Thursday, March 28, 2013

CLUSTER! + Some Reading

Wow, so, yeah, that was the biggest cluster of a couple of weeks EVER.

I've mentioned it here before, but we've been putting together our biannual alumni magazine. Yours truly is the editor, so I basically gathered and wrote the majority of 54 pages of content over the last two and a half weeks. Now that I have this experience under my belt I know how to NEVER HAVE THIS HAPPEN AGAIN.

Did I type that loud enough?

So after a wild and woolly two weeks of gathering and writing content, proofreading, editing, and general work malarky, I was supposed to go do a ropes course this past Saturday with a leadership class I'm taking (also for work). There is nothing on the planet I'm LESS interested in than a ropes course. I was also perturbed by the fact that I was doing this ropes course on the one available day between magazine hell and an out-of-town conference! Luckily for me, the course was cancelled because of rain. Our alternate day is April 6th. Maybe it'll rain again! Oh, and I was also perturbed that I was going to have to get up at 4:15am to make the departure time and wouldn't be back until 10:30pm. *rain dance*

So with Saturday at my disposal, I did laundry, did some light house cleaning, and made the necessary preparations to be out of town. Took the dog to my Mom's house, made arrangements for Greyson to go to my Mom's house, and basically just played SIMS2 and watched Scrubs until I fell asleep. It was a good brain break.

Sunday, I rolled out bright and early to the CASE District 4 conference in Fort Worth. People who live in and around the Dallas-Fort Worth area know that residents here tend to be either Dallas-oriented or Fort Worth-oriented. I have grown up on the Dallas side, so while I'm familiar with Fort Worth, I haven't spent a ton of time there besides zipping in and out to Six Flags Over Texas, a concert, or a graduation. For this conference, we stayed at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel which was wonderfully fancy and decadent. It's located a few blocks from Sundance Square and right across the street from the Fort Worth Water Gardens.

If there's anything I can say about Fort Worth, it's that the people and ambiance are unabashedly TEXAN! There was a cattle raiser's conference in town when we arrived on Sunday. Seriously, I have never seen so many cowboy hats, Wrangler jeans, and boots in my life. And worn without one stitch of irony. When I lived in North Carolina, I always found it comforting, that as I jumped planes bound for Texas, I would inevitably run across a man in a cowboy hat. And it felt like home.

The conference was a lot of fun for several reasons.
1. I got to see my colleagues let their hair down.
2. There were a few sessions that were REALLY informative.

I attended several sessions on social media. This can be hit and miss since I'm well-versed already. Social Media 101-type talks don't do much for me, but there was one on university transparency that was really helpful.

I also attended an informative session hosted by TCU on the process of creating a digital viewbook. SO COOL!

And finally, there was a session on working with Young Alumni demographics that was super fantastic. I work closely with Alumni Relations, so hopefully we can talk shop and share some ideas on this one.

On the flip side, I was MOST disappointed by a session on "the secrets of superlative writing." While the presenter had a stunning resume, and was undoubtedly a fine writer, this was also too "101." When the session started with tips like "use short sentences" and "choose meaningful words" I knew I was in trouble.

Oddly enough, while I haven't cracked a book open in what seems like eons, I did find a few minutes of downtime to read at the conference!

I started Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler. She is attending my book club meeting tonight, and I was super excited about that, but since I've been running around like a crazy person, and I came home to a kiddo with a temperature and an influx of snot, I'm gonna pass on tonight's meeting. Plus, I'm not done with the book. I'm enjoying it a lot, and I will most definitely finish but won't officially be discussing this one with the group. I guess Trish and I will have to chat about it on Twitter instead. 

And speaking of Twitter, have you been Tweeting about the #NakedJamie Outlander readalong? Heather posted about the halfway point here.

Since The Estella Society is heading up the April 27th Dewey's Read-a-thon, I happen to know that sign-ups are now available! Go right on over.

What's shaking in your life -- bookish or otherwise? 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Gone Fishin'

And by fishing, I mean WORKING. Finishing up the super busy season at work. Then I have an out-of-town work-related retreat thing, and then I'll be at a conference for two days.

I need more coffee.

Back soon!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

TSS - Where Did My Week Go?

Srsly. Where did the week go? I have no idea.

So last weekend was my "I Cleaned My House" party which was a success. I had about 10 friends there and that's about as many as my living area can comfortably hold, so it was all good.

Here we are noshing on some pulled pork fajitas, Spanish rice, kickass guacamole, hummus, chips, veggies, sopapilla cheesecake and even some apple turnovers that were amazeballs.

After the party was over, David and I cleaned up, went to bed, were lazy on Sunday, and then THE BUSIEST WEEK EVER kicked in.

The alumni magazine I write/edit for the university is coming up on its next publication deadline, so that means I'm busier than a kitty in new litter. I'm writing stories, organizing the gathering of content, and generally overseeing things to make sure it all gets done. And my student workers are kicking ass. The photographers and videographers are going full-force. And our sweetheart Executive Director is keeping everyone pleasantly on task (she's really good at being supportive and respectfully directional).

So, yeah. And in addition, I got ridonkulously behind grading essays for my online classes. So that's been the bulk of my weekend -- getting caught up.

Oh, and there was a day-long trip to the Toyota dealership yesterday.

Oh, and Greyson is at Chuck's house for a few extra Spring Break days, so I miss him like crazies.

Reading you say? No no. None of that. But these babies are still on my in-your-face nightstand TBR.

And if you haven't already joined, the #Estellagram March Photo-a-Day Challenge is ticking right along! I'm sort of overwhelmed by ALL the participation!!! Thank y'all SO much! 

And I'm spent. I'm headed home to have a beer and read. Cheers!

Friday, March 01, 2013

On the Homefront: STALLED!

So February is becoming March, and I've accomplished a lot off of my January Cure list! Look back HERE to see the last check-in. Part of the January Cure process is to throw a get-together to celebrate at the finish line, so mine is planned for Saturday. Fittingly called the "I Cleaned My House" party, I've invited buddies from work, grad school friends, and other folks close to my heart to celebrate with pulled pork fajitas and a variety of potluck appetizers, desserts, and munchies. And wine. And beer! 

So the progress on the January Cure tasks has slowed considerably in recent weeks. I ran out of money for any big changes (one of the problems associated with getting paid once per month and some stupid car repairs). But I've managed to keep some of the organizing going. I have some stuff leftover from the original January Cure list, some items I've added to my own want-to-do list, and some long-term goals. Let's get started...

Items Left From the January Cure To-Do List:

1. Empty the Outbox -- these will go to My Sister's Closet, a resale shop that helps fund a domestic violence shelter
2. Stock green cleaners -- I'm considering Branch Basics
3. Landing Strip: door mat -- still need
4. Clean up cords -- NA, not much of an issue at my house
5. Hang artwork -- I'm a bum here, although I did get some diplomas on the walls of the office
6. Shop for get-together goodies -- TONIGHT!

Projects on my Want-to-Do List:

1. Paint accent wall in the bedroom -- have paint, need supplies and time
2. Paint Greyson's room -- arrange to have paint purchased at a discount
3. Rearrange artwork in kitchen -- TONIGHT!
4. Hang a curtain behind unused window in bedroom -- need rods
5. Artwork in the bathroom -- must buy/create
6. Repaint entertainment center -- $$$
7. Organize drawers and cabinets with baskets/containers (medicine, food storage bowls, etc.) -- DONE! Got some inexpensive bins from the dollar store and it's heavenly

DIY's and Future Projects (as funds/time are available)
1. Add plants -- DONE! Air plants ordered and on their way from Etsy! So cheap.
2. Put in raised beds for veggie gardening -- need David's manpower
3. Beautify hedges out front -- need motivation and Mom's clippers
4. Add front lawn furniture and accents (adirondack chairs?) - $$$
4. Add deck furniture out back -- $$$
5. Create a gallery wall in the hallway - create artwork and frame photos
6. Create quirky artwork for Greyson's room and elsewhere -- need inspiration
7. Grow collection of accents (including seasonal) -- $$$
8. Focus on lightening up dark rooms  -- $$$

I've found a couple of new sites I absolutely love. The first is CTSairplants. They have a full website and an Etsy store, and I managed to get a package of five varieties of airplant, an urchin shell for "planting" for about $6 (before shipping). Unfortunately, shipping was another $6, but it's still cheaper than buying them anywhere else. 

The other site I'm obsessed with is called Appleberry Attic. They have wonderful sewn home decor goodies like the 18"x18" pillow cover above. I snagged two of these when they came through on sale. Now I just need to get a couple of pillow forms. They go with my living room perfectly, and I can't wait to stick the cover back on my couch and add these cuties. 

I also picked up two of Appleberry Attic's reusable snack bags when they went on sale on Groopdealz. They're lined with a non-staining nylon. I use them to carry little things in my lunch: crackers, baby carrots, or whatever. They also have sandwich bags, and I'll probably invest in some of those soon. 

Tonight's to-do list for my "I Cleaned My House" party is relatively short...

  • Buy groceries
  • Surface clean
  • Rearrange kitchen artwork
  • Stash any unpacked bags/boxes (not many left)
I WILL be back with party photos next week! Stay tuned!

Images by Freepik