This court stenographer dazzles with her wide range of interests, including singing, cooking and geneaology: She's discovered that her lineage includes a nuclear physicist, an Oscar winner and even English royalty. With the diverse knowledge she's collected along the way, she says she would be a perfect Jeopardy! contestant, but we think she's also a gorgeous DHC Customer Spotlight.
I drink a lot of water all day long, avoid smoking and alcohol, get lots of sleep, exercise every day at home with some yoga postures, sit-ups and push-ups—I simply make time for it, no excuses! I also love hiking.
The Pinnacle, part of the Appalachian Trail: We hiked over a field of “ringing rocks” up to the top and found a natural spring gushing forth fresh, cold water. We filled our jugs, built a fire, grilled steak, baked potatoes and slept overnight in tents.
A southern specialty called Barbecued Shrimp. It has nothing to do with barbecue sauce, but it’s spicy, creamy and tangy with tomatoes and green onions—so satisfying.
Cooking with Núñez de Prado
I primarily use it to make Paula Deen’s Greek Dressing recipe.
My grandmothers both had beautiful complexions their whole lives: One made sure to use creams and lotions on her face every day. The other never left the house without a hat. They both always made time for lipstick, perfume and hand cream, no matter how busy they became.
All-time favorite beauty look
Princess Diana on her wedding day. No one else even comes close.
On feeling beautiful in your own skin
Don’t be afraid of silence. Exercise at home alone and allow your mind to drift, breathe deeply, make it an experience for your emotions as well as your body. Ask yourself if you’re on track with your dreams. If not, why?
Keep reading to discover how a personal heartbreak inspired Mary to take singing lessons
Becoming a court stenographer
One Sunday afternoon, when I was a senior in high school, my mom saw an article in The Philadelphia Inquirer headlined “Court reporters quietly finding jobs aplenty,” handed it to me and said, “I always thought you would be good at something like this.” I had won a county-wide typing contest in ninth grade and came in 12th in a multi-state typing contest that same year. After my grandmother died, I was shocked to discover a gold medal she had won for perfect stenography in high school! She did pen shorthand, and I use the machine like you see on television, but it was funny to learn that.
Ideal dinner date
My son appreciates my food so much, which is nice. He’s a guy, so what else but steak, right? But I serve it with a compound butter I make with butter, lemon juice, dried thyme leaves, Dijon mustard, Colman’s mustard powder.
On taking singing lessons
A man I loved dearly married someone else. The morning after the wedding, staring at the ceiling of my bedroom, I thought, well, the worst has happened and I’m still here. What else am I afraid of? Singing in front of a group of people, or even singing at all, terrified me. But I got out of bed, grabbed the Yellow Pages and looked up music schools and made an appointment right on the spot for lessons. I thought whatever happened I was no longer afraid. There’s a Wynonna Judd song that goes, “A dead-end street is just a place to turn around.” And singing has provided me with immeasurable joy, poise and confidence.
Favorite song to sing
“Music of the Night” from The Phantom of the Opera because it has lots of room for expression and goes well with my voice.