Monday, December 31, 2012

What Are You Doing New Years Eve?

What are you doing New Years Eve?

I'm spending it at home with my family--a good group of them that came in from Mexico.  We are drinking, and eating barbecue, and being a big, loud, Latino family :)

I discovered this video last year and thought it was absolutely darling.  It combines three of my favorite things: 1. good music, 2. Joe Gordon-Levitt, and 3. Zooey Deschanel.  Are they not just beautiful?

A little something I discovered yesterday...I may or may not have the honor of attending Hogwarts next fall.  Check out this incredible view of the Suzzalo Library at the University of Washington:

The silent reading room at the Suzzalo Library AKA: basically Hogwarts 
If studying there is wrong, I don't want to be right :)

Happy New Years Eve y'all

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Goals for 2013

I've been thinking about goals and resolutions.  I like goal-setting, it makes me feel accountable to myself.  I feel really good about 2013 for three minor reasons:

  1. Odd numbers are my favorite
  2. The number thirteen has a history of good things in my family
  3. There will be lots of change happening this year, and I embrace change
Personal Goals
  • Go on a blind date
  • Ask someone out on a date, because who says I can't go after what I want?
  • Find a more unified theme for my blog, and increase my viewing audience
  • Go on at least four brewery tours by the end of the year
  • Ride a hot air balloon
  • Send birthday packages/care packages/cards to show I love my family and friends 
  • Buy all Christmas gifts by the end of November
  • Send out Christmas cards by the first week of December
  • Make a habit out of reading CNN, just like I read blogs/social media sites
    • Every time I open social media I have to open CNN or another news source
  • Minimizing all meat intake to once a week
  • Go ALL OUT for holidays (Valentine's, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Fourth of July, Mardi Gras)
  • Travel abroad at least once this year 
  • Travel to NYC, New Orleans, Dallas (for you, Sarah), Boston, Seattle, and Santa Fe
  • Take another road trip across the country
  • See more of my best friends (in person)
  • Go to at least one concert
Physical Goals
  • Continue to improve my yoga practice, and master at least two more headstands, including variations of dolphin and scorpion
  • Join a yoga studio by the end of September 2013
  • Join a gym with spinning classes by the end of September 2013 and join
  • Find a team sport/ book club (not physical, but still) / beer tasting club or other group the join by October 2013
Professional Goals
  • If accepted to a graduate program I want to choose one that will help achieve my long-term professional goals
  • Apply to work at Teach For America's Summer Institute to gain professional development and better improve my management skills and leading a group of people towards success.
  • Give my students a purpose every day for why they are in my classroom, with a goal-driven mindset until they exit in May 2013
  • Mentor at minimum two more students individually on their life goals
  • Set up a field trip for my Spanish I & Spanish II students by end of March 2013
  • Make sure I am always doing something to work for social justice, whether that is volunteering somewhere new, helping individuals, or donating to a cause.
This list is definitely subject to change and I will probably add to it.  So much to accomplish, but it's a long year.  Among all these goals I want to create more.  The world is my canvas...

I'll show you how it turns out in 2013 ;)
What about you, share one thing you'd like to accomplish in 2013?

Late Night Thoughts

What is it about certain songs that take us to a place we've never been before?  I've probably heard "Closing Time" by Semisonic a thousand times, since it came out in the late 90s.  Heard it on the car drive to elementary school as my older brother listened to the local rock station.  Heard it in high school, heard it all through college.  I still hear it, and it's not like this song brings any vivid memories back to me.  I never created any memorable times with the song.

On the contrary, this song fast forwards me to something I have yet to live.  Does that make any sense at all?  Do any songs do this for you? Do they make you wish you could create a great memory to it in the future?

This song does exactly that for me.

"Closing Time"

Maybe in a pub, maybe in a year or two, hopefully not with someone sleazy, I'll know who I want to take me home :)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Babel // Review

It has been a great fall/winter season for music if you ask me.  There's this whole genre going on right now that I like to refer to as mainstream indie (oxymoron, I know) folky, singer-songwriter-y, acoustic.  I'm not too sure of what college kids or even twenty-somethings these days are listening to.  I work with teenagers, angsty ones.  Teenagers who's idea of good music includes people like this.  

My taste in music varies just a bit, and since I'm so in love with several artists lately, I thought I'd share some that are featured in the current soundtrack to my life.  
Mumford & Sons
Today I'd like to talk about Mumford and Sons.  The first time I heard this band back in 2010, I like to think that I wasn't mature enough to fully appreciate their sound.  I thought they were okay when an ex-boyfriend introduced me to them, but I wasn't quite ready to understand their complicated lyrics.  After a year and half teaching in rural Louisiana, I was perfectly ready for them once again.  Before their latest album Babel was released this fall I was listening to the Pandora station where their Sigh No More  singles came along and stole my heart.  I knew their lyrics were complex, but I was determined to feel them and let them sink in.  

When Babel was released in September 2012 I purchased it on iTunes and haven't stopped listening to it since.  I listen to this album every morning on my commute to work, and it calms me, and I think I learn something new about each song every time.  If I haven't convinced you to give these guys a shot yet, below is my commentary on Babel. Enjoy.
Marcus Mumford

1. Babel 
I love how powerful the album starts with this song.  I envision them opening with this song at a concert.  There are lots of biblical references in this album and it all begins with the title of the album and the title of this song.  I think this song is about truth and about nothing being out of reach and everything coming down to grace and truth.  

2. Whispers in the Dark
I hear a lot of truth about the writer of this song being sinful before returning to Christianity or seeking God.  Perhaps this song could be about the life that was led before faith. 

3. I Will Wait
The more I heard this the more my interpretation of the song changed.  You could interpret the song to be about a loved one, literally someone who will be waited for.  After seeking all the religious themes throughout the album I do think this has to do with someone who once turned their back on God.

4. Holland Road
This is such a sad song.  Perhaps between two lovers or a father and son.  The song has hope, that maybe one day something can be reconciled.  

5. Ghosts That We Knew
One of my favorites on the album.  I think I'm still interpreting this one.  It could be about a relationship.  About faith.  Something that was haunting in the past...perhaps mental illness.  

6. Lover of the Light
This is another favorite of mine.  I think this is a beautiful song, with beautiful lyrics.  To me this song is about overcoming obstacles within a relationship.  

7. Lovers' Eyes
I hear infidelity in this song. 

8. Reminder 
This song breaks my heart. I hear heartbreak.  Sometimes you're still reminded of those you loved and a part of you will sort of always love.

9. Hopeless Wanderer 
I interpret this song to be about a man who has yet to find love.  Maybe he's to afraid to love anything.  Deep down a hopeless romantic though.

10. Broken Crown
This has to be my least favorite song on the entire album.  It's quite dark and I have yet to fully appreciate it yet.

11. Below My Feet 
If I need to be grounded this is what I listen to.  It's perfect in every way.  This song does just what the title says, it reminds you to keep the Earth below your feet.

12. Not With Haste
My favorite line in this entire song says <...and I will love with urgency and not with haste> This song embodies what our humane purpose is in this world.

13. For Those Below (BONUS)
To me this is a beautiful song about death.

14. The Boxer (BONUS)
A cover I'm pretty sure.  It's about perseverance.

15. Where Are You Now (BONUS)
I'm starting to feel this way about my relationship.  It's not bitter, it's curious.  I like to think that this is how I am thought of now by him.

My favorite thing about these songs is that they can be interpreted in many ways, and they are relatable to so many.  I'd love to hear your interpretation of one of your favorites on the album!  If you haven't heard this album I hope I've inspired you to give it a shot.  I'll leave y'all with a live performance of "Below My Feet" on Saturday Night Live back in September.  Enjoy :)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Cajun Christmas

Hi there, 

I'm sorry I've been distant.  I sure have missed you.  Hope you're glad to have me back.  December has been all sorts of crazy with the end of the school semester and parties and to-do's.  Don't worry, I have a whirlwind of a post to catch y'all up though. 

In the past weeks, I've...

Attended one too many Christmas parties and indulged in lots of goodies. Proof below.
My beauty of a friend, Lizzie and I wearing our Christmas Cracker finds.
Some of the beautiful ladies I have the honor of calling my friends! 
At our Teach For America holiday party
I may or may not have worn this scandalous number
I experienced quite a treat and understood what a Cajun Christmas means.
A Cajun Christmas means alligators instead of reindeer
A Cajun Christmas means having an alligator in your Christmas card
I applied to Washington University in St. Louis for their Social Work program.

I find out about admission by the end of January/Early February.  I'm so scared, that's also when I find out about University of Washington in Seattle.  Believe me when I say it was quite eventful when my recommenders got the schools confused because of the similarities in the name.  WashU in St. Louis offers two annual scholarships to former Teach For America corps members, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed there.  Both schools I applied to are incredible, and being accepted to either would be an honor.  In the end it may come down to cost...we'll just have to see. 

At some point in December I made the not so smart, but incredibly fun decision to have a Teachers Night Out with my roommates on a Thursday night.  Didn't make for a fun Friday teaching though.  My poor little post-grad body can't handle a glass of wine and a peach martini unfortunately.
Sometimes it's necessary to not follow the keeps life interesting
I got an awesome secret santa present, and gave an awesome secret santa gift.  More on what I received later ;) 
Part of my gift to my roommate was a hand painted mug, thanks to Pinterest. Here's a sneak peek of it.
I free handed the state of Louisiana myself 

She's a tea drinker! 
 My teaming group at school got matching Monogrammed sweatshirts, and we took a Christmas picture to prove it!
(L-->R) Ms. Leta, Mr. Mac, Mr. B., Ms. Pat, me, and Ms. Marcy
One of my first groups of students on our last day together! I get new babies next semester. LOVE them.
It has been such a blessing to have my students two years in a row.  I'm going to miss them so much.  I'm so excited to see some more of last year's students next semester and for a new bunch that I will have as well for Spanish I.  These kids have taught me so much more than I ever expected, and at times I think they taught me more than I taught them.  

On a final note, I have a student playing matchmaker...which will potentially lead to a blind date in the near future.  Gotta keep life interesting, right? 

Merry early Christmas. 


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Pieces of me // Merry Go Round

Life is moving fast.  The transition back to Louisiana was hard.  It was so hard that I had anxiety going back to work a week ago.  No worries, I'm good now :)

Beautiful Yoga Ornament
The month of December will be so busy and I can already tell.  Just in the past week I have attended two Christmas parties, graded at school twice, and have not stopped planning for what's left of my time with my current students.  I get new students next semester so we have to finish off the semester strong.
Christmas Party with a lovely girl! 
I've been practicing my fishtailing
I'm ready to be home for the holidays, but for now I'm trying to enjoy my time here in Louisiana with my roommates and with the community members.  The University of Washington application is officially due tomorrow, even though I turned in my application a few weeks back.

Tonight, I'd like to reflect on two things.  I've been full of thoughts lately, and I think a lot of these thoughts have to do with the year 2012 coming to a close.  I have great feelings about 2013, I cannot even begin to describe them yet.  There's a song, that wraps up how I feel about my experience here in Louisiana.  The song describes a lot of the culture that is a small town, and that is the life of many of those whose lives I am encountered with regularly.  For those that have not visited me in Louisiana and have yet to experience this part of my life, I hope this gives you some insight.

Second, I''m back on a Grey's Anatomy kick and lately I've been watching season six.  There's a scene where Christina Yang's character is describing her last relationship with her current boyfriend.  Her current boyfriend is attempting to understand why she won't let him in, she won't let him love her the way that he wants to.  What she says at this point resonated with me so got me thinking, and made me aware of something.  I have to make myself be fully vulnerable with my next relationship, regardless of what happened in my last one.  I have to trust, I have to let that person in, and if I cannot cross a boundary I must allow myself to justify that with my past.  Because that past and those pieces that were once broken are what have made me who I am, and they are what make us human and teach us how to love better.  They are what make our hearts grow bigger.  Here's the excerpt:

Dr. Cristina Yang: Burke was... he took something from me. He took little pieces of me - little pieces over time, so small I didn't even notice, you know He wanted me to be something I wasn't, and I made myself into what he wanted. One day I was me, Cristina Yang, and then suddenly I was lying for him, and jeopardizing my career, and agreeing to be married and wearing a ring, and being a bride. Until I was standing there in a wedding dress with no eyebrows, and I wasn't Cristina Yang anymore. And even then, I would've married him. I would have. I lost myself for a long time, and now that I'm finally me again, I can't. I love you. I love you more than I loved Burke. I love you. And that scares the crap out of me, because when you asked me to ignore Teddy's page, you took a piece of me, and I let you. And that will never happen again.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Real Ale Coffee Porter

I spent the evening people watching with good company in a cool atmosphere in a nice little alehouse in the art district called Roosevelt's at 7.  It was rainy out, reminding me of Seattle of course, and I was craving something rich like a stout or a porter.  I asked if there was a beer menu, and found it odd that there wasn't.  You see, Roosevelt's apparently changes their beer selection so often that they don't keep a beer menu because of it.  As someone who likes seeing her options on paper, I was a bit disappointed by this.  Regardless I asked the bartender to sample all of the stouts and porters on tap with the exception of Guinness.  Sadly there was only one porter to choose from and two stouts.

I chose the Real Ale Coffee Porter.  If coffee is going to be in the name of my beer, I expect bold coffee flavor.  I was surprised when the hint of coffee was actually more like a background note in the taste.  It was subtle and not overwhelming.  By the end of the pint I was actually glad the coffee flavors weren't so powerful, but I would have named this porter something that denoted a subtle coffee taste.

I did love the feel of this brew, and while it did not blow my mind I would probably drink it again.  I did expect less carbonation and more richness, but it was a nice balance.  Not too carbonated, but more so than expected with a porter.

Overall, a good porter, but if you're a coffee snob like me, you may want a porter with stronger coffee notes.  Cheers!

What was in your pint tonight?

Those Angel wings in the background are almost placed where they should be...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gratuity // Thankful Post

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am sitting here, drinking my hot cup of coffee deciding who I should declare thankfulness to.  It has been a blessed year and I think last Thanksgiving I just wanted to be at home more than anything.  I wanted to be surrounded by all things familiar and love and step away from the new life that I had established for myself in Louisiana.  It was a hard year, a year of growth, and for that I am eternally grateful.

For my profession I am thankful.  For the wonderful students I have the privilege of calling my own I am thankful.   I only hope that they have learned as much from me as I have learned from them.  For the community I have become a part of in central Louisiana.  I am thankful for being welcomed with open arms and open hearts to learn from these people and to give a piece of myself to their children.

For the education I have received, and that I hope to continue to receive every day.  I never stop learning, and everyone I meet teaches me something valuable.  Even you

Thank you to my supportive and loving family, for caring about me, encouraging me to pursue my dreams and trusting my instincts...even when they're crazy and involve possibly moving to the Pacific Northwest.

To my friends, new and old. Those I may speak to every day, and those I may speak to once a week.  Those who think I forget about them...I don't.  Those who have come into my life, out, and back in. Those who I never thought would touch my heart after high school.
Love you, Sarah
I'm thankful for Molly Denim Lupo and her loving parents
"Miss you Auntie Laura" 
To all of you, I sincerely thank you.


My University of Washington School of Social Work application is officially submitted! Now comes the wait. Come February I should hear a response.  I think about this every day and even had dreams about it the other day.  Sometimes you just know in your heart you're supposed to be somewhere.  I knew I was meant to do Teach For America.  I knew I was called to work for a greater cause much larger than myself, and when I stepped off that plane last Labor Day holiday in Seattle I knew that the next chapter in my life would begin there.

Send me positive vibes! 

Monday, November 19, 2012

With a BANG

Oh how glorious it is to be home.  First thing on my mind as soon as I landed: a haircut.  Nothing drastic, but definitely overdue for a change.  I have been trying to grow out my hair because I had it short for so long the last two years of college.  I miss my long hair.  I added some layers and some bangs to make a difference.

End result...
Long layers & some bangs
We like? I definitely LOVE.  My hair looks a bit shorter than it actually is in this photograph.  My long layers are perfect and I think my bangs add the perfect change that I needed for the end of 2012.  Best part about being home for the holidays?  Getting to wear real people clothes and not work clothes that make me feel like a teacher.  Saturday's outfit:
Fashion Saturday: Royal Blue Blouse - Marshall's
Skinny black pants - Forever 21
Gold leopard print tuxedo flats - Target
 Also, look at this amazing looking fruit I've had since I've been home.  Tonight, I'm looking forward to a spin class at my local gym.  CAN.  NOT.  WAIT.
Beautiful grapefruit
Fresh Pomegranate! 
 Tomorrow I get to see one of my best friends from high school.  YAY.
Anyone in the RGV for Thanksgiving?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Airport Daydreams

It's finally here.  The day I get to go home to the RGV.  I am sitting in the Houston airport waiting to board my flight.  I'm surprisingly early this time and I figured I'd be exhausted when I land and wouldn't gather the energy to blog.  I'm thinking of this commercial and secretly hoping it happens to me.  Can you blame me though?  Maybe that's why I am early today.

I do love airports though.  Am I the only one who thinks there is a romance about them?  People watching, seeing people arrive at their destination, people eager to see friends and loved ones.  Lovers, grandparents, mothers, daughters, husbands, wives, the men and women who serve our country, doctors, business people.  You see it all.  I particularly enjoy making new friends at the airport.

This evening I spotted a good looking someone who caught my eye from about 20 feet.  Nice smile, check.  Dressed low-key but put together, check.  Pulls out a book to catch up on reading, check.  Scoping out the title of the book...still working on it.  Wedding ring finger bare, check.  Call me a creeper, or call me a dreamer, I enjoy admiring from afar.  There have been songs written about moments like this, poems, books.  I just hope that by off chance we share a row on our flight #wishfulthinking (Yep, just did that).

Today I am thankful for

  • Conversations with my best friend
  • Seeing my family tonight
  • Road trips alone with my thoughts
  • Flights alone with my thoughts 
  • Fourth grade pen pals 
Catch y'all en el valle
Back to some daydreams ;)

A Texas sunset on my drive today

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Be Thankful

"Seek to learn constantly while you live, do not wait in the faith that old age by itself will bring wisdom." - Solon

I am thankful for the seven lovely ladies I have been blessed to also call my friends this year.  Four of them live across the street from me, and three I live with.  We had our very own Thanksgiving dinner tonight, complete with turkey and all.  We put on quite a feast, so big that we will be feasting together tomorrow evening as well.

Nothing like fine dining with great company. I laughed so hard at some great moments tonight.  Also, we used this website to set up our secret santas.  The holiday season is officially here! I'm listening to Carol of the Bells and just love, love, love this beautiful time of year.  Everything is magical.

Today's Happiness Journal Update:

  • Lemons...beautiful and perfectly crisp lemons.
  • Thanksgiving feast with great company
  • My secret santa is...shhh! I can't tell.
  • Sometimes gravy is brown ;) 

What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Connecting Flights // A Little

"If you add a little to a little and do this often, soon the little will become great." - Hesiod

Let's discuss the most depressing moment of my life.

I am sitting in my living room taking a fifteen minute break before my yoga class and I turn on the television to find this precious gem catch my attention.  I stopped, I pined, I perished as I discovered the storyline that very well could be my life one day (wishful thinking).

Only to find was a ruse.

Wouldn't it make for a fabulous storyline, though?  Better yet, wouldn't this be the most perfect next chapter to my life?! I knew you'd agree :)

On a brighter note, I am starting my Happiness Project Journal today.  I am challenging myself to write at least one sentence every day for five years.  Is that not a manageable way to keep a record of life?  I am certain that I can get this done.  I will give updates here for y'all.

So, today Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • I began to master tree headstand (<-- a="a" and="and" at="at" began="began" but="but" by="by" check.="check." day="day" december="december" end="end" fall="fall" for="for" goal="goal" had="had" have="have" headstands="headstands" i="i" is="is" least="least" li="li" master="master" name="name" not="not" of="of" official="official" one="one" sure="sure" the="the" third="third" this="this" three="three" to="to" today="today" two="two" was="was" what="what">
  • A student brought me some homemade gumbo after school and it warmed my heart.
  • Let the week fly by because I am more than ready to go home for Thanksgiving Break! 
Join me on the Happiness Project and begin your own, today! 
Ask me about it. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

P.S. Come Pick Me Up

P.S. sometimes you just need a little Ryan Adams in your life...

Know what I mean?

Like this...

or this...
and this...


It has been an absolutely blissful Veteran's Day weekend.  I am so thankful for the extra day I had to relax this weekend.

I've been full of intense thoughts.  So intense it's hard to keep them straight.  I'm also ready to go home to Texas for awhile.  I'm just ready for a vacation.  My road trip to Texas on Friday will be the start of pure relaxation for me. At least for a week.  My graduate school application WILL be submitted from the place I call home, the Rio Grande Valley.  Right now, I've got everything together I'm just doing some final edits on my essays, getting some different people to do some final reviews.

Love has been on my mind a lot.  You could say that for the past six months love escaped me.  That sounds morbid and all sorts of dark and twisty that I do not mean to be.  I don't mean escape in the empty sense of the word, but just escape in that love and the idea of falling in love went away.  To take a break from my mind for awhile.  Love was always there and I still loved everything that encompassed the word and feelings that came with it.

But recently, love is on my mind again.  The possibility of falling in love again feels real to me.  It feels far away I may add, but it feels real. It's kind of a funny realization, and it almost sounds silly writing it down.  I almost want to kick myself and say, "well of course it was always real, and of course you will fall in love again" but it still won't change that for the past six months love and I gave each other some much needed space.  

Happenings from this weekend:
My first bon fire! 
First bon fire spent with great company
Delicious brunch!  
The beautiful view from the bath I took on my relaxing weekend out of town 
My roommate baking apple pie
Splurges at Marshall's
Steve Madden leather boots! 
Expect a post about this in the near future...
I love Young Adult fiction! 
What a steal! 
How was your weekend?
Any intense thoughts?
Suggestions on pushing through my week? 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Big To-Do's

Feeling accomplished.  Check out this to-do list I made for myself this morning...
Scheduling out my day
Up until a couple of hours ago I actually accomplished all things on that list.  I am very proud of myself.  Being a teacher is hard work my friends.  Things are going by so fast, and I feel like Christmas will be here before we know it.  The grad school essay is still a work in progress, I have finally cut it down to five pages, but it still needs to be condensed to four.  I am awaiting my official transcript in the mail so that I can upload it in a PDF and click SUBMIT.  I am so anxious and so excited at the same time.

I am also feeling an urge to head to Texas soon, I feel homesick for my family, for my hometown, and for all things Texan.  Good BBQ, sweet tea, Houston, Austin, the Rio Grande Valley, all of it.  I have next Veteran's Day Weekend off and I'm thinking of paying my sweet cousin in Beaumont a little visit. I miss her and I don't get to see her as much as I'd like to anymore.

The hardest thing I've found about being in the "real" world and being a true "adult" with responsibilities is making the effort to keep in touch with those that are important to you.  I struggled with that a lot last year and I'm doing better this year, but I definitely want to keep improving.  This also includes my family.  I talk to my mom regularly, but for example my cousin, my dad, my other family members I tend to start leaving behind for one reason or another.  Excuses are not okay, and I hate to be one to make them.  Everyone is busy, you just have to make time for those that matter to you.  I'm guilty of not doing it, but we can only go up from there ;)

Happy belated Halloween! 
This Halloween card I received doubled as a card AND a mask! How nifty.
 Goodbye football season!
Last high school football game for me.  So bittersweet.
 and hopefully...a hello to graduate school! 

Hey, I need to fully envision these BIG dreams of mine ;)