Hi everyone- thanks for all your great questions! I'm really looking forward to answering all 40 of them...and I'll be putting them in 4 separate entries over the course of the next couple of weeks.
First question, from Lindsay-
What was the first one you had done and which is your favorite and what's the meaning behind it?
My first tattoo was the Vonnegut piece on my back. I'm a total bookworm, and I've always loved the book "Slaughterhouse Five," by Kurt Vonnegut. This is a quote from one of the drawings in the book.
My favorite tattoo always changes. For the past few years I've steadily added to my collection and as I add new ones my favorite usually becomes that one. One of my most recent is my nesting doll- I love it! There's not much of a story behind it outside of the fact that I adore all things Russian doll!
Question two, from an anonymous commenter:
I was wondering about your fitness routine! What do you find works best? Do you have any healthy eating tips? I'm curious and would love any suggestions to help me out over the holiday season!
Fitness! This is something I love talking about. Typically I work out about 5-6 days a week, doing at least 45 min of cardio each day and then alternating body parts for lifting. I'll typically do my 45 minutes running outside or on the elliptical or cross-trainer, or I'll mix it up and do something like 15 min running, 15 elliptical, 15 min stair stepper. I also really love to take super long "suburban hikes," which basically is just me "power walking" for hours. That's the kind of exercise I enjoy the most, I could walk for days. I also like to supplement with P90X dvds, or spin class when it works with my schedule. As far as lifting, this is kind of hard to break down in lots of detail, but I usually will do three days in a row, take a day off, and repeat. Then every so often I try and mix it up and change all my exercises. So for example on Monday I would lift biceps/triceps/shoulders, Tuesday I'd do legs, and Wednesday back/chest. I also alternate abs whenever I remember to do them (I need to do them more often actually). I find that the BEST thing for me is working out in the early morning before work, and even early on the weekends. I love just getting it out of the way and having my whole day to myself. If you follow me on Twitter you'll see that I go late at a lot, and this is just because I get in a cycle of going to bed too late and can't wake up early enough! In terms of food, I naturally gravitate towards really healthy food. I was raised without junk, and my mom is the healthiest eater I know...so from a baby I've always enjoyed healthy, whole, organic foods. My best advice would be not to worry about dieting and diet foods- most of those foods are so full of preservatives and nasty things that it may help you lose weight, but you won't be healthy. I pretty much eat what I want, but typically very healthy foods. We cook a lot and rarely go out to eat, unless it's to eat healthy Thai or Mexican. Coming from a place where I had "disordered eating," I feel my best when I'm not trying to control everything that goes into my mouth. If I want to eat something, I'll usually eat it. But what I really really try to avoid are non-organic veggies or fruits, disgusting meat (the only meat I eat is grass-fed, hormone free, etc- if we're at a restaurant with family I just try and avoid ordering meat at those places), and any overly processed/preservative laden food. So, my best advice is just to focus on HEALTH and eating whole foods. You may consider getting "The Eat-Clean Diet" by Tosca Reno- that book is the best resource, in my opinion. The companion cookbook is awesome as well! I also want to add that I am definitely not stick thin, but I feel like my body is really healthy and that's what matters to me! :) So with that said, I hope this helped a bit. If there's any part you'd like more info on, let me know!
Question three is from Holly Sarah-
1.How do you go about designing your tattoos? Do you do a lot of it yourself, or do you let the tattoo artist come up with something after you describe it to them?
1.1 I have a chest piece design in the works... :) how would you rate the amount of pain, compared to other areas?
2. What is a style goal of yours for 2010?
I've only had two people tattoo me, and I've completely trusted both of their artistic visions. So basically I'll just get an idea in my head and tell them what I want, and they'll just draw it up. For example with my left rib piece, I just told Cory I wanted a gypsy lady with peacock feathers in there somehow. That's it. And from that he drew up that amazing piece and on my body it went. That's how I've done it every time. And hmmm...my chest. I'm trying to remember what it felt like. I would say that it wasn't as bad at my ribs or my inner arm (for some reason this part of my arm was torture). It hurt, but if I remember correctly, it was more just uncomfortable and kind of scary to be tattooed there. You should be a-okay.
As far as style goals, I have one major one that I just started working on. Number one, to build up my shoe collection with quality choices! I typically try to avoid wearing any shoes that give me discomfort in anyway so I'll stick to the same pair of black flats, tan flats, and moccasins. As I'm getting older I need to wear all of the shoes I own, and also expand on that. One other goal that kind of webs off of that would be to continue only buying things that really fit into my wardrobe, rather than silly things I will wear one time. But other than those two (extremely boring) goals, I don't have much else!
Number four, from Carrie:
Where do you shop?
I shop everywhere! I used to get a lot of my things from Forever 21, but although I love so much there, it doesn't last very long. I still shop there quite often, but really, I shop everywhere and anywhere- mall stores, random online places like Modcloth, Tulle, Ruche, etc...but one place I do NOT shop at is a thrift store. I know this is weird, and probably the oddity in a world of girls who love getting cute thrift store finds, but I hate it. I won't even go into one. I feel gross whenever I do. :/
Question five! This one is from DaMora-
Did you always know you wanted to teach?
Definitely not! My mom was a teacher, so I was always around it and loved it...but working in an underpaid profession, she always would tell me that she loved her job but that she didn't think I should choose that for a profession. I went to college and was interested in business or computers, so I went back and forth between those for the first two years. My friend Brian recently reminded me that in high school I would say I wanted to be an "international business woman," whatever that meant! haha. When I was a sophomore or maybe even a junior I decided I wanted to be a lawyer, so I changed my major to English Literature. I'd always been a total English nerd and books are one of my big loves in life, so English Lit. was a perfect fit. I adored every class and had the best time studying something I loved so much. Somewhere along the way though, I realized I didn't want to be a lawyer. When I graduated with my degree I still had no idea what I wanted to do. I moved down to Scottsdale with my best friends, and continued working for Aveda, managing their store at Fashion Square. After realizing I was way too overqualified to work at the mall forever, I applied for a job at a large financial firm, doing copyrighting in their web department. It was a super high paying job, but completely outside of what I ever saw myself doing. Three weeks before my start date I had an epiphany that I wanted to become a high school English teacher! I'm not sure where it came from, but Hank agreed that this seemed like a perfect fit...so I applied to NAU's graduate program and got in very quickly. I was notified of my acceptance into their Masters of English Ed. program the Friday before my job was to start, so it was a very last minute change of plans. Looking back, I am SO happy I chose to do this with my life. Every single day I feel excited about going to work, and I truly LOVE my job. The only thing I don't like is dealing with some of the "other" stuff- paperwork, jumping through hoops, curriculum mapping, etc. But I can't say enough how lucky I feel that my path led me here. I love the schedule (of course) and it's a good feeling to feel like I'm actually making a difference.
getting ready for the school year (with an insane bun haha) :)
Question six, from Emily:
How would you describe yourself when you were in highschool? & do any of your students remind you of yourself at that age?
First of all, I loved high school! It's really funny to look back at this time, even more so being a high school teacher! I used to think I knew it all- that I was invincible and unstoppable. Oh, the beautiful naivety of it all in retrospect. In high school I was really involved- I was always on student council and very athletic. It's kind of awkward listing off accomplishments from a past time, but for the sake of this question I will try and give a broad overview. I was a serious soccer player, going up to play varsity as a 9th grader in junior high and receiving MVP over my four years of playing. I was all-state, all-region, all that good stuff. I also played on a very competitive club team. I would have gone on to play college but tore my ACL the summer of my junior year. Bummer. Looking back though I am so happy that happened because it allowed me to really enjoy college! Outside of sports I was very social...I definitely had a lot of fun. Looking at my 15 and 16 year old students, I am shocked at the things we did or the way we would act at that age- it's insane how young these kids are and how "old" I felt then. I don't want to go too much into the party aspect of it all, but it definitely was in excess and way too wild. Sometimes it's funny to me because all of us are grown up, married with husbands and some with babies, and it seems lifetimes away from those people. However, I am so thankful for those crazy years because it helped me stay pretty grounded in college while everyone else seemed to be getting into all of that stuff later. Don't get me wrong, college was fun too but by that point my "wild" days were behind me, thankfully. And now I'm like a little old lady! ;) High school ended about 10 years ago- I graduated in 2000 from a super large school- we had about 1,000 just in our graduating class. I did all the typical stuff in terms of school involvement- football games, pep rallies...stuff I wouldn't do NOW if it was then, if that makes sense. It's funny how things change, but definitely for the better. At our senior assembly I was awarded two "prestigious" awards- Social Butterfly and Party Animal. YIKES. hahah. I wasn't one to have serious boyfriends, but I did date a lot and hung out with lots of wonderful guys who I considered some of my closest friends outside of my girlfriends. We had so much fun. So yeah, between having fun and sports I was one busy girl. And that was my high school experience! My students always remind me of myself, or of my friends. It's uncanny. And it's not even like one will totally remind me of my total self, but just different parts of me or my friends back then. Soo, now I feel totally ridiculous for listing out my silly "high school" accomplishments but you asked...! So I can only blame you! ;)
Question seven, from Jessica-
Where did Madeline come from? Was she adopted or did you get her from somewhere as a puppy?
We got Madeline from a woman in Mesa, right down the street from my parents' house when she was just a little baby! We adopted her the day we got back from our honeymoon.
Right after we got her, on the way home for the first time!
Question eight- from an anonymous commenter-
Any advice to give young couples? Do you have any favorite stories from your marriage or about your husband?
Oh goodness, yes! If I feel strongly about one thing, it's that we really have a wonderful marriage. I feel lucky. We've been together for a long time, and it's definitely taken some practice. As far as advice, I would say the main key to our happy little union is COMMUNICATION. We talk about everything, we talk constantly- we're like two teenage girls sometimes (haha, I'm sure Hank won't be happy being compared to that!). But seriously, he is my best friend. Outside of our romantic relationship I actually want to spend time with him, hang out with him. I respect him. But without communication we'd be nowhere. You have to get to the point where you can say, "You're really pissing me off" and know it's okay. You also need to try your best to be light-hearted. Nothing is as bad as it seems. We have a lot of laughter in our lives, and even when I'm angry, he can always make me laugh. We put each other first, always. One other thing is that I am pretty emotional- I have a little temper on me but he is really laid-back and has never ever yelled at me. Hank is definitely not a push-over, but he handles his anger through talking things over and being calm and peaceful. And me...well, I wasn't always like that. In the beginning of our relationship I would get angry and not handle it in the best way- saying hurtful things I would regret later, storming out...but he always accepted this about me and helped me get to the point I am now, which is also pretty peaceful and not quick to get angry. So I think it helps when your partner is complementary to your flaws. Another bit of advice would be to spend lots of time together, but also time apart. Because Hank is in a touring band, and always has been (even before we met), we've gotten great practice in this. We even did long distance for the first 11 months. It was just Prescott to Phoenix, but we had to really rely on our writing and talking skills during this time. Even now we spend a lot of alone time, and also time with our separate friends. I always have girl time and he always makes time to hang out with his friends watching sports, or doing art. Spending time away from each other has made us stronger together. And plus, you have to have your own independent interests so you don't lose your identity in the relationship. I have a lot more to say in terms of relationship stuff, but I'll save it for the other questions I have on this topic!
Question nine...from Lauren-
What's your biggest guilty pleasure?
This is easy- it's getting a boxset of a television show and literally watching the whole thing in one sitting. It sounds kind of insane, and often impossible with something like Lost, but I love love love just laying around and watching episode after episode of a great series! Hank loves it too so it's fun to just stay in bed and do that. When we were getting into Lost we watched the entire second season in two days, back when he wasn't working and I was enjoying winter break. It was amazing!
Question ten, asked by Mariah (no link available):
Do you collect anything?
I'm not much of a collector, even though my husband has HUGE collection of Japanese vinyl toys. The only thing I have that would be classified as collecting are Russian dolls! I also guess I could say that I collect pretty dresses- I have TONS. I love dresses more than anything!
Well, that's the first 10! These were totally fun to answer and I appreciate all of you asking them. If you'd like to know anything else, always feel free.
I love you all!