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Hello 2020

The last time I sat down to write a blog post was in June of 2018. I honestly don’t know what happened to turn me away from a hobby that I truly loved for so long but I’m hoping 2020 is the return!

Since my last venture into blog land there have been a few exciting happenings:

  • I moved out of my adorable little apartment that I loved and decorated to perfection, and into a house with two wonderful roommates. Even though I loved my apartment and learned a lot about myself, I realized that I was pretty dang lonely. So when the opportunity
    to have a roommate again presented itself I jumped at the chance!
  • I got a new job at a school I am absolutely loving. I love it so much that I don’t even take days off from work anymore unless it’s because I’m taking a day for travel. This school gave me a fresh outlook on teaching and made me not hate going to work. I was super close to leaving the profession two years ago. In fact, I had applied to and made it to the in person interview to be be a United Flight attendant.
  • I went back to Europe! The destinations were London and Paris with three dear friends. We spent half our time in London and the other half in Paris. It was a great trip because we did things I had never done before in both cities. Including visiting Disneyland Paris!
  • Europe wasn’t my only travel destination the last two years though, I also went to New York, Oregon, Washington, California, Mexico, Florida (this I’m sure surprises no one, because well Disney), and Canada! All of which will have blog posts dedicated to them in the near future.
  • I went on the ELLEN SHOW!!!! By far the most exciting thing of the last two years. My roommate Julie got tickets and graciously asked me to come with her last September! I was in the audience when Demi Moore was the guest and got a little camera time right at the beginning of the show! Again a blog post will be dedicated to this, complete with all the ins and outs of the show behind the scenes!
  • My status as a single lady still hasn’t changed but according to a Facebook quiz I took at the beginning of year (because that’s super reliable, obviously) that should change before 2021. So here’s hoping.

So there ya go, just a few highlights to bring you up to date on my life. If you’ve continued to follow me on Instagram then you’ve gotten a better picture of what my life has been like the last two years. I’m hoping to get back into the swing of blogging this year because I miss it! It’s been fun to go back and read some of my old posts.

I’ve also made the switch to WordPress and I’m stilling learning the ins and outs. I’d really like a more attractive layout but apparently you have to have a business account to utilize pre-made ones, so I will be figuring out how to do all the changes to make it look more like me.

So lets hope this is the first of many posts to come. Like I said, I have lots planned, I just hope I can follow through and back into the swing!

How to Get Your Whitest Smile Ever

I’ll be honest; one of my biggest insecurities has always been my teeth.  I had braces and an expander when I was in middle school through the beginning of high school and I hated every minute of it.  I was self-conscious and literally never wanted to smile showing my teeth.  Thankfully my teeth moved fairly quickly and so I only had to wear the braces for about a year and a half.  Fast forward 15 years and my teeth are still my least favorite feature because they are nowhere near as naturally white as I would love them to be.  


Now, I am a huge fan of pictures.  Last week I took a girls trip to NYC and my friends got so sick of me saying, “Hey wait, take my picture!”  So thankfully even though my teeth are my least favorite feature I’m still totally willing to flash a smile.  That is due in large part to all the photo editing that is now at our fingertips.  Literally, all I have to do is open an app on my phone and boom, I have whiter teeth.  But to be honest, I‚Äôve been sick of having to fix the shade of my teeth with an app.  I want to be able to take a natural picture and not cringe because my teeth aren’t as white as I would like them to be.  And that is where Smile Brilliant comes in. 

I’ve tried a few different at home whitening kits and use whitening toothpaste daily.  But nothing has ever really made me see a difference in the color of my teeth.  So when Smile Brilliant contacted me about trying their at-home whitening kit I was a little suspicious.  What could possibly make this product different from the others I’ve tried?  But oh my gosh, y’all.  What a difference.  

How it Works:
Step 1: They send you the kit and you take impressions of your teeth.  I was super nervous about this part because I was afraid I wasn’t going to take the impressions correctly.  But thankfully it was easy and I had no issues at all.  Once you have your impressions you send them off and wait for your trays.


Step 2: Get your trays and start whitening.  There are two parts to the whitening process: the actual whitening gel and a desensitizing gel.  I did feel some sensitivity around my gums when I would use the whitening gel and I was advised by the Smile Brilliant team to rub a little bit of coconut oil on my gums before I whitened and book, the sensitivity went away.  I also decided it would be best to skip a day in-between sessions just to be on the safe side.   I’ll be honest I didn’t see immediate results.  It took at least 7 sessions for me to start seeing a difference and even then it wasn’t until friends at work said, “Hey! Your teeth are brighter!”  (Insert hair flip emoji here!)  


Here is my before and after, after completing the entire whitening kit, which includes 4 syringes of each gel.

Overall, I am ecstatic with my teeth whitening results with Smile Brilliant and am 100% more confident in my smile.  I’m not as self-conscious as I was about the color of my teeth and I can look at pictures of myself without immediately feeling the need to whiten them in a photo-editing app.

I will most definitely be using Smile Brilliant for all my at home whitening needs in the future!  

I would love for y’all to actually try this kit yourself and Smile Brilliant does too.  So they’ve graciously offered a free kit to one of you.  If you just can’t wait to see if you win the giveaway and want to start boosting your self-confidence ASAP they’re also offering a 15% off coupon!  Head over to the Smile Brilliant website to find out more about them! 

To enter the giveaway just click this link:   www.smilebrilliant.com/g/placesiwillgo 
To receive the 15% off your order just use the code placesiwillgo15 

Happy Whitening friends! ūüôā

Disclaimer:  This post is sponsored by Smile Brilliant but all opinions on the product are my own.  Also there are a few affiliate links throughout the post! ūüôā

Tooth Whitening Gel

30 Before 30: 1 Month To Go

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve thought about my 30 Before 30 list. ¬†I’m just about 1 month away from the big 3-0 though, ¬†and now that I’m back to semi-regular blogging, I knew I needed to revisit said list. ¬†

Overall I’ve done MUCH better than in my last check in , which you can read here, if you so choose. ¬†I’ve now completed 13 of the 30. ¬†Good lord, when I actually write it out, I haven’t even completed half of these things. ¬†But during the last check in, one year into the list I had only completed 5 of the items. ¬†So I’m winning a little bit at least!¬†
So, here’s where I’m at in my list currently……

1. Go to Washington D.C.    

2. Go to Europe again.  
This has been planned and canceled a few times. ¬†I think it’s safe to say this will not happen before 30. ¬†But hopefully during my 30th year!

3. Live in and decorate my own apartment. 


4. Go on another cruise.
Done!  And another has been booked for July with my family!

5. Run a 5K or some other type of race.
Yeah no. ¬†And it’s not happening either.¬†

6. Try online dating again. 
I did this. ¬†Now I’m thinking about trying out Eharomony. ¬†Maybe I’ll have luck there.

7. Reach 1,000 Instagram followers.
WOO HOO!! Done! ¬†I’m at 1,176! ūüôā ¬†

8. Get the domain I purchased to actually work with my blog and eventually re-design the blog again.
Just renewed a few days ago actually. ¬†And I’m happy to say I’m putting it to good use.
And the blog got a face lift in November!  Much cleaner and more put together in my humble opinion.

9. Read 200 books – 100 for each year I have left till 30.
Hmmmm…..I’ve read 100 since this goal was set. ¬†So I doubt I’ll read 100 more in the next two months. ¬† ¬†

10. See a Broadway or Broadway type play.
Nope. ¬†And it won’t happen either. ¬†I have zero plans to see a play between now and March 18th. ¬†So this looks like some thing that will not happen.

11. Take a photography class.
Done! ¬†It helped loads! ¬†And I’ve recently downloaded Lightroom and that has totally changed my Instagram game. ¬†Thanks to Helene from Helene in Between!¬†

12. Make photography a side business.
Nope!  Doubt this will happen either.
13. See Michael Buble in concert. 
Another negative. ¬†But that’s not my fault. ¬†He hasn’t gone on tour. ¬†So, what can you do.
14. Go back to Universal Studios and see Diagon Alley.
YASSS!!!! ¬†This happened last June and it was everything I wanted it to be and so much more!!! Can’t wait to see it again!

15. Apply for the Fund for Teachers travel grant.
Like I said in the last update, I’m still not sure I want to do this. If anything, it may happen next school year. ¬†

16. Be healthier- possibly go down a jean size or two.
Well haven’t gone down a size but still haven’t gone up. ¬†So win win if you ask me!¬†

17. Buy a clothing item full price from Anthropology.

I’m changing this to a full priced item period. ¬†Which I’ve done.


18. Pay off remaining my credit card debt. 

I’ve paid off one small credit card AND one of my student loans. ¬†So that’s something! ¬†Ready to tackle the rest!¬†


19. Build my savings.

I’ve started¬†this too! So fingers crossed by the time I’m 30 it’s a nice¬†chunk of change.


20. Visit either: Boston, Chicago, or Seattle. 
Done! ¬†Chicago is a gorgeous city. ¬†I loved my few days there. ¬†And I have a full guide coming to the blog soon! ūüôā
21. Meet my future husband.
This is laughable. ¬†And isn’t going to happen before March 18th. ¬†Like at all.

22. Take a (or preferably multiple) workout class – Zumba, Pure Barre, Spin….something!

23. Attend another blog conference.
This year Thrive is in Austin and is just too expensive for me. ¬†But I have attended a few workshops. ¬†So I’m gonna count those! ūüôā

24. Go skiing.

Sad face. ¬†Still hasn’t happened. ¬†And¬†wont be happening. ¬†


25. Record a vlog.


26. Learn to do my hair in an up-do.

27. Learn to like wearing high heels.
Accomplished.  Now ask me if I actually wear them that often and the answer is no.  But when I do I actually like it!

28. Eat in a restaurant by myself.

29. Send close friends and family birthday cards starting this summer.
I haven’t even sent one card. ¬†Sadly this is a total fail as well. ¬†

30.  Go to the Houston rodeo.
Plans are in motion to accomplish this! ¬†If only I could go to the Brad Paisley or Garth Brooks concert while I”m at it.

*****
SO there are a few that literally will not happen two months from now, such as numbers 24, 21, 18, 15, 13, 12, 10, 9 ,and 2. ¬†But there are a few more that I’ll be able to accomplish like numbers 16, 22, 25, 26, 28, and 30. ¬†Those last ones I just need to make a priority. ¬†Which shouldn’t be too difficult because I literally have nothing else (besides work) going on in life right now.

Wish me luck! ūüôā

Your Next Favorite Book: Top 7 Reads of 2017

It has been ages since I’ve done a book review post and to be honest I think this is the post I’ve missed writing the most. ¬†Reading is my favorite hobby and I love sharing the books I’ve read with any and every one who will listen. ¬†Thus the reason I love the book club I’m part of with some of my the ladies who work in my school district and the reason I love taking part in the Show Us Your Books link up with Jana and Steph.

I’ve read one book so far in 2018, but I’ve set my overall years goal for 60. ¬†Last year’s goal was 75 and unfortunately I only got to 50. ¬†Let’s hope I can reach this years goal and maybe surpass it little. ¬†Since I’ve only read one book so far this year, I thought it would be fun to share my top seven favorite reads the year.

Last year I read 29,090 pages in 50 books. ¬†I will confess that about twelve of the books I read last year were re-reads. ¬†Seven of those being the Harry Potter series. ¬†But since I was planning to get a tattoo inspired by the series I wanted to re-read them all from start to finish. ¬†But I’m still counting those twelve since I did read them all cover to cover.

So here are my top sic favorite books from 2017, in no particular order!

Goodreads synopsis:¬†Long before she was the terror of Wonderland‚ÄĒthe infamous Queen of Hearts‚ÄĒshe was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland, she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love. Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.

Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.
My thoughts: I’ve never been a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland, unless you count this old Disney channel show I used to watch called Adventures in¬†Wonderland, it was very 90s-tastic! ¬†But I was definitely excited to read this book, because I loved Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles. ¬†Ya’ll, this book was so good. ¬†I¬†absolutely loved hearing the¬†story of what made the Queen of Hearts the evil Queen of Hearts we all know from the¬†original story. ¬† I wish this¬†wasn’t a stand alone novel¬†because now I would love to read a re-telling of the whole Alice in Wonderland story from Meyer’s point of view. ¬†

Our next book for my book club is Meyer’s newest book Renegades and I’m really looking forward to reading that next month!¬†



Goodread Synopsis:  Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s manoeuvrings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit ‚Äď and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords ‚Äď and hunt for allies in unexpected places.¬†

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.
My thoughts: Of course I¬†couldn’t have a favorite reads post without mentioning a Sarah J. Maas book. ¬†In fact two of her books are in my top seven this year. ¬†This was the third book in the Court of Thorns and Roses series and it did not disappoint. ¬†This is the last¬†time in this¬†series that Feyre is going to be the main¬†protagonist. ¬†Which is sad for me¬†because I really love her character. ¬†I loved following her character development form the first novel to this one. ¬†Sarah J. Maas can do no wrong in my book. ¬†I really wish she would come to Houston during one of her future book tours¬†because I would be first in line to get her autograph. ¬†


Tower of Dawn

Goodreads synopsis: Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since the glass castle shattered, since his men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken.

His only shot at recovery lies with the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme in Antica‚ÄĒthe stronghold of the southern continent’s mighty empire. And with war looming over Dorian and Aelin back home, their survival might lie with Chaol and Nesryn convincing its rulers to ally with them.

But what they discover in Antica will change them both‚ÄĒand be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined.
My thoughts: ¬†This is the 6th book in the¬†Throne of Glass series and I’ll be¬†honest, I was not expecting to love this book as much as I did. ¬†Apparently this book was supposed to just be a novella to the series. ¬†But according to SJM, she kept writing and writing and writing and suddenly she had a full fledge book on her hands and honestly I cannot imagine this as a novella. ¬†There was so much story development in this book that it would not have done the series justice had it been a short novella. ¬†Additionally this is the book that made me appreciate Chaol. ¬†He was not my favorite character throughout the other novels, perhaps¬†because he wasn’t ever given center stage as he in this novel (obviously since it’s all about him), but¬†after this book, I am 100% team Chaol. ¬†Plus the¬†other characters¬†that are introduced are some of my favorites. ¬†



Goodreads synopsis:¬†This novel of awesome beauty and power is a moving saga about people, relationships, and the boundaries of love. Through Jean M. Auel’s magnificent storytelling we are taken back to the dawn of modern humans, and with a girl named Ayla we are swept up in the harsh and beautiful Ice Age world they shared with the ones who called themselves the¬†Clan of the Cave Bear.¬†

A natural disaster leaves the young girl wandering alone in an unfamiliar and dangerous land until she is found by a woman of the Clan, people very different from her own kind. To them, blond, blue-eyed Ayla looks peculiar and ugly–she is one of the Others, those who have moved into their ancient homeland; but Iza cannot leave the girl to die and takes her with them. Iza and Creb, the old Mog-ur, grow to love her, and as Ayla learns the ways of the Clan and Iza’s way of healing, most come to accept her. But the brutal and proud youth who is destined to become their next leader sees her differences as a threat to his authority. He develops a deep and abiding hatred for the strange girl of the Others who lives in their midst, and is determined to get his revenge.

My thoughts:¬†For years my mom has been recommending this book to me and for years I ignored her. ¬†But I finally¬†decided to read it and boy am I glad I did! ¬†I have never been super interested in¬†the age before the dawn of modern humans, as the synopsis¬†mentions. ¬†Nor¬†have I ever¬†been interested in the time of the cave man/woman. ¬†But it really is¬†fascinating the way humans lived before there were modern inventions. ¬†This is actually the first book in a¬†series of four or¬†five books. ¬†I gobbled up the first two¬†super fast but just couldn’t get into the story past those two books. ¬†I think reading about the Clan was what held my attention for so long and once they started to fade from being the center of the story, I lost interest in what happen to Ayla. ¬†This first novel is amazing though and I now I know why my mom tried to get me to read to so many times. ¬†




Goodreads synopsis:¬†Bella Greenwood isn’t a fairytale girl. If pushed, she’d probably tell you that her perfect wedding would involve a handful of close friends and family. But as she’s never met anyone she’d like to marry, it is a moot point. Until, in a midnight garden, Bella is helped out of an embarrassing situation by a tall, dark, handsome man with laughing eyes. Suddenly her life changes for ever, because the man is the world’s most eligible bachelor‚ÄĒPrince Richard, heir to the throne. Richard sweeps her off her feet, and before she knows, it they’re engaged‚ÄĒwhich is when Bella’s problems really begin. Suddenly she is public property, and as if it isn’t enough to have her every move watched‚ÄĒwhile also learning to curtsy and negotiating the etiquette of how to address her future mother-in-law‚ÄĒshe soon finds herself embroiled in bridesmaid politics, a royal hen night, and a wedding dress controversy that causes a national scandal.

My thoughts: ¬†This was a fun, lighthearted read. ¬†It was the perfect book to pick up after the¬†announcement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement. ¬† It was reminiscent of The Royal We and I loved every minute of it. ¬† This is one of those books¬†here you don’t have to think while reading, you just have to enjoy. ¬†And sometimes those are the best kinds of books! ¬†So when you’re looking for something light, romantic, and you’re a little royal obsessed, this should be your next read!¬†



Goodreads synopsis:¬†The world knows Madame Tussaud as a wax artist extraordinaire… but who was this woman who became one of the most famous sculptresses of all time? In these pages, her tumultuous and amazing story comes to life as only Michelle Moran can tell it. The year is 1788, and a revolution is about to begin.

Smart and ambitious, Marie Tussaud has learned the secrets of wax sculpting by working alongside her uncle in their celebrated wax museum, the Salon de Cire. From her popular model of the American ambassador, Thomas Jefferson, to her tableau of the royal family at dinner, Marie’s museum provides Parisians with the very latest news on fashion, gossip, and even politics. Her customers hail from every walk of life, yet her greatest dream is to attract the attention of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI; their stamp of approval on her work could catapult her and her museum to the fame and riches she desires. After months of anticipation, Marie learns that the royal family is willing to come and see their likenesses. When they finally arrive, the king’s sister is so impressed that she requests Marie’s presence at Versailles as a royal tutor in wax sculpting. It is a request Marie knows she cannot refuse – even if it means time away from her beloved Salon and her increasingly dear friend, Henri Charles.

As Marie gets to know her pupil, Princesse √Člisabeth, she also becomes acquainted with the king and queen, who introduce her to the glamorous life at court. From lavish parties with more delicacies than she’s ever seen to rooms filled with candles lit only once before being discarded, Marie steps into a world entirely different from her home on the Boulevard du Temple, where people are selling their teeth in order to put food on the table.

Meanwhile, many resent the vast separation between rich and poor. In salons and caf√©s across Paris, people like Camille Desmoulins, Jean-Paul Marat, and Maximilien Robespierre are lashing out against the monarchy. Soon, there’s whispered talk of revolution… Will Marie be able to hold on to both the love of her life and her friendship with the royal family as France approaches civil war? And more important, will she be able to fulfill the demands of powerful revolutionaries who ask that she make the death masks of beheaded aristocrats, some of whom she knows?

Spanning five years, from the budding revolution to the Reign of Terror, Madame Tussaud brings us into the world of an incredible heroine whose talent for wax modeling saved her life and preserved the faces of a vanished kingdom

My thoughts: ¬†If¬†you’re looking for a book that covers the French Revolution, then this is the book you want. ¬†Not only does it give a fun telling of Madame Tussaud’s¬†story but it gives a¬†fantastic telling of the French Revolution. ¬†Michelle Moran has been recommend to me countless times and with good reason. ¬†She’s a great storyteller. ¬†She has several historical fiction novels out there, all centering around strong women. ¬†I cannot wait to pick up another of her books in 2018.



Goodreads synopsis: In 1558, the ancient stones of Kingsbridge Cathedral look down on a city torn apart by religious conflict. As power in England shifts precariously between Catholics and Protestants, royalty and commoners clash, testing friendship, loyalty, and love. 

Ned Willard wants nothing more than to marry Margery Fitzgerald. But when the lovers find themselves on opposing sides of the religious conflict dividing the country, Ned goes to work for Princess Elizabeth. When she becomes queen, all Europe turns against England. The shrewd, determined young monarch sets up the country’s first secret service to give her early warning of assassination plots, rebellions, and invasion plans. Over a turbulent half-century, the love between Ned and Margery seems doomed as extremism sparks violence from Edinburgh to Geneva. Elizabeth clings to her throne and her principles, protected by a small, dedicated group of resourceful spies and courageous secret agents.

The real enemies, then as now, are not the rival religions. The true battle pitches those who believe in tolerance and compromise against the tyrants who would impose their ideas on everyone else‚ÄĒno matter what the cost.

My thoughts: ¬†This was one of my last reads of the year and I’m so glad. ¬†If you’ve never heard of Ken Follett then you have been missing out on a fantastic author. ¬†I’ve read quite a bit of his books and I’ve yet to be disappointed by a¬†single one. ¬†This is the third novel in his Kingsbridge series. ¬†The first of the series was Pillars of the Earth and the second was World Without End. ¬†This book continues the story of the fiction English city of Kingsbridge and takes place during the Reformation. ¬†I’ve only ever really studied the English Reformation so reading its effects on France, Spain, and The Netherlands was¬†fascinating. ¬†Ken Follett does a¬†phenomenal job of mixing fiction with real¬†historical events. ¬†He¬†truly is one of my all time favorite authors. ¬†So do yourself a favor and the next time you’re in the mood for a¬†historical fiction novel, then read one of his. ¬†PS. ¬†His Century¬†Trilogy is amazing as well! ¬†¬†

*******

2017 wasn’t my favorite reading year. ¬†I feel like over all I read more books that were so so than books that were really great. ¬†Save for the seven I just mentioned anyway. ¬†Here’s to hoping 2018 brings more than seven that I love!

SO excited to be linking up with Jana and Steph once again!! Yay for Show Us Your Books! ūüôā

Dusting Off the Blog: 2017- A 9-Month Review

The last time I hit the publish button on a blog post was April 27, 2017. ¬† That’s nine months. ¬†I’m honestly not even sure why I took a nine month hiatus. ¬†All I know is that every time I sat down to write, nothing would come out. ¬†Even now I’ve literally been sitting at my computer ¬†for over an hour and this is as much as I’ve written. ¬†But I know I want to power through and I know I want get back into the swing of things with my blog in 2018. ¬†Because I have honestly really missed this little space of mine. ¬†I especially miss interacting with other bloggers! ¬†Not only have I not blogged myself but I’ve stopped regularly reading blogs as well. ¬†So I’m hoping this is the first step to getting back at it!

Since this is my first post in a long while, I think it’s best to give a quick life update. ¬†So here’s a quick look back on what I was up to from May-December of 2017.

May
May was spent finishing up my 4th year of teaching. ¬†It was a tough school year and I was really frustrated with teaching at that point and was 100% ready to say hello to summer. The one highlight of that month was surprising my Florida besties! ¬†Two of them have little girls who’s birthday’s are within a month of each other and they were having a joint 1st birthday for the girls. ¬†They didn’t know I was coming and it made for the best surprise ever!


June
Hello summer vacation!  I did a ton of traveling during the summer and it all started with taking 8 students on a trip to the east coast with all the other junior highs in my district.  We went to Washington DC, Colonial Williamsburg, Gettysburg, and Philadelphia.  We had the best time ever and the history nerd in me was excited AF.

After the school trip, I headed back out to Florida for a fulfilled week with some of my best girls!  This trip started with a day trip to St. Augustine, where I saw the venue for one of my best friends wedding.  The wedding is actually happening at the end of this month and the venue is gorgeous.

Instead of going to Disney World, I convinced them to go to Universal Studios because I have been desperate to see the new Diagon Alley, that is part of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. ¬†And y’all, it was AH-MAZING!! I seriously cannot even begin to describe how happy I was to be there. ¬†I could have spent the entire day just in the Harry Potter section of the park but we did venture to other areas.

Then is was time for the whole reason for the trip! ¬†A girls cruise to Mexico! ¬†We had the BEST time EVER. ¬†I was so happy the entire time we were on the boat. ¬†It was so nice getting to spend time with some of my very best friends. ¬†I met these wonderful girls back in 2009 while working at Disney, we were all roommates, and I am so grateful we have managed to stay friends. ¬†I can’t wait to see where our next trip takes us!

July
July was spent on an epic road trip with my parents!  We started in Texas and made stops in Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan.  I loved getting to spend this time with my parents.  It had been a really long time since I had spent a whole month with them and so having them all to myself was great.  We made some amazing memories and had a blast!

At the end of July, my best friend Ashley and I did something we had been talking about doing for a long time! ¬†WE GOT MATCHING TATTOOS!!!!! Of course they were Harry Potter tattoos! ¬†ūüôā

August
Meant back to school time. ¬†I began my 5 year in the teaching field! ¬†Which honestly blows my mind. ¬†I cannot believe it’s been 5 years since I left Disney and became a teacher. ¬† This year we started about a week earlier than normal, which sucked, but on the flip side we get out of school earlier in May. ¬†August was also when Hurricane Harvey hit Houston. ¬†I ended up going to stay with my uncle and aunt for the week at my parents insistence. ¬†Thankfully my apartment complex was unharmed, but lots of my students and fellow teachers were deeply affected by the hurricane. ¬†It was definitely a weird start to the school year but I was very proud of the way the entire community came together to help each other.

September
Highlight of this month was heading back to Orlando to see two of the best humans I’ve ever known get married! ¬†Jason and Mario are two parts of my Florida family and they tied the knot in a beautiful and emotional wedding ceremony. ¬† The day after the wedding we all headed for more celebrating at EPCOT’s International Food and Wine Festival!

I also got to spend some quality time with my friend Katie that month. ¬†We went to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party together and had afternoon tea at the Grand Floridian. ¬†I totally had my Disney fix satisfied this trip!


October-November
These two were probably my most uneventful months.  I went to a book signing, had a sleep over with my college bestie and her sweet family, went to the Texas Renaissance festival and celebrated Thanksgiving with my family back in El Paso.  



December 
Counted down the days until Christmas break. ¬†Thankfully this school year has been about 50 times better than last school year. ¬†And we even¬†experienced a mini winter wonderland in Houston! ¬†Yep that’s right, it snowed!! ¬†I was 100% shocked that it snowed and actually stuck to the ground. ¬†Our¬†principal even had a “fire drill” first thing in the¬†morning so the whole school could go out and play in it!! ¬† ¬†

But I was still ready for Christmas Break.  I went home to El Paso and had a relaxing and very enjoyable Christmas. 



So in a nut shell, I¬†really can’t complain about my 2017. ¬†I had some great times and some low times just like¬†anyone else. ¬†I went back into my archives and found the goals I had written for myself for 2017 so to wrap up lets see how I did.

Read 75 books!¬† Yeah this didn’t¬†happen. ¬†I did read 50 books (which was my reading goal back in 2016) but just¬†didn’t make it to 75. ¬†

Cook at least 3-5 meals at home a week.  I want to say I was good about this for the most part. I think I was pretty consistent at 3 meals a week.  Doing Hello Fresh really helped a lot but I quit doing it when the summer months hit because I was out of town for most of it.  

Be healthier…again.¬†Hmmmm…..well I didn’t work out nearly as much as I¬†should have. ¬†But there we are. ¬†Now weight was lost but no significant amount of weight was gained¬†either. ¬†So that’s win at least!¬†

Pay off debt.¬†YES! ¬†So I didn’t pay off all my debt but I did manage to pay off one of my student loans! ¬†Which I’m very excited about!! ¬†

Put myself out there more.¬†¬†Fail. ¬†Total¬†and utter failure. ¬†Ugh, it’s actually¬†really depressing and is something I may get into on the blog later this month. But, I’ll leave it at that for now.¬†

Keep traveling and book another Euro-trip for my 30th year!¬†¬†I did travel a TON in 2017, but sadly no Eurotrip has been planned. ¬†It’s been discussed on¬†multiple¬†occasions and I’ve settled on where I want to go, but nothing has been booked or anything. ¬†Fingers crossed it happens this year!¬†

Redesign the blog.¬†¬†Yep! ¬†I got this new design back in….gosh I’m not even sure when it was. ¬†But I thought that if I got a new¬†design it would give me the kick in the ass I needed to get¬†back in the swing of things and it didn’t happen. ¬†But I’m happy to start the new year with a fresh, clean new look!

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I’ve been a huge fan of setting goals for the past few years. ¬†But I’m taking a different route this year. ¬†No major goals will¬†be set. ¬†I’m just going to jump into the year and see what happens. ¬†I may decide to set a monthly goals, but we’ll see! ¬†I have set a new reading goal, but that’s because I love Goodreads and like participating in their yearly challenge. ¬†

Well, I think that about wraps it up. ¬†I’m really looking forward to 2018. ¬†I turn the big 3-0 in March and I have some fun¬†travel planned, as well as some major changes I want to make this year. ¬†And as I mention at the beginning of this post, I¬†fully plan to get back into the fun of blogging!¬†

To kick things off, I’m linking up with Kristen and Gretch for What’s New With You!¬†

What's New With You

Currently [April]

I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again, if there are two posts you can guarantee I’ll write every month it’s my book review post and a currently post.  And that’s exactly what I have lined up for you!

Reading…. Still Missing by Chevy Stevens.  I’m really into her books right now.  There are two others written by her that are on my TBR that I really want to read.  Still Missing is intense to say the least.  I’ll be reviewing it in my April Reads post next month.  I am so excited for May 2nd though because the 3rd book in the Court of Thorns and Roses books by Sarah J. Maas is being released.  I have been anxiously awaiting book three since last year!

Watching….What I love about all the April shows coming back is that it means we are that much closer to summer!  I’m still watching all the Bravo I can get, Real Housewives of New York and of course Southern Charm.  Which I just found out that Cameron, my favorite on the show, is pregnant!! I have no idea why I’m so excited about this seeing as I don’t even know her, but I am.  Also the Amazing Race is back!  I think I’ve said this before, but that is the one show I would LOVE to be on one day.  I think it’s by far the best reality “game” show on TV.

Feeling….that I need an attitude adjustment.  At least when it comes to my job.  I’m becoming known as the “grumpy” teacher and that’s not me at all.  So I’ve decided to go into the rest of the school year (and next year since I know I’m gonna be teaching again) with a more positive attitude.  I’m going to try and remind myself why I went into teaching in the first first place and try and get back to enjoying it.  I don’t want to hate going to work everyday.  Does that look like the face of someone who’s known as grumpy?  Yeah I don’t think so either!

Looking forward to….the first week of June.  I’ll take taking a group of 8 students on a trip out to the East Coast.   I teach early American history, from colonization to the Civil War.  And the one this particular trip upcoming 8th graders taken to Colonial Williamsburg, Mount Vernon, Gettysburg and Philadelphia.  I’ve never been to any of those places so I am so excited.  We’re going with all the other junior highs in the school district so it should be pretty fun.  I will literally have the busiest two weeks, because I’ll be hone for about 48 hours and than I’m heading to Florida for the following week.  So excited though!

Excited about….the fact that I am 1 follower away from reaching 900 on Instagram.  Instagram is the platform I’ve been focusing on lately and I have a goal of reaching 1,000 before next March.  I’m really excited that all my hard work in growing that particular social media outlet is working! If you’re not following me on Instagram and you;d like to,  you can by clicking here!

Loving….this swimsuit and this swimsuit (that second one is currently sold out).  I bought two swimsuits for the cruise in June.  Let me just say, I’m not a swimsuit person.  I rarely buy them, so this was a pretty big deal.  Plus, I bought them online.  I’m not much of an online shopper so this was a big step for me.  I haven’t gotten them yet so I’m anxiously awaiting their arrival! I also found the prettiest maxi dresses at Target this week, thanks to Lauren from Lauren-Loves.  I haven’t take a picture of them yet, but I plan to wear one of them to work tomorrow so be sure to keep an eye on my Instagram story! I’m also loving this fun shirt from Francesca’s.  I need it! ūüôā

Thinking….that you should all head over to Sweet Tea and Hydrangeas and check out her post for today!  Mistle, the girl behind Sweet Tea and Hydrangeas, just started a new series: Blogger Bliss and she is featuring me today!  So go check out her post and look around for a bit.  She blogs about beauty, fashion, and few other fun things!  Plus she a fellow Texas blogger! Give her some love! ūüôā

The Weekend: Happy Easter

To say it’s been an interesting two weeks since my last life update post would be an understatement. ¬†
To make a very long and boring story short, last Saturday I woke up with a full body rash. ¬†When I saw full body I mean FULL BODY. ¬†It completely covered my face, neck, chest, hands, legs, stomach, back…..you get it. ¬†It was bad. ¬†It kept me home for five days, including three work days. ¬†The worst of the five was Sunday and by Thursday I was cleared up enough to go back to work. ¬†I saw two different doctors and it was decided that I must have had some type of viral axantham, which basically means a virus that manifests itself as a rash as opposed to a fever and aches. ¬†I guess I can be thankful that I didn’t feel bad but it still wasn’t the most pleasant of expierences. ¬† I literally looked like a leper from the 1800s. ¬†I would have scared little children for sure. ¬†Thankfully it’s pretty much gone from the majority of my body, save for the sides of my arms and my upper legs. ¬†I was told that it just has to go away so now it’s a waiting game to see when it’s going to completely disappear. ¬†
So now that that is documented, lets get onto to my Easter weekend! 


FRIDAY
Since it was a holiday weekend, that meant I had Friday off from work as well. ¬†As I mentioned I had missed work Monday to Wednesday so I didn’t have to worry about taking the entire week. ¬†Since my face had finally cleared up I knew the one thing I did not want to do was sit at home all day. ¬†So, I convinced Jenny and her hubby to explore a little bit of Houston that day. ¬†We ended up walking the trails at the Houston Arboretum for the afternoon. ¬†It was the perfect day to spend out doors. ¬†Warm, but with a cool breeze and some cloud cover. ¬†We brought along their three dogs, each of whom had a fabulous time. ¬†We worked up quite an appetite after wandering for a few hours so next we headed to Niko Nikos, a local Greek restaurant that has a couple of different locations around Houston. ¬†I’m not a huge fan of Greek food but it was tasty and hit the spot. ¬†If your a fan of Greek food, then you’ll definitely want to check it out. ¬†
SATURDAY
After a particularly active Friday, Saturday was particularly boring. ¬†A leisurely morning was followed by a trip to Trader Joes for some flowers and Target for a few necessities. ¬†While at Target I picked up all the things I needed to make Rice Krispie Treats for my contribution to Easter Sunday lunch. ¬†I’ve never made them myself and was pleasantly surprised at just how easy those tasty little treats are to make. ¬†Butter, mini marshmallows and Rice Krispies are literally all you need. ¬†But I went ahead and followed this recipe. ¬†I also added a few drops of pink and green food coloring to make them a little more festive. ¬†I wrapped up the night with a Lord of the Rings movie marathon. ¬†I know I’m the coolest person ever to all of you right now. ¬†
SUNDAY
Easter Sunday dawned bright and early. ¬†I didn’t attend an Easter service this year but I wish I would have. ¬†I headed over to my friend Whitney’s house for Easter lunch with my Rice Krispie Treats in tow. ¬†We had the best afternoon eating, visiting, and celebrating the reason for the day. ¬†After lunch, the adults hid Easter eggs around the apartment complex and then the kids had a blast finding all the eggs. ¬†I was on baby duty for my friend Arielle and loved every minute of it. ¬†Following the Easter Egg Hunt, Jenny and I headed to Barnes and Noble for a quick browse and then headed home for the rest of the evening. ¬†I wrapped up the evening with some tasty leftovers from lunch and the series finale of Girls. ¬†
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Overall I had a pretty great Easter weekend. ¬†I’m thankful that the rash is finally clearing up, I just wish it would hurry and clear up on my legs because short season is upon us. ¬†Anyway, I hope everyone had a fabulous Easter weekend! ¬†
Sidenote: There are exactly 5 more Mondays until summer vacation so I’m gonna use that thought to help me get through this Monday! ¬†
Linking up with Biana for Weekending! ūüôā