Dallas is my home and I love it. But what really shaped my design aesthetic was being raised in one of Mississippi’s most beautiful, historic and hospitable cities: Natchez. It was there, growing up downtown in a four-story Victorian house/clothing store owned by my mother and grandmother—and being a young docent at several antebellum houses—that I learned the joy of cooking, entertaining, storytelling, architecture, interior decorating and gardening.

My career would be inspired by both my grandmother, Freddie Bailey, who wrote two regional cookbooks, and my cousin, design guru Lee Bailey, who wrote and styled 22 acclaimed books on good living. I had the great joy of working with Lee on one of those books, Lee Bailey’s Southern Food and Antebellum Houses—winner of the 1990 James Beard Award for “Best Regional Cookbook” (and set in Natchez).

I’ve written and styled five cookbooks for Chronicle Books. The newest, with a Southern party theme, will publish in Spring 2016. The others are Southern Casseroles: Comforting Pot-Lucky Dishes (2013), Sweet on Texas: Lovable Confections from the Lone Star State (2012), Porch Parties: Cocktail Recipes and Easy Ideas for Outdoor Entertaining (2010) and Southern Cocktails: Dixie Drinks, Party Potions and Classic Libations (2007). I also styled the Rizzoli cookbook Mansion on Turtle Creek: Haute Cuisine, Texas Style (2012). All of these books were beautifully photographed by my husband (and fellow Natchez native), Robert M. Peacock.

In 2013, I had the pleasure of co-writing Uncommon Thread (2013), the memoir of Mary Ella Gabler, founder of the luxury linen company Peacock Alley.

Besides writing books, I scout, write and style features for leading national magazines. I've held senior-level staff positions at Southern Living, Coastal Living and Better Homes and Gardens and serve as a contributing editor for Organic Gardening, Meredith Corporation, Pace Communications and D Home.

 

Better Homes and Gardens video accompanying the August 2012 cover story, "Carefree Party on the Porch," featuring my "Sips at Sundown" party.