Baby Love

One of my best friends Sarah had her beautiful baby girl last Friday. Her lovely little name is Olivia Rose - isn't she darling?! I'm so excited to meet her. Sarah and I have been friends since middle school, I can't believe she's a mom!!

Miss Olivia arrived bright and early on black Friday (the biggest shopping day of the year). The family is already teasing she was born to be a shopper just like her mama! Welcome to the world Olivia!

Quote of the Week

"How different our lives are when we really know what is deeply important to us, and keeping that picture in mind, we manage ourselves each day to be and to do what really matters most."

-Stephen Covey


Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I'm very thankful for so many things on this Thanksgiving, my FIANCE!, my family, my friends, my job...the list goes on. The FIANCE and I are headed back to the Midwest late tonight to celebrate the holiday with his family (my future in-laws!).

Wishing you have a warm and cozy turkey day! Hope you get to enjoy good food and festivities and celebrate all you are thankful for with family and friends. I'm kind of excited I just get to enjoy the eating portion of this holiday, but for all those of you cooking tomorrow, what are you bringing to Thanksgiving dinner?

P.S. Since I'll be out of town, I'll be on a little blog hiatus until Monday - enjoy the long weekend!!

Snow Day!

The snow fell plentifully last night in Seattle. Despite the snow, we did have school yesterday, and my students were (as you can imagine) quite distracted by the steady stream of flurries floating down all morning and afternoon. Luckily, I beat the traffic home, and cranked up the heat in my cozy house and watched the flakes continue to fall.

Today, I'm curled up on the couch with my cat Jenga, watching Love Actually, sipping pumpkin spice tea, and working on report cards. No cabin fever yet...

Is there snow where you are?

The Engagement Story

Okay, time for the details!! I'm still floating on Cloud 9 thinking about the fact that I'M ENGAGED!!!!!!! It's been a whirlwind 48 hours of pure bliss.

So, the morning of the engagement, it was a gorgeous, crisp Saturday - no rain clouds in sight, but a touch of wind. He and I went to my favorite French bakery for a late breakfast and picked up some croissants to take later for a picnic at the park. We drove to Carkeek Park (for those of you who aren't familiar - this is a beautiful park in North Seattle that has a little bit of everything, wooded trails through the forest, beach access to Puget Sound, and stunning bluffs that overlook the mountains all in one).

First we took a stroll down to the beach, but the windy was blowing so crazy, I felt like we were going to blow away. (I later found out, he had wanted to propose on the beach, but the wind had kind of "blown" that plan - haha, pun intended).

So we continued back up through the picturesque trails, chatting and walking hand in hand with our coffees. We walked up this steep trail to a beautiful clearing that overlooked the sea, the mountains - and it was in a protected nook so we were sheltered from the blustery wind. We sat down on one of the picnic benches and ate our croissants and talked, and just as we were about to leave, he stopped and said, "Before we go, I need to ask you a question." Now he says my eyes went WIDE and I froze, as he got down on one knee and told me all these wonderful lovey-dovey things and then popped the big question, "Will you marry me?"

Of course I said yes, and he took my glove off and put the gorgeous ring on my finger. It was so exciting and overwhelming, I started smiling and don't think I've stopped since. I surprisingly didn't cry, but I think I was just so stunned and excited I didn't even think of it! We hugged and kissed and hugged some more, and then ran to the warm car to call everyone.

The best part was after we shared our big news, we came back to our house where he had flowers and champagne waiting, and we just got to kick back and enjoy our new status as "engaged fiances," for a few hours all to ourselves. Later, we went out to a romantic dinner at one of our favorite restaurants and then met up with friends to celebrate at another friend's birthday party.

It truly was the best day, and I'm so excited for what lies ahead!! Thanks for all the kind wishes and excited reactions - we am so lucky in love and couldn't be happier!!

I'm Engaged!!!

I'm engaged, it's true! My boyfriend popped the question Saturday afternoon on our day date around Seattle. I'm just bursting with happiness, excitement, and joy!!! The entire day was AMAZING, truly the best day ever. Later that evening, we got to celebrate our news with a few close friends - and it was exciting see see my friends' thrilled reactions!! (Also, I can't stop staring at my shiny ring)...More details to follow soon!


Happy Friday

It's dreary and rainy outside and it's so dark it looks about 7 pm right now, and it's only 3:00. This weekend I've got an agenda of report cards ahead of me. Hoping to relax, sleep in, maybe watch one of my go-to rainy day movies I watch when I'm wishing I was in Paris.

Any big plans?

Sewing Class

Did I tell you I'm taking a sewing class? I've finally decided it's high time I learn how to use a sewing machine. My friend Philly and I signed up for a 2-day introductory class at a local sewing shop, where at the end of our two day endeavor, we've created our very own tote bag. Tonight's the second and final night of the class, and hopefully my hemmed scraps will successfully turn into a usable bag. I'll keep you posted on how it goes!

Wednesday Pretty

So pretty.
I love flowers as hair art.
Although not sure I could pull this off without some help...


Inspired by Lindsay's wish list over at La Belle Vie, I created my own...

I wish I had the ocean as my backyard.
I wish I could travel endlessly with the constraints of time and money.
I wish I could eat fresh croissants and savory pastries from here everyday.
I wish I could sing reasonably well.
I wish Lost never ended.
I wish I had Blake Lively's wardrobe.
I wish credit cards paid themselves.
I wish my sisters lived closer to me.
I wish that everyone could understand the joys of being a teacher.

What do you wish for?

idea via labellevie

The Hills Are Alive!

Can you believe it's the 45th anniversary of the Sound of Music? The Today Show hosted the Von Trapp Children and Fräulein Maria last week to celebrate the anniversary of this magical movie. I always loved this movie, and I actually have a personal connection to the film.

Five years ago, I backpacked around Europe for a month with two of my girlfriends. One of our many stops among our travels was Salzburg, Austria, where this historic film was made! We decided since we loved the movie so much, we just had to take the Sound of Music tour, which is a 4-hour long excursion all over (highly recommended). You and your guide drive through those very hills from the song (listening and singing along to the soundtrack all the way - mind you!). We stopped at many iconic destinations from the movie; including the VonTrapp house by the lake, the church where Maria and Capt. Von Trapp were married, and many more...including the gazebo.

In case you don't remember, the gazebo was home to the famous song by Liesel and Rolf "I Am Sixteen, Going on Seventeen," (my favorite from the movie). Well when we arrived at this famous site, and encountered a crowd. Puzzled, we crept closer, and discovered the character Liesel from the movie was there filming the 40th reunion slot!!! It was such a random coincidence that she was there. We were thrilled!! The best part was, the 20 or so of us joined hands, and actually got to sing this wonderful song along with Liesel. It was a magical moment I'll never forget. Here's a picture of us and Liesel!
And the clip of the entire cast singing together!

Quote of the Week

"You may have the world if I can have Italy"

-Giuseppe Verdi

P.S. Can you tell I'm travel dreaming right about now?


What's your favorite holiday? Christmas has always been my #1 favorite holiday. While I do enjoy opening presents, this holiday is my fave for so much more; the cold weather, carolers, and delicious aromas that make that holiday so memorable and special.

In case you are a fan of the underdog holidays, read this book, Mrs. Muddle's Holidays. Mrs. Muddle is the neighbor who celebrates unusual holidays like "Puddle Jumping Day," and "First Snow Day!" I've used this book my classroom - and love how it expands beyond the usual favorites and gets kids excited about celebrating small traditions together.

Pretty Please?

Wish I could justify spending the money on this pretty succulent wreath for my front door. Isn't it pretty, and of course super! (womp womp womp)

I'm have a rude realization that my Christmas wish list is getting longer and longer as I keep discovering new pretty things around blogland...


Last night I went out to dinner with my girlfriends for the Dine Around Seattle promotion, 3 set courses for $30. This is a bi-annual promotion where Seattle's hottest restaurants become affordable to the masses - and we always try and schedule a dinner together. This year, we went for Steelhead Diner, and it was superb!

We had a great time catching up on girl talk and planning our girls gift exchange. After a few glasses of wine later, we threw all our names in hat to pick for Secret Santa. Since one friend was missing, we elected our waiter to pick the a name for our friend who couldn't make it, and then picked names for our holiday get together in December. I just love the holidays!

Today, I'm enjoying my day off by seeing the Harry Potter exhibition at the Seattle Science Center, and then hittin' the town with my teacher friends. Have a great weekend!


I just can't resist a flashmob! Love this!

via thoughtsfromthegirlnextdoor

Veteran's Day

Today is Veteran's Day! We are off school today in remembrance of this important holiday. These are photographs of my grandfather during his days of service in the Marine Corps in the late 1940's/early 1950's.

On Tuesday, the elementary school where I teach hosted a Veteran's Day assembly, where we invited veteran relatives of teachers and students to attend and be honored. I had the privilege of walking my grandfather in amongst the gathering of veteran's. It was a humbling assembly, active duty members spoke about their experiences in the service, and we even got to see a flag salute from four members of the Marine Corps Color Guard. The Veterans especially enjoyed hearing our entire student community sing the songs for all 5 branches of the military; Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard. Afterward, my grandparents stopped by to see my classroom and meet my students, which was an exciting experience for all.

Be sure to honor our veterans today!

House Hunters International

I just discovered a new show which I'm now currently obsessed with - House Hunters International on HGTV. I've never really indulged in any of the HGTV shows previously, because I made the blanket assumption that most HGTV shows would be about home projects or renovations, which I didn't think would keep me interested... And yet, I'm finding myself captivated by this show because they take home buying international!

I've been DVRing up a storm, and have watched potential buyers travel to Mexico, Morocco, Slovenia, and beyond in search of the perfect international home. I think it's more inspiring to me from the travel perspective than the actual home, but nonetheless, I'm enjoying my new TV find!

If you could buy a vacation home in another country somewhere in the world - where would it be? Right now I think I'm leaning toward France or Argentina (based on what I've seen on House Hunters International).

Date at the Museum

Picasso is in town...(well, the exhibit that is). I'm an art history major and always eager to scope out new museum exhibits. When I heard that a collection of Picasso's works from the Musée National Picasso in Paris were coming to Seattle, I jumped at the chance to see this monumental artist's works in person.

My boyfriend and I headed to the SAM (Seattle Art Museum) for a day date. The exhibition was really interesting, they did a nice job at covering the span the art he created throughout the span of his life rather than just focusing on pieces from his most famous period - Cubism. After our day at the museum, we cruised Pike Place Market, and had lunch at one of it's finest bakeries, Le Panier. What a fun Saturday!

Teenage Dream

This number on Glee last night was AMAZING! Love this version so much more than the Katy Perry original! Thoughts?


The most ridiculous commercial ever! I saw this the other day and was blown away, who ever thought to combine Snuggies and the Macarena?

Books, Books, Books

I need some inspiration my dears. As you know I love to read, and I love getting recommendations for new books to check out. Unfortunately, I've read my way through most all of those recommendations, including my most recent read for my book club. So basically, I'm in need of some new titles.

Are there inspiring, interesting, or moving books you've read lately? Please let me know!

Friends Party

Watching Friends reruns was a favorite college past-time for my college girlfriends and I. We lived in a sorority amid 95 other girls, and would find ourselves curling up in one of our rooms on lazy days to watch our favorite episodes of this hilarious show.

To spice up an otherwise ordinary November weekend, my friend Erin hosted 5 of us for a Friends sleepover! Erin's husband is a pilot in the air force, and they recently relocated to a house just off of the air force base, about an hour outside of Seattle. It was the perfect opportunity to have some quality girl time, as well as see her new digs.

We made mac 'n cheese, drank cider and white wine, and watched our favorite episodes. Some of our faves included - Pivot, The Lightning Round, Football Thanksgiving, Ross's Tanning Fiasco, The Apothecary Table, and The Leather Pants. Good times!

Dinner Last NightL Butternut Squash Risotto

Dinner last night was butternut squash risotto. In an effort to use the leftover butternut squash and kale from my CSA produce, I combined the two in this tasty Martha-inspired risotto. Yum!

Blog Busted

Forgive me, I've been a bad blogger lately. I usually do most of my blog posts on the weekends, but lately prepping for parent-teacher conferences has taken over my life. Be back soon, I promise!

Quote of the Week

"Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves."
- Sir James Barrie


It's That Time of Year...

...The reemergence of red cups at Starbucks! You know what this means, Christmas is just around the corner, and less than 2 months away! I can hardly believe it! Where does the time go? I feel like we just started school, and the next thing, everything is bedazzled in orange and black for Halloween, the next I'm hearing Christmas music in line at Starbucks.

But, not going to lie, while I love to support the little guy (the non-chain coffee shop), I do enjoy me a gingerbread latte. Mmm...

What holiday recurrences do you look forward to?


Dinner Last Night: Acorn Squash Mac and Cheese

This might be my new fall favorite - Acorn Squash Macaroni and Cheese. Since an acorn squash arrived yesterday in my CSA box, it was only natural that I use it in this delicious recipe I've been dying to try. The results were superb, and I appreciated that the recipe called for non-fat milk to make the dish a little bit lighter. I will definitely be repeating this dish in the near future.

image+recipe/a chow life

Garnet Yams

My CSA organic produce box arrives today with bunches of edible goodness, including a vegetable that is a mystery to me...garnet yams.

In an effort to use all of the bounty that arrives in my bi-weekly box, I'm determined to actually use these...somehow. Does anyone know what to do with garnet yams? Right now, my only glimmer of an idea is usual yam-marshmallow-brown sugar Thanksgiving dish, but I'd love other ideas if you have any!



Parent-teacher conferences have me running on empty. Combined with a killer migraine last night after work, I'm feeling so, so tired... I'm really going to need that double tall 2-pump vanilla soy latte this morning (so much for attempting to make my own coffee at home...).

How's your week going so far?

Snacking Last Night

Success! I found the perfect way to cook kale - and it doesn't involve masking the kale in some other dish like a soup or entree...kale chips! My Food Network idol Giada De Laurentiis whipped up a batch of these on her show, served with sliced potato chips and a tart and zesty lemon mayonnaise.

I know, the picture doesn't do the kale justice, as it slightly wilts from the oven heat...but seriously, the salty-lemon dressing you toss over the kale, added with the lemony dip makes for a punch of flavor. The best part - you can't really get any healthier than a green chip!