Deep in the Heart of Texas

Hey Ya'll!!!

 For some reason I say ya'll on this blog. But really that's so different from my character and opposite of who I'd say I was. I am from Texas, so yes, I say "Are ya'll coming tonight?" 
But by no means is there a southern draw in that "Ya'll." 
{when I read that in my head I read it totally Southern, loonng draws, trust me people, that's not what I sound like in real life!} 
I'm from Austin and with that came a pride for me in my college years
 of being the least Texan I could possibly be. 
I took pride in saying no to a lot of questions. 
No, I don't have an accent. 
No, I don't wear cowboy boots. 
No, I don't listen to country music.
 No,  I don't know how to country dance. 
No, I don't own a gun. 
No, I don't drink Dr. Pepper. 
No, I am not necessarily a Republican nor conservative. 
No, I do not like sweet tea. 
No, no, no. To me, saying no to these things, was like saying, "I'm cool." "I'm different." "I'm waaaay more foreign and mysterious than all these folks!" That was stupid. I'll admit it. And you know what, 
since moving overseas I've figured out I'm pretty much Texan, ya'll!! 
{And I figured out no one else knows what Queso, Blue Bell, HEB and real Tex Mex is}
And for the first time I think I'm proud of it.
Here's the Texanisms I see in me:
{not that these are exclusively Texan}
I do like to give big hugs. 
And I will likely bake you cookies.
I am in love with a little heart breaker called TEX MEX and crave it daily. 
I have a second stomach for tortilla chips and salsa. 
{which is probably why it appears like I have a second stomach sometimes ;) } 
I LOVE to eat meat. I crave meat even.
I like beer.
My dad wears cowboy boots & Levis and my Papa says soda water. 
I have shot a gun, many times, and killed a deer, a few times. 
I do like big things. {That's what she said.}
Big dogs, big trucks, big racks of ribs. Big just seems better in some areas. 

All the no's above are still true of me... and I will always be a snow bunny and dread the Texas heat, but I think seeing Texas through others' eyes has made me fall in love with the big ole' State. 
It's true. Those Texan Fire ants are cray cray.

Foreigners seem to love Texas. Even Americans seem to love Texas. Countless of people said they could tell we were Texan because of how friendly we were. 
I had no idea someone would notice that and account it to Texas! 
I could comment on the many things I love about Texas, but since being in a foreign country I have thought a lot about Texas driving and seen tons of differences in the rest of the world. 
I love that in Texas when you let people pass, they wave at you. I love the fact that people LET people pass while driving. I love that people flash their lights at you to warn you there's a police car ahead. 
The world is full of crazy drivers but there is a lot of nice ones in Texas {that are all helping each other escape the legal system apparently... that sounds crazy}!
Texans are friendly and full of love. And I like that. 
I won't be waving a Texan flag or anything soon, but I will say, 
I'm proud to be a Texan.
{This sentence makes me giggle a little bit! Never thought something so Texas-ly cliche would come out of my mouth.. but it did.. And that's where we're at people.}

Tell me, 
What do you love about your state or country?



Sunset in Tai Shan
obsessed with: Macadamia & Cranberry Kind bars- I'm going to make my own soon!
watching: I'll let you take a wild guess...The Office. Though, I do have Les Mes in the queue. Have you seen it? What did you think?
fashion favorites: Floral and patterned leggings, though, I own none. 
wishing for: More students to tudor. Say a pray ya'll. I have a classroom ready to go but no students.
listening to: Adele. I watched her Skyfall performance from the Oscars recently and I'm just amazed by her. Her voice is chill inducing.
eating: Chicken, stir fried cabbage and broccoli for dinner. Yogurt and blackberries for dessert.
can't wait for: Our friends, Justin & Catherine to get here! 
missing: Is it too soon to say vacation? (since we've only been back to work for 2 days and our vacation was a month!) 

*sippin: Water. Always water. Well water when it's not an iced decaf coffee or our morning juice.
*loving: Zachary. He just brought me some flowers. :)
*notloving: how incredibly tired I feel after taking a nap! I am just not a nap person I think! I'm a sleep 12 hours straight person. An hour to two hours and my body freaks out, like, "What are you doing!? We still have 10 hours of recovery to do!!!" Yes, my body does talk and refers to itself as we. 
*hearing: Chara chewing on a piece of stray paper
*dreaming: of a vacation in Italy 

What's your currently?


A Back Pack worth Every Child's Envy

This is my new technique for thinking of post titles. 
Usually my posts are not title conducive, unless I could call every post "Random" or "A Little Bit of This and That," which I've already done.
 That's why I used to have Tuesday Tidbits. Because then, at least 1 day a week my post title was set.
But, back to my new technique. I just choose one point or picture in my post and come up with a clever title based on that. I know genius. Or lazy. 
One time, I even googled "clever post titles." Ya. I know. I'm lame. 
And I got nothing. I should probably write a post about choosing clever titles and then when people like me search that, I'll get major traffic! Again, I know. I'm a genius.
I had the same problem with naming face book albums. 
How are you people so darn clever naming posts and albums?
Hey Friends. How are ya?
We're back to work this week. I loved having vacation but thankful to get back into a routine & my body will probably thank me for not staying up until 4 am every night now that we're working.
And, with going back to work, I got to buy a few new things. Like....drum roll please.... a laminator!
Whoop! We got it Friday and I was beyond excited! I was looking around the house for anything and everything to laminate! A laminator is a must for a primary school teacher. Or so, I told Zachary.
We love walking around Marina City, a shopping center in downtown Qingdao. It's right on the water, has tons of great shops (H&M, Sephora, Mango & Zara--the only ones I care about), and always has fun things going on in the square. We've seen a few fashion shows, concerts and theme parks.
Today our school gave us free tickets to a dinosaur exhibit that's going up next weekend. 
Holla! You know we'll be there. 
Do I say "holla" on the blog too much? 
In front of a Chinese New Year exhibit & amusement park in Marina City.
Check out these incredibly genius balloon backpacks. I'd be totally stoked as a kid to get one of those. Heck, I'd be stoked to get one now. I'm a little jealous. 
Speaking of blow up balloons, I saw a legit clown the other day. He looked exactly like the creepy kind  from a few decades back. Apparently there isn't a fear of clowns in China because people were not running away. And he still had a job in a public place.
We had lunch at one of our favorite Chinese restaurants in Marina City. 
This is one of Zachary's favorites, as well as, a close cousin to the American favorite, sweet and sour chicken. I have no idea what it's called though. Praise the Lord for picture menus for all of us illiterate.
Did you know they have 7-11s in Asia?! They do. 
A new fro-yo shop opened up downtown. It's the legit kind where you get to sprinkle on your own toppings and everything. Yummy!

That's all I have for you today because I can't find our SD Cards. Whoops!
So, until tomorrow, enjoy! 

By the way, I love your comments. 
Holla at yo' gurl. 
(sorry. I had to.) 


Let the Wedding Bells Ring

Today is our sweet friend's, Justin and Catherine, wedding day!
We are so very thankful for these two & without a doubt see that they belong together!
A match made in heaven. :) 
We wish we could be there, in South Africa, for their wedding day in person, 
but over here in Qingdao, we are definitely there in spirit!!! 

Justin & Catherine, we love you!! 
This is for you!
**inside joke ;)

Now, lovely readers, if you will, go show them some love & wish them a happy Wedding day!
You'll LOVE their blog!
They've traveled all over South East Asia, the States and South Africa. 
It won't take long reading their blog to realize these two were meant to be! 

Happy Saturday!!!!!


For His Glory

Before I start. I really hope that any of this makes sense. 
I don't often write "serious" posts on here but honestly I am more "serious" than fun.
I think blogging has made me more fun. More open to doing exciting and spontaneous things.
But really, at the heart, I am serious. 
I'm a thinker. And am constantly thinking. And so, for this to really be "my" blog,  I figure I should include other parts of me, too. More than just fun photos and food we eat.
{If serious isn't you're thing, you can read here instead. :) } 

Recently, we have spent gaboozles (ya. gaboozles. You like that?) of money setting up our guest bedroom for our much anticipated guests and adding to some of the rooms in our house.
These pictures have nothing to do with this post. But research shows, if I have pictures in my post, it will grab the reader's attention. So, reader, consider your attention grabbed. ;)
Anytime we spend over a certain amount of money on "things" I question why. 
{Not because I don't like spending money. On the contrary, I do! 
Really do. 
But in my spirit, I question.}

What's it all for? What's the point of making a room comfortable? Is it wrong? Is it gluttonous? How can I make my 3rd bedroom more beautiful when there are some that don't even have 1? 

There is so much to be commented on in those questions and so many further questions to be asked. But I'll stick to these. 

What am I using these things for? 
Am I using them to the glory of God? 
Am I using them as the hands and feet of Jesus?
And I believe, after surveying my heart,  after laying down all the crap about status, comfort and luxury, my heart is this, to glorify the Lord. To bless with what we have been given. To make a place where someone feels loved, at home and at peace. 
SO THAT they can draw closer to Him who is peace, who is love and from whom all blessings flow. 
I long to do all things to the glory of God.

This should be my purpose.
Because that is what is eternal.
And this is what will last. 
And this is what will bring me true, everlasting joy.

We don't find our peace, strength or joy in things or praise these things. 
But we find our peace, strength and joy in Him and worship Him for them. 
Anything I could ever buy will fade. It will decay. 
But the word of God, the treasures of heaven, my spirit and the spirit of others, these are eternal.

So, if a new comforter, a bowel of chocolates or freshly baked bread points to Jesus in the heart of man, I say, praise be to God.  
And so, in the midst of all my questions, I pray. 
I pray for our home, our money and our things, (all of which are His any ways) to be used for His glory and for His Kingdom on earth. And that He would lead our spending towards
 His glory & His purposes. 

Do any of you ever struggle with the 'why's' of spending money? 
What has God taught you in the midst of it?


"C,c,c,c Currently"

That's supposed to be the start of a made up rap song.
Like, "C, c, c, c, currently.. what?! what?! Rick, ricka, ricka, ricka, ricka, what?! C, c, c, c, currently." 
It sounds REAL good in my head guys. It's probably gonna be the next single on America's Top 40.
Just saying.
Yep. Still wearing hats, scarves & coats in Qingdao.

My new blog friend,  McKenzie, who currently lives across East China Sea from us, inspired me to finally do one of these currently posts I've been seeing.  Check her Currently post here

Currently... chatting with one of my besties, Catherine, on gmail chat, listening to The Office & printing flashcards for class, while Zachary is asleep on the couch behind me. 

Listening to... Michael Scott's ridiculous, hilarity.  IF I was listening to music, I would definitely be listening to the new Gungor CD.

Reading... Ecclesiastes, Romans, A Time to Embrace & Committed 

Eating... drinking Merlot. Ate, Dak Galbi (Korean chicken bbq with cabbage and sweet potato) tonight for dinner! 

Cooking... nothing currently. :) Tomorrow I will be "cooking" our left overs from tonight. I love it when you pay for one meal and get two!

Dreaming... of traveling to Italy and Jerusalem this summer. 

Running... Starting a new 1/2 marathon training plan soon.

Feeling... like I reaaaalllly need to get into a normal sleeping routine before school starts Monday! A month off of staying up till 3 and 4 am and sleeping in to noon everyday... I'm in for a beating come Monday morning.

Missing... my family and friends. Missing them terribly. 
Wanting... to see them. 
***Not included in these pictures is all of our grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, best friends, close friends and family friends! We miss them all!! Can't wait to see you all this summer!!***

Wearing... Black H&M sweat pants, my fave comfy top from NY&C and a black infinity scarf I got for $5 on WorldMarket.com. Holla.

Pinning... Blogging tips!

Learning... that God is always faithful and always good. That He fills me. That He loves me dearly. Always learning this. 

Enjoying... vacation. Only a few more days so we are savoring it and enjoying preparing to go back to school. I love lesson planning and making flashcards! Excited to get back to the kiddos and daily routine!

What's going on in your life currently?

Also, make sure to check out Rachel's, from Postcards from Rachel, first big giveaway! $110 to Kate Spade! Yawza!
Also, while you're there, check out this traveling beauties blog. You'll love it & for sure add "travel"to your bucket list! This girl has an eye for taking photos & a way of drawing you in to her posts. Read her blog. It won't disappoint! You can start by getting to know Rachel, here


That time I got 40 Comments

I was perusing my previous posts and about jumped out of my skin from shock and excitement. 
One of my posts had 40 comments on it!!!!
{I know. This is like the Ush for alot of bloggers.}
I mean, I knew it was good, but I didn't know it was THAT good. ;)

Immediately, I felt remorse, for I knew there was no way I had received an email about all 40 of those comments, which meant there was no way I responded back to those 40 readers! Which of course sent me in the "No!! I don't want to be a flakey blogger!!!!!!" spiral.

So, naturally, I had to check out these 40 comments to asesss wether or not I had or had not replied to them, and what do you know.
About 30 of them were spam.
Spam! Dang Spam.
So, question bloggers, 
do you ever have this problem?! 
Is there any way to stop it besides having verification word on the blog? 
{I really dislike the verification words. It deters me from commenting on other blogs sometimes because it often takes awhile to load!}

Me and My Boo

In my opinion, our Valentine's day rocked. :)
We had such a good time. 
We always do, which is one of my favorite parts of being married to this man. 
Zachary opened all his Valentine's goodies, including "Our Little Date Box." 
He already had one of the dates planned. 
He booked a room at our favorite hotel in Qingdao and made sure they had a bathtub! 
 Halleliugh! You have no idea how hard it is some days for this bath lover living without a bathtub. 
I love how the bath tub has a window open to the room. 
Fresh flowers next to the bed.
A nice, big and comfy bed!
Laying back on 75 reasons I love him.
While at the hotel, Zachary opened his "75 Things I love about You" jar. 
I loved. loved. loved. watching his face as he read each one. 
He took each one out of the jar, read it, and placed it carefully on the bed. 
He had the sweetest grin, of a man that knows he's loved.
It made my heart melt. 
After he finished reading the 75 hearts, I thought of so many more reasons why I loved him! 
I should have made it 100 reasons or 150! 
Surely, there are not enough hearts to write the ways you love someone you are married to, best friends with, respect, care for and spend each day with!
Later, we went to a new wine bar that has opened in Qingdao. 
We love it. 
There are 8 dispensers and 32 wines to choose from.
Each dispenser has a price tag on a glass of the 4 bottles, so you can easily try lots of wine and stay on budget. 
There is a Texas flag on the ceiling of the bar, so we knew it was meant to be.
 When there is only two of you and you have a huge camera, it's hard to take pictures together! 
After wine we went to a local Italian restaurant and got a few appetizers for dinner. 
Panna cotta for dessert. 
After a few hours out, we made our way back to the hotel for more dessert & some alone time. :) 
And stayed up until 4 am watching Downton Abbey! I enjoyed watching it from the bath tub. :)

Married Trivia
How well does he know me?? 
How long have you been married?
Z= 4 years and 2 months
H= 4 years and 2 months

Where was your first date?
Z= We had study dates at first... I don't remember a first official date. 
H= I have no idea! Ha. 

Where was your first kiss?
Z= On the steps behind her dorm
H= Outside my dorm, on the back stair case 

Who first said, "I love you"?
Z= Me. 
H= He did. :)

What were your wedding colors?
Z= Pearl and a night blue or something 
H= midnight blue and white. 
       That's right! Pearl. Not white.

What is her most commonly used phrase?
Z= "like" no... "Spend time with Jesus." 
H= I'm obsessed with ......
           I may say "like" alot, like a brainless valley girl, but I have substance. :p (No, but really, I think he thinks too highly of me. I wish that was my most commonly used phrase!}

If she was ordering drinks for both of you what would you each get?
Z= It depends on where we were and what mood she's in. But usually for her she would order and a beer for me.
H= Red wine or a beer. 

What is the best meal she has ever cooked you?
Z= Our best meals were when everything was available to us in the U.S.-Gourmet sandwiches and fajitas. And, truffle cheesecakes. 
H= Maybe fajitas?? Or one of my stir fries? 

What is the worst meal she has ever cooked you?
Z= One time she cooked millet. 
H= I can't think of anything! But I know there is bound to be some bad ones!
             Oh ya! I remember that. But millet. Come on. That can hardly be called cooking. ;)

What is the most-played song on her iPod?
H= Beautiful Things by Gungor or something by Shawn McDonald
Z= Shawn McDonald, for sure 

What would she say is your most annoying habit?
H= Spending too much time organizing random things. 
Z= Tapping.
           Ya. He's right. That is annoying. He's always clicking pens and tapping his fingers.

What is the last thing she does before she goes to bed?
H= Gives him a kiss good night & watch The Office. (bad anti anxiety habit I've picked up!)
Z= Watches The Office. 

If you could throw out one item of her clothing what would it be?
H= These black short boots, I love but he thinks they look like witches boots. He just doesn't know style. ;P
Z= The witch boots. 

What would you say is your favorite thing about her?
H= My passion. 
Z= Super sexy.
          I mean.... they're kind of the same. ;)

What's her go-to drink at Starbucks?
H= Decaf Americano
Z= Well, that depends. If it's a hot day, an iced decaf americano. If it's a cold day, a green tea latte

What's her favorite movies?
H= My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Harry Potter
Z= Harry Potter

What's my biggest dream?
H= To travel.
Z= To travel.

If I could have an occupation other than the one I have, what would it be?
H= doctor
Z= a doctor

What's her blog's name?!
H= It's "our" blog so of course he knows!
Z= Don't ask me that. 
            Apparently that question is insulting. He already knows it!

How well does your significant other know you?! 
***I got most of these questions from a link up and now for the life of me can't find where. If you know, fill me in, so I can properly link them up!***


That time Paparazzi Followed Me

Hey there hot stuff. 
Ya. You. :) 
Readers, you're hot stuff. 
There's a lot of new faces around here & 
I am so honored and blessed to have you!
Please, stay awhile.
I can't wait to get to know you better. 
Here's a little bit of nonsense about me.

Currently, I am printing out page upon page of work out plans to create a
very organized work out binder. 
Don't worry I'll show you the end result.
It's going to hopefully spring board me into a life of discipline and awesomeness. ;) 
No, but really.
My binder will include pages like this. 
Check tons of work out pages at backonpointe.tumblr.com
This girl has tons of stuff!

Lately, I've been learning Italian. 
Well really reading Italian and trying to memorize what I read.
You guys, I'm like really smart. 
Like you could ask me how to say "Hey! My name is Heather. How are you?" in Italian and I would say blah, blah, blah, blah Giving you the perfect right answer.
{if you can tell me where that modified quote is from and who said it we'll be best friends forever}
I've read several times on people's face book and twitter statuses how annoyed they are with people who get "your" and "you're" mixed up.
Since then, every time I write one of the two I have to do a double take to make sure I used the correct one. 70% of the time I've used the wrong one. 
I guess I'm that dumb.
Before, when I thought of Chinese food, this is what I thought of-
Delicious stir fried veggies.
You'd be surprised how uncommon that is here. 
But thankfully I got my fill at the local food court with my dear friend, Abigail, this past week.
I really love this man. He's super adorable. {The human. Not the statue.}
He stood next to this statue, so lovingly, {and holding my purse! I just noticed. Aww. He's the best.}  after we got in an argument about how he never wants to take pictures.
{Can you blame him? I make him stand next to weird statues! Poor guy!}
This is what we ate for breakfast, again, this past Saturday. 
Currently, we are watching alot of Downton Abbey. 
{Thanks for the recommendation Jules! You were  right. I love it!}
It has definitely increased the amount of time I spend speaking in an English accent.
Have you seen it? What do you think?
Our dog, Chara (Car, like the one you drive, A, like 'uhhhh, did you really just say that?', Car-a), is probably the cutest, most snuggly {even if sometimes we force her to snuggle} thing ever. We love her. 
We live here. 
Qing (pronounced ching) dao.
If you want to get to know us & this blog a little better,  check out some of my favorite posts lately.
Have an awesome Monday!!!
Anyone watch the Bachelor?! Who do you think is going home tonight?
I think AshLee & Catherine. 
{Though, I cheated and actually know who is going home and who wins. But based on the show so far and not taking into account what I know, I would think those two go home.}
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