Author Archives: Heather

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!)

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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

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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

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.

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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

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.

hotel room view  RCHOTX

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!)

austin thrift shops  RCHOTX

Heather and fruit  RCHOTX

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!

County Line lunch  RCHOTX

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!

Jamie's Birthday  RCHOTX

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

The whole group!  RCHOTX

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!)

Goodie Bag closeup  RCHOTX

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)

Hometalk

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

Valspar

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!

heathersig

 

See ya, Google Reader!

After today, Google Reader will be no more. I’ve used it for years to keep up with the one million blogs I read, so it has been a tough switch for me! A few months ago, I switched over to Bloglovin and it has been great. It took some getting used to because there are a few more bells and whistles on Bloglovin, while Google Reader was pretty bare bones and to the point.

Make sure that you keep following us somehow, whether it is through Bloglovin, Feedly, or another reader! Here is the link to follow us on Bloglovin – see you there! http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/4172831

heathersig

Method: Designed for Good (and it smells even better!)

method-logo-1 (1)Thanks to Method for sponsoring today’s discussion – this is a sponsored post, but all opinions are mine!

I don’t know about you, but I love love LOVE Method products. They smell great, their packaging is great, and now I have another reason to love Method: they don’t do ANY testing on animals. At all.

If you know me, you know that I am an animal lover. Well, most animals. I don’t support animal testing, so I was thrilled to hear that Method doesn’t either! Furthermore, there are no animal      by-products (100% vegan!) AND everything in Method‘s line is safe for animals.

method-designed-for-good-soap-series (2)

To get the word out about Method’s stance on animal cruelty, they are teaming up with Soap.com and will be donating 15% of sales on soap.com for the month of June to the ASPCA! Even better, use the coupon code PAWPRINT for 20% off on your first purchase at soap.com - now THAT is a good deal.

And now for the Housedogs!

Pancho - RCHOTX

Kimber - RCHOTXLibby - RCHOTX

Booda - RCHOTX

Oliver - RCHOTX

Django - RCHOTX

Ranger - RCHOTX

We’ve got a lot of dogs and a lot of kids between all of us, huh? Method is also sponsoring a Pet Photo Contest via Facebook AND Instagram!

How to enter:

Step 1: Take a photo of your adorable pet.
Step 2: Choose how you want to enter the contest: Facebook or Instagram –
Facebook: Find the ‘pet photo contest’ tab on Method’s Facebook page and follow the instructions on the tab for uploading your photo.
Instagram: Post your pet’s photo to your Instagram account using the hashtag #methodcutepets. You must also follow @methodhome in order to be eligible to win.

Desktop users: Use this link

Mobile users: Use this link

The contest will begin on June 11 and end June 30. Method will select one winner each week to receive the two “designed for good” soaps and a $50 gift card to Soap.com. NOTE: Only residents of the US and Canada (excluding Quebec) are eligible to win.

Get some cute pictures of your pets and enter this contest! There is one week left, and $50 goes a long way at soap.com!

Good luck! I know we have some animal lovers here, so I’m hoping one of OUR readers wins $50!

heathersig

Bow Tie Baby Shower welcome - RCHOTX

Bow Tie Baby Shower Part Two

Bow Tie Baby Shower welcome - RCHOTX

 

If you missed the first part of the shower (decor, food, and guests), click here to check it out!

The “bow tie” part of the shower was a somewhat last minute thought of mine. I can’t stand playing games at baby showers – I’m sorry, “guess the chocolate bar while it is smudged in a diaper” is disgusting, and in my opinion, not entertaining at all. That shiz is not okay (pun intended). I knew we needed some kind of activity to keep people talking and moving, so I borrowed Pleated Poppy’s tutorial (LOVE HER) and prepared the pieces for approximately 40 bow ties.

The sad part is that I already had most of the fabric in my craft room. Hey, they’re great for using up scraps! I also learned that flat irons work just as well (or better) than a regular iron for fabric. I’ve used my flat iron exactly twice – once on hair, once on fabric. I far prefer the fabric use because I do not have time to do that on my hair!

I wanted to make it easy for everybody to make one, since not everyone is crafty (although it most certainly can be taught!). Once I had everything cut, ironed, and glued, I put each “step” in its own metal bucket and made a little plaque for each one (I bought the buckets and wooden plaques from Pick Your Plum months ago!) so people could make their way down the table and at the end, they’d have a cute little bow tie. I made a couple while people watched and they all ended up helping each other when I wasn’t there. It was fun!

I also purchased many, many onesies in varying sizes from Amazon. Do you know how difficult it is to find plain colored onesies? Yeah, you can find white gerber onesies anywhere – but what if you want red? Green? Blue? Amazon. They weren’t expensive, either! I bought Whitney some of the monthly stickers as well, so she can use the onesies for those too. (The stickers were from My Lullabug and they are CUTE) There is so much cute stuff out there for babies that it was hard to stop shopping!

Without further adieu, the pictures:

Bow Tie Example 2 - RCHOTX

Bow Tie Example - RCHOTX

Bow Tie Steps 1 and 2 - RCHOTX

Bow Tie Makin' Station - RCHOTX

Bow Ties in Action! - RCHOTX

Guests making bowties - RCHOTX

Onesies and My Lullabug Stickers - RCHOTX

Paige's Onesie - RCHOTX

Sars and Heather Onesies - RCHOTX

Jen's onesie - RCHOTX

Bow Tie Example Finished - RCHOTX

Basket o' onesies - RCHOTX

Just some of the bow ties - RCHOTX

Lots and lots of bow ties - RCHOTXY’all, it was so much fun to watch people that have never crafted a thing in their life (I know, they really do exist!) get so excited about making something like this. I’m still getting emails and compliments on how cute and how different the shower was – the best part is that Whitney loved it!

If you have any questions, ask away!

Texas Women Bloggers
heathersig

 

 

 

Welcome!

Bow Tie Baby Shower Part One

Welcome!Okay, I was going to attempt to put this all into one post, but, uh, there were a TON of pictures. Tarah was our photographer for the shower (THANKS, Tarah!) and she did not disappoint. 180 pictures for a 2 hour shower = not too shabby.

As you know (or maybe if you’re new you don’t know), Whitney is pregnant and will be having Baby Benjamin in exactly two weeks! Tarah and I hosted a shower for her, along with two of Whitney’s other friends (Amy and Lindsey), this past Sunday.

This baby has been a long time coming, so we knew we had to go all out. We’ve waited over 5 years for this kid! We are all just thankful that we get to hold another baby and we can only hope that he lives up to the antics of his big brother, Logan. (He really has no choice, considering our family. You’ll see what I mean in a while.)

Wreath Closeup - RCHOTXAmy’s friend made this wreath for her to put on her front door. Whitney will also use this in the hospital when she has the baby! (Is this just a Texas thing – or do other non-Texans put wreaths on their hospital doors too? Kind of like homecoming mums!)

Invitation Close Up - RCHOTXThe invitations were ordered from EThree Design Studio on Etsy. I found some I loved, but they weren’t the colors I wanted and I wanted different wording on one part – she was great about switching up the colors and design a little bit! I was very pleased with the invitations and will definitely order from her again. I also purchased matching cupcake toppers from her (I used them on the envelopes and not on the cupcakes) and she sent a file of Thank You notes for Whitney to use as well.

Welcome Baby Sign - RCHOTX

 

Garland Closeup - RCHOTX

 

Long garland - RCHOTXI whipped up the cute “Welcome Baby” sign one night when I was bored, and I made Whitney help make the (really long) fabric garland while we watched TV one day. I’m not above making the guest of honor help out for her own party. The rest was a surprise, though, so we did good!

Whale - RCHOTX

 

Whale and quotes - RCHOTXThis whale was purchased at HomeGoods months ago. I did not love it – it was painted horribly and was just ugly! I bought it, painted it, added new cording to it, and printed out sweet little phrases and verses for it. A friend told Whitney about the Bible verse above when she had decided on the name Benjamin, and she really wanted it somewhere in the nursery, so I made sure to put that verse in.

Diaper Cake - RCHOTXYou just can’t have a baby shower without a diaper cake, right? Whitney’s best friend Lindsey (one of the hostesses) made this for her and it was just adorable. I’ve never made one, so I’ll let the people with the diaper cake talent do it!

Rainbow Cups - RCHOTX

 

Utensil canisters by Tarah - RCHOTX

 

Pretzels - RCHOTX

 

Cupcake Tower and Pretzels - RCHOTX

Cupcake tower - RCHOTX

Accidental Lime and Orange Punch - RCHOTX

All the food! - RCHOTXTarah made the utensil canisters (out of formula cans!) and the cupcake tower to match the decor. Everything was so bright and cheery, it was exactly what we wanted!

Whitney and scissors - RCHOTXI just had to include this picture. It’s just not a party with us unless there are scissors on the floor. Not childproofed just yet!

Whitney - RCHOTXWhitney, taking it all in. We had a great turnout!

Jennifer and Aunt Toni - RCHOTXThis is our Aunt and one of Whitney’s oldest friends.

Aunt Toni, Whitney, and Rebecca - RCHOTXAunt Toni, Whitney, and our cousin Rebecca (SO TALL AND PRETTY).

Ryan and Whitney - RCHOTXAnd I’ll end with this. Y’all, this is our brother Ryan. He has no shame. He waltzed in at the tail end of the shower looking for food (as per usual) and he was quite the entertainer, as you can see. In all seriousness, he’s a pretty good uncle, and Logan just adores him. I’m sure Benjamin will too!

Next post: Bow ties!

heathersig

 

Whitney’s Baby Shower Sneak Peek!

Whitney’s baby shower is on Sunday, so I’ve been in high gear preparing for it (and so have the other hostesses!). Whitney DID help with part of it, but she doesn’t have any clue about the rest of it, so all I can give you is a baby shower sneak peek for now. Rest assured, next week there will be at least one post about it!

PS: Does that kid look like someone afraid of becoming a big brother? Nah, didn’t think so! Logan is going to be just fine (and so will his mommy)!

shower sneak peek

 

heathersig

Top Ten Pins

Heather’s Top Ten Pins (5-17-2013)

Top Ten Pins

I’ve been spending a lot of time on Pinterest lately (big shock there) and not a lot of time creating things myself. Don’t worry, I’m about to shift it into overdrive for Whitney’s baby shower – but until then, here are my “top ten pins” from this week! Enjoy! Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest!

Humblebee and Me Sleepy Time Pillow SprayHumblebee and Me Sleepy Time Spray – I have been having a really rough time going to sleep lately. I guess that’s what happens when your mind goes and goes and goes constantly?! I’m seriously contemplating making some of this spray to see if it helps calm my brain!

I Shih Tzu Not t-shirtI Shih Tzu Not T-shirt – Okay, I couldn’t actually find where this t-shirt originated from, but can I just tell you that it caused me to bust out laughing in my office? (So what, I take 5 minute Pinterest breaks sometimes).

Chalkboard Fonts150 Chalkboard Fonts – Now you guys know that I love my fonts, so imagine my squeals of joy when I found this pin! Soon I will have them ALLLLLLL.

Orange-Julius-Popsicles

 

Orange Julius Popsicles – Whitney and I LOVE Orange Julius. Unfortunately, they don’t really exist anymore – so the closest I’ve been able to find is a dreamsicle snow cone OR a Sonic orange cream slush. The Sonic slush is probably the closest we’ve been able to get to the OJ flavor, but now I’m going to have to try these bad boys!

Embroidery Initial Necklaces

 

I just love these Embroidery Initial Necklaces – they are just so cheery and fun, how could you not like them? I have a “thing” for initials, so maybe it’s just me – but I love these!

0a96c7154f6b731ffb0cc19111bf6ab0

I mean, yeah, I made this – but it’s true. Maybe I’m way late on this, but have you seen this site? I am in love. I had a blast making different signs, and my favorite was this one!

BBQ Chicken Mini Pizzas 1

 

Kevin and I love BBQ Chicken Pizza – so why wouldn’t we love these too? I’ll be putting these on the grocery list as soon as I get back from…

Gateway Arch St. Louis, Missouri

 

St. Louis. Yep, I’m going back. This time for a full week! I’m still trying to decide what I want to do on my time off, so if you live in St. Louis help me out! A reader suggested the Botanical Gardens, so I hope to make it there this time! :)

Cherry Lemonade Slush

 

I am a sucker for cherry lemonade/limeade all year round. Imagine my smile when I cam across this recipe! We might be having these all summer long.

free-standing-vertical-pallet-herb-garden

 

Ah, Roeshel, one of my blogger idols. She’s got great taste (I mean, come on, she loves Gilded Pesto too)! Now I’m going to have to copy her… sometime… when I have somewhere to put this!

Well, those should hold you over for a few days. Heck, it’s the weekend – why don’t you make some of these?!

heathersig

Fabric Flower Tutorial – Mother’s Day

Fabric Flower Tutorial - RCHOTXI know, I know – I promised a tutorial on the fabric flowers a couple of weeks ago! First of all, do you know how hard it is to take pictures of yourself making something? Well, most of you probably don’t (a few of you feel my pain, though) – it’s not easy! A flower that normally takes me around 20-30 minutes to make took, oh, 2.5 hours because of the pictures!

Here’s my tutorial, just in time for Mother’s Day (I used this tutorial that I found on Pinterest a loooooong time ago)! Moms love flowers.

Supplies needed:

Fabric (for this tutorial, I used 3 different fabrics – you can use however many you want)

Glue gun and hot glue

Felt 

3 circle-shaped, different sized items - I used 2 ribbon bolts and the lid from a can of Pam – if you have a set of round cookie cutters, those work GREAT.

Button / rhinestone / bottle cap, whateversomething for the middle of the flower

Dress pin or hair clip, depending on what you want to use the flower on

1. Trace circles (on the wrong side of the fabric, so pen marks don’t show). You’re going to need 6 of each size.

3 circles for templates - RCHOTX

fabric cut for flowers - RCHOTX

2. Once those are cut, fire up the glue gun. You’re gonna need it! You’re going to make 18 separate “petals”, and I have found that it’s easier to make all the petals and THEN put the flower together – but you can do it however you want to!

Fold the fabric up like a taco - RCHOTX

fold to left, glue at point - RCHOTX

fold back and to the right - RCHOTX

first fold second fold - RCHOTXall circles are cut - RCHOTX3. Once you have all 18 petals made, use the smallest circle template and cut out a felt circle. It doesn’t have to match, because it’s just the base of the flower. It won’t show – mine just happened to match! Put a big blob of hot glue in the middle of the felt circle. I’m lazy, so that’s how I do it. People that care put hot glue on each little tip of the petals and arrange them perfectly. That’s not me. This is going to be the largest, bottom layer so use the biggest petals. Keep going until you make the full circle (6 petals).

first layer of petals - RCHOTX

1st layer complete - RCHOTX

4. Now that you have the bottom layer finished, you can do the other two layers. Just make sure that you stagger the petals, like the next picture!

2nd layer arrangement - RCHOTX2nd layer complete - RCHOTX3rd layer complete - RCHOTX5. Now you have to choose what you want to use for the center of the flower. For this flower, I covered a button. It’s easy, I promise. I was scared at first too, don’t worry. If you go the button-making route, pop those little hooks off the backs if yours aren’t flat. Once you have the button made, hot glue that sucker on! If you are using a rhinestone or something else (brads from the scrapbooking section of the craft store work too), just hot glue it on and be done with it. (I bought these button-making kits at the Upcycle Exchange – they aren’t that cheap anymore at the craft stores!)

button cover kit - RCHOTX

poppin hooks - RCHOTX

button in middle, almost finished - RCHOTX

6. Now that the flower is finished, you probably want to make it into a pin or hair clip. I chose to make this one into a pin (I am making these for baby shower hostesses to wear, along with the mom-to-be).

pin on back of flower - RCHOTX (1)

finished three layer flower - RCHOTXSee, that wasn’t that difficult, was it? Our friend Tarah is deathly afraid of anything that has to do with fabric, but I bet she could even make these.

If you don’t want a huge flower, you can always do one with just two layers. Or heck, even one. You can do a lot with this little flower!

Your mom would love one! (And hey, if you don’t want to make one, I’ve got a ton that I’ll sell ya!) (Seriously)

Enjoy! These are fun and addictive – to me, at least!


One Artsy Mama

Texas Women Bloggers

heathersig

Have you heard about Spark Studio?

spark-studio-logo

Thanks to Walmart Labs for sponsoring today’s discussion!

Have you heard about Spark Studio? It’s a new way to shop walmart.com – if you like Pinterest, you will like this! It is actually a lot of fun – I’ve been messing with it for a couple of hours now :)

You can search for stuff by top pinned/color/brand/department. Now, I know this sounds like how you would search for things on the website anyway, but it’s different – I promise! Much like Pinterest, you are shopping by picture. Unlike Pinterest, however, you can actually shop from the site! Since I am shopping for multiple occasions (baby shower, a brand new nephew, Haven Conference clothes and travel necessities) Spark Studio makes it really simple.

With Spark Studio, you can browse and shop products by:

1) Inspirations- Items by Walmart shoppers on Pinterest
2) Fashion and Beauty- Discover must-haves from Walmart shoppers
3) For the home- Solutions and ideas from Walmart fans
4) Babies- Search the top picks from Pinterest moms
5) Pets- Find everything you will need for your pet
6) Playtime- A collection of items to entertain the whole family

Now that I’ve played around on Spark Studio, I decided to make my own Pinterest board for it so I can keep track of the stuff I need/like/love/want. Go see what I’ve pinned, and then make your own board – and then share it with me in the comments. I’m nosy like that.

Go! Have fun! Buy something for me! Mama needs a new rug for the living room :)

heathersig