Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Ends of October

Greetings faithful readers and friends,

October has been tough, but we're nearing the end now, and November will be the start of a new month. If you've been reading for awhile, you know that new months are always particularly inspiring to me, but I can especially say this of November as it is a month where we focus on thankfulness and reflection.

Despite not having a chance to blog the last two weeks, I wanted to capture some of the happy moments from them.

The biggest news is that, on October 15th, I traded in Goldie and got a new car!

I choose a Honda CR-V EXL, and I couldn't be happier with it. I was ready for something with more room, but I still wanted a car that would fit in my garage. This is the perfect car for me. We also looked at Ford Escape and Mazda CX5, but the Honda stole my affections. After driving Goldie for 100,000 miles, it was hard to say goodbye. A few tears were shed, but the dealership seemed confident that Goldie would find a new home.

My CRV is a fancier car than I'm used to. I love that it connects with my phone via bluetooth, so I can make and receive calls without physically holding the phone. I love the backup camera and the right turn lane camera. I even have a three month subscription to Sirius Satellite Radio, which is also really fun! 

Last weekend, my mom came to town, and it was amazing to see her. We went furniture shopping while Brendan caught up on some work. On our agenda: finding a new couch. Mine was purchased from Craigslist for $200.00 in 2008 and is on its last leg. Our big requirement was that the couch had to be a sleeper sofa (not easy to find), and we also wanted something very comfortable and fairly attractive. We found the perfect couch (it's not this one; I just like that picture of my mom). Brendan approved, and we placed our order on Tuesday. It should be delivered in 8-10 weeks. I can't wait! Pictures to come. 

While my mom was here, we played Yahtzee, saw Girl on the Train (the book was better; the movie is far too serious with no fun moments; so disappointing if you were expecting anything like Gone Girl), and we ate at the Red Oak Kitchen, a restaurant we had never tried before. We highly recommend the Red Oak Kitchen; we all shared cornbread, pizza, tacos, and salad, and we had plenty of leftovers for everyone to have lunch the next day.

I got my hair done on Thursday with Max at Maximus Salon. I snapped this photo to send to Brendan at work. He loved it, and my mother in law called it "wicked cute."

Speaking of wicked...

We had a "wicked fun" time last night catching our friend Jenni in Midland Community Theater's production of Southern Hospitality. There's still a chance to see it tomorrow and next weekend, so we highly recommend that you go, especially if you need a good laugh.

And, we spent today readying ourselves for Halloween.

There was pumpkin carving and pumpkin seed roasting. Here's my pumpkin:

Brendan's pumpkin seeds (cinnamon, sugar, and all things delicious). In other cooking adventures, I made lemon poppy seed pancakes with lemon glaze and eggs for breakfast and mac and cheese for dinner. Sometimes a cozy day at home is just what you need.

My pumpkin at night:

Brendan's pumpkin. Isn't it great?

In the past week, I've embarked on a Harry Potter movie marathon. We decided to transform the tutoring center at work into Harry Potter world for Halloween. All the tutors and staff took the official JK Rowling quiz to be sorted into a house. I'm a Ravenclaw, and Brendan is a Gryffindor (no surprises there). We'll be wearing our "house uniforms" on Monday :)

In other work news:
We took the honor society members bowling two weekends ago and participated in the Halloween carnival this Thursday. We have fifty active members: easily the most we've had in a fall semester.
91% of my flex students moved into 1301 with me, which makes me happy in a way nothing else could.
The fall creative writing contest closed to submissions last night with more entries than Brendan has seen since he started running the contest four years ago.
I was extremely honored to be nominated for the Teaching Excellence Award.

Our friends and family have given us much to be thankful for, and November hasn't even begun. I'm ready to welcome the season of giving and being thankful, but first, I can't wait to pass out candy and celebrate Halloween in our house for the first time.

Happy End of October, all. We hope the month is wrapping up nicely for you with a relaxing and cozy weekend.


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Aaron and Sabrina's Wedding

Greetings faithful blog readers! Time to play catch-up and tell you about our recent travels to Middleburg, VA to enjoy the festivities of Aaron (Brendan's cousin) and Sabrina's wedding.

We rented a lovely house for the weekend and stayed with Brendan's family, aunt, uncle, and cousins. The space was perfect for what we needed: two outdoor patios and a hot-tub (sadly the pool was already closed!)

Friday during the day, Brendan went to sample cider with the other relatives while I got my nails done with his mom and sister. My mani/pedi was much needed, and my mom in law was super nice to treat me. Friday night, we dined at the Blackthorne Inn, a restaurant in a stone house that was once owned by George Washington. We had a private room perfect for conversation, and everyone enjoyed an excellent meal!

Afterwards, we headed to the wedding venue, the Salamander Resort, for a pre-wedding fire pit gathering. There were s'mores, but I'm pretty sure that everyone was too full from dinner! 

Finally, it was time for the wedding. We enjoyed getting ready in the house and taking some group photos before and after the ceremony. Here's a large part but not all of the Egan family! 

Our family :) Happy 39 year anniversary to Brendan's parents today (10/15!)

One very fun thing about Brendan's family is that all seven cousins were born in a ten year time span. That means that between the cousins and significant others, there are fourteen of us very close in age, which always makes for super fun family gatherings. Here's a few of us.

Of course, the best part of any wedding is seeing a happy bride and groom. Aaron and Sabrina were both glowing! 

We returned home Sunday night and had a very exhausting week catching up on work and sleep, but it was all worth it to see our family and be a part of another Egan wedding celebration! 


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

6 Years Lucky

It's hard to believe but oh so true, Brendan and I shared our first kiss six years ago today in Lake Charles, Louisiana. This photo was taken a couple of weeks later at a party for visiting poet, Gary Jackson. I remember flying home from SCMLA to make it to the reading on time. I was so excited to see Brendan, to hear Jackson's reading, and to see my friends. 

Back then, it felt like everything was just beginning. I was starting to think about applying for jobs and knew nothing of where life would take me or how things would turn out. I wasn't scared though. I had a feeling that Brendan and I would stay together, that our relationship would grow despite all the upcoming changes. 

I talked about Jackson's poem "The Gap" today with my composition students. It's funny how even though so much changes, who we are is so influenced by where we've been and, more importantly, who we've been there with. I feel lucky that the last six years of my life have been shared with this amazing man. Everything has changed so very much, but we're still wholly in love. There's no one else I'd rather come home to. I'm home wherever he is; if that's not luck, I don't know what is. 

Happy six years, Brendan. Thanks for making them the best years of my life. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Life in LulaRoe

Greetings faithful blog readers! 

I'm checking in after a busy week traveling to Virginia for a family wedding (more on that later) to share one my newest obsessions with you. It's no secret that I love comfortable clothes. When I was a kid, I would ONLY wear dresses, and I didn't own a pair of jeans until fifth grade (I had to wear them in a school play and absolutely HATED the feeling and didn't wear jeans again until middle school). As an adult, I definitely want to be comfortable at work, but sometimes that's hard when I also need to look professional. Enter LulaRoe, a company that lets me have my cake and eat it too. 

What it is: 
I started out with just one pair of leggings and a Cassie skirt, but then I couldn't get enough. Since I heard of LulaRoe a few weeks ago, I've bought four pairs of leggings, two skirts, and one dress. So far, I love everything. I'd say the Cassie skirt is my absolute favorite. It's a stretchy pencil skirt that can be worn for work or play. At $35, it's also a great deal. Here it is in a X-small. 

And here it is in a small (and after a long day at work teaching and tutoring!):  

The Nicole dress is another favorite. I ordered Small, but I could wear a Medium as well: 

By far, the best sellers I hear are the leggings, and I can see why. They are super soft (some call them "butter leggings), and there are a million fun prints. I couldn't resist these with keyboards and guitars. Leggings make the perfect lazy Sunday lounge wear, but I have neutral colors that I can wear under a dress for a day at work. This is especially good in the winter when I will wear trousers, but I'd be so much more comfortable in leggings and a long sleeve dress. I was even lucky enough to score a pair of Halloween leggings (which trust me, wasn't easy) that I'm saving for the end of October, and you can bet I'll wear them to work with a black dress on the 31st! I wear leggings in OS (one size), but they are also available in tall and curvy (TC). 

How it Works: 
Shopping for LulaRoe isn't like shopping for normal clothes, and that's part of the fun of it. Consultants host pop up parties, and you have a limited time (usually 24 hours) to shop the albums or the link. If you are shopping albums, they are uploaded onto a Facebook page, and you need to comment "claim" and leave an email address if you see something you like.  If you are shopping a link, it opens a webpage with all the seller's items, and you can click the button that says claim. You need to pay your invoice within 24 hours usually, and the sellers ship to you that fast too! 

LulaRoe makes a limited number of each size and style in each pattern, so if you see something you like, it could be hard to find again. That said, I don't recommend getting caught up in the frenzy. I don't shop from sellers that have thousands of followers commenting on every post; I find that stressful and much prefer to shop parties or private sales. Sure, there are other people shopping, but you can take more than one second to decide if you want something! 

My Party and the Bomber Blondes Amy and Britney: 
I'm hosting a party tonight at 6:30PM central time, so tell me on Facebook if you'd like to be added. I choose to work with Amy and Britney (The Bomber Blondes) because they have a very organized and easy to shop website, and they give a 10% discount to all teachers, military, nurses, and first responders, and I think that's awesome and know a lot of my friends that would appreciate it. They also have great shipping prices ($1 for one pair of leggings, $3 for 1-2 items, and $6 for 3+ items). Plus, for every 10 items you buy, you get a pair of leggings for free. 

I'm definitely interested in picking up an Amelia and a Carly to add to my wardrobe, plus, for the right print, I'll be back for more Cassies, Nicoles, and Leggings! 

Happy shopping! 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Oh Hello October!

Greetings faithful blog readers.
In truth, I don't know that I've ever been more excited to start a new month. I am simply ready for all things fall, and the start of October coinciding with the weekend gave us time to fully celebrate the arrival of a new month.

On Saturday morning, I woke up and declared that I was going to make it my ideal day. It's such a magical feeling to be able to wake up and do whatever one wants with a day. After taking our time getting ready, we started the day with brunch at Lori's. We both had the special, chilaquiles, and it was absolutely wonderful. From there, we headed to Fiddlestick Farms for opening day. Fiddlestick Farms is $15 for people ages 4 and up (children 3 and under get in free). There are many attractions, most of them geared towards kids, but we still had a great time checking out the corn maze and hayride, picking pumpkins, and taking some fall photos.

A word of caution: actually wear athletic shoes for the corn maze and bring sunscreen. I severely underestimated the difficulty and thus the length of time we'd be in there, and I ended up both sunburned and with tons of dirt in my flats. Not my most prepared moment!

A tip for pumpkin picking: the hayride will take you out to more pumpkin patches where you can pick pumpkins right off the vine and also have a selection that includes more varieties than the display at the front. We got six squash of varying sizes for $16.00 and found that large orange pumpkins are cheaper at HEB but all of the other varieties at Fiddlestick Farms are a deal compared to HEB.

Fiddlestick Farms has a rule against bad language, but as we left, Brendan was so excited that he exclaimed: It's ****ing decorative gourd season! Luckily, no one heard except for me, and I thought his excitement was hilarious. After we returned from the farm, we were exhausted (probably in part from getting so much sun). Brendan found the energy to make my favorite butternut squash recipe. We altered the ingredients slightly to use what we had on hand, but the result was as tasty as always.

I'm looking forward to the leftovers of this tonight!

After dinner, we watched The Night Of. Only two more episodes to go! The tension is extreme!

Yesterday, we went to HomeGoods first thing, so I could pick up a wreath and complete our front door decor.

I also picked up a pumpkin scented candle to get me in the October spirit (even though the weather isn't exactly cooperating; it's still in the 90s this week!) One reason I'm SO excited about October this year is because last year, we missed Halloween in our new house due to a work conference. This year, I can't wait to be here to dress up and hand out candy. I have great memories of Halloween as a child. Everyone in my childhood neighborhood would go all out to make Halloween special (we're talking backyard haunted houses, creepy decorations and music, and tons of candy). When I lived in apartments, I never had a trick or treater (except for once in Lake Charles, when I was unprepared and had to give out a bag of Chex Mix to a pretty disappointed kid). This year, I'll have so much candy! I'm still brainstorming about what we should be for Halloween. Any suggestions?

Last night, we ended the weekend at Dagan and Steph's house watching the new HBO show WestWorld. The show was so, so good and super creepy.  It's uncanny valley to the extreme, and if you have a fear of mannequins and robots (as I do), you may never sleep again! This temporarily will ease the void left by the wait for Game of Thrones.

This week is going to be fast and needs to be highly productive as a result. We leave town for a wedding in Virginia at the end of this week, so I have to make every hour count. Time for a pre-workout nap!

How did you welcome October? We hope it was with open arms; happy fall y'all!

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