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ASK AUNTIE A         SUPER MOM TRYING TO DO IT ALL!    May 2018 

Ask Auntie A: I have been struggling trying to pick out a perfect family vacation this summer that will be appropriate for all of my children. It is so expensive to travel with all of us and so disappointing if I don’t knock it out of the park with planning and activities. Last year we went on a cruise and although there were activities for the smaller children my two teen boys were “bored.” We all enjoyed the port stops and nightly entertainment but some of that was timed for families that had children with later bedtimes. After returning home I was so stressed that I felt like I needed a vacation! What would you suggest for a family with a 4,6,13 and 15 year old children? 

Auntie A: Well, I would say you are quite brave to think that there exists a perfect vacation for parents traveling with young and young adult children. There’s so many opportunities with so many age differences for someone to be at some point bored and maybe even feeling a little left out. Your idea of a cruise as a one stop (we hope to accommodate everyone’s wishes) family vacation option is valid and many of my families find that there’s enough stuff to do that everyone feels refreshed and like they have had a vacation when done. However, I personally am not a fan of cruising primarily because after three days I am ready to be in the water and sand and running my own schedule and not at the mercy of pre-scheduled port dates and departures or having to worry with what restaurants are open and when. I have found that an all inclusive with 24 hour room service meets the needs better with families that have such a difference in ages of children and times they want to play. When you get started planning for such a special time it is important to make sure that where you stay offers multiple entertainment opportunities and for the smaller children a place to actually go to with certified CPR, trained and bonded babysitters so you can step away for a few hours or more and know the children are in qualified hands and are safe. For the young adults it’s more about managing them and making sure they don’t get themselves into mischief. I love and often send my clients to resorts that offer exclusive entertainment for multiple age ranges within the family. This way you and your husband can enjoy a romantic afternoon with a seaside couple’s massage while the teens are dancing away in the teen spaces and the smaller children are having sand castle contests while supervised and safe. Now that’s a getaway that leaves everyone feeling refreshed! I still have quite a few specials for families such as yours so feel free to contact me as I would be delighted to help you in any way! Happy Travels! 

Alisa Murray Interiors: Love Where YOU Live! June 2018

 

I am crazy about patterns and recently I attended a Cabi party where the mixture of stripes and florals was all the rage. It is interesting just how much influence there is between the different sectors of art and architecture and interior design and what’s trending in fashion. There’s almost always a cross-over between the different sectors each season. This spring, especially we have many cool options to both enjoy in our homes but to literally wear the art that’s hot right now.

The trends in home design that are the most current are marbleized woods and walls along with confetti countertops. We are seeing this in both fashion by the way of tops and skirts to plates and wall art and even more commitment places such as full on countertops. Pale blue gray is a beautiful trend in both color for the walls but it is also a nice departure from the usual suspects of black/white/grey as a skirt or a pullover in our wardrobes. Scarfs with animal motifs are also a recurring theme in the latest and my favorite of all…wallpaper! Can we say FABULOUS!!! 

Pops of color in unexpected hues of bold greens or spicy oranges are also making a statement in libraries, dens and playrooms. It’s the same in fashion as I fell in love with that bright yellow pair of mules and when I wear it with a neutral palate…oh la la… that yellow pulls the whole ensemble together! Also trending are accessories with faces on them. Last session we were using a hand or a animal bust in a very sculptural and neutral kinda way. Now I am using some fantastic funky cat pillows that looks like my sweet William. For my dog lovers I have found something similar and I can even get customized pillows made with your actual pets and children’s pics! 

One thing’s for sure… no-one worth their salt in design today is going to leave you with a boring white house or without a conversation piece for you and your guests! There’s simple too many opportunities to make your home about you and the things that mean the most to you. Luckily for the crossover between fashion and interior design, you’ll be just as stunning as the home in which you reside! Creating beautiful spaces that are unforgettably YOU is what I do and I just love it! 

 

Alisa Murray’s The Artist Palate Feature: White Chocolate Blueberry Lasagne June 2018

Auntie A’s White Chocolate Blueberry Lasagne

You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup Blueberries
    2 oz Blueberries fresh
    2 3/4 cup Cool whip
    1 cup Powdered sugar
    1 White chocolate bar to make the curls
    36 Golden Oreo cookies
  • 14 tbsp Butter, unsalted
    8 oz Cream cheese
    3 cups cold Milk
    2 3.9 ounce packages White Chocolate instant pudding
  • First grind the Oreo cookies with the filling to get fine crumbs.
  • Combine Oreo crumbs with 6 tablespoons melted butter and stir until moist. Press the mixture into the bottom of 9 x 13 inch dish. Set in the fridge to firm while making the filling.In a bowl mix together cream cheese, ½ cup softened butter and powdered sugar and beat well. Mix in 1 ¼ cup Cool Whip. Fold in fresh blueberries. Spread the mixture over the crust.In a medium bowl combine white chocolate instant pudding with 3 cups cold milk. Whisk for a few minutes until the pudding starts to thicken and mix in blueberries. Spread over cream cheese layer. Set in the fridge to firm.Spread 1 ½ cups Cool Whip on top.Top with white chocolate curls or shavings or sprinkle white chocolate chips.
  • Refrigerate at least 3-4 hours before serving.

Alisa Murray’s “The List” Top Ten things to do in the month of JUNE

 

  1. Take an afternoon and go berry pickin’ so you can come home and make homemade preserves. It’s so much fun to combine unique herbs and berries to create original recipes that will become family favorites! My family loves my Lemon Blueberry Thyme and my Jalapeño Raspberry jams.
  2. Take a day or two  trip to the hill country and spend time in the sunshine or maybe rent a canoe and slowly put down one of our over 200,000 miles of Texas rivers and streams. 
  3. On my nightside table is “The Secret of the Ages” Master Code to Abundance and Achievement by Robert Collier, “Field Guide to Happiness” by Barbara Ann Kipfer and Volume 19, Number 3 “Tin House.”
  4. Start gathering egg shells, and all your organic by products making a compost for your garden. It does makes a difference in how well the plants and vegetables grow while also  staying faithful to your ecological foot print. 
  5. Volunteer to help at either a nursing home or with a youth organization with the children over this month. To find a list of places and people that need your time and concern check out your church, the YMCA or local businesses that serve the needs of people in our community.
  6. Throw a July 4th pool party for a few friends. Serve my White Chocolate and Blueberry Lasagne with a plate of fresh strawberries and enjoy a red white and blue perfect patriotic plate for you and your guests! 
  7. There are several wonderful educational programs and exhibitions at The Museum of Fine Arts this summer. Take the time to register for an art class or just spend the day hanging around with your sketch book and learn from the Masters. 
  8. Spruce up your home office with a new makeover. Paint a wall with a bright color such as a green or hot pink and accessorize with metallic desk supplies. You’ll be surprised at how something so simple can make a space so fresh! 
  9. I love planning vacations both for myself and for my clients. There’s a new space that I have been sending my peeps to that has those cute little houses out over the water. It used to be that we had to fly to Fiji and spend 20K to go experience that type of luxury, but now I have found them and at specialty pricing in in my beautiful Mexico. If you need assistance getting an amazing deal for a end of summer get away…contact me 713-598-2207 and I’ll set it up. 
  10. Try to remember to have a family meal at least a few days a week where everyone attends and all electronics are left in that basket in the den. Time together should be special so make that dinner time count! 

Alisa Murray’s Living the Sweet Life     Finding YOUR “25” June 2018

Did you know that each one of us has about 25 talents tapped or untapped? Some of us find out about the first few in the first years of life, like being more adept at sports or fancying spending time lining things up and organizing. You remember either yourself or perhaps one of your children that always seemed to be preoccupied with lining up perfectly their cars or blocks, or the kiddo that wanted to build things. Emerging engineers or accountants perhaps. I remember early in being able to spot colors perfectly, like I would see a shade in my carton big box and be able to go to the remnant store with my mother and find exactly the same matching colors in a fabric. I could always draw and I loved to rearrange furniture all through my teen years. While some of our talents are hidden, only emerging when their time comes, others are almost readily available early on like for me art and color was a screaming no brainer from a very early age. 

In college I was intrigued by a guy who you might also know that went by the name of Leonardo Da Vinci. You remember that he was an artist, engineer, architect, painter and that was just to name the things he actually got good enough at to be famously remembered for!Being more than one thing has been my life’s goals for a very long time. Multipreneurship is the goal. Why should we if we really are talented in more than one area confine ourselves to just doing one thing? Why not stretch yourself a little or a lot and pursue anything at all that interests you? After all….you are supposedly only going to live once so GO FOR IT! 

I am always evolving and I have studied many famous and not so famous people and one thing that runs congruently between all of us is the need for change and the ability to adapt to it and transform into a renewed oneness. I am a creative person an “artist” and that is such a strong talent that many things spring forth from it… my photography, my paintings, my writing this very column. I also have design skills that have been honed from years of creating composition, texture, colors and understanding of how those all work together to create a whole so moving freely into interior design is not a stretch for me. Selling both myself and things that I have created is also a strong skillset and dealing with clients that expect the best money can buy is my specialty. Marrying, if you will the highest end products to promote coupled with who I have become through years of developing the best version of myself, makes use of all my talents and creates more opportunities to grow and to help others. Open up your vision to become the best versions of you! 

Some years are years to be quiet. Years to heal and years to learn and grow…other years are leapers where you jump from working on something to understanding  it fully which leads to you  soaring and doing the very things you never thought possible. In the years of contemplation you must seek out those 25 hidden talents and discover your puzzle of YOU.  Work hard to understand what your talents can do to help others. Are you compassionate? Perhaps a hidden talent is to give of your time to youth in our community. Are you really good at writing? Perhaps you can promote products and services that others need on your blog that they don’t have the time to research. Whatever year this 2018 is looking like for you I promise if you look deeply within yourself you’ll find those talents and they will lead you to ways beyond your imagination to stretch yourself and like Leonardo leave this life having accomplished so much and having helped many! 

Take Care of YOU! 

(Use Signature) 

Have you found  your 25? Do you love doing more than one thing like me? I would love to hear your story! Email me alisamurray@absolutelyfocusmedia.com