Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Who I am....

If you're here because you got this
 then chances are EXTREMELY high that you live in my 'hood...
or that you're my mama, because she collects anything and everything that has my picture on it.
Anyhoo...let's assume that you live in my Texas neighborhood.
Let me start by tellin' you just a bit about myself.
I moved back to Texas after living in the Washington DC metro area where I was a realtor for many years.
(Shout out to my Long and Foster and Coldwell Baker peeps!)
Finally, after 13 years of driving 2 blocks in 3 hours, longing for the sound of birds instead of car horns, big open sky instead of gray, colorless buildings and hoping for at least one 'hello' or a smile at the very least from some one - anyone - that I came in contact with, I went home and told my best friend Sally
'Let's get outta here and go back to Texas.'
So, a month later, I threw a suitcase in the front seat of Little Miss Sunshine (my yellow Mini-Cooper), got Sally situated in the back, and 2 days - voila! We were 'home'.
Now, there are two things I'm pretty good at.
Writing and Real Estate - and not necessarily in that order - and one of those, I guess, it actually depends on who you ask if I'm 'good' or not.
(my fun book)
(my bestseller - great if you like nail-biting suspense)
Because even though I have 4 (almost 5-star ratings) on both novels, some of my critics think I should jump off a bridge and never put pen to paper ever again. And some days I would agree.
My Real Estate Career, however, is another story. I KNOW, without a shadow of a doubt that I'm great at that.
It just comes naturally.
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE helping others find their dream home and helping people get what they want.
I just do.
So, every once in a while you'll get these post cards from me.
I've invited y'all to join me here on Hillbilly Debutante. Now, don't worry - it's not 'all real estate all the time'.
No sirree, Bob. We talk about lots of different subjects. It's all very random. You never know what to expect - except one thing.
I have more fun than the law should allow.
Sometimes I share recipes.

A little dollop of sour cream on top of your strawberries sprinkled with brown sugar - I'm tellin' ya - your taste buds will thank me.
Sometimes I talk about my favorite mode of transportation, which is my vintage-style pink bike named "Peggy Sue", and my love of vintage vehicles.

You'll see me pedaling around the neighborhood on any given evening, so if you see me give me a shout-out.
I don't have the Grand Wagoneer yet, so I have to settle for the magnet on my fridge.
I'm also in love with vintage trucks.
Now, don't let this here picture fool ya:
I look like I'd be afraid to work too hard for fear of chipping a nail or breaking a sweat. Nope - you will very seldom see me looking like this.
If I'm not riding 'Peggy Sue' or walking Sally, then you'll very likely see me in boots/jeans.
Here ya' go- see for yourself.
Even if you don't want to buy or sell, but you need the name of a good service provider in the area. I have a list of good plumbers, contractors, inspectors, housekeepers, authors (just kidding) -
And to all my other readers who live across the country who have followed me for the past 10 years, I know you don't want to hear non-stop real estate trends, either.
Don't worry - nothing is really changing.
Mostly, I just wanted to give an introduction as to what we're all about on here.
Stay tuned - we're getting ready to do a little kitchen construction here at Hillbilly Hacienda.
And we're doing it ourselves.
Can Mr. T and Kathie's marriage survive one more project?
Stay tuned!
Until next time

Monday, July 6, 2015

Summertime, summertime, sum-sum-sumertime

Bit by bit, and a little at a time, the Hillbilly Hacienda is lookin' better and better. We  Mr. T did a bit of landscaping in the front, and I did my part by placing a few throw pillows on the porch chairs for some color. That was pretty much the extent of my 'help.'

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE to help. But for some reason I never live up to 'you know who's' expectations and then a big fight ensues. I'm not digging deep enough. I'm digging too deep. The plants are too far apart. The plants are too close together. I'm holding the hoe wrong.  I'm sure we're not the first couple fight over an old hoe. (ba-da-boom!)
Okay, let's move around to the back yard, now.

I adore these new 'vintage-style' lawn chairs. I wish I could remember the name of the store where we bought them, because I ALWAYS love to give a shout out to whomever I do business with. It's located on Ross Street in Dallas. Hmmmm....just asked Mr. T and he can't remember either. My daughter knows but it's way too late to call and ask her. Tell ya what....I have to go in town tomorrow and I'll do a drive by and then report back to you.

Anyhoo - Mr. Master Gardener is not going to be happy that I posted his 'bald spot' on the internet, although I really don't know why he should get his panties in a wad. He is building me a wrap-around table around the tree so there is no need to plant grass there, anyway. Besides, these chairs are so darlin' that you probably wouldn't have even noticed this bald patch if I hadn't pointed it out.

 My dining room hasn't been so easy to decorate, but I REALLY lucked out with this white hutch. I was showing farm land to a client last week down in Royse City (about 30 miles south of Dallas) and came upon the cutest little boutique I've ever seen. It's called 'Lyndi's' and it's right there on Main Street. She even delivered it to my house! That creamy white really shows off my Blue Willow china, which just happens to match my curtains.

You can follow 'Lyndi's Boutique' of Royse City on Facebook, as well.  I love her furniture, but she also has really cute cowgirl, prairie style clothing, too. I can tell she is gonna get me in lot's of trouble. Can't wait!
Oh - and guess what? When I gave her my address and told her the name of my house, she knew instantly where it was because she'd driven past and seen THIS:
 Another place I love to haunt is Dot's Consignment in Dallas on Live Oak Street. It's an Awesome (with a capital 'A') place to shop, not only for furniture and home goods, but also vintage clothes/hats/jewelry.

I found this tea/coffee set there for a song. It's silver-plated, but it's
E B Rogers, which is good-quality silver-plate.

 Cardinals add a splash of color to an all blue-white room.
Oh my! I almost forgot. Let's go back to the back yard again.

I think we're not the ONLY ones living here at Hillbilly Hacienda!


Monday, June 22, 2015

Yes, Virginia ....there really IS a Santa Claus

Oops....wrong story.
Yes, Virginia- you CAN still buy a house in the Dallas metro area for under $200,00.
I love this cute, cottage-style home.
But, wait til you see what's inside. Follow me....

 As pristine as can be!
Told ya, so!
However, in this market they are not lasting.
So, make sure you're prepared before you even go out with your realtor. Have your loan lined up before you even get in his/her car. Actually, a good realtor will insist on it the very first thing.
The best thing to do is to ask your realtor for references on a lender. As realtors, we know who can get the job done and get it done on time - which is sssooo important.
(I can not stress enough how important a reputable lender is).
If you're in the Dallas area - or moving here or know someone who is I'd love to work with them.
And yes - this is a shameless plug.
Don't worry - this is not turning into a 'real-estate' blog.
Sure, I'll post about houses every once in a while.
But I'll also still blog about fashion, junking, decorating
Hillbilly Hacienda, and all the wild and crazy trouble I often find myself in - along with the occasional editorial.
In other words, I promise to keep being the predictably unpredictable,random person you've come to know (and hopefully love) the past 10 years.
(Yikes! It's been 10 years already?)
Pinky promise!

Friday, June 19, 2015

One Year later....

Exactly ONE YEAR ago today, I climbed into my sunshine yellow Mini-Cooper, clothes stacked on top of an already bulging, over-stuffed bag in the front seat, and a big black dog in the back.
After 21 hours of driving across our beautiful South, I felt an overwhelming giddiness when I saw this approaching in the distance.
After 32 years - finally - I was back in Texas.
Not for a visit.
Not for a drive-through.
But here.
Really and truly here to stay.
Tears of joy streamed down my face as I drove across that state line.
My first goal was to live a simple life.
People have asked how I achieved this.
I cut back on all the 'noise'.
Politics, news and television (with the exception of Downtown Abbey, of course) were replaced with books and/or decorating magazines.
LOTS of decorating magazines

"Prairie Style" has been my go-to source for decorating and construction ideas for Hillbilly Hacienda, as well as for my personal style.

I didn't rush to get a job or make new friends.
I just took a deep breath - and chilled.
On weekends I'd scour flea markets, junk stores and vintage shops. The folks at Home Depot and Lowe's got to know us by name.
During the week, I'd hole myself up in the new house that needed so much love and attention. And while the old girl looks a heck of a lot better than she did, she still needs more work - but it is so much fun!
Next, I wanted a job. But not just any ol' job - one where I was free to be me, show my creativity and dress however I wanted with no restrictions. And y'all know what THAT means!
Okay, well maybe I didn't wear the crown - but I sure could have and my boss wouldn't have minded one bit! Seriously, though - it was a perfect job and I had THE best boss - EVER. I mean, like in a hundred million years. After all my time in the job market and some of the ya-hoo's (in the south we pronounce that YAY-hoo) I have worked for, I'm tellin' ya that I DESERVED her.
But alas, after 8 months of being there the owners decided to close our store. Boo-hoo! I hated that.
I'm a realtor at heart anyway, so I just went back to my first love.
So, once again, I'm happy with my job.
In our 33 years of marriage we have moved over 20 times. When people would ask 'How do you like Missouri, Texas, Mississippi, Virginia or Washington DC?' I would always quote my favorite Bible verse:
'For I have found whatever state I am therefore to be content.' Phillipians 4:13
Now, I am sure that isn't what the Apostle Paul meant by 'state', but I am here to tell you that TEXAS is MY state of contentment.
Simplicity and contentment.
What more could I possibly ask for?
Oh, yeah - there's that!
Maybe this time next year!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Godmother to a Gang Leader

'This will never amount to anything' was my initial reaction when I agreed to write to Adrian, the brother of my son's girlfriend -
and a prisoner at a maximum security prison.

He was an 'aspiring writer' seeking advice and I was an author willing to dish it out.

I had an ulterior motive and I was sure he did, too.

As a radio personality in my 20's and 30's I'd gotten several fan letters from prisoners, so I knew how this worked.

It never failed - the first paragraph started with introductions, the second would always be the list of reasons of why it was always 'someone else's fault' that they were in their predicament, and by the first sentence of the third paragraph they'd want money and a lawyer.

My ulterior motive? Well, I've never been one to miss an opportunity to talk to someone about Jesus. But experience taught me that the letters always stop upon the first mention of the 'J-word.'

And besides - what on earth could a Hispanic gang leader - yes, I said gang leader - and an older middle-age White woman possibly have in common?

This would be over before it even started.

Except 3 and a 1/2 years later, it is still going strong.

Somewhere in this time frame - and I can't pinpoint when - writing to this boy, talking to him about the Bible, mentoring him, stopped being a chore, stopped being a duty and started to be a labor of love.

Yes, I love this boy. He has become like my middle child. I get letters from him almost every week, and he calls us several times a week.

Never has he asked us for anything. Ever.
He is an artist and several times he has made things for me and I cherish those.

Sometimes we send him books because he loves to read - but we offer - he's never asked.

He has never made excuses for why he is there. In his very first letter he included his case number that detailed exactly why he is incarcerated so there would be no doubt.

It has been amazing to watch him change through the years. He has let down so many barriers and gone from being an angry young man with a chip on his shoulder to someone who now has a goal of helping others get out of the life that put him where he is.

He is incredibly smart. He who only has an elementary education, yet his writing is beautiful and his speech eloquent. And while this may be hard to believe, he has impeccable manners.

I am going to stop now. I am going to give y'all time to pick your jaw up off the floor, and contemplate how stupid you think I am.

That's okay.

I just thought it was time for you to know.
I wanted to tell you a long time ago, but Adrian wouldn't let me.
He was afraid you all would judge me.

I guess that remains to be seen.