Happy girls are the prettiest girls


I'm home

Hello from my new home in Texas! 

I have spent the last week driving across the country {in only 2 days, this time!}, running around the Austin area looking for furniture/home supplies/decor, entertaining my mom who made the trip with me, and generally, being busy for not working. 

Tonight, I was doing some much needed cleaning up of my laptop, you know purging the 1,700+ files in my recycle bin and freeing up over 2GB of space, and came across a bucket list I had created who knows how long ago and forgotten about. I was quite pleased to see that of the few things I had jotted down, I have actually  accomplished! That's a really nice feeling, to accomplish something you set for yourself, only to forget about and discover later :)

My bucket list, created somewhere around 2009/10 I am guessing?
*Run 5 miles straight
 summer of 2010 

*Complete a 10k (6.2 miles) in under 1 hour 10 minutes without walking
AlamdenValley Run Turkey Run race 11/2010

*Train for and complete a sprint triathlon 
Silicon Valley Sprint Triathlon 6/2011

*Buy a house, renovate or decorate as needed 
Bought the ugly ducking 10/2013, and working on the decorating ;)

*Attend a live UFC event 
{not UFC, but I have been to a Strikeforce event 10/2010, which is now owned by UFC, and been to several amateur fights.

I also found a document with my 101 in 1001 list, which should have been completed on October 29, 2013. Now I just missed that deadline, and boy was I a failure at hitting my 1001 tasks! 


A sweet farewell

My dear friend Danielle, who is a wonderful host and party planner, threw me a going away party last week. She invited a bunch of my friends, and encouraged everyone to bring a dessert to share, in the name of sending me off with a sweet farewell. Now, that's a girl who just gets me. 

I was determined to try all of the goodies my friends brought, and ended up on the biggest sugar rush, which meant I was speaking faster than my normally fast pace, and couldn't sit still for hours. It was fabulous. 

I had the nicest time seeing so many of my friends all together in one space, where I could share stories, laugh, and soak up their love before I leave for Texas. I know not everyone could be there, but it made it nice to say goodbye to so many all at one time.
 Danielle has two fluffy Maltese named Rabbit and Ludo, the non-looking guy on the right, struggling in Olivia's arms. Left from Olivia is Jeanette, myself, and Kate
 I've known these two lovelies since sophomore year of high school! Micaela on the left and I had 2 classes that year, and then were in color guard together. Michelle in the middle was my punk rock princess and fellow local-concert goer. Both are amazing friends to this day.
 Sarah, her daughter Cameryn, and husband Brandon. Sarah is my glue. She's been my bestie since 7th grade, that's a whopping 15 years! We've stayed close even when she was living in New Mexico, and I know she will always be a phone call away when I need to chat. She's also the girl I admire most when it comes to her kitchen and home-making prowess. This girl could give Martha Stewart a run for her money, but is so modest about it all.
 My sweet Nicole and her boyfriend Matt. Why yes, I did set them up on a blind date and they have been dating for almost 2 years now!! Nicole and I grew close through our mutual desire to be runners, and I am so glad we did. She's just as bubbly and chatty as I am, and I know I can always turn to her for a willing ear to listen to me, good or bad. Nicole is a lovely person through and through. I'm going to miss her sweet face!
 Selfie of myself, Jeanette, Ludo and Danielle. Jeanette just returned from two months of travelling, making her way through Hong Kong, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand. I admire her gutsy adventurous spirit and willingness to drop everything to go experience life!
Sara, one of the funniest chicks I know. Also, she's hot, smart and has a huge heart. I always look forward to the times I get to see Sara, whether it's at a party or in the salon for her cuts.
 My San Francisco girls, Molly and Sara
 I met Molly through Danielle {D is my source for so many good friends, I swear!} and am so happy I did! Molly has an incredible eye for fashion, and is a go-to for style advice. She's also a badass runner chick!
 LOVE these girls. So much. Nicole, myself and Tiffany
 Tiffany moved to California from Virginia about 5 years ago, and we met at a salon soon after. She became my best friend quickly, and I have loved having her in my life these last few years. We have traveled around the country together for fitness shows, and if you can travel with my neurotic self, you are a very special person indeed. Tiffany absolutely is. She's kind, fiery, determined, and has so much strength of character she could choke out the Hulk in a battle of wills. I love this girl.
 Tiffany, her hubby Tom, myself and an awesome photobomb by Matt. Tom is a great photographer, a very neat guy, and can also stand me when we travel together. Love him!
 Blurry selfie of Danielle and I, but I love it! Great story about Danielle: she was a bride of mine two years ago! She came in for her trial, and we had an instant connection. I e-mailed her after the appointment, thanking her, and also saying I thought we should be friends because she is so cool and I had fun with her. She didn't think I was creepy at all, and soon we were on a double date, then a game night, then hanging out at her wedding. Yes, she even invited me! I  count her as one of my closest friends now. She's my incredible writing Jedi Master mentor, and the person most likely to be down for whatever new thing I want to try. And a rock star tour guide.
 Michelle and her hubby Tim live up in Napa, a few hours away, and still made the trip down for the party, and then again two days later for her final haircut. {click her name link for her blog, it's wonderful!}
I have a great story about Micaela from math class our sophomore year, but I think she really hates when I tell it. If you meet me in person, I'd happily recount the tale, but I'll save her the worry ;)
Kate, myself, Olivia and Danielle. Just more awesome ladies Danielle has introduced me to in the few years I have known her. I will be heading to Philadelphia in April for Olivia's wedding, and I can't wait to get my hands on her hair and even dabble on some makeup ;)

I missed a few friends who left before I busted out the camera, and I definitely felt the absence of other close friends who weren't there, but this was a wonderful evening for me!
Thank you Danielle, for being such a great friend, and for throwing this delightful going away party!

Big Sur Beautiful

It's currently late Thursday evening, and I am scratching my head wondering where the heck the week went. Um, wasn't it just Friday of last week?! 

To say my last week as a California resident has been a busy one is downplaying it. Had I just done my regular routine with all the extras of leaving, it would have been busy, but I added in 3 evenings of babysitting on top of the rest. Because I do that sort of thing. And who turns down easy, paid work? Not this girl.

This kind of busy is the best though, full of day trips and quality time spent in the company of my wonderful friends, all of whom I will miss very much when I no longer live here.

Tuesday, Danielle and I made a trip down the coast to visit the famed stretch of hwy 1 called Big Sur. We ate lunch at the most calming, serene restaurant called Nepenthe, enjoying our food on the back deck, which looked out over the ocean. The day started out with a hazy layer of clouds blurring the horizon, but as we sat and ate, we watched the clouds dissipate and the most radiant day break through. Toward the end of the meal, a turkey vulture began a lazy swoop overhead, showing off his impressive wing span and enjoying the warm breeze keeping him aloft. I totally stole Danielle's DSLR photos from Facebook, but will add my own phone pics to supplement. I brought my camera, but had a dead battery whomp whomp.
After lunch, we drove further south to Julia Pfeiffer Burns state park. There we hiked through giant Redwoods, explored the coastal cliffs, and saw stunning panoramic ocean views that included waterfalls and some of the prettiest deep green water I've ever seen this far north. Danielle's family has a cabin in Big Sur, which makes her the best tour guide I ever roped into driving me around. She's also really fun to hang out with, and incredibly easy to talk to. It made our long day very relaxing and just plain wonderful.
On the way back, we stopped at this funky little art gallery, where we checked out some...very naughty, yet artistic sculptures, that are exactly what your dirty mind thinks they are. I took photos and laughed inappropriately, as is my nature. After that, we headed into Carmel, and walked through the downtown area for a few minutes to stretch our legs before heading back to San Jose. 
Yup, we totally found a Tweedle Dee and Dumb cutout to stick our faces in. That's hands down the most attractive photo I've ever taken.

Seeing this little wonder that is only a few hours from where I have lived my whole life is already making me nostalgic, and I haven't even officially left yet. I will absolutely miss the stunning beauty of California. I know Texas is beautiful also, it's just in a different way. At least I have photos, memories, and many chances to return for visits!


that time my husband went to prison

...to meet a dog!

I know I sort of freaked you out there with the title, but that's what I was going for ;)

Billy and I have been talking about getting a second dog for awhile now. Mostly because B is missing Sadie something fierce, and seeing the photos and videos I post to Instagram of her playing with our housemate's dog Nugget make him want to get a friend to live with us when we are in Texas. Of course we want to adopt a dog from a rescue, as that is where Sadie came from, and we think she hung the moon. We are keeping with our "doggy speed dating" theory of finding the perfect dog, and meeting any little dog that catches our eye to see if they like us. Billy has made several trips to rescues on his own, and we even went together while I was out the last time. So far, there have been a bunch of sweet dogs, but not one that we thought would make our little family even better. 

Billy and I even send each other links to dogs listed on Pet Finder, and happened to stumble upon a rescue called Paws in Prison that is based in Lockhart, TX. They had an adorable Papillon/Yorkie mix named Chewy on pet finder, and that was right at the top of Billy's wish list. He loves Yorkies {and Sadie is a Papillon mix}, he wants to call the dog Chewbacca, and it has to be small. He set up an appointment to drive the hour and change to meet Chewy this past Wednesday. 

Imagine his surprise when he pulls up to a prison. Not just an old prison, but a working, fully functional with inmates prison. He thought it was a joke and almost turned around to go home. Instead, he parked and followed his directions inside, where he was told that yes, this was the paws in prison place he was looking for. Apparently, PIP uses female inmates to train and socialize dogs, then adopts them out after the required amount of time inside the big house. We failed to notice this information when we were looking at the dogs online. Whomp whomp.
Billy had a chance to hang out with Chewy, and we have an application in for him {along with 2 other people}, and will see once his time in prison is up if we get him or not. 

So that's the story of how my husband ended up in prison.


favorite new Etsy shop

While I was voraciously consuming paint color options on Pinterest the other day, I stumbled upon a gorgeous fine art photo print of a dandelion in the color scheme I am looking to splash all over the great room. 

I of course clicked through to the Etsy shop, and couldn't help clicking through the rest of her photos. In doing so, I fell in love. 

Lisa Russo Fine Art is amazing. I love all of the pastel processes she puts on her photos, and how soft, beachy, and inviting the pictures are. I guess I  really like that shabby chic, cottage feel the photos evoke. Didn't really realize that until now haha

Here are some of my favorites
I think at least a few of these will be purchased to put in the Ugly Duckling. Lisa offers photo prints, and wrapped canvases, which I am super excited about. 


Project Ugly Duckling: I hate my paint

Well, I don't hate all of my paint. I really like my dining room and kitchen dark gray. I am just not loving the accent wall and the light gray I picked for practically everywhere else. Instead of warming up the space harmoniously, I have successfully separated it with very harsh, bold colors. Le sigh. Why is paint so hard to figure out? You like a color, it should look good. A paint chip, or even a sample on the wall, can be so misleading. I had thought I was on the right track...
Pretty colors, separately. Together? Not so much. Cold. Harsh. Not inviting.
The original was way worse, so at least the yellow is gone from the space.
I have decided I need to go in a different direction. I still love the idea of the accent wall being in the turquoise family, I just think I need to go waaaay lighter. Like using the color I had picked out for the master bedroom, Palladian blue. If I already have it on hand, I might as well use it,  right?
As for the rest of the walls? I am thinking a much warmer greige instead of a silver will be better. Like Revere Pewter, which is hard to pin down if it's gray or beige from photo to photo.
Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue and Revere Pewter
Iron Mountain, my dining/kitchen color
I think these colors will go well together and compliment the tan tile. Much better than my current picks. Also, funny enough, my new couch has accent pillows with beige and light blue dots on it, so maybe that is telling me something. Oh, like, those colors look good together? I have mentioned before that I am not a DIY or crafty person. I guess I just went with colors I liked the look of, rather than figured out how it would actually look together. 

So the first thing I will be doing once I get back to Texas later this month is repaint the great room. Now, does anyone know if Home Depot takes returns on unopened gallons of paint? I have 4 gallons of the French Silver that I don't know what to do with if I replace it with the Revere Pewter


Project Ugly Ducking: beadboard wallpaper

I'm back from Austin and ready to get you up to speed on some of my projects I attempted while I was out there.

First of all, I completely take back what I said in this post, about being able to cut and paste wallpaper onto a wall. I thought it would be easy peasy. I was wrong. And I don't admit that often.

It may not have been easy, and it definitely made me worried before the end that it would turn out horribly, but I have to say, I am completely impressed with the end results. 

Remember my ugly yellow dining room? Honestly, it's not that ugly, I just don't like yellow.
 I applied my beadboard wallpaper, with much swearing, unhappiness, and worry once it was up. It was not as easy as I had thought, or the Amazon reviews led me to believe. You see how unevenly I cut the bottom of those strips under the window? Yeah, there was a lot of stuff that happened like that that made me wonder if I was going to be ripping off the wallpaper very soon. I went forward with painting anyway. Two coats of ultra pure white semi-gloss acrylic paint later, and I was feeling much better about the whole project. The strips of dark gray wall that were showing before were suddenly hidden, and it looked much better.

The finished product with a chair rail above it. That chair rail was another issue all together. I bought two long pieces and brought them home with a plastic miter box and back saw I had picked up at Home Depot, but realized I couldn't cut them myself. I re-bought the chair rail at Lowe's, but had a lumber guy cut it down for me. The cuts weren't perfect, and didn't have them cut on angles so they would fit together, but I made it work. Just don't look too closely haha
Please excuse the ceiling edges that still need paint, I ran out. I'll finish that when I head back to Austin, permanently, in a few weeks. Also, I love my new couch.

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