Archive for Personal - page 2

Denver, ho

I love Denver. The affair started in college when five friends and I decided to rent a van and gallivant across the Texas desert panhandle and up into the mountainous state for a bit of vacation. We camped, ate, drank, adventured. We all slept in the same bed, and played dominoes at nightfall.

Fast forward a few years… my best friend Jamie and her wee family live there. Through the course of moving from Denton to Seattle and then back to Texas in Austin I’ve visited Denver probably eight or so times. Sometimes accompanied by a friend, or with my Mom like this time, and sometimes alone. The focus is always on my seeing my best friend, and now spending time with her almost two year old. Even though we may be far and wide, spread apart by miles of geography, I have always longed to be a part of her little family circle. So, I attempt to make it so.

There is just something about that cool air, the evergreen scent, climbing rocks and ascending roads that burrow through tunnels. The city is laidback and lovely, bursting at the seams with creativity and culture and bounded by a wild nature I was excited to show my Mom. My weekend in (short) review:

Shopping with my non-niece, Jasmine Ruth

Fell in love with a shop, SEWN

Watched Jasmine cringe in fear as goats, a donkey, an Alpaca and a mini pig bombarded her at the Cinco De Mayo Fest petting zoo

Played a little frisbee

Posed for portraits

Hunted for smooth river rocks with Mom

Soaked up a little peace

Breathed deep

Made Mom take pictures with me

Took in the view from Lookout Mountain


See the whole photo set on my Flickr page.

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Bluebonnets and Blue Bell

I REALLY get into bluebonnet hunting. Here in Texas, the arrival of the bluebonnets along our highways and country roads are much anticipated. They signal wonderful weather (for about a month) and showcase the rolling prairie hills and rocky cacti-speckled landscape. Last year the bluebonnets were less than spectacular, largely due to the insane drought we’ve been experiencing, but this year… OH THIS year… they have been just stunning.

A couple of weeks ago the hubs, the dogs and I set out on a driving day trip from Austin to Brenham, on the hunt for those elusive bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes. We found them! And took gads of ridiculous pictures of the dogs posing in the roadside flowers. The scenery was wonderful, the air smelled grassy and flowery like a typical Texas spring day. With windows down and dog tongues slobbering half way out of mouths, we made our way in the ole FJ up to…

… the Blue Bell Ice Cream factory! I love ice cream, and as a kid growing up in the lone star state you eat a LOT of Blue Bell. I taste tested some cookies ‘n cream and rocky road, we took a couple of pics and then we were off on the road back home.

We don’t have kids, we have dogs. And the whole bluebonnet-picture-taking thing reminds me of when I was a kid. My mom might spot an especially good bluebonnet patch on the side of the road and before you know it, the car was careening towards the shoulder for a quick park and photo shoot.

Aahhh. Texas in the spring.

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the shift

SXSW is over. HURRAH! Wait, is that how I’m supposed to feel?

This year I just couldn’t get into it. I ended up not being able to take off work, and like an idiot (read: responsible, helpful, born leader) I volunteered to help plan my company’s SXSW party. In summary, I had virtually no time or energy to enjoy traipsing around town, sweating through my clothes, watching 18 year old hipsters learn how to smoke cigarettes and see bands that I initially was stoked over only to find out that their live show sucks balls.

fave band of the day: J Roddy Walston & the Business

So yeah. I’m glad SXSW is over. Did I mention I work in the music industry?

I’m thinking that I may be getting old, that AGAIN my priorities are starting to change. The constant shifting is sometimes uncomfortable. Since I met my husband (then boyfriend) at the age of 20, I feel like my life/goals/ideas/life trajectory have been in constant flux. We move around, I end school and then start school, I intern and get new jobs, we buy a house and make new friends/lose old ones… it goes on. I guess this is what real life is like? Is it weird that it’s taken me this long to figure that out?

me, and my quasi-boss Courtney

School is still a pest, our pit Iris keeps splitting her tail on her crate wires in excitement when the lunch-time dog sitter comes over (and then spraying blood all over the walls), I still feel cash-strapped at times and I still guilt-trip myself when I don’t feel like I’ve been doing enough crafting/Etsy-selling/volunteering. So none of that has changed… but somehow I’m feeling good about stuff. I’m feeling positive.

And those shifting priorities I mentioned? I’m not sure what they’re shifting TOWARDS, but I can feel the movement. The wind that shears off it hits me straight in the face.

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And they teach us about ourselves

I had a harried day. This morning I had to call and raise hell with the utilities company here in Austin. They can’t seem to comprehend an address change to the house next door. Then I got some bad news from my work regarding taking time off for SXSW (the music event of the year, mind you). And to top it all of, the new pair of pants I got in the mail, after returning them once because the sizing was wonky, stretched into huge pants while I was at work and I felt uncomfortable and icky all day.

It’s just been one of those days. It happens… and sometimes these days are the hardest to get past for me. They put me in a funk, a mood. And then my neighbor knocked on the door. She had just seen a car hit a cat in the street and drive away. The cat had hobbled up into a side yard and collapsed. My husband ended up taking it to the emergency vet, where the cat passed way.

It wasn’t my cat. It wasn’t my fault. In fact, we did everything we could to help it. But it just feels heart-wrenching. We put so much into taking care of our three pets. They’re our family, our pack, our loves. Sure, they’re animals… housepets. But they’ve taught me so much about myself, about other people and about love. I feel sorrowful for this tabby cat that died today, but I feel lucky to be around my little family, human and pet alike.

And I think we’re going to rescue another cat.

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Musings and goings-on

I’m moving. Again. After packing up all our belongings and four pets to drive from Seattle to Austin for the Big Texas Move-back, and staying for less than a year, we’re moving again. But this time, within the same city!

We’re shopping right now for houses so we’re FINALLY GOING TO BUY A HOUSE. I’m beyond excited for this new part of our lives, and a little reticent. I feel like Brett and I have both been looking, planning and yearning for a place to call our own for quite a while now. While this decision comes at a somewhat tumultuous time in our lives (big life decisions and such), it’s a welcome turn of events.

Just thinking about the funky changes we’ll make to our new place, carving out a little piece of “us” there, makes me giddy. Mid-century modern doors? YES. Retro light fixtures… uhh yeah. Painting things wacky colors!? Totally.

I’m perpetually inspired by Danielle Thompson’s home. Eeh gads. Is it not rad around every corner?!

I have a feeling you’re gonna be hearing a lot of designy/remodel talk in the nearish future. Big plans are a’coming folks! I like this life. It’s growing on me.

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The Daily Nail

Whoa. That’s all that came to mind when I first saw this amazing blog. I’ve always loved painting my nails (and have always abhorred having them done at the salon), but this is just taking nail painting to a whole other level. A rockin’ awesome level!

I have now been inspired to get creative with these brittle, non-cooperating oddly-shaped nails of mine. They will become works of ART!

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Muzik: Spotify & Turntable FM

I switched jobs recently. I no longer work at home (which isn’t my favorite) BUT I do have a much cooler gig! I work at Front Gate Tickets in Marketing/Social Media. SO… music is a really big part of my day. Making playlists, talking about music, writing about music… selling tickets for music shows.

This isn’t really a big shift for me, in a way. I’ve been doing music writing for years, have interned at record labels, and have been immersed in the independent music scene for a long time. Two big new music applications that I’ve been delving into at work are Spotify and Turntable FM.

They both have their pluses and minuses, their fans and haters, and I find myself enjoying both. Spotify (my username is: shriespangler) is great for discovering new music. When I check out an album review or get a suggestion it’s super easy to plug that into Spotify and listen to the album. I also like to subscribe to my friend’s playlists, which can be fun. Such a great way to share playlists! I don’t buy into the premium or upgraded subscription, I’m just running it on free mode right now and have had no problems with it.

I equally enjoy Turntable FM (my username is: Shrie Bradford Spangler). It’s fun to jump in a room with a couple of friends (real or of the “e-friend” variety) and swap turns at playing songs. It’s basically like an online collaborative DJ set. Sometimes it can get tiresome if you don’t want to listen to the same thing your room-mates are playing, but it’s a great online social way to spin some tunes.

So get out there, play some music, share it with some people and GET DOWN!

PS – Wanna create a Turntable FM room with me? I have good taste, I swear.

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Pantone Markers and schtuff

Okay, hold the phone. These Pantone Markers are DELICIOUS. I’m such a geek for Pantone colors, and markers.. oh my! I have hundreds of markers, glitter pens, colored pencils, crayons etc. I just adore them.

Behold these beauties, just waiting to be pressed to some fine gorgeous card stock! Gorgeous. Want.

Life has been… challenging lately. I started a new job, which is really kind of on the edge of my dream job. I’m FINALLY working in music (sorta) and I’m FINALLY getting paid to write and blog about bands. Switching from a work at home attitude to a work at the office during specified hours attitude has been difficult though. Add a new job + school + still trying to craft for my Etsy shop + blogging for Austin Craft Riot + volunteering as Online Publicity Coordinator for Austin Pets Alive! and you’ve got ONE BUSY BEE named Shrie!

Life is oh so busy. But I’m trying to soak up the good parts, deal with the bad parts, and just grow. Things are exciting! Things are good, but things are in flux. Sometimes it’s hard to see the big picture amidst all the worries, gripes, adjustments and hardships of daily life. But I’m working on that…

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Polly and me, penpals forever

So I have this penpal. We got matched up through the Reform School. And come to find out… we’re VERY similar. And more than that, I felt an automatic bond, even from many states away. I’ve never spoken to her on the phone, yet I have an idea of what her voice sounds like. We’ve been sending postcards and letters back and forth for months now, almost always on handmade postcards or special stationery. We write to each other like long-known friends, long letters laden with her trademark flowery bubbly script and my messy half print half cursive block print.

My letters to her are often filled with angst, uncertainty about what I’m doing and where I’m going. I battle with many thoughts in my head, and it is immensely helpful to just write them out, lay them out there for someone who doesn’t know you (but in fact knows you quite well) to go through and sort. It helps to have someone else sort out your thoughts sometimes.

I wanted to create a very special present for my penpal. I wanted her to feel the love through this item, and know that it came from the best parts of my heart. So I started working. In between other projects I gave it a little time, until finally, about two months after I started it, it was finished. I knew she would just love it. So I sent it and waited excitedly (I tracked it through the USPS because I was mortified that she wouldn’t get it for some reason).

Little did I know that the very week that I sent her gift package, one of her beloved dogs had passed away. This penpal of mine and I… we love our animals. It’s a big part of what we share together… our devotion to our dogs and cats. Not even knowing that this had happened, I had sent my package right on time. She reported back that she burst into tears and that she couldn’t believe how perfect it was. How I knew her so well! It was just what she needed at that time, she said.

This is why I make things for people. This is why it matters to send mail. This is why connecting matters. Giving gives you just so much more in return…

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So let’s get this straight…

Please re-blog this if you support love and marriage for all.

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Texas bluebonnets

Every year in the spring, usually around April, the highways in Texas explode with bluish purple and red color of the Bluebonnets (Texas state flower) and the Indian Paintbrush. Lady Bird Johnson, LBJ’s wife, championed the spreading of wildflower seeds throughout Texas and that tradition still stands.


As the geeky pet parents that we are, we decided (okay, it was strictly MY idea to do this but Brett went along with it) to take a wildflower drive with the dogs to see if we could find a good patch or two. We drove south to Marble Falls and back up 71 to Austin on our search. Unfortunately the blooming bluebonnet fields have yet to fully develop, but we did find some decent patches along our way.


We pulled over, drug the panting dogs out on the side of the highway and made them take pictures. It was TOOOO good. I loved it. Look at those smiling faces. Just LOOK at ’em!


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Doozy of a month

You guys, March about killed me! It was crazy times. I went to the wedding of a dear friend down at the tip of Texas in McAllen, had my first craft show, participated in and volunteered for a big event at the interactive portion of SXSW, a new friend came and stayed for a week, I was covering the SXSW music portion for Seattle’s Another Rainy Saturday and my hub’s sassy and awesome mini-sized MeeMaw (aka Wanda) passed away. And those are just the big things.

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It’s been a long and tumultuous month, and I’m tired. The craft show didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped, but it went about as I expected. It was good experience for a first time seller, and I got a lot of support from other handmade mavens at the show. Everyone was so kind!

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SXSW was amazing, sweaty, tiresome and a lot of work. I’m so glad I went for three days, and saw upwards of 20 bands, but I am just as equally glad that it’s over! Some favorites of mine were Jaill, Sunglasses, D. Black, Resplendar, Dan Deacon and We Are ENFANT TERRIBLE. My first day’s account of the events are up already on Another Rainy Saturday.

I feel like there is so much going on! I haven’t had time to check my RSS blog feeds, or write blog posts, or even unload my craft show gear. BLARGHHH. What do you guys do when things tend to be a whirlwind of craziness? How do you keep from going mad?

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PS: Those pics are of our Wall of Wow display for at SXSW. You could ride Babsy the cat!

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Entering the Austin craft world

When we moved to Austin from Seattle, we moved into a smaller house by about 250 sq ft. Downsizing is AWESOME! But, the bad part of all that great downsizing is that I had to give up my craft space that occupied the third room of our house. Now, because we’re living in a strict two bedroom with no office or extra space, I no longer have a space to spread out and do my thang.

WIP embroidery

I don’t love that I don’t have that space anymore. It makes it hard for me to spend much time getting creative, because now my creative time also includes the setup and breakdown time of all my materials and crafting apparatus. But, I’m figuring it out as I go, sewing at the kitchen table and embroidering by lamplight in the living room.

My husband has been very supportive of my efforts to get involved in the Austin crafting scene, as I was pretty heavily involved in the Etsy team in Seattle. I just joined the Etsy Austin team, and we’re super busy with preparing for Etsy’s involvement in SXSW! There is gonna be a Wall of Wonder, a huge photo prop, some guerrilla marketing and much more! I can’t wait.

I also got invited to have a small booth at a little craft show that at Medici during SXSW. I still have never done a craft show, so I’m excited and nervous at the same time. Even if I sell one thing and give out cards, I think it’s worth it. Wish me luck, and come out to see me if you’re in Austin!

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Pre PRE birthday weekend

This weekend was roughly two weeks before my 28th birthday. 28th!!! I’m not old, and I’m not freaking out about my age. But more than that, I’m just AMAZED at how time flies. One second I’m in college beer bonging and keg standing and the next I’m a real woman in a real relationship making real life choices. It feels good.


Today is also the seven year anniversary of the Brett and Shrie love story. Seven years ago today, I first kissed the love of my life. And to tell you the truth (at the risk of sounding like a weiner) I knew I wanted to marry him within a couple of months. It took four years for him to pop the question, but I’m fairly sure that we both knew it would only be a matter of time. In almost exactly a month we will celebrate our two year wedding anniversary. This is absolutely WACKY! It feels like just yesterday that we were road tripping down to Texas from Washington on the scary icy roads with our red dog Clem and a car full of wedding decorations. It’s been a journey so far, and not one without a significant amount of bumps and proverbial bruises. I never dreamt about weddings or being married as a kid, but I cannot WAIT to get old and wrinkly with this man.

My parents came into town this weekend to help me celebrate my birthday. My mom just can’t stand not being able to make me breakfast, our birthday tradition of biscuits and chocolate gravy (if you are not southern and have not heard of this wonderful dish you are certainly missing out). It was DELICIOUS. I miss Seattle, but it feels SO RIGHT to be in Texas right now, seeing my family, living in the greatest state in this great country. It’s starting to feel like home, and it’s been a long time since I’ve known what that feeling is like.

In other awesome news, one of my embroidery art pieces was featured on’s Etsy Treasury of the Week last week! Thanks guys!

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BBQ Bonanza

Black'sSince moving down from Seattle to Austin, the gastro-nerd hubs of mine has wanted to take a mini field trip out to Elgin or Lockhart to taste some of that world famous BBQ some swear by. This weekend the craving hit hard and we high-tailed it to Lockhart early in the day to partake in some BBQ sampling.

Unfortunately, one of the three big BBQ landmarks in the little old town, Kreuz, was closed on Sundays (what BBQ joint isn’t open on Sundays? Blasphemy.), so we couldn’t eat there. We began our taste test with Black’s BBQ, a homey shack of a restaurant that serves buffet style sides, and your choice of protein from the guy standing behind the register in a meaty apron hacking away at different cuts on a heavy chopping block. The jalapeno cheese sausage was a bit bland and not even approaching spicy, and the brisket burnt ends had a good bark on them but had obviously been sitting out a bit too long. My husband had a monster rib, which turned out to be more about shock value and less about taste. The mac and cheese was appropriately gooey, and an unhealthy shade of yellow orange, but was pretty tasty.

Homemade wienersOur second destination on our mini weekend BBQ field trip was to Smitty’s, which had more of a long saloon hall vibe with an impressive smoker in the back part of the building. You walk all the way to the back to order your meat, and you WILL NOT come out of that smoker room smelling of anything other than rich meaty smoke. You order your sides at the pay counter and saddle up to one of the long benches that span the room. The “hot ring” sausage we had was greasy but chock full of flavor. White bread was a perfect vehicle for the piping hot goodness. The fatty brisket that the hubs ordered had the fat cap cut off (boo!) and wasn’t really that impressive. My BBQin’ hubs’ brisket is better than both of the options we had today. Overall we preferred Smitty’s in just about every category.

Patchwork fabric and rosette fabric artOh… AND I got a little wacky with some fabric scraps, hot glue and a pretty button and made something. I got inspired by a piece of patchwork wall art I saw while browsing Etsy and decided to wing it and try my own. In hindsight, perhaps I should have left it as just the sewn-together pieces of patchwork fabric, and not put on the rosettes or button. But perhaps not. Either way, it felt good to get crafty today after all the moving/job madness of the last few weeks!

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Puckward Bound

Ahh. We’re now safely in Austin. All of our stuff made it here, our sanity (well mostly) made it here… and all of our pets are here, safe and sound. Moving across the country from Seattle to Austin with a 16′ Budget truck packed with all of our worldly possessions and one pit bull named Iris, an FJ Cruiser packed with two kitties known as Puck and Fey, one peanut butter dog named Clem and one stressed-out road-weary husband was hard.

East of Tombstone, AZ

And if all of the drama that follows that caravan around weren’t enough, our surly alpha kitty Puck slipped out of our west El Paso La Quinta hotel room and went missing. We searched around the hotel and the surrounding businesses for hours, shaking his food bowl and calling his name. Puck is a friendly cat, more like a dog than a cat, and is known to come when called. Puck did not come when we called his name. We subsequently freaked.

After many many tears, lots of hand-wringing and a heavy heart we left town, just KNOWING that if he was there and had heard us he would have come running. We were absolutely crushed… and attempted to drown our sorrows in El Paso’s H&H Car Wash’s tacos. The tacos were fabulous, and the several hardworking Mexican ladies were friendly and warm, but our Puck was still not with us.

We drove nine hours through the desert, from El Paso to Austin, weeping and lamenting and just feeling downright rotten. It was a tough ride, and suffice it to say when we finally showed up to our new house my face was puffy and red from the crying. While trying to maneuver the menagerie of boxes and furniture now stacked in our house, Puck was never far from our mind.

A day and a half later, at almost 1am, hubs got a phone call. On the other end I heard, “Uhh.. did you lose a cat?” Puck had escaped our room, run scared down the stairs to the first floor, slipped into another room and hid in a drawer. When the room’s new tenant arrived and heard Puck’s uncertain meows, he coaxed him out and called the number on Puck’s tag. THANK GOODNESS he had a collar and tag on.

Hubs subsequently got up at 6am, after only about four and a half hours sleep, and made the drive right back to El Paso, nine hours each way. Puck is back, ornery as ever, and causing trouble like he never left. I’ll put up with his drawer opening, his howling and his beating on the blinds for as long as he’s alive. Because even though he’s a royal pain, he’s OUR royal pain and we’re extremely happy to have him back ruling our roost.

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Wacky Moving Christmas Craziness

We’re in the midst of moving, from Seattle to Austin. Things are crazy, our Christmas is in shambles, we’re a little discombobulated…. I’ll be back after the New Year, in a new place, making a new start!

Wish us luck…

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