Happy girls are the prettiest girls


Back to ATX I go

I've become quite the frequent flyer. Today I am again headed back to ATX to hang with my B for 5 days to celebrate his birthday...and paint...and work on my long list of items on Project Ugly Duckling. That yellow has to go, it's gotten personal. 

With Billy living in Austin, and me still in San Jose, I have made quite a few trips to ATX in the last few months. Remember back when I was stressing about all things house related, and missing my B so much I cried when I couldn't open a jar? Well, I thought I wouldn't be seeing him until I rolled up in a moving truck. Fast forward a bit, to October 1st when I began advertising my wedding services in the Austin Area {yeah, click through if you are an engaged person and want to book me, I am all about weddings and making people pretty}, and then a few days later, I got my first Austin bride email! She had a last minute cancellation, and needed hair and makeup services the following week.  I figured why not, and had a flight booked before Billy could think of even more reasons for me to come out {he was super homesick and needed cuddles, bad}. So I was out to Austin for the wedding and to see my love for a few days, even though the very next week my mom and I were going to be driving out with all of our stuff. I literally flew home on Friday, and was hitting the road the following Monday, Austin bound.

I am certainly racking up Southwest frequent flyer miles, that's for sure.

I won't have my laptop with me this week while I am in Austin, so I can't promise any posts. I do plan on taking pictures of my painting process to share once I am back. I mean, I am trying to get back into the swing of posting more regularly. And because I am totally the kind of girl who needs recognition, aren't you proud of me for all of my posts this last week? It was like the last 6 months where I fell off the blogging wagon didn't even happen. Kind of.

Happy Monday, y'all!


Our detour to Disneyland

How I managed to overlook my trip to Disneyland during stage 1 of the move is beyond me.
{cue sarcasm laced sentence. Like I didn't have a million other things going on? haha!}

When B and I were planning to drive out to Austin from California, we knew the trip would be crazy. What I didn't expect was for him to look at me very seriously, and ask me a question like this: "Do you want to be completely irresponsible and cram a trip to Disneyland into the move?"
I didn't even miss a beat as I enthusiastically agreed. We needed a little fun to look forward to as he said goodbye to California. I also hadn't been to Disneyland in about 20 years. Far too long. Billy went regularly through his teens, but knew I was desperate to go back, so I think this was mostly for my benefit, rather than to say farewell to a California staple. 

So there we were, rolling down the highway in a Mustang stuffed with video games consoles and all of Billy's clothes, heading to the happiest place on Earth, before heading to our new home 1,700 miles away. This is a very photo heavy post, so scroll and enjoy :)
We made good time traveling from NorCal to Anaheim, about 7 hours with a dinner stop. We stayed at the Hotel Menage, picked purely because the name made B and I giggle like 12 year old boys. The next morning, I bounded out of bed and was anxiously waiting for a proper time to head to the park. It was opening at 10am, and I was ready to go before 9. B was a little less excited, but thought I was cute in my enthusiasm, even though he's really not a morning person.
I think I made a little Australian girl's life when I asked her parents if I could pose with the princess outside our hotel while we waited for the shuttle. Rapunzle never looked so adorable.

We started our day at California Adventure, knowing we really just wanted to hit Cars Land before heading into Disney for the real adventure. I felt like the biggest kid, thrumming with excitement and ready to run to all the rides! Billy is a huge car guy, and we both really love the Cars movies, so I know he was almost as excited as I was be there. It's truly amazing, too. You walk into the area and swear you are in the movie. I loved it.
I put the tire hat on Billy and literally could not stop laughing. I was dying. I'm not sure exactly why it was so funny, but oh my goodness, you would have thought I was at a comedy show!
 He made me wear the cone {of shame} hat for a picture to make me see what it felt like to be laughed at. I thought it was great!
We found much cuter hats inside the store. You will see, I had an obsession with head wear while at Disney, and wanted to try on all the things
The mountains even look like tail ends of classic cars!
We ate at Flo's V8 Cafe for breakfast, it was cute and decent.
Just like the movie.
 I loved that there were character cars driving around, interacting with people!
 B didn't like this hat, as seen by his unhappy smile, but I was sold. Too bad he vetoed it.
 It looked so real!
 We rode single rider for the Cars ride, and it was so cool! We got to race :) My car won.
We finished with Cars Land and made a quick stop at Soaring over California, which was awesome, before heading into Disneyland. Thank goodness for park hopper passes.
 Ahh, the happiest place on Earth!
See? Totally tried on all the things. I even made Billy try on a few too, much to his embarrassment.
Welcome to my new home! Err, that's not in Austin. Okay, fine, it's a castle, not my home.
 We were at the park on the first official day the Haunted Mansion was decked out in Nightmare Before Christmas fashion. It was excellent!
 I did not get the sword from the stone.
 These were the only characters I hunted down for a photo. I love me some Alice in Wonderland.
We were quite tired after traipsing around the parks all day, so we called it early instead of sticking around for the parades and light shows.
After spending the day like kids, we finished in a very adult fashion back at the hotel.


Atria Indie Authors

I'm not sure if you all know or not, but I am a total book fanatic. I love to read. Pretty much anything, too, cereal boxes included. 

Awhile back, as in a year or more ago, my friends Stacie and Megan turned me on to a whole bunch of great indie books that they loved, and in turn, I came to love. Two of those authors were Jamie McGuire and Colleen Hoover, who are both published by Atria books

A few weeks back, I attended a YA {Young Adult} author event at Kepler's books and found out that they like to host awesome authors for Q&A and signings, and I was hooked. You mean I can meet my favorite authors and spend an evening getting to know them? I was down. 

Que mad freaking out when Kepler's announced {and Colleen Hoover, via her blog} that Colleen, Jamie, and Abbi Glines would all be stopping by. For free. Um, yes, I was in. I tried to rally a group to go with me, but sadly, either no one was available, or interested, and I was left to attend on my own. Which I had absolutely no problem doing, because I love books, and these authors, and I sort of fan girl out over silly things like this. *breathe*

It was an amazing evening. These ladies are indie powerhouses, and were happy to share a little about their success as self-published authors turned publishing house darlings. You could tell they were all friends, and really have fun together. I can only aspire to ever have even a small portion of their success with my own writing in the future. That is, if I ever unearth my books from the moldy box they are hiding in while I turn my life upside down and move across the country. Someday, imaginary friends, you will see the light of day again. Um, I digress....

The Q&A was informative, and hilarious. I learned that Jamie is currently writing a Sci-Fi romance, and Colleen wants to write more adult themed books {insert porny music here, bow chica wow wow}. When it comes to plotting, Colleen is a total pantser {flies by the seat of her pants, no plotting needed when writing}, Jamie starts with an outline, but usually detours off as she writes, and Abbi has so many stories in her head, and churns them out so quickly, that she has to plot and outline, and then sticks to those as she writes. Also, Colleen has her husband take her to Red Lobster when she finishes a book, but it never feels finished until it gets published and she physically cannot change it anymore. Jamie and Abbi both gave her a hard time for really loving Red Lobster, and we all had a good laugh. 
Wonderful writers, awesome indie published phenoms Abbi Glines, Colleen Hoover, and Jamie McGuire
Oh, hey there!
Seriously, she's a fantastic writer, and gorgeous? Too much good stuff in one package. I'm a little nervous to read Red Hill because it is set during a Zombie Apocalypse, and I have a horrible fear of zombies. But I'll read it just because she's a great writer and I know she will do it justice.
I cannot wait to read Losing Hope, which I have on my Kindle, and now also in paperback. Hopeless {1st in the series} is one of my favorite books I have read this year, and I know Holder's side of the story will be both intriguing, and gut wrenching. Also, there is her novella, Finding Cinderella {Hopeless #2.5}, which is also waiting to be read on my Kindle.
Abbi can rock some blue eyeshadow, mad respect for that. I haven't read any of her books yet, but now I can't wait to. She was extremely funny during the Q&A, and is an absolute prolific writer, putting out so many books in a short time. Seriously, Goodreads says she has 7 series of books {some of her books even cross series}!
Swag! Who doesn't love it?


House Love Pinspiration

Warning: this blog will probably take on a home improvement feel as I get the my new place set up. Hopefully you don't mind me sharing all my painting, decorating, and DIY attempts that are bound to go wrong. This happy girl isn't a very DIY kinda person, and lacks the ability to finish those cool Pinterest inspired crafts I want to achieve. Speaking of Pinterest, I have a whole board dedicated to future decor, and it is inspiring me like crazy, thus the dark gray dining room I posted yesterday. Seriously, what would I do without Pinterest? I am so not creative when it comes to style and decor. I tend to get all matchy-matchy, and blah blah blah with decor. Not fun when you have a big beautiful house to decorate.

I've decided to call the decorating of my home Project Ugly Duckling, because it's all yellow, and ugly. Hopefully I can get it to look like a graceful, elegant, beautiful swan by the time it grows up..er, I finish.

Here are some of my favorites pins that are currently driving the redecorating of my home.
I am petitioning Billy to allow me to get a natural colored dining room table, as he is set on a dark color. And that chandelier, omg I need it.  Too bad Egyptian glass chandeliers are quite pricey. I may just have to get a knock-off, or find a way to put aqua covers on a different chandelier. Either way, I am getting something like that. I've already found an identical rug for only $100 at Garden Ridge, and know where to find a table very similar to this.
Because our kitchen, dining, and living rooms are all in the same space as a great room, I wanted to be able to have a color scheme that sort of played off each part, while individualizing the spaces. The living room will have a dark turquoise accent wall like this, and we just ordered a gray sectional to fill up the space. The rest of the walls will be Behr ultra in French Silver, a really light gray color that is a great neutral to run throughout the house. I can't wait to see it all together! 
We chose Palladian Blue by Benjamin Moore and will be looking for big dark furniture for our bedroom. We won't be doing anything to our room or bath for quite some time, though. We prioritized our projects, and the master is last since it will generally only be seen by us. It's currently a non-aggravating cream and sage green right now, which is a relief from the yellow everywhere else. And wow, are houses expensive! Everything you change or do to them quickly rack up the $$.
{You have to check out Bower Power, where the bottom photo of the painted walls came from, and see the amazing, fun projects they get up to!}
Our guest bath is plain ugly. Or plain and ugly. Either way, it's not fun and needs some love. I am digging the idea of gray and purple together, I just don't know what I would prefer to have on the walls versus as accents. 

And that's about it for Pinspiration right now. I have to focus on a few projects at a time, or my brain might explode from choices, decisions, and start hemorrhaging from the quickly disappearing bank account. 

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