Monday, May 31, 2010

The Unromantic Stuff

One of the good parts of going to Lake Jackson for the weekend was picking up our marriage license. Now, I'm able to change my name from old to new. I haven't really spilled the beans to many people about going to the courthouse (we went on May 7th), so I'm anxious to see whether people notice my new driver's license or debit card. And if this is the first time you've heard it and are wondering, the answer is yes. We're still having a wedding. We went because we were going to have to do it at the courthouse beforehand anyway, instead of shuffling through paperwork to get a friend ordained to marry us and wondering if it was going to be 100% legal. Plus, The Boy had to move in with me May 8th and I wanted to make it legal before we started shacking up together. I'm old fashioned that way.

Changing my name wasn't really a huge gut-wrenching decision. I'm by no means a feminist, though I do value independence, both financially and personally. I always want to do my own thing and be able to get by with my own job. We do plan on combining our finances, and as I'm the financial planner, I'll be managing all our money. So there's going to be balance as far as becoming a family. Though changing my name wasn't really high on my to-do list. Traditional as I am, I also have a strong modern streak running through me. I was fine with keeping my maiden name. I knew any children we had would have The Boy's last name, and I didn't feel like I would lose any connection by not sharing it. It's not as if they would be any less mine with a different name. They would still grow inside me, and I plan on using the whole "pushing a watermelon out of me" line whenever I need to guilt The Boy into doing whatever it is I want him to do.

But the catch was, it was a big deal to him. He was horrified when I mentioned keeping my maiden name. He's way more traditional than I am, which in most cases is fine by me. And since it really didn't bother me either way, I decided that since it mattered so much to him I would change it. And so I did. And yeah, it feels weird. It's going to take a while before I get used to seeing that funny set of letters behind my first name. Signing it has been a nightmare. I've never used cursive much anyway, (gradeschool teachers straight-up LIE when they say you'll need it later!) so writing these funny letters I never needed before feels odd on my hands. But I'll get over it. And The Boy gets happy every time I come home with another document in my new name. And I'm happy that we're one step closer to getting through this whole wedding business!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Slap a Little Paint on It

Our floors are DONE! And we couldn't be happier. Three gallons of Glidden latex porch and floor paint in Volcanic Island brown and we're done! And for less than $65, can't go wrong with that. The only annoyance is waiting four hours for the paint to dry, and eight hours to apply the second coat. The results are fantastic though. Low maintenance, low key. Not a bad solution until we can afford tile or hardwood flooring.

And the best part is that all the colors go so well together. I pat myself on the back for that one. Now the only thing left here is to paint the trim and touch up the walls a bit. Then it's move-in ready!

Even the bathroom is looking spectacular. Once we figure out this whole tile situation that will be finished too. We'll save it for next time.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Cleaning House

One of our largest projects is going to be cleaning out the house. Especially since it's a lifetime of accrued possessions. Every tchotchke, every dish, every piece of random furniture. It's all gotta go before we can start moving our things down. Craigslist is going to be key in making this happen. Not only will things go to people who actually want them, but hopefully we'll be able to get a little cash from them to put back into the house. A couple of things will be getting a facelift and keeping their home. Like this:

A super cute retro magazine table. I haven't decided what color to paint it, but it's gonna be snazzy!

A good part of me wants to give this old tv a new life. How awesome would it be to paint it some bright color, throw on a vintage knob, and put in a newer tv? It still works just fine, and I have vague memories of crawling on one just like this when I was a kiddo. Who am I to deny future generations of hoodlums? But along with all this good, comes a little bad. Case in point:

It's the lamp/table combo! It doesn't get better than this. I mean, can't you see the original plastic still wrapped around the shade? Yeah, buddy! Sweetness.

Who wouldn't want an ancient couch bed with frayed fabric and a lumpy mattress? Well, actually we've already gotten a buyer for it after 30 minutes on craigslist! For 35 buckaroos we're getting rid of this eyesore. And it isn't soon enough. Along with the bad, we've got a few gems.

An antique dressing table.

And a fancy-pantsy dresser.

So, hopefully next month I'll be able to say that these babies all have new homes. Go check out the Houston Craigslist if you're in the market for some quality furniture. Until then, here's hopin.

Friday, May 28, 2010

House Weekend

Back to the old grind! We're heading down to Lake Jackson for another long weekend of working on the house. And of course, we'll have to slip in a little fun here and there, I mean, it is Memorial Day weekend! I have a huge task list set up already, have I mentioned yet that I'm a planning addict? The Boy isn't exactly thrilled about that, but it's getting down to the wire and we still have a lot to do before it's move-in ready. We have to be out of Waco by July 31st, which means we have two months to finish. And normally that would be loads of time, but as we have barely a handful of weekends left it's going to be a tight squeeze.

We still need to finish the bathroom, paint the floors, and figure out what to do with all G-ma's old furniture and decor. My fingers are crossed that we'll get it all done. For now, commence the four hour drive south!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

WIWOT: Irish Invitation

When I was commissioned to design a graduation party invite, I was excited. When I was told it was an "Irish Night" theme, I was thrilled! It's such a fun theme, and I really wanted to run away with it. Instead of going over-the-top obvious with the green white and orange and a four leaf clover, I went in a more subtle route. I still wanted to channel the flag look, yet change it up with the black swirls. And if you look closely you can see a faded Celtic knot watermarked behind the text. And the layout should look pretty familiar.

It's so much fun to see how one design can take on so many different looks. Though they're very similar, they evoke completely different events. It's an option I offer to make invitation design more affordable. You can customize any design to fit your event, either through colors or fonts or a combination of both.

I can't wait to get the details finalized and see it all in print. With some black envelopes, I think people will be impressed opening these in the mail. I know I would!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Date Night

Tonight Bestie C and I will be indulging in girlish decadence, the midnight showing of Sex and the City 2! We'll sneak in snacks and giggle like schoolgirls, or at least I hope so. Looks to be your typical guilty pleasure, no Oscar fodder here. But at least I'll get some good quality girl time, I sure need it. Tomorrow we'll be heading back up to my old stomping grounds of Greenville Avenue for some shopping and Campisis gourmet cookin'. Nothing soothes the soul like spending time with good friends.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Meet the Crew

Every bride needs a good crew around her, right? I've got a slew of lovely ladies to be there with me on my big day, to bring me margaritas and gussy me up. Without further ado, my peeps.

Big Sis is of course my Maid of Honor. We were thick as thieves as kids, making up plays with stuffed animals and filming dozens of ridiculous home videos with our giant recorder.

Cousin J is someone I've known pretty much as long as my sister. Our families were friends back when they were in high school, so it was pretty much a given that we would all be too. Her favorite thing back in the day (and well, now too!) was fashion shows after long days of shopping at the outlet mall. She's the best sounding board for what looks great and what's ridiculous.

Ah, Bestie S. High school never would have been the same without her. Nor would the physics cardboard boat race, which we triumphed on! (as seen in the photo above) I loved her craftapallooza for her wedding two years ago. We spent hours upon hours cutting, folding, and assembling pocketfold invitations and spray painting centerpieces. And nothing was as beautiful as her sunshiny face on her wedding day.

Bestie N was a great friend in high school, but when we found out we lived down the block from each other in Dallas during our good old independence days, we became inseparable! Lunch dates, dinner dates, late night coffee dates. We had a blast with each other, and were traumatized when we had to move to separate cities. But no matter what we'll be buds til the end.

You should know Bestie C by now. Though not a bridesmaid, she's definitely part of the wedding crew. She's my hair beautifier, stress diffuser, and overall go-to gal. There's no way I'd make it through the week before without her help. I can't wait to bring them all together and have a Bachelorette bash to remember!

Monday, May 24, 2010

DIY: Light up Letters

Crafting is a serious addiction. And nothing makes me happier than spreading the love! Bestie C found this plain metal letter at an antique store, and decided to gussy it up a little. Under my expert tutelage, she made it uniquely hers, and it's going to look great in her DIY bedroom she's designing for August!

First we drilled more larger holes with my Skil drillpress. We picked up these globe lights from Target for $12.99 since they'd have that vintage marquee vibe. Then she spraypainted the whole thing turquose. After it dried (about 10 minutes), she cut up some zebra fabric we bought at Hobby Lobby into strips so they'd be easy to mod podge into the inside of the letter. After a good long blow dry (about 30 minutes), she was ready to do a little finishing. Enter the handy hot glue gun and a little black grosgrain ribbon. She glued it around the edges so you couldn't see the frayed ends of the fabric and voila! We were ready to pop in the lights.

It's super bright! She did such a great job. With the extra zebra fabric I whipped up a quick sleeve for the extra cord. It looks so cute! Here's the proud DIY maven now.

Can't wait to see it in her glorious new space! Congrats Bestie C!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bestie C's Birthday

Today is Bestie C's 20th birthday. To celebrate, I made her a couple of hand-crafted presents. I'm a strong believer that gifts should have a lot of thought behind them, and handcrafting is usually a pretty good way to achieve that goal. I had an idea to make a fabric letter to match the decor in the bedroom she's planning to create when she moves lat theis summer, kind of like these from Anthropologie.

It didn't turn out too bad for my first time through. I had to trace the letter out on foam board to insert inside the fabric so it would keep its proper shape. Then I added in some simple batting and voila! Pretty letter C. I want to make some for the Lake Jackson house, maybe a J + B, or a heart, or ampersand. Who knows.

I also decided to try my hand at this lovely eye mask from Amy Butler's InStiches book. It seemed so pretty and simple, and who doesn't need an eyemask for the bedroom, eh?

My attempt was not quite so impressive. It's ok, but I had a hard time making the round edges seem professional. Mostly it's just a big mess. But Juno was a fan.

Lovely! At least Bestie C was happy to receive it. She likes homemade presents as much as I do. Now off to bake her some banana pudding and the birthday is complete.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Far Away

I wanna go far away. I want a honeymoon that's a) hot b) sunny c) relaxing. The boy agrees. So where should we go?

I get the Travel Zoo email every week, which has amazing deals on flights, hotels, and more. Last week we found an almost unbelievable one, one week in the Dominican Republic at an all inclusive resort including travel for $500/person. It seemed perfect! The only downfall was we had to book within two days in order to take advantage of it, and we're not usually trigger happy people. We're banking that something this cool will come along closer to the big day. But a cruise or resort on the beach would be a great option for us.

The Grand Canyon is actually our top choice. If we can figure out a way to do it under three grand, then this is probably what we'll end up doing. We're both pretty outdoorsy, and it's such an interesting place. Yet, we can also hold off and go later in life when we have a family. So we're kind of on the fence about it, when we could have an easy package deal for a tropical location. I'm sure once we get closer to W-day, we'll hammer out exactly what kind of honeymoon we want.


Apparently there is a science to losing weight, and burning fat. I knew the Insanity workout had a good reputation when I found it. Yet after my first time through I noticed that I didn't lose weight, I gained it. Yes, I know it was muscle weight, but sometimes a girl gets discouraged when the numbers on the scale aren't going the way she wants them to. And maybe it was just that I really didn't have very much to lose in the first place, I started at the "bottom" where you tone up the fat you have and improve muscle mass. That's what I tell myself at least!

In order to fight the negative feelings the scale gives me, and the fact that even the tape measure refuses to budge on inches, I invested in a heart monitor. This heart monitor.

The Timex Personal Trainer. And I love it! It tracks my heart rate throughout the entire exercise, and lets me know how many calories I burn. I've only used it on one of the workouts (in my opinion the hardest of the first month), Pure Cardio. I burned 460 calories and kept my heart rate at the anaerobic level, which according to my athletic training friend means I'm burning pure fat, nothing else. That's exactly what I wanna hear! Hopefully with this new tool I'll be able to use my workouts more effectively and burn those last couple of fat reserves that irritate me so much. Here's hoping!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tree Illustration

A couple of months ago, I began working on this tree illustration. I had no clear idea of what I wanted, or honestly what it would look like. I finally finished it in January, and I have no idea what to do with it. Should I keep going? Add a couple of sweet little lovebirds? Throw on some important dates? I don't feel like it's finished, it still needs some TLC. But what? Anybody have a suggestion?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

WIWOT: Hot Summer Nights website

Well it's finally here! The full website has launched for the Harbor Hot Summer Nights project. And it's in the running for my best site yet. I love the dynamic photo feature at the top, each category slides like an accordion to show a new banner image. It's catchy.  The info is kept clear and concise. And we used a lot of photos from the Rockwall Harbor itself to lend a sense of relatability to everything you read.

It seems like this summer is going to be choc full of websites and internet work. Which is fine by me. So long as the work keeps coming, I certainly won't mind. And if I keep honing my web skills, then I foresee a lot of great websites coming your way!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Spotlight: Lakeside Home & Garden Show logo

The Lakeside Home & Garden Show is coming up, in fact, it's the day after my wedding. I was commissioned to design the logo, something fun and fresh. I really like how it turned out, the cute little silhouettes of home and garden improvement were a blast to create. And nothing sets my heart to fluttering like a delicious font. I even have another version, so they can use the two interchangeably.

This one is a bit mellower. Easier to place in horizontal web banners too! This took me a grand total of two hours to design. Sometimes I really get stuck and spend days on logo variations, but other times, like this one, I really hit the ground running. Hopefully I'll have some more design work coming my way, working on only one type of project gets a bit tiring. But at least there's always DIY to get my creative juices flowing!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Wedding: Gown Hanger

(personal photo)

Is this hanger not the most adorable piece of wardrobe function you've ever seen? I stumbled upon LilaFrances' etsy shop and couldn't believe my eyes. I had to have a hanger for my wedding! I'm going to have to come up with some super-cute new purpose for it afterward, because it's just too lovely to waste.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

WIWOT: InSwimwear Skinny Eblast

People Style Watch has featured several suits from the InSwimwear website, and the Lady Lux Rich N Skinny is certainly one of the hottest! I've had my eye on so many Lady Lux suits I can't even count them anymore. So it was time to get the word out! I wanted a whole new look from my previous eblasts, something as chic and streamlined as the bikini itself. And I have to admit I'm quite pleased with the results. It's my favorite eblast so far.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

DIY: Duvet

I've been sewing for over seven hours now. Seven hours of toil and delight, creating the perfect duvet cover out of Deer Valley and Free Spirit fabric. Check it.

Yup. It's reversible. Because I can't live unless I go completely overboard with a project. And hey, who doesn't love reversible? Get sick of one pattern, flip it over to the next! Genius. And to secure my "synthetic down" comforter from Target I used the best red buttons I had lying around from an old project. How serendipitous is that?

I even picked up a couple of coordinating fabrics to sew some pillows later. I'm over the moon with how all this turned out. It's the first time I've sewed home decor, and I'm shocked that it looks so good. It looks almost professional! It's twin size, for the daybed that we haven't built yet in the room we're nowhere near finished (the teal one, in case you're wondering.) But once my Lowe's giftcard comes in you can bet your britches I'll be hittin' up Knock Off Wood again!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Bloggers Without Makeup

Apparently it's Bloggers Without Makeup Day? I'm not too up-and-up on the internet subculture, but it seems like a good enough idea for me to participate! Here I am, in all my makeup-free glory.

This was during my ill-begotten bangs episode last summer. I got it in my head that I really wanted bangs, and since the Boy ran off to Waco accidentally taking my keys with him (when I was living in Dallas) I did them myself as I couldn't drive anywhere. It wasn't necessarily a bad look, it just got old real fast. And obviously they take forever to grow out! I'm still growing them out a year later.

So, that's me! I virtually never wear makeup anyway, I'm too lazy to take the time to put it on every morning, and it seems to defeat the purpose to apply it in the afternoon. I'll sometimes slap on a little concealer and mascara if we're going out at night. But otherwise, this is what I look like 95% of the time (just now without bangs!)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Wedding DIY: Bridesmaid Headbands

(personal photo)

Bridesmaid gifts were hard for me to brainstorm. Typically you give them a piece of jewelry to wear with their dress, but I'm going for more of a bohemian look and want the girls to wear what they feel most comfortable in. So now what? Clutches? I've never seen any of my girls with one. Bracelets, necklaces, earrings, yada yada yada. I felt like since I'm having an unconventional and DIY wedding, I should do the same for their gifts. So, I made headbands!

(personal photo)

I still have quite a few left to make. I plan on giving one to each girl, matching their personality to a pattern. A few aren't quite up to scratch, so they've made it to my own rotation. I wear headbands pretty much everyday. And these are great, not only are they cute, but they're comfortable and great to workout in. And they're washable! And reversible! Now I just have to figure out what else to give them along with it. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

That's Insane

I know I've blogged about the Insanity Workout from Beach Body in the past. To say I love it is an understatement. I completed it last Halloween, and was thrilled with my results. However, holiday season soon intruded, with Thanksgiving, Christmas, my birthday, and getting engaged. Most of these events (and by most, I mean all) revolve around eating! So, I lost a lot of my hard-earned progress. So, to get ready for swim season, I decided to give it another go-around. And to further incriminate myself, I'm going to post for the world to see (or in reality, my minute set of blog readers, holla Stacie!) my start stats and goals. Here we go...

Start: 5/10/10

Weight: 123
Bust: 32

Waist: 24.25
Hips: 37
Thighs: 21
Arms: 10.5
Belly: 30

Goal: 7/5/10
Weight: 120

Bust: 32
Waist: 23
Hips: 36
Thighs: 19
Arms: 9.5
Belly: 27

I'm not sure how realistic these goals are, but considering how many inches I lost the first round I'd say that they seem pretty achievable. And I want to emphasize that I'm not trying to become a skeleton, but I'd love to have just one point in my life where I'm super muscular and fit. I'd like to have a six-pack, even for just six seconds. I plan on kicking my baby-maker into gear pretty soon after the wedding, and I'd like to be able to look back on this part of my life and see just how fit I was.

See, I've had some issues with my body for a while now, ever since I started the abusive relationship in college. Weight was the easiest item to control, and the most criticized. I've self-diagnosed myself with Body Dysmorphic Disorder since I honestly have no clear perspective on what my body looks like. If you've seen the photoshoot with Bestie C, you could tell she's no pixie. At 5'10" and super-human curves, I remember telling the Boy and my roommate that she looked a lot like me. Yeah, I'm 5'4" and totally waifish. For fun she tried on my bra and couldn't even get one in both cups. And I'm still totally convinced we have similar body types. Yet at one point, at my lowest, I was 105 lbs. At 5'4", that's borderline anorexic, in my opinion. Don't believe me? Here I am at 112, a good 7 lbs heavier.

I don't know how you even cram organs in there. I was so obviously unhealthy, yet was told I was fat multiple times per day. Any loose skin was pinched, any jiggle criticized. I had to sneak change to get snacks from the vending machine at work. So yeah, I have a hard time maintaining an accurate body image. It's a work in progress, but slowly I'm getting there. And I'm happy to be doing things in a healthier, safer way this time. Thanks Shaun T for the confidence! And now I'm out to do Cardio Recovery, cause I need it!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Knocked Off: Farmhouse Bed

Well we did it! We built the Farmhouse Bed from Knock Off Wood. And doesn't it look effin awesome? I'm so proud! And the total cost? Eighteen dollars. Yes, the cost of supplies was only $18! I mentioned yesterday that I was lucky enough to have all the wood given to me by my dad, who has his own private lumberyard chock full of good stuff. And I love that it's not only free, but recycled. How awesome is that?

And even better? This is the original bed that the Farmhouse is knocking off.

They look pretty close, right? There's planking instead of a smooth center, and a bit more detailing. But once ours is sanded and stained, it's going to look just as fabulous as that without the $1200 Pottery Barn pricetag.

We plan on sanding it down and staining it to match the closet doors in the master bedroom. A small part of me just wants to leave it rustic looking and natural. But I'm sure that once it's down in LJ and stained to match everything, it will look phenomenal. We had to make a couple of modifications to the plan due to the found lumber. Mostly just in the sizing of a few planks, and we cut out a 2x4 board that sandwiches between the headboard/footboard and the top plank. And I think it looks all the better for it. Can't wait to keep on building, who knows what we'll tackle next?