Foxlet: Week 17 & 18

Helloooooo! So in case you missed last week’s news

We found out that there’s a baby girl growing inside me! Sean and I are both super excited, and extra terrified, hehe. And now we’ve successfully arrived at week 18, so read on if you’re interested in how this little lady (squee!) is doing!

 
Foxlet’s Size: Foxlet is the size of a tall Frappuccino with whipped cream on top! Or, y’know, a bell pepper or an artichoke.

Weight Gained: I don’t even know right now. My weight seems to fluctuate up and down by 2-3 pounds on any given day, and sometimes more than that. I actually kind of freaked out a few days ago because the scale said I’d dropped an additional 5 pounds, which would have brought my overall pregnancy weight loss to almost 20 pounds! And, as I’ve said before, while it’s not uncommon nor a bad thing for me to have lost weight (since I started out overweight), I’m getting to the point where things should probably be evening back out. But since that 5-libbie loss occurred after a night fraught with toilet-hugging, I realize (now, in the light of day and sanity) that it doesn’t count.

If I had to guess based on, I dunno, averages or whatever, I’d venture that I’m like 12-ish pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight. I think I’m slowly starting to gain my lost pounds back, but I’m still in the red for right now. And I still barely even understand how that’s the case, since hardly any of my non-maternity pants fit anymore and I already feel like a walking stomach.

Symptoms: Dude, I am EIGHTEEN WEEKS and my nausea still hasn’t gone away! I’m starting to get to the point where I’m more pissed about that than anything else. 12 weeks, they said. Then 14 – 16 weeks. Well, heeere we are, and I’m still spending most nights rubbing my belly (in an attempt to quell my nausea, not for good luck.) I’m trying to keep things in perspective and remember that it wasn’t that long ago that I was nauseous literally 24/7, so things really have been getting better, it’s just still not great. I’d say I feel good like 30% of the time, okay (not great, but not terrible) 40% of the time, and still pretty damn awful 30% of the time.

At least the active puking seems to have primarily taken a backseat… aside from twice this past Sunday, including once while at church. Happy Easter to me! (Don’t worry, I made it to the bathroom and didn’t end up heaving into the collection plate.) And the lessening vomitous activity is definitely a good thing, because (and this most definitely has TMI written all over it, but whatever, pregnancy is gross) lately throwing up has involved simultaneously peeing my pants. YUP. Now, if you’re suddenly thinking that I’m the most disgusting person who’s ever walked the face of this planet, this is apparently a pretty common issue at this point in pregnancy — just ask the hilarious genius behind Alpha Mom if you don’t believe me:

(Side note: if you’re pregnant and not subscribed to Alpha Mom’s weekly pregnancy updates, you are seriously missing out. They. Are. Everything.)

Aside from those oh-so-lovely symptoms, additional ones lately include breast tenderness, round ligament pain (a kind of stretching/pulling/occasionally sharp pain as my uterus continues to grow), and getting embarrassingly short of breath from doing things like… pacing while I’m talking on the phone. Lol.

Emotions: Here are just some of the most recent Reasons that Pregnant Gretchen is Crying:

  • My mom asked my dad to switch seats during Easter brunch
  • I died in a video game I’ve been playing
  • My friend Jackie unexpectedly brought me bubble tea when we met up for dinner
  • I’m babysitting Pixel (my brother’s dog) and all three dogs looked up for a photo at the same time

  • Phoebe temporarily died for the 34892598th time on Charmed
  • I couldn’t find my right flip flop
  • Daxter crawled into my lap while I was trying to take a belly pic and fell asleep on my baby bump
  • I ate all the hot dog buns in the house but we still had hot dogs leftover
  • My sister sent me a ridiculously cute picture of my niece Kira

Okay, I guess you can’t really blame me for that last one. ::heart eyes emoji::

Cravings: Raw fruit and veggies are still a big craving, as is sandwiches with lots of mustard on them. Raaaaaandom. In general I’m just so happy that appetite has started coming back (yay!), so I’m finally able to eat foods that I have barely been able to look at for the past few months. Though, I’m definitely not back to my old self by any means because I’m still awfully picky about what I want/am willing to eat.

On the more stereotypical pregnancy craving front, I have been indulging in ice cream relatively regularly, and I ain’t mad about it.

 
Aversions: Still having that big marinara/red sauce aversion, which means I have officially surpassed my lifetime record for the longest period of time gone without eating pizza. On the plus side, meat’s finally back on the menu! Huzzah!

Sleep: Sleep’s been kind of iffy. I’m trying not to take Unisom as often right now, as I fear I’ve been getting too reliant on it (plus it made me sleep SUPER late sometimes, which delays eating, which makes me more likely to be nauseous…). Which means that sometimes I sleep fine, but sometimes I toss and turn all night, or I have those nights where even though you know you must have fallen asleep at some point, it feels like all you’ve done for 8 straight hours is lay there thinking about stuff. Also, my crazy vivid pregnancy dreams have been making a comeback lately.

Purchases: I made the grave mistake of going to Target on Monday to pick up supplies for a Yelp event I’m planning, and got immediately waylaid by the baby section. And while you should be VERY proud of me for being able to resist picking up the teeny watermelon baby bikini below, I couldn’t quite stop myself from procuring just a couple of wee little baby tings. Heh. It’s just a set of socks and washcloths though, so I still think I was rather restrained!

 
Wearing: I have fully jumped aboard the maternity clothes train and I’m loving it. Why haven’t I been wearing maternity clothes my entire life?! They’re so comfortable and they make my bump look way cuter. I’ve picked up the majority of my maternity wardrobe online from Old Navy, got a few pieces from H&M (didn’t even know they carried maternity or baby clothes until recently!), and I also just ordered a dress from Pink Blush Maternity after salivating over the gorgeous maternity dress that Ashley wore for Easter. Love that they have a huge, well-stocked plus size maternity section to peruse!

Missing… not much right now, actually! I’m not really feeling deprived, I just continue to be eager to have my nausea be gone 100%… and am getting a little fearful that that might not ever really happen for me.

Looking Forward to… my big Yelper Party next week! It’s my biggest bash of the year — free food, awesome entertainment, the works! — and this year’s theme is Yelp Goes Gatsby, so it’ll be extra fun! (Though admittedly, trying to find an era-appropriate dress that works with this belly has been slightly less fun.) This is one of just a few events I throw that’s open to literally anyone who RSVPs on Yelp (plus it’s totally FREE to attend with the option to donate at the door to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society) so if you live in the DMV area, you should totally come out!

80 Days Around the Blogosphere

UHHHHHHH, how did I go from 129 days to 80 days until my wedding?! I mean, I know how, like, time works, of course, and I hate to sound cliche, but these weeks are seriously FLYING by. Oyyyyy.

All right, so, given that it’s been over a month since my last post, I probably have a lot to catch you up on (especially if you don’t follow me on Instagram, hahaha.) Basically, my life is just one big mashup of modpodge, glitter, events, and schnauzers. On the event front, Sean and I recently got to attend two friends’ weddings (on back to back weekends! October is obvs the new May when it comes to weddings), and they gave me serious #weddinggoals to aspire to.

And last week I had the opportunity to travel up to Pittsburgh for work to help out at my coworker’s big Halloween event. They had this awesome makeup artist at the event who transformed me into Zombie Pirate Gretchen, and it was, well, see for yourself:

 
 

Hehehe.

Today is actually Sean’s birthday, (my old man is 31 today!), and we went out for an early birthday dinner to celebrate with his parents on Sunday. I would have a photo of my amazing steak from Ray’s the Steaks, but I ate it too fast. I’ve been working out more lately with the goal of looking less squishy in my beautiful yet strapless wedding dress, and apparently it has turned me into an even more ravenous version of myself. Or maybe it’s just a testament to how awesome my steak was — if you’re in the DC area and haven’t been to Ray’s yet, you are missing out on life!

Anyway, the most exciting development on the wedding front is that the invitations went into the mail yesterday! Squee! I can’t wait to show them to you guys. I know I’m sending them out a little on the early side (according to traditional ettiquette, invitations should go out 6 – 8 weeks before the wedding), but with Christmas and everything, I figured that sending them out earlier (with an earlier RSVP deadline) would lessen the chances of the invites getting lost in folks’ holiday mail.

 
 

In other developments, after lots of hemming and hawing over whether or not I should do my own makeup for the wedding, I had finally decided that I was, in fact, going to do it myself. After all, I know my own face, I do my makeup a lot, it would save money, etc. But then, because apparently making final decisions is NOT my strong suit, I decided to go in for a makeup trial anyway, just to be really sure that’s what I wanted to do. I figured, if anything, it would help solidify my decision to do my own makeup, since every other time I’ve gotten my makeup done by someone else, I haven’t really loved it.

So I went in for a makeup trial with Marquia of Blend Makeup Artistry, and this happened:

  
 

I L-O-V-E-D it.

I felt so beautiful! Marquia used airbrush foundation, which felt like air on my skin and gave me amazing, flawless coverage. Plus everything she did was beyond waterproof — and believe me, I put it through the ringer when I got home. I watched the first 5 minutes of Up, read back through the most heart-wrenching parts The Fault in Our Stars, AND watched the ending of Moulin Rouge. It didn’t budge! Marquia also used individual false lashes on me instead of a lash strip and they felt absolutely amazing.

So, long story short, I reneged on my original decision to do my own makeup and opted to book Marquia instead, lulz. I ended up asking if we could do a little bit of a stronger brow and slightly darker eyeshadow on the actual day of (gotta go big for the camera!), but overall I was so surprised at how much I loved the way I looked.

I gotta say, airbrush makeup is clearly the way to go. It didn’t come off on anything, which gives me a lot more confidence too, since my veil is gonna be right up on my skin, hehe. Once I decide which veil I’m actually going to be wearing, that is! I made several, hehe:

Turns out that making a birdcage veil is ridiculously easy (I’ll post a tutorial later!), but even so, I’m still pretty proud of myself for pulling these puppies off. I made an ivory veil in both traditional comb and bandeau styles, as well as a gold one. I’ve got my first dress fitting in a couple of weeks, so I’ll bring them to figure out which one I want to go with (although I think I already have a pretty good idea.) I’ve gotten a few of my other wedding accessories too, and can’t wait to finally see my whole look come together!

 
 

Speaking of things coming together, I am having so much fun working on the nitty gritty stuff for the wedding! I joke about having nightmares of being attacked by giant bottles of Mod Podge, but in reality, you guys know I love this crafty crap, hehe. That said, I still have a lot to do, and it does stress me out a bit when I start thinking about it all at once.

 
 

But as long as I take it a little bit at a time, I’m thinking I’m still in pretty good shape! After all, even though it feels like time is speeding up the closer we get to the end of the year, I know I still have almost three months until the big day, which is more than enough time to get all this done… right? RIGHT?!

Well, as long as we’re starting to spiral out of control, we might as well get to the part where I post the ridiculously long checklist of wedding-related stuff. Hopefully this list is of moderate interest to any other future brides (or just folks who are really invested in my wedding planning process), but even if it not, I’m gonna keep updating it since I keep misplacing any pen-and-paper checklists I make. So here’s where the ever-growing wedding checklist stands as of right now:

Date: ☑

Venue: ☑

Dress: ☑

Caterer: ☑

Photographer: ☑

Videographer: ☑

Flowers: ☑

Ceremony Musicians: ☑

DJ: ☑

Cake: ☑

Day-of Coordinator: ☑

Save the Dates: ☑

Invitations: ☑

Bridesmaid Dresses: ☑

Bridal Accessories: ☑

Wedding Rings: ☑

Groomsmen Tuxes: ☐

Dress Fittings: ☐

Registry: ☑

Hotel room blocks: ☑

Shuttle/Transportation: ☐ (Still trying to determine if we have the budget for this. Are we jerks if we don’t provide transporation to/from the venue?)

Welcome Bags: ☐

Wedding Signage: ☑

Program & Menu: ☐

Seating Chart: ☐

Alcohol: ☐

Honeymoon: ☑ (Yassss!)

Centerpiece Bottles: ☐

Ceremony Backdrop: ☐

Card Box: ☐ (I’m making something very special and annoying to make for this, heh.)

Additional Random DIY Projects: ☐

Eventually this list is going to get so long you guys are all just going to stop reading, hahaha. I mean, this doesn’t even include all the super specific stuff we have yet to figure out, like who our ceremony readers are going to be, the ceremony music, writing our vows, our final menu choices, our first dance song (I already know what I want it to be, but I guess I should confer with Sean about it ;)), and more. And so we press forward!

For now though, let’s put all that aside and finish on a non-whiney note, shall we? I’m extra excited about wedding stuff this week because my bridal shower is happening this weekend! My sister and sister-in-law are keeping all the details under wraps, so I have no idea what to expect, but I’m just so excited to have the first official wedding event take place! This ish is gonna get REAL starting on Sunday! I promise I will try really hard not to wait another six weeks before updating you on it all. 🙂

And, finally, let’s go ahead and give an update on the schnauzer part of my life, which, even with all the other exciting stuff going on, is obviously still the very best part:

 
 

Yeah, they’re still pretty great. My little schmoopiees. I love them. (And as a reminder for those who might be confused as to why there are three little bearded faces, Pixel is technically my brother’s dog.)

Well, I think that pretty much catches us up to now. Things definitely aren’t slowing down this week: I’m seeing Joshua Radin in concert on Wednesday, my sister and nieces come into town on Friday (yay!), I’ve got the bridal shower this weekend, plus a couple more Yelp events scattered throughout the next couple weeks.

And in two weeks, my whole family is heading to Houston so Sean and I can participate in a traditional Chinese tea ceremony for my grandmother who can’t travel and won’t be able to attend the wedding. We’ll also be spending a couple of days in New Orleans with my brother and sister-in-law on the way back! I’ve never been to NOLA, so I’m excited to try some authentic beignets, hehe. If you have any recommendations for must-visit places in New Orleans, let me know!

Okay, I feel like if I don’t cut myself off now, I’m just going to keep prattling on forever, so I’ll say goodbye for now. Guess this just goes to show that I really need to blog more frequently — apparently I still do have a lot to say, hahahaha. See you guys on the flipside!

They Grow Up So Fast

Happy MLK Jr, Day/Inauguration Day, everyone! I have the day off here in DC for both of those reasons, but if you’re stuck at work today I definitely sympathize. Of course, today is also important to me because it’s a very important day in dog world too: Daxter’s birthday!

Clean Daxter

So yes, feel free to roll your eyes at the fact that I’m the kind of person who celebrates dog birthdays, but also, I mean, you really shouldn’t be surprised, hahaha. My little pupster is a whopping THREE YEARS OLD (sniff, sniff, they grow up so fast!) and it shall be duly celebrated. While Harry rolls his own schnauzer eyes in the background (he turns 9 in April!).

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Hehe. I’ll be back tomorrow with a smorgasbord of pictures from the baby shower that I threw for my sister (it was super adorable and OH SO VERY PINK), but for now, enjoy your day! I know Daxter will definitely be enjoying his. 🙂

Dogs like Yogurt too?

Pesto Presto

No, my friends. Today’s Friday does not include anything of the fashion persuasion. Though I know how much you were looking forward to me regaling you with my take on sick fashion (which primarily consists of rants against why having to wear a bra sucks so much), I wore pretty much nothing but popsicle-themed PJ-shorts and Hello Kitty t-shirts for the past 3 days. So you’re outta luck.

Instead, I bring you more food! Funny how when I’m stuck at home with nothing to do but whine and sneeze, suddenly all my posts are about cooking again, eh? On today’s menu… pesto!

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I mentioned on Wednesday that I had picked up a GINORMOUS bunch of basil at the Farmer’s Market over the weekend, and unfortunately it was started to turn pretty quickly (as fresh herbs tend to do). Having already exhausted my creativity in the form of caprese salad and tomato basil soup, there was really only one other way I could think of to use up the rest of the basil before it went totally south: the magic that is pesto!

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I’ve made pesto maybe twice before in my life, so I am definitely no pro. I am a true aficionado, however, of EATING the stuff. I loooooove pesto. It’s so, so, so delicious. And for perhaps the first time ever, I just happened to have all the necessary ingredients at home. So there wasn’t even any need for me to go out and infect any of the poor checkout clerks at Giant. Not to mention, my sister also happened to send me a recipe for pesto salmon earlier that very day. Fate, I tell you! Fate!

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For those of you who have never made pesto before, it’s really quite simple. It’s typically made with pine nuts, but raw walnuts or pecans can be used as a substitute. I had the latter on hand, so that’s what I went with. The other ingredients are as follows:

Fresh basil (duh)
Pecans
Garlic
Parmesan reggiano cheese
Extra virgin olive oil
Lemon/lime juice
Salt & pepper

Just toss it all into a food processor (or high speed blender) and go nuts! I don’t have exact measured amounts for you, since I’m a wing-it-in-the-kitch kinda cook, but in my experience the ratio kind of goes like this:

A CRAP TON OF BASIL: smaller amounts of everything else

Hahahahahaha.

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Eventually, with a little tweaking (a little more basil here, a little more oil there, etc, etc), you end up with something that looks moderately passable:

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Then, you spoon it over whatever pesto-carrier you choose (while I would have loved to try the salmon recipe my sister sent me, I opted for the much easier whole wheat pasta option instead):

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And no, your eyes do not deceive about that side dish.

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My beloved roasted brussels sprouts are BACK IN BUSINESS! Huzzah!

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I topped it with a few pieces of leftover chicken from a couple of nights ago, and voila! Now your only job will be to fend off hungry beggars at the feast…

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Mooches.

I was noting as I was nomming gleefully on my meal that pesto pasta is MUCH more filling to me than pasta with marinara. I don’t know if I just wasn’t as hungry, but one portion of pasta (which is usually not enough for me) topped with some pesto totally did me in. I wonder if it’s because of the higher fat content of the pesto (due to the olive oil). Either way, I ended up totally satisfied AND have enough leftovers for lunch today.

On the sickness front: I am back at work today but still relatively miserable. I sneezed approximately 7,000 times on my drive in this AM. Luckily, it’s Friday and it’s DC so there’s basically nobody here today to see my watery-eyed, sniffling, sad-looking self. Here’s hoping that this weekend will finally drive me back over the edge into full health mode!

The Good Life

Shocking though this may be, given the amount of complaining I do, I’d say that I’m generally a pretty positive person. I have my fair share of doldrum-dwelling moments, sure, but most of the time I tend to be of the half-full rather than half-empty mentality, more optimist than pessimist, and more happy-go-lucky than down in the dumps. My proclivity for wanting to see the better side of things clearly affects me in lots of positive ways. It allows me to keep my chin up when my weight loss isn’t progressing as planned (speaking of which, I think I’ll stay in denial just a little while longer, kthx). It helps my unfortunately thin skin heal whenever I read or hear something that might hurt my overly-sensitive feelings. It means I am simply terrible at holding grudges.

So, understanding that I grew out of my “I hate everything, the world sucks!” phase when I was 15, I doubt it’s particularly surprising to hear me talking about how good life is or how content I am right now. Nevertheless, I’m going to say it anyway. Life is good right now, and I want to talk about that. Hey, it’s my blog and I can brag if I want to, after all! Think of this as a general life update, because I know you care so very, very much. Hehe.

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(Photo by Ben)

Re: Family.

You guys are probably already well-aware of the fact that I’m kind of ridiculously close with my family. Like, far closer than the average 24-year-old almost-adult should be. I live with my brother, we have dinner with our parents at least once a week, and even though my sister lives in Columbia (near Baltimore), I also see her on an almost weekly-basis. Much to the probable chagrin of my brother-in-law and future sister-in-law (ahahaha), we still love going on family vacations together, going to events together, and just generally hanging out with each other. It’s weird, I know. I love my family — crazy! We’re a Family with a capital F, as my father says. The only unfortunate part of this whole arrangement is that Jenny will be moving to Houston by the end of the month (her hubby’s already there — cry!), a fact which I am begrudgingly beginning to accept.

We do have extended family in Houston (my aunt and grandmother live in the same neighborhood Jenny & Dan will be in), and my BFFFFFFF Bethany lives less than two hours away from there, as I understand it. I haven’t seen her in over TWO years. Omgaaaah. Saying (er, typing) that out loud makes me really upset. Looks like a visit to the Lonestar State will have to be on my agenda soon!


(Photo by Taylor)

Re: Romanticalness.

Teeheehee, blush, blinkblink, etc. Things are still going very well with Sean, the giver of gifts extraordinaire. This month marks FIVE months! Time really flies. We’re like a match made in Whasian Heaven. This weekend we are seeing the Beauty and the Beast musical at the National Theatre on Friday, and then going to see Dave Matthews Band on Saturday. <3.


(Photo by Taylor)

Re: Pups.

Well, they’re still perfect, obviously. I gave them haircuts on Monday. They look very dapper.

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Re: Creative Outlets.

I’ve been getting back to being a little more experimental and creative in the kitchen, which is making me really happy. Last night, I made pizza with barbecue pork and caramelized onions! Nom. I’ve slipped a little on the creative writing side in recent weeks, due to traveling, work, and school (updates on those last two coming up). I started writing a novel a few months ago (nerd alert!) and really want to get back into it. Writing, as you can probably tell from how wordy this post already is, makes me really happy.


(Photo by Taylor)

Re: Weight Loss.

I doubt that it’s been lost on any of you that I haven’t weighed in since before the Reach the Beach relay and my St. Maarten vacation. Well, it hasn’t been lost on me either. I know there’s really no point in me continuing to put it off (especially considering that this is supposed to be a weight loss blog, haha), but… I don’t know. I guess I just haven’t had the willpower or the motivation to actually step on the scale since.

Part of it comes from morbid curiosity: this has been my longest break from the scale since I started losing weight almost 2 years ago, and part of me wants to see what happens. It’s not like I’ve been going crazy or anything. I’m still working out two to three times a week, I’m still tracking (most of) what I’m eating, and I haven’t been backsliding into any dangerous disordered behavior or anything like that. I think honestly, that’s what makes it so scary though. The thought that even though I haven’t been doing anything “bad” (I wasn’t even THAT terrible while on vacation!), I might still have gained weight. I don’t think I want the confirmation that I’m destined for a lifetime of regains and relosses, calorie counting, and the like. I’ll face the music eventually, and sooner rather than later, I’m sure. Just, for now, I’d like to prolong the denial just a smidge. Kthx. 😉

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Re: Work & School.

Work is work, and I don’t really have much to complain about there. I like my office, my coworkers, and I know I have it pretty good in my office. It’s starting to get just the slightest bit more stressful for me (not by much, just a smidge) though, since I’ve taken on a few classes as part of me working towards my eventual Masters of Education. I’m currently taking two classes that I’ll need to obtain my endorsement in English, Grammar and Survey of English Literature. The grammar class has been particularly educational, if only because it’s taught me that I really didn’t know anything about grammar other than semi-proper punctuation, haha. But now? Subordinate clauses are my bitch! Ahahaha.

I’ll be taking two additional endorsement classes in the Fall, Linguistics and Survey of World Literature, and my grad school application is due October 1st. If I’m accepted, grad school will begin in January. Yipes! I know teaching is certainly not the career for everyone, and who knows if I’d really be able to hack it. Either way, though, it feels good to be working toward something. Forward motion, you know? And regardless of how everything turns out in the end, at least I still know that I love writing, reading, and even with my two little classes right now I’m really just enjoying learning again (nerd alert II!).

One thing that I’ve started to really think about lately is how teaching will affect this blog. Am I concerned at the thought of my classroom full of teenagers being able to Google me in a New York minute? Maybe. This isn’t really something I’m going to have to worry about for a while, since once I even start school it’ll be another year until my teaching internship, but I was talking to my friend Aileen yesterday and she helped me realize that it definitely warrants some thought.

It’s not that I’m really that concerned with the content, per se. I consider this blog to be pretty family-friendly, for the most part. It’s just that I don’t hold a lot back here — not only in terms of my weight (what teacher wants all of her students knowing exactly how much she weighs?!), but in terms of my personal history. There’re some intensely personal posts up here… although now that I say that, I question why I would be concerned with a group of teenagers reading about all that when I’m perfectly at ease sharing it with the entire interwebs, hahaha. There are also not a small amount of photos that depict me in my bathing suit, hahaha.

I have coworkers who read my blog, and my boss found it from Googling me before I even got hired here, so it clearly hasn’t been a hindrance to me professionally thus far. In fact, he said that it actually really impressed him. Showed a degree of technical savvy and entrepreneurial spirit, he said. So, who knows? I’ve spoken with a few bloggers who are also teachers, and their opinions seem to range from “Meh, who cares?” to a few of them having proactively shut down their blogs because of it. I’d be REALLY interested to hear your opinions about blogging and teaching!

So there you have it: one long, drawn out, overly verbose post about the general status of my life as it stands right now. My apologies if it all kind of ended up as one big #humblebrag. I guess I’m just in a good mood today… glass-half-full, y’know? 🙂

Happy Wednesday!