Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hot Then You're Cold

My blogging has been as schizophrenic as this weather... 

Last Friday we saw a couple inches of snow.  Since it was cold and icy my roommates and I decided to stay in and make pizza.

 My pizza is on the  left. I used lots and lots of shredded mozzarella, some chunks of fresh buffalo mozzarella (because more cheese is always better), some fresh basil and a little spicy sausage. And then more cheese. Because that's the rule
If you've made pizza at home do you have any suggestions? Or favorite ingredients to use? We had a little trouble getting the crust to cook properly- may have been due to the fact that we tried to cook 5 pizzas at once and the oven door was opening and closing every 5 minutes... Whatever, still good pizza.
Back to the bizarro weather we've been experiencing:
On Monday, the office opened 2 hours late due to "inclement weather".
And today...I'm wearing a shorter skirt and a spring jacket.
But I have a snow globe on my desk.
January, you are a fickle friend. "You change your mind like a girl changes clothes..."
(And if you're wondering about the title of this post, throwback Katy Perry, when it's been 18 degrees, anything over 50 degrees is hot.)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

This n' That Thursday

This: Yesterday I tried curling my hair with a flat iron. I've seen/heard people raving about this method for a while now and after watching a tutorial video over at The Shine Project I figured I would give it a try. First attempt... not so bad. It's good for relaxed waves and I liked the laid back texture.
That: Today I woke up to a pretty dusting of snow! We got about an inch and they're calling for more tomorrow. It's about time if you ask me. I'm only okay with it being so brutally cold (low 20s, into the teens...brrr) if there is snow on the ground.
This: Speaking of snow, this gives me the perfect excuse to break out my favorite Sorel boots (unfortunately I think they no longer carry this style). I feel like it's not really winter until I've had the chance to wear them. Bring on the snow! Maybe we'll get enough that the Office of Personnel Management decides to close the Federal Government tomorrow and I can have a really short week. Fingers crossed!
That: For those of you that follow me on instagram or twitter, my apologies for repeating all my pictures on the blog. I feel like I covered all social media bases today. I also linked up below! Have a happy Thursday.
Katie Did What

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

3 Things

I needed a pick-me-up after work so I headed to the mall and got three things that made me smile.

1. New flannel from Urban Outiftters.
2. Big bag of candy (my love language)
3. Chick-Fil-A

I came home from the mall and changed out of my work clothes which included my new ankle pants from Loft (thanks mom):   
I threw on leggings and my new flannel:
I plopped myself on the couch and enjoyed my waffle fries, lemonade, and spicy chicken sandwich while watching Teen Mom.  Later I broke into the candy and my night was complete.

In other news I'm really enjoying Urban Outfitter's Spring Collection. And as much as I love flannels and am kinda hoping for snow on Friday... this below sneak peak makes me long for warm weather:
so pretty... 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Well...

It's been a long couple of days. My mom got to town last Tuesday and left on Sunday. I had so many fun things planned. Brunch at my favorite brunch spot, a trip to the Newseum since neither of us have been before, shopping and sightseeing and dinners out and lots of talking.

Of course plans change...
Both mom and I got sick.
She completely lost her voice and I have Shingles.

Awful.

So instead we ordered take out and mom cooked dinner for us both and we ate Italian ice and popcorn in bed and watched Law & Order SVU (there's always a marathon on tv), oh, and we visited CVS no less that 4 times in 5 days.
(See picture evidence on mom's blog - the pain and the medicine they gave me made my head a little too foggy to operate a camera.)

We still talked, a lot. No sore throat or scratchy voice or painful shingles can stop us from talking or laughing. And we did leave the house one day to visit Target and Loft, because how could we not?

Now I'm back at work today after a needed long weekend. I'm sad mom wont be picking me up from the metro but I'm already planning our next visit. Hopefully it will involve less medication and more fresh air. But if it doesn't I know we'll still have the best days. There is something healing and renewing and just plain wonderful about time with your mom.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge

I figured I should definitely participate this week since the host of the hodgepodge is staying at my house... 
1. Lake Superior University has once again published a list of words/phrases they think should be banished from the Queen's English...fiscal cliff, kick the can down the road, double down, job creators/creation, passion/passionate, yolo, spoiler alert, bucket list, trending, superfood, boneless wings, guru. Which of these words would you most like to see banished from everyday speech and why?

While "boneless wings" really bother me (that's not real life!), I'm going to have to say fiscal cliff. Ugh. If I never hear those words again that would be fine with me.

 2. When was the last time you rode a train? Where did you go?
Umm... this morning. To work. And it was not fun. I was dropped off at the metro by my mom, which was so lovely, but as soon as I walked into the station I see the huge crowd the red warning sign and I just know it's going to be one of those commutes. Fortunately I'm pretty tiny and can shove myself into even the most crowded train car so I ended up not being too late. Still not my favorite way to start off the work day.

3. Bagels-yay or nay? Favorite 'flavor'? Favorite topping?
Yay. And I happen to love everything bagels, even though they make your breath not so pleasant.  I also happen to really miss Einstein Bagels. My college had one on campus, open until 2am, and there was nothing better than a bacon/egg/cheese bagel at 2am to give you the extra boost to finish that paper or get back in the studio for an all-nighter.

4. 'Tis the season of awards shows....if you could star in a movie already made, which one would you choose?
Harry Potter. Actually I kinda just really wish that movie was real life. I also think being in  Gone With the Wind would have been fun- I love playing dress-up.

5. The move towards single gender classrooms has been making the news in recent months...what say you? Do you think kids perform better if separated by gender and are taught differently or is that discrimination? If you're a parent is this something you'd support in regard to your own children?
I suppose this might be beneficial for some kids-although I feel sorry for any teacher with a classroom full of 20 middle school boys... actually girls might even be worse. I have friends who went to all girls schools  or all boys schools so the option does exist. Personally I never had a problem with it and in the "real world" things wont be separated for them. So if I was a parent I don't think I'd pursue it.

6. What's your favorite thing about staying in a hotel?
Not having to make the bed. And room service.

7. Do you have a 'word' for 2013? What's the story behind your choice?
I guess I kinda made "strong" my word for 2013. See post here.

8. Did I mention my mom is in town? I'm so excited she's here! I love that when I get off work today I get to hang out with her. She arrived last night and we went out to a really yummy dinner. Here is a picture of my mom taking a picture of dinner. Clearly we are both bloggers.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Random Weekend Recap

I had a really low key weekend. Both of my roommates were gone for most of it- one for work (she's a PA in the ER and works a lot of nights) and the other was in Disney World (I'm mad at her).  So it was just me, myself, and I this weekend.

On Saturday I woke up and went to ballet class. It's an hour and a half and I always come home feeling great and really motivated! I took a shower and then decided I needed to get started on cleaning my house... because... my mom is coming to visit!!

So I cleaned my bathroom, and washed my towels and rugs and then started on my sheets. Then I made myself lunch. I just want to take this moment to share my newest food obsession and my favorite lunch or snack these days:

Palmetto Cheese with Jalapenos (aka the BEST store bought Pimento Cheese)


My sister turned me on to this. She said to look at my grocery for the pimento cheese with the woman on the lid. I doubted that my store would have it but was thrilled to find it in the deli section. I like it spread on crackers and it definitely would make a good party dip. They also have original flavor and pimento cheese with bacon but I like the kick of this one with jalapenos. And you can order it online if your grocery doesn't have it and your feeling deprived.

That's enough about Pimento Cheese now (but seriously try it).
Later I watched Miss America and had a running text commentary with my sister... here's a little snippet.

We both wanted SC to win and honestly I think she was the obvious choice. I blame the question portion.  They really need to bring back that sound proof box with the headphones and have each girl answer the same question.

Sunday included more cleaning and more time on the couch. It was a good TV weekend, perfect for these gray foggy days we've been having.  Last night was the Golden Globes AND a new episode of Downton Abbey. Speaking of Downton, "Mary Crawley" made my favorites list- apparently I preferred black and gold.

(Michelle Dockery | Kate Hudson | Emily Blunt | Nicole Kidman)

Anyway... hope everyone had a relaxing weekend. Tonight I'm going to yoga and then vacuuming my whole house... for some reason I put that chore off. Oh, and of course I'll be watching the Bachelor. Happy Monday!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Let It Snow

 Let it snow was the theme of our "Wine & Cheese" at work last night.  Actually I'd prefer if it didn't snow... there are rumors of 60 degree weather this weekend and that is fine with me.

Sadly I'm sure these warmer days are just a tease, I don't think winter is going to be that kind to us. So I thought I'd share some of our event details in case you decide to throw a Snow Day bash this season!

I strung old snowflake ornaments and large paper cuts outs on white string at varying lengths and heights. These were hung above the bar. A strand of Christmas lights was draped under the table skirts of of the bar to make it twinkle. My favorite part of the decor was the dramatic centerpieces. Three tall cylindrical vases with white hydrangeas and icy branches. These were placed on the center table with the sweets.  On the high tops I created a snowy vignette by filling square vases with  salt, glitter and pine cones. An added (battery-operated) tea light was the final touch.  
We have a limited budget for these little events and we prefer to spend more money of food and beverages. All of the decor was put together with items we already had in house. Finding new ways to use old holiday decorations allowed us to really cut corners.  We did get the flowers from a florist but we used our own vases which we dropped off ahead of time. A big chunk of the cost for flowers goes to paying for the vase. I'm really excited that we get to keep those fun sparkly branches for future events.

And now for the best part of any party... the food: 

At the bar, in addition to wine and beer, we set up a hot chocolate station with marshmallows and Bailey's.  We had a great turn out and zero left over food- always a good sign.   Happy Friday!!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Shallow End

Yesterday's post was a little new for me. I like to think that I'm pretty open and honest about my heart on here. But yesterday I felt particularly vulnerable and exposed. It's a good thing. It's good to share the deep things in your head and wrapped around your heart and I loved the comments that said, "hey, me too." As my mom said in her sweet encouraging comment on yesterday's post, I "went swimming in the deep end."

Today's post is not like that.

I got a new purse! (and checked off #89 on my list)
The Brompton Mini-Hobo from J.Crew

I wouldn't really call it "mini", it's plenty big for me, but it was definitely smaller than it's larger cousin which looked like a weekend bag. Anyway.. it's got tons of room and pockets and I love that I can carry it a bunch of different ways.

And there are no gum wrappers or pen marks or lip gloss stains...

I've been pretty much using and abusing the same tan bag for quite a few years now.  It starting to fray and my back up one didn't fit everything that I have to carry around. Not that you ever need an excuse to get a new cute purse!


On another note... who watched the Bachelor last night? I flipped back and forth between that and the BCS Championship game (SEC! SEC! SEC!) because sometimes that show is better in small doses. There was a little too much drinking going on, and it seemed to be acknowledged more than past seasons, but I still think there are some cute girls and Sean was my favorite from Emily's season, so I hope (stupidly, will I ever learn) that it works out for him.

If you want to take your Bachelor viewing experience to the next level there is a fun bracket to fill out for each episode here. So far my favorites are AshLee, Katie and Tierra. In the words of Chris... this will be the most dramatic season yet!

UPDATE: Tierra sucks and I'm embarrassed that I picked her as an early favorite. Don't shame me.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Strong

It was Friday, on the metro home from work, and I'm listening to music like I always do on my commute.

The first line of the song's chorus sings "Be strong in the Lord." And with that I'm crying.
On the metro and up the escalator to my car.  I finish the song and I start writing down all the thoughts that spring to my mind, up from my heart, as quickly as those tears came.

Why did that line, those five simple words, make me cry?

Be strong in the Lord. A commandment, a charge.

But lately sometimes I do not feel strong in the Lord and I have not been making much of God.

I have big dreams for a big exciting future! But lately I've convinced myself that I like my little world. The routine I have established in my daily life. It's familiar, boring sometimes, but I'm good at it, and it's safe.

Really, though, am I just scared of where God might lead me if I truly surrendered? My whole life. Not just the parts that I feel like "letting" Him have control of, but the whole of it. What would He do if I just let  go? What could He possibly do with little ole me?

Insecure in the Lord. Timid in the Lord. Afraid, weak, unsure. Words I'm ashamed of. Words I'm wanting to overcome.

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7

I don't want safe. I don't want the easy seat on the sidelines. Turns out it's actually not that easy. The restlessness, the tugging on my heart.

The voice saying this is not enough.
You were made for Me, you are capable of so much more.
I gave you gifts, discover what they are and use them!

But there is the other voice saying I might fail. I'm not good enough.

So I'll admit that I hide from Him. Afraid of proving that second voice right. I get lost along the way to where I want to be. But the Son of Man came to seek and save the Lost and so He is seeking me! He wants to carry me on His shoulders. He has saved me.

I want to serve Him with my life. I want Him to set a fire down in my soul. What am I waiting for? Why am I here, in DC? In the lives of the people I see everyday? What am I doing with the gift of being right here?  How am I helping to build God's kingdom?

I have the privilege of working with people very different from myself. I have the privilege of sharing the Gospel with high school students. I have the privilege of living with two sisters in Christ. I have this online presence called a blog, read by my mom and 10's of people every day (or every other week depending on when I actually post.)

Am I living out an example of Jesus Christ? Am I unapologetically representing Him or am I wasting precious opportunities to make much of my Lord?

"I know that I love You, but sometimes I'm afraid
I know that I need You, but sometimes I know it more..."

Another song lyric.

A reminder that I am human. That I fail daily. That I cannot boast about anything I've done because I fail Him daily. But I can boast about what He has done for me and I can boast about His power.

I am weak but He is strong!



Friday, January 4, 2013

3 Years Old

I completely forgot my blogging birthday! I started this blog 3 years ago on January 1st, 2010.
I'm excited to see where this little blog goes in 2013!
Happy birthday Sincerely Shannon!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

What I've Been Reading & A Link Up

#76. Read 1 book a month-more if possible, keep a record of books read each month. (6/33)

I have been reading a lot but I have not, however, been very good about keeping a record.

I posted what I read in July, August, and September.

And now I'm playing catch-up and sharing a recap of what I read in October, November and December. These were slower months, reading-wise, but I still passed my goal of 1 book per month:
  • Life of Pi- Yann Martel
  • The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels- Ree Drummond
  • Reason to Breath- Rebecca Donovan
  • Barely Breathing- Rebecca Donovan
  • Sister- Roasmund LuptonSeriously could not put this down. Of all the books I read these past 3 months, this one was hands down my favorite! If you liked Gone Girl, and especially if you didn't, you will like this sooo much more!!
  • Safe Haven- Nicholas Sparks
In other news I heard about this blog hop/ twitter/ facebook link up co-hosted by a new favorite read of mine: We Took The Road Less Traveled. Maybe I'll get some book suggestions for the New Year!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

About that list I made...

I haven't made any New Year's resolutions for 2013. I simply want to have a fabulous year! I want it to be memorable for good reasons, not for heart break. I plan to make the most of this year instead of just letting it happen to me. And I'm not going to let the inevitable plans I make for myself each year, and tend to hold on to with some inflexibility, get in the way of what God has in store for me in 2013.

That being said, I'm still a planner and a list lover. Remember that BIG long list I made of 101 things I want to accomplish in 1001 days? Well it still exists. And I plan to knock off a big chunk of them this year:

#85. Go to Siesta Scripture Memory Team Celebration.
My mom, sister and I are all participating in this scripture memory challenge with Living Proof Ministries and we really want to go to the "celebration" next January.  My mom got my sister and I the "official" spiral for our stockings this year, aren't they adorable?

And my first verse is: "For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost." Luke 19:10.  
If you have no idea what this or you want to participate as well, go here for the rules for the memory challenge.

#56. Memorize 30 verses.
I think these two go hand in hand.

32. “Year of the Cookie” challenge. 
Since I need a whole year to complete this one I might as well start now if I want to finish before the 1001 days are up.  Stay tuned for the January cookie of the month!
      (1|2|3)

#2. Take more ballet classes.
I've finally found a studio I really like, that's easy to get to and has classes that fit my level and schedule.  So far I've taken 4 classes and I can't wait to take more!

22. Grow Shannon Elizabeth Designs.
This will definitely be helped along by a very special Christmas gift I received: this fab-u-lous Wacom Intuos5 Tablet.

Thank you mom and dad!  It's been on my wish-list for a while and I definitely wasn't expecting it! I am so excited and intimidated by this tablet. It can do so much for design and photography and I have barely begun to scrape the surface. I hope to be worthy of such a sweet tool and I'm excited to see where I can take my design passion.

These are just a few that I'm pretty positive I will be able to accomplish in 2013. But I'm choosing to put no pressure on myself. Maybe I'll do all of these things, and maybe I'll say forget it and cross of #23. Get a new stamp in my passport instead.  That would be OK with me too!