Growing, Changing, Improving

Lifestyle

Something that has been a huge relief to me in my professional life is the realization that humans always have the ability to improve and grow. It’s like we never truly have a limit to improvement. At first, I didn’t realize this, and I quickly grew overwhelmed with my job.

I am a high school English teacher. When I first started in the field I thought that meant I would be teaching students to love reading and writing. It turns out that would be way too easy. My first year of teaching I quickly found more and more responsibilities being thrown on me. You have a kid who sucks at organization? Well, guess what, now you’re in charge of keeping his materials for him! That’s right, now you don’t only need to keep your things organized but also multiple students who can’t stay organized for themselves.

That’s just one example. And maybe that doesn’t sound too difficult, but I have around 150 students per day. I already have a lot to organize and keep track of. At one point in my career, it seemed almost impossible to think I’d also be able to manage personally keeping track of a bunch of kids’ work and materials for them. Now, somehow, I do it easily without even thinking about it. Currently, I’m in my fourth year of teaching, and it seems every year there are new things that I think, “There’s no way I can do this. It’s just too much.” But by the start of the next school year, I’m always seamlessly doing those very things that the year before I thought were impossible to master.

Part of me finds this reality comforting. To know I can always get better, that somehow there is always more capacity in my brain and body to take on more. It helps me from getting completely overwhelmed and shutting down. But I do think there is a dark side to this great human ability as well.

See, I am not the only person who realizes this cool ability that humans have. My boss realizes it, and so does my boss’s boss. And a lot of other people in positions of power too. My boss is a nice guy, but he also has a boss (and his boss is probably a nice guy too, but I don’t know for sure because I don’t know him), and bosses have a lot of pressure on them, just as much as us people lower on the totem pole do. That pressure all comes because the thing about most jobs and careers and our society in general is the push to be efficient as possible. To get the most out of what we have. And sometimes, wrongly, the people in charge start viewing the people below them as things. We become reduced down to an object; we are resources to be used and drained. At least this is how it feels in education.

Most days I feel tired. I feel like my bones are tired, like my soul is tired. I go home most nights with nothing left to give, but that doesn’t work because my job doesn’t stop when I walk out the doors of the school building. I still have parents to contact, emails to respond to, papers to grade, classes to prepare for, and more. The 90 minutes I get to do these things in a school day are never enough.

Plus, I have a family; I have a husband and two dogs, and I think it’s wrong to go home everyday with nothing left to give to them. They are my whole heart. They deserve the most, and yet so often they get the least.

I’ve been trying to find ways to energize myself, so I don’t keep going home with nothing left. I know that there are no quick fixes, and I know that eventually something big will have to change, but for now it’s about maintaining and sustaining myself.

One small way I’ve been doing this is through taking pictures of all the small things that bring me joy throughout my week. I did not come up with this. I started doing it after someone I follow on Instagram shared the idea (I don’t remember who. If I did I would share the handle).

So today I leave you with these: Some of the things that have brought me happiness in these last few weeks.

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Breakfast food is definitely a love language of mine. I’ve been making this cinnamon roll coffee cake recipe for the last couple weeks and it’s the best part of every morning. It’s been an easy enough way to show myself some love.

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This blurry, sunny picture of Eric and Tallulah. These two have been there for me so much in these last two and a half years I can’t even begin to tell you it all in this small caption. They will forever be my heart.

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We got Clementine in part just because we wanted another dog, but we also got her because we wanted a friend for Tallulah. I also secretly (or not so secretly) wanted a dog who would cuddle endlessly with me. Tallulah likes her personal space and I can appreciate that. To my pleasant surprise Clementine loves to cuddle, and I’m actually her preferred cuddle buddy. Every day she curls up on my lap like this, I am just filled with radiating beams of contentment.

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This one worked in a couple of different ways. 1. Self-care in the form of giving myself time to do something as simple as use a skin mask, and 2. Try a new beauty product, which I love to do. This was so fun, and I enjoyed it so much. Sometimes it makes me wonder why I don’t make time for me to do it more often.

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And finally, my garden. It took forever to see anything bloom in my garden this year. The weather was not what the plants needed, and I saw so much of my hard work from the spring go to waste. It was discouraging to say the least. But this is the silver lining! See, I still have flowers in October! And even better, this past week, those flowers were covered in butterflies, because (get this!!!) it’s butterfly migration season. My time in my backyard has been extra beautiful lately.

Okay, that’s all I have for now, but let me tell you this simple trick works. Taking these photos and looking back on them really does remind me of all the wonderful things I’m constantly surrounded by and that in itself helps to re-energize me.

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We’re Jumping Into March Around Here

Beauty, Home, Lifestyle

Wow, sorry I ducked out for a few months there. I was really embracing the whole “new year, new me” thing. But it’s not so much about being new – it’s more about being the truest version of myself. And wow, that’s difficult, because guess what? I’m kind of a people pleaser. I really didn’t realize that about myself until recently, because I’m not someone who spends a lot of time worrying about what others think of me.

It wasn’t until I took the Enneagram quiz and found out I was a type 3 with a 2 wing. When I read up about my “type” nothing was shocking (In fact, I felt very grounded in everything I read like, “Oh yeah, that’s definitely me,” but what really stuck with me was the part that said in type 3s’ eyes, sometimes achieving (type 3s are often competitive and value being successful and achieving things) means succeeding at whatever their loved ones’ deem valuable, not what we deem valuable. And honestly, I think that’s been me for most of my life.

The great thing though, is that I do know a lot of things that I love, and now I’m just being sure to more actively pursue those things. I’m lucky that I have a lot of love and support in my life so it’s actually pretty exciting going forward. For instance, I love writing, and I’m going to keep doing just that right here. The crazy thing is that for the last few months I’ve been taking tons of pictures of everything around me for all these blog posts I was mentally planning. They just never made it out of my phone and head and onto an an electronic piece of paper (aka this post). I’m finally getting there so hang in there with me while I get myself caught up, and then let’s hope I can commit to some regularity going forward in 2019!

Another thing I’ve been exploring more? My love of flowers. About a year and a half ago, I started an instagram account for my love of flowers @rosemaryandribbon. I attended a few floral workshops and over the summer I used flowers from my own garden to practice even more. In January, I had the opportunity to have my floral designs in a couple of styled shoots.

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I made that bouquet. Ugh, it’s so pretty, it still gets to me. I’m willing to make flowers for you too! Just reach out to me via dm (on Instagram) or email (via my website). I’m really proud of my progress and I’m extra excited for my garden this summer (also, can’t wait for the spring weather to get here).

Also, I’m still working on my hydration. If you’ve read my blog before, you’ve probably heard me reference how I’m noticeably bad at staying hydrated while at work – to the point where a student commented on it. Well, for Christmas, Eric got me the water bottle of my dreams.

This is my bkr water bottle and I love it (it comes in a variety of sizes, colors, and textures!). It’s what my dream water bottle looks like. It’s glass, which means no weird plastic or metal taste in the water, and I can attach my lip balm on top, which if you know me, you know I have a penchant for skin care. In fact, I actually fell in love with bkr’s lip balm before I even knew they made water bottles.

See, Eric is perfect and in being perfect knows how to give me perfect gifts. For my birthday last year he got me a subscription to Allure’s beauty box (I’ve tried other similar boxes in the past and so far this has been my favorite). One month, bkr lip balm was included as a sample and it got me hooked. So when I used my sample gone, I went online to look for more, and that’s when I discovered that bkr makes water bottles and they can hold the lip balm bkr makes. When I showed Eric in excitement, he downplayed it and sneakily purchased it as a Christmas gift. And the best part is that it has helped me be better about keeping hydrated (both my body and my skin!).

Now students don’t comment on how little water I drink! Instead they comment on how cool my water bottle is!

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Fall Things

Lifestyle

I love summer and I’m always sad to see it go, but when fall arrives, I’m reminded just how much of a fall person I am. It’s like I finally come alive again. Whenever October rolls around, I’m reminded of the Anne of Green Gables quote: “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” And it’s true. It’s a month where you can truly feel the earth change, and we’re caught in this limbo between the growing season and the season of rest. We get pumpkins and apples and sweaters and jackets and booties. And we get moody lighting.

Things that are less fun about the coming season: coldness, allergies, colds and other illnesses, loss of sunlight, and dry skin. But we’re not going to focus on those things – unless we’re focusing on them to solely combat them.

So what am I looking forward to this coming season? Well, cooking out of Chrissy Teigen’s new cookbook Cravings 2. My husband got it for me as a sweet surprise gift, and I haven’t had time to cook out of it yet, but I have already poured over every page. Simply put, I’m dying to delve in.

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Also, her new Target collection of cookware? I can’t wait to acquire some it. Chrissy’s color scheme already fits the colors of my kitchen and my aesthetic taste in general.

On another note, if you remember my ChloSoup blueberry pie earrings from earlier this year, you’ll want to know that I got a fall update. That’s right, I got myself a pair of pumpkin pie earrings from ChloSoup and they don’t disappoint. I’ve already worn them so much and I’ve received a ton of compliments.

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But, I mean, how could you not compliment them? They’re adorable. The creator of the brand has tons of adorable products and just released a Halloween line, along with some general fall and Thanksgiving products.

What am I on the lookout for? Eye products. Guys, my eyes are killing me they’re so puffy and wrinkly, and I’m glad I have big eyes, but I need to be able to smile without losing my eyes in pools of skin, which is what I feel like is happening now. I’m sure my allergies don’t help, and I’m sure hydrating will also help. But if you have any tips, tricks, or products that you love and recommend please let me know. I will be indebted to you forever if I can smile big again.

Finally, I want to leave you with something that I am extremely thankful for right now: dahlias. It’s getting cold and blustery, but guess what, my husband picked these pretty things out of my garden just the other day. I’m thankful for God creating things that grow in periods of cold and darkness, a reminder that we too can grow in difficult periods.

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Oh, and one final, final thing – Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are expecting a baby?! I’m so extremely excited and happy for them, and I just want Meghan to have a safe and joyful pregnancy. Congrats to those two love birds.

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What To Do At The Start Of Spring

Home, Lifestyle

We all know the saying – March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb. So far, March is definitely on track to live up to that old adage. While temperatures hit the 50 degree range last week, this week has started off with a winter weather advisory. I’m missing the sun already.

Instead of bemoaning what could be, my husband and I took advantage of the great weather we had this weekend, and we made the best of the warm weather while we had it. So what should you do with your time at the start of spring? Here’s my suggestions:

  • Get Outside – Growing up in the Midwest and being a spring sport athlete all through college taught me to have thick skin, especially when it comes to fickle weather. I’ve played softball while it was snowing, and while that’s never too fun, it does make you appreciate those first days of spring when things are first thawing and you can finally feel the sun on your skin again. Since my husband and I both love the outdoors, we made sure to get outside this weekend, first, on a trip duck watching, and then taking our cute little dog out for an extended playtime.

 

  • Embrace the color green – As the temperatures begin to drop again, I’m remembering that I can look to my little seedlings that I started indoors a couple weeks ago even if the grass outside is still far from green. I also bought more flowers this weekend because they brighten up any space and it’s a nice reminder that nature is near even when the low temperatures keep you from otherwise enjoying it.

 

  • Smile (everything has it’s season) – Sometimes when you get a taste of better weather, it feels especially bitter to have the sunshine disappear. It’s important to remember that there is a time and season for everything, in life and in nature. It’s easy to want to rush through the days to get to what’s ahead, but there are great things happening right where you are right now – even if the weather isn’t the greatest. Gloomy, cold gray days give us the perfect excuse to curl up inside with a warm beverage and catch up with our favorite book. I don’t know about you, but I can always use more time to read. It’s days like today that remind me to be thankful where I’m at each and every single moment. We just have to smile and look for the good in the situation we are currently in.

 

It’s March (That Means It’s Officially Spring)

Home, Lifestyle

It’s officially March, and I’ve been itching for some sunshine. The thought of spring is so near I can hardly stand it. I’m about two seconds away from taking an irrational weekend trip to somewhere with a warm beach.

If you’re worried about me, don’t worry. You don’t need to be. I’ve been channeling my desire for warmer weather and brighter days into my gardening, and oh boy, those little seedlings have been taking off.

Growing up, my mom always had gardens at home. I always got to help her plant the vegetables and flowers, and it became a regular part of my life. After growing up, getting married, and moving away I felt a strong desire to continue gardening, so I started my journey this spring (Okay, it was still winter, but I was dreaming of spring) by visiting a local gardening store and picking up a few seed starter trays and a few packets of seeds.

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My husband and I started that batch of seeds a few weeks ago and out of my jalapenos, sweet peppers, and tomatoes, we’ve started to see a handful of tomato seeds sprout. Then, last weekend, I convinced my husband to drive me around town to a handful of other gardening stores where I picked up some bulbs, seed packets, and a few of those nice greenhouse seed starter kits.

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Holy moly, those greenhouse kits are worth the money you spend on them! Almost all my seeds have already started to sprout in about a week’s time. Now I’m looking at my poor little greenhouse-less seed starting trays and they look so sad in comparison, and so many poor little seeds aren’t getting the love they need.

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I showed our by-chance gardening experiment to my husband last night, and I convinced him it that it would ultimately be wise to go get another greenhouse kit and plant more peppers and tomatoes. He’s the sweetest, and I’m lucky he loves growing things as much as I do because our cozy little apartment has been taken over by my gardening habit. Though, he has asked me on multiple occasions what I plan to do with all the plants once they’re full grown because they surely won’t all fit on our balcony!

While I’m waiting for my little seeds to sprout and grow, I’m filling my love of flowers with with beauties that I can buy and arrange myself. I truly feel like Claude Monet when he said, “I must have flowers, always, and always.” And my husband would agree. He’ll never forget how big our floral budget was for our wedding, but hello, flowers and greenery totally build the atmosphere! Most recently, I truly channeled spring when I picked up some daffodils, tulips, and ranunculus.

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I’m glad it’s March and warmer days are on their way, but I still can’t wait for a nice dose of sunshine! Until then (and if we’re being honest, even then), I will fill my days and windowsills with pretty flowers!