Coming Soon…

June 23, 2013 § 1 Comment

ImageI’m painting. And I’m selling some pieces to help pay for a trip to serve women in Cambodia this winter. Shop opens July 1. Stay tuned for more preview pics!

Kitchen Redux AFTER

October 25, 2012 § 4 Comments

Thanks for asking. Come visit!!

Penny approves.

The before post here.

Architect: Cindy Black | Hello Kitchen | cindy@hellokitchen.net

Construction: Tonianne Soster | TAS Construction | tasconstruction@austin.rr.com

Design: Blair Burton | Blair Burton Interiors | blair@blairburtoninteriors.com

Kitchen Redux

October 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

What an epic undertaking. First, a little timeline, because this story goes way back.

November 201. We find little old house in a neighborhood we love in walking distance to yumminess with charm and an old kitchen. “I want this house. It has good bones. But the kitchen will need to be redone.”

February 2011. We move into #ThisOldHouse

February 2012 We find an architect. We move forward. We make plans.

August 2012 Move out. I have THE BEST IN-LAWS EVER. Demo.

October 2012 Walk through! Final touch ups!

November 2012 Punch list is completed. New kitchen.

The BEFORE. 1951, Harry Truman style.

Demo Day 1

Housewife is released from kitchen bondage. FREEEDOM!

The After coming soon here.

One Tote

June 21, 2012 § 2 Comments

As promised, here’s the little tote full of versatile options!

Yes. The whole trip fits in that tote and since your toiletries have to be microscopic to make it through security (we only pack carry-ons) then that’s your entire luggage suite. Yay!

Before we unzip and look inside, I must say that Megan‘s cute belt at lunch today reminded me that, like gold,  leopard print, is another that works with both black and brown, and while it is all the rage right now, I’d argue a few leopard print accessories are pretty classic and worth investing in. Like black patent, a leopard print belt|clutch|flats one|or|all of the above is another combination that can dress up any day outfit for an evening dinner.

suitcase 2: the goods

A version of the important staples are still included: a white cardigan, a day to night black blouse, black flats, brown flats, brown belt, solid color cotton Ts, day to night colored bottoms, a dress and an interesting scarf that coordinates with multiple bottoms and all the accessories.

New for this trip, I packed a gold clutch and flats to dress up any of these combinations. Because, remember gold is the new black. Also, I like the gray shirt I packed this time because gray is another great neutral with a little youthful edge that can go with both brown and black. I didn’t even pair it with it, but as you can see from the above image, it would go great with that black and white skirt. The black cardigan takes the place of the black scarf packed in the last suitcase, and the dark Longchamp Le Pliage tote with brown handles actually is more versatile with all the shoes and belts than the brown leather bag in the first suitcase. Plus -for good reason- it’s pretty much a classic international travel staple. Looove it. Too much. Anyway, with all of these interesting but still fairly basic bottoms, you have as many endless possibilities as you have solid shirts! Especiallyif you have earrings and scarves that coordinate with your bottoms, then your tops can change out with no problem.

Let’s see what we can do with our loot.


Really a few more shirts, white shirts with some detail, an orange shirt, a simple black ribbed tank top would not only endlessly increase the options but unlike bags (exceptforthefoldableLePliage), shoes, bottoms and even scarves, they take up no space in your suitcase. Like I said before, find a place whose simple Ts you like, and go stock up on Ts and tanks in every color.

While you’re stocking up, grab a couple of those totes in both large and small in every color. For me.

So. Recap. Basics, Basics, Basics. Find yourself some good staples and treat them well. Take care of that black cardigan, all your blacks and navys for that matter. Always wash them in cold and consider not drying them if you can help it, especially knits. I typically let my black and navy stuff air dry and toss them at the end of a cycle on warm to toss out wrinkles and help them retain their shape.
Day to night bottoms
Accessories that match and coordinate with things.

Oh! and don’t forget to wear all your bulky stuff and biggest shoes on the airplane! More room in your little tote for belts and jewelry and you’ll need a sweater and a scarf on top anyway to make it through all those temperature changes.

Bon Voyage!

Two Skirts. Twelve Days. One Carry On.

June 20, 2012 § 2 Comments

Summer travel is upon us! After chatting with my dear friend Megan about what to wear while traveling, I’ve come up with some travel tips for putting together outfits on the road. This post is dedicated to her. Hi Meggie!

I personally have a few guidelines for what makes it in the suitcase and what doesn’t. My philosophy on travel attire may be different than yours, in which case, you may hate all of this. So before diving in, I feel it’s worth explaining how I personally travel.

suitcase 1: the goods

I like to have lots of flexibility to allow for how I feel, what the weather is like and what attire is expected. I also don’t like packing more than I need. Frankly, I like fitting everything into a carry-on sized suitcase, whether the trip is three days or three weeks. You could say I pride myself in it. But only because I know anyone can do it with a little planning. And lastly, but probably first and foremost, I want to be comfortable. This means investing in good shoes that look good with dresses, shorts, white jeans and skirts. That can get you up the Spanish Steps and back but also won’t be frowned upon a the four course meal you have reservations for that night. Big cities are used to tourists, they don’t expect you to show up in heels and an updo, I promise. Yes, you should want to look nice while traveling, but it’s not a fashion show. You’ll be hating your life if you try to traipse around in cute, uncomfortable shoes all day then have blisters the rest of the trip. Now while I certainly aim for shoes, as well as outfits, that can make it from day to night, I recognize that, being out and about all day, I don’t “dress up” for dinner like I might if I were at home. At least when I get dressed for the day I prepare not to be able to go back to the hotel, spruce up and put on my heels. (I don’t even bother packing heels, but me and heels are a different story for a different day). More on shoes later.

Without much more ado, I give you The Ten Rules:

1.) Basics
2.) Scarves and Cardigans
3.) Basics
4.) A neutral purse to hold your water bottle and little umbrella
5.) Basics
6.) Comfortable shoes
7.) Basics
8.) Outfits that go from day to night
9.) Basics
10.) Basics

Simple right? Easy. Go to it.
“Ok, not so fast,” you’re thinking. “Basics? Groan. Like what? You can’t look cute wearing white shirts, khakis and brown shoes every day, that sounds like a school uniform! and I need to look cute for all the pictures we’ll be taking!” A school uniform actually isn’t that far off, if you think about it. The basics are worth investing in and taking on every trip. Once you have some staples you can rely on, then you can go from there with cute accessories that –conveniently –take up no space in your suitcase.

Here is my honest, uninspired, call-it-boring JUST THE BASICS suitcase:

1.) On the TOP: Three white shirts and two black shirts, plus some camisoles. Really, you want as many shirts as days you’ll be on the trip unless you’ll be laundering. Everything else can get worn multiple times. That is, unless you get overzealous with the pasta sauce…

2.) On the BOTTOM: White jeans, a black skirt, a khaki colored skirt or pair of shorts

3.) On the FEET: a pair of comfortable, neutral-colored walking shoes like Rainbow flip flops or Sperry Top Siders and a pair of black flats.

4.) To CARRY: A black clutch and a neutral colored-day purse big enough for your travel book, cardigan or scarf and water bottle

5.) To ACCESSORIZE: Bring as many colorful scarves, belts, cardigans, earrings and necklaces you can stuff. The point being, if everything you’re bringing goes together, you don’t have to plan outfits. Any top you pull out will coordinate with any bottoms.

6.) To IRON: Pack an empty spray bottle. Hotel irons are handy things (almost as essential as a free hote breakfast buffet) but their steam situation/sprayer scenario is not to be trusted.

Now that I’ve given you an example of a perfectly acceptable suitcase that will last you as many days as long as you have white shirts, let’s take it to the next level. We will call that Level One. Graduation. Welcome to Level Two. Here in Level Two, we have colorful basics.
Tips for Level Two:
1.) Pick a color scheme. Khaki, white and black are not too fun, I get that. But they are what we like to call a color scheme. If you don’t want to go that neutral, pick another color scheme so that all your bottoms match all your tops.Try to ensure that all the scarves, belts and earrings you bring can be worn with any of your tops or bottoms. For example, turquoise and coral, (along with white, black and brown of course) are a popular color combination right now. Navy and yellow are always classic, especially with a little red thrown in. Green and pink also coordinate with yellow easily and look great with black. The lovely thing about picking a color scheme is that not only will all your accessories go with your basics (they’re basics, they should go with all your accessories) but it means your accessories will all go with your other accessories! Whoa, now you have combination overload.
2.) Black and brown can go to together. Black and khaki most certainly do. You probably should still be sure your belt and your shoes at least work together, but rock that brown purse with your black shirt. If this makes you squeamish, better reason to consider tip number 3.
3.) Gold is the new black. Back in Level One, my friends, all your outfits instantly transferred to evening dinner attire with black flats and a black clutch. Gold clutch, gold flats, same song, new verse.

That’s it. Level one. Black, white, khaki. Level two. Colorful basics. Coordinating accessories. Solid colors. Let’s go back and take a closer look at the goodies we packed in our suitcase up there.

Day to Night Dress I like cotton and linen. It breathes and irons easily.

Black Blouse This one is from Madewell and can dress up your white jeans and simple khaki shorts.

Colored Cotton Shirt Madewell has some fun basic t-shirts right now.

Colored Blouse goes as well in the evening with your black skirt as it does with your white jeans and khaki shorts during the day.

Colorful Cotton Cardigan (or three) I’m a fan of cardigans over the ever-stylish, ultra versatile jean jacket, simply because they’re easier to pack more of and stuff into that neutral purse you’re carrying every day.

White Cotton shirt (or two or twelve). White shirts are really important. They don’t have to be expensive to be good. Some of my favorite basic cotton shirts, I got 6-8 years ago at Old Navy. You can’t go wrong with the standard Polo Ralph Lauren oxford button-down either. Find a brand and style that works with your body and stock up. This one is from American Eagle.

White Cotton Cardigan Same story. I have a great J. Crew cardigan, I also have a great 6 year old Gap cardigan I like better. Look for one with a tight knit and thick seams.

Black Skirt Not much to say here. It’s worth investing in a classic black skirt.

Khaki shorts Good, weighty khaki, not poplin, is worth investing in. Khaki may be one of the few materials that in my experience, you get what you pay for. It looks nice and when dried right, can go without ironing.

Colored Cotton Skirt Cotton, again. Breathes, irons easily. Dress it up with that black blouse.

White Jeans I hope this current trend never dies. White jeans are the new black pants.

Gold Sandals Gold is the new black OR brown.  Mind blowing. I love it. Invest in some comfortable ones: Sam Edleman, Bernardo, Berkenstock and Jack Rogers are all comfortable, solidly made and have very cute gold sandals.

Gold Flats Sperry, Tory Burch. Easily day to night as well. You don’t need both gold flats and gold sandals, but I endorse both.

Black Flats Find some. Treat them well. Vera Wang Lavender has lovely ones. Cole Haans are always fantastic. Hit up Neiman Marcus Last Call and Norstrom Rack.

Brown Sandals Same brands as the gold sandals above. While they’re not dressy and I’d likely not flipflop into dinner in them, I swear by my Rainbows. They’ve been good to me. You could get by on this trip without these if your gold sandals are reliable and comfortable, but these help that great brown woven belt work so well.

Brown purse Or grey, or greige. Big enough to fit your travel book, umbrella and water bottle

Black Clutch Easy to pack. Dresses up anything.

Colorful Necklace In your chosen color scheme, of course. This one is from Anthropologie but necklaces, like scarves, are a great place to go big on the trendy low on the price. Francesca’s and Forever 21 have great jewelry. If they only last as long as the trend does, who cares? Isn’t that the point? You won’t feel bad only wearing them once or twice if you didn’t break the bank to buy them.

White earrings A good chandelier earring in a neutral color also dresses up a very simple outfit.

Colorful earrings Day to night. A punch of color for your neutrals. Colorful studs are easy to find and easy to pack. No excuses, kids.

Colorful Scarf Add color, throw it on in the chilly museum or restaurant. Stashes in that basic purse easily.

Black Pashmina Find one. Treat it well. Don’t leave home with out it. Norstrom Rack, Neiman’s Last Call.

Brown Belt not essential but may help those basic, comfy flats of yours tie with the rest of your outfit. Leather is worth investing in. This is where outlet malls score big.

Colorful Belt another punch of that color within your color scheme. Those khakis and white shirt just got a whole lot more interesting.

Gold Belt I don’t think I need to say it again.
Now that our bags are packed. Let’s see what we can do with this suitcase. It’s not very full at all, but I bet we can make it go pretty far now that we know what we’re doing….
Suitcase Number One made on Polyvore.
Twelve different outfits is not too shabby, my friends. As you can see, not all my tops go with all my bottoms, but each is able to be worn in multiple ways, with either purse and different shoes. The accessories work with everything and each look could go from the park to the restaurant with no problem. As a personal preference, I have to ensure either a scarf or cardigan comes along with each outfit, not so much for color but primarily so we can go from the hot street to the chilly museum with no problem.
Let’s review:
Good shoes, day to night
White shirt
Black Scarf
Black skirt
Accessories in a color scheme that go with everything
Cardigans & Scarves
Stay tuned for Suitcase Number Two. Next time we’re going out for a few days with just what you could fit in a tote.
Bon Voyage!

four years

June 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

Taylor took me to Hillside Farmacy to celebrate our four year anniversary. {His well-informed secretary is now our official dinner concierge}

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It was such a fun ambiance! Totally fits the bill for the yuppie vintage farm to table trend. Inside looked like an old Depression-Era drug store -small tiles, cool fixtures. The outdoor seating was perfect for a breezy, eighty degree evening.

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Taylor indulged my cheese plate obsession. He didn’t believe me when I surmised he’d love the house-made marmalades.

Aaaaaaand I nearly had to keep him from licking the sweet spreads off the plate. The mild blue cheese in the back was a perfect. The firm brie in the front went great with the house-made dijon mustard as well as the pecans. That grape leaf wrapped goat cheese was perfect with the marmalades and the grapes…mmm.

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The Forager was a savory-far-from nutritious pile of mushrooms, caramelized onions melted into brie smushed between slices of truffle oil soaked ciabatta. #bestillmyheart

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Taylor’s muddled strawberry basil something.

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Not your average, run of the mill peel and eat shrimp. House-made cocktail sauce elevated cocktail sauce to a whole new level. Lemony butter? #yesplease.

On the home front, I’m driving all over Austin looking at tiles only to have my dear hubby finally concede to let me do white. #classic.

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Our somedaymaybe ifitevergetsofftheground kitchen will have beveled white subway tiles.{Even though I was tempted to be crazy and go for these gems, I’m opting for something a little less 2012. You know, in the even that time marches on.}  On a positive note, if you’re ever interested in reasonably priced grayblue tile, I’m your girl.

May Madness

May 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

May is always busy. Wrapping up school, plus weddings, showers, holidays, graduations. And torrential rains.

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We said farewell (or rather adios) to friends via a Cinco de Mayo party.

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Mustaches and pinatas were involved.

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3D glasses were featured as well. Love this girl.

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My cute brother graduated from Baylor.

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So so proud.

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Here’s to more Sno Beach and more crazy Austin this summer.

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