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A Brief Hairstory

Over the course of my life, I've had a ton of different hairstyles - short, long, edgy, boring, curly, straight, dyed, etc.  You name it, I've done it.  Today, I'm going to give you a history of my hair - a hairstory, if you will.
[beginning from the top left and going clockwise]

1) I was born with tons of thick, dark hair.  I'm a week old in this picture.
2) At 2, I had a pretty cute little hair cut, complete with a side pony.
3) In kindergarten, I had long hair and was growing out my bangs (hence the headband).
4) In 2nd grade, I was missing all kinds of teeth, had a super short haircut and bangs again.  My mom would curl the ends of my hair under with a curling iron every morning.
5) My hair just got shorter, and my first pair of glasses was fantastically huge.
6) 3rd grade = SHORTY BANGS.
7) In 6th grade, I was obsessed with clips.  In this picture, I'm wearing two star clips in my hair - but I also loved butterfly clips and flower clips.  I loved wearing my hair like this but can't find any pictures of me with a butterfly clip halo.
8) In 8th grade, I was a big fan of the middle part and pinning the sides back with bobby pins. #hottie
9) In 11th grade, I dyed my hair red and became BFFs with my tiny, 1/4 inch curling iron.
10) And then I got this "edgy" haircut that I thought made me an instant badass...but I still wore pastel yellow striped polo shirts like this one, so...not a badass after all.
11) Senior picture.  Red hair.
12) First year of college.  I started to grow my hair out and dyed it dark brown.  I'd go back to that color in a heartbeat!
13) During my second year of college, my hair got much longer and I realized that it was actually pretty curly/wavy!
14) Junior year of college - my hair got even longer than this, but I can't find any pictures!
15) Junior year of college again, after I chopped 7 inches off my hair!
16) Three years ago, when I worked as an admissions representative.  I was really interested in getting a pixie cut, but I was a weenie and afraid to go for it.  Instead, I decided to just cut my hair shorter and shorter until I finally caved.

And now, 18 months after the first pixie cut chop, I am growing my hair back out and it's back to an a-line bob.  I'm not going to lie to you - growing out a pixie cut is no walk in the park.  However, my goal during the whole process has been to always look like I have a style and to avoid the awkward mullet stage many women suffer through as they grow their hair out.

Throughout the great pixie grow out, I've really tried to take great care of my hair.  I want to make sure that it's healthy as it grows, especially now that I'm straightening it most days again.  When Influenster offered to send me a VoxBox to review some hair products, I was super excited about the opportunity to try some new-to-me products.

I received the Pantene Full & Strong Shampoo, Pantene Full & Strong Conditioner, and a sample of their dry shampoo.  After using these products for a little while, I'm very pleased with how they have worked in my hair.  The shampoo lathers up really nicely and makes my hair feel bouncy and light.  The conditioner makes my hair so silky and smooth and both products smell so good!  As for the dry shampoo, I've never used it before, so I'm not 100% sure how it compares with other similar products.  I think I like how it works, but I'm also a strict every-morning-showerer, so it's not a product that I would use regularly.  As my hair continues to grow, I'm eager to keep using these Pantene hair products to keep my hair healthy and strong!

Have any of you had any embarrassing or crazy hairstyles?

Disclaimer: I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.  All opinions and thoughts are my own.


Winter Capsule Showcase | 2

1 | 2 | 3 | 4
5 | 6 | 7 | 8
9 | 10 | 11 | 12

Anne and Jacquelyn are hosting the second winter capsule outfit showcase today, so I thought I'd give you a collage of 12 Brynns!  So thoughtful of me, right?

The capsule is still going pretty well - we only have another 5-6 weeks left of it, which is crazy to me!  I'm super behind on taking outfit photos and blogging my outfits, which means I've actually worn a ton more outfits than what you've seen on the blog.  I'm at the point now where I've worn everything at least once and I'm now trying to put together outfits featuring items that haven't gotten as much attention.  I'm still really happy that I included 7 dresses in my capsule this season, as they've been such a staple for me!  I'm glad I decided to include 3 pairs of leggings as well.  They've been a lifesaver during the weekends and to wear in lieu of tights on the bitterly cold days we've been having the past week or two.  I'm definitely getting some great use out of my scarves as well, which I'm glad about.  They're keeping me interested in my capsule items because they always add something different and special to my outfits.

Anyway...of these outfits, I think that 1, 4, 7, and 11 are my favorites.  I felt great wearing each and every one of them.  My least favorite is 3, for sure.  Not 100% sure why, but I just don't like it as much as many of the other outfits.  Do you have any favorites?  Now that we only have a handful of days left of the challenge, are there any pieces you'd like to see me wear more frequently or things you'd like to see together?


Four Things Friday | 4

Shirt: Gap | Jeans: Old Navy | Necklace: Simonson's Jewelry | Shoes: Sanita

Gotta love a simple casual Friday outfit!  This swiss dot popover remains one of my favorite tops, because it's interesting enough on its own, but it also is a great "blank slate" top that can be accessorized and styled in a ton of different ways.  After years of basically exclusively wearing skinny jeans, I'm really loving my flared jeans these days as well.  They're a fun and different silhouette for me!

And, because it's Four Things Friday, I have a list of four books I'd recommend.  [I'm trying to dig deep into books I've read in the past instead of books that I've read more recently...]

Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides | I read this book about 3 years ago, and I absolutely loved it.  It's about an intersex man, who was born as "Callie" but is now "Cal."  The story traces three generations of Cal's Greek/Greek-American family - how his grandparents moved from Greece to the United States, Cal's upbringing in Detroit, and then Cal's adulthood and exploring his gender identity in San Francisco.  When I was in college, I took multiple courses on gender and sexuality (and was like 2 classes away from an additional degree in Women's Studies...dang it!), and my favorite professor (and college advisor) has done incredible research with intersex individuals.  She even wrote a book about her work and interviews with intersex individuals (which is also an awesome read).  Since then, I've been really interested in the gender and sexual orientation spectra, and reading a novel that actually addressed intersex in such an informed and engaging way was awesome.  I tend to get rid of books that I've already read, but this book is one I'll keep around forever!

The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini | I'm sure this is a book that several of you have already read, but it's one that has stuck with me for years.  My undergraduate college had a common read program for all incoming first-year students, and when I was a first-year student, The Kite Runner was the book my classmates and I were to read.  I absolutely devoured this book.  It was the first novel I had ever read that I felt compelled to highlight, take notes in, and critically analyze on my own.  The story is compelling - it tells about the life of a young Afghani boy and his friend, who happens to be his father's servant.  The book was so thought-provoking and reading it was a very emotional experience for me.  Throughout the first semester of college, my first-year seminar course referred to the text frequently and addressed many of the themes of the book: friendship, guilt, family dynamics, class dynamics, betrayal... Ah, I just love this book!

Animal Dreams, by Barbara Kingsolver | Barbara Kingsolver is a fairly well-known American author, and Animal Dreams was the first novel I read of hers back in 9th grade.  I distinctly remember being totally sucked into this book, and I loved Kingsolver's writing style.  The main character of the story, Codi, moves back to her childhood hometown as an adult to care for her dying father and lives with a high school friend.  The story talks about her childhood, her relationship with her sister and father, and her romantic relationship with an old boyfriend.  I've since read two more of Kingsolver's novels, and one thing that I absolutely love about her writing is that she draws on her own education as a biologist, so her books often have some kind of biological component.  Because I'm a nerd, I totally love that kind of stuff.  I also really like that Kingsolver often writes about characters with flaws.  I'm a big sucker for interesting character development, and I find Kingsolver does a great job of writing interesting (sometimes flawed) characters.

Angela's Ashes, by Frank McCourt | I typically read novels and other fiction books, but I looove me a good memoir.  Angela's Ashes is one of the best and most gripping memoirs I've ever read.  McCourt writes about his life growing up in New York and Ireland with his parents and many siblings.  The book paints a vivid picture of what it was like for Frank growing up in New York and Ireland in a family living in extreme poverty, coping with an alcoholic father, and sick family members.  I was absolutely hooked on this book and read it super fast - it was one of the first books I read for pleasure after college, which was significant because I was otherwise super burned out on reading anything.  I know there there are two follow-up memoirs written by McCourt ('Tis and Teacher Man), and I really want to read them too!

So there you have it - four books that I recommend.  Have you read any of these books?  What are some of your favorite book recommendations?


Pink Dress Happiness

Dress / Cardigan: Old Navy | Tights / Boots: Target | Scarf: Gift

I can't help but love this dress, y'all.  It's such a fun, bright color, and I love how it looks on me.  With all the neutral-colored layers I have, I don't think I'll ever run out of ways to style it, either!  This scarf is one of my favorites and I think it looks pretty great with this dress, too.  Wearing this outfit just made me feel happy, what can I say?

This week is kind of insane.  In addition to not getting to see Kevin all that much during the week, I'm also juggling all kinds of work conflicts.  Last night, we had conferences at school, so I didn't get home until nearly 8:00.  Tomorrow and Thursday, I'm helping to facilitate two events at the local community college for some of our multicultural students and their families (giving them information about college).  We're getting close to registration for next school year, so the craziness is just getting started (in a couple of weeks, I have a school day that goes from 7:30 am to 10:00 pm - yikes!).  Ohhh, the life of a high school counselor!! ;) 


Conflicting Schedules + Weekend Recap

Shirt: Old Navy | Jeans: Lauren Conrad | Boots: Target | Scarf: Gift

So Kevin got a new job working at a youth homeless shelter (!!!), which is fantastic.  However, it's over an hour away from where we live and he's working overnight shifts 3 nights a week, which means that I don't get to see him from Sunday evenings until Wednesdays after I get home from work.  For most of our relationship, we've had a lot of time apart due to our work/school/internship/etc. schedules, but the beginning of this school year has been awesome because we've gotten to sleep next to each other nearly every single night and have had our evenings and weekends free to hang out.  We're back to only having a little bit of time together during the week.  It's all going to be fine once we get the hang of our new routine, but in the meantime, it's kind of a bummer.

On top of everything, Kevin was out of town this weekend for a work conference in Illinois, which meant I spent the weekend home alone.  I get pretty sad when I don't get to see Kevin for a long stretch of time (like right now - he's been gone since Friday morning and won't come back until Wednesday), so I wanted to make sure I had a little bit of social time this weekend.  After work on Friday, I went out for happy hour with a couple of my coworkers (seriously, they're some of the greatest people ever).  I spent the evening cuddled up with my dogs reading Watership Down.  Saturday, I judged a speech meet (SO impressed with some of these kids, and my school's team took 2nd place overall - woo!), and watched movies on Netflix in the evening (Happy Valentine's Day to me).  Yesterday, I stayed in bed until noon, dinking around on my computer, reading, and keeping warm with the dogs.  The rest of the day was spent doing laundry and watching tons of Parenthood (I'm almost done with season 5 and then need to see if I can find season 6 online!).  All in all, lots of alone time, lots of screen time, and lots of puppy snuggles.

How was your weekend?  Any big Valentine's Day plans??


Four Things Friday | 3

Tunic / Scarf: Gift | Leggings: Old Navy | Boots: Target

Four movies I've watched more than once:

Sixteen Candles | I first saw this movie when I was in junior high, and I thought it was so funny (and I felt like such a badass watching it because there was swearing and naked boobs, haha).  I've always had a bit of a crush on Farmer Ted (I love nerdy men, what can I say?), and Molly Ringwald is just fantastic.  Some of my favorite parts include: "What's a-happenin', hot stuff?," the look on Sam's face when her grandma feels her up, John and Joan Cusack (I mean, really...they're phenomenal), the opening sequence (so 80's!!), and Ginny on muscle relaxers at her wedding.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding | I have been utterly in love with this movie for years.  I remember when it was in the movie theaters, I saw it 5 TIMES (yes, that is excessive).  It still remains one of my all-time favorite movies - it's so freaking funny.  I love John Corbett so much, and all of Tula's crazy family members crack me up.  I quote this movie constantly.  Now that Kevin and I are both vegetarian, I say, "What do you mean, you don't meat...?" probably on a weekly basis (people are really weirded out about us being vegetarian, it's so strange).  And I love that Joey Fatone is in the movie too.  NSYNC 4EVER!

Monster's Inc | Is there a person in the world who doesn't love this movie?  I'm not sure about it.  I'm a complete diehard Pixar fan (Finding Nemo and The Incredibles almost made this list...), but Monster's Inc is a movie that has stuck with me for years.  I love that Pixar makes their movies enjoyable for children, but also for adults.  I have found that I experience this movie differently now that I am an adult than I did when I first saw it as a teen, and I really appreciate that about Pixar.  I find the characters to all be so interesting and funny...Roz cracks me up ("I'm watching you, Wazowski...always watching...") and I'm a long-time Billy Crystal fan.  Boo is one of the cutest movie characters of all time (and I cry every.single.time at the end of the movie when Mike and Sully leave her for the last time).  Fun fact: I had two lunch boxes in high school, and they were both Monster's Inc themed.  Also, I had more than one Monster's Inc tee-shirts from the Disney Store that I wore all the time in high school and college.  I was obsessed.

Superbad | this movie is totally raunchy and inappropriate, but there's a huge part of me that's also raunchy and inappropriate, so naturally, I love this movie.  I haven't watched it since college (5+ years ago!), but it still has made a mark on me.  I adore Michael Cera (he's so awkward and funny and weird) and the character of McLovin kills me.  I remember watching Superbad with my college roommates allll the time.  We would all have dinner together, go back to our room, and work on homework while watching a movie.  Superbad was one that was on constant rotation for these evenings (along with High School Musical 2, Phantom of the Opera, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Notebook, and any Harry Potter movie - diverse tastes or what??).  So not only does the movie itself make me laugh, but it also has a lot of happy memories for me.


A Woman of Few Words

Tee / Cardigan / Jeans: Old Navy | Shoes: Sanita | Scarf: Gift

Nothing too special about this's yet another black, white, and maroon outfit (no surprises there), and it features one of my favorite scarves (SO WARM) and my flare jeans (I feel very Y2K in these jeans and I love it).


"Outfit" vs "Fomula"

Shirt / Tank / Leggings: Old Navy | Boots: Target | Scarf: Gift

I used to be a total "uniform" dresser.  I bought clothing in "outfits" and didn't remix my clothing much at all.  Certain cardigans were worn with certain tees, certain tops were worn with certain skirts, and that's about it.  Not much mixing and matching at all, and I had a very finite set of outfits that I would rotate between.  It wasn't until I started reading style blogs that I realized all of the benefits of having a mix-and-match wardrobe, and it was such a light bulb moment for me!

Now, I consider myself to be a "formula" dresser.  Instead of wearing the same exact outfits over and over again, I use similar elements in combinations that I know work to get dressed.  I've talked before (along with countless other bloggers) about what outfit formulas I use when I create outfits.  Some of my favorite work outfit formulas for this time of year include:

Dress + cardigan + tights + boots + jewelry/scarf (see here for a recent example)
Shirt + cardigan + skinny pants + boots + jewelry/scarf (see here for a recent example)

The outfit I'm wearing here, however, shows my frequently-worn weekend outfit formula: Tank + chambray + leggings + boots + scarf.  I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say I wear a variation of this outfit every single weekend.  It works for a huge range of temperatures (I typically exchange the heavier scarf for a lighter scarf or necklace in warmer weather), I can switch up the look with different leggings (although these maroon leggings continue to be a weekend favorite!), I can wear any colored tank underneath the chambray for some variety, and I can wear knee-high boots like these or ankle boots (and sometimes even flats or TOMS when it's not snowy).  I also like that the outfit is casual and comfortable, but I can also go out in public to run errands, grab a bite to eat, see a movie, or spend time with friends wearing it as well.

Have any of you made the switch from being an "outfit" dresser to a "formula" dresser?  What's your favorite weekend outfit?


Four Things Friday | 2

Dress / Leggings: Old Navy | Jacket: Levi's | Scarf: Kohls | Boots: Target

Four jobs I have had:

Church receptionist | As a high school student, I worked a couple of Sunday mornings a month at my church as a receptionist.  I really liked the job because I got to talk to a lot of really cute old people, I got to count the money for the offering (I've always really liked counting money...perhaps I should have been an accountant, ha!), and I got to do my homework and get paid for it.  Perfect job for a high schooler!

Teacher's assistant at a daycare | For four summers in high school and college, I was a teacher's assistant at the early childhood center at my church.  It was such a fun job!  I spent two years in the infant room, one year in the 15-26-month room (my favorite!!), and one year in the 2-3-year-old room.  I got to snuggle babies and toddlers, sing songs, dance around, and coordinate activities for all the different age groups (I'd float around to the 3-4-year-old room and the pre-K room as well, which was pretty great, too).  Some of the babies I had during my first year in the infant room are now 11-years-old, which is pretty crazy!!

Orientation leader | For two years in college, I worked (aka lived and breathed) in new student orientation.  My first year as an orientation leader, I led a group of 16 first-year students through our college's 3-day orientation and then served as their mentor and resource during their first semester in college.  My second year, I was hired as one of the student orientation coordinators, so I spent the entire school year working closely with 3 professional staff members at my university to plan for orientation and hire and train our staff of orientation leaders.  The supervisors I had during my time as a student orientation coordinator continue to be some of the most influential people in my life (one of them even officiated mine and Kevin's wedding)!

College admissions counselor | In addition to working at the daycare and in orientation, I worked in the admission office at my university for all 4 years of college.  I loved working in admissions and orientation so much that I decided to pursue a career in higher education.  I was hired as an admissions representative at a community college in Iowa before I graduated from college and began working there just a month after graduating.  It was such a great experience!  In traveling all around the Midwest to various college fairs and high schools and having conversations with 65+ high school counselors over the course of my two years in that position, I decided that instead of pursuing a career in higher education, however, I wanted to work directly with high school students and help them figure out what they wanted to do after high school.  I loved my admissions job for so many reasons, but first and foremost, it led me to my true passion, school counseling.

What kinds of jobs have you had?


Currently | February

Dress: Target | Cardigan / Leggings: Old Navy | Boots: Fergalicious | Necklace: Gift

It's another installment of the Currently linkup with Anne and Jenna!

Hearting | These maroon leggings (even though they don't really look maroon in the picture above...).  They're one of those things in my closet that I wear almost immediately after putting them back on the shelf after laundry day.  I love how thick and warm they are, and they are a great way to incorporate color into my capsule wardrobe (which is mostly in the white + gray + black family).

Reading | I've been making great progress with the book Beautiful Boy.  My coworker plopped it on my lap a couple of weeks ago when I was at her house and said, "You should read this, and when you're done, let's talk about it."  It's a memoir written by a man whose son struggled with an addiction to methamphetamine, and what the experience was like for him as a father and their family as a whole.  So far, I'm finding the book to be fascinating.  I work with students who are struggling with substance use/abuse/dependency themselves, or who have family members with addictions, and the book is giving me interest insights to one parent's account of what it's like to have a child with a drug addiction.

Pinning | As I mentioned in my post on Monday, I recently pinned a ton of recipes from the food blog Budget Bytes.  I can't wait to start actually making some of these recipes!  I've also been pinning some shaggy/wavy hairstyles lately.  As you can tell, I've been growing my hair out from the very short pixie I had for about 9 months.  It's been a bit of a long process, but I'm really glad to be out of the awkward phase now.  My goal throughout the grow-out process has been to always look like I have a hairstyle, instead of the gross mullet phase that many women experience during the Great Pixie Grow-Out.  I'm now waiting for the back and top layers of my hair to reach the same length as the sides so that I can have a hairstyle that looks more like this or this.  I have quite a bit of natural wave to my hair, and I am dying to try it out when I have more of a true bob!

Eating | I recently re-tried Greek yogurt after a very negative first experience with the stuff (it was plain and I was expecting vanilla - YUCK - so tangy and gross), and I have to say, I am now hooked.  I don't eat meat, so I love that Greek yogurt gives me extra protein, and I also like that it's not super laden with additional sugars and food coloring either.  My go-to flavor is raspberry (and Chobani is my favorite brand so far), but I recently tried grape (a new flavor by Chobani), and I loooved it.  I'm a sucker for anything grape-flavored, but I've never had grape yogurt before so I was a little bit skeptical.  But seriously, it was so good.  I need to head back to Target and buy some more!

Anticipating | The birth of my first niece/nephew!  Kevin's brother and his wife told the family on Christmas Eve that they're having a baby, and we're finally allowed to officially let the cat out of the bag now!  I've been dying to become an aunt for years now, and I'm so thrilled that I can add "Auntie Brynn" to my list of nicknames in August!  Any tips from any of you for a first-time aunt??


Professional Development

Top / Cardigan / Scarf: Old Navy | Jeans: Lauren Conrad | Boots: Target

Because I'm super behind on posting my outfits, you are seeing an outfit that I wore on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!  While many districts have this day off (for students and staff alike), the district I work in uses MLK Jr. Day as professional development.  We spent our day talking about district and building goals, working in our Professional Learning Committees, and attending several breakout sessions.  I elected to learn more about equity in the classroom, poverty, and children's mental health/trauma during my breakout sessions.  Although I live and work in rural Minnesota, I found it interesting that our district has more students on free + reduced lunch (meaning, their families live in poverty) than the Minneapolis school district.  It was a sobering reminder to me that so many of the students I work with every single day are struggling with getting their basic needs met, and this can drastically affect their school performance, behavior, attendance, etc.

Because the day was spent sitting (for the most part), I wanted to wear something comfortable.  These stretchy jeans, a soft tank top, cardigan for warmth, and scarf for a little extra pizzazz fit the bill.  I felt cute and presentable, but also quite comfortable all day.


February | Monthly Goals

During the first week in January, I posted that I would be documenting some little monthly goals on my blog to help me feel like I'm always improving and working on things (including the items on my 30 before 30 list).  Here is a little recap of my January goals, as well as the 5 things I'd like to accomplish in February.

Recap | January Goals
1. Do something active at least 2x each week - This goal was probably the loftiest goals, because I don't really like exercising and will basically do anything I can to avoid it (ugh, what a terrible habit).  But, I am proud to say that I did try to be active this month.  I tried pilates (ouch, I have no core strength!!), I walked on the treadmill at my parents' house when I went to visit them a week or so ago, I did a yoga video (yesssss, I love it!), and I did have a few more dance parties.  So, no, I did not really accomplish my goal of being active 2x each week, but I did try to incorporate more activity into my life.

2. Finish reading Wallbanger - Done!  I finished the book during the second week of January, and I also happened to read all of Gone Girl this month as well!  (Oh, and then I immediately went to Target and bought the DVD so I could watch it with Kevin.)

3. Put thank you notes in the mail - Done!  It felt great to get them off of our kitchen counter and in the mailboxes of our loved ones.  And I got a text from my grandma thanking us for the lovely note, which was great.  It made me feel good that the thank you note brightened her day!

4. Have a game night with a friend/friends - Done...ish?  One of my coworkers was hospitalized with pneumonia in the middle of January, and I volunteered to keep her company a couple of weekends ago while she was back at home recovering.  We planned to play games, but we actually wound up just watching chick flicks and chatting for 7 hours!  The games sat on the dining room table, but we're hoping to have another actual game night (where we play games) again!!  We are putting it on the calendar in the next couple of weeks.

5. Take a day off work - Done!  I took the last Tuesday of January off, and let me tell you, it was a glorious day.  I spent the morning at Ikea with my mom, snuggled my cousin's 2-month-old son for 4 hours in the afternoon, and had an impromptu dinner with my parents, my brother and his girlfriend, and Kevin that evening at The Freehouse in Minneapolis.  It was SUCH a good day - much needed for my mental health!

All in all, I felt it was a pretty good start to my monthly goals.  I got some "tasky" things done, worked on my health, and had some fun as well.  Not too shabby!

February Goals
1. Give myself a pedicure | I'm one of those people who really likes to have her toenails painted.  I get really weirded out by the look of my unpainted toenails (I know, it's weird), so I try to keep them painted all year round.  However, I painted my toenails (poorly, I might add) right before Christmas, and the polish is all chipped and ugly right now.  I'd like to sit down one evening this month and pamper myself with a nice pedicure.

2. Purchase my plane ticket to Charlotte | I've locked down the dates I'm going to fly out to Charlotte to hang out with my best friend and her family, which is super exciting.  Now all I need to do is buy my plane ticket!  I can't wait to have that part done and be able to officially begin the countdown :)

3. Make homemade pizza with Kevin | Kev and I found this great food blog called Budget Bytes, and I'm utterly in love with it.  Over winter break, I sat down and looked through every single vegetarian recipe on the blog and wound up pinning tons of them to my food board on Pinterest.  I'm notorious for pinning recipes and then never giving them a shot, so this month, I really want to try this recipe for a homemade pesto focaccia pizza.  Ohhh my gosh, it looks so good!

4. Get our taxes done | Last year, Kevin and I filed our own taxes, and it was so slick!  We'd like to try it out again this year...we just need to sit down and complete them.  The preparation (printing W-2s and student loan statements, gathering all of our forms, etc.) is the worst part, so I'd like to get that part out of the way sooner than later, and then Kevin and I can file the taxes and see what kind of a tax return we'll get this year!

5. Finish a painting | I started a painting way back in September or October that I'm planning to hang in my office at school...but it has sat unfinished in our house for months.  I keep putting "finish painting" on my to-do list nearly every weekend, but I haven't actually done any more work on it!  I would really like to just finish it once and for all and hang it in my office so I have some more artwork in there.