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Archive for January, 2012

Who doesn’t love a good before & after home improvement project?  I know I do!  This particular project all came about from simply being bored.  Yes, you read it correctly.  I don’t know about you, but when I get bored I usually clean, organize, workout…..maybe…oh I don’t know, read a book?  I can’t say the same for Eddie (my bf), when he gets bored he builds massive structures.  What I mean by massive structures, is this…..

Before…

After…

For those of you thinking, “Ok, annnnd….what’s the big deal about that?”  The big deal is he has no background or experience in masonry, or anything construction for that matter; he’s been in sales his whole life and before that he played hockey.  So, ladies & gentlemen this just goes to show you can do anything you set your mind to!  He did his homework, took his time, & it was all worth it in the end.  It looks absolutely AMAZING (and it’s not even finished)!

Now, I don’t want anyone to think this was a piece of cake…because THAT it was not!  He had to keep his eyes on the prize because GOOD masonry is not exactly easy or easy on the back & body for that matter.  I helped with what I could, mainly emotional support (aka my opinion haha), leveling, & helping with the downslope of the curved walls.  I CAN’T TELL you how many people stopped & asked for his card or just to say how good it looked, which is all good encouragement!

Now, the fun part of the whole project is underway:  the fit & finish.  The possibilities are absolutely endless on what you can do, and therefore, makes it that much harder to choose!  After much thought, we went with a good ol’ stucco finish.  I always knew that there were TONS of different stucco finishes, but after all this I can now say I know the proper terms for them as well ;).  We decided on what some may refer to as a “Santa Barbara” finish, which has a smooth, burned trowel look.

This is what it looked like right after stuccoing…

This is what it looked like after stucco dried & cured…

This is what it looks like with the wall mount lights and a coat of dry-lock (no paint, caps, or landscaping yet)…

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This is what it looks like today with the addition of grass and a mulched bed (no paint, caps, or landscaping yet)…

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Below is what I like to call our “inspiration” photo.  We are going for an “old world” classic look and the faux technique on the arched wall with the contrast of the thick wall molding along with the italian cypress is A LOT to be inspired about!

Next step….sealing & painting and ordering the pier & wall caps……oh boy!  Stay tuned for updates!!

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Well this just made my day.  I had just got done working out and noticed a flower van going down the driveway, so I opened the door, & before me was a BEAUTIFUL spring bouquet!  I thought, darn, now I know these aren’t for me.  I read the card, and they were for MY DOGS!!! lol.  Just an early Valentine’s Day present for them from their “grandma”.  Thanks Mom, they are GORGEOUS!!!

As you can tell, they love them 😉

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I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but there is some truth to the saying you get what you pay for and candles are no exception.  The good news is, two of my favorite candlemakers are reasonably priced, & both produce a luxurious, high-quality candle that you will always want to have on hand.  Now, what exactly makes them better than the “other” candles?  Well, I am going to let you know!

First on the list, Voluspa Candles.  I experienced my first burning Voluspa candle at a girlfriend’s house, and it just happened to be Baltic Amber from the Voluspa “Japonica” Collection.  Let me tell you, it smelled SOOO GOOOD, described as “amber resin, sandalwood, cedar and vanilla orchid for an intoxicating and rich scent, alive with hints of the Far East”, it is one of their more popular scents.  So, naturally, I found out where she got it (Anthropologie) and I went and purchased one ASAP.

They are made of 100% coconut wax, use 100% cotton wicks, the finest blend of fragrances, and in return, you get a super concentrated, virtually smokeless, eco-friendly candle.  In lamens terms–A candle that burns ridiculously clean, fills your entire home up with its scent, doesn’t smoke while burning or when you blow it out and the smell lasts for hours after you blow it out.  Last but not least, the packaging-I’m a sucker for marketing, but really only if the product’s as good as it looks….and this definitely is.  The next time I went to Anthropologie I bought 2 more fragrances from the “Japonica” collection to try out,

  • French Cade & Lavender-combines the rare French cade wood with lavender Bulgaria, verbena, and moss for a gorgeous and unusual scent like no other.
  • Champaca Bloom & Fern-Creamy Champaca blooms-one of the most prized flowers in modern perfumery-embody pure elegance. Heady, yet light and graceful, the blooms are blended with soft green Fern Leaf, White Muguet and Gardenia to create a beautifully fresh floral that is appropriate for almost any occasion.
…..and they were equally fabulous!  They are just one of those companies that everything they make is great.

Next on the list, Tyler Candles.  Once again, I experienced this candle burning for the first time at a friends’ house in Texas (what can I say, my friends have good taste ;)), and, the “Brand New” scent that they were burning smelled so fresh & clean!  I was happy to find out that there was a cute store in my hometown that sold them & the funny thing is I had noticed them there before because of their adorable lids.  Anyhow, when I got back into town from Texas, I made my way to that cute store, bought a couple of them, LOVED them, and have gone back for more (I probably have bought 20 over the last year and a half :)).

They are made in Tyler, TX and are a special blend of soy & paraffin wax.  Like Voluspa, they too hold a concentrated amount of fragrance that will fill an entire home up with its everlasting scent and use lead free wicks that are 100% cotton.  They tend to be priced a little cheaper , but in turn, smoke a little more than Voluspa.  Nevertheless, Tyler candles are still a high-quality candle that remain a favorite of mine.  Below I have listed some of my favorite scents that I have tried:

  • Brand New-MONEY, MONEY, MONEY! Fresh ozonic awakens, cedar and oak moss complete!
  • Cashmere Elegance-Unpredictable and unique, the essence of femininity and privilege! Peony is richly drenched with Rose de Mai. Sandalwood, Vanilla, and Cashmere Woods combine to create a regal experience!
  • Fearless-AN IMMEDIATE ATTENTION GETTER!! Extreme masculine blend of Musk, Citrus & Patchouli! Undaunted, Very bold & Confident!
  • Tyler-Bursting with the medley of currant & grapefruit. A dash of green undertones adds an opulent twist! Firmly grounded with confidence!
  • VIP-Bold mandarin & decadent Brazilian oranges swirl with Italian bergamot to build & intensify a frenzy for the elite! Sage, ylang ylang, cedarwood inspire an upscale undertone! Not conceited…only convinced.
  • Icon-An invigorating, fresh fragrance as legendary as the leading man who wears it! Spicy, sporty, original, and truly unforgettable! Notes of sandalwood blend with ambergris, violet leaves, French verbena, and Florentine iris to create the ultimate aromasensory experience!
  • High Maintenance-Our #1 fragrance!! Floral, woody blend combined with patchouli and vanilla with a heavy musk undertone! Very sophisticated and truly addictive!!!!!!!
  • French Vanilla Oak-Light camphor notes atop a warm, sensual blend of creamy vanilla, soft amber, cedarwood, and sandalwood! Just when you thought you knew vanilla!!!!

and there are many more that I would like to try! 

p.s. I would also like to get my hands on one of these! This Tyler Candle finial would be so cute on a console, dresser, counter, or bookcase!  Love!

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Back in October, I was house & animal sitting for my parents while my mom took a girl’s trip to Savannah.  I don’t watch morning shows regularly, but when I do I watch ‘Good Morning America’, preferably on Thursdays so I can watch the ‘Secret Deals and Steals’ segment.  For those of y’all that aren’t familiar with GMA’s ‘Deals and Steals’, they typically feature 5 or 6 amazing products and offer at least a 50% discount promo code that’s good for about 2 days on the participating products.

Well this particular morning, one of the products featured was the Pass Christian Soap Co.’s Lemongrass Hand Soap and Robin from Good Morning America just happens to be from Pass Christian, MS and said this product is a staple in her home.  So you know me and my love for bath & body products, I immediately went on their website and liked everything I saw.  Everything on their site was 50% off, so I narrowed my choices down to 2 products to try and I decided on the “Island Gold” Perfumed Body Wash & Shimmering Body Creme, which they describe as “Warm woods of Patchouli, balsamic sandalwood, sweet creamy vanilla bean combine with green, leafy notes to create our best seller. This exotic blend is sultry and warm. Never overpowering”.

Since they are a small company that make everything in small batches by hand, it took a few extra weeks to receive my stuff due to the overwhelming amount of orders they received from being on GMA, but it was well worth the wait.  I could not open it fast enough to smell it, and it smelled just how I had hoped and I could not wait to use it that evening.  The aromatherapy it gave off in the shower was that of a relaxing, sultry spa.  As if that wasn’t good enough, it got better when I used my body creme-it was hands down one of the best, if not THE best body creme I have used (& that would be a lot of cremes people).  I had never felt so moisturized, luxurious, & silky in my life, WITHOUT feeling greasy.  Aloe Vera, Avocado Oil, Shea Butter, Jojoba Oil, Chamomile Extract, Vitamin E, & Vitamin C are a few of the ingredients and they speak for themselves.  The potency of the fragrance is perfect, never overpowering but manages to stay with you for hours & on your clothes for days.  I am a satisfied customer and will be ordering more stuff!

Just a little side note:  I don’t know about y’all but I attract bugs and mosquitos like crazy & it doesn’t matter what I may have on my skin:  with lotion, without lotion, with oil, without oil.  I noticed that when I have on my “Island Gold Shimmering Body Creme” that they leave me alone.  I don’t know if it’s one of the essential oils in it that deters them or what or maybe I’m just crazy, but I’m going to keep using it and see what happens :).

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I just have to share this find with y’all, I know it’s past Christmas & the Holiday season, but this is something you can use year round.  This year I waited until the very last minute to get my Christmas Cards sent out and I’m glad I did!

Since I had waited so long, the option of having them shipped to me to address and mail myself was out of the question, so I noticed on a few websites that they would address, stamp, & mail them out for me-how awesome!  Consequently, adding that convenient service nearly doubled the price of my order.  Grrrrrr.  After much shopping around and designing various Christmas photo cards on popular websites….I finally struck gold!  I came across Cardstore.com and noticed that they had a 50% off promo code, so I started to shop around their site and design a few cards.  I never looked back at those other sites; they had so many high quality custom cards with endless amounts of choices and personalizations that could be made.  AND they were 50% off.  AND they would address, stamp, & mail them out for me for no extra charge?!?  I wasted no time and ordered them AND I wasn’t let down, as they met all my expectations.  (Take a look at my 2011 Christmas Card below)

They run promo codes often, and when they do it’s my one stop shop for any kind of card, announcement, stationery, etc etc that I may be looking for.

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One of the first times I was at my boyfriend’s house after we started dating, I noticed this blanket folded up on his couch while we were sitting on the cold leather sofa watching a movie.  I soon unfolded it and wrapped it around me, and that’s when I fell in love….with the blanket (and him too I suppose :)).  It was just so soft and warm and cozy and relaxing and unique AND soooo….cuddly?  I quickly asked him where it came from and much to my surprise he said, “my mother makes them for close friends and family, it’s her “thing””.  Within a year, I had my very own “cuddly”.  Needless to say, it hasn’t left my side since and it doesn’t get very much shelf time either; it’s almost always on the couch, the bed, a chair, or traveling with me wherever I may go & I wouldn’t dare let just anyone borrow it.  She did a fantastic job in choosing the correct fabric & colors for me:  a girl shopping with her dog on a light teal background flannel paired with a darker coordinating teal in a soft velour (pictured below).

It means a lot to her to find the perfect fabrics for the recipient of the blanket, as these blankets truly last years and I mean YEARS.  They really do get better with age; the more you wash and use them, the softer and better they become.  Now, how awesome is that?  Lucky for you, she no longer keeps these amazing blankets to her inner circle of friends & family, she has her own website, “SophistiCuddly”, where you can shop & purchase one of your very own, and trust me, you’ll soon want to get one for all the favorite people in your life.

P.S.-  After 5 long years, I have commissioned myself another cuddly, & here are the fabric combos…. I can’t wait until it’s finished!  It’s going to be so nice!

 

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Well, we took the plunge and got another dog.  For those of you that have read the “about me” on my page, you know we have an awesome 1 1/2 year old male long-haired Dachshund named Cowboy, whom of which we adore.  (Cowboy pictured below in his antlers :))

We had been teetering on the idea of getting another Dachshund for him (& us), but the idea of the long nights of staying up to take him outside, potty training, teething, neutering, & all the “what ifs….” were still a little fresh in my mind so we quickly talked ourselves out of it for the time being.  After talking with friends with “only” dogs who are tossing the idea around as well and talking with friends that have two dogs….we slowly talked ourselves back into it.  After much research, we found a reputable breeder out of Texas & fell in love with one of her puppies in particular:  a 5 month old male shaded english cream long-haired Dachshund.

His name is Tex and he will be 6 months old in a few weeks and he has been a DREAM COME TRUE!  The complete opposite so far from Cowboy’s potty training, this dog already goes to the door to let us know he has to go potty AND doesn’t let his hound nose get the best of him outside and comes right back to the front door.  A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

Now onto the lovesnicethings part of my blog:  As animal lovers (& Dachshunds being prone to back problems), we wanted to feed our dogs the best foods that we can.  The problem we had was Cowboy is such a picky eater, he wouldn’t eat just any food like most dogs would.  After trying SO MANY of the holistic, gourmet , organic, grain-free, freeze-dried & frozen raw foods, I am now able to share some of the great foods that we have come across & they are “Cowboy Approved” for all of y’all with a picky eater.  Keep in mind that ALL of these foods are top notch & any dog would probably be happy & lucky to be eating any of them.

*Stella & Chewy’s Freeze Dried Duck Duck Goose (pretty much doggie crack & Cowboy’s favorite) a unique benefit is it already includes probiotics that helps with their stomachs in the same way yogurt helps us and makes traveling with your pet a breeze since it does not have to be refrigerated or frozen and comes in individual puck size portions.

*Northwest Naturals Frozen Raw Bison or Lamb in Bars or Nuggets (another favorite of Cowboy’s) it’s a little different from the other raw food I’m going to mention because it’s made in Human Food Grade Facilities & it’s actually cheaper than the rest! win win.

*Natures Variety Frozen Raw Rabbit or Chicken (good quality frozen food)

*Primal Frozen Raw Duck (good quality frozen food)

*Pinnacle Grain Free Turkey & Potato kibble (dry food)

*Fromm Grain Free Kibble (dry food)

*Orijen Kibble (dry food)

We started Tex on a raw diet immediately and it’s been really good to him and us.  When Cowboy was teething as a puppy he would vomit and have loose stool from time to time, & let me just say Tex is mid-teething with his permanent teeth coming in and he has been doing great on the raw diet–has yet to vomit or have the runs, & LOVES to eat it.  He’s definitely the eater out of the two…he’s not picky in the least bit and eats Cowboy’s food too if he can :).  Highly highly recommend!

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