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Luau Party Inspiration

How in the world is it time for us to think about this crazy baby's first birthday?

To Move or Not to Move?

Landon and I have been pondering our housing situation for awhile now. Should we move or should we stay? And if we move, where would we like to go?

Let's talk this out.

Pinterest Fail Friday: White Chicken Enchiladas

Cheese, chicken, and chiles?

Sounds like a recipe for an awesome Mexican-themed night around here!

I found this recipe on Pinterest and was drawn in by the picture. (I should learn by now that I should never judge a recipe by its picture. Oh, the dark paths I've been led down thanks to some good food photography.)

Disney World Bound: Our 2014 Pre-Trip Planning

I love Disney World.

I love the rides.

I love the shows.

I love the parades, and I'm totally that person that's waiting on the sidewalk a good 45 minutes before the thing even starts.

Call me weird, but I even love the way the buses smell. I know I'm smelling diesel fuel exhaust, but something about it just screams VACATION! to me.

A Good Day: A Blog Linkup

It's my first ever blog linkup! Oh my gosh, I feel like I'm super awesome. :) See the bottom of the post for the link up. 

2nd Sunday on King

2nd Sunday on King

Every month, the City of Charleston closes down most of lower King Street and makes it pedestrians-only. King Street is one of the major shopping streets on the Charleston peninsula, and it's a fun area normally--but when there are musicians playing in the street, al fresco dining, and people parading their dogs around, it's down right awesome.

Secrets of a College Professor

In my early twenties, I tried to be a professional student. When I realized that didn't pay too well (i.e. not at all), I decided that it might be fun to be on the other side of the lecture podium. That decision led me to get my M.A. in Literature and then into a career in academics.

I loved being an English professor, but it was so odd being an authority figure to students that were sometimes only a year or two younger than I was. When I first started teaching, I actually had a seventh-year senior that was older than I was.

Becoming a teacher taught me so many things that I wish I'd known years ago. So, what's really going on with college professors? Let me pull back the curtain to let you peek into those ivory towers:

Sorry if we don't think your emergency is as important as you do. 
I often taught 100+ students during a semester, and it got old hearing excuses as to why my students weren't in class/ couldn't finish their assignments/ slept through the final exam. Yes, there are often very valid reasons why you may have to miss class, but most of the time, I know that you weren't there because you were hung over or because you would rather go on a road trip with your friends.

The deaths of grandparents got to be such an epidemic that I started to require copies of obituaries for delayed submission of assignments. It was amazing how quickly all of those grandparents' health improved after I implemented that rule in my classes.

No matter how clever you think you are, we know when you didn't start your work until an hour before it was due. 
Yes, I know that college requires many decisions when it comes to time management--and I also know that students often make the wrong choices on how to spend their time. If I had a dime for every time I heard "I do my best work the day the assignment is due," I wouldn't ever have to go back into the classroom because I'd be a very rich woman.

You might be able to cobble together something legible in an hour or two, but the best, most thoughtful papers were clearly done ahead of time. It may be different in other disciplines, but in Literature classes, it's glaringly obvious when your research consists solely of two sources--one of which is Wikipedia.

The thesis statement is also a huge giveaway. My favorite thesis: some version of "These two characters are the same, but they're kind of different, too." O RLY? EVERYTHING ON THIS EARTH IS KIND OF THE SAME, BUT KIND OF DIFFERENT. I.e. The sun and an apple are kind of the same (they're both made of carbon) but they are kind of different in that one is giant and the other is small.

C and D papers can be written the day before the assignment is due; an A paper has to be started long before that.

We procrastinate, too. 
When I was in grad school, and teaching and taking classes all at the same time, I would routinely work 70 or 80 hours a week. It's no wonder than my grading and lesson planning often fell pretty low on the totem pole. As a post-graduation teacher, I didn't have classes to take, but I did have multiple classes, committee meetings, staff meetings, and lesson plans to balance. I can't tell you the number of times that I've burnt the midnight oil trying to make meaningful comments on my students' papers so that I could return them to my students in a timely manner.

We hate it when a student pretends to know everything
I could spot those "know-it-all" students from the moment that they walked in--the ones that wouldn't believe a thing that came out of my mouth because they knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I was just full of hot air. They would goof off in class, try to argue ridiculous points in discussions, and rant during my office hours when I challenged them on their assignment deadlines.

Teachers aren't perfect, of course, and there were many, many questions for which I didn't have the answers. I was never shy about what I did and didn't know, but there were always those students who would try to belittle me for not knowing something.

Those students totally get gossiped about in the faculty lounge.

And yes, we do gossip about our students.
While we didn't share names, fellow teachers and I have definitely giggled about ridiculous things that students have said or written. Especially when you're a young teacher, it helps to hear what others might have done in the same situations...like when one of my teaching peers found out that her student (who'd been missing from class for a week) had been absent due to being arrested and detained for being a suspect in a violent crime against another student. He was out on bail, but ultimately was found guilty and put in jail later that semester. Eek.

Don't tell us that our class isn't as important as another of yours. 
If the university didn't think it was important, you wouldn't be assigned to take it. I don't care if you're an engineering major, a biochem major, a history major, or an agriculture major, you're going to need to be able to write halfway clearly. Most college professors go into their field because they love it (seriously, we're just a bunch of geeks), and the last thing we want to hear is that your major is soooo much cooler than our chosen field.

We love what we teach, even if the actual teaching can be wearisome.
I could talk about British literature for days. Seriously. I didn't spend two years of my life taking additional classes on the subject because I had a passing interest.

That is why I went into teaching--sharing what I love with others. However, my students often just saw my class (and the rest of their college classes) as something to endure so they could get out of college and get a job. Every once in a while, I'd have a group of students who would engage during class, and those were the moments that I waited for each semester. It didn't matter if they were English majors (often, they weren't) but they were focused for the hours they were in my class, and I believe they discovered something about the texts (and possibly about themselves) we were studying.

We aren't the enemy
When I told my students that I was there to help them, I wasn't kidding. Office hours are not there for my own personal gain (though, I won't lie, I often used them as catch-up time on the English department gossip); they're there for me to help my students.

I'd occasionally have students drop by, but that was rare. I hated when a student came to me during the next-to-last office hours of the semester and told me that he or she had been lost since the first class. There's not too much I could at that point, and the student's final grade would reflect that. Take advantage of your teachers' office hours. Speak up. Get to know them. You'll be surprised what you can learn.


What do you wish you'd know in college? What do you wish you'd asked your college professors?

How to Save Money on Your Trip to Scotland

How to Save Money on Your Trip to Scotland | CosmosMariners.com

I love to travel. And I've had the opportunity to see some amazing places and meet some amazing people.

But one of my absolutely favorite trips was with my husband to Scotland in 2011. I'd wanted to visit the country way back when I was studying abroad in London in 2005; I had a weekend trip planned for Edinburgh, but the 7/7 bombings happened, and I didn't feel comfortable traveling that close to the terrorist attack. 

Landon was game to head to the UK on our first big trans-Atlantic trip, so we started planning where we'd like to go and what we had to see.

9 Months of Awesomeness

It's that time again--when, every 30 days, I get to wax poetic about my daughter, who clearly is becoming more adorable, brilliant, and perfect with every passing day.

And by "perfect," I mean, "more capable of propelling herself face first into the dog food, and then screaming like I'm the world's worst parent when I won't let her eat it."

10 Fun Facts About Me

fun blog post ideas

It's a slow news day around our house. So, instead of my amazing insights on life (or a Pinterest Fail Friday, which I just can't seem to get interested in today), you get 10 fun facts about your favorite blogger. (I know, I know--you've been waiting all week! Ha.)

Behind the Blog: What's in a Name?

Naming a blog is really hard.

Much like naming a baby, you have to pick something that will stand the test of time.

Brookgreen Gardens

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Since we didn't do too much for Valentine's Day, Landon and I thought it would be fun to take a little roadtrip sans baby.

We haven't had a day all alone since Britton was born last summer, so we figured it was high time for us to have some time together. After Landon found a Groupon to Brookgreen Gardens, we found a day that would work for us and our babysitters (i.e. my parents). We also wanted a pretty day to explore the Gardens (which are completely outside. Imagine that--an outdoor garden!), so we waited until there was a nice day.