Friday, June 29, 2012



What you paint on is just as important as (if not more than) what you plan to put on it. I take pride in building my painting surface from the ground up. I build my own stretchers, I stretch my own canvas, and then I prime them just the way I'd like it. It may take a heck of a lot longer, but it looks a thousand times better than those crap stretchers you can buy at Hobby Lobby. Plus, just because it's not the center of attention doesn't mean it's not art. It's the backbone of your piece, it's literally holding everything together. Why not build it the best you can? Set yourself up for success.

It's been a long while since I've built a canvas, and it was nice to get back into the groove. I can't explain to you how good it felt to have paint on my hands (and everywhere else on me) again. It's been too long. And it's so great having a studio space at home. While I was gessoing (priming) my canvas this little lady was hanging out with me, being extra cute:

You can't beat that! Painting at home with my cats. It's a good thing I'm married, because that sounds like a spinster in the making, eh?

So my canvas is built, stretched, primed, and my painting is sketched out. I am ready to roll! Unfortunately I wont be able to work on it until next week. Until then it is sitting in my living room, looking all bright, white, and new, begging to be attacked with color. I can't wait! Let's just hope I remember how to mix colors. Blue and red make green right? ;)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Summer and strawberries

As usual, things have been insanely busy lately. There are a million things I have to do, a million I want to do, and I feel like I'm only getting to a tiny fraction of it all. This summer is flying by, it's already almost the end of June. How is that possible? Fall and the beginning of pharmacy school year two are looming ahead. Slow down, time! Pretty please?

Yesterday I found the time to bake a cake. And it was good. Easily the best cake I've made in my life. I made it with a little help (okay a lot of help) from Martha Stewart. She calls it a "chiffon cake with strawberries and cream", and I call it yummy as hell. Totally from scratch, it was like a slightly dense angel food cake, cut into three layers with strawberries and whipped cream in between them. Seriously, the yummiest thing I've had in a really long time. Plus it was pretty.

And somehow, I managed to not take a picture of the finished product. I think I was too excited about eating it as soon as possible. Just imagine that last picture times three with whipped cream in between the layers. And powdered sugar on top. I brought it to a get together with friends and I think it was a hit. Unfortunately I was only able to eat one humungous slice. I may or may not be baking another one soon, just for myself. It was that good. And it's perfect for summer, the berries and cream are cool and refreshing. Plus it's cake. And cake is always good.

This summer has been so good so far, even if it is flying by at warp speed. And until today (we're back into the 100's I'm afraid) the weather has been fairly mild, as far as Texas summers go. The evenings have been really great. Perfect for being outside. Although I could seriously do without the massive amount of mosquitoes that have been munching on me. They love me. I have got at least 15 bites. No joke.

And on that note I think I am going to go bathe in cortisone cream and become one with my couch. Sunday funday y'all.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Art and aquiring a studio space

Remember when I went to school for art? Remember when I got my BFA in painting? Sometimes I forget too, it's okay.

Fall 2009

Fall 2010

Two of my favorite paintings featuring two of my favorite people. Those were the days y'all.

I haven't painted in a good year and a half, since I graduated college. I was burnt out and needed a break, plus I lost my studio space. I've filled that creative void in my life with cooking, sewing, and just making anything and everything I can. For the post part, as long as I am making something, I'm in my happy place.

However, I do love painting and the need to do so again began itching in the back of my mind a while back. I mean shoot, I have a degree in this nonsense! But I had no place to paint and was broke (still am). BUT, I had hope and was determined to figure out a way to paint, slowly but surely. And it only took about a year, but PROBLEM SOLVED Y'ALL:

Check out my studio/the ugliest corner of our living room. Ready to roll. It started with the bad ass easel my dad and I built together. Then we got a tarp and some all weather carpet to lay down (because painting is messy, especially when you're me), scrounged up some old furniture in my dad's barn (chair and a couple tables), and then this week I got the last and most crucial piece, a miter saw. Because you can't paint without a canvas and I refuse to paint on those things they sell at Hobby Lobby. Building your own is the only way to go in my book.

Pretty much my favorite thing ever. I love it. I've wanted one for years, but always though it was too crazy or I wouldn't have the space. NOPE! We made it work and now I have my very own miter saw. And it has laser sight. It's amazing.

I also reupholstered the chair we got at my dads. It was a little real funky from being in the barn for who knows how long so my dad pressure washed it for me and it was like new again! Almost. It still had a musty smell and I knew I was going to get paint all over it, so I covered it in this green pleathery material. That way when I spill paint on it I can just wipe it off!

It went from this:

To this:

Exciting stuff huh? Seriously though I am EXTRA excited to get to work. All I need is to stretch some canvas over my newly built stretcher and I'm ready to roll. By the way, check this baby out:

2.5 feet x 5 feet, she's a beaut. I've never built a stretcher this way (long story short, I've never used the cross bars for support, but since my wood shop access is limited I had to get creative), but it was fairly easy once I figured the math out. Man, I love building stuff. Just because you don't see this part of the canvas doesn't mean it's not and shouldn't be beautiful!

So be prepared y'all. Hopefully in the very near future I will have in progress painting shots to share!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Father's Day

This weekend was full of celebrating the fathers in our family. My mom, sister, Brendon, and I spent Saturday in Houston with my grandpa and aunt, uncle, and cousins. It was great to see the Houston gang of our family! We had some pretty good barbeque at this 50's style place. It was cute!

Gettin' down on some BBQ!

Sunday we spent the day playing in the sun, celebrating this crazy guy:

Weird dude huh? I love you daddio, thanks for being there always and for being constantly ridiculous. I think I inherited a lot of the weirdness.

Brendon and my dad worked on Brendon's Jeep. What a guy thing to do right? The good news is the front end doesn't look so wonky anymore!

We played some badminton, by our own rules. My sister is taking a class this summer so she was the guru, but we kind of made it up as we went along. My dad had a little court set up, complete with spray painted boundary lines. It was fun! And I wasn't as terrible as I thought. Long arms come in handy with this sorta stuff I guess.

It was a beautiful day, and the pool felt great. My sisters dog Ava loved the pool. She was in it all day long. That dog had to have been a fish in another life.

 What a cute pool boy!

 Ava trying to save my life, aka drown me.

 Chillin' hard.

Puppy and Cassie (chillin' in the doorway) felt a little left out, they couldn't hang with Ava's energy.

And check these guys out!

There was a little bird nest on top of one of the outdoor speakers! There were 3 or 4 baby birds in there, they were so ugly but so cute. They were jamming out to some disco tunes.

This weekend was nice. Family, fun, and relaxation. After this wild week it was nice to get out of town for a couple days! I could get used to having weekends off... Oh, if only!

Friday, June 15, 2012

I am alive.

Y'all. This week has been insane. To say it was a long week would be a disgusting understatement. It's been nonstop wildness since Sunday. I have gotten very little sleep, seen my husband for like 8 hours total, and eaten maybe 2 meals at home... but regardless, it has been a good week. I am physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted, but I alive (perhaps barely), happy, and am loving life.

Lot's of details on this cray cray week coming soon I'm sure, but for the moment I am trying to focus on the fact that I have the next two days off with Brendon. And boy do I need them.

Hope you have a great father's day weekend y'all, hug and celebrate the daddios in your lives!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Meet the new kicks

I got myself into a pickle with my old shoes fell apart on me this weekend. BAM no shoes to run in, work out in, do anything active in. I panicked a little.

I went to Luke's Locker (thank you so much Kristy and Roxanne for all your running shoe knowledge!!) and a nice gentlemen there helped me on my quest for a new pair of shoes. He watched my feet while I walked around and had me run through the store (embarrassing). We settled on a pair of Saucony's, although I did have my heart set on getting some Brooks running shoes at first, since we share a name and all.

After I decided on getting these babies the guy who was helping me said, "I'm sorry but this is the only color these come in, is that okay?" I laughed. Boy please, gimme them pink shoes!

They're lightweight and super comfy and fancy as all get out. A world of change from my ancient Nike's. And they were pricy. Running shoes are not cheap, but I'm hoping they will be worth it. I actually looked online everywhere after I bought them trying to find a better deal, but no such luck. I guess it was meant to be.

So meet my new kicks y'all. I've named them, because I'm weird like that. The left is Molly Weasley and the right is Minerva McGonagall (yes, I went there). They'll help me run farther, I just know it. Together we'll do great things.

In other shoe related nonsense, since losing my old funky shoes and gaining this new fancy pair, I no longer have shoes I can just muck around in. Brendon and I joined a softball team for the summer, and I'm a little wary of taking these babies into that red dirt. Also I do not plan on taking Molly and Minerva on any obstacle courses full of mud. So I am also on the look out for a cheap, but decent, pair of tough shoes. Maybe some trail running shoes. We'll see. A girl can never have too many pairs of shoes.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Medical mystery tour - part 2

If you've been around a while, you know my body has been rebelling against me and I've been living with chronic stomach pain for years. Here's the first post regarding this loveliness. The good news is that I've felt better recently than I have felt in years. I'm taking medicine that actually has made a difference in my quality of life and I'm sure being physically active and healthier hasn't hurt either. But we are still on a mission to find the cause and I sincerely hope we can fix it completely somehow. Because no one likes taking a bunch of pills. Or I don't anyway.

So this past Thursday we embarked on another little exploratory procedure, once again without any interesting results. But the good news is this time we got video of post procedure silliness. I got what Brendon called the "Michael Jackson special", they knocked me out for just a little bit (like 15 minutes? Who knows, I was snoozin'). I've gone through this before (see above mentioned post), but this time for some reason the anesthesia had a stronger effect on me. It took me way longer to get back to normal. I felt a little wild for while. But in the meantime it was funny, and although I don't remember much of it, thankfully Brendon was extra sneaky and got video footage.

The videos are here and here. I tried to actually post the videos here but for some reason (technology hates me), I couldn't get it to work so whatever. They're minorly funny and embarrassing (in the first one I sound high as a kite) so check them out if you want to see me trippin' on anesthesia.

And here is the picture I requested Brendon take of me at the end of the second video. Me and my juice:

Needless to say, I love apple juice and was very excited about getting some. In a can no less.

And I have to give a shout out to all the lovely people at this place. They are always so nice, friendly, and generally laid back. And they let me keep my extra fancy and super thick medical socks.

There are more steps to be taken in solving this medical mystery but we are running out of things to try. In some ways I'll be relieved (no more tests!) but it's also scary running out of options, I might just be like this forever. Weird how bodies work isn't it? So complex!

Rebel Race

Yesterday Brendon and I ran the rebel race! And we whooped it's butt! It was definitely not easy, we climbed over walls, through tunnels, and of course through lots and lots of mud. And we ran up and down hills. Again and again and again, through the woods. We had a blast! And Brendon was a great coach, he had to slow down I'm sure to match my pace, but he kept it positive the whole time.

Pre-race shot, sporting matching bandanas.

Post race, quite soggy:

After the race we were extra nasty. It doesn't look like it so much up there, but were coated in pond scum and mud. The water we went through was gross. It smelled terrible and I swear one of the bodies of water we had to basically swim across was a cow pond. Yum, huh?

I only sustained one little injury. At the beginning of the race there were monkey bars you had to swing across, and I was so excited that I actually was able to do it successfully (after watching a quite a few girls fall on their butts), I didn't pay attention to how crazy my legs were while swinging around, or Brendon saying, "watch out babe!"; there was a lovely slat of wood that I smacked my shins against at the end. I have a feeling they're going to turn all kinds of lovely colors soon.

The weather was great and the location was awesome (minus the cow ponds), I think it was on a giant farm/ranch. At one point we were on the top of a big ass hill (or small mountain), and we had a spectacular view of the surrounding area. We were in Smithville about an hour outside of Austin. Very pretty out there! We were running through some really beautiful stuff. Tons of wild flowers and everything was so green!

If you ever do one of these obstacle races, I highly suggest running in one of the first waves. We were a part of the second wave (I think) at 10am and it was still fairly cool out when we started. Plus you're running with a typically older crowd (versus younger folks), so they're easier to pass! And the lines for the showers/food/beer were waaaay shorter when we finished rather than later in the afternoon.

The lunch of champions.

Brendon doing a pullup challenge thing, he's pretty strong!

Pullup prize! A new water bottle.

This race was sponsored by the US Marines. It was pretty cool, but compared to the Warrior Dash that Brendon did last spring, it was highly unorganized. It was a little bit of mess actually, registration was insane. But I think this is only the second time they've held it here so I'm sure it will run more smoothly the more they do it.

I am really proud of how we did. How I did. I was really nervous, but I made it! And did decent! I'd say we did way better than most in our wave, we passed tons of people. I'm interested to see our times once they post them online. But I honestly don't know how anyone could run the entire thing, it was more of a hike than a run. We were basically just hiking up and down seriously steep ditches and creeks for a good portion of it. The obstacles were a lot of fun though, except for the grossness of the mud and water. And then running with shoes full of mud afterwards. But I enjoyed climbing over and around stuff, felt like a monkey!

The bad news is, this was the last hurrah for my shoes. The bottom of one literally fell off after the race, so I said farewell and we parted ways after over half a decade. I should have taken a picture of them, they served me well. Now I am without any thing to run in! An odd feeling for sure, how do you work out without tennis shoes? I plan on getting some new ones asap!

The moral of this story is, I am no longer a wimp. Or less of one anyway. Signing up for this race sparked my desire to get active. These last two months have been life changing and I'm so glad I made an effort to get healthier. And here's to more of this! There are all kinds of obstacle races similar to this one and we plan on signing up for more. They are so much fun! And I would also love to start working towards running a half marathon. That's a big goal for me, but with work I think I can do it. Eventually. 

Keep on keepin' on. Work hard, play hard.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Sweet summer time

 My new bracelet via a man stamping letters into leather and attaching them to wrists on the side of S. Congress.

 Patios are my second home. Especially ones with food and beverages.

I love this summer. Already. So much goodness, so little time. We are busy bees, but we are happy bees.

One of the wonderful things about summer are the all movies! We love movies! Let's recap and review the summer flicks we've seen so far.

The Avengers
- Real good y'all. Highly entertaining. A tad corny at times, but it's cute and badass at the same time. And so many good looking boys! My favs were of course Tony Stark and Bruce Banner. I've just got a thing for good looking nerds I guess. I love the whole Avengers series. Make lots more please! I don't think Stan Lee has enough money.

Dark Shadows - I think I talked about this movie already. I thought it was cute, but it didn't have much to offer that the trailer didn't give away already. But it was fairly entertaining. I loved the setting, costumes, and the music choices were pretty legit. Johnny Depp was an interesting vampire, and by interesting I'm not sure if I mean good. Michelle Pfeiffer was great though, she looks amazing.

Snow White and the Huntsman (or Bella and Thor) - Way better than I thought it would be. It was a visually pleasing movie, the effects were great. Snow White (Kristin Stewart) was alright, she was still a little lifeless, but she's a far better Snow White than a Bella. And Thor was in it, playing basically Thor. He's good at that though so it's okay. Charlize Theron was intense, mad props girlfriend. It was an interesting twist on the story and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Next up is Men in Black III. I love me some Will Smith. We are also rewatching the Harry Potter movies since we just finished rereading the books. It never ever gets old. I will never not love everything about Harry Potter. I still cry at the ends of the fourth through seventh books/movies. That last one though, dang it's intense. Harry Potter forever and ever and ever. And ever.

In non movie news, tomorrow morning we are running the Rebel Race where I will (hopefully successfully) be jumping over fire and crawling under barbed wire (and a variety of other obstacles that will no doubt whoop my rear), of course with help from my macho husband. I've warned him he may have to carry/drag me at some point (all the way?). Wish us luck y'all. Pray I don't perish/break all my limbs.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Austin, TX

June 1st marked the end of our first year in Austin. Can you believe it? A year ago Friday we packed up our little lives and uhauled our butts down here in 100 degree heat. We were hella naive and optimistic (and slightly stupid), little did we know what was in store for us!

Turns out, I hated it here. I was away from everything familiar, thrown into a big city. My friends were hundreds of miles away. I was lonely and sad and wanted nothing more than to run away back to Denton. Last June was one of the roughest months of my life. I couldn't find a job, I spent the majority of my time alone, we were broke broke broke, and then I got pneumonia. I was seriously ready to give up. I mean, pneumonia? What kind of crap is that?

But I got over pneumonia, eventually. And I got a job (thanks Coffee Bean!). And things slowly perked up. We figured our way around town (at least our small corner of the city) and things didn't seem so unfamiliar and scary. We got to know people here. And slowly but surely this crazy city sucked me in.

Since then Austin has grown on me. Tremendously. I love it here. I love this stupid city. It's insane and scary and too big for me, but I love it. There is so much to see and so much to do. It's such a vibrant place full of vibrant people. Moving here almost broke me but it has made me into a stronger and better person. My life is drastically different now than it was a year ago. If you told last May I'd be where I am now, I'd laugh in your face.

I was thrown out of my comfort zone and into this mess and I have made it my home. Our home. Me, Brendon, and the cats are one happy little Austin family. Although Brendon says he hates it here, but I think he secretly loves it. Just like he secretly loves pharmacy school (ha, jk! pharmacy school is the devil). There are somethings that truly are terrible here (traffic!!!), but for the most part the good greatly outweighs the bad.

Last summer when I first started blogging on the reg (another good thing that came out of Austin, my month of unemployment kick started this blog!), I said I hoped I would learn to love Austin like I learned to love Denton. Your girl called it, I have. This is home now and it becomes more so everyday. And I plan on staying here as long as we can. Although moving into a nicer (safer) neighborhood would be nice. Tryin' to upgrade!

So thanks, Austin. Thanks for whooping my ass and making evolve into something better. Tough love.

McKinney Falls

Yesterday Brendon and I went on a little adventure to McKinney Falls State Park. It's a super cool (and seriously beautiful) park just south east of Austin... actually, it's in Austin. It took us like 15 minutes to get there.

I used to go there a lot growing up, so it was neat to come back and check it out. Not much has changed!

Onion Creek runs through the park and over these giant limestone rock formations. And by giant I mean like football field size giant. And there are water falls! And you can swim! It's seriously worth checking out if you are in the Austin area and like outdoorsy type stuff. The hike and bike trails are legit too.

We did a little hiking and little swimming. Actually a lot of hiking... because we got lost. We wandered all over that park accidentally. But the scenery was great, the weather was perfect, and the company was pretty good so we didn't mind too much. We found our way back to our car eventually.

Cactus everywhere! Brought back memories of running into them throughout my childhood. I want to say I fell into one while hopping a fence once. Pretty Texan of me eh? 

Legit swimmin' hole.

 A rather large rock.

The trails were beautiful. Everything was so green! I'm glad we got a chance to go before the heat kills everything off. I'm hoping for a wetter summer than last year. Our poor plants need it!

Just chillin' on a cliff. I only lasted a minute or so before my fear of heights got the best of me. Thanks for taking 100 pictures of the back of me, Mr. H.

I think at this point we were lost for sure and a tad bit hot and sweaty.

After we finally made it back to our car, we changed into our swimmin' suits and headed into the water to cool off.

Brendon did a little cliff jumping. I did not. I have a teensy weensy (huge) fear of water, especially water that has living things in it. Heights + water = NOPE.

This picture cracks me up. All I can think of is brachiation (click here for a good example of what that is). Thanks physical anthropology classes! I am a huge nerd. I miss studying primates!

My super cool water shoes. They may look horrendous, but they work wonders.

 Carefully testing out the water.

This was the extent of my water excursion. While I was chillin' in the shallows, Brendon called out "vampiro!" (vampire in Spanish). THANKS BABE.

We had a blast on our little adventure! Minus the gazillion bug bites I came home with. I can't wait to do this again, but I'm afraid soon it will be a little too hot to safely hike around for a hours. Heat exhaustion is not on my to-do list. Keeping my fingers crossed for a mild summer full of rain!