Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thankful Thursday: My "Little" Brother

As always, Thursday is the day where I give great thanks for someone in my life.  This Thursday, and every single day of the year, I am beyond thankful for my little brother Ryan.  He is the absolute light of my life and has been the best thing in my life since July 1, 1992.  I remember peering into his incubator that day at at the hospital and thinking "whooooa, that little guy is cool."  Seventeen years later I still think the same thing when I look at him.  Ryan is one of the most incredible people I have ever met, and he has brought more joy into my life that I ever thought possible .  He is hilarious yet sincere, mature yet lighthearted, smart and ridiculously witty.  Ryan is one of my best friends on this planet; I cannot imagine a cooler kid on this earth.  So today, and always, I am beyond thankful for such an awesome little brother and best friend.

Ryan and I in Positano, Italy.

Ryan and I outside the Tower of London in August 2007

Lunch at Texas Roadhouse

Breaking it down on the dancefloor at Matt and I's wedding this past summer

Waiting in Rome to catch the train to Naples

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

You're Never Too Old for Halloween Treats

Why is it that when you get old, you have to stop trick or treating?  It really stinks.  Growing up, I was super lucky because I had a brother 8 years younger than me, so I would pull the whole "I'm just dressing up to take my brother trick or treating.  I wouldn't want him to have to go with the dorky neighbor kid, or even worse, go aloooone."  So I'd dress up and go with him.  And granted I could have just waited at the end of the sidewalk, but I didn't want him to have to walk up to the house and ring the doorbell alone.  What if it was one of those creepy houses who had scary noises and smoke coming from their porch?  Naturally, I'd go up with him, and if I were going to go that far, why not take a trick or treating bag with me?  Totally normal.  I mean, why pass up all those tasty goodies? :)

I'm pretty sure if I weren't gigantically tall, I'd still go trick or treating, even now.  I mean, I'd need a costume with a mask, and I'd need to alter my voice a little to sound like a twelve year old (which sadly wouldn't be that hard for me), but I could do it.  Problem is, I'm pretty close to 5'10'', so unless I come up with a creative costume, people would know I was a fraudulent trick or treater.  Sigh...However, I figure the next best thing to me trick or treating, is to indulge some of my favorite "little grown ups" in some fun and tasty treats.  So, this year I decided to do a little something for my student mentors.  They are a fabulous bunch who make my job tons of fun, so I thought they deserved a little something this Halloween.  Check out the cute goodies above that I put together for them. 

So, while many people are thinking about the little kiddos this Halloween, I encourage you to remember the bigger kids in your life, who are a little too old to trick or treat, but not quite old enough to give up on the Halloween goodies!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Crazy for Cardigans

In the past year, I have developed a BFF type of relationship with cardigans. I wear so many hats in one day that I try to fill my closet with versatile pieces that will work in my many roles. Of course, every now and then, I have to indulge in a fabulous party dress or a pair of to die for shoes that just can't work for any of my professional stuff, but a girl's gotta splurge every now and then. (I tried to tell myself I could get away with wearing fuchsia rhinestone adorned peep toe Stuart Weitzman heels to the office, but I haven't been able to make that happen yet. Pretty sure it won't ever happen, but impractical or not, they're still fabulous.) Regardless…I have found that stocking your closet with cardigans is one of the easiest ways to transition clothes from weekend to work and summer to fall. Best way to make that black BCBG spaghetti strap dress appropriate for the office? Throw on a cardigan, belt it, and add a fabulous cocktail ring. Instant transition to work. Love the navy silk halter top from Banana, but can't figure out how to rock it at the office? Pair it with a pencil skirt and cardigan, and voila, you'll be the cutest one at the copier!

To further investigate my obsession, I counted the cardigans in my closet. Total count = 23, ranging in every color from fuchsia to oatmeal to mustard. Black was the most popular color with 4 cardigans. (Black is a staple people, I have to stock up.) My go to places for these closet must haves are Banana and J.Crew. (Real shoppers forgo the "Republic" in Banana Republic. It's unspoken.) Once in a while, I'll find some cute ones at Gap, although they don't always hold their shape as well as the other two stores.

So it’s official, I have a cardigan obsession. They're so versatile, how can you not love them? Those of you not quite convinced, invest in a couple, and watch your work wardrobe double as you wear your favorite dresses, halters, and summer tops with these magical sweaters.

Michelle Obama, our smart and chic first lady, who is bringing back the cardigan in sensational ways.

Blush Crush

A few months ago, I was watching reruns of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, checking in on their love lives, celebrity woes, but most of all, on their style.  I think all three girls have a very cool, effortless yet chic every day style about them, and I wouldn't mind injecting a little of it into my own life.  As I watched, I noticed an extra glow about the girls, an extra little oompf to their look.  This was before Kourtney was pregnant so it wasn't the "pregancy glow" or whatever "glow" people say you have when you're pregnant.  (I honestly think that is a slight lie people tell to make you feel better about your giant stomach but that's just my opinion.  My.opinion.people.don' they zoomed in on Kim, I found the source of the mysterious glow.  Blush!  And lots of it.  Although I debated for a few minutes whether it was delightfully diva or simply disastrous, I ended up settling on diva.  I loved it!  Something about it was just, I don't know...It was like an extra ounce of girliness that I found to be quite fabulous.

So for the past month or so, I've been going a little heavy on the blush, hoping to boost my glow and give me that extra oompf.  And I have to say, I really like it!  I'm not sure if other people notice or even like it, but it really does make me feel lighter and brighter.  I just feel a little prettier walking out of the house now.  Of course, my mom turned her nose up at the blush last time I went home, saying "You have too much blush on," but this is coming from a women who thinks lip gloss and mascara is big time (My mom is fabulous, but to say her makeup routine is minimal is an understatement.) 

Now, I realize that this technique can easily go awry (think bad ballerina or crazy clown) so I've included a simple version of my morning routine.  The key for me is using 2 different blush colors.  The first color is just a great go-to blush, one that gives you great all over glow and color in any season (my choice is MAC Sunbasque.)  Using a blush brush (don't even think about using those tiny ones that come with some blush compacts, eww), sweep the blush horizontally from the inside of your cheek (closest to your nose) to your earlobe.  After a couple sweeps, take this same motion at a 45 degree angle, going from the inside of your cheek to your temple.  That is where most people would stop.  But not me (or the Kardashians.)  I follow up with a second, bolder color.  I love a pink pink pink color (my go to is MAC Coygirl or NARS Angelika.)  First smile, then gently touch the blush brush to just the apples of your cheek.  This sweet spot of color will make it look like you just stepped in from a fresh, chilly, outside morning.  The overall look is happy, glam, and extra chic.

So, those of you wanting a little something extra to your look, a little oompf, I encourage you to grab your blush brush and show your cheeks some love.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Trash to Treasure

I will admit, I'm not exactly the poster child for eco-friendly.  I take 30 minute showers, I run the water when I brush my teeth, I didn't use eco-friendly paint in our apartment, and I only recycle my water bottle if there is a recycling bin within walking distance.  I love the Earth and I'm trying to live more greenly, but it's small steps for me.  (Small is better than none right?)  However, the one thing I absolutely cannot tolerate is people just throwing away their stuff.  It's one of my biggest pet peeves in the world.  I can't stand driving past apartments and seeing couches, bikes, and tables stuffed into the dumpster.  I hate driving through neighborhoods and seeing people throwing away furniture, TVs, sports equipment, etc.  Let me be clear: I understand people wanting to get rid of their things, even if they're in perfectly good shape.  Our tastes change, we get new things, families grow, we change the color scheme of our house.  Sometimes we just don't like things we once did.  I toooootally get that.  But what I don't understand is people who just throw these things away to forever sit in a landfill.  Haven't you ever heard of donating to Goodwill?  Or how about dropping your stuff off at Salvation Army?  Or even could even sell your used things and make money!  And who doesn't want to make a little extra money? 

Growing up, we had garage sales at least once or twice a year.  When I'd outgrow clothes or gotten tired of my pink floral bedding and my brother was over his Power Ranger phase, my parents would put out of garage sale signs and set up shop.  And every time we'd finish, we'd take all the money we bought, and buy it on something our family needed.  It didn't just go into savings or grocery money (booooring) it would go into something fun that we'd all get some enjoyment out of.  So it only natural that as I've gotten older (and realized money doesn't grow on trees) that I've turned to reselling my stuff.

When Matt and I moved into together, we were each coming from 2 bedroom apartments and trying to fit into a 2 bedroom for the both of us.  (I realize this should be enough space for 2 people, but we are slightly out of control with the amount of stuff we have.)  I suggested having a garage sale.  Matt said we didn't have enough stuff.  A Saturday afternoon and what felt like three billion customers later, our garage sale was over.  Grand total...are you sitting down?  $1400!  Yep, you read that right, we made $1400 at our garage sale, just selling stuff that we had planned to take to Goodwill.  Crazy I know.  (And yes, I later told Matt "I told you so.")  Also, just this past weekend, I helped my parents at their garage sale, selling stuff that had been in storage while they were in England.  No furniture, just little knicknacks, books, etc.  Grand total for the afternoon?  $600.  Not bad for stuff they had absolutely not interest in keeping anymore.  However, for those of you still skeptical, thinking you don't have enough stuff or don't have a house to have a garage sale, I encourage you to sell your stuff in smaller ways. I recently cleaned out my closet to free up some space and get rid of things I knew I didn't like anymore.  I was on my way to Goodwill to donate the pile of unwanted clothes, but since I passed a Plato's closet on the way, I thought, why not just see if I'll get any money for this stuff.  I walked out of that store with 43 more dollars than when I walked in.  I drove straight to the nail salon and spent that money on a manicure/pedicure.  Not a bad trade if you ask me.  And lastly, don't underestimate Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.  Matt and I decided to get rid of one of our couches, so I thought I'd post it both places to see if there was any interest.  Within 4 hours of posting it, I had 9 emails and 5 Facebook messages.  We sold it that afternoon and it was loaded up the next weekend.  Hellloooo extra (and easy) cash!

So for all of you out there who think you don't have enough stuff to donate or sell, or think it's too much trouble to have a garage sale or that its takes too much time to post an ad to Craigslist, I say think again.  You never know what you'll get for the stuff you don't want!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I Need To See This Now

I will be in line for this movie opening night.  Skip to 25 seconds.

Thankful Thursday: Jack-a-lack

This Thankful Thursday I want to send a huge long distance hug to one of the funniest people I've ever known.  She is hilarious, witty, loving, and is not afraid to laugh at herself.  She has brought so much joy into my life, and our quick catch ups and phone dates always make my day.  Jacque and I met as Kappas at OU, and our friendship has grown so much since then.  Even though we're far apart, we make a point to stay connected, stay honest, and most of all, stay laughing.  With Jacque, you can always expect a few things: laughter, crazy costumes, honesty and support.  This girl is awesome yall and today and always, I am so thankful for her.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Make Your Mani Last

About a month ago, I made a resolution to focus on having manicured nails at all times.  Rereading that last statement, I realize it sounds like I have no life, but I swear I do (and I swear there is a point to this resolution!)  Your hands and nails are something that almost everyone sees and something you also spend a great deal of time staring at.  Whether your shaking hands, reviewing a paper with a student, or sitting in a meeting, people can see your nails.  Whether your texting, typing, or tweeting, you've got a close up view of your nails.  Lately, I've realized that having neatly manicured nails is one of the easiest and most effective ways to look put together and polished (no pun intended.)

However, after getting married, I've had to slightly reduce my "self management" budget (highlights, haircut, nails, facials, massage, clothes, makeup, etc.)  It's a little difficult to explain the reasoning behind a triple digit dollar hair appointment to my husband who gets his hair cut at Great Clips.  (I tried once to convince him to go to someone at a salon, which prompted him to say, "Well if I spend more money on a haircut, we'll have to take some money out of your hair budget to pay for it."  I quickly shut up and dropped the Great Clips issue.)  Anyway...with this reduced budget, I've been forced to be a little creative in making my luxories last.  More low lights, less highlights, digger deeper into my extensive MAC collection, shopping sales, shopping less, keeping with my classic perfumes instead of venturing out and trying two new ones at a time, you know, things that "responsible grown ups" do.  (Ugggh, I loathe all three of those words.)

So...combine my budget reduction with my manicure resolution and I'm in a tight spot, right?  Wrong!  I have found a way to stretch my manicures that is easier than easy.  About four days after my manicure, a day before the chipping would normally begin, I apply two coats of topcoat to my four day old manicure.  MAGICAL. Seriously, like Hogwart's level magical.  That top coat keeps my mani looking nice and fresh for another three days and then at that point, I'll add another top coat or two if I want to stretch it longer.  So while my manicure once lasted five days or so, I'm now stretching it double the time.  That's right people, just call me thrifty!  (Ok, thrifty might be a stretch for someone who gets multiple manicures in a month, but c'mon, it's a start.)  So cheers to my manicure maintaince and my reduced budget.  Who knew those two could be such good friends?

I Need a Hug

Do you ever have one of those days where you just crave a hug from one of your best friends?  The day isn't particularly awful or anything, but you find yourself just stopping for a second to think, dang I could seriously use a hug right now from so-and-so.  I am totally having one of those moments this morning as I'm craving a big, huge hug from one of my best friends Kristin.  I'd like to follow that up with a coffee shop date, but I won't be greedy, a hug is enough.  I miss her lots, and she always reminds me of the life's delights.  So until the next time we can share a huge hug, I'll look at this picture, close my eyes tight, and imagine a big squeeze from her.

Monday, October 19, 2009

So Long Kappa T-Shirts

When I was in high school, I remember being at the gym and seeing a woman a couple of rows in front of me working hard on the stairmaster.  Being that I was on treadmill and had nothing better to do (reason number 540 I hate treadmills), I got to reading the back of her t-shirt.  "Tri Delt Crush Party."  Oh cool, she's in a sorority, I thought to myself.  At that time I was preparing for recruitment at OU with nothing but sorority on the brain.  I took a closer look at her shirt.  Wait...does that can' does...1994!  Tri Delt Crush Party 1994?!  Lady, it's 2002!  I shook my head, living the past lady,

Fast forward seven years to nowadays and I'm at the rec center for my 6:30 am cardio class.  I'm groggy, my eyes are half closed, but as I wait for the step instructor, I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror.  I zoom in on my t-shirt. can't is.  There in pink and brown letters my t-shirt reads "Kappa Pledge Class 2002."  Omg, no, seriously, has it really been that long?  I have been out of college for three years?!  Then I freeze, remembering the lady from the gym in high school.  OMG, I am that lady, the "Tri Delt Crush Party 1994" lady!  Soon the music is pumping and the tiny blonde cardio instructor is peppily stepping.  I follow along, distracted by my has-been Kappa shirt the rest of the work out.  As I head home, it hits me.  I don't want to be that person who looks like they're living the past, embracing the glory days.  (Note: while I LOVED college, I don't consider them my "glory days."  I hope that I never consider any time in my life as such.)  While I had stopped wearing the daily uniform of a Kappa t-shirt and jeans in college, I sighed, realizing its time to pack away the Kappa shirts for good.  It is time to find a real-person, grown up version of the t-shirt.

That weekend, after sorting through my collection of date party, function, homecoming, and rush shirts, keeping, folding, and storing my favorites, while getting rid of the rest, I began my hunt for the perfect grown up version of the t-shirt.  You know, the shirt you can wear on a lazy Saturday while running errands or the shirt you can wear if you're having a movie night with friends.  The criteria for this t-shirt are harsh.  It has to be somewhat fitted, but still loose enough to feel comfy.  It has to thin, but not too thin, and without question, must have a v-neck.  I thought my search would take a few months, but after just a week, I found a winner!  So thanks to The Gap, I have now replaced my Kappa t-shirts with the perfect grown up t-shirt.  But don't be confused, my OU spirit, old Kappa pictures and obsession with fleur-de-lis aren't going anywhere.  I don't need to grow up that much :)

Out with the old shirt...

...and in with the new.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Who Says You Can't Fry It?

When I was little, I used to complain to my mom when I felt slighted, whining, "But Moooom, that's not FAIR!"  Her answer was always the same, "Allison the fair was in October, you should have gone."  (Funny now, not so funny as a ten year old.)  So this year, I took my mom's advice and headed to the State Fair of Texas.

Whenever I think about the State Fair, I am always surrounded by childhood memories.  My family went to the fair every single year and didn't leave before we toured every building and exhibit, alternating between corn dogs, cotton candy, and funnel cakes every half hour.  The fair is about two things: family fun and getting fat.  It's true, I won't lie.  Anyone from Dallas will back me up on this.  You go to the state fair starving and wearing your loosest pair of jeans, assuring yourself that everything you eat that day is "fat free."  Yep, that's how it works at the State Fair of Texas.

After taking a few years off from the fat fest, I thought it was time to get back in the game.  And since Matt had never experienced the fabulousness that is the fair, we headed to Dallas to enjoy the fair with two of our best friends, Jordan and Ricky.  And apparently in the past few years, the fair has had a complete overhaul to their cuisine.  Everything, and I mean everything, is FRIED.  Fried ice cream, fried lattes, fried corn, fried bacon, fried fajitas, fried coke, fried guacamole, fried peaches and cream, fried oreos, fried peanut butter macaroons, fried snickers, fried butter, the list goes on and on.  I mean, I knew the fair was all about unhealthy food, but seriously, this thing is on a whoooole new level now.

So now that I've had a few hours to let the calories and grease sink in, I thought there was no better way to get rid of my dieter's guilt then sharing the calories with you all :)  So check out our fabulous, delicious, and unhealthy treats from this year's State Fair of Texas!

First stop, fried butter.  This line has been known to be up to an hour long this year, so we hit it early.  It really should have been called "fried biscuits and butter" because the butter was surrounded by doughy delight then deep fried.   As soon as you bit into it, you could see the pool of  butter in the center.  Lol, don't judge, it was delicious.

Next stop, fried peanut butter, jelly, and banana sandwich.  This looked promising, but ehhh.  It wasn't quite sweet enough; it needed a little bit more jelly.  We shrugged and quickly moved on.

You absolutely cannot go to the fair without eating a Fletcher's Corn Dog.  Now, there are impostor corn dog companies at the fair, but please know, they are not Fletchers!  Fletchers is like heaven, and all of us agreed that out of everything we ate at the fair, Fletcher's was our favorite.  (As Jordan said, 4 out of 4 fairgoers prefer corn dogs over other delights.)  Can't deny an oldie but a goodie.

Next, we tried chicken fried bacon.  This was Matt's most anticipated fried delicacy of the day.  It was dee-sgust-ing.  Seriously, uggh, we didn't even finish it.  You can't win 'em all.

I L.O.V.E. caramel apples, but I refuse to eat them off the stick like a barbarian (not to mention that my parents have spent way too much money on dental/orthadonic work for me.  I mean, I wore headgear people, headgear!  I can't risk having to repeat that phase again.)  Anyway...this treat was a nice blend of my love for caramel apples and ladylike manners, but it wasn't a showstopper.  I give it a B-.

Here, we are enjoying fried Snickers.  I told you they fried everything!  Although I was uncertain about this, it was pretty delicious.  It tasted like a greasy, warm and gooey, yet slightly crunchy cookie.  I'd eat it again.

The last stop of the day...fried peaches and cream.  This was the 2009 Big Tex winner for best taste, and I can tooootally see why.  It was to.die.for.  I will dream about fried peaches and cream for the rest of my life.

Here we are leaving the fair, happy (and stuffed) campers.  I do think however, that I'm going to take some time off from fried foods though.  At least for a day or two :)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

October 16: The Day I Saw the President of The United States

Have you seen the President lately?  And no, I don't mean on TV; I mean in person.  So have you?  Yeah, didn't think so.  But go ahead and ask me.  "Allison, have youuuu seen the President lately?"  Why yes, yes, I have.  I saw him today to be exact.

Ok, well that's a small stretch of the truth, BUT, I did see the entire motorcade and President Obama's shadow through the darkly tinted SUV.  That's right people.  The small, sleepy town that I often complain about was the place to be today.  President Barack Obama visisted A&M's campus today to speak about the importance of community service.  He spoke to a crowd of just under 600 people, and as it was invitation only, I wasn't able to go.  (I thought SmartandSassyWithSprinkles totally deserved a press pass, but I guess the President's office sees things differently).  My friends and I hadn't really planned to scout out watch spots or anything, but as the afternoon wore on and I sat at my desk, I got to thinking.  "The President of the United States is going to be on the campus where I work and go to school, and I'm not going?  People are going to ask me what it was like to catch a glimpse of him, and I'm going to say I was sitting at my desk?"  Oh hell no.  So I grabbed my friends/coworkers Norma and Arthur and headed to see if we get could get in on the action.  Turns out, we had pretty sweet "seats" to watch Obama roll in.  (Yes, we were technically standing the whole time, but I can inject a little imaginary VIP into my experience if I choose to.)

At 3:57 pm, as we stood pressed up against the barricades, we heard chants and cheers from the other side of campus.  We knew he was on his way.  Before we could say anything, the motorcade came roaring past us, the Presidential seal waving on the flags, with all of us screaming wildly.  It all happened so fast, but we were able to see Obama's outline in the backseat of the second SUV.  It was awesome and ridiculously surreal.  Even though I didn't get an up close and personal view of the President, I certainly got enough to get excited, ecstatic, and slightly emotional.  And to top it off, I got to share the experience with some really great people, who will now be able to say with me, "I saw President Barack Obama on October, 16, 2009."  Pretty. dang. cool.

Students lining up hoping to catch a glimpse of Obama

We're ready!

Here he comes!  (PS: the pictures do not do this moment justice.  I was shrieking too loudly to focus on taking quality pictures.)

Obama, nestled nicely in the backseat.

Norma and I are happy campers.  We just saw the President of the United States!  Too bad we had to go back to the office after this :)

**Arthur took an awesome video during the whole experience, and my computer doesn't have what I need to upload it, so you'll have to wait in suspense until Monday when I'm in the office and can upload it.** 

Friday, October 16, 2009

OMG, I Won Something?!

I don't have good luck.  Okay, I don't have horrible luck, but I don't have particulary serendipitous luck either.  I have always been that person who enters contests, drawings, raffles, etc. and then looks on disappointingly as the person two numbers next to me or two rows in front of me wins.  I cheer because its polite, but then think, next time Allison, you'll get 'em next time.  Well guess what people?  I finally got 'em; I finally won a contest!

Remember a few days ago when I blogged about those fabulous, whimsical designs from Lisa Leonard designs.  The reason I knew about them was because Carrie from Buzzings of a Queen Bee raved about them in her blog.  But Carrie didn't stop the love there.  She offered a chance to win one of Lisa Leonard's monogrammed key chains or delightlful pair of mint green and silver drop earrings.  All you had to do was leave a comment.  Umm, how easy is that?  So I left a quick comment, something to the effect of "love love love both, and in addition, i also love love love your blog! :)"  Simple and straightforward right?  Well guess what people?  Out of 212 people who left comments, I was 1 of 2 winners!  Woo hoo!  Two points for me!  Touchdown!  I mean seriously, can you sense my excitement?  So check out the fabulous new earrings I will soon be rocking!  (I loved the keychain as well, but with my new, complicated, hyphenated last name, I haven't quite mastered the monogram.)  So I guess my unlucky streak is over.  Orrrr maybe I've just used up all my luck for the next ten years.  Either way, no complaining here; I'll take it!

Thanks again to both Carrie and Lisa!  I can't wait to show off my new earrings!

Happy Bosses Day!

Today is Bosses Day, so I must celebrate and give thanks to Jenny for being the best boss in the whole world. Top ten reasons she is the best boss in the whole world:

1.  She texted me on her afternoon off to say congratulations on passing my prelims and then said "have fun celebrating."  She knows me ridiculously well :)

2.  She drove four hours to my wedding when she had to get up early to drive to the middle of nowhere the next day for her husband's triatholon.

3.  She dug through her shed in the middle of the night to find me a shovel because I was having a crisis at my apartment.  Of course, she also followed me out to the car laughing at me walking through the grass in my heels and loaded it into the car for me.

4.  She reminds me every time a timesheet is due.  You'd think I'd learn after 4 years of working at Access, but no.  She reminds me with a smile each week (and thank God or I'd never get paid!)

5.  When I'm having one of those horrible, awful, don't think I can get through it weeks, she lets me come into her office, shut the door, and just vent it out.

6.  She inspires me daily.

7.  She didn't tell on me when I used to hide pieces of chocolate cake at our New Student Conference lunches.  I didn't want to get stuck with the nasty lemon cake!

8.  She leads by example. 

9.  She understands that I am the most competitive person on Earth and she has helped me channel this appropriately.

10.  She makes times for her students, her mentors, and her graduate assistants.  She makes people feel important and good at what they do.

Jenny has profoundly impacted me as a teacher, supervisor, student, and most of all as a person.  She helps me recognize both my strengths and my growth areas, while always surrounding me with support and encouragement.  She is seriously the BEST and I can't imagine the past few years without her!  So on Bosses Day or any other day, I am so thankful and blessed to work for her!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Happy for Headbands

The weather here has been horrible lately.  Rainy, humid, pouring, storming, or foggy.  Not so awesome for a girl with naturally curly hair who spends an hour every day tugging it straight.  So rather than straighten my hair on these rainy, humid, disgusting days, I concede and just wear it up.  The problem is that after three days in a row wearing it up, I feel like a sloppy slacker.  (I'm not saying that people who wear their hair up three days in a row are not sloppy slackers, I'm just saying that when I do it, I feel lazy and gross.)  So what's a naturally curly haired yet Chi devoted girl supposed to do?  Turn to headbands! 

I've had a pretty extensive headband collection since college.  Even though I never liked the way headbands looked on me, I kept buying them, hoping they would look as cute on me as they did on my friends and sorority sisters.  No luck.  My collection continued to grow, and I continued to lust after looking good in headbands.  But recently, with the sickly weather, I have given headbands another shot, in an attempt to spice up my ponytails, low buns, and chignons.  To my surprise, they work for me!  I've been sticking to thinner headbands (a centimeter or two at most) with pretty baubles, bows, and bling.  They are the perfect addition to make my yucky, rainy day hair much much cuter.  So bring it on bad weather, I'm prepared!

Thankful Thursday: Love for Lesley!

This Thursday I am especially thankful for my sweet and awesome friend Lesley.  Getting a Ph.D isn't always easy or enjoyable, but this girl makes going through the process more bearable for sure.  Lesley reminds me I can do it and always gives me encouragement when I feel like throwing my hands up and saying "forget it!"  She is a part of my small BCS family, which are made of people who truly have my back and love me unconditionally.  She is such an inspiration to her students, as one step into her office will prove.  Students are always flowing in and out, asking questions, telling her updates about their weekend, and seeking her opinion.  She loves what she does and encourages other people to do the same.  Lesley has an amazing gift with words and I always the treasure the bowl of "Elle-isms" I got one year for my birthday.  Few people know how to encourage, motivate, and love like Lesley.  So today and always, I am thankful that Lesley and I can share this journey together and that I have been able to get to know such an amazing person.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I Want to Live in a J.Crew Catalog

I have decided that I want need to live in a J.Crew catalog.  Their clothes are the perfect blend of girly meets classic and are simply beyond fabulous!  J.Crew is made for grown ups who aren't ready to look like grown ups.  So it's settled.  I need everything in their latest fall catalog.  Perfect.

Happy Birthday to the Best Mom in the World!

Happy birthday to the woman who taught me much of what I know about life,
The woman who showed me that doing what you love for a living is the best job to have,
The woman who told me you can never have too many candles.

Happy birthday to the woman who loves me unconditionally,
The woman who taught me the importance of having a "gift closet,"
The woman who took my friends and I to play laser tag a million times growing up because we were huge nerds.

Happy birthday to the woman who taught me magic of Christmas and that you're never too old to believe in Santa,
The woman who made every tiny occasion special,
The woman who took me to get pedicures starting in 3rd grade (and the woman who wonders why I'm spoiled!)

Happy birthday to the queen of the crockpot and perfect fetticini,
The woman who taught me how to marathon shop,
The woman who drove an hour each way to the closest Kolache store so I would have something to take on "cultural food day" at Kent elementary.

Happy birthday to the most amazing, encouraging, and loving woman I know.  The woman I am so blessed to call mom.  Love you Mom, happy birthday!

My mom and I in Belgium for a girls trip last December

At my wedding this past June

In Dallas last April for my bridal portraits.  She flew all the way from London just to be there for the pictures!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

I teach a year long freshmen seminar on how to be successful in college.  We cover a variety of stuff, and lately have been focusing on study skills.  This coming from the person who has a midterm in two hours and has studied for a total of one hour?  (And who on top of that is now taking the time to blog about it.)  Hmm, there might be something wrong with this picture.  So as I run off to study, let me remind my students, do as I say, not as I do :) 

For the next two hours I'm embracing my inner Hermione Granger, locking myself away in the library, and praying the knowledge sticks!