So long, farewell…

It’s been a great run here at Real {Cheap} Housewives of Texas, but unfortunately, life got in the way and we decided it was best to shut this one down.

We have transferred everything to a new, free domain – so feel free to go there if you need to look up an old post or anything. You can find our archives here: http://realcheaphousewivesoftexas.wordpress.com/

Thank you to all of you that read our blog – it means a lot to us, and while we are sad to be leaving you, there are new things on the horizon for us :) We will keep our Facebook page going so we’re not TOTALLY going away!

Love from all of us,

The {Real} Cheap Housewives of Texas

 

Smoked Sausage and Potatoes

Tonight Kevin (yes, that’s right, my husband does 95% of the cooking and cleaning around here, thank heavens) made a recipe that I so lovingly printed out and left on the counter for him. Lucky him, I also purchased all of the ingredients so as to make his job easy.

Turns out, it was easy anyway.

Thanks to Pinterest, I’ve Kevin has tried many, many new recipes. Some of them have been huge fails, but some have been keepers (or as we call them in our house, re-dos). This one, my friends, is a keeper! Easy, inexpensive, and tasty – notice I did not say healthy, but I guess it could be worse, right? I’m of the school of thought that anything you make at home has GOT to be better for you than something at a restaurant. Basically, this is not something you would want to make every day for dinner – and you’d probably get sick of it anyway. Every once in a while, though? This stuff is legit. (Yes, I’m 36 and I just said “legit”).

Here’s my crappy picture (hey, it’s not easy to make this look good. You just have to trust me on this one):

Sausage and potatoes  RCHOTX

 

Smoked Sausage and Potatoes (via Recipes from the Big Blue Binder)

1 pkg. of Smoked Sausage (we only use Beef in this house, but it’s just whatever – I used Hillshire Farms if that makes a difference)

1 large onion, peeled and chopped (Kevin chopped them up tiny, I prefer them to be bigger chunks)

5 large potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes (we used 10 smaller ones instead)

Olive oil (yeah, I was out, so he used Canola. It was fine.)

Fine sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Sweet Paprika (I’m pretty sure I only have one kind of paprika, and it may not be sweet!)

Dried thyme

Grated cheddar cheese (we only had Cheddar/Jack blend and it was great)

Preheat oven to 400. Line a large baking pan with shallow sides (we used a 9×13, which may require some timing adjustments*) with foil and drizzle with some oil. Set aside.

Cut the sausage into rounds, or if you’re fancy, you can slice them all sideways style (what is that called, anyway? Diagonally? Well, whatever, Kevin sliced them fancy.) Put sausage, onions, and potatoes in a large bowl. Drizzle some more oil on them and season with salt, pepper, paprika, and dried thyme. Toss it together with your hands until everything is coated. Pour the mixture out into the baking pan and spread it out.

Roast for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so, until potatoes are golden brown. Turn off the oven and sprinkle the cheese over the top (just a handful – you don’t need to cover it). Stick it back in the oven for a couple of minutes to make the cheese melty.

Serve immediately! We had sourdough bread (CARBS CARBS CARBS) with it. We probably should have had something green with it too, but I’m lazy and we didn’t.

* It took us about an hour to cook – and it could have gone a few minutes longer but the sausage was going to burn. I think this happened because we used a 9×13 pan with deeper sides… potatoes took longer to cook!)

heathersig

Uh NO, Pinterest. {Clothing}

First and foremost, I need 4 more followers on Pinterest to hit 1,000. FOUR MORE, y’all. Which ones of y’all are going to be those 5? You KNOW you want to follow me on Pinterest and see what crazy stuff I pin on my Uh NO board. Oh, and you know, those other 105 boards I have.


Let’s address this. Would you just suffocate if you did place it over your face and mouth? Think about what size bra you wear, then just plan to die either way. It’s on rethinksurvival.com. Yeah, I’ll rethink survival at that point.


Some things do NOT need to be pinned. I’m sure on the RIGHT person, this cardigan would be pretty cute and not pair with an old denim shirt. AND quite possibly that RIGHT person would consider wearing a bra. Before you ask, I did actually go look at this Etsy shop. Not a single picture or item is this “model” wearing a bra. I’m NOT EVEN KIDDING! Its a shop out of Solvenia. Do they now wear or sell bras there?? Also, lets address the belly button. UNACCEPTABLE.


I’m obviously not the only one that thinks these are ridiculous. These were pinned from ugly-sweater.blogspot.com. Not a sweater, but they are knitted or crocheted shorts (for men OR women). Even worse? I have 2 pair pinned. TWO pair! How many pairs of these ugly things are there? Wait, I don’t want to know.


First, how exactly is lace going to prevent “chub rub”? I’m thinking the lace would be like creating a fire between your legs. Maybe that’s just me. Secondly, lets discuss the model’s legs. Do they really think we believe that chick has an issue with her thighs rubbing together?? You’re right. She doesn’t.


We Texas girls love a good pair of flip flops. A GOOD pair of flip flops, not these things. I’m guilty of having a flip flop tan line. Why? Well because I wear flip flops year round. Can you imagine the awful tan lines you get from these? No, don’t imagine.


I need to give you something – the definition of fancy. Fancy – elaborate in structure or decoration. These things maybe elaborate in structure, but sweet Jesus, who is going to wear this? When did YARN become fancy to wear on your ears? Or drinking straws? I guess after a long night of clubbin’, when you stop by Whataburger and they forget to give you a straw for your drink you can just pop one off your ear.

Please don’t pin stuff that is absolutely ridiculous, or do if you want to be featured on Uh NO. It’s up to you. This was just a “clothing” edition. Apparently I went through a pinning phase of awful clothing items. Don’t worry, I have PLENTY more where these came from.

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Green Chile Casserole

Green Chile Stew

A few years ago, I was at the brand new H-E-B grocery store closest to me. Okay, it wasn’t close to me at all – it’s about a 45 minute drive with no traffic. Someone was giving out samples of Cookwell & Company’s Two Step Green Chile Stew and I tried it. Yes, please! Even better, they were on sale buy one get one free. Well, of course I grabbed some and took them home. (Yes, I paid for them).

Ever since then, this stuff has been SO hard to find! I’ve driven 45 minutes specifically for that (well, I love H-E-B grocery stores anyway, so I wasn’t too horribly upset to wander around to make it worth the drive) and they have been sold out. H-E-B Central Market is always out as well!

Last weekend I hit the jackpot and I found a TON of them at the Central Market in Fort Worth. Yes! Tonight I made one of the recipes on their website and felt like I should share it with y’all. I would have taken a picture, but as you can imagine it was not a “pretty” dish. No magazine features for this one, but it sure does taste awesome! Enjoy!

Green Chile Casserole (courtesy Cookwell & Company)

3 cups cooked shredded chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken – perfect amount)

10 corn tortillas, cut into strips (1/2 inch x 2-3 inches)

15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained

11 oz. can cream-style corn

1 jar Cookwell & Co. Two Step Green Chili Stew Mix

2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Colby Jack cheese

Salsa/sour cream/guacamole for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13 pan.

In a large bowl, mix chicken, tortillas, black beans, corn, and stew mix. Stir until combined. Pour into 9×13 pan, spreading evenly. Cover top with cheese, then cover with foil. Bake for 25 minutes, then remove foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Serve hot, with salsa, sour cream, and/or guacamole!

* This is not a typical “casserole”. It would be excellent served over rice or as a taco/enchilada filling too! Next time I might add a few more tortillas to try to make it a little bit thicker. This recipe is a keeper! I have a feeling it will be even better reheated as leftovers tomorrow night. 

* If you see this product, grab it and use it! The flavor is wonderful – not too spicy, but not too bland either. It DOES have Hatch chiles in it, after all! (Gluten free as well!)

* Cookwell & Company did not pay me to write this, they most likely have no idea I even wrote this! I just love this product and wish it was easier to find :) On their website they have several products that I have never seen in stores – oh, to get my hands on some of those soups they make! 

Enjoy! This is an easy, quick, somewhat healthy meal for your family! This recipe definitely qualifies as comfort food in my house.

Linked up to my friends at the Dream*Create*Inspire link party! Go check it out!  DREAMCREATEINSPIRESIDEBARBUTTON

heathersig

Back to school

It’s that time of year again – BACK TO SCHOOL! That time of year when mothers are either crying because they have to send their little babies off to school for the first time (or again), OR they are rejoicing because the summer got the best of them and their little angels. I sent my oldest off to kindergarten on Monday. He came home a teenager.

“Jaxon, how was school?”

“Good”

*blank stare* Really? Just “good”?

I have a few places that are my “go to” for all things school. Let’s be honest, one of these is my go-to for most things. There may have been a week I went 3 times, NOT that I’m counting. I even have a friend that asks me when I’m going. We normally run into each other there.

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I must say, I got real giddy about buying school supplies. I know I’m not the only one that has a love for school supplies (or office supplies). Be honest, you love opening a new package of pens for your perfect handwriting. I love pens and notebooks of paper. As soon as I saw the school supplies display set-up at Target, I got excited! I even bought extras of some stuff for the house. You can’t beat a box of Crayola crayons for $.50. The Dollar Tree crayons are even $1!

 

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Jaxon, unfortunately, has to wear a “lax” uniform, meaning shorts/pants in 3 different colors, a collared shirt in any color and solid color socks. I won’t go into my aggravation with this for elementary school. Last year we just bought blue shirts, khaki shorts and pants. This year I gave him a choice, and boy did he run with it. He chose purple “because that’s mommy’s favorite color”, blue “because that’s my favorite color” and gold. And mommy slipped in one Kelly Green shirt because its a pretty color. Here’s the thing about Old Navy, they have great sales. Their clothes can be hit or miss depending on the material it’s made of. The pique polo shirts are great and hold up wonderfully. I noticed last year that the darker blue was faded by the end of the year, but its okay. He’s moved up in size, the BIG boy sizes. Mommy might have had trouble ordering the size.

lands-end-logo  Lastly, Lands’ End is great for backpacks and lunch boxes. Jaxon and Trent both have backpacks I bought about 3 years ago. They have most definitely held up through the battles they have faced. Jaxon also has a lunch box and just this year I bought Trent a lunch box as well. You can either catch the specific sale for backpacks and lunch boxes, or just use a promo code for a percentage off. I missed the sale. I actually just forgot about it, but when I ordered the lunch box I got a 20% off code and boom! It was here 7 days later, with his name monogrammed on it.

This is probably the most boring blog post you’ll ever find here. You’re welcome that I went ahead and got it over, next post will be full of complete awesomeness.

tarahsig

 

RCHOTX   Marsha's Pasta Salad

My Slacker Pinterest Party Weekend

RCHOTX  My new hobby

You guys know how I’m usually the ringleader at our infamous Pinterest Party Weekends, right? Well, this time? Not so much. Not at all, actually.

I started my new (AWESOME) job on Monday, August 12. Friday, August 16 was my 36th (ouch) birthday. I headed to Aunt Toni’s house right after work. I will just say that it took me three hours to get from work to the lake, and if I think about it too much I will get mad… so I won’t.

I’m sure all of you know what I’m talking about when I say that once the job stress was gone, all I wanted to do was sleep. It was crazy tension relief (combined with a sinus infection, but we won’t go there) and all of the stress I’d had for over a year just melted away. It was pretty amazing, but my body paid the price for it! Changing my schedule and getting up by 5:30 AM to leave the house by 6:30 AM has turned me into one of those people that is asleep before the 10:00 news is on. Seriously.

By the time I got to Aunt Toni’s, I was ready to drop! I brought my trusty SIlhouette, but Paige got a Cameo from her fiance (aka my cousin) for her birthday, so I got to play with the fancy one instead. I’m super jealous. It’s so much quieter than mine! I got to show her how to use the Silhouette software and she cut some stuff on it. I’m not allowed to show you what she and her bridesmaids made for the wedding, because 1) it’s not my wedding, 2) her wedding is in January and some of the people invited read this blog, and 3) I didn’t take any pictures to tempt me to show you what they did. I will just say that it is going to be one pretty wedding! I can’t wait to go! She has some awesome bridesmaids – funny and they are hard little worker bees.

Whitney and I were in charge of Saturday lunch, so I wussed out and picked up rotisserie chicken salad and croissants from Costco. HEY! I also made a pasta salad that I have loved for years and years. I’m not totally lazy (although this recipe is so easy, I kind of am).

I was lucky to have worked for 18 years with a bunch of women who loved to bake and cook. We made a cookbook (and you better believe I took it with me when I left last month!) and this is one of my very favorite recipes from one of my very favorite people in the world. Marsha used to make a separate bowl just for me without celery because I HATE celery. I sacrificed and left it in for the Saturday lunch, but I didn’t eat one bit of that nasty celery.

Anyway, here’s the recipe. It makes a large bowl – we had a little leftover and there were about 10 of us there.

RCHOTX   Marsha's Pasta Salad

Marsha’s Pasta Salad

1 box vermicelli, broken into halves or thirds or whatever you want (sixteenths?)

Olive oil

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

Accent (seasoned salt)

Mayonnaise (a few large spoonfuls – I’m very exact, aren’t I?)

1 jar diced pimentos, drained

1 small can chopped olives

1 cup celery, chopped

1/4 cup green onion, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

The night before you want to eat this, boil the vermicelli with a couple of teaspoons of olive oil. Once cooked, drain and put into a large bowl. Add a few shakes of Accent and 2 Tbsp. of lemon juice and stir to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in refrigerator overnight.

The next day, the pasta is basically going to be a huge weird ball of lemony-smelling goodness.  Add a few large spoonfuls of mayonnaise (yes, light mayonnaise works fine. Miracle Whip does not. Don’t ask.) to moisten it. You’re probably going to have to use a fork to break the pasta apart, I’m just saying. Now, add the pimentos, olives, celery, and green onion.

That’s it. It tastes like summer. Feel free to add salt and pepper to taste! The ingredients look really weird together, I know – but this salad is exceptional and SO easy. Everyone loved it!

Guess how many naps I took on Saturday? Just guess.

 

Three. Glorious. Naps. Two of them while holding a sleeping Benjamin. Man, I love that baby. He’s pretty awesome even if he cries a lot. He’s cute so it makes up for it. Also, I tolerate kids that are blood relatives much better than non-related ones, so I’m sure that makes a difference.

Since I spent basically all of Saturday asleep (apparently it was very much needed), I whipped up a quick yarn wreath on Sunday morning. Whitney and I saw a yarn wreath at Target last year during Christmas and fell in love with it. I did not, however, fall in love with the $20 price tag. I didn’t even love it enough to buy it on clearance for $14. Nope.

RCHOTX  Target Wreath

I bought yarn that was close enough at Michaels (um, probably in January – that’s how long I’ve been holding onto it) and used a styrofoam wreath form. I wasn’t in love with the felt bow on the Target wreath, so I substituted some felt flowers. It looks very fall-ish and not Christmas-y, in my opinion.

RCHOTX  Yarn wreath Pinterest Project

You know what? I didn’t even feel BAD about sleeping. I warned them going into it that my brain was mush (hello, first week at a new job?!) and sure enough, it was. I give big props to whatever air mattress I slept on. I think I liked it better than my bed at home!

I’ll be posting more now that I’ve (somewhat) gotten a routine down. I’m planning on cleaning the craft room this weekend so I can get back to making things! I miss that so much.

Have a great weekend, guys!

heathersig

Tarah’s Haven Conference Recap

….because I KNOW you want to know what I thought. It’s been a week since we got back from Haven. Yeah, it took that long for me gather all the wonderful thoughts and ideas in my head.

I bring you Tarah’s Haven Conference Recap!

Dirty Dancing FTW
Where to start? How about the night before we caught the OBNOXIOUSLY early flight at 6:15AM. Yes, I said 6:15. Heather, Sars and I decided to stay at a hotel the night before and catch a cab. Heather and I ordered pizza and enjoyed a little relaxation (with the temperature down to 62, not kidding!) and TV. We found “Dirty Dancing” on a channel and settled in. Who doesn’t love “Dirty Dancing”? Except one person that I know. She’s crazy. Nobody puts baby in the corner. We also found ourselves watching “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” while packing up to leave Atlanta. Actually, we watched the end of it, then the beginning of it. Isn’t that the way you’re supposed to watch movies?

Once we arrived in Atlanta, which was NOT hot by the way, we stupidly walked through the whole airport. I don’t know why we didn’t remember to take the silly train to get our luggage. We hate the Atlanta airport, by the way.

Selfie @ Ryobi Party
I have two points that go together. First, the parties. Oh, the parties …and putting yourself out there.

After registration there was a fabulous cocktail party on the terrace of the hotel. Many attendees gathered in the lobby area. Heather and I met up with Jessica at Gourley Girl and Guy and Melody at My Passion for Decor. We sat around and chatted for a while. They decided to freshen up for the cocktail party. We then met Paula at Sweet Pea. She might have been more shy and timid than I ever thought I was! She was super sweet. I saw her every day after and she was with a new friend EVERY time. I was so proud of her for putting herself out there. You go girl!

Something I’ve learned both years: ALWAYS go to these parties/gatherings. You absolutely never know who you’ll meet, and you may never know what you might receive or get from the party hosts! The Ryobi guys started walking around the party with flashlights and giving them to whoever was following them on Instagram.

Ryobi Par-Tay!
Before you ask, yes, we all have drinks in our hands. We just had to walk across the street, so there was no driving either. We’re good girls.

Last year, we attended the first little cocktail party and then we stayed and ate together every night after. This year was completely different. We had dinner with a huge group of ladies the first night (Mexican in Atlanta, yeah, I know. I KNOW!), then Ryobi gave a party at the Intercontinental Hotel the next evening (with food and drinks, drinks and more drinks), and the last night we had a quaint little dinner at FarmBurger. We met so many new people, it was truly awesome! I’ve never been so open to making new friends.

The ladies on the Haven team did a great job on creating the sessions for the attendees. It was so hard to choose which ones to go to. I ended up enjoying the design sessions and 2 blogging sessions. I learned mass quantities of information in all of them. Like last year, I came home inspired to do so much, and I have. Again, this year, I left feeling inspired, but inspired on a whole other level. It’s a great feeling, yet overwhelming! I want to do so much more in both DIY/decorating and for our little blog. I learned so many new blogging ideas, especially in New Kids on the Block: 15 Fundamentals – that was taught by Tauni at Snap!, KariAnne at Thistlewood Farm and Heather at At the Picket Fence.

Ballard/Haven tote

When we checked in for the conference, we got this awesome tote from Ballard full of goodies. Its so nice of all the companies to just freely give us some fabulous products to try. I can’t thank the team enough for all they did for us.

RCHOTX  Heather and Court Haven 2013

So THIS picture. This picture. THIS picture was sent to me with the words “Suck it, Tarah”

The story goes – Heather and I participate in Google+ Hangouts. For y’all non blogging people, it’s like video chatting/Skype. One of the Google Hangouts included Beckie at Infarrantly Creative, Brooke at All Things Thrifty and Court at The Blog Builders. I made mention that I thought Court was pretty darn cute. Fast forward to Haven. Last year at Haven, Heather found Leslie, better known as The Bearded Iris, and chatted with her about one of her blog posts and how a friend tried it. Said friend was in the same session and Heather introduced Leslie to her. The blog post was HILARIOUS. Anyhow, Heather made sure to let Brooke (All Things Thrifty, also Court’s sister) how her friend “that’s in another session thinks Court is SOOOO cute”. I most definitely laughed! Was I embarrassed? Nope. He’s totally cute! Right?

(ETA: I think he’s cute too, but Tarah was a good excuse! Thanks for taking the picture, Brooke! – Heather)

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RCHOTX  Do good

Heather’s Haven Conference Recap

Hey guys! Remember me? I’m still alive. I’ve really enjoyed having almost three weeks off, but I’m secretly ready to go back to work. Don’t tell anyone! I mean, if I could work one week and be off a week that would be optimal, but that’s not going to happen. Not in my lifetime! So, in between weeks off I went to a little thing called Haven Conference. I’m a sophomore this year, not a freshman, but I was still a teeny bit nervous about going. If you recall, we actually started this little blog at Haven Conference LAST year! (We know of a few people that started one while at Haven this year too – we set a good example, apparently.)

RCHOTX  Tarah, Heather, and Sars - Ryobi party

Last year, I only went to DIY sessions at Haven. This year, I leaned very heavily towards the blogging sessions – in fact, I think I only went to one DIY session this time! Last year, I spent all of my time with our group that went to Haven together and had everything planned out. This year, as much as it pained me, I didn’t make ANY dinner plans at all. If you know me, you know how much I love planning trips and all that comes with it. For several reasons, I just didn’t do it this year. My goal was to eat dinner with strangers (now friends!) and I did it! Every single meal was shared with at least 1-2 people that I did not know before we arrived in Atlanta. Last year, I was too chicken to walk up to bloggers that I admired and introduce myself. This year, no one was safe (especially during the Ryobi/Home Depot party – I’m sure the other girls will cover that in great detail…) but you know what? I met SO MANY PEOPLE that I never would have even had the nerve to LOOK at last year! Walking into a room full of tables half full for breakfast is very intimidating, even at 35 (almost 36. Sheesh. In 1 week.) – flashbacks to elementary school ran through my head. One of the things I love most about Haven is that everyone is either really nice, or they’re really great actors/actresses. I don’t hear that about most conferences, so I think we Haven Mavens must just be extra super awesome badasses.

Photo courtesy of Ballard Designs

Photo courtesy of Ballard Designs

Our flight out of Dallas left at 6:15 AM, so we just stayed in a nearby hotel (shout out to Quakecon – that answered SO many questions about all the people we saw there) and got a ride to the airport at the ungodly hour of 4:30 AM. We landed, somehow made it through the Depths of Hell relatively unscathed, got our rental car, and got the heck out of there.

We had lunch, picked up some snacks and water (and wine if we’re being honest) and finally arrived at the hotel for the conference! The hotel will get its own post later, but I’m reserving judgment right now. We rested for a little bit, and then went downstairs to register and get our awesome swag bags! Ballard Designs really went all out for us – I love the bag AND everything in it.

RCHOTX  Haven 2013 Ballard Swag Bag

After that, it was time to get real. Get real nervous, that is. Tarah and I went down to socialize while Sars had to take a conference call for work (work schmerk) – it was so intimidating. Luckily, Jennifer from Celebrating Everyday Life broke the ice for us. She was so nice and she has her own freaking magazine, y’all!

That night there was a cocktail party put on by Homes.com and Forrent.com – our friend Megan ended up winning an iPad mini! We went to dinner with some new people and went straight to bed. We were whooped!

The next day was a blur. Ana White was the opening speaker (she was great) and she just set the tone for the whole conference – if you are not passionate about what you’re doing, people will be able to tell. I think we’ve all been guilty of that, whether it be blogging, working, anything – I can tell you I have blogged many times when I didn’t really care, and guess what? It is SO obvious to me in those posts. In my opinion, if you need to take a break, you should take a break (much like I did recently). Don’t do something JUST to be doing something. Do it because you want to and because you enjoy it. People will notice and people will remember you.

I took a few blog classes that day (those of you that don’t blog will not even care about this part, I promise) – Google Juice + SEO Tips with Brooke from All Things Thrifty and Court from Blog Builders – cutest brother and sister team ever. See, I have proof:

RCHOTX  Heather and Court Haven 2013

Okay, so that isn’t Court’s sister, that’s me. I took this picture to make Tarah jealous. It worked. Sorry not sorry.

THEN I got to participate in the Ballard Designs Bookcase Challenge – I was so nervous! Our team totally had the best bookcase and we won for the first day. Now I have $100 to spend at Ballard Designs.

RCHOTX  Ballard Designs Bookcase Challenge

Next, I took Designing Outside of the Box, led by Lindsay of Makely School for Girls, Mandi of Vintage Revivals, and Ashley of The Handmade Home. After that, I took Profitable Advertising with Myra of My Blessed Life, Sarah of Thrifty Decor Chick, and Beth of Home Stories A to Z.

We had a few minutes to change, and then rushed down for the Rustoleum cocktail party. Right after that, Ryobi threw a dinner party for all of us. It was a blast! We made lots of new friends and took lots and lots of pictures and had lots and lots of drinks. Ryobi sure knows how to throw a party! They are honestly the nicest company to work with – so friendly and so responsive. We were talking to them, and I told them how before Haven last year, I was scared to death of power tools – but after I got home, I bought myself a Ryobi Deluxe Combo Kit and love it. They mentioned that they were going to be in Texas the week after Haven, and of course they were going to be in Fort Worth (hello!?) – so once we discussed how close it would be to us, they asked what the next tool I wanted to buy was. Duh, a nail gun. They have a brand new one out and I NEEDED IT. The Big Boss Bill told me if I showed up on Thursday for their meeting, he would give one to me. GIVE me a nail gun. He made my week! (You better believe I showed up Thursday morning and they remembered me AND what I wanted – you can’t get any better than that!) I just love those guys and think they are the absolute best. I’m so happy that I’ve gotten to meet them and hopefully we can work with them in the future! I just can’t say enough nice things about those guys. (And obviously, they are goofy like we are…)

RCHOTX  Ryobi Guys + RCHOTX Haven 2013

So, if you follow us on Instagram, I’m sure you’ve figured out that I had a little (lot) too much to drink, so here’s one picture. I reserve the right to delete any pictures that Tarah and Sars post, just FYI! Also – don’t let those girls tell you they weren’t drinking :) We needed to cut loose a little, and cut loose we did!

RCHOTX  Heather and ATL Policewoman Haven 2013

Sadly, this wasn’t my only run-in with the lovely Atlanta Police Department. Story to come later on THAT one :)

The next day (oh, the headache – was it worth it? TOTALLY) was a full day of classes. My first class was I Heart Organizing with Chris from Just A Girl and Jen from I Heart Organizing. Then I took Working With Wood 101, led by Ryobi and Kreg Jig. That’s where I fell in love with the nail gun. I didn’t want to give it back to them! My last Haven 2013 class was Advanced Advertising with Beckie from Infarrantly Creative, Cassity from Remodelaholic, and Rhoda from Southern Hospitality.

We had a wonderful closing speaker, Bob Johnson from Habitat for Humanity. He made everyone cry a little (if you didn’t cry a tiny bit, you have no soul) and encouraged us to go out and

RCHOTX  Do good

Haven could not have had a better speaker to send us off. I have had that quote running through my mind almost nonstop since he said it. He is so right – we all have influence, no matter how big or small – and we should use that influence to do good. And lots of it. We are thinking about how we at RCHOTX can make an impact and involve all of you as well – if you have any specific ideas on how we can do good on a grand scale, please please please leave it in the comments or if you would rather email me, do so at heather@rchotx.com.

Haven was a success. You get out of it what you put into it, plain and simple. I am already so excited for next year, and feel like I made so many new friends. I miss everyone so much and can’t wait to see you all next year! As Mandi would say, LOVE YOUR GUTS.

heathersig

A Captain’s Office

It’s been a year and I’m STILL redoing dad’s house. Very slowly.  My motivation comes and my motivation goes.  And, I have a new job that has consumed the last 8 months but it’s been well worth it.

Dad left on a month vacation so I decided that was the prime opportunity to not only redo his office but move it to the room closer to his bedroom. Without permission of course.

So, enough talking…let’s get on with it, shall we?

Before the install….

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(this was Madeline’s room for a few months)

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Dad was very surprised to say the least, but loved it. He devoted 20 years to a company and profession that he was truly passionate about. Giving him a special place to enjoy the fruits of his labor, was my privilege.

brittaneysig

Uh NO, just throw it away!

Y’all, 9 days from now, Sars, Heather and I will be in Atlanta, Georgia at Haven Conference. I can’t TELL you how pumped I am about it. We’ll get to see the new Texas friends we made in Austin at our Pre-Haven Blogger Meet-up, and we’ll be making new blogger friends that we’ve “met” on the internets, but haven’t experienced that face-to-face meeting yet. I know, we’re weird.

In other news — My children have been doing “GSN” – Gym, Swim, Nap (shout out to fellow Jersey Shore fans who get it, and now you know one of my guilty pleasures!) I have a sunburn . I feel like I’m about to spontaneously combust. It’s a good thing I like my children and willing to take them to the pool twice a day, every day! I’m pretty sure I look like a red Oompa Loompa, complete with sunglasses tan lines.

So, onto one of your favorites, or least it seems like a favorite – Uh, NO Pinterest. This one has a theme though. It’s “Uh NO, just throw it away!” I think anyone who keeps certain items should be considered a loon or a hoarder, or both. Judging? Yes, I am, because seriously, wait until you SEE this nonsense. And yes, some of it is complete nonsense.

I got this one from Heather’s How about NO board. When I saw it, I just shook my head. Then after further inspection, there’s something about that toilet paper roll in white. Just look. I’ll give you a minute to figure out what the detailing looks like. And you KNOW it totally looks like what I’m thinking it does.

People, please just throw stuff away. Can you imagine what it looked like to have canned food lids hanging around the house? My husband would seriously either have me committed or get a lawyer, or both. Do you think the people that walked in and saw this were like “Oh Sally, that’s just beautiful. You’re so creative.” No she’s not. She has no taste.

Nothing says “Welcome to my single wide” like a wreath of beer cans from Friday night’s poker game.

Now I know, there are people out there that are truly DOG PEOPLE. I love my dogs, I do. HOWEVER, I throw AWAY the bag their food comes in. Dog food stinks, come on.

If all those weren’t enough for you, then look – 40 things you don’t have to throw away. Awesome. Keep that trash just laying around, waiting to be used. I’m sure your family and loved ones will LOVE coming over.


tarahsig

Quick decor project

Y’all, I whipped up a quick decor project. I have a frame addiction. I always pick up an unwanted frame or 2 when I’m out thrifting. I found a good one at Goodwill. It retailed for $30 (the sticker was still on the back), but I scooped it up for $5.

I knew exactly what I wanted to do with this particular frame. I ran to HobLob one night and grabbed my last name initial. In case you live under a rock and haven’t been in HobLob (or even JoAnn Fabric), they have an aisle that has wood pieces. The letters come in different sizes and a few different fonts in MDF. I also stole used some burlap we had left from my best friend’s wedding.

The letter H

Ignore the Sharpies. I never ended up using them, but I had good intentions! I also painted the “H” in a completely different step. :)

Testing background First, can I point out my BEAUTIFUL wedding ring set? They’re so sparkly and distracting. In October, we will celebrate 10 years of wedded bliss and I still love my rings. Oh, and I guess the boy who gave them to me. Okay, back to the point of the picture. See the awful white background behind the burlap. It looks terrible and cheap. With a little thought (and a run to the craft room with my little 2 yo assistant), I found something to help take the terrible and cheap away! And yet, another leftover item from the BFF’s wedding - brown paper bag colored cardstock. Also, grabbed my hot glue gun. If you can’t do a project without a glue gun, then we just don’t need to do it.

Framed H

This may have been one of the quickest and easiest projects I’ve done in a while. I even had a small handicap with a 2 year old who thought she needed to help out. I think it took more time to tell her “no” to the glue gun then it did to put it all together. This project could be an easy Christmas gift or house warming gift. Since last name initials have become so trendy, it would be perfect for even a wedding gift.

Mantel H

The mantel will not be it’s permanent home, but it looks good there for the moment. I do love how all the textures work together in this simple little vignette. I’m pretty sure my mantel is my favorite place to decorate in my house. It comes so easy for me.

tarahsig

 

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What’s going on with Heather?

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I’m sure you’ve noticed that I’ve been fairly quiet on the blog lately (thanks to Tarah and Sars for picking up my slack) – it’s not because I don’t love all of our readers, I promise!

Lots of changes are going on in my life right now – most notably, I was offered a new job! Now, if you’ve read our “About Me” page, you can see that I’ve worked at my company for 18 years now – that’s half of my life, y’all – and this new job thing happened so suddenly. I manage a jewelry store for a company that is based in Texas and has been around since 1954 (if you live in Texas, you probably know what company I’m talking about) and I have loved it. However, retail is tiring. 18 years of retail just might kill you. My brain is ready to learn something new, so I decided to take the new job and I will now have a Monday through Friday, 8-5 job. No nights! No weekends! And most importantly, I will be able to have a real Christmas with my family. If you’ve worked in retail at holiday times, you know that Christmas is just something you get through and deal with – I am looking forward to having a relaxing Christmas for the first time since 1994. Whitney has pushed me for years to find a new job, but I wasn’t ready until fairly recently. I’ve been spoiled by this company, and the new one has big boots to fill. I am very sad to leave my job and all of the friends I’ve made over the last 18 years, but very excited to start a new career and meet new friends too! I’m relieved now that I have told everyone I’m leaving and have given my letter of resignation. I am happy, but also scared to death to leave “the nest” as we call it at my company. I start my new job on 8/12/13, after a nice three week break!

Anxiety and Depression

I also had a pretty bad bout of depression/anxiety. I seem to have one of those about once a year, and sure enough, it came back this time. It started in May, and I’m sure it was a combination of things – stress about my job and my husband’s job, Mother’s Day (my mom passed away on Mother’s Day weekend in 1990), money, and just general anxiety. As a result of that, I didn’t really care about anything. The blog was honestly the last thing on my mind. Thankfully, I realized what was happening and talked to my doctor. Things are getting better by the day – I was afraid that my job change would cause a setback, but I think it might have actually done the opposite because I feel better than I have in months. Tarah, Sars, my husband, and Whitney helped me work through what was going on, and for that I will be eternally grateful. There was no judgment from any of them, only support – and that’s what I needed. It scares me when I go through these low valleys because depression does run in my family (among other things) and I am glad that I have people that notice things that I might not. Anyway, things are much better with my brain, and I’m ready to come back and play with the Real {Cheap} Housewives of Texas.

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As I’m sure you may have guessed (judging by Whitney’s absence), the Housewives welcomed a new baby boy during my break! Sweet Benjamin was born on 6/19/13 at 7:26 AM. He weighed 7 lbs. 6 oz. and was 19.5 inches long. He is just about the sweetest thing ever and has been a really great baby! I can’t get enough of him and neither can his big brother Logan. Remember how Whitney was scared about how Logan would deal with it? Nothing to worry about. He is all over that baby and smothers him with kisses. He is a great big brother, just like I knew he would be. Whitney is doing great and is in love with both of her boys. I’m sure she will post some pictures of Benjamin soon!

The whole group!  RCHOTX

Also during that time, Tarah and I planned our Texas Bloggers Pre-Haven Meetup. I’m not going to lie, my heart was not in it during the planning, but I am so glad we made it happen and SO SO happy to have made some new friends. I have a feeling that we may have made some lifelong friends on that weekend. I am so looking forward to seeing them again in a couple of weeks…

AT HAVEN CONFERENCE! I feel so much more prepared for it this year than I did last year. We actually have a blog that actually makes a (very small) amount of money, and we have taught ourselves SO much this year about how to run a blog – and since this is not my first blog conference rodeo, I feel much more secure than I did last year! Last year, I went to the DIY sessions instead of the blogging sessions – this year, I really hope to do more of the blogging sessions and maybe just a couple of the DIY ones. I am excited to meet new people, talk to new brands and companies, and have fun with my new friends. Tarah, Sars, and I are flying out early early EARLY on Thursday, Aug. 1 (like 6:15 AM early – told you) and coming home late on Tuesday, Aug. 6. We’re going to shop, eat, and explore for a few days after the conference. I’m excited and hopefully won’t have to ship too much stuff home this year! I promise we will come back from Haven Conference with lots of new ideas, tons of new friends, and excitement for the blog. By the way, have noticed our new logo? Check it out! Tarah did a great job on it (and had to listen to my wishy-washiness about it!) so GOOD JOB, Tarah!

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Coming up: I am having new drapes made for my living room (yeah, that’s right, I’m not making them) – that’s a sneak peek. I will be reviewing a paint sprayer, and we’ve got lots more stuff planned for y’all!

I know that this entry is not something I HAD to write or tell you about, but it has been on my mind for a while and I felt it was only fair. If any of you have struggled with depression and/or anxiety, you know how out of control it can feel. I’m finally getting some control back. Friends can make all the difference in the world!

Y’all have a GREAT week!

heathersig

I can paint!

I’m still alive in case anyone was wondering. When I said I was going to write a blog post, my husband sarcastically said “Oh, you still do that?” He’s a funny guy.

A few months ago my friend, Melissa, sent me a picture of her guest room bedding and asked if I could paint her something to coordinate with it. Of course I could. I can paint! inspiration I finally got started on it and went to town. I’ll be honest, it changed a few times. I was just going to replicate the bedding, then I decided against that. I made a trip to one of my favorite stores, Hob Lob and picked up the supplies. Some craft paint, brushes and a canvas .. or 3 like I did.

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You can see some polka dots that I painted over because I didn’t like them. And I just noticed the below picture is upside down. Awesome. From this point, you’ll be able to see the changes I made as I was painting.
during At the last minute I grabbed some burlap and buttons. Also, around the edges of the canvas I finished it with burlap ribbon. I did 3 canvases because I thought it would look cool. I hope when she hangs them, she spreads them out a little.
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I’m hoping to get a quick project done to show y’all. I have an itch to decorate above my couch and this little project I’m thinking of will go perfectly with what I have in mind.

tarahsig

The whole group!  RCHOTX

Texas Blogger Pre-Haven Meetup

That’s a mouthful, huh?

A pretty good-sized group of Texas DIY bloggers (that are all going to Haven, with the exception of one) decided to get together before Haven Conference and hang out. I organized it (with some help from Tarah) and it was this past weekend! That is one of the reasons you haven’t heard much from me lately – I’ve been busy with that!

We went to Austin, TX (the best place in the world) for a full day of eating, drinking, and thrift shopping. I was completely exhausted both nights we were there, but it was so worth it to make new friends! (Making friends as an adult is hard. It really is.)

It was a success! Some of us had been to Haven before, and I hope we eased the fears of the first-timers. Going to your first conference can be very, very scary and I said several times that I wish there had been a “get to know you” weekend before we went to Haven last year. I think it was helpful for everyone this weekend, whether it was first conference jitters being calmed or just the experience of meeting strangers (that I now call friends).

Tarah and I weren’t supposed to go until early, EARLY Saturday morning, but she texted me on Thursday and asked if I could get the hotel room for Friday night as well. Well, duh, don’t twist my arm – I was already off on Friday, but I had to wait for a delivery for the goodie bags (they were awesome) so we left town as soon as that was dropped off.

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I used Priceline for our hotel room and could not have been more pleased! I told the other girls what I did, they did the same thing, and we all ended up getting a great deal at the same hotel! It worked out perfectly. The Renaissance Austin Hotel in the Arboretum was perfect. Everyone there was great, friendly, and went above and beyond for us. It was definitely the best experience I have ever had in a hotel, and the fact that we were there at a highly, highly discounted rate did not seem to matter to them. I hope I can stay there every time I visit Austin! (I may try and use Priceline for a hotel in Atlanta next month as well, and cross my fingers for a Renaissance!)

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We bonded over barbecue, Mexican food (twice), margaritas (twice), and thrift store shopping – and we had a blast! Yes, it was extremely hot, and our drinks from Sonic were extremely flat, but we kept on going and got to know each other a little better. I can’t wait to see everyone again in one month!

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ALSO – it was Jamie’s birthday! She joined us for lunch but had to leave after we ate so she could get ready for her birthday cookout. Happy birthday, Jamie!

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Okay, on to the stuff you really want to know about – who was there and what was in those goodie bags?

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Strangers that I now call friends:

Top row:

Lindsay from Makely School for Girls

Jamie from C.R.A.F.T. 

Me!

Jamie from Huckleberry Love

Middle row:

Cynthia (no blog YET!)

Tarah!

Sara from Major Hoff Takes A Wife

Tracey (no blog YET!)

Janis from All Things Beautiful

Front row:

Megan from Two Live Colorfully

Lydia from Huckleberry Love

Karla from Huckleberry Love

Two ladies joined us later – Amy and Jennifer (they came for dinner!)

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Goodie bags  RCHOTX

Awesome companies that donated for the goodie bags and door prizes (I was amazed at how much we got!)

Doozie’s Corner (Cece Caldwell Paint and Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint)

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Maison Blanche Paint Company (accidentally got left at Tarah’s house… we’ll smuggle it to Haven!)

Minted

Paper Coterie

Pick Your Plum

Pinterest

Rustoleum 

Tito’s Vodka

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What I found was that most companies were very willing and happy to contribute! I was super impressed with the response I got from one simple email explaining what I was putting together.

It was so much fun to meet everyone, and Tarah and I are so glad we had the chance to do this with all of you!

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Seaside

4 Ways to get that ‘vacation feel’ at home

We are experiencing a very abnormal cold front in Dallas this week. Today the high was maybe 89? It was chilly on my way in to work in the A.M., I lunched on a patio and I drove home with my sunroof open.

Pure bliss.

Well, as much bliss as you can have between emails, phone calls, pagers going off (I work in health care and yes, we still use pagers) and screaming kids. A quick glance at my phone lock screen shows a photo of my husband and son running into the ocean this past Spring Break and immediately calms me down.
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In March, we were able to vacation in beautiful Seaside, FL Seaside

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but the stars did not align to repeat that trip this summer. While there, I jotted down a few ideas of how I could have the ‘vacation feel’ at home. If you are only able to stay-cation this summer, I hope these tips will help you.

1. Get unplugged. When you are on vacation, you are focused on enjoying the weather, the sights, your family, food, fun and more. Being tied to technology takes a back seat to pure enjoyment on vacation, so why can’t it be like that at home on the weekends and after five? I have actually been trying this for some time. During the weekends I turn off the access to my work email, if there is an emergency, the important people know how to reach me via the phone. Replace your technology time with evening bike rides or swims, one-on-one dates with your children – or better yet, your spouse. Enjoy your time away from the office and live in the moment.

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2. Clear your clutter. The home we stayed at in Seaside was a picturesque beach house. In fact, I was sure I had recognized the laundry room from a magazine. Turns out, I had pinned a photo of it several months ago. Besides the beautiful furnishings and finishes, what I really noticed in the house was the lack of clutter. Sure, no one lives there most of the year, but when the home owners or their guests are there, everything has a place. This past week I have been focusing on clearing out our clutter. It’s one thing to have stuffed everything in a closet so no one can see but it’s another to actually have a place for all your belongings. Sell or donate duplicates, shred once important but no longer needed documents and organize the rest.

3. Prioritize your commitments. The summer is a great time to re-focus on what’s really important to you and your family. With school out, it seems the family commitments begin to slow down. Re-evaluate how much of yourself you can give to your schools, church, women’s auxiliary, etc. If you are a perfectionist or an over-achiever, this can be hard. For the last two years, I have held very heavy volunteer positions with the Junior League of Dallas, I was beginning to get burned out and it made volunteering no longer fun. This year, I have scaled back and am already loving my new placement. I know my focus in the coming school year needs to be on my job and my son. Remember, no one is taking this time away from you. You are giving it to them. Choose wisely.

seaside with mack

4. Use white linens. Back at that beautiful Seaside house I noticed all of the linens were white. At my favorite hotels, the linens are white. There’s something about the freshness of white linens. Not only are they super easy to clean (throw in some bleach and they are like new) but the crispness of the white makes any room look sharp and put together. We’re about to begin a bathroom remodel and I’m already planning on clean, white towels and floor mats.

These simple ideas are just a few ways to help quiet your chaos and help you enjoy your summer. What are your favorite ways to enjoy summer vacation at home?

sarssig