Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bridal Showers and Bachelorette Parties, OH MY!

Soooooo, yah. It's been a couple months. My apologies! So much to catch up on, but I will leave you with the fun stuff!

Since my last post I have REALLY started to dive into my new job as an account manager and I have been BEYOND busy. I have been to 9 states in the past 3 months. (Oregon, California, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Florida, South Carolina, Texas (not at home), and Kansas) So this is my #1 excuse for being so behind on my blogging. My #2 excuse is that my amazing sisters, friends, and family have thrown me some awesome bridal showers and one hell of a bachelorette party.

We actually had "Bach Bash 2012" which included a partially combined bachelor and bachelorette party! It was SO. MUCH. FUN!!!! We started the party with a 3 hour party barge (double decker boat) out on Lake Travis with the boys and girls and my parents (awesome! seriously, had a blast with them!) and then broke off into our separate groups. The girls checked into the Embassy Suites downtown to relax/get ready for the night, while the boys went straight to Alamo Drafthouse to see the Batman movie.

My sister decorated the hotel room (complete with "Pin the Macho on the Man" came in handy later on, hahaha) and we had the lingerie shower. Then we went out to several different bars on 6th Street. It was such a blast, we even ended up running back into the boys for some final 2-stepping to end the night. It was definitely a day I will never forget thank you so much to my sisters and my wonderful friends/bridesmaids!

Enjoy the slide show!

This was my bridal shower in The Woodlands! So much fun, thanks Kris!

My Bridal Shower in Lubbock, family time! Thank you Htown!

My ATX shower. Jayne, ludge ya!

The Bride and Groom having a blast on the Party Barge! Kayne sun glasses and hand made coozies.

Little Flowers on the Boat! <3 you ladies!

Told ya my ol' Mom and Pops are a blast!

Everyone enjoying the cool water on a hot summer day!

Man toast.

Me in all my bachelorette glory. Complete with Mr. Macho in the background!

My beautiful Maid of Honor #1

My other beautiful maid of Honor #2

My siblings. <3 y'all! 


Thursday, May 3, 2012

DIY: 1990s Cherrywood to 21st Century Shabby Chic!

Well, it finally  happened. Pinterest convinced me to step up to the plate and DIY myself to fabulousness!

From THIS:

To THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ehhhh, let me me be honest about how this all exactly started...

Day #1:
So, me, being the amazing fiance that I am, decided to "surprise" my future hubs to an Extreme-Home-Makeover. And by that, I wanted to turn his bachelor-pad into something a little more "homey". I had it all planned out in my  head, I was going to buy a furniture set and storage hutch, then my roomie Jay-nay and I were going to kick him out for a boy's night and make that apartment look fantabulous! Jayne and I had been texting back and forth about how amazing this was going to be all day....that evening, John and I were going to meet with the priest for marriage prep for the first time. (It was a very exciting day, let me tell you) On the way to the church, I got a text. Instinctively John went to grab my phone since I was driving....I normally have nothing to hide, until my under cover Pinterest project commenced earlier that day. I grabbed the phone from John's hands to read the text, which obviously raised red flags. Of course once I told him I was surprising him with something, the boy couldn't think about anything else. Great, I thought, he is going to  be acting weird and distracted when we are meeting with the priest for the first time. So I just spilled the beans...after he got over the shock of me taking over his bachelor pad, I think he got (a little) excited about the makeover.

Day #2:
Well, things weren't going as exactly planned. First I couldn't find a full furniture set within my budget. If I was going to do this makeover, I wanted to show him what an amazing and thrifty wifey I'll make doing all my makeovers on a budget! So, my budget was around $300 hoping to find 2 nightstands, a big dresser, and a large storage hutch. Off to craigslist I went, after much searching I found what I was looking for! A large storage hutch for $150 and a dresser and nightstands (Cherrywood) for $175! (ok so I went a little over) The storage hutch is in great shape and looks like it fits into the 21st century. The bedroom furniture, not so much. After reading something and being inspired by pinterest, I watched roughly 2-hundred videos on You Tube on "how-to" repaint/update furniture. I decided I could do that, easy. Furniture bought.

Day #3:
So, next up....trip to Lowe's. I had my list: plastic sheet to lay-out and paint on, sander, sand paper, primer, and of course, paint. Boom, let's do this. Except, I accidentally bought white paint instead of primer (trip back to Lowe's). Annnddd I only thought I would need 1 can of it (trip back to Lowe's). Of course, 1 pack of sand paper would work for 2 medium and 1 large piece of furniture, right? (Trip back to Lowe's) Figured out I was probably not going to do all 3 pieces of furniture in 1 day, so I would need more plastic sheets (Trip back to Lowe's). Oh yah, and in case you are wondering spray paint DOES dry a million times faster than painting the old fashion way, you just need around 1 million spray paint bottles to get the job done. (Trip back to Lowe's) I'll save my other bagillion trips back to Lowe's for later on in this post....

Days #3 (cont.), 4, and 5:
Since this was first attempt at pretty much anything major DIY, I decided to start with one of the smaller night stands just in case I totally botched it, I'd still be left with 2 usable pieces. (And here is where I try to attempt my first blog "how-to")


Remove drawers from furniture and all hardware from the drawers.

Note: You may find hidden surprises left for you by the last owner...

Which could be BAD:
Yes, those are someone ELSE'S panies and socks stuck back behind those drawers

OR which could be GOOD:

Jackpot baby! A couple strands of pearls, a beautiful locket, and Men's gold ring. (the rest, junk.) Yes, I thought about tracking down the owner, but I bought this off Craigslist from a guy who sells used stuff. And he bought it off this other guy who buys items from lot sales. Long story short, don't make me feel bad. 
I considering this an added bonus. 


Sand down the furniture. I bought a Black and Decker "Mouse" (Cost: around $35) because sanding by hand takes WAY too long. Although, on this piece there were several curved pieces so I had to end up doing a lot by hand anyway. 

Note: If you are repainting a wood piece of furniture and not re-staining it, you only have to sand it enough to take off the "shiny" and make the piece very smooth. Since you will prime it, that is what actually covers up the dark wood before painting.  I used around 120-150 grit sand paper to do this. 

My shiny new sander....

This is what it should look like after you are done sanding. 


Prime the wood. I used spray primer because I was also using spray paint. It dries SO much quicker than painting it on with a brush. But I'm sure either do a great job. Because I was going from a very dark wood to a light paint, I used 2 coats of primer. 

Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of what it looked like after I primed it. But let me tell you this, you aren't painting it so it's ok if some areas are "whiter" than others and it isn't is just to make the wood a lighter surface for the paint to show up on. 


Painting! Again, I used spray paint. Which if you are in a hurry and have zero patience like's the way to go! You don't have to let it sit for more than a couple of hours and it is dry and will be done setting overnight. Vs. several days with paint & brush. I put on 2-3 coats of paint, letting it dry for about 10-15 minutes between coats. 

Also, with spray paint you MUST do it outdoors for many reasons. #1 it's SPRAY, you don't have as much control over where it lands (especially if it is windy), so you will need a plastic sheet to lay down. #2. Fumes! They are extremely potent....and I'll let you check out my extremely flattering picture below before I say this, I recommend wearing a mask. Dorky, yes. Worth it, probs. 

Note: You will need A LOT of spray paint. It is always better to OVERestimate than under. It will save you a lot of trips back to the store. I used about 5 bottles of primer and 12 bottles of spray paint for all 3 of these pieces. 

Work in progress. 

And, this is why you should wear a mask. 


If you are going for the Shabby Chic look, you are not done yet my friend! Once the paint is completely dry, I let it dry overnight, you will need to distress the furniture. Basically, you are going to sand off the paint to give it that antique chic look. It's really easy, I used 100/150 grit sand paper, and you just sand, enough to were it wears off the paint, on all the corners and edges. I sanded any area that I thought  normal wear and tear would occur over the years. 

Note: Don't be worried about doing it exact! Imperfections make it look better, some areas I sanded more and some less to give it a real effect. 

You can see how I sanded the edges and corners...even on the drawers.

The top looked too shiny and new once I did the corners and edges, so I took 60 grit sand paper and make some scratches across the surface (enough to wear the paint wore off a little but didn't take off too much) and then used a very fine (220 grit) sand paper to smooth off the ridges. 
So it looks worn, but is still really smooth and new feeling. 


If you want to take it even a step further for an updated look, you can change the hardware and give it some really shabby new pulls or knobs! However, after making around 5-6 trips to different hardware stores, I discovered that the drawer pulls that came with the furniture are about 3.6 inches apart (the holes where you drill them into the drawer). And I now know that pulls are primarily 3" or 3.75"....SO, I decided to stick with what the came with to save myself extra work and money. I think the originals actually look OK. 

So there you have it folks. I have my first DIY home project under my belt, and I am feeling good (and tired). I can honestly say though, it wasn't that hard and didn't take as much time as I thought it might. Just be prepared and again, OVER buy. You can always return what you don't need. Now on to the old hutch, front hall table, 2 old book shelves, and the old coffee table.....

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mary is Married!!!!

I would like to start off by saying: CONGRATULATIONS TO MARY AND KEVIN CHIEREK!!!!

What. A. Weekend. 

It happened ladies and gentlemen. 1425 entered into a new stage in our friendship. Marriage. haha Do you like how I said "1425" entered...Kevin (and soon to be), John, and to the other future hubbies...I have to let you in on a little secret. There are no secrets. Haha, jk. (kind of)

We all knew it would happen one day. We would find the loves of our lives and settle down. It just all seemed to start fast! I know, we are 27 and 28, but that is the new "young adult", right? (you better say right) We (1425, and for those who don't know what in the hell that's our college government housing project # that us 5 besties lived in during college. Yah, you read that right) have always been so close, in part, because we have always all been in about the same stages of life. Which for the past 5 years mainly consisted of single-hood. While some may read that as a "yikes!" we had and are still having the times of our lives!

We have made it a point to get together AT LEAST once per year, mainly being a ski trip to Colorado...thank you Frank and Mama T! But have also been able to share in many other vacations and trips to visit one another. I truly believe that we are so blessed to have one many people can say that they still talk to their best friends from college at least a couple times per month (if not more!) and are able to see each other so often? 

What I believe it so funny about it all is how different we all are! I mean, I would never have imagined such a random group of girls with different hobbies, interests, and personalities being so close...except for one uniting factor: Christ. There is just something about a friendship when it is rooted in Christ: you can TRULY be honest about everything and know that you won't be judged (well at least not to your face, right? KIDDING.) and that you will be truly supported during tough times and praised during times of joy! 

Well, this past weekend, Kevin Chierek married one of the best of 'em. Mary formerly O'Keefe. And I couldn't be more thrilled to welcome Kevin into a lifetime of 1425 festivities, drama, and let's be serious into the nursing home. (bahaha) Kevin, you have found yourself one hell of a woman. And you have all of our love and support as you two start a wonderful life together! 

Don't have a whole lot of pics, I was too busy dancing and enjoying the open bar. Don't judge me. 

At the rehearsal dinner at Maggiano's. Our newest member included!

After we got our herrr and makeup did, in the limo "Going to the chapel to get married"!

Hands down, probs THE most beautiful bride I've ever seen. 

While I am not a fan of how preggo I look in this picture (no, I am not preggo in case you people thought I fell off the chastity train) I love how beautiful the flowers and dresses look! And we are obviously very into Mary and Kevin saying their vows. 

Classy bridesmaid.

At the recep-tionnneee! Such a blast!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Another reason I love Austin, TX

There is nothing like spring weather in Central Texas. Sunny and 70s, wildflowers cover the grass, and everyone outside to enjoy it! I love living in Austin, there is so much to do outdoors. One of the things my adventurous mind thought of a couple months ago was to do the Austin Jailbreak. It is a 5k race that involves 16 different obstacles from sliding down a huge water slide to crawling through a field of mud...I know, why would anyone want to do this to themselves? It's actually fun, I promise...I did it last year and had a blast.

Well, about one month ago I started doing a high protein diet and can't really do too much exercising because I don't have carbs to burn...SO, I convinced my sister to take my place. Which was NBD (no big deal, duh) because her crazy a$$ runs marathons all the time, but I also graciously signed up John as well. We have both been super busy and he didn't really start training until about 5 days ago...

Let's just put it this way, after about 2 miles I caught up with them to take an action picture and it was in that moment that I thought: "Hmmm, he probably is really annoyed that I signed him up for this right now"...and once I saw his face, that was confirmed. He didn't talk to me for a solid 5 minutes post race, but after he cleaned off all the mud I asked, "Are you mad at me?" and he quickly replied, "I was.............................................but now I've caught my breath and it actually was kinda fun." Hah. This boy better realize that he is in for a hell of a lot more fun surprises like that if he is going to marry the Rowdy Raines :)

Saturday was topped off taking the suppy logs (yes, I call them that to their faces) to the Red Bud Isle Dog Park...I love going there, it's so beautiful and so do the bitches. Well, I'm off to pack yet another bag....this week it's Springfield, OH. Awesome.

This is before the race, everyone chipper and ready to conquer...

Still pumped. John said (and I quote) "I feel as if I have the energy of 8 red bulls running thru my veins.."

About 0.1 mile into the race

One of the fun obstacles...


And, rrriiiiggghhhhttt about here was when I realized, yah, he's pissed. 

To top it all off....

I shiny and clean as a new penny, wanted to capture the moment

And a beautiful day at the park. Bella NEVER gets in the water...I was so excited to capture them both playing around in Lady Bird Lake. 

Have a great Holy Week Everyone!!!! 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

8 hundred weeks and counting....

Ok, so maybe not 800 but 8 weeks on the road sure feels like it! Work is so crazy busy right now...I can't even explain how much I would give for an entire week at home! I am just praying once I start my new position as an account manager that my life slows down a LITTLE. If it doesn't, don't blame me if my wedding turns into a casual ho-down in the streets of Austin...don't worry, there will still be free beer!

So where do I start with the (ENTIRE) month of March...OH! I know, how about vacation :) John and I were able to slip in a little vacation to Last Vegas during his spring break week. We decided that it would be our one year together celebration...and it ended up being wonderful! Because of my crazy traveling and John living 30 minutes outside of Austin, we really only get to see each other on the weekends so it was definitely nice to be able to spend a whole week together! We didn't just do the "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" bit probably mostly because John gave up alcohol for lent and I was on a diet...HA, but it was wonderful! Enjoy the pics.

p.s. Pat thank you SO MUCH for letting us stay with you. We had a blast...and John enjoyed some man time.

Red Rock Canyon...beautiful day for hiking!

Mmmmk, so I found another chance to show off my gorgeous ring! It was beautiful in the sunlight!

Obviously by these gorg smiles you can tell how much fun we had hiking. 

Then we saw the only socially acceptable land mark to consistently use a foul word..Hoover DAMMMM!

Our 1 year anniversary dinner, it's ok to be jealous ladies  ;)

So, onto the other great adventure of the month: the first 1425 Bachelorette Party everrrrr!!!! Whew. Let's just start by prefacing with a couple reminders:
 #1. I have been on a strict diet to prepare not only for mine but Mary's wedding. It doesn't seem important to know this now...but most of you get where this is going....
 #2. We are all 27 and 28, that college age have a crazy night and bounce right back thing juuuusssst doesn't quite work out as well as I want it to sometimes. 

Yes, it made me feel better by putting excuses prior to this story. 

So what better day to celebrate a bachelorette party than good old St. Patrick's Day?! Especially for Mary O'KEEFE! We started out the morning with an adorable "Cloudy with Showers" themed party and before we knew it, it was time to put on our party pants. Green party pants. First stop: Iggy's Mexican Restaurant. Let's just say, I wasn't about to let this party get started on the wrong foot. Round 1 of shots commences.  A couple of Margaritas and Vodka waters later (I tried to stay on my diet...) Round 2 of shots. Annddd before dinner was completed, rrrroooouuunnnnddd 4...Liz and I even bust out our "special" shot glass just for Mare. It. was. great. 

What comes next, you may ask? Karaoke party bus. That's right, unlimited karaoke + cooler of booze + a bus of fun ladies = awesome. Let's just say, we sang a lot of personal list included: Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-A-Lot, Get Low by Lil Jon, Fancy by Reba McEntire, and Whitney Houston group sing-a-longs. And yes, personal dance performances or should I say "presentations" were involved. We even stopped at a couple of bars along the way and met very interesting people. There was a video I took or Mary talking to this guy and I may or may not have told him 20 times that "She's getting marrriiiieeeddd." hah. 

After being dropped off at the hotel, we kicked the first to hit the pillows to the Hepatitis C infested couch bed (right, Liz?) and then were off to the casino! Kathleen and I walked away about 100 and 60 bones richer...Mary 3HUNDRED bones richer, and we decided to end that on a good note and hit the haysack. The pillowless, sheetless, crowded hay sack. 

The next morning, we woke up with great stories, gigantic headaches, a large bruise the size of a grapefruit on my left butt cheek, and a corona salt shaker. I would say it was successful. Didn't get too many pictures...

At the bridal shower that morning...

1 shot down....

1 day plus 1 million shots down...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Life is Insane. Just sayin....

I know some of you are with me on this. Do you ever feel like you life is a whirlwind of craziness and that you are just getting through this "stage" and eventually it will slow down? And really, we KNOW it isn't going to slow down for a long, long is most likely going to continue to accelerate at a rapid pace. I have to tell my self white lies that my life has blissful calmness sailing it's way or else I think that I might not ever be able to get up out of bed in the morning to tackle my list of 400 things to do.

For the past 3 months (I still can't believe that it is already March) I  have been out of town almost every. single. week. trying to keep up on work projects that are pouring (or should I say hailing) down like a Texas thunderstorm. All of these new "meaningful use" requirements from the government have oncology clinics in a frenzy to adopt a certified electronic medical record system. While I am not a fan of most of the healthcare changes taking place...I can actually say that this one has benefited me :) I was promoted to an account manager earlier this year and it has given me a sense of job security like never before. And you know what job security actually means: A LOT of work. And on top of that, planning a wedding could pretty much be considered a full time job. This year is going to be insanely busy, fly buy, but has potential to be one of the best years of my life....if I can get thru it!

What I have come to realize in the past few weeks is in order to stay relaxed and enjoy a life that spins thru your day like a tornado on crack is to slow down. Doesn't make sense when you say it, but it's true. As most of you know, I love St. Therese of Lisieux. Her whole autobiography, "Story of a Soul" will change your life. I need to read it again just to refocus. One of the things I have always struggled with is being perfect. HA. I know. But I want to be the BEST at everything I do in life. THE best account manager, THE best fiance, THE best sister, THE best daughter, THE best friend, THE best (fill in the blank). But what happens when I concentrate on becoming the best at everything is I rely only on myself to get to the top. As I try to worry only about myself being better than anyone else, my thoughts, priorities, and concerns for God, friends, family, etc. diminish. And eventually I realize I can't be THE best at everything, and then it is a let down when I feel like I failed. 

My absolute favorite quotes from St. Therese is this, "If every little flower wished to be a Rose, Nature would lose Her spring adornments and the fields would not longer be enameled with their varied beauty." Every time I read it or meditate on that quote I get a sense of peace. There also is something else that says, "A Rose doesn't take away the whiteness of the Lily or the simple beauty of a violet" (can't remember the exact quote) Long story short, I can't compare who God created me to be to others and what they are doing. Does that mean I shouldn't try my hardest...of course not. But I have to slow down and enjoy that I am exactly and doing exactly what God wants me to be doing. I can't get worked up over everything and not enjoy where I am right now in my life. What I should be doing when trying to achieve a goal is asking myself "Am I praying as if everything depended on God? Am I working toward my goal as if everything depended on me?" (St. Augustine's genius) Because if I am doing the latter without the first, I am going no where and am setting myself up for failure. 

So, this lent I am trying to work on my prayer life and not just keeping it as a separate "relationship", but incorporating my relationship with God into my everyday life to help me slow down and enjoy this day in my life that I will never get back. So, onto the challenges of the day....

:) p.s. I have posted some pictures of weird, not normal, but still absolutely incredible, beautiful flowers.