Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Great Teacher Depression

Easy like Sunday morning...

I made the executive decision to include pumpkin in my diet today, it is the official start of fall after all, so that makes it okay, right?

Sunday morning breakfast was a bit of a splurge for the week.  It included Bisquick Pancake Mix, vanilla extract, baking powder, dash of sugar, six tablespoons of pumpkin, a teaspoon or so of pumpkin spice, an egg, and some milk.  MmmmMmmm was it tasty!  I present to you, pumpkin pancakes...
There was no burning happening in my kitchen, the orange mix just took to a darker color :) 
Remember, these boots? I think they may arrive TOMORROW!! How's that for an exciting Monday afternoon?! I cannot wait to wear them.  I think I will transition from What I Wore Wednesday to Fashion Friday.  I think we can all agree that my Casual Friday work clothes are way better than my business casual Wednesday clothes.  Fashion Friday will therefore commence this week.

Friday is pay day, and it cannot get here soon enough.  The roommates and I are treating ourselves to a Spa Day and a movie.  You see, the last time we got paid was mid-August.  This, my friends, is what I like to call The Great Teacher Depression.  We, the teachers, on a low-paying salary and working our butts off every day of the week, weekends included have to wait 6 weeks between paychecks....AHHHH.  As a result, here is what our fridge now looks like.  Essentially, we are living like poor college students until Friday.

The fridge of a Greatly Depressed Teacher (ha!)
While the fridge may appear to be stocked, let me tell you all of what is in there.  Condiments, sour cream (running low), butter (running low), eggs, beer, cider, skinny girl margaritas, water, Acai Berry Juice, Syrup, pumpkin puree, an apple, Special K protein shakes, pasta sauce, lettuce, tortillas, celery, carrots, kale, and tomatoes.

We will be eating rice, corn, beans, quinoa, and Annie's Mac & Cheese for the next couple of days.  Then, next weekend, it is off to Sam's to stock up on the essentials.

Oh, and here's the song I'm obsessed with these days...

What's in your fridge?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fall is...

Happy first day of FALL everyone!

The weather is changing.  The air smells lovely outside, and I cannot wait to see some leaves change color pretty soon.  My weekend has been pretty relaxing.  I've been getting a lot of things done.  My Saturday has been productive.  Woke up early, got a workout in, went walking on a trail, did some outdoor yoga, had a green monster, printed pictures, framed pictures, lunch, decorated for Halloween, hung pictures, walked to Walgreen's, dinner, graded, and that is a day.

My room is coming together nicely.  Here are some pictures to prove it.  I just love being able to see those I love and care about on my wall after framing some of my favorite pictures.  My current stress is my graduate school application essays.  I need inspiration to strike so that I can truly express myself.

Fall means fall colored nail polish 
Fall means fall candles!
Photo frame collage!
Shoe art
Fall is for swinging outdoors
Fall means yoga outdoors

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Inversion #1...Check!

My first yoga goal: doing an inversion (headstand) successfully using only my core strength and balancing. CHECK.
Salamba Sirasana - Headstand 
So much arm strength :) 
Don't worry, I got so excited I decided to try again outside at home.  
Belle, the cat was obviously amused by my headstand
 Yesterday I attempted to do this in class without the use of a wall and got so excited that I flipped forward and fell hard on my caboose.  Still hurts, don't you worry.  Today, I practiced before trying it without a wall to break my fall.  I just feel so accomplished.  This pose does not hurt the head if your weight is distributed evenly throughout your arms.  I barely put any pressure on my head and believe it or not it is extremely relaxing.  I take a couple of deep breaths, keep my core sucked in, and imagine a youthful glow taking over my face.

Inversion goal number #2: to master a second headstand by December. I CAN DO IT!

For all your yoga fans, here is a video I hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tick Tock

I took another step towards my future today.  I made a phone call to University of Seattle's School of Social Work graduate admissions.  I have officially scheduled a visit with the school...EEK! I was also given permission by a professor to sit in on a class.  It makes everything seem more real now that I have officially talked to someone.  According to admissions their application will be coming out by the end of the month.  I am so excited to apply for the early deadline in December, and also incredibly nervous.

My to-do list starts with updating and perfecting my resume and also starting my essays as soon as possible.  If the deadline is early December, that means that I only have about two and half months to complete my application.  The clock is ticking, my friends.

Shrimp Primavera in a Greek Yogurt/White Wine Sauce is what's for dinner tonight.  

Monday, September 17, 2012

"Of my heart to see"

I just paid for something really expensive.  Well, for shoes, okay boots.  When I think of the fact that I have wanted these boots for years and years...(no I am not exaggerating) I can justify how okay it is for me to have purchased them.  I am using birthday money I never used, so it's really okay, right?  That, and I never splurge this much on myself.  Check these babies out:

Frye Paige Tall Riding Boot 
I am utterly excited about my boots for the fall/winter season.  They should be arriving within five to seven days and I ordered purposely from Nordstrom's because of their loyalty and essentially infinite return policy.  First wear for these? Seattle, Washington of course! 

I'm really into the Mumford and Sons Pandora station lately.  I used to not like Mumford about two years ago when I discovered them, but lately I have found that I really connect to their lyrics.  Their new album comes out September 24th.  I am seriously thinking Mumford and Sons are the perfect fall music, and if categorizing music by seasons is wrong I don't want to be right.  

Thoughts about my weekend: 
  • I felt accomplished for having my Spanish 1 students writing paragraphs
  • I bought a football jersey at the football game Friday night
  • I discovered my house's balcony and sat up there Saturday night 
  • The roomies and I have been taking run/walks around town 
  • Yoga inversions (AKA: Headstands) became possible! Hip, hip, hooray for core strength
  • We celebrated Mexican Independence Day by making fish tacos with avocado crema and Mexican beer. 
So proud of my Spanish I students for writing short paragraphs in Spanish a month into school.
Excuse my form
Go Mustangs! 
Fish tacos with avocado crema
Closing thoughts on must-do's in Seattle (not including spontaneous adventures) in October:

Thursday, September 13, 2012

No right now

Sometimes you just have to learn to let go.  Let go of someone for some time before you can decide to let them back into your lives.  That's exactly what I'm doing.  I don't need to justify it to anyone and I have made the executive decision not to attempt to give an explanation.  By justifying and explaining I would be doing it for someone else, and not me.  So there's that.  Maybe life will take a new turn in six months, in eight, or in twelve and our paths will cross again.  For now, I am choosing to say no.  Not no never, just no right now.

I recently re-took the Strengths Quest and discovered that my strengths have changed since I was a junior in college.   My five strengths are currently listed as:

- Input - people who are especially talented in the input theme have a craving to know more.  Often they like to collect and archive all kinds of information.
- significance - these people want to be very important in the lives of others.  They are independent and what to be recognized.
- Discipline - people who are especially talented in the discipline theme enjoy routine and structure.  Their world is best described by the order they create.  
- Positivity - people who are especially talented in positivity have an enthusiasm that is contagious.  They are upbeat and get others excited about what they are going to do.  
- Belief - people who are especially talented in the belief theme have certain core values that are unchanging.  Out of these values emerges a defined purpose for their life.  

I hope that's pretty accurate.
What about you, have you taken the Strength Quest? Does this sound like me?

Tortilla Soup made only in the VitaMix
Do you see that beauty above? That is Tortilla Soup that my roommate made purely from her AMAZING Vitamix machine.  The soup actually heats up in the blender alone.  Isn't that fascinating?  It was amazing, and I cannot wait to take some for work tomorrow morning.  On my early Christmas wish list? Um, a Vitamix please!

Note to self: make my Instagram private because of my students.  Major teacher problems.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Dub Steppin' to my future

Let's begin with something semi-impulsive I did like...yesterday...

Seattle bound next month! 
Yes. I cannot get enough of the Pacific Northwest and Seattle is on my mind.  I have a couple of things on my list for this visit in late October:

1. Spontaneity
2. Roof climbing 
3. Official visit with graduate admissions at U-Dub (moral support, Lisa?)
4. Zero Dead Nazis

Questions on my mind:

1. Can I handle the lack of sun for the fall/winter season?
2. Can I handle the misty rainy days year round?
3. Will the above affect my mood?
4. Am I being overly pre-cautious?

I really hate to think so far ahead about this U-Dub graduate program, but I am truly floored by this opportunity.  It kills me trying to wrap my brain around it and I'm just simply going to go with it.  I'm excited, but I'm extremely nervous about the application process.  The school is highly selective and more than 25 percent enter the school with a deep commitment to service.  Although I do feel qualified and the mission statement resonates with what I care about, I want this to be evident in my interactions with admissions and in my application.  I promise that I spent about 15 minutes before going to bed each night thinking about getting into U-Dub and where a Masters in Social Work degree can take me.  I also miss learning in the classroom setting, but also doing hands-on service.  Okay, so I am working for social justice every day, but still...JUST SEND ME GOOD VIBES, ALRIGHT?!

On a different note, the girls and I wined and dined on the town Saturday evening.  The evening weather was perfect.  It was crisp outside and I could smell the start of fall.  We got dressed up and walked to the best restaurant in town.  Yes, we walked in our heels and felt beautiful.  
That porch will soon be filled with pumpkins and halloween decor
What I Wore Saturday: Dress - Marshalls
Necklace - Strut in Austin, Texas
Shoes - Nine West
Bag - Antonio Melani 
"Cheers to the Freaking Weekend" 
The eight beautiful corps members that reside across the street from one another in rural central Louisiana 
We had some Bacon Wrapped Dates stuffed with Brie  
The Baked Oyster Trio
Barbecued Shrimp in a heavenly sauce I would gladly bathe in ;)
My beautiful roommate and birthday girl!  
And lastly, if you need an indoor workout, never underestimate the power of Michael Jackson: The Experience. 
Just prepping for Thriller 
Don't doubt it for a minute...

Saturday, September 8, 2012

High or Low

Friday consisted of: 
  • Testing
  • Not assisting the pep rally
  • Not assisting the football game as a result of not feeling pepped
  • Grading approximately 100 binders 
  • Oh, and of course the usual Washington nostalgia

Friday night in my classroom grading too many binders
Thankfully I had a Southern Pecan to make up for it at the end of the day
Tomorrow is a Saturday for more grading, going to professional development with TFA, and looking forward to a belated birthday dinner for one of my roommates. We are wining and dining at the local hot spot.  Don't worry, pictures to come.  

Expect a preview of my favorite shots from Lisa.  If you'd like to go check out our road trip pictures they can be found here.  Thank you so much Lisa for capturing beautiful memories and using them to inspire you to create :) 

I've been playing and replaying the playlist of music that I remember hearing in Seattle, one of which was introduced to me by my new friend Stephen.  I will leave you with that.  Possible Halloween costume inspiration: four girls in Tuxedos greeting trick-or-treaters at the door.  YES. Thank you, Janelle Monae. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Stars Aligned//Salmon//Seattle

Before you read, do yourself a favor and let us feel the nostalgia of the 90's with this classic:

I think my life was just made complete.  Can I tell y'all why?!

Wait, wait, wait...let me SHOW y'all

Look at the bottom right hand corner.
and this...

Obviously the stars have aligned and this is almost too good to be true, but I am way too excited about this graduate program that sounds perfect for me.  Can it be any more of a coincidence that it, A. doesn't require a GRE, B. is in Seattle, and C. is top-ranked?!!  

I am trying not to get myself too psyched, but it's official that my application for graduate school begins NOW.  I am calling my career counselor from college and focusing on this so that I can make the December early deadline.  May have to take a human biology course next semester, but SO WHAT?!!! Seattle is becoming a bigger and better possibility for my future.  Oh, Pacific Northwest I just have the best feeling about you.  

Also, I called my mom and I think she can accept this.  She sounded happy and excited for me.  I need to prepare her psychologically for this possibility.  Prayers, prayers, and many prayers for this opportunity please.  

On a different note, my dear sweet Lisa posted the first photographs from our shoot this past weekend.  She did an INCREDIBLE job, go take a look and leave her a comment.  Seriously hiring this girl for my wedding one day.  I cannot wait until the film shots come in.  

Final thoughts: 
  • I made some Salmon in a bag for my roommates tonight
  • Easiest and most delicious way I've cooked salmon
  • Thank you, Pinterest for the idea
  • Check out the play by play below...
Fresh lemon slices, salmon, drizzle of EVOO, Earth Balance, Salt & Peppah, and topped with Cilantro! 
All wrapped in a bag made of foil
Ready to go into the oven at 350 degrees for 25 mins 
Turning out like this :)
Paired with Basmati Cilantro rice like this...
And a class of wine to celebrate!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Home//An Unfamiliar Road

Sometimes an unfamiliar road can feel like home.

I want to move to the Pacific Northwest.  I never thought I'd be saying those words.  It's something that I never imagined.  I always knew that I wanted to visit and in my heart I knew I would fall in love with all that it had to offer, but to move there?!  I realize I'm too close to my family and love the comfort of all that is southern.  I also know a part of me is missing something unwritten that will transcribe with a move across the country.  I feel as thought I have had pieces to the puzzle all along, but it wasn't until this weekend that I saw how they fit.  

I am so thankful, more than ever to be where I am in my life right now.  The past year has been one of many changes and one thing I distinctly remember feeling in my last relationship was this...

My then boyfriend told me to follow wherever he was (location-wise) and insinuated at the thought that if I loved him I would go where he went after my commitment with Teach For America(TFA).  It's funny how those thoughts and feelings were interpreted to me.  It felt like the clock in my early twenties was ticking and post-TFA I had to be where he was (because that's what I knew he wanted) and if I loved him I would do so.  <-- It makes me sick to even write that, but if you find yourself unable to relate to that sentence perhaps you haven't experienced that kind of love.  When you do, I promise you'll understand.  Before I was able to finish my commitment with Teach For America, my going where he went did not seem to be good enough.  I remember feeling my heart break a little at the thought of not being able to choose a graduate school or take an opportunity based on what I had always imagined for myself.  If that sounds selfish consider this: it is important when two people who love each other grow, understand, and support each other through our process of becoming.  In order to love ourselves we must allow ourselves to become, and in order to love others we must love ourselves.  While being together is important, I think it is necessary to support what the other wants, allowing you to nurture them, the relationship, and they themselves better.  This may mean being together in the same city, or together (and not forever) but apart.

An evening sunset behind Mount Rainier

A part of me has wanted to apply to graduate schools and other opportunities out of the south, and just go somewhere unexpected.  Washington state is exactly that--unexpected.  I knew within about ten minutes of arriving to Seattle (err...maybe it was as I saw this beautiful sunset over Mount Rainier from the plane) that I saw myself living there. 
 If you've heard me rave about California, you may be thinking I am acting on instinct, but I can safely say that I like it at least three times better than I did California.  A great part of it has to do with what I felt in Washington.  The Seattle/Tacoma area felt completely laid back, beautiful, with perfect summer weather, and there was this lack of materialism that I didn't feel in California.   All I know right now is my mind thinks about moving to Seattle all the time.  It's on my mind, I'm making plans, and we will see where those thoughts take me.

Now for some nostalgia, here are some snapshots from my extended Labor Day weekend in Seattle with my wonderful friend and host Lisa.  Expect some links to some amazing shots she took to come very soon.

New friends by a campfire
Remember 10 Things I Hate About You? Recognize this shot?
Stadium High School in Tacoma, Washington
Amazing lunch at Row House in the Lake Union district of Seattle
Shooting with Lisa at University of Puget Sound 
Pit stop in Port Townsend while cruising the Olympic Peninsula 
French Press coffee & change
Beautiful Lisa & I 
A reflection of Harmony
Basically in Canada as I overlook the Dungeness Spit 
The most beautiful sunset I have ever experienced
I will leave you with a little something the beautiful Lisa left me with.  Sadly we never got to hear it on our last adventure yesternight, but it is perfect.