Sunday, November 11, 2018

Hallmark Christmas Movies for Chuck Fans

If you, like me, watch a lot of Hallmark movies, you've no doubt noticed that they reuse actors and actresses. You've probably also noticed that many of them hail from past TV series. I started watching   Chuck after my Hallmark obsession began, so I recognized Ellie and Shaw from some of my favorite movies. For fellow Hallmark/Chuck fans, here's where you can catch your favorite sister and a reformed evil nemesis in Christmastime action.


SARAH LANCASTER - ELLIE



Fir Crazy
It's the classic HMU trope of big business vs. small business, revolving around a Christmas tree farm that sells trees in Manhattan.





'Tis the Season for Love
Girl with big city dreams spends Christmas back in her hometown after a year of bad luck. While in town, she finds a sense of purpose and a new love.





Christmas on Holly Lane
This movie premieres this year! Here's the IMDB synopsis: "Three childhood friends, Sarah, Rily, and Cat, with fond memories of Christmas at Sarah's house, come together as adults to save Sarah's home in the hopes of having many more beautiful Christmases together."




BRANDON ROUTH - SHAW




The Nine Lives of Christmas
He wasn't the nicest guy in Chuck, but he's pretty great as a firefighter in this movie that features a feline meet-cute that leads to a human romance. This is one of my faves.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Welcome, Fall!



Fall is my favorite season. Or at least it is from about a month before until it ends in December. I reserve the right to start a post in the spring with the word, "Spring is my favorite season." Anyway, I love when the air starts to get a bit of a chill, wearing an extra layer, drinking all the PSLs, and watching the leaves change color. This year, it just didn't feel like enough to simply imbibe all pumpkin. I want to wear pumpkin spice. Cue Kristen Bell as Eleanor Shellstrop: Ya Basic!


It all started with the nail polish. This is OPI in A Great Opera-tunity. I am often pretty frugal when it comes to trendy products or beauty products bought on a whim, but I find that the more expensive nail polish is easier to apply nicely and lasts a lot longer. What you see is two coats without a top coat, and it stayed on for a solid two weeks.



And then it turned into an eyeshadow palette. I was researching Korean beauty products, and I came across this adorable coffee-themed palette with some coppery/orangey/pumpkin-y shades. As you can see, it is a Play Color Eyes palette from Etude House in Cafe. I was pretty delighted when it arrived and I saw that the plastic insert to protect the shadow pans has a little cartoons of the inspiration on it.


At some point, I picked up this latte-shaped pumpkin spice lip balm from the Target Dollar Spot, and I had myself a fall makeup theme. The lipstick is Burt's Bees in Sunset Cruise. I already had it in my collection, and I knew that it would be a great addition to my little pumpkin spice squad. Behold, the final look:



In keeping with my PSL theme, I reached for my most PSL sweater. It later dawned on me that everything I'm wearing in this picture is from Queen-of-Basics Lauren Conrad's Kohl's line. (Albeit last year's collection.) If you're interested, here's a similar sweater, earrings, and necklace. Side bar: Much like LC herself, I like what I like and would rather be happy than "cool." But back to the makeup:


I like to put the most effort into my eye makeup, because my eyes are one of my favorite features. In reading about all things K-beauty, I discovered the "puppy eye." It's like a cat eye, but instead of flicking the eyeliner up at the end, you flick it down. You essentially continue the natural downward curve on your eye. The idea is that it will open up your eye more than a standard eyeliner application. My go-to eyeliner right now is from Found Cosmetics in Fig.


I further accentuated my puppy eyeliner by outlining the outer two-thirds of my eye with shadow. I layered the metallic copper over a matte medium brown and then added a bit of the bright pumpkin in the corner of my crease, blending down to my lash line. Finally, I blended everything together with a bit of the matte ivory.








Thursday, September 13, 2018

BoxWatch2K18: September Loved & Blessed


Loved & Blessed is a subscription box that send products that reflect a faith-centered theme. This month's theme is "Comfort Zone" and the breaking-out thereof. The book (Follow the Cloud) will go on the shelf for now. The angel wing bracelet was supposed to be part of an "Encouragement Kit" to give to a friend, but I decided to keep it. Angel wings remind me of two things: the dozens of angels-on-Earth who cared for me while I was in and out of the hospital, and the nurse who told me that she thinks that bats must be my angels in disguise.

I had a pretty unique hospital experience in a lot of ways, but possibly the most significant is how I think about it: incredibly powerful evidence of the goodness of people and my own resilience. 

Having moved to new state and started over in a new school, I could use a reminder. Having moved so many times, you'd think I'd remember the feeling of starting from scratch with lesson plans or not having a close friend 20 feet away or having what should have been a 15 drive to the vet turn into a 30 minute commute. Yet the stress of being in a new place always surprises me. It's easy to let the feeling of not knowing everything turn into feeling like I don't know anything. The mini-poster in this month's box reminds me of a mantra I turn to when I'm feeling overwhelmed:

Just do the next thing.

Focusing on the next step helps me get out of overwhelm. I don't know the Next Generation Science Standards like the I knew the standards in Virginia, but I can prep my lessons for tomorrow. To quote Dory in Finding Nemo, all I need to do is, "just keep swimming."

Sunday, September 9, 2018



Back to school means back to busy, but I have been feeling a pull to do more blogging. I'm hopeful that picking a few things to focus on each month or so will make it easier to write more and will also prompt me to use my free time for things that I know help me refill my cup. (As opposed to mindlessly scrolling through social media and/or Amazon.) When Things Fall Apart is a relatively short book, so, even though I'm starting my Book of the Month on the 9th, I won't have any problems finishing it. Getting back here to write about it before September ends... we'll see.

Help navigating stress from a cup of tea? Yes, please.

A cup of hot tea is a perfect accompaniment to an evening spent reading, and I have selected Cinnamon Rose Tulsi as my "goodbye to summer, hello to autumn" beverage. I love a floral tea. Lavender Earl Gray? Jasmine Green? Yes, please. I will drink all the flowers. The rose in this blend really comes through, with the cinnamon giving you a hint of all of the warm spices you'll be enjoying in the coming cooler months. Tulsi (or holy basil) is believed to help your body manage stress, and a little of that won't hurt while I regain my teacher legs.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017


Catastrophic floods.
Rash tweets and nuclear tests.
But I still choose hope.

This is an interesting moment to be alive; there is a lot of uncertainly and unrest. I prefer to talk about politics, religion, and current events in person, because I don't find it particularly useful to yell into the social media echo chamber. But I'll talk about hope anywhere. One of the books, "No Mud, No Lotus" by Thich Nhat Hanh is a book that I read years ago, and the reason why lotus flowers keep popping up in my apartment. I find the perspective that only when we have gone through bad can we truly appreciate good immensely comforting. (Probably not unusual for someone who had a near-death experience.)

The other, "Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith" by Anne Lamott, is one that I'm reading right now. It was written during the George W. Bush years. If you're familiar with Anne Lamott, you probably know that she wasn't a fan of that administration. I have found a lot of things from that era to be very timely. Those where years when I personally was much better about living sustainably and consciously, and reflecting back on that time reminds me to "be the change" and keep hope alive.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017


Pumpkin spice latte:
Fall has not even begun,
but I can taste it.

Today was the day that people seem to care about either a lot or not at all: the official release day of the Starbucks pumpkin spice latte. I love them because they're delicious and because the evoke all the coziness of the autumn season that I enjoy. It's liquid hygge! Drinking my first PSL of the season was a great way to start the second week of school. (And, according to Facebook, I also had my inaugural cup on this date last year.) It's perched upon a pile of grading that I need to do... because the arrival of the PSL is also the arrival of months of endless grading.

Monday, September 4, 2017


Such a fun surprise
to see my fav-o-rite things
shared in Bella Grace.

Kind of a funny story... I was flipping through the pages on the Fall issue of Bella Grace, and I felt inspired to write haiku about simple, everyday things and pair them with simple, everyday snapshots. Small poems about small things. After cranking a few out, I went back and started actually reading the magazine, and I was delighted to see that some simple pleasures that I had shared via Facebook had actually made it into the magazine. What a serendipitous way to start this project!