Summer with Talbots

Summer Styles from Tuckernuck

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

True Confessions Hodgepodge

Hello dear friends.  So happy to be back in the Hodgepodge swing of things.  Can you believe how quickly this summer is going by?  For me, at least.  I was behind a young mother in the grocery store line with two little boys.  She told me that she was counting the days until the first day of school.  Oh, how I remember those days.

Once again, thank you Joyce for always coming up with such provocative questions.

1. I recently read there are about four secrets to happiness from around the world.  They were -

Overcome your fears by facing them head on, allow yourself to relax and reset, work to live versus living to work, and find the good in life.   Not sure these are the actual secrets to happiness, but which of the four do you struggle with most?  Which one comes most easily to you?

I've mentioned this before and I am not proud of it.  I have a fear of "down" escalators.  "Up" escalators are no problem.  It drives my family crazy.  I am always running around searching for an elevator.  When I find one, I am usually on the receiving end of dirty looks from  moms young enough to be my daughters with strollers. I try to buffer the situation by commenting how cute their babies are, but the babes join their moms with their disgusted sneers.  

I have no intention of facing my fear for the sake happiness.  I will continue to be in search for the nearest elevator for the rest of my life. 

This is where I make up for not facing my fear.  I have no problem sitting back and chilling.  That is probably my greatest strength.

2.  How would you spend a found $20 bill today?

The twenty dollar bill would accompany every other red cent we own and would go straight to Petco.  Let's just say our little ones have their "issues." 

3.  Ego trip, power trip, guilt trip, round trip, trip the light fantastic, or trip over your own two feet ... which 'trip' have you experienced or dealt with most recently?  Explain.

Definitely the round trip.  I've done more travelling this summer than I have in a long time.

4. If you could master any physical skill in the world what would it be, and how would you use that skill?

I would like to learn to play the piano and be a gymnast.  I would take my talents and join the circus.

5.  As July draws to a close, let's take inventory of our summer fun.  Since the official first day of North American summer to June 20th have you... been swimming?  enjoyed an ice cream cone?  gardened?  deliberately unplugged?  watched a ball game?  picked fruit off the vine?  taken a road trip?  read a good book?  Are there any other activities on your must-do-before-summer-ends list?

I've done my share of gardening this summer.   

I have not picked fruit off the vine, however, I have enjoyed my share of the fruit after it was picked.

I have read some wonderful books this summer.

6.  The Republican Presidential candidates will debate on August 6th.  What's your question?

What are you going to do about this guy?

7.  What's your most listened to song so far this summer?

I LOVE this song.  Every time I hear it I want to shut up and dance.  I am going to visit my girls soon.  God forbid this song is played in Target - I will get happy feet!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I was going to do a post about this, but I think I will cover this mind-blowing, controversial subject right here in the privacy of my home in Hodgepodge.

Does anybody become ravenous the minute they leave home for a trip?  I begin this downhill journey by looking for old sticky tic tacs on the bottom of my purse after I fasten my seat belt to head for the airport. 

As soon as I get there, I weasel my way as quickly as I can through security, so I can check out all the eating places in the terminal.

How do you like my new hair extensions?

  Sometimes I don't even take the time to put my shoes back on... the Mister has to pick them up.  It doesn't matter if I just ate a huge lunch or dinner - I practically get dizzy from my hunger pangs the minute I set foot in an airport. 

On our last vacation, we stopped into the airline complimentary lounge. After eating almost everything on the buffet line, I boarded the plane with mustard on my chin, and immediately grilled the flight attendant about the menu on the flight. It was Air Italia, so of course it was pasta.  When it was served about an hour later, I shoved the worst-tasting pasta in my mouth and ate it like I just got out of jail.

My eating streak continued for the next ten days.  I'm in search for acceptance.  Do any of you suffer from the same eating disorder?

One more question...what's the best book that you read this summer?  Time to re-load my Kindle.

Until next time...


Monday, July 27, 2015

Buongiorno Roma!

Hello dear friends. Today really felt like a Monday all day to me.  I woke up to an early morning storm and knew that Chili was safe in her crate and couldn't cause too much damage.  I did not put on her thunder shirt last night because I didn't know we were expecting a morning storm.  I was so tired from the conference, I crashed at about 8PM and skipped the News.

Note to self:  if there is even a chance of rain, put the thunder shirt on and administer Benadryl.  And that's just for me.  I'll figure out what I'll do for Chili later.

Chili's new casa.  
We'll see how long this one lasts.

Lamb Chop & Chili catching up on some shut-eye.


Before I begin my first segment of our vacation, I must mention my friend, Sandy, from You May Be Wandering, who handled every detail of our vacation.  Everything went smoothly, thanks to Sandy's hard work and attention to detail.  

If you are planning a trip, I highly recommend getting in touch with Sandy. But don't push her too hard, the poor thing broke her arm.  Feel better, Sandy!  


We took the red eye to Rome, which was a feat in itself.  The good thing and bad thing was that it was a direct flight.  It was a very long 7 hours.  The Mister slept the whole way.  Unfortunately, I could not enjoy a snooze because I cannot sleep on planes.  I'm always afraid that the Captain may need my help if the plane experiences mechanical problems or his GPS goes on the blink.

We flew Air Italia which does not furnish individual TVs.  They showed one film 5 miles away in the cabin on a TV the size of a lego.  When you are height-challenged, such as myself, seeing the screen was only a pipe dream.  I spent the majority of the time reading my book, listening to the Mister snore, and keeping count of how  many times I heard a sneeze or cough in the stuffy air tight cabin.  

If you are thinking that I am not fun to travel with, you are one hundred percent right.  Ask the Mister.

We arrived in Rome on time.  Praise the Lord.   

Last year, Sista hired a wonderful driver. He was not available to take us around because of a family emergency, so he sent a very handsome replacement, Vilio.  When I saw this Hunk of Italian Love holding a sign with our name on it, I whispered to the Mister "How do you say 'jackpot' in Italian?"  The Mister gave me a jealous eye roll.  

Vilio was supposed to give us a tour when we arrived, but due to a transportation strike and bumper-to-bumper traffic, we opted to leave the tour until the next day.  We planned to depart for the Ship a couple of hours early so we could fit the tour of Rome in.  That way, I could get a full night sleep, put cucumbers on my bags, re-do my manicure, have a facial, re-do my roots, buy some heavy-duty Spanx, find a place to give me Italian Botox, and greet Vilio in full make up and a sparkling teeth-whitened smile. 

While the Mister checked us in, I took a stroll around the lobby to see if I could find a couch to curl up in and catch 40 winks.

The hotel was lovely and was packed with European charm.

I've never been so happy to see a bed in my life!  Travel experts tell you not to go to bed until night time because it's easier to adjust to the jet lag.  It wasn't easy keeping my bloodshot peepers open.  I thought about ordering some tooth picks from Room Service.

Until I spotted this on our dresser... Who needs sleep when you've got champagne and sweets!

We decided to have a glass of wine and some appetizers at Harry's Bar.  For you youngsters out there, this restaurant gained international fame when it was featured in director Frederico Fellini's classic 1960 film La Dolce Vita.

Gotta love Audrey!

The menu features black and white photos of famous film stars.

He's not one of the film stars.

The old Hollywood stars pictures are also etched on the glass partitions.

We chose to take a seat on the side walk.  That way, the Mister could ogle the Italian sports cars, while I could people watch, my favorite pass time and only daily exercise I get.  I kept an eye out for celebrities. 

Lots of wheeling and dealing was going on at this hot spot.

NO George!  
I told you... I'M TAKEN!!!

Looks like Forever 21, Italian style.

We then took a walk around Rome.  
It truly is a beautiful city.

The Mister did some menu hopping in the hopes of finding the perfect spot for dinner.  We went back to the hotel and took a little rest.   

Later on, we enjoyed a fabulous dinner and a good night sleep.  Two of my favorite things.

Buona Notte!

Until next time...

To Dog With Love

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The 4-1-1 on My First Blog Conference

Hello dear friends.  I am back from my blog conference in Richmond.  I learned a lot of useful tools for blogging, thanks to some of the great teachers and mentors at the meeting.  I also couldn't help but feel that the blogging world is becoming more complicated by the minute when it comes to the technology.   I was educated  about the Blogger Network, the new world of Ahalogy, and new ways of taking the perfect photograph with Shotbox.  Successful bloggers shared their stories and touched on topics concerning increasing income (what income?), their schedules for writing and pinning, secrets of keeping their writing fresh, and also how important social media has become in the ever-growing world of blogging.

The Ramona & Sonja of the Blogworld.

It looked like to "2015" to us!!

But along with all the priceless information, I had one heck of a good time.  I met some really great ladies.  My buddy, Mo, from Mocadeaux and I were the self-professed grand dames of the conference.  Translation:  we were the oldest by more than ten years a few years. But we didn't look it.  According to us.

 Sweet young things.
From left:  Alicia from Vibrant Home Schooling, Jennie from The Diary of a Real Housewife; and Jennifer from Organized Home, Organized School.

Every night, Mo and I were invited to sit with these lovely young ladies for dinner and we enjoyed every minute.  We felt like we were asked to sit at the "popular" table.

 It was customary that after we finished dinner we listened to a panel of speakers who droned on for way too long.  

But after that was over, the fun began.  Our table worked together on some fun team building exercises playing friendly competitive games with the other tables.  They involved a scavenger hunt on Instagram and Twitter and every night we had to make a 15-second video that was judged and awarded prizes.  I am pleased to report that at least one of the young girls won a prize each night at our table.  From the first night, we named table The Dream Team.  The girls were sweet to tell Mo and me that we were their good luck charms.  (That was about all we contributed).  That made our day!

So, if you are a blogger and have ever considered attending a conference, I strongly recommend it.  They offer great resources and wonderful workshops.  But the best part to me was spending time with my good buddy, Mo, and meeting wonderful lady bloggers from all over the country.

Who wouldn't want to get on the party bus with these two wild and crazy ladies?!?

Mo and I have already signed up for a blog conference* in February in Salt Lake City.  We'd love to have you join us!! 

Until next time...

*  BTW... I don't want you to think that I get any compensation for having you sign up for the conference.  The conference may compensate you for talking Mo and me out of signing up for it!



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