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Last week, I sat at the second meeting regarding class rank at one of our schools.  This was a policy I had fought to get implemented to assist our higher performing high schools but is now being implemented in a different way.  A way that is going to hurt a significant number of students.  And my heart just ached.

I had stood up to talk about the importance of this issue a week prior to this meeting… but I had done it in the context of my program and what we were able to do for students.  I quickly found out that politics were coming into play and that I needed to fall in line.  I struggled immensely with this, but ultimately I knew that everyone was right.  The political forces were far too strong for me to take on… and this wasn’t the hill to die on (though I desperately wanted to do so).

I stared down at the #BlackLivesMatter bracelet that I haven’t taken off since an unlikely ally slipped it to me at NACAC.  I wear this daily – not because it’s popular – but because it’s true.  I work in a district that is 94% minority and not a single conversation is being had about why this movement is happening.  I wear the bracelet to let our kids know that I care.  That I’m an ally.  That they matter to me.  And last Wednesday night, all I felt was that I failed them by not speaking up and telling the truth about what dropping class rank would do at that particular school.

I thought about speaking up.  I thought about what I was going to say.  I thought I would do the same thing that I had the week before.  I thought I had it all figured out.  That is until the heavy hand of a district administrator placed itself on my shoulder and asked me to confirm that I knew why I was there and what I was supposed to say.  And not say.  And reminded me that I needed to get in line.

My neighbor’s house was on fire and I could do nothing to help.

I looked around the room at all those families who had no idea that a house was about to fall on them.

I felt sad.  Torn.  And my guilt nagged me from the inside, eating up bits of my soul as the meeting continued on.

I wondered what my dad would say.  On one hand, I knew he would be proud of me for controlling my emotions.  For supporting my principal.  For being a professional.  But on the other?  What would he say?  Would he be disappointed that I didn’t try to educate the decision makers?  Would he have understood my fears or would he have told me that yes, kiddo, this is one of those times when you have to get in line?

In that moment (and not for the first time recently), I missed his wisdom.  I felt like I was also letting him down by not doing more.

I came home ready to watch the debate…. for no other reason than because one of my mentors live tweets/Facebooks the entire thing and it’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.  Admittedly, it’s gotten a little less funny because the things being said now are terrifying… but I enjoyed the debate while I was in Chicago and I was hoping for a repeat of that night.  Minus the cookies (sadly).

There were a few laughs with my people.  The admissions officer I love.  The college counselor from New Orleans who slipped me the #BlackLivesMatter bracelet.  My mentor.  But it lacked the same laughs as before… because we are three weeks away from an election that terrifies me.  One that my dad promised me a year ago would never ever happen… but that is here whether I like it or not.

And by the end of it, closing with a “nasty woman” comment and the discussion by disenfranchised voters who feel like this election is rigged and being stolen from them… I headed to the bathtub.

And I wept.

I wept for all the times that I’ve been called a bitch because I have a strong personality.  If “nasty woman” had been a catchphrase, I probably would have been called that.  I’ll probably be called that this year.  I’m not the biggest Hillary Clinton fan but that moment crushed my soul.

I wept for the kids that I let down by not speaking up because #politics.

I wept for even having to make that choice.

I wept for the fact that I know a lot of people who continue to say that #BlackLivesMatter shouldn’t be a thing and because they don’t seem to know anyone who is deeply affected by that movement.  My friends are hurting in a way that I can’t even possibly imagine, and so many people are telling them to sit down and shut up.  That’s not okay.

I wept for the fear that a lot of people are going to wake up on November 9 and feel like an election was stolen from them… and I don’t know how they will retaliate.  The call for intimidation and violence scares me.  I feel like I’ve never seen anything like this… and I don’t like it at all.

I wept for the people who keep saying that we need to make America great again because I don’t know what the eff they are talking about… when we killed all the Indians and took their land?  When we didn’t believe women or black people should be able to vote?  When we hung black people?  When we didn’t give them “equal” civil rights until the last 50 years?  When my Egyptian friends were racially profiled after 9/11 because they looked Muslim despite the fact they are Christian?   When we have to have federal mandates to desegregate public school systems because it STILL hasn’t been done in 2016?  When we decided to use third grade reading levels to determine the number of jails to build?  Yes, we have some really wonderful freedoms in this country, but I’m still trying to figure out when we were so great… because I’ve seen us do some really terrible things in this country that make us no better than the third world countries that we’ve tried to force democracy on.

I wept for the fact that my dad’s not here to explain all of this to me, talk me through it, and help me believe that it’s going to work out… because despite all the things that I keep telling myself, I’m having a hard time believing that we’re going to be united any time soon.

And that makes me miss my America.

Because, at one time, I did believe that it was possible.

(For the greatest moment in recent television history and highly applicable to this election/post, watch the introduction to The Newsroom here.)

  • sara - This is so heartbreaking and beautifully written. I’m praying for our country.ReplyCancel


journey of doing - rome travel photospinthisimage

journey of doing - rome travel photospinthisimage

journey of doing - rome travel photospinthisimage

journey of doing - rome travel photospinthisimage

journey of doing - rome travel photospinthisimage

journey of doing - rome travel photospinthisimagejourney of doing - rome travel photospinthisimage

journey of doing - rome travel photospinthisimage

journey of doing - rome travel photospinthisimage

journey of doing - rome travel photospinthisimage

journey of doing - rome travel photospinthisimage

journey of doing - rome travel photospinthisimage

journey of doing - rome travel photospinthisimage

journey of doing - rome travel photospinthisimage

for more rome travel photos (and trips & tricks): ancient rome photos – 2015, rome travel guide, best tours in rome, honeymoon in rome, what to do in vatican city, roman holiday

  • Mar - These photos bring back some great memories from my family trip to Rome last summer. Love the night shots!ReplyCancel

journey of doing - One Room Challenge Week Three

Welcome back to week three of the One Room Challenge!  Have you been following along with all the other participants?  People have SO MUCH talent.  I am proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish so far.  It’s coming along!  This week I…

  • Accidentally scheduled a meeting all the way across the metroplex during our Pottery Barn delivery window.  #oops.  I tried to call to reschedule it but it was going to push it back significantly.  Decided to grin and bear it and make it work.  Thankfully we were the first ones on the delivery route and I made it to my meeting without any trouble!
  • I headed over to Lowe’s and got them to cut the closet rod for me.  Quick and painless.  I looked at their curtain selection… I found a contender on clearance… but they only had one panel and it was still regular price online.  I’ll have to keep looking.
  • I didn’t know if I was actually going to be able to pull the trigger on my gallery wall.  I kept thinking it and overthinking it… but ultimately I decided that if I was serious about getting this done, I just needed to bite the bullet and make peace with the fact that I’m not done editing the pictures from 2016 yet.  I ordered 15 canvases from Easy Canvas Prints (Save 77% off plus free shipping!*if you’re in the market for canvases or use one of their templates and save 85% OFF Wall Displays*.)  I ordered them on Sunday night and they were here by Wednesday… how’s that for customer service?!

journey of doing - #OneRoomChallenge Week 3!pinthisimage

I’m excited to see how the gallery wall came together…  It’s a combination of pictures from our honeymoon and our 2016 European adventures.  All of them bring back all the happiest memories, so I thought our office would be an awesome space for them.  I decided to do canvases because I thought they would be the easiest to switch out later if I fall in love with another picture and I wouldn’t have to deal with frames.

journey of doing - One Room Challenge, Week Threepinthisimage

I was really impressed with the quality of the canvases.  They arrived in two orders and were packaged securely.  The canvases were tightly wrapped around the frame, had the picture hanging kit already attached and the colors were vibrant.  I used the cardboard that the canvases were wrapped on to cut out templates to place on the wall so I could try and get the measurements right.  (I think my box cutter needs a new blade.)  Either way, I’m pretty pleased at how well this has turned out so far.  I need to get the level out and straighten them… but there’s time for that later.

journey of doing - One Week Challenge, Week Threepinthisimage

journey of doing - One Week Challenge, Week Threepinthisimage

For the next week I need to focus on…

  • Figuring out window treatments… I’m really starting to think I want a roman shade on the big window… and maybe just sheers over the longer window?  Maybe?  I don’t know.  AHHH window treatments are hard.
  • Desk accessories and organizers
  • Desk chair (do I need a rug?  Hmmm….)
  • Donate the stuff that I still haven’t donated
  • Organize our home files and put things away.
  • SMD @ Life According to Steph - All of my shore canvases are from Easy Canvas Prints. Going forward, I’m all for canvas in lieu of frames at home as well. Much easier to manage.

    It’s looking good in there!ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - I love the look of the canvases, it’s so pretty! How do you clean them? Like when that top ledge gets dusty. Just a damp cloth?ReplyCancel

  • Leslie @ Martin Manifesto - Awesome progress! The gallery wall looks fabulous!ReplyCancel

  • Jen @ Noting Grace - Those Canvases are GORGEOUS!! Loving the gallery wall. Can’t wait for the big reveal!ReplyCancel

  • Katie Elizabeth - I am in love with the gallery wall!!! PBK has this white desk chair that I have been obsessed with for forever – check it out! Not sure if it would come in time though, I feel like their shipping can be so slow!ReplyCancel

What seems like ages ago (but was only 10 states, two countries, and a little over a month ago), my husband and I decided to celebrate our anniversary with a northeast road trip.  We flew into Boston, picked up our rental car, and immediately headed north(ish) to Hanover, New Hampshire.  My husband is a Dartmouth alum and I’ve been bothering him incessantly about taking me up there.  After visiting Smith in August, I became obsessed with these small New England towns that looked like Stars Hollow.  My husband said that Hanover was no exception… so off we went!

journey of doing - northeast road trip dartmouthpinthisimage

Northeast Road Trip Hanover / Dartmouth: Where to Stay

We went back and forth on hotels for quite a while.  There is a slightly larger town a few miles away (White River Junction, VT) that has some of the larger hotel chains, but I REALLY wanted to stay in Hanover.  (There’s basically two hotels in Hanover.)  My husband always talked about how the Hanover Inn was so cool because it was right on campus, but it was always super expensive.  Ever since I stayed at the Charles in Harvard Square, I’ve loved the college-y boutique-y hotels… so I begged and pleaded and ultimately snagged a good deal on the Hanover Inn.  And I’m SO GLAD I DID.

journey of doing - northeast road trip dartmouthpinthisimage

The Hanover Inn fits the Dartmouth campus perfectly.  It’s located on the main drag through town so you can walk anywhere.  It’s modern but not sleek.  It’s traditional without being stuffy.  The rooms come equipped with everything from a single cup coffee maker (and all the flavors) to a corkscrew for opening wine and champagne.  Every single detail is thought out and included in the room.  It has friendly staff.  It has placards for alums who are staying in the hotel.  Our standard room was quite comfortable with a nice sitting area, a decently sized closet, and a view overlooking the Dartmouth campus.  I loved the upscale college feel to the rooms and I slept really, really well.  I definitely considered snagging one of those Dartmouth green blankets for our house… but then I remembered that it probably wouldn’t match our decor.  I just loved this room though!

The bathroom was also decently sized with a large stand-up shower made of New Hampshire granite (the Granite State, after all)!  They seriously thought of everything – from all the Gilchrist and Soames sundries, to the black face towel embroidered “for make up removal”, to the q-tips, cotton balls, nail file, and more.  I absolutely love hotels that think of all the details.

journey of doing - northeast road trip dartmouthpinthisimage

journey of doing - northeast road trip dartmouthpinthisimage

journey of doing - northeast road trip dartmouthpinthisimage

journey of doing - northeast road trip dartmouthpinthisimage

In addition to commemorating my husband’s graduation with a class year placard in the lobby (forgot to snag a picture of that, but I took the card when we left!), the staff sent us up some tasty treats to celebrate our anniversary – homemade whoopie pies!  You can’t go wrong with that.

I’m already imagining a trip back in the fall to see the leaves change and another trip for the winter carnival.  The idea of being snowed in at this cozy hotel seems ridiculously romantic to this girl who has never truly experienced a northeastern winter.

Northeast Road Trip – Hanover / Dartmouth – Where to Eat:

Again, Hanover is small.  You would be amazed at how small it actually is.  And, we weren’t there for too long… but because we were on a bit of a nostalgic kick, my husband’s first stop for us was EBAs (Everything But Anchovies).  I wasn’t disappointed.  We arrived mid-afternoon on the Thursday before Labor Day weekend, so campus was fairly quiet and so was EBAs.  Service was friendly, the pizza was tasty, and the breadsticks were the biggest I’ve ever seen.  (I would skip the breadsticks and stay for the pizza.)

journey of doing - northeast road trip dartmouthpinthisimage

For breakfast, pastries, or any other kind of sweet treat (or to throwback to your college days, try the Lou’s Challenge… which my kids don’t recommend the day you plan to fly anywhere), try Lou’s Restaurant.  You can also grab your morning pick me up at the Dirt Cowboy Cafe.  You can grab dinner (and beverages) at Murphy’s Irish Pub, which touts its food more than its beverages due to some New Hampshire laws… according to my husband.

journey of doing - northeast road trip dartmouthpinthisimage

Northeast Road Trip – Hanover / Dartmouth – What to Do:

journey of doing - northeast road trip dartmouthpinthisimage

Tour Dartmouth – You don’t have to take an official admissions tour, but the campus is really beautiful.  My husband was really upset that some of the buildings were missing their shutters (they were preparing for the arrival of the Class of 2020 – painting everywhere)!  I loved walking through the quad.  If you duck into Fairchild, there’s a giant pendulum.  It’s the oddest thing but worth seeing.  We were a few weeks early so we missed the Observatory (yet another reason why we need to go back!), but it’s open to the public, so make sure you plan your visit around being able to visit the telescopes.  There’s such little light pollution in Hanover that I’m sure the skies are incredible!

journey of doing - northeast road trip dartmouthpinthisimage

The Hood Museum is being renovated but I really enjoyed wandering campus with my husband and seeing what was important to him.  I also really enjoyed seeing the Orozco murals in the basement of the library.  I felt like it was extremely prophetic given the times that we’re currently living in, sadly.  They offer guided tours of the mural, but my husband was my tour guide, sharing with me the things he learned about them during his time at Dartmouth.

journey of doing - northeast road trip dartmouthpinthisimage

journey of doing - northeast road trip dartmouthpinthisimage

The staff at the Hanover Inn recommended that we stop at King Arthur Flour just across the border in Vermont… and I found out that they have cooking classes!  Based on the amazing things offered in their shop, the smell of their amazing pastries, and my knowledge of their speciality items, I recommend signing up for any one of their baking classes!!  Again, I’m hoping to go back in the fall and winter to take advantage of their autumn pies, cookie decorating, or gingerbread house classes.

Overall, Hanover was the perfect place to begin our northeast road trip!  It was absolutely relaxing, the weather was beautiful, the food was delicious, and I can’t say enough good things about the Hanover Inn.  I loved being able to see Dartmouth through my husband’s eyes and hear more about his experiences.

NEXT STOP: Connecticut by way of Massachusetts!!

journey of doing - northeast road trip dartmouthpinthisimage

Wanderful Wednesdaypinthisimage

#WanderfulWednesday hosted by Lauren on Location, What a Wonderful World (Marcella), Snow in Tromso (Van), and The Sunny Side of This (Isabel)!

  • Tanja (the Red phone box travels) - cool murals! #wanderfulwednesdayReplyCancel

  • Ashley @ The Wandering Weekenders - This looks like such a fun trip! My husband and I went to school in a small college town, but smaller college towns in the Northeast are always so much prettier than they are down south! Plus they look like Stars Hollow too! I’m glad that you were able to convince your husband to finally take you up there!ReplyCancel

  • Van @ Snow in Tromso - That hotel room looks lovely indeed, good choice! 😉ReplyCancel

  • Taís - Nice place, look like you guys had a really great time!
    The hotel room looks sooo nice, I would love to get to sleep there! hahaReplyCancel

  • Katie Elizabeth - This is so much fun! I’m glad you guys were able to get away for your anniversary. And now I’m starving after hearing about all the amazing food. Good thing it’s almost dinner time!ReplyCancel

Welcome back to the One Room Challenge for week two!  I actually made more progress than I expected because I went ahead and ordered the desks I wanted. Thank goodness I didn’t hesitate because the price went up exponentially over night!  Finally I did something right!!  (This post contains affiliate links to products and retailers I love.)

journey of doing - guest bedroom to office week twopinthisimage

One Room Challenge Progress From Week One

  • Cleaned up all the mess.  I’ve got a couple boxes in the room, but it’s all stuff that was in our office previously or that needs to be donated.  I was hoping to get that done this week, but between being in Chicago and loaning our car to my brother-in-law for a few days, I didn’t get a chance to do it yet.
  • After checking our Weir’s and finding nothing less expensive, I decided on ordering two of the Pottery Barn Bedford Corner Desk* in norfolk gray.  (I also had a gift card that was an anniversary gift from my in-laws… yay!!)  I’m hoping that it will give us both enough workspace, but if we need more, I can add on through their build your own collection* pieces.  I chose gray because I’m absolutely obsessed with our Bernhardt formal dining room and kitchen furniture.  It looks gorgeous with the floors… so I’m hoping PB doesn’t disappoint.
  • One of the things I’ve been working on this week is a gallery wall for the back wall.  At first I thought I would just grab one of the pre-designed gallery options from Easy Canvas Prints*, but I didn’t have any photos that would print at the appropriate resolution, so I’ve been working on creating my own.  Isn’t the one below just gorgeous??  I swear, pinterest has made it so much easier to find ideas.  People are even posting the dimensions of their gallery wall prints so you can recreate it.  I definitely appreciate that.  I’ve pinned a ton of ideas on my (home) office space board!


Source: Jon and Leslie

  • I measured the closet rod, but I haven’t made it over to Lowe’s to get it yet.  I have a merchandise credit from returning a bunch of stuff post-remodel, so I wanted to make sure that I use it… because letsbehonest, I may never use this thing up!  Hoping to knock that out this week.
  • Window treatments – I decided to put these on hold until the desks come in (October 18!) since I’m not entirely sure what the gray will look like and I really struggle with window treatments.  I do love these PBK Harper ribbon drapes* but I also love the look of these PBK roman shades* because they have such clean lines, but I don’t know.  This will probably be the last thing I conquer!

One Room Challenge – Week Two Tasks

  • Furniture delivery and set up on Tuesday!!  (Yay for quickest shopping ever!)
  • Order the gallery wall canvases.  I’m SO excited about this.  I hope it comes together the way I want it to… but I absolutely can’t wait to finalize this.  I expect it will take most of the week…. because I’m terrible at making decisions.

PS – my husband doesn’t know I’m doing this AT ALL… how fun is the reveal going to be when he realizes he’s got his own work space?!

  • Leslie @ Martin Manifesto - WHAT?!!? How on earth are you keeping this a secret? You’re good, lady! I cannot wait to see how the gallery wall turns out…and then you can help me design mine! I want one so badly, but I can’t decide which pics/sizes/etc.ReplyCancel

  • Kelsey - You are moving right along!!! Love the desks you picked out & the gallery wall inspo! How on earth are you keeping this a secret especially getting furniture delivered?! I bet he will love it!ReplyCancel

  • Katie Elizabeth - Look at you making all the moves!! Love the desk you ordered and I’m obsessed with the roman shades!ReplyCancel

  • SMD @ Life According to Steph - I love those desks! Great choice.ReplyCancel

  • Kate @ Green Fashionista - Yay for securing the desks before the price shot up – always an amazing feeling! Can’t wait to see the gallery wall and hear how your husband loves the surprise 😀
    Green FashionistaReplyCancel

  • Rachel ¦¦ A Nesting Nomad - I’ve wanted a gallery wall for the longest time, but felt totally overwhelmed by the measuring and co-ordinating and suchlike. That’s so cool that Pinterest can sort it out for you – I always forget how much useful stuff Pinterest hasReplyCancel

  • Laura - It looks so good so far! Easy Canvas is the best!ReplyCancel