Conversation Piece: Vintage Hotel Keys

I follow The Wishlist Atlanta Antique store on Instagram.  When Laurie posted a photo of a pile of vintage hotel keys, I messaged her right away and told her I had to have them.  I could imagine a big bowl of keys on the coffee table and the conversations that would ensue of sharing memories of vacations!

When the package arrived I couldn’t wait to look at each one, imagining their story.  Like the kitschy look of this key — meet me for cocktails at the Madhatter Lounge.

 

From Toledo, Ohio to Kailua, Kona, Hawaii to The Royal Caribbean Montego Bay, Jamaica.  The size of some of these keys made me chuckle. To think how now we are mostly issued plastic, disposable key cards.  No story to tell there.

Holiday Inn Town in Lansing, Michigan to the 89er Inn in Oklahoma City to the Hospitality Motor inn in Lansing, Michigan.

There were also a few airport locker keys.  Mystery.

And this one from Kenya.

Fun stories in this pile, and I am sure a few bittersweet ones like perhaps from the Medical Center Motel.  I have something new to search for at antique stores and estate sales.  I love things that tell a story.  These might just be the key…

Heirloom Photo: Always the Center of Attention

Daddy, Mother and me at Julia’s Circa 1970

I treasure this photo of me with Mother and Daddy.  It was taken in front of Julia’s fireplace (get her Spritz cookie recipe here).  Since I was just talking about her yesterday I wanted to follow up with this heirloom. It started out as a pic Julia planned to take of just Mother and Daddy in front of her fireplace.  I love Mother’s nubby zip front pantsuit and Daddy’s button cardigan and his signature cigar.

Backstory:   I saw that I was being left out, ran over just as Julia took the shot. Cut to Mother’s laughing, “Oh, isn’t Melissa precious how she always wants to be the center of attention!”  And, then, look at Daddy. “Just darlin’ (actor note:  say with sarcasm).”  And this is how my childhood and adulthood have always been. #sheneverstops

30 Days of Lists: December Edition

30 days

December kicks off a month of lists from 30 Days of Lists a fun website offering prompts to help inspire journaling.  I did it in September which you can read about here.

December, next to November, is my favorite month for obvious reasons.  I will share with you throughout the month the list ideas and you can do it along with me.

My Favorite Things About December:

  1. Putting up the Christmas tree.  Why I am excited about it this year is because my professional organizer friend, Elizabeth Jones, with Nest and Transformation, helped me to re-organize all my Christmas stuff last year so it’s boxed according to category.  If I want to decorate in phases, I can just go get the box marked “Entry Way” and decorate that area. Life changing!  Doesn’t make me dread decorating.  In fact, I may put up more than one tree this year!  Elizabeth is offering specials to Home with a Twist readers during the month of January.  Contact her at [email protected] for more information.
  2. Listening to Christmas music. This should probably be for a November list because I start listening to CM on November 1.
  3. Making Christmas cookies.  It’s the only month when you kinda HAVE to eat fudge, cookies, and yule logs and not be judged.  Until January comes and your yoga pants are tight.  But, I am getting ahead of that by starting to work with a trainer and dietitian next Tuesday through my local YMCA – their new wellness center is one mile from my house!
  4. Fires in the fireplace.  I love to be cozy by the fire and so does Ruthie, Hazel and cats.  We pile into the family room, put on cheesy, but wonderful, Hallmark Christmas movies and chill.
  5. Church. I love when the church is decorated with greens, wreaths and trees, lighting Advent candles, attending Christmas Eve service, the message of waiting for the expectant birth of baby Jesus, and reflecting on what Mary, the young Mother, must have been feeling knowing she was carrying the King.
  6. Christmas parties. I went to my first one last night.  A sweet, beautiful group of ladies from our grief support group two years ago wanted to gather for dinner to share how they have been doing.  I was so proud of these women — who have all lost their husbands — to hear how much they have grown in their faith and new found roles.  We shared a yummy Italian dinner in Rita’s stunning home filled with 30 years of Nutcracker collecting.  Best way to start December!
  7. Christmas clothes.  Mine don’t light up or have fur on them, but whatever makes you cheerful is what the season is for!  My new top is from Talbots and says “Cheers” in gold and is 30% off right now.  I can’t wait to wear it with jeans and my blue and white polka dot puffer vest.
  8. Christmas dishes.  Mother gave me money one year for Christmas and I decided to purchase a set of dishes to use during the holidays.  Now, every time I use them I will think of her.

What are your favorite things in December?

Wednesday’s Weave: Sugar, please!

Wednesday’s is for short, but sweet, something to share.  Let’s talk about sugar.  Specifically, the sugar you offer your guests for their tea or coffee.

cream-and-sugar-bowlStart with the basics…when was the last time you washed your sugar bowl?  Do you have one? There are so many options in every single store you shop. Look at this precious sugar and creamer set from World Market.

You can even put your sugar in a mason jar to keep it fresh. Mason jars are such a versatile vessel for everything from lemonade to salad.  Why not make it into a sugar jar!

sugar-cube-container
fill a small mason jar with sugar cubes

What sugar do you offer?  Well, you might say just plain white sugar. That’s okay, but how about sugar cubes?  My little niece, Violet, squealed with delight the time she discovered I keep a beehive dish filled with sugar cubes. Sometimes it’s the simple things that delight a person the most.

raw-sugar
raw, turbinado sugar

I use raw, turbinado sugar in my coffee which has a nice, molasses flavor.

If your guests like artificial sweeteners, offer a variety of them in a container, like another mason jar.

Here’s another fun, seasonal touch for adding a little sweetness, flavored syrups.  I really like Torani brand and of course it comes in a pumpkin pie flavor, regular and sugar free.

torani-syrups
Torani syrups — Sugar-free and regular

Keep it sweet, sugar!

Wednesday’s Weave: 30 Days of Lists Progress Report

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September 1st I started a 30-day journaling challenge.  I have really been enjoying my daily prompt in my inbox for the list of the day.  The questions have been easy, yet thought provoking.  It’s given me a chance to pause, reflect and ponder.  So far, the questions have been:

journal-cover-2September is for..

Don’t Judge me, but…

Reasons to Celebrate…

Recent Impulse Purchases…

Today, you will find me…

My favorite time of the day is…

If I was running for President…

What’s on my camera roll…

This weekend’s plans…

When Things Don’t Go my Way…

On my calendar this year…

Up to #12, things that didn’t seem like a good idea at the time…

Adopting Hazel.  She’s a blessing.  Such a sweet, loving, smart dog.  She loves our family and we love her!

Gauchos — still NOT a good idea.

Asparagus jello — never will be a good idea.  Sister Bee and I made this when I was 11, I think, and we vowed we would never utter the words lime jello and asparagus soup in the same breath.  In case you want to make this hideous, all things green, congealed, mayonnaise “molded” salad, here it is and God speed because I won’t be your friend anymore…

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And lastly, something I didn’t think was such a great idea at the time…Mother making me stay out of the sun.  She covered me in sunscreen (Pre-Sun to be exact which burned upon contact so I am not sure how friendly it was to my skin).  I think I went through childhood without a single sunburn.  Thank you Mother!

Giving Thanks

Thank you!

Today, I want to say thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  Your comments, signing up to receive my posts in your inbox, your text messages and your feedback on Facebook and Instagram — all of it — make me so happy!  I love, and look forward to, sharing a little bit of myself with you each day.  Your encouragement and positivity are very gratifying.  Have a fabulous weekend my friends.

Wednesday’s Weave: Treating Your Family Like Guests

Last fall I attended a hosting class led by Katherine Sasser at Hurley House (you can read about here).  One take away, in particular, from the class that really resonated with me — “host” dinner for your family.

A weeknight dinner at the table can be a challenge especially with everyone’s busy school, work and after-school activities. My schedule affords us the opportunity to have a sit down meal most days of the week.  I try to get ideas from Mr. and Miss Bee each Sunday on what they might like to eat for dinner during the week.  So, I have the “making dinner” part down when it comes to hosting a dinner for your family.  What Katherine was talking about are the special touches we often save for guests.  Like using china, flowers, candles, serving desserts on fancy plates, etc…

During the week, I always use the same white dishes, place mats and cloth napkins (no, I don’t use paper napkins.  I’m Southern).  Her class inspired me to prepare a meal with brand new recipes, served on pretty dishes I had put on display.

I prepared all of Katherine’s recipes — Spaghetti Pie, Spinach Salad with Basil Green Goddess Salad Dressing, Garlic Bread and Outrageous Brownies.

I’m speechless.  It was probably one of the best home cooked meals I have prepared in a long time.  Everyone had seconds, licked the plate and wanted more, but we knew we had to save room for the decadent brownies.

Back to the food.  Miss Bee’s favorite food groups are pasta, beef and cheese.  Katherine’s Spaghetti Pie was right up Miss Bee’s alley.  It made a huge 9×13 pan.  We ate half the pan and I saved the other half of the casserole and put it into two separate containers for the freezer. You may not want to be this generous and share it because I bet it tastes even better when you eat it the next day.  While I was making the casserole, Mr. Bee was making the garlic bread and doing the herb chopping for the salad dressing.  It’s always so much fun to cook with him in the kitchen.

september-2015-330Katherine’s Spaghetti Pie

1 pound of spaghetti noodles
1 24-oz jar of Prego Traditional Spaghetti Sauce
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 pound of lean ground beef
1 8-oz packaged of cream cheese, at room temperature
1 16-oz container of sour cream
4 green onions, finely chopped
12-oz grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick spray. Set aside.

In a large stockpot, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil.

While waiting for the water to boil, prepare the meat sauce. Choose a pan large enough to hold the ground beef and spaghetti sauce.  Cook the meat, 1 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp. of pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder over medium-high heat until well browned, crumbling meat with a metal spatula as it cooks.  Turn off heat.  Stir in spaghetti sauce. Set aside.

Prepare the cream mixture in a bowl large enough to eventually hold the pasta.  Combine the softened cream cheese, sour cream, and green onions.  Mix until all the ingredients are smooth. Set aside.

When the water comes to a boil, add 1/4 cup of salt before adding the pasta.  Cook the pasta according to the package directions (about 9-12 minutes).  Remove the pasta from the water and add it directly to the bowl containing the cream cheese mixture.  Stir until all the pasta is coated evenly.

Pour the pasta into the prepared pan.  Top with the meat sauce.  Add the grated cheddar cheese.  Cover with foil that has been coated with non-stick cooking spray.  Bake covered for 25 minutes.  Remove foil and cook and additional 5 minutes.

Your homework this coming week:  What is something you can do to make your family feel like invited guests to the dinner table?

September is for…

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My first list from the 30 Days of Lists started yesterday (read about the journaling challenge on this post here).  Bestie gave me a set of pretty journals for my birthday.  I’ll date each page so I will remember when I wrote my entry.

The first question is super easy and fun…September is for:

Football games to start — I don’t like to watch football unless it’s my favorite college team TCU, but I just love how a football game brings everyone together for tailgate parties.

The end of summer — Summer is not my favorite season, especially since I live in Texas where it is hot from May to October.  I like Memorial Day weekend, but it’s down hill from there.  By August, Summer and I have broken up and we’re ready to move on.

The beginning of fall — who doesn’t love pumpkins, bails of hay, gourds!?

Labor Day Weekend — usually my birthday is celebrated during this quintessential end of summer holiday.  It’s synonymous with the end of my month-long birthday “MissyFest” tribute and I get a day off from work!

Decorating my porch for football – I love knowing it’s time to change out the decor on my porch with TCU purple and white pom poms, pennants and Riff Ram chalkboard lettering.

Cooler mornings — maybe I can start the day with a cardigan, even though by the afternoon I will be sweating.

Fall clothes — to me, nothing says fall like wearing my boots.  My favorite outfit to wear is a lightweight sweater,  a jean jacket, skinny jeans and boots.

Pumpkin Spice Everything — My friend Cindy gave me a Starbucks gift card for my birthday and I will be the first in line when they launch pumpkin spice lattes.  Trader Joe’s annual pumpkin shopping guide — everything in my cart is pumpkin.  From waffles, to English muffins, to ravioli — I cannot get enough pumpkin.

Gets us closer to Thanksgiving — my favorite holiday of all the year!

Colors of fall — #orangeismyhappycolor, brown, gold.  The leaves changing.

Gardening in the fall — the best time of the year to plant new things in the garden like bulbs, pansies, and mums.  We have several new flower beds to prepare this fall and I am excited to get them started.

See, journaling can be fun and inspirational!  Visit 30 Days of Lists to learn more about their challenge.

Operators Standing By

blue phoneHere’s a fun story I posted in 2014 about my cherished, blue rotary phone.  Enjoy!

My life is complete.  I now am the owner of a blue rotary phone.

I have wanted a blue rotary dial phone since I was a teen.  The ever practical Earnie said, when she surprised me with an install of my own personal phone line back when I was a teen, “you can choose white or almond.  I am not paying extra for a blue phone!”  So, this was added with the Easy Bake Oven of  “gifts I always wanted, yet never got” list.  Until now.

In February, while on holiday with my childhood besties, we shopped in antique stores in Waxahachie.  We popped into a coffee house and while the lady was whipping up our Americano, I played on the blue phone she had hanging on the wall.  Meanwhile, Mary chatted with a mannequin.  While we appeared to entertain the owner, I am sure she had her finger on the panic button wondering what hospital we had been checked out from.

I had to have the phone.  I told the owner my situation of childhood blue phone neglect and she made me an offer on the phone I couldn’t refuse (it might have been more likely that she wanted us out of her store).  Mr. Bee lovingly cleaned it up for me…it had lots of goo and finger prints from years of use and he hung it on the wall in my HoneyComb Hideout .  Of course, it’s just for show.  But, I am looking forward to pretending.

P.S.  When Miss Bee saw the phone, she replied, “how does it work?” Welcome to the 70s, baby.

Putting “Class” in Hospitality

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Below is a post from last fall when I attended a Hurley House class.  I first met Katherine Sasser, the proprietor of Hurley House, a few years ago when I spied one of her signature sparkle sandwich cookies at a party.  I immediately focused on the cookie, asked for the caterer’s name, and contacted Katherine the next day to ask her if she could cater an event for me at work.

Today, Katherine is celebrating the opening of her retail store!  Located at 5512 Bellaire Drive South, Suite A, Hurley House will serve homemade baked goods, great coffee and take-away meals.  Katherine will continue to offer her wonderful Hosted classes as well (catch a glimpse below).  And of course, a case full of those famous cookies.  Congratulations Katherine! 

September 2015…

September 2015 311I attended a fun class last night hosted by Katherine Sasser from the Hurley House.  Katherine and I met a few years ago when she catered an event I attended.  In my business, I am always seeking new caterers to prepare yummy food.  I knew right away I would like her because we speak the same language — Butter Cream!  She is the maker of the fabulous gems…the Sparkle Sandwich Cookie..a spritz cookie filled with butter cream frosting.

Katherine has created a series of Hosted classes to provide “truths about hospitality with real-world hosting plans that include a menu with recipes, skills, resources and personalized answers to your hospitality questions.”  Each class includes a folder full of resources, oh and a sandwich cookie. This would make the perfect Girls Night Out — have dinner out, then go to class for dessert!

September 2015 324As guests arrived to her home she had the tables set with “classwork.” White linen cloths and cute polka dot wrapping paper as the table runner, soft turquoise folders filled with handouts and recipes and cute, kelly green pencils. She had her dining area set with two different kinds of homemade cake (her specialty), champagne (my favorite), coffee and sparkling water.

I fixed a glass of bubbly, garnished with a blackberry, a slice of white butter cream cake and found a seat at the table.September 2015 316

September 2015 319I sat with some lovely ladies, a few that were new friends to Katherine which was fun for her.  They found out about Hosted through the fun of social media.

I left class full of inspiration to treat my family like I would invited guests… special and appreciated.  I went home with some new recipes to try, including spaghetti pie, and a bag of sparkle sandwich cookies to share with friends.

It was indeed a delight!