Friday, July 6, 2012

The Walk '12

What a crazy week it's been! My husband Ivan and I just got back from a church camp at Panama City Beach with about 1000 high schoolers and comparatively few adults. We had great views, fantastic late night parties, freshmen jamming on the bus on our way home, fun making weird faces with Jason, and Ivan and I finally got home to see Awesome (aka Alexander).

All of our campuses even worked together to make a fun music video to Carly Rae Jepsen's Call Me Maybe - Can't wait for fall and spring camps!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

New House

Wow! It's been a crazy few months and I have seriously neglected posting (and even this will be a short post). Ivan and I are selling our house and renting a new place. The closing has been pushed back a couple of times, but I expected that since it happened to us a few times when we were buying it. The rental we have it gorgeous and the yard is wonderful. Here are a couple of pics:

We had a great group of friends help us move and we owe them big time. For now a cookout will do, but returning the favor or paying it forward will be the best way to repay them. We have tons of boxes to unpack and rooms to situate, but I hope to have the majority of things done by the weekend. Here's to new beginnings!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Paint the Town Purple 2012

For those of you who aren't familiar with Paint the Town Purple it's an event held before Relay for Life. The point it to raise awareness of Relay for Life and of cancer. This year I actually participated in Paint the Town Purple in Suwanee.

I attended with my friend Karla and her mom. We decided to raise awareness by dying our hair, followed by chowing down at Olde Towne Tavern, and getting dessert at a local bakery.


We got our hair done at Hairllucinations. The ladies that did our hair were adorable and super sweet. It was $10 per streak with the entire amount going to Relay for Life. They ladies wouldn't even take tips since everything was for charity. 


I wanted dark blue streaks. They came out a little teal, but I loved it more than the original color I had chosen. It is also the color for cervical cancer awareness (which runs in my family). So it all worked out. :-)

The bottom streak is still a strong blue, while the semi-hidden streaks are a lighter blue. I also got purple streaks for Relay for Life and for women's cancer awareness. I love the color!! And I love that people ask about it and I can bring awareness to cancer and organizations that help people with the disease, as well as their families. 


It was such a fun event and I can't wait until next year. I wonder if I can get Ivan to get a streak of color? Probably not. hehe I'll volunteer next year and do more the the Relay event. There were tons of teens this year, so I think the older crowd needs some representation. 

Do you volunteer for any events or attend them? Did you go to Relay for Life? What other organizations, charities, or events are important to you? I have a few more, such as the Southeastern Brain Tumor Foundation 5K, but won't list them all here. Let me know who you help and root for. Until next time!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Road to Public Speaking

Glossophobia is the fear of public speaking and it's something I've suffered with for years. I'm fine in situations where I'm in front of a crowd with a bunch of other people, but when it's just me I have a hard time handling it. The worst time I can remember was in high school. The drama class was doing a Greek play (Antigone, I believe) and I was one of the characters...I don't remember which. I was so nervous, anxious, scared, so many things, that I made myself sick. Can you believe that? So sick that I couldn't do it and someone had to take my place the day of the play. I have never forgotten that. I've always believed that I could do anything, but for some reason I couldn't do that. I definitely had the encouragement of my parents, grandmother, aunts, sisters, and teachers, but I just didn't have confidence in myself when I spoke.

One of my teachers, now a friend, was always encouraging. She believed in me and always gave me a chance (even after missing the play because of my fear taking over). I still can't call her by her first name, so she remains to be called Strick. I always try to remember her tips or encouragement and things got a little better, but never to where I wanted them. I could do plays, chorus, and other things, but I had to be with others and not by myself. 

In college I took lower grades for reports that called for presenting in front of class. I did great on my papers, but the presentation I just refused to do. Why did it matter? I still got As in those classes, so who cares if they weren't 100s. I was fine in  my art classes where it was more discussion with everyone around table, but not when I felt like the spotlight was all on me. Things didn't change much over the years.

When I went to graduate school there was a lot more discussion and interaction in class. I found it worked better for me and I was becoming more comfortable expressing my opinions and talking in front of others. Still not to the point where I could easily get in front of others, but close. I started reading about discussion/interactive based teaching and trying to get involved in things, not just standing behind the scenes.

When I became a librarian I knew that, because I eventually wanted to go into academic libraries, I needed to become more confident and work hard to defeat my fear of speaking. It was very hard to do, but I forced myself. I fought through the nervousness, fear, nausea, and self doubt to try to achieve my goals. I finally got into academic libraries last year and was allowed to participate more in associations and have more flexibility and freedom in creating training classes and modules. I also have wonderful encouragement and support from peers, coworkers, and bosses.

The combination of facing my fears, inspiration gained from school and peers, and support from family, teachers, and coworkers has had a tremendous impact on my life. Now, people come to me for advice on speaking and I'm asked to speak at various events. It's been a tough road and it's taken until I reached 30, but I'm finally able to speak in front of people, alone, without feeling like I'm going to pass out. I still feel nauseous, but I work through it and I make it work for me.

What things in your life have you been afraid of? What have you worked through to reach a goal? I'm curious to see what factors have helped others attain something that was important to them. Until next time....

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

First Video

So here's my first video. The lighting is terrible, but I haven't quite figured out how to make the lighting work without it glaring off of my glasses. I also have no clue why the video uploading smaller than it should have. Fun things to figure out, I suppose. Anyhow, on to the video (where I discuss my current makeup collection and this month's Glam Bag). Enjoy!


Friday, March 30, 2012


I really don't like coming up with titles for posts...nothing ever seems to really say what I want, but I don't want to spend an hour thinking of the perfect title. This post is specifically about my relationship with Ivan, which is an intimate one. I want to cover three aspects of a relationship, intimate or not: communication, closeness, and compromise.

Communication is a key aspect in any relationship. You need to talk about things that make you happy, sad, angry, confused....everything. This doesn't mean you have to be a chatterbox and never shut your mouth, but it does mean that you need to be open with your spouse (or partner, brother, aunt, mom, whoever). Often you don't have to say anything to communicate what you think or feel. A look can say so much. Sometimes silence, when sitting together or on a long road trip, can show that you are content with the don't need to talk. This is obviously different than the silent treatment, so don't take what I'm saying the wrong way. Ivan and I try to discuss everything. Sometimes we don't talk about something because we think it will  upset the other person, but I've learned that this can end up backfiring in the end. Ivan is better at discussing things than I am. I'm the one who tries not to hurt feelings and waits to talk about stuff, usually bringing it up at the wrong time. Or, like this morning, when I'm running out the door for work and we don't have time to actually talk about anything. All in all, though, Ivan and I are pretty good at communicating and it has helped our relationship tremendously.

Closeness is another part of an intimate relationship. Yes, this can mean what you think it means, but I'm not going to get into that. I just know that as soon as I do someone in my family will see it - like my dad. So I'm skipping that aspect and moving on to another. Friendship is a big part of the relationship and being best friends is even better. I know a lot of people, more guys than girls, that think it's gross to be best friends with their wife, girlfriend, whatever. They say, "I would never do what I do with my wife with my best friend." I think that's a silly way of thinking about it, but that's just me. It's more the mental relationship you have with your best friend that you should have with your wife. If you aren't that close with your wife or husband, then it can make difficult times even worse. Ivan is most definitely my best friend and my soul mate. I am so lucky to have him and, yes, he's lucky to have me. Closeness also concerns love and, if you don't love who you're with, then why are you with them? I don't really know how to expound on love in an intimate relationship; it should just be there. And for people who have intimate relations with someone they don't love, well that just blows my mind. I don't think I'll ever understand that, but I doubt some people understand why I do the things I do.At times I still get butterflies when I'm around Ivan. I would think that those would have stopped with us having been together for a while, but they haven't and I'm glad.

The last part I want to talk about is compromise. Ivan and I have had to compromise a few times in our relationship. I have to get over my OCD tendencies for things to get perfectly clean and he has to get over the fact that I am going to spend money on things like music and unique shirts. Those sound like stupid things, but when something is important to you it can be a big deal (this is where communication comes in handy). More than just compromise goes into this way of thinking. You also have to be understanding, considerate, and honest. Maybe honesty goes more with communication, but I've written that part, so I'm moving on and not looking back. Just know that honesty should be there just like love. Understanding is like compromise. You need to understand your spouse's odd tendencies and semi-embrace them. Love that they are a part of the other person, but don't necessarily let it mean they can do whatever they want. It's not an excuse to get away with things. Like having an obsessive personality isn't an excuse to drink, gamble, or even eat your life away. Understand the personality, but don't let it rule their lives or yours. Consideration is something that can bring a spark back into things or just make your day perfect. Ivan makes sure I start my day great every morning. He always gets up before I do and usually gets Alexander ready for the day. He then brings Alexander into our room and has him wake me up. It's the sweetest way to wake up...with my son's face right in mine making him look like a cyclops. Ivan also makes an English muffin for me and has it ready just as I'm leaving so it's still warm and crunchy. These kinds of things sound small, but they make such a big difference on how my day begins.

So, I guess that's it. Remember to have communication, consideration, and compromise in your relationship. Appreciate the little things, laugh off other things, and work together on the things you need to fix. Life is a carnival - it's crazy, scary, fun, and exciting - and it's made better by sharing it with someone. Make sure that you make sure that someone is there for the long haul by making your relationship a better one.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Food, Food, Food - Chicken Gyros

I have had so much good food this week! Pan-seared steak with butter sauce, asparagus, and a sweet potato; chicken gyros; beef and Guinness pie; Irish soft tacos; and chocolate Guinness cake. Obviously, parts of this weeks menu were for Saint Patrick's celebrations. My favorite item of the week, though, was the chicken gyro. I have never had a gyro and, quite frankly, can't stand the thought of lamb. I have really weird food issues when it comes to things like that. haha Nothing that was a baby (lamb, veal), nothing uncooked or rare (caviar, sushi), and nothing with bones (ribs, most fried chicken). I embrace my oddities.

I didn't have a recipe for the gyros, but went along with what I thought might be good. Below is my supposed recipe for chicken gyros. I say supposed because I didn't measure anything, which usually makes remaking my recipes a little difficult. At any rate, I hope you enjoy it as much as my family did (yes, even Alexander).

Chicken Gyros (4-6 servings)

1 cucumber, seeded and diced
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
3 teaspoons minced garlic (approx. 6 cloves), divided
4 teaspoons chopped parsley, divided
1/4 cup each of Kalamata olives and Greek black olives, chopped
1 tomato, seeded and diced
2 teaspoons of minced shallots
1/2 cup feta
3 chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
olive oil
4-6 pieces of naan or flatbread

To make the tzatziki combine diced cucumber, sour cream, Greek yogurt, half the chopped parsley, and half of the minced garlic in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for an hour (longer if you want) for the best flavor.
To make the tapenade combine chopped Kalamata and Greek black olives, the remaining minced garlic, and the remaining chopped parsley in a bowl. Refrigerate if desired.
Combine the diced tomato and minced shallot and season with salt and pepper in a bowl. Refrigerate if desired.
Crumble the feta or, if, just pop the lid off of your favorite pre-crumbled feta.
Warm skillet on medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt, pepper, and paprika. When the skillet it hot add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Add chicken and cook until done, about 7-10 minutes. If you want to be sure then use a meat thermometer and call it done when it reaches 165 degrees.
Warm naan or flatbread in the oven. My recommendation is to brush a little olive oil on the top before heating. If you're at work and eating as leftovers the microwave, minus the olive oil, will suffice.
When all is done lay the flatbread on some aluminium foil, layer the chicken, tzatziki, tapenade, tomato, and feta. Wrap/fold the naan or flatbread in the foil to make eating it a little less messy.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

25 Things I Love About Me

This post was inspired by the brilliant and lovely Alana Mokma. A few months ago she made a similar post and I finally got off my butt and made my own list. To me, the list is more than a way to expound on the awesomeness of you. I think a list of 10 things would be relatively easy, but 25 will force you to look harder at yourself and realize that there are so many reasons to love yourself. It also makes you realize that you are worth loving. So here are the 25 things I love about me, in no particular order.

25. Tiny nose and big teeth (Ivan has the opposite hehe)
24. Odd, almost non-existent pinky toes
23. Organization skills (which most people don't understand)
22. Cocked eyebrow (it's always cocked a little...I've no clue why)
21. Stay calm, in most cases
20. Loyalty to and trust in others
19. Flexibility when it comes to changing plans
18. Along the same lines, a vision for the future
17. Neek (Nerd/Geek - I'm not one or the other, I'm both)
16. My signature happy dance (that I even do at work)
15. My love of food
14. The fact that I take forever to say goodbye
13. That I giggle at middle school jokes
12. I try to always find the good in others
11. My name
10. Freckles!!
09. Ability to see patterns (it makes finding 4 leaf clovers so easy)
08. My butt
07. Childlike curiosity
06. Unintentional goofy faces (especially when I think someone's being silly/dumb)
05. I make life a musical
04. I'm not afraid to change up my hairstyle (even when it makes me look like a French poodle lol)
03.My smile
02. My eye color
01. I can always find something to love about myself (which is one reason it took so long to lose weight)

So there they are! What's your list? I'd like to see what you love about yourself. Link back if you make a post or leave a few examples in the comments. Peace!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Being Social

One of my goals for this year was to try to be more social. Meet new people, make new friends, and try to get out a little more.One giant step in the process was joining a small group at church. Ivan has been wanting to join one, but I've held back. One, I wanted to wait until the new campus we're going to started it's own groups and, two, I just wasn't ready to meet new people. I finally stopped being a baby about it and we went to a group meet-up. We found a group of people and have met 3 times now. I haven't had the chance to hang out with any of them outside of that, but I think we have a pretty awesome group. I already feel comfortable with everyone and we all seem to get along great. I can't wait to see where this will go and how we grow together, both personally and in our relationship with God.

I'm also starting to do more things with people at work. A group actually started a committee for it. They've already put together a Valentine's Day lunch (which I missed because Ivan took me to one of my favorite places - Mellow Mushroom) and a Mardi Gras cook-off. There will also be hiking, shopping, going to the movies, and many other things that I'm not even aware of yet. I think this is going to be a lot of fun and can't wait to see what the group has planned next. :-)

Here's to the meeting new people and a fun-filled future!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Being Published

No, I'm not published, BUT I was asked to write an article for a professional journal! I was so excited when I got the email last week. An editor saw a presentation I did last October on digitizing items and loved it! She said it would be perfect for her technology trends column and said that it would probably be published next January, but she would show it to other editors who might publish it earlier. Isn't that awesome?!?! I can't believe this goal is becoming a reality so soon. (^_^)