Sunday, March 22, 2009

Home Sweet Texas

Although my intention for this blog was more about design and less about my personal life, I will share the following if only for purposes of posterity. I was warned about this place before I came. I had quite a few friends from DC who spent their college years here in Austin at UT, and even one or two who grew up here. When Lee decided to attend UT, if I had a dollar every time I heard this: "Oh my gosh, you will LOOOOOOOOOOVE AUSTIN! It's THE coolest city! It's so unique, and so laid back!" - we might not even need that MBA! But, I have to say, I think my friends were quite right. With every week that passes, we love it here even more. This weekend was particularly fun. I took this photo last night - more to come below... Lee and I woke up early Saturday morning, and walked just about ten minutes down to Lake Austin. We stopped in at Mozart's Cafe, ordered huge lattes and sat outside by the lake. We decided that we felt like we were on vacation - not just on a morning walk ten minutes away from our home.

Mozart's on the lake -

Right next door to Mozart's is the Hula Hut. I did not take this photo (someone on a boat did), but it's a fun burger joint on the water.

I did take this photo. :)

As we walked back home after breakfast, I admired the sleepy dog under the swing in someone's yard. Many people were out walking their dogs, running, or biking. I swear we even got a few "Howdy!"'s!

Wisteria on Enfield Lane....

After breakfast, the sun came out and I wanted to check out UT's pool. As an Alabama graduate, I think the University of Texas might one-up us on this one. The Texas theory of "bigger is better" (hair, land, make-up, etc) rings true with their athletic facilities. I was very impressed. Check it out! After 3 hours of soaking in the sun under palm trees, we came home and got ready for the...RODEO!!!! (laugh laugh laugh). This my friends, was amazing for people watching!

It's especially fun to attend the Texas Pro Rodeo with two New Yorkers. I think we ordered 5 or 6 things "on a stick." Our friend Chris -

and his wife, my friend Abby...

I should contact the Austin Chamber of Commerce - They should pay me for all of this good press. :) If you have never visited Austin, I suggest you make plans to do so.
Signing off - it'll be 80 degrees again today.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

GREEN Design

Hello my name is MCBREARTY.
Do you know what that means? I'm IRISH!!! At least, I married into an Irish family - these people that I'm now related to hail from Donegal, Ireland. My husband is one of four kids - all very Irish names: Heather, Michael (Lee), Sean, and Colin. And then there's me: Meredith. :) So, I decided to post about all things Green today in honor of my new heritage. Lee of course felt the need for a Guinness (or six)...
He is also making some sort of cabbage something or other in the kitchen as we speak. And green "guac" to go along with it. (Actually, the guac has nothing to do with St. Patty's Day, but more to do with the fact that we are simply fatties and have home-made guac about 3x a week now that we live in Texas).

The McB's have a huge party in Fairhope every year with about 100 attendees and a life-size stained-glass shamrock in the front window of their house. I have yet to attend this soiree, but plan to do so sometime. I found the following GREEN items - and I do not mean "environmentally friendly" but literally: green gorgeous things on the web: The following are from PIECES in Atlanta:

This lantern from C.Bell is adorable and was a consideration for the D3 nursery.

J'adore this 4-paneled Green Gracie screen from 1st Dibs!!

"Chopsticks" bedding from Leontine Linens...

A pair of directoire-style Italian ottomans from the 1950's - at St. Patrick's Day!
-Meredith McBrearty

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Year in Pictures

Today, March 14th marks my engagement to Lee exactly one year ago! Had you told me last year - on that Friday afternoon that in exactly one year I would:
Get engaged,
Plan a wedding in South Alabama while working full time in Washington,
Get married exactly 4 months later,
Find out in June that we would be moving to Austin, TX (a city I had only visited once in my life)
Somehow find a place to live via the internet because I had no time to actually go for myself,
Quit the job that I loved for 6 years,
start a new job and make new friends I WOULD HAVE NEVER BELIEVED YOU!!
And in retrospect, the fact that I was not hospitalized during this time is quite miraculous!
I would say that the average person might undergo one of these major changes at a time: meaning changing their job, moving cities, and getting MARRIED - but I might not suggest doing all 3 at once! I guess what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. :) The truth is, Lee and I have actually had an amazing time in the past few months! While planning the wedding in such a short time was stressful, it was fun! And, although I was super sad to leave DC and my wonderful job and friends, we have been more than blessed to meet wonderful (FUN!) friends here in Austin. The weather is great, Lee has learned a LOT in school, we love our little house (except for the w/w carpet - that requires a whole 'nother POST!), and we are generally just very happy here in the Utopia-esque seventy degree weather in central Texas. Who would've thought?

So, among the craziness listed above, a few other things went down in the past year that are fun to share. I flew round-trip 15 times since last March. (we won't do the math on that one). It all started on March 14th when Lee asked me to marry him. Won't sap out here, but it was totally perfect and I will never, ever forget the things he said for as long as I live. Here we are at the Jefferson Memorial...

We celebrated after at the Mandarin Oriental with all of our friends which I just could not believe when I walked in w/ Lee and there they all were. It was too fun and perfect!
The next day - the cherry blossoms on the mall....
The following Thursday, I flew home to Alabama to spend Easter with my family. It was a wonderful weekend and was especially fun to share the news with friends and family. A few weeks after that, I flew to Las Vegas for my friends Pam and Christine's bachelorette weekend...
Pam and I bach'in it up... (I cannot remember the name of the venue here.)

In April I flew up to NY to look for wedding dresses. I went to Kleinfeld's, Nicole Miller, Saks and Barneys - the winner ended up being...well wait and see! We'll get to that in a minute...
Nice day on the Saturday in NYC....

In May I jumped on a plane down to Birmingham for Pam and Colin's wedding - great times, beautiful bride, one of my very best friends. And PS: I sort of take credit for getting these two together. :)
Insert here: wedding plan plan plan and work work work!! In May Lee and I also flew down to Fairhope to check out wedding venues and attend a wonderful engagement party in our honor. I cannot find the pictures of this party at the moment. Fast forward to July 4th: fly back down to Fairhope for Independence Day festivities and more wedding meetings. Smart MOI thought it would be fun to waterski a few days before the nuptials. NOT a good idea! I was sore for DAYS. For humor, pic below...
Fun with friends on the water: Stephen, Katie, Lee, and Paige...

My future groom jumping with Rex...The McBrearty's River House (this is where we had our rehearsal dinner party)..

PAUSE AGAIN: plan, plan plan plan. Fly back to DC to work work work. This is a sketch of the reception (part of the planning).

One week later fly back down to Fairhope for the BIG WEEKEND! It was an absolute blast. Look closely and you'll see for yourself. Yes, I sang on stage. Yes, I still get embarassed about it.

Dress winner: Philip Lim from Barney's! It was not even a wedding dress but it was absolutely perfect. I love it, love it, love it.

A shot of some of my very very best friends - who flew from Texas, Washington, or drove 8+ hours to be there to celebrate with Lee and I. They will never know how much it meant to me. Here are the chic ladies enjoying cocktails at the Grand Hotel.

Sunday, July 20th: fly BACK to DC. Monday, July 21st: Fly to Mexico for the MUCH NEEDED break / honeymoon. A-MAZING and I wish I could do it all over again 100 times!

My new hubby giving me a smile...
PS: He is quite good at speaking espanol - he impressed his new wife.

Unfortunately, back to real life. Fly back to DC w/ new husband. I work for a week and check on my dear friend Alfonso who had brain surgery. We packed up our life's belongings and put it in the moving truck, then jumped on a plane to Nashville for my cousin Philip's wedding. It was a blast. Here we are - my sister Emily, Lee, myself, and my brother Steven.

My cousins and my amazingly chic Grandmother, Dot. (I will not tell you her age because you would not believe it!). I just hope I look that good when I'm her age.

The day after the wedding (it's August now) Lee and I move our lives and things to Austin. A few weeks later I find myself wearing orange and white and cheering for the HORNS!! Friends Katy and Ellen...

Lee and I with our great friends Sam and Marjory. Sam is one of those annoying Texas fan-types.

After Lee and I get settled for one week, I then flew back to DC for 3 weeks. I wanted to help out my firm and check on Alfonso after his surgery since he was out for 6 weeks. I then drove over Labor Day weekend from DC to Alabama, to Memphis and then finally to Austin. In September, Lee and I flew to Point Clear, Alabama to attend our dear friends Susan and Alex's wedding. It was a wonderful weekend and I'm sorry I don't have any pictures! I had only been home in Texas for about 3 weeks until I had to fly home for my dear Grandmother's funeral. I was home in Alabama for almost 10 days while she was in critical care at Huntsvile Hospital. I laid with her on the hospital bed and we looked at our wedding album. She was very sick and in a wheelchair that weekend in July, but she DANCED with me at our wedding! I will never forget it - and I will never forget one of the last things she said to me: "I will REALLLY dance when I get to heaven!" That was a very difficult time for my family, and not a single day goes by that I do not think about or miss her. Here we are! She is Dancing!!

Lucy's wedding was in November in Mooresville, AL. It was truly beautiful and she could not have had better weather. We had a lovely time. (I took these pictures with my camera - not bad if I say so myself!)

The beautiful bride...

Somewhere during all of this madness I am working. (let's not forget that!). Lee and I then fly home to Alabama for Thanksgiving, then again for Christmas. (pics on previous posts). My last trip was to New York with Ginny to visit Pam. It was a wonderful, crazy year - is there any other kind? I regret that I missed some of my very dear friend's weddings during these months - sometimes I long for a money tree and four of me! Off to celebrate with the hubby!