Round Top Round Up Plus...

Last weekend we went to Round Top and stayed at The Prairie again, in The Manor House.  We had a great trip!  For the first time I was looking for something to refurbish or turn into art and maybe sell.  After my decluttering success this past January, I'm trying not to add to my house right now.  However, I did buy a couple things for my home and I'd like to show-and-tell. :)  I also found some great things that someone like you should go get before they're gone!

First up are pics of my purchases.  I found a vintage folding beach chair in pretty good shape at Blue Hills.  The fabric needs to be replaced and it needs a little refinishing, perfect for my first fixer upper!  The woman selling wanted $65 but I got her to $60 and she wasn't very happy about it!  Then this week I was surprised, OKL is having a Janus et Cie sale and there's a folding beach chair for $700!  Can't wait to make mine look awesome:

Next, I've been wanting a naturally light colored cowhide, not sure where I'm putting it, but we started looking and I found the perfect hide and couldn't pass it up.  I found it at the Old Depot, close to the Mercantile, from 5J Cowhides.  It was nice doing business with Johnny!  Then another surprise on OKL, a hide just like mine for more than two times the price!  Here's the beauty:

I was looking for small antlers for an upcoming craft workshop and to possibly paint as art.  I didn't want to spend a lot for this experiment so I found this set for $16 in Warrenton:

Lastly, just before we headed home, the brass propeller of this lamp base caught my eye.  Then the seller said the top part is a firehose nozzle!  So cool!  They said they'd sell it to me for $100 and I didn't have to think twice, sold!  Now I'm looking for a shade to put on this Found Objects lamp sculpture:

Now for the furnishings that someone ought to run to Round Top for right away!  We were watching the Lone Ranger, Jeffree [(954) 647-1459], unload and found the most beautiful Swedish clock I've ever seen.  He said to me "Why don't you pick out something cheaper?!" because this clock is over $5,000.  It's the original paint and the pic doesn't show the beauty, I wish you could see the glimmer of gold paint on the accents:

He's selling the pretty demilune (below) as a set and I can't stop thinking about them!  Perfect for today's transitional home:

Then he shared with us his new reproduction line called Infinity Collection made in Sweden, tell it to your neighbor!!  I would design a room around a hutch like this:

Next at Blue Hills, French Bleu had a beautiful chandelier I tried to get my sister to buy, but she decided it was too big.  If you've got tall ceilings, this chandelier was so pretty in person:

Do you remember my coffee cart?  I thought it was original but I think I was wrong because now the dealer (near the southwest entrance of Blue Hills) is selling reproductions of it.  But that is great news, anyone can buy it!  This cart is so functional and versatile, style it anyway you like:

My favorite artist/furniture maker Ken at EXCESS made this fountain out of a sugar kettle and tractor parts.  Absolutely awesome:

He was also selling fun accessories made of crow decoys.  For Halloween, I'd love to put a ton of these together on display in a restaurant or storefront:

Also at EXCESS were these giant white letters.  Love what they spell:

In addition to the shopping, we had a lot of fun and ate unbelievable food at The Legal Tender Saloon, Royer's and The Prairie.  Here's a short video I posted on Instagram of our fun:

And now to the "Plus" part in the title of this post.  Horchow is having a 24 hour 30% off WHOLE SITE sale, tell it to your neighbor!  This includes furniture and lighting!  Sale ends at 8 am cst, tomorrow, March 28th.  Love this console table:

Use this as a chance to get those high ticket items, here are a few more of my favorites from Horchow:


First-Ever Kite Festival

I have plans this weekend, the kind of plans you're going to want to tell your neighbor about and then invite them to come along with you!  This Saturday, March 29th is the first-ever Hermann Park Kite Festival and it's free admission, tell it to your neighbor!

Houston's Hermann Park is turning 100 this year and the Herman Park Conservancy is celebrating all year long!    My friend Morgan Garvey is on the Advisory Board of the Conservancy and she's been sharing with me all about the two Centennial celebrations she knew I'd love, Art in the Park and the Kite Festival.  She and Paul-David van Atta are also chairs of the Kite Festival event!

Beginning this Saturday morning at 10 am until 5 pm we can experience the grounds of our Hermann Park transformed into a festival with food trucks, performers, kite contests, kite making, music, games and creative projects for kids!  And the air will be filled with kites of all shapes, colors and sizes!!  Billy Ray posted a picture of his Yellow Guitar Kite on the festival's Facebook event page, saying "looking forward to the fly!"  Well me too, Billy Ray, I can't wait to see it!  I'm praying for wind because the S.H.A.R.K.s will be there showing off their stunt flying skills!  Here's a link to the schedule of the day and here's a map:


Parking will be limited so consider riding your bike if you live near or taking METRORail.  There is a Park-n-Ride on the rail near Fannin and 610 South.  I've taken it to the Houston Rodeo a couple times and it was easy breezy.


Over Spring Break we started exploring some of the centennial celebration's Art in the Park like Patrick Dougherty's Boogie Woogie sculpture made out of saplings.  My kids LOVED it!  So they'll be excited to go back to Hermann Park to see more.  And I can't think of a better way to spend a Saturday with my family than outside at a park, looking at art and flying kites!  Happy 100 Hermann Park, thank you for offering a celebration like the Kite Festival to us Houstonians, can't wait!


Very Important Post

This is a story of strength and hope.  If you've been reading this blog for a while then you know my Mom died over 10 years ago.  Hopefully, you also know I adored her.  She was my best friend and I miss her everyday.

It is hard for me to write this next part because I wouldn't want her or anyone anywhere to ever feel shame or embarrassment of any kind, not for one split second.  My Mom had a drinking problem and my life has been greatly affected by the family disease of alcoholism.  I'd like to talk openly about this to hopefully bring about good feelings and to share the thing that changed my life and possibly saved it.

I don't know when my Mom's drinking problem began, she was very good at hiding it.  I know the worst began when I was in high school.  My parents divorced when I was in elementary and they had joint custody.  My sister and I would live with my Dad one week, then my Mom the next week and so on until we went to college and this worked great for us.  However, when my Mom's problem became obvious we lived with our Dad.  Strangely, (I think) her drinking problem was obvious to outsiders before it was to us, it was our normal.  When my Mom was acting strange or even crazy or having a blow-up, I kind of just wished it away and hoped for a better tomorrow.  Then when tomorrow came I even questioned if things were real or made up in my head.  The problem was only obvious to me when I found empirical evidence.  For example, empty half-gallon containers of vodka hidden under the guest bedroom bed, empty beer cans hidden behind the TV and while I was riding bikes with my friends in the neighborhood, we saw my Mom driving around, windows down, listening to music and... passionately drinking.  That's when we went to live full time with our Dad and my Mom went to rehab.  I'm sharing these details for a teen like me, so he or she may know exactly what a problem looks like and so they don't have to feel all alone.

After my Mom went to rehab twice and was sober we wanted to live with her part-time again.  When she was healthy she was a great mom and we wanted to be with her.  So my Dad made a deal with us.  If we were going to live with her part of the time then we had to attend an Alateen meeting once a week.  Alateen is an anonymous group for teenagers whose lives have been affected by someone else's drinking.  We agreed to go because it was the way to our Mom.  I had no idea Alateen was about to change my life and save my relationship with my Mom.  Once we found the right group for us, we went once a week for about 2 years.  First I learned simple things like, "don't argue with someone who is drunk" - whoops!  and "don't hide or throw out liquor, more is always available" -  double whoops!  Then I learned the good stuff.  During those 2 years I figured out I wasn't alone in my pain and fear, I figured out how to survive living in the same house as the disease (because it's not completely gone even if the drinking is) and somehow I figured out how to accept my Mom as she was and detach from her problem without anger.  All of that is a miracle to me.  I was happy, strong and hopeful and loved that time of my life and I owe it to Alateen, tell it to your neighbor!!!

J. Roe Photography
I have no idea how my Mom got as bad as she did, I think it was too painful for her to talk about or bring up in her seven years of recovery.  I know that she was kind, loving, fun, creative, talented and did her best.  My Aunt has said that my mom becoming an alcoholic was like Mother Teresa becoming an alcoholic.  Addiction is scary.  And after revisiting things and looking through pictures for this blog post, seeing her look at her children and hold us the same way I look at and hold mine, I can't help but think it was out of her hands.  I'm sure she was overwhelmed and depressed, but I don't even know if she tried to get help or if she was just lost.  To me, she was beautiful inside and out.

This past summer I finally realized the emotional impact of alcoholism from my childhood was at work in me in new ways with my new roles.  Before, I was the kid.  Now I am a wife and a parent with new fears, worries and reactions.  So I looked into Al-anon meeting times, found some during camp/school hours and decided to go.  I thought this was a low point, admitting I needed help like this again.  But then 10 minutes into the meeting, I realized it was VICTORY!  I've been going weekly and I feel a huge difference!   I know this is a family disease so I carry behaviors from my Mom that I don't want to pass to my kids, so this is VICTORY for my whole family!!!

J. Roe Photography
I am so thankful to my Dad for having us first go to Alateen and for what it did for me as a teenager.  And now I am thankful for Al-Anon continuing to help me everyday.  My hope for this Very Important Post is that someone Google-ing Does my Mom or Dad have a drinking problem? or Is it normal...? finds this, reads it, realizes they're not alone and then finds a meeting to go to today.  Victory!  If you have a friend in these shoes, please pass this post to them.

Here is a link to the Houston Al-Anon Alateen Family Groups and a link to the national Al-Anon Alateen Family Groups websites where you can find a meeting and more information.

This is said at the end of every Al-Anon meeting, I always hear it loud and clear and it's worth repeating:  "Whatever your problems there are those among us who have had them, too.  If you try to keep an open mind you will find help.  You will come to realize that there is no situation too difficult to be bettered and no unhappiness too great to be lessened."


Instant Oscars Party

I thought last year's party had to be thrown together but it didn't compare to this year!  I was working at BBQ last week so I only had 30 min here and there to get things prepared.  And I only had an hour before the party to set up, so my challenge was to have a festive party in an instant.  A few pointers for the "Instant Party" emerged.

First, the invite isn't really a pointer but I thought it was funny enough to share:

oscars invite, bradley cooper, perm

Second, giant round balloons are a solution for speed because they are a big impact but you only need a few.  JCPenney no longer sells the balloons but Party City now has them!  If you arrive at opening, they can air up your balloons without a wait.  And yes, you do want the Hi-Float. :)  This picture is from the day after the party:

Third, Tulips from Target.  I was at Super Target and they had flowers!  Tulips are gorgeous, you can cut the bundle all at once and let them fall into a wide mouthed vase.  This might be the fastest flower arrangement ever:

Flowers from HEB.  I was at the grocery store and the purple stems of the ornamental cabbage in the floral department caught my eye.  Snip, snip, snip, another speedy arrangement and all about the color of the stems:

speedy floral arrangement, ornamental cabbage

My friends all bring hors d'oeuvres and I wanted to make something too.  I had a packet of Tropical Cheeseball Mix by What's Cookin' Easy Meals.  I always pick it up in Brenham at Leftover's Antiques.  It's my kind of easy and speedy, add the packet to cream cheese and crushed pineapple and then store it in the fridge.  People love it!  It's in the bottom left of this spread and served with Ritz crackers:

Oscars Party, Academy Awards Party

Next is my go-to for a champagne toast.  Everybody wanted more of Gloria Ferrer's Sonoma Brut.  I don't know how to describe it but it's a winner.  It's around $20 at Central Market, it's recommended by "Sharon" at my location and it's been my fav for 3 years:

best champagne, gloria ferrer, sonoma brut

There was no time to arrange online ballots and a techy leader board this year.  So I printed the ballots and we graded each other's papers throughout the show.  I think it might be more fun this way:

Last pointer, ask for help!  I am indebted to my husband, aunt and cousin.  Thank you, Joseph, Nancy and Kellison!!!  They helped a ton when I wasn't even around.  Watched the kids, cleaned the kitchen, ran errands, placed everything and even iced the cupcakes:

I hope the BBQ and the Oscars are never on the same weekend again!


World's Championship Bar-B-Que 2014

This was my 9th year as a volunteer for the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo's World's Championship Bar-B-Que Contest.  I'm on the Judging & Scoring side of the contest's committee and I love every minute of it.  Last year I did a blog post every night when I got home of my favorite pictures from the day but I think that was before I fell in love with Instagram, ha!  This year I made a 15 second video slide show of my favorite pics and highlights of each day and posted them on Instagram.  If you missed those posts, here is a look at what goes on each day behind the scenes at the WCBBQ:

When I'm at the BBQ or the Rodeo it is an observation overload, this actually means I'm in heaven. :)  I took over 400 pictures in 4 days, so a slide show was a good sharing solution for me.  But, don't you think it would be a shame if you only got to see my favorite pics for just a split second?  I do!  So here are a few of the best:

These are my very good friends, Jason and Laura.  We're on the committee together and we went to high school together.  We were feeling very sad because we lost a friend that week.  I wanted a picture of us together with the sun shining through it.  My friend Morgan says her mom used to say those sun beams are glory.  So I wanted God's Glory in the picture too.

This hat cost this man around $700.  It's pretty awesome.  It's a straw hat with red, white and blue vent holes.  The handmade hat band was beaded porcupine quills of the USA and Texas flags.  He said it was all from The Hat Store.

This is the best hat band I've ever seen.  One of our Final Round judges wears it every year and she was happy to tell me all about it.  On an old belt she puts her collection of annual pins from the HLSR.  The thickness of the belt absorbs the sharp part of the pin so it doesn't make it through the hat, that's a good thing!  I started my pin collection last year!

Every night these guys were on guard at the entrance to serve and protect the BBQ.

Were you a reader last year?  I had a very embarrassing moment trying to get a picture with with Texas A&M's Head Football Coach, Kevin Sumlin.  So my friend Leigh and I were joking around that this would be my picture.  No way was I going to ask for a picture again,  he should just be able to relax, right?

Well, maybe taking a picture with us isn't completely out of the relaxing category.  But we don't need any justification for this, it is just greatness!!!  My friend Leigh made this picture happen, loved it!  

And that's a wrap!  To learn about the mission of the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo click here.