Frank’s Visit To The Boyd’s

If you follow me on Instagram or even on Facebook you know all about Frank and his month long vaca at our house. For those that don’t or that were curious as to how things went in greater detail, let’s talk about my buddy.

This is Frankenstein (or Frankie or Frankie Figs as I started calling him)
he belongs to our friends Kristie and Duvain and he’s a French Mastiff aka Dogue de Bordeaux.

I fell in love with him when we met him last year in Wales on Sprog’s graduation trip, because COME ON look at this face!

Obviously when K&D asked us to watch him while they were out of the country, I said yes immediately but of course I had concerns in the back of my mind because of our girls. Mayday is fear aggressive to pretty much anything in the world and it’s only made worse by the fact that she’s mostly deaf after her latest stroke. Maddie is a sneak, she acts like she loves everyone but then snaps at any dog that gets within face reach of her. So, clearly, we were going to have issues bringing this giant dog into our home.

At first, and as expected, there was a lot of growling and avoidance by our ladies. Frank is awesomely trained so I would have him in a down stay and slowly bring the girls out into his space. Introductions happened with my hand firmly on a collar or body of one of the girls and lots of reassuring tones were used. We also walked them all together as much as we could (14 year old ladies vs 3 year old pup is vastly different in energy levels)
but eventually 2 of the 3 had solid friendships

and the other one would tolerate him, mostly.

We got into a routine of taking Frank out in the morning to play ball with me and in the evening to play ball with Willy

and took him to do things like get puppy whip at Starbucks or brunch at Barnaby’s
and he really loved swimming in the pond next to our bayou

Sprog was even willing to get his precious interior dirty for Frankie.

He is well loved and a member of our family, now. I can’t wait to get him back at Christmas when it’s cooler and we can take him to do even more fun things outside.

Maybe even get him back to the beach

Ren Fest, All Hallows’ Eve Weekend

On Sunday, Willy and I attended Ren Fest for a few short hours. We had planned to be there all day but since it was pouring down rain in the morning, I thought we weren’t getting to go at all. Fortunately, it let up about noon and we headed out to the festival.

This year I decided I really wanted to attend on All Hallows’ as a way to sneak a second Halloween costume in for the year. I always go to Fest in costume but I really wanted to do something outside of my norm: The Raven.

I have had the nickname of Raven for so many years but I have never dressed as one, until now.
to incorporate my husband in the costuming, we decided he’d go as Edgar Allan Poe. (the other option, a Khaki Scout ala Moonrise Kingdom, wasn’t very appealing to him)

This costume was definitely a labor of love. I made my tutu by following a tutorial for a very full tutu. The tutorial is for toddler sizes so I didn’t really do the math about how much tulle I would need to make one for myself, in total around 200 yards. A shopkeep at festival didn’t believe me when I told him it was that much but each strip is anywhere from 3-4 feet long and there are two strips in each little hole, stacked three deep, all the way around my waist.
I really didn’t want any “wardrobe malfunctions” so my hindparts were VERY covered. The only other drawback to this plan? Bathroom breaks were a total pain! The tulle grabbed my tights and it was A LOT of fluff to try and wrangle into a stall.

My make-up is from another tutorial. I modified it to fit the products (mostly) I had on hand, didn’t need a beak because I already had one and also, I didn’t want to change my eyebrows so I just darkened them.
I did a make-up test and then decided I needed to add some more product. On my face I’m wearing Colorstay foundation, NYX black gel smudger, NYX milk eye pencil, Eyeco fat eyestick in Old Gold, Almay Intense Eyes for green eyes, Hard Candy eyeshadow in Space Cadet, NYX Glam Liner in Glam Platnum, Almay black liquid liner, Almay black kohl liner and Physician’s Formula green gel liner.

It was hard to capture the detail of the mask and my make-up at the same time
because I’m so pale and it’s so intensely dark.

The mask was originally supposed to be an entire cowl piece but it was WAY TOO HOT HERE (stupid Texas) so I adapted and created a head piece instead.
(it’s currently sitting on this skull because I don’t have a mannequin head and want to keep the shape)

The back of the mask is a sleep mask from United Airlines First Class.
It worked perfectly.

I layered several different types and shapes of feathers over the mask and added some buttons for the eyes. The beak I cut off a Venetian style plaster mask that came white but I painted it black by hand and then spray painted a clear coat on top to give it the glossy effect.

Willy’s Poe costume was very easy to put together with a vest we purchased (this will work for our actual Halloween costumes as well) some smudged eye shadow around his eyes, a normal button down shirt, a strip of black fabric for his ascot and a feather as his quill pen.

This is probably my most favorite costume to date and we had a lovely afternoon at Fest.

Normally I would wear something else our second trip to Fest,next month,
Untitledbut this year I might just go as Raven again. I loved it that much.

Other costume notes: my little shawl thing reminded me of wings and is actually a faux fur wrap that attaches to my leather jacket, I just tied it on with some ribbon. the waist cincher is by Renaissance Leather. the black belt, mug holder and pouch I used for my phone are from Ravenswood, my boots are old Airwalk from Payless, tights are Vera Wang from Kohl’s and my mug is from Wondrous Works in Wood (it’s a purple heart wood)

have wedding will travel

Over the weekend we traveled to Fredericksburg, Tx to celebrate the wedding of friends David and Lauren.

I’ve never been to Fredericksburg and I’m not sure that 24 hours with a wedding in the middle of it really qualifies as having *been* there but whatever, I take what I can get when it comes to pinning locations on my travel maps. I definitely will be back (and hopefully soon) as it was very cute and I feel like there is a lot left for me to discover (obvs).

I am not a big road trip girl. My ass gets tired, I get somewhat car sick, headachy or flat need a nap. New Orleans is about my limit of driving distance but shorter trips I tend to do okay with…although I will say that four hours on back to back days and the second day being slightly longer owing to a detour, being pulled over and traffic? Over my limit as well, by the end I couldn’t shift enough in my seat and standing on my driveway was THE BEST THING EVER.

Road trip snacks
I am a fan of a well packed selection of snacks. We also each left the house with coffee and water vessels.

After 20 years I am starting to really appreciate the big blue skies here (I miss mountains on the regular though)

Pecan St Brewing, Johnson City
In Johnson City, I spotted this Brew Pub out of the corner of my eye so we flipped a bitch (a u-turn for non-Arizona folk) and stopped in for lunch. Way cute, good food, but be prepared for slow country service, our waitress “totally forgot to put your food in”. I would definitely go back again if I didn’t have some place I had to be at a certain time.

Wedding tree
The wedding was held at Becker Vineyards (there are a crap ton of vineyards in Fredericksburg apparently) and it was gorgeous.

They were gorgeous

Laughter and love
filled with laughter and love

Cute cake is cute
and every detail was totally them, love.

We don't even look drunk. Pwned the drinking
After the wedding we went out on the town and ended up closing the bar down. I am amazed I look so sober in this pic.

Patio lunch before cutting out of town
We returned to the same place for lunch with everyone before cutting out of town

Bread pudding with a sauce made of sex, I'm certain.
Best believe I killed this entire thing by myself (the one bite Willy had to taste it totes doesn’t count) in under 5 minutes.

All the darling, right here.
We wandered town a bit, checked out the historical sites, hit up the candy store and a clothing store (will post more on that tomorrow) too.

Nat’s husband Casey recommended we take a slight detour and do the Willow City Loop if we had the chance. We made the chance.

Willow City Loop
Worth it.

Sunset, reflected
Sunsets at our back on the way home made for some great views

So pretty

Tomorrow I’ll show y’all what we wore and talk a little bit more about Fredericksburg.

And just like that, a month is gone

I really can’t seem to properly grasp how time works during the year. In the first 9 or so months of the year, time seems to take FOREVER, it just drags and drags. Especially in the crazy horrible heat and grossness we deal with on the regular over here… but September shows up and BAM time goes to PLAID and suddenly I have no idea what day it is, I run out of time to do what I love (HI HALLOWEEN I’M SORRY) and plans I don’t have in the beginning of the year? They all happen at once, it seems.

I didn’t even decorate the inside of my house for Halloween this year and that pains me. IT PAINS ME. I just couldn’t devote the time I needed to get it done properly and if I couldn’t devote the time I wanted, I wasn’t going to do it at all. At least the outside got done and we still carved pumpkins and dressed up

Running errands

Group shot

Me as Elle Driver from Kill Bill

Stuntman Mike from Deathproof

Vincent Vega from Pulp Fiction

My “Jack” O Lantern

I’ve also been photo-ing. We did a day at the park with the digital photography kids after a talk on carnivorous plants.

The weekend before Halloween, I ran to Austin to second shoot with Natalie on a wedding and then did a mini shoot with her and her family.

This week I’m off to Az to see my BFF and her wee baby and then immediately turn around and head to New Orleans. BUSY BEE.

bringing (my) sexy back

The title of this post is a bit of a stretch. I’m not sure that I ever had my sexy, really. I’ve never owned the type of clothes that one “goes to the club” in. I always am way self conscious in skirts on the shorter end of the spectrum and my definition of “short” is DEFINITELY not what other people consider to be short. I constantly question the age appropriateness of anything I even consider wearing even though my child is constantly making fun of me for my “long dresses” so obviously he doesn’t really care or think that I am even remotely close to being inappropriate.

Now, none of that is to say that I am hiding. I’m not wearing sweats or giant, two sizes too big shirts or anything but more that I don’t buy anything that is designed to *show* anything, specifically.

And then Alice, you know Alice? I blame Alice (sorry, I had an Arlo Guthrie moment there) sent me these awesome feather earrings

and I got a wild hair to wear them. Not just wear them but wear them. I figured they needed an outfit. Something fitting of their crazy appeal and since we were going to a Mullet Boyz show, you remember The Mullet Boyz, yes? I decided to get out of my comfort zone a bit and make myself something a little sexy.
I had pinned a DIY one shoulder no-sew top on Pinterest and that’s what I decided to go with, the original was black but I happened to have a gray mens shirt laying around so that’s what I went with

and I LOVE IT.

Not to be a totally bragging brat face but for a FREE shirt that was way outside of my comfort zone stylistically? I felt sexy, confident and stylish. Major win!

I think it showed

Just a bit

North Wales Seeing/Doing

One of the great things we got to do as part of K&D’s wedding celebration was take a ride on the Llangollen Steam Train
gorgeous views through the Cierog Valley (even on a rainy day) and charming old timey railway cars. Definitely recommend.

I’ve already mentioned The River Dee a few times but it runs smack through the center of town so it’s everywhere you are and so gorgeous, take a stroll along it, you won’t be sorry.

If you are feeling up to a hike (NOT KIDDING, IT’S A MOUNTAIN DUVAIN)I implore you to check out Castell Dinas Bran which overlooks the town.
It’s entirely breathtaking.


If you have a car, can catch a cab, take a bus or make the hike to Wrexham, you can check out the Aquaduct, an amazing feat of engineering, and see them work the canal boats across the top (pictured here from Castell Dinas Bran via zoom)

And of course there are many castles to check out, like Ruthin castle

And other stunning views like from Jubilee


We had other things that we wanted to see and do and there are a ton more places I would love to explore in Wales, when we go back, because we WILL go back, but it was a quick trip this time. Tomorrow we head off to Amsterdam!

North Wales-Staying/Eating

Our time in Wales was centered around the town of Llangollen owing to Kristie & Big D’s nuptials being held there and our desire to avoid renting a car. Given all the car drama we have had recently and are currently still dealing with, trying to figure out driving both on the wrong side of the road and from the wrong side of the car? Just a little bit too much put in fate’s hands to fuck with us.

Given that we fly stand-by our best route through was via Heathrow airport and then onto some trains but if you want to go there? You would probably be best flying into Manchester instead. However, if would like to fly into London, hang out there a bit and then head out to Northern Wales, let me know and I’ll set you up with the proper train info.

So Llangollen.

We stayed at an adorable Bed & Breakfast that I found highly rated on tripadvisor. It was called The Four Poster and was just across The River Dee from where all the wedding party was staying. It worked out to be £227 total which works out to be a little over $360 so around $120 a night and included a full breakfast for both of us each morning (with vegetarian options), as well as free wi-fi and a complimentary tray of coffee, tea and biscuits in our room. I’m not sure if it would’ve been cheaper had I booked further in advance but honestly, I’m not mad at that price regardless. I will warn that the beds aren’t the comfiest thing in the world and they seem to have something against a top sheet on the bed, but as K&D’s hotel was the same? I think that’s going to be a given over there.

We ate dinner at the same place the two nights we had open to do so, 1) because it’s right over the water, so the view is fab and 2) the food was really good.

It’s called The Corn Mill and has a giant turning water wheel underneath which is pretty cool too. The first night I had the barley leek risotto (pictured) and the last night I had the tomato soup with a giant hunk of warm soft bread and fantastically tasty butter.

The one day we had open for lunch, K&D invited us to join them in lunching with K’s family up near where they were staying in Mold. We ate and hung out in the gorgeous weather at The Glasfryn


Tomorrow: what to do/what to see!

and I would fly 5,000 miles

My body has no idea what day it is, or the proper time. I am speaking in some half-breed form of proper English and regular American with random words like STROOPWAFEL thrown in at weird intervals. I want frittes (fries) at 8:30 in the morning with mayo (YES) and a crisp, perfect glass of Aspall cider to wash them down.

This is the headspace of a whirlwind traveler just returned from Wales by way of Amsterdam, yesterday.

I can not begin to tell you how happy I am that we were able to make this trip. That in the midst of all the stress and drama at home (uninsured drivers hitting my husband’s car, the timing belt stranding Sprog and I, family bullshit) we attended a wedding filled with so much joy, love and crazy (the good kind) that it did my soul good to be there, grinning like mad on the sidelines.

Wales is beautiful in an otherworldly way. In a way that you read about in books or see in movies. It’s ethereal and much like I expect New Zealand to be when we get there some day. Everything is green and lush and rolling and what isn’t? Is old and charming and filled with history. DRIPPING with history.

What it must be like to grow up with that all around you…to have a slip and slide going in a camp ground right next to something like this
Amazing. Simply amazing.

And Amsterdam, is like Bourbon St, at 11 without all the vomit stink but with even more old buildings and teaming masses of humanity + canals, bicycles and Stroopwafels.

I’ll post more in depth info about where we were, what we did, what we ate and all that during the week as well as adding more pics, but for now there are quite a few over in flickr or on FB.

the bouts and bouquets (picture heavy post)

The car dramz is getting worse so I’m just going to pretend that isn’t happening and use this space to talk about something pretty. The fabric flower bouquets and bouts that I made for Kristie’s upcoming Welsh wedding to Big D.

Food with friends!

So that would be the Bride and Groom (squee) on the left there and for the past few weeks (seems like 8 years) I have been making her bouts and bouquets out of fabric flowers for her wedding. I have an Etsy shop, I make fabric flowers on the regular, I do have TWO fancy ass cameras, you would think I would’ve taken at least ONE picture with a real camera, wouldn’t you? But no, no I did not. Hopefully I’ll get some next month AT HER WEDDING but in the meantime here are the ones I snapped with my iPhone.

Please keep in mind I have never made a bouquet this way before and some of these flowers I’ve never made before either. It was quite the undertaking and way above (in time) what I thought it would be, but I loved making them for her and she loved the end result so I’m really excited about it.

I should also mention that Kristie lives north of Ft Worth and was not with me in person during the crafting of these and that she also pretty much gave me free reign on making them so I made some flowers that didn’t end up making it into the final bouquets (I’m not going to bother showing those pics) and some other ideas (like ribbons on the bouts were nixed in the end)
This is the trial bout pic that I sent to Kristie. She asked if I could add some leaves or something to give more green to the finished look and also some way to make Big D’s look different from the rest.
Here they are finished. They all have leaves but D’s has two fabric leaves which I embroidered with their initials and the date (in Brit format) of their nuptials

For the bouquets I’m going to go in opposite order.
Here is Kristie’s bouquet finished
with a hanky that her mother got her in Italy and ribbons on the handle and everything.

Here are the detail shots of some of the flowers and such




Here are the bridesmaid’s bouquets finished

and detail shots


Each bouquet has a different flower center and they are all balanced in their distribution of the colors of white, cream, gold, green and navy blue.

meeting miss katie

Our friend Amanda and her husband Vic have been down here this week looking for employment. They currently live in a small town in west Texas and want to live somewhere that has better role-models for their daughter Katie.

Their daughter is adopted and in their town they aren’t finding a lot in the way of positive role-models of the same ethnicity. Amanda and Vic are committed to ensuring that Katie is raised knowing her culture and having as many advantages as she can.

I am so excited for her new life and for them and I wanted to try and get some pictures, of her, while they were here. This was no easy task as she’s a bundle of energy but we got a few. (more than a few, honestly) She has SUCH personality, I tried to capture as much of it as I could. Here is a sampling of some of them.