Monday, June 30, 2014

June in Review

June in Review

Since it's the end of June, I decided to do a little June recap since it was my first few weeks of summer break!

June has been kind of a strange month for me. Every year, no matter what goes one, once school ends, I get this kind of exhausted feeling that overcomes me. I think it has to do with the end of school. At the end of the school year, I'm exhausted from work, my migraines, side effects from new migraine medication (this year), etc. I have been sleeping a lot. Then I got a little insomnia. Nothing has changed with my headaches. I don't have a lot of energy. It's just been an all around strange month. I'm hoping that I can get my energy back for July and enjoy the rest of my summer!

Here's what I've been up to in June...


I've taken on many different identities over the last month as according to Starbucks. And also, I have learned that "Holly" isn't as easy as I thought it was to spell. Make sure you really enunciate that "h!"

Bjorn and I have made this simple recipe for dinner a few times this month. We brown a sweet onion with some garlic and olive oil and then throw in some Angus ground beef from Kroger. We then add some red wine, mushrooms, salt, pepper, pasta sauce, and Italian seasoning. Once it is cooked, we throw it over Barilla's new pasta with veggies. We like the rotini with spinach and zucchini. Then we top it with Parmesan cheese. Delicious.

Caprese salad is seriously my favorite thing to eat in the summer! Bjorn and I have been gobbling up tomatoes right now. Since my Grandpa Burns (my mom's dad) passed away, I haven't had any homegrown tomatoes to use in my salad, but it is still delicious! I miss my grandpa's tomatoes, but this salad sure does make me think of him!

I've been working on these goodies! I love vintage brooches and thought about displaying them in pictures frames! The way I've been playing around with the idea hasn't been working, so I bought some new fabric for backing and am trying a few more again with new fabric! I started an Etsy shop (just haven't listed anything yet). I am going to start listing some of my vintage thrifting finds and hopefully these beauties once I get them going! My shop's name on Etsy is Hollyssecondhobby!


Remy has been getting comfy in his new home! Isn't he super cute? He's a sweetheart too! And I don't think we've had a runaway since school got out! That's some amazing progress, but it's mostly because me and Bjorn know now how to keep him from getting out! We've learned all his tricks! ;)

Bjorn and I have been slowly refinishing our hardwood floors by ourselves. Wow it is a lot of work. So far we only have the living room finished. We are working on the dining room this week. Then the two bedrooms are next, and we're done!

We had to get some new tools, which Bjorn liked. 

This is what my bedroom looked like from my side of the bed while we refinished the floors! The dining room and our bedroom were overtaken by living room furniture! 

We have been eating almost once a week at my favorite Mexican restaurant ever! Maragaritas is on Benson street in Reading (by the wedding dress shops). It is sooo good! We love the owner! He is super nice and friendly! We go in to talk to him as much as to eat their food! This is one of my favorites: carnitas tacos. I also love the Pastor torta and the asada torta! So good! Everything's good! And if they have homemade agua fresca or horchata, you have to get some!

My sister, Ashley, lives in Chicago now, so she came to visit in June with her husband, Luke, and my nephew Bernie (he's a St. Bernard!). Here are some pictures of lunch at Nordstrom Cafe.

Me and Rachael

Ashley and Luke

Webster (my mom's boyfriend), my mom, and Sean (Rachael's boyfriend)

There's my nephew playing with his cousin, Bella (my mom's dog).

One of my thrifting missions is to find Babysitter Club Books. I used to have so many of these books! I loved them when I was younger. A few years ago my mom's basement flooded, and everything that she had been storing in the basement was ruined. I'm pretty sure I may have had some of these books down there! So my mission is to rebuild my collection (and relive my childhood). So far, I think I have found a total of eight on half off day, so they all were 25 cents each!


Bjorn and I have been to two Cincinnati Reds baseball games. They were super fun! One of the games our friend invited us to because she won tickets at work, and she had amazing seats right behind home plate! 

Bjorn ended up buying me a new pair of shoes because our new puppy (we found out he's really a puppy, not 4 years old like we were told!) ate one pair of my shoes and likes to pinkeln in the other. Does everyone get my pinkeln reference? That's German for pee-pee. The first time I said it, one of my friends asked me what I was talking about. That my English version of pee. I thought it sounded similar, but maybe not! So hopefully I just cleared up any confusion! My dog kept peeing in my shoes. Seriously. I think he likes me.

I bought a gnome for my garden. I'm so excited! I've always wanted a gnome! And he was on sale!

I also signed up for this awesome book swap over at The Book Monsters called Christmas in July! I am super excited about it. You can check it out here.

I tried a new drink. It's called a Sazerac. It had rye whiskey and absinthe. Delicious! Bjorn was driving, so I had two ;) 

I got a super amazing purse with maps all over it from an Instagram shop @sirensthriftypics. It didn't have a strap, so I used the one from my vintage Coach purse, and there you have it! Isn't it just too cute?!?

And lastly, Bjorn and I also got invited by his good friend, Tim, to the Lionel Richie concert. CeeLo Green opened. I serenaded Bjorn by singing him every Lionel Richie song with lots of emotion and hand gestures. He laughed. Did anyone else love Lionel growing up. He is a serious showman!

That is what I was up to in June. What were you up to? I'd love to hear it!

Don't forget to enter my 100th post giveaway here! You could win a $25 Target giftcard and fun Tried It Tuesday finds!

Love and happiness <3 Holly

Thursday, June 26, 2014

New Year's Resolution Update: Art Journal

*At the bottom of this post, you'll find a link to my 100th post giveaway! You can win a $25 Target giftcard and some of my favorite new finds!*

And now, on with the post:

Honestly, I haven't been the best about keeping up with my New Year's Resolution (insert link to New Year's Resolution post here). I started out running strong and fizzled out at about the end of February. I guess I fell into the typical stereotype of starting your New Year's Resolution strong and then just falling straight off the mountain after about a month or so, but I do really hate stereotypes. The truth is that life is busy and you can always pick something back up once you "fall off the wagon." Plus, I enjoy it, and that's really what matters.

My goal was to art journal at least once per month. Not a lofty goal. I did manage, however, to get one journal done for January and one for February. Then all of a sudden it was May, and I had no other journals completed! Oopsy! 

Here's to catching up on my New Year's Resolution and picking up where I fell off. I am now caught up for June and will continue journaling throughout the rest of the year. I am sure that I will have a few more entries than one per month for the summer, but I'm not making any promises! We'll see what happens.

Here's what I have so far:



March, April, May (oopsy!)

*nichts, nada, nilch*


These June journals (except for the dancer) are from a challenge that I thought I could complete (key word "thought") called Doodleaday June on Instagram. The goal was to doodle once per day. I think part of my problem with my art journal stems from my OCD and my perfectionism. Every time I journal, I feel like I have to create these over-the-top, fill-the-page journals, when that's not what this is about. I mean, it was killing me for awhile that you can see my eraser marks in my "under the ground" journal. I know--total perfectionism, but it seriously makes my blood boil sometimes! I hold myself to this too crazy standard; enough said, it looks great the way it is! I sat with the anxiety; I'm good with it.

I like to doodle. It's fun. I'm working on not having to make these journals "perfect" in my eyes. I really enjoy my "joy" journal as well. For June 24, the doodle was "starts with 'j.'" I chose "joy." I like this one especially because it's simple and I didn't over think it.

2nd June post (from Doodleaday): Prompt was "Go"
3rd June post (from Doodleaday): Prompt was "Underground"
4th June post (from Doodleaday): Prompt was "An Object Around You"--there was a crab on my coffee cup!

Because I was feeling a little overwhelmed by the prospect of doodling every day, I am going to use the rest of the ideas from the challenge to inspire me for future art journals. (It sounds crazy to me to say I felt overwhelmed by the prospect of doing something I loved, but that's OCD and anxiety in a nutshell!) There are some great prompts on the challenge, and I am excited to use them as inspiration.

If you want to check out the June challenge, it was started by @ellolovely. If you are interested in seeing inspirational artwork, check out #doodleadayjune on Instagram. There are some amazing artists participating in the challenge!

Here's to more art journaling this summer when the mood so strikes me!

Anyone else doodle or art journal or have another creative outlet?

To enter my 100th, post giveaway, follow this link to my 100th post!

Love and happiness <3 Holly

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tried It Tuesday: Special 100th Post Edition!

Hi, All! I have some super exciting news to start out today's is my 100th post! Wahoo! I can't believe I started my blog just last September, and now I find myself writing for the 100th time! "Wowy, wow, wow, wow!!"

To honor this 100th post, even though it's nothin' fancy, except for an awesome Tried It Tuesday, sharing some great food, music, entertainment, and such with you all, I am going to end it all with an awesome giveaway! Stay tuned for the very end of this post! I am extremely excited about this giveaway! I decided to give away a larger prize and some surprises from my favorite Tried it Tuesday finds! So stay tuned! It's gonna be exciting!

I've got some fun and interesting items on the list for this week's Tried It Tuesday! In case you're new to Tried It Tuesday, every Tuesday I share finds from the last week that I feel are share-worthy. The finds range from food to fashion to make-up to music to anything in-between!

Here's what I found this past week: 


Loaded Baked Potato Grilled Cheese

This recipe has been a long time coming! A few months ago I ate Loaded Baked Potato Pizza at Whole Foods, and it was delicious! Here is a link to a picture of it on my Instagram account (@gilbert_h). Looks good, huh? I had never thought of putting mashed potatoes on a pizza! I had told my sister, Rachael, that I knew I could make it at home. I know how to make loaded baked potatoes, and I could taste all the ingredients to tell what was on the pizza. I just never got around to making the silly recipe! Well, tonight, Bjorn and I tried loaded baked potato pizza morphed into an even different form: grilled cheese. And I might say that it was delicious.

I will link the Pinterest recipe that I used for inspiration below, but here are a few tips that I would follow when making this grilled cheese:

1) Use a thicker or denser slice of bread

The denser the bread, the less likely it will get soggy from the sour cream and mashed potatoes that you will layer on top of it. I really love Brownberry Bread.

2) Lightly toast the bread before you add any toppings.

Adding mashed potatoes straight to a piece of bread could only lead to soggy bread. By lightly toasting the bread first, this can help avoid soggy bread problems. I mean, who likes soggy bread? I apologize if you do; by all means, do not toast your bread first! :)

3) Buy thin slices of cheese and layer that on the bread slices. Then build your sandwich on top of the cheese. (Cheese on the outside touching the bread. Toppings in the middle.)

The cheese will act as a binder once it melts to hold all the ingredients inside the sandwich. It also keeps the sour cream and mashed potatoes from ever coming into contact with the actual bread slices. Yay keeping the bread nice and toasty!

4) Make sure you add a good amount of mashed potatoes. (I mean, that's what the sandwich is all about, right?!?)

So here is a link to the recipe on my Pinterest Board "Great Food." We did not use potato slices. We used Bob Evan's microwavable mashed potatoes with chives instead. Wow, it was yummy (and fast!).

 Here's a recipe that even uses potato chips too! (I would probably still add mashed potatoes!)

If you wanted to make the Loaded Baked Potato Pizza, I would cook the pizza dough first (get it a little crispy), so it doesn't get soggy. Add the mashed potatoes, bacon, cheese, scallions, and then dollop sour cream on top. I love the word dollop, don't you?

If you try it, let me know how you like it!


Tea Chewing Gum

I am not a big chewing gum fan. It gives me migraines. If I chew for too long, my jaw starts hurting, and then my neck and my temples start hurting. Then I start to get a headache that turns into a migraine and so on. I can chew gum for maybe less than 10 minutes at a time, but every so often, I like to. 

Recently, Bjorn and I were at Fresh Market and he showed me this gum that tastes like black tea. It's called Clark's Teaberry Chewing Gum. I actually really enjoyed the flavor. I didn't feel like it lasted very long, but it was nice. It was a subtle hint of tea. I found out (from Google) that it's made in Mexico now, the company originated in Buffalo, NY, and was first made in 1900.

I also found it in packs of 10 (haha!) if you love gum on Amazon for a little over $10. Definitely worth a try, but I'd buy a pack at Fresh Market in the candy section.

PB&J Chocolate Bar

Holy Moly! Bjorn and I were at TJ's (Trader Joe's) the other night and were looking at all the deliciousness that they stick at the register hoping you'll impulse buy anything and everything that is sitting there staring at your hungry face. Well, we caved in to one of them. It was this delicious concoction of peanut butter, raspberry jelly, and milk chocolate. Bjorn and I split one, since I'm trying to limit my chocolate intake (Boo!) because chocolate sadly is one of my migraine triggers. This is probably one of the best candy bars I have tasted in a long time. I warn you: do not look at the calories (it does contain peanut butter and chocolate). Just share it with a friend and enjoy, or eat it by yourself! You deserve a treat! It will be waiting for you, starring you down at the checkout.

Office Supplies

As many of you know, I am a teacher. I like school supplies. I like markers and pens. It's just the way it goes when you're a teacher. I recently bought some Paper Mate Ink Joy pens that I really like.

These pens write really smoothly, the ink is very pigmented, and the colors are vibrant. I have been using them a lot! I bought mine at Target. I think the 8 pack was around $4 or $5 depending on if they were on sale.


Talking Ginger (Free)

If you have kids or you are a teacher, you may have seen this one already. I pretty much have seen this app every day of my life for the last year or so! My students think it is hilarious. I have to say, I really think it is too! I did, however, have to make rules as to when Ginger Cat could be used in my classroom because the kids got a little carried away with it! It is in no way educational; this app is pure entertainment. And it seriously kept my 12 year old 6th graders entertained all through their lunch and recess time. I did, however, sometimes wish I had earplugs!

Here is the link to the App on iTunes.

Ginger is a cat who you can basically make say whatever you want. You can make her voice go higher or lower. You talk into your mic, and Ginger repeats exactly what you say in a silly voice. It just overall it really cute and sounds funny to the kids. There are add-ons you can buy for the app, and there are also puzzles you can unlock. It's pretty easy to unlock puzzles: give Ginger a bath, blow dry her hair, brush her teeth, and watch an App store video. Once you complete certain actions, puzzles with Ginger's picture are unlocked for kids to put together. This App really cracks me up!

Make My Pet Talk Free

This App is too cute! It allows you to put in pictures of your pets, records your own voice, and then makes it look like your pet is talking and speaking those words! I can't stop laughing at the things I am getting my dogs to say! Maybe I find this funnier than I should, but I think it is hilarious!! I am going to make one in the morning and send it to my sissy to crack her up at work!

Here's the link: Make My Pet Talk Free

To remove the ads it costs 99 cents and to be able to change your pets voice it costs 99 cents. Again, another mindless app, but fun! It does take a minute to figure out how to use it to make it look like your pet is really talking.


I have listened to John Mayer since I was in college and have seen him maybe three times in concert. I really love his music. I recently pulled out his CD Born and Raised because I hadn't listened to it in awhile. These are two of my favorite songs off that album, especially "Age of Worry."

John Mayer "Shadow Days"

John Mayer "Age of Worry"

Have you tried anything new this past week?

That's all for my Tried It Tuesday! Stay tuned for my 100th post giveaway!!

By entering below, you could win $25 dollars to Target and some Tried It Tuesday surprises! Not only will you win the giftcard, but I will throw in some of my favorite things from my Tried It Tuesday posts! Fun surprises will be in store! You are able to get up to 3 entries in the giveaway by

1) Following Finding My Everyday Happy on Facebook


2) Commenting on this blog post giving me a suggestion of something new you would like to see on the blog or something that you like that I already do


3) Comment on my Facebook page under the "My Summer Happy" post telling me one way you plan to find your happy this summer.

You can choose to enter one way, two ways, or all three ways! Make sure you login to the Rafflecopter Widget below in order to make sure you're officially entered in the drawing! This is how a winner will be randomly selected. The email address you enter will only be used to email you in the instance that you win the prize!

Giveaway is open 6/25/14 at midnight through 7/7/14 at 11:59 p.m. (the end of my sister's birthday!!). Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Love and happiness <3 Holly

Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Shaky Start

I've always had a problem with time. Not managing time; I am a good manager of my time. I wish I could have more time in my life, many days, but don't we all? That's not my problem with time. My problem is an open schedule, too much time, nothing to do. It's funny because I can jam pack an hour with 15 mindless activities, but feel the need to complete every one because my OCD brain tells me that they are important. I am doing something; I'm moving; I'm working.  I have to be doing something important! 

Here is where my problem comes into play: those activities aren't always necessary and important. My brain creates silly things for me to do. Those "silly" things keep me from feeling guilty. They keep me from feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Guilty from not doing something "productive" in my OCD brains "eyes" (if it has them). Overwhelmed by not having a plan or a schedule in place, and anxious from the thought of not knowing what to do with myself--something feeling "off" (a huge OCD feeling). 

Here's where my problem begins: I love to pack my days full of work: school work, house work, tutoring, organizing, working on one of my projects that I can never seem to finish (OCD anyone?). And here is where my problem with time comes in: I don't know what to do with myself when I have too much of it on my hands.

My OCD starts getting me thinking that I always need to be doing something productive. I can't relax; I always feel like I need a plan. For example, if I feel like sitting on the couch all day to read a book, my mind starts reeling. My anxiety level might slowly start to creep up throughout the day. I am unable to sit still. I feel antsy. I get up and do "odd jobs" around the house because I feel like I have to. They do not, however, in any way ever amount to getting anything productive completed. I just feel like I'm accomplishing something. My brain tells me that I need to do something that's considered "work," so I get up and "work." 

Whether it's picking up the side table next to the couch, throwing in that next load of laundry, or starting to organize that junk drawer that I always said I would, I start doing something that my brain deems productive. My OCD brain doesn't consider relaxing, taking time for myself, and doing what I enjoy as productive activities. Once I finish my flurry of business, I look back and think, what  did I actually accomplish? In retrospect, I didn't seem to accomplish all that much. This is the trouble with my anxiety. It tricks me into feeling the need to be busy, although I don't need to be. I've realized over many years that the junk drawer can wait. 

My OCD starts to act up in situations like this when I have a long stretch of unstructured time on my hands (insert summer vacation), especially this year since I am not teaching summer camp. When faced with such a large amount of time without a predetermined plan to fill each hour or minute, for that matter, my OCD brain starts to feel guilty for wanting to do nothing. It feels guilty for wanting to relax and enjoy myself. It tells me that I can't do those things. It tells me that I'm being selfish.

Once my mind starts this loop, I start to feel uncomfortable in my skin. I get fidgety. I can't think straight. I can't focus. I can't do the things that I enjoy. My OCD brain tricks me into doing something else by bringing on these symptoms of anxiety: guilt, mid looping, the constant need to do something, the need to feel productive, shame, a racing heartbeat, feeling overheated, etc.

Last summer my anxiety was different. I had summer school to distract me. I had a planned vacation to distract me. The year before that I had classes to renew my teaching license to distract me. I have never had one entire summer off as a teacher. Ever. Maybe, OCD avoidance? 

One whole summer to myself. The thought is daunting. It intimidates my OCD, but I am going to tackle this summer just like I tackle my OCD and anxiety in the rest of my life because I want to enjoy this summer, dammit!

1) I am going to sit with the uncomfortable feelings of my anxiety. This is a given. I do this a lot. I am used to doing this. It's funny because I associate sitting through those panic attack-like feelings with negativity in my life--with difficult tasks, things I struggle with. It's funny to think that I need to sit with the anxiety attached to thoughts of having no plans and relaxation, but that's what I need to do!

2) Remind myself of my strategies that help: visualization, movement, choreographing dances in my mind to music once the anxiety hits, take my medication.

3) Remind myself that I do have a plan! It's just a relaxation plan! I do have things that I'd like to do: go to movies, read, play with the dogs, write, go the the zoo. I'm going to tape this list up so I can look at it. I have a plan to renew  and recharge myself this summer.

4) Remind myself that I need to take time for myself. I am important. I need to feel relaxed. I am embarking on a new headache journey (info to come soon), and I need all the help I can get!

5) I want to be happy. Doing things for myself helps me to be happy :)

It isn't always an easy road, but I'll get there. 

What are some of your favorite things to do for yourself to relax and recharge?

Love and happiness <3 Holly

Thursday, June 19, 2014

April Slantbox Reveal

Let me start off by saying that this post should have been up a long while ago! It's been a strange two months for me with my new migraine medications and side effects from those. I will post about that later. But I just want to say that my April Slantbox match, Carol over at Super Sparkly in Second, is the sweetest! 

Meet the Teacher 
This is Carol :) Hi, Carol!!

You definitely need to check out her adorable blog! She sent me the most fun and adorable box of goodies! I absolutely loved it and have been using everything in it ever since I got it :)

The theme for the Slantbox Swap in April was to send your partner a box based on one of your favorite books. After you chose a book you wanted to send your partner, you found items to fill their box that fit the theme and the happenings in the book. I loved the theme of this box! It was so much fun! Probably one of my favorite themes, as well as June's theme (all about your swap partner!).

If you're unfamiliar with the Slantbox Swap, you can check it out here on Jameson's blog Lesson's with Coffee:

The SLANT Box Exchange

There are still a few days to sign up if you in any way work in the education field: teacher, teacher's assistant, librarian, substitute teacher, etc. If you think you might be interested, you should definitely sign up! It's tons of fun!

The box that Carol sent me was fantastic! Here was what she sent:

The book she sent was

This book is so fun! I have been jumping around reading different parts! It's so fun and colorful and has cute little doodles in it as you go! I love it!

These stickers are awesome! They smell like chocolate!!

This little book is full of inspirational quotes that I can stand up on my desk. I love a good inspirational quote! Below are two of my favorites so far!

 Aagghhh! It's Goethe!! I love Germans!! And I love Goethe! (On another topic: if you've never heard an explanation of my ginkgo leaf tattoo, it has to do with Goethe!!)

I love these markers! I've used them so much in my art journal!
And that stamp is going to get used so much in my classroom next year!

Carol, thank you so much for my awesome Slantbox!

Love and happiness <3 Holly