Thursday, December 31, 2009

My 2009 in Pictures

2009 was filled with so many wonderful memories that were only possible because of the amazing family and friends I have in my life. It was a challenging year, but I am very grateful for the experiences and lessons learned. Thank you for everything! I can't wait to see what 2010 holds for us. Happy New Year!

{finding friendships and callings in Belize}
{teaching kids, or more accurately, learning from kids}
{our family in Belize and their new home}
{the house, relationships, and lives built in Belize}
{Delta Gamma formal at Busch Stadium - with my lovely roommates and best friends!}
{"Salad Dressing" Sorority Date Dash}
{sibling bonding in Hawaii}
{backpacking with my brother and sister in Hawaii}
{last Bid Day!}
{camping adventures}
{getting ready to become teachers!}
{dominoes for Halloween}

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Cozying up for Christmas

Isn't this disgusting? When they all get thrown into garbage cans, it's easy to forget how much we consume. According to Cup Kozy, a company that sells a plethora of cozies, 14 billion cups of coffee are wrapped in sleeves every year, generating 2.8 billion pounds of trash! Yikes!

{Image via daily dose of imagery}

Back here, I talked about an easy way to be a little bit greener by using a reusable coffee cozy. So, staying with the homemade Christmas gift theme, I made my mom and dad (who go to Panera every Sunday morning after mass), cozies for their cups. The project was relatively simple, requiring only basic sewing abilities. There are a lot of patterns and tutorials online, but I just dove in and made it up as I went along, using a cardboard Panera sleeve as a size guide.

For my dad's, I cut felt for the inner insulation layer to the exact size of the sleeve and then cut the burlap piece about 1/2 inch wider on all sides. The edges were sewn quickly with a sewing machine (a little crooked because I was going fast, but it works with the rougher feel of the burlap) and then I hand-stitched the edges together.

For my mom, I made a reversible sleeve, one side with cut-out felt hearts and the other with printed pink polka dot felt. I cut both pieces (the grey and the polka dot) to the exact size of the sleeve and then used a blanket stitch to bind them together.

Listening to: "Wait Your Turn" Rihanna
Thought of the Day: "Too much of a good thing can be wonderful." -Mae West

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Counting Down the Days

I know it isn't even January 1st yet, but I'm already sick of the cold weather. Don't get me wrong, I like snow, but only when it is falling and I am sitting inside watching it. And I don't mind sledding, snow ball fights, and making snow men (I made one this past week with my little cousin!), but after the first day of snow on the ground, I'm ready for it to melt away and for the sun to bring back some warmth. So while I wait for the next couple dreary months to pass, I'm going to dream of being in warmer places with cheery, girly dresses like these by Thread Social.

Listening to: "Woke up in a Car" Something Corporate
Thought of the Day: "The only reward of virtue is virtue; the only way to have a friend is to be one." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Basic Blazer

I went shopping for some pieces I can wear for student teaching next semester and I kept having the problem that everything was too stiff and not very versatile. Everything made me feel like a little kid playing dress up in my businesswoman mom's closet.... not that my mom's a business woman, but if she were a workaholic executive, these were the pieces she would wear. So rather than sticking with my basic cardigans everyday, maybe a black blazer like this one would provide a bit more style in the outfit rotation.

{Forever 21, $28.80}

{Gap, $88}

Not only would it look great during the work day,
but I also love this look of a clean blazer over a flirty party dress.

Listening to: "Winter Paradise" -Destiny's Child
Thought of the Day: Giving people self-confidence is by far the most important thing that I can do. Because then they will act." -Jack Welch

Monday, December 21, 2009

Magical Lights

Christmas lights are so magical.
I love driving around town looking at the colorful, twinkling glow, soaking up the Christmas spirit.

Listening to: "Joy to the World" Mariah Carey
Thought of the Day: "Give what you have to somebody; it may be better than you think." -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

{Images via weheartit, flickr}

Friday, December 18, 2009

Happy Friday!

Isn't this tree gorgeous?

I hope you have a great weekend! I'll be traveling with my family to Kansas to spend the week of Christmas with my grandparents. Oddly enough, I am actually looking forward to the 11 hour drive. While we do get a little sick of each other, it's always fun to talk with my sister and play the license plate game and name games with my little brother.

Listening to: "Already Gone" Sugarland
Thought of the Day: "If you wish to experience peace, provide peace for another." -Tenzin Gyatso

{Image via This is Glamourous}

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Memories

Today I helped out in the lunchroom of my little brother's grade school (also my former school). It was weird to be back and seeing old teachers and classrooms brought back some memories. Tomorrow his 4th grade is having their Christmas party and at lunch some of the kids were telling me about the plans. It was so cute hearing them get so excited about their secret Santas, homemade snow globes, and Christmas treats. Some favorite Christmas childhood memories of mine include:

{sledding on my grandparents' farm in Kansas}

{the smell of hot spicy apple cider throughout my grandma's house}

{lying under our tree looking up at the twinkling lights}

{candy cane reindeer}

Listening to: "Crash into Me" - Dave Matthews Band
Thought of the Day: "Life is a gift and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more." Anthony Robbins

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cookies and Cocoa

Over the weekend as I checking out at Walmart, the cashier and I were discussing the hairiness of the holidays. One of her statements made an impact on me, as she said that while she likes the holidays, she is ready for Christmas to just be over with already. With this in mind, I crafted some homemade gifts for my friends who I am saying goodbye to for Christmas break as finals wind to an end. Perfect for chilly nights, I made hot chocolate mixes and festive cookies.

Peppermint Stick Cocoa Mix

via Sunset Magazine, Dec. 2004
1 cup powdered milk
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy (preferably from candy canes so there are more red stripes!)
1/2 cup mini marshmallows (optional)

Layer ingredients in a 1 quart jar.
Close and add tag that says:
1. Combine ingredients in a bowl.
2. Add 1/3 cup mix to 1 cup hot water.
3. Stir and enjoy!
4. Store remaining mix in an air-tight container.

{Peanut Butter Kiss cookies via Betty Crocker - with the addition of a kiss!}

{Christmas M&M cookies via Smitten Kitchen}

Listening to: "Satellites" Beyonce
Thought of the Day: "Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action." - James Levin

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Wish List

Dream Christmas Wish List:
{Kate Spade Guilia heels, $325}

{Essie Mint Candy Apple, $8}

{J.Crew Crystal-and-pearl libretto necklace, $118}

{Coach Tribeca Metallic Patent Tote, $298}

Listening to:
"Christmas Is All Around" Billy Mack
Thought of the Day: "Children have neither past nor future; they enjoy the present, which very few of us do." -Jean de la Bruyere

Friday, December 11, 2009

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday! I hope it doesn't look like this where you are. It feels like it here. But, I'm celebrating because only 2 finals and 1 paper stand between me and freedom (well, until January)! Have a wonderful weekend and stay warm!

Listening to: "Drive to You" Jewel
Thought of the Day: "It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer." - Albert Einstein

{Image via weheartit}

Thursday, December 10, 2009

When did I grow up?

22 used to seem so old...

but not anymore!

I can't believe how fast time flies and how soon the future becomes the present. Yesterday, I observed in the classroom I will be student teaching in this spring and it still seems so unreal that I am old enough to have a job and be responsible for teaching 16 year olds about the history of the world. I can't wait to share some experiences soon though!

ps - if you're in the St. Louis area, check out Fritanga for some amazing and authentic Nicaraguan food!

Listening to: "One of These Days" Michelle Branch
Thought of the Day: "Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forewards." -Soren Kierkegaard

{Image via weheartit}

Monday, December 7, 2009

I'll be back!

Finals... yuck. I don't know who ever came up with this great idea of only having 3 grades per class (midterm, final, research paper), but personally I think this is the worst way to evaluate a student's growth, learning and actual understanding of a subject area. Anyway, my point is that in order to study, I am going to be taking a bit of a break until after finals. I can't wait for Christmas break when I can put more time into this! Thanks for understanding!

{Image via weheartit}

Listening to: Matt Nathanson
Thought of the Week: "The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible." -Arthur C. Clarke

Friday, December 4, 2009

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

{Image via weheartit via Le Love}

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Sweet Simplicity

After seeing this crafty Christmas tree (perfect for a small apartment!) on you are my fave, I had to check out Sweet Paul, a blog with beautiful photographs, delicious recipes and creativity galore! I love the crisp whites, cool blues and touches of green he uses for the holidays. It's such a refleshing departure from the traditional red and green.

{they're cupcake liners!}

{ingenious wreath - a never ending circle of love}

{Advent wreath reinvented}

Listening to: "I'm Alive" Kenny Chesney
Thought of the day: "Love cures people - both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it." -Dr. Karl Menninger

{all images via Sweet Paul}

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Stylish Pair

Yesterday in one of my classes, we were comparing the portrayal of families in the media and one of the shows we discussed was Full House. A girl in my class commented that the Michelle was such as cute baby and it was a shame that the Olsen twins are so dysfunctional now. Everyone but me agreed with her. I didn't voice this then, but am I really the only one who likes these two? They just exude such a carefree, glamorous, and chic image. What do you think? I am crazy in this opinion?

Listening to: "Stay or Leave" Dave Matthews Band
Thought of the Day: "Without friends, no one would choose to live" -Aristotle

{Image via Saints and Liars}

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Frost Yourself

I am loving Heidi Klum's ads for Ann Taylor. It seems so funny that a brand I considered "old" and "mom-ish" about 3 years ago is now being represented by Heidi and I actually would love to wear their clothing. Isn't the pearl and diamond combination lovely? Some of my faves...

Inspiration for some Christmas break DIYs? hmm....

Listening to: "Never Knew I Needed" Ne-Yo
Thought of the Day: "Don't pray for an easier life; but instead pray to be a stronger person." - Bishop Lafino

{Images via Instyle and Ann Taylor}

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday! I hope you have a fabulous looong weekend and soak up the family/friends time!

Listening to: "Take a Bow" Rihanna
Thought of the Day: The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

{Image via weheartit}