Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Kick ass essay + one really kick ass friend

Excuse the delirousness head. Also, please excuse the cussing. I rarely cuss, but for some reason today? Everything is kick-ass. Luckily, I'm done with working with children because I don't think their parents would appreciate that new adjective in their vocabulary.

Anyway. On with the post.

Remember back in January when I participated in my second blogger meet up and talked about how blogger friends are now just friends? Amazing, thoughtful, wonderfully real friends? I think about this a lot and I'm constantly missing my friends. Constantly.

I know many of you agree with me and feel the same way. Each time something wonderful happens through the power of social media and networking, my heart fills up and I feel all warm and fuzzy. 

Are you now wondering the reason for this gushy, mushy post? Well, one of my friends wrote a kick ass essay for Stratejoy and I just love it! See Becky below? Doesn't she look the nicest person ever? That's cause she is...

So, I think you should step away from ALPITC and go check out Becky's essay. In fact, I'm begging you, please! Go read it! I knew I was going to connect with Becky's writing, because I always do, but I really connected with this essay and I think most of you will too. And if you don't connect right now at this very point in your life, I'm sure at sometime in your life, you could have. Her message is very universal!

Go check it out and vote!

And now I can't stop saying "kick ass" but it's coming out like one word. Kickass, kickass, kickass... Ok. The lack of sleep this week is beginning to affect me and the fact that I rarely cuss makes it weird that the word ass is in this post about a million times..
Ok, I'm out. Go vote.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Tales from Substitute Teaching (2)

Recently I turned 30 years old, but the thing is. I don't look 30 (at least that is what 99.9% of people say) and I definitely don't feel 30.

I know I look very young for my age, and being in college again, it just reinforces that young vibe I give off.

Looking young, being a graduate student... these things do very little for me when I'm in the classroom with middle school students.

If I had a dime for how many students have commented "She's young!" when I walked into the room.... I, well, I wouldn't be rich, because ... I haven't been subbing that long, but I would have a lot of dimes.

I try not to let it bother me because it's really silly. But it does.

It bothers me a lot. As soon as a student says that, and then follows up with, "Do you like rap?" I roll my eyes and usually tell them never to ask a woman her age. They usually just say "WHY?!" and then it perpetuates the entire conversation, so I have resorted to pretending I didn't hear them.

There's really nothing I can do about it either. I don't want to dress "old". I think most of the time it is important that I dress somewhat stylishly when I substitute teach because it is a way to connect with students. That may sound superficial, but... these kids are in middle school and high school. Clothes and appearance are what they care about.

About a week ago I had finally just had it, and I had decided that my long-ish hair was contributing to me looking young. So, I cut three inches off and now I have a long bob again. I actually really, really like it. It's the length it was in my Twitter picture if you follow me on there. I think it's a much more grown up cut.

Lately I have been subbing in a school where the kids all know me, so those comments are so last year, but if I am in a new school... they're bound to happen and they make me c.r.a.z.y.

What really gets your goat lately? Are you good at ignoring it or do you just have to say something about it?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wine & Love

Hello, Friends! (I totally just typed out Friday instead of Friends - whoa, I'm ready for the weekend)

I feel like lately I have ZERO content for the blog, besides what I have been doing lately, which isn't really all that exciting! But... I do always have w(h)ines and loves each week, so since I remembered that Thursday is Nora's fantastic Wine and Love feature, I figure I HAVE to participate!

Each week we post about what is making us reach for the wine out of ... annoyance? And what is making us reach for the wine out of happiness! (You know you're reaching for the wine either way, right??)

So this week my loves are...

♥ The book Room. I seriously cannot put this book down. It got to that really good I-just-can't-stop-thinking-about-this-book part last night and all day all I wanted to do was reeeeaaaaaad!

♥ Making new friends! You know when you meet someone new and you just click and automatically know that you're going to be great friends? Seriously, it's probably one of the best feelings in the world. I'm convinced that I was friends with those people in another life. That's just gotta be what it is!

♥ I've logged 6 miles so far this week and I still have three days scheduled to work out this week! I know that's not very much to some of you, but usually that's what I do in one week! I'm pushing myself and it's really beginning to pay off.

♥ How did I squeeze in those 6 miles, you ask? Well, I'm getting paid to work out. Yep. One of the new clients I have been working with wants to go to the YMCA everyday and stay there for about 3 hours. Yes, I'm serious. He plays basketball and I run on the track a floor above him. I can still see him, so it works out well. I don't run for three hours (oh, gawd) but after I'm done working out I will usually go study or read. It's working out awwwwe-some.

♥ This BEAUTIFUL weather we have been having! Seriously, so gorgeous out. 

♥ That I get to see Lesli next week for Books 'n Bars (she's driving down from Minneapolis to attend! I'm so pumped!) and then I get to turn around and visit HER the following week for the Jodi Picoult signing. I love having things like these to look forward to! :)

Ok, so I do have some whines, so here goes it...

> The history test I have today. It's one of those blue book essay tests that are graded extremely subjectively because you have to draw your own thesis as to WHY the events happened during ___________ time period, which is fine, but I just get all anxious! I'm ready to get it over with.

> Drama, drama, drama in the internet world. Can't we all just play nice? Aren't we too old for bullying? No? Well... cut it out. It's stupid.

> Snow in the forecast today. Yes, right after I put "beautiful" weather as a love. Ugh. Mother Nature, that's not cool.

I can't think of anymore wines and I think that's a good thing, so I'm going to stop here. Why would I keep trying to think of things that are annoying me?

What are you loving this week? Do you have big plans for the weekend?

Monday, February 20, 2012

The power of TWITTER

Hello, hello! Hope you all had a wonderful weekend! Mine was uneventful, but good! 

So, lately I've been annoyed with Twitter and all the online social drama, it's not enough to keep me away from it, but because of these feelings, I was so relieved to have something GOOD happen as a direct result of Twitter. My faith in the blogging and online world is always restored at the most unexpected of moments.

You know the new Jason Wu line of clothing at Target? Fellow blogger and Twitter addict, Tara from Fabulous but Evil was desperate to find the cat tee. You know, the one from the commercial? So cute, right? Well, she couldn't find it anywhere in Houston, so she took to Twitter and sent out one final plea that got me...

All weekend I noticed her tweets where she was lamenting on how she couldn't find this t-shirt, and I think the fact that she couldn't find it just made her want it MORE. We all know how that feels!! Simple econ, right? Supply and demand...

So, Sunday night when she tweeted the link to the shirt, I clicked it, put in my zip code - the entire time thinking I'm not going to find it, but I'm going to feel guilty if I don't even looooook!

Well, what do you know, her exact size was in limited stock at the Target just down the street from me. It's a little Target, no grocery, and it's been there years and years so I was shocked they had it!

I tweeted her back and said it was there and I would go and pick it up in the morning! Don't you just loooove making someone else happy? I do!

Anyway, it really got me thinking about the power of Twitter and these other social networking sites. Sure, they're entertaining, but they also provide a HUGE audience from across the world to spread what you're passionate about, to learn from or.... to fulfill some fashion dreams. The sky's the limit!

Tara, your shirt will be in the mail soon. I'm so glad you finally get it! :)

What have you wanted so bad, but you just couldn't get your hands on? What was it? Did your wish ever get fulfilled? 

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Bungalow - Friday Book Club

The Bungalow by Sarah Jio

From Goodreads:

In the summer of 1942, newly engaged Anne Calloway sets off to serve in the Army Nurse Corps on the Pacific island of Bora-Bora. More exhilarated by the adventure of a lifetime than she ever was by her predictable fiancé, she is drawn to a mysterious soldier named Westry, and their friendship soon blossoms into hues as deep as the hibiscus flowers native to the island. Under the thatched roof of an abandoned beach bungalow, the two share a private world-until they witness a gruesome crime, Westry is suddenly redeployed, and the idyll vanishes into the winds of war.
A timeless story of enduring passion, The Bungalow chronicles Anne's determination to discover the truth about the twin losses--of life, and of love--that have haunted her for seventy years. 

I'm a huge fan of historical fiction - especially WWII. This didn't have a lot of history in it, but there was a little bit!

This book hooked me right away, as Anne is a very likable character and I read The Bungalow within 24 hours a couple weeks ago. Since then I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. I definitely recommend this one to just about any woman, it has just the right amount of mystery, romance, tragedy and friendship.

Today I am linking up with Blonde, Undercover Blonde for her awesome Friday Book Club!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Not a mushy Valentine's Day post

Oh, hi blog. ::blowing dust off::

Time has been flying and we are in week five of the semester. I'm handling the amount of classes + subbing 2-3 days a week + working at the agency 5-15 hours a week okay, better than okay, but I miss my free time.

Despite missing having a ton of free time, I'm right on track for coursework and am enjoying all of my classes. (hello, nerd!)

What gives me the sad face is the fun things I have to put on the back burner. Like blogging. This week I thought about blogging quite a bit, but each time I sat down to blog, I just couldn't justify spending the time on it when I had somanyotherthingstodolikerightthatsecond.

The plan was to spend the weekend setting up posts for the week so I wouldn't have to feel bad or be sad when I didn't get to read all of your sweet comments throughout the day, but on Thursday night I began to feel super ick. On Friday, I felt even ickier. Which meant I spent the weekend recuperating, sleeping and trying to ward off whatever was trying to take over my body. Luckily, it worked and now I am feeling much better.

So, here we are at the end of Tuesday and I haven't blogged in almost a week!

Monday I was supposed to blog about the Valentine's Day swap that I participated in. Swaps are always fun, and because I love getting mail, I decided to join in on the fun!

My sweet swap partner, Jenna, got me this adoooorrrrable mug from Anthropologie! 

 Isn't it adorable?! I just love it!

Now, I can't really blog today, Valentine's Day, and not say aaaanything about it! Despite being single, I still had a great V-day! I had class pretty much all day, but after leaving campus around 5pm, meeting with some group members real quick at Caribou, and a quick trip to the library, I stopped by Papa Murphy's to get this... 

 Oh yeah. I went there. A heart shaped pizza. It's kind of hard to tell, but it really is a heart shape!

Here's the final, cooked product. I added some veggies! I love me some black olives on pizza - between the pizza and the salad to eat with it I just might have eaten the entire can of olives...

Being single on Valentine's Day may be a little stinky but I don't really mind. I had a pretty great date on Saturday night (thank you all for the sweet comments on my last post) and that's enough for right now! This stage in getting to know someone is always fun, a little nerve-wracking, but at the end of the day it's fun! Also... a new(ish) friend of mine that is going through the same Master's program I am, got me these adorable boot socks for V-Day! She saw them at Kohl's for a really good deal and thought of me because I am always wearing leggings, boot socks and boots - how sweet is that?!

Now, I'm off to watch a movie. What movie, you ask? Well, the reason I had to run to to the library was to pick up this...

The original Alfred Hitchcock movie adaptation for the book, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, which I just finished last night. Now, I can't say that I looooooved the book, because it was really hard for me to get into and I didn't get into it until after 120 pages (a third of the book for my copy!) but once I did... oh, boy, it was suspenseful! I was just waiting for something crazy to happen - especially when a friend of mine compared it to Psycho!

I read this book for Emily's book club over at The Many Thoughts of a Reader, and I'm so glad we read this one. It was a classic (first published in 1938) and it's definitely a great read, I absolutely recommend. (Actual review will be posted at sometime, I'm sure)

Ok, well, with all that said - I'm out! I'll let you all know what I think of this 1940 Oscar winning movie! ;)

How did you celebrate Valentine's Day?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

These are the days of our lives...

Bah! I miss you all. This week has been crazy insane and I cannot wait for the weekend. This is only week 4 of the semester and that is a little concerning to me. (I will figure it out though).

Here's a few things on my mind - bullet style. This is not edited because I have class in 20 minutes, so don't judge me.

  • Last night's interview with the White House intern under JFK? Anybody catch that? I went through a series of emotions. If you follow me on Twitter, you are probably aware. First I was disgusted. Then I was mad. Then I felt bad for her. Then I felt bad for feeling bad for her. Then I felt guilty for being mad - because, dude, we all do stupid things in college. Then I thought, do you do stupid things like for 18 months with the President of the United States? Then I thought, well, she was probably under, like a spell, ya know? You get the point. It was a good interview. I think I want to read her book. At first I thought she was just capitalizing on this horribly embarrassing story, but then I realized she was outed by someone else and by that point, you might as well. (just sayin)
  • On another subject. I have so much crap for a "future classroom" I think I need a storage space. For real. 
  • I'm down to one Dunkin Donuts k-cup, which is a travesty. I need to make a roadtrip as soon as possible. Who should I come visit?? ;) 
  • Remember when I planned to do four workouts per week? Yeah... that is not happening. So far during the week I seem to be only able to fit in a run on Thursdays because I have almost four hours between my third and fourth class. I have to figure this out and figure it out soon. 
  • I'm doing pretty good on the counting calories, until the evening. Then I just sort of wing the rest of the night. That's probably not working out so well. (especially considering I got my order of girl scout cookies and they call my name every night :/)
  • The Vow comes out tomorrow and I am going to see it! 
  • Also, I have a second date. Which, yes, I know. I have pretty much completely stopped talking about dating on here. I have my reasons. Maybe someday I will blog about it all. Fingers crossed this one isn't another dud though. 
This is pretty much it for me. I'm trying to keep up with everyone else - if I don't comment, please know I am probably still reading just reading on my phone and commenting is super annoying!

What's been going on for you this week? Do you comment on blogs from your smartphone?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Tales from Substitute Teaching

Substitute teaching definitely has had its ups and downs - as many of you have heard about in the past year, but overall I am so glad that I did this. The experience has been invaluable to my educational career and I consider it one of the ways I have learned the MOST about education. Hands-on experience is always best for me!

In the year that I have started subbing, I have collected quite a few good stories. Enough to definitely start a new weekly feature! We'll see how this does, so let me know what you think! 

One of my favorite stories is when I subbed in my own high school for the first time. My high school is my moms school, my grandpa's school and great grandpa's school - it's OLD. Through those four generations we have seen a lot of changes and renovations to the building.

The school is pretty big, with 2,000+ students and growing and in the 12 years I graduated from high school (eeep!) the school has added on a new addition and made many changes to the interior. I had not been in the school for several years and had only seen the changes from the outside when I drove by.

The day I was scheduled to work there, the job description specified a certain building I was supposed to work in. I didn't pay much attention to it, and on the day I was scheduled to work I parked in the staff parking lot (which felt weird) and headed in the main doors to the registrar. When I checked in with her, she said I was in the wrong building. I blankly stared at her and then she repeated herself again and said you're in _____ Building.

Umm, what?

I looked at her and said, "I went to this school and I have no clue what you're talking about."

She proceeded to give me driving directions to the building I was in. Technically, it was within walking distance, and since I sort of knew where she was talking about, I decided to walk.

Bad idea.

There's something to be said about getting lost in your own high school 12 years after graduating.

I felt really old ....

Then the hall monitor asked me for my "pass" as I was outside. I laughed a little and then showed him my staff badge. Luckily, by this time I have embraced my young looking face and can laugh it off. ;)

Did you go to a big or little school? What do you consider big or small? In Iowa we have lots of small towns so there are many definitions of big and small!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Books 'n Bars (8) - Packing for Mars

Tuesday we met for our eighth Books 'n Bars meeting and it went very well! I'm so proud that this book club is still going on and people are still interested! Our group hasn't grown for a few months, which I'm sort of okay with. Sometimes a smaller group is better and allows for more well-rounded conversation and participants. We tossed around a few ideas for the summer and I'm so excited to start picking out some new venues that feature a patio so we can sit outside and talk books. We also talked about possibly switching the night to a Friday for the spring, and see how that fares... I'll keep you all posted!

This month we discussed the non fiction book, Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach.

This book was a change of pace for us, and was definitely a different kind of read for me, but I really enjoyed it! The author spent several years studying space travel and what it is like for the astronauts in space. She didn't want to see the typical astronaut waving and giving the thumbs up sign all the time, she wanted to know what it was really like up there.

This book explored exactly what a human has to give up to be able to spend a year with zero gravity. What do you have to do to your body to prepare? How do use the restroom? How do you even know that you have to use the restroom, considering there is zero gravity and your urine is floating in your bladder.... Yes, folks, I'm serious. These are the things we do not think of, but Mary Roach wrote about for us.

I will say, if you don't like hearing about fecal matter, you might not like this book. There were lots of "turds" floating around. If you do like hearing about poop (don't lie, some people do), you will probably get many giggles out of this book. Poop makes everyone laugh, right? As long we don't have to smell it...

 This month we met at one of Des Moines' local breweries, Raccoon River. The restaurant/bar is located next to one of the oldest hotels in Des Moines, Hotel Fort Des Moines, and the building, built in 1916, was originally a car dealership! You cannot step foot into any of these buildings in this area of downtown and not take note of how gorgeous they are. One of my favorite features of the building Raccoon River is in now, are the huge doors when you first walk in. I wish I would have taken a picture, because they're so gorgeous to me! The doors were actually salvaged from a historic house built in the 1870s in the Grand area - I just love stuff like that!


So, now that you've read that history, you may be wondering if we drank beer?

Why yes, yes we did!

Two of us tried their light brew, which tasted like Bud Light and another friend tried a malty red brew. I wasn't a fan of the red, but I think I just wasn't enjoying beer at all that night! We also shared some nachos, which were really tasty (although a little greasy - but they're nachos, so I feel a little silly for saying that).

Overall, a GREAT January! Can't wait for our meeting in February, which will be on the 28th at 6pm at The Continental in the East Village! We need some help though... we couldn't decide on a book! It's narrowed down to three: Room, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and The Internet is a Playground, and you can check out all the details (and add your two cents on which book we should read) here!

Today I am linking up with Heather at Blonde, Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday! :)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Work in progress

I've noticed a lot of monthly goals going on in the blogosphere and, what can I say? I'm inspired! Blogging what you want to do is such a great way to hold yourself accountable, so I figured, why not? There's a lot I can work and since January was a miserable fail, this is a good idea.

January was kind of rough for me health-wise. I started off strong, then I had a weekend getaway in Chicago and I just couldn't get back into working out regularly and eating healthy.

Well, no more! 

So, for February here are my goals. Not all health goals, but there are definitely some in there!

  • Drink a minimum of 75 oz of water a day - this would be filling up my water bottle three times a day. That's the easiest way for me to measure how much water I drink. I would also like to stick with my "one pop a day" rule and not break it as much as I have been lately. I can get out of control with the diet coke and diet coke is like a gateway drug to worse stuff for me. It's like it GIVES me an appetite. No. Bueno. 
  • Work out 4 times a week - whether it's the C25K or just heading to the gym for a little. Just SOMETHING. 
  • Finish C25K - I have been loosely following it as a running plan for ... a long time. Right now I'm on week 5, and honestly when I ran on Tuesday it wasn't easy, but it wasn't hard either. I'd say that's good, but I can probably push myself harder!
  • Sign up for the Red Flannel Run - I better get on this, it's on February 11th. Last year I said I wanted to run 12 races in 2012. Considering January is over, I better at least get a couple out of the way before spring otherwise achieving this goal might not be possible. Unless I travel...  Hmmmmm... <> Did I just come up with a good idea?!
  • Consume less than 2 alcoholic drinks per week - like diet coke, drinking can get out of hand easily as well. I need to get better at reminding myself to slow down, and that I don't need to have a drink in front of me while out to have a good time! 
  • Substitute teach at least 10 days - I'm only available to teacher on MWF, and on Wednesdays it's an early out. Even though it's an early out subs still get paid for a full day. Getting an assignment on Wednesdays is sometimes harder than getting tickets to a Packers game (ok, not quite that hard). Luckily, the past three Wednesdays I have completely lucked out. 
  • Work 40 hours at the agency - I know some of you are new, so you might know that I work at a local non-profit agency that serves adults with intellectual disabilities. I'm on call staff, but sometimes I just can't seem to squeeze the hours into my schedule, or the hours they have available are when I'm not available. Technically I am supposed to work 15 hours a week, lately I have only been work 5. Oops :/ My goal this month is to get in at least 40.
  • Enter all meals into My Fitness Pal - are you on MFP? If so, be my friend! My username is AmberWDM. I really like MFP, it helps me stay on track, but I tend to quit entering my meals once I have gone over. I must think, "Oh, well. Day's shot. I don't want to know how bad it is..." Again, no bueno.
How are you doing with your goals this year? 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Teaming up today! Pinteresting Wednesday + What I'm loving...

On Wednesdays I always have a hard time deciding whether to participate in Jamie's What I'm Loving Wednesday or Michelle's Oh, How Pinteresting Wednesday. It's such a tough decision, right?! (ummm, #bloggerproblems, anyone?)

So, this week I decided I would just do both!

Be sure to check out these lovely ladies' blogs! I have been reading Jamie's for what feels like forever, and she is the sweetest Southern girl EVER! Michelle is a new one that I discovered from her Pinteresting Wednesday posts, and she's a middle school teacher like me!

This week I am loving...

The amazing gifts I got from friends and family!

My parents got me two new charms for my bracelet, a heart and a little pearl one.

My sister got me Hermione's wand! (Sort of a gag gift, sort of real, allllll perfect!)
My friends got me two new charms as well! A snowflake one and a stack of textbooks with an owl on it. I love the owl one! It's perfect.
Also, my good friend, Lesli got me a gift card to my favorite department store! She's knows me so well... ;)

This week I am also loving that it's Books 'n Bars week and we had our meeting last night! Recap to come soon!

Also, I cannot mention loves for this week and not talk about the weather. It has been GORGEOUS in central Iowa lately and I can hardly believe it. We've had FOUR days where the weather has been in the 60s. This is unreal.

Now for my favorite pins this week!
I haven't been spending as much time on Pinterest lately, as I just haven't had as much time to spare for it, but I did find some good stuff this week...

Can I have this treehouse, please? 

This is the prettiest LBD I've seen in long time, how adorable!

Am I the only one that looked at this and thought, "Broken leg waiting to happen?!"

Yep. It's the truth. Also, want to know something horrible? I'm such a wuss that those Girl in the Black Dress trailers have been keeping me up. I try to change the channel as soon as they come on, but I see that girl in the window and cannot get it out of my head. I'm such a weenie!! 
Source: via Desiree on Pinterest

I have a couple of these. They're amazing! :) 

Coolest tattoo ever?!? 

Annnnd, it woudn't be a pinteresting Wednesday without a Harry Potter pin! ;)