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!

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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.

Shows to Binge

After teaching 6th graders all day and giving directions, answering the same question a thousand times, pulling small groups, grading essays, tutoring after school, running book club, etc, etc, etc, I am all about relaxing in front of the TV. Netflix is great because there are no commercials and you can watch back to back to back (to back) episodes. Here are my favorite shows on Netflix and ones I recommend to binge on:

Friends: Okay, so this is probably a very cliche first choice but I can’t help it. Friends is tied up there for my favorite show and I can watch it over and over again. I love that the episodes are only 20 minutes without commercials and I love that even though the show ended over 10 years ago, it’s still just as funny. I’ve probably watched the series in it’s entirety three or four times. It’s the perfect show to have on in the background when doing some work or laundry. I’m fairly certain most have seen at least a couple episodes, but do yourself a favor and start at the very beginning!

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Friday Night Lights: Friday Night Lights is tied with Friends as my favorite show. This is one that I recommend to literally everyone because it has something that everyone could like. There is a lot of depth to each of the characters and storylines and it does it’s job so well that you’ll be wanting to live in Texas before long. While the show is about football, it’s not necessarily ABOUT football (if that makes sense… ). Give it a whirl for an episode or two and you’ll be hooked! Side note: Michael and my dad both love this show. I have very different taste than them in TV, yet we all still watched this one!

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Broadchurch: SO SO SO GOOD! This British show has two seasons and each is only about 10 episodes which means that you will fly right through. The first season investigates the disappearance and murder of a young boy and everyone in the small village is a suspect. You find out who the killer is at the end of the season and the second season follows the trial of said person. This, behind FNL, is the one I recommend the most to people. It’ll keep you guessing until the very end (and then probably infuriate you).

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The Office: You can’t go wrong with The Office! Like Friends, this is one that is, at this point, easy to have on in the background while I’m doing something else. I don’t work at a typical “office” but this is exactly how I picture it to be… or wish it was! Jim and Pam are my favorite (would you expect anything else?) and as much as I like my principal, I wouldn’t mind Michael Scott stepping in for the day. One person I can do without? Dwight. I know, I said it.

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Gossip Girl: Two words: Chuck Bass. My college roomies and I loved watching this one together. If you love drama, fashion, and New York City, this one is for you! As always with these teen dramas, it’s very unrealistic but I think thats why it’s also really fun.

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Pretty Little Liars: This one will take commitment on your part to make it through but I guarantee you’ll like it if you do! If you love a good mystery (we are in the last half of the final season and STILL DON’T KNOW WHO A IS!), PLL is for you. The show can be very tween-y at times (and extremely unrealistic) but it’s kept me hooked for 7 seasons so it must be doing something right! The season ends in several weeks and I am probably going to re-watch again at some point to see if I can pick up on any clues along the way.

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New Girl: I admit, I am not up to date on New Girl but do enjoy it when I need a break from more intense shows (see below 😉 ). Jessica Day’s quirkiness can get a wee bit annoying at times, but her wardrobe certainly makes up for it. And I’m pretty sure Schmitt makes me laugh about 10 times every episode.

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Some other good ones are: Stranger Things, Hart of Dixie, Grey’s Anatomy, Master of None, Freaks and Geeks, and One Tree Hill.

Also, here are some documentaries that you should check out: Making a Murderer, Amanda Knox, Blackfish, 13th, and Planet Earth.

What shows are on your Netflix list?

Life Lately

Happy Sunday! Hope y’all had a relaxing weekend and are ready for the week ahead. I used to dread Sunday SO much because it meant one more sleep until I had to do the whole repeat of the work week. I don’t dread it so so much anymore but am definitely already counting down again til Friday. Here are some of the highlights from the last week or so:

Meet Henry!

Last weekend, the family gained a new member! Henry is an 8-week old Jack Russell and he is THE CUTEST THING IN THE ENTIRE WORLD! He and Pippy are becoming fast BFFs which I love the most. She is so gentle with him and he follows her around everywhere. I think my family’s text thread is all dog pictures at this point and I am definitely okay with it. Unfortunately I won’t have the same amount of baby Henry time as I did with Pippa but you can definitely bet that I will be visiting whenever I can to get my dose of puppy!

Summer plans…

My summer is definitely filling up quickly! With the four weeks of summer school and professional development I’ll be doing, it leaves only 3 weeks of actual vacation. And those three weeks are fully booked, too. Michael and I will be in Washington D.C. for a week for his sister’s wedding, Whitney has her flight booked to visit me, and this past week I booked a flight to visit her in Boise at the end of July. Phew! Busy, busy, busy.  Oh, and a friend and I bought tickets to see Justin Bieber at the Rose Bowl in August! 😉 Summer, you’re going to be FUN!

Snowden

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Michael and I rented “Snowden” on Friday night and it was super good! It was slow to start and I was initially really confused with all the technology/government jargon but I’m glad we held out and finished it. I didn’t really play close attention when the documents were leaked a couple years ago but have been reading up on it a ton today. I’m torn with my thoughts on it… obviously it was classified information and he deserves some consequences for exposing it. I know I’m willing to lose some privacy in order for my government to keep me safe. But there is also a line to that and I think he thought it had been crossed and he was standing up for what he believed in. That’s my very surface level thought on the issue 🙂 But anyways, definitely check it out! And put a sticker on your computer camera since you’re being watched…

Teacher Appreciation Week

This past week was Teacher Appreciation Week and boy, did I feel appreciated. My students, their parents, and my school’s admin and operations team kept the surprises coming all week. We had a lunch theme everyday that kept us well fed and my kids spoiled me with gifts. My favorite were the cards and I will forever cherish them. Teaching is not an easy gig. Some days I have absolutely no patience, other days I question my abilities to help my kids grow as learners, but most days I am fairly certain I have the best job in the world.

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Those were the highlights of this past week! Hope y’all have a wonderful rest of your weekend!

City Views

In my year of living in Los Angeles, I’ve been on more “hikes” (I say this with quotes because I don’t use a walking stick and don’t carry a backpack that could sustain me for days, but I still think climbing up a hill on a dirt path qualifies as a hike…) than I ever did during my six years in Arizona. One reason why is because the weather here allows for more outdoor time. But the main reason I’ve come to enjoy hiking so much is because of the views. I’m not a desert landscape type of gal. Give me a city-scape though? Yes, please! Here are some of my favorite places to hike in the area.

Griffith Park

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Ernest E. Debs Regional Park

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Eaton Canyon 

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Stough Canyon

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And these next two aren’t hikes, but two of my other favorite spots to wog (walk/jog, remember?) because the views are great, too.

Vista Hermosa 

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Orange Grove, Pasadena

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