I just got back from my trip home to Missouri where we filmed me and my mom cooking in the kitchen where I grew up. I took my whole team, my Director of Photography and my hairstylist, Mark, that I have been friends with for close to 20 years.

I was a little nervous at first because I wasn’t certain how the trip would go. I have members of my team from all over the U.S. and while Webb City, Missouri is a slice out of the all-American pie, there really isn’t much to do in this tiny little town. And to top it off, the forecast called for pouring rain the entire time we were to be there.

Since only a couple of people were needed for the shoot, I sent most of them on a team-building exercise—this idea was Cari’s, my CBO, and it was brilliant. They were given a car, $40 and four hours to put together a tablescape for our dinner that evening. They were charged with finding a centerpiece, table runner, napkins, napkin treatment and place cards for the table but could not go over their allocated funds.

Much to my surprise, they not only managed the task beautifully (in the pouring rain, remember), but they did so spending only about $20—half of what I had given them!

cherylstyle-team-missouriThe table was gorgeous. An old piece of scrap metal served as the runner, shelf paper as placemats, pieces of a pillowcase were ripped into the napkins, and coffee filters were scrunched into “flowers” as the napkin treatment. And the best part of it all was the centerpiece. They used an old vase from Goodwill and wrapped twine around it for a rustic look where it housed clipped branches of a blooming dogwood tree—Missouri’s state flower. There was such creativity and it was a perfect team-building experience. Way to go team Everyday Dishes & DIY!

So while the production team and I (with my Mom) gathered footage for my “going home” story, the other members of my team were enjoying a beautiful spring, albeit rainy, day in the Midwest. There was no need at all to be nervous. Everyone loved the experience. But the best part of all was once everyone returned back to our house, we all had dinner together. The Everyday Dishes & DIY team and my family (about 32 people) filled the living room. We laughed, told stories and played charades. The day (and night) was a huge success.

I come from a beautiful place with beautiful people who graciously open their hearts and home to strangers. I guess you can say, Everyday Dishes & DIY is MissouriStyle—a place to embrace what truly matters—the experience we have around the table.

Live the moment.