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Blast from my romantic past

May 31, 2013

"Who woulda thought that an island that tiny, would be big enough to hold all our old boyfriends?"
 Miranda Sex and the City

Yesterday was a typical, uneventful Thursday afternoon driving home from work. I take my usual route home to avoid the hell on earth that Orlando people call I -4 (if you call it Interstate 4 it is a tip off to locals that you ain't from around here).
So I'm driving along thinking about how I can't wait to get home and get in my comfy clothes when stopped at the read light I notice a familiar face. Is that Mike? I try to get a better while at the same trying not to have him notice my glances in his direction. A goatee? Not the best look for him. Seriously, is this the same guy who I spent the second half of 2006 depressed because he decided that he would be better off without me? I can't help but enjoy seeing that he doesn't look as good anymore. 

Ty is deep in the midst of his thesis writing which means we get less quality time together and that all his thesis papers, books, etc is crowding our house. August graduation can't come soon enough!

Memories set to music

May 29, 2013

The Blog Every Day in May challenge is almost over and I have enjoyed most of the writing prompts this month. Today's prompt of selecting five songs that speak to me or bring back memories is one of my favorites. I am someone who attaches memories to songs, often times I can listen to a song and easily be transported to another time and place in my life. I could have easily done a longer list, but I will share with you some of the songs that hold special memories in my heart.

1. Wonderwall- Oasis

I will set the scene for you. It was tenth grade homecoming (1996) and my boyfriend and I were in the back seat of his friend's car after the dance. Wonderwall comes on the radio just as we start to make out for the first time. This song will always take me back to a place of innocence.

2. Someday- Sugar Ray

Freshman year of college I used to have my alarm clock set to radio to wake me up. Tallahassee only has a few decent radio stations and I had it set to the Top 40 one. It seemed like every other morning I was awoken to the sounds of this Sugar Ray hit. Many years later if I listen to this song, I am instantly back in my freshman year dorm room with endless possibilities in front of me.

3.  Take Me Out- Franz Ferdinand

This is my post-college theme song. In 2005 I had moved out, got myself a studio apartment that marked the first time I ever lived truly on my own, and started my first year of teaching at 24. I used to hear this song all the time at my favorite bar.

4.  Wake Up- Coheed and Cambria

When my husband and I first started dating we were in a long distance relationship. I was living in Worcester, MA and he was back in Orlando. He made me a mix CD in one of our care packages and introduced me to this song. It perfectly encapsulated the feelings of longing one has in a long distance love.

5.  My Little Corner of the World- Yo La Tengo

I first loved this song from hearing it on an episode of Gilmore Girls. My husband introduced me to the rest of Yo La Tengo's music and even went to Atlanta to see them in concert. When we had to pick our first dance my husband only asked that it wouldn't be a terribly long song since he lacks dancing skills. We ended up dancing to this song at our wedding and now it has even more special meaning to me.

If I Had a Million Dollars

May 26, 2013

Who doesn't have grand plans of what to spend their money on if they won the lottery? Seriously, Barenaked Ladies wrote an awesome song about what they would spend their lottery windfall on. We all think about paying off debts, buying houses, clothes, and where we would travel if we won the lotto.  I found this linkup on which is one of the great blogs I follow.

1. Now that I am an adult the first thing I would do is be responsible and pay off my debts. Student loans for my masters in counseling- poof paid off.  Car loan- paid off.

2. Buy a brownstone in New York City a la Carrie Bradshaw.

3.  Invest in a personal trainer/yoga teacher so that I can be in the best shape of my life.

4. Buy all the Marc Jacobs bags I can handle. Oh and Tory Burch, Prada, you get the idea. I love purses.
5. Travel around the world.

What would you spend your winnings on?

My not so shiny parts of myself

May 24, 2013

So I haven't been the best this week at the Blog Every Day in May Challenge, life just got in the way. I'm back on the wagon with today's post.

My Top 3 Worst Traits

1. I'm overly sensitive, or highly sensitive if you ask the psychological community. Seriously look up the highly sensitive person on Google. Apparently it is a legitimate condition and I may have ordered the Highly Sensitive Person Workbook on Amazon to help me be less sensitive. When I was younger one insensitive comment could ruin my day. I have all my old high school journals to prove it. I have gotten somewhat better on being overly sensitive, but honestly I just try my best to deal with being an overly sensitive girl in an insensitive world.

2. I procrastinate. I was the queen of waiting until the last minute before starting a paper back in high school and college. For me I thrive under the pressure of a ticking deadline. I jokingly call myself an overachieving procrastinator, if that makes any sense.

3. I'm as stubborn as a mule. I am what happens when two stubborn people decide to have a child. I like to think that stubbornness can be a double edged sword. There have been times when my stubborn nature can push into good things (like my stubborn determination to get into a good college) but mostly I just have the tendency to be hard-headed.

I'm so ready for a three day weekend to relax and unwind. Sleeping in is also high on the priority list.

Can't wait to spend time with this guy. Love my Kavalier!


Life After Teaching

May 20, 2013

The prompt for the blog challenge was to write about something we are struggling with in our lives. I'm not sure if my feelings post- teaching qualify but it is what has been on my mind lately.


Three months ago I woke up to shortness of breath, heart palpations, and the scariest panic attack I have ever had the displeasure of experiencing. This was not the first anxiety attack caused by the ever-mounting pressures of being a teacher, but that day I decided that it would be my last.

As I drove home from that doctor visit where I was told that if I could pinpoint what was causing my anxiety attacks that my only solution is to get on medication or eliminate the stressor, I knew that I had to make a choice. The idea of having to take a daily dosage of Xanax to get through the workday scared me. Would I become dependent on the medicine? I wasn’t sure what scared me the most, needing to take anxiety medicine to get through my every workday or accepting that fate. I knew of a teacher at my school that regularly took Xanax to get through the stressful parts of the school year. I didn’t want that. As scary as it sounded as I said it to myself I already knew what the answer was, I wanted a balanced life. A life where my job wasn’t literally making me sick from all the added stress and lack of support to go along with it.

Two months ago I walked through that familiar classroom door for the last time. This would be the last time a student would refer to me as Mrs. A. I wasn’t sure what feelings would be brewing inside of me on that final day of teaching. Would I be sad or relieved? While I felt twinges of guilt of leaving my classes more than half way into the school year, the feelings of relief ran through me all day long. I was going to be free of a part of my life that no longer fit. Many teachers believe they will be teachers until they hit retirement age. Career teachers. That was never my intention. I stumbled into teaching when my journalistic aspirations failed to come to fruition and I decided to try my hand at substitute teaching. I was surprised how much I enjoyed working with middle schoolers and went forward with teacher certification. What I have come to realize is that teaching was a just a chapter (a significant one) in my life. My life still has many other stories to tell.  That afternoon when I decided that I no longer wanted to be a teacher, I had no inkling on how the next chapter of my life would look. I had ideas and thoughts on jobs I was interested in. I knew that I wanted a job that would use my master’s degree in counseling, but that was about it. So I chose to take a leap of faith supported by my husband, parents, and an emergency savings fund. I applied to countless jobs mostly with no response, got several interviews where interviewers questioned why I left teaching and how would my skills transfer, and had moments where I was afraid that maybe future employers would never see past my years in the classroom.

For almost two weeks now I have been working a job that I’m really liking. A lot. A non-teaching job that actually uses my master’s degree that I am still paying off. I already can feel the shift in my life. I can come home and spend time on my interests. The truth is that I had been neglecting my hobbies during the school year and just coming home to grade papers or lesson plan. I missed having time to write, read, or just dabble in something new that I was excited about. I am not na├»ve to think everything will be perfect now. I could always still lose the balance again. For right now though I am happy and content with my life. 

                       A happy post needs a happy Denise picture. What better than from my bachelorette party? Disregard the shot glasses on my head lol. 

What holds you back in life

May 16, 2013

Today's blog prompt from the blog challenge asked the thought-provoking question of what is something difficult in your life and how you're working to overcome it. Hands down it has to be the financial pressures of being the primary breadwinner in my marriage. My husband has been working and going to school full-time since I met him years ago. Honestly it is something I have always admired about him. I make more money than him because I already have my degrees, thus making me the primary breadwinner and money stressor of our relationship. It definitely has added stress to my life to have that extra weight on my shoulders. Luckily he graduates with his bachelors degree this August with honors nonetheless- yes my man rocks a high GPA. Like any other difficulty we have as a couple, the tough times only make us stronger.

On a lighter note, I can't wait for Arrested Development to return. Thank god for Netflix!

Seriously Jason Bateman- I have missed you. I can watch this show on repeat and not get bored.

Wine in a juice box? I made this discovery at Publix this week and feel like it will need to become my new addiction.

I have officially been at my new job for a week now. I'm really liking it so far. I might be spoiled to office work for good. Coming from teaching I'm enjoying simple things like a decent lunch hour (not 20 minutes of scarfing down your meal), unlimited bathroom breaks (teachers know what I'm talking about) and not having to take papers home to grade. So far so good!

10 things that make me really happy

May 14, 2013

Back on the blogging challenge wagon, I'm loving today's blog prompt of coming up with 10 things that make you really happy. It is nice to focus on the positive for a change.

1. My husband. I love that I still get excited about seeing him at the end of a long day.

2. My family. I'm lucky to have my parents in the same city, but I miss my sister and nephews in North Carolina.

3. Chocolate. Enough said.

4. A good book. I'm currently reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

5. Anything 90's pop culture. I recently rediscovered my love of Dawson's Creek via Netflix. Aww good times.

6. A nice glass of wine with friends.

7. Watching a Florida State football game. Go Noles!

8. Four Rivers BBQ. If you are ever in Orlando, you must check it out!

9. Sleeping in on the weekends. I love nothing better than waking up with an alarm clock.

10. A girls night out.

What I miss

May 12, 2013

I have dropped off the last 3 days of the Blog Every Day challenge due to starting a new job this week, but I'm back. The prompt for today is something you miss. I contemplated writing about how I miss both of my grandmothers especially with this being Mother's Day. I just don't know if I can go there emotionally today, another time I suppose.

Ten years ago I was gearing up for my last semester of college. I was on the verge of 22 and on the cusp of exiting the cocoon of college into the real world. I had no clue on how much I would yearn for those carefree, mortgage free days later in my life.

My college experience is split into parts- my Florida State beginning (freshman and sophomore years) and my UCF days of being a commuter student. Yep, I was a transfer student junior year. In retrospect my only real regret in life is leaving Florida State because of a boyfriend, but hey Lauren Conrad ditched Paris for Jason and learned her lesson too. Nineteen year old girls make those kinds of mistakes.  

Freshman year 1999 at FSU was one of the better years of my life. I was four hours away from home and everything represented a new experience. I got to partake in all the traditional college things like living in a dorm, football games, knocking on dorm doors to make new friends, and college parties. I made some great friends that first year and one was even a bridesmaid in my wedding and I in hers.

                                        Broward Hall- the scene of so many freshman crazy adventures

I miss the air of possibility that your life has when you are in college. You can still dream big when you only have minimal responsibilities. Now at 31 it seems like I have to tread more carefully. I will always hold a special place in my heart for those college days.

Happy 6 months!

May 10, 2013

Six months ago today I made one of the better decisions of my life in marrying my husband. Our road to the altar was long (we dated for almost 5 years,engaged for 18 months)and sometimes bumpy. We tackled long-distance in the beginning of our relationship, dealt with job layoffs, learned to cohabit without killing each other, and bought a house before becoming husband and wife. I am so lucky to have found someone to share my life adventures with and to have him be my best friend.

Words of wisdom

May 08, 2013

">Day 8 of the Blog Every Day in May challenge has us giving a piece of advice to others. Since college graduation is right around the corner for many, I will give what I have learned 10 years (seriously?? I'm feeling old) ago from my college graduation.

1. Enjoy your moment in the graduation sun. My dad gave me this piece of advice on my graduation day in 2003. He said, "Enjoy today. Tomorrow you will be another college graduate looking for a job."

2. Be realistic in your job search. You have that shiny diploma hanging on your wall, but so do other people. Getting that first professional job takes time even in a decent economy, with the current economic climate it will take longer. Just keep at it and you find something.

3. Take the time to travel if possible. When I graduated I was working my old retail job so I was able to take off to visit DC for the first time when my parents went there for a convention. Free hotel stay, not a bad deal.

4. Don't worry if you don't have your career all figured out. Honestly for most people you will make several career changes through your lifetime. Try a field or job out. If you don't like it, you can always know that you tried.

Things that I'm afraid of

May 07, 2013

Day 7 of this challenge focused on things that make us afraid. Confession- I am a worry wart just like my mother. Thanks Mom. When I first read this prompt the usual suspects of fear came to my mind – snakes, heights, losing a loved one. Then I started to think about some of the fears that slowly creep me on me and take residence in my mind. I feel out of all the prompts so far in the challenge this one will has me really opening up and being honest with myself.

1. Not living to my potential:  This fear has really taken hold in the last year or so. Sometimes I look back at my life choices and wonder if I take enough risks. Do I tend to take the safe roads? My husband and I have always talked about living abroad for awhile, will it happen? I don’t want to look back on my life and wonder what if.

2. Losing my engagement/wedding rings: There is a story to this fear. I had a beautiful 1920’s (my favorite decade) ring that my grandmother left me when she died. It was her mother’s engagement ring and I always loved it. This was the ring that my husband gave me when he proposed in our favorite place in Key West. The one I flashed in my post-engagement excitement. Two months before our wedding our wedding photographer offered to gift us an engagement session. On a lovely Sunday evening we showed up to the Boardwalk at Disney to start our shoot. We moved around the boardwalk taking pictures and finally moved to the bridge over the water. The photographer wanted to take a picture of just my ring and I slowly took the ring off my left ring finger. Then the possible worst-case scenario happened, my ring fell through the crack of the bridge into the water.
So two months before the wedding we had to get a replacement ring (which I am starting to love since I wore it on our wedding day) and deal with the loss of my beloved ring. Now I’m super vigilant about my rings.

What do you do?

May 06, 2013

This is Day 6 of the Blog Every Day in May challenge and the question posed today is if you couldn't answer with your job, how would you answer what do you do?

What a timely question. For the last 7 years my job title (teacher) defined me to others, just telling people that I was a public school teacher I could see the picture of who I should be start to come up in their heads. In recent years it did not help matters that teachers were considered public enemy number one in the public eye by some people (Fox News, I'm looking at you). Telling someone your occupation was becoming more of a political statement. 


"What do you do?" 

I am a supportive and loving wife to my husband.  I am a part-time aunt (only due to the distance from Florida to North Carolina) to my energetic and adorable nephews. I am a little sister. I am the baby girl (still even after turning 30 ha) to my parents. I try to be a loyal friend. I take care of my dog and probably spoil him. 

I am a writer who has recently reconnected with her writing self via this blog. I am a very amateur poet.  I enjoy dabbling in cooking and love when I make a new recipe that tastes delicious.  

I am just me.

Day 4: A favorite quote

May 04, 2013

Today's blog challenge prompt is to pick a favorite quote and talk about why we love the quote. I had trouble narrowing it down to one quote due to my deep love of collecting quotes. I actually have been collecting quotes in my various journals for years (I started journaling in the 9th grade and still have those books). Now thanks to my severe Pinterest addiction I have a board devoted to quotes I love.

I ended choosing this particular quote because of how relevant it is to my life at the moment. I was working as a middle school English teacher for the past 6.5 years (no tenure- just annual contract that means you have to worry every May if you will be rehired) and in the last 2 years I was starting to question my career choice. I didn't go to college with the dream of becoming a teacher, I kind of took a detour into the field of education after graduation. I enjoyed it for the first few years but honestly deep down I always knew that I was not going to dedicate 20 years of my life to the classroom. This past January the stress of the job began to take a physical toll on my health to the point where I chose to leave the profession and take a leap of faith that I would find a better path. A month later I have been offered a great job that I'm excited about and utilizes many of my skills.

Things that make me uncomfortable

May 03, 2013

So I am on Day 3 of the Blog every day in May challenge and today's topic is things that make me uncomfortable. I had to think about this prompt for a while and even asked the husband for suggestions.

1. Snakes is the most obvious first answer. Anyone who knows me is aware that just the sound of a snake moving on TV makes uncomfortable. I saw one in the backyard a few months ago and had a full-on freak out. Yep, I don't like snakes.

2. Being in an old elevator. Alone. I have been stuck in 2 elevators on 2 separate occasions and they were both old elevators. I bet if I was being filmed in one of those kind of elevators you would see me stand uncomfortably in a corner counting the seconds until I arrive at my destination.

3. Having my picture taken. With the exception of my wedding day, because frankly my hair and makeup team rocked and made me look amazing, I normally don't think I photograph well.

4. Going to the dentist. I hate having people all up in my mouth, period. I dread every cleaning or dental appointment I have ever had.

5. Job interviews. I had quite a few job interviews this year in my quest to get out of the teaching field and they are nerve-wrecking to say the least. What is your greatest weakness? How can you not feel uncomfortable answering that question?

  RIP Chris K.   I jammed out to Jump all through my 5th grade year. I'm pretty sure we had a backwards dress day for our spirit week as well. FYI, jeans worn backwards are not comfortable.

So you are dating a comic book nerd

May 02, 2013

It was clear from the start of our relationship that my new boyfriend was big into comic books. If the fact that his bed laid atop a foundation made of long boxes consisting of his comic book collection didn’t tip me off, his numerous comic book t-shirts definitely clued me. I have learned a few things after almost 6 years of dating and now married to a bonafide comic book geek. Here are my tips to all those non-comic book girls and guys who want to be a supportive partner to your hard core comic book lover.

1. Learn the basics of comics. Nobody is expecting you to learn the history of comic books but you will have to at least be able to know what is a Marvel comic and what is a DC comic. For example, Batman is a DC character while Spiderman and Avengers are Marvel characters. Trust me if your boyfriend hangs out with other comic book fans and you all go out to see the latest superhero movie, you don’t want to say the wrong thing. If you are the only non comic book aficionado in the group, just be prepared to kill some time on your phone while they debate Spiderman 3. (True story)

2. Accept the fact that your presence will be required at all opening nights of comic book movies. My husband and I even joked about including it in our vows (we didn’t). Name the superhero blockbuster film and more than likely I went to see it opening night. The downside is that at times Hollywood will get it wrong on your man’s favorite character and the movie version will severely disappoint them. Case in point, The Green Lantern for my husband. He was so excited about the film as we sat down for a dinner out before the film. Green Lantern was one of his favorite characters growing up and he was psyched for the movie. All through dinner he literally couldn’t shut up about it. Several hours later, he still couldn’t shut up but for the opposite reason. He hated the movie and what they had done to his beloved character. You will have to be supportive and nod your head in agreement as they dissect why the film got it so wrong.

3. Be open to trying the comic genre yourself. To be honest I’m just not into reading the superhero comics, but there is so much more to the genre than just Batman. I have found several graphic novels and independent trades that are great reads. If you happen to be one of those girlfriends or wives dragged to the comic bookstore, look around and browse some of the titles. You might be surprised to find something you’d like. Just keep an open mind.

I bought a Batman t-shirt early in our relationship and here I am on my way to see The Dark Knight Rises with my man.

Blog Every Day in May Challenge

May 01, 2013

So I have decided to take the Blog Every Day in May Challenge and I'm excited. The prompt for today is to write your life story in approximately 250 words. 250 words, wow that is a quite a challenge. But here we go!

I was born on a hot and humid summer night back in August of 1981 in Orlando, FL. My childhood was that of your typical suburbia- bike rides around the neighborhood and cul-de-sacs. As a child I loved to sing (usually alongside my favorite MTV videos with a hairbrush in my hand) dance, and write imaginative stories. My mom loves to tell the story of how I once came up with a whole imaginary family, complete with names and back stories. Yep, I was an odd child.  I have an older sister who is 20 months older than me. I don’t think I could summarize our relationship in less than 200 words, but I will give it a try. She was the hot sister all through high school, it annoyed me since all my guy friends drooled over her, and now we are super good. I was that girl already thinking about what colleges I wanted to apply to during freshman year of high school. Needless to say I graduated high school and went straight to college. Four years later, I walked across the stage with a “Hell yeah I graduated” strut and grabbed my bachelors degree in English. After coming to terms with the fact that I was not going to be hired as a journalist anywhere, I decided to get my teaching certificate and become a middle school English teacher. On a late June evening I met up with an old friend and his friend for drinks and accidentally found the love of my life. 6 years later, we are married and planning adventures.