Monday, May 16, 2011

Buyer Beware

Recently I was shopping at JCPenneys and picked up a few things.

This adorable necklace (though much larger than I normally wear):
I'm very pleased with it. It's really cute, and I've gotten several compliments on it. I've had no issues with it unlike the next item.

I also picked up this bracelet:

I was initially pleased with this bracelet. It's a bit large for my wrists and I could not find a way to adjust it to make it tighter. That I could deal with. However, after wearing it for a few hours, I noticed one of the stones had fallen out. I was upset, but it was only one. I could deal with that. By the end of the day though, it looked like this:
I was (am) highly upset. Although it was only $10, I could not believe how horrible the quality was. I'm sure I can find some stones to put back in it, but that isn't the point.

*Note that while these are both from JCPenneys, they are different brands. The elephant is Decree and the bracelet is MixIt.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Five Question Friday

1. What is your favorite Easter tradition?
My mom's side didn't really celebrate Easter together, but my dad's side always has a huge get together. We grill burgers and hot dogs and have more food than you can imagine. The great thing is we are a family full of amazing cooks (I mean, have you seen my size? lol) After food and fellowship we have an egg hunt for the kids including a big prize egg with lots of goodies inside. It's great to spend time with family during the holiday.

2. Are you a "shower" or a "long, hot bath" kind of person?

I guess I'm more of a shower person right now. I love long, hot baths with bath bombs that make the water soft and smell so delicious and a good book, but I rarely take the time for that anymore. I usually just hop in and out of the shower as fast as I can. Maybe once school is out in a couple of weeks and life slows down a bit, I can put some of my Lush goodies to use. 

3. Can you parallel park and if so when is the last time you did it?

No I definitely cannot parallel park. I didn't do the driving portion of driver's ed with school, I did it at home so I never learned how to parallel park. Taking the driver's portion at home meant I didn't have to take the driving portion of the test to get my license either. I have had to parallel park once at school, and I was able to do it decently but I was pretty far from the curb. If there are several open and I can just drive straight into them, that isn't a problem. I am always nervous that I won't be able to get out when I leave, like the cars in front and behind will be too close to me. There isn't really much parallel parking in my area, just in downtown which I don't spend much time in.

4. What is your favorite Easter candy?
Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs are my favorite. I love Easter candy in general: Sweet Tarts, Nerds, Butterfinger eggs, but these definitely take the cake! Peanut butter and chocolate is an amazing combination.

5. Easter: do you go all out with the Easter Bunny or focus on the religious part of the holiday?
My family does in between. We get together on the Saturday before Easter and have the lunch/egg hunt extravaganza so that we can attend our different churches and functions on Sunday. Our family is pretty spread apart location-wise.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Meet Me on Monday

1.  Who would be your dream celebrity date?
Ryan Reynolds, mmm. He's so muscled in The Amityville Horror and Blade Trinity, and I love his character in The Proposal. 

2.  Do you have any food restrictions?
I am not allergic to anything. I try to eat reasonably healthy though. Lots of fruits and veggies and lean meats. 

3.  How much time do you take to get ready in the morning?
About half an hour to an hour. I take my time with my makeup usually, I have an addiction! I shower at night to save time, it's about another 30-45 minutes if I have to shower in the morning.

4.  Sausage or bacon?
Both! I like link sausage and crispy bacon. 

5.  Do you Google, Bing or Yahoo?
 Google all the way!

Week in Review

What a week this has been! I have been utterly swamped. My grandmother is home from the hospital and doing fairly well. School this week held a disaster and also an amazing experience.

I had to build a butterfly habitat last weekend for my Teaching Science class. We're raising Painted Lady butterflies. Here's what I built with the the help of my mom:

My caterpillars before they went into their chrysalis.
My caterpillars died, as did a lot of other students' caterpillars, but I got two more that were already in their chrysalis. I don't have any pictures of them though.

I had to do my social studies minilesson on leadership contributions this week. I was unaware of their prior knowledge, which made my lesson planning difficult. I took people specifically mentioned in the standards such as Jefferson, Washington, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., etc. and made a matching game where the students matched two contributions or facts to each person. The first day this went horrible. The kids had no clue about over half of the information. For example, they thought FDR was the 4th president, and that Eiesenhower commanded the Continental Army during the American Revolution. I was highly upset, because the kids didn't enjoy it and were frustrated. That was the worst lesson I've ever done. So that night I made some changes. I cut the amount of people down from 10 to 6, removing the ones they had no clue about. The next day when I taught the other half of the class, the lesson went so much better! The kids enjoyed it and opened up a good discussion on these people, their contributions, and what life would be like if they hadn't happened, like women not being able to vote or segregation still being legal. I got nothing but praise from my mentor teacher.

Thursday evening was also the Undergraduate Research Conference at my university. I was selected as a poster presenter for the College of Education, a first for the Department of Elementary Education. My presentation was on the effectiveness of guided reading as found through my first internship in a first grade classroom. My mom took pictures, so I'll do a separate blog post when I get those from her. It was a fantastic experience!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Crank Dat Lumberjack

Do you remember when this song was a hit?

At my university, a guy made up our own version and they teach it at orientation and such. It's pretty funny. (We're the lumberjacks if you can't tell.) Check it out!
SFA off in this (OOOHHH)
In the middle of Nac-a (DOOOHHH)
Watch me crank that Lumberjack
And Surfin Steve that (OOOHHH)
Crank Dat Lumberjack (YOULLLLLL)
Crank Dat Lumberjack (YOULLLLLL)
Crank Dat Lumberjack (YOULLLLLL)
Crank Dat Lumberjack! (YOULLLLLL)

SFA off in this (OOOHHH)
In the middle of Nac-a (DOOOHHH)
Watch me crank that Lumberjack
And Surfin Steve that (OOOHHH)
Crank Dat Lumberjack (YOULLLLLL)
Crank Dat Lumberjack (YOULLLLLL)
Crank Dat Lumberjack (YOULLLLLL)
Crank Dat Lumberjack! (YOULLLLLL)

SFA up in this (OOOHHH)
Swinging Axe with my Lumberjack Pride
Surfin Steve that (OOOHHH)
And you know I bleed that Purple and White
The Game is on a Thursday night
Friday it's the Sports Shack man
When I crank that Lumberjack
the tree starts falling and then they say
I'm choppin ya (I'm choppin on ya)
And when the tree starts falling,
It's dropping on ya (It's dropping on ya)
You can catch me at the Austin Building
Getting my Financial Aid
Sam Houston mad cuz
My shirt say PURPLE HAZE!


I'm sizing up this tree
Watch me Lumberjack that (OOOHHH)
Ima pass the Axe to "Nice"
And he gon Chop it up fa-sho (Fa-Sho)
Going to the games
Lumberjacks (yea) we the man
We be looking at the score
Saying, "D*mn, we lost again?!"
Yea we blew it (we blew it)
Next game,
we still going to it (still going to it)
NO! you can't do like me
NO! you can't chop wood like me
NO! you can't chop through it like me
Lumberjacks, we do the Dougie!


From Spring Hill to the Grove
Woodforest to Rio
Banita Creek Condos

From North Street to University
The Student Center to the E.C.
Griffth to Hall 20



Friday, April 8, 2011

Five Question Friday

1. If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
Physically, my weight and I am already working on that. 20 down, 60 to go.
Personality, I wish I was more confident and outgoing. I'm a whole lot more that way than I was when I was younger (think high school), but I have room for improvement. Being around new people can make me nervous, but I do open up after a few minutes.

2. Write about a time when you got lost.
I'm actually really good with directions/maps/etc. I can't recall a time I've ever been lost. 

3. Camping or 5 star hotel?
Both! I like being pampered, but I also like getting out in nature and enjoying the beauty. 

4. Have you donated blood?
Yes, I used to frequently, but I always felt sick for three days afterward. Come to find out my neurocardiogenic syncope is the reason, so I can't donate anymore.

5. Do you have a budget or do you 'fly by' most months?
I don't have a strict budget, but I know what I need for bills and necessities. I try not to spend too much beyond that since I'm just a college kid. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Meet Me On Monday

1.  If you had to eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Blue Bell Ice Cream! The flavors are so delicious, it's the best ice cream in the world. Even the vanilla is just superb.
2.  Do you write your blog posts in advance or the day you post them?

Well, since I'm just starting out I write them the day I post them. I guess it would be more organized of me to write them in advance. Maybe that should be a goal of mine.

3.  Have you ever ridden in an ambulance?

No, thank goodness. I've been in and out of hospitals a million times, but I haven't ridden in an ambulance.

4.  What is your favorite candle scent?

Frosted Cupcake from Slatkin & Co. from Bath & Body Works. It smells so warm and homey. I love the way it makes my house smell like I just baked something delicious. My second favorite is Bird of Paradise by Circle E Candles. It smells really sweet and somewhat like strawberries. When people walk in my house when either of these candles are burning, they always comment on how great my house smells. One three-wick candle of either one of those scents up my whole 1500 sq ft  home.

5.  Coffee or tea?

Definitely sweet iced tea! I can't stand coffee, it's too bitter to me. The one exception to that is I'll drink mocha frappuccinos from Starbucks.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Weekend Wander to the Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden

Today I took my mom to see the Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden in Nacogdoches. It's situated on my university campus and it is gorgeous this time of year. It's eight acres of walking trails through beds containing over 7,000 plants.  My mom has been wanting to go, and this is one of the last weekends when it is in bloom. Some of the plants were already losing their flowers. It was a beautiful day for the trip. The weather was nice and warm with a cool breeze under those tall pine trees. We wandered the trails for an hour looking at all the azaleas and ornamental plants. My mom's degree is in horticulture so this was right up her alley. I think she could have spent all day enjoying the garden.

A beautiful white hydrangea tree

A camelia bloom that fell off.

Chinese Fringe Tree

My mom loves fringe trees.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring Break Sickness

When I think of the words "Spring Break" I think of hundreds of college students crowding gorgeous white sandy beaches and blue water. There's lots of drinking, partying, and general craziness. Me-I'm not this kind of person. I had my spring break all planned: a few days at my friend's lake house relaxing, remodeling my laundry room, working in my yard.

Spring break started off with me heading to my friend Steven's lake house with Steven and Jason. We got there Friday evening, cooked dinner, had some wine, played Phase 10 (which I rule at haha). Saturday we slept in, went walking along the beach, watched some movies, cooked, had another friend over, etc. Sunday morning I woke up sick and ended up coming home that morning, a few days earlier than planned. Here are some pics from the weekend:

My room. The light coming in early in the morning is so beautiful.

Playing Phase 10 with Steven and Jason (taking the pic)

I love the entryway. The doors are beautiful and there are fleur-de-lis in the tile.

Lake Sam Rayburn

Jason and I walking along the water's edge. The water was so nice and warm.

Jason and me

Isn't this wall of windows beautiful?

Ever since coming home Sunday I have been sick. Just when I think I'm getting better it gets worse. I'm finally over the fever, and this morning I wake up feeling like someone hit the left side of my face/jaw/neck with a baseball bat. I called my doctor and my back-up doctor Wednesday and they're both out of town until Monday. Without insurance, the urgent clinic is $150-$200 just to get seen. It's absolutely ridiculous.

One bit of good news, I got a dog yesterday. A family friend needed to find her a good home, because the family they had given her to originally weren't taking good care of her. I gave her a bath last night and took her to get her shots this morning. She's a shih tzu/chihuahua mix, black with a white stripe down her belly, and weighs 9.6 lbs. She's five years old. I'm taking her to get groomed Sunday, and I'll post pics of her then. They named her Prissy, but I have to see what name I think she earns.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Secret to Success

The number one thing that has helped me develop a healthier lifestyle regarding eating and exercise has been having a place to track my calories in and out. The best website I have found for this is SparkPeople. SparkPeople provides a wealth of information including access to articles, exercise how-to's and short exercises videos, recipes, nutrition calculators, fitness calculators and provides a social networking aspect similar to Facebook. When you join, you can create your own page reminiscent of MySpace where you can add pictures (such as before/after, progress, etc), update your status ("Just got back from Zumba!"), blog, and receive comments. Also, SP has teams you can join to meet people with similar goals or interests, competitions, and message boards.

My SparkPage

I mainly use this site to track my calories in and out and to give and receive support from other members. I have made some friends on SP, and that support really helps keep me motivated.

What keeps you motivated?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Journey is the Reward

Six months ago I decided I needed to make a change. Not only did I need to make a change, I needed to overhaul my life. Who was I living this life for, and where was I going with it?

The first, most difficult, and best change overall was ending my miserable marriage. I never thought I would be someone to get a divorce, but in the end I decided it was the best decision for not only me but for the both of us. It took a good deal of counseling and talking to God for me to realize that admitting failure in the relationship did not mean that I was a failure at life. I took this as my turning point to make some other changes.

From there, I determined that my health had to become a priority. I could sit back and let my neurocardiogenic syncope rule my life and live a sedentary lifestyle, or I could say "No!" and take my life back. I did not make any drastic changes, but slowly I began making lifestyle changes. I began eating less processed foods, more fruits and vegetables, less fried foods, and more lean meats. I cut down or cut out completely soda, ice cream, pizza, your typical junk foods. I hit the gym when I could, though in no particular system because of school. I tried Zumba and loved it! I worked my time up on the elliptical from 20 minutes to 45 minutes. So far, I've lost 20 pounds (212-192) and gone from an 18 to a 14. I have not been this size since 2007, and it's a great feeling. Seeing these results truly keeps me motivated to keep it up. They may not seem like much in pictures, but I can definitely see a difference in my body and the way I feel.



Around 205

While school has always been a priority, I really focused myself on putting my all into my education. I was doing my first internship at a local elementary school in a first grade classroom. It was honestly the best experience I have ever had, and I grew so much as a teacher thanks to a great mentor teacher, mentor professor, and a room of the best first graders around. When my days were hard, because let's face it-divorce isn't easy, I would walk into that classroom and be hugged by 20 kids. How can that not bring a smile to even those with the hardest of hearts? I believe God put me in that classroom at that time to show me the joy in life, and that I am right where He wants me to be. My work that semester paid off in a multitude of ways. I made President's List by earning all A's, and I recently found out I am one of the winners of my university's  Undergraduate Research Conference which is an honor. In April I will be doing a poster presentation at the conference, and I am so excited-but that's a whole other blog.

I have a long way to go on this journey, but in the end the journey is the reward. Won't you join me?