Sunday, August 31, 2008

"Sense"-ational Sundays...

Our senses tell a story. I've committed to recording my 5 senses for the past week to explore my sensory world. I challenge you to do the same. If you choose to do so, just blog your 5 senses every Sunday & let me know, I'd love to read them.

I SEE: Twilight & New Moon
Lots of reading going on...I'm on a 24-hour reading break so my eyes can readjust to, well, humanity. I read these two wonderful books over the last three days (mostly nights). I started Twilight half-heartedly and now I wonder how I ever put it down...

I HEAR: Dr. Horrible
...but you know this. It is STILL stuck in my head. And it's still so horribly wonderful!

I TASTE: Banana Pudding
OK - I admit...I did not take this picture of my banana pudding...I forgot & by the time we served out of it it kind of looked like mush - delicious, but mush. Instead of a cake, cobbler or pie Matt wanted banana pudding this year for his birthday. Here's my *so super easy it's laughable* recipe:

1. Make vanilla pudding
2. Once the pudding stiffens whip in some cool whip
3. Layer pudding mixture, sliced bananas & nilla wafers
4. instead of frosting the top with cool whip, add it to the center layer so when you scoop it out it's a nice surprise
5. cover the top with crushed nilla wafers

I TOUCH: Boxes
Packed a lot of boxes at work this week - stuff for a few website design teams, stuff for a couple of magazines, a few special requests from designers, two sets of papers for teachers and all 15 boxes for our design team. Sending out stuff like that really makes me feel like I've accomplished something...the fun part is when people start showing me what they did with the product we sent. Speaking of which - I'll be uploading a lot more pages to the Luxe Gallery this week, so be sure to check back regularly!

I SMELL: Wet Paint
What was I thinking???? I volunteered to help my uncle & aunt paint with a painting project they were working on this weekend. Meg & I started with the ceiling first. For the first few passes I thought, "wow, my physical therapist would be so proud of me". That was quickly replaced by "wow, my physical therapist would be so furious with me". Which was in turn replaced with "Give me a pain killer and kill me now". I felt ike such a loser, not being able to help...but my arm was SHOT! We're talking, ice down my shoulder & elbow, take a pain pill, and unable to drive myself home shot. This morning...well, haven't been this sore in a while. Bummer.

Friday, August 29, 2008

And the winner is...

Congratulations to my Gallery Grand Opening Giveaway Winner:
Blogger Susan Beth said...(at 10:17 am)
Very exciting gallery! And very exciting product! I'm Susan Beth from Montana.
Hope you enjoy a hand picked collection of some of my favorite Luxe products! Susan - please email your mailing address to me at

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Go ahead, watch something HORRIBLE...

Of course I'm talking about Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog...while it's still free {to people in the U.S}. Yadda, yadda, disclaimer - I'm rating this PG-13, i.e. watch it first before you make this a family affair. But oh-my-goodness it's GOOD! I'm a fan of Joss Whedon & a long time fan of Neil Patrick Harris {especially singing} so this was a real treat. So carve out 43 minutes of your life to watch this. You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Happy Birthday Mr Wonderful!!!

Okay - this picture is sooooo 8 years ago...but it's so great. We were newly married in our first apartment. And, yes - that's a paintbrush in his mouth. That look is - pardon me, I am a macho man. I cannot believe you are taking a picture of me painting!

Anyway, it's my hubby's birthday today {and his twin brother's Rusty}. So happy birthday boys!

Matt, I love you!

Monday, August 25, 2008

You're invited to a GALLERY OPENING!!!

The new Luxe Gallery launched this afternoon! We are so proud of our sleek new sorter! We designed it to make searching for inspiration by designer or by product line easier than ever.

Over the course of the last week I've been filling the gallery with over 260 pieces from our designers. I fell in love again with each project and page as they went up, but it was once I got them all into the site and had it's mechanics start sorting them into groups that I was wowed. You can really see individual designer's styles emerge in the individual galleries. Then you can cross them the other way by product to see how all of their different visions look with the same materials. SO COOL.

In honor of the gallery grand opening, I'm going to give away $50 of Luxe product to help give you the look of Luxe. Please post on this thread with your name and the city where you live and I will pick a winer on Friday. Good luck & LIVE LUXE!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

"Sense"-ational Sunday...

Our senses tell a story. I've committed to recording my 5 senses for the past week to explore my sensory world. I challenge you to do the same. If you choose to do so, just blog your 5 senses every Sunday & let me know, I'd love to read them.

I SEE: Blood

I went to pick up my uncle {Amy & Meg's dad} from his dialysis session on Saturday morning. His car died & my aunt and Meg were on the other side of town. I was fascinated by the machine. I mean, I knew what it did in theory - but I never expected to see so much blood out of him when I got there. He started on dialysis back in July. He's had pretty aggressive diabetes for over 22 years now. So now he's on the kidney & pancreas transplant list - which is surprisingly shorter than the kidney list. So, for now we're waiting, and praying, and learning a lot about his new dietary restrictions and what's in store next.

I HEAR: Fireworks?
Someone in my neighborhood is breaking the law. I can hear them outside right now, but we can never quite figure out exactly where they're coming from. The police can never get to the neighborhood fast enough {yes, someone does this every year} to figure it out either. I'm just thankful they haven't set us all on fire yet.

I TASTE: My Stuffed Bell Peppers
I cooked one of my favorites this week...
  • 4 green or red bell peppers
  • 5 TBS etra virgin olive oil
  • yellow onion, diced
  • roasted garlic
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 3/4 c raw instant rice
  • 1 can Italian style tomatoes
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • slices of pepper jack cheese
  • 1/2 c ketchup
  • 1/4 c water
  • 1/2 tsp of Worcestershire Sauce
  • Dash of Tabasco sauce

1 Boil water & blanch peppers. Keep peppers completely submerged, until brilliant green & their flesh slightly softened {3-5 minutes}. Drain.

2 Preheat oven to 350. Heat 4 TBS of the oil in a large skillet. Add onions and garlic - cook, til translucent. Brown meat. Remove from heat and add rice, tomatoes, and oregano, and season generously with salt and pepper. Mix well.

3 Drizzle remaining oil in peppers, arrange cut side up in a casserole dish. Stuff peppers with filling. Combine ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, and water in a small bowl. Pour sauce over filling. Cover each one with pepper jack cheese. Add 1/4 cup of water to the baking dish. Place in oven and bake for 40-50 minutes.

I TOUCH: Specialty Paper

Saturday I ran down to Paper Arts {formerly Paper Routes} to look for a rice paper Meg wanted & to look around for myself. I forgot how totally cool the people are who run that place. I love their amazing handmade and imported papers.

I SMELL: Roasting Garlic

Yeah, after getting over 20 bulbs of garlic last week we HAD to roast some garlic. Now we have frozen roasted garlic to last us for a while!

Thursday, August 21, 2008


I'll tell you my secret...

Seriously. Next time you have to do something try setting a timer. When I was young my mom liked to set a timer for tasks - cleaning, homework, whatever & I guess the habit stuck. I do my most concentrated cleaning/cooking/anything when I set a timer for 30 minutes and set boundaries for what I'm going to tackle in that time frame.

Today I worked at home & thought I'd pull the timer out to see how it worked. I set it for 1 hour this morning (from 8-9) to do everything I wanted to do non-work related - that way I reported to my desk @ 9 sharp. Then I set it for an hour - and worked a solid hour. No surfing, no emails, no laundry, no snacking, no dishes - just focus. And every time the timer went off I evaluated what I had done & gave myself a 5 or 10 minute break accordingly. Then back to work for another hour. I think it is how I'm going to work from home from now on.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Photoblast Actions...

I recently tried some of the Photoblast Actions from PolkaDotPotato and I am hooked!!!

I am not a digi girl, but I am a photo alter-er so when I saw these go up on the PDP site I knew I had to try them. I happened to be over at Ashley's house and she showed me just how simple they were to use. OMG! I can sooooo do this. You can sooooo do this. Yr 2 year old can sooooo do this and we will all look like brilliant photographers. Hooray for us! (and the Photoblast guy! and PolkaDotPotato!)

A PhotoBlast Action is like a series of commands. Have you ever tried to edit a picture, adjust the light or saturation or hue and something's just not right? Well a professional photographer has put together strings of photo editing commands and has turned them into a single click action and has made them available to the public to purchase. For the amount you will use them they are quite reasonable...dare I say - cheap? $6 per action! Now you'll need Photoshop or Photoshop Elements for them to run...but 1 click editing? Seriously...what a time saver!

So let me show you what I'm talking about. Amy just emailed us this photo of herself...

...absolutely lovely. But let me show you what a few Photoblasts can do!

Amy in PB Vivid Color

Amy In PB Beauty Glow

Amy in PB Goldenrod

Amy in PB Cross Process

Amy in PB Vivid Color and PB Acid Wash Together

Amy in PB Chocolate

There are, like, over 20 of these amazing actions over at PDP! I've added a permanent link to them over on the sidebar if you ever want to go looking for them. Here's what the link looks like - it has all the actions in a slideshow. You should really check them out!

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Coop...What it is & How it works

I've had a lot of inquiries about the coop I joined recently and since it was "my turn" to do the buying last weekend, I wanted to share a closer look at what it is and how it works.

The particular coop I joined has been going for over 13 years. {I know this because my aunt & uncle joined 13 years ago and it was established then}. Ten families in the same neighborhood agreed to pitch in $10-15 per week, every week {forever} towards buying fresh produce. They formed a neighborhood association, got a tax ID number and opened an account with the local produce wholesaler across from our Farmer's Market.

They drew up a schedule, and once every 10 weeks each family got to pick the produce for all, buy it, split it out and contact the others when it was ready & collect their money.

It's a simple, beautiful idea. Every week you get a mystery box of fresh fruits and vegetables. It challenges you to cook more and try new things and ensures you're eating fresh, seasonal and locally grown ingredients.

Through the produce wholesaler, you can get a list a day in advance and fax in your order so it's ready when you arrive. You can then check the market for bargains and buy "extras" to have available when people pick up as long as they last.

Over the years, spots in the coop have been few and far between, but due to some people moving we were finally able to secure a spot. Some of the permanent positions have been split into half orders for smaller families - so that's what we have - a half order a week, which comes to $5-7.50 a week.

Seeing the cycle...
Or local wholesaler is called Paradise Produce. I had the list faxed to me on Friday afternoon and made a wish list of everything that sounded good. Then I started the math juggle. My goal for the order was for it to be between $120 & 140, and to have everything on the list be easily divisible by 10. {not as bad as it sounds}

My Aunt Carol went with me this time to walk me through the process. We got to Paradise at about 7:30 and were greeted with tables of the most wonderful fruits! {All priced by the box} Then went and stood in line with the other restaurants & coops buying that morning.

We had an impulse buy for extras this week. We saw strawberries for $5 per flat, which came to .63 cents per pound! So we picked up some for us & some for the group. {we so should have bought more!}

So once they got our order pulled they loaded it in the back of my aunt's van...

So we were off to her house to split all the boxes out into their individual portions.

Each household has a stash of boxes from the week they bought, so we all sort into recycled produce boxes. Some things are easy to figure...on the smaller items you may have to do 3 or 4 passes to get everything passed out, but it goes pretty quickly.

Before long we had a row of boxes...

Someone was out of town this week so instead of my usual half, I picked up a full order. It's particularly great since I had plans for most of the box & still had plenty left over to share with Matt's sister {who is taking up a lot of the subbing spots we used to take before we became permanent}.

Here is what $14.60 {full order} bought us this week:

20 bulbs of garlic
8 russet potatoes
6 green peppers
4 ears of bi-color corn
10 peaches
9 nectarines
12 black plums
2 mangoes

And I splurged and spent an extra $2.50 on 4 pounds of strawberries.

You can see why we usually have to get a half order and why we had to split this one with Tracy!

So what am I planning to do with all this you ask??? I plan to make stuffed bell peppers (dinner for 4) one night and baked potatoes another. The corn will get cut off the cob & sauteed with garlic & cumin and be served with jalapeno slices {yum!}. I'll roast an entire casserole dish of the garlic to freeze for future use. Matt will eat all the plums, I'll cut up the peaches & mangoes and take with lunches. Meg & I will eat the strawberries as is.

Now that we have a produce plan we menu plan backwards and build a grocery list based on our box. And we really stick to the plan, cooking at home, because another box is coming next week and who knows what fun it will bring?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

"Sense"-ational Sundays...

Our senses tell a story. I've committed to recording my 5 senses for the past week to explore my sensory world. I challenge you to do the same. If you choose to do so, just blog your 5 senses every Sunday & let me know, I'd love to read them.

I SEE: Michael Phelps

Wow. We've been cheering swimming all week. This is one sweet kid...and now the greatest Olympian in history. I want to just hug his mom. Way to go Michael.

I HEAR: Morgan Freeman commercials

How many of these did he do I wonder? I'm seeing new ones, all the time!

I TASTE: Strawberries

Yes, the price is right...I did the coop buying this week & will follow up with the full story of how it all works tomorrow. These were the steal of the week!

I TOUCH: Trooper Duck
I bought Trooper Duck to send to my cousin Amy {stationed at Ft Bragg} along with some Lush soaps - Ice Blue & Sexy Peel. I found the duck at Paper Source of all places - the have a hilarious assortment of funky rubber duckies! To see all the Designer Ducks out there *click here*.

I SMELL: Karma
I am going to have LUSH as my I smell for the forseeable future...I am totally hooked & on a mission to introduce as many people as possible to their wonderful products. If there's not one in your area, never fear - you can order online. OK, now that my infomercial is out of the way...Karma is SUCH a fragrant soap! It lathers up thicker than shaving cream and leaves you soft & spicy orange-y sweet. I have been feeling totally pampered since I started using their products regularly. It's my own special splurge...I admit it - I'm a soap junkie. Go figure. :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

One Word Answers...

I just saw this on Jen's blog & in my quest to post more often, I thought this would be perfect. Plus I love a challenge - you can only give ONE WORD answers - its tougher than you'd think! Feel like playing along? Post a link to your blog in my comments section so I can read your list.

1. Where is your cell phone? DESK
2. Where is your significant other? WORKING
3. Your hair? WET
4. Your mother? DECEASED
5. Your father? HOME
6. Your favorite thing? DVR
7. Your dream last night? OLYMPICS
8. Your dream/goal? HAPPINESS
9. The room you're in? STUDIO
10. Your hobby? CRAFTING
11. Your fear? STROKE
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? HEALTHIER
13. Where were you last night? BED
14. What you're not? ORGANIZED
16. One of your wish list items? LUSH
17. Where you grew up? DALLAS
18. The last thing you did? SHOPATRON
19. What are you wearing? JEANS
20. Your TV? ON
21. Your pet? NONE
22. Your computer? LAPTOP
24. Your mood? GOOD
25. Missing someone? AMY
26. Your car? DIRTY
27. Something you're not wearing? GLASSES
28. Favorite store? TARGET
29. Your summer? CROWDED
30. Love someone? ALWAYS
31. Your favorite color? BLUE
32. When is the last time you laughed? SLAPFACE
33. Last time you cried? MONDAY

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

New Olympic Sport...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

"Sense"-ational Sundays...

Our senses tell a story. I've committed to recording my 5 senses for the past week to explore my sensory world. I challenge you to do the same. If you choose to do so, just blog your 5 senses every Sunday & let me know, I'd love to read them.

I SEE: My other BFF, Martha
I have two best friends - Angie & Martha. Sometimes with our schedules it's hard to make time to get together and just hang out. Martha's about to move back to my side of town, but in the meantime took a job right by my house. So to save on gas {not to mention a hellatious commute}, she's spending 2 nights a week at my house. It's been really fun and a wonderful opportunity to catch up.

I HEAR: The Olympics
I am an Olympic junkie. Whether I'm in the room watching it or not, it's usually on non stop so I can hear it for the duration of the games. I watched the whole US v China basketball game this morning. Bliss.

I TASTE: Lemon Garlic Turkey Tenderloin
As Rachel Ray would say, yumm-o! These were on sale at my Target last week & I baked one last night and sauteed some fresh green beans & garlic to go with. Delish!

We did a big clean out/rearrange in the Luxe offices this week to prep for the arrival of our new papers. Wow - we caused a real transformation! It was really cool to see it all come together.

I SMELL: Wiccy Magic Muscles
I got this bit of "magic" for Matt. It's one of the massage bars from LUSH {yes, I went back this weekend}, which is designed to relieve sore muscles. It uses cinnamon leaf oil to heat things up and aduki beans on the other side to loosen knots. It's great for stiff necks, backs and shoulders, or sore knees, hips and ankles. It also has peppermint oil make your skin tingle. There's also a clove-like smell I really like.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

...Just Stylin'

This is a small layout I did a while back & never scanned...The cool dude in the background is my dad & my dear uncle Glen {Amy & Meg's dad} is sporting the buzz cut. I love this picture - they actually took a bunch with the car...they're all great. Anyway - even though the layout's super simple I wanted to share one of my favorite pics.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

"Sense"-ational Sundays...

Our senses tell a story. I've committed to recording my 5 senses for the past week to explore my sensory world. I challenge you to do the same. If you choose to do so, just blog your 5 senses every Sunday & let me know, I'd love to read them.

I SEE: My BFF, Angie
I met Angie when we were freshmen at the University of North Texas. She sauntered into a student government meeting in a ball gown {Bruce Hall had just invaded Kerr} - and I thought - WOW, she is insane - I've got to meet this girl! {I was a wild one when I was younger & as far as my friends went the weirder the better} We went to the Flying Tomato later that night & have been best friends ever since! Ang is a school teacher now with two beautiful boys & a sweet husband, but we felt like we were 18 again when we spent our day in the mall!

I HEAR: Across the Universe
We finally got around to seeing/hearing Across the Universe {Meg held us hostage & made us watch it}. Um...amazing!!! I like the Beatles, but I've never felt really strongly about them so I didn't hurry out to see the movie. I WAS WRONG - I think I love the Beatles. I can't wait to see it again!

I TASTE: Homemade Strawberry Sorbet
Meg showed up at our house the other night churning her little ice cream maker. She had made us fresh strawberry sorbet from scratch. It pays to have a future chef in the family!

I TOUCH: Felt, Needles, Embroidery Thread & Stuffing
Yep, I've started making some stuffed toys. Not really sure why...I just have a lot of felt & I think they're cute. It's super relaxing - I forgot how much I love hand sewing. My mom & I did a lot of dollmaking when I was younger - maybe that has something to do with my new thing? I'll start posting them once I figure out what I'm doing!

I SMELL: Lemony Flutter
I already have it & love it and now Angie's hooked on it too. This cuticle butter is an amazing lotion. LUSH makes all its products from organic fruits and vegetables, they're all fresh and'll never want to try anything else once you find one of their products you love!

Girl Talk...

Well, I guess the fun never ends around here...Matt's sister, Tracy came over & brought our niece Amy & her friend that was spending the night. Tracy & I opened up a bottle of Pinot Noir and nibbled on cheeses and talked while Amy & Ashley watched Clueless.

After the movie was over we split a couple pieces of chocolate cherry cake and I brought out some of my stuff from LUSH. Tracy did her hands then we all did facials with the mask samples I picked up earlier that day Trac & I used "Crash Course in Skincare" and the girls tried a mask called "Catastrophe Cosmetic" {with blueberries}. {OK...the photos are just funny - please take into consideration that it's after midnight & covered in goo!!}

I think I won over another LUSH convert {or three} tonight. We agreed we have GOT to do this more often!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Best day in a LONG TIME...

I haven't had a chance to hang with Angie much this year, but today everything worked out & we headed to Northpark to shop & walk around.

1. Paper Source - the grand opening was today!!!! I am a Paper Source girl & I was sooooooo happy to be there for there Texas opening. I saw some old friends there {the paper biz is a small world}, that was cool. Also - got a real thrill seeing Luxe papers on their shelves!!! I ended up buying a camo duck to send to Amy.
2. Lush - We ended up there 3 times...When you love their products do you say you're a lush? Anyway - We had our hands exfoliated & got some face mask samples & tried to catch the bouquet a couple times {one of their employees was tossing a bouquet every hour & whoever caught it got a free white wedding ball - and no we didn't win}. Ang got a massage bar & I picked up a small ocean salt.
3. Lunch at P.F. Chang's - yum! Had to take a pic of the mini desert tray...
4. Williams Sonoma - Excellent window shopping. We didn't get anything there, but if we had I would have been tempted to buy the cupcake cake pan & I think Ang would've gotten some of the Serendipity Frozen Hot Chocolate mixes.
5. Anthropologie - I could stay in that store for hours...Ang had never been!?! So many things to see I don't even know what to link to!! Here's a random favorite...
6. Northpark Mall - I'm not a "mall" person, but I have to admit I love Northpark! It has so many beautiful stores and it's lines are clean and classic. They are always art exhibits and sculptures in the mall - it's a visual feast!
7. Bare Escentuals - Ang is hooked on this make up {her skin looks fantastic!} and she really wanted to introduce me to their stuff. I fell in love with their lip gloss and couldn't leave without some. I bought the Krystal & Ang bought the Stella.

After the mall we came back to the house & played You Just Became a Millionaire for a while. It turns out she got about 95% of my questions right and I was averaging about 75% of hers...we had a good laugh and kept talking. We talked all was so great!

OK...this will put it in perspective of how long it's been since we got together - I still had her gift I brought home from Japan {different kinds of teas - she's a tea junkie} from February and she still had my birthday present from April! Ang hit it out of the park this birthday by getting me a copy of Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith. WOW...I can't wait to get started! Thanks, Ang for a perfect day! I feel totally happy, exhausted & relaxed. Can't wait to do it again!

Breaking midnight

We braved the crowds {not too bad} and went to Borders Friday night for festivities & the midnight release of Breaking Dawn. It was pretty low key for me - I browsed while Meg hung out with some of her friends. I did find some nifties I couldn't resist - Thinkertoys & the new Somerset Home. It was fun...