Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2016 Goals

I started this blog in March-ish of 2015, which means I'm so close to a year! Isn't it crazy how time flies? Something that I've never done before (that I remember anyway...) is blog goals! So for the next three months I'm going to try to implement these three things throughout my blogging life. What are your goals for 2016?

Blog Goals

1. Post at least once a week.
Now I know that once a week seems kind of ridiculous, but with student teaching, work, class, sleep, life, breathing, etc... life gets busy. If I can post more than that, yay, if I can't but still post one, I won't feel too bad about it.

2. Spend time reading others' blogs and commenting!
It might seem like I never read any other blogs in the entire world, but I do. I've just been terrible about commenting lately. So, for the next few months I really want to try and comment on every single blog post I read. Wish me luck.

3. Sponsor/Interact
I really want to get involved in the blogging community more: buying ads, writing guest posts, co-hosting a swap... I haven't really narrowed it down. I'm open to anything I suppose. I've just felt really disconnected lately which is sad.

Personal Goals

1. Focus on the positive
Last term was a tough one. I'm hoping that with the more familiar schedule this term and implementing some personal health rituals (i.e. in bed by 11pm every night, eating breakfast every morning, etc.) I'll be able to have a much better term.

2. Have some sort of a plan lined up for next year
I don't want to define this too much, because any plan is ultimately up to God. But, I'd like to have some sort of idea about what I'm doing next year: Masters Degree? Working? Where I'm living? Something.

3.Have some sort of 'yay you survived college' celebration planned
I'd love to go back go Hawaii (shoutout to that picture from last Spring Break for this post header), go to a concert, or do something fun to celebrate graduating. Even something little would be amazing! We'll see how that goes. :)

Monday, December 28, 2015

Another Year, Another Look

For the blog of course, not me. I've looked the same since 2007...

Feel free to let me know what you think of the new colors over here. And if you're interested and have a button from the blog, feel free to change it out on the sidebar over there --------> ! 

& There Goes Another Year...

How was your 2015?! I've been reading 'year in review' posts this morning and they've all got me thinking about how different life was in January of 2015. And, just like everyone you know will tell you (or post on Facebook), I can't wait for 2016 and what the new year will hold. Today I'm linking up with Tumbleweed Contessa for 'What'd You Do This Weekend?' Although, really I guess this is what I did this year... :)

Applied to the Teacher Education program!
Tried my first spinning class (and it was awful, and I will never go back)

Our first Valentines Day! Made a failed hiking attempt (apparently everyone else wanted to go hiking that day too...), spent a lazy day at home, and then went out to dinner
Found out I was accepted to the program! Yay!

Went to Hawaii for Spring Break!
Started this blog too, I think! :)

Ry came to my house for Easter (first family holiday)
Decided on house/roommates for the next school year!

More hiking.
Ryan rode a horse for the first time!
First horse show

Last month as an RA!
Started summer job

Moved into my first house (with roommates!)
Ry's first rodeo
Insane amounts of dental work :(

Best friend's wedding!
Left summer job

Started student teaching!

First 18 hole golf round with Ry & my brother
First Christian group retreat with the college group.

One year with Ry!

Finished first term of student teaching
Wisdom teeth out (boo)

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Won't be around until after Christmas to celebrate and wrap gifts (I'll talk about how I wrap even MY OWN gifts later) 

Have a merry Christmas! 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Tree Tour

If you're sick of seeing Christmas posts glittering your feed, I'm sorry. This post probably isn't the one for you. Christmas is taken pretty seriously in my neck of the woods. For starters, we have a Christmas tree in most rooms (not real, although that would be the best) and one main tree. All of our trees have themes, which I think is super fun.

My brother's tree is sports themed, my parents tree is simple red and silver, we have a large just lights tree in the middle of our upstairs window, two small accent trees in the dining room, my tree that's western themed in my room (which you'll see today), and our main living room tree. Which is real. And snowman themed. And the best.

I'm planning to show off our mad Christmas decoration skillz (right after I recover from the embarrassment of throwing in that z...) in a few days. Look forward to it. It's worth it.

But for today, here's my little western tree. Enjoy.

Ignore anything lower than branches, folks. :)

Favorite ornament #1... this little guy! :)
Howdy star (also notice that peeking little cowbell...)
Turn your head to the right, because I can't upload photos correctly, and read that all my friends are cowboys. :)
This is probably one of the first ornaments mom and I bought for the tree (and also the biggest...) But hey, if the boot (or the ornament) fits, buy every color.
Hehe. This is just cute.

Do you have a themed tree? I want to see it! Don't have a themed tree? Show me anyway!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Matchy Monday (oops, a little late...)

Hi there! Wisdom teeth surgery went well and now I'm almost out of recovery stage. Three days down, four days until Christmas!

Right after I got out of surgery I did some online Christmas shopping. I bought two sweaters from American Eagle for my mom, forever a sweater lover. 

AEO Joshua Tree Sweater in Summer Burgundy, $17.84 after birthday discount 

AEO Feather Light Waterfall Cardigan in Holiday Heather Brown, $20.37 after birthday discount. 

I alsooooo finally bought those matching pajamas I've been talking about. Ry doesn't know, because his are part of his Christmas present that he gets after he comes back from break.  

I chose not to buy an actual identically matching set, because $40+ no thank you... But I found similar styles at Old Navy and they had a 40% off everything online plus an additional 10% off sale on Friday. 

For Ry:

Old Navy Men's Waffle Knit Tee in Raisin Arizona, $9.00

Old Navy Mens Plaid Flannel PJ Pants in Black and White Plaid, $9.90

For Me:

Old Navy Women's 3/4 Sleeve Linen Blend Boyfriend Tee in Red Wine Vinegar,  $10.80

Old Navy Women's Printed Flannel PJ Bottoms in Black Plaid, $6.30 

I ended up getting two pajamas sets for the price it would've cost me to get just one if I had purchased actual matching sets. I'm pretty excited. Also just realized the prices I listed weren't the final prices I even paid. Total (including shipping) was just $28.60.

Yay Internet. 

I'm going back to rest now, but I wish you luck with your last minute Christmas preparation! 

Christmas Q&A

Hello! While you're reading this wherever you are in the world, I'm going in for wisdom teeth surgery. Send prayers my way, ladies. I'm a dental wimp. But, prayers will help. Anyway, I saw this Christmas survey for the first time over on Mattie's blog (heard of Mattie? She's great.) And even though she says there are many of these out there this season I haven't seen any! Probably because I've been the most absent blogger in the world these past few months. Oh well. Without further rambling, here's some fun holiday q&a!

What's your go-to outfit in winter?
Well, when I was just a normal college student I'd wear leggings, sweaters, a scarf, and boots pretty much every day. But now that I'm student teaching and can't wear half of those things without being stressed about professionalism I've been wearing black skinny pants, nice boots, and cardigans. It's a good compromise. 

What's winter like in your hometown?

Well, the PNW is usually the same year to year. It starts our rainy and dreary and awful and proceeds that way through at least January and then we'll get random snow storms in February. One year we had a snow storm over spring break. The upper left is weird, I tell ya. Currently it's been rainy, but I heard recently that our rainfall is still less than half of what it usually is for the year. It's been dry, despite all of the rain. You wouldn't know the difference.

Special winter recipes?
 Pumpkin cream cheese rolls, pumpkin cheesecake, apple crisp, fudge, just about anything really. We bake a lotttt.

Winter holiday traditions?
 Oh gosh. Well, we always watch Christmas movies. ALl the time. We DVR them year-round. And we all put up the tree together, and dad gets the thing in the stand and mom cleans up all the needles and then my brother moves it all around the floor and makes sure it's centered on every window. And then my very tall brother strings the lights on the top of the tree and then I finish the lights and decorate with mom while my brother and dad sleep or something. Or watch Christmas movies in the same room.
I also wrap all of our family's presents. Mom puts them in boxes so I don't know what's what and I wrap them all. It's a fun time
Before shot of our tree. 

Favorite winter activities?
Watching Christmas movies, looking at Christmas lights, and giving people gifts!

Winter home decor?
 My school house has lights on the front door, bows on literally everything inside, and this tiny little Christmas tree. My parents' house has stockings and a 'let it snow' banner on their fireplace, bows on all of the front porch posts, Christmas lights outside, the tree of course, and holiday throws on the couches. We also have trees in pretty much every room, Christmas at home is intense. 

Beauty regimen changes for winter?

Favorite holiday song?
 All of them.

Favorite holiday movie?
I'll be Home for Christmas, Elf, The Santa Claus. My loves I tell ya.

 What changes about you in the winter?
 I get paler and I eat a lot. But, I feel like this also occurs year round.

 Gift wrap or gift bags?

Favorite warm drink for winter?
White chocolate mocha with peppermint. I feel like it's my life calling to make sure everyone tastes this amazingness.

What are you excited for this season?
 I just love Christmas and seeing family. Also, just getting back to school and finishing up student teaching and having Ry back again.

Autumn vs. Winter?
 No. I refuse to choose.

Where do you spend Christmas?
 Everyone (on my mom's side of the family) comes to my parents' house for a huge Christmas dinner. So we all do our individual family gifts at our own homes and then we do family gifts and dinner Christmas afternoon. It's always been that way, but my aunt used to host until our family got bigger because of cousins having kids and people getting married, and my parents built a house with a better floorplan to hold that many people.

Do you decorate after or before Thanksgiving?
After, December 8th. My mom refuses to overshadow my birthday.

Peppermint or gingerbread?
 Peppermint. Shouldn't even be a question.

What is one thing you asked for this Christmas?
 Nothing! If I really need something bad enough I buy it right then or ask my parents to help out if it's something big (like if my laptop broke- which thank goodness it hasn't knock on wood) then I would ask my parents and they  like to handle things like that quickly. So, I have no idea what anyone is going to get me, I like it better that way.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Random Holiday Happenings

Oh hey. Fair warning: this post is going to be a jumbled mess of thoughts, as most usually are over here. Today I go in for my wisdom teeth consultation and tomorrow (ugh) I get the darn things out. At 6:30 am. Woo.

So, last chance to send me your best wisdom teeth survival tips before I'm a goner. Even talking about this I'm in super denial because I'm refusing to accept that in less than 48 hours I'll be all gross feeling. Not accepting it at all.

Anyway, avoiding that subject all together... here are some random things I've been thinking about.

1. Matching. Pajamas.
Like this is literally all I want in life. I sent these to Ry and he made a comment about how he could only see two floating heads, and it took me a solid three minutes of resending the picture before I realized the joke. Ha. Good one.

2. Dutch Ovens.
I don't even know how you use these things, I've just seen way too many pretty ones lately to not have one in my life.

3. Crock Pot Hot Chocolate Bars.
If I can function as a human by then, I'm making one of these for our family Christmas dinner.

4. 22
I turned 22 a week ago and not once did someone sing the Taylor Swift song to me. I don't know about you, but it kinda ruined my day. I was looking forward to it. I was prepared to dance.

5. Mini Ice Creams Straight from Heaven I tell ya
 I bought these little Dove chocolate mini ice cream bars at the store tonight and they are wonderful. Not motivated to get a picture of them for you right now (sorry, blog experts...) but they're great. And the serving size is FIVE. Five mini ice cream bars that could be chocolate or vanilla ice cream covered in Dove chocolate? Sign me up! Best hungry purchase I've ever made.

So there ya have it! :)
Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Where I'm From

Where I'm From - Samantha

I'm from matching Tupperware, car magazines,
anything stamped with 'made in Italy'
and almost never-organized piles of front-door shoes

I'm from apple trees, blackberry bushes,
uncut hay fields as far as you can see,
an old century farm sign,
and a flat spot where the swingset used to be

I'm from a farm-dotted country road,
the church dock on summer days,
an hour's drive to cell phone service,
and Cody's store for things you forgot in town but need on Sundays

I'm from the other Sam,
known as my little brother's older sister,
Mikeal's almost twin-cousin,
and one of the only girls in a sea of boys.

I'm from "it's all about integrity",
"I love you to the moon and back",
Martin Luther King Jr. day cards,
and Aunt D's specials.

I'm from twenty-seven people around a holiday table,
extra garlicy bread, mashed potatoes, pumpkin cheesecakes,
and enough leftovers for everyone to take some home.

I'm from a save box of outgrown clothes
and folders of my favorite homework assignments
I'm from the love of a strong community,
an even stronger family,
and an even stronger God.

Oh hey, you made it! I had to write this little ditty for an Ed class of mine and I liked it so much I decided to share it with you! If you've read this far you're probably super confused by the gibberish you just read so I'll fill you in a bit. This poem was written in sections: things you could find around your childhood home, what you saw outside, how you describe your community, things about your family, common family sayings, holiday traditions, and where you save the things that are important to you. All telling the story of 'where you're from'

Things Around My House: My mom has all-matching Tupperware. It used to be all blue (which is now mine) and now it's all green. Mismatched dishes didn't really happen at my house. My dad also reads tons of car magazines and has always had stacks in his bathroom and magazine holder. Mom also has a thing for anything made in Italy, because she's Italian, so she and my aunt and grandma always hit up stores like TJ Maxx looking for things made in Italy. We also always lined up our shoes right by the front door but they never stayed perfectly lined up. Ever.

What I Saw Outside: I grew up on an old tree farm, so we have apple trees and blackberry bushes that were the best for summer baking. We also have two or three hay fields so you really can't see much but hay during hay season (or breathe if you're allergic to it like lucky me). We also have a century farm, so there's a sign that marks that out and there's a noticeable flat bump in our yard where our swingset was for a while before it rusted and went to the dump.

How I Describe My Community: It's a farm town, everyone who's anyone spends their summer at the church's lake dock because there isn't much else to do. We really do have to drive an hour for a cell phone signal, unless you have Verizon and then you know which specific trees to stand under to get a signal. And Cody is the owner of the only store in the area where you can buy sugar, flour, candy, soda, etc. and not much else.

Things About My Family: My dad's name is Sam, so we kinda have the same name. I'm often referred to as my brother's older sister, instead of the other way around. He's really inspirational and impacts lots of lives, so that's cool :) Also, my cousin looks more like me than anyone else, so we're often asked if we're twins, more so when we were younger than now. I actually have a ton of cousins and most of them are boys, just two girls on mom's side and one girl on the other.  

Common Family Sayings: Mom always says it's all about integrity, whole family (and Ry) say I love you to the moon and back, my grandpa used to send out Martin Luther King Jr Day cards (which nobody in the whole world probably new existed) Anddd my aunt is a great cook and calls everything she makes a 'special'

Holiday Traditions: All twenty-seven people in my mom's family come to our house for holiday dinners and we cram around a huge table. We go all out for food holidays (hello Italians) and have turkey, ham, salads, deviled eggs, regular mashed potatoes, garlic mashed potatoes, extra garlicy garlic bread, and tens of millions of desserts at every holiday. Oh! And mom's smoked salmon cheeseball. Also, we always take leftovers home. Always.

Where I Save the Things That Are Important To Me: My mom has saved all of my cutest clothes since babyhood in a Rubbermaid container so I can have them for my kids someday (shoutout to the cow print overalls with matching hat and toy), and all of my homework assignments and birthday cards in another container. I also think I save important things within my community, family, and religious relationship. Memories, ya know?

If you feel the need to do one of these, let me know. I loved it and I would love to read yours!

Monday, December 14, 2015

5 Small Ways to Bless Someone's Day

*insert another 'sorry I haven't been here in ten years' comment here* But seriously, this crazy life. So far this week I've turned 22, bought all of my 'school' Christmas presents, decorated my parent's house, helped my brother pack for Florida to surprise his best friend (shhhh!) and Ry left for home for the holidays (boo :( )

But, with all of this extra free time, I've been able to bless some pretty amazing people! And here are a few ways you can do that too, if you're at a loss like I was.

1. Buy them coffee!
My goal for these two weeks is two buy a few teachers coffee. I've already brought some for my two mentor teachers, and tomorrow I'm planning to bring coffee for a teacher who saw me with coffee and jokingly asked where hers was (it's coming! ;)) and for our PE teacher who is phenomenal and lovely.

2. Tiny Christmas gifts
I'm a firm believer that it's the thought that counts. For my students, mini candy canes. For my mentor teachers, fudge mint cookies from Costco (they're awesome and come in beautiful boxes) and candles. And for my coworkers, flavored cocoa and chocolate.

3. Baked Goods
So far this month I've made fudge for my neighbors, roommates, boyfriend's house, friends, landlord, coworkers, and landlord's family. Sounds like a lot, and it was, but it cost $15 to give all of these people a plate of fudge. Worth it. I also 'made' because it doesn't count as baking, these little reindeer donut deals for the teacher's lounge.

4. A note!
Nothing beats a heartfelt note to show how much you appreciate or admire someone. I love getting and giving notes, and it's my goal to write many many notes for the important people who have helped me through these last few months.

Give your time. Donate yourself. Help out in small ways or in big ways. Whatever you can do, honey!

Have a blessed December, and a happy New Year if I follow this absentee blogger tradition and don't make it back until the New Year... yikes :)

Monday, December 7, 2015

A College Christmas

Well hey there! Friendly reminder, only 18 days until Christmas!!
This post is linked up to The Circle! Kiki's monthly link up! :)

I don't know about you, but Christmas when you don't have money to buy elaborate gifts is a little tough. 

And college Christmas is awkward because you leave a few weeks before the holiday and come back after. Some people don't give gifts. I think it's a necessity. Because Christmas. 

But decorating is awkward too because you aren't reallyyyyy there long to enjoy it. And, when your birthday is in December (like me!) then it feels weird to decorate before your birthday is over, and by then there's only a few days. 

Catch the struggle?

This year, my roommate decorated the inside of our house: lights, ribbons, bows- it's impressive. And I put lights on the door (beat the neighbors to it, go me)

I also got locked out of the house right after this picture, yay for exciting adventures.

This year we don't have a tree, but I found this cute little bugger for $4.00 at Trader Joes (idk if that's just a PNW thing) and I laugh every time because it's smaller than the gift bags. 

But, a cheap happy alternative to not having a tree!! 

How do you decorate for Christmas on a budget? 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


Well, this week is already a dandy (it's only Tuesday!!) So, here are two things that happened yesterday. I need some pep talks about both. Well, maybe not the first one. Oh! And I'm linking up with the lovely Stephanie for her Tuesday linkup. It's the cutest, simplest little linkup there is! Promise!

It's officially December, and to celebrate I went to the store and bought lots of random things to gift for Christmas. I covered gifts for my mentor teachers, roommates, and co-workers. It was great! Until I got home and used all of my new goodies to create gift bags and realized I still need to buy for more people (of course) and I'm a poor college student. Soooo, while I'm super pumped about this holiday season (Christmas lights have been up for weeks, oops) being broke when you want to buy gifts for the world is a struggle.

DIY gifts may have to be the deal for the rest of the world. Which is fine. Send your best ideas! So far I'm thinking cookies in a jar and/or homemade fudge.

2. Ugh.
Sunday night's sleep was awful. I couldn't get to bed, and then when my alarms (two, plural) went off in the morning I slept through them. I woke up with weird memories of the strangest dream I've ever had (Ry, my best friend, and I were in a house that was flooding and I was the only one to make it out, until I found my best friend -in toddler form- and didn't know how to feel about that) Anyway, so I was recovering from this weird dream and then I looked at the clock and it was 7:40. 7:40 might be early to some, but 7:40 felt reallyyyy late when I usually leave the house (dressed and not with crazy hair and in pajamas) at 7:30. So I scrambled around and ran out the door and made it to school ten minutes late. Awesome. At least my 'late' is still early. And at least I remembered to dress warm because we started the day with a freezing cold walk around the community. Oh wait, I didn't do that last part. Ugh.

I'm currently typing this early (what? early? who am I?) on Monday afternoon, smack dab in the craziness of this day. Also, I just hung up the phone (why do we even say hung up the phone anymore?) after scheduling my wisdom teeth removal for 6:40am on a FRIDAY. in December. Anybody know anything about wisdom teeth removals? Don't scare me, I'm not ready for that part yet. But if you have pleasant happy stories of easy surgery and/or lovely soft food suggestions, send them my way. I'll love you forever.

How's your week going? Anything crazy happen?