Wednesday, July 3, 2019

My Unhealthy Obsession with the Bachelorette

My obsession for the Bachelor franchise started way back in 2002... from the very beginning. I've aged right along side the shows host, Chris Harrison, we both have the grey hair and crows feet to prove it.

Chris Harrison and Hannah Brown in Netherlands via Instagram

My obsession fizzed out because life happened but in the last several years it has resurfaced with the spin off The Bachelorette in its 15th season. And I have hooked my youngest daughter too... GASP! I know, I know. It is not a good idea- I second guess my parenting skills  ALL THE TIME while we are curled on the couch, laughing or crying at the heartbreaking antics of the contestants on the show.

It is my guilty pleasure - it is soooo bad, right??

It definitely can and does bring out the worst in people. 30 single men are fighting for one girl's heart; but not any girl; she is beautiful, smart, courageous, successful and funny, Hannah Brown. Oh and her accent... and red nose. ROLL TIDE.  Sorry... I digress. She is one of my faves since JoJo back in season 12.

What could go wrong??  

Well, kinda a lot. The drama and arguing and backstabbing and sometimes physical altercations- one guy has even fallen off a top bunk, last season!  And I cringe at the sex scenes as they get more risque every season, and my mouth opens wider in astonishment that they are showing this much skin on TV,  but I can't look away.

The cast of Bachelorette 15 via Instagram
I am invested, and I want to have frozen yogurt with Chris Harrison in my hometown and talk about my feelings.

But hold up ... as I sift through all the reasons I shouldn't watch it, there are some pretty big ones why I do:

1. Intentional time together:  It's our thing; we look forward to it every week. If we can't watch it live we plan when we can. We put on our "comfies" and snuggle into the couch for the bumpy ride, together.  No phones, no interruptions, just us, some snacks and girl time!

2.  Drama without the drama: You can try and deny it all you want-  but it's in all of our DNA to be attracted to drama.  So we can enjoy the drama and not have to worry about the heartache that comes with it.

3.  The Conversations: It opens the door for some tough conversation regarding sex, communication, seeking attention, relationships etc. It may not be the ideal platform, but it has allowed us to talk about things that may not have happened. I am grateful for any help I can get!

4.  The Comradery: We root for them to fall in love.  We cheer for them stand up for themselves and we encourage them to be their best selves. And we laugh and cringe when it's the opposite! We are in this thing together!

5. Our Personal attachments to the contestants: I have my front runners and so does my daughter; sometimes they are the same... sometimes not.  We root for our favorites every week to come back and once in awhile we hope someone goes packing early. We were devastated to see Mike go this past Monday and not happy at all that Luke P. is still there wreaking havoc on Hannah's heart. It is pop culture at its finest. I follow them on Insta and it is my escape... no harm no foul.

6. The Pretty people and Places:  I think this goes without saying. They are easy on the eyes. I love seeing their outfits and watching the trends. This year Tyler has my heart for his colorful and tight pants. And who doesn't love to travel??? This season they will have been to Scotland, the Netherlands, Latvia, and Greece to name a few. The places are exotic and beautiful and for a few hours on a Monday evening we get to go.

7.  It's entertainment:  It is TV, it is for enjoyment. And these people have put themselves out there for the world to watch their every move... now, I do know that they set things up for the camera and for good tv. It's not totally real- editing is pure magic when you are looking for ratings. . The producers are looking for ratings, I  don't throw shade. That is their job. But the people are real and we love to watch how they respond.

8. True love does exist: If it is meant to be it is meant to be; whether you fall in love on a TV show or in a movie theater it can happen if your heart is open for it and you are willing to put in the work.  Read this article to see who has found love on the show.

As Hannah Brown heads into hometowns next week we are rooting for our guys to win her heart. I am already hoping Mike is the next bachelor which will premier in the fall. I realize it is a love or hate relationship with the show- you either watch it or don't. BUT I love it, even when I hate it. It is an escape and a fun evening spent with my daughter, relaxing.

It is pop culture at its finest. I follow them on Insta and may stalk Reality Steve!  But it is my escape... no harm no foul.

Is it Monday yet?

Thursday, June 27, 2019

9 Things I Love about Summer

I love summer. 

It is my time to catch up on chores around the house and deep clean every nook and cranny. I wash windows and clean baseboards. Are you still there? Because that is a bold face lie. Sorry, Mom, no baseboard washing is happening! However, I did redo my kitchen and organize my desk area. That is something, right?

All year long I go and go until my tank is empty. One of the perks of teaching is the's flexible and it is GOOD.  I LOVE everything about the summer.

Except the bugs and summer school. 

Once July starts to creep up, I am actually relaxed and able to breathe again.

Here are 9 reasons I live for summer:

1. Flip Flops- growing up in sunny Southern California I was always barefoot. Sandals were a necessity unless I was in cleats. I have so many pairs of flip flops that it is just shameful - but it doesn't matter-  I always buy a new pair to commence summer. This is what I bought this year from my favorite store...TARGET!

2. Late Nights- whether I am binge watching the latest show or enjoying a movie with the girls our nights are just chill. I admit that as the girls get older they like to do more stuff with their friends and less with me. I am okay with that-  I catch up with friends for margaritas or marathon phone calls that fill my bucket.

3. Pool Time-  This year has been less sunny... the rain. UGH. But when the clouds part and the rain stops we are in the pool. When the water eventually heats up I'm so in! I love a good pool workout. Easy on the joints! It makes me feel a little better about the Chinese food we ordered for dinner. EGG ROLL anyone?

4. Barbecues- It's no surprise I like to have parties and entertain and in the summer it is easier. Our schedule isn't so jam packed. It's easy to call friends and tell them to grab some BBQ essentials and come over. The kids run around, get hot and sweaty and WORN out and we get to drink and laugh and be awesome. Our favorite bbq treat, S'mores! I did just find this little gem on Pinterest...called a Woof Em. And summers are for trying new things too,  we are always looking for new recipes so we will try this one over the 4th of July weekend.

5. Peaches- I had two peach trees in my backyard as a girl. I will admit the chore of over ripened peaches is enough to make me turn up my nose once or twice but I still love seeing ripe seasonal fruit. We enjoy fresh fruit smoothies too and our crisper is loaded full. I don't like fruit flies- so I always have apple cider vinegar out to catch those pesky suckers. Peaches always remind me of my summers as a young girl.

6. Ice Cream- It's okay to eat ice cream at  anytime of day -  at one or four or seven,..enough said. We made no churn ice cream this year. It was easy and delicious. You can check out the recipe here. Of course we used gluten free cookies and didn't dye it blue! It was rich, a little goes a long way!

7. Reading- Oh, I love to get to catch up on all the books I started on the breaks during the school year.  I have finished 4 books so far. My favorite was The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis. Others on my list were, The Girl He Used to Know, Where the Crawdads Sing, and Educated.  The weather has been less than optimal this summer thus far, so I have read and completed more books than this time last year. Its either that or these were just realllllyyyyy good.

8. Traveling- I feel fortunate that we are able to vacation. We usually go back to California to see brother and his growing family.  But I love going to familiar places and new places alike. This summer we are staying close to home. I traveled a lot as a youngster and I am grateful for those experiences up and down the coast. It makes me love what I do and see the world and appreciate all that it has to offer. I will admit I am NOT a good passenger, I beg for Starbucks, perfect temperature in the car, and frequent pit stops... eh, oh well. You all know I am not perfect.

9. Planning- Yes, I am a teacher. There is something about the thought of a new school year that sends my mind racing in between happy hours on the deck. I love the possibilities. I do plan and organize and reflect on what I can do better for the year ahead during the summer.  I pin and scroll and pin some more. It's a blank space baby...

For the past nine years I have relished in my summers. 

I have spent these years making endless memories, and days filled with nothings. My tank is filling back up. I love everything about summer...I relish in late nights, even later mornings, binge watching Netflix, lazy days at the pool... my list goes on.

What do you love about summer?

Thursday, June 20, 2019

The Power of the Post

To Post or not to Post...

Oh boy, the infamous question, should I post it or not? Whatever your posting pleasure is... I feel that we need to stop before we post. Whether it be Facebook, (which I hear is for old people?!?!)  Insta (as the millennials are calling it) Snapchat (I am here for the filters!) or Twitter. I am no expert on posting etiquette, but my curriculum is heavy on digital citizenship and I have read books, researched and listened to enough podcasts to feel okayish to weigh in on the topic.

I should have started with this disclaimer  ***People's moral compass isn't what is in question right now, because I believe that most people are inherently good with a few minor flaws; present company including (heavy on the few)  I always do things backwards; eh, moving on.

In this day in age everyone is on line, digital dwellers or social media junkies.

I get it. The confusion happens when people are using social media for instant gratifications, bandwagoning or horn tooting. They use it to phish for attention or argue or defame a person. Now before you get crazy, I think it is important to be truthful and it's not all sunshine and rainbows all the time - but sometimes we feel bolder because of the screen. We have created this facade that words don't hurt if we type them... which in fact is the exact opposite- they spread faster and hurt more. Don't say something in a hateful post that you wouldn't say to their face; The anonymity of the internet is not anonymous... believe me.

Nothing can take the place of human face to face connection. So, in my day gig I try like hell to teach and share with my students what their digital footprint is and what it looks like. The choice is theirs and it's yours too.

What is a Digital Footprint?

Well, it is any and all information about someone and their online activity. Websites visited, emails sent, pictures posted are all captured in your virtual diary. So, unlike a diary that you can hide the key or erase something you wrote, your digital footprint is permanent.

Let me repeat that, it is permanent.

I know there is a lot of rules about what you should or shouldn't do but I am going to be honest, you go ahead and do whatever you feel comfortable with. I know I have students that follow my (social media) accounts- I do not follow them... (never a good idea)  But I think it is uber important to model the behavior that I expect from my students. I try to demonstrate good online behavior as they create their digital footprint.

I preach this to my students and I hope and pray that one day it will click.

I wasn't always this confident about my social media usage. It came with practice and hours of self loathing while I compared my life to everyone else's on social media. And then a I realized I was doing it wrong.

That was tough.

But as I figured some of my junk out, I realized that I shouldn't be using the internet to impress others but impacting them. Please don't get prickly if you share with me your daughter's achievements on the court, in the pool, on the dance floor, or in the classroom... I WANT TO CELEBRATE those victories with you and share in your joy! I simple am saying that with the wins...lets not hide the lows and alienate others.

It is about community near and far and we should foster it with truth and kindness.

In the meantime here are some tips that I use in my daily digital landscape. I share these to help navigate the social media waters that nearly wrecked me.

1. Think before you post.  
Is it helpful? GO ahead post away, be a helper... Mister Rogers said we need more of them.
2. Am I whining? Then just don't, no one likes a whiner.
3. Don't post when you are emotional. Take the time to respond not react... we all have seen something that upsets us or triggers us. Breathe, scroll past, come back later if you must.
4. Be selective. Don't overshare. This is debatable; Everyone's barometer is different but I personally love to look back at my fb memories from 8 years ago and see how much my girls have grown up or how I have evolved as digital person myself.
5. Be honest. Don't pass something off as yours, don't lie. I know aesthetics matter but honesty rules.
6. Respect the power that social media has and proceed with caution.

As you go about your daily digital life keep in mind that we are all in this together. Share, engage and connect with others. Make them laugh, lift each other up and love everyone.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Confessions of an "Wantrepreneur"

Confessions of an "Wantrepreneur"

I have a confession: I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur. I have started and failed at many Multi Level Marketing (MLM)  businesses, from Pampered Chef to Chloe and Isabel.  I ask myself why did I fail? I think to be brutally honest I lost my gumption, my drive and it wasn't shiny and new.

I didn't put in the work; but more importantly, I DIDN'T WANT TO.

As I get older, 46 this year, cue disparaging music, I have less energy to put into excess things so they fizzle out. You can read more about me and my serial fizzer outer here. I was dumbfounded at how I could expect and receive great work from my students,  yet, I was failing at my own assignments. When I am struggling, I try to find the helpers so I reached out to a couple of fellow bloggers and asked for some guidance to get back on track with my budding blog that had sat dormant for nearly 3 years. They were insightful and smart and honest and you can read more from them here and here. More importantly they were the helpers. They were kind and smart.

Fast forward to note taking and journaling, and maybe some drinking, maybe not, I can't remember those notes. The daunting task was in front of me.  I realize that one thing always stopped me... everything that I have tried to do in my adult life had one common denominator as I fizzled out in the fetal position.


I have never wanted for passion... I have it, I have been known to be too much for some people. AND  I come hard with ideas and projects and submerge myself in projects not to be seen or heard of for days.

When I am finished I am worn out and hungover and so done. THIS time I am going to pace myself and take the time to be the historian of my own life. I have always been critical of other blogs; not publicly of course; I am not cruel and remember, I want to be liked. But I look around at top bloggers and I think, what are they reading this for? I am reading it too... so something has me hooked. And then I remember a quote that rocked my world several years ago. It meant so much to me that I use it in my classroom as a conversation starter when people are being judgy or snarky. Theodore Roosevelt talked about the "Man in the arena" and then Brene Brown condensed the quote so perfectly and it resonates with me as I dare to face fear.

"If you are not in the arena getting your assed kicked, I'm not interested in your feedback." -Brene Brown

But IT creeps back in.

Seriously, that pisses me off. I have always considered myself brave and forthcoming and a truth teller. I am authentic and true. Why in the hell can't I follow through and swim through the oceans, find my niche and break through?  I am still trying to figure the fear part out...and who knows what will happen when I send this post into the flooded oceans of bloggers and judgy eyes to read. Please read it. JUDGY eyes and all.

FEAR. It is paralyzing. Fear of not being liked, or good enough, or just enough anything. What will people think? Well here it is, I don't care anymore. I don't care if you don't like my saggy arms, gray hair or perpetual bun. I am going to tell my truth about being a middle school tech teacher, mom and wife, living in a small rural community.

Recently, I was asked about my opinion of social media and teens and the flood gates opened. I have been known to go on rants about this. Because guys, I am in it. I see it. Both sides. So, this got me thinking... what if I took my rant to the streets of the Internet to help people...

Wallah... here I am. 

SO in my attempt to confess about being an "wantrepenuer" it isn't necessarily about making money, (that would be nice too!) but wanting to do more... for others and myself and to leave this world better than I found it.

I will also confess as I reach out and help others, I may ruffle a few feathers. But I encourage you to embrace those feelings and stick with me. My goal is not to focus on the dead and grotesque that the vultures of the Internet feed off of. Instead I will encourage and seek to find the sweet; I will not let fear paralyze me in flight. I will keep going even when the winds and rains are making it difficult, after all I am and always will be a hummingbird. Will you join my village?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Middle

I woke up in the middle of the night panicked that I left the pizza out from our dinner ... Because after we ate dinner in the living room,  amongst me folding laundry, daughter one doing homework and my other daughter stretching,  I was toast. 

As I stumbled to the kitchen, I flip on the light. There isn't anything on the counter- nope. Pizza is gone.  Where is it? Well, in the refrigerator in baggies for lunch tomorrow! (Why else do I say, "yes" to pizza in the middle of the week!!!  Leftovers!
 Daughter one,  in between all the other stuff we tended to last night,  cleaned up the kitchen.  
 Go ahead,  judge that it is 4:36 am and I'm just recognizing that. But I'm okay with that after our crazy night of our normal.

 In between getting husband ready for work, laundry, grading, reading, planning and looking ahead to tomorrow (well, today, but you get it...) I forgot. 

I'm in middle.  

I'm in the middle of my life. Middle aged, middle parenting,  middle career... middle marriage.

Two weeks ago, we celebrated fourteen years married. Two weeks before that, I celebrated forty three years on this planet. This is my middle.

Middle of being an adult. Some may stuck in the middle. 

But I don't think the middle is so bad ... Ever had an Oreo?!? 

So,  here is what happens in the middle. 

Busy, hectic but beautiful. 

I crawl back into bed, I have at least 40 minutes plus 2 snoozes before I will get out of bed for real! I check on the girls. I cover up daughter #1.   

 I ask her if she is cold she says,  "I'm good."

 I say,  "Thanks for putting up the pizza"  ... She says,  "of course."

If this is the middle.  I'm okay with it.  Truly.  The moments in the middle (of the night, in this case) is what matters.  

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Summer of LuLaRoe

It never fails someone always asks me what I did last summer? Heck, there is even a song about it... now you are singing it ... YOU ARE WELCOME! I love to summer hard and this summer hasn't been any different.  I decided to do a countdown; there is exactly 87 days from when school lets out in May until we return in August. It seems to get shorter every year; however that is because I am "off" in the summer and we all know it flies by!

My countdown has been fun... I take pictures of whatever tickles my fancy, represents my mood, my day, whatever we are doing in the summer. You can follow my journey on Instagram.

BUT right now I want to tell you my summer is all about...  leggings... more specifically, it is all about


LuLawhat?? Yes... LuLaRoe.

So you get it right?  Currently in the summer of LulaRoe it is crazy;  no one is paying me for this blog entry or advertising; me and my friends are just simply obsessed maybe even a little mental about these super soft buttery leggings. Oh, and the prints, they are fun and whimsical. I like to call them conversation starters!

Watching a live sale in the Lularoom

What is LulaRoe?

You can read and learn about the company here. But it's this amazing community of women (and men too) that sell clothes made up of fun and inspiring patterns. It is set up like network marketing and let me tell you people are killing it. You can only purchase through online sales and in home parties. I was introduced to the phenomenon by a good friend, who was introduced by her sister. The craze started for us with leggings... they are soft as buttah and yes; they can be worn as pants. Look at these cute prints!!!
One of our LulaRoe hauls this summer
So that same good friend and her sister started this adventure together and well let's just say I am a groupie. You can join their group here. I know when they get shipments of new goods, when their parties are happening, live sales and new albums will be available for purchase. I am obsessed. But in a totally good and supportive way! Aren't they the cutest???

Fierce consultants, sisters and partners

So it started with the leggings and then, there was Irma.  Oh, Irma... I love you! It is soft and covers all my perfect imperfections. And next Madison... or wait, was it the Maxi... then the Perfect Tee and the Classic.... OH love affair runs deep and true.

My very first piece... I just love this Irma. 

The thrill of the hunt at a Pop Up party
The other thing that is so awesome about these clothes... if you even need another reason?? You wash them in cold water and hang dry... no wrinkles. Easy Breezy!

It's all about looking for your print in your size and style.  Because consultants can't buy specifics. They just order sizes and styles and are surprised when their shipment comes. It's like Christmas morning when UPS delivers. They have hard to find prints that the consultants have affectionately called Unicorns... and the thrill of the hunt for these unicorns is so fun!

My Unicorns!

"Self confidence is the best outfit. Rock it. Own it." 

LulaRoe in my opinion is all about creating a village of women who inspire and encourage others. The confidence to wear a whimsy print and mix the patterns to make a fashion statement all comes from within.
It has brought people together and made shopping fun! You can shop with your friends and make new ones all from the comfort of your own couch!

So if you are still on the fence about giving LuLaRoe a chance let me preach for a sec-

5 of the top reasons I love LuLaRoe:

1. The clothes are unique: they only create 2500 of certain prints so ...the combos are endless.
2. The clothes are comfortable...I forgot I was wearing my Maxi skirt! The light weight fabric is easy to care for too!
3. There is something for everyone...with sizes going to 3XL it celebrates all sizes and beauty.
4. It creates community and sisterhood...this goes without saying. 
5. It feels good on! If it feels good, you look good! WIN! WIN!

If you are interested in learning more start here and join my friends group... she will help you every step of the way!  

Have fun and happy Unicorn hunting!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Day I Let My Daughter Cook

Today I said yes more than no and I created some memories for my daughter. It was hard at times. Like for reals hard. But I got through it. And it was awesome.

We all know that dinnertime is the one of the craziest in any house; so the fact that my daughter wanted to wreak havoc on my kitchen after a long day of summering hard... well... I was reluctant scared to say the least.

I am a self denying control freak. I tell myself nope! I'm super chillax. Ha. Not true!! As I get older, I think it is getting worse, folks. Like, I always want to drive places; or be at the restaurant first; or host the parties; pick the menus; choose the outfits;  pick me. Love me. UGH. I am a monster!

A couple nights ago daughter #2 asks as if she can make dinner from start to finish? I had to pause. And think long and hard before I didn't do a knee jerk reaction and say no. Nope. Not today!

I swallowed hard. And I said yes!

She squealed. And said really?  She said it  way too many times and I could feel the heat raising on my neck.  Do I not let them do what they want? Do I control and not let her just be?
I pushed back the desire to ask her that... Instead I smiled and we started the planning.
I had a few stipulations - guardrails if you will:
  1. The meal needed to have healthy choices
  2. She would have to make her own grocery list 
  3. She would have to come shopping with me and put away the groceries. 

And away she went.

Pinterest luckily is always on the ready for times like this and last night it was no different. You can follow me here.

She searched for healthy easy dinner recipes, healthy dessert recipes and also an appetizer.

It all happened pretty fast! And before I could recant my yes... She had a menu.

Fruit Salsa with homemade Cinnamon Sugar Chips

Zucchini Boats

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

We got up and went to the store. She was very organized; had her list and she was ready.  As you can see she loved the process!

I coached her along each step; giving her pointers on how to hold the knife; to move the handle from the pan towards the stove etc.

I couldn't help but hear my Grandma saying "do it my way or not at all!" I may or may not come from a long line of control freaks! However, I have learned so much from these women in my life that I tend to remember more of their passion and zest for life and how to live then anything else!

I admit (now) my Grandmother knew more than me at that time... But now I think she would realize that there is more than one way to get things done. Gasp.

As she chopped the strawberries. I cringed.   Then cheered her on and praised her precision. Although it took a long time to cut those strawberries I am proud to say she got better by the end!

Next came the awesome tortilla chips. The least healthy choice... They were so good. She nailed it!

Do you think she was having fun?!?

The zucchini boats were surprisingly easy to make and she whizzed through it. I had to show her a few times how to hold the spoon to get the insides out of the zucchini but she did very well!

Now on to the dessert my friends. So yummy and decadent and so clean. I was impressed that she went with it   She doesn't like hummus ... But this recipe calls for chickpeas. Yes, you heard me! I linked all the recipes for your enjoyment. Let us know what you think!

Dinner was a huge success. For both of us! She was very proud of herself for working as hard as she did to feed the family.  She may have told me that it is hard work cooking and cleaning all day... I just laughed!  I didn't make a comment about how I know all about that... I just let her do her thing.

It was worth it. 4 hours letting go of control in my kitchen translated into my daughter learning some cool things about herself one summer afternoon
  1. Cooking is fun 
  2. She knows how to make healthy choices
  3. Her mom is awesome 
  4. She can follow a recipe
  5. Measuring is math 
  6. It is okay to make a mess!

I am so glad I said yes to her.  I mean for all the feels... Look at her smile.

I will do my best to give her more chances to make a mess in the kitchen... Cause let's face it. She is old enough to clean it up. The right Her way!