Friday, July 15, 2016

Ramblings

Hey, y'all! Thought I'd share a couple of things today. First of all, I got this cute hobnail mug from Walmart...



I really need to go back and get more. Oh, and see that basil back there? I'm getting ready to make my homemade tomato basil soup. It tastes just like the La Madeleine one. I've posted the recipe before, but you can click HERE to see it again. So yummy and easy!

Second, we finished the diy on our patio pergola cover and it only took about 15 minutes to make/install the new one. I'll take pics soon and do a whole post on it. We're so happy with it! Here's a little sneak peek...



I also shared this on IG the other day...



Remember when Target had these cute plates in the dollar spot at Christmas time? I picked up a four pack and finally got around to using them for a little snack the other day. Now that I remembered I have them, they are coming in pretty handy. :) 

Now I have a little money saving tip for you. We recently switched from DirecTV to AT&T U-verse and it saved us about $130 a month! We'll get that introductory price for two years, but here's the thing...even when it shifts to the regular price, we'll still be saving $50 a month! So, it pays (literally) to shop around for service. :) 

One last thing...I haven't really mentioned it on here, but I recently started a little diet. It was time, y'all. :) Anyway, I've lost 10 lbs. since June 10th! I'm not following any special program or anything, and it's basically just counting calories, but if y'all are interested, I might do a post on it sometime. 

Anyway, wishing you all a very happy weekend!

~Lisa 



Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A Couple of Deals and a Tieks Ballet Flat Question

Hello there! It's been awhile since my last post, hasn't it? My whole family had a nasty stomach virus over the 4th of July and it was not pretty. So glad that's over! I mostly did nothing but watch Gilmore Girls for several days straight. I'm now on season 4. :) 

Well, today is Amazon Prime Day and the deals are popping up all over. And it's not only Amazon...Walmart is jumping on the bandwagon and offering free shipping with no minimum order. I decided to take advantage of that and order another shirred waist maxi skirt I talked about HERE. Only this time, it was on sale for only $5! And with free shipping, it was just that...$5. Yippee!

Here's a link to the $5 maxi skirts if you're interested...



And here's a pic of the skirts from the Walmart website.


Walmart Maxi Skirt



I also purchased an open weave cardigan at Walmart yesterday. It's perfect for me because the lightweight material works so well in our hot climate and I love how you can kind of see your outfit through it. I plan on wearing it through fall and winter too. 

Here's a link...


And here's a pic from the Walmart website.


Walmart Midi Cardigan

I have to tell y'all a funny story about this cardigan. I went to Walmart yesterday to pick up a few things and decided to swing by the clothing department "just to look." I immediately spotted this and loved it. I even tried it on and almost bought it, but I was in a hurry and decided to put it back. Now keep in mind, there were only 3 left on the rack. I came home and put everything away and kept thinking about it. That's always a tell tale sign that I really want something. 

Then I started obsessing about the fact that there were only 3 and at any moment, someone could swipe them up. So, that very afternoon, I trekked back up to Walmart and practically ran/walked to the clothing department. In my obsessive state, I didn't see it at first. I even tracked down an employee and asked where they could have moved it to. "It was right here a few hours ago! Did they move it or something??? How could they do that? Why would they move my cardigan???" She looked at me a little strange and walked me over to the spot I was just at and pointed to it. Gulp. "Oh, yes...that's it...umm...thanks" I said through my embarrassment. Hee hee! I quickly grabbed it (turns out all 3 were still there) and paid for it and held it close to me all the way to my car and all was right with my world again. Whew! 

So, now for the shoe question. Y'all know I mostly talk about steals and deals when it comes to clothing and shoes, but every once in awhile, I splurge a bit. :) I've been looking for a comfy ballet flat for years now. I don't mind spending more if something truly is comfy and worth it.

So my question is, have any of you bought Tieks flats? Here's a link to their website.


And here are a couple of pics from the Tieks website...

Tieks.com

Aren't they darling? I'm leaning toward the more neutral taupe color to start with.


Tieks.com


They are a little pricey, but if they're comfortable, it might be worth it. And they made Oprah's favorite things list, so they must be good, right? O wouldn't steer us wrong, would she? :) So let me know if any of you have splurged on these pretty flats and if you are happy with them. 

In other news, we had to replace the cover on our patio pergola. Here's the state it was in...



Not so pretty, huh? We've replaced it twice with the same cover it came with. We purchased it through the manufacturer and paid about $100 for it each time, and it just doesn't last in our heat and humidity. 

So this time around, we bought a heavy weight $18 drop cloth and we're going to do a little diy. I'll let y'all know how it goes. At only $18, even if it only lasts one season, it'll be worth it. :) 

~Lisa



Thursday, June 30, 2016

Decorating My Nest

Hello there! I was moving a few things around again the other day (big surprise) and came across this print...



I love this framed definition of a nest. :) I also love being home and I guess that's why I love decorating my home (or feathering my nest) so much. It's where I spend most of my time, so it makes sense. 

Here's a close up...




So cute how the nest is made up of the word "nest." Clever. :)
Some of you may remember I have a bigger version in my kitchen too...




Click HERE to get your own free nest printable.



This is a rarely seen piece of furniture...



Not sure why it doesn't make it onto the blog very often, but this Bombay chest is one of my favorites. Those prints on top were purchased on a trip to San Francisco. My entire candle collection is stored inside and it smells SO good! 

Another thing that rarely makes it onto the blog is an entire pic of the armoire in the living room. I really should take pics from different angles every now and then to spice things up. Lol! 




I love this sofa table in the foyer, but I would also love something a little bigger. And storage would be a nice bonus. I'll need to keep my eye out. Maybe I can find a small dresser that needs some love in the form of a makeover. 




I love a light and bright bathroom. Makes it easier when doing my makeup.  



Wishing you all a safe and happy fourth of July weekend! I doubt I'll get any of my red, white and blue decor out this year, but if I do, I'll share on Instagram @texasdecor

~Lisa


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Around The House

Hello there! How is your summer going? Ours is hot. Like, very hot. We've still been getting a little rain here and there which is great for the flowers and grass, so that's good. I've been spending a lot of time indoors binge watching all 7 seasons of Gilmore Girls. I've never seen it before, so it's all new to me and I love it!

I don't have much to share lately, but I thought I'd pop in and talk about scaling back in my decor. I go through phases where I want several things displayed on counters, etc. and then I do a total switcheroo and want it more streamlined. Do y'all do that too?

Currently I'm in a more streamlined mode. I removed a few things from my kitchen counters and dining room and it feels so good. Not to mention it's easier to clean with fewer things. :) 



Nothing on the kitchen table but a basket that holds the coasters. 








I still can't have my favorite table runner on the dining room table because of a certain feline who has a predilection for burlap. ;)




This will make you laugh. I've talked before about the fun things you see Living in Space City, but this takes the cake...




It's a mockup of NASA's Orion spacecraft on its way to comicpalooza in downtown Houston. This pic was on the news. So funny to see a spacecraft on the freeway!

Y'all enjoy your day!

~Lisa



Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A Little Pillow Switcheroo

I started playing around with my pillows the other day. I love this tufted chair in the living room...



But I've always wanted a lumbar pillow for it. Then I remembered I have a lumbar pillow on the chair in my bedroom... 



It has a little blue in it, which is perfect since I've added a few blue touches to the living room. So I moved it to the living room...




Here's a close up.



Then I added this one to the bedroom chair...




Don't you love how something as simple as a pillow can change up your decor so easily? 

And just because I love it so much, here's another pic of my beloved Mora style clock from Kirklands...



Gosh, I love that thing!

I spotted this cloud with (literally) a silver lining the other day, so I snapped a pic...



Isn't it pretty? 

Joining the Share Your Style Party

Y'all enjoy your day!

~Lisa 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Summer Tips

Y'all were so sweet with your kind comments on my Backyard Landscaping Tips post. Thank you! I'm glad so many of you picked up some tips. I've received many emails about that post and I hope I was able to answer all your questions. I consider my backyard an extension of my home and I like to "decorate" it with flowers just as I decorate my home. :)

So, are y'all enjoying your summer? We sure are. All the rain we've had seems to be slowing down and we're just enjoying sleeping in and not having a set schedule. 

I've mentioned these two products before, but I thought this would be the perfect time to talk about them again. 

First up is our very favorite sunscreen...

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer

If your kids (or you) can't stand that sticky feeling after applying sunscreen, this is for you. This is the best stuff! You don't feel any of the residual sticky-ness because it absorbs immediately. It's totally non-greasy and weightless, just as the label claims. And the most important thing is that it works! 

With all our recent rains, mosquitoes have been a concern. There are lots of mosquito repellents on the market, but I have a thing about one of the main ingredients...I've never put DEET on my kids. I found this more natural product that works like a charm...


All Terrain Herbal Armor DEET free


We've all been using this for years. I've purchased it at places like HEB, Walmart, Target, and our local health food store. It's also available on Amazon. My hubby was skeptical at first, but even he had to admit it worked perfectly. :) 

A couple more tips...

 I recently made one of our favorite meals...



This time we had it on these ready to cook "raw" tortillas...



Have y'all tried these? We used to buy the ready to eat flour tortillas in a bag, but since we tried these, we've never looked back. They're in the refrigerated section in the grocery store. They keep for a long time too. You just heat up a skillet and cook each side for about 30 seconds. So easy and they taste SO much better than the regular ones. They taste just like the homemade ones you get in a restaurant. 

Here's my next tip to keep them warm. I don't have a tortilla warmer, so I improvise with this set up...



As I cook each one, I put it on this dinner plate, then cover it with a cake pan. :) It keeps them nice and hot until we're ready to eat. 


Well, that's all I've got for now. Y'all enjoy your day!

~Lisa


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Backyard Landscaping Tips

This post has been a long time coming. Through the years, I've had several requests to do a big post on how I designed our backyard landscaping.

I'd never designed anything like this before, so it was kind of a "fly by the seat of my pants" project. But I think it turned out okay. :) 


Above is Vitex...one of my star bloomers.

Before we get started, let me show you how it all began. Below is a pic of how our backyard looked right after we built this house. It's the exact same spot as the above pic. 



You can see an entire post about our before and after backyard HERE. When they installed our grass, we had already outlined the above area with landscaping timbers and we told them not to put any grass squares inside that area. So much easier than having to remove all that grass later, not to mention the money that we would have wasted. 

At the time, we had a six year old and a one year old, so it was all about the boys and their play spaces. I wanted them to have a fun, safe place to play, along with a big grassy area for football, baseball, etc. 

As I mentioned, we cornered off that one section of the yard and outlined it with landscaping timbers. Then we lined it with weed guard, filled it with playground mulch, and added lots of fun things like a swing set, fort, log cabin, pirate ship, slides, and numerous riding toys. 

The boys loved it! It was perfect for that time in our lives and we enjoyed many, many years with it that way. 

Then, as the boys outgrew the playset, and became more interested in things like iPhones and iPads, we decided to dismantle everything and design a more grown up backyard. 

But don't worry, we saved a lot of the wood from the playset and my hubby made these adirondack chairs, bench, and bridge from them. So fun to still have a little of the playset with us. :) 






I still wanted a big open space in the middle for the boys to have football games, etc. so that was our first goal...to have plenty of "running space" left in the middle and just landscape around the perimeter.






I literally sat down on the patio with a pencil and paper and sketched out what I wanted the yard to look like. I knew I wanted a lot of evergreen plants, so it would still look pretty in the winter. No one wants a completely brown garden all winter long, right? 

 I also started researching local plants/flowers that were native to our area. I started with my favorite garden book...




You can probably find a local garden book for your area too. A quick Google search will lead you in the right direction. This book has been invaluable. I refer to it all the time. Oh, and it helps that my mom is a certified Master Gardener. ;)

I'm constantly drawing inspiration from all over, such as this pic I took while visiting the Winchester House in San Jose, California...


winchester house gardens

I love the crescent moon in the garden! 

So, back to the evergreens. There are lots of evergreens that also provide a little color, which I love. Nandinas are a perfect example of this. They have a lot of yellow and orange leaves along with pretty red berries in the winter...





Here is the nandina with the pretty berries...


I also love Chinese fringe (AKA razzleberry bush, AKA loropetulum)...


Loropetulum on the left, nandina on the right.

It's purple in the winter, then turns a pretty green in the summer. In the pics above and below, you can see it still has a lot of its purple color from the winter. 



Chinese fringe delights with pretty blooms several times a year too, which is always a welcome sight...





Liriope is a staple for many gardens. It's an evergreen and is available in lots of varieties such as this variegated one we have...




I should pause here to suggest you research what plants are poisonous, especially if you have little ones or pets. Some of the most common plants are poisonous, so be careful in the selection process.

So, as I sat out there with my sketchpad, I thought about how I wanted to be able to see pretty blooming crepe myrtles from my kitchen window. So, I literally went inside, sat at my kitchen table, and looked out the window to see exactly where those crepes should be planted and added them to the sketch.

In the pic below, you can see a wide shot of the crepe myrtles, although they weren't blooming at the time. 



And here's one where they're in bloom...



Here's a close up of the white crepe in full bloom...


natchez crepe myrtle

And the pink ones...

purple crepe myrtle


I also knew I wanted lots of curves in my borders. It adds a lot of interest to your garden. You can use cans of spray paint to outline your beds before removing the grass. And be sure to add a lot more mulch than you think you'll need. It kind of washes away after awhile, so you'll be glad you added extra. We also add in a little peat moss with the mulch. 







I love curvy lines in flower beds.



I've mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. This is my favorite weed prevention product...


You have to pull any existing weeds first, then sprinkle it on top of the mulch and it'll keep your beds weed free for about three months. Try not to walk on the mulch or dig in it after applying Preen because if it's disturbed in any way, it won't work. Also, never apply Preen to your grass...it'll kill it. Read the directions carefully. 

Another important thing to consider is which areas have full sun vs. shade, etc. I knew the back fence got full sun all day long, so that's where I planned for lots of sun loving varieties like crepe myrtles and roses. 


The opposite side of the yard gets shade almost all day long, so that was a perfect spot for shade loving things like azaleas and begonias. 






We're lucky that in our climate, there are a few things that do well in shade and sun like nandinas, juniper, liriope, boxwoods, and indian hawthorn to name a few. So you'll find these all over our yard, regardless of sun or shade. All the above mentioned shrubs are also evergreens. 




Another thing to consider is how big your plants will get so you can leave ample room between them. This is a hard one for me because I always want to squish everything together so there's no blank space, but I'm learning. Gardening is definitely a learning process, as well as an ever changing one. I'm constantly moving things around, pulling things up, and adding in new ones, trying to find what works best in our climate. 

We have a big bald cypress tree in our backyard and it's grown very fast. When it was first planted, there was still a lot of sun around it, so we could plant sun loving things there. But as it's grown, it now shades that whole area of the yard, so we've had to switch to shade loving varieties. Just another thing to consider if you have trees. 






The bald cypress is deciduous, so it loses its leaves in the winter, so we need to plant things under it that can take the mild winter sun, as well as shade in the summer. Lots to think about, I know. :) 

We were very adamant about having several seating areas in our backyard, so we planned for that as well. Since the aforementioned tree provided lots of shade in the summer, that was the obvious place to start. 






We also have this seating area on the patio..



My hubby really wanted several water features in the yard, so we left room for those too. Be sure to figure out how to get the cord to an electrical outlet if you have a running fountain. (We buried the cord underground.)








I couldn't let this post end without a pic of another one of my star bloomers, the bottle brush tree...


Bottle brush tree with blue plumbago in front.

For us, having a relatively low maintenance yard was key to being able to enjoy it vs. spending a lot of time on upkeep. We've now gone down to only one rose bush because the spring pruning was too time consuming. I guess one of my biggest tips is to pick plants that are native to your area, pay attention to their needs (sun, shade, etc.) and remember you can always add year round color with annuals. I always try to add in a few colorful annuals in the winter when some things (like the grass) have gone dormant. 

Our patio with winter annuals...



And with spring annuals...






And last but not least, we added in a few fun pieces to the yard like this fire hydrant my hubby painted for me...




He's a fireman and picked up this old hydrant before it was thrown away. 

A few more fun pieces...






That's Wilbur above. :) 



Just because it's an outdoor space, doesn't mean you can't still decorate. :) I think I've touched on almost everything, but if you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments. 

Y'all have a great day!

Joining Thoughts of Home on Thursday

~Lisa



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