Thursday, July 30, 2009

Deals of the Day

I LOVE saving money (blog post on that coming soon) and I've recently come across two deals that I wanted to pass along.

I've never personally used this site, but I have talked to others that have and checked out the press section on their website. It looks too good to be true, but I think it's legit. I mean, it shows them on the Today Show. It's gotta be for real!
You go on the site to buy gift cards at a discounted price. For example, a $25 gift card is $10. But, until the 31st you can get their $10 gift card for 80% off ($2) by entering the code NAPKIN.
Now, there are some restrictions like a minimum food purchase, certain days and not covering alcohol, but you will still be saving a lot on the overall experience.
The second is
It's a 30% off coupon at GAP, Banana and Old Navy as well as their outlets from today until August 2nd. And, the great part is, you can use it more than once.
Happy eating and shopping!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Charleston here we come... in a few weeks!

Soooo... this is the house where Ryan and I will be staying when we go to Charleston in a few weeks. Doesn't it look like something out of a J. Crew catalog?! We are SOOO excited!

Monday, July 27, 2009

After some blood, sweat and tears

By the time each summer rolls around I have always compiled a lengthy "to-do" list of different projects I have put off until I have the time to complete them from start to finish. This summer all of my projects happen to have been home improvement related, so I just wanted to share with the 4 people who read my blog what we've been up to.

I'd like to dedicate this whole write up to my wonderful, wonderful husband who put together everything that needed to be put together, gave advice when I wanted it and went along with my madness in wanting to get all of this done in a matter of about 4 weeks. I love you!

Our first few projects were simple. I just wanted to find a few things to add a little color.

So, I bought these cute pillows for our chairs on the back patio,

got these fun shams to brighten up the bed in one of our guest rooms,

found these plates to spice up our kitchen table,

got these rockers to go outside,

Ryan loooooved putting them together! (please note the sarcasm. It's a good thing I got them on sale or they would have gone straight back to the store!)

and scored this mother of pearl-ish lamp to go on the turquoise bed side table I painted last summer.

Yay for the little things that add a little something but don't require any putting together!

Our next few projects were a little larger, so I took some before, during and after shots.

The Formal Dining Room (aka Ryan's office) without the furniture

Just checking to make sure we like the color

....aaaand we're done!
The last time we wanted to paint in our house, we paid some people to do it. Although it was some work, I am much prouder of it having done it myself. Thank the Lord for summer break!


Our super small and super bland laundry room with linoleum flooring

Thank you Martha Stewart for your wonderful paint colors!

...and to the Sanlyn Company for your vinyl planking.
This looks much better. I know that it won't really be seen by anyone but Ryan and me, but it just feels better for it to be fresh and clean looking.

Aaaand the biggie. This is our living room before we moved anything in. I have always wanted to do something fun with the windows but could never think of anything even semi-original. A big thanks to Pearls who directed me to a picture on on of our favorite blogs.

Ryan, again, making all my dreams come true.

His level was in constant use for the 24 hours it took to get these puppies up.

Drum roll please.....

The after....

Woooo Hoooooo!!!
They let a ton of light in and give a great view of the yard, plus we can pull the shades down when it's super hot outside or we're out of town.

After weeks of work, it's time to REST!
I think Bella agrees!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Chronicles of the Kings Series

A big shout out to my friend Jamie for introducing me to the author Lynn Austin. She let me borrow the first book in her series Chronicles of the Kings, and I got really sucked in. I read the second book in about a day and I'm currently reading the third.

They are about the reigns of some of the kings in the Old Testament. She uses scripture to develop the plot and adds story lines and lots of dialogue to fill in the rest- kind of like Redeeming Love, but with closer ties to the characters.

If you're in search of a good summer read, I would highly recommend these. I can't vouch for books four or five, but the first three are really, really good! And, I feel like I've learned a lot about the Old Testament!

Happy Summer Reading!

P.S. I also just finished reading "The Devil in the Junior League" and although I can't make even one comparison between it and this series, I loved it. It's so, so funny! ... a total beach read!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Buena Gente

Many of you know that my last 5 years of teaching at Austin High have been wonderful in many ways and also very, very tough on me. It's a high-energy, high-emotion job, and the Lord has given me strength year after year to go back and keep doing it. Lots of y'all also know that I aaaadore the people that I work with at AHS. They are smart, funny, unbelievably supportive and we are all as different as you can possibly imagine.

We range in age from 27 to around 57.

We are from the US, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Belize.

We've spent time living on almost every continent in the world.

We know English, Spanish, American Sign Language, French, Italian, Japanese and Latin.

We tap dance, make jewelry, raise kids, do triathlons, travel all over the place, rock climb, cycle, cook, do yoga, walk our dogs, golf, remodel houses and read, among other things.

I cannot put into words how wonderful these friends have been to me over the years. They are truly mi familia, and I am so thankful that the Lord put them in my life. I miiiight not still be teaching if it wasn't for them!

Me, Adriana and Natalie at Z Tejas

Lonnie and Robin (known as jefa or boss)
Hangin' out and catchin' up during the summer

Dedication Day at Austin High

And the hallways... we'll miss them now that we're in the portables!

We're Loyal Forever!

Other familia members not pictured: Manuel, Yokko, Mary, Kevin and Conna. We need to take more pictures!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


If you watch golf in your house as much as we do, you've seen this a million and a half times. If not, here it is...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Our Friend, Rex

Ryan and I spent this weekend in Beaumont to throw a shower for our two lovely friends, Thomas and Shelly- soon to be the Sittons! They are wonderful friends of ours, and we're so excited about their big day!

(PS- I look like a giant next to Shelly... she is teensy tiny!!!)

On the way home we stopped in Houston at my parents' house to pick up Bella, who always stays there when we are gone. We call it her Disney World because they take such good care of her. They take her swimming, walking in Memorial Park, she eats and drinks whatever my dad does, etc.

Well, we left Houston a little later than we thought and headed down I-10 and then over to Hwy 71 on our way back to Austin. Just a few miles from Columbus we had a small adventure. We were driving down the road at around 70 mph when a dog darted across the highway. (Side note: I grew up with a dog, I love my dog, but I don't love just any old dog...I'm working on it. Dogs with long hair kinda gross me out because, unless they're really well kept, I don't feel like they're clean. In fact, the word mangy comes to mind) So, this dog darts across the highway, and my heart just drops. I mean, there is no way that he is NOT going to get hit by a car. So Ryan and I, in total agreement, turn around to go pick him up. On our way back to where he is several other cars swerve to miss him as well. Poor little friend.

We get to where he is and pull over to the side of the road. I jump out and try to call him over to the side of the highway- which is difficult when you don't know the dog's name. I went with Bailey because I've always wanted a Bailey. Anyway, Bailey was pretty freaked out but shyly came over to me. He had on a collar but no tag, but you could tell he was really well cared for. After a lot of coaxing we got him in the car, which was not an easy task.

So, now we have a stray dog in the car. Fantastic, he's not on the highway anymore. I'm gonna be honest, I'm not sure we really thought about what to do next because if we can't find his owner, he's pretty much coming back to Austin with us. Um, what? I don't really think I thought that through...

So, long story short, we now have Bella

and our new friend, Bailey

who have quickly become two peas in a pod... in the back seat of our car.

We drive around to a couple of gates that lead back to people's ranches. They're all locked, and the houses are so far back on the land that we can't even tell if anyone is home anywhere. One of the ranches as a key pad... We try in vain to punch a few numbers in to see if anyone will come to the gate, but we're out of luck.

So, we make the decision that Bailey is coming to Austin with us, and we'll just try to look up some of the ranch addresses and send them letters to see if they know whose dog this is. In our minds we are already setting up a vet appointment and thinking about where he'll sleep.

Until we come across....

which is a summer camp, located just a few hundred yards up the road.
So, figuring that we have nothing to loose, we drive in to see if anyone there has seen this dog before. I went into the office while Ryan hung out with the kids who, again, are now BFFs.

The office staff knew of one of their counselors, a college aged girl, whose family lives on the ranch next door to Pine Cove (the one with the keypad at the gate). So, they asked her to come and see if she knew who the dog belonged to. After waiting for her for about 20 minutes, she came running over with a football jersey, tall socks and face paint shouting,
"Reeeex, how did you get out?!?!"
I couldn't believe it... What are the chances that the girl who lives next door to Pine Cove was a counselor there? Whoa.
Anyway, she kindly gave us the gate code to her parents' property and swore that they weren't home and would not come and shoot us for entering on to their land. Thanked us a million times over, and we were on our way to Brushy Creek Ranch.
I'm not going to lie, at this point we'd spent almost two hours with our friend Bailey/ Rex, and the two of us were preeeetty attached- to the point that we were sad we found his owners. But, we took him home and said our goodbyes. I almost cried... at least twice.

I guess the whole adventure wore Bella out because she was oooout the rest of the way home.

We love you, Rex!!!! When we got home, you definitely inspired us to go here to think about getting a friend for Bella.

Monday, July 6, 2009

I had the time of my liiiife...

In 1999, when I was a freshman at Texas A&M, I decided to go through rush. I didn't really think much of it... my mom had been in a sorority and had had a really good experience and it just felt like the natural thing to do. After a looooong week of standing in alphabetical lines outside of multiple houses in the HOT August sun, I was ready for the week to be over. At the end of all of the madness I was given a bid to be a Pi Beta Phi. Little did I know then how it would change my life.

I met some of the most incredibly fun and absolutely hilarious friends I know and have always appreciated how grounded, down-to-earth, smart and generous they all are. We had a blast in college and have just as much fun now. Out of the six of us who have stayed super close, five of us live in Austin. We see each other as much as possible and always have fun just the girls or with our husbands too. Thankfully they are all golf-obsessed, so it's makes the planning easy.

Bid Day our Senior Year

Sophomore Year Fire Dance

Rush our Junior Year

Wedding Shower for Bradley in Austin at TRog's parents' house

Wedding Shower for Ryan and me at Laura's House in Austin

Bradley's Wedding in Dallas 2006

My Wedding in Houston 2007

Couples Weekend in Austin last summer at Bradley's House

Meeting Laura's second baby- Miss Kate

It seemed obvious to the six of us that we would need to do it up BIG in order to celebrate our "Decade of Friendship" (like, making t-shirts big). So... after lots of researching and lots and lots and lots of emails back and forth, we found an all-inclusive trip to the Riviera Maya. We had so much fun during our 5 days of reading by the pool, eating breakfast, lunch, a crepe or two and then dinner and just getting to talk and hang out.

Arriving in Cancun

Bradley, LMerc, TheLoj, Trog, Lynch (me) and Reams

At the Beach

Dinner at one of the WONDERFUL restaurants

Our nightly routine of playing games

I am so thankful for the friendship that I have with each of these girls. I'm so blessed to have such a great support system in them. The Lord certainly knew what he was doing when he put us all together our freshman year in college. We've been laughing and crying together for about 10 years straight, and I know there will be many more fun times to come.
Love you girls!