Monday, September 20, 2010


renewal (noun) ri-'nu-el
the act or process of making like new: restoring to freshenss, vigor, or perfection

I spent the weekend in Houston and I feel like a new person, thanks to many things.  First, thanks to Continental for a great weekend rate.  Next, thanks to my lovely daughter and son-in-law for hosting me.  As usual, we did a little shopping, but just being there with my family meant more than anything.  In Houston, I was expecting 90+ temperatures, but it was much cooler and as humid as I have ever seen it.

Inside every curly-haired girl is a craving for coarse, stick-straight hair. I shopped for some travel-sized hair products of the brand I usually use, but couldn't find them and bought some Pureology hair products.  With 89% humidity, my hair stayed straight all weekend.  I used the conditioner, hair mask, and serum.  Believe me, I have tried everything to get my hair straight.

My daughter, Emily, her husband, Aaron, and I are self-confessed foodies.  We had a little wager on the outcome of Bravo's Top Chef.  Aaron won and got to choose the meal that Emily and I would cook for him.  He was a really good sport, though, and cooked along with us.  So, on Saturday night, Chef Aaron made lamb with a red-wine, herb and fig sauce (his own recipe), Chef Emily made banana fritters (see recipe at, guacamole, and bread, and I only acted as sous-chef.

We shopped at HEB, a grocery in Houston.  The selection was beyond amazing.  There were rows and rows of produce.  I can't imagine anything you wouldn't be able to find.

Last night, we ate at Hugo's, an up-scale Mexican restaurant in Houston.  If you are ever in Houston, try it.  You will not be disappointed.  I had Chiles en Nagoda, which is as good a meal as I have ever had.  It looked exactly like this picture.  See the pyramid rice.  Does it make you think of the Mayans?

I read Terry McMillan's Getting to Happy, which helped to remind me to enjoy life to the fullest, and to love my friends unconditionally.  Life is much too short to waste any of it.

I'm back in Kingsport, now.  The temperature is 91.  I'm holding on to every little bit of summer that I can.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Size Doesn't Matter

When I was a teenager, I wished that I was shorter. As time went on, I became happy, even proud, to be tall. But there was a time… funny how things change. Now it seems to be so cool to be tall.

I don’t know how tall Lady Gaga is, but last night she had on some shoes that I would have guessed were 8 inches tall. They weren’t. They are 9.1 inches tall and are made by Noritaka Tatehana. After looking closely at the length of her legs, I’m thinking she is probably still shorter than I am with the heels.

She is one very cool performer. I love her music and love to see her perform. She also seems like such a nice person. If she wants to look very tall, it’s working for her. Gotta love her in anything she wears.

In Rolling Stone she was quoted as saying, “When I wake up in the morning, I just feel like any other insecure 24-year-old girl. Then I say, ‘Bitch, you’re Lady Gaga, you get up and walk the walk today.’”

Doesn’t that just make you want to stand up straight and strut?

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Excitement Begins!

Always just before a wedding, I feel a little giddy.  If I get this excited about a wedding, how excited must the bride and groom feel?  I think one of the reasons I love weddings so much is that everyone is so happy.  The wedding party is happy to be reunited with their best friends.  The groomsmen are happy to be meeting the bridesmaids.  All those young people excited and happy for each other.

In less than one month, I will be assisting Trista Haupt and Josh Wright with their wedding on October 9 at First Broad Street United Methodist Church.  To see more about this couple, visit  I am just proud to be a part of the celebration.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

From This Day Forward...

J. Crew Bridal has opened its first wedding boutique – J. Crew Bridal, 769 Madison Avenue, New York City.

J. Crew has had lots of great wedding attire for a long time. My daughter, Emily, wore a beautiful pink bridesmaid’s dress to Susan Kirkwood Ward’s wedding in 2006, four years goes by so fast.

The reception was in beautiful, downtown Jonesborough.  They very much enjoyed taking pictures along the street and on the balconies of the historic hotels.

Photography by Swaggerty Portraiture

At Emily’s wedding, the girls wore blue dresses from J. Crew.  Without the October wind, we can't guarantee the Marilyn Monroe effect! So, it goes without saying, that we are big J. Crew fans. I made a sash for our flower girl to match the dresses, after contacting J. Crew for a swatch.

Erica Hammer, Emily's mother-in-law, also contacted J. Crew for a swatch so that she didn't wear the exact same shade of blue.  They are very helpful, and sent the swatches by mail in just days.

The September catalog has lots of really interesting dresses, and I notice a color which could be used with any number of wedding color schemes – aluminum, pewter, graphite. These are such neutral colors that they could blend with red, pink, orange, yellow, purple, blue, green, any color. The neutral looks very sophisticated, you could just add the color with the flowers.

If you are in New York, check it out, if not see them on-line at

Photography by Overbay Photography

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Musician's Wedding Cake

Because I am exceptionally interested in nutrition, I love yogurt and eat it every day.  Fage yogurt is especially good because it's totally natural and extremely thick.  It has none of the gelatin some companies add to their yogurt to make them thick.  When I saw this ad in Bon Appetit this month, I thought it might serve as an inspiration for a musician's wedding cake. 

This design could go around the layers, and a huge mound of cherries could go on top.  There could be cherry filling between the layers, or it could be cherry cake.  You would have to check with your baker, but it might be possible to ice the cake with Fage yogurt...just a thought.

Hope you're having a great Labor Day!