Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Harry Potter

I have a confession.

I am an avid reader and, yet, I have never read the Harry Potter series. I know, I know, I'm a disgrace to the reading world. I don't know why I never picked up the books. My brother read every book in the series and I never even asked to borrow the books. I watched all the movies and loved them but never got around to reading the books.

What better time than now to dive in to, what I hear, is one of the best book series. When I was coming up with The 30 List I immediately thought to make reading this series on my to-do list for this coming year.

My brother, the sweetheart that he is, was so excited for me to begin reading the series that he bought me the ENTIRE series for my birthday!! I am so excited to have all the books on hand! I cannot wait to get started.

Follow along with me as I head to platform 9 3/4 and jump on the Hogwartz Express to the land of Witchcraft and Wizardry!

Book 1 - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (August 6, 2015 -December 24, 2015)

Book 2 - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
(December 24, 2015 - December 27, 2015)

Book 3 - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
(December 27, 2015 -

Book 4 - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Book 5 - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Book 6 - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Book 7 - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Minimizing My Closet Changed My Life

This is the story of how minimizing my closet changed my life.

I had a big move back in August of last year and knew I was going to have to purge a few items. You know, the usual stuff - useless decor that collects dust, that weird coffee mug your grandma sent you for your birthday, the oil warmer you bought at some boutique but never really used, a few pair of shoes, the workout equipment (and DVD's) you swore you would use to get your sexy back, and, of course, inevitably, clothes.

Ah, the purging of the closet. One of the hardest and most stressful things to ever do. (Ladies, am I right?!) I knew I would have to let go of a few items and was prepared to do just that. As I began thinking about what sweater to give away and what brand name blouse to try to sell, I stumbled across a Facebook post from Denaye with Dallas Moms Blog called "Why I Got Rid of My Wardrobe." Obviously, I was intrigued. The blog mentions the idea of a capsule wardrobe and cited the blog Unfancy as a great resource. Again, I was intrigued.

I immediately started reading up on this idea of a capsule wardrobe. According to Caroline, the blogger of Unfancy, a capsule wardrobe is "a mini wardrobe made up of really versatile pieces that you totally LOVE to wear." As I continued reading her blog, it seemed like Caroline was speaking right to me:

"Ever buy some fun new clothes, but end up wearing your old favorites anyway?"

Yeah, that sounds about right...

"Ever go to your closet and feel like you have nothing to wear, even when your closet is filled with clothes?"

Caroline, how did you know???

After reading up on the capsule wardrobe concept, I started to have some doubts. Could I really let go of ALL those clothes and minimize my closet? Naturally, as any smart woman does, I shared the idea with my girl friend Sara. (She is a lover of clothes, just like me!) Sara was excited about the idea and encouraged me to jump right in. So I did!

I began researching more about capsule wardrobes and what various people say about it. There are several ideas out there and lots recipes and formulas to follow. At the end of the day, you have to find what works best for you and your lifestyle. Being a teacher, I have two wardrobes - one for work and one for outside of work (which I call my play wardrobe). My closet was FULL (literally) of a variety of pants, dresses, blouses, tanks, cardigans, etc. You name it, it was in my closet. But how was I going to pair down so many clothes to fit my work and play lifestyle?

I used the practices Caroline has worked through to help guide my purging process. I also used her free wardrobe planner to help me get started building my new wardrobes. Remember - there is no right way to build a capsule wardrobe. It is a process to minimize your closet, not some step-by-step rule book.

I started with my work wardrobe. My new job required me to purchase some new wardrobe items so I was excited to test out the capsule concept here. I began planning out my wardrobe and was thoughtful about what I wanted to buy. I bought staple pieces. I kept with neutral colors (with a few fun patterns mixed in.) I was purposeful with my purchases. I made sure each skirt, pant, shirt, and cardigan could be mixed and matched multiple times. I narrowed down my shoe and accessory collection to items that were simple and versatile. All in all, I am VERY happy with how my wardrobe turned out!!

Now, my play wardrobe was a different story. I looked at my closet and was overwhelmed by the magnitude of clothes I had accumulated over the years. Why did I always think I had nothing to wear?? I began with my winter clothes. I took every winter item out of my closet and immediately put them in storage containers. I looked at my closet - a fourth of it was gone! There were empty hangers on the rack! Hooray!!! I had space in my closet!! (I thought it would be smart to give myself a boost of confidence before actually having to let go of things…)

I applied the same idea to the rest of my closet. And, no, I didn't just put clothes in storage. I went through, section by section, and set clothes aside that were too worn, too old, out of style, didn't fit, or simply weren't versatile enough for my capsule wardrobe. I kept clothes that I loved, were staple wardrobe pieces, and were flexible enough to be worn with a variety of items. I even had my roommate, Renee, sit with me to help me decide what pieces to keep and what pieces to let go. I didn't stick to a number. I kept what I knew I would wear and could make multiple outfits from.

Y'all - I got rid of over 180 items of clothing/shoes/accessories!!!

If you know me, you know this is HUGE! I cannot tell you how amazing it feels to have let go of so much. Throughout this process, I realized how much I want to minimize the "stuff" in my life. I realized I didn't need "things" to make me happy. The truth is, the more things I had the more stressful and cluttered life got. I was an emotional shopper who found comfort in filling life's voids with designer shoes and brand name outfits. Minimizing my closet changed my life.

Now, I don't have to stress about getting dressed in the mornings. The extra time it took me to try on 15 different outfits is now be spent actually living in the mornings. I get up, make a delicious cup of coffee, and genuinely enjoy quality time with the best conversationalist, my Lord and Savior.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

I love tattoos. I mean, I looooooooove tattoos. I currently have three: one on my ankle, foot, and wrist. Each are simple and meaningful and I just LOVE them.

I have been wanting to get a bigger tattoo for a while…you know, a "real" tattoo. There is a purpose and meaning behind each tattoo I have and getting a "big" tattoo would be no exception.

At a concert earlier this year, the girl sitting in front of me had a quote tattooed down her spine. The placement was both interesting and beautiful and I had to have one just like it.

Most of my tattoos are representative of verses in the Bible. One of my favorite bible verses is in the book of Psalms:

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well."
Psalm 139:14

Wow! What a powerful verse! The human body is a fascinating and complex thing. I am always in awe of God's marvels and the human body is certainly something to marvel over - cells and tissues and organ systems all working together to keep us alive; cells dividing in mitosis creating the chromosomes we inherit; capillaries, alveoli, and goosebumps; our brains for crying out loud!! (Hey, I am a science teacher…) To know that God created all these intricate things to work in harmony is simply amazing. I am in constant awe of Him. And, He created me! He made me unique - to walk this earth and fulfill a purpose He has set for me. His works are incredible. I know this because He made me!

Fun Fact - did you know your spine is one of the first parts of your body to form in the womb? I couldn't think of a better verse to make permanent on my spine than Psalm 139:14. 

So, today, I made it happen! I got the "big" tattoo I had been wanting! (And, thanks to my amazing momma, it was an early birthday gift. Love you, Mom!)

And for all of you who ask, "Did it hurt?" The answer is - yes, yes it did! I took it like a champ, though. I didn't flinch or wince once! The pain wasn't excruciating but it definitely hurt. Fifteen minutes of pain was worth a lifetime of showing off one of the many reasons why I love my Creator so very much!

I went to Main Street Tattoo Company in League City. All I can say is - AWESOME! Ricky was the tattoo artist that helped me and he did a fantastic job. If you are looking for a clean, classic tattoo shop, Main Street Tattoo Company is the place for you. I will definitely be going back there to get my next tattoo.

Side note -  The building, where Main Street Tattoo Company is located, was once owned by my great aunt and uncle. My great uncle owned a meat market from the late 1950's to the late 1980's and half of the building housed his business. The sign from his meat market shop was found in the back room of the tattoo place. They are going to frame it and put it up in their shop! How cool is that?! Not only is Main Street Tattoo Company great at what they do but they also appreciate the history of League City and the people who made the city what it is today. It means so much to me that they are honoring my family by keeping the history of the building alive.

"Tattoos are like potato chips…you can't have just one!"