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Celebrating the Golden Anniversary of America’s Favorite Sports Holiday: the Super Bowl

America’s favorite annual sport event happens for the 50th time on Sunday, and it will no doubt be bigger than ever. The Super Bowl has come a long way since the Green Bay Packers lead by Bart Starr beat the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10 in LA’s Memorial Coliseum on January 15, 1967. While football fans may have been excited for that first-ever AFC-NFC championship match-up, I am sure that not even the NFL could have imagined how their game would turn into the cultural institution and pseudo-national holiday that we celebrate this weekend.

2016 Super Bowl program cover

Making It Gold

In honor of this momentous occasion, I’m planning to kick our annual Super Bowl soiree up a notch. Starting with the invitation, I will be adding more than a touch of gold to our normally green and white event decor.

Super Bowl invitation

Even our annual BINGO cards feature the golden logo of this year’s edition.

2016 Super Bowl Bingo card @ The Gracious Posse

We’ve created 60 of them for you to use at your own party. Go ahead and download as many as you need by clicking on the card above or here. Gold Hershey’s Kisses will make great markers for the BINGO cards this year.

Add a Touch of Class to the Traditional Menu

Each year our Super Bowl menu includes foods that represent the teams who have made it to the big game. jBr is bringing Colorado Style Green Chile in honor of the Denver Broncos. For the Carolina Panther fans, I’ll be picking up some North Carolina-style pork barbeque from one of our local establishments, and before anyone asks, I am not going to worry about whether it is Eastern or Western North Carolina bbq.

Usually I will include a menu homage to the host city, as well. San Francisco is allegedly the host city for this game, and when I think San Francisco, I think of its world-renowned Chinatown, which makes me think of my Ginger Shrimp Potstickers. Levi Stadium, though, is 45 miles away from San Francisco in Santa Clara, so I haven’t yet committed to adding the Potstickers to Sunday’s menu. Hmmm – I wonder what tailgate-type food would pay homage to the heart of Silicon Valley where Santa Clara sits. 

If you are trying to figure out a way to class up your Super Bowl spread in honor of the 50th, Ellen suggests treating your crowd to Grilled Oysters Courtesy of Emeril Lagasse. This simple and elegant recipe from bJm requires advance preparation. Why not get the guys to shuck the oysters and wash the shells during the hours and hours of pre-game hype, while you make the flavored butter?

Grilled Oysters © The Gracious PosseThough you will smother the mollusks with large pats of butter, this appetizer is not too rich. When you lift the meat out of the triploid shell

close-up of oyster shell © The Gracious Posse[Triploids are the most commonly sold oyster on the market. Its large boat-like shell makes a gorgeous presentation and vessel for the appetizer]

most of the golden butter stays in the shell. Only the flavor slides into your mouth. For fans of oysters, this one is a sure winner.

Grilled Oysters
Yields 24
Write a review
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
6 min
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
6 min
  1. 10 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
  2. 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  3. 2 tablespoons minced parsley leaves
  4. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  5. 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  6. 1 teaspoon minced fresh chives
  7. 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, optional
  8. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  9. 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  10. 24 shucked oysters, half of each shell reserved and washed
  11. Read more at:
  1. In a bowl combine all ingredients except the oysters and mix thoroughly to combine. Transfer butter mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and roll up to form a tight log and freeze until firm.
  2. Preheat a grill to high.
  3. Place the washed oyster shells on a baking sheet and top each shell with 1 oyster. Remove the butter from the freezer and unwrap. Slice the butter into 24 rounds and place 1 round on top of each oyster. Place the oysters on the preheated grill and cook until the oysters are just cooked through, curled around the edges and the butter is melted and bubbly, 4 to 6 minutes.
  4. Serve immediately.
  5. Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse, 2006
The Gracious Posse

With neither of my favorite teams playing on Sunday, I am looking forward to enjoying all of other components that make the Super Bowl the best sporting event of the year. Food, games, entertainment and good company are all part of the winning combination that draws even the least interested to the television. How will you be celebrating this 50th Super Sunday?


February 4, 2016

2016 Super Bowl Bingo card @ The Gracious Posse

A Potting Sink That Takes Our Breath Away

You read that right! A potting sink at the Southern Living Idea House in Charlottesville

Southern Living Idea House © The Gracious Posse - 1

stopped us in our tracks. It’s not your average potting sink.

Southern Living Idea House potting sink © The Gracious Posse - 1

Fabricated locally by European Stone Concepts from Alberene soapstone, this sink sits in the covered slate breezeway between the main house and the garage. It rests upon a custom-built stand, also made in the Charlottesville area by Blanc Creatives. We think this sink represents the perfect blend of practicality and beauty.

Oh, how productive I could be puttering around this creation. So how do I rationalize purchasing such a treasure and integrating it into my home? I’ll channel Penelope Bianchi whom we quoted in A House is a Journey and accept that our home will never be truly finished.


February 2, 2016 

Welcome, February 2016!

Hello February 2016! With so much to do this month, we needed another day on the calendar to get it all done.

Richmond Ballet Gala

Ballet Gala invitation via Richmond Ballet

A Night in Verona celebrating Romeo and Juliet
Saturday, February 6th
Dover Hall Estate
more information here

50th Super Bowl


Sunday, February 7th
6:30 kickoff
Will it be the Broncos or the Panthers?

21st Annual Women & Wellness Forum SeriesWomen & Wellness 2016 invitation via Massey Cancer Center

featuring best selling author and breast cancer survivor, Elin Hilderbrand
Tuesday, February 9th
12:30 p.m.
The Jefferson Hotel
more information here

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras accessories from Pearl's Cupcake window © The Gracious Posse

Tuesday, February 9th
How will you celebrate Fat Tuesday?

Valentine’s Day

Valentine's homemade love cards © The Gracious Posse

Sunday, February 14 ♥


JDRF Gala 2016 invitation via Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

Dance for a Cure • Don’t Stop Believing
Saturday, February 27th
The Jefferson Hotel
more information here

Leap Day!

Leap Day image © The Gracious Posse

Do you know anyone with a February 29th birthday?


January 29, 2016





Two Current Movies Should Have You Planning A Family Movie Night, Either Real or Virtual

Living in my little empty nest bubble, I rarely find myself in a movie theatre anymore. Gone are the days when my children and I would anticipate the next Disney or Harry Potter release. We’d often be accompanied by a carload of friends the week of the release and together savor the big-screen experience, along with the popcorn kids’ meal.

popcorn pack Brushstroked

Afterwards we would talk about the movie and regale Dad with our favorite parts. Not only would the movie become a point of reference for conversations down the road, it provided a shared experience usually filled with life lessons ripe to be applied.

A seismic shift occurred in our movie sharing experience the summer I took my son and some of his under-17-year-old friends to see an R-rated thriller. The violence and language supposedly mandated parental supervision. With the knowledge of the other parents, I facilitated the ticket purchase (including my own) and escorted the boys into the theatre. Once the lights dimmed, I fled, having no desire to experience the blood and gore they craved.

The Big Short

I don’t believe that I have crossed a theatre threshold with my son since that day. Until the penultimate day of his Christmas break this year, that is. Somehow my husband and I manage to convince him and his girlfriend to see The Big Short with us.


Though we knew the outcome of the 2008 financial meltdown, we squirmed on the edge of our seats stunned by the cavalier attitude of the portrayed Wall Street hotshots, who were blind to the logical risks of mortgage investments. They never questioned how a tranche even worked, yet they bought them with abandon. At the same time, the real estate market had become so hot because mortgage brokers didn’t need to have their home buyers prove financial solvency or ability to repay when adjustable rate mortgages would inevitably rise. Life for these folks was all about collecting their bonuses, to heck with the doomed homeowner.

The good guys in this movie were the handful who dared to question the validity of all the assumptions on which the mortgage-backed securities market was based. As they conducted actual research and sought to understand what was going on in the real world, they realized that the whole industry was built on greed. Trusting their guts, they shorted the market, in effect betting against the American economy. Confident that the crash was inevitable, they persevered through ridicule and monthly financial calls until the market legitimately corrected, at least as much as the government would allow.

As portrayed by a stellar cast of actors, including Steve Carell, Christian Bale, and Brad Pitt, the outsiders provide courageous examples of what it takes to proclaim that the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes in this day and age. We, like the rest of the audience, left the theatre in quiet disbelief. My son, who has planned to find a career in corporate finance, was too disturbed to talk about it that night, but the movie has provided fodder for future conversations together not only about his future in the financial world but also how to live authentically and follow your gut instincts.


Serendipitously, less than a week later, I took in Concussion as part of an empty-nesters Girls’ Night Out.

Concussion movie poster

In an Oscar-worthy performance, Will Smith portrays Dr. Bennet Omalu, a coroner who unwittingly takes on the mighty NFL. As a naive immigrant from Nigeria unfamiliar with the fact that the NFL is the second religion of our country, he dares to pursue the truth about the effect of hard hits and concussions on the brain and how, in extreme cases, these collisions can lead to suicide. In disputing the NFL’s finding that football doesn’t cause concussions, Dr. Omalu faced threats and ridicule, and his boss was even arrested by the FBI.

Fortunately for current football players, the NFL has been forced to recognize the validity of Dr. Omalu’s research and has begun enforcing stiff penalties against players making helmet to helmet contact and flagrant hits. A game of both grace and violence, at least concussion protocols now attempt to protect the players who have grown up loving this game. No doubt the NFL never wanted this film to see the light of day, and for that reason alone, it is worth seeing, whether or not you and your family are the avid football fans that we are.

Real or Virtual Movie Night

Both of these movies extol questioning the status quo while following your own gut and seeking the truth in the face of massive malfeasance. How’s that for conversational fodder? Since the films feature actors who are legit in our children’s eyes, you might actually be able to persuade them to watch both with you.

If your children have already fled the nest for winter term or returned back to work, plan a movie night when they come back home or at least encourage them to catch the films where they are. Why not offer to buy their ticket, and be sure to see the movies yourself. Then when a speed parenting moment arises, you just might be able to weave the lessons of these movies into your conversation. You can’t be with your flown children all the time, but participating in shared experiences, even virtual ones, can help bridge the distance no matter how far apart you are.


January 27, 2016

Things To Do While You’re Snowed In Besides Cleaning Out A Closet

Most of us love a good snow day every now and again, but too much of a good thing is decidedly not snowtastic. If you’ve had enough hunkering down in front of the fireplace and still can’t get out today, consider doing one of these activities. Don’t worry, we’re not advocating you attack that irksome closet. Everybody has a different idea on how to spend their found-inside-time, so we hope we have something for everyone.

For the Naturalist

  • Water your indoor plants. Give them a good shower and cleanup by dead-heading and removing spent leaves.
  • Feed the birds. Don’t forget our feathered friends. You can fill your bird feeder, spread bird seed after the snow has stopped, or if you’re ambitious make one of kMg‘s ornaments to hang from a tree branch (p.s. they also make great Valentine’s gifts).

hanging birdseed hearts © The Gracious Posse1

For the Foodie

  • Sharpen your knives. Clean your oven. Both probably need it after the holidays.
  • Go through your Pinterest boards (or peruse our Recipes Tried and True and Recipes Gotta Try) and identify new recipes to make once you can get back out to the grocery.

Recipes Tried and True via Pinterest

For the Techie

  • Update your apps and software on across all of your devices. 
  • Clean out your inbox, unsubscribe from unwanted newsletters and promotions (NOT The Gracious Posse, of course) or organize your digital photos.
  •  Research and decide if the Apple Watch is for you (Alison and LDB say yes).

Apple Watch © The Gracious Posse

For the Exerciser

v-up collage © The Gracious Posse

  • See how many steps you can get on your Fitbit from inside your house.

For the Christmas Manager

  • Update your Christmas card list with change of addresses and new additions to your list.

Christmas cards to update © The Gracious Posse

  • Document what your did this Christmas: what worked and what you would do differently next year.

For the Tourist

  • Plan your spring break or summer vacation. 

La Jolla dreaming © The Gracious Posse

For Avid Readers

Her Sister's Shoes by Ashley Farley © The Gracious Posse

Just for You

  • Give yourself a facial, manicure or pedicure. If you don’t have a facial mask on hand, search Pinterest. I’ve seen numerous recipes for homemade facial masks using natural products you probably have in your pantry.

It takes work ... (Papyrus card)[inside: to be as fabulous as we are.] Indeed!

I just love these quiet snow days of winter. The closet can wait. Tell us how you are happily spending your snow day.


January 25, 2016