Monday, January 31, 2011

My Favorite Things: Charming Charlie

     Welcome to the first My Favorite Things Linky Party!  If you missed the post I wrote about it last night, read it here.  At the end of this post you can find instruction on how to join the party.  I'm excited to read about ya'lls favorite things!  :]


     Just this past Friday I discovered one of my new favorite things: the store Charming Charlie.  I'd heard about it from several different bloggers on WIWW and I was so jealous that we didn't have one in my area.  Then, lo and behold, a Charming Charlie's opened up in our mall!  Let me tell you--this store is ah-ma-zing.  Seriously.  A huge amount of cute accessories, and they aren't expensive!  It's like a Claire's for grown-ups.  Plus, it's organized by color!  That makes the type A in me just die with excitement.  I just got paid so I can't wait to go back and get some new necklaces.  I highly recommend finding a store near you.  :]


     Ok, here's what you need to do to join in with the My Favorite Things linky party. I was going to use Linky Tools, but they are moving to a paid subscription (understandable, because tons of bloggers use that site now).  Uh-oh!  So, instead you can just leave a comment with a link to your post.  I'll be looking around to see if I can find another site to host our links.  Alright up!  

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

My Favorite Things Linky Party!

     Mondays tend to be rough on most of us.  There's just something about having a nice weekend off that makes going back to "real life" on Monday very unpleasant.  It's hard to keep a positive outlook when you have the whole week ahead of you, especially if you're at a job that you don't really enjoy.

     In my experience, the best way to combat the Monday blues (or any type of blues, for that matter) is to think positively.  For example, at one point in my sophomore year of college, my friend Danielle and I were super stressed out with our schoolwork.  We'd been working for hours and the end was no where in sight.  In typical college fashion, I decided it was time for a break.  I pulled out some paper and markers, and we each went to work on our own "Good Things" list.  After 10 minutes or so, we'd both filled our pages with a multitude of "good things" in our lives.  Every time after that day that I started to feel stressed, I would look at my list and feel a bit more optimistic.

     Long story short, that stressful day in college and the resulting "Good Things" list is how I came up with this idea for Mondays.  Since Mondays are inherently stressful for most of us, why not have a weekly "My Favorite Things" linky party?  On each Monday, post one of your favorite things.  It doesn't have to be anything major; feel free to write about an amazing pair of shoes, a delicious desert, or your loyal childhood pet.  Come over here to graduate "extraordinaire" and share your link with us on my weekly "My Favorite Things" post.  I'll try to have mine up early in the day, but there are no promises.  :]  And I'll have a button that you can put on your post to let people know about the Linky Party you're joining.  I'm learning how to do all of this as I go, so have patience with me, please!  :]  It's going to be so fun to do some blog-hopping and read about what makes other people smile on those "manic Mondays."  :]

P.S.- I can't end this post without including a song sung by one of the most talented women ever: Karen Carpenter.

What Inspires Me

Note: I wrote this post a few weeks ago for Laura over at Along for the Ride.  She is featuring posts from bloggers about what inspires them during these dreary winter months (although this past weekend was bea-utiful!).  I figured it was time for me to share with you what I wrote and she featured.  Thanks, Laura!

     Hi, everybody!  I totally echo Laura about the dreary-ness of this time of year.  I always find myself working towards Spring Break and the sunshine it promises.  :]  Here are a few of the things that keep me going towards that goal:

Sitting down for a chat with a good friend and a yummy Peppermint Mocha at Starbucks.  Delicious!

 Listening to music by my favorite band (The Beatles!), like Magical Mystery Tour (click for YouTube video).

Taken by my lovely friend Sarah.
Belonging to an awesome small group.  Fellowship (and food!) with other like-minded women is such a huge encouragement.  

And last but not least, remembering that flip flop season is only a few months away!  :]

     Well, those are just a few of the things that inspire me during these gloomy winter months.  Feel free to come visit my blog over at graduate "extraordinaire"!  Thanks for letting me share, Laura!  :]

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Artsy Fartsy

     I've officially been an art teacher for a week and *wow* I'm loving it.  I had no idea how challenging, interesting, amazing, and fun art can be.  Just this week I've learned about three new artists: Close, Mondrian, and Kandinsky.  I love researching these guys so I'll be ready to teach the kids.  It's all so interesting to me!  Here are my favorite pieces thus far...

Emma by Chuck Close

Composition with Red, Yellow, Blue and Black by Piet Mondrian

And my newest favorite...Wassily Kandinsky!

Composition VIII by Kandinsky

     It's so amazing looking at the amazing things these guys did.  I feel almost kind of dumb for not knowing about them before.  There is so much in the world of art that I didn't even know existed!  Crazy!  And yesterday I learned about cross-hatching.  All sorts of learnin' goin' on up in hurr.  ;]

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P.S.- Tomorrow is the best day in the teaching world: jeans day!  Woo hoo! 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Shoulder, chin, shoulder shoulder shoulder!

     Tonight my sister Kelley and I have a date with destiny.  A destiny that involves learning a "hot" new dance and looking super "cool."  I'm thinking it will involve some '80s type workout clothes, hairspray, and glitter. 

     Yeah, you watch that video at least twice and then try to tell me you don't want to learn it.  Double Dream Hands are addicting, like that show I've been watching too much (darn you and your drama, Meredith Grey).

     Don't worry, I'll let you guys know how our mission turns out.  If you're lucky a short video clip might be involved (if I'm dumb enough to record it).

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Why yes, I AM an artist.

     Guess what, guys?  As of today I am officially an artist.

     Ok, ok.  Really I'm pretending to be an artist while I sub long-term for an elementary school art teacher.  I wish I were good at art and stuff like my friend Jordyn, but alas...

     Anyways, these next several months are going to be full of researching guys like Chuck Close and Piet Mondrian, who I'd honestly never heard of until a few days ago.  Good thing the kids I'm teaching are only elementary schoolers, so they won't know the difference.  Although, I am afraid a few in 3rd grade are getting wise--they snickered when I drew a stick figure on the board.  I'd better save that particular art-form for K-2. 

     What are you doing these days that is stretching you? 

P.S.- I know all of ya'll out there in blog-land are more cultured than me, but here's some stuff by Close and Mondrian, just for fun.  ;]

by Chuck Close
by Piet Mondrian

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

WIWW: Week Four

     Welcome to week four of WIWW on graduate "extraordinaire"!  This week I affectionately call it "WIWW: The Sweatshirt Edition."  Or, "My Love Affair with Sweats."  I mean, at least I wore jeans.  And of course, on the days I wore "real" clothes, I didn't take any pictures.  Simply par for the course, as I've read on countless other blogs.  :]

     Ok, enough rambling.  Now, for your viewing pleasure, "WIWW: Abby Looooves Sweatshirts":

Ignore the mess in my sister's doorway...she was packing to return to college.

Amsterdam sweatshirt: My mom bought it in Sweden in the early '80s!  One of my favorite shirts.
Jeans: Old Navy (Diva skinnys)
red and white softball socks: old camp accessory from my days as a kooky counselor ;]

sweatshirt: American Eagle, maybe 3 years ago
Jeans: Arizona from JCPenny's
blue slippers: No idea where they're from, but they are the warmest things ever.  Sadly the right one is developing a hole in the toe.  :[
"A" necklace: Christmas gift from one of my students
phone: Motorola Backflip with an Otterbox case (and the case broke a month after I bought it, urgh)

     Well, that's my WIWW!  Remember to go link up at The Pleated Poppy!  :]  Until next week, WIWW-ers!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Wonderful Blogger and Our Educational System

     There is an incredible blogger out there named Annie.  Her writing is seriously some of the best writing I've ever never seems forced or coerced, but only like something someone incredibly wise would say.  Part of the reason I love reading her blog is because we've gone to the same church since forEVER so I know she's an honestly good person in real life, too. 

     Anyways, today Annie brought up two documentaries about the state of our educational system.  I know I have some fellow teacher friends on here, so I thought you'd like to read what she said.
Lastly, does anyone out there know much about Waiting for Superman or Race to Nowhere? I’m interested to know if they are credible, and whether or not anyone’s seen them. After a couple of days in Tim and Becky’s ‘hood, where apparently there are 5th graders who have never been taught to read, my interest in the educational system of our country is heightened. Seems to me that there are a few changes to be made.
I went to those websites and watched the trailers.  *Wow* they echoed so much of what I've been thinking.  Check out those documentaries, and while you're at it, check out Annie's 20th Year Project.

     I'd love to hear about a blog you love to read, so make sure you share in the comments!  :]

P.S.- I got to see two of my friends from college this weekend!  Here I am with my dear friend Michaela.  She's new to blogging, so make sure to check her out and give her some love!
I'm still her friend even though she wore that heinous shirt. ;]

Saturday, January 15, 2011

What I'm Making for Dinner: Fresh Green Beans

     A new turn in my "adult" life has been healthy eating.  As a child and then a college student, I was content to eat Doritos, pizza, Diet Coke, cookies, etc. all day long.  It didn't really occur to me that I should be eating healthier.  However, two things happened this past year to change my POV: weight gain (UGH) and spending time with my vegetarian friend, Seth.  The weight I've put on has been nothing but frustrating.  I've never been super skinny, but until about two years ago I could eat whatever I wanted and not gain a lot of weight.  Well, I guess something happens when you get to this age, but all the sudden weight went on and wouldn't come off as easily.

     My friend Seth also got me started on thinking about healthy eating.  This May he returned to being a vegetarian and *wow* he taught me so much.  First thing I learned: I still don't like tofu (sorry tofu eaters).  Second thing I learned: there are so many delicious ways to eat vegetables.  As a child we ate corn and tomatoes in the summer, but in the winter we only had vegetables that came from a can.  By eating with and around Seth, I learned about all the delicious options available to vegetarian/health conscious eaters. Whenever I had dinner at Seth and Julie's house, I always made sure to eat some of Seth's green beans.  So simple and so tasty!  Try them at your house and let me know how they turn out.  :]

Seth's Green Beans
Put some olive oil in a pan over medium heat.  Toss in green beans and cover with some garlic, salt, and a few shakes of soy sauce.  Cook for ~10 minutes, stirring constantly.  Enjoy!

Me and Seth in the car waiting out an awkward moment.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sweet Shot Tuesday: Little Birdies

     This week I'm linking up to Sweet Shot Tuesday over at My 3 Boybarians.  Obviously I'm not any sort of professional photographer and I don't have the best equipment, but it's fun to share favorite pictures anyways.  :]

     I captured this image of two Carolina Wrens eating suet on our porch earlier this week.  We loved watching the birds on the beautiful snowy days.

Shot with my Canon Powershot

WIWW: Week Three

     It's that time of the week again!  WIWW!  This week is a mixture of work, fun with friends, and snow days (three of 'em!).  Remember to head over to The Pleated Poppy and link up!

I could not get a good picture of this outfit to save my life!  But I wore a new necklace that I love (my sister gave it to me for Christmas).  First day back at work after Christmas.
sweater: Old Navy
black pants: I have no idea where I got these.  I've literally had them for 5 and 1/2 years.
black flats: Payless
necklace: Charlotte Russe

Night out with friends in Birmingham!
tunic top: Old Navy
jeans: Old Navy
boots: Target
jacket: a Columbia jacket from Ross
necklace: Charlotte Russe

Church outfit
sweater: Old Navy
Jeans: Old Navy
boots: Target 
watch: Target
(Are you beginning to see a pattern in my clothes? I promise this was only because I was out of town and I didn't bring many clothing options.)

Oh yeah, hot stuff.  ;]  Our first of three snow days...this was right before my sisters and I left on a sledding adventure.
Jacket: from Kohls years ago
wind pants: Ross
snow boots: WalMart
little girls gloves (yes, I have tiny hands): WalMart
super fun hat: Christmas gift

Yes, I look very cheesy.  I was excited about our snowy hike.
aqua jacket: Christmas gift (Old Navy)
hat: Christmas gift
jacket: probably from Kohls at least 7 years ago
gloves: WalMart

     Alright, so that's my WIWW.  I hope you enjoyed seeing my creative snow get-ups.  :]  Remember to join the linky party at The Pleated Poppy!

P.S.- See my first WIWW here and my second WIWW here.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snowmageddon 2011: Part 2

     Well folks, it's day two of Snowmageddon 2011.  This is cuh-razy for us here in Georgia.  The weather is going to barely get above freezing (as in 34 degrees) on Thursday, so none of the snow/ice is melting.  Good news is that the whole family has been able to stay in since we're all in the school business and the schools have been closed.  On Monday my sisters, Dad, and I went sledding down the street.  We went down the same path so many times that it turned into much fun. 

My sisters and I in the snow today!  We took a hike in the woods.

     Tomorrow is Snowmageddon day 3, so we'll see if I'm still liking it as much at the end of the day.  Oh, and I have a new favorite term for my city: Hothlanta.  Check out the CNN iReport here.  What is your favorite term for your city?  And do you have snow today?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Pretty Things :]

     I don't know about you, but I have found so many pretty things on the internet!  I even have a folder on my computer called "Inspiration" dedicated to some of the things I've found.  The contents range from decorations to crafts to quotes and even more.  Today I want to share a few of those pictures with you.  Enjoy!  :]

A quote from Gussy's blog.

From Young House Love: an idea for displaying postcards, pictures, and little nick-nacks.

Maybe from Manhattan Nest: framed pages from an old copy of "The Wizard of Oz."

I loved this idea for place-cards from Ruffled.  Perfect for all types of parties!

So...what inspires you?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Snowmageddon 2011: Part 1

     They've been predicting it all weekend.  Would it really happen?  Would we get a day off school? 

1-9-11, 10:30PM...yay!

     They were right!  Snow!  AKA: No school tomorrow!  Wahoo!  I'm excited to spend this day off with my sister who is leaving for college in less than a week.  What do you like to do on snow days?  Or hurricane days if you live in the far south.  ;]

P.S.- I can't take credit for the post title.  I shamelessly "borrowed" it from a facebook friend.  It was too good not to use.  ;]

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Ingredients for a Perfect Roadtrip

     Tomorrow (!!!) I am taking a spur of the moment road trip to see this amazing woman:

Oh--and her husband, too, whom I've actually known longer.  But who cares about him?  ;]
I kid, Clint, I kid.

     Road trips have three major components to ensure maximum enjoyability: 1) comfy driving clothes/shoes, 2) caffeine, and 3) a kickin' soundtrack.  Numbers one and two are taken care of, but I'm still working on number three.  It takes me about three CD's to get to their house; so far in the line-up I have "Lungs" by Florence + the Machine.  Any other suggestions?  I recently discovered the Avett Brothers (a million years late, I know) and I'm thinking about getting that on iTunes.  

     So tell me...what is your favorite road trip CD?  

P.S.- You can read more about the two wonderful friends I'm going to visit here.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Food for Thought

     I've been thinking about food a lot lately, and it's not just because of all the delicious holiday goodies (although, that weight I put on because of the goodies is one of the reasons).  My whole life I've grown up eating delicious home-cooked meals, but then eating all of the processed snacks I could get my hands on.  Eating those processed foods never bothered me until a few months ago when a new magazine came in the mail.

     The cover story talked all about the food industry in America and our "food responsibility" as Christians (read the whole article here).  The author mentioned many different viewpoints on our responsibility, but there was one that really stood out to me:
I don't really know what Jesus would have put on his plate at the church potluck that day. I suspect he might have tossed a few cheese doodles on his plate, next to his Jell-O, quietly reminding me that it is not what goes into our bodies that makes us unclean, but what comes out of them, from our mouths and hearts. Even so, I'm pretty sure there will not be junk food in heaven, nor do I think we'll be eating meat. I'm expecting to cook good, slow food there, and I have reason to believe we will.
-Leslie Leyland Fields
It's true--I don't think God is in heaven sending down lightening bolts every time we pop open a can of Pringles.  But God has provided all of these wonderful fruits, vegetables, and grains for us to eat.  Why do we feel the need to fill ourselves with junk food?

     As all of these thoughts were flowing through my mind, I began to think more about vegetables.  I've never been a huge veggie fan (except for the those salads from Olive Garden...can I get an "amen"?), but as one of my close friends went vegetarian, he exposed me to fresh veggies I'd never had.  Isn't it a shame that I just learned the amazing food that is fresh green beans?  I believe I am making a more conscientious and responsible choice when I decide to have some steamed green beans instead of frozen chicken nuggets.

     That's just a little preview into my thoughts on eating healthier and more responsibly.  Later I'll share more on the challenges of eating "good-for-you" food in a house with plenty of "not-so-good-for-you" choices.  But, my question to you is this: what's your favorite vegetable?  How do you prepare it (so I can try it myself :] )?

P.S.- Does anyone else share my desire to see this documentary?