Four Years

Today marks my husband and I's four year wedding anniversary.

And I couldn't be more grateful, or proud, to be married to such an amazing man.

We are best friends, best lovers and best supporters to each other. We tend to view life as a big adventure, and it's taken us many places, especially in the past year.

There have been wonderful days and hard times, tears of laughter and tears of sorrow, smiles and frowns, ups and downs, but we've always been together.

Here's to 60 more years just like the last four, babe. Happy anniversary!

So Manolo...

Once upon a time, in November of 1942, a young boy was born to a Czech father and a Spanish mother. He was raised in the Canary Islands, graduated from the University of Geneva, studied art in Paris and eventually moved to London to work at a fashion boutique and write for the Vogue Italia.

In 1972, he borrowed £2,000 and bought the boutique for himself.

The rest is history.

Manolo Blahnik now has boutiques around the globe - from Madrid and Athens to Dublin and Hong Kong. His line is also carried at Bloomingdale's, Neiman Marcus, Barneys, Nordstrom, Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue. He's a worldwide recognized fashion icon and high-heeled trailblazer.

Known for his signature stiletto heel, Manolo Blahnik's shoes have been in high-demand ever since. His designs grace the runways, film industry, the toes of the fashion-savvy and bride's wishlist of dream shoes for her big day.

“About half my designs are controlled fantasy, 
15 percent are total madness 
and the rest are bread-and-butter designs.”

When I met him today, I discovered he's every bit as charming and whimsical as his footwear. The bubbly man, sporting an adorable bow tie, is outgoing, gentlemanly and talks of revelations far beyond my day or world. He also follows no fashion trends but his own, inspired at random by what moves him, incorporating it into his shoes. Blahnik is a huge follower of art history, theater and classic movies like Gone with the Wind.

Piqued your curiosity? Look for more in an upcoming Q&A with Houston Tidbits.

“You put high heels on and you change.”
~Manolo Blahnik


Spooky Labels

Halloween is just around the corner, and I know plenty of you get into the spirit! Mwahahahaha.

To add festive to flair, try out these super cool (and spooky) bottle labels. Centsational Girl has 'em all primed and ready, so all you gotta do is print, apply and drink!

It's positively bewitching....


How 'bout them Cowboys??

To entertain ourselves while watching the Dallas Cowboys vs. Houston Texans game on Sunday, all sorts of food and drink were in order.

Notice the stack of hamburgers at the back, ready to be cooked!

From football-shaped Tostitos to Mike's freshly shot bacon-wrapped dove, it was a smorgasbord of mouthwatering goodness! I think I might have eaten more than my share of garlic green beans, grilled sausage and chips and guacamole, because I wasn't feeling too hot the rest of the day. Oink, oink!

Mike preparing his dove for the grill. Cheese, jalapeƱos, bacon... the works!
Helping out in the kitchen, sporting my Cowboys shirt.
Loved these football-shaped chips!

It was very exciting that the Cowboys had a much-needed win. I think it was totally because I wore my sparkly blue eyeliner in support, don't you?

The week has started off plenty busy, and I've got more work than I care to think about for a Monday. Which, however, is an excellent problem to have when you're a full-time freelancer. Time to roll up my sleeves and start typing! I must have placed my creative thinking cap around here somewhere...

Over lunch today, I did catch a bit of Rachael Ray's 30-Minute Meals and the Crispy Oven Fish Fry with Mushy Peas instantly reminded me of many a meal in Scotland.

Our very first fish and chips meal at Soul in Aberdeen, August 2009.
I might have to take a trip down memory lane and whip those up for dinner one night. On that note, stay tuned this week for a new recipe or two and more on my brand new company!


The Big D!

I took a speedy trip to Dallas earlier this week for some work and, most importantly, my mom's birthday!!!

On this particular road trip, since I was all by my lonesome, I stopped off in Corsicana at the Collin Street Bakery for some delicious treats and my all-time favorite: pecan bread.

There's something you should know about this pecan bread. It is absolutely the best bread ever. I love it. Love, love, love, love. When I was younger, my mom and I always dropped in to buy an armful of the loaves because I would eat it out the wazoo - and we're talking breakfast, lunch and dinner. Just couldn't get enough, nom nom nom...

Well, since my metabolism isn't cranked up to what it used to be, I can't eat pecan bread around the clock. But I sure did relish a couple slices this week. I gifted a couple special folks, like my mom and my sister, with some fall gift bags and custom labels I made (I was in the mood for fall!) then tucked in a loaf of pecan bread to boot.

So my mom toasted some up for breakfast one morning with butter and fresh peach jam that I brought from a recent stone fruits dinner I attended.

Even though the Texas Stadium is gone forever (and revived in the new Cowboys Stadium located in Arlington), I still love the warm fuzzy feeling I get when I see Dallas appear around the corner. Nothing says "welcome home" more.

God bless America.
And yes, I did take these pictures through my windshield while on the road. Don't worry, no one was injured.

Which brings me to the next topic: my newest freelancing gig. I am proud to inform you all that you're readin' the writin' of the new editor in chief of Dallas Brides magazine! The whole thing went down last week and I was thrilled to my toes to receive the offer and accept the position. I absolutely love bridal magazines and writing about weddings and working with vendors in the industry. It's something I would never have even known about myself, until I was offered the same position with Houston Brides magazine (they're owned and published by the same company).

I am so pumped to have my own magazine again. The semi-annual publication is a great notch on my freelance company's belt, and I can't wait to get the first issue out and about on the streets of my hometown.

To take a detour down memory lane, let's revisit my first-ever editor's note in Houston Brides - which, ironically, talks about my own planning process in Big D for my big day.

In between a bit of work, there's always a chance to play. Like staying over at my mom's house, getting to spend some much-needed time with her and celebrating her birthday. We watched TV shows, made country patriotic pillows and jewelry (more on those later!), concocted late night sandwiches, blogged, attended my sister's baby adoption, went to dinner at Rockfish, saw Easy A at the theaters (hilarious!) and enjoyed an all-around good time. I love hangin' with my mom. :)

My mom has held art class at her home every Tuesday night for more than 30 years.
One of the gifts for my mom's bday - a Pumpkin Spice scented candle.
Her homes always smells like this in the fall, usually from freshly made pumpkin muffins!
Now that's my idea of a late night snack!

There were also two little kitties who seemed happy to see me. Snowball and July (I'll let you guess which is which!). Like I've said before, I'm just so ready to have a place to call home base for awhile and get all our pets and things in order. And in one location. All in due time.... patience is a virtue, and I need it now!!!

Today has been a long day - I drove back to Houston last night, woke up completely exhausted today and then had a flu shot and blood taken at the doctor's this morning. I don't know about you, but I don't "do" needles. Like I turn pale white and look a little questionable. So getting poked and prodded with a sharp object just isn't a great start to my morning. But I resurrected it with a lil bit of shopping, some of which is for a project I'll be posting soon! Think pillows and turquoise.

For now, dear readers, the bed, my new read by Jeffery Deaver and a little LED book light are calling my name. Happy weekend, y'all!


Court Date

For the past (and first) three months of little Rayne's life, my sister and her partner Sabrina have been working their hardest to obtain full legal rights and officially adopt the teeny cutie.

Me and Rayne.
Her birth parents, who are related to Sabrina, were unwilling and unable to care for the child. But today, the story had a wonderfully happy "ending."

Sabrina, Rayne and Summer at the courthouse.
The adoption is official. And Summer and Sabrina can now lay claim to beautiful Abigail Rayne Parks.

It's a done deal! Gavel and all.
It's so heartwarming and incredibly powerful to see a little baby fighting the odds to survive and to finally receive the attention and loving care she so rightfully deserves. And I'm proud and honored that my sister is a part of that.

Me, Rayne and my sister.
Mom and Rayne.
This morning we arrived in full force at the Ft. Worth family court to witness the proceedings and then celebrate the moment when Rayne was pronounced with her new family. There were plenty of tears and lots of hugs, and Rayne managed to sleep through the most important part!
Sabrina's mom, Summer, our mom, Rayne and Sabrina post-court. 
Rayne's burp cloth - bearing her nickname - and the pencil gavel from the judge.

We are all so happy, relieved, and thrilled that the hardest and most unwanted part, the battle, is now over. To celebrate, we visited the Ol' South Original Pancake House for a hearty breakfast, some more cooing and aahing over Rayne and a couple gifts.

I mean, I just had to get some adorable new clothes for the baby girl! She looks so cute in everything.

My sister has also joined the blog world, which makes me proud, and you can read about their new and exciting "Life with Abigail Rayne" right here.

Here's to second chances, new life and oodles of love.


Feelin' Roomy...

I am trying not to complain about it too much. But I am SO BEYOND READY to have my own house!!!

It's been about one year and 52 days since we had our own place. And by that I don't mean a temporary flat in Scotland... I mean permanent and filled with all our stuff!

Fresh off the plane, arriving in Scotland. August 2009.

We're still waiting on word about a contract we've had a house for over a month now. It's complicated. But fingers crossed something good comes out of someone soon. I will say thank God for the HAR website, it's a huge help when you're house hunting in the H-Town area. Every single house up for sale or lease pops up on that badboy, and it saves you so much time and energy when you can search everything in one place!

In the meantime, we've got plenty of storage unit space since we rented another one to fill up with our Scotland shipment that recently arrived.

I was pretty darn thrilled our stuff made the journey safely back home. We weren't missing a thing. And we'd know... since we went through every flippin' box digging for extra clothes, accessories, shoes, etc. Seeing as we're still living out of a single bedroom graciously provided by our friends, I do believe we've reached max capacity. Can ya hang things from fan blades?

Excited for more clothes and shoes. Living out of a suitcase has its limits.

Sometimes you gotta appreciate the little things in life. Like cowboy boots and storage space.

These boots are made for walkin'...

“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.”
~Maya Angelou
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