Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Another World Traveler!

I'm going to guess that none of you are going to notice the new addition to the "Blogs I Follow" list.  BUT, my sweet little cousin, Shelbe is spending the next four months studying and traveling around Spain.  You can imagine how excited I am for her!  Follow her adventures on her cute blog, Not for me, all for you: Off Exploring.

Monday, August 30, 2010

LuluLemon Words of Wisdom: Floss

Lululemon's words of wisdom for today:

Dance, Sing, Floss and Travel.

Dance:  it doesn't take a whole lot to get some really awesome little-white-girl-dance-moves out of this one!

Sing: only by the car.....but I don't care who sees me belting out to "If I Could Turn Back Time" by Cher!

Floss:  I hate flossing.  But holy cow some nasty stuff gets stuck in your teeth!

Travel:  Thailand, Fiji, Argentina, Spain, Portugal, India, Ireland, Czech Republic, etc, etc, etc!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Our friends are like bras......

"Our family and friends are like bras, we keep them close to our hearts and they are very supportive of us," Grandma B!
Some of my greatest friends have not been the kids I met in elementary school but have come around much later in life.  My fellow interior design students, diving teammates, and roommates and now close friends are some of the most creative, caring, hilarious, and supportive people I have ever met.  Of course we had to schedule a reunion!
My great friend and old teammate/roommate/coach Lindsey came to our little dinner and we all had so much fun catching up, exchanging stories, and poking fun at each other.  I am continually trying to persuade Lindsey to move down to Houston.... I'm sure she'll break and I'll get her down here sometime!
Alicia and I share a love of crafts, jewelry making and Nutter Butters!
Myself, Alicia, Wendi and Brittany holding onto Aaron!
Believe it or not, we weren't drinking at dinner!  There was way too much talking, laughing and chatting going on drink.  We barely finished our meals!  

I have to take a second and thank modern technology for making communication so much easier and accessible.  Just a few years ago, I would not have been able to keep in touch with my friends and family the way I am able to now.  I can share photos, stories, quickly send messages to the great people in my life!

Friday, August 27, 2010

LuluLemon Words of Wisdom: Happiness

Lululemon's Words of Wisdom for today:

The pursuit of happiness is the source of all unhappiness.

I am pretty in love with life right now!  And I know I have fallen head-over-heels with life because of my choices and actions.  Instead of looking for reasons, things or people to make me happy, I wake up every morning and choose to smile and be happy no matter what the day brings.  Not only is life way more fun this way.....nothing ever seems that bad.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Home Brewed Beer

Nope, this post doesn't have a whole lot to do with home brewed beer.....but I did enjoy an amazing glass of beer brewed by my very own dad!  I was a little disappointed when I realized that bringing some home with me really wasn't going to be a good idea!  Having six bottles of beer explode in my bag really wasn't my idea of a great flight home to Houston.
Anywho, Travis and I had such a fun time driving around Detroit and we spent the majority of our time in Hart Plaza, one of my favorite places in town.
Close to the entrance of Hart Plaza is the Spirit of Detroit, a monumental statue dedicated to the city in 1958.  Behind the statue bears the inscription from 2 Corinthians (3:17) "Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."
Maybe one of my favorite parts of town is the giant fist of Joe Louis!  I have been told by some very reliable sources that the fist is the actual size of Joe Louis's arm......
Knocked out!
Hart Plaza is home to so many events each year.....
as well as some good ole' fashioned fun!
A patrol officer with some very honed photography skills took this picture of Trav and I!
If only we could travel by Stargate!

Now that's all I have about the places I visited....but what remains of my trip is the most important part, the people I visited!  Old friends and amazing family members made my trip heartwarming, fun, and full of so much love and laughter!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Michigan Cherries

No, this blog post really doesn't have much to do about Michigan cherries, although I did enjoy a handful or two.  My visit home was so utterly wonderful that the entire 5 days can not possible fit in one blog post.  I had such a great feeling of returning "home" the second I stepped off the plane.  Although its been over 7 months since I have been back to Michigan, driving down familiar highways and through familiar neighborhoods, sleeping in my old bed, chatting at my grandma's dining table, enjoying one of dad's home-brewed beers and cuddling on the couch for movie nights with my mom made me feel like I had only been away for a few days.  I told my mom on my last day in town, "it just feels like home.  Not like a place I have to visit, not strange or new.  Its just comfortable, loving, home!"
On my first day back, I picked my brother Travis up from his apartment in Detroit and we took a quick urban tour around the town.  We began on campus and spent some time taking pictures of places that I used to pass by so often but never bothered to stop and snap a pic.
Cobo hall....
Hart Plaza with Detroit in the background....
GM building.....
If you hop on Grand River in Detroit and head west, it might take you awhile but you'll eventually hit our house!

Stay tuned to see more pictures of our urban adventure!  Much more entertaining pictures to come!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

LuluLemon Words of Wisdom: Listen

Lululemon's Words of Wisdom for today:

Listen, listen, listen, and then ask strategic questions.

For someone who likes to talk a lot....I don't always remember to listen well.  We can learn so much from each other by listening.  Both physically using our ears and 'listening' to someone's body language and the words they don't say are the best ways to get to know someone, what they need, want, believe, etc.  

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Happy Hour!

What has really surprised me since I began working in the design/build industry is how many people we get to work with!  And from all facets of the business; writers, builders, remodelers, product representatives, plumbers, painters, artists, and the list goes on and on!   But the best part of these professional relationships is that 1.  No one is competing with each other...there is plenty of business to go around and 2.  we all know how to have a really good time!
Last week, a rep of ours invited us to a Happy Hour at a pub just down the street from our office.  Of course we had to invite just about everyone we knew and had a blast sipping on some wine and beer and catching up with clients and associates alike!
What we didn't anticipate was how amazing Nancie is at pool......
She ended up winning 14 pool matches against some of the most skilled builders and remodelers we know.  She drew so much attention for her winning streak, that strangers were coming up and challenging her throughout the night!
And she won!  

Friday, August 20, 2010

LuluLemon Words of Wisdom: Drink Water

Lululemon words of wisdom for today:

Drink FRESH water and as much water as you can.  Water flushes out unwanted toxins from your body and keeps your brain sharp.

Water really is an amazing thing! We swim in it, skate over it, play in it, use it to make just about everything, including snow cones!  So its no surprise that the thing we use to wash our clothes, dishes, floors, etc. with is the same thing we wash our bodies inside and out with.  The amount of water to drink on a daily basis varies from person to person, but the 8x8 rule has been pretty standard for quite some time.  Drinking 8 glasses of 8oz. of water each day helps keep you body hydrated, gets rid on nasty toxins, carries nutrients throughout your body, helps increase metabolism, decreases joint pains, and so much more!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ranjani's Visit with Shree

While I was doing my internship for By Design, I became really good friends with Ranjani.  She had gone to school with Cindy and Amber and we all worked together on various projects.  Just a few weeks before I began working for By Design again, Ranjani and her husband decided to start a family.  Finally.....after waiting 7 months, I got to see Ranjani again and her beautiful baby girl! 
Amber, Ranjani and myself
Erika and Ranjani
Almost everyday during my internship, Ranjani and I would eat our packed lunches together in the breakroom.  It was so easy to get sidetracked from work chatting about just anything!  One of the most amazing things about our work is the relationships and friendships we form with those around us!
Ranjani took time off of design to start a beautiful family!  All of the ladies at By Design have been waiting to meet baby Shree for several months now and she is absolutely adorable!
Ranjani, we wish you the best of luck!  and none of us can wait to visit you in India!  I'm sure that your talent, generosity, motivation and love will help you in whatever you aspire to do!  Keep March open on your calender! I'm coming to India!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

On My Way!

I'm on my way!!!!  After 7-1/2 long months...I am finally heading back to Michigan!  Things I love about Michigan.....

1.  Family!
2. Cherries
3.  Friends!
4.  Family
5.  Peaches, corn, any fresh produce
6.  Woodbridge Pub and their BBLT on a B Sandwich!
7.  Fresh air
8.  Maple Syrup
9.  Grandma's Borsch
10.  Hopefully cooler temperatures
.......................................and much much much more!

Its not really going to be a vacation, more of a lets-visit-everyone-possible trip! But I am really really excited!  Please contact me via email or on Facebook if you are going to be around!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Houston HomeAid

I admit it!  I finally went to a Houston Astros game!!! Now, many of you know....I am not a fan of baseball. Not that I don't respect the athletes-- I will respect anyone who can hit a ball flying at your nose at 90 mph with a small wooden stick!  I just find the sport a bit boring :)
The reason for my attendance is really quite remarkable.  I have spoken a lot recently about an organization my company is involved with called the GHBA (Greater Houston Builders Association).  For several years, the GHBA has worked hand-in-hand with Houston HomeAid, a charitable organization that builds transitional housing for the homeless.  

Every year, a custom homebuilder is selected to build a playhouse to be raffled off at one of the Astros games.  My job was to try and sell as many tickets as possible.  The easiest way to do that.....get people to check out the AWESOME playhouse!

Did you see what comes with it????  A Nintendo Wii, a flat-screen TV, security, the builder will come out to your house and pour a concrete foundation and hook up all of the wiring to your house! But the most amazing part, is that it was build with parts from the original Astros dugout!  The bench out front has billions of cleat marks from the players!

Now, most of you who read my blog aren't anywhere in the area, but you can purchase a $5 raffle ticket online and if you win, donate the playhouse to a church...or the "Brenner Needs A Cool Playhouse Fund!"

Click anywhere on the picture to purchase a ticket....I bought one!  I'm not going to lie- I'd like to hang out in this thing! And if you don't win, at least you will be helping fight homeless which, is always a great feeling!

I also got to watch the game too!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Floatin' Down the River

Ever since I interned in Houston, two years ago now, everyone I have encountered has told me I HAVE to 'float the river.'  Well, finally I know why everyone is so crazy about it.  When the temperature is riding around 100 degrees, there aren't many things you can enjoy doing outside.  What better way to spend a hotter-than-the-sun afternoon than riding an intertube down a chilly river enjoying some cold brewskies!

This past weekend, Greg, Adrienne and I took a mini vacation over to Austin to visit Greg's friend Bugsy.  Bugsy and his girlfriend invited us to 'float the river' with them and it was everything everyone had built it up to be!

After arriving in a small town called New Braunfels, we joined thousands of other people renting tubes to enjoy a relaxing ride down the Guadalupe River.  Of course we each had our own tubes, and of course we had a special tube just for our cooler full of beer!

For over 4 hours, we lazily made our way about 2 miles downstream, relaxing and enjoying the cool water and the warm sunshine.  A few times we encountered some small rapids, which is why we chose not to bring any cameras, phones or anything else valuable that could get lost.  Some of us were more successful than others not spilling their beers when we hit the rapids!

While lots of people use the river ride as an excuse to drink, drink, drink, I really enjoyed how relaxing it was.    I didn't have to think, worry, stress about anything for an entire day!  I have no hesitation in saying, if you ever get the HAVE to float the river!

P.S. You may believe this, you probably won't....but NONE of us got sunburnt!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

LuluLemon Words of Wisdom: What Matters the Most

My sister recently game me a list of guidelines from an athletic apparel store that are pretty amazing and are going to find a place somewhere that I can see it everyday.  I thought throughout the next few weeks, I would share some of these with you.  

That which matters most should never give way to that which matters least. 

It is easy to forget ourselves and the dreams we have for our lives.  Nothing should ever keep us from doing the things we really want, believing in what we feel is right, accomplishing the goals we set for ourselves!   

Friday, August 13, 2010

Only in Houston

By no surprise, Houston gets a lot of rain during the summer.  But what I never thought I would experience on a regular basis, was pouring down cats and dogs, buckets and buckets of rain....all while the sun is shining and warming up my face!

That's right, sunny blue skies with a chance of rain!  Happens all of the time!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I bought something!!!!

Finally buying a article of clothing after 7 months of not purchasing anything, was way more difficult that I anticipated!  No, I am not suffering from buyer's remorse.  But I think that's only because I had prepared myself to do a little spending.

For the past month, my team at work and myself have been working extremely hard to prepare our entries for this year's Houston's Best Awards.  The competition involves Houston area designers, builders, and remodelers who are all vying for "Houston's Best" bathroom, kitchen, living room, home, outdoor living space, marketing and advertising, humanitarian efforts, etc.  On September 18th, the winners are announced at a formal gala!

So..... I need a dress! Yes, I am sure I have a dress that would suit just fine for the event, but I figured if I am going to break my spending spree, this would be a good excuse for doing it.  I gave myself a budget of $100 for the dress and headed to the San Marcos outlet stores with Greg and Adrienne.

I was almost giddy while I was walking across the parking lot to head into one of my favorite designer stores, BCBG Maxazria!  What I wasn't anticipating and what I didn't remember from shopping before were all of the options!  Within ten minutes I had a stack of dresses draped over my shoulder and even had a very cute employee helping me select more!

Fortunately for me, the first dress I spotted in the store, also the first dress I tried on, was the one!  And it came in under budget!  That means I have more to spend on shoes and accessories, right?

After finding, trying on, and purchasing this dress in less than 20 minutes, I felt pretty confident about shopping.  A couple of days after my big purchase, I headed to Macy's to find some stellar shoes to go with the dress.  

That's where the problems began....there were just way too many shoes to choose from!  I couldn't focus, could't even attempt to narrow down my choices.  After 30 minutes of aimlessly wandering around the store, I sent a text message to my sister with an SOS and asked her to go on a date with me to find some shoes!

Lesson of the weekend:  Go shopping with a purpose!  Its easier to find what you are looking for and more difficult to deviate from what you really need!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Heading to Michigan soon!

I am so excited to announce that I will be heading up to Michigan in just over a week!! It has been 7 months too long not seeing friends and family!  While my trip will be short, I can't wait to catch up with friends and family, savor some Michigan peaches, see how big all of the cousins have gotten, and avoid potholes!
Wool Felt Michigan

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My Hickory Chair Home - By Design Interiors, Houston, TX

Cindy has introduced me to Hickory Chair which, has become one of my favorite furniture manufacturers; their products are not only beautiful but are handmade with the finest quality.  We were so thrilled when Hickory Chair highlighted Cindy on their blog, Made by Hickory Chair!  Please check it out and feel free to comment!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I love tile!

I LOVE tile!!! Its one of my favorite things about interior design.  Today, while walking past someone's desk at the office, I found an amazing tile sample and I thought I should share some of these amazing things!
Mosaics can be custom made with an incredible array of materials so......ENJOY!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cindy Featured on HGTV's Blog, Design Happens!

Today, Cindy is being highlighted on HGTV's blog, Design Happens!  

As many of you know, Cindy's social media is a big part of my job and this is super exciting!  All of our hard work is being is our amazing design styles and skills!

Please feel free to visit Design Happens by clicking on the photo below and post a comment!