Thursday, March 31, 2011

Art ♥

I'm subbing in a middle school art class today and I am so excited! I'm hoping I get to play with something fun... like clay or paints. Fingers crossed! If not, I will color with some colored pencils like the one's pictured above and have a good ol' time. :)

Friday I'm in a middle school math class again. I was a little hesitant to accept the job because it's math, and I stink at math... but, I really don't think I'm in an any position to be cherry picking jobs right now.... Math it is!

Hope everyone's having a great week! One more day til Friday!!

What was your favorite elective/specials class in school? Mine was music!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ten on Tuesday!

I woke up with the worst sore throat this morning. This is the second time since I began subbing that I have gotten "sick". I know this sounds obvious, but I am attributing my self-diagnosed sickness to being around so many different kids. Who knows how many strands of whatever they're carrying I am being exposed to. Today I used so much hand sanitizer my hands are all rashy. I'm not completely blaming the kids though...I'm also blaming my hectic schedule this past weekend and my drinking Friday night. I was so good all week and ate so well, with very little alcohol. Then, Friday it all went down the drain. I'm getting back on track this week and kicking whatever bug I have. Vitamins will be my new candy!

Welp, it's already Tuesday. Which means Ten on Tuesday :) Here's another great set of questions from Chelsea.

1. What is a food that you never thought you would try, but then tried and liked? Asparagus. I know, I'm not adventurous AT ALL. Growing up I hated asparagus. It was probably because my parents always made canned asparagus, which was, and still is disgusting. Now asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables. The fact that it is a natural diuretic is an added bonus!

2. Do you subscribe to any foodie publications? If so, which ones? The only food magazine I get is Cooking Light

3. What ingredient do you find yourself reaching for the most when you cook? Spray butter. It's pretty ridiculous how much stuff I put that on.

4. Are there any foods that you hated as a child, but then learned to like as an adult? See number 1!

5. What do you like to eat that others may consider weird? Hmmm... I am so not weird with my food habits. I eat pretty much the same things every week. (I am so boring!)

6. What is the weirdest ingredient you’ve ever cooked with? Honestly, I don't have anything "weird" that I have cooked with... at least, I don't think I do anyway.

7. Do you have any major food allergies? Nope.

8. Is there an ingredient that you would like to cook with, but are intimidated to try? Fish... I love fish but I hardly ever cook with it.

9. Do you bake? Not regularly... I would eat too much of my creations!

10. If you could go on any “foodie” show to compete, which one would it be, and why? I don't really watch them... So, I have no idea. I would go on a show that allowed me to travel and try foods in lots of different places!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Books, health food and dreamers. :)

Hellooooooooo!! I've missed you guys since... umm, Friday? Seriously, I missed you! Insert collective, "awwwwwwww," here :)

I was going to do an In My Mailbox post today, but to be completely honest I am embarrassed at how miserably I am failing at not buying books. I bought 11 last week. Yes, you read right. ELEVEN. One of them is a set too, so if you count the books in the set it's more like..... 19. In my defense (yes, I am justifying this) I got a TON of good deals and all together only spent... ok, nevermind. I just added it up and it's not that good. It's over 50$ and that is still ridiculous. Especially for someone that doesn't even have time to read lately.... Sigh.

I'm still thinking about the IMM post though.... maybe for Tuesday. ;)

Since Friday afternoon I have been go, go, going which is kind of funny considering I was fretting Friday morning about having absolutely no plans laid for the weekend!

Friday afternoon started like any other with Happy Hour (like how I make that a proper noun with capital letters...) at our favorite place, Saints restaurant and bar in West Des Moines. We have decided that this place is officially the "ex-boyfriend bar" as I have seen two guys there now that I have dated and my other friend saw one this weekend. We don't care though, they're not running us out of there. It's still our place. ;)

So, after happy hour one of my friends had a date, so my other friend and I headed to Boston's to meet her hubby and some of his friends for a couple more drinks. It was an early night because I was planning on getting up early to participate in an event the School of Education participates in called Books and Bagels with the I Had a Dream Foundation. Here is me with the "Dreamers". I had a such a great time at the event! What a wonderful charity.
Before we left Boston's on Friday night, my friends hubby's friend (following me? lol) gave us free tickets to an event downtown at Hy-Vee Hall on Saturday called the Hy-Vee Whole Experience. The event is to showcase the organic and natural food selections that are available at Hy-Vee. There were tons of booths with vendors talking about their products, well known individuals in the area speaking, and even celebrities! Shawn Johnson was there in the morning, but we missed her. Darn! ;)
Right away when we walked in we were handed a re-useable shopping bag. My friend and I looked at each other and was like, are we getting food to take home?! Sweet!

We got to walking around to all the vendors right away. I don't think we missed a single one. There were so many products there! We walked away with full bellies and lots of food. Here's the swag I walked away with...
Notice the big bag of BBQ chips already opened? Yeah, I couldn't help myself. I cannot be trusted around BBQ chips...

I got a sample of Chia seeds, some individual sized bags of chips, cereal, Pepsi Max, Cliff bars, Lara bars, Luna bars, Gatorade, Vitamin water, Propel, magnets, coupons.... I also got a loaf of bread that somehow didn't get pictured! Oops. It's the 45 calorie bread from Sara Lee, which is what I eat on a regular basis so it was awesome to get a loaf for free!

Look how small this Pepsi Max is! It's about 8oz, which is perfect for a small craving of pop! (That's Lexie in the background!)
We had such a great time at this event! I know we will plan on attending again the next time it's in Des Moines. I guess this was the first year they had it here, but they've had it in Omaha and Council Bluffs before.

After leaving the convention we wandered next door to a dance competition. We couldn't help but sit and watch the girls dance and reminisce about when we were that little. Our costumes weren't that skimpy though.... My goodness! No pictures of that... lol ;)

One our way back to WDSM we got to talking about health food stores in our area. We just got a Trader Joes recently and we are getting a Whole Foods later this year. My friend had never been to TJ's so I told her she had to go! We decided to just go right then and finish up our grocery shopping since it's already started with all our goodies from the health food convention!

I found these massive bananas at TJ's and even though I didn't need bananas, I just had to buy them... They're the ones on the left (obviously), I wanted to picture them with regular sized banana's to show you how huge they are!

Today two friends of mine and I headed two hours east of here to the Tanger Outlets for a day of shopping. We just got home about an hour and a half ago and I am wiped out! I wore a pedometer all day and I can't believe how much we walked! I'm going to wear one everyday and if I haven't made it to at least five miles I'm going to get my booty outside and get to five miles asap (well, this is the plan. Fingers crossed I follow through. Hold me accountable, ok?)

I am off to finish my laundry and get ready for the week. I still have a chapter to read in my Arts Integration book for class tomorrow and I have no time to do it during the day. Uuuuuuggggh.

Have a great Monday everyone! :)

Do you shop organic or pay attention to preservatives and other "fake" stuff in your food?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Heart Friday ♥

I'm a little impressed with myself right now.

Why, you ask?

I have blogged everyday for two weeks. I don't think I have ever done that. Get used to it everyone, I'm going to try to keep it up. :)

What I haven't done though is sit and write is going on with me. (it's not much, really) Maybe it's because I don't feel like writing it. Maybe it's because I am actually quite boring. Maybe it's because I have been doing a lot of writing for class. Who knows?

Regardless, today is no different. Today... is a bullet-heart post day.

♥ Yesterday I subbed in a music class and was thoroughly reminded how I hate the fact that I didn't learn how to play the piano when I was younger. I think I was too busy trying to play the violin and the flute and the cello... oh, and I think I tried the clarinet for a day too.

♥ I have the most irrational superstitions. Seriously, they're ridiculous. When something falls through I always come up with a ridiculous reason why I jinxed it. It's silly.

♥ This summer I am taking FOUR classes (that is a lot for graduate school in the summer) and SIX this fall (that is also a lot for a regular fall/spring semester). My thought process is I can always drop a class once I see the syllabus and see the work load.

♥ I really hate emails that are directed to a few people within a group, but are ultimately sent to everyone. Know what I mean? Makes me feel like I am doing something wrong, when I know that I am not.

♥ Remember that book buying ban I was on? Yeah, I'm failing miserably. Miserably!

♥ You know what one of my favorite things about the iPhone is? I literally learn a new trick or tip for it everyday. I love that. Especially when I figure it out on my own. Then show someone else and they didn't know it either. :)

♥ I am a little bummed because I found out a guy I had a crush on in high school teaches at one of the high schools I sub at. Then I found out he was married in 2008. Boooo. (everyone should be on Facebook so we can all keep up. Just sayin!)

♥ My sister's dog Chico is so ticked off at her for paying more attention to Lexie, he has become obsessed with me. He follows me around all day! It's cute, hehe :)

♥ The Borders in my area is closing and everything went on sale today. :( Everything is 10-20% off. It's not much, but I just had to buy something... (yeah, I have a problem...)

♥ I don't have ANY plans this weekend. I need something to do. Pronto.

Have a great weekend everyone!! :)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful ...

....for a subbing job in a 9th grade music class. (that the student teacher is leading. teehee...)

....that the tornado that hit 30 miles south of me Tuesday night was... 30 miles away. Scary stuff.

....that eating better and better each week is getting easier and easier. :)

....that Lexie is doing such a good job at letting us know when she has to go out (this is a big one!) car gets good gas mileage...

....that my summer and fall schedule is working out beautifully, now the classes just can't be full when I go to register on April 6th.

....this week is probably our last week of crappy weather.

....the grass is slowly changing from brown to green...

....I finally got around to giving myself a pretty pedicure and my toes look puuurdy again.

....I finally found some super cute black sunglasses and they were only $7 at Old Navy.

What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

New fav quote...

I watched this wonderful interview of Lady Gaga last night, and I don't know how it's even possible but I become more and more obsessed with her and her cause(s). It's a long video, but my favorite quote came at around 16 minutes.

On being yourself and not afraid of it...

"Look into the darkness and look into places that you would not normally look to find uniqueness and specialness, because that is where the diamonds are hiding."

Great message, huh?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

I'm linking up with Chelsea today for Ten on Tuesday! I just noticed I have the wrong button for her weekly meme. Oops. Oh well, I've been reading her blog for a couple weeks now and I love her! You will too. :)

1. What condiments are always, always in your fridge? I am a condiment freak, so we always have a ton. Let's see... ketchup, mustard (yellow and honey), raspberry vinaigrette, goddess dressing (oh yeah), light ranch (I clearly like dressings), mayonnaise, parmesan cheese, spray butter and a couple different kinds of jellies. (I had to go look just so that I wouldn't miss anything. )

2. How do you like your steak cooked? Your burgers? Medium rare and well. And it doesn't matter how great the chef is, I like steak sauce with my steak.

3. What’s your favorite use for fresh tomatoes? Cut up and mixed with AE cottage cheese. Mmmmm.... Or on top of a nice chicken salad. Or to make salsa. I like tomatoes...

4. What’s your go-to dinner when you haven’t planned anything in advance and you don’t feel like going out? A baked potato with sour cream, spray butter and lots of s & p.

5. What’s your favorite snack food lately? Bananas. I go through a batch of bananas in less than a week lately.

6. What’s your favorite weekend breakfast to make at home? Breakfast burritos!

7. What’s your favorite thing to grill? How do you do it? Shish Kebabs! I love mushrooms, orange peppers, tomatoes, chicken and steak on mine. Yuuummmmmm! How to do it is pretty self explanatory? My only advice, if you're using wooden skewers do not forget to soak them.

8. What’s your favorite wine for under $10? If you’re not a wine person, what brand of beer is your favorite? I'm a wine and beer person! I love all wine, my favorite is red. I just bought a great one at TJ's yesterday that was only $4.99... I don't go for the expensive stuff. It all usually tastes the same to me. For beer I love Blue Moon, but it's so heavy so I will usually opt for a Miller Lite or Mich Golden Light.

9. Give us your most delicious cocktail recipe. Uhhhh, I'm really not good at mixing drinks... but here's what I got! 1/4 Malibu 3/4 Diet Coke. That's about as delicious as my cocktails get.

10. How do you like your eggs? I just recently discovered the joy that is scrambled eggs and salsa on Sunday so I plan on liking my eggs like that for awhile now. :)

How freaky is it that it's almost April? Fourth quarter is almost over (not that quarters matter to me anymore, but oh well). That is just craaaazy to me!

Oh wells, happy Tuesday! :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Break recap

Spring break is now over... and Chico and I are sad. :(
(Excuse my makeupless face and 2nd day hair...)

Since this was my first spring break since 2004 I feel like I must recap it. Hard to believe my last spring break was in 2004... that's just crazy. And makes me feel very old. And it kinda gives me butterflies. Anyway, I digress.

Here is the list of what I planned on doing... I did 2 of the 10 things I had put on my to-do list.

1. I tried the new Thai place downtown. Two big thumbs up.

2. I worked on semester long projects. Finished one, turned it in and already got my grade back. (I got an A! Woot, woot!)

Now, before you shake your head at my laziness, listen to what else I did instead of the other 8 things on my list!

  • Blogged every day! That's an accomplishment for me. Hopefully I can keep up this habit because I really do love it.
  • Attended a Jodi Picoult reading in Minneapolis, spent time with a good friend there, and met another blogger friend :)
  • Took a road trip to Omaha to see the bizarre, but fantastic Lady Gaga!
  • Organized my bookshelf. I didn't make a huge improvement, because I NEED another sehlf, but I took it from this: to this:
  • Deep cleaned my bathroom (so much for the car). My bathroom needed it bad, though! Look how sparkly clean it is!
  • Spent some quality time with "the boys", Chico and Zeke. They were going to get a bath until I found out they were spending time out in the country at my grandma's house. Then I postponed the bath. ;)
  • Made my first stir-fry and it turned into a big mix of every vegetable I could find in my apartment and it turned out yummmmy. Although, my rice cooking skills can use some work.
  • Did a lot of reading, I finished The Pioneer Woman's book and read Skipping a Beat by Sarah Pekkanen and also read quite a bit of Delirium by Lauren Oliver (which is supposed to be my you-can-only-read-this-book-while-busting-a-move-at-the-gym-book but after busting a move at the gym one day I just couldn't stop reading once I got home. :/
  • Played A LOT of Words with Friends. Are you on there? If so my name is AmberWDM. Play a game with me. :)
  • Got lots of R & R. I am now fully rested and am ready for the craziness that spring no doubt holds for me. (why does the end of the semester have to be so nuts?)
I'm glad I didn't take one big trip and took two small road trips. It gave me some time to really relax and get ready for what I know is going to be a busy few months.

Although, we do have a trip coming up in April... hopefully. My sister, me and one of my best friends are planning a road trip to... NIAGRA FALLS! I have wanted to see it for a really long time, so my fingers are crossed we can make that one a reality! It's only 14 hours away, which was so shocking to me. The last leg of the drive is along Lake Erie and I have heard it is gorgeous. I cannot wait!

What is your favorite Spring Break memory?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Twenty Questions!

Sunday's a good day for a meme, right? Jamie always had the best meme's on her blog! I love how simple and sweet this one is! Here are 20 questions, I hope you enjoy learning a little more about me and that you can participate too! :)

1. If you have pets, do you see them as merely animals or are they members of your family?
The pets in ALL my family are considered family members... Seriously, this family takes it too far. My parents have two dogs and a cat. I have a dog and a cat. My sister has two dogs and a turtle (yes, the turtle is part of the fam). My aunt is obsessed with rescuing dogs and graciously opens up her home to them. My grandma has two dogs and two cats.
Ok. I'll stop. You get the point. :)

2. If you could have a dream come true, what would it be?
To marry my best friend (whom I do not know yet, lol. That sounds kind of funny) and have a long and happy marriage with lots of kids! :)

3. What would you do with a billion dollars?
I think that would be so overwhelming, I wouldn't know what to do. I would definitely invest some and buy some property. I would build my dream house and my parents dream house. Donate lots to charities and local education. Pay off my student loans (duh) and probably get another degree when I'm done with the one I'm doing now! Ha! I would save a lot of it. No matter how much money I had, I would still work though. Unless I had a lot of kids to keep me busy. ;)

4. What helps to pull you out of a bad mood?
A quick workout (yep, I said quick.) A little retail therapy. A nap. A little me time with a good book and a big cup of coffee!

5. What is your bedtime routine?
Wash my face, brush my teeth, take out my contacts, get in bed with my book, (lately) take a melatonin and settle in before I pass out in 30 minutes. It's like clockwork, which I am loving btw.

6. What activities did you do in high school? If you could go back, would you do the same stuff or something different?
I was involved in as much as I possibly could be. I was a football and basketball cheereader, captain of the soccer team, features editor of the newspaper, secretary of Pep Club, involved in student government and a Scarleteer, which was like a student ambassador. I was busy!

7. What kind of books do you read?
All kinds of books! It really depends on my mood. I like chick lit, YA, historical novels, mystery... whatever strikes me at the time. If it doesn't hold my interest I move on to something else pretty quick.

8. How do you see yourself in 10 years?
I will be 39 (holy moly) and I hope I am married with a couple kids and teaching somewhere in Des Moines.

9. What’s your fear?
Snakes. I hate them.

10. Would you give up all junk food for the rest of your life for the opportunity to see outer space?
Ehhh, I don't think so. Just to see outer space? Maybe if it was to GO to outer space I would say yes. I'm sure that's what they mean, but this is my way of avoiding answering this question. ;)

11. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Snooze, snooze, snooze. Then I go to the bathroom and then take the dogs out so they can do their business.

12. If you could change one thing about your significant other, what would it be?
I don't have one right now (which I am fine with !) but if I did I hope I wouldn't want to change anything. (Ha. Yeah, right).

13. If you could pick a new name for yourself, what would it be?
If you asked me this question when I was six years old I would have said Samantha. But, now I am quite content with Amber. :)

14. If you had to choose between six months of sun or six months of rain, what would you choose?
This is a no brainer! Six months of sun FOR SURE!

15. If you could only eat one thing for the next 6 months, what would it be?
No matter what it was I would get SO SICK of it after six months!!

16. What is the thing you enjoy about blogging the most?
The friendship and understanding I have found in the blogging community. It really is therapeutic to be able to write and get honest, unbiased feedback!

17. Do you prefer salty or sweet foods?
I prefer salty to sweet, but sweets are so close behind salty... Can't I have them both and mix them? Mmm, so good.

18. What items are in your purse right now?
I always have a huge purse! I have my wallet, sunglasses, school badge, pens, notepad, book, lotion, lipgloss, little makeup bag... This is a meme all by itself!

19. Name three things on your bucket list.
Travel Europe. Take a train ride trip across Canada. Skydive.

20. What do you watch on television that you know you shouldn’t?
I don't think I'm that bad with tv... when it's on I am almost always doing something else at the same time, like blogging, reading blogs or the newspaper. But, I do love me some Bachelor and Big Brother. For sitcoms I love Modern Family, The Middle, How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory. (Ok, so that's kind of a lot).

Friday, March 18, 2011

Going gaga for Gaga!

Want to know where the best people watching in the Midwest is?

It's not the state fair... Or the mall... Or downtown in your city... Or a small town...

It's at a Lady Gaga concert in the middle of cornfields and farms...

Ok, so it's Omaha, and there are few fields to feast your eyes upon in the city, but there are lots on the way there!

Yesterday three of my best friends and I headed to our neighbor to the west, good ol' Nebraska, to see one of my FAVORITE artists, Lady Gaga!

Two years ago we saw her open up for New Kids On The Block, and nobody had barely heard of her. Her single, Just Dance had just come out and we thought she was a little weird (uh, duh) but that her songs were catchy. Since then I have downloaded anything that has come out by her and loved just about everything.

Each time I see her speak or being interviewed I have fallen a little more in love with her. Everything she advocates for is stuff I totally get and am completely on the same page with. I have written a little about gay rights on this blog, but not too much... Obviously, she's a huge supporter of the LGBT community, but she also hugely supports any type of individuality.

In between songs she would talk to the crowd, and at one point someone threw a Barbie on stage at her. She picked it up, and goes, "I hate her! I hate her butt, I hate her boobs, I hate her hair... This is what I think of Barbie!" Then she snaps the doll in two.

Then somebody threw a stuffed bear, or some sort of stuffed animal on stage and she picked that up too and started ripping all the stuffing out. She claimed that she hated it, because all of that stuffing was FAKE.

This all may have been staged and set up for the show, but it was impactful! I loved it.
Seriously, I had to stop myself from crying, my eyes were welling up. I did not expect it to be so powerful for me.

What also caught me by surprise was how much she PERFORMED. I knew she was a true performer, but she sang each and every song, no lip syncing. She also played the piano, it wasn't pre-recorded... you can totally tell when they do that. I WANTED to hear the mistakes, I want to see the LIVE music. That's what I paid the money for! Then she acknowledged the fact that she wasn't some "blonde bitch that pretended to be an artist and could sing"... hmm, whomever could she be talking about?

(btw my friends and I saw Britney two years ago and her concert was horrible. I doubt she even know what city she was in. I will always love Britney, but some artists are just not cut out for live performances.)

This concert was hands down, the best concert I have ever been to. I have never jumped, danced and completely let go of myself as much as I did at this concert. Perhaps it was the sort of mosh pit that was general admission on the floor that we immersed ourselves in, I don't know, but it was a ton of fun. Plus, I got in a GREAT workout. My legs are screaming in pain today - they got worked hard! Jumping for two hours will do that, I suppose! :)

Here are a few pictures of some of the new friends we made at the concert... Excuse the poor picture quality! All I had was my phone and I could not fix the glare on the eyes!
I'm grateful for artists like Gaga that support and encourage individuality. This world needs more people like her.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I'm aaaliiiiiiiive!

Haha... just poking a little fun... that's probably not funny...

Date went well, it lasted almost three hours! That's one heckuva long happy hour date! We talked about a lot, I drank three beers, he had three vodkas on the rocks (?). We went to "his" bar that he goes to all the time and he knew pretty much everyone there. In fact, one girl that's there all the time too sat with us for about an hour!

I really didn't mind though, I had a good time chatting. I don't know if he is the one for me. He's very "city" and I'm just not sure if I want that. The thought of someone with some good old fashioned down home values is really appealing to me. We'll see. I would definitely go out with him again to see, I'm not ruling him out! :)

It's St. Patty's Day!!! What are your plans?! As you're reading this I am probably getting ready to head to Omaha, NE for what is going to be a craaaazy concert. I just know it...

Details tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Handwriting meme

About a month ago I noticed a really cute meme that Kara did on her blog and I added it to my growing list of "Meme's I want to do"... The list is mental, so there's not saying how big it really is. Haha!

Here are the questions I had to answer:

  1. What’s your name/your Blogger name?
  2. What’s your blog’s name/URL?
  3. Write “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”
  4. Favorite quote?
  5. Your favorite song?
  6. Your favorite band/singers?
  7. Anything else you want to say?
  8. Tag 3-5 other people
And my answers...

My scanner didn't scan it in very well, then I distorted it quite a bit by stretching and dragging it but that's my completely random handwriting. I would describe it as inconsistent and bipolar, it's straight up and down, sideways, cursive, print... My handwriting is so random.

I forgot to attribute the quote. It's from Ghandi, it's been one of my favorites for a long time.

So, there's my random meme. It was fun and you should do it too! :)

Later today I am going on a happy hour date with a guy from Match. It's my first time meeting him and I haven't told my friends, so I'm telling you guys. Usually my friends and I tell each other - or someone - when we meet someone from the internet. I'm not telling them because, honestly, I'm sick of analyzing guys with my girlfriends. I do that just fine on my own!

He's choosing the place, and if I don't think it's a busy enough place I will suggest something else. I think it's safe though, wish I knew his last name, but his first name is Adam. If you guys don't hear from me tomorrow morning, send a search party. :)

St. Patty's Day tomorrow!!! What are you guys doing? Any big plans?! Green beer, anyone?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

This week I am linking up with Chelsea at Roots and Rings for her weekly Ten on Tuesday! Let me know if you participate too so I can check it out! :)

1. What is your cleaning style like? Umm, my cleaning style? I don't know... I guess I am pretty clean. I clean a little bit everyday. I hate having dishes in the sink and a floor that needs vacuumed. Vacuuming is my favorite chore! (Sick, I know.) I live with my sister and she is my complete opposite when it's comes to general tidiness... Sometimes how cluttery she is drives me crazy.

2. What is your favorite thing to add to an outfit to take it from casual to classy? Probably a scarf. Or a fun ring. Or really pretty earrings. Oh, the possibilities!

3. Do you like stormy weather? Yes, I love it! No tornadoes though. Or any other natural disasters...

4. What is your favorite cold treat on a hot day? I'm sure this is supposed to be food related, but... my favorite treat is a dip in a cool pool or lake! Perfect when you're sweating and hot!

5. What is your favorite warm treat on a cold day? A warm treat on a cold day.... a big cup of coffee!

6. Who is your favorite animated character? Gotta go with Ariel from The Little Mermaid. Or Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Both were favorites of mine growing up!

7. What do you keep your jewelry in? I have an extremely full armoire that needs to be upgraded...

8. Do any of the rooms in your house have a theme? My bathroom is done in an ocean/seashell theme and my bedroom is done in a fashion theme with old fashioned magazine covers blown up and framed.

9. Do you watch any interior design TV shows – if so, what is your favorite? Not regularly... but I LOVE House Hunters! Once I start watching I cannot stop. I must know what house they choose.

10. When was the last time you did something risk-taking? Probably when I went on my last date from mwhaha, j/k. (kind of). That or when I rode the ripcord at an amusement park over the summer. So scary! But, it was fun!

Can't wait to read everyone else's answers!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

In My Mailbox (2)

Hello, everyone! I was sitting here thinking and thinking about something compelling to blog about and couldn't think of much... then I realized that I have put off doing a vlog for quite some time. Since I have bought a ridiculous amount of books in the past month, I figured this was a perfect opportunity to post an In My Mailbox vlog. :)

I'm sorry the books are backwards... I am sure there is a way to fix that. In fact, I am positive there is way, but I am not tech savvy nor do I have the patience to search for how to do it right now. You don't mind, right?!

So, there you have it!

Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Skipping a Beat by Sarah Pekkanen
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Reading Jackie by William Kuhn

What did you get in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

City girl? Country girl? In between girl?

I have always considered myself a city girl. The name of my blog is supposed to be humorous because I don't live amongst cornfields, when I tell someone that I live in Iowa they immediately think, "Corn!" "Farms!" or "Potatoes!" (which is Idaho, btw. Not Iowa).

So, when I visit somewhere like the twin cities, Minneapolis/St. Paul I am extremely humbled by the fact that I am closer to "country girl" than "city girl." There are stoplights on the entrances to the freeway and cars and intersecting interstates/highways/freeways (what's the difference?!) everywhere. It is overwhelming and completely out of control for me. Each time I visit, although I have visited several times before, I have no clue where I am going. I am forced to message my friends, "Should I be passing Eagan?" "Where is 4-94?" "Am I supposed to be going WEST?!" All the while cars are zooming by me at ridiculous speeds. Minneapolis, your drivers are out of control. (And so is Kansas City - Missouri AND Kansas sides. Omaha, NE and Chicago, IL)

(Don't mind my self taken portrait in the car....)

Friday morning I headed up to the cities to meet up with two very special bloggers and see one of my favorite authors, Jodi Picoult, speak about her new book, Sing You Home. This trip very quickly became more about meeting friends, than about seeing an author speak about a book. I met my very first blogging buddy, Lesli, at this very same event three ago, and we have made this somewhat of a tradition! We eat at the same Perkins each year and usually do some shopping too. Lesli couldn't make it to the book reading, but I didn't have to attend alone! I finally got to meet Lisa, from Lisa's Yarns!! I have only met one other blogger before in person, so I was extremely nervous but so excited! All day I kept telling myself that it would feel just like an old friend and that it was no big deal. I was right!

The two years before when I went to this event I made the three hour drive back home the same day. This year at the last minute I decided to get a hotel room. This year's event was at the same time as last years, and in 2010 I didn't make it home until after 1am. That drive was rough and I was really dreading doing that again. Lesli made me realize that that was silly to drive and I should just get a room. So, from my iPhone I got on Priceline and successfully bid $50 on a 3 1/2 star hotel and got it! I had never used Priceline before, but I will definitely do it again.

I stayed at the Le Bourget Aero Suites in Bloomington, MN and was really impressed with how nice it was!
(The best appliance in my room... Second to the bed for being my favorite item in the room)

Funny story, I specified "Mall of America and Minneapolis airport" (they're across the street from each other) when I chose a location for my hotel so when we finished our lunch we hopped in Lesli's VW Bug and headed to MOA to get checked in. Once we got to the area we planned on just driving around and looking for the Le Bourget Aero Suites. When we didn't see it I punched the address into my phone to get directions and was shocked to see where the hotel was.... It was around the corner from the Perkins we were eating at, 5 miles down 4-94 where we just came from. Oops.

In rush hour 5pm traffic we turned around and headed back to where we had just come from. Silly girls. We thought we'd be like men and not need directions! Ha... Ha...

We (well I) got checked into the room and inspected my digs for the night (which were pretty fantastic if you ask me) then Lesli and I had to part ways and I headed to Edina High School to meet up with Lisa!

I was really early, so I settled in and got lost once again in Ree Drummond's pioneer world, in her book, Black Heels to Tractor Wheels. Thirty minutes later Lisa showed up and we were ready to head into the auditorium and wait for Jodi Picoult.

Sometimes it's so shocking to me that anyone is even paying attention, so when Lisa asked thoughtful questions about what was going on with me I was sort of floored. Doesn't she make the most thoughtful comments on your blog? She's the exact same way in real life! She easily makes you feel special and like you're an old friend picking up where they last left off. I really hope I didn't talk her ear off, but I'm 99.9% sure I did!

I went up to Minneapolis to see an author speak but the highlight of my day really turned into spending time with good friends. I enjoyed meeting Lisa so much, and I love how close Lesli and I have become. All of my friendships found online through blogging have become so important to me and I am so grateful for such a wonderful community of women (and some men!). I just cannot gush enough, you all know how I like to gush. ;)

(My view on the way home. Can you see the windmills?)

I had such a great time with both ladies and only regret not getting pictures of us together! I really need to get better at taking more pictures. I always remember later when I am by myself and am forced to take shameless pictures of myself or of coffee makers that make me swoon...

Have you met up with very many bloggers in real life? What was your experience like? Are you a city girl, country girl or in between girl like me?

Friday, March 11, 2011

What to do... What to do...

I'm heading a few hours north to Minneapolis today to attend another Jodi Picoult book signing and hear her speak! This will be my third time seeing her and I am just as excited as a the first time. The first time I went up there I met my first blog friend, Lesli. Ever since we have become great friends. Today I will be meeting Lisa for the first time! I just love meeting blog friends! It's like meeting up with a long lost friend that you haven't seen in a long time.

So, next week is spring break and I am less than excited. Crazy, right? Well, I have absolutely nothing to do. This may sound like heaven to most all of you but I am going to go nuts if I don't get something planned asap.

All of the districts that I am subbing for are also on spring break, so it's not like I can work and I no longer have a part time job to pick up any extra hours.

Here is what I have planned so far to keep myself busy.

1. Work on semester long projects - I have four of them. This ALONE should keep me busy.

2. Organize the pantry (it is out of control)

3. Borrow my parents steam cleaner and clean our carpets

4. Fill the three empty walls in my apartment that are currently bare. (i.e. go shopping!)

5. Give the dogs a much needed bath

6. Deep clean my car

7. Organize all the tupperware tops and bottoms (they're out. of. control.)

8. Go through my crammed closet and donate clothes that I haven't worn in the past year

9. Just noticed another wall in my apartment that needs something - ha...

10. Try the new Thai restaurant downtown

This is all I've got. Clearly, I could get all this done in one day.

What are you favorite projects go to projects when you come across extra time on your hands?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

It was bound to happen...

Running into an ex that is.

My city is not small by any means, but it functions like a small town. Everyone is separated by just one person and it's hard to get the dirt on just about anyone. For this reason, running into an ex is bound to happen when you both live here.

Remember Cy from last year? If you've been reading awhile you know what a jerk he turned out to be, if not go back to the end of 2009 and early 2010 and prepare to gag. I was disgustingly head over heels and gushed non-stop on here.

I had yet to run into him since our break up (via text) last March. I knew it was bound to happen so I was always prepared. I like to look my best as much as possible, but I don't make it a point to have a full face of makeup every time I go out. Every time I did though, I thought, "what if?"

I didn't have to worry though, the day came and I was prepared.

Last Friday two of my friends and I were out our favorite happy hour spot. It's semi-new to us, but we have made it ours. We are there every Friday and almost always at the same table. It's our spot. So, Friday when we're sitting at our table and Cy's best friend walks in, my heart plummets. At first I don't say anything to my friends and I just pretend I didn't notice him.

A few minutes later his fiance walks in. She's the one that I thought hated me while Cy and I were dating, but conveniently after we broke up she decided to like everything I did on Facebook. (annoying.)

I told my friends they where they were and we all pretty much shrugged our shoulders and blew it off. Nothing was ruining our happy hour place!

A little while after that my friend says she thinks she's Cy. I wasn't surprised. Where his BFF and his BFF's fiance were at, Cy wasn't usually far behind. He's a follower like that. When the time was right I looked over and it was indeed him. With his new fiance. (gag me.)

I'm so glad I was dressed up. That day was my first subbing job, so I was wearing nice dress pants and a sweater and full accessories. My hair was straightened and perfect makeup. I know I looked pretty.

Shortly after that the girls left and it was just Cy and his friend. We stayed and continued having a good time. My friends said he had definitely noticed me and had positioned himself so that he could see our table better. They said he looked like he was working up the courage to come over and say hi.

Thank goodness that didn't happen. I was prepared for it did, but I was really hoping it didn't. This went on for about an hour and it seemed both groups were playing the "this is our spot, you leave first" game which, we were clearly going to win.

Win, we did.

We ended up being at the bar for 7 hours (!!) and a good half of it he was there too.

I'm glad this moment is over. I'm glad he saw me and I looked pretty. I'm glad he saw what he is definitely missing.

Have you ever had an awkward run in with an ex?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Finally on the payroll!

I have been holding out on you guys big time!! It's been almost 4 days since my first subbing job and I haven't blogged about it! Shame on me...

Well, everything happened so fast last week, all in one day I was added onto the payroll in two major districts in my area and later that night got a call for jobs in both. I took the first call I got because I was terrified there wouldn't be another one (little did I know there would be another one directly after it). I'm really glad I did, because it was for a smaller suburban middle school in a 6th grade Language Arts class. This was perfect for me! I'm sure I had two offers right away because it was a Friday, but still...

The night before was probably hilarious because I was flying around the apartment trying to get my outfit ready... get my lunch ready and I was just giddy in general! My sister thinks I'm nuts. She thought all my rushing around to get everything "ready" was pointless because I wasn't going to be able to sleep. Well... she was wrong. I got 5 full hours of shuteye. ;)

I arrived at the school 10 minutes early the next day. At first I was a little annoyed at my own punctuality, but later I was really glad I did that because it gave me a chance to really look around the room and quadruple triple double check the lesson plans that were left for me.

Due to it being a Friday and a Language Arts class there was a lot of downtime with independent reading time or writing time. I could have kicked myself because the only thing I brought to read was the newspaper. Thank goodness the classes were visiting the library that day. I was able to borrow a book so that I could read with everyone else. I have learned my lesson and I will always bring something to entertain myself with! A few times... okay, a lot of time, I checked my phone and I am feeling a little guilty about that. I would hate for the students to tell their teacher that their sub was on her iPhone all day. I wasn't texting, but was more playing Words with Friends. It was very accepted in this classroom to use iPods, iPads, and other electronic devices for writing, but I still feel bad. I'm going to avoid my phone from now on.

Overall I really enjoyed my first day subbing and I can't wait to do it again! For the rest of the semester I should be subbing every Wednesday through Friday. My only complaint is on nights like last night when I didn't know if I would be subbing or not, but definitely wanted to be.

On Monday and Tuesday morning I got calls around 6am, but couldn't take the job because I had class both days. So, I figured this morning I would get a call around that time. I set my alarm for 6am and hoped I would get something. Last night there was a subbing job available online for a 9th grade PE class but something about that scared me, so I didn't take it.

I didn't get any other offers either, so in hindsight I should have taken the PE job.

I'm really bummed, there are only a few more days until spring break next week, and I already have plans for Friday so I can't work that day. I just have Thursday to work another day! I hope I get called!! For my budget to get me through the summer I need to substitute 30 days before the end of the year. That is the bare minimum and I'm really hoping to get in more than that.

I'm sure I'm going to have be persistent about it and check the website religiously to try and get a job. Once I get a few more under my belt I will be opened up to more positions.

That's my theory anyway. Fingers crossed... I'm off to find something to do for the day!

Btw, Lent starts today! Did you give up anything?

Ten on Tuesday

I am feeling a little better today. I slept for a little over 10 hours and it was glorious. Last night I took a melatonin vitamin, and it helped me get to sleep a little earlier. I'm going to take them for a week or two and see if that will help me get on a more structured sleep plan. I don't want to take them for too long, because I hate taking pills.

Today will have to be quick, so I am participating in Ten on Tuesday!

1. How did your parents decide on your name?

I think they just liked the name Amber. I wasn't named after anyone or anything like that.

2. Do your initials (First, Middle, Last) spell out anything fun/funny?

Nope, it's ALJ. When I was little I used to think it would be funny if it was Alf. I loved that show...

3. Did you take your middle name from childhood or did you take your maiden name as your middle name? (If unmarried, what do you plan to do?)

I plan on taking my husbands last name. I don't think I could ever not... I would never take my maiden name as my middle name... that would be weird. If you know my last name you would know why. I'm talking to a guy right now that has the same last name as me (don't worry it's a VERY common name and there is NO relation), it's just spelled one letter different and it just cracks me up! I mean, WHAT IF?! Ha!

4. Are you or will you name your children thematically (ie. same first letter, all of same origin…)

I might... I used to say I wanted twin girls and name them Summer and Autumn. Cheesy, right?! I was also in high school and was really weird. I honestly haven't really thought about it, besides just thinking of names I like. I love the name Daisy, Elise and Bella. (clearly, I'm only having girls).

5. Did you decide on baby names as a little girl? Did you stick to them or change your mind?

Yep, I've always liked the names Daisy, Summer and Autumn since I was a little girl. I also loved the name Samantha and used to wish that was my name... anyone guess why? I loved the character in some very special and beloved books that I'm sure many of us read as little girls...

6. Does your family have any names that have been passed down through generations?


7. Do you look at the meaning of the name or just the name itself?

I would look at the name itself first and then the meaning. If the meaning is something I hate, I would change it. But, I doubt that it's possible I would hate it!

8. Do you name pets with human names (Sally, Henry) or with pet names (Fluffy, Mr. Bo Bo)?

Yep... two of my pets have human names, Lexie and Libby. My parents ALWAYS give human names. They have a Nick and a Parker and they used to have a Jake.

9. Are there any names that you have an affinity or dislike for based on a childhood experience/someone you once knew?

I totally think that people can ruin a name for you! I'm not a fan of many names and I would list them on here but I'm worried about who could possibly read this... just trust me that they're very common names. Ha!

10. What are some of your favorite names? Why?

See above! :) (Note: no boy names, mwhahahaha) (I am so jinxing myself right now)

Happy Mardi Gras Day! :)

Monday, March 7, 2011

My really lame-o post.

I have been feeling like crap since Saturday morning. There is so much I want to blog about, but I just don't have the energy. I'm hoping my lack of energy and general feeling of ick is due to my monthly BFF.

I skipped my practicum this morning and I'm feeling really guilty. I have plenty of time to make up my hours, but I'm sure she was prepared for me and I canceled at the last minute. She hasn't replied to my email and I feel terrible. I'll just come back after spring break ready to kick some butt and do awesome. I emailed the practicum coordinator as well and she said to feel better, but I still have nightmares of my teacher asking for a new student or my grading dropping or something. :/

Anyway. I will be back later this week with news about my first subbing job and my accidental run in with an ex on Friday... Hope everyone is doing well!

See ya'll later!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Two month vacation

It's been two months...two months after working my last day I can finally substitute teach. It has taken two months to get everything in order. TWO MONTHS!

I thought I did the right thing by getting all of my certifications in order, my physical taken, and the application filled out before turning it in. I thought that would speed up the process. Nope, it did just the opposite. I kind of think I slowed it down a tad...

That's not how it works. In addition to having a background check by the BOE, I also had to have a background check done by each of the three districts. One district took three weeks to finish it! Another district required more certifications. The third district legitimately interviewed for substitutes. I aced the interview, but some of those questions were hard to answer.

If I could do it all again I would of turned in the application as soon as the Board of Education handed me my certificate. Online all three districts that I applied for appeared to want all of these things together. So, that is what I did. If I would have turned in my application FIRST they could have gotten my background check sent in and in the meantime I could have worked on the details. Oops. Oh well.

After three weeks I am officially on the payroll and ready to roll. I expected a call last night and got nothing. Around 9pm I texted my friend from class who urged me to do this. She said that calls WILL come in. There's that much of a need. She said not to worry, that I would probably get a call early this morning.

I woke up at six and waited... it's now 8:12 and I still have nothing. I am so bummed!! I hope it's just a fluke. Maybe since tomorrow is Friday I will have more luck.

I'm glad everything is sorted out and I can officially work, but I'm just ready to do it now!! Two months off work and only going to classes is getting boring!!

Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

Hello, Tuesday. Nice to see you!

1. What type of cell phone do you have and how would you rate it?

I just got the iPhone on Sunday and I don't think I have let it go since. I absolutely love it and don't think I'll ever go back. I'm officially completely Apple endorsed... Macbook, iPod, iPhone - slightly pathetic, no? ;)

2. What has been your most serious injury?

I have been very, very fortunate not to have any injuries - so I would have to say my worst injury (this might be TMI, and it's not an injury per se...) but right after college I moved to Kansas City and was still covered by my parents insurance and wasn't covered if I had to go to the doctor... well I let a UTI infection go, or actually, I didn't know that was what it WAS. That was awful... my roommate took me to the ER because I was doubled over in pain. Yuuuck.

3. What is one movie you hate and why?

I hated Paranormal Activity 1 & 2. HATE THEM. I really regret watching them because it still gives me nightmares (obviously it wasn't my idea to watch them in the first place). I hate scary movies and I especially hate that demon stuff. I don't want to know anything about it.

4. How many email addresses do you have?

Three. Yahoo, Gmail, and my Drake email. I've had the Yahoo one for forever so I use that most regularly - although wish I used my gmail more because it's so convenient. Google Reader is almost always open on my desktop.

5. What website do you waste the most time on?

I hate to say it, but Facebook. It's such a timesuck! I try to limit myself to checking it once a day but that never happens.

6. Which mexican restaurant makes the best salsa?

I had some really great salsa at On The Border the other night! My favorite is Monterrey, which is a little Mexican restaurant here in Des Moines/West Des Moines. I love the chunks of onion in it, it's so good. :)

7. What is your dream car?

I would love a Jetta, a silver one that's fully loaded with black leather seats. Pleaseandthankyou. :)

8. If you could spend up to $100 with no strings or restrictions or guilt, what would you buy?

Ummm, books. Or maybe some new sandals - spring is almost here!

9. What is your favorite board game?

Definitely Scrabble! I can play Scrabble allll day! Which is one of the reasons I am so in love with the iPhone... I can finally play Words With Friends!

10. How often do you change your hairstyle?

All. The. Time. I get bored really easily with my hair and am almost always wanting something new whether it be shorter bangs, shorter overall or a darker color. Inevitably, it almost always goes back to the way it usually is... shoulder length and dirty blonde. :)