Happy 26th Birthday, Dan!
- 60 simple rules of personal finance.
- Love this outfit and this coat.
- This list about the habits of youngest children is super accurate.
- Some nighttime rituals to help you sleep, and 4 steps to a healthy morning.
- How to make a long-term romantic relationship feel new, and how to stay close during a long-distance friendship.
- I adore these Cinderella-inspired pieces by Lauren Conrad.
- 8 life lessons from Leslie Knope. Plus, 23 girl power-filled Parks and Recreation moments.
- Weddings I love: 1, 2, 3.
- 25 things you should give up.
- Recipes I want to try: shrimp scampi with zucchini noodles, petite crust-less quiche, smokey chipotle dipping sauce, mini strawberry upside cornmeal cobblers, easy oven-baked sesame chicken thighs, lemon rosemary green beans, and gluten-free orange chocolate chip muffins.
- My amazing husband Daniel. He works so hard every day at his job as a teacher, is fiercely loyal to his family and friends, is ridiculously passionate about sports – both watching and doing, adores animals as much as I do, and watches all the same TV shows as me (unless they are about crime). He is my best friend and the love of my life.
- My awesome family. Not only do they give provide me with role models to admire and be inspired by , but I am especially grateful for all the help and support they’ve given me during this first year teaching at a high school with a new school model AND with my knee injury and surgery. I love spending time with them – they are always on my side, they always make me laugh, and they will always watch crime TV shows with me.
- My kick-ass friends. They put up with all my random, silly, and long text messages, non-stop Snapchats of coffee and pets, my early bedtime, and my weak sarcastic ability. They are hilarious, creative, sweet, caring, fiesty, and fun. I love them to death and can’t imagine how I’d get along without them.
- My wonderful co-workers. I have been blessed to have truly great colleagues and mentors almost every place I have ever worked, but this year having a staff that supports each other as much as this staff does is absolutely essential. I don’t think any of us would have made it this far, trying to implement his new school model and make positive changes in school culture, without each other. No one “pulls rank,” no one refuses feedback, no one is unwilling or too busy to help anyone else. We are truly a team and I am so grateful.
- My pets. I don’t have kids, and no, my pets aren’t like my kids. My pets are my pets – they are animals who love unconditionally, harbor no bitterness or ill will toward anyone, and find happiness in all the small moments. They brighten my day and the day of everyone who interacts with them.
- The “basics” that aren’t really so basic – a place to live with working heat and a sound structure, located in a safe neighborhood. Clean, running water I can get by walking two feet to a faucet. Enough nutritious food to eat and the ability to choose what I want to eat. Shoes, a winter coat, gloves, and hat that are all in good shape. Clothes in general that are in good shape. Safe transportation. Access to the Internet and a computer in my own home. All the things so many of us take for granted on a daily basis.
- Health care – including vision and dental. I know this is a sore point for some people in this day and age with Obamacare and all, but I can’t imagine not having it. I have maintenance prescriptions I require for health conditions, I get sinus infections a couple times a year, I hate cavities, and you never know when an emergency or a random accident will occur – like tearing your ACL on a trampoline on a school field trip. I am so grateful I have insurance to help my family and I afford the care we need.
- My college degree and job. My job that is my dream job. It truly feels like every experience I have had, particularly since I was in high school myself, has lead me to this teaching position. A lot of the experiences were challenging, but they all prepared me for where I am right now, which is exactly where I want to be. Not only is my job, despite its intensity, emotionally and intellectually fulfilling, but it is also contributing to my family’s financial security. I am grateful for that because I know how difficult not being in such a positive situation can be.
- And of course, the random, little things that seem silly to be thankful for but really enrich every day life: COFFEE, funny TV shows, interesting podcasts, good books, really good books, an evening spent cooking and baking, a hot bath, that thrill you get when you’ve had an extra productive day or when you get an unexpected compliment, a cold beer after a long week at work, finding a coupon for your favorite grocery item, a sunny day, easy traffic on your morning commute, killing it in your workout, catching your new favorite song on the radio, making someone else laugh without expecting to, beating that level of Angry Birds you’ve been stuck on for weeks, a fantastic night of sleep, no line at the gas station or drugstore when you’re in a rush, a clear night sky so you can see the stars, the existence of HGTV, listening to music while driving by yourself in the rain, seeing someone do something nice for someone else for no reason but to be nice or polite, hugs from small children, kisses from dogs, and so, so much more.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
1. Dan and I got married.
2. We had a great minimoon!
3. And a fantastic picnic reception.
4. We also moved into our first home together.
5. I had a wonderful time getting ready for the wedding with an awesome kick ass bachelorette party planned by my sister and best friends.
6. I had a ton of fun attending others’ weddings, including a best friend’s.
7. I was hired to be a tutor full-time at my alma mater.
8. I survived a difficult season of coaching and got to see four of my swimmers compete at Districts, not to mention watch so many others improve so much.
9. Helped quite a few students keep focused, pass classes, and graduate.
10. Finally attended my first BGSU homecoming weekend as an alumni.
11. Dan and I went to many Indians games.
12. And we did Dinner on the Diamond.
13. We went to a Cavs and a Bluejackets game, too.
14. We hosted Thanksgiving for my family and his family together.
15. So many long walks with Madison in the park.
16. Joining and going to a near-by gym, as well as joining Tone It Up!
17. Buying and using my road bike.
18. Fun parties at my sister-in-law’s apartment…including Halloween when Dan & I were beekeepers and Madison was a bee!
19. I made a new close friend in my co-teacher at work.
20. Hosting friends and family for weekends in Cleveland.
21. Going to An Evening With Scott Hamilton and Friends with my parents and spending Memorial Day weekend with Dan’s family.
22. Celebrating my grandma’s 90th birthday.
23. Celebrating the end of the school year with an early summer weekend in BG.
24. And sooooo much more! Reading as much as possible, morning coffee and relaxation, cooking dinners with Dan, hilarious times with my students and swimmers, my parents adopting another dog, visits to Columbus, holiday celebrations, basically any time spent with family and friends!
It’s been a great 24th year, and I can’t wait for what the next year holds! Here’s to 25!
- All the kinds of flavored coffee Dan & I got for Christmas
- Staying safe & warm during this terrible weather, and the fact that my friends and family are, too
- The perfect planner for a new year
- New leggings to wear while rocking workouts at the gym
- Speaking of workouts…I’m loving prepping for my first masters meet and participating in Tone It Up’s Love Your Body series!
- Working ahead to finish the second half of swim season strong
- Cuddling up with Madison, a good book, & a cup of tea
- Sending and receiving hilarious texts with friends
- Marathons of favorite TV shows
- A good night’s sleep
- Only 36 days until pitchers and catchers report!
What is making you happy as of late?
With it being New Year’s Day, I, like a lot of society, am excited for a new year and fresh start. I’ve written New Year’s resolutions pretty much every year for as long as I can remember. Recently, in the years 2011, 2012, and 2013, I created and followed what I called the New Year’s All Year Challenge. It went okay for me in 2011, and pretty well for me in 2012, but I did not keep up with in 2013. A lot of changes occurred in my life this past year (like moving out of my parents’ house, getting married, a new job, etc.), and trying to stay focused on multiple goals every month on top of those changes started to feel very overwhelming for me. I eventually let go of them because I tend to be a perfectionist and my lack of progress on them (due to focusing on all the other big events and adjustments going on) was unnecessarily stressing me out. While my 2014 isn’t currently shaping up to have the type of life-changing events 2013, I have decided to forgo doing a 2014 New Year’s All Year Challenge for the similar reasons. I want to achieve my goals in life, but I want to make sure I am doing so in a balanced way that doesn’t put unneeded pressure on myself. I want to enjoy the journey and make sure I am having fun and spending time with those I love.
I am a longtime fan of Mackenzie Horan of Design Darling, and I recently realized her 101 Things in 1,001 Days project is perfect way for me to approach the next year. Well, really, the next 2.75 years. As she described it, it’s a “happy medium between writing a to do list and keeping a bucket list. It’s a way to dream big and make regular progress toward meeting those longer term goals.” So, I have crafted my own list and will begin my journey today! I look forward to sharing my progress and experiences with everyone. Happy New Year!!! : )
Start: January 1, 2014
- Compete in a masters swim meet.
- Complete a triathlon.
- Meet my goal weight.
- Do yoga every day for a month.
- Stop biting my nails.
- Complete a Bible study.
- Try every fitness class offered at my gym.
- Take a self-defense class.
- Give up swearing for Lent (and see if it lasts after that!).
- Complete a plank challenge.
- Floss every other day for a month (and see if I can finally maintain the habit).
- Go to the eye doctor.
- Eat as a vegetarian for a month.
- Complete a squat challenge.
- Try 20 different workouts from what I have saved from magazines over the years.
- Practice meditation/mindfulness every day for a month.
- Attend a musical I’ve never seen before.
- Revisit the major museums in Cleveland (4).
- Go to a Blue Jackets game.
- Go apple or berry picking.
- Attend a live comedy show.
- Ride the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.
- Eat at five new-to-me restaurants in the Cleveland or Columbus area.
- Go on a tour of a brewery.
- Attend a professional orchestra concert.
- Visit the Cleveland Botanical Gardens.
- Go camping.
- Visit the Underground Railroad museum in Cincinnati.
- Obtain a passport and use it, even if only to travel to Canada (the only other country I have ever been in besides the U.S.).
- Visit the National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton.
- Take Madison to the dog beach.
- Visit Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of Fame.
- Attend Dinner on the Diamond again.
- See a major league baseball game in a stadium I have never been to before.
- Go to a BGSU home football game.
- Send Christmas cards to all of our family and friends before the holiday.
- Host a book club meeting.
- Prepare a meal for my family using an outdoor grill.
- Do something extra special for each member of my family.
- Host a fancy brunch for my friends.
- Mail my closest friends and family cards for each birthday during these 1,001 days.
- Throw a party for my parents’ 35th wedding anniversary.
- Donate to PAWS in Madison’s name.
- Donate toys to kids in need.
- Donate to BGSU.
- Complete 25 random acts of kindness.
- Donate blankets or coats to those in need.
- “Pay it forward” at a coffee shop or at a tollbooth.
- Donate books to an organization that distributes them to those who need them or volunteer with a literacy organization.
- Complete 40 service hours.
- Sponsor an athlete at PSH or donate to scholarships offered through PCSD.
- Read 75 books I have never read before.
- Bake a pie from scratch.
- Make a pizza (dough and sauce) from scratch.
- Complete compiling and order a full wedding album.
- See a classic movie in a movie theater.
- Knit a scarf.
- Make 15 recipes out of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
- Be inspired by Pinterest 10 times to either create/bake/cook something or utilize a cleaning/organization tip.
- Back up all my photos.
- Make a T-shirt quilt.
- Watch 10 Best Picture winning films I haven’t see before.
- Back up all my music.
- Create Snapfish or Shutterfly albums for each year since high school.
- Bake 12 different recipes of cookies and cut each recipe into an unique shape using our Year Of Cookies cookie cutters we were gifted for our wedding.
- Spend at least two months blogging consistently (five days a week).
- Watch Gone With the Wind again.
- Organize all my workout and recipe clippings from magazines into navigable binders/digital files.
- Start a history podcast and publish at least three episodes.
- Organize all my previously written swim practices and planning into navigable binders/digital files.
- Obtain a full-time classroom position and/or begin earning my masters degree.
- Learn all of the world’s capital cities and the names and locations of major rivers, mountains, etc.
- Develop my Honors Project (from college) into a full book.
- Organize all my lesson plans and resources into navigable binders/digital files.
- Find a way to combine my loves of social media and the field of education into something that serves a resource and/or community for either teachers or students.
- Truly study (not just skim/index through) all the swimming books I own and organize my notes on them into navigable binders/digital files.
Things That Scare Me
- Sing karaoke
- Buy a bikini and wear it in public.
- Get another tattoo.
- Pay off the Honda Civic Dan and I purchased in March 2013 ahead of schedule.
- Save at least $5,000.
- Create a solid budget and begin cultivating spending/saving tracking habits by following it successfully for at least two months.
- Finish changing name on all accounts/relevant records.
- Write a will and a living will.
- Buy big plastic bins and use them to organize the storage space/seasonal decorations.
- Set up a home office.
- Create and implement a rotating cleaning schedule and follow it for at least two months straight.
- Do an intake of my belongings, donate or toss what I don’t need, and organize what I am keeping.
- Find a more effective system for receiving mail, disposing of it/filing it, and responding to it.
- Style our bedroom.
- Style our living room.
- Buy an actual address book and use it.
- Clean my car and keep it tidy for at least two months.
- Find a skincare regimen that works for me and follow it for at least 30 days.
- Buy a grown up watch, and wear it regularly.
- Learn 5 new ways to style my hair.
- Get a pedicure.
- Find the perfect little black dress.
- Get grown-up luggage and use it (instead of using my backpack from high school!).
- Find my “signature scent.”
- Purchase a monogrammed bracelet or necklace.
End date: September 27, 2016
You were the best year yet. Here’s to 2014!
You were pretty rad.
Video made via Flipagram.
I’m not sorry.
I’m not sorry I love learning so much that I listen to history podcasts and share facts from them at weddings. I’m not sorry I think education is a misunderstood career and I know what I’m talking about when I discuss it. I’m not sorry I am obsessed with the Cleveland Indians and get passionate when I talk about them. I’m not sorry I choose to look on the bright side and approach challenges in life from a positive perspective. I’m not sorry I’d rather be proven wrong than be proven right. I’m not sorry I like beer and that drink my coffee black. I’m not sorry that my dog is my best friend or that I take and share lots of photos of her. I’m not sorry about my values and beliefs. I’m not sorry I enjoy cheesy books, Top 40 music, or Pumpkin Spice Lattes. I’m not sorry I forgive too easily. I’m not sorry I love my hometown and college. I’m not sorry that most the time I’d rather spend a night in rather than out. I’m not sorry I act honestly when I have the option to do otherwise. I’m not sorry I prioritize safety, spending time with my husband, or doing right by my students. I’m not sorry I’ve never done drugs and I’m not sorry my wedding was untraditional. I’m not sorry for my tattoos, my student loans, or my anxiety. I’m not sorry about my early bedtime, my sense of humor, or my singing voice.
I’m not sorry about being me.