Wednesday, July 27, 2016


I don't know how it happens, but somehow - even though I'm working less, summer always ends up so busy! So here's the scoop on what I've been up to in short in the past few months, largely in pictures ;)

-In April, we took a weekend hiking / cabin trip with some friends down to Hocking Hills. Beautiful weather that weekend and we always enjoy hiking in that area.  On our way back we hit up a little winery for some tasting :)

We also went to my dear friends' wedding n Virginia that month. SO happy for the couple and SO good to see my friends in that area! We had a great time :)

In early May I went to Pittsburgh to run the 5k and the Half Marathon (the "Steel Challenge"!)  I spent a lot of time with some awesome friends from around the country and ran the half with a very good local friend/running buddy! I'm still so proud of her for finishing the half and hopefully we can do another one together in the future :)

May also brought a trifecta of insanity: The end of the semester, moving, and planning a surprise party/surprise scrapbook for my in-law's 40th wedding anniversary! Everything went really well (and the party was particularly awesome, and they were indeed surprised!), but it was a lot of work. We're still not done with the unpacking part of the move (fortunately, we only moved upstairs in our duplex, so for anyone wondering why you don't have a new address for us - that's because it's still the same!)

This is the chaos of my car at the end of the semester...  The joys of teaching in 4 different locations!

Paperwork, potlucks, and presents from students :)

Conway is still not sure how he feels about these stairs....

In June I was off of my regular job, but I taught a 4 week seminar for a super awesome program that  does professor-let literature seminars at different work sites across the country.  The program is based in Cleveland and I feel very lucky to be a part of it! My group that I've now worked with twice is small, but mighty and they were already talking about what book they want to read next time I work with them :)    June also featured a visit from my parents and it was really great to see them! And, finally, J and I went to our church's big national conference in June.  I spent most of my time volunteering on the green team (helping educate about recycling and compost practices at the conference, and making sure everything is in the proper place) and attending workshops about interfaith partnerships and immigration issues.  I wish I could remember some of the more profound things I learned there, but I suppose that's what happens when you wait a month to blog about something. 

June was unfortunately not all fun and games. We also lost a dear friend, who passed away suddenly at the age of 31. We were glad that we were able to go to his memorial service, but I think we're still processing things a little bit.  Hold your loved ones close, because you never know when they could be gone....

July has been pretty good to us. We spent the Fourth of July weekend at J's parents' lake house and
watched fireworks there.  I'm now back teaching summer classes, and even that is half over now!  I'm also involved in starting up a new teacher mentoring program at work, which is both exciting and intimidating. But  I think it will be quite helpful for our new teachers and I wish there had been something similar when I started!

  I also recently attended the Thirty-One National Conference in Columbus. It was great to reconnect with my teach AND to get a chance to see the new fall products and prints.  Trust me, you are going to LOVE them!

Our conference goodies!

I love Thirty-One's partnership with Girls on the Run!

A few miscellaneous things that don't really fit anywhere else. We've had a few fun trips to the ballpark and are hoping to go back again this weekend. I love watching baseball on a beautiful day in the summer!

We've also enjoyed some great concerts in the past few months, including Cleveland Orchestra's "The Firebird", The Dustbowl Revival at Music Box Supper Club for my birthday, and Old Crow Medicine Show and Brandi Carlisle.  Plus my own concert with the summer band I play in!

I've also been enjoying time both in my own garden and taking advantage of my membership to the local botanical gardens!  First, some pictures of my garden so far this year (from the past few months):
Ready to be planted outside


Our community garden plot a few weeks ago

Some of my indoor tea garden

And some pictures from the local botanical gardens

Not flowers, but how happy do these cute service pups in training make you!?

And my new sewing room is finally mostly set up, so I've reacquainted myself with my sewing machine and have been working on a few small projects. I have a pretty big pile of projects I'd like to do and am looking forward to tackling those!

And, finally, one last plug for the fundraiser I'm doing that will end on Friday (July 29!). It is for the Parents Advisory Network (PAN), a group in the Philadelphia area that supports NICU families. I will be donating thermal totes for them to give to NICU families, but I need your help! You can sponsor a tote for $15! We've had 40 donated so far, and PAN said if we can get to 50,  they can gift them to the NICU families in all THREE of the hospitals they support! These thermal totes can be used by NICU mothers to transport breast milk to the hospital.  You can sign up to donate here and I will contact you with payment details :)  Big HUGE thanks to everyone who has donated so far. 

Whew! Hope everyone is having a great summer so far and my apologies for the long (and long overdue!) post!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Various updates

 Once again, work has hit me like a ton of bricks. Not a bad ton of bricks, I suppose. Just very busy! I'm back into full swing at my regular job and also teaching two classes as an adjunct. Keeps me busy for sure. So here's what's been up since my last post before the semester started:

Work: Like I said - busy! Several trips to Pittsburgh to meet with my online students. And my regular classes are going well. I have some great groups of students and am very thankful for that. I've also been doing a really interesting professional development program about teaching language that is useful for employment and I'm learning so much!

Running: I just finished my last long run (10 miles) before the Pittsburgh half on May 1. I haven't been training as well / as much as I would've ideally liked, but I'll take it. I'm super thankful to have had L. and/or T. with me for most of my longer runs and am really looking forward to running with L. at the race AND seeing some of my favorite out of town running friends :)

Travel: J and I went to Charleston, SC for a long weekend back in March with some of his friends from college. It was super nice and I loved taking a trip that didn't involve a wedding, conference, or other obligation. It was just for fun. The weather wasn't as warm as I was hoping for, but it was beautiful and a great trip. 

Thirty-One: It's been a good year so far! I did a very nice vendor event in March and then had a great open house / girls evening in early April. I'm loving the new catalog and the spring gift guide. (If you haven't seen them yet and want to - just let me know!) 

Around the house: First - I haven't done nearly as much crafting as I'd like :( Still working on that same sweater I started a year ago. And I think I've forgotten how to use my sewing machine :P But I'll get back at it... hopefully after my online classes end and I have a little extra time each week.  But I have been reading a lot, which makes me happy. I got a yogurt maker and have been happily making homemade yogurt, because I take odd pleasure in making things that normal people buy from the store. On a related note - J and I started the seeds for our vegetable garden this weekend and I'm looking forward to that. I also became a member at the local botanical gardens and am hoping to visit a lot this summer. We went to the recent cactus and succulent show and I added a new Mother-of-Thousands kalanchoe to my collection. I'm ridiculously excited about this. And then we got a zebra aloe from L. :) Making progress in my crazy plant lady life goals.  

Other miscellaneous notes: 
-J's hockey team won the city championships! I'm so proud of them :)  
-We've been to some really great concerts / shows lately. We love live music and I'm thankful that we get to enjoy it so often.
-Now that I'm not working more than 1 evening a week, I've been able to get back into my small group meetings at church and I'm really happy about it.
-I finally feel like I might be heading in the right direction with some of my health issues, though it's honestly pretty overwhelming and takes up more of my energy that I'd like. I at least have a new doctor that I feel a little more confident in...  so we'll see how this goes!
-Conway is still adorable and we love him ;)  We can't have a blog post and not mention him! 

So - the short version: Life is pretty good. I'd love to be a little less busy, but I have really nothing to complain about :) I'm sure there's something I've forgotten to mention here, but if I tried to recap it all, then I'd never finish this post or ever post again... So consider this your brief(~ish) update on my life! 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Happy 2016!

Happy New Year, everyone! The end of the year went by so quickly! Lots of good things - traveling and time with family, mostly :)

Here's a "quick" recap!


I went to Philadelphia for a conference. I was only there about a day and a half, but it was very nice. I tried to split my time between conference going and self care. Including time with my dear friend who lives there, lots of good food, some nice long walks, and a trip (or two) to Uniqlo ;)

For Thanksgiving, we did potlucks in all my classes. We also made class cookbooks for each class, which is an awesome project that I highly recommend!

The next weekend I went to New York for Thanksgiving! Love getting to see my extended family. We ran the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day, ate tons of good food, and then took advantage of the beautiful weather the next day and went to a park. :) Also enjoyed going shopping with my cousin and aunts! (Are you sensing a theme here??)

Riding a dinosaur at the park. As you do. 
Beautiful weather for November in New York!
It was also the start of the "busy season" for Thirty-One. I did a lot of vendor events and had a great time!


I finished up the semester in the middle of December. We had more potlucks. It was good. I made my Cranberry Bliss Bars. They are still magic

I used some of my free time after the semester was over to catch up on my craft queue :) Especially holiday crafts! (But there's still so many more projects on the list!)

Hair ties
Festive leggings/pants

Boot cuffs
We had a great Christmas. I was very fortunate to get to spend a lot of time with my awesome in-laws and nephews. I enjoyed shopping with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law, taking our nephews to the zoo, going to church on Christmas eve, and opening presents with my in-laws on Christmas Day.  I then drove to Virginia to spend time with my parents and brother, which was also great. (And also involved lots of good food and shopping with my mom ;) )   J came to visit for a few days (after a not-so-fun-and-exciting adventure getting there!). We decorated Christmas cookies together with my mom.


Conway and one of his new toys :)
For New Year's  Eve I had my usual party, which was small, but awesome. I love getting to see this group of friends and (now) getting to watch their kids grow up. On New Year's Day I ran my usual 5K and then J, Conway, and I headed back to Cleveland!
New Year's Day 5K

We started off January with a fancy wedding with J's family. I loved getting all dressed up and we had a great time!

Since then, I've started my online teaching for the semester and have been doing new student registration sessions for my "real" job. Another week and a half before I go back to my regular teaching schedule. I'm trying to be productive and cross a few more things both off of my "should do" list and my "want to do" list. We'll see what actually happens...  Wish me luck!

Hope everyone is having a great year so far!