Guess What....??? {a sneak peak}

P.S. I'm part of a giveaway over on Rushing for Bagels!
You can get more details on her blog, but I'll be hosting the Rafflecopter here, too!


Getting Excited...

 Today I'm guest posting on Brittany's blog!


 Check it out here - I'm talking about my favorite holiday traditions.
Speaking of which, I forgot to write about one of my absolute favorite holiday traditions - putting up the Christmas tree the Monday after Thanksgiving. THAT'S TONIGHT!
So if anyone needs me, I'll be decking the halls ... and singing Christmas carols at the top of my lungs.

Is anyone else as excited as I am for the holidays?
What traditions are you looking forward to???


ME, MYSELF, & I ... numero quatre

It's that time of the month again...
the Me, Myself, & I Link-up!

#1) What are your top 5 favorite movies to watch during the Holidays?
The Miracle on 34th Street,
The Nativity Story,
The Santa Claus {gotta love Tim Allen!}
Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town,
& Mr. Kreuger's Christmas {even though I cry every time...}

How to Live
#2) It's the month of giving thanks, what are you most thankful for?
Oh, gee.... at least half a million things! Just to name a few,
+ warm socks
+ technology / electricity
+ God's love
+ autumn leaves
+ my opportunities for education
+ the scriptures
+ prayer
+ a supportive, loving family
+ friends that put up with me
+ books ... and having time to read them
+ this here bloggy and all you wonderful readers :)
+ my church
 + warm food
+ the fact that I am healthy and well
+ my divine potential
+ the Atonement
+ love

How to Live
#3) If there was a quote or a verse to describe your like, what would it be?
"I myself am entirely made of flaws, stitched together with good intentions"

#4) Who in your family are you most like?
I think I have my dad's work ethic {except for when I procrastinate...that's purely me}, but personality-wise, I guess I'm most like my mom. My friends who know my mom constantly tell me how something that I said is exactly what my mom would have said. We find the same types of things funny{making fun of each other being on that list}. She's way more outgoing than I am, but I've noticed that the way I talk to new people is pretty similar to the way that she does. Overall, she's a pretty cool person to be like :)

#5) What is your favorite drink order at Starbucks?
As if you haven't been hearing this enough lately...white hot chocolate! When it's not cold, my go-to drink is the Vanilla Bean Creme Frappuccino, though.

Now go check out everybody else's posts here - and link up your own!
Today's the first day of Thanksgiving Break...finally!

P.S. I'm grateful for
+ Christmas music
+ pecan pie for lunch ... 
+ the opportunity to be grateful. Have you ever 
thought about what a blessing that truly is?


fRiDaY - high fivin' it

#1) Starbucks' White Hot Chocolate is reeeeally good. 'Nuff said.
{thank you for suggesting it, Haunani!}

#2) My race yesterday went really well! I know I said the last race was my last this season, but this one snuck up on me. I wasn't supposed to qualify for it, but one of the qualifiers couldn't go, so I got bumped up a spot. And I'm glad I did - I ended up getting my best time of the season. Today's soreness is 100% worth it!

#3) Listening to and singing along with my Gaelic playlist...

#4) I went to a gun safety course Wednesday night - I'm getting ready to go shooting the Saturday after Thanksgiving!

#5) One Direction's new album this week ... don't lie. You were way excited, too.

How have your weeks been? Anyone else crazy-excited for Thanksgiving next week???

P.S. I'm grateful for
+ the fact that it's Friday
+ that means I have a whole ... uh, one day to 
catch up on all my school work!
+ music that speaks to the soul {MoTab, anyone?}


Dear Boys,

Dear KickPushCoast,

No-shave November looks good on you.


Dear Ewok,

You're a dork. But it's kind of adorable. Ish. :)

Love you too,

Dear Prep,

We've officially talked outside of school! Goal #2 accomplished. You wanna get me 12's number so I can accomplish #1?

Pretty Please?

Dear 12,

Or you could give me your number yourself. Whichever.


My dearest Stripling Warrior,

I really hope you like shooting. Because I think I like shooting. I'll get back to you on that after next Saturday. But how cute would that be? We could go shooting together!

All my love and then some,
Your Virtuous Woman ... in training

Dear Readers,

I think it's about time to bring up the no-reply issue again...
Click on that bright red button on the left to find out about it. Or read this post. If you're not sure whether not you fall under that category, here's an easy way to know - if you've ever commented on my blog and not received a reply, you are one. And if you can't remember, leave a comment on this post and if I don't get back to you, you're a no-reply commenter.

Y'all are the bestest!

P.S. I'm grateful for
+ a healthy body
+ opportunities to challenge myself
+ when said opportunities are over with so
 I can look back and appreciate them


How To...Post Regularly When Life is INSANE

Okay guys, I think I've got it figured out.


One of my goals here was to find a way to post regularly even through school, and  I think I've got a pretty good system going {besides that one week...we're ignoring that one week}. 


Here's how you do it:

+ Still write posts the day of as often as possible
+Whenever you have a thought that you know you could blog about, open a new post, title it, and type up that idea
+As there's time, complete the idea and add pictures

Then, when the need arises, I have an almost complete post waiting for me that I add a sentence to and voila - it's ready to publish. And it's kind of funny, because that's the process that was used for this post ... it's been sitting around for months waiting to be finished. So here's proof that it works!

Having regular weekly/monthly posts {i.e. Dear Boys, High 5 for Friday, Me, Myself & I} is nice, too - one less day to worry about!

But then the problem arises when you've used all of your pre-made posts and are somewhat inspirationless...at least tomorrrow's a Dear Boys day!

P.S. I'm grateful for
+ waking up on time for the first time in a week!
+ eggs on toasted sourdough bread
+ Costco pumpkin streusel muffins...how have I been missing out on these?

Covered in Grace


Stop & Breathe...

With finals coming up in a month {officially FREAKING OUT}, 
this wouldn't be a bad thing to keep in mind...
or this...

and let's not forget this...

I think I'll start studying now...
and listening to my Christmas playlist.
Happy Monday!

P.S. I'm grateful for
+ A day off ...that was spent doing homework. 
But we're focusing on the "day off" part!
+ answered prayers {a.k.a. ALL prayers}
+ when hard things become easy
+ all those who have served our country - God bless you!

P.P.S. All images from my "How to Live" Pinterest board

P.P.P.S. Mikarose giveaway here!

P.P.P.P.S. Anyone else super-excited about Brooke's 2012 Year in Review link-up???


Week Something-or-Other

I've been wasting time like nobody's business this week, and now I get to suffer the consequences of that. At least it's a three-day weekend!

You know what the hardest goal was? Refraining from criticizing and giving random compliments. 
It turns out I can be ridiculously critical, and even when I'm not being critical, I'm not one for giving out compliments. I've totally been on top of using my gratitude journal, though, and until yesterday (when I started having to suffer the consequences of my time-wasting) I was doing pretty well being positive and energetic, too. 


In other news, I've started listening to Christmas music! My alarm clock radio is set to it, and this morning I woke up to "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch". It's officially my favorite time of year! 

Also, as rainy days become more frequent, I may be joining the ranks of you top-knot sporting bloggers ... a top-knot is much better than the alternative of matted, stuck-to-my-head hair!

P.S. I'm grateful for
+ caring Church leaders
+ warm fuzzy socks
+ Church Youth musicals


Why, Starbucks? Why?

Why must you include coffee in so many of your drinks? I know you're a coffeehouse, but still. And why, why, WHY is there COFFEE {or espresso, or mocha, or whatever - something that contains more caffeine than I ever wanted to consume} in your hot chocolate? 
And in your salted caramel hot chocolate? 
AND in your peppermint hot chocolate? 

You could've at least warned me about that before I discovered that I liked them. And don't even try to tell me that I should have assumed they were safe. Who puts that much caffeine {90 mg, which is nothing compared to straight coffee, but it's still more than I want!} in a generally Niamh-friendly beverage? 
But I know better now! Never again will I trust a drink unless I've thoroughly researched it! 

The plus side of this is that I did go and thoroughly research every other not-obviously-caffeinated drink at Starbucks, and I now have a Mormon-friendly Starbucks Bucket List!

{there were a couple more that I could have included in this list, but they sounded yucky to me. I'm pretty sure one involved coconut...blech}

If Starbucks has still somehow managed to slip caffeine into these drinks undetected, 
someone please let me know before I try them!
Also, someone told me that if you have them add a creme base to pretty much anything, that makes it caffeine-free. True or False?
P.S. I'm grateful for
+ a three-day weekend! Thank gooseness!
+ when Blogger behaves
+ this amazing cold weather! I've been piling on the 
blankets these past few nights...and days :)

Covered in Grace


So I Walk into a Bar...

A few Thursdays ago was a day of many firsts:
my first time ditching school,
my first time being in a bar,
and my first concert!

Hunter Hayes was doing a free concert with a local country radio station at the Buffalo Wild Wings Grill&Bar that's right a cross the street from school...so obviously I was going to go! Forget class, this was a once-in-a-lifetime type of opportunity!

Look at him-isn't he adorable? {even in spite of the awful pictures}
And he was seriously flawless live - that's talent, people.

And we totally made eye contact! He was giving a cue to his guitarist, and when he looked up I was just standing over there smiling like

and I'm sure he looked away thinking I was the most attractive thing he'd seen all day.

I try.

P.S. I'm grateful for
+ WiFi
+ alarm clocks {and actually getting up when they tell me to}
+ cooler weather for running! {hopefully this time the weather stays...}


Dear Boys,

Dear Train,

I totally wasn't kidding about that date.
Unless you start lecturing me about Duck again. Then I'll take it back.
Try me.


Dear Duck,

It's been a really long month. And there's still a couple of weeks to go!


My dearest Spaniard,

Is it kinda funny that you've been replaced by someone that's actually a Spaniard?

See you sometime,
La Senorita

Dear Ewok,

It's nice to know that you care enough to throw my music stand into the audience if I ever get gauges.
Thankfully, we'll never have to go through that, but it was a very sweet thought.

Love you too,

Dear 12,

Oh, my gooseness. I'm not even gonna lie, I was staring at you playing the piano during the entire Jazz Show. If we ever got married, I would make you play piano for me all.the.time.

Rethinking my Katniss status

Dear Doctor,

I was getting my hopes up, just a little, and then you went and brought your girlfriend to church. What is she still doing in California???


My dearest Stripling Warrior,

I haven't been thinking about you nearly enough lately. I'll get on that, and keep working on being ready for you!

All my love and then some,
Your Virtuous Woman ... in training

P.S. I'm grateful for
+ friends who really get me
+ boys to write to :)
+ ice cold water and rolled down windows


Because I Looked Amazing: Thrifting Haul Part 2

I love Salvation Army. I know I've mentioned that before, but it's worth saying again. Last weekend, I got to check items off of my Fall Wears Wish-list, and get everything {well, almost} that I needed for my Halloween costume. Going through the nastiness is entirely worth it - especially when I come home with a haul like this!

blazer: vintage, thrifted
scarf: h&m, thrifted
shirt: hand-me-down
skinnies: hand-me-down
This blazer made me so happy...after I cut out the shoulder pads, that is. And I'm loving the scarf!

top: old...from some hole-in-the-wall store
skirt: vintage, thrifted
tights: hand-me-down
shoes: target, thrifted
necklace&earrings: gift
My friend called this the "sexy librarian" look. This picture makes it look more like the slightly-pregnant librarian look...I didn't even realize I was holding my stomach. Really, though,
"sexy" is a weird word that I'm not sure I like being used in a sentence that's describing me, so "slightly-pregnant" it is! Pregnant people are adorable, anyway.

shirt: target
belt: vintage, thrifted
skirt: wet seal, thrifted

Notice this snazzy pattern-mixing here? Lurve! And even better, the skirt is textured...yes, I did rub the dots all day. You would have, too.

P.S. I'm grateful for
+ safety on the road
+ freedom to vote
+ tolerance and understanding of different views


Halloween ... a Few Days Late

Halloween didn't feel much like Halloween this year. I went to our Church "Trunk-or-Treat" party, but when I wasn't running a face painting table for the kids, I was studying. It felt much more like Halloween when I went to another party the Saturday before, though, so I wasn't entirely cheated out of my Halloween fun!

My favorite part of Halloween is dressing up, hands down. I couldn't care less if I get any candy, or decorate the house, just as long as I get to dress up. This year, I was Rosie the Riveter!

See the resemblance?

headscarf: scrap fabric, joann's
shirt: thrifted
skinnies: thrifted
pin: printed off and duct taped to a "stop bullying" pin
 There were very few people who actually knew who I was. The two most common guesses were just your average 40's girl {they got the era right} and Taylor Swift {I thought that was kind of strange}. Every time I told someone who I was, I'd have to do the pose, or they still didn't get it. But they thought I was cute, and that's all that matters, right? :D

Now, for your viewing pleasure, some take-outs {that I obviously didn't really "take out", because I'm showing them now}:

me: "Wait! Stop! I forgot my lipstick!"

My uber-attractive kissy face...kissing people with
messy red lipstick was quite possibly my favorite
part of this costume
How was your Halloween? What did you dress up as?

P.S. I'm grateful for
+ random sweet e-mails
+ cars that I get to drive
+ writing letters to people I love


NOVEMBER: {attitude}

These were my goals for last month...do we really need to talk about how miserable I was at keeping them? And how many times I was ready to quit my year of happiness less than a month into it? Yeah, I was kind of pathetic. But that's the point of this year - improvement! And I wouldn't need to improve if I wasn't pathetic at some point...

This month has been a bit of an eye-opener. For the first time in my life, I've been able to recognize myself going through the pride cycle. 


I should have gone and stopped it as soon as I realized I was in it...but...yeah. Bad month on my part. It was interesting, though! I don't usually see myself that clearly {which may be a good thing...}. 
I've definitely been letting school get in the way of my relationship with God. I rationalize that putting off reading my scriptures and working on the Personal Progress goals I had for last month {none of which got done, by the way} gives me more time to get my work done, but really, without doing those things, I'm not able to be as productive anyway. It's a lose-lose situation. I've been extremely self-centered, too - I'm tired and cranky so I couldn't care less about how I can help anyone else. 

This was a good start to my happiness project. No, I'm actually not being sarcastic. Being able to see more of my weak points has humbled me a bit, and I think it's prepared me more for a full year of self-improvement.

Now, for this month's goals! November's theme is attitude.

 What's going to be hard this month? Um...everything. Well, the new goals, anyway. No, I was right before, everything. Be positive - this will be a hard habit to acquire. I can usually at least fake positivity, but not so much this last month. No complaining - I do an awful lot of that. Does it help anyone? No. It just makes things worse. Refrain from criticizing - last month, I discovered something about myself. It was quite the epiphany. When I know I'm not living my life quite how I should be, I get really annoyed with myself {eventually I get motivated to change, but for a while I'm just annoyed and unpleasant}. I already knew that, but last month I discovered that I cope with that by letting every little thing that everyone else does bug me. It's like, if I can focus on what they're doing wrong, I don't have to think about what I'm doing wrong. Except for the fact that as I'm doing it, I know it's wrong, and it only makes me more frustrated with myself...which gets me more frustrated with everyone else...and so on. Refraining from criticizing first myself and then others will give me an infinitely better attitude. Gratitude journal - I have one that I keep on the shelf by my scriptures, but I haven't used it in forever. I'll be using it again, daily, and I'll close every blog post with a few things I'm grateful for {how fitting...this month is Thanksgiving, isn't it? I haven't quite processed the fact that it's November yet}.

I'm hoping I pull off this month better than the last - and have some fun while I'm at it! What are you all looking forward to about this month?

Covered in Grace
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