Thursday, August 12, 2010

Modern Wedding Etiquette

Last week my wedding planner extraordinaire asked me to guest blog on her new wedding etiquette blog. How could I say no? I love weddings. I loved my wedding. So click on this link to check out my entry on the modern wedding etiquette on family heirlooms and traditions. And if any one in the South Florida area is getting married or know someone who is, don't do it without Nicole Kaney by your side!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Brought back to reality, thanks to Kate Spade ...

So the title might be a little confusing .. how does retail bring you back to reality? I mean, typically I turn to retail to escape reality? Let me explain ... As I mentioned in my last post, I disappeared into the whirling vortex of Teach For America training for the summer. Some people probably found the time to blog, I however spent any of my free time (which was only on the weekends if there was any ... ) with my husband.

Most of the summer training was down in Houston, but once we got back to Dallas we had a bit more stuff to do. Now that we are finishing up most of our TFA summer training, we are in our Dallas ISD summer training ... all of these things are valuable of course, but the time I am spending planning my first unit plus, getting everything ready for my students (all 150 of whom enter my classroom in a little over two weeks) plus the actual time spent training during the day has been quite a lot!

As someone who tends to obsess over things anyways, this environment has been insane and I find myself getting worked up. Sooooooo ... when I got an invitation in the mail to a 'Sips and Snacks' party at Kate Spade (plus discounts for Slipper Club), I decided to jump on it. I knew I needed to break out of my work zone and do something fun. I called my dear friend (and new bride-to-be ESS) to have some pre-shopping chat time at La Duni and it was just what I needed! Followed with some more girl time and 20% off at Kate Spade - I was feeling really positive. I swiped up these earrings and called it a night.

But this isn't where Mrs. Spade saved me ... As I pulled up to home-sweet-home, with a full night of work ahead of me, a familiar feeling of discouragement washed over me. "How am I ever going to get all of these things done, be an amazing teacher, change lives,etc ..." I took a deep sigh, grabbed my bags from the passenger seat and prepared to head inside ... but before I did, my eyes caught a certain something. "Have Courage".

Clearly a message from Kate Spade ... and God. I am grateful for the reminder that His love is great and everywhere and most importantly, I am not on this mission alone ...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Alternate Universe

I have literally been in an alternate universe ... I have mentioned before that I am doing Teach For America and as a part of that commitment, I have to spend 6 weeks this summer doing induction/Institute. Induction was the week after I stopped working so I literally got one day to get things done (doctors appointment, dry cleaning, alterations, errands in general ...) before reporting for duty at SMU. I actually had to stay in the SMU dorms (without Mr. SG) for that first week. This was an especially interesting experience for me since my house is about a 2 minute drive from SMU. But the week was a great time to get to know other Dallas corps members (we are called corps members) and get to know what our next two years will be like.

Then immediately I drove down to Houston to move into more dorms at Rice University and begin my journey of Institute.

For those of you who have never known a TFA corps member or had anyone explain Institute to you then you probably have no concept of what this experience is like. So I am going to paint a little picture. The logic behind Institute is to take classes (our sessions) to learn how to be a teacher in a low-income, high-risk school. Really, to learn how to be a good teacher period. The second part of Institute is that we get to teach summer school.

This schedule is abnormal. I have never worked this hard in my entire life. My whole day is taken up by TFA material. My brain has no room to think about anything else. If you do not use every moment you have to work, you will drown in the expectations.

Here is my sample schedule with alternate endings, because the evening isn't always the same.


5 AM Wake-Up (Get stuff together, get dressed for the day, walk to the cafeteria to pack my lunch in my lunch box, get breakfast. )

6:36 AM Load Buses (we take buses to our school sites)

7:15 AM Session with our advisor
7:30 -9:00AM - First session of the day
9:00-10:30 AM - Second session of the day
10:30-11:30 AM Lesson Planning Time (Or time to meet with students/ mentor teachers)
11:30-12:10 PM Lunch Duty
12:10-1:10PM Lesson Planning Clinic (session on different aspects of lesson planning)
1:20-3:35 Teaching/Observations
3:35-4:00PM Meeting with Advisor
4:05 Load onto School buses to go back to Rice
4:30 -12:00 Eat dinner, work, work, work, work, work, work ..... literally I do not stop working. On a GOOD night, I get to bed at 12. The alternate ending is this:
4:30 - 3:00 AM Work ....

I barely talk to my husband ... and thank God it was my birthday on Thursday or I may have never had taken the time to talk to my friends and family.

I am learning amazing things and have never been so inspired in my life. I cannot wait to get started teaching again in August.

BUT as you can see, blogging is not feasible. BUT when I get back we have sooooooo many fun things to catch up on. We are throwing an engagement party, have some fun house design updates and many more things NOT related to teaching. So bare with me and you'll have a working blog to come back to in late July.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

No rain in Spain!

I apologize for my neglect - between an unwelcome sinus/ear infection and a Honeymoon in Spain (yes, round two) culminating in an ER trip for a crazy bout with Vertigo ... I have been super busy!

When Mr. SG and I started planning our Honeymoon well over a year ago, we had initially decided to take a two-week cruise in the Greek Isles this summer (a delayed Honeymoon). But when I found out about Teach For America, we knew that wouldn't be possible since TFA requires a lengthy summer commitment that would prohibit us from going anywhere. So we decided to split up our honeymoon. Y'all saw pictures from our trip to Beaver Creek over Thanksgiving which was round one. We just finished another short (but equally divine) Honeymoon to Marbella, Spain which served as a temporary replacement for Greece and was all that a Honeymoon should be.

We picked Spain because we could fly their for "free" with our air miles and it would be a place where to relax with a delicious beverage in hand while basking in the sun and indulging in frivolity. Being in Texas, we could have easily gone to Mexico but we wanted something a bit more interesting. Through teamwork, Mr. SG and I found amazing deal at the Ritz-Carlton property in Marbella (an enormous Mediterranean facing suite with an insane breakfast included for under 300$ a night). And it was good fortune for us (not them) that the Euro has just been tanking over the past few months. The exchange rate was at about 1.25 the entire vacation.

The especially neat thing about this location in Spain is that it is part of the Costa Del Sol which faces the northern coast of Africa - specifically Morocco. We had been told by the hotel that on clear days you could see the coast of Morocco from the property and so every day, Mr. SG and I squinted towards the Mediterranean- straining to see land. We kept saying "Is that the coastline or are we imagining it?" We both swore we saw something. Alas, on the third day we saw definite coast line!! Had we had more time, we would have gone over to Morocco- they had easy boat trips with guides for around 80 Euro per person - a steal! And we are pretty adventurous people who normally would do something like this, but we decided to focus the little time we had on Spain.

Our activities included going to the Beach Club, lounging by the pool at the hotel, relaxing in the Spa, drinking Cava and READING!!

I promise pictures - I'll do a separate post. For now, I will leave you with book recommendations. Since summer is fast approaching many of you will depart on your own vacations - be it involving a transatlantic flight or shipping the kiddos off to the grandparents for a few days of "staycation". In any case, I give you a few ideas for your summer reading list ...

The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein:

A beautifully moving book told from a dogs perspective. Animal lovers will especially enjoy this. It is a quick, fun read for a diverse set of tastes. Looks like it might be made into a movie in 2012? If so it will make for a great family flick.

One Fifth Avenue, by Candace Bushnell:

We all know Candace Bushnell for Sex and the City, but if you haven't yet dug in to her other books do so now! If you need a mindless getaway and crave the opportunity to be transported to a life on 5th Avenue then pick up One Fifth Avenue. Very girly. Very Sex-and-the-City. Very Manhatten.

Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang, by Chelsea Handler:

I was a bit embarrassed at first to share with you all that I have even read this book. As an English teacher, I am especially mortified ... but I wanted to put it out there that yes - I enjoy potty humor every now and then. For those of you who watch Chelsea Lately, on E! you know what I mean ... her third book is even more crude. On my last flight two weeks ago I packed a bag of etiquette books (one of my FAVORITE things to read) but this week Chelsea's vodka fueled snark was what I was craving! Emily Post would disapprove (and so would my grandparents) but I'll make it up to them by striving to be a lady 99% of the time and correctly setting a table for 10.

So whether you wish to satisfy your potty-mouth side, sexy side, or sentimental side here are some summer reading list suggestions!

Thursday, April 29, 2010


As far as clothes go, I have always been attracted to classic styles and when I wasn't falling victim to the depressing Abercrombie trend that reigned during my high school years, I was shopping at places like Ann Taylor and Talbots. I still own my first Talbots purchase - a beautiful black, silk suit. (It was for Mock Trial competitions.) This stunning suit will always be in style ... now if only I was the size of my 14-year-old self ... I may have had some dowdy moments but for the most part, I loved making these conservative looks youthful and was pretty successful I might add. (I've been rocking the whole blazer/white tee/ jean combo for a while now - thanks for the great fashion tips mom!!)

Now Talbots isn't making me work as hard to look chic, classic and youthful at the same time! Their new line is positively revitalized and I honestly think anyone, at any age (and any size since they carry petites AND plus sizes!!) Fabulous blogger Puttin' on the G.R.I.T.S has partnered with Talbots blog for a BIG giveaway. To enter, you have to post about your favorite new Talbots item. This is eassssyyyyyy to do since I was going to do it anyways!! (Now I just might win something for it ...)

This dress has summer written all over it! Mixing the classic silhouette of a shirt dress with the delicacy of eyelet lace, this is a perfect ensemble for your Memorial Day celebration. Hit up your nearest Talbots (or the website) to scoop it up for yourself.

Happy shopping!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Let the chips fall ... into your mouth!!!

These are the most amazing chips I have ever had. Seriously. They are made out of baked lentils which means high in fiber, low in fat and calories! The bag pictured is just naked, natural sea salt flavor and I highly recommend it. A serving of 30 chips is about 110 calories - tell me that is not insane! It can even be a substitute for tortilla chips - pair this with salsa, a spread of goat cheese and mango chutney or hummus and voila! you have a healthy, delicious snack.
I found mine at Central Market, so those of you not in the DFW area might have luck at a Fresh Market or Whole Foods type of grocer. They are made by the Mediterranean Snack Food Co. - So scoop them up and enjoy!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Mad Men and Barbie

Attention all Mad Men fans ... Collector's Edition Mad Men Barbies will hit the shelves this July. They are expected to retail for about $75 and can be purchased at reports that,

"Gracefully molded of Silkstone®, a material that resembles the look and weight of porcelain, each doll is stylized in iconic costumes from the series, and comes with accessories true to their show counterparts. Don Draper wears his classic, polished red-lined suit and comes accessorized with a hat, overcoat and brief case; Betty Draper's classic look is captured with unparalleled detail, from her faux pearl necklace to her pumps; Joan Holloway looks chic in a purple skirt suit and perfectly styled coif with her staple accessory - a pen necklace; and Roger Sterling is looking dapper in his monogrammed shirt."

Since I don't have any little girls to "give" these dolls to ( i.e. buy them because I want them and have a legitimate excuse) I'll have to find a creative excuse to get one of these beauties this summer. My choice would probably be Joan because it reminds me of the original Barbie that my grandmother had for us to play with.

I don't know about you, but I can't wait for Mad Men to come back this summer!