Summertime Drinks–Guilt Free

A sweet little friend of mine, Amelia, has a great, fun, little blog: that I just have to share with you.

Isn’t she cute?  (That’s her adorable little dog when she was just a puppy – her name is Betsey Johnson!)  Amelia’s blog is a fun health and fitness blog geared primarily towards young brides, but, it is really fun for anyone at any age to read.  A couple of weeks ago she shared some yummy recipes that I thought sounded too good not to share on my own blog.  She also shared some interesting tidbits about calories in one of our favorite drinks you may not be aware of.  Check out the following – everything in red is directly from Amelia’s blog:

Here’s a fun fact:

ONE margarita has more calories than a McDonald’s BigMac®

…the proof is in the numbers…

One 10 oz margarita = 550 calories

One McDonald’s BigMac® = 540 calories

And since nobody ever has just ONE margarita, think about this.

Two marg’s have more calories than a BigMac with a

side of large fries (500 calories).

source: mcdonald’s themselves

“So I don’t know about you…but that pretty much ruins the standard margarita for me. Actually, it makes me want to run screaming in the opposite direction.
But no worries… there are tons of "skinny" margarita recipes out there and I’m going to rock your world with my favs.”

Hand over your keys. It’s time for a…

Rockin’ Razzy Rita
Serves 1

Calorie Consumption

Calories= 105

Fat= 0g

Sodium= 5 mg

Carbs= 2g

Sugars= .5g

Protein= 0g

What Ya Need:

-1.5 oz. tequila

-1/2 tsp. Crystal Light powdered drink mix, Raspberry Ice

-5 oz. water

-1 oz. lime juice

-Garnish (optional):

-Lime wedge

-Splenda (or whatever sweetener you prefer) or salt for rim of glass

Bartender’s Instructions

-If desired, run some lime juice along the rim of the glass and dip into a dish of salt or sweetener.

-On The Rocks

-Combine all ingredients, mix well, and serve over ice.


-Place all ingredients (dissolve Crystal Light in water first) in a blender

-Add 1 cup crushed ice

-Blend on high until well mixed.

-Garnish with a slice of lime.


Sparkling Margarita

“We’re going old school style, but adding a bubbly twist…and it’s awesome.”

Serves 1

Calorie Consumption

Calories: 115

Fat: 0g

Sodium: 55mg

Carbs: 2g

Sugars: <.5g

Protein: 0g

What Ya Need:

-3/4 cup Diet Sprite Zero
-1.5 oz. tequila
-1 packet (two 5-calorie servings) Crystal Light Lemonade Drink Mix
-2 tbsp. lime juice

-Lime wedge

-Salt or no-calorie sweetener for rim of glass

Bartender’s Directions:

-Run some lime juice along the rim of the glass and dip into a dish of salt or sweetener.

-Mix all ingredients together.

-Pour over 1 cup of crushed ice.

-Garnish with lime slice.


“In case you aren’t much for alcohol, I haven’t forgotten about you! Here is a great mocktail recipe!”

Sparkling Pink Lemonade Slush

Serves 2

What Ya Need:
-1 1/2 cups Crystal Light

-1/2 cup Diet Sprite Zero
-1 1/2 cups frozen strawberries
-1 large frozen banana
-1 cup ice cubes
-Lemon slice for garnish

Bartender’s Instructions:

-Blend all ingredients together

-Pour into glass

-Garnish with a lemon slice

There you have it.
3 refreshing summertime cocktails
with only a fraction of the calories.

How fun are those?  And, you don’t even have to feel guilty!  Gotta love that!  Now go make yourself a drink and don’t forget to check out her blog!

Happy Decorating!

Create The Look You Want With A Wall Collage


Do you have a large, blank wall that you find yourself staring at and wondering what the heck to do with?  Sometimes it can be a bit daunting trying to figure out what to do with a large, wide or tall wall.   But, you’re not alone – it’s not really as unusual a dilemma as you might think and there are ways to tackle the challenge. 

One way of accomplishing a great look is by clustering items together to create one large piece of art – or a wall collage. Definition: a. An artistic composition of materials and objects pasted over a surface, often with unifying lines and color.  See below for some great examples:


By pairing these prints with this wall hanging above it gives this wall the visual width it needs to properly fill the space. 


It’s an opportunity to be creative and put things together that you wouldn’t expect to see. 


Like different textures and shapes…






You can create extra height this way…


Or extra width.


Isn’t this a great way to create the larger art form you’re looking for?


And, it helps with some difficult issues, too.


You can also use a wall collage to fill extra wall space around furniture.




It’s a great way to fill the space and create interest at the same time.

Have fun and give the “wall collage” a try in your own home.

Happy Decorating!

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy!


There were two great gifts my father gave me while he was here on this earth.  The first was the unconditional devotion and love he gave my mother and the second was the absolute unconditional devotion and love he gave me, my siblings and our families throughout our lives.

my birthday with mom and dad

Those are the foundations in life that can’t be replaced by money or things.  And, those are the precious heartfelt memories that no one can ever take away.

Thank you, Dad!  We love and miss you.

Happy Father’s Day!

The Many Choices Of Stained Concrete Floors


After doing a blog post about the couples shower my friend, Kathy, had for my kids and showing pictures of her cozy home with her stained concrete floors (check it out here) I wanted to do a blog about them – concrete floors that is.


Over the years I’ve had a number of clients ask about this procedure so I wanted to show you just what versatility you have with this look.  You can do a simple stain like this floor shown above…


Or you can get really creative and add a border.

They can be done in a pattern in multiple colors….


Scored to look like tile….


Or custom designed in a cool, colorful pattern unique to your space.


They rarely, if ever, need to be replaced if they’ve been installed and maintained correctly.


Aren’t they just beautiful?




If you’re interested in finding out more about them check out these websites:

Happy Decorating!

Rehearsal Dinner With A “Hollywood Theme”


Memorial weekend was a whirlwind weekend to say the least with the rehearsal dinner, the wedding and my daughter’s graduation party.  But, it was so much fun and we were so happy to be surrounded by our family and friends the energy level stayed up, joy was in the air and happily all went well!


For starters, after many, many prayers, the weather cooperated. Such a huge relief! So after my daughter and sister-in-law helped me set up the rehearsal dinner venue it was time to get ready for the evening and attend the wedding rehearsal.


There was a wedding right after our rehearsal and the “other wedding party” was none too happy that we were rehearsing while they were still setting up (hence –their butterflies on the columns).  Not that I could blame them, but we couldn’t help that – we weren’t the ones that scheduled it that way.  So with the uncomfortable timing and time restraints on the rehearsal – when most of wedding party arrived together twenty minutes late – we had exactly thirteen minutes for a whirlwind rehearsal before we had to get out of their way.


A lot of work for these little munchkins….but, they rose to the occasion and did a great job!



Afterwards it was onto the rehearsal dinner which was held in an old movie theater right down the street. Love this marquis!


Since it was at a movie theater I wanted to go with a “Hollywood theme” and I wanted the invitations to reflect that.  But, I couldn’t find the invitations I wanted so I made these to send to the additional guests we were inviting outside the wedding party.  I found some plain cards at Hobby Lobby and punched two holes at the top for the ribbon and added the jewels for bling.


I used their wedding blue and layered it with a pearl white for the details, then put the menu choices on little cards that I slipped inside.  On the left I placed a card with their last name initial on it (came on clear paper from Hobby Lobby that you peel and stick to the surface) and when they opened it up….


They found a ticket to the event….


Which of course was reflective of the movie theater venue.  (The fashionista bride-to-be was even color coordinated with the venue! Who knew!)


To go along with the  “Hollywood Theme” I added a red carpet, a movie size poster of the couple, some swanky palm trees and of course the movie theater railings to guide guests as they entered the lobby.


My sister-in-law, Gloria (my life-saver), not only helped set the venue up – she acted as the “paparazzi” and snapped shots of every single guest who arrived.


Daniel and Melissa ended up arriving separately – she with the bridesmaids, he with the groomsman.



I had to get a shot with my adorable granddaughter…


And my adorable daughter.


Once through the red carpet guests were first met with this “Hollywood-esque” table housing glitzy florals, candlesticks, feathers and a little plaque with their initials, picture and wedding invitation.



Inside the banquet room was – again – a “Hollywood-esque” picture table filled with their pictures in these blingy frames, a Cinderella carriage, a pair of candlesticks (originally black – I painted them silver for the occasion), and if you look closely you’ll see their initials, one on each side.  I bought them black and spray painted them silver, too.  Also, tucked between the frames was a framed poem I wrote for Melissa……


I actually got up and read it for Melissa and the guests that night without crying!


And, of course, we had a “concession stand” filled with popcorn and candy.


I used these popcorn bags as party favor bags for the guests to load up with their munchies of choice.  I placed them in a napkin holder I brought from home.


Each table had a feather centerpiece, a candelabra or candlestick, a cream feather boa, director’s board, crystals and name tags.  I bought champagne colored satin floor length table cloths and just used brown satin fabric from Hobby Lobby as toppers.  I just cut them to fit and turned under the edges.  (The arrangements would have had more feathers in them, but my hubby unintentionally crammed my box of an additional  hundred feathers in the corner of the garage and I couldn’t find them anywhere till after the weekend was over! Yes, I wanted to kill him! Sorry, Doogie, I had to share)


Each guest had a name tag.  I bought these pre-printed cards at Hobby Lobby and glued these blue stones on them for bling.  Then I printed each name off in brown ink onto clear label paper and adhered them to each card.  That way they were all uniform and it looked just like they were printed directly on the cards. 




Also, on each table I had their pictures enlarged on these “faux” magazine covers to make them look like Hollywood movie stars. Each table had a different picture and a different magazine cover.


I don’t know…….maybe it’s just a “mama thing”, but to me they’re cute enough to be movie stars!


We added fun picture labels to the wine bottles…


Notice the filler in the vases?  Its just sparkly birthday bag stuffing from Hobby Lobby.  Had a glitzy flare to it which fit the Hollywood theme.


At Daniel and Melissa’s “sweetheart table” I had a cheetah wrap, silk gloves and a fake diamond ring for Melissa to don.


Ever the good sport, she happily played along.


My husband emceed the event which made it really fun. 






Movie stars or not, they were the stars of the weekend and I think they had a really great time this special evening leading up to the big day!

Thanks for indulging me with, yet again, another wedding post, but hopefully you enjoyed it and got some fun decorating ideas for a future event of your own as well.

(Their wedding coming soon!)

Happy Decorating!

Tangerine Tango–The Color Of 2012


Many of you blog followers out there have read about the color of the year already.  But, there are as many or more that have no clue that the color of the year is called “tangerine tango”. 


The refreshing vibe from this vibrant color has made it’s way to just about everything…..


Whether it be lipstick…..




Or nail polish….

living room orange drapes amanda nisbet_thumb[1]

But, the biggest splash is in interior design.  Take a look at these vibrant tangerine tango drapes in a space filled with black and cream.  Imagine how different the room would look if the drapes were black or cream, too.  Boring!  This vibrant tangerine never fails to add snazz and pizzazz.  It doesn’t matter if it’s in a hip, transitional space like this….


Or a more modern space like this…….


Even a more traditional space like this.

dining-room-tarpon-l Chic Coastal Living

You can have just a tiny little punch of tangerine like these pillows….


Or maybe just a little more with a chair or two….


Just a simple throw on each chair in tangerine adds such a pop of color and fun.  It tilts the entire personality of the room to feel less “serious”.

Orange living Room Decor2

If you’re bold enough you can paint an entire wall.  Notice how the black, white and gray anchors the space and helps balance the weight of such a bold color?



You could always go for the gusto with a tangerine bedroom? Could you ever be so bold????

Why not?!  I say go for it?!

Because if you’re looking for a wow factor….you certainly have in tangerine tango.

Happy Decorating!

More Wedding Shower Fun!


Many of you know by now that my family is friends with four other families and have been for years and years.   We’ve traveled together, do holiday celebrations together and we support each other in all the family endeavors we are each involved with.  And, of course, with this being the year my son got married, well, he was the one who got the fun and support……from the entire group….which makes it so special and fun.


My friend, Kathy, volunteered to host the shower at her house and I have to share her cozy little cottage of a home with you.  First of all the entrance to her home is so welcoming and inviting you can’t wait to take a peak inside after seeing the charming front porch.


She’s co-owner of a store here in town called Celebrations and has access to all sorts of goodies and the works of local and semi-local artists.  Like this cool plaque.  (She actually had one made for each of us one year at Christmas in our own personal colors.)



Once inside you’re met with her cozy family room replete with these beautifully stained concrete floors.  How cool are these?



She has a wonderful collection of crystal votives that are always aglow with soft candlelight. 


Her back yard is equally as charming and inviting with her beautifully manicured gardens and touches of  black and white, red and yellow.



And, here’s the gang of mama’s in the group.  As I’ve said before we call our group the “Rita’s” short for “senorita’s who like margarita’s”.  We were at a Mexican restaurant drinking margarita’s when we came up with that. And we laughingly refer to ourselves with the acronym R-I-T-A’s as “Rocking, Intimidating T@#$! and A@#$% .  (Don’t ask….that’s just how we roll.)  Meant to be a total joke of course and that’s just between us……don’t tell the kids, they’d be mortified – our little secret.  And, yes, these are the same women from my last blog post on Cindy’s art show.  Scroll down and take a look at her drawing of us on yesterday’s post and see if you recognize us.  We are out of order here, but you can see she did an amazing job on the rendering.


It was a yummy, casual barbecue……just right for a relaxing, fun evening with family friends.



Time to chow….for most of us at least…Becky (in front) looks like she might be meditating….not exactly sure.   Smile




My daughter and granddaughter….


My son and grandson…..


Our kids have come to be lovingly referred to as the second generation “little Rita’s”.



You may recognize this gorgeous couple from my last blog post, too.


And, here’s our newest little Rita…..just weeks old for this picture and already partying with the gang.


My granddaughter loving on her grandfather she calls, Doogie.  A name his sons and their friends dubbed him as teenagers.


After dinner it was time for the soon to be bride and groom to don a veil and top hat for the “Wedding Pictionary Game”





All the Rita’s gathered around – big and little – or should I say old and young???



The premise was to pull a heart shaped card with the word or phrase on it referring to marriage or weddings they were to draw.  Girls against boys – each team had to guess what it was.





Somehow every drawing seemed to be a stick figure of sorts….


And, in the end Daniel and the boys won which inspired him to playfully gloat and celebrate with “the Tebow”. Too funny.

Another great time with the Rita’s celebrating the lives of our “little Rita’s”…..moments we all cherish.  Our group, with the addition of new second generation husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends, and even third generation grandbabies is now up to thirty-three I think. Fun, fun, fun.  And stay tuned, because of course we will be having a baby shower for our newest little Rita soon!

Happy Decorating!!!

Art From The Heart


One of the things that’s been fun for a group of my friends over the years is going to various art shows for our incredibly talented artist friend, Cindy.  She has an adorable art studio at her home where she develops and perfects her craft. 



How cute is this little Santa Clause?  She painted it at Christmas…..


And, how cute is this art studio?



This is a drawing she did of our group of friends.  (I’m the one in the middle) We each got a copy. Cool, huh!


We’ve been to many of her shows and exhibits over the years – all so much fun – and this particular art exhibit was held in Fort Worth with a great many other talented artists from the area.  Her theme for this series was butterflies….


Which is especially meaningful to me this year with the loss of my father and my (step) mother-in-law, both whom I loved dearly.  For me butterflies represent  blossoming from this life to the next….free and beautiful, their spirits cloaked in their new bodies….joyful and free to embrace their new world.  I love that thought…..that picture of their life continuing even more beautiful than it was before. 



This is Cindy, artiste extraordinaire.  Check out some of her fabulous artwork below:




The unfortunate white glare you see in some of these is from my camera flash.





Aren’t these great?!



(This is normally a g-rated blog, but I love these wonderful paintings!)



One of the advantages of having an artist for a friend is that we get to tag along to her art shows to see her art, hob nob, eat and drink for free and generally party in style. Aren’t connections fun?


Our good friend, Becky, with Cindy.  Can you pick her out in the drawing above?


Cindy’s hubby, always there to support her and cheer her on, with my hubby.


Her son, a big fan as well, here with his girlfriend.

A great turn out, great art, great food and a fun evening with great friends.  If you’re interested in any of her artwork please contact her through her website.

Happy Decorating!

Prom Time Prep!


An eventful spring to say the least with all the wedding prep for my son and his fiancé, but also for my daughter who is a senior in high school this year.  Lots and lots of “last times” and one of them was the prom.  Last year I set up my bathroom so she and her friends could get ready “in style” and decided busy or not, I was doing it again this year. 


Alyssa had several friends coming back this year to get ready together for the big event and I wanted them each to feel pampered and special.  So I made them each their own tray with cloth napkins, fruit, cheese, deli meat and crackers.  The crème-de la-crème was the Fresca in the wine glasses with a little orange slice added for color.


Each girl had their own and I brought up a platter of meat and cheese and a bowl of fruit for them to replenish as often as needed. 


One by one they started arriving….all in t-shirts and shorts for the “make up and hair” experience.


My daughter, Alyssa, who has amazing hair (she’s the one giving me the snarly face for snapping this picture) literally worked on her hair for five hours.  No exaggeration.  She changed it up five or six times till she landed on the right one.  Between you and me it looked great the first time…..flowing down like this in waves.  But, like most teenage girls my opinion wasn’t the one that mattered….not for something as important as prom.  Here she is with Natalie, friends since kindergarten.



Long time friend, Jaime, there for the event, too.  They became friends in the seventh grade.


(Here you see after my daughter curled her hair, she then decided to straighten it!)


For the overflow of girls I set up a table in my bedroom with mirrors and trays, too.  I could only fit four in the bathroom comfortably.


And it worked like a charm for Jordan and Sydney, friends of Alyssa’s since the seventh grade. 



Finally ready she gets a hug from her proud dad.


All dolled up and ready for the special night.


Such beautiful girls…..such a special memory.  And, yes, in case you didn’t notice the final hair do – after curling it, then straightening, then curling it again she ended up wearing back in a loose pony tail!  Go figure!

But, such is the life a teenage girl.  Sweet, sweet memories.

Happy Decorating!


Designing A Piano Room: The Search For The Perfect Chair


One of the projects I’m currently working on involves sprucing up the home of an adorable young family.   They’ve lived in the home for several years and with the “busy”ness of having babies and raising a young family they never quite got around to finishing out the decorating.  Now with their youngest the age of three they have a little more time to think about such things so they are concentrating first on the main living areas.

And, one of these areas is the piano room.  


After selecting our color palette and all the fabrics we are using it was time to think about seating.  We discussed the options – chaise lounge, settee, chairs, etc. and she decided her preference was two matching chairs. Something with “style”, but priced reasonably enough that we can recover it in this fabulous fabric above.  You can’t tell, but it actually has a sort of glittery sparkle to it.  Very rich looking.

FC Doncaster Bayside

It was selected to coordinate with the fabrics we are using for the drapes shown above and below.

FC hayton antique


So I set out to find some furniture options for her to consider.


I love the lower curved back and the distressed wood framing with all it’s intricate detail in this chair above.  A tad pricier than we wanted, but do-able.


I also like this more traditional look.  It’s a bit “squishier” and more comfy with the added cushion.  Again, I like the low back with the wood framing and subtle curves.  Nice look for the space.


A totally different look, this high back chair would actually work, too.  My preference is probably a lower back, but this would still work.  I like this style with the straight lines, and nail heads.


Still, there were others to consider – very different styles – but all styles that would work well depending on her taste and preference.


Since it’s not a room that will get a lot of actual use – “wallow-y” comfort isn’t the absolute top priority.  Just a couple of nice chairs where she or her guests could sit with a glass of wine and have a nice conversation or listen to the piano. 


I love this particular style and this fabric would actually work well with the drapery fabrics if she should decide to wait on the expense of recovering.  Just adding a pillow in the blue and cream fabric of choice would tie it all together.


Little Tip:  This is a way to tie in the fabric you love and the look you want if you can’t afford to do the entire chair. 


Another couple of styles that would work well are this sexy style above (love this fabric, too, but it just wouldn’t work with our color palette)……


Or this cool transitional style. 

All so different, yet all viable options.  A multitude of looks that would work in the same space.  And, each one of these chairs, as cool as they are, would take on a new personality once reupholstered in her own spectacular fabric of choice.     Decisions, decisions……..what would you choose?

Let me know your thoughts……

Happy Decorating!

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