Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in Review

With today being the last day of 2013, I wanted to look back at the year and all that I've accomplished throughout this past year.  Plus I want to be able to look back at this post and remember everything that was going on at this point in my life.  2013 has been an exciting year for me.  Its certainly been a roller coaster ride with a lot of ups and downs and twists and turns.

January


I took my Praxis test to become a certified teacher and luckily I passed with flying colors receiving a recognition of excellence certificate for my score!   I also began my junior field experience in a middle school.  During the month of January I only observed and helped out a little in the classroom, but I was absolutely loving it!


February

Not much happened in February, school and work and volunteering was my life.  I got to visit my best friend Shannon up at her college which is always so much fun! Valentine's day was a bust with no significant other to celebrate with... so instead me and my housemate bought a large bottle of wine and watched a movie instead. 


March

March was similar to February, with a lot of school, work, and volunteering.  I participated in relay for life with the community service fraternity I'm apart of.  We do it every year and we always have a blast!


April

During April I taught my full unit to my 8th graders for my junior field experience.  It was so exciting and nerve wracking to be teaching an entire unit all on my own.  I was so pleased with the results and I loved my unit! 


May 

May was bittersweet.  Classes finished and summer break was starting but that also meant some of my best friends were graduating from college and moving into the real world!  May was filled with bonfires, saying goodbye to graduating friends, and reuniting with old friends coming back from college.
 
May also meant My Birthday! I turned 21 and it was certainly a celebration! My friends took me to AC and within the first hour of being there I won $$$ gambling.  By the end of the trip I was up $30 more than what I had came with! Unfortunately I also had a little fall during my night out in AC and ended up with a broken wrist, although I didn't find out it was broken until July!


June

Graduations and Vacations! June was spent celebrating graduations, working, and going on vacation.  My cousin graduated from college and we celebrated with a huge graduation party! At the end of June I left for Myrtle Beach for a nice relaxing vacation with my family.  The resort we stayed at was so nice but it rained almost the whole week we were there.  We made the best of it though and still enjoyed whatever time we had on the beach!


July

More Vacations! This time with my best friend and her family.  We spent a week up in New Hampshire and it was absolutely gorgeous! We relaxed by the lake, went out on boat rides, and went in the town for shopping, eating, and going out! It was definitely a blast!

July was also when I found out my wrist was broken.  Unlucky for me, I found out right before I left for New Hampshire which was a little bit of a disappointment.  I also was stuck in a cast for the entire vacation!  Things got even worse when I got back because I found out I also needed surgery on my wrist! Yea, it was that bad! Needless to say it wasn't the most fun experience. 


August

August was spent soaking up the last bit of the summer sun I could get before going back to school! It was also spent recovering from my wrist surgery. No excitement here!  The best thing I did all month was go to a Matchbox 20 and Goo Goo Dolls Concert. Lets move on!


September

September marked the beginning of my senior year of college! I went to so many back to school barbeques and parties.  Seeing all my friends from school was wonderful after not seeing a lot of them over the summer.


October

October was homecoming which meant reuniting with all my friends who graduated! It was so much fun seeing them all and hearing about their jobs and how life is in the real world, because we all know college is nothing like the real world!  I was also in a car accident in October, Halloween night actually, coming home from a party.  We were very fortunate that no one was seriously injured but my friends car was totaled. 


November


November I finally found out my wrist was completely healed! I was cleared from wearing an awful brace and I was happy I didn't even need physical therapy! November was also when I started blogging!!! I had been thinking about it for a while and I finally decided to just do it in November, and I couldn't be happy about it! November was also filled with brunches and parties with friends,  Thanksgiving with family, school, and work. 


December

And we are finally at December.  December started off with a list of goals I wanted to focus on for the month.  The first 2 weeks went by so slow because I was completing work for classes and taking finals, which were my last ever finals I will be taking in college since I'll only be student teaching next semester! Once school was over it was filled with friends, family, and holidays!  I went to AC with my cousins to go to Life in Color.   I used my time off from school to clean, organize, and do some DIY projects.  And once the holidays came, I got to spend time with my family as well as open plenty of presents!


And now we are here, the last day of 2013, and I can't help but hope that 2014 will be even better than 2013! I hope 2014 will be my year! I have big plans for the year to come.  I will be student teaching, graduating, and looking for a job, working on getting healthy and fit, working on this blog, and much much more! I'm looking forward at the year to come and thinking to myself what will I accomplish this year?


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Wardrobe Essentials Part 2: Casual Wear

Part 2: Casual Wear

Well... I meant for this post to go live yesterday morning, but my social life got a little busy and I wasn't able to finish this post until right now.   But better late than never right?

Last Saturday I wrote the first part of this series, Wardrobe Essentials For WorkThis week's post is all about casual wear which makes up a large amount of your wardrobe as its what you wear basically everyday when your not working. I've put together a list of a few key pieces that can be worn together, or separately, to give you a comfy, yet put together look for everyday outfits.



Tops
Well this is clearly very broad... I think a few classic crew neck or v neck tee's and long sleeve shirts are perfect for layering under other articles of clothing.  I also think a few nicer tee's or blouses are great for when you want to look a little nicer.  Here's a few of my finds.

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Prints - Prints are always fun to add to your wardrobe.  Classic prints add a fun twist to an plain or boring outfit.  You can use prints to add texture and color to your outfits as well.  









 Tartan - I love tartan or plaid (aren't they basically the same...)  Tartan or plaid can be worn on its own or layered under a cozy sweater.  I've been loving the look of layering a plaid shirt under a nice sweater. Comfy and cute!





Chambray - A nice chambray top can be very versatile.  It's casual and can be worn on its own or it can be paired with, or layered with another top or sweater!





Sweaters - Sweaters are so warm and comfy! They are cute on their own and when they are layered over another shirt!

 




Leggings
When you're going for a really laid back, casual and comfy look, leggings are the way to go! They are great to wear with a tunic and some boots.  Leggings are also very versatile as they can also be worn under dresses when it gets colder.




Jeans
Clearly jeans are a part of everyone's wardrobe.  Having a few different styles and washes of jeans are great in order to achieve different looks ranging anywhere from casual to a little more dressed up. 



What do you guys think?  Is there anything I'm missing? 


Also, Look out for the rest of the series:





Friday, December 27, 2013

Favorites of the Week: Presents Edition

Christmas was so much fun this year! I really enjoyed spending time with my family, relaxing, and eating all the good food! Tuesday night we had my grandma over for dinner.  We had filet mignon and crab cakes and let me just say... dinner was delicious!


Christmas morning was spent opening presents.  Even tanner was excited to get all his presents! He actually sits under his stocking and cries until we give it to him!



Later on, family came over for dinner and we spent the night eating, opening presents, and relaxing around the fireplace.



But now Christmas is over and I am so sad! Christmas is my favorite holiday and it seems like I blinked and now its over! But onto more important things... like the actual topic of this post! So as you may or may not know, every Friday I do a post about my favorite things from the week.  So this week it only seemed appropriate to share with you some of my favorite Christmas presents I got!

1.  Michael Kors Tote 



2.  Pandora Leaf Ring 



3.  Fossil Silver Watch



4. Infinity Scarf (sorry I don't have a picture wearing it yet..) - here is one similar to mine.



5. Gaiam Gym Bag



6. Ros Hommerson Black Boots - here is a similar pair, I couldn't find my exact boots




What are some presents you got?


What are some of your favorite things this week?


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas & A Look at the Week Ahead


Well... almost Merry Christmas... I wanted to post this ahead of time as I will be taking a bit of a break to celebrate the holidays and spend time with family and friends.  I hope you all have a great holiday and I'm looking forward to hearing about everything you did over the holidays and all the presents you received when I come back!  I'm sure I'll be on here periodically throughout the holidays... but well see how often that actually is! I have such a jam packed week ahead.  Here's a little look into whats coming up!

Today I will be finishing up wrapping presents, and preparing Christmas Eve dinner.  This year its just my parents, sister, and grandma that will be here on Christmas Eve.  Then comes Christmas Day which will be spent opening presents in the morning with my parents and sister, going to church, and then preparing a big Christmas day dinner for my whole family! We are having Christmas at my parents house this year so I'm sure I'll be cleaning tomorrow and on Christmas day as well!  Christmas night will be spent eating dinner and spending time with the family as well as round two of opening presents!

After Christmas, my cousins and I are going to Atlantic City for DayGlow on Saturday and I am so excited!!! We still have to get a hotel room and we are going to be shopping and making outfits to wear either Thursday or Friday!

Finally after I get back from DayGlow on Sunday, I'll be going to a friends Christmas / New Year's Party on Monday night.

Finally, the worst part of it all is that I don't even know what I'm doing on New Years yet! Talk about last minute!  I'd honestly be happy just having a relaxing night at home with my family, but I'm sure my friends and cousins have other plans for me!  

I'm sure I'll be exhausted after everything I have to do but the holidays are only once a year so you must embrace and enjoy them!

So in case I don't get a chance to get on here,  I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas (if you celebrate!) and for everyone else Happy Holidays!  I hope everyone enjoys the time with their family and friends!


What are your holiday plans?

Monday, December 23, 2013

DIY Coasters Tutorial

As part of my friends Christmas present I decided to make some Beer Coasters with some of the logo's from her favorite beers.  So today I'll be giving you the step by step tutorial for how I did it!  I'm not the most crafty person but I must say these were so easy and turned out really good! Even my parents were impressed at how they looked!

DIY Coasters Tutorial

What you'll need:

Cardboard six packs or whatever design you want to put on your coasters
White tiles (mine were 16 cents from the hardware store)
Box Cutter or Scissors
Modge Podge
Sponge Brush
Felt

 So first things first you want to take the cardboard from the six pack's and cut them into squares the size of the tiles.  I used a box cutter to get nice straight lines, but scissors would work too.  I also cut squares in the felt too.  The felt is going to go on the bottom of the tiles to keep them from scratching whatever surface they are on. 


Next I put a thin layer of Modge Podge on the back of the cardboard squares and stuck them onto the front of the tiles.  The corners of the cardboard kept rising up so I put some heavy books on top of the coasters while the Modge Podge dried.  I let it dry for 15-20 minutes.  After they were all dry, they looked like this.  Pretty good right?


Next I put a thin layer of Modge Podge on the back of the tiles and then placed the felt squares on the back of the tiles.  I used the books again to keep the felt from lifting up.  I waited another 15-20 minutes for this to dry.

Next I started to Modge Podge the surface of the coasters.  I put a thin layer of Modge Podge on the top of each of the coasters.  I applied 5 coats to the tops of the coasters waiting 15-20 minutes between each coat to allow the previous coat to dry.




Afterwards you need to leave them alone for 24 hours for the Modge Podge to completely dry. You could possibly add a clear acrylic seal or a Hi-gloss lacquer to top it off to give it some extra shine and protection, however that is optional.  Here is how mine turned out! I apologize in advance for the glare from the lights.  I need to work on my picture taking!




I must say I was thoroughly impressed with how well they came out! I can't wait to give them to my friend from Christmas! How do you think they turned out?

What creative gift ideas do you have this year?


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Cookies and Cocktails

Last night my mom, my sister and I set up shop in the kitchen to make some cookies and have a few drinks.  My mom and I are on the look out for a good holiday drink to make when family comes over on Christmas.  If you have any festive drinks please let me know! We will definitely try them out!

First we started making my favorite cookies of all time, Kahlua Chocolate Chip Cookies! They are delicious!  For whatever reason my sister doesn't like them but everyone else loves them!

Kahlua Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:


2 1/4 cups flour                                             1 package (4 -serving size) vanilla instant pudding mix
1 tsp baking soda                                          2 eggs
2/3 cups butter, softened                               2 cups chocolate chips
1/4 sugar                                                       1 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cups brown sugar, packed firmly           1/2 cup flaked coconuts
1/3 cup Kahlua

Directions: 
Mix together flour and baking soda and set aside.

In another bowl, combine butter, both sugars, Kahlua, and pudding mix.  Blend until creamy.  Beat in eggs.  Gradually blend in flour and baking soda.  Then add chocolate chips, pecans, and coconut.


Chill the dough for 1-2 hours.
Place dough on ungreased baking sheets.


Bake at 375 for 9 minutes.



While the cookie dough was refrigerating we decided to make a cocktail my mom found online.  She wants to find a few holiday drinks to make when the family comes over! So tonight we tried Candycane Martinis

Ingredients:
1 Shot of Vanilla Rum
1 Shot of White Chocolate Liqueur
1 Shot of Peppermint Schnapps

All you have to do is fill a shaker with ice, add a shot of each, shake well and serve with a candy cane garnish! Its that simple! 

Unfortunately my mom and I weren't huge fans of it.  I think it was the creamy taste and the peppermint mixed together that I didn't like.  It started off really good but after a few sips I couldn't drink much more.  But if you're a huge peppermint fan this drink is definitely for you! 

Once The cookie dough had refrigerated for a while we started baking cookies.  While the cookies were in the oven I decided to take some photos of the house and decorations all lit up at night time.  I love Christmas decorations! So here is what our house looks like.




These are some of the decorations on our front porch


Finally.. here are our Christmas tree fully decorated and lit.  Yes we have two Christmas trees.  We have one artificial and one real tree that we cut down every year.  My mom decorates the artificial one with more expensive, and usually nicer decorations and the real one gets filled with all the decorations my sister and I made when we were younger in addition to some nicer ornaments as well.



I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season so far! I can't believe Christmas is in 3 days! I still have to wrap all my presents!  

Does anyone have any good holiday cocktails they'd like to share with me?

What are some of your favorite cookies to make around Christmas?
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