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:).

Holiday Traditions

Everyone has family traditions – and of course I love mine the best

The times below are some of my faves – better than all the rest

I hope you enjoy hearing how we run things during the holidays

And I hope you have awesome Thanksgiving & Christmas Days!

turkey

Capture

Watching the Macy’s parade and football on Thanksgiving Day

Eating leftover turkey sandwiches for days

Decorating for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving

Buying a new Hallmark ornament every year

Look at all those MLB players & Barbies!

Look at all those MLB players & Barbies!

Watching the same holiday classics (most of which are awesome VHS tapes)

Enjoying the Fantasy of Lights

08 027

Cinderella – my fave!

Waiting in the cold at my grandparents’, since the grandkids can’t see presents until everything is staged perfectly and parents have their cameras out and ready

Setting out milk and cookies for Santa (yes, I still do this)

Waking up super early, sneaking a peak down the stairs, then waking my parents up with my brother

download

What you can learn from…

Alice in Wonderland – If you don’t know where you want to go, it doesn’t matter which path you take.

Alice-in-Wonderland-1b1

Barbie – You can be anything and everything you want to be.

Chameleons – Sometimes it’s okay to blend in.

Dads – Half of the most important lessons of your life.

Elle Woods – Wear pink on more than just Wednesdays.

elle

Family Guy – You shall not tell a lie.

b3e9dae50ea2ffd373030e9704855130

Gilmore Girls – You can never have too much coffee.

Hilary Duff – Nice girls are the prettiest girls.

vong-xoay-tinh-cam-tay-3-on-ao-nhat-hollywood-nam-2012

Ice Age – Families come in all shapes and sizes but all equal love.

The-Herd-ice-age-9135962-1024-768

Jenners/Kardashians – Fashion is fun.

kardashian-family

Katniss Everdeen – Whistling is fun.

Leslie Hunter (& the rest of the St. Elmo’s Fire gang) – Tradition and familiarity are sentimental and nostalgic bonds.

Moms – Half of the most important lessons of your life.

New York Housewives – It’s okay to ask for help if/when you’re on your last leg.

real-housewives-of-new-york

Otters – Find your soulmate and stick with him/her.

Parenthood – The people close to you will help you through anything/everything.

Quebec Lottery – 4,8,15,16,23,42 will always hold a special place in our hearts.

Reynolds, Dee – Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.

1zmz8g0

Social Media – Just because you can share it doesn’t mean you should. #youjustlookdumb

Terminator – If you have some time to kill, you should build up muscles.

Uncle Jesse – Life isn’t always perfect.

a35e9b29319d4d2bc9b233aee4b331b7

Vanellope von Schweetz – Do what you can with what you have.

4fb18369f6919c0dcac0f04051ae823a

Wizarding World – Magic is real.

X-Men – Robert Downey, Jr. is hotter than Hugh Jackman…and Chris Evans…and Christian Bale…etc.

Yourself – Who you are.

eZra fitZ – Drama can be troublesome…but also make you pretty.

sev-pretty-little-liars-fashion-lgn

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 that.is.awesome.
  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;)

My Year in Review

I’m one of those people who lives by anniversaries, ending notes and new beginnings. If – IF – I’m on a workout streak but miss a Monday, I feel I should probably skip the whole week, because I can’t start on a Tuesday – how random! When I reach a six-month mark of knowing someone, I am probably well aware of the date and consider this a reason to celebrate. And yes, when Christmas come and goes, I know I must get serious about the New Year, planning all these big and exciting new changes and upgrades.

So, of course, I wrote my New Year Resolutions post WEEKS ago (stay tuned!), but I needed more! Therefore…My Year in Review. This piece is needed – not only due to the ending of 2013…No, this is needed because, man…What a year…

  • January – I was full of every emotion imaginable, as I had just finished up school, had just celebrated my first post-UT Christmas, had the world at my fingertips and was not hearing back on many job applications. However, I did finally receive a position at Bloom Herbal Organics, a company that a. I highly suggest to healthy, active and/or allergenic people and b. is owned by THE best first “real” boss ever, who has turned out to be a truly wonderful friend.
  • March – My boyfriend and I hit our two year mark! And as I type this, it’s weird that this happened just this year, because I guess when you have your “love-at-first-sight moment” at 16 then start hanging out nonstop at the beginning of college, your relationship is bound to feel so much…more. So, yeah, I’m lucky to have the cutest, strongest, funniest and most nurturing and genuine best friend.

1069809_10201652193690389_1545879550_n

  • May – I wrote a paper in college of one of Austin’s top fashion writers, and we kind of stayed in touch, which led to her asking me to join her at a big pink fashion show in May. As you probably know from past posts, I went on to write for her at every local style event that summer and even New York Fashion Week in September! With a full-time job now, it’s hard to make it to stuff, but I’m so grateful that this amazing lady still considers me her Fashion Editor!
  • July – My family and I take a big vacation every summer, and like any travelers, we had always talked about Hawaii…This year it happened! We flew (forever!) to Kauai, which was even more beautiful than people described, and filled our time with beach-lounging, luau-ing, kayaking, feeding stray cats and intense-but-scenic hiking. Every trip with my favorite three people is wild and memorable – and our island adventure proved to be no different.

WP_20130722_019

  • September – I love how this is working out with every other month being magical…And I LOVE that I attended NYFW! Of course, that sounds amazing, but it was even better! I interviewed Nina Garcia day one, saw, like, 20 celebs, was in the know on the upcoming trends and had a blast working THE fashion event in THE fashion city of our country.
  • November – So far, all of these 2013 milestones sound amazing, but the year was tough; after graduating from a top university, I had it in my head that finding a job would be not as tough. I had experience, passion and the degree, but that didn’t seem to matter. I had to work eight random jobs, running everywhere, every day, just to pay the bills. I know it could have been worse, but when I finally got hired on at Leverage PR (actually at the very end of October), I could not have been happier. This was/is huge!

According to this organization, next up is January 2014…So check back next year to see what else is happening in my crazy little beautiful life, and – as always – thanks for reading:)

tight thursday: family throwbacks!

time to #tbt to momma, pops, the wittle brudder and my meowsters, guysss.

BEFORE:

This is the oldest photo I have of my dad on my computer, from way back when he was principal, ha. And - of course - he's pointing to something...cuz he does that.

This is the oldest photo I have of my dad on my computer, from way back when he was principal, ha. And – of course – he’s pointing to something…cuz he does that.

 

And here's Momma-Joon, back when iPods first came out!

And here’s Momma-Joon, back when iPods first came out!

 

Here is young Tan, showing off his young, teenage muscles.

Here is young Tan, showing off his young, teenage muscles.

 

Here is one of the first pics of Cat, before he became fat.

Here is one of the first pics of Cat, before he became fat.

AFTER:

things they enjoy: basketball

things they enjoy: basketball

...babies

…babies

...airport security

…airport security

...and lifting weights.

…and lifting weights.

tight thursday shows how much i admire my loved ones