There was an error in this gadget

Happy Birthday Dad!!

Happy Birthday Dad!
Coach, Tarheel football player, singer and more.

My Dad's signature phrase is, "Give great effort!" It's become my motto in life and anyone that is around him feels inspired to "give great effort too.
He's a terrific grandfather and dad. My children call him "Coach!" It's the perfect name for him because he coached most of the teams my brother and sister and I played on. He still coaches today (my daughter's soccer team).  

My Dad is a natural singer, actor and comedian. He captivates an audience with his voice...he always finds a way to make people smile! When I was three, I fell and busted my eye. I had to have stitches and cried inconsolably until my Dad started singing, Blue Moon. My Dad's voice is magic!

He knows all the words to the songs of the fifties and sixties. He has many "hat tricks." One of them is singing Louis Armstrong's, What a Wonderful World. It's the perfect song for him because it's just how he sees life. He loves to be outside watering his trees and pondering about the good things in life.

I see trees of green........ red roses too
I see em bloom..... for me and for you
And I think to myself.... what a wonderful world.

Another Dad song... singing Besame Mucho to our Bassett Hound named Besame Mucho.

My Dad loves to watch the Texas Ranger's, eat ice cream, pistachios, and drink vanilla malts. He'd be up for a swim at midnight if you asked him. I can always count on my Dad to spin me around the dance floor.

When I was little, I heard my parent's arguing. I stood up for my Dad and said to my mom, "Daddy is a good man!" My Dad IS a good man, he's done plenty of good things but the best thing of all is how much he loves his family. 

You're a good man Dad! I love you! Many Happy Returns!

Return to Rosemary


Florida beaches are easy to fall in love with…the gulf coast wind, salty sea smell and the sound of the waves crashing on the sugar sand. There’s not a more relaxing vacation in my opinion.
When you go back to the same place, you really start to explore it.

Returning to Rosemary Beach, we were thrilled to see Coastal Living’s fifteenth anniversary Ultimate Beach House on tour. The tour continues through October 7th. Be sure to get Coastal Living’s October issue to see the Rosemary Beach spread. My mom said that it was the most amazing house she’d ever seen. Walking away from Kingston Road, I left with design and decorating ideas for my own home. If you see it, I promise you will too. 
I’m one of those travelers who prefers to return to places I already know. I’m pretty sure that I’m in good company, because most of the Rosemary Beach vacationers we saw were revisiting like us.
Rosemary Beach feels like a beach buffet of seaside delights (the emerald coast, Tapas, white sugar sand, and the Sugar Shak)…it truly is a watercolor of a vacation.
Going to the beach you gain the luxury of time, free from classrooms of children, schedules and obligations. It doesn't matter if the summer days are so hot that a haze hangs in the air because you can cool off with lemonade and the splash of the ocean waves.
Viewing Rosemary Beach through photographs doesn’t do it justice, you must live it, breathe it, feel it, play in it, do ballet in it…Rosemary Beach is worth seeing. It has that nostalgic feeling…it’s the kind of place you imagine your grandparent’s went to when they were children.

A lot of people don’t want to try something different because their past vacation memories were so special. People like to return to where they had a good time.
There are lots of rituals and traditions that go along with returning to the same place. Even the long sixteen hour car ride is looked upon with excitement…anticipating the first sight of the gulf.
The week flew by. On the last day, sitting next to my mom under the umbrella and watching my children play “jump the waves” I said out loud, “I can’t wait to come back next year.”

Happy Birthday to the Notorious little Cooley Cowboys

To celebrate my two July babies, we threw a cowboy/cowgirl party and had a rip roarin' good time...Texas style! 

The Notorious Cooley children were on a "wanted" poster on invitations from TinyPrints.

The best Texas entertainment there is comes from Camp Cookie. K.R. Wood (Camp Cookie) arrived with his chuck wagon, guitar, stick horses, and even a cow for ropin'. Children sang along to Texas country classics while galloping on the dance floor with their stick horse. 

My little cowboy practicing his roping!

If you're planning a cowboy/cowgirl party for your little one you might like these crayon roll party favors and cupcake wrappers.

There's a little cowboy/cowgirl in all of us! Yeehaw and happy birthday to my notorious little Texans!

To Rome with Love: Amada mia, amore mio

Walking into the theatre with my mom, I felt giddy…we were going to Rome courtesy of Woody Allen’s new movie To Rome with Love.

Some of my all time favorite shows are set in Roma! Roman Holiday , Three Coins in the Fountain The Talented Mr. Ripley and the musical, The Light in the Piazza. Rome is a beautiful canvas for a movie or play.

I loved Midnight in Paris and was hoping To Rome with Love would have the same charm that Midnight in Paris had. The bar was set so high (and so were my expectations) with Midnight in Paris being such a dream movie. To Rome with Love was lovely, but Midnight in Paris has my heart. The cities speak for themselves…Paris has the romance and culture, Rome has passion and fantasy!

Watching Woody Allen’s To Rome with Love was like looking at a rainbow, each character is represented in a unique vibrant shade of color. The characters have in common that they are each experiencing a life-changing adventure, and that they all seize the moment. There are thirteen major characters, and each one carries baggage.

The movie opens and closes with narration by a good looking Roman traffic cop whose moves are choreographed to the music of the city. This is perfect because Rome’s traffic is a lot like love…it’s a mess.

Woody Allen, seventy-six, tends to cast actors who can be neurotic. In To Rome with Love there was a theme of the women characters being labeled as either a Madonna or a prostitute and many of the male characters are aging and trying to remain current…perhaps like Woody!

Woody Allen is the best European tour guide! My favorite Woody films are set in Europe: Match Point (England), Vicky Cristina Barcelona (Spain), Mighty Aphrodite (Greece), Midnight in Paris (France), To Rome with Love (Italy)…I can only hope he will stay in Europe for a bit longer to explore the romance of Vienna next.

The beautiful Italian actress Alessandra Mastronardi (Milly) lost in Rome
The rainbow cast of characters include: Antonio (Alessandro Tiberi) and Milly (Alessandra Mastronardi), newlyweds who stumble upon different partners when they are separated for the day. Milly is lost and accidently drops her cell phone through the street grates and decides to have her own adventure and not worry about her husband whom she thinks is waiting for her. Like many of the characters in the movie, she is living and loving in Rome without rules.

Hayley (Alison Pill) and Michelangelo (Flavio Parenti) meet and quickly fall in love. Hayley’s parents Jerry(Woody Allen) and Phyllis (Judy Davis) fly to Rome to meet her Italian fiancée. Jerry (a retired opera director) hears Michelangelo’s father, Giancarlo, singing in the shower. This inspires Jerry to revive his own career.

Fabio Armiliato (Giancarlo) the Italian mortician/shower opera singer

I remember seeing an interview about Woody Allen and he said he writes his ideas on little scraps of paper that he keeps by his bed. I thought that the opera shower singer character seemed like one of those ideas he just pulled from his scrap collection and made it fit. Giancarlo (Fabio Armiliato) sings well but only in the shower. Jerry is successful at getting Giancarlo on stage and the results are odd, surprising and awkward…it’s très Woody!

Judy Davis and Woody Allen (Phyllis and Jerry)
John (Alec Baldwin) is a well-known architect who is reminiscing about his youth when he lived in Rome. He meets a young Jack (Jesse Eisenberg) whom he sees himself thirty years earlier. Jesse gets caught in a love triangle with Monica (Ellen Page) and Sally (Greta Gerwig).  John is one of Woody’s odd characters that sometimes seems invisible and councils Jack through his love triangle.  

Alec Baldwin and Jesse Eisenberg (John and Jack)
Leopoldo Pisanello (Roberto Benigni) is a family man office worker who finds himself at the center of media attention for no reason. Reporters want to know if he wears boxers or briefs and how he likes his toast.

The suddenly popular Roberto Benigni (Leopoldo) running from the press
 My favorite character is Anna (Penelope Cruz) who mistakenly shows up after Milly leaves to get her hair done and says, “I am here to fulfill your dreams.” Antonio tries to pass her off as his wife to meet his conservative family and it is hysterical.

Penelope Cruz (Anna) plays an Italian prostitute. When a museum visitor asks: "Can you imagine working all that time on your back?" Anna responds: "I can."
Woody Allen makes you feel like you’ve just had your passport stamped and have been somewhere you want to go again and with people you want to meet again. 

My husband Derek and I visiting one of To Rome with Love scenes (the Spanish Steps) Roma!

summer summer summertime: été très belle part deux

I drifted into a summer-nap under the hot shade of July, serenaded by a cicadae lullaby, to drowsy-warm dreams of distant thunder.  ~Terri Guillemets

Will Smith sings in my ear, Summer Summer Summertime! I love this time of year so much that I came up with more recommendations for all things summer...été très belle!

 Read: Doesn't everyone read more in the summertime? I love books like this that you can't put down when you're on vacation. Mission to Paris by Alan Furst is a fast-paced thriller about an Austrian-born Hollywood film star who is sent to Paris to make a movie in 1938. He ends up working as a double agent to try to defeat the Nazis.

Wear: Two of my favorite summer staples are lace trim cut-off jean shorts and glamorous sunglasses. Throw a suit and some flip flops in your travel bag and you're good to go.

 Sip: Every kitchen needs a handful of Citra Sippers. How fantastic to drink directly from an orange. Launched in 1933 at the World's Fair by the current owner's grandfather.Try your citra sipper in a Valencia orange and your morning will start out right!

Use:Three items that make summer even better...Frogg Toggs are an amazing fabric that keep you cool in the summer heat for hours. Bliss Poetic Waxing takes the ouch out of waxing and you won't believe how easy it is. Balea hand cream is so light and fresh that you'll never want to go without it...good thing you don't have to fly to Germany to buy it! 

Decorate: There seems to be more time to fix up the house in the summer. I have had my eye on this art print from minted.

Listen: It's easy to love the old-fashioned rock-blues from the heart of Dixie. The southern sound of Hold On will make you crave sweet tea and fried chicken. It makes me want to say, "Roll Tide!"
Watch: If you haven't been watching Breaking Pointe this summer, you've been missing out. Get caught up before the season finale. Breaking Pointe is a ballet reality show that pulls down the curtain on the Salt Lake City Ballet Company, Ballet West. It's fascinating to see ballet from backstage.