other Fall décor related posts.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Vacation Bliss- A day in York, Maine


One day is really all you need to feel like you are on vacation. I had just about 12 hours to spend in York, Maine but it was enough. The entire time I was there I was in vacation mode.

 
I love just sitting and looking at the ocean. The sounds and the smell are instant relaxation.
 
 
Benches dot the area near Nubble Lighthouse. It is prime seating for watching the wave action and people watching.
 
 
We took the usual group photos. It's fun to see how we have changed over the years. Well, not always fun because we have all gotten older!
 
 
We took the photo in front of Nubble Light. That is always the first photo we take.
 
 
Kids always love jumping on the rocks.
 
 
My favorite subjects are fathers and sons.
 
 
Let's not forget our four legged friends.

 
They love to visit Nubble Light too!
 

Our furbabies are important photo subjects.
 

 
This pooch would dance for treats.
 

This dog wanted no part of crawling on the rocks. She left her owner in the lurch.
 

 
She much preferred posing with my sister. Her name is Brooklyn and she is very sweet.
 

We were excited to see a bride and her bridal party arrive on the scene. I guess she needed an iced coffee break. Did you notice the straw matched the color of her bridesmaid's gowns?
 

 
What a nice setting for a wedding photo!
 
 
The wedding photographer told the party to only look at her camera as many of us onlookers were snapping photos too.
 

Oops, the flower girl looked at me.
 
 
And finally, three cheers for the bride and groom!
 
 
There were photographers everywhere like this one who stopped to photograph the lighthouse. His dog gave me a nice smile.
 
 
The baby was so cute I could not resist taking this photo.
 

After we spent a good long time in the sun, we headed back to the cottage. It was getting cloudy anyway. The view, as you can see, is spectacular from the house. The lighthouse is not far away at all.


Here's the view looking in the other direction.
   
 
As usual, there was a visit by a kitty. A pretty golden kitty who seemed to be on a mission. She went into the brush and we did not see her again. You may remember that Percy was rescued from this very location but he was a little kitten and in need of assistance.
 
 
We had a wonderful home cooked meal of meatballs, manicotti, and garlic bread for dinner. The cupcakes were for my Sister because we never did celebrate her birthday as a family. She went away the weekend of her birthday.
 
Our friends sent us off with boxes of homemade goodies, blonde brownies, blueberry lemon bread, and lemon cookies.
 
The only thing left to do was survive a white knuckled ride home in torrential rain. I actually pulled off the highway and took side roads because it was too harrowing to stay on the highway.
 
We arrived home safely and lived to enjoy the desserts and the memories another day.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Boston Ballet in the Park


When I read on Facebook that the Boston Ballet was doing a photo shoot at the Boston Public Garden, I knew where I would be spending my Thursday afternoon.


Once again I took public transportation into the city and I am glad I did. The ride in was smooth on the Orange and Green lines of the T. I was quite a bit early for the event.

Some people had already staked out their spots. This group had a picnic. The girl in the white pants was passing out masks which promoted the upcoming Black Swan production of the Boston Ballet.



It was white on one side and black on the reverse. The kids loved them. I wore mine too, briefly.


Again, the weather was perfect as it had been all week. The swan boats were fully employed as there were many tourists enjoying the Public Garden on this day.


After posing a bit on the other side of the lagoon, the dancers took a little ride on the Swan Boat. Their costumes were unbelievably gorgeous.


And the dancers were unbelievably gorgeous! What a setting for a photo shoot! It was an enchanting scene.


I was smiling from ear to ear as I snapped away at this magic. I am so fortunate to have noticed the post on Facebook.


The dancers changed poses every now and then. They have to be actors as well as dancers.


The boat moved slowly so everyone could get a good look.
 

The boat headed under the bridge as people were lined up on all sides of the water and on the bridge.


I met a woman named Alicia and we talked a bit about photography and living in Boston. She is from Texas originally and stayed in Boston after college.  Alicia and I decided to go up on the bridge when we saw the Ballet Company heading that way. We were hoping to get closer to the dancers as Alicia did not have a telephoto lens.


I got a closer look at the costumes but had to fight to get my shots. A crush of spectators had developed.


The male lead's jacket was spectacular. The handiwork was incredible as were all the costumes.


The swans were so lovely. The sun illuminated their skirts and you could really see the feathers in their headbands.


The male dancer had the most beautiful blue eyes and dimples. He was adorable.


Here's a better look at that fabulous jacket with all the embroidery or needlework.


The ballerinas exited the bridge and lined up for another photo. I loved the snow boots which were put on almost immediately once they left the bridge.


I think this must be a head shot because the first dancer left her boots on during the shoot.


Aren't the costumes absolutely gorgeous?  I think the publicity is working, now I want to see the  Swan Lake ballet.


A woman asked if the dancers would pose for photos with the public and she was told no. There would not be time. I guess no one told the dancers.



 All the dancers were very gracious to the public.  They posed for many photos.


There were many little ballerinas in the making at the event.


I am so glad I crossed to this side of the water. I would not have had an opportunity to see the ballerinas up close.


All of a sudden the male lead lifted the female lead over his head. The other swans got in place. I wasn't sure if I had the right camera settings on the "big" camera so.....


I grabbed my phone and took this shot knowing I could correct the color in Instagram.


Even the dancers were taking photos of each other!


Again, people kept walking into my shot as I am sure I did to their shots.
 

No more dance, it looks like it is over. The shoes are off and soon the costumes will be tucked away until dress rehearsal.


The other dancers continued to pose for photos. They were so accommodating. I was impressed. They represented the Boston Ballet well.


The costumes were put in their bag for transport. I was thinking of leaving and getting a jump start when I ran into a woman named Suzanne. We started talking and realized we had some things in common. We both came into the city just to see the ballet and she was wearing a Patriots t-shirt.
Yes, I often talk to perfect strangers. It is the salesperson in me.

I was showing Suzanne my photos and we both decided we did not want to get stuck in rush hour traffic. I told her I was going to get a coffee and asked if she wanted to join me. She said she would. Her car at overheated on the way in and she did not want to get stuck on the Mass Pike in rush hour traffic.


We went to a café I had seen on the way to the Public Garden, Parish Café. It had outdoor seating. We got a table right away and Suzanne said she wanted something to eat as well. We both got the white chocolate bread pudding. It was huge. We should have split one but oh well.

I told Suzanne about my bucket list and I mentioned a carousel. She said there was one in the park so we walked to it and she took a ride. I left her at the free yoga in the park and I took one last look at the flowers in the garden and the swan boats. The park was peaceful and beautiful as the sun was setting.

What a wonderful day it was! Ballet in the park, perfect weather, a new friend, yummy dessert, and swans. It doesn't get better than that!

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