Thursday, October 13, 2011

Car Caddy & Play Mat

I've had a lot of changes in my life recently. The most notable being the beginning of my student teaching which has really eaten into my free time. However, I finally feel like I can juggle lesson planning, grading, and behavior management without feeling the need to collapse at 4pm... So back to blogging I go!

Somehow I managed to find the time to craft a few new things, and the first that I want to share was actually a new milestone for me! It was my first sewing project with an actual machine! Woot! In the past, I've always hand stitched everything or just used fabric glue, but lately I've been seeing all kinds of cute projects, and gosh darn it! I want to learn to sew like a real person!

So, with the help of my lovely and talented Aunt B, I created a birthday present for my boyfriend's nephew's 3rd birthday.

This car caddy was inspired from a tutorial found on Homemade By Jill, although I made several changes. First off, being the broke student that I am, the materials I used were: a thin place mat on clearance at Target, a terrycloth hand towel, and an old pair of jeans. Another aspect of the project that I changed was the closure. Instead of Velcro or a tie, I used the button of the jeans. I just cut part of the waistline off, and sewed the ends between the layers.

I'm really pleased with how this turned out! Since Little C is always on the go, he can load up all of his cars, take them anywhere, and have a road and garage to play with. Plus, it's machine washable! Overall, it was a quick day's project, and I had fun learning how to use a sewing machine for real! Thanks Aunt B!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

DIY Reading Bag

I've been in an extremely crafty mood as of late which is both good and bad. Good in the fact that making stuff relaxes me, and I really enjoy it, but bad in the fact that I really need to be studying for the GACE. Yup. I'll be taking my teacher certification test this Saturday, and I'm nervous! Many people have already told me that it's no big deal, but being me, I still have to get a little worried! I'm also not excited about the fact that I'll be taking 4 tests on the actual test day.... blah! It's going to be a long day!

Anyways, back to arts and crafts!

I love making gifts for people, and packaging is half the fun! It's not nearly as exciting to wrap something in store bought paper after spending so much time creating the present. I feel the same about cards especially now that they've gone up in price. I have a good stock of supplies, so I might as well be productive! (Side Note- I really think this is going to be fun when I actually have my own classroom! I can't wait to use the excuse... "But it's for school!" when I want to make something! YAY!)

Source: Personal Photo

Here's a 'Book Bag' I made for a toddler's 1st birthday party. Everyone needs a special bag to take with them to the library, and although the colors are a bit 'girly', I think he'll still enjoy it! I tried to stay with somewhat neutral colors, so anyone in the family could use it!

It was really easy to make. I got the tote bag as part of a three-pack from Michaels, and used some iron on transfer paper for the back of the bag. I used Photoshop (You can just as easily use Microsoft Word) to edit the colors of the text, and then just printed it out on the inkjet printer. Easy!

For the owl, I didn't have the colors I wanted in any of my fabric scraps, so I bought three bandanas. I used pinking shears to cut out the pattern, and then used fabric glue to piece the owl together. I did sew the eyes onto each piece to hold the whole owl together before gluing it on to the bag.

To finish the present, I bought a couple of board books at a bookstore that was going out of business, and then wrapped them in some Kraft paper that I had on hand. The whole package was tied off in some twine. I used the tote bag as my 'wrapping' for the books, and I loved how the whole thing came out! I definitely think I'll use this idea again. The books were the most expensive part, but it was a very affordable present to make! Depending on what books you added, you could easily make this for under $10 depending on what you had on hand.

Monday, August 8, 2011


Saturday was a crazy day. My fella and I were headed to one of his friend's birthday parties which had morphed into an all day extravaganza. It was exhausting, but completely awesome! The actual locations were a surprise to the birthday guy, so the rest of us had fun talking in code. We did a whole bunch of stuff like laser tag, arcade games at Dave & Busters, and eating lots of yummy food and cookies! But, there was one thing that I had never even heard of.

Let me introduce you to.....


What is Whirlyball, you ask?

Just picture lacrosse on bumper cars! Two teams of five play 15-20 minute games where you try to hit the other team's target with a whiffle ball- all while dodging everyone else. It was intense!

And I was very bad at it.

I sat out the first game with some of the other girlfriends just so I could see what exactly went on in a whirlyball game. It looked pretty slow from the outside, so I was feeling a little more confident. I joined in the second game, and had the hardest time getting my bumper car to steer! Because you have to have one hand free for the scoop there's only one pedal and a crank that you move from side to side to turn. Apparently, this was way too complicated for me.

I spent the majority of the second and third games just staying out of everyone's way, and running into select people who were headed towards our goal. It was still fun, and my steering slowly improved! Of course, I found out a little bit later that it wasn't completely my fault- my little car was fixed after the third game, and suddenly worked so much better! I took the opportunity to let everyone know that clearly I was not as bad a player as I seemed, it was a conspiracy!

Several banged knees, sweaty shirts, and tired hours later, we called it quits. I feel like it's a game that if you could play regularly, you could plan strategics and pick up steering a little quicker! But as a whirlyball newbie, I highly enjoyed it!

Really, you should go try it! They have leagues, national championships, and everything!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Recommended Reading

Happy August 1st Everyone!

I can't believe how quickly this summer has flown by! Of course, summer classes didn't help, but still- where did the time go? Now that I actually have some time for myself, I've been crafting and reading lots more. It's good for the soul!

I read a lot. And I'm a quick reader- as in read a novel or two a day if I don't have to be too productive. It was great for school. I never had to worry about not finishing my reading. I could wait till the night before class and still be ok. Reading for pleasure is another story- I go through things WAY too quickly, so I'm constantly looking for new material.

Recently, I've been branching into more science fiction and fantasy. It's funny because as much as I love scifi movies and television shows, I haven't read a lot of scifi or fantasy novels beyond Michael Chrichton, Orson Scott Card, CS Lewis, and Tolkein. It's been enjoyable so far- they normally come in big series that are rather long! YAY new books!

I've definitely read a mixed stack the past week or two, and I wanted to share a few that I really enjoyed!

1. The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson

This is the second book in the Millennium series, and I enjoyed it much more than the first! It was fast paced and grabbed my attention from the get-go. I adore the heroine in the series. Lisbeth Salander is witty, devious, and just plain intriguing. Once I started this one, I definitely couldn't put it down and I'm looking forward to continuing the saga with the next book!

2. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

I still can't get over the wonderful plot and storytelling that emerged in this heartwarming and heartbreaking story. Set in Jackson, Mississippi during the early 60's, The Help tells the story of the complicated relationships between the help and the families that employ them. The Help is a definite must read!

3. Beguilement (Book 1 in the Sharing Knife Series) by Lois McMaster Bujold

This was a series that I stumbled upon while wandering around the library looking for something interesting. Beguilement sets the stage for a romantic fantasy world where the population is divided into farmers and lakewalkers-two groups of people who never mix. All that is changed when special circumstances throws young farmer Fawn Bluefield together with Lakewalker Dag Redwing. I enjoyed the series as we followed the adventures of Dag and Fawn, and I definitely plan to look into other books by Bujold.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Middendorf's: A Must Visit

It was the only thing off the Exit, about 30 minutes from downtown New Orleans. It's a quiet place on Lake Maurepas that is accessible by car or by boat. And it's famous for the thin-cut fried catfish.

Personal Photo


Middendorf's was one of my favorite restaurants and it definitely lived up to the hearsay. The fried catfish was so thin that it melted in your mouth! It had just enough breading and I'm so glad I got to try some. I had opted for the peel-and-eat shrimp with a cup of turtle soup. It was my first time ever trying turtle soup and I loved it! It reminded me of vegetable beef soup, but better!

Mom and Dad both got soft shelled crab, and since I was making the food rounds, I tried a few bites and it was very yummy! Rebecca (the token seafood hater) had a hamburger and proclaimed it delicious. Her exact quote was "You know it's a good seafood restaurant if the non-seafood stuff doesn't taste like fish!" It was her favorite restaurant of the trip as well.

All the portions were generous, but we still saved room for dessert! I ordered the bread pudding, which I've also never had and it was amazing! They made it with banana bread and rum sauce and I could barely finish it. Other desserts that were ordered were key lime pie and the white chocolate pecan pie. I definitely recommend saving room for dessert!

Personal Photo

After we finished eating, we headed out to the pier where we watched a breathtaking sunset over the water complete with a double rainbow. And funny face pictures commenced...

You should definitely check out Middendorf's if you're ever in the New Orleans/Baton Rouge area!

Friday, July 1, 2011

-Should've Been a Cowboy-

Color, 2011- Happy not being ridden...

I rode my horse for the first time in about a year. Well, technically I tried to ride her two days ago, but it didn’t go so well. She hasn’t been ridden seriously probably since 2008 which is completely my fault and is so sad! Granted, she is accident prone and was out of commission for a little over a year due to hoof problems. Then I had my own surgery. Thankfully, both of us have been healthy for the past few months, and I’ve missed riding!

I don’t think Color did…

She has earned her semi-retirement, but it gets to be a little annoying after a while to pay for a horse you can’t ride. And it was rather depressing to hear about all my friends riding and getting ready for summer shows. I have a great horse just sitting in the pasture, so it’s about time that I fixed her.

Earlier this week, I saw the documentary Buck which tells the story of master horseman Buck Brannaman. It delves into his background, his philosophy with working with horses, and several situations he encountered. There were many details that I have never even realized, but those difficult times really made him the horseman he is today. I definitely recommend the documentary which coincidentally has won many major awards at independent film festivals across the US. Anyone who has even a passing interest in horses should go see it.


I’ve always loved Buck, Ray Hunt, and other similar trainers. I was first introduced to their style of horsemanship and colt starting when I was 12 years old. We needed professional help with my 3 year old quarter horse, Dune, and were referred to Mr. Gary Townsend who ended up being an answer to prayer. I learned so much about training horses from watching him, and his methods influenced the way I still ride and train today. I still use the original Double Diamond rope halter with the extra long lead. Mr. Gary taught me that to be in control when riding, you have to be in control on the ground.

After seeing the documentary, I was inspired- and also a little depressed. Buck had a quote in the film that your horse is a reflection of yourself, and that most of the time, people don’t have horse problems… horses have people problems. I know I’ve made mistakes with training and riding, and most of Color’s bad habits are my own fault. We’ve done a lot right, but I’ve also created some problems and allowed them to continue.

So, in 100 degree weather with a 20 year old thoroughbred, I pulled my rope halter back out.

Color, 2008

Wednesday was a bit of a disaster. I did about 20 minutes of groundwork with her, and I was pleased to see she remembered how to move her hindquarters, respond to my cues, and still respect me on the ground. It was a further starting point than I had anticipated. I had optimistically brought all my grooming supplies, saddle, and bridle into the middle of the ring in case things went well. She was listening, responsive, and stood ground-tied like a pro. So, I saddled her up, did about 5 more minutes of groundwork and led her to the mounting block.

As soon as my butt hit the saddle, kids descended onto the farm, people started feeding their horses, the wind picked up, and Color threw a temper tantrum that resembled the Tasmanian Devil. I quickly hopped off, did a few more minutes of ground work, and hosed her off slightly annoyed. I was on her back a total of 4 minutes. Wouldn’t you know… everyone disappeared as soon as I fed her! I also could hear a little voice that sounded an awful lot like Buck and Mr. Gary telling me I ended on a bad note. I needed to remember to control my emotions and anxiety, or else not ride.

This morning I was a little more determined. I dumped all my stuff unceremoniously in the middle of the ring, trekked through the pasture, and led my reluctant, old mare back to the ring. Ground work commenced just like last time, and I was a little firmer in how I worked with her. I pushed her a little further, and she was just as good. So, I saddled her up again, and tried to breathe deeply as I stuck my foot in the stirrup.

We rode around the ring for almost 30 minutes practicing circles, walking nicely, and we finished with a slow trot. She threw a few small temper tantrums, but for the most part was very well-behaved! It was a pleasant surprise! She was a little anxious, but quickly responded when I asked her to come back to me. I rode her with a kimberwick, which I know Buck would not approve, but I really don’t want to be on a bolting retired racehorse, so we might go back to our snaffle next week to practice one rein stops and start completely back at the walk. I definitely need to remember to be patient. Ahhh, my arch-enemy…. Patience.

Me & Color, 2009

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hey You's Guys!

My apologizes for the long delay! Let's just say that summer classes are eating my brain... Kind of like an evil education zombie. I'm sure you get the point, but thankfully it will be over on July 18! There's a light at the end of the tunnel!

Speaking of lights and tunnels...why are there always train tracks in those pictures? And to continue the association, this is now reminding me of a very good movie I saw recently.

I highly recommend it. It reminded me of older movies like The Goonies, ET, and The Iron Giant. And yes, I know that is an odd assortment! Honestly, I just have to see the name JJ Abrams and I'm all set. The amazing Mr. Abrams has brought us shows like Lost, Alias, and Fringe, and when he teams up with Steven Spielberg the results are amazing! I thought the cast was great, especially Elle Fanning who will be just as good, if not better, than her sister. To me, it brought back the classic movies full of adventure and mystery, and definitely left me with a feeling of nostalgia. So much so, that I watched The Goonies two days later!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Anthropologie Inspired Ruffled Ribbon Necklace

White Ribbon & Pearl with 2 Ruffles

This necklace was really easy to make once I figured out a good technique for stringing the beads! I saw a similar necklace in Anthropologie, but at $60 there was no way I could afford it. Then, at Wesleyan's alumna weekend, one of my friends had recreated something similar! I asked her how she did it, and then put my own spin on it!

I got the ribbon on sale at Walmart, and I ended up going back and getting several more colors. I got the 'pearls' in the kids' section at Jo-Ann's Fabric, but I also saw them at Hobby Lobby. I think I used about half the ribbon and only a third of the beads, so my version ended up being less than $5!

I've already made another one for a gift, and I bought some black beads to try a different spin on it!

Purple Ribbon & Pearl with 1 Ruffle

Saturday, June 4, 2011

There's a Book Looking for You

It's been a busy week for me this past week! After a somewhat stressful morning thanks to financial aid trouble, I need an uplifting post. I just got back from an educational conference at the University at West Georgia and now I'm full of great ideas for the classroom. We listened to several knowledgeable and entertaining speakers that covered topics ranging from Formative Assessment and Classroom Management to 3D Graphic Organizers.

My favorite speaker gave the Keynote address, and now I'd like to introduce to you:
Carmen Agra Deedy- children's author and storyteller.

Carmen Agra Deedy at TED 2005

Speaking to a large group early in the morning can be daunting, but Carmen Deedy was more than a speaker. She was a storyteller. In the first few minutes, this seemingly reserved woman stepped off the platform into the audience and brought the room alive with personal anecdotes about developing a love of reading. We learned about a feisty young girl who was determined to despise books and antagonize everyone around her until one day she discovered the book that was "looking" for her.

Mrs. Deedy’s humorous characterizations of herself resonated with everyone when she described the joy of discovering a love of books for the first time as a young girl. What made her story especially engrossing was her use of pitch and movement to bring each character to life. The comparisons between Southern and Cuban dialect were delightfully entertaining as she switched from mischievous young Carmen to the stately, Southern librarian. With a touch of suspense, Mrs. Deedy dropped small hints that left us wondering just which book tremendously affected young Carmen and eventually inspired her book, The Library Dragon.

Mrs. Deedy's award winning stories include: The Library Dragon, Martina the Beautiful Cockroach, 14 Cows for America, and several more. The illustrations are phenomenal and I highly recommend her books to any book-lover, child, or teacher!

And just in case you were wondering... the book that found Carmen?

None other than E.B. White's Charlotte's Web.

Do you remember the first book that "found" you? For me, it was CS Lewis' The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Peach & Gray Bridal Shower

The Bridal Shower was a big success! We spent a wonderful Saturday afternoon with lots of good friends and made some new friends too! We're all so blessed, and we're all very excited about having Hillary join the family!

The pictures didn't turn out quite as well as I had hoped thanks to the window in the background and the time of day when I was trying to take the pictures, but I think you'll see the overall idea! I had so much fun making everything! It was nice to have a creative outlet again! All paper products were made in Microsoft Word, and the food was made by my mom, my little sister, and myself with the exception of the most delicious pimento cheese ever- Pawley's Island Pimento Cheese which can hopefully be found here!

The menu consisted of finger foods including devilled eggs, Boar's Head ham biscuits, pimento cheese sandwiches, chicken salad sandwiches, mixed nuts, strawberries & powdered sugar, veggies, funfetti cupcakes, red velvet cupcakes, and Devil's Food cake cupcakes. It was delicious!
Favor Bags contained Hershey Kisses and Peach Herbal Tea.

The cupcakes were my favorite. I love cupcakes! And I finally learned how to ice cupcakes like a real person. Woot Woot! It really wasn't as bad as I thought it would be! I did make a huge mess though.

I'm sad that it's over, and I definitely want to do this again! Beware family events! I have extra free time, and I'm feeling crafty!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Great White Disaster!

Obviously, I have been watching way too many shark movies lately. I have a strange obsession with shark movies, and my favorites are Jaws & Deep Blue Sea. I will admit that I have all four Jaws movies, and I watch them at the start of every summer! But this story's not about sharks... it's about clothes which can be just as scary. Hello dressing rooms and mirrors. *shudder*

But this story has a happy ending!

Several months ago, I got a request from one of my Wesleyan little sisters asking me to be her 'hooder'. For those of you that are confused- one of Wesleyan's traditions is asking a special alum or current student to place the hood of your graduation regalia on you during the ceremony.

You see that lovely little cape thing that's blue and gold? That's the hood. Anyways, we have this nice little ceremony before diplomas are awarded, and it's a really special moment during graduation even though you're trying not to choke the graduate.

Now, I am no stranger to 'hooding'. This was my third time, and you'd think I'd have it down by now! I was happily looking forward to graduation, and I was absolutely positive I had everything down pat. I got this beautiful purple dress to wear, my legs were shaved, and the graduation present was ready and waiting. As I was showing off my new dress to mom, she makes an off hand comment.

Mom: "Aren't you supposed to wear white for graduation?"
Me: "Nah. You know Wesleyan and all it's color coordinated events. You're just supposed to look nice."
Mom: *silence*
Me: "Move Up was white. Graduation's not."
Mom: "Okay."

1 hour later, I had a feeling of dread growing in the pit of my stomach, so I turned to the source of all information... Facebook.

Over 15 comments and less than 20 minutes later the results were in. I was supposed to wear all white. Let me also take this moment to point out that I have several pictures from past graduations hanging in my room, and guess what I'm wearing?! And it's not like I normally wear all white... I've lost my mind. I blame finals.

The next 10 minutes were a frantic rush throughout every closet in the house as I pulled out every article of white clothing. My proudest moment was discovering I could actually fit in my white high school graduation dress, although it was a tight squeeze. I decided that would be a last resort. Everything was either too tacky or too casual. To make matters worse... it was already 7pm, and the stores close at 9pm.

20 minutes later I was flying into the mall parking lot with Mom in tow! Several stores and shopping bags later, I had acquired a variety a white pieces to pick and choose from. We knew something had to work together since apparently no store sells lots of all white! Plus, I was being picky! I didn't want a dress- I wanted a skirt and shirt I could reuse and wear with other things! For once in my life, I ran through racks of clothing not paying attention to price tags, and let me tell you- that was the most fun!

I ended up with a gorgeous skirt from JCPenney's, that I can use for student teaching or job interviews. (We'll see how long it stays clean!) The shirt was a dilemma. Nothing was really working with the skirt, and I was starting to get discouraged.



I normally avoid Macy's because I can rarely find things in my price range, but Mom remembered seeing a display of white clothing. Once again, I'm weaving throughout racks of dress clothes grabbing as many white button down shirts as I can find. Trudging off to the dressing room, the first shirt is a winner. It's more than a winner. It's perfect! It's just edgy enough that it's appropriate for work or school, but it's not your normal boring white button down shirt. It looks amazing with the skirt- slimming and professional. Plus, it has a cute black belt, and we all know how I love extras!

Then I saw the price tag.


No way. I did not need a $60 white shirt.

But it was pretty. And soft. And had a cool neckline. And it had a belt!

But it was $60. And I have no job.

Mom was no help. She loved it just as much as I did.

Mom: "You can owe me the money."
Me: *groans*
Mom: You can do lots of chores for Grandmommy!
Me: I'll get it!

We stood in the checkout line admiring the shirt. It really was perfect, and I know I'll get a lot of use out of it. Deciding to just ignore the price, I set it up on the counter. The total was announced and our mouths dropped open.


It was on clearance.

Immediately I went into my happy flailing Kermit the Frog dance. I would have hugged the cashier if I could. I'm sure she's glad I couldn't. People stopped and stared, but I didn't care. I found a cute white outfit the day before I needed it in less than two hours!

It was a miracle.

And graduation was wonderful!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Peach & Gray Bridal Shower: Paper Products

I apologize for missing last week's update, so I'll try and post a few times this week to make up for it! I'm really excited to share some of the paper products I've created for the upcoming bridal shower! I've been really busy working on decorations and planning the menu with my mom, but now that all the invitations have been sent out, I couldn't wait to share them!

The colors we've chosen are peach and gray, and we're kind of going with a Georgia theme for the food. Since I've been spending way too much time on wedding and craft blogs, I wanted to try and design a whole invitation suite. The challenging part was not having access to Photoshop or Illustrator, so I created everything on Microsoft Word. I created the envelope liners from paper bought at Michael's.

Closeup of the invitation in the card

The invitation, registry card, and rsvp information

The liners aren't perfectly straight, but I made the mistake of only buying the exact amount needed, so there was no room for error. I decided to just go with it! I also would buy a paper cutter for the next time I made invitations. I ended up having to cut out everything with an X-acto knife!

The next project I started was the favor bags, and they're quite cute so far! I've also started a few other things, but you'll have to wait until after the shower to see everything else!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I Like to Move It, Move It!

Last month, I mentioned I had purchased one of Jillian Michaels' workout DVDs for when I couldn't get myself to the gym. You can read my initial thoughts here. I'll admit that I haven't been the best about following it on my off days. I started out with grand intentions of doing it every day I couldn't get to the gym, and even on those I could, but I kind of fell off the wagon. Whoops.

But thanks to LA Fitness, it didn't come back and run me over. I'm still going to the gym 4-5 days a week, and I've made some new records. On Friday, I ran 4.5 miles on the cross trainer in 42 minutes averaging about 7 miles per hour. I was really proud of myself! Today, I decided to try the dreaded treadmill, and I ran .8 of a mile at a steady pace, before returning to the elliptical for another 2 miles. The treadmill still puts a little too much pressure on my toe and ankle, so I'll have to work that in slowly.

Anyways, back to Ms. Michaels... I completed 5 days of the 30 day shred, and I would definitely recommend it to others. There are three different levels, and there are modified exercises for each level. I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that I could do the 'harder' versions of most of the moves! Jillian's system is 3 minutes of strength training, 2 minutes of cardio, and 1 minute of ab work. You work through this for 20 minutes without a break.

When I first stuck in the DVD, I was sure I was going to power through Level 1. After all, I had been going to the gym and working out for 6 weeks! Surely I was in decent shape by now! Not so much- I was sweating and out of breath after Day 1. I wanted to collapse on the carpet and not get up. It did get easier after the next few days, but even at day 5, I was still pretty worn out!

The worst thing about the DVD is that you can't skip through a lot of the introduction. I recommend turning it on, and letting it play through the first sections until you get to the workouts. Other than that, I loved the fast paced exercises that are easy to do at home. Jillian keeps you motivated and is encouraging through the whole thing, and it definitely helped me from turning off the TV :P

All in all, I'm really glad to have this DVD as a backup in case I need a home workout. I definitely need to push myself to add it back in, since I'm not losing the weight I want! Stupid pizza.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Been There, Done That, Got the T-Shirt!

I have a weakness for free stuff whether it’s food, a t-shirt, or some other item. I am one of those people that will drive across town if Chick-fil-A is advertising free fries. I am also that person that dresses up like a cow every summer for a free meal at Chick-fil-A as well. Free samples at the grocery store? I'm totally there! It doesn't take much to make my day!

Source: Chick-Fil-A

Wesleyan enabled my free t-shirt addiction. For almost every event or club we had t-shirts made. I have class shirts from almost every year, shirts proclaiming membership in the 500 million clubs I was in, shirts from different athletic teams, shirts from STUNT…the list goes on and on. Yes, I did pay for a few, but that’s beside the point.

My senior year of college, I joined the NCAA basketball team. I wanted to get in better shape for equestrian that year, and it didn’t hurt that we got free tennis shoes. What can I say? I have a problem! After graduation, I spent a week in Tennessee with a good friend volunteering for the IHSA National Horse Show. The biggest draw- free meals, hotel, and a free t-shirt for every day of the week we worked. We worked over 80 hours...

And my collection continues to grow! Alumnae weekend was last weekend and guess what?! I came home with TWO t-shirts! One day I will make that t-shirt quilt, but until then, they shall be safely preserved in a Tupperware box only to be pulled out in desperate laundry times.

Source: Personal Photo
Look at this gorgeous shirt designed by the lovely and talented Jaime McQuilkin

And it's not just clothing! This past week, I headed to school for an exam in one of my graduate classes. It was a very informal final where we basically shared what we had learned while completing the project. I was a little angry that I had driven two hours for a two-minute presentation, when the magic word was stated... "FREE!"

Apparently, my professor was moving out of state having taken a new position with another university and she had to clean out her office. She came in with stacks of textbooks, and most of them had never been opened. Needless to say, I loaded up my book bag with as many as I could carry based on titles that interested me. When I got home, I realized that most of them were very recent, and would actually be quite useful! I was ecstatic! I probably ended up with over $500 of free textbooks!

I know. I'm strange. They're just textbooks, you're thinking- but I love books, and this is not the first time I've gotten a good load of free books! My dream is to one day have built-in bookshelves and be able to fill them, and I am well on my way!

Does anyone else get excited about random free things?

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Start of an Obsession...

There was a time when I rarely watched TV. We've never had cable, and I always spend the majority of my free time reading, doing homework, or I was at the barn. There were a few shows I would watch with my mom, and I remember my first TV crush was Dr. Jessie Travis (Charlie Schlatter) on Diagnosis Murder. He was gorgeous, had awesome hair and a killer smile, and I was determined to marry him. And yes... I was the type of child who watched Dick Van Dyke shows growing up. Don't judge.

Dr. Jessie Taylor
Source: Freewebs

Anyways, that all changed once I moved into my dorm at Wesleyan. Cable was equipped in every room and I discovered the allure of channels such as HGTV, Bravo, Food Network, and best of all... SCIFI! Of course, I had caught shows like Xena, Mutant X, and Star Trek when they reran on the basic cable channels, but the scifi channel was a whole new level. Finally, all was right with the world and my obsession began...

Do you remember your first TV crush?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Oldest & Best

Source: Personal Photo

"Hail Wesleyan, thou emblem of all that is grand" -Alma Mater

Georgia Female College was founded in 1836, and is the world’s oldest college to grant degrees to women. 90 women were enrolled, and Catherine Brewer Benson was the first graduate in 1840. A liberal arts school from the beginning, an early course of study included natural philosophy, mental and moral philosophy, astronomy, botany, chemistry, physiology, geology, history, and ancient and modern languages. In 1970 the name Wesleyan College was adopted, and the school continues to be affiliated with the Methodist Church.

Source: Georgia Archives

In July 1860, during commencement week, the first annual reunion was held for former students creating the world's oldest alumnae association. This weekend, Wesleyan celebrated 175 years of educating women! The oldest reunion class represented was the class of 1946, and one of the highlights of the weekend was hearing internationally renowned opera singer Caroline Thomas, class of 1981, sing several amazing selections. The weekend was full of class parties, luncheons, entertainment, and many other fun events!

Source: Personal Photo

'First for Women' isn't just an empty tag line! Wesleyan boasts many firsts including the first sororities Phi Mu and Alpha Delta Pi, the first woman to argue a case before the Georgia Supreme Court, the first woman in Georgia to be issued a commercial pilot's license in Georgia, the first Chinese women educated in America, the first woman chair of the Press Institute of the Georgia Press Association, Georgia's first and only Miss America, the first woman to be appointed poet laureate of the state of North Carolina, the first woman to be ordained Bishop in the Southeastern Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Conference, and the first woman President of the Florida Senate.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting...

I've never enjoyed exercising unless I was on a horse. I can tolerate running, but it's just not my idea of fun. I've tried to enjoy it, but I just get bored, and my boredom leads to a lack of motivation. Every year I add my name to the list of people who are determined to lose weight for summer, and this year, I'm actually serious about it.

What? You don't believe me?

What if I told you that I've been a member of LA Fitness for almost two months, and my workouts increased from walking around the mall to an hour and thirty minutes of cardio and strength training five days a week?


Source: EW

My normal workout includes 45 minutes of cardio (usually the eliptical or cross trainer), ab work, and alternating between upper body and lower body strength training using the weight machines. I know that using free weights is better, but I'm still needing a little bit of extra help that the machines give me.

I can tell a difference and I've lost a little weight, but I'm still not where I want to be with summer closing in fast! (And yes- my diet has changed as well! No more diet drinks, less dessert, smaller portions, and more vegetables.) That's where my most recent purchase comes in...

Source: Amazon

I've heard pretty good reviews from friends and different blogs, and at a used price of under $10 including shipping, I couldn't resist giving it a try! I plan to give the DVD a better review once I've used it more, but my first response is....


I can definitely feel it, even though it was only 20 minutes of pretty low intensity work. The best thing about it is you only need a pair of hand weights- no gym required! I think this is going to be a great tool for days I can't get to the gym or on days where I want to do a little more!

Has anyone else had success with any of Jillian Michaels' programs? Is there any other home programs worth looking into?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Wacky Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Woman!

There is something so exciting about starting a new blog. It makes me want to dance around and wave my arms in an unattractive flail-something I do quite often. I think I resemble those 'Wacky Inflatable Arm Flailing Tubemen' (yes, thank you Family Guy).

Funny Animated GIFs - Make a splash at your next presentation
Source: Gifs

I have a confession to make. I am obsessed with party planning blogs. My Google Reader account is overflowing with posts on dessert tables, inspiration boards, and DIY decorations. It's a recent development- hit me upside the head about 3 months ago. Before then, I didn't even know what a tablescape or an inspiration board was. Then it all changed, and suddenly I can't get enough. In my perfect world, I would be a part of that and people would contact me to design their daughter's birthday party or their best friend's baby shower. The best part about these blogs are the photographs. The majority of them are absolutely drool-worthy, and I find myself saving page after page of inspirational ideas. It's dangerous.

I have greedily taken over the organization of my future cousin-in-law's bridal shower that my mom was slowly putting together. Before she knew it we had a color scheme, a table design, and coordinating invitations. Finally! My first chance in almost a year to throw a party. I realize I don't have to have a reason to organize a get-together, but when you're an unemployed graduate student you wait till your parents want to plan a party and then you take over!

The fun part about this shower is designing it on a dime. I'm challenging myself to try and get the look of a professionally planned event as cheap as possible which is sending a massive amount of DIY projects my way. Is it sad that I'm ridiculously excited about this? At the moment, I'm more excited about walking into Hobby Lobby than walking into the mall. The sight of scrapbook paper on sale sends me into a fit of glee, and yes, more flailing commences!