Thursday, April 28, 2011

Would you like some cheese with that whine?

I definitely can't take credit for this creative endeavor, but Jennifer Porter inspired me a few months ago with a Wine and Cheese Pairing Party, and I followed suite Tuesday night. All six of the girls from our community group came over for our own version of a Wine and Cheese Party. Even though the only expertise I bring to the table related to wine and cheese is the fact that I enjoy both, we had a wonderful time!

I mimicked Jen in arranging the event and asked each person to bring a specific and different type of cheese and wine. We had a great variety of cheeses that included: gruyere, brie, gouda, parmesean, goat, and bleu. We also had both white and red wines represented, and the wines were: prosecco, pinot grigio, chardonnay, pinot noir, merlot, and cabarnet.

We tasted every different type of cheese with every different type of wine, and in between there was a lot of laughing and chatting. One of my friends in our small grou, Jennifer Fowler, has taken the official wine and cheese class at Scardello. I highly recommend enjoying some wine and cheese; whether at home, at a restaurant, or at an official tasting. My only caution... pace your cheese intake!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

South America Day #7

Well, this is our last night in South America. Tomorrow night we'll be on a plane, catching a red-eye back to Dallas. This trip has been a great experience, both professionally and personally. Today, we went walking and shopping around Sao Paulo and ate a fantastic lunch at a very cute, charming restaurant. Tonight was the Brazilian Boarding School Fair at our hotel. We only had about five inquiries, but even though there wasn't as much interest, these trips are always good for two reasons: networking and exploring new markets.

After the fair, several of the admissions officers went to a Brazilian "bar/ restaurant" for some traditional Brazilian snacks. Something I did learn about Brazilian food, it's friend and it's a lot of cheese. In fact, those were the main two commonalities of most of the dishes.

Even after a great week of work, networking, and some play as well, I'm looking forward to going home tomorrow night. Big D, I'll see you on Friday!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

South America Day #4-#6

GOOOOOOLLLLLL. I'm combining days 4, 5, and 6 because after taking a red eye flight to Sao Paulo Sunday night and arriving yesterday morning, the last few days all mesh into one. Sunday we walked around the hotel, bought some authentic Colombian coffee, worked out, and played a mean game of cards. Yesterday morning, we arrived in Sao Paulo at 6:00 am, napped, and laid out at the pool.

I'm excited to have left dreary and cold Colombia and now be in sunny Sao Paulo. The weather is beautiful, low 80s, and we walked everywhere. Today we went to the Art Museum, Futebol Museum, and this very authentic market. I am not by any means an expert on Brazilian soccer, but seeing that I married into a soccer family, I really enjoyed and appreciated being in the soccer capital of the world. Tonight we walked to a fantastic pizza restaurant called "Margarita's." It was fun to walk and drive around the city and experience lots of different activities.

Tomorrow is the Brazilian Boarding School Fair and our last full day. Until then... ciao!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

South America Day #3

Today was the actual Bogota Boarding School Fair. Our expectations were greatly exceeded when about 200 students and parents arrived. We were told by the organization we're working with that translators would not be needed as most people who would be interested in this would speak English... wrong. Out of the 100 or so people Jen and I met, only about 5-10 spoke some level of English. I ended up speaking in my very limited and broken Spanish to most of the families, and at some point in the conversation, "No hablo espanol bueno" was always stated. Jen laughed that I used a combination of hand motions and Spanish phrases to communicate, which just goes to show the truth in the study that found 90% of communication is non-verbal.

After a three hour fair of listening and attempting to communicate, we were exaughsted. However, we were pleased and suprised by the large turnout, especially since this week is "Holy Week" in Latin America. Tomorrow we're heading to Sao Paulo for a few days and fair number two. Hasta luego!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

South America Day #2

Lo Siento. Hablo espanol un pocito. This has quickly become one of my most used phrases over the last two days. Our second day in Bogota was has been very interesting. This morning we took a taxi and visited two bilingual schools in the North part of the city. It was fascinating to talk with other administrators and learn about the philosophy of schools in another country. One thing I love about Hockaday is how they're always striving to open new doors for students. Today, we spoke not only about our boarding department, but also about our summer school, possible exchange program, and even the opportunity for our classes to collaborate and communicate with each other. 

After visiting schools and getting a special Colombian snack (some sort of homeade cheese and bread treat), we decided we would try to cash our traveler's checks. I don't know a better way to explain what happend for the next two hours than this:

1. Front desk tells us to go to the money exchange around the corner.
2. Money exchange tells us to go to another money exchange shop in La Salitra (mall about 5 minutes from our hotel). 
3. On our way out, front desk at hotel tells us to go to Colombiabanco at La Salitra. 
4. After waiting 30 minutes in line, Colombiabanco tells us to go to a money exchange called Cambio (still in the mall). 
5. Cambio tells us to go to Cambino (another exchange store in the mall). 
6. Cambino tells us that they don't cash travelers checks. 

And after all of this, we still weren't able to cash our traveler's checks. Someone said no one in Colombia will say, "I don't know," and I believe it.

To end the day, we had dinner and drinks with our colleagues from the group we're here with, TABS. It's always interesting conversation to talk with other boarding schools from around the country - both coed and single sex - and exchange ideas and information. 

Tomorrow will be a big day as we have our Boarding School Fair in the afternoon. Crossing our fingers that we have lots of attendees. Ciao from Bogota!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

South America Day #1

Since I'm in South America for a week, I thought it would be worth writing a short post every day of our little adventure. For those of you who don't know, my director and I are traveling to Bogota, Colombia and Sao Paulo, Brazil with a group of boarding schools known as TABS for the first Latin American Boarding School Fairs.

Today was a long travel day. We left DFW this morning, had a layover in Miami, and arrived in Bogota around 7:30 pm tonight. We're staying at a nice and contemporary Marriott hotel. However, we have been surprised by a few things:

1. Drug dogs and metal detectors both when you're leaving the airport and when you arrive at the hotel (somehow makes you feel both safe and a little uneasy at the same time).

2. English is not as common as we thought, and many of those who speak English have limited vocabulary, which means Jen and I are having to brush up on our Spanish and make use of the translator app I downloaded on my phone.

And it's time for bed now. Until tomorrow, buenos noches from Bogota!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Genna's Shower Soiree


This weekend, my "girls" and I threw our friend, Genna, a kitchen shower to celebrate her marriage! I've always had a small creative incling, but recently I realized that this incling is turning more into a downright urge, and I thought I would share a few of those ideas from Genna's shower with you.

Genna's colors are green and brown. Since brown flowers aren't very popular, I decided to use white flowers and use limes and green apples as accents to bring out the green.

Using fruit as accent to floral arrangements is so easy and can add such a cute punch of color. You can use limes, apples, lemons, oranges, but consider the size of fruit when picking vase and floral arrangement size (I originally bought green apples to put in the tall vase, but after I got them home I realized they are too large and they only fit stacked one on top of the other).

To make the "apple flowers" follow these steps:

1. Core the apples (I don't have an apple corer, so Nate and I sat on the porch and used a good old fashion knife).

2. Clean the apple with a wet cloth, stuff a paper towel inside, and refrigerate until ready to use.

3. Cut flowers to the appropriate size to and place inside apple hole.

In between the apple flowers you can see our "goodie bags" we made. We used a variety of spices from Central Market and let each guest choose their own spice bag. Chelsea came up with the idea for the spices, and they are so cheap to buy in bundle. I also made small tags that say, "N&G"  and the type of spice is written on the back.

Loved throwing this shower with my wonderful friends for an amazing woman! Hope these fun ideas spark some inspiration. Happy crafting :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

This Is Who I Am

Yesterday I got to spend some wonderful one-on-one time with my friend, Ann. In catching each other up on life, Ann inspired me with a story of how God's using and teaching her to share her faith. We had a wonderful conversation about how God sets up opportunities all the time for us to share our faith, and as Ann told me how she explained to her friend that her faith is more than simply religion or what she believes to ensure that she will go to heaven, I was hit with the reminder that Christianity and believing in God is so much more than that, it's truly defined who I am and what I do. This morning on the way to work, I heard the song, "This Is Who I Am" by Shane and Shane. Nate and I played this song at our wedding because we love the words and what it's professing. As I blared this song in the car, I was further reminded that my life is not my own, and even though I fail daily, everything I do should be for and because of Christ and his gift of eternal life for me. Here's the words to the song,
I hope it blesses you like it blessed me:

I am a new creation,
the old is passed away
and I’m made new
I’m made new.

And I have been adopted,
the door is opened up
for me to know you
be like you

This is who I am
I’ve been born again
the Cross is my defense, my hope secured
now my life is in Your Hand
on Your every word I stand
Lord I’m finding who I am in all you are

When my heart condemns me
tells me I am guilty
Your greater
Your greater

Jesus you have searched me,
and even in your finding
You have loved
and You love me

This is who I am
I’ve been born again
the Cross is my defense, my hope secured
now my life is in Your Hand
on Your every word I stand
Lord I’m finding who I am in all you are

For He mad Him who knew no sin
To be sent
On our behalf was crucified
Oh that we could be the righteousness
Of our creator

I am a new creation,
the old is passed away
and I’m made new
I’m made new.

This is who I am
I’ve been born again
the Cross is my defense, my hope secured
now my life is in Your Hand
on Your every word I stand
Lord I’m finding who I am in all you are