A giveaway, blog talk, jet planes and 'pot city'

From Vietnam...with love.. a Giveaway

Rather than saving the best for last, I am going to start with it...for those of you in a rush, I don't want you to miss this wonderful Vietnamese cookbook which I am delighted to give away. Secrets of the Red Lantern was written by Pauline Nguyen with her brother Luke's helping hand and Mark Jensen. This is more than just a cookbook, it is a journey, one that is rich in history, one that takes you from war torn Vietnam to Australia and back to present day Vietnam. I keep this book and two others written by Luke close at hand. They wander with me from kitchen, to living room to porch to bedroom and back to the kitchen again. It is that kind of story...it sweeps you up and offers wonderful recipes, all beautifully photographed.  If you win this cookbook, or are so tempted you want to run out and buy it...I promise you that your house will smell as wonderful as ours...and the taste (if you like Vietnamese food) will be sumptuous and memorable.

What do you have to do to enter? Just leave a comment... or write to me, jeannecollageoflife@gmail.com and I will gladly enter your name into the pot. I will draw the winner
on Monday, September 24 at 6:00pm.

Speaking of comments.... 'capcha free'

I would like to take a brief moment for a bit of blog talk...the technical kind. I don't know about you...but I groan, sigh and dramatically fall off my chair every time I see this...'CAPTCHA' codes. Actually, it is more like a shriek, when I am reading and commenting via my iPhone...something I regularly do. You can imagine my surprise when a kind reader, Shirley, wrote to ask if I could turn them off on my blog. I had no idea I was also putting other poor readers through the same agony. I am now 'captcha' free ( I hope) and am still able to screen my comments before they are published. I may pick up an occasional spam comment now and again but it is worth it if it makes it easier for people to leave a few words at the end of a post. Especially for those of you who do not have a blog and find the whole process daunting. If you still find it difficult to comment, please let me know! I am a great believer in keeping it simple...
Want to turn off you 'captcha' codes? It is simple...Teri will tell you how... here

Leaving on a jet plane...again...

I am heading back to the USA on Thursday to see my daughter, Miss Claire, who recently started her first year of college. Parent's Weekend is calling and I am answering...by way of Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Connecticut. I had this brilliant idea, months ago, to start house hunting for property in Maine and New Hampshire and tie it into this trip to see Miss Claire. You may wonder...didn't I just move to Vietnam? Yes...but...well...life has a way of taking many interesting twists and turns, as we all know too well. One day, that fork in the road will come again... if only for part of the year, I want to be ready when it does. It may be a dream...but they do have a way of becoming reality, especially when you have a determined woman at the helm. I have 980 miles to drive in 10 days...solo...in peak autumn weather. Timing is everything. :)

Before I leave you.....

I have to share a little excursion I took recently in search of garden pots. If only it was as simple as the ones above...I may not still be nursing the headache that started last week if it were. I was told the place to buy pots was outside of Ho Chi Minh City, that it was better to go to the source than buy from the local shops. It all sounded good in theory until I arrived...

 I can handle the odd few...

but put them all together...

and my head starts to throb.

I looked one way and then the other in the opposite direction, 

and thought..surely some little imps were playing tricks on me.

I want to meet the person who can walk into this sort of atmosphere
and say 'that one, that one, that one and that one. Done!'
It sure wasn't me on this occasion.

I do have my favourites and some that I will happily leave for another.

You might wonder if I purchased any pots that day? The answer is no.
I obviously took a lot of photos...and since then I have been
observing each one and working on a plan. What I don't need is 'pot city' 
happening in my garden, what I do need is a selective few 
and maybe just a few more than that.

With that, I leave you with the biggest thank you ever 
for the lovely comments and birthday wishes
you left on my last post. I wish I could meet you all in person, 
you have to be some of the most genuine, warm and lovely people on this earth.

You know, if and when you are ready for an adventure, 
of the Asian kind, you know where to find me.
Chasing bicycles in Vietnam, per usual....

My favourite picture of the day, streetside... in Ho Chi Minh City. 

Don't forget to leave a comment for the giveaway..
as many as you like. :)

Jeanne xxx


  1. Jeanne,

    I love "pot city" there are so, so many pots! Holy cow, I cannot believe this. I have a place by my house that has about 1/4 of this selection and that is overwhelming.

    I cannot wait to follow along on your journey to a new house in New England! This is going to be so much fun. Be safe and enjoy. I think you may need a sidekick to either drive or take the photos. Or perhaps on of those Google cameras that they use to map the streets!

    Have a great week Jeanne, I do not think I will be visiting Vietnam anytime soo but perhaps we can meet up when you are in the states on a visit.

    Take care, Elizabeth xx

  2. Hi Jeanne - My blog post for Thursday is on "leaf peeping in New England" - if you want me to send you an "advance" copy before you leave, just e-mail me! Where will you be going? (I guess a lot of places if you are driving 980 miles!) I am in Connecticut - let me know if you need an tips on places to go.

    My son is in his freshman year too, so I can understand your wanting to visit! It must be hard being so far away from Claire.

    Safe Travels....

  3. So much to comment on! Firstly - I removed my comment code quite a while ago on the advice of one of my readers too. Those garden pots are amazing - what a wonderful selection but like you I would have had such difficulty choosing.
    Enjoy your time with your daughter and the house-hunting too - exciting!

  4. I should have been in that 'pot' shop Jeanne... We could have had fun together... :) Safe travels to the US... happy house hunting and I look forward to catching up on all your news when you return... xv

  5. Oh my goodness, I go up into the Luberon for ten days where there is barely any internet connection and WHAT happens? I miss one of my very favorite "friend that I haven't met yet"'s birthday! Holy cow! So I extend my heartfelt apologies for that and I do hope that you will have an absolutely amazing year ahead full of joy, health and of course...adventure! Of that I have no doubt. :)

    As usual with your writing, there is too much to even to respond to! I don't know where to start--ah oui! I do!--except to say that I literally threw my hands up in the air and said "Hooray!" when I saw that you bought the Buddha panel. I really, really wanted you to have that! It is so unusual and is something that could be good company anywhere in the world.

    Regarding 'pot city', I have to admit that I had another type of adventure altogether in mind...oops! ;) And yes, I think that if Vicki and I had been with you, we would have made quick work of those decisions--all the better to get to lunch faster. ;)

    And yes, I would be one of those sighing with exasperation over your questioning, although WHO doesn't ask these kinds of questions from time to time...? I know that I am so extremely grateful that my friends will take whatever I put out at them--whether it is Provence related or not. Do you know what one of my most popular posts is? "Music for Mango House"! And I can't express enough how fascinating the idea of living in Vietnam is to most of us, so please more and thank you for the recipe too.

    I have been captcha free for a while now--you'll see, you really wont get that much spam, it is so worth it!

    And finally (whew), travel safely, dear Jeanne. Have a wonderful experience and I can't wait to see where you go...
    With Love from Arles,

  6. Oh my gosh Jeanne,
    I would get a headache too . Just looking at all those pots . How can one choose, although, there are some beautiful pots there. A couple cought my eye.
    Maybe a plan of what type you would like , and then just go and get them.. wish you luck.
    Hope that your trip to see your daughter is a happy one. Good luck house hunting, how exciting.
    The Orangey salmon Mango - colour is very popular here in Portugal.. I love it.
    The painting is so sweet. I congratulate you jeanne if it was painted by you! you have many hidden talents.
    I received a request to take away the !Cashe! I do not have it now. Like you say, we can still see who is sending us our comments. I had one comment recently that was rather intimate..just deleted it.

    The giveaway sounds wonderful.. I was lucky to win the "Avoca " cook book ..from Emilie's daughter.
    what fun, if i won this one too written by Pauline Nguyen. From reading your posts, I see that the vietnamese food is very inviting.
    Enjoy time with your daughter..

  7. My husband has been to Ho Chi Minh City several times and will be visiting Hanoi for the first time in just a few weeks. He introduced me to pho, but I have never tried to make it myself. I did try to make pancit after visiting the Philippines and ended up in the emergency room--maybe I'll post about that one sometime. A cookbook is just the thing for someone like me!

    Every time you post a picture of Chateau Mango, I get a hankering for a mango shake. We've tried making those too, but they never taste the same here in the U.S.A.

    What a perfect time to be visiting the Northeast!

  8. Just turned off the annoying comment code, so thank you. And, yes, I would love to have a chance for that interesting cookbook. Have a happy, safe, and productive trip!

  9. Thanks for turning off the funny words - I do hate them! I think I do not have them on - well, not so sure now - but have not yet started getting spam. You have many followers, tho, so probably more risk.

    The pots are lovely, but am thinking you are going to have to decide exactly what you want and then go ignore everything else and only buy a few at the time "to order" as it were.

    Enjoy your trip stateside. It's a perfect time to visit New England. travel safely.

  10. I know of a beautiful house in Columbia County, N.Y. soon to be for sale...the owner is so special, just like the property.
    I'm not sure how to e-mail you privately as I could not find an address, but here goes !
    If you don't know Columbia county, you should!

  11. Count me in!

    Those codes always make me sad, because they say 'please prove that you're not a robot' - and apparently I am, because it always takes me 5 trys to get it right. Will now go and find out if I put my readers through the same misery:-)

  12. That pot city would send me potty!
    Have a wonderful time visiting your daughter.It's such a lovely giveaway.My mum has just been to Vietnam and is always raving about how delicious the food was.Thanks for sharing..

  13. I am with you regarding the "captcha" codes - they drive me insane! Thank you thank you thank you! Safe journey and hurry back - will need more hits from Vietnam - thanks to you it's now seriously on the list of must dos soon! Fx

  14. Jeanne, I would be overwhelmed browsing a small portion of "pot city", oh but I would be willing to try. I hope you have a safe and successful trip back to the states. (Love the painting.)

  15. Thank you Jeanne for that great tip about comments on blogger. I just updated my blog comments section too. Yes, entering those codes was quite tiresome.

    Vietnamese Food is one of my favourite dishes. I hope to discover and read about their story and learn to cook some Vietnamese food. Those pots and Oriental jars are so gorgeous! It will be difficult to choose. Every time I travel with my mom to shops like that, I keep pointing to ask her to buy this, buy that!

    Enjoy your trip to the East Coast USA. Perfect timing since it is the start of Fall over here in the Eastern North America.

  16. Ha! Should I say that you became a little "potty'? Such lovely images, and the Mango Cottage made me laugh. Thank you for your pictures and writings; I just arrived here tonight and shall return!

  17. I just started reading your blog and I'm so glad you're sharing your new adventure. I lived in Bangkok for 6 months and it's sooo different than the US or Europe. It can be a bit of a discombobulated whirlwind. The experience and cultural difference really made me grow as a person and I appreciate Southeast Asia in a whole new way. One thing I really miss are the tropical fruitss. There's nothing like the pineapple, mangosteen, green coconuts and others. Sure they can be shipped overseas but it's like eating a 3 week old apple; they're never as fresh as they are when just picked.

  18. Love catching up on your adventures - thank you for sharing as always. You certainly cover a lot of the planet and still find treasure to share.
    I love Vietnam: the people, the place, the food, the gardens everything. I would love to cook like Luke Nguyen too.
    A belated birthday wish also.

  19. I read a cookbook like it's a novel! I'd love to add this one to my collection. Thanks for such a nice giveaway! And I love your blog!

  20. From Denise..

    Hi Jeanne,

    I would love to have my name thrown in the pot for a chance to win this lovely book!
    Wishing you a great week ahead,



  21. From Angela D...via Facebook

    What a wonderful looking book, can you add my name through this comment on FB?

  22. I would be delighted to have my name in the wonderful cookbook pot!

    What a lovely treat.


  23. From Amy ME...via Facebook

    Love cookbooks, this one looks very interesting... Please add me to your list!

  24. Oooh the book looks amazing Jeanne, please toss my name in the pot!

    How wonderful you'll be there for Miss Claire, she will be so happy to have you there, enjoy your precious time together.
    Can't wait to hear about your house hunting trip - sounds like a perfect trip along the coast!

    Way too many pots for me - I find it hard enough selecting pots from the small selection at Palmers!!

    Wishing you a safe journey and a very happy sojourn dear Jeanne


  25. I am glad you decided on a book prize rather than a pot, must easier to post and just as beautiful to behold. Love Vietnamese flavors, freshness and ingredients so the book would have a happy home in Brisbane.
    Love your blog by the way, and the way you are embracing the mango in your life!

  26. I am absolutely staggered at your Globe Trotting Jeanne. It makes me tired to read about it. But I do love the way you carry that lovely book from room to room with you. I have one or two books like that; books which I always seem to need at odd moments, so they are never far from where I am. Bon voyage.


  27. From Amy...via email

    Dear Jeanne,

    Thank you very much for the oppotunity to win the lovely cookery book you are giving away. I am an avid follower of your blog - thank you for sharing your very interesting story with me.

    Best wishes,


  28. I love to cook and it's one of the ways Bobby and I enjoy spending time together. Last time I had Vietnamese food was more than 10 years ago so could use this book to remedy that...

    BTW, I love the turquoise with the navy/blue & white pots. I think those shades against the walls of Chateau Mango would be beautiful.

    Thanks for this wonderful opportunity...

    Jo ♥

  29. One of the ways Bobby and I like to spend time together is in the kitchen so this lovely book would be an opportunity to explore this wonderful cuisine together...

    BTW, I love the turquoise, dark blue and blue/whites and think they would be perfect against the hue of Chateau Mango.

    Thanks for this wonderful opportunity and sharing your adventures.

    Jo ♥

  30. In New England, we call that color "pumpkin" and it's quite an old color! Good eye, no surprise!

  31. Jeanne

    Thank you so much for the captcha info. I find that so annoying. I sometimes do not leave a comment for that very reason. Only to find that I had it enabled as well. Please enter me in your wonderful giveaway. Good Luck house hunting. Maine is one of my favorite places on earth. Safe travels!

  32. Great idea Jeanne, hope I win;) Cooking was once my profession, but now as my hobby...would love to add this to my repertoire! Brenda.

  33. The colors, faces and foods of Vietnam. How wonderful.

  34. I hope this works now!I have been here for a few months but haveNOT been able to leave a comment!Most likely its me and not the computer stuff!BUT IT DRIVES ME CRAZY!I had so much to say about MANGO CASA and your husband picking the color!JUST LOVE IT ALL!MY living room is orange.Anyway, lets give this a go before I write and then get pissy cause it doesnot go through!

  35. So exciting to have you stateside and if you swing through New Canaan, you'll have to give us a buzz. Would so love to learn more about Vietnamese cuisine and perhaps this pretty book would help dip our toes (or fingers!) into it... Happy and safe travels, Jeanne!
    C + C

  36. From Melissa via email

    Dear Jeanne,

    I have so enjoyed your blogs! Your photography is fantastic and your spirit for an adventurous is something I possessed more of.

    I would love to win the cookbook! Vietnamese food is delicious and so healthy.

    Thanks for the chance!


  37. From Corbett via Facebook

    "I collect cookbooks, so add Corbett Childress Kimball in your pot! oxo :)"

  38. From Cate..via email

    Good Morning Jeanne!

    This book sounds so charming AND delicious! Please enter me into your fantastic give-away!

    Thank you!

  39. Really enjoy your blog. I can't really think why you don't love your mango colored house. Contest entrant, please.

  40. Being smack in the middle of World History with Mr. Riley here, that cookbook looks so interesting. I cannot believe how much I do not know about Asian history. The more we read, the more I want to know about this huge chunk of this earth.

    I hope you have a fabulous time at the Parent's Weekend. Ours is coming up in Oct. I did not have parents to attend this kind of event so I am looking forward to it. I really have no idea what to expect! You are flying out East...and I am leaving to fly out West...to Santa Barbara for a weekend away. Bon Voyage to us both!

  41. I absolutely HATE capcha!! I'm so glad there is something one can do about them! I did see some blue and white pots that spoke to me. Very classic. Will fit in anywhere IN THE WORLD!

  42. My husband and I were at the Tea Ceremony (in Texas ) for our grandson and his bride Mylinh last May.We sat in a chair. drank tea and as elders were asked for advice. It's an emotional wonderful ceremony.Afterwards there was a grand array of special food- pork,sticky rice,fruit and sweets. Mylinh's family made all the food.Oops almost forgot the spring rolls- so good!

  43. Jeanne, Oh those glorious pots...living in Montana I must restrain my purchasing of too many because for the most part they must come into at least a solarium in the winter or the possibility of freezing and breaking becomes reality. Yet, I must say my dreaming, wishing hoping to have self was going mad as I looked at the photos of the available stock at the seller you visited...the one thing for sure I will add this year is a Buddha and a Quan Yuen for my meditation garden...seeing the broad selection of sculpture there made my dreaming go into high gear....thank you for that visit from afar.
    The cookbook, historical journey book looks delightful. I am appreciating being able to enter the drawing.
    Thank you for always showing such variety of scenes and touching on the various pieces of who we each are...your sharing brings much to delight your readers again and again. Kristin

  44. Oh my, I found the 'stroll' amongst all these pots a dream journey! Oh the things I could do with these...It fits perfectly with our Pacific NW weather!
    Thank you Jeanne for sharing and the opportunity to win this interesting book! Cooking is (with reading books, sketching, knitting...) one of my favourite pastimes!

  45. Have a wonderful time with Claire and in your travels through Autumn. I guess you won't need me to mail you leaves this year, eh? I loved all of the beautiful pots. I have been buying Vietnamese pots at Home Goods here.


  46. Please count me in for the giveaway which sounds a delightful read!
    I would never have been able to choose amongst those pots myself. Love the
    blue and white ones specially though.

  47. From Laney via email...
    Hello Jeanne,

    I am enjoying your blog immensely. You have chosen a delightful time for your New England house hunting expedition. The weather here in Vermont is quintessentially autumn. Enjoy!

    One disadvantage of this region is a paucity of ethnic restaurants. Vietnamese foods are some of my favorites. Please enter me in the cookbook give away.


  48. Jeanne, I love so many of those pots. How exciting about parents' weekend and looking for a New England house especially at this beautiful time of the year. Cannot wait to hear how it goes. Have a wonderful time with your daughter and enjoy the fall weather in New England. Our daughter went to Bates and we were in Maine every October. It was heavenly.
    xx Sunday

  49. Jeanne, I love your blog. Your stories are always fascinating and your photography superb. The cover of the cookbook looks like a work of art. The only place I've eaten Vietnamese food was in the Latin Quarter of Paris, and it was so delicious I returned several times. It will be fun to create a new dish.
    Happy to see you've settled in nicely.

  50. Your Vietnam photos look amazing. Have a great time in New England - my sister and I dream of going there to see the Fall colours one day.

  51. Have a fabulous time in New England - I imagine the Fall colours will be stunning and so different to what you are currently experiencing in Vietnam.

  52. Hi Jeanne, the same thing happened to me with celadon in Thailand. I was overwhelmed by the possibilities and didn't buy a thing! It is so good that you are making a plan. There are so many wonderful things in Southeast Asia. I didn't have a house to put them in either, so one just has to try and imagine. I wish now, that I had bought fewer small things, and really went for a few bigger, though more expensive, statement pieces. A pair of those gigantic pots they keep fish in, or a huge stone sculpture. I wish I had ordered more cheongsams, and bought more lacquer boxes. If you're anywhere near Virginia look us up! Middleburg or Upperville might be just the ticket!

  53. Well, it isn't quite peak Jeanne, but enjoy the rest of your time here in New England. Great to meet you.

  54. Hi, Jeanne. You got me with the pot photos. I would've bought dozens to use as bases for mosaics. My pot source, or rather, planter container source has dried up. Fortunately I have a dozen or so stocked. Guess I'll have to plan a trip there!
    best, nadia

  55. Hi, Jeanne. I tried to comment via your comment but couldn't. When I read you turned the gotcha off (yay!), I thought you'd also clicked something else by accident or perhaps Google was acting up. It wasn't specific to me, just that your blog couldn't be found. So, hmmm, after a few tries, I went to my reading list and here I am. We just returned from New England. OMG, what a gorgeous area. Yes, in my mind's eye I can see what you're looking for. It's there. Keep turning those rocks over.

    I couldn't help but chuckle when I saw all those pots. It's all kinda too much or too little, eh?


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Can I just say....that I so enjoy what YOU have to say. If you would like to write to me directly, I would love to hear from you... jeannecollageoflife@gmail.com

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