Tuesday, November 24, 2015

in all things

This year has blown by.
I cannot even believe Thanksgiving is in two days.
Can I get a hands up for who's not ready?
I've got two hands raised.
That's how behind I am.
I may not have anything planned to eat for dinner on Thursday
but I do have our Christmas cards done.
Stackable coupon codes from Shutterfly will do that to a girl.
They know how to speak my language...
my love language of saving money that is.
I saved like eighty seven smacks by ordering them last week.
Of course today I saw they have another 50% off code.
Oh well, at least its done.
And now I have another project after having reviewed
thousands of iPhone pictures from the past year...
I've got to schedule family portraits.
You know you need to do this when the only recent picture
you have of your whole immediate family is at the zoo
when they corner you at the entrance and sucker you
into paying some obscene amount for one picture.
Says the bad mom who now thinks that was the best money ever spent :)
So we may not have family pictures or Thanksgiving dinner but we have a card.
I'll take it.
I wasn't sure if it was the right thing to do but
I put a picture of our niece who died this year on our card.
 I wasn't sure, still not maybe
but to me that's how I put our annual cards together...
like a year in review of photos,
places we've been, people we've seen.
I asked my husband yesterday if he thought his brother and his wife would mind.
He said he didn't think so.
That was part of our year and it can't be undone.
As much as we wish it could be.
There's another picture I used too,
of our three sons
underneath a Texas state flag
that was painted on some old patina'd wood.
It was taken at a restaurant in a parking lot.
The last day we saw her.
We went to a basketball game with her
and had eaten lunch at this place.
I saw the flag and said hey...this would be a great picture.
Hey guys, yelling at our boys who were running around,
y'all come on and let's take a picture.
Our niece and her friend ran to get in the shot.
I asked them if I could just take a shot of the boys.
Because I was only thinking about getting a shot for our damn card.
I was so rude.
So horrible.
They didn't care, they just chatted away
and were like ok, Whatevs, no big deal.
As soon as I said oh no, just of the boys if that's ok,
I realized how I should have done it.
Take a picture with them all, then asked for just one of the boys.
I get it.
I screwed up.
I do that often you know.
I never thought that would be the last day with her.
I was speeding through our day,
trying to tick off another box on the to do list of life.
Thinking I'd ticked one off way early before Christmas.
A mom at our kids school passed away recently.
She was my age.
Two kids.
Seemingly healthy.
Here one minute.
Gone the next.
We took a walk as a family a few days after.
One of my twins holding my hand as we walked.
He's nearly as tall as me now.
As we walked I wondered internally how much longer
he'll willingly hold my hand in public.
The sun was setting and we were heading back home.
We were quiet in our own heads until he wondered aloud
about the children of our friend who passed away.
He said I bet they wish they were on a walk with their mom right now.
I agreed, trying to hold back tears.
I said that's why we have to cherish every day baby,
why we have to let small stuff go,
knowing that most things in life are small,
we often just get confused about what matters
and what we should let go of.
Long lines and traffic...let it go.
Think of it as a chance to stop and breathe and look around.
Things like walks at sunset...do that often,
especially with someone you love.
I get irritated at things, silly things, all too often.
I ask myself now, do these things really matter?
Matter enough that your blood pressure blips up by a few points?
I have yet to find one that truly justifies my annoyance.
Our youngest who proclaims every Monday morning
that he hates Mondays...not allowed I tell him.
Every day is a great day and a gift you're not allowed to NOT be thankful for.
Go back to bed if you need to and let's try it again in five
but there are kids around the world
that would give anything to be able to go to school.
Kids his age are working to help provide for their families,
not going to school to learn and have fun.
I ask him if he would rather go to work or to school.
Your choice I tell him but you have to pick one.
School wins every time for him.
He's lucky and I wont let him forget it.
As much as I love to clean I will admit that
mountains of laundry and dirty dishes can get on my nerves.
I think of my grandmother who only had a washing machine late late in life.
It sat on her back porch alone, she never had a dryer.
Even in her 80s she hung things out on a line in the backyard.
In my single days I went to a Laundromat.
Spin City.
No joke.
My husband always points it out to our kids on our trips home
and they giggle at the thought of me there.
Today I have a laundry room in my house
and believe you me I'm thankful.
No walking to the river like some still do today.
Dirty dishes mean we have plenty to eat.
Even if I don't have a menu planned for Thursday I know we'll eat beautifully.
Yes, there are seats that will be empty now,
never to be filled again
by family and friends who have left us too early.
These life lessons,
as much as I would trade them in a heartbeat,
teach me and my kids on a daily basis
to be gracious and grateful
for all that we have
and for everything we don't.
I'm thankful beyond measure
for family and for friends near and far
who put up with me and my shenanigans
and continue to love me and my imperfections.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow, 
who shows me more love and forgiveness than I deserve.
I'm blessed and I know it.
I hope you and yours have a lovely, loving Thanksgiving.
Thanks for reading.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

best recent beauty buys

You know I'm a self professed beauty product junkie.
I don't know why but I've never met a new product I didn't want to try.
A few weeks ago my peep Joyce called and asked me to go
to a frou frou chi-chi shop near River Oaks.
Uh yeah was my response.
I knew they had home furnishings but who knew they had beauty stuff too!
Plus I'd roll anywhere with Joyce.
She's a hoot...so much so that I guess we were talking too much
and I only took one picture in the shop...
 Not sure why I even took that one.
Guess it was the red moose?
One other good thing came out of the store.
While we were looking around I came across this...

No, this is not your mama's mirror.
This mirror is not a joke.
I may have fired my brow threader because
I spent an hour with my new mirror and my tweezers.
Amazing is all I have to say.
Equally amazing is a cosmetic company I've been watching for a while now.
Have you heard of them?
So last week I happened to find myself at Ulta.
Don't blame me though...its right next to my kids' pediatrician's office.
I needed a signature on a form for school and who could blame me
when I wandered by on the way to the car.
Next thing I know I'm buying hair care products and testing out It.
Because I'd watched their presentations on tv
but wasn't sure what the right colors would be on me.
A very nice Ulta employee urged me to try stuff out.
I still wasn't convinced mainly because, between us,
you know I didn't need anything at all.
I'm a junkie and I know it.
So I left the store without any It. ;(
Then I got home and was checking my email
when lo and behold a little holiday cheer
with 25% off friends and family code arrived from It.
It was like they knew where I'd been that day.
Scary a lot.
I placed an order over the weekend
for a couple of It Cosmetics,
You read it right.
It's called Your Skin but Better.
This is IT and I'm not exaggerating.
This is everything and a bag of chips.
It covers flawlessly and is chock full of anti-aging ingredients,
but mostly importantly
it doesn't feel like you're wearing anything.
Honestly this morning when I was putting it on
I thought to myself
this is like putting on new skin.
I bought the trial size in medium to start
but I'll be buying the super size from qvc asap.
I also took a chance and ordered a new lip gloss.
Because I am a hoarder of lip products.
To the point where even I think its ridiculous.
I ordered the CC + Lip Serum in Laugh.
I'm pretty particular about lip products I admit
so I'm willing to give any a try in the hopes
that I'll find one to stay on, feel good, and give a little color.
This is the holy grail of lip glosses.
I put this on and immediately went into the drawer where I keep my lip stash.
Don't judge.
You know I buy in bulk especially this time of year
when gift sets are readily available ;)
I took every lip stick and gloss out of the drawer,
and then all of the ones out of my purse
and they're gone baby gone.
 I mean it.
One try and I was hooked.
I'm officially an It girl.
You should be too.
Be sure and sign up for their emails
which is how I got alerted to their recent sale
plus they offer free shipping for orders over $25.
I'll share the hair care scores next time.
Until then y'all ~
whatever you're up to make sure you're loving every minute!

Friday, November 13, 2015


As they say in the South
where I come from
stick a fork in me,
I'm done!
Sending loads of gratitude to our host Linda
from Calling It Home  and her biannual One Room Challenge.
I've been an avid reader of her blog for years and honestly
without the push of a deadline this little room reno
may would definitely have taken me years to finish.
No lie.
I'll share pics in a second
but its on my heart to say this first...

this challenge pushed me think of what I want
in and outside of this room...
in the small business I'm dreaming up
and also in my bloggin'.
 When I sit down to write
I feel like I'm sharing part of my heart .
I hope that comes through to you.
If not please know I tried.
 When I was in the middle of scouting and buying things
I also attempted to do some additional projects ,
not because I needed or wanted them
but because
I thought you the reader would be like "hell-yayah"
I'll admit I felt some panicked moments
where I thought for sure
you would see my finale and be like "that's it?"
"she should've done x, y, and z"
and maybe you still will.
Thankfully in those angst filled moments
I heard whispers in my heart to just to be real.
Which is my number one rule for design
whether you're on your own
or a designer is helping you with your space
you have to listen to your gut.
When in doubt I thought of this...

Without further ado
here's a pretty accurate definition and reflection of
everything that I love
in this little space I now call my own...

 Not bad considering it started as this...
I designed the custom desk we had made.
Its divine if I do say so myself...
The right side holds our printer, paper, and extra supplies...
While the left side does double duty...
with two drawers of two rows of hanging file folders...
Besides the desk lamps that I scored on a fluke
on our neighborhood online garage sale site
I think my biggest coup was finding these...

Double happiness drawer pulls.
I die.
 I like to keep clutter hidden so on top of the desk
I kept it to a minimum.
This little map of Georgia used to hang in my boys' room.
I'm a fan of shopping what you already have so it moved in here.
The state of Georgia was teal blue, nothing a sharpie can't handle.
 I happened to have a giant navy one.
Imagine that?
I also added a little orange star to mark Savannah
as a little homage to where I come from.
Because as you know I'm always in a southern state of mind...

The middle drawer is for pens, tape, and push pins...
{the polka dot paper is actually a gift bag from Target
that I'm using as drawer liner.
The huge desk pad from the Pottery Barn outlet is now back in the kitchen.}
 Without a doubt the best DIY in the room are our boys' silhouettes...
Funny...look at the reflection of the middle picture above
and you'll see what I did on the other wall.
The other wall.
Where to start?
Its a glass block window.
We got an estimate to replace the glass block window.
While I'm recovering from that heart attack
I'm disguising it with pieces of my blue and white collection...
Its like putting lipstick on a pig
but to me its the perfect shade of lipstick :)
I also threw an old sea fan I'd been meaning to frame
in the planter behind an orchid I'm trying my best to keep alive.
I'm just happy it still had blooms for the pictures.
  Look at what other blooms are in the room...

{sorry for the weird pic...iPhone pano shot was the best I could do right now
to get the whole board in the picture...}


Glad I was home alone when I took these shots
so that I didn't have to explain why I was laying on the floor
taking repeated panoramic pictures...

My red egg chair makes me smile every time I sit down.

Last week my peep Rena graciously came over
and using her super duper engineering skills
she helped me figure out the best position for the Chiang Mai.
I had ordered a couple of yards from Designer Fabrics USA
{I debated between wallpaper and fabric and
Kelly from Designer Fabrics USA was so kind and helpful.}
thinking I'd cover the whole board
but once we figured we'd have to piece meal the fabric
to get the pattern to line up
I knew I couldn't do it.
Yes it may have been a bigger wow factor
but I couldn't bring myself to chop it up.
Call me crazy.
Until a few days later
when the cork board with its obvious sun damage
starting talking to my OCD.
So I took it all down.
By myself.
Because I was too ashamed to tell Rena that I hadn't thought ahead.
#lesson learned 
I thought about painting the cork itself
but instead went with some craft paper I had on hand...

I used a roll of upholstery tacks to secure the paper...

 I'm still thinking I might paint the trim.
For now I like the white :)
 Besides the hanging file folders and notebooks
look at what else I found at Target...

I think Target should rename these push pins "Chiang Mai Garden"
or something like that.
Call me Target if you need more advice. 
I'm a plethora of knowledge and I know every inch of your stores
better than some of your own employees.
I had to buy a ton of these to hang the Greek key trim
Rena and I snagged at Hobby Lobby.
The solid orange was perfect for the trim and the other colors
were perfectly camouflaged holding the fabric in the middle.
Speaking of the right colors...
this antique stained glass window was a wedding gift.
Its hung in this little room since we moved in.
As you can see the colors aren't exactly perfect for in here
but I couldn't bring myself to move it out...

I tried painting the glass but you could see the brush strokes.
Then one day I was staring at the silhouettes I made and it hit me.
I grabbed the paper I used for that project and a little cut and paste later...


I hung it back in its place and am loving the new colors :)
I've got a couple of other things to try but for now this works for me :)
Progress, not perfection.

I'm still playing ginger jar shuffle...

but you might agree that that is a good problem to have...

I even found a place for the double happiness beads
I scored in Round Top last spring...
Sorry this is late in posting.
Lots of crazy happened yesterday.
Some good, some bad.
I'll try to post about it next along with a better source list.
Until then you should definitely check out the other ORC final reveals.
That's definitely on my weekend to-do list.
I hope you enjoy yours whatever you do.
In case you missed my earlier ORC updates
you can find them here:

Week Two

Week Four

Week Five

Saturday, November 7, 2015

when i loved him least

This post isn't about decorating or deals.
Forgive me if that's what you're here for.

I know I kid about my husband sometimes.
That his favorite word is budget.
I think a lot of times I joke about him
because I don't want anyone to know
how truly spectacular he really is.
The list of superlatives to describe him is long and worthy.
I'm pretty sure I loved him before I knew him.
I'd heard about him from friends and neighbors
long before I ever met him.
We had a mutual friend whose extended family
had gotten to know the hubs over the years.
Everyone that knew him loved him.
I listened to their stories about him and every time they'd end one with
"you two would be perfect for each other."
I just laughed it off and said there was one problem with that.
The phrase "from Texas" and the thousand miles between us.
I heard this for a year.
Then one day, fifteen years ago this past week, he visited our mutual friend.
I remember the instant I first saw him.
It was in my rear view mirror.
I was in my car leaving and he was arriving from the airport.
I thought huh...that must be him.
The famous friend from Texas.
I just grinned and figured we'd meet later.
Sure enough we did.
I lived in a little carriage house at the time
behind a big stately antebellum mansion in Savannah.
Our mutual friend lived in "the big house" with me in the little house.
It was a safe place to land after I went through the big D.
Our mutual friend had a little garden that I would putter in.
Which is where I first met my husband.
As the two of them returned from visiting neighbors.
I was watering the plants as he wandered through the garden,
up the stairs of the back porch,
hands in pockets and all serious,
 looking down at the ground.
He was the shy one at first.
We were officially introduced and they went inside.
I stood there watering geraniums.
{yes, they bloom in November in the deep South}
In my head I put my first name with his last name.
Yes, that'll do just fine.
You see I already knew I was going to marry him.

It took him a little while longer ;)
One year later to that day he got down on bended knee to ask me to marry him.
He was worth the wait.
I wish in some ways we had met earlier
but neither one of us was ready for the other.
It was worth every broken heart that came before him.
Every mistake on the road to find him was a lesson
I look back on now in complete thankfulness.
As hard as some lessons were to experience,
I learned through every one of them.
Fifteen years and three babies later
he continues to surprise me
with his selflessness and patience.
For what comes naturally to him
I humbly admit is work for me.
I honestly don't know what I did to deserve him.
I think back now to that day fifteen years ago
and I know without a doubt that
that was the day I loved him least.
Because every day since
 I love him more than the day before.


Friday, November 6, 2015

have a seat...its week 5 of the ORC

 Back when I first got hooked on pinterest
I would spend every single second of free time on it.
Not proud, just being honest.
That was a few years ago.
15,000 pins plus since.
I know.
Insert ashamed emoji here.
One good thing that came out of that time well spent er wasted
is now that I'm circling back as a serial redecorator
to update rooms in my house
I usually peruse the many pinterest boards I have saved.
Like when I lost my mind threw my hat in the ring for my first ORC
the first place I went is my "where i work" board.
I saw certain trends of things I've loved
{some things that may be considered trends but
I figure its my space and I've got to love it right?}
 I've tried in these few short weeks to make them come to fruition.
One of the first things I started searching for
was the perfect place to sit while I work.
One type of chair in particular kept coming up on repeat in my pins.
A Chinese inspired Chippendale...

Of course these had me at hello...
In green if you please.
When I spotted this on One Kings Lane...
I thought it was "the one".
It was priced at $199.
I hit "add to cart" quicker than sweet tea disappears in my house.
Up popped white glove delivery fee of $200.
You know how I feel about shipping fees.
Um, no thank you.
I'll pass.
Undaunted I found it on other websites because that's how I roll.
Unfortunately on the other websites you had to buy them as a pair.
I kept searching for my perfect chair like Prince Charming for Cinderella.
This site has a ton of Chippendale chairs
{among other treasures}
but again...I only wanted one, not ten.
If you're in the market for multiples check Circawho out fo' sho.
Another great place for these Asian inspired items is Gumps.
I found Gumps during my initial foray into collecting double happiness.
This time I was all about their chairs...
but because of the desk I needed one without arms.
Gumps even had one of those but it was pretty pricey...
Ballard is a great place for chairs as well.
I knew their Dayna chair would work...
since they have both arm chair and side chair versions.
Again...you have to buy their side chairs in pairs -
I assume because of shipping issues but I'm not sure.
In any event I hesitated since I knew I was going to Round Top.
More on that in a minute but if I could I would like to
 humbly suggest they offer these in green and navy.
Just saying Ballard Designs.
I found one in navy at my favorite catalog store Wisteria
but alas it only comes in the arm chair version.
 I have loved everything I've ever gotten from Wisteria.
One day I'm going to make it to their headquarters in Dallas.
And I may never come back...they might find me living in their warehouse.
Look for me in the blue and white porcelain section. ;)
Ok since that sounded kind of stalkerish let me tell you that
I did indeed stalk Ebay and Etsy scouring for one of these beauties
oh and Everything but the House...do you know that site?
Be careful...its like pinterest.
It will suck you in and three hours later you're wondering
what space vortex you stumbled into
because you thought it had only been like ten minutes.
Or so you tell your husband when he calls you one afternoon
to ask where you are since you haven't left to do car pool yet.
'Cause you were in said vortex.
All this to say I couldn't find what I wanted in a chair
for what I wanted to spend online.
Which leads me back to Round Top.
Y'all may know that I am lucky enough to live less than two hours away.
I'm even luckier to have friends who are expert Round Top goers.
Over the years I've gone with them
they've taught me where to go, who to see, and how to deal.
Also where to eat and where the best restrooms are.
And they do the best wine and cheese tailgate parties.
Muy importante stuff y'all.
So this fall I made my little wish list.
A little background in case you're just joining me...
my husband and I had this little room reno on our books for years.
We had planned to make this old wine bar into a desk area
but with the thought that it would be a family command central.
Over the summer I told him I was dreaming of doing something, anything
in the field of design since I'm hopelessly passionate about it.
It was his idea to turn the bar into "my" little space to dream design dreams
{whatever those may be}.
Now I admit I have extra chairs in the house
and I was just going to use one of those but then the hubs casually said
"while you're in Round Top
look for a square game table
and also a chair for your office."
Who am I to turn down his requests?
So on the way to Round Top my peeps and I
go over our wish lists in the car as we drive through the countryside
because we always keep our eyes peeled for each others desires.
So the whole day I'm looking.
But I'm not seeing anything even remotely Chippendale like.
By the time we reached our next to the last stop at Blue Hills
I admit that I had given up.
I'd found a few treasures like double happiness calligraphy pens
and I was as happy as a clam with those.
Two of the cars in our caravan got to Blue Hills before we did.
Just as we drove got there I get a text asking where we are.
Just got here I texted back.
Then I get this picture from my peep Laura...

And within another minute I got nearly the same picture from another friend Angela
who was in a different car and had also arrived separately.
I started frantically texting...
Where are y'all?
I'm on the way!!!!
  It must have been funny to other antiquing fans,
a middle aged woman running through Blue Hills as if her hair was on fire.
I stopped at the door of the tent they told me to go to and took a deep breath,
already in line of sight at what can only be described as
Asian inspired furniture heaven.
Only it was in the middle of the Texas farm country...
no lie
the fields around Round Top
and a rainbow to boot.
Heaven indeed.
As was this little slice of heaven by Red Egg...

My friend Laura was patiently waiting on me,
smiling like she had found the holy grail.
Because she had :)
We were greeted by the booth owner Carol.
She was so lovely I can't even tell you.
Now let me tell you that when I'm happy or excited I tend to talk fast.
I saw the furniture and accents she had and I was just goofy giddy.
I told her about looking all day for the perfect chair for my new office.
Laura, the best-est peep ever, told Carol about my blog,
about how I was dreaming and scheming of a new business venture.
Laura is seriously the best thing since sliced bread.
I tried to put the kibosh on her,
telling her to stop because I'm sure Carol didn't want to hear it
and how my blog was tiny compared to most.
{that's a whole separate post by the way...

Carol stopped me in my tracks and kindly said...
If your friend wants to beam about you and your dreams you should let her :)
She's your best form of advertising.
So I blushed while Laura, my new VP of PR, told her my story.
I asked Carol how she got started in the furniture business.
She shared her story with me,
how she took some things she bought and collected
while working overseas in Asia and sold them at a show like Round Top.
She wasn't sure if the items would sell but she took a chance
figuring she'd take them to a flea market if things didn't work out.
She sold out immediately and knew she was onto something.
I seriously got chills while she was talking.
I just love that Carol took a chance and went for it.

The chance she took seventeen years ago grew into her company called red egg.
I knew I wasn't leaving her tent empty handed.
The deal was sealed when Laura ushered me over to a red egg table.
She didn't say anything, rather just pointed to the label.
The table was from a line by red egg called "double happiness."
Meet my new desk chair otherwise known as the Indochine side chair...

via red egg

 or as I fondly call it - my red egg chair :)
Carol also told us the inspiration behind her company name...
in Chinese culture red is the color of prosperity and fortune
and eggs signify birth or a new start.
To me it couldn't get any better than this

 Ok...the desk is in, the paint is on the wall.
We have light and some artwork and now a place to sit.
I'm wrapping up the last big part of my ORC puzzle.
Here's a little sneak peek for week 6...

 Thanks for stopping by to check on my progress.
I feel like I'm about to run a marathon to get the last minute details done.
Wish me luck :)
Click over to our host Linda's Calling It Home
to check out the other linking participants
who are rocking it out of the park!