Friday, April 5

liebster blog award, take 2!

I've been nominated again for the Liebster Blog Award - twice!  What an honor to be recognized by my fellow bloggers, Chelsee of Southern Beauty Guide and Brooke of Wide Open Spaces. The purpose of the Liebster Blog Award is to show new bloggers that they are appreciated, and to help spread the word about new blogs.  Liebster translates to "dearest" (or favorite/best) in German. It is also known as the Love Blog Award.  This award is given to new or up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.  The award is then passed along to other bloggers in the same category to help spread the word and support one another.

1. Each blogger should post 11 random facts about themselves.
2. Answer the questions the tagger has set for you.
3. Create 11 new questions for the bloggers you pass the award to.
3. Choose 11 blogs (with less than 200 followers) to pass the award to and link them in your post.  Don't forget to go back to their pages and tell them about the award.
5. No tag backs (but please leave me a comment on this post with the URL to your Liebster Award post so I can learn more about you!)

11 Random Facts About Me:

  1. I am an only child and when I was growing up people always seemed shocked that I wasn't a brat.
  2. I absolutely love cheese, yogurt, and ice cream and pack yogurt in my lunch every day.
  3. I attended a half-day math and science program in high school even though those are my two weakest subjects- I was willing to do the work to get away from my school and boost my college application.  My all-time favorite teacher is my high school chemistry teacher.
  4. So You Think You Can Dance has pretty much been an obsession of mine since it first aired and I would love to take ballroom dancing lessons.
  5. My favorite Disney movie is Monsters, Inc.;  I cry every time I watch it.
  6. I get seasick on big boats, but I love canoeing and kayaking.
  7. The two most interesting courses I took in college were on graphic novels and historical revolutions.
  8. My favorite city to visit is Savannah, Georgia - so much history and culture!
  9. I could watch cooking shows pretty much all day long.  My favorites are The Pioneer Woman, Trisha's Southern Kitchen and Giada  at Home.  I was Paula Deen for Halloween last year.
  10. I've been a 4-H member since fourth grade.
  11. My fictional character doppelganger is Winnie Cooper from The Wonder Years.

Keep reading for Chelsee and Brooke's questions for me, my questions, and my nominees!

Chelsee's questions for me:

1. What is your favorite thing to blog about?

I love my "imaginary weddings," but honestly my favorite things to blog about are the real things in life.  I am most proud of the posts that take the longest to write and the most mulling over, like this post that I wrote while so overwhelmed with gratefulness for Mr. Q's servant heart or my post on being inspired to be more compassionate.  Writing about problems and flaws and the messiness of life is tough, especially when blog-land is filled with seemingly perfect homes, couples, and families, and that is why I think it's important to do.

2. What was your favorite thing you got for Christmas?

Mr. Q and I got an iPad from his parents and it is my new favorite gadget.  I didn't think I would use it much, but it is great when we need to look something up online quickly or when I want to read a book and my Kindle is dead.  More importantly, I have discovered the joy of FACETIME with my long-distance bestie in Seattle.  I was able to give her a live tour of our townhouse using the iPad camera!

3. If you had to choose one blog friend to be on a deserted island with who would you choose?

Micah, because I have known her the longest.  I think we would be able to put up with each other and we could use all that free time to write a book together - I am currently reading her book Riffs of Regret and it is so full of her voice; I absolutely love it.  Or, since we've both gotten into health and fitness lately, we could invent the deserted island workout plan and become rich and famous for it.  Take that, Jillian Michaels.

4. What is your greatest love in life?

Teaching!  I am so blessed to be able to work with young people and help them find their voices.  I love teaching reading and writing because, as I tell my kids, "all the answers are already inside your head" - I just give them the vocabulary and structures to express their understandings in a more sophisticated way.  Teaching a class that encourages creativity is important to me, and I like getting to know my students and understanding what makes them tick as learners.  I always tell people that I love teaching because every day is different - I never know what to expect.  The past few weeks have been emotionally rough for me as a teacher, with a few too many ups and downs, but I still wouldn't want any other career right now.  Is it a bad thing that my career is my greatest love?  I hope not.

5. What tv show is your guilty pleasure?

Duck Dynasty!  My students had been talking about it a lot and I decided to check it out.  Much to my surprise, the show has very little to do with hunting, and a lot to do with the ups and downs of a crazy family, the Robertsons.  It's pretty hilarious.  Jase is my favorite character because of his dry sarcaasm.  Have you seen their Harlem Shake video yet?

6. If you could switch places with any fellow blogger, who would you switch with and why?

Rosie Molinary.  She is so wise, so centered, and so encouraging.  I'd like to already be at that stage in my life where I absolutely know my purpose in my family and in my career.

7. Are you a morning person or night owl?

I am definitely a night owl, but having to be at work at 8 A.M. every day puts a cramp in my all-nighter lifestyle.  I am working on managing my time better to support a lifestyle that is healthier for me both physically and spiritually, and that means using my planning time at school productively, cutting out television and Internet binges, and going to bed at a time that allows for seven or eight solid hours of rest.

8. Are you from a big family?

I have a small immediate family - I'm an only child - but a large extended family because my mom had two brother and my dad was the youngest of six children.  Most of my first cousins are a lot older than me because my parents had me late in life, so they were like extra uncles and aunts and their kids were who I played with growing up.  I have several first cousins who are now grandparents!

9. What brands are you obsessed with?

My new Nikes - motivation for the Susan G. Komen 5K next weekend!

For exercise clothes and sneakers, I have been a Nike girl since middle school.  For work and going-out clothes, my current favorites are LOFT and Old Navy because they have a good selection of petite items that are trendy and not made for elderly women (which is the case in most department stores' petite sections).  My favorite brand for jeans is GAP's 1969 line.  My favorite aspirational (i.e., I can't afford most of their stuff) brands are Kate Spade and J. Crew - both of them offer bright colors and cheerful patterns time after time!

10. Do you speed up or slow down when you see a yellow light?

Slow down - I am quite the rule follower.  My mom and I were in a car accident when I was seven years old that terrified me, so I have always been a pretty careful driver.  After a few speeding tickets and a country-road curve that landed me in a ditch, I have learned to leave early and take it easy.

11. What is your favorite movie?

The Holiday - even though it's a Christmas movie I'll watch it all year.  It's my movie equivalent of comfort food.  The cast, featuring Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, and Jack White, is unbeatable, and I love the storyline- two women taking a chance with learning to be on their own and finding their own unique and humor-filled romances along the way.  The backdrops of snowy Surrey and sunny Los Angeles are beautiful, the soundtrack is great - I love it.

Brooke's questions for me:

1. Where did you grow up?

I grew up in rural Southwest Virginia, only an hour northeast of where I live now!  I am a homebody and I loved growing up in the country with plenty of fresh air and wide open spaces.  I didn't mind having horses and cows for neighbors and I loved being able to play outside with my friends for hours or take a walk in the forest with no worries.

2. How would you describe yourself in one sentence?

One small woman in a great big universe trying to live a life that matters.

3.  Do you believe in happily ever afters?

I believe in "they kept working on it every day"s.  No relationship is perfect because no human being is perfect.

4. Do you like your job?

I LOVE my job.  See #4 above.

5. What is your favorite recipe?

Tosca Reno's "Keep It Tight Tilapia" from the Eat Clean Diet.  I feel like it's strange to answer with a fish recipe, but it's seriously delicious, and healthy enough that I can eat it every week and never feel guilty.  It's spicy, but not burn-your-mouth spicy, and that helps burn fat while also making such a basic protein really tasty.

6. What would be your #1 tip for bloggers?

Don't take yourself too seriously!  For me, blogging is a hobby, and when it starts to feel like a chore I take some time away so that I can come back when I'm ready for it to be fun again.  I've been maintaining some sort of online journal since high school and it's been such a source of inspiration and comfort to me over the years.  I have loved every step of making new friends online and learning to communicate my ideas clearly and concisely. 

7. If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

My chronic back pain would be magically cured!  While I absolutely love my chiropractor and consider him a part of my family, I'd love to never have to visit his office for an adjustment again, be able to throw away my heating pad, and be able to sit through a whole school assembly or movie without having to stand up because of the pain.

8. Why do you blog?

I love to write, and being able to write and be part of a community is so much fun.  Blogging as a teenager taught me to appreciate and trust my own voice.

9. What are you most afraid of?

I am afraid of my health deteriorating.  I am lazy, I don't like to exercise, and I love junk food.  I have PCOS and I'm on the borderline of diabetes right now.  I have let my weight get away from me and I indulge in stress eating too often.  I feel like I have no willpower.  I wish I was one of those girls who could eat a pizza and not gain a pound, but instead I'm a girl who can't eat a cookie without the number on the scale changing.  I'm being a bit dramatic here, but some days my health feels like a lost cause.

10.  What's one thing most people don't know about you?

I am an introvert.  My tendency toward leadership-oriented activities (being a camp counselor and resident adviser, large group activity coordinator and small group Bible study leader, high school reunion organizer, and, hello, teaching) might make people think otherwise, but I have a lot of social anxiety and have to take "me time" to recharge my batteries after I've had to be very social.  When I know a group of people well, my introversion isn't as noticeable, even to me.

11.  Favorite makeup item?

On a practical level I am going to have to say BB Cream.  I have a lot of acne scars and BB cream really smooths out my complexion.  I'm using L'Oreal's  Magic Skin Beautifier and loving it (also, best name of a cosmetic product EVER).  My make-me-happy makeup item, though, is nail polish, especially Essie colors.  I try to make time to paint my nails every week because it makes me feel so much more put-together and stylish.

My Questions:

  1. What blogs do you read on a regular basis?
  2. What are you looking forward to doing this spring?
  3. If you could be talented at any sport or athletic activity, which one would you choose?
  4. What's your favorite thing about your "day job"?
  5. What are your favorite songs right now?
  6. What are your dating deal-breakers?
  7. What snack is your kryptonite?
  8. What is your favorite item in your home?
  9. What trend or style from your childhood/teen years would you want to bring back?
  10. What fictional character (book, movie, or TV show) are you most like?
  11. If you had to eat the same dinner every night, what would it be?

I Nominate:
  1. Vanessa at Caramel Covered Photographs
  2. Lins at Domesticated Working Woman
  3. Always Curious at Fifteen Minute Plan
  4. Rachael at Home Sweet Harbor
  5. Margaret at Life After Athens
  6. Jordan at Live. Laugh. Photograph
  7. Emily at Louisiana Bride
  8. Stephanie at Share the Love
  9. Candice at Simplistic Chic
  10. Laura at Twelve By Six
  11. Moni at Zu Haus at Home


  1. Congrats lady!
    Absolutely love so you think you can dance too!

    1. Thanks!

      SYTYCD is so addicting... especially when they bring out the all-stars!

  2. I love Monsters Inc. as well :)

    1. It is such a sweet movie. I can't wait for the prequel, Monsters University, but I don't think I will like it as much since Boo won't be in it.

  3. That is so sweet of you to nominate me! How fun. :)

  4. Posted my award post here: :)

  5. Thanks so much for nominating me! I'll be blogging about his soon:)

    1. You're welcome Emily! I look forward to reading your answers and learning more about you.

  6. Thank you so much for the nomination! Sorry I'm only getting around to seeing it now!

    I LOVE The Holiday! That movie is just amazing! & we are getting an iPad this year and I cannot wait! We are going to be using it for a faux-to-booth at our wedding but I also can't wait to just play with it!