How to Create a Fall Tablescape with ThermoServ Dinnerware

I remember growing up eating meals on melamine dishes in colors of pink and aqua so when my friends at ThermoServ invited me to try their Chef’s Collection of American made 100% melamine (no fillers) tableware — Mrs. Twist said “yes!”

Made locally in Dallas, Texas this heavy-weight series resembles the look and feel of traditional fine china, but offers maximum durability ideal for my everyday use, especially for poolside dinners now that the weather has cooled off.  It was fun to get out my fall napkins and linens which coordinated perfectly with the color Canyon Coral.

The box set includes 4 place settings:  10″ dinner plate, 10″ oz entree bowl, and 18 oz heavy sham tumbler.

I used this opportunity to prepare an Alfresco picnic.  Here’s a fun tip to elevate just a plain sandwich — wrap it in waxed paper (another retro twist) and tie it up with baker’s twine.  It makes your guests feel special almost like unwrapping a gift of food.  I added SunChips new variety sweet potato chips and a serving of orzo pasta from my grocery store deli.  Miss Bee loves decorated sugar cookies and I thought the icing and sprinkles coordinated perfectly with the coral plates.  And I served Orange Spiced Iced Tea in the tumblers.  You can find the recipe here on my Just a Sip Pinterest board.

We took my sweet little niece to a real pumpkin farm over the weekend and picked “right from the vine” the cutest pumpkins.  I added personalized tags to the stems of the pumpkins for each guest’s place setting.

Mr. Bee commented on how sturdy the melamine dishes are and what a breeze they were to clean after our meal (double bonus they are dishwasher friendly).  Please don’t use in the microwave.  The Chef’s Collection would make the perfect gift for a housewarming or wedding gift.  Miss Bee will be heading to college next fall and I am thinking these would be perfect for a college student just starting out in the kitchen.  And the fact that virtually unbreakable tumblers are included – it’s a steal!  The collections come in lots of beautiful colors and patterns.  Retailers include:  Amazon, Steinmart, Bed Bath and Beyond, QVC, Bealls, Wayfair and Hayneedle.

Browsing on the ThermoServ sight, I found the cutest wide body travel mug — this so reminded me of taking soup in elementary school!  BPA free and keeps hot for two hours and cold for four.  And I loved the Everyday Collection Dogwood set on Steinmart’s webpage.  Click here to see ThermoServ’s full catalog of tableware.

Thank you ThermoServ for helping me to usher in the fall season with such a buzz-worthy table setting!

Three Binge-Worthy TV shows and Pinterest Popcorn Recipes

I really do try to balance my reading with my television watching.  But when I find a good series, it’s hard not to sit for hours on the weekend glued to my sofa, gripping a bowl of popcorn, and watching binge-worthy TV!

Here are three of my favorites…

Killing Eve.  This thriller series is on AMC and BBC America, but I watched the entire first season on Hulu.  It stars Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer – each are equally facinating characters. Disclaimer:  The villian kills about 2-3 people per episode in a variety of ways to suit her fancy, so use discretion when watching it.

Eve’s life as a spy is not adding up to what she had hoped it would be when she started. She is a bored, very smart, MI5 security officer who is very desk-bound. Villanelle is a very talented killer, mercurial in mood, who clings to the luxuries of her job. Eve and Villanelle go head to head in a fierce game of cat and mouse, each woman equally obsessed with the other as Eve is tasked with hunting down the psychopathic assassin. Sarah Barnett, BBCA president, says, ” `Killing Eve’ stands out in a sea of scripted stories as refreshingly entertaining and great fun.”

Why Women Kill.  This is a CBS-All Access production written by Marc Cherry from Desparate Housewives fame.  It’s a dark comedy detailing the lives of three women living in three different decades: a housewife in the 60s, a socialite in the 80s, and a lawyer in 2018, each dealing with infidelity in their marriages.  The clever thing is it’s the same house througout the entire show, but filmed with different set design for each decade.  I especially love the housewife Ginnifer Goodwin from the ’60s. Disclaimer: Don’t let the fact that this is a CBS show make you think it’s PG. There’s nudity and swear words.

Bosch.  I missed the train when it took off for this show six seasons ago, but I’m glad I finally jumped on it.  It doesn’t hurt that the main character is a hottie.  This is an Amazon developed series based on Michael Connelly’s best-selling novels. Harry Bosch (Titus Welliver) is an LAPD homicide detective who pursues justice at all costs and loves to listen to jazz.  There’s five seasons available so you will have a nice long weekend spent helping Harry solve crimes.  The writers dedicate an entire season to solve one crime with a few addition storylines woven in from Connelly’s 20 books.  It has been renewed for a sixth season making it Amazon’s longest running series.

Now to finish off my post – I’ve rounded up some great popcorn recipes to nosh whilst you enjoy your binge cinema.

Oven Roasted Pizza Popcorn from the Busy Baker.

Spicy Citrus Popcorn from the Tasting Table.

Mexican Chili Lime Popcorn from Belle Vie

and something sweet with the MOST requested popcorn recipe on Pinterest – saved over 123,000 times —Salted Caramel Popcorn from Cookies and Cups.

I don’t know about y’all, but I am ready for cooler temps and movie nights outside under the blankets.  That won’t be happening for about another two months here in Texas! Let me know your favorite shows and I’ll add them to my queue.

Capture Your Summer for Holiday Cards with Basic Invite and Promo Code

I am so excited to share a fun way to design holiday cards with Basic Invite. They reached out and invited me to create a set of cards from a variety of their templates to show how easy it is to get your holiday photo cards done now – while there is no stress!

The process couldn’t have been easier and it gave me serious pause. Why do we try to put together our season’s greetings during the busiest months of the year — November and December? In my house we are scrambling to find the right outfit, and schedule a date when everyone is available to meet with the photographer while decorating the tree, hosting parties, shopping for and wrapping gifts and baking up a storm.  You know when some of the best photos are taken? When you are having fun living your best life in the summer!  Think of all those candids and selfies you’ve got in your phone.  Totally unposed, maybe slightly filtered, but nonetheless, those are the moments your family and friends want to see. It’s like Christmas in July!

Almost Unlimited Colors – Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers almost unlimited color options with instant previews online. Once you select a design you can change the color of each element on the card to over 180 different color options so you can make sure the card is exactly how you want it down to the littlest detail. This is what sets Basic Invite apart from almost any other online stationery company and is what I feel is their biggest bonus.

One of my pet peeves is when I find an online template I like, but I can’t change the colors.  Check out this original example of a holiday card I was able to change.  I selected a photo of us with Miss Bee at her graduation party and I wanted the tartan to be purple for her school colors.  Basic Invite let me do that!  One year I did a year in review card and that was a big hit.  People love seeing accomplishments and special events that occur during your year – their selection of year in review holiday cards are perfect.

Custom Samples – I was able to order just one card to see my proof before I made a purchase.  Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers the ability to order a printed sample of their actual invitation so they can see exactly how it will print as well as the paper quality before they ever have to place their final order. Their cardstock is beautiful. You can also customize the sentiment and the font.

Here’s another holiday card where I totally changed the background color, graphic and layout exactly how it suited me. It’s like having my own graphic design assistant without the extra cost of having someone else do it for me!  Since I like retro Christmas colors, it was fun to select the green and turquoise.  And, see what I mean about using fun, summer photos!  We were having a blast just being ourselves. We even included a pic of Trevor #thecatwhowearsbowties and I added some pics of Mr. and Miss Bee’s trip to England.

Their line of deluxe holiday cards are perfect for business owners to show their appreciation to their clients and customer base.  Check them out here. They don’t just offer holiday photo cards.  I was able to pick out a few invitations for upcoming parties I am hosting, personal note cards and even business cards.

Look at this lovely invitation I am thinking about using for bridal shower I will be hosting in January. I was able to adjust the colors of the flowers and background to coordinate with the bride’s color scheme.  And with Over 40 Different Colors of Envelopes customers can make their invitation stand out even before it is opened. All of their envelopes are peel and seal so the envelopes can be quickly and securely closed. Speaking of bridal showers, Basic Invite also offers wedding invitations with lovel flat or raised foil available in gold, silver, and rose gold.   Address Capturing Service – Basic Invite offers an address capturing service that allows customers to simply share a link on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other form of social media to request their friends and family’s addresses which will be stored in the customer’s account and can then be selected during the design process. Basic Invite offers recipient address printing at no cost on all card orders. The social media link ideas are genious and a big time-saver.

My birthday is coming up and this beauty caught my eye for a get together with friends to help me celebrate. I was able to select the beautiful navy background and adjust the flower colors, too. Isn’t it lovely!?


Look at these cute notecards I made and I was able to change the colors to my taste!

For Home with a Twist readers Basic Invite is offering 15% off with coupon code: 15FF51 to help you get started with all your invitation and correspondence needs. 

Before summer is over and you’re back to packing lunches and helping with homework, take an evening and pull together all the summer memories you made to share with your family this holiday season. Relive the fun with Basic Invite!

Mrs. Twist Gives This: Gift Ideas for Her

I’ve got some great gift ideas for the sweet lady in your life.  If you want to check out the others ideas I’ve shared previously I’ve linked those stories at the end of this post.

First, pajamas from Soma.  Right now they are offering a great deal on their PJ sets for only $29 (normally priced $64)!  They are really soft and have the coolnights fabrication.  Check out all the styles both long and short sleeved.

Next, I would love a Mark & Graham monogrammed pill case.  I think it’s such a nice way to personalize and hide away the drug store plastic pill box.  Right now they are on sale for $38.99 (add an additional $9 for monogramming).

Next, this is going to seem random, but I love this blowdryer!  One of my bestie’s Mary introduced me to the Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer & Volumizer.  I detest blowdrying my hair — it’s a total time suck.  Having long hair there are so many other things I could be doing during the time it takes me to dry my hair.  However, this blow dryer has a built in large brush that smooths, volumizes, curls and dries your hair all in one.  The barrel of the brush is really big so you won’t get your hair stuck in it.  Plus, it has cut down on the time it takes to dry my hair.  It’s been a game changer for me. I got mine from Amazon for $51 because Target was sold out.

This is wrapped under my tree ready to give someone on my gift list.   How about this adorable mini drink dispenser for their desk!  It’s from Packed Party. It holds 8-ounces of water, or whatever you’d like to enjoy!  $42

And last, for the cook, I picked up a set of these wooden measuring spoons from Euna Mae’s.  This handmade wood two-sided measuring spoon is a kitchen must-have! Because each end features the two most widely-used measures, it becomes a go-to for your baking, cooking, and more! Each spoon is branded with the year it was crafted, making it an instant heirloom that will be in your kitchen and kitchens to come. Use it to spoon out condiments, sauces and spreads from smaller jars, too.  $24.99

If you missed my previous ideas you can find them here and here.  Happy gift giving!

My Favorite Coffee Table Books

I love to collect pretty books that Mother used to call “Coffee Table” books.  I’m sharing a few of my favorites…

Martha Stewart Flowers  “Accompanied by beautiful photographs of displays in Martha’s home, bursting with ideas, and covering every step from seed to vase, Martha’s Flowers is a must-have handbook for flower gardeners and enthusiasts of all skill levels.”  One of the kind people I worked with recently gifted me an autographed copy of this gorgeous book.  It was such a thoughtful gift and one I will treasure always.

Modern Mix by Eddie Ross.  “With more than 350 full-color photographs, time-saving tips and real-life shortcuts to decorating and entertaining beautifully on a budget, Modern Mix will open your eyes to the extraordinary possibilities within your reach and inspire you to live every day colorfully and creatively.”  Bestie gifted me this one.  I adore it.  Eddie’s style and love of beautiful finds came from his grandparents.  The book is full of sweet stories of their relationship.   I would love a tour of his dish collection…

The Art of the Scarf by Libby VanderPloeg is such a cute book!  Holley from What Would Holley Wear fame treated me with this fun read — one of Miss Bee’s favorites.  “From belts to turbans, tops to bags, as well as all the classic knots and drapes, The Art of the Scarf is a must-have book for women who love to add that little something extra to every outfit.”

The Art of the Party by David Stark.  I had the terrific opportunity to hear David speak at an event planning conference in Las Vegas a few years ago and he autographed my copy during a book signing.  “Renowned event planner David Stark reveals whimsical, artistic, unexpected designs often created from sustainable, industrial, or low-cost materials to inspire readers—whether planning a wedding, dinner party, or holiday gathering—looking for ideas for their own events.”

So Much to Celebrate by Katie Jacobs.  This is my newest acquisition.  Katie has a beautiful blog Styling my Everyday. She is a stylist, photographer, graphic designer, and foodie.  A fourth-generation Nashvillian, she’s been featured in Martha Stewart LivingSouthern Living WeddingsNashville Lifestyles as well as on Inspired By This, Fashionable Hostess, and The Scout Guide.   She’s also a content contributer to one of my favorite retailers — Draper James!  Her book takes you through an entire year of seasonal celebrations and holidays.  It’s truly a how-to guide on entertaining.

It’s so hard to pick a favorite.  You really can tell a book by its cover!

My Easy Three: Suits, Beauty and a Book

This past week was my vacay.  I was looking forward to a week of sunning by the pool and doing projects around the house.  But, a nasty bronchitis bug decided to have a vacay in my lungs so all those plans were out the door.  Despite the fact that I felt terrible and did nothing, I ended up being productive at something:  Resting.  I had one week to be on the couch to watch tv, uninterrupted, nap and just be with myself.  Rest and antibiotics were exactly what the doctor ordered for my vacation.

What did I accomplish and how does this relate to My Easy Three installment (you can read more of MET stories here, here, here , here, and here)?  Well, here are three ideas for what you can do when you are stranded at home with nothing to do:

Binge watch Suits on USA network (I’m up to Season 5 thanks to Amazon Prime).  I wanted to see what all the fuss was with Meghan Markle since I got up at 5:45 a.m. to watch her get married.  My goal is to have Suits finished by the July 18 debut of season seven.  I didn’t watch Mad Men in real time during its heyday, but I managed to watch all seven seasons of that show in three weeks.    I mention Mad Men, because it reminds me a lot of Suits.    I love all the characters, and I thought I would do a fun parallel between characters from each show…

Don Draper and Harvey Specter.  Smoldering and hot.  Both look awesome in a suit and they yell in meetings.  Harvey actually has a better sense of ethics especially in the fidelity department.  Both have a secret and have a hard time sharing their feelings.

Donna Paulsen and Peggy Olson.  Both are loyal employees, smart, funny, sarcastic, quirky, and passionate.  Donna loves Harvey.  Peggy loathed Don at times, but also was probably the closest friend Don ever had.

Peter Campbell and Louis Litt.  There is a constant competition to be at the top for these fellas and beat out Don/Harvey at every turn.  The men you love to hate, but hate to not like.  Peter was too slimy for my taste, but Louis, oh, I would love to have a fun dinner with him.  His delivery of one-liners is the best. #youhavebeenlitt  And they both loved Peggy/Donna.

Last, the wardrobe on this show, omg.  Holley should do a story on what they wear.  The costume designer, Jolie Andreatta, came onto the show in season one, episode four and elevated their style –  “My belief is that men’s wealth gets shown through the women. Their women are the ones who represent the fashion in high-end wealth.”

Let’s just say, none of these women eat cheeseburgers.  Their dresses are tailored to a t — not even a tic-tac can move around.  Jessica and Donna wear dresses.   Rachel (Duchess of Sussex) always wears separates, I think to illustrate that she does not earn the money as a Paralegal by day, law student by night, to afford the Dolce Gabbana or Prada dresses.  And, I have never seen any female at the firm wear a pantsuit.  Jessica, the managing partner played by the amazing Gina Torres, has the BEST accessories.  I’d love to rummage around in her Goodwill bags.

Closing argument:  Watch the show.  You’ll laugh, cry and learn about Tortes.

My second easy three — the book for this month’s Mrs. Twist Reads This by Julie Maloney A Matter of Chance.  It’s been a great book to read during my respite.  I am looking forward to chatting with Ms. Maloney this Thursday when she Skypes with us!  The subject matter is tough, but it’s beautifully written.  If you want to join us for our reads in July and August, head here to learn what’s coming up and join our bookclub.



And three — pimple medicine.  There is no way to segue from Harvey Spector to zits and it’s not sexy folks, but it’s real.  Even though I am 53, I still get the occasional flare up.  This week’s “pop-up” happened during my sickness and the only person who saw it was my doctor and he’s bound to his terms of client privilege (see how I made that tie into Suits!).  My go-to is Mario Badescu’s drying lotion.

The award-winning on-the-spot solution helps dry up pesky problems overnight and features Salicylic Acid, Sulfur, and Calamine.

It’s my secret weapon and a little dab will do you so it lasts a long time.

Hope you enjoyed this installment!

My Favorite Podcasts — Some New Ones to Try

Podcasts are my favorite way to start the day.  If you are new to my go-to list of podcasts check  here for a basic starter list.  I prefer Podcasts over the news because I’d rather start the day being empowered and learn something new, rather than be depressed….After all, I eat rainbows and poop butterflies.

Here’s my new faves:

Happier in Hollywood by Liz Craft and Sarah Fain.  Liz is the sister of Gretchen Rubin from The Happier Podcast which you can find on my starter list.  Liz and Sarah are so funny.  They are veteran TV writers who demystify Hollywood by making career and personal struggles universal.  You get to learn all sorts of tv production stuff because right now they are producing a pilot based on the life of Marcia Clark!  It’s super cool.  I feel like I’m friends with a celebrity.

This is Fifty.  Sheri Salata, Executive Producer of the Oprah Winfrey Show and bestie Nancy Hala, Fortune 500 brand strategist, have set out to rebrand and redefine the middle of life.  They established the Seven Pillars of Living — Health & Wellness, Spirituality & Happiness, Romance & Sex, Friends & Family, Creativity and Innovation, Discovery and Innovation, Sanctuary and Beauty.  They have tons of guests they interview and so many of their stories are relatable to me — someone in their 50s.

What Should I Read Next.  Is the show for every reader who has ever finished a book and faced the problem of not knowing what to read next (which isn’t a problem for members of Mrs. Twist Reads This!).  Each week Anne Bogel, of the blog, Modern Mrs. Darcy, interviews a reader about the books they love, the books they hate, and the books they are reading now.  The real purpose of the show is to help YOU find your next read.

I’m always looking for new podcasts.  Be sure to share some of your favorites with me!

International Women’s Day – Behind Every Woman Giveaway

International Women’s Day is on March 8th. But a day isn’t long enough to pay tribute to all the women who inspire us.  Let’s inspire more women to share their work with more people to support one another.  Text or call a woman today who inspires you, then check out this amazing campaign from Moment and enter to win $5000 in products, art, and experiences from some of our favorite female-empowering brands.

Moment launched Behind Every Woman because they’re inspired by women who do cool stuff.  They want to help amplify the voices of females—filmmakers, photographers, foodies, architects, and brand makers – to inspire more women to share their work with more people to support one another.  In celebration of International Women’s Day, Moment will be sharing about inspiring everyday women and giving away a collection of goodies with a handful of brands that share their Behind Every Woman mission.  Enter here to win. #BehindEveryWoman


Send Nice Notes Challenge — Nicely Noted

“Gratitude is priceless, but conveying it costs no more than a postage stamp.”

A few months ago I signed up for a monthly subscription from Nicely Noted.  Each month I receive a packet of three curated stationary cards, a glassine envelope of unique and pretty postage stamps and a nice note from Perry Nelson, the founder.

Perry Nelson, Founder of Nicely Noted

“Nicely Noted was born out of my love for sending and receiving handwritten notes, as well as a lifelong obsession with stationery. My background in technology and design as Online Director at Dwell magazine, Online Editor at W magazine as well as at Dell and HomeAway only deepened my belief in the importance of sending old-fashioned, letters. Sitting down to write a note (with pen and paper!), selecting a stamp, and dropping it into the mail to a friend, provides a moment of calm from our harried lives and an opportunity to convey sincere emotions.

The idea of Nicely Noted came to me while walking my newly-acquired dog, Charlie. Growing up, I was an avid letter writer with an abundant stash of stationery to fuel my habit. But as an adult I found myself rushing to the store before birthdays and baby showers hunting for a suitable card. My hope is that the convenience of having the perfect, letterpress card on hand, complete with stamps, inspires more people to keep the wonderful practice of letter writing thriving.”

My job each month is to select three people to send them to!  Each card is hand made on gorgeous, heavy cardstock.

The Send Nice Notes Challenge

The inspiration mentioned in their end of year newsletter was from a Wall Street Journal story about Chief Justice’s commencement address (please take the time to read it and share it with a young person).  In his speech, he said “Once a week, you should write a note to someone. Not an email.
A note on a piece of paper. It will take you exactly 10 minutes.” Then, he urged, put the note in an envelope and send it off the old way: via U.S. mail.

Here’s your chance to start a manageable resolution in earnest now.
Nicely Noted is inviting folks to join their letter writing challenge to send a note every week for 40 weeks. And, to help you get started here is a free, downloadable tracking sheet – it has 40 spots for a name and a date, to help remind you to keep on top of your goal.

And if you use this special code, you receive $10 OFF your first month’s subscription to Nicely Noted.  Who will be your first recipient of a handwritten note?

“If you do that once a week for, say, 10 months, 40 people will feel a little more special because you did, and they will think you are very special because of what you did.”  Chief Justice John Roberts

It’s Buzzworthy – Gwen Makes it Feel Like Christmas!

I’m not a Gwen Stefani fan, or a Blake Shelton fan or a fan of The Voice, but I am a fan of vintage.  When I heard the buzz that her Christmas album had a retro twist I decided to download it to my phone.  OMG!  I am so glad I did.  It’s a throwback to the 1960’s swing with six holiday classics and six original numbers and the perfect fun and festive sound to get excited about Christmas!

Of course my favorite tune is the one she performs with Blake Shelton – You Make it Feel Like Christmas.  Hate to to clean house?  Well, if you play this song on repeat you can get it all done in no time.  Seriously.

The photos to promote her album are vintage inspired too, with a TV set I swear we had, a tinsel tree and the trio of candles.   Be sure to check out her Christmas special tonight  on NBC 9/8 central.  Here’s a description of the show:

“Gwen Stefani’s You Make It Feel Like Christmas” is a modern take on the traditional Christmas specials that we all grew up with and love. Featuring musical performances and fun holiday sketches, this one-hour primetime special will capture Stefani’s infectious spirit and iconic style. It will take her accessible joie de vivre and the love in her heart and share it with audiences around the country.

Special guest appearances will include Blake Shelton, the five-time winning coach on NBC’s “The Voice” and a multi-award-winning country music superstar. Shelton and Stefani perform the title track from Stefani’s new album, “You Make It Feel Like Christmas,” which the two co-wrote along with Justin Tranter and busbee.
So, pop this fun into your stocking or you will have a blue Christmas!