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DIY Hilarious Fail

Pinterest DIY looks so tantalizing and simple. In your own home, away from the perfectly staged online pictures, DIY can be a quite opposite experience. If you are looking for a Martha Stewart Pinterest-worthy DIY episode, move along dear heart.

First, let’s set the scene. My husband and I were hustling to prepare our Dallas-area Condo to become our rental property prior to our move in June. A big project was our small kitchen. We had already replaced the hideous fluorescent light fixture, and the 1980’s kitchen faucet, microwave, and fridge. Never bothering with the cream laminate countertops and stark white walls, they desperately needed to be bothered with now.

One of my closest girlfriends came in our time of need to join me in a “DIY Adventure”, the kitchen refresh. It quickly spiraled into an “I Love Lucy” sketch. She interviewed me afterwards to recount our DIY Hilarious Fail — video below.

There are 2 products I comically review in this video: Peel and Stick Wallpaper (purchased at Target), and Behr Premium Plus Paint (purchased at Home Depot).

This is unedited and a low-budget shoot (she uses a paint roller as a microphone.) It adds to the raw emotion of the DIY misadventure. The last 8 seconds kill me. I hope that this will bring you a much-needed laugh too, as we all really need one after the tragedies of last week.

What DIY fails have you had? Share them with me – leave a comment.

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2012 Year in Review: Annual Christmas Letter

“If a man wishes to be sure of the road he treads on, he must close his eyes and walk in the dark.”

-St. John of the Cross


If I don’t send this–our Annual Christmas Letter update–folded up in our Christmas cards every year, then I usually send a note with the card directing folks here for the proverbial dirt on our comings & goings, highlights of the year, and photo fun. Well, if you happen to be a close-knit friend/family member that’s on our card list, if you hadn’t noticed that a card has not arrived from us, you for sure know now. If you sent us a card, know that we are grateful and truly loved it; and this update is written from our heart to yours. We don’t talk, see each other, message each other, etc., nearly enough–so this is my feeble attempt to connect. Pardon the public format, please.

(Violins play in the background of this part of the prologue). Since we moved up our departure date to Florida 1-week earlier, amidst everything else, it may tip you off to the extreme time crunch we’ve been operating under, especially this season, and the great need to re-prioritize our ever elusive friend and foe, TIME. I easily could have been Martha – determined to still send out Christmas cards come what may; but, I’m thankful that Mary took over, choosing the better part. I’ve been spending some desperately needed downtime in a sunny spot, surrounded by a subset of the circle of loving and large family we are blessed with.

Paul Jacob by Waterside

If you’re friends with me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter, you’ve likely been seeing a surge of posts and pics from me, i.e. playing with our Godson, visiting with my Brother at my Father’s home–during the short days that our trips overlapped in Florida–baking Mom’s beloved Christmas treats, taking time to blog again, photos, making 1st Turkey dinner, working on our business ventures (more to come on that), etc…

If you are a new blog follower, or just-popped-on-your-blog-cause-I-searched-something guest, well then, WELCOME! Glad you are here, and hope you stay awhile, as well as come back for more visits in the future!

This time for me to “retreat and recharge” has mainly been provided by Mike’s kindness and unwavering support, as well as the flexibility provided by his boss to telecommute into work. And my Dad’s kindness in always opening up his home to us. For all these things and more, I am grateful. Without further ado, here’s the 2012 update!


(perfect for speed readers, skimmers, SEO optimizers, you know who you are, etc and such)

Some 2012 Great Moments, in random order:

  • Celebrating our 1st Wedding Anniversary on June 24th. Yep, still Newlyweds and loving it!
  • Being asked to be Padrinos, or Godparents, for the first time together for our youngest nephew, Jacob, also on June 24th
  • Seeing our Texas family, and being back where we got married-South Padre Island-before our 1st wedding anniversary
  • Dad coming to visit us in Texas during the summer
  • Finally seeing my 1st Ordination – congrats to our friends in Dallas who have made fine, young Priests
  • Visiting with friends and family coming to or passing through Dallas – always a blast!
  • Having one of our dearest friends, Kelli, get engaged to Marcelo and ask both of us to be in their wedding. This will be my first time as Matron of Honor 🙂 Incidentally, she was our Maid of Honor.
  • Making the 1st part of “Our Big Announcement”. The 2nd part at the end, folks, so hang in there.

Travel-related 2012 Highlights:

  • Began the New Year traveling back from our Christmas trips to be with both sides of the family in South Texas and in Central Florida
  • South Florida in May for Alyssa’s (niece) Quincinera, a great celebration!
  • San Benito in June, a brief visit with Mike’s family, swinging by South Padre beach where we celebrated our marriage the previous year
  • Louisiana in October for Jeff & Erika’s (friends) wedding – we stayed in a lil’ Cabin on the Bayou. Mike got a Gumbo-making lesson, and we enjoyed a short time to see friends and be back in the country
  • Michigan in November. We took a health scare from my Grandma as an opportunity to visit her and stay with my bro & SIL, Chris & Jen, visiting a couple of other friends and family members in between
  • South Texas in late November – we spent Thanksgiving with Mike’s family in San Benito (we made a mighty fine Turkey, I might add), and then to San Antonio with SIL & BIL, Rose & Jesse. Mike & I were honored to be chosen as Padrinos of the Rings for our newlywed cousins, Thomas & Claudia! We also got to have a yummy brunch with our other cousin, Robert
  • Full circle to Central Florida for Christmas

NOTE: Since we’ve gotten several tempting offers, the list of places-we-WANT-to-travel/friends-& family-that-we-want-to-see is always MUCH longer then what we’ve accomplished. Despite working fulltime and laying the groundwork of 2 businesses, we still were able to squeeze out several trips, as you can see, mostly visiting family since we are both Dallas transplants. Looking forward to more adventures in 2013 – and please continue to be patient with us if you’ve been on the “to visit” list! We’ve not forgotten you – it’s all about the right timing though. Praying for us to have an increase of time and money may move you up on that list though, LOL!!

Several of the Cool New Things I’ve Learned to Make/Do in 2012:

  • Crochet
  • Movie promotionFor Greater Glory, an inspiring and historic film that premiered in the US in June
  • Decoupage
  • Twitter, @LSanMartini at your service. OK, so…I held out until 2012 to dip my toe into that Social Media pool. I’ve got a whopping 20 followers as of this 3rd day of Christmas, to sporatically try and entertain in 140 characters or less. A challenge for the verbose, truly. Trust me, I’ve got Facebook and Pinterest down pat; but I basically feel like I’m wandering round the Twitter Kiddie Pool with a life jacket, and am just now learning how to use the big girl potty instead of the ol’ catch and release method. Did that just get weird? Sorry.
  • Foodie Progress: Homemade Packzi’s (for Fat Tuesday), Brined Turkey, healthy & hearty meals, (click the recipes tab for a few more – but many haven’t been posted unfortunately!)
  • Graphic design – dabbling in logos, icons, new and old programs
  • WordPress-based website development & design– a blog redo, involved with development new websites from scratch – including working on mine (not live yet)
  • With the help of a great new Doc, learning what and how to fight back my Chronic Neck Pain/Migraine Headaches that’s gone on for far too long
  • Photography – we recently scored our first DSLR during Wolf/Ritz Camera’s Going-out-of-Business Sale, and it’s been a blessing. Have loved learning, getting blu-ray interview of my Grandma, and even doing our first engagement photo shoot! This is a good segue way into a a very brief year-end photo tour, courtesy of the Sony a77 and my Hubby & I.

Jacob & Pilar

Gloria in Excelsis Jacob Santa Letter

Jeff & Erica Wedding

Lisa Molly dancing


Midday on Bayou

brined thanksgiving turkey

Josie at Thanksgiving



BW Lisa & Jacob

Kelli and Marcelo

St Mary's Austin BETTER


MJ bunny hat

Birthday Family

Jacob in Suitcase

Paul pushing stroller

OL Guadalupe

2012: The Heart of the Matter

2012 has been quite a teacher, as the virtue I was given to work on was perseverance—aka endurance. Through the highlights, as well as personal and professional trials in a downward-facing dog economy, I’ve learned, adjusted, and grown.

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. -Romans 5:3-5

The Big Announcement Part II, is something we’ve been building over the years, months, and more so then ever in the past weeks. Honestly, it’s something we feel strongly that God’s been preparing me for, especially through all of the work experiences and skills that I’ve gained over the past 20+ years. Looking back on the doors that have closed and the windows that have opened, it all makes sense. I am moving into being a full-time small business owner , serving as Co-owner/COO of Illuvint as well as Owner of Little With Great Love, Online Boutique.

What is Illuvint? The formal version:

Illuvint LLC, a family-owned and operated company, specializes in custom solutions for small business owners. From online presence to ecommerce, PR to sales, operations to advertising, IT to logos, consulting to implementation, we desire to be involved in what makes you successful! Our diverse, collective expertise provides creative and powerful approaches – from our entrepreneurial experience to yours.

The informal version:

A marriage of the skills, experience, knowledge, talent, resources, outsourcing contacts…that we’ve doubled through our own marriage.

SPECIAL THANKS: I’m very grateful for the diverse and nationwide group of people that have been involved in the preparation of this journeying out into the world in this new way. You are far too many to name, but I pray that you know who you are and how you’ve made a great impact on us. Your support of the work Mike and/or I have already done, mentorship, encouragement, prayers, love, help, yadda yadda yadda, have made us better versions of ourselves. I’m excited to be a full-time Entrepreneur!

Stay tuned for more to come on Illuvint! We will need your continued prayers, encouragement, support, and referrals as this start-up is about to get a kickstart into 2013.

We pray for you, and for us, that 2013 will bring abundance. Abundance of grace, blessings, love, joy, peace, health, wealth, and wisdom!

Love and prayers,

Lisa + Mike

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Non-Extreme Home Makeover: Dad’s House

Dad asked for help in picking out paint colors for the interior of the house.  People do this all the time–run out to the paint or hardware store, pour over paint chips, bring them home and pour over them some more, narrow it down–and then choose their colors.  But it is different this time.

It will be two years in January that Dad will have lived solo in the home that he and Mom built in Florida to enjoy retirement over a decade ago.  Sometimes it can be hard to agree on paint colors, and then life gets nuts, so the walls have remained white all these years.

White walls.  There are things on the walls, and other colors all around, but they are still cold, white walls.  Looking back, I guess that somehow my Mom’s bubbly presence, and all the yummy smells from the kitchen, didn’t make them seem as stark as they now can sometimes feel.

There are still many “touches” of Mom that remain here, some to his liking, and some not as much. Odd how a thing that they picked out together at a time and place in the past can serve a dual purpose at times – a painful reminder.  Ah, GRIEF – a strange and unpredictable “companion” at times.

Picking out paint colors is another step in this journey alongside Dad.  The goal is to make this a place Dad feels is homey and to his liking; definitely not to remove Mom from this home.  I do happen to love decorating, so it’s a lot of fun for me and good practice for when we are blessed with our first house.

All things serve a purpose. Yesterday, as we drove back from dropping my brother and Godson off at the airport, I debated one last time to try to hustle out some Christmas cards still (yes, I’m well aware that Christmas BEGINS in 3 days, thank you).  This year has been one of s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g, and amidst the rush of too many big and small things, cards became low priority.  So we stopped at TJ Maxx to scope out the possibility of making my last ditch effort a reality.

We walked out with 2 new Comforter options for Dad instead, and I feel much better about the whole thing now, HA!

NOTE: That was your heads-up to look out for my Annual Christmas letter, well wishes, and photo shares here on my blog instead of in your mailbox, please and thank you 🙂

Now back to the fun stuff — the Non-Extreme Home Makeover: Dad Edition

Original ComforterThis was the original comforter in Dad’s room

Option #2

Dad had already picked up a new red blanket that matched this option, so we picked this up, as 1 of his top 2 choices, knowing one would be returned.

Dad's New ComforterBut this is the one we decided on. Dad likes how it brightens up the room. I like how it’s simple and clean, yet masculine.

Well, that’s step 1 of however many in this Non-Extreme Home Makeover. We’ll see where it leads – just glad to be along for the ride!

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Sleeping Solutions, with a Bed Upgrade

Closed Door: Goodbye to the old single life and bed

This was the old bed that I inherited. A Full Size spring mattress that had seen better days.  Not a good fit for us Newlyweds, with bodies experiencing various aches and pains.  Bad beds and bad backs are not a good mix.

We went shopping yesterday and received the blessing of a great deal on a Tempurpedic King Sized Bed and Base from Sleep Experts.  The bed we chose is called the Rhapsody, with a “deeper comfort layer of highly-conforming TEMPUR-HD material fully cushions your body and delivers a medium-firm feel.” It was delivered earlier today and I confess, it already has induced a power nap and an ever-increasing desire to get to bed early.

The Open Window: A new firm. back-supporting Tempur-Pedic bed. A King-sized bed, it will allow room for growth, aka. Kiddos in God's time

Landing some other great deals that we scoured the discount shops for, we got the rest of what our new bed required: A hypo-allergenic, waterproof mattress protector; a 7-piece King Bed Spread Set; and the new Sateen 600 thread count 6-piece Sheet Set.  All that for around $100, I’d say that we did really good.

Lining up the other portion in the sound sleep procurement equation, Mike is now installing the Blackout Roman Shades that we previously bought from Lowes.  Not only will they help block out the light from the parking outside our Condo’s bedroom windows, but dang, they look good!  Small touches really can provide that extra finish and tie in other elements in the room.

The Blackout Roman Shade vs. the Roller Shade - no contest in style and function!

I believe that we are now set to meditate for our 9-hour Novenas to St. Mattress, tee hee!  Good night…

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Setting Up the Martinez Command Center

It’s been a nice day here in a cooler version of DFW.  We took advantage of the holiday by beginning to put things up on the walls in our home office. Here’s what the progress is looking like in my corner of the home office, aka the Martinez Command Center:

Home Office

My crafted French Twill Cork Storyboards that were featured in my post yesterday are hanging now, ready to fill up with writing notes.  Near the window is the beautiful personalized frame that my sister-in-law & crew gave us for our wedding — it has our names and our wedding date on it, and happens to match perfectly!  (It’s blank because it is waiting for our wedding photos to pop in there.)  The Paris sign was a house-warming gift from 4 years ago.  My crafted letter holder is sitting on the desk along with some of our framed engagement photos, some photo boxes holding supplies, a few personal items, a little pot for my push pins, and some cool tins from Ikea that I put my pens and things in.  Uhhh, don’t pay any attention to the stuff on the floor…still needing to finish setting up and cleaning up 🙂

French Twill Cork Storyboards

A close up of the 3 French Twill Cork Storyboards that I made and are now hanging on the bright yellow home office wall.  My excitement inspired the message that I push-pinned up there:  “I (heart) my home office!”

Hubby's DeskMike’s desk received a decorative touch as well.  Artwork that I made in high school, my pen & ink stipple point Bulldog, “Poncho” now serves as his watchdog.

Breaking the desk inIt was about 9:30 pm when Mike and I realized we were hungry, since we had been so embroiled in our set-up.  We took our fruit, cheese and cracker snack/dinner into our upgraded space to enjoy.

Mike gets a big “THANK YOU!”  He helped me attach picture hangers, ran out to Home Depot amidst the set-up to pick up more supplies, carefully measured everything off, drilled, etc, etc, and made it look “picture perfect.” He’s so handy, and I’m so blessed.

Looking forward to continuing to set-up the Martinez Command Center. We have some more work to do, but thankfully the bigger items are pretty much in place.  I hope you have enjoyed a brief glimpse into some of the space, my French Countryside corner office, in the Newlywed’s home!

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Crafting Sassy Supplies

We, the Newlyweds, have been settling into married life with a skosh more then two months under our Sacramental belts now.  Part of process has consisted of setting up our home office, which has been exciting for me since I never have had a “real” set-up before.  It has been a gradual and detail-oriented undertaking over the past few weeks now, from shopping extensively online then finally going to Ikea for corner desks we both like to assemble and arrange, to making the bigger investment of a portable AC unit to keep our hottest room cool enough to house all of our computers/gadgets/systems and keep them running.  And what the heck? Finding office chairs that are less expensive then a Lazy Boy recliner and chair mats for high pile carpets that are less expensive then replacing the carpet has been an ordeal in and of itself!

But now I’ve gotten to the fun part — the decorative bit!  And to put my own sassy twist on my creative space, I’ve done some crafting.  I’ve had some supplies on hand, picked-up whatever was lacking, and finally have made some time to devote to getting it ready to transform my space!

I picked up an old cork board at the Good Will that someone had already attempted to make sassy.  I saw more potential in that polka-dotted bulletin board so I put down my $5 and snatched it up.  I stripped it down and started to rebuild it into a French Country Cork Story Board!

I’ve had scraps of the French Twill fabric since a friend brought me them shortly after I moved in 4 years ago.  That designer friend helped me plot out a “French Countryside” theme in my bright yellow at-the-time guest room.   We used some of those material scraps as accents to the valance hanging over the windows.  After all this time, the remaining scraps have worked out to be the perfect sizes for the pieces featured herein.

I began my crafting with the large Bulletin Board.  I put a little cotton-like backing over the cork, then I hot glued my French Twill material over that. For next time, I will use Fabric Glue instead, because the hot glue bled through the light colored fabric in a few places.  Craft and learn, right?

I made a trip to Hobby Lobby and picked up the perfect frilly black ribbon to apply to the wood border.  The black created a dramatic frame for this piece.  I then hot glued a decorative cream accent border around the interior edge to finish it off.  I like the soft touch and detail right inside that frilly dramatic edge.

Now I have my fancy French Twill Cork Storyboard to use for my writing projects! (Photographed above, bottom right.)

To have a bit more space to push-pin up my storyboard index cards to organize my writing topics, I also got some cork board 12×12 squares.  Back at Hobby Lobby, I snagged 2 gorgeous and appropriately named “Paris” open back frames that were 50% off (nice frames – originally $27.99 each).  I cut down the cork squares to fit the 8 x 10 frames.  I covered it with the French Twill fabric, and used craft glue to stick it on to the cork board. Then I hot glued them into the frame.

Next I cut some black foam board to fit as a backing behind the cork.  It was not only meant to give it a more finished look, but also to provide some support since the cork is thin and flimsy.  These pieces were quick to make, relatively inexpensive with the sale purchase, and will make nice side accents to the middle large cork storyboard.  

Lastly I needed something to organize my bills and other paper paraphernalia. I got a simple little wooden black tiered letter holder – I think it ended up being $6.99 with my 40% coupon. I took some of my black frill ribbon, and the cream accent border down the middle, and attached the accents to the front with my craft glue. Fast and simple touches have made it go from plain to posh.

There’s something to be said to creating a pleasing environment in which to work.  If I’m going to spend a considerable amount of time at my desk, I wanted a warm, sassy yet classy, with a touch of international flair workspace in which to be productive, creative, or both.  My husband can have his Superman stuff on his side, but I can almost smell the fresh baguettes and Café au lait in my Hungry-Mexican twist on the French Countryside.

I need to go out to get some picture hanger thingies (that is a highly technical term, sorry if I lost you there) to complete my crafted sassy supplies by making them wall-hanger ready.  That’s on the agenda for later today or tomorrow.  Once they are up on the wall tomorrow and the space gets tidied up, I’ll post a pic of what my sassy office space looks like.

I hope that this may have inspired you to beautify your space too!  Just like me, make it your own.  If you’re not crafty, or just don’t have the time etc, just say the word and that may be the last incentive I need to set-up an Etsy shop with my Mother-in-laws lovely Crocheted items and this and whatever creative and/or sassy endeavors my brain squeezes out!  Actually, by mid-October I’d like to have the Etsy shop up and running since my MIL is a crocheting machine, and we’ve had some of her items ready to go since her Spring Break visit (Hey, we were wedding planning, OK?).  So more to come!

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