Reflecting on 2012

I’m finding it ridiculously hard to believe that it is New Year’s Eve. 2012 was filled with more changes than I’ve ever experienced before in one year. If you would’ve asked me where I’d be or how I’d feel at this moment a year ago, I would have no idea. I was a college senior about to embark on my student teaching experience, trying to make the most of my time with my friends all the while struggling with the notion that everything was about to change. And I was right. It did and it has.

My mom once told me that ages 22 and 23 were her hardest and most difficult years of her life. And so far, I think I am on the same path. Being a twentysomething is so up-in-the-air, so undefined, so uncertain. And that is a difficult situation to face as a planner and organizer and when you’ve spent a good chunk of your life doing the same thing (i.e. going to school).

And now . . . I’m a teacher. At a high school. Teaching seniors. Living three hours away.

Wha…? How did I get here?

Every time I come back home, I get settled in and I think I just woke up from a very long dream. In the beginning, I felt like I was waking up from a nightmare. These days, it’s more of a long and restless dream. Being home for an extended time this holiday has made it even more unbelievable that I have a life three hours away, waiting for me in a cold (and not-entirely-clean) apartment, ready for me to pick up where I left off.

I’m not sure I’m ready. I don’t think I ever would be, I suppose. I had all of these notions and ideas that I would get so much accomplished this break and that I could come back and tackle the second half of this year. But as I secretly suspected, not many of those items got checked off. Isn’t that always the case?

But I don’t think I should return without recognizing where I’ve been and how far I’ve come this past year.

2012 collage


2012 didn’t start off on the right foot at all. New Year’s Eve didn’t quite go according to plan and I got in a horrific car accident quickly after (more on this later). But I returned to school for recruitment (my FAVORITE!) and then started my student teaching. I was nervous, of course, but I felt a sense of confidence that I was in the right place at the right time.


I had the wonderful opportunity to present my senior capstone (aptly titled, “The Modern Austen.” You can read more about that in my introductory post here) at the undergraduate literary conference at Susquehanna University with a few of my English major friends and had a great time. It felt so good to finally reap the benefits of the hard work I had dedicated to capstone.


I started off the month perfectly with a wonderful weekend trip to Splash Lagoon with three amazing sisters. I attended my first job fair and really started my job search. While my job didn’t come from this fair, I networked with someone who may be very instrumental in my future.


Over spring break, I pulled out the sewing machine for the first time since middle school home ec. I was inspired by Sweet Verbena’s blog (if you haven’t visited yet, DO IT!) and made some simple pencil cases. From that point on, the crafting bug hasn’t left me! I also started applying for big-girl jobs. I made it through my last Greek Week, which couldn’t have been more perfect, especially since it ended with a Sing n Swing WIN for my Kappa Delta ladies :)


I packed as many memories as I could into my last remaining weeks and graduated from Westminster College Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. in English and a minor in Education! By the end of the month, I started The Modern Austen, a humble WordPress site with only a few posts and a lot of hope. I can’t believe how far it has come!


I was fortunate enough to go on vacation with Aaron and my parents to my Uncle’s house in Virginia Beach. We had a very relaxing and enjoyable trip, albeit short! I went to a wonderful wedding with Ali, started my summer job at a day camp, and had my first and only interview. I received the job offer on the way home and proceeded to bawl my eyes out. I was SO not ready, but I knew it was the right step to take!


Mostly I just enjoyed the summer as best as I could, went to a second wedding with Ali, and finally turned 22. Then I’m pretty sure I live tweeted the entire Olympics. #sorryimnotsorry (Yep, I just hashtagged in a blog post.)


I had my first taste of my new job when I attended three days of Springboard training, finished up my summer job with “A Night at Hogwarts,” packed my life away into boxes, and made the biggest change of my life. The first few weeks of my new life were..well…rough.


I wrote a post titled “Expectations vs. Reality” that really described the slap of reality I faced after my first week of teaching. Needless to say, things were not how I had expected, consciously or not. My family and friends were so incredibly supportive of me, no matter how depressed or upset I was, and with their help I was able to gain some strength. I distracted myself with crafting and blogging so I wouldn’t be so lonely and sad. The great thing I was able to take away from it all was that I would only grow from this experience and that by the end of the school year, I would be a much stronger, better, and more effective teacher and person.


School started to get better and I enjoyed Homecoming, football and soccer games, and working with my department. I made the first step toward getting involved in my Kappa Delta Alumni chapter and started to establish myself more in the community. I had a record THREE trick-or-treaters on Halloween!


I voted for the second time in my life and already could tell how much more it has an impact on my life and my future. Additionally, I faced what all teachers fear most: the unfortunate loss of a student much too young. Just a few days later, I lost my Grandpa; being with my family during that time and at Thanksgiving was truly a blessing.


I think making it to this holiday break has been an accomplishment in my eyes. I feel like I’ve made a name for myself at school by this point, even if I don’t feel like I’ve been the teacher I want to be. But that’s okay. I’ve made progress, I don’t cry every other day anymore, I have some great students who remind me why I teach, and I have been able to make a long-distance relationship work. I celebrated four years of dating Aaron and just had a great Christmas with my family.


Most years I am sad to see the year go, but not this time. I am ready for 2012 to be over, but I still have my apprehensions about 2013. Tomorrow (January 1, 2013!), I will post my 13 resolutions for 2013 and my thoughts about the upcoming year, so be sure to stop by and check that out because I want to hear yours, too!

I hope you all had an amazing year; even if you didn’t, I hope you can take many lessons and memories away and take the steps toward a better year. I am grateful for all of the opportunities I’ve been given this year and I know that it has made me a stronger person already. I sincerely hope you all can say the very same. I am so blessed to have found some wonderful blog friends these past seven months! Happy New Year, everyone! What are your plans tonight??

My Christmas Present to Myself!

After selling my soul, I am now the proud owner of a Canon Rebel T3i DSLR camera!!!

I am thrilled with my new camera, even if I have a LOT to learn. If you have any tips or lessons for me, let me know and I will gladly check it out! I am hoping that this will be a really great investment and that I will see the benefits for years to come.

To demonstrate the loveliness of this camera, here’s a collage of my Christmas (even though I got it after Christmas day!).

Christmas Collage

As you can see, we’re a pretty “traditional” family when it comes to Christmas decor. We LOVE red, gold, green, and silver. Last year, I blew up some very special Christmas photos of my parents and my brother and I from the past, put them in different frames, and gave them to my parents as a gift. They found a home at the base of our Christmas tree and it is now our new little tradition.

Only a few more days of winter break :( I am dreading going back to school! I know that sounds terrible, but it’s true. I have a stack of papers to grade and then a lot more coming my way when we go back. I have really enjoyed being home with my family, even if it has gone by so quickly.

What have you been up to this break? Have you been capturing the moments with your camera? What are your plans for New Year’s Eve?

Five Snowflake Tutorials for Sandy Hook

snowflakes for sandy hook


Have you been making Snowflakes for Sandy Hook? They’re taking donations until January 12th! Click the picture above for more information.

Between the many years between elementary school and now, many of us have forgotten how to cut perfect snowflakes or our snowflake-cutting skills are a little rusty.

Why not check out these awesome tutorials via Pinterest?

Continue reading Five Snowflake Tutorials for Sandy Hook

Christmas Wrap-Up 2012

Merry Christmas, everyone :) I hope you all had a wonderful holiday spent with family and friends! Check out my digital greeting card here, if you haven’t seen it yet!

Christmas comes and goes so quickly, doesn’t it? It seems like there is so much build-up to one day and then it’s all over! Then we think, Wow, we have to wait 365 more days until this happens again. So sad in a way . . . but it’s also a good reminder to find the joy and spirit of the holiday season in our everyday lives.

So what have I been up to this holiday season?

Christmas Wrap-Up

  1. I received a St. Nicholas Day surprise in the mail from my parents and this truly kicked off my holiday season!
  2. I teamed up with No nonsense to incorporate tights and leggings into my winter wardrobe and wore some holiday work wear to school.
  3. I put together these inexpensive gifts for my students for Christmas. They were a huge hit!
  4. I am so proud of the holiday crafts I was able to complete, even despite how crazy busy it has been at work recently. I started by sewing this easy reversible table runner for my family, whipped up two book page picture frames as gifts, and finally made this “alternative ugly christmas sweatshirt.

In addition to what I’ve shared on the blog, I’ve been able to spend some quality time with Aaron (we finally celebrated our four-year dating anniversary!) and my wonderful family. This break is FLYING by faster than I can believe, but I think it has been great so far.

For Christmas, I received a few of the items on my Christmas Wish List, such as a gorgeous Lands End white button-down blouse, storage for my various spools of thread, and a workout band for my iPhone. I was also blessed with some great jewelry, kitchen supplies, and English teacher-y goods. It was great fun to watch my parents and my aunt open their gifts and to share the day with some of my extended family members. My brother, sadly, was not with us this Christmas day, but I can’t wait to exchange with him and his girlfriend soon!

My Christmas isn’t totally over just yet–I am meeting up with one of my best friends, Shannon and we’re still celebrating with both sides of the family near the end of this week. Here’s to hoping it doesn’t go by in a blink!

How did you spend your Christmas? What was your favorite gifts to give and receive? Were you trapped in by the snow storm?