Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cute Cuts!

So nothing says a new season like a brand new 'do! Or at least a trim to get yourself back to your favorite self! I'm in desperate need to get my layers redone. I just feel like there are never enough hours in the day and before we know it, it's 10:30 and I still haven't checked my daily blogs! (or my emails for that matter haha). Anyway, I digress! We're talking about hair! I already have my new favorite style, and it's taken me a LONG time to find a cut that has worked for me, since I have such thick, thick hair. Really. It's as tough as nails. Maybe even tougher than nails. But still I wouldn't trade it for anything, and the past few months I have felt awesome due to my haircut. Isn't it crazy what an awesome 'do does to your mood and your confidence? Amazing! Anyway, once I get it done again, I will show you my new favorite style. But in the mean time, here are other styles I love (some I'd never dare try, some I might...but not this time!):

Source: via Susan on Pinterest

Source: via Susan on Pinterest

Source: via Susan on Pinterest

So do you have a favorite? What's your style? Do you experiment or do you stay with a classic that's always been "yours?" I have experimented. Some have gone better than others. Maybe someday if I have the guts I'll show you the pictures. At the time, I didn't laugh at them, but now I can! Oh the choices we make!

Happy Thursday!


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: Smitten

That's right ladies. I'm talking about Smitten Kitchen. Have you heard of it? Deb is a NYC food blogger and her food photography is positively delicious! (almost looks as good as the food!) If you follow me on Pinterest, you may have noticed that I've been pinning a TON from her. Here's some of my favorites that I am DYING to try:
coconut milk fudge! mmm
espresso shortbread cookies!

Hello Brunch! Lemon ricotta pancakes

Oui oui! French Onion Soup. Yum!


homemade granola bars

Acorn Squash Tortillas with Tomatillo Salsa

Fantastic Fall: Sweet Potatoes with Pecans and Goat Cheese
So, who's hungry? I cannot wait to make some of these, they look phenomenal! So have fun browsing Smitten Kitchen, and pin away! I'm addicted. No really.  It's true.
Have terrific Tuesdays everyone! I'm embracing these last days of August: my warm weather teaching clothes are definitely getting their wear in and I'm loving it! Hope your day stays bright!


Monday, August 29, 2011

7 Blessings

Is it just me or did last week kind of feel like a month? Just kidding, but it was a long week, filled with lots of good and bittersweet things. Here's this week's 7 blessings (some things here a little silly to be thankful for, but nonetheless, I am!):

a little girls night in!
mango margarita!
  1. I always forget what a great community I have down here, from my friends to my professors to the families in town. I love being back and catching up with everyone and having a family atmosphere down here, since I always think of mine back home.My brother got back to school safely. He and my dad had a good trip out, and my dad made it back without a problem. I'm so excited for him to be starting out his sophomore year, and I'll even brag about him for a minute: HE GOT A HOLE IN ONE on Saturday! (for all of you non-golf fans out there, hole in ones don't really happen very often!). We're all so excited for him and we knew that all of his hard work would pay off eventually. I hope his game stays the way it is right now! 
  2. Having a Walgreens right across the street! Yes, I'm already started buying throat losenges. Glad to have those at a moment's notice!
  3. Thankfully that little storm called Hurricane Irene did not do as much damage as they anticipated on the Eastern Seaboard. Thank goodness. But still, many homes, towns and individuals were severely affected. I am going to continue to keep them in my thoughts and hope that all stay safe out there. This late summer weather is so finicky. 
  4. Respectful kiddos. This is a sweet bunch of kids, let me tell you! I have never felt so respected by a group of kids ever in my life as much as I have from these kids. They are polite, hysterical, good listeners, and so ready to learn. I hope that other kids learn from these lovelies. They're the best! Let's just say, I've walked out smiling everyday. 
  5. Once again, I keep having continued support from teachers, friends and family, (and those here in the blogosphere). It always brightens my day day to get an email, a text, or a long phone call from those who have always been there for me. I just can't get enough!
  6. Late summer days and nights. I know some people are itching for fall! But I'm still loving all of the fresh food (like that delicious corn I had yesterday at Cornfest!) and beautiful weather for long walks and runs outside, outdoor barbeques and late night chats. Oh, and some fresh fruit margaritas! Yum!
  7. Songs to brighten my day. Thank you Jake Owen, Miranda Lambert, Rascal Flatts, Montgomery Gentry...oh Josh Groban and Michael Bublé!
Here's to a lovely week ladies. And next weekend is a three day weekend! I'm getting excited as you can see. I hope everyone has a productive and fun week ahead!


Saturday, August 27, 2011

I got a blogger award!

So one of my bloggy buddies, Jess from Avant-Garde Living, who has been keeping up with my blog for awhile now and (and writes awesome comments too!), got a One Lovely Blog Award. Yay for Jess! (She's got an awesome blog, so you all should go check it out too!). Anyway, she linked me for an award too, and I was so psyched! I love finding buds in the blogging community and I've loved reading and learning about Jess, so I'm happy to accept this "award" and share a little info with all of you. So thanks again, Jess!


•    Link back to the person who gave you this award
•    Complete the form below
•    Share 7 random things about yourself
•    Award 15 bloggers this award and notify them of the award


Name your favorite colour: Is it weird to say it changes all the time? It does! Right now, I'm loving orange. Such a fantastic pop to everything!

Name your favorite song: Life is a Highway by Rascal Flatts
Name your favorite dessert: Cake! I also love whoopie pies! and a cup of coffee to go with it

Black or white: Can't go wrong with either one
Your biggest fear: That bad things will happen to those I love most.
Best feature: Probably my positivity (at least I think so) and I'm always willing to listen to anyone at any time.
Everyday attitude: Smile! Embrace the day, no matter what happens and try to make the best out of the cards you're dealt. I'm really a glass half-full girl. 
What is perfection: People still think that exists? Maybe in scenery, but not in people. 
Guilty pleasure: The Bachelor/The Bachelorette...and risotto!


  • I didn't really talk till about age 6. Now you can't ever shut me up!
  • I used to not know a thing about dressing well. Seriously. My family tells me that I used to look kind of matronly. Thankfully, I think I've changed that!
  • I'm left handed...and most people are still surprised. Shout out to all the lefties everywhere! (and I do have legible, pretty decent writing, for all those who doubt that lefties can have good writing)
  • In the past two years I've been told that I've developed both a Central Illinois twang and a heavy Chicago accent. Personally, I don't think I have much of either! (ok, maybe I have a little bit of that Chicago accent.)
  • If I could live on one food forever, it would be honey nut cheerios and milk. It's always refreshing to me!
  • I'm caught between wanting to be a city girl and a country girl (although I'll most likely stay a city girl). Is there a happy medium?

  • Thankfully, caffeine doesn't affect me (make me go crazy or stay up too late) like some people, except give me a boost. Coffee, Diet Coke, problems at all!
And now I'm going to give a shout out to 15 ladies whose blogs I love (I know they're all too busy, so no need to re-post, but I thought I'd show you all love anyway!). Be sure to stop by and read all the good things they've got. They're all lovely!

Thanks again to Jess for giving me the shout out. Again, I hope you didn't mind learning more random stuff about 'lil ol' me! I hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend! I've been enjoying Corn Fests and late summer heat. Now everyone savor these weekends, they're going by too fast!


Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday's Fancies: Something Blue

Something Blue
Once again, I'm linking up with {av} over at Long Distance Loving for this week's theme: weddings! I do not have any more weddings to attend this summer, but I thought it'd still be fun and maybe inspiration for the one's I'm headed to next summer! While searching, I came across this color and fell in love so I had to do two outfits! The left is a little more dressy while the right is still dressy but with a casual chic vibe. I love how much you can do with this color and how many looks can come with it. Isn't it fabulous? Of course, someone at the wedding has to have that something blue!

Have wonderful weekends! I'm hoping I'm not getting another cold (thank you, kiddos!) or maybe it's just allergies. I'm planning on a simple weekend of relaxing and watching a little Say Yes to the Dress (speaking of weddings!), practicing and writing a few papers. And hopefully going to the farmer's market with friends. I'll be enjoying the summer heat we still have, I hope you will be too!


Also there are so many giveaways happening right now:
Lindsay at Delighted Momma is giving away these fantastic bangles! She made them, and they're fantastic!
Carlee at Deliciously Organized is giving away a new day planner! Wooo!!
Meggan from Lila Grace is giving away an Anthro gift card and this beautiful frame.
Don't forget to enter!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

What I Know for Sure--Thankful Thursday

I know lots of people who have never been/are still not fans of Oprah Winfrey, and that's completely fine with me. I have no shame in saying that I still love watching reruns of her show and occasionally turn on her network if something appealing is on. This woman is an inspiration to me. She came from nothing and worked her way up the ladder to have everything she's ever wanted and then some. We used to get her magazine at our house, but stopped quite a few years ago. However, they sent us one of those cards for subscribing in the mail the other day. On the card, she wrote a little snippet of her column called, "What I Know for Sure." She gives advice and world experience about what she can say that she knows for sure. Here's some of my favorite lines from her:

  • What you put out comes back all the time, no matter what. (This is my creed.)
  • You define your own life. Don't let other people write your script.
  • If the only prayer you ever say is thank you, that will be enough. (From the German theologian and humanist Meister Eckhart.)
  • If you make a choice that goes against what everyone else thinks, the world will not fall apart.
  • The happiness you feel is in direct proportion to the love you give.
  • When people show you who they are, believe them the first time. (A lesson from Maya Angelou.)
Seriously, I love reading her words. They are so wholesome, inspiring, harsh yet true, and definitely believable. The other night I was reading them and I was thinking about what I know for sure. So here's a little something that I came up with:

  • I know that I will always have my family, faith and friends behind me. They may not agree with every decision I make, but they know me and my character. They know that even if I falter, I will stand right back up and many of them help me do it. They are my rock and I would not be here without them.
  • I know that I am not a model. I'm not perfect. But I know that I love myself. I do, not matter the day, even when I'm having one of those "fat" days (come on, we all have them!). I know that I am worth it, everyday. No one can take that away from me.
  • I know that I was made to make mistakes. We all are. But I know that my mistakes help me learn and grow each day as a person. I also know when to admit that I was wrong. I sometimes don't always like to admit it, but I know that acknowledging my faults helps me discover what I did and grow for the next time. Laughing over them is also necessary!
  • I know that life is a gift and that many people are not given the experiences that I am given. I have to cherish them everyday really like it is my last day. All of our days are numbered, to an extent, but some people have less time than others. Every day has to count and I try to live them as fully as I can. We can all do the same. Live them for you, no one else, but share them with those you love. 
  • Always trust yourself and your own instincts. Only I truly know what is best for me. Of course, I am going to consult other people as much as possible, but really, only I know what I really should do. Don't let those instincts go unheard.
  • I know that "We can do anything we want if we stick to it long enough." Helen Keller said this and it is a quote that sticks with me every single day. If we persevere, and push ourselves far enough, we can achieve anything we want, no matter how many people tell us no. We may have a million interests and thousands of things we want to achieve, but we can always achieve those few things that we stick to for the long haul. I know that I will not ever give up on my dreams, and I know that my dreams may change a few times. I will see my dreams come true if I put the work into them, even though it's a difficult road.
And here's one more thing that I thought was perfect for this post (it really sums up everything I truly know for sure!):

What do you know for sure? It's weird to think about it in that context, but I think we all do have something that we do know for sure.

Here's hoping my kiddos are in as good of a mood as they were last week! The weekend is so so close!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Energy Energy!

That's right ladies! Energy! I still can't believe I have some right now, I'm almost numb! The weeks and days feel longer, and yet I feel as if I never have enough time to accomplish everything I want to. It's hard, this "real life" business! There's no warning or anything, it just happens. Yet, I still have my energy, and a little sanity, which is hard when so many people work (or study, or are in school) for so many hours. Here's how I've been keeping my energy alive:

  • Coffee. I won't deny it. I should, but I won't. I love my latte in the morning. It's so refreshing, it perks me up just a tad, and it fills me up with the rest of my morning breakfast. It's a great boost to start my day. If I don't have one, it's not the end of the world, but having one always makes my a day a bit brighter!
  • Breakfast. It goes along with the coffee, but still breakfast is needed. Last week, I ran out of time a few mornings and it was awful! I've never done that before and now that has shown me how essential my little bowl of honey nut cheerios is! haha
  • Exercise. We've all heard it before, but exercise does keep you awake, focused and absolutely energized! Because of my schedule, it's hard to get it in everyday, but I don't feel bad about that. I think 3-4 days a week for now fits for me. I work to my highest ability and am always trying to reach higher. You don't have to be there for hours to feel good!
  • Having leisurely dinners. I mean, what's the rush? We're always trying to do things in such a hurry, which sometimes is a necessity. I rush through things just like everybody else all the time. But lately, I haven't been wanting to. I want to take my time and enjoy my time with the people I'm with and forget about everything else, just for an hour. Having that time, in my opinion, is way more valuable than rushing through to get to that next thing on your plate that "has to get done right now!" 
  • Relaxing for at least 30 minutes a day. I have always had a ton on my plate. That's just how I roll, I suppose. But I've learned that we can't go, go go all day long, everyday. Trust me, I've done it, and it's just made me sick, which no one wants! So I've found that relaxing for 30 minutes or 45 minutes, or an hour, is so good for you. Whether it's reading a book, knitting, watching TV, talking on the phone, or my new favorite, blogging, use that time just for you and don't let anyone else ruin it for you!
  • Sleep. One of the hardest things about the world we live in, I think, is that we always have an excuse to stay up later! I do, all the time. I could be on the computer late into the night, watching reruns of Sex and the City on E! or talking on the phone. We have so much that we're able to use anytime we want, and night is especially appealing (at least for me! Maybe I'm weird, who knows!). But we all have to turn it off eventually and if we can get at least 6 or 7 hours, we'll be so much better off. Trust me, it feels so good!
  • Don't be afraid of a little something sweet! Maybe this is just me, but I love to have a little something sweet everyday. It doesn't have to be a big thing, but just something little to enjoy for a few minutes. Whether it's a little chocolate, a fruit tart, or a frozen yogurt, it hits the spot for a long day. We deserve it, right?

So there's a little bit of my life, and why I've been so energized (yet ready for bed at the end of the day)! Do you have any other ways you stay focused and energized? Have wonderful Wednesdays!


Monday, August 22, 2011

Late Summer Looks

Late Summer in the City

Late Summer in the City by susanhager featuring a cluster necklace

I have to say I'm loving looks that can still say summer while also transition to fall, like this one! I'm in love with this rusty orange, since it's so versatile and of course all of those wide leg jeans we keep seeing. They're so slimming and make your legs look miles long, and I'm loving them with these perfect wedges. Here are a few other looks I think go from summer into fall:

Fall Floral
I have always been a fan of florals, especially skirts like this one that have the color palette of both summer and fall, all depending on what goes on top. This sweater is perfect with the skirt, and the belt gives it a little something extra!

Date Night Fall
I LOVE this lacy dresses for both summer and fall. You can put this beautiful leather jacket over it, add a fun heel, colorful earrings and a clutch to make the most perfect date night silhouette.

So there you have it! Now of course all of these items are WAY out of my budget, but hey, there's nothing wrong with window shopping right? What's your favorite look for fall? Do you have an essential late summer into fall item that is worn all the time? Mine definitely has to be my long Infinity Cardigan. That thing's perfect!

Have lovely Tuesdays! This week just keeps getting busier, but I can handle it. Watch out for later this week I'll give some of my advice on how I'm living well: mind, body and soul!


Sunday, August 21, 2011

7 Blessings

  1. Safety. All of my friends and I arrived safely back this past week. I'm so glad everyone got here safely, especially since there were big storms on the way. Now everyone's just getting back into the groove and it's so great to see everyone and be back.
  2. Security/"some things never change:" Whenever I start a new year, or come home for that matter, I always expect things to be different than the way I left them. Well, thankfully, coming back here, everything just picks up where it's left off, and that is such a comfort. Even though some change is good, I love that some things do never change around here. From the food, to my church and the lovely people there, and of course my crazy friends, I know it's going to be a wonderful/bittersweet last year.
  3. Phone calls with the fam: I always miss them when I'm gone, but our phone calls make up for it and I can be talking with them for an hour and not realize it. They're such a support system for me, especially when I'm here, and having all of their support and stories after my first week with the kiddos was more than I could ask for.
  4. Food on my desk table: I've spent the past week eating peanut butter sandwiches and lean cuisines. That's it. I've kind of been complaining about it, until I realized that some of my kids at school can't even some nights get food on their tables for the whole week. I wish I could bring them here and give them my dinners, but I know I never can. So for now, I can just be thankful for what I do have and just hope that they too can find ways to get everything they need, food included.
  5. Patience: Though I know somedays I will be tested, I am glad that I have patience and understanding to be able to help these kids with their work and their goals. I know it's not going to be easy, or immediate for that matter, so I am thankful that I have patience, and even when I do get frustrated, I just have to remember that everything will work itself out in time.
  6. Energy! I never thought I could need/exert this much energy, but I really have! I'm glad that I've found it all inside me so that I can let out my excitement and enthusiasm for learning every single day. Although I am wondering when my breaking point will be haha. It's tiring!
  7. Finally realizing I can't "do it all:" This has always been something I have struggled with. I have always wanted to be that person who is always there, always helping and contributing and always there with a smile ready to work at a moment's notice for anybody. Or I have the problem of picking up jobs I don't have time to do just because other people won't do them. Well, after all these years, I'm finally realizing that I can't do it all. I do have to let some things slide and know that others can take care of them too, it doesn't have to be me. I finally know that I shouldn't overburden myself and still have fun to enjoy, relax, eat, blog, practice, be social and of course sleep! I know probably loads of you out there are just like me, wanting to do it all. It is awesome having that feeling of accomplishment when you finish, saying, "I just did so much today." But really, how much is too much? I'm finally realizing that I'm only human and I can't let the weight of everything ride on my shoulders. Don't get me wrong: I'm still going to do as much as I can, but just not overburden myself to a bad point. Is anyone else out there like this, wanting to do it all, all the time? I applaud you guys, I really do! But just know that if we take a little less, I think we're all going to be just fine, too.
This week really looks like it's going to pick up and be a busy one already. Good thing I have my post its at the ready to keep my lists going and rip them off when I've done something (it's such a good system, try it if you need a new organization tool!). Did everyone have a good weekend? Do anything exciting? I hope everyone's ready for a brand new week, I know I am! Happy Monday everyone!


P.S.  Even though it's Monday ------>

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Teacher Chic

I was so excited when {av} from Long Distance Loving said that this week's theme was Back to School. This couldn't have come at a better time for me. So this week I decided to redefine teacher-wear. Teachers have always been known to wear the big sweaters with apples and a calculator on them, but it doesn't have to be that way anymore! Although I wouldn't mind having one of those to wear to an ugly sweater party, for fun! Anyway, I digress! This is my definition of back to school cool: teacher chic style! Have fabulous weekends everyone!

Teacher Chic

Completing my List

So today was my first day of school with my new kiddos!! I met a few of them last night, but they all officially came today and I'm beyond excited for the year. The kids are so sweet and I hope they have as much fun as I know I will. So, with that being said, summer is officially over for me (and I'm talking the summer life, not the temperatures. Those are still here, thank goodness!). So, let's recap my summer. No, I'm not going to talk about every stinking detail. But I did make a bucket list. Did I complete it all? Let's Check:

Become a better cook: I've done lots of cooking over the summer, from really easy and flavorful bruschetta to working on grilling to trying multiple recipes of chocolate chip cookies. I've still got to work on chopping (I'm awful at it!) among other things, but I'm excited to keep doing it and having fun with it.

Get back into playing tennis (and maybe this year I can finally perfect my serve): I didn't get to this! Ahh it makes me so mad! I guess I'm going to blame the fact that I didn't have anybody to play with. Even though I could've mustered up one of my siblings. Oh well, I'm not done with this yet! I really do want to get back into this.
(Somewhat) redecorate and reorganize my room: Well I didn't redecorate (yet) but I did partially reorganize and donate a lot of my old clothes (yes even some of those clothes that my sister alluded to in this post) to the donation box at my church. It was nice to make some more room in my closet, and also just keep the clothes in my wardrobe that I really love. I can't wait to reorganize and redecorate NEXT summer. I know that that will be my time to really get things done. 

Explore the wonders of Colorado and hike in the beautiful mountains: I've said a lot about my trip. It truly was beautiful and fantastic and the hiking was unlike anything I'd ever done before. It tested every bone in my body, but it was so much fun and so worth it. I loved heading out west and I'd love to go back again someday. 
Do more DIY projects (sew another dress, start the afghan I've been dying to try, make more jewelry):  I did accomplish quite a lot! My mom and I made several clutches over the past few months, which I'm loving! And I gave a few away for my friends to try and use. I wonder if they like them! I also started my blanket. So I'm excited to be semi-crafty!
Practice the piano...goal: recital!: I could've practiced more, but I'm excited to really get back into my music now. It is something that I truly find joy in and now that I'll have more space and (try) to find more time, I know that I'll be focused and ready with my goal in mind.
Ravinia concerts with my Dad: We got to go twice this year and both times were fantastic! My dad and I share a great love for classical music, and to go together with my sisters is such a treat We got to see both Emmanuel Ax and Yo-Yo Ma and I loved every moment of both. If you live in the Chicago area and you haven't been to the Ravinia Festival before, you should definitely go! It's great entertainment for a really great price. You can even bring a full picnic dinner for an evening with friends or your sweetheart. The lawn is great. I hope to go more next year.
FINALLY develop pictures that have been sitting in my computer for (sadly) years...:Yes, I finally got some more pictures!! Ahh it's perfection! I'm so glad I finally developed them and put them in an album so that I'll have the hard copies for years to come. 
Spend more quality time with the people I love most:This is probably the thing I did most on my list, and boy am I glad that I was given this chance. We had such a great summer, with good and bad times, but it was still a fantastic few months and I'm so glad we got this time to spend with each other.

This is what my town will look like in a few short weeks!
I love Indian Summer
Well there you have it! I completed most of my list. It was a ton of fun, and I think making lists like this really gives you a core of what you want to do and sticking to it.  Now it's onto fall we go! I like fall, although summer is still my favorite season. Tomorrow get ready for some awesome Friday's Fancies: Back to School Cool! I can't wait!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Oh men...

Tonight I was just thinking about my love life...or rather my lack thereof. I'm not writing this because I want pity. That's not it at all. I love being single. But sometimes I just wish I had the guy. That person who just loves being with you and challenges you and fights so hard just for you. That kind of guy. But my faith in guys shifted the other day.

So last week had one of those beautiful Chicago Thursdays. I decided to go to the beach and read and enjoy the cool breeze and beautiful waves. It was perfect...until...

This group of guys shows up right in front of me. Not only were they rude and pretentious, but they were downright idiotic, saying all these things about how they treat women and also about how they treat themselves. I'm not one to eavesdrop, but they were very loud and I couldn't help but overhear. They talked about how they treat employees and family members and I was disgusted. They discussed all the horrible things they've done to others and to themselves and laughed it off like it was no big deal. Acting like big shots, they even thought they could get access to some drugs from minors. I'm going to pull a Carrie Bradshaw and say, "I couldn't help but wonder:" is chivalry really dead?

First off, I couldn't believe that these guys were talking this loud (the alcohol may have helped them with that) about all this stuff that one would NEVER talk about in public. Also, they knew that I was sitting directly behind them, and yet they continued to speak poorly about women. I guess my point is that I couldn't believe that these guys, who are educated men and most probably had good breeding somewhere down the line, were acting and speaking like this.

I'm no expert, but this is my public service announcement to all the ladies out there who are questioning their guys lately. You are worth it and deserve everything and if you are wondering if your guy is treating you right, think about how he acts and what he is doing. Make sure you talk things out so that he doesn't start to act like these guys did. I could not help but feel so sorry for the girls that were with these guys and how hurt they must've gotten. I know that they're now probably doing better than where they were with these losers. Every girl deserves to be happy and "have it all" when it comes to her guy, but don't settle for someone like this.

For someone who is currently single (and, I'll say it...looking), I am wondering where all the good guys are. I mean I know a flock of them don't just show up at your doorstep with a dozen yellow roses and take you away, but where are the guys that are respectful, caring, responsible, and even charming (because these guys were far from it)? It's been a long road for me in the love department, mainly because I've still yet to experience it. I'm patiently waiting my turn, and I know that someday, it's going to come. But I know that from this, I'm not going to settle for anything less than a person who cares, who is there, and, for that matter, has a soul! I know I won't, and my hope is that none of the other single ladies out there will. We deserve better! I don't want the perfect love story, but something little wouldn't hurt!

Until then, I'll just ride the wave and wait my turn, enjoying everything this life has in store for me. It wouldn't be bad if it looked like this either--------->


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Knitting Update

I was a knitting fiend on my trip! Seriously I thought this afghan was going to knit itself I was going so fast. However, I've kind of hit a lull right now. I've been so busy with reading, practicing and preparing for other things that I've put it on the back burner. But I'm ready to get back on it and keep going! I'm getting pretty close. Well kind of. Here's what it looks like right now:

It's going to be 3 squares by 3 squares, so I'm just about halfway there. It's part acrylic part wool so that I'll be able to wash it easily and it's in a basket weave stitching, which I've always liked and it's rather easy to do. So far I'm loving it and can't wait to keep going. Hopefully I'll be done by Christmas (though I always say that!). It'll be a nice gift to myself that I know I'll enjoy for a long time.

Do you ever start something and then say you're going to finish it right away but it takes you forever and a day? (This may be me on some projects, not going to lie!)

The room is finally coming together, and I have to say for a small space, it's looking pretty good! I have to say, Kate Spade ads in magazines have really helped out my wall! I'm loving it.  Thankfully, my early wake up call was made easier by all of this construction right outside my window. What a joy!

Have terrific Tuesdays everyone!


Monday, August 15, 2011

7 Blessings...and a little nostalgia

Ahhh I cannot believe I am here. again. for the last time. Here in the place where I've grown up, matured, laughed, cried, know the drill. I'm here in my new little hole in the wall. Literally it's a hole. But it's a nice one, and I'm actually taking a break from unpacking to write this up, I couldn't help it. So here they are, this week's 7 blessings:

  1. Alum Choir Success. My high school friends and I started an alum choir this summer, not knowing that we would hold a concert at the end of the summer. We held it back in our high school auditorium, where everything began. We invited teachers, nuns (I went an all-girls Catholic high school, they're so sweet!), parents, and friends. It was a great success and I was so proud of our little group. It's a new tradition that I know is going to last for a long time, and I love it.
  2. Girl Days. My mom, sisters, aunt and I had a wonderful day in the city. We walked, took a water taxi, ate some delicious cupcakes and sipped a lovely cocktail. These are the times I'll never forget and we always have such fun together. I know I talk about my family a lot, but I just can't survive without them! They make my life so much better, brighter, and fuller and I am so blessed to have the time together.
  3. Help! As I'm getting ready for my first "job" (well student teaching, so it's kinda a job!), I'm getting lots of help and support from friends, family and my amazing teacher I'm working with. I'm having a few freak outs, but I couldn't have asked for better help. I can't wait to meet the kids on Thursday!
  4. Faith. I don't really talk about my faith a lot on here, but I've been leaning on it a lot lately. There's just so much going on in this little world that needs prayers, belief, and a good amount of faith. I've never been so confident in my faith and beliefs and I know that I'm standing on solid ground. And that's really comforting, especially at this time in my life.
  5. Beautiful summer days/nights. These days have been nothing short of perfection. I have loved taking advantage of them and been lucky not to be in any strenuous heat or storms. My thoughts go out to all of those who are in the middle of any of this. Stay strong!
  6. My education. Words really cannot say how much I am thankful for this education. It has been more than just classes in brick buildings. It has been a real, emotional, educational journey and I have loved every second of it. The good times and the bad times. I know that I am a better person because of it and those in my life enough for all of their support. It's been the best. 
  7. Music. No classical music talk this week. This week, I've been addicted to my country. That's right. Addicted. A random song always has a good message, or advice that I say to myself, "That feels like me right now." It really does. So yes. Country. and Jack Johnson. If you need a little pick-me-up in the music department, that's my medicine! It helps.
So there we have it ladies. This week's 7 blessings. And don't mind my college nostalgia. I'll try to keep it to a minimum, I promise! In the meantime, I'm going to tackle all these boxes. Ugh, it never ends! Good thing Bachelor Pad is on tonight. That's a good stress reliever, right?


Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday's Fancies: Roaming in Red

Again, I'm linking up with {av} over at Long Distance Loving to share my Friday's Fancies. I've loved seeing dresses that have a little "Kate Middleton's wedding dress"feel with the sleeves and everything. I love it!

Roaming in Red

I'm loving the shoes!! I'd pair them with anything. And this Inge Christopher bag is the perfect accessory. It's got classic lines with a modern feel: perfect for a day trip to the city or a night out. It's fantastic!

This weekend, I'm packing up and heading back to school for the last time. It's so surreal, it's gone by so fast. I feel like I've grown up a ton more in the past year than when I first started. It's so different now than it was in the beginning, but it's still been a great journey and I can't wait to finish it this year. We're having a family dinner tomorrow night, which will be a great "ending" to my summer (NOW I'm in denial that summer for me is ending). I'll also be tying up a few loose ends with lesson plans and some about me's for my fourth graders this year. It's going to be great!

Happy Friday everyone! Remember to make it a tad bit fancy and special!


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A few new (and unusual) things...

So I was having writer's block today. I couldn't think of anything to write about, so I decided I would let someone who knows me best talk about me (also, she's a journalism major, so she actually knows how to write! She's way better than me!). Anyway, here's a few words from my sister Ellen:

Susan constantly quotes tv shows. she uses the same ones over and over again  to the point that i know exactly when she's gonna come in with a line. a couple of her standby's come from "Sex and the City" and "Arthur".

Susan on a normal day
Susan is TERRIBLE at giving stuff away. i have no problem tossing stupid junk gifts that people have given  me as far back as 5th grade and clothes that have gone completely out of style, but Susan is far too overcome with guilt to do so. Some things she just CANNOT let go of include a beyond tacky flamingo picture frame and a super matronly, mid calf length printed skirt she bought her freshman year of high school.

Coffee, chocolate (Oreos, M&M's), peanut butter, Wheat Thins and lemon San Pelegrino. not necessarily in that order.

You can tell anything Susan is thinking just by looking at her. a long time ago i started calling this her "dough face" because it just molds to her thoughts. as a result of this, she is a horrible liar. when she lies, she slightly lifts one of her eyebrows and makes this face that's like, "uhhh, no, i would never do that. duh."

Loungewear is a non-entity for Susan. she does not own a single pair of sweatpants. not one. maybe one pair of yoga pants and a pair of leggings or two (only to be worn to the gym or under tops or skirts of a questionably acceptable length), but that is all. i have never once seen her spend a day bumming around in her pajamas or even an oversized sweatshirt. Maybe it's because i only wear anything with a zipper when going out to dinner and in other extreme scenarios, but the fact that i have never seen her so much as roaming about the house in a pair of flannels on a frigid winters day is just not normal.

Susan talks in musical terms to people who know nothing about music. telling me what "time" and measure a song is played in, as well as identifying various types of scales that are used is routine procedure. She also has perfect pitch. i can yell for her to come downstairs and she can tell me what key i was in.

So maybe this is too much info! I'm "normal" too, I swear, but like all of us, I do have my quirks! After she wrote this, I had to laugh and take it with a grain of salt. I joked and I was like, "So what's the positive stuff?" She said that this is all positive, so I guess that's good then! 

I hope you enjoyed learning a little more interesting things about me today. Is there anything new I should know about you all?


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The most PERFECT...

Iced Latte with freshly baked elephant ears

...Iced Latte! I'm serious guys, this thing is the best and I have seriously made one every single afternoon with my leftover espresso. People can say what they want about having more than one (or two...just being honest!) cups of coffee per day, but seriously, in the summer, what's wrong with that little extra boost? I love it.

So, everyday, usually around 3 or so, I take my extra espresso, throw in some milk, lots of ice, and now my favorite secret: raw sugar. It's perfect and I love the sweetness and the little extra crunch from the sugar. It's so so so good. And of course, I can't take full credit. You know the phrase, "Everything I've learned, I've learned from my mother"? Well, that's exactly where this came from. She's a master at all things food and she came up with this gem. So sit back, get a colorful straw and just relax. This is the best!

We've also paired it with a wonderful little light treat: elephant ears. They're literally the easiest deserts to make and take little effort. All you need is puffed pastry and sugar. You let the pastry thaw, lay it flat, and cover it in a healthy amount of  granulated sugar on both sides of the pastry. You then fold it three times (like a book, sort of. That's what Ina said anyway! You'll see the layers as you fold) until it forms a log. You cut the log into about 1/2 inch pieces. Pick up the pieces and form them into a heart shape. Bake them at 425 for about 7 or 8 minutes (until brown) and then take them out and flip them. Bake them for about 3 more minutes or so and voila! You've got the world's easiest dessert.
So perfect and easy. And pretty too!

So I'll just be here enjoying this beautiful Chicago day! It's the coolest it's been in almost two months now, and it's quite refreshing. I went for a run this morning and it felt so good because it wasn't a million degrees here! (Don't get me wrong, I love heat. But I'll take this too!). Enjoy your Tuesday, and make it a tasty one too


Monday, August 8, 2011

7 Blessings

  1.  Family Support. This week, I've been feeling the pressure of the year approaching. My to-do-list seems endless and I can't ever seem to finish it! My family has been so incredibly supportive, helping me with whatever I need. My mom and dad have been saints dealing with my freak outs (they're the best) and my aunt spent a whole day helping me with my resumĂ©. They all want to see me succeed and I am so thankful for all of their help and love.
  2.  Lovely sounds. For those who don't know me, you should know that I LOVE music of all kinds. We were lucky enough to see some of the greatest cellists of our time live this week. Seeing music live brings it to life and is a completely different experience than just listening to it on your iPod. Go see music live! It doesn't have to be expensive and it's a fun experience
  3.  Random Acts of Kindness. I don't know if this week was just luck or that someone in the sky was really watching out for me because lots of good things happened this week from people I haven't seen in years. It really made my day that these people, who I haven't spoken to or seen in so long, did such nice things for me and my family. I cannot thank them enough. Never let those random acts of kindness from people go unnoticed. It's one of the nicest gifts you can get!
  4.  Girls Nights In/Out. Because my time here is coming to an end, I'm spending as much time with my girls as possible, whether we're having a relaxing night in with a little wine watching Ashley pick her true love or having a night out on the town. Either way, I've been having so much fun with my girls and I'm definitely going to miss them once the year starts again. 
  5.  Finding Simplicity in the Everyday. Things have been very low key and mellow around here since we got back from our trip. I've been sincerely happy everyday because of the simple things in my life: making dinner with my mom, going for runs with my sister, or reading a book on the back patio. It's the simplest things that are making me the most happy right now. It's just a constant reminder of how much I want to keep my life simple.
  6.  Persistence. I've been having a few setbacks lately, but I've been persisting through them and I'm not going to give up until I find a solution, no matter how much trouble they have been causing me. It's all going to be ok!
  7. Staying Calm...almost. This goes along with the persistence thing. I'll say it: I've been frustrated. I have freaked out a couple of times, but eventually I put things into perspective and take a few deep breaths. That's really all we need anyway, right? I've been learning that our problems are only as big as we make them, and I need to keep reminding myself not to get upset and just stay calm. Easier said than done, but I'm working on it!
Have a lovely start to the week everyone! Hopefully this week will go slow (I don't want to rush it, sue me!) so I can accomplish everything on my list.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Friday Fancies

Summer to the Max

Schumacher evening gown dress
$555 -

MICHAEL Michael Kors link jewelry
$250 -

Morra Designs disc jewelry
$140 -

Mulberry gold jewelry
$300 -

This is my first Friday Fancies! I've been following {av}'s blog for so long now and look forward to the Friday Fancies every week from everyone. This week, I've finally decided to do my own and I'm pretty proud of it. I absolutely LOVE this dress. I don't actually have a maxi, but if I could have this one I know I'd wear it all the time. And there's also nothing more effortlessly pretty than bangles over a big watch. If I had a million bucks (and a fun place to go this weekend!) I'd definitely wear this. What's your take on a maxi? Do you love it? 

Have wonderful weekends everyone! I'm busily avoiding getting ready for school to start and trying to get as much in as possible before I go. My dad and I are going to have another lovely night at Ravinia to see Yo-Yo Ma and my girlfriends and I are going to have a fun night out. And of course there's packing. And mandatory reading. But I'm focusing on the good parts on the weekend! Anyone doing anything exciting? Keep enjoying this summer heat!