Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Decor: Hits and Misses

Generally, I don't decorate a lot for Halloween. It's not my favorite holiday, frankly, it doesn't even make Top 3. So the last few years, without a Hobby Lobby nearby or really any desire to decorate for Halloween, I've just relied on my old decorations.

However, this year, being back in the land of Hobby Lobby and cheap craft supplies, plus armed with inspiration from Pintrest and the Better Homes and Gardens Halloween decor issue, I decided to add a few new decor items to my home.

Well, let's just say that after I made these items, my husband told me that he didn't think Martha Stewart should be worried about me taking over her job. Gee...thanks honey.

Anyway, if you're already following me on Instagram, you've probably seen most of what I'm about to show you.  If you don't, then you can see my Halloween decor now.

Let's start off at the front door.  These white pumpkins that spell out "Boo" were seriously the most difficult craft I did.  You'd think spray painting three pumpkins white wouldn't be hard. WRONG. I don't often spray paint, so I think what happened is that I didn't wait long enough between coats. I'd wait about 30  minutes max and paint again. Also the paint was flat, which is what was recommended in the magazine, but I had better results with glossy paint.  Here's the pumpkin fail after the white paint.

Once the pumpkins were sprayed with the white glossy paint, I taped the stencil on them so I could paint the letters in black.  All went well until I peeled the stencil off, which took part of the paint with it.  So...I painted back over the pumpkin with the white glossy paint, and applied the stencil letters with Sharpie.  At least it worked.

Zoomed out view of our front door.

Close-up of the pumpkins and our Jack O' Lantern.

Speaking of the Jack O' Lantern. It was probably the easiest craft I did. Although cutting out his teeth, was quite time consuming. I think he looks quite scary in this night pic.

These next few photos are some of my Halloween photos and decorations on the shelves in my living room. I had several Halloween themed photos in my archive, plus a printable I downloaded from Pinterest and sent them off to my printing company.  I think it adds a little something extra to the overall decor.


These fabric pumpkins were another inspiration from the BHG Halloween decor magazine.  Not too hard to make, just choose three different fabrics, paint some toilet paper rolls black and run two gathering stitches through the fabric to gather it up, stuff it with plastic bags and tie the rolls inside. Two of the pumpkins went easily. The thread on the third kept breaking and I had to keep redoing it. Finally they were all done and out to display.

Last, but not least is my spider wreath. It's my favorite item I made this year. Finding three different sized spiders proved to be tricky. I had to visit, Wal-Mart and a local Halloween store to get them all. Hot-gluing them proved to be a bit tedious, but it really turned out great. I hung it outside on our door. Next morning, I opened the door and half the spiders had fallen off. Evidently the cold temps overnight combined with the warm temps during the day did this.  I haven't even fixed the wreath yet. I was too heartbroken all my hard work ended up for naught. So, the wreath is now sitting dejectedly in our front hallway floor.

I told Sean that I hope my Christmas crafts/attempts at decor go better than this. Or else I'm throwing in the towel.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Don't Be That (Military) Wife

There are a few things that wives (and military wives in particular), do that get on my nerves, but the number one pet peeve of mine is when wives utter this phrase, "There's nothing to do here!"

I have heard this every place we've been stationed. Yes, I even heard that in Europe! Quite simply, it blows my mind. I feel like a lot of this comes from the fact that people are lazy. They don't want to do research and find out what is nearby. They want someone to tell them and to do all the work.  Or they simply  just want to complain for x amount of years that they are stationed someplace. Sometimes I think all these wives that complain that there is nothing to do were the same children who always complained they were bored.

A good example of this happened today on the Facebook page for Fort Sill Army Wives.  I can't tell you how many times I hear the phrase, "There's nothing to do at this post or around Lawton." Finally I asked the girl today what exactly it was that she wanting to do that this area didn't provide.  Her answer." We came from a big city so there was always all sorts of activities going on. Concerts, big lakes, tonsssss of shopping, amazing restaurants, etc."

For the record, the big city she's referring to is the 4th largest city in Tennessee. I haven't been there, but judging from the population and demographic stats, it's not the large city I was envisioning when she started complaining. If she was from Chicago or New York City, I'd understand a bit more.

Here's the thing, (and in this next few paragraph I'm totally going to sound like a paid employee for tourism in Oklahoma)  you can find ALL these things within an hour (or sometimes two or three hours) of Lawton. And if you want more shopping, restaurants and aren't satisfied with what you can find in Oklahoma, drive the three hours to Dallas. It's a fairly quick drive.

Concerts- big acts regularly come to both Oklahoma City and Tulsa.  Not only that, but the Cain's Ballroom in Tulsa often has really great, albeit smaller acts that come in. It's a very historic place for music. In fact, I believe in November, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals are playing there. 

Big lakes- there are at least two, if not more lakes within 20 minutes of post.  They might not be massive, as in Great Lakes size, but they are lakes. Also, Oklahoma has over 200 lakes, with Lake Eufala being the 15th largest lake in the United States.

Sports- Oklahoma City Thunder an hour and a half drive away. Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers a three hour drive away. There is a hockey team in Wichita Falls (50 minutes) and a minor league baseball team in OKC.

Arts- OKC and Tulsa both regularly get traveling Broadway shows (Mary Poppins will be in OKC soon) not to mention both have ballet and other events at their performing arts centers.

Museums- In Lawton there are several museums. Museum of the Great Plains is literally 10 minutes from my house, Geronimo's Grave is about 15 minutes away, also the Mattie Beal House is in Lawton (one of the few women in the Oklahoma Land Run Lottery) the Washita Battlefield National Historic Site (2.5 hours from Lawton) National Cowboy &  Western Heritage Museum in OKC, the National Route 66 Museum in Clinton, the Philbrook and Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa and I know there are tons of other museums I'm not even mentioning that are nearby.

Shopping- Go to OKC. They have several malls, and I noticed in the last couple of years also added an outlet mall.  Whole Foods (although no Trader Joe's, you have to go to Dallas for that) Tons of thrift stores, flea markets and antique stores in every little town in Oklahoma. Not to mention how many there are in OKC.

Restaurants- Since living in Lawton, we've had the opportunity to have a lot of great meals. I've had the best Korean food to date here in Lawton, we had Pakistani food the other day that was delish too, German food (that was as good as anything in Germany) in Wichita Falls. Grass fed Longhorn burgers and fried green tomatoes in Meers (about 20 minutes away) and have yet to have a bad meal at the Old Plantation restaurant in Medicine Park.

I could go on and on. But I won't. My point is, that this girl may have lived here for a little bit, but she has no idea of what she has surrounding her. I hope she isn't one of those people that will sit on post for the next three years and continue to complain about what this place lacks, but it wouldn't surprise me if she did. 

Please, if you are stationed somewhere and you think you don't like it, take the time to find out what's around you. I promise there has to be something in your area that you will end up loving. Contact your state tourism board and get info on your region. I got a huge packet from the Oklahoma Tourism board after we moved here because I'm unfamiliar with this area of the state and wanted to know what was around us.

Just don't be that (military) wife!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Blast From the Past- American Girl Dolls

Were any of you out there as obsessed with these dolls as I was?  I can still remember getting my first catalog randomly in the mail from Pleasant Company in the early 90's, when they still had the original three dolls. 

From the beginning I coveted the Samantha doll, although I really loved Kirsten and Molly as well. I remember how in awe I was of their clothes and accessories and how everything was so detailed. Back then you could even buy clothes in your size to match the dolls' outfits.

My parents wouldn't buy me a doll that expensive, so my Mom told me to save my money and buy one for myself. It took me a few years, but I was ecstatic when I finally got her.  Since the outfits were pretty pricey, my Mom bought the patterns to make some of Samantha's clothes and surprised me one Christmas with four of her outfits. I'm so lucky that my Mom is an awesome seamstress, because looking at these dresses you'd never believe they didn't come straight from the company.

I still have Samantha and she is still in amazing condition.  I even told my Mom this year that I still want to build on my collection, even though the whole Samantha collection was retired several years ago. 

To be honest, I'd still like to get several of the other dolls, but I think that's going to be years in the making.

So, did you have any of the American Girl dolls?  Which dolls were your favorites?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Baby Blues

I really contemplated not writing this post at all, but since this is something I've really been thinking and feeling today, I'm just going to go ahead and write it.

I have the baby blues right now, or maybe a case of the green eyed monster.  Lately every time someone announces they are pregnant it makes a knot appear in my stomach and I get super jealous/angry.

I feel like every. single. time. I log onto Facebook/Twitter/Instagram someone is announcing they are pregnant.  Please don't take this to mean that I'm not happy for people, because truly I am. I'm glad that my friends and family are blessed with growing families, but a part of me just thinks, "Why isn't this me? Why am I not the one announcing this?"

To be fair, Sean and I aren't actively trying to get pregnant right now. These last few months have been the first time since we've been married that we even have seriously discussed trying to get pregnant.  And to be honest, there are still a couple of roadblocks in the way before I truly feel comfortable trying to get pregnant.

1. I want to have already gone through the home buying process. We are currently looking at homes, but have yet to find one that we really want to buy. I don't want to be dealing with buying a house and all the stress that goes along with it, while I'm pregnant.

2. I want to be in better physical shape. That might seem weird considering I'll get pregnant and then gain weight, but I would prefer to be in great shape when I get pregnant so I will be the healthiest I can be when I carry my child. Not to mention I'd like it to be less hard to get back in good shape if I've already been taking care of myself.

A part of me also worries that maybe when we start trying that we'll have issues. And then what will we do? Then it could be even longer before I get pregnant. And let's face it, I'm almost 30, which I know isn't old to start having children, but having children past the age of 35 does make me nervous.

My jealousy/anger issues are getting so bad that I'm to the point where I don't know if I want to even get on Facebook or other social media sites right now.  I'm not sure if time off would help with this, or if I should just suck it up, as I still pretty much have another decade to deal with people around me getting pregnant.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Thrifty Finds- Home Decor Edition

Since I've been back in the States, I've been doing more than my share of thrift shopping.  Most of the time that means I'm going to Goodwill at least once a week, but I have found good deals in other places.  And to be fair, I haven't even ventured out to the antique stores that are in town, although I find a lot of the time antique stores are way overpriced when it comes to what they are selling.

In the near future, I plan on doing a post specifically about all the awesome thrifty clothes finds that I've been buying the last few months, but this post is going to cover some of my home decor finds.

First up are these awesome chairs Sean and I scored last weekend. At a flea market of all places!  We were actually looking for an antique market, that apparently has gone out of business and instead randomly ran across this flea market. We got these two chairs for our living room, plus delivery for $85.  We were pretty pleased with our find.

I found this nightstand at Goodwill for $10. I have big plans for it and plan on it going in our guest bedroom. Ideally I'd like to paint it a medium gray, glaze it with black and maybe even change the hardware on it. If I don't change the hardware, I'm either going to paint them more gold or oil rubbed bronze.

So far, those have been the two bigger pieces that I've bought, but I'm on the lookout for a telephone chair/gossip bench. Two more nightstands for our bedroom, an entry table, and some coffee tables or end tables for our living room. 

I've found some great little home decor or kitchen pieces at Goodwill too. The best part is they are almost always under $5 and often they are not any more than $2.99.

Check out these awesome little yellow plates.  I can see them being used for tapas plates.

I also love this brass bowl I picked up.  I'm pretty sure I want to paint it and eventually stick it on an entry table, but at this time I'm unsure of how exactly I want to paint it. So, for now, it's gone in the closet where all my thrift finds/Christmas goodies are.
I plan on using some of these glasses for Christmas decorations. I'm thinking about putting tea lights in them or using that frosted glass spray on them.  I got about 8 of them for under $3, so to me, that's a great deal. Sean wants to use them for shot glasses, but I put the kibosh on that.
Last, but not least. Check out this awesome hat box I found.  It was $5.99 and although it's missing a handle on the front, it's still in great condition. I plan on using it in a guest bedroom as a display for magazines.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

What I'm Loving- October Edition

The very first thing on my list that I'm loving right now is my new blog design! It was time to update since my old design centered around us living in Italy.  I wanted a new look and Fran from FreeBorboleta Designs captured exactly what I wanted. I can't say enough nice things about her. She was extremely patient with my indecision and really listened to what I wanted. If you're in need of a blog design, I highly recommend her!

Now, on to the rest of my list of what I'm loving in the month of October.

1.  This mustard yellow cardigan from Target

It's comfy, stylish and the color is popping! I think mustard yellow compliments a lot of different colors and I'm eager to see what combos I can come up with.  Plus last week at Target, they had all cardigans on sale for $15. I couldn't resist grabbing this cardigan, plus a gray one. In my opinion, you need cardigans in every. single. color.

2. OPI's French Quarter For Your Thoughts nail polish

It's the perfect color of gray and looks awesome on my nails. In all honesty, when I have my nails painted this color, I can't stop looking at them. They look so chic!

3.  This trench from Target

It's leopard print, which I love, because it's a step-up from just basic black or brown. Plus it's water repellent, so it's functional as well.  I have to purchase it, simply because I've been spending my money elsewhere, but I think it's a must-have for this winter and keeping the rain off me.

4. NPR's program, The Splendid Table

I don't know about you, but I love to eat, I love to hear about people talking about eating and I love hearing about new trends in cuisine or restaurants that I should try.  The Splendid Table covers all this and more. I think yesterday while I was listening to it, they covered cooking with lard and what all you can do with it, certain wines, vineyards and producers, as well as answering cooking questions that listeners called in to ask.  If you've never listened to this show, you should, because it is awesome!

5. J's Everyday Fashion blog

You may have seen a link to this blog floating around Pinterest.  You should visit it, especially if you need clothing inspiration.  At first I kind of doubted that my size 12 self would look as good in colored jeans as J makes them look, but I'm coming around to the idea.  Plus, I've added some "to-buy" basics onto my clothing list and ventured into buying some clothing I may not have thought about before.  Not only does J have a great blog, but she's also on Facebook, so you can keep up with her that way too.  Here is one of my fave outfits that she has in her large collection of outfit posts.

6.  Speaking of J's Everyday Fashion blog, I found these boots on there and I'm in love.  I really, really want them as they seem to be the perfect boot. Perfect color, heel isn't too tall and they look like they'd go with just about anything.  I can't save and post a photo of them, so here's the link to the boot here.

There you have it! My fave things right now in the month of October.  Anything you guys are loving right now and want to share?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Gangnam Style-West Point

So, browsing around on Facebook yesterday, I found a link to the Gangnam Style remake that the cadets at West Point did. It is AWESOME. Evidently Navy did one too and no offense, but it was nowhere as good as the one Army did.

If you haven't seen it, you must watch it!