Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Creative Writing for Bloggers: Power Words

Ask any writer, and they'll name dozens of ways to hone a manuscript or post--weeding adjectives, eliminating unintentional rhyme, varying sentence length (and reducing the number of words that end in "ing"). Before I publish a post, I do a little trick. I tuck a power word at the end of almost every sentence. This is called "backloading."

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Tarragon-Apple Chicken Salad

When I look back on my girlhood, I don't remember dances or old beaus--I think about chicken salad. Even then, I was a bit obsessed with food, and my mother didn't have to cajole me to attend teas and luncheons. Nothing could compete with a buffet table: silver platters piled high with petit fours, lemon squares, pecan tassies, pastel mints, and tea sandwiches. An itty bitty chicken salad sandwich could make me swoon. At every event, I stood in line, imagining the first bite: the bread would be soft and barely there, but the salad would be cold, like touching your lips to glacial water, followed by warmth, comfort, and crunch, laced with mayonnaise and sweet bits of meat. One was never enough, but my mother was watching. Only uncouth, unladylike females reached for a second helping, and I tried to restrain myself in front of the chicken salad police. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Ella's Flowers

On a cold, sunless day in January, I took down the festive holiday garlands and tucked away the woodland ornaments. The house looked off-kilter, bare in some places and cluttered in others. I rearranged tabletops and pushed furniture from room to room. An hour later, as I surveyed the scratched floors, I knew what was wrong: I'd lost my decorating mojo. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

It's a pleasure to see your lovely faces at this week's Foodie Friday and Everything Else. You are a fun, talented group, and I adore playing with you. I'm still testing formats for our party, and I'd love to hear your opinions and ideas!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A Heart By Any Other Name

When I think about the heart, I tend to be scientific, worrying about plaque and hardened arteries. But when trouble strikes, I put a steadying hand on my chest. Indeed, the ancients believed this organ was the center of human emotion, and poets wasted no time weaving their magic.

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Joy of Winter Flowers



"What a pretty bouquet," the check-out lady said. "Are you having a party?"
No, just brightening the house, I answered. Flowers always have a way of creating a little magic. As I walked out of the grocery, I held the flowers, the paper wrapper crinkling against my coat, feeling happy and festive, as if I were on my way to a wedding or other happy occasion.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Welcome, welcome! It's time for Foodie Friday and Everything Else. I love that we don't have to leave our cozy nests to party. We can sit by the virtual fire and visit. Last week's party was amazing, filled with ideas for Valentine's Day, along with DIY projects, cold-weather recipes, and gorgeous tablescapes.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

And suddenly it's February, a month that's brief but notoriously fierce, the only month with a heart in the middle. I'm happy to see you this week at Foodie Friday and Everything Else. Let me get you a drink, and we'll warm up by the fire and talk about the highlights from last week's party. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Joy Lesson: Tea and Flowers

Each summer my mother sent me away to live with my Southern grandmother. Mimi loved Jesus, lemon pound cake, old fashioned roses, and afternoon tea. As she hummed "In the Garden," she brewed a pot of tea, then made vignettes for us with china and fresh flowers. She also created a world, a little pocket of calmness, a place for a young girl to gather strength. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

January has been dark and shadowy, as if a curtain has been pulled over my neck of the woods. I crave sunlight, but I am learning how to be productive. I'm organizing my basement office, and I have enjoyed quiet teatimes and leisurely breakfasts. After two years of being without my Yorkies, I am finally starting to look for a furry, tail-wagging, loves-you-no-matter-what terrier.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

 
Glad you stopped by Foodie Friday & Everything Else. As I write this post, fog is so dense I can't see the road. The hilltop hasn't been graced with sunlight for 20 days in a row, but I won't let the gloom take hold. I'm making an effort to see, and to create, beauty in everyday life. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Easy Way to Make a Naked Cake

 
It's all in the wording, of course. I didn't bake anything. However, I had a ball making a four layer naked cake, and it took five minutes.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Come on in and grab a warm drink. You're just in time for Foodie Friday and Everything Else.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Welcome to the first Foodie Friday and Everything Else party of 2017. I'm glad you're here. Take off your boots and coat, and let's talk about your week. In my neck of the woods, I haven't seen the sun in days and days. And it's been cold. 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Foodie Friday and Everything Else -- New Year's Party

As the New Year approaches, I can't help but remember the winter of 2016. In Tennessee, we had downright wintry weather, minus the dreaded Polar Vortex. It's the time to take down Christmas decorations and evaluate the year--was it good, bad, or ugly? Do you have resolutions or will you adjust your sails when they need adjusting?

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Welcome to Christmas at Foodie Friday and Everything Else. Are you ready for the holidays? Ahead of schedule or behind? Are you staying home or traveling? Wherever you'll be this Christmas Eve, I wish you a happy, safe holiday. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Christmas All Through the South--Part II

I'm joining the Novel Bakers for the final day of Southern Living's Christmas All Through the South. It's the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, marking a slow but sure return to light. I'm in the kitchen, serving casual Southern fare: buttermilk fried chicken, apple-cranberry slaw, pecan cornbread, Montgomery's punch, and shortbread.