Patio and yard improvements

In preparation for Sprog’s grad party we’ve been working very hard on cleaning up and improving our yard and patio spaces. I doubt you care about the many hours of yard work and resulting bags of limbs, leaves and grass we carried out for several trash cycles in a row. What you might care about, however, are the things we bought and how we have set things up.

We have two back patios and a covered front porch but for the purposes of this party we only focused our efforts on the backyard.

For the little patio aka my patio, the changes were minor: sunny yellow spray paint for the black bistro set and some fresh plants for the planters.
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On the larger patio aka Willy’s patio
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We purchased a new larger table, which I am obsessed with, and three heavy duty but modern white plastic chairs from Ikea. I also bought 3 woven chairs with arms from Big Lots.

The cushioned glider bench and reclining chair have always been on this patio just in different locations.

As an early Father’s Day gift we picked this up for Willy
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It’s not in its final location in this pic however.

This table was in place of our former smaller glass table with cheapo chairs (2 of which are in the trash after ripping) from Target. The table is still functional and we needed the eating space regardless so I grabbed some new chairs, on sale, from Target and set the whole thing up with the umbrella from my little patio and put it out in the yard.
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Finally, we have a little fire pit area in process. We still need to add gravel or sand or rubber mulch as the ground cover out there but I like the place holder in the meantime.
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Here’s a wide angle shot from my phone that gives you an idea of how all the spaces relate to one another. Our grill is off to the left of this shot and we have a wide swath of grass around the corner to the right of that back table for games of redneck golf, bocce and beanbag toss.
All of it together

Eventually I’d like to have a lattice surround for the pool so it’s not such an eyesore and I am going to make a canvas shade for the little patio as well.

more recent things of purchase

So in addition to getting my act together and getting the daily walk project printed, framed and hung, I have been doing some “OMG IT’S SO HOT ALREADY” shopping. I am going to do my best not to be a total shut in this summer and have been trying to revamp my wardrobe into more shorts and dresses in the hopes that it will allow me to leave my dark, air-conditioned cave.

Given that I have already sweat through my clothes a few times and we aren’t really in the “hot” months yet? I don’t have super high hopes but at least maybe I’ll be more comfortable indoors when the A/C has to be run at a temp that isn’t all that cool just to give us a break from the outrageous bills. UGH.

It seems I do best in shorts from the GAP. I already have a pair from last year in orange that I love and just picked up a pair in navy

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at the outlet for $8. I also grabbed this button down from Target to go with it. I love the combo of the coral and navy and of course, I am always sold on a polka dot. Plus it’s super light weight and breathable, I can also layer it into fall and winter. I almost bought the pink seahorse shirt as well but you see below why the jury is out on that one still.

Then I went back to the outlet and picked up these hot pink shorts and this white tank with eyelet detail.

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I am really debating more of the tanks ($8) because they had so many cute colors but I am trying not to do what I normally do, which is just grab a bunch of the same thing in different colors, this go round.

I desperately want a pair of gray shorts but so far the outlet is coming up empty for me in that regard so I might have to bite the bullet and go full price GAP for those. I found a pair at Target but they totally didn’t work from behind, AT ALL.

While at Target I fell in love with a mullet dress but it was just too mullet-y for me to pull the trigger. I am still thinking about the cuteness of EVERYTHING ELSE about the damn dress though so I might just have to pull the trigger and get it fixed.

I also bought another lip balm at Target, I have so many of the Revlon Just Bitten Lip Balm Stains (could the name *be* any longer) that I had to buy a pencil bag to carry them, too.

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This lip balm is different than my usual Revlon choices, however, this time it’s by Pixi and it custom adjusts to your own Ph balance to give you your “perfect” pink. It’s called Unique Pink.

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and two pics of me, natural (late day in my cave with no lights on but near a window) light with the forward facing iPhone 5 camera, wearing it.

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eShakti Spring Line

**Disclosure-I was provided my choice of item to review for this post but my opinions are my own and I would state them good or bad**

A week ago, I mentioned a dress that I would be posting about the next day and then Texas went all Texas with its schizo weather and turned super cold and super windy out of nowhere so that wasn’t happening. Here we are a week later and it’s 80 degrees again so I can finally talk about this ADORABLE dress I received from eShakti. I love eShakti so deciding to agree to review an item from their new Spring Line wasn’t hard, the ability to customize anything is a HUGE selling point for me, as is their catering to so many sizes (0-36W), but deciding which item was a whole lot harder. In the end I selected this dress


(which is apparently so popular it’s currently sold out, boo)

because of the keyhole back. You know me and special details, I swoon for that back. I had it customized to a shorter length as it comes in a below knee length and also had it tailored to my exact measurements and it fits like a dream. It’s so great ordering something online and knowing that I’ll be able to pull it out of the package and have it fit perfectly. I also completely love the side seam pockets and the way they somehow add no bulk yet are deep enough to hold my phone if I want.

When we were shooting these pictures this afternoon a woman walked through the breezeway to her car and told me I looked beautiful, which was awesome and only a little bit embarrassing. I feel like such a lady wearing this dress and even though it’s made of cotton, the details allow for it to be dressed up, as I’ve shown here, or dressed down with some sandals and a long necklace this summer. It’s definitely one I see getting a lot of use out of but what to do about getting one for you? I’m so sad that this particular dress isn’t currently available BUT! Fret not! There are so many fantastic options in their Spring Line and I have a 20% off promotion code for you fair readers.

First some suggestions:

Tux Front Poplin A Line Dress
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Dots Large and Small Halter Dress
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Illusion Mesh Print Dress
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Colorblock Stripe Poplin Dress
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Dandelions Knit Dress
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Not all of those dresses are from the Spring Line but there are just so many on the site that are great, I wanted to make sure you saw some from other sections as well. Also, don’t forget to check out the blouses and skirts too! You can customize those as well.

Now for the promotion code: from now until March 20th save 20% by using code RVENDRKHLM
The following conditions apply:
Code has to be entered in the ‘Promotional Code’ box. No Minimum Order Value. The discount code is not case sensitive. The code can be used any number of times until the validity period. This code can be clubbed with any other gift coupon or gift card in the same order. This discount code is not applicable on our Overstock category. Not applicable on previous purchases.

Special thanks to Sprog for snapping these photos for me. It was crazy windy this afternoon and we were lucky to get two that turned out so well. I was also lucky to only partially flash the parking lot as we were leaving.

team dots: wedding fashion

I’m still working on building my perfect wardrobe and as such was unsure what I would be wearing to the wedding. I had been contacted by eShakti to check out their new Spring line, so I assumed I would wear the dress I selected from them (more on that tomorrow) but as the wedding drew closer I wasn’t positive it would arrive in time so I needed something else and preferably something from my own closet. I tried on several things (and added new things to my donate pile in the process) and settled on this

Team Dots:Wedding attire
Old Navy dress that Willy had given me for Valentine’s Day last year. I paired it with my Miz Mooz Petra sandals and decided I would seek out a patterned clutch to tie everything together. (the other dress did end up arriving in time but it was COLD the day of the wedding and it totally wouldn’t work for that)

I tried Target and Kohl’s with no success (although I did almost buy a yellow wristlet at Kohl’s but it was solid and I really wanted a pattern) before asking Twitter for suggestions and that’s when Emiliy suggested DSW and there, online, I feel in love with this
Clutch
Poppie Jones chevron clutch. I know Chevron is like so two minutes ago but I still love it and am obsessed with this clutch, the fact that I got it 40% off in the store? EVEN BETTER.

I also decided to be very fancy and paint my fingernails which is something I very rarely do. Color is Chinchilla from Essie.

I don’t have one full length picture of us all done up but here’s a quick snap I took
Outfitted
documenting the fact that Willy forgot his favorite Kenneth Cole boots in Houston and was forced to wear the Chucks he had, given the laid back vibe of the whole wedding, it actually worked but he really loves those boots.

And here’s one of us on the way to the ceremony in the car
Off to the wedding

Ladies
I’m sort of hunched over in this pic because I am tall, but anyway, you can barely make out a brown sweater looking thing in the corner? I brought a brown sweater shawl thing at the last minute and I am so glad I did. It was WAY COLD.

And finally-this doesn’t have anything to do with wedding fashion but it’s fashion and Fredericksburg related so it works-I brought home a souvenir from the weekend. I pretty much never get souvenirs when we travel (other than postcards) but I saw this dress in a store as we walked down Main St. and pretty much wasn’t leaving town without it, so…
Souvenir
I posted this teaser pic on Instagram but here is a quick shot of the whole thing

New love
I’m crazy about this dress and it’s probably a way crazy dress but I don’t care. Root Boutique is like my dream store. If I ever come into large sums of money? I will buy all my clothes and jewelry there. ALL of it.

The best bargains at Costco, IMO

I am a huge fan of Costco, any one that knows me knows this, but I do still price compare and not everything is a good deal just because it’s in bulk. Of course, there are other things that are fantastic deals and I will only buy them at Costco forever and ever (or until they no longer carry them and then I will be VERY UPSET, whichever)

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Carrington Farms Organic Coconut Oil $15.99 for 54 oz. This is A GREAT DEAL. Seriously. I use this oil so much now that I need to go back and get another couple tubs and just keep it in reserve. It’s good for so many things, in the kitchen, and has forever replaced my favorite shaving cream. I even put it on a scratch that would not stop burning so I could get some sleep last night and it helped. It’s like the hippie answer to windex.

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EOS lip balm pack $10.99. The individual balms run anywhere from $2.99 to $3.79 depending on where you buy them so getting 5 at this price? Good deal! Plus, my target tends to only have one variety avail at a time (usually the Strawberry) so I’d have to go multiple places/pay more in order to get a different flavor.

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Donut House K-cups. We drink coffee. We love coffee. I know the Kirkland brand K-cups are even cheaper than the $34.99 we pay for these but I like this more and that’s still $13 cheaper than the Amazon price and $3 cheaper than the Sam’s price, so I don’t really care.

I take a lot of medication. A LOT. I’m not going to search out pics of all the various meds we buy at Costco but here’s one
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I take a probiotic every day. I get a two month supply for a little more than a one month supply costs at most stores.

We also buy generic Benedryl, generic ibuprofen, generic acetaminophen, vitamins and my Allegra here.

I usually use King Arthur Flour and have for many years but I finally bit the bullet and bought the Central Milling Company Organic bulk flour this time, I’ve been baking a lot of banana and no knead bread and I’d like to start making my own pizza crust and rolls as well so I figure not having to run out for flour will make me more apt to do so. I always have yeast in my fridge ready to go. So far, I really like the flour. It’s unbleached and doesn’t have anything added but has a good texture and baking with it has gone well.

When I run out of the yeast I currently have, I’ll be buying bulk yeast there as well.

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Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Huge container from Italy, Spain and Portugal.

**I am just now reading the whole “olive oil scandal” as pointed out to me by A’Dell in the comments below and am blown away. Cutting Olive Oil with PEANUT OIL is a scary and dangerous practice for people with allergies and I can’t believe this shit is going on. It seems there is no good way to know if your oil is authentic unless you are buying it direct from a farm or getting it tested at a lab. I am honestly debating taking back the bottle I just bought and ordering some from a farm in Arizona. Interesting.**

There are other things that vary based on coupons, seasons, availability and of course meats (which I don’t buy as often, now) but those are the things that jumped into my head this morning.

Do you shop at Costco? What are your favorite bargains?

Let’s talk fashion

This year is a big year with lots of changes and lots of growth and I’m really trying to do my best to not only ride it out but embrace the changes and do everything I can to turn this year out. I’m making changes for my health after the whole mutant thing (taking daily vitamin B and D supplements) and have added a morning walk with the girls.

I’ve also been making changes around the house, organizing, reducing clutter fixing areas that have bugged the shit out of me for a while and part of that has been taking a long hard look at my wardrobe. Last year I started working at wearing thingsnI already owned (wear your shit) photographing the combinations (when I remembered) and sharing the outcome on IG and twitter. Going through that process helped really open my eyes to a whole lot of stuff that resides in my closet I never touch, a lot of stuff that is so close to being “right” but is off in some small way, and a much smaller amount of things that I wear the majority of the time. It also helped me sit down and identify what really gets “me” to help me purchase in the future.

For far too long, I’ve been buying thoughtlessly (just to have something new for an event) because I loved it on someone else or to keep up with trends. I have determined I love things that have a little bit of edge, a little special detail here or there on an otherwise classic item.

Christmas Day outfit
Like the sleeves on this black top, which have a slant and little button detail
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Or the embroidered bow on this top
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The zipper and cowl detail on this “jacket”
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The hot pink sole and laces on these oxfords
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The bubble skirt and drapey back of this long sleeve dress
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The pleats and gold tips of the bow on this blouse

I spent a lot of time trying to identify my style which was more like trying to shoe horn my style into conventional buckets which isn’t really me…focusing JUST on details opens me up to all sorts of styles and THAT allows for me to dress according to my mood.

My new shoes

I’ve been in a crap mood a lot lately, for many reasons, and I finally decided I was going to give in to my emotional shopping needs and get myself a new pair of shoes.

I fell in love with these stunning shoes on ShopRuche BUT they said only one pair left or final sale or something like that, weren’t my size and they cost almost eighty dollars.

But I couldn’t give up on them! So I searched the name and found them over twenty dollars less, in my size, with free shipping and in other colors at amazon (formerly endless.com).

Miz Mooz Petra in brown/turquoise

They came today and they are so comfortable and as cute as they looked online. I love them!

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eShakti and a promo code

Have you heard of eShakti? It’s this awesome online shop that allows you to customize any dress/skirt/top you purchase to your exact measurements for a nominal fee.

I recently won a giveaway hosted by Tara and totally changed my mind when it came time to claim my prize and scored myself this awesome dress

which I had custom sized. I absolutely LOVE IT and I hope to fill my closet with more items that fit me so well/I love so much.

eShakti has sent me a promo code to help y’all do that very thing.

RA25XYD will get you 10% off including their current 40% off sale items (excluding the overstock items) going on right now. This code is only valid until July 31st so get to shopping!

the weekend in pictures

First a brief thank you for the support I received yesterday, here and on twitter, life goes on and all that but it’s nice to have all the same.

As an antidote to the morose of yesterday, here are some snaps from how we spent our weekend.

Friday we went to the restaurant were we had our first date and not only had a tasty dinner but also some giant slices of cake.
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Saturday after the shit news we went to Chuy’s and had some medically necessary margaritas
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And I don’t know about y’all but when I’m stressed, I shop so I threw #wys right out the window and went summer clothes shopping while day drunk
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obviously Elizabeth’s uniform was fresh on my mind as I bought a navy blue shirt and orange shorts.

I also bought some new summer skirts, shortish ones (it’s already not getting below 75 at night, this summer is going to SUCK BALLS) and I wore one to breakfast that I forced the sleepy hubs to take me to the next day
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For dinner that night I made homemade garlic croutons from some homemade bread to go on some spinach salad and lo, it was good
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I also played around with the camera in the backyard again while the husband worked on the fence.
Sago fronds 4-1-12

Another day, another dandelion captured

Dragonfly 4-1-12

my february (and beyond) project

Jennie and Kristie are both doing “no shopping” project for the month of February. And of course Christina is doing her own large scale version of the “no shopping” thing and has been since last year.

Since I stay at home and have a teenager that eats ALL THE THINGS, I’ve already given up a lot when it comes to personal spending, just to keep us on budget from month to month. I’ve also purchased things like a Keurig which helps me save money by staying out of Starbucks as much as humanly possible.

When I recently went to Austin to have dinner with a bunch of awesome bloggers and hang out with some amazing little girls in a backyard/house I covet so hard, I decided that I was going to bring something from my closet that I haven’t worn and lo an idea was born.

I have probably 10 (if not more) items in my closet that have never been worn. I tend to get into a jeans + top + converse or TOMS rut when I’m not doing anything special and so there are things in my closet with tags on. There are also things in my closet that could be worn with my jeans + top (like CUTE SHOES) uniform and yet, I always grab for one of two pairs of chucks or my TOMS.

So I’ve decided to launch Project Wearyoshit.

I’m tackling re-organizing our closet so I can get a good idea what exactly I have, washing ALL THE LAUNDRY and getting rid of things that need to go. I’m also forcing myself to reach for a different pair of shoes or put on a dress instead of jeans or hell even dig out a different pair of jeans instead of my 3 favorite pairs. I am determined to stop wearing the same 5 outfits (interchangeable v-neck shirts + jeans + aforementioned shoe choice) all the time.

Yesterday I pulled on some jeans that I have maybe worn twice since I bought them several years ago, a cardigan that I have only worn once and my pumas from NYC when I was there with Kristie. I’ve asked for advice on Style Lush about a skirt I’m a little afraid of and will probably be taking things in to get them tailored or reworked into different items (I have a clearance dress I bought for $3 dollars because I LOVED the fabric and I want it made into a skirt instead) so there will probably be future posts involving those sorts of dilemmas/results.

I’m positive that I won’t stop shopping completely, because I feel that my shopping is already super low (for me) but I want to get more use out of what I have first and get rid of what is just adding clutter….which in the end will yield a similar result, I think.

I have a WYS (formerly known as the vanity resolution) flickrpool which will probably only get love on the days I actually get dressed and leave the house longer than to fetch Sprog from school but it’s there to help me see what my comfort zones are and try to break them.