Tuesday, March 28, 2017

#MeetTheShaneyfelts: The Proposal

I started blogging a few months after Dustin and I married, so I never got to blog about our engagement or all of the festivities surrounding our wedding.  Our engagement took me by surprise (kind of) and so if I would have had any clue about it, I would have worn a different outfit haha!

To give you a bit of history, Dustin was still living and working in southern Mississippi by the time our relationship got serious and we were ready to take the next step.  Because of his job field in wildlife science, jobs in this area weren't readily available.  We I had had lots of talks about getting engaged, and I offered to move to MS after we married to teach there (but inside praying he would say no), and he told me to keep my job since it was in such a great school system (hallelujah!) and that he wanted to move back home anyway because all of our friends and family are still in this area.

I'll never forget the date of our engagement.  It was June 15 and I had texted my old college minister the news of Kim Kardashian's daughter, North, being born, and I was going to tell Dustin whenever he got back into town from attending a men's conference with his church.  #noshameinmyloveforkim

I was expecting to get engaged that summer, but I just knew it wouldn't happen on Father's Day weekend for 2 reasons:  Dustin was gone Friday night and most of Saturday.  And Sunday was Father's Day so I knew we'd be apart spending the day with our dad's.  Plus, since he still lived in MS, he'd be driving back down there Sunday evening.  I told myself that there was no way he would propose because I would assume he'd want to spend the majority of the weekend with me.  Apparently not.

But one thing did kind of tip me off to something....that Friday night I spent the night with my friend Lindsey and her little girl because her husband was with Dustin at the men's conference.  So when I got home to my parent's house that morning, my mom had steamed a dress for me.  Umm what?!  She never did stuff like that!  I had been texting with Dustin that morning to confirm our date plans that night after his nephew's birthday, and he said we weren't going anywhere fancy, so I told my mom that I was just wearing shorts and a tank.  Not that dress.  Then my mom and my sister came into my room to talk me into wearing the dress.  If you know me, you know I like dressing up and it doesn't bother me to be overdressed somewhere, so it made sense that I wear the dress.

Fast forward a few hours, Dustin got to his nephew's birthday party late and we ended up leaving it (after he finished watching some baseball game which caused us to be behind schedule 😡) and ran to his parents' for him to change clothes.  He came out of the house on the phone to his mom talking to her about her cell phone that she lost.  He told me that she said she was down by the pond earlier that day and must have lost it there.  (Side note: Dustin's parents, brother, and Dustin all have tracts of land next to one another...the pond was on Dustin's land.)

He wanted me to go with him to look for it.  I told him no, that'd I'd wait on him at the house because I had on a dress.  Then he told me that we'd drive out that way so I had to come with him.  When we got to the pond, I told him I'd just wait in the truck (since I had on a dress) and he could look.  Looking back at this, I know he was probably sweating since I wasn't following his plan haha!  He said we'd find the phone faster if both of us were looking, so after getting out of the truck, I told him it'd be better if we split up around the pond.  

That's when he moved me to a certain spot and then told me a bunch of sweet stuff that I don't remember before he got down on one knee!
He had set up a game camera to capture the proposal since he knew I didn't want people hiding out taking pictures.  I'm checking out my ring above and the donkey wants in on the action, too!!

Dustin chose to propose on his land because we'll build a house there someday and he knew we'd want that memory 😍

After he proposed, I knew I'd call my mom and then assumed we'd still go out to eat.  (I was really hungry at this point!)  Then he told me that we needed to go tell my mom in person.  My mom and step-dad's house was 30 minutes out of the way, so I was complaining about being late to eat.  As we topped the hill to their house, I saw a ton of cars and instantly knew that he had planned an engagement party!!  He told all of our friends that they were there for a different reason so none of them knew we had gotten engaged.  It was so fun to be able to surprise everyone there that night!!

He had us a cookie cake to celebrate since he knows cookie cake is my absolute favorite!

And I pulled this off FB from my bff's page--little did she know that she would be engaged less than a year later!!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Weekend Recap!

This weekend was one of the best weekends I've had in a while!  Dustin was off work all weekend and we spent the whole weekend together.  Today now kicks off the first official day of spring break although I've been treating this weekend like it was spring break haha!  Here's to the whole week creeping by slowly, right?! 

 I love that when Dustin is off work during the week he can run things to me at school.  Friday I basically felt like I was 13 and having a 13 year old crisis--I had a pimple on the end of my nose.  I'm not one of those girls who carries make up with me--no powder or anything--so it was a real emergency and Dustin brought me my make up bag.  I asked him to throw my foundation in the bag and I opened it to find my beauty blender....he thought I needed it, too 😊

 That night we went on a date night to Old Black Bear.  I know my burger looks burnt and gross but it was great.  It was the salmon blt, and I ended up having to eat the salmon with a fork because it kept falling apart on the bun.  I wouldn't order this again but only because it was so messy.  Next time I'll just have the cedar plank grilled salmon!

 I forget what Dustin's burger was called but it had pimento cheese and fried onions on top--he loved it.

 And then he told me he was going to take me to Sephora to get more dry shampoo.  #myhusbandisthebest

Saturday morning we went to the gym together, I grocery shopped, and then we just hung out at the house together.  Literally the perfect day.
 We had watched The Pioneer Woman together earlier that morning, so I decided to saute my chicken like Ree did on one of her episodes--YUM!!

 And then I got the itch to bake so I made chocolate and peanut butter boiled oatmeal cookies--a southern staple.


I had registered for a cooking class at Sur La Table with my bff Janie last week, and we chose the healthy Mexican cookie class.  We got to SLT about 30 minutes before our class and the store was relatively empty.  We joked about being the only people in the cooking class but that was about it.  Then it turned out that we were the only people in the class and you know what?!  It was the best class ever!  It was like we had our own private class and one on one attention with the chef.  Simply put--it was amazing...the class and the food!  So if you're looking for a more private cooking class at SLT?  Sign up for the Sunday night class!
 Our first assignment:  prepping our pineapple lime sorbet.  Oh my gosh my mouth is watering just typing that.  Best frozen dessert I've ever had in my life.

And then since we were the only ones in the class, we prepared everything meaning there was zero time for pictures of us in action.

Finished product!
 Jicama and orange salad with a cumin vinaigrette we made.  The bottom food item is a sope (Mexican corn cake) topped with refried black beans and poached chicken tossed in tomatillo sauce and then topped with avocado slices, cilantro, and cojita cheese.  Do I sound really fancy?! 😂😂  I told Dustin to watch out because I would be making that jicama salad tonight for dinner!

 Too legit to quit

 Our dessert sorbet.  Seriously so obsessed with this that I need a sorbet maker asap.  Also pineapple and lime is now my favorite combination.

We had the best time cooking together again 😀

Linking up with Biana

Friday, March 24, 2017

Friday Favorites!

Today is literally my FAVORITE because spring break starts at 3 PM!!!!!! 🙌🙌  Let's just say we all need spring break at the junior high, and I'm hoping everyone comes back to school well rested after their week long break 😊

On Tuesday my sister, mom, and I went to Birmingham and it turned out to be the prettiest weather!

 My sister came to pick me up, and of course, we showed up in similar outfits--white jeans with blue tops.

 Mom got to sit in the back since I was the navigator while Rachel drove--we had such a great time!

 We ate lunch at the neatest place, Pizitz Food Hall.  If you are close to Birmingham, you must go there!!

 But sadly, their debit card machine had a major glitch and I ended up paying triple for our sandwiches 🙈  Still trying to figure out how to get my money back since it's a really weird computer error.  The owner has been super nice--which has made it so much better to deal with!

 And when you're in the same city as your best friend, then you have to eat lunch together.  I told y'all the weather was the best, so we took advantage and ate outside.

 Hailey and I took this before working out legs and abs--we weren't smiling after haha!

 Lately, I've been listening to lots of Alabama Shakes on Pandora.  It's my favorite station right now and always fun to listen to while I'm cooking.

And Hailey got me the cutest tea towel for my kitchen!  I love that it goes with my house and the spring decor I have out right now!

Linking up with Erika, April, and Amanda

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Easter Dress Inspiration

The past two Easters, we have participated in Forget the Frock and have worn t-shirts to church on Easter.  I wholeheartedly believe in and support the FTF cause, but I have missed the tradition of wearing a dress on Easter Sunday.  This year Dustin works, and so I am reverting back to wearing an Easter dress.  Since Easter is so late this year, I'm really excited to wear a cute dress because I'm fully expecting warm weather (and watch it snow on Easter haha).

I'm going shopping next week during spring break to look for a dress, and I've found a couple of inspiration photos + some I would really like to own (cough, cough Dustin 😊)

 This dress screams spring to me and it's also school appropriate.  That's a win-win in my book.

 This dress is inspiration only because it is mega expensive!!!  I love the eyelet lace and the pastel blue--perfect for Easter!

 I love the lavender color of this dress, but it's not school appropriate (I'm not a fan of cardigans) and it's midi length and that's not super flattering on me.

I'm pretty much 100% obsessed with this dress.  It may look casual in this photo, but I think wedges and a cute necklace would dress this up enough for Easter.  Then I can wear it to school!! 🙌🙌  Can you tell I'm ready for new warm weather dresses that I can wear to school, too?!

Which dress is your favorite?

Linking up with Annie

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Podcasts: To Listen or Not To Listen?

I grew up in a family that played music constantly--either on the radio or on the record player.  And now I'm the same way.  Just last night as I was cooking dinner, I had the Bose bluetooth speaker on and was playing music from Pandora.  

But just recently I've thought about getting into podcasts.  It all started last week after my friend Emily sent me a podcast that I really enjoyed listening to.  I know podcasts are really popular right now, so I thought I'd try to listen to the really popular ones that everyone is raving about.

Here are a few I've listened to already, what I liked or didn't like, and ones I want to listen to.  I also need your suggestions for good ones, too!

Ones I've listened to:

Serial: I know this was such a popular podcast, but I could not get into it.

Stuff You Should Know: I listened to the Alexander Hamilton one (loved it) and the one on quinoa (boring).  I would say this wasn't my favorite either.

Unbuttoned by Yahoo Style: I listened to the podcast about dressing celebrities for award shows and the politics behind it, and I really enjoyed it!  I love fashion anyway, so this was really interesting to me.  I've got one downloaded that features the costume designer from Mad Men, and I was obsessed with watching Mad Men when it was on just for the fashion 😜

John Piper Sermons: I am a huge John Piper fan, so I love listening to his sermons!!  If you want to listen to him, I recommend making sure you can pay attention too because his sermons go in depth.

Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology: Dustin went through a men's study that used Grudem's book.  Then we found out he had a podcast of his class lectures, so I've listened to a few of them so I could feel like I was participating in Dustin's study haha!  These are really interesting and you learn so much--my favorite?  The ones on justification.

What I want to listen to:

The Librarian is In: I've read that this is librarians from the NYC Public Library discussing books.  Should be good, right?

Lady Lovin' by Lo Bosworth: I loved Lo on Laguna Beach and The Hills, so I want to listen to at least one episode.

Are there any I'm missing that are super interesting?

Linking up with Whitney, Lindsay, and Erika

Monday, March 20, 2017

Week Happenings: A Little Life Lately

Hey Friends!  I took a nice blog break last week because last week was super busy, so I'm glad to be back today!  I think that a good blog break every now and then is good 😊

Instead of recapping my weekend, I'm going to recap some of the past week.  

 I've been trying to "clean up" some of our meals around here, so I've been screenshotting recipes left and right.  Clean Food Crush is my favorite IG to follow for clean eating because her recipes are the easiest.  This is one that I'm hoping to make soon.

 Last week was rough and this was my attitude all week.  Unfortunately, I still have to go to school all this week, and then our spring break is next week!

 The weather last week was insane--it had been hot and then it dropped to freezing temperatures.  So I decided that if it were going to be freezing temperatures, then it was okay to watch Home Alone 2 on TV.

My sister is a part-time photographer and did a mini-shoot yesterday at a local peach farm.  I showed up at the very end of her last session to shoot a few pictures of my sister for her to use on her website.  Don't I look so professional?!? 😂😂

Last night we ate at Cracker Barrel with my sister and her husband.  I couldn't resist taking a picture of this cutie at the checkout 😍

Linking up with Biana

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

I'm Still Here!

Happy Wednesday, friends!

This week has been an unintentional blog break (aka a crazy busy week), so I hope to be back Friday for a Friday Favorites post.  If not, I'll see you back next week for sure!

It's freezing here in Alabama, so I hope you're warm wherever you are!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Friday Favorites!

Happy Friday!  I'm eagerly counting down the days to our spring break and there's only 2 more Fridays--so I'm repeating "I think I can; I think I can; I think I can" until that happens!

I'm sharing some of my FAVORITE things today!

 I received a fun little surprise in the mail recently that was a total surprise!  This is the cutest little book to flip through and read, and as usual, Shay's photographs in this cookbook are amazing.  Pre-order yours now on Amazon--even if you're like me and don't have any kids yet, you'll love cooking out of this cookbook!

 Avocado toast is still an obsession.  I snapped this photo to send to my mom to show her how to make avocado toast.  That particular day I opted to eat a half of an avocado on a slice of Ezekiel bread because my avocado was ruining fast.  Does anyone know how to make avocados last longer?!  How do they keep them so beautiful in restaurants?!?!

(nail color)
Started and finished this book this week!  I can't wait to review it on my March reads post at the end of the month.  It was a fast and easy read but really good, too.

I wrote about my favorite self tanner earlier this week.  I love it so much and it's so easy to put on.  I talked one of my friends into ordering a bottle (I don't even sell it either haha) so I can't wait to see what she says about it!

A few other FAVORITES this week:
-this article on southern hospitality
-old-fashioned baby girl names (I'm a sucker for baby names)
-I pulled this prank on Dustin this week and I've never laughed harder when he fell for it
-I want to buy this wand for my hair when it grows out a little longer
-this dry shampoo is my favorite ever!!

Linking up with Erika, April, Heather, and Amanda

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Sense of Sarah: My Favorite Self-Tanner + How to Use It

It's getting to be that time of year where some days the temperature is nice enough to wear a shorter dress or short sleeve tops.  For most of us, we're probably really pasty and pale, too.

That was definitely me last month.  February had some warmer temperatures for Alabama (like 76 degrees), and so while I want to break out the spring dress with sandals for school, I also don't want to scare anyone with extremely pasty skin.  And if you're like me, you stay as far as you can from the tanning bed.

I've always relied on laying out in the summer (with sunscreen on) to develop a really nice tan, and then that tan usually fades over the colder months.  This doesn't help me when it's March and I'm able to break out the spring clothes.

I've never really been interested in using self tanner because of the gross smell until I tried the self tanner from Rodan + Fields when they were running a special last year.  I decided to try it since it was only $25 and I knew Rodan + Fields had a really good reputation.  (This is in no way a sponsored post although that would be really great if it were ha!) Plus, I knew that if I had some crazy allergic reaction to this stuff (it's happened before to tanning stuff) then I could return it, so it really was risk-free.

My only issue with the self tanner was the way everyone (and I mean, I did my research online) was telling me how to apply it.  They all said to apply it at night before you go to bed, sleep in a long sleeve shirt, pants, and socks, and then your color will be developed by the time you wake up the next morning.  Only I cannot sleep in all of that.  So I decided to try applying one morning before school and it was great--I didn't smell that weird tanning smell and my tan was developed by that evening.  I just showered it off before going to bed that night, and the color did not transfer to my clothes.

Below I'm giving the tips I've found to be the most helpful for me when using the R+F self tanner in order to achieve a natural coloring:

Before Applying:  Shower in the morning using an exfoliating shower gel.  Make sure your knees, ankles, and elbows are exfoliated well.  Apply a thick, creamy lotion (I use Jergens) to your knees and behind them, your elbows and your elbow bend, and your ankles.

Legs:  Use two pumps for one leg.  Rub into your leg evenly, but do not rub onto your foot--that comes later.  Make sure you get every bit of your leg.  Wash your hands after applying to your legs.

Arms: Use two pumps and divide evenly in both hands.  This will be enough for each arm.  Rub evenly into your arms and up onto your shoulder.  Don't forget to get your armpit.  Rub all the way onto your wrists, but don't rub on your hands yet.

Torso: Use two pumps for your whole front torso.  Make sure you get around your collarbone evenly.  Wash your hands after this.

Back:  Get your husband to do your back haha!

Face: Use almost one pump (or use a whole pump) for your face and neck.  Make sure you rub into your hairline and onto your ears.  Wash your hands.

Hands + Feet: For each hand and foot, rub a little lotion on your knuckles.  Then use one cotton round with a very small pump of self tanner and rub evenly on each hand and foot.  I use one cotton round for both hands and then one for both feet.  Make sure you rub on top of your fingers and toes and the side of your feet--basically getting everywhere sun would hit.

You're supposed to give yourself 15 minutes to dry completely and for it to soak into your skin before you put on clothes.  I apply it right after I get out of the shower and I've never had any transfer of color onto my clothes when I finally get dressed for school.

If you don't have someone to buy the self tanner from, contact me and I'll give you the info for my girl!

To see my other Sense of Sarah posts, click here.

Linking up with Jenn and Shelly

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake Bar

Last month when my women's ministry put on a coffee house night, we were asked to bring cookies, too.  Because I had to get to church early to help set up, I knew I wanted an easy cookie recipe, but that I also didn't want to end up baking the pre-cut cookies.  I wanted something semi-homemade.  

I remembered a recipe I had for some cake bars, and I altered it a little to fit my taste.  They were wonderful!  I easily doubled this to make enough cookies for our ministry event.  The next time you need a quick dessert and don't have a lot of time (or ingredients) whip these up and you won't be disappointed!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake Bar

1 box yellow cake mix (or white)
6 TBS melted butter
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 - 3/4 cup chocolate chips (depending on how chocolatey you like them!)

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease your 9x13 pan and set aside.
3. Mix together cake mix, melted butter, and beaten eggs.
4. Stir in chocolate chips.
5. Press evenly into pan and bake for 20 minutes.

I promise these cookies are so good that you will have to restrain yourself from eating them all!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Friday Favorites!

Happy Friday, friends!  It's nice to see the sunshine again after the scary weather we had on Wednesday.  We and surrounding school systems dismissed early on Wednesday for the potential bad weather.  Thankfully there weren't any tornados, but there were extreme winds and hail.  Even if the high is 55 today, at least the sun is shining!

Today I'm sharing some of my FAVORITE things with you!

Southern Living magazine is my FAVORITE magazine to read, and it came in the mail Saturday.  I snacked on a Kind bar while reading.  Oh, and that nail polish is my new FAVORITE, so don't judge when I wear it all the time!

my exact watch (I bought the cocoa band to go with my watch)
 I am still loving my Apple Watch 2, and I'm really thankful that Dustin surprised me with it this Christmas.  Since my teacher partner and I have been working out together, workouts are much more enjoyable and fun.  Monday we did legs and abs, and let me tell you, we were drenched in sweat by the time we left the gym.  In case you don't know how to read the numbers (it took me a while to even remember what they meant ha), the red is the number of calories I burned that day, the green is the minutes of exercise I had that day, and the blue deals with my standing.  Needless to say, Monday's workout was a FAVORITE and it put me in bed at 8 that night 😂😂😂

 Earlier this week, D and I went to a local Mexican restaurant so I could order my FAVORITE thing--a chicken taco!  Literally cost $1.99.

 I talked about this on my IG story (@saraheshaneyfelt) this week, but when my husband won't be home for supper, I eat whatever I want.  Wednesday night he was watching basketball so I had a veggie pizza from Subway.  Yes, they sell them and they are good!

 Avocado toast = a forever FAVORITE!  I toast a slice of Ezekiel sprouted grain bread and mash up 1/4 of an avocado and sprinkle with pink Himalayan salt and pepper.  Yesterday my last avocado was ruining fast, so I ended up mashing 1/2 of an avocado on my slice of toast.  (Tip: It's healthy to eat 1/2 of an avocado daily, but don't eat more than that because of the fat content.  It's good fat, but good in moderation!!)

Last night Dustin and I went to the local baseball fields to watch some of my students play against some of my students from last year.  I LOVE baseball!  Watching their game last night made me miss my softball playing days.

Linking up with Erika, April, Heather, and Amanda

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Balancing Work and Home Life

My mom is an elementary teacher, and growing up, I remember her working on school work many, many times at home.  I used to help grade her papers, and I remember parents calling our home frequently and at night.  It bothered me that parents would call late at night and interrupt family time.  Naturally, I said I would never be a teacher.

Fast forward 15-20 years and I'm a seventh grade English teacher. 😜  

When I first became a teacher six years ago, I used to bring papers home to grade or work on new lessons.  I even did that when Dustin and I first got married.  Then I started grad school...

Grad school changed my life--literally.  I fit a two year degree into one year, so I basically didn't have a life during that year.  My hours at school were reserved for work, and once I got home, that became school work along with any chores at home that needed to be done. Gone were the days of bringing papers home to grade or lessons home to create.

After grad school was over, I decided to keep that model.  What doesn't get done at school can get done the next day, and I reserve my afternoons and evenings at home for my time--spending time with Dustin, cooking, cleaning, serving in ministries at church, spending time with friends/family, etc.  (The exception to this would be when we prepare for our state standardized writing test--then I bring essays home)  Grad school taught me that if work doesn't get done at school, I can do it later and to enjoy my afternoons and evenings.  Any emails received after I get home from school get answered the next day when I'm at school. 

I realize that I am a wife first and a teacher second.  I'm thankful to have a husband who supports me in my job and believes in me, and I want to be able to serve him well at home.  Balance is key, and I'm always reevaluating to make sure my priorities are in check.

How do you balance work and home life?

Linking up with Jenn, Shay, and Shelly