Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Quirky Wall Art Find from Hong Kong

I know I've mentioned a time or two before that I LOVE to find unique decor pieces when I am traveling so naturally, I had to bring something home from my recent trip to Hong Kong.  I suppose what I'm about to show you isn't something you'd expect to come from Hong Kong specifically but nonetheless, this find was amazing and I knew I had to bring it home!

I found the piece during our day shopping in the Ladies Market and the Jade Market.
I wasn't having any luck at all going through booth after booth at the Ladies Market until I found one filled with painted canvas artwork.  I began sifting through a stacked up pile of paintings and stumbled upon this....
I was smitten!  It is so odd, quirky, AND it reminded me of Rocco!  LOL!  Sure, it looks like a female and Rocco isn't, but it was the look on the dog's face in the painting that seemed EXACTLY like Rocco's grumpy face!

For comparison I give you exhibit A- Rocco's smug grumpy face, not often captured on camera because dude knows how to ham it up but it's true, he's got a grumpy side...
It could be that the whole attitude of the dog in the painting that reminded me of Rocco?  He's cute but he is kind of an a**hole most of the time, I love him but boy oh boy he is hard to please.  I've heard it's a Shih Tzu thing?

Anyway, I got the 18" x 26" canvas paint for just $5 USD!  I did some major bargaining, love bargaining in foreign countries, I just repeat the number/price over and over as though I don't know how to say anything else.  I swear it's a fantastic strategy :)

Once I got it home, I decided that it'd probably be best to just frame it with a white matte around it and settled on the simple Ribba frame from Ikea for $19.99.  Before I could frame it though, I had to fix the unpainted corners on the canvas fabric.  Thankfully I was able to mix some paint and achieved the right color to match the ground of the painting.

After the corners dried I was able to place the painting in the frame and mounted it on one of our living room walls.
Who knows if that's where it will stay but for now I think it's a perfect home for this odd little pup!  I also should say that I didn't intend to be on a dog themed kick this week, just happened to end up that way?!  Be sure to check out the LONG doggie care list that Alex put together for our dogs if you haven't already- it is almost 3 pages long and pretty humorous! 

What do you think?  Would you have bought it too?
What do you think of the frame and mat I paired with the painting?
What would you have looked for in Hong Kong?

If you are interested in seeing other bits of home decor I have brought home from my travels click here, here, here, or here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The (Unintentionally Humorous?) Guide to Rocco & Sadie, Written by Alex

In honor of National Dog Day, I thought I'd share something dog related that has been entertaining to some of my co-workers :)  Hope you enjoy this as much as they did!

Not too long ago Alex and I talked about our back-to-back travel mess which pretty much was a month and a half of travel, a wee bit together but mostly apart for work.  Now, if you know us you know we have two fur babies (Rocco and Sadie) and had to figure out a plan for their care during the time we both were away.  Thankfully, our friends Eric & Rose were happy to take care of our little kiddos for a while!
Like most dog owners, I wanted to make sure our kiddos had everything they needed to be cared for and comfortable which meant packing their overnight bag with food, treats, dog toys, the blankets they sleep with, and whatever doggie stuff else.  After that, I mentioned to Alex that I still had to write up a note for when to give them food, how much, temperament stuff, etc.  Here's where it gets funny/cute/nerdy...

The following morning I received an email from Alex that just said "For Eric and Rose" in the subject line.  When I opened the email and began reading, my jaw dropped.  Alex wrote out a two and a half page "guide" of sorts for Rocco and Sadie.  It was well written, accurate, thoughtful, humorous, and totally true- which written out made it incredibly hilarious!

REALLY-  Would you have guessed that Rocco "missed his calling in the adult industry"???  Or that he "is the obvious heir to our estate"?   And that Sadie "will invade your personal space as much as you allow"?  Not sure if you have to know Alex and I or our dogs better to get the humor, but I hope you find it entertaining at least?!   Happy National Dog Day, here it is....

·         1 Cup of dry food with half container of moist topper – Dinner is typically at 6:30 or so
o   Half Milkbone treat at various points throughout the day (after morning potty, upon returning home, etc…)
·         Rocco can be really snotty about wanting to eat his dinner and will sometimes wait until just before bed. This is normal. All you really need to do is make sure Sadie doesn’t eat his food.

·         Rocco can be a d*ck. He doesn’t bite or anything and he’s always super friendly when he encounters new people (on walks and what not). He just has a bit of an attitude sometimes. He doesn’t really like to be picked up and snuggled. Most affection with Rocco is on his terms. Sometimes he will go into these little barking/growling fits we call. Our best guess is that he just really wants to play. He’s a big softy at heart but he has this really Napoleonic fa├žade. He’s quite intelligent and he will exploit you.

Weird Things:
·         Wheezing Attacks:
o   Best way to describe them would be an asthma attack/heavy snorting – these are common with his breed and others that have really short faces. It can seem scary the first time it happens as you may think he’s choking on something. DO NOT pick him up when this happens. Instead, I always hold his chest with a light but firm pressure and stay with him through the episode. This doesn’t happen a lot so I doubt that you’ll have to worry about it. If it does happen, it’s usually short and rarely lasts more than a minute.
·         Barfing/Spitting Up:
o   Sometimes Rocco gets an upset tummy from eating too fast or drinking too fast, or a host of other Rocco reasons. If he does, it’s usually just a chunk of food or two and slimy, watery stomach goo. No real cause for alarm.
·         Humping
o   Not much to say here. Dude missed his calling in the adult industry…This side of Rocco might come out, perhaps it will not. Deal with it as you see fit. We’ll split any royalty checks for filmed performances with the two of you 50/50.
·         He’s little:
o   Although he doesn’t like to act small, his little sister has about 40lbs on him. They play very well together and it should even provide you both with some great entertainment however, we tend to error on the side of caution in his favor because he is little and our first born – thus the obvious heir to all of our estate. Use your best judgment. He’s had a sports injury once before from playing too rough so we’re just a wee bit more cautious now. We like to help him off of higher perches too (he likes to sit on the backs of couches and stuff) just to make sure he doesn’t jump down and hurt his little legs.
·         His Eyes:
o   They’re big and they’re also very close to the end of his nose so they weep more frequently than on dogs with longer noses. He’s freshly trimmed and scrubbed so I doubt that you will even notice over the course of 3 days but, if you notice a discharge (in the morning or after a long nap) it’s perfectly normal. If during play he stops and starts to rub his eyes, he may have got something in one of them or maybe was poked. We always handle this on a case by case basis and proceed as necessary – either helping him remove the foreign object or halting the play time.
·         Outdoor Time:
o   Be sure to keep him leashed unless under your supervision in a fenced yard. There have been a couple of instances in which we needed to chase him down because he got excited about something and made a break for it. Generally though, you won’t have to worry about him straying too far from your side. On walks, you can count on him taking a dump no fewer than twice…

·         1 Cup of dry food in the morning as breakfast. 2 cups of dry food with half a container of moist topper for dinner – Typically around 6:30 or so.
o   Full Milkbone treat at various points throughout the day (after morning potty, upon returning home, etc…)
o   You’ve been to our house so you know we’re not too shy about table scraps. Just little pieces of stuff is ok on occasion but, don’t feel like you need to share. Sadie is a hound dog through and through – she’ll eat just about anything (in moderation).
o   NOTE: She has taken a tray of cookies from a countertop on Christmas Day when no one was looking but in general, she’s well behaved.

·         Sadie is a hound dog. She has 3 major loves in this life – Food, snuggles and sleep. 
- She will invade your personal space as much as you allow. 
- She will eat nearly anything that you offer to her. 
- And she likes to curl up for a nap quite a bit. 
·        She is the second born in our household and therefore she sometimes gets jealous if Rocco is getting too much attention. She’s not mean about, she just wants to be involved. She listens very well and is highly intelligent.

Weird Things:
·         Health and Whatnot:
o   No strange things to report. She’s a hunting/hound dog. As a general classification, these dogs are ridiculously sturdy and reliable. Give her love and feed her, and it is highly unlikely that you will have any cause for concern.
·         Outdoor Time:
o   Must be leashed at all times unless under supervision in a fenced in yard. She loves watching birds and chasing after squirrels so it’s important to keep her under supervision. She can run with you (half hour-ish maybe longer if it’s not hot out). If someone does take her for a run, I have to request that Rocco be receiving some sort of fun time/attention too… our kids get very jealous of one another. On walks, she is prone to pulling a bit so I like to keep her leash shorter and try to keep her near my side…it’s a work in progress.

These two dogs are our children and largely they’re our only family. They play very well together but there is an obvious size difference. We trust your judgment on what you feel is good for them and we know you will always keep their best interest in mind.  Although reading this sheet will lead you to believe that Rocco is a real pain in the ass, they’re both great dogs that have their own unique way of looking at the world. I hope you have fun with them as I am sure they will have fun with you. In the event of any emergency do not hesitate to take them to the nearest animal hospital/vet. You do not have to call if you believe it’s an emergency. For something small or if you feel something is just a little off, please give us a ring – there could be something that we’ve unintentionally left off this guide.

Thanks again for watching our babies, it’s a huge help!


Cracks me up to see how much longer Rocco's list is than Sadie's, dude's a diva I tell ya!  
Well, I suppose I knew these things about our dogs, sort of, just never thought about them in that detail.  Gotta give it to Alex, he's a clever writer :)  THANK YOU AGAIN Eric & Rose for putting up with our kiddos!

Hope all of you with doggies enjoyed this day dedicated to doggie appreciation too!
Also gotta ask...
Would you want to hang with our pups?  Or do they sound high maintenance?!?  LOL

Our Sunroom update is coming up next along with the new wall art I picked up in Hong Kong (oddly enough it's dog-ish themed too, not on purpose, ironic I suppose?).  Hope you'll get back into the Home Stuff/DIY-ing gear with me later this week, see ya then!

Additional Dog Day background info (click here for more):
National Dog Day is celebrated August 26th annually and serves to help galvanize the public to recognize the number of dogs that need to be rescued each year, and acknowledges family dogs and dogs that work selflessly each day to save lives, keep us safe and bring comfort. Dogs put their lives on the line every day - for their law enforcement partner, for their blind companion, for a child who is disabled, for our freedom and safety by detecting bombs and drugs and pulling victims of tragedy from wreckage. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Our Fifth Wedding Anniversary

Five years ago today, Alex and I married one another.  Sadly, I wish I could say that (today) Alex and I were celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary together but due to the apocalypse of work travel, Alex is across the pond in Europe once again.  Wa-wa.

Perhaps because I am on my own and have had too much time to noodle on the meaning/thought/significance of this day but it made me think about my life before marriage and that after it, nothing at all has been the same- and I am very thankful for that.  I look back at Alex and I then and now... Knowing what our hopes and dreams were and now knowing where we ended up five years later and it's kind of surreal.

You say "I do" that day based on your love for one another, faith, and (hopefully) how you've envisioned/discussed the life you want to have together but still, you don't know how things will play out years after that day but today -five years later- I feel incredibly thankful for the adventure Alex and I have been on since joining our lives together.  It's complicated, fun, challenging, rewarding, fulfilling, etc.  Really it's everything... it's the greatest gift I feel I've ever been given in life. 
So forgive me for being cheesy, but since my groom is time zones away I wanted to post this little anniversary surprise and say- Happy Anniversary My Love!  Thank you for making everything in life more amazing because I'm sharing it with you.  Hope you can put up with me for a few more years :)


I know all the travels, birthdays, filming stuff, anniversaries, and all un-house/DIY stuff might have been making things dull for a while but I'm ready to get back into business!  I'll be posting pics of the sunroom this weekend and the fun piece of wall art I picked up in Hong Kong!  Fun house stuff ahead, hope to see you back soon!  

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Lights, Camera, Hammers and High Heels in Action!

I'm baaaaack! (FINALLY!)  Feels like I've been gone for a month- maybe because I've barely slept at all in the last two and a half weeks so it really feels like a whole month?! LOL :)  

Oddly enough, the day after I returned home from New York, China, Hong Kong, and Toledo  (can't leave out Toledo!), Alex and I had an amazing project scheduled that we couldn't pass up!  Despite the tricky timing, we/I got through the day and just as we expected, it was a pretty awesome experience...

Wanted to share a few pics, but can't share much about the details (for now?!).  I know, boo-hoo!

It was a ______ day for Alex and I (still can't pick a word for it, cool/ surreal/ awesome/ funny/ unordinary/ crazy/ etc.?) and I just wanted to write a little something about it here on the blog since it's the reason we got the opportunity- Well, the blog and really everyone out there that has been reading/experiencing our home DIY adventures with us.  You kept us going and made every project much more fun than going at it on our own :) Thank you.  Yes, it sounds kinda lame, maybe even empty as simple as it is typed out, but we truly mean it. Thank you! 

I know posts have been slow and a wee bit boring for a while but I'm still crazy thankful for everyone still reading.  Fingers crossed, this adventure will get more interesting from here, we'll see! 

Saturday, August 9, 2014


Can you believe it?!  I am THIRTY years old.... am I old or still considered young? Haha!  Guess it doesn't really matter, because it's happening (or happened) and just like on past birthdays since beginning Hammers and High Heels (click to see 27, 28, or 29), I am going to share my birthday list-  Not a to-do list, or a list of goals, or things that I want, this list is focused on the positives in life.  I know everyday life isn't completely perfect and I don't have everything figured out but... 

This is a list of the 30 things that I am happy about and thankful for in my life as it is right now- on this birthday.

At Thirty Years Old...

1.  I understand that I spent my 20’s figuring out and sort of setting up the kind of life I wanted to have.  I’m thankful for all of those experiences, everything I learned, and how hard I worked during those 10 years and in a way, I am very thankful to leave that time behind and move into my 30's with the knowledge I've gained.

2.  “Let’s see if Carla can fit in this”…. I’m still known for my hidden roadshow talent at work.  I suppose it’s always good to provide entertainment for coworkers.

3.  My dad set a record number of visits to Minneapolis, 3 visits already and more to come.  Glad to see him living more life and having more adventures throughout the year.

4.  Along with my dad, we've had just about everyone from our immediate family visit Minneapolis already this year.  Even with all the crazy prep for guests, I always love every second I get with our family, especially on our (new) home turf.

5.  I am named as an inventor for three patents filed with the US Patent Office.  I know many of my fellow co-workers have like 20 or 100 of these, but getting the news that these were filed felt pretty cool.  Maybe I'll have the real deal plaque on a future birthday list?!

6.  I really love my role as auntie to these kiddos.  Despite the long distance, I think they like their auntie too :)

7.  After a 7 year strong hold against it, my husband finally joined the social network know as Facebook. 

8.  Thirty feels like a  kick-in-the-pants sort of, and I mean that in a good way, for me at least.  I've had this feeling about it that "well, no more excuses, you aren't in your 20's, time to REALLY get moving on all the things you've wanted to accomplish in life before you are too old to enjoy it."  I realize that some of you will think this statement sounds nuts since yes, I've got plenty of life left and I'm only at 30, but I hope you understand what I mean.  It's a different feeling than when you turn 20, 20 doesn't really kick-you-in-the-pants.

9.  As you get older, it's easier to laugh at yourself and heck, you get more comfortable being a weirdo in public... especially if it makes a friend laugh
How I entertain myself when I can't find any cute shoes.
10.  Alex started a new role at work that allows him to travel quite a bit.  Although I miss him when he is gone, I understand how exciting it can be when typically work becomes an adventure in some ways.  I am incredibly proud of my husband.

11.  I worked through the most challenging year in my career.  I learned a lot and also realized that in good times and tough times, one of my greatest strengths is to never give up- No matter the stress or struggle, I'm the kinda gal that wants to see things through to the end.

12.  I learned that #11 means I have "Grit"- a trait showing "passion for a particular long term goal or end state coupled with a powerful motivation to achieve their respective objective."  Never knew that before, but damn right I do.

13.  Rocco and Sadie.  Sure, they drive me crazy and are often a source of guilt when Alex and I are crazy busy, but I love these two pups so incredibly much.  They are my family and I can't imagine life without them.

14.  My latest business trip marks my 6th visit to China.  Funny to look back  at my 27 birthday list to see that was when the first one happened.  Always thankful for the experience travelling abroad for work and hope I continue to get these opportunities. 

15.  During my Michigan Spring Break visit earlier this year, I saw my (ex/old?) step-sister for the first time in over five years (our parents divorced, ex/old might have sounded confusing, you get it right?).  The 1 year old little girl I met 18 or so years ago is a beautiful young lady that is beginning her sophomore year in college.  It was amazing to see her and I hope to see her again and again.

16.  A Dammit Doll comes in handy when a project goes awry.

17.  I picked out my own car for the very first time.  Might sound strange, but the couple before were either from my parents or jointly decided on between Alex and I.   I've always wanted to pick out my own car and finally got to do it!

18.  Now that I am four years into doing this birthday list tradition, I think it's the first time I'm seeing how fun it can be to look back at what I was thankful for at each age.  Sure, twenty-seven wasn't that long ago but looking back today I think some of what I said then was kind of silly :) I suppose that will keep happening year after year, but it shows you've learned more and you keep evolving.  I'm thankful that I'll keep seeing that.   (click the links if you are interested in reading previous birthday lists-  Twenty-Seven, Twenty-Eight, or Twenty-Nine).  

19.  My husband lived one of his dreams and got to see the Tour de France grand finale in Paris.  It is an amazing feeling when you get to see someone you love experience something they've always dreamed of doing.

20.  I finally realize that I shouldn’t always worry or think worst case scenario because if something bad does happen, you still won’t be prepared for it.

21.  With #20, I’m beginning to see the power of more positivity or keeping a positive outlook in all thinks in life.  If you envision things that way, they will be.  I'm going with that theory for this decade.

22.  Tombstone pizzas are still as good as they were when I was a kid.  No matter how many times I burn the roof of my mouth eating them, they are always delicious.  I repeat DELICIOUS.

23.  I have mastered the art of making the perfect dirty martini.

24.  Thanks to a gal named Marjorie finding Hammers and High Heels, we have a fun project that’s been in the works for a while now and we hope it will come to fruition during my 30th year. 

25.  I cut my hair for the first time in 5 years.  This was funny to me when I went back to read my 27 birthday list because I talk about how bad my hair looked when it was short...  still think I like the long look better but hey, change is always good and when's a better time than when you're turning THIRTY :)

26.  Alex and I moved away from Michigan and all of our family 7 years ago.  For the first time in 7 years, we now have family in Minneapolis.  My cousin Kerry and her husband Nick just moved here from California and it's been refreshingly wonderful to remember what it is like when you could just call/text family to randomly hang out.  I hope the Minnesota winter doesn't scare them away!

27.  Kerry and Nick have two dogs- Walter and Uno.  Needless to say, Rocco and Sadie are also excited about their cousins moving to Minneapolis too!  The pup-playdates are pretty b-a-n-a-n-a-s.

28.  I spent my big 3-0 with my husband in NYC.  A big scary birthday couldn't have felt more perfect and special.  Thankful my husband made that day so special for me.

29.  With #28, I still love blogging but I've allowed myself to enjoy being in the moment more and not pressuring myself to keep up with blogging when I real life fun is happening.  Hence posting this more than a week after my actual birthday :) 

30. I received this text from my dad on my birthday…  “Being 30 isn’t bad so enjoy it because you have a great life and there’s nothing you can do about getting older.”

Simple advice on a big birthday.  Wise words dad, thank you!
Sort of fuzzy, but a couple pics from my actual birthday while out with Alex in NYC
Here's to starting 30 from where I am right now, cheers!