Monday, October 29, 2018

Re-visiting Cat Who Mystery Series by Lillian Jackson Braun

My Favorite "Cat Who" Mystery Series

Hey fellow mystery lovers!  I'm starting off the week by sharing, or should I say re-sharing, one of my most favorite mystery series of all time. The "Cat Who" series, written by late author, Lillian Jackson Braun, will be sure to both delight and thrill you as you read about the mysteries solved by Jim Qwilleran and his two precocious Siamese detectives Ko Ko and Yum Yum. 

I actually own all the books in this series having inherited many from my late Mother, who shared a love of this series with me, and the titles I have added over the years. I didn't feel like pulling every book down off the shelf, however, so I'm only showcasing five of my paperback copies in the above picture. 

Lillian Jackson Braun was a prolific writer who actually wrote the first three books of this series in the 1960's, took an eighteen year hiatus, and then resumed writing one book of the series per year until 2007. Braun died in 2011. 

Qwilleran, known in later books as "Mr. Q" by most of the community, is introduced in the first book as an award winning crime reporter with a best seller on crime under his belt who is now struggling as a down and out reporter at "The Daily Fluxion" due to some difficult years in which a divorce drove him to drink. As a recovering alcoholic, he is given assignments to write about restaurants and antiques and lives month to month on a paycheck that just covers his meager expenses. Along the way, mysteries cause him to meet two separate Siamese cats (KoKo aka "Kao Ko Kung" and Yum Yum) and he ends up adopting each cat and they become a loving family of three. 

During a vacation sometime later in Moose County (400 miles north of everywhere according to Braun) Qwilleran reacquaints himself with an old family friend of his mother's, "Aunt Fanny," who dies and leaves her millions to a very surprised James Mackintosh Qwilleran. The remainder of the books chronicle his life as a somewhat eccentric millionaire living with two cats who help him to solve all manner of Moose County mysteries. 

Besides being a millionaire, Qwilleran's claim to fame is a luxurious moustache that sends him "signals" whenever he encounters a mystery. Koko also has a bit of psychic ability which Qwill has learned to trust over the years as they work together to solve crimes. Along the way, many characters return in each book such as Qwilleran's longtime childhood friend and fellow journalist Arch Riker, his longtime librarian love interest Polly and Mildred Hanstable whose last name later changes-but if I tell you too much I'm giving the stories away! 

Being a cat lover and cat parent, I love these books and it has been such a treat to re-read many of them once more. I am currently re-reading The Cat Who Played Post Office and what a joy to remember how Qwill and the cats adjusted to life in Pickax City after years of living "Down Below." Such fun! 

If you're looking for a great mystery series and you are a cat lover like me, then I think you will enjoy the Cat Who books by Lillian Jackson Braun. Let me know if you have read these or if you choose to give them a try, OK?

So tell me, what is on your reading list right now? Be sure to share in the comments section. I love hearing from you!

Until Next Time,

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Casual Styling For Lunch Out

What I Wore To Lunch-OOTD

Some days just lend themselves to kicking back with a casual style. Days like today, when I knew I would be meeting a dear friend for lunch and a long chat. 

If I had a daily uniform, this would be it. Comfy jeans, a soft shirt, a warm jacket and the most comfortable shoes I can find. It's a basic, laid back style that can be upgraded with the addition of jewelry and accessories. 

My red straw thrifted purse added just the right pop of color, coordinating well with the blue of the jeans fabric and the pink/salmon/brown plaid of the shirt. There are several layers that give texture, as well as warmth,  to this look. Notice the pink short sleeved shirt under the plaid blouse under the blue jean jacket. 

Then notice the addition of gold earrings and a gold necklace to give the upgrade to the casual style. I always feel that adding jewelry means I care to try a little harder to look nice when I am pulling together an outfit. 

The final layer would be these comfy multi-color shoes that hit the sweet spot in blending with the other colors of the outfit without giving a "matchy matchy" look. Not that I have anything against matchy matchy, per se, but I feel this look works together. 

This is a casual look that is easy to copy if you're looking for a similar laid back style. I'll bet you can shop your own closet and find similar pieces. If you are wanting to shop, however, I'll add the links below to the pieces I'm wearing. ( Or at least, similar pieces). This is not a gifted or affiliate post. The links are just for your own information and browsing enjoyment!

I enjoy getting dressed up every once in awhile but this look is my "signature" Debbie look. How about you? How would you describe your signature look? Would you wear any of the pieces included in my OOTD? Hope you'll take a moment to leave me a comment. I love hearing from my readers. And, btw, have you signed up to follow me by email? You know you want to, so you'll never miss a post! Just look for the spot on my right sidebar to add your email address and submit. And please remember to look for the first email that will ask you to confirm you want to follow me by email. Some folks forget that step (or the email goes to spam) and you don't get the emails when I post. If you know you signed up, but haven't been receiving emails when I post, it is most likely because you forgot to confirm that you want to follow me. Just some FYI for my readers because I love you! 

Shop The Look
Skechers GOGA Max shoes  (similar)
Vintage America Blues jeans (similar)
Gloria Vanderbilt blue jean jacket (here)
plaid shirt from Walmart (tags cut out, unsure of brand) (similar)

Until Next Time,

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

How To Create An Autumn Tablescape

 A Tablescape Using What You Already Own

Hello, dear readers. Do you ever wish you didn't have to always buy new things in order to create a tablescape for a particular season? I feel the same way and today I'm showing you how I created a very pretty, and interesting, Autumn tablescape using objects I already own. I'll bet if you look around your home, you can find several items you already own that would make a similar tablescape!

Whenever I think of Autumn I always think of the beautiful browns, reds, oranges and golds which make up the colors of Fall. So, I began by looking around my house for items with those colors. I immediately thought of this cute owl placemat that I bought awhile ago at A.C. Moore for the vast sum of one dollar! I knew it would make a great anchor piece for my tablescape.

I then decided to start layering pieces on the placemat, playing with the arrangement until I liked the effect. First came this classic gold pear. 

To the pear I added a gold water pitcher, an orange pumpkin and a favorite flameless candle lamp. All these items have the colors of Fall in common and look wonderful arranged around the Autumn owl of the placemat. It's a simple arrangement but that's the beauty of it, in my opinion. I used what I own and found a new and creative way to display these pieces. A little bit of "this and that" ingenuity!

You may have noticed that I haven't been posting as many blog posts recently as I normally do. This has been for many reasons. Mostly, life has gotten in the way lately. Nothing bad, just the fact that my life of retirement has suddenly begun to take on a "shape" that includes sometimes subbing and volunteering at a nearby pre-school, becoming the director of my church's handbell choir, singing in the church choir, serving on committees and various other time eaters that I won't bore you with. In addition, though, I've been in a bit of a "blogger slump" that has been hard to shake. Every blogger hits a slump, now and then, and, usually, a bit of a break does the trick and the creative juices start to flow again. My slump has been exacerbated by the fact that I'm still in a bit of a "mood" shall we say over my "Debbie this and that" name being bought by another site. Sounds silly, I know, but I truly feel like my "identity" has been taken from me. After three years of identifying as Debbie this and that, it's hard to think of Debbie Styles Life as my "new" identity. I'm still me, of course, still Debbie, still sharing bits and pieces of my life, love for books, faith, style and much more with my faithful readers. But, for some reason, it feels "different." Guess there's more power in a name than we think, huh?! Well, enough whining. Let's get back to styling life...and tablescapes....and always doing it with a little bit of this and that!

So tell me, what do you have in your home that you could use to create your own simple tablescape for Autumn? Please share your ideas. I love hearing from my readers and learning about how you style life!

Until Next Time,

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Styling A Fall Tie-Dyed Dress

Tie-Dye Dress Styling

As usual with particular trends, I'm a little late to the tie-dye clothing party. That has all changed, however, with my purchase of this pretty tie-dyed dress that brings a touch of Fall in its style!

I've had my eye on this dress for months! Every time I would go into Cracker Barrel to eat I would browse the racks, see this dress, pull it off, admire it and then....look at the price tag and put it back on the rack!

Today, I saw that there were only two left on the rack, and only one in a size that I could wear. So, I took the plunge and bought it! And, I'm so glad I did. I kept hoping they would put this dress on sale, like they do so many others, but for some reason this one was never on sale. This is a bit of a different look for me with the mix of tie-dye colors, but I like all of these colors and how they go together. After I bought this, I remembered that I used to own a skirt and top that had similar colors, although not in a tie-dye pattern. I always enjoyed wearing that outfit until the skirt got too tight and I gave the set to Goodwill. So, I think this color combo was "calling" to me!

Don't think the Mr. loved this look. He kind of just looked at me when he got home from work and asked me if I wanted to change clothes before having dinner. When I told him I had a new dress on that I loved and was quite comfortable wearing it, he said he just didn't want me to get anything on it. Ha! Could you tell if I did drop something on it?! The brand is one I've not worn before-Frazzle. Has anyone heard of that brand? I couldn't find the tie-dye style online but here is a link to the same dress in green. And, it's on sale! Boo-why wasn't mine?!

I actually wore my brown Skecher ankle booties with the dress when I went out to the store today. But, for the post, I decided to wear my Abella peep toe pumps. These pumps are super comfy, have great footbed padding and, best of all, are the perfect height for me! Because of the wide/flat heel, I don't teeter totter when I wear them. I got rid of all of my heels because I wanted something lower in height and more stable. It's just not worth a broken or sprained ankle to me to wear heels that are not safe. I'm quite happy with these stylish shoes!

So, what do you think? Do you like to wear tie-dyed clothing? Would you wear this style dress? How would you style it? Hope you'll take a moment to share a comment. I love hearing from my readers! And, if you haven't already, please take a moment to sign up to follow me by email. It's free and easy-just look on the right sidebar of my blog for the "Follow by Email" and add your email address in the box and click "submit." You will receive an email to confirm that you want to follow me by email and that's it! You will receive an email whenever I post so you never have to miss a post!

Wishing You Joy,

*This is not a gifted or sponsored post. Photography by Debbie Ross and William Ross. 

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Autumn Decor in the Autumn of Life

Autumn In Decor and In Life

As mid-October approaches I find myself delving more deeply into my stashes of Autumn decor. As is true with all seasons and holidays, I prefer to add bits and pieces of decor here and there throughout the house, mixing in these Autumn touches with decor that is already on display. A little bit of "this and that" to my style you might say. (wink)

I keep tweaking the foyer table decor and finally feel I've gotten it "right" with this display. I've fallen in love with the white/creme pumpkins that are so popular now and was excited to find this additional white wooden pumpkin in my Fall bin this evening. I had forgotten all about this piece! It was just what the foyer table needed to look complete.

This is the downstairs foyer table. It sports my favorite orange fabric pumpkin and a favorite vintage sign. 

The corner of the living room table is the perfect spot for my collection of orange wooden pumpkins and cute scarecrow. The soft glow of the flameless candle lamp adds to the evening ambiance of this vignette.

Even the hallway sports a touch of Fall with these colorful thrifted wooden leaves.

And these leaves don't need raking! I thought about repainting these leaves and now I'm so glad I didn't. They are perfect just as they are!

Meanwhile, outside the front door is a live green pumpkin topped with a "Swan gourd" purchased from our church's Pumpkin Patch. A unique pumpkin to be sure, and the green color matches our front porch decor. This photo was taken late. Sorry for the dim photo.

And some more creme white pumpkins hanging in a row on the fireplace wall in our family room. So pretty and yet so simple. 

I find Autumn to be a slow-down time that brings out the desire to  pause and reflect. It is a time of peacefulness between the busyness of a hot summer and the cold wintry blasts of winter and holiday preparations. The harvest is in and squirelled away to be used during the harsher months and the beautiful yellows, golds, reds, and oranges of leaves and pumpkins become feasts for our eyes and balm for our souls. 

As it is with the seasons, so it is with my life. I ponder the changing seasons of my years with reverence, wondering where the fleeting days of Spring and Summer have gone. The growth and expectations of those long ago days have brought forth the changing colors of my Autumn, a metamorphosis of my days and a reminder that I, too, am changing seasons as I age.

What do you ponder in the Autumn?

Wishing You Joy,

Thursday, October 4, 2018

An Old Favorite Sweater From My Closet

Finding An Old Favorite In My Closet

Hey Friends!  Today, I'm keeping it casual with an outfit I wore out to lunch today. The piece I'm showcasing is this colorful sweater I re-discovered recently while looking in the nether regions of my closet. Don't you just love it when you fall in love with an old clothing favorite all over again?! 

I bought this sweater many years ago and used to wear it to work all the time. It went well with so many of my solid color tops and pants. It was always great for adding a pop of color and it is the type of fabric that travels really well with no wrinkling. I guess it fell out of favor in the last three years as I have been playing with some more "current" styles and also wearing more casual looks on a daily basis in retirement. But, how wonderful to re-discover that this pretty sweater can go casual. I don't care that it is not a "trending" piece of clothing. I love the colors and felt great pairing it with my trusty tan corduroy pants and my comfy New Balance shoes. The white top is a great thrifting find. 

I have to tell you a little bit about these corduroy pants. I call them "trusty" because I have worn these for many years, even with the addition of some pounds, and I think they tell a story of how women's clothing sizes have gone crazy over the years. These pants are a "former smaller size" that I used to always be able to count on being able to wear no matter which pair of pants I pulled off the rack. Even though I have gained some pounds in my 50's, I can still wear these pants. Not so, with other pants I try on. Even when I try on larger sizes that fit my "size" now, I may or may not be able to wear them because I no longer find clothing sizes to be consistent! It is so hard to find consistent clothing sizes in my opinion! I probably have 6 different clothing sizes in my closet. I don't even pay that much attention anymore to clothing sizes or S-M-L-XL sizes because I may be able to wear something in ALL those sizes depending on how the outfit or clothing article is made. Does anyone else besides me feel frustrated about this?!

But, I digress from this pretty sweater. I'm so glad I "found" it again! Why not go look and see if there is an "old favorite" just looking to be re-discovered in your closet?  Let me know what you find, OK?! 

Do you let a few years go by and then start re-wearing pieces? Do you get frustrated with current clothing sizes (or the lack thereof?!). Hope you will take a moment to leave a comment. I love hearing from my readers!

Wishing You Joy,

Shop a similar look:
sweater-Ronni Nicole by Ouida-Similar
corduroy pants by Basic Editions-Similar
running shoes-New Balance
white stretch top-mine was thrifted-lots of choices here