Thursday, May 29, 2014

Thrifty Thursday: Pet Toy Basket

As awesome as my dog is, I have given up on training her to pick up her toys.

Instead, I decided that a small basket would be ideal for us humans to toss them into when she is done playing so they aren't scattered all over every room.

My first attempt at providing a toy basket resulted in some intense destruction of a basket I actually really liked.

Now that she's a bit older and less 'chewy' I thought I would try again.

With a cheaper basket.
From the thrift store.
For $1.50.

Problem solved!

And I got to show you a bunch of pictures of my wiener dog.
You're welcome.

À la vie et à l'amour

Friday, May 23, 2014

A Simple Lesson in Staging

As I previously mentioned, my husband and I own a vacation home rental business.
Most of the homes we offer are not owned (or decorated) by us.

Nonetheless, when I photograph a home, I have to make sure it's presented in the best light possible since we are mainly a web based business and we use photos to 'sell' our places to potential guests.

So I thought I would share an simple example of the importance of 'staging' when it comes to photographing your rooms.

Keep in mind... this is VERY simplified and normally I would attempt to stage the bananas out of this room but time was limited.

Here is the before:

And here is the 'AFTER':

I did exactly 3 things to improve on the first photo.

1) I folded the blanket at the foot of the bed.
2) I rearranged the two throw pillows.
3) I took the photo from a different angle.

That's all!
Simple, right?

À la vie et à l'amour

Thursday, May 22, 2014


Ten years ago we went on our first family camping trip to Oklahoma with some friends and their huge family.
It was for 2 nights and we had a reasonably good time.

We have not been camping since.
Unless you count the handful of times we set up the tent and 'camped' in our own backyard.

Probably because when you have lake houses, it's just easier to have your outdoor experience and then come home to a soft bed, a fridge, running water and a bathroom a few steps away.

This past weekend, however, we busted out the camping gear and joined a few friends and their families for a 1 night camping excursion.

This kid is one of my 3 favorite DIY projects!  I made him almost 13 years ago.

My groom.

Our humble abode.  No tent is complete without solar powered LED star lights and a rag rug.

Blurry tent interior pic due to excess wine consumption.

Flashlight doing double duty as a light saber.

We survived the night!  And my son is tied to a tree.

Heading home.  Yes, I am officially the world's worst selfie taker.

Maybe next time we'll camp for 2 nights.
Or not.

À la vie et à l'amour

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Day Job

Aside from being a neglectful blogger, I also have a paying day job.
Which is actually the main reason I am a neglectful blogger.

My husband and I own and operate a vacation home rental business.

Sounds glamorous right?
It isn't.

A guest left this mess behind.  Guess who got to clean it up?

It's very hard work.
We manage about 20 homes and are responsible for making sure they are clean, lawns are mowed, insects are treated, repairs are completed and that guests, as well as owners, are happy and content.

Also we live about 2 hours from where we work so from March through September I spend a couple days each week traveling back and forth.

But there are perks.

Reckless photo taking while driving over a 2 lane road across the lake. Also my windshield is very dirty.
View from a recently added lake house.
View from one of my 'offices' every week whilst mopping 10,000 square feet of hard concrete flooring.

Still one of my favorite spaces.  Even though my photo skills are terribly lacking.

And now for some shameful self-promotion...

If you should find yourself in Texas and need a place to stay near a lake that is almost equidistant to Dallas and Austin, I invite you to check out the vast assortment of vacation homes we offer:

À la vie et à l'amour