Monday, December 2, 2013

Holiday Schedules

Splitting holiday time as a married couple can be tough. This is Matt and I's second holiday season as a married couple, and as I get older, I feel less inclined to run around like a chicken with my head cut off.  Yet I hate to feel that I'm 'missing' something. It's a catch 22, and since my parents are divorced things can get even more complicated, but we managed to get it all in. I even got Matthew inside a shopping mall on Black Friday, riddle me that!  We didn't get enough friend time in, which was totally lame, but hopefully the holiday party season will fix that! Here are some pics from the long holiday, and a vow to start rotating holidays with families in the future! Does anyone else do that?? 

 Happy Monday (groan). 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Bargain Shopping in Furniture Land

I am here today to tell what has been consuming my time. Besides work of course, which has been eating my lunch. But outside of work?? Furniture shopping! And in blogworld, it’s pretty much illegal to not spill the beans on good bargain finds. 
I bring to you, the Furniture Outlet Circuit in and around Austin, TX!

Pottery Barn Outlets - this outlet has a William Sonoma Section, A West Elm Section, and duh, a Pottery Barn section. Apparently they all are owned by the same company. What I love so much, is you can find plenty of current holiday items (ie. Ornaments, runners, pillows, candles, placemats) in the Pottery Barn section. It is not just a hodge podge of broken, offseason items. Which they have that too, but the cheaper in-season items lure me in every holiday season. Then, they have a great assortment furniture at great prices. It’s always scratched or dented somewhere, but if you are an easy going furniture shopper like myself, you can easily find a million pieces that will work out great for you! I always keep my eye out on the stuff I really like on the west elm and pottery barn website, that way I can spot the deals real quick. You can also call if you have an item in mind. My sister usually has her eye on things and calls frequently until they show up. Last year, I, well actually my sister, spotted the west elm rug I had been drooling over for about 700 dollars cheaper than retail. It was missing 4 tassles, but I did not care one hoot.

Now.. Restoration Hardware Outlet. First up, I would never ever buy anything full price in this store. It’s ungodly expensive. And I just refuse to walk in. But the outlet?? Totally Tessy approved. I scored these chairs for 174 - 25%, (about $141 each after tax). 

I have been on a dining chair hunt for ages, so you have no idea how excited I (and my sister, #1 furniture confidante) that we FINALLY pulled the trigger and bought these babies. Now where are the rest of the chairs you ask…perfect Segway

The JOSS and Main website / furniture auction thing is sending me the missing bench. You become a member (zero cost), and then you just search the deals. I’ve heard they are super slow to ship things, but if you have patience, who cares! Hopefully it be here in the next two weeks. The fact that it was less than half the price of the west elm bench I have had my eye on for a very, very long time helped me decide to just buy. I hope it gets in on time for our Annual Girls Christmas Party!

And last but not least,  a new place I added to this year’s list: Four Hands Furniture Outlet in North Austin. I liked these chairs, but couldn’t find 4 of the same kind. I also decided they might fit a true formal dining space unlike our big open room. Regardless, I really want to come back to look for bedroom furniture.

Now, for the rest of the week - I will scour black Friday deals. 

I am already a tired shopper ^^proof above^^ but I want to be prepared this year!


Monday, November 11, 2013

Stress + Christmas cards!

 Oh man bloggy friends. It's been a crazy week. I took a one day trip to Chicago to check out event space for one of my biggest events in January. Flew in, saw nine places, and flew out. I was spent to say the least. I've got a trade show, a one-day trip to Dallas and conference here in Houston all before Dec. 4th. Ahh!

pretty Chicago Fall

To say work stress is creeping in is an understatement. And it won't stop until mid-February. All of this is good, because I like to stay busy, but having Q4 and Q1 events hitting me simultaneously is eating my lunch. I haven't even had time to get holiday stress! Which, it's still a ways away before we dive into the crazy world of Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I'm trying to plan ahead a little bit so I can enjoy and not stress. 

So the real point of this post: I just bought our Christmas cards!! 
And I am in love!
Even cooler, I bought the cards today to catch the $25 off & free shipping promo on, and can just upload my pictures later. They just know the way to my heart by encouraging my procrastination. Just pick your design, pick the 'full proof' option, pay and voila. They send you a link where you can edit your picture, shipping options, addresses or even how many you want to order!

Matthew is a little bit Christmas card shy, but there was no way he was wiggling out of it this year. Since we have no kids or pets, the picture part is kind of a struggle. Oh, and we totally skipped the easiest Christmas card year of all - the one where you slap on a wedding picture and call it day - which would have been last year for us. Or the year you buy your first home - also last year, and we missed it. Whoopsie.

And too bad none of these pictures will work from our first Christmas as Mr. and Mrs. That's because auto timer and placing your camera on the counter is not a conducive strategy to snapping family portraits. Seriously, camera tripod is at the top of my list this year! 

Nevertheless, I found a design that I think is super cute that doesn't totally make me feel weird for sending out a picture of just Matt and I (sans kids or pets). And I'm really excited about it! Eek! The holidays are a coming!

Anybody else sending out Christmas cards for the first time? Where do you usually shop??


Monday, October 28, 2013


Today we finished our 1 year inspection with our builder.
Everything went pretty smoothly minus this scene - 
A crack in the foundation prompted a complete re-tiling and bathroom overhaul to fix it
Oh and the minor heart attack I had when my builder said everything wrong with the house after this 1 year Inspection is officially on us! Eek. Scary homeowner stuff I tell ya. 
The weirdest things start to happen as a new house starts to "settle." Cracks all over the place. Foundation cracks, wall cracks, tile cracks. (Say crack again, crack) crack, crack, crack. 

But two weeks later, and were done with random people in and out of our house fixing things. Thank The Lord because worrying about making your bed before you run out the door is seriously for the birds. 

In good news, our little table found a lamp friend. A pretty, shiny lamp friend. And an ornamental pumpkin. I'd say this table is making out pretty good here; its the only place in the house improving, besides small foundation cracks.

Also - I can't forget - we showered rachie and little baby cash this weekend too. Kristen and co. Hosted an animal-themed shower and it was pretty darn cute. 
Now, onto really important things - when does the bachelor start again? Mondays are starting to feel a lil' empty. Empty in my heart. Sad face.

and I updated my post from last week with pictures of my friend Jenn and her cute kiddos!

I was totally random today. Over and out - Tessy 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sprucey, Sprucey

I am getting a facelift. The blogger kind that is. 

As I try to figure out exactly what I want, I will go on a short radio silence. 

I'll check back in soon :) 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Happy Monday from the cutest little 6-month-Old

Om gahhh I have a case of the Mondays. I generally try not to do go down that road, or indulge too much in “I Hate Monday.” But some Mondays are just less fun than others. True fact.  So to brighten up everyone’s Monday, I have some really cute pictures I took of my good friend’s 6-month-old this weekend. She is so freakkking adorable. I was having so much fun taking pictures, I drove out to Katy later in the day to take more pictures of Molly and her big Brother Connor.
This picture was hands down my favorite:
She has the prettiest eyes!

then she found grass!
^^ She had better things to do then look at the camera at this point.
"Duh mom, I'm playing with the grass" ^^

I have a bunch more, but these were the few I quickly downloaded to my iPad. I may update (updated10/28) and post more later.

Ps. My chair painting project went totally awry this weekend. I started painting on Friday afternoon, and decided I completely hated the idea. Hated it with every ounce of my being! So, I am completely regrouping for the dining room. *Sigh* Stay tuned.

Happy Monday ya'll!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Refinishing furniture with Chalk Paint for First timers

There are a million Chalk Paint How to's on the interwebz, but I finally decided take a stab at it myself. I learn best by doing, so there was only so much I could read before I actually bit the bullet myself. My motivation? We have a few small furniture pieces we need on the 1st and 2nd floor, and I'm all about finding them on craigslist and refinishing. On Saturday night we stayed in, and I was completely determined to finish an old night stand that we are now using as a lamp stand on the 1st floor. 
Now, Annie Sloan paint isn't cheap, it runs at $39 smackaroos a can - which is supposed to cover two large furniture pieces - and if you wanna cover it with wax, that is another $30 bucks a can. Overall, it gives furniture a great shabby chic look, so I think it's very much worth it.  Especially when you compare it to buying NEW furniture. I mean geesh, we all know that can annihilate any bank account. 
So, as I know very little about this paint - I called up my sis-in-law Sara, and she gave me the skinny. She's the expert chalk painter in the fam, and here is what I learned. 
First find it - Annie Sloan Paint isn't sold everywhere. Go to their website and find out who sells it. I bought my two cans at Michella's in Old Town Spring. What I liked about this place was the samples they had. Sounds weird, but keep reading.  

Wax on / Wax off - Every chalk paint color can be fininished with clear wax, dark wax, or a combination of both. Or you can forgo wax all together - to really get the chalk look. Your waxing decision will make a big difference in the final look of your piece. These sample boards below really helped me decide: 

Now for materials - I've got all the usual suspects below. But most importantly - the dish rag and water (not pictured here) are the most important. And as soon as you open up a can an door into your paint container - seal that sucker right back up immediately. Exposure to air changes the consistency - which you don't want to happen to unused paint. 

Before we get started - here's my little night stand turned lamp table before - pretty ugly - I know. I liked this piece because it was small, and I figured would serve as good practice. I recommend everyone start out small, because even this small piece took me about eight hours (four on Saturday, 4 on Sunday). 

Now, I've sanded this piece, which isn't always necessary with chalk paint. But since this piece was dark, and my paint was light - I knew it was required. I also think any piece looks better if sanded. Obviously it is up to you. I have also heard about liquid sand paper to save time, but I didn't have any and will try that on my next project. 
Then I started painting. This was after the first coat. What's most important is I dipped my brush in water occasionally, then wiped off excess on the rag to help the paint go further. Some people dilute the paint outright, but I heard this brush in the water trick is easier from Sara. 

Here is the rag and water bucket toward the end of the project 

On Sunday I was finally finished. I'd say I put three coats everywhere. Places that weren't sanded well probably had four coats. Excuse my old, ugly hardware.
I plan to get something new in the future. 

this color is Arles - and has no wax finish

And that was my first go at chalk-paint furniture painting! I wish I was looking forward to repainting the six chairs in my dinning room. 

But I am not. (So much left to do in this room!!) 

Over and out!! -Tessy. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Free write

One of my favorite bloggers has a once a week "free write," and I'm about to join the party. Not sure if it will be once a week, but as Motley Mama says - let's get back to the basics of blogging aka some Good ol' narcissistic rambling

I have all these house-related blog posts sitting in my que, but I'm just not feeling it today. 

My mind is a flurrry, and I'm a ball of energy! Because I..
a) woke up and took a very short-lived jog this am 
b) I packed a semi-healthy, low carb hamburger salad for lunch 
c) It's boss's day, so we showered our boss with goodies and are expecting some warm cookies here shortly!! 

Now, you probably didn't care about any if that, but I had to get that out. I need to do this running thing every day. Despite my legs feeling half asleep, It. Was. Awesome. I thought I might topple over at one point, because (reference) my mind was telling me yes, buttt my body, my body was telling me no. Yes I just reversed that R. Kelly. I put my thang flipped it and reversed it! You're welcome!

So, as an update to my grocery store challenged post, I went to the grocery story and literally got the most simple meals. Emeals was looking muy complicado, so I just chunked stuff In the cart. Take that grocery store. 

Oh and I ransacked Ann Taylor Sunday. 40% off, plus an extra 20% for breast cancer awareness. Go getcha some ladieeeezzz. 

Over and out. -Tessy 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Home Progress: Living Room One year later

It's so crazy to me that we've been in the house for over a year. We've started our one year walk-through with our builder, to make sure everything stays in tip top shape - and I couldn't help but think of this time last year. We were closing on the house (obvi), and I was so anxious about how much furniture we needed. Then I ran into a few older pictures, and the disparity really struck me. I never really posted pictures of the inside (the thought gave me anxiety), but I finally think it's a good time to take a peek inside. I mean, I only promised pictures a gazillion times, and never came through. And while nothing about my house screams professional home decor blog, I'm pretty proud of how far we've come. 
I really wish I had a picture of the carpet swatches underneath the ugly, black leather couches we had, but here is our then brand new gray couch from Bassett. It was in the back of the store for 50% off, because another customer sent it back after Bassett sent the the wrong couch. That was the first rug we bought too. The rug was a fraction of the West Elm price, because it was missing four tassels and had two bald spots. I couldn't pass up the deal, and just like that we had a gray color scheme. Something I wasn't expecting AT ALL. What can I say I guess I'm just a sucker for a bargain :)
Somewhere along the way we added curtains, which we got for free with our West Elm points. We racked up points from our table and another rug not pictured here. But yaaaa, we were still using TV trays to hold things. LOL. 

Needless to say, our friends gave us a really hard time about the TV trays.

Then, enter the piece that took us so so long to buy. I bought it on a whim, for what I thought was a steal at HomeGoods. We still use throwback speakers lol. 

And here is where we are today; AKA our current living room (yes my frames are crooked, still need to finish my gallery wall): 
Our eating area is right behind the camera, and where our stripe wall is. Hopefully I'll blog about that space soon!
Oh and the weekend was great, I finally experimented with Annie Sloan Paint. And was overall really productive. I love the fall energy! Tata and happy Monday!   


Friday, October 11, 2013

For the grocery store-challenged

I actually like to cook. I really enjoy it in fact. I find cutting up all the veggies and sautéing em' up to be therapeutic. I'm dying to take cooking classes and figure out the nuance of mixing savory and sweet mixes. 

But grocery shipping? Meal planning? Omg just kill me now. I hate it. My brief episode with yeast-free dieting consumed all my time. 

I've told Matt if he we would just pick what to eat and grocery shop, I'd gladly cook. And clean up too! But let's face it, he looks at me like no, no child. That is your job. 

So in comes (thanks For the heads up Helene), A website that wil pick recipes, AND create grocery store lists for you. You input where you shop, how many mouths you need to feed, and how healthy / non healthy you'd like to eat. And boom. They spit out a bonafide grocery list for you. Or so they say. 

And yup, there is an app to go with! 

The one downside, It's 7 bucks a month. Which I think kinda sucks, but I'm still gonna give it a shot. 

Hopefully this Sunday, I'll be ready to tackle the g store with gusto. Maybe it will be the best 7 bucks I've ever spent. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

GASP: I don't own a straightener

Four scores and seven years ago, HANA sent me a blow-dryer. Ok ok, it was actually last August or September, I can’t remember which because I was living in a sublet apartment, waiting for our crazy builder to finish our house. We were arguing like crazy with said builder, nothing out of the ordinary I assure you, but thank goodness for our realtor who helped ease that burden. 

But back to the blow-dryer. Brian from Misakko sent me this glorious, powerful, shiny black blow-dryer. And I have to say, it’s really helped me out in the hair department. Despite the pictures I post to social media, my hair is actually a crazy fro. It’s super thick, wavy, frizzy, and well, just big. Which is ok with me, because I love love love big Texas hair. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to take care of. Or straighten for that matter.

Enter big, powerful blow-dryer. Oh my wonderful, it’s made a huge difference. It cuts blow-drying time in half. I can blow out my hair out in 30 minutes now, v. the 45-50 minutes it once took me to straighten my hair with a regular ol’ blow-dryer.

One might ask, why you don’t use a straightener. Just like the title of this post, I don't even own one. But I actually prefer my hair voluminous with body, and Not super straight like a board. And straighteners ravage my coarse hair in no time, so I really have to be careful. This makes it even more important for my blow-dryer to be awesome and get those hairs straight real fast. I love this blow-dryer so much, it’s become a travel essential despite its large size and hair drying prowess.  See all the places I've taken Hana this year! 

Hana at my house 

Hana made it to Vegas. Duh. 

Hana in New York

Hana in Baltimore 

Hana most definitely made it to Coachella 

Hana in Costa Rica!!!! What what. I never actually used it, but I had to take it ya know what I mean?! 

So there you have it. This girl loves her some Hana. I've tried the straightener and hope to try the curling iron one day. And a shout out to Brian for the sweet box of goodies he sent my way. 

P.S. This is my first sponsored post ever. Glad I finally faced my fear, oh you know a year later. But better late than never, and all opinions are truly my own. :) 

Tata lovas!! 

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