Monday, July 25, 2011

I ♥ Mary Margaret's!

Since most of you know my obsession with great deals (aka garage sales), it will come as no surprise that consignment shopping is right up there on my list of fun things to do! Mary Margaret's Consignment Boutique in Lee's Summit has long been my fav place to find fashionable digs and with the Italy trip fast approaching (less than 6 weeks!!!) I have some shopping to do!

Here are today's finds...I went in looking for some dressed up tops with collars and a LBD:

From L to R: Banana Republic button down tailored cotton/spandex blouse; green Maurices button down cap sleeve top with waist tie (super cute burn-out fabric, see below); sleeveless Express print tank with tie; tailored black capris--no boundaries brand from Wal-barf--who knew?; Express LBD, new with tags, fits like a glove and super chic.

Isn't this fabric sweet?

And the best part was the $43.63 price tag...for all of it!! Whoop! I also got my first peek at Mary Margaret's home store, just down the strip, where I found this little guy circa the '70s I'm sure.

He's decking out our hall bathroom counter, much to the children's delight, and goes with our kinda new shower curtain that has trees, squirrels and owls.

So next time you're in the market for some wardrobe spiffing up...head over to MM's! They have boutiques in Lee's Summit off Oldham Parkway (near the Chipman shopping area) and in Blue Springs. I consign my clothes there too...funny how often I run across something I brought in and almost grab it to try on!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Marigold Meadow

I think when you're over 35 that staying up until 2 a.m. counts as an all-nighter. What an adventure! Kathy was here serving as my hair slave from 8 til about 1:15 and we thoroughly enjoyed viewing Persuasion in the midst of our chaotic experiments! Well, except perhaps for the world's longest prelude to a kiss in cinematic history...just kiss the woman Rupert!

Ah, yes, where was I? Hair. Okay, this picture is the final result, still auburn (bummer) but certainly lighter than where I began, so it's all good.

We started by bleaching all my hair with the soap cap...twice. The first time there was little change so on advice of my hair guru friend, we went for a repeat. Second time...wooo-weee...Kathy kept saying "that's really strawberry blond" in kind of a worried voice as I rinsed it out.

Here's how it all went down. My un-hennaed roots lightened with the bleach really well. The rest of my head probably lifted 3 levels or so...some strands lighter than others (that's my unprofessional opinion). The cassia-henna-buxus mix...

left a lovely marigold color on all the light roots...not enough henna in it to add the strawberry shade I desired. The rest of my hair got a nice gloss and condition from that mix, but it didn't alter the color.

Not wanting to have glaringly blond roots, I opted to go ahead and mix up another concoction, stronger on the henna this time, and applied to just the really yellow spots at my roots. I wrapped it all up with plastic, put a wool stocking hat on and went to bed (2 a.m.)! At 4:45 a.m. I woke up screaming (seriously, must have been some dream) and decided I ought to go shower it out. I showered in complete darkness, wrapped my wet head in a towel and went back to bed until 7:30 this morning. After a good blow dry this is what I've got. (I look kind of angry in the photo, really I'm not!)

If I want to wear pigtails, I might be in trouble, but otherwise I don't think it's going to be terribly noticeable---until it starts to grow out!

I think I'll tweak my recipe and start doing my roots with a cassia-henna mix to smooth out the transition. In the meantime...well, it was worth a shot, it did make some difference, and it was a fun girls' night. Life really is like a box of chocolates, isn't it Forrest?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Riddle for the Day...

What kind of fun can you have with extra virgin coconut oil, cheap shampoo, chamomile tea and some ground up plant leaves?

Why...more of the Great Henna Experiment kind, of course! Yes, your friendly, neighborhood, crazy hair woman is back at it. This time I've enlisted my dear friend Kathy to assist as I attempt to lighten my auburn locks and turn them into spun gold with just a touch of fire.

Tonight's plan is two-fold: first we're going to attempt to lighten my henna'ed head several shades with a bleach cap (thanks to darling Marilyn's advice). I'm crossing my fingers that this will work as henna is notorious for being stubborn to remove. Right now my hair is slathered with coconut oil getting some nice, deep conditioning before I destroy it.

Next step will be to apply my new color concoction...following a recipe I gleaned from the forums over at Henna for Hair: lots of cassia dye-released with chamomile tea, and equal parts henna paste and buxus mixed with warm water (like a tablespoon each max). Going to let this mud simmer while we enjoy watching the latest Persuasion flick.

I've used buxus and henna before, but cassia is new to me. It is also a plant dye, but one with golden tones that usually don't show up unless your hair is super blond or all white. It will hopefully be the perfect carrier for the tad bit of brown and red from the other two dyes. I feel just a tad ridiculous using all the "natural" dyes when I'm bleaching the crap out of it right before I do it...sigh. There doesn't seem to be another effective alternative though, so I guess it will have to do!

Now, of course with experiments there are no guarantees about the results, so next time you see me I could look like Lucille Ball, Bozo the Clown OR (perhaps worst case scenario) Sinead O'Conner. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

And the Wall Comes Down

Progress. It's a good thing! Already our main living area feels much roomier...the 20 or so square feet behind the kitchen/living room wall has always functioned as, well, not much. Sometimes a kid's play area but most of the time empty and unused! It now has a new lease on life with traffic running smoothly through it each day. It's good to be loved.

Here's how Eric spent his week of vacation...please note that all the parts where I say "we" in reference to work done, it really means "he". :)

First, off comes the drywall:

Halfway down and realizing the building materials used were, ah, crap. The wiring was spliced and then wrapped with tape dangling inside the header. Electrical rerouting probably took the most time as he had to get the wires leading to both the kitchen and living room overhead lights to go flush up into the ceiling and over to the column with the switches.

With the wall down, next up was to tackle the floor. We are going to use the space leading up to the unused back door as our new back entryway when the sliding doors are gone, so we needed to continue the kitchen tile to that door. That meant removing any existing tile that had been trimmed against the old wall. Yay for Dremel tools.

Already we could feel the difference!

We borrowed Jerry's wet saw (thanks!) and he went to work using lots of math for all the angles. I knew there was a good reason to marry a math minor.

And then the grout. I actually am the go-to grout person around here. Makes me feel like I've done something other than stand around looking pretty while he does the dirty work! (I wrote about our adventures when we first put this floor in several years back. Some of it is here.) It's wet in this pic, dries to match the tile.

And here is a picture from this afternoon. I scootched the table over since the grout has cured, though I still need to seal it. What a major difference! The tiny wall space between the doors is almost ready to paint or whatever we're doing. Matching the living room's faux finish might be tricky so I'm hoping to use the golden yellow...hmmm. I'm also going to continue painting all our trim the nice creamy white we started with in the office redo. I'm serious about getting rid of all this golden oak people. To be continued.....

Monday, July 11, 2011

Branson 2011

We've actually gone on more than one vacation this summer, so while I'm on a are some pix from our Branson adventure over Memorial Day weekend. It's actually not one of my favorite places to go, HOWEVER, we managed to steer way clear of the cheesy strip of putt-putt courses and corny showplaces for an enjoyable long weekend!

My Dad and Step-Mom, Charlotte, traded for a week at a Branson timeshare in order to experience a different place than the Rockies and to have us join them for part of their stay. The resort was very right on Lake Tanycomo out our back door.

I don't think we caught anything during the hot afternoon.

Later, I saw a HUGE school of fish hanging out just over the bank from our balcony. I thought just maybe I could catch one from up there and impress everyone with my awesome angler skills. Kai warned that I shouldn't try as I'd probably get tangled in a tree. Guess who was right?

Between several trips to the indoor pool we spent some time at Branson Landing, which is a very nice outdoor shopping area on the lake. Unfortunately, because of recent flooding, the fountains and light show was under repair, but it still made for a pretty backdrop for our group photo.

The flooding meant disc golf was out too. The course looked like a swamp. But balloon animals are always a hit. Same with candy stores. Can't go wrong there!

We opted to pass on the Mardi Gras masks. They were entertaining though!

So even if you're not a lake person, a show go-er, or putt-putt player, Branson can be a nice little getaway, especially if you have good company! Just please don't make me go for a week on the strip...just shoot me now!

Thanks Dad & Char for more great memories!!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Great Smoky Mountains

Amazing how you don't know what you've got til it's gone, huh? Eric & I lived in Knoxville for five years...and after our recent vacation back to this, our second home, I've realized we didn't spend as much time in the beautiful outdoors surrounding East Tennessee as we should have!

After a delightful Sunday with a visit to our old church family at Cornerstone and an afternoon of swimming with our friends the Trumps, we began our week long trip with a mountain excursion. We chose Laurel Falls as our hike since the trail is paved and we had the stroller. It was perfect for our fam.

We made a few pit stops on the hike up.

Zane loved the stuffed black bears at the Sugarland Visitor's Center.

Picture perfect!

On the way back to Knoxville Kai spotted this huge bee hive hanging from a nearby tree!

And this is the view we enjoyed from Look Rock at the highest point along the Foothills Parkway.

I actually liked it so much that I posed everyone for a timed picture. As I ran to grab Zane, who was running away to the parking lot and then down into the forest, I thought 2 seconds too late to holler out "Catch the camera!". I heard it tumble off the guardrail as it shut down to preserve the battery and smashed into the concrete sidewalk.

So there you have it, the last photo from our vacation. Not a single shot of our lovely friends and their families. I suppose that's what memories are for though, and we certainly made a lot of new great ones during the trip!

It was great to just pick up like we left yesterday with so many people. It had been 6 years since I'd been able to tag along on one of Eric's work trips with the children. So hard to pick a favorite moment (as if you are asking...he he) but I'd have to say the surprise 15 minute chat in the Weigel's parking lot with Michelle Lindsay gets that honor! What a treat! Love you ALL and thank you for welcoming us with some fabulous Southern hospitality!!!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Kitchen Remodel Time!

So it's been a long time coming, but we've finally started on the kitchen! Whoo-hoo! Now, you would think I'd be all over taking some nice before shots...but that would be before I let our "good" camera tumble off a guard rail trying to take a timed picture of our family visiting the Smoky Mountains last week. Sigh. It not working no more. Thankfully, I DO have a couple lesser quality cameras lying w/o a working flash and the other is just plain questionable, but they work in a pinch so here we go!

We'll start with a walking tour of the kitchen. As you come in from the entryway...this wall divides the living room and dining area. [Notes in orange are the future plans! This wall is coming out! We'll leave a small column for the electrical but the rest will be open space. The window you see through the cut out is actually an unused back door that will become our main back entrance.]

A peek in from the living room... [So that perfect spot for my kids' portraits is disappearing.]

Then looking back through the cut out into the living room. There is a sliding glass door on the right behind (to the right in this shot) the table. [And that door is coming out to become a couple of nice large windows with a bar and storage cabinets beneath.]

Turn around and you see the work area...lovely appliances circa 1991 along with the coveted golden oak cabinets and those pulls we all love...creamy ceramic with brass...nice! You may notice double microwaves...I think I've shared before how the built in one has functioned as an oversized timer for quite some time now. It has a little sticky note the says "I don't work" for visitors' convenience. :) Funny how you can't see the bottom of the dishwasher dangling with the packing tape that is no longer holding it flush. I can see it. Right now. Ugh! [Bye, bye golden oak! Bye, Bye laminate countertop! Bye, Bye...well, everything. The appliances will be stainless-look (to avoid fingerprints and water streaks), counters quartz or granite (still working on a color...brownish?), we're painting the cabinets a rich creamy color with a light amount of brown glaze to highlight the raised panels, rubbed bronze pulls, composite sink, and maybe a greenhouse window.]

If you spin around to the other wall you'll see my pantry cabinet, our junk counter (which I was going to clear for the picture, but this is reality people), and the once lovely fridge which I did pick out myself 9.5 years ago. [Same cosmetic redos here. I'm trying to decide on the backsplash, but need to figure out the counters first. Was thinking about accent tiles of the mosaic glass mixed with subway tiles, but keep reading designer blogs and their advice is JUST SAY NO to accents. Hmmm.]

Back on over to the stove wall is the lovely view of the 1/2 bathroom. Nothing like a huge, wide, open door beckoning you to come use the commode while you're making dinner! In a perfect world that door would remain shut...BUT there are little munchkins in this house, so that's a no go so far. [We're shrinking the door frame (it was large to fit in the washer/dryer...but that's a non-issue since the new laundry is upstairs now) to gain about 9 inches. We'll use it to add length to this counter and build a lower cabinet with vertical storage for baking pans and a pull out trash/recycling center...see ya nasty trash can!]

And that's it! Not very big, but it gets the job done. Our goal is to open up some space and do a little rearranging and updating to make it function much better. I think I'll go back to the top and insert in captions of what the plans are...yeah, that will be fun! So up I go...

And I'll be back soon...Eric has been working hard the last couple days so we already have some progress.