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What’s On Our Minds??

16 Jan

Carrie’s inspiration this week:

Doors

I want to makeover my very tiny laundry room. I spend way too much time in there as it is and I’d really like to have a fun, little room. It’s a constant source of traffic, from shoes to backpacks, washing to folding, and kenneling up sweet Bella.

I have a couple ideas and my first thought is to switch out the door. I’d like something interesting with maybe glass on the top half of the door. Or something distressed and rustic to offset my matte black pantry door on the other side of the kitchen.

I could totally distress the current door to save money but I’m not a fan of the panels.  I want something with a little more character, a little fancier.

Source: theinspiredroom.net via Casey on Pinterest

 

What do you think? Spice up of the laundry room door??

Do you want to see what my laundry room looks like right now?  Be afraid, be very afraid….

Angie’s inspiration this week:

Memory Jars

I discovered these memory jars on Pinterest this week and my mind has been racing with ideas on how to replicate these for our home.  What an innovative modern take on the old concept of shadow boxes.  So many options to play with including different shapes, sizes and colors of glass.

 (Courtesy of Pinterest)

I adore the idea of using jars instead of deep picture frames to capture memories.  The jar symbolizes a little world where you can picture yourself back in time and get a rush of pleasure remembering how happy you felt and the good times experienced there.

Using jars to capture vacation memories touches my heart.  If you have followed our blog, you know I used to live in Mexico and part of me always wishes we were still there.   You also might remember my husband and I cashed in our life savings last year and bought a vacation home in Ixtapa-Zihautanejo, Mexico. I am thinking of making a memory jar as a reminder of our times in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo filling it with sand, driftwood, seashells and pictures.  These wouldn’t be just objects… looking at them will take us back in time with where we’ll visualize our long morning walks on the beach, the hours we spent hunting for seashells and the excitement we felt the time we discovered baby sea turtles.

(Courtesy of Pinterest)

If you’ve lived in different places, making jars for each city or house would be another idea.  I could make a jar for the years we lived in Los Angeles, Texas (Austin and San Antonio) and Mexico City.   I think it is something that would bring happiness to not only myself but my husband as well.  And it would be a compelling conversation piece for guests that come over.

Here are more ideas for memory jars:

Making one for each year or a period in time.

 (Courtesy of Pinterest)

Jaden, with Steamy Kitchen,  jots down memories as they happen throughout the year on colorful post-its in her memory jar.  This is a quick and much easier than keeping a journal!

And Brooke, with Inchmark, probably has the sweetest memory jar.  Brooke writes down funny or sweet things her children say.  Children always say the funniest things and as hilarious as the statement was…it’s easy to forget a day or year later.  Now Brooke’s children’s phrases are captured forever in her memory jar.

What do you think of these ideas and what’s on your mind this week?

Happy Friday!

13 Jan

Since school started back after Christmas break, I feel like we are back in the swing of things…running and gunning every day.

I have so much I want to do, yet I can’t find the time. I push projects back to the next day “when I’ll have more time” but the days keep moving right along and my projects are still sitting in the back of my mind.

And then I see this:


And I get that little push of motivation as I think about how fast the years are flying by.

Don’t wait until tomorrow, friends.

Happy Friday! And happy projects!

xoxo,
Carrie

Watercolor Paintings

5 Jan

I’ve never seen such beauty in a watercolor painting before.

I love looking through Susan Woodard’s portfolio and thought I’d share.

What a precious gift to give you or for someone you love…your first home, your wedding portrait, your babies.

Thanks Holly Mathis for sharing your favorite Christmas gift this year!

Susan Woodard can be found here:  http://susanwoodard.com/

I think I know the perfect picture to turn into a painting…

xoxo,

Carrie

Simple Thank You…

13 Dec

To some fellow bloggers who have featured our creations:

A Glimpse Inside

SAS Interiors

Daily Do It Yourself and this one too

Silly Simple

Copycat Crafts
Copy Cat Crafts

Life of Bink

Life of Bink

Twig Home

Shelterness

And some of our favorite blogs we love to read and have formed friendships with:

PB&J Stories

SAS Interiors

Stucco Bungalow

Vegvacious

Style Your Life

What the Graham

It’s important to say thank you for the big…and little things. And we thank you for loving our projects, and being our friends.

Much love!
Angie and Carrie

(if you’ve featured one our projects and we missed it, please leave us a comment!)

Introducing :: Lizzie + Luckett

9 Dec

We are beyond excited to launch our alter ego, Lizzie + Luckett.  Vintage home.

Lizzie + Luckett holds a special place in our hearts for many reasons.  Born from our love of creating, we wanted to expand our blog and share things we love the most.  More than just showing how to create, you can own unique creations and vintage pieces for your home.

Why the name Lizzie + Luckett?

Pure love.  Lizzie is Carrie’s daughter’s special nickname.  Luckett is Angie’s british family namesake.  Both names symbolize dreams we cherish deeply.

Two Friends Two Cities will remain our beloved blog.  The stomping ground for design, inspiration, ideas, food, and DIY.  If it were not for Two Friends Two Cities, there would be no Lizzie + Luckett.

We are so thankful to everyone who reads our blog every day.  And we hope you visit our vintage shop, Lizzie + Luckett.

Happy Friday, friends!

xoxo,

Angie and Carrie

 

My Mexican Secret

6 Dec

This year has really flown by.   I can’t believe it is already December and the New Year is quickly approaching.

I did something earlier this year that I’ve been very reluctant to share with everyone.   Mainly because I think people will think I’m completely insane.  I know I need to get it out now before another year passes by and my trepidation increases.

So here it is:

My husband and I cashed in all of our life savings and bought a vacation property in the Mexican Riviera.

There I said it.

Ok, let me try to explain.

It all started when my husband and I read the book, The 4 Hour Work Week.  The book is really so much more than the name suggests.  It’s of course about working less but it’s also about making the most out of life and rethinking the status quo.  It’s a completely different philosophy than what has been ingrained in us since we were young.  Instead of saving everything and waiting until retirement to enjoy life, it’s the “anti” of that. Tim Ferris, the author, lives a different lifestyle that involves taking mini retirements throughout his life instead of waiting until he’s old.  He also doesn’t believe in keeping with the Joneses or buying lots of large expensive possessions to fulfill happiness.

Most of what Tim was saying really made sense to my husband Manny and I based on our past experiences.  In 2005-2006, we lived in Mexico City and traveled all over Mexico while living there.

It was a life changing experience.

I started learning a new language, experienced gorgeous places I’d never seen before and absorbed myself in the different foods and culture.

When we traveled to beautiful Mexican travel destinations, many places were filled with retired Americans and Canadians living abroad.  Not one time did we ever find an expatriate living there who was young.  I remember telling my husband that we were at least 30-40 years ahead of the curve.  There we were in our 30’s really experiencing life.  We were getting the opportunity to explore beautiful places and interesting people while we were healthy and young.

So you can see why the book The 4 Hour Work Week hit a nerve with us…

We started the book before we went on vacation to Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, Mexico and finished reading it while still on vacation.  We had previously seen quite a bit of Mexico but it was the first time we had ever been to Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo.

If you’ve never heard of Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, it’s the tropical paradise in the movie the Shawshank Redemption where Andy wanted Red to meet him after they got out of prison.

Reading the book was such a whirlwind.  It was easy to daydream and imagine working less and living like a king when lounging at the beach without a care in the world.

We really drank the juice and believed in it.  So we did the unthinkable.  We made an offer to buy a property we fell in love with while on that same vacation!  We saw it, loved it and said we’ll take it – all without having any cash or means to buy the place.   All within a week’s time.

We were maybe 5 days into our vacation when we placed the offer to purchase and on our 7th day, exactly when the taxi was picking us up to take us to the airport, we found out the owner said yes.

So it was going to be ours.

(Living area)

 (Amazing table made from a plant root)

 (One of the bedrooms)

We were so excited!

But then reality set it.  We returned home to the real world wondering if we did the right thing.   Well… we could wonder all we wanted but there was no turning back.  The offer we made on the home was legally binding and we needed to come through with the $$ and buy it.

We knew we had the money in savings.  But that meant cashing out our entire retirement.  Completely depleting everything to $0.

30 days later after the typical home closing process, the property was ours.

(View from our terrace)

Giving up all our retirement seemed like such a terrifying thought.  But now that it’s been done, we don’t regret it.  We’ve already started trying to build our retirement account back up and having our tropical paradise has brought so much happiness.   I have spent well over 20 days there this year.  Talk about a mini-retirement!

Our family spends quality time there together also. For example, we celebrated our family Thanksgiving there a few weeks ago.

Here was our amazing Thanksgiving dinner.  Poolside!

Another reason, I’ve been hesitant to share this secret is because not long after we bought our little Mexican paradise, I quit my job.  It seemed so daring and not something I wanted people to ridicule or judge.  Quitting my job meant that my husband and I would be living on one income with no retirement.  Manny had actually wanted me to quit my job a long time ago so that I could start something new I enjoyed.  I had wanted to quit so many times before but the thought of not contributing to the household and being dependent really scared me.  I didn’t want to feel useless.  I am not sure if I ended up quitting my job because of the inspiration I found in the book or maybe just because I just finally had it working at a job that was meaningless…  But on April 1st, after years of being unhappy, submitted my resignation.  Also ironically done while on vacation in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo.  I guess I become fearless when I am on vacation there!

The first couple of months of unemployment didn’t end up being hard at all. We had to make some cut backs in our spending but I was able to relax and enjoy massive amounts of free time.  We also realized how much we had previously overspent on stupid stuff.   I may have had less money but for once I was able to spend more quality time with my husband and even had the time to start working on some new exciting business endeavors.

And in an ironic twist, our little Mexican paradise started generating revenue!  Even though we initially bought it to enjoy ourselves, we ended up deciding to rent it out as a vacation rental while it was empty.  Since it was empty most of the time, not renting it out would have been a wasted opportunity.  It’s hard to tell with the way the economy fluctuates but it appears that renting it out as a vacation rental has had a much higher return on investment than if we would have kept our savings in our retirement accounts!  I am still floored by the fact that people contact me every week to rent out our place.  It’s nice to see other people love it just as much as we do.

So that is finally the story of my Mexican secret.

I wanted to finally share with my story with you.  I am not saying cashing out a retirement account or buying a home in another country is something everyone should do.   It’s definitely risky.

But it has been working for us quite well and has created some unforgettable joyous memories for our family this year.

And I really hope you don’t think we are too crazy.

Travel Reservations:

If you or anyone is ever interested in traveling to Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo and staying in our little paradise, here is information on where to rent:

www.villablancaixtapa.com

I am only sharing our rental website because Ixtapa-Zihautanejo truly is an amazing place to visit in Mexico and I hope others get the opportunity.  I am not trying to exploit our readers with this information.  We already get plenty of rental bookings through our website and I would have shared my story almost a year ago if financial gain was my intention.

Shabby Apple {GIVEAWAY}

1 Dec

Hello sweet friends!

Happy December 1st!  Less than 24 shopping days til Santa comes!!

So today, we have a special giveaway for you…to either keep for yourself, or gift to someone you love.

Shabby Apple has become one of our favorite places to go for inspiration and to shop for unique clothing and jewelry.  Shabby Apple specializes in vintage women’s clothing, adorable vintage children’s dresses, vintage original art pieces, and stunning jewelry.

Did I say vintage inspired?  Don’t we love vintage?!  YAY!

I am in love with their navy pleated woman’s dress:

This navy and white nautical inspired skirt:

I love this adorable children’s vintage dress:

Shabby Apple’s jewelry is amazing…seriously stunning pieces like this ring and bracelet:

 

One of my favorite pieces in Shabby Apple art shop right now is the vintage bird and cage print:

Enough about what we like…we want to give you something!!

Through the Looking Glass necklace is our gift to you! Versatile, pretty, and fun…we hope you love it as much as we do!

And…no hoops to jump through to win this either. LIKE Shabby Apple on Facebook and leave a comment below that you liked Shabby Apple!  That’s it!!  (if you don’t have a Facebook account, visit their shop and  come back to tell us what you like in the comments)

And…we are also giving you 10% off anything you order through Shabby Apple! Just enter twofriends10off at checkout! Yippee!!

We are so excited to gift this necklace to you!

Good luck,friends!  Winner announced next week!

xoxo,

Angie and Carrie

Charlie.

28 Nov

I caved.

Elf of the Shelf is in my house.

His name is Charlie.

My children adore him.

I think he might be a little creepy.

But I’m gonna have fun with this elf.

My children can’t wait to see where Charlie will be every morning.

I love a good challenge. And finding places to hide Charlie might send me over the edge.

The things we do for our children…but the memories made are completely worth it at the end of the day.

Do you have an ‘elf on the shelf’?

I plan to share Charlie’s adventures every Monday until Christmas…and we’d love to see your little elves too! Link it up below!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I ate way too much of this…I have no control when it comes to pumpkin rolls.

xoxo,
Carrie

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She Made It {Thursday}

17 Nov

I just discovered these flattened rose poufs on Pinterest.

They have to be the most heavenly poufs ever made.

Just dreamy.

They are made by Hailey who has the Etsy store: Live Life in Lime.

Hailey states the cream and sandstone is her most popular selling pouf. I’m having a hard time picking my favorite…I want one of each!

To see more of Hailey’s beautiful creations, check out her store here.

xoxo,

Angie

(Pictures courtesy Live Life in Lime and Jenn Thompson Photography.)

Thank Full {free printable}

14 Nov

This week I’m getting ready for my parents and niece to arrive in Texas from New York. I was born in New York but raised in Texas.  After my dad retired from the Air Force, they moved back my freshman year of college.

I stayed in Texas…you could blame this guy I met at a club, who I eventually married.  :)

And we’ve always had this long distance type of family relationship.

I don’t recommend it.

I miss them terribly.  Miss my sisters.  Miss my nieces and nephew.  Miss all of my family.

But this is the path given to me, and I will be thankful.

When we do get together, it is fast and furious.  Trying to fit so many things in 7 days.  But I am thankful for that time.

While I was putting together my fairy tale pumpkins this week…and trying not to decorate for Christmas before we sat down for Thanksgiving, my thoughts kept circling around everything I am thankful for.

My list could go on for days…my husband, my children, my home, my Bella, my 1999 Ford Expedition that has barely 100,000 miles on it and its still going strong.  I’m thankful for friends who want to be in my life and want me in theirs.

Thank. Full.

Thank. Full.

I am thankfully full of blessings.  I am content.  I am full.

And these words whispered to my heart:

“From the fullness of His grace, we have received one blessing after another.”  John 1:16

“The mouth speaks out of the fullness of the heart.”  Matthew 12:34

This sweet pillow now rests on my bench:

I know someone is thinking I missed spelled thankful.

I did…intentionally.

Thank Full.  I am intentionally full of thanks.

I have the free template for you.  I’ll show you how I created my pillow tomorrow using simple materials.

Download it HERE so you’ll be ready to rock ‘n’ roll.

Thank full for this time.  Thank full for this season.  Thank full for so many things.

Thank full for you reading my words.

xoxo,

Carrie

 

 


Fairy Tale Pumpkins

8 Nov

Happy Tuesday!  I wanted to thank Angie for writing so boldly yesterday.  Blogging can be tough and so incredibly intimidating.  Her words touched so many people and we thank everyone for the heartfelt words of encouragement.  Isn’t that what makes a friendship?  Loving through differences and accepting one for who they are…and who they’ve become.

Love you Angie.

Now on to our happy places of creating and dreaming!

Fairy Tale Pumpkins…have you seen them?

I love them.  Adore them.  The unique colors, the fun shapes, the vintage feel.

There is a new farmer’s market where we live…and when I say farmer’s market, it isn’t a true farmer’s market.  It seems more like a street fair with some fruits and veggies sprinkled in.  Nonetheless, it was still lots of fun and a great place for fall inspiration.

Although I did…or my husband did…get out all my plastic bins of Christmas decor over the weekend, I still would like to add something festive for Thanksgiving.  My parents and precious niece will be here from New York this year.  There are no words to contain my excitement.

These are fairy tale pumpkins at the local farmer’s market:

fairy tale pumpkins

Gorgeous, right?  Guess how much??

$50 EACH…one pumpkin…one pumpkin!  $200 for the stack.

I died.  I wanted them.  But snapped a picture instead to store in my ‘dream’ files.

We did find these sweet little pumpkins for my babies.  Found a square pumpkin too…did anyone watch the Squarely Pumpkin on Disney?  My babies were so excited to find an actual square pumpkin.

And these vintage forks:

vintage forks

Love them and I am totally on the lookout for forks now.

Since that day at the farmer’s market, I haven’t stopped thinking about the fairy tale pumpkins.  And yesterday at my grocery store, they had some on sale.  Like major sale.

I didn’t buy any.  I walked away, pouting.

I dreamt about the blue gray pumpkin last night.

I went back to the store this morning…and I have my pumpkins.

YAY!

I’m working a little something-something today and will show you later this week.  YAY for cheap fairy tale pumpkins!!

And YAY for friends!  Thank you friends for being there for us…Angie and I hope we can do that same for you.

Muah!

xoxo,

Carrie

 

 

Putting up the Lights.

28 Oct

How true is this!?!?

 

I’m gonna tell you a little secret.

My husband and I don’t do projects well together.  Yea, not so much.

Especially Christmas lights.

And when we used to have 3 Christmas trees in our home, putting up those lights proved to be a test of love and submission…on my part.

And keeping my mouth shut.

Now we have 1 quite large pre-lit tree which I am itching to get up right now. I know, Halloween isn’t even here.

So I laughed out loud reading this quote from who-knows-who.

Because it is so true.

I think how my children are watching us as we handle life’s situations.

Even putting up those christmas lights.

Happy COLD Friday, friends!!

I used some of my Annie Sloan’s last night on the cheapest project in the world!! (That’s a hyperbole according to my 4th grader)

I’ll share the story next week!

xoxo,
Carrie

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