Saturday, April 30, 2016

Teacher Style!

Guess what? I did a guest post for my sister's cute blog, "According to Libby." I wrote all about teacher style. Enjoy! Teacher Style

Sunday, April 24, 2016


It's normal to spend 2 hours researching crib skirts, right?

It's normal to listen to your earbuds so loud your husband can hear every word of the song you're listening to, right?

It's normal to be thrilled for summer weather, but look at the sweaters hanging in your closet longingly, right?

It's normal to eat lowfat Greek yogurt for breakfast, quinoa, snap peas, blueberries, and lemon water for lunch and 3 pieces of supreme pizza for dinner with a chocolate chip cookie chaser, right?

It's normal to research real estate in Waco after watching Fixer Upper, right?

It's normal to have a stack of magazines but you save them for bathtub reading material because you don't trust yourself with an actual book in a bubble bath, right?

It's normal to set 6 alarms every morning, just 3 minutes apart, right?

It's normal to listen to "Don't Ever Grow Up" by Taylor Swift on repeat and cry the whole car ride home because your baby in utero will be big and grown up one day, right?

It's normal to plan a super sweet lesson but then keep putting it off for when you can milk a solid 40 minutes out of it because if you squeeze it in during the last 20 minutes of the day, you feel like your efforts were wasted, right?

It's normal to put "make tomorrow's to do list" on today's to do list, right?

It's normal to go to bed at 9:00, but then not sleep till 10:00 because of timehop, pinterest, and facebook, right?

It's normal to get in a 6 car line at the Starbucks drive thru even though you know you could be in and out in less than 2 cars worth of time, right?

It's normal to send your hubby texts and pics of various celebrities with them so it's like they are the ones saying the text you wrote, right?

It's normal to get so sick of your own name when you're a teacher, right?

It's normal to get slightly uneasy when your Bath and Body Works soaps do not match the season you are currently in, right?

It's normal to write reminders to yourself on post its and put them in your lunchbox because you're guaranteed to not forget to look there, right?

It's normal to want to travel the world but then realize you're really at your happiest in your own bed with your own things, right?

It's normal to squirt your foundation onto the top of your hand before applying because that's what they do at the makeup counter, right?

Just wondering.
What are your "It's normal, right" questions?!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Guest Post: Fuller House Feminism!

My awesomely talented sister, Libby, is a sophomore studying journalism and women's studies at Arizona State. She has so graciously written a guest post for this ol' blog and I love what she has to say! Libby likes floral prints, running, sunny days, texting me odd spellings of her name on Starbucks cups, obsessing over cats, Chinese take out, and being an overall cool girl. She has a great blog herself, According to Libby, that you should all check out. Without further ado.....

Why Fuller House is funny, feminist, and a really good reboot 
By Libby Allnatt

As a 1996 baby, I just barely missed the Full House era (1987-1995). But I was lucky enough to catch re-runs for years to come. At first I was annoyed that Nick at Nite would disrupt my regularly scheduled Drake and Josh, but I soon came to love the Tanner family and all their antics. 

I finished all 13 episodes of Fuller House with slightly embarrassing speed. Blame procrastination or a desire for quick and cheap entertainment (“both” is probably the most likely explanation). At first I found it hard to get through the first episode, which felt like nonstop audience cheering and tired catchphrases. How many times were we going to hear “Cut. It. Out” again? I started to get worried. 

But I soon realized the show was pretty compelling once we got all the throwback references out of the way. (And I totes understand why the show needed to let viewers enjoy the nostalgia for a bit.) DJ Tanner’s sons and Kimmy Gibler’s tween daughter give the show some fresh blood and youth, making it seem like a new hip Disney Channel show (and if you know me, you know I mean this in a good way). 

The show centers around the three female protagonists — DJ, Stephanie, and Kimmy, who all maintain their own interests or jobs while helping take care of the kids in the house. It’s refreshing to see DJ working at a veterinary clinic and being pretty darn successful while doing so, even though her character often falls into the “frazzled mom” trope that’s characteristic of the way many working women are portrayed in media. (ABC sitcom “The Middle” is one of my fave shows, but sometimes just watching Frankie Heck makes me feel stressed out.) 

But I see why this portrayal is important and relevant for viewers, and it gives the show some pretty emotional moments, like on the first episode, “Our Very First Show, Again,” when the Tanner gang overhears DJ on the verge of a nervous breakdown about balancing life after the death of her husband (who kind of remains a mystery, except we know he was a fireman who died “doing what he loved”). Her character shows weakness and imperfection, and that’s okay. This vulnerability strengthens the bond between DJ, Stephanie, and Kimmy.

I won’t give away any endings, but throughout watching the show I was consistently impressed with the way the show portrayed the women dating and dealing with their relationships without making that the entire theme. Kimmy runs a quirky party-planning business, Stephanie is a world-renowned DJ (a bit of a stretch, but her wild child ways are a nice juxtaposition to her sister’s more conventional route, and not a huge surprise since she was always the spunky middle child on Full House). DJ is an animal doctor and has three young kids who she would clearly do anything for. The women have their own passions, and they are one hella loyal girl gang, even if they disagree on stuff sometimes. They enjoy dating, but finding a man is not the end goal of their lives. 

DJ gets caught in a Bachelorette-esque love triangle that’s almost as captivating as the actual reality show. Kimmy’s on-again-off-again ex-husband Fernando is charming, but the feisty Latino trope is a bit played out and in questionable taste. (Thankfully though the show generally does a good job of not relying on derogatory, offensive, or mean jokes.)

The point is, through all of their dating debacles and amusing antics, the three ladies have each other’s backs. It’s refreshing to see a show where the women aren’t pitted against each other, where their lives don’t revolve around men, and where they have their own interests and passions. (These sound like pretty low standards for quality entertainment, but you’d be surprised how many things don’t fit this criteria once you start paying attention to it. #FeministProbs.) 

Overall, I’d recommend giving “Fuller House” a watch if you haven’t already. If you can make it through the first episode of nonstop applause and violent laughter at jokes from 20 years ago, you’ll discover a pretty funny show with insightful messages about sisterhood, female friendship, and finding what matters in life. 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Life Lately

Hey there blog land,
   Seems like life is busy these days and while I always have good intentions to blog, when I have some spare minutes I can usually be found:

-taking a snooze (napping for two here, folks)
-Walking in the beautiful sunshine
-Catching up on the DVR with my hubby

So....what's been happening in our neck of the woods?

1) Baby. Obvi this is number one. Baby girl will be 23 weeks cooked this week. She's been moving a lot and I just love that feeling! My sweet coworkers from my old school threw a friend and I a Baby Shower Brunch this past weekend and it just makes me so happy how loved our girl is and how people are excited for her arrival. I promise to do a post soon about our Hypno-birthing classes and some of the cool stuff we've been learning. And EIGHT paint samples and about 100 paint swatches later, we have finally settled on the perfect light gray shade for the nursery walls. Getting that done (well, hubby is doing it, pregnant women shouldn't be near paint so I'll be downstairs providing snacks and moral support) is our goal this month. Just thinking about her arrival and her welcome into our family makes me giddy.

2) We saw "The Boss" last week and I loved it, AJ hated it. I think Melissa McCarthy is pure genius and can I get a what what for a non-skinny celeb woman?

3) We are seeing Dave Ramsey's "Smart Money" tour in a few weeks and I cannot wait! I love listening to Dave's podcasts when I flat iron my hair or do random chores. His common sense approach is refreshing and I love listening to the caller questions.

4) There are, as of right now, 34 days left of school and I am one happy teacher! Before the end of the year, we will be making butter,  writing a "how to" paper for how to make lemonade, watching 5 caterpillars turn to butterflies, making mother's day gifts, memory books, and hopefully jumping some reading levels in there too. Lord please give me the strength to make it through. I hope I look back on this teaching year and laugh. Instead of cry. Moving on....

5) I have been on a berry kick lately and came across this raspberry chia jam recipe online and thought it looked delicious and easy. Might attempt it soon.

Have a great week, everyone!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Simple Spring Supper

With spring comes grilling season! I also love all the fresh fruits and veggies in season. Spring cooking is the best! This week, we had a delicious dinner: marinated grilled chicken, peas, and a lemon infused parmesan linguine. It was awesome!

Here's the low-down:

Chicken: I took 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts and the night before, I put them in a gallon ziploc bag with some yellow mustard, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and onion powder. I didn't really have a recipe or measurements, I just tossed it all in. When we were ready to cook, AJ just tossed it on the grill and used the leftover marinade in the bag to brush on the chicken as it grilled (don't do this too late in the grilling process because your sauce has touched raw meat and you do not want to rub that on cooked chicken, fyi). 

Pasta: I took a few recipes I found online and modified them to create my own. I LOVED this and will be adding this to our monthly meal rotations. Cook up a package of whole wheat linguine. Once done, drain and add 4 tbs. olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, zest and juice of 2 small lemons. Add parmesan to liking and toss. The possibilities for this are endless....fresh herbs, anyone? 

I tossed some frozen peas in the microwave a few minutes before we ate and then plated it all up. Voila! A delicious, EASY, flavorful spring dinner! And if you're not with child, this would be delightful with a glass of ice cold moscato! YUM! Alas, I'll just stick to iced tea. What do you like to make with fresh ingredients? 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

What I'm Loving Lately

What I'm Loving Lately: April Edition

1. Country jams: There is just something about sunshine and warmer weather that gets me into country tunes. We watched the ACM's the other night and I couldn't believe how many of the songs performed were songs I bought on Itunes recently and loved. Some faves right now are:

2. Rewarding my awesome students: I have some tough kids this year and it's been wearing me down emotionally to constantly "consequence" negative behaviors over and over again. I decided to make a conscious effort to focus more on the good things that my awesome kids ARE doing right. We had a little celebration this week of kids that have achieved their behavior and academic goals. It was great, we watched Magic School Bus and ate donut holes (but then I got a parent complaint today for serving sweets and my kids were a special brand of awful you can say what I'm really loving is 40 days left. Bless). I can't wait till I can be a teacher again and stop being a zoo keeper. 

3. Taco Night. Nothing fancy but AJ loves Mexican fiesta nights and I do too. I try and mix up our meal plans, but have been slipping in more and more taco and burrito nights. It's been cutting down on our "eh, let's just go out tonight" bad habit. Just something about a warm tortilla, spicy meat, fresh veggies, and melty cheese. Can you tell I'm hungry? And teaching about adjectives this week? 

4. Girls. This show!! I started it on a sick day back in November and now I look forward to it each Sunday night. It's like Sex and The City but REAL. Hannah Horvath is one of my favorite TV characters ever and this show makes me laugh, cry, think. I absolutely love it. 

5. Christmas Gift cards: I cleaned out my wallet this week and discovered a slew of great gift cards. I think we can have a gift card sponsored date night every weekend this spring. Score! 

6. This Blog. Friends, I've been writing since July and have so enjoyed sharing a piece of my heart with you over the months. I love to write and am so grateful for this outlet. And my dream of life is to write a book, so maybe one day these ramblings will fall into more hands. If you want to be a writer, you must write, so here I am. Thank YOU for reading. 

Happy almost weekend, friends! 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Fishing for Andrew Jackson

We have really been enjoying our evening strolls lately. I love (ok, "like") the gym because I can spend less time and get a better workout than just an outside walk, but there is just something refreshing about a neighborhood stroll with my man. Sunday evening we were walking when AJ goes, "Look! There's money down there!" His eyes were looking down and he caught sight of a 20 dollar bill in the rain gutter. Well. I am the product of a mother who will practically dodge traffic to pick up a dime on the street, so I was not about to just go on our merry way and leave that kind of scratch just in the gutter. We continued our walk brainstorming hilarious ways to retrieve the bill. We both joked about asking our students to design a money grabber contraption that would get us a) the money and b) an entire afternoon of lesson planning done. STEM education is a thing, folks, it would have totally worked.
 We decided to put our heads to use and we both drew models and took bets on who could get the money out of the drain the best. AJ's tool was like a spear, a broom handle with a nail attached to the end (so he could stab the bill). My idea originally involved a wad of gum on a string to attach it, but then while furiously shoving Dentene in my mouth, I realized we had duct tape and that would work just fine. During these plans we were both laughing hard and planning with some serious intensity. 
the spear 
 The time was ripe. Darkness was falling and we were ready to complete our heist. AJ said he didn't want to look like a "freak" walking around the neighborhood with a broom handle so he used it as a walking stick. Because that wasn't conspicuous or anything. We laughed the whole way until we got to the drain (aka: our ATM). AJ  tried his contraption first, but the nail just bent and got sort of detached from the handle. Ok, my turn. I saw the value in this broom handle idea so I attached the tape wad to the end of the handle and AJ, with the careful precision of a real life game of Operation, fished the money out and just like that, we were 20 dollars richer. Now...what to do with it? We decided to treat ourselves to 2 Starbucks each this work week (we usually only allow ourselves one Sbux visit per school week). That night, AJ leaned in before bed and said "I am so excited for gutter coffee." And then we laughed some more. Guys, life is weird, so laugh when you can, make fun out of the simple moments, and keep finding good in all places....even in the gutter. And my iced chai this morning was delicious. 


Sunday, April 3, 2016

It's a.....GIRL!!

Friday April 1st had been marked on our calendar for a month. After baby was modest and had crossed legs at the 16 week appointment, we were anxious to learn the baby's gender, but mostly we wanted a great report for baby's health and anatomy scan. I knew it was April Fool's Day and I vowed I would rip a new one on anyone who tried fooling us ("it's twins!.....JK" or some other garbage like that). We are classic first time parents and we got to the appointment half an hour early. AJ was wearing his "doctor's office" shirt and tie (basically he wore this certain tie at our first appointment and is too superstitious to wear anything else to any other appointment. He had the day off but still suited up in his tie anyway. I love that guy) and we both had full bladders. I needed to keep mine full for the sonogram, but when I whined and whined and repeatedly stated that "my bladder might actually explode/like is that a thing that can really happen because I think it's happening to me," AJ took a no-bathroom visit vow along with me from 1-3 that day. That's some solidarity for you, folks. As we held hands and the ultrasound tech put the warm gel on my belly, we instantly saw our baby on the screen! Now, I don't know about you, but I cannot make out one single thing on those sonograms. I cooed, "Ohh, look, an ear!" and was politely informed we were zoomed in on the kidneys. So while I struggled to make out the grainy images, we heard baby's strong heartbeat in the background of our conversation and that was music to our ears. The tech asked if we wanted to know gender at the beginning or the end, we said end, always wanting to save the best for last. We tried to get a good shot of baby's face and the tech told us she could get us some fun 3D images if the face placement was just right, but in true Steele Baby fashion, little one was facing my spine and would not budge. I even walked around a bit and AJ gave a pep talk, but baby is in no rush and is teaching us to simmer down, have patience, and "you'll see me when you see me, you crazy parents." We gave up on getting a good face shot, but the gender reveal was next. As she zoomed in on baby's "parts," I squeezed AJ's hand tight as he said, "Is it a.....a....." and before he could finish, the tech announced, "You can paint the room pink. She's a girl." Boom. I instantly cried and turned to AJ and whispered, "We are having a daughter." I proceeded to cry the rest of the day on and off, as we went to Target to look at baby outfits, Hobby Lobby for nursery decor, as we made the announcement to his family via Facetime, and later that evening when we went to my parent's house and had them unwrap baby girl's first dress. I think joyful tears and wonder will be the hallmarks of my life as a mom, at least for this first little bit. We are overjoyed and while we are excited for a girl, we would have been just as ecstatic for a boy, and baby's clear bill of health was the most meaningful and special part of the day. Sweet lady, there are 135 days left till your scheduled due date and daddy and I will wait with open hearts until we can hold you in our arms. You keep doing you and growing strong and maybe you can even help mommy stop, puking? Maybe?? You are loved more than you can ever imagine, sweet pea. Oh, and let the shopping commence. I may have already bought you a few dresses.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Fave Beauty Products

Hello Lovelies,
    I'm linking up with Kelly's Korner for her awesome Show Us Your Life Series. Today's Topic: Fave Beauty Products!

1 Bare Minerals Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream: I am in LOVE with this product. I have been a fan of Bare Minerals for years but then I sort of gave up on it because I discovered BB creams with sunscreen....well, friends, this is the best of both worlds. A little goes a long way and bonus: no brush needed, just use your fingers to blend. I cannot sing its praises enough!! SPF 30, moisturizing, and lightweight....I could go on and on.

2. Blushed Nudes Eye Palette: I love eyeshadows that come in quads so it's easy for a gal like me to pick coordinating colors. I bought this palette with my sis Libby when I was in Phoenix. She has one too, and it's just a great buy.
3.  L'Anza Healing Color Care Trauma Treatment: This hair product came from my salon a few years ago and I use it every single day. Not only is it great on wet hair before blow drying, but a small bit on dry hair can reduce frizz and tame flyaways. It's a bit pricey but oh so worth it.

4. CeraVe: Cream: I struggle with dry skin. In the winter it gets especially bad. Like, alligator scaly legs (TMI, sorry). My derm told me if you want true moisture never use lotion from a pump but body cream or butter from a jar will be much better. I pick up a tub of this at the store every few months and slather it on when my skin needs some hydrating.

5. Burt's Bees Lipgloss: I love this stuff!! Smooth, smells yummy, and great colors. It's my absolute fave.

What beauty products are you loving lately?? I'm on the hunt for a good make up setting 4 pm I look like I've just trekked through the amazon. Help a sister out!