She’s (un)crafty Giveaway

Never in six billion years would I consider myself crafty, so no one was shocked more than myself when I decided to start making candles. 

I am candle obsessed though and had always wanted to make my own. 

The last crafty thing I attempted was making and selling sponge painted t shirt dresses at age eight with my neighbor. 

My neighbor and I’s most popular print was a watermelon. It was like Warhol, but not at all like Warhol. 

Her sister is an artist in Austin. Hi Stephanie! Stephanie Nance. Look her up. She is amazing, and probably rolled her eyes at her sister and I’s sponge dresses. 

Laura, our dresses were both fashion forward and amazing. Perhaps we should start making them again? 

Anyway… 

After trying my hand at welding last month, I thought, how hard could melting wax possibly be? 

Here went nothing. 



And now I introduce to you, the first scent by The Blue Sparrow Blog, Sage and Chamomile, otherwise known as Infinite Wisdom. 

I am giving one away here. Winner drawn on Wednesday. Simply comment below telling me your favorite scent to be entered to win! 

Xo

Design. Build. Adventure. 

I’ve heard there are three ways you can create new brain cells. One is to learn something new. I forgot the other two…

Anyway.

For years I had seen a friend from middle school’s post on his company, Design Build Adventure, and I had always been intrigued.

Here is an example…


I mean… aren’t you intrigued?

I signed up and packed my bags for the high desert of West Texas.

I can’t weld, but I was so excited to learn, and Captain Jack and his crew, Will and Parker, were excellent teachers.

The workshop consisted of consulting with two local artist, Nick and Maryam, who generously have donated part of their land to a playground. It’s called Eastside Playground and you must check it out when traveling through Marfa.

Nick and Maryam wanted a sign for the entrance and a table with benches for kids and parents to sit, play, and gather on.

We had two days to design, build, and make it happen.

The collaboration of the group was magical. Mystical. An experience I’ll never forget.

This is what we made.

Photo credit above to the amazing Nick Terry.

We also made this welcoming sign.


I left with a great sense of satisfaction, although I’m not exactly sure how I contributed other than a willingness to learn and an abundance of enthusiasm for the project.

Thank you Jack and your team, your amazing wife and kiddos, Terry and Maryam, and all who signed up for the class for making this an experience I’ll never forget!

Check out more about Design Build Adventure at http://www.designbuildadventure.com

Family Reunion

Oh my goodness! It was so good to take the boys and go see their extended cousins and family, they had so much fun, and so did I.


I just wish that one, I had more time with my amazing family, and two, that I had put sunscreen on.

The boys had a blast playing with cousins, swimming in the lake, jumping off the rope swing, sliding down the slip-n-slide, and just hanging out.

I enjoyed recanting old stories and reminding everyone that I was not always the black sheep of the family.

“Remember when all the boys put Granny in the bull pen when she was nine months pregnant to see if she could escape before a bull got her?”

Cause I remembered that story. No one except my parents and uncle remembered that, probably because their lives were most at stake.

One of my cousins worked for the CIA and one worked for the FBI.

I did not achieve such success. But am happy to attend family reunions at their lake houses.

Years ago, when my cousin was ask what he did for the FBI, his sister quipped, “Oh please, he probably just takes the trash out.”

These are other memories of family reunions past…

Getting on the ski boat and whoever was skiing immediately getting drug over to the side of the lake with tons of tree stumps. This was to “show us what you’re made of.”

I started driving the boat at age 8 and still cannot water ski to this day, for fear of dying. I can, however, hang on to a intertube better than most.

We also use to play spoons, sort of the adult version of musical chairs with cards. I remember lamps getting knocked over and elbows thrown in jaws as my elders would dive for spoons, or pretend they had four of a kind. I can only imagine what would have happened had money been at stake.

I remember telling the story of my grandfather learning to drive at age five, and the eldest generation laughing and recanting the stories of their parents also learning to drive at such a young age.

“I remember Buck steering and Bud pushing the peddle down and them driving to the general store!” One cousin remarked as we laughed and recalled other things they would have been thrown in jail for these days.

Thank the lord iPhones were only recently invented. God bless Texas, and God bless family.

The Louie Chronicles: Left for Dead

A story from the view of my purse. 

It was summer and my owner and her then husband were traveling with friends to San Francisco and Napa valley. 

Naturally, my owner got on the plane and shoved me under a dirty airplane seat. I tried to avoid old gum and half eaten bags of peanuts. 

We arrived and I was swept through the airport, the rental car line, the grocery store, and a park. 

The whole city smelled like ocean and piss. 

I was drug all over that pisshole of a city that my owner seemed to be enjoying. 

“It’s the crooked street! These are the best oysters!” 

Like, who cares? 

Not uncommon, the owner ended up stopping and talking outside a bar to people on the street. Talking, talking, talking. 

She rummages through me, finds a cigarette, and drops me on the street under a street lamp. 

More talking talking talking, and then, she just walks off. 

Hello? Really? I hold the money. She needs me. Where the fuck did she go? Do these people she was talking to even have homes. Oh God, this city smells. 

Where is she? Where did she go? This is no Aspen. I don’t feel safe. I feel dirty. 

After what seems like days the owner runs up, scoops me up and starts thanking God and digging for the poor wallet. 

“It’s all here!” She exclaims. 

At that moment I knew I nearly escaped death. 

The Ripped Pants Incident

Sometimes, when you are going through a hard time, and one of your sister soul mates from Oklahoma is also going through a rough time, she gets in her car at 5 p.m. and says to have wine ready when she arrives.

Neither of us realized how much crap we had to tell each other and the bottle emptied quickly. I mentioned that Baker Street Pub was in walking distance and we walked to the bar. We drank. We laughed. We laughed so much I swear we did an ab work out just catching up.

Then it was time to go back to the apartment and since I had recently moved in, the gate code I was given wasn’t working.

Curse words were said here.

We had no idea how we were going to get back in the apartment. And… it’s not in the best of areas, backing up to lovely Como. So Laney and I go searching for our best mode of entry and find the lowest level gate I feel I can scale.

I’m so glad Laney wasn’t filming.

As I swung one leg over the pointy iron gate and looked down I remember saying, something to the effect of, this doesn’t look good.

And I jumped.

And there was a ripping sound.

My shorts had caught on said pointy gate, and I hung for a second in the air, I like to think like an angel…

Then my pants ripped and I busted ass on the other side of the gate, also known as the concrete parking lot, while Laney fell over laughing hysterically.

It’s these friendships that mean the world to me.

Laney… the only friend I know who has a lipstick knife, threatens a boy with it, stabs him with it, and instead of offering help I toppled over laughing hysterically and ask where the hell she got such a fantastic item.

I love you Laney girl. Can’t wait to make Backstreet Boy videos with you on the beach in a few weeks.

xoxox

My First College Party

I was probably a little younger than most when I went to my first college party. I was eight, and I guess already trying to act like Drew Barrymore.

I was in Denver with my mom staying with friends. Not so surprisingly, the 16-year-old of the house was grounded. And trying to figure out how to escape.

So Emily walks up to her mom and ask if she can take me to get ice cream at Hagen Daz. Her mom says that’s fine and my mom looks at the clock and shakes her head, but doesn’t say anything. See… Emily was the first person to ever give me sugar when I was five years old. She was babysitting and insisted my Cheerios would  be much better with heaping tablespoons of sugar. I was hooked the moment I took the first bite, and she offered me a coke to go with it. My mother has never forgiven Emily for getting me hooked on the white stuff.

Emily was the best babysitter. She let me microwave marsh mellows, which ended up exploding and catching the microwave on fire. She taught me how to build forts. She even put 210’s {very very long adult skis} on my five year old very short body and tried to teach me to ski in her front yard {I ended up spread eagle around a rose bush, turns out, I needed real lessons, but I digress}… And at the ripe old age of eight, she took me to “get ice cream.”

I found out once we got in the car that apparently “ice cream” was code for college party. She instructed me to get in the back seat and promptly picked up one of her friends from Cherry Creek high school where Emily was a cheer leader. Her  blond friend  bounced out of the house and climbed in the car.

I remember listening to the Door’s LA Woman while the two teen girls in front gossiped about all the cute boys that would be there.

We arrived and Emily and her friend quickly disappeared leaving my eight year old self to my own devices.

A guy came up to me and actually offered be a beer, to which I replied, “Um, I’m only eight.”  To which he replied, “Eh, you can never start too young.” I shrugged, took a sip and spit it out all over him. He laughed and assured me one day I’d like the taste.

Emily apparently saw me drinking beer and decided it was time to call it a night. I’ll always think of Emily as the best babysitter I ever had. And I need to go visit her kids. They are 8 and 5 and have never had sugar, or been to a college party. I think it’s time to continue the cycle.

End of the Summer

I know a lot of moms are thrilled when school starts and the kids are back at school… Me, not so much. I love the summers with the kids. I mean, I work, so it’s so nice to come home and not have to do homework or rush dinner… To just be able to spend time and cuddle and do nothing but have fun. I love the chaos that summer brings and the lack of routine. I love being able to have an impromptu ‘movie night’ at 9 p.m., and not having to worry about waking everyone up in the morning. But, those days have come and gone. Cole started PreK 4 today. My little cutie…

That’s him eating a sandwich for breakfast as we walk out the door. No, I didn’t make adorable “First Day” signs. I barely got the boy dressed and fed. See his backpack? No? That’s because I didn’t even bother to pack it. It’s half days this week, and he’s four…

All that being said, I wanted to do something special with the boys the last weekend of summer, and I needed it to be super cheap. Like, free. After wracking my brain for awhile, it hit me. The beach at Lake Granbury! I had heard about it, but we had never been. The boys had a blast.

We had so much fun Saturday, we went back Sunday.  And we might go back tonight as well. I am so bummed I didn’t think about this at the beginning of the summer, but there is always next year! The beach is open daily 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. You can check it out here.  It wasn’t crowded, and it was sandy and perfect for wading and swimming in. This may be my new favorite summer spot! And, it’s FREE!!!!

Colorado, and the Russians

My BFF Jamie, that currently resides in Austin, is going back to the land where she belongs. Caalifornnniiiiaaaaaaaa, here she comes. Which, makes me super sad that I am not going to be able to jump in a car and see her in three hours. Now, it’s going to take much more planning. But that’s okay, San Diego is not to shabby. All that being said, we decided we needed to take a road trip before she departed.

Like most all things Jamie and I, Colorado was chosen on an impulse, booked and we were off. I love Jamie for her free spirit and sense of humor. She’s funny. And she doesn’t take herself to seriously. Two qualities I really admire in a human. At the end of any day and any situation, if you can sit down and find something and someone to laugh with, that’s pretty awesome. That’s my Jamie. And she loves doing bits. I mean… does it get any better? It does.

Jamie loves to do accents. I can’t do accents. I either sound Russian or Australian, usually a combination of the two. I know what you are thinking… Impressive. When we got to our resort in Vail and were taking in its awesomeness, we discovered two people on the patio below us. We couldn’t see anything but green shoes. I should mention that we had consumed a few drinks. And as usual, we think we are hilarious.

Jamie, or Olga, starts speaking in her Russian accent, about how we just got off the plane from a long flight. And how tired we are… And then I chime in, “but we must make good use of tickets from plane. Must find man, with, you know, a very large… bank account.” Then we die laughing. Jamie, er, Olga, decides we should go fishing for such men. Naturally, it makes sense to try the guys right below us.

I go looking for a notepad and pen, and we manage to scribble this…

img_6301
Then we decide to go ‘fishing’ for ‘large bank accounts’ You might wonder how one goes about this… Maybe this visual will help.

img_6303
See, you take the note, grab your fishing pole {in this case we used my phone charger} and voila. Drop lure to men below. Now, as you can imagine, you’re not always going to have good luck. These guys didn’t even bite. I can’t imagine why… But us Russian sisters who make great meatloaf don’t give up that easily. No, we took this bit to the streets of Vail.

We were off to lunch at the yummy Sweet Basil. Sweet Basil is right above Mountain Standard and they are owned by the same peeps. They are both divine, but if you are at the Mountain Standard, you must try the Corned Pork Shank. You will thank me. We didn’t order it, because we were morons and stuck with the salmon, but everyone else there was eating the Shank. And raving about how good it was. I’m going to go ahead and take everyone around us’ word for it. Not eating that shank is my biggest regret of the trip… Am I right Jamie?

Back to the story… Sorry, I get off track a lot {I’m sure you’re thinking ‘No Shit!’ Just know that I am aware you are thinking that, and I feel like the apology totally makes up for it. Plus my stories are totally worth it, so deal with it}. So, we are sitting on the patio at Sweet Basil taking in the view, when I notice a man sitting below us with a very shiny, very large… gold watch. He was obviously very proud of his watch too, because he kept propping his wrist up on the guard rail separating the restaurant from the sidewalk, which was far too high up for this ‘wrist propping’ to be natural.

img_6168-1

And this guy is clearly an asshole because he didn’t order the right thing. And he’s not a girl trying to watch her weight, so he should be eating the Shank. What a jackass. We immediately start speaking in our accents and ask the waitress for paper. I sprung into action.

Sure it’s bad lighting, but you get the point. The waitress was intrigued. Especially since we hadn’t been Russian when we ordered our food and subsequent drinks. As were the customers around us. “What are you doing?!” Ask the lady and her friend behind us. Jamie explained about needing to make good use of plane ticket as I weighted the note down with a rubber band and aimed for his table.

The note missed. The second one hit his table, and even though tables around us applauded, Dumbass didn’t notice the spitwad looking note next to his water. Third attempt hit the ground again. “Damnit!” I exclaimed loudly. Then I got up.

“What are you doing?!” Not even Jamie was prepared for what happened next. I walked down, picked up the note, and handed it to mister Dumbass, and kept walking. This is the note that finally made it to his table.


Naturally he found it hilarious. Even morons have a sense of humor. He came up to meet us.

And we introduced him to our friends.  You can tell how excited he is.

Then he ask us if we were really Russian. This guy… Is a smart one. Actually, Sean turned out to be a really nice guy. He works for Chipotle, and I spent over an hour talking about my love of tacos and asking for free food. I’m still waiting on that free burrito Sean. Don’t think I forgot about that.

Wendy Colonna, Austin, and Music, and John Branch too.

I guess if I am going to say anything about Austin and music, I must first mention John Branch. I met John Branch in high school. He was in a band called Spiritual Hum, and it contained my first real life band crush, lead singer Rob Honeycutt. John, being the nice guy that he was and is, let me go on, and on, and on, about how cute I thought Rob was. He would just nod along noting every once in a while that I was not alone, that every girl had a crush on Rob.

Anyway, that was, in like… 1993. John has moved on from Spiritual Hum and now plays for so many bands I cannot keep up. He is a master. And, he is still my friend. I love seeing him play whenever I can. Golden Dawn Arkestra {GDA} is my favorite that he is in {that I know of. Like I said, I can’t keep up with him these days. The other day I was on the old Book of Face and saw he was playing with Leon Bridges…}. Anyway, Golden Dawn is amazing, and if you love to dance, you should check out a show. They are collectively, I dare say, the most talented group of musicians playing together in Austin. I could go on and on, and will… Later.

Because I have known John for so many years I have been fortunate enough to meet and hear some of Austin’s finest musicians. Their talent blows me a way. By meeting and getting know this talented group, I found out about The Austin Daze, and Russ Hartman. Russ needed help transcribing interviews and I jumped at the chance. Through Russ I met and was exposed to more talent, which is how I came across Wendy Colonna, a singer songwriter from Lake Charles, LA, who now lives in Austin.

I had first heard Wendy’s name back in 2012 when I did a sprint triathlon in Austin. I was with my friends Haley and Emily, and I was about to puke. Emily nudged my arm and said, hey, that guy looks like your type. I turned around to see a tall, tattooed, pretty-boy with a man bun, in overalls and noted that he was my type, and ran off to puke.  I heard over the loudspeaker something about local celebrity Wendy Colonna about to enter the water and how Austin had just recently celebrated Wendy Colonna Day that April. And then I puked more. Then it was my turn to get in the water.

We finished the triathlon {barely} and loaded up and went home. Emily and Haley were talking about how much better they had done than in previous years, and I noted I did much worse and was happy I didn’t drown.

We made it back to Fort Worth and I was meeting friends and my then husband at Fred’s, where ironically,  John’s band Mudphonic was playing {Mudphonic consist of John Branch, Alex Marrero, Topaz McGarrigle, and Greg Rhodes, all in GDA as well. Talented group I tell you}.  Anyway, so I am telling John I was in Austin at the Danskin Tri, and he asked me if I knew Chad Pope. “Nope.” I replied. “Oh, I thought you might, he’s from Fort Worth too,” John said. And that was that.

Life is funny… and it turns out Chad Pope was the tattooed boy in overalls behind me at the Danskin. He was there to support his then girlfriend, Wendy Colonna.

In 2014, when I started helping Russ at The Austin Daze, I ask if I could interview her, and I did. It ended up being a series of emails back and forth as we could never seem to be in Austin at the same time. I had done my research and knew her songs from her most recent album Nectar, and that they were being played in Starbucks. I also knew that she had written a song for a little known brand Coca Cola, and you can watch that video here.

What I didn’t know, is that when I actually was able to meet Wendy two more years later, I felt like I was meeting a part of me. I felt like she was my new best friend. I liked her instantly, and fell in love with her music. I have a feeling I am not alone in thinking this. She connects with you on an intimate level with her music. It’s strong. Powerful. Moving. Relatable. She is a powerhouse. An amazing singer songwriter and storyteller. On my recent trip to Colorado {more on that later} Wendy played on a loop for several hours as Jamie and I sang along. You can click here to hear her album.

I will keep you posted on when she will be back in Fort Worth. She usually plays at the Live Oak when she is in town, but she most recently played an intimate show at my house, and we have discussed doing more of these types of shows in Fort Worth, as they are some of Wendy’s favorites, and mine now too.

Do yourself a favor, and listen. Just start with ‘Dirty Things’ and listen through ‘Mother Forgive Us’ and then you can leave a comment here thanking me.

You’re Welcome.