Pinterest Dreams

The move-in date to our new apartment is still several weeks away but that definitely hasn’t stopped me from beginning the decorating process. We aren’t starting from scratch whatsoever as I have most of my decor from my Phoenix apartment hiding in my parent’s house or in storage, yet I find myself still pinterest-ing (yes, a verb). In my next life I plan to be an interior decorator. These home decor images are all of the heart eye emojis.

Kitchen // I LOVE the maps as wallpaper (so much so that each of these are pinned more than once…). I also love a kitchen with white cabinets, subway tile, and open shelving. And something you’ll probably see in all of these pictures– I love a good pop of color.

 

 

 

Living Room // I am a huge fan of gallery walls and (again) pops of color. I love how everything in these rooms isn’t too matchy-matchy and blends just enough.

 

 

 

Books // In moving back to California, I got rid of so many of my books because I didn’t want to have to transport them. I kept my favorites of course and due to my Kindle being so much more convenient (and cheaper!), I’m not really buying any new books but hopefully some day the collection will grow enough to be able to fill up a space like the ones below.

 

 

Perhaps I’ll share the pins for other rooms (bathroom, outdoor space, etc) in another post but they would pretty much be along this same theme! Color and pattern mixing galore!

Summer So Far…

Well, school has been out for a week and I am finally getting around to vegging and doing absolutely NOTHING (just in time for summer school to start on Monday)! I (very easily) convinced Whitney to change her flight to Friday so that meant an extra day of roomie time and that summer break literally started the second that bell rang at the end of the day. We definitely kept busy the entire time; I’m seriously impressed with all the stuff we did. Here are the highlights!

Disneyland // Note to self, Disneyland is especially crazy in the summer and should probably be avoided. We ended up going on Monday because Michael wasn’t able to go on Sunday and figured that perhaps it would be less crowded? Nope. We didn’t get there until late morning but still only went on about four rides. The lines were just ridiculous– 60 minutes for Pirates of the Caribbean and 150 for Space Mountain. Who waits in lines that long?! The real mission of the day though was introducing Whitney to the amazingness of Dole Whips and I’m pretty sure that part was a success.

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PUMP and SUR // Vanderpump Rules is currently filming and we thought for sure this would FINALLY be the time (third times a charm) that we see our favorite train wrecks. Unfortunately, we struck out again. It was still super fun hanging out and people watching. Two of my friends from work, Marcia and Emily, came too. Tip to those that love the show and are in town and want to visit the two restaurants: the drinks and appetizers are good but the regular menu food is definitely not with the money.

Mount Hollywood // This is definitely my go-to hiking/outdoor activity spot. Recently, mornings have been super ugly (hello, June gloom) but the day we got ourselves out of bed early turned out to be a perfect day! Nice and clear, minus the smog. Going on a weekday was also a good choice, too. We got in about 12,000 steps and felt no guilt in enjoying our breakfast quesadilla/burrito when we were done.

Ellen’s Game of Games // I got to high-five Ellen! Emily got tickets to the new game show hosted by Ellen (think all the games played during the regular Ellen show, just bigger) and the timing worked out perfectly because Whitney was here and because it was my only week off before summer school/traveling. There was a ton of waiting (both outside and inside the studio) but it was totally worth it. We had super good seats one row up and at the end– the end where, between segments, Ellen walked to get backstage (hence the high-five). It was really fun to see how they film the show and Ellen was super funny (and sincere) when interacting with the contestants and the audience. The best part is that we will be getting tickets to a taping of next season’s regular Ellen show!

So far so good for the start of summer. I have two weeks of summer school and then Michael and I are off to Washington, D.C.!

On My Radar

HAPPY LAST WEEK OF SCHOOL! Yes, that deserves ALL CAPS! Besides it being almost summer break, here are some other things I’m currently loving:

Scandal // I am finally getting back into Scandal. I watched religiously but got really tired of the Olivia/Fitz back and forth drama so I stopped watching. One of my co-workers encouraged me to jump back on board and it only took a few minutes to suck me back in. If you haven’t watched, you can start from the very beginning on Netflix. It has several seasons so it is intimidating but I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll fly through.

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Our new home // Michael was back in town for a short 36 hours or so and in that time, we signed a lease! We are both currently month to month and had the end of July as our goal for moving into a new place. We toured a couple options and got scared by the prices in others (parking for an extra $350 a month?!), but we found a place that we loved and signed the lease! Neither of us thought we would be signing anything but the dates lined up perfectly. I am already decorating our new place in my head (and trying to find a place for Michael’s Steph Curry poster 😉 ).

This Target ad // Target is already my favorite store… you can literally be trapped in there for a month (or longer) and you’d survive. It has everything. I was super happy to see this sweet girl featured as a model in this week’s ad! I know Target is known for featuring models with disabilities but I had yet to see any of those ads. I hope that it eventually becomes the norm. It’s discouraging to me that part of my post is about how cool it is to see when really, it should just be expected and something I don’t have to point out. But anyways, go Target!

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The Forever Summer // Well, the time has come. I have four books that I’ve had on hold forever and they’ve all become available to me AT THE SAME TIME! Thankfully, due to how good my current book is, I should be getting started on the next one fairly soon. I’ll review it more fully in my book review at the end of the month but if you’re in search of a good summer beach read, The Forever Summer is it. Each of the characters is likable, the setting is perfect (Cape Cod), and there is just enough drama/twists that make me keep reading.
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Roomie Visit! // So you’ll be hearing about this in a whole other post but Whitney is here on Saturday! We have a very long to-do list (with some relax time to veg with some good television). On our list: the beach, Disneyland, taping of The Ellen Show, happy hour at Sur and Pump (they are filming. Maybe this will be the visit we finally see our fave train wrecks!), hiking, and potentially seeing Jimmy Kimmel. We also have some food (fro yo) that is high up on our priority list. This is definitely the perfect way to dive right into summer! The picture below is during the last LA visit (sorry that my arm wasn’t long enough to get us all in, Steph).

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May Book Review

Happy June! There was a whole lot of reading being done the last few weeks. Here are the books that sucked me in and as always, leave a comment if I need to add anything to my ever-growing wishlist.

 

UnknownCancel the Wedding by Carolyn Dingman

I read this one because Mix and Match Mama (one of my fave blogs) said it was one of her favorite reads last year and because of super high the Amazon ratings. It was enjoyable enough but just kind of eh. It took me about a week to read which tells you right there that it was just okay. The book follows a young woman who travels to Georgia to spread her mom’s ashes and learn a little more about her mom’s past. She gets help from various people in the town and learns not only a lot about her mother, but herself too.

 

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The Bright Effect by Autumn Doughton and Erica Cope

I had to check out another book by these two authors because of how much I enjoyed Steering the Stars. This one is told by two narrators in alternating chapters, Amelia and Bash. They come from completely different worlds, but also find out they have much more in common than they originally thought. The story is told in two parts and let’s just say Part 1 was much happier than Part 2 (I gasped when I read the last few pages of the first part). Definitely recommend for those that enjoy young adult.

 

Swear on This Life by Renee CarlinoUnknown-2

I wish I could erase this book from my memory and start it all over again! Emiline is a struggling writer who never talks about her past. Her roommate, Cara, lends her a new book she just couldn’t put down and Emi reluctantly starts to read it. After the first couple chapters, she realizes the protagonist of the book is based on her. She struggles with reading the book, seeing the books author for the first time in 12 years, and figuring out her current relationship. This was basically a book within a book and I loved every second of it. The epilogue was way too short; I need a whole other book!

 

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Chasing Polaris by Autumn Doughton and Erica Cope

This is another one by Doughton and Cope. It was probably my least favorite out of the three that I read but I still liked it okay. This one follows Seth, Bash’s best friend who appears in The Bright Effect. He meets Imogen and they embark on a scavenger hunt to try to win tickets to a music festival. Little does Imogen know though that Seth is in the band that is headlining the show. It was okay and definitely an easy read but out of the books by these authors, I would definitely choose one of the others.

 

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One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This is another one I read based on Mix and Match Mama’s review and also the reviews on Amazon. I liked this one WAY more than Cancel the Wedding! I read it in about two days and I am fairly certain that if work didn’t get in the way, it would have been done much sooner. Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse, and they are living a wonderful life in Southern California, traveling the world. Jesse goes missing in a helicopter crash the day before their first wedding anniversary and is declared dead. Fast forward three years later, Emma is engaged to another man and is happy again… until she receives a phone call from Jesse. Now Emma has to choose between the two loves of her life. It wasn’t sure who I wanted her to pick but I will say that I am satisfied with how it ended.

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Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

This is the third in a series by the author and despite having read the previous two SO SO long ago, it didn’t take me long to fall back into the characters. The book was totally predictable and the main character, Lara Jean, was such a goody-goody at times, but it was enjoyable enough. The author left it fairly open so I wouldn’t be surprised if there is another one in the series at some point.

 

imagesStill Alice by Lisa Genova

This one has been out for several years and was never on my to-read list for whatever reason. My mom bought recently bought it and lent it to me to read during state testing (no electronic devices allowed. Sorry, Kindle) and I am so glad she did! Alice is a well-respected Harvard psychology professor who, at the age of 50, begins forgetting things here and there. After seeing her primary physician, she wants to consult with a neurologist who tells her that she has early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease. The rest of the book is Alice and her family navigating her (and their) new life as she starts getting progressively worse. Definitely add this one to your list– don’t wait as long as I did!

 

UnknownMaybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

With how much I enjoyed One True Loves, I needed to get my hands on another one by Reid. I liked this one just as much, if not more. Hannah moves back to Los Angeles after living in several cities. She goes out with her best friend to meet up with old high school acquaintances and finds herself having to decide to go home with her best friend or home with her ex-boyfriend. From here, the book is told as two different stories in alternating chapters what would happen if she made either of those choices. I liked both storylines equally and in the end, couldn’t decide which I wanted to be the “what was actually happening” story. Two more books by this author; can’t wait to read them!

 

Unknown-1I Let You Go by Claire Mackintosh

I’d definitely recommend this one if you’re the Gone Girl or Girl on the Train type of book lover. The book is told in alternating points of view– one of the mother whose child is killed in a hit and run accident and the other the police officer investigating the case. It was pretty intense and there were some pages I needed to read again because I got confused with the narrators but overall, this one was a quick read that kept me picking it up.

 

 

I am currently reading one now that I cannot seem to get into so we will see if that one will make my June post or not! Happy reading!

What’s Up Wednesday

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I’m linking up again this month with Mix and Match Mama for What’s Up Wednesday. This month hasn’t been too exciting but let me tell you, I am SO looking forward to summer break.

What I’m eating this week:

I’m definitely not eating anything too excited (as always) but I will say again that I can’t wait to get into a new apartment so I can cook (and bake!) at my heart’s desire. I think I will also be investing in a crockpot that should come in handy when I’m really lazy and want an easy meal to prep. That sounds like a Pinterest board waiting to happen!

What I’m reminiscing about:

Every Memorial Day weekend reminds me of watching the Indy 500 with my grandpa when I was younger. When Erin was in the hospital, my younger sister and I spent lots of weekends at my grandparent’s house and one weekend was over Memorial Day. This was maybe at the end of 5th grade. I wanted to be an IndyCar driver (only in the Indy 500 though) and even did a History Day project in 6th grade on the impact of the fuel changes. Whaaaat? Up until perhaps the end of high school, I continued to spend Memorial Day Eve at my grandparents and watched the race with my grandpa (complete with a wonderful breakfast of french toast!) the next morning. I may not watch anymore, but the race and Memorial Day weekend will always be special 🙂

What I’m loving:

I’m still loving the weather… it’s been in the 70/80s lately (with cooler mornings). Mom and I went on a hike to Mt Hollywood over the weekend and the weather was perfect. It’s nice to be able to plan things and count on the weather to be nice.

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What I’ve been up to:

The typical daily grind. The end of the school year is exhausting; I’ve been staying after school at least once or twice per week to tutor kids and allow them to get caught up on assignments. That makes for really long days and with all of the events of the end of the school year, I am thankful summer is right around the corner.

What I’m dreading:

Packing. I absolutely hate packing. I have a couple trips coming up in the next several weeks so I am definitely dreading the packing (and unpacking). Michael and I are also looking at apartments with a flexible moving date sometime in July. Bring on the boxes and packing tape!

What I’m working on:

Finding the perfect apartment. I do not like my currently living situation AT ALL. In fact, Michael is out of town for a big length of time in the coming weeks for work, so I stole his keys so that I could stay there some days. We are looking to move by the end of July and I compromised with moving downtown. I really like downtown and although I don’t want to be there longterm, it’s an easy place to be for now. My commute won’t be any worse than it is now and I’ll be happy to be able to walk to more things than I am able to now.

What I’m excited about:

SUMMER! My summer filled up quickly. Along with teaching summer school and attending professional development, I’ll be traveling to Washington D.C. and Boise and then hosting my bestie when she visits (and let’s be honest, that’s like a vacay for me, too). I currently have a to-do list going on my phone for all the Washington sites I want to visit. I’ve been twice but not since high school and I absolutely LOVE all things history so I can’t wait. Whitney and I plan to do Disneyland while she’s here and probably some other typical California activities like the beach. Oh! And we are going to go see a taping of The Ellen Show! One of our favorite artists (Joshua Radin) is playing in Boise which led to me booking a flight because that weekend also worked out perfectly for a visit!

What I’m watching/reading:

The Bachelorette is back! Michael and I also finished watching the new Master of None season on Netflix. There was a lot of time between seasons but we waited patiently for Season 2, and it didn’t disappoint. At first I didn’t like it as much as Season 1, but when we got to the last episode, I didn’t want it to end! Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait another two years for the next season. I also started The Keepers on Netflix and oh boy, it is super intense and super disturbing.

As for reading… I read A TON this month. My May book review will be posted soon and thanks to state testing, I was able to get in some solid reading hours.

What I’m listening to:

I am really enjoying A R I Z O N A’s album. I don’t even know what the music would be classified as. EDM? Hopefully not because I am not into that AT ALL. Techno? That either. I really have no idea. But I’m loving it and it’s perfect summer music.

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What I’m wearing:

I love espadrilles and am so happy they are still in style! I bought this Sam Eldeman pair for my mama for Mother’s Day and they are currently on sale at Nordstrom! Debating buying myself a pair (hey, I made it through another school year! I deserve a reward!)

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What I’m doing this weekend:

Michael and I are going to look at some apartments on Saturday. We had Book of Mormon tickets but Michael is going to be out of town for work (darn NBA Finals) so we had to swap them for a different day.

What I’m looking forward to next month:

ALL THINGS SUMMER BREAK!!

What else is new:

I think I’ve covered it all!

It’s Been a Good Year…

As my Facebook kindly reminded me this morning, I officially said goodbye to Arizona and moved back to California one year ago today. I know I seem to say it a lot in my posts, but this last year has probably been one of the best.

I was not happy in Arizona. I had a couple good friends (hi Tricia and Jolene!) but aside from that, I had no roots there.  I was there for six years and never really let myself establish anything because I knew I didn’t want to be there forever. My life there was really lonely– my family was in California, my boyfriend was across the country in Connecticut, and my best friends were either back home or in other states (this I am used to though!) I told my mom, time and time again, that I felt like life was just passing me by. I saw everyone moving forward in jobs, relationships, and just life in general, and I was still not even living where I wanted to. Everyone’s life seemed to be in this straight, easy path and mine had zigzagged all over, leaving me still somewhere I wasn’t happy to be.

 

I’ve spent the last year exactly where I want to be and with the people I longed to be with the most (minus some people are still in other states 😉 ). That zigzagging road finally took me right to where I wanted it to! Enjoy the picture overload of some of my favorite things from the past year.

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#teacherstats

There is this thing floating around Facebook that I’ve seen several of my teacher friends post. Usually I don’t click on them or try them on my own, but this one was super cool because it was all about #teacherstats! Here is mine:

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It’s insane to me that I’ve been teaching for 7 years! And what’s even more insane is the amount of students I’ve taught. This is obviously just an estimate but for 6 years, I taught middle school (still technically do although 6th grade to me will always be elementary school) which means I taught a crazy amount of students. It’s a wonder how I was able to memorize all those names!

I didn’t always know I wanted to be a teacher. I’ve always loved school and I did well enough (A’s and B’s and graduated in the top 40 of my 500+ high school class– I know, I’m bragging). I can’t even say teaching was always in the back of my mind for a potential career because it never was. I knew I wanted to do something that helped others and somehow it ended by being teaching.

The first 6 years of my teaching career were tough. I taught middle school (already super tough) in a very low-income area of Phoenix. I had kids talking back constantly, kids who failed but were passed on to the next grade, kids who were (maybe) suspended for fighting/cursing at their teachers, kids who did drugs in the bathroom, and even a kid who threatened me and another teacher (a police report was filed; I still get notices and currently a warrant is out for his arrest). Really, to say it was tough was an understatement. And when you pair that with administration that looks the other way and provides no support to teachers, it’s a recipe for disaster. I get mad that I let myself stay in a miserable place for 6 years but it’s so easy to sign a contract (in March, mind you. The school year isn’t even over until May and you have to sign a contract for the NEXT school year months before) over the risk of not finding another job. The district also had the highest pay in Phoenix (even over swankier places likes Scottsdale) and there was no way I could take a pay cut to leave.

During this time, I researched other careers SO many times. But what else can I do with a Bachelors in Sociology and a Masters in Education? Nothing that required more school. And so I kept teaching, dreading each day and coming home absolutely exhausted.

Last March, I didn’t sign my contract. It was the best feeling in the world. I had no job lined up, no definite source of income coming to me in the future, but man, to submit my resignation letter was the best. I remember texting my mom a picture of my name on the school board minutes when the resignation was approved (and um, why does it need approval? Ridiculous) because I was that excited. The first few weeks of summer were stressful; I applied to dozens and dozens of jobs. And if I wasn’t applying, I was looking. Luckily I didn’t have to wait or look for too long. I only did one interview/demo lesson at another school before I accepted the job at my current school.

This past school year has (almost) erased all the poor memories of my previous teaching years. Despite the tough days that still do happen, I love my 6th graders. They exhaust me in a very different way than my previous students. This type of exhaust is a good one– they challenge me to be a better teacher and it’s sad that it took me 7 years to finally start being the teacher I wanted to be. And it definitely doesn’t hurt that my administration is the best. I now take pride in saying that I’m a teacher and don’t have to fake liking what I do. I still daydream about what it would be like to be a travel blogger or an interior designer, but I can happily say now that I chose the best career for me. And while I may not have a ton of money in my bank account or have the funds for all the places I want to travel, bags I want to buy, or shoes I wish I could have, I am fairly positive I have the best job in the world.