Growing up, while most children played with Lincoln Logs and rode bikes, I designed menus and wedding invitations with crayons, and lead make-believe “docent” tours of my childhood home. The youngest of four with 12-15 years difference between my oldest sibling and me, I accompanied my parents to cocktail and dinner parties. I learned from a very early age the art of small talk, how to mix a Shirley Temple, set a beautiful table, and that asparagus jello is terrible and should never be served to humans. Like humorist Will Rogers once said, “A stranger is just a friend I haven’t met.” All my childhood practice fostered my creativity and desire to meet new people and seek joy every day.
I loved spending time in the kitchen with my mother. Her meals weren’t fancy, but they were tasty. Many of her “best of” recipes I still prepare today – cheese grits, chicken divan, chocolate sheath cake, and jello salad just to name a few of my favorites. She also loved curating a beautiful and welcoming home and as a result hosted many functions – ladies luncheons, Bible studies, and holiday parties for friends and the employees of our family business. I have vivid memories of our home filled with friends embracing, food cooking on the stove, and laughter ringing through the halls. I learned so many life lessons from my mother – the most important – always make people feel special when they visit your home, leaving them with fond remembrances so they can’t wait to return.
Mother passed away in 2013 and I launched Home with a Twist in her honor sharing with you everything she taught me, but with my own modern spin. I love food, entertaining, gardening, decorating, curating vintage mid-century finds, healthy living, and fashion. I have a passion for helping women, in particular, bring out the best in themselves through my experience and teaching. During COVID I led, with great success, virtual cooking and hospitality classes where guests joined me in my kitchen without having to leave the safety and comfort of their homes. Now, I have pivoted to offering small, experiences with students, in my home, where we re-imagine the traditional “dinner party” concept.
The top five fun things about me:
Cake is my spirit animal, especially white cake with vanilla buttercream frosting. I’ve been known to order my own birthday cake so I can get it just right.
I adore vintage anything – lamps, fabrics, ricrac, blue hobnail, pink Jeannette, and milk glass to name a few.
My name in Greek translation means honeybee. My siblings named me when they disapproved of the name my mother proposed. I waited five days in the hospital with my mother, with no name, until Melissa was selected.
I love cats. At one time I have had up to seven living with me and surprisingly my home smells nothing like a cat hoarder. Like Will Rogers, I never met a cat that didn’t instantly like me. I also have a cat named Trevor who wears bowties. He has an extensive seasonal collection.
I am a professional napper. I must have a nap every day even if just for 30 minutes. You know how you charge your phone, well a nap keeps me charged, healthy and affable. My family appreciates the latter.
Enjoy looking around my website. Feel free to contact me at [email protected] if you have a question about hospitality, a recipe, decorating, or just to say, hello!