Thursday, December 24, 2015

Four Favorite Things I Love Right Now! Part 24

How about a Four Faves -- Christmas version?

Isn't that all we're thinking about today?  Christmas -- or as the Real Housewives of New Jersey would say -- baby Jesus's birthday?

I'm ready to go with gifts and have been for about a month.  I know some of you may be jealous, but I went to Europe a couple of times this year, so I started early, plus I did shop a little yesterday for a few Christmas Eve gifts for the family.

Without further ado, here are my Four Faves Christmas Style!

  1. Blue Bell Peppermint Ice Cream is the best!  Good luck finding it in Dallas today, as I only left 4 at the last store -- and I would bet $100,000 that they are out now. 
  2. These new Pajamas from Soma are the cutest, most glam things ever.  LOVE!  I feel like Lady Gaga and Sia would approve, don't you?
  3. This sweet book brings me to tears every year.  The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado is part of my personal tradition every year. 
  4. Everybody knows my a Chex Party Mix (called Trash in my family) is the best -- despite the flawed result of a party mix contest at Community Partners of Dallas a few years ago.
  5. Recipe:
  6. 2 C Corn Chex
    2 C Rice Chex
    2 C Wheat Chex
    Plus 2 more cups of your fave of the above -- I mix it up.  My niece Lina loves Kix, so I throw them in here too sometimes
    1 C pecans
    1 C pretzels
    1 T soy sauce (I add a little more here)
    1/2 C butter
    1 1/4 t season salt
    1/4 t garlic powder 

    Melt butter in electric skillet at 250 degrees.  Stir in seasonings and blend well.  Add all and stir to coat.  Cover with vents open.  Heat for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.  Cool on paper towels.  Enjoy!

Hope you are spending lots of time with family and friends.  Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

First World Problem Hodgepodge

New Hodgepodge this week!  Thank you, Joyce, for always coming through with thought-provoking questions for the weary bloggers out there...

1. What's your biggest 'first world' problem?
I have no garage. I don't really miss it for the car -- I have a circular driveway -- but it is at holiday time that the storage for decorations is nil/packed in the attic.  Makes it so inconvenient to access. My other option is to take my only guest room and store it in there.
2.  Each year Time Magazine names a 'Person of the Year', someone who has 'for better or worse...done the most to influence the events of the year.' It was recently announced they've named Angela Merkel Person of the Year for 2015. Your thoughts? If you were in charge, who would you declare Person of the Year? 
Since this is the time of year that we give out 10,000+ toys to abused and neglected kids, I'd give it to the donors and volunteers who make children's dreams come true.
3. Do you have a nativity set in your home? If so share it's history and how you display the pieces.
Yes!  I have quite a few!  I have a few small ones that stay out year round.  I love this one (the first one) and it is fun to collect the pieces, but my favorite is the one Joe gave me (it's the second one). It is the most beautiful, I think.

4.  Do you make an extra effort to give back in some way during the holiday season? How do you encourage those who need encouragement this time of year?
I love volunteering at my church during the holiday -- this year I'm not attending on Christmas Eve in order to have more room for visitors. I'm attending the travelers service and ushering.
5. Who is your favorite person to shop for? Why?
My mom is tough because she buys everything she wants for herself and she has spectacular taste. When I find something for her it's a Christmas miracle!
6. What's the last delicious thing you ate?
My homemade chicken salad.
7. The best way to spread Christmas cheer is________________.
Tell strangers that they are beautiful/handsome. Smile and laugh a lot.
8. Insert your own random thought here.
Three cheers to Willard Scott upon his retirement from The Today Show today. My grandmother always called him her secret love.  He is mine too. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Was Frank Sinatra One of Us?

Yesterday I heard a program about Frank Sinatra.  He was never my favorite rat-packer (I'm more of a Dean Martin fan), but it was very interesting to hear about his life and they also had a guy playing the piano and crooning a few of his songs throughout the speech.  Fun event.

One of the stories told was about Frank as a young boy telling his parents that he wanted to be a singer like Bing Crosby.

His dad told him he'd end up a bum and his mother threw a shoe at him.

Funny how Frank's story turned out, huh?

My mother really wanted me to be an attorney.

I was a theatre major.

My dad told me I was getting a degree in basketweaving.

I loved acting and singing and while I didn't become another Sinatra, I did get to perform in the Junior League of Dallas Show each year and I know my degree helps me to be a good speaker -- and I know that helps me at Community Partners of Dallas.

We don't have to have parents who support us or agree with every decision we make, do we?  If you have the drive, you can still become a success.

The kids we help at CPD don't really have anyone who supports their dreams for the future.  They can still make it.  Frank did.

They don't have to know exactly what they're doing while still young.  They can still do it.  I did.

I bet you did too.

Remember these thoughts from Dale Carnegie:

Do you remember the things you were worrying about a year ago?  How did they work out?  Didn't you waste a lot of fruitless energy on account of most of them?  Didn't most of them turn out all right after all?

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

A Christmas Hodgepodge

Christmas Hodgepodge!

1.  Many families have a story they love to tell every year around a holiday. Does your family have one? Are you the star of that story, or does another family member take center stage? Share your story if you want.
I can't think of a story, but I usually do bring up the time I saved my brother's life when I pulled him out of the ocean. The entire family needs to know why they exist.
2. Are you afraid to speak your own opinion?
No.  Who're you looking at?  Huh, huh?
3. Pantone has announced the color of the year for 2016, and for the first time have chosen two shades-rose quartz and serenity. Hmmm...did you know serenity was a color? You can read the thought behind their selection here, but essentially it's blending the warmth of rose quartz with the tranquility of a very soft shade of blue. So what do you think? Are these colors I'd find in your home or wardrobe? Will you add something in these shades to either place in the new year?
They are currently in my wardrobe and yes, I'll buy more.  Love both and think it is interesting that the choices are pale -- like me. My skin tone is pretty rose-quartz -y, so maybe I don't need to buy it after all!
4. If you could be in a Christmas carol, which one would you choose? Why?
Joy to the World.  It has always been one of my faves. When I was a teen, our church always let the high schoolers do a service (sermon, read the verses, congregational song choices, etc.) in the summer and I always made them sing Joy to the World -- breaking rules and creating scandal ever since.
5. December 9th is National Pastry Day. Will you celebrate? When did you last purchase something from a bakery? What's your favorite treat that falls under the heading of pastry? Do you make it yourself or buy from the professionals?
Buy it. Even if I make a pie, I always use the Pillsbury refrigerated crusts. When you can buy something that tastes that good and is so easy, why not?
6. When it comes to holiday decorating_____________________________.
More is more.  I hired someone to help me this year and she came up with a lot of new ideas. Moved the tree to a new room too.
7. When did you last laugh so much it hurt? Explain.
It wasn't painful, but I cracked up the other night watching SNL -- the sketch where Ryan Gossling was cracking up too.  Kate McKinnon is just hilarious.
8.  Insert your own random thought here.
Christmas card addressing is looming, so I'm out.  Happy to be back with Joyce and the Hodgepodge!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Words I love. The struggle is real.

I love words.  Quotes, especially, but really just words.  I have an account on Instagram, but really it's words for me.  Of course, I'm a reader -- although lately, I've been slacking on my novels for work-related stuff.

So, for today's blog post, I'm hitting you with a few of my new and long-time favorite phrases:

  1. Hello from the other side.  I must have called a thousand times to tell you I'm sorry for everything that I've done, but when I call you never seem to be home.  These words are on everyone's minds right now due to the earworm, but I really do find the lyrics striking from Adele's latest.  And gosh, isn't she just absolutely beautiful?  Sings pretty well too.
  2. The struggle is real.  Not sure why I find this so interesting, but I've never heard anyone in person use it.  I have heard it a couple of times in commericals.  I love it so much that I used it in conversation with Joe the other night.  He just looked at me.  Obviously, he doesn't know how f-ing cool I am.
  3. If it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to abuse one.  This is from the film Spotlight about the Catholic priest sexual abuse scandal and about how it was first reported by The Boston Globe.  The quote is so true -- it is very difficult to engage in ongoing abuse of a child without someone knowing or suspecting something.  If you suspect abuse or neglect, you must report it -- it is your legal duty to do so.  In Texas call 1-800-252-5400.
  4. She's the coolest girl in school and everyone worships her because she's heaven.  This is from my favorite Christmas movie, Love Actually.  Get the popcorn ready.

Happy Friday, friends!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Thanksgiving Blessings

I missed my traditional Thanksgiving post yesterday, but that doesn't mean I'm not grateful -- in fact, I have to give God the glory for more abundance than ever!

You may have noticed that I haven't been posting lately.

The blog break started when Joe and I went to Paris and London to visit our wonderful friends Cathy and Tom who are living over there for a short time while Tom stars in Wicked in London. What a wonderful trip and the best part was being with our friends. Blessing!

The blog break continued when we returned and I came down with a terrible cold. I've still got the end of the cough.  I sat next to a darling girl on the way to Paris who was blowing her nose the entire trip, so I blame her.  While I wouldn't normally think a cold is something for which to be thankful, I know that God directs my steps and that He can make all things work for good.  I do know that we all need to slow down periodically, and sometimes a bad cold is a forced slow down.  Blessing!

Other reasons for dogging on the blog are numerous, but most of it is the hustle of the holiday -- December is our biggest month at Community Partners of Dallas as we are scramble to fill wishes for 5,500 kids -- along with the official beginning of the leadership phase of our capital campaign. Finding the donors for CPD is my favorite blessing of all!

Thanks for sticking with me and the blog. Not sure if I can keep up weekly posts, but I'll try.  You're a blessing too -- Paige

P.s.  One of my favorite things about being in London was that Tom got recognized ALL THE TIME because Frasier is played on TV there every morning and Tom was on that show. Vicarious fame is how I roll!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Hat Lady Hodgepodge

It's Hodgepodge Wednesday!  Let the games begin...

1. Are you comfortable with silence? If you're home alone, do you like silence or do you need regular background noise? Do you seek out times and places to be silent? What's your favorite place to find silence/be silent?

Hmmmm.  Even as I write a leaf blower is loudly working outside my window, a baby is crying down the hall (we let babies come to work until they're 6 months with their moms at CPD), and Joanna is talking on the phone next door, so you'd think I'd crave silence.  Nope.  I pretty much have TV or radio on all the waking hours of the day, unless I'm reading or praying and I can do those things anywhere.

2. October 28th is National Chocolate Day. Can't let that go by without a mention now, can we? Will you celebrate? How? Let's say you can have one of the following right this very minute... a cup of hot chocolate, a strawberry dipped in chocolate, a bowl of plain chocolate ice cream, or a slice of chocolate pie...what's your pleasure?

Ice cream or pie for me.  I'd probably choose the pie first since ice cream is a bit more of a constant for me.  Working at a charity makes chocolate candy everpresent.  We must have it for the kids -- at least that's what we tell ourselves.

3. How do you feel about blue jeans? Favorite thing in the world to wear or nope, don't own a single pair? How often do you wear blue jeans in a typical week? Do you own a blue jean jacket?

LOVE blue jeans!!!  I wear them several times a week.  We are super casual at work, and sometimes even wear them as a uniform with our CPD-branded T-shirts.  I love the way jeans hold it all in (if you know what I mean) and yes, I own several jackets too.  I don't wear them as often, though.

4. Are you superstitious? If so, in what way?

Yes, a little.  Mostly for my sports team faves.  When the Mavs won the NBA championship I couldn't even watch them because if I watched, they lost.  They owe me for their win.  Here's the post I wrote about it:

5. If you had to come up with a costume using only things you have on hand right now, what could you come up with? 

I have lots of hats -- Santa Hats, Ball Caps, Witches Hat, Headband with a Reindeer on it, Headband with Bunny Ears, Birthday Hat, etc.  Hat Lady, I guess.

6. What scares you a little? What do you do when you feel scared?

I watch scary shows all the time.  Right now American Horror Story is freaking me out quite a bit.  What do I do when scared?  Make popcorn and keep watching!

7. Perhaps today will be the day I ______________________________.

Hear back from some people I'm trying to get in touch with for CPD!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

What has happened to all of the Chinese restaurants in Dallas?  When I was young there were so many good ones -- Schezwan Pavilion comes to mind -- but now, it's pretty much either delivery or nothing.  Thank goodness for Royal China!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Four Favorite Things I Love Right Now! Part 23

Sorry that I've been an absentee blogger for a week or so -- life sometimes does get in the way of blogging, doesn't it?  I haven't had time to even read my favorite blogs, must less write one.

BUT, since it is threatening to flood in Dallas today and we have only a few brave souls in the office at Community Partners of Dallas, I have a little time to write.  And you know if I get to write about my Four Faves it's a good day -- yay!

If you are new to this blog, I write about my favorite things periodically.  Visit the most recent one here (and so on):

I decided this morning that I'd do a few of my favorite morning things with one evening thing thrown in so you know I'm loads of fun at all hours of the day (and night)...

I spent a little time this summer reverting to my high school days when I ate no breakfast in the morning.  I thought this might help me to lose a few, but it hasn't and my recent visit to a new doctor had her lecturing me that I was doing the exact opposite thing that I should be doing -- ugh.

NOTE:  Never again will I go to a young, skinny female doctor.  Give me a fat old male doctor every time.  If he also smokes that's a bonus.

1.  I love this Applegate Naturals Sausage that my friend Katie told me about years ago.  You can heat up one or two pieces in a skillet and you're ready to go.  I usually have a few grapes with it too. Red grapes are just fantastic right now.

2.  My new Green Smoothie is the best!  Add these things to your blender in this order:
One 1/4 C water (or you can use coconut water -- I use good old filtered tap water)
Handful of spinach (if I have it I add some kale too and sometimes a little pineapple)
Navel orange, peeled and pulled into a few sections
1/2 of a frozen banana, cut into 1/4 inch slivers
Dash of cinnamon
Squirt of honey
Blend this, then add 1/2 glass or so of ice and a tablespoon of hemp seed (for protein) and pulse/blend again.  Delish!

3.  This is not food, but I'm absolutely smitten with this Scarf from Hadleigh's in Highland Park Village.  They are opening a new store on Madison Avenue in NYC next week, so get your scarf now while you can.  It is oblong and can be a scarf or used as a shawl.  Fabulous patterns!  Not cheap, but SOOOO wonderful.

4.  My friend Sofia told me about Yogi Tea to relax at night and I just love it.  Has a slightly sweet flavor without any sweetener added.

What are your Four Faves?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A Texan's Hodgepodge

Another Wednesday, Another Hodgepodge!!!  I just love answering questions (and asking them), so I'm always happy when it's time to let Joyce (from her blog called From This Side of the Pond) take over.

1. It's October so let's get this out there first thing...have you jumped on the all-things-pumpkin bandwagon? How so?

Not yet, but I will get it going soon.  I'm a big fan of Halloween decorations.  I don't do scary, gruesome stuff though -- only cute witches and pumpkins for me!

2.  "We have more power than will; and it is often by way of excuse to ourselves that we fancy things are impossible." Francois Duc De la Rochefoucauld  What's something you once thought impossible, but in hindsight see as more a matter of lack of will?

I often think it is impossible for me to lose weight.  I start thinking the old "life is too short to deprive myself" thoughts and even though I know (and so you do) that it is a lack of will, I still don't do it.  Just ate a Snickers in protest, BTW.

3. The rose is America's National Flower, but every state also has its own. Are you happy with yours? If you were in charge what would you declare your state's flower? If you're outside the U.S. what bloom would you like to see labeled as your country's national flower?

Every Texan knows that the bluebonnet is the state flower, and hell no we don't want to change it because it is the best flower.  We know everything in Texas too.

4. What have you lost interest in recently?

The Blacklist.  I watched for two years but gave up this season.  In fact, I think I even gave up in the middle of last season and erased them all from the DVR.  I do still love James Spader and think he is a great actor.

5. In your opinion, who's the best living musician?

That is a huge question.  For me that means they have to write and play music (multiple instruments) and sing -- do it all -- as well as be innovative.  I first thought of Prince.

6. S'mores-love 'em or no? Ever make them indoors? Last time you sat around an outdoor fire? Are making s'mores and sitting round a fire pit on your autumn bucket list? Do you have an autumn bucket list?

I don't like marshmallows, so no.  It's been a long time since I've sat around a fire unless you count my friend Cynthia's chimenea months ago.  No bucket list at this time other than to raise money for our Community Partners of Dallas Capital Campaign.  That is my full-time work!

7. Your favorite small town? Why?

Fredericksburg, Texas.  I know it well and love it.  Great food and wonderful memories there.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I am loving the cooler weather in Dallas.  It is wonderful to wake up and go outside and have it be a little colder.  I'm even wearing a sweater today!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

I Have Zits.

I have zits.

You would think by age 50+ that your face would quit producing oil and pimples, but NOOOOOO!

I'm pretty well sick of it.  At least I can wear makeup to cover it up or I'd be depressed every time I looked in a mirror.  Yes, I enjoy being a girl -- makeup is my friend.

NOTE:  You'd enjoy me being a girl too if you had to look at my zits all day.

My complaining makes me think about a story I heard last Sunday from our minister at Highland Park United Methodist Church, Paul Rasmussen.  Paul is our top dog at HPUMC and he is our usual preacher at the service where I'm an usher.  Anyway, Paul told a story about being late for a meeting at the church.  He was running a little late and then when he got to the church he had to drive around and round looking for a parking space.  This caused him to get more and more frustrated and mad.  He was fuming when he got up to his office where his appointment was waiting.

NOTE:  The following quotes are paraphrased by me -- I do not take dictation during church -- only a rare glance at the i-phone on occasion.  I never said I was a saint.  Saints don't have zits.

As any of us would, Paul dashed in and started apologizing -- "I'm so sorry I was late.  I've been driving around and around the parking lot trying to find a space.  I bet you even had trouble finding one.  It is just awful here with parking.  I'm really sorry that it is so bad here."

The man waiting for him said, "Gosh, you're really mad about this aren't you?  Well, you don't know what I would give to have a parking lot full of people who wanted to come to my church.  You can't imagine what I'd give to be feet away from a vital college campus like SMU.  Instead, I drive up to an empty parking lot.  That's why I'm here -- I want to get advice from you on how to grow my church into one where we will be flourishing like you."

So, while I'm not accepting these zits enough to show them off, it did make me think about how much better I have it than most people in the world.

What would the kids we help at Community Partners of Dallas give to be your child or mine?

How much would they love being part of a family?  Having siblings who live with them?  Having a dad to shoot some hoops with?  A mom who would tuck them in at night?

I lived a blessed life.  A zit or five is easy.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Hodgepodging with Recipes

Hello and welcome to my blog -- the final Hodgepodge of September 2015!  Thank you, Joyce! 

1. Something on your October calendar that makes you smile?

I'm a big fan of Halloween.  Other than Christmas, I have more Halloween decorations than anything else.  I do the front door, the yard, a tablescape in the dining room, the den and more.  We always give out TONS of candy -- more than 1,000 pieces -- one or two at a time.

I'm sure you are wondering if I wear a costume.  No.  Being in Dallas we have to dress up in western/cowboy attire several times a year for events and that is enough dressing up for me.  I own three pairs of cowboy boots.

2. Food for the soul or music for the soul...which camp are you in? Tell us why.

Food -- life is not worth living without my favorites.  Symphonic music is a close second -- it really fills up the soul.

3. What are two or three things you've learned recently as the result of an online search?

This morning I was looking to find out about a potential candidate for a job we have open at Community Partners of Dallas.  Linked-In to the rescue, but I prefer FaceBook for this.  

Yesterday I searched party invite text -- planning one for Christmas.  

Monday, I searched the phone number of a new florist that was recommended to me -- called and ordered flowers for someone.

4. Share your favorite game day recipe. You can describe it, post the how-to, or add a link to the actual recipe. 

Ths is my favorite and it came from my friend Jill, BUT you will notice that it is called Paige's Jalapeno Popper Dip.  That is not because I made any changes to it -- the stuff doesn't need any changes, people -- but because my mom taught me to put my name on stuff so you remember who gave it to YOU, not who gave it to your friend who gave it to you.  And I am unanimous in that.  Mrs. Slocum reference for those in the know.


2 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup mayo
1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese (half Monterrey Jack, half Cheddar)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 (7 1/2) can chopped green chilies 
1 (4 ounce) can diced jalapenos
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (yes another 1/2 cup)
1/2 stick of butter, melted


Combine the first 6 ingredients in a mixer or food processor and blend until smooth.  You do NOT need to drain the cans of chilies or jalapenos.  Pour into a large 
quiche dish or pie plate.
In a bowl, combine the panko breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and melted butter.

Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over the dip and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes. 

You want the top to get browned and the dip to be heated through and bubble gently on the edges.  Serve with Tostitos (Restaurant Style) Tortilla Chips.  Enjoy!
5. What are your five essential steps for creating the perfect morning routine?
  1. Up without alarm.  
  2. Drink 32 ounces of filtered water.
  3. The Today Show.
  4. Shower and hair wash -- no styling.
  5. Drive to work and pray.
6. What small thing have you taken note of today?

Ben Rett -- the 4-month-old baby at the office.

7. Sum up your September in seven words or less.

Good deal closed.  Shocks and surprises. Normal.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Gosh, I love sushi.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

An Autumnal Hodgepodge

Yay -- Joyce is back with questions for the Hodgepodge this week, here I go...

1. What have you 'fallen for' recently?

At this very moment in time, I have a Tootsie Roll Pop sticking out of my mouth.  When you work for a charity, lots of donors and volunteers bring candy to our office.  I've always liked these and when I pass through reception if there is one in the candy bowl, I always take it.  This one is orange, but I like red too.  I just bit it.

2. What's something you're 'squirreling away' for later?

Five dollar bills.  One of our wonderful donors and I were talking about money on Sunday and about how we are some of the only people left who still use cash.  I (of course) save all my change for Community Partners of Dallas' Change is Good party, but our donor told me she is saving FIVE DOLLAR BILLS -- she heard that if you do this for a year that you'll have enough money for a trip. People of New Orleans, get ready to serve me some of that delicious food in Autumn of 2016!

3. How do you like your apples? Sweet? Tart? Crisp? Cooked? Apples are one of the superfoods for often do you eat an apple either plain or as part of a favorite recipe? What's your favorite variety?

I like a pie, but my favorite mmm good way is just plain.  My favorite is the Honeycrisp.  I actually have been totally into watermelon lately, so apples have "fallen far from my tree" to coin a phrase!

4. According to Fodor's the ten best fall foliage trips in the US of A are-Aspen ColoradoThe Catskills New York, The Berkshires Massachusetts, Columbia River Gorge Oregon, Green Mountain Byway Vermont, Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway New Mexico, Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, Upper Peninsula Michigan, Lake of the Ozarks Missouri, and Glacier National Park Montana. Which would you most like to visit this fall and why?

I would go to any of them and would love to see the beauty.  I lived in Washington, D.C., for five years and loved seeing the seasons change.  In Dallas, my fall foliage is limited to the 4 Bradford Pear Trees in my front yard, but they really are beautiful.

5. The topic of legalizing marijuana was raised in the most recent televised political debate so let's wade in too. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia currently have laws legalizing marijuana in some form. Four states have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Your thoughts?

I can see both sides, but I do think it is a gateway drug.  Illegal drug use is the cause of so much child abuse and neglect that I can't support it.

6. Are you okay to watch a movie already in progress or do you need to always see it from the beginning? How about jumping into a TV series somewhere in the middle? Is that okay? 

From the beginning.  Movie and Series.  I think it is fine if others want to start in the middle, but I don't.  There are lots of TV series that I wish I had started, but I feel like it's too late.  I've never watched Modern Family, nor 30 Rock.

7. Thursday (September 24) is National Punctuation Day. What rule of punctuation trips you up most often? What rule of punctuation, when broken by someone else, bugs you the most?

I'm a BIG fan of a dash -- always have been.  I feel certain that I don't always use them correctly because I love them so much.  As for others, it's more misspellings that bug me.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
I do not recommend the film 90 Minutes in Heaven.  Only about 5 minutes is spent in heaven.  The rest is pitiful hospital scenes and mad victims bitching.  Yes, there is a nice ending, but not worth the 2 hours spent watching the rest.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Did I Really Say That?

I started writing this blog 5 years ago Sunday.

Writing was never something at which I thought I was particularly good.  I'm a talker.  I like to look at people and give a speech. I was trained as an actor, so of course I like people to look at me while I'm speaking, too!

So how did I end up here five years later with 267 blog posts?

I know how it started.  One of my co-workers wanted to write a blog for Community Partners of Dallas and pitched her idea to me to do it.  Sarah was already writing a personal blog -- that was quite good, btw -- but when I discussed her idea with our communications team (at the time our communications "team" was really only Joanna and I), we decided that if someone was going to write a blog that it should be from me as the "face" of CPD.

Note:  The "face" of CPD could stand to lose a few, but it's the face for now!

At the time I didn't want to write a blog, so we let the idea go.  Within the next 12 or so months, I attended a non-profit and social media branding workshop put on by my friend Kim Whitman.  Kim brought a few experts together to educate us charity folks who were there and there it was again -- should I write a blog???  What platform do I use?  How do I get started? Yikes, yikes, yikes!  I vividly remember talking to Kim after the meeting and she said, "Oh just use Blog Spot (now Blogger) -- that what I use and it's easy.  You can do it, Paige."

Note:  Kim is a real, live TV personality, an entertaining and life-style brand expert, gorgeous friend, and a wonderful mom.  If you don't already read it (and I'm sure you do), check out her wonderful-ness here:

That's was all it took.

I've enjoyed writing this blog so much.  I have posts I'm super-proud of and that still make me cry, as well as throw away ones that make me shake my head.  I love knowing which posts were more popular than others -- Blogger tells you this -- and I am apparently an expert on board service because my posts related to non-profit management tend to have more reads and longer legs.  I've also gotten to know people I've never met in person through blogging.  I love this writing thing.

Thank you for reading!  268 down -- more coming.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Jenny Friends

People say that friends are the family we choose.

I have to say that I'd have a pretty dull life without mine.

Even though I'm from Dallas and grew up here -- and I'm lucky enough to have my family here too -- I feel like I don't have a lot of good friends.  Of course, I know hundreds of people I would call friends. But I'm talking about friends who know the real, true me and love me despite my faults and shortcomings.

Not counting family, I can count those real, true friends on 2 hands.  Some of them I've known forever, some less than 10 or 12 years.  Some I'm in almost constant contact with, others I only see every once in awhile.

What do you call these special best friends?

Some people call them "Ride or Die" friends.  Some call them "Besties".

I've started calling mine Jennys.

Here's why...

Cara was born to a drug-addicted mother and a father who spent most of Cara's life in and out of jail. Child Protective Services caseworkers were called when Cara was born and tested positive for drugs. She was placed into foster care as an infant and when her parents' parental rights were terminated, she became a ward of the State of Texas.  Even though she was a cute baby and later a cute little girl, none of her foster parents ever adopted her and no potential adoptive parents ever showed an interest in her.  She moved to different foster homes a lot.

Cara became more and more disruptive as she got older.  Her feelings were hurt over and over by foster parents, by other children in foster homes, by kids at school.  Cara was an introvert -- but one who acted out in rage periodically.  Since she moved to different foster homes a lot, she attended lots of different schools.  She had no friends.

Many CPS caseworkers were assigned to Cara, but with her years in the system extending and her caseworkers changing jobs or leaving CPS altogether, she didn't have much stability in her life -- until Jenny came along.

NOTE:  40% of new CPS caseworkers leave CPS within 9 months.

Jenny is a CPS caseworker in Dallas County who really cares about her clients, so when Cara was assigned to her caseload, things began to change for Cara.  At first, Cara wasn't used to having a friend, so she wasn't very open with Jenny.  Jenny kept trying.  Cara went into a rage at her foster home and had to move to a new foster home (again).  Jenny kept trying.  Cara got into a huge fight at school.  Jenny kept trying.

Finally one day after a particularly bad fight with her foster dad, Cara began to cry to Jenny.  Cara told Jenny that she only had one friend -- and that was Jenny.

And one good Jenny is enough.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Hodgepodge for the Mind

It's another great week of Hodgepodge Q&A!

1. Last thing you did on the spur of the moment?

I hate to keep harping on it, but I kinda joined a gym on the spur of the moment.  I did visit with my friend Jan once before I joined, but so far so good.  Last week I went three times!  BTW< this is NOT where I'm working out -- I just walk the indoor track.  Moderation, people, moderation!

2. How well informed do you feel about the current Syrian refugee crisis?

I'm as informed as NBC Nightly News and The Today Show have informed me.  I'm so sorry this is happening.  Texas knows how the European Union feels.

3. What have you changed your mind about? 
Once you get to be a certain age, I don't think people change their mind much.  I still hate cilantro.  I have decided that Hagen Daz makes a good ice cream though since Blue Bell is still not being sold in Dallas.

4. A medium sized non-poisonous snake found it's way into the pool trap this weekend. If you'd been sitting poolside would you have fished it out? Gone running? Called for help? Pretended not to know? Continued swimming?

Call the cops!  Our police are so wonderful -- they even helped me turn my sprinkler off once.

5. September 10th is National TV Dinner Day...what's your idea of a great TV dinner? (Or at least a pretty good one!) 

I've never eaten a TV dinner.  I do periodically have a Stouffer's Macaroni and Cheese --- cooked in the oven for 50 minutes, not microwaved.  I really don't use my microwave for anything other than melting butter for popcorn.

6. Samuel Johnson is quoted as saying, "Courage is reckoned the greatest of all virtues; because, unless a man has that virtue, he has no security for preserving any other." Would you agree? Where have you seen that played out recently? What's the second greatest virtue?

I do agree -- we have to have courage to do anything of value in life.  Sometimes just showing up to work is courageous.  Honesty.

7. What are three words you have trouble remembering how to spell?

Architect.  Cryptic.  Receive.  Some of this is typing trouble, not spelling.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I just finished a fun book called Delicious! -- Cute, quick read.  It's by Ruth Reichl.  Ruth was the editor for Gourmet Magazine and a restaurant critic for The New York Times, so she knows a lot about food -- it's her first novel.  Of course, I know her best as a sometimes judge on Top Chef.  Here's the link:

One other random thought -- so glad that Ladies of London is back!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Style Tips From A Not-Too-Stylish Gal!

I attended a fashion show yesterday and (as always) I came away thinking that I knew almost everything about the trends already.

Yes, I do care about fashion.

You may not think that I care much about it if you know me; however, I do read fashion blogs (check out my list of favorite blogs listed on this page) and magazines.  I watch Project Runway and Fashion Police.  But, mostly I stick with the basics.  Here are my tips for looking good and pulled together at age 54 and beyond:

  • Spend some good money on one or two good outfits each season (I usually do Lafayette, Escada, or every few years I do a St. John).  These pieces never go out of style.  Try a pants suit with a jacket, a dress with a long coat that can go to a luncheon or to a cocktail party, etc. 
  • Try a trend in an inexpensive way.  Chico's will have some of this years trends that will be affordable -- I just bought their fringe skirt and purchased some lace in the spring.
  • Know which trends are not for you.  Culottes?  Just say no.
  • Accessories are your friend!  I love, love, love mixing up a plain t and jeans with a fun necklace.  Everyone loves a scarf or wrap to dress up black.  Hermes is great, but any scarf can turn up your outfit and help you look pulled together and intentional.  The hat above is not a usual accessory for me, but when you need to keep the sun off your face, it's a must.
  • My fave uniform for Fall (or any time of year) is a pair of jeans, a t-shirt and a cardigan with cute flats.  I can wear the pants off of this all day long.
  • Separates are my favorite way to dress.  A pair of black pants, a white or black tank and a jacket or cardigan can take you anywhere for work or play.

So, you just read style tips from a not-too-stylish gal.  What are your style tips?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Hamburger Stroganoff-y Hodgepodge

It's time for another round of Hodgepodge questions, so here ya go-

1. What's on your September calendar? Anything fun? 

OMG, YES!  We have one of my fave parties ever on September 20 benefiting Community Partners of Dallas!  It is called Change is Good.  It is basically a kids party on steroids!  Kids bring change (or bills are great too) to the party and for every $10, they get a chance ticket for a fun prize.  It's a great family party with good food, DJ, bounce houses, a bungee jump, etc.  Visit our website to purchase tickets today at

2. You might be described as a natural born _____________________?

Leader -- at least that is what my mom says.  She says I came out of the womb wanting to boss people around!

3. September is National Courtesy Month...what one act of courtesy would you most like to see more of in your home, town, or the world at large? 

I want people to quit looking at their phones during meals.  They have someone to talk to right in front of them -- and who/what could be more fascinating?

4. Eager beaver, chicken out, clam up, or let the cat out of the bag...of the phrases listed, which one have you related to most recently? 

Out of these, I'd say Eager Beaver -- I like to get places early and (shockingly) I'm still going to the gym a few mornings a week!

5. What's your movie theatre snack protocol? Do you chow down on snacks during the previews or wait until the movie begins? Do you buy snacks or refuse to pay those kind of prices? What's the last movie you saw in a theatre? How many thumbs up would you give it?

I must have popcorn (with butter) at every movie -- even if I just had dinner, I'll save room for a small popcorn.  I want my own bag too.  

The last one I went to was Mission Impossible.  I thought it was just OK.  My friend Christie left about 45 minutes in.  Just too far fetched and silly.  Tom Cruise still looks good though.

6. Henry Ford is quoted as saying, "Nobody can think straight who does not work. Idleness warps the mind." Agree or disagree? Why?

Disagree.  Idleness is one of my favorite activities.

7. What's the last job you completed or task you performed where you had to 'work like a dog' until it was finished?

I have to do it all the time at Community Partners of Dallas; however, the work changes as you get older.  We are at the end of our Back-to-School Drive now, so donors are delivering boxes and boxes of supplies each day.  As a small non-profit, all staff members are called to the warehouse so donors have lots of help to empty their cars and trucks quickly and with lots of gratitude.  I threw my back out yesterday from picking up big heavy boxes.  Ugh.

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

Totally craving Hamburger Stroganoff tonight -- headed home to make it.  Going to be pissed if I have no Cream of Chicken Soup...

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Memorial for a Friend

It's been a difficult week, friends.  One of my favorite people passed away and her burial and funeral were yesterday.

The woman who died was not related to me, but I've known her almost all of my life.  Her son is my best and longest friend and I love him and his family more than any other (except my own).

I was fine yesterday and barely cried at all, but today I had lunch with a friend and we were supposed to be talking about Community Partners of Dallas, but I just found myself talking about yesterday.

I need to let it go, so you guys get to hear a little about this wonderful woman who has now gone to be with the Lord.  A few of my favorite things I learned from her:

  • You need something Asian in every room.
  • You need something red in every room.
  • If you like something, buy it.
  • Always carry cash with you in order to make a good deal with an antiques dealer.

Those are all great, practical advice things that I fully embrace, but here are my favorite things ever and the things that have me in tears as I write:

Once when we were at a big family event at her home for Thanksgiving, I remarked on how beautiful all of her family members were and didn't she feel proud of how gorgeous they all were, etc.  And let me tell you, we were surrounded by several generations of her truly gorgeous offspring.  This is what she said back to me:

It is what is on their insides that make them beautiful.

The other image that I have never forgotten is one concerning she and her dear husband (another one of my favorite people ever -- he passed about 7 years ago) who met while she was in high school and he was in college.  They had a really wonderful love that is really rare.  Anyway, she once told me that they often awoke in the morning holding hands in their sleep.

What a woman and what a legacy she left.  I'm a better me for having known her.