Category Archives: Home


Modern & Contemporary Horse Art

No joke, if I lived alone each room in my house would probably look like this:


But seeing as I try to stay happily married, we go for a different kind of decor.  My husband and I have been living together for six years and I have slowly been drawn more to his style of decorating.  He likes clean lines, and modern/contemporary stuff.  We don’t the housing budget for true modern furniture (plus… dogs ruin everything), but I’d say we’re firmly in the contemporary realm.

Recently we repainted our walls, and I re-arranged all the art when I put stuff back up.  Lots of stuff didn’t make the cut, and I’ve been silently yearning for a giant, equestrian themed piece of artwork to put in one… two… maybe three spaces?

My criteria for picking something is currently only “pick something Tim won’t hate”.  Price isn’t a concern, because I’m mostly idea shopping here… which now I will dump all of my ideas for you.

I present “Lauren’s list of contemporary and modern horse art she predicts her husband won’t absolutely hate”!


Copper and Rivianna from Z Gallerie


22 Hands from Z Gallerie


Caballo Blanco from Z Gallerie


White Horse by Jennifer Meyers from Pottery Barn

What about you – what kind of equestrian art do you like for your home?

Attack of the Winged Insects

I live in a very old house.  When I say old, I’m speaking more like Eddie Izzard’s opinion on American history than old old.  Our house is no 1800’s New England  house (lived in one of those too), but it was built in the 1930’s and it wasn’t built all that well.  More sharecropper’s shack than chic bungalow.


Not only is our shoddy cute house old, but it’s also the most secure part of our wealth.  Why is that important?  Because I’m constantly worried it’s going to implode and leave us penniless.  Lately, the biggest source of that fear is winged insects.

It all started when Tim repaired some rotted wood on our side porch, and thought he saw termites.  Termites are evil y’all.  Termites are death.  For a 1930’s house with wood foundation, termites are panic inducing.

In fact, we tried to buy another old farm house (we have a pattern) back in 2008 in North Carolina.  The deal didn’t go through because the home inspector was able to ram a screw driver through the foundation because it was the “worst termite damage he’d ever seen.”  Whenever I think about termites, I think of that old farmhouse slowly crumbling to the ground… and now I think my house is crumbling to the ground.


While Tim did research on treating termites (how rational), I walked over every spot of my hardwood floor.  It’s soft here!  Is it as soft there?  Is it moving?  Was it that color a year ago?  Is it rotted?  Is there water damage?  You get the picture.

I read the top 3 pages of google results on termites.  When my Dad (a custom home builder) came to visit, I had him crawl under the house with a flash light.

“IS IT FALLING APART YET?” I yelled to him while he was on his belly in the very tiny 2′ crawlspace of our house.

He said it wasn’t.  We treated most of the yard for termites, made a plan to fix the existing damage (small) and finish treating the rest of the house the following weekend.  Crisis averted.

That is, until I tried to go to bed this week.


We walked into our bedroom and found our white comforter covered in flying ant looking things in various sizes.  I squealed sat frozen on this tiny corner of the bed I deemed safe.  Then we went on about a fifteen minute “Is this an ant or a termite” google spree.

The damn things look identical.  How am I suppossed to tell?

After researching too much, we determined they were actually flying ants that were driven inside from the recent heavy rains.  We changed all the sheets.  I vacuumed the mattress and behind the bed like a crazy person, and then my lovely husband crawled into bed to go to sleep like a normal person.

I am not a normal person.

At first I decided I was only safe if I stayed 100% under the covers.  Keep in mind that it’s summer in Texas, but I choose heat and discomfort since the comforter gave me another 3″ of protection against the evil flying ants.

Then I had to periodically swipe and jerk and turn on my phone to check for bugs.  All.  Night.  Long.

I tell you what, I’m traditionally not a suburb person but sometimes I dream of a freshly built two story house where every nook and cranny was caulked in the 2010’s.


Equestrian Design in the Home

I’ve been a really bad horse mom this past week.  Whenever we get past a huge milestone that I’ve been working hard for (ie show) then I end up needing to pull back a bit.  In this case, it’s not 100% my fault… Simon’s hives on his back were healing and his girth is rubbing him so I wanted that to heal while the new one is shipped from SmartPak… but really I’ve just been lazy.

After spending a weekend with family and eating junk and drinking too much (can someone be hungover for more than one day?  I mean really I know I don’t drink much but that was ridiculous), I woke up with an awful stomach ache on Sunday morning and texted my trainer that I wouldn’t be able to come to the lesson.

Ended up sleeping late and felt better by late afternoon, so I cleaned the house some.  Let me begin by giving you a disclaimer that I while I can take pictures of horses jumping over objects, I stink at interior design photography. With that said, I live in a tiny little house.


And if I lived alone, it goes without saying that most every room would like like this (if I won enough ribbons!)…


But I don’t live alone, and I’m only marginally successful showing so therefore I sneak equestrian accents into my home in different places.


In the guest bedroom, I did these paintings almost two years ago now.  It’s a silhouette of a Boston Terrier, a Springer Spaniel, and then of the horse I had at the time – Teaspoon.  I should update the horse silhouette to one of Simon and not a draft cross… but I’m lazy.


Our one and only hallway is about 1/3rd covered in art and different ‘stuff’ right now.  Most of these pieces are horse or dog related… whoops.  I should probably put a wedding picture in there or something.


My grandfather was an excellent carpenter and artist.  When I was little he would cut horses out of the jigsaw for me, and one day I asked for a “real” horse (aka 3d and not 2d) and that began a several year adventure into wood carving.  These are his equine creations.  The Clydesdale is the one that got finished before he passed away, but the Lipizzaner is amazing even in its unfinished state.  I keep these in my china hutch.


Also in the china hutch are these plates made by my uncle for our wedding.  There are 6, and each has a different asian inspired horse on them.  They’re super cool, and I use them whenever we have a get together to put stuff out on because they’re so pretty.


In the corner of my living room I made these cheap little shelves out of wooden file folders from Ikea.  They house some trinkets special to us which include a Peter Stone model horse I had ordered to look like Elvis as well as one of Elvis’ old horse shoes.


My bathroom is NCSU red, not orange like the picture shows. This poster I got from the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Austria goes well with the red/black/white decor.


The last and newest addition is what I did yesterday afternoon, aka stuff all my ribbons into these two glass vases.  I left a few extras out for projects which I’ll have to show you soon… but I was pleased with preserving these while still being able to see them every day.  The little wooden sign is one my grandfather made for my little wooden Breyer stable when I was a kid.

What kind of horsey stuff do you have out in your house?


The Eq Diet

Fact: I am in better shape than I was one year ago.

Also Fact: I have a long way to go.

The “Eq Diet” is actually a really, really bad title for this post because I’m concerned about fitness, not weight.  Even though I need to lose weight, I’ve come to the realization fairly recently that… I’m not ugly.  I don’t look awful.  I’m not meant to be a size 2.  These are good things to realize for someone who has been overweight almost her whole life!

On the flip side, I also realized that I couldn’t run a mile without stopping right now if my life depended on it.  I can’t ride 20 minutes straight without stirrups.  I couldn’t hold a two point without stirrups.  These are bad things.  I need to be able to do these things.

So it’s fitness time folks.  Insert your choice of Fergie song here.


I was struggling with how exactly to embark on my quest for fitness.  There are no good gyms close enough to where I live that I knew I would go consistently before work, and working out at lunch is not an option if I want to do cardio because my face turns red like a tomato and I am a heavy head sweater and really it’s just not good for anyone to be around me after I work out unless I have ample time to shower and cool off.   At first I thought Couch to 5k, but I hate running with a passion and have tried that and given up before.  But then while reading a weight loss blog I enjoy, I discovered Fitness Glo.

It’s a subscription based (a reasonable $12/mo) video service with tons and tons of workout videos.  Moderate cardio?  Yup.  Abs?  Absolutely.  Stretching?  Of course.  Ass kicking cardio?  No problem.

So I signed up for the free trial, and started this Monday in the middle of the 8 week “Beginner” program.  The cardio workout I did was 20 minutes long, got me adequately gross and sweaty, and had a lot of lunges…. so I felt like it was a good choice for an equestrian workout.

The goal is for me to hit 3 hours a week exercising to these videos in addition to my normal riding routine.  I know I won’t drop to 105 lbs, but I’m hoping to get stronger and leaner and become a better rider for Simon.  What do you do outside the barn to work on fitness?  Also appreciate any tips for not doing my trademark move – giving up!


Just Another Manic Monday

I don’t think it takes a genius to know that I’ve had a pretty severe case of the blahs lately. Stress at work, broken pony, getting rodents out of my house and trying to get more financially stable have all left me feeling drained and longing to be back in college in my undergrad years where bills weren’t a problem and I had at least 4 hours a day to spend at the barn.

But that’s whiny fail speak, and this weekend I kicked ass at being productive and taking care of business.  On Saturday I taught the “fun clinic” workshop thing, but since only 3 students showed up (all the older riders were at a horse show and who knows about the rest) we treated it as a long semi private.  It was a challenging lesson to teach because I had one person solid at the 2’3″ and needing to build confidence over 2’6″ – 2’9″, one kid solid at 18″ cross rails and needing to build confidence at 2’0″ and one naughty arabian that needs to learn to be honest over 18″ cross rails.  All in all though, I think everyone improved and I enjoyed my time out in the ring.


My favorite part about teaching Saturday was bringing my dog out to the barn – something I don’t typically do. Dogs are required to be on leash, which is impossible when you’re working with a horse. Since I knew it was going to be a really quiet day with no small children and tons of horses out and about, I brought Eliot, my springer spaniel along. He grew up around horses and I was so pleased that he remembered all his ring training.  While I was in the ring helping the girls jump, I clipped off his leash and he stayed by the judge’s stand the whole time schmoozing the parents.  Good boy smelly!  The whole morning made me more and more wish that one day I could get my own little no frills horse barn, and teach beginner lessons with my spaniel and a bunch of rescued school horses.


On the Simon front, there’s not much new to report.  We continue stall rest.  I continue going out to love on him and hand graze him.  Saturday he was feeling a little blue from having his teeth floated the day before, so we strolled around the barn and took in the sights to give him a change of scenery.


And finally, on a completely non horse related note I spent all day yesterday working in my yard on the house.  See, I was getting pretty big into gardening and curb appeal last spring… but guess who’s priorities changed once she got a horse?  This girl’s!  This summer I need to find balance, because just because I have a horse to take care of doesn’t mean I should commit genocide to my entire yard…  Oh well, it’s looking better now and I’m scheming a DIY irrigation system to make sure the Texas summer doesn’t kill everything.


My mantras these week are: be positive! No whining! Be productive! When I veg out I just get into this bad cycle that makes me feel awful about myself… no bueno.  What did you get up to this weekend?  I hope you are feeling as charged this Monday morning as I am!


A Seasonal Sunday Project

I don’t know why, but the idea of a seasonally appropriate front porch is super thrilling to me.  There’s no real reason for this.  I don’t think anyone has ever driven by the front of my house and said, “Goodness!  There is no seasonal wreath… how will I  know if it is actually fall or spring right now?  The horror!”

Passers by might not do that, but I sure do.

During spring and summer I lose some of the gusto that is a seasonal porch.  I always try to get amped up for Easter and pin cute pastel things and create lists for DIY projects… but something always takes the wind out of my sails and Easter quickly becomes a wash.

Summer?  Forget it.  Summer is in Texas is too hot for life.  I hide on the back porch in the dark and drink white wine until fall comes around.  But when Fall is here… it’s on.

So when our temperature first hit the 60’s one night and I pulled out of my driveway the next morning, I knew this porch had to go:

It’s too seasonally uncommitted.  Too blah, and the upside cooler to the left of the door makes a statement like “I just got drunk from tubing down the Comal River” instead of “I’m inside my cozy kitchen making pumpkin butter.”  So, this Sunday I got up and busted my ass in what I call the seasonal porch makeover of 2012.

Perhaps painting the front door was a drastic step… but all’s fair in seasonal decorating.  To be fair, we never loved the yellow anyway and had been meaning to give this guy an update.  So after several coats of new paint, a trip to the Dollar Store, and me climbing through the back of my storage shed to fetch the seasonal wreath – the  makeover was complete.

I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly sleeping much better at night now that it’s done.


A Tale of Two Riders

I’m back on a diet… again.  Before Christmas I had lost about 20 lbs in two months through a medical weight loss plan (not surgical, just diet and an appetite suppressant) which was amazing – but the weight fell off so fast that once the holidays came around it came back on equally quick.  After a few months of floundering around in the new year and a whole bunch of “I’ll start that soon,” I got the same kick in the pants that I always do when I feel inspired to be healthy again – ponies!

That’s me in approximately 2006(?) on my teenage heart horse, Elvis.  This Lauren knew she was bigger than a lot of other riders, and felt big when I went to IHSA shows or other hunter shows – but looking back I didn’t look all that bad on Elvis.  Plus, he was a tiny guy and at the weight I was here I think I’d be more than fine on a bigger 16hh+ horse.  This Lauren was an undergraduate in college, and when she wasn’t in school she was at the barn riding different horses.  She didn’t show much, but she went to every show and busted ass as a groom for the other people in the barn.  She did stalls on weekends, and did the elliptical in the gym at her apartment a few times a week.  She eats whatever she wants.  She was single, and mildly interested in dating some people.

This is the (near) present Lauren.  She is the biggest rider at her barn, and has been afraid to go try and show for feel of getting strange looks.  She’s been busting ass at the barn trying to get back in shape, but hasn’t been able to get the outside fitness routine together as much as she wants.  Part of the reason she loved her big Draft horse was that she thought he eliminated some people thinking “she’s too fat to ride that horse.”  She sits at a desk 9 hours a day.  She’s married and feels comfortable with her husband.  In normal life, she’s not that insecure overall about how she looks.  In horse life, she feels like an outsider even though every person at her barn and her trainer are glowing with compliments about her riding and hard work.

Now that I don’t have my big drafty horse to hind from, I’m face with the whole now I really need to pull it together.  It’s not that I don’t think plus size riders can be effective riders – they can, and I am – but I can not keep it together when I ride Gatsby as long as I need to.  He needs constant core control, a consistent and quiet leg, and all the buttons being pushed at the right time in the right places.  I can’t do that consistently enough when I’m at the weight I am and in the shape I’m in.

On Monday I had a fabulous lesson where I jumped my first real course with Gatsby.  It was at night in the lights, which he is notorious bad under, and I was only using a Myler D Snaffle and a loose martingale.  No gadgets or harsh bits.  I lunged him for about 15 minutes before my lesson and got on hoping for the best.

He was fantastic.  Most of the jumps were just set to 18″ (the lesson has a few very beginner adult riders in it) but we did bending lines, lead changes, and ended with a 2’6″ oxer that Kathy set up for me.  I haven’t jumped a proper 2’6″ jump in years and it felt amazing.  I have already talked to my trainer about wanting to show in the April 20th CTHJA show, but now my mind is set.  Not only that, but if she gives me clearance I want to do the 2’6″ modified division and a 2’6″ medal class.

It’s been my dream to go to a horse show and get around 2’6″ without looking like a fool.  Now I’ve got to bust ass and try to get rider #2 back to rider #1 so I can make that dream more of a reality.  Here’s to the journey!


The post about my cooking disaster

I’m pretty cocky, and somewhat vain.  These are facts, and also driving factors behind me having a blog like this.  Throw Pinterest into the mix and we’re going to have an interesting situation.  See, Pinterest is pretty much just a collection of viral posts… and I want my blog to have a viral post.

I want bazillions of internet hits, damnit.

Last night, I figured my way to success with this would be an easy to make, tasty, and extremely low calorie recipe.  I’m a good cook (see above cocky statement), so I thought this would be easy.  I also own a nice camera, and we all know that’s all it takes to make a cooking post go viral – Decent Recipe + Great Pictures = Internet famous.

It all started innocently enough.  I was going to create pizza muffin cups, but not just regular pizza muffin cups – super low cal pizza muffin cups.  I took a picture of my ingredients – but not chopped up all pretty like they do in real food blogs, I just plopped my less than stellar looking in ingredients on the counter.  I took a picture of my messy kitchen so I could show that I am easy to relate to.  My messy kitchen would show that I’m real and just like you (God I’m so pretentious sometimes).  For your sake, I hope you don’t have an agave plant that’s currently trying to grow into your peanut butter.

I even took a picture of chopped Cauliflower in a food processor.  Who doesn’t know what chopped cauliflower looks like?

I was so busy taking pictures that I didn’t take several key points into account.

  • I was trying to veganize Cauliflower Pizza Crust, something that is held together by mere faith and egg whites
  • Pizza sauce has shit tons of sugar in it, that’s why it’s tasty
  • Fat free cheese is not edible.  Period.  Shoe leather is more appealing

But at this point I wasn’t taking these things into account.  I also wasn’t taking into account that the cauliflower crust still seemed gushy the first time I took it out of the oven (and the second!) but surely it would ‘set’ later – right?  I was too busy congratulating myself for this amazing food blog that I was going to create to notice that this recipe was seeming less and less successful the more pictures I snapped.

I kid you not – I even wondered how people would react when they came to the viral Pin’s original source and discovered it wasn’t a food blog.  How would they react?

They would probably react no better than I did when I took these bad boys out of the oven.  Instead of tasty, crispy pizza bites with 200 calories or less – I had squishy (somewhat raw) mashed cauliflower with not-doctored-enough tomato paste on top, followed with some canned artichoke heart, overly processed turkey pepperoni and a thick coating of tile grout fat free mozzarella.

You’re welcome Pinterest fans and food blog readers everywhere.  You are welcome.


The Mathematics of Food

It’s no big secret that I’ve had an issue with weight pretty much all my life.  There’s no need to insert a big sob story here, but the truth of the matter is I’m overweight due to three reasons.  Partially genetic (though I don’t think this is an equal part to what’s to follow), partially diet and partially laziness.  I’m kind of a picky eater, and tend to think the top 3 food groups are Diet Coke, french fries and cheese (preferably all together).  And as for working out?  Not something I really enjoy.  I’ve only recently been heading to the gym, because I wanted to keep my leg muscles fit for riding  when Spoon wasn’t hurt.  Moral of the story?  Being overweight is no big shocker to me.

What might be surprising, although many who have tried to lose weight can surely relate, is how many times I’ve tried and failed.  When you boil right down to it, weight loss is just mathematics.  It shouldn’t be a hard thing to work out the equation.  Find out what you burn, cut it down, and keep it up.  The end.

I think the x factor in our weight issues as a society is how closely tied to our emotions food is.  Something that should just be for sustenance has morphed into such a huge part of our lives.  And it’s not just America, food is synonymous with emotion in almost every culture.  No matter where in the world you’re from, memories of home and family and love are usually associated with food.  Holidays?  Gorge on food.  Sickness?  Feel better with food.  Sadness?  Cheer up with food.  Success?  Celebrate with food.

Human societies are so passionate about food that they let it anger them, or even promote extreme depression and self loathing.  I’m not just talking eating disorders here – we get really upset about food.  A simple conversation about who has the best Queso in Austin can elevate voices to some extent, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  As readers well know by now, my husband is vegan.  Not to pick on vegans here by any means, but I have heard many aggressive conversations about the reasons to be vegan (granted that is not just food related, but also moral and social depending on your view).  On the flip side, there have been just as many conversations from meat eaters confronting vegans about why they choose not to eat me.  They’re just as aggressive as the “radical” vegans, but why?  Why is there any need to get angry about what kind of food someone chooses to eat?

At the end of the day I’m not sure why this is.  Sure, there are plenty of medical studies linking food and endorphines.  Refined sugars and carbs give us a temporary high, blah blah blah.  But I can think back through the experiences of my life, and the food is never the thing that stands out.  Food has never been able to replace or replicate any real emotional high for me, but I’ve turned to it for years.

Don’t think there’s really an answer at the end of the day.  I’ll just continue to ponder while I work out my own grastronomic mathematical equation.


How to make an Equestrian Ribbon Quilt

I’ve wanted one of these for a long time.

I mean, you don’t even need to be a horse person to think that the quilt/wall hanging to the right is really, really pretty – not to mention creative!  If you haven’t seen or heard of one of these, it’s a quilt made entirely out of horse show satin ribbons.  I’ve done different kinds of horse showing all my life, and have secretly been lusting after one of these.  However, there were a few problems with me acquiring a ribbon quilt of my own:

  1. I am really cheap, and they are not.  It’s a ton of work, so they’re (rightfully) expensive no matter who you order one from.
  2. I have strange horse show ribbons.  The show circuit I used to show Elvis at had a rainbow stripe down the middle of their ribbon, and they liked to do “fun colors” for Championships instead of the traditional blue, red and yellow (the best ribbons I ever got from that show series were light purple, and black orange and red).
  3. I don’t have tons and tons of ribbons to make a really impressive quilt yet.  What can I say?  I was an amateur shower at best!

So after showing model horses (hold your giggles) for a year and a half while I lived in MA and had affordable access to real horses, I collected quite a lot of model show ribbons.  They moved to Texas with me, and were just hanging out on the wall looking very juvenile.  Since these were ribbons I won with fake horses (again, hold the giggles) they didn’t have a ton of sentimental value like my Elvis ribbons – so I decided to try and make my own ribbon quilt.

Step 1 – Cut your fabric, hack apart and sort your ribbons.

I have about 25 rosettes to make this quilt out of, and I knew that wasn’t a ton of ribbons so I decided to keep the size at about 3′ x 3′.  Measuring isn’t my forte, sot he final quilt is more of an interpretive size… but that’s what I cut my original fabric at.  I then cut the rosettes off of all my ribbons (this part was a little painful) and sorted the satin strands by color.

Step 2 – Pin your design onto the fabric

I went for a simple pattern of 5 squares in co-ordinating colors, surrounded by matching (as closely matching as possible, I was working with a lot of funky colors for these ribbons) ribbon color backgrounds.  I then was going to frame the entire quilt in yellow ribbons.  So I basically eyeballed (again, not a huge fan of measuring) my design and then just pinned it onto the fabric with regular sewing pins.  The pattern of 5 squares ended up looking like this:

Step 4 – Sew Ribbons onto the Fabric (and oh my god step 4 takes FOREVER)

It sounds really easy, just sew the ribbons onto the fabric, but there are some tricks to make it a lot easier that I discovered and will share with you in hopes they make your quilt turn out a bit more symmetrical than mine.

  • Start with the “background” first, and then sew the squares.  When you sew the squares, sew the middle part first and work your way out.  That way your design will have some depth and the most prominent squares will be get sewed on top.
  • Change your thread color to match the satin ribbon.  Brown thread on a yellow ribbon looks ugly.  It takes more time to change the thread, but it’s worth it.
  • Make sure you stretch the fabric flat while you’re sewing the ribbon.  If not, you’ll end up with rippled satin ribbon and bunches of fabric sewn together under the ribbon.  My quilt doesn’t lay 100% flat because of this issue.
  • Measure stuff.  Eye balling is not 100% accurate, let’s just say that.

After you seq all your ribbons down, you can choose to bind your quilt with quilt binding or not.  I did because my edges were uneven.  If you want all ribbon and no cotton fabric showing, you could probably fold a ribbon halfway over to get the same effect.  I also used my binding to sew two little fabric “hooks” so I could hang my quilt to the wall.  You can do the same thing with ribbon as well.

Step 5 (the easy step) – Hot Glue on your Rosettes

If you look at the picture above of my sewn quilt, you’ll notice that a lot of corners don’t meet evenly.  That’s okay, because I knew that my rosettes would cover a lot of imperfections where my squares met.  So I saved my cut rosettes from earlier, and just hot glued them in place on the quilt where I wanted them.  I put one in every square, and then at every corner of a square… but you can do as many or as little as you want.

And voila!  You’re done :)

It’s not remarkably hard, but it does take A LONG time – and this was a really simple design I chose.  This project took me about two weeks working off and on.  A nice sewing machine is a definite plus with a project like this.  I don’t think gluing the ribbons or sewing by hand would be an option.  Just remember, you should probably measure when you make your own quilt!