Thursday, April 26, 2012

Green Thumb Gene


My Grandmother has served multiple terms as the National Garden Club president and has served as a judge for garden shows for over 40 years.  She “quit” the show circuit a few years ago (around her 80th birthday) but wasn’t able to leave the garden for long so she started volunteering to create a Wildscape Garden behind the clubhouse.  She will no doubt be immortalized by the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens once she is finally able to let it go. 
So while it’s been quite a few years since I followed her around the garden pruning and playing, but in the back of my mind I always thought that green thumb gene was there; that when I had a use for it I could activate my horticultural heritage like a super power. 
This didn’t happen.
I moved into my home in mid-summer 2 years ago, and broke my foot last spring, so this was the first year that I started out determined to make a yard out of the weeds surrounding my house.   I started as everyone does, by pulling out all the weeds I could.   It didn’t take long before my actual super power activated: Hayfever! 
In between sneezes I’ve managed to clear 4 flowerbeds and made a birdbath out of old terra cotta pots that have been hiding in the undergrowth. I managed to break my hoe, {insert your own dirty joke here} and I only had one truly girly moment involving a garden snake and an undignified shriek.
So now I have a few freshly mulched flower beds and a beautifully mowed lawn.  I did flashback to a few hot Julys in my childhood when grandma taught me how to prune roses and to “pinch” my chrysanthemums so they are full and strong by fall, so I’m confident I can keep my yard going through the summer, but the reality of just how much work is involved is daunting.  Not to mention that scary greenhouse in the back corner of the yard that is so overgrown it looks like a jungle.  I might wait a few weeks to tackle that one.
Green Thumb Activate!
Jenn.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Lily & Laura


I have always loved items that go to a great cause. So when I first heard about Lily and Laura bracelets I was hooked from the start. If you don't know the story about Lily and Laura here is the run down, all of their bracelets are hand crocheted by women artist in Nepal, each women is paid per bracelet, and these bracelets allow the women to live above the poverty line in Nepal, so yes these gorgeous colorful bracelets improve the quality of life for these women and their families.

The other great thing about these bracelets is that they roll over any wrist, I have always had a hard time finding bracelets that fit, so this is one of the reasons I LOVE my Lily and Laura bracelets. They are also great because you don't have to fumble around trying to find a clasp, which is why my grandmother loves them too! With Mother's Day right around the corner I could not think of a better gift to give, something gorgeous to wear that also gives to a great company!!

You can find Lily and Laura bracelets at Brownstone, as soon as you walk in on the front counter. Mention this post and get 3 bracelets for $33. (normally 3 for $38) This blog special will expire on Friday, April 27th.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Party People

I love to throw a party.  I love to brainstorm about throwing a party.  I love all the details and the random thoughts that come to me when I should be sleeping.  We have had a circus party with a kid’s parade, a chef party with custom recipes, movie night with a concession stand and a gymnastics party with personalized medals for the party goes.  I always had intricate invitations, custom cupcakes with handmade toppers and party d├ęcor that brought the whole party together.


It is time to plan yet another birthday party for our oldest.  I was ready to create an extravagant scavenger hunt for her and all her friends.  I asked Emma what she thought and she told me that would be great, but what she really wanted was a mud party.  I thought I heard her wrong.  Mud.  Dirt and water together.  She said she just wanted to be able to play in the mud with all her friends.

I realized that while all the other parties were fun and full of details, she really just wanted to play like a kid.  So this year as she turns 8, she will get her mud party.  I sent an email (not even an evite) to the moms and the party was set.  No crazy planning.  No stress and I am actually looking forward to the stress free party!
I will post pictures after the party.  I am sure I will be smiling and not stressing and the kids will be knee high in mud and fun!

Taylor

Friday, April 13, 2012

Fashion Basics Brownstone Style

Haven’t you had at least one outfit that you stumbled across years after wearing it and thought, “What was I thinking?!?!?”  No matter what age you are, you know you’ve experienced it.  Probably one of my most memorable fashion faux pas was a pair of SILVER Limited Too pants.  Granted I was still a pre-teen, but I thought I looked fly.  I have also always been on the curvier side so skin-tight was not exactly the most flattering style to begin with but I was determined to rock them.  I am all for everybody interpreting fashion their own way, but here’s a little cheat list to keep you from having one of those “oh no” moments.

Wear the size that looks right, not the size the tag says.
Just the other day, a mother and daughter were in Groovy’s shopping when the daughter picked out a shirt that was running smaller than the size on the tag.  She was easily a traditional small, but went with the large because it looked best on her.  When explaining this to her mother she responded with, “That’s why the tag is on the inside-so nobody will see it.”  She’s right.  We all have in our minds what size we think we are supposed to be, but we really need to wear what is right for us.  I know I am guilty of it at times too, but nobody else will even notice or care.

Dress your age.
Think about the friend closest to you in age.  If you do not think she should wear it, neither should you.  We live in a world that creates styles and trends for all ages that you cannot possibly go wrong if you just dress age-appropriately.  Congratulations that you can still fit in your skin-tight leopard print mini skirt from high school even though you are 45 now…just don’t show it off in public.      

Follow trends without overdoing it.
Bright colors are obviously making an appearance this year, but that does not mean you need to look like a deluxe pack of highlighters.  Stick to a similar color family or shade.  You want things to flow, not look like you put on every color in your closet.

Flatter yourself.
All in all, wear what looks good on you!  So what if you have a thicker bottom and cannot comfortably fit in the same pair of jeans as your less curvy friends, embrace all that you have to offer.  Wear clothing that shows off what you are proud of while drawing attention away from the things you’re not. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ninja Knitters

Have you heard of yarn bombing yet?  Guerilla knitting?  I’ve heard the phrase before but only recently started paying this new form of urban art the attention it deserves.  Now I know many of us can be very old fashioned fuddy-duddies when it comes to urban art, believing spray paint belongs in the in the hands of professionals, not in the hands of kids tagging whatever wall they come across.  But this new urban experiment is not about vandalism or expressing despair at one’s lot in life.  On the contrary, it is about livening up our sometimes cold and sterile world with the warm, personal touch of a hand-made cozy.
Yarn bombing is thought to have started as recently as 2004.  Like most forms of urban art, this textile tagging was often done anonymously and under the cover of darkness.  Knitters had code names and were known by their unique style or a signature stitch.  However, as the projects became larger and more ambitious, knitters began to join forces and small communities were formed.
While yarn bombing is still technically illegal, many groups of grandmothers and hip moms have developed all over the world, knitting and crocheting their personalities into public spaces.  While the most common items to be bombed are trees and lamp posts, my personal favorites are the public statues of stone and metal which are given new life through a scarf or a pair of socks.  I love the woman who knitted a red sweater for the statue of Mr. Rodgers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  After all, who is Mr. Rodgers without the red sweater?
Like almost everything else, yarn bombing is taking it’s time getting to the more suburban areas like Arlington, TX.   Personally, I have every intention of aiding the cause, by finally listening to my grandmother when she tries to teach me to knit.  It should only take a few years for me to learn enough to tag the Brownstone right?
Knit one, Purl two…
Jenn

Friday, April 6, 2012

Finding "ME" time at The Salon at Brownstone Village

I am always down for some spa time and relaxation. So when Kelly Cole, The Salon at Brownstone Village's newest member, asked me if I wanted a facial I didn't even have to think twice about saying YES! The facial started with a fabulous cleanse, then went straight into a exfoliating acid peel and then after some extracting a relaxing massage! The products that she used were also phenominal, they called Yonka and she even gave samples so that I could try them at home for a while and see how well they worked on my skin {needless to say I'm hooked}.

If you have yet to visit The Salon at Brownstone Village you are definitely missing out! They have amazing manicurist, a fantastic masseuse, 2 estheticians {one that also does electrolysis}, a permanent make-up artist and of course several hair stylists{one of which Brian Miller who does my hair regularly}! Many of the salon staff also offer discounts to first-time customers.

I have listed the salon staff below along with their contact info:
Janice Stewart {nail technician}- 817.275.3320
Beverly Meuth {permanent make-up}- 817.975.5327
Brian Miller {hair stylist}- 817.925.7989
Ana De La Rosa {hair stylist}- 817.371.1124
Becky Mireles {hair stylist}-817.705.4247
Duane Fetsch {hair stylist}- 817.925.1269
Christine Alphin {hair stylist}-817.274-3680
Thu Nguyen {nail technician}- 817.526.1682
Kay Watkins {masseuse}- 817.456.4424
Kelly Cole {esthetician}- 817.422.2697
Effy Sternfeld {esthetician/electrolysis}- 817.999.0479

Find some time for yourself and book your appointment with one of the salon and spa staff today!

Robin

Monday, April 2, 2012

Yarn Omelet


To make an omelet you must first break a few eggs.  To make a yarn egg, you must first break a dozen balloons, an entire bottle of craft glue, half a gallon of liquid starch, multiple balls of yarn, some flour, sugar, and a lot of time and patience.  Or maybe it’s just me. 
Recently I’ve seen many yarn and twine balls used as party decorations and had some very happy childhood flashbacks of making a similar craft with my scout troop.  I thought if I could do it as a child, it must be simple and could make for a fun Sunday afternoon.  So I trolled the blogs and craft sites and to my surprise, found that debate on the best way to go about making the little buggers was varied and passionate.
 Well maybe I’m a little lazy, or maybe it’s because I already had the glue, but my first attempt at yarn eggs involved soaking the yarn in a glue and water mixture and covering the balloon in small strips.  The balloon looked GREAT!  And it was only slightly messy.  However, when the glue dried and I tried to deflate (make sure you deflate the balloon, don’t pop!) the balloon the entire egg deflated with it.  At first I thought maybe I didn’t let it dry long enough, so I waited to free my other remaining eggs from their balloons another 24 hours.  It didn’t help.
My next step was to try the liquid starch method.  I tried the Heavy Duty formula and once again draped my yarn strips on the balloon.  Again it looked great, but the best part was that the starch was far less messy than the glue and made the entire room smell like clean laundry.  My faith was restored but I chose to wait and let the yarn dry a little longer than they probably needed.  Unfortunately this didn’t help much, and while one of the six eggs I tried to make did retain it’s egg-like shape, it wasn’t strong enough to hang.  I took to violently stabbing the last few balloons in frustration.
But there was NO WAY I was going to be beaten by yarn and balloons, so I pulled out the big guns: a recipe for paper mache glue.  (Boil 2 cups water; add ½ cup flour and another 2 cups cold water; BOIL; remove from heat and add 3TB sugar; COOL)  This was by far the messiest and smelliest of the three methods.  But I dug in, turned on some good music and got that goop everywhere.  I saturated the yarn in small sections but didn’t cut the yarn this time.  It was much easier to work with this way.  But it took days to dry and the smell got worse the drier they got! 
So finally I got the courage to deflate and remove my balloons and HALLELUJAH!  It looked like an egg!  And it only took me 2 weeks to get it right!
So, while my suborn streak has been satisfied, I think I’ll be sticking to making my omelets with the smaller more delicious kind of egg from now on…maybe adding a  little spinach…and cheese…oh and mushrooms.  
Yum…
Jennifer