Tuesday, July 18, 2017

8 Ways to be Happier

Being happier is a goal most of us are striving for. I think this is great thing to strive for, no matter how elusive it may be. It pushes us to become better versions of ourselves and evaluate what we're doing and why.

When I think of living a happy life, I don't think it means being happy 100% of the time, or even 90%. I think living a happy life means that you choose a positive outlook and attitude, you incorporate activities and routines into your life that make you enjoy, and in the end the happy moments outweigh the bad ones. Today I'm sharing a few ways you can add more happy moments to your life.

8 Ways to be Happier


Make a Throwback Playlist

I made a throwback playlist recently and nothing makes me happier than turning it on and singing along to all my old favorite songs! Making this playlist has been fun as I go through all the songs I used to listen to 5, 10, 15, 20 years ago (How am I old enough to say that?!).  It's such a great feeling when you hear a song that used to - and continues to - make you happy. If you want some help starting your own throwback playlist, here's mine.


Find a Way to Enjoy Your Commute

Whether your commute is 15 minutes or an hour, the time you spend getting to work can be dreaded time - but it doesn't have to be! After having an hour long commute the past few months, I've found some ways to make use of this time and I switch it up depending on my mood or just what I'm interested in that day. I've used this time to listen to audiobook, catch up on the news, listen to a podcast, listen to my favorite music to get ready for a new day (or destress after a bad one), and I know there are even more ways you could use this time! Try out a few of these ideas and find a way to enjoy your commute. I promise it'll make that time much happier for you!


Do Something

It can be really easy to get into the routine of coming home from work, work out, shower, eat, watch TV, go to bed and using the weekends to catch up on house work, life admin, and Netflix - or at least it is for me. This is what's easy, not what's best. Just writing that felt like a slow death.

Push yourself to do something. During the week take 30 minutes to do at least one thing that makes you happy whether that be reading a book, blogging, baking, or whatever else makes you happy. On the weekend try to get out and do something like try a new restaurant, visit the library, or go on a day trip - something a bit bigger. You don't have to do it every weekend. Even just doing something like that one weekend a month will make a difference.

Be More Intentional

For me, being more intentional has the most impact on living a happier life and if you look closely is really the force behind a lot of the other tips I'm giving in this post. Being more intentional is about consciously thinking about what you're doing and why, rather than just being pulled around by life. What does that mean? It's really easy to just go along in life doing what's easiest, what you've always done, or what the people around you are doing. Living this way though doesn't tend to make you happy or fulfilled. Being intentional is about looking at what you do each day, asking why, and considering if maybe there's a better way of using your time and energy.

One example already mentioned in this post would be using your commute to listen to an audiobook instead of just listening to the radio and getting annoyed by traffic. By listening to the audiobook during your commute, you're being intentional about how you're spending your time and using that often wasted time period to enrich your life.

How do you start living more intentionally? Over the next week ask yourself why you're doing the things you do, see if that reason makes sense and is helping you lead a happier life (or meet whatever other goals you may have). If it's not, find a way to better use your time, energy, and money. For a more detailed introduction to intentional living, check out this post from Jennifer's blog.

Accept Feelings

Many times with posts like this, we feel like maybe there's something wrong with us if we aren't happy and we should just pretend to be happy so we can fit in. This is absolutely not the truth! While I would consider myself a generally happy person and do my best to live a happy life, I suffer from depression and times in life that are highly stressful for me (just read more of this blog if you want some proof).

A very good piece of advice I've heard over the years is that you shouldn't fight your feelings or try to force them to go away. If you're sad, accept that you're feeling sad in that moment and allow yourself to be sad for a bit. Don't hold on to the feeling longer than it lasts or try to fight it and be upset with yourself for being sad. Feelings (including happiness) are temporary. Allow them to come and go. You may be sad for a day, a week, or maybe even longer. That's okay. Feel that sadness, and then move on.*

Enjoy the Sunshine

Get outside and enjoy the sunshine! Go for a walk, read a book outside, play a game of basketball with a friend, visit the park - whatever you like to do! Sunshine is proven to boost your brain's production of serotonin, the chemical that makes you happy. You'll get to connect a bit with nature as well, which always makes me feel more whole and at peace. This is a lot easier to do when it's nice outside, but even in winter you can get in some more sunshine by opening the blinds and going for a short walk.

Invest in People, Not Things

We've all been out with friends and experienced that moment when suddenly you look up and realize all of you are on your phones, not talking or interacting at all with each other. What?! Sometimes its like we'd rather be with our phones, laptops, or TV than with real people. These things don't really make us happy - relationships do. It's so important to invest in the people around you. I'm not necessarily the best at this (introvert problems), but I try my best. I use my weekends to see my family, me and my best friend talk on the phone most days, and I try to text friends who live far away. It's important to do these things and be present with the people you love rather than sit there with your phone in front of your face the whole time (btw, I'm totally guilty of this).

Practice Self-Care

I'm a big believer in self-care. Practicing self-care regularly helps me feel more creative, relaxed, and happy. It's made a big impact in my life as far as helping me control my stress and my mood. Self-care doesn't have to be anything big or expensive. It can be disconnecting from your electronics for 20 minutes each day, taking little breaks throughout the day to get up and walk around, or creating a morning routine that works for you.



What are your tips for cultivating more happiness? Let me know in the comments!


*I am talking about sadness. I am not talking about depression or other mental health issues. If you are suffering from depression, anxiety, or other debilitating mental illness(es), seek help. Mental illnesses such as these are NOT something you can just move on from, nor should you be expected to. Talk with someone you trust about it and see a doctor or therapist.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Top Advice for Bloggers

Let me start this by saying, I decided to research "how to start a blog" after writing my first draft of this post and it was so scary. Looking at all the things different blogs tell you you have to do to have a successful blog made me want to quit. It's so overwhelming.

I realize I might just be adding to that feeling, but my hope is that this post, based on my own experiences with blogging, will help new and seasoned bloggers alike. These are some of the best pieces of advice I've come across and lessons I've learned over nearly 3 years of blogging.

As you read through this list and any others you may come across, remember there is no magic formula for creating a blog and there is also no guarantee that you will become a full-time blogger making tons of money. More than likely, blogging will be a hobby for a long time that brings in only a little bit of extra money. That's okay!

Alright, enough with this intro and let's get on to my top pieces of advice for bloggers!


Top Advice for New & Seasoned Bloggers




Read and Comment on Other Blogs

If you have your own blog, hopefully you like reading other blogs as well. As a new or seasoned blogger, reading other people's blog posts is essential. It inspires you to continue blogging, shows you ways to write and format blog posts, and connects you to other bloggers. 

Along with reading blogs, it's also important to comment on other people's blog posts. Think about it - doesn't it just make your day when someone leaves a kind comment on your post? It's the same for bloggers at all levels. We work hard on these posts and getting feedback from readers makes it all worth it. Plus, by leaving a genuine comment and dropping your own blog's link at the end, that blogger (and even some of their readers) are likely to stop by your blog.


Write About What Interests You

This is super cliche in the blogging world, but that's because it can be so easy to feel like there's only 1 type of post write or you have to follow certain trends to get readers. Don't feel like you have to review the newest Naked palette or you have to start a bullet journal. If it doesn't interest you, don't write about it! Instead find topics that you care about and can help others with and blog about that.


Learn How to Take and Edit Photos

While blogging is primarily about writing great content, having equally great photos never hurt! Photography is very important because, let's be honest, people are more likely to click on a post if they see an attractive image. 

Visuals are highly important in online media which is why new and seasoned bloggers alike are always researching how to improve their photography. If you're looking for some photography help, check out these posts:
     How To Tell If You're Overexposing Your Blog Photos from Lazy Thoughts
     How To Brand Your Blog Images (& Why It's Important) from Katelyn Blogs


Don't Be Afraid to Promote Your Blog Posts


After writing your post, taking and editing photos, formatting and editing your post, and hitting publish you might be tempted to think you're done. Nope! If you stop there only a handful of people will read your post. Once you publish your blog post it's time to start promoting. 

I use Hootsuite to schedule tweets for my new post. I schedule 1 promo tweet a day for the first 2 weeks and then periodically throughout the next 6 months. 

I also pin my title images to relevant boards on my Pinterest and to relevant group boards. Pinterest group boards are a real game changer. If you're new to this or just looking for more group boards to join, the best way to find them is to check out what group boards bloggers similar to you are using and request to be added to the boards you like (directions are usually in the board's descriptions). 


Don't Feel Like You Have to Blog Every Day


It's super easy to look around at successful bloggers and feel like you have to blog 5 times a week (or whatever their magic number is). Unless blogging is your full-time job this is not a necessity (and even then there's probably some wiggle room).

I used to be able to blog 3 times a week, no problem. Over the past year my life has changed and I've had to come to the realization that I am far better to put out 1 post a week that has good content and is (in my opinion) top notch than to stress and try to force out 2+ mediocre posts that I threw together in a rush.

An added bonus of posting less is your posts stay "new" longer and tend to get more views since you're promoting that 1 post longer. You can also spend more time promoting older posts so they don't just disappear after all the work you put into creating it and working on your social media game.


Learn Some of the Finer Points of Blogging


Google Analytics, SEO, HTML, CSS - these are some of the more technichal aspects of blogging. While you don't have to be a professional web site designer to run a blog, having some basic knowledge of these technichal aspects of blogging and how to use them will greatly benefit you and your blog.  If you're looking to explore some of these topics, start here:
     Basic SEO Tips for Bloggers from Charley Lucy


Don't Stress About the Numbers


If, like most bloggers, you want to grow your blog - of course you'll need to track some numbers like how many views you get on a post, how many followers on each platform, etc. Check your numbers and record them periodically, but don't get wrapped up in them. Unless you're going through a super awesome viral moment, checking your numbers hourly or even daily can be really frustrating. People will follow and unfollow. It's normal. If you check your numbers weekly or monthly, you're much more likely to see more growth and get a more realistic view of how you're doing. 


I hope this post was helpful! Let me know in the comments what advice you would add or let me know if you have a blogging question you'd like to see answered.


Top Advice for New & Seasoned Bloggers

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

June Favorites No. 2

*Affiliate links may be used in this post, but all opinions are my own. For more information, please check out my Terms & Conditions.

Hello! (I never start my posts off like that, but I just felt like it for whatever reason and I'm going with it) I didn't post a monthly favorites last month because it was a super busy month for me. In May I went on a weekend trip with my best friend to Las Vegas, finished up my first semester as a teacher (what!?), packed up my classroom so I could move from the Jr./Sr. High to the Middle School in August, and moved apartments so I would be closer to my school. Busy!

This month has been MUCH more relaxed. I didn't get a summer job so I have been able to relax, focus on my blog, and figure out how to set up a middle school Spanish curriculum. I've been enjoying this month and having so much freedom.


A few of my favorites from June 2017


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

5 Things To Do In Vegas

In May my friend and I went on a trip that we she had been planning tirelessly for months. She's been to Vegas several times which was a plus as she already knew a lot. I was able to rely on her to plan an awesome weekend trip. I thought I would pass on this knowledge and possibly help you plan a trip there as well. Keep reading for my top 5 things to do while you're in Las Vegas!



5 things to do in Vegas (besides gambling)


Visit the Las Vegas Sign

This was the last thing we did before leaving, and I wish it had been the first thing. Visiting the sign makes you feel like you've officially arrived in Las Vegas. It's the best photo op and I don't think it even counts as going to Vegas if you don't take your picture here! 


Expert Tip: If you go off to the side, you can skip the line of people wanting to take their picture directly in front of the sign, but still get a great pic (and no one gets mad)!



Walk the Strip

This is another thing you have to do. It's just part of going to Las Vegas! There's so much to see and lots of photos you'll want to take as you walk along the strip like New York New York, Paris, Monte Carlo, Caesar's - you'll want to see it all. Make sure you walk around and explore a few of these famous casinos, too. I'd recommend making sure you walk around Paris and Caesar's palace.







The High Roller

This is the world's tallest observation wheel and gives you a great view of Vegas. It takes 30 minutes and gives you lots of great photo opportunities. This was probably my favorite part of our trip as it was so pretty.

Expert Tip: If you go during the day it's $10 less and can get a cabin (mostly) to yourself.


Eat at The Flamingo

First off, flamingos are trendy right now and there are flamingos everywhere. They have a garden area with real flamingos (and other birds) that you can watch while you eat your meal at their giant buffet. They have tons of different kinds of foods to choose from, making the price tag ($25 for all you can eat) worth it. This is also the original Las Vegas hotel and casino, so it's a cool place to check off your list.





See a Show

Along with the casinos, Vegas is famous for its entertainment. My friend has a '70s soul, so we saw Cher. It was great and the tickets were only $55 each. There's tons of different performers in Vegas all the time, so you can definitely find a show that you're interested in, and fits your budget. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Top College Organization Posts

It's been awhile since I've posted about college, but I thought I would shine a light on all those college posts I've written over the past 2 1/2 years. Today I'm sharing a round up of my best college organization posts.




Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Life After College & Blogging Frustrations

I have 30 blog post ideas on my phone, but I just don't feel inspired to write any of them. A few weeks ago I was so excited for summer and hoping to write and publish more blog posts here, but now I am just feeling so disconnected from blogging and the blogging world. 

This is a bit depressing as I have so enjoyed blogging over the past 2 1/2 years. I feel part of the problem is that I started as a college lifestyle blogger. Now that I'm done with undergrad I'm not as interested in blogging about college, but don't really know where to go with my content.



thoughts on life after college and the blogging community


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

My Thoughts on Instagram

Ever since Instagram switched their feed from chronological to whatever this algorithm is, it seems like Instagram has gone from everyone's favorite social media to least favorite. While I'm not a fan of the changes, I still enjoy using Instagram and thought I'd share why.


4 reasons why I still like Instagram, despite the recent changes


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Sunken Gardens | Photo Diary

I love spring and all the flowers it brings. The best place to enjoy all the flowers and beauty of spring is at Sunken Gardens. I went there one day last month with my brother and have finally gotten all of the photos together to share with you! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

photos of spring flowers at sunken gardens

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Ways to Be More Creative

Being creative is something that always makes me feel happy and fulfilled. I've been trying to do something creative everyday. It doesn't have to be painting a canvas or drawing a portrait to be creative. There are so many little ways to be more creative everyday. If you're looking to be more creative, look through this list for a few ways to add some creativity to your everyday life.


ways to be more creative everyday



Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Personal Projects I Want to Do

I've always thought it's important to have personal projects to do outside of school or work. Sadly, last semester I felt so overwhelmed by everything from finishing college to getting certified that I did not give myself any time to work on personal projects. Now that I've got my job and have settled in to it, I've been giving myself more time to work on personal projects and it feels so good. For me,  these personal projects are a part of my self-care as they are things I'm doing for me and things that I enjoy doing. If you're in need of some inspiration for your own personal projects or just like being a bit nosy, here are the personal projects I am working or want to start working on.


Sharing a few personal projects I'm currently working on


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

April Favorites No. 2

April is the first full month of spring and it has been so great to see all the signs of spring popping up everywhere - flowers blooming, little green leaves on the trees, and spotting bunnies and butterflies all over.


My favorites from April



Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Maintaining Long Distance Friendships

After going to college out of state and then returning back to my home state, I have found that many of my friends live far away from me. Luckily, it doesn't have to mean that our friendships are over. Here are a few ways to keep long distant friendships alive.


5 Ways to Keep Long Distance Friendships Alive


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

25 Things To Do For Your Blog

It always seems like there's a ton of things to do for your blog. From writing posts to social media, there are so many things that go into keeping your blog up and running. Here's a list of 25 things to do for your blog.


Things to do for your blog | blogging to do list


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

20 Things To Do This Weekend

I always end up doing the same things on the weekend - sleep in, netflix, clean a bit, visit my parents. Sometimes it's good to switch things up, so I made a list of 20 things to do this weekend. I hope this helps if you're looking to do something a bit different this weekend than your usual weekend routine.


20 things to do to switch up your weekend routine



Tuesday, March 28, 2017

March Favorites No. 2

I have felt so creative and inspired this month. I know looking at my blog you might be questioning this, but that's because I've put a lot of my creative energy towards my job. I love reading about different people's ideas for teaching and creating my own materials and plans. I've had so many different ideas, been putting them together, and sharing them with my students. It's been turning out great and I have kids interested in Spanish. It's great!

I've also been trying to get back into blogging after an unintentional break. I was putting a lot of my creative energy into school, which is fine. I know I won't always feel inspired, so when I am I think I should go for it and create what I can so that way when I'm not feeling creative and inspired I can just relax. But I also don't want my job to turn into the only thing I have, so I know I need to continue to put energy into this space - especially since I like it. I'm sure other people understand though how when you have two or more creative outlets, sometimes it seems like all your creative energy goes into one area and the the others get ignored a bit. Anyways, I've been reading more blog posts lately and adding more blog post ideas to the list I keep on my phone, so hopefully I'll be publishing more content here. Then I just need to start promoting posts, spending time on social media, and all those other fun admin parts of blogging :)


monthly favorites


Here's what I've been loving this month:


Music

Ed Sheeran's new album ➗ is so good! I love it! "Castle on the Hill," "Perfect," and "Galway Girl" are my top three songs from the album, but I love them all.

I've also been waiting for Lorde to put out new music for years. Pure Heroin is one of my favorite albums. I was so excited when her new song "Green Light" came out. I love it and will definitely be needing to get her new album when it comes out.


Movie

I went to my first movie of 2017, Beauty and the Beast. I was a little unsure if it would live up to the magic of the animated movie, but all that uncertainty was immediately put to rest. They did a wonderful job recreating the movie. They stayed true to the original while still making it their own. If you have not seen this yet, YOU HAVE TO!

Memories

- Finishing my first quarter class. I had a great time with my first group of 8th grade students, even if they did drive me a little nuts sometimes.
- Watching how well my new quarter class picks up what we're learning.
- Reading Disney stories with my Spanish II kids. I love being a language teacher.
- Seeing how excited my Spanish II kids were about reading a story about Lemony Snickets.
- Showing my mom my classroom when she came to see my school's musical (The Little Mermaid!)
- Spending time with my siblings who were home from college on Spring Break
- Talking on the phone with my best friend every day
- Seeing Beauty & the Beast
- The first few signs of Spring


What have you been loving this month? Any of the same things? Let me know in the comments!


Saturday, March 25, 2017

7 Things To Do to Get Ahead for the Next Week

I am all about being organized. Of course, it can be really hard to stay organized all week. I usually start off pretty organized and throughout the week I just get so busy that I let it slide. Luckily, the weekends are a great time to reset and get organized for the week ahead! I love using my weekends to recuperate, rest, and then get organized for the next week. Here are a few things I (try to) do during the weekends to start Monday on the right track.


How I Use My Weekends to Get Ahead


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Life Update No. 2

It's been a while - 2 weeks! I'm sorry for the silence. I love this space of the internet and being a part of the blogging community, so I've really felt guilty over this unintentional 2 week break. Guilty because I feel like I'm letting down people who read my posts (I hope there's a few of you) and for ignoring my favorite hobby. It is the worst when you just don't have any ideas for your blog and it seems like you've written about everything already. I think all bloggers feel like that from time to time, so I'm sure you can relate if you have a blog of your own.


Blogging Breaks and Feeling Inspired at Work


Saturday, March 4, 2017

February Favorites No. 2

February has been very good to me. I got to enjoy good weather in February - I had the windows open, went for a few walks, and even played outside with my little cousin. I started making some friends at work and met up with some college friends who I haven't seen in months. It's so crazy when you go from college where you see your friends every day or at least once a week to post-grad life where you're good to see each other every few months.

I also got some great news this month - I will be staying at the school I'm currently working for next year! I was hired at the very end of December for this semester, to finish out the school year, so I did not exactly have a guarantee that I would be there next year. I was so excited when they offered me a job to teach full time at the middle school next year.


February 2017 Favorites



Netflix

I love watching Law & Order SVU, Criminal Minds, and true crime shows. This month I watched Killer in the Family - a short series about the psychology of people who kill their whole family. If you like true crime shows and/or Criminal Minds you would definitely like this as a (female) criminal psychologist who profiles the people who kill their families for Scotland Yard narrates the show/investigates the killers.


DVD/TV Series

I am still obsessed with Downton Abbey. I just finished season 4 of it so I'm halfway through the series. Can I just say season 3 and 4 shocked me! I was on a roller coaster of emotions.


Music

The Chainsmokers make great music. "Closer" was my song for the last part of 2016 and now I'm loving their new single "Paris." These guys have such a great sound and I always like their lyrics.

And like every other sane human, I can't get enough of Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You." Of course I love the song all on it's own because Ed is a musical genius, but then I watched the video and fell even more in love. Everything you could ask for - a guy being attracted to a strong (like physically strong) woman, diverse actors, and of course humor - in one music video. You have to check it out!





Food

I decided to try something new and made a buffalo chicken dip. It. Is. Amazing. I love it! I can just come home, pull out my container of buffalo chicken dip and some chips and have a super easy supper after work. It's so yummy! I went super simple and just combined some buffalo sauce with cream cheese and cut up chicken (or in my case, vegetarian chicken).


Memories

- Going for a walk with my younger brother.
- Watching Downton Abbey with my mom.
- Playing outside with my little cousin.
- Getting a job for next school year!


What are your favorites from this month? Let me know in the comments!


Saturday, February 25, 2017

3 Little Ways to Live a (Slightly) Minimalist Lifestyle

Minimalism is very attractive to me. Living a life with less stuff to take care of and clean and more time and money to go out and do things sounds amazing. While my mom and grandma complain that I don't have enough decorations and stuff in my apartment, I would love to live a much more minimalist lifestyle, because really I hoard stationary and have a bunch of "memory boxes" filled with random things I should just get rid of. But that's why we need to just start small! So here are a few tips (for you and me) to be a bit more minimalist.


3 little tips to help you live happily with less stuff


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Must Have Bullet Journal Lists

I love making lists and I write the majority of my lists in my bullet journal. I always love hearing what people keep track of in their bullet journals, so I thought I'd share what I keep track of in my bullet journal, and maybe even give you some ideas of how to use your bullet journal.


5 lists I have to have in my bullet journal

Saturday, February 18, 2017

My Top Tips for Writing Blog Posts

With running a blog one of your main jobs is to write blog posts. Contrary to what some people may think, blog posts do not just write themselves and most bloggers put a lot of time and effort into writing their posts. From coming up with post ideas, thinking of ways to make the post you're writing unique to other posts on your blog and on the internet, actually writing the post, and editing - here are a few of my top tips for writing blog posts.


7 tips to help you write your best blog post ever



Tuesday, February 14, 2017

40 Things To Do When You're Stuck Inside

It seems like we're always stuck inside in winter and on all those rainy days that come with spring. Since I'm super busy with work at the moment, I don't get too bored, but I still end up finding myself doing the same things. So I thought I'd make a list of 40 things to do when stuck inside.


Bored? Here's 40 Things You Can Do Inside

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Albuquerque Photo Diary

When my family went to the Grand Canyon in December, we drove all the way there! We made a stop in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We visited Albuquerque Old Town which has a lot of buildings from the original Spanish settlers who moved there. It is a really cool area with lots of shops. Of course I had to take a billion pictures so I thought I'd share a few of them here!


Photo diary of Old Town Albuquerque in Albuquerque, New Mexico


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Day in my Life

I know we all love being nosy, so I thought I'd share a day in my life. I didn't edit the photos, so don't be surprised by the less than Pinterest-worthy photos - buy hey, that's real life!


Take a look at a day in my life and get a glimpse at what it's like to be a teacher!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

January Favorites No. 2

The first month of 2017 has come and gone! I can't believe it's already February. 

This month has been pretty crazy, but a good kind of crazy! I graduated from college in December and this month I started my first post-grad job! It was crazy how fast it all happened and I had only a week to get familiar with what I would be teaching and start planning for my first semester as a teacher. Luckily it's been a pretty easy transition and I'm loving it. Hopefully this job works out and I'll be able to stay on next year - fingers crossed! 

I've also been thinking a lot about how much better I feel mentally. If you've been reading for a while you might have noticed that I was feeling overwhelmed all fall and my depression was getting the best of me. It was not a good time for me. In December I finally went to the doctor to talk about my medication and I'm not sure if it's the change in medication, finally being done with classwork, or feeling like I have my life together now that I have a job but I am feeling a thousand times better! It's probably a combination of all those things and I'm so happy that I finally went to the doctor after months of putting it off and that the rest was able to happen. 


A few of my favorite things from January


Netflix

I have been all about the historical dramas this month. I watched two - Versailles and The Last Kingdom. I started The Last Kingdom since I really like History channel's Vikings series and this show was also about Vikings. This show is quite different though since (spoiler alert) it's about an English boy who is taken captive by Vikings and lives with them until his adoptive family is murdered. He then goes on a journey to achieve power with the English, using his knowledge of Vikings to his advantage. Pretty interesting! 

Versailles is how I filled my life with French court after I finished Reign (can't wait for the new season to start soon!). I was interested in the show anyway since it's about one of the most famous kings of France (Louis XIV) and it didn't hurt that George Blagden - who was one of my favorite characters on Vikings - plays him in this series. I really liked the series and thought the characters were really good. 


DVD/TV Series

In addition to those historical dramas on Netflix, I got hooked on another - Downton Abbey! My mom got into the series earlier this month and I ended up watching a few episodes with her. I was quickly addicted to the show! I had heard a lot about Downton Abbey (who hasn't?) but never watched it since I didn't get the channel it was on. Now I know what I was missing! Luckily my mom bought the whole series on DVD so I'm working my way through the series. I'm on season 2 now and have to restrict myself to only watching it on the weekends since I cannot stop myself from watching the next episode!


Food

No bake cookies. My great aunt used to make these so my family has a really good recipe for these. Even better - my mom has been making them and then giving me a container of them each time she makes them (twice in January - I'm so spoiled) so I can enjoy them, too. They're so good and chocolaty!


Memories

- Starting my first post-grad job. Last month I was thinking I would probably take a job as a para or substituting which I wasn't all that excited about. I cannot tell you how happy I am that it worked out for me to get a job teaching what I love in my own classroom each day.
- Getting a new phone. Since I now have a full time job I could finally afford to buy a new phone. I upgraded from an iPhone 4 (yes, I still had one) to a Galaxy S7. I LOVE my new phone! I have so much storage and the photos I take on it are amazing.


This month's favorites are a bit short, but I'm wanting to get back into this series. We'll have to see what favorites come in February!


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Bullet Journaling When You're Short on Time

The reason I hear people give for not wanting to start a bullet journal is often that they don't have time to make it pretty. I get it. You go on Instagram check out the #bulletjournal tag and get overwhelmed by all of these incredibly organized and artistic looking bullet journals. 

Bullet Journaling When You're Short on Time



Saturday, January 28, 2017

How to Stay Positive

Your attitude and mindset play a huge role in how your day (and life) goes. This is something you hear a lot, but with good reason. You can look at things as a catastrophe or an adventure, a failure or a chance to start again. To be honest with you, it's easier for me to focus on the negative so being positive is something I have to work at. Today I thought I'd share a few ways that I (try to) stay positive.



Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Wupatki Photo Diary

On our vacation in Arizona we visited several national parks including Wupatki National Monument. Wupatki was definitely one of the highlights of the trip for me. I absolutely loved seeing the ruins, reading about the people who lived in the pueblo, and how the creation of the park impacted the people who lived in the area.


Wupatki National Monument Photo Diary


Saturday, January 21, 2017

Tips for Your First Week at a New Job

I got my first job post college! I'm in my first month of the job and I know that it can be a lot to just jump in and try to figure everything out at a new job. So I came up with 5 tips to help you out for your first week!


5 tips for your first week at a new job



Take a deep breath.

Walking in those first few days and at different moments you'll be a mix of excited and nervous. Take a deep breath and remember that you got this! Shoulders back, chin up, and remain confident. You'll do great!


Go with the flow.

Chances are there will be weird things that pop up that you didn't cover in orientation or other unexpected things. Just go with the flow. When things go wrong or you don't know how to do something take a deep breath, do some problem solving, or ask someone for help. I know there were a bunch of things that popped up my first week that I didn't know about, but going with the flow made it so much easier to handle.


Make it a point to meet your new coworkers.

While it might be difficult to remember everyone's names when you first get hired, make it a point to meet as many people as you can and get to know a few people who work close to you. These people will be great to ask for help and support you in your first few weeks. Plus, you probably want to make some new friends at your job!


Ask questions.

People know you're new and that you'll have questions. Whenever you have a question, ask for help or tips from one of your new coworkers or managers. People usually like being sought out for their advice and are willing to help you do well your first week. Even the most experienced person there was new once and had to ask a ton of questions when they first got hired.


Celebrate!

You got the job! And you've made it through week 1! That's definitely reason to celebrate. Whether it's a night out, dinner out, or a movie night with friends take some time to celebrate your new job!


What are your tips for starting a new job?  Let me know in the comments!



Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Books I Want to Read in 2017

Last year I started reading again and I want to continue to read this year. In my 2017 Life Update and Goals I said one of my goals for this year is to read 8 books. I'm always looking for book recommendations or ideas of what to read next, so here's some ideas if you're looking for some new books to read, too. 


Books on my list to read in 2017

Bold Spirit by Linda Lawrence Hunt

I like history and I also like (true) stories about women who broke the rules and did thing people thought women couldn't do. Bold Spirit captured my interest for both those reasons. It's about a woman, Helga, who immigrated to the United States, moved to the west coast when it was just being settled, and then walked across the United States in 1896 from Washington to New York with her daughter to win $10,000 to help her family. If that doesn't sound interesting, I don't know what does. I started reading this book and it's really interesting how the author found Helga's story and the obstacles Helga overcame in her life.

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

I read Mindy Kaling first book Why is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and LOVED it. If you have seen her on The Office or The Mindy Project you already know she's hilarious. That book was the same. Since I loved it so much I know I need to read her newest book, Why Not Me. I can't wait to start reading it!


Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Amy Poehler is another funny woman I love. I've had Yes Please sitting on my shelf for a while, I just haven't gotten to it yet. But it sounds like it will be a great read when I finally do get around to reading it.


Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coehlo

A bit of a morbid title, but that's also what made it sound interesting. I've never read a book by Paulo Coehlo before, but I have heard all about how great of a writer he is. So I've decided to start with Veronika Decides to Die. This book is about Veronika who seems to have everything, but is deeply unhappy and decides to commit suicide. However she wakes up at a mental hospital where she discovers all sorts of things about herself and life.


Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

There's been a lot of hype about Big Magic in the blogging world, and I think that's because we're all creative in one way or another. Creativity is something that always makes me happier and makes a huge difference in my mental health (when I'm creative, my mental health is better). This book sounds super interesting and like it will help me be more creative and find more inspiration.


Americanah by Ngozi Adichie

Like many people, I first heard about Ngozi Adicie from Beyonce's song "Flawless" which has an audio clip from Ngozi's TED Talk on feminism. Since then I have heard so much about Ngozi Adichie's writing and I've really wanted to read something by her. Americanah is one of her books that I've heard lots of good things about. It's about love, race, and the challenges two people face as they leave Nigeria and eventually return home.  


In the Country We Love by Diane Guerrero

Unlike the rest of the world, I have not watched Orange is the New Black or Jane the Virgin. Diane Guerrero is an actress in both, but since I haven't seen them, that's not what caught my attention about that book. Instead what caught my interest was that In the Country We Love is a story about a successful woman who was 14 when her parents and brother were deported while she was at school. 

You may or may not know that I'm a Spanish teacher and one of the topics that come up when teaching Spanish is immigration (legal and illegal). In my class we had talked about how kids can stay in the US since they're legal citizens, but their parents can be deported if they're illegal - so what happens to the kids? Here's one person's story! Perfect! So this is partially a work-related read, but it also seems like a highly interesting story.


Other books on my bookshelf that I want to read:

Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
Catherine de Medici by Leonie Frieda
I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (reread)
Gather Together in My Name by Maya Angelou


Hopefully I'm able to read 8 books plus a few extras this year! If you've read any of these before let me know if you liked them in the comments! Also let me know what books are on your to read list this year. I'm always curious what other people are reading!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Grand Canyon Photo Diary

I love travelling. My family usually goes on a trip every year and since planning usually falls on my mom, we tend to go to the same areas a lot. That's not bad, but I was read for something new, so all year I have been campaigning for a big trip to a place we've never been to before. My family kept putting off the vacation due to schedule issues but finally in December we were all able to go on a big trip to someplace totally different - the Grand Canyon!


Grand Canyon Photo Diary

I was so excited to go there and see this beautiful place in person. We had a little delay with a giant snow storm that came in (you'll see the snow in the pictures), but when we finally got there it was beautiful! Of course, I had to share some of the photos with you!


Grand Canyon Photo Diary
Grand Canyon Photo Diary

Looking at it, it can be hard to believe but many Native American tribes lived in and around the Grand Canyon. One of those tribes were the Hopi. Their origin story tells of coming into this world through a hole in the sky of the world below called the Sipapuni. They believe the Sipapuni is located deep within the Grand Canyon. I read that at one of the museums at the Grand Canyon (yes, they have a few museums along with all the nature) and thought it was such a great story.


Grand Canyon Photo Diary
Grand Canyon Photo Diary
Grand Canyon Photo Diary

It's really true that the canyon changes colors throughout the day. When we got there in the morning the canyon seemed more gray and brown, but by the end of the day it was read and rich brown tones. It's so beautiful to see how it changes throughout the day.


Grand Canyon Photo Diary
Grand Canyon Photo Diary
Grand Canyon Photo Diary
Grand Canyon Photo Diary

Can you believe how much snow there was? Honestly, I didn't think Arizona got snow before this trip. I was so wrong! I also didn't expect for there to be so many trees and plants around the Grand Canyon. My favorite plant was the yucca plant - I want one for my apartment!

Grand Canyon Photo Diary
Grand Canyon Photo Diary
Grand Canyon Photo Diary
Grand Canyon Photo Diary

That was my trip to the Grand Canyon! As beautiful as it looks in pictures, it is even more beautiful in person. It's such an expansive and unbelievable place to visit.

Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon? Is it on your bucket list to visit someday? Let me know in the comments!