Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Introducing Sam & Scout

It is with giddiness and anticipation that I introduce you to my brand new blog home:
Teaching Sam & Scout 


Thank you for almost five INCREDIBLE years at E, Myself, and I and for your amazing support and encouragement in my new little adventure.  This community has become a HUGE part of my life and my heart... I desperately hope to see ALL the same familiar faces and friends at Sam & Scout.

I will be posting exclusively at my new site starting TODAY.  


Go check it out and say hi! (Pretty please? It's my birthday you know!)

Love you all!!!

Monday, March 17, 2014

What's a Girl to Wear When Turning 30?

Today is snow day #10 for us.  No big deal.

Anyway, in case you didn't know (or you've been living in a cave), I'm turning thirty in NINE days.

I'm super excited about this milestone birthday and all the exciting possibilities and new things that lie ahead in the upcoming decade; but, right now, I'm even more excited about the Girls Weekend away I'm taking with my mom and sister to celebrate.

My birthday is on a Wednesday, so the following Friday we are checking into a swanky DC-area hotel/spa for two days of pampering, shopping, fine dining, and sleeping.  (For the record, my mom and sister have really been on me about "upping" my party game and being able to stay out late and have more than one glass of wine for my birthday.  I told them - "It's my party, and I'll go to bed at nine if I want to." This girl is NOT afraid to be old and lame.)

I really can't wait!

Of course, there is one very important issue that must be handled before the approaching date... What's a Girl to Wear When Turning 30?

I've been scouring the internet for weeks now (totally productive, I know), but have yet to settle on exactly which dress I want.  Then, just today, Anthropologie got wind of my dilemma and released a number of new sale dresses - wonderful news, but only adding additional choices and time is running out to place an order.

So, I'm turning to you...

Here are a few of the dresses topping my list for Saturday night out in DC:

Piperlime

Modcloth


Modcloth
Shop Ruche
Shop Ruche
Anthropologie

Anthropologie



What's your favorite? How would you style it?

*Please try to imagine them with a spray tan - I saved the "free tan" on my punch card from last summer for just the occasion - and beautiful blown-out hair - Kathryn is treating us to appointments at Georgetown's Dry Bar too!!

Friday, March 14, 2014

On Retiring E, Myself, and I

You know those little blogger awards that float around the inner-blog world sometimes?  I feel like I should start one called the "WORST BLOGGER" and nominate myself as the first winner.  Agreed? Sorry!

Moving on...

I've been thinking about how to write this post for a while now, and - honestly - I imagined it would be a little more sentimental and a lot more intentional.  Instead, I just kind-of feel the words coming right now, so I'm going to go with it.  I hope I'll make some kind of sense.

Over the last five years, blogging has become SUCH a big part of my life and my identity.  Some might consider that a bad thing (and understandably so, I guess), but I feel pretty sure that my fellow "bloggers" get it.  Lately, since I lost my web domain and have had to make some changes here... I've been thinking a lot about how "blog E" and "real life" E go together.  I think I've been real all along (actually, I promise I have), but I've also changed a lot in the last five years.  When I started this blog, I was in such a different place in life, and only beginning to figure out who I am.  Since then, I've switched positions at work a few times, become a mom, and added A LOT of gray hairs on my head.  Also, in large part because of this space, I've grown to have a clearer idea of WHO I am, and who/what I'm called to be.

After some serious thinking, talking to dear friends, researching, and praying, I have decided to officially retire E, Myself, and I at the end of this month.


No, this really wasn't planned.  I gave the idea of "re-branding" (which is trendy blog-talk for "changing names") some serious consideration back in the summer before Blogher, and then again after Allume (which - as a side note - I've revisited and thought a lot about what I learned there in the last few weeks).  I also had been tossing around the idea of making the switch to Word Press (because that's what the cool-cat bloggers do, right?); but, honestly, I was pretty darn content with things the way they were here...

As I've said before, I never expected E, Myself, and I to be anything more than a fun place for me to write and - hopefully - have a few dozen friends read and comment once in a while.  YOU - this community, these friendships - FAR exceeded my hopes for my blogging "career."  I think we had/have a good thing going here, and I was happy not to change things up.  As far as I was concerned, E, Myself & I was as "branded" as it was going to get and we'd be happily chugging along for another five years...

BUT, I really like lemonade (especially Diet Lemonade at Chickfila); so, when life handed me lemons - in the form of a "lost" domain and a number of other blog-related inconveniences - I've chosen to make the best of a bad situation and use this opportunity to take some risks I would have otherwise been too afraid/lazy/comfortable to take.

With me?

My new blog is going to be A LOT of the things you've already come to know and love here.  But, it is also going to be MORE of the things that really matter to me - things like being a mom, pursing my calling towards teaching, finding balance as a working mom, and showing myself (and other moms) lots of grace.  If E, Myself, and I was about my "journey towards adulthood," my new space is going to be more about where that journey has taken me, what I've discovered about myself in the process, and what I want to be passionate and purposeful about NOW.

In keeping with my word for the year, my new blog is also going to be a little LESS.  Less clutter.  Less advertising.  Less obligation.  As much as I am grateful for four and a half years on record here, I have written over 1,000 posts and - frankly - it overwhelmed me sometimes.  I'm excited to wipe the slate (mostly) clean and give myself the freedom to go back to the basics with my blogging. (Don't worry, E, Myself, and I will live forever in the archives here.)

It is a fresh start for me... One that I'm SUPER nervous about, but simultaneously very excited for too.  It was time.  You know? I'm excited to launch a new space that is a better reflection of who I am NOW and not just - as I've focused on a lot in the past - who I am not.


So, sweet friends, like I said, this wasn't a super eloquent announcement or anything like that.  Really, I just didn't want to leave you in the dark anymore.  YOU are what have made this place a huge part of my life - not the name or the web site - and I don't want to move on without you.  Will you join me?

Again, I'm sorry for the absence here lately.  I'm at a funny in between right now... Working on design and content for my new place; so, feeling a little unmotivated and uninspired here.  At the same time, I miss blogging, and I want to continue having this "meeting place" until everything is ready to go at the new spot.   I miss having this little community to check-in with every day, and hearing from all of YOU.  THAT is how I know I'm not ready to give up all together yet...  

My new blog will be launching (on Wordpress - fancy, huh?) somewhere around my birthday on March 26th.  Please mark your calendars, or something, and plan to come to the party! OK?

*I promise I'll be as clear as possible in directing you to my new site.  BUT, now might be a good time to follow me on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram to make sure you don't miss any announcements! 

In the meantime, I would LOVE some additional feedback from you about what you'd like to see for the future?  What do you look for in a blog?  What do you need?  How can we connect? Truly, I value your opinion SO much, and would love any ideas or advice you have to offer!


Don't be sad, k? I love you all!
E



P.S. In case you don't follow me on Instagram, you may have missed that my dear Poppy passed away on Saturday.  I'm hoping to spend some time writing about his last few days and the incredible role he played in all 29.75 years of my life SOON.  Look for that early next week.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

What Lent is REALLY About

I decided a couple of days ago that I was going to give up being lazy for Lent.  So, in true "Fat Tuesday" form, I went to bed at 8:30PM last night.  (Jeff was out of town and Sam spent the night with his grandparents, so it was - truly - a Lenten miracle.)

I woke up this morning feeling as fresh as a daisy - likely the most well-rested I have been in YEARS.  Until, that is, I glanced at the clock and realized it was already almost 6:30AM. (Apparently I slept through my 4:30AM alarm that I set so I could get up and pull my house back in order, etc. before Jeff comes home and life resumes as normal today.)  I have to be at school at 7.

SO, on the first morning of Lent, I did not wake up and spend time in prayer and the Word while I casually sipped coffee and watched the sun rise.  I didn't start the day focused on the things that "truly matter" like I really want to do during this time.  Instead, I jumped out of bed frazzled and disappointed in myself.  I frantically texted our sitter to apologize for the disaster that is our house (Lord, let me be as wonderful a woman as her one day) and said a silent prayer that I wouldn't hit any stoplights on the way to work today.  Then, as I got in the shower to wake myself up, I let a few tears sneak out of my eyelids.

This wasn't exactly what I had in mind for Lent 2014.



I'm not sure it bodes well for me that I've already messed up on my commitment to not being lazy in only the first 24 6 hours of Lent... But, I have been thinking this morning about what Lent is REALLY about and that maybe - just maybe - there is something important to be learned from my "bad start" today...


By definition, lent is the "solemn religious observance in the liturgical calendar of many Christian denominations that begins on Ash Wednesday [today] and covers approximately six weeks [or 40 days] before Easter."  

(Side Note: This definition is from Wikipedia, which pretty much goes against everything I believe as an English teacher, but I like it and I'm too lazy to do any further research.  Ugh.  I just broke my "Lenten resolution" again. Awesome.)

Wikipedia goes on to explain lent as "the preparation of the believer through prayer, penance, repentance of sins, almsgiving, atonement, and self-denial."  (Sounds fun, right?!?)


The Roman Catholic Church (and many other Protestant denominations - although not the Southern Baptist one in which I grew up) practices these things through a period of fasting from meat and/or giving up something as a form of sacrifice and penitence for 40 days (symbolic of the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert just prior to his crucifixion).
Source


Recently, as a culture, I think we have become pretty enamored with the idea of "giving something up" for Lent.  I've heard it called "spring training for Christians," and I know my own tendency towards treating it as a "re-set" for all my new year's resolutions gone wrong.  This year, about half of my Facebook friends are giving it up for Lent (been there done that), my mom gives up sugar every year, and many in the blogosophere are into getting rid of "40 bags in 40 days" where they purge their house of excess stuff. 


I've done those things too (remember, last year I gave up my blog), and I think they are all REALLY good endeavors.  I think God will honor these sacrifices and, I hope, many will go in to Easter Week feeling freed from "chains" that tie them down during the rest of the year.  I, too, plan to "give something up" for Lent; but, I think there is a big risk that in all the "hype" of the season we miss the point and - really - sell ourselves quite short on the message of the cross...


At least in the spiritual/preparatory sense, Lent isn't about practicing our own self-control and DOING something for God; it is about admitting that we are completely weak before Him and desperate for His sacrifice.

It is, I'm afraid, more about waking up in the morning feeling "doomed" (like I did today), and recognizing that we will fail every.single.time when we try to do it alone; and, instead, being overwhelmed with gratitude for the fact that we don't have to.


I don't think it's bad to "give up" something for Lent... But, I do think it's crucial that we remember our insignificant our "sacrifice" really is.  God doesn't need our Facebook pages, processed foods, or bags of stuff.  He isn't disappointed in me because I overslept this morning; in fact, he will never be disappointed with me because Jesus already paid that debt.


Yes, for the next 40 days, I'm going to focus on being less lazy - on being intentional with my time in the way that I care for my family, invest in other people, and make my spiritual life a priority.  BUT, more than that, I am committing to see myself more the way that God sees me and really LIVING IN the truth of what Jesus' death means.

Are you with me?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Five Things to Prove I'm Still Alive

I'm still here!  Sorry for my absence lately... It's been almost two weeks now since I "lost" my domain, and - now that the shock and "surely I'll be able to fix this" attitude has worn off - I'm actually enjoying a little less pressure to blog and feeling very excited about what's next.  I'm putting some of my creative/writing energy into my new space - hence the lack of posting here - but I don't mean to leave you all hanging...

So, while things are still getting finalized at my new "home" (which I'm hoping to launch on my 30th birthday - March 26th), allow me to update you on some tidbits of life here:

1. My Family Portrait.

Just in case you missed when I posted this on Instagram, I wanted to share our little family portrait (remember, this is what Jeff gave me for Valentine's Day) from My Little Buffalo:


I LOVE it.  What do you think?



2. The Bachelor.

I know, I'm so late to this party! Would you believe I had Bible study on Tuesday night (what is ABC trying to do to me?) and missed the Fantasy Suite episode?  I felt like such a martyr.  (KIDDING!)  Anyway, it's taken me four full days to get through all the drama from that night; but I made it, and am all caught up and ready for the infamous "Women Tell All" tonight.

Here are my thoughts going into it...

- For starters, I think Juan Pablo just might be my least favorite Bachelor ever (and that's saying a lot after Ben's season).  I hate to say it, but he is just dumb as a brick. We'll get to Andi later, but she totally said what we've all been thinking - his English seems perfectly fine until someone starts talking about something serious and then, suddenly, all he can say is "un besito."  Ugh.  That stopped being cute after about night one.

- I never thought I'd say this but - even before Andi went rogue - I think I've converted to Team Nikki for the win.  I honestly don't dislike her as much as I did to begin with... She seems really young and a little insecure to me; but, I really do think she is genuine.  Do I think they will last and she is "ready" to be a mom? No.  But, given my thoughts on Juan Pablo (see above) probably the best match for him.

- I'm practicing "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all" with Clare.

- And, Andi.  Oh Andi. I LOVE her for seeing through Juan Pablo's handsome face and charming accent and calling a spade a spade.  Her reaction after last week's one-on-one was totally a "You Go Girl" moment for me.  Do I think she took it a little too far and seemed a little bit repetitive and a tiny bit crazy? YES.  But, letbehonestforaminute, aren't we all a little irrational and crazy when we are mad?  No? Maybe that's just me.  Either way, I love that she is smart and secure and not afraid to demand better for herself.  *Now, I think if she opts to be the next Bachelorette, she's pretty much just selling out, but whatever.

As for tonight, I really don't care what any of the girls have to say (accept maybe Victoria - haha); but, my favorite part of this episode is always seeing how different (and usually, even more beautiful) the girls look today.  Fun times.  What about you, will you be watching?

*For much better recaps/reviews of this week's Fantasy Suite episode, allow me to point you in the direction of The Possessionista and Pinterest Told Me To.  Both are PERFECT.  (I especially love the Possessionista's description of Nikki's horseback riding outfit. EPIC.)


3. Say Goodbye to Survival Mode.


I just finished this book last night by Crystal Paine from MoneySavingMom.com.  (Yes, if you remember when I first posted about it on Instagram, it took me a while to read it; but, once I got started, I really liked it.) I definitely feel like I've been living in "survival mode" for some time now, so this book was perfect for where I am.  Crystal gave some really great tips for bringing order back to my life and focusing on what REALLY MATTERS.  I especially liked her advice at the beginning about learning to say NO to things that aren't life giving to me; and, on committing to simple routines instead of overwhelming myself with schedules and "to do" lists.  I came away from this book with some very practical tips I can apply right away; but, most of all, with a list of my own "best stuff" - a great filter to run decisions through in deciding how to invest my time/money/energy/etc.  I definitely recommend this book if you can relate to the "chicken with its head cut off" lifestyle. #notthatIcan ;)

P.S. I think this will prove to be a great lead-in to the next book on my list - Hands Free Mama.  Have any of you read it yet?  I'm both excited and nervous to dig in to it! (Are you noticing a theme for 2014?)


4. The Oscars.

Let me be honest, I hadn't seen ANY of the nominated movies and only watched until about 9:30PM of the show.  BUT, I saw most of the beautiful dresses and heard Ellen's funny opening, so that counts for something, right?

I think my favorite looks of the night were Lupita Nyong, Sandra Bullock, and Kate Hudson.




I also loved Bette Midler's dress.


And, obviously, Olivia Pope Kerry Washington was STUNNING, right?



(Side Note: Blogher just announced that she is going to be their keynote speaker in San Diego this summer.  I'm not planning to go again this year; but, this almost made me change my mind!)

5.  March.

Can you believe it's March already?   This is the month I turn thirty!! Also, Lent starts on Wednesday.  More on both of those things soon; but, for now, here are some pretty new March Wallpapers for your desktop while we dream of spring weather (it's snowing here today)...


From The Ruche Blog
From Sweet Tea Paperie
From Laura Prestwich Designs
So, what's new with you?!?! 


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