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Christmas Confessions

December 27, 2014
Happy Saturday!  I hope all of your Christmases were enjoyable.  Today I'll be sharing some of my Christmas Confessions with you.

*  I did all of my Christmas shopping online this year, and it was wonderful!! Everything arrived on time, which was amazing because I waited until pretty late in the game to get started on this.  I just shipped directly to everyone which saved me money that I normally would have spent at the post office.  This was the way to go for sure because it was easy, convenient, and I avoided the crowds in the shops.  I was short on time, and this saved me.  In the past, of course I have bought items online for others, but never have I done 100% of my Christmas shopping online.  Everyone seemed to love their gifts (at least they told me they did), so if I'm ever pressed for time again like I was this year, I will once again do all of it online.

* I didn't know what I was going to do for Christmas until about 2 pm.  I got invited to four Christmases (since people know I'm alone down here in South Carolina), but I ended up going to Ev's brother's house for the day.  At first I was scared that it would be awkward if everyone was opening gifts, but they did that earlier in the day and I didn't feel uncomfortable at all.  Ev's nephew got a Family Feud game for Christmas, and we played a couple of rounds.  Board games and cards are a Christmas tradition with my sister Melissa, so I was glad that even though we couldn't spend Christmas together that I still got to play some games. 

* The cash that I got for Christmas is going towards...a tattoo!  I am not happy with the tattoo that I currently have, so the tattoo artist I'm working with is going to be covering it up and making it part of a larger design.  I'm NERVOUS, but also excited because I looked at a lot of tattoo artists' portfolios before I took the plunge and made the appointment.  By the way, I'm only slightly nervous about the pain--my biggest worry is about the design.  I actually have a consultation today and she's going to show me what she created.

* The best Christmas present ever this year was not having to work.  As many of you know, I used to be an assistant manager at a movie theater for five years and before that I just worked there as a regular worker while in high school and college.  Since Christmas Day is a booming day of business at movie theaters especially because there are so many films that are released ON Christmas, employees are expected to be available to work.  In my ten years working at a movie theater, I worked almost every Christmas.  One would expect that on Christmas Day that the people coming out to see movies would be in good moods because of the reason behind the holiday, but that was not the case.  Some of the meanest customers EVER came out on Christmas.  Last year a worker and I had our jobs threatened by a grown man because we wouldn't let a girl who said she was 19 (but who knows how old she really was) into The Wolf of Wall Street without her I.D. or parent present. Another year I had the F-bomb dropped at me for not letting underage kids into a different rated R movie and got told that I ruined their Christmas.  Usually people just yelled at me because it was so busy, so to not have to deal with the general public on a holiday like last year was a real treat!!

* I feel like kind of a jerk, but I didn't send out any Christmas cards this year.  I did end up getting some lovely cards.  Maybe I could just send out some New Year's cards this year instead?
  
*  You know the line, "Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse," from 'Twas the Night Before Christmas?  Well, I wish I could say that was the case for me, but it wasn't so.  One of my students bought me Lindor Chocolate Truffles, and I had three of them left out on a table.  Well, I went into Savannah for hours, and when I came back, I noticed that there was only one left.  I thought that was really strange, but then I thought maybe I was mistaken and that I had actually eaten two of the truffles and just forgotten that I had.  Then, later in the afternoon, I came across a truffle wrapper under the washing machine.  The next day, I saw something out of the corner of my eye, and it was the second truffle wrapper all torn up into bits and pieces under the stove.  I called my best friend Ev in a panic saying that there had to be a creature in my house, and that I was terrified.  Ev loves to tease people and instead of telling me not to worry, he told me a bunch of ridiculous stuff about how he thinks it is a racoon that coming down from the attic at night.  He said that I had better be careful while I was sleeping because racoons are known to get close to your mouth and steal your breath at night.  Then he went on about how he also thinks it could be a giant rat since I live by the marsh. Thanks, Ev.  Thanks a lot.  Since I was scared, I ended up spending the night at Ev's place in Georgia. When I came back the next day, there were all of these bites out of an apple and what's worse is that the animal had been in my bedroom because it it had torn up and eaten a pack of hot chocolate someone had sent.  That did not sit well with me since I tried to tell myself that the mysterious creature had restricted access to the kitchen.  I told the family that I rent from, and they said that they've had this house for 17 years and they've only had a mouse problem one other time.  The husband came over to my side of the apartment and set out four traps.  I know I'm probably being dramatic, but I'm so incredibly grossed out by rodents, even though I know it is a common household problem.  I spent the night here last night, but I had to "sleep" with the light on and jumped a mile every time I heard the house creak. I've considered renting a hotel room, driving back to Georgia to stay at Ev's again, or buying a tent so at least I would feel "zipped" in.  Hahaha...please tell me I'm not the only one who feels this way about mice!  I love how this mouse went for my gourmet hot chocolate, truffles, and an apple.  I guess I at least feel better about living with a mouse that has good taste (joking.)  

* I was planning on making homemade cookies for my students on the last day before their winter break.  Then I found out that we were not permitted to make stuff for students and bring it in.  In the Ohio schools I worked at, we were allowed to, but students were encouraged to bring in store bought items.  I was kind of bummed about having to buy cookies instead of make them, but I understand why and in the end I was actually relieved because I ended up having something else to that night. It all ended up working out in my favor.

* I think I got everyone what they wanted for Christmas, but the gift I was the most excited about giving was this gorgeous headband to my future niece.  Denise texted me back saying,"This is the most BEAUTIFUL headband I have ever seen!  Thank you sooo much.  Sophia will love it!  Can't wait for her to wear it.  It is very special and has the style of Lisa all over it!"  Hopefully it makes an appearance in her newborn pictures.  Also, poor Denise is STILL pregnant.  Her official due date is in two days, but I don't think she would complain if Sophia came a little bit early.  I know that she is ready to be a mom and that I am ready to be an aunt!





* I say all the time how my mom is really embarrassing.  Every year, I dread to think about what types of humiliating and inaccurate details she will write about me in her Christmas newsletter that she sends out to hundreds of her friends.  What's worse is her picture selection... It's always something terrible.  This year she told me that she was going to send a picture of my two sisters with their husbands and then solo pictures of my little brother and I.  (Really Mom??)  I was worried about which picture she picked until I got a text from Denise that said, "Did you know that the Christmas picture Mom sent was a picture from Melissa's wedding?  She has been sending the same picture out since 2011."  HAHAHA!!  I guess that's better than having hundreds of people just get one random picture of me.

* Here in the Low Country it rained every single day pretty much non-stop until Christmas.  Having dry weather was a great Christmas gift!  It was starting to upset me because I wasn't able to do what I had planned for the week.  Ev and I were going to go out and explore some of the beaches at Tybee Island, but who wants to do that in the pouring rain?  Now that the weather is better we are planning to go on Monday. 

* Some people that I know are Jamberry nail wrap consultants and they incessantly post pictures of nail wraps and flash sales on Facebook.  This kind of bothered me until I remembered the "unfollow" option, but it turned me off from wanting to contact them about trying out a wrap.  I was kind of happy when Denise included one in her Christmas gift to me.  I might even review them on here since I don't have the pressure of offending someone I know if I don't like the wraps (even though I hope I love them!!)

Do you have any Christmas confessions?  Please share them in the comments section because I'm going through withdrawal of reading others' confessions posts.  ;)

Holiday Cheer

December 25, 2014
I decided to go ahead and stay in the Low Country for my holiday break rather than to go back to Ohio and spend Christmas with my parents.  I would have spent Christmas with my sister Denise in North Carolina, but since she is due to give birth to her first born on December 29th, we decided that it might be too chaotic to make plans.  Even though my family members are far away, I didn't let it damper my holiday spirit and still was able to enjoy the season to the fullest!  In this post, I'll be sharing some moments that helped me feel more festive.

* Confession:  I did not put up any Christmas decorations this year.  The few decorations I own are packed away in my parents' basement because I have limited space here.  Since I didn't decorate, I got into the Christmas spirit by walking around downtown Savannah and admiring all the decorations I saw there.  Some of the historic buildings are already beautiful enough without the extra embellishments for Christmas, but once those touches were added...whoa!  Gorgeous!  So, thank you citizens of Savannah for sending some Christmas cheer my way.






* In addition to just the buildings being decked up, holiday decorations were found all over the historic district.




* Although Savannah has its charm, I also enjoyed looking at decorations in Statesboro, Georgia.  I have to say that Beaufort, South Carolina had some nice window displays in certain shops, too.



* Another event that brought a smile to my face was when the pre-k students at the school I work for paraded through the halls singing Christmas carols to all the other classes.  They were so adorable, and it looked like they were having a blast.  Not to mention that my students got a kick out of hearing them sing.

* Nothing quite screams Christmas like having some holiday food, and that I did.  I couldn't resist having some Christmas cookies, hot chocolate, and a couple candy canes. 

* One evening Ev, Jared, and I decided to drive around and look at Christmas lights.  We came across some wonderful light displays, but the best one we found had to be this one!  These people went all out.  There were about 7 other cars there that were also full of people who also stopped by to check out their lights.

video

* Besides just viewing the outside decorations in Savannah, I made it a point to visit various hotels in Savannah to see how the lobbies were done up for the holidays.  Ev and I went into the Hyatt and were impressed by this giant gingerbread house that was taller than both of us.  Then, Jared, Ev, and I went to the Westin to look at the gingerbread village there.  There was a contest and different groups submitted their best attempts at a gingerbread house to be judged.  Some of my favorite gingerbread creations were the ones that were of famous sights in Savannah such as the Westin itself, a Savannah riverboat with the Talmadge Bridge in the background, and of the city hall.







* Since I don't have a tree in my place it was nice to appreciate everyone else's!


Above: Jared and Ev's tree

Below: Trees inside the Westin



* Just hanging out with good friends like Ev and Jared made me feel warm and fuzzy inside.  They really are like my Low Country family.  Plus, they shared some of their Christmas goodies with me.  Jared made peppermint and butterscotch fudge as well as... wait for it...(Sorry, too much How I Met Your Mother)...Buckeyes!!  Not going to lie--I was ecstatic to be offered some of the Buckeyes since they're a special Ohio dessert that I haven't had in awhile!

* I went inside the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, which was full of wreaths and red Christmas bows.  There is also a manger on display as well as a breathtaking poinsettia tree.





* Participating in Secret Santa at work was a lot of fun.  I drew the school secretary, and she is one of the nicest people in my school.  She gave me a card one day that said I was appreciated more than I knew (probably because she felt bad for me since I had a terrible experience with my grade cards not printing.)  I was glad to get someone that I a) like and b) someone that I sort of know.  My Chinese co-teacher pulled a name out of the hat and she had no idea who the person was.  Also, it was great to get the occasional treat from the person that picked my name!

* Finally, touring the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low was perfect during this time of the year.  (She started the Girl Scouts!) The house is magnificent year-round, but the little touches that were added for Christmas really made it even more special.  There were stockings hanging over the fireplace, and the table was set for a Christmas feast.

What brought you some holiday cheer? 

Last but not least, I want to wish anyone reading a very Merry Christmas and/or happy holiday season.

Pushing Through til my Holiday Break

December 15, 2014
Recently, I talked to my sister Denise about how I am feeling overworked and am counting down the days until Christmas break.  She gave me a good idea and encouraged me to do a "raffle" with myself.  The gist of it is that I write down ten small ways to treat myself on folded up pieces of paper and then each working day, I can draw from the pile.  I tend to just focus a lot on work and by the time I get home and have dinner I'm too tired to do much of anything.  I think throwing an extra activity in my schedule is a great motivator to help me get through a long work week.

Here are the ten ideas that I came up with:

1) Do an at home manicure and pedicure.  Yes, I paint my nails a lot, but I don't always do all the extra steps like shape my nails, push back cuticles and use both a top and base coat.  This time I'm going to do it all!  Goodness knows my feet deserve a good soak.  :)

2) Go to Dunkin Donuts and get a peppermint mocha and holiday donut.  I hardly ever have coffee during the week anymore because there is only one time when I can leave my students and go to the bathroom.  I never have coffee when I get off work because I'm scared the caffeine will keep me up and I try to go to bed early so that I can get up and go in early to prepare before my students arrive, but I'm going to make an exception this week.

3) Make crepes.  Denise suggested this, and I like that it's an idea that won't break the bank!  If I make them for dinner after school, I can always make extra and have a tasty breakfast waiting for me the next day.


4) Aesthetic reading for one full hour.  I read a little throughout the week, but just for a 15 minutes here and there.  Setting aside a bigger block of time just for reading is something out of the ordinary on a school night, so it really will be special.

5) Come up with travel plans for a future trip.  Rachael and I have discussed going to Iceland in July.  I'd like to come up with a list of places to visit and look into some options for accommodation.  You can bet I'll be using Kaelene's blog as a resource!

6) Make Christmas cookies.  I could share them with my students and my Secret Santa at work.  It's always ideal to kill two birds with one stone.

7) Write a blog post. It's hard to get motivated to write during the week just because I spend a lot of time sitting at the computer doing lessons, but usually once I sit down and start blogging, I never regret it!  

8) Have a Netflix movie night complete with popcorn and seasoning salt to go with it.  I watch a lot of shows on Netflix (just finished The Originals--sooo good!!), but it has been awhile since I watched an actual movie. 

9) Go window shopping downtown and just take in all the Christmas decorations.  It's pretty amazing being in the South and not having to freeze all winter.  I should take advantage of that and get outside more.

10)  Cook myself dinner, as in actually cook myself something delicious and healthy instead of just heating up a Healthy Choice meal.  (The pumpkin ravioli has been my go to meal lately.)  As an added bonus, I will be able to have leftovers so that I can have a decent lunch...Even my students noticed that when I pack it's almost always PB&J.

What little things do you do for yourself so that it makes it easier to get through a challenging week at work?

The Truth Behind my Instagram Pics

December 9, 2014
Over the summer I started an Instagram account and also came across this post called What I Instagrammed Vs. What Was Really Happening,  The post cracked me up because it's funny the lengths some of us go to just to get that perfect picture.  Inspired by her post, I chose five of my own Instagram pics and would like to tell you the truth behind them.

Picture #1


From the looks of this pic, it would appear that I'm going to enjoy a tasty cup of froyo.  The truth of the matter is that the Savannah heat got to my friends Ev, Jared, and I.  We weren't even that hungry, but we just wanted to take a break from being outside in smoldering hot weather and be air conditioning.  We were also dying of thirst. While the froyo was good, I was sitting there irritated because when I asked for the cashier for a cup of water she told me no.  Ev was also appalled by her attitude and wanted to go say something to her, but instead we just sat there feeling dehydrated.  Later we saw that they had some bottled water for sale, but I just wanted to get out of there.

Picture #2




One of my students gave me this as a gift.  He was so proud of this pumpkin, which is so sweet, right?  I told him I loved it and displayed it on my desk.  After a couple of days, another student came and ripped the stem off of it, and the next day it was missing!! I still have no idea where it went, but can only assume that another student took it home which is disappointing.  I mean, where else would it have gone?  The case of the missing pumpkin remains unsolved.

Picture #3



I had been wanting to try out a particular French cafe in Savannah for awhile.  Finally, Ev and I went, and we were initially pleased about the atmosphere and were expecting a good meal because the two of us were starving.  When the food arrived, it was seriously disgusting, and we could tell that it was not fresh. Also, about 10 minutes after I took this picture, a couple of families with a bunch of unsupervised kids came in. While the parents were ordering macarons, the kids were running around the restaurant, screaming loudly, knocking the vases over on the table (I thought for sure they would eventually knock them on the floor and break them), and erasing the chalk art with the daily specials on it.  At least I got a good Instagram picture??? Hahaha.

Picture #4



Fresh hummus with pita bread is a weakness of mine, and it's not that this food wasn't delicious because it totally was...It just got awkward because at the restaurant, my friend realized his ex worked there!  The ex very obviously flirted with my friend saying things like, "I've been after this one for years."  He kept coming by our table and even left my friend with his number.  We both felt so uncomfortable because my pal is in a committed relationship with his partner!!  


Picture #5



Oh, tra la la, it looks as though I was just feeling festive and showing off my first holiday Starbucks drink of the season.  Well, there is a reason why I had this drink in my car and did not stay inside of Starbucks to have it.  It's not because I went through the drive-thru, either.  There were no seats left inside of Starbucks besides one by this man who hadn't purchased a drink and who looked...uh, overly um excited to be there if you catch my drift. There was no way I was sitting by him.

Do you have any stories behind your Instagram pics?  Sometimes life isn't as perfect as we portray it to be on social media, that's for sure!

Shopping for a New Wallet

November 26, 2014
I've needed a new wallet for some time now, so I'm taking the time today to do a little browsing in order to find the perfect one.

Right now I'm carrying a large black handbag, and the flap on top is made of soft, leopard print material.  My apartment in Seoul was actually right across from a locally owned store that sold a lot of adorable accessories, and every day I had to walk by the window and be tempted by dozens of cute purses.  Torture, right?  ;) Needless to say, when I lived in Seoul I went a little purse-crazy and bought way more than I needed so that I'm STILL using them (on and off) even now!
While most of this purse has held up nicely, the leopard print flap is getting a bit worn, so I'm not sure how much longer I'll be using it before I get rid of it.  I do have to say that as a teacher it is very practical since it's so roomy.  I'm always tossing rather large items into it like my water bottle, a whole bag of cough drops, students' papers, etc.  So that you can see what I'm talking about, the purse made an appearance in the picture below. 



The other purse that I brought with me on my move is this pink Kate Spade one.  I'm telling y'all this because I kind of want my wallet to go with the purse I carry.



I used Shop Style to help me in my quest for the perfect wallet and it was easy to find some options since I was able to search by brand/price/color.  Since the purses I've been carrying are pink and black, most of my selections represent that.  


My picks (starting at the top left and then going from left-right) are:

1) Pearl Kiss-Lock Wallet from Charlotte Russe  Since it's black it would go with either purse and pretty much any other future purse I buy.  At only $10.99, the price is right and currently it's an additional 25% off.  It's a checkbook wallet which I like because there ARE still a few rare occasions in which I'll have to write a check and not have any with me.  I think that the clear window for IDs is a nice touch.  It's ideal for me to have a special spot for my ID and not to have to sift through a bunch of credit and gift cards just to find my driver's license.  A negative about this wallet is that compared with the rest of my picks, it's cheaply made.  I want a wallet that's durable and last awhile!

2) Helena Travel Wallet by Liebeskind When searching for wallets, I knew I'd have to take a look at what is currently being sold at Anthropologie.  That's when this beauty caught my eye.  It looks like it made of high quality materials and the coolest thing is that it's designed with travelers in mind! The wallet has dividers inside so that your passport, tickets, and other items can stay organized. While I find this really neat, unfortunately I haven't exactly been traveling to other countries as much as I used to.  I don't know if it would be the best wallet for daily use, and at $148 it certainly doesn't come cheap.

3) Betsey Johnson Zip Around Wallet  Okay, this wallet would match my pink Kate Spade purse well and a zip around closure is always nice for someone who is paranoid about losing stuff like I am. I think the wallet is cute, but it does strike me as a little too "young."  

4) Adventure Capitalist Wallet So, this wallet doesn't meet the criteria I was looking for, but it reminded me of my blog and my blog design!!  I mean, look at the colors...and it has the word "adventure" in it.  It had to at least go on the list. :)

5) Black Patent Tory Burch Wallet  I feel like I would use a wallet like this for awhile.  When I'm in doubt, I usually go with something black because those items are "safe" and timeless.  This wallet was pre-owned, so there are some minor scratches, but it is on sale at the discounted rate of $75.  

6) Betsey Johnson Flocked Bows Crossbody Wallet  Another Betsey Johnson wallet...What can I say, I like the bow design!  This wallet doesn't match either purse, but I could wear this wallet AS a purse because it comes with a removable chain.  This wallet does have a lot of storage space which is good for me since I tend to carry a lot of reward cards around.

7) Rebecca Minkoff Mason Wallet  I'm drawn to the envelope shape of this classic wallet.  It also has two lined bill pockets which comes in handy when carrying multiple currencies around...or, lately, I use one as some emergency cash.  I just used cash from there yesterday because I didn't realize that Mrs. Wilkes was a cash/check-only restaurant!  One of the reasons I'm shying away from picking this one is because I feel like I've already owned something very similar to this in the past.

8)  Kate Spade New York Cherry Lane Louie Wristlet Wallet  So, I'm tempted by this wallet because it also doubles as a wristlet, it doesn't always have to stay hidden inside a bigger purse.  Also, hello...it matches the Kate Spade purse I already own perfectly since it's the same brand!  I feel like I need to search for deals and coupon codes in order to lower the $128.00 cost and that would make me more inclined to buy it!

9) Jet Set Travel Slim Saffiano Leather Wallet by Michael Kors  Hmmm...I selected this wallet as a cheaper alternative to the pink Kate Spade wristlet.  The price listed on Shop Style is $51.45, but when I clicked the link it wasn't on sale at all and was selling for $98.00.  I liked that this wallet doubles as a clutch, but I really do prefer a wristlet over a clutch so that I can have a free hand if I need to.  Since this item isn't actually on sale like I thought, it's not really in the running anymore.

Which one do you think I should get?  Which one (if any) do you like the most?  What do you look for when buying a new wallet?

* There are some affiliate links in this post for which I will receive a small amount of compensation, but all opinions are my own and I am genuinely considering buying one of these wallets with my own money.

Why We Need To Have a Break

November 24, 2014
Whew...I have been putting in 60+ hour weeks, so this Thanksgiving break that I'm on now is one that I had been counting down the days to have.  



Why We Need To Have a Break

* We need time to recuperate.  The first two days of my break were spent nursing myself back to health.  I had a horrible case of the flu that actually started last Wednesday and got progressively worse.  (The students got me sick...inevitable, right?)  I felt too guilty to ask for a sub on Friday because my Chinese teacher was already out, but I pushed myself too much and I think it took a toll on me and made me worse.  I'm also talking about recuperating mentally, though.  Jobs can be stressful, so to wake up not having a care in the world is a welcome reprieve.

* We need chances to see our loved ones.  So many of us don't live that close to all of our relatives, so extended breaks sure give us opportunities to make some trips or to host some guests.  I'll be spending most of my Thanksgiving break in New Bern with my sister.  I want to get in some time with her before my niece Sophia is born and things get harder to plan.

* It's an opportunity to get stuff done.  Since a lot of us work first shift Monday-Friday, it's hard to do things like go to the bank or post office when they are open.  It's also hard to schedule dentist's and doctor's appointments without having to miss a day of work.  Something that I've had to put off is going to the Georgia Department of Driver's Services.  I stupidly lost my Georgia driver's license, and since Georgia DDS has limited hours of operation, I haven't had a chance to go.  Thank goodness I can get that taken care of tomorrow!

* It give us a chance to get ahead of the game.  This one ties in with the last one, but this break not only can I get stuff I've been putting off done, but I also plan on doing stuff that will help me out in the future.  Do I plan on stocking up on a ton of groceries?  Yep.  What about pre-writing my lessons for next week and possibly the week after that?  Yes, again.  Even though I don't really want to spend my break doing things that feel like work, I know that it will help me out in the long run.  Do I plan on starting my Christmas shopping during this break?  You betcha. (Okay, so maybe I'm not really "ahead of the game" on that one...)  

* Extra time for leisure=always a plus!  Do you see how I'm actually writing a blog post today?  Exactly. It's always great to have some extra time to partake in our hobbies.  I also picked up a Game of Thrones yesterday and started reading it again for the first time in a long time.  (Yes, I've been reading that book since July with some other books in between.)

* What better time to cross some things off of your bucket list than on an extended break?  I know that I plan on doing something that's on my Savannah Bucket List, which is to go to Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room for some special Southern cooking!  I've been dying to go, but it's only open from 11-2 Monday-Friday.  My date Ev has also never gone, which is pretty nuts considering he grew up in a city just outside of Savannah and he has lived here for the majority of his life.  

* A longer break offers time for reflection.  During the week I feel so rushed and am too busy to stop and think.  This break I'm going to consider ideas like, "What could make my classroom better?" "How can I start traveling again?"  "Do I like my school enough to re-sign a contract for next year or should I think of some other options?"  

* Finally, there is more time so that we can pamper/treat ourselves!  I can put my feet up and give myself a mani pedi while binge-watching Season 3 of New Girl on Netflix and not feel bad about it because I have papers to grade.  (Yes, I have to grade 1st grade writing with a pretty extensive rubric...) 

What do you think is the best thing about having a break?

Reflecting About my Place in Georgia

November 13, 2014
After having relocated to Georgia from Ohio, I moved into a duplex with my best friend Everett and pal Jared.  I've blogged a couple of times about having roommates, so I'm leaving that aspect out of this post and am only focusing on the housing itself.

Likes:

**It's nice only having neighbors on one side of us.  I've lived in apartments before where I've had people on both sides and also above and below me.  For me, living directly under other people isn't really ideal.  In college, a girl that lived right above me would work out very early in the AM in her room.  More power to her, but it woke my other roommate and I up, and at some points I feared for my life because the ceiling seriously looked like it was going to cave in.  Since I know what it was like to live under people, when I lived above people I was always paranoid about walking around too much and bothering them/vacuuming.

** It has a backyard.  This is a luxury I haven't always had.  Also, Ev's mom took care of all the mowing for us.  She says she enjoys staying active, so none of us had any problem with that!

** The rent is pretty cheap.  Since we split everything three ways, I ended up saving a lot of money.

** It's located in a safe neighborhood.  The duplex is in a small town outside of Savannah and the crime rate there is very low.  I only felt scared one night when Claude kept barking and growling at the window when Ev & Jared weren't home.  I never felt worried going for walks by myself and almost always felt pretty secure.

** It's quiet.  Our place is located in a residential neighborhood, and the main highway is far enough away that we weren't disturbed by traffic.  Sometimes I could hear a train go by and we could hear dogs barking occasionally, but that's about it.  Most of the neighbors were very considerate.

** The landlord left us alone.  I've been in places before where the landlord comes in to check up on his/her property.  Also, in college it was kind of awful because they kept having to show our place again and again until they had someone on the lease for next year.  The landlord has never once been in  our place since I've been there, and I appreciate that!

** There's no driveway.  You would think this would be a negative, but I love not having a driveway.  If we had one, we would constantly be blocking each other and would have to rearrange our cars or else someone would have to park on the street.  All we do is pull through the backyard and park in the grass.  (Is this a Southern thing?  I'm not sure, but it works for me!)

Dislikes: 

** There IS someone living on the other side of us.  Yes, I know I just said that I liked having people on just one side of us, but I'd prefer to live in a house and not in a duplex.  I'd rather not have any people on any sides, haha.


** There is only one bathroom.  This is my BIGGEST dislike of all.  Having to share one bathroom with two guys is not my dream situation.  We make the best of it and try to ask each other ahead of time if anyone needs to go to the bathroom before we take showers, but getting ready in the morning can turn into a hassle if all three of us have to leave at the same time (which is often the case.)

** The washing machine is inside and the dryer is outside.  I guess I'd just prefer for both the washer and dryer to be inside because sometimes if I heard the neighbors out there and I didn't feel like talking to them, I'd just leave my clothes in the dryer until I heard them go in.  Also, more bugs got in because the door would constantly be opening and shutting.

** It's a bit out of the way... In terms of driving to the historic district of Savannah, it was about a half-hour away.  It was also about 20 minutes from I-95 which is the highway I need to take to get to work.

** There isn't a dishwasher.  The three of us go through a lot of dishes.  Jared loves to cook so a dishwasher could really be useful and save us time.

What do you love about the place you live in?  Is there anything you wish you could change?

Humpday Confessions

November 12, 2014
Ah, how I've missed blogging!!  The lesson plans can wait--I've been dying to post a confessions post for some time now.

*When you blog about a topic, do you constantly "introduce" that person on your blog?  I never know what to do. For example, I blog about my sister Denise a lot, but is it necessary to keep introducing her as my sister?  I want my new readers (if I even have any since my last post was 50 million years ago in blog-time) to know whom I'm talking about, yet I feel like people who have been following me for awhile are like, "I get it already."  :)  

* I'm surprised at what my students fight over.  All of our pencils are just the boring, typical yellow #2 pencils.  When I saw that I was relieved because in some classes that I've subbed in, kids fight over who gets the red/blue/yellow pencil. Hahaha, but I was wrong to think that there would be no problems with the pencils because my students ARE actually arguing over whether or not their pencil's ferrule (the metal band that holds up the eraser) is silver or gold.  They all want to write with the "golden" pencils, and there aren't enough golden pencils for every kid to have one.  

* I truly wish that teachers' salaries were higher in North Carolina, and I'm sure that those who actually teach in NC are with me on this! I've been contemplating moving closer to Denise so that I will be able to see my niece grow up, but this pay scale is pretty dismal.  At least now teachers actually can get raises every 5 years.  During the recession there was a pay freeze meaning NO raises.  

*  Truthfully, I've also been thinking a lot about teaching internationally again.  My fantastic experiences in Korea as an English as a 2nd language teacher are what made me go into teaching in the first place.

* There is a Dunkin' Donuts 2 minutes away from where I'm living now and I'm not sure if that's good or bad.  It might be a little TOO convenient.


*I finally signed up for Influenster after hearing about it *exactly* 39483904839 times.  ;)  I just got the Moda Vox Box in the mail and must say that I cannot wait to try out the Hair Food mask because I'll try anything to help with all the tangles I get.  Plus, I've been meaning to check out a new hair mask for awhile.  Is this even really a confession?  Whatever, I'm going with it.

* Teachers at my school are permitted to wear a school t-shirt and jeans on Friday if they buy a school t-shirt and pay a fee of $25.  I spent the $39 and am dying for my shirt to arrive so I don't have to dress up on Fridays.  This is some of the best money I've ever spent!

* I've heard the stereotype, "Military kids have good behavior" a lot and I'm finding it to be true (which is, of course, awesome!)

* In Ohio, most of my friends were younger than me because I worked at a movie theater and those typically are full of a lot of college students/teenage workers.  Also, most college students I studied education with were traditional students, so they were also younger than me.  At the school I work at now, I think I'm one of the youngest teachers and so the people that I talk to the most (still feel that it's early on to say "friend", haha) are all in their late 40's or in their 50's.    There's nothing wrong with that, but it's just funny that I went from hanging out with almost all 20-somethings to 40 and 50-somethings.  I must say that it's kinda nice to keep getting referred to as "a young person," especially considering I was one of the oldest ones at the movie theater!

* I'm trying really hard to be a cheapskate.  Currently I'm trying to build up my savings account since I had to use up so much of it while I was without a job.  After that, my next goal is to pay off all of one of my student loans that currently has a balance of $6,037.68.    I'm hoping to be able to pay it off in six months, but that might be wishful thinking.

Are you an Influester?  Are most of your friends older, younger, or the same age as you?

YES to Fall Flowers!

October 29, 2014
Nothing adds a beautiful pop of color to a room quite like fresh flowers do.  In addition, a bouquet of flowers can really transform the overall appearance of a room.  When Adam from The Bouqs contacted me and asked if I would like to get a bouq sent to me, I jumped at the chance knowing all along that I had the perfect spot in mind for them--in my new classroom!

Since I just started teaching, I haven't really added those personal touches to my room just yet, so I figured that having some gorgeous flowers on display would certainly be appealing to the eye!


Ordering from the Bouqs was easy as pie, and I appreciated that I could schedule my delivery.  It was nice knowing just when my flowers would get here so that I could plan accordingly.  When my flowers did arrive, I was having a particularly rough day, and as I mentioned earlier this month, flowers always make me feel better. When my Chinese co-teacher saw them she got a big smile on her face and referenced our terrible day paired with the arrival of the flowers by saying, "We still have to try to make ourselves happy!"  As one of my students always says, "Can I get an AMEN?" 


I kept the flowers in a vase on my bookshelf behind my "desk" (that's really just a table with all my stuff piled on top.)  The bouq was a real conversation starter.  So many of my co-workers commented on "those amazing flowers," and I even had a parent bring them up during conferences!  I was still getting these remarks even four days after I initially got the flowers.  


There were just too many awesome bouqs to choose from in the Volcano Collection, but in the end I decided to go with the Dawn bouq because I'm missing fall in Ohio quite a bit and the color is perfect for autumn.  


Here is the description for the Dawn bouq: Our Orange premium Roses are a magical sight when fully bloomed.  Grown on a Volcano and cut-to-order, this flower bunch will blow them away like a breathtaking sunrise.  Our flowers are shipped straight from our eco-friendly, sustainable farms on the Volcano to your recipient's door, with Free Delivery!  Color: Orange
Please note that colors may vary slightly from photos



Truthfully, I have never ordered myself flowers online before, but after this experience, I would like to start treating myself to a bouq or two more often.  Just look at these arrangements offered on their site and you won't be able to blame me... :)

Cake n' Cream 

Ladybug

Desperado
Since I was pleased with my overall experience, I may have to order another bouq in the near future.  I have my sights set on the Ladybug bouq because it contains both of my favorite colors and would match all the red in my Chinese themed classroom. 

Which one is your favorite?  Would you ever order from the Bouqs?
**These flowers were provided to me for free in exchange for an honest review.  I will also get credit for any purchase made from the links in my post.**

I Got Mail!

October 18, 2014
Lately some pretty exciting things have been coming in the mail for me, so I thought I'd share them.  :)

1) An invitation to my sister's baby shower!  I thought I was going to be the one to throw my sister her shower, but she told me that three of her friends offered and were taking care of it.  She informed me that if I wanted to help, I could do so by organizing a game with prizes.  I'm actually relieved...It's not that I didn't want to throw my sis her shower--of course I did, but it's just hard to do because we live six hours apart and I'm swamped with things to do for my new job.  I can't wait to go to her shower in early November and get her something cute for her baby girl.


 2) Boots from Alloy- Last year I didn't buy any new fall boots, but this year I figured that I'd treat myself since I got a new job.  I've only worn them once so far because the temps are just now getting into the 70's, but I'm sure that I'll be wearing them a lot in the late fall/winter.  I was just happy that they came in my shoe size since cute Size 11 shoes can be difficult to find.



3) A copy of Creating Books for the Young in the New South Africa- This came from one of my professors at OSU because we co-wrote an article together that is published in the book!  I've written plenty of papers for college, but never had the opportunity to get anything published until now. :)  The cool part is that my bff Everett works in an international school, and he has to pick a county for part of his room's theme.  He is going with South Africa and is going to use this book as a resource to find high-quality adolescent literature for his students!



4) My Journal from the Journal Swap that I co-hosted with Nancy- My partner, Meg, sent me this nice journal with an inspirational quote about education on it since I had written her that I just got a teaching job.  She did such a great job picking it out, and I had a blast hosting the swap.  I'd like to host another swap in the future.



5) A package from my sister.  She is TOO thoughtful and collected a bunch of school supplies that I'd be able to use in my classroom.  She included index cards, stickers, dry erase markers, decorative borders, and some stamps.  I've already started putting some of the stickers on the kids' papers and they love them and have requested more!




Have you gotten anything fun in the mail lately?

Also, be sure to enter this giveaway I contributed to!  It's for a Starbucks gift card.

Yours Truly // Lindsay
Samantha // Kathi // Becca
Rebekah // Ashley // Lisa
There will be one winner.
Winner will be contacted by e-mail and have 48 hours to respond.
Gift card will be sent via e-mail so winner needs a valid e-mail address in order to receive.
Must be 18 years or older to enter.