Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Flor Delight!!

Since this summer, I'd been thinking about doing something fun for the kids new bunk bed room makeover.  We've had the same shabby chic light pink 3.5X5.5 rug for 6 years and it was on it's last leg.  In fact, so embarrassingly bad I will NOT even post a photo.

We'd done Flor tiles about 7 years ago in our Shack (above) and really loved the concept of them but we weren't sure we wanted to attach them to our nice hardwood floors versus the shack's plywood.  

Then, GREAT news.  I found out from a friend they had updated them and the Flor tiles no longer stuck to what was below them, but had plastic circle stickers that attached the tiles to each other = no adhesive on your floors.  

Starting at about $10/tile with no rug pad needed makes them one of the least expensive rug options.   The ability to replace a bad tile and pick them up and clean them makes them perfect for any high traffic, high wearability area like a kid's room.

Flor has such a great site and is such a well designed product.  They make the process so simple with their FlorBuilder Design Tool area, you can see your design before you order, dimensions and all.
Here's my design using pink, burgundy, and green tiles from the Parallel Reality line.  

When I got my Flor box in the mail a few short days after ordering online.... butterflies and tingles all over with the anticipation of what our design would look like in the space.  

And, voila!  Kid approved!  Iris & Sam love them and we do too.  A burst of color to create instant fun!

Saturday, December 22, 2012 holiday wish for you

These are the kiddos in our family including my two.

As the holiday celebrations begin and families and friends gather near, my holiday wish for you is to believe.  

Believe in innocence, the good in the world, the magic of the human spirit, and even a fairy or two.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

E.A.S.T. - Art for your home is closer than you think

Every home needs that moves you, gives those who know you a glimpse of who you really are.

My favorite thing about living in east Austin is that you never know who lives next to you from the movie director, musician, activist, or artist and, it turns out, there are quite a few all around me.

I discovered East Austin Studio Tour a few years ago by basically walking out my front door, and the insane talent of my neighbors lay before me.  My backyard neighbor and fellow pre-school mom Jennifer Balkan has become one of my very favorite artists in Austin.  These below, I love:

My neighbor a few homes down is sculptor Roger Foster who hosted Karen Maness that year.  Karen lives a few streets down and she had two paintings I've never gotten out of my head.

With small kids in tow, I've only been able to do EAST in small doses.  Last year, it was contained to the studios and art exhibits at my husband Mike's east Austin studio complex.  This year, we met up with Iris's friend Scout and her dad John for a Cesar Chavez run of East exhibits.

Here were my favorites:

{Daphne Holland paints in encaustic with layered wax}

 {Jenny Granberry's watercolors were my very favorite pieces this year, AND she teaches children's art classes and does a $40 BYOB art class to do with your friends.  What a great ladies night idea!}

{Taylor Browning's self portrait with a friend in the Alps}

{Another of Taylor's - I could see this lady staring down my Kathy Womack women in my dining room but, then realized, she'd be staring them down the wrong way.  Still love it.}

And then, we walked into a small room filled with these intricate drawings from illustrator Sophie Roach.  She sat in the corner, working, drawing a black and white piece, and it was a little miracle.  She was kind and open very young.  And, she was happy to let Iris and Sam really see how an artist works.  

My dream is to do an entire end to end tour of EAST on a moped with my baby, the big one, Mike :) sans kiddos.  That is what I would LOVE to do next year.  

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The West Texas Road Trip that went down in Hewlett Nicholson History!

I KNOW!!!  I've been M.I.A.  Between volunteer work, work, and Kindergarten, I've been under water.

So, when I got a text from John Hewlett:  "Also thinking about a trip out to Marfa and McDonald Observatory for a star party with the fam over Labor Day weekend if you guys aren't booked...It's the Marfa Lights Festival and there is a $99 special at the Lajitas Resort.  With #3 on the way, I think we gotta do it."

I knew it shouldn't even cross my mind.  West Texas for little kiddos, not so much.  That's what we always said, after we fell head over heals in love with the this magical place two years ago on a sans kiddos trip.  Labor Day weekend, the very first moment of relief after the first week of Kindergarten.  I already was a ball of nerves and tingles thinking about all the changes ahead and knowing this was in store:

Iris & Sam's first day away from each other
at different schools :(
Meet the Teacher Day, Iris & Ms. Metcalf

Sam's first day in the Older Class with his
buddy Evan, taking care of Sam the Man.
Bittersweet moment for Momma - 1st day of Kindergarten!

Everybody said, Kindergarten will kick your ass!  And a couple of months in, it still is.  Early mornings, rigid nighttime schedules, picking up your starving child who had a half hour lunch and a half hour recess and who is literally a stressed, little emotional wreck.  It's a lot - even for my 6 year old whose had 5 1/2 years of the most amazing preschool.

That being said, this was THE perfect trip, exactly what we needed to get through the month ahead of us.  The West Texas skies, somehow bluer with more billowy clouds, the air somehow fresher, the nighttime skies crystal clear so you could actually experience the universe, and then, there's "mañana."

From El Cosmico's website:  "Mañana cannot generally be found in cities with more than one stoplight. Mañana doesn't care about email or normal hours of operation. Mañana recognizes that we can't all have everything we want at any given moment, like peaches in January or cell phone reception in West Texas. Mañana is the anticipation that it might happen today, and it might just as likely not, and really either way it's not that big of a deal."
   {John & Harlon at Balmorhea Springs - see the sly smile.  SO Jim Carey}

And, to have someone else plan the ENTIRE trip!  Enter John:  an outdoor enthusiast and adventure man who has been to West Texas on manly guy bonding trips 10 times!  And, who lives for planning vacations for his family.  I mean, he built a canoe, by himself.  Is there any other endorsement that says, go with this guy on a whirlwind trip to West Texas???

Then, there's my guy Mike who's  been working his tail off.  When I saw mischievous looks like the one below come over his face as he was googling West Texas info while we continued to say this plan was crazy....
...I knew that no matter how tired we were, how horribly wrong a 4 day jaunt with 4 kids, 1 pregnant lady (not me!), and 15 hours of driving the first week after Kindergarten could be, we were going for it! 


You know it's West Texas when you show up near midnight and it's all man.  El Oso Flojo, or as John calls it "The Tootin' Bear."  Men hanging on their balconies drinking cheap light beer and inviting you to join.  Not just any men.  Huntin' men.  Guys who get away from the world to the West Texas desert.

With spring fed water, fishes galore, divers and snorkelers looking through the twenty foot deep areas of this spring fed pool, the experience was unforgettable.  It was refreshing, relaxing, and the mountains over the horizon and West Texas sky made me forget everything and just soak up the sun and breathe in everything.

 {Iris & Scout in heaven}



We visited the Marfa Lights Festival and no trip to Marfa is complete without a visit to El Paisano steeped in the cinematic history of Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, and James Dean's Giant.  This is where we learned the deep down secret...that John had actually stayed in the Elizabeth Taylor suite with his man crew.

Next stop, El Cosmico:  A world in it's own and what personifies the Marfa style to me.  

If you crave communal living, simplicity with a peek of modern decor, jump out of your box and shower under the stars in the light of the full moon at El Cosmico. The West Texas elevation and the cool 60's nights are perfect on a little cheek taking a warm shower and breathing.  Not breathing because you are hyper ventilating from stress but because the air is cool and crisp and pure good.

I mean, how cool would it be to stay in one of their two teepees?  From the outside not so much, but a quick peak inside revealed a chic, modern space. 

I think I'm all in for a safari tent next time for a mere $65.  To, me the safari tent IS Marfa style: modern, simple, utilitarian, and refreshing.

El Cosmico has 6 choices of renovated 1950's trailers.  Here's an inside look.

These were our digs -- the 1949 Spartan Mansion.  That's Sam checkin' it out.  You would know even if it wasn't the biggest, Mike found the only trailer with an A/C!  I loved every minute of this but, the best part was the outdoor shower.  I felt a little timid at first, but took two steps out of my backdoor to the shower, threw that towel over the hook, and hopped on in.  It was covered on four sides by a tarp material with the top wide open, and I knew God must be real because he gave me the crispist 60's night with a big full moon and the dark, dark West Texas sky sprinkled with a million stars above.  The best shower of my life.

The Hewlett's were living large in the 1953 Vagabond.  It even had a tub indoors!  Almost all trailers had a deck, picnic table, and outdoor shower and/or claw foot tub.  Imagine that same sky a little before 7am when we got up for the Sunrise Service at The Chinati Foundation.


Knock.  Knock.  Knock.  Somehow I knew John Hewlett would be at the door right on time.  Yes, it was early, but the best kind of early. Walking down the dirt road to adventure awaiting us.  I had butterflies remembering the installations that moved my soul, took me somewhere else, other worldly.  I wondered what Iris and Sam would think of Chinati.  I wondered if it would affect them nearly the way it affected me.

Gorgeous isn't it?  The Judd installation was quiet and felt almost like church.   Watch.  Enjoy.  Look.  But, for God's sake, DON'T touch!  Our kiddos didn't because they are little art aficionados, but they had the attendants nervous.  They definitely weren't used to children at Chinati.
{Sam, 3 1/2 capturing art}

The most surreal moment was coming out of the fort and seeing the herd of antelope in the distance along the horizon running through the modern Judd cement cube installations as the sun rose below.  
{Scout, John, Allie, Harlon}

And onto the luxury of Lajitas Resort to relax in this pool with the awe inspiring views!

we explored movie sets (below), dipped in the Rio Grande, and ate at The Starlight in Terlingua.


John did not disappoint.  The hike was perfect in every way - distance, views, difficulty.  We were a little late and it was a little hot, but I cannot convey how refreshing the waters of the Rio Grande felt on our salty, sweaty skin.  The best prize.  Just being in the middle of the Rio Grande felt surreal.  That river is not just any river.  Two nations.  Two people.  Texas.  It felt strange and wonderful to stand in the midst of it. 

And, yet.... I think, maybe this whole trip came down to... the necklaces.  Check it.  For all adventurers, they keep you cool and just might be, the ONE thing.