more new purchases and an app recommendation

So I have purchased more crap, colored my hair and put make-up on. I talk about it all right here

when did I become someone that researches beer?

I have never been a person that could drink beer, anytime I tried it resulted in a migraine and I pretty much always hated the taste anyway. Same goes for wine. I’ve been lucky with a few ciders but the other night we were at Alamo Drafthouse and the only cider they had avail was Ace Pear (gross) so I decided to try a stout beer. I can drink Guinness, usually, so I thought I might have luck with something in that vein.

They had Left Hand Milk Stout on tap (and another that I totally didn’t like-Willy drank it)

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and I LOVED IT. So we bought it for the house in the nitro bottle

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figuring that would be the closest to what came from the tap. Sadly I didn’t love it. The nitro perfectly mimicked the creaminess of the draft version but totally killed the flavor I loved so much. The regular milk stout was more carbonated, which I’m not a fan of but I could get more of the flavors I enjoy: coconut, coffee and chocolate.

Having found a beer I like and can drink, I was excited to get to Mellow Mushroom for pizza and beer and THEY WERE OUT, they were also out of the coconut one I wanted to try. *sad panda* So the waitress recommended Southern Star Buried Hatchet

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but I also ordered an oatmeal stout (don’t remember the brand because I hated it) so Willy took that bullet for me and gave me the Buried Hatchet. LOVE IT. It’s like creamy, malty, alcoholic coffee.

Yesterday we brought some home and we also bought a bottle of the Young’s Double Chocolate for me to try.

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guess what? Hate that too. Like had a visceral shuddery response to it.

SO. What have we learned? I don’t like ANY hop taste at all. I want all barley and malt. Basically I am a fan of beer that is almost scotch or whisky. (what a surprise)

Also, no bitter please. A dreadlocked pizza runner recommended some vanilla ice cream in the buried hatchet and NO. All that did was bring out the bitterness in the beer, which alone? You barely get. No thank you. It might work with some dark chocolate ice cream, maybe.

We have also learned that Willy is far more okay with hops than I am and now that I can actually drink dark beer? I don’t just have to look for brew tours where the brewery makes root beer.

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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The daily walk project: printed

I’ve talked about the daily walks before and I’ve also posted on my personal and professional FB pages, blogs and Instagram accounts along the way. I finally have the first print from the project up on my wall and it’s a huge poster of 50 Instagram images as a collage.

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I used Social Print Studio to print the poster and they have two size options: 20×30 and 20×38 either one avail in a black or white background.

Now, the 20×30 is a common size for framing but I wanted more of my images and wanted them to be shown at a larger size so I went with the larger print and less images. I figured I would just have to figure out something for the framing later (and obviously I did but it took a minute longer than I expected to find something for it)

The app used to make the poster is called Prinstagram and you can use it on your phone, iPad or desktop, wherever you have the images stored.

It was easy to use and quick to order although, I do wish I had control over photo placement in the collage itself instead of it being a random thing. The final product looks great though so that isn’t enough of an annoyance to prevent me from ordering again in the future.

The poster is printed on a thick quality photo paper and I love that it looks like any of my other photos in the house instead of a poster from the store.

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I found a “custom” framing option from a local art store Jerry’s Art-a-Rama that allows you to by rail kits so that you can make a frame any size you need for much less than actually getting something custom framed. (ps this is a deep frame so you could use it on large canvas should you have any you need to frame on the cheap)

I got my frame kits on sale and the poster itself was $35 so the whole thing was around $65. I’m so happy with it, I’m thinking about having another one made of all of our trip photos or something similar…of course I’d have actually put those into Instagram first but I don’t think people would mind being inundated with all our old trip photos being run through IG, do you?

the costume closet

I’ve had a BFF in Arizona since the third grade, her name is Jamie and since we are both turning (I already turned) 38 this year that means we have known each other 28 years. TWENTY EIGHT YEARS. There are a lot of awesome things I love about her and our life together over the years (because seriously, we have lived A LIFE by now) but one of the things that has always stuck with me is her mom’s closet. Renee, oh Renee, lover of all accessories and always completely accessorized with matching (clip) earrings, necklace and bracelet sets had a closet of wonder. My senior year of high school I got a wild hair that I wanted to go to school in costume for Halloween. You are all shocked. Anyway, I didn’t have access to anything or the funds to buy anything, living on my own at the time, so I went to Jamie’s house and asked for help.

It was FANTASTIC! Renee starting pulling option upon option from her closet and piling them on the bed. It was like the Rachel Zoe of costume moments! I could be Pebbles! I could be a Fighter Pilot! I could be a Hula Girl (complete with coconut bra)! I could be a Clown! I could be a Flapper! I could be Pocahontas!

Ultimately I went with the last option which included wearing Jamie’s fringed white boots from middle school (our feet are vastly different sizes even though we look enough alike that people mistake us for sisters on the regular) and that day I SWORE that I would be just like that someday. I would be able to slap costumes together from the depths of my closet at any given time. It has always been my dream and so far, I have been living it. One year for Halloween I was able to make Sprog a fairly passable Slash from GnR in under ten minutes just from stuff in my closet and one of the guitars in the house. He even wore a pair of my platform stompy boots, a wig I had and a top hat we had from another costume.

This past weekend we attended a Dazed and Confused Quote Along at Alamo Drafthouse.
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Perfect opportunity for a last minute costuming.
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My initial plan for my outfit included a Jordache shirt, but in reality it was too short for my low-slung flares so I had to swap it for an equally 70’s esque shirt instead.

Final outfit
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How can you go wrong with colored eyeshadow, turquoise, braids, a flow-y eyelet embellished top, flares, fringed leather bag (that i am still carrying btw) and platforms? NAILED IT.

Let’s talk about the shoes for a hot second longer okay?
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Because, right? They are EVERYTHING. You will be seeing them a crap ton this summer. BANK ON IT.

As much as we are scaling down, de-cluttering and purging, I will ALWAYS have my costume closet. I ALWAYS aspire to be Renee in this small way.

Vegetarian Cottage Pie That Even Meat Eaters Will Nosh

Sunday was St. Pat’s and even though I wasn’t going all out in the cooking dept like years past, I still had to at least make Cottage Pie (it’s only called Shepherd’s Pie if it contains lamb) and since I wanted to eat it too, I made it vegetarian.

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Now, Sprog isn’t huge on veg cuisine but he does like Field Roast and will actually eat it on the regular without complaint so obviously that was my go-to for the “meat” portion of the dish. Normally I would use the Apple Sage version and since I thought I had some, I didn’t grab any when I went to Midtown for my weekly hippie shopping run but alas I only had Italian or Mexican. Obvs, I went with the Italian and was slightly concerned what it would do with the end result of the dish, but I am not one to be easily deterred in the kitchen. I already had a plan to add some “smoky” elements to the dish to make it more substantial and “meaty” for the boys, so I figured whatever I did there would just help mask the italian seasonings or at the very least tie them in a bit. I also was going to use a frozen vegetable medley that comes with a parmesan butter which would also help tie things together…in theory.

So let’s talk trickery and fooling the meat eaters, k?

Step 1:
Field Roast. Unwrap three links for this recipe and pulse them in the food processor so that they resemble ground beef when it gets crumbly and browned in a pan. Now brown it up in some olive oil.

Step 2:
Liquid Aminos: I got the kind in a spray bottle so I just sprayed 3 or 4 times as I was browning up the meat to replace any Worcestershire sauce. (you can go more or less depending on your preference)

Step 3:
Guinness: While not vegan (processed with the swim bladders of fish) there isn’t a trace left in the finished product so it depends on your strictness. Definitely adds a lovely richness to the finished product

Step 4:
Smoked Paprika: I LOVE this stuff. Like serious addicted levels of love and it’s fantastic added to the mashed potatoes on top. I also split the potatoes-2 reg and 2 sweet to add some extra veg into Sprog’s horrible teenager diet.

Step 5:
Add some heat: I added cayenne pepper to the “meat” mixture as well as black pepper and it really helps! No bland foods!

After we finished Willy looked at me with a bit of shock on his face when he realized we all ate from the same dish and it wasn’t actually meat. I LOVE THAT.

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.

The only thing that I see myself buying from Cadillac

So hey, I am not Cadillac’s target market, they just aren’t my bag and I don’t think they ever will be. I will never be rollin in an Escalade, I just won’t, you know? That doesn’t mean that they have nothing to sell me, however, their marketing team has me, here:


Victory-Play It from the XTS commercial


Yeah Yeah Yeahs-Phenomena from the ATS commercial

I tracked down and purchased both the songs in these commercials and look forward to seeing what other songs they might choose in the future.

vitamins and air purifiers and roombas, oh my

For whatever reason, 2013 has become a commitment to working my health shit out. Maybe it’s because the mutant thing is finally giving us some hope or maybe it’s because we’ve used our Amex card so much we have enough cash-back to use on spendy things; either way, we’re doing a lot of new things around here.

The first thing was to add back all the vitamins my body is sorely lacking. Every day I am taking a Super B Complex, Vitamin D3, Flax Seed Oil and Probiotic Supplement in addition to my regular multi-vitamin. I’ve also started giving Sprog the B as well since there’s a good chance he has the same mutation (and given the symptoms of the deficiency, it sounds like he’s there) so hopefully he can avoid some of the problems I have by starting him out early.

Then we purchased an air purifier for the bedroom
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and I’m increasing the frequency that I wash the dog bedding.

I started walking the dogs every single morning. Unless I have a full bore migraine, I still go out there headache or no, I don’t know how long my allergies are going to be bearable but my body really needs the exercise and the “fresh” air.
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We walk the bayou directly behind the house. It’s one of the bonuses about this house and we really need to take advantage of having it. (more pictures in my flickr or in my Instagram, tagged #morningwalk)

Our most recent addition to the new regimen is the purchase of a Roomba, I wrote about it here on Style Lush, but we are really focusing on keeping the dust to a minimum in the house and the girls track in so much from the yard as the grass is still trying to make a come back after the years of drought. So the Roomba running everyday should really help with that situation

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even if the girls weren’t exactly thrilled at first (Maddie still hates it, Mayday just constantly gets in the thing’s way so I lock them in the bedroom while it runs).

I also would like to get back to yoga and I desperately need to start weight training or I’m going to wind up back in PT (I pretty much need an adjustment right now) but I’m really trying to get into solid habits before I try to jump into another one lest I just drop everything altogether.

I have some other vitamins/supplements that I am researching and probably will be adding to my rotation very soon, so if you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

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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