Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: a year to remember

Well, here we are at the end of another year.  2013 was a good one, and I'll treasure the memories that I made this past year for many more to come.  I decided to break down my favorite memories by month, so here we go...the 12 months of 2013!


Austin and I rung in the new year with some friends, watched The Cotton Bowl in style, and went on a fun brewery tour.


My birthday month was a blast this year.  My parents came to visit, Austin threw me a great party at Painting with a Twist, and Austin made me a delicious Valentine's Day dinner.


In March, Austin ran a half marathon, we partied at the Dallas St. Patty's Day parade, and we booked our wedding venue!


April was a fun one.  I love it when the temps start rising and summer gets close.  Austin and I had fun at good friend's wedding, we dyed Easter Eggs, and I made my favorite meal of the year: short ribs with mashed potatoes and asparagus.  YUM!


Austin's kickball team won the 'ship, I had a lovely Mother's Day weekend with Sherbo, and Austin and I had a fun date at Simply Fondue.


June was a busy one!  I wrapped up the regular school year, worked for an entire weekend at the PowerHouse Annual Revue (dance recital), I taught summer school, and some of my gal pals and I took a fabulous trip to Fredricksberg for a wine tour!


July was tons of fun!  I saw the best play I've ever seen, watched the fireworks with my main man, and took a trip to the beach with Austin's family.


August was pretty low key, but there was one big highlight: I said, "YES" to my wedding dress with the help of an expert judging panel!  I got a call last week that it is in, and I get to go for a fitting very soon!  Yay!!! 

PS- Don't worry...the dress in the mirror isn't the one I picked. ;)


We took a trip to Aggieland to watch our Aggies take on Bama, went to Oktoberfest, and I got to meet my new ballerina babes for this year.


October was another busy month.  Austin and I registered for our wedding, we went to ACL (a music festival in Austin) with some friends, and Austin and I went to Washington D.C. to celebrate our 4 year anniversary and for Austin to run a marathon!


Last month was tons of fun!  I got to meet The Pioneer Woman, and she signed my cookbooks, our engagement pictures were ready, and Austin and I went back to College Station to watch Johnny Football play his last home game of the season.


We ended the year with a bang this past December!  We celebrated Austin's 25th birthday, survived the big freeze, I had an awesome bachelorette party thanks to my incredible friends, and Austin and I had a great Christmas with our family and friends.

Unfortunately, 2013 wasn't t all good, specifically this morning.  I got a call from my sister letting me know that my sweet grandpa had passed away.  I know Peepaw had a good life, and it makes it easier to know that he got to spend his final days surrounded by his friends and family while we celebrated Christmas.  If you're the praying kind, keep my family (especially my grandma, mom, and aunt) in your prayers.   

I love you, Peepaw!

Like I said, 2013 was mostly great, but I can't wait for 2014!  I'm going to turn 25, Austin and I are getting married then going on our honeymoon, and I get to keep doing what I love: teaching pesky 7th graders how to read and write and little ballerinas how to dance!  Happy New Year, y'all!  Cheers to 2014!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

holiday how-to: making a gift basket

 I'm sure I don't have to tell you this, but holiday gift giving can be a tricky thing.  Who do you buy for?  What do you get everyone?  How much should you spend?  Personally, I love shopping for the perfect gift, wrapping it up, and watching the recipient enjoy their present, but you may not come from the same school of thought as me.

So, what do you do if you're not exactly sure what to get someone?  I have the answer!  Find out what they like, and make them a basket!

My school does a Secret Santa gift exchange, and this year I drew my principal.  I know she loves coffee, and that's what she asked for on her elfster.com page, so that's what she got!  I'll show you how I made her basket, but don't get too caught up with the coffee theme.  You could change the items inside the basket based on the recipient.  

First, go and buy all of your supplies and lay them out so you can see what you're working with.  You'll obviously need a basket or container or some sort, some filler to put on the bottom, a cellophane bag, and some ribbon.  What goes on the inside is up to you, but I like to get a few large items (like the big bags of coffee and the mugs) and then some smaller things to fill the basket out (like the cookies, mints, and flavorings). World Market is my go to place for baskets (the one I got came with the filler and cellophane bag!), and they also have a ton of small or individually packaged goodies that are perfect for these baskets.  

Once you have all of your supplies, it's pretty simple.  First, put whatever filler you have in the bottom of the basket.  Then, start with the big stuff.  I tried a few different places for the bags of coffee and the mugs, but the way they're arranged in the picture is my favorite.  After that, fill in the gaps with the smaller items.  Fan things out or arrange them so that they look pretty.

Once everything is in the basket, wrap it up with the cellophane and tie a big ribbon around the top.  Baskets like these are the perfect thing for anyone on your list, and the possibilities are endless!  Plus, they look really fancy sitting under your tree.  :)

Like I said before, you don't have to stick to coffee.  Make a wine-themed basket with bottles of wine, pretty glasses, cute stoppers, and yummy cheese.  Try making one for your man with tools or his favorite beer and things to go with that.  My mom made something like this for all of my little boy cousins one year with a big bucket filled with toys.  A movie basket would be fun too...popcorn, candy, a few DVDs, and some adult beverages.  Just be creative!

Happy gift giving, everyone!!!

Friday, December 13, 2013

our christmas decorations!

Hey guys, and happy Friday!!  I hope everyone is staying warm and is ready for the weekend.  I'm planning on finishing my Christmas shopping, doing to the usual laundry/grocery shopping/cleaning routine and teaching some baby ballerinas, but I'm also hoping to get in some quality hot chocolate time in there too.
Speaking of Christmas...I wanted to show you guys how Austin and I have decked our (tiny little apartment) halls.  We can't fit a ton of decorations in our small space, but we've done the best we can with what we've got.  Take a look!

The stockings are from Pottery Barn (they do free monogramming and shipping this time of year!), and the flannel ornaments were a gift from last Christmas!

I got our tree from Home Depot last year, and all of the ornaments and the topper are from Pier 1 and Target.  The tree skirt that matches our stockings is on my wish list, but for now we just use presents to decorate the bottom. 

Our dining room centerpiece!  There are usually fake lemons in that little basket, but I'm partial to our Christmastime bells, ornaments, and pinecones.

Elfie, our holiday helper.  We obviously don't have kids yet, but Austin and I still get a kick out of hiding him in random spots to try and freak each other out. 

So that's it!  Our first Christmas decorations!  I can't wait to add to the collection once we live in a house, but for now these are perfect.  :)

BONUS: I've added some festive cheer to my classroom, so here's a sneak peek!

Teacher nutcracker & mini tree, tiny stockings on my whiteboard, and a candy cane wreath from my secret santa.
Special thanks to Ashley, Jessica, Jordon, and Allison for hosting this cute little Christmas decoration link up!  I loved seeing everyone's gorgeous decorations!!
Merry Christmas, y'all!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

ice ice birthday

Well, we've had quite the weekend in the DFW area!  If you've turned on the TV or radio at all in the past few days, I'm sure you've heard about the awful ice storm that hit Thursday night. 
Thursday also happened to be Austin's 25th birthday, but we did not let a little storm get in the way of our celebration!
Birthday Boy
Austin and I met up with some of our friends to have dinner and drinks at one of Austin's favorite restaurants, Pappasito's, on Thursday evening, and we made it home just before the craziness started.  We woke up on Friday morning to a freezing apartment, no electricity, no hot water, and a thick blanket of ice on everything outside. 
Yes, that is my spatula that Austin is using to scrape his windshield!
Luckily we have good friends that live close to us and that (thank goodness) had power on Friday!  Shout out to our pal Cody for letting us hang out at his apartment all day and to Molly & Stephen for letting us shower and get ready at their apartments!
Because we were totally over being cooped up all day on Friday (and because two of our friends had delayed flights), we went to a concert that evening!  Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West were playing at a venue that wasn't too far from us, so we decided to brave the ice once again!
I'm so glad we did because while we were grabbing some dinner before the show, I ran into one of my favorite radio personalities, Jenna Owens!  I listen to Jenna and the rest of the KKITM crew every day on my way to work, and I usually play the full podcast when I'm cooking dinner.  I love Jenna, and she was so sweet in person! 
Don't know Jenna?  Click here.
 The actual concert was a blast.  Because of the storm, a lot of people weren't able to make it, so we happily occupied their (much better and closer) seats.  Both of these rappers are great live, and Kanye's entire production was really cool! 

We stayed inside for the majority of the day on Saturday, but that evening we ventured out to attend our friend Ashley's Christmas party.  She had the cutest spread, and we got to see her new house.  There were a few people who couldn't make the drive, so it was an intimate setting, but we had fun despite the numbers!

 The rest of the weekend was pretty boring.  I spent Sunday doing laundry and ordering our Save the Dates, and yesterday I went grocery shopping, made some chex mix, finished the laundry, and cooked up some chicken soup. 

I'm back at school today, and I think things should be back to normal fairly soon.  If you know me, I'm sure you're aware that this is not my favorite weather by any means, so I'm doing everything I can to stay warm.  The storm weekend was definitely crazy, but I'm glad we didn't let a little ice ruin all of our fun.

I hope everyone is staying safe and warm out there!