Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Tonight at midnight, 2013 will be over.

And with it, so many memories.

Did the year fly by for anyone else? I feel like I was just ringing in 2013.

2013 was a good year for me. It started out a bit rough coming in from 2012, but in every way I am glad that 2013 happened.

Here's why:


3. I was forced to come out of my shell and sing in front of my entire music class.
4. I made an A on my 42-page Capstone project.
5. I turned into a rainbow at the Color Me Rad 5k.

6. I realized exactly why I want to be a teacher.
7. I started working on my teacher's certification and got a job substituting at my old school.
8. I discovered Veronica Mars (and bought the DVDs).

11. I took a cake decorating class

12. I had the best Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I also got to cross numbers 13, 31, and 56 off my bucket list, and I'm well on my way to crossing off number 11.

Some not so fun things that happened this year that turned out to be okay anyway:

That's pretty much it. The good definitely out-weighed the bad this year.

So, what does 2014 have in store? SO much and I'm so excited.

First and foremost, I will be completing the first part of my teacher's certification and will be able to start teaching full-time by the fall semester (!!!), Lord-willing.

I also have the opportunity to be a first grade assistant teacher for four weeks in January/February while the current assistant is out on maternity leave.

The Veronica Mars movie comes out on March 14th. I might have it written in really big capital letters in my planner. Maybe.

There may be a possibility for a family vacation in the spring, but I'm not getting my hopes up. More on that later.

I'll also be attending at least 6 weddings, give or take a few.

As far as resolutions go, I don't usually have any, but there are a few things this year I'd like to work on.
  1. Having days off from work really throws off my routine because I think I can sleep in for as long as I want and then do nothing all day. This year, I am going to focus on getting into an everyday routine -- even on my days off -- and making the most of my free time. 
  2. I would like to pay more attention to my finances and budget my spending more. I have been using Mint.com for awhile, but have more been adjusting my budgets according to my spending instead of the other way around. I currently don't have a lot of expenses to pay, so I think that's a good habit to go ahead and get into before it's too late and I'm broke.
  3. Spend more time with God daily (this is pretty much going to be on my list every year).
  4. Invest in others more. This is something I have been working a lot this year, and I want to continue to do this even more. I really am happier when I am focusing on others instead of myself.
I am also going to really focus on expanding my blog and readership this year, which I am excited about. It will be a lot of work but it is something I've been wanting to do for awhile (I even posted about it several months ago and then proceeded to do nothing about it, haha).  Feel free to spread the word if you know someone who might enjoy reading. :-)

I hope everyone has a fun and safe New Year's Eve tonight! What are your plans? I will be starting out the evening at a big party, and ending at a smaller get-together at my friend's new apartment. Looking forward to bringing in 2014 with all of my friends.

Happy New Year!

P.S. If it weren't for this post, I would have had 34 posts for the third year in a row. Seriously, I'm not trying to do this.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Catch-Up Post.

Because I am so behind on here, I am devoting this post to recap everything I've been up to from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

Well, not everything. Just the important things.

Bonus: This post includes step-by-step instructions on how to be cool while on vacation, fabulous Christmas party ideas, and a tip for buying Christmas presents right in front of the recipient without them ever knowing.

For Thanksgiving, my family and my grandparents went to visit my aunt, uncle, and two cousins in Alabama.

I love visiting them because they live on the lake in the middle of nowhere. It's just so pretty and peaceful out there.

You know how people make up hashtags for their vacations and stuff? Well apparently that's the cool thing to do, so I made up one for my trip, too. You know, to be cool. It's #kaylabama. Which doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but it was too perfect to pass up.

Here are a few pictures from my trip. To see the rest, check out #kaylabama on Instagram.

Isn't the view beautiful?

Reading by the fire. It's the simple things.

 Part of our Thanksgiving morning hike included climbing all the way up to the top of this.

 And, as you can see, it was totally worth it. I don't know why I look like I have two black eyes.

I'm on top of the world!

So that was Thanksgiving. My favorite part was our Thanksgiving morning hike. I actually love hiking and wish I did it more. It was quite the climb but totally worth it because the view was GORGEOUS.

I didn't like Thanksgiving being so late this year, because it felt like there was NO time to prepare for Christmas. This resulted in me having an exhausting week before Christmas.

Case and point: The week of December 15th I went to FOUR parties (two of which I was hosting), baked 11 dozen cookies and two dozen blondies, did virtually all my Christmas shopping and present wrapping, worked 21 hours a week, and saw a minimum of 10 people each day...which is overload for an introvert.

So Sunday after church when I had no plans for the first time in a week, I went home and laid on the couch and watched Christmas movies for 8 hours and then went to bed at 9 o'clock. And I felt SO MUCH BETTER.

Anyway, one of the parties I helped host was this past Saturday and I was in charge of all the food for it. The other party I hosted was the night before to help get some of the food ready. Here is a picture of some of the food:

 Santa hat white chocolate covered pretzels and Christmas tree cupcakes.
For the cupcakes, I just used a box mix and then made the Wilton frosting (stiff consistency). I colored the frosting green and used the Wilton 1M tip to pipe tall frosting in the shape of a Christmas tree. I then used little ball shaped sprinkles (they only had white available, though I would have preferred colors) for ornaments and a star shaped sprinkle on top. I had to stick each sprinkle on individually and one at a time which was tedious but they turned out so cute so it was worth it.

These santa hat pretzels are the easiest thing ever. Just melt some white chocolate, dip half the pretzel into it, dip into red sugar crystals, and top with half of a mini marshmallow. They are so cute and taste yummy -- these were a huge hit.

I also made cake batter blondies with Christmas-y sprinkles, Christmas-shaped sugar cookies to decorate, and I bought chips and dip and a fruit and veggie tray for the healthy people.

It's funny how much I love food when I hardly eat anything.

We also had a hot chocolate bar:

For some reason the border here looks blue. It is actually white so I guess it's just an optical illusion...? Ignore it.

I had three different types of hot chocolate mix (regular, dark chocolate, and caramel), marshmallows, whipped cream, chocolate syrup, caramel syrup, sprinkles, and candy canes to stir with. We also gathered up all our Christmas mugs to use as cups to make it a little more festive.

My co-host Meagan set up a photo booth, because no party is complete without a photo booth.

Now, onto actual Christmas!

Christmas Eve was spent with my dad's side of the family. We spent the morning preparing dessert and fruit and wrapping presents, and then headed over to my aunt's house for a late lunch. After lunch, my uncle had put together a crossword puzzle based on facts about ourselves that each of us sent him. That was really a lot of fun and a great way to get to know the family better!

After that we exchanged gifts. I got a lot of cash plus a really cool cookie press I've been wanting.

That evening, we spent some time with the other side of the family at my grandparents' house. They have us over every Christmas Eve for snacks and family time and a couple games of pool.

But the real excitement happened around 6pm -- one of my good friends from high school got engaged! I am beyond excited for them and cannot wait for the wedding. :-)

Christmas morning we had a big breakfast (our tradition) and then opened presents. more than 50% of my gifts have to do with baking, haha. The only two that didn't, aside from a few stocking stuffers, were my two main gifts -- a new phone (FINALLY! I have been due for an upgrade and I'm sick of my iPhone 4) and a 24" TV for my room!

The TV was a total surprise and here's how my parents bought it right in front of me without me knowing:

On black Friday, while we were still in Alabama, we were looking online at some deals on our phones. My mom found a cheap TV from Best Buy and asked if we needed a TV for any reason. I joked that I needed one for my room. My mom was all like, "You don't have the set up for a TV in your room" but really what was going on was she and my dad were using secret hand signals across the room -- while I was lying RIGHT THERE ON THE COUCH IN THE SAME ROOM -- and my dad told her to get it.

So now I have a TV! And I purchased a Blu-Ray player with wifi (so I can hook it up to Netflix, of course) on sale at Best Buy so I'm pretty much never leaving my room now. I'm also the ideal roommate whenever I move out because I come with a TV.

In the afternoon, my mom and I made some desserts and then decorated a gingerbread house. We finished off the evening with dinner and gifts with my mom's side of the family.

We should be on HGTV.
Oh my gosh! And my former English teacher got engaged on Christmas. So that makes 9 couples I know who have gotten engaged in the last, like, 4 months. 2014 is going to be a big year for weddings.

But that's totally okay with me, because I love weddings.

Hope you all had a very merry Christmas as I did! I'll be back in a few days to talk about New Year's Eve!

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Icepocalypse of 2013.

I live in Texas.

Texas is typically regarded as having very warm weather. In the summer, 100 degrees is not unusual. However, what many people who have never lived in Texas do not know about this great state is that while it is consistently hot in the summer, the other seasons (or should I say season, since fall and spring don't really exist here) are less predictable.

Basically what I'm trying to say here is that, summer being the exception, Texas is bipolar.

Last Wednesday, December 4th, was a beautiful, sunny, 80 degree day. Thursday morning, the temperature was 35 degrees and quickly dropping. By Thursday evening, we had reached 100% precipitation and the freezing rain began to fall.

Friday morning, north Texans everywhere woke up to what seemed to be a winter wonderland. The sky was a bright white, everything in sight was covered in snow.

 This was actually taken after it was mostly melted. Also, look at my sweet girl! :)

Except in Texas, "snow" actually means ice.

And ice = the end of the world.

Let me explain.

Because we are Texas and precipitation during below freezing temperatures is extremely rare, we are unprepared for situations like this. We don't have the proper tires for driving in this weather or even the proper coats. Classes are canceled, businesses close -- basically, everything shuts down until the ice melts. Usually (we have a major ice storm about once a year) this doesn't take more than a day.

Except this year, the high temperature didn't even get close to above-freezing until Sunday. And even then, it was only above freezing for a few hours before dropping again. The ice is melting, but it will be with us for awhile.

Let's take a look at what my weekend would have looked like without the ice:

Friday: go to work, go home and get ready for Christmas party, go to company Christmas party, look at Venus (it was the brightest it's been all year on Friday and I'm kind of way too excited by astronomy).

Saturday: help decorate my church for Christmas, go to another church event in the evening.

Sunday: go to church, go to lunch with friends.

Monday: go to work, go home and get ready for rescheduled Christmas party, go to company Christmas party.

Now let's take a look at what my weekend looked like with the ice:

Friday - Monday: watching four seasons of Community on Hulu before my one week free trial runs out.

Okay. SLIGHT exaggeration. I worked from home Friday morning. I also did a little bit of cleaning and Christmas decorating. And today (Monday) I worked from home in the morning and then was able to go in the office for the rest of the day. But other than that, I've been watching Community. Also, staying in my pajamas all day and not putting on makeup.

Since Friday, my office has been closed, the company Christmas party has gotten rescheduled twice, all of my plans have been canceled, and also, it was too cloudy to see Venus on Friday night and I am irrationally upset about it.

Oh, and my bunny is sick. Look how pathetic:

He looks dead. I promise he's not.
But that doesn't have anything to do with the weather.

So basically, y'all, ice ruins everything.  I haven't seen any of my friends since Wednesday and I'm starting to forget what they look like.

Also, fun fact: on Thursday, in preparation for the ice, stores were PACKED and shelves were emptied.

It truly is the apocalypse.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Actual Things 3rd Graders Said.

Over Thanksgiving, I was visiting family in Alabama which is why I have been absent from the blog. But more on that later.

Right now, I interrupt my usual posting to share with you some totally real, not at all exaggerated quotes from students in the third grade class I subbed for on Tuesday.


Student 1: "Miss Holiday, how old are you?"
Me: "20."
Student 2: "It's rude to ask people how old they are."
Student 1: "That's only for old people!"


Boy Student: "Miss Holiday, Girl Student wrote down on a piece of paper which boys like which girls and is showing it to everybody!"


Girl Student: "Miss Holiday, Boy Student wrote "I will date Girl Student" on a piece of paper and I did NOT like that."


Student 1: "I can date when I'm 16."
Student 2: "No you have to be 18 to date!"
Student 1: "My mom said I can date when I'm 16!"
Student 3: "Yeah, when you're in high school you can date as much as you want!"


Boy Student 1: "Miss Holiday, Boy Student 2 wrote down on a piece of paper that he and I* were married and then he wrote that we were divorced."

*Please note, these are both BOY students....




Third grade is the new junior high, y'all.

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.