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Category Archives: Entertain

Family Reunion Time

If your family is fortunate enough to have an annual family picnic or reunion, it’s easy to roll your eyes and think of other things you would rather do. It’s probably that little voice inside you that says…no one cares about me, i’m not doing anything exciting, and maybe even thinking you don’t matter. Don’t listen to that voice. Listen to the voice to appreciation that someone even rallies to make the effort to organize a reunion. Listen to the voice to makes you want to bond, make memories, and learn more about your families past and set goals for the future. There are always so many little known facts about someone. There’s always a cool cousin you always admired. There’s always an aunt that gives you a big hug, there’s always an uncle you need to learn more about. The great thing about reunions is sitting down and talking and suddenly and idea pops in your head from your conversations. You have new chances to learn. New chances to excite each other, and gaining a new perspective.

This year we made it a point to attend my husbands family picnic. It made me fill up with thoughts and reflections about how important it is to gather together and connect with your family. My husbands uncle and his wife were celebrating 67 years of marriage. Think about that. Think about the message that sends loud and clear to the family members…to be the example, to commit to marriage, to give and and to take, that the benefits of staying together far outweigh any little annoyance we all have on others.


Please watch the video below. You will appreciate the gardens planted from past generations. A family reunion has a higher purpose than you might imagine.



Marriage is a union between  a man and a wife and I use to think of that in the flesh only. Yes, children are an immeasurable gift of marriage but it’s much more than that. It’s uniting ancestors and his family becomes yours and yours becomes his. It’s has a much higher calling to unite under God, this earth, this society, and your family to give of yourself for the sake of this world. It’s seeing the good, it’s seeing the benefits, it’s praying for the souls of those who planted the seeds for us. It’s not only learning about ancestors and what they did on earth but asking their help so we can contribute positively while we are here on earth.


Chances are you will pick up a new recipe at your reunion, and you’ll share some laughs, but hopefully you’ll pick up a new purpose to carry on in life with more meaning and accountability to one another.


Sincerely, Trish




Sincerely, Trish

Travel Hostess Adventures

Hi All,

I started a new job a few months ago as a “tour hostess’ that just fits my philosophy in life to not waste a single day. It’s my goal to go out and discover all the wonderful things around us. I also decided to do short little movies to show my appreciation for each experience no matter how big or small. Follow along on Vimeo! Thank you for watching!



Sincerely, Trish



Poodlewalker Hits the Road. Sometimes just the neighborhood too.

Advice to a Younger Person

       I was recently at a luncheon with ladies who were all their in 50’s all at different career levels. One thing is for sure, all the ladies were supportive and happy just to take time out to enjoy lunch, and laugh with friends. This is the good stuff in life. Unemployment, divorce, taking care of elderly parents and loss of close family members are a few of the hits that have come along in life. Establishing and cultivating friendships are really important and it was so fascinating to hear how some of the ladies have been friends since diapers and others since their babies have been in diapers. Luncheons are so lovely, I may have to start a lunch club. Please listen to the podcast today to hear all of the ladies at the luncheon their advice to a younger person.





I would like to offer this advice…

  1. Overlook more and focus on the bigger picture. The bigger picture is to lead a good life and to get to heaven. Don’t waste time arguing about insufficient stuff with a sufficant person. We now say this a lot…would you rather be right or happy? I’d rather laugh and smile and make a joke out of it.

  2. Jealousy is a waste of time. This world is big enough for all of us to fulfill our dreams, have all the money we can make and have all of our children become success stories.

  3. Take more movies of your kids and record their voices. You will be surprised how their voice changes. Keep your kids young and innocent for as long as possible.

  4. Make nutritional dinners and stop thinking that Oreo’s, gummy bears and Cheetos are good for your kids.

  5. Entertain more. Your house will never be perfect.

  6. Faith is crucial. Teach your kids to pray and pray with them before meals and bed. And stick to your beliefs out there!

  7. Love is everything. Say “I love you” more often. Say it over and over. Your greatest legacy is the love you gave this world.



Drop the Scorecard

Welcome to January, one of the longest and certainly the coldest month of the year.

During these long days of January chores can become burdens. How often are we adding “scorecards” to our marriages, work relationships, and friendships?

In our home, we all like to walk the dogs on the beautiful sunny days, but when the wind is whipping, the temperatures drop and the days are grey we start up with the “scorecard.” I have been know to exclaim to anyone who wants to listen “It’s your turn to walk them, I walked them twice already today”.



Who wants to walk the dogs when it’s cold out? If you have the ability, be the one!


Sincerely, Trish…Because folks, what else matters but love? Listen here.

Poor me. Recently, I heard my friend say..”this is it, I’ve had it with entertaining. I have hosted this person several times and she has never reciprocated. That’s it.” Keeping score. Yikes, made me think, who has invited me places that I have not reciprocated?

Folks, keeping score is petty. There is no such thing as 50/50.  Keeping score holds us back. Keeping score pits person against person. Be on the same team. Be the person who does more and that is your greatest reward. When you invest in your relationships, you invest in love. What else matters? Who cares who empties the dishwasher and hangs up the coats? If you have the ability, do it. You win by giving. Love is an investment. There is nothing out there more important than love.





When Pumpkin Meets Banana


Beware. Pinterest is especially tempting and captivating with fall decor and recipes. Riveting. One monster snack, caramel apple pops, and pumpkin recipe at a time.


Caroline’s close friend Sara came over to help make a batch.

     While, most of us are copying ideas, I have a daughter who has invented a pumpkin meets banana chocolate chip bread. Yeah Caroline!! No copy cat for her. Ok, a mix is involved. But she devised a Pinterest worthy bread that will knock your socks off. And the dear readers to poodlewalker get the first dibs. Like all good inventions, it kind of happened by accident. Caroline was looking for a pumpkin bread mix but only found a banana bread mix. She added a can of organic pumpkin and added chocolate chips with cinnamon and nutmeg. Whoa, is it good.



Here’s the recipe.

1.   15 oz box of Trader Joe’s Banana Bread Mix

2.    1/4 cup vegetable oil

3.    2 eggs

4.    3/4 Cup Water

5.   1 Can Organic Pumpkin from Trader Joe’s

6.   Eyeballed amount of fall spices (About two Teaspoons Cinnamon and 1/4 Teaspoon of Nutmeg)

7.   1/2 Bag or Trader Joe’s semi-sweet chocolate chips


Essentially, you mix everything in a bowl and then put it in a lightly greased pan, and it sure makes for a real easy clean up! Now, you’ll need to cook it for a little longer than the box calls for, because of the extra, dare I say…moisture, in the bread mixture. Time in the oven depends on the size of the container, so we usually stick with the tooth pick technique! Excellent in a muffin container, a mini bread pan, or as an entire loaf. This fall treat goes well with Apple Cider, Coffee, Milk, and most definitely hot chocolate.


Who would have thought, banana and pumpkin. The end of one season and the beginning of another. Maybe the lesson we can learn is one so simple, most overlook it. That two unlikely things can complement one another and make a pair no one thought of. It goes without saying that we can translate this lesson into life. Maybe it is at work, when someone brings a new idea to the table, accept that idea and build on it to make a combination no one has thought of. Maybe it is an old shirt you found in your closet and want to try out with a new skirt, try it, it expresses your personality. And maybe it is a new friend, one who is different than others, not in your typical social group. As we can learn from the case of pumpkin and banana, that doesn’t mean that a great friendship cannot be formed. Because in the end, human connection, appreciation, and love is all anyone strives for, and it sure tastes good.


It’s Only A Shirt

     It was only a dinner yet the night was just beginning.


Father Joe invited all in the St. Rose and St. Marks parishioners to a night at the Phoenix restaurant and it turned out to be so memorable.

      Recently, there was an announcement in our church bulletin that Father Joe was hosting a wine pairing dinner at the Phoenix restaurant for a set price. It would be on a Monday night when the restaurant is usually closed. What fun. The restaurant would be filled with only our friends and it was going to be a gourmet 5 course dinner. Why not?! No decisions need to be made – just conversation. Evan and I are active at the parish. Certainly we would know everyone there. Aww right. Not true. Don’t ever think you are a big shot. When we opened up the door to the restaurant, we looked at each other and said…do you know anyone? True we knew Father Joe and our friend Anne but very few others.

      Finding a table to sit was a bit awkward. But once you sat down and started being served wine and food; heck conversation started to flow. I remember thinking that the noise level went up substantially around course 3 and 4. It was around this time when a waiter bumped into Evan with a nice deep red wine. Maybe not bumped; maybe poured? No, no it was an accident. Dark red wine all the way down Evan’s shirt. Everyone gasped and waited for his reaction. To everyones surprise; he didn’t care. He wasn’t mad. He laughed and said…”Who cares??!! It’s only a shirt!”and then proceeded to dance in a circle and show off his mega stain. Isn’t it true that in every situation, we are given a chance to influence others in our response? The Chinese meaning of “crisis” has two interpretations: danger, and opportunity. In all siutations we have the ability to get angry when we are wronged. Yet, we also have the ability to make an opportunity for whatever we wish, a new joke between new friends, a learning experience, and the opportunity to influence others by our actions. But by laughing it off, and realizing that a stained shirt is nothing in the scheme of life, we can send a powerful message out there. Evan did not ask for the shirt to be cleaned. No, it’s just a shirt! I heard him say “I’m just gonna toss this baby”, right after I watched him leave a tip.




No, this is not blood. It’s dark red wine that soaked his shirt, undershirt and skin. Laugh it off. Mistakes happen!! This is not life or death.


Evan and his wine spilled shirt posed for pictures.


Here is the 5 course menu with wine pairing. We passed around the wines we did not care for…no one was going to touch my Sauvignon Blanc.


By the end of the evening, after a couple glasses of wine and a dirty shirt dance by Evan…the crowd had bonded and friends were made.

     Here are a few clues that you have too many shirts. Maybe you can’t close your closet or your dresser drawers. Maybe you have shirts at the dry cleaners and don’t even miss them. Maybe you find your self buying more hangers to hang up all your shirts. Maybe its time you and a couple of your friends go out for a few glasses of wine and get rid of some!!

    My message to you is anything can be tossed and nothing should not be taken too seriously. Be easy on yourself and one another. The seriousness of life will bring you down, but only if you let it. We all make mistakes, we all find ourselves in a crisis. But our job is not to make people feel badly about it, it is to accept a new opportunity, and who knows, you may find yourself happier and with a new story to tell because you did.

Candy Cake

The finished candy cake. Lots of fun and easy to make.

The finished candy cake. Lots of fun and easy to make. I added some of the extra candy on the bottom on the cake stand for easy pickings. 

It’s Spring! It’s time to celebrate. We got Mother’s Day. First Communions. Graduations. Weddings. Showers. Fundraisers. Birthdays. You name it; we have to reason to celebrate. I wanted to try something festive and fun combining colors and candy. Candy cake! Why not a candy cake? Makes a statement and a great centerpiece for a party.

All you need to do is go to the Dollar Tree and buy some foam cut outs. Of course, make sure you have lots of candy, a ribbon and lots of glue for your glue stick.

All you need to do is go to the Dollar Tree and buy some foam cut outs. Of course, make sure you have lots of candy, a ribbon and lots of glue for your glue stick. Stack up the foam pieces and figure out how you want to decorate the layers with candy.

Just a tad of glue from your glue gun holds the candy perfectly in place. Use all different sizes and  various candy.

Just a tad of glue from your glue gun holds the candy perfectly in place. Use all different sizes and various candy.

Top with a colorful bow or artificial flowers. Use your imagination. Enjoy! The cake is certain to bring a smile on everyones face.

Top with a colorful bow or artificial flowers. Use your imagination. Enjoy! The cake is certain to bring a smile on everyones face.



Engagement Party


The goal of an engagement party is to introduce the two families and get the ball rolling on the wedding plans.


The happy couple pre party. Natalie prepared all the food herself.

The happy couple pre party. Natalie prepared all the food herself.


A surprise engagement for the bride to be...surrounded by her friends and sister who kept it a secret from her.

A surprise engagement for the bride to be…surrounded by her friends and sister who kept it a secret from her.


Of course she did!

Of course she did!


The actual engagement took place February 1, 2014 at Maymont Park. Michael arranged to have all of Natalie's best friends in Richmond there.

The actual engagement took place February 1, 2014 at Maymont Park. Michael arranged to have all of Natalie’s best friends in Richmond there.



A glimpse at the food spread.


Cut out cookies were served for desserts with the engagement cake and vanilla ice cream.


Flowers all around add beauty.


After the gifts, they let me take one more picture.


Little mini mint tins were ordered with the name of the couple and date of the proposal.



The glasses are ready to be filled with champagne for the toasts.

Traditionally the bride -to- be family hosts an engagement party a couple months after the proposal. We were psyched. We were ready to host. The groom to be family was also thrilled. This was a celebration of love and commitment between a treasured couple. My husband cleaned the baseboards and our son cleaned the windows and the ceilings. Nothing like a party to get the house sparkling clean. The appetizers were assorted veggies with dip, tortilla chips with guacamole, texas caviar, and salsa. Mini caprese salad bites. Toasted crostinis with balsamic strawberries and goat cheese, avocado egg rolls, pot stickers and shrimp with cocktail sauce. The main course was pulled pork BBQ sandwiches, Waldorf chicken salad sandwiches, Carved turkey breast, field green salad, mini twice baked potato poppers, and season fresh fruit. The dessert was engagement cake, vanilla ice cream and cut out cookies. Too much. Too good. All made by the bride to be who also is a culinary expert on the side. We are loving the left overs. The highlight of the evening were the toasts. The champagne popped opened and the cheers began. The feel good attitude you and both families are left with was worth the effort and more. We could not be any happier. Our beautiful daughter Natalie and future son in law Michael are as good as it gets. If you are interested, I invite you to follow along on this blog as the wedding plans continue. Cheers!

Hello Dr. Sanjay Gupta

Evan meets Dr. Sanjay Gupta at UB on March 26, 2014.

Evan meets Dr. Sanjay Gupta at UB on March 26, 2014.

Natalie and Caroline meet Dr. Sanjay Gupta who said to do something everyday that scares you.

Natalie and Caroline meet Dr. Sanjay Gupta who said to do something everyday that scares you.

The best advice that Sanjay Gupta has ever received is to do something everyday that scares you. He knows it doesn’t always work out; “you might get fired from your job and the girl might say no but just give it a go.” He went on to say that we should try to become comfortable with pushing our limits and in forcing ourselves to become familiar with unfamiliar situation. That is the best way to get to know yourself.

Dr. Gupta talked about his mixing medicine and media. He still works as a neurosurgeon each week and still preforms surgery.  His first TV experience was scary, “which meant it was perfect for me.” He admits to not being very good on camera until his wife suggested he talk to the camera like it is a patient with the same words and expressions. Media and medicine are alike in many ways. They both require constant homework, both have the potential to improve and lengthen people’s lives, and both have credibility. He related how, on assignment for CNN in Afghanistan, he was called, in very primitive conditions, to save a life of a Marine whom had just been shot in his head was going to die. Dr. Gupta switched roles and immediately utilized a tent pitching drill and a sterile IV bag to remove the bullet from the soldier’s skull. Six months later, back in the United States, Dr. Gupta tracked down this marine, and they met again– in a poignant moment, while the Marine and his family thanked Dr Gupta for saving his life. When you have to save a life, you save a life.” Dr Gupta said later of his priority at the moment.  He added a fun fact: profession with the highest trust rate is nurses with 89%, doctors 69% and politicians 8%.

Much appreciation to UB for bringing in the good doctor for us to hear and be inspired. He was happy to pose for pictures and was fit and trim with a beaming smile to boot.


Sing Me Something Irish

My dad wasn't going to sing this song when his daughters were growing up but now since we are older "what the heck."

My dad wasn’t going to sing this song when his daughters were growing up since our mother would not allow those kind of songs sung, but now since we are older “what the heck.”

Folks, if you are lucky to grow up with loving father of Irish decent, you no doubt heard him sing the songs “Danny Boy” and “Irish Eyes Are Smiling” countless times. But there are a lot of Irish songs and ballads out there that I have never heard. So, I decided to ask my dad to sing me an Irish song that I don’t know…he joked that my mom would never allow it. Oh what the heck dad – go ahead- let me hear just one. Here we go – The Lady in Red song by my dad – Dr. Joseph Mattimore.

The actually words to the “Lady on Red’ – my dad was pretty close.

‘Twas a cold winter’s evening,
The guests were all leaving,
O’Leary was closing the bar,
When he turned round and said
To the lady in red,
“Get out, you can’t stay where you are!”

She shed a sad tear in her bucket of beer
As she thought of the cold night ahead,
When a gentleman dapper stepped out of the crapper
And these are the words that he said:

“Her mother never told her
The things a young girl should know,
About the ways of college men
And how they come and go.
Age has taken her beauty,
Sin has left its sad scar,
But remember your sisters and mothers, boys,
And let her sleep under the bar.