A Year in review? Yeah, right.

I was going to do a year in review, or a list of Favorites, or something "bloggery,"but, really? Who are we kidding? Set an attainable goal- so, how about 12 things I learned this year? Yup. Can do. In no particular order.

1) Chalk pen does NOT. I repeat, does NOT come off of a chalkboard wall. Yup, tried that and that. Trust. I tried everything. I finally painted over it. All those people with cutesy-Pinteresty-chalkboards using chalk pens?- I call BS that they ever change them.

2) My daughter is an even bigger Longhorn fan than I am. Her Longhorn fervor pleases me to no end. She's 7 and can name everyone on the football team. Watching football games with her is an absolute riot.

3) Having two kids in soccer is exhausting. They are only 7 and 9. And, y'all, soccer season WORE us all out. Here, there, chairs, snacks, uniforms, and cleats. Oy.

4) Good wine is worth it.

5) Any getaway is totally worth it.

6) Do not trust Apple when they tell you that all the photos you've taken, but haven't synced because of a software issue with your phone, will be available after they guru it. Lies.

7) I finally got the hang of blow drying my own hair. this is truly red-letter news. It took me a ridiculously long time and tons of practice to figure it out-thank you to youtube and Jodifur (buy any hair thing she recommends).

8) I'm addicted to sheath dresses. They are my kryptonite.

9) Long and short of it- I'm glad Mack is gone. It was past time. I won't deny he brought the program back to national prominence (I lived through Mackovic), but, this is Texas, and there is no reason we shouldn't be national contenders every year. Don't even get me started on QB issues...My personal pick, Gus Malzahn seems to be out of consideration. Nobody ever asks my opinion-hmph!

10) At one point this Fall, our garage hosted a deer head in a cooler and a dead frozen badger in our freezer. Sadly neither surprised me.

11) This year was my concert year, I saw tons of great entertainers- Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton, Lenny Kravitz. Totally fun.

12) I hacked the heck out of Ikea and stalked Craigslist like a champ. As a result, I am thisclose to having the awesomest Liberace Lounge/Funky Family Room ever. SO close. (Thanks, Emily for all the consults!)

Christmas List Time, Girls!

I'm in danger of turning this blog into one big youtube collection and I don't care because this is brilliant. If you think this won't be under my girls' Christmas tree, you don't know me at all.

Rock your brains, Girls!

Friday Favorite- Phoebe Kicks A**

Anyone who knows me knows I am a feminist. I love TV shows and movies with strong, successful female characters. I wasn't sure about Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) joining the case of "Scandal," but her character is nothing like Phoebe. She's all about politics and kicking a**. So, pretty much awesome.

Exhibit A:

I might have even said 'Hell, yes," aloud to my TV when that aired last week.

Football Fun

I'm still yawning from trying to watch the Texas v TCU game on Saturday-Sunday. Slowclaps for both teams-playing after a 3 hour rain delay. Half-time was a commercial break. But, if half-time was as good as this OSU show (one of many on youtube-that's a fun rabbit hole to follow), they would have to have a full show! Enjoy.

Friday Favorite- Texas Trays

Y'all. I LOVE these so hard. So hard that I had to exert an amazing amount of self-control to only buy a few trays for our house. They are a combo of everything I love- Texas, whimsy, a deal, and all around rad.
The Wimberly- little bluebonnets. Too perfect.
The Marfa-wee cute little cacti.

How perfect are they? I can't wait until the bedding comes out. I will be buying entire sets. Oh, yes, I will. Biscuit has these two patterns in lots of different tray sizes and ice buckets, very reasonably priced as well. Even more reasonably priced with the Houston Cancer Society Shopping Card-20% off. Yee-haw. I may go back for more...Yup, definitely going back.

Biscuit's Texas Trays-my Friday Favorite

Mother of the Year

Ladies, put your applications down. I won the "Mother of the Year" contest. I'm that mom, the one who got her daughter all excited about a sleepover party and arrived...a week early. Awesome. I guess now we are all ready for the party, when it eventually happens?

In my defense, I have been traveling a lot. And, evites are harder to remember than an actual invite. And, well...yeah.

Friday Favorites-Pretty Paint

Onto something sparkly and pretty...

I rarely get my nails done, but happen to have amassed a huge amount of nail polish, which comes in handy with two girls under 10! I saw these new Essie polishes at the airport nail salon-I know! So crazy. Crazy like a fox. My money making idea has always been to put a nail salon in a Major League Ballpark, it would be such easy money. Anyhow, I couldn't resist getting the purply/pink color. The silver looks totally (Like in the '80s way) awesome. I may end up getting the entire line-fun for the girls and for me!

I can also vouch for this book. I've gotten really good at nail designs, and it is all thanks to this book. It's a skill in very high demand for the sleepover set.

My Friday Favorite should have been the awesome Houston bakery who takes cake orders in less than 48 hours and makes delicious cakes for mommies who travel on their daughter's birthday, and, well...anyhow, nail polish-pretty-Friday Favorite.


I didn't want to write this post.

My friend died today. Even though she had a terminal illness, I really thought she'd keep beating the odds. I honestly thought we'd get a miracle and was pissed when I realized we wouldn't. There is more to be said about Rachel and the lessons I've learned in the past few days. But, I honestly just can't. My heart hurts for her husband and their families. And, us.

This is my friend Rachel, and she was awesome. See?-here and here; awesome. She will be missed every day by many people. I wish you could have met her.

Friday Favorite-Vacation Decor

My husband and I took this amazing vacation earlier this year. the resort was spectacular for a number of reasons, one was the decor. Everything they did, I loved. In fact, we came home and copied some of the hotel's decor both inside and outside! One thing we both really liked were the outdoor decorations-locally made hand blown glass ornaments hanging on the trees. It was such a cool effect, especially at night with twinkling lights all around.
We bought a few glass pieces in Cabo, but as soon as we came home, we realized we should have bought more. I figured it would be easy to find in Texas. We have TONS of Mexican import places. Turns out, it wasn't so easy. In fact, I didn't find any glass ornaments/balls until I went on a business trip to Baltimore(!) months later and discovered Arhaus. I was afraid the store was going to be very frou-frou and expensive; it really wasn't. The staff was super helpful and they had reasonable prices-at least on glass balls and hearts! I found a few in Baltimore, and bought a few more when I came back to Houston.
My husband hung them on our pergola. I was afraid the glass might break during a storm, or crash into our metal Dorado/Mahi Mahi (also picked up in Cabo to remind us of our deep sea fishing experience). So far, so good. He hung all the pieces using mega strength fishing line. Hopefully they will stay. I love the finished look. It remind us of an awesome vacation. Our own little bit of paradise in the backyard.
Friday Favorite- a Favorite vacation right at home!

Monday Musings

I am worn out and in the middle of one of those nasty cold/pressure/sinus things. Thankfully that waited to come upon me until after I finished a business trip. Small mercies.

I tried having a teachable moment ala "Lean In" when talking to my daughters about being called "Bossy" at school (totally true, btw). Let's just hope that feminism and leadership soak in over a series of lessons because today I was met with blank stares. Sigh.
*Edited to add*- it sank in! Em just told her sister, "You can either be a leader or be bossy." I'll call that a success.

Can you guess what these are?
Em guessed Dodo birds. Ha!
Baby vultures, found in a hunting blind on the Property. Apparently not pleased to be discovered. There goes my theory that all baby animals are cute.

I travel pretty frequently now and could write a book on lessons and observations learned from business  travel. Chief among them, "Don't be a d---- if you're running late and going to miss your plane to the rest of use who aren't." Directed at the two guys, I rode over in the rental car shuttle with who failed to leave enough time and then pushed through security because of it. D---heads. Followed closely by the guy who came pushing through the final TSA security line (where they scan your stuff) asking to cut in line because he had a flight in 4 minutes. There is NO WAY you are making that flight. Buy a freaking watch.

I just started watching "Downton Abbey" and finished the first season (thank you airport delays---sigh). Can I just say, WTF with O'Brien? And Thomas is a little crap weasel. I hope they both get their comeuppance. My friend Pam told me it only gets crazier for O'Brien from here, so...seriously, I will be so upset if nothing bad happens to her. 

Friday Favorite- Kendra Scott Elle Island Earrings

It's no secret to anyone who knows me that I love Kendra Scott. Her jewelry is different enough to be cool, but classic enough that I can wear her pieces to work every day (and often do). In fact, my friend K got me an awesome Kendra Scott purple bracelet for my birthday-she knows me well. I went in a couple weeks ago to buy myself a little birthday present and found these. The new Elle earrings in Brown Pearl. They are so cool.

You can't tell in the picture, but they are mother of pearl and change with the light, based on the clothes you're wearing, etc. I've worn them with lots of different outfits already and they look completely different each time. Really neat. Two enthusiastic thumbs up. There is also a really cool abalone pair in the new collection- beautiful blues and blacks, but those were a little "out there" for me to wear to work. The brown ones are totally wearable in a professional setting (and equally casual). I think the Island collection is only for a limited time so you might want to get a pair this summer!

Kendra Scott Elle brown pearl earrings- my Friday Favorite.

Birthday Shoes

Today's my birthday! Woo. Two years closer to the big 4-0. I'm OK with it because that's two years closer to a big trip we'll take to celebrate my new decade. I started the day with an armful of awesome handmade cards and books and art from my girls-pretty much the best gifts ever. I also got awesome birthday shoes. These.

They are awesome. Professional, but with a touch of fun. The story of how I got them is pretty fun(ny) too.

A few weeks ago we spent the weekend at our Property. The girls and I were inside playing games and relaxing after a long day of exploring. My husband decided to head outside and (surprise-surprise) try to do a little hunting. He headed out to the blind to wait for a turkey. Our property has TONS of turkeys. Did you know turkeys roost in trees at night? Totally crazy to see. Anyhow, I was scooting around the internet in between turns and decided to check out the Kate Spade Friends & Family Sale. A few minutes later and I saw the shoes. I feel in love. A new neutral. LOVE. I didn't want them to sell out of my size, so I used our walkie talkie.

"Hey, babe, have you bought my birthday present yet?"*
"Can I buy it?"
Come again?
"Well, there's this pair of shoes and I really like them and they are only on sale tonight and Ireallyreallyreallylike them..."
Can you get off the walkie talkies? I'm trying to hunt.
"Love you."

*NB- We had just discussed the fact that I had nothing on my birthday list because what I wanted ended up being ridiculously priced. Like ridiculously ridiculous. What can I say? I have great taste?!

Postscript- No, he didn't get a turkey. Not due to the walkie talkie discussion...I don't think.

Monday Musings- the Marathon

I'm not a Runner, but I do run. I was watching updates from the Boston Marathon today, hoping Shalene Flanagan or Allyson Felix would win while reading updates on the Supreme Court case on genetic patents (I'm a dork). Yes, I was also working-I can multitask like a Boss. I was stunned to hear of the bombings at the Boston marathon. So stunned I couldn't think of anything else after hearing about it. Just like in December... I started thinking of those people, so excited to make it into the Boston marathon, training for that moment. I pictured their friends and families coming to support them...and, then I thought of my own little cheering squad and how much easier they make my race days. I thanked God that we never meet at the Finish line. Then wondered, is that enough anymore? Is anything enough anymore? Terror in the schools, in movie theaters, at a race. This is crazy. Absolutely crazy. I'm stunned and out of words.
I don't know if I should throw myself into running to show that I am not afraid. But, I am. Around New Year's Day, I read this personality test type of article where you plug in certain facts about yourself and it tells you your resolution for the year. Mine was to give up running. At the time I was already scheduled to run 2 half marathons in 2 months and I scoffed aloud. Of course I wasn't going to give up running this year! Now it seems like a good option. I won't, of course. I know the likelihood of anything like this happening again at a race is remote-there will be new security measures. But, it feels like running (for me) has been tarnished. I ran races because it was a fun way to set and reach goals. I just don't know what I want out of it now.

I guess I'm just trying to figure out what course to take. Until then, I will add those affected by today's bombings in Boston to my thoughts & prayers and hope that sending good karma can somehow help.

Edited to add: This story of the Tough Ruck team made my heart swell. There is, after all, more goodness than evil.

Monday Musings

I came home from a four day business trip from a very windy and cold Baltimore-and less than 12 hours later headed out to the property. That was some serious culture shock- Northern city on the water to rural Texas.

Baltimore was actually really cool (and COLD), but that town must have some sort of exclusivity agreement with Pepsi. I'm a Coke girl. It took me a day to find a place that served Coke or a convenience store that sold them! Two hotels- no Cokes. I don't drink coffee, so Coke is my caffeine and I was dragging from the early morning meetings and time change. But, man, the food was Amazing. And, I'm a food snob.

The girls and I went exploring looking for bluebonnets and found fairy houses, tons of cacti, even a "mini Grand Canyon," but sadly very few Bluebonnets. I guess last Fall was too dry for them. While we were exploring, we stopped by my husband's newest project- a wild hog trap. He told me to look for a new "white deer shed." OK. I thought it was bizarre that we wouldn't have seen a deer blind/shed before since we've had the property for a couple years now. But, off we went. The girls and I drove over where he told me it was and looked, and looked, and nothing. I told him we couldn't find anything. Later on he took us out to the spot where there was a white deer shed-antler! Like, when they outgrow their antlers--like these for $50. Seriously.

We stay in our cabin while we are at the Property. A short distance away is a shed. My husband was rummaging about in there looking for God knows what for his pig trap project when he found a BLACK WIDOW spider. WTH?? He told me, "Don't worry, Black Widows don't go into houses. Not like Brown Recluses." Oh, great. That is NOT helping. Obviously, I'm never going back.

Our Property has a number of "retro salvage" pieces on it- old glass, rusted cans, barbed wire, etc. We tell the girls that they get a quarter for every piece they find -mostly so old barbed wire won't poke holes in our tires. This weekend they made over $3.00 each. Quite a racket! I'm sure we could Craigslist some of our "finds" for more than a quarter considering deer antlers are going for $50!

Speaking of Craigslist, I'm in the midst of spray painting an awesome dresser I found on Craigslist. I think I'm probably the most talented spray painter ever- I can get spray paint on the bottom of my feet. I have no idea.

Friday Favorite-Chocolate Nibs of Happiness

I bought myself a monthly surprise box for Christmas; PopSugar's monthly Must Have box. The litany of ways I think this box is better than others...ahem...Birchbox is another post entirely. As part of the February box, I received Mariebelle Chocolate nibs. They were almost too pretty to eat. Almost. Mine were dark chocolate and they were-everything delicious. I don't even really like dark chocolate. They were just enough chocolate to fit the bill, but small enough so that I didn't feel bad eating them. A small handful a day at that 2-3 pm slump and I was good to go. Until last week when I had my last one. It was a dark day indeed (pun intended).

Via PopSugar

Mariebelle Chocolate nibs- my Friday Favorite.

Habemus Papum

My faith and spirituality are incredibly important to me. I really love being Catholic; kind of weird, but true. It's an important faith tradition that I pass to my children. While I do not agree with everything my Church teaches, I believe in the Faith, the Sacraments, and the unique aspects of my religion. One of my fondest memories is attending Mass with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican. It wasn't a private audience, but it was impressive and he extended blessings upon me and my family. Being in Rome as a Catholic...it's just an amazing experience. Anyhow, I've followed the retirement of Pope Benedict and the resulting papal conclave with great interest. Basically, I've read just about anything written on the subject in the past month. I was glued to the Internet when the white smoke came and watched the balcony for the first glimpse of the new Pope. Pope Francis! I was surprised. I hoped for a South American or African pope. I was convinced that Cardinal Scherer would be a front runner (for all we know, he was). Bergoglio wasn't even on my list. Shows what I know. Anyhow, I think a Pope from the Americas is a great signal and an incremental step to more progressive changes (this is a 2,000 year old church, we move in baby steps).

Today, I am happy to have witnessed the papal transition. In honor of Pope Francis and the awesome service he now performs, I intend to pray the prayer of St. Francis-at least until Easter.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

Monday Musings

I have to tell you about this baby shower I went to for a friend of mine. My friend is expecting her first child and most of her friends are new moms themselves. It's so funny to see all these new moms and first time moms to be now-eight years after I was one. I just wanted to sit everybody down, give them a glass of wine, and very forcefully (but politely) tell them to "Chill Out." I mean, they stressed me out. One lady was shocked that her 2 year old daughter came home from day care and said the word "Princess." Shocked! I mean, she never lets her play with gender specific toys, and only gives her superhero toys, and there is no pink, and she shows her daughter the President's picture every day. Um, yeaahhhh. You're going to need to Chill the F out. Also, shouldn't you be showing her Elizabeth Cady Stanton or Eleanor Roosevelt or Margaret Thatcher's picture? If you're going to quiz your toddler daughter, use the right public figure-Gah! (Kidding, I think it's RIDICULOUS to flashcard toddlers.) At least wait until they are 4. Kidding.

There were a lot of fun parts too, like discovering Izze soda. Hello, delicious. Why hasn't anyone told me about this before? Yummy. Slightly addicted.

Also, slightly addicted to Craigslist. I got another great piece of furniture for the bonus room this weekend. Despite my husband's grumbling, "But whhhhy do we need another dresser? We can just move things around." Until my daughter said, "Daddy, mommy wants a new style." From the mouths of babes.

Friday Favorites- Rad Mod

I have some deep thoughts percolating right now- the Pope resigned, Marissa Mayer is being attacked for making a business decision, my family is sick, the Oscars, how amazing Les Mis cast sing is...anyhow, I need to sort out my thoughts. Lately my outlet has been imagining our soon to be done (soon = 4 or 5 months) bonus room. I have two Emilys to thank for that-1) my friend Emily from name5things. Girl has style out the wazoo (her house is amazing) and MAD furniture finding skills. Like vintage campaign dressers that she finds for $20. Yeah, that NEVER happens to me. Well, her skills paid off for me when I got a text from her Sunday saying- "Campaign desk on Craigslist." About 3 minutes later, I had arranged to buy my first Craigslist furniture piece. A legit vintage campaign desk! All I had to do was sit on my hiney and watch the Oscars. Niiiice. Emily got the raddest dresser from the same Craigslist seller. All I needed was that first push and now I am off on the decorating train for the bonus room. I've got a blank slate and a head full of ideas!

The other Emily I have to thank is Emily Henderson from HGTV's Secrets from a Stylist. I've been following her blog since the season she won Design Star and her style is awesome. It's quirky and eclectic and colorful and seeing her work has encouraged me to try new things...she also has the skillz for finding vintage pieces and making them WERQ. Exhibit A-I want this so hard you don't even know.

I am in serious WANT mode. She's selling it next week at One Kings Lane. But her last sale pretty much sold out in minutes. Even if I don't get it, at least I have an idea of what I could do with a similar chair and am on the look-out. Ok, really, I'm going to tell Emily to be on the look-out for me!!

My Friday Favorites- the Emilys and rad mod pieces.

Friday Favorite- Cabo part 1

Our hotel room was INSANE. From the view to the private plunge pool (oh yeah) to beer and guac delivered every evening. Perfect. I really loved the decor of the hotel. I basically want to redo our entire house to look like the hotel. The bathroom was no exception. Here's part of it. INSANE.
The thing I really loved about the bathroom was the line of toiletries the hotel used, Neil George. Oh my goodness, the smell is divine. You have no idea how amazing. I thought about stuffing everything in my suitcase, but it was already too full. Anyhow, the lotion. I adore it. It smells like unicorns and rainbows...and beer and guac.

Friday Favorite- Neil George lotion

Mid-week Mexico

Today was gloomy and overcast with partial crappiness. I kept staring at this picture to motivate me to keep going. A little mid-week Mexico pick-me-up!
View from Cabo San Lucas-a couple weeks ago

Monday Musings

I've been gone and doing things like catching a couple Mahi Mahi (Dorado) off the coast of Mexico, traveling for work, and finishing my 5th half marathon. So, I have thoughts-let's dive right in.

I've been in airports so much lately that I got a little cocky. I packed for my last business trip in record time, got everything arranged, flew through my flights, had a great day of meetings, and then noticed that I left ALL my toiletries in another state.

The Nashville airport is a little laid back Hollywood. Last week's celebrity sighting was Eric Close (Connie Britton's character's husband in "Nashville"). So cute and laid back. He was in my TSA line. So, apparently Stars fly on Southwest too!

Traveling so often makes me really dislike people who don't. You know, the ones who get in the security line and are SHOCKED that they can't bring liquids through.

On that note, I am totally grossed out by people who walk through security in their bare feet. That is disgusting. Who knows what has happened on that floor.

Since I've started traveling so much, I've read more books in the last four months than I have in the past couple of years. My favorite is "Unbroken," completely gripping.

It's Girl Scout cookie time. At this moment we have 4 boxes of different cookies open. I believe in buying in bulk and my daughter's troop is very glad about that!

The best part of any 1/2 marathon is when I see my husband and kids. The race I ran was smaller, so there were hardly any spectators which is a bummer. Seeing my family and their handmade sign really kept me moving.

I miss Mass to run and the Pope resigns?! Ok, I get the memo!

Friday Favorites-the list version

I couldn't let another Friday go by without sharing some of the things that are on my awesome list right now.
Well, hello pretty, perfect boots. I love you so. No surprise that these are L.K. Bennett. I have had such GREAT luck with L.K. Bennett shoes. Easily some of the best shoes I've bought. Plus, if you get on the store list, they'll call you when they have insane deals on shoes-ahem...

The HIT of our Christmas, the doll hair salon chairs my friend Amanda bought for our girls. MANY hours have been spent playing with this set. It's from Target's version of American Girl dolls and fits the AG dolls perfectly. Next to the Justice! (emphasis theirs, that place was-well, I'll never get that hour back) and American Girl gift cards Santa brought, these were THE hit. Speaking of American Girl dolls, this story is awesome, found via the Fug Girls.
I love these new covered books from Penguin, the Penguin Drop Caps Series. 

Monday Musings

SEE LES MISERABLES the movie. That's it.

Just kidding, you should also download the album and listen to it on repeat like I have been doing. Better yet, run with it on your ipod and run while singing and miming the music like I may have (definitely have) been doing. Dude, if Anne and Hugh are gonna sing it, I'm gonna sing it!!

Seriously, see that movie. It is more than a movie, it is an experience. I need you to see it so I can dissect it because it was awesome (except a couple of glaring casting issues).

I've seen more movies and read more books in the past two weeks than in the past year. All thanks to my husband taking the kids for a few days of daddy time. Whoo! (No school combined with no PTO for me = daddy time) I think he's trying to make up for all the millions of weekends he left me with toddlers while he hunted. Ahem...not bitter...

I haven't worked on any big projects lately other than finishing the photo books in time for Christmas. That seemed like a major feat at the time. I also lost and then found (go me!) our honeymoon pictures. I've got mad organizational skills.

Now that I have a few half marathons under my belt, my friends seem to think I'm a "Runner." This past weekend, another friend asked me to join her run all night teams. Why do my friends keep asking me to do that? Why would I want to run 6 miles, then ride in a van for hours on end to do it again and repeat? And you sleep in the van? And eat in the van? No, thanks.

I have a theory on "runners" with a little "r" (that's me), versus "Runners" with a big "R," that's people who like to run all night and drive around in team vans. Runners be crazy and runners usually finish but are always mildly put off by Runners and how Serious they are about everything. Ha. But, yeah, a runner does not equal a Runner.

I have lots of theories, like don't trust people who name their kids all the same letters. Example 1- *&rd-shians. Ugh.

I bought myself this for Christmas, and my husband and parents did NOT get it. Wonder what they'll say when I get these? I'm thinking Orange.