Saturday, January 31, 2009

St. Petersburg, Russia, Part I

It's finally Saturday and I can't wait to take another tour. Are you all set to go? Do you have your passports ready? You will need them to go to St. Petersburg, Russia. We will have to go through customs and security to get our pasports stamped. Remember not to try to be friendly with immigration officers. Just hand them your passports, they'll stamp and give them back to you and you do not have to say a word. That's how they like it, so don't try to make a conversation.

There is so much to see so I plan to go back again next Saturday. I hope you don't mind.

Now, just a few reminders: We can go shopping but remember not to buy fur coats, Russian coins, any KGB memorabilias and antique Russian religious icons. They will not allow you to take them out of the country and they might arrest you for it. Unless of course, you want to be detained and spend the rest of your life in Russia.
If you want to see more details on the pictures, please click on them.

Ok, let's go sightseeing!

The main altar inside St. Isaac's Russian Orthodox Cathedral is 3-tiered and is decorated with mosaics and a stained glass window of the Resurrected Jesus.

The gorgeous green and blue columns in the iconostasis found inside the Cathedral are made out of malachite and lapis lazuli, in fact, over 35,000 lbs. of malachite is used in the interior of the cathedral.
I can't show you everything inside because we will run out of time and we won't be able to tour other places, but trust me, it's all so richly adorned, sparkling in gold and simply breathtaking. The next three pictures show the outside. The massive red granite columns are made of single pieces. The picture below shows me on the right, my sister on the left and my aunt in the center,

Outside the church, you will see vendors selling lots of souvenirs such as Matryoshka nesting dolls.
Our next stop is the Hermitage Museum. This used to be the winter palace constructed during the reign of Catherine the Great. It was the home of the Romanov family from Peter III to the last Czar. Today, it exhibits so many artistic masterpieces by famous artists such as Rembrandt, Da Vinci, Rubens and Van Dyck.

Below you will see some of the art work.

Jordan Staircase at the State Hermitage Museum.

Whew! The walk along the halls of the Hermitage
is exhausting. How about some lunch? Now, this is what I call a fun lunch, with Russian dancers and entertainers. Rice and chicken with a creamy sauce and vergetables. Yummy!
How about a salad? It's very similar to our salad here. I think even the chicken is similar to what we eat here.
How about some pancake looking bread and caviar? Russians are also famous for their vodka and boy , is it ever so strong! It's enough to either wake you up or knock you down. I bought 2 of them, bottled in very pretty blue and white Czar and Queen jars. I will have to show them to you on a Blue Monday post.
Now, let's just drive around. There are so many big buildings with amazing architecture. It's interesting to know that St. Petersburg has no single homes, but you will see apartment buildings all over.
Russia is also very rich in culture. Just look how big their opera house is! This is the Marinsky Opera House and Theater.
Peter, the Great's Monument
A Russian couple in their costumes. Give them a dollar or 2 and they will post to take a picture with you.
I hope you enjoyed the trip as much as I did. We will go back next week again and see Peterhof and Pushkin and we'll see Catherine's summer palace. I hope you will join me then too. I promise you, it will be another incredible journey. Thanks for joining me. I really enjoyed your company!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Spring is In The Air

Tablescape Tuesday is hosted by Susan at Between Naps on The Porch. If you want to see some fabulous tablescapes, go to Susan's blog at, check out one of her gorgeous tablescapes and then, click on the links to other tablescapers and enjoy their creations as well!

Although I have participated in TT before, this is the first time I can participate from my very own new blog, naturally, I am quite thrilled.

I don't know about you but I can hardly wait for spring to come, which is my favorite season. You know, both John and I were born on the same spring day. So for this tablescape, I chose a spring theme.

I am not home yet but I did this table setting before I left just so my hubby would have something fresh and springy to look at.

Below is a Venetian decanter from 1900 which I spotted at an antique shop downtown. I fell in love with the cameos on them and the colors. The set includes 4 small cups but since there are only 2 of us, I set 2 of them aside.

If you have seen one of my past tablescapes, you must know how crazy I am about peacocks. I found this napkin ring on ebay. He is a pewter and I negotiated with the seller to give me a special price for 8 of them since they were quite pricey. Still, I thought they were worth it, so I bought them. The napkin has a yellow tulip stenciled on it.
Do you see the tiny turquoise and orange Meissen bird and the Costa Boda tulip that I added on the table? The bird is from ebay and I brought back the tulip from Stockholm, Sweden. Sorry it is barely visible but I cannot retake the picture because as I have said earlier, I am not home.
I love the tea candlelights. I thought they were artichokes at first but when I clicked to enlarge the picture, I saw the veins on the leaves which makes it look more like a cabbage. See what you think.

I have had that potted planter for quite sometime. Sorry the plant is fake but I think the color blends in well.

The plates are antique Bavarian Tirschenreuth dinnerware, ca 1880? I bought them from the same antique shop where I got the decanter but from another time. The store only had 6 dinner and 6 salad (or dessert) plates. If any of you can spot this pattern somewhere, please let me know.

I got the ruffly placemats at TJ Maxx for $5.99 plus an additional 15% off for a set of 4. The white lacy plate chargers are from JC Penney, also on sale. And below is the completed look. I hope you enjoyed my contribution for this week as much as I enjoyed setting it up.

I would like to thank Susan again for hosting Tablescape Tuesday. Don't forget to check out some wonderful tablescapes by going to her blog at

I have enjoyed having you all around!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Switching My Mom's Bedroom Around

I am so happy to participate in this week's Metamorphosis Monday hosted by Susan at If you have not visited Susan's blog, you really should. I promise you won't be sorry because her blogs are always interesting. Please go and check out the other participants' postings too. We can always pick up good ideas from them.

My mom rotates among us 5 brothers and sisters in 4 states. Last summer and fall, she stayed with us in MS but moved to my sister's in IL for the winter ( you might wonder why she would stay there when it is cold, but dh and I had to go away on a trip and we could not leave her alone at home. She will be 91 in July). I picked this particular room for her to occupy because it is the second room in the house that has its own bathroom. After she left, I switched her bedroom around.

From this

To this

From this

To this

From this

To these
Please click on this picture to display full size. Take a look at the plates on the wall. They are Norman Rockwell plates showing mothers caring for a child.

From this

To this

That's my mom's picture when she was 18.

I think either way works but what do you think? Which furniture arrangement do you like better?

Thanks for visiting.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

My Very First Award...Yipee!

"This is an award for being a wonderful Mom
You do fantastic work
Be proud of your accomplishments!"

I am so excited! This is only my third day of blogging and I already received an award. Thank you, Kathy! Kathy from has presented me this award and I am truly honored to accept it. Kathy has a daughter, named Cait and even if I have not met them personally, I can feel the closeness and love they have for each other. The same award was also presented to me by Cyndi at You should read her story about her 2 sons. It's amazing how much they have accomplished.

Actually, I think every mom deserves this award.

I have 2 daughters, 1 son and 2 step daughters and they are all so wonderful. I cannot really ask for anything more. They are all grown ups and independent now with their own careers. When my dad was still alive, he used to say that they (mom and dad) will never expect us to repay them back for whatever they have done for us 5 brothers and sisters, because there is no way we can repay them. He said the only way we can repay them is by doing the same thing to our children. Isn't that so true? I never expect anything from our children, I am just happy to do everything I can to make them happy.

Thank you, Kathy and Cyndi, for presenting me this award.

Now I would like to present this along to other deserving moms.
Sorry if it is a duplicate but accept it anyway, it will just mean that you are MUCH MORE than a wonderful mom.

Gloria from
Rue from
Tina from
Vanna from fur babies count
Chari from

and I would like to present this award to a non-bloggers too, Cindy known as
MariElisAmi on RMS, KathySue and Marty39

They are all wonderful moms and they deserve this award.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Monaco and Nice

I think I will take a tour every Saturday. What about you? Would you care to join me? For this week, let's go to Monaco and Nice. Remember to click on the pictures if you want to
see them enlarged.

We took a Mediterranean cruise and one of the stops is Monaco. When we woke up, this is what greeted us in the balcony. Isn't it beautiful? The yachts were pretty amazing, just look at the size! Monaco is a principality that is very rich. In fact, if you can establish residency there, that is, if you can afford to, you will never have to pay income taxes. It is really ideal to live there because aside from its beauty, there is no crime.
Here is the palace of Monaco. Do you see the flag flying? This means that Prince Albert is on site.
We took a tour going to Nice and we drove along the coast. I couldn't decide which side I would take pictures of because everything was so breathtaking. Let me just show you a few pictures I took. I am not even sure if they are in Monaco or on the French side since the only thing separating the 2 is a small rock, or rather, a big stone.

We made a stop at an olive plantation. Aren't the olives pretty?

Most of the time we travel during vacation time so that we can take my granddaughter with us, and there she is! See the olive trees in the background?

That's my wonderful dh posing with me.

This is the Chagall Museum, which again is surrounded by olive trees.

Aren't the orchids pretty? This was taken at the Flower market in Old Town.

Check out the marzipan. Yummy and so beautiful! Don't they look so real! My granddaughter was really fascinated by them.

Of course, a tour is not complete without shopping. I can't remember everything I bought but I remember buying some lavender potpourri and a French doll

Le Chateau in Old Town

another interesting store

The beach along the Promenade de Anglais.

along the French Riviera

This gorgeous site costs us the balcony. Let me explain. Just before we sailed away, we went out to the balcony to enjoy the view one more time and saw 2 people parasailing. AJ (my granddaughter) got so excited and started jumping which upset dh so much that he called the steward to lock the door to the balcony. Now, he won't even reserve a cabin with a balcony anymore. It makes him nervous. He is content with just an oceanview.

I hope you enjoyed the tour with me. Next week, I will have more selections since I will be home and I have more pictures stored in the desktop computer. Thank you for joining me!

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