29 September 2011

Hair for a Cause

It's difficult to keep a style when my stylist lives 10 hours away.  It's not like I can make an appointment every 6 weeks.  It takes planning, and a haircut costs me a plane ticket.  I'm pretty particular about my hair, which is extremely odd because I don't do my hair.  I'm pretty satisfied waking up and pulling it all into a pony tail.  There is no fuss, no product, no hassle.  Honestly, anything would look better, but I really only like it when my sister cuts it.  Maybe it's because she knows what I want, or perhaps she is just good at what she does, but it always rocks.  Replicating her handiwork hasn't happened yet.  So I wait.  I let my hair grow, and grow, and grow until I can finally make the 10 hour drive (or flight) to get on her books.  This is the longest I have gone in between cuts. 

My hair was so long "it" was actually a candidate for Locks of Love.  My values align with their mission and I've always wanted to donate my hair for a good cause, I've just never had the patience to wait that long and then cut that much off.  Timing is everything. 

The donation process was easy.  Sarah wrapped up the hair for me.  I downloaded the form, filled it out, stuck everything in an envelope and dropped it in the mail.  It makes me smile knowing a kiddo will feel normal by simply mailing in my hair. 

The bonus; I love my new style.  I almost feel a little sassy.  Sarah also colored it, which covers up the gray that was starting to sprout.  Can you tell?  I'm a little unsure about committing to coloring my hair, so she went easy on me and did a semi-permanent color.  I did promise that I would keep it up; The cut and the color.  I don't want to look 12 and/or frumpy any longer.   Qué será.

Any major style changes on the horizon for you?

28 September 2011

Road Trip: View From The Drivers Seat

I traveled back to Nebraska last weekend for my 10 year class reunion from Nebraska Wesleyan.  When I first moved to Texas I was flat broke and spent a lot of time on the road when heading back to Nebraska because I couldn't afford to fly.  I would get in the car, jam to tunes in the tape player, dream up a lot of good stuff, and drive straight through.  Times have changed and I can now afford to fly, but something compelled me to get back in the car just like old times and get things figured out. 

This time around I was able to meander, and I stumbled upon Lindsborg, Kansas, and took the time to drive through Concordia.  Not sure why Kansas was my state to explore, but I'm guessing it's because I've had such a disdain for the plain state since growing up a boundary line to the north.  Either way, I was enchanted by these two towns, and on another whimsy could certainly see myself there.  Amidst the exploring, the cruise control was set, music pumped through the ipod and I was able, for the first time in a long while, to hear myself think.  The only problem was it was really hard to take notes when driving.    

The most appealing thing about driving anywhere in the country is that you truly get to see the state of the economy.  A profusion of wildfire scars blanketed a large part of Oklahoma.  Every other truck I saw was loaded with hay.  There is a major drought in the south and the ranchers have exhausted their hay resources.  It's now being shipped in from the north.  I saw an abundance of hitchhikers.  I couldn't help but wonder if it was the economy or just people out wandering the country.  In the north, the farmers have seen a lot of rain.  They were in the fields, presumably thanking the rain for the abundant harvest, but maybe secretly hoping it wasn't too much.  More mom and pop shops were closed while corporations that can undercut prices have popped up in their place.  Oil wells, and natural gas lines are scattered across the landscape as we as a country try to find more resources at home.  A lot can be seen from the view of the drivers seat.   

It was a great trip, full of nostalgia.  More thoughts on the 10 year reunion to come.  All the photos above were taken from the drivers seat.  To see a bigger view with an explanation of each one, visit my flickr page

23 September 2011

Weekend Thought

This thought has been on my mind a lot lately.  It's so easy to allow negative thoughts and behaviors into our lives when stop paying attention.

I'm traveling this weekend and I hope to be blogging from the road.  I hope you have something enjoyable planned for your first official weekend of fall. 

21 September 2011

Mood Board: Greens

Green may be my fall color this year, inspired by the gardens that are coming around since the heat has subsided.  Emeralds, mint, and teal feel very refreshing after a long, hot summer.  I cut and paste some favorite greens in my journal the other day.

What colors are you drawn to for the upcoming fall?

19 September 2011

Slow Food $5 Challenge

I have long since been an advocate for the Slow Food movement.  Growing up in Nebraska where local food meant whatever was available out the back door, I found value in real food.  Long after leaving the farm in the dust, it was clear to me that local, organic food had become an anomaly in the city world I now lived in.  It was hard to find, and I quickly realized I had taken what I had for granted.  Farmers markets were often misleading and while they offered fresh produce, a lot of it was still hauled in by truck.  Local wasn't so local.  

So when I discovered not one, but two retailers in McKinney that provided not only wholesome from the earth kind of food, but local as well, I was ecstatic.  Patina Green Home & Market is a unique blend of antiques, a lunch counter, and market, and Local Yocal Farm to Market is a traditional butcher of local meats.  Robert, Kaci, & Luann, as well as Matt & Heather (owners of the aforementioned businesses) not only believe in supporting community based food, they put their words in to action recently.

Slow Food USA issued a challenge to the nation and stated that slow food shouldn't have to cost more than fast food.  Robert and Matt took on the challenge and put together an evening under the patio.  They invited 100 guests to share with them a delicious meal provided by local farmers and ranchers that only cost $5.
Robert, a classically trained chef, prepared a meal of wagyu brisket tacos, organic greens and tostadas with fresh salsa.  For dessert, and a small additional fee, was cantaloupe sorbet with rosemary shortbread and cinnamon sugar bunuelos with caramel milk spread.
The tables were set with flowers picked from a local farm.
The photo above does not do the food justice.  It is evidence that even though this organic, local meal cost $5, it didn't lack in portion size.
Robert & Matt
Local Yocal Counter
I walked away stuffed.  The food was delicious and easy enough to make myself, with ingredients that can be purchased in both stores.  Much to my chagrin, the only unfortunate part of the evening was the lack of attendance.  Although the advance reservation tickets were quickly sold out, many of the guests did not join us, leaving several seats empty.  Inevitably, the absence of involvement makes me want to spread the message even more.  

Buying and preparing local food is not only very good for your health, it's also very good for the community.  Long gone are the days where we are submerged in our neighborhoods filled with friends, mom and pop shops and commonality.  Patina Green & Local Yocal are trying to hold on to that past before the art of self sufficiency supported by community is lost.  A very noble 4(for) green acres effort.  

Both stores are located in McKinney, Texas and can be found on the web here:
Patina Green Home & Market
Local Yocal Farm to Market

16 September 2011

How to Turn A Crate Into A Footstool & Magazine Rack

{via pinterest via 1. sfgirlbay.com 2. emmas.blogg.se  3. wohnwasabi.blogspot.com}
I have been completely inspired by the reinvention of the crate.  A variety of crates are a staple in my home, but it hasn't been until recently that I've fallen in love with them all over again.  When I was cruising around Pinterest I discovered these and I was immediately smitten.  I wanted to incorporate the caster/crate idea into my home, which fits my design style of eclectic, arts & crafts with a touch of industrial.  I am not in need of anymore shelving units so I decided to take a different approach.
My living room is somewhat limited on space despite the open rooms.  The furniture is large and I'm tired of the overstuffed and bland ottomans, but I still need something to prop my feet on.  I decided to turn cc's favorite 7-Up crate into a new ottoman with current magazine and book storage.  It gets the job done and doesn't take up too much space.
+an old crate (fruit, soda, etc.)
+4 casters from the hardware store (size is by preference - I wanted a shorter ottoman so I went with smaller casters)
+industrial strength velcro
+gorilla glue
+optional - pillow or cushion that fits the dimensions of the "top" of the crate

I didn't want to drill holes in the crate in order to keep my options open for future use.  I decided to go with velcro, and I made sure it was industrial strength so when I move the crate around on the floor the casters won't fall off.  To be sure the adhesive on the velcro adheres to the metal caster and the wood I used a couple drops of gorilla glue on each surface.  With a little elbow grease this can be removed in the future. 
I positioned the casters as close to the edge as possible in order for them to be visible.  You may choose to add a cushion or pillow for comfort.  I opted not to because I have so many pillows on my couch already it's easy enough to grab one of those if needed.  
I would love to get more ideas for crates.  What other ideas have you seen or used?  Leave me a comment.   

15 September 2011

Art Adventure In the Woods

How I wish I were waking up here today with the same enthusiasm as I had then.  I wish I were nestled away in the woods around a campfire while sharing new stories with friends that feel old.  I wish I could be sitting around a table with creatives and feel like what I have to offer is enough.  I wish to feel that same acceptance of come just as you are, who you are.  Most of all, I wish for my friends many happy adventures in the woods of New Hampshire this weekend.  I'll return some day. 

If you have not attended Sqaum Art Workshops I would highly recommend you put it on your to-do list.  Elizabeth, the brain child of this retreat, has created such a magical refuge tucked away in the woods that you can't help but walk away transformed and inspired.

I look forward to the many stories and photos next week.   

13 September 2011

The List to Make It Official

Moving really puts life into perspective for you.  You begin to identify what matters most.  For weeks cc and I have been living in limbo as we prepared to sell one house, and made a few changes on the new house.  Every time something important happened we'd look at each other simultaneously and say "it's official, we've moved."  The list keeps expanding. 

1.  It's official, the coffee pot, latte machine, beans, grinder, filters...have been moved.  
2.  It's official, we now have wireless internet.
3.  It's official, the t.v. has been connected just in time for football season. (Go Huskers!)
4.  It's official, the kitchen is set up.
5.  It's official, the first batch of Great Aunt Linnie's cookies have been made with the girls.
6.  It's official, our first letter arrived in the mailbox.
7.  It's official, the new mattresses are here.
8.  It's official, the rocker has been placed on the front porch.
9.  It's official, the rugs are on the floor, which means painting is done.
10.  And the most important, it's official, the cats have made the move.  Reluctantly.
At first glance these things may seem silly and hardly qualify as important, but there is an unspoken understanding that it is not the material items that are so important to us, but rather the moments in which they take place; The traditons that are brewing that create family.  We value the anodyne of creating a home that is a safe place that heals, comforts, and infuses us with laughter. 

I finally feel at home and every time I walk through the door, despite the patchy paint yet to be finished, and the empty rooms waiting for furniture.  I can't think of a place I would rather be.  It's not just that we have moved, we have arrived home and this list is just more proof that we have finally found our resting place. 

What do you find important to you and your family that makes it official?

09 September 2011

The Wild Chicken

There is a wild chicken living in our new neighborhood.  To be more specific, living in the tree in front of my in-laws house.  She was there when they moved in and none of the neighbors seem to know where she came from.  Of course, she has been adopted and named Henrietta.  Her eggs can be found all around the yard and a in a decorative basket on the neighbors porch.  Although I've seen evidence of Henrietta, I have not actually spotted her myself (note the lack of photo of a chicken).  She roosts high in the tree at night and gallivants around the neighborhood during the day. 

One of my favorite little people and I were talking about Nini (her grandmother) using Henrietta's eggs in a cake she was baking.  She exclaimed, "I've never eaten eggs from a chicken before!"  To which I replied, where do you think the eggs in the grocery store come from?  This was followed by "where does our food come from" lesson, while an idea for an episode for Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution popped into my head.  Being a very witty five year old she hastily corrected her statement and said with as much excitement as the first time, "I've never eaten eggs from a wild chicken before!"  True, true little one. 

As I am writing this, I can't help but think this is a great storyboard for a children's book.  If only I could draw...

I'm off to eat a piece of Henrietta's cake.  Enjoy the weekend.

08 September 2011

How to Use Hydrogen Peroxide to Clean Your Tile

I am still in new house mode with a long project list and unpacking to do.  We finally have the old house on the market and we are living in the new house.  I do feel like I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  One project I wanted to get done right away was the laundry room.  Not only was the pile of clothes almost as tall as me, the previous owners kept their dog in the laundry room during the day.  It needed a fresh coat of paint, cleaning, and some serious deodorizing in order to hook up the W/D and get to work. 

I knew from my trusty book that hydrogen peroxide is a great household cleaner, especially for deodorizing.  (I'm starting to love it as much as apple cider vinegar.)  I was concerned about pouring the liquid all over the tile floor;  It needed to be concentrated.  This is the part where you'll find that my mind gets a little twisted.  Having two hair stylists in the family I also knew hydrogen peroxide is an agent in "bleaching" hair.  So I called up my sister to ask her what the salon calls peroxide: Developer!  It comes in creme, which has the consistency of shampoo, making it much easier to keep in one place on the floor.  I headed over to the beauty supply store and picked up...a gallon

I started with a small section.  I poured about a cup of the creme on the floor and started to scrub with a good stiff brush.  WHOA!  Flashback: When you were little and an injury incurred that required the use of peroxide, do you remember what it did, other than hurt like hell?  Major foam action.  Back to the floor; Major foam action. So my note of caution is that a little goes a long way.  You won't need a gallon. 

After scrubbing with the brush, I took a bucket of water with an old rag and wiped the excess off the floor.  What I realized later is there was still a film on the floor.  The feeling resembled hair that had not been properly rinsed after shampooing.  To solve the problem I filled my bucket with warm water and took a mop to it one more time and that took care of the problem. 

The entire process was a little time consuming, and hard on the knees, but it's really more of a deep cleaning process than one to use in the regular cleaning schedule.  Along with the fresh paint on the walls and cabinets, the developer did take care of the smell and grime, and I'm very pleased with the results.

Now on to other projects and laundry. 

07 September 2011

Getting Mooned

I have always loved the moon.  Every month I look forward to when the moon is full and I can walk outside in the dark and still find my way.  There is something about it that brings me peace. 

My mom forwarded me an e-mail this morning full of these moon photos.  Unfortunately there was no credit given to the creator, but I wanted to share the whimsy with you.  Please leave a comment if you know the source so I can give proper credit.