A cyber hug to all the Father’s

Happy Father’s Day! And a big cyber hug to all the father’s struggling one way or another. Blessings.

TRINITY, "Father, Son, Holy Ghost" Photograph by Ed Schipul
Photo by Ed Schipul

If you are in the Houston area and is looking for a nice place to take your Father out for lunch or dinner, go to Brennan’s of Houston today, no reservations required. Their food and service is exquisite! They have a special Starter, Entree & Dessert menu today.

Brennan's of Houston
Brennan’s of Houston Father’s Day Special

30 Days of Thanks: To Nanny’s House We Go!

There are SO many things I am thankful for. Family, friends, and my health of course, but what resonates for me are the little things that have a big impact. This includes a cookbook I was given when I was 15, and the memories that come with it.

The cookbook is filled with recipes from my grandparent’s childhood and was a collaboration with several family members, close friends, and neighbors. It is titled “To Nanny’s House We Go”. All of the grandkids received a copy with a set of wooden spoons. Every time I make a recipe from that book or make something my grandmother taught me, a flood of memories from my childhood come back.   One of those childhood memories came back to me yesterday (Nov 10th).

Years before my grandfather passed my grandparents would honestly have cornbread at LEAST once a week. My grandmother was the one who usually made it but on occasion my grandfather would too. He got tired of having to get the recipe from my grandmother’s recipe box and copied it onto a post-it. He then taped it to the inside the cabinet that had all the ingredients to make the cornbread. I was always spending time at my grandparents and remember seeing the Post-it pop up one day when I went to make coffee.

Yesterday my mom and grandmother were discussing our recipe for cornbread dressing. They were trying

Cornbread recipe
The BEST cornbread is made in a cast iron skillet.

to decide whether or not they should make it that night. They spent a good 15-20 minutes looking for the cookbook to make cornbread. I told them there was a copy of the recipe taped to the inside of one of the kitchen cabinets. They didn’t believe me.

Almost every person in my family opens that cabinet almost 3-4 times a day and they never noticed. it.   I’m not sure exactly how long that post it has been there. But every time I go to my grandmother’s and see that post-it.

It’s amazing to me how an action, smell, or even words can trigger such strong memories and I am utterly grateful for them. 🙂

Below is the cornbread recipe that my grandfather taped in the cabinet:

1 cup corn meal

1/2 cup flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 cup buttermilk

1 egg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.   Put 1 tablespoon of oil (my family uses bacon grease) in a cast iron skillet. Mix above ingredients and then pour in oiled cast iron skillet. Bake for 30 minutes.

Happy Thanksgiving! Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!

Get up and do something for someone else.

Smile :)Lately my mom has been telling me that I sound like my grandma. I guess I skipped a generation in the whole “turning into your parents” thing, but can I help it that my grandma is the smartest lady I’ve ever known? There are tons of books about how to be happy, how to get along with people, how to go on an epic journey to figure yourself out, and how to let go of your baggage. Even some from very wise people. These long-winded lessons   are all valuable, but I think my grandma’s book would be about two sentences long: “If you feel bad, get up, get dressed, and do something for someone else. Smile.”

I heard this all the time when I was growing up, especially during the most unenthusiastic moments of my teenage years.   My grandma was the youngest of eleven kids and had eight herself, so I doubt she’s ever had the time to feel bad or do much of anything just for herself. Growing up a little more modern, I had and took my share of opportunities to be selfish. I never consciously took her advice to heart, but it’s hard-wired into my brain anyways. It’s no accident that I became passionate about social justice, worked at a crisis hotline, volunteer all over the place, and always let people over into my lane.

That’s the cool thing about this lesson: it applies anywhere you take it. It probably won’t solve all your problems (that’s what all these other lessons are for), but it can change your perspective.   So much so that one day your mom is saying that you sound like your grandma, and that’s a compliment.

I also don’t think it’s an accident that more and more companies are living by mottos like “Don’t be evil” and “Do good.” The philosophy of being happy and successful, for individuals and businesses, pretty much boils down to that. Get up and do something for someone else. Smile.

Photo used under a Creative Commons license from Flickr user: katerha.

Always Carry Your Camera in Your Purse…or Man Satchel

Anyone that knows me, will tell you  I like to tell stories – some make complete sense others are  borderline bizarre – but one thing I know for sure, they are best accompanied with a  photo. That being said, a lesson I am grateful to have learned  was to always carry your camera in your purse, pocket, fanny pack  and yes, even  that  beloved man satchel.

Because let’s be honest,  if you  don’t carry a camera with you at all times, how can you tell people…

How beautiful your mom is.

That you were there.

That your baby looks brilliant in a Trapper Hat.

That  your baby nephew will be the most stylish kid on the block.

How  you hugged a giant macaroni.

That you kissed a baby giraffe.

Or that you patted a dolphin on the head.

That you have been a human crayon.

That sometimes, you must forego your Cowboys gear for the one you love.

That it is not a joke how much your family loves miniature schnauzers.

And that you really do have the best friends in the world.

Shade of Hope Helps Make Houses Homes

Blinds.com Hosts “Shade of Hope” Fundraiser for the Houston Furniture Bank from Schipul – The Web Marketing Co. on Vimeo.

Coffee table. Bed. Plates. Forks. Chairs. A lamp. Individually, they’re just items on a list of things found in a house. Collectively these items represent what makes a house a home, and when simply having a roof is your main priority, what to put under it takes the backseat.   Shade of Hope is putting the spotlight on these details.

About Shade of Hope and The Furniture Bank of Houston

Blinds.com and Houston Furniture Bank Leadership TeamsShade of Hope is a community arts affair created to help raise money and awareness for   The Furniture Bank of Houston.   The name sounds stately and polished, but the Furniture Bank is modest warehouse tucked away in Houston’s Third Ward, manned by a small group of loving volunteers.

Sunday, July 18, the public will have an opportunity to see the space for themselves during the kick-off event for Shade of Hope. Artists will be on-site creating the artwork to be featured in the upcoming   Furniture, Arts and Decor Expo – Show Your heART Houston, which also benefits The Furniture Bank.

Artist + Katie Sign First Canvas for Shade of Hope

True to it’s name, artists for the event will use shades donated by Blinds.com as canvas for their artwork. We attended the artist breakfast meeting at Blinds.com and even had an opportunity to sign the first shade commemorating the event.

The Furniture Bank welcomes donations of furniture and home appliances. Anyone interested in participating or donating to Shade of Hope or the Furniture Bank can contact Esther Steinfeld of Blinds.com.

5 Tips to Keep You Safe On that Next Road Trip

Summer is here and along with it high airfare prices, leaving many families opting to drive to their next vacation spot. We all know to drive safely but sometimes situations like flat tires, bad weather, and sick children are out of our control.   The first step to ensuring safety on your next get-a-way is to plan. Having the resources and planning to deal with the unexpected is the best way to protect you and your family and most importantly, to get back to the reason you’re traveling, vacation! There are 5 simple tips to keep in mind while traveling. The linked text will take you to a “how-to” page describing the mentioned action.

1. Check Your Car

The first step and arguably the most important is to make sure you car can safely drive to your destination. This includes tire pressure, engine oil, wipers and wiper fluid, battery, and radiator coolant.   This is especially important if you have an older car.  Even if you drive your car everyday and it seems to run fine, it might not be able to handle the distance of a road trip.

2. Bring an Emergency Car Kit

If you failed to follow rule #1 or something unexpected like a flat tire occurred, it’s vital you have emergency car kit on board. Like a first-aid kit for your car, this could save you in desperate situations. Tools to include are:

– Duct Tape: Can temporarily fix a broken window wiper, hold glass together, mend a broken hose, etc….

– Tools: Wrench, Screwdriver, pliers, and a socket wrench.

– Booster Cables: To jump a dead battery

– Emergency Flashlight/Flares: To see around at night, and attract help.

3. First Aid Kit

If your car was damaged or broken down, there is a good chance you will have to wait sometime before help arrives, especially on road trips where help is hundreds of miles away. If you are driving with multiple people, like children, safety should be the first priority. It’s is important to have an adequate first-aid kit on hand to help if there are any injuries. Bandages, antibiotic cream, aspirin, ice-packs, alcohol wipes, and a first aid instruction book, are some basic materials you should have.

4. Don’t Just Pack a Picnic

Just because you brought road snacks doesn’t mean you can survive off them for several days. Many people will bring food that goes bad if not kept in ice, and during the summer the heat will turn these foods stale quickly. Snacks like trail mix are good but you can’t assume you are prepared because you have some food.

– Naturally, the first thing you will think of is water. It is important to have back up jugs or bladders of water at about a 3 gallon per person per day ratio.

– Energy Bars: powerbars, granola bars, and my personal favorite, cliff bars.

Dehydrated food: While they might not be consumed at all during your trip, these meals can easily be made on a pinch, and are light/small enough to be packed into your trunk.

*Emergency food/water you pack should be considered off limits unless of an emergency. If you include the food you plan on eating with your emergency food, you won’t have nearly enough food to survive for multiple days.

5. Know the Road

Do you know multiple ways to get to your vacation? With construction and traffic you might be forced to take an alternate path. Make sure you plan your trip through Google Maps and bring an atlas, so in case you can’t get internet, you have a back up copy. Also make sure you know the nearest town/city to find help at all times during the trip. This doesn’t have to be a boring task, plan your route with the intention of seeing cool sites and having fun but always be aware of your surroundings.

End of an era for a Schipulite!

So today is my last day at Schipul. After almost 6 years, leaving is NOT easy. Some of you will be asking why? I don’t have a good answer but mostly to have a little time with my baby girl and to see what’s next. I am not on a quest to find happiness. Happiness is having a my health, being married to a rock solid MAN, seeing a smile on my girl’s face, and spending the last 69 months of my life with a group of amazing people that have lifted me through a few dark times and escalated the happiest times.

Dear Schipulites’ I am so grateful for all the knowledge you talented, moving people have sent my way. You had made my 20’s unforgettable.  For so long, this has been my safe haven where I was not afraid to leap because I know you always had my back.  I have worked some of the best clients any company could ever have. Each and every person has touched my life in unimaginable ways.

I will never forget many deep conversations with @longstation, sharing an office with @deneyterrio (WOW, lol), and my Friday afternoon heart to heart chats with a STRONG and FEARLESS CEO.  Ed’ your efforts are amazing and I am honored to call Schipul my second family.

Enough already! You all know how amazing Schipulites are. I am excited about the future for you guys! I won’t be far.

Thank you 157,456,000 times for everything you have taught me.

Much love!


These have been the best days!