Nightstand Makeover

12 Sep

This past weekend, my mom and I went thrift store shopping, and I found a fun old nightstand and decided it needed to come home with me. It was charming, but in rough shape.

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So the next day I dragged my darling husband to Home Depot, and bought a bunch of supplies. I wanted a white nightstand, but with something extra, so I thought I would paint the drawers gray. But I ran out of energy before finding a tester-size gray paint, so I gave up and decided to go all white.

First I sanded, then tried my best to fill in some of the larger holes/scratches with wood filler. (By the way, I didn’t really know what I was doing at any point during this project. I asked Google for help and it gave me this tutorial, which I mostly followed.)

ImageThen I broke out the primer, and lo and behold – it was gray! Pretty much the exact color gray I wanted to paint the drawers. So, that worked out pretty well.

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While waiting for each coat to dry (I did one coat of primer and two of paint on the base, and three coats of primer on the drawers), I cleaned and spray painted the hardware oil rubbed bronze.

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Aren’t the little lions so fun?

Anyway so after a whoooole day (I mean really, this project took me from noon to 7pm on Sunday, plus a little more time later spraying a protective poly coat)… it was finally finished. :)

I have to admit, I’m kinda proud of myself.

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You can definitely still see a lot of the flaws, but I’m ok with that. It’s not brand new, so I don’t need it to look like it is. It has character!

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So, there you have it. I’m planning to look for another nightstand with similar character for the other side of the bed, and I plan to paint it the same way to tie them together.

One other bonus from this project? While I was having a great time working away on this baby, Jon was inside watching all the football he could possibly want. I wasn’t nagging him about it, and I didn’t have to watch any football. That’s what I call Win-Win-Win-Win!

Our Story

31 Jul

I was going through some old files saved on my computer, and I found the text I wrote back in 2009 for our wedding website telling “our story.” I realized what a great summary of me and Jon’s relationship it really is, and wanted to make sure I save it – so I figured I’d share it here.  :)

Her story

Samantha was born in Houston, but moved around a lot growing up (Australia, Wyoming, and Tunisia being just a few of the places she lived before the age of 8).  At the age of 9, her family moved to Katy, Texas where she started 4th grade.  Except for a one year stint in Lafayette, LA (for 7th grade), Samantha remained in Katy through high school graduation, and the Stewarts still live there today.

After graduating high school, Samantha chose to attend The University of Texas at Austin, where she majored in Marketing (and minored in French and Accounting).  Her favorite college memory is definitely the semester she spent studying abroad in Belgium – or as her father likes to say, “more like travelling abroad.”

After 4 years at UT, Samantha took a job with Dell in Round Rock (a suburb of Austin), where she has been for 2 years.  While she feels very lucky to have had the opportunity to stay in Austin after graduating, she is pretty sure she can make the drive to Houston with her eyes closed at this point, and looks forward to the day she and Jon live in the same city – whatever city that may be!

His story

Jon was born in Wyoming, and lived there for 9 years before moving to Katy, Texas at the age of 9, in time to start 4th grade (sound familiar?).  Jon’s family stayed in Katy, and after graduating high school there he went off to The University of Miami (the U).

At the U, Jon majored in Finance and Economics and minored in Mathematics.  He ran cross country and track for 4 years and lived with some teammates in a house with a pool.  He misses racing (but not practicing), free Nike gear, naps and generally being lazy by the pool at the “track house.”

During the summer between Jon’s junior and senior year at Miami, he had a summer analyst job with Petrie Parkman & Co., a boutique oil and gas investment bank in Houston.  He eventually got an offer to join the company full time after he graduated.  Petrie Parkman was bought by Merrill Lynch before Jon started in 2007 and Merrill Lynch was bought by Bank of America at the end of 2008.  Jon has worked for the group (now called Bank of America Merrill Lynch) for over 2 years now.

How we met

As you may have guessed by now, Jon and Samantha met in 4th grade.  In fact, they were in the same 4th grade class.  They stayed friends through elementary and junior high school, and in 8th grade, Samantha developed a pretty big crush on Jon.  She conspired with her friends to convince Jon to ask her to the big 8th grade dance.  He was smart enough to go along with the plan, and the rest is history… ok not quite.  But they did have a great time at the dance, and later that summer they started “dating.”  Which of course in 8th/9th grade meant talking on the phone most nights and acting extremely awkward and nervous around each other at school.  This lasted about 7 months or so before they decided to just stay friends.

They went their separate ways after high school, keeping in touch occasionally through the next 5 years.  Then, sometime in the spring of 2008, they reconnected online and realized they still had a lot in common.  Samantha was in Katy visiting her family one weekend, and since Jon was living in Houston they decided to hang out.  They went to dinner and a movie, had a much better time than either of them expected, and the rest is history… for real this time.

The Proposal

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Our 3-hour ski trip

One of our favorite things to do is plan (and take) vacations.  Since Jon is from Wyoming and still has some family up there, we decided to take a trip up last Christmas to go skiing.  It was a disaster.  Multiple flights were canceled, and it ended up taking us 30 hours to fly from Houston to Rock Springs, WY.  By the time we got there we had already missed one day of skiing.  When we got to the slopes the second day, there was an avalanche on the mountain, effectively closing it for the rest of our trip.  We ended up skiing for only 3 hours at a smaller mountain that only had more difficult runs, and I spent most of the time falling down the mountain.  Fast forward 8 months and, needless to say, it took a little convincing on Jon’s part and promises of much better weather for us to plan a return trip for the summer.

This time we flew into Boulder and spent a couple days there with Jon’s cousin Rex and his girlfriend Carolyn, who took us rock climbing.  Then we all drove up to Rock Springs where Rex’s brother Ryan flew in to meet us.  After a day in Rock Springs, we all went up to Pinedale, where Jon’s parents and sister, Bridget, were staying at their cabin.  Our second day in Pinedale, Jon suggested we all go on a hike in the mountains, to an area called Sacred Rim.  It was a beautiful sunny day, just cool enough for hiking.  I may have complained a little on the way up (not much of a hiker) but everyone urged me on, saying the view from the top would be ‘worth it’ and ‘memorable’.

When we got to the top of the mountain, everyone suggested we go out onto ‘overlook rock’ – a ledge that jutted out over the valley of lakes below, with a beautiful view of mountains, trees and sky in the background.  I walked out and took some pictures of the view, a little curious why Jon was following behind me alone while Rex, Ryan and Carolyn set up a tripod and cameras.  When I turned around, Jon got down on one knee (luckily I didn’t jump too far backwards), pulled a ring out of his pocket (where did that come from??), and proposed.  Of course I said YES!  The guys pulled cans of Bud Light Lime out of their backpacks to toast with, and then we all headed back down to the cabin for more toasting with Jon’s parents and sister.

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I said yes, and it started snowing. No, really.

As you can imagine, I had NO complaints about our second trip to Wyoming.  ☺

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Bud Light Lime, the champagne of Wyoming :)

ACL Weekend Highlights

15 Oct

So Jon and I went to Austin this past weekend for the Austin City Limits music festival – his first! I was excited to be back at ACL after skipping two years, and we had a great time and saw a ton of great bands. Here are some highlights from the weekend, in case you’re interested.

First off, the best part of being in Austin was getting to stay with my brother and sister-in-law and most importantly our adorable niece! I present the following photos as evidence of her adorableness:

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Hook ‘em! Was there ever a cuter Longhorn fan?

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Pensive Ev

Ok, now on to ACL itself. Like I said, we saw a ton of bands: Alabama Shakes, The Black Keys, Dry the River, Big Gigantic, The Shins, The Civil Wars, The Lumineers, The Avett Brothers, Childish Gambino, and of course Red Hot Chili Peppers. But Jon and I agreed that our favorite show by far was Weezer. We knew almost every song (they have a lot of hits!) and it was just a fun show.

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Relaxing on Day 2 at Dry the River

Another highlight was the unexpected celebrity sighting. Now, I may be alone in calling this a highlight, since most people probably wouldn’t have recognized these two actors. But if anyone else watched the show One Tree Hill (I know, I know – it was my guilty pleasure ok?) then perhaps you remember Julian and Quinn (aka Austin Nichols and Shantal VanSanten) from the last few seasons? (For the record, I had no idea what their real names were when we saw them. I looked them up on IMDB later.) We stumbled upon them as we were leaving the Alabama Shakes concert on Friday and it took me a minute to figure out why I recognized them. Jon wouldn’t let me ask them for a photo (he figured they would prefer to stay incognito) but I did snap a not-so-discreet shot of them:

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Are they dating? Not sure yet..

Then on Sunday, we were minding our own business at The Civil Wars concert when who should walk up and stand right in front of us but our friends Austin and Shantal. Go figure! Once again I didn’t say anything to them, but snapped a stalkery photo instead.

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Several kisses happened just before this photo. Definitely dating.

Last highlight of the weekend was a strange one. We were at the Big Gigantic show, which was a band I’d never heard of, but some of our friends wanted to see. They played a kind of live electronic music, with a sax and drums along with EDM. Hard to explain. Anyway, during the show it started pouring. We all got soaked, and after I covered up with a poncho, it was actually a blast to rock out to really upbeat music in the rain (along with thousands of other people). One of our friends caught this sneaky shot of me and Jon during the concert.

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Enjoying the show despite the rain

And that pretty much sums up the weekend. Good weather, good tunes, good friends, good times. Not sure if we’ll go back next year or not, but it was definitely a fun experience.

Here’s A Thing I Would Never Do

28 Aug

File this under “things that blow my mind” – people who wear white to someone else’s wedding.

Hopefully you are as appalled as I am that this actually happens. But you’re probably not, because every single wedding I go to, someone is wearing white – well, two someones, if you count the bride. I went to a wedding this past weekend, and there were TWO other women wearing white dresses. TWO. And one was twenty-something and one was fifty-something, so apparently this faux-pas is ageless.

I just can’t understand how this happens. I realize that there are many etiquette and social rules that not everyone is aware of. And I certainly take many of those rules more seriously than other people. I may be the only person who gets this upset about it (a few months before my wedding I actually had a dream that someone was selling white wedding dresses outside of my wedding reception). And I know that some rules have changed over time. For example, it used to be a rule that you shouldn’t wear white after Labor Day, but that’s not really the case anymore. However, not matter how hard I try, I just cannot fathom a reason for someone to wear white to another woman’s wedding.

Regardless of the fact that this may be an outdated rule, it’s a good one. The bride wears white on her wedding day (well, most brides wear some form of white). The bride should be the star of her own wedding day, and no one should take away from that. Or even remotely risk taking away from that. If you wear the same color as the bride (and you will most likely be the only other person wearing the same color), you are competing with her. Especially if you’re wearing a white, lacy, bridal-looking dress. Even if you’re not, it’s still not okay. It’s also not okay to wear off-white, champagne, ecru, ivory, etc. Not even if it’s not really solid white. If it’s mostly white, it’s off-limits.

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I mean, do you really want to do something the Kardashians did? Really?

And while there may be a current trend (which is actually a very old trend) of bridesmaids wearing white (i.e. Pippa and the Kardashians), that’s also totally different – if a bridesmaid wears white, it’s because the bride asked her to. End of story. Period. That does not make it okay for guests to do it.

Oh and also, I’m not alone in this advice. Here’s a quote from TheKnot.com (as you know, the foremost wedding planning website):

Black used to be taboo for weddings, but these days a black dress is perfect for evening, just as it is for a night at the opera. Female wedding guests should not wear white — it’s really, really not polite to take away from the bride on her special day by wearing her color. Try to avoid off-white and ivory, too, if at all possible. It’s not as if you don’t own or can’t buy something another color, right?

Read more: How to Be a Great Wedding Guest

So, ladies, if you are headed to a wedding in the near future please do me a huge favor. Go into your closet, ignore the one or two white dresses you own, and pick out ANY of the others. I mean honestly, we all have a dress that is NOT white, am I right? And if you really don’t, then that’s just a good excuse to go shopping.

Does this bother anyone else? Does anyone have an argument for wearing white to a wedding? Anyone else just want to vent (like me)? Do you purposely avoid buying white dresses for the sole reason that you won’t be able to wear them to a wedding, so why own them (like me)?

NOLA Weekend

18 Jun

Jon and I spent the weekend in New Orleans with a big group of friends to celebrate our friend Marc’s wedding. The overall theme of the weekend was definitely… food! We ate (and drank) a ton – Felix’s, The Palace Cafe, Cafe Du Monde, Mothers, and of course – Bourbon Street. We had a great weekend! Below is a summary in Instagram photos. :)

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First stop: Felix’s for oysters!

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Impatiently waiting for our dinner..

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Mmmm chargrilled oysters! So good, we ordered an extra half-dozen. Yum.

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Of course we had to hit up Pat O’s for Hurricanes!

We had a great time at the Pat O’s piano bar – it was definitely an entertaining couple of hours. It was just me and Jon, since most of the group was at the rehearsal dinner. The place was packed, so we were seated at a table with three other strangers. One guy was from France, and was in New Orleans on business. He was definitely taking full advantage of his night off – he had at least 5 empty drink glasses in front of him – and he ended up buying us drinks! It was hilarious. Also entertaining was the guy playing the piano when we got there – he basically sang every song as if it was a children’s sing-along. It was like Raffi’s piano bar. It was pretty awful how badly he was butchering some great songs, but it was definitely good for a laugh.

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Saturday we went to the Aquarium – Jon was most excited about the sharks.

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And of course I was most excited about the PENGUINS!!!

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Celebrating Marc & Candice’s wedding Saturday night.

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Final stop before leaving – Cafe Du Monde of course. Love those beignets.

Are You Talking To Me?

18 May

Why do people talk to themselves when other people are around? It’s incredibly awkward. I’m specifically referring to when strangers do this, like for example, in the public restroom at work. It’s like.. are you talking to me? We’re both washing our hands and we’re the only two people in here, but I don’t know you and we have nothing to talk about, so why are you speaking? It seems like you’re talking to yourself, but do you expect me to answer? Will you think I’m rude if I just keep my mouth shut and get out of there as soon as I can? Do I care?

On a similar note, why do people talk to other people in public restrooms at all? I’m not even ok with two people who know each other carrying on a conversation in the bathroom, but at least that kind of makes sense. When I’m in the restroom, I don’t want you to ask me how my day is going, especially when I don’t know you! It’s just weird.

Thank you, that is all.

Why Yes I Do Have Broadway Season Tickets

17 May

…Broadway Across America in Houston, that is.  And yes, I do.  This was totally a spur of the moment decision, but it’s definitely something that I could cross off my bucket list if I had a bucket list.  I LOVE Broadway musicals.  My whole family does, we’ve always gone to see them together.  My parents had season tickets for a few years a while back, and pretty much any time Les Mis or Wicked (our collective favorites) are in Houston or Austin, we’ve gone to see them.  I think we last saw Les Mis together a couple years ago when it came to Houston (my 5th time?), and we all saw Wicked together this past January in Austin (my 4th time I think).

I was really, really disappointed in this past (2011-2012) BAA season in Houston.  It was awful – I had no desire to see a single show.  Lion King was the only good one, and having seen that one a couple of times, I didn’t really care to go back.  And who wants to see The Addams Family musical?  Or Riverdance?  Really?  So I was enormously thrilled when I got an email on Monday inviting me to buy season tickets for next year, and I got my first look at the season.  Let me tell you, it is amazing.  Not only does it include my two all-time favorites (Les Mis and Wicked) but the other four shows are ones that a. I have not seen and b. I either know to be good (Jersey Boys, Beauty and the Beast), or assume to be good based on the movies they’re based on (Sister Act, Catch Me If You Can).  Of course, that could be a dangerous assumption (I’ve seen the Mary Poppins musical and it was AWFUL), but I’m pretty confident that this will be the best season ever.  So when I got that email about season tickets, I couldn’t resist.  I was a little surprised that Jon let me spend so much money at once (I bought 4 tickets) but he actually enjoys most musicals too, and we’re planning to sell the extra pair of tickets to each show (most likely to our families, obviously) so it really wasn’t too bad.

And now, please enjoy this clip of the best song from Wicked (although not my favorite song, that would be For Good – makes me cry every. time.)

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