...because home doesn't happen overnight.
02.07.14 / Made Me Smile

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The things that made me smile this week…

*An architect’s $11,000 dream house. (The most expensive thing is the toilet!)

*Fiddle leaf fig humor. #thespot

*Instagram of the week.

*My remote should arrive any day now. No more one-armed selfies! Pictures of the whole famn damily!

*A cosmetic kitchen overhaul from the designer’s viewpoint.

*Blinded by the light.

*Lots of snow = lots of reading.

*My favorite ankle boots for the 35+ crowd.

Do something that makes you smile this weekend! I’m taking five boys (!) to see The Lego Movie. Smiles all around.

image: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking


Congrats to Genny Ramer!

Some of you may remember this instagram post. Besides the obvious laughs, that photo also yielded many questions about my glasses. The short answer is they’re from BonLook.

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The long answer? The really REALLY long answer? I had 20/20 vision until my second year of college when I found myself squinting at the board. {That right there totally dates me. Do colleges and universities still use chalkboards nowadays?} In my early 20′s, I got my first pair of glasses. Since then, my vision has changed. A lot. Pregnancy was a huge factor. Sometimes my vision improved; sometimes it worsened.

Fact: When I was pregnant with Mabrey, I failed the vision test at the DMV when I was renewing my driver’s license.

The clerk took pity on me and said, “Hmmm…maybe it’s your hair. It looks like your hair is in your eyes. Would you like to try again?”

“Uh, yes…YES, it’s my hair,” I lied, pushing back my hair dramatically, not wanting to come back another day and wait in line two hours. I tried again and passed by the skin of my teeth. Nicest DMV clerk ever, right?

Anyway, I got lazy with my eyes. Getting new glasses every year was a hassle, not to mention, expensive. I pretty much never wore my glasses because they weren’t up to date and they had teeth marks in them from our dog who has since passed away. I went five years with no vision test, no eye exam of any kind. Oops. Then, a few months ago, I developed the most annoying twitch under my right eye. It would start as soon as I woke in the morning and last all day. This carried on for two months. TWO WHOLE MONTHS OF EYE TWITCHING. It’s enough to drive anyone crazy. HH finally talked some sense into me and I went to see an optometrist.

Turns out, the vision in my right eye had changed for the worse. Not wanting to drag my kids around an eyeglass store while I chose one pair from the million on display, I thought I’d try shopping online. Our vision insurance doesn’t cover frames so I was looking for something inexpensive yet stylish and versatile. I wanted my new glasses to be appropriate for everyday and for dressing up from time to time, too. I found all that in BonLook. And, bonus!, they offer an online tool that lets you virtually “try on” glasses from the comfort of your home. Sold and sold.

After “trying on” several pair and selecting one, emailing a copy of my prescription to BonLook {some states require vision prescription verification} and calculating my pupillary distance with BonLook’s online measurement tool {super convenient since my optometrist failed to record it on my prescription} my order was ready to go in a matter of 20 minutes one evening after the kids were in bed. I found a coupon online and spent less than $80 on my new glasses. I have never spent so little on a pair of glasses! And I love them to boot.

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As luck would have it, a week into living with my new glasses, BonLook contacted me and asked if I would like to become one of their brand ambassadors. Of course! The brand is affordable, high quality and stylish and offers a quick and convenient online shopping experience. It’s a brand I stand behind.

And, and, AND!…BonLook is offering one House*Tweaking reader a FREE pair of glasses! See entry details below.

PRIZE: one pair of BonLook glasses {$99 retail value} Prescription or non-prescription. Eyeglasses or sunglasses. Shipping not included.

RULES: You must have a shipping address {no P.O. boxes please} within the WORLD. One entry per email address.

TO ENTER: Go here to enter to win.

DEADLINE: Enter before November 22nd. One random winner will be chosen.

WHILE YOU’RE AT IT: BonLook has an interview with me up on their blog today. It covers blogging and my thoughts on glasses. Check it out if you’d like!

Yes, I have a new blogging stool that I need to write about. No, I don’t normally blog in a skirt.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

Last week we packed up the kids and headed to Maryland for my sister’s wedding. We spent four days in a hotel celebrating. It was exciting and exhausting all at once. I’m pretty sure the kids now think that people can only get married in “Marryland.”

The venue was Kentlands Mansion in Gaithersburg, MD. It was a breathtaking backdrop.

But not more breathtaking than the bride! My sister is beautiful inside and out, and she managed to look both sweet and sexy on her wedding day.

Originally, my sister didn’t know if she wanted to wear a veil or not. In the end, she opted for a birdcage design that my mom made on a whim the day before the wedding. It was the perfect detail and complemented her dress so well.

The wedding was a family affair. I was one of two matrons of honor. Layne and Everett were ring bearers. Mabrey was the flower girl. I never thought I would get the chance to agonize over what a flower girl should wear! The kids did great. Promises of gum and soda after the ceremony did the trick.

The ceremony and reception were fun and laid back – just like my sister and her fiance, er, husband. One of my sister’s friends had a hand in matchmaking the happy couple years ago and they asked her to officiate the ceremony. She became ordained just for this wedding and wrote the ceremony from scratch. It was personal, funny and heartfelt. So, so good. HH and I read anonymous marriage advice that guests were asked to send in with their RSVP. A lot of it was humorous. I have never heard so much laughter during a wedding ceremony!

After the ceremony, guests hung around the mansion for dinner, drinks and lawn games. My dad made two cornhole games for the after party. They were impeccable. But, then, everything my dad does is.

HH DIY’d a life-sized Jenga game. He even made his first trip to Hobby Lobby to purchase stencils to write “jenga” on the sides of each piece and was out in the hotel parking lot the day before the wedding sanding the pieces smooth so they would slide easily. It was a hit!

Mabrey and I ventured away from the lawn games and walked the adorable neighborhood in which the mansion is nestled. There were so many charming houses that caught my eye and almost made me want to move. Almost.

At 8 o’clock, the party moved to the hotel with desserts, more drinks {!} and dancing. Layne and Everett got their groove on. One of my sister’s friends taught them the fish n’ hook dance and that was their standby for most of the night.

All in all, it was the best wedding I’ve been to in terms of it mirroring the couple’s personality. Rihana and Jack are easygoing, funny and sincere and that’s exactly how their wedding felt. Congrats you two!

This is the only picture of my family I was able to capture amidst all the festivities. I think the photographer got a few. Word is photos of the wedding will be featured in a premier local wedding glossy. I can’t wait to see them and share them with you!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

My below average, off-the-shelf iPhone case broke a few weeks ago. Since then, I’ve been on the hunt for a new one. I would love a leather one. {On a side note: did you watch season 5 of Project Runway a few years ago? Anyone remember Stella and how she always referred to leather as “leatha”? Well, that’s how I always pronounce it now. Leatha.}

trim leather

Whilst browsing etsy this week, I came across TRIMleather. The shop offers quality handmade leather accessories – everything from belts to phone cases. The craftsmanship is impeccable. The pieces are constructed using vegetable tanned vintage leather. The stitching, embossing and metal details give a luxe look.


Whenever I come across a new {to me} creative shop, I’m always interested in the story behind it. It turns out, the creator of TRIMleather is Corey Le Me, an interior designer by trade who quit his day job and decided to teach himself how to craft with leather. He says his very first coin purse was a disaster but he kept at it until he reached the high standard of quality that his shop is known for today.


Corey keeps three things in mind when designing new pieces: user friendliness, environmental friendliness and minimal design. “Easy isn’t interesting” is one of his favorite mottos.

Personally, I would love to own a piece of Corey’s work. I think the leather phone cases would be a hit with guys {father’s day gift?} as well. Leather is so versatile and durable.

P.S. – I have received a few emails from House*Tweaking RSS subscribers saying they are having trouble receiving posts via the feed. Anyone else having problems? If you wouldn’t mind letting me know what you use to read your blog feeds, I’d appreciate it. I’m trying to figure out what the problem might be. So far, everything looks okay on my end. Sorry for the inconvenience!

images: TRIMleather