On Occasion, He Danced


Christmas morning on Harris Street always began with my sister begging me to get up so she could open presents.  Mornings were not my thing.  By the time she could convince me to get up, the house would be in full swing.  Daddy would already have his Christmas albums playing vociferously,  while his strong baritone voice carried over the volume.  He would be dressed in his green Dockers, with his red sweater and Christmas tie,  matching socks, along with his well-worn penny loafers.  This was the one day of the year that daddy cooked, and he went all out.  His dusty waffle maker would be going full force.  He usually made about fifty waffles for the four of us and tried relentlessly to make us eat them all.  As he rotated batches of burned and “not quite done” waffles, my mom, sister and I would giggle and watch with awe.  He exuded happiness.  On these mornings, he danced.

In the midst of cooking, he would take turns dancing with us.  One by one, he would twirl his three loves around as he continued to sing along to his records.  These memories fill my heart with an equal amount of happiness and grief, but I’m incredibly thankful for them.  Memories make up the chapters of my life.

Yesterday, I sat with my mom on her deck, and we talked about happy things…lots of them.  These moments are also few and far between, but also, magnificently special.  We had mostly avoided the topic of daddy, maybe on purpose so we could avoid the inevitable tears, but of course, he came up during our conversation.  How could he not?  She told me a story that I had never heard before…a story from recent years, most likely his last summer with us.  She said the two of them were at the beach for the weekend and they had decided to go to the Dollar General.  Apparently they had good ice cream there.  🙂   While they were there, daddy chose a new tape for them to listen to in momma’s jeep.  They finished their cones and walked outside to a beautiful sunset.  They were parked on a side street.  Momma said that a construction crew was across the road working on a house.  Daddy put his new tape in the cassette player and blasted it as loud as the speakers would allow, and danced with momma in the middle of the street.  Momma’s eyes glistened with so much love as she told me about the dance.  They were in their own world for a moment.  When the song was over, he kissed his love and the crew from across the street cheered and clapped.  She said when he asked her to marry him, he added that dancing was not a part of the deal.  But on occasion, he danced.

Paleo Shrimp Sweet Potato Cakes With Avocado Salsa


Sadly, I can’t take credit for this awesome recipe, but I’m excited to share the original one and my small changes.  Heather Christo is an amazing blogger, mom, chef, published author, wife…all the things.  For years I have followed a small band of food bloggers and this amazing lady is one of them.  In 2014, she was diagnosed with severe food allergies, along with her darling girls, Coco and Pia.  Being the rockstar that she is, she took it in stride.  “Turning Lemons into Lemonade, Heather has totally rededicated her passions into creating delicious allergy free recipes that everyone can enjoy without missing a thing!”

Follow this link to her awesome site and delicious recipes!

I made minor changes, (mainly because I was trying to remember the recipe instead of looking it up)  I know, I can be ridiculous.  I made the shrimp paste in my nutribullet.  I added the shrimp, one whole jalapeno, and a handful of cilantro to the mixer with a squeeze of lemon and lime.  It’s an awesome trick for those of you that can’t use egg as a binder.  I’m already imagining multiple takes on this recipe.

Anyway, Heather Christo is the bomb diggetty, and so is this recipe.  Annnnddddd, buy her new book, Pure Delicious!  It’s divine and a little birdy told me it’s been nominated for a James Beard Health Award!  Yummy!

It All Started At YoZone


It’s no secret that I’m passionate about interior design.  Helping a client decipher what they truly want can sometimes be difficult, but so worth it. There’s nothing like that moment when the client enters the door to their new room and says, “You really got me”

My youngest niece will turn nine years old in a little over a month.  Her early birthday request was to have a bedroom makeover.  We had our first interior design consultation at YoZone.  While we enjoyed our decadent treats, we discussed what she really wanted in her new, “big girl” room.  We searched the internet for things that she loved and found quite a few items that gave me a good sense of her present style.  After our consultation, we went to Lowe’s Home Improvement, and picked out some paint samples together.  We talked about color and our mutual love of unicorns a lot that afternoon.  While I was thrilled to have a unicorn theme, I also wanted her room to be able to grow with her.  There’s always the possibility that she won’t love unicorns in a few years.  🙂  Maybe not though.  I still do.  🙂  We also decided to flip flop bedrooms with her younger brother.  We discussed the possibilities of this move with him and he was just as excited.  It made it more fun for him, too.

After a few weeks of anticipation, today was reveal day.  In all honesty, it was my favorite design job ever.  The look on her face as she opened the door to her room was priceless.  She loves it, and nothing makes the designer in me happier than the moment a client tells you how much they love their new room.


Avocado & Chicken Burgers

jalapeno chicken burger

Oh how I love Monday lunch.  It’s the day of the week that my sister comes over to share a meal with me during her lunch break.  It’s just the two of us.  No husbands, no kids, no mom…just sister time.  Lately we have been watching the HBO series, Big, Little Lies.  It’s sooooo good!  We both read the book a few years ago and neither of us are disappointed with the writers of this series.  The cast is amazing.  Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Zoe Kravitz, Alexander Skarsgard and Adam Scott are all in this wonderfully addictive drama.  Wow!  Today, I made burgers for us to eat while we indulged in our latest obsession.  Healthy. Yummy. Gluten-free burgers.  Try them out.  They are deliciously guilt-free-kind of.  🙂

Makes 4-5 burgers


  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 large or 2 small avocados
  • 1/2 tsp fresh cilantro-chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 large jalapeno-seeds and ribs removed
  • 1 large clove garlic-minced
  • 1 tbsp raw agave nectar (do not use if you are following  a paleo or Whole30 diet)
  • 4 ounces goats cheese

Preheat oven to 375º and line a sheet pan with aluminum foil

Cut avocado/s in half and remove the seed.  Use a tablespoon to remove the avocado flesh and chop into 1″ pieces.  In a medium sized mixing bowl, add the avocado and ground chicken.  Mince garlic clove and add to the bowl.  Chop cilantro finely and add to the mix.  Add salt and pepper to your liking and gently mix together.  Form patties with your hands and place on sheet pan.  Once oven has heated to 375º, place pan on lower-middle rack in oven.  Bake for 15 minutes and then flip burgers over.  Bake for another 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes.

While burgers are baking, dice the jalapeno pepper and place in a small bowl or ramekin.  Add the agave nectar, salt and pepper to taste, and stir.  Stir occasionally while burgers are baking.

To Serve:

Place burgers on a plate.  Top with a round of goats cheese and dress with sweetened jalapenos.


Lessons From Daddy


Every day I think about my dad.  Today is no different from any other in that way, but today I was reminded of one of the many lessons that he taught me.  My parents only had girls, and dad especially, never wanted us to rely on anyone but ourselves in this life.  Don’t get me wrong, he hoped and prayed that we’d find partners in life that would be just that…partners, and we did, but he never wanted us to be less than self sufficient.  It was instilled in us from a very young age.  One of the ways he did that was by making us mow the lawn.  Yes, I said it.  Our dad made us mow the lawn and oh how we hated this chore.  We couldn’t even hope for a tan, because he insisted we wear jeans for protection from possible flying debris.  We used a push lawn mower, too.  There was only a brief time while I was still home that a riding lawnmower was introduced, and there’s a story and a lesson that came with that, too.  I’ll save it for another day.

Today was beautiful.  I returned home after a workout sweaty and tired and decided that I would tackle our front yard.  My husband takes pride in cutting our lawn and honestly, he does an amazing job, so I rarely even think about the task.  Well, I’m really good at telling him how great of a job he did,  and even better at rewarding him with an ice cold beverage.  (it’s the southern lady in me)  This afternoon, as I struggled to get the push lawnmower out of the shed and push it to the front yard, I questioned if I was really up for it, but I knew it would be a nice surprise for my husband and I also wanted an excuse to stay outside and avoid any other work, so I pushed on.  Since the weather has been warm and gorgeous lately, the grass wasn’t overall bad, but it had sprouts of weeds poking here and there that certainly were not pretty.  I guess it’s time to address the weeds that have wondered into our yard, as well.  Anyway, halfway through struggling through the front yard I remembered a Saturday long ago.  Saturday mornings were the day of the week to cut the lawn, if we were in town.  This particular Saturday was one that my teenage self had plans on that had nothing to do with yard work.  I remember the angst I felt at having to do this chore before I could leave.  I practically ran while I mowed the endless lines of grass in the backyard and in no time I was done.  I raced to the back door with a huge smile of relief ready to take a shower and go about my super fun day with my friends, but was quickly greeted by my dad.  He met me at the door and turned me around.  I was bewildered and confused, but he quickly made me understand.  My “super fast” job was not as wonderful as I had thought.  He pointed out how I had not overlapped my lines and there were sprigs of grass sticking up all over the backyard.  I felt the weight of the world at that moment.  Not only did I have to clean those sprigs up, but as part of the lesson he made me cut the whole backyard over again while he watched.   I remember fuming inside.  How dare he make me do this task again.  I had friends to hang out with.  I had important things to do.  As I finally finished my second round of mowing, my dad greeted me and asked me what I had learned.  Begrudgingly I admitted that in my rush I had failed to do a good job.  He looked at me with the kindest eyes and said that every job we take on in life should be done the best way we can do it.  We should always worry about the quality of our work, because it bears our name.  In my haste to mow a quantity of grass in a short time, I had not done a quality job.  It was still hard to look at him with understanding then, and at that age, but to this day it has stuck with me.  I also remember that he pointed out how great the yard looked after my second attempt.  Quality will almost always win over quantity.  It’s just one of those lessons on my mind today.  Thanks dad.