Monday, March 31

Thinking Outside Of The Corsage Box

It’s that time of year again — PROM is upon us! Fancy dresses, tailored suits, perfect hair, jewelry, makeup, high-heels, shiny cars, teenage girls, their dates and beautiful flowers. When these are the essentials, you know it’s bound to be a magical night! Mothers, daughters and young gentlemen everywhere are planning big things for this year’s festivities. Prom season flowers are creative designs girls will instantly fall in love with! Go the extra step to dazzle her with the details.

Whether you are a teenage girl or guy — OR their mothers  the key to choosing and creating the perfect corsage for a teen is by complementing their own particular style and the dress they’ve picked out. For the most part, the guy buys the corsage, and this can be problematic if he doesn't know what his date's dress looks like — and lets be honest, most guys need a bit of help in this department. Don’t be discouraged moms, sons and daughters, with technology and teenagers today getting a picture of the dress in just a few minutes is easy. Having a picture of the dress will result in the best possible match. Your idea of blue-green maybe totally different than that of someone else. The next thing to consider after color is the style. Is the girl going for a classic, vintage look; perhaps it’s more of a playful, colorful look? She may be into a more edgier style. 

Flowers in complementary colors instead of perfect matches can make the dress POP and really complete the over-all look! Don’t settle for just a rose-and-ribbon corsage when you can have so much more! Who’s to say flowers belong only on the wrists? I’ve seen prom flowers for the hair, prom flowers on the shoes, prom flower rings, over-the-shoulder flowers… the list goes on and on. This is another feature that depends on the style of the dress. If it’s short, make flowers for the shoes and ankles; is it off one shoulder? — adorn it with flowers! Whatever the look, have fun with it!! 

Over the shoulder corsage, sits atop a beautiful spray of sparkling rhinestones. 
 Huge rhinestones set in a bracelet, topped with pale pink roses, feathers and silk ribbon - elegant.
Green and clear shimmering rhinestone set in a silver bracelet, topped with white roses and stephanotis. 
Simply WOW!
Swarovski rhinestones and vintage flowers make a beautiful vintage wrist corsage that will last a lifetime!
Trendy and hip curled hot pink and silver wire with rhinestones, feathers and silk ribbon.
Sophisticated wire wrapped around the wrist with delicate sweetheart roses and stephanotis.
 Sweetheart roses, pink orchids and sheer ribbon floating down over the hand.
Rainbow roses with blue accents, twisted wire, feathers and rhinestones.
Electric hot rainbow corsage with button mums, sweetheart roses and daisies.
This sparkly corsage bracelet is all about total glamour. It luxuriously travels 
from the wrist to elbow, allowing multiple fresh or silk flower corsages, fitting sleekly like a glove.
Funky leg prom corsage alternative, just made for dancing!
Creamy pearl hydrangea, rhinestone and sheer ribbon prom corsage.
Edgy couture chic Victorian cuff for the bold teenager.
Upper arm wired floral wrap.
Twisted wire, feathers and florals in lime green, blue and black.
A rhinestone “belt” bracelet with white Mini Callas, sweetheart roses, 
sheer silver ribbon, strands of rhinestones, rhinestone sprays and black feathers!
Beautiful bracelets for prom corsages. Bling in almost every color!
 Green-turquoise acrylic flower gems on a gorgeous rhinestone bracelet.
Roses and button mums on a beautiful pink and silver bracelet.
Over the shoulder purple fantasy corsage.
Twisted wild wire and floral upper arm corsage.
Banded upper arm yellow, white and purple corsage.
Rhinestone brooch and pearl corsage.
Gerbera daisies are the perfect floral accents for dresses that gather at the waist.
Roses and Calla lilies make a beautiful dropped waist corsage.

I no longer have children going off to prom. I'm a little sad about that. Here are E and a few of her closest friends — and of course Bradley! —  from last years 2013 Senior Prom. E is the blonde, 3rd from the left.

Have fun and enjoy every moment — it goes FAST  parents and students alike!

prom, flowers, corsage, edgy, different, unique, rhinestones, crystals, gems, bling, roses, orchids, feathers, twisted wire

Sunday, March 30

Ambrosia No-Bake Cookies

Spring is by far one of my most favorite times of the year. The world emerges from its sleepy Winter slumber as trees begin to bud and flowers begin to bloom -- it’s a rebirth. Shaking off those cold weather blues, our Winter menus take a cue from Mother Nature as well. In fact, serving lighter fresher fare to our families is a great way to welcome Spring into our homes. Our family has been celebrating Springtime with these easy no-bake cookies for many generations. Orange zest and juice add brightness to every bite. With their sunny flavor they make the perfect small-bite dessert, tasting just like Spring to me! If you'd like to read more, and to find this recipe, meet me over at Texas Women Bloggers, where I am writing today. See ya there!

easy, simple, quick, spring, dessert, no-bake, cookies, orange, coconut, family, recipe, generations,

Thursday, March 20

Mistakes That Can Ruin A Quick Getaway

Escaping for a long weekend can be the best, right? As our children were growing up, sometimes these were the only types of getaways Mr.P and I had the opportunity to take for ourselves. Catching a quick trip to NYC while they were off at camp or MeMe's house were sometimes our only chance for a brief reprieve! So, how do you make the most of your time away? Here are eight mistakes to avoid that can quickly turn your quick getaway into an unpleasant situation.  Here's what you need to know before you go!

Mistake #1: Booking a hotel too far from the action. Huge mistake! If you have a limited amount of time to visit a city you don't want to spend precious minutes on transportation. If you're going to Disneyland for a short visit it's worth paying extra to stay at a hotel right near the attractions. The same goes for short city visits, too. You could possibly save money by staying in Hoboken, NJ if you go to NYC and public transport into the city is not expensive, but it will take more time. So while, yes, saving money by staying a bit outside of town is usually smart advice, on short trips it's a bad idea. After you do the math, chances are that even paying $50 more per night for a more centrally located hotel can end up being worth it for the time you'll save.

Mistake #2: Checking a bag. Nothing is worse than arriving in Manchester, New Hampshire, and finding out that your bag is on its way to Manchester, England. It could take four days to get it back, meaning you'll have it just in time to check it for your flight home. With all the savvy packing tips out there, there's usually no reason why you should EVER check a suitcase for a short break. If you're travelling to a warmer climate, it's fairly easy to pack light. Travelling to a colder climate? Dress in layers for your trip so you don't have to pack as much in the actual bag itself. If you have sports equipment that must be checked (skis, a surfboard), consider shipping it ahead of time or, better yet, opt for rental gear instead. And just remember, checking a bag usually requires more time at the airport. Instead you can quickly jump right in, spending more time seeing the sights. 

Mistake #3: Trying to make the most of every second. Instead of rushing between Chelsea and Midtown, two neighborhoods in opposite parts of town, to see five different art exhibitions during a short trip to NYC, your time might better be spent really exploring just one or two spots during your stay. Figure out your goals for the trip ahead of time and then schedule your activities accordingly. Some people want to see it all, and others will go to Paris for a weekend and just want to hang at one cafĂ© and soak in the culture. Be realistic about what you can actually see in just a couple days. In the end it all comes down to personal preference. Think about what you're looking to get out of your quick getaway and what you and your travel partners can sanely handle. After all, the last thing you want is to come back from your time away feeling like you need a vacation!

Mistake #4: Booking a flight with multiple connections. The flights that float to the top when you're looking for cheap airfare on sites like Orbitz or Expedia are usually the ones that involve switching planes at an airline's hub. It's a great way to save money, and Mr.P and I do find ourselves doing this—but if it means spending large amounts of time on layovers and facing potential delays—we DON'T! It's worth it to pay extra to get the nonstop option, especially when you have a short amount of time in a place. If there's a cancellation or weather delays in a hub city, there goes your vacation.

Mistake #5: Winging it. Holy cats, I could write a book on why you shouldn't 'wing it' while on vacation! When the kids were younger we decided to drive to DC—with no hotel reservations. We just thought, 'Oh we'll drive until we get tired and stop for the night'. COLOSSAL MISTAKE. Out of the three nights it took us to drive, not once did we find a place to stay without much stress. Driving long into the night looking for a hotel with small children was such a bad idea. We were young and dumb, but we learned a valuable lesson, know before you go. I can't even image finding ourselves in that same situation had we been travelling abroad! It's also wise to look for dining option ahead of time as well.

Mistake #6: Forgetting to prepare for a new time zone. Dealing with jet lag on short vacations is the same as on longer getaways. Anywhere you go, do everything possible to maintain the new time schedule you're on. If you're flying to San Francisco from the east coast, immediately go out after arriving at the hotel, walk around the city, have dinner, have a cup of coffee… the objective is to try and get on the new time zone as soon as possible. If it's already nighttime in your destination when you step on the plane, pass on the in-flight meal and movie and pop in the earplugs for a snooze instead—that way you'll be waking up with the locals, instead of feeling like it's time to sleep when you touch down. Plan lots of outdoor activities for your first day in a different time zone, the sunlight and fresh air will keep you energized. 

Mistake #7: Dressing for only one part of the day. When your time is limited, avoid dressing like a tourist on urban exploration, which most likely requires heading back to the hotel to change for the evening. The key is smart layering. For both men and women, a thin T-shirt with a cardigan or blazer is a good way to go in mild climates. For footwear, opt for comfortable leather shoes instead of the sneakers from your gym bag. Plus, choosing clothes that you can wear all day and into the night makes packing a breeze, and diminishes the chance that you will have to check a bag (remember Mistake #2?). HINT: If you're headed to an urban area like NYC, London, Paris or Rome, wear black. The locals ALL wear black, you will blend right in, also making the chances of pickpockets fewer.

Mistake #8: Mapping out where you are—once you get there. Unless you're fine with just seeing where the wind blows you, you'll lose a lot of time on the ground if you don't have at least an idea of the layout of your destination before you arrive. This is my FAVORITE part of planning a getaway! Mr.P is the pilot and I'm the navigator, I love it! And I can't recommend these Pop-Up maps enough. Just the right size for your pocket and they cover everything a city has to offer. Also if you are going international, ALWAYS grab cash from the ATM at the airport so you don't have to search out a bank or ATM near your hotel. Do your homework: Study maps before you leave and figure out the best route to take from your hotel to the attractions and restaurants you plan to visit. 

Mistakes are going to happen when you travel, it's inevitable, even the most meticulously planned trips are subject to snafus. Instead of getting stressed out, learn from the mistakes you make. Hopefully in the future you can avoid making the same common mistakes that can derail a vacation. Stick to these simply guidelines, and you're more likely to have a trip that's memorable not for lost luggage and rushed sightseeing, but for the thrill of discovering a new place and savoring it.

how-to, experts say, travel mistakes, know before you go, avoid jet-lag, maps, relaxing, getaway

Tuesday, March 18

Spiced Rubbed Tilapia Fillets with Strawberry Avocado Salsa

When Mr.P calls me from Sam's or Costco, I know I'm in trouble. After 27 years of marriage, the reality that I'm in store for a couple of cases of any one product comes as no surprise to me. I must admit, after all of these years, I still get a little warm when he comes in with 24 bottles of Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce. Nothing against Ray - but what am I going to do with 24 bottles of BBQ sauce and more importantly WHERE am I going to put them?? I have to take a deep breath and remind myself this is his left-brain, CPA, analytical-thinking mind kicking into to overdrive.

Last week he came in with a case of Tilapia. Yes I love Tilapia, but 48 fillets? I pulled out every fish recipe I could find and with my right-brain, I went to work.  I came across 11 recipes that I have used over the years, not to mention the ones I've saved and haven't yet tried. This is the first meal I made. I've cooked this before with salmon and it's delicious, but I think I like it better with the Tilapia. It's very mild in flavor and oh so fresh. The cinnamon gives this fish dish a little Jamaican jerk flavor - which we love.  It made me ready for the Spring and Summer to come. If you find yourself with an over abundance of fish, try this quick and easy recipe, it's a keeper! ENJOY!

Spiced Rubbed Tilapia Fillets with Strawberry Avocado Salsa
I have used this recipe with salmon as well - E LOVES SALMON - and it turned out delicious. 
I think the salsa would work well on chicken or pork tenderloins too.
Print Friendly and PDF
  • 1-1 1/4 pounds tilapia fillets
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Strawberry Avocado Salsa
  • 2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons minced green onion
  • 2 Tablespoons snipped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed

  • Rub the tilapia on both sides with the combined spices.
  • Broil 4 inches from heat for 4 minutes, turning once or until the fillets test done.
  • Combine ingredients for the salsa in a medium brown until well mixed.
  • Place tilapia on a serving platter; spoon the salsa over top, garnish and serve.

I bought these inexpensive white serving dishes at Walmart. I have a good selection that I used all of those years during food competitions. I think they still carry a line of white pieces that are great for Summer dining. 

tilapia, fish, strawberry, avocado, salsa, Jamaican jerk, fresh, quick, easy, rub, broil, fillets

Friday, March 14

My St. Patrick's Day 'Lucky' Jacket

When someone calls me cheap or tightfisted, I seriously take that as a compliment. I look for the deals, I buy on sale, I use coupons and I love cruising the thrift stores in the Dallas area. If we were millionaires, I'd still be looking for the deals. 

Not too long ago I came across this wonderful green jacket at my Goodwill. It was half price day and it cost me all of $2.50. I snatched it up quick! On my way home, I stopped in at the local craft store and bought a few little kitschy buttons to spruce it up - and I love it! I wear it with a white shirt, jeans and my green Converse. Elizabeth is styling the jacket for me today, so that I could get a few photos. It's clearly too big for her, but cute and you get the general idea. 

It's going to make a great St. Patty's Day jacket, and won't everyone be green with envy???? You never know what you're going to find under that four leaf clover or at the end of the rainbow, but keep looking! Happy Hunting!

Side note: E is wearing her James Avery Emerald ring - her birthstone.

Thrifting, deals, St. Patrick's Day, jackets, coupons, how-to, green

Wednesday, March 12

Cooking Old Fashioned Patty Melts w/ E!

Now that Elizabeth is off at college, I miss cooking with her. This week is Spring Break and although she hasn't been home all week - she's been away on a bit of an adventure - she's home now. E came in late last night, and as a result today has been an extremely lazy day in our home. College student, me - nuf said. Tonight she got in the kitchen with me and we cooked up one of our favorite comfort food meals. It seemed a fitting way to end this cool weather, pajama wearing, game playing, nap taking kind of day. I also thought it would be a good time to teach her how to caramelize onions for one of her favorite sandwiches, the time honored patty melt. E is an onion eating girl, she eats them in all their many forms and on almost everything. Not quite sure what that says about her breath - you'd have to ask Mr.B about that.

Anyway - this sandwich is by no means for the dieter, or someone watching their cholesterol - it uses a whole stick of butter.....and then some, alongside lots of gooey cheese. Are you drooling yet? A couple of years ago I came across Ree's recipe and over time I've tweaked it for our family's preference. You can clearly season your hamburger patties however you want, using your choice of bread and cheese, and adding pretty much more or less anything you like. I've always said, and am a firm believer, in taking a recipe and making it your own.

Since we were already in our pj's, we threw a blanket on the living room floor and the four of us - me, Mr.P, E and the fat cat, ate our dinner, in front of the TV, as we watched last nights taping of 'The Voice'. Old Fashioned Patty Melts with a side of steamed broccoli.....we had to eat something healthy! Didn't we? So so good! ENJOY!

Comfort food can often be “old school” and this Patty Melt recipe is no exception. Why mess with perfection?
Print Friendly and PDF

  • 1 stick Butter
  • 2 whole large Yellow Onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 1/4 pounds Ground Beef
  • 5 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 8 slices Rye bread, or your favorite bread
  • 8 slices Swiss cheese
  • 4 slices Provolone Cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

  • In a large skillet {I use an my old iron skillet}, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-low heat. Throw in the sliced onions and cook slowly until the onions are golden brown and soft, 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the ground beef, Worcestershire, garlic and onion powders, salt and pepper. Form into 4 patties.
  • Remove onions from skillet and place aside. In the same skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and cook the patties on both sides to your preference.
  • Assemble the patty melts this way: Slice of bread, slice of Swiss and Provolone cheese, hamburger patty, a quarter of the cooked onions, another slice of Swiss cheese and another slice of bread.
  • In your clean large skillet melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat and grill the sandwiches until golden brown. Remove the sandwiches and add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter to the skillet. Return the sandwiches to the skillet, flipping them to the other side. Cook until golden brown and crisp, and until the cheese is melted. Slice in half and serve immediately!

how to, cook, old-fashioned, patty melt, caramelized onions, beef, melted cheese, expert comfort food, lazy days