SUNTEX Mendoza

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2909 E Arkansas Ln Suite C,

Arlington, TX 76010


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Overwhelming Gratitude to SUNTEX, Part 1 of 2

Ecclesiastes 5:12 states, “The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether they eat little or much, but as for the rich, their abundance permits them no sleep.”


My prayer is that Alejandra and Jose are sleeping soundly, because their labor of love knows no bounds.

Before leaving on our month-long road trip, and because we had worked out this highly unconventional, yet perfect agreement – to ask SUNTEX to complete our house repairs and key upgrades while we were out of town, while also requesting they house-sit while we traveled through the country to see family and friends – we were able to create perfect synergy in our plans. I’m a stickler for efficiency, so this was my dream come true, and Ally and Jose made it 100% possible.

The week before we left, Aaron and (I wish I could say the dogs, and) I cleaned the house through and through. We worked until we sweat, as we were hoping the house would feel as though it was home – and I even asked Ally to grade me on cleanliness, thinking that we might some day rent it out online.

Yet with all of the back-breaking work we put in to clean all the way down to replacing the drawer lining, sanitize every last crevice of the fridge and kitchen, and make up the beds as a hotel might – it was nothing compared to the work the team at SUNTEX put in, to make our wildest home project dreams finally come true.

Home Improvement, Exterior Paint, Before Photos

Home Improvement, BEFORE Photos

A Little more Backstory…

When we moved into our home, there was really no direct sunlight into the kitchen; the windows were poor-quality and then failed to hold up under (literal, ice) pressure during the winter storm (some even sealed shut). Because we don’t have a ton of space in the home, we’ve done our best to reduce wide-door entries eating up surface area, while still allowing coverage for privacy (sliding barn doors, which admittedly, needed additional improvement).

We hope to raise our family in this home, but weren’t sure how long we would stay – living a fairly nomadic lifestyle. We also wanted to experiment in hosting our home for rental income in the future, should fate allow. All of our personal efforts however, while definite “home improvements” were not quite professional-grade quality, and aside from all of that, I would not have wanted anyone to stay here with the exterior yellow and brown paint.

The Review…

So when I say that SUNTEX made all of our dreams come true, I mean it. Driving home, and the relief we felt upon arrival, went way beyond my expectations for what we thought our house could and would look like, and I am so grateful that we hired SUNTEX to do this work, and make our house feel like a home.

Home Improvement, Gutters

Gutter and Fence Installation, AFTER Photos

Home Improvement, Exterior Paint

Exterior Paint, AFTER Photos

When we walked in, there was a collective sigh of relief as we walked from room to room, gazing upon the new features – after of course, staring excitedly at it for about 5 minutes right when we got home. Because it was late at night (about 11pm on a Sunday evening), we couldn’t really call anyone (exception: my friend, who’s birthday was also that day!) to share in the elation of our new home, so we just stood there, beaming smiles while admiring the paint color, the gutters, the trimming of the front bushes and lawn, and the new home before us that for some reason, we had the keys to.


Home Improvement

Home Improvement, Framing AFTER Photos

Upon entering the house, we examined all of the new details of our home which we knew well – and noted how each single project amounted to boundless improvement on the home. The gutters would save our foundation, and the sides of our home from moisture. The new windows would keep moisture out, keep cool air in (during the summer, and retain heat during the winter), and gave the house an overall “brand new clean” type feeling (even our indoor plants had been arranged in the same way we would want them displayed).


My favorite piece might have actually been the trim that SUNTEX added around the main closet and bathroom floors, as well as adding the surrounding framing, of course (see right for photo). Also check out the BEFORE & AFTER photos within this post, and tomorrow’s blog post – these rooms all now feel complete, rather than “in progress,” which provides immense peace of mind.




Though I’ve mentioned each project distinctly this month (see below for reference)…

Installation Project Preliminary Review & Photos
(9) brand new Elevate windows The most Beatiful Lake in Montana + What’s happening to the House now?!
Power washing & Cleaning, the driveway, sidewalk and house in preparation for Exterior Paint and Trim

SherwinWilliams: Rosemary Green (SW 6187); Netsuke (SW 6134))

Mr. and Mrs. Sims go to Washington
Coordinating the Installation of Norandex Gutters surrounding the home, with well-thought out locations for the downspouts Just like that, Gutters are Up!
Fixing the back door so that it closes; and fixing our sliding barn-door project (AKA fixing our DIY installations!!); Fixing the backyard fence D-I-Y
Cleaning the Entire House until spotless See this post, Overwhelming Gratitude to SUNTEX, and subsequent Blog post for Before & After photos

…it is important to note that I chose to hire SUNTEX originally because I knew they would do great work, for the best price – and I was right. To see more of the “final version” of our home repairs, please do take a look at tomorrow’s blog post: BEFORE & AFTER, The SUNTEX Transformation.

Directly to my Boss’s, Ally and Jose…

Thank you for every last detail you put into this project. Upon entering the threshold, and every single day thereafter, our home has felt like a dream. It genuinely felt like we were in someone else’s home the first time we walked in – and I had to ask my husband to double check that we hadn’t wandered into the neighbors house by mistake.

It was no mistake. The house had just been significantly improved by excellent craftsmanship, and the love you poured into each and every aspect of the project. We could see and feel it, and cannot thank you enough for all the work you’ve done.

I’ll check back in after a couple of weeks to let you know what we break – just kidding, so far so good – in the meantime, I could not be happier with having hired the best team at SUNTEX to help us bring our home improvements up to par, and our goals and dreams across the finish line.

I work with this company because I continue to believe in the products, solutions, and education that we provide to our customers; and as a customer myself, I am thoroughly impressed with SUNTEX.

Thank you SUNTEX

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Bear, Bear, Bear! Well, Now We Have a Bear Story

Grizzly Bear

Stock photo of Grizzly Bear

ROAD TRIP UPDATES: Perhaps if you’ve lived in the mountains all of your life, the thought of seeing a bear doesn’t surprise or alarm you. Unfortunately, I have never had the great pleasure of seeing a bear before now, though I’ve heard numerous stories from family members, friends, the news, and even Hollywood regarding human-bear-encounters. My initial thoughts were that seemingly, if you’re not covered in bird seed and/or honey – and you don’t go anywhere near a mama bear’s cubs – then you should be okay to keep your distance from them and wait for them to pass.

Of course, this was also before doing a little bit of research on this dangerous internet, and finding that with Black Bears, you actually want to appear tall and loud, acknowledging them with “Hello Bear” or something non-threatening, until they walk away – however Grizzlies are almost the complete opposite.

Instead, in dealing with a Grizzly bear, you should not make any sudden movements, and sort of like T-rex, just hope and pray to whomever you pray to that it does not see or take interest in you as you walk away slowly (check out what has to say on this subject for more info:

Custer Gallatin National Forest, Montana

Custer Gallatin National Forest, Montana

So, all week long, joke as I might that I really wanted to see a bear while camping or hiking in Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado, I sincerely did not want to encounter one too close to our tent. Thankfully, none of the rules I had read online applied when the situation actually presented itself.

On the drive from Glacier National Park to Custer Gallatin National Forest – all of which is in Montana, along with several other national forests – we came across one of several thickets of extremely dense forest, with outstretched lakes scattered in-between. The lakes shimmered through the trees, and gave you the feeling of being in an enchanted forest, full of beauty and possibility. We came upon a section of the drive that was wide open, and with only two lanes, decided it was our best chance to pass a car whom we’d traveled respectfully behind for about thirty minutes, with likely another forty-five or so to go until our next turn off.

As you may have guessed, out of nowhere, as we’re attempting to pass another car, a teen-aged Grizzly bear pops out of the tree line on the right-hand side of the road, and directly across both cars – first, on our right, and then, directly in front of us. Someone was looking out for us that day, because in my periphery I saw it and slammed on the breaks just in time, and almost simultaneously as my husband, Aaron, was shouting, “Bear Bear!”

Custer Gallatin National Forest, Montana

Since he ran out so quickly and we were focused on survival at the time, we did not get a photo of him unfortunately, however the photo above should give you a pretty good idea. I slowed down immediately upon applying the breaks, but also to get behind the car on our right, and back into our lane. We pulled over to the right again and when we finally stopped, Aaron turned to me and said, “I think we just saw a bear!” and thus concludes my very first bear siting, where thankfully it didn’t, but it almost killed me.

Custer Gallatin National Forest, Montana

Custer Gallatin National Forest, Montana

That same day, we arrived in Red Lodge, MT (just outside of Yellowstone National Park); there’s less smoke here in the valley, and the town is adorable! I think I could stay here a while. The drive in follows a river (from what I can tell, that began on the other side of the state), which contained tons of rocky sections with banks of flowers and greenery all around. We set up camp, and locked our food away from any potential bears nearby, which we know well knew were in fact, a possibility – and started to take in our new scenery in the Custer Gallatin National Forest.

HOME IMPROVEMENT PROJECT UPDATES: It’s Crunch time! It’s the last week of repairs in the Sims’s residence, and it’s a good thing SUNTEX planned for rainy days and time to clean up the project afterwards! Final steps will include: the trim and re-install of the sliding barn doors, adding the final touches to the side of the fence that’s now falling apart, and likely the worst part yet – cleaning everything up!

Hopefully Ally and Jose had a much less eventful week than we shared (after all, it would be truly odd if a bear showed up to our home in Texas), but have likewise been able to get out an enjoy the outdoors. The only bearable places in Texas at this time of summer, are inside with brand new windows and a fully-functioning AC, or in/near the water somewhere outside. It’s been a fairly rainy year which has kept this year one of the coolest on record – just check out what had to say about July of this year:

“July contained only one day with the temperature at or above 100 degrees. According to the new 1990-2021 normals, there are on average 9.5 (or 10) 100-degrees during the month of July. The last time Camp Mabry recorded just one 100-degree day in July was back in July 1988. Do note most recently, July of 2010, 2007, 2004, 2002 and 1997 had zero 100 degree days in the month of July. And July 2011 contained 29” ( – see photo left. Weather in Austin, TX

According to that same link, August only had three days above 100 degrees Fahrenheit – yikes!

Lending our house to Ally and Jose was really the least we could do in this kind of weather – as they completed painstakingly hot outdoor projects in 80-100 degree weather, we escaped to the coldest parts of the country. No matter what the house looks like, we owed them a debt of gratitude. Though, I did hope the house looked good too.

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Just like that, Gutters are Up!

Gutters - Front of House

The suspense was killing me, but Ally ensured me at every step of the way that the gutter installation was going smoothly, and reminded me that she wouldn’t be sending me any photos until the finished product was complete (though I made her promise to document the journey for the blog, and she delivered! Please see photos throughout the August blog posts – including those found here – for the full installation/upgrade).

Having done some work together in the area previously, SUNTEX consulted with their partners at Norandex (see here for product details:, and were able to fit a one-day custom installation for our new gutters, which I might add, matched the new trim of the house perfectly.

With the Gutter install complete, it’s finally time for Issacs’s birthday party! This week we celebrate a SUNTEX family holiday as the youngest Mendoza turns four! Though they’ve enjoyed exploring some of the local parks and hikes around Austin, the kids had been looking forward to Friday all week when their youngest brother will turn four and everyone gets to go to Chuck-E-Cheese ( for dinner!

With seamless effort, Alejandra and team had orchestrated the whole week – including the rain delays, 95% of the exterior paint (with the final 5% intentionally being saved for post window-installation), the first half of the window installations, the third-party installation of Gutters, thanks to our friends at Norandex (see here for gutter/rain product details: – as well as a birthday party with the whole family at Chuck-E-Cheese to cap off the week!

While I had little service in the mountains, she coordinated with me to let me know of their progress, and I was stunned to see the coordinated effort that went into completing each project on time, and in perfect step with the rest of the team. She wouldn’t dare send me any of the photos mid-way through to hold the surprise and suspense until the end, so please enjoy the sneak peaks above into this week’s progress! The exterior paint has already transformed our home, but the gutters blend in perfectly. Of course, I wouldn’t know any of this for three more weeks since we were still on the road.

Gutters - Front, Left side of House    Gutters - Front, Right side of House

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Summer Vacation: Week 1

ROADTRIP UPDATES: August 1st has finally arrived, and it’s time for us to take off for our summer vacation! While I truly enjoy passing through any part of this great state, there’s not much to see from today’s journey since we’ll be in Texas for 8 hours straight. Did someone say everything’s bigger in Texas? Well, they were exactly right. Once we get to the border, we’ll then a brief stint in New Mexico, before heading just beyond the Colorado border for the night. It amazes me on these journeys just how quickly the landscape changes — from the rolling hills and oak trees of central Texas, to the large swaths of farmland and mesquite trees in west Texas, and onto the deep valleys and steep plateaus of New Mexico.

Summer Vacation: Texas

Texas / New Mexico border, photo credit: Megan Brannen

While the two states have a similar climate, almost immediately when you leave New Mexico and arrive in Colorado, the temperature drops and the Mountains rise up all around you! The entire trip my husband and I were singing Blake Shelton’s “God’s Country” as it seemed so fitting of a land so beautiful and vast. We were lucky (especially since we’d had conflicting opinions about the necessity of the tarp on all of our camping supplies in the bed of the truck) that we had good weather for the most part — only light showers here and there in West Texas and New Mexico, but we avoided the looming black and blue clouds off in the distance — however about an hour into Colorado the sky finally let loose and poured onto us. There were a couple of dicey moments where we could barely see the red taillights in front of us since the rain was so dense. Because the sun had already set, we decided it was best to pull off to the side of the road to wait it out (adding another half-hour to our 14-hour drive). We weren’t alone in this though, since several of the cars ahead of us decided to do the same thing, it seemed as though we made the right decision — to pull off anyway, we definitely failed to make the right decision concerning the tarp!

HOME IMPROVEMENT PROJECT UPDATES: Ally and Jose and the SUNTEX team arrived at the house that evening and unpacked for their three-week stay. With the 4-hour drive from Dallas to Austin with the kids, it’s safe to say we hoped they would be able to relax right when they got in – the hope is that they got to Netflix and chill that night, since I know the weeks ahead will be extremely busy!

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Energy Preparedness: Does your house miss you when you’re gone?

Even though my mind is consumed by the possibility of seeing bears, moose, and geese (oh my!) very soon, there is still plenty to do to prepare our house for being vacant for at least a short time while we’re away. Lucky for us, we’ll have some very dear friends of ours staying in our home for the first few weeks, but after that it will be left to the demise of August and the ravaging heat that ensues at this time of year. Since I’m sure I’m not alone in this activity, I’ve created a short list of what to do when you’re leaving your home for an extended time, and want to make sure you don’t come home to a giant energy bill!

To reduce your energy usage inside the home while you’re gone, you can:

  • Close the curtains and blinds (if you have plants, make sure to leave the blinds open slightly so they’re still getting plenty of sunlight while you’re gone)
  • Seal up any large cracks or crevices in your door-ways with a towel or blanket for some added insulation
  • Turn your thermostat to 78+ degrees (or off, if you’re not concerned about plants or humidity levels indoors)
  • Close all of your doors inside, and make sure you turn off all overhead lights/fans
  • Unplug any devices you won’t need access to while you’re gone (except for your refrigerator since your food will spoil while you’re gone, even if you don’t open it!)
  • Don’t forget to lock up!

Summer TravelAs for outdoor plants, your approach can vary based on 1) how much you’re willing to spend on an irrigation system, 2) how friendly your neighbor’s kid is, or 3) how many plants you’re willing to replace if needed. We tend to be pretty laissez faire when it comes to our lawn — long story short, we use a local ground-cover that requires very little water to survive: horse herb, so we are okay just letting it bake under the Texas sun while we’re gone. Of course if you have a lawn full of grass you’ll need to decide whether or not you want to water it, and if so, how much. There are tons of garden watering timer systems you can buy online, or at your local hardware store, so just be sure to set it up a week before you leave so you can test it out before you go. We do however also have a few plants that like a lot of sunlight, but may not fair so well under 8+ hours of Texas sun. Since these plants are potted, and are often indoors during the winter months, we can either move them inside to a southern-facing window and hope for the best, or we can set up watering timers for those plants as well (see garden irrigation systems online, or ask your local hardware store rep for details). I generally opt for the cheaper, and more sustainable option — and so far replacing my very temperamental gardenia each year is winning out, though I fear that won’t be true for too much longer. The rest of the yard should be just fine since we were careful to only plant native, drought-resistant species in the back yard, and while I’ll miss my tomato plants while we’re in the woods, I know they’re going to love that August sunshine until we get home!

There are plenty of additional blogs to check out on this subject that contain some useful tips on summer travel, so don’t take my word for it — check out Toucan Smart Home to hear what they have to say as well:

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Energy Preparedness: Summer Travel

One of my favorite things about traveling — besides the views and the food, of course — is learning about local weather patterns. Perhaps this seems dull, but I’ve been surprised on more than one occasion by the weather, and in the worst case scenarios, it can be quite uncomfortable to say the least. A funny example of this was when I visited the Oregon coast a few years ago for Independence Day weekend. My husband and our dog, Benny, packed up the car and drove to the beach for the weekend! Naturally, as I was going to the beach in the summer-time, I packed all of the beach-essentials: two swim suits, breezy cover-ups, a couple of maxi dresses, and some flip flops — only to find once we got there that I couldn’t wear anything I packed. It was freezing cold! The only people that were in the water (all 2 of them or so), were in full-length wet suits, and most people just hung out on the sand all day long. I don’t believe the temperature rose above the sixties (Fahrenheit), and it’s safe to say I was lucky there were stores open in town where I could buy sweat pants and fleece jackets. While I was a little disheartened that we wouldn’t be doing any swimming this trip, the entire thing felt like a great adventure — and certainly a learning experience. Word to the wise: check the weather before you go!

This year, since we’re planning to go camping all over the country, diversity in packing will be crucial to surviving the trip. One thing we learned while researching the National Parks websites was that almost none of these areas allow open-pit fires anymore. There might be another time during the year when this is more feasible, but with the August fires from Colorado to Montana, we won’t be taking any chances. Instead, we read that only propane-fueled stove-tops are allowed — and since some of the areas we’ll be staying in might be 40 degrees Fahrenheit at night, it’s important we don’t forget the fuel!

Now that we’ve got clothing and cooking in any condition out of the way, another important part of planning ahead for the trip will be deciding which tools to bring to set up our campsite and really enjoy the outdoors. One of my personal favorites includes our solar-powered flashlight and usb charger. Even though a full day of sunshine isn’t always guaranteed, generally these flashlights will last us days and days, and can charge fairly quickly in the early morning sunlight. Even though I usually go to bed pretty early when camping, they’re certainly nice to have out during dinner, or on trips to the restroom and back. Mostly we use them to illuminate our card or domino games, but no matter what you use it for I would always recommend having at least two flashlights on-hand when camping (and extra batteries as well). Then, all we have to pack is the bedding and the tent and we’re all set! Just two more weeks before we’re off — please add your favorite camping hacks in the comments section — since you never can have too many survival tips.

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