August 23, 2011

Happy House Anniversary!

Today is the anniversary of our house! We moved in on this date in 2009. You can read the saga with us purchasing this house here, and here, and here. But the bottom line is: We got the house!

This is a photo I took when Chris and I first saw the house. I think we were talking about what an amazing chandelier we would hang there one day. 

This is me on move-in day with our key. Note: those are the denim shorts from here

This is a photo of me with our SOLD sign. 

The day we moved in, we had incredible friends, Sarah and Charlie, who drove from North Little Rock and Matt and Laura, who we had not met until that day. Everyone helped us move in and then went to dinner with us at Gus' World Famous Fried Chicken. Shockingly these people are still friends with us. The dirt, grim and sweat from moving did not deter them. Good peeps.

This is move-in night, and the first time Chris sat in his Man Chair in its new spot. 

Porter discovered he loves carpet. Even though this is blurry, you can see he loved his new home. 

This was our first weekend in our house. A fancy brunch on our balcony.  

I can't believe all of this was three years ago! 

Dear House, 

We love you. We have taken our time working on you (mostly because Air Conditioner has been taking all our money) and making you ours. We especially like your balcony and fenced yard. And your kitchen and your high ceilings. Thanks for three great years. 

Love, Allison, Christopher, Porter and Grace

August 16, 2011

A Good Hard Look book review

I've got another BlogHer book club review up. It's on A Good Hard Look. See why I judged it on its cover. Right or wrong.

August 15, 2011

Tray rehab

Chris and I have had this brown tray for years. I thought it belonged to his family or something because I couldn't remember where the tray had originally come from. 

It was a fine tray, but there was a part of me that really wanted to modernize it. I would see trays in catalogs and think, "That's such a cute tray!" But, see I already had a tray, and so I didn't buy a new one. Again it was fine. Just brown. Finally one day I asked Chris about it. "It was a hand-me-down from your folks," he said. 

Perfect! I then knew I was free to mess it up in the hopes of making it better. First was a coat of red spray paint. 

I painted over the gold metal edges too. 

Yeah for pretty and red!


But I knew it needed something more. So I started searching for inspiration, and I found Martha Stewart's tray here. I immediately went to Hobby Lobby looking for cork shelf paper and a punch. But there was no cork shelf paper. I figured I could improvise with a roll of cork and double-sided adhesive paper. I could punch the shape in the cork and the adhesive paper and then put them together on the tray. Perfect. 

However, when I got home, I realized my punch (which was not a Martha Stewart brand, but I liked the shape better.) wasn't tall enough to accommodate the roll of cork. So I went to Michael's thinking (1. it was closer) and 2. they would have different punches. 

Michael's didn't have cork shelf paper, but I did buy two different brands of punches. One of them was a Martha Stewart Punch All Over The Page punch. Neither was strong enough to punch through the cork. 

At this point, I got on to find the cork shelf liner. I found it and ordered it. When it arrived, I immediately tried my two punches on it. Neither would cut through it!!

Back to Michael's to return the two punches. I took a square of the cork shelf liner with me, and I decided I would find the exact Martha Stewart punch shown, and test it before buying it. I usually don't promote using products before you buy them, but this "easy" project was getting out of control. 

Thankfully, the punch I chose worked!! And it was on clearance!!

Here's the cute shape I chose:

I first thought I would do lines of the flowers, but it just didn't look right. I played around with it for a bit and decided on this: 

 Here's the finished tray with Grace's nose in the pic. 

The theory is that the cork will absorb any sweating and condensation from drinks we put on the tray.

And, the cork makes it a non-slip surface. 

After all of that time and effort, I do think it turned out pretty cute. The lesson from this is to purchase exactly the products your inspiration project used. Thanks, Martha. 

August 14, 2011

Mary Kay try out

I was lucky enough to be a part of a trial program through BlogHer and Mary Kay. I signed up; they sent me some makeup to try. Pretty cool, right? 

Here's the loot.

 It was a magnetic compact,  

three shades of eyeshadow and a blush

They all fit perfectly into the magnetic compact.

I wasn't sure that blue was my color, but I followed the instructions on the packet, which showed which areas of the eye to place the colors. 

Here's the shadow on my eye. I like the two brown tones, but with my green eyes, I really need a purple hue instead of blue. The makeup did go on well though. I used their little brushes that were included, but I always prefer a real sized brush. The small ones would be nice on the go, but they just can't compare to real brushes. 

And, here's the finished eye. 

I normally use Bare Minerals, which I do love. However, the Mary Kay sample was really nice with the magnetic compact. I could see that it would be nice having everything you needed in one compact instead of several loose powder tubs like I have now. I think I may look into purchasing a purple hue to replace the blue, and I'll keep the compact in my travel bag. You never want to find yourself without makeup!

Thanks Mary Kay and BlogHer for the samples!!

August 11, 2011

My book review of The Kid

I've been busy reading with BlogHer Book Club. My latest review is published, and it's on The Kid by Sapphire. 

10 things you'd never think to ask

I've been on a small blog break, and I thought it would be fun to get back in the swing of writing by sharing a few quirky things about myself that you all may not know. 

1. I love to write with pencils. For some reason I think my handwriting looks better, and I just like the feel of pencils. 

2. I use a Caboodle as a jewelry box, and it still has the price tag on it. I purchased it after my jewelry box was stolen during the Robbery of 2009. I have no idea why I haven't taken the tag off of it. Maybe I thought I would return it some day, but no. I'm still using it. 

3. Every morning around 4:30 a.m. Porter jumps on my side of the bed and lays on my chest while I scratch his face. Yes, it wakes me up, but I just don't care. He's so cute. 

4. I've created a spice mix that I add to my coffee each morning. It's a blend of sugar, cinnamon, cocoa powder and cayenne pepper. I was inspired by the Mayan cappuccino at Cafe Eclectic. Delicious! And, it's a whole lot cheaper to make it at your house. 

5. I have a pair of Gap denim shorts that are more than 10 years old. I'm wearing them right now. They are the ideal weekend, grocery shopping, working around the house, shorts, and they are still as good as when I--or probably my mom--purchased them. 

6. I don't listen to music. If I'm driving in the car, I either listen to NPR or nothing. I like silence. When I'm working, I often have NPR playing on my computer. There are not many instances when I think, " Man, I need some music on!" I've been known to have the occasional dance party or crank up music in the house once in a while, but most of the time, I like silence. I know, I'm weird.   

7. I love lists and calendars. See, this post is a list. Lists get me through the day and keep me sane. My calendar has every important fact and reminder on it. I get it from my grandmother. She knows the exact days my family purchased cars, homes, boats and moved to different houses. She's my calendar idol. 

8. Basil is my favorite herb.

9. I cook from scratch everyday. I don't believe in processed or ready-made foods and ingredients. It's okay if you do. I just don't. 

10. I was the tallest person in my Kindergarten class. Then I pretty much stopped growing. It's cool. 5'2" looks good on me. 

August 6, 2011

Dining room wall updated

I've been updating my dining room wall, filling in some of those empty wall spaces. 

This is a photo I took at our farm. Doesn't it look like some hidden secret liar?

I created this piece myself. I was inspired by a WestElm catalog that showed a similar work of "art" in one of their room scenes. I used a blue pencil and a black marker from my art box, and I traced various sizes of bowls from my cabinet. 

Here's my pea pod hung on the wall. 

I took this photo at our farm, and I really like the vibrant colors. 

This is also from the farm, and I turned it black and white when I printed it. 

So this is the updated wall. I'm pretty happy with it! You can see there's still one empty spot between the black and white road photo and the olive photo. 

I'm waiting for inspiration to hit me for that one. Suggestions? 

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