Starting the year off right

We've been very, very busy since I've last written. I'll start with my trip to Chicago. We shopped, we ate, we drank, and we had FUN! I went dress shopping and had a little breakdown when I was having to try on dresses that were six sizes (seriously) bigger than I what I was used to, but I'm happy that I had the experience and now I know for sure that the dress I've already picked out is THE dress! Thank you, Caroline, for taking the time to put it all together! :)
Classic bean picture
My favorites
We were incredibly blessed at Christmas this year. This is the first year since I was a kid that I can remember literally getting every single thing that I wanted! Charlie's parents surprised me and bought me the elliptical that we were planning to buy in January! It came just in time because the gym is about to get seriously busy with people making resolutions.
Luckily, Charlie likes to put things together!

Charlie surprised me and bought me the dresser I've been wanting for our bedroom! I'll be posting before and after pictures soon! 
Again, super lucky that he likes to put things together!

We also go an iPad!! I'm already super obsessed with it, and want to get this case for it. Charlie doesn't approve, yet ;-)

And to top it all off, we are finally getting a new washing machine! For the past couple of years we've been using a hand me down that I'm pretty sure is from the 1980's. It worked great, and then I made the mistake of trying to wash Charlie's comforter in it last year and now it only washes on the gentle cycle without leaking water all of the place. I can't wait!
She'll be a new addition to our family this weekend!

For the past couple of weeks I've been doing some serious downsizing and organizing. I'm going through every closest, cabinet, and container we own and getting rid of everything that we don't need or use (I'll be posting pictures of all the organizing soon, too). We should be finishing everything up today, so we can start the new year off right!

Happy new year!



I started my job this week and I already love it. The absolute best part is that I finally have co-workers!! It's so wonderful to have people to talk to, eat lunch with, and get advice. I also love the fact that I finally know the kids I'm working with, and I get to see them everyday so I can see their progress. I work with my groups all day Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and then I'll sub as needed (hopefully at the same school) Thursday and Friday. 

I'm also going to Chicago with Charlie this Thursday. I'm SO excited!!



I did it. I went to the mall today.

Charlie's company has a Christmas party in a couple of weeks and I picked up this dress from Urban Outfitters. You can't really tell, but those are sequins :)
I also got these from J Crew
My friend Rachel, who now lives in Chicago, was in town. She was looking at these boots from Sperry and now I'm obsessed. I'm trying to decide between the black and the hunter green, and whether or not I can justify getting rain/snow boots when it is currently December 3rd and 70 degrees in Texas :-/


The most wonderful time of the year

It's that time of year again. The time when I set out to find the perfect Christmas gifts, and end up finding twice as much for myself.

I love all things that have glitter, shine, and sparkle so I'm in heaven now that it's in style!
I also love blazers. They make me feel put together, even when I'm wearing jeans and a t-shirt.
One word. Shoes.
Other pretty things.
This is a perfect sized cosmetic bag to keep in my purse.

images from: J.Crew and Nordstrom


A Little Rant, Sorry :)

I'm SO happy it's Friday and I get all next week off for Thanksgiving break. 

I've only done it for four weeks, but I really, really hate subbing. I have a very Type A personality. I like routines, schedules, structure... basically everything substituting is not. I hate being thrown into a completely unknown situation every single day. I hate not knowing every night before I go to bed where I will be going the next day. I hate not knowing the kids, the staff, the schedule, the routines. I hate how a majority of teachers talk down to me, or just simply don't even acknowledge me, when I went to school just as long, if not longer, than them to be a teacher (I worked with one teacher for an ENTIRE day, and when I saw her in the hall a week later I smiled, waved, and said hi. Her response was to give me a blank stare and keep walking. I've seen her a few times since then and she just avoids eye contact. WTF?). I hate not having any co-workers. I hate when people get annoyed and angry if I accidentally brought the class to lunch TWO minutes early. Anytime the kids are going somewhere I have to find a kid who seems trustworthy to tell me where the cafeteria is, or where they go to recess, or P.E. Sometimes you get kids who think it's funny to tell you the wrong way or lie and say they can do things they can't, so you have to double check everything with the other kids to make sure they are telling you the truth... I hate that too.

Every teacher has a completely different way of doing every single thing. They line up differently, they go to the bathroom differently, they turn their papers in differently... Kids, especially the young ones, are very used to routines so even something as simple as not lining up in the right order completely throws things off and you have spend time getting the class back. This creates a very stressful and absolutely exhausting day.

So if you see me, please don't ask me how I like subbing because the answer will be I. hate. it.

But, on much happier note, I officially got word today that I start my job as a reading intervention teacher on Monday, December 6th! I'll finally have a real job that actually requires all of the hard work I put into my certification and degree. I am still going to sub once, maybe twice a week in order to keep my name out there and continue to meet new teachers and principals, but it's a lot more manageable than doing it as my only job.

Sorry for the rant, but this has been a particularly stressful week! :)


First Paycheck!

I got my very first grown-up paycheck today! I haven't been paid by anyone since December 2009, so this was pretty fantastic. I quit my job in December to do my student teaching until May, and then didn't get to start subbing until October which is why 11 months later... I am just now getting my first check out of college. Too bad it's pretty much all going to my very first student loan payment. Booo. I am going to buy myself a little treat though... I've been wanting these pillows from Target for quite some time, and I'm going to get them this weekend.
They are meant to be bed pillows, but I'm going to be a rebel and use them on our couch like this:
Since my horrible, no good, student loans are now starting to become due Charlie and I are following Dave Ramsey's plan. We've listened to him on the radio for years, but we're just now getting serious about saving and paying off all of our debt. Basically, you only spend cash, use envelopes to budget the cash, and pay off everything like crazy from smallest to largest. If all goes as planned we'll have both our credit cards and one of our cars paid off in the next few months, and the other car and all of my loans paid off in the next 3 years. Three years seems like a long time now, but we're cutting 8 years off the amount of time most people take to pay them. So far using cash has worked really well. When the envelope is empty you simply stop spending money in that category. Easy, huh? 

I'm in charge of the grocery buying and set our budget to $50 a week. I used to spend over $100 a week on just myself, so this has been quite a challenge. But I'm happy to report that I'm buying double what I used to and using more name brands than I ever have before AND still staying at $50 a week. How? I plan ahead what I'm going to buy and stick to the list. I also use two amazing websites that I highly recommend if you want to save money at the grocery store: 

These easily save me 50% just by using them and matching the coupons with the sales. We also have a Kroger down here which makes everything SO much cheaper. Just today I bought $134.70 in groceries for $50.57, saving $84.13! 

It takes some getting used to and you have to be patient, but it really works. I hated it at first and wasn't very good at it, but now it's like a game and I try to beat my percentage that I saved each time I go... which I just realized makes me sound like an old lady. Oh well.


Guest Bedroom

We finally got a bed in our guest bedroom, so now I get to decorate! I stumbled on this picture from House of Hargrove and I'm in love!
Isn't the frame above the bed such a great idea?! Now I'm on a mission to find such a massive frame without spending a massive price. Any ideas?

She also had this idea:
I HATE our huge bathroom mirrors, and this is such a quick and easy fix!

My friend, Erin always has such great decorating ideas. She found this linen duvet that I'm dying to have. We already have the sheets and bed skirt, so it wouldn't be a major purchase. I'd put this one in our bedroom and use the comforter that we currently have in the master bedroom in our guest bedroom!


And One More Thing...

I finally got my Texas teaching certificate! No more explaining my crazy situation to everyone, because I CAN LEGALLY TEACH IN TEXAS!!!

I've been trying to get it since July, but they had lost my paperwork and then misfiled my fingerprint information causing a mess. I've sent many faxes and been on countless calls with the TEA to get it straightened out, so this is a huge relief.

Wedding Dress

My wedding dress arrived from J Crew on Friday! I really love it, and it has Charlie's approval too. I'm not letting him see me in it until the wedding day, but I definitely want to make sure I get something that he likes too. It looks exactly like I imagined, and the best part is, it has pockets. LOVE!

I'm still not positive it's THE one, but we'll find out soon when I do some major shopping in Chicago!

My New Friend

Charlie's parents came to visit us for the first time this weekend, and we had a lot of fun. We  ate and shop, shop, shopped! I also got my way cool birthday gift from them. A LABEL MAKER! If you know how completely OCD I am about organization, then you can understand how great I think this is.

Here is what I've accomplished today:
When we moved I unpacked and put everything in a place, and Charlie always got frustrated when he couldn't find something, so this is great for him also.

And for some more good news...

This past week I didn't have time to go to the gym, so I only got in 45 min walks with the doggie, and since we had company, I ate my heart out. I'm talking veggie burgers (not the healthy kind), cheese fries, chocolate chip cookies, chips, pizza, spaghetti... you name it, it probably went into my face this weekend. I only weigh myself once a week, and I had already had a huge breakfast, so needless to say I was terrified to do it today and lose all the progress I had been making. This was my lucky week though, because I actually lost weight! Woo hoo!


New Job!

I'm so excited!!! I just got offered a job as a part-time reading intervention teacher at an elementary school where I've been subbing! The lady that I spoke with told me that it is where a lot of teachers start out until they get hired full-time, so hopefully this will lead into a position with my own classroom!


New (To Me) Website

I love finding new websites, especially if they save me money! If you're obsessed with Gilt like me, I'm pretty sure you'll love One Kings Lane. It's a members only website that has 72 hour sales on designer home accessories!!! Wooo!



A few weekends ago we went to Wichita, KS to watch Charlie's older brother's band play. Here are some pics from the weekend!

It wasn't the most exciting drive...
The "young" ones got to sit in the backseat.
Here are some more pictures that we took in downtown Plano after visiting the Farmer's Market on Sunday morning. It definitely wasn't as busy as Saturday night, but you can see how adorable it is!


Do This Right Now!

Stress from the last year and a half of college sort of took a toll on my weight, and with a wedding dress deadline quickly approaching, I've been working my butt off... quite literally. For the past three weeks I have been working out 5 days a week for about 2 hours a day, and then on the weekends for an hour. I use the elliptical for 45 minutes and then run for the last 15 minutes at the gym. Then, every night Charlie and I walk our dog on a trail right next to our house for about 3 miles. With running and walking I'm up to 26 miles a week!

When I first started I HATED running. It hurt and I couldn't breathe. I would make it for about 2-3 minutes at 4.5 mph. It was bad, and super discouraging. I kept at it and worked my resistance up a little every time and now I can go 5.5 mph for the entire 15 minutes, and now I actually crave it and get cranky if I miss a workout.

I haven't lost much, only 5 lbs. since my heaviest in September, but jeans that I could barely even button a few weeks ago already fit comfortably. I care much more about that than how much I weigh, but I do plan to lose another 20 lbs before June.

Another thing I'm doing differently this time is that I'm not dieting. The only thing I've cut out completely is alcohol. 500 calories for a margarita? No, thank you. I've been eating pretty much anything I want, just in moderation. I read in a magazine that the reason so many women fail at losing weight, and men succeed, is because we tend to try to do too much. We say "I'll work out, quit eating pasta, quit drinking, only have 1,200 calories a day, quit eating bread..." and guys say, "I'm going to work out and quit drinking." This approach has definitely worked for me and the best part is I've never felt deprived! 

Anyway, the point of my post is, if you're like me and you're always going to start working out "tomorrow" stop what you're doing and do it right now! It's so worth it for your health and the older you get the harder it will be to get your weight where you want it! 



This is the first weekend in a long time that we haven't gone back to Norman, so we took the opportunity to explore our city. We found The Fillmore Pub on Urban Spoon and decided to try it out. I'm glad we did because we discovered downtown Plano. It is SO cute. It's a little like downtown Norman, but a lot busier and with more shopping and dining options.

In Chicago there is a restaurant that makes the absolute best veggie burger I've ever tasted in my life. I always end up eating like three of them every time I visit. Luckily, this pub had a homemade veggie burger that came the closest to my Chicago obsession that I've found so far. We got to sit by a window that looked out to the DART light rail station. I looked up the schedule online and we can take the red line straight to the Dallas zoo, which we're planning to do soon. It's my own little piece of Chicago.

There is also a cute little farmer's market that we're going to check out in the morning. I always carve a pumpkin on my birthday, so hopefully we'll find the perfect one tomorrow!


Family Love

I have the best maid of honor and future sister-in-law ever. Look at her sweet post about me. Love her so much! It's exactly what I needed today.


Odds and Ends

I'm sort of in a rut as far as wedding planning goes. I keep finding miscellaneous items that I like, but somehow need to figure out how to bring them all together.

Since we are having our wedding outside I want to keep the decorations to a minimum. I like the idea of using Shepard's hooks to line the aisle. I would hang either the mason jars filled with flowers or the lanterns. I think it would be a super easy and inexpensive DIY.
Lantern from Ikea.

For the guest book table I really love the idea of using an old piece of furniture.

Like this:


And this:
I like these vases that I found on etsy. I will probably put a few of these out full of pink peonies.
 There are a lot of trees, so I thought about doing something like this:
I'm in love with this cake table. I already want these letters from Urban Outfitters for our apartment, and I love the idea of using them on the table. I don't really like a traditional wedding cake, and I'm a big fan of cupcakes, so that will probably be our main dessert. I also like the idea of having a lot of different choices for everyone. I love me some options.

For our send off at the reception I came across these sweet little homemade flags. This could prove to be a time consuming DIY, but right now it's the only thing I've found that I like.
Lastly, I want to use vintage picture frames like the ones below for things like menus, "reserved" signs, etc. This is an idea that I'm having a little trouble figuring out exactly how I want to incorporate.
Super cheap from from Ikea.