Good morning and Happy Friday to you! (Friday is our favorite day around here!) If you are new to The Art of Living Beautifully, welcome! Every Friday I post 6 of our Favorite items from the week; sometimes beauty, home decor, sometimes kitchen essentials…or on days like today, just 6 random favorites worthy of a look-see.

On Tuesday my family enjoyed celebrating the 4th of July at our Hometown Parade on the downtown McKinney square. I love the wholesome aspect of this event, and so appreciate McKinney’s leaders to seeing this parade through each year. Despite the blazing heat…yes, it was blazing at 10 AM…many, many, many families herded to our square to watch floats, old cars, new cars, horses, color guard, veterans, the drum line and so much more parade through the downtown with so much pride. We parked ourselves at Local Yocal, and listened to patriotic music along with Matt Hamilton MC the entire parade. If you haven’t attended the 4th of July Hometown Parade before, you most definitely should in 2018.

This week we have been all too excited to introduce the #McKinneyGardens section of The Art of Living Beautifully, headed up by our Resident Gardener Beth DiGioia. If you did not have a moment to read her article about Night Blooming Cereus, you may do so now by following this link. Night Blooming Cereus is a very special plant that only blooms…get this…one night a year!! Trust me, you are going to want one! Not only are they a bit mysterious and require simple care, but also create a beautiful bloom.

McKinney Map

Yes, I know I’ve already told you how much I love our McKinney Map custom created for The Art of Living Beautifully by Design Roots. However, I hadn’t yet mentioned to you that you may purchase your very own McKinney Map in downtown McKinney at Patina Green! An 8×10 on heavy cream card stock is sold for $20. I hope you will head to Patina Green this weekend and pick one up for you and one for a friend who treasures McKinney as much as we do.

Cafe Au Lait

A few months I completed the Whole 30 and learned to drink coffee sans dairy or sweetener. I made cafe au lait–with either coconut milk or almond milk–my caffeinated drink of choice, and never switched back once the cleanse was over. A traditional cafe au lait is half drip coffee/half steamed milk, however I think you can play with the percentage a bit depending on your tastes. Click above to learn more about Cafe au Laits and for the picture source.

Grace Not Perfection

Jill Hartsell, one of McKinney’s 10 Most Beautiful Women, gave me a copy of this book before we went on Good Morning Texas a few weeks ago. I’ve heard so many excellent things about Emily Ley’s best seller and cannot wait to get started. By simply reading the title, Grace Not Perfection, I believe this book will appeal to so many of us who strive for picture perfect. I hope some of you will read this book, and learn along with me how important it is to give ourselves some grace. You can order Grace Not Perfection by clicking here.


This week I began a weekly collaboration with Andy Doyle, The McKinney Wine Merchant. He will be EXCLUSIVELY sharing his Weekend Wine selections with TAOLB readers every Thursday! You can visit TAOLB on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see his weekly recommendations. And get this…he will even have a bottle of each wine open at his store for you to try on Fridays! This week his selections are:

Crowded House Sauvignon Blanc 2016, Marlborough, New Zealand ($9.99)

Over the past 30 years, New Zealand’s Marlborough region has earned a place alongside France’s Sancerre appellation as producing what could be argued are the greatest Sauvignon Blanc wines in the world. The ‘Marlborough’ style is characterized by herbal aromatics and citrus flavors of lime and grapefruit but can occasionally heat up a bit to bear resemblance to Anaheim pepper. Crowed House is a lesser-known label that presents unmistakable Marlborough hallmarks but does so with a level of restraint and balance uncommon at this price point (others can be obnoxiously acidic). Works well with lighter aromatic fare (white fish, citrus sauces, greens) or just while relaxing on the patio.

Talley Estate Pinot Noir 2014, Arroyo Grande Valley, California ($32.99)

Arroyo Grande is a small, picturesque, east-west oriented valley in San Luis Obispo County along California’s central coast with soil and climatic conditions ideally suited for Burgundian grapes (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir). Like many California wine growing families, the Talley’s agricultural endeavor began as vegetable farmers in the 1940’s, not planting vineyards until American taste for better wines broadened in the 80’s. Talley makes several higher-end, single vineyard wines but this comes in at a very approachable price point. the 2014 is textbook Pinot Noir with fresh berry aromas you can discern from across the room and flavors of cherry, raspberry and a hint of soy sauce. Wonderful on its own or paired with grilled salmon, fatty steak (skirt) and not-too-spicy Asian dishes.

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