Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sugar Fresh on a Rainy Day

Last night, I LOVED the rain.  This morning... Not so much.  (Let's just say I woke up at 7:30... I have to be at work at 8.)

But, my day was quickly brightened when I saw that I WON the Sugar Fresh Giveaway at one of my favorite blogs 6th Street Design School!!!!  My very first giveaway win!  And, an awesome one at that!

I am the proud new owner of these two cuties... Now, where to put them?!  (Yes, I was desperately wishing for a nursery to decorate with some of the other ones.... And, yes, I have plenty of friends with babies that I could have GIVEN one to.... But, ultimately, I chose to be selfish! Sorry friends!)

(Get your own at the Etsy shop here.)
*Remember, you can also try your hand at my own giveaway from Stella Jewelry here. (Closes tonight at 11:59.)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


That's the sound of a relaxed sigh, not a freaking out yell... Just to clarify.

As I type this, I feel at peace.

It is raining outside, and only about 55 degrees.  Fall has finally arrived.  (At least for tonight.)  I'm in sweatpants and a fleece, Jeff is brewing coffee, we're listening to Ingrid Michaelson on Pandora, and any minute now 30 (or so) of our closest friends will arrive for a new bible study we are hosting called - Koinonia.  Life is good.

Koinonia is the Greek word for "community" or "fellowship."  Our "Bible study" is really more of a fellowship time for people from our church, Young Life, and other areas of our lives - and the Roanoke Valley in general, as some of these people are totally new friends.  Our focus each week this year is going to be on Christ-Christ Community... Which is so deeply at the core of what we really crave in life, isn't it? Our friend Seth, who is a pastor but is currently delving into the ministry of "insurance sales," will be doing most of the teaching.  He is refreshing and wise. (Check out his website here.)  I'm excited.  And thankful. :)

Hope your "hump day" has been cozy and warm...
... In other news, I really want to give YOU a free necklace from Stella Designs.  Only two more days to enter the awesome giveaway here*Remember, you don't have to post a 30 Before 30 update... Just scroll to the bottom of the page and leave a comment on the post!!

What Makes Me Laugh About My Husband?

Oh, SO MANY things!!!

Unluckily Luckily for you, my Jeff is a very private being.  I try to respect him on my blog, and in my life... So here's what I'm going with today.

His "lazy eye" makes me CRACK UP!!!

Um, if you didn't just wet your pants... You MIGHT need to be checked out by a doctor!!

Jeff makes this face at me several times a day.  Usually, he flashes it right in the middle of a serious conversation, or worse - an argument.  We've been together almost ten years and it still gets me EVERY TIME.  I love it! 

My husband is a funny one!
Wanna play along?

Are you tired and grouchy by Wednesday afternoon? Does the weekend seem ALL too far away? Could you use a GOOD LAUGH? That's what "Mid-Week Laughs" is all about... Take a minute, sit back, and enjoy a good, hearty, brings-tears-to-your-eyes, belly laugh. It's good for the soul!
This week's topic is:

What makes me laugh about my husband/boyfriend!

To play along, simply write your own blog post on the topic - the funnier, the better - don't hold back! Then, just grab my button on the right AND add your link below. Ready... Set... Go! (P.S. You can also just leave your thoughts in the comments of this post, in case you want to join in, but don't have a blog of your own.)

So.... Have at it!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I Always, I Sometimes, I Never + Tomorrow's MidWeek Laugh

I Always...
Eat popcorn at the movies. (Except when Jeff is with me - Because he's a party pooper!)
Wear blush - usually too much.
Hit snooze at least three times.
Send handwritten thank you notes for gifts.
Have a big "To Do" list.
Get stressed by a messy house.
Get nervous when I see a police officer.
Wear my Clemson ring.
Ask other people to drive.
Kiss Jeff before work.

I Sometimes...
"Borrow" ideas from other blogs.
Wear my bathing suit bottom in place of underwear.
Don't brush my teeth before bed.
Wish I was one of the "Design Blog" celebrities.
Save pictures of cute nurseries to my computer for my future babies.
Take six weeks to return an essay to my students.
Kiss Addy on the face.
Drink more than two sodas in a day.
Work crossword puzzles.
Eat fastfood, and like it.
Take naps.

I Never...
Paint my fingernails.
Go from lunch to dinner without a snack inbetween.
Arrive early to events.
Finish ALL the laundry.
Wear high heels. Or lipstick.
Enjoy exercise.  (Except Zumba)
Use cuss words in public.
Leave Target without buying something.

Just thought this was a fun way to share a little today!

*Don't forget to enter my awesome Stella Jewelry giveaway HERE.  You do not have to participate in the 30 Before 30 link-up to win... Just scroll all the way down to comment!!!

Plus, tomorrow's Midweek Laugh is:
What makes you laugh about YOUR HUSBAND OR BOYFRIEND? Come back and share a laugh!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

30 Before 30 Check-in & Giveaway

Today is the six month anniversary of my 30 Before 30 release.  (It's also my half-birthday, but I think it's weird when people celebrate those... Sorry, I'm just saying.)

30 before 30

Anyways, I think it's high time we check-in and see what kind-of progress we're making on living our lives to the full...

Here's an update on my list and a link to the original post where many of you joined in and shared your own "to do" lists:

1. Write a book (Even if I NEVER publish it.)

2. Become a mom

3. Run a half-marathon - (I'm planning to do this in March; but, so far, no progress!)

4. Perform in a play

5. Plant a garden

6. Learn to sew and make something I can wear - (I now have a sewing machine... does that count?)

7. Cook an entire Thanksgiving meal by myself

8. Go to another continent (besides Europe)

9. Drive across the United States - Completed July 2010!  (Click here for details.)

10. Paint a painting I'm proud of

11. Learn basic photography and PhotoShop

12. Take a class just for fun

13. Read the Bible cover-to-cover

14. Visit all 11 of my college girlfriends at their homes - Since March, I've been to FIVE

15. Present at a national teaching conference - Scheduled to present at NCTE in Orlando 11/18/10

16. Read the top ten novels of all time (Modern Library Association List)

17. Take a "girls only" vacation w/ my mom and sister

18. Get something published (poem, article, etc.)

19. Go on an overnight hiking trip

20. Go to Disney World (I’ve never been) - I'm going!!! (See #15)

21. Refinish a piece of furniture

22. Mentor a younger girl

23. Get a make-over and buy the make-up

24. Take HIP-HOP dance lessons and show them off at a club - Does Zumba count? Jeff says no.

25. Decorate someone else's house

26. Finish my scrapbook from London (started in 2004)

27. Grow my hair out past my shoulders - In process... Right now, I'm at the "growing 'up'" stage (i.e. 1950s house wife flip)

28. Wear a bikini and not be self-conscious - yea right!

29. Learn yoga

30. Learn a song on the guitar

Clearly, I have a long ways to go... At least no one will feel self-conscious about their own progress.  I've set the bar pretty low!

So... What have you checked off?  Post a check-in/update on your blog & then add your link below along with my 30 Before 30 button (above).

Now on to the fun part:  As an added incentive, I've paired up with Stella Jewelry Store to offer you a special opportunity to win your very own hand-made necklace inspired by the stars.
Created by Roxy and Tricia, Stella Jewelry is locally based in Roanoke & Salem.

Every piece is designed and hand-crafted by Roxy and Tricia. Each and every piece is unique, unless specially commissioned, i.e. Bridesmaid gifts, Cheerleader or Sorority signature jewelry.

As our tag line states we design “jewelry inspired by the stars”. By ‘Stars’ we are not limiting our inspiration to that of celebrities but also to the stars in our life. It simply could be someone’s idol such as Coco Chanel, or the Star Soccer player (we have many school spirit pieces) or the star in your family who has overcome breast cancer. We have even found inspiration from places we have traveled, New York City is always inspirational, and we got some great ideas from the beauty of Colorado.

Lucky you, Stella is giving away TWO (that's right, TWO) necklaces!  (Winner chooses style.)

So, how can you win?

The first is only for people who link-up above with a 30 Before 30 update.  (Folks, if you've seen any of my recent link-ups, you know the odds are GOOD here. Haha!)  Even if you didn't post your list the first time, you can still join in by linking up with your list AND update today.  That's all you have to do!!! Easy as copy & paste!

The other necklace is up for grabs for everyone else! (Feel free to participate in both.)

To enter:

Simply visit their website here and leave a comment on this post, telling me what item you like best! (Required)

In addition, you can earn a second chance to win by "liking" their facebook page here.  *Please leave a separate comment below letting me know if you do this!!

Lots of great opportunities to win... This giveaway will be open until Thursday 9/29, and I'll announce the winner on Friday.  Don't miss it!!!

*Giveaway open to US residents only!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom!

So, her actual birthday was yesterday. 

BUT, I didn't have this awesome picture to post yesterday:

To celebrate her big day, my dad surprised her with a "Llama Trek."  Only my mom!

Happy Birthday Girl! I love you!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Confessions of a Tenured Teacher

This is my first official year as a "tenure" teacher.  Which - believe it or not - has very little to do with actually teaching "ten years."  Who knew? 

This is a pretty big milestone in my profession.    I've been hearing for years now that the fourth year is when teachers really "get in their groove."  I mean, it kind-of makes sense if you think about it: high school is four years, college is four years... I should be the Top Cat by year four of my career, right?  Um... not so much.  As I type this my classroom looks like a tornado has run through it --- There are seriously enough ungraded papers on my desk to build a small house.

Anyways, I digress.

One major advantage of tenure that I can identify is protection against the dreaded "pink slip" come May --- at least unless I do something crazy... Which bring me to my next point...

As you might remember, last week was homecoming at my school.  My friend Kristin and I are the junior class sponsors.  We really signed up to plan fun parties at fancy hotels every year (i.e. prom); but, somehow, the homecoming festivities always pop up unexpectedly in the fall. 

This year, our theme was "Jolly Roger Juniors" (pirates) and, after a slight catastrophe last year at the powderpuff game involving provocatively dressed male cheerleaders who switched up their routine at the last minute to include an indecent amount of pelvic thrusting, we were sure to be on our Ps and Qs this year.  

All was going as planned - good, clean fun - until Monday morning when the buzz in the halls was that the juniors were in big trouble  for throwing pizza at the crowd during the parade on Friday.  Hmm...

Kristin and I stayed quiet.  (Maybe we had no idea about this horrible "assausage," maybe we had already punished the young criminals, or maybe we knew about it and were just too immature ourselves to think there was anything wrong with it...)  Our lips were sealed.  No one would ever know the truth.

At least not until this morning when THIS picture came out in our community newspaper.

Awesome!  Thank goodness for tenure!
P.S. Don't forget about my 30 Before 30 check-in on Sunday!!  What have YOU crossed off?  Come back to link-up and enter to win a fun giveaway!!

Show Us Your Master Bedroom

Today, "Show Us Where You Live" is all about Master Bedrooms!  This is NOT one of my favorite rooms in the house!  It was a "home makeover" project my parents and I completed two years ago while Jeff was traveling with friends for five days.  I love a lot of the little features; but, now,- especially in pictures - it just looks SO bland.  Any tips you have for "sprucing" it up with little (or, ideally, NO) money would be MUCH appreciated!  Nikki, a project for you maybe?!?

Anyways, here she is...

Here's hoping I get lots of fun ideas from the other master bedrooms posted here today!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Story Worth Sharing

I've been wanting to share my friend Libby's story with you all for some time now, but I haven't really known how to put it all down in words... Then, today, I read an article from the Hampton Roads: Virginian Pilot about her and her blog - Don't Waste Your Cancer - and decided it pretty much did the talking...

I met Libby and her husband Justin a few years ago through some mutual friends.  Justin is on Young Life staff in Chesapeake, VA - a ministry for high school students that Jeff and I are involved in - so, our path's have crossed a lot.  :) We don't know each other well, but I've always admired her beauty - she kind-of lights up a room, her gentleness, and the way she loves Jesus and loves kids.  Last winter, I got to meet her baby girl Ava, and see the way Libby glowed when she talked about being a mom.

*Haha, once, I even received an e-mail from Justin that was meant just for Libby, because her first name is "Elizabeth" too and g-mail has a mind of it's own.  It was cute, and funny.*

Anyways, in July, we received an e-mail from the Regional Director of Young Life, asking us to pray for Libby.  Just a few days before they were scheduled to leave for a month on assignment at YL camp, doctors found two masses on Libby's neck.  By August, she had been diagnosed with stage 4 sclerosis Hodgkin's lymphoma. 

Almost immediately, she started a blog to share her story.

And, trust me, it is a story worth sharing.

Over the past three months, this has been my first stop on the internet every morning.  Without sounding too ridiculous, it has almost been like a "quiet time" for me.  Libby's hope and authenticity through this time of trial and unknowns have showed me more of my God.  Her story is sad, and frustrating... It is real, and it is HARD.  But, it is beautiful. 

And, in case that picture and title don't speak to your heart enough, here's just a glimpse of what she has to say:

"we decided nothing will be the same again, ever. but in the best way possible. we are excited for this new path in our journey as a couple and as individuals. i told justin this past week that i was thankful this was all happening now and not in 60 years when we were older and had missed out on loving Jesus this much, or each other this much, and everyone around this much. since we never saw this one coming. i guess that is what you sign up for when you decide to give your life...we are talking your life Jesus Christ. it means trusting him with everything. i thought i did though. but now i know that i didn't. i mean i did a little. But not like i do now."

It is SO easy to get caught up in MY every day... I start to worry about Jeff's job, or what we'll be doing in six months, and then I remember Libby.  Life is SO MUCH MORE than our jobs, or our house, or how we spend our time.  Try as I might, we don't get to be in control.  But, God is GOOD.  God is GOOD.

Read her blog.  It is changing more lives than just hers.  It is the essence of the Jesus I love.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hodge Podge/ Things You Should Know

1.)  My "Bloggy Book Club" last month was an EPIC FAIL with ZERO participants... Which is a real shame because the book was SOOO good.  But, I thought some of you might "secretly" want to know what I'm reading next.  (I flatter myself, I know.)  So... here it is:

"They" call it a cross between Steel Magnolias and The Help.  What more do you need, really? But, just in case, here's a link to the author's website and a little summary.  I'm one chapter in and so far, so good.

1.5.)  I'm also starting a Bible Study with my mom and some fun girls from church next week on this book.  I'm REALLY excited about it.  I'm sure you'll hear more as we go...
(Read more about it here.)

2.) THIS SUNDAY (September 26th) marks the six month anniversary of when we unveiled our 30 Before 30 lists!!!  How are you doing?!?!  Have you checked anything off?  I'm planning a fun giveaway to announce that day AND a link-up for you to post your updates for us all.  Start planning now!

3.) I'm skipping Mid-Week Laughs this week.  I'm sure you're devastated. ;)

4.) Remember my Thanksgiving Table Decorating Contest from last year?!?!  Well, it won't be long till it's that time again.  And, this year, I'd like to invite you to join in the action!  I'll still need your help choosing a family winner for our own table competition, but this year I'm also going to invite YOU to submit pictures of your Thanksgiving table scape to be voted on by my lovely readers.  The winner will receive a fun prize from CSN Stores and bragging rights for a whole year, of course!  Are you in?

(Last year's winner!)

5. I am so tired of grading essays and doing school work that my head might explode.  (Hence the bulleted/numbered format of this entry.) Please pray for me!

Love you!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Show Us Your Living Rooms (+ Fall Decor)

I'm also linking up with The Nester's "Fall Mantle Party" AND Hooked on Houses' "Fall Open House"... I hope you don't mind my double (err... triple) dipping!!  Enjoy!

I'm a day late (make that two) and a dollar short, but I couldn't pass up the chance to jump back into Kelly's blog hop.  Last week's topic was "Living Rooms"... So, here's mine:

I spent most of yesterday pulling out my fall decorations and playing around with our space.

Here are a few more fallish looks. :)

Friday, September 17, 2010


"Répondez, s'il vous plaît!" 
(Maybe if I said it like that, people would actually do it.)

Ok - don't start panicking - I'm not writing this as a rant towards anyone in particular.... Really, it's just an observation about my own generation (I'm guilty too), and I call for change...

Is it just me, or have the letters R-S-V-P completely lost their meaning in our society?  People see it at the bottom of an invitation and promptly disregard them, leaving party-planners around the country clueless when it comes to how much food to prepare, how many favors to buy, or (if you're me) if anyone is even going to show up.  It's an epidemic, really.

Just this past week, I sent out three facebook invitations for different events coming up in the next few weeks.  As of this morning, one of my events had eight confirmed guests and fifty-six "awaiting response."  NO ONE said "No."  (In their defense, there were three "maybe"s... At least these people own their indecisiveness.)

*Some might argue that facebook, in itself, is part of the problem.  BUT, I'd say it gives even less excuses for lack of response.  You don't even have to dial a phone number or open an e-mail.  RSVPing is, literally, at the push of a button.

So, what's the problem? My theory is two-fold:

1.) People my age don't like to commit - honestly, to anything.  We don't respond to invitations because, heaven forbid, something better might come up.  Just admit you've done it, we're all on the same page here.  Likewise, we are so busy and over-booked, that we just don't know on MONDAY how we are going to feel on WEDNESDAY.  Sometimes I think I'd be better off just to send invitations on the morning-of.  That's when we make our plans, right?

2.) We have this weird "guilt" about saying "NO."  You know how this goes... Someone (usually just an acquaintance) sends you an invite to an event called "Party to Raise Money for Whales."  Deep down, you know they just invited everyone on their "friend list," and they wouldn't notice if you came or not.  (Which, by the way, I DO NOT do.)  You don't necessarily have plans, but you just don't want to go -- it's OK, folks.  However, if you respond "NO," then all the sudden... you HATE whales or something.  It's stressful, I admit. 

Please, let's not go to mailing self-addressed, stamped envelopes for every little shin-dig.  (Weddings deserve some extra cost, right?)

In conclusion friends, I say we bring back the RSVP.  Let's all just agree --- Saying you can't go to a party - whether its because you actually have other plans, or because you just don't want to - IS FINE.  In fact, most hosts would rather you just tell them.  Let's promise not to judge each other when they don't go to the "Recycle" parties, or even just the run-of-the-mill birthday party.  We're all busy.   We're all incredibly popular. ;)  Also, if you commit to something early and then can't go... That's ok too.  You tried.  Maybe just shoot your host a text and let them know.  Or, at the very least, apologize later.  As far as I know, friendships don't end over this stuff.  Just commit already! Ok?

(Haha- I wonder how many facebook responses I'll get today?!?)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Barker McBarkerson

I'd imagine that there comes a time in the life of a parent when they realize that their "perfect" little angel child, really isn't so perfect.  (According to many of the elementary school teachers I know, this time comes around kindergarten or first grade - you know, around the time they start biting their friends over goldfish at snack time.) Anways, Addy is approximately two and a half - in dog years, that's like 16, so we're really behind the curve - and, the time has come.

My dog is a Barker McBarkerson.  Seriously.  I really don't know how this happened.  Golden Retrievers as a breed aren't even supposed to bark much; and my girl is supposed to be THE BEST?!?!  But, the cold hard truth is that she's become quite obnoxious and embarrassing in social settings recently.  :(
Somehow, over the last six months or so, Addy has developed the unfortunate habit of barking at EVERYTHING she sees outside of the house.  This began as just barking at other dogs (you know, a friendly "Hello") when she was outside at Granny and Poppy's house, and has progressed to growling, barking, and even an occassional charge at any innocent skateboarder, jogger, or stroller-pushing-mom.  People are sometimes AFRAID of my golden girl in a polka dotted collar!

What are we going to do?!?!

I need some advice...  Jeff thinks a bark collar will do the trick.  He's probably right, but I can't help but think it is cruel and unusual punishment.  I've also considered a muzzle for walks, but that doesn't really solve the growling and charging problem.  Obedience training isn't really an option at this point because of money; and, let's be honest, I can't bear to accept the fact that we've somehow failed as parents/trainers on our own.  I mean, just look at that face!!

Ok, I admit that this was YEARS ago... But, it was the only picture I had access
to and - I promise - she hasn't turned devilish or anything in the last two years!

What do you suggest? We have a fall full of pumpkin festivals, parades, and other dog-friendly public events coming up... Please help! 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Midweek Laughs: Man Fashion

Are you tired and grouchy by Wednesday afternoon? Does the weekend seem ALL too far away? Could you use a GOOD LAUGH? That's what "Mid-Week Laughs" is all about... Take a minute, sit back, and enjoy a good, hearty, brings-tears-to-your-eyes, belly laugh. It's good for the soul!
mid-week laughs at
This week's topic is:
What makes me laugh about Men's Fashion!!!

To play along, simply write your own blog post on the topic - the funnier, the better - don't hold back! Then, just grab my button on the right AND add your link below. Ready... Set... Go!  (P.S. You can also just leave your thoughts in the comments of this post, in case you feel passionately about this topic - I don't blame you - but don't have a blog of your own!)
Disclaimer: I know very little about this from personal experience.  My dad may as well be a male model; and, as I've told you before, Jeff won "Trendsetter" in both middle school and high school! (Trust me, he will NEVER let me forget it.)  But, I do have some pretty strong opinions about the attire of the male population. 

So, I give you, My Top Three Man Fashion Disasters:

1. Short Sleeved Dress Shirts

Um, especially skin-colored, short-sleeved, dress shirt. And - for the record - cell phone clipped on your belt is also incredibly dorky!
2. Jorts

You thought these went out 15 years ago?  Oh no, I assure you, jean shorts are alive and well.  (Embroidery is an added bonus of hideous points!)
3. Gold Chains (or any chains -- Look, I'm sorry!)

Don't even get me started on my dislike for chest hair and men without undershirts.  BUT, if you absolutely must sport this look... PLEASE spare us the man-jewelry.  Yuck!

I could seriously list a hundred of these, but I didn't want to spoil all the fun for you.  What makes YOU laugh about Man Fashion?  Come on!  Consider it your civic responsibility.... :)

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