Friday, September 28, 2012

SSS Swap Reveal!!!

Today is the day we get to share what we've swapped!
I am so excited to see what you all sent your buddies and what you received.
I can't wait to go through your ideas and start writing my Christmas shopping list. :-)

My partner was Lindsay at From Nanny to Family.  My favorite part about swaps is meeting new people and I instantly clicked with Lindsay.  She is wonderful and you've got to check out her blog (here).  From the moment she told me that my package was in the mail I started stalking my mailbox (sorry Mr Postman!); I was just so excited I couldn't help myself ;-)
I tore into this package like it was Christmas morning!
Lindsay sent me some milk chocolates (Lindt is my favorite!), a cinnamon candle, lotion, a seasonal spatula, a note, and a lovely scarf!!!  I have to say I'm in love with this scarf; it's fashionable for the season, yet perfect for the warm TX weather.
Lindsay also sent me this clever coffee coozy.  I have seen these around Pinterest land and even my students have them, and wanted one!! How did she read my mind?!?! As soon as I got my package I put this bad boy to use!!!  
Thank you so much for spoiling me Lindsay!!!
Ok now it's you're turn!  Blog about what you received and link up your post (not your home url, but the actual post) below.

Click around and see what everyone else received so you can get some Stocking Stuffer ideas for Christmas!
Don't forget to leave some love on other blogs!

xoxo Darby

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Beauty LifeSAVERS

Lately I have run across a few items that have changed my beauty life for the better.  In fact I have no idea how I lived all these years without them.  And what kind of friend would I be if I didn’t share these items with you?!  I'd be terrible, so of course I'm gunna spill these secrets for you! Duh!Beauty Lifesavers
1. Mary Kay’s Indulge Soothing Eye Gel- I sold MK for 5 years and absolutely love the products. All. of. them! lol One of my favorite products is this eye gel.  The gel tones and reduces puffiness leaving you with a refreshed look.  I have been pulling some insane hours with my new faculty position, and just because I work hard doesn’t mean I want to look like I work 20 hours a day, 5 days a week.  I actually keep mine in the fridge, so it is nice and cool around my eyes.  This little guy is my best friend when I need to look like I get sufficient amounts of sleep. 

2. Elf Eye Lash Curler- I’ve used 4 bazillion eye lash curlers in my life, but this one by far has been my favorite.  This was given to me with my new hair straightener and I didn’t really think too much of it until I tried it.  This is the most intense and powerful curler that is super effective yet gentle on my lashes. 

3. Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Nail Hardener- My nails are super fragile; they break with the slightest pressure, so I’ve tried a lot of products to keep my nails healthy and pretty.  I stumbled across this little gem & thought I’d give it a whirl.  I’ve been using it for about a month and my nails haven’t chipped, split, or even cracked one time.  I apply this to my clean nails twice a week (the first thing I do when I get to work, so that it dries while I’m checking emails), and it has done miraculous things for the health of my nails.  I even wear this without other polish on top and it just looks like a nice clear coat.  This nail hardener is affordable, long-lasting, and quick-drying!

4. Dr. Scholls Rub Relief Strips- I wear heels e.v.e.r.y.d.a.y.  I love ‘em!  My mother always taught me that “it hurts to be beautiful” Well mom, not anymore!  This little dispenser contains a rub prevention foam with an adhesive backing.  You roll out the amount that you need and stick it on the parts of your shoes that rub or are uncomfortable for you.  The foam stays in place and is really comfortable and customizable.  If you wear heels for hours, then I recommend this to keep those tootsies feel’n good!

5. Sonia Kashuk Blending Sponge- My dear friend Meg from O. Is Me blogged about this sponge a few months ago, and had me convinced that I needed to try it.  She was right!  This sponge is used to apply liquid foundation, and does so flawlessly!  My foundation goes on smoother than ever before.  I have recommended this to everyone I can since getting it, because it has seriously change my makeup routine.

These 5 things have made my beauty routine so much more efficient and comfortable!  What beauty products and secrets do you have to dish about with me?
xoxo Darby

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What I’m Lovin’ Wednesday: Professor Hawley

It's been one month since school started (or should I say work rather?) and I wanted to give you a report on how it's going.  For a refresher, I explain about my new position here and here.

-->First of all, I don't think I will ever get used to being called Dr. Hawley.  It's still so surreal to me.  This is probably a good thing.  I pray that it stays this way for decades.

-->I'm still shocked that my classroom cap is set at 30 students per course.  I can actually have conversations with my students, know their goals, and call them by name!  At my previous job, the cap on my courses was set at 300 students. There was no way I could remember my students' names.  I was lucky if I remembered 50%!  Now I can say that I know ALL 120 of my students names...without a cheat sheet :-)

-->I cannot even begin to describe the encouraging work environment here.  Everyone (and I'm not exaggerating...everyone) is so kind, patient, and helpful.  This is such a blessing for a new person with a million questions!

-->Advising.  To be honest I thought I was going to hate this part of my new faculty position.  I thought it would just be another thing I had to to, but I thoroughly enjoy getting to know students and helping them plan their college career in preparation for the "real world".  It's a completely different aspect of academia that is so rewarding.  I'm sure once I have my first set of students graduate I will be beaming with pride.

-->On the second week of school I had a student come to my office and thank me for making the topic of neuroscience interesting and exciting.  The student thanked me for being passionate about my subject, making the course work relevant, and engaging in students.  This made me smile for like a week!  It really affirmed my decision to go into the field and work with college students.  What an honor to teach these students!

-->I've had more students come to my office to ask questions or visit in the past month than I had the entire 5 years I was at my previous institution.  The caliber of students here is exceptional; a complete 180 from what I was used to.  It is so refreshing to teach students who truly desire to grow and want to learn.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to bash all of the students I taught before, but what I am saying is that the ease with which to teach here is so pleasant, compared to the teeth pulling I was doing on a daily basis.  On the second day of school, students had actually done the reading before class and had prepared questions for discussion!  I swear my jaw dropped when this happened!  Not one time did this happen at my previous position. Not one!

-->While I am loving my new job, I am exhausted! Like suppppppeeeer tired!  I get up between 4:30am and 5:00am, get to work by 7:00am, work until 7:00pm, come home and work until at least 1:30am, and do it again (everyday but Sunday).  I can never remember what day it is or where I'm supposed to be.  If I didn't have a planner I would be lost.  I kid you not!  Over the past 5 years I've grown used to being tired, but this is a different kind of tired.  This is a good and happy tired.  Does that make sense? I love what I do, and I love working late, and I love being tired for this field of mission I've been called.

--> Many of you have asked for updates on my new office.  (In case you're new around here at LWTH I posted some before pictures here.)  Well about mid-way through August my department was moved to a different school within the University, which means I will be moving my office again in December.  I'm actually pretty ok with this move.  I will be going to a brand new building and it will be much quieter than the one I'm in now.  It’s also the same building where most of my classes are, so it will be very convenient.  So I decided not to get too cozy where I am now and to just make-do with it for this semester.  Here are pictures from my "making do for 3 months" office.

Here are some of the before pictures from when I first moved onto campus. (here are the rest)

Old Office Before and After-4Old Office Before and After-5

Here I am “making do” for 3 months until the next move.DSC_0010DSC_0013DSC_0011DSC_0016

I gotta have lots of books!  What teacher doesn’t?!DSC_0014
Anyone recognize this painting?DSC_0017
I've got to say that I'm truly happy where I am.  I could not have imagined this feeling of joy last year, or even 6 months ago for that matter.  It's such a blessing to be working at a place that encourages you, wants to see its faculty succeed, and values relationships.  I can tell that this place is so, SO, good for me!
xoxo Darby

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Keepin’ it Real Confessional

Occasionally I like to enlighten LWTH readers with how weird normal I am. 
I like to keep it real with y’all.
You may think you know me, but do YOU?

I make funny faces in the mirror while I do my hair.

I clumsily drop my make-up on the floor constantly.88dd81a4c12911e188131231381b5c25_7

I buy way too much for the pups.a537f36ea51f11e1be6a12313820455d_7

I put my bra on Tomlin once for a photo.  I cackle giggle every time I see this picture.d9415e0cc84c11e1abd612313810100a_7

I eat right out of the carton.e9561460c16511e18cf91231380fd29b_7
So there you have it; here is me keepin’ it real with you. 
Did you know me?
What do I not know about YOU? ;-)
xoxo Darby

Monday, September 24, 2012

Pirates in Houston

It's no secret that the Mr and I are Steelers fans (if you're new around here, here is a quick catch-up post for you).  While football is our favorite sport, when the Pittsburgh Pirates come to Houston, we are all over it like flies on tape (that was a gross analogy, sorry).

The last time the Pirates were in Houston we had Diamond seats and sat right behind homeplate and were on ESPN.  That was an evening to remember!

Even though we sat MUCH higher this time, it was still a night to remember.  The Mr and I had such a genuinely fun time eating our peanuts and cracker jacks (Actually we didn’t eat that but I feel like I have to say that since this is a baseball post. In reality we had nachos.)  Anyways, it was a great Friday night and I was looking forward to all week!
DSC_0108Go Pirates!DSC_0113The Mr was nervous because of the tie in the 9th inningDSC_0114
A meeting on the moundDSC_0119And then we won! wahoooo!!!!  Then the Astros hosted a party of fireworks for us!  (Not really, but I like to think they did hehe)
I have yet to master photographs of fireworks, so these is the best picture of them.DSC_0130DSC_0134I love the city of Houston for the backdrop :-)DSC_0146
I just love the feeling of baseball in the summer.  It just fits so perfectly.  Don’t you think so?
What is your favorite baseball team? When was the last baseball game you went to?
xoxo Darby

Friday, September 21, 2012

SSS Swap- MAIL CALL! {{500th}}

Happy Friday little elves ;-)
I have heard from so many of you that you're having so much fun shopping for your new friends!  I can't wait  to see all of the stocking stuffers!  
Today is the LAST DAY to mail your gift to your partner.  Make sure that you have packaged it appropriately and send it off by this afternoon.  
I want to make sure that your partner receives their gift in enough time to blog about it.
Remember to link up your post NEXT FRIDAY!!!  Click here for more details.

Oh and one more thing.....
guess what?
Today is my 500th post here at LWTH!!!!!! 
Can you believe that?
Thank you so much hanging around here with me through all of these posts!
Cheers to 500 more!

Happy weekend friends!
xoxo Darby

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Houston Blogger Symposium

I’ve been just dying to tell y’all about my weekend.  Last weekend was the first Houston Blogger Symposium!  I cannot even begin to describe how much I have been looking forward to this event for the past few months.  The weekend was even more than I expected; tons of fun, friends, and blogging!Symposium IconFriday night was the opening kick-off party at Langford Market, a boutique in Houston.  I had been looking forward to getting dolled up and going out with my gals and this night did not disappoint!  This boutique is in Rice Village and they have tons of fabulous treasures!  You’ve got to check it out!
Langford Market- 6Langford Market- 1Langford Market- 2Langford Market- 3Langford Market- 4Langford Market- 5
The symposium was Saturday at Hotel Zaza. This place holds a special place in my heart since it is where I started my transition to Houston from Virginia over 5 years ago, so it’s always a delight to go back. The hotel is stunning and has an amazing view of the Houston's Medical Center.Symp-4Attendees were greeted with bubbly and delicious parfaits in martini glasses.  Place cards for table settings were hung on string with clothes pins (SO adorable!).  Symp-1Symp-3There were several panels addressing everything from sponsorship to organizing and tips for content and finding one’s blogging voice.  I loved hearing from some of the top bloggers and what their strategies were, or weren’t, and how they achieved their goals.Symp-2You can’t spell symposium with swag bag….. or can you? Nope you can’t ;-) The swag bags were a-maz-ing! Some of the contents: scarf, leggings, camisole, cookies, bracelets, earrings, perfume samplers, bubble bath, stationary, coupons, bags, tickets and SO much more! I WAS SPOILED!Swag-1Swag-2I have grown to love blogging and LWTH is truly my first baby, and I will always adore this place and the people I have met through the blogosphere.  So often the internet gets a bad rap for decreasing face-to-face relationships, and I can see how easily that could happen.  However, I have to say that this has NOT been MY experience and this weekend is just one of the many examples why.  The support and encouragement I have gained through the blogging community is irreplaceable and came to my life at the perfect and most needed moment.  I am SO grateful for the relationships I have developed and the friends I have gained (I AM REFERRING TO YOU HERE!!! :-)

Behind this day was the brilliant master-mind, Megan Silianoff from Greetings from Texas.  She did a fabulous job developing this event, and I’m so proud of her and grateful for all of the effort she invested in producing such a fun symposium!  Thank you Megan!!! I can’t wait until next year! ;-)O is Me-3
The event was so perfect but I was so sad when it was over because I was having so much fun!  However, as I was waiting for the valet to deliver my car, guess who got out of her car and was staying at the hotel?!?!
People I was SO star-struck that my bags and my jaw hit the ground!  It wasn’t until I heard the famous “Hey Y’all” that I knew I wasn’t dreaming.  Do you remember me telling you just a couple weeks ago that her and I were besties, she just didn’t know it yet (see here)? Well we are one-step closer to becoming friends! lol  I had a hard time concentrating on getting my camera to work (because of said "star-struck") so this is the best picture I got of her and her dog (in the brown Louis Vuitton).  You’ll just have to believe me when I say I met her and got a wave from her. 

So that was seriously the perfect ending to the perfect weekend!  I had so much fun, and I’m definitely looking forward to next year :-)
xoxo Darby

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What I’m Lovin’ Wednesday: Ceramic Flat Iron

Hey friends!  A couple summers ago I got mad at the Houston heat and chopped my hair off.  Ever since then I have regretted it and have been growing my hair out.  My hair is almost to the place where I want it.  However, with long hair comes a lot of product, work, and time.  When I was asked to review the Hana 1’ Pro from Misikko I was more than delighted!
When it arrived I was SO excited!
They sent me so many goodies!
Lip gloss, a brush, bath flowers, eye lash curler (probably the best I’ve ever owned), nail files, hand sanitizer, counter protector for the flat iron, and eye shadow.  I was spoiled!DSC_0482-2
I couldn’t wait to start testing out the flat iron.DSC_0486-2

I absolutely love this pad to place on the counter to protect it from the heat of the flat iron.DSC_0498-2Ok so allow me to demonstrate for you this flat iron.  I dry my hair with a round brush, so I typically have a little bit of wave in my hair.  I know that YOU know that a straightener is to straighten hair, but that isn’t all you can use them for.  You can also use them to produce some beautiful curls.  I used a tutorial by Kate at The Small Things Blog for this hair do :-) and these are the hair products that I used.
EndDSC_0506 (2)-2
In the past I have used flat irons and they always frustrate me, so I was super excited to give this one a try.  There are a couple things I really like about this flat iron:
-The flat iron gets really hot really fast.  It goes all the way up to 450 degrees! To me this is awesome because I don’t have a lot of time (or energy) to spend on my hair.
-My hair isn't full of static when I'm done.
-It has a great design, and hairs don’t get caught or pulled.
-It holds the style ALL day long.  The day I curled my hair with the flat iron for these pictures, I was getting in and out of the car all day long looking at houses with the Mr and our realistate agent (we saw about 15 homes!!!)  It was so tiring, BUT girls let me tell you … hair was rockin’!!!!  Even at the end of the day, my hair still looked as good as it did when we left.
-This may seem silly, but I really like the length of the power cord.  With other hair appliances I always find that the cord is too short to stretch around and I end up doing some weird gymnastic pose to get all of my hair straightened.  I don’t have to do that with this straightener.
-I love that I can use this product every day.  If I want straight hair or curly hair I only need one tool to do the job, and do it fast!
Do you straighten your hair? Have you tried this straightener? If you haven't you’ve got to try it :-) I highly recommend this one!
xoxo Darby

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Wreath for Fall

I could say this craft started in February, and that would make me look like a procrastinator.
I could say that this craft took me about 3 minutes and I am AMAZING!
I’ll go with the latter ;-)
For the past couple years I have made my wreaths for fall

This year was no different.
In February I had this monogram hand-carved for our family, and I posted this picture on Facebook for help deciding what color I wanted to paint it. 
324321_564774695640_1629492087_oAfter that I put it on top of the piano, unpainted, and let it collect dust for 7 months. Clearly I’m on top of things, right? lol

When I started decorating for fall I decided it was finally time to make the wreath, so I took a quick trip to Hobby Lobby (the best store in the world) during my lunch one day. (Note that I don’t get a lunch break, but on that day I gave myself one lol)
Shopping List:
Wreath- $9.99
Leaves/Pumpkins/Acorns- $10.79
Ribbon- $4.79
Note- I already had glue and paint
Total $25.57

I first painted the monogram in white.  I was debating between white and teal but went with white.  I can always go back and paint it later for other wreaths, right?  I put on 3 coats, and it dried rather quickly.DSC_0027-2

While it was drying I arranged the leaves, acorns, pumpkins, and berries in the wreath.DSC_0021-2DSC_0025-2

When the monogram dried, I looped some ribbon through and glued the ribbon to the wreath.DSC_0022-2

Here is the finished product.  It was easy, fast, simple, and chic……all of my favs in a DIY project.WreathDSC_0031-2DSC_0033-2
I think it turned out rather well.  Do you make wreaths for fall? What does yours look like?
xoxo Darby
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