Category Archives: Personal

Bathroom Reno – Take like 5?

This bathroom is gonna be finished.   Someday.  Someday soon.  But we changed our minds on the flooring because hubby doesn’t like square tiles so no white carerra found something he we like better.  tee hee hee.  Really I do like it better.  It goes beautiful with the Restoration Hardware sink cabinet I picked out.

Restoration Hardware Double Vanity

Mark picked it up today.  Found it at the RH Outlet in San Marcos. SCORE!   Happy Mother’s Father’s Day!  French Empire Double Vanity Sink.

And here is the flooring he also picked up today.

Oceanside Plank

Lumber Liquidations

Oceanside Plank is the name of this weathered grey floor.  Do people give parties when they finish a reno?  Even if it’s just the Master Bath??   I think Champagne will be in order.


New Year – Bring it!

I don’t spend alot of time thinking about the previous year.  Not sure why.  But other than thinking I want to do more of “x” and less of “y” I don’t don’t do alot of reflecting.

I do spend most of December dreaming.  Yep, that is my dreaming month.  How can I be a better wife?  How can I be a better Mom?

While TV doesn’t get much of my attention (except Duck Dynasty!), I am an avid blog reader.  Mostly interior design.  Deleted my political blog following, it’s all rubbish.  One of my favorite blogs included their kids when discussing goals for the next year.  Mark and I have always done that just as a couple, but now that the kids are 10 and 13 we included them this year.    While I won’t divulge all three of their resolutions I will give one each!

Adam:  spend money wisely.

Rachel: clean my room weekly.

Mark: increase charity.

Me: exercise.

We all were only allowed three.  Of course I still have my goal board in my office which includes: better wife, better mom, better employee, oh and rock my biz!

One of my facebook group members posed the question of what were you afraid of that would keep you from reaching your goals?

My answer:

Maybe I’m just on a New Year High – but NOTHING. “I’m not afraid of storms for I have learned how to sail my ship”…Louisa May Alcott.

Life is short, get busy.   What I don’t know I’ll learn.   What I mess up I’ll fix.   I plan on going to bed tired and wake up hungry.

Learned that one from my four legged kids… Hope your New Year ROCKS!!!

Moby 1-2-12

Attitude and Gratitude

I have really been struggling lately with how to teach our children gratitude.  I can correct their grammar, how they treat others, and a host of things that Moms and Dads repeat every day to raise their kids.  Gratitude is so much harder. 

I was struck recently by how much complaining I hear in my house.    And then I thought how much do I complain?  How often DO I complain?  How often am I not grateful?  Yesterday as I was carrying on the daily duties of life I said to myself OH, I HAVE to do this?  (which was putting a new bath tissue in the holder).   How silly? how ungrateful?  I GET to put bath tissue on the holder.  I have two hands and the dexterity to do the job.  I have plenty of bath tissue in the house.  Do the job with joy in your heart, instead of anguish (or anger) because you can’t get right back to your ipad surfing, or facebook.  Pleazzzzzzz.

For the rest of the day I substituted GET in place of HAVE when I realized something needed to be done.  I GET to decide what we are having for dinner.  As I stare at a full pantry and overstocked freezer.  I GET to cook for my family.  I have the capacity to cook (not the skill people, ha!).  For my family.   For my family.  Which in my youth I never dreamed of having.

My personal gratitude has improved my attitude.  by.leaps.and.bounds.  And I already had a good attitude.  How was I going to pass on this wonderful knowledge to my kids?

I woke at 4:00 this morning.   After tossing and turning all night.  Attitude.  Gratitude.  The keys to happiness.  I had the perfect idea.  It involves showing not telling.  You can tell all you want, but showing makes them remember.  Now all I have to do is wait for the perfect opportunity.  Of course I’ll let you know when it happens. And YES their will be pictures.

Attitude and Gratitude.  I plan on rockin’ that theme this Christmas Season.

A post is always better with a picture.  Here is one from a reason session.  Love this image, looks almost like a painting.

Goals Re-visited

As a photographer I guess it goes without saying that I am a very visual person.  But I will say it anyway! It’s much easier for me to comprehend or remember something if I’ve seen it.  I write alot.  To encourage myself to write I have tons of markers, pens, oil pastels, and now a fancy app called Paper.  LOVE that app!

I also love ink stamps.  Whenever I produce a storybook for a client I have a really cool chandilier stamp I put on the back inside flap.  Then I sign it. I guess signing or writing something down makes it more real.

I recently revisited my goals.  I have many!  I did have them written on scratch pad taped to my idea wall.  But I recently had some leftover black foam board so I took the time to make those goals prettier.  And quite frankly anything looks better to me with a chandilier.



Happy Monday!

What’s bugging you?

Ever since Grad school I have been a fanatic about organization.  My sweet hubby would get a chuckle out of that – but it is true.  I am constantly trying to improve everything I am involved in, from work, to chores, to things I love doing.

Notice I have a separate category for chores – they aren’t in my “things I love doing”.  But I’m still trying to get better at them.  The less number of steps to a task, and the simplier the steps the quicker it all goes.

I received a couple of great ideas from a chain email from a friend.  I usually delete chain emails immediately, (sorry) but kind of like “occupant” snail mail that gets tossed into the recycle bin never to make it in the door!  But this email got my attention.  (kinda like that sale from Pottery Barn). 

One idea that I LOVE is after you fold bed sheets store the fitted and top sheet IN the matching pillow cases!


I did this but made it even better.  How?  by storing the sheets in the top of the closet of the bedroom they belong too.  My “linen” closet that is in the hallway at the top of the stairs is now my towel closet. 

The next idea is a sure hit for anyone with longish hair.  Buy a magnetic strip and attach to an inside drawer of your bathroom cabinets.  No more searching for bobby pins and safety pins.

You can purchase this at any craft store.  Here it is in the bathroom drawer:

Clever.  If you have any organizational tips please pass them on and help a girl out!

My one and ONLY Blind date…

I am an avid reader.  Not a reader of literary works, but fashion magazines, home magazines, and anything that has to do with home design.

I was reading an article in one of these mags the other day from Mary Oriole, author of Dangerous Instincts.  One of her safe tips was to always look for the back door.  Make sure you know the exit in any room or business that you enter.  I began to crack up.  So much so I had to remove myself from the comfy perch I had at Barnes & Noble.

No I don’t have a weird sense of humor.  But her article reminded me of my one and only blind date.  I don’t even remember who sat me up with this winner, but the details of the night are etched into my mind.

It was 1985.  Hair was big and skirts were short.  He picked me up in some sort of hot rod he was working on.  Problem was their wasn’t a passenger’s seat.  There wasn’t a back seat.  Just a driver’s seat and 4 on the floor.  As I stood there and stared at the open door he said “Oh wait a minute”. 

He went to the trunk and retrieved a 10 gallon bucket for me to sit on.  Not a 5 gallon bucket but a 10 gallon bucket.  For the entire 15 minute ride to the “dance club” I had my hands gripping the dash while my rear slid from side to side.  My hair was big.  My mini skirt was mini.  I would have been worried about what was showing had I not been terrified of sliding out of the car.

We finally arrived at the club.  We were early.  No dinner before?  I guess he was also worried I was going to slide out of the vehicle.  I didn’t even sit down when we got inside, just excused myself to the ladies room and preceded to the back bar where I asked the bartender, “Do you have a back door?”.  They did.  “Would you mind letting me OUT the back door?”.  He did.

I immediately located the pay phone outside (before cell phones young friends), and called my best friend to pick me up.  Immediately. 

I never saw that boy and his 10 gallon bucket again.  I can’t vouch for blind dates.  But I agree with Ms. Oriole.  Always locate the back door.

And since posts are much better with a picture – here’s one of Moby (with his big hair).  I hid the ones of me so well that I can’t find them.

Donate your HAIR! Pantene Great Lengths!

I don’t usually blog about my donations.  But this one is SUPER important.  And you might be like me, have a great head of hair and not realize how easy it is to donate to the benefit of the American Cancer Society.

Pantene Great lengths has all of the information on their website:   The skinny: minimum of 8 inches.

I had a great stylist, Stephanie Harris! No pictures of my new do yet, but here are a few of the before shots!

Yeah there isn’t a picture of my face.  Our A/C was out for TWO days.  It’s 110 in Austin Texas this time of year.  Needless to say I haven’t been sleeping!  I’ll post pictures of the new do sometime soon!

10 Inches!   Hats off to those brave warriors out there.

Laundry – make it quicker – my life EASIER!

Sorry blogisphere! I’m been kinda awol lately, not really MIA, just super super busy.  My busy has been busy!  I was getting so good at simplifying my life then a kid gets sick, then another, then had to spend a week in Dallas on biz, etc.

So laundry.  Still hate it.  But have found such a timesaver.  If your already doing this good for you!  (why didn’t you speak up?).   But sorting clothes as they get dirty before they are a heaping mess in the floor or closet somewhere is the way to go.  I took a tiny closet and small corner in the kid’s bath and put three laundry baskets from the Container store.  Whites and colors in the closet, towels in the bathroom. 

WOW.  When the basket gets full I take one downstairs.  Usually not a special trip, just whenever I’m headed downstairs empty handed.  It is so working!  Here are the before and after pics!

The left hand side is the before picture. 

So now the kids and hubby sort their clothes when they change and I don’t spend hours on the weekend.  The only one not happy is Heidi.  She loved to sleep on a pile of dirty clothes.

Keystone Colorado!

I don’t know that we have ever been so excited to go on vacation.  Over the Christmas Holidays we headed out to snow country.  When they say snow country they ain’t lieing!   At first I thought I was sick from the flight.  But NO,  it was a full blown case of altitude sickness.  If you’ve never had that before count yourself lucky.  I would rather have had a baby.  I kid you not!  By sheer luck my Hubby found some Altitude Sickness herbal pills.  So finally after three days I thought I would actually live.  If you are ever plagued with that evilness here is a picture of what saved me.  (along with some oxygen!).

The rest of the trip was super!  The view out our window looked like a Hallmark card.  Tee hee hee!  Hallmark card – get it?  (my last name is Hallmark).

The highlight of the trip for me was snowmobiling in the Rocky Mountains.  I could have done without the crew singing John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High”.  But it sure was some good times. 

With all the snow we couldn’t pass up the chance for a snowball fight…

It’s been in the mid 30’s and 40’s this past week in Austin.  Doesn’t bother us.  Especially me…no mountain’s in site, no chance of that altitude hangover.  The last few days? the sunshine has started to comeback!

Collin Welsh! Original! Is MINE!!!

Do you remember when you were a kid and wanted something really really bad?  For me it was the easy bake oven.  They were expensive in 19xx, to much even for Santa Claus.  So I never got one.  My best friend Carol Lewis got one though for Christmas in 2nd grade.  We would make cookies when I went to her house.  It was the coolest thing ever!
Well today I feel the excitement of finally getting something you really really really want!  I have admired Collin Welsh’s artwork for years.  I LOVE her trees, and appreciated the “day of the dead” people.  But when she posted a sneak peak of one of her dead people paintings on facebook for the Pecan Street festival I fell in love.  It reminded me of friendship – and my friend Stacie. 
I went to the festival to purchase an original of the trees.  But there was the original I had seen on facebook.  I knew it was suppose to be mine.  I haven’t decided where to hang the “Margarita Ladies” (as I’ve named them).  But they are the coolest thing ever!