Trader Joe’s Top 25 Picks — Mine made the list!

Trader Joe’s Top 25 list of their customer favorites was just announced and this proud consumer is so excited that a few of my very own faves were included!

Click on the link to see if your faves are on the list.  Mine were Pumpkin Coffee, Pumpkin Bread & Muffin Mix, and the Mandarin Chicken.

While you are on their site, sign up for their Fearless Flyer.  The flyer is so creative and makes you want everything — plus they have a feature where you can create a shopping list and they will send it right to your inbox to use while you’re in the store!

Mark you calendar for January 28 when it’s National Appetizer Day.  The store is supposed to have fun food samplings and give aways.  I was not compensated in any way for this post.  I’m just a fan.

Hope your Tuesday is terrific.

The Night I Wet My Pants

the-conjouringMiss Bee loves scary movies.  In the last 6 months or so I have been her chaperone to see Mama, Warm Bodies and World War Z.  I always have to sit by myself in the theatre because she and her friends like to sit on the back row.  So, surrounded by my popcorn, candy and a drink I have to console myself when scream worthy moments arise.  It’s kinda like counseling.  Just tough it out.

Several weeks ago I read about the new movie The Conjuring in a magazine.  I won’t reveal too much about it, but it’s based on a true story of a family who move into a farm house in Rhode Island only to be forced out again because of demons living in the home.  A real-life couple, The Warrens, who’ve dedicated their lives to helping families with these types of issues, come to the rescue.

hot-guy-in-conjouringHere’s a few observations.  The movie has no gore or random slashing.  It’s pure scary, suspense.  A cross between Amityville Horror and Poltergeist.  Both movies scared the pants off me.  This movie is set in 1971 so it’s full of kitchy 70s décor and vibe.  Doors that randomly open and close.  The mayhem starts at 3:07 a.m. every night.  Yikes.

If this couple showed up to help me exercise demons from the house, I’d be set.  He’s dreamy, she’s gorgeous.

A few tips.  Be prepared to scream.  Take your blood pressure meds before hand.  Plan to go straight home to bed because you’ll be exhausted from screaming and constantly pointing behind someone’s head to say “turn around.”

hanging-feet“What?  Do you see something?”
girl-in-rocking-chair
“Mommy can’t play right now.  She’s missing her face. Cause, I ate it off.”
I hope they conjure up a sequel.  Perfect, summer movie.

Her Pink Legacy

At work yesterday I took a group of ladies for a tour of the Mary Kay Museum at the Mary Kay World Headquarters in Addison, Texas.  Mrs. Mary Kay Ash took a $5,000 investment in 1963 and built a 2.2 billion dollar business while along the way changing countless lives of men and women across the world.

I snapped a few fun photos…

I have a thing for oil paintings of people.  I love them.  You know when you go to estate sales and the owner has portraits on the walls of their children.  I always wonder about the people in the paintings, what their lives were like.  The stories they could tell.

I thought the names of these fragrances were funny…Jan and Snare.  Who’s Jan?  And, if I wear Snare, surely Chad Everett would have noticed me when I visited Medical Center.

Another oil painting and the pink, round ottoman.  I want it!  Why pink?  In the ’60s, most American bathrooms were white.  So pink was chosen for the Company’s packaging to give women beauty products they could keep conveniently on their bathroom counters.

Forty was fatal in 1963.  Now, I think most women wearing Mary Kay for the last 50 years wish they looked 40.

Mary Kay’s encouraging words are displayed just outside her museum.  The feathered frock I would wear on sandwich night at home.

Mary Kay’s Golden Rule, which was the primary principle on which she founded her company, is still very relevant today:

“Praise people to success.  Place God first,
family second and career third.”
— Mary Kay Ash



Buzz on Southfork Ranch

I took a tour group to Southfork Ranch on Tuesday.  In all the years of watching the old, and now new, series I never took a trip there.  I highly recommend going.  The staff were very welcoming and the property is lovely. 

When the series debuted in 1978, the home was owned by a family so only exterior shots were allowed.  The interior shots were taken at a sound stage in Culver City, California.  Now with the series renewal, everything is shot in Dallas; both on the Southfork property and in a sound stage in Dallas.

Here’s the back patio near the pool.  This is where the Ewings would gather in the mornings for breakfast.  Remember Miss Ellie asking Teresa for some eggs for Bobby?  I didn’t take a photo of the infamous pool because it was covered for a scene they are shooting tomorrow (we missed seeing the cast by one day!).

The Dining Room where many a close, family dinner was held. 

Jock’s photo above the fireplace.

Lucy’s bedroom.  I think the signage on her dressing table was supposed to be a little tongue-in-cheek.

Jock and Miss Ellie’s bedroom.  The thing that several of us said as we were standing around looking at each room  is that logically we know there is no Ewing family living here.  But, it seemed very invasive walking around seeing things and seeing the character’s photos.  Almost as if they were going to walk in from the pasture or Tom Thumb while we were there.

The house is not as large by today’s standards.  But for the 70s, when the house was originally built, it was considered a palace.  It has changed owners several times over the years.  The most recent owners purchased the house in 1992 and it was totally redone.  It’s still a step back in the 80s.

A view of the foyer and staircase.

JR’s bedroom.  A gigantic platform bed right in the middle of the room and a champagne bucket handy next to the bed for closing those “deals.”

And his trademark hat and smile on the wall.

The master bath was totally surrounded in mirrors.  Mirrors everywhere.  You have to have quite a positive outlook on your body to bathe in this place or wear a mask over your eyes.

This is the exterior front shot of the house. 

As we rode away on a tram being pulled by a John Deere tractor, I could hear JR saying “Ya’ll come back now, you hear.” 

A Sweet Story

During a visit to see bestie this summer, she treated me and Miss Bee to a Gigi’s cupcake.  Cue angels singing when I walked into the bakery.  This was my kind of heaven.  Recently, while I was waiting for a doctor to see Earnie, I read a story about the Gigi’s Cupcakes founder.

While Gigi was running her cleaning business, her brother inspired her to open a cupcake bakery.  Even though she had good credit and money in her savings, all four banks she approached turned her down.  She took out a $100,000 credit on her four credit cards, started her cupcake venture, meanwhile was running her cleaning company to put food on the table.  Opening on February 21, 2008 three weeks later she had made enough money to pay her rent.  Now with 51 franchise locations across the US, she’s doing pretty well.

I loved the set up of the bakery from the display down to the packaging.

 
 

 
 
In Horton’s world everyone is a pony, and they all eat rainbows, and poop butterflies.  In my world two inches of frosting is required on all cake.  The end.




Sleeping in a Boutique

I had the pleasure of staying at The Ashton Hotel recently for business.  Considered a “boutique” hotel, I had never stayed in this style of hotel.  Boutique Hotel is a term popularized in the US and United Kingdom to describe hotels which often feature luxury facilities in a unique, smaller setting.

One of the first hotels of this kind is in London — The Blake’s Hotel.  Here are a few of their rooms…

The Ashton Hotel, where I stayed, is located in downtown Fort Worth and convenient to tons of restaurants and shopping.  However, when I get the chance to stay in a hotel ALL BY MYSELF I don’t care about what’s outside the room.  Give me a big, comfy bed, a TV and a mini bar and I’m good.
Here’s what my room looked like

Ginormous bed with soft down comforter and freshly laundered sheets. Check.

Toiletries in the bath and my own toothbrush holder. Check.

Vanity surrounded by navy blue tile and a gorgeous gold mirror with gentle lighting.  Check.

Nice big tub with subway tile decking.  Check.

Golden ottoman to sit on while I drink my coffee and stare at myself in the mirror.  Check.

At one point during my stay, I couldn’t get my key to work in my door.  So, Brandon, the ever-helpful front desk man came to my rescue.  They still use regular door keys, you see, and while he was dismantling my door, we chatted about the hotel’s history.  Built in 1915, the building was the first home of the Fort Worth Club which still exists in another location downtown.  Next door to the club was the original site of the White Elephant Saloon and brothel.  I guess you could have dinner with your wife, then after she got home safely stay for a drink and other activities next door.  When the Fort Worth Club moved it became Haltom Jewelers.  Then in the 60s, none other than Cullen Davis bought the building and it was the home for his oil dynasty until he put on a wig one night and shot his ex-wife, her basketball boyfriend and step-daughter in the 70s (actually, he was aquitted, but seriously).  The building stayed vacant for years until it was bought and revived as The Ashton Hotel.

Okay, Brandon got my door fixed.  I walked in and found this on my bed.

Ingrid had turned down my bed in the evening and treated me with two, warm chocolate chip cookies. Awesome.



RIP Stir ‘n Frost

Three fun things at work today…first it’s my favorite day of the week Friday, second we had cake at 10:30 a.m. for one of our student workers for her birthday (no, I didn’t eat any because of my Lenten sacrifice, but it was okay because it was chocolate), and third, I have a chicken salad sandwich from my favorite place, McKinley’s, for lunch.

During our snack time this morning, I had another realization that I am old enough to be the mother of the girls I work with.  None of them remembered Stir ‘n Frost cake mix.  How tragic.  They looked puzzled as I tried to explain how it came with its own pan and two packets — one for the cake mix and one with ready made frosting.  Bake and eat from the same pan!  Genious.

So, I did a little research and here’s what I found..

“Next time when a big cake is more than you need, pick up a Stir ‘n Frost!”  They hit the market in 1978.  I ate many of these during sleepovers.  The moms would buy each girl their own cake and we’d bake them and eat them — the entire thing — warm out of the oven.  This was comfort food when the friend got dumped by her long-time (2 weeks) boyfriend over the blue rotary phone.  “I’m sorry, boy this stinks. Want to make a cake?”
Not sure what happened to them.  I guess they learned the foil lining caused cancer (kinda like the caramel color in Coke and Pepsi).  Now, they’ve been replaced with a microwave version called “Warm Delights.”  I’ll just hold on to my memories of Stir ‘n Frost.  I miss you girl.