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Blogging Wasn't What I Thought it Would Be...

April 30, 2014
When I started blogging about a year and a half ago, I was pretty naive about this whole blogging business.  I think that I went into blogging, as most do, with some pretty unrealistic expectations.  I learned a little as I went and have to say that a lot has really surprised me along the way!

I never thought that I would spend so much time reading other people's blogs.  I started blogging thinking that people would just eventually stumble across my blog, but at first I did not realize that most of my readers would also be other bloggers.  When other readers left me comments, I checked out their links and then get hooked into reading certain blogs.  Even though I never thought it would be this way, now I don't feel like I'm officially "caught up" on everything in life if I don't have time to read posts by my all my favorite bloggers.

It surprised me that so many cool people blog!  A misconception that I had about blogging is that many bloggers were either a bit "off" or else they were losers with no real life friends, but I don't find this to be true at all.  Yes, there will always be a few freaks thrown into the mix, but most of the bloggers I've been in contact with are "normal" and friendly.

I wouldn't have believed that I would put money into my blog, especially because I had heard that blogs were supposed to make people money.  A giveaway here, a sponsorship there, and new blog designs can all really add up.  I truly did not think that this would be a hobby that would cost me money.  I know it doesn't have to, but if I didn't enjoy spending money on this, then I just wouldn't--it just wasn't what I expected.

The town I live in isn't very big and I didn't think that I'd be able to find bloggers (especially ones I actually like) in my area to connect with, and I was wrong about that, too!  There are a lot of Ohio bloggers and a few of them live less than an hour away from me--hello, Rachael!

I didn't think that I would still have so many questions about blogging!  I thought that bloggers who had been regularly blogging for over a year would have everything down pat.  That is far from the truth, and I still have my fair share of questions!

I never thought I would put this much time into my blog.  I like to try to post three times a week, although sometimes this is feasible and sometimes it isn't.  From time to time, I'll blog more than three times a week, but I went into blogging thinking that I would maybe post maybe twice a week, tops.

I can't believe that sometimes I'm actually nervous to publish certain posts, but the fact is, I do feel that way.  Hahaha...I know this sounds dumb, but occasionally I worry about my Weekly Wrap Up posts and hope they aren't super lame since I work so much and don't have a lot of time to have a social life!

Never in a million years would I have thought that I would divulge personal information with people on the internet.  I mean, when I sign up for swaps, I readily give away my home address!!  It has always been totally fine, but giving out my phone number or address to strangers is something that I never saw myself doing.  Also, some of the posts I write are about what is on my mind.  I thought I was just going to be a beauty blogger and not get into anything opinionated or too personal--wrong again!

When I thought about starting a blog, I didn't think about the social media/promotion aspect of it.  At this time 2 years ago, I would have scoffed at the thought of having a Twitter account.  I started one just for my blog and still do not have a personal Twitter account.  If someone had told me 2 years ago that I would one day be making a Twitter page specifically for my blog, I would have thought they were insane.

I didn't think I would make friends blogging.  Nancy and I text each other almost every day. Rachael is the best and we've gotten to meet up a few times, yay!  Also, there are some bloggers that I have been following since practically the start of my blogging journey, like Erica.  After reading someone's blog for a year, you feel like you sort of know them, even if the two of you haven't met in real life.

I was a bit astounded at the fact that every blogger I follow is a woman and that an extremely high percentage of the blogs I come across are written by women.  Okay, so I do like to read about makeup and see outfit posts, so maybe maybe it's just the circle I'm in and that I'm 'girly', though this article confirms that women are more likely to blog than men.

I was amazed that people want you to stalk their blogs.  At first I avoided visiting blogs with the tracker on the side that records what city you're in because I thought, "This person is going figure out that the visitor from Mansfield is me and see that I looked at their blog like 20 times this week!!"  Now my views have changed and I'd be happy/flattered for someone to stop by my blog that much!

"Why do far fewer people post and read blogs over the weekend?" is what I wondered when I first started blogging.  It's funny because I thought this would be just the opposite since many people that blog also work traditional jobs and have the weekends off.  I do sometimes post on the weekends, but not as frequently.  That is due to the bulk of my movie theater hours being over the weekend and because I see that I get way less views on a weekend post.  I catch up blogging and reading other blogs on my days off, which are usually throughout the week, so I would think that others would like to do this over the weekend on their days off.  Again, I was surprised to learn that the weekends generated lower traffic compared to weekdays, but I can understand taking a break from blogging and working over the weekend to just relax and enjoy the moment (or maybe to write future posts for the upcoming week.)

What has floored you about blogging?

Weekly Wrap Up

April 28, 2014
This past week, I have been enjoying my birthday gifts.  Some of my faves are the Coastal Scents Palette from my sister, Melissa.  Now I have 88 new shades of eyes shadow to play around with. I also finally got a copy of The Book Thief from my boyfriend.  I saw the movie over the winter, and have been wanting to read the book for awhile now but the waiting list at the library was always too long.  

The most fun thing I did this week was to meet up at a Japanese restaurant with my OSU friends, Scott and Allyson.  Scott was a member of my Masters of Education cohort, and we had classes together for three years in a row.  We were also paired as teaching partners in a kindergarten classroom.  Scott is loud, gets me into trouble, and also makes me obnoxious in public places, even though I am usually a quiet person.  I feel like I should pay Scott for amusing me for three years with his antics when our classes were boring--he was also pure entertainment the night we hung out.  Allyson supervised me in the field for some of my teaching placements, and we went on a trip to Haiti together.  The three of us all roomed together on a trip to South Africa last year and had the best time, so we did a lot of reminiscing about that.  Allyson brought an album she put together and got printed from Shutterfly--it's the cutest and I'd like to make one of my own.  The three of us hadn't hung out in awhile, and had a ton of catching up to do.  Scott is going to move to NYC and try to get a role on Broadway and Allyson told us about her first year as an instructor at OSU.  After dinner, we went to Menchies...we actually gabbed for over three hours, and made tentative future plans to go traveling together again.

For most of the week I was suffering with bronchitis and feeling kind of miserable, but when I was on the mend, I did make it out to Target for a mini shopping spree.  Two items I'm excited about are L'Oreal's Pore Vanisher and another Color Whisper lipstick in A Plum Prospect.  I tried a free sample of the pore vanisher in a magazine and thought it worked well and it is even supposed to make pores smaller over time.

Last night after work, I met up with my boyfriend so that we could see Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  Since we didn't have a lot of time between when my shift was over and when the movie started, we wanted to grab a quick bite to eat, so we stopped at Cici's.  I have a love/hate with that place because I eat too much and my favorite pizza is the unhealthy mac & cheese pizza, but it is tasty and cheap!  

Captain America:The Winter Soldier was kind of boring and confusing at first, but then I thought it got a whole lot better.  I did get a little distracted with the French (I was testing myself to see how much I could remember and was trying not to look at the subtitles) and then got distracted many more times throughout the film because I couldn't stop looking at the background since it was shot in Cleveland.  It was pretty cool to see places I recognized in a big Hollywood blockbuster.

How did you spend your weekend?

Here are the rules to the link up:

1) Follow your hosts Rachael @ The Rachael Way and Lisa @ Ameliorer la Vie.
2) Share what you have been up to this past week and link your post up with us every Monday.
3) Hop around and comment on at least two other people's posts. 

4) Link your post back to us in some way. We have a cute button for you to grab. :)
5) Have fun reading about how other bloggers spent their week!

Ameliorer la Vie

If you would like to tweet about the link up, feel free to use #weeklywrapup. 

Meet our co-host, Pam, from Hodge Podge Moments!
Follow her on Bloglovin' to link up this week with us!

Current Favorites

April 25, 2014
I'd like to share my current favorites with you today!

*Malin + Goetz Mojito Lip Balm: This is one of the best lip balms I have ever tried!  With other lip balms, I keep having to put on more throughout the day.  With this product, it is not necessary for me to reapply it as often.  Many other lip balms just coat the top of my lips, but this one absorbs into them.  The formula is very hydrating and it left my lips soft and supple, even in the winter.

*Essie Mini Resort Fling Collection: Mini polishes are the way to go!  I usually just buy my Essie polishes at Target for about $8.50 a bottle which can really add up.  I bought this set of 4 mini polishes for about $11 on Amazon.  When I think about it, why am I buying full sized bottles of polish?  They usually go bad before I can use them all up, so polish is just getting wasted anyway.  In the future, I'll stick to minis so that I can spend less and try more colors.

*Tom's Oahu Vegan Classics: I bought these Tom's last year and only wore them a couple of times...Then it got to be fall and I felt that this pair of Tom's was very much a spring/summer shoe.  I've been wearing these almost every day so far this spring!  I wear them out and about, to work, and while subbing.  They are very comfortable and don't hurt my feet even after I work doubles.  On top of that, I get a lot of compliments on them.

*Bvlgari Au The Vert Perfume: A sample of this came in one of my Glossyboxes last spring.  I wasn't expecting anything great, but this smells amazing to me!  After I used up my sample sized bottle, I couldn't resist buying the full sized version.  I love the frosted green glass bottle that it comes in along with the citrusy scent.  The scent really lingers throughout the day, but at the same time it is fresh.

*Not Your Mother's Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray: I love this spray because when I use it on damp hair, I just scrunch up my hair a little to get more waves and then don't even brush through my hair.  It's handy for when I'm up early subbing and don't want to spend a lot of time on my hair.  My hair is already naturally wavy, but this adds more waves and I find my hair isn't as frizzy at the end of the day when I use this sea salt spray.  I don't know how well it would work on someone who has naturally straight hair, though.

*Peanut Butter Cheerios:  I have a weakness for peanut butter anything, so it's no surprise that I find this to be a tasty breakfast treat, and it's got to be (maybe just a little) better for me than Reese's Puffs, right?

*Turquoise Stud Earrings from Francesca's: My sister found me two pairs of adorable earrings from Francesca's, so since she had such luck there, I thought I'd go in and take another look to see if I found anything.  Sure enough, these turquoise earrings were calling my name.  I've been wearing them a lot because they don't hurt and they add a nice pop of color when I'm wearing my work attire which tends to be a lot of black/gray.

*Shakira's latest album, Shakira: I've been a fan of this pop singer since 2001 when "Whenever, Wherever" came out, and like her latest album a lot.  I've been listening to it over and over on Spotify.  I like her voice, a lot of the lyrics, and find some of the songs to be catchy.

*Jurlique Advanced Serum: This serum arrived in March's Pop Sugar Must Have Box last month and I love it!  Too bad 1 oz. retails for $68 because my skin has been looking better ever since I started using this.  Someone even commented and said they thought my skin was "flawless," and I've been wearing less makeup than usual, so I'm giving this serum all the credit.  It isn't greasy and is full of antioxidants to "combat fine lines, dullness and dehydration," which is perfect for someone in their early 30's like me.

Are you with me on any of these?

Linking up with Amanda today!

Humpday Confessions

April 23, 2014
* I realized that I'm insanely afraid of mice.  The little things gross me out, and I just think of all the germs they have.  I really don't like how they dart across rooms or can squeeze under doors, either.  My friends and I were out at Menchie's and there was a mouse running back and forth in the parking lot, which was freaking me out just watching it.  Of course, my friend thought this was funny and said, "You're scared of a little mouse?"  Then he went outside and tried to catch the mouse, acted like it was in his hands, came back into Menchie's and pretended to throw it on me.  I knew that he probably didn't catch it, but that didn't stop me from screaming at the top of my lungs while he threw air at me.

* Every week I look forward to admiring my growing collection of Essie polish and deciding which color my nails should be for the week.

* The only Easter candy I had was a couple of Reese's eggs, and I'm not even sorry about those. :)

* I don't "get" health insurance. Every time I think that I'm scheduling an appointment and it will just be a $15 co-pay, I get a huge bill in the mail!!  I mean, right on my card it says, "Three office visits-$15, then deductible and 10% co-insurance."  Unfortunately, I finally had my Aetna health insurance figured out, but because of the healthcare reform, my insurance got canceled and I had to sign up with another company.  I called my new insurance company and they told me that in order for it to be $15 it has to be with my primary care giver...which I guess I don't have one now because my former doctor took Aetna, but he does not take my new insurance.  On the bright side, the insurance company did file a claim as an out of network one when it should have been in network, so that will really lower my bill.  I just feel a general shadiness when dealing with health insurance companies, though... I'm really glad I called and questioned the charge instead of just paying it.

* I'm mad at my boss for getting me sick with bronchitis!  I realize that it's not his fault, but I'm still annoyed with him for making me and another co-worker feel awful, which makes me sound childish.  I'll get over it when I start to feel better.

* I'm VERY excited for summer to arrive.  My friend and I have already started to make some fun plans.

* Whenever I ask other teachers about the class that I'll be subbing long term, I get answers I don't like.  One teacher laughed at me and said, "Good luck with them."  Then, another teacher who has them a couple of times a week for music said that there were a lot of behavior problems.  I'm hoping it won't be as bad as they are making it out to be... Oh well, it's only for 3 weeks.

* I'm thinking about changing my blog name...eventually.  I like this one, but I feel like I'm outgrowing it.


Traveling Tips for Longer Trips

April 22, 2014
After I wrapped up my third year of teaching in Korea, I went on a five month long trip to various countries in Oceania, Asia, and Europe before I eventually returned back to Ohio.  Today I'd like to share my advice on what worked well for me during this trip.  I'll also be bringing up some mistakes I made and what I would have done differently.

*Give yourself some extra days that you don't plan anything for.  If your schedule is too rigid and you don't give yourself extra time, you might not get to see everything you planned because stuff comes up.  The weather might be terrible, the whole city might shut down because of a strike (yes, that happened!), or your bus might break down.  The point is, you never know what might occur and unexpected delays may waste valuable time.  If you give yourself a few free days to use whenever you'd like, you don't have to miss touring a city that you've been dying to see because of an unforeseen circumstance.  Also, if you end up falling in love with a place, you could use those extra days and stay longer instead of having to be rushed away.

*Have multiple ways to access cash.  Bring a credit card, a debit card (or two), and have a stash of money to use in case of an emergency.  Before I left Korea and headed out on this adventure, I thought I was so prepared.  I brought my Chase Bank Card from the U.S., my Korean Hana Bank debit card, and an American credit card.  When I arrived in Australia and tried to withdraw cash with my Korean debit card, it kept saying that I had typed in an invalid pin number, which was really frustrating to me because I had gone into the bank and set one up months ago.  Plus, I had been using that pin # with no problems in Korea.  To make a long story short, that card wouldn't work and all of the money in that account had to get transferred to my American bank account, so there went one way I had to access money.  I just decided I would go ahead and use my Chase bank debit card from then on to withdraw cash at ATM's.  That worked out just fine until one day I was shopping in China and I put my debit card back into my wallet, only my wallet was broken!  I had noticed that it was broken a few days prior and thought I had better get a new one, only I never did.  Two slots in my wallet where I kept my cards were not actually holding the cards in properly.  When I put a card in, it would just slide out... Forgetting that, what did I do but put my Chase card right into the broken slot?  When I opened my wallet to pay for a taxi to the airport, I found that my debit card had slid right out and was nowhere to be found.  I was in a state of panic because I had hardly any cash at all!  At that point in my trip I was traveling alone, so it's not like I could have just asked a friend to borrow some money.  I took my flight into Chengdu, and got a taxi to a guesthouse where I had stayed at before.  Thank goodness the workers at the guesthouse remembered me because when I explained the situation, they told me that I could stay there until I got my money situation sorted out.  The way I had to get money was to use my credit card to get a cash advance until a new debit card could be sent.  The closest bank that was able to do this was miles away and because I had no cash for a cab, I had to walk it.  I was so, so relieved to finally get cash!  I didn't get my new Chase debit card until a good month later when I was in Nepal, so now when I travel I make sure I have a good wallet, extra debit cards, and an emergency fund!!

*Bring waterproof shoes and apparel.  You don't know how many times I was out for the day and the weather seemed nice, but then all of a sudden it started pouring rain.  Sometimes I had no choice but to go out in it, which resulted in soaking wet feet and clothes.  I actually got sick from this in South Africa, and when you're traveling that is the last thing you'll want!  If I had only been wearing a rain coat, I probably would have been just fine.

*Pack lightly.  Remember that everything you bring, you must also carry.  You don't want to burden yourself with carrying extra weight when you don't need to.  You'll also want to leave room in case you pick up a few souvenirs.

*Limit your shopping.  If you buy items of value, you'll have to worry about them the rest of the trip.  I bought some nice pashmina scarves that got stolen out of my suitcase in one of the guesthouses I stayed in.  Too many items will also add on extra weight.  If an item is too bulky to carry or you've gone overboard, consider mailing the extra souvenirs home.

*Arrive very early to the airport, especially during peak seasons.  My friend and I arrived to the Manila airport in the Philippines two hours early for a domestic flight, which we thought was plenty of time.  It wasn't.  We couldn't even enter the airport until we got our bags X-rayed and the line for that was ridiculously long.  By the time we got inside the airport, it was almost time to board.  The airline overbooked our flight and since my friend and I were late, our seats got given away!  We were told that we would be standby for the next flight, but that there was no guarantee we would even get on the next plane.  It was a bit of a disaster and we ended up having to buy a whole other flight (from a competitor) to ensure that we got to our destination.

*If you're traveling with someone else, there's no need to bring two of everything when you can share one thing.  When I traveled with a friend, he carried the medicine, toilet paper, and alarm clock and I carried the body wash, guidebook, and sunscreen.  This helped a lot with keeping the weight of our bags down.

*Invest in a quality backpack or suitcase for your trip.  The mini suitcase I brought with me broke in China, so I bought a new one, and then that one broke.  The wheels were busted, the handle broke off, and the zippers were defective--what a pain!

*Ask the rate per minute BEFORE you use the phone to make international calls.  I made the mistake of not asking before I called my mom from my hotel room in Nepal and when we went to check out, I was appalled to see that I owed over $100 for a single phone call that was under an hour long!

*Wear comfortable shoes, even when you don't think you'll be doing a lot of walking.  My friend and I went out to a club in Dublin, and she bought these adorable sandals with a huge heel.  She thought it would be fine, but we were only halfway back and she was in tears from the pain.  It didn't help that we made a wrong turn and walked longer than we thought we would have to.

*Have extra water with you because you just never know... When our bus unexpectedly broke down for 8 hours, I was really glad that I had some water!!

*Bring an extra camera if you can.  Yes, I know I said to pack light, but in my experience having an extra camera was worth it.  Before I started my trip, I packed two cameras and good thing I did because one of my cameras that was less than a year old just stopped working for no apparent reason.  Later on my trip, my friend was taking a picture of me, and when he tried to hand my camera back it fell to the ground and got busted.  We were about to go on a camel safari in the Indian desert, and the town I was in had one camera store that was open with only ONE digital camera for sale, so I had to buy that one.  Geez, with my luck, maybe I'd better start bringing three cameras!  No, but other friends I have traveled with only had one camera with them and freaked when it broke out of nowhere, so an extra camera is always a good idea.

*Check the bedding for bed bugs when you first enter the room.  A tell tale sign of bed bugs is if the sheets have reddish/rusty colored stains all over them!  If you must know, I learned that the hard way from a bad experience in India.

*Bring reading material in your native language if you're visiting countries that speak other languages.  My friend and I each brought two books with us and then swapped books with each other when we were done reading what we had brought.

*Don't expect to live by first world standards in developing countries.  Hot showers and always having electricity and drinkable water in your room are luxuries!

*Check the Visa requirements when planning.  You do NOT want to overstay your visit or be stuck in another country because you are unable to get the Visa to the country you want to visit in a timely manner.

*If something bad does happen, try not to focus on the negative and let it ruin your trip.  Odds are, something WILL happen that is less than ideal, but try to stay calm and assess the situation.  My whole losing my debit card thing was a terrible fiasco, but I didn't mope about it for a month until my new one came.  Sure, I was worried, but if I fixated on that I wouldn't have been able to enjoy sights like this:

What advice do you have for longer trips around the world?

Travel Tuesday

Weekly Wrap Up: My Birthday

April 21, 2014
This week I had to work every day except for my birthday because schools were out on spring break, so the theater was a busy place.  On Wednesday, a co-worker brought in some Funfetti cupcakes for me for my birthday!  So sweet!  Later that night, I headed over to my parents' house to celebrate with more cake and ice cream.  I stayed later and just chatted with my mom for awhile.

On the day of my actual birthday, my friend Dre stopped by my house and picked me up so that we could drive down to Columbus.  Our first stop was to go to First Watch to have some brunch.  I used to go there for brunch all the time during my senior year of college, but haven't been in forever because there are none around me.  Well, the main reason I went there was to cash in my birthday coupon that they sent me, which was for a free entree.  I opted for an omelet with home fries and an English muffin. Not too shabby of a birthday freebie, if you ask me and Dre had never been to First Watch before, but she liked it.  Afterwards, we headed over to the mall to stop in Charlotte & Russe because they were having a $5 scarf sale.  Unfortunately, none of the scarves appealed to us and we could see why they were only $5.  I did stop by Sephora and pick up my free birthday gift, which was a mini mascara and neutral lipstick by Make Up For Ever.  Next, we stopped at DSW to go shoe shopping.  I got the cutest pair of peep toe wedges.  They're red and the wedges are not too tall at all!  When I was trying them on, they were really comfortable, and to top it off, I had a coupon for $20 off a $49 purchase, so how could I refuse them? :)

Our next stop was to go to the Columbus Zoo...I hadn't been to Columbus Zoo in more than 10 years, so I wanted to go back and figured why not do it on my birthday?

I had a good time checking out all the animals--my personal fave was the Arctic fox.  God, those things were adorable!!  My least favorite was the binturong.  We walked into this building that housed a bunch of animals, and inside it smelled like corn chips or popcorn, which I didn't mind at first because I thought some kids were eating a snack in there.  When I stopped by the binturong, I read that the smell was actually that animal!!  Dre says I'm crazy and weird for this, but that grossed me out so much that I started physically gagging and made her rush away from there.  Still when I think about that animal smelling like popcorn, I get really sick to my stomach...Maybe it's because I have to smell popcorn all day at work??  I don't know, but I was glad to get away from that animal!!  I also liked the polar bear exhibit because there's water for the bear to swim in, but it's set up aquarium style, so that you can watch the bear swim through the glass.

Even though it snowed earlier in the week, and schools were on 2 hour delays, the weather warmed up and I enjoyed some NICE weather on my birthday.  It was the first time I was able to walk around with no spring jacket on, and the skies were blue and not overcast!  

After the zoo, Dre and I went to BD's Mongolian BBQ for dinner.  She laughed at me because the only time I had ever been there was in Mongolia.  BD's Mongolian BBQ was the first American chain restaurant that was allowed into Mongolia, sorry McDonald's.  Even though we were starving from walking at the zoo all day, we got stuffed after heading up to the grill twice.  I love the cards they provide you with because I ended up following their "recipe" and had pad thai.  The best part is that my  meal was like $2 something because...you guessed it...I used a birthday coupon!  Hahaha... if you think I'm obnoxious with this, I totally am!  

Finally, we headed to Rita's so that we could get some custard and laughed over one of the toppings which just said "wet nuts."  Dre is the one that pointed it out giggling and asked me if I knew what wet nuts were, but I also never heard of that ice cream topping.  She texted her friend who owns a Rita's in North Carolina and he said it was walnuts and caramel, although when I googled it, I saw it was walnuts in maple syrup.  

All in all, I had a great day!!  It was so awesome to hang out with Dre the whole time, and we both really enjoyed ourselves!

How was your week??  Link up with us below and share!

Here are the rules to the link up:

1) Follow your hosts Rachael @ The Rachael Way and Lisa @ Ameliorer la Vie.
2) Share what you have been up to this past week and link your post up with us every Monday.
3) Hop around and comment on at least two other people's posts. 

4) Link your post back to us in some way. We have a cute button for you to grab. :)
5) Have fun reading about how other bloggers spent their week!

Ameliorer la Vie

If you would like to tweet about the link up, feel free to use #weeklywrapup.

My Pet Peeves

April 18, 2014
I'm feeling a little snarky today, so I thought it would be appropriate to get some of the things that annoy me off of my chest!

* People who talk during movies.  I get it if you must whisper something a couple of times, but people that talk consistently throughout the flick without even trying to be quiet just enrage me!  It distracts me from the movie and wrecks the experience!  I just don't understand why people would want to pay those high prices for a movie ticket just to talk through it themselves...I mean, if you want to have a full out convo with whomever you're with, go somewhere else.  How is that not obvious?!  This pet peeve is especially annoying to me since I am a manager at a theater and also get yelled at by customers who have had their movie ruined by people talking.

* When those in the food industry wear really strong perfume...  For example, my friend and I were at Olive Garden and the waitress had on some stinky smelling perfume.  We were trying to order off of the menu and were gagging because she stunk so bad...how very appetizing.  While we were eating, she would stop by to ask how we were doing, and the smell would return and make us sick to our stomachs--gross!

*Since I'm on the topic of smells, I'm just going to go ahead and say that another one of my pet peeves is people who don't wash and who have B.O.  Unless you're homeless and don't have access to a shower, you shouldn't constantly reek.  It is not that hard to take a shower or put on some deodorant.  The worst is when people come into work stinking.  I always want to tell them that everyone complains about them and makes fun of them behind their back so they might want to do something about it, but my boss tells me to simmer down and that someone stinking is "a sensitive issue."  

* Everyone laughs at me for this one, but I can't stand the sound of styrofoam rubbing together.  It just makes that awful squeaky sound, and I'd prefer having to listen to nails on a chalk board any day!  Those stupid packaging peanuts are my worst nightmare.

* People who spoil shows, movies, and books also irritate me!  A couple of my Facebook friends post about what happens on The Walking Dead as it is happening, and two major events were ruined for me.  The worst is when they wait a little bit to do it, but they KNOW that they're doing it and then say, "Well, I don't feel bad because it happened last week and you should have had time to catch up on the show by now."

* Having to suffer through an automated phone service because it won't let you talk to a representative right away.  Some of those customer service numbers are so tricky and make it almost impossible to talk to a real person!  I get so frustrated when my problem is not in any of the categories listed and when pressing 0 does not get me a representative.   

* When baristas forget the whipped cream... This last one may sound a little psycho, but when I see a picture of one of those iced coffee drinks that has whipped cream all over it, I expect that the drink I order should also have whipped cream on top.  On several occasions, I order the drink, and the barista does not ask if I want whipped cream and then they'll just give me the drink without it!  One time I almost drove back through the drive through to make them add it, but I finally decided that it wasn't worth it.  That's a lie.  The whipped cream would have totally been worth it--I guess I just chickened out, but now I always make sure to say, "Don't forget the whipped cream."

What are some of your pet peeves?

Why studying abroad was one of the best years of my life...

April 17, 2014
You know the expression, "Living the dream?" I feel like there was one year of my life that I actually did get to live the dream, and that was the year I studied abroad in France.  I know I will never have it that good or easy again, so I'm going to re-live some of my favorite moments of my study abroad experience by sharing them with you!

So, why was it so great?

* I was immersed in the French language, which is something every French major wants or should want!  One of the best ways to learn a language is to jump right in and try to speak it with the natives, which is something I could rarely do in Ohio.  It was daunting at first and I'm sure I made a lot of mistakes, but the important thing was that I learned from them.  I picked up so many phrases and new words that I wouldn't have learned in a regular classroom setting at my university.

* I got to live in the dorms just like many French college students did.  Residing in the dorms helped my American pals and I make so many friends from all over the world.  Because of our experience, I became friends with Italians, Tunisians, Germans, and even a few French people. Talking with them broadened my horizons and changed my views of the world.  On top of that, since my school was an international one, my classmates were also from all over the globe, too!

* The friendships I made from that year were ones that were long lasting.  I am still in contact with many of the people I met while I was overseas.  I actually met up with some of my Japanese friends in Tokyo a few years later and got to meet my Singaporean friend in her home country and in New Zealand.  My OSU friends and I are still in touch, too.  A few months back we started a Facebook thread and reminisced about old times.  I really made some friends for life.

* My friend Mandi and I used France as our base to explore many other places in Europe.    It was so easy just to hop on a train and be in a new city or even a different country in sometimes as little as a few hours.  One weekend we'd be in Italy, and the next weekend we'd be in Belgium.

* I got to try so many new kinds of food!  Before France I never even had fondue!!  After my trip I came away with a love of creperies, Comte cheese, Monacos, St. Emilion wine, and peche melba, to name a few.

* So many things got crossed off my bucket list that year it's not even funny!  I'm so grateful and amazed that I even got to do all of these things in such a short span of time.

I rode in a gondola in Venice.

Mandi and I went to Munich to celebrate Oktoberfest.

We also signed up to go to wine tastings in Bordeaux.

We kissed the Blarney Stone in Ireland.

We went up an Alp in Switzerland.

We traveled to Eastern Europe.

We got to see the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace.

We visited Stonehenge.

We spent New Year's in Paris.

We toured the Colosseum and Vatican.

* I left Europe having had a full set of adventures and in many ways I grew up a lot that year.  I became more independent than I ever was at home because in France I was challenged to communicate in another language.  Having this opportunity and being immersed in the French culture helped me to learn more about my own culture and background.  The whole experience made me a lot more open minded, and I came back to the States with a deeper understanding of global issues because I learned about others' perspectives as well.

* Even though my trip happened over a decade ago, I continue to find myself hysterically laughing at a memory that will randomly pop into my head from my time in Europe.  Thanks to my studying aboad, I am still very passionate about traveling and having experiences abroad even today.

Studying abroad was hands down the best decision I ever made!

What is something that you've done that you do not regret at all?  Speaking of things you shouldn't regret, why not take a shot at winning this fabulous Whitney English Day Designer?


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32 Things That Make Me Happy

April 15, 2014
I saw Erin's link up floating around in Blogland last week, but I decided that I wanted to write it this week because this will be the last week that I'm 32 years old and for some reason that was the number chosen, so it seemed appropriate. :)  Without further ado, here is my list (in no particular order)...

1) Manicures that don't chip for a whole week
2) Memories of my grandparents
3) Just about anything floral

4) Getting and sending snail mail to my friends--I especially love postcards!
5) My birthday month
6) Sunny days
7) Home cooked meals with good company
8) Freebies
9) Shopping sprees
10) Unexpected compliments
12) Making payments on my student loans (I feel like I've accomplished something when the numbers go down!)
13) Pleasant surprises like a nice e-mail or encouraging message.
14) Vacation
15) My sisters

16) Having a Master's and knowing that no one can take that away from me.
17) Paydays!
18) Tom's shoes--They are so comfy!
19) Losing weight without trying
20) Finding something I thought that I had lost forever
21) Europe

22) Casual Parties
23) Driving a freshly cleaned car
24) Finding the perfect shade of lipstick
25) Paying it forward
26) Discovering new blogs to read
27) Mutual support and positivity in Blogland
28) Pastel polish in the spring
29) Puppies
30) Being independent
31) Accomplishing goals
32) Writing in pretty notebooks

Do any of these things make you happy?