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A Fair, Changes at Work, and Some Shopping

September 26, 2013
I never really get a chance to post about my weekends since I usually work all weekend long, so I thought I'd post about some of the things I've been up to lately.

My boyfriend and I headed to a local fair one day where I enjoyed some tasty fair food such as pumpkin spice flavored popcorn and a crepe. 

I also had my last day of work at the movie theater I had worked at for the past three years as an assistant manager so that I could transfer to another theater.  Below are some pictures of my co-workers and I on my last day.

Two days ago, I met up with my friend to go hiking at Mohican State Park.  It's not that far from where I live and it's a nice change from just walking on the bike trail or doing the elliptical.  Since my friend and I talked the whole time, it didn't really feel like exercise because I was distracted and had fun.  (I really wish I could have fun doing all types of exercise, but I just don't!)  My legs are a little sore, so I know I did actually get a bit of a work out.  My friend made me laugh because when we started walking she looked around and said, "Oh, so this is straight nature!"  We decided to go back and hike it again when the leaves start changing colors. 

While I'm at it, I'll also go ahead and share one of my recent purchases, which is the Mumbai Treasure bracelet I bought from the site Ten Thousand Villages.  It cost $18.00, but I searched for a coupon code and got a discount.  I still had to pay the shipping, but I am in LOVE with this bracelet.  I found it while searching subscription boxes because this was one of the items included in a Fair Treasure box.  This box looks so cool to me because it supports artisans from around the world and everything included is handmade.  I'm on a budget so I can't afford to spend the $30/month on this subscription, but I'd like to try it out for one or two months.  One month they put in Haitian metal art from Croix-des-Bouquets, and that's where I went for an OSU study abroad trip!  We got to go into the different metal art shops, and I ended up buying some great pieces that went to a good cause (one of the metal art shops gave some of the $$ to a school.)

The Mumbai bracelet is the one to the far left.  I purchased the bangles on a trip to India, and the other bracelet is by Lia Sophia.

How has your week been going?  Have you gone on any fun outings or made any great purchases?

Weekly Wishes

September 23, 2013
As usual, I'm joining in on The Nectar Collective's Weekly Wishes Link Up.

My wishes last week were to:

Blog at least 4 times in a week's time.  I did end up meeting this goal, but I knew I'd have some extra time this week to do so.  :)

Be patient and open minded at work.  I transferred movie theaters and my first day at the new one was on Friday.  I still do the same exact job, but need to learn where stuff is at the new theater and adjust to how things are done because every general manager runs a theater a bit differently.  I do have to say that I think it was in my best interest to transfer and I'm liking it so far.

Watch my budget carefully.  Well, I don't know how well I've done with this considering I bought a $54 blazer from Maurices and a leopard print blouse from there, too.  The blazer is so cute and I needed it for work to replace my old black one that is starting to look ragged!  Oh well, it's not like I went on a huge shopping spree or anything.  I could have done better, but I could have done worse.

Do something fall related.  I went and got my first Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks!  Also, my friend and I have a hike planned for tomorrow.  Some of the leaves are starting to change color, but the leaves are mostly still all green around here.

 This week's wishes:

* Organize my jewelry.  It has become a huge mess and while I was looking for something, I just dumped everything out.  I need order!  I bet once I can see what I have available, I'll start wearing some pieces that I forgot I owned.

* Pack and prepare for my trip to Eastern Pennsylvania.  I'll be staying with my grandparents from Friday-Monday.  My sister is meeting me there, too.  Since my grandparents have gotten older and my grandma's health is deteriorating, they just don't make it out to visit us like they used to, so we will go to them.

* Finish reading RosesI have just had this book checked out for awhile from the library and I think I'm going to have to return it soon because I've exceeded my limit!  I've been really into the book lately and have had some reading time, so this should be feasible.

That's it!  I'm not putting anything big down for this week, since I'm sort of going on a little mini vacation. In what ways do you plan on having fun this week?

Cape Town Diaries: Meeting Niki Daly & Sunset at Sea Point

Our study group was invited to go out to Kleinmond to visit a South African author and illustrator, Niki Daly and his wife Jude who is also an illustrator.  This was really exciting for myself and for the others because Niki Daly is huge in South African children's literature.  One of his most famous books, Not So Fast Songolo, was published in 1985 and he has been writing and illustrating books for children ever since.  He has won a whole slew of awards for his work, and if you're looking for a few South African picture books to read to your children or students, I would suggest taking a look some of his high quality books.  The professor that took us on this trip had been my professor over the course of three years, and I had four classes with her.  In every single class, she read us something by Niki Daly including stories like Pretty Salma, some stories from the Jamela series and Fly, Eagle, Fly! which is illustrated Niki Daly.

When we first arrived at Kleinmond, we introduced ourselves to the Daly's, had some tea and snacks, and watched a short presentation that Niki gave to us about some of his work.  We then went on a walk along the beach in Kleinmond, which is a breathtaking place.  Afterwards, we were invited to check out Niki's studio and had lunch.  We also had the opportunity to get our books signed.  Overall, it was a fantastic visit and our group was surprised at how down to earth and accommodating the Daly's were.

On our way back from Kleinmond, we saw some baboons!

Once we got back to Cape Town, we headed out to Sea Point to watch the sunset.

It was the perfect ending to another fun day!  If you could meet a living children's author, who would you like to meet?

What's in my Tote bag for Subbing

September 20, 2013
My friend recently gave me this cute tote bag as a graduation gift because she thought it would be useful for teaching.  Since I'm substitute teaching, it's perfect because I can bring in my own items that I would normally leave in the classroom.  Also, sometimes I have to sub and then go directly to my other job, so I can bring things that I might need for later on.  I've seen a lot of What's in My Purse posts, which I totally want to do by the way...but I thought it might be fun to share what I'm toting around with me when I sub!

Monthly Planner- I have to have this with me because the school secretary asks me to sub on other days as they become available and since I don't have a set schedule at my other job, it's hard to remember when I'm working what.  I also sub in two school districts, so I have to have my planner with me to keep things straight.  When I reference this, I can let the secretary know right away whether or not it works for me.

Bottled Water- I bring my metal water bottle with me, but I only have one reusable water bottle right now since the lid on my other one recently broke.  That's why I've been bringing regular plastic water bottles around with me.  Normally, I would just bring my reusable water bottle and refill it on my breaks in the teacher's lounge, but at one of the school's I'm subbing at, there is no morning break anymore! They did away with 1st recess, so there isn't time to have a break until lunch.  Also, some schools I've been at have gross water that looks kind of yellow.  I think I'll pass on that.  I learned from my first day subbing to always bring extra water because I was so dehydrated by the time the day ended.

Reading Material- Since I'm a sub and don't need the full planning period while the students are at their specials, so I always bring something to keep me occupied.  If the teacher wants me to, I'll grade some of the students' papers, but sometimes teachers like to do this themselves since they mark it a certain way and give half credit.  Next week, I'll be bringing along To Kill a Mockingbird, which I listed as one of my 2013 Must Read's.

Headache Medicine- I tend to get headaches fairly frequently, and there's nothing worse than being without medicine when you're at work...especially when working with young children who sometimes forget to use their indoor voices.  For me, this is a must have.


Children's Books- Sometimes there is extra time because we finish a lesson early, so I always like to have a couple of books with me so that I can read-aloud to students in our spare time.  I'll be rotating these stories if I sub in the same classroom more than once.  

Sharpies and Pens- These are usually available in the classrooms I teach in, but sometimes they are hard to find.  This is why I always bring back ups since from time to time I will be marking students' papers and grading their work.

Antibacterial Hand Gel- Like I said, there aren't many opportunities to take a break so instead of washing my hands, I use this antibacterial hand gel when my hands start feeling gross.  I just use this until I can get to a sink and scrub them with soap and water.  I'm a germaphobe and try to avoid getting sick at all costs even though it is bound to happen.

Hair Ties- I don't have to wear my hair up when subbing like I do when working at my other job, but it gets hot, so I like to have hair ties with me.  Also, I hate to say it, but in every single school I've been in there have been students who have had lice.  I don't want to take chances, so my hair will go up into a pony tail.

Stickers- I like to give these out to students who are on-task or hand them out as a reward for a job well done.  

What items do you like to have with you when you're at work?

September Ipsy Glam Bag Reveal: Classic Beauty

September 19, 2013
I think this bag is a lot cuter than last month's purple and gold Glamour Academy bag, but maybe some of you will disagree with me.  ;) I'm glad that it doesn't say "Ipsy" all over it, either!

In my bag, I received:

Cailyn Tinted Lip Balm
Starlooks Kohl Eye Pencil in Obsidian
It's So Big Volumizing Mascara
NYX Eye Shadow in Golden Poppy
Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels

Cailyn Tinted Lip Balm- I recognized the brand Cailyn right away because I received a Cailyn Gel Eyeliner in a previous Ipsy bag.  After using the Cailyn gel liner for awhile now, I do have to say that I'm extremely satisfied with it.  I've tried out a lot of eyeliners, and this one looks just about as good at the end of the day as it did at the beginning of the day when I first apply it.  I cannot say that about many liners, but it has been pretty much smudge proof for me.  I'm telling you all this because when I saw that I got another Cailyn product, I naturally associated it with my good experience using the gel liner and had some high expectations for this item.  I am currently wearing the tinted lip balm, and while I like the product, I think that they ought to change the name of it and call something else.  I own a lot of lip balms, and I've got to say that this "lip balm" is more like a lipstick.  It goes on very dark and my lips do not feel very moisturized at all. If you're looking for a great lip balm, I would not buy this. If you want a nice red lipstick, then that is another story.

Starlooks Kohl Eye Pencil in Obsidian & It's So Big Volumizing Mascara- I'm telling you my first impressions of these two items together because I don't think I have too much to say about receiving a black eyeliner and black mascara.  As with the colorless lip balms I've been getting lately, I'll be setting these aside to use in the future because I already have a couple eyeliners and mascaras to use up first.  I can see why these items were included in the bag because they very much fit the theme of "Classic Beauty,"  but I am a little bummed that I got a mascara in last month's Ipsy bag as well as in this month's bag.  I hope it doesn't happen a third time.  Concerning the eye pencil, I did receive a full sized one, which makes it the second full sized product in my bag so far since the Cailyn Lip Balm was also full sized.  Full sized products in a $10 bag= yay!

NYX Eye Shadow in Golden Poppy- This item would have been the one that I was the most happy to receive, except that the one I received was completely crushed.  I e-mailed Ipsy and they responded within just a few minutes saying that they would gladly send me out a replacement.  This is the first time I ever had to contact Ipsy about anything, and I was impressed with their speedy service.  I have not yet received my replacement eye shadow, but do have a tracking number for it and know that it's on the way.  I'm hoping that I get the same shade because this Golden Poppy color is magnificent!  I went ahead and swatched it even though my product was damaged.  Please ignore the other swatch below the Golden Poppy one...that was for my Beauty Box 5 review.

I did use some rubbing alcohol and then pressed the shadow, trying to salvage what I could, but I did lose a lot of product in the process. Oh well, at least I might be able to wear it a few times.

Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels- Since my NYX shadow was smashed, these eye gels are  the items I'm the most excited about trying.  The other reviews I've seen of these eye gels have been positive, and I haven't even used any sort of eye gel before.  Getting to try out these eye gels makes up for the black mascara and eyeliner, which I do find a little boring.

Overall:  Four out of five products were for my eyes, and I would like to see a bit more variety next month even though I really was pumped to get the eye shadow and eye gels.  For $10/month, I think it's hard to beat the value of what's in the bag when compared to the money I spent on it!  I mean, the lip balm, eye shadow, and eye liner were all full sized products, and I got two eye gels to try instead of just one!  

Final Thoughts:  *Too bad I didn't receive the Butter London polish, though...I think most people would have been ecstatic to have gotten that.  
*I'm not even annoyed that my eye shadow was crushed because stuff like that happens and Ipsy responded quickly and solved the problem.

What have your customer service experiences been like with Ipsy?  With their competitors?  

Geoje & Oedo Islands, South Korea

September 17, 2013
I wanted to take a break from writing about Cape Town and instead post some pictures from times past.  These are from the year 2007 to be exact.  As you may or may not know, I spent three years in Seoul, Korea teaching English as a Second Language to children.  This is something that I truly miss, especially after reading all of those great blogs by ladies currently living in South Korea.  Who knows?  I may go back one day to teach again, but I really hope to go back and visit sometime.  When I first started teaching, I met this couple who had both just retired from teaching in Canada.  They decided to spend a year teaching in Seoul and traveling the world together.  I admire that and kind of think it be epic to go back to Seoul to live and teach once I've retired from a successful career.  This is not to imply that I don't plan on going on any trips from now until I'm retired, but I just think it would be amazing to go and live there again more than thirty years later!

If you've lived in or visited Seoul, you'll know that it is an exciting, fast-paced city.  Once in awhile, I felt the need to get away from the pollution and millions of people and would plan a weekend getaway.  One of these getaways was to Geoje Island, the second largest island in Korea after Jeju, to visit two former co-workers that left Seoul and started teaching there.  I invited two of my close friends at the time to join me and we enjoyed Geoje for a few days.

We also took a ferry on over to Oedo Island, which is famous for its botanical gardens.  Many have compared these Western style gardens to "paradise."  

If you live in a big city, where do you go to escape the hustle and bustle of city life?  Or, if you live in the country, what cities do you enjoy visiting from time to time?