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The leaves have all dropped in a drab and wildly skittering heap, but oh, how lovely in their jeweled glory days. And the frost, too, magic swirls painted into a dazzling hood ornament. Nature is the first and best artist in the land.

On to Thanksgiving, our usual quiet duo doing the cook up a storm kitchen dance. We speak little and accomplish volumes. Zucchini-parsnip eggy bake, with just a touch of cheese, for the green bit; sweet potatoes, mashed; dressing, which I always call stuffing, though it never sees the dark interior of a bird; Pillsbury crescent rolls; a very fibrous cranberry sauce mistakenly purchased thinking it was jellied and two sad faces joyously rectified upon our next trip to the grocery; hot smoked chicken, not turkey; a little fizzy rose; oh, and puppy dog tails and pecan pie with crazy-good crust, of course, always, with coffee – piping hot, and cinnamon tea. Yes, that is how we do it.

I ate so very much and used days and days of points but will be back on track with the morrow. Oh, my distended belly!

At the moment, Greg plays a game on his computer while I type and photo shop, and Todd Rundgren sings cheerfully in the background. All this in between puzzle bouts, where we are working our way through a world map according to the Empire of the British, date unknown. It does not match the picture. Extra bits stamped on, vintage style, a lesson of the world is not as it seems order. Still fun, though. Again, yes.

And now, for some recommendations! This is so not in my wheelhouse, so forgive me if it feels a bit clunky. I should also note that I get nothing , save my own pleasure from this. No one is paying me. I only want to share my excitement about talented makers and kindly people aiming to do right by the world.

First off – if you like the Frida Kahlo mug up yonder, I bought that on our trip to North Carolina, in 2019, I think? Anyway, Liz Kelly made it and may still make the very same. She changes it up a bit. I’ve bought Prince & Beastie Boys mugs for my favorite fans, a Daddy mug for my very own Daddy, and a super neat tray with cacti on it. They are lovely, tank-like sturdy, and made with ever so much love.

The kindly Kelly Hsiao of Block Island Organics Sunscreen has a 25% off promo code good until November 29th: BFCM21. Use it on select products and make your beautiful skin glad!

More wonderful products for your skin and lips, made with wild harvested plants and heady with the scent of New Mexico, can be found at Dryland Wilds. I love everything they make, truly!

ABLE, out of Nashville, fashions jewelry and rather stylish clothes and shoes around the world. The best part? They work to empower women and help overcome generational poverty by giving workers a living wage and a share in the profits. Everything is 25% off right now!

If you’d like to keep it local to Colorado Springs (or buy online and ship anywhere!), head over to Yobel. They also have ethically made clothing and accessories for men and women, and some of the nicest people, too.

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t recommend Erica Bello, Fox and the Fawn, Jonesing for Jewelry, Ahlazua and Quench Metalworks. Each is run by a lovely and very talented metalworking woman, making beauty of every stripe to adorn some lucky person, you or maybe someone you know?

For a little bit of everything, also made with love and curated with an expert’s eye for the delightful, head to The Artisan’s Bench.

Happy Saturday! Happy day! Happy life to you!

I realized my sidebar photo was nearly six (!) years old, bought a new and very western hat, and decided one should do for the other. So here we are. The hat is sturdy and rather fancy (made by River Junction should you want your own), with the coolest stampede strings (told you it was very) to hold it on my head in a rodeo or the wind, which was whipping wildly!

It snowed!! A whopping three inches in our garden and well before actual fall (two weeks ago already?!), but the timing couldn’t be better, stifling some of our wicked wildfires in the process. Small mercies. Still praying for rain, though. Boy do we ever need it in the West. Such heartbreak at all that has been lost.

Snow day cuddles with the girl. How cute it she?!

I asked Greg to take a picture of me in my new favorite dress, testing the light with a photo of him first. As ever, he had me laughing myself silly! The dress is from Duluth, and possesses a dreamy, pajama type comfort. Stretchy and flattering, with GIANT pockets. I really couldn’t ask for more.

Homemade cherry preserves and a buttered club.

I’ve been eyeing these prickly pears for a time now and decided today was the day to harvest. My first attempt was a FAIL, trying to pick them with a single garden glove. I gave up a third of the way through, with so many needles in my fingers (so aptly named!). Undeterred, I returned with rubber gloves and kitchen shears, and all was copacetic.

Jerks with their boozy habits, leaving bottles all over the town. Made for a nice picture, though. And I brought it on home to recycle.

I did some interweb reading before deciding a simple whir in the Vitamix would do the trick with the prickly pears, adding nothing. I made margaritas with the strained final product. Fresh is best, peeps. My goodness, Y E S ! !

Another oldie! I am a year and a half or so here, on the lap of my Great Uncle Chris. I associate him with Cadillacs, cigars, whiskey and a velvety bass voice. Oh, and love…

Good morning, Santa Fe! The handsome hubster enjoys the little yard at our casita. We’d already walked to Dolina’s Bakery, where the service is adorable and patiently kind, and the pastry choices difficult to make. We bought croissants and a slice of amazing coffee cake.

Silly Juniper would not run through the tunnel! We tossed the ball halfway, and she darted in and backed her way out. We also forgot to bring her water to the dog park, so she made due with snow. Eeek, that dog is so stinking cute!

I am slightly embarrassed to admit that we haven’t spent much of our Santa Fe time on Museum Hill. We got to work on it, with a trip to the glorious Museum of International Folk Art. What fun that was, with every manner of joyful treasure I adore: amazing rugs, guitars made from license plates and cigar boxes, straw dolls, miniature after miniature, treasures from trash (the moose made by kids from Santa Clara Pueblo), and a memory of my time at Standing Rock. Woot!

Greg makes use of the overlook…
Apache Mountain Spirit Dancer
Craig Goseyun

We spent an evening at the Rail Yard, enjoying The Gentlemen at the Violet Crown. We’d never been, and were sure glad to go. Everyone was super friendly, the snacks and drinks top notch, and the theater was pretty posh, too, with those seats that make you feel you aren’t really at the movies. The fil-um satisfied, providing laugh after laugh, in an uber-clever Guy Ritchie caper way.

The pointilist-ish sky was on the scene for hours….
Fisher’s Peak on the verge of a fresh dusting of snow.

I vacillated on my decision to show you our treasures, mostly because I feel slightly boorish saying, “Look what I got!!” The more I thought on it, however, I realized I want the people behind them to get their due. It is their bread and butter, after all. These are in pretty random order, so get our your magnifier and use your beautiful eyes!

The Anasazi beans (so delicious!), mild green chile powder, and Chimayo chile powder (only a few families in the area grow them – pretty special), as well as the barely discernible tiny spoon charm came from El Potrero Trading Post in Chimayo. They ship, should you have a hankering and not be lucky enough to go.

The other charms and strings of beads came from Glorianna’s, the oldest bead shop in Santa Fe. Chockablock with every manner of beautiful bead, I had a hard time restraining myself. The woman who runs the shop is Starr, the daughter of Glorianna, who passed in 2018, and is so kind and helpful. She was wearing a beautiful velveteen suit her mother made in the 50s – a stunner! What a treasure of a place.

The blue corn pinon pancake mix from Santa Fe Culinaria is delicious, but contains soy flour which makes my tummy scream, ruh-roh! Greg is luxuriating in a selfish pancake moment. The milagro heart and cross with pink flowers are from the Palace Hotel in Las Vegas and look fabulous among their New Mexico kin on my basement bathroom wall.

Fun and yummy red chile chocolate bar from Los Muertos. Another round of the best cola in the mundo – Zia Pinon, as well as several more bags of our favorite Casa Blanca Red Chile Jerky. The magnet with the car is from El Zocalo in Las Vegas, a very dangerous place for me. They have a stellar selection of paintings, jewelry, pottery, just about everything an art lover wants to take home.

The ornament was made by Rita Johnson, a Navajo Sandpainter we met on the plaza. She doesn’t have a website, but if you’re interested in her work, as she does more than ornaments, message me on my about page, and I’ll hook you up with her phone number.

Oops! I nearly forgot the wee Huichol bowl, purchased at the Folk Art Museum and the super cool thunderbird belt Greg bought at the Tin-Nee-Ann Trading Post in Santa Fe. It’s one of the old school places that’s been open longer than I’ve been alive. We finally made it in. A trip of firsts…

The beautiful weavings! The top right was from the Mora Valley Spining Mill, and does not indicate the name of the weaver. The remaining two were done by Victoria Verry whose work is available at Centinela Traditional Weavers, and send my heart singing, especially the one on the left, as it has yarn with plant dyes from indigo, madder root, and chamisa (a.k.a. rabbitbrush). So cool!!

And finally, a wonder of a painting by Gwen Wilemon from El Zocalo.

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Not since living in Colorado have I marveled at the thunderous spectacle of a spring storm. Pounding and rumbling, water sluicing quickety-quick down gutters and shimmering streets. Pittsburgh weather is, thus far, the best I have ever known, elementary school definitions of the elements, fall-winter-spring, at least. We’ll have to see about summer. That may be the rub. This delightful downpour rolled through Monday, evocative petrichor, giant splashy drops, and thunder of the variety that welcomes rather than terrorizes. Air thick with humidity lay in its wake, just right, I thought, fans churning lazily, at least for now.

When the summer sun arrives in earnest and I am out and enjoying it, hopefully not merely melting and cursing the humidity that I now enjoy, I will be protecting my skin with Block Island Sunscreen. What is this, an advertisment? It is, indeed. I will admit that I never thought it would happen, but Kelly, one of the kindly women who runs the company, got in touch. She asked me if I would give it a whirl and report my thoughts. Since it is a product I would actually buy, I decided to go for it. I received my SPF 30 bottle earlier this week and honestly did not expect much. Though I am a natural-leaning sunscreen shopper, I am very picky about textures and fragrance and zinc-white glowing skin. Goldilocks comes to mind, but I think even she would say this stuff is just right. Block Island scores well on the Environmental Working Group’s safe sunscreen guide, has no nasty chemicals like parabens (very bad news for a gal with endometriosis, as they mimic estrogen in the body, and I’ve got PLENTY already), phthlalates, dyes, artificial fragrances, or nano-particles. It smells nice, but the scent doesn’t linger at all. Most importantly, it goes on like regular lotion, no furious rubbing and no greasy skin, and it does the job. Holy frijoles, it’s a win!

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