Formspring Sunday V.5 (the last one)


Thanks again for all of your great questions and comments. To view any of my other questions and answers, simply type in "formspring" to the search box! I didn't answer quite a few of them that I've already answered, so if you don't see your question use that search feature! I got so many this time, it's a little overwhelming but I am going to do my best to answer them. Hank's at work for another couple of hours and I have some free time while I'm watching The Grammys, so here we go...

for Formspring Sunday, V.5

My boyfriend recently has been told by some doctors that he needs to lose some weight, but LOVES food. He lives with two other boys and they mainly eat out or eat frozen foods. I don't live with him, but spend 75% of my time at his place, so how can I help him deal with this, without offending him or making him think I'm calling him "fat".

I wouldn't say anything to him. Lead by example. Just start cooking and eating really healthy meals around him, talk about how you're trying to make a positive change with yourself...but don't mention wanting to change him. I bet that in time he will want to be healthier, just from seeing you make these smart choices. If you already do that, then I would talk to him, but be sure to address it from a "health" point of view, rather than an aesthetic point of view so his feelings are spared as much as possible.

Thank you so much for answering all of our random questions so graciously! I had a question about teaching...I am considering going back to school to become a Middle School teacher, but before that I am thinking about taking some time to substitute teach. Do you have any thoughts/advice on substitute teaching? I am sure that you interact with them often!

Hmm...well I don't necessarily have advice on it, since I've never done it, but it seems like a great option for people who want a flexible schedule and don't need benefits. I like that it would be different everyday- new kids and environments, but at the same time I don't know how reliable it would be, especially since school districts (at least ours) are trying to cut down on employee absences due to financial issues in education. But if you're interested, I say go for it! :)

Hey Danielle! I was just wondering if you've heard of The Honeyman? Its this great local shop in Prescott, right on Gurley. They have tons of organic food, grains, and whathaveyou. If you haven't been, you should check it out.

I have driven by it many times, but I've never gone in. I will check it out this week! Thanks for the heads up!

Have you always taken a lot of photos of your life in a documentation sort of way even before you started blogging?

Oh yes. I've had a livejournal since the 90s and have always done this. I really, really adore being able to look back through everything.

I love your blog :) Have you ever read the book Skinny Bitch?

I have! I enjoyed it.

OH NO!? Your house is on fire! Everyone is out safe, but what would you run back in to save??

Our wedding guest book of photobooth photos, wedding album/dvd, all of my dresses...and Hank's vinyl toys because he'd be devastated.

Hello Danielle! I wanted to write you to thank you. I have been struggling with my body, self image for years now and suffering of anorexia as well. This week, I came across your blog and it has been a blessing... You are such a wonderful inspiration! In one week, I feel like I have felt better more than in the past few months and maybe years! Here s a list of a few thing that you helped me change: I decide to go for a healthy "diet"! i went to Trader Joe's today and picked up amazing good stuff you advised on your blog and I am going to follow the way you eat etc... you helped me accepting that I can go out wearing just a little bite of makeup and be just fine! You are so pretty by the way! You are helping accepting myself for who I am really, what I believe in and want to do with my life... I don't believe in God ever but being in this country ( I am from France originally) I always felt like I had to believe in it. And then I read your blog and what you think about it and this is exactly what I think as well! I love your style, clothes, purses, shoes and the most out of everything, your tattoos!!! Thank you for being such a great person, you truly helped and help me in my daily life, and I feel like your blog is my therapy... So thank you :)

WOW. I usually don't post the comments I get via formspring (just questions), but I had to post this and say thank you, whoever you are. It blows my mind everytime I get an email, comment, or message like this one. It flatters me to no end to know that ANYONE would want to read what I write, let alone find inspiration in my words. I appreciate you, and all of my readers...and thank you so much for reaching out and letting me know.

how many outfits do you own? how many pairs of shoes? how many bags?

I don't count items that I have! Sorry. :)

You have such pretty hair! What shampoo and conditioner do you use? Do you blow dry your hair? Are they wavy, curvy, or naturally straight? Xoxo

I use both Bumble & Bumble and Biolage products! I blowdry my hair only about 3x a week, whenever I wash it...and it's naturally very straight.

do you use an eye cream? and how long does it normally take for you to get dressed and ready in the morning, and ready for bed at night?

It takes me 1.5 hours to get ready for work! That's insane I know, but I like to dilly-dally and take my sweet time curling my hair, picking out my outfit, etc. When I have an event to get ready for, I prefer to take 2 hours or so. Again, I know this is crazy but I love to take my time. At night, it takes me about 15 min - brush teeth, floss, wash face, apply lotions and potions. And yes, I use an eye cream. I used to use Stri-Vectin (BEST) but I've recently switched to Lush's Enchanted eye cream.

Hi! What is the signification and neaning to you behind the word tattooed on your wrist? Just curious ;) Take care!

I just love the word and like having a reminder to take my time and think about things- reflect on things.

If you could go back in time and give your younger self some advice, what would it be?

Gosh. What a great question. I would say, without becoming too long winded savor it and enjoy every last moment of everything. I think when we're younger we often are consumed with the "next" thing...whether that be the weekend, the summer, the next grade, college, spring break, after college. SLOW DOWN. You will only have the chance to do it once. I think back to when Hank and I got our first apartment. It was so incredibly tiny, and we slept on a twin bed together, in a closet-sized room, for a year. I remember how I couldn't wait to move into a bigger place, with more space...but in retrospect, those "hard" times are some of my fondest memories.

Do you read any magazines? Fashion, cooking, craft, decoration etc?

I read Oxygen (fitness mag), Real Simple, Martha Stewart Living, Natural Health, Lucky...and a handful of others. Those are my top favorites though!

you're beautiful and totally inspiring. what kind of books do you read with your classes? i've been considering becoming an english teacher, and i'm just curious to know what people have been teaching!

We read all sorts of things! As far as novels, I'm beginning Fahrenheit 451 with my sophomores in a few weeks.

how do you make "rounded corners" on your photos? :) xo

Picnik :)

Miss Danielle, What would be your favorite, or most memorable times as a child?

Here's part of a post I wrote on my childhood in October- click here to read it! :)

its in my fathers uppercase handwriting, that would be everywhere, reminding me he loved me, of my chores, of everything. it's the way a tomato vine smells that takes me back to my childhood home, memories of sitting in our backyard while my mother gathered vegetables from the garden, ice pops- frozen juice in plastic containers that were so much better than the store bought kind. it's visiting the pumpkin patch every year, straw getting into our jeans, the smell of hot apple cider, and the feeling of that crisp air biting at our rosy cheeks. it's homemade spaghetti sauce, meatballs simmering in the pot, thyme and oregano, crispy garlic bread that melted in your mouth when the butter was heated just so. it's hearing bruce springsteen, and elton john, wafting down and through through the house, the 8 track player alive and well in the family room, my mother dancing around while she cleaned, it's apple pie. it's spinach dip. it's pumpernickel bread. it's a hard roll with butter from glory's. it's the holidays and wandering through the attic, feeling so small amidst the big brown boxes. it's watching nickelodeon at my grandparents house, nanny bringing us cheese sandwiches on wonder bread. it's the big gray car we'd ride in, it's grandfathers friends and their hats, their jackets, their glasses. it's the jelly doughnut my he would buy from freeman's every morning- powdered sugar, that spongy cake, and gooey insides we devoured so quickly. it's dancing around on my parents bed to "crocodile rock," flashlights in hand, our make shift dance club seeming so magical to our small, small selves. it's the forts in the living room, jungle gym in the backyard, the big trees in the front. it's the sprinklers in the summer, it's going on walks in the woods, exploring and feeling like we were the only people around for miles. it's the clear, crisp mornings and the nights filled with lightning bugs. it's the library. it's being pulled around in a wagon, on the back on my mom's 10-speed, on my father's back. it's macaroni and cheese, it's tuna fish sandwiches at becky's. it's the smell of chlorine. it's the distinct feeling that everything was alright, the world was beautiful and everyone was good.

When you were "younger", did you picture yourself and your life as it is now, or was it something different?

I always had a "dream" life I hoped to live...and somehow, I am living it. I count my blessings everyday. So yes, this is exactly what I pictured and hoped life would be like.

Hello Danielle. I am attending NAU and this is my first year. What were some of your favorite things to do up here?

Well, in college I definitely liked to go out and have fun! My girlfriends and I would go out a lot, downtown to the bars, etc. The majority of my college "free time" was spent just being silly on campus or in the wing of our sorority, at the bars/parties, or out to eat (faves were Cafe Express, Mountain Oasis, Pita Pit - it was brand new then, or Black Bean). I LOVED college, and no matter what we were all doing, it was always fun. None of us were outdoorsy, so that aspect of Flagstaff didn't really appeal to us, outside of running the Urban Trail.

lets say you decided to do something other than teaching, what other career would you choose?

Librarian or book store owner! :)

i've seen you mention a few times that you quit using the birth control pill because you feel that it is unhealthy or dangerous. i myself am on the pill, and i'd actually never heard anything like that until you. i've tried to research it, but i can't really find a legit website with good info. could you maybe share some with me? or any place where i could find some good info on the matter? (sorry to be so lengthy!)

I don't think it's dangerous whatsoever. If I said anything like that, I only meant that I didn't want synthetic hormones dictating how my body worked. I don't take any medication- not even headache medicine, so it didn't make sense for me to be on pills like that. It's also important to note that I'm married, and my husband and I are ready to have preventing pregnancy isn't important to us at this time.

Do your students ever comment on your clothing?

I'm a little unsure what this question means, but...yes? A lot of my girl students will tell me how much they love my outfits and it's really, really adorable when they come in wearing something and say "Mrs. Hampton- look! Don't you like this!?" Or, "Mrs. Hampton, my dress is just like the one you wore the other day!" It melts my heart!

I love your bangs and I have some myself. My only problem is that somedays my hair is not very manageable!!! How to you style your bangs so they always look perfect? Do you use any styling product? If so, which brands do you use? Thanks ;)

Okay so I wrap my hair in a towel for about 10 minutes after I shower and let it dry a bit, then I comb it all out, and tie all of my hair back minus my bangs. I don't put any product in them, and I just blowdry straight down, and side to side. After they're dry, then I do the rest of my hair. That's it! When I sleep I pin them to the side, and then use dry shampoo to freshen them up a bit.

I see that you have a lot of gorgeous tattoos :)!!! Do you have any aftercare tips?

All I do is sleep in it wrapped for the first night, then apply Aquaphor for the next few days.

How much do you shop?? I know that it is a silly question but my husband complains that I shop to much sometimes :) How much would you say you spent shopping every week and for how much money?

I don't really feel comfortable answering this question. Although I've answered questions about student loans and things of that nature, how much I spend shopping per week or whatever is too personal. Sorry! :)

What do you have against Angelina Jolie? :)

I think she's a homewrecking crazy person who is addicted to adopting and having children. When you have multiple nannies and help, enough is enough.

When you get a purse, how long to keep it? Do you wear it everyday for a few months, a year? Do you have a few purses that you switch according to your outfit of the day? I am trying to get better at purses!!! I tend to buy to many of poor quality and don't use them for more than a week or so :/ Please give me advices on how to buy leather handbags that are useful and of good quality!! What are your criterias on handbags?? Thanks ;)

I go through spurts. For instance, I've been carrying my tan MJ bag for awhile. I'm kind of lazy about switching them out, so I just have a bunch in their dustbags up on the top shelf of our closet. I definitely don't switch based on outfits- I prefer to buy bags that are more "everyday" bags. I think quality matters, so that's why I invest in nice quality purses and I suggest you doing the same! Buy one, nice quality bag you can't live without!

Are you thinking of buying a new MJ anytime soon? If you do, which one are you thinking of and what color would you be getting??? Xoxo

For spring, I'm thinking of getting either kelly green or red one! Very cute.

I really like how healthy you eat. Do you think that you could maybe blog more on dinners you cook, snacks you eat through the day etc... like how to you cook your tofu, which kind of beans do you get? I am new into this kind of food and I have no idea how to cook tofu for example, lol! Thanks ;)

I have been meaing to post that darn BBQ tofu recipe, but Hank has been working like a crazy person and we haven't had time to cook together this past week. I promise it is coming up soon. The tofu and sauce are in our fridge, just waiting to be eaten! :) Also keep an eye out for a post this week about an entire day of eating...I'm planning on photographing each thing that I consume, as odd as that sounds! Should be interesting for all of you lovely people who are curious about this topic.

I think that every girl gets breakout on their skin during certain period in a month right? I was wondering if you have any secret on how to get rid off them???? Do you have dry or oily skin? How do you manage it?

I definitely don't have perfect skin, but I've found that the less I do, the better. I used to be all about anti-acne creams, medications, etc. Now that I avoid anything harsh, I don't really break out! I don't have oily or dry skin, it's kind of just normal.

Do you have any recommendations for vegan cookbooks?

I really love the "How it All Vegan" series- click here to view them via!

Hello! What was the first song you and Hank danced to at your wedding?

We danced to "Love Me Tender" by Elvis Presley. :)


Hi! :) I was just wondering what your thoughts are on tanning (specifically, tanning beds). I notice you have pretty fair skin, just as I do. Do you burn in the sun? Have you ever done tanning salons? I'm curious to hear what you think of it all!

NO NO NO! Those are my feelings on tanning! YUCK! I don't even like to be in natural sunlight without tons of sunscreen. Unfortunately in high school and college I would join all of my girlfriends and tan tan tan via booths, but I haven't made that mistake since about 2003. I would never do it again, tattoos or not. I love having pale skin and dark hair, and it's also a great feeling to know I am doing everything possible to avoid skin cancer!

I think you talked about your skincare before, but I'm awed by your dewy skin. Do you use a highlighter or a balm to get that glow? Also do you use powder or cream blush?

Thank you! All I wear is foundation (Almay Truly Lasting Color in Buff) and MAC blush in "Springsheen." I love this blush, and I think its what gives me the glow and highlight on my cheeks!

What brand is your wallet? Is it a MJ as well? Would you ever do a blog post on what is inside your purse??

I have a few wallets I go between. My current one is MBMJ and red :). I will definitely do a "what's in my purse" post soon!

I know you said that you only eat meat if it's been grass fed and treated respectfully. Were is it that you find meat like that?

I don't know if I said I only eat meat that's treated respectfully...and if I did, I shouldn't have. No "meat" is respectfully treated, as it's killed. If I do eat meat, I eat grass-fed beef via our natural food store, and it's sad, but I just don't think about it. I was vegan for awhile, and Hank obviously doesn't eat meat...but I like it and do consume it from time to time.

When you first started teaching were you intimidated teaching kids close to your age? That would make me so nervous!

YES! See my post here about that topic.

have two dogs myself and I would love to know more about Madeline's routine. Like do you walk her everyday? Do you go to the dog park? What do you feed her? I hope that everybody knows that if corn is the first ingredient in dog food it is bad for them!!! Your dog is such a cutie by the way... Take care!

Madeline is the sweetest little baby in the whole world, and we definitely treat her like one. She loves to sleep, so she will usually sleep under the covers while Hank and I are getting ready for the day. And yes, she sleeps in the bed with us, snuggled right between us. Once she wakes up, Hank takes her out and plays with her in the yard for a little bit while I get her food ready. We leave her food out all day- she only eats when hungry so we don't even have to monitor it, which is nice. While we're not home, she gets full run of the house. It's insane, but she's never once chewed anything. I can leave her in a room full of shoes and handbags and she doesn't touch a thing. It's awesome. On work days, Hank usually comes home for lunch and hangs out, and then I get home around 3pm or so and take her on a walk, and hang out with her for the rest of the night. She's a pampered little pup. We don't do the dog park ever, but she goes to our Grandma's house once a week and plays with her dog, and will go to Phoenix with me and play with my parents' and sister's dog. I would say Madeline lives a happy life. :)

I have seen you with reading glasses before.... do you wear contacts everyday or do you wear glasses for watching tv, reading? Or are they just fake and just for fun??

I do have glasses I wear when I read, but I haven't worn them in long time. I need to get a new prescription. As far as the glasses I wear in photos, they're fake and for fun!


Hi Danielle! I love your blog, and all your fabulous pictures. Your family is so cute and perfect. When did you get Madeline? How old is she? Did you know right away that's what you wanted to name her? Will she stay that size (probably a dumb question; I don't know much about Boston Terriers)?Sorry to swamp you with all these questions :)

Hank and I got Madeline right after we got home from our honeymoon, in June of 2004. We got her from a woman just down the street from my parents' house. We saw her, and immediately fell in love! She is going to be 2 this April 15th. The story behind her name is kind of funny- we spent our honeymoon in French Polynesia, so a lot of the resort's guests spoke French. One afternoon Hank and I were swimming and we saw this little dark haired girl run part us screaming "BONJOOOOOOUUUURRR!" and she totally reminded us of the little girl Madeline from the children's book of the same name. It was adorable. When we adopted Madeline we decided to call her that, because she was a cute little spitfire of a thing too. :) And yes, she will always be this size- she was the runt of the litter and is still considered very tiny for a Boston. In my opinion they are the BEST breed and I recommend them to everyone.

Here's a photo of Madeline on her way home for the first time- RIGHT after we picked her up. LOOK HOW SMALL SHE IS!! I die every time I see this photo.

on the way home for the first time

our new baby boston terrier madeline

momma and baby

If you could impart one piece of wisdom or advice to every person on this planet, what would it be?

BE POSITIVE! It's a choice. Choose to be positive and you will see how much it impacts your life.

Who are the "heroes" in your life?

My Mom and Dad. Hands down. They're both "survivors" and incredibly loving and amazing. They gave my sister and I the most amazing childhood, and I hope I will be even half the parents they are. I love them.

mom and dad

Hey there Danielle. I understand you were in a sorority in college. There's a Pi Beta Phi at my school as well. What were some of the best parts of being in a sorority? What motivated you to rush one? Did you ever have problems with the "sorority girl" attitudes I've heard rumors about, or are they just that?

You can read a post about that by clicking here. :D

Hi there, Danielle.
I was reading through your entry about your depression issues. I was just wondering if you ever suffered from self-infliction, suicide, or anything like that. I understand that this is a really personal question, and it's fine if you don't want to open up that can of worms. (Sorry if this made you uncomfortable!)

Fortunately no, I've never hurt myself or even contemplated suicide. I've been at low points, but never that bad (thankfully).

Is there a post dedicated to your "Hank" tattoo?

No, but here's a photo-

and mine...

So I've kind of thought of teaching as something to do but I was no good in high school I had a very hard time with my grades so how can I be a teacher if I couldn't hardly get through school without having to do everything in my power to catch up with homework. I have a love for photography though its kind of a family thing, so I'm thinking about somehow majoring in photography, I guess that didn't turn out into a question. Any advice?

Your performance in high school has nothing to do with your performance as a teacher. I was quite the "social" person in HS and grades were not my focus. And now, I love teaching and I'm quite successful. Just go for it! And you could be a photography teacher- awesome.

So if you teach high school english, what does your little sister teach? and how old are you both, my sister and I are 7 years apart and I feel that we should be closer.

She teaches 6th grade Science.

Kind of random: You mentioned once before that you love mac & cheese. Do you have a good recipe for BAKED mac & cheese? For the life of me I can't find one that works for me. Thanks, I absolutely love your blog!

I don't, but my friend Robyn does! Click here to visit her blog and ask her. She's come over and cooked for Hank and me before and it was DELISH.

How old were you when you graduated high school? (if you started teaching at 22?)


What would you say is the thing that you cannot resist at? It could include food (donuts, ice cream, chocolate, fries....), shoes, purses, clothes and many more...?? =)

Great question! I have a couple of very strange answers for you. Number one, I love love love this burrito place in Mesa, where I grew up. I absolutely cannot resist a Filiberto's burrito no matter how hard I try. My sister and I don't go very often, but if it's brought up I have to! Best burrito ever. Number two, I really cannot resist pie. If there is a homebaked pie, I usually need to have a slice. And I consider myself a very great I can be in trouble around the holidays! ;) So those are my two food must-haves. YUM!

late dinner

Nanny's famous apple pie

Would you ever write your own book?

Yes, I hope to.

Awesome blog!! a couple of questions.What made you get so many tattoos?Does the school mind? Do your students read your blog?? Ps i Love your style!!

What "made" me get so many tattoos is my love for tattoos! I plan on getting a lot more. The school doesn't mind. As far as students reading my blog, maybe! But I hope not. ;) And thank you for the compliment.

Hiya! I love your outfit posts now, great great! You have me shopping online and ebaying a whole lot more. Anyhoo, what I wanted to ask, was how do you wash your clothes and what detergent do you use? Do you handwash, dry clean, machine wash, and which ones goes for where. I am now starting to invest in more expensive high end clothes, and want to ensure there preservation. Thanks!

I dry clean all of my "nice" clothing. As I am getting older I buy a lot more quality pieces, so I have been hand washing and dry cleaning more and more.

Did it hurt to get your ribs tattooed?

UM YES! Horribly. But the outcome is worth it.

What would you say are the material things you could not live without? Can you give us a top 5? =)


1) my laptop (I love the internet too much to ever live without it!)
2) books/my Kindle
3) dresses
4) my cameras
5) my wedding ring because it makes me happy

where did u get that marc jacob dress with the apple heart print?

Neiman Marcus

Hi Danielle :) I wanted to know, when you got your tattoos, did you get all of them in a few months going like every other weeks or did you get them in a few years? I just got into tattoos and in the past 2 months I have been going very often, I wonder if it is normal or if I am crazy!!!

I get one or two a year, but in the beginning I got them more frequently. It's new and exciting! Just be sure you're thinking things through- I'm sure you are. :)

You said that you are going to do more soon but you don't want to say what it is going to be (I respect that) but could you tell us where you are going to do it? Xoxo

My other arm! :)

How do you and Hank keep the "fire" in your marriage?

I know this might be an annoying answer, but our marriage doesn't really take a lot of work. I know many people say that marriage does in fact take work, but for us, it's not very hard at all. We spend tons of time together and both of us consistently do little things to make the other's day better. I feel lucky that my husband is a man who is very open and emotional, and shares what he is thinking and feeling all of the time. As far as "fire," it's always there. I do feel that our multiple date nights every week help a lot. Both
of our willingness to give our time to the other is important too.

love my darling- he leaves for tour in the morning :(

Do your dresses and cardigans usually cover all of your tattoos? or are there bits and pieces showing from time to time at work?

Usually. Sometimes different pieces will stick out, like the bottom of my sleeve or top of my chest...but it's not a big deal. I've also worn short sleeves a couple of times and it wasn't an issue.

Hey Danielle... I was just curious as to how tall you are and what size pants you wear? You look so tiny in your pics, but it is really hard to tell.

I am 5'4" (although people tell me 5'3"! I stick to 5'4"!) and if I MUST wear jeans I wear a 28. I wouldn't say I'm tiny, I feel like I'm pretty normal sized. :)

How long do you keep your clothes and shoes? One season or a year or two? Do you get tired to wear them very fast or you are more the kind of girl that keeps her stuff for a long time? Just curious ;)

I keep everything forever, until it wears out or until I don't like it anymore. I don't pay any attention to seasons or what's "in." I just wear what appeals to me, and if I love it, I will wear it every "season" for the rest of my life!

What sorority were you in during college?

Pi Beta Phi

How does your nightstand looks like? I know that it is a weird question but I am always curious about it :) Do you have books, hand lotion on it?

lamp, books, and hand lotion! You were almost 100% right! :)

Hi! Super blog Danielle! I noticed in the pictures from the baby shower you attended you wore a watch. Never saw that on you before, what kind is it? I love watches!

Here's a closer photo of it :)

my favorite watch

Will you do a little post about your sleeve? Thanks :). Love your blog!

Yes, I will this week! I meant to last week but whenever I remembered to, Hank wasn't home to take the photos. :)

What type of a mother do you think you will be? Do you want to do a lot of crafts?

I hope I am just like my mom! Tons of crafts, adventures, love, songs, and fun. She was amazing. I'll be leaving work once we have kiddos so I'm looking forward to being very present, and having lots of time for lots of fun and learning. Even when they're in school we plan on me being home so I can always be there for them and our family. Great question :).

Baby Shower!

My best friend Autumn is due to have her second baby in just about two weeks, so today we had a baby shower in honor of her, and her soon-t0-arrive son, Carter! It was such a great afternoon, spent with some of my very best and oldest friends. We've all been peas in a pod since college (starting about ten years ago, wow!) and I feel very lucky to have such amazing women in my life. We're each incredibly different, but that's what I love- I cherish each of those amazing ladies.

The shower was held at Autumn and Jason's new home, and hosted by her sister Jeremee. We enjoyed delicious salad courtesy of Pita Jungle and it was really just the best. relaxing afternoon.

Here are some photos-

Jeremee, Autumn, me, Alana, Erin, and Shirley
some of my bestest friends, I love them

Jeremee, Autumn, me, Alana

The "Brandts" - Jeremee, Autumn and their mom Libby
The "Brandts"

my beautiful goddaughter! :)

salads from Pita Jungle
lunch compliments of Pita Jungle

lucky charm from Arivaca friends

reading one of Carter's books
Carter's book

2 weeks to go!
my beautiful best friend

Carter's in there!
baby Carter is ready to come out!

happy baby
happy baby!

Grammy and Chloe time
Grammy and Chloe



beautiful Alana
Auntie Alana


The Loops
The Loops

Chloe and her Daddy

just hanging out in an orange tree, no big deal!
just hanging in an orange tree


Thank you so much for all of your wonderful input on my last entry. A lot of you asked questions, and I will be sure to address those when I make my next post on my job. I just hope all of you know how much I appreciate you taking the time to read that long post!

Today was a great day at work. My seniors and I continued our rap as poetry lesson, dissecting songs from Dead Prez, Aesop Rock, Tupac, and Jay-Z. We had a great time, and it was interesting to see them find poetic devices throughout the songs. I'm curious to see what they say during our discussion tomorrow. My sophomores read "A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner today, and most of them seemed to enjoy it. During my 7th period's journal time, I asked them if they had any song requests...I loved that we ended up listening to Frank Sinatra while they did their creative writing for 10 minutes. It made me happy to see "kids these days" appreciating great music. It made me think about when we have children, and how exposed to music they'll be, mainly due to Hank. I always have music on, but it's great to have a parent who is so skilled at playing so many instruments. I can't even imagine what it would be like to grow up around that- definitely very cool.

For some reason this week just flew by, and I am so excited that tomorrow is Friday! I have a very, very full weekend of family time. Autumn's baby shower is Saturday which I am most looking forward to. Tomorrow night Shirl and I are going to shop for some clothes for baby Carter- most of my friends have had girls, so it's going to be nice to pick out things for a little baby boy. Before the shower on Saturday, I'll be going antiquing with my Mom, Dad, and sis...hopefully I can find the chairs we've been looking for! I'm also really excited about working out with my sister Lauren (click here to visit her blog- and click here to visit her new fitness blog) at her new gym! Spin class here we come. Have any of you done Spin before? It's one of my most favorite workouts to do, and I also really enjoy full-body sculpt class with weights. Do you take any fitness classes that you really love?

Before I head to the gym for a nice late night workout, I wanted to include a typical workout playlist. I basically just took my most recent mix and duplicated it onto this site. Be forewarned though, the music won't be for everyone. I like all genres, but when I work out I typically listen to either rap or hardcore. For the past few weeks it's been the latter, and this mix features a lot of that, and in particular a lot of songs from one of my all-time favorite bands, Modern Life is War. Some of it is a little embarrassing (hello, Hatebreed?!), but it gets me going, so I can't complain. So, I don't know if many of you will enjoy it, but this is what I listen to, and you guys asked for here it is! :) I'd love to hear what some of your favorite songs are too, so feel free to share with us if you're so inclined! New workout music is always the best. Next week I will post another mix, of more "beat" type music.

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Here are some daily photos from today as well-

today's outfit (what I wore to work):

dress- Marc by Marc Jacobs
cardigan- J. Crew
tights- Hue (via Macy's)
shoes- BCBG

daily outfit, 1/28/10


Madeline also received a little present in the mail today, from All Mighty! Click here to visit their store. We got a bunch of stuff from their shop and all of it is incredibly adorable, including everything from Dainty June. Love love love.

All Mighty packing tape = LOVE!

Madeline and her new friend!
Madeline and her new friend

I hope all of you have a wonderful evening! <333

Tattoorism: Dean's Samurai

Last Saturday, I posted some tattoos sent to us from Tammy in Texas. Her son Dean is also tattooed and, in a much bigger way. We'll let him explain:

My very first tattoo was done on my 18th birthday in 2005...[it is] a black dragon with kanji above it. About a year letter I had a koi fish done on my calf...both of these tattoos were just drawings I had found. In 2006 I started working on my rib piece and in 2007 I got together with John from A Different Drummer here in Wichita Falls (he is now at the Lawton, OK location), and the two of us collaborated on bringing the rib piece together. Once the drawing was to our satisfaction, it took a little over 2 months of 3-4 hour sittings weekly until the tattoo was complete. 16-plus hours and worth every minute!

In 2009 I decided it was time for an arm piece and went back to A Different Drummer and Tuan who was in Art Class with me in high school listened to what I wanted... and the arm piece came to life...this one was done in one day and took a little over 7 1/2 hours:

Both pieces are marvelously done.

Thanks to Dean for sharing his work with us here on Tattoosday! And a hearty thank you, as well, to Tammy, for being a cool mom, sharing her pride in her son's amazing body art!

My life as an English teacher- how I got here

Today, as my sophomore students were busy in the classroom, cutting out flashcards for their new vocabulary words, I took a step back. I stopped and I listened. I heard happy voices talking about all sorts of things, the cut cut cut of the cardstock, the scissors moving up and down, kids moving about the room. I took a moment and just looked around, took it all in. For some reason this moment in my class was perfection to me. As the kids worked, I thought about my profession. I thought about being in high school myself, and I thought about how interesting it was that I became a teacher.

from my desk

Growing up, I was constantly in and out of my mother's classroom. She taught at a small school in the incredibly tight-knit artist community of Roosevelt, NJ. The school had one class per grade- K-8. There were probably 10-15 children per class, and some of my happiest memories are spending time in that school. Even though I enjoyed my time there so much, I never thought to myself that I would one day be a teacher myself. My Mom would repeatedly talk about how much she enjoyed her work, but would often tell my sister and I never to become teachers ourselves, as the pay was too low for the job at hand.

I made it through my junior high and high schools day successfully. I was the kind of person who really enjoyed my high school years- I was very social and had a great time. I didn't enjoy class though, and it was often a struggle for my parents to get me to do work- I was incredibly bored! If someone would have told me that I would be a teacher one day, I would have laughed. Even in college I didn't consider this idea. My freshman year at NAU I decided I wanted to be a number of things, and my major switched a couple of times. I started with Hotel and Restaurant Management. I thought this idea was fabulous, because what could be better than working at a tropical resort? That major and idea quickly failed when I had to take a course in hotel management, and was forced to clean the rooms and bathrooms of the campus's resident hotel. I walked out that day, disgusted. Because I've always had a love for computers and technology, the next logical major was computer programming. I took a few classes, predominately full of nerdy boys, and decided I was too personable for that profession. Looking back, I think I would have definitely been happy had I stuck to that. But alas, it wasn't for me. Next I dabbled in both psychology and economics before I finally went back to my true love, English. In high school, English was the only core subject I truly enjoyed and I'd always been a complete bookworm. Although English was my first choice of majors, I had originally shied away from choosing this path due to both my adviser and peers telling me this pick was a quick road to unemployment following graduation. I decided to give it a go anyway, and one semester in I couldn't get enough. I reveled in my surroundings- other literary nerds who found great pleasure in writing poetry, reading old books, and sitting around discussing contemporary fiction. It was a welcome break from the everyday life of a sorority girl, as cliche and silly as that may sound. I was hooked.

As the next three years went by, I fell deeper and deeper in love with all things English Literature. I took classes in everything from Rhetoric in Media to African American Literature. I learned so much. As my May 2004 graduation date loomed nearer, I began to weigh my options. I had decided my junior year that I wanted to become a lawyer, so my emphasis was in pre-law, and the LSATs were coming up. I had already decided though, that law wasn't a path I was ready to go down, so I was at a dead end of sorts. I knew that I loved writing, but I wasn't sure where exactly to get started in that field. I loved communication, but again, I wasn't sure what I could do with my Bachelor's of Arts in English.

It turned out that I decided to take some time and continue working for the company I had worked for for so long, and interviewed for a management position at the Aveda store in Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall. I got the job, and two weeks after graduation my best friends Autumn and Shirley moved down with me to Old Town Scottsdale, I began working. I liked my job. I had worked for Aveda for years and years prior to this, and I enjoyed the atmosphere and working in the field of beauty. I even toyed with the idea of making this my career. But no matter how much I enjoyed it, it just wasn't fulfilling a part of me, an intellectual part that felt silenced while working in the mall.

Around October I started to feel like maybe I wanted to become a high school teacher. I wasn't exactly sure where this thought came from- I didn't know any high school teachers my age, and I wasn't exactly sure what the road to becoming a teacher even entailed. Would I have to repeat another four years of undergraduate work to obtain an additional four year degree? While all this was going on, my feeling of idleness and my unhappiness with the retail world continued to grow. I applied for a large "grown-up" position at a large financial firm in Scottsdale to do website editing, and got the job.

Even though I was set to begin working in three weeks, I started looking into teaching and noticed that my alma mater, NAU, offered an accelerated graduate program in Phoenix where I could receive my Master's in Education while at the same time obtaining my teaching certification. Amazing. Unfortunately the next round of classes began shortly, so even though I sent in my application, I gave up hope I could begin in January. Surprisingly, a little less than three weeks later I received a call from graduate admissions informing me that I had, indeed, been accepted into the program, and my start date was the following Monday...the same day I was set to begin at the financial company. I immediately called them and informed them that I wasn't able to come into work on Monday, and set my heart on achieving this suddenly all-important goal. At the same time, I was so scared. I had just turned down an incredibly well-paying job to make a career out of something my mom had warned me about. Was I making a mistake?

Fear aside, I'll never forget when I walked into my very first graduate course. There was a woman up front- totally hip with her adorable haircut and fun outfit...and she was so positive and inspiring. From day one, this professor was a huge part of the reason I stuck with the program, and she really helped to mold me into the teacher I am now. With her help, graduate school flew by- it was an intense program, with classes lasting multiple hours many times per week. I even had to move back to Flagstaff for the summer to take a few courses. But surprisingly, I enjoyed it. I liked the idea that I would one day soon be up in front of my own class, sharing my thoughts about my favorite subject. I enjoyed having a light at the end of the tunnel- a tangible goal that got closer each day. I loved all of the classes we took on young adult fiction, lesson planning, technology in the classroom, you name it. The year continued on and before I knew it, it was time to student teach. By this point I had completed all of my graduate courses, besides my student teaching semester. Assuming that I made it through the next 16 weeks successfully, I would officially have a M.Ed. and a teaching certificate for the state of Arizona.

I had moved to Prescott from Scottsdale in the fall, during my previous semester. I had done my practicum (observation) unit at Prescott High, and decided to do my student teaching there as well. I was placed in the department head's classroom, and although I had met her before, I was still nervous about the entire thing. I had gone out on a limb moving up north during this time. There was only one high school in Prescott, and typically the school you student teach at is most apt to offer you a position following this time period. It was a gamble to be in a town with one possible job choice. What if I didn't like it? And more importantly, what if they didn't like me?

The first day of school I arrived in my mentor teacher's room. I was visibly shaking. Her first hour was seniors, and I was only 22- just four years older than them. I was petrified. All those eyes, staring at me. I was beet red from the moment I walked in the door- how on earth was I going to make these students, these people who felt like my peers, listen and respect me? What had I gotten myself into? In the confines of my graduate school courses, teaching didn't seem so scary. You present a lesson, you explain it, you answer questions. Done. No one ever mentioned the girl in the front of the room looking you up and down, or the boy in the back glaring at you, as if he was thinking, "who is this stranger?" I didn't have much time to ponder that though, because she put a vocabulary book in a my hand and said "they're all yours." I went blank for a minute, and I remember looking up and out at those 35 faces, panicked. Then my auto-pilot set in and I was somewhat okay. Now if you know anything about student teaching, you know that it's a process. You're supposed to observe for the first few weeks, ease into teaching maybe one class a day, and slowly add more. Not my experience. I was literally thrown into teaching on day one, and looking back, I am so thankful for this. Because it was so shocking, I had to immediately get over any and all fear I had. And trust me, I did. I was pushed head first intothe deep the high dive. But by the end of the first week, I was feeling completely comfortable with the kids and loving it.

The semester went by quickly, and by the end of the 16 weeks I was actually sad to go. On my last day, the principal called me into her office. She told me that she was impressed with my progress, and offered me a teaching position for the next year. It's safe to say I was ecstatic. I had fallen in love with the school, and I couldn't imagine working anywhere else. I also enjoyed the idea that Hank had gone there years before, and his parents too. I had found my place.

I was on cloud nine. I had never liked to work but I had actually found a job that I didn't dread going to each day. Aveda was fun, but it was retail, and the negatives far outweighed the positives for me. Towards the end of May, it was my time to graduate. I had surprised myself- I was 22 and graduating with my Master's degree. How did that happen? Being someone who, at the time, would often start projects and leave them unfinished, I felt so accomplished and grown up. It was a beautiful thing to feel so proud of something I had achieved. And it was even sweeter knowing that I had a job waiting for me.

Looking back on the road that brought me to my current place in life- more than a few years of teaching under my belt, happy in my job and school- I never would have guessed this for myself. I wake up most mornings excited to get there, happy to see the kids, looking forward to sharing something with them. Some days are harder than others, but like I said, most days are great. I never would have guessed that my procrastinating high school self would ever end up on the other side of the podium. But here I am. In my opinion, teaching is the most important job in the world. Every year, I get over 150 new students. When you think about the simple magnitude of the possibilities involved in that, it's dizzying. I have the opportunity to shape these little minds into something more than they walked in with. I am able to share stories and poetry, music and novels, anything and everything full of art and language and knowledge. I get to make non-readers into book lovers. I am an advice-giver, role model, and a smile. My mood directly affects my classroom, and in turn affects my students. Each day I get up in front of my kids I have a chance to positively impact each and every one of those children.

At times teaching can be difficult. I find most "out of class" tasks to be the most tedious and stressful. The paperwork, the meetings, the goals, the mandatory lesson plans...all of these things are my least favorite. My most favorite are the kids. I can't go an entire hour without laughing, and to be able to describe my day in such a way is awesome.

If you've ever thought about being a teacher, let me tell you- it's amazing. Not only do you get to enjoy a wonderful schedule, you also get to enjoy a career that is different each and every day. You get to choose an area that you love- for me, English- and share every little last bit of that with young people. What could be better?

I wrote this so I could always remember how I got to where I am today- and I thought I would share this post in case any of you were interested in the path I took to get here! I think it also serves as a reminder that if you want something, go get it! I look back at this time and I remember feeling so scared. What if I was making the wrong career choice? What if I hated it? I took the plunge though, and I can't tell you how right this all feels. I hope that if you're on the fence about something in your life, you find the strength to just go for it. Whether it be a career, a move, a choice, anything...summon up that strong part of you that is always there waiting, and allow yourself to take a chance. Although teaching isn't a dangerous profession, I was incredibly scared about taking those first steps. But I did, and I couldn't be happier. It's also interesting to note that my younger sister became a teacher as well, so we both get to share in the awesome-ness that is teaching. I love that we are able to have this experience together- and it's neat that teaching has become a bit of a family affair for us!

Someday soon I will talk more about my experiences in the classroom and what an average day is like, and some of the daily trials and triumphs I go through, as they are definitely noteworthy. So stayed tuned for that.

And now I'm curious- are any of you teachers or aspiring teachers? Did you always know you wanted to be one? I'd love to hear about your experience, so please feel free to share in the comments!

And as always, thank you so much for reading! I love you guys. :)

Tattoo Tuesday, V.3

Hi everyone! Welcome to the third edition of Tattoo Tuesday. I am loving this feature so much, and I'm glad you're enjoying it too. Thank you for stopping by to read my blog! Today I am pleased to feature two of the loveliest ladies I have the pleasure of knowing, Holly and Brittney. First up, the lovely Holly!

Name: Holly (Hollysarah) Neufeld, and my blog is {create*loves}

Tattoo/location: girl with camera on upper right arm

Artist/shop/location: Zara Leaf at Metamorphosis in Winnipeg, Manitoba. (she has since moved to Edmonton *sad face*)

1) Tell us about the tattoo you are sharing with us- is there a background story or special meaning? Why did you choose this particular piece of art?

I want my tattoos to be reflective of my personality, and so I this one to show my creative side, and also because I love Elsie's girl designs *so* much. They're my all time favorite illustrations of hers, and I knew I wanted a tattoo of one. The girl is wearing a camera, and a headband, because they are both things I love. This girl is not meant to represent 'me', but the loves that I have. Elsie designed her for me, and I took a few different sketches to Zara and she worked her magic as well. So it's a collaboration of designs, and I couldn't be happier with how it turned out. I chose this particular artwork simply because.... I love it and I think it's cute!

2) Do you have any other tattoos? If so, what do you have and where?

I have 3 other tattoos. I have a plumeria flower on the inside of my left forearm, which is sort of a Hawaiian honeymoon memoir. I have the inside of my upper right arm tattooed with 2 swallows, nautical stars, and a banner that reads "Loves", and a bow on my right shoulder.

3) Do you plan on getting more?

Yes, I would love love to:
-finish my right half sleeve
-chest piece (hopefully this year)
-right knuckles
-cover up the plumeria flower with more of them (more realistic looking ones)

I love tattoos and I love getting them, so who knows how many I'll get in the future. ;)

4) How do your family and friends feel about your tattoo(s)? Have you run into any adversity or negativity because of them?

My mom was a little weirded out when she found out I was getting a tattoo, but now she likes them. My other family members that don't like them usually keep their opinions to themselves, even though I know they don't 'approve'. Ryan has a tattoo as well, but I don't think he has the desire for any others. He likes my tattoos but doesn't really have a strong opinion about them in either direction. I don't get a tattoo worrying about what others think. I know my friends/family will still accept me just the same, with or without ink. :)

5) Any advice for those interested in getting tattooed but haven't gotten one yet?

Don't just "walk in" for an appt.... that's what I did for my first one, and that's the one I want covered up. I still like it a lot, but I just think it could look better. Make sure you do your research, and check out artist's portfolios before making an appt. For my girl tattoo, I knew that it was a very "graphic" design, in the way that it had bold lines, so when I was looking for an artist, I looked for someone who was good at bold lines, and cartoon-like illustrated figures. I found Zara and knew she would be perfect for the design I wanted.
Also, plan ahead. In manitoba, the tattooing industry is taken very seriously, and a lot of the time, you need to be on a waiting list for a talented artist. I waited more than half a year for 2 of my tattoos, after making a deposit and approving artwork from the artist during the consult. The way I see it, if you are sure of what you want, then it's worth the wait in the long run, and worth the investment. Tattoo artists in my area charge around $150 per hour, so it's something that requires thought and planning.
A lot of people also ask me if I think getting tattooed hurts. I wouldn't use the word 'hurt', I strangely enjoy the feeling of getting tattooed quite a bit! For longer sessions, the body has to work a little harder at handling it, for example, with my girl tattoo I was doing great up until about 5 hours and then it became difficult to enjoy it.
Lastly, I feel that tattoos should be fun and beautiful, so get them for YOU and love them because they reflect who you are and things that you love. :) XO holly

Our next beautiful tattooed lovely is my friend Ms. Brittney Reyes!

Name: Brittney, of obabycakes (

Tattoo/location: man from an old picture during the early 1900's

Artist/shop/location: Cris Cleen from spider murphy's tattoo

1) Tell us about the tattoo you are sharing with us- is there a background story or special meaning? Why did you choose this particular piece of art?

This is one of my favorite pieces. It is a man from an old picture during the early 1900's. When I look at this man I think about him traveling around the world, writing love letters to his wife. Many of my pieces are centered around love; enduring love that lasted decades and wars and distance. We live in a day and age where text message, emails, and comments are the major forms of communication, it is all so impersonal now! I find hand written letters to be one of the most intimate forms of expression. To immortalize these ideas on my body is a sort of preservation. To think that one day society could find an appreciation for this, or revert back to more personal ways of communicating is very endearing to me.

2) Do you have any other tattoos? If so, what do you have and where?

I have lots more! 24 to be exact. Without going to much into detail: script on my foot as well as left and right hips, initials behind both ears, heart on my ring finger, circus elephant on left thigh, ode to wartime lovers on my right thigh, top hat wearing skull above right knee, sweet tooth on wrist, traditional butterfly, sailor gypsy, lucky panther, hot air balloon, roses, owl in a teapot, grandmothers name, sailor Jerry "mom" piece, hand in hand lovers, sugar skull, peacock, and old perfume bottle.

3) Do you plan on getting more?

I do! I plan on finishing my right sleeve as well as finish covering both my thighs from the knees to the hips, and if given the opportunity to work with some of the far off artists that I admire, I'd love to squeeze a bit of their work onto vacant spots.

4) How do your family and friends feel about your tattoo(s)? Have you run into any adversity or negativity because of them?

At first my family was very supportive, until I started getting work done in more visible areas. At this point my parents don't really support anything new that I get so I usually try not to mention new items or plans for future ones. Friends on the other hand love them, but that is to be expected considering most of them have or plan for some themselves! Sadly, with the general public I have come under fire quite often because of them. Although many strangers compliment my work, It is too often that I get dirty looks or have been cornered into a conversation where I must defend my decision. Unfortunately, I've gotten to the point where I cut most tattoo talk with strangers off pretty bluntly unless people are extremely nice and genuinely curious about my work. I understand that people are naturally curious and may have good intentions, but it gets quite exhausting explaining or defending myself multiple times a day. It all just comes down to manners, politeness is key :)

5) Any advice for those interested in getting tattooed but haven't gotten one yet?

Yes! My number one piece of advice is begin getting tattooed in places that no one will see. You may get one and decide its not for you, and you wouldn't want something you regret to be visible to the world for the rest of your life. It took me a very long time and a lot of contemplating to decide that I was ready to put artwork in visible places. It truly is for the rest of your life. To this day though, I don't regret a single one!