Bottles + Brushes

This month my Dilettante group went to Bottles and Brushes, and some of us even went on a half-off Living Social deal... it was a blast! I heard a few of the ladies say that their husband would "never let them hang it up" and "What am I going to do with this?" and "Who can I give this to?" but I think it is safe to say that we all did a great job! There I am on the bottom left.

We are having so much fun with this group - figuring out the next month's activity that maybe some of us were too scared to do alone. Maybe it is not necessarily even scared, but unwilling? The truth is I am loving it. Maybe my next turn can be skydiving? I went once when I was 18 and it was amazing... 12 years later I wonder if I will still feel the same way.

Below is my final painting compared to the one that they displayed on the calendar as the choice for the night. The cool thing is that depending on the day, you may get a different painting, but you will know ahead of time what it is going to be.

I think the artist's is a more "artsy" [notice my vast vocabulary] version, but I was happy with my crabs, even if they do look like lips.  I would definitely want a taste of those fat legs! haha

Now... where to hang it. ;)


It "Yurts" So Good

The latest episode of HGTV's Design Star was absolutely inspirational. When the contestants walked inside of their empty Yurt from Colorado Yurt Company I was immediately thinking what I would do with this space given the opportunity.

Since you can't read my mind, I will just show you which contestant's design was my favorite. The winning design in my opinion (but she is also a [SPOILER ALERT!] finalist because the panel also thought she did a great job) was Britney.

These just happen to be the same colors that are in my living room and I absolutely love everything about it with the exception of only one thing - the wood floor color. I think she could have gone a bit darker so it would stand out a bit more against the shade of stain on the bed, but this design is very successful in my book. The bed moves btw! At the back of the rather large headboard is a rod to hang clothes and a ton of shelves for storage. Genius.

Here is what the yurts look like from the outside and I think this pales in comparison to what can be done on the inside. The light filled dome would be amazing on a Colorado hillside like you see below. Maybe I will have one of these on a nice piece of property someday!


Baby Shower Idea | Pink, Peach, Aqua & Yellow

I don't know who to credit this photo or design to, but this is hands down the prettiest baby shower design/table I have ever seen - there is nothing I would change about it! [and that is really saying something]

I started looking up baby shower ideas a couple weeks ago because I am hosting one for my best friend at the end of August. If the one I host even looks half as good as this one, I will feel like I accomplished my goal. :)

I also found this really cool how-to on Martha Stewart on hand making the tissue pom poms like the picture below.  I think that these will really pop in the space in which I am hosting, maybe even more so than the fans on the top picture. I can't wait to get crafting!


My Top 10 Ways to Save Money...

... and get out of debt.

I am in no way a professional financier, but I feel like I am pretty good at saving money and I always know where I've spent it... whether I've knowingly overspent or not... ;) Here are a few tips if you are feeling light in the cash area these days.

I've taken my own advice and have been able to save up a nice little nest egg and am looking forward to maybe going on a trip or getting a new iPad here soon, you never know when that rainy day will come!

  1. Figure out the amount that you can take right off the top of your check that you will not miss. For me, this amount has been anywhere from $25.00 to $100.00 a paycheck. Then take that amount and put it into a savings account that you DO NOT TOUCH, every pay period. You can adjust the amount for a couple months until you find the right # that you don't miss, but don't skip this part as it is the most crucial.
  2. If you need help knowing how much money that you have to spend, but do not have a good banking system, you can start by just taking out cash from every paycheck to spend. Make sure it is an amount you can afford and once that is gone, stop! :)
  3. Don't buy clothes that need to be dry-cleaned. I have been able to avoid this cost pretty much my whole life, with the exception of a nice party dress or two, and only stop at the cleaners 2-3 times a year, if that.
  4. Get your "start to the summer" pedicure and then a couple more for the year, but that is it. A random pedicure before a beach vacation is amazing, but they are not necessary in the winter time, etc. Buy a ped-egg, cuticle trimmer, some Sally Hansen Complete polish, and you are good. This is an extravagance that can really add up if you are not careful. This goes for manicures and gel/acrylic nails as well. If someone asks you what you want for your birthday, consider asking for a spa gift certificate!
  5. When shopping for clothes, hit the sales racks first. With the exception of a nice pair of pants, jeans, jackets, and shoes, almost all of my clothes are from TJ Maxx, Steinmart, and even Target. Especially if the items are really trendy, they will only last you a season or two anyways. Get your timeless pieces from an Ann Taylor or Banana Republic type of store and save even more money by creating a versatile wardrobe so those pieces can be worn multiple ways. Buy your dresses, shirts, and fun accessories from more affordable places.
  6. Be knowledgeable about things like APR rates and compound interest. I ended up getting a new car (instead of a used car) last year because of this. For example, a new car that costs $20,000 will only end up costing about $21,000 after paying on it for 4 years at 1% interest. A used car costing $17,000 at 4% interest will cost you about $20,000... so for only 1,000 more dollars, you will have a brand new car and most likely it will be under warranty for at least 4 years. Well worth it!
  7. Don't worry about brands on the stuff that doesn't matter. No, I am not going to buy a watch or a purse from Walmart (I am just being honest), but I will get a pair of silver earrings from there, or my workout shorts, socks, and maybe even a bathing suit. If you save enough money enough times, you will be able to afford that Coach bag you've had your eye on.
  8. Pay off your smallest loans first. If two loans are about the same amount, pay off the one with the higher interest rate. As you pay off #1 loan, take the money that you were spending on that one and add it to the #2 loan payment, and so on. This will increase your payment amount and decrease the amount of time you spend paying off each loan.
  9. Color your own hair. People may disagree with me, but coloring from home is pretty easy if you are only trying to cover gray. I use a semi-permanent color on my own hair and it looks very natural. Highlighting is a little trickier, but find a friend to do it! I have highlighted my sister's hair for 7 years using a cap kit and she gets compliments all the time. The kit is 10 bucks at Walmart versus what can be $150 at some salons. Products are improving and there is no reason you shouldn't at least give it a try. Hair grows back! Right?
  10. But don't get cheap haircuts. Find a stylist you love and close your eyes when the bill comes. Just go every 10-12 weeks, instead of 4-6, if they are super expensive. 
 Regarding Tip #5, using one dress three different ways... From left to right I see baby shower, dinner date, and girls night.


Patriotic American Flag Trifle

I had some fun this year with my 4th of July contribution! Per the previous post I wanted to make a patriotic dessert of some kind, just didn't know which one! When I found this regular trifle dish at Walmart for 6 bucks, I knew which one it was going to be. :)

Here's what you need:
2 white cake mixes
2 pints strawberries (washed and sliced into half inch pieces)
1 pint blueberries (washed and completely de-stemmed)
2 tubs cream cheese icing

The degree of difficulty on this isn't too bad, it is just a little time consuming. This is the main reason why I went with pre-made cake mixes and frosting... I knew the work was going to surface when I put the thing together!

I baked the cake mixes in a few pans making the cake a little thinner than normal. Keep a good watch on the cake as there is no recommended "cook time" for this. I started with 18 minutes and just checked it every couple after that until it looked golden brown on top and my toothpick came out clean.

Let the cake cool and cut your circle to fit the trifle dish. I then cut off the top and bottom of the cake just so it would be pure white and not golden (this may have been a bit OCD).

Then, you layer the ingredients in the trifle:

frosting stars

I laid each blueberry individually which is also super OCD, but I can admit that. ;)

Tip: Keep the pretty strawberries to the outside where you can see them through the dish.


Happy Independence Day!

Happy 4th of July everyone! 

This is the 1st year in 6 years that I did not travel home to Indiana for the 4th [and I have only lived here for 7 years]. I will admit that it is one of my most favorite holidays ever! BBQs, family, friends, swimming... not to mention that this is one of the few holidays during the favorable weather of the Midwest!

I miss my family but I am trying to make the most of my 4th of July here in the lowcountry. I started out last weekend with a boat ride with friends, then we had some other friends over for a cookout, and now it is family all day today at my brother-in-laws house! I am so blessed.

Everyone be happy and safe and keep your dogs indoors! Fireworks totally freak them out. Fireworks totally freak me out too, but I have never really liked loud noises. Even sparklers, yikes!

These photos are inspiration for the dessert I am going to make this morning to bring to the party... I don't know which one yet, but it is going to be totally patriotic! :)

P.S. Happy Birthday to my friend Kelly!


Logos + Branding

When thinking about logos and the identity of my new re-branding concept, I felt it was really important to emphasize the Rchitect, since it is not a traditional word, along with showing my initials JPR. I wanted something that could be versatile, clean, fresh, and updatable [as seen above with different backgrounds and colors].

Having "architect" in the name means a lot to me. It is not something that just anyone can say. Even though there are varying degrees of designers, an architect is a licensed professional that has to jump through hula-hoops just to be called an "architect." It is who I am now and I wanted that reflected in a logo that represents me and my body of work.

Although my career started 7 years ago after college, I feel like this is just the first step in my professional career. This blog, my facebook, my twitter, they all show who I am and who I am becoming or even want to be. I don't really know what this logo means for all of these things, it is just something I felt was the next step?!

So, do you have any favorites from above?


200th Post!

I decided to measure my blog's "birthday" at each centennial post. Sometimes I post every day and other times once a month, but every 100th time, I am reminded that I have a lot to say! haha

This blog has let me produce a public journal of sorts on all of my many interests. I was hoping through writing I could narrow some of them down, but I guess I am not that simple of a girl.

So, thanks for reading if you do! and here's to the next one hundred!

From Charleston, South Carolina to your computer. I hope you enjoy. :)