Super Bowl XLV – A Game Changer

Super Bowl XLV – A Game Changer

Super Bowl XLV – A Game Changer

Celebrating one of the most rewarding projects of my life – baking 3,000 chocolate petit fours for the Super Bowl XLV VIP Tailgate Party! Petits Fours

The year prior to Super Bowl XLV, The Dallas Morning News published an article about the NFL ‘Emerging Business Program.’ The article sparked my interest, I made arrangements to attend the first meeting on February 25, 2010 at AT&T Stadium. 

Walking into AT&T Stadium, the atmosphere buzzed with excitement. Emerging Business Co-Chair, Emmitt Smith revealed the history of the program and the action plan. In 1994, the NFL created the program for local minority- and women-owned businesses.

Host committee president and CEO, Bill Lively welcomed the business community. He discussed the details of the program, community outreach, workshops and trade shows.

A Game Changer

In order to participate in the Emerging Business Program, a certification of minority- or women-owned business was required.

With deadlines for bidding on contracts quickly approaching, I applied for a certification with the Women’s Business Council – Southwest. Documents, tax returns, forms, interviews . . . the process was daunting. It paid off when I scored a catering contract with Party Planners West!NFL Emerging Business ProgramPhoto with – Bill Lively, President and CEO of the Super Bowl XLV Host committee

Working with Party Planner West was a fun and demanding project. If one deadline was missed the contract was terminated. Serious pressure . . .the stakes were high . . . not a surprise . . . it paid when the minority- and women-owned businesses showing up at AT&T Stadium with the dishes and treats for the Super Bowl XLV VIP Tailgate party on game day!

The best part – Susan Apple, Inc. maintains the Women’s Business Council certification. We are celebrating our 10th anniversary!

To The NFL, the Host committee, the Emerging Business Program’s Co-chairs and the Jones family, 

Thank you from all of us! The Super Bowl XLV was a Game Changer for local minority- and women-owned businesses.

Thanks again

Drapes Are Beautiful Inside And Out

Drapes Are Beautiful Inside And Out

Drapes are beautiful inside and out.

During our uncertain times, families are focused on building spaces that bring comfort and improve everyday quality of life. Before the coronavirus pandemic, everyone wanted patio spaces that would work for entertaining. Our needs have changed. Work spaces and living spaces are our top priorities. 

Now is the moment to take stock of our outdoor patios and porches. What items need to be replaced? Most likely, it is our furniture cushions.

Here’s a crazy idea . . . cover them with drapery textiles. You know, the living room drapes that you are thinking about replacing anyway. Combine these two ideas into one. Find a local seamstress or sew them, either way, before you now it, beautiful new cushions will emerge and the warm textiles will embellish your patio. Now, add a some throw pillows, blankets, lighting, and outdoor heaters. You will be ready for daily living as well as Covid-19 style outdoor entertaining!

#RepurposedTextiles for the lounge

Established in 1958, family-owned, Childress Fabrics for the pillow fabrics!

Before . . . Sustainable living

After . . . Draperies Are Beautiful Inside And Out

  • Close up photo of the patio lounges with new cushion covers and pillowsUpcycle drapesDrapes are beautiful inside and out!
It Is Patio Season

It Is Patio Season

It is patio season! Cooler weather is on the way. We are enjoying football games on TV. I am cooking more comfort foods and we are dining on our patio. So . . . now is the perfect time for a patio makeover! 

Five tips for a patio makeover on a limited budget:

  1. Select a fall color theme.
  2. Cut and sew patio custom furniture cushions with covers made of repurposed vintage textiles. 
  3. Shop at a local upholstery store for additional fabrics for pillows. In Dallas, family-owned, Childress Fabrics has a grand selection of fabrics.
  4. Shop your house for table scape items; ie. lanterns, candlesticks, vases, baskets, table runners, etc.
  5. With the money saved, splurge on pumpkins, dried flowers and candles to decorate the table.

Five reasons the patio project is worth your time:

  1. It’s sustainable.
  2. It’s a clever way to repurpose used drapes when you are done with them.
  3. Engaging in a creative project is meaningful.
  4. Your patio will be original and beautiful.
  5. It is a great money saver!

Happy with my patio makeover! The fabric’s texture, design and fall colors are well-suited for patio cushion covers. Don’t worry if you don’t have any drapes for a patio project, resale shops and estate sales are a great source.Repurposing drapes

It is patio season . . . Enjoy!

Before-and-After Porch Makeover

Before-and-After Porch Makeover

Before-and-After porch makeover . . . just in time for our 4th of July celebration!

As COVID-19 puts most summer vacations on hold, porches are claiming their role as America’s favorite place to enjoy a cocktail and an alfresco dinner. The porch is one of the few places to gather among masked neighbors and friends.

The rewards of devoting some time to decorating the porch will last throughout the summer!

Top Five Decorative Items:

Before . . . 

Original Front Porch

After . . . 

Before-and-After Porch Makeover

Before-and-After porch makeover . . . now it’s time for a frosty pitcher of lemonade and a visit with neighbors!

From 0 to 1,800

From 0 to 1,800

From 0 to 1,800 – This is the number of face masks produced in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Launching a food blog in January 2009, I began sharing my life-long pursuit of cooking southern cuisine at its best! Since then, I have tested and typed recipes, photographed and written about food for my food blog,

In 2009, a crazy thing happened . . . my original Blue Ribbon Lemon Cake won ‘Best of Show’ in the State Fair of Texas cake contest. This victory led to competing in Oprah’s cooking contests and a guest appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Several years later, my friend, Grace-anne and I competed on a Food Network Show with Bobby Flay.

On March 17th, 2020 everything changed. The coronavirus pandemic and shelter-in-place orders affected our world. On April 2, a friend called with the news that Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins might soon recommend face masks. Although it was uncertain, I followed my intuition, put my food blog on hold and focused all of my efforts on a new line of stylish face masks. Risky at the time, the quick response paid off by vaulting my face masks production ahead of other startups.

Drawing from my experiences with Susan Apple, Inc., an apparel company I founded in my college dorm room in 1982, I took some tools of manufacturing apparel in the 80’s and 90’s fashion industry and retooled them for face masks production. Drafting a pattern, sewing the first sample, searching for local seamstresses, estimating and ordering fabrics and elastic.

Within days, I posted about my new face mask project on Facebook. Years of dedication to cultivating a large Facebook/Instagram following and food blog following gave me the chance to reach a wide audience. It paid off with steady stream of orders. The first face masks were delivered within a week. Since this day, Susan Apple, Inc. has become known as a reliable source for stylish face masks. Orders have been shipped from coast to coast. New orders are received daily.

The coronavirus has presented me with an opportunity to demonstrate that I have the resources and tenacity to manufacture top-quality products in the USA. Best of all, it has given me a chance to provide employment for local seamstresses.

Seizing this opportunity allows me to prove a thesis that I truly believe: people continue to appreciate better quality products over disposable quality so common in our world today. A fact proven by one face mask returned – and that was due to an accidental snip in the elastic. Such a low-return rate is unheard of in today’s global fashion industry.

Face masks are in stock and ready to ship!

Staying Passionate About What I Do

Staying Passionate About What I Do

Staying passionate about what I do is JT Osgood Hayler’s business motto. Her passion is contagious and resonates throughout The Songbird Society. When this coronavirus quarantine is behind us, step inside The Songbird Society and see for yourself!

At my recent appointment at The Songbird Society, I asked JT a couple of questions. Here is what I learned . . .

How do you stay passionate about your work?

JT said, “It takes practice.”

  • Practicing meditation
  • Listening to Eckhart Tolle.
  • Studying spiritual leaders.
  • Challenging myself to go deeper.
  • Being aware – reacting more positively.
  • Working out with a personal trainer

The Songbird Society’s atmosphere is calm and peaceful. How do you create this unique culture?

  • “Having empathy for people is a top priority.”
  • I do a lot of watching. I search for and hire people that share the things that are important to me.
  • Culture takes time. It’s a patina that doesn’t come overnight.
  • I value a salon with a tight knit community of a caring and passionate staff.

How do you handle the challenges of operating a salon?

  • I am watching and asking questions. If I see a problem, I don’t sweep it under the rug. I tend to talk about it. I have to be patient in order to nurture The Songbird Society’s culture.

Where does your inner strength come from?

  • Growing up in Louisiana.
  • I pray and pray.
  • I like to grow and evolve.
  • I really look at myself, when things happen? I ask, “What can I do?”

From The Songbird Society’s website, I learned how they continue to serve their clients while the salon is closed:

  • Favorite products and e-gift cards are available.
  • Touch up kits for your color are available.

The Songbird Society plans to re-open on Friday, May 1st 2020. We are looking forward to being together at The Songbird Society soon!