DIY, Do it Yourself, Save money, Tips and Hints

DIY (Do it Yourself) Weekend in Paradise!

DIY (Do it Yourself) Weekend in Paradise!


After one year in our new home, my husband and I finally decided to tackle an eyesore area in our backyard that we had designated for a future BBQ grill area by our pool.  This area had been driving us crazy since we moved in and had to remove existing landscaping that included sego palms that were poisonous to our dogs.  After removing the offending sego palms we were left with this.


Huge boulders, a ton of small river rocks, and lots of dirt that created mud for the dogs to run through and bring into the house.  Plus, it’s pretty much the focal area in front of the pool, and the first thing our guests see when they come outside.  I hated it. I had been browsing Pinterest for months looking for ideas, and showing them to MSP (Mr. Sexy Pants, aka my husband for those of you who don’t follow me on Facebook), until we finally agreed on a landscaping gameplan that we both loved.

Now the work began.

I spent a half day on weekend #1 removing all of the top layer river rocks and relocating them to another area of our backyard.  Four solid hours of digging, raking, loading into a wheel barrel, and shoveling  until the area was cleared out. This left me with a lot of dirt, and a number of half buried boulders to remove. AND a new grill to buy! Yay!


Begin weekend #2

I spent another half day digging up and dislodging the half buried boulders.  As I am not Super Woman I unearthed them and left them for MSP to remove.  The largest rock weighed in at over 200 pounds.  The next morning add in one husband, and one brother and we’re ready to go.


Boulders removed, save two that we liked, and relocated to other areas in our backyard.  Then MSP had to dig up, and cap off, two existing sprinkler heads that we would no longer be needing.  Step #3 was to level out the remaining dirt in preparation for landscaping fabric, and landscaping sand to use for leveling even further.  MSP used a 10 foot long 2×4 to drag across the area with a level on top of it for measurement.

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Once finished with the fabric, sand, and paving stones, we added red bricks that matched our house and pool to make a separate landing, and mark a step up area for the grill.

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Last two steps were to pour over new river pebbles to fill in the area between the pavers, and add in the new grill.

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The final stage of this project took 4 1/2 hours of work by 3 people on weekend 2.  Total time: 2 weekends, and 12.5 hours. Grill purchased at Lowes.  Landscaping items purchased at Home Depot.  Total investment: Grill $499 plus tax, Landscaping items $350 and a bottle of Tylenol for some super sore muscles.  We love it, and it’s now a clean, beautiful addition to our backyard!  AND we saved probably double what we spent doing it ourselves versus hiring someone else to do it.

Let me know if you have any questions!



Books and Authors, House Cat Question of the Day, Tips and Hints

House Cat question of the day: Brazilian waxing. Would my “lady bits” ever forgive me, and would I survive?

House Cat question of the day….. Brazilian Waxing.  Would my “lady bits” ever forgive me, and would I survive?


It’s getting warmer outside, summer is upon us ladies.  That being said it is also time to consider bathing suits for the season, and the taming of the “lady bits” in said bathing suits.  This is a massive undertaking if not handled regularly, and incredibly serious stuff for those of us wandering around in two band-aids and a cork by the pool.


Come on, don’t cringe…..  You and I both know that the struggle is real whether we talk about it or not.  To shave, or to wax runs through your “OMG, it’s bikini season” fuddled mind every year just like it does mine.  Sometimes we just want to give up and wear shorts, but that’s a cop out my dears…….  No worries.  I got this for us.  I’m not embarrassed to ask all the stuff you are thinking


I know exactly nada about waxing down under other than it can hurt, and women swear by it.  So, I am taking my real life questions to the most qualified person I know who will shoot me straight.  April M. Monterrosa everybody!  Not only is she my friend, but after you see my interview below, you will see why she is also my expert!

Shine beautifully

Jeanie- April, I’m so excited for you to meet my community, and help us figure out the great mystery of bikini waxing, and the ever whispered about Brazilian wax.  So, I’m a pretty modest person, and getting a bikini wax, or a Brazilian, conjures up all sorts of graphic images for me.  I imagine you’ve run into this before.  How do you manage shy clients, and first timers?

April- For my new clients, I reassure them that they are in great hands, as I have over 20 years of experience in skin care and waxing. For extremely modest clients, I drape them with a towel and only uncover the area I wax and then cover them up and go to the next section I’m going to wax. Being a bit covered up seems to help them feel more at ease and relaxed.

Jeanie- How does one “prepare” for a lady bits waxing service?

April- The most important thing in preparing for your Brazillian wax is to be clean; taking a pain reliever also helps those that have a low pain tolerance, and wear loose clothing. Do not shave or trim before your wax either.

Jeanie- So, break it down for us.  Bikini wax means the front.  Brazilian wax means all the way up your backside, right?  I’m so confused.

April- A bikini wax is removing any hair outside the panty line in the inner thigh area. A Brazilian wax is removing all hair in the pubic area and your backside is optional. There is also a French wax which is similar to a Brazilian but with a landing strip left behind.


Jeanie- Which one is more popular, and do both men and women come in for these services?

April-The Brazilian wax is the most popular and both men and women come in for these services.

Jeanie- How long does it last, and what price point should your clients expect?

April- It all depends on how fast one’s hair grows. Some clients come in every 4 weeks, while others can go up to 8 weeks before their next wax. My Brazilian waxes are $75 and if you purchase them in a series of 3, you get 1 free. (4 waxes for the price of 3)

Jeanie- 4 for the price of 3!  OMG, I just love a good deal.   Any advice for those like me who are on the fence?

April-  Just do it! Ha! Brazilian waxing is my most popular service; once you have one, you will never want to shave again!

Jeanie- So now I know!  You are the best!  Thanks for spending some time with me today.

Alright my friends, you read it here.  Now YOU know too!  If you have any other questions let me know, and this is how you contact April to set up your waxing service, AND take advantage of that special 4 for the price of 3 deal!

Brazilian Wax $75

Shine Beautifully

Affordable, Luxury Spa & Beauty Services
Call or Text: 210.896.4445
Address: 123 SouthBridge
San Antonio, Texas 78216

Tuesday – Saturday: By Appointment Only.
    *Facials are for Men, Women, & Teens*

Tell April that Jeanie sent you, and do not forget to check out her first published book available RIGHT NOW:  Shine Beautifully: A Collection of Innermost Thoughts, Quotes, & Poetry



april  April Mae Monterrosa is a proud Latina mix residing Deep in the Heart of Texas; she has written for SAXtreme Magazine, Chicano Life Magazine, been featured in Good Housekeeping, is a Sea World Wildside Ambassador, founder of Wonderfully Wise Women & Texas Beauty Bloggers online communities, and an independently published author.

April Mae Monterrosa is also the proud owner of Shine Beautifully.  A quaint little gem amidst the North Central side of San Antonio located inside Visions for Hair Salon. Shine Beautifully was born as a side job where April provided beauty treatments for personal clients during her free time. Happily & unplanned, it grew into a full time business. April’s had the privilege of working in some of the top luxury resort spas in San Antonio, including JW Marriott, Marriott International & Hyatt. April also has elite day spa experience, including having worked at Woodhouse Day Spa as a lead esthetician & trainer, freelance instructing on facial protocols & product knowledge for medical spas and Sephora. She has been invited & participated in representing different beauty lines like CoverGirl, Decleor, Sonya Dakar and contracted as a makeup artist for up and coming authors. She regularly attends continuing education classes, seminars, & workshops in order to further her knowledge & provide her clients with the best services possible. She loves helping others by not only making them feel amazing through the art of spa & relaxation but, also helping them see their own natural beauty shine through. She believes motivation, encouragement, & support go hand in hand with the beauty industry.