Saturday, January 25, 2014

Project Life - Week 2

So, even though I have kept up with actually documenting and completing Project Life, I obviously have not been as good about updating it on the blog when I finish. So, I'm hoping to catch up this weekend, and then do better about staying up to date with it! 


Week of: January 6 - January 12


What Happened This Week: It was all about finishing up winter break (unfortunately), and going back to work. We had Staff Development on the first Monday back, so we had one more day student free before they arrived again. I got gas for my car for the millionth time this school year (I hate the drive), had another basketball game as a middle school cheer sponsor, recorded some Outfits of the Day, and had an impromptu dinner date at Olive Garden. 


Anything Special in the Spread?: Not necessarily "special." Honestly, this week was a little bit dull, at least compared to some others. It was back to work, which means less time to do things that I really wanted to do, instead of needed to do. I did more journaling, which I'm enjoying more and more.


Techniques This Week: I'm getting really into the embellishing thing, especially when it comes to my photos. Last year, for the few weeks I did accomplish (oops) I just slid the pictures in and did not do anything to them. Embellishing is making things so much more enjoyable for me. I'm also having fun color coordinating everything. 

Well, that is about it for week 2. Today, I am celebrating my 24 birthday, and have had a great day so far. I managed to finish reading The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, and it was incredible. Tomorrow, I'm helping my mom put together a gender reveal party for my brother and his wife, and I'm thrilled to find out if I will have a niece or nephew. 

Happy weekend!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Book Review: Divergent

 

Book Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Genre: YA - Science Fiction (Dystopia)
Rating: 4.8 out of 5.0

Review: Honestly, I was incredibly hesitant about starting this series. A friend of mine, before realizing I had no read the books and was very interested, told me how the third book ends. After that, I was not sure if I wanted to go through with reading three long books. Then my sixth graders had library day a week ago, and I decided to pick up the copy in the library (I like to model actual reading for my students, in hopes that they will do the same when they're supposed to read). Needless to say, I was sucked in pretty quickly and could not put the book down. I read about 100 pages throughout the day between my six classes being in the library, and then finished the rest of the book the following Saturday. It was such a quick read!

Honestly, the book is amazing. If you're not sure if you want to read it or not, just pick it up and start reading. Unlike a lot of books, especially in a series, the beginning was not slow at all. It jumps right in and keeps you hooked on everything going on. Along with that, the main characters are incredible. Honestly, with YA you usually have the male character who is near "perfect," and it's wonderful how Roth has created such a lovable male character in Four who is not "perfect." Honestly, my friends and I have decided he is one of the best male characters in a book that we have EVER read. He is not the only star, though. We agree that it is amazing to see all of these books that show strong female characters. While Tris has Four, she doesn't "need" him necessarily, and I love that. I LOVE that more books are showing girls (especially this age) that it's okay to love and help yourself first, without relying on a boy. Overall, Roth does a beautiful job in the novel.

If you are a fan of The Hunger Games, or any other sort of dystopian novels, then you are going to be a fan of Divergent. Roth creates a world so believable, that you hang onto every word, wondering what is going to happen to each individual character. So, I urge you to pick up the book; you will not be sorry.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Project Life - Week 1



This year, I would definitely like to start posting my Project Life posts here. Not only is this for other people to be able to see (and possibly get some inspiration), but also to keep me accountable for staying up to date with it. So far, I have had a blast working on my album already this year, and I hope those are feelings that continue as the year progresses. I know it is still early on, but I am hoping for the best. So, here we go, Project Life 2014 - Week 1! (Sorry about the bad pictures, all taken on the iPhone).


The left side mostly consists of the beginning of the week, and a couple of things that will probably always be in my spreads. The first being the title card in the top left hand corner. Last week I was very simple with these title cards, and i plan to make them much more interesting this time around, so I am very excited about that. Of course, after realizing that I forgot to put the dates on the title card, I added the orange card below it. (If you haven't noticed, I LOVE using ampersands. We have a few around our house, too).


Still on the left: wrote about how we spent our first week of the new year, which mostly consisted of doing some sparklers in the street out front, taking down all of the Christmas decorations, and painting the dining room. I have started to embellish my pictures this year as well after being inspired by others. Last year I just threw them in pockets and was not thrilled with the outcome.

I love the colors that ended up appearing on the right side this week. Last year was my first year of Project Life, and I did not really follow along with anyone else to see what they were doing. I was always so frustrated trying to decide which cards to use, and I never even thought about trying to color coordinate my spreads (sad, I know). I am SO glad my eyes have been opened up to this though, and I plan to continue it through the year.


On this side, I mostly talked about how I received my Silhouette Cameo and started playing around with it (yay!), and also my start to using the clear, cling stamps. (I had no idea how to use them until I began looking up tutorials about it!) I also used a flair badge that says "Win" due to my husband allowing me to purchase the Cameo! That rice cooker right there rocks, too!

To end the week, I included a picture I used of MANY journaling cards because I had such a hard time deciding what to use on my title page, as well as a snap shot of the blog here. I'm really intent on posting more tot he blog this year, so I found it important to include a picture to help remind me. Besides that, I love that the "Life is Beautiful" showed up on the post as well, I think that it definitely adds to the picture.

Well, there we are, week 1! Most of what I used is from Studio Calico, but I do throw in some things that I find at Michaels, Hobby Lobby, and JoAnns. :]

Saturday, January 4, 2014

101 IN 1,001

I've decided to join in and create a list of 101 things I would like to complete in 1,001 days (approximately 2.75 years). I feel like this is a great way to set goals, but also be able to make progress because they aren't TOO far in the future. I was inspired by the blog a southern style, and encourage you to participate as well!

Start Date: January 5, 2014
End Date: October 2, 2016

1. Come up with 101 things (which was harder than expected!) [1/4/14]

2. Encourage others to create their own 1001 list
3. Do well on my GRE
4. Get accepted in grad school
5. Receive my Masters
6. Receive my certificate in School Librarianship
7. Get a different job
8. Read one book a month for a year [January '14-Divergent (Veronica Roth), My Story (Elizabeth Smart), The Book Thief (Markus Zusak), The Fault in Our Stars (John Green)]
9. Journal about the books I read [Divergent]
10. Complete Project Life 2014
11. Learn to play pool correctly
12. Go on more dates
13. Go to Washington D.C.
14. Buy a dining room table/chairs [Table 1/25/14]
15. Decorate the house more
16. Grow a garden
17. Journal more in 2014
18. Complete the backyard
19. Eat healthier
20. Exercise at least twice a week
21. Find ten new dinner recipes
22. Try 5 new restaurants around our town
23. Keep up with One Little Word
24. Begin an art journal
25. Write 10 chapters of my first novel
26. Have a short story published
27. Find 5 new bands to listen to
28. Find a new show to enjoy, and watch a whole season
29. Go to a drive-in theater
30. Meet an author that I like
31. Make another quilt
32. Find three new authors that I enjoy (Veronica Roth)
33. Donate clothes every 6 months
34. Take more pictures (try for 1 every day)
35. Go on a picnic
36. Get a bike
37. Get my ESL certification
38. Take a yoga class
39. Re-read all 7 Harry Potter books
40. Post Outfits of the Day on the blog
41. See my best friend once a year
42. Go to a Halloween party
43. Host Thanksgiving at our house
44. Bake a cake from scratch
45. Make different smoothies at home
46. Teach Sirius "shake"
47. And "come"
48. Have a cookout with our families in the summer
49. Expand our family
50. Make ten projects from Pinterest
51. Go to a concert
52. See a movie at the Studio Movie Grill
53. Don't go more than a week without blogging
54. Go OUT for my birthday instead of staying in [1/17/14]
55. Buy a GOOD camera
56. Send at least twenty letters via snail mail
57. Acquire the rest of the seasons of Law & Order: SVU
58. Start collecting the seasons of Cold Case
59. Do another marathon/run
60. Take a spin class
61. Buy a new iPod
62. Be a contributor on someone else's blog
63. Donate blood
64. Volunteer for an organization
65. Visit the new Perot museum in Dallas
66. Have a design made for my blog
67. Complete the 52 weeks of lists
68. Buy a new Vera Bradley purse
69. Send out Christmas cards one year
70. Find the perfect LBD
71. Send mom flowers randomly
72. Take dad out to dinner
73. Learn calligraphy
74. Improve my handwriting
75. Get a massage
76. Buy prescription sunglasses
77. Have family pictures taken this fall
78. Buy a new painting for over the fire place [Jan 2014]
79. Go to the Farmer's Market once every 6 months
80. Take a cooking class
81. Take a cake decorating class
82. Make a new cheesecake from scratch
83. Begin selling Mary Kay
84. Make Smore's bars again
85. Make time for a bubble bath once a month
86. Learn to make Sangria
87. Find a wine I really like
88. Eat from a food truck
89. Buy a fire pit
90. Give up sweets for 2 weeks
91. Grow an indoor herb garden
92. Go on a road trip
93. Go to the beach
94. Get a "23" tattoo
95. Dye my hair back to brown, and leave it that way
96. Go to the State Fair
97. Carve pumpkins
98. Finish our gallery wall
99. Make 5 blogging friends
100. Don't spend money Jan-Feb 2014
101. Complete this list, then make another!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Making 2014 Count.


Today I am linking up with a few great blogs to respond to a prompt they gave in order to have everyone discuss some of their hopes/plans for the new year, and I decided to join in the fun. As I have already talked about my word for the year, I thought I would respond to prompt number three: 3. I will make 2014 count by...

I thought the best way to respond to this might be by sharing my New Year's Resolutions/Goals. I'm not sure that I like the connotation that comes with the word "resolutions." Most of them seem to die out pretty quickly, and I don't want that, so I have decided to stick with "goals" for the new year. I intend to work very hard to make them happen, too.

Physical Goals:
-Eat healthier (I'm going to start by counting calories, just to help me get on track. Once I feel like I've gained some self control with food, I'll most likely stop this).
-Exercise: Even though I work an hour from home, I know I need to find ways to fit in some fitness. I know it will also help me get through the days easier.
-Be more positive about myself/my image; I have a bad habit of being way too hard on the way I look. No one is perfect, and I need to keep reminding myself of that.

Mental/Emotional Goals: 
-Journal daily; so far, so good. I love to write, and it is a wonderful way for me to get feelings out that I'm not always comfortable expressing in words to others. I think that it's a wonderful goal to write something every day, even if it is just a tiny bit.
-Find a new job: I count this more on the emotional side. I am in a very negative environment at the moment. And when the new school year comes around, I hope to be in a new school where I can grow in a positive way instead of dreading going to school.
-Staying positive in general; I have gotten to a point (mostly because of my job) that I am incredibly negative about things, and I want to change that.
-Be more social: I want to make some great new friends (whether online or in person)

Crafty Goals: 
-Keep up with Project Life - I had a blast putting together my title page yesterday, and look forward to continuing on. The Day by Day class has already been inspiring.
-Continue using/learning more about my new Cameo. I love it already, so I want to make sure I don't put it aside.
-Focus on my word BELIEVE
-Keep up with One Little Word - I'm really excited about it, and want to remain that way throughout the year.
-Begin an art journal - I have seen these all over Pinterest, and I am definitely interested.
-Write, write, write. This is my biggest goal this year.

That's it, at least for now! I have high hopes for 2014, and I'm really excited about sticking with things and making them happen.

Feel free to link up as well, all you have to do is answer one of the prompts in a blog post, and then link up on one of the hostess' pages! I'm linking up through Little Baby Garvin's site! :]

Share your answers to one (or all) of the following prompts on your own blog.
1. What is something you want to change, or a goal you want to set for the New Year & what is your plan for making it happen?
2. Many people chose a word to reflect on, live by or aspire to for the New Year. Let us know your word, how you decided upon it & how you plan to incorporate it into 2014.
3. I will make 2014 count by...
 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013 Year in Review - Part 2

Even though we have already finished 2013, I do want to finish with my review of the second part of the year. I had intended to get it posted yesterday, so it would not seem like I was too far behind, but then I just didn't have the time. My husband and I were taping and priming our dining room so that we could start painting today. As we still don't have a table or anything for the room, we waited a bit longer to get it painted. Anyway, here is the second half of our 2013:

JULY:
July started with us adopting this little one from the shelter. We were about to move into our house, which has a great backyard, and decided it would be the perfect time to add a furbaby to our family. So Sirius came home with us, and we fell in love with him instantly. He's the sweetest little guy!


Then came one of the biggest events of our 2013, we moved into our first house. While we closed on everything in June, we waited a month until mid July in order to move in so that we could have some time to paint, and because our time was not up in the apartment and we did not want to pay too long without actually living there.

My brother, his wife, Michael, and I did the Run or Dye run during the summer as well. It was fairly hot, as it was summer in Texas, but it was also a complete blast. We weren't sure what to expect since we had not done it before, but we all had a great time!

At the end of the month, my cheerleaders attended their summer camp in order to learn their routines and things for the rest of the year. It was not fun at all for ME, but I do believe that the girls had a good time. This was in the midst of interviewing for new schools, so the whole time was pretty stressful for me.

AUGUST:
In the beginning of the month, one of my best friends from middle school asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding next year. And, of course, I was thrilled to say yes! I am excited that TWO of my best friends from middle school and on are getting married in 2015. I can tell it will be a busy year!

Also this month, my brother and his fiance (now wife) had their wedding shower, and it was really nice. Instead of doing a unity candle, they decided to do a personalized glass, made out of sand they got to put together. They allowed all of their guests to put some sand in the jars, and that was a neat addition.

Also in August, before I had to start another school year, we had a housewarming party in order to have all of our friends and family out to see our new house. It's about an hour away for most people, so it was great to have so many people that we care about all out together at the same time.

SEPTEMBER:
 At the beginning of September, we traveled back home to Iowa in order to attend a family reunion on my dad's side. While we were there, we saw quite a bit of family on both sides, though. It had been awhile since we had all been back, so we were excited to see all of the old places and sites. It was a lot of fun. 

In the middle of September, Michael celebrated his 24th birthday. He asked for a cookie cake, so I had to go around to several different places before I was able to find one. My brother and his wife came over to our house in order to help celebrate. 

At the end of September, we celebrated one year of being married. I couldn't believe that a year had passed so quickly, but I guess it's amazing how time flies by, especially as you get older. We had a lot of fun going to a place where we could bowl, mini golf, and play arcade games. It was nice to have a day just focused on us. 

The rest of the year was not full of many exciting things. In October we celebrated the first Halloween in our new home, and had plenty of trick-or-treaters. In November I took a trip to New York to visit a friend (this will most likely be a separate post) and we celebrated Thanksgiving with both families, as always. Christmas time was full of celebrating, and then before we knew it, it was New Year's Eve. Needless to say, it was a pretty great year. Here's to hoping 2014 is even better. :] 


 



Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Year in Review - Part 1

It is safe to say that 2013 was a challenging and exciting year. It was full of ups and downs, as I suppose most years are. However, I can say that it was definitely a year for the books. While there were certainly struggles, it is the good things that I know I will remember as time continues to pass (way too quickly, it seems). Here are some of the things that we celebrated in 2013: Enjoy!

January marks birthdays for my mom, my two older brothers, and for myself. I turned twenty-three this year, and we celebrated all of the birthdays as a family at Dave and Busters. It was a blast, though our family outings always seem to be.

Also in January, I looked into the idea of doing a gluten-free diet. I have had stomach issues for ages, and we were desperate to try anything to make it a little better. This did not work, which was probably a very good thing since I could not stand to eat this bread!

February marked our sixth Valentine's Day together since we began dating. Since it's always so crazy on Valentine's Day (and we were both working and everything), we decided to go out to eat the weekend before the 14th instead. It was much quieter and less busy than it would have been on the actual day, and we have a very nice evening.

March was cheerleading tryouts, which meant for some very long nights (and weeks) for this cheerleading sponsor. It was a lot of work between getting the packet ready, going to required meeting, holding parent meetings, finding someone to teach them tryout material, spending evenings at the school to have the girls learn the material, hosting the tryouts at our school (meaning being there late on a Friday night to set up), and being there all day on a Saturday for actual tryouts.


April was Easter, where Michael and I exchanged Easter baskets with one another (since we don't have children), and we spent time at my parents' house instead of doing the tradition Easter egg hunt and things with Michael's family like we did every year before.

 May consisted of having an upper endoscopy done in hopes of finding out more about my stomach problems. Needless to say, I was terrified, and was glad to have my husband and mom there for support since I do not do well with medical things. It was the first step in finally finding a successful solution.

May also meant traveling back towards our school town in order to attend my best friends' baby shower. I hate that we live so far away, so it was great that we were able to take a weekend down in order to see her and her husband. I hated that we couldn't stay too long, but it was a wonderful trip.

 The rest of May/Beginning of June mostly revolved around spending time with my brother and his (then) fiance. We attended some soccer games with them, enjoyed some Chikfila, as well as went to a Rangers baseball game with my parents.


 June was all about stress for me as I finished up my first year of teaching (middle school, at that) and had to begin thinking about the next year. I knew that I did not really want to stay at my current school, so I began the search for a new school in the future. It took up quite a bit of my summer, in fact, and unfortunately was not successful.

June also marked our honeymoon. As we were both just starting our new/first jobs when we got married, we decided it would not be best to take our honeymoon right away (especially since I don't get too many days off). Instead, we waited until June and went to the Sandals resort in Bahamas. It was definitely a nice vacation after finishing up the school year.

Part 2 coming...probably tomorrow! :]