Sunday was the 35th anniversary of my move to Martha’s Vineyard, that step I accidentally took into the unknown, and the beginning of my brand new life. A good day to celebrate! Let’s have MUSICA! And yesterday was mine and Joe’s 30th Anniversary of wallowing joyfully in said life! I love February! Not only is it the month for our best anniversaries, and the wonderfully sweet holiday of Valentine’s Day, it’s also my mom’s birthday. And it’s also the month Joe and I will be taking the train out to California to be with her! A red-letter month if ever I saw one.❤️ And look who else thinks so:

The robins are back and frolicking! For some reason, in the last few years, robins show up here in droves (actually it’s a “round” of robins, not a drove) when they get even the slightest perception . . .

against all visible indications, that it might be getting near spring. They just know.

It’s definitely not spring here, but they don’t care, in they come for a landing . . . to splash and play in ice water.

They are believers.  And then, partly because of them, so are we. Here comes spring!

Our 30th Anniversary. This is the guy I fell in love with. A lilac-cutting kind of guy. Just my cup of tea. No one gets everything right the first time, especially me, queen of hit and miss, but we shouldn’t blame ourselves because it’s true that we’re all doing the best we can. There’s always another chance. As Oprah said, “Now that we know better, we do better.” And so, perhaps, a reward such as this is what happens.

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. 💞 Franz Peter Schubert

Our house, we bought in 1989, dressed for the season, in white hearts to confuse the snowflakes.

Isn’t he cute? I just love his plaid shirt and tie in this old photo! He’s a good fabric mixer! And so, speaking of plaid . . . shall we?

Here we are in Edinburgh (say it Edin-burra), Scotland. An amazing city in an amazing country, and I am definitely not a city person, except this one. I loved the whole country. Land of plaid and cashmere, castles and kilts, scotch and bagpipes, Highland fairies, and J.M. Barrie, the man who wrote Peter Pan who said (among other things), “All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust” ~ and this too . . . 

So let’s start here. There was the MOST darling store on the Royal Mile (fantastic main street of Edinburgh that I will show you more of later) that I would love to go back to. We didn’t have long enough! We were traveling! So all I could do is run around the best store I’ve ever been in, and take pictures, because I knew you’d want to see it too. It’s ridiculous, so-so-so-so cute. Called “Ragamuffin.” If you ever get to Edinburgh you have to save time for this store. It’s worth it for fingerless gloves alone!  Have you ever seen cuter ones? No. Neither have I.

Scarves anyone? Like you have never seen before?  Oui! I should have grabbed the blue and orange one top right and just paid for it and run! But, I didn’t. What was I thinking?  Nope, they’re not on-line. I checked. 😢 You have to go there.

Soft sweaters? In vibrant happy colors? They have them.

And then, unbearable, tops and skirts in cozy cottons and wovens and wool and all the real fabrics we forgot they ever made because they’re so hard to find. Moosh.

I did not get to try on one single dress. Nothing. Don’t you feel sorry for me? Me, too. I didn’t know this store was going to be there, so I didn’t plan for it, and we were booked up with places we had to BE. Don’t let this happen to you. Write it down. Ragamuffin. You’ll need at least two hours of no-man time. You’ll want to plan for total concentration. You’re welcome. ❤️

But you’ll love Edin-burra for lots more reasons than this store. I’ll show you in a future post. Doesn’t it look unreal? This was the view from our hotel room. Between us and that hotel over there was the train station down below. We could see all the tracks and trains lined up. So civilized, hop a train, and the world is your oyster.

It’s a beautiful old city with cozy plaid scarves everywhere… very hygge.

Plaid capes . . . and plaid skirts

And this is a purse! A plaid tweed skirt-purse!

A window-full of plaid. How do you choose?

Here’s a photo in a wonderful shop that IS on line. A huge store, filled to overflowing with wool, plaid, cashmere, and tweed and so much more. Coats, jackets, sweaters, skirts, cute shoes too. Called Bruar, House of Scottish Country Clothing. Another place that requires hours of concentrated attention. It’s room after room of this and so much more.

I did get a hat. I look like Paul McCartney in it, but what else is new.

Kilts everywhere, and in all the clan colors a heart could desire . . .

Here’s Siobhan (with Map Man) in her darling plaid coat. Coats. They have the cutest coats in England. I kept noticing how cute everyone looked in their coats. All colors and prints, not just brown or black. Around here, we usually wear jackets, but this coat thing, I grew to like it very much.

You didn’t have to be dressed up. They just wore them with jeans. Just throw it on when you go to the market. I thought it was so feminine. And cheerful, all the colors.

Rachel too. All the English girls were wearing them . . .

Here we are on the train . . . Ray in her cute coat, and me with my jacket off. (We’re wearing poppies ~ for remembrance ~ in these photos ~ for those not familiar with poppy history, I’ll do a post and explain soon.)

Here’s another of Rachel’s coats. (But it’s the expression on her face that I love more than anything. Isn’t she cute?)

I got this hat too, and those gloves, because I love the bows. Sometimes in the winter I feel like a mountain made from sweatshirt material. It’s not cute. I was noticing in England you could be warm and still dress like a girl! So when we were in Oxford, and shopping with Carrie, I found a coat! And she made me buy it. And I’m so glad I did!  It’s plaid. I don’t have any photos of it yet, but I’ll show you someday. I love it, although I’m like a headlight at midnight mixed in with all the dark jackets around here. Still it makes me feel perky. Dark winter + bright colors = good thing. 🌤

‘Course, the dogs wore plaid too . . . some were decked out in it . . .

So, with all this shopping inspiration, the place we were staying ended up looking like this . . . hygge to the nth degree, in front of the wood stove . . .

and this . . .

And our Christmas tree got plaided up too.

Plaid became our new thing. 💙

So here’s something else I noticed. See the deer heads on the walls? Very popular in the UK. An old tradition, I imagine, left over from King Arthur and his ilk. I’m not sure, but there were lots of them. Remember the unfortunate stag in The Queen being a sort of magical symbolic thing? Well, deer heads are everywhere . . .

. . . In restaurants, pubs, and homes, but they aren’t so much the real thing anymore.

 Now they look more like this . . .

So of course when I saw these in one of the gift shops . . .

I thought, yes! What our wood room (where we watch TV, it’s paneled in wood, hence the creative name “wood room”) needs is a deer head. So here he is, over the door. Isn’t he cute? I’m extremely impressionable in case you can’t tell. Trying to grasp and hold on to the wonderfulness of our experiences. And I LOVE nature! And we needed a deer head too! Like everyone else! But, you’ll be interested to hear, not everything we saw made it back with us ~ so far, since we got home, I have not once made haggis! You can fool some of the people some of the time!

Cuteness ⤵️

  Here’s a spy-cam-in-action moment. I loved what this family was wearing despite no plaid. I had to chase after them to take this picture. Look how they are dressed . . . all five of them. Ready to walk and no rain storm or mud puddle would slow them down. I took this picture to remind myself, THIS is how to dress for traveling in a rainy country. (Also loved the red heads! Very cute family. Note, there’s bunting too.)

Wellies! (and dog, of course)

And you can get them in every imaginable color and print.

I’m reminded.

So Girls, I just finished the 2018 calendars, 💖 (yay) and today, with all these anniversaries around me, including that 2016 was the 30th year of my first book, is the first time in all these years that I don’t have anything due. No deadline! For the first time ever. What shall I do with myself? Leap and shout hurray? Yup!I have loved every moment of my work, but I have to say, I’m wallowing in this feeling for a while. It’s only been two days and I know when we get home from California in April I’ll be excited to start something new, but I’m allowing it all to float around right now, like being on a merry-go-round, knowing I could grab that ring, but choosing not to for a while ~ to just enjoy the ride and feel the wind on my face without the stress of missing that little ring!  Choices. A lovely thing. I’ll get the ring later.

And, did you notice the groundhog did NOT see his shadow? That means an early spring! So I’ve started a little spring cleaning. 🌷I went to the flower store today (wearing my cheerful coat), and then I shopped at the supermarket, read labels and perused all kinds of new this and that and just took my own sweet time about it. Joy oh Joy. I hung up our heart banner in the kitchen and wrote Valentines and got stamps on them, and now I’m going out to dinner with my honeyman to celebrate 30 years of feeling like the luckiest girl in the world.❤️

This is a card I made for Joe from a past Valentine’s  Day 💞. . . and here’s one for you . . .

I hope you are watching A Place to Call Home! It’s as good as Downton in the totally addictive way that you can’t WAIT to see what will happen next! You will love it! There are four glorious seasons already . . . and another is coming soon. Joe and I are almost through the fourth, so I speak from experience! Watch, and then we can gossip about them!  We’ll start with Regina! 👿 She’s hideous!

Don’t forget, I’ll be at the Apple Farm in beautiful downtown San Luis Obispo, California on Saturday, March 18, at 2 pm, speaking, answering questions, signing books, and hanging out with everyone. They’re selling tickets because there will be a tent and food ~ it will be very fun! 🍎 I hope some of you can come! And those mugs I designed? Coming soon! I’ll let you know!

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593 Responses to VALENTINE’S and PLAID DO GO TOGETHER. 👏

  1. Linda Metcalf says:

    On my first trip to Edinburough my hotel window looked out toward the castle, what a way to fall asleep! I did buy some plaid to bring home for gifts, So much plaid I had to buy another small satchel to bring it all home. Loved the bagpipers on the Royal Mile and the castle tour was amazing. Would love to go back!

    • sbranch says:

      Us too, had to buy a plaid satchel! For the plaid Christmas presents! Castle was heaven. The whole place, the view back down to the city!

    • Patti says:

      Our hotel looked out on the castle too. It is a fairy tale memory for me. I want to go back too!

  2. Deb in Wales says:

    Dearest Susan, Joe, and Jack Kitty ~~~ wow! February is a fabulous month all around! Heartfelt Congratulations on your Moving to Martha’s Vineyard Anniversary and on you and Joe’s Wedding Anniversary too!

    I long to go to Edinburgh because a very dear friend of mine, who I met through the old, now defunct, Victoria magazine forum, lives and works there. We’ve never met, but are the firmest of friends regardless! Now you have given me more reason to go! I already adore Ragamuffin! I have a weakness for all gloves and mittens fingerless and love to wear them, even in the house, with mismatched scarves and some of my Lola Rose collection of {many} friendship bracelets stacked over them!

    Eagerly looking forward to Tweets fwom the Twain! Such fun as I absolutely adore travelling by train. Right now there is a grand series on telly, hosted by the excellent Michael Portillo, as he travels across America by train using the “Appleton’s General Guide to the US” book for information on what to see. It’s called Great American Railroad Journeys. I think you and Joe would love it if you can find it on PBS. He does not stick to the beaten path either!

    ~~~Waving~~~From Across The Pond~~~Deb in Wales xoxo

  3. Lorie Hartsig says:

    Oh my, Sue….you got us started on A Place To Call Home! Jim and I were absorbed in all the folks, lies and drama of that brilliantly-written story. We have finished watching every last episode and wait impatiently for Season 5 to begin. Yes, let’s talk about Regina!

  4. Val says:

    Enjoy all these happy anniversaries, Susan. ♥ And a hearty YES to colorful and pretty coats. 🙂

  5. Ellette says:

    Am so jealous that you have been seeing the robins! We just got another 14 ” inches of snow. I think we’re having the sort of winter you had last year. Oh well, when you live in the “Big sky country” of Montana you should expect that. Was so excited to see you mention A Place to Call Home. I just got the first season from the library and my hubby and I love it! Already have the second season on hold. You’re right that it is just as good as Downton. I’ve been telling all my friends about it also! Have a wonderful time in CA-wish I was heading south!

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, yes, I guess so. I went through Montana on the train in the spring one year and it was beautiful but it was buried in a very thick blanket of white. Stay warm Ellette!

  6. Elaine in Toronto says:

    So much to celebrate! Congratulations. Loved all the plaid and the Ragamuffin shop. Makes me want to start knitting. Take gentle care on your trip. You’ll be so excited to see your Mom. Hugs, Elaine

  7. NANCY JO says:

    Hi Sue,
    Happy Month!! I’m on my way to run upstairs to get my plaid dress. Forgot I had one.
    Nancy Jo

  8. Barbara Weaver says:

    Oh, the cashmere and plaids were amazing! You are so right about the black and grey coats…I own two of them! (Sob). Must. Find. Some. Plaid! Loved this post and your joyful spirit. HappyAnniversaries! We’re all glad that you moved to Martha’s Vineyard, wrote books, and found Joe & happiness! May you have many more!

  9. Julie V from Springfield, MO says:

    Happy Anniversary to you and Joe! What an exciting month for you and thanks for sharing it with us. I am really enjoying your review of your trip to Scotland. Being “mad for plaid” myself it was hard to contain my excitement looking at all the wonderful shops you visited. Picture me totally green with envy! Have safe travels to California and enjoy your visit with your Mom.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I came home with a new appreciation for so many things, not the least of all, Plaid! Thank you Julie!

  10. Pom Pom says:

    Hi Susan! I don’t like A Place Called Home. It’s so full of anguish.
    Oh, that Ragamuffin shop! How irresistible!
    Not to be ultra picky but Maya Angelou said that first. I’m sure Oprah loves her though.
    Happy birthday to your mum! I hope you have a wonderful time in California. I was there in January with our girls. I love California!
    Happy sweet anniversaries! Joy!
    The bird bath full of robbies – aw!
    Safe travels, good Sue!

    • sbranch says:

      Well see? Proof that there’s something for everyone! It’s such a soap opera I don’t feel the anguish, but I do adore Anna and her starry eyes! Maya was on Oprah’s show the day I heard them talking and one of them said it, I thought it was Oprah, but I guess maybe it was Maya! Two brilliant women!

  11. Beth from Iowa says:

    Happy Anniversary – and Happy Valentines Day to you and Joe!!

    Do you buy your house an anniversary gift? We do this every year – it’s a good way to justify new house projects (or new furniture).

    Take it easy and enjoy that well deserved vacation – but when you get back more travel books would be greatly appreciated. Do the girlfriends get to vote on this? I’m sure you have a billion great ideas circling in your head already! Have a splendiforous day!!

  12. Marsha MacLean says:

    Dear Susan,
    How wonderful!! A terrific way to start my day…reading Your Post.
    I was so excited to see a new post, and for it to be about Edinburgh, well, it is fantastic! A few years ago right after I became a widow, I traveled there at Christmas to visit my late husbands family and I remember writing on your blog at the time that you would love it…and of course you did. 😃 Can’t wait to read more about it. I love your take on the coats!
    I visited Ragamuffin (!!!) and brought home two scarves, one to keep and one for my life long BFF. Now, she and I are going to take a trip in June and she will get to see it herself. We will definitely need to save room in our suitcases. We were inspired by your post about Bath, too, so are planning to have a few days in that lovely spot, as well.
    As always, your photos and descriptions of everything there make me more than ready to revisit. Thank you so much for all the tartan this chilly morning, and MANY congratulations on the anniversary of so many events in your life, but especially your anniversary with Joe.
    Sending love and blessings, Marsha

  13. Lee Bowers says:

    Good morning, I was happy to find a new blog post. I will be hiking through the Cotswalds in June. Needing to buy boots….any suggestions. I am overweight and kinda slow, but I am determined. I am a quilter and planning to buy a snippet of Liberty of London fabric. Surely it’s cheaper there?
    Thanks. Lee Bowers

    • sbranch says:

      How wonderful Lee! Costs of things always depends on our dollar. While we were there it was really good. But you should Google it. Slow is fine! It’s so beautiful, the slower the better. I have Toggi boots and I really like them. But, I’m not sure you will need boots in June. I didn’t. I just wore good walking shoes, like tennis shoes. You could always get boots over there if you really felt like you need them. They take up a lot of space in your suitcase. So much fun to look forward to!

      • Karen Williams says:

        Hi Lee,
        June should be ok and maybe you’ll need wellies but not winter boots! Bring a rain mac…a waterproof and layers. Layers are easily discarded!
        The Cotswolds are beautiful…much like the rest of the UK…doesn’t matter if you’re in England, Wales, Scotland or Ireland…we have weather!!! Wet and dry, sunny or dull but we will welcome you!

    • Nanci says:

      Lee we walked the Cotswolds in July. The land is very flat so not at all strenuous so you will do fine. I just wires low cut hiking boots to protect from mud. It can be rainy there. Take some of those lightweight quick dry hiking pants and some wool hiking socks. A rain jacket in case and you will be fine. I envy you!

  14. Happiest Anniversaries, dear Susan! There is so much to celebrate in this month of love and friendship. Thank you for taking us into Raggamuffin! Amazing! Plaid is just the happiest, coziest thing. Scarves are my very favorite thing to buy whenever I travel. They make the best souvenirs and gifts. I fill all of the little places in my luggage (and my husband’s luggage 🙂 ) with the loveliest scarves. I wear them constantly, and they instantly transport me back to my favorite places in Europe.

    Enjoy this lovely breath of freedom, Susan!
    Breathe deeply… and feel the warmth and love all around you!
    Warmest hugs!
    Dawn (in Illinois)

  15. Deb says:

    Oh Sue, what fun your posts are! You look at the world in such a unique way and help all of us to see it that way too. Why DO we all wear black winter jackets when there is a whole world of color to be had? I’m sorry to say that our local groundhog, Punxsatawney Phil, saw his shadow — which means six more weeks of winter here in Pennsylvania!

  16. Cathy from Golden, CO says:

    Happy Anniversary to you and Joe! My wonderful, most perfect husband and I just celebrated our 34th wedding anniversary on 2/5 – what a coincidence! We love February as well!!!! Wishing you a wonderful trip and HAPPY visit with your mama. Safe travels to you AND HAPPY VALENTINE’S Day! Oh, I LOVE the plaid.

  17. Lee Bowers says:

    I am sooo excited. And I just recently rescued a kitten from SPCA. She is a darling…named her Buttons.
    Thanks for your input. Lee

  18. Betsy says:

    I can’t wait to see your Happy Coat! Did you see some of the beautiful coats in the Boden catalog this winter? One was more fun than the other. Thank you for the pictures from Ragamuffin. I wish you could order online. Happy Anniversary and may the next 30 years together be just as grand! xoxoxoxo
    p.s. I’m checking the blog every day, I so want one of your mugs!

  19. Andrea Tandler says:

    Two hours of ‘no-man’ time to shop. That is so funny. Is there a coffee shop or a Starbucks nearby? With wi-fi? That is the trick my friend Susan and I use when we go to our favorite gift shop, Tweed, in Richmond. It is usually good for 1 hour of shopping. Of course everytime a guy in a baseball cap walks through the door we say ‘oh no’ 😂 Happy Anniversary! Have a nice visit with your mom.

    • sbranch says:

      Ha ha, you are smart girls. There is PLENTY for them to do. Every castle we saw was filled to the brim with weapons and war gear from time beginning, for one thing. There are pubs of course, and men’s shops galore. Thank you Andrea!

  20. Patty in Redlands says:

    Happy Anniversaries to you and Joe, sweet Susan! Thank you for the plaids and for the much needed love and good cheer.

  21. Patti Heisler says:

    Ahhhhh, February, my birthday month ( 4th), Valentines Day and harbinger of Spring.
    We must be kindred spirits, however, I did not know you were somewhere out there until recently. So many common threads in our lives.
    Plaids, wool, to be specific, are my favorite during the drab winter months. I have a men’s, wool, 3/4 plaid walking coat that I snapped up in a resale shop many years ago-lots of hidden pockets and so warm one couldn’t get cold if one tried. I also picked up a wool, plaid men’s blazer that I wear as a transition coat in early spring. I am simply mad for those inside pockets and long sleeves.
    I have finished season one of A Place to Call Home and just starting season two. Regina is a perfect evil matriarch; I am loving hating her at times. Not sure who drives me craziest her or Doris Collins-that nosey busybody. I fear I am being drawn into this Australian Series, but is is a lovely new obsession with no need to hurry, now that I know it has so many episodes.

    • sbranch says:

      The Matriarch is Elizabeth, and she’s hideous at the beginning. I’m not sure Regina has shown up in season one. She’s the sister of George’s (Elizabeth’s son) dead wife. It just gets better.

  22. Marie Fell says:

    A perfect day to read a Susan Branch Blog entry. It’s like you have mental telepathy! It’s “raining cats and dogs” here in Avon Lake, Ohio, and I just heard some thunder. Thanks for brightening this dreary day! What a wonderful month of celebrations for you to look forward to, Susan. Happy Anniversary to you and Joe! And Happy Valentine’s Day! Love the photos of Edinburgh and the plaids! It’s such a treat to see that there is a new entry from you when it arrives. Your cheeriness transcends the pages! Safe travels, and enjoy your “mom” time in California! Fondly, Marie in Avon Lake, Ohio

  23. Joan Voyer says:

    Your blogs are my Happy Place! Thanks so much……. I would like to share one of my favorite sayings, “If I keep a GREEN BOUGH in my heart, then the SINGING BIRD will come.-Chinese proverb

  24. Clydene says:

    Unfortunately, Punxsutawney Phil, Pennsylvania’s official ground hog, did see his shadow, so more 6 more weeks of winter, but doesn’t that comes down to 6 more weeks until spring? Either way, can’t wait for spring! Just loved your pictures from Edinburgh, a very favorite city. Hope your trip to California and your visit with your mother is all that you dream of and happy, happy anniversary to you both.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh that is terrible news! Our news reported that he did, and we had such a nice sunny freezing day, I thought it was true. I wonder if MA has its own groundhog! I wouldn’t be surprised! Thank you Clydene!

  25. Debbie Boerger says:

    Lordy, Sue. February is truly the Red Letter Month for you and Joe. It’s 30 years for Mr. Tom Terrific and me. Second time around for both of us. And… is Definitely better the second time, though I don’t regret my previous life. Aren’t we lucky to have men who are smart, extremely handsome, love flowers, travel and…..Us 😉
    Forever Plaid, Thank You for the Plaid Medicine.

    Debbie in Tampa……for now

  26. Esther in the Missouri Ozarks says:

    Studio break for a Susan post. You always supply the best break time enjoyment. Do frolic in that ‘no dead line’ feeling. I find a little of that goes a long way for me. However, I do have a deadline so back to work for me, but, really, who can complain when work takes them outside to enjoy a sunny day. I have a box full of garden row markers that I must drill holes in, first show of the year coming up soon! As always I look forward to the next Susan installment.

  27. Ridgely says:

    LOVED this post! I’m at home with plaid, always have been whether it’s in style or not! And color….can’t get enough of it much to my daughter’s chagrin. What’s with all this black and grey that America is so in love with…I don’t get it and so I parade around in my bright yellow, turquoise, red, whatever…bring on the color. And the stag head just happpens to be the Ridgely family crest, it’s on top of all their silver…how cool is that.

    • sbranch says:

      Totally! I love my little deer! And in Scotland, in the hotels, almost all the furniture is covered in plaid fabrics! You would love it!

  28. Beth Fagundes says:

    Thank you for the glimpse at Edinburgh! I have an aunt from Scotland and I plan to visit myself someday.
    I have my ticket to see you in SLO in March! I am sooooooo…excited!! We miss you on the central coast of California!!

    Enjoy your journey West!

  29. Judy Covell says:

    Have a great dinner for your anniversary! It will be nice to just live life “willy-nilly” for a while. It is a luxury in many ways. It frees up your mind for sure. My favorite part is there is no wake up alarm. But it gets old after a while too. Then you can go back to structured life. My husband and I just had our 53rd anniversary on Feb 2. Here’s how long ago that was: the Beatles came to America to be on TV the week we got back from our honeymoon!! We do everything together and people think it is odd. Enjoy!

  30. Becky Maxwell says:

    Happy Anniversaries to you and Joe. I hope you have many more to celebrate. I would love to visit Scotland. I have a very good friend from Scotland, who works in South Carolina now, who told me some amazing stories. I was able to “see” Scotland when I was in Northern Ireland. It is only about 20 miles from the coast of Northern Ireland to the coast of Scotland, which on a clear day is very visible. I loved my visit to Ireland with all it’s green.
    Speaking of green, SLO County is so green right now. I am enjoying the rain we are having this year, more then I have ever before. After 6 years of almost no rain it has been a blessing and joy.
    Have a safe trip and I will see you at the farm.

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve heard that about SLO, that it’s all turned green and it makes me want to be there even more. I bet the lupin and the poppies will be in bloom, I hope! See you there, Becky!

  31. Gill says:

    Love to see all the colourful coats! ( I have a red one and a yellow green one (thinking back to my crayola colours there!) and love to be the ray of joy in a sea of black! But I really stopped in to say that my new 30th anniversary Heart of the Home book arrived today, just in time for Valentines Day, and I love it! So thank you Sue! Also, I treated myself to one of your desk jotter calendars in the hope that it will help me keep my desk clear ( ha ha!) and love it too, so glad I indulged😉.
    If you love colourful cashmere, can I recommend the English company called Turtledoves, who use recycled cashmere sweaters to make beautiful hats, gloves and scarves. They do sell online and ship overseas too. Have a wonderful trip back home. You should be the next Amtrack writer in residence!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Gill, Turtledoves looks very interesting! I’m so glad you like the new Heart! Was a very fun thing to do, updating that book. Like a whole new thing. Glad you got a desk blotter too, and that you like it, but just remember, next year the paper will be a lot heavier! This year there was a mistake with the paper weight, at least in my estimation, but I fixed that for next year. Have a wonderful day, thank you for being here! xoxo

  32. Linda H (from northern IN) says:

    Hi Susan,

    I haven’t been a “plaid” person, but I’m quite sure that if I was in Scotland, I would have snapped up a few lovely items in that pattern! I really love the brightly colored coats as well! What a way to cheer up your day! Just like your blog post did mine!
    Happy Valentine’s next week, and have a wonderful trip across country!

    • sbranch says:

      I never thought about it much one way or the other, till I got there. And then it all changed. I saw how a bit of plaid made everything a little better! Thank you Linda!

  33. Cindy Maulin says:

    Hi Susan!!! Scotland looks absolutely amazing…we are planning our Ireland/England/Scotland trip as we speak…. we are thinking we will celebrate our 40th anniversary somewhere there…. ❤️February too…. happy anniversary to you and joe..and cheers to many more. 😍….
    Enjoy the whole month and have a lovely train ride and time spent with mom in CA….pretty exciting I think! Tweet from the Twain?

  34. Diane from New Hampshire says:

    One of my favorite cities is Edinburgh. Have been there twice and would go back to Scotland anytime. Enjoyed reading your experiences there and seeing the photos. Brings back wonderful memories.
    I am watching the third season of A Place to Call Home; soon the fourth season. Then the long wait for the fifth season. A wonderful series. Can’t get enough. Yes, Regina is dreadful. Even Elizabeth has some redeeming qualities. Such wonderful list of characters and their stories. When anyone gets too happy things happen.

  35. Linda from Sudbury says:

    Feel the love coming from Boston!!!! Patriots’ Duck Boat parade about to start. Great to feel happiness coming together for a change.

  36. Sheila says:

    If you love Scotland, you must read all the Alexander McCall Smith books!

  37. Jules says:

    Glad to know that my husband and I are in good company. Our anniversary is this month also. Twenty nine sweet, blissful years! Next year for our 30th I think he should take me to Scotland to a shop called Ragamuffins. I adore those fingerless mittens. Oh, and Susan, I love your sweet little hat and gloves with bows. I frequently wear hats. My friends call me the crazy hat lady and when they come for tea they insist on visiting my hat room. Yes, I have a room dedicated to hats (actually, it’s the guest bedroom). Thanks for taking us on this trip to Scotland and England.

    • sbranch says:

      I love hats, I think we all do. Just don’t wear them as much. But here, in winter, they are a must! Happy to have you here Jules!

  38. Carolyn says:

    Just so loved this post and all the plaid…I’m retiring ..only have a couple of weeks left…have been at my job for 20 yrs…your post’s always gave me ideas but have never had time to do anything…now I will and I’m so excited…I live in Texas and I think the garden world will be my first stop…looking forward to more…

  39. Susan says:

    Congratulations on your anniversaries! I loved looking at the plaids and visited the clothing link you provided. Wow!

  40. Barb Urbank(from Ohio) says:

    Hi Susan, Happy Anniversary! I love the pictures of Scotland and the shops there. With all the plaid options you could sure dress up a plain coat with one of the scarves or a hat. Seems like when you go to look for a coat here all you see are dark drab colors, and this for the time of year you need some cheerfulness the most! Our weather is warmer but very wet here in Ohio today. I think any Ohio groundhogs saw their shadow too, it was sunny here that day. I need to check out A Place to Call Home if I can find the beginning episodes. Don’t think it’s on Netflix but will check Amazon Prime or our local library. Really need something good to sort of replace Downton. We did watch all of The Crown and enjoyed that very much, and are watching Victoria on PBS, but I liked The Crown the best. It’s great you’re all caught up on your calendars and can do what you want now, and just in time for your train trip. Looking forward to seeing photos and tweets from the twain! Have a great week!❤❤❤

    • sbranch says:

      All four seasons are waiting for you on Acorn, which is right there next to Amazon and Netflix. I’ve only seen one season of The Crown… I think there will be lots more. Victoria is wonderful too. Happy day Barb!

  41. Donna Kozak says:

    Happy Anniversaries !! Enjoyed seeing the happy robins…I have a flock of varied thrushes now looking for food and water (we’ve been snowed in for the last few days, so they are my entertainment). I think you should send the picture of the blue and orange scarf to Siobhan or Rachel with a suggestion ‘if you are ever in the vicinity…’ – you need it !!

  42. Sarah says:

    I’ve been waiting for a Valentine’s post from you, dear friend. You didn’t disappoint. I LOVE plaid and tartan and all things Scottish. Have only been to Edinburgh once, but have longed for a return. Now it is a must. I have to go shop at Ragamuffin! I will definitely allow two hours, maybe more. Alone or with a girlfriend. The mister would never hang around that long in a store, any store. Happy, Happy Anniversary to you and Joe. Life is the best when we find that perfect match. I found mine too, and we will celebrate 42 years in August.
    Congratulations on the anniversary of your first book and the success it has brought your way in these 30 years. You deserve it!
    I was recently shopping in one of my favorite antique / vintage shops in a small Texas town, and I found two copies of one of your little Keepsake Books ~ Love. I didn’t have this book, so I quickly snapped them up. One for me and one for a girlfriend who lives in Canada and another Susan Branch fan. How had I missed this precious copy of Love from 1994? Now to decide on the perfect delicious and sweet ending for my girlfriend Valentine dinner which I’ll host here on the 13th. Do you have a favorite valentine dessert?
    Happy Valentine’s Day, Susan! Thank you for generously sharing your creative spirit with all of us.

    • sbranch says:

      In my books you’ll find a flourless chocolate cake that is perfect for Valentine’s Day. In my Autumn Book it’s called Birthday Cake, you’ll find it. Also, chocolate profiteroles is a wonderful dessert. You keep the little ice-cream filled puffs in the freezer and then take them out and pour hot chocolate sauce over them. I forget which book that’s in… I think the cream puffs are actually in that Love Book you just got. Happy day Sarah!

  43. Barbara Irvine (Connecticut) says:

    Happy Anniversary, Sue and Joe !! So many special days for you to celebrate: 30 years ago your first book, 35 years ago your move to Martha’s Vineyard, Happy Happy Birthday to your Mom, and Valentine’s Day. You will frolic your way through February! Loved all the photos and information on Edinburgh … my brother and sister-in-law toured Scotland last summer, and my Christmas gift box held a plaid wool tam, a plaid wool scarf, and a beautiful cashmere sweater. Heaven! I haven’t seen any robins here yet, but I’m hopeful … darn rodent saw his shadow, so we have six more weeks of winter. Hurry Spring!

  44. Lee says:

    Of all the wonderful tips, advice, and suggestions you have shared over the years I think the info about the series A Place To Call Home is the VERY BEST. (The previous best was the recipe for Christmas Jelly. My God, the gifting angst THAT wonderful tip has saved!) At any rate my husband and I are so hooked on the show. Am just at the start of the second season and already shouting warnings to the characters! It is such great choice compared to some of the other offerings. Again many thanks. Enjoy your wonderful month! Lee

    • sbranch says:

      I kind of agree. I was so excited, I never thought we’d ever find anything to take the place of Downton, and nothing really will, but this is a VERY good substitution! Sometimes I like it even better! Enjoy Lee!

  45. Sharon Silva says:

    Plaid, glorious plaid! I bought several plaid items in Ireland, but must get to Scotland for even more! I love the photo of the Wellies! The brand on the bottom shelf is called “Joules”. They are an English brand I have just discovered in OKC! Such cute tops and the COATS! Oh my! I had to stop myself from buying the most wonderful Kelly green rain coat with a striped lining as I have too many coats as it is! Check them out, I think you’ll like their offerings.
    Happy anniversary and thanks for all your beautiful words, photos and paintings!

    • sbranch says:

      I got a dark orange short rain jacket with dark blue and white stripes on the inside when I was over there… I wonder if it was the same one? Joules is a wonderful store. My raincoat came from White Stuff, another fun store over there.

  46. Ann Woleben says:

    Okay, I’m going home to examine my closet and introduce color to the winter days! My husband continues to tell me that clothing is now made in colors other than black and white. How is the production of a Susan Branch cup coming along? I want one! Have a marvelous train trip – that’s how we like to travel to New York from Virginia – snacks, books, cards, knitting and dozing. Ahh! Have fun!

    • sbranch says:

      Cups are coming along fine. Just working to make the color right, and we’re on our way! Can’t wait to doze our way across the country! Just can’t help it ~ the train rocks you to sleep!

  47. Judith says:

    What a joy that you are still blogging! I only found you last Spring, by way of Kathryn Aalto, and have been catching up on your older blogs…I’m up to February 2013. I only allow myself a few a day because I want them to last a while! I’ve loved every adventure you take us on, whether it’s a day of ironing linens or a trip thru wonderful new stores in Edin-burrrra. Ragamuffin has now been added to the list I’ve been keeping in the “notes” section of A Fine Romance. I look forward to your next travel book…wink, wink 🙂 Happy February month of anniversaries and celebrations to you and yours! ♥

  48. Jennie Lou says:

    Hi, Susan and Happiest of Anniversaries to you and your jo, Joe! Sometimes your posts contain so many familiar themes, its like you have been wandering around inside my head instead of the heathers. My Mother, who sewed everything I ever wore until I married and left home, was a fan of plaids and I grew up in Black Watch and Royal Stewart, colors I still hold dear. I too had a lovely, ladylike coat, in emerald green, which I adored, I was so happy to see all the coats in your pictures. Maybe the coats go along with all the walking, and here we wear jackets because we are always in our cars? Hmmm. I, too, am a February Child, on the cusp of Aquarius and Pisces (my beloved is a Capricorn/Aquarius!) and send Happy Birthday Greetings to all Februarians!
    By the way, have you been watching Victoria on PBS? OOOOH! The costumes, the hairdos, the history, the palaces! Is it time for tea yet? Hugs to all.

    • sbranch says:

      Blessings to all Februarians (I LOVE that word!). Yes, on Victoria, in fact I have the most recent episode recorded . . . I need to get that going! The story of Victoria and Albert is just wonderful. Did you see the movie Young Victoria? Really good, beautiful.

  49. Hala nr. Bath says:

    Lovely post. I noticed your robins look quite different from ours! Also I wonder why you call it plaid in America – we call it tartan. I am with you on the coats. I don’t own a tartan one but I have got a purple velvet one for the few days when it isn’t raining. My mum’s favourite shop is Ragamuffin – she goes to the one on the Isle of Skye (which you’d love by the way!) All best wishes

    • sbranch says:

      We don’t know why we do what we do, tartan is a much better name, and sometimes we use it, but usually plaid is what we call it. How’s the weather over there Hala? Missing England soooooo much!

      • Hala nr. Bath says:

        Misty, murky and cold! Though we had some sun yesterday 🌞. Can’t wait for spring. The crocuses are beginning to poke through. Looking forward to Valentine’s day. We are off to watch a special showing of Breakfast at Tiffany’s at the Little Theatre in Bath. Did you see it? V. Cute tiny old cinema. My friend got married there! Best wishes (to ALL of America, actually) xxx

        • sbranch says:

          Thank you Hala, it’s been a wild ride lately! We missed the Little Theater! Have to come back! And you have crocuses. You’re ahead of us by probably a month. Enjoy!

      • Elaine in Toronto says:

        I read once that all tartans are plaids but not all plaids are tartans. I think it has to do with the pattern. Hugs, Elaine

        • sbranch says:

          Interesting! So I just looked it up …. here’s what Google said: “Scottish kilts almost always have tartan patterns. Tartan is often called plaid in North America, but in Scotland, a plaid is a tartan cloth slung over the shoulder as a kilt accessory, or a plain ordinary blanket such as one would have on a bed.”

          • Hala nr. Bath says:

            Aahh! Good to know. Thanks Susan and Elaine. My Scottish side of the family is Houston which is apparently part of the McDonald clan but my sister married a MacLeod (pronounced Mac Cloud) xx

  50. Karen Braithwaite says:

    Susan, we have bought our tickets for Apple Farm book signing and booked our motel! The five- hour drive will be an adventure and so worth the chance to finally meet you! A dream come true…we can’t wait!! Safe travels to you and Joe.

  51. We have all been there! That beautiful scarf trapped in another country instead of wrapped around your neck and shoulders. TRAGIC!! Thanks for the reminder that when in doubt, BUY!! So many wonderful things for you to celebrate! I’m so excited to see you at Apple Hill! I have been to a couple of your Bay Area book signings, but am thrilled to make the trek with my sister (total bonus – sister weekend!!) for my first ever SB talk!! EEEEEEKKK!!! Room booked, tickets printed. Gah! I can’t wait!! I’m having a Valentine’s/Birthday party on Saturday to celebrate a friend’s birthday and I have spent the day happily choosing plates and linens for the event. I always ask myself WWSD? What Would Susan Do? haha I have little bottles of Champagne for place cards with quotes about love and friends typed up and beribboned on each bottle. I also made fabric fortune cookies with more quotes for each place. Now on to the menu! If only you could make it to every adoring fans house to laugh and share in the joy of living. Enjoy all your celebrations, too. I love that you get to putter and ponder with no deadlines looming! XXO

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, your definition of “tragic” and mine are exactly alike! 😄 Your party sounds so wonderful! What a gift! So happy you and your sister will be in SLO! Wonderful! Puttering and pondering my way in your direction xoxoxo

  52. Helen says:

    Congratulations on your “February anniversary dates” ! Hubby and I are celebrating a “special anniversary date” here as well today ….. the 52nd anniversary of our “first date” ! Yes, we still celebrate it ! (Married 50 years !) Helen

  53. diana krieg says:

    Sure do love that you love that little plaid Heart !! 😉
    Hope to see you two while you’re out in California! xoxo

  54. Lorraine says:

    Great post! I LOVE plaid. I have an old Pendleton jacket and pleated skirt. I’ve almost donated them several times, but I just can’t bear to part with them… My husband has been to Edinburgh and the countryside in Scotland, but not me. We’re planning a trip for next year and will put Raggamuffins on the list. Happy anniversary for being an intrepid adventuress, your happy union with Joe, and your first book! Wowzer! You must feel like you won the trifecta! Enjoy your trip and the time with your mom. Looking forward to hearing about it.

    PS – I’ve been binging on A Place to Call Home. Oh my, Regina is so evil… I’m only just beginning Season 3. Yikes. Thank you for the recommendation. Loving every minute of it – and all that Acorn TV has to offer.

  55. Mary Alice says:

    Susan, I loved seeing your pictures of Edinburgh. We stayed there last Aug. (just off the Royal mile.) What great shops to explore and the plaids were wonderful. There is never enough time for shopping is there. We are already planning two trips, one back to England and another to Scotland. Both countries are very addictive. Also because of your train travels we are taking the train from Seattle to Minneapolis this summer. It has been over 50 years since I have done more than a few hour train trip and I can hardly wait. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Joe!

    • sbranch says:

      You’ll love watching America fly by outside your window. It’s a very special privilege … not as luxurious as it used to be, but the views are wonderful! xoxo Thank you Mary Alice!

  56. Stephanie says:

    Yes, February is wonderful! It’s our anniversary month also (Leap Day, February 29, 1976 – this year is 41 or 10 1/4 years), and our youngest son’s birthday month, and of course Valentine’s Day. Lots to celebrate! Thanks, as always for your interesting and inspiring blog! (and about coats – bright coats are safer, too…more visible in traffic)

  57. Virginia says:

    Congratulations and all joy to you and Joe on your 30th anniversary! Very, very special. And I just loved all that plaid. I was lucky enough to be in Scotland myself in September–the western isles and a bit of the Highlands–beyond beautiful. I bought a lot of plaid gifts but just a pair of gloves for myself. I hope to see Edinburgh some day. Dreams are good for us! One question–do stores mind your taking photos?

    • sbranch says:

      I always ask. So far I’ve never had one say no. Just some of the houses where we tour, for some reason, they don’t allow photos even though almost no one uses flash anymore. But usually there are wonderful tour books filled with photos so it’s not a complete memory loss! We almost crossed paths over there Virginia!

  58. Nele from Michigan says:

    GOSH I feel blessed to have found you. Every one uplifting and makes me long for the little things in life. I’d like to bottle you up and ship you to Michigan. Your lucky neighbors.❤️

    Excitedly waiting for the Robins to make their way to the frozen north.
    Happy Almost Spring!

    • sbranch says:

      When I first moved to the Island, I would see T-shirts around that said, “If you can’t take the winter, you don’t deserve the summer.” We really do deserve spring, don’t we!!!? We work hard for it! Nice to hear from you Nele.

  59. jeanie says:

    Sending loads of love to add to your already abundant heart for Valentine’s Day and a big happy anniversary to you and Joe — and to you and Martha’s Vineyard! What a grand month February is for you! Makes me smile. Big.

    Loved all the plaid in all the bright happy colors — pinks and purples and yellows! My palette! And those hand warmers were to die for. Biggest sigh — well, something to wish for.

    A happy week to you. Celebrate happy!

  60. Susan, you make us all smile after visiting. I adore the wonderful Ragamuffin shop you featured in Edinburgh! I love to buy scarves when traveling! They are just small enough and don’t take up much room in my luggage. I am writing it down as a place not to miss! Did you find any of your family clan Stewart plaid while you were there?
    I’m so glad you will have a break to go to California and be with your Mother and just enjoy! XOXO ♥

    • sbranch says:

      I found so much about Stewarts! I found a whole Castle, Blair, that was built by John Stewart (my dad’s name) and then later, the Stewarts married the Murrays and it became a castle for the Murrays! Which is my grandmother’s maiden name! I need to get my DNA done and get more specific information, because Stewarts are everywhere over there! I bought Stewart plaid scarves for all my sisters!

      • How wonderful it would be to get the DNA test done. I have considered it as well. How exciting to have a castle built by John Stewart and then to learn it later became Murray Castle–surely there is a connection! I love that you and your sisters will all share a special Stewart plaid scarf. Have a wonderful afternoon, dear one. ♥

  61. pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

    good afternoon Susan, girlfriends, how is everyone today??? things here are cold, wet and snowy, we got a little bit more of the white stuff, just a dusting but after over 4 feet of it last month it was a delightful sight this morning. the sun is out now and most of the snow is melted off now. the barnyard brats are doing fine, the hens are getting feisty, so are the ducks and the 2 roosters had better steer clear of them or be bald butt birds again and they just finished growing out their tails. loved looking at all the plaid, and the cloth, love the colors. and before I forget.. Happy Anniversary to you and Joe, congratulations. and by the way I heard Phil saw his shadow so doesn’t that mean 6 more weeks of winter????? have a safe and wonderful trip out to California, wish you could come to Oregon someday, I’d be more than happy to meet you at the new tea shoppe in town, the teapot on wheels!! well I had better get busy I have some laundry to fold and some to iron, hope spring comes in soon, I miss my clothesline!!! have a great day everyone,, hugs…. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      We’re good here Pat! I heard on the radio that he didn’t see his shadow! . . . which clearly was wrong, but I think I’m going with my radio announcer anyway! Whenever it comes, I’ll be happy! Us too, missing the clothesline. Every once in a while we manage to sneak in some quick cold sheet drying on the line between storms and things! It’s worth it!

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        well either way, can’t wait for spring to get here, I miss that clothesline, saves me money and the sheets and towels smell so good after drying out on the line in the sunshine. wish I could sneak them out on the line between storms, but it is too muddy in the yard and I have 2 turkeys and 2 gooses who love nothing better than to come over to the line and yank them off and drag them through the mud and dirt. and I end up chasing them all around the yard to get my laundry back, throw them in washer and start over…. not exactly my idea of fun. plus I am battling with the woodstove to keep the fire going, and I have to run over to the grange to pick up feed for the barnyard brats…. the fun never stops around here. 🙂

        • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

          I have one question, in the picture with the 2 guys in a pub I think, the one in the kilt with the stockings on, what is wrapped on his legs????? looks like leather strings to hold his socks up.

          • sbranch says:

            Yes, I was thinking they were some sort of Scottish Kilt wearer garter! He also had a wallet or something stuffed into his socks!

        • sbranch says:

          Do they always do that? Pull your things off the line? LOL. What a scene!

          • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

            yes they do, the muddier and dirtier, the more frequently they yank things off, or if it is really dusty. just seems to be a thing with thee, first the turkeys were just doing it, then we got the geese, they started copying the turkeys and yanking things off the line. ever chase a big fat turkey around to you hubby’s boxer shorts???? try it, especially when someone drops by for a visit…. loads of fun then……. LOL!!!! hugs… 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            Bad birds! So you’re having to do laundry twice all the time?

    • Jennie Lou says:

      Howdy Neighbor (well, almost, we’re just up I-5 a few hundred miles). Lots of snow on the ground still after the weekend’s heavy fall, lots of trees down with the ice that followed. Not nearly so much as you, but its amazing how everyone goes crazy when we get a little winter around here. I love the teapot on wheels I found on the Internet. Too cute!

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        glad you like it, its a sweet shop to go to for a cup of tea, there is something very soothing about sipping a cup of tea and watching the river roll on by. 🙂

        • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

          they are bad birds, they get told that every time I have to chase after them to retrieve my laundry. doesn’t seem to bother them, they enjoy it and seemed rather pleased with themselves for having done it, gets downright ridiculous during the summer months, but they keep on yanking things off the line. I keep a broom handy to swat them with, and my hubby thinks I am so mean for chasing them round and round the backyard hollering at them to leave my laundry alone. he doesn’t think that way anymore… they yanked his undies off the line and went parading off down the road with the undies, the fire dept. helped me round them up and head them for home and one firefighter handed hubby his undies… very embarrassing but I was too busy herding them in and laughing. LOL!!!!

          • sbranch says:

            Having a good sense of humor seems to be the key to having these birds around!!!! Seeing the humor, you are very good at that Pat!!!

  62. Nanci says:

    Thank you for taking us on your trips and the great photos. I just heard about DeVos’s confirmation and I needed something to cheer me up. And there you were in my inbox!! Must go to Scotland! Have a wonderful month of celebrations.

  63. Delaney Ann Prins says:

    Happy 30th anniversary with wishes for many more to come. I want to return to Scotland !! And I have been old-fashioned and have always worn coats – mid length and long – never a jacket and never a puffy style coat! I love wool coats and have my coats in deep red, cobalt blue and emerald green. Have fun in California and Happy Velentine’s Day . I have been making Valentine’s all month!! My favorite winter month!,

  64. Patricia Schubert says:

    Love the photos of the colorful wellies-which reminded me of my first trip to Scotland in 1963, where we weren’t prepared for days on days of rain, and I purchased my first pair-drab green. I wore them for almost 2 months through Ireland, too, and then hung them over my suitcase with wool socks inside as by then I couldn’t part with them. In Holland, we bought bulbs of the most beautiful feathered tulips , which I then stuck inside the boots. Who knew damp wool socks provided a good growing medium for the bulbs– until crossing the border into Germany, the green tops grew out of the wellies caused the border guard to confiscate them-after carrying them safely for almost 3 months hidden away in the wellies. Sadly, I gave them to the guard and asked if he would plant them in his garden–using hand signals and bitte and danke!! Travel memories are the BEST!! Each blog you write about your life triggers so many good memories.
    Thank you-danke!!

  65. Jane Franks says:

    Oh, this was fun, Susan! A delightful break to travel to Edinburgh! All the colors and plaids really lift your spirits, don’t they! I’m smiling just thinking about them! Congratulations on 35 years of amazing production; what a significant accomplishment; and for 30 wonderful years with Joe. What a blessing!! February! Always has been my favorite month, too!! Cold weather. snow! Valentine’s day, and my birthday on the 27th!! (same day as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow!) I can just imagine how much you are enjoying some “free” time! You work so hard, creating, creating, painting non-stop; I know the brain drain that is; then writing to us, too!! You have more than earned a vacation!!! When in February are you leaving for California? I’m going to send you something — snail mail — something I think you will like!! And something Gene wants you to have, too. I want to make sure it gets to MV before you leave, or I will wait until you get back in April. Enjoy, enjoy all your celebrations!! And thank you so much for gifting us with the inspiration of your creativity once more!! Love, Jane xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      You and my mom ALSO share a birthday Jane! The 27th! Our train pulls out of South Station in Boston on Feb. 23rd. Hugs to you both Jane.💞

      • Jane Franks says:

        I can’t believe it!!!! You won’t either!! As I read your blog about your mom, I thought, “I wonder if we share the same day”!!! Amazing!! Dare I ask what year??!! I worked with someone once who was born on the same day and the same year!!! And our next door neighbor growing up was on the same day, but older. We have quite a company — us Feb. 27th-ers!! OK. Watch you mail!! I’m up to my ears, but I’ll aim to meet the deadline. If not, April for sure!! Happy trip prep!! And another train trip to follow soon!! Oh yay!!! 🙂

  66. Shirley Burt says:

    Happiest Anniversary or should say, Anniversaries to all of you. What a fun month for you.
    I love all your fun plaid talk. I got to visit Edinburgh for 24 hours with a friend my first trip to England. Yes, to the fabulous view, castle, the bagpipers, and the shops of plaid. Did I buy any, no, did I have instant regrets, Yes. I was spending too much time watching the looms. Silly me.
    This coat talk is so correct. Why do we not have fun coats of all weights and sizes?? in the US. The manufacturers should be reading all these posts. Think of all the ready made customers they would have. They could call them Girlfriend’s Coats with a special label. Don’t you think that would be lovely in so many ways.
    Thank you for the post, the photo’s-The lilac cutting Handsome Man, and the robins gathering and as always the inspiration.
    Happy travels. I am so very happy for you and Joe.
    Happy Everything !!!!!
    Love and bunny hugs,

  67. Lois Madden says:

    Oh, men in kilts… can’t wait for new Outlander season! Happy Anniversary to you two love birds. Life sounds good! Have a bonny Valentine’s Day, and enjoy your train ride and time in California with family/friends. Happy Name Day to your mom.

    Love and Hugs from the Hills of New Richmond ~ Lois

  68. JudyCinNC says:

    Wish I had some plaid, why I am certain I would make us some plaid Valentine hearts. Would be so cute. Oh, and plaid heart bunting also! What a wonderful visit you and your honey had, and thanks so much for sharing your adventures with those of us who cannot be there in person. JudyC

  69. Karen Lotito says:

    Hi Susan, Happy Anniversary to you and Joe! And, a Happy Valentine’s Day! Thank you for your lovely blog. It came at the perfect time because on Saturday evening my dear husband had a heart attack. He ended up getting a stent put in and no damage that his heart. Frightening and surrreal to he’s those two words, heart attack. But he is doing well, thank God. During this month of hearts we all must take good care of that wonderful thing – the heart. It’s a magnificent machine and it not only keeps us going and giving us life but it feels the most wonderful emotion of all – love. Love your pics from Edinburgh! Be well and be happy! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️Love, Karen

    • sbranch says:

      SO scary. But so lucky to get a warning so something could be done before it was worse. Secret blessings. I’m so glad there is a happy ending. Love you Karen, thank you. Put your soft hand on your husband’s forehead for us. xoxo

  70. Rose Ann Bacher-Giallombardo says:

    Love is all around you & Joe. Susan, you are a very lucky girl & Joe is a lucky guy! It was meant to be 🙂 Happy Anniversary.

    I also have seen robins . . . they must be chilly, poor dears. I’m glad that they are here to give us HOPE. My husband Joe & I live in Rochester, NY & it is cold & damp here w/ rain all day 🙁

    Thanks for the cheer up Susan, you’re the best!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I hear there’s a big storm coming. I wonder if you will get it? I think we will . . . maybe tonight!

  71. Debbie Sisk says:

    Congrats on 30 years!! That is something of which to b do proud. 35 for me. Those cute Wellies I carry in my shop. Same brand. They are adorable. Especially the dogs! Thanks for a great post. I love them all!!

  72. Jill says:

    Susan, we are hooked on A Place to Call Home too!! So great to be looking forward to a good story since we were having Downton Abbey withdrawal. LOVED it from the first episode. We are into the second season and I come home from work each night and we watch at least one, if not two. Yikes! Thank you so much for letting us know about it.

    Have a wonderful time on your “break” and visiting with your Mom!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, we started watching just one, and then sometimes two, and then all the time two, and now, getting toward the end of season four, we are back to watching one a night. Hoarding it. xoxo

  73. Cindy Roberg says:

    Happy Anniversary!

  74. Elaine from MN says:

    Greetings, Susan,
    It was nice to be reminded we share our anniversary month with you. It’ll be our 49th this coming week. We were wed during a raging MN blizzard, so we’re thrilled it’s not on the radar for this year. FYI – no Robins here yet.
    Loved traveling down your Plaid Memory Lane. How could anyone decide on which plaid, unless it’s a family plaid. They’re all so beautiful.
    I know you’ll enjoy every minute with your mother. I lost my mother over 37 years ago so I treasure all my friends’ mothers. A blessing that’s becoming more rare. My best wishes to her.
    Happy Anniversaries!

    • sbranch says:

      I know what you mean. Most of my friends, including Joe, have already lost their moms. So I feel double blessed, was just thinking how lucky I was before I fell asleep last night, to get to go see her. Won’t be that way forever, so I’m treasuring the ability to dial her phone number right now. Thank you Elaine.

  75. Charl says:

    “Happy, Happy, Happy Anniversaries to you!… each and every one!”
    I believe that good things happen to good people…the reason why you have had so many blessings.
    It’s always a joy to read your blog.
    Thank you!
    PS Have a safe & wonderful California adventure! Are you flying? :-O

  76. Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

    You and Joe and MV – a match made in Heaven! Fast Eddie and I celebrated 43 years in Sept. It sounds a little crazy (my daughter says I would have had a fit if she did this), but one month after our first date, we moved in together, and married within the year. We are opposites in many ways, and yet we’ve always been so smooth and easy together. Now I am both wife and caregiver, and when the road gets a little rough, all I have to do is remember who HE is, and who WE are, and then everything is ok. Love all the happy plaid! I have a black coat (of course) but love to wear colorful, sometimes sparkly, scarves that I knit. A pop of color does a lot to brighten our grey Oregon winters. So do you!❤❤❤ P.S. Did you know there are two married-in-real life couples on A Place to Call Home? Very soap opera-ish series, but in a good way. I like how Sarah and Regina are good and evil, light and dark.😊

    • sbranch says:

      I think one of the biggest blessings life can give is to find your life’s partner early, and have them forever. Joe and I only wish we had met sooner! But grateful that we did at all. I had to come a long way to find him! Yes, I did know about the married couples, part of the charm! Love to you and your Eddie, hoping for many sunny days for you both. xoxo

      • Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

        It’s like Ed and I were looking for each other for a long time, because we lived in some of the same places – he grew up in Reseda! (Graduted 1963.) I was in Sherman Oaks. In the Army he was stationed in Washington DC, and I moved there soon after he left! Finally, I met him in Reno. He was divorced, going back to college, selling furniture at Sears. My Mom was helping me look for an apartment and we wandered into Sears and sat down. She saw the connection between us immediately. After that we ran into each other a couple of times in
        random places. I remember saying to my Mom a few months later –
        guess who I have a date with – and she said, the guy from Sears! Isn’t life amazing?!

        • sbranch says:

          Wow, all that just missing each other, and then finally! How wonderful! My mom knew before I did too. Moms are so smart!

  77. Dear Sue,
    Thank you so much for making my break from cleaning my large pantry (I am a lucky lady) so peaceful and wonder-filled.
    I have been to Edinburg too (years ago) and loved it. Boy am I sorry I have no plaid to show for it. I would LOVE a kilt this very minute. I enjoy you sharing your travels with us and all the fabulous pics.
    Happy 30th Anniversary to you and Joe! You are such a special couple and deserve each other’s sweet love and affection.

  78. sylvia in seattle says:

    Becoming hooked on C-SPAN coverage of Senators speaking, I remembered I needed to check my e-mail and YAY there your were with all that lovely plaid. Such a welcome relief from . . . well, you know. I remember actually sewing myself a plaid coat MANY years ago. Should have kept it just for the fabric. Thank you for breaking the dark mood. I will now shower, dress, go to the mail box and take a trip out to the shores of Puget Sound with mountain view. WE HAD SNOW yesterday!!! Two inches around here is an Event. So pretty and also a great mood changer. Gone now, but a lovely memory. Happy Anniversary 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Isn’t C-Span wonderful? The only news program I know that just SHOWS stuff, and lets you decide what you think about it for yourself without any help from talking heads. I love their morning show, Washington Journal, and watch it all the time, get the best info from there. Quest for truth, in a “truthiness” kind of world! Not easy! Happy snow day Sylvia!

  79. Pam Nichols says:

    Thank you for your photos and words about Scotland. I love Ragamuffin (there is a darling little one at the ferry dock on the Isle of Skye). Another favorite is Ness–lovely plaids.There are too many things to choose from, so I usually don’t even try. What fun to see the the beautiful city of Edinburgh through your eyes. Have a wonderful trip to California.

    • sbranch says:

      I heard about that. Amazing, that they would choose to put a shop there. Makes me love them even more. I bought that pink and black plaid cape in Loch Ness. Thank you Pam!

  80. Barbara Fruehe says:

    Love plaids! Love your uplifting stories! Made a note to start “A Place To Call Home” after I finish “Breathless” (PBS Masterpiece Theatre) and marked my calendar for your California visit. Will you make it to Cayuccos?

    • sbranch says:

      Probably. I usually try to get up to Cambria . . . I may not stop in Cayucos, but I’ll definitely love the view from there.

  81. sylvia in seattle says:

    Oh, oh, oh, Just clicked on the MUSICA. Quisas, quisas, quisas!. I’m weeping now remembering someone “muy especial” named Felipe’. I loved this music and had many recordings and tapes of Trio Los Panchos over the years. At one time had all the words memorized to Besa Me Mucho so I could sing along. Gracias. Perfect Valentine!

  82. Pat Johnson says:

    Oh my another FABULOUS task completed and you can dance around the house in pure JOY! Such a lady!!! And you certainly deserve a break today! I don’t know how you do it – oh wait, I do know…….you have help from that handsome dude you married and you are soooooo talented! I love you because you can do all of the things I can’t do….. but I can certainly ENJOY THEM ALL! I have a secret to tell you: the picture of Joe here – he looks just like my Fred (that passed away 4 years ago) – they have the same color hair and that look on his face is priceless – and Joe is most definitely the most supportive husband – just like my Fred. And, yes, I was the luckiest person in the whole entire world when Fred walked into my life 45 years ago! It was always “whatever makes her happy – makes me happy!” And he would smile. I am so happy that we share a treasured moment…….hugs & love to you both. You make my life glow!!

    • sbranch says:

      I could not do it without Joe. That’s for sure. For many years I had to, because he was all tied up at work. I’ve been trying to lure him away FOREVER. And now, I have him! I can’t believe it’s been four years since Fred went to heaven. You are an amazing person Pat. I love the way you have kept on and made life your own. xoxo

  83. Linda Allen says:

    Watching the gorgeous sunset while listening to Michael Feinstein love songs in the background. There Will Never Be Another You!! I mean that! You are my special friend…who I have never actually met, but I feel I know you so well. I have all your books, including the first cookbook & the 30th anniversary edition! I always have your calendar in my kitchen & at work, before I retired. Can’t wait for a new book! And guess what? I was also married in February! The 1st! We just celebrated our 43rd! So, Happy Anniversary to all four of us!! Happy Valentine’s Day to you & Joe! And Jack! 😘😍❤

  84. Nancy Kelley says:

    What fun to see Edinburgh with all its plaid! I just finished reading “Martha’s Vineyard-Isle of Dreams” this rainy afternoon and what a wonderful story! So glad you are living happily ever after with your special husband of 30 years! Congratulations and happy anniversary, Susan!

  85. Jan Lane says:

    Hi Susan,
    Glad to see your little blog today. Love the photos which you take and so kindly share with all of us. It is a blustery day out here on our Calif. mountain top. So windy…….howling outside, actually. I was thinking that I would love one of those cheerful plaid scarves to wear on days like this.
    I have a pot of red cabbage and sausages cooking. Thinking of making a pot of tea. Seems like rain is on the way.
    I wanted to share with the girls here that come April, I am taking a 3 mo. holiday to stay with my mum in law in Southwell, Notts. My husband will come at the beginning of the 3rd mo. I can stay 3 mos. without getting the visa, so I shall do it that way for starters. I need a complete break from all the dismaying events taking place on a daily basis.
    I long for the pleasant country strolls, along fields with hedgerows, and stacked stone. Spring is the most beautiful season in the UK, and April-June should be lovely. Maybe I will take the train up to Edinburgh, my sis in law and her hubby have a time share there……If I go, I shall stop in at the precious little boutique. Looks like they have some treasures.
    Hoping to get to SLO to see you on Mar. 18th. Take care and enjoy your train journey west. Safe travels!

    • sbranch says:

      Wandering along the stone walls and the green grass is so healthy for the soul, love that you can go. April, the baby lambs will be frolicking and the yellow chicks will be everywhere. I’m so happy for you. Love to your mom for us! xoxo

      • Jan Lane says:

        I decided to go earlier! Found a great ticket price round trip on WOW airlines. Actually, out of Boston, you can go for as cheaply as $199.00 each way, but you pay extra for any extra bags. This airline stops in Iceland, but as my husband travelled last autumn and said the flight was really just fine, I decided to go, and I am getting an even better deal, I just went with the “I am going next week!” frame of mind. So come this Thurs., I will be flying out. We are due for more snow, so hoping our trip down the mountain will go without incident. I am so excited.
        Just finished looking at your blog about Vermont. That is on my bucket list. Have a wonderful visit with your mom as well.

  86. Maria Penner says:

    Hi Susan….we bought tickets for SLO Apple Farm in March and we are so
    excited. We’ll be driving down from Pacific Grove so the time is PERFECT!
    My Valentine heart banner is hanging up and the cute Valentine you put in the
    blog will be used for notes! A big thank you . I loved the one with the four girlfriends…one in four is unbalanced!!! that would be ME!!!!
    Sending Happy Anniversary wishes for you and Joe…so happy together and you both make the world a better place. I remarried also…and my motto is “Eat, drink and remarry!” Love is more wonderful the second time around. Have a safe and happy trip to California…can’t wait to see you! I loved all three of your books and have gifted them many times…They hang out on my nightstand and always remind me to make every day count! Hugs and misses, Maria

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, and it’s me too! I loved that the first time I read it and had to paint it! Love your motto, way to go! Thank you Maria, xoxo right back to you!

  87. Jane says:

    This entry goes down today as one of my faves❣Emersons quote on dogs and clothes was so much fun!! I love plaid and kilts and woolly everything ❣I should… I used to spin wool.
    Thank you for such a joyful entry. Blessings on your California trip. 😊

  88. Mary Jane Smith says:

    I LOVE Edin-burra!! My living room here in Maine has a ‘tartan’ theme during the winter. Throws, scarves, even some Tartan glass candles I found at TJMaxx! Books on tartans and more! Sooooo cozy for January and February. Your blog today makes me want to book a flight to Scotland! Ahhhhhh

  89. liz h says:

    Happy anniversary, there myst be something about the month of February because my sweetheart and I will celebrate our 38th anniversary on the 17th. We jusy sent off out passport renewal to be able to book our next trip. We are going to Scotland too. Thanks for your great blog and for letting us share in your happy life.
    liz in Gardner Illinois.

  90. Karen Saunders says:

    I am a plaid kind of gal as well. Stewart plaid is my favorite (with white background). I know I had a plaid jumper when I was little and I always lived it. I am glad you have a free-mind to enjoy everything with right now. Yay!!!🎈🎈🎈 We all love Joe too….he’s a pretty hard act to follow!!! Happy Birthday to your awesome unbelievable mom!!!🍰🍭🎀🎉🎁🎉

  91. Carolyn Fitzgerald Rodgers says:

    Dear Susan,
    I must thank you profusely for the quotations you insert in your blog. J. M. Barrie and Francis Thompson, above all!
    My perpetual, endless collection of favorite quotations and passages–of famous people and my own–I’m saving under the title “Many Splendoured Things,” having borrowed it from a stanza in Thompson’s poem “The Kingdom of God”: (“Turn a stone and start a wing. . . .”)
    And I thank you for honoring them by introducing them to new generations, thus keeping their names and works alive. I hope they know it. I think they might.

    • sbranch says:

      No school or classes have taught me as much as my study and love for quotations by all the geniuses AND the brilliant regular people that have ever lived and said something interesting. It’s all there! Everything we ever need to know about life is in quote books. I think they should be taught in school. You could read them aloud, debate their meaning, paint them, draw them, write them on the blackboard, meet the author of them, and learn so much.

      • mary spring says:

        ..oh, I so agree with you about inspirational quotes.. I have to tell you that these days I got my hands back in to clay..handbuilding..among other pieces, I am carving quotes on to clay…while I am anxiously waiting for my pottery wheel to arrive tomorrow !!!..yes, my sweet ‘kids’shipped it to me, as I will be staying in the Seattle area a bit longer than expected.. I am beyond excited to get back to throwing !!..lovely posts, dear Susan !..happy anniversary to you and Joe !!..enjoy your free time and savor the moments, as I already know you do !! and happy Valentine’s Day !(that is the day my oldest daughter was born,so it is extra special to me..) thanks always…

  92. Charissa says:

    Perfection… tartan and LOVE! Firstly, Happy Happy Anniversary to you and Joe. 30yrs!!! It makes me want to cry. I am so happy that you guys are happy. What a milestone! What a lovely couple! What an example to us all! Happy MV Anniversary too. You made your own destiny:)) Lucky for US! And Happy Early Birthday to your Mommy who really must be a total doll for making you!

    Thank you for this glorious post. I love plaid!!! My upstairs is decorated in an English Country Gentleman’s style. (Yes, I live in TX and everyone thinks I am crazy, but I don’t care) Lots of tartans, woods, leather, hunt scenes, etc. I tried to make Ralph Lauren proud, but I don’t think I’ve succeeded yet;) While I don’t have a stag head on the wall, I do have a few antlers. And the funny thing is… This Christmas, I bought that exact same little deer head (except for the fact that mine is on a little plaque, but it is the same face and antlers.) Kindred spirits. Woohoo Now I love it even more:) I just love your cleverly named wood room. I remember it from other posts. It looks sooo cozy in there. I “wood” spend all winter in there:)

    I looooove Ragamuffin too! It pains me to know you didn’t get to spend time in there waaaaaaaah But I Love the no-man time suggestion.

    I know you told us someone sent you that darling little plaid heart. Do you happen to know where it is from or if she made it? I am trying to make one because it is so gorgeous, but finding it hard to find all the right millinery flowers. Thought it might be easier (and cheaper) to buy one already made. just wondering… don’t spend anytime on it at all. Only if it is on the top of your head (Or if the person who sent it is reading this, if you made it and want to make more or start a business, I will be your first customer and will order 5 :)) because I am so happy that you have some FREE TIME! You really deserve it and are the hardest working person I know. You create and do and give so much . Thank you for every little (and big) wonderful thing!!! xoxo

    • Charissa says:

      PS I found a lot of those little fox terriers on ebay. They are Steiff. here is one example

    • sbranch says:

      My mom IS a total doll. Love you Charissa. The plaid heart was a gift from my girlfriend Elizabeth. She bought it and hid it from me when we were together in Edinburgh, then sent it to me for Christmas. Sorry that’s all I know about it. Go on line for the little flowers and things, I bet there’s a WORLD of that stuff out there. xoxoxo

  93. Fern Kaehr says:

    Hi Susan
    Thank you for the thumbs up on “A Place to Call Home”. I ordered from Amazon. Oh my goodness, what a series. I stayed up until early morning watching. It had me intrigued. So, now waiting for the fourth season. Amazon promised a February 28th arrival. Can’t wait! I wish I could be you. Evidently, missed my calling. Regina is dangerous.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m starting to think Regina is more than dangerous and maybe she’s truly sick, but still totally dangerous! xoxo

  94. Maureen from Long Island, NY says:

    My daughter Eleanore just spent the weekend in Edinburgh; she’s spending this semester in Newcastle, Eng. at the university and is touring all over nearly every weekend. How timely that you mentioned YOUR travels to Edinburgh; Eleanore and her classmates loved it — and Ragamuffin — too! Thanks for sharing your life and spirit!!!

  95. You had me at plaid!! Great post for a plaid lover…and makes me want to travel!! This year for Christmas my good friend who lives in Naples Fla, Chicago and Atlanta!! sent me 9 gifts…..all wrapped in plaid paper….every item was plaid gift wrapping experience ever! My favorite was the shortbread cookies in the Scottie dog tin!

  96. Kathy from Iowa says:

    LOVE those robins in the birdbath! Yes, the promise of spring!

  97. lani nelson says:

    Oh Susan, your post is so joyful and fun. But- about Regina. I stayed up till 2:00 in the morning last night watching on Acorn because I wanted to see what would happened to the witch. It felt like I was reading a who-done-it that I couldn’t put down. Well, this morning with 4 episodes to go I Googled A Place Called Home. That is when I discovered there was another season in the works. So I was happy but a bit ticked off because I realized that the final episode would probably not be as satisfying as I had hoped. My husband had to listen to me complain about that all morning. (A nice change for him instead of my political rants) So we will both watch an episode tonight. I will slow down and savor each one and remember to be grateful there will be more. I enjoy the eye candy-the homes, countryside and clothing. The visuals take me back but the music makes it perfect. My favorite characters are Jack and Carolyn of course. Glad to hear you are on a break There is nothing more glorious than true free time. Enjoy!
    oxox Lani

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, because this program came within a millimeter of being canceled after, I think it was, the 2nd season … remember, they had to do a new ending for it? That would have been terrible. I think the acting is wonderful. And I agree about Jack and Carolyn. Darling couple. He is heaven. And Anna, I love her basic decency. Getting very mad at Gino. Look at the watches they wear, all from the 50s.

  98. Susan K. says:

    Look at you two–just a darling couple!!!! Happy Anniversary! My favorite pic of you two is in one of your books where it looks like ya’ll are dancing and Joe dips you.
    And now for memories of cute English coats and Scottish plaids. My family moved to England for a couple of years when I was a teenager and I got the cutest coat. It was black and white herringbone with a narrow braid trim and was slightly fitted at the waist then flared out. Wish I had a pic of it showing the full length instead of just a head shot.
    My best memory of plaid (which I have always loved) goes back to 5th or 6th grade. We were doing a musical about countries around the world and I was chosen to be a Scottish girl. I put together my own costume: a red plaid skirt, a white blouse, a beret (I think I covered my Girl Scout hat with fabric!), knee socks and for that thing that Scots wear around their waist that looks like a little bag, my mother let me take these ermine tails she had and sew them to a little bag. I thought I was really something singing Loch Lomond on the stage!!!
    We did visit Scotland while we were living abroad. One evening we went to some Highland Games and they announced over the loud speaker that “the Craig family from America” was visiting.
    Ahhhhhh memories……….so fun to reminisce!

  99. Rachel Lucas says:

    Wow, I look like the Queen of Coats in this post – didn’t realise I had so many!! The blue is my very favourite. Loved everything about this, as always…and YOU. Happy Anniversary to my very favourite couple (besides US!!) xoxoxo

    • sbranch says:

      You are gorgeous in all of them. I confess, when I got home, I got myself a blue coat too, because I couldn’t bear not to! Spoke to Siobhan yesterday, and she got a blue one too! There you go! She called us the blue coat club! We could go places together! Take pom poms and do a show.😜 Love you darling.

  100. Laurie Walt says:

    Oh my Susan! I just watched episode one of season one of A place to call home. I love it already! Thanks for the suggestion. Robins already! Spring is around the corner and to see so many at once! Glorious😍Speaking of glorious, the ocean was exactly as I have always imagined. The colors of the water, the sounds of the waves, the chilly but clear water, I couldn’t get enough! My lifelong dream of collecting seashells was fulfilled. I saw lighthouses and dolphins jumping in the distance and seagulls overhead, I could have sat there all day. I went to Disney and it was an experience I will always remember, but my heart begged for the beach! My son Ben and his fiancé Luke are planning a wedding on the beach, so I will be there again in a year or so! Love. Can’t wait for the news on the teacups!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you for that Laurie ~ I loved hearing about you first seaside experience! Your wedding will be double wonderful! Wait till you see what happens on that show. You will be amazed! xoxo

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