Touring L.A. With Teens

L-A-with-teens

L-A-with-teens

With Spring Break and Summer quickly approaching, I wanted to give you some tips on touring L.A. with teens.  Traveling with teens is much easier than with small children, but demands a higher level of entertainment.  After an almost week long trip last July, my kids are still talking about our trip to the city of angels, and frankly, so am I! If you’re considering going, here are some things to put on your to-do list.

First, have a parent (grandparent to your kids) who will pay for your airfare and hotel, and almost everything else once you get there. It really is a huge relief to the wallet. 😉 I know, at 41 I’m still spoiled – but so grateful.  Thanks, Mom!

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But seriously, let the adventure start with a missed alarm that lands you on a flight to Chicago instead of straight to L.A. – that way you can see the beautiful lake Michigan, and have a celebrity sighting like we did.

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Don’t get snotty now, it’s Keegan-Michael Key and he was in Just Go With It, Pitch Perfect 2 and lots of other things.  Look it up – it counts as a celebrity sighting.  My son was tripping out, so i snapped this pic.

L-A-chinatown

First stop once we got to L.A. (after a dinner of Mexican food, of course), was the famous Chinatown where we all tried boba for the first time.  I can’t tell you what it is or what it’s made of, but I will say that it was a new experience that we won’t soon forget.  I’ll also tell you to plan a little better before heading to Chinatown so that, unlike us, you can see it lit up.  We had lots of laughs with the boba though, so #noregrets.

Next, be sure and put a studio tour on your list of To Do’s.  We picked Warner Brothers studios because we had just finished binge watching all ten seasons of “Friends.” Here’s your backstage pass:

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Holiday Road-mobile.

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Being Batman.

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Tricky Harry Potter cinematography.

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I can no longer watch movies or T.V. shows without thinking, “Is that the back lot of Warner Bros.?” (Hint: they all look the same.)

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Get a pic with the humongous version of Rory Gilmore, because you love her.

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While in Hollywood, see the famous sights like the Hollywood sign, the Walk of Fame and Grauman’s Chinese Theater.

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You can’t go to California without seeing it’s beautiful coast line. We rented bikes in Venice Beach, and rode them to the Santa Monica Pier for a day of fun, carnival-type activities!

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The next day, we played at Laguna Beach

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Next up, DISNEY!!  Started by dinner in Downtown Disney.

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Then, hit the Starbuck’s at Downtown Disney before a FULL day of Disneyland & Disney’s California Adventure!  Without having to ride all of the baby rides, you can actually easily see both parks in one day, so get the hopper passes. 

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This etch-a-sketch-ish photo of us is at the Starbuck’s.

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Never too old for teacups, even if your teen son thinks so.

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Remind you of anything? (I’m showing my age here, but hey…if you have teens, you’re probably feeling nostalgic right now too!)

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Now you’ll have that song stuck in your head.  You’re welcome.

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Don’t forget your Mickey treat!

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If you love roller coasters, the Knott’s Berry Farm is a must!

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On the last leg of our jam-packed journey, we hit up the Farmer’s Market in L.A.

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To keep it real, we visited the Holocaust museum of Los Angeles…no one said that a vacation couldn’t be educational and extremely humbling.

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Killing time before heading to the airport, we sat on the “lawn” at The Grove shopping center and enjoyed the perfect weather, hot dogs and some Sprinkles cupcakes.

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All good things must end, but we had a fantastic time seeing the the sites of L.A.!

I’ve attached a website link to all places mentioned, but please feel free to message me with questions about any part of this trip – I’d be happy to answer them!

Peace & Love,

Carrie

How To Use Glacage by Maison Blanche

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glacage-maison-blanche

It was another beautiful weekend here in Texas…blue skies and 70 something degrees.  I spent a perfect Saturday afternoon out in Pipe Creek with the Burlap Junkies at their new shop.

Under the trees, a small group of us learned how to use a product called Glacage.  French for icing (which is exactly what it looked like), this product creates a raised design that allows you to add a rich detail to anything you can think of.

From the Maison Blanche Paint line which Burlap Junkies carries exculsively, Glacage is a fun and easy way to make any stencil pop.

For this project, we started with salvaged long leaf pine cabinet doors (swoon).

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We each picked our own paint color and put on the first coat.  Mine is Confederate Grey.  Let it dry completely.

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Next comes the fun application of Glacage in Turquoise (check with Burlap Junkies for additional colors).  Place the stencil with spray adhesive and apply the Glacage somewhat generously at an angle with a gift card, hotel room key or credit card.  Remove the stencil.

Mine came out a little gloppy in one spot, but Mrs. Burlap Junkie assured me it wouldn’t matter in the end.  The product will lighten up when it’s dry, which is when it’s ready for the next step.

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Apply another coat of the paint, painting right over your stencil.

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If you want a shabby looking piece, then go ahead and lightly sand your edges, avoiding the stencil for now.  Once you have the rest of the piece where you want it, go ahead and begin to gently sand over the Glacage.  The amount of color that you want to come through is completely up to you, so just sand until your heart is content.  You’ll want to use a piece of hand-held sand paper, as an electric sander would be to much for this application.

I guess i forgot the after-sanding picture, so on to the next step – the wax.  I opted for a dark wax to really give this piece an aged look.  The longer it sits, the darker it gets, so wipe off the wax whenever you’re ready.  Keep wiping until your piece is smooth.  Then deem it finished!

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Some hooks were added to created an adorable piece of hanging decor!  You could also use bent spoons on either end to create a serving tray.

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I love the subtlety of the detail and can’t wait to use this product on an upcoming project in my home!

I’d love to hear your thoughts and see any projects that you’ve done using Glacage.  Don’t forget to visit my friends over at Burlap Junkies to order your Maison Blanche Paint products!

Peace & Love,

Carrie

Sunday Blessing 1-31-16

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I’ve spent quite a bit of time this week crying out to the Lord for others. This life is so hard, and my heart gets heavy at the thought of people I love in pain. 

And then, there are the people I don’t know, but hear about through social media who are suffering from every kind of affliction possible in this earth.

It’s enough to bring you to your knees, and make you question the existence of a loving God.

In my experience though, the hardest times that I’ve walked through have brought me to a greater faith.

Each time that I didn’t know what was going to happen next, anxiety my companion, The Lord showed up in ways that could not be explained by  my human understanding.

Times when I should have needed pills to cope, I was instead given peace.

When my heart was to run away, my feet were steadied to stay the course.

These experiences, stitched together, have strengthened my ability to trust that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me and cares for me, and takes on my pain so that I don’t crumble in under it’s weight.

He knew we would have those days when we were anxious about all that we have to face in life, so The Lord left us with an invitation to cast it on Him.

Even if we’re unsure, it can’t hurt to try right?

Please feel free to share your burdens here – I’m always happy to pray for you.

Peace & Love,

Carrie

Sunday Blessing 1-24-16

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Today I celebrate the birth of my best friend, who has loved me for 31 years.  Sure, there were times when we were younger that we wouldn’t talk because we were fighting about something stupid, but we always made our way back to the friendship.  It’s easy to love someone that you know will love you no matter what.  It’s much harder to hand out that love to someone who hasn’t yet proven their trustworthiness,  and next to impossible to keep giving it to someone who has wronged you.

Loving our enemies seems fairly easy when the enemy is an abstract person.  When the enemy makes their presence known by intersecting your life in an impactful and often painful way, the real challenge of love begins.

However, loving your enemy is a sign that we are eternally focused.  It’s a sign of trust that the Father is working all things for our good and watching over the tiniest details.  It also shows that we understand that we too are the “unthankful and wicked,” yet have been chosen and loved by a good God.  When we give what’s undeserved, we display a gratitude for what’s been poured out in abundance to us.

Ask the Lord to show you today how you can better love and trust Him by loving your enemies.  I know I will be.

Peace & Love,

Carrie

Using Gel Stain On Already Stained Wood

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I have been dying to try out the gel stain sold by General Finishes for quiet some time.  I needed something small to use it on, so that I could see how well it works.  So often people want to re-stain their cabinets, but that can be an extensive and tedious job.  My hope was that the gel stain would prove to be the perfect solution for bringing outdated cabinets to life, as well as other wood treasures.  I love the idea of using gel stain on already stained wood instead of sanding down to the naked wood.

My sweet (and very trusting) friend had a unique magazine rack that she wanted updated, and gave me carte blanche with it.  Said friend and her husband have a beautiful home and exquisite taste, so I spent some time thinking about how to refinish it.  Here is what it looked like when I picked it up:

before-gel-stain

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It’s such a unique piece, I was excited to revive it.  This was the perfect piece to try out the gel stain on, so I headed down to Woodcraft here in San Antonio, and picked up the supplies.

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I decided on the Candelite color.

 

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Part of the success to using stain over the previous stain is sanding.  After a thorough cleaning, I gave it a light sanding all over using 220 grit.  I wiped it down again, making sure to remove all of the dust from sanding.

I then began applying the gel stain with a lint-free cloth.

 

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The great thing about stain is that you don’t have to be an expert to apply it.  The only thing you need to know is use a clean, soft cloth and don’t stop moving.  If you leave it sitting for too long without rubbing it in, you will have weird marks that you won’t be able to get rid of without sanding.

The gel stain takes a little longer to dry, which worked to my advantage.  I started to apply the second coat while the first coat was still sticky, creating a more aged look.  If you prefer an even tone, then wait for the first coat to dry before applying a second one, if a deeper tone is desired.

Be sure and rub the stain into all of the blemishes so that it adds more character.

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To add a little interest to this piece, I decided to add a some color using General Finishes Milk Paint in Basil.

 

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I put a couple of light coats on the bands of the magazine rack, and then sanded it once it dried. 

 

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I love the detail on the back…

 

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I’m thrilled with how this product works, and can’t wait to use it on some bigger projects!  And I’m really excited to deliver this refinished magazine rack to my friend.

Peace & Love,

Carrie