Friday, April 29, 2016

Lettering Lately

Here's an update of a few pieces I've finished since getting moved in and starting painting always, click here for information on lettering. Or, follow along on Facebook and Instagram!

It's hard to tell size in pic, but these are large 20"x 20" canvas and background is lyrics to Toby Mac's song, Speak Life and the client hung them in a dining room. For me, they were a miracle that the words lined up and all fit, because I do this free hand and there is no sketching out of this many words! :)
One of my besties asked me to paint a couple of signs for her to take on a trip to her aunt's house and here they are in the kitchen window sill, what a cozy little spot. I would like a cup of coffee right there please! ;) 

This canvas was designed to be decor for a baby shower and then used in the baby room. I learned something new while painting this too..."baby" in so many different languages. The baby room was so cute too with globes and maps as decor. Canvas is 10x20.
Sometimes words I paint are hard, and this was one. A friend at church asked me to paint this one, in memory of a sweet baby boy who's life was cut short due to illness. Though only a couple of years, he lived a full life and by these words leaves quite a legacy. Prayers to them and I hope these words will remind them of his sweet life  for many years to come. You can read about Creighton's story here.  Canvas is 12x16.
This is a birthday gift a friend is giving, a 12x12 which is one of the most popular signs I paint. It's hard to tell (one day maybe there will be professional pics, but for now, it's all iPhone), but tried something new and  mixed a little white in the background of this one after I painted the base and it's looks to have a little texture to it. 
I've posted before about canvases I have done for Police Officers,and these are a couple recently completed. Both are 12"x16" and again are heavy words. I'm thankful for our Officers, and through painting getting to know several of them, their hearts for their jobs and trust in God with their lives.  

Weddings are a fun occasion to paint for a these were recently completed for a bride. She had a fun "guestbook" tree that guests put their thumbprint on and this sign went beside the book.
Last, this was done for a sweet friend's little girl on her birthday. It will sit beside her bed and such sweet words for her from her Mama and Daddy to remember when she goes to sleep and when she wakes up.  

Words matter and I'm thankful for each word I have the chance to paint for someone.  


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

City in the rear view....

Today, this post has brought back all the thoughts.... 

because on this day 2012, my life looked like this...

 which was moved into 12x12 storage for what ended up to be for 21 months....

But in these 4 years.... 

I've criss-crossed the country pulling a trailer by myself with only my dog 
I've lost my last Grandparent 
I've worked so many different odd jobs 
I've cried more tears than probably in the 10 years prior 
I've gained the sweetest of friends that feel like friends I've had forever 
I've learned how to build a traveling road show booth 
I've passed certification tests
I've found a creative in me that has big dreams 
I've dated a few guys along the way 
I've spent weeks with the littles 
I've fought for myself
I've begun an entire new career 
I've lost some friends who were a significant part of my life 
I've been a part of a year long discipleship 
I've sat at tables that have held the best conversations and memories 
I've shot guns 
I've outrun a tornado 
I've worked harder physically than I ever did 
I've been lied to 
I've been on vacations 
I've had my car stolen 
I've celebrated weddings and new babies with lots of friends 
I've had my heart hurt 
I've swam a mile 
I've lived out of hotels, RVs, my parents and my friends houses
I've read tons of books 
I've changed real jobs 2 times 
I've been a commuter 
I've cut my hair off and grown it back out 
I've eaten countless meals by myself
I've painted words that hang in homes across the US 
I've had my own booth at a show 
I've buried my most faithful side kick that still breaks my heart  
I've clung to Jesus 
I've drank endless cups of coffee 
I've gotten a bike 
I've put 1000s of miles on my Tahoe(s) 
I've asked for help 
I've had students become State Champions
I've served with my church 
I've caught big fish 
I've learned to tell my story, even when it's hard 
I've learned to enjoy the silence 
I've still sponsored my Compassion child 
I've missed opportunities and seized the day 
I've always been able to go home 
I've been published
I've been mostly 100% healthy 
I've found new things I'm passionate about and also good at 
I've failed 
I've been loyal 
I've pushed myself and met goals 
I've stood beside besties who've lost their Dads 
I've watched my nephew get baptized 
I've said I'm sorry 
I've learned to rest 
I've had seasons that were too busy and scheduled 
I've been in the snow and on the beach  
I've learned what to let go, what to fight for and what to hold on to
I've been honest 
I've volunteered 
I've been challenged like I never knew 
I've come back to the City, one that I love
---and through it all----
I've always had hope.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 
Romans 12:12  

What I'm Wearing ~ Spring Fun & Rodeo

As per usual there have been days this Spring pushing 90 degrees followed by days in the 60s. I really don't mind weather like this because I love layers (as posted here) and even when it's warm outside, I'm typically cold inside places.

Kicked off a couple of months of a full calendar with work, travel, Rodeo and other events at my Rodeo Committee fundraiser. I picked this dress up at Target (shocking I know) but it was seriously like $8!!?!? #bargainshopper And, like nothing else I have, really I don't have hardly any pink or red in my closet. You can't  see in pics, but has a flared sleeve with a lace detail just above the elbow. This  is my favorite kind of dress for a party, comfortable. Felt like it was a lot of black, so mixed in white clutch for a little contrast and (again, shocking) a stack of bracelets! #creatureofhabit
This sweater is old, another from Old Navy, and sometimes I need a reminder when life might get me down a little to love life. Despite the seasons and the ups and downs, the hard days and good times, all of it makes me who I am and I do love this life I live.
Rodeo Houston BBQ weekend turned  out to be perfect weather this year, a little chilly, but not miserable and sun shining too!  With all the heat from BBQ pits, I definitely choose chilly over hot, but last year was one for the books of freezing cold and wind, so thankful wasn't like that this year. If you've read here for long, you've seen this buffalo check dress numerous times, paired with boots and a bandanna scarf (can I get an Amen for this cute trend though it may be fleeting) and leopard clutch. Friday night I wore a new-ish gray tunic I picked up at a cute new boutique in my hometown. Again, a little chilly and fur vest was easy layer for this night. Saturday I was in debate of going or not, but who am I kidding when the sun is shining and it's BBQ, I can't say no. This plaid is another one I've worn a ton and paired with the same 7 For All Mankind flares I've also posted repeatedly. :) #creatureofhabit
This was a work day, and again, flares are a favorite for me plus a peasant top. It is clear I subscribe to Jenna Lyons (Creative Director of JCrew) and her now famous "leopard is a neutral" theory my leopard pumps (and clutch) are on frequent rotation. I mentioned this sweet dog I adopted here (The 6's) but, sadly she had parvo and didn't survive. But, when I squatted down and she came right over, I fell hard for her little scruffy self.
Further proving #creatureofhabit here's the black and white plaid again and the booties I mentioned last post (click here) plus a new pair of high waist flares. Mom and I were in Waco for Beth Moore event and we had a little time to kill. Stopped into a Gap and I checked, as always, the sale rack. Found these jeans, in my size and a long length, on the clearance rack which happened to be extra 50% off. I thought $20 was a steal, but when I went to check out she told me my total was $8,10!! WHAT?!?! Apparently they were down to $15 and 50% off. That's my kind of shopping.
Speaking of bargains...A friend recently asked me about how I always find deals. Pretty much that's just what I look for and how my Mama taught me shopping. Often I see things I like in a store, and will just take note, then watch and see when they go on sale, or sometimes I only look at sale rack in a store.  Places like Marshalls and TJMaxx are my favorites, but can't always go in looking for something specific and have to visit regularly. I realize running in and out of stores isn't always realistic in everyone's schedule, but I only go every couple of weeks or so, not even weekly. 

Here's a few more looks from Rodeo fun...left to right... (1) a typical day "on shift" volunteering with my committee. Vest, button up and my hat. Of course with jeans and boots. But, this year I wised up a little and wore my favorite Twisted X booties when I was going to be walking on concrete all day. A trick learned from days on the road.     (2) Anther day volunteering, this time for one of my all time favorite events, the Lil Rustlers Rodeo. Getting to dress up as a rodeo clown and bring smiles to children and families who are overcoming various challenges is a huge blessing to me!     (3) Another fun party during the Show, and this time wore an Old Navy romper paired with boots. Will repeat this spring with wedges too. If you're tall like me (5'9") then rompers off the rack don't typically fit, but places like Gap, Old Navy, Loft all have Tall sizing and regularly have 30%-40% off any purchase. Never pay full price at those stores!!!     (4) This night was with my fellow committee leadership, a treat for us to get to hang out and in a suite with our Officer in Charge. We work lots of early mornings and long days, because we love these contests and volunteering, but it is sure fun when not on a shift to just get to hang out! Dress is years old from a  boutique and a little short for me by itself, so always pair with a little lace skirt under and had a cardigan on too since it was a little chilly. 

Thanks for reading and remember to love life! Click over to The Pleated Poppy for more What I Wore posts! 
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Monday, April 25, 2016

#LetsTalkLinkUp - Hair & Makeup Products

Happy Monday!

Today I'm linking up for #LetsTalkLinkUp and sharing makeup and hair products.

I'm certainly no expert on makeup and I've used a wide range of products, from behind counter service to over the counter drug store and that's pretty much where I'm at these days. So, here's what I'm using on the regular these days, and for a while now....

Neutrogena Naturals face wash is in my shower and I typically shower at night, so this is my go-to for washing off makeup, including mascara. I've consistently used it for several years and have tried other products, but keep going back to this one. In the morning I wash my face and use Aveeno Positively Radiant face wash. Truthfully I first tried this because I saw it on an end-cap at Target for something ridiculous like $2.47, and then I was kicking myself because I only bought one!
As far as skin care...I've used Olay for probably 10 years or so. I've switched around between a couple of different moisturizers, but my favorite it the Total Effects 7 (not pictured), but this Regenerist one has been pretty good. However, when it's empty I will go back to the other. I bounce back and forth for primer, I have liked this Almay CC primer and have used about 6 or 7 tubes of the Rimmel and it works well for my skin too. The only Clean and Clear product I've ever really used is this Advantage for blemishes. It's changed a little over the years, but my skin responds well to it.
I was a mineral powder user for years (Bare Minerals, Maybelline and Neutrogena) but felt like by end of day I had no foundation left. I saw an Instagram post by BooMama for this Clinique CC cream I headed to Nordstrom one day to try it out,and I've been pleased with it. I've always loved Clinique because they have great "gifts with purchase" and for a long time I used the yellow moisturizer. When I was there in January they happened to have the 12 Days of Christmas boxes (because they were lost in the basement all through the holidays) and so I also picked one of those up. It had several full size products that I have tried out and really liked, one being this Chubby Stick Cheek Color Balm and the Repairwear Uplifting Firming Cream that I use at night. I sometimes use the eye cream and other products that were included, but not every night. I will definitely look for this set again Christmas 2016.
For eye make up I had a Naked brand palette for what seemed like a sweet forever and I was over it, but it was long from empty and I felt like I needed to use up all the colors I could because of what it costs! When it was finally on it's last days I started looking for replacement. I only wear 3 colors, and do my makeup in about 5 minutes, so that palette was definitely overkill for me.  I found the Elf equivalent, and it was less than $10 and has lasted me several months. You can see which colors I use, far right for outside half of my eyelid, 2 over for inside and blend across, and left end for under brow/highlight. It really doesn't matter I'm getting ready for, I still use this palette and the time I spend is about the same. I found out about the Loreal mascara through Instagram post by Big Mama and really liked it, so much so that I also picked up the waterproof one and have already gone through a whole tube of it this Spring, after losing my dog and being on the verge of tears for a couple of months, and I've bought a second one. 
Not sure if you've seen the new "marketing campaign" that's out for using conditioner first, but I've done that for years, followed by shampoo, which leaves the texture in my hair. I alternate conditioners and shampoos, currently I have this Coconut Water by OGX and old faithful Pantene in my shower. Also, my all  time favorite shower gel is the Eucalyptus Spearmint from Bath and Body which was on my Christmas list this year and my Mom found this limited edition that should keep my stress relieved for quite a while. ;)  
I wash my hair at night and use these two products out of the shower, the volume spray around my face and the sea salt in the back. I only dry the front of my hair due to a sweet cow-lick otherwise, but then I leave the back to dry naturally, which is beachy waves. In the morning I hit the front/sides with my curing iron a couple of times and never really do anything to the back including even looking at what it looks like. #couldbearatsnest
Of all these things, tried and true for me is using white washcloths for washing my face, which means they can be bleached and after a year or so when they are looking like they've seen better days and no longer bright white, I move them to basket as cleaning rags and start over with new ones. They are the cheap ones, usually 4 or 5 to a pack and yes, I always fold my washcloths the same direction. More on that and how I store my products and makeup click {here}.
Perfume...I have a couple I use. Every day is Lace, weekends/occasions I typically wear Kate Spade Twirl (middle), though sometimes I wear Chanel. I also keep the Endless Weekend Bath and Body spray for Saturday morning breakfast/errands when I have no make up and a ball cap on and I use it often in summer.
Finally, lips...(left) this is another product from the Clinique box,Chubby Stick Intense Moisturizing Lip Color Balm, and I like it. It is bright pink, so not for every day. I also have Clinique Cola Pop lipstick which is a little bold for me, but I have gotten used to wearing it. My go-to is Rimmel "To Nude or Not to Nude" and I really like their lipsticks. In fact, I keep one in my desk drawer at work too. Last, the classic rose salve in a tube, which I'm much more a fan of than the little tin can.  
That's it for me, all fairly simple and pretty much all available at Walmart, Target, Ulta and the Walgreens. I typically buy with Ulta coupon or on a sale like last week at Walgreens which was mix-and-match brands BOGO 1/2 off! For more products, click over to the link up and visit Erica from The Slaughters and Andrea from Momfessionals

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Moving: the final decorating projects

My new place is definitely feeling 100% like home, and I've been working on the last couple of projects to finish up decorating. Things that got put to the side after move in and unpacking/decorating (click here for more) and a couple of months of non-stop going.

One of my sweet besties gave me this photo frame (chicken wire is the entire inside) and it used to hang at my door in my old place, first thing I saw when I walked in. I love pictures and memories and it was always a favorite. In my new place it hangs on a wall between my TV armoire and a window and I see it every time I sit (read: lay down) on my couch. It needed some updating, so recently printed some new pictures and over the weekend I re-arranged and added and updated. This frame is stuffed full of memories: family, littles, besties, favorite sayings and verses and makes me happy every time I look at it.  Below it are 4 pieces from a collection (more hang in my bedroom) of abstract art with inspiring words.
I mentioned before about the desk we built, but I hadn't taken the time to stain a shelf I found or put the rest of my things on the wall in this corner. A couple of weeks ago on a sunny day I got my saw horses out again and stained the shelf and then finally got it hung up with few other things on the wall. As I was updating/rearranging pics that would go on the magnetic board below the shelf I took one off and another one fell out from behind it. It was one of those pictures that was taken on one of my very favorite days. But, that person isn't in my life anymore, hence why it was behind another and it stung just a little when I saw it again. But, reminded, favorite days are good memories, but much like the blank wall before I started, this is new space, new memories to be made, and there's always room for more favorite days are ahead.
Here's a little closer look...the clock print is from Magnolia Market, souvenir from a trip with my Mom and one of my favorite decorating pieces I've ever seen Joanna use, it's actually in her own home. The magnetic photo board says "The only way to a fabulous life is to live imperfectly with great delight". I love this saying and it is such a good reminder in an always filtered and edited world...imperfect is ok, and often the greatest delight. The little white stuffed puppy is from one of my besties and in memory of my sweet Barney. 
Just for fun, here's Mom and I at the silos and when we met Clint Harper, who's shop had such cool wood pieces and also the most dreamy table setting with wood and metal placemats.
(PS - My T is from Nashville for Africa event, all about that here.)
The last major project that has taunted me from a couple of boxes since I moved is my black and white wall. Of course with the move, it meant rearranging all the signs again and I took out the middle sign I've previously used and put it in a different place, so it was a total re-do of the remaining signs. This wall is definitely a favorite and with my "open floorplan" now, it's seen from my couch and much more visible than before. This project goes in three phases, starting with arranging on the floor, taking a pic so I remember what they looked like and then measuring out/hanging on the wall. For reference, the finished grouping is 90"wide x 40" tall. :) #Ilovewords

And finished! Also, can finally see the rug I have in the dining room.  It is my favorite shade of green and found it walking through Home Goods one day after I moved, when I was actually looking for new bathroom rugs. After looking for new bathroom rugs for over 2 months now I've just about resolved that finding a "bath runner" rug to go in front of the double sink might be the equivalent of finding a unicorn.
The last couple of things are small, but little changes that sometimes just need updating. I have had a tray on my ottoman for a long time which functions as my "coffee table", and always struggled with the stack of books and things that ends up on it. When I moved I put these 2 spire things (I don't even know what they are) on the tray and it dawned on me the other day to use them as book ends!?!  And stand some books up,ones I am currently reading (#Girlboss, Savor, 31 Days of Prayer for the Dreamer + The Doer, a journal and notepad). Can't believe I hadn't done this before!?! At the beginning of the year I bought one of those daily crosswords, which of course I don't complete every day, but having it in my living room I think I will put  my phone down more often and use my brain a little more...maybe. :) 
Last, these 2 signs used to hang in my desk area of my old house, but just didn't fit in new space. BUT, there's a little bit of wall space in my laundry room and they fit perfect right there. And, since I recently told my Mom I wasn't sure if I put laundry detergent in a load of laundry or not, I thought maybe appropriate it here too. Again, imperfect is great delight!
I'm thankful for this little space I call home. I love the patio and view of trails and trees and people living life outside. I finished up these projects the weekend before  the Houston Flood 2016 hit Monday morning and on our days off as a result of the flood. I snapped this pic off my balcony about 4:45 am Monday as lightning lit up the bayou, water was rising quickly and I got pretty scared of this Bayou (middle of the pic, water closest is a ditch between) becoming a rapidly rushing river. Home is sacred to me and as I left yesterday morning really unsure of what I would come home to I thought about what really matters most to me. If all the things are washed away, it would be absolutely devastating, but I would be ok. 
Thankfully this portion stayed within its banks, but so many other places around our city didn't and the days ahead will be filled with loss and recovery and adjusting. We have still been experiencing rain and everyday it seems a new neighborhood is affected. Would you pray for Houston and those affected by this flood, for new walls and new memories to fill broken hearts?  


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

What I'm Wearing ~ The Layers Edition

So it's been a while for a wearing post. Somehow the moving and the unpacking and losing Barney and Rodeo all took over for a couple of months and time gets away.  I haven't been snapping pics daily like last year, but still do from time to time, usually also posted on Instagram (follow here).  Just how long it's been, the first pic is from when the Texans were in the playoffs, and now the Rockets are in the playoffs, for let's be honest, one more game.

And, all cards on the table, sometimes I wonder if I should keep writing these, or who really even reads them. But today, on an extra day off because of Houston Flood 2016 I decided to come write at a coffee shop and have breakfast. When I went to the counter to pick up my coffee a lady asked where my shirt was from, a Texas t-shirt from Tumbleweed Texas and followed it up with "I hope you don't mind me asking". And, I don't. I never mind someone asking where something I'm wearing came from or heck, even showing up in the same thing as someone else. I love to bargain shop and find things that are fun and classic and trendy and timeless and I love to share that with others.  So, onward...

I'm really not a "jersey" girl, but I had a birthday gift card to spend and happened upon this jersey, and thought, what the heck. I loved it because it looked a little less traditional, was a little more fitted, a bit of a vintage look, and of course I am for sure am a JJ Watt fan and since we made the playoffs this year I had a few extra chances to wear it! Since it was still cold I also layered on a cardigan (middle pic) and of course leopard clutch to head out. Jeans on the right, are way old 7 for all Mankind jeans, and high waisted. I've held on to them since flares were in style the first time and now that high waist is back, I've even tucked in a shirt to them a couple of times, which is out of my box.
Cardigans and scarves are my go-to for cold days and really until April, it's subject to be hot, cold and/or both in the same day on any given day in Houston, One or two Sundays a month I volunteer in our church nursery in the babies class and we have a t-shirt to wear, which is under this cardigan and blanket scarf. I picked up the scarf in New York last year with my Mom and it's a favorite for a chilly day. A scarf easily makes a jeans and t-shirt outfit look a little more put together and was warm for this day too! Cardigan is from Target, and I bought it a little big, so it's roomy and comfy!
This cardigan was one from the Loft this spring, in fact I had to really practice restraint when they came out with a whole line of this chartreuse stripe since it is my favorite color. Happened to have a camo (second favorite color) scarf with the same color stripe and paired it for work. I have found myself reaching over and over for a pair of over-sized studs, especially when wearing a scarf. I've picked up pairs from various places, none more than $6/pair. Walmart has them for $3 and Sam Moon has them for $5 or $6. Nordstrom also has several pairs in their BP brand for $8.
Are you seeing a theme here.... I got this vest for Christmas and the flannel I picked up last fall at Texas Antiques Week from Stash Style. This combo was a favorite all through the winter and I wore it several times. Some probably thought, oh, that again. :)  It's hard to beat a perfectly worn in flannel and puffy vest.
And, then I moved...and didn't have my mirror hung. But, the work days must go on.  I picked up these floral Guess heels at Ross one day on a whim, I think they were $12.99 or $14.99 and I have worn them a ton! I don't worry so much about if they "match", I just think they "go" with just about anything.  In this case a years-old heart sweater from Old Navy.
Sometimes things get pushed to the back of the closet, or just out of rotation and when I wear them again, I think "why don't I wear this more" which is the case with this Gap cord blazer. It's again years old, a Tall size, so fits me well and is comfortable too. Sometimes blazers can feel stuffy, but not this one. Of course I wore it as it was getting near end of our cold days, but I'm vowing to wear it more often when fall comes around. I've looked for a long time for black booties and happened to find these in Target, they are a collaboration with DV and I had another pair of DV boots I love. Slipped these on and bought them immediately. Favorite thing about them is the cognac heel/trim, black and cognac is a favorite color combination.
More wearing coming soon, at least sooner than the last post! And, maybe if you're in a northern state, you're still wearing cardigans and sweaters and this gives you some ideas!  Take a look over at The Pleated Poppy for her What I Wore post link up!