Monday, October 31, 2011

And So We Carved Pumpkins

This weekend, I was in a mood. Don't jump to conclusions here - it wasn't the kind of mood that comes along once a month. It was just...a mood. It's been hanging over me all week. It started Tuesday, I believe, and just would. not. leave. By Saturday morning, Ryan was ready to be rid of it. On Friday night, we'd decided to seize this (recently rare) Saturday together and carve pumpkins. It's always been one of my favorite things to do. I can still close my eyes and remember the first time that I got to actually HELP carve a pumpkin. I can see the driveway of our first house, my parents spreading newspaper on the ground, sitting in my Dad's lap squealing as I pulled the gooey pulp out of my pumpkin. Surely something that holds such great memories would cheer me up.

So, we hopped in the car and went on our pumpkin hunt. We debated driving out to THE Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch...but we decided the traffic + crowds wouldn't = an improved mood. So, we went to our favorite grocery store and found two pumpkins that would work perfectly.

I knew what I wanted to do. A cat sitting in the silhouette of the moon. So, I plotted out my attack and started carving.'s the problem. I suppose I'm a bit of a perfectionist. I've always been fairly crafty, and have always had people TELL ME I'm there is this personal pressure to make things "perfect". As I was sloooowly carving out my design (seriously, Ryan was moving at the speed of light compared to me), my mood was worsening. It wasn't going to be "perfect". At one point Ryan turned around, looked at my scowling face and asked me if I was even having any fun. I smiled and said I was and tried to loosen up. Once I carefully pulled the last bit of pumpkin out of my design, I WAS having fun. It was jagged and the cat's tail had broken (which is appropriate if you know our girl cat Chloe) but it was cute...and almost exactly how I'd imagined it.

Of course, Ryan's turned out better. He has better hand-eye coordination or something. But, I was good with that. My Dad was the better carver of my parents (though no one could hold a candle to my Mom when it came to dying eggs)...and maybe that's how it's supposed to be. My (future) kids will reap the benefits of his skills, just like my brother & I did. And by the end of the night, after several little tea lights illuminated our pumpkins, my mood was illuminated too.

My pumpkin, freshly carved.

Our pumpkins at dusk.

And after dark.
(Thank you Instagram for upping the creepy-factor of Ryan's pumpkin even more.)


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Adventures in Beauty - Marbled Nails

I love all things "beauty". Hair, make-up, nails - all of it. In my downtime, I have been known to read blogs, watch YouTube videos, and more recently stalk Pintrest, for hours looking at tips, tricks, techniques and ideas. I try a lot of them, and usually report to a handful of my friends on how it went. After many of them urged me to start blogging about it, I decided that would be a great way to get me blogging more often!

So...I give you - Adventures in Beauty!

This is my most recent (as in, yesterda) endeavor. I've always liked to have my nails done or painted. It makes me feel more feminine. And I have about 10 go-to colors that I alternated based on time of year. The problem? They were all a variation of red. Pink, reds, maroons...and one dark purple. They served their purpose, but as I scrolled through pictures on Pintrest, I found myself attracted to colors that were not in the red family. I found one post in particular that I knew I had to try. Nail marbling!

So, on Monday, I took my 20% off coupon to Ulta and I bought 4 new colors.

O.P.I. "French Quarter for Your Thoughts" (a lovely Greige, which is a mix of gray and beige) and Orly "Blue Collar" (almost a turquoise), "Lemonade" (obviously, yellow) and "Gumdrop" (seafoam green)

I was set and ready to tackle the daunting task. And I do mean daunting. This is a tedious, temperamental process. I'd tried it for fun once before, but with a couple of my shades of red, and it hadn't turned out great. But I was determined.

I got my little bowl of room temp water, my orange stick (or tooth pick), my lotion, a paper towel, some tissues and the colors. (Yeah, see, daunting.)

First, I painted my nails with the Greige color.

After it was good and dry, went one finger at a time. I applied a liberal amount of lotion, making sure to not rub it in all the way.

Now, I failed to take a picture of the next part because you have to move so fast...but I will explain it as best I can and link a helpful YouTube video below.

Next, you drop the colors into the water. I started with the greige, let is spread out, then dropped the almost turquoise on top, let that spread, dropped the yellow, let is spread, dropped the seafoam green, let it spread - and repeated the process. Once I had the number of layers I wanted (again, speed is key), I gently pulled my orange stick through the "oil spill" of nail polish until it was swirled to my liking. Then, I put my nail directly into it, waited a few seconds, used the orange stick to remove the color from around my finger, and pulled my finger out. Then, I simply wiped away the polish from my skin (thanks to the lotion, it came right off). I did have to clean up the close edges with nail polish remover (I snapped the picture before I'd done that).

It's far from perfect, but I love it anyway. Be patient with's going to take some time...but the end result is so, so cool. And if you want to SEE it done, or if my directions confused you (very possible), check out this video tutorial. (She uses tape instead of lotion, but I found lotion much easier.)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Will I Ever Blog Again?

That's what I've been asking myself.

"Will I ever blog again?"

I WANT to. I MISS it. But...I am suddenly at a loss of anything for substance to write about.

I thought about doing an iPhone dump. But none of my pictures are worth sharing.

I thought about talking about my favorite sport, baseball, and the Rangers. But I've done that already.

I thought about posting a recipe. But I don't have any new ones to share.

I'll think of something. I hope. Maybe. Eventually.

Until then...I don't even have a clever closing statement.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Take A Step Back

We have been BUSY. And when life picks up and calendars get full, it's easy to become overwhelmed by it all. [Not me of course. I never get overwhelmed. ;) ]

It's easy to overlook the good things in your daily life when you are suddenly so activity-driven. Sometimes, amidst the chaos, you have to take a step back and remember to take it all in, and be grateful for it.

I've been busy with conflicting work schedules. I work the standard 8-5 but Ryan has been working mostly at night. This is tough...but it makes us appreciate the time we DO get to spend together, that much more.

I've been busy with concerts, birthdays and dinner dates. Yes, I've lost some sleep, but is there any possible way to NOT feel grateful for a calendar full of those things? Those things mean quality time with my closest friends - the amazing people I love so very much.

I've been busy with all the things that come with being a Bridesmaid...but let's be honest, that's nothing but fun! (Kim - you are getting married in less than a month!!!)

I've been busy...I've been a tad overwhelmed at moments...but I've also been extremely grateful.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Something Beautiful

I know I've been blogging about the Denton Women's Collective a lot lately, but it's been a very active part of my life for the past year or so. Over the summer, I hosted a meeting and talked about something that is very important to me.

Something beautiful.

Operation Beautiful.

It's a wonderful movement in which women post uplifting post-it notes in places for other women to see. Bathroom mirrors, inside magazines, at the gym, in the airport, in dressing rooms, etc.

At the meeting I hosted, I told the girls about this movement. I gave them each the necessary utensils and asked them to participate. And they did. It was so moving for me to get new pictures from the girls, showing their post-its. I made a collage and sent it to Operation Beautiful founder, Caitlyn. And today, she emailed me. She thanked me for my email and expressed how awesome she thinks we are. And said "It's going up today!"

As if posting the notes on their own wasn't fulfilling enough, seeing OUR post-its on the site filled me with joy. I just hope that the women who saw our notes were positively impacted...and maybe they even posted a note of their own.

And I challenge YOU to give it a try. It really makes you feel good, thinking of the next women who will see your note.