Sunshine Blogger Award

I learned yesterday that my blog was the recipient of the Sunshine Blogger Award by Jessica at thishappymommy.com. If you haven’t heard of The Sunshine Blogger Award, it’s an award for bloggers from bloggers. It’s a way of recognizing bloggers who are positive and who creatively inspire others. Jessica’s blog is one that I enjoy as well and I hope you’ll check her out as her blog is terrific!

Rules:

Thank the person who nominated you and add a link to their blog.
Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
Nominate 11 bloggers and add their links.
Notify the bloggers you included.
Keep the rules in your post.

The Questions for me:

  1. What makes you happy?  So many things, hmmm….retirement, a rare, really good night’s sleep, sitting in my garden or in front of a roaring fire with a glass of wine and Spence by my side. 
  2. What makes you laugh out loud? Funny animal videos and always Jon Stewart when he did The Daily Show.  
  3. Who’s your favourite comedian or comedic actor?  One of my favorite stand up comedians is Tim Bedore  Why? He does Wednesday morning segments called “Vague but True” on the Bob & Tom Radio Show that are so clever and original. I have several of his CD’s, saw him in person and got a chance to meet him.  “Animal Conspiracy” is a classic.  Spence and I take the CD’s on road trips and crack up every time we listen. Brilliant. 
  4. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? Barcelona or Santorini have been on my bucket list for years.
  5. What’s your favorite season or time of year? You might think with my love of gardening that it would be summer but I adore the autumn in Michigan.  That first cool down in temps, the color changes of the trees that takes your breath away is hard to top.  My second favorite is spring when everything starts to come back to life, green grass, flowering trees, hyacinth, tulips, bluebells and daffodils appear.
  6. Do you crave sweet or savoury food? Since going on Weight Watchers seven months ago, I’ve weaned myself off sweets (among other things) and find that I’m craving salty and savory dishes.  Which is not to say that I don’t have the occasional piece of pie….
  7. If you had a theme song, what song would it be? “Everything” by Michael Buble is such a happy song about having found that someone who is your everything.  You simply can’t be sad if that song comes on and I never tire of it. It’s a musical anti-depressant.
  8. What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? This may not be the answer you were going for but being able to retire at age 57 was the greatest gift. I consider that I gave it to myself but also that Spence gave it to me since I never could have done it with out his full support.  It has opened up the best chapter of my life so far. 
  9. Do you prefer talking or texting? I was late to the texting party and I like the convenience but nothing beats talking with eye contact, smiles and laughter.
  10. What inspired you to start blogging? I’ve always enjoyed writing and had talked about doing it in retirement.  Blogging felt like the perfect outlet, allowing me to share a broad variety of things that I love.  I never would have dreamt that I’d love it so much and would reach so many supportive people from all over the world – that’s been the most lovely surprise!
  11. Besides blogging, what else do you enjoy doing? I enjoy cooking, gardening, travel, wine, reading, movies, dancing, music, snuggling with our cats, Tipper and Biscotti, seeing friends and family and hanging out with Spence.  And watching the Food Network.  And binge watching TV series.  And as I mentioned before, a good night’s sleep! 

My nominees (and I hope you’ll check them out) are:

  1. Swamp Yankee Style
  2. Aishwaryasivakumar
  3. Unwed Housewife
  4. Savannahs Paw Tracks
  5. Purrseidon
  6. Anna’s Gardening, Antics & Musings
  7. Tea in Wonderland
  8. Artsy Teen
  9. Eat Simple Love Food
  10. Kittens with Selfies
  11. Bunny eats Design

And here are the questions for my nominees, should they accept the Sunshine Blogger Award:

  1. If you could choose your favorite meal, what would it be?
  2. Are you a morning or an evening person?
  3. What goals have you not yet achieved?
  4. You get to pick a movie to watch tonight – do you choose comedy, drama, chick flick or slasher?
  5. Who is your favorite author?
  6. Who do you most admire?
  7. If you had three wishes, what would they be?
  8. Do you speak more than one language?
  9. Name one of the items on your bucket list?
  10. What’s one thing about you that most people don’t know?
  11. Fill in the blank “I wish ________”

I hope my nominees will accept and I look forward to reading their answers. If not, just know that your blogs brighten my day and I look forward to your posts!! Thank you again Jessica for your nomination.

 

 

The Happiness Tag

This morning I found that I’d be given The Happiness Tag by a favorite fellow blogger, Becky Ellis at beckysbubblesblog.wordpress.com – here’s the link: https://beckysbubblesblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/06/the-happiness-tag/

Becky’s blog encompasses information about my favorite bubbly adult beverages and frequently pairs them with amazing recipes; I hope you’ll check her out!

To accept The Happiness Tag:

  • 5  Things that Make Me Happy
  • 5  Songs that Make Me Happy
  • 5  Bloggers who Make Me Happy and Notify those Bloggers

5 Things that Make Me Happy

Being married to my soulmate.  Spence and I spent 18 years together before making it legal. As we approach our 7th wedding anniversary in a few weeks, I’m grateful knowing how lucky we are to have found each other and made this life together.

Being Cat Mom to Tipper and Biscotti.  Our two kitties were born in our back yard. Once they’d made eye contact with us we had to make them a part of our lives. Seven years later and each day they show me love with snugggles, purrs and playfulness.

When they were kittens…

Cooking. If you’ve followed my blog you could have predicted that it would make the list. There is something soothing and zen that happens to me during the creative process of preparing delicious food.  Learning new techniques, trying out recipes, tantalizing aromas filling our home and of course, sharing the meals with others who enjoy them all equal happy to me.

My garden.  In the first warm days of Spring, my hands start itching for contact with the dirt and with each week that passes, I’m in some stage of planting, pruning, gathering blooms and herbs, weeding and photographing it. Since retiring I’m able to spend more time enjoying it, stopping to smell the roses.

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Travel.  A goal of mine since retiring two years ago was to travel with Spence as much as possible. Our travel is comprised of new destinations and returning to places we love.  I have chronicled many of our trips in my blog and hope to share many more!

5 Songs that Make Me Happy

  1. Uptown Funk – Bruno Mars – no matter how many times I hear it I can’t resist the urge to break into dance. Every.Single.Time.
  2. Locomotive Breath – Jethro Tull – a throwback to my teenage years, this has remained a classic rock favorite that never loses it luster for me. The beat, the lyrics, the imagery plus the power to transport me back in time, simply brilliant.
  3. September – Earth, Wind & Fire – doesn’t this song make everyone happy? I defy you not to smile and stay in your seat.
  4. God Only Knows – The Beach Boys – one of the greatest songs about love. Ever.
  5. Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond – so many great memories of this song, seeing Neil Diamond perform it when I was a teen, singing and dancing along to it in the ensuing years at numerous parties with great friends.

5 Blogs that Make Me Happy

tastingeverything.com – Chef Anne is not only responsible for creating healthy, delicious recipes but her food photography is unequaled.  She plates like an artist and I only wish she was in Michigan so that I could try her food.

storyshucker.wordpress.com – Stuart M. Perkins has a writing style that is honest, touching and his stories make me slow down to savor each word.

badcatchris.com – This blog may have begun with Chris, The Baddest Cat You’ll Ever Love (and he looks like my Biscotti) but he shares this blog with his siblings including recently adopted and adorable kitten, Floki.  Cat lovers, this blog is one you need to check out.

https://purrseidon.wordpress.com – Purrseidon is the star of this blog and is a cat. A cat who a fearless lover of water and a water sports enthusiast. But more than that, many posts written to Purrseidon’s “Furiends”  feature stories of siblings, selfies and everything that is good, informative and helpful for cat moms and dads.  “Purr-fectly fun”!

lovingleisuretime.wordpress.com – Frances is a breath of fresh air, pairing beautifully photographed flowers with perfect quotes and sharing delicious recipes.  Retired since 2013 her posts are like a welcome visit with that friend that truly “gets” you. Simpatico.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Award Season!

January 2016 has been Award Season for my little blog and I’m grateful for every one.

This morning I awoke to find I’ve been awarded my second Liebster Award from the fabulous Alexandra at https://alexdneagoe.wordpress.com.  Her blog encompasses her love for food, travel, film, TV series and more, please check her out!

Okay, so here are the rules:

Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you
Answer the 11 questions the blogger gives you
Nominate 11 bloggers that you think are deserving of the award
Let the bloggers know you nominated them
Give them 11 questions of your own

Here are her questions for me:

What’s one thing you really want to accomplish in life?  I’d like to visit every state in the United States.
If you would have to recommend someone a book which one would it be and why? I’ve had the luxury of enjoying many great books making it nearly impossible to name just one.  “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” is one of my all time favorites. It’s a true story, absolutely fascinating and is solely responsible for my discovery (and deep affection) of Savannah, Georgia. They say true is stranger than fiction and this proves that theory!

 If you were to be stranded on an island somewhere which are three things that you would take with you? My Kindle, lipgloss and a really big beach umbrella. 

What would you do with the money if you won the lottery? I’d pay off our debts, book a European Riverboat Cruise, a trip to Spain and the Greek Isles with Spence. I’d gift money to family members as well as a few charities. I’d invest the rest.  

What’s the song you listen to the most these days? Uptown Funk has been my favorite song for the last year and motivates me to move, upping my FitBit steps per day!
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone? Don’t take yourself so seriously.
What is your favorite poem? The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost is brilliant.
What is one thing you like about yourself? I’m resilient.
What’s you favorite movie at the moment and why? Funny you should ask this. A few days ago Spence and I watched a movie that was so entertaining.  A British film from 2009, “Pirate Radio” had the best 1960’s soundtrack (like a flashback to my younger life), witty dialogue and a great, based on fact storyline. We laughed aloud throughout the movie – highly recommend it. 
What are you looking forward to this year? This year I turn 60 and I’m excited about it. I don’t feel nor act my age so it truly is just a number. Spence and I will celebrate in Aruba, back at our beloved Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort. I’m also on a mission to become the healthiest version of myself, through Weight Watchers and simply moving more….
If you could travel in time, somewhere in the world or some place in a book you love what place would it be and why? I’d love to rent a houseboat in Amsterdam with Spence for a few months and experience the charms of this city. When we were in Amsterdam a few years ago, I felt such a strong connection as though I’d lived there in a past life.  

My nominees are:

Eleven questions for my nominees:

  1. What three words would your best friend use to describe you?
  2. What three words would you use to describe yourself?
  3. If you could live on the water, in the mountains or in a major city – where would you choose and why?
  4. Who is your favorite actor or actress?
  5. What is your favorite comfort food?
  6. White wine, red wine or no wine?
  7. What languages do you speak?
  8. Who is someone who inspires you?
  9. How do you define success?
  10. What would people be surprised to know about you?
  11. What talent do you wish you had?

Sunshine Blogger Award

I’m humbled and grateful to accept another award for Spence’s Girl from a blogger I’ve admired for a long while, incahootswithmuddyboots.com.  Sabine is a world-class contributor to the blogosphere. She travels the world, loves nature, gardening, cooking (and shares great recipes) and is a talented photographer and story teller. I’ve learned alot from her and appreciate her support of my blog; I hope you’ll check her out.

Here are the the Sunshine Blogger Award rules:

Thank the person who nominated you!
Answer the 11 questions you were asked.
Nominate 11 other bloggers and let them know they were nominated.
Ask the nominees 11 questions

1. Dream vacation! Where would you go? My dream vacation is a European Riverboat Cruise (as advertised on Downton Abbey).  The Greek Isles and visiting Spain are also very much on my Bucket List…. 

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Here’s hoping…..

2. Which book are you reading at the moment? Just this morning I finished “Re-Inventing Mona” which was a fun read and before that, “A Street Cat Named Bob” which I loved. Next up, “A Memory of Violets” which was highly recommended by my sister and mom. 
3. Who is your favorite poet? Maya Angelou 
4. What is your favorite time of day to write for your blog? Being retired, I can blog at any time the mood strikes but would say my most productive window is likely after 11:00 a.m. through 4:00 p.m.
5. Do you have any pets and what kind? I have the two most adorable, loving and fun kitties, Tipper and Biscotti.  Natural brothers (though different kitty-daddies), they were born in our backyard garden to Chica, a beautiful feral calico cat.

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Are these two cute or what?

6. How many and which languages do you speak? Fluent in English, some “Spanglish” (picked up during 15 years of vacationing in Costa Rica) and studied five years of French in high school which comes in handy now when dining in a French restaurant.
7. What is your favorite flower? I’ve photographed and shared countless flower pictures from my garden and travels on this blog.  A favorite?  I have to say it’s between my glorious irises and peonies. (And I’d add Hydrangeas as a favorite though growing them and getting any blooms has vexed me for years…)


8.  Do you prefer the beach or the mountains? A nearly impossible choice for me as Spence and I adore Aruba and yet we feel equally as passionate about our many trips to the Great Smoky Mountains and the Canadian Rockies.  I simply can’t choose. Next question please….
9.  What type of music do you like? I was a teenager in the 70’s and fell in love with the music and artists from that era. In fact I will be fulfilling a life long dream next month when I go to see The Who!  Jethro Tull, Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, James Taylor and Carole King are among my favorite artists. I enjoy nearly all types of music…
10. Which fruit do you enjoy eating the most? Another tricky question….I love most fruit but raspberries fresh picked from the garden on a warm day are hard to beat!
11. Dark chocolate or milk chocolate? Though I know dark chocolate has health benefits and I do enjoy it, I’d have to say milk chocolate!

My 11 Nominees are….

  1. badcatchris.com – I’ve recently discovered this fun website about Chris, a former shelter cat who even has his own book (impressive) and looks very much like my Biscotti.  Together with his humans, siblings Frankie and Puck, the self-proclaimed “baddest cat you’ll ever love” is always a delight. If you love cats – and seriously, who doesn’t, check out this blog!
  2. rumpydog.com – another recently discovered blog which features Rumpy Dog, an Alaskan Malamute rescued from a busy street.  After no one claimed him, was adopted into a loving home along with June Buggie Cat, a darling ginger feline. There are also great posts contributed by their Mom and it’s a new favorite of mine!
  3. nourishedpeach.com – Melissa, a wife and mom of two whose passion for her family equals her passion for cooking. Her blog offers up scrumptious recipes that are  comfort food – both nuturing and nourishing.  Check her out!
  4. rantingchef.com – Pat is a Cleveland based, amateur chef who loves food and really knows how to cook it. Beyond recipes, on this blog you will learn things about food prep and technique. For the foodies out there, this is a blog you should be following.
  5. ronitpenso.wordpress.com – Ronit’s blog “Tasty Eats” is well named. She’s worked as an Executive and Restaurant Chef, Caterer and more, across the globe. Now a Private Chef, she’s published a cookbook, working on the next one, does cooking demos and is a champion of “from scratch” cooking, something I’m passionate about as well.  I’ve reblogged recipes from her, the diversity of her repetoire is astonishing and so creative, again for you foodies….
  6. stovetopstory.com – Julie is a French cook living in America. Her recipes are healthy, mostly vegetarian and always creative, appealing with photos and how-to’s to assure that you have the same delicious success that she did while crafting them. Her Three Ingredients Banana Pancakes have intrigued me as has the Sweet Potato Gnocchi with a Brown Butter and Sage Sauce….magnificique! Did I mention the recipes appear in both English and French?
  7. whatsfordinnermoms.com – Written by a Mom, this blog incorporates family friendly, home-cooking meals that make you hungry and inspired to prepare them. She and her family have recently relocated to Michigan (my state), are Disney enthusiasts and when you read her blog, you’ll find she is someone you’d like to hang out with.
  8. patcegan.wordpress.com – This blog “Source of Inspiration” offers stunning photography of nature coupled with inspirational and lovely poetry.  There is something so calming and zen in reading these posts. Though short in length, the warm embrace you feel when visiting this blog remains with you.  For those seeking a moment to be tranquil and breathe deeply, follow the link above.
  9. justmidlife.wordpress.com  – Suzy Barker shares her photography and perspective with stories and musings about life in the English countryside. She is a self-described “daft midlife scribbler” (love that) and promises her followers a crack-pot ride? I’m in!
  10. everydaysarahjane.com – Five years ago, Sarah taught herself to cook, finding not only did she have a knack for it but also discovering her passion for it. (I can relate!) She has oodles of yummy recipes but also how-to’s which afford opportunities to learn new techniques.
  11. unwedhousewifeblog.wordpress.com – Unwed Housewife is a fun blog I recently found after she liked one of my posts. A Texan, now living in the midwest, she is a stay at home mom to two cats (me too!) and is all about domestic bliss, cooking and recipes. What’s not to like here?

Congratulations to all those nominated! Keep on blogging and thank you for your contributions to the Blogosphere – you rock! Now…here are your 11 questions:

  1. What is a fun fact about you, never shared until now on your blog?
  2. Early riser or night owl?
  3. Glass half-empty or half-full?
  4. Who is your favorite author?
  5. What inspires you?
  6. Favorite vacation spot?
  7. Peanut butter – crunchy, smooth or peanut allergy?
  8. If you could tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?
  9. Sunrise or sunset?
  10. Are you a multi-tasker, procrastinator or laser focused?
  11. What was the last great movie you’ve seen? (theater, rental or streaming)

 

Blogger Recognition Award

I’d like to accept the Blogger Recognition Award from Anne at the fabulous blog, tastingeverything.com. If you haven’t visited her site – particularly if you are a foodie, go there right now! Her food is plated like works of art and the recipes are tantalizing as well as being healthy and primarily gluten free.  I thank you Anne for the nomination and her support of my blog.

There are a few rules:

  1. Explain why you started blogging
  2. Nominate some other bloggers
  3. Comment on their blogs to let them know you’ve nominated them

Why I started blogging?   For a number of years I’ve been talking about writing.  A novel, a cookbook, travel stories, a children’s book about the colony of feral cats that Spence and I care for in our backyard? I just knew the desire was there and when I retired (2/28/14), I could no longer use the “no time” excuse to put off my writing.

My BFF found a great local author to teach a creative writing group which she hosted in her lovely home (with yummy treats and wine…what fun).  Much to my surprise, it incorporated learning poetry styles and on-the-spot writing assignments – totally out of my comfort zone.  I enjoyed that “push” to expand my horizons and found that I was able to rise to the challenge, inspired from being amongst like-minded women.  It was a safe and nuturing environment and it got me started.

On the evening of Halloween 2014, I launched my blog after preliminary research on where to host it.  I’m pretty tech-savvy and found WordPress easy to use, with tech support at the ready when needed.  Blogging appealed to me on so many levels -sharing personal stories, recipes, humor, travel and garden photography as well as featuring my (now famous) cats, Tipper and Biscotti and new things I’m learning. I love the flow of blogging and the lovely support by those who visit, comment and/or follow me. Blogging means more to me than I ever expected and now I can’t imagine life without this creative outlet. 

Nominate fellow bloggers:

lifeat28andcounting.wordpress.comunder the AKA of Scarlet Pen, this blogger covers everything from great (healthy) recipes to tips on life, marriage, wellness and her adorable dog. There’s alot to like about this blog and I hope you’ll check her out!

ice-cream-magazine.com – this comprehensive blog provides an extensive repetoire of ice cream, gelato, sorbet and countless other “cool” recipes, coupled with amazing photography. Her posts make my mouth water and even during our frigid winter weather, I find myself compelled to make something cold and refreshing…

madebymitza.wordpress.com – I’ve been following this blog for some time and am so drawn to Mitza’s stunning photography. Her subjects include “flowers in macro, views of decay, fine arts”. She has an incredible talent capturing the perfect photos. She loves photographing doors in her travels, something we have in common. She is an artist (illustration) and has studied jewelry design with a goldsmith, now making her own jewelry in silver, gold and with gemstones. 

I hope you’ll click on the links to these nominees, all terrific and interesting blogs, worthy of this nomination.

 

Spirit Animal Blogger Award

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I was just awarded the Spirit Animal Blogger Award by Sabine @  incahootswithmuddyboots.com whose contributions to the Blogosphere I truly admire.

Sabine’s blog is filled with tales of world travel, stunning photography, recipes (including great cooking tips) and gardening. I’ve learned alot from her.  To recieve this award from her means a great deal.  I hope you’ll check her out, you won’t be disappointed.

In order to accept this award, I’m to share who I am, what my blog means to me and what animal I would want to be.

Who am I?

Nearly two years ago, I retired at age 57 with a goal to spend time with Spence, learn new things, travel and never be bored.

Spence and I live in Michigan with our two adorable sibling cats, Biscotti and Tipper (who’ve become “famous” when they frequently pop up on my blog). Passionate about travel, writing, cooking, wine and gardening, blogging seemed to be the perfect fit in which I could explore and share my interests. In addition to the aforementioned passions I’m an avid reader, love music and dancing, enjoy movies, make bath products as gifts and study yoga and meditation. Later this month I’ll begin guitar lessons, a lifelong dream. Retirement has been a great blessing. I’m not squandering a minute!

A Blog is Born

And so it began… after a few months of traveling and enjoying my “new normal” I launched this blog on October 31, 2014. I’m honored by every single person that has followed me or liked a post.  I’m loving everything about blogging and I thank you all! Blogging has been a  way to merge my interests and share them with the world, keeping it positive and light-hearted.

What Animal would I want to be?

I can’t imagine anything better than being a cat. Not very original perhaps but I’ve often said I was a cat in a past life. I tend to identify with felines. I find them highly intelligent, loving and admire their ability to play and sleep, purr, snuggle and be great companions.

Paying it forward I nominate the following:

For the final part in the award process, I’m to nominate fellow bloggers for this award. I hope you’ll click on their links and check them out….

  1. thecobaltblonde.com – Kristina is a vibrant young blogger with a interest in finding beauty in everything and an emphasis on style with a budget. She is fun and shares great photography as well.
  2. theviewfromtheporch.com – Nancy is one of those bloggers that you feel as though you’ve known forever and though you don’t see her, you stay in touch.  She projects positivity and humor as she shares what’s happening in her world and with her family, plus Jack the cat.
  3. tastingeverything.com – Anne is a skilled professional chef with an extensive background. Her food is primarily gluten-free, her recipes and plating are absolutely stunning. Seriously, if this is what gluten-free is – count me in.  I could spend hours on this blog. If she publishes a cookbook, I’m buying it.
  4. truenorthnomad.net – Lily is a Canadian blogger who is a writer, photographer and travel enthusiast sharing her passion for all things Canada.  Spence and I adore Canada so this blog has been delightful as I learn about places I’ve haven’t travelled to yet.  Her photography is lovely and she does her country proud.

Infinity Dreams Award

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I just learned that I was nominated for another award. I’m so honored and excited that my little blog has been noticed and appreciated. Thank you to the amazing incahootswithmuddyboots for the nomination and support. Sabine has a delightful blog encompassing travel, gardening, food and photography. Please check her out!

To accept this award I must:

1.Thank and follow the blog that nominated me – check!

2.Tell 11 facts about myself and answer the 11 questions set by the nominating blogger – check!

3.Nominate 11 bloggers, setting 11 questions for them – okay, I’m only doing 5 nominations because I’m on vacation and must get back to the beach!

So here goes, 11 facts about me……

  1. At my tallest, I was 6 ft 1/4 inches tall, growing the last inch and 1/4 at age 28.  Now 59, I’m 5 ft 10 1/2.  Go figure.
  2. I’ve had the same best friend since I was old enough to talk and we still haven’t run out of conversation.
  3. I love the Friskies “Dear Kitten” online videos.  Too cute.  Also “dog who wants a kitten” – if you haven’t seen it, Google it.
  4. My favorite pie is rhubarb custard.
  5. I am afraid of spiders, snakes and clowns.  Also, the flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz creep me out.
  6. Spence makes a special comfort food for me when I’m under the weather – a fried egg sandwich with chili sauce.
  7. I live in the house that my grandparents built when my dad was a boy.
  8. I am a bit obsessed with Pinterest. Okay, more than a bit.
  9. I love movie musicals, cue Rodgers and Hammerstein.
  10. I love to sing karaoke, even though Spence wishes I wouldn’t. Kind of like he feels when I sing along with the radio on road trips….. 
  11. I have no children of the human variety but love my cats Tipper and Biscotti as if I’d given birth to them. 

  
Now for my nominees:

  1. http://Katzenworld.co.uk –  Marc hosts a must see blog for those who love cats and kittens, informative, fun and great to brighten your day. Weekly Tummy Rub Tuesdays features reader submitted photos of beautiful cats posing for their Tummy Rubs. You can submit your photos; Tipper and Biscotti have been included in weeks past.
  2. http://rachelmankowitz.wordpress.com –  Rachel is a fiction writer, assisted by her two darling dogs, Cricket and Butterfly.  Check her out!
  3. http://Loveandolives.com – Thirty-something Olivia writes about life and her adventures in this lovely and uplifting blog.  Always positive and enjoyable.
  4. https://storyshucker.wordpress.com – Stuart writes endearing, heartfelt short stories based on his life, that are a true treat.  A truly gifted storyteller, I can’t wait for each new post.  If he releases a book, I’m buying it.  Please have a look.
  5. http://Cupidorcats.wordpress.com – written by “Janey” (her alias) a self described weird blog, she is funny, clever and insightful.  I adore her blog and feel as though if we were to meet we’d be great friends.  And yes, that means I’m weird and proud of it.

11 questions for my nominees:

  1. What is your favorite comfort food?
  2. Do you have siblings?
  3. Live to eat or eat to live?
  4. Swim in a lake, ocean or a pool?
  5. Coffee or tea?
  6. What is your favorite time of day to blog?
  7. Name something from your “bucket list”
  8. What scares you?
  9. Cats or dogs?
  10. Best childhood memory?
  11. What or who makes you laugh?

Spence’s Girl Receives Liebster Award!

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How exciting is this?

I just learned that I was nominated for the Liebster Award by the immensely talented http://incahootswithmuddyboots – thank you, Sabine!  This is especially exciting as I near the one year anniversary of launching this blog – on Halloween to be exact.  It has been gratifying to receive three awards now and from bloggers I so admire.

Please check out: http://incahootswithmuddyboots! Such a great blog including travel adventures, cooking, gardening and photography.

By accepting this award, I was asked to answer the following questions:

  • Your favorite book? Hard to choose one favorite but a truly remarkable book is “Memoirs of a Geisha”
  • Your favorite movie? Again, just one?  “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” – have watched it countless times and it never gets old
  • Your dream vacation?  After seeing all those commercials for the European River Boat Cruises while watching Downton Abbey, that is a dream vacation.
  • Your favorite flower? This is a hard question as I am such a garden geek, but I adore Hydrangeas (which I strangely have no success in getting to bloom)
  • IOS or Android?  I’m Apple all the way!!
  • Which languages do you speak? English, Spanglish and I can read what I call “menu French” as the five years of French I studied in high school escaped me eight years ago when I  traveled to France. (epic fail – ask Spence)
  • Coffee or tea? Tea
  • Favorite color?  Teal blue
  • If you were reincarnated as an animal, which one would you choose? I’d like to be a well-loved cat
  • Are you an early bird or a night owl?  Early bird
  • What is your favorite breakfast?  Everything Bagel toasted with Light Veggie Cream Cheese and a glass of cider (and the aforementioned tea of course)

Now for my nominations for the Liebster Award:

  1. http://lovingleisuretime
  2. http://dawns-ad-lib.com
  3. http://bubblyBEE
  4. https://4wallsnaroof.wordpress.com
  5. https://curvylouise.wordpress.com

These blogs are so well crafted. I’m always happy to see a new post and have featured their posts under my category “From Blogs I Follow”. I invite you to check them out. I promise it will be time well-spent.

Now for 11 questions for my nominees:

  1. What is your favorite birthday cake or pie?
  2. Peanut butter – smooth or crunchy?
  3. What is your least favorite household chore?
  4. Curly, wavy or straight hair?
  5. If you could live anywhere else, where would it be?
  6. Left-handed or right-handed?
  7. What is your favorite adult beverage?
  8. What talent do you wish you had?
  9. What made you decide to blog?
  10. Best decision you ever made?
  11. Person you admire most?

Here are the rules for accepting the Leibster Award:

  1. Make a post thanking and linking the person who nominated you.
  2. Include the Liebster Award sticker in the post too.
  3. Nominate 5 -10 other bloggers who you feel are worthy of this award. Let them know they have been nominated by commenting on one of their posts. You can also nominate the person who nominated you.
  4. Ensure all of these bloggers have fewer than 200 followers.
  5. Answer the eleven questions asked to you by the person who nominated you, and make eleven  questions of your own for your nominees or you may use the same questions.
  6. Lastly, COPY these rules in your post.

High Five! Another Award – Encouraging Thunder

High Five from Biscotti!
High Five from Biscotti!  He just happened to be nearby when I screamed “woo hoo!” and did my “happy dance” after receiving this award!

Today I was delighted to learn that I’d received an award for Spence’s Girl from Janey at Cupids or Cats, a blogger that I truly admire for her humor, candor and creativity! It means so much to be nominated by someone whose talent I regard and who I’ve come to think of as a friend though we’ve never met. Janey, I thank you for this award; you honor and inspire me.

I encourage everyone who doesn’t know of her blog to check it out at:

https://www.cupidorcats.wordpress.com/2015/07/17/awards-and-1000-followers/

Here’s my bright, shiny new award!

It's so awesome!
It’s so awesome!

What you can do with the award?

Post it on your blog – √
Grant other bloggers with the award – read on, I’ll get to that

What you can’t do with the award?

Abuse or misuse the logo  – I solemnly swear – no abuse or misuse
Claim that it’s your own handmade logo – no one would believe me if I tried to claim that (haha)

What you should do after receiving award:

Enjoy the award – I’m thinking about pouring a glass of wine right now!
At least give thanks via comments and likes and/or mentioning the blog who gave the award – first thing I did (see above to refresh your memory)

Mention your purpose in blogging – 

For the last several years, I told people that I wanted to write a book. I ping-ponged around with what kind of book – a cookbook? humorous novel based on comical anecdotes from my real life? travel tales (culled from my voluminous journaling)? a children’s story about the colony of feral cats (all of whom Spence and I have named) and their adventures in our garden? You see the problem? No clear focus.  On October 31, 2014 I quit talking about writing and started this blog.

I was attracted to blogging because it felt like a safe place to talk about my life and adventures with Spence, Tipper and Biscotti, post favorite recipes, share my best photos, interests and passions while doing some creative writing.

I’ve been bowled over by the kind comments, feedback and acceptance from those who visit Spence’s Girl, most of whom I’ve never met – and from so many places around the planet. It boggles my mind that you’ve discovered my little blog; your support brings me incredible happiness. 

To all of you who visit Spence’s Girl, I send out my heartfelt gratitude.


In turn, I’d like to nominate the following blogs for this award:

creekviewcarol.com a blog that brings me endless enjoyment

mangoestomutts.coma blog that truly represents the beautiful heart & mind of this blogger

My First Award!

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It is with both humility and appreciation that I accept my first award!  One of my most favorite bloggers, Cupid or Cats, just nominated me and it’s pretty exciting stuff let me tell you!

As part of the process I must:

Thank the person who nominated me and include a link to their blog – nominated by one of my personal favorite bloggers, check her out at cupidorcats.wordpress.com Her blog is full of humor and heart, it’s an absolute pleasure to see each new post on her blog. Thank you for your gracious nomination! – check!

Display the award on my blogcheck!

Write seven facts about myself – check!

1. I bruise like an overripe peach. I kid you not. I can focus my eyes on a body part with enough intensity to make a bruise appear. Been doin’ it for years, no idea why – just do. I used to work in an environment where I wore skirts and would wear black tights all the time. I wouldn’t make this up.

Courtesy of an image search for
Courtesy of an image search for “bruised peach”. You’d be surprised what I had to choose from. Trust me.

2. My shoe size is Ladies 11. As a young woman at 6 feet and 1/4 inches tall and size 11 feet, my Mom used to say “a girl as tall as you would fall over with smaller feet”.  Which was comforting except that I was also well-known for falling all the time . So big feet, very tall and a klutz. Attractive – not so much, endearing – perhaps to my friends. When someone of my height falls, it’s like a tree going down and rather spectacular (so I’ve been told).

Back in my 20’s and 30’s, (no internet in those days folks) I would dare you to find a ladies size 11 shoe unless you drove an hour north to a “specialty” store.  As a result, I crammed my feet into size 10’s for years. Then someone alerted me to a size 11 section at a Payless Shoe Store! I drove there immediately in spite of the sketchy neighborhood – next to strip clubs and known for well…..hookers.  Undeterred, I was on a mission, found the 11’s and began trying them on with glee. The lady next to me, sensing my delight asked “isn’t it amazing to find your size?” I looked at her, noticing she was a good 3-4 inches taller than I, was in the size 12 section and sounded like Bea Arthur from Maude. “Yes” I agreed, admiring her flamboyant dress and wig.  And yes, she was a drag queen.

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The problem with blanket statements.
No, tell me, what do they say? Go ahead, take your best shot.
No, tell me, what do they say? Go ahead, take your best shot.

3. I have diverse yet specific tastes. I like my wines dry, my beers dark. I watch Downton Abbey, Walking Dead, Gilmore Girls and Justified with the same unbridled enthusiasm.

I find it impossible not to dance to Love Shack, Uptown Funk, Blurred Lines, I’ve Gotta Feeling and every Fallout Boy song but have nearly broken my wrist turning the channel if a Bruce Springsteen song comes on (sorry, I know he’s The Boss – just not my boss).

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I find the idea of frog legs to be gross (yes, I’ve tried them, they taste like chicken but they’re frogs – green, slimy frogs with legs big enough to eat) yet I thoroughly enjoy escargot, crawfish, octopus, calamari and raw oysters. Go figure.

Disturbing, right?
Disturbing, right?

4. Not a fan of driving over big bridges. Being tall, people assume I don’t have a problem with heights. They’d be wrong. For instance, if I were still single and on the Bachelor, I would leave the show if asked to go in a hot air balloon, repel down the side of a skyscraper or into a cavern, go up in a helicopter or bungee jump.  I’ve tried to live by “never say never” but these are things that would be deal breakers. Lucky for me, I’ve been with Spence for 24+ years and he doesn’t make me do scary stuff to prove my love and devotion. And on road trips – he drives over the big bridges.

I'm right there with you Claudia. Don't look down.
I’m right there with you Claudia. Don’t look down.

5. Golf and me. When I was 12, my Dad took me for a golf lesson. The pro took one look at me, a tall, skinny, long-legged (probably bruised, see #1) girl with glasses who was terrified. The lesson was painful (I’m pretty sure he doesn’t remember me) and at the end, I heard him tell my Dad “save your money man, she’s hopeless – and left-handed“.  Well that was just plain unnecessary.  Dad got in the car, I burst into tears. I think we went for ice cream.

Years later, I love driving golf carts. During my first marriage I did so at an accelerated speed, going airborne as the cart crested a hill. Upon landing, my husband’s golf clubs flew helter-skelter as he screamed obscenities at me. Every time he almost caught up to me, I sped off.  Good times.

I do enjoy watching golf on TV and one of my favorite movies ever is Tin Cup with Kevin Costner.

Excellent movie about golf!
Excellent movie about golf!

Here is the lesson: you can enjoy something that you have no talent for and save yourself years of therapy induced by mean golf pros.

6. Love food – live to eat. Not a surprise to those who know me. I’m always thinking about my next meal with anticipation. My travel journals include vivid descriptions of scrumptious meals I’ve enjoyed and I frequently whip out a camera at restaurants and at home to photograph culinary masterpieces. I subscribe to countless food magazines, watch the Food Network as though I’m being paid and created special built-in shelving for my cookbooks when I re-did my kitchen a few years back. And if you go to @spencesgirlblog on Pinterest, you’ll see my love of food represented in multiple boards.  With the exception of only a few things (frog legs being one, see #3) I enjoy all food. Obsessed? Maybe just a bit.

Bring on the chow!
Bring on the chow!

7. My favorite nickname.  I’ve been given a few nicknames in my life, many by Spence who is known for assigning nicknames to those he loves. My favorite is when he called me “Private Snuffy of the Flying Monkey Brigade”.

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Though lengthy and a bit odd, it has stuck.  After he first said it, I proclaimed “I just want 5 minutes inside your brain to see where you come up with this stuff“!  He cracks me up.

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Nominate fifteen people for the award – not quite 15 but here are 8 of my favorite blogs, check!

  • creekview carol
  • mangoes to mutts
  • story shucker
  • in cahoots with muddy boots
  • the lodge on Haydon
  • 4wallsnaroof/the view from the porch
  • rachelmankowitz
  • the migrant chef