Saturday, February 18, 2017

PonTIFFications #2

PonTIFFications #2 is ready to view! Today's episode includes chat about my preferred scrapbooking style, books I love, my stitching story, and more. Leave me some love and suggest future topics if you're so inclined. 😊


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Valentine's Day Redux

Did your Valentine treat you right this year? I sure hope so. Today, I'm sharing my Valentine's weekend update with you.

On Friday night, we headed to the basketball game on the north end of town at our high school alma mater. (The fella and I went to the same school, but he was a senior when I was a freshman.) It wasn't much of a game in lots of ways, especially since the Purples stomped the Raiders with a 101-69 victory. I'm at least glad that we got to see the Purples score their first 100+ game since 2003 though. Since the Purples are ranked #1 in the state in basketball right now, I honestly expected them to win. I'm just glad the Raiders were able to keep it from being totally embarrassing.


I took a couple of selfies before we went to the game Friday night, mainly because I wanted to play with my shutter release and wanted a pic of my new clearance sweater from Target. Haha!

Also on Friday night, the ScrapGals Retreat for Nashville opened up for sale. The retreat is slated for October 6, 7, 8 this year and should be lots of fun. If you're interested in learning more or registering, you can visit www.tracieclaiborne.com for all of the info. I'd love to meet you there!

Saturday night was date night and our official Valentine's celebration. The kiddo went to his grandparents' house, and the fella and I headed out to dinner at a new local restaurant. We had dinner at Gerard's Tavern, and it was quite good. I just wanted a traditional burger, and the fella ordered a steak. We had plenty of time to eat before our next plans started, so it was nice to sit and talk in a bistro-style pub downtown and then walk leisurely back to the car. We were early because of our later plans, so we didn't even have to wait for a table on a Saturday night. The prices were pretty reasonable too; the fella said our dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings the week before had been much more expensive. :O


After dinner, we headed to PTK (Public Theater of Kentucky) to see a play, Almost Maine. It was a series of vignettes about people who live in a small town in Maine and their struggle with various sorts of romantic relationships. There was the shy, young couple who couldn't communicate clearly, the woman who came back home for love only to discover her guy had already moved on, the married couple who weren't happy together, the widow who surprisingly found love when she least expected it, and the young man who couldn't get his love interest to see him as more than a friend. It was the perfect kind of play for Valentine's Day, and the fella thoughtfully reserved my favorite seats for the show.

Near the end of the play, I developed a terrible migraine. I'm not sure if the constantly changing lights of the show had an effect or if it had to do with some seasoning in my food or if it could have been weather-related, but I got sick so quickly that I wasn't sure I'd even make it home without humiliating myself. The fella took me home, and I was immediately, violently ill. I won't go into details, but it was pretty horrible. While getting sick helped with the pain a little, it honestly didn't mean an end to the migraine. Plus, I was so nauseated that I was afraid to take my medicine. That meant that I lay in bed with a pillow over my face and listened to SNL with the fella - not especially romantic, right?  The next day, I still didn't feel great. If you have migraines, you know you can have that "hungover headache" feeling for a few days after a really bad one. That's exactly what I faced on Sunday. I stayed home pretty much all day and just lounged on the couch. I didn't even feel like stitching or reading or scrapbooking or anything.Charlie-dog was just fine with this arrangement; he likes it when I'm still and ready to snuggle.

Sunday night, I headed over to the fella's house for dinner and The Walking Dead, and I brought his Valentine's gift with me. I wasn't sure I'd be seeing him on the actual day and wanted to give him his small present. I bought him Cedrat cologne from L'Occitane, and I think he really liked it. Let me tell you, ladies, this stuff is to die for. He may not be totally safe when he wears it. ;)  

On Monday evening, Kelsey came by to celebrate Valentine's Day with me. She gave me some photos that she'd recently had printed that I hadn't seen before as well as some Fiestaware bowls that she found at a local tag sale. (Quite appropos since I'm convinced she's the reason my 15 place settings only have 3 bowls in total now...) I loved them both, of course. What made my entire day, my entire week, quite possibly my whole year, though, was the letter that she wrote me. I cannot express how wonderful it was to read her words and know how much she values me as a mom. This girl gets me and even made me cry - y'all know how I feel about letting all those pesky feelings flow. Anyway, I hope you'll read it and know how touched I was by her thoughtfulness and how much I'll treasure this gift. (I gave her a bag full of little treats that she needed/wanted - a couple of tees, some socks, three bralettes, a car charger for her phone, and some candy. Nothing I gave her could possible compare to the sweetness of what she gave me.)

Five Fiestaware bowls - five! Oh my gosh, y'all have no idea how much I needed these. Of course, I can't help but wonder what Kelsey did with all the original bowls and at least 20 spoons, but I have to make peace with never knowing for sure.

On actual Valentine's Day, I had to work of course. In lots of ways it was just a regular Tuesday. I snapped this selfie during my planning period. Look, I even have on red today. It seems like all the clothes I ever wear are black and gray, so this red sweater was definitely a pop of color.

The fella stopped by after my late night at work and brought me a beautifully romantic card. When I read it, I thought to myself, "Why do I suck at picking out cards?" I mean, the one I gave him was nothing special, and the one he chose for me was beyond sweet and romantic. Maybe he's just more romantic than I am. In fact, I know he is, and I'm sure he'd agree too. Sometimes, I suck at the girl stuff.  (Side note - he was wearing the new cologne, and I spent an excessive amount of time sniffing him as a result. Haha!) He also brought me some Valentine's candy - not too much since he knows I'm trying to eat healthier and exercise. He remembered when I said that I love dark chocolate with nuts and that Reese's peanut butter eggs are my absolute favorite. What can I say? He's a good one.

There's my Valentine's Day redux; I hope you enjoyed yours as much as I did! Love to you all!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A sweet gift from a sweet friend + random happiness

A few weeks ago, a sweet online friend sent me a message on Instagram letting me know she had some stitching supplies she'd like to send my way. She had seen that I was spending some time in the evenings stitching on various projects and used to do quite a bit of stitching herself. I don't know Kathryn irl, but she went out of her way to connect with me and offer up the gift of some of her old supplies. We chatted a bit on IG and then by text message, and she was incredibly sweet and considerate the whole time.

I came home from work a couple of weeks ago to a surprise package from her on my front porch! When I opened it, I was surprised by the number of things she sent me - lots of cross stitch fabric in various sizes and colors + several pattern books. Now, I don't really need any more stitching supplies, but I'm incredibly grateful that she thought to send those my way. (And she paid a fortune for shipping, too!) I feel a bit of pressure to stitch up one of those patterns soon, but I think that's a good kind of pressure. Many thanks to the super sweet Kathryn; you seem to be the most lovely person! I am terribly lucky that my involvement in the ScrapGals podcast and our Facebook community has introduced me to the most wonderful people.

Here are a few other random bits of happiness in my life that I thought I'd share with you today:

I spent some time crafting at my desk yesterday during my planning period. I needed that time to be able to make it through my Monday. I think a little down time during my free period early in the day makes me a nicer person for the rest of the day. I had snagged some clearance jewelry making supplies at Hobby Lobby and felt the need to put together some goodies for my peeps.

I'm still trying to finish my 2016 December Daily. Now, I'm about halfway done totally and have the rest of the days filled with photos but not with embellishments or journaling. Just one more 2-3 hour session should be enough to complete it. I feel good about what I've made so far, but I'm beating myself up a little bit for not finishing by my arbitrary January 31st deadline. At least I haven't abandoned the project, right?

I'm also making progress on my Pretty Little Italy stitching project from SatsumaStreet on Etsy. (If you like travel and cross stitch, you should totally check out their shop.) This project seems to be pretty slow-going, maybe because my life has been super busy lately or maybe because I'm getting slower. I don't know what the issue is, but I'm still enjoying the process. I especially like stitching in the evening after dinner with my feet up and Netflix playing in the background.

The fella and I recently went to a script reading of the play, Dog Meets God which is based on the characters from Charlie Brown when they are teenagers. It was provocative in almost every way, but I enjoyed it immensely. The stage and costuming and set were very bare-bones since it was a scripted reading rather than a true performance, but I have to tell you that it was incredibly powerful.  If you are not easily offended by language or culturally explicit references, this is a play you should read or see. I found it especially powerful since I work with teenagers every day. This is a new venture by a local children's theater group geared toward more socially relevant productions, and I can't wait to see what else they produce. If you're local, check out the Gaslight Theater Productions from BG Onstage.

Just a little taste of some of the happy things in my life lately - I hope something wonderful happens to you this week, especially in light of Valentine's Day. May you spend your time with the people and things that bring you the most joy. Hugs!!  :)

Thursday, February 9, 2017

What I Wore - Is that still a thing?

If you follow me on Instagram or listen to the ScrapGals podcast that I cohost, you probably already know that I like to take selfies. On any given day, I've probably snapped a selfie or two, many of which will NEVER be shared publicly. Let's be real: some of my selfies are pretty "hag-like" in nature. As a professional female in my 40s, there's a certain kind of pressure to look a particular way for my job while still managing to feel/look youthful, and you know that can be a challenge for all of us. I also like fashion and try to 'up my game' in terms of fashion whenever possible. While I'm not someone who wears designer clothes, per se, I do like good quality clothing that is flattering and somewhat trendy. When I think I look nice, it improves my attitude and my outlook on life in general. As such, I frequently take photos of my clothes and sometimes even share those on IG with my friends. Not all of them make the cut, though, partly because I don't want my feed to be completely narcissistic, and partly because I know some people follow me for other reasons (like craftiness or travel or whatev).

Anyway...I say all that as a preface to today's post. Is it still even a thing to share your outfits from the past month or so? I don't know, but I thought some of you might find it a fun thing to see. If not, move right along. If so, welcome to my little fashion corner from the past several weeks. (Of course, I'm not sharing an outfit from every single day because that would be boring and not all the pics or outfits are worth sharing.)  Maybe you'll see something you'd like to wear, or maybe you'll at least be entertained.

* Caveat - most of my clothes aren't new, but I'll share where and when I bought them if I remember the details.
Wrap/swing sweater with faux-fur collar - TJMaxx, winter 2016
Not pictured - black skinny pants with pleather trim, Macy's, winter 2014

Chambray dotted button-down blouse - Lane Bryant winter 2014
Pink/purple animal print tank top - Fashion Bug summer 2011?
Not pictured, black skinny trousers - Macy's winter 2010

Moccasins - TJ Maxx, winter 2015
Skinny jeans - Primark in Madrid, summer 2016


Burgundy lace top - Lane Bryant, winter 2016
Not pictured - black pencil skirt, JC Penney, winter 2014
Owl necklace - no clue, some cheapie I picked up randomly


Gray turtleneck dress - Old Navy, winter 2016
Super long faux pearls - some mail-order jewelry party I attended, winter 2012

Here's a fuller view of the dress, but, unfortunately, you can't see the cool handkerchief hem 

Printed chiffon tunic - Kohl's, summer 2015 (plain black tank top underneath)
Black pencil skirt - Old Navy, summer 2015
Boots - Journeyz brand from Amazon, winter 2016

Gray v-neck knit top with rounded hem - WalMart, winter 2016
Plaid scarf - Charming Charlie's, winter 2016

White, embroidered blouse with tied-sides - Lane Bryant, summer 2012?
Skinny jeans - Primark in Madrid, summer 2016
Duck boots - ordered from Amazon and received as a gift, winter 2016

Black, short-sleeved, turtleneck sweater - Lane Bryant, spring 2015
Black ankle pants - Lane Bryant, summer 2015
Striped vest - Target (a gift), winter 2016

Black long-sleeved tshirt - Target, it's ancient
Khaki drape front sweater - TJMaxx, winter 2016
Black skinny jeans - Primark, Madrid, summer 2016
Necklace - no clue where I got it or when, but it was cheap

Same burgundy lace blouse you saw earlier
Black and white geometric print ankle pants - Lane Bryant, winter 2016
Necklace - no clue, it's ancient

Here's a fuller-length photo of that outfit

Gray, hooded, sweatshirt style tunic - Ross, winter 2016
Teal scarf with skull print - hand-me-down from Kelsey a few years ago

Navy striped tunic - Target, winter 2016
Denim pencil skirt - Macy's, winter 2013?
Brown boots - Journeyz brand ordered from Amazon, fall 2016

Silk kimono robe - no idea where it came from, but I love the gift I got for Christmas 2016

Gray, long-sleeved tee with black velvet front panel - Cato, fall 2016
Hand-painted, wooden Santa necklace - no clue, it's ancient

Houndstooth dress - Kohls (maybe?) circa 2013

Printed 60s style ruffled dress - barn sale from a local boutique, fall 2016
Same brown boots I already described

Burgundy striped, asymmetrical-hem tunic - Cato, fall 2016
Burgundy fringed scarf - no clue, a gift from Kelsey in 2015
Cream, silk sari necklace with flower accent - handmade by me

Cream lace layered dress - truck sale from a local boutique, circa winter 2014
Black shrug-style sweater - Target, gift in winter 2014
Not pictured - black leggings from WalMart, winter 2015
Necklace - same ancient one as pictured earlier that I can't remember location/time/price


When I look back at these photos, I'm reminded that I like most of my clothes that I've shared with you, but I do have at least a closet or two worth of clothes I rarely ever wear. Please tell me some of you are the same way.  At least for now, I think most of the outfits I've shared with you are reflective of me and my personality and the things I like. That's how it's supposed to work, right?  ;) 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Recommended Viewing

I haven't done a post like this in a while, so I thought I'd share with you the things I've been watching in the last few months that I think you might enjoy too. I subscribe to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, and I share the fella's HBO NOW subscription. I also have cable, so I have lots of access to really good television. I prefer tv series over movies because I think television series allow for story and character development in a way that a single movie cannot. I tend to like science fiction and drama more than any other genre, which sometimes surprises people since I'm a woman. But I'll watch pretty much anything (except horror) at least once and give it a chance. If you're a tv junkie too, I hope you find some new shows on my list to give a try.



1.  Travelers - sci-fi series about people from the future who return to our current time to try to save the world from its future destruction

2. Santa Clarita Diet - comedy series about a family whose mother inexplicably becomes a zombie that craves raw flesh; I liked the first episode but am a little worried about the gore factor

3. Z: The Beginning of Everything - drama about Zelda Fitzgerald and her marriage to Scott; if you're easily offended by language or nudity, this is not the series for you

4. Merlin - family oriented series that re-imagines the Arthurian legends in an original way

5. Goliath - I didn't expect to like this as much as I did; Billy Bob Thornton stars as a rakish, alcoholic attorney who takes on a huge defense contractor in a wrongful death suit

6.  The Crown - this was an unexpectedly enjoyable series for me, though I wonder what Queen Elizabeth and her husband think of this portrayal of their early married years

7.  Westworld - futuristic sci-fi series where the rich visit the wild west that is inhabited by incredibly 'real' robots who are beginning to exhibit sentience

8. Vice News Tonight - this is a daily news program that approaches reporting world and national news events in a more in-depth and free-form manner; it took some getting used to, but I really like the style and focus of this series

9. The Man in the High Castle - sci-fi series based on a book (or series?) by Phillip K. Dick that re-imagines what the USA would be like in the 1950s if Germany and Japan had won WWII; it's amazing and a must-see!

10. Black Mirror - this is a sci-fi series of stand-alone episodes that examines cultural shifts we're experiencing now in light of the power they could have on our future; I especially loved the episodes about social ratings, euthanasia, and blackmail

I'm also excited about watching these shows very soon; some are new, and some aren't. I just have to pace myself on the number of series I watch at any given time. :)

1. The Path, season 2
2. The Handmaid's Tale
3. Mercy Street, season 2
4. Sight
5. The Last Tycoon
6. Frontier
7. Colony, season 2
8. Narcos
9. Merli
10. Fauda

Monday, January 30, 2017

PonTIFFications #1

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I wanted to try a new blog series that featured a YouTube video that was a sort of question/answer session. It's basically your chance to ask me about anything and to see/hear me talk about it for a few minutes. I have the first one up for your viewing. If you enjoy it, please leave me some feedback. If you have questions/topics that you'd like me to address, please comment here or on the video or in our ScrapGals facebook community. It's a new venture for me that's a bit out of my comfort zone, so please be gentle. :) 


Sunday, January 29, 2017

The week ahead

To Do
1. Create writing prompt and rubric for rhetorical strategies inaugural speeches unit
2. Skype podcast with Tracie 
3. Help CEPT student plan upcoming lesson
4. Plan upcoming calendar items + blog posts + meetings
5. Clean guest rooms
6. Put away new mountain of clean laundry (the struggle continues...)
7. Continue reading Before Versailles and 1984
8. Frame travel prints and set up new mantel decor (I've been putting this off)
9. Bathe Charlie-dog
10. Pick up limbs/sticks from storms and bundle at curb

To Go/Call
1. Register EF chaperones for student trip
2. Grocery
3. Faculty meeting 
4. Get tires checked
5. Dinner/cocktails with friends
6. Gym. Every. Single. Day.


To Make
1. Continue Italy stitching project
2. Record PonTIFFications video episode #2
3. Start work in Craft Your Life book by Amy Tan
4. Make 2 layouts (yeah, this is an old goal I've never followed through in doing)
5. Continue working on DD 2016 (I didn't reach the goal of finishing by 1/31 though)
6. Plan retreat class (ongoing project)
7. Set long-term plans/goals creatively also BG with an action plan

Meal Planning

Breakfasts - cereal, fruit, breakfast bars
Lunches - leftovers, frozen dinners, bagel with cream cheese, mac and cheese
Dinners - out with the fella x 2, out with Tonia, BBQ chicken sliders + frozen veggies, homemade vegetable soup, takeout, cowboy caviar + tortilla chips