Sierra's View

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Daydreaming at a Cafe.

It's a brisk January afternoon.
I needed to have some deep-thinking time. I know that sounds weird, especially for all of you extraverts out there, but I did.
So I came to a cafe to write and think. For me, often times, writing at a cafe is my favorite thing in the world. I love being in the presence of other people, but not having to talk to them, if that makes sense.
One of my other favorite things about being in a public place alone is that I can people watch.
I am not a judgmental person, but I love just watching people and trying to guess their story. I am not judging, but I like to simply analyze where they come from, what they are doing, etc.
As  I have continued to come to this cafe to do my blogging work, I have noticed a pattern in behaviors in people. These are some of the people that I have watched and seen.

She's in a bright pink shirt and a psychedelic scarf. Her hair is still wet because she is trying to prove to the world that she isn't physically high maintenance. She isn't wearing any makeup. She is talking with her guy and girl friend extremely loud. Why is she talking so loud? I mean, it is so loud that she is two tables away and I can hear literally every.single.word that she is saying. She has been going on about her two horses for about 20 minutes. She is doing most of the talking. She's opinionated, but nice. She's someone you would want to invite to a party with you.

The rich couple who are older, are dating, have been for awhile, and are content to sit together in silence and drink coffee. She, on the other hand, is very high maintenance. She is wearing a nice cardigan and dress pants, probably from J. Crew or Banana Republic, and her hair doesn't even move it's so put together. She doesn't say much, but when she does, it's very rigid. I saw them get out of a porsche. They probably love to go out to eat together often. I think that they travel the world together.

The two bros in their sports jerseys. You can tell that they feel uncomfortable being here at this "girly" place, but they are buds and the food is delicious. One is in a Seahawks jersey and the other in a beanie and a Real Salt Lake jersey. They aren't saying anything, but have a crap ton of food that they are eating. I bet these two are roommates and had no food so they came here to get some delicious food.

The indie guy in his glasses and long sleeve crew neck and brown boots. He is alone and keeps looking at me as I am typing. Not because he is trying to check me out (or maybe he is…I am sort of a  hot item! Ha), I can tell he is lost in thought. I bet he plays the guitar somewhere on Friday nights.

The two business buddies. These guys have literally been talking about their business ideas for about 30 minutes. They are talking numbers and money and all important business crap that I don't even like to hear about because, well, I choose to be with 12 year olds by choice as my career. Their in suits on a Saturday afternoon, which means they are very dedicated to their work.

The woman who showed up in pajama bottoms and is either hung over or not all there mentally. Her hair is everywhere and she looks very confused, like she's never been here before. She doesn't look very happy. She looks really lonely. I smiled at her and she just looked away. I want to go to her house and bring her cookies.

The family with three little kids and one baby. How cute are they? The kids are pretty well behaved, which I am okay with at a place like this. Of course the little girls are dressed in adorable little patterned pants and their hair is both in braids. They are a typical, Mormon Utah family, but they look happy. I can tell that the parents are good parents and love their children. One day, I would like to be there. But not with that many children under the age of nine. Haha!

Do you ever go to a local cafe that you love? 
Do you like to people watch?

Til next time…

Monday, January 26, 2015

"So, Like, What's Been Going On?"

A friend tweeted me the other day… "So, like what's been going on? I haven't read a post from you in forever and I miss your words."
I mentioned yesterday that there are a plethora of reasons for why I have been MIA from the blogging world. But, I guess, in all reality, it doesn't really matter, does it? I am now posting and that's the important thing, you could say.

Update on my life. Wow. Where do I even begin?

Christmas Break was fantastic. I did exactly what title of the holiday entailed…I took a definite break. I checked out from anything that I, essentially, did not have to do. I did not go into my classroom, I did not blog, and I did not grocery shop of any manner. Ha! I spent a wonderful week sleeping in, going to the gym, finishing up our Christmas Cards, and spending quality time with my puppy and T Money.  In all truthfulness, I was sort of recovering from my play and teaching the whole break. It was nice to not have rehearsal every day! Haha. My Christmas Break was very low key. We went and looked at lights, saw movies, and did fun, easy, cheap Christmas activities.  It was my first Christmas away from my family and with the in laws. I have to admit, I was a little sad. I wanted to be home in Oregon, with what was familiar, but Christmas with my in laws was actually wonderful! It just so happens that T Money's family does a lot of similar things and traditions as mine. I love my in laws so much, so it made the transition a whole lot easier.

all photos in this post via instagram

I didn't make New Years Goals this year. Not because I don't have goals, but because I always make them and never keep them. So I made one blanket statement and word that entails all of my little goals.
I want to do what makes me happy. 

As many of you know, I have struggled with clinical depression since I was 14. This is not something that defines me or even tears me down anymore. I have learned how to process, deal and cope with it. There are definite days when I still struggle with it, but I know what helps me and what doesn't. I know when to see signs.
 I have spent too much of my life trying to do what makes others happy, or my parents happy, or what the church thinks that I should do to make me happy. I am doing what I know will make me happy. And let me tell you, in the past few months that I have done that, I have felt SO MUCH HAPPIER. I love where I am at in my life and that, to me, is what the whole point of this journey is, right? To enjoy it and embrace it and love it and savor it. And that's what I'm doing.

Some of these things that make me happy and that I want to continue to work on and change are:
-Going to the gym & exercising outside when I can. Yes, I want to lose weight. And thats a definite goal of mine, but more importantly than that, working out helps  with my depression and anxiety and stress. I love the endorphins that it gives me. I go to the gym because it makes me feel better. I will try to go to the gym often.
-Blogging when I want to. Sure, that may affect my numbers, but I felt way too much anxiety putting a deadline or a definite date on things. Who cares? I want to have quality posts and if that means only one post a week, then so be it. I am so sick of all the drama and mean words and stress that blogging brings. The second a hobby turns into something negative, it is not healthy.
-Do something once a day to improve myself. If that means, taking a bath and dealing with my stress, going to the gym, taking the dog for a walk, reading my scriptures, taking a nap, watching a show, reading a book, going out to lunch with friends, writing on this blog, etc. I want to remember that if I want to help others, I need to take care of myself. I want to continue to be spontaneous and fun and continue enjoying life. Along with this is involving myself in the Be Better Movement for Kenya Keys. Many of you know that I lived in Kenya for a few months in 2011 through an education program called Kenya Keys. Every week, I am, with the help of many other women to improve myself physically and mentally with one challenge a week. For every challenge I participate in and post on social media, money is donated for a child's education in Kenya. I am very passionate about these things: health, education, and my love for Kenya. I am excited to participate in it so that my loves in Kenya can get an education. This is improving myself and them. Look for the #bebetter52 hashtage on my instagram!
-Continue My Relationships and Serve Others. I don't have a lot of resources like money or tons of time, but I do have the luxury of having lots of people I love close to me. I want to continue to reach out to old friends, make new friends and serve those around me. I I have so many good people around me and I want to continue those friendships and relationships, because those people and that time is something that makes me happy. It sounds so cliche, but service really does bring happiness.
-And, of course, grow as a Teacher, Daughter of God, Wife and person. 

Life: My life is good. I have many things to be grateful for. The past week I have been really sick with a horrible cold, cough and sinus stuff. I am just now starting to feel better.  Tanner and I are thinking about buying a house and that's a little stressful, but it's definitely something we have started looking into. It's note definite, but something we are pondering. We are enjoying our time together and are excited for some possible trips this summer!! I am working like crazy and swamped with science fairs, testing, observations and parent teacher conferences. I am loving working with my young women and talking to them often. They are such funny, beautiful, awesome 14-15 year olds. My mother came into town last weekend for a visit and my brothers birthday. It was good to see her. Hard, just like it can be whenever family is around, but it was good.

And, that, my friends, is the way the cookie crumbles.
(That doesn't relate to this post at all, huh? That phrase doesn't work, huh? Whatever.)

Oh here are more pictures of life recently. Thank you, instagram. IG seriously saves my life. I really need to start using my nice camera.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

I Was In a Musical.

Well, hi.
It's been awhile, huh?
I wish I could give you a definite reason why I haven't posted, but I don't really have one specific one. It can be any of the following reasons: There have been lots of family problems and crises, I was very busy with teaching, I went on a hiatus over Christmas and liked it way too much, or the fact that I just wanted a break from blogging. It's probably more the last thing more than anything. Sometimes we need to step away from things, don't ya think? 

Well, a month ago, yes… a month ago, I had the opportunity to play Mrs. Cratchit in A Christmas Carol Musical. Back in August, I told T Money that I was getting the urge to be in a play. I wanted to act and sing and be on stage. I hadn't done it since college and I was getting "the itch" to do it again. He was so supportive when I decided last minute in September (literally the day of the tryouts) to try out for the play. I thought, I real want to do this play and I don't have children yet…it's the perfect time to do it! It was so much fun to participate in it. It was a LOT of work. I would teach all day and then go straight to rehearsals 3-4 times a week for three months. I was pretty busy (especially during November and December--an already crazy couple of months), but I was so happy with what I was doing that I felt at ease. It felt as though my poor husband didn't see me for months, but he is such a supportive person, that it all worked out. I loved it. I loved the rehearsals, I loved the friends that I made, and I loved being on stage. 

The actual performance was so great. I wish I could be on stage more often, but unfortunately, I think I need a little break until the next one. Teaching and doing a musical may give me a heart attack if I keep doing it. But, sometimes I'm crazy so we will just have to see. :) 

I am so grateful for all of the support, love and compliments I received from family and friends. I had so many people who came to see me perform (even my dad flew out from oregon! For a measly play?! He's the best). I had about half of my class come and see me as well! I had my in laws, siblings, coworkers, people from my ward, old friends, and new friends come and see the show. It was seriously amazing to see all of the wonderful people in my life support me. 

I am so grateful for the friendships that I made from this play. Some of the nicest, honest, and fun people I know were in the show with me. These are people that I know I will keep in contact with for a long time. I am grateful for their talent and example. 

It was such a wonderful experience. Yes, it was stressful and frustrating at times, and there are a few things that I wish that I could change about organization or direction, the but it just felt good to "express myself" through some talents. Ha! 

Here are some clips from the show for those of you who didn't get to see it :) 




"And God Bless Us, Everyone" 

Goodbye Hair!

Tanner hates hair. He hates it.
In fact, he hates it so much he asks to me shave every day.
All my ladies out there are laughing because they know how ridiculous that is. Maybe in the summer. Maybe.

So, in order to stop this whole unnecessary hair ordeal, I got myself one of these:

Permanent Hair Reduction: Infini'Silk Light Technology. 

With my PCOS, hair growth is a little bit of a problem. This technology has helped with that! It's very simple. All that you need to do is put the light up to the problem location and within a few treatments, you will find a noticeable difference.

I'm telling you guys….get one today!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

When the Apartment is Clean, Mama is Happy.

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #EurekaPower #CollectiveBias

As many of you know, T Money and I live in a small 700 square foot apartment. It is teeny, but we love it so much. Needless to say, because our apartment is so small, it can get messy so quickly. And even when it's not messy, it looks messy because if you have one thing on the floor, it takes up a lot of room! 
It doesn't help that we have an 8 month old puppy who loves to dump her toys out and make fun messes all over our carpet. Recently, we got a Electrolux Ergorapido Limited Edition Vacuum
Seriously, this is the best vacuum in the entire world. 
This is Saylor, our AussieDoodle puppy. She loves to make messes. 
This is this AWESOME vacuum. 

Our door opens up directly into our family room, so throughout all of the seasons, our carpet gets exponentially dirty. We get dirt, mud, snow, and so many leaves just by people opening the door. We have to vacuum almost every day to keep the carpet looking clean and nice. 

With this awesome vacuum, it takes us like 2 minutes to clean up and it's wonderful!!! 
Some things I've noticed about it is it is:
It's compact and versatile. It is super small so it can fit into our teeny newly married apartment. But it does need a cord to get it going. It also has a removable handheld option. I love that it gets into all the little corners our other vacuum couldn't. It does awesome in the kitchen as well! 
Tanner looooves the camouflage look of the vacuum. Because he is such a hunter and outdoorsman, this vacuum makes him feel super stylish. It also helps want to actually vacuum ;) 

There is something seriously amazing about a clean home. I swear, when my apartment is clean, I am so much happier. I feel like I can actually get things done! I love that I have a husband who helps me clean with this vacuum everyday as well. This would be such a good gift for those outdoorsy men in your life…you know, who you want to help you clean :) 

You can find this vacuum for a LIMITED TIME ONLY online here. 

How Education Affects Lives.

I love teaching 6th grade.
I truly do. I love being around these hilarious, bright, and thoughtful students.

Now, some of you may be confused why I used the adjective thoughtful in the above sentence. That was not an accident. Yes, I am dealing with hormonal teenagers. I have a boy and/or a girl who cries every day. There are awful smells and annoying comments that occur on a daily basis. But, on the flip side there are also so many wonderful things happening in my classroom. I see students gain confidence in their ability to do math, I see children learning to handle conflict and learning how to be friends with one another. I enjoy lots of stories of laughter and ridiculousness.

The other day, I came in from recess and I saw one of my girl students in the classroom. I was about to lecture her about being inside, until I noticed what she was doing.

She had 24 handwritten letters and little candies that she was putting on desks. She had, on her own time and free will, written each student in the classroom a letter (and they were not short letters!) about the good qualities each student in the classroom possessed. As cliche as this sounds, I was almost brought to tears.

She came up to me and handed me a letter as well and then ran outside with a huge grin on her face. Essentially, in the letter, what she explained to me was that I had inspired her to write these letters to the other students. She said, "You do such a good job at making us feel so good about ourselves and I wanted to do that as well." You guessed it, I was teary eyed at this point.

It's moments like these that I remember why I am teaching.

Now, I am not a mother yet. But, after teaching for a few years now, I already see the exponential importance of education in a child's life. There is so much more to an education than making sure the students know how to do fraction models. Yes, that is so incredibly important. Students NEED to learn how to think and do math and grow intellectually. But education is about an entire facet of things, intellectually, emotionally, and mentally.

I have seen how having a good education makes people grow. I see how having a good education challenges people past their breaking limits. I see how having an education helps someone with his or her confidence. And for that, I am grateful. I am grateful that I was lucky to have a splendid education, and I am grateful that I am doing that to help students now. Education truly can change lives. I know this because it has changed mine.

As many of you know, I had the opportunity to live and teach in Kenya in a village a few years ago. This opportunity validated this importance of education to me. Those students would do anything for an education. And I have seen those students who continue their education, excel financially and in other realms of their lives. Education changes everything, people. This is something that I can promise you.

I have teamed up with IKEA today to talk about how you can do your part during this Christmas season to help those who need an education.

Education is the most impactful way to help children escape poverty; this change to their lives is immense. Because education has a direct impact on well-being, from better health to increased opportunities. It gives children knowledge skills and confidence they need to shape a better future for themselves. When a child begins – and stays in school, he or she not only changes the course of their own life, but that of future generations.

*For every soft toy and children's book sold between November 9, 2014 and January 3, 2015, the IKEA Foundation will donate $1.00 to children's education through UNICEF and Save the Children.
-$1.00 is split and donated to UNICEF and Save the Children.
-Since 2003, more than 11 million children have been impacted through 99 projects in 46 countries. Total amount donated $90.4 million (67 million euro).
-Last year, the IKEA Foundation raised $13.6 million (10.1 million euro) and over $1 million was raised in the US. This year, they will probably go over $100 million in total contributions since 2003.

Go to IKEA today and buy a soft toy. Do your part to help the education of these special children.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

How We Wore It: Fashion Collaboration

Okay, so, when I received the email 
 to participate in this fashion collaboration, I might have laughed out loud. I love clothes. I really do. Yet, I am by no means a fashion blogger. Half the time I don't even get out of bed in time to brush my hair. 
But, I thought to myself: eh, why not? 
And even though I feel incredibly uncomfortable in front of a camera, I decided that I would step outside of my comfort zone and go for it. 

The original outfit was from the lovely Suburban Faux-Pas. 

I changed the outfit by picking one of my favorite blue paid shirts. I wanted to wear a vest, but mine is more of a puffy vest instead of fur. I have my little booties, but with black jeans. My outfit is a little more 'run around errands' friendly. 

You get pictures inside our teeny apartment tonight because I waited too long to take pictures when it was light outside. Procrastination at it's finest. 
Oh, enjoy the awesome lighting and fun little pictures everywhere. Adds character, right? Ha. 

This is my "Tanner--hurry up and take the photo" look. 

Maybe one of these days I'll take some cute fashion pictures. Ya know, with good lighting and like...not inside our 700 square foot apartment. Ha! This was so fun to participate in. I love seeing others' take on the outfit. It's so fun to see people's personality in what they wear, don't you think? :) 

Here are the other bloggers who joined me in this challenge. They're some of my favorite (and stylish) lifestyle bloggers. Check out their versions of the outfit!

Kaycie at Redhead Memories
Meghan at King and Ford
Krystle at Krystle, Darling
Brooke at Silver Linings
Alexa at He and I
Deidre at Deidre Emme
Danica at Danican Skywalker
Kyla at Fordology
Bri at Breezy Days

Now, I'm going to work on my Christmas cards. Who wants one? :) 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

It's Time to "Give Extra" Love to T Money.

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ExtraGumMoments #CollectiveBias

There is something "Extra" special about the Holiday season, don't you think?  
Everyone is just a little more kind, a little more giving, and a little more loving. I am grateful for this Christmas season because I get the opportunity to stop and think about the ones I love and the ones that have gone the extra mile for me. 
More than anyone I know, T Money has done just this. 
I am so swamped with teaching all day, and then going straight to rehearsal/my show that I am never home. We can't forget my workout time and young women's, too. Essentially, my whole world is constantly nonstop. 
There have been countless days where I come home and the laundry is done and folded, the dog is clean and taken out, and the dishes are done. I am so grateful for all of the hard work that Tanner has taken so that I could have the time to enjoy my extracurricular activities. 
I decided to give Tanner a little gift including a little christmas tree (we don't have room for a full blown tree in our teeny apartment) with a pack of yummy Watermelon Extra Gum. I know it's not big, but I wanted to let him know that I am grateful for all of the extra work he has done during this holiday season. 

After all, it is the season of giving a little bit extra, right? :) 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Easy Meals for an Entertaining Holiday Party!

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HolidayMadeSimple #CollectiveBias

We all know that Christmas time is simply wonderful. 
With that being said, we all know that it is also incredibly busy with christmas shopping, activities, presents, and parties. It is a time of joy--and stress! Haha. 

As I have stated before and many of you know, I am in "A Christmas Carol" so my time is limited to cook during this season. I am incredibly busy, but I wanted to spend some time with my favorite people. It was also important to me to make sure that my time was spent with my husband and my friends and not stressing over what to make for this party.  So, I decided to put together some easy meals and throw a fun, entertaining party with these simple, yummy foods! 

Overall, the party was a huge hit. I love spending time with those I love during this time of year. 

These are the ingredients I used: 

  • STOUFFER'S® Party Size Entrées, 57-96 oz. (Lasagna with Meat & Sauce)
  • NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Dark Chocolate Peppermint Refrigerated Cookie Dough
  • NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels, 12 oz.
  • NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Rolled & Ready Sugar Cookie Dough Sheets

To prepare for this party, I (with the help of others) gathered these ingredients and cooked them before people arrived. 
My mother and friend helping me make the cookies before the party!

First, I gathered all of the ingredients we were going to use and put them on our table with cute decor. 

Second, we (Tanner, Bri and I) took the Nestle Toll House Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cookie Dough and put it in the oven, because, well, I don't know about the rest of you, but we are "eat dessert first" kind of people and this goes for preparing the food as well. :) 

We added EVEN MORE chocolate to those cookies (because, well, who doesn't love more chocolate?) with our Nestle TollHouse Semi Sweet Morsel Chocolate Chips before we stuck them in the oven. 

Next, I grabbed my "Roll and Ready Sugar Cookie Dough Sheets" and make cute little stars and gingerbread men with them. These are so awesome--you simply slide the cookie dough out and use your cookie cutters to make a quick and easy cookie process (you all know that I am about that!) 

Finally, Tanner wanted some "actual" food so we took our party size lasagna and stuck it in the oven. 

 Wah la--its done. And delicious! That simple! 
We, then, decorated the house with cute Christmas Decor. Our little table was decorated with flowers and a Christmas tablecloth. (Yes, I am aware it's the middle of December…I still love flowers). This is one of my favorite Santa's as well.And those stockings?! Oh, my heart. So beautiful. My dear mother made them for us. 

After we decorated, I finally got T Money to step away from socializing and eat the food. He loved it. 

Tanner enjoying the cookies and lasagna at the party. (Doesn't he look so excited to have his picture taken while eating?!) 

We put the lasagna into little bowls so the kids could eat them too. It was a huge hit!!!

After we ate and enjoyed the delicious food, we gathered together for a group photo--and to finally watch a Christmas movie together. Our bellies were full and we were happy! 

The kids also had a tackling contest :) 

The cookies and lasagna were a huge hit... and I got to spend time with those friends and family whom I loved, which is the most important part, right? :) Nothing better than holiday Christmas parties, am I right? Does this make you want to throw a party? You may steal any of these ideas if you would like to use these for your own Nestle party!

I found these ingredients in the dairy, baking, and refrigerated sections at my local Walmart. 

Also, Nestle is giving away $1,600 in Nestle Gift Baskets. 8 winners will receive a $100 Nestle gift basket and 2 winners will receive a $400 grand prize Nestle gift basket. 

Do you like to throw parties during the Christmas season? Do you like attending them? 
I need help with themes for my parties this season. What do you suggest?