Category Archives: Blog stuff

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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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 - RCHOTX Libby - 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!

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Pin there. Done that. {It really does work!}

I know, it’s a been awhile since there was a Pin there. Done that. If you’re a new reader, welcome! Pin there. done that. is very simple. I find a pin on awesome Pinterest and recreate it my way. I’ve combined a few pins to make one, failed at painting while recreating a pin, and then the one time, what had happen was … I nearly killed my husband. You can call that last one a fail or a win, depending on the day.

Do you ever pin something on Pinterest and think “I wonder if that really works”. I have an Interesting Ideas board with some pins that I often wonder if they work.


Last week when I spent hours and hours outside in the garage (with both doors up), I needed some tunes. A few weeks ago I upgraded my phone but didn’t think anything of it. That is until I went to plug my phone into a little iDeck. Yeah, I bought it years ago and up until the iPhone 5, it worked for everything. Dang you, Apple, for changing the charger cord. I had to improvise. I knew I had pinned something that could “blast” my music for me. I mean, I really needed to get my Pitbull fix (and obviously Kelly Clarkson).

 

Pinteresting Idea | RCHOTX

Do you have a board like this on Pinterest? Have you tried any of the “interesting ideas” that you’ve pinned?
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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 - RCHOTX Y’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
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Uh no, Pinterest.

Hi. My name is Tarah, and I’ve been a blog slacker. Okay, I’ve actually not felt good the last week, so that’s my real excuse. I know y’all were hoping for a baby shower post, BUT nope, not yet. Pictures are being dispersed as I type.

Instead of the much anticipated baby shower crafts, you get a great edition of “Uh no, Pinterest”. Y’all are lucky Heather found me a YouTube video on how to use the new embed feature for Pinterest or this wouldn’t be happening.

It’s the karate choppin’ cat lady. Cat hoarding at its best, I guess. I hate these stickers on cars anyway, but one stick person with “stick” cats. No. I can’t even begin to give her the benefit of the doubt and think that maybe some of these cats are deceased. I did count the cats. There’s 36. Maybe, just maybe she has 4 cats and she’s counting their “9 lives”. No. She’s just a cat hoarder. The reflection of the guy taking the picture cracks me up as well.

Now y’all. I’ll admit it. I love a good hot dog, but anything blue on my hot dog is a big fat no. That’s just gross. I don’t know what it is. I didn’t look. I just saw it and immediately pinned it to my “Uh NO” board. No food should ever be blue unless it is blue jello (preferably in a Jello shot form).

I know some people think the belly cake is sooooo cute for a baby shower. It’s not. It’s just not. Especially with the boobs with it. THEN you add the sonogram picture. Why is it not cute? Because you’re going to cut the cake, the BELLY CAKE WITH THE BOOBS AND THE SONOGRAM picture. Basically you’re giving that poor mom-to-be a picture of what it would look like if she had a c-section. And just an FYI – I have TWO belly cakes pinned. The other has a little baby foot protruding from the belly. Ew.

I have NO idea why I haven’t featured this one before. NOW I know what I can do with all the “one shoes” that I see on the road. Seriously, have you ever noticed that on the road there’s always just ONE shoe of a pair of shoes just hanging out? I always wonder where the other half is and how the person doesn’t notice it is missing. So, yeah, now I’m just going to stop and pick up every single shoe I see on the roadside and use it as a bird feeder. I’m sure my HOA would LOVE it.


tarahsig

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Worth It: Taking a break

Hi. I’m Sars. Sars from RCHOTX.com You may remember me from such great posts as My Least Favorite Things, Worth It: Endorphins, and Worth It: Getaway at the JW.

Recently I took a break from blogging while I fulfilled my volunteer commitment in a leadership role. While a fulfilling experience, that is finally winding down and I’m back, baby!

First off, many thanks to Heather and Tarah who have maintained and grown this blog while Whitney, Brittaney and I all take breaks as needed. Their dedication and commitment is aspirational and I appreciate them both. They have both done all the behind the scenes stuff to keep us up and running. Remember to give them comment love & Twitter favorites.

So, what’s next? What will I be blogging about?
Renovations: I have two renovations going on in my home right now. One in my living room that is in-progress and then our bathroom renovation that will begin in late June. Stay tuned for posts about planning, construction and design for these rooms in our ’59 East Dallas ranch home. Check out my living room and bathroom Pinterest boards for early inspirations.

Birthday Party: My son’s 4th birthday is in late June so I will be showing you how to plan and produce a time-saving birthday party that 15 pre-K-ers will love.

Weight Loss and Exercise: I hate when people say this but I am currently on a weight-loss journey and I will be sharing with you updates and adventures in exercising. Check out my healthy Pinterest board for a taste of what I’m doing.

I’m so glad to be back and hope you will keep in touch!
Catch me on Instagram or Twitter. My user name is SarahBurns on both of those.

sarssig

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

 

100 by 100 Challenge

What’s 100 by 100 Challenge? Well, its very simple. Michelle over at Life on the Horizon is hosting this personal challenge to walk, jog, swim, cycling 100 miles in 100 days.

This will be the 3rd challenge Michelle has facilitated. With each challenge, she has learned more about herself but also about helping and motivating others. The main thing she has learned through these challenges: Just because you don’t meet a goal DOES NOT mean you have failed! She has yet to meet the 100 miles in 100 days, but has become stronger mentally and physically with each one. Michelle has also met some incredible individuals with amazing stories and is so blessed and humbled by their determination!

And y’all, another cool thing about Michelle? She’s a Texas girl!

Why am I posting about this challenge? Well, it’s simple. I’m participating in this challenge and it starts today, May 1. I’ll be walking/jogging/running for this challenge in addition to all the gym time I’ve been putting in. Remember that 50 Days of Fitness challenge we had back in the day? Yeah, I’m still working on it. Maybe I’ll be nice and update my picture because apparently I look much different now according to a lot of people. I love running even though I’m not the greatest at it. I always get some teasing at Pinterest Parties or last year at Haven Conference when I’ve taken the time to go for a run or workout. (And for Haven this year, I’ve already looked online at the gym facilities in the gym. It’s an addiction.)

If you like to walk/jog/run/swim/cycle, you should consider joining in the challenge here. It’s just something to help be encouraged and encourage others.

tarahsig

A self-interview {Tarah}

A Selfie Blogger Interview
The wonderful ladies at Texas Women Bloggers are kindly holding a “self-interview” link party. Since it’s the middle of Thursday, and I’m not being crafty or domestically active, I thought I’d jump on the wagon.

1. What part of the state do you call home?  The FW of DFW – we all know it is the better part of the DFW anyway. ;)

2. How long have you been blogging? Really actively blogging since July 2012

3. Why did you start blogging? What had happened was …A DIY conference attended by friends turned into THIS very blog.

4. What do you hope to get out of the Texas Women Bloggers community? Its always fun to have more friends, and even better if they’re Texas friends!

5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In 5 years, we may or may not still have this blog. BUT I will still have 3 children (they’ll be 10, 8 and 7 – holy cow.) and maybe my husband will make it another 5 years (I kid. maybe.)

6. If you could choose an actress to play you in your life, who would you choose and why? Well, honestly? Melissa McCarthy. I’m not even joking. If you guys have ever seen her show, Mike and Molly, that’s totally me and my husband. TO a T.

7. Name 5 things on your Bucket List that you hope you’ll check off before you die? I’m simple – travel to NYC and Chicago, run a marathon, visit all 50 states at least once, learn to swim like a pro (okay, not a pro, but decent), and keep my house clean (haha!)

8. If you could be known for one thing, what would it be and why? I have a huge passion for children who are placed in foster care. I also have a huge passion for drug exposed/addicted newborns/children and preemie babies. I have no doubt most of my friends know this. It all holds a special place in my heart and I like to help others who need someone with that experience.

9. Describe one “wow” moment in your life. When a judge gave my husband and I a seal of approval for our first child. I looked at him, then Jody and then realized that I was then a “mommy” permanently and no longer “pretending” to be a mommy to children who needed one for a certain amount of time.

10. If you could “be” anything (no consequences, no fear), what would you “be”? I would love to be someone that has no worries, whether it be money worries, family worries, etc. But alas, that will never happen. :)

tarahsig

April Pinterest Party Food

We were fairly low-maintenance and low-energy for this last Pinterest Party (not that you would ever know that by looking at this picture!) so we didn’t want to mess with too much in the way of food. What we DID have was great, though!

Aunt Toni lived in Chile once upon a time because of my uncle’s job. While they lived there, they became close with other American families working for the same company, also living in Chile. Every year, they have a “Chile Reunion” and this year, Aunt Toni is hosting it, so she was trying out some new recipes on us.

She made Caprese Tarts. Holy crap. These were some of the best things I’ve ever tasted! I have been thinking about them ever since, and that’s just not healthy. We did decide that next time (yes, there WILL be a next time, hopefully sooner rather than later) we would make them as one big tart and slice it instead of making individual tarts.

Caprese Tarts - RCHOTX

The first night we were there, it was just the three of us (Heather, Whitney, and Aunt Toni – she is now “Aunt Toni” to everyone in the group – ha!) so we had Taco Salad. Always easy, always good.

The next morning, we had Peaches and Cream French Toast. *I* loved it, but everyone else wasn’t as in love with it as I was. I liked that it wasn’t sickeningly sweet, and I think all the other girls wanted it to be sweeter. I would definitely make it again!

Peaches & Cream French Toast - RCHOTX

Aunt Toni made some Phyllo Wrapped Asparagus as an “appetizer” for lunch – we failed to get a picture of them (probably because we inhaled them) but they were awesome! The sauce was okay, but in my opinion, unnecessary. The phyllo and asparagus gave plenty in the flavor department.

For lunch, I made an Italian Sub Bake. Now, I did make a few changes to the recipe – I used a 9×13 pan instead of a 9×9. I used the crescent roll “sheets” instead of just the rolls – one on top and one on bottom. It was good, easy, and filling – I would classify it as “dude food”. I would make it again, my husband would love it!

Italian Sub Bake - RCHOTX

For dinner on Saturday night, we had an assortment of goodies. Everyone (well, everyone except me, because they kept me busy on the Silhouette) pitched in and made something!  We had Garlic & Brown Sugar Chicken, quinoa (from Homegoods – it was excellent), roasted asparagus, Copycat Texas Roadhouse Butter on pumpernickel bread, and “Most Requested Salad”. Holy cats, that was a good meal. I could eat that salad every day – however, the dressing turned out to be somewhat of a FAIL so I would probably use a flavored vinaigrette instead.

Saturday Dinner - RCHOTX

In another attempt to use us as (very willing) guinea pigs, Aunt Toni made a Sour Cream Lemon Pie. Now, it TASTED great. Not too tart, not too sweet – just perfect. However, it did NOT set up correctly. It could very well be our fault, but it doesn’t matter – because we decided that it would be better served as a parfait in individual champagne or wine glasses. It was really great lemon pudding :)

Sour Cream Lemon -Pie- - RCHOTX

Sunday morning, we had yet another French Toast – this time, Cinnamon French Toast Bake (with pecans AND without, for those fools that don’t love pecans). It was good, but I prefer the peaches & cream version.

Cinnamon French Toast Bake - RCHOTX

We didn’t end up staying for lunch because everyone was tired and we were at a good stopping point. Apparently some people wanted to get home to see their husbands/fiances/kids/dogs? Whatever that is about.

Our next Pinterest Party is slated for sometime in August, and then we’ll do another one in November, and possibly an emergency Pinterest Party in early January, since our honorary housewife, Paige, is marrying MY COUSIN and she is all about the Pinterest wedding. We’re here to help, Paige, and welcome to the family (glad you didn’t run away screaming, that would have been really sad)!

If you have any crafts/recipes you think we HAVE to try out, give us a shout and let us know! We’re pretty open :)

heathersig

 

Pinterest Party – April edition

I’m sure we all have a Pinterest Party hangover …or better yet, a craft hangover. That’s a thing, you know? Much like Whitney’s new term she coined “#craftworldproblems”. And yes, before you ask, we DO find ourselves very entertaining.

Facebook fans – you should recognize this picture of the Pinterest Party – April edition sneak peek!

Pinterest Party Collage | RCHOTX

We made the trip down to Heather/Whitney’s aunt’s house again. It’s just such a pretty house and we can all spread out. In all honesty, I wasn’t sure if I was going to go, but alas, my husband was able to “make it happen”. I brought some half-started projects, 2 projects to start and then 2 little baskets to paint. Whitney has a whole nursery to decorate and Heather is a our Silhouette bitc…. I mean, worker. She didn’t really have a list of crafts after she just came off of a big week of meetings for work out of town. She did make everyone some really cute name plaques after she went outside to the “scraps pile” from the house remodel that was going on.

Front door wreaths These two beauties were made by Paige and Ashley.

Paige was having her sweet fiancé paint their front door black this weekend while she was gone. She knew she was going to be returning with a yellow wreath so the door color needed to showcase. Heather showed her how to make the cute little fabric flowers, then we helped her with the idea of stringing “HELLO” across the center. Its just too cute!

Ashley’s wreath is the oval shape. HobLob has these cool oval shapes, in case you want one. This wreath has a super sweet story behind it. Those little rosettes down the side? Paige made those for Ashley’s wedding last year for her table number frames. Ashley spent Saturday morning ripping them off the frames so she could continue to use them in her house on the wreath. Add on that green burlap ribbon and she has a winner!

Maison Blanche Wrought Iron

Remember that field trip to Maison Blanche Paint Company? This is Heather’s take home door. It was painted with wrought iron, then Aunt Toni took the silver leaf to it. (Note – AT is a fan of this silver leaf. This is the second time she has used it and it gets EVERY.WHERE) The leaves were there glacaged part of the piece. I think it’s beautiful, even if it is that pesky silver leaf.

LAKE SIDE

SPEAKING of silver leaf – Aunt Toni’s project. These letters are the cardboard/chipboard material that you can get at HobLob and JoAnn Fabric. She used some Maison Blanche Robin’s Egg to paint the letters, then took the silver leaf to them, followed by some Maison Blanche dark brown wax. If you look closely, you can see the Robin’s Egg color peeking through. Also, note the little “specks” in front of the letters. It’s glitter’s ugly cousin – silver leaf. Its floats in the air and gets every thing it touches.

Recycled can

Paige recycled a can that Aunt Toni had saved. She painted the can Annie Sloan’s Old White, added some ribbon then added this really cute fabric flower. Very simple!

Addicting fabric flowers

ANNNNNND these fabric flowers. Oh these fabric flowers. They became “the craft” that everyone had to do (like these). Well, everyone but me, you know because they’re made of fabric and I don’t “do” fabric. Anyhow, I watched these little flowers become a quick addiction for them. As you can see there was quite a few made, and that’s not counting the ones on Paige’s wreath and can, or the ones on the “name” plaques that Heather made us all (you can see those in the very first picture collage).

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Stay tuned for the Pinterest Party recipe post and Whitney will be showcasing all of the nursery goodies she made. Baby Benjamin is most definitely going to sleep in a super cute room!

Any thing you see in the collage you want to see more of? Let us know!

tarahsig

Maison Blanche Part Three – Le Dirt and Organza

Remember those pieces of moulding I showed you in the first post Maison Blanche Layout

Maison Blanche makes two products – one is called Le Dirt and one is called Organza. Both of the products amazed all of us!

Once you have painted and waxed your piece, you can add Le Dirt to it to give it that old, antique-y feel. The wax helps it “stick” to the piece!

Before Le Dirt Maison Blanche - RCHOTX

 

(This picture was pre-waxing – I forgot to snap a pic after!)

Once we were all waxed and ready to go, we took our moulding and Le Dirt outside with a chipbrush. You definitely want to do this outside if possible, because it is a powder (much like dirt). You don’t want to inhale this stuff, and we made sure that Whitney did not do this part since she is pregnant. Annie @ Maison Blanche did not think there were any problems with a pregnant person using it, but we didn’t want to take the chance!

Le Dirt Maison Blanche - RCHOTX

 

First, you’re going to pour some Le Dirt onto your piece. Wherever the wax is, that is where the Le Dirt will stick!

Le Dirt Maison Blanche - RCHOTX (2)

 

Once it is on there, start brushing it off.

Le Dirt Maison Blanche - RCHOTX (3)

 

Keep brushing until you’re happy with it.

Le Dirt Maison Blanche - RCHOTX (4)

 

Can you see how it has settled into the crevices? It looks like an antique piece you would find in your grandmother’s attic! It completely changes the look of it.

The Organza really blew us away, and was probably our favorite product we used that day. Remember Whitney’s faux zinc coffee tables? Yeah, she has been kicking herself since we learned about this stuff – this makes it SO easy to get that same look with almost no work at all.

Moulding Before - Maison Blanche - RCHOTX

 

This was the “before” picture of the moulding. No wax, nothing but paint.

Moulding After - Pearl Gold Shimmer Maison Blanche - RCHOTX

 

Can you believe the difference?! I’m pretty sure a jar of this would last the normal person for years – we used VERY little of the product to get this effect.

Bayou Blue Before - Maison Blanche - RCHOTX

 

Moulding After - Silver Shimmer Maison Blanche

 

It is a cream and we just dabbed it on with a clean rag. You can wax it afterwards if you want (I probably would just to protect it). These pieces that we have pictures of have not been waxed.

Organza comes in three colors – Pearl Gold, Silver, and Gold. Whitney can’t wait to try the faux zinc look with this!

That’s it for our Maison Blanche “Heather Has a Big Mouth” Tour! You can find Maison Blanche on Pinterest, their website, and Facebook. All of us really had a blast at their warehouse when we went, and we would all love to go back if they invite us! Thanks again to Annie and Nicole – you girls are great! (Go check out Part One and Part Two if you haven’t already!)

heathersig