Who’s That Lady?

After just scheduling some strategic tweets about my current giveaway, I realized I need to schedule some blog posts too. Can’t be blogging a couple of times a week, when I have time… BORING! But, while I have you and your attention, I think I am going to introduce myself, aka blogger/seller/human.

See that profile pic off to the side? Yep, that’s me, Melanie. You know I love design/art/decorating/animals/vintage, just as it says. To be more precise, I will go into detail:




ART. Art has been a big part of my life. I took it throughout middle school and was in AP Art in high school. Continuing on into college, I graduated with my BFA in Art from the University of Texas at Arlington. I enjoy painting and collage as creative outlets, but really can’t seem to get invested in doing them anymore. I took a painting class at the AMOA Laguna Gloria last Spring and fell right back in love. It’s still there… when I find inspiration and time.




DESIGN. My last year in college though, I decided to focus on graphic design. I dabble in a little bit of it now with my job creating the company weekly sales newsletters, but I’m no logo/branding creating genius. I just admire all of that from afar like packaging/illustration/typography.




DECORATING. Geez, obsessed much? Just look at my Pinterest board. My style in a nutshell: Modern Eclectic (modern mixed with antiques/vintage). Decorating has been in my blood since I was a kid though. My room was always pristine and decorated. I collected Barbie’s, but I also asked for and bought decor & furniture for my room. Embarrassingly enough, in high school, I even had a sign on my bed to not sit on it. Everything was in it’s perfectly staged place. Who I was trying to impress, I don’t know, but it sure makes me laugh today. Creating your happy place is serious business, folks!




ANIMALS. Where do I begin? This is my weakness; they are my heart. I go right into “baby” voice mode when I am around pets and other animals, even on screen like Pinterest. My friends laugh at me as I gravitate towards someone’s dog on the street or talk to the cows as I drive by… I am a sucker. But with this love comes sensitivity. I get absolutely destroyed hearing about animal abuse or seeing shelter dogs. I freak out when I see a dog on the loose. Can’t tell you how many times my husband and I have stopped to help out a lost or dumped dog. I even stop the car and move turtles out of the road. I could go on and on. I bleed (and brake) for animals.




VINTAGE. This all started in college just by perusing the antique stores in Grapevine, TX. I started collecting some odd pieces for the apartment, mixing it into the decor, and it became an instant hit with friends. In 2007, I decided to open my own Etsy shop to sell my handmade and vintage wares. And over the past couple of years, I started to “rescue” vintage by thrifting and going to estate sales for inventory. I love vintage Pyrex and other glass bakeware, children’s books, barware, furniture, kitschy ceramic planters… But all of this shows because I sell what I love.

Hope that helps a little more, getting to know who is behind the “Hand on Hip” blog and Rare Bird Boutique Etsy/Instagram shops.

More to come!

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PS: My $10 Rare Bird Boutique Shop Credit Giveaway ends today at midnight CST. Be sure to enter soon!


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Back To The Basics

As I am writing this, Aaliyah’s “Try Again” lyrics are playing through my head:

It’s been a long time 

We shouldn’t have left you

Without a dope beat to step to…

Well, it’s Timbaland rapping, but you get the picture. I’ve neglected this blog. I feel pretty rotten about it, but things got busy, crazy, and now slow. I can refocus again. Let’s see, I need to catch you up!

1. Rare Bird Boutique is no longer featured in Cherry Tree Creative or Little Liberty’s in downtown Taylor, Texas. Just wrapped things up there this Spring.

2.Instagram sales picked up on my other account at @rarebirdforsale for a while, but eerily, they are slow now.

3. I hosted my 2nd Vintage Market at my home in April. Bad idea to host the day before a holiday, but nonetheless, it was fun! My friend Kristin of After While Crocodile Vintage vended with me again and we also had a mini garage sale.

4. I took everything off Etsy at the beginning of the year and now I am slowly adding items back on. Free shipping in June, folks!

5. Did I mention that I went back to work last September as well? No more sabbatical. I am back to my marketing gig, part-time for a former employer.


Sadly, I came down with the flu, fast & furious after this picture was taken at my 2nd Vintage Market.


So as you can see, things are slow and in a rebuilding process. I had branched out in so many ways with Rare Bird Boutique, that the blog had suffered. In these times, I can come back, regroup and write when inspired. Times like these make you reflect and wonder why things are slow. It could be that I need to reconnect with an audience again therefore, it’s “Back to the Basics”.

Hope you’ll stick around to enjoy the blog and more! I look forward to this down time to reintroduce myself, the blog, my shop and lifestyle to the reader.

Best wishes,

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Don’t forget! I am hosting a $10 Rare Bird Boutique Shop Credit Giveaway until 6/24. Details in this post.

Inspired: The Things I Love, Part III

The last time I wrote “Inspired: The Things I Love” was in 2009. A lot can happen in almost four years! You can add new things to the list, make changes, or even repeat your faves. Since giving my blog a little makeover love, I have gone back and reread some of my posts. This one struck a chord again and got me thinking…

Here’s to listing out my favorite things once more! Maybe you’ll be inspired to make a list.

  • Chobani Greek Yogurt Bites, Flips, and Champions
  • Marfa, Texas
  • short hairstyles
  • colored jeans
  • chunky necklaces


  • “New Girl” tv show
  • “The League” tv show
  • “Freaks and Geeks” tv show
  • painting class
  • vintage children’s books
  • gold jewelry/accessories
  • weightlifting
  • Ranch-style houses
  • my book club
  • my blessings jar
  • hot baths with Epsom salt
  • brunch
  • unique party decorations
  • Nutella
  • peanut butter
  • protein shakes
  • colorful and/or wide-mouth straws
  • vintage barware
  • giving/making gifts
  • cleaning tips
  • watercolor paintings
  • Mark Duplass


  • Mid-Century Modern
  • animal lovers
  • Instagram
  • The Austin Flea
  • design books
  • cheetah print
  • when my dog Maggie wears her Thundershirt
  • chevron pattern
  • learning French, one day
  • High Tea at the Four Seasons
  • cooking new dinner recipes
  • pretty tea towels
  • containers
  • the color gray
  • Banana Republic
  • Chris O’Dowd
  • strong perfume (like Marc Jacobs’s “Lola”)
  • succulents
  • fiber mascara
  • a clean house
  • Etsy orders
  • feel-good chats
  • Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • handwritten letters/cards
  • sense of belonging
  • my G-love workout gloves


  • making Etsy treasuries
  • extra dirty vodka Martinis
  • stuffed green olives
  • fancy cheese
  • the leather fragrance inside my car after a wash
  • taking care of my household/my sabbatical
  • celebrating birthdays
  • genealogy
  • how my dog Asa’s feet smell like Fritos
  • my hubby’s tan skin
  • my hubby’s muscular arms
  • my hubby’s eyes
  • bow-ties & vests
  • Alamo Drafthouse Singalongs
  • baking
  • British comedies (The IT Crowd & The Mighty Boosh)
  • couples vacations
  • best friend weekend trips
  • baby goats
  • funny/vintage childhood pictures


  • a good salad
  • discovering new Austin things to-do
  • slumber parties
  • photo booths
  • being there for my friends
  • my iPhone
  • my Grandpa’s voice (I miss talking to him)
  • mod home decor
  • Spice Village in Waco, Texas
  • good sushi
  • seafood
  • Mexican folk art
  • getting a fresh cut/color
  • mustaches on a stick
  • IKEA candles, $1 cinnamon rolls, & Lingonberry juice
  • weekend getaways with my honey
  • Lockhart, Texas BBQ
  • Texas Antiques Week

JG Happy Texas

  • groomed eyebrows
  • cuddling with my pups
  • scheduled gal pal phone dates
  • color blocking
  • being a member of the Austin Craft Riot
  • integrity
  • my silver sneakers
  • family bonding
  • wine tastings

And that’s a 100 for ya! I have to stop, but I am sure more will come to mind.

Until next time,

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The Little Things

Thinking back the other day, I remembered a certain blog post written by Victoria Smith, aka sfgirlbybay. After the earthquakes in Japan, sfgirlbybay wrote about how thankful she was for her dog, the pretty things she collects, her home, and of course her family & friends.

This made me stop thinking about my home improvement to-do list and take a closer look at my humble abode. I focused on the little things that make us happy and reflect our combined style and personality. Full of eye candy, I realized I have sweet reminders of our love, my weird collections, with modern & antique all wrapped up under one roof. I am thankful for my surroundings and look forward to many more years in our little green house with my husband & furry children.

Just What I Needed… You?

Promise Yourself

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel that there is something worthwhile in them.

To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

To think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best.

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

To wear a cheerful expression at all times and give a smile to every living creature you meet.

To give so much time to improving yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud word, but in great deeds.

To live in the faith that the whole world is on your side, so long as you are true to the best that is in you.

The Optimist Creed – Christian Larson, 1912


Thank you Marli @ Chase Simplicity. You always have great material… Quite inspirational!

Well, Hello There 2011

I feel like I just wrote this post the other day.

Has a year really gone by?

So I was starting my journey last year around this time. Reflecting back on it, I took it for granted. I read through my books too fast, ran one 5K, and after class was over in May, my writing came to a screeching halt.

Since I am easing my way into our “office in the making”, I am thinking that some of my forgotten hobbies will get picked back up. At this very moment, I am already sitting at my desk, blogging!

I ended 2010 on a sour note and I plan on starting 2011 on a sweeter one. Walking around the house today, I noticed certain things that I had passed by before without a second look. It made me think and come to where I am now. Things need to change, things will change and there are things that are in the process of…

I decided to make a list and hopefully, I will come back to visit so it will not be forgotten. This is my jumping off point. Take note:

1. Ride my bike

2. Vacuum more

3. Hire someone to vacuum more (occasional help)

4. Get organized

5. Focus on my shop

6. Write poetry

7. Blog more often

8. Minimize around the house

9. Have people over more

10. Use my cookbooks

11. Take the dogs on better walks

12. Buy clothes that mix and match

13. Worry less about what others think

14. Be confident

15. Spend more time outside

16. Do yoga

17. Run

18. Take my vitamins!

19. Go on picnics with husband

20. Paint my nails

21. Paint the inside of the closets

22. Make collages

23. Wear red lipstick

24. Grow my hair out

25. Keep in better touch with my friends

26. Manage my emotions

27. Write in my journal

28. Give my car a bath

29. Pray

30. Go junking/picking

31. Paddlesurf

32. Take a Texas roadtrip

33. Have a girls only weekend (several)

34. Accept certain things the way they are

35. Achieve my goals

36. Go to art museums

37. Have a great birthday!

38. Keep giving to Goodwill

39. Go blonde (or close to it)

40. Get office squared away

41. Work to earn money

42. Stop saying “sorry” all the damn time

43. Stop opening the door to wounded feelings

44. Be patient

45. Save some cash

46. Dig up old plants and start new landscaping

47. Mind my own business

48. Balance my checkbook

49. Change my name on documents

50. Nail down my new signature

51. Think a little more about that tattoo

52. Stop knocking myself down

53. Have a drink at home once in a while

54. Eat cleaner (not detergent!)

55. Wear the lingerie tucked away in the drawer

56. Cherish those near and dear to me

57. Celebrate anything important

58. Stop making excuses

59. Send letters/cards

60. Have romantic dinners at home

61. Ease up on voicing negative thoughts

62. Ditch the need to feel wanted/liked

63. Be who I want to be (Thanks Ghandi)

64. List something in my shop at least 5 times a week

65. Let people live their lives

66. Listen more

67. Continue education/learning

68. Be a leader

69. Volunteer on some community projects

70. Take things one step at a time

71. Visit family & friends I haven’t seen in a long time

72. Frame wedding photos

73. Drive slower

74. Remember what’s important

75. Watch my Netflix movies as soon as they come in

76. Take better care of my skin

77. Do more home improvement projects

78. Take pictures with my Holga

79. Buy 120 film

80. Dance

81. Take a Hip/Hop dance class

82. Laugh

83. Read

84. Need/Want less

85. Put my anger to bed

86. Be proud

87. Move on

88. Bring home flowers

89. Give

90. Be mindful of my drinking

91. Eat more soup

92. Be thankful

93. Embrace who you are, where you are, & what you have

94. Buy handmade

95. Listen to good music

96. Don’t read into anything

97. Sleep better and get up earlier

98. Go on dates with hubby

99. Play with the dogs more

100. Be a good wife

*And for the NEW YEAR, I hope to hear more from the readers. Please comment, let me know you’re there. You are the fuel to this fire. Let’s burn together!

Restoration: Sanity

I’m sure I am not the only one right now feeling a little lost in this big ol’ crazy world. Seems like everyone is off their rocker’s these days, thanks to the economy and what not. Some of that crazy though is hitting a little too close to home.

So inside my bubble of a bedroom one evening, I turned to a good girly book that two of my dear friends gave me as a bachelorette party present. It was late, I was weary, and I decided as always, to cut to the chase and flip to the back. There I found Chapter Fifteen: The Practical Chapter.

As I was perusing the pages, I found great simple recipes, little snippets of humorous advice, and a couple of “How To’s”. One particular section was called, “Other useful practical things – not to do with food” and in it I found something that struck me down to the core. It was like someone was inside my head, reading my thoughts and then turning around and saying what I needed to hear. I didn’t feel so alone anymore and it relieved me to know that others probably felt the same way.

If you need a dose of medicine via a chick book, then turn to page 375 in the book called “Backwards in High Heels – The Impossible Art of Being Female” by Tania Kindersley & Sarah Vine. Since you do not have it on hand, I will be more than happy to share this uplifting antidote.

How not to go mad, part two:

There are going to be moments when no one gets it. You try and explain words of one syllable, and they look at you as if you have special needs. They just don’t understand your desire to be alone, your rejection of the expected, your secret dreams: they disregard your darkest fears, your most obvious shining hopes. Sometimes strangers or acquaintances do this, and it is fairly easy to brush off. You can call on your age and experience and know that not everyone will get it. It’s a minor communication problem,  matter of different perspectives. You might feel a small bruise, because even after twenty years in the adult world, it can sometimes be a shock to find that not everyone sees the world as you do.

The real killer is when the people you love the most don’t get it. If you are anything like we are, you like to romanticize your friendships. Of course you do – with the old and the dear ones, you have years of history together. You are getting to that age when looking back on your youthful selves and all you have come through together is one of the greatest and alluring comforts known to woman. So when the oldest and the most known don’t get it, it can be like a kick to the stomach.

You have defenses for the slights of strangers, but a small misunderstanding from an old friend cuts into you like a steel stiletto. You were all fine and grown up and suddenly you are falling apart, and no amount of perspective police can make a difference, and you feel as if you are losing your reason.

The only solution to this one is to understand that sometimes there is no one in the entire world who gets it. This is the human state, and there is no pill for it. It is part of the deal. You can get furious, and tearful, and disappointed, and this is fine. You know your own remedies: red wine, plain chocolate, dancing about hysterically in the kitchen at eleven at night, with the songs of the mid-seventies’ Stones very, very loud. It’s a reality check, and maybe everyone, no matter how secretly romantic, needs those.

You can take it. It’s life, Jim, just exactly as we know it.

Thank you “T” & Lindsay for my book,

If I Were Someone Else Today


  • not be such a worrywart
  • bake pretty cakes and other lovely desserts
  • be stronger and confident
  • laugh and dance a little more
  • work in an outbuilding like this by Red River Restorations

  • volunteer my time to help animals
  • wear funky red eyeglass frames
  • have a maid
  • be so busy running a business just like Miss Mustard Seed
  • eat vegan (or get close enough) like Alicia Silverstone. See her blog @ The Kind Life
  • wear precious outfits like this from Urban Outfitters & Anthropologie

  • get up early to run and/or do yoga
  • be a few years younger
  • publish a children’s book
  • write an awesome zine
  • have a hairstyle that is unique and works like this

  • travel to different antique shows around the country
  • create special pieces and decorations for DIY weddings
  • have a lovely garden and mod landscaping
  • don a couple of discreet tat’s

AND MUCH MORE… if I were someone else today.

***Follow your heart***


Just so you know friends, I am participating in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Austin, Texas, on November 7th. If you would like to donate, please click HERE to help me and my team “E&L Expresso”! It would be greatly appreciated – I am (almost) halfway there in meeting my goal. Read my story too; this is a very important cause near and dear to my heart.

Thank you “Hand on Hip” audience!

Random Musings

So today, driving home (and basically every time I’m conscious), I had a few thoughts streak through my head. I posted them, all three and one at a time, on my personal Facebook page once I got home. I just had to get them out of there, as some are reoccurring, to entertain my “friends”. Heck! Even myself.

But for my blog, there have also been a few random musings I have yet to post. I keep emailing myself links and ideas and the emails end up sitting in my Inbox. Sometimes, it gets to the point where I pass them on and file them away in the dreaded “Misc.” folder. Not this time! One specific email kept haunting me with the subject line, “dress”. I knew I just had to share…

A while back I was studying one of my fave blogs “Once Wed”, and found this awesome vintage, early 1920’s dress:

Yes, it could very well be a Silver Wedding Dress! When I saw it, I absolutely fell in love. Of all the colors in the world, I would have never thought of silver for the bride’s wedding attire. Silver just so happens to be my “khaki” in the world of fashion. I mean, I have a big silver bag and a pair of silver sandals that I wear with almost anything!

Another example of my love for silver: I ended up using the same vintage, silver beaded purse to accessorize my wedding dress and reception dress  (these being separate occasions). Even though the outfits were completely opposite of one another, the purse complimented them each in it’s very own way. Silver goes with anything, I tell you!  Now, since my wedding festivities are over, maybe someone else can partake in this particular nuptial wardrobe idea.


On to the next random musing… a tattoo. Yeah, I said it! Maybe even two, but let’s see if I can even get to #1. Why? I am deathly afraid and have been for a very long time. To get you to understand my fear, let’s just say I have had the same earring holes from the innocent, young age of 5 and nothing else!

I remember the “incident” very well. Mom took me to the mall; me not so suspecting the future horror. Two teen gals plopped me in a big chair, handed me a teddy bear, and stuck two piercing guns simultaneously to my precious ears. BANG! I’m screaming and writhing in pain, while one of the girls is picking up the teddy bear that I had apparently thrown across the store. Ever since then, I have been very aware of needles and other sharp objects for all of my live-long days. So as my friends were inking themselves in our early years, I sat back resenting myself and admiring their bravery.

Remember in my previous post “Create Yourself” at the very end, I mentioned how I basically wanted to dive into my weirdness? Well now, I have seriously contemplated a tattoo these days. By the way, I still want those red frames.

As I am getting older, I am gaining courage. The first tattoo that has come to mind is my maiden name, in cursive on the inside of my right wrist. Now that I am married, I have become a part of my husband’s family, taking on their name and most importantly, his. But me being a little independent and proud, I still want to honor my family name as well.

The second tattoo would be a heart on the underneath bottom part of my ring finger. Since I teach preschool and teach afternoon art, which often results in a mess, my wedding ring is absent from my finger during the work week. So, I find myself these days wearing my wedding ring on the weekends and this makes me sad. (Just to clarify once more, I do not want to mess this ring up!) So to stand in for the ring, I would like a heart right there on my ring finger. Here are a few ideas:

Anatomical Heart

Vintage-style Heart (with a Bird)

Sacred Heart

These are basically the three types of hearts I would pick from for my one lil’ tattoo. It is so “heart” to decide! But, I am in no hurry… still working up the nerve.

So there you have it, just two of my random musings. They have been clunking around in my head long enough like a pair of shoes in the dryer. They are out there for you and me to see now… Schew!