Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hello to y'all from South Florida

Well, after 875 miles in the car with two dogs and one kitty and way too much fast food, I have finally arrived at my new home.

Remember this home?

I know I mentioned in a previous post that this was going to be my new home,'s not.
This is my new home...

I just love this house. I showed the blue home in previous post as my new home because the offer we placed on the green house in July was accepted then fell through at the last minute. It was a "short sale"--but there was nothing short about it. It was a nightmare! A "short sale" is offered by the seller's bank just before a home goes into foreclosure. At the last minute the short sale was called off by the seller's bank and we needed a house (since our furniture was being shipped to Florida), so we signed a rental agreement on the blue house. Then, of course, the seller's bank said they would go through with the short sale after all. It was a fiasco! I really think that banks would now rather let homes go into foreclosure because they must be receiving something back from the "bailout." Anyway, we got what we wanted.
We are naming our new home "The Roost." Over the garage there is a full apartment, which will be used as a gameroom by my husband and all his rowdy friends--he's calling it "The Romper Room at the Roost."
This home is located in Tradition in Port St. Lucie, Florida, which is a village built to resemble an old fashioned neighborhood, complete with restaurants, shops, a doggy park, and a town hall where I may present some etiquette programs in the future.
Here are some of the shops and the town hall...

Thanks to all of you for your comments while I was away. I look forward to visiting your sites and catching up with each one of you.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Hello, this is Miss Janice and I'm unavailable at this time...

So, please leave your message--thank you very much!

The mover's are coming to get my computer soon and then I'm off to my new home in Florida! The boxes are packed and the Jack Russell, Yorkie, and Kitty are loosing it! Please think about me on my 16-hour journey with these little houligans. I will be back blogging probably the weekend after Thanksgiving.

I hope you all have wonderful Thanksgiving Day:)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What are you doing the day after Thanksgiving?

So, it's the day after Thanksgiving and if you are lucky enough to go shopping...IN PARIS...well, why not dream?

Start your day off right with a proper French breakfast. A classic French breakfast is a simple meal, based on fresh bread. The French like to eat fresh baguettes, cut into tartines (segments about six inches long, split through the middle and spread with butter and jam). The tartine is the exception to the usual French rule (and etiquette rule) that bread should be broken, rather than bitten. Serve with fresh orange juice and peti noir (coffee without milk).

This tablescape is very casual with the Eiffel tower as the centerpiece. The Cafe de Paris coffee pot, demitasse cups, and plates (which I have had for years) wardrobe well with the blue and brown French toile fabric table topper. Oh so French...Breakfast in Paris!
Breakfast in Paris

Breakfast in Paris Menu
Orange Juice
Petit Noir

Now you are set to shop 'till you drop! After a long morning of browsing the shops on rue Saint-Honore and rue Cambon, relax and enjoy an Afternoon Tea in Paris. The French love to take tea in the afternoon and the tea foods I'm serving are surely enjoyed by Parisians everyday!

Afternoon Tea in Paris

Afternoon Tea in Paris Menu
Petite Quiche
Croissants with Jam
Paris Tea*

*Paris Tea is available at Harney Teas

Afternoon Tea is also referred to as "Low Tea" because it may be served in the parlor with guests seated on the sofa or chairs and the tea served from a low coffee table. I've enjoyed Afternoon Tea at the Ritz and I was served in this fashion. When you are enjoying tea in the parlor, just remember that the teacup and saucer are married and should never be more than twelve inches apart. Your serviette should be opened completely and placed just above your knees where you might also place your tea plate.

Enjoy breakfast, a little shopping, and Afternoon Tea in Paris--or, you could just go to McDonald's for a sausage biscuit, fight the crowd and shop at Target, and then have lunch at Chick-fil-A! Whatever you do, I hope you have fun on Black Friday!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Autumn Gifting

In yesterday's post, I told you about the book Sentimental Living by Alda Ellis. Ms. Ellis likes to give out "friendship gifts" to those who visit her home. I think that's a very gracious idea and I am keeping these bags of party mix right by front door to give out to guests during Autumn. My husband loves this mix and so does his Pinochle group! It is quite tasty and easy to prepare. The recipe* is from my mother-in-law, Mary Gibson.

Friendship Gifts

Friendship Gift--Party Mix

*Recipe for Mary Gibson's Party Mix
2 cups corn chex
2 cups wheat chex
2 cups rice chex
1 1/2 cup nuts
2 cups broken pretzels
1/3 cup melted butter
2 tblsp. Worcestershire sauce
Garlic salt to taste
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Mix dry ingredients, blend melted butter and Worcestershire sauce, and pour over mixture. Stir all in a 13 x 9 x 2 pan. Add garlic salt and mix well. Bake one hour and stir every 15 minutes.

The thoughtful guest always brings a gift for the hostess. My mother taught me that you should never arrive at someone's door empty handed. The gift says "Thank you for inviting me." Of course, afterwards, a thank-you note should be sent to the host/hostess, thanking them for their hospitality. Here are some gifting ideas you might consider for your host/hostess:

~Pumpkin bread is yummy to eat at this time of year! I baked this pumpkin bread in a coffee can, wrapped it in cello, adorned it with a festive pumpkin-motif label, and tied it with ribbon. This is a great idea for a hostess gift and the recipe* is from the Alda Ellis book, Sentimental Living. The label is also found in the book and can be printed onto cardstock.

Alda Ellis's Pumpkin Bread

*Recipe for Alda Ellis's Pumpkin Bread
3 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 tsp. soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. nutmeg
3 cups sugar
4 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup water
1 cup salad oil
2 cups (16-oz. can) pumpkin
1 cup pecans, chopped
Combine flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs, water, oil, and pumpkin. Stir until blended. Add nuts and mix well. Butter and flour three 1-pound coffee cans. Pour mixture evenly into cans. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees. Cool slightly in cans and turn out on cooling rack to cool completely.

~This is a quick gift if you are in a rush--whip up some pumpkin cookies, wrap them in cello, and put them back into the pumpkin mix can. Attach a gift tag (found in Sentimental Living) and print the cookie recipe on the back.

Pumpkin Cookies-To-Go

~If you are an overnight guest in someone's home, Ms. Ellis's book, The Gentle Art of Hospitality, is a sweet gift to leave behind for the gracious hostess. Simply wrap the book with a ribbon and leave it on the bed. Don't forget to inscribe it with your message to Make it Memorable.

Hostess gift after an overnight stay...

Our friends, Nicoletta and Jeff Puklavetz, travel the world extensively. After a recent visit in our home, they left a framed photo of themselves--looking so happy during one of their travels. This gift is a great idea and what a pleasant surprise to find when you are cleaning up the guest room!

Framed photograph left behind as a gift...

When I was young I would always ask my mother "Why do you always take something to people when we go to their house?" She said "That's what my mother taught me to matter how small the gift--take something"!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Later in the day--enjoying Miss Kara's goodies...

Well, here's Miss Kara's picnic basket loaded with girly plates, savories, tea and teapot, cups & saucers, linens, silver flatware, flowers, and a happy gift--or that's what it looks like to me:)

I'm On the Move...

Sometime this week, maybe Thursday or Friday, the moving van will load all my earthly possessions and take them to my new home--in South Florida. (Please keep your fingers crossed that it will happen--thank you very much)! Yes, I started a blog in the middle of a major move and during the holiday season! I simply must be crazy... I will still be blogging until the end of the week and have already photographed some tablescapes to post before I move.

Anyway, there is a huge, but very organized mess in my home. Oh, but I shall not worry! My friend Miss Kara, being the proper Southern lady that she is, will be over later today and she's bringing a picnic for us. She's gonna bring the food, plates and everything! Now y'all, that is what we Southerners call Southern Hospitality...going out of your way to make others feel special. I'm so excited to see what goodies she will have!

Until she arrives, I'll be lounging on the sofa in front of the fire sipping some African Rooibos, an herbal infusion of redbush, cranberry, and oranges, sweetened naturally and rich in essential nutrients, available at Harney Teas.
There are two books I'm rereading today, both by Alda Ellis--The Gentle Art of Hospitality and Sentimental Living. Ms. Ellis is an author, entrepeneur, and speaker. In addition, she also has a lovely website for shopping. Both of these books are must-haves for those who love to entertain. The Gentle Art of Hospitality is an elegant and inspirational book for the gracious hostess and provides creative tips for stress-free entertaining. She shares ideas how everyone can reach out to others with heartfelt hospitality. I especially love Sentimental Living--this book is full of colorful photos of tablescapes and entertaining ideas--from the porch--for all the seasons. It's full of ideas to dress our new place up...Southern Style.

A breast cancer survivor, Ms. Ellis authored another book Beyond Breast Cancer, she sells several pink ribbon items on her website, and has made generous contributions to the Susan G. Komen Foundation Arkansas Affiliate. I certainly admire this beautiful and talented Southern lady--she is so full of style and grace! You can visit her online here.
"Style cannot be bought. It is not what your wear, but who you are. Style is the way you decorate your house. It is your taste in books, music, poetry, and art. It is the way you arrange your flowers. Style is the personal touch you give to everything and everyone in your life. Style has nothing to do with money, but it is the way you live your life."
~Alda Ellis
Thank you for stopping by today. I hope you drop by again tomorrow, I will be talking about gift ideas for the Autumn season.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tea and Inspiration with Miss Janice...and a Tablescape

Today, while I'm making holiday decorating and entertaining plans, I'll be browsing through all of my magazine collections, catalogs, and books and sipping some Apple Cinnamon tea which is available at Harney and Sons. What a perfect tea to sip in front of a warm fire, while going over inspirational ideas in pretty magazines and books!

One of my go-to entertaining books is The Art and Craft of Entertaining, by Kimberly Kennedy. Kimberly is an Atlanta girl and was the winner of the CBS reality show Wickedly Perfect in 2005. Her book gives some excellent guidelines on how to plan the perfect party and ideas for invitations, place cards, and party favors. Ms. Kennedy is currently writing another book on entertaining and travels the country giving talks and demonstrations on entertaining and the art of hospitality. She also teaches cooking classes at culinary schools in the Atlanta area (lucky for the Atlanta ladies out there) and does some lifestyle segments on television from time to time. You can visit Kimberly online here.

To kick off the entertaining season, I recently had a few friends over for an Autumn Reception and served a "signature drink" and some tidbits. Kimberly Kennedy suggest that you always have a signature drink at your party... "A signature drink should complement the menu, theme, and season." Here's some photos of my tablescape:

Autumn Reception Menu
Apple Punch*
Pumpkin Dip and Graham Sticks
Butternut Squash Salsa and Whole Grain Chips
Autumn Reception served from the sideboardApple Punch
Pumpkin Dip with Graham Sticks
Butternut Squash Salsa and Whole Grain Chips
Majolica appetizer plates

*Recipe for my Signature Drink--Apple Punch
1 1/2 quart of apple juice
2 cinnamon sticks
8 whole cloves
1 1/3 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 pints orange juice
28 oz. ginger ale
Simmer the apple juice in a kettle with all the spices. Strain the spiced apple juice and mix with the remaining fruit juices. Add the ginger ale and ice.

"Actually, entertaining is perhaps about creating as well as enjoying a good time, about making special memories for you and your friends and guests."
Kimberly Kennedy
Thank you for stopping by today and now I'm off to relax, sip some warm tea, and enjoy those books and magazines!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Trim the Tree Thursday

Brett at The Southern Hostess is hosting Trim-the-Tree Thursday and I promised to participate...and had very good intentions:) But, I had some computer problems this morning, which had to be sorted out and well... here's my Christmas trimmings--

Now, I do have an Autumn tree and it adds a lot of ambiance to the dining room --it's decorated with fall garland, warm-tone ornaments, ribbons, and bows, and of course, pumpkins. After Thanksgiving, it will become a Parisian tree.
Y'all be sure to go over and visit with The Southern Hostess. I'm sure all the other bloggers are a little bit more organized with their Christmas decorations than I am right now.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

How's Ya Mamma and 'Em?

Paula Deen has recently opened a new restaurant and gift shop inside the Harrah's Casino in nearby Robinsonville, Mississippi. All her "Paula Deen Products" are available for sale as well as a wide array of other gifts. The restaurant was modeled on her home in Savannah, Georgia, from the shutters on the windows to the wide front porch with the wicker chairs. Inside, there are six dining areas--"Paula's Parlour," "The Pantry," "The Famous Bird Cage Room," "The Porch," "The Mud Room," and "The Morning Room." There six food stations inside the restaurant. The first station is "Granny Paul's Garden," a fresh salad and raw vegetable selection--not too many Southerners stopping there. The second station is "Uncle Bubba's Oyster House," full of scrumptious seafood. The third station is "The Lady and Son's" with all of Paula's favorite Southern foods. The fourth is the "Hoecake and Biscuit Station"--very good stuff y'all. The fifth is "Captain Michael's Smokehouse"--lots of meat, chicken, and pork dishes prepared with Paula's rubs. Finally, there's "Little Jack's Corner," named for her grandson Jack and loaded with any type of tempting Southern dessert you could possibly want. The restaurant uses china designed especially for Paula by Gail Pittman--very cute and a nice touch! Miss Paula suggest that you wear your "stretchy pants" when coming to her restaurant and I'm glad I listened. The visit was Very Southern...Very Memorable.

Here's Miss Paula's restaurant

Miss Paula and me

After about ten visits later, I guess you could say that I'm a regular. As I was enjoying the Southern delacacies during my last visit, I had to ask myself why I was so attracted to this restaurant. Then I realized that it's because this is the food that we Southerners grew up on a "Mama and 'Em's". It's the food we don't prepare for ourselves because we don't have the time or talent. Now this food is not for your uppity crowd--there's cabbage cooked in bacon grease, turnip greens in fat back, corn that is creamed and sauteed in butter...just that good 'ole food Southerners enjoy. Another thing I noticed is that everybody is all about "Thank You, Excuse Me, and You're Welcome" in that place. You just have to be Southerner to "get it."

The whole experience reminded me of these new t-shirts that are being sold all over the South--"How's Ya Mama and "Em?" The artist, Rhonda Rayborn, designs these darling t-shirts featuring the saying "How's Ya Mama and 'Em?", which is a really a southern way of asking about your Mama and the rest of your family. When I spoke with Ms. Rayborn, I couldn't believe that she lives four or five houses down the street from another well-known artist, my cousin--J. Kim Sessums, M.D. There's a whole lot of talent on that beautiful street in the small town of Brookhaven, Mississippi.

"How's Ya Mama and 'Em?" is the registered trademark and brainchild of Ms. Rayborn. Growing up in the antebellum town of Natchez, Mississippi, Rhonda's grandmothers taught her how to be a southern lady. She said that "Weekends spent with her grandmothers were like attending a southern hospitality university, and that whenever she was afraid of some bully-girls on the school bus, her grandmothers would say, "They're just like you, only you're prettier!"

All of her charming t-shirts are based on sayings that are native to the South; i. e., "Do you believe in love at first sight, or do I need to walk back by?" (Oh my Lord, if I weren't married, I would buy that one in every color)! and "Mess with this Mississippi'll be messin' with the whole trailer park"! The one I chose was "Hey y'all, how's ya mama and 'em?"

You can purchase these cute t-shirts online at Rhonda Rayborn's website, or call her at 601.757.7388.

Front of the t-shirt

Back of the t-shirt

Since Paula Deen, the Queen of Southern Cuisine, now has her own tableware, I decided to create a very casual tablescape, featuring her china and linens in the Dot Crazy pattern. The menu consists of comfort foods just like you would typically have at "Mama and 'Em's" house. These are the foods that my mama always fixed for Sunday Dinner (the Southern term for lunch--held right after you get home from church on Sunday morning) when I was growing up. She still fixes the same food for me when I go home to visit. Notice that there's no fancy centerpiece here--just the salt and pepper shakers and the food on the table, served very Southern--family style.


Fried Pork Chops

Turnip Greens

Butter Beans

Fried Okra

Tomatoes and Cucumbers

Southern Biscuits

Sweet Southern Iced Tea

Sunday Dinner at "Mama and 'Em's", featuring Paula Deen's tableware--"Dot Crazy" salad plate, placemat, and napkin. The dinner plate is by Daniel Cremieux--"St. Remy Brown."

Just the food please, served family-style
If you are ever in the Memphis area, be sure to try Miss Paula's restaurant. It will be sure to make your trip Southern...and Memorable. Thank you for stopping by today. Tomorrow I am participating in Trim-A-Tree Thursday, which will be hosted by The Southern Hostess. I'm not sure what I'll be showing, but I'll come up with something.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Diva Tea

Moving away from the holiday scene, my tablescape today is perfect for that Diva in you. Diva is the theme for this table setting and it would be a cute setting for a diva wannabe, a diva-in-training, or any practicing diva.

You may also call this a "Royal Tea." What is the difference between a full Afternoon Tea and a Royal Tea? This special tea is taken in the afternoon and in addition to serving savories, scones, and sweets, a special dessert is offered. A glass of champagne or sherry is also offered, and of course, hot tea. I'm sure Queen Elizabeth serves a "Royal Tea" to visiting dignitaries at Buckingham Palace.

Please stand behind your chair, with your hands resting on the top of the chair back, and wait until the Diva/Queen/Hostess has been seated; thank you! may be seated. Please don't touch a thing until the hostess has picked up her serviette and placed it onto her lap. That will be your signal that you may place your serviette onto your lap.

The table is set with vintage pink Arcoroc glassware, girly plates, crown napkin rings, and tiara-motif place cards holders.
A floral-embellished bustier and a menu card make a lovely centerpiece.


Savories, Scones, and Sweets

The "Queen's Cake"

Vanilla Sorbet with Fruit

Royal Champagne Punch

Coronation Hot Tea

A tiered tea tray, embellished with pink tulle and a tiara, holds the dainty tea foods.
The Queen's Cake...
A service tray with a simple teapot, milk in a creamer, and cute little pocketbook & high heel-motif sugar cubes.

The chair decorations are small bustiers with pink hydrangeas and pink bows.

Send your divas-in-waiting away with a party favor. I found petite bustiers similar to my centerpiece and chair decos, tied a pink ribbon around the waist, and attached a tea pendant charm, which can be worn on a choker necklace...just a little something to remind them of my "Diva Tea."

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Dining in the Country & Dining at The Fresh Market

Saturday was a fun day! My friend Kara and I hit the road early to attend a Holiday Open House at Rosebriar Dining, in Eads, Tennessee. Then, on the way back home we stopped at the Fresh Market in Memphis--my second favorite grocers, running close behind Trader Joes! Fresh Market was having their annual holiday meal tasting. Finally, we made one last stop at the Home Decor store in Southaven and picked up an item to help wardrobe a holiday tablescape-in-planning. There was a lot of good food, a little gossiping, and of course, shopping.

Debbie Sisk, owner, Rosebriar Dining
I would like to introduce to y'all a friend of mine. Her name is Debbie Sisk and she's the owner of Rosebriar Dining, in Eads, Tennessee (just outside of Memphis). I first met Debbie through a friend who called me and said "Would you like to go to lunch out in Eads with a group of ladies?" I asked "Where is Eads and what restaurant are we going to?" It was then she told me about Debbie...She caters afternoon teas, luncheons, and dinner parties in her home. Hmmmmmm, I thought, why not? After that first visit, I was hooked. I told everyone I knew about this Debbie Sisk lady. She cooks the most fabulous gourmet meals and serves guests at her dining table, which comfortably seats about 16 people. The recipes consist of fresh ingredients and are served using her finest dinnerware. Debbie and I were a perfect match and partnered together to present Tea and Dining Etiquette programs in her home during the past year.
Debbie is the epitome of a Southern lady; she loves her family and home and she loves to entertain and shop. She has been serving guests in her home for over 14 years and does no advertising--just word of mouth from one Southern Lady to another. Yesterday she held her annual Holiday Open House--clothing, holiday gifts, jewelry, tea, and foods were all elegantly displayed throughout her home. Over 300 ladies attended the event and enjoyed tasting soups, dips, cakes and a hot beverage of apple cider with red hots--they also shopped like Southern recessionistas.
I almost screamed when I saw these cute wellies. I knew I had to have them! Thank goodness she had my size, 'cuz I love them. If you would like to get a pair (they are $39.95), Debbie will be glad to send them to you. Her contact information will be listed later in this post.

I had to fight for these cute little containers...and a holiday tablescape was born when I saw them! Stay tuned for that in December.

First, I will show some photos of Debbie's house taken during the past summer, then I will show the photos from yesterday's event.

Rosebriar...Dining in the Country

What a lovely setting for an afternoon tea, luncheon, or dinner party

The side board, on a normal day...

The next three photos are of the parlor...a proper spot for a "Low Tea"

The parlor The parlor--a perfect place to serve a "Low Tea"
Rosebriar...Holiday Open House

Let's shop...she'll take cash, credit, or check!

Parlor mantle vignette--right side Parlor mantle vignette--Left side
Vintage tree in parlor

Family room mantel

Dining sideboard--left side Dining sideboard--right side
Master bedroom
Bedside table vignette
Master bedroom chandelier
Vintage tree in master bedroom

Powder room

An additional bathroom

I hope you had fun meeting Debbie and visiting her beautiful home. If you are ever in the Memphis area, call Debbie and make a reservation. You can visit her online at

So, we headed back to DeSoto County and stopped off at The Fresh Market for some groceries. They were holding their annual Holiday Meal Tasting...more food--okay, no problem.

The servers at The Fresh Market Roasted turkey with gravy, dressing, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn souffle, and sweet potatoe casserole--it was excellent!

When we were almost home, we stopped at the Home Decor Store in Southaven, Mississippi and I picked up another item for that holiday tablescape-in-planning I mentioned earlier in the post.

With all that party food, shopping, and gossiping, the day was over. But it was perfect!

I am so glad you stopped by today; I'm off now to enjoy some warm pumpkin scones and hot tea with my friend Kara.