Weekend, Come Back!

This past weekend was so much fun! Steph had texted me a few weeks ago saying she was going to be in LA for work and asked if we could make it a mini-roomie weekend seeing that it was perfect timing with the Zags playing Pepperdine. I convinced Whitney to join the mini-reunion too, but unfortunately Jess was going to be out of town for work. Here are a few gems from our weekend! I love impromptu trips, especially ones with these gals!

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I love South Pasadena. Whitney and I drove through and looked at some houses and spotted this adorable Free Little Library. We were checking out Zillow as we drove through the neighborhoods and it’s probably safe to say that I won’t be a homeowner in South Pasadena anytime soon ($$$).

Happy hour at PUMP was a must. Colin (above) was our bartender the last time we went during roomie weekend and he recognized us right when we walked in (good? bad?). We had reservations at SUR (we made it this time!) and the food was definitely lacking- I think you’re paying for the chance to potentially see someone from the show. If you are ever in town and want the Vanderpump experience, skip SUR and just hang out at PUMP. Tell Colin that the four horsemen told you to swing by!

We headed up to Malibu on Saturday for the Zags game against Pepperdine. We hung with other Zag fans and alumni at a restaurant near by before heading up to the game. I’m confident to say that there was probably an equal number of Zags fan in attendance! We won (here’s hoping we are #1 today!) and headed back home for pizza and One Tree Hill.

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The weather on Sunday was PERFECT! Last time the girls were here we hiked up to Griffith Observatory so this time I decided to take them to Eaton Canyon where the views are just as great. We headed to brunch afterwards, had some fro yo (earned because of the hike), and got to the airport with not a second to spare!

The next roomie weekend is already in the planning process. Spokane? Destination?

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What’s Up Wednesday!

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I read Mix and Match Mama’s blog every morning and today I am linking up with her and other bloggers for my first ever What’s Up Wednesday! Enjoy!

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What I’m Eating this Week:

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If you love cookie dough like me, you NEED this! I got the Chocolate Chip Off the Ol’ Block and Birthday Bash in my Christmas stocking and let me tell you, once you open it up, it’ll be gone. I am kind of embarrassed to admit that I finished the first one in two sittings. It’s all going to the same place eventually though, right?

What I’m Reminiscing About:

I’m not sure I’m really reminiscing about anything lately but I do think a lot about where I am now and where I was a year ago. I cannot even put into words how much happier I am. I am back home in California, driving distance from my family, in the same city as Michael for the first time in three years, and at a job I LOVE with co-workers who I enjoy! It’s crazy how much can change in a year!

What I’m Loving:

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Michael and I are binge-watching Homeland and I love having a show to watch together. We have very different tastes in television and while I can get him to watch The Bachelor and Vanderpump Rules with me, they’re not his fave. We both highly recommend if you haven’t seen it!

What I’ve Been up to:

I’ve just been up to normal life. Nothing too interesting.

What I’m Dreading:

I’m not dreading anything at the moment!

What I’m Working on:

I am currently in the process of finding someplace in LA to volunteer. I have a few places in mind but infortunately, with my schedule, the weekends are really the only time I can volunteer. I’ll keep you posted on what I find!

What I’m Excited About:

Spring break (teacher perk!) is still a ways away but I have some fun plans in the works! Michael and I are heading up to San Francisco for a few days to celebrate his birthday and I am also going on a cruise with my co-workers (organized by our admin!)! We are doing a 3-day cruise to Ensenada. I’ll get back the morning of Michael and I’s flight to SF so it’ll be a bit of a rush but I am glad I get to do both trips!

What I’m Watching/Reading:

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What I’ve really been enjoying lately is Leah Remini’s Scientology and the Aftermath. I’ve always been extremely fascinated with Scientology and I am the shocked emoji during every episode of this mini-series. My heart breaks learning of the individuals’ stories. I hope the continued coverage and the conversation that Remini and Mike Rinder, another former Scientologist, started will make people aware of the atrocities of this so-called “religion.” Also, I highly recommend Remini’s book if you haven’t read it!

I have a couple books downloaded and ready to go on my Kindle but I haven’t started them yet. I have such good intentions to read every night before I go to sleep but I’m an old lady and it doesn’t always happen. The Zookeeper’s Wife is next on my list… I need to read it before the movie comes out!

What I’m Listening to:

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I love me some Joshua Radin and I get to see him play at the Troubadour tonight! He was previously scheduled to play here last fall but the concert was canceled for some reason.  He also has a new album out this week so be sure to check it out!

What I’m Wearing:

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My mom got me this shirt in my stocking for Christmas and I wore it to Barre for the first time last week. I got a couple compliments!

What I’m Doing This Weekend:

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My college roomies, Whitney and Steph, are in town! Steph is in LA for work and I recruited the rest of the roomies so that we could have a mini-reunion. Unfortunately, Jess won’t be joining us. On the agenda is happy hour at Pump, dinner at Sur, and the Gonzaga game versus Pepperdine. The picture above is from our last LA roomie weekend in November! We had so much fun on the WB Studios tour!

What I’m Looking Forward to Next Month:

Kelley and James are coming home for a visit!

What Else is New: 

Umm, I think we covered it all!

ABCs of Me!

I didn’t start out with a post introducing myself because I figured anyone who read my blog would be people who already knew me. And while that still may be the case, this post is probably still a good idea. My students did an “ABCs of Mesopotamia” project for our history unit so I stole the idea for this post from that. Some of the letters were harder than others so forgive me for some of the randomness (and for the length of this one!).

Arizona: I lived in Arizona for six years following grad school. California wasn’t too kind to teachers when I was first looking for a position and Arizona was a good compromise.

Boyfriend: aka Michael! We had our first date in October 2013 and long story short: he moved to Connecticut for a job, we did long distance, we couldn’t do long distance, we did long distance again, and last May the stars finally aligned for us to live in the same city. He is kind and funny and smart and considerate. He also watches The Bachelor with me!

California: Born and raised and finally back again!

Dad: My dad puts up with a lot considering he has three daughters. We share a love of college basketball and Pippa (see P!) even though he will claim she is “just okay.”

Erin: Erin is my older sister and one of my best friends. She is literally the best person I know and reminds me on a daily basis to take nothing for granted.

Friday Night Lights: Hands down, Friday Night Lights is the best show that has ever been on television. If you haven’t watched, stop reading and log into Netflix!

Gonzaga: I am a proud graduate of Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. I received my BA in Sociology and stayed another year for my Masters in Teaching. GO ZAGS!

Homeland: Michael and I are currently binge-watching Homeland. I’ve seen the first three seasons and thought he might like it. We are flying through but darn work for getting in the way of our TV watching!

I love reality television: The Bachelor(ette), Teen Mom, Vanderpump Rules, The Real Housewives of (insert city), Fixer Upper, Below Deck, Survivor, Top Chef, and many, many more. I swear, I do more than just watch TV!

Jury: I think it would be so fun to serve on a jury. I am beyond fascinated with those high-profile court cases (OJ, Casey Anthony, Scott Peterson, “Serial,” Making a Murderer).

Kelley: Kelley is my younger sister. We are only 16 months apart and could not be more different. We didn’t really get along when we were growing up but I am very happy to call her one of my best friends now.

Linda: Linda is my mama. She is another one of my best friends. Give me a positive adjective and there is a 99.9% chance that it describes her.

Maggie: Maggie is Erin’s Welsh Corgi. She is about 11 years old and has certainly aged (aka gotten grumpy) since we got the little black dog (see P) last summer.

New York: I wish I could live in a tent in Central Park. Maybe not in the winter but I’d totally be up for it the rest of the year.

Oregon (more specifically, the Northwest): I miss the Northwest and don’t think I fully appreciated it while at Gonzaga. I miss the green and the seasons. California is definitely more green than Arizona was, but it still has nothing on the Northwest.

Pippa: Pippa/Pippy/Pippita/Pippilita is my family’s little black Jack Russell/Lab mix. She is almost a year old (I am currently planning her birthday party because I am THAT person) and I am pretty much obsessed with her. Remember this name; you’ll be hearing it a lot.

Quit Playing Games with my Heart: 90’s boy bands will forever have my heart. I’m looking at you Hanson, *N SYNC, and Backstreet Boys.

Roomie weekend: My favorite weekend of the year! My three college roomies and I each live in a different city (in three different states!) so we have a yearly (sometimes bi-yearly) roomie weekend and it’s my favorite tradition.

Shopping: Shopping is my cardio. Well, not really but I do love a good shopping trip. I am the queen of justifying any purchase (thanks, Mom!). I am also the queen of putting everything back because I convince myself that I don’t need it.

Teacher: I teach 6th grade ELA/History.

Ubuntu: Ubuntu is an African philosophy that means “I am because you are.” It is my favorite word for so many reasons (come back later this week for that blog post!).

Vacation: Michael and I have a few trips planned this year– San Francisco for his birthday/my Spring Break and Washington D.C. for his sister’s wedding. The teachers/admin at my school are going on a three-day cruise at the start of Spring Break and I am fairly positive I’ll be joining.

Whitney: I have two best friends and both are named Whitney! Whitney R. and I have been besties since Kindergarten and Whitney U. and I were randomly paired up as freshman roomies at Gonzaga. They are both pretty much stuck with me at this point!

Xenon (aka Zenon 😉 thanks Steph!): Do you remember that Disney Channel movie? Kids these days don’t know what they are missing. “Smart House” is also at the top of my Disney Channel Original Movie list.

Yawn: Once 9 o’clock hits, it’s bed time. I am very much an early riser thanks to my internal alarm clock so to maximize sleep time, I hit the hay early. I wish my younger self knew to appreciate sleep/nap time!

Zambia: Zambia has my heart. I traveled there twice while at Gonzaga to work with teachers and do various servant leadership projects. Please add Africa to your travel list; you won’t be disappointed.

 

Thanks for sticking with me all the way to Z! I challenge you to do an “ABCs of Me” post, too!

 

Wanderlust

183532-i-haven-t-been-everywhere-bit-it-s-on-my-listIf someone were to ask me what my dream job was I’d say either an interior designer (move over, Joanna Gaines) or something where I could travel. Maybe a photographer? Maybe a travel blogger? Who knows exactly, but if I could travel (and get paid for it!), sign me up! My wanderlust list is very long and it seems to always be growing. Here are a few places towards the top of that list:

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANantucket// I’ve fallen in love with Nantucket from reading Elin Hilderbrand books. I would love to ride a bike down the quaint little main street and relax on the beach under a huge umbrella–the umbrella is vital because I am extremely pale and sunburn easily.

 

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Austria// Every image I’ve seen of Austria is gorgeous. I am so jealous of the people who basically get to live inside of a postcard. I’d love to visit one of those small villages that sits right below some rolling green hills. I’d probably never come back.

 

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Banff National Park// I am not an outdoorsy person but love to hike and enjoy nature (if there are no bugs). I first saw Banff National Park, which is located in the province of Alberta,  on an episode of The Bachelorette and I was the heart eyes emoji. It’s stunning! Although the fall colors would be beyond beautiful, I’d prefer to go in the summer when the trees are lush and the water is sparkling.

 

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Charleston// I love old cities and fell in love with Charleston because of the houses. I mean, c’mon, a place where pink houses aren’t questioned and fit in perfectly? Yes, please! I’d be happy to travel to Charleston just to go on a bunch of home tours. I’d probably hit up Savannah on the same trip because that’s an easy drive from Charleston!

 

London// I flew through London during my trips to Zambia. Tlondonhe layovers were a decent enough length where we were able to leave the airport and explore for a few hours. We saw the London Eye, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey… you know, the super touristy things. These few hours were definitely not enough time for me though. Also, I am obsessed with all things Royals (I firmly believe Kate and I would be BFFs), so I am sure I’d hit up all the places where I’d run into them ;).

 

Where would you live to visit?

 

Having fun isn’t hard when you have a library card!

Okay, so I wish I came up with that catchy saying up above, but alas, I did not (you can thank “Arthur” for that!). I love reading. I’ve always loved reading. The best days were the ones where Mom piled me and my two sisters in the car and took us to the local library. I could peruse those shelves for hours! We’d each come home with an armful of books and then the hardest part came– which one to start with?! My tried and true method (which I still use today) was to open each book and read the first paragraph. Whichever book hooked me became the winner.

I’ve recently made the switch from physical books to Kindle books (thanks to the boyfriend who won his eliminator fantasy football league! 😉 ). While I miss holding a real book in my hands, my book addiction was getting way too expensive and I found that the e-library had everything on Earth I’d ever want to read. My Kindle goes with me everywhere. If you don’t have one, I highly recommend it!

I am hoping to review a couple books each month. I’ve been reading more than usual lately since I had three weeks off from work (teacher perk!), so here we go!:

The Things We Bury by Allen Eskens

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I love a good thriller. I feel like this genre has really picked up after the success of books like Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train (I recommend both!). The Life We Bury follows college student Joe Talbert who was been assigned with writing a biography on an elderly person. He is paired up with Carl, a Vietnam veteran, who is dying of cancer and is living in a nursing home after serving thirty years in prison for being found guilty of rape and murder. Joe goes on a search for the truth all while dealing with his alcoholic mother and taking on the parental role for his autistic brother.

I am torn about this one. It became a little far-fetched at times (let’s be honest, most thrillers do), but it kept me hooked. I don’t know if I was hooked because it was good or because I was just waiting for Joe to figure it out so that I could be done reading. It also made me never want to visit the snow again (read and find out why).

November 9 by Colleen Hoover

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Oh my gosh, I got so emotionally invested in this book you have no idea! This is the second Colleen Hoover book I’ve read (and oh my gosh, I got so emotionally invested in that book, too!) and I’m pretty sure I read it in less than a day. I texted my best friend/college roomie, Whitney, so many times while reading. I think each text was simply an “OH MY GOSHHH!!” If you’ve never read anything by Colleen Hoover, do yourself a favor and add her to your list. I haven’t read them all but so far my favorites are this one, It Ends with Us, and Confess. (Although Hoover is in the regular fiction section of the bookstore, I’d qualify her more as Young Adult.)

Here’s to Us by Elin Hilderbrand

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Elin Hilderbrand is one of my favorite authors. Each of her books take place on Nantucket (it’s officially added to my wanderlust list) and this one follows three women who are back, with their kids, on the island to say goodbye to their ex-husband (a famous chef) after he dies (yes, the man was married three times). There are a lot of characters to follow and you are transported from one point of view to another so often that it was sometimes hard to catch my bearings. Some characters were likable, some were not at all but overall, I feel like I’ll always recommend Elin Hilderbrand to anyone wanting an easy-breezy, feel-good book. Just be prepared to add Nantucket to your travel list, too!

Any other good books I need to add to my list?!

Here goes nothing…

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Well, here goes nothing. I’ve been toying with the idea of starting a blog for awhile. Both my mom and older sister have a blog (I’ll link those if I ever figure this out…) but I never followed through because 1. my life is pretty boring and 2. my life is pretty boring. And yes, I get that it’s not that far into 2017 but I am not one to make New Years resolutions so this is definitely not one of those. I finally decided to take the plunge because 1. I love writing 2. my life may be boring but I love talking/sharing my thoughts on the latest celeb gossip/recommending a book you can’t put down and 3. I figured why not?

My friend, Jolene, gave me the “Bring me Pizza and Peonies” doormat for Christmas. It was love at first sight because I LOVE pizza (pineapple and bacon, please!) and I LOVE peonies. When I had to reach wayyyy deep down and try to come up with a blog title, Pizza and Peonies seemed to be the perfect name!

As mentioned above, my life is pretty boring. And even though it’s boring, I am pretty busy (my parents didn’t warn me enough about adulthood). That said, I’m not sure how often I’ll do a blog post; you may read more from me some weeks versus others. However much I end up writing, I think I’ll be fairly proud of myself for finally taking the blog plunge!