Sunday, March 1, 2015

Maximizing every Nook

My new vanity set arrived today and gave me an excellent way to get the most out of the unused second entrance to my closet. I had previously used that spot for a hamper but decided that I wanted something more attractive to go there instead.
The set cost about $150 on Amazon and even though I may ultimately need to invest in a more sturdy bench, it's still a pretty good deal!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Project: Backyard Oasis

One of the few things that I really missed when we left our old home was the backyard. It's odd too, when I think about it, because our new yard is bigger, has a larger pool and mature trees. But, I designed my old one and I miss it sometimes:

Even with all our furniture gone it looked amazing!
So I've focused my sights on making our new backyard just as awesome, if not more so. Here is the blank canvas I started with:


I mentally divided the space into three unique experiences: a place to eat, a place to read and a place to lay out by the pool:

Place to Lay Out:
One of my first purchases when we moved was a set of outdoor chaises. One of my pet peeves in the old yard was the uncomfortable feeling of sitting on a cushion that would get soaked while wearing my wet bathing suit. Our new chaises are sturdy and plastic which means that they won't hold water as I go between laying out and dunking in the pool. I got a matching table that opens to hold ice and drinks. I decided to use the area that gets the most sun for this zone so it is in front of the 2 windows (the workout room is on the other side) and closest to the steps into the pool:



Place to Eat:

I had already decided to put the dining table in the nook of the u shape so that's where it went. And it was fine except for 2 things: the ground is a different color from the rest of the yard which just grated at the OCD part of my nature. And secondly, it really needed some overhead cover (we're in Texas, y'all!). At first I started thinking about having a regular cover built like we had done at the old house, but then I got concerned about how dark it would make the interior of the house (Remind me to tell you about how much I love the sunlight pouring through the floor to ceiling windows). After some research we decided to go with a tinted  glass ceiling and we'll be getting a quote on that work next week. In the meantime, I added 2 outdoor rugs and I think they've made the floor discrepancy less obvious:


Now my ocd can be directed on the folds that need to work their way out of the rugs!

Place to Read:
I realize that by calling this a 'place to read' I have really minimized the purpose of this zone.  This is actually my zen corner to read, unwind and reflect.  This zone actually has 2 points- my Martha Stewart outdoor sofa and then 'the wall'. Here is the couch area:


It overlooks the pool as well as 'the wall'. Let me try and explain the wall.... when we first arrived, the wall had luscious plants that somewhat covered the utility boxes under that satellite (see the earlier pic of the blank slate). Once we had our first freeze they all died or hibernated and basically sloped over and turned brown. Then I tried to get a trellis set up that would cover the area but that didn't work.
Today we went to Lowes determined to find a solution. In the fence aisle we finally found it- bamboo!

This photo also shows you the entire layout of all the zones

Dean immediately got to work mounting it to the wall. It fit perfectly and covered the utility boxes. I then added some pieces from Pier 1 and now the wall is an amazing zen area:


And with that, our backyard is now an exciting place to be. Next week we should begin the process of getting a glass cover for the dining area so that should be the finishing touch!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A Year of Nexus 7

I can't believe I've had my Nexus 7 for (nearly) a year! I've had no issues with it and it has served me very well. My favorite things about it:

1. The wireless charging!
2. The bare Android experience- no clutter.
3. No hiccups or issues (knock wood!)
4. Size- very hand friendly
5. Low maintenance- I've put a Zag on it and that's all I've had to do.

The only thing that I really wish it had was the pen writing ability. I'm still convinced that at some point there will be the perfect device that adds everything that I have with an awesome 's pen'.


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! Wow, I've missed you all! It has been quite the year this 2014...and just about all of it has been awesome!

On a Saturday in September we stopped in on an open house and ended up falling in love with the house and buying it. We moved in late October and no sooner did we get settled in (new school, new daycare, location transfer for the hubby) than the holidays were upon us.


We hadn't planned on moving but there was something about the feeling of the high ceilings that made us feel somehow...unboxed...it was irresistible. Dean had complained a few years ago about most homes feeling like a series of boxes connected to make a house and this home seems to right all those wrongs. And let me say again: I detest moving! But in the end it was all worth it- we have settled in and absolutely love just about everything about our new digs especially our neighbors.

I must admit, my new closet was a huge selling point!



And in case you were wondering what happened to the palace.... well, palace 2.0 is even better!

So, that about sums up what I've been doing outside of my daily hustle at work. I have some ambitions of getting more regular with my updates (isn't it about time for another New Year's resolution???!) so we'll see how it goes!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Home Renovation Project: 'The Palace'


Every year after we vacation I return home with a sense of bringing the vibe of our holiday destination with us. That explains why our backyard looks a bit like a Jamaican resort and our kitchen has a decidedly European flair to it. So, after a week at the plush Waldorf Astoria during our trip to New York I was excited to dive in to jazzing up our home office. Our home office has been a major eyesore over the past few years as I dumped mail and odds and ends in there. After 2 weeks, of de-cluttering (and getting the green light from Dean to go as glam as my heart desires!) I present my new space, now referred to as 'the palace':


Hayworth vanity as desk, Mirrored Damask Panel, Floor Vase all from Pier 1. Vaughn Slipper chair from Target. I applied contact paper to the closet door for a pop of contrast.
I got rid of one bookcase and then used rubber cement to attach mirrored squares to the other one



Onyx Silkana curtains (Amazon). Elegant Designs Crystal Ball Table Lamp (Amazon), Mirrored Console Table (Target).

Couldn't decide what to put on the wall so I went bold with silver discs from WildThings. Skyline Chaise and Mirrored Accent table from Target, Park Madison Table Lamp from Amazon. Gray shag rug from IMSRugs (via Amazon)

My Piece de Resistance- French Empire Chandelier from Amazon. I love her!



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Keeping It Pretty in the City

Last summer during our trip to Paris my only regret was that I had such a dressed down look. And yes, I know that I was on vacation, but there is something about being in the fashion capital of the world looking sloppy that just didn't sit well with me. So, when Dean announced that he was taking me to New York for my birthday this summer I immediately began mapping out my go-to looks. There is lots of walking involved in NYC but I firmly believe that I can make this work. 
Monday was day one and I rocked a cute LB peplum top over my striped Eloquii scuba skirt. During the day I wore sensible flats but for meeting friends (and Morgan Freeman!) for dinner, I added my leopard print heels. My chunky Kenneth Jay Lane necklace added a pop of drama. 



Monday, June 16, 2014

Super-hero Dress

This Eloquii dress is unlike anything I've ever worn.... it is truly spectacular! I wore it for the first time today and it not only looked amazing but felt just as good.
Today started my second week at my new job and so far it has been excellent! Things had become so..... complicated... at my last organization. A merger happened a year and a half ago and things had just gone steadily downhill. In early May they did some layoffs and while they didn't affect my department directly, I realized that the mismanagement of funds was not going to end anytime soon and I really couldn't see my future there. I put out feelers and in short order had 2 great offers and ended up going with the company that I felt more passionate about. It's also a step up in my career so that I am now part of the senior/executive leadership team as a director of operations. Last week was exhausting as I learned names and tried not to get lost but was excited about what we're doing. This week will be much better....just ask my dress!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Gadget Love: Livescribe Sky Wifi Smartpen

In spite of all the available technology I must confess that nothing beats handwritten notes. I tried the Galaxy Note 8 for a bit but that didn't quite meet my needs, even though I wasn't quite sure what they were at the time. This time I think I have it figured out- I need to write, then have the notes physically available on paper, then available electronically. With that in mind I decided to check out the Smartpen options and decided on the Livescribe Sky Wifi. It arrived today and I am excited about being able to take notes and then have them available in Evernote. 



As an added bonus, I found that I could also save the image of my written page to email or attach to a blog post!

I splurged and got the portfolio case and some extra notebooks. My goal is to be able to tote this setup during my first few days at my new job (starting on Monday!- more on that later!) so that I can capture my training notes and have them sync to Evernote.

And before you say it, yes, I am aware that I could accomplish this by taking a picture of my page- but what fun would that be? :)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Droid Maxx Battery Life

While I was generally pleased with my Droid Ultra I couldn't get my deep desire for wireless charging out of my mind. After much research I decided to do a minor switch to a pre-owned Droid Maxx. It arrived in the mail on Thursday and after the initial charge I decided to do a deep discharge to calibrate the battery over the weekend.
The only problem is that the battery simply wouldn't run down over the weekend! I unplugged it 7am on Saturday morning and it lasted on single charge until 4pm on Monday afternoon. It was crazy!
I am beyond thrilled that I have finally found a phone that has battery life that I've always dreamed of. As an added bonus, when I do need to charge it I can simply toss it onto my Tylt Vu for wireless charging. Yep, I'm in love!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Weekend Watching: True Detective


Now that the season is over, it's the perfect time to binge watch the entire season of True Detective. I watched all 8 episodes over an intense weekend and I have to admit that it more than lived up to the hype. The storyline is dark but gripping and the acting is superb.