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Monday, April 30, 2012

vacation pretty

There is something about vacation that makes me feel pretty. I'm not sure if it's the extra effort I put into feeling the coconut lime lotion I wear or the spray tan that gives my skin it's glow. Maybe it's the outfits that I never wear at home that seem too fancy for every day, but magically make me feel special when we are far away.
Maybe it's the casual summer dresses or the platform sandals that squeeze my toes, but make me feel tall and sexy. Why do I save these for special occasions? 

Or perhaps it's the lack of doing that makes me blossom. The free falling of the days that remind me there is no concrete plan. We are here to enjoy every minute.   I want to bottle up that feeling of bliss...of no expectations and wear it around my neck like a gentle fragrance. 

I want to remember the wind whipping my hair.  The feeling of cool sand between my toes. I want to imprint how the sun warms my shoulders, how the laughter of my children pulls my heartstrings, and how Honey's hand fits perfectly in mine...every single day.   I want my senses to be tuned in, no static, to notice even the littlest of blessings. Yes, I want to feel pretty from the inside out...vacation pretty...even on a plain old Monday.

Have a blessed day.

551.  honey's birthday
552.  getting "it" done
553.  new neighbors
554.  lush green everywhere
555.  feeling pretty;)

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Friday, April 27, 2012

farmy retreat & FMFF

Okay so remember back to when we had the house painted?  I screwed up big time in one room, and had it painted almost the identical color it already was.  Uh yeah...oops!  Kind of figured that out when I came in to check on the progress, and I couldn't tell where they had been.  Oh and the snickers and laughing in the corner was a tell too.  Finger pointing and remarks in Spanish that I couldn't translate made me fully aware they thought I was a goof.  And I was.  But it's hard to pick out colors for an entire house.  Girls I was in over my head!

Needless to say the spare bedroom was never my favorite room.  It was kind of thrown together and never really looked like me.  The walls were beige.  Beige!  So since I've been pinning black walls forever on Pinterest I decided to go bold and just go for it.   This color is called Gravel Grey by Benjamin Moore and it actually looks like a really dark navy versus grey.

Other than a wall color idea I really didn't have a game plan.  I had seen a yellow dresser at my sweet friend Alicia's house and kind of knew I wanted a bold yellow somewhere.  So a seed was planted and an old black dresser got a redo;)

I spray painted that bad boy bright yellow...scuffed the heck out of it with a palm sander, added some numbers and new knobs and now it's the BOMB.  I LOVE IT!  It just looks happy. 

I was also on the hunt for a long tall dresser.  Something to sit the TV on and display some pretties.  My friend Kim recommended a great antique store and told me to go asap.  I had been there before and had completely forgotten about it, but that's where I ended up finding this sweet piece. 

The next day I ran into Kim and told her about my find.  She starts telling me about the piece she had fallen in love with too.  Low and behold she whips out her phone and I had bought the exact piece she had her eye on.  I about died!  Seriously out of hundreds of pieces of furniture I picked the exact same piece.   

I felt bad painting it.  Knowing I was altering her beloved piece too.  The pressure was really on.  What if I screwed it up?  I ended up spray painting it and I usually never do that.  It was so much harder than I thought.  For some reason it started bubbling and dripping.  I guess I should stick to brushes;)   

In the end I glazed it with a metallic finish and painted the knobs silver. I love it. 
REALLY love it.

Usually when you start a room you have a plan....a jumping off point.  For me it's almost always bedding.  This time it was a piece of artwork.  I had a funky rooster painting that I seriously loved and wanted to incorporate turquoise, red, yellow, navy and white.  Good luck finding bedding that will fit into that color scheme.  I about fell over when I saw this duvet at Bed, Bath and Beyond.  It was happy dance time:)  It blends in beautifully and looks like I had it custom made.

It screams BECKY now.  I go in there and never want to leave.  Oh and I raised the bed too.  Made a world of difference.  It's my giddy, make me want to jump up and down room.  Gotta have one of those right?;)


So on to Feed My Family FRIDAY!!!  On vacation I had THE most amazing sandwich.  We are talking best sandwich I've ever EVER tasted.  We went to the Hotel Coronado on Coronado and ate at the Sheerwater Restaurant. This bad boy was $22.  Best money spent.  There had to be about that much crab meat there right?  Holy cow!!  Anyway it inspired me to find a good/healthy crab cake recipe.  On Pinterest I found one here.  I've changed it quite a bit, but it was my jumping off point.

You need:
16 ounces of lump crab meat.  I bought mine in a can.
1/2 cup of planko bread crumbs.  I used Ritz crackers instead.  I love Ritz.
1/4 cup chopped parsley.  I used chopped green onion instead.
1 egg
1/4 cup lite mayo
1/4 tsp Old Bay seasoning.  I used some crab leg seasoning I got on vacay in Gulf Shores, Alabama years ago.  Same difference.

Mix all the ingredients together.  Using an ice cream scoop make crab cakes and place on cookie sheet.  If preparing the same day refrigerate for at least an hour.  Heat a small amount of olive oil  in a large skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until browned.  SO GOOD...not quite as good as the Sheerwater but a winner:)

feed my family friday

Okay girls you know the drill.  Grab my button, link to your recipe URL, and let's feed our families:)

Have a blessed weekend.

546.  busch gardens today with my big chick
547.  honey's birthday weekend
548.  my book club girlies
549.  cupcakes in my near future
550.  crab cakes:)
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Monday, April 23, 2012

the glass house

(In the bathroom at one of the airports...motion sick!)

Last week was a wee bit challenging.  I had what we like to refer to in the Strahle house...pttdPost traumatic trip disorder.  You see I don't travel well.  I LOVE to travel.  Love to see new places and people watch, but instictively on travel days I wake up and my body just knows.  It does.  Weirdest thing.  Anyway our flight home was awful!  The flight was canceled and booked for two days later.  Finally we got a new flight, one to Denver (with the worst turbulence EVER) and then to DC...2+ hours from our house.  All in all it took us 23 hours to get back to Virginia.  So when I wildly dramatically declared that I would never go back to California it was PTTD related.  I feel the need to clarify;)  I spent most of last week regrouping.  Trying to get my groove back on.  Why does vacation do this?  We are supposed to come back all refreshed.  Didn't happen!

Okay so back to vacay pictures;)  I'm such a goof.  I know there is a parallel between glass houses and life, but I can't remember what it is. So I googled "glass house" and found some lyrics for a few different songs. Uh whatever you do...don't do that.  Man there is a lot of garbage out there.  Anyhoo since I can't remember the point I'll make up my own.

We stayed in a glass house on our vacay. I spent hours on the Internet searching, and since I'm scared to death of getting bed bugs, we thought staying in a house might be better. Especially one made of glass walls and concrete. It seemed safer. Less for them to attach to or something. I know I'm a little paranoid, but bed bugs are the WORST. I know someone and it's an awful, sad story.

The house was a perfect escape. It couldn't have been any more different than what we have back in Virginia. It was one of those mid-century modern homes redone. Completely decked out in retro furniture, sparse decor and all white walls. Like every single surface in the house was white. Could that be any more opposite than my style or what?  It was just the ticket. Every morning we awoke to natural light. HEAVEN! I love my current house, but if there was one thing I would change this would be it. I need light and unfortunately my house doesn't get much. So a week of light was perfect.

The back yard was completely private.  We're talking tall hedge, big fence, low sitting neighbors, lots of bushes, palm trees...the works.  There was no looking in.  Yet it was a little disconcerting having no walls or coverings for privacy.  I went outside and snapped pics of honey one night and he didn't even notice!  How creepy is that??  Even our bathroom was all glass. 

One of the perks of having a house is not having to share.  I know shame on me, BUT I could go out in the morning and walk around in my pj's:)  I didn't have to suck it in or worry about looking pretty in my swimsuit.  Sitting by the pool in privacy was a brand new experience. 

If you look real close behind me...above the couch in the house...there is a naked lady picture.  It's one of the only things hanging in the house.  When I first saw it I was like...nice.  Very kid friendly and appropriate;)  Her face looks just like a young Barbara Streisand.  By end of the week I was almost mesmerized by it.  Wishing I could have taken it home with me;)  Ha!  Wouldn't that look great hanging above our bed in Virginia??

Still not sure of the perfect glass house tie in except to say it was a nice departure.  Getting over the exposed feeling took about a millisecond, but apparently I'm used to having people see right through me;) 

**I'm going to post a recipe Friday...and show the black room:)  Just FYI.

Have a blessed day.

541.  making memories
542.  departing from the norm
543.  fuchsia
544.  hearing my girls giggle
545.  coming home to color

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

on the wild side

I was laying in bed last night wide awake with blog posts bubbling up in my mind.  Not sure if that's a sign, maybe it was the sweet pleas for me to say a little something;), but I feel like taking a time out.  I'm officially blowing the hands are waving in the air and I must speak.  HA! 

I've figured a few things out over the last few weeks.  First I'm hard wired to blog.  It's just who I am.  I love to share my life.  I love to write.  I LOVE to take pictures.  The first few days were incredibly weird.  I was so used to writing posts that I couldn't relax.  I even carried a notebook with me everywhere to record my thoughts!  Geesh girl get a grip;)  Then the reality of oh I'm like on a mini vacation set in and it was almost a relief not to blog. 

After the comments died off another shift happened, and finally for the first time in the last almost 4 years I got a little revelation that...wait for it...someday...when the season presents itself...I can stop blogging!!!  I KNOW that sounds ridiculous, but for years I've looked at my friends and family and thought how do they do it?  How do they live their lives and not TELL everyone about it?  It seemed an injustice not to record every moment and to document everylittlething.  But I tell ya girls blogging can become like a in which I presently do not get paid and that's where it gets fuzzy.  So with that said...I'm still on a break, but I just HAD to blog...and I'll be back here and there because I have to.  'Nough said:) 

For Easter we flew out to Palm Springs.  Honey and I have been there 5 times!  We've always stayed over in the lush golf resort area, and almost always had it paid for by his company, and it was wonderful.  This time we took the girls and we rented a house...more on that later.  But there was a shift, and as wonderful as our relaxing vacay was that will probably be the last time we visit sunny California for like EVER!  We are on the East Coast now.  I don't know what we were thinking hightailing it THAT far when our weather here was actually better.  Sometimes you just keep doing the same thing you knew before without even realizing it.  Time to make a change.  I'm thinking Florida sounds nice next time;)

I'm so glad we chose to visit the desert on Easter.  Out of all those trips West we had never explored Joshua Tree National park.  Even as we were driving up I was skeptical.  I mean how much fun is driving through a barren desert gonna be?  Is this a giant waste of our precious vacation time?? 

NOW I can honestly say it was one of my very favorite days there.  We piled into our car.  We filled up our water bottles, took our final bathroom break and prepared for who knows what on our 2 hour, desolate car ride in the middle of nowhere.  Sound like fun??

To say it was beautiful even in it's barren state is an understatement.  If you look really hard you can find beauty anywhere.  I have an appreciation for flowers that can bloom with the littlest amounts of rain, and animals that can survive in the harshest environments and somehow adapt and survive.  It's a lesson in nature and a lesson in life.

I couldn't be in the desert without thinking of the Israelites.  Normally I'm a little hard on them.  I mean come on they had just witnessed miracle after miracle with Moses.  How hard headed could they be?!  It's not every day you see the Red Sea part for you and become dry land.  That's incredible, and yet they grumbled and complained and started doing their own thing in the wilderness.  They deserved to wander around for 40 years right??!!  But while I was out there for a measly couple of hours I'm thinking to myself how in the world did they do that?  I would have been right on board complaining about the cold nights and the HOT days.  I would have surely been mumbling about the quail and manna again...even if it did magically appear morning after morning.  Guess what else appears morning after morning...a new mercies...a fresh portion of Grace...and yet I can forget to give praise and appreciate that daily provision.  I'm just sayin' that little walk in the desert was unforgettable.

And if you think I could go a whole 2 hours without peeing you were so WRONG!  I officially have a bladder the size of a grape, so sue me.  Finding a rock to hide behind became a priority and hoping and praying there wasn't a snake behind me ready to dig it's fangs in my behind was a real concern;) 

My favorite part was the Cholla cactus garden.  There are all kind of warnings and beware signs posted.  They make it very clear that you do not want to get close to one of these beauties because they are nicknamed the "jumping cactus" and will magically reach out and sink their spikes right into your soft flesh in a New York minute!  And apparently getting one out is excruciating.

We respected the signs.  We stayed on the little gravel path...for the most part.  We heeded the warnings, but what is it about a warning that makes you want to test its wise words.  It was hard not to just reach out and touch one.  They look furry and cute.  Could it really be that bad?

We made sure to scare the girls thoroughly before we headed out on our little nature hike.  The fear of painful cactus spikes, and rattlers really did put a love in their hearts for the desert.  I'm sure of it;)

Finally we did spot the infamous Joshua Tree.  Wish it would have been sunset or sunrise and it might have been a magical picture with silhouettes and such, but it was noon.  Not the best lighting.  Oh well, and if you don't want to venture into the park there are hundreds of these trees in Yucca Valley for free. 

After the park we were driving home and I saw a cute little strip of antique malls and a fun coffee shop.  I had to do some begging because Honey is not the most "off the beaten path" person you've ever met, but he finally gave in.  Bless his heart.  And so glad he did.  We found a great place to eat and hit up some so so antique spots.  Antiques in the West are very different than what I'm used to.  Lots of rusted metal junk, mining equipment...cowboy stuff.  Not really my cup of tea, but it was still fun.

Okay so that's all I got.  Phew it feels good to share.  Thanks for listening.  I'll be back. 

***EEEK and I almost forgot to tell you I'm officially on Instagram!!!
Three days into my break I discovered that Instagram is now offered for the Android smartphone. YEEHAW!!!  Instagram is just a fun little app you add to your phone to jazz up your pics and share your world instantly.  It's super fun, so while I may not be blogging much I'm still around.  If you want to see some more of our vacay pics or just what's going on in my super exciting life;) look for the little camera on my sidebar or look up farmgirlpaints on Instagram.

Have a blessed day.

535.  having a place that's all mine
536.  readers who missed me
537.  time spent with my family
538.  memories that will stick with me forever
539.  revelations from my Lord
540.  instagram;)

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