The Dollar on the Wall

Posted on May 26, 2014

There’s likely a dollar on the wall at your favorite local establishment. It could be framed, and maybe the dollar has writing on it or is accompanied by a photo of the proprietor with a smiley-faced person, the first customer. I like the idea of that dollar. The first dollar. In my earliest memories of my parents’ Dairy Queen store, that framed dollar was on the wall in my dad’s office. Being a counter service place, there wasn’t a wall out front that wasn’t being utilized by business to hold such a framed dollar. So it was in the office. There was no photo with it, and I assume as years went by and my dad opened many restaurants, that the documentation for exactly who the first customer was became less about showing it and more about remembering it. I wonder now if there is a box somewhere in my parents’ garage with a few framed one dollar bills. Probably.

I got an invoice yesterday from my web developer (the first Mme C website is up!). It was a paypal invoice with the number 0001. I’m not her first client, this was not her first invoice, but the idea of being the first invoice delivered via Paypal got me thinking. I remembered awhile back I was Paypal invoice number 0001 for Tejas Chocolate. When the invoice arrived in my email inbox, I kinda squealed with glee. It seemed to me that I was witnessing, and a part of, the start of something big. It was true.

But would they remember me as the first customer without that dollar bill on the wall?

With all of our credit card transactions today, does the acknowledgement of that “first” customer still exist?

I tried out the question this morning at the new Tacodeli location in Westlake. This store is the 4th to open in Austin. I had the pleasure of visiting with Eric Wilkerson the owner for a short time today, and I asked if they kept their first dollar for each store. Eric said yes, somewhere in some box or drawer or envelope is the first dollar bill from the first customer of the first Tacodeli. That was years ago, and credit cards are so much more prevalent today even for under $10 taco transactions. And for the second store opening? He absolutely remembers that one, and the name of the customer. Today, in the men’s restroom at the Gracy Farms location, you can see that dollar on the wall. It’s framed. That’s immortalization.

It may be just another haircut, hamburger, bonbon, or cup of coffee. But there’s something about a business that you can walk into and see that YOURS is that dollar on the wall.

The Channel Tunnel is 20 Years Old Today – A Tale of Two Cities

Posted on May 10, 2014

Happy Mother’s Day! I love you Mom! When I found the photos from this is trip I realized it is the only out-of-Texas travel my mom and I have ever done together. Eeegats! Time to change that. Life is too short to have only seen my mom giggly on beaujolais a couple times. Enjoy the story.

May 6, 2014 marks 20 years of rapid train travel between Great Britain and France.

Of Paris and London – this is my tale of two cities, connected.

As a teenager I was fascinated with most British pop singers, one in particular. Along with what was basically George Michael wallpaper, a framed art poster that said “LONDON” hung on my wall through high school and early college. That LONDON poster represented something of a goal. The specifics of the goal I did not grasp. Would I travel there, live there, study there? A princess lived there, as did my pop idol. That’s really all I needed.

As a Texas girl it likely (shakes head, rolls eyes) would’ve come in handy all these years for me to know Spanish. But I had a poster of a European destination on my wall, so in high school I chose the logical thing, I studied French (Spain must not have had pretty advertisements at the time). I made the choice sound even more logical by taking “Business French” in college as surely that would cement my dreams of international business travel. I worked towards that, and three years into my first real job, I pushed myself into an opportunity at the company’s office outside of London. And when I say “pushed” I mean pushed. They finally gave me an interview when I told them I was planning a trip to London anyway. I was not, but no matter. My sister Stephanie and I cooked up a girl trip to Paris that December with my mom and two aunts. I would be taking the CHUNNEL to my interview!!

December 1997 in Paris was cold. Like, windy, freeze your face off cold. Stephanie and I knew Paris, and felt comfortable getting around. The ladies? Not so much. I imagine Steph wasn’t thrilled with the idea of being tour guide to all while I charged off to conquer my future, but the cold was an ally. Sitting inside cafe after cafe drinking beaujolais for a day led to fine and funny stories when I returned. And a day was all it took. I left early in the morning, watched everything blur by, felt a little sick knowing we were underwater, and came up in greyness. I was an international business traveler.

It did not matter so much when I returned that the job did not work out. Calais and Dover weren’t points I saw from a windswept ferry like so many taking the trip before. If I’d had a mobile phone of today, I guess I would have clocked my speed, posted my joy on Facebook, Instagram’d something, text checked my sister’s sanity level, Yelp’d where I would have lunch, and sat there absorbed in emails and work. Instead I looked out the window, watched passengers, bought some crazy British snacks and coffee, and daydreamed. I was an international business traveler.

Chocolate Bar and Social Justice

Posted on May 4, 2014

Want to spend your chocolate dollars on a bar made for “good”? Check out the story of where thisDandelion Chocolate bar has its origins, and why that matters.

Learn more about Dandelion’s Liberian Bar.

“Our Liberian beans come from a collective that rehabilitates and reintegrates former child soldiers, now adults, who were forced into the Liberian Civil War and trains them to be skilled cacao farmers. Liberation Cacao is a collective of farms committed to economic and social justice. For more information please visit



Save the Date! Dallas Chocolate Festival on September 13, 2014

Posted on May 1, 2014

We just signed up our 24th vendor for this year’s Dallas Chocolate Festival! It’s going to be a fun one. So far we’ve got everything from bean-to-bar chocolate makers to chocolate popsicle makers.

Presented by, the Dallas Chocolate  Festival is an annual event designed to raise awareness and appreciation for the amazing work of local and national fine chocolate craftsmen.

The Dallas Chocolate Festival is two events in one:

The Chocolate Festival is a room of wall-to-wall chocolate where attendees can choose to sample chocolates from over fifteen chocolatiers and chocolate makers. Admission includes ten coupons (three for kids) redeemable for chocolate samples at the Festival. Tickets for the Festival can be purchased for entry at three different times. Tickets can be purchased for whichever time is most convenient — the chocolate vendors are the same throughout the day.

The Chocolate Conference, also included with a ticket purchase, takes place in an adjoining room of the Addison Conference Centre and kicks off at 10:00 AM with the Chocolatiers’ Roundtable — a free-flowing panel discussion with all participating chocolatiers. Adrienne Newman (Madame Cocoa) will return as the Chocolate Conference’s mistress of ceremonies. While all classes are included with a ticket purchase, space is limited and is on a first come, first seated basis.

Confirmed chocolatiers and chocolate makers include: