"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places." Roald Dahl

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Headed to the Beach!

My friend Elizabeth is in town and we are headed to the beach tomorrow for the weekend to meet up with Sarah and Andrea.  
Liz, Andrea, myself, and Sarah
Had a great week, lots of good things happening around here.  Got all of my midterms graded and am so ready to start fourth quarter next week and get to summer!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

House Update

I have not been very good about documenting the updates on my house.  Probably because I haven't done much in a while.  This weekend I finished up my own bathroom and tackled the guest bathroom so that it would finally be "usable" for guests.  I have several guests coming in the next few weeks!! - soooo excited!

Anyway...I repainted this bathroom a few weeks ago, but I added a little to it this week.  I put up a shelf in my bathroom and now I feel like it is "finished."


The shelf holds a candle, an air freshener, some hand towels, and a gorgeous glass blown starfish that Jan and Dusty got me that matches perfectly!


I hadn't done much in the guest bathroom since my last roomate moved out (last June) so it was in need of a bath mat, a shower curtain, some towels, and some decorations.  

Before...
Nothing special.
 After...


Started out as a mish-mash of accessories, but I picked a shower curtain that would match my old towels and bath mat, so at least I saved some money there.  And I am not yet ready to tackle painting another bathroom, so the mustard yellow will stay, for now.  That picture frame (that needs a picture) was one that I had already.  Overall, its not too bad.  At least now when I have visitors come to town, they will have their own bathroom/shower.

Here is the "house to do list" that I created in my New Years Resolution post.  I have gotten to cross a few things off the list, but I obviously have a looong way to go.  At least its only March...

  • Paint both upstairs bathrooms (I did one, does that count?)
  • Replace mirrors and light fixtures in the bathrooms (not planning on doing this anymore)
  • Get towels and bath mats (that actually match)
  • Hang a rod for coats in the front hall closet 
  • Weather strip the front door
  • Hang curtains in my bedroom
  • Get a nightstand for my room
  • Hang curtains on the living room window
  • Organize the garage
  • Put a backsplash up in the kitchen (maybe)
  • Look around for bargains on granite or nice kitchen counters and see if I can redo mine (dream)



Friday, March 25, 2011

Texas Caviar

A few years ago I needed a recipe for a March Madness party I was having.  I wanted something that people could "dip" into.  I don't know if you can really characterize this as a "dip" because it's pretty heavy, but it's so good.  So anyway, back on track...I asked my sister, Paula, who always has some creative food ideas for me and she gave me this recipe (there is actually no cooking involved).    I think she got it from her old roomate, Ashley, another creative mind, but I can't really remember.  Either way, thanks for the great "dip"!

I made it recently for a Super Bowl party we had and since then Derek has asked me to make it two times.  It's healthy and its so good.

Ingredients:
*One can black beans (drained)
*One can corn (drained)
*One can petite diced tomatoes (drained)
*1/2 orange pepper, diced
*1/2 yellow pepper, diced
*1/2 green pepper, diced
*1/4 sweet onion, diced
*Apple Cider Vinegar

Chop the peppers and onion and set aside.



 In a large bowl, combine the corn, beans, and tomatoes.



Add in chopped peppers and onions.


Add Apple Cider Vinegar to taste.  I normally start off with about a half cup and stir it up, and then go from there.  It's best after letting it sit and marinate for a few hours or even the next day.

Enjoy with some tortilla chips or on a soft shell taco.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

One Year

Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of when  Derek and I officially became a couple.  It was a big deal to us and I am so happy.  I love us together, just the way we are and am so excited about what's to come.  It's been a great year!

We planned to go to the Melting Pot for dinner because we had a coupon for a dessert (Yes, I ate dessert.  I cheated.  I won't eat sweets this Sunday.  I thought the occasion warranted some sweets) but we ended up not being able to print it, so we will be going back again :).  The weather was gorgeous yesterday, so even though it is March, I was able to wear a tank top and not even get cold!


I, of course, left my camera charging on the kitchen counter, so these pictures are thanks to my iphone.
The self-portraits weren't great, but this was the best one.



We had the funniest waiter, "Eddie" who loved talking to us.  I can almost tell you his whole life story.  He was pretty funny though, and did offer to get us extra stuff.


We thought it was very fitting that I got green utensils and Derek got gray.  Green is my favorite color, as we all know :) and Derek says that gray "is the only color he would have chosen."   Derek actually told me to take this picture.  I think he was very happy he was not given hot pink utensils.

Check out that feast!!!  Soooo good.

Last night was wonderful!  But I woke up today feeling awful...I am hoping it is allergies.  I have been running outside even though the pollen count is high and I think it has finally caught up with me.  Yesterday I had a little bit of a sore throat.  Today, it feels as though my head is so stuffed up it might just float away.  On the menu for today...lots of Gatorade and I'm staying inside.  


Monday, March 21, 2011

Bracketology

My bracket sucks.  There is no way around it.  I had Pitt winning.  I have 6 of the sweet 16 still in it.  I think that means I'm going to lose any bracket competitions I entered.  And yes, there were a few.  Yep, one was for money too...luckily I am only out $10 because of it.

I really can't figure out how to rotate this, so tilt your head right if you want to see.


On the other hand...I am very happy to see lots of smaller schools beating the giants.  I may start pulling for Marquette.  Yes, Marquette, please have one more great game and beat UNC.

And Illinois.  I really thought they were going to pull it out over Kansas...Better luck next year.  It's a good thing I was not dumb enough to think that Illinois would actually win, but that's one team I wouldn't have minded getting wrong.

I hope your bracket is fairing far better than mine.  Happy Monday.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Warm Weather

Today was 85 degrees and sunny!  Yes, you just read that correctly.  I'll say it again though.  Today was 85 degrees and sunny!  Yes, it is March, and no, spring hasn't started yet.  That happens on Sunday.

I walked out of school today and the minute I felt the heat of the sun hit my face, I was in heaven. Every muscle in relaxed and I was chilled out and ready for the weekend.  I probably would have stood in the student courtyard of the high school for a while, but another teacher called my name and we chatted, heading to our cars to start the weekend.  I love weekends.  And the sun.

It's days like this that remind me what drew me down south in the first place.  The nice weather.  I know it sounds very superficial, but in reality, it's pretty true.  Everyone is happier when the weather is nicer, people spend more time being active, people are outdoors more and all of that that definitely puts a smile on my face.  Sure, there were other reasons...a good job, an area with lots of opportunity, lower cost of living, and a chance to get out of my comfort zone....but essentially, I think it was the promise of warm weather, lots of motivation to be active (running, kayaking, biking, oh my!), and a close proximity to the beach.  Call me superficial, but on days like today, I promise you, the warm weather wins me over every time.

I'm happy I chose to try it out. I always miss having my family a short car ride away, but visits and phone calls can keep us close and when you love them like I do, you can't keep us apart for long.  I've met people here who have motivated me, challenged me, and inspired me...And I'm pretty happy right where I am.

Please ignore the dust on my dashboard.


Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I Love the Color Green

 I am not Irish, I'm Polish, but I guess I can pretend for a day?  And green is my favorite color.

I've learned that down here in NC, celebrating St. Patty's day doesn't quite match up to the craziness that happens in Chicago in the month of March.  There must be a huge amount of Irish people in Chicago (or people who pretend they are Irish) because it celebrates like no other place I have heard of, except maybe Ireland.  They hold the South-side Irish parade each year and ... they dye the Chicago River green!  It is absolutely crazy.  To read more about it, go to The Green Chicago River Website and check it out for yourself.   

Crazy.
I was never much into it when I lived there, but I can appreciate a good celebration as much as the next person.  Especially one that includes green.  Everywhere.  

All of my students wore green today, as did all of the teachers.   It was so fun!  What doesn't seem like fun is this pinching thing I heard about. I was told that if you don't wear green...you get pinched!  Good thing I wore green.  And no, I did not pinch any students!  I don't participate in this pinching game.  By the way...how have I never heard of this before today?  In all my 26 years?! - Everyone seems to know about it.

Like I said, I am not Irish, but it is fun to wear green for the day.  And who doesn't like another excuse to smile and tell people to be "happy" during the week?


Happy St. Patrick's Day!

...I hope you didn't get pinched...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New "Widget"

I found a "widget" - which are those crazy things on the side of the page - that will count how many miles I run throughout the year.  Check it out down on the right side of my page.

Its from a website www.dailymile.com.  It is a pretty cool website that helps you track your workouts by week, month, year, etc. and it counts the miles for you.  Basically, it is an online workout log.  Why didn't I think of this before?!

I'm excited that I will have something to keep me accountable with my running and to show me how far I have come.  Right now...I have gone 4 miles.  Because I started this week (Sunday), that is all I have to show.  Therefore, I am off.  To add to my total :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Weekend Re-cap

This weekend was wonderful, but it went by fast!

Friday I actually tried a craft project:


I wasn't sure what to get my friend for her bachelorette party, so I created my own gift.  Her very own sparkling, "bride" bikini for the honeymoon. 
(The letters are on the back of the bottoms of the suit.)


It was super easy, with cut out letters that I ironed on in about 15 minutes.


Success!!


Saturday I went to Karen's bridal shower and bachelorette party:


I did not get any pictures with myself in them, but will post some if I can find them.  It was a blast and those girls are so sweet.  Karen was sufficiently showered with goodies :)

My friend (and old roomate), Kristin was in town.  She moved to Maryland in June and it was so good to see her.  I miss her a lot.  Throughout Karen's wedding festivities I am getting to see her much more often than I did in the fall and I love it!  Only one month until her next visit!  


Sunday I got a great run in and enjoyed the nice weather all day long.

We watched the Duke vs. Carolina game outside at a restaurant while eating lunch.  It was 75 degrees out!!  Then Derek went and vacuumed one of his pools while I pulled out a lawn chair and got some sun.  And I did offer to help him with the pool stuff, by the way, I'm not that lazy!  But, it was amazing and so relaxing. I even have tan lines!!  If I closed my eyes I could pretend it was June :).  Hooray for spring and summer coming so soon!

And...of course, I have no pictures from yesterday, but I do have some I took when it was a bit cooler last week.


Gorgeous!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Portrait Wall

I tried to begin a portrait wall in my upstairs hallway.  This is what you see when you get to the top of the stairs... 



I found all of the old frames in my closet.  I must have bought them when I first moved in. 

What do you think?  Should it stay ... or go? 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Goodbye Sweet Tooth



Today marks the start of Lent.  This year I have decided to give up sweets and swearing.  

Sweets can include lots of things, and originally I was going to say just cookies, or just ice cream, but that would be the easy way out.  Because, let's be honest, I don't discriminate against any kinds of sweets. I don't have a favorite. I just love them all. and I eat them all.  It's true, I have a horrible sweet tooth.  I love candy, chocolate,brownies, cupcakes, baked goods, etc.  You name it, I like it.  This year I am going to give up sweets in an attempt to rid myself of this addiction to sugar!!  Included in sweets:  candy, cookies, ice cream, brownies, jelly beans (yes, easter is coming), chocolate, desserts, etc.  

So, to be able to start today off right, last night I baked cookies so I could have them one last time :).  Hahaha.  yes, that's how I roll.  They were delicious.  I brought the leftovers in to school today and now all of my coworkers love me (at least they did until the cookies were gone).




As for swearing (cussing, as they say in the south), I really don't do it that often, but I do let a word slip out here and there on occasion.  As a teacher, I really have to be careful with my words because high schoolers think that a teacher swearing is the funniest thing in the world!  And they never let you forget it (lucky for me, it's only happened once).  So why not rid myself of this awful habit all-together, follow my own advice and choose a "better" word?  


 Tonight I am headed to church right after practice.  The only mass of the day that I could attend is at 7:30...and its in Spanish!  How cool is that?!  (You might want to check with me tomorrow to hold me accountable.  I'm sure that I will want to bee-line straight for my bed on the way home from practice.  Its been a long day!)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Birthday Grams!

Today, my grandma is 88!  She is the toughest, wittiest, and most caring person I know.  I don't think she reads this, but just in case...


I love you Grams, Happy Birthday!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Monday Run-Day

I started this week of great, with a quick run.  After my staff meeting, it was a great way to de-stress from work and relax.

I took a three mile loop around a lake by my house and even though it was stormy and rainy yesterday, today was pretty nice.  About 55 degrees, pretty sunny, and only a little windy.

I ended up running the first two miles at 8:15 minute/mile pace (can you tell I was anxious to get moving after work?)! And then I ran the last mile at 9:00 pace.  Haha, as you can see I am still getting back to my previous level of fitness.

I took my iPod on the run today and I just let it shuffle the songs.  For the most part, I let my mind run, but I did notice three songs during the run:

1.  Black Rock by O.A.R.
2.  Life Goes On by Tupac Shakur
3.  Single Ladies by Beyonce

The other songs just kind of blended into one another, but these three stood out.  I have no idea why.  Maybe its because they have a good beat that was in sync with my running, maybe its because I associate them with good memories.  O.A.R was a favorite in high school and Single Ladies reminds me of my sister Paula's sweet dance moves.  Either way, it is entertaining to see the wide variety of music that got my attention today.

And a picture...This is why I did not go running yesterday.  Ew.  I love spring, but I absolutely hate the storms that come along with it.


Friday, March 4, 2011

Loco for Lulu

OK, I'll admit it.  I have this obsession for Lululemon yoga pants.  If you haven't heard of it, Lululemon is a yoga and running store.  They are not just about the apparel though, they work to make people conscious of the environment and they work to integrate their stores and workers into the local fitness communities.  I discovered the brand a few years ago because my sisters were huge fans and frequent visitors of the store in Chicago.  



Their yoga pants are great, they are long (really long - I have to get them hemmed!), they don't stretch out, and their fabric doesn't fade.  They have a great selection of jackets and hoodies, and tank tops for running and yoga, but up until this point I have only worn their pants.  My favorites are the Groove Pants.

Groove Pant lululemon.com


Last year, a new Lululemon shop opened in Raleigh!  Yay!! I was estatic and, of course, headed strait downtown to check it out.  It is currently a "showroom" and not an actual store, but nevertheless, it is here :)  Being a showroom means that they are testing out our market to see if the community can sustain a full store.  Basically, the studio has all of the best selling items for the store and fewer of them, with hours only on Thursdays through Sunday.  

This is one of the designs for their bags.


Because they have fewer items, that means no sales.  That stinks, yes I know.  But it means that I can go to the studio, try everything on, and then go get the discontinued/last season colors online.  And I do.  Yes, the sales people at the store probably hate me because I try on, but rarely buy, but I am a customer either way.  

I have been stalking their website for about a year now but I was waiting to save a little money for my purchase, but I caved today.  I went online and used my giftcard (thank you swimmers!!) from the banquet and got some new stuff.  Yay!  And I am eagerly awaiting this delivery like a giddy little kid.  And I ordered it a few minutes ago, so I have a while to wait.  

lululemon.com


Check out the website for yourself.  It can be a little pricey, but it is worth it.  This clothing is high quality and lasts forever!  

Catherine, I will forever will be grateful to you for introducing me to this gem, and my wallet will always secretly be glaring at you for precisely the same reason.  Love you!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bring on the Spring Cleaning.

My townhome is desperately in need of a good, deep cleaning.  And while I would love to tell you that I am working away, I am not.  I did clean the kitchen and am slowly working my way through the living room and on to upstairs, I can share with you pictures from my closet clean-out that I did a few weeks ago...

This is what is too worn to wear, doesn't fit, doesn't have a match, etc...

Seriously...where do I get all of this stuff??
I need to do this more often.  Or...wait...maybe I should be more careful about what I am putting into my closet...like I said I was going to do when I made my New Year's Resolutions... Maybe this time it will set in.  Maybe.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Chicago Code



A few weeks ago I started watching the new show "Chicago Code" on FOX.  I don't know if it is getting to see my favorite city in the background, while giddily pointing out monuments, or the in-your-face, real character development, but I am hooked.  We DVR it each week when it airs on Monday nights, so I know I won't miss it.

I love the actors that they cast in each role.  Whoever was in charge of that (casting director?) deserves a raise.  A big one.


It is about corruption in Chicago and just when I think I have it all figured out, they throw me for a loop.  I'm pretty sure I have absolutely no idea who the real bad guys are, as it is only week four of the first season, but I can't wait to find out.  

Has anyone watched this?  What do you think?  Especially you Chicagoan's...check it out and let me know if it's as good as I'm thinking it is.  I haven't been hooked on a show this bad since Grey's Anatomy first came out.