The Happy Girl Blog

Happy girls are the prettiest girls

4.15.2014

Hi from California

Hello, blogger world! I've been silent again, which seems to be my new MO, so I figured I'd clue you in to what has kept me away. Also, I apologize for any crazy formatting issues, I'm posting from my phone.

First of all, I've been a traveling fool! Nothing vacation-y, just some trips to each coast for work.

April 4-6 I headed to the East Coast. I flew into Philadelphia, took the train to the suburbs, and was driven to New Jersey. We were literally on the border between Pennsylvania and New Jersey, having just the Delaware river to divide the state. I crossed the Delaware river at the same place George Washington did so long ago. I just did it over a bridge, rather than in a boat.

My friends Olivia and David got married at the Hollyhedge Estate in New Hope, Pennsylvania, which is what brought me out that way. Olivia and David actually live in California, but are originally from back east, so they had their wedding in Olivia's hometown. My friends Kate and Danielle made the trip out from California, so we got to hang out and support Olivia throughout the day.

I did hair and makeup for the girls, and then did something completely new, I officiated their wedding! I know, crazy, right? I think it went well, but I'm not adding wedding officiant to my resume. The next day I hoped back in the car to the train that took me to the airport and spent my day getting back to Austin.
David and Olivia had one of their dogs, Ceili, be their ring bearer, how cute is that? 

Five days later, I found myself back at the airport, this time heading to California! I booked a wedding for this past Saturday, then filled up a few days at the salon seeing clients and friends. I've had two full days in the salon so far, and have two more before I head back to Austin on Thursday.

I'm having fun seeing my clients and friends and getting to do the work I love so much! I did an extreme makeover haircut on my friend Michelle, snuck in a bridal trial for the wedding that is bringing me back to California in two weeks, and did a lot of refreshing and sprucing up of cuts and colors, with fancy blowouts to boot. 
 
I've found ways to sneak in fun, because all work and no play makes me a tired and sad girl. 

Saturday evening I headed over to Danielle's house for a girls night. We're a little unconventional in our choice of activities, but we had fun! We ate pizza and desserts, colored Easter eggs, watched Austenland, and had a great time just hanging out together. Danielle's two Maltese dogs are pretty wonderful also. 
I'm completely enjoying spring in California, from admiring the beautiful green mountains and wild flowers, to walking through downtown Campbell and visiting my favorite shops and restaurants when I have down time, as infrequently as that is with my packed schedule. 

Today I realized that I can be both happy and sad about something that is so simple. I'm so happy to be back in California because everything here is easy. I know where everything is, I have a client base that is dying for me to do their hair, my family and friends are all here-- all of that makes life easy. I'm sad that it's not easy like this in Texas, where I call home. Sure, within a few years, Texas can become easy too, but I'm an instant gratification person. It's hard for me to look ahead and be OK with less than awesome right now. I don't like feeling like this, so I'm working on that. I'm making plans for how to meet more people and build my clientele, I'm figuring out how to keep myself both busy and happy, I'm actively going to look for more friends, I'll explore the Austin area until it's as easy for me to navigate as San Jose. It will take time, but eventually with work, I'll find that easy feeling in Texas. 

It won't be California, but it can be close. 

4.09.2014

Twinsday Wednesday link up vol. 1

After playing along unofficially last week with Casey and Jamie of Real Suburbia for their Twinsday Wednesday post, they decided to create a link up out of it! Which makes me feel much better, because I was feeling a little creepy stealing their prompts and answering them myself, without a twin to make it a real Twinsday.

Casey made my evening when she texted me Tuesday and told me it would be an official link up, and then gave me the prompts ahead of time. It really works in your favor to be best friends with the link up host. So here I go, being a part of the very first ever Twinsday Wednesday link up! Head over to Real Suburbia and get your link up on!

Finish the sentence:

The most organized part of my life is... My business. But even that has its shortfalls {like all my tax stuff that sits in a box until January when I start organizing for the dreaded appointment with my CPA}. But really, I have a pretty organized way of categorizing, responding, and filing e-mails from brides, a paper appointment book for salon clients, a note app on my phone with all of my weddings, and a calendar on my phone to help keep me organized with it all.

The most disorganized part of my life is...pretty much everything else? I am far from a neat-freak, and don't mind clutter, for the most part. I pile, I toss clothes on surfaces, I shuffle my piles. It's never ending.

I get motivated to de-clutter when...the clutter piles up high enough on my counters, table, ottoman, the floor...Seriously, there have been times where I've walked into my home and nearly clawed my own eyes out because the mess was driving me crazy. For real though, whenever I have guests over, I do a general sweep, putting things away, hanging up clothes, that stuff, so it's pretty rare to be completely

I need to give myself permission to get rid of...oh heck no, I give myself permission to get rid of everything. I usually clean out my closet a few times a year and donate the clothes, and have no problem throwing away everything else whenever I need to.

Now link up so I can stalk your blog and read your answers!

Crazy Good by Rachel Robinson is live!

My blog friend turned writer friend Rachel Robinson has just released her newest book A WEEK EARLY!! It. is. amazing. And, yes, that would be 4 books released in just over a year, can you believe it?! Rachel is a total rock star. I personally believe this is her best work so far, and I know that it will do very well. After publishing her first three books with a traditional publishing house, she has ventured out on her own to self-publish Crazy Good. I want you all to help support her in this very personal endeavor, and go grab a copy as soon as you finish reading this. I may have had a beta copy to read while it was being written, but you better believe I was on Amazon one-clicking this onto my Kindle as soon as the earlier-than-expected release was made known.

Crazy Good needs to be in your hands or on your e-reader immediately. It's a Nay SEAL romance told from alternating viewpoints, and Maverick Hart is hands down your next book boyfriend. Be warned, I had a few complete and total meltdowns while reading this. So much so that I threw choice expletives back at Rachel when I was giving her my feedback for those chapters. I sobbed. Ugly tears. BUT! I loved the ending, so there you go.
Before there were bikers, or fighters, or even good old-fashioned jerks, there were Navy SEALs. They put the bad in badass because, well…it’s their job. 

Navy SEAL Maverick Hart has everything. Women want him. Grown men idolize him. Little boys want to grow up and be like him. The job, the glory—it’s all his. Not because it’s handed to him…because he works hard for it. The second his sights lock on something, he owns it—or destroys it. Unfortunately he does both at the same time. Windsor Forbes only takes calculated risks in her profession and in her personal life. After being left at the altar by the only person she’s ever loved, the very last thing she’s looking for is a relationship—especially the insane brand an arrogant Navy SEAL is offering. Hesitant, yet trusting to a fault, she gives in. She knew she shouldn’t take the chance, especially a second time, but love is irrational and their love is perfect, infallible. Or so she thought… The downfall to having everything is you have that much more to lose. A man like Maverick can’t have it all without something slipping out of grasp. Crazy people perish for love. Good people live for it. Love doesn’t die. No matter how many bullets you put in it. 
You can connect and check out the rest of Rachel's books by going to her websiteGoodreads, or Facebook pages
Rachel grew up in a small, quiet town full of loud talkers. Her words were always only loud on paper. She has been writing stories and creating characters for as long as she can remember. After living on the west coast for many years she recently moved to Virginia Beach, VA.

4.03.2014

Bests with Real Suburbia

As you probably have figured out, I love me some Casey, and her having a twin sister in Jamie makes for twice the fun. So, Casey and Jamie over at Real Suburbia have this awesome Wednesday Twinsday blog post they do, and every time I read their answers, I am coming up with my own. I guess I sort of wish I was a twin? So when I saw yesterday's post where they asked the readers to play along, I used it as an excuse to create a whole blog post off of it. You're welcome to do the same thing if you're lacking inspiration or just want to play along. ;) 

Best kept secret: I hate secrets and I am pretty much an open book. I am also a terrible liar, which makes keeping secrets pretty difficult. I will keep secrets that my clients tell me while I'm doing their hair. I mean, who am I going to tell? hahaha I can just imagine y'all saying "well, duh! Us!!" Nope.

Best way to unwind: by becoming a hermit and getting cozy with a good book. Give me a fridge of sustenance and a pile of books and you might not hear from me for awhile. I'm quite slothful and love to be still, to balance out all of my crazy energy. Can you say extroverted introvert? Or the other way around.

Best way to feel beautiful: take the time to make myself up. You gotta fake it till you make it, darlin'. If I put a full face of makeup on, do my hair up, and put on a nice outfit, 9 times out of 10 I'll feel much better. I also thrive on compliments, and the best way to get those is to put in the effort. Although Billy will often give me compliments when I am feeling particularly heinous. His little comments like "Dem thighs! I just want to bite 'em!" make me laugh, and pick up my spirits.

Best quick workout: a hard run. I have horrible runs, and good runs. Long or short. As long as I get out there and do it, I've won. And trust me, it's hard enough for me to just get out the door most days.

Best recent read: I'm currently reading Losing Hope by Colleen Hoover and loving it. I am a total CH fan girl, and just love all of her books. I read Hopeless last year, and this is the companion told from the male protagonist's POV. I met Colleen and had her sign a paperback copy of Losing Hope, and I have had it on my Kindle forever, so I'm surprised I've waited this long to read it. It's so good.

Best Wardrobe staple: good jeans. I have a hard time finding jeans that fit just right, and stay within a reasonable budget, because this girl absolutely will not spend over $50 on pants. If I can find a nice pair of jeans that hug where they are supposed and don't gap like crazy between my big thighs and my no butt, I consider myself lucky. I'm always on the hunt, so give me your suggestions if you have them!

Now don't you want to play along as well? I am sure Casey and Jamie would love for you to comment on their blog post letting them know what your bests are, and maybe link back to your post if you wrote one like I did.

3.28.2014

project Ugly Duckling: nightstand redo

When it comes to my home, I am always on the hunt for cute furniture and home goods for cheap. I don't want my home to look cheap, but I also don't want to pay an arm and a leg to outfit it with cool things. Conundrum? Nope. You just have to keep an eye open for a hot deal and be willing to put a little work in to make it perfect. Like my spray painted mirror.

I was recently hunting through Craigslist, which seems to be a daily occurrence, when I found a set of vintage nightstands that I just knew would be perfect for my bedroom. They were the wrong color and needed some TLC, but I had to grab them, especially at $35 a pop.
I managed to barter a tiny bit and got both for $60.
Gloss white spray paint is my favorite thing. Especially when it's primer and paint in one. I took the hardware off the one nightstand that still had the drawer pulls, and then used a fine sanding block to smooth out some of the surface bubbles and chips. I'm too impatient to do the entire surface, so it was a spot job at best. I took the tables to the garage to avoid that day's crazy wind and keep the spray paint where I needed it rather than into the air. I ended up doing a few coats over two days because it was hard to get good coverage with just one coat. 
I found a little silver drawer pulls at Lowe's for less than a dollar each. They were delicate enough to work with the tiny drawers, and gave the nightstands a more modern look.
And next to the bed against my gray-blue wall color! I really love these little guys.
Cost breakdown:
2 nightstands = $60
2 cans of spray paint = $11
4 drawer pulls = $4
total: $75!

That's a whole lot less than one new nightstand, and less than a lot of the used nightstands I've seen, too. These look so different, and pretty much brand new now. All thanks to spray paint and an eye for a deal.

3.25.2014

Tasty Tuesday: Sweet and spicy roasted lemon chicken

This is a special edition of Tasty Tuesday, in which I give you some recipes from a seasonal dinner party I hosted. Stop by Cassie's blog to see if she is sharing a recipe, too!
A few weeks back, I had Stephanie, Casey, their husbands, and Casey's adorable son Wilder over for dinner. We had come up with the idea to have seasonal dinner parties weeks before in a group text, and I was so excited to host the first one. We started with a Winter menu, trying to get ingredients that are readily available during this season. With imported produce, it's not like you can only find certain ingredients in their natural season, but we were trying. This was my first dinner party in my new home, so I was super excited to set my cool table and have people over. I bought flowers for the table, even though I'm allergic. I just made sure to find ones without super pollen-filled stamens.

As the host, I was in charge of the entree, and a salad, but I also roasted some veggies and heated up a garlic herb flatbread from Costco just because. Stephanie brought brie with blackberry jam wrapped in pastry, and Casey brought apple and blackberry cobblers for dessert and a creamy veggie casserole.

Right away, I knew I wanted to roast a whole chicken with a citrus twist, since citrus is mainly a winter fruit. Thanks to Pinterest, I found a few recipes and settled on one with a fiery glaze, thinking a tangy, sweet and spicy chicken would hit the spot.

Citrus Chicken with a honey glaze
Not the prettiest photo, but it was delicious.
Ingredients:
  • a 4-5lb whole roasting chicken, giblets and weird innards removed
  • 5 small lemons
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 lemons, halved or quartered if desired
Directions:
  1. Remove giblets from chicken if present. Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Place chicken into a gallon size ziploc bag set in a shallow dish. 
  2. Slice two of the lemons and add to the bag. Zest a lemon to get about 2 tsps of peel, set aside. Squeeze remaining lemons to get 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsps of juice for the glaze. 
  3. For the marinade: in a bowl combine 1/2 cup lemon juice, olive oil, parsley, garlic 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper. Whisk to mix, then pour into the bag over chicken. Seal bag and turn to coat chicken, then pop in the fridge for at least 4 hours. My recipe had called for 8-12 hours, so this would be a good step to do the night before or morning of. Turn the bag whenever you happen to peak in the fridge.
  4. Preheat oven to 375F. Put oven racks to lowest position. Place a small rack, or do what I do and ball up foil, in the bottom of a shallow roasting pan. 
  5. Let chicken stand for 15 minutes at room temperature. Drain chicken and set aside lemon slices, throw out the marinade. 
  6. Place the chicken, breast side up{I think I flipped this when I did it!}, on the rack or foil in the shallow roasting pan. Cover with the lemon slices. If you want, you can place lemon halves or quarters inside chicken cavity, or around the roasting pan. Roast uncovered for 1 hour.
  7. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine honey, 2 tsps lemon zest, 2 tbsps lemon juice, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.
  8. At the hour mark, pull chicken out of oven, remove the lemons, and brush with honey sauce. return to oven and continue cooking another 30 minutes to 1 hour, or until a thermometer reads 175F and drumsticks move freely in their sockets. Brush with the honey mixture during cooking, and coat with the remaining when the cooking time is done. Let chicken rest 15 minutes before carving. Enjoy!
The table full of delicious foods
I can't wait for our Spring seasonal dinner! I get to make the appetizer for that one, so now I have to come up with some tasty recipe ideas that incorporate spring ingredients. Feel free to follow our Seasonal Dinner board on Pinterest to see what recipes we are considering!

Have you ever hosted a seasonal dinner party? I highly recommend it. Also, I wish I could fit a huge amount of people at my table and had more friends in the area, this would be so much fun with a big group. 

3.20.2014

Spray paint is your friend

I believe I have mentioned a time or four hundred that I am a terrible DIY-er. Pinterest gets me all excited thinking I can easily accomplish any craft, and then my lack of necessary skills makes the task extremely difficult to finish to the pinned photo results. Thankfully, there are a few DIY tricks that even I have mastered, and can execute relatively easily. 

Lesson one: Spray paint is your best friend. I was put on a spending freeze for house stuff back in December {thanks B, for the huge buzz kill}. I have slowed my buying frenzy way down, but still like finding random little treasures to make this house our own. In my town, there are three kinds of stores that outnumber everything else: Pawn shops, Goodwill stores, and dentist offices. I have no desire to go into pawn shops, and I have a dentist back home I can still see when I need to, but those Goodwill stores have come in quite handy when I am searching for random home goods. When you find something ugly that could be really cool in a different color, try spray painting it. 

Back in January, I found the coolest peach velour wing back chair for my office at a consignment store. That same visit, I found an amazing wood mirror with intricate carving details in the frame. It was beautiful, and I wanted it, but not for $70 when that was what I was already paying for my chair. With Billy's voice in my head telling me to stop buying stuff, I passed on the mirror, but not without a heavy heart. I went back a few weeks later to see if the mirror was still available, but it had been sold.

Cut to the other day when I was picking up paint for the master bedroom. I stopped in a few Goodwill stores looking for matching nightstands. Instead, I found this big old mirror with a molded plastic frame that was so close to being pretty I just had to take it home. It was a far cry from the gorgeous carved wood mirror I loved, but for 40 bucks it seemed like a steal. I also grabbed a can of gloss white spray paint knowing I would need to do something about the ugly gold frame before it went with my home's decor. 
I covered the mirror with paper and tape, and did a light dusting to get it ready for paint. I should have been better about removing all the accumulated dust from the many crevices, but I'm lazy and impatient. Notice how fake gold and plastic-y the mirror looks? Wait till you see it later.
 I laid the mirror on a big box in the backyard. My grass is dead, so I didn't mind a big white rectangle on the grass when this was done. I sprayed a thick first coat and watched as bubbles formed and left spots uncovered. Now, I had picked a spray paint by Rust-o-leum that said it bonded to paint, so this bubbling bothered me. I figured I would give it a chance to dry, then attack again.
 I came back an hour later and gave the mirror another thick coat, making sure those bubble spots were covered and there was no longer any hint of fake gold. I moved the mirror to the patio to dry overnight, and hoped for the best.
The next day, I was pleased to find my mirror looking pretty awesome. It had dried overnight and didn't have any bubble spots to be covered. I brought it inside and pulled off the paper and tape, setting it in the newly painted master to see how it would look.
Of course the glossy white pops and looks great against my gray-blue walls. I think the mirror looks way classier as a glossy white than it did fake gold. Dare I say it might not even look like plastic anymore? I won't go that far, but I like it. I can't wait to put this behemoth up. Now I just have to figure out what wall to put it on, and have B help me hang it. Even plastic, it's pretty heavy. 
Slowly but surely I am decorating my house. That furniture-less master is my main project, but I have an open mind for the entire house and like to snap up pieces as I find them. 

So, the moral of the story is, don't be afraid to spray paint something that isn't quite perfect if you think it has a great look and could be better. 

3.19.2014

Project ugly duckling: master bedroom paint

My master bedroom is a large, bland, blank space without any real furniture. It was the one room in the house without a speck of yellow paint, so it immediately got relegated to the bottom of my Project Ugly Duckling list. Once the rest of the house was painted, and I started to slowly decorate and figure out what my home style was, the bedroom kept poking at me. It's was a calm mix of sage green and the slightest green tinted cream in both the bedroom and bathroom. 

I like green, it doesn't particularly bother me, but it wasn't my first choice for the master. When my mother-in-law visited a few weeks back, she surprised us by purchasing a Martha Stewart bedding set we had eyed while in Macy's. Thank goodness it was on sale, but still, it was an extremely generous gift, and I absolutely love it. Once the bedding was picked, my brain was churning for the perfect complimentary paint color. Because that's what I do.

Please forgive my non-finished bedroom. Our mattress and box spring has been on the floor since we moved in. Knowing we would eventually be upgrading to a larger bed, we just put the queen frame in the guest room. My nightstands were a street corner find one dark night when B and I had first gotten married. They're simple black framed pieces that hold our numerous fans. The box fan is the perfect white noise for sleeping, and it helps circulate our often stuffy room. Also, Sadie really loves cuddling under the big fluffy duvet. And yes, she sleeps in the bed with us, and we don't mind at all.
Two trips to Lowe's and a few paint chips and samples later, and I was ready to paint. I left the paint samples taped to the wall for a week, examining them in different spots and in different light. I finally decided on Valspar Ultra Sharkfin in eggshell. It was the lighter gray swatch, and got a lot of positive feedback from Instagram and Facebook. 
I moved everything into the center of the room and snapped a few "before" photos for comparison. Since our room is really large, and our dressers are in the walk-in closet, we don't have any other furniture in the bedroom to fill the space. I have turned one corner into a "workout section". Quotations because I have yet to actually workout in that section. I have the best intentions, really...
 Taping and putting down a plastic drop cloth happened. I think taping is my least favorite part of the painting process. I know from experience that I am too messy of a painter to not take these steps. Just check out my hallway for proof, it's all over the baseboards and ceiling.
What? You don't sign your artwork?
I really like the gray-blue we picked! Sharkfin was a good choice because it's still dark, while not making the room into a cave, and it has enough blue in it to compliment the bedding. I also really like how darker grays make any white accents pop!
Now, this is just a before and after with a simple paint fix. Eventually, someday, I will have real furniture and can do a fully finished post. Maybe even a few DIY sort of things for the headboard I have planned? We shall see. Remember, I am the girl with good intentions, but lack follow through!

3.11.2014

Tasty Tuesday: French dip sandwiches

Well, howdy! It's my favorite blogging day, Tasty Tuesday! It's my favorite because I get to share with you a yummy new recipe that is making me quite happy. As usual, head on over and say hello to my girl Cassie, who I constantly encourage to keep posting her own recipes on the day she created.
I wasn't going to post this recipe until next week, because I have a bunch of delicious recipes to share from the Seasonal Dinner Party I hosted this past Saturday. However, one delicious Instagram photo and many requests for the recipe later, and here I am, writing it out. 

Like most of my recipes, this one comes with a little story. I, Adrian the happy girl, think that grocery shopping should come with a mandatory free snack before you begin. Raise your hand if you have gone to the store "just for yogurt" and walked out with a cart full of random stuff you have no idea what to do with? And heaven forbid you go to Target, where absolutely everything on the shelves calls your name and wants to just hop in your cart to do a little snuggling with you on the way home. 
Happens to me All. the. time. 
And that's what happened yesterday. I went to Target while I was hungry to "pick up cat food" and walked out with a cart load. I was even so determined to just get what I needed that I didn't grab a cart. Once my hands were full, I opted for a hand basket. Once that got heavy and I gave up all hope, I got a cart and loaded up. My local Target is a Super Target, so they have a whole grocery store complete with meat counter and bakery inside, so I like to do a lot of my grocery shopping there. I happened to get the bright idea that I wanted French dip sandwiches for dinner, so of course I made 400 passes of all the food aisles as I remembered what I would need. And this recipe was born.
Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches
Ingredients:
3lb beef roast, I used Top Round
12oz dark beer, I used Guinness, but realized later that Shiner Bock is dark and I had it in my fridge already. I'm not a beer drinker so I went for what I knew was dark.
2 cups water
1 tbsp beef flavored Better than Bullion {I had never heard of this until I researched recipes to model this on, you can use bullion cubes, or beef broth and skip the 2 cups water}
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
ground black pepper to taste, I used 1 tsp
crusty bread rolls, such as Hoagie rolls
sliced cheese such as provolone or Swiss

Directions:
  1. Trim any visible fat from your roast. Place in the crock pot.
  2. Add all of the remaining ingredients to the pot. Cook on low for 8 hours, turning halfway through if you are home. I cooked mine on high for 4.5 hours and it was totally fine.
  3. Split your bread rolls open, spread with butter {or spray with I can't believe it's not butter spray, like I did} and toast in the oven at 350F for 5-10 minutes depending on how toasty you want it. 
  4. Slice meat and pile onto your bread. Top with cheese and pop back in the oven under the broiler to melt everything.
  5. Serve hot, with a side of the cooking juices in a small bowl. That would be the jus and it's fantastic for dipping, thus, French DIP sandwiches.

And voila, you have a delicious meal that was hardly any work at all. This would be a great recipe for St. Patrick's day, since I used Guinness! 
A few more tasty photos for you :)

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