Home with a Twist YouTube – Opening Happy Mail

Two fun pieces of mail arrived this week and I wanted to share them. So, I sat down on my patio a few days ago and made a video!  It’s kind of like “Show and Tell” which was my favorite thing to do in elementary school. So, go pop some popcorn or make a cup of cafe au lait and enjoy the next 14 minutes or so with me!

Here’s what I talked about — Just Knock Knock

Knock! Knock!

You go to their website and take a quick quiz on the style of your home, the amount of sun vs shade your flowers will receive based on where you plan to display the flowers, the type of pots you will use, and where you live. They put together two big pans of flowers, ship them, and you plant them!  The flowers are $65 and delivered four times a year for each season.  Like I said in the video, I could easily spend this or more and come home with more flowers than I need.  They take the guess-work out of it by selecting three varieties of plants that look terrific together.

The company sends you an email when the flowers are shipped so you can be watching for them. The plants arrived perfectly packaged with instructions printed on the box on how to safely unpack the plants inside. They were perfect!  Check out my Instagram to see my flowers.

Mod Sprout is the maker of the adorable seed pops!  Oh, my goodness they are so cute.  From their webpage – Help save our pollinators! Seed Pops are designed to be planted into the ground or a container. Just unwrap, plant and grow! Each Bumble Bee, Butterfly and Hummingbird Seed Pop includes a curated selection of perennial wildflower seeds, compost, clay, coconut husk and planting instructions. Once planted, the wooden stick serves as a plant marker.

Bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds play an integral role in our food supply. These creatures are facing extinction, due to variables including modern agriculture practices and increased use of pesticides. The need to save our pollinators cannot be overstated. Be a part of the solution and plant a garden today!  This set of 3 pops is $14.99.  Such a cute gift idea.  Remember those galvanized gardens we put in last year, well these seed pops will be perfect!  You can find all our gardening videos at my Home with a Twist YouTube channel here.  While you are there, please subscribe. I only need 75 more subscribers to have my own custom channel!

Last in my box are the Field and Fleur candles. They don’t seem to have their own website, rather are sold wholesale to pretty much any store that carries candles. Jabo’s Ace is a dealer and they sent me two beautiful scents. Botanical Garden is an essential oil-based blend of delicate florals including subtly rosy Geranium and lush Ylang-Ylang. These soft floral notes rest on a base of earthy Vetiver and warm Patchouli made more grounding and soothing when combined with nature’s ultimate relaxation tonics: -Chamomile and Lavender. Burn time 85+ hours. And Cut Grass – just look at how gorgeous the green color is! With top notes of clover and green grass, this fragrance finishes with fresh-cut wisteria and jasmine. The perfect home fragrance for the woman who wears citrus-based perfumes and colognes.  Burn time 85+ hours. All candles are made in the USA and come nestled in a pretty wicker basket. If you live close to a Jabo’s Ace Hardware (locations in Fort Worth, Keller, and Coppell), be sure to stop in and see The Cove gift selection. They have something for everyone. Jabo’s have been long-time supporters of my blog and I really appreciate them.

Stay tuned for more fun. #Staywell.

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!

Get Noticed – Wear Red Lipstick

I read an article from the New York Post “Will Red Lipstick Kill or Kick-Start Your Career?” Then, I read another one from Allure Magazine. While neither of these are scientific, it was fun, and reaffirming, reading the interesting opinions on red lipstick.

Aliza Licht, author of Leave Your Mark, a career guide, is consistently asked by women if she thinks a red lip sends the right message.  So, Aliza took to social media asking nearly 15,000 online followers to get answers.  Her findings are in the New York Post article, but I thought I would sum up her results:

Q.  Do you think that red lipstick is appropriate to wear in the workplace?

A.  91.2% of women said “Yes, people should look and dress as they see fit.”

Q.  What does red lipstick say about the wearer?

A.  78.8% said  “She’s confident!”

Q.  Do you think red lipstick is appropriate to wear to an interview?

A.  46.6% said yes (so, I’m guessing 54% say no?).

Q.  Do you think people are judged for wearing red lipstick?

A.  14.7% said negatively

The other article I read was from Allure magazine which listed “Four Scientifically Proven Reasons You Should Wear Red Lipstick All the Time.”

1.  People will think you’re younger.  This is the #1 reason I like to wear red lipstick!  As you age, facial features, like eyebrows and lips, get noticeably paler as you age because your skin gets darker. When I was younger I didn’t like to wear lipstick because I didn’t need to.  But, seriously, ladies in their 50’s need color on their face. However, you also have to not go wild all over your face with makeup. My favorite way to wear red lips is with a paler eye color. That creates balance.

2.  One study showed if you are a waitress, you’ll get more tips if you wear red lips.

3.  A 2011 Proctor and Gamble study with Harvard found that red lips could make you look more competent at work.  Men and women were asked to look at 25 photos of women of all races and ages with different degrees of makeup on.  The photos of women with dark eyes and lip makeup were viewed as more competent than one who were bare faced.

4.  You’ll take more selfies.  Studies have shown if you wear red lipstick you are likely to post twice as many selfies in a week as those who go with natural lip color.

Here is my favorite lipstick to wear…Bobbi Brown Harlow Red Art Stick.  It’s a cherry red.

Mother, a gentile southern lady, was a firecracker in the lipstick department.  She embraced colorful, bright lips so it’s no wonder I have inherited her love of kissable lips!

So, pucker up, look smart and be bold. Life is not a dress rehearsal.

Best Planners for 2020

If you want to start the year with a fresh, new planner, I’ve researched for you!  I’ve got a few to share with you based on different themes.  Here goes:

Savor Life Planner – This is a 90-day concept planner with a self-care meets soul-care for successful living. The mission of founder, Angela Jia Kim, is to help you nourish to flourish, create daily rituals, and organize your “gorgeous chaos,” so you can make time to savor the sweet parts of life.  Use the planner for 90 days, then purchase a new one to re-set for the next 90 days and so on. Since my Word for 2020 is Nourish – this is the planner, I chose to help me track my goals.  I like the prompts on each page as you plan your day, week, and month. Cost: $29.95

Hope Planner – This 6-month planner is a combination of a daily planner and prayer journal. Their concept is “put it on your list and lay it at the cross.”  This is perfect for people who want to connect more with their spirituality in the new year.  Take back your day from “all-the-things” and cultivate the relationship with Christ you’ve always wanted by making time
for Christ on your schedule like you do everything else. If your priority is to put your faith first every day, this planner is for you. Cost: $34.95

Mama Love – This planner helps mamas and mamas-to-be tackle their busy lives while carving out time for daily and monthly self-care. It also helps mamas put the spiritual aspects of their life first by drawing attention to spiritual goals, affirmations for their lives, and incorporating a gratitude practice.  Most mamas spend so much time and love on others that there isn’t enough time, energy, and love left for themselves. This planner is a practical tool to change this pattern. I think this would make a perfect gift for a new mother. Cost: $39.97

Commit 30 – Fitness Journal:  If you’re committed to making this your year to get in shape, this planner is for you! The Commit30 Fitness Journal helps you focus on movement, nutrition, mindfulness & motivation one day at a time. Set up similarly to their popular Commit30 planner, there are monthly calendars, weekly layouts, 30-day challenges, meal planning sections, exercise tracking, and more. With customizable rows to track anything from steps to miles to carbs to weight, this is the tool to help you reach your fitness and wellness goals.  If you love stickers, they have an add-on kit. Tuck this in your gym bag and go! Cost: $29.99 (it’s on sale right now).

Daily Greatness Journal – The Dailygreatness concept will move you from wishing to achieving and from dreaming about it to doing something about it, and that’s the “magical” shift. That’s what you’ve been looking for.

The intuitive flow of the Dailygreatness concept gives you a foundation and a structure to your days that support you in achieving your goals. It’s a simple process that’s fun, creative, and engaging. We know we learn best when we play. They offer journals for all areas you want to plan – yoga, wellness, parenting, personal training, business, and the traditional yearly planner. Cost: $29.99 and up.
There are so many other great planners out there, in addition to the few I have shared.  I hope this helps to give you ideas and inspire you to consider adding a planner to your success toolbox for 2020. What’s a planner you’ve been using with success? Share it with us in the comments.

The White House – History of Christmas

Photo courtesy of The White House Historical Association

I listened to a charming podcast recently – The Millennial Homemakers where they interviewed Linda Dutile, a volunteer who helped decorate The White House this year. Linda answered all their questions about the application and selection process, what a typical day of decorating the nation’s home was like and other fun details.  Wouldn’t that be the best job ever!  I think I may try to apply!

It got me to thinking about the traditions in year’s past, so I did some research on The White House Historical Association website to share fun facts and photos.

First, the adorable photo above is of First Lady Betty Ford and her daughter, Susan, decorating holiday cookies in the White House solarium in December 1975.  My childhood memories are permanently planted in the 60s and 70s when Christmas, for me, was magical and kitchy.

President Coolidge turning on the switch for the “National Tree Lighting” in President’s Park. December 24, 1923.

The White House observance of Christmas before the twentieth century was not an official event. First families decorated the house modestly with greens and privately celebrated the Yuletide with family and friends. President Calvin Coolidge was the first chief executive to preside over a public celebration during the holidays with the lighting of the National Christmas Tree in 1923. Since then, the White House has expanded its celebrations of the holidays and sharing the joy of the season with Americans through themed holiday decorations, traditions, and public events.

President Grover Cleveland’s Christmas tree

The first White House Christmas tree, decorated with candles and toys, was placed in the second-floor oval room, then used as a library and family parlor, in 1889 for President Benjamin Harrison and his family. In 1894, three years after electricity was introduced in the White House, the first electric lights on a family tree delighted the young daughters of President Grover Cleveland. In 1909, President William H. Taft’s children helped decorate the first tree on the state floor in the Blue Room.

The White House at Christmas traditionally has been a magical place for children. From the earliest times memorable parties have been held for the president’s children or grandchildren. One of the most elaborate was President Andrew Jackson’s “frolic” for the children of his household in 1834. This party included games, dancing, a grand dinner, and ended with an indoor “snowball fight” with specially made cotton balls.

President and Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt hosted a “carnival” during the 1903 Christmas season for 500 children including dinner, dancing, musical entertainment, souvenirs, and a special treat of ice cream formed in the shape of Santa and other Christmas novelties. President Roosevelt, an avowed conservationist, did not approve of cutting trees for Christmas decorations. However, his son Archie defied the ban and smuggled in a small tree that was decorated and hidden in a closet in the upstairs sewing room.

In 1961, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy began the tradition of selecting a theme for the official White House Christmas tree. She decorated a tree placed in the oval Blue Room with ornamental toys, birds, and angels modeled after Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker” ballet.

Here’s a fun fact sheet of Christmas traditions at The White House.  Just a few highlights…

The first White House Christmas party was held in December 1800. President John Adams and First Lady Abigail Adams gave it for their four-year-old granddaughter Susanna Boylston Adams, who was living with them. They invited government officials and their children to the party.

Maitre d’ and butler Alonzo Fields recalled President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s cherished Christmas family tradition in his memoir, My 21 Years in the White House (1960): “They always braved the hazards of fire by having a Christmas tree lighted with candles in the East Hall. The family tradition included a reading of Charles Dickens’s Christmas Carol by the President. The gathering of the family with the President and Mrs. Roosevelt, the President’s mother, the children, and grandchildren made a comely family group of four generations.”

The holiday season at the White House is celebrated with an abundance of glittering décor, decadent desserts, and fresh pine. One of the sweetest traditions at the Executive Mansion is the unveiling of the official holiday gingerbread house. Since the early 1970s, pastry chefs have created this intricately detailed, candy-adorned house for the enjoyment of the First Family and White House visitors alike. The tradition of displaying a gingerbread house in the White House at Christmas began with First Lady Patricia Nixon in 1972. Displayed in the State Dining Room, this delightful treat has a rich history that embodies the holiday spirit.  First Lady Patricia Nixon and daughter Julie Nixon Eisenhower examine the intricate candy decorations. P.S. Julie, I’d love to have your dress…

The Eisenhower family steps from the North Entrance of the White House bearing holiday gifts. December 1957.

The record for the number of trees in the White House was held for many years by the Eisenhower administration when 26 trees filled every floor of the house. That mark has been eclipsed on several occasions, including the Clinton administration’s 36 trees in the 1997 theme of “Santa’s Workshop,” and the 2008 White House Christmas decorations of the Bush administration that included 27 trees as part of a theme of “A Red, White and Blue Christmas.” Most recently in 2018, the Trump administration had 41 Christmas trees and more than 40 topiary trees in the East Colonnade.

The National Christmas Tree Association has held a national competition since 1966 for the official White House Blue Room tree. To qualify, growers must first win their state or regional competitions. Being named National Grand Champion is a major achievement.  Here are helpful tips on how to care for your farm-grown Christmas tree.

Be sure to visit the White House Historical Association for even more content. I hope you enjoyed this fun history lesson. It makes me want to decorate more trees!

Note: All the content in this post is directly from the White House Historical Association and not my own.

How to be a Wrap Star with Wirrwarr Wraps!

My friend Karen posted a beautiful photo of a gift she wrapped and shared that she learned how to do it at a Wirrwarr Wraps class led by Cassie Kruemcke. It immediately conjured up sweet memories of my early days learning to wrap gifts with my mother.

When I was in elementary school Mother set up a gift wrapping station in our guest bedroom, during the month of December, to prepare the presents for under the tree.  Rolls of beautiful wrapping paper, tissue paper, boxes, bolts of ribbon, gift tags, and other supplies filled the top of the guest bed and she set up several card tables around the room.  My job was very clear: Wrap each gift, no two alike, and I would earn 25 cents per package.  Back then, we didn’t have the “bow and go” method.  Gift bags were not a thing, every gift was wrapped in tissue paper, placed in a box, wrapped with paper, tied with a bow and labeled with a gift tag.

I gladly accepted my assignment and went to work setting up a pretend department store gift wrap boutique and I was its chief wrapper. I placed a check-in desk at the door of the guest room, had make-believe conversations with “customers” taking great care to ask them who the gift was intended for and their preferred style of wrapping.  I’m sure the conversation went something like, “Oh, what a lovely gift for your daughter. How old is she? What’s her favorite color?  Shall we do pink and green toile?”  I wrote invoices for each gift and placed them around the room ready to get to work. Since I was the only child at home (my siblings were grown) pretend play was a big deal.  I learned to be extremely entertaining!

Looking back, I am sure the packages weren’t perfect, but I love the fact that Mother didn’t care.  She was okay to release that part of Christmas, affording me the chance to be creative and boost my self-confidence while giving herself a break. An important lesson for all of us mothers who think we have to do it all so it will be perfect.

When I saw my chance to relive those days of wrapping presents, I quickly signed up for Cassie’s class.  Our workshop was set up with supplies and each attendee received a kit including a cute tote bag for us to keep as our party favor. Fixe provided sips and deviled eggs to nosh while we worked on our packages.  I want you to experience her class first-hand, so I won’t reveal all her secrets, but I will hit the highpoints.

#1 Tissue Paper — Cassie led us through the proper way to place tissue paper in the gift box using a pinch pleat – happily, I already do this so I was feeling good about my skillset. She made a great suggestion that I will try and that is sticking bright-colored labels to close the tissues halves together.

#2 Shirt Boxes — it’s amazing how nice your gift will look when it’s wrapped in a proper box – like a shirt box. Do department stores offer shirt boxes anymore?   Here’s a resource for shirt boxes.  Cassie taught us the proper way to measure your paper so you don’t waste it trying to make it fit your box.

#3 Must have beautiful paper – This convinced me to stock up on a variety of wrapping papers.  I chose a bold animal print, but she also had lovely prints, stripes, polka dots, and solid colors.  The point is mix it up!  Maybe come up with a color scheme that is your signature color and print.  Mine for sure would be animal print with aqua and hot pink.

#4 Go Big with your Bow or Go Home – This is the secret sauce to making your packages rival those of Martha Stewart. I finally know the secret on how to make those bows with all the ribbons.  Cassie set out several bins of ribbon – all sizes and colors, some even faux fur –  and a silver tub full of glass ornaments and walked us through how to first tie the regular bow, then add all the strips we cut of mismatched ribbon. The last step was the jingle bells and I chose a signature ornament – a bucket of bubbly!

#5 The Final Touch – She pulled out packages of scrapbook alphabet stickers for the finishing touch. These were placed at the corner of the box and the initial can represent the recipient.  Since I was wrapping this for myself (of course), I put a big scripted “M” on mine – a nod to my favorite TV character, Mary Tyler Moore.

I left with a beautifully wrapped present, a tote bag of supplies, and a new friend in Cassie.  She is a delight and was as bubbly as the sips we enjoyed during the class.  Follow her on Instagram so you don’t miss her upcoming classes. And, we might just cook something up for Home with a Twist followers!

Happy wrapping, y’all!

Three Things: Baked Chicken, Sweet Potatoes and a Funny Podcast

I have three unrelated buzzworthy things to share today.  Let’s start first with baked chicken.  I have never roasted a whole chicken. Ever. Yes, it’s true. It always seemed so intimidating, so I’ve asked Mr. Bee to roast it on the grill or smoker. I follow Katherine Sasser’s blog – she is also the owner of Hurley House.  She issued a six-week challenge recently to try baking a chicken right alongside her.  I won’t share all the directions, because she perfectly outlines it here and here.  To make it easy, click here to download a copy of the recipe.  I texted her Sunday night with the photo and thanked her for inspiring me! Isn’t it funny how something small like roasting a chicken for the first time can boost your self-esteem!

My takeaways:   Recently we started making time to prepare Sunday dinner since that seems to be the only day of the week the three of us are caught up on schoolwork, working and sleeping.  Mr. Bee and I had fun bonding, cooking, sipping wine and chopping herbs. We decided to roast sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes and added sliced carrots. We also tossed in a big handful of fresh rosemary and thyme I had leftover from another recipe.  I followed the recipe exactly even down to the cooking time. It turned out golden, juicy and perfect. The house smelled amazing while it cooked. We served the chicken with a new recipe for a dressing I am trying out for Thanksgiving which you can find here (I am going to modify the recipe to combine both toasted bread cubes and cornbread).

Second, it’s that time of year when I share Mother’s recipe for Sweet Potato Delight.  Go here for the recipe – it’s included in my Mrs. Twist’s Guide to Thanksgiving you can find here, here, and here.  Miss Bee will not celebrate the holiday without serving this recipe from her beloved Grandmother’s recipe box. Make a double batch – it’s that good.

Finally, I found this very funny podcast called “Sweaty and Pissed.” It features co-hosts comedian Leanne Morgan and her nurse-practitioner Karen.  They discuss all kinds of funny — the realities of menopause and female midlife.  Leanne adds comedic relief to bothersome symptoms we face, and Karen brings it all home with sound medical explanations and suggestions for promoting relief.  I have learned and laughed a lot. Here’s their facebook page and the link to their podcast where you listen to your favorite tunes.  It will be the perfect thing to listen to in the kitchen as you prepare for Thanksgiving or the long car ride to your in-laws (headphones will be appreciated, I am sure since only you will find sweaty boobs funny.).

Have a fabulous week!

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!