fresh papers && fresh perspectives

As mentioned, education is, has been and always will be a big part of my life. As the child of educators and as a child who loved school, I have always associated August with fresh excitement.

Buying school supplies will forever be an enjoyment for me, since there is nothing like starting something exciting in a new notebook with a crisp pen.

Shopping for clothes is, of course, a favorite pastime, but finding the perfect first-day-of-school look is amazing.

And the first day of school…*ahhh*…the smell of erasers, old books and just-polished hardwood floors…the sound of squeals as people reunite and bells moving people to new classes full of possibilities…and the overall optimism about a new year of new education…I love it all!

Since I’m married to a teacher now, I’ll get to enjoy the good parts of this still (yay shopping), but for the most part, my days in a school building are done.

I thought they already were, since I graduated from high school in 2009, and I finished up college a semester early, in December 2012.

In the summer of 2015, though, in a long series of events that I’ve previously blogged about (and don’t want to type out again), I went back to school – on the other side! – and became a teacher in my hometown. For two years, I taught English, journalism, theater arts, basketball, UIL and life lessons in the same classrooms I learned in, at my old high school. I taught with teachers who taught me, as well as with my parents. #weird #butgood And while I was teaching, I stressed about finding the right curriculum to get through to different learners…I freaked out when confrontations (you know, like fist fights) happened in my room…I cried when our small community dealt with loss…and I learned…a lot…such as…

  • more advanced English terms, since I had forgotten some and picked up new tricks on remembering others
  •  I do better in bigger towns, where I have more options for eating, shopping, friends and entertainment
  • “Predestination” is now one of my top favorite movies
  • teaching = counseling and nurturing (Some kids wouldn’t listen to me talk about hyperboles and protagonists, but as soon as someone asked me a personal questions, as soon as a disagreement happened between students, as soon as really anything out of the ordinary happened, the kids turned to me. They looked at my reaction, they looked at me for advice, and they looked to see what the adult (who was only eight years older than some of them) in the room had to say. They opened up about difficult home situations, breakups, battles with depression, worries about their futures and so on, seeking guidance from someone who had at least a couple of years of real-world experience. I didn’t always have the right answers, I never figured out what girls needed hugs and which ones needed to just be mad, and I definitely didn’t realize how much of my days would be spent doing all of that…)

I could go on and on about what I learned, but I guess I just needed to blog it out! I guess that school is about to start, and I’m not buying new pens and papers. I guess I’m searching for what this new perspective on education will be. Obviously, I still learn and grow every day, and I’ll still be around friends and family members who come home with stories of grading and PTA meetings. I will be doing other things, though! And while I am beyond thrilled to be a full-time, work-from-home writer (#dreamscometrue), I’m finding myself a little…nostalgic…a little…sad? I will miss aspects of it. I will miss those lightbulb moments, when my hard work paid off and students grasped new concepts. I will miss reading super creative stories from super talented individuals. I will miss stuffing people in basketball practice. I will miss talking about fashion and The Real Housewives with my mom during break. I will miss Taco Thursday with my dad. I will miss Woodson, the best little town out there, since I had to tell it goodbye once again.

My parting words…

  • Good luck to current teachers! You have THE hardest job in the world (which I also previously blogged about), but know that you are SO valued and respected (even when it doesn’t feel like it).
  • Good luck to students heading back to school! I know you’ll get tired and bored and stressed, but know that what you do now really will affect your future (so be the best you can be).
  • Thank you to all educators! You taught me, you teach them, you teach yourselves, and I’m excited for my future children to learn from hardworking and caring individuals like I had.
  • And thank you Woodson for always being a calming constant in my life, with funny and skilled kiddos, smart and determined faculty/staff members and locals who bring smiles to my face with their memories and goodness.

P.S…Leaving this here…Nothing big…Just a fellow small town on ESPN!

P.P.S…People who didn’t grow up in a town of 300…People who didn’t graduate with six other people…People who don’t visit home – a town they moved to when they were one/the town their parents will retire in…They are missing out. Yes, I love the hustle and bustle of the city now, but I love the stars in the country sky, the lack of traffic on our dirt roads, and the shine of stadium lights on Friday nights. People may see this and think, “Wow, ESPN. Really? No one cares about small towns. I thought teams that had to use girls were just made up. These people are just rednecks.” I can make the occasional redneck joke – but only me and my fellow small towners! When other people think they know all about rural America, with a sad mental image of the “typical farmer” and such…Wow. Okay. Off on a tangent! Just wanted to spread a little more goodness out there about the charm, care and coolness of small towns (but ours is the best:).

Seven Little & Light Life Lessons

If you’re looking for tips on how to find The One, career advice or details on the latest diet craze, you’re out of luck, because these little life hacks are fluffier things I have come to realize.

  1. Be adventurous: I’ve never had caviar or done stand-up paddle boarding, so I’m going to do those things in the upcoming months, because I can and should! What are some adventures on your bucket list?
  2. You should move regularly: Yes, I transfer to new apartments frequently, because I get bored, but what I really mean here is that physical activity is one of the most important things. I never realized how valuable a built-in athletic period was in my life, and now, it can be a struggle, but even if you’re just stretching two or three times a week (but I’d prefer you do more;), your body will thank you.
  3. Know your passions: We have one short life, and we should fill it with people, careers and hobbies that please us. So indulge in that one Netflix show, go back to school to fulfill your dream and get all wrapped up in things that make you happy AND can pay the bills.
  4. Know your weaknesses: First off, you should know this just so you’ll be prepared in interviews, but more importantly, it’s good to keep personal perspective, to know what makes you human, where to ask for help and how to build yourself up.
  5. Have patience: All of life is waiting – in line for groceries, for your alarm to go off, to find an SO, for your favorite month/holiday/day of the week – so learn to deal with all of this, as well as the rest of the odd/not-always-perf curveballs of life.
  6. Love yourself: You’re going to have a bad time if you’re always upset at/disgusted with why-oh-you. Sure, you may wish your bottom teeth were straighter or that you had a Kardashian booty or that your could paint like Picasso, but you’re you, and
  7. Cherish your loved ones: If you are having trouble with any of the above, at least you have at least one person who gets you and cheers you up…so tell me about those lovely people, because I love to brag about mine!
This covers numbers one and seven, and we can talk about these lovely people, too;)

This covers numbers one and seven, and we can talk about these lovely people, too;)

What Should You Be When You Grow Up?

1. When you were a child, you could be found playing with:

A. Sporting equipment

B. Dolls

C. Sticks

D. Crayons










2. In middle school, you were known as the kid that:

A. Won every game

B. Wore makeup early

C. Never bathed

D. Was always reading









3. Your first love was:

A. A sports team

B. A total hottie

C. Ew, gross, no!

D. A secret






4. When graduating, you wanted to be remembered for:

A. MVP records

B. Your looks

C. Anything

D. The sets you designed for plays












5. If you could’ve picked any college major, it would have been:

A. Skipping school and heading for the pros

B. Something that will allow me to model on the side

C. Whatever is easiest

D. A major that would’ve let me truly express myself






6. Your biggest accomplishment so far is:

A. That state championship in high school

B. Finding true love

C. Still being alive

D. Landing a job you’re passionate about






7. Speaking of seven, our final question, who do you consider lucky:

A. Lebron James

B. Kim Kardashian

C. No one – luck is dumb

D. Me, of course!












If you answered mostly…

A: It may be too late to join the NFL (maybe!), but why not consider getting your personal trainer certification or teaching Little League? Your love of the game will come across as helpful in these situation – when you do find time to squeeze them in around your season tickets!

B: You’re known for your looks, but remember to stay modest! You could definitely try modeling – or at least attempt getting famous on social media, by sharing your outfits and design through blog posts and Instagram photos.

C: You don’t really know what you want – and that’s okay. By picking up new hobbies, hanging out at new places and trying new things in general, you could discover a whole new passion!

D: It will do you good to stay in a position that keeps your creative juices flowing, whether you’re writing novels, painting for fun or teaching/volunteering at a local theater!

True Love & Its Crazy Rules

I know several of my posts are about Real Housewives, but this one is actually deeper. One of my favorite Bravo women – Carole Radziwill – just wrote a new book, The Widow’s Guide to Sex & Dating. Not only is she a coveted RH of NYC, but she’s also a journalist who was married to a Kennedy (see why I love her?). 


In honor of her new book, she’s having fans write on some of her dating rules, and this week’s is “don’t sleep with him until he thinks he’s in love with you.”

I know I’m young and may not have that many juicy love stories or deep insight into fate and kismet, but here are my thoughts on this rule…

There’s no logic to these things. You meet someone and you fall in love, and that’s that. This Woody Allen quote sums up the tip-of-the-iceberg when it comes to love. Whether we’re eight, eighteen or fifty eight-years-old, we see The One, fall head over heels and can’t help it all.

My first word was the name of a cute boy my dad coached, and from then on, I remember crushing on boys on the playground and beyond. My “real” moment of this, though, happened on a plane ride to Cologne, Germany, where I set my eyes upon Tommy Baze. I switched seats to be by him the entire ride, bonded over music and small towns, ended up at the University of Texas with him…and the rest is history!


The course of true love never did run smooth. Then, however, bumps and trials come. Our romantic drama may not be as extreme as some of the scenes from Shakespeare, but we lose a little bit of the luster and must decide if this is, indeed, true love.

I was only 16 when I met Tommy, and the first years of college can be confusing, wild and life-changing, so we definitely hit some snags.


So it’s not gonna be easy. It’s gonna be really hard. We’re gonna have to work at this everyday, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, you and me, every dayWe’ve all been swept away by Ryan Gosling quoting this, and if/when you reach this point in a relationship, you know it’s real and that you can work through tough times and choose each other forever.

After many tears and thoughts and even joining dating sites to get over each other, we eventually became “official,” choosing to be together, for reals and for good.


I was made and meant to look for you and wait for you and become yours forever. And then we feel complete, knowing that this is why we exist, to live and love, just as Robert Browning spoke about long ago.

Now, we’re a few years into our relationship, and I know we’ll face even more challenges and crossroads, but we only have this one short life, and I’m thrilled to be spending mine with a cutie I met on a Lufthansa flight.


So when it comes to not sleeping with (or being with or kissing) a guy until he’s in love with you…I say go with your gut! Because as my first point mentions, we seriously cannot help it when we fall for someone, and no matter how great everything seems, we are going to have to have lessons learned. So get out there, and while being smart and safe, test the waters, go on adventures and see if/how you can meet your Prince Charming (or Noah Calhoun;).

As always, thanks for reading, and be sure to keep us with all the news surrounding #WidowsGuide.



tight thursday: money is tight

This personal blog shows that things are tight a. between my loved ones and b. financially. 

I’ve officially hit the post-grad, young adult life.

Yes, I’ve been out of college for several months now, and I’ve technically been an adult for almost five years, but things got real recently.

I don’t have a full-time position, with a yearly salary and all those adult-y benefits.

I do have a part-time job that works me, like, 30 hours a week, plus babysitting at least six days a week for four different kids.

However, it’s time to start paying off student loans and bills…time to start suffering.


So, here is my in-between-parental-support-and-being-a-real-adult-who-pays-for-her-whole-family financial advice to you:

1. Contrary to beliefs, you CAN live without DVR recording of The Real Housewives.

My first step in saving money was to cut back on cable by just going basic. If you know how much Bravo I watch, you will understand that, yeah, it’s annoying to try and catch all my shows. But I’m not dumb: I know TV is not a necessity.

2. So you wana be skinny, eh?

My boyfriend and I love eating together, but now, we don’t eat out as much and go grocery shopping way less. Furthermore, buying off-brands can add up and help out, too, which I thankfully have always been okay with.

3. Be crafty and courageous and careful.

I’ve done plasma-donating, craigslist-selling and random work for people (like bamboo-sitting). A little money here and there – rather than just sitting at home, wishing you had twenty more dollars – can actually do something.

Uhm…that’s actually all I have. I don’t really know what I’m doing. But I’m surviving. And I assume that more stability comes as people get older and more settled (at least I hope this is a real thing and not just some fantasy I’ve always associated with grown-ups)…Going to go color in my Spongebob coloring book now!;)

tight thursday shows how much i admire my loved ones