Living Room Art

Our formal living room has remained void of any art on the walls since we moved in over two years ago. Something about the super high ceilings needing a certain scale of art left me feeling too intimidated to even begin. It was over a year ago that I started thinking about adding one or two large photos above our couch, and I even explored a few options in this post but never had the photographs printed. After returning from our northern California trip this summer, however, I finally decided to take the leap. (more…)

Summer Vacation


We just returned from a trip to South Padre Island, a beach along the southern-most tip of Texas. Having visited Texas beaches along the gulf before, my expectations were fairly low and I left home with a ‘just happy to get away’ mindset. But once we arrived, I found that the South Padre beaches were not only nice, they were also relatively uncrowded for this time of year. J and J had a blast fighting the waves, boogie boarding and swimming in the hotel pool. We also visited Schlitterbahn Water Park, which I think the kids would list as their favorite part of the trip. My favorite was the Birding and Nature Center (where we fed birds right out of our hands) and, of course, the views of the ocean which provided quite a few opportunities to snap some gorgeous vacation photos. (more…)

Painted Brick Fireplace

Painting a brick fireplace

Ever since moving into our house nearly two years ago, I’ve wanted to paint the dark brick wall in our living room. When I posted these images last year, I knew it would help motivate me to someday get the job done. That day was more like a span of 3 days (and I still have a few touch-ups and outlet covers to replace), but it’s largely complete and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. (more…)

Career Day: Teaching Kids About Design

Teaching kids about designing for technology: resources and tips

I recently spoke at my children’s school for Career Day. As a User Experience Designer in the web and mobile technology industry, I figured I had some skills that would resonate with young children’s love of devices. That was an understatement, and I wish I had been given more time to hang out and listen to their ideas about design. I have a feeling it wouldn’t take long before I would have learned just as much from them as they had from me.

For anyone considering a similar school presentation, or if you just want to get children interested in the field of design and technology, here are the materials and activities I used in my presentation. These were presented to 1st and 2nd graders, in 30-40 minute sessions, with approximately 18 children in each session. But the approach could be adapted to older audiences and longer sessions. (more…)

A Spa Birthday Party and Printable Invitations

Hosting a Spa Party for Young Girls or Teens: Download Free Editable Invitations

We’ve reached the age where most children are begging to host their birthday parties at the local trampoline park, bowling alley or [insert latest craze]. My children – not so much. They still love having their parties at home, which I should take as a compliment since for the past 8 years I’ve invested so much planning and creativity into making their birthday celebrations extra awesome.

This year, however, I just haven’t been feeling it, and I was really looking forward to embracing the packaged party concept. Jenna held strong to her desire to throw a Disney Frozen party at our house … until I suggested the local girly spa. Spa party? She loved the idea. (more…)

Capes 4 Kids: A Charity Event in Downtown Dallas

The Hero Project: Capes 4 Kids

Yesterday we participated in Capes 4 Kids, a charity event in downtown Dallas. Organized by Union, the initiative is dedicated to making children in hospitals feel like superheroes, and to that end, volunteers gathered to create 150 capes for children. There was also a lot of cape wearing, cookie eating, band playing and general hanging out in a crazy awesome coworking space known as Common Desk.

We have been talking about getting our children involved in charity work, beyond donating toys and clothes and the occasional school fundraising activity, for quite awhile. As far as first charity events as a family go, this one was a huge success – though I’m not so sure Jason and Jenna contributed directly to the goal of making capes. They did, however, sport some pretty cool cape fashions and (more…)

Designing a Photo Gallery Wall

How to create a photo gallery wall with tips for designing a layout.

As I mentioned last week, I’ve been working on a photo gallery wall for in our family room for quite a while now. I love travel and I love photography, so a display of photos from our vacations over the years seemed like a perfect combination. But perfection isn’t what I was going for: I wanted a display of photos that was asymmetrical and a bit offbeat while still giving an overall impression of balance. Not an easy task … (more…)

Happy Easter


Happy Easter! Did anyone else dye Easter eggs yesterday? I waited until the last minute to buy supplies and showed up at the store surprised to find that all of the kits were sold out. I later came across this idea for using packets of Kool-aid to dye eggs and was completely won over by the notion of our kitchen smelling like a candy factory. One more trip to the grocery store resulted in only a couple of available Kool-aid colors: red, purple and purplish red.

In the end, watercolor paint saved the day. We mixed lots of colors and then painted the pigment onto the eggs. I’m not sure which was more fun, mixing or painting. Regardless, our watercolor eggs turned out awesome. (more…)

Mini Gallery Wall


I’ve been working on a gallery wall in our family room for a couple of months now. Between selecting images, framing them, trying different layouts on the floor, deciding to change several photos and finally hanging them on the wall, it’s taken much longer to complete the gallery wall than I ever dreamed.

This week we finally finished our big wall of travel photos and I couldn’t be happier with the results. It was definitely worth the effort we put into it. And as a bonus, I had several pictures that ended up not making the cut for the family room gallery, so I’ve started another gallery wall in my office. (more…)

Spring Garden Cookie Basket

Create this adorable gardening-themed cookie basket for Easter.

It’s almost Easter, and we kicked off our celebrations this weekend by creating garden-themed cookie baskets to give as gifts to teachers and neighbors. Planting seeds in the spring is something I’ve done with Jason and Jenna every year since they were toddlers, and this year was no exception. When I saw these adorable garden mini cookies from Shari’s Berries, I immediately thought about creating garden-themed gift baskets for Easter. (more…)

Six Sources for Affordable Art

My top 6 favorite sites for affordable art.

I’ve been working on creating a gallery wall of photos for a few months now, and I’m finally *almost* ready to start adding art to a large empty wall in our living room. The imagery is mostly my own photography from our travels and family photos, but I’ve also added a few prints into the mix. I did quite a bit of research before selecting the prints, so I thought I would share some of my favorites. Just compiling these examples has made me re-think my initial selections – so many great images out there, it’s hard to choose! (more…)

Flower Box Centerpiece for Spring

Create a flower box centerpiece for spring with an easy  Easter-theme transition.

Happy Spring! Now that Easter is right around the corner, I decided to add a little Spring-time update to our dining room. Like other rooms in our house, we’ve decorated in a modern rustic style with simple furniture, a muted color palette and lots of houseplants for accents. To add a few simple Easter touches, I designed a flower box centerpiece for our table and added this customizable bunting banner from Minted’s spring collection to our wall. (more…)