Category Archives: Confessions

Regrets: But I Can’t Go Back And I Don’t Want To

< see the original post at http://www.evamdesigns.com/2013/03/regrets-but-i-cant-go-back-and-i-dont.html >

I’ve never bothered much with regret.  Perhaps it’s a pride thing (after all, to say you regret something means you’re admitting you did something wrong…), but I think regret is a waste of time.  You can’t change it anyway, so why bother regretting it?

I moved to North Carolina to teach at a public school in Charlotte in August, and I moved back to Erie a mere six months later.  I spent a lot of money moving down there, and I spent another good chunk moving back up north.  I’m sure to some people that looks like regret — I regretted moving south so I moved back north.  Well, it’s not.  I don’t regret moving to North Carolina.  It was something I had to do.

When you make a decision, you obviously have reasons to do so.  You may change your mind about those reasons later, but at the time, you had your reasons.  So why should you regret it? I had to go to North Carolina.  I was working in a private school, and at the time I believed it “didn’t count” as real teaching.  “Real” teachers were public school teachers, and you weren’t a real teacher ’till you taught at a public school.  In Pennsylvania it is very difficult to get a public school job — there is a ton of competition, first of all.  Then there are some districts that only hire people who went to the school, whose parents teach at the school, etc.  And there are other districts who only hire people who are in no way connected to the school (such as the district I was raised in and worked in for five years).  On top of that, I was just itching to get out of Erie.  I had lived in Erie my whole life, had gone to college and grad school within fifty miles of the city, and was worried I would never get out.  At that point in my life, I had to leave, and teaching in North Carolina was the first opportunity I found to do that.

While I ended up hating my job down there and moved back north just six months later, while I’ve lost money in the moves and have had to go back to substitute teaching up here, North Carolina was probably one of the best decisions I’ve made in terms of my own personal and professional growth.

Personally, for the first time since I really entered the “dating world,” I didn’t care about having a boyfriend — moving gave me distance from the stupid non-relationship thing I was doing with a moron up here, and it also gave me time to get over the real three year relationship I had ended the year before.    When we broke up at the end of 2011, I jumped right in to seeing someone else to help me forget about the one I really loved, and even when I knew that new person wasn’t right, I didn’t want to be alone.  Erie held too many memories of the guy I thought I was going to marry — from grocery shopping together at Wegmans to gardening/landscaping together in the front yard.  However, in moving to North Carolina, I rid myself of the moron, I separated myself from all my memories of the love, and I was just plain old too busy to even think about dating anyone else.  I discovered I’d rather hang out with my friends on Saturday nights than go meet up with some guy and have to make awkward conversation for an hour.  I got back into crafting in my free time and started my Etsy shop, Eva M Designs.  And this new independence followed me back to Erie when I moved.  Moving to North Carolina was something I had to do.

Professionally, I learned more about the “art” of teaching and classroom management than I would have learned in years up here (mostly because you had to learn to survive!), and I know I am a much better teacher now than I ever was before (and considering I had always had good observations before, I think I’m going to be pretty excellent now!).  I also realized what I had had up here at that private school I didn’t think was good enough.  I realized how important it is to have supportive administrators, and I learned what questions to ask and what things to look for as I seek out a new position and interview potential bosses. (Haha, flipped that one around!)  I realized that public school teaching is NOT for me,  considering the directions public schooling is moving towards. Frightening.  Finally, I realized I’d rather be poor than miserable, and I can’t wait to get back into a private school and share all I learned from my brief venture into public school.  I don’t care what they pay me – I’d rather get to teach and enjoy it.

So instead of regretting my adventure in North Carolina, I prefer to look at all I’ve learned from it and know that it was something I had to do.  I had my reasons for it at the time, and I never would have been satisfied until those reasons were addressed.  There are plenty of other situations in my life, actions I’ve taken, roads I’ve gone down, that sometimes I wonder if I should regret.  But I always remind myself that I had my reasons, and I would not be the person I am today if I had not made those decisions.

But I can’t go back
And I don’t want to
‘Cause all my mistakes
They brought me to you.

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Shore Leave

If there is one thing I have learned this past week, it is how quickly things can change.

I moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, this past August to take a teaching job with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools system.  While I learned more in the past six months about classroom management than I probably would have learned in five years of teaching at my last school, I was pretty miserable.  The environment at the school was very negative – I constantly felt like I had someone looking over my schoulder, waiting for me to slip up.  I’ve had my share of not-so-great jobs — I’ve babysat, worked in daycare, worked in food service, etc.  and I’ve been bored or busy or worked to the bone at these places… However, I’ve never felt as unhappy as I did teaching at that school and working with those administrators.  I seriously had anxiety about coming to school each day.  It was pretty awful.

That said, I would never have left that school without securing another job.  While my plans changed frequently over the last few months — I thought about looking for a job at another school, waiting the year out and going back to school, even working at the mall (anything to get out of that school!) — I started looking for “real jobs” in other cities after Christmas.  I interviewed for a few and was offered a position leading an SPCA shelter in western New York.

I was delighted. Being in charge of a shelter? That was something I had always wanted to do — it was even on the Lifetime-To-Do List (aka my Bucket List) I started in college! So I gave my 30 days notice (that was an amazing day!) and I started to get ready to leave.  There were drawbacks — it was a cut in pay in a small town, I’d have to leave my friends and the lovely city of Charlotte, and there were lease fees and all that I had to worry about, on top of the cost of a moving truck.  But I hated my job, I barely got to enjoy Charlotte because I was working all the time or too exhausted from all the stress to want to do anything at the end of the day, and I seriously had this constant anxious feeling that I had done something wrong… when I wasn’t even at school! Ugh, it was awful.

So anyway, I packed up all my stuff last Saturday and drove up north on Sunday, arriving at my home in Erie, PA that night.  The next day we packed up the few remaining things I was taking from my parents house and headed to New York.  It was about a two hour drive to where I was going, and I was still feeling good about everything. I was looking forward to getting everything unpacked, setting up a craft room, and chilling with my new DirectTV that night!

Oh god.

While I hadn’t had the opportunity to look at the place I was moving into, the woman who hired me recommended this house (though afterward I found out she hadn’t actually seen it herself), owned by an active volunteer, head of the adoption committee, and former board member for the organization.  The house had been described as “beautiful,” and she had sent me some pictures that showed an older home with some quaint charming cupboards and a neat little loft.  I knew it wasn’t brand-spanking-new, and I didn’t expect it to be. However, I was prepared to get all crafty and make it a wonderful little cottage for me and my two poms.

It was flat out awful.  The place smelled moldy, there were cobwebs hanging from the ceiling and walls, and the floors were covered in dust, dirt, dead flies and mice droppings.  The windows had no screens, they were caked in gunk, and there were important things like a bathroom floor missing, tiles peeling up in the kitchen, broken appliances, garbage, and big gaps between the walls and the ends of the floorboards in which yucky stuff had piled up over time.  It was gross.

I honestly did not know what to do.  I just started to unload the boxes and sweep the floor.  When the rest of my family arrived to help move, we decided I could not stay here.  After speaking with the woman who owned the place, we decided to finish unloading my furniture, as I needed to return the truck, and there was no way I could find an apartment in a day.  However, as we were about to leave, the woman called back to say I needed to have my stuff out by the end of the week, because she had someone else who might want to rent it.  And let’s just say she wasn’t exactly nice, either.

I told my parents to turn around, let’s pack back up and go back to Erie.

And here I am now, at my parents house with all my boxes and furniture stuffed in the bedrooms and basement and garage.  I decided not to take the job.  With everything that has happened, it doesn’t seem exactly “meant to be,” and I just can’t shake the uneasy feeling I get when I think about it.  In addition to having to rent another truck to move AGAIN, I’d also have to work with the not-so-nice slumlord volunteer who owned the house. I still feel guilty – for leaving the dogs, for leaving Kris (the very nice woman from the Board of Directors who hired me), and for leaving the shelter in general. I truly hope they find someone great for that job…

So while I feel guilty that I am not able to help the dogs at the shelter like I had planned, I am not willing to risk committing myself to another negative working environment.  Until I can find something I feel good about, I’ll be staying with my parents (yay…) and substitute teaching at my old school here in Erie.  While on one hand the situation isn’t the greatest, I AM glad I got out of that school in Charlotte, and I feel like I am in a much better position to be searching for new jobs.  I have the luxury of time now — I’m not in a rush to get out of a bad job — and my financial commitments at this point are minimal, so I can save up some money as well.  It’s still unfortunate all this happened, but I can only move forward.

Well, I definitely left the shore…

On a more positive note, all this time off also gives me a chance to dedicate myself to my Etsy shop and this blog! I’ve been pretty active on Twitter this past month, but since preparations for the move began, I’ve been slacking on the blogging.  So what’s ahead?

I have a lot of ideas for posts I want to share with you, including:

  • Yummy: Peanut Brittle Tutorial
  • More Yummy: The Best Way to Cook Bacon (Civil War Reenactor Style)
  • Featured Shops
  • Tutorial: Downton Abbey Inspired “Sybil Necklace”
  • Tutorial: Pretty’d Up and Personalized Clipboard
I also want to share with you how my view of my Etsy shop has evolved over the last few months, shifting in my mind from the idea of it as a hobby to it as a business.  Kelly from Blart Blog has been fairly instrumental in this change in thinking (though I don’t think she knows it!), as I have learned about how she “created her own career” with the start of her shop on Etsy and her move into graphics and web design.  Check out the new blog she created that focuses on her path and all that she has learned.  It has a lot of great articles for budding entrepreneurs, and you can even win an advertising spot on the blog through a giveaway she just posted!
Anyway, I’ll be sharing with you soon enough the new direction in which I’ll be moving Eva M Designs, so stay tuned for sneak peeks!  In the meantime, check out what I have already listed at the shop!
   

You Are Not A Tree

I’m kind of becoming a pro at moving.  I feel like I’ve done it an awful lot in the last few years.  It all started when I finished student teaching and wasn’t sure I wanted to actually be a teacher anymore.  As I tried to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life — and what I could realistically expect to do with my BA in History and M.Ed in Middle and Secondary Ed —  I was all over the place. Back to school? Wait for a job? Move for a job? I was that butterfly that needed to spread its wings.

Well, my boyfriend at the time wasn’t really into spreading wings (for him, that was already done and over with).  This sudden divergence in our life plans caused a bit of a problem in our relationship, and unsurprisingly (if, as I learned from Dexter, the secret to a successful relationship is shared dreams/plans) we broke up.  This was my first move.

Christmas

my first apartment decorated for Christmas

cozy apartment decorated for Christmas

another view of my first apartment  –  ❤ you Irish!

cozy kitchen at my first apartment

Well, I lived in that lovely apartment for nearly a year, working first at McDowell’s preschool (not the dream job, I’ll admit) and then as a teacher at OLC.  I decided over the summer, however, that I still had that itch to spread my wings. I wanted to get out of Erie, to leave the 2 hour radius I had always operated within and live somewhere… cool.

I ended up in Charlotte. I moved here August 13, although I never actually fully moved in.  I’ve decided NOT to share any of those apartment pictures… mostly because I never took any. I still have lots of boxes and bins lying around, I never hung up decorations, and I’ll admit I’m a little behind on my dusting. It’s pretty pathetic, but motivation is kind of hard to come by when you spend the first 4 months of the school year miserably trying to catch up and the most recent two months making plans to leave.  My apartment here, though, is lovely – 2nd floor, huge bathroom, nice sized living/dining room, huge windows in my bedroom, balcony overlooking the pool, fitness center… and the best part, it’s in Charlotte, which is seriously an awesome city.  I am SO going to miss it — Amelie’s Bakery, The Crepe Cellar, NoDa, SweetCakes Bakery, Duckworth’s Grill, Baja Soul Taqueria, Cabo Fish Taco, Birkdale Village, etc.  I am really sad to leave this city and my wonderful friends here…

That said, I hate my job, and I don’t do things I don’t like.  So again, I make plans to move.  Because I am a person and I am able to do that.  Life is definitely too short to be unhappy.  And there is no point to being unhappy when you don’t have to be.

Always remember:

inspirational quote

my life’s motto

I Really Love Boot Socks

fashion

I’ve never been particularly fashionable.  I mean, I’ve always dressed nicely and in style, but unlike my sister, I’ve never been up with the newest trends.  She, on the other hand, has been a little fashion queen.

fashion princess

on left – way cooler than me

fashionable

on right – she apparently likes jackets

And then there’s me:

High School:

such a geek – high school fun – 10th grade

senior year – still a geek

College:

Baja California Sur, Mexico

summer after freshman year — Baja California Sur, Mexico!

19th birthday

one tequila, two tequila, too many tequila

sophomore year

Being A Grown Up:

starting to look cute as an almost-grown-up

Now I’m A Professional:

look at me, I'm a teacher

first day of school – fall 2012

Ok, so now that you’ve taken a trip down memory lane and seen the evolution of my pretty boring style (but how gosh darn cute I still am wearing it) – you can understand what I’m working with.  I really wouldn’t call myself trendy.

That said, I have recently taken up with a new trend (well, new for me).

Boots.

and

Boot Socks.

My mother roped me into buying some boots after Thanksgiving this year, and I have to say I am really diggin’ the style! Leggings plus boots is a SUPER CUTE look! Add in BOOT SOCKS, and I’m just a trendy little hipster or something. (I’ve never really understood what exactly a hipster is, so there is a good chance I misused that word. I apologize to all you hipsters out there if I have offended you. I apologize to the rest of the world for allying myself with the hipsters.)

Anyway, after my boot investment, I discovered boot socks on Etsy.  I purchased a pair from PeekABootSocks just after Christmas.  I. Love. Them. They are super cute, and I can’t wait to have money to buy some more.  [Speaking of, please visit EvaMDesigns and buy some jewelry so I can buy more boot socks.]  Until then, however, I will sport these awesome accessories:

lovely boot socks

lovely boot socks —  PS it’s hard to take a picture of your shoes from the side when you are wearing them

work it

work it

don't mind the mess in the background

don’t mind the mess in the background – I’m moving soon (at least, that’s my excuse)

Buy some. You know you want to.

Lifetime To-Do’s aka Bucket List

I’ve never really taken the time to write a real Bucket List.  In fact, I even hate that term – “Bucket List.”  As a 24 year old, I find it depressing to think about dying and calling my list by that name seems like asking for bad luck.  That said, I have occasionally jotted down in my journal things I want to remember to do at some point in my life.  Lately, I have been thinking about those lists a lot, trying to remember what it was I put on them.  The lists are in journals at my parent’s house in Erie, PA, so unfortunately I cannot search for them at present (being 10 hours away in Charlotte, NC).  However, I am pretty sure of a couple of things I definitely included on my list:

– Visit Europe. See towns and buildings that were built centuries ago.
– Plant pear, apple and peach trees; raspberry and blueberry bushes; concord grape vines; and strawberry plants in my yard.
– Write and publish a novel.
– See killer whales in the wild.
– Fix up an old farmhouse.

There was one thing that has always been on that list — I remember thinking of it during my sophomore year of college, and I always included it as I rewrote the list in each new journal.

– Start a dog shelter.

If you’ve read any of my previous posts, it should not come as a surprise to you that I have a slight obsession with dogs — rescuing them, particularly.  That fixation started in college, and I dreamed someday that I could open up my own animal shelter to help dogs find homes.  I figured that would be the only way I would ever have the opportunity to run one.  I mean, I didn’t have any sort of veterinary degree, so how else would I get hired at a shelter?  My only resort, I figured, was to someday create my own non-profit shelter on the large piece of land my husband and I owned (the one that had all the fruit trees and berry bushes; also, the one with the farmhouse we fixed up).

Well, it turns out I will be able to cross that particular dream off my Lifetime To Do List a lot earlier than I expected.   In less than a month, I will be leaving the lovely city of Charlotte (sad face) and my career in teaching (happy face) to take a position managing the SPCA of Cattaraugus County’s animal shelter in Olean, NY. Granted, I am not exactly starting my own animal shelter — however, this situation is even better.  The shelter already has some sources of funding, I will have a salary I can count on, and there are already dogs ready to find new homes. Now, I get to do all the things I wanted to at my own shelter — find new sources of funding, write grants, start new programs (like foster programs, dog training, educational and outreach, etc.), increase adoptions and awareness, and generally improve the lives of all the dogs (and, I suppose, cats) already there!

I have to admit, it feels pretty good to reach a Lifetime To Do by the age of 24.

one of the new residents at the SPCA shelter — don’t worry pup, I’m on my way!

Molly Takes On The Pool

For a good while now I’ve been unhappy with my job, teaching 8th grade Language Arts and Social Studies at a low-income school in Charlotte. I’ve realized teaching is NOT the career for me and am actually getting ready to move into an entirely different field — but that’s for another post. For the next 25 days, I am still stuck here and that means I have to deal with the dreaded Monday Morning. If you’re in the same boat, maybe this video will brighten up your day. After all, who doesn’t love cute puppy antics?

Petfinder Happy Tail: Izzy!

Sometime before Christmas I submitted the story of Izzy and Nalla to Petfinder’s “Happy Tails” feature.  I was just made aware this week that Izzy’s story had been featured on their blog on December 30, 2012.  Go check it out!!!

Happy Tail: A second dog helps a Pomeranian settle in…

Petfinder

Celebrating the New Year with Butter Pecan Cupcakes

They might not look it, but they taste AMAZING!

They might not look it, but they taste AMAZING!

This past summer I visited Chapel Hill, North Carolina for a few days and had the opportunity to visit Sugarland, an amazing bakery located right on the main street of town. Those cupcakes were delicious.  After I moved to Charlotte, I thought often of those cupcakes.  The yummy french vanilla, peanut butter blast, red velvet… Oh so good.
photo2Discussing these cupcakes with a friend, we discovered there was a bakery in Mooresville, North Carolina, also known for delicious cupcakes — SweetCakes Bakery.  We ventured there a few Saturdays ago.  The Cookies and Cream cake was AAAAAMAZING. I did remember to take a picture of it — but not before my first bite.

I also found the Butter Pecan cupcake absolutely delicious, which leads me to this post.  After having that one butter pecan cupcake, I couldn’t get it out of my mind.  I thought about the crunchy pecans, the smooth buttercream, the moist cake… It haunted me.

But alas, I am poor and cannot afford to buy all the cupcakes I would like to eat (gourmet cupcakes here run about $3.00 a cake!) SO I did some research and found a recipe that I felt I could satisfactorily replicate.

I first discovered this recipe through CupcakeProject, but to get the actual recipe, you have to go to Paula Deen‘s website.  You’ll find there a recipe for maple pecan cupcakes with butter pecan frosting.  I was feeling lazy today, so I used cake from a box for the actual cupcake.  However, I did make the buttercream by hand.

IMG_0755

IMG_0756

Supplies:

– unsalted butter

– salt

– chopped pecans

– vanilla extract

– confectioner’s sugar

 

IMG_0758The instructions are really simple – melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a small skillet, add your pecans and cook on medium-low heat until all the butter is absorbed.  While that is happening, you can work on the buttercream.  Again, super simple – just mix the butter till its light and fluffy and then slowly add in the powdered sugar, mixing as you go.  Finally, mix in the vanilla extract — I only used 2 TEASPOONS (instead of 2 TABLESPOONS) because I didn’t want the frosting to be overpoweringly vanilla-y.

IMG_0759

 

 

After the pecans have absorbed all the butter, take them off the heat but leave them in the skillet.  I would wait until the pecans cool completely before folding them into the buttercream.  I did not, and the frosting got kinda melt-y (I am quite the wordsmith today, huh).  After it cooled, it returned to the normal consistency, but just to be safe, I would wait till everything has cooled.

 

IMG_0762

 
photoWhen your cupcakes have cooled, frost them with deliciousness! At this point, it’s up to you what you would like to do with them.  I am contemplating eating all 18 myself.

 

Don’t tell my mom.

 

 

 

 

Yes, I Made My Dog Wear Clothes

Yesterday, the dogs and I made the long drive from Erie back to Charlotte.  It was about 30 degrees when we left PA, so the girls got to sport their cute winter sweaters with their snazzy new haircuts on the trip.  Or at least, that’s how I justified it.

 

229832_4247921283929_1422033810_n

 

Though I don’t consistently dress my dogs up, I do have some history making my pooches wear silly clothing.  Several cases in point:

photo

IMG00199-20121229-1928

(I had to do a little creative positioning with that sticker.)

And apparently it runs in my family:

But at least I don’t make my dog look like this:

dog-fashion-Millie_LaRue_LucyM

 

 

The Mayans Made Me Do It

I came home from Target today to this doggie disaster:Image

This is what followed:

Image

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