2nd Birthday

Posted on: Thursday, February 28, 2013

You're my favorite. Thanks for being awesome kitties.

- From the desk of Mrs. M

The Week in Photos

Posted on: Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Huxtable/ eat fresh/ Kyle's 2nd attempt beer bread/ working
burgers and broccoli slaw/ Darwin/ at work!/ end hunger
free lunch/ looking up flights.../ library time
group work/ national margarita day!/ trying a new restaurant in Temple/ drowning in cheese
 Huxley watching me work/ kale chips- so good/ Huxtable/ pretty good for $2.77 wine
hey birdie/ napping Darwin/ husband project/ funny faces
sunshine/ busy March!/ Huxley is ready for dinner/ coca-cola 

- From the desk of Mrs. M

Monday Movies: Oscar Edition

Posted on: Sunday, February 24, 2013

Also called, Monday Movies: Sunday Edition. I thought I'd do a recap of the Best Picture nominated films I've seen, offering few thoughts on each (short and sweet). I've seen six out of the nine, not bad for a busy lady like myself. I'm impressed I got this posted before the awards are given out tonight!

Zero Dark Thirty
I was very captivated by this film. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was gripping, thoughtful, and well-paced. It was the only movie of the nine that portrayed "real" events that we have all been witness to from the outside, and so there was a heightened intrigue and fascination. I love how they shot and edited the film, and I'm happy for Jessica Chastain.

I'm writing this one last, and trying to gather my thoughts on it, considering I saw it first of the bunch, and I was sleepy while watching it, unfortunately. This one made me feel a lot of feelings. I know very little about Lincoln as a living, breathing person, but I felt like I was watching the real president up on the screen. I loved the struggle and the story of what motivates political change, and the supporting cast.  Who doesn't love the 16th president (well, aside from the obvious)?

Django Unchained
Oh, this movie. It was, what, 70% comedy, in my opinion. Dark comedy, but still. It was not as bloody and unbearable as I had been prepared for, and I think that much blood, done in that way, was more ridiculously comical and made it seem not so disturbing. (Personally, not much gets to me in movies, except torture scenes). The music was great, as were all the actors. I don't understand the criticism it has received for it's time-appropriate language (rather I applaud it); I thought it was a very fun movie to watch.

Les Misérables

Unfortunately, I didn't much care for Les Mis. It was the only film of this bunch that I didn't really enjoy watching. Try as I might, I never felt the emotion of it or got to the point where I really felt and cared for the characters, even though I'm familiar with the story and the struggle (is that why I didn't get into it?). I was not expecting every word would be sung, so that was a surprise I would not have preferred. I think that Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway overall did well. Russel Crowe annoyed me; I feel like his face was always the same and said "I'm acting!" and his death was...weird. This movie, above all, should have made me feel, and it did not.

Silver Linings Playbook
This movie was my favorite if going by pure emotion. I was so looking forward to it for a while, and I'm glad it did not disappoint. I loved Bradley Cooper's character. I loved how real it felt, and very personal, due in large part I believe to the style in which it was shot and the acting abilities of the entire cast. It touched on how mental health does not just touch an individual, but the groups and systems that individual is a part of. It portrayed a struggle, suffering, light and realization. And what an acting departure for Bradley Cooper! The only thing that bugged me was the lack of consistency with his necklace position; it was always switching from shot to shot from being under his clothes to out of his clothes, in front to in back, and I noticed it! I've started reading the book on my Kindle; I'm curious to see how it compares in message and tone.


Luckily this came out just a little while ago, and I rented it and watched it on iTunes yesterday (I almost did the same with Life of Pi, but I would feel guilty for not doing homework)! I don't have a lot to say about it, it was just lovely. What a story, eh? Well done.

Overall, I feel there is a lot of subtlety in these movies (except for Django. It's not so subtle, but even so...) that brings a great quality to them. They are quiet and thoughtful and bring the viewer in rather than push them away in amazement. Which has my vote to win? I think Lincoln or Argo. The pups on Jimmy Fallon chose Argo, kinda sorta. ;)

- From the desk of Mrs. M

A Few Wedding Tips

Posted on: Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I had a wonderful, great time at the wedding last June, and from what I hear it was a big hit with our friends and family, too. To be honest, it's amazing how much I don't particularly care about weddings anymore, and likely won't until my friend gets engaged (yes you, Tracy), but it was a huge part of my 2011 and 2012, and as we have yet to figure out what photos to order, I feel like we are still in the very final stages of the wedding process. Also, our two year anniversary is coming up in a few weeks! :) Here are my tips from one "bride" to the next.

- Stand up for what you want or don't want, like and don't like. I didn't like my hair but couldn't do anything about it when the time came. I still don't believe I looked great, which is unfortunate because that is one day I think you should feel like you look amazing. Do whatever you can to feel like your most spectacular, comfortable self; you don't want to look back and not like seeing pictures of yourself.

- Keep in mind that as hard as it is planning a wedding, maintaining a happy marriage is harder.

- This is one occasion in which I am OK employing the utilitarian perspective of "the greatest good for the greatest number."  You can't cater your wedding to everyone, so just do your best with what you know about your guests and resources.

- Surround yourself with positive people. Whether you've known your bridesmaid for a year or ten, choose ladies who will tell you you're pretty, make you laugh and not get upset when you get frustrated.

- Have good music and good booze, whatever that looks like for you :)

- If you want special moments, plan for them.

- Organize your travel to the location. We probably should have hired a limo or something.

- Be in the moment(s). Or in the words of Amy Poehler: "No one looks stupid when they're having fun."

- I suppose I should say to remember to eat and drink, but I didn't do that much and I was fine. I should probably also say get some sleep the week leading up to the wedding, but I didn't do that either.

- Take some time to yourself the morning of, if you can, to casually check over things yourself, alone, and have some peace and quiet before the storm. I went out to the farm really early in the morning; it was cool and the goat came to visit me. It is a good opportunity to run through your check list without distraction.

- Pick vendors you can trust, and then trust them.

- Do something nice for someone else. The wedding was on the same day as my bridesmaid Abigail's birthday, so we surprised her with a cake and we all sang Happy Birthday. At my friend Kendall's wedding, she arranged for a special "first dance" for her brother and sister-in-law; who were not able to have a wedding when he got out of the Army. Your marriage is all about you and your husband, but the wedding is not (don't believe it when you hear it is, you will just be disappointed), and it feels good to shout out to others on your big day.

Huh, when I started this I only had one tip in mind, and then look what happened. Take them or leave them! Most of all, have a happy wedding!
Something Charming
- From the desk of Mrs. M

My New Job

Posted on: Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A couple weeks ago I mentioned I had some really exciting news regarding a research assistant position I was awarded. Well, I thought I'd tell you a little more about that, now that things are official! I've begun working with the Texas Hunger Initiative, as well as No Kid Hungry/Share Our Strength. THI received a large grant from Walmart that allowed for them to bring on two, paid research assistants. I will be working in different areas, primarily in research and outreach for their summer and after-school meal programs for kiddos (CACFP and SFSP). I'm spending my 20 hours this first week just reading up on anything and everything to do with the program(s), and learning the many acronyms that come along with it! :)

A bit about THI (via the grant proposal):
The Texas Hunger Initiative (THI) believes that Texas has enough food to feed everyone in the state.  However, the systems that make healthy food accessible to all need to be better organized.  There are numerous strong anti-hunger non-profit organizations in the State of Texas.  Our state agencies work hard to do everything within lawful parameters to implement federal nutrition programs, but their entrenched bureaucracies often struggle with effectiveness and efficiency.

THI is a statewide capacity-building project within the Baylor University School of Social Work that works with federal, state and local governments as well as hunger stakeholders to create an efficient system of accountability that increases food security in Texas.

THI implements strategies to alleviate food insecurity through policy, education and community organizing.  It convenes federal, state and local government stakeholders with non-profits, faith communities and business leaders to use existing resources and develop and implement plans to increase Texas families' access to healthy foods. 
From its inception in 2009, THI's structure has been rooted in the idea that all public and private entities can cooperate, communicate and act together once all parties have clearly defined their roles.  To get to this point, it often takes a skilled intermediary to build trust between interested participants and walk all parties through the entire process.

Interesting stuff, huh? They work at the local, state and federal level, and with a number of departments, organizations, and legislators. Currently, about 4.6 million Texans are food insecure (that is, they have limited or uncertain access to adequate food) and Texas ranks third overall in food insecurity. There is enough food to feed everyone in the state of Texas, there is also, unfortunately, a disconnect in the systems and organization of getting the food to the people who need it, so THI is working to correct this disconnect and break these barriers. And not only are they focused on Texas, but they also have a goal of producing research findings that are generalizable to the rest of the nation, and ultimately coming up with business and community proposals that can be implemented to make the rest of the nation food secure.

I'm really excited, because this is the type of social work I'm hoping to get into- policy, community organizing, making things better for the individual at a macro level... For more information follow the links!

- From the desk of Mrs. M

The Week in Photos

kittens/ work/ broccoli salad
Valentine's treats at school/ Kyle is mean sometimes/ then he made dinner/ burn the candle and then use the glass for drinks! 
Huxley blocking The Office/ Huxley playing with my shoes/ tiny cupcake/ they sell the wine ice cream at Spec's now! 
birthday party time for a kiddo! Kyle has a history of giving her play-doh so he insisted we do so again this year
weekend camping in the living room/ french toast Sunday morning/ Huxtable/ if the NASW doesn't even have a "mixed" option, what hope do we have?! :/
Hux squished himself in there/ perfect earrings/ new recipe/ on the blog this Wednesday- a last (?) Wedding Wednesday

- From the desk of Mrs. M

Saturday Cats

Posted on: Saturday, February 16, 2013

Their new favorite place (especially Huxley), since I changed the futon from bed back to couch and it is super slouchy and perfect for window watching.

- From the desk of Mrs. M

Valentine's Greetings

Posted on: Thursday, February 14, 2013

Aren't they the perfect pair?

- From the desk of Mrs. M

The Week in Photos

Posted on: Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Darwin in the window/ frozen yogurt/ Huxley/ Hogg Foundation
 letter to the First Lady/ Chipotle/ soap/ husband started looking at hair styles for me...unsuccessful 
sushi for lunch! trying to try new things but I'm not a huge fan of mayo on sushi/ I want to go to there/ parking
sniffing out Kyle's new Afghanistan gear/ didn't really like Les Mis/ The Birds!/ yum
finished! a really good book/ live crayfish at HEB.../ kitty and his new toy/ all the flour
working on Bonnie/ Huxley/ beer bread/ Darwin on the futon
So excited for JT/ I've been sending my sister crayfish-pun texts with this same photo every time...we're weird/ pulled off a pretty tasty dinner on Monday for having a migraine! 
Puffins for breakfast/ I put my world tapestry over the futon and the kitties are loving it/ plumberry polish for heart week

- From the desk of Mrs. M

Scenes from the Weekend

Posted on: Sunday, February 10, 2013

...and then there was JT.

Kyle still surprises me with this sometimes like he did in Pittsburgh/ new toys for the kitties/ live crayfish party at HEB/ oil change for Bonnie/ we like dates/ Kyle's beer bread/ Grammy watching

- From the desk of Mrs. M

It's Friday!

Posted on: Friday, February 8, 2013

This was a pretty good week.
(1) I took a short afternoon jaunt to Austin to visit the Hogg Foundation and learn a little about HIV.
(2) Target marketplace has these smoothie packets for under $2 and they are delicious. My favorite part of having a healing mouth.
(3) The Pens have been kicking butt, pretty much.
(4) Tuesday evening Kyle and I got froyo to celebrate! I received a really great research assistant/GA position with a great organization, and with some pretty amazing benefits, so I'm very excited! I'll share more later about that.
(5) I really want to go to this. I'm not sure about the word "mission," but I don't hardly care.
(6) We have Magic Mike on Netflix, so that plus ice cream is our Friday evening. :)

- From the desk of Mrs. M

Anyone Else Possibly Ridiculously Excited for This?

Posted on: Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Because I am.

- From the desk of Mrs. M

Kelly Moore Bag Review

You may remember the awesome bag I got for my birthday this past summer- the Kelly Moore Libby bag. I used it as my school bag, and packed it up for my overnight bag when Kyle and I went to San Antonio, where it then was stolen from our car. Aside from my planner, I was most sad to lose the bag. But, ever the optimist (hah), I saw this as an opportunity to reevaluate and go on a quest for something new. The Libby was a great bag, but I thought this second time around I would look for one that would be more functional in every day use as well as for school, work or travel purposes. Enter this beauty, the Kelly Moore 2 Sues bag. So much more than a camera bag (which is good, considering I don't use it as one!) 

What I was Looking for:
- some outside pockets for cell phone, keys, and other easily accessible items. Easily accessible, but preferably with some closure for security.
- fits comfortably over my shoulder and at my side
- partially structured. The Libby was very structured and boxy, which was great for school purposes, but for a bag to also use for everyday I would want something that sits more comfortably at my side and has some movement to it.
- Big and functional enough to work as a bag for school, work, travel, and future baby times. I'm a big bag person. Yes I need my planner, several pens, lotion, medicine cabinet, and an assortment of other useful odds and ends with me at all times. That being said, there is such a thing as too big for everyday use.
- a brown/tan bag. Though I ended up with grey here instead of the walnut. I was super drawn to the pretty grey and decided to go for something different.
- From my first semester with my Libby bag, I learned that I don't need a bag that holds my laptop, because a) I don't bring it with me every day, and b) it makes the bag too rigid anyway, so I would just carry it separately even though it fit in the bag. Same thing with days I happen to bring big text books to class; it's better to carry them in a separate tote bag.
- It has to be pretty. Obviously.
- It took me a couple months to decide on a new bag, but once I found the 2 sues bag, I decided on it very quickly

Here's a look at how I've been using it daily:
- iphone
- post-its
- tissues
- medicine, lotion, band-aids, other needs
- chapstick and lipgloss
- lots of pens
- glasses and case
- kindle fire
- keys
- receipts, gift cards, coupons

Additions for school/internship:
- notebooks
- folders
- the odd textbook
- internship ID and Baylor ID
- snack, 5 hour energy or beverage

And what I put in all the pockets:
I've been using the bag for about a month now. At first I liked it, but I wasn't sure I loved it. To be fair, I was also very sick and didn't like much of anything at the time, and didn't really get a chance to take it out until several days after it arrived. But once I got to using it, I found it to be quite perfect, and yes, I do love it! It is not too big that I can't take it both to class and to the store afterwards. I love all the different pockets and compartments- it keeps things organized and readily available, and it means I don't need to carry around extras such as a pencil case.
I was surprised to find that the bag came with the removable basket; it was not listed in the item description on the website, though I know for other colors of the bag it specifically said the bag featured the removable basket. I have actually only used mine without the basket, though I have tried with it in. The bottom is structured enough that the bag stays up without the basket, and it gives me more room and freedom for keeping notebooks and things for school, without turning the bag into a super structured and uncomfortable brick. Both the shoulder and messenger straps are perfect; I generally use the messenger strap over my shoulder when I have more in the bag and need more freedom in my movement.
The quality of the bag is great, though the short strap has shown some wear, cracking around the edges; not sure what that is about.
The material, both inside and out, is soft and nice. I will be traveling to Boston for spring break, and I think it will serve me well (I may use it with the basket in to keep my camera safe; we'll see). Overall I've been very happy with my two Kelly Moore bags! If you're interested in purchasing your own Kelly Moore bag, click the button on the right!

**UPDATE** I took my bag with me to Boston for Spring Break and carried it with me everyday. It was pretty much the perfect back for a sight-seer like myself. I'd usually leave in the morning and come back late at night, and this bag carried everything and was comfortable for days of walking around. I used it with the basket in and it kept my camera safe and my things organized. It's also not too big to take on the plane and stow under the seat. This is a great bag for travel.

- From the desk of Mrs. M
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