Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

No Hassle St. Patrick’s Day Entertaining


Who needs the luck of the Irish when you can entertain with super easy shortcuts…as in, grab some ready-made frosting and decorate cookies you buy at your grocery store bakery?  It’s the QT you’ll have with the kiddos when you decorate them that matters, after all!


Pass the green beer, y’all and grab a cupcake!  If you don’t have time to bake, don’t sweat it.  Grab some store bought cupcakes and hit the dollar store for St. Patrick’s Day decorations– they make ordinary cupcakes pack some major “Wow Factor” when they’re served to your guests.  Plus, the kids will love them.


I found this recipe from the Yummy Life for making green popcorn that was by far the easiest…I initially tried making it the old fashioned way on the stove top and burned it all!  Green, burned popcorn– NOT awesome.  But, the microwave is the way to go– and it comes out like gourmet kettle corn!  Definitely a hit!

Here’s my segment where I shared these tips on The Dee Armstrong Show…


Team Tailgate Trees

Light up Your Tailgate Like a Christmas Tree

Team Tailgate Trees

Turn your tailgate ON with gorgeous team themed trees and decorations from At Home!

Christmas in October?  Nope!  It’s Tailgate Season, y’all!  This is the hottest trend since bacon stuffed burgers!  At Home is selling these 4′ trees in multiple colors for only $24.99 that you can decorate in licensed decorations in both NFL and SEC team colors and logos.  Score!

Dallas Cowboys Tree

At Home Tree decorated in Dallas Cowboys licensed decorations.

Texas Longhorns Tree

At Home tree decorated in Texas Longhorns licensed decorations.

Not only does At Home have all the licensed team decorations (check out the adorable Tailgate Trailer in the above pic!) but they have lots of tailgating accessories like this 18″ football grill.  

Football Grill

18″ Football grill from At Home.

Aaaaaaaand, just consider At Home your one-stop-shop for plates, platters, beer mugs, and table accessories. I mean, football shag rug, anyone?  Hello Man Cave! 

Check out the video here from Daytime @ 9 in San Antonio….

*This is a sponsored post but all opinions are my own.


Fall entertaining

Fall Entertaining on San Antonio Living

Fall entertaining

Fall is Here! Let’s decorate!


While most people are groaning about summer being over and the days growing colder and shorter, I’m loving every minute of the foray into fall!  It’s absolutely my favorite season– the smoky smells of fireplaces crackling to life after a year of slumber, the crunch of amber and golden hued leaves under my boots (yay boot weather!) and well, all the things I can cook with pumpkin.  This is the first year I have spent as much time thinking about decorating as I have about cooking.  Part of that inspiration is a new partnership with At Home, the Home Décor Superstore!  They are expanding all over the country– -which is really good news if you’re like me and need a little inspiration to get the design ball rolling.  

In preparation for a fall entertaining segment in San Antonio on San Antonio Living, I dragged my friend shopping with me, promising it would be a quick in and out.  OMG!  I felt like a little kid in a candy store….FEAST for the eyes!  Everywhere we looked, there was more to choose from!  I wanted to put together a sophisticated spread, but I didn’t want it to feel to “decorator-y.”  You guys KNOW what I mean.  Have you ever been to someone’s house and everything is SO well put together, it feels more like a museum and you don’t want to touch anything??  Instead, I wanted the visual element to be gorgeous, but with the “I could put that together too” vibe.  

I like choosing one inspirational item when I’m entertaining and build my aesthetic around it.  At Home’s glass pumpkins are beautiful conversation pieces, and I immediately knew I could create a table scene around them.  

Glass Pumpkin

At Home’s signature Glass Pumpkin comes in several sizes and colors.

Little secret here….I have never put together my own floral arrangement aside from the ones you pick out and pre-order from a florist.  The floral section was loaded with stunning fall colors and I had to start picking out my centerpieces because I still had grocery shopping to do!


Don’t be afraid of big, bold colors to accent your table.

I put together 2 floral centerpieces– this was my favorite.  One of the things I’ve learned from my man, JP, who is a genius with color– he’s an artist, after all, is to not be afraid of bold color.  The entire spread doesn’t have to be wild, but integrating some big pops of color adds a really cool vibe that brings your party to life!

Working with the hues of that gorgeous mosaic pumpkin (in the foreground of the pic) I chose bright yellow accented with a rich plum.  

To add some depth and contour to the flowers, I filled a large At Home cylinder with an assortment of pine cones and crab apples.  I love how the colors play off each other and it creates such a terrific focal point on the table.  To accent the purple hued reeds, I used chargers of the same color.

Don’t be afraid to make more than one “centerpiece”– or create different “scenes” on one table, if you’re setting up appetizers on one side and desserts on the other, buffet style.

I didn’t have a cake stand, so I got creative and took another cylinder container and filled it with mini gourds and pumpkins, then put my No Bake Double Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake on top.  (That recipe is coming tomorrow!)

Cheesecake Stand

You don’t need a traditional cake stand! Get creative and place your (No Bake Double Layer Cheesecake!) on a cylinder filled with mini pumpkins!

When you’re setting up a table, think of multi-layers, alternating the heights of what you’re presenting.  I took some cool looking candelabras that I found at At Home and used one for a candle, and topped the other 2 with pumpkins.

Instead of using a boring old basket lined with a napkin for silverware, I took a mosaic container and filled it with forks, knives and spoons.  

The tablecloth I kept simple– a solid chocolate, since I was going to be working with so much color, but I accented it with gold leaf placemats which were subtle, but accentuated the other elements of the table.  

I knew what I wanted to accomplish in my mind’s eye, but it was so gratifying when it all came together on the set of San Antonio Living!  Here’s the segment so you can get some close ups of the gorg- and also check out some fall recipe ideas.  Stay tuned for No Bake Double Layer Cheesecake, Curried Butternut Squash Soup!  

Making a signature drink is always something that impresses guests…This is sort of the best combo of signature drink AND dessert!  Pumpkin Beer float, anyone?  DEEEEE-LISH!

*This is a sponsored post, but all recipes, ideas and opinions are my own.

Beer Floats

At Home has these adorable mason jar mugs that you can personalize for your guests with name tags! Cheers!

Pumpkin Beer Floats
The yummiest combo of a signature drink and dessert all in one!
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  1. Vanilla Ice cream (Caramel would be really delicious too!)
  2. Pumpkin Ale or Pumpkin Hard Cider
  1. Scoop ice cream into mugs.
  2. Pour Pumpkin ale or cider on top.
  3. Serve immediately!
What's on Parker's Plate?

A Wine Garden and New Stuff for my Dude

Yellow Tail Big Bold Red

Yellow Tail Big Bold Red goes well with Big Bold Veggies

I’ve been wanting a garden for years, and this spring, JP and I finally got it together and planted one!  While he built and painted the “garden box” and I picked up the plants (tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet and hot peppers, squash, icebox watermelon and basil) and poured us a glass of wine.  JP is usually a Rum Guy, but I turned him on to Yellow Tail Big Bold Red and we’re both hooked!  It’s really smooth and perfect my bald, er BOLD man!  It’s also got lots of decadent flavor and is the perfect glass to pour for an evening together with friends.  We sipped while planting and grilling!  Added bonus, it’s under 10 bucks– retailing at $7.99.  Score!

Yellow Tail

Sipping Yellow Tail Big Bold Red while Gettin’ his Grill On

Speaking of Big Bold Red…

Remington Trimmer Review

Big Bold Red!

Beards went viral last week with this rather, uh, DIRTY study that turned out to be a joke….So, naturally, I gave JP a hard time about the cleanliness of his facial hair!  He’s an artist and rocks out a black and red beard that is pretty darn cool.  He’s never been clean shaven since we met 7 years ago, but he regularly uses a trimmer.  When I asked him what’s important in a shaver, he said, “Power and Comfortability.”  So, he put Remington’s 4-in-1 Vacuum Trimmer to the test.


Remington’s New 4-in-1 Vacuum Shaver

My man wanted power?  No problem!  The Remington Lithium Power Series 4-in-1 Vacuum Trimmer not only ensures a mess-free grooming experience, meaning, I’m not cleaning up little red and black hairs all over the sink! To put it in technical terms, “The high velocity fan blade vacuuming system works to create maximum power and suction.”  This trimmer enables you to trim, detail, or shave any unwanted hair. Plus, Remington’s lithium battery offers up to 60 minutes of cordless use.  The price point is $129, which is a great investment for this kind of quality shave.  In fact, it’s so cool that I’m stealing it for myself!

Remington 4-in-1 Vacuum Trimmer

Don’t tell my man I’m stealing his Remington!

*This is a sponsored post but all opinions are my own.

Wedding Trends: Food, Jewelry and Hair

So, I may not have walked down the aisle, but I can tell you a little about wedding trends, y’all!  Who doesn’t love a beautiful bride and all of the gorgeous (and delicious) accessories that go along with wedded bliss?

Instead of going traditional, many brides are opting for a BBQ themed menu at their receptions.  You are talking to the BBQ babe here….a true connesioir of good pig.  OMG.  Sam’s BBQ-1 is OFF. THE. CHAIN. GOOD.  Like, rub it all over my face kinda good and pass me some MORE.  Sam is not only getting booked up with weddings left and right, he also teaches BBQ classes called Sam’s Pork U.

BBQ wedding reception

Sam Huff is serving up BBQ delish at numerous wedding receptions

Now let’s talk DIAMONDS!  Worthmore Jewelers is THE place to go for engagement rings, wedding jewelry and accessories— as well as fabulous gifts all year long.  Antique styled jewelry is still hot right now, but Worthmore does a modern take in their settings and design so you don’t have to search for Estate jewelry.  Morganite is another trend right now…it’s a gorgeous peach colored stone that was named after JP Morgan— it looks like a pinky peach diamond.  STUNNING.

Morganite and Diamond ring

Morganite looks like a peach diamond and is a fraction of the price

 Also be looking for this ringer on MY Finger sometime soon.  I wore it in the segment and fell in love with it– **HINT HINT to my man!!  I think I actually might opt for a Morganite center stone! ( :

Diamond ring by Worthmore

A ring in my very near future

A big trend in wedding jewelry that we saw a lot at recent award shows, like the Emmy’s, are diamond climbers.  They look so elegant and modern, especially if you are wearing your hair back.

Ear Climbers

A trend from the red carpet to the white wedding….ear climbers!

Worthmore also has accessories for the groom and groomsmen.  My fave are these baseball cuff links!  What a unique gift for any baseball lover…

Baseball Cuff Links

Made from actual Braves Baseballs

Wedding hair has evolved over time— fortunately, we’re longer seeing the tightly curled “prom” hair!  Instead, the ultra talented Melanie Sorrow from Melanie Salon is bringing her talents to the bridal crowd with stunning styles that range from the “perfectly imperfect updo” to cinematically inspired ‘dos.  The first style is a whimsical ponytail that is all at once retro 60’s and beach babe gorgeous.  It looks simple, but there are beautiful twists to the style that only a talent like Melanie can make look easy!

Wedding hair styled ponytail

Whimsical, loosely braided Ponytail

Another trend is a Game of Thrones inspired style, where a hidden braid in back sweeps the hair to the side and holds it into place.  

wedding hair inspired by The Hunger Games

Inspired by The Game of Thrones

I was lucky enough to be the model for the third style, a loose updo that I am currently obsessed with.  It looks like it’s about to spill out onto your shoulders, but it is secured beautifully, so I imagine you can comfortably dance your heart out without any worries!

romantic updo wedding hair

Gorgeous, romantic updo

What’s that I hear?? Wedding bells?  

Easter Entertaining

Time to get your eggs decorated and get in the Easter spirit— literally…(didn’t think I’d be talking holidays without some spirits, eh?)  I have some really unique and delicious cocktail ideas I want to share. See the video above for all the creative ways kids (and adults) can enjoy the holiday!

Decorating eggs can be the most memorable part of an Easter celebration— and Dudley’s Spraytastic is a new egg decorating kit available at Walmart. You can use this on hard boiled eggs or Walmart’s Easter Decorating Eggs. It’s easy to use and fun for the whole fam.  It’s an airbrush inspired color spray so you can make really cool and unique decorated Easter Eggs. Just fill with the dye– pump— and spray. You can color mix and layer the sprays….And you can spray a single egg or an entire basket full! And when you’re entertaining for the holiday weekend, the sprayed eggs make a gorgeous centerpiece!

The only downside to egg decorating is the mess that sometimes happens! I like to call it artistic expression that just needs a wipe down! Dudley’s Spin an Egg takes care of that problem with this spinner— kids just push down on the button and watch their egg spin while coloring! It’s as easy as that!

Dudley’s also has some other specialty egg dyes— Majestic dyes create beautiful pearlized eggs with no mess.

Puffy Strings of Color is one of my favorites— and it’s the newest way to decorate. Once you’ve dyed your Easter eggs, use the Strings of Color and applicator to make fun designs.

And Color Burst creates this speckled effect on eggs. It’s like magic! Also a little tip, if you add vegetable oil to the dye, you can create a totally different look.

You can go to for a look at all of these Easter products!

Now that the kids are entertained, let’s talk adult beverages…

I love making a signature cocktail when I entertain– so treat your Easter Guests to the Diplo Daiquiri this Sunday!  It’s made with Rum Diplomático which is from Venezuela and recognized as one of the finest rums in the world.  The Diplo Daiquiri doesn’t even require a blender— just pour 1 ounce of Rum Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva, and half an ounce each of simply syrup and lime juice.  Shake and pour, garnish with a lime wheel.  The Reserva has a smooth and elegant finish– you can detect a bit of maple syrup, orange peel, licorice and notes of sweet toffee fudge.

Amarula Cream, knowns as the “Spirit of Africa”  is the second largest cream liqueur in the world.  In South Africa, it’s typically enjoyed neat or over ice.  For Easter, try mixing it into your coffee at brunch or sip it after dinner with your dessert.

Some of my most treasured memories are from the semester I spent in Spain, stretching out long afternoons with incredible Spanish wines!  If you’re looking for the perfect Easter treat, try a cold bottle of dry Spanish Rosado.  Spanish Rosados are typically made from Tempranillo or Garnacha grapes— they have bright, fruity and floral notes, making them easy to pair.  El Coto de Rioja Rosado will quickly become a favorite among your family and friends.  This totally transports me back to Espana!

And finally we have the  Avignonesi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2012 made from 100% Sangiovese, this wine is fresh and elegant.  The taste is medium bodies with silky tannins and a long lasting finish.  This wine is perfect to pair with any lamb dish you are serving for your Easter Sunday celebration.

Happy Easter!  

*This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are my own.

Diplo Daquiri
Serves 1
A light and refreshing rum cocktail
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  1. One ounce Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva Rum
  2. 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
  3. 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  4. orange peel or lime to garnish
  1. Pour over ice and enjoy!
  1. Great Tip: To make your own simple syrup, just boil one part water with one part sugar. I'll make it with 1 cup each of water and sugar--- boil until it reduces down a bit and store in fridge for up to 2 weeks.
What's on Parker's Plate?

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas: My Fave Sips and Sweets

unnamed-7Anytime a holiday calls for chocolate and champagne, I’m all in!  Flowers?? Nice, but are the edible?  Probably not.  Pop open the bubbly and pass the truffles, y’all!

I partnered with some really phenomenal companies for my segment on Valentine’s Day Eats and Treats…Just call me Lady Godiva and we’ll get started.

Godiva got inside the heads of men this year and discovered with some consumer research that most dudes don’t even think about Valentine’s Day until AFTER the Super Bowl.  So, they launched a campaign called Game Over, Game On.  Game’s Over, so get YOUR GAME ON, GUYS!  Godiva is making sure you don’t fumble with a scrumptious assortment of their limited edition chocolates inside the 29 piece Valentine’s Day Keepsake Chocolate Heart.  Look how gorg the packaging is…


It retails for $75.  I can just see that box going on my dresser and keeping my diamonds inside…Oh wait, that’s when I GET some diamonds from my man.  I digress!

To ensure that men get it right this Valentine’s Day, check out the 36 Piece Valentine’s Day Gold Ballotin ($50) – which features a signature assortment of classic GODIVA Belgian chocolates, presented in the iconic gold box, and tied with a red rose ribbon.  These stunning gifts are the easy way to score big points this Valentine’s Day!  For more great Valentine’s Day gift ideas, visit:

unnamed-5 The most romantic champagne you can pour for your love this Valentine’s Day is the Cuvée Rosé Laurent-Perrier.  Most people assume that Rosé wine is super sweet, but this is 100% Pinot Noir, so it’s crisp and dry.  It’s also created with the skin maceration technique, which means it’s not a blend of white and red wines…It was always meant to be a Rosé!unnamed-6

What I love about this show-stopper champagne is how versatile it is in terms of pairing.  For appetizers, try pairing it with prosciutto and a creamy Brie.  If you’re serving it with dinner, it goes beautifully with lobster or rack of lamb.  And for dessert, serving it with red berries really brings out that fruity flavor that makes you feel like you’ve plunged into a basket of berries and bubbly!  LOVE!

Even the bottle is gorg.  It’s designed after the era of Henry IV and is aged in cellars for 4 years.  It just FEELS fancy when you pop the cork and indulge in a sparkly sip!  Atlanta & Co. anchor Christine Pullara and I were just getting ready to start talking about the Cuvée Rosé when we heard a “POP!”  Sure enough, the bottle had uncorked itself while sitting in ice– the timing was so perfect, we had a couple people on set ask us if we’d planned it, LOL


In the Atlanta area, the Cuvée Rosé Laurent-Perrier is available for a suggested retail price of $75 in the following stores:

  • Hinton’s Wine store
  • Tower Beer, Wine & Spirits on Piedmont Road
  • Total Wine & More, 3 locations: Atlanta, Alpharetta and Kennesaw
  • Canoe’s Cellar Door

Next up, the internationally famous Henri’s Bakery.  Just take a look at the spread!unnamed-3

This iconic bakery was launched by Henri in 1929 and now 3 generations later, his family is still making his recipes from scratch.  You can literally taste the L.O.V.E. factor baked right into every sweet confection.  Henri even baked for the Roosevelts and the Kennedys.  He was kinduva big deal in every way!  Try the timeless recipes and you’ll know why!  Some of their Valentine’s Day specials include:

Small decorated heart cake (can be personalized with a romantic message) $5.99

 9” Double Layer Heart Cake $29.99


 Heart Shaped Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake $20.99

 Chocolate Dipped Strawberries $1.89 pc / $21.99 dozen

 Decorated Cupcakes $1.89 and up


 Valentine’s Day Petit Fours $1.99 pc / $21.00 dozen

My all-time fave,  is this Cheetah cake– it says, “Don’t Cheetah on Me!  Be my Love!”


You can visit both of their stores for walk-ins and special order any of these delish Valentine’s Day treats!

Buckhead Store

Hours: 7 a.m. -6 p.m.  (Closed Sundays)

Phone: 404.237.0202

Fax: 404.261.9162


Sandy Springs Store

Hours: 7 a.m.-6 p.m. (Closed Sundays)

Phone: 404.256.7934


Enjoy the sweets and sips, lovelies!  And don’t be afraid to tell someone how much you LOVE them…xxoo

Peanut Butter Halloween Treats

It’s almost Halloween– but don’t just load up on the sugary candy alone– mix it up with some peanut butter– packing some protein and goodferya stuff into the Halloween treats!  Don Koehler from the Georgia Peanut Commission showed me how to whip up easy, delish morsels in the Atlanta Plugged In Kitchen….my fave?  The no bake Mandarin Orange Peanut Butter Pie.  OMG.

And the prep isn’t scary at all!

Goober-ry Trail Mix


1 cup roasted peanuts

1 cup peanut butter morsels

1 cup candy corn

1 cup Reese’s Pieces

5oz. bag dried cherries

5 oz. bag dried mixed berries

1 cup golden raisins

Directions:  Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Put a generous serving in snack size zipper bags.

Mandarin Orange Peanut Butter Pie


¼ cup creamy peanut butter

8 oz. lite cream cheese

¼ cup granulated sugar

8 oz. lite whipped topping

1 graham cracker pie crust

11 oz. can mandarin oranges

2 TBSP granulated sugar

1 TBSP corn starch

Directions: Combine first 4 ingredients together and pour into pie crust.  Refrigerate while you prepare the topping.  Drain oranges saving juice in a small saucepan.  Add sugar and cornstarch and cook on high constantly stirring with a wire whisk until it comes to a boil.  Reduce heat and continue stirring for another 3 minutes as it boils.  Remove from heat and let it cool.  Meanwhile, arrange orange slices on top of pie.  Stir glaze until it thickens and cools and pour over pie.  Refrigerate pie for at least 3 hours.  Serve with additional whipped topping if desired.

Halloween Haystacks


½ cup peanut butter morsels

1 cup candy corn

½ cup salted, skinless peanuts

½ cup chow mein noodles

Directions: Microwave together the peanut butter morsels and candy corn for 1 minutes.  Stir.  Microwave for 30 more seconds.  Stir in the peanuts and chow mein noodles.  Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper and let set.  Store in an airtight container.

It’s Taco Tuesday! Check out the Video for a Delish Shortcut

Taco TuesdaySaute ground beef and season and simmer?  Nah….no time for all that fancy stuff!  This is a simple shortcut only requiring 5 ingredients:  Rotisserie chicken, taco shells, cilantro, salsa and cheese.  Add in some jalapenos and cilantro if you want some added fresh flavor!

Taco Tuesday: Shortcut Using Rotisserie Chicken

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  • 1 Rotisserie chicken cut up and diced
  • 1 Tb chili powder
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • taco shells or lettuce leaves
  • salsa
  • cilantro
  • jalapenos
  • cheese
  • guacamole


  1. Take chicken meat off bird and dice.
  2. Season chicken with chili powder and kosher salt. Stir to combine.
  3. Heat up taco shells and stuff with chicken and top with your favorite taco toppings: Cheese, fresh cilantro, jalapenos, salsa, etc...
  4. Enjoy!


Video: Low Carb Bacon Bowls Stuffed With Caeser Salad

bacon bowlBacon bowls?  Wha-what??  Oh yes, lovelies.  This is my idea of low carb perfection!  And you don’t need anything fancy to make them– just some bacon, tinfoil and a muffin tin.  The caeser salad is absolutely fabulous—  extra garlicky by design, but if you don’t want the kick, you can just cut down a bit on the garlic.  This is major delish– and major WOW factor if you’re serving dinner to guests.  Edible bacon bowls stuffed with caeser?  You’re welcome.

Low Carb Bacon Bowls Stuffed With Caeser Salad

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    For the bacon bowls
  • 3 slices of bacon for each bacon bowl
  • Muffin tins
  • For the Caeser salad
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 anchovy filets
  • 4 garlic cloves (if you don’t want it this garlicky, reduce to 2 garlic cloves)
  • 1 Tb Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tb water
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • ¼ cup fresh grated parmesan (plus a little extra to top on salad)
  • Fresh grated pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Romaine lettuce


    For the bacon bowls
  1. Take large muffin tins, turn upside down and coat with tin foil.
  2. Cut one slice of bacon in half and lay over first muffin cup. Put the second half over the first half so it forms an "X".
  3. Repeat with another slice of bacon cut in half so you have covered the outside of the muffin cup with a "bacon star."
  4. Wrap a third piece of bacon around the outside of the muffin cup.
  5. Repeat with more bacon for additional bacon bowls.
  6. Bake at 400 for 20-30 minutes (watch to see if they are getting crispy.)
  7. Take out of oven, slip bacon bowls off muffin cups and place INSIDE muffin tins. Bake for another 5 minutes to crisp up the inside of the bacon bowls.
  8. For the Caeser salad
  9. In food processor, blend egg yolks, anchovies, mustard, water, lemon juice and parmesan cheese. While food processor is on, add 1/2 cup olive oil to emulsify.
  10. Toss dressing with romaine and add cracked pepper and extra parmesan.
  11. Fill bacon bowls with caeser salad.