Yay! Thank you to everyone who bought Winter Whodunnits and made me (and many of my writing buddies) USA Today Best-Selling Authors! After Amazon ruined the last attempt this was a HUGE relief. So much work goes into these things. I really appreciate it!!
I survived Christmas dinner. In fact, it couldn't have been more perfect, so clearly my brother hired out. Ha! No, he and his wife did a great job. I'm the one that screwed up making a chocolate pie with unmelted sugar in it that crunched when you ate it. Had to scrap it and reheat the chocolate and make super dense mini fudge pies instead. Ah well, the nieces scarfed them down, which was the point anyway.
Mike and I took a quick vacation to Naples, Florida, where apparently they hand out Porsches and Bentleys to everyone who moves there. The place was beautiful and wildly out of our league, but it was fun to pretend for a few days.
If you're ever there picking up your free BMW, be sure to stop at Tulia - we try never to eat the same place twice but had to repeat our visit there. Fabulous Italian food! We also really enjoyed Jane's Garden Cafe for breakfast after we took our morning walk through the mansions.
It's that time of year when I get the urge to sit around with an eggnog watching holiday movies. My husband and I watch the same ones every year, so to make sure we're not missing any good ones, I thought I'd share them with you as a handy guide and you can let me know if I'm missing any winners!
Anybody have an aging puppy?
My baby is going on twelve and a half now. About two years go he started getting creaky - slow to get up, back legs a little shaky...he stopped jumping into the bay window (which he used to love like some kind of over-sized cat) and started struggling to jump on our ridiculously high bed.
It was all breaking my heart.
Friends on the Walk
Mike and I are on a big walking kick now - doing the old 10,000 steps (about 5 miles). I have to admit I have a lot more energy during the day now, so we must be doing something right. And Gordon has a new friend! A lady in one of the neighborhoods we trot through has a big fake goldendoodle that she dresses up for holidays. This was during the summer -- and there's my baby trying to make time with her. He always did have a soft spot for chicks in water wings.
I was on vacation! We saw whales!
Took a little time in Rehoboth Beach, which always boils down to a ton of walking, eating and taking endless photos of the dog. (And one obnoxious photo of me trying to be as adorable as the dog, which failed miserably.)
We also spotted whales!
So after years of Fixer Upper's Joanna Gains screaming shiplap! in my ear, Mike and I finally broke down and did a "feature wall" (another great house show buzz word) in our bedroom. I was a little obsessed with the nail gun, and I probably shouldn't be left alone with it if there is anything handy to nail to a random wall, like a piece of wood, or a towel or a pork chop. I don't know if these pictures do it justice, but it looks FANTASTIC! Now I totally get Joanna's obsession. It makes the place feel like a high-end hotel that comes with a dog that takes up all the space on the bed. I highly recommend it, if you know someone like my dad who has more tools than an Ivy League fraternity and a lot of time to kill.
Living in the Northeast, where most of the birds are pretty blah compared to tropical regions, I've always had an affinity for goldfinches. They're bright and cute. Then I spotted this guy going medieval on my the black-eyed Susans I'm so proud of this year. Not sure what personal issues this goldfinch is going through right now, but I can tell you his buddy was going through the same issue a few flowers over. They ripped every last petal off several of my flowers like it was their job. Lot of passive-aggressive bird stuff going on.
My husband, Mike, has decided to become an artistic food chef... but only for our dog. We feed Gordon (Labradoodle) fruit every morning, but suddenly, that wasn't enough. Now Gordon is getting less food, but that food is much prettier for the four seconds he allows it to live before wolfing it down. Think of it as performance art.
In case you'd like to experiment with dog fruit artistry, below are Mike's latest creations using banana, melon, blueberries, apples and melted peanut butter. Gordon's in heaven.
All carefully arranged on only the finest paper plates.
My mother loves chocolate cake, but that dessert is an endangered species. Nowadays every "chocolate cake" on a restaurant menu is that dense, flourless "death by chocolate" stuff, and she likes classic chocolate cake. So, I make her one for her birthday, because I'm a tremendous, award-winning daughter.