{T.I.L. #27}

I'm pretty much a big nerd...I've even got t-shirts with Nerd logos on them. No lie. So this next Thing I Love will only add to *that* character trait I've got goin' on.

I happen to think it is nerdy in a super awesome, unique way (much like my chamberstick usage...I mean, come on). It is a hobby I picked up randomly and I kinda fell in love with it.

It combines all the things I really adore: handwritten letters, rubber stamps/ink, treasure hunting, riddles, geography, history, the outdoors, photography, and friendship (or solo time when I feel like it).


Further posting will be delayed due to inclement weather

Since that's all we are hearing right now and since I was snowed in at a friend's house after work all day yesterday and today (see why we want snow days? You try to teach 7 year olds while parents are coming every 5 minutes to pick one up. We had like, 80 kids leave early from 1st grade alone.), I'm going to postpone my last TIL posts until tomorrow or Monday.

I finally retrieved my car today from its frozen bed in the school parking lot:

I was doing so well posting the Things I Love daily and only have 2 more to go. With my grandmother passing and having a Texas-style snowstorm, etc, I will just finish out in a few days and break the rules by posting those last 2 in March. 

It's my blog and I'll do what I want.


{T.I.L. #26}

I had planned a post for tonight that detailed all about how

But to be honest, I just can't write it right now. 

Tonight I watched the series finale of Parks & Rec and got a little choked up. I've been feeling verklempt lately and the littlest things have made me tear up. 

My post yesterday about friends almost did me in and I had cried earlier that night several times while discussing my heart's desires with my friend. 

But as I came home tonight, I found out that my last living grandparent--my GrammaJane--had passed away earlier this evening. 

I am sad obviously, but so thankful that we got to see her last month on our trip to California. My post originally was going to detail that trip and highlight all my lovely family members, but I'd rather just leave that post for a later date. 

Tonight I just want to honor my beautiful grandmother...she fought her whole life to take up space and live to the fullest and I believe she accomplished that. She was strong and funny; even after recovering in ICU, she managed to crack a joke about her raspy voice. I have more to say, and I'm sure I will when I can really do it justice. 

We love our GrammaJane. Our time together was really short but really sweet. And I thank God for it and for her.


{T.I.L. #25}

I'm pretty tired today after making my way to work this morning and having only half my class there to teach. Did I mention that I woke up all through the night because I thought we'd have another snow day for sure? Welp, we didn't. So I armed myself with coffee AND Starbucks Chai and white-knuckled through my morning commute, dodging old ice piles and tiny sleet pellets.

The powdery snow started falling quickly after I arrived and I went ahead and opened our blinds for the kids to watch it cling to the ground. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em! We went out and played in the melt-as-quick-as-it-came snowfall, making mischief with the tee-niniest snowballs you've ever seen.

As I walked through the hallways of my school, I stole quick glances and longing sighs with my awesome co-workers...each one of us dragging through the day because of restless, anticipatory sleep. As a teacher friend said on Facebook, "We were all secretly hoping for THE call." Teachers can be a greedy bunch when it comes to snow days in February. 

I was thinking through these co-workers and how many have become close friends...the kind who go to see Bieber movies because they know you want to go and don't want you to look like an old creep.

...reminiscing about a wedding from a few weeks back; praying that his marriage is blessed and feeling excited to go to lunch soon with his new bride.

...reading on Facebook and looking forward to the event that my church homegroup girls are having this weekend, just to get together for homegirl time and catching up. 

...sharing a text message convo later with a best friend who gives me great news, but urging me to continue to pray for God's goodness in her life. 

...thinking about another friend who had a horrific event strike her family this weekend and praying as her family member fights for breath. 

...hanging out with the friend who knows me so well that I don't have to censor myself around her; we can jump from serious to tears to silly stories, all in one breath. 

...missing my best friend, my sister, who is half a world away right now, ministering to others' hearts the way she often ministers to mine.

Today was a good day. Today made me realize that I am blessed. I don't mean blessed in the Southern, sure way that feels proud to be American. I mean a life touched by the Lord Himself. I wouldn't have the close-knit friendships that keep me sane without His hand. And I know it. 

I know how rare it is that many of these friendships were found in adulthood. I still have incredibly close friendships from middle school and high school that I cherish deeply as well. I hope I am as good of a friend to all these people as they are to me. I can only thank God for them in my life and promise to steward them like a treasure, pouring out for others with the joy they pour into me.

So tonight, I guess I'd point out what I feel every day:


{T.I.L. #24}

Happy melted ice day! It was icy earlier this morning, I promise. 

Again, I kinda did nothing all day and it was glorious. We have a chance of ONE.more.day off as it is supposed to snow in the early morning. *fingers crossed* I'm obviously praying for safe-but-impacted travel because I'm a 1st grade teacher and that's just what we do. Plus, it is a nice nudge for parents to keep buying teachers' Starbucks. You think 3 kids snowed-in with a whole house & yard is bad? Add in 17 more kids, reduce it to one room and very limited outside time...that's our school day in winter.

Why yes, I WOULD like a Grande drink instead of a Tall, thankyouverymuch.

On to the Things I Love post for today. I briefly mentioned this love in this post when I posted this picture:

I grew up in Mississippi and they may not have top-notch education or lots of money for the masses, but they have one thing really right: exposed brick.


{T.I.L. #23}

I have really enjoyed having a day off of work to do nothing. Snow days are nice because you are forced inside for the most part and you don't have to feel guilty about it. 

I have another day to practice not feeling guilty because we have ANOTHER ice day tomorrow! Yesssss.

Obviously with a snow day, I've had time to catch up on my shows that I don't have time for in the regular workweek. I also had time to catch up on a few Netflix movies that were recommended to me. My friend, Lauren, steered me toward the BBC miniseries movie "Death Comes to Pemberley" and she didn't fail me on this one. Of course it is no secret that I have a mad writer crush on Jane Austen and an even madder crush on Darcy & Elizabeth as characters. This book/movie takes place a few years after the marriage and does a great job of highlighting the real struggle of marrying in a different social class than your own. Plus, it has murder mystery thing going on...I mean, who doesn't love those?!

The other thing I noticed was a frequent use of one of my favorite "old-but-new-but-old" items for my household. I was going to write a post about these anyway, but now I have a movie screen shot:

to show that:

That's right. I'm bringing candles back. I own a few chambersticks and I'm not ashamed to admit that I use them. First off, candlelight is amazing and everything looks so glowy in its brilliance. Second, I love the nod to pre-technology days and I find myself wanting a dimmer evening as I prepare for bed. And last but not least, they are just darn cute to me!

I guess I've always loved them because I used to use a dark brass one in our farmhouse when I was little. My parents were always big candlelight people so it is no surprise that a chamberstick (which is just a personal, portable candle) brings back great memories for me. 

I started collecting chambersticks a few years back but they were harder to find then. Good news: it looks like they are making a resurgence these days! You could definitely go the modern route with some of these futuristic versions. I bought a few modern ones from IKEA:

This one is huuuge and is meant for outside

Honestly, I prefer to browse eBay and other dealers for more vintage cuties:

They go great on a stack of old books or nestled into a built-in bookshelf. Functional decor at its finest! I have a few others up my sleeve but I'll have to share those in another post (I've got my reasons!)

Until then, just wait with bated breath, picture my Jane-Austen-lovin' nerdy self lighting my bedtime chamberstick, and chuckle at my vintage awesomeness. 

And then, go get yourself a chamberstick because you want to be awesomely candlelit too.


{T.I.L. #22}

I've been updating my computer for like, 10 full hours today after a month of dealing with software update & iPhone compatibility issues. I'm proud to say that I *think* I'm all set up with only a minor loss of data (that I knew I'd lost due to a previously failed back-up/sync debacle). Some stress has been lifted off my shoulders as I can now cross some of these ??s off my list. 

Because of this full day of technology upgrades, I was able to read a whole book while snuggling in my bed listening to the drizzly rain. 

The rain has now turned to sleet and the temperature has dropped low enough for it to freeze on the roads. And you know what that means for a teacher?

Snow days are awesome when they are timed just right and called in the night before. We teachers feel that it has to fall somewhere between 'far enough away from our Winter Break' and 'not too close to Spring Break'. Well, this snow (or should I say 'ice') day has come at a great time. The only thing that would make it even better is for us to miss 3 or more days to make it worth the days we have to make up later in the spring. 

But who needs to be that picky? I'll take what I can get!

Now all I need is a Netflix marathon so that I can burn the midnight oil on a Sunday night. Because on snow days, the only requirement is that you sleep in.


{T.I.L. #21}

Today's post on something I love may be a little bit shorter (edited to add: nope) because I'm always pooped on the weekends. I'm especially pooped today because I woke up extra early to attend one of those "do it HERself" Home Depot classes on installing a faucet. I was hoping my new kitchen faucet would thank me...plus I really don't have running water in my kitchen yet. 

When I got there, they didn't really realize they had a class scheduled (even though I registered) so the guy tried to 'make do' by finding one of the plumbing guys to help. And by help, he meant that the toothless worker stocking the shelves was going to 'talk me through' how to install my kitchen faucet. This ought to be rich.


{T.I.L. #20}

Sometimes I enjoy these weekend, 'put-a-bunch-of-things-I-love-all-in-one-post-because-no-one-is-probably-reading-this-anymore' posts. I almost stopped blogging about Things I Love the other day because I felt super arrogant all of a sudden. 'Who cares about whether you like twinkle lights when kids are starving in other countries?' Right?

Then I realized that enjoying life and all the things in it do not make us selfish or arrogant. They also do not stop our hearts from caring for other, more important things like people. I also really enjoy seeing what makes others tick, so 'about me' pages are kinda my favorite. This month has been like one, ginormous, all about me page. In fact, I've just been literally updating mine by cutting and pasting the links to all these posts. Double-duty, people!

With that said, here is some more nonsense so that you can know me better:


{T.I.L. #19}

Ohmygosh, that kinda sounds wrong when you say it without context.

I'm talking about these cuties:


{T.I.L. #18}

I like to wake up all bleary-eyed in the mornings with *just* enough time to tame the curly beast on top of my head and stumble down stairs to make my pour-over butter coffee.

Screeeech. Butter coffee??


{T.I.L. #17}

'What's that, now?' you may be asking yourself. 

I first saw a Swedish Mora Clock in a blogger's house pictures and I fell in love with the feminine shape and interesting curves. 

Pic from The Nester
When I bought my cottage, I knew I wanted to get a Mora Clock of my own. I googled around and found this cutie:

I looked at the price tag and decided to wait until one went on sale. 

Well, it turned out that close-to-400-bucks WAS the sale. 

So, I kept looking and found this:

It is a reproduction and made for hanging on the wall instead of standing, but hey! Gotta cut corners somewhere to get the right price tag of $160. It looks a little more green-gray in person than the gray-green pic, but I really like it. It has delicate, dainty curves and a pretty distressed finish. I can't wait to hang it in my new house. You know, the one for which I still need to pick a white wall color

At least I have the important things done, amiright?


{T.I.L. #16}

Have you ever read this book?

If you are not familiar with the kids' book, it is basically a circle story where a mouse wants a cookie and goes through a whole series of 'wants' before the story winds back around to the cookie.

I've basically been in a hella-frustrating, technological version of "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie". It all started last month & goes a little something like this:


{T.I.L. #15}

I've been sick as a dog this weekend and I'm not really looking forward to another work week to be honest. I've also struggled with technology so much lately that I'm ready to toss all this digital crap and go back to the days of candlelight (another post coming!) and paper & pencil (you guessed it...another TIL post!)

So another weekend gone, another round-up of Things-I-Love-that-don't-deserve-their-own-post.

This stuff from Trader Joe's is AMAZE.  

I heard all the hype around it and thought, 'gee. It's like peanut butter or something but tastes like cookies. It can't be THAT great.' Well, it is pretty darn good. I'm at-risk for spooning it out and eating it directly from the jar, so I insist on eating only one spoonful at a time with a crunchy Honeycrisp apple. They have crunchy and cocoa swirl which I have yet to try. And I hear that there is cookie butter ice cream too. Mmmm.

This is sort of a given. I mean, who doesn't really like twinkle lights? I once had a conversation with a member of a favorite local band who insisted I was the only one who called them this. He said you are supposed to call them 'christmas lights'. Uh, noooo, year-round lights can't be called Christmas lights, in my humble opinion. I really like twinkle lights in a backyard or outside like when I was at Cottonwood in Houston:

I also really love dainty twinkle lights like these at Restoration Hardware. I liked them after reading a blogger who used them in her front yard, and then my friend Ashley bought them this past month and I love them even more in person!

I want to use them around my headboard if possible (or at least somewhere in my bedroom) for an effect like this:
Photo from RH website
I also really like to write to-do lists and make schedules for myself and then promptly not follow them. I guess it feels good to have a plan but I struggle with the implementation part. But dang, if they were giving out awards for best list-writer, I'd surely win!

I like how Elise writes hers out each year and then each month in sharpie to highlight them or check them off as she completes each task:

From her blog

From her Instagram with #makeitpublicmakeithappen
I may try this but for a weekly system to see how I do.  I also like the way Clean Mama sets up her cleaning schedule with one major task per day. 

Again, gotta follow through for a schedule to work. But I'm halfway there, right?


{T.I.L. #14: Valentine's Edition}

Well, well, well...it's the day of love. I just came back from the wedding of one of my best guy friends and it was in the most adorable white chapel with chippy wood and layered whites. {I've got some pikkies to show for another day.} What a great way to celebrate Valentine's Day!

And tonight I'm going to see Mr. Darcy fight off some bad guys while looking dapper.as.hell in Kingsman. Can't wait.

Since I gave Mr. Darcy, the peacock of all peacocks, the nod last year on V-day, I thought I'd give the runner-up title to my next favorite leading male in Jane Austen's world:


{T.I.L. #13}

I'm super-pooped after doing Valentine celebrations for 1st graders and then going straight to work Kids Night for a church from 6:00-10:30. Happy Valentine's Day to me!

So, tonight I picked something I love that is pretty straightforward and picture heavy. 

Here we go!


{T.I.L. #12}

So, newsflash, I'm single. I have lots of wonderful married friends who are trying to think of that one peacock they overlooked when trying to set me up. 

The lawn guy? No, he's only 21. And possibly a womanizer. 

That cute nerd at the tech conference? He's perfect. And Buddhist.

What about that one guy we met at the Bar-be-que last summer? Oh, he's getting married next month. Ooops.

That's pretty much how these conversations go and I love that my friends and family are trying to hook a girl up. Sometimes these failed setups lead to a dead end and SOMETIMES they lead to a guy who writes my new favorite blog. 

My brother-in-law knew of this guy through a friend and suggested he set me up. Groan. I'm pretty sure he's not my type. I'll just do like any normal girl in the year 2015 and Facestalk him look for his picture on Facebook. Score! I found him. Oh, man, he has videos...double score. A blog? Now, this is getting good. 

I go to his blog for fun because this guy can't be serious. He looks super interesting but most boys with blogs are suspicious. It took like 3 posts for me to decide that I need to know this person. Like, yesterday.

I laughed so hard at Dear Future Wife and then I showed my sister who also found the blog hilare. Then I saw the far-off, dreamy look in her eye as she wondered how she was going to hold my future babies I have with him when I move so far away to his hometown. "I'm sure we'll make it work," she decides silently. 

We agree that I have to be set up with this guy. I love Taylor Swift & Chipotle. I hate Nickelback and stick-figure families on car windows. It's like a match made in heaven. 

Except...we find out he doesn't want to be set up with anyone long distance. Or maybe he Facestalked me found MY blog and decided I was too cray to become 'Dear Current Wife'. 

Oh, well. It was all good while it lasted. But seriously, read this blog. It's pretty much awesome.


{T.I.L. #11}

Yesterday was a rough day. It started out all good but something caught my eye as I was doing assessments at my teacher table. I look over at our pet tarantula, Princess, and see her moving in a strange way. 

With each step, her legs twitch and her little body wobbles. She is moving really slowly (which is totally her normal roll) but I feel nervousness in my gut. Something feels really wrong.


{T.I.L. #10}

I'm kinda spent this evening (I'll share more tomorrow) so tonight is short and sweet {spoiler alert: no it's not. Short and sweet is just not in my realm of possibilities.}

I love books. Like so much. I read about people and their real-life memoirs, fictional works, self-help books, post-apocalyptic teen drama...you know, the normal stuff.

But what I love the most is the actual storytelling. Whether it is shooting the breeze with friends to recount the work stories of the day or Bible stories that tell about historical events, I often become engrossed in a good story.

I wanted to highlight a story that I've been following and it truly fills my heart with joy to think about this person and her life trajectory. Her name is Katie Davis and you can read about her journey in the book Kisses from Katie. Though I was crying every 6 pages, I found this book to be very challenging.

This single girl basically felt a pull from God to move across the world and adopt young girls who had no one to turn to. 

Katie & her girls...picture from Katie's blog

Honestly, I became aware of how selfish my single life suddenly felt as I thought about my greatest worry being whether they put water in my chai latte or whether Downton Abbey had released yet in the US.

This girl is caring for the fatherless and cleaning wounds of village drunks and buying property in a foreign country and starting a non-profit to help poor working-class women...all in her single 20's. What the ever-loving crap have *I* been doing?

That's not the message of the book or the great story. Her message is that she does it all for the glory and honor of Jesus. That's the best part. That's good news for all of us, including my selfish self. I recommend the book with no hesitation. 

But recently, something was added to her already amazing story and heart for the Lord. Katie Davis got married. 
Her wedding...picture from her blog post

You can read her blog post about her process of trusting God for a husband to enhance her relationship with God, rather than detract from it. 

When I am tempted to go inside myself and wallow, I am consistently reminded of stories like Katie's. When I am seduced by the world's advice to 'go out and get a husband' by using my body and sex appeal, I am reminded of a girl who served Jesus by washing feet and drying the eyes of orphans; orphans who now had a mother. God provides her every need as she depends on Him. On top of that, He gives good gifts...the best gifts. Why am I not convinced of that by now?

There are so many great stories out there, but my favorites are the ones with happy endings.


{T.I.L #9}

This one needs no introduction...

I know saying 'in love' makes me sound like an alcoholic, but I promise I'm not. I'm just an exaggerator. I also grew up with people who showed me that alcohol addiction can be no joke. So, I'm pretty careful with rules around my drinking:

1. No drinking alone--there's a reason for this one!

2. Only drink when I'm happy--not using alcohol to 'take the edge off' of a tough day

3. Do not drink 2 days in a row--within reason, this keeps it a 'few and far between' thing instead of 'why not finish this bottle I started yesterday?' thing.

4. Pretty strictly stay within 1-2 drinks in one session

Those rules are there for a reason and most are there because I pushed past a boundary and knew it wasn't good. I'm fairly relaxed about it all and don't expect others to follow these rules, just me. Alcoholism runs in my family and I've already got a Starbucks addiction...I don't need another expensive addiction to add to the list! At least Starbucks won't ruin my life.

With that said, I love a good glass of whiskey. Mostly, I like my whiskey like I like my men: strong, high-quality, and neat. Just kidding, I've never said that in my life. Though I do like my whiskey neat. No fuss. {I mean, I won't say no to a whiskey on the rocks but I kinda want the flavor to take my breath away}

Fun story: Rule #1 came about the night I thought it'd be super cool to have a quiet time with Jesus while drinking Revel Stoke spiced whiskey (my fave) from a mustached glass tumbler.

Cuteness, huh?
Then, I got the bright idea to take all that fun into the bath tub to relax by candlelight. Can you see where this is going? Jesus. Prayer. Spiced whiskey. Hot water.

I didn't even give it a second thought as I prayed and sipped my whiskey. It wasn't until I got up that I realized I could barely stand. Not only was my face hot from the bath, it was also hot from embarrassment as I realized I had accidentally gotten drunk before the Lord. Oooooops.

So now, I don't really drink alone & definitely not while sitting in hot water--it saves me from drunken quiet times and drowning my sorrows all in one fell swoop!

My friend, Chrissy, recently posted this article about whiskey girls and it fit me to a T. I joked that I should use it as my dating profile because it is a pretty accurate description. 

Now, don't get the erroneous idea that I like to booze it up. But a good whiskey on a random weekend is all right by me. In fact, I had one this past weekend at Cottonwood in Houston. Dee-lish.

Peach + whiskey = yes!


{T.I.L. #8}

I'm a big traveler and I love taking trips to see people I care about (that's another TIL post though!) or to do something fun. Last weekend, I flew to LA for family and this weekend I drove to Houston for a woodworking class (aha! another TIL post for later this month...man, I'm full of these things.) No trip of mine is complete without a great book and good music.

In honor of my travels, I thought I'd share that...

I kinda hate driving {though my car has helped that tremendously} but I find it tolerable when I can jam out to a variety of bands on my old school iPod. When the screen on my iPod broke a few years back, I thought it was useless. But being able to hook it up to my car's USB port has been nothing short of amazing. And also have it all on my iPhone? Thanks, Apple. I love that I can pick from my entire music collection as I'm cruising through the air at 35,000 feet or about to nod off during the flat stretches of the Texas highways. We may have great sunsets, but a pink sky doesn't stop my eyelids from drooping...Arcade Fire's Reflektor album does.

I wrote about liking good music in my first round of Things I Love, but that was more about loving live music (which I deffo do!) Rather than do a re-hash, I thought I'd give you a few links to new music I'm currently loving. This is soooo the tip of my music iceberg, but I could honestly make a whole month of music posts (March Music Madness? Many Musics March?) I'll just give ya my top three as of February 8:

--Taylor Swift's 1989

I took the pic of Shake it Off but my current fave on this album is the song 'Wildest Dreams'. Can't get enough of it. 

Some people dog on Tay-Tay but honestly, someone that can write so many hits, play their own instruments, put on a stellar performance, and keep cranking it out album after album...and you think they are a hack? That's just silly talk. I don't care if you don't like the style of her music. Hell, I loathe opera music but that doesn't mean they aren't mad-talented musicians. So, I gotta plug my Taylor when I can because I really do love her style, music, and confidence.

--Max Frost 

I really didn't have to include a picture but I have to. Don't let his handsome face and well-dressed exterior distract you from the fact that this fool has soul. 

I love when great music comes from unexpected people. This dude is suuuuuper young (don't ask me why I checked his age) but he sounds like he's been making music forever. His voice has experience if that makes sense.

I'll link his more popular song but check out his website and follow him for reals.

My favorite song of his is 'Nice and Slow'. Weird vid but the song is so so good:


Oh, Rhodes. Speaking of music coming from unexpected people, Rhodes is the epitome of this. 

Rhodes on left with Sam Smith--from Rhodes' Facebook
He looks like a Freshman in high school sometimes, but wowee. My mom actually introduced me to Rhodes (the music, not the guy...I'd probably fangirl up and ramble if given the chance) and I've been hooked ever since. I honestly can't pick a favorite but I'll link the first song I ever heard of his:

My mom is ob.sessed. with this next song (and made me and my sister happily watch the video more than once, no lie):

So, there ya go...a peek into my current iPod re-plays. 

Taylor is already coming to Dallas this year and I'm-a-goin'. Max Frost came to Dallas last weekend but I was out of town. Big boo. Let's start a campaign to get both Max Frost & Rhodes to come to Dallas. Together.

My mind would explode.


{T.I.L. #7}

Since it is the weekend, I thought I'd slip in some of the Things I Love that don't need a whole post of their own. I mean, it is pretty self-explanatory to know that I love Starbucks no-water chai tea lattes. What else can I really say about it? {Other than the fact that it is completely true.}

So, here we go: 

I had wanted to watch this show from the beginning but never made the time to get into it. And, as you know, I have great friends who suggest great shows to me so I finally took the plunge and started at Season 1. Oh.em.gee. Not only is Amy Poehler one of my favorite comediennes, the whole cast is just so great together. My favorite scenes are Leslie's "I'm just a girl" rant, Tom Haverford's food language, and Jean-Ralphio and Mona-Lisa harmonizing their point. You probably gotta watch it to appreciate it, but there ya go.


I never realized quite how sedentary some of my days can be until I got my Fitbit flex. Highly recommend it to anyone who wants to increase their health. 

 Speaking of stuff to buy, Amazon Prime has been amazing as I've had to purchase things for my new house. I love that you can get things quickly or you can choose the 'slow route' and get credits toward digital purchases. If anyone is debating about it being worth it, it is. Plus, I like the video streaming and Seasons of Fixer Upper and Rehab Addict on there (its Rehab for houses, not people. Ain't nobody got time to watch real addicts go to rehab. That's called 'my childhood.')

That's pretty much it for now. I'm sure next weekend I'll find a couple more things I can clump together. I know it looks like I'm materialistic after all these posts, so I'll throw in a few that should be obvious. Just in case...