Archive | Photography RSS feed for this section

First Travels of Summer – Fredericksburg, Texas

17 Jun

We spent the weekend in the gorgeous Texas Hill Country, in Fredericksburg, Texas. The trip was mostly about visiting family, but we did manage to slip in some relaxation and sightseeing. We stayed at [Palo Alto Creek Farm](, a bed and breakfast just north of town. Getting out of the car, I couldn’t help but inhale the fresh smell of cedar and a nearby fire, as well as warm rain. I guess I have become immune to the not so great smells of Houston! The B&B was wonderful. They left breakfast and seven kinds of fresh fruit in the refrigerator, so we didn’t need to interact with anyone. We drank wine, did some shopping, and found lots of things we’d like to do on our next road trip to the Hill Country.


Have You Heard of Warby Parker?

27 Jul

Buying glasses has always been one of those things that I’ve never understood why it was so painful and expensive.  I mean, yes, I want to look good, but due to my seriously poor eyesight, I’ve been stuck behind some coke bottle lenses that make my eyes look like pinholes.  So why do we feel like we have to spend hundreds of dollars for nice glasses?  Or maybe I’m just making excuses – it has been about 10 years since I bought new glasses.  I was a college student when I bought my last pair!  And they are terrible – way too strong for me, with a slightly cracked lens, and a bit crooked from 10 years of hard living.

My friend Katie told me about Warby Parker.  Y’all.  Seriously, this is one of the coolest ideas I’ve ever seen.  And the execution is FANTASTIC.  From their website:

A collaboration between four close friends, Warby Parker was conceived as an alternative to the overpriced and bland eyewear available today. Prescription eyewear simply should not cost $300+. The industry is controlled by a few large companies that have kept prices artificially high, reaping huge profits from consumers who have no other options. By circumventing traditional channels and engaging with our customers directly through our website, Warby Parker is able to provide higher-quality, better looking prescription eyewear for under $100.

We meticulously crafted our first collection of 27 limited run styles, plus one monocle, using only the finest custom acetates and materials. The Warby Parker aesthetic is vintage-inspired, with a fashion forward twist – and every pair is custom fit with anti-reflective, polycarbonate prescription lenses.

Available exclusively through the Warby Parker website, our glasses retail for $95.

So basically, they provide high-quality glasses with anti-reflective, polycarbonate prescription lenses for $95.  That is amazing!  Granted, the styles tend towards the thick rim, hipster-looking glasses that are popular right now, but I was planning to get thicker rims anyway.  But that’s not the only thing I love about this company.  In addition to having a “virtual try-on tool” where you upload your picture and can position the glasses onto your face, there is a Home Try-On Program.  You pick 5 styles to have sent to your house, try them on, and return them within 5 days.  For free.  No shipping fees, free return shipping, no obligation to buy.  FREE.

So, friends, I have taken advantage of the Home Try-On Program, and I ordered 5 pairs that seemed to fit my face shape.  (The website is really helpful about figuring out fit.)  I placed my order on Saturday, and I’ve been practically waiting by the front door for the UPS man to come!  And they came today!

I just love opening packages!  Isn’t the presentation amazing?  The box is so nice, it looks like no one’s used it before, but it’s not disposable.  So the styles I picked to try on are the Thatcher, the Miles, the Finn, the Zagg, and the Colton.  All the styles came in several colors, so I picked a random assortment of colors so I could see them in person.  So.  I am not a photogenic person.  To say the least.  However, I need to see what I really look like in them, and I would love to hear if anybody has any opinions.  So here are some pictures of me wearing the frames.  (Note: WP points out that the glass in the frames can look tinted, but the prescription polycarbonate will not have that problem.)

Thatcher - in Whiskey Tortoise

Miles - in Amber

Finn - in Sandalwood Matte

Zagg - in Striped Chestnut

Colton - in Whiskey Tortoise

So does anyone have any opinions?  Anyone want to vote for one particular frame style or color?  (If you vote for Thatcher, then I will know you are not really my friend.  UGH.)  I have two favorites that I’m trying to decide between.

So now I just send the package back to Warby Parker.  They provided a UPS return label, so I just packed the box back into the original packaging, and I send it right back.  I can order the glasses I want at any time, and all I need is my prescription.  I’m sure you are wondering: don’t they have to measure you the way the optometrist would?  Well, they do.  The measurement they need is the pupillary distance (PD) and it should already be on your prescription.  If not, you can call your optometrist and ask if they have it on file.  If not, perhaps they will measure you for free.  And if they charge you a fee to do the measurement, send the receipt in to Warby Parker, AND THEY WILL DEDUCT IT FROM YOUR TOTAL.  Fantastic customer service.

One more thing that is so awesome about this company:

I love this company!

Visit the website:

Ten on Tuesday: photo edition

17 May

Thank you to Chelsea for hosting, and Molly for the questions!  Go here to play along!
1. Your favorite piece of furniture in your home.

Buffet we got for $175 at Salvation Army

2. Your favorite thing on your wall.

My diploma from the University of Texas at Austin and a photo of my grandmother when she went to UT. And yes, that is a burnt orange wall.

3. Your bed as it looks right now.

Grover posing for you all.

4. Your pantry.

Wordpress won't let me turn pics today. Not that you'd want to really see this mess anyway.

5. Your favorite piece of jewelry.

My first engagement present - from Andrew's grandmother.

6. Your favorite book.

Jane Austen. Particularly Pride and Prejudice.

7. Your most comfortable shirt.

See question 8.
8. Your messiest room.

My most comfortable shirt is in there somewhere.

9. Your house shoes.

My grandma has house shoes. I have bare feet.

10. Yourself.

Ugh wearing glasses today.  There’s a recent one in my post about getting engaged:  Click here.

The Proposal Story

16 May

Happy, happy news to share: Andrew proposed!

To answer the three most common questions:

1. Yes, I was surprised.  I mean, we live together, and we’ve had the grown up conversations that we want to get married one day, so it wasn’t out of the blue.  However, my sister is getting married this fall, so if I thought about it at all, I sort of vaguely imagined it happening after her wedding.  But to be honest, I tried not to think about the actual proposal too much because I wanted to be surprised.

2.  We haven’t picked a date yet.  I’m thinking Fall 2012, as Andrew and I will be paying for most of the wedding ourselves, and that will give us some time to save.  The added bonus is that we won’t be getting married right on the heels of my sister.

3.  How did it he do it?  It was awesome!

At some point in February I think, Andrew asked me if I wanted to go to Florida to visit his grandmother and have a long weekend break.  He made me feel like it was totally my choice; as though he was just wondering if we had time and money to go.  This year we have been saving up in order to go to every wedding and out of town event that we have the desire to attend.  Andrew grew up going to Florida to his grandparents’ house every year, and I feel like if we have an opportunity to go, we should take advantage of it – particularly if we get to see his family.

So I of course said yes, and then promptly put it in the back of my mind.  Not because I wasn’t excited, but because I had one event after another coming up in March and April and I was stressed out.  About two weeks out, Andrew reminded me that we were going to Florida for Easter weekend, and that became the goal, the light at the end of the tunnel.

The final week leading up to Easter weekend, I had four events.  The first was the Smith Announcement on Wednesday, which was planned by others and I just helped out at.   The next was the Silver Tea on Thursday afternoon, one of the three major events I plan for work each year.  I went straight from the Silver Tea to Kiss My Grits, the awesome new event the Young Texans Against Cancer held Thursday evening.  (Check out the link to read the write  up from Jay Ducote at Bite and Booze.  Yummy!)  I am a board member for YTAC, so I chipped in for the event by organizing volunteers and doing some of the printing.  Mostly, though, I thoroughly enjoyed myself while indulging in a bit of overdrinking and undereating.  Which made it very difficult to get moving for the last event of the week, a Day in the District tour on Good Friday.

One nice thing about ending the week with Day in the District is that I wear scrubs all day, so even though I was totally exhausted and dragging through the rigorous and physical schedule of the all day touring, I didn’t have to wear a suit.  Plus, Andrew picked me up from Ben Taub General Hospital and we went straight to the airport, so I was already dressed comfortably for the plane.  Andrew is absolutely adorable, and dresses up to fly, so we were a rather odd couple.  (I have now had to fly twice while wearing scrubs straight from work, and I’ve joked that I hope no one has a heart attack on the plane.  “Doctor, we need your help!”  ” But I’m only an event planner!”  Ha.)

So we made it to Florida, met his parents at the airport and drove on to Boca Grande.  Boca Grande is such a magical, beautiful place.  It’s quiet, relaxing, and there is so much to do without really needing to do anything at all.  It’s a place that means a lot to Andrew, and his whole family.

We got there late on Friday night, so our first real day there was Saturday.  We went out on the boat with Andrew’s parents all day, which was amazing.  AMAZING.  Andrew got to spend quality time with his dad driving the boat, and Andrew’s mom and I did nothing but enjoy ourselves.  Here are some pictures from that day.  I love looking at these and remembering how I had no clue what was going to happen later that evening.  And how every single other person on the boat did!

Lunch at Useppa Island

"Shower With A Friend" - Afternoon drinks at Cabbage Key

View from patio at Cabbage Key

After going out on the boat all day, we made it back to the house just in time for a nap before dinner.  (Still trying to convince Andrew’s family that southern women take naps regularly.  Not for nothing is my family nickname Scarlett.)

I did manage to sleep for about an hour, then got up and dressed for dinner.  Another nice thing about vacationing with Andrew’s family is they tend to eat at home in Florida.  It’s so relaxing to not have to eat out every meal.  So while his dad got the grill going, Andrew mixed drinks, and asked me if I’d like to walk down to the beach.

Andrew is a sneaky guy.  The way he asked, I could have very easily said no.  He totally made it sound like my idea.  But we hadn’t even been to the beach in Boca Grande since we’d been out all day, so of course I wanted to see it.  We took our cocktails and walked a couple of blocks away to the 7th Street beach, where the teenagers on the island have always met up to do teenager-type things, according to Andrew.  So romantic!  We pulled our shoes off and walked out onto the sand.

My first clue that this wasn’t just a walk on the beach was when Andrew, with a frustrated expression, looked up and down the beach muttering, “Why are there so many people on the beach?”  There were maybe, maybe, three families in either direction.  I started teasing him for being a snob.

We started walking towards the beach club, and it was nearing sunset, so it was gorgeous and perfect.  Andrew was saying all these very nice things (which, lucky me, is not unusual), and I was being my usual smart ass, when all of the sudden he hugged me and then knelt down in the sand.  He pulled out a ring and asked me to marry him.  I totally started laughing, and said something like, “Oh, that’s what we are doing!” and “We have cocktails!” and finally, “Yes! Of course!”

The best part about it was that neither of us brought phones or a camera or anything.  Not one of the three families on the beach noticed what we were doing.  It truly was a moment where only the two of us were present.  We sat on the wall next to the beach club, and watched the sunset while I laughed and made Andrew tell me every little detail about how he’d done it.  (Like, how did you know my ring size?  How did you make this all seem like this was my idea?  Who else was in on it???)

The beach

After the sun set, we walked back to the house.  Honestly, that was the first time I really became emotional.  It was finally sinking in, and Andrew told me that both his and my parents knew, but that we were going to be breaking the news to his grandmother.  I don’t know why, but that’s what finally made me start crying!

So when we walked up to the house, it was all hugs and cheering.  After thanking everyone (especially Andrew’s mom, who had helped him get the ring, wore it through security and on the plane, and had been dying all day waiting for him to get it over with), I went downstairs to start calling family.  Of course I called my parents first, and my mom answered after a .00003 second ring with, “Where have you been??”  Apparently, Andrew had paid them a visit right before we left to get their blessing, and told them that he would be proposing at sunset on Saturday night, weather permitting.  My parents totally pulled up the sunset and weather information for Boca Grande on the computer, and spent Saturday evening refreshing it over and over.   The visual of that still makes me laugh out loud!

I called only family that evening, so that Andrew and I could enjoy dinner kind of normally, but the phone kept ringing with well-wishers.  After dinner, Andrew and I went to the Pink Elephant on our first date as an engaged couple.  That’s where we started trying to refer to each other as “fiance” and “fiancee”, which still trips me up.

About the ring…I’m sure every girl says this about her engagement ring, so forgive me for gushing a little.  The ring is gorgeous.  I couldn’t have picked out a ring for myself, knowing that I would be wearing it forever and ever, so I was more than happy to drop that one in Andrew’s lap.  His mom helped him last November (! I can’t believe he kept all this a secret so long!) by giving him some diamonds she had inherited from family.  I love that.  They brought them to a jeweler, who created a beautiful custom ring to fit, and added some more diamonds to make it extra glittery.  It’s impossible to see in pictures, but it has an Art Deco feel to it, with a very modern, ziggurat-motif in profile.  I will post a picture, but it doesn’t do it justice.  Andrew did an amazing job, so much better than I could have.

notice how I picked the picture with the *bling*? haha

So that’s the story.  I think I answered all the questions people had, but let me know if I missed one!  Here are some other pictures from the weekend.  Enjoy!

Andrew's happy when he drives a boat

Island picnic on Easter. We are trying to practice the "engaged couple" pose.

Heaven is under a yellow striped umbrella.

Sunset at Cabbage Key

As you can probably imagine, it was so incredibly difficult to come home from this trip.  However, my parents are awesome, and look what greeted us when we pulled up to our house:

“Congratulations on your Engagement Courtness and Andrew” from my amazing parents

I feel so lucky that I will be joining Andrew’s wonderful family, and that he will join mine!  Now if only I didn’t have to plan a wedding…or just one wedding.   But more on that later.

Why I am a bad blogger. A list of excuses.

16 Sep

I have analyzed the reasons why I am such a bad blogger and left this poor thing neglected and unupdated for months. I have decided to list them here.

1.  April 23: I got a dog.  Not just any dog, but the dog I’ve been wanting for years.  I prefer to rescue animals rather than pay for a puppy, but I wanted a young, male bichon frise – and you generally can’t be that specific when you rescue.  I have said, though, that the right dog would find me.  After a few false starts, a friend who is plugged into the rescue scene emailed about a little white bichon who had been hit by a car (!) and tied to the door of a vet and abandoned (!!) and who only had three more days until they euthanized him (!!!!!)  I called to save his life, only to find that Bichon Frise Rescue had beat me to it.  I signed up for him as soon as possible, and then harassed they poor rescue woman until she relinquished him.  Would you like to see how cute he is?

Grover Cleveland Hurst-Hoyt

I know.  So stinking cute.

2. May 5: Andrew’s birthday.  I planned a party at the Gingerman, which has a sweet, dog-friendly patio.  Andrew grew up blissfully in Ohio not realizing that his birthday is actually Cinco de Mayo, so we have to remind him occasionally with a fiesta.

Can you tell it was a fiesta?

3. May 8: Houston Crawl For Cancer.  Did you know that I am the organizer of the Houston Crawl For Cancer?  This year we had about 1500 people crawling all over Midtown to benefit Harris County Hospital District Foundation and Young Texans Against Cancer.  So much work, but so much fun.

Aren't my friends so good looking?

4. May 14: DBMAT Golf Tournament.  Seriously, this is an important organization; they raise money and awareness to benefit the deaf-blind multi-handicapped and their families.  I will be hitting you all up next year.

We hired models to show off the auction items.

5.  May 31: Memorial Day weekend in Cleveland.  Andrew tries to convince his family he hasn’t gone native in Texas.  They remain skeptical.  (Might have something to do with the cowboy boots he wore to his 10 year high school reunion.)

Also, he wore a Luckenbach shirt the whole time. Not convincing.

6.  June 16: Work trip to Washington D.C.  So wonderful, I’m posting two pictures.

Sackler Gallery

7.  June through next May: Joining the Junior League of Houston.  Best experiences ever.  Takes a lot of time commitment.  Not very many photos yet.

8.  August 27: Nerdy Thirty.  Need I say more?

At least I'm not the only nerd.

9. September 2:  My sweet, adorable nephew was born.  Evidence of sweetness and adorability:


Other things: a promotion at work, a new charity board, and a diet.  All of these things, and more, conspiring to keep me from blogging!

I am going to try to post once a week.  At least one of the thousands of photos that have been stacking up in my phone.  Maybe.  Don’t hold your breath.

random: it’s such a small world

12 Apr

If you click on a post on Word Press, there are a couple of “automatically generated, possibly related posts” linked underneath, before the comments.  I noticed one under this week’s “Sunday Stills” post titled Sunday Stills, so I clicked it to see what it was.  Obviously I wasn’t very creative when I came up with a title for this series last year, as there is a whole system with real photoblogs posting Sunday Stills with themes and everything.  The weird thing is – the girl whose blog I randomly clicked on has pictures from the tiny suburb of Cleveland that my boyfriend is from, right at the top of the page.  (You should definitely go look – her photographs are lovely!)  And not only that, but down the page a bit are photographs from the tiny island in Florida that he and his family have visited for 3 generations.  I’ve posted some pictures from Boca Grande here, which is where we spent Thanksgiving this year.

Seriously, what are the odds that of all the millions of blogs, I would click through to someone’s blog who is from such familiar, tiny, unlikely places?

Chagrin Falls, OH

Old Lighthouse, Boca Grande, FL

Sunday Stills

11 Apr

Golf lesson

Happy Hour at Benjy's Washington

Reliant Stadium, as seen from Community Health Choice

Make-A-Wish Barbie

Gorgeous flower - not sure what it is

Sunday Stills

4 Apr

Clay pots in the window

View of the zoo from Ben Taub

Sneak peek - Houston Zoo African Forest Exhibit, as seen from Ben Taub General Hospital

Treasure hunt on the train tracks

Black-bellied whistling-ducks

Sunday Stills

28 Mar

Tropical Bird House, Houston Zoo

Tropical Bird House, Houston Zoo

Waxy Monkey Frog, Reptile House, Houston Zoo

Monitor, Reptile House, Houston Zoo

Sunday Stills [where I’ve been the past few months]

21 Mar



Homeslice Pizza, Austin, December 2009

Christmas 2009

Painting the new house, January 2010

Houston Zoo, February 2010

Gettysburg, February 2010

Lady Antebellum, Houston Rodeo, March 2010