Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Life is grand at the "Cottage"

Had to share the new Cottage treasure? I have moved it all around the house and hope to land on the perfect spot for her soon.  IF, you want one and I am sure you do - you know how us blogging sisters are she has one, I want two! Then pop over and see Paula and check it out. My friend Tina inspired me, and then Laurie Anna had one too, so of course I wanted one too!
Thank you all for the sweet and thoughtful comments yesterday regarding my departure from ATT, you are the best friends!
Hope you all have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Today is my last day at AT&T. If you recall from this post, I recently was given a letter of separation by AT&T. 19 years later I would have never imagined I would be in a layoff situation. I started working at Southwestern Bell Telephone in Longview, Texas, November 13, 1990 with the goal in mind to retire here as well.  Since receiving the letter of separation it has been a roller coaster of emotions interviewing for positions within the company and externally. Last night LOML and I went to pick up the boxes from my office that were filled with memories. When we arrived home I begin unpacking the boxes and realized what an incredible career I had over the 19 years. The last 6 years being the best of the best! Supporting the marketing organization was a ton of fun (thank you Jamie for placing me in events!). The event org supported fabulous events such as the yearly Sales Kick Off, The Executive Briefing Center,  President's Club, Circle of Excellence, Diamond Club for both management and non-management events held at the best of the best resorts. I had the opportunity to travel and stay places that I will treasure forever!  Cabo at The Marquis,The Four Seasons at Aviara, The Westin Kierland at Arizona, The Bellagio, The MGM, The Ventian all at Vegas, The Diplomat at Hollywood, Fl,  The Del at San Diego, The Fairmont at San Francisco, The Hyatt Hill at San Antonio, The Drake at Chicago, Royal Sonesta at New Orleans. All of the activities, the Pink Jeep Tour in Sedona, snorkeling in Cabo, massages at the finest hotels, The Red Rock Canyon Jeep Tour in Vegas, The Everglades Swap Boat ride in Florida, the Alligator Farm in Florida, Behind the Scenes Tour of the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park in San Diego, The ferris wheel ride at Navy Pier in Chicago with my fabulous peers, the sunset dinners in San Francisco, the ferry ride across to Sausilto. The sporting events, the Byron Nelson Golf Event for ATT, Dallas Stars games, Mavericks play off games, Ranger games, the PGA tours, having lunch and being seated at the same table with Byron Nelson, the Baseball Hall of Fame event & meeting Rollie Fingers & Wade Boggs, supporting the ARF (Animal Rescue Foundation) event in St Louis for Tony LaRussa - the list of memories goes on and on.  The entertainment  provided at these events and meeting the bands behind the scenes was amazing! CCR, Train, Janet Jackson, Tony Marquis, The Beach Boys, fire twirlers, jugglers, etc.. Then my favorite- giving back to the community... American Heart Walk (love you Sara!), Junior Achievement (hugs Caroline!) Chip Moody Golf Classic (thanks Amy!), Denton County Advocacy Center, and many more. The opportunities, the community involvement, building the brand in the community for AT&T have no doubt changed and molded my life. What will I miss tomorrow when I don't go to the office besides the rush hour traffic and the alarm clock? My husband, the LOML (love of my life) who is still employed there (30 years of service), my dear friends, my tub mates, a few of the leadership team that truly "get" events and the importance of them, and mostly the routine I have had for 19 years!  I am thrilled for the forced opportunity to pursue a dream I have had for many years. I can't wait to share my new venture with all of you after the first of the year! I am looking forward and not back, living on faith and promise that tomorrow will be filled with another wild ride!  Love you all... Valarie

Monday, December 28, 2009

It's Complicated!!

LOML and I had date this afternoon. We went to the movie to see "it's Complicated" with Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin & Steve Martin. We laughed and laughed... oh my gosh it is a Holiday must see!! I loved Meryl's wardrobe. It was so classy, funky and just really hip!  If you have a chance to go out to a movie ~ I highly recommend!! 
Chat tomorrow! 

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Something to think over today....


One day , the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live.
They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.
On their return from their trip , the father asked his son , "How was the trip?"
"It was great , Dad..", said the son
"Did you see how poor people live?" ,the father asked.
"Oh yeah , " said the son.
"So , tell me , what did you learn from the trip?" asked the father.

The son answered:
"I saw that we have one dog and they had four.
We have a pool  that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end.
We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night.
Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon.
We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight.
We have servants who serve us , but they serve others.
We buy our food , but they grow theirs..
We have walls around our property to protect us , they have friends to protect them."

The boy's father was speechless.
Then his son added ,   "Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are."
Isn't perspective a wonderful thing? Makes you wonder what would happen if we all gave thanks for everything we have, instead of worrying about what we don't have.
Appreciate every single thing you have , especially your family and friends!
"Life is too short, and family and friends are too few."

Friday, December 25, 2009

White Christmas!!

Can you believe we have a White Christmas here in North Texas? From my home to yours...  MERRY CHRISTMAS!! 

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Preparing for a visit from Santa tonight! If you follow my blog you remember that  Santa comes here Christmas Eve to read a story to the grandchildren and have milk and cookies before his long journey.  The kids will be here for dinner, we will laugh with Santa and remember years of fun with him.  
My wish for you is that you are snuggled around the fireplace enjoying family and eating all your favorite cookies!  Thank you for stopping by today. I know you are all very busy!! 
fa la la la la!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


As we all are scurrying around the last few days decorating our homes, hanging the final thread of garland, decorating cookies, I hope you find joy and happiness in your homes and the reason for the season.  I will be out today finding the last perfect gift .. but before I go I wanted to share my Christmas home with you. Please click here to find the photos. Wishing you a fun day filled with love, laughter and a bit of jingle!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

If everything seems.....

I love this print.. I found it here... Hope you all have a great Monday!!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hosted Christmas gathering last night!

Edited to add***** Yes, the red thangy holding the photos is an old chip clip holder, I actually found at a garage sale in a pot with ivy growing on it!! I asked so nicely.. "What would you sell that pot of ivy for?" She said "OH, HoW ABOUT 2 BUCKS!" It was very rusty, of course you know I had to paint it RED!! Hugs!! Valarie ********

Happy Sunday all... Sharing my Christmas gathering from last night!  The menu last night was fajitas -chicken or beef, black bean salsa, cheese dip, BBQ poppers, Pico de Gallo and Guacamole! and plenty of beer to go around at least 3 times and 2 bottles of red wine. A good time had here at the blue cottage!!  I have to give credit here for the recipes.. here...  
I made BBQ jalepeno poppers, Please note- I made the recipe straight from her cookbook not her website, there is a difference. In the book it stated to bake for one hour- didn't tell you what temperature so I baked them at 375.  PLEASE LISTEN TO ME!! DO NOT WEAR LATEX GLOVES, WEAR RUBBER GLOVES.. Working with jalepenos makes your hands cry out loud!! I also advise one day in advance for prep- a bit time consuming!

And then in the midst of all my busy - LOML comes home from an "errand" he had to run and brought me this adorable rooster clock!! AND he hung it ! Thanks LOML for living the dream with me!!

And then here are a few photos I snapped of the house last night! Hugs to all of you.. Valarie

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Santa- Define Good!

Had to share this adorable door hanger pillow I found today.... Could not wait to show you!  
Hope you had a great day! Valarie 

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Just ask.... can I have those cedar sprigs?

While visiting the Christmas Tree farm the other day... I asked with the Texas accent??? Can I have those cedar sprigs? (that they have  left over from the tree trimming) he said "SURE, HOW MANY YOU WANT?" Well, I got a bag full - so I have been decorating with them... the house smells soooooooo GOOD!!   
Have fun today!! 

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I caught Santa!! (in my house)

This is a must do for your kids & grandkids! You will be glad you did, what a cool memory!!
Jingle Bells!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cornbread Taco Bake

Let me introduce you to my blogging Texas friend... The LonE StAr QuEEn!  I have to give The Queen credit for this recipe -- it's yummy!! It was so yummy that I forgot to photo the finished dish!

Cornbread Taco Bake

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 (1 ounce) package taco seasoning
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 can creamed corn
  • 1 T chopped jalapenos
  • 1T chili powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup green pepper chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions 
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce 
  • 1  package cornbread mix
  • 1 (2 7/8 ounce) can French-fried onions (optional)
  • 2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • black olives (optional)

  1. In skillet, brown meat with onion and green pepper; drain.
  2. Stir in taco seasoning and tomato sauce
  3. Mix together cornbread mix, milk, egg, corn, jalapeno, chili powder and add black olives and  half of the french fried onions if desired
  4. Pour 1/3 of cornbread in the bottom of pan
  5. Add the meat mixture to the pan
  6. Sprinkle half of the cheese over the meat
  7. Pour additional cornbread on top
  8. Bake uncovered at 400°F for 20 minutes.
  9. Top with cheese and french fried onions if desired.
  10. Bake 2-3 minutes longer.
Hope you all are staying warm & nestled in your home!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

My Wish List ....

Dear Santa, 
Please find our "wish list" on the chalkboard in the kitchen!! 
See you Christmas Eve!! 

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Joy....

I found this print at Goodwill a few months back. Hung it on the side porch.. I love Christmas and the joy it brings. I hope that your holiday is filled with family & friends! Hugs!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Santa is watching over the kitchen area... I am digging through the favorite cookie recipes over the years. What kind of cookie do you leave Santa? Do you leave milk? or a beverage to help Santa brave the snow? Maybe a little spiced eggnog? 

Wishing you all happiness as you prepare for the holidays with family & friends! 

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sharing one of my favorite Christmas ornaments~

Let's have a cup of holiday tea!  I wish you all were close so we could curl up in our favorite chair, tell stories, have a cup of tea and enjoy our friendship. I value each of you - Thanks for stopping by today!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

McKinney - Home for the Holiday Tour

This is where I will be today.... won't you come join me?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Sharing movie night with you....

LOML and I had date night last night and went to the movie to see Everybody's Fine with Robert De Niro, & Drew Barrymore. It was the best sad movie I have seen in a while.(does that make sense?) I think I was expecting something a little different, something more cheery and Christmasy. I thought that Robert De Niro was awesome,  which obviously is not surprising. He was very believable as a father who has lost touch with his children. However if you feel like some cheerful Christmas movie, Everybody's Fine is not it. Take a tissue for sure... 

PS... DON'T FORGET THE MCKINNEY CHRISTMAS TOUR OF HOMES IS TOMORROW AS WELL.... I was a docent in one of the homes today. The crowds were unbelievable... come see us - you will be glad you did! 

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Treated myself.....

To...  a few baby roses for my favorite little hanging vases in the dining room area! I love these little wall hanging vases... Always perk up the space and ohhh how I love to fill them with roses, daisies, ivy, lemons, limes, mint.. anything goes in these vases! Do you have something in your home that has a favorite spot in your heart???

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Pioneer Woman in Dallas tonight!! AND I WAS THERE!!

YEP- Ree was here tonight and I went to meet her... me and about 450 others all crammed into Borders! The very cool thing is I got there really early .. and I was 8th in line! She signed my book, we all got the adorable book tour tee shirt (no, you can not buy them!) I was thrilled to meet a few blogging buddies... I finally met LUCINDA, I became fast friends with Becky & Sherry, (#6 & 7in line) and I met Kerri who brought Ree the cutest gift basket ever! (why didn't i think of that?) It was a great time had by all... ENjoy the photos and if you get a chance to go to one of her signings you should.

Hugs to all...

Sharing a bit of Christmas cheer-

Hey all... Made these little cups for LOML office yesterday! I have been collecting my favorite christmas mugs through the year. I filled the cup with shredded red foil filler, put in a few candy canes, 2 packages of swiss miss hot cocoa (everyone loves that!) and then a few pieces of candy. Wrapped them with Christmas tissue, tied with tulle- attached a Christmas bell for cheer.  There you have it... cute, inexpensive way to bring joy to a large office!

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