Tag Archives: Texas

It’s good to be home (I think)

Hey, remember me? I’m just now starting to catch my breath after being gone for (basically) two weeks straight!

I went to a meeting in Kerrville, TX for my company (I LOVE the Kerrville area) – then, the day after that I headed to our Pinterest Party, and THEN I was asked to go to St. Louis to help out in another store for a few days. As you can imagine, I’m exhausted, but I did manage to have some fun, shop, eat good food, and maybe do a little work too while I was gone.

Of course we had to stop and eat/shop/play on our way from Fort Worth to Kerrville, so (of course) I took some pictures! Looking at these, I guess I was having a “let’s check out light fixtures” kind of day…

We ate at Tea-Licious in Burnet, Texas for lunch. It was (obviously) a tea room, and there was a little gift shop there too. My favorite part about Tea-Licious? The pickles. I would have gladly eaten three jars of them.

Handkerchief Light Fixture @ Tealicious Burnet - RCHOTX

Our next stop was Fredericksburg (yes, we skipped Pie Happy Hour at Bluebonnet Cafe in Marble Falls – I know, it’s a sin).

We picked up our friends at the Peach Tree Tea Room (great food, great cookbooks, cute little gift shop! I always try to eat there when I go to Fredericksburg), and did a little Main Street shopping.

My favorite store (also fairly new, or new to me!) was Red. It is kind of at the end of Main Street and is unlike any other store I’ve seen in Fredericksburg. Very modern, very trendy, not country at all :)

Paper and Metal Lampshades @ RED - RCHOTX

Holey Metal Light Fixtures @ Red - RCHOTX

Funky Fixture @ Red - RCHOTX

Cute pillows @ Red - RCHOTX

Wall of Clipboards @ Red - RCHOTX

You're Kind of a Big Deal @ Red - RCHOTX

grammar dinnerware @ Red - RCHOTX

They had a ton of other cool things too, but the employees were very… vigilant, and I wasn’t sure about taking pictures (that also explains the blurriness of some of these). See what I do for you guys? One thing that I wish I had gotten a picture of was a tufted bench that had been reupholstered – but each button was a different color or pattern. I LOVED it.

If you ever make your way down to Fredericksburg, be sure and stop at Red. It’s a fun little store :)

Stay tuned for the St. Louis part of my trip!


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.


Spiked pulled pork

Spiked pulled pork

I bet you’re asking me why it’s called “Spiked pulled pork”? Last weekend, while I was at Pinterest Party I sent my husband a text asking him to put the roast in the slow cooker at noon so we could have it for dinner when I got home on Sunday. I sent him the very simple directions to follow. He okayed and did it.

Fast forward to Sunday night when I arrived home, after the Pin Party and going grocery shopping. We get everything all together for dinner and to the table. I’m pulling the pork apart, commenting on how tender it was. Literally falling apart as I touch it with the fork. He makes no comments, we sit down to eat, I take a bite. It might be the best pulled pork we’ve had in a while.

He happily announces “Oh I added a little to it. It didn’t look like it was going to cook well with just the BBQ sauce so I looked up and saw the vodka on the fridge.”

At least he didn’t make it spicy. And … he did cook.

Spiked pulled pork (crockpot/slow cooker)


  • Pork shoulder (also known as pork butt, I don't ask why.)
  • BBQ sauce (I use Austin's Own or Weber brand - neither have HFCS)
  • Vodka


  1. Cover bottom of the cooker dish with some BBQ sauce.
  2. Place pork roast on top of BBQ sauce and pour BBQ sauce over the top of the roast
  3. Add a 1/2 cup to cup of vodka (or in his words "Pour freely")
  4. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, turning over a few times for perfect tenderness
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And I’m really not kidding when I say its probably the most tender, fall apart pork I’ve had.


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. :)


DIY wedding invitation design

I spent the most of January through March helping plan my BFF’s wedding. Remember that pallet project? Well, we did a whole lot more.

Lindsay, the BFF, admits to not being crafty. I can attest that she is good at a lot of things, and crafts are most definitely not her “thing”. When we sat down on the Saturday before her wedding, I worked on a few projects. She sat, cut fabric squares for her guestbook project and her hair piece for hours.

Before all that, we had to decide on herDIY wedding invitation design. I told her I’d design them and we could make them for much cheaper than buying them. We did a 3 piece set – the invitation, RSVP card and map card.

Invitations to make | RCHOTXShe found a design that she liked, but we altered it. Her “theme” (if that’s what we call it) was burlap and lace with purple. I had this awesome idea to take lace and use it as a stencil on the back layer of the invite. I should have taken a picture of that FAIL. It was awful.

1st layer of invitations | RCHOTX

THIS is the layer that was to have the stenciled on lace. It was a great idea …in my head.

Wedding invitations | RCHOTXThe design of the typography 

Final invitation | RCHOTX

I think they turned out quite nice. We found some 1″ burlap ribbon online at Save on Crafts, the purple ribbon and paper came from HobLob when it was on sale, of course. Everyone knows that you NEVER pay full price at HobLob.

Invitation set | RCHOTX

The complete set

This wedding was most definitely a huge DIY project. I have a few more projects to share from the wedding. Also, here’s a few projects around the house I’m about to get started on as well. Now that it’s FINALLY spring in Texas, it’s more comfortable to go outside. So some painting can be done. I don’t paint in the house unlike other people *coughWHITNEYHEATHERcough* I’m far too messy for that.


Etsy Roundup {Opening Day!}

Y’all, I’m a huge baseball fan. HUGE! My husband’s friend (the one in the videos) told him yesterday, “I’m sorry you’re about to lose your wife. Baseball season starts tomorrow.” I was also told I need to get a small TV for my craft room. I’m taking donations for that now so that I can watch baseball AND blog/craft/design. Let me know if you want my Paypal address to donate money to the fund.

In honor of this obsession/addiction I have with baseball, here is a fun little Etsy Roundup!

Shawn St. Peter Photography - Vintage Baseballs, $30.00

Source: etsy.com via Tarah @ on Pinterest


Rock-N-Mama DesignsBaseball Junkie, $28.00

Source: etsy.com via Tarah @ on Pinterest


Polkadot AppleVintage Baseball Burlap Pillow, $22.95

Source: etsy.com via Tarah @ on Pinterest


Appalachian Primitive, Marriage Baseball Season sign, $15.00
I most definitely need this sign. It fits for this household. I was actually asked if I wouldn’t watch EVERY.SINGLE.GAME this season. Who does he think he is?

Source: etsy.com via Tarah @ on Pinterest


Vinyl Wall Accents4 Baseball silhouettes, $38.00

Source: etsy.com via Tarah @ on Pinterest


And of course, in honor of my beloved Texas Rangers (and yes, they did lose tonight *sad frowny face*) …

Jill Be NimbleTexas Rangers tank top, $26.00

Source: etsy.com via Tarah @ on Pinterest


Pinkie Toes BoutiqueShabby Chic Texas Rangers headband, $9.95

Source: etsy.com via Tarah @ on Pinterest





Fort Worth Food Park

A week and half ago, Heather, Kevin and I went to Fort Worth’s awesome Food Park. This particular weekend they were having a dog food drive for Homeward Bound. I, personally, forgot the dog food, but Heather, as always, is on top of it and brought some.

Our first truck to stop at was Red Jett Sweets to make sure we got our dessert. Heather had a Red Jett Velvet cupcake, while Kevin and I chose to be more adventurous, trying The B.M.T (bacon + maple together!). Next, it was to decide what to eat. The trucks for the night definitely gave us a range of food choices – Simply Dosa, salsa limon, Gepetto’s Pizza and Easy Slider Truck.


Kevin decided on pizza as his dinner choice.

“First time I had Gepetto’s Pizza. The crust was the best part. Perfectly cooked. The onions were awesome. I normally don’t like onions but theirs were great. Perfect amount of cheese, pepperoni, and sausage. It was probably eight to ten inches around, cut into four pieces.” -Kevin

I’ve had Gepetto’s Pizza prior to this outing and I thought it was great then. Glad to hear from Kevin his thoughts are similar. It’s really a good pizza, and he’s so right about the crust. It was my favorite part as well.

Heather and I, so much alike in so many ways, both wound up at Easy Slider. We each got 3 sliders for $10. Not so shockingly, each got 2 that were the same – Sweet & Lowdown and The Roadside. I also tried the French Revolution and Heather’s 3rd one was the Nutty Pig, which I must say is completely NOT something she’d normally order, but I don’t think the Sweet & Lowdown would be something she’d order either.









The French Revolution does not have a picture as it’s a specialty. It was my second favorite. Heather and I both really liked the Sweet & Lowdown. There’s something about the strawberry jam and goat cheese that just made that burger. It was so good, that I can still taste it and now, I want one. We all tried the Nutty Pig, and surprisingly, a burger with peanut butter on it, not too bad. NOT too bad. My least favorite was most definitely The Roadside. I didn’t even finish it.

I don’t eat beef very often anymore so eating these were a bit of a risk for me. I’m glad I took the risk. I’m definitely going to get some more of that Sweet & Lowdown, maybe even my own Nutty Pig.

Now for the cupcakes, you remember, the ones we bought first. We didn’t eat them first though. We were at least adult about that decision.


The Red Jett Velvet was just that – red velvet.

The B.M.T, however, oh my goodness. I’m beginning to think that bacon should just be in EVERY.MEAL.FROM.NOW.ON. Seriously. The bacon was in the actual cupcake and the maple icing on top. YUM! It worked so well together.

“Cupcake. The icing looked like dog crap but obviously (I guess) tasted better. Bacon was an unexpected flavor but I thought it was perfect with the maple flavor. A breakfast cupcake, for sure.” – Kevin

**In Kevin’s defense, the way cupcake shops “present” the icing is a bit on the “dog crap pile” side. We both really loved the cupcake as a whole though. :)

Sadly, there is no picture of said awesome cupcake because we were clearly eager to stuff our faces with them. Next time, maybe.

What did Heather think of The B.M.T?


 She messaged me WHILE I was typing this to say she didn’t like it. Hmph.

If you haven’t been to a food truck park, or even had food from a food truck, you are truly missing out. I’ve had grilled cheese from one of the trucks, and you know what — BEST grilled cheese I’ve ever had. Not even kidding. Find out if you have in food trucks in your area and try it out. The trucks here in the DFW travel back and forth between Dallas and Fort Worth. That’s pretty nice because you have the opportunity to try new ones occasionally.

Speaking of the DFW area — moms, moms-to-be, dads, grandmas and pas, there’s a new consignment sale happening in Grapevine in April. These consignment sales are awesome and Growing Growing Gone is sure to be a hit just like others. If you’re in need of new baby/kids items (clothes, toys, just about anything you can think of), plan to attend April 19-21 at the Grapevine Convention Center. See, it’s even located right in the middle.


The things my husband talks me into | Two Dudes on a Bicycle



Equal sign


Hey y’all, my husband, Jody, and his friend David are looking to raise funds so they can purchase this bicycle off of craigslist. Seriously, what could be funnier than Jody, the bigger of the two, riding up front and David right behind him. Poor David’s hands will be in an unfortunate place. 

They will be doing bike “tours” on this bike, which apparently are different than races, and have already thought of a name, “Team Sausage”. Jody has even threatened to train to ride the Hotter Than Hell in 2014 on this bike with David.  That’s a 100 mile (century as my hubby says) ride. These two started riding their bicycles to work about a year and half ago. They ride together and work together. Ain’t it cute?!?!

Let’s help these two goof balls out and have some fun laughing once the videos are made. I will share links of their video’s from time to time, because let’s be honest — seeing two men who are 6’4 and 6’6 riding a tandem bicycle makes me roll over with laughter. I mean the conversations that have taken place of discussing the bike have been hilarious. What kind of conversations you ask?

Jody: “we will have to be really in sync to ride that bike. That’s why it’s normally a man and woman.”
Me: “y’all are pretty in sync. If you and David were women, your periods would be in sync”

And there ya go, folks. I’m clearly the comedian in the house.

Two dudes on a bicycle is their fundraising page. And seriously, they’ve already raised $100 and they started this quest about 7 hours ago.


Pin there. Done that. {1 + 1}

Y’all, Pin there. Done that. is BACK this week! I don’t remember why I didn’t do it last week. My house has been full of sick people, me included. I think we’ve all bounced back. There’s a pretty ugly stomach bug going around. I would avoid it if you can.

I decided to combine two pins that I’ve pinned in the past.

Source: copious.com via Tarah on Pinterest


Obviously I didn’t use the state of California, because who would want to use that? I’m totally kidding, if you WANT use a shape of California, go for it. Bless your heart. ;) I recently found on my Cricut SCAL program that it has the shapes of the states. I was so excited, I knew exactly what I was going to do with the state of Texas.

Paint and foil | RCHOTX Canvas and paint | RCHOTX Papers | RCHOTX


  • canvas
  • 2 shades of brown paint
  • cardstock
  • heart shape from a previous project
  • Cricut
  • modge podge

I painted the canvas to start. While the canvas dried I went through the tedious process of finding the “right” cardstock. Since I knew where I was going to put this project, it was easier to pick out my paper. Then I put my Cricut to work.

Cricut working | RCHOTXTHIS is what it looks like for this bad boy to work. 

I really thought the shape of the Texas would take a lot longer. I loaded the paper, hit CUT on the program and went to work on something else. I didn’t even get situated in my chair and the box saying the cutting was done came up and the Cricut had stopped. I was impressed by that! Next was the job of finding the perfect font that looks similar to the one in the pin. It didn’t have to be, but I liked the BOLDNESS of the font.

My pile of letters | RCHOTX

Letters cut and ready to start but … 


not before I do something inappropriate with the letters. 

Hey Y'all | RCHOTX

Yeah, I know the modge podge is still wet. Instead of doing it in my craft room, I ran into the living room to catch an episode of my “favorite” show, House Hunters (and maybe an episode of Moonshiners). I did the letters a tad too big, but I’m okay with that. I managed to work with it. I’m sure if Heather had made it, her heart would be south for Austin.

What do y’all think?? Did I pull off combining the two pins?

Total time from start to finish – about 35 minutes

Shared at My Repurposed Life

Happy Hour Projects
504 MainThe Shabby NestWeekend Bloggy ReadingHookingupwithHoH

The Humble Brag Link Party

DIY Show Off


My favorite place in the world – Austin, Texas

Austin - Best Place Ever | RCHOTX

Whenever I get to feeling uneasy about things (there’s a lot going on behind the scenes in my life right now!), I get restless. I want to run away. That’s normal for a 35 year old, right? Probably not. I’m just talking about running away for a few days – I’d miss the puppies too much to be gone much longer than that!

Any time my husband and I talk about going somewhere, we both automatically say, “Austin”. That’s our favorite place. Ever. Seriously. I’m pretty sure I was born to live there, but I haven’t made it that far yet. Someday I will, though. Mark my words!

Now, to be fair, when I say Austin, I mean Austin and the surrounding areas – not just Austin proper (although we love Austin proper too). Since I can’t drop everything and go right now, here are some of our favorite things about Austin.

Absolute best place we have ever stayed in the fifteen years we have been together – hands down, the Inn Above Onion Creek in Kyle, Texas. It’s about 15 minutes south of Austin, a ways off of I-35.

Inn Above Onion Creek | RCHOTX

My dad gave us 2 nights here and 2 nights at Inn On Pearl Street (IN Austin, near the UT campus) for our honeymoon. Yeah, that was over 8 years ago and I’m still itching to go back! The cool thing about this place is that they serve breakfast AND dinner for the guests. I had the best meal of my life (thus far) here – I don’t know if that means I need to get out more or not, but it was excellent. I’m pretty sure my husband would agree!

Best meal of my life | RCHOTX

I recommend it to everyone I know that is going to Austin. If that’s not enough, here’s a picture of the view from the back porch of our beautiful suite.

Hill Country sunset | RCHOTX

Our favorite place to visit is Mt. Bonnell. I know, I know, it’s a tourist trap, whatever. It’s beautiful and totally worth climbing the 100 stairs to get to the top. We go every time we manage to make it to Austin – it’s tradition with us.

Mt Bonnell Dedication | RCHOTX

Mt Bonnell 2000 | RCHOTXMt Bonnell 2004 | RCHOTX

That’s 2000 and 2004 right there, folks. I can’t find our more recent pictures from Mt. Bonnell, and honestly, they may not exist! Whoops. Mt. Bonnell is the highest point in Austin, and the views are amazing.

Our favorite thing to do is get lost. Yes, you read that correctly. We spend most of our time exploring Austin and the surrounding areas! Back in the day before GPS, we had a crappy atlas and that was it. When we saw something cool, we stopped and got out of the car. We still have our old atlas, even though it is completely obsolete at this point, with all of our writing in it about what we discovered. I should probably find that and put the Austin page in a frame!

The last time we went – it’s been a few years – if I am remembering correctly, we put about  700 miles on the rental car (not including driving there and back). When I say we explore, I mean WE EXPLORE. Neither one of us are scared of getting lost, thank heavens! We took a really exciting (well, exciting for us) drive last time and afterwards found out it is one of the more popular roads for motorcyclists and is all over the internets as such. Ha! Needless to say, we know our way around Austin pretty well.

Knowing where you are comes in handy. For example, on our quick little honeymoon, the transmission in our rental car went out. Yes. WENT OUT. I was driving, and we were on a 2 lane road on a hill. Luckily, I found a spot to pull over, and we called the rental car company, who then called a cab and a tow truck. An hour passed, and still no cab OR tow truck. Finally, the tow truck showed up, and the cab driver called us. How is it that *I* don’t live there, yet *I* had to tell him how to get to where we were?! Long story short, I begged the tow truck driver to take us to the nearest gas station and we waited for the cab there, because he still couldn’t find us. Now we drive by the spot where we were stranded and laugh. I wasn’t laughing on the day it happened, though! And that’s my honeymoon disaster story. {Takes a bow}

Okay, I’ll get to it. If we are in Austin, we will most likely be at one of these places:

Threadgill’s (preferably the Lamar location). The veggies are to die for. All of them.

Donn’s Texas BBQ (my great uncle used to own this, now his daughter does) I grew up on this barbecue, and I still have to stop every time and get a pint of potato salad. It is the best potato salad on the planet, and we can’t be friends if you don’t agree with me on that.

Kerbey Lane Cafe (preferably the Kerbey Lane location, but if we’re being honest it’s usually the north Austin location in a strip mall – BOO!) Gingerbread pancakes and awesome queso. Not together. Enough said.

Magnolia Cafe (South Congress location only!) Cheap, good food. Excellent people watching potential here. Cute gift shop next door too – it always gets me in trouble!

Amy’s Ice Cream (doesn’t matter which location – I’m equal opportunity Amy’s) We love going to Amy’s. They are just fun. One time we were at the Arboretum location, and an employee offered a free ice cream to anyone who jumped into the fountain. Yes, they gave out several free ice creams that cool evening (not to me!). You never know what you’re walking into at that place. My favorite? Sweet Cream and coconut.

Chuy’s (Barton Springs location) How could I NOT eat at my favorite Mexican food restaurant every time I go to Austin? It doesn’t matter that we have them up here in D/FW now. It’s just different in Austin. Besides, their Elvis is the coolest one.

You must think all we do is eat! Not true.

Waterloo Records – My Dad used to force me to go to Waterloo for hours on end growing up. I hated it then. I’ll be honest, I still don’t like hanging out there for too long, but luckily my husband doesn’t make me. Not to mention, I usually have the keys, so I could technically leave him there if I wanted to. He wouldn’t mind.

BookPeople – Only the coolest bookstore I’ve ever been in. I would hate to be a Barnes & Noble in Austin, is all I’m saying.

Central Market (38th Street/Lamar) – This is the original Central Market. That store is like a Heather magnet. I will go and just walk around for hours. This is my Waterloo.

Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum – this museum should be required for any visitor who passes through Austin (or Texas, for that matter!) It is SO much fun!

Wimberley, TX – cute little town not far from Austin (really close to the Inn Above Onion Creek, actually!). We usually spend a day there, shopping and eating and walking.

San Marcos, TX – my only advice is to SKIP the outlet malls. There is so much more in San Marcos! It’s a neat little area.

Gruene, TX – yet another small town. It is basically one main street, so it’s easy to do in a few hours.

There is so much that we have NOT explored in and around Austin. These are just some of the places that are “regulars” for us, and our visits just aren’t the same if we don’t go to all of them.

Have you been to Austin? What are some of your favorite places?



Time Out Tuesday

Each Tuesday, I’m going to remind you to take a time out!  Whether it’s for yourself, your family, your hubby, your girlfriends, your God, Slow your pace for a few minutes and listen to what I have to share.  I promise I won’t preach, I just want you to think.

School is back in session.  The CRAZY season has slowed to a halt.  For the last couple of weeks, our family has tried to squeeze in every.single.thing.we.possibly.could.  That leaves a girl TIRED!

Know what feeds the whooped mama’s soul?  Girlfriends!

Tarah, Whitney, and Brittaney – Girls Trip 2012!

Aunt Toni, Christie, and Heather – Girls Trip 2012!

I hope that you have a friend that you can be completely real with.  They know you inside and out, they know how to keep it real and tell you to get your PMS in check, or to put your big girl panties on and deal with it.   A valuable jewel is the friend that you can call at 3 AM to tell them “I JUST GOT ENGAGED!!”

Or your husband can pick up the phone and call her and say in a moment of panic when you are 14 months pregnant in the dead of August with ankles the size of your head and your water just broke glowing while approaching your due date “The water is now missing!  We are headed to the hospital!”   (Hey.  Cut Golf Guy a break.  He was uber supportive, just didn’t quite have the OB/GYN speak down)

I am SO very fortunate to have this group of gals.  I hope you have one or more friends like this in your life.  I cannot think of one momentous occasion (good or bad) in the last 20 years that Heather, Whitney, or Brittaney wasn’t there for.  I have a feeling that Tarah will be this for all of us in years to come, too!  She is just one of those people that after talking to her for 30 minutes, you feel like you have known her your whole life.

The night I got engaged, Brittaney was on the receiving end of the 3 AM phone call. (She did, after all, introduce me to my husband.  She told me before we met that this was the guy I would marry.  I didn’t really believe her, but she hasn’t been too over the top with an I TOLD YOU SO!)  The day Britt’s dad had an aneurysm, Heather was there in the waiting room.  The day I brought my daughter home from the hospital, Whitney and Heather were both there, and Whitney had just found out that Logan was on the way!  For each of our graduations, weddings, the births/adoptions of each of our children, the promotions, the times dreams of a budding career are dashed with the dark cloud of a lay off,  we have all been there for each other.  As we grow into our lives, the “big girl” problems of the world rear their ugly head.  Last year,  my father in law passed away unexpectedly.  Before the sun was up, Heather and Kevin were at our door with breakfast, coffee, juice, and kleenex.  None of us knew what to say, but when it counts, your friends show up.  They sit in the raw, rotten moments with you.  They breathe for you when you can’t breathe yourself.  They help you put one foot in front of the other and keep going.

The fabric of our friendship is tightly woven.  Some of that comes with history, but a lot of that comes with intention.  Be intentional about the people you allow in to your circle.  Invest in the lives of the people you care about.  It’s so easy to get caught up in school schedules, soccer games, baseball practice, dance recitals, piano lessons.  Stop.  Look around for a minute.  When was the last time that YOU had an adult conversation?  I promise that other women out there are as hungry for friendship and relationship as you are.  Insecurity and self doubt can be a dreadful curse.  Don’t get caught up in making your mind up about the way other women feel about you.  Extend a hand.  Be a friend.  When you have someone to walk through life with, your burdens are a whole lot easier to bear, and your laughter is truly multiplied.

A good girlfriend will make you “Sny”, a term coined by Heather.  This comes from something that makes you laugh so hard you snort and cry. Case in point, see our friend The Bearded Iris’s helpful hints here.  Only a friend who loves you will simultaneously make you laugh so hard you cry and wish for the floor to swallow you whole.  Friends will share good tips they have read online.  Good friends will share their personal experience with the products mentioned online.  Friends who are more like sisters will sit around on someone’s patio (with all husbands present) giving the product tester the Spanish inquisition.  Does the fun stop there?  No.  Heather knows how to hold one’s feet to the fire.  She walks right up to the original blogger (Who is incidentally a really cool chick that we all met at Haven) to let her know that someone in our group has sampled the goods.   Two months later, and we can all still giggle if we think about those days.

A GIRLFRIEND IS AN INVESTMENT IN YOUR SANITY!   I promise you, you will be so glad that you have those memories to look back on.  You can have entire conversations with just a look.

Without any further adieu, for your viewing pleasure….Here are some snapshots of our lives from the last decade or so.  Welcome to our world!

Heather’s wedding with Christie, Heather, Whitney & Brittaney

Heather playing the bedazzled pirate with Britt’s daughter

Beyonce. Enough Said.

Those were the days! Christie and Heather at Brittaney’s wedding

Thrift Shopping – Hill Country Edition

While Heather, Whitney and Sars (along with Paige and Aunt Toni) had the Pinterest Party, I was at Mother/Daughter Weekend with my husband’s family (my mother-in-law/sister-in-law/cousins/aunt) in Hunt/Kerrville, Texas. We did a little swimming in the pool and a little lazy floating in the Guadalupe River (not floating down the river, mind you). We ventured into Kerrville on Saturday morning for a little thrift shopping. They have quite a few neat little thrift shops, and the names of some of them are cute!

fun fantastic fabulous Finds

ReRuns – A whole new resale experience

ReRuns and fun fantastic fabulous Finds were 2 of the shops we went into. They had the best names. I like that they thought outside the box for a name instead of “Boring City Thrift Store”.

So .. to my finds this week!

Tarah’s thrifty treasures

Every thing in this picture is going to be altered. The giant red pegboard/frame combo ($6) is going in the “Craft Room of less Shame” and painted purple. It’s for organization in case you were wondering. The smaller frame ($2) is going to be a Pinterest project for my kitchen. I bought some larger flatware a few weeks ago and I was just waiting to find the perfect frame of it.


The odd shaped container ($1) is just going to be used for decoration and painted a color to be determined. That fabulous item is what my sister-in-law thinks was one of the best finds. I found it on my second go-round in the first store we went to. I just happened to see it and it struck me as “fabulous” and of course, I needed it. Upon closer inspection, it’s a liquor container that had 100 Proof alcohol in it at some point in it’s life. I believe it was fate for me to have it for that reason alone. The star tree topper ($6) is going to be painted a lovely color to be determined, and will not used as a tree topper.

My sister-in-law was kind enough to take a picture of her finds. She is a 4th grade teacher in Austin, and was on a mission to furnish a part of her room with Texas History finds. I think she accomplished her mission.

Texas History treasures

The large wooden Texas ($15) is something I found for her. It is my favorite of her treasures. Each county in Texas is represented with a little wooden tile in the shape of the county. It is fabulous and perfect for Texas History. The print on the bottom left is actually a numbered and signed piece for only $1. A steal!

While we’re on her purchases, see that lovely bluebonnet pillow (combined with the a jar – $1.40) . Its not just a pillow, y’all. It is a pillow sewed into a tote bag. It’s a tote pillow. A TOTE PILLOW! She received much grief over the awesome tote pillow from me and cousin Tori.

And one last picture to leave you with ….

Want a ride?

What were your thrifty treasures this week?

Linked up to Rhoda’s “Today’s Thrifty Treasures” party – every Monday! 


Worth It Wednesdays: Getaway at the JW

As much as I like to keep it on the cheap, there are some things that are just ‘worth it’. And so today, dear reader (because we only have one reader right now), I bring you the first installment of Worth It Wednesdays.

Each Wednesday I will bring you a product, experience, purchase or whatever that I think is ‘worth it’. My criteria for things that are ‘worth it’ is simple: it must enrich my life.

We are all very busy people doing very important things with very little time. But sometimes it just seems that you are the busiest person of them all, right? In addition to the responsibilities to my own family and job, lately I’ve had more commitments to my extended family and my volunteer work. About once a quarter to every six months, the responsibilities and my inability to “Just Say No” collide and I need a break.

Enter in the J.W. Marriott Hill Country Resort.

Guys, this is my get-a-way that’s not too faraway. It’s the perfect location for a girls weekend, a romantic weekend or a family staycation. I know this because in the last year I have been here for all three types of weekends. I know some of you like that Hyatt Hill Country or whatever it’s called. I’ve been there. This place trumps it.

For this weekend we met up with my brother-in-law, his wife and their son. My nephew is 5 months older than Mack and the two are like peas in a pod. We also brought my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law’s mother to help us watch the boys. Although our baby-sitting plans didn’t go as smooth as we anticipated (tired, grumpy pre-schoolers can be a match even for their Mimi and Mamae), their help allowed us all to get plenty of sun and pool time.

The first thing you do upon arrival at any hotel is hide in the pillows:

You also force your child to take photos with you:

And your husband:

And both of them:

Mack highly recommends the nightly s’mores:

And of course, sleeping by the pool:

There is so much room for activities at the JW (name that movie) – you are sure to become over-stuffed, relaxed and properly sun-kissed if you visit. The pool side pina coladas are some of the best I have ever had (even at $9 a pop). The burnt brisket ends at Cibolo Moon are the perfect appetizer after a long day at the pool. If you are able, sun yourself at the adults only pool. The infinity pool overlooks the golf course towards the west so you can watch the sun set.

You will not be disappointed if you make time for yourself and your family to take a visit. The pool, slides and lazy river are heated to 86 degrees – even in the winter. The hospitality is great without being over the top and it’s a long enough drive from DFW that you feel you are getting ‘away from it all’. Take 281 from Austin, you won’t be disappointed in the scenic drive.

And now, the cost. Okay, this place is definitely a splurge. If you have Marriott Rewards or are a member of Triple-A, you can get some great discounts, otherwise the nightly rate is about $350. Drink your own wine in your room to save money and bring snacks to save on breakfast and treats. There are refrigerators in all of the rooms and some of the suites even have smaller kitchens. An average meal in one of the two on-property restaurants is about about $20/pp, at the pool about $12/pp. There is a great steak house in the golf club and our visit there came out to about $75/pp. That is definitely a special occasion meal. Upon arrival, each adult gets one free drink ticket and there’s a great bar down from the lobby to have happy hour in while you wait for you bags to get to your room.

So, when’s the next girl’s weekend?