new year’s resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions are a funny thing.  Each year we make a series of promises to ourselves.  It is a quirky tradition that I eagerly embrace as though the opportunity to remake oneself only comes once a year. There is something magical about being able to thaw out the “good side” of yourself just in time for the new year and just in time for that “good side” to finally end its hibernation.  Good bye to the “bad side.”  The side that snacks at night, the side that gossips, the side that chooses to be selfish can finally be overcome this time of year by the strength of one’s resolutions.  Of course, I am not naive and know that resolutions can also become empty promises and that habits are the hardest to change.  Yet, I believe today is the day make and believe in my the promises, to remind myself of the magic of New Year’s Eve, and to finally thaw out my inner potential that will help make 2013 another great year.

2012 was a spectacular year: Obama was re-elected, we moved out of our tiny apartment and we bought our first home, my nephew was born (and added himself to an already amazing family of brother, sister-in-law, and little niece), my best friend got married, I went to Costa Rica, made new friends, enjoyed “old” friends, spent much needed time with family, celebrated my one year anniversary with David, and so much more.  It will be bittersweet to say goodnight and goodbye to such a good year, but I am looking forward to all that 2013 will hold! ;)

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the resolutions:

1. Veggie Belly: Since taking the vegan pledge about one month ago, I have felt more lively. It is not as hard to be a veggie belly as I thought.  While I took a few days over the Christmas week to “treat” myself to holiday traditions, I am renewing my pledge to focus on veggies, my health, and my spirit. Only by balancing these alongside the day-to-day will everything else settle into place.

2. Appreciate and Foster Relationships: Having a birthday the day after Christmas teaches me a great deal about friendships.  The 26th is the nation’s post-holidays “coma” day. A day when most people can finally take the breath they have needed since Thanksgiving. Some friends call to wish me a Happy Birthday.  Each year, I am always SO surprised by this and happy to receive calls from loved ones.  This year in particular I want to make sure I honor each relationship in my life and foster them more with the gift of some TLC.

3. Save Money: Ah…this one is important. While David and I are blessed with our life together, it is always a good practice to save for a “rainy” day.  Therefore, it will be my prerogative this year to begin saving money in a conscious and consistent way.

4. Be Crafty: Nothing is better than homemade from food to a wooly hat. My friend, Skye, and her friend, Ashley, are crafting divas.  They knit, sew, cut, paste, dream, and create.  And, they have a ton of fun doing it. There is a kernel deep inside of me that wants to participate in these hobbies and crafts and therefore I am going to let this kernel grow and see what becomes of it.  Get ready world…I am going crafty!

I hope you have a wonderful New Year and that your resolutions help you stay focused, happy, and healthy in 2013.

it’s a merry norovirus christmas!

Going to Ohio has become synonymous with Christmas. Saturday morning David and I wake up early and pack the car for the 11 hours drive from Boston to my parents’ house. The dogs spread out in the back seat and sleep all the way while David and I drive in 3 to 4 hour shifts. Making minimal spots, we arrive typically around dinner time to celebrate David’s birthday again!

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Once there, everything was going according to plan. We woke up late in the mornings and spent most of the day lounging in our pjs and catching up. In the afternoons, we treated ourselves to lunch out and splurged on desserts. In the evenings, we went to the movie theater to watch this year’s academy award winning hopefuls. Each day followed this general pattern.

Things changed however this year when my brother and sister-in-law arrived with their two littles. We were so excited to celebrate Christmas this year with the littles. We had spent too many years having an adult Christmas, that the littles would return a sense of magic and awe to what was otherwise a typical holiday season. Excitedly we picked them up from the airport and met them at the gate.  We soaked them in, hugging and kissing them from head to toe!  Christmas could finally begin was all I thought about as we drove from the airport and arrived home. The Christmas presents lay beneath the tree waiting to be torn into and following our planned Christmas feast we would do just that.

Within the first few moments it became clear that this Christmas would be VERY different.  Avery was unfortunately ill with the norovirus.  Perhaps she caught it from her cousins, the airport, or touching some contaminated surface but upon arrival she became ill.  We ate a haphazard meal as we swallowed down beef tenderloin and juggled baby Smith and helping Jessie clean Avery up.  We tore through our presents but it was clear that not only were the new arrivals so tired from their travels but also under the weather.

One by one, we all succumbed to the virus. One minute we would be happily playing board games, laughing, drinking wine and making merry and the next minute another one fell ill.  It was an odd waiting game as the numbers of those afflicted increased and those immune decreased. By the end of the visit, no one had been spared. It was definitely not the Christmas present we had expected!  Yet, on the flip side of this disaster, despite the constant trips to the bathroom, the upset bellies, and the queasiness, we enjoyed each other’s company.  We used few of our packed clothes and opted for pajama day after day, we  cuddled, we cared for one another, we laughed and shared the stories of our “battle wounds.” We might have planned to take Avery to the aquarium, to have gotten all of the ladies nails done, and to have given Bryan and Jessie a date night during this trip, but as the old adage goes, “You make plans and God laughs.” It was still a very Merry Christmas and truly relaxing once we had all weathered the storm. And next year we will surely not invite the norovirus again….

etsy holiday giveaway!

Today, I am excited to be hosting my first giveaway! Last year, my husband and I got married and while we were planning, we wanted to have a quirky way of setting up the seating cards. After scanning through we stumbled across BasilicusJones. We found his work to be unique, playful, and just the right fit for the feel we were envisioning.  We special ordered this for the BIG day: fork seating holder. After buying our house in April, we reached out to BasilicusJones again.  This time, we were in the market for unique tie-backs for our curtains in the dining room.  Again, we special ordered serving spoons and BasilicusJones was not only helpful during the design process, but prompt, professional, and deeply passionate and enthusiastic about his work. I have loved working with this shop and all of the items we have received!!  In light of the holiday gift-giving season, I woud like to offer a set of two spoon hooks as a free giveaway to a special reader. To enter to win, please visit BasilicusJones shop on Then come back here and comment below on your favorite item in his shop. One winner will be drawn and announced at random at the end of the week!


The prize


The curtain tiebacks we recently purchased


The wedding forks

foodie gift guide

Short list for every foodie (well, maybe number 3 is a little silly but come on how cute is that clock!):

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one; two; three; four; five; six 

Holiday shopping is my favorite time of year.  Imaging a loved one’s face when they open a hand-picked gift makes the hassle of fighting my way through the mall worth it.  If you prefer to use online shopping check out FAB.  They have some really quirky gifts for the whole family and the foodie too!


Utopia: an imagined place in which all is perfect.

Education is rarely viewed as a utopia.  With declining national test scores, the loss of teacher bargaining rights, and expanding classroom sizes, there are many fundamental changes that need to be made in how we educate the future generations.  Brilliant minds invest time, money, and power into overhauling the system in a holistic way that emphasizes 21st century skills and changing demographics. Young teachers exiting graduate schools are empowered to inspire change even though the path to it feels treacherous and often takes time away from teaching to the many required state tests. Regardless of the hoops that complicate our education system, when a teacher is in the classroom and working with the students magic can happen.

My school is an “edutopia.” Yes, there are plenty of ways that it could function better and plenty of ways that we are actively seeking to improve what we do well. Perhaps what makes me feel like it is an edutopia is that teachers and teaching within the walls is constantly evolving and focusing on best practices and professional development.  This leads to a higher level of not only commitment from my peers but also positive appreciation for the school as a whole.  I could not imagine teaching somewhere else. I find each day (even the difficult ones) to be rewarding.

This past week was a reminder of this. Some highlights from a solid week in edutopia-land:

  1. Students in my freshman study hall brought their jazz instruments to play for their peers and it turned into a jam session with students giving feedback, playing music, and overall “digging” each other and the performers.  The encouragement was contagious
  2. The GSA did trivia in front of the whole school and reflected on the profound changes being made in the LGBTQ community. Seeing them up there, supported by their peers, and proud of their position was heart-warming.  This was a great start to a term that will include the planning and execution of the second annual GSA summit.
  3. We Skyped with Syrian students living in a Lebanon Boarding School. This past week, my freshman class was able to talk with students their age in Lebanon about the crisis affecting Syria and how it has changed the lives of these young women and men. The Syrian students discussed the violence, the politics, and their personal experiences.  We got a small glimpse into the conflict itself and were witness to the tensions within the small group of Syrian students as they differed in their opinion on how the “crisis should be handled.” It was a difficult discussion in which the Syrian students talked about losing friends and family to the conflict, losing their nation to violence, and losing their sense of right and wrong as a result of propaganda on both sides of the conflict. It was a profound exchange that made the headlines into a reality and put a face on the conflict not only for myself but for my students as well.

Monday mornings can be hard to face, especially when it is rainy outside like today, but heading into edutopia makes the early alarm clock worthwhile.


Walden pond, a “real” Utopia nearby.