The Girl Behind the Blog – About Brittany aka Pretty Handy Girl

This post has been running around in my head for quite a while now. I feel like you don’t really get to see the real me when you read my posts. You don’t get to see the me in my pajamas and messy desk (and dirty dishes) as I proof read the post I finished at 1am in the morning.

You don’t get to see the real me who rushes out the door to pick up my kids in my paint and sawdust spattered clothes.

And you don’t get to see the family that has been behind me from the beginning. You can thank my friend Roeshel from The DIY Showoff for giving me the old kick in the pants to finally share those pertinent details with you ;-).

Have you ever wondered who the real Pretty Handy Girl is? Is she tall is she short? I’m 5′ 6″. What’s her favorite food? Definitely dark chocolate! Is she a coffee or tea drinker? Coffee. Mac or PC? Been a Mac girl since 1990! And what really scares her? Read more to find out:


My family:

I absolutely love dark chocolate! My father grew up in Hershey, PA. I like to joke that because my father’s family grew up in chocolate town USA, I need to have a certain amount of chocolate coursing through my system to survive.

My Hershey Grandparents

I am the oldest of three girls…

Me, Caitlin, & Alana

…(and two half brothers) which makes me kind of the bossy sibling (ask my sisters!)

Jordan, Alana, Shea, Mom, Caitlin, and Me

Speaking of sisters, my middle sister Alana, is an architect. Well, she isn’t currently practicing because she is constantly dealing with the pain and disability of fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and some other unknown ailments. Because of her, I am truly thankful for my health and for being able to have children. I honestly don’t know how my sister does it, but she is still a warm and caring person who manages to put a smile on her face every day.

My other sister, Caitlin, is the interior designer (do you see a creative pattern here?) She is the youngest girl and she lives way too far away.Where I have two crazy boys, she has two beautiful girls. And did I mention that she lives too far away? 2,800 miles away, but who’s counting.

My other siblings are Shea and Jordan. I was present for Shea’s birth when I was 22 years old. Talk about a life changing experience. (There is nothing like witnessing birth and all the diaper changes and crying fits that come with a newborn to make you want to wait to have children!)

My brother Shea just graduated from high school. He’s the an automotive handy guy (I’m hoping he’ll teach me a few things) and I couldn’t be more proud of him since he’s already landed a full-time job.

My other brother, Jordan, is the sweet and sensitive guy (a gal’s dream).

He is a really good skateboarder and a great uncle to my boys. We call my brothers the Uncle Monkeys, mostly because they were young crazy kids when my boys were born. 😉


The past: 

My mother delivered all of us via natural childbirth. When I had my babies, my mom was my role model. Thanks to the help of two separate doulas, I delivered both my boys without any medication. And I did deliver them in a hospital. I breastfed both of them for over a year and am grateful that I was able to do that. I have many friends who struggled to breastfeed and I truly understand how devastating it was for them to have to switch to formula.

Still in shock after becoming a mother for the first time.

This was a little playmobile figurine I used to keep on my computer. It truly was what I looked like every day as a new mother. My oldest pretty much lived in a sling until he was 6 months old. He never let me put him down. And he wouldn’t sleep very well unless he was snuggled in the sling.

And I laugh now because that saying: “Always Have a Project Going.”…well it still holds true.

In true Pretty Handy Girl fashion, I went into labor with my second son while I was trying to fix the bathtub. You could say that the tub faucet wasn’t the only one who sprung a leak. LOL!

You may have noticed my hair used to be short. In fact I had short hair for about ten years and decided to start growing it long again a few years ago. I also just learned how to truly apply makeup and style my hair. I was such a tomboy that I really never tried to be pretty.

I have a scar next to my eye that I got when I was about six or seven years old. I fell on a homemade balance beam that my dad made for my birthday. I had to get four stitches.

I have a very hard time saying no, so when I do it really makes me feel bad. There are many friends and family members in my life that I wish I could help with their DIY and repair projects. Sadly I’m only one person and my first duty is to my husband and my boys. I truly wish I could clone myself. Because I can’t, I started this blog to try to bring others up to speed on how to fix, repair and create things.

The blog name “Pretty Handy Girl” was Handsome Guy’s idea, and I still insist the emphasis is on Pretty Handy (not pretty girl.) Speaking of Pretty Handsome Guy, this is my favorite picture of him!

Yup, vacuuming and carrying the fussy baby so I could get a break. Back off girls, he’s mine!

Did I take woodworking or shop in high school? Sadly I didn’t, but I wish I had. I did graduate from an art college in Philadelphia and studied illustration, graphic design and art therapy. I used to work at a cancer center as a medical illustrator for a while. I also worked for a greeting card company fresh out of college. I finally started my own graphic design, illustration and web design business over 15 years ago. I don’t take on new clients, but I still help my existing clients with their graphic projects.

How did I become handy? Well, it didn’t happen overnight, that’s for sure! But, slowly by fixing things around the house and having the confidence to try new things I’ve learned how to fix, repair and build anything I put my mind to. When I was four my parents added on to our ranch house.

Growing up in a home that was constantly under construction gave me a lot of confidence and understanding about how a home was built. But, my parents were also very active in letting my sisters and I be involved in any project they were working on. My mom taught me to sew, paint and craft. And my Mom is a rockstar at using joint compound! My dad showed me how to wire an outlet when I was eight. When Handsome Guy and I bought our first home I had long ago forgotten how to do these things, but I knew that I could do it.

I wasn’t popular in high school. I was kind of a nerd, but hung out with the freaks and the long haired rockers. Which is where I met Handsome Guy.

He looked like Axl Rose to me and that’s all that mattered (at first). I still like to listen to heavy metal once in a while.

When I was younger I went skydiving. I’d love to do it again someday, but not until my kids are grown. Although, the whole family just tried indoor skydiving and we loved it! I like roller coasters, thrill rides, riding in a fast car and anything that involves speed.

AND, I love that my boys aren’t afraid to enjoy similar sports!

Handsome guy and I are snowboarders. We used to go out west every year but haven’t been since the kids were born. We do manage a yearly trip to the NC mountains to get our little guys on skis.

Our friends Dan,Tara, Handsome Guy and me at Whistler, BC.

Before we had kids, we had a rescue dog named Mocha. I used to do agility with her, but she was more in it for the treats than anything else.

I earned my orange stripe in karate many many years ago. Someday I’d love to get back into martial arts. It was a great stress reliever.


The present:

Do I like coffee? Do I ever! I actually wasn’t a coffee drinker until I started blogging. I’m not sure how it happened, but I found that the later I stayed up, the more caffeine I needed to wake up in the morning. (Go figure.)

What other drinks do I like? Well, I’m not a big soda drinker, I don’t drink beer. If I’m having alcohol (and this is a rarity) I prefer a white russian, Mike’s Hard Lemonade or a half a glass of wine. This year I’m trying to drink red wine more often (heart disease runs in my family.)

I love the color blue. Always have, always will.

I’m addicted to Instagram (can you tell by the photos?)

I’m a night owl, which is why I’m writing this post at 1am!

I am a belly sleeper and I love our DIY Latex Mattress. We still sit on the sofa in our living room that was handed down to us when a family friend’s parents died. This sofa must seriously be almost as old as I am.
(Update: We finally grew up and replaced that old sofa with a comfy La-Z-Boy sofa!)

The Ugly Sofa slipcover hides the years of use and abuse this couch has received.

We have the deceased couple’s old dining room set too. One day I’d like to replace them, but I hate spending a lot of money on furniture. Now, show me a good power tool and I can plunk down some cash! (Update: I finally built my own dining table that I love! The tutorial is here.)

What scares me? I’m not really afraid of spiders. I’m not afraid of snakes. I don’t mess with copperheads, but I think little garter snakes are cute. I try to pass on a natural wonder and respect for nature to my boys. Freaking out about a spider doesn’t help that goal. I think what scares me most is the thought of losing my boys. I have a fear of them drowning. They are not the best swimmers, but we’re still working on it.

What bothers me? Rude people. I try to be a courteous and kind person to everyone I meet. Maybe this comes from being in girl scouts until my freshman year of high school.

One of my favorite pictures of me and my son drawn by him.

 I love being outside. I don’t like working out in a gym, I’d much prefer jogging, biking, or hikes with the family.

I completed three sprint triathlons. I knew better than to COMPETE, because I am a slow triathlete!

Me and my training buddy, Rebecca

My idea of a fun shopping trip happens here:

This is my constant companion, Buddy (family proclaimed mama’s boy). He’s a velcro dog and cries when I try to use the bathroom by myself. Sheesh. We adopted Buddy over a year ago.

I’m a little embarrassed by this, but Woman’s Day featured me in their current issue. So, if you happen to see it on the news stand you can pick it up and tell the cashier that you know me. I’ve also been featured in This Old House Magazine, Family Handyman, Cottage Style, Do It Yourself Magazine and Better Homes and Gardens Kitchen + Bath Makeovers.

Most embarrassing moment? I was working at my first post college job and stepped off the curb wrong. I fell to my knees and my skirt flew up over my head. I had two very bloody knees and a bruised ego as I went on my first press check for the greeting card company. Thankfully my boss, and art director later became a great friend.

Okay, so I truly want to know what was your most embarrassing moment in life? Leave me a comment…please! 

75 replies
« Older Comments
  1. Samantha
    Samantha says:

    Brittany, so great to get to know you! It is so nice to meet a fellow Virginian, and coincidentally enough I also was one of three sisters (youngest and most wild). I look forward to reading your blog :)!

  2. Rebecca
    Rebecca says:

    Thanks for this part of your great blog, Brittany!! I feel I got to know you a lot better and enjoyed reading everything about you and your family! 🙂

  3. brenda
    brenda says:

    great post. thank you it was quite nice meeting you…

    my most embarrassing moments are being unable to get my tongue and brain coordinated and then after meeting someone thinking of all the things I would have liked to talk about.

    sometimes I think I take the old reminder that one has two eyes, ears and ONE mouth too seriously

  4. Cyndi
    Cyndi says:

    Some how when I selected reply to Tracie, it showed up at the bottom, so someone be like “what does she mean by…”
    That happened to me at work, although the chocolate was from a chocolate Crunch bar, and I had walked all through the office. I noticed the melted chocolate on my chair and thought crap… Yep, it was on my butt too!

    And thank you Brittany for sharing! :0) And CONGRATS on the Woman’s Day! I’ll be looking for it.

  5. Cyndi
    Cyndi says:

    That happened to me at work, although the chocolate was from a chocolate Crunch bar, and I had walked all through the office. I noticed the melted chocolate on my chair and thought crap… Yep, it was on my butt too!

    And thank you Brittany for sharing! :0)

  6. Alice
    Alice says:

    As a subscriber of long standing, I feel I’ve come to know you somewhat well through your blog. I don’t have much time to comment on blogs anymore as my crafting takes up so much of my time and reading blogs are on the sly. Please don’t tell my crafter side I’m doing this right now as she will get on to me for loafing when a birthday project is waiting to be completed. May I say one of my favorite, and I have many, is the post of you in your safety gear for working on your projects. I remember commenting about you being on the runway as a model in your finery and was sincere. Later I was embarrassed thinking you may be offended by that. Sometimes we don’t know how the rest of the world perceives us and a complement sometimes feels odd as i myself have experienced. You have the most admirable DIY skills of any woman I know. In my younger days, I was the handy woman in the family. After a automobile wreck which disabled me I was no longer able to do things I used to do. Turning to crafting became my outlet. Blogging is something I tried but can’t seem to keep up with posting on mine and that is another embarrassment. May I say you’re looking in tip top shape and the makeup enhances your natural beauty. Women all over the world can learn so much through reading your blog and following your tutorials on any DIY project. If there was a handy woman of the year award you would be the one to receive it. Thank You for the years of reading enjoyment and memories evoked by many of your projects and posts. Best wishes on your DIY PHG journey.

  7. Colleen Taylor
    Colleen Taylor says:

    This was such a fun post Brittany & interesting to read all about you! I’m definitely going to get that Woman’s Day mag with you in it & CONGRATS!!! Never be embarrassed by all your hard earned accomplishments! Most embarrassing moment was probably today when I posted a video on facebook about my ALS ice bucket challenge! Love all the photos of your past, such fun! Thanks for sharing your life with us!

  8. Heather
    Heather says:

    I just discovered your blog yesterday while investigating glazing techniques. I returned today to show my husband, and I’ve really enjoyed your tips and tricks. I’m very much looking forward to my first upcycled table.
    On this topic, though, I had to reply regarding two things we have in common: first, our love of dark chocolate, and second, our embarrassing moment. My most embarrassing moment also involved a skirt blowing over my head. While there was no blood, it was equally painful since it took place at a football game, in the stands, on my first date with my husband. It was 1990, so the skirt was long and full, and the hem rose easily to eye-level. My husband was supposed to be standing at attention at the time of the wind gust, so watching him try to keep a straight face only prolonged my agony. Nothing like flashing a boy on the first date to get that awkwardness out of the way!
    Anyway, I’m enjoying getting to “know” you and your style, so I guess I’d better subscribe. Lookin forward to reading more! 🙂

  9. RaVen
    RaVen says:

    Hi Brittany,
    Just discovered your fun & instructive blog and website today — being a total klutz when it comes to DIY or renovating a home — I’m trying to overcome my phobia of taking on projects myself to save money as well. I’m filled with creative ideas but they often just stay inside my head.
    My most embarrassing moments? Too many to mention – but the famous one is when I was 14 years old – I went out with a friend to TGIF restaurant. After we ate, she wanted to play a videogame at the end of the front hallway tucked in the corner. I said fine and would wait near the front entrance area. 5 minutes ended up turning into half hour — people came and went – many sat at the bench facing me waiting for their tables. Hostess behind the stand would call out their names. Bored out of my mind with impatience, I shouted for Rose to hurry up. She yelled back, “Wait!!! I’m winning!” Scowling by now, another 5 minutes passed and now I’m livid. I yanked the front entrance door open and yelled at the top of my lungs “Rose, let’s go home! Hurry up!” Rose yelled back to wait again.
    Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the customers sitting on the bench snickering and smiling – I ignored them. All of the sudden I heard a male’s voice clearing his throat, I turned my head to the left and saw a man standing with his arms folded – leaning against the bathroom stall. Horrified, I stepped back and examined the door – I just realized I had opened the men’s bathroom door instead of the entrance door! The man and the customers on the bench, the hostess all roared with laughter when I realized what happened. I ran out as fast as I could.

    Thanks for sharing your blog!


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] cocoa and marshmallows for an instant chocolatey gift. If you know your recipient is a chocoholic (like I am) add a candy bar too […]

  2. […] in. Today, she’s constantly working on something new, and while her husband is also pretty handy she’s clearly the construction / home improvement expert in the […]

  3. […] note: One thing I didn’t mention in my Girl Behind the Blog post, was that I used to work for a large cancer center in Philadelphia. While working there I saw […]

  4. […] Do you know how much I love chocolate? […]

  5. […] you are 6’4″, like my brother, you’ll likely need a step stool for painting crown molding and the top of the wall. I have a […]

« Older Comments

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.