Thursday, May 24, 2012

Spare {summer}time.

I absolutely love the summertime. After working hard for the entire school year, it is so refreshing to have a change in my routine and the opportunity to have a little bit of free time! Because I plan on being a teacher, I look forward to enjoying future summer "breaks" (even though I will still be working) because having two months away from school allows me to accomplish many of my goals that end up being put on the back burner. Although this list is definitely not complete, there are several things that I wish to accomplish this summer, so I am writing this post mostly to keep myself accountable!

1. Fix up the broken and shabby desk that I have been using since middle school. (strip, sand, stain, replace hardware, etc.) Though I have plenty of experience making crafts and artwork, I have never done a DIY project this intense. I will definitely be posting about this when this undertaking is complete.

2. Become more experienced in the kitchen. After 4 years of receiving all of my meals at my sorority (I'm so thankful for this), I will be cooking for myself for the 1st time next semester. Although I am not a complete beginner, I would love to expand my repertoire of recipes. In order to do this, I am trying to make dinner for my family at least once a week (this is my for sure mom's favorite goal...She despises making dinner).

3. Pass my AEPA exams. I will be taking them in July, and after looking at the study guides, I'm more nervous than I thought I would be! I will be house/dog sitting the entire week before the exams, so I am hoping to cram in a big chunk of studying at that time, but I still need to being studying soon.

4. Finish two commissioned paintings, and just continue making art in general. One of the paintings I am making is for my cousin, and I'm really excited to start working on it. It will be so nice to make a little extra money doing something that I enjoy.

5. READ READ READ! Reading is one of my favorite activities. Give me a good book, my two pups, and a comfy couch and I become the most content girl on the planet. I will have nearly no time to do this next semester, so I am trying to maximize my reading potential this summer.

{I may have been feeling a bit ambitious at the library last week}

Today is my little sister's first day of summer, so we planned a fun "summer sis day"! With that, I am off to go tackle her in bed gently and quietly wake her up!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Playing Catch-Up

The past couple months have been absolutely amazing. My lack of blogging was due to the fact that I was putting the majority of my efforts toward savoring my last moments in Chi Omega, and my time as an undergrad at U of A. Although I do not graduate until December, I will spend my days student teaching in a high school off-campus, so my experience next semester will be completely different from the way I have spent the last 4 years. My "sunday smiles" have been absent, but not because I haven't had any reasons to smile. In fact, I have spent a ridiculous amount of time smiling, cherishing every moment, and having a dang good time with my best friends. Now that I am home in Scottsdale for the summer, I have a bit of time to relax before I start nannying, so I would like to take this opportunity to *attempt to* highlight some of the reasons I have loved the past few months. 

Signing the lease for next semester on the most perfect little house with my best friend from high school!

Spring break in Mission with my sorority sisters was so great! I made so many memories and am so thankful that we were able to spend such quality time together. 

The end of lent + Easter brunch dessert buffet = heaven on a plate

Senior week included different events every night, plenty of irresponsibility, costumes galore, and more laughing/crying/dancing than should ever be allowed. 

The closing exhibition for my 2nd grade art class was such a success! They were so adorable, talented, and enthusiastic!

Spending so much time with my best friends for the past four years. I am truly blessed. 

Watching (most of) them graduate was so much fun! I'm so proud of them all. 

I am so thankful for my mom. Mother's day always reminds me of how she so selflessly gives for my sister and me, and I don't know what I would do without her. 

Lastly, coming home to this sweet little guy. Paco loves to hang out on my bed when I come home...he is the greatest cuddle buddy. :)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sunday Smiles!

Busting out the spring dresses that I've had in glad it is finally warm enough!

I got to enjoy a 4 day weekend because my professors went to a conference in NY....a.k.a. no class for me on Thursday. :)

I did my roommates toes today, as well as my own in preparation for spring break...

aaaand got a fresh shellac manicure!

The spectacular weather this week!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Just say "no"!

Throughout the past few years of giving up sweets for lent, there is something that has always bothered me. Although I am happy to report that it has become easier for me to handle, I am still slightly troubled by the comments made by others who seem to be skeptical about my decision to give up sweets for 40 days. Examples of these comments are, "Come on, one cookie is NOT going to hurt you...", "That must be so horrible...why would you ever want to give up dessert?", or, my personal favorite, " kind of diet?" Honestly, I do not concern myself with what other people are eating, so why should I be constantly questioned? There are cases when I politely decline dessert, and the person offering it acts so offended! When others are judgmental, it never fails to make me feel uncomfortable, but I had an important realization the other day. This may be an odd comparison, but I saw an "Above the Influence" PSA, and it got me thinking about the little phrase that was engrained into my head throughout my time in school, "Just say no!" Obviously, I know that this phrase was supposed to be used in situations drug/alcohol situations, but it totally applies to any kind of peer pressure! If I can rise above the situation, and remember that I do not have to let anyone dictate my decisions, I think I will start to become much more comfortable with the comments opinions of others.
 In the wise words of Young Jeezy, "you just do you, umma do me." :)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday Smiles...Take Two!

Lately, the weeks have been flying by so quickly! I've been incredibly busy, and this lovely Sunday evening is the first time this week I feel like I've been able to sit down and relax...and it is so needed. As I sit here finishing up some homework with the Academy Awards playing in the background, I wanted to quickly share my Sunday Smiles. :)

Kiwi at Chi Omega! I love when this happens!

My first attempt at printmaking...It was quite the process, but so much fun!

The weather this week has been GORGEOUS. Sunny + high 70's = bliss.

1/2 done after 2 days of good.

Watching the Oscars at the Chi O castle. :)

Here's to another fantastic week!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Smiles.

For some reason, I always find myself a little bit sad on Sunday nights. This probably happens because the weekend went by much too fast, and I usually get to thinking about all of the responsibilities that need to be taken care of within the next week. I have decided that in order to combat "the Sunday night blues" (as my mom calls it), I am going to spend my Sunday evenings reflecting on 5 things that made me smile throughout the past week! I think that this will be a fun way to keep my mind focused on the reasons that I love my life, and why I should look forward to the upcoming week! So this marks the beginning of "Sunday Smiles!" 

My first experience at Lindy's on 4th!

The greatest cure for my never ending sweets cravings...I think I like apple pie the best!

The thoughtful Valentine's Day gift from my parents. :)

Adorable stickers from one of my professors in honor of her engagement on Valentine's!

Last but not least, getting to spend the entire weekend with my wonderful daddy for Chi Omega dad's weekend! So thankful for him!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

My sweetest downfall...

is, without a doubt, DESSERT. For some odd reason, I have absolutely no self-control when it comes to dessert, and I really struggle with monitoring my portion sizes (especially in the sugar department). One of my most wonderful friends, Shannon, shares a sweet tooth, so we have decided (for the 6th? 7th? year in a row) to give up sweets for lent. Except this year, we started a little bit early...As in yesterday. It is so helpful to have the support and encouragement of my good friend throughout this endeavor, because I definitely couldn't do it alone! I am hoping that cutting myself off from sweets until Easter will do several things:

1. Help me to become less reliant upon sweet treats for a quick "pick-me-up".
2. Encourage me to become more responsible about the way I eat and my overall health. 
3. Save me some money!

So far it has been pretty easy! I think that this is simply because I know that dessert is not even an option, rather than going through an internal struggle about whether or not I should pile every single topping on my fro-yo! 

This is going to be great Shan!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Spread a little LOVE.

Happy Valentine's Day! 
I am going to try to spread some extra love today. :)


And HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my wonderful home state, Arizona. For 100, she still looks marvelous!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The importance of a good study break!

A reminder to take a break.

Last semester, I was very blessed to have quite an easy class schedule, and it was rare for me to devote an entire weekend to homework. Well...Spring 2012 is not as lucky. This weekend I find myself drowning in lesson planning, art projects, research papers, and required readings. Every time I look at next week's schedule in my planner I come dangerously close to having a panic attack. Don't get me wrong, I understand how fortunate I am to have the opportunity to be receiving a quality education, and I definitely appreciate it. However, at times like this I find myself longing for graduation!

So you are probably wondering why on earth I am spending valuable time blogging when I should be writing lesson objectives and studying AZ education standards? Well, I have come to the conclusion that taking breaks is essential to my mental health and level of productivity. Sometimes when I concentrate on one assignment for too long, my brain starts to "short-circuit", and I end up staring blankly at the computer screen, unable to process any more information. I have found that taking breaks can really help refresh and rejuvenate my mind. On friday night I went to go see "The Vow" with some friends, and today I will be blogging (as if that wasn't obvious) in between assignments and heading to the gym for a quick meeting with my good pal Mr. Stairmaster. I have found that doing these mindless sorts of activities really help improve my sanity in the long run. That being said, when I begin working on an assignment, I really like to get down to business. For me, the only way this is possible is through an application called SelfControl, which lets you block all sorts of websites for any amount of time (I always block Facebook, and Pinterest)! It is such a wonderful program for mac users...especially those who procrastinate like myself! 

I am hoping that giving myself a little bit of time off today will help me to approach my papers and assignments with more motivation later, as well as remind me that there is more to life than crossing things off of my to-do list! Off to the gym I go!

Friday, January 27, 2012

A little push in the right direction!

As an art major, sometimes it is tough to constantly find new inspiration for my artwork, and it is not uncommon for me to find myself in a rut. After 12 hours of mandatory painting every week, it can be difficult for me to find the motivation to go into the studio on the weekends! Needless to say, when my painting professor suggested that our class take a field trip to his studio downtown to look at some of his artwork in place of our regular 3 hour painting time, I was absolutely delighted (not to mention relieved...I had been dreading that class all day)! When we arrived and this shabby old run-down studio, I was instantly affected by the positive atmosphere. The space was filled with passionate artists all exploring their own ideas, and it was apparent that they were enjoying their time with the paint and canvas, completely at peace with what they were creating. "This is what it should feel like...", I thought. After hearing my professor talk about his own work, his techniques, and his inspirations, I was all jazzed up, and couldn't wait to start exploring some of my own ideas in the same way. Although I did not do any painting that day, I feel that the little outing we took was much more productive and worthwhile than 3 hours of studio time would have been, and I am so grateful for the enjoyable (and necessary) nudge in the right direction. From this experience I learned that all you really need to get back on track (in any facet of life) is a little bit of inspiration!

Here is one of my professor's paintings...SO COOL!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Not all who wander are lost?

For some reason I have always had an irrational fear of getting lost. This may be due to my complete lack of any sense of direction, or the fact that living in Tucson has conditioned me to be constantly aware of my surroundings for my own safety. Either way, I am beginning to understand that to be lost may not be as awful or formidable as I believed it to be. As I reflect on all of the instances in which I have found myself to be "lost", whether literally (driving in an unfamiliar area), or figuratively (as I struggle with an important decision), I have always come out of the experience with a new sense of self-awareness, learned a valuable lesson, and (in some cases) I am pleasantly surprised by a new discovery. Whether that discovery be the realization that I am a strong individual who is capable of more than she thought possible, or stumbling upon a beautiful spring while wandering in nature, I am beginning to conquer my fear. In less than a year I will be graduating college, and I will be faced with several important decisions. I have always been the kind of girl who likes to stay in her comfort zone, but the more I think about my plans for the future, I realize that I do not want to be afraid to take risks because I am too afraid of the outcome. This is a little reminder to myself to not fear the future because "It's better to travel and get lost than never to travel at all."