Wednesday, July 31


Fresh ears of corn are plentiful here in Texas during the Summer months and those sweet plump kernels have been calling my name. You can buy them at the grocery store, the market downtown or your friendly farmer that has set up a stand next to the gas station. If you're anything like me you have already made several visits this Summer to your local Farmer's Market. Our market here in Dallas is one of the best in the Southwest, catering not only to the locals but to a variety of restaurants as well. You can purchase any thing and everything at our market. Aside from the obvious fresh produce, you can also find handmade tacos, local honey, spicy homemade salsa, fresh seafood, beef and cheese as well as some of Dallas' finest barbecue. We've got it all! My personal favorites are the homemade root beer and the roasted corn. I can make a day of wandering around our farmer's market with a root beer in one hand and an ear of corn in the other. I love this corn. I crave it. It's fresh corn at it's best, it just doesn't get much better than this. The recipe below is a cross between an old Cook's Illustrated recipe that I've used for years and what I think the sweet little lady at the market uses on her corn. We have on occasion made light meals with this corn all on it's own but just image how fantastic it would be served up at your next cookout? Your friends and family are SURE to love it, and if not.... MORE FOR YOU I SAY! 

Makes 12 Servings
Print Friendly and PDF

  • 1/2 cup Hellman's mayonnaise
  • 3 Tablespoons sour cream
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 4 tsp juice from 1 lime
  • 1 cup grated Cotija cheese, divided. It's worth it to find this cheese but Pecorino or Parmesan can be substituted.
  • Kosher salt, optional
  • 12 large ears of corn, husks and silk removed

  • Cook corn using your favorite method - boiling water; microwave; etc. Just don't overcook it. FYI:Grilling will give you that authentic street corn flavor.
  • In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, cilantro, garlic, chili powder, black pepper, cayenne, lime juice and cheese. Check seasoning for desired flavor; add Kosher salt if needed. Set aside.
  • Place cooked corn directly over stove flame, turning regularly with tongs to achieve char marks. If you grilled your corn skip this step.
  • Add charred corn to mixture and toss to coat evenly. 
  • Insert skewers. 
  • Serve immediately with additional lime wedges.
  • I like to sprinkle a little extra cheese on my corn right before serving.

Give this recipe a try, it's sure to quickly become one of your favorite Summer side dishes!


grilling, corn-on-the-cob, summer, side-dish, cheese, on-a-stick, limes,


As E and I were hunting the web for upholstered headboard ideas, we crossed paths with the talented interior designers behind the firm Massucco Warner Miller. Founding designers Julie Massucco Kleiner and Melissa Warner Rothblum are highly skilled and experienced designers who each bring their own unique style and energy to the world of interior design. Recent projects range from elegantly detailed residences to kid-friendly homes that have been noted as 'fresh and vibrant'.....and I whole-heartedly agree. I simply fell in love with this spectacular turquoise bedroom. A white tole faux bamboo chandelier hangs above the daybed with a dusty rose pink and white toile print upholstered headboard...all with the backdrop of a clean turquoise painted wall. WHAT'S NOT TO LOVE THERE?

Turquoise paint, a toile headboard and a tole chandelier...that's all it takes to transform a simple ho-hum room into something really spectacular. MWM has really dotted all their i's and crossed all the t's in this room! I think the unadorned turquoise feature wall provides a great backdrop for all of the elements in the room including the narrow built-in shelves that frame the daybed. My favorite piece in the room is of course the glossy white painted tole chandelier. I adore this. It adds a simple form of glam to this room. Silhouette printed throw pillows match the toile upholstered headboard and turquoise pillows match the wall... making for a wonderfully coordinated bedroom.

Get inspired'll be glad ya did!


Photos: Massucco Warner Miller

Tuesday, July 30

WHY I LOVE TEXAS: Hico & The Koffee Kup Family Restaurant

“I have said that Texas is a state of mind, but I think it is more than that. It is a mystique closely approximating a religion. And this is true to the extent that people either passionately love Texas or passionately hate it and, as in other religions, few people dare to inspect it for fear of losing their bearings in mystery or paradox. But I think there will be little quarrel with my feeling that Texas is one thing. For all its enormous range of space, climate, and physical appearance, and for all the internal squabbles, contentions, and strivings, Texas has a tight cohesiveness perhaps stronger than any other section of America. Rich, poor, Panhandle, Gulf, city, country, Texas is the obsession, the proper study, and the passionate possession of all Texans.” ― John Steinbeck

Well I couldn't have said it any better than Mr.Steinbeck. From awe-inspiring sunsets, tranquil beaches, deep forests to vast prairies, Texas has it ALL and I adore my beloved state and it's people. And even though I am a city gal there's just something special about small town Texas. 

A few years back Mr.P and I were headed to the Hill Country of Texas from our home here in Dallas. The quickest and obviously easiest route is to head down 35, the multi-laned highway that connects Dallas to Austin and San Antonio. But as we were in a wandering mood, and had no hard plans, we decided to take the rural route and it turned out to be one of our better 'travel' decisions. One of the highlights of that impromptu trip turned out to be the small town of Hico, Texas.

Most people link small-town Texas with longhorn cattle and Friday night lights. Not chocolate truffles and free Wi-Fi. Enter Hico (pronounced “HIGH-co”). Just 90 minutes southwest of Fort Worth, it’s the northern gateway to the Hill Country and a community blessed with a mixture of creative and classic. The Texas can-do spirit fills the air in Hico, where a red cedar boat wright, a Williams-Sonoma metal smith, a violin-maker, and an ostrich boot designer all live and work. Nationally craved Wiseman House Fine Handmade Chocolates is located in a Victorian home across from the Koffee Kup Family Restaurant. The Koffee Kup is Hico’s true heartbeat. This diner serves up mountainous pies and doughnuts. Proving that even in small Texas towns, bigger is STILL better. 

We had heard stories about the Koffee Kup, stories of killer pies. Mr.P and I made the obvious choice to stop in and see what all the fuss was about. We decided to share a slice of their famous Coconut Meringue Pie and it didn't take long for us to realize that all of the hype surrounding the Koffee Kup was TRUE! Of course one piece of pie was not nearly enough. After sharing our second slice we walked out of the Koffee Kup with smiles on our faces and a whole pie! I seriously have not found it's equal....and believe me I've done the research!
What a Real Local Knows about Hico:
  • Place To Be on a Saturday Morning: Pecan Street farmers market for homemade zucchini bread and fresh eggs.
  • Best Day of the Year: May 15, Texas Steak Cook-off; 2,500 rib eyes hit the grill.
  • Local Legend: Hico’s Ollie “Brushy Bill” Roberts claimed to be gunslinger Billy the Kid. Stop in at the local museum and decide for yourself.
File:Billy the Kid Museum IMG 0748.JPG
  • Best Pie in Town: Banana Blueberry Icebox Pie at Koffee Kup Family Restaurant.
  • What $25 Buys: Sloan Brands mini branding irons, perfect for cookouts.
  • Best experience: Ranch life, including horseback ridinghayrides, and camping, can be experienced at Timber Creek Ranch some ten miles southeast of Hico on Texas Highway 6.
  • Best ancient history: Approximately 1.8 miles north of Hico are what appear to be the remains of an impact crater.
  • Best antiques in town: Homestead, housed in Hico’s beautifully restored Opera House, built in 1895, is a beautiful store sure to inspire and satisfy your creative taste. Homestead has been named one of the 50 Best Stores in Texas.

It's worth the drive!
Koffee Kup
300 West 2nd Street
At the intersection of Hwy 6 & Hwy 281
Hico, TX
Open 7 days 6:00 am - 9:30 pm
Since 1968


Monday, July 29


This is one of my most requested Summer recipes. It is easy, simple, fresh and delicious. And, all you need is an armful of vegetables and a package of tortellini from the refrigerator section of your grocery store. This hearty, yet light, Summer salad serves well as an entrée for dinner, but it can easily be toted off to a picnic or potluck. Add what you like and leave out what you don't, it's a one bowl meal that is extremely forgiving. Start with my recipe and build on it to suit your needs. I think you'll agree that it is one of the best salads for Summertime happiness!

This pasta salad comes together so quickly and it is delicious. 
It will definitely add zip and zing to your Summer!
Print Friendly and PDF

  • 1 - 7oz package refrigerated or frozen cheese tortellini
  • 2 cups chicken, cooked anyway and chopped
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, cut into small bites
  • 1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 - 6 oz jar marinated artichokes, slightly drained
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
  • 2 green onions, chopped - make sure to use the green tops
  • 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing, I use Olive Garden Italian dressing
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons fresh basil, chiffonade*
  • 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • Cook tortellini according to package directions; drain. Plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process; drain thoroughly and place in large bowl. 
  • Add chicken, broccoli, parsley, artichokes, olives and green onions in a large bowl.
  • Toss lightly to mix.
  • Pour salad dressing over tortellini mixture.
  • Sprinkle with basil and toss gently.
  • Cover and chill at least thirty minutes or until ready to serve. Toss occasionally, ensuring everything is coated well with the Italian dressing.
  • Just before serving, add tomatoes and toss well.
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan.
*In case you were wondering, this is how to 'chiffonade' herbs and leafy green vegetables.

Start with your basil leaves stacked. You want the leaves to all go in the same direction, all neat like.

Roll up your leaves. It is easiest to roll basil lengthwise, so that the stems are parallel to the roll. 

With a sharp knife, begin slicing the roll crisscross, creating fine, thin strips. The tighter the roll, the easier it is to make your slices thin. 

The finished chiffonade. You can get really crazy and make the most impossibly thin strips of basil if you prefer.

Take advantage of this Summer's freshest veggies and 
herbs to eat lighter, healthier AND COOLER! 

zesty, Italian, cheese tortellini, tomato, broccoli, black olives, basil parsley, summer, salad, cool

Sunday, July 28


"Breakfast is the most important meal of the day." How many times have you heard that truism without giving it much thought or wondering what it really means? People cite the importance of breakfast for various reasons. Educators say that students who eat breakfast display sharper concentration and memory, don’t run out of steam mid-morning, and tend to do better in school than those who skip the first meal of the day. Nutritionists say people who eat a healthy breakfast are less likely to be overweight or obese, because having breakfast jump starts their metabolism for the day and helps to ensure they will eat a series of small meals rather than loading up on calories in the evening when they won’t get much exercise. Avoiding fatigue, thinking more clearly, and keeping your weight under control are all good reasons to make a healthy breakfast part of your morning routine—but I say they’re not the only reasons. 

If you want to get yourself and your family off to a great start each morning, start at the beginning. Instead of letting everyone rush out the door with nothing to eat—or , nearly as bad, after grabbing just a cup of coffee or a slice of toast—slow things down. Gather everyone around the table, serve them a nutritious breakfast, and take time to let everyone share a few thoughts about the day ahead. To cook a good breakfast for your family and have enough time for them to enjoy it together, everyone may need to get up a little earlier. If that’s what it takes, then do it. The rewards will be worth the extra effort. 

Picture of Homemade Granola Recipe
Homemade granola is a great way to start the day.  Serve it over Greek yogurt, in a bowl with milk or eat it plain, by the handful
....our son's favorite method! He eats raw oats right out of the box!


Makes 6 Servings

  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut chips
  • 1 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons real maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
  • Fresh blueberries, for serving
  • Sliced fresh strawberries, for serving

  • Arrange the racks in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  • Toss the oats, coconut chips, apricots and pecans in a large bowl. 
  • Whisk together the brown sugar, canola oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and kosher salt in a second bowl and drizzle over the oat mixture. 
  • Stir well so everything is evenly coated. Use your hands to toss and make sure every piece of oat is covered.
  • Spread the mixture in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. 
  • Bake until golden and brown, 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheet tray halfway through baking and stirring the granola with a spoon so it will cook evenly. 
  • Remove from the oven and pour into a large bowl so it will stop cooking. 
  • Let cool before serving.
  • Serve over a bowl of Healthy Yogurt and top with berries.

Enjoying a delicious, home-cooked family breakfast sets the stage for a great day. Make a point of having breakfast with everyone in the family at least once this'll be glad ya did!


Chances are you’ll enjoy eating breakfast with your family so much that you’ll want to make it a regular part of your morning routine.

Saturday, July 27


Whether you're looking for a way to celebrate a blessedly free weekend from the kids or an idea for an inventive first date, I have assembled a list of  top notch 'date night' ideas to help spice up your relationship. If it's precious time you're wanting to spend with your loved one look no further. As I was searching for ways that Mr.P and I could break free from the mundane dinner-and-a-movie rut, my list took on a life of it's own. I gladly share my list with you. I'll post two to three ideas every week over the next several months. Hope you find something here that sparks your fire!


Plan a Sidewalk Chalk Surprise
If you really care for someone, it's okay to pull out the romantic big guns. Tell your date to meet you in the park, but don't tell them ANYTHING else. Arrive early and leave sidewalk chalk directions leading to your actual location. Have a fancy picnic - the whole nine yards - waiting when they arrive. Your date will be so impressed they'll probably plant a big, wet smooch right on your clever little face. And why not? You deserve it!

Spend a 'Date' At The Zoo.
You probably don't remember how great the zoo can really be. The adorable animals, the cotton candy, feeding time in the lion cage. You can walk around all day, holding hands and there's always a new topic of conversation right around the next corner. Don't worry about the heat. If you get too hot, you can always head to the Rain forest building, cuddle up and cool down in the artificial mist while exotic birds fly overhead. Romantic sounding isn't it??

Culinary Date Night: The New Romantic Night Out
I love to cook so how could I NOT include a date night at your local cooking school? The experience of learning to cook can be more romantic than you think. As you and your date immerse yourselves in elegant cuisine - that's specifically designed to be shared - you'll discover together how fun and romantic it is to 'court in the kitchen'. Not only will you learn a new skill, but you and your date won't soon forget your shared culinary experience. Delicious date nights are all the rage, so grab your special someone and enjoy a night of cooking with your companion.

Take advantage of the great 
weather this week and get out there and DATE!


Mr.P, The Man in The Moon & Me...that's all I need!

Friday, July 26

How To Fold Napkins For A Buffet Line

A simple little idea on napkin folding for a buffet line. Silverware and napkin in one for a quick pick up by your guests. Very smart and it looks pretty too!


Follow this quick process to fold a napkin perfectly.
1. Start with a clean, pressed napkin.
2. Fold the napkin in half.
3. Fold in half again to make a square.
4. Fold down edge of top layer about 1/3 down. Turn over.
5. Fold each side in to meet the other.
6. Turn napkin over and tuck in utensils.


Life's Big Choices & The College Student

Life can be a confusing journey. It’s filled with the unthinkable, unimaginable and holds many more uncertainties than it once did when we were kids. There are many questions, some more notable than others, requiring answers that will inevitably have a huge impact on our lives. Although life sometimes leaves us questioning, it also is interesting, leaving us pondering and searching. Some will crumble under the pressure and take the safe way out, when life throws you a few curve balls and it gets hard - I say put on your helmet and meet those questions and fears head on! Your perseverance will reward you with the most profound answers.

These 10 integral life questions below are supplied with some of the answers you may be searching for — and will help you edge a step closer to figuring that out.

What are you going to do with your life?

This is a question that runs through the minds of many young college students. Some feel lost and don't see their future clearly which occasionally causes confusion. The answer to this question is quite simple: find what makes you happy, find what interest you most, and find something that will let your creativity and your mind flourish. Don’t be afraid to make the leap of faith. 

What would make you proud of yourself?

Some young people forget that their lives are their own and they should not be living it bending to the will and whim of others. Take life in the direction that you see fit. Don’t let people influence your decisions or take away from who and what you really are or deprive you of what will make you proud of yourself. 

What are you trying to accomplish and why?

You must identify, without any doubt, the specific reason you do the work you do. Your answer shouldn’t be money; it has to be something more than that — something with more value. Success can only occur when there is a target and a reason to hit it. When you have a reason to do something, you have a legitimate purpose behind your efforts. When you connect this reason to a desired result, you’re able to summon the discipline and persistence necessary to get the job done. Give yourself a good reason and you will find a way to succeed.

What are the roadblocks standing in your way?

Roadblocks will be common in life. They will come in all different shapes and sizes. Some will cause bigger headaches than others, but it’s all in the way you look at them. When you look at them as tests that will ultimately make you better as a person — that is when you will flourish. Life is not about having all the resources right in front of you at all times to get through any challenge that you may have. It is about being resourceful and figuring out how to solve something even though your back may be up against the wall. Go beyond your limits and success will meet you there.

What’s the next step?

Life is one long staircase. Until you start climbing that first step, you will never get to the last step, and trust me no one is going to build an elevator for you to get there faster. It’s about creating something from nothing, starting small from an idea and a vision and seeing it come to fruition. The best thing about big success is that it comes one step at a time. 

What are your flaws and faults?

You are not perfect, so stop trying to be. Be smart enough to identify your weaknesses and then figure out how you can start working on turning them into strengths. That is where true leaders come from and that is why the most successful people advance. Don’t hide them; fade them. Many people are in denial of their flaws and never work on them – and they end up average. Don’t hide from reality. Face your flaws and use them to bask in the glory of your personal growth.

How will you bring fulfillment to your life?

What energizes us to keep going in life is fulfillment and progress. They allow us to see our own growth and to experience our own advancement. When fulfillment doesn’t exist, people can become miserable. You need to figure out how you will bring the utmost fulfillment to your life and how you plan on getting there. Having these images in your head and taking the correct actions will bring them into your life.

How are you holding yourself back?

Are you your own worst enemy? You are the one that is in complete control of your decisions and in which way you decide to steer your car. There may be burdens you suffer under, but you must let them go. Leave your worries behind you; utilize your time with actions that will benefit you and will get you to where you want to go.  Start having an open mind and stop being so stubborn. You don’t know everything. And get rid of your impatience because nothing will happen over night. Perseverance and courage are the two things that will fuel you past these burdens that are holding you back.

Are you making the right choices in life?

Life is about choices and decisions – they create our destiny. It’s based on you and your mindset. The question that you need to ask yourself is: Are you making the right choices in life to get you to where you want to go and what you want to be? It’s all about perception and viewing things as right and wrong. You are more than capable of having a gut feeling and knowing when you should or shouldn’t be doing something. Do what you feel is right rather than what everyone else is doing. Do and decide things based on what is best for you and what will put you in the best position to move forward in your life.

What do you love about your life?

Within your lifetime you will have highs and lows. But no matter which you are going through, it is important to keep things in perspective. How you respond to life’s inevitable difficulties defines the strength of your character, as well as the quality of your life. The false idea that you are a victim of any particular circumstance is simply inaccurate. The ups and downs that occur on a daily basis are the tiny threads that make up the fabric of your life. Each one adds to your personal growth. The quality of your life is ultimately your choice. You can choose to be immobilized by the gravity of your disappointments, or you can choose to rise from the suffering and treasure the most precious gift you have – life itself.

The choices you make in LIFE will either HARM and be a hindrance in your life OR they will BLESS and enrich your life. WHICH WILL IT BE? THE BALL'S IN YOUR COURT, MAKE IT COUNT - IT'S ALL UP TO YOU!


Life is strung together by these questions and only you can answer them.

Tuesday, July 23


Whether you’re gathering a crowd for a block party, a potluck, or a family reunion, this cheerful celebration is an ode to Americana at its finest. Forget fuss—this party’s all about old-fashioned fun. So bring out the picnic baskets, melamine plates, and the folding chairs. Pull out the Mason jars and pitchers of lemonade. Hang up a hammock or two. And after the sun goes down, light up the night with metal lanterns and twinkle lights. These are the summer nights you’ll remember all year long.

    Source: Bon Appetit

   Source: Food & Wine

    Source: Real Simple

    Source: Food Network

  Source: Pillsbury

   Source: The Domestic Curator



Monday, July 22




The lazy, hazy days of summer are wonderfully slow, but if you have a student heading to college in the fall, the time to move-in to campus housing will be here before you know it. If you thought the blood, sweat and tears that were expended preparing the application last fall was the hard part -- think again! Making the physical move to college can be just as stressful. Do not get yourself in a discombobulated state, or have that last day at home be one spent furiously stressed out! 

Moms, Dads and college prepared! There are 'tools' everywhere, make sure to utilize them all. To help you get through it without too much fuss Bed, Bath & Beyond has come to the rescue. Have you seen the latest they have to offer? Upfront let me just apologize if this is old news, but as usual I am late to the party. Now, with that being said, let me share MY delightful discovery with you. Yesterday as I was cruising the Sunday paper, I came across the latest BB&B ad. I found a few good deals and went in search for their webstore. While cruising their site, I stumbled across the link 'Find Your College'. This link will take you to ANY college's Do's and Don'ts list. No guessing or wondering if my daughter can take her favorite Halogen lamp, it's on the list - they're not allowed at TWU. What size sheets will your Freshman need? It's on the list. I tell you this is genius! Taking ALL the guesswork out of your shopping will help eliminate any undue stress on move-in day. I don't want to buy something fantastic for my daughter's dorm room - that she falls in love with - that she can't keep. Again, in case you missed it - like me - here's the link: BB&B.

This is what my Mother's heart wants to see on move-in day. Happy, healthy girls prepared for all college has to offer. Looking forward to a good education, good friends and good times! Plan ahead - know before you go - and your daughter or son will truly be grateful for their stress-free move into the next chapter of their lives........ IN STYLE!! 

College Drive

Sunday, July 21

The 'Yellow Rose Of Texas' Wedding

Southern Weddings, Ryan Ray
Being a native Texan, I love Southern brides and big beautiful Southern weddings. This wedding draws its inspiration from the VERY-Southern love song, The Yellow Rose of Texas.

"There's a yellow rose in Texas, That I am going to see,
Nobody else could miss her, Not half as much as me.
She cried so when I left her It like to broke my heart,
And if I ever find her, We nevermore will part.

She's the sweetest little rosebud That Texas ever knew,
Her eyes are bright as diamonds, They sparkle like the dew;
You may talk about your Clementine, And sing of Rosalee,
But the YELLOW ROSE OF TEXAS Is the only girl for me.

When the Rio Grande is flowing, The starry skies are bright,
She walks along the river In the quiet summer night:
I know that she remembers, When we parted long ago,
I promise to return again, And not to leave her so. 

Oh now I'm going to find her, For my heart is full of woe,
And we'll sing the songs together, That we sung so long ago
We'll play the bango gaily, And we'll sing the songs of yore,
And the Yellow Rose of Texas Shall be mine forevermore."

Southern Weddings, Ryan Ray
Southern Weddings, Ryan Ray
Southern Weddings, Ryan Ray
Southern Weddings, Ryan Ray
Southern Weddings, Ryan Ray
Southern Weddings, Ryan Ray
Southern Weddings, Ryan Ray
Southern Weddings, Ryan Ray
Southern Weddings, Ryan Ray
Southern Weddings, Ryan Ray
Southern Weddings, Ryan Ray
Southern Weddings, Ryan Ray
Southern Weddings, Ryan Ray

Southern Weddings, Ryan Ray
Southern Weddings, Ryan Ray
Southern Weddings, Ryan Ray
Southern Weddings, Ryan Ray
Southern Weddings, Ryan Ray
Southern Weddings, Ryan Ray
Southern Weddings, Ryan Ray
Southern Weddings, Ryan Ray
Southern Weddings, Ryan Ray
Some of my favorite details? The boutonniere bar, complete with a vintage mirror for gentleman guests to get gussied up; the incredible yellow rose garland; the adorable children’s table…
....your yellow rose....
Yellow Rose Petals Picture

A big thank you to Southern Weddings for sharing this beautiful Southern day!
Photo shoot photographer Ryan Ray and stylist Stefanie Miles.