Thursday, December 29, 2011

Miss me?

Chances are, if you pay attention to my photography blog, the answer is no. Posting every day on that blog leaves little to NOTHING to post on this blog. I put anything and everything on that 365-day photo challenge and I'm very excited to say IT'S ALMOST OVER!! Don't get me wrong, I'm super proud of myself for staying true to my self-imposed challenge and its been fun keeping myself engaged & motivated, but the constant need to find something worth photographing is something I won't miss. The last few days are a prime example of that. I've been sick and all I do is work and rest. My day is work, work, work, then come home, crawl in my pajamas, take meds & become reacquainted with my DVR. So.....what is there to take a picture of? You'd think I'd be smart enough to take my camera to work and capture something exciting there...but I never do. Hair, chemicals and customer service is on my brain while I'm at work, definitely NOT my photo challenge, thus making it hard to find something worth posting about! I will miss the excitement of a really cool picture I caught, the action photos I love so much and the attention to detail or focus on others. I'll still post the photos I want to brag about - I'm gonna keep the blog alive, just don't expect a post every day or once a week for that matter. I'm really looking forward to the break. (My husband is almost as excited as I am to be done! I can't tell you how many nights I've kept him awake with the bright glow of my laptop screen and the clickity-click of my fingers on the keys. It was never a priority of mine to do it earlier in the day, right before bed always seemed like the convenient choice, but the hubby really hated that.)

And I'm not gonna lie, I miss the privacy. With an every-so-public view into my life, I feel over exposed. It was a self-imposed challenge and I was the one typing up my life in 2011, so I only have myself to blame, but it will be nice to live in the shadows of cyberspace like everyone else. I will admit, the pictures were always a great conversation starter, like when you needed to break the ice or hadn't seen someone for a long time. My blog was always the go-to conversation piece. What will I talk about now? Or what will people know about my life?

I have had a few followers plead for me to continue this challenge in 2012, but I still decline. My sister Kalie even suggested taking a picture each day and just uploading it to Facebook without blogging and typing up a whole explanation about it. (She was never one to actually read my blogs. Just a stalker that views the pictures. I like to tease her about that. Thanks for the support sister!!) No, I'm just playing Kalie. I know my stories and explanation were long and sometimes not needed, but it felt incomplete to just post the picture. What if it left unanswered questions? Then I'd just have to explain myself once asked about it and chances are that would be multiple times. I'd rather nip that in the bud and spend the 20 minutes blogging about each picture and save all that time explaining in real life. It just seemed necessary to me. But even with your suggestion to just post the pictures, I'm going to have to say no to that as well. My camera and I have a close, intimate relationship now and I'm feel like I need a timeout. We're on a break Rebel, you hear that?

I have seen other bloggers start the photo challenge during a year of great triumph, health conditions or turning a significant age. I turn 30 in April, maybe I'll pick the challenge back up and do 365 days of being 30, who knows? I guess since I've been so obsessed with that blog for an entire year, there is a chance I might go through withdrawals and feel disconnected with everyone. I guess only time will tell. I am, however, excited to get The Black Spot current.  I was surprised to see that I actually posted 38 times this year (counting this one). But then I remembered that I did a silly 30 day challenge last January, which counts for about 20 or so of that 38 and then that stopped a third of the way through because it was being outshone by my photo challenge. Man, that photo challenge took over everything in my life!

Well 'cheers' to the new year - Happy 2012 everyone! - and 'cheers' to my resolution to get The Black Spot going again. (I'm hopping on the bandwagon Kalie, Andee & Jessica! I'm not vowing to post weekly like you have all voiced, but I'm hoping bi-monthly can be a goal I can reach!) Sending my love to everyone! Hope the holidays have treated you well!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Count Your Blessings

I saw this on my friend Joy's blog and I like the idea of doing it, especially during this month of "Thanks." Plus I haven't blogged in a long time and I thought, whats better than posting about the things I'm grateful for to bring my blog current than this? So here goes...

“Count your blessings” is simple to the point of stupid — and powerful to the point of life-altering. Gratitude, that very specific feeling of thankfulness in your heart, allows you to see and absorb all you have, forgetting for a moment all you may lack. It connects your brain with your heart, and gives you the ground to be a more giving, effective, loving human. Being grateful allows generosity to flow. And many believe it also makes us more receptive—as in, the more you love what you have, the more you get what you want. So herewith, a list to remind you of fundamental things to be grateful for every day—from apples to clouds to ice cream to getting enough nightly Zzz’s.

A - Avie, Andee, Aunts
B - Beauty School, Blogs, Blankie, Brittany
C - Camera, Companionship, Communication
D - Dad, Date nights, Dee
E - Ella, Elizabeth, Elevators, Enterprise
F - Friendships, Freedom, FAMILY, Football
G - Girls night out, Grandparents, Goals
H - HAIR, Health, Home, Homeopathic medicine
I - Internet, Imagination, Ideas
J - My favorite JB's. Joe Black, Judy Brady & Joy Bailey!
K - Kalie, Karma, Kindess
L - Love, Laughter, the Lopez's
M - Marriage, Mom, Movie nights, Music
N - Nancy, Nieces & Nephews, Naps
O - Optimism, Online banking, Old friends
P - Penny, Patience, Principles
Q - Quiet time, Questions, Quicken software
R - REFERRALS, Robyn, Random acts of kindness
S - Sisters, Security, Singing
T - Taco soup, Teachers, Technology
U - Understanding, Uniqueness, Uncles
V - Validation, Values
W - 'Word of Mouth,' Work, Wiener dogs!
X - eXcitement, X-rays, eXercise
Y - Youngest sister Jessica, Yards
Z - Zzz's, Ziploc bags 

Alright, who's gonna take this challenge next?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Final look!

Today was opening day and it was AWESOME! Of course I forgot to take pictures at the beginning of the day because I was so nervous about getting started. But after I was done for the day, I cleaned up everything and took a bunch of pictures of the overall space. I'm so happy with the way it turned out and I have many people to thank for all their time, effort & hard work. It looks incredible! (Now to just finish decorating!!)

And yes, the pictures were taken with my cell phone. Sorry the quality is so bad. If its hard to picture, maybe you should come schedule an appointment with me and see it in person. Huh? Just an idea!! ;)

With my door closed - Studio 121 "My Hair Lady" (The above orange sign will eventually have a drop down sign with my name & business name on it. For some reason it hasn't come in yet.

These shots are as you just walk in

Don't make fun on my plain walls! I haven't committed to a theme yet or decorations.. I don't want to clutter it up, so I'm going to keep it soft and simple for now.

Picture a tall cabinet here. (Up against the purple wall) I'm being very picky about the functionality of a cabinet, so I can't find my 'dream' one anywhere. Joe has decided to build me one this weekend, just the way I want it!

This mirror is GORGEOUS and I don't want to put anything else on the wall to take attention away from it. I just love it!

Again here is where the cabinet will be and this is my station!

The hardware before was just silver bars, nothing fancy, so I bought these new handles to class it up a bit!

These are my expensive chairs I got for a real steal! (See my photo blog) And my sister Kalie made the pillows for me. Thanks Kalie, and thanks for working so hard on my aprons! Can't wait to see them!!!

And here is my awesome chandelier I mentioned in yesterdays post. Its fabulous and now that I spray painted it gold it fits in the  room better. My stepmom found me this awesome piece at Swiss Days. Thank you Nancy, it rocks!

My light switch covers. Silly and not necessary, but I loved them as soon as I saw them! I also spray painted them to match the room.

And here are my kick-butt floors. My husband did an great job installing them. (With the help of my amazing brother-in-law Jesse.) Those guys do flawless work! I LOVE MY FLOORS!!!!!!

Alright, there you have it! I'm excited to find new trinkets along the way. Someone told me my tissue box didn't match (??) so now I have a complex to find a box cover that suits the room. Suggestions??

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A few more pictures of the salon

I was so bad at capturing the progression of my studio makeover! I've been on a tight schedule to get it done, so I started forgetting little things, like taking pictures of each stage. The pictures from my last post were mainly the before pictures and the painting stage. Well here is the flooring stage. And of course I don't have a final flooring stage picture, but I open the salon tomorrow and will be taking plenty of pictures now that its mostly completed. My mom & stepdad did crown molding, baseboards & a nice corner wood pieces that separates the colored walls. My stepdad also re-did the frame around my station mirror and we gave the station drawers new hardware. Not to mention the fact that I've slowly started decorating. The big mirror is hung, my clock spray-painted and installed, curtain rod is up and I'm just about to iron my curtain for tomorrow. My stepmom gave me this beautiful chandelier for my ceiling. (Not of functioning light, but great decoration!!) I fashioned it a bit; the chain & skeleton of the chandelier were silver and I wanted it to be gold. I took off all the crystals and gave it a good cover with some brass spray paint and put it back together! It fits in the room so nicely. Plus I got a great deal on some 'waiting' chairs, Joe refinished a table to put in between them and my sister Kalie made me 2 pillows to put on the chairs.

I still would like to get a cabinet to hold my color needs & back stock items and possibly a fridge for convenience. I have NO decorations on the walls as of yet and I'm really on the fence about what to do. I don't want to clutter the I'll have to see as the weeks go by.

I'll post more pictures tomorrow night after opening day. Again sorry I've slacked on updating pictures as the salon developed. But here are the floor pictures...

You can tell we weren't very 'careful' when painting. 
Oh well, I knew I wanted to rip it up anyway.

This is what was underneath. It was a peachy, industrial tile. 
It had  MANY hair dye spills!! Someone before wasn't very careful!

Unfortunately we uncovered some mold. (If you hadn't seen  my photo-blog post)
We had to call in a plumber and the landlord had to deal with it. 
Luckily it only set us back 2 days.

Okay this is the only picture I have so far of the new floor. 
I went cheap and bought vinyl/laminate flooring and Joe laid a few squares 
down to see how it would look. I honestly think its my favorite part of the salon. 
I can't wait to show you a picture of the finished look.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

I'm a Business Owner!

That's right everyone, I now officially own my own business! The last few months have been quite the struggle with my current salon and the upper management systems. My 'inner' salon, meaning me and my stylists, all work very well together. Excellent team work, great customers service, an amazing reputation...I could go on and on.... I've been VERY proud of my salon and all the success we've had together as a team, however, if there wasn't a 'management' pyramid or someone to answer too, I'd probably never leave. But unfortunately everyone answers to someone and I've just been real unhappy lately. I've been working for Smart Style for 5 & 1/2 years and I've been managing for just under 3 years. I can't find the words to describe what a huge impact this company has had on my life. This was the first hair stylist job I had RIGHT out of beauty school. I've met and worked with some incredible people and in the last 3 years I've grown, not only in my success as a hair dresser, but in my management skills as well. (And not to mention the character & personal growth I've experienced as well.) My life has been "Smart Style-focused" for so long, I'm a little sad to say that my Smart Style career is coming to an end.

A new opportunity has come my way and I'm excited to say that I'm jumping at the chance and taking a HUGE risk! I've found a studio that suits me, just the way I am and will give me a more personal environment for my clients. There is a Studio just down the street from my current salon that has an opening. (Not only for me to rent a booth in, but to actually lease my own studio!) I have my own room, station, sink, mirror and chair. And I can decorate, paint or remodel anything I want, within my 4 walls. IT'S SO EXCITED!

This past week I gave my notice to my supervisory, got myself a business license, signed my contract with the studio, started 'project make-over' on my studio, painted all 4 walls and tomorrow I'm going to rip up the flooring!! (Oh and go shopping for some decorations & waiting chairs...I'm hoping I can find some good Labor Day steals!) Basically...its been a crazy recently and there is no end in sight! I still have to work a week & 1/2 at my current salon, all while getting my new salon ready for business to start the day after I leave Smart Style.  Luckily I got a lot accomplished over this holiday weekend, plus on my days off this week I have already created my 'TO-DO lists.' Its all coming together quickly and little stress at a time!! LOL!!  I'm going to try and open 'officially' for business on September 15th or 16th...wish me luck!

Here are a few 'process' photos of the studio. Thanks to my mom, Kalie & little Jesse, we were able to paint all 4 walls today. I'm excited to go back tomorrow and see what the 'dried' paint color looks like. And thank you Joe for bring lunch & my Dad & Nancy for stopping by with treats and staying to visit!!

 I have a door with a window!!

 These are the things that are supplied to me already.
(And my sister Andee got my those beautiful flowers!!)

 The mirror on the floor isn't technically part of the supplied items, but they said I could use - who wouldn't? Its GORGESOUS!

 And here is the last of my 4 corners!!

 My mom & Kalie as we prepped for painting!

 My nephew Jesse came to help...for about 10 minutes...then he was bored!

 Here is my 34-week pregnant sister doing some hardcore painting!! Thanks Kalie!!!

Jesse sat at the 'No receptionist' reception desk and watched movies

 The lighting is bad in these photos, go figure. But my colors are called Applesauce, Applecrumb Cake and Delicious Berry. Mmm...makes me hungry!

 The 'Delicious Berry' color FREAKED me out at first. It went on like a Fuschia/Hot pink kind of purple...I was NERVOUS!

 Okay you can tell it is getting darker as it dries!! PHEW!

 In this photo we had just put on the 3rd coat of purple. We didn't stick around to see it dry, so I'm crossing my fingers and hoping it looks great tomorrow!!

 Here's a good shot of the lighter walls.

And again, the last of my 4 walls. 

Tomorrow Joe and I are spending Labor Day evening, ripping up floors and prepping them to lay the new flooring probably Thursday or Friday this week. Plus my mom & step dad Kelly are getting me baseboards, crown molding and a little wooden piece to go down the center of the wall corners (hence the reason why the paint colors don't meet at the center.) We're going to paint ALL the trim black so the walls will have a 'framed' looked. Plus Kelly is also making me a chunkier black frame to go around my mirror. 

What a difference a few days make! I registered my business name, processed my business license AND 'broke ground' on my space. Stay tuned for more 'process' photos!! (I swear my life is one room project after another. After my kitchen it was supposed to be my bathroom...guess that'll have to wait until the salon is up and running!!) Projects, projects, projects!!!!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

365-day photo challenge

Alright people - just in case you have forgotten about my extreme hobby, I thought I'd send a little reminder out. Tonight I posted my #169th photo. That's right #169. Are you as shocked as I am? I'm 30 days away from the big 200 and I want to plan something exciting for that day. (Any ideas, I'd appreciate it. I thought I, along with many helpers, would get 200 balloons and let them go in a park somewhere. That would be so cool! However day 200 falls on the 3rd day of my trip to St. George and it might be difficult to plan a big activity like that while on vacation. I'll keep thinking...)

I'm super proud I've made it this far. It almost like a habit now. I plan to take a picture with hardly any thought or preparation. I'm excited to continue on...I'm almost half way done! I hope you are also enjoying my journey through 2011. Keep watching!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Kitchen remodel (update.4) **new photo of sink

Wow, so much has happened since my last post. All our cabinets are in, all appliances are in and running (sans the disposal), contertops are on and SINK is in! See, I told you!

We've been kinda lazy getting it 100% functional. Now that we can use the dishwasher, we've got more motivated. Today I finished my 2 crafty projects - now Joe just needs to make them permanent. You'll see in the photos, but as I mentioned before, we had 1 cabinet that didn't fit. (The one above the microwave) After Joe cut it down and shortened the doors, we noticed the 'finish' work on the doors was completely ruined. We talked about sanding down the door and repainting, but it would always look different from the others. So we discussed covering it with something different. My 1st suggestion was the red paint from the brick wall, but then we tossed around an idea of fabric, then I came across some awesome black, white & red fabric at JoAnn's and I was in love!!  I'm not sure how the longevity will be...I'm nervous about splashing something on it and not being able to get it out. Or steam from the stovetop ruining the adhesive...I guess only time will tell. Joe still needs to hang them and put the handles on. And also my second project was the "splash guard." Our countertops didn't come with one and I didn't want to put the common grid tiles up and at JoAnn's (while searching for fabric) I came across 6 stencils that seemed to go with the fabric pattern as well. Then I found paint to match our color scheme: black, red, grey and now PURPLE believe it or not! :)  At home depot, I purchased just plain white 4X4 tiles and went crazy!! In the pictures I have a few of them displayed - I can't wait for Joe to mortar and grout them on!!!

We're slowing starting to 'move' back into our kitchen. The fridge has been stocked with food again - yay! - and we had a home cooked breakfast Saturday morning! (Nothing like the smell of bacon!) We still need to bring in ALL the pots & pans, the rest of the dishes AND cups. **OH! I also bought a few new dishes!!! I added pictures of them too. I was shopping at Kohl's for purple rugs and I stumbled across red and purple dishes as well as some matching colored bowls. I don't know why I decided to add some accents of purple, since the red was such an 'accent' color already...but with a white, black and grey kitchen - it just needed some extra color!!

Plus I love our sink!! Its a corner sink, but in an 'L' shape. Its very different and unique, so that makes it fun! I'll continue to post more pictures once its complete...if that will ever happen. It looks SO GREAT!!!

 My new dishes!! 

 Base cabinets went in - along with our range

 The picture of course doesn't to it justice - lighting is so bad in there for my camera, but this was the purple rug that started it all! Our rugs!!

 A full look of the room.

 I'm still so in love with my red wall!! We repainted the column that separates the kitchen from entryway. It was light grey, but I thought it would look better white. Plus we added base boards! (I got crap from many people about the base boards. They thought along the brick wall there shouldn't be any...but I vetoed. It NEEDED base boards.)

 See? They just look so good. My mom caulked them with clear caulk at first, but we have since gone back and caulked with white. Looks much better. 

 Big change! We've got counter tops, a sink and a dishwasher now!

My 'splash guard' - I think it will look great when finished.
(the seam where the counters meet still needs to be caulked)

 Here's a closer look at the patterns.

 And my fabric doors - LOVE them!

 This picture is out of focus, but notice the under-the-cabinet lights. Way to go Joe!!

There will be a fold down table attached to this wall. I'm hoping it will go up tomorrow or Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Kitchen remodel (update.3)

Holy crap-ola I almost have a kitchen!!! :)  My mom was awesome enough to stay almost 10 hours at my house last Thursday and got the entire kitchen painted. (I only had to touch up a few spots...I guess I'm better at painting a straight line.) Once the paint was all done, Joe did his final touches on the electrical and then we started putting cabinets together!! Joe and I (yes, I participated) put together the tall cabinet next to the fridge on Friday night. It took us ALL night!! I guess this cabinet is "supposed" to be a swinging door cabinet, but Joe wanted it to pull out like 1 big drawer. So since it isn't manufactured that way, we had to create it. We had all the parts..just needed the engineering. We finally got it put together and the rest has been easy, just time consuming. Here are a few pictures I took this evening. All the wall cabinets are up and Joe is currently working on the base cabinets. **We had a slight snag in the cabinet above the microwave...something about Joe's measurements or IKEA's website, but the cabinet came an inch too long. (According to my mom, the wall shrunk...haha...inside joke.) Anyway, Joe said he could 'fabricate' it and make it work. Its actually in place now, but he's still working on the doors. Have any of you been to IKEA and seen the "soft" close doors & drawers? If you haven't, you NEED too. I should take a video of it, but all our cabinet doors & drawers have this soft close feature. Basically, you CANNOT slam anything shut. It stops itself and the shuts softly. Its pretty cool!!  YAY! My kitchen it almost complete - check it out!!!


 There is the tall cabinet that took forever! It'll be nice when we have the hardware on it, so I can pull it out!

 Joe did all that hard work by himself!

 Here's the cabinet above the microwave in progress. Should have doors soon.

 I'm excited for this wall because I think we're going to put up a 2-top breakfast nook table!

Here are the different wall colors. The light grey is on the 2 walls with cabinets. I wish there was more of a contrast, but we can always paint the dark wall darker. It'll be a quick fix. We're going to wait until all the cabinets are in to take a look.